Tony Morris has been filmed at a convention praising a JW child who died refusing blood
Tony Morris has been filmed at a convention praising a JW child who died refusing blood

The three-day regional conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses are given different themes from year to year.

This year’s theme of “Remain Loyal to Jehovah” offers a fascinating hint of the paranoia gripping the Governing Body leadership as the internet helps an increasing outflow shed their indoctrination.

But despite the changing themes, some things about the convention program remain constant year after year. All Jehovah’s Witness conventions conclude with a long rambling talk in which one of the most senior Watchtower officials in attendance relates a cascade of feel-good experiences intended to bolster the faithful.

Now it seems a convention held last Sunday in Knoxville Tennessee has set a new record for the most disturbing and distasteful Sunday-afternoon motivational experience. The high-ranking speaker who related the story? Who else but Governing Body member, and no stranger to controversy, Anthony Morris III.

A video posted to YouTube by “Cappytan” shows Morris conveying the heartbreaking tale of a young boy named Josh (age undisclosed) who pays the ultimate price for being brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. Despite doctors quietly urging him to accept a blood transfusion while his parents’ backs are turned, Josh doesn’t flinch and ends up being praised by Morris for martyring himself despite “persecution” from the medical staff.

Morris concludes the experience by reassuring the crowd: “And when he’s resurrected you’ll hear more from him, because Jehovah loves that little fella.” The thousands in attendance then have little hesitation in applauding to signal their approval.

This despite the fact that a young boy, clearly a product of childhood religious indoctrination, is now dead because of the Governing Body’s stubborn prohibition of a medical procedure on which the bible, for all its prodigious rule-making, is silent. After all, how could bible writers ban something centuries before it is invented?

There is no way of knowing how many Jehovah’s Witnesses, like Josh, have had their lives tragically abbreviated by Watchtower’s blood stance, which only dates back as far as 1945. Though the likes of Morris show pride and enthusiasm in sharing these anecdotes before doting audiences, they are curiously less eager to release official statistics indicating the global yearly death-toll resulting from their teachings.

More protection needed

As easy as it is to point the finger squarely at a 21st Century Christian death cult for placing its own interests ahead of the welfare of its followers, I cannot help but feel aggrieved that Josh’s doctors were placed in a position where they were so powerless to keep him alive.

There have been repeated cases in many countries, including the UK, Australia and New Zealand, where judges have intervened to make sure no stricken minor has to pay the ultimate price for their parents’ fanaticism.

The children of Jehovah’s Witnesses NEED the protection of the State in these instances, no matter how convinced of their beliefs they may seem.

There have even been some indications that, faced with this scenario, Jehovah’s Witness parents are relieved that responsibility has been taken out of their hands, giving them plausible deniability when elders (the congregation enforcers) start asking questions. (Accepting blood is a disfellowshipping offense for a Jehovah’s Witness if he is not sorry for it.)

So, what was so different about Josh? Why was he allowed to lay his precious life on the Governing Body’s grotesque altar of loyalty without any State intervention when other minors in his predicament have been rescued?

Details in Morris’ gloating speech are predictably scarce, so perhaps we’ll never know the full story. What we do know, and have known for some time, is that for all its gleeful cries of persecution directed toward “Satan’s system,” the history book shows that nobody, not even Hitler,* is more prolific at killing Jehovah’s Witnesses than Watchtower itself.









*An estimated 1,200 Jehovah’s Witnesses died under Hitler’s regime.

If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, and you would like further information on why the ban on blood is immoral and unbiblical, please click here.

Editor’s note: Since this article was posted, it has become apparent that Tony Morris’ experience (which he related as though it were recent) is actually from a 1995 Awake! article. It seems that, when it comes to finding material to remind Witnesses of the need to sacrifice their children, no anecdote is too old. Scans of the magazine article in question are available here. We would like to thank our readers for bringing this to our attention.

153 thoughts on “21st Century Christian martyrdom: Tony Morris praises JW boy who died refusing blood

  • July 8, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Unless they are mindless zombies that have a mental illness, which most of them probably are not, then the parents should bear most of the responsibility for obeying the murderous rules of this cult.

    Most JWs I know, and have known in my lifetime are of sound mind and not pathetic zombie robots. People make choices all the time, in this case BAD choices.

    Yes the GB and WT are bad – but let’s place the blame where it belongs – with parents who CHOOSE TO (1) shun (2) withhold lifesaving medical treatment (3) refuse their children college education… and who knows what else.

    I think we’ve heard their excuse before – “I was just following orders…”

    • July 8, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      So by that logic, in the Nazi death camps the individual officers bore more blame than their commanders or than Hitler himself!

      Without Hitler and his cronies would the individual German people have thought up “the final solution”? I doubt it.

      Hitler and his cohorts bear the primary responsibility for the holocaust. And the Watchtower and its leaders bear the primary responsibility for the children dying due to lack of blood transfusions. The parents own some blame too, but without the Watchtower, such a concept would not have occurred to them.

      Causing the suffering (and death) of thousands is more reprehensible than cause the suffering of a single person.


      • July 8, 2016 at 7:12 pm

        Winston, how the Watchtower did the mind screw with me was ingenious. I thought that Witnesses were disgusting when it came to letting their child die from want of a blood transfusion but what they do is put the issue on hold until you get to the end of the book. By the end of the book, you are convinced that God wrote the Bible and if it wasn’t for God providing the sunlight and the rain etc. everybody on earth would die and so we owe our lives to Him and whatever he says, we have to do. That’s how they did it to me. At first I couldn’t believe how awful JW’s were for letting their child die but by the end of the book and my getting baptized, I thought that it was God’s will.

        It takes a lot of time to get to that point but the Society is amazingly smart when it comes to how they can screw with a person’s mind.

        • July 10, 2016 at 6:03 am

          That’s exactly how a cult works. It is reminiscent of Steve Hassan’s description of how he was indocrinated by the Moonies.

          I was born-in, so I never knew anything different. As a child I had a fear that a blood transfusion would be forced on me and that would be equivalent to rape. I also recall being afraid that the great tribulation would break out and we children would all be taken from our parents.

          It took me quite a while after my awakening to accept that there really was no moral issue with accepting a blood transfusion. It took a lot of research, and learning about the rabbinical concept of Picuah Nephesh was a major turning point for me.


        • September 28, 2016 at 2:13 pm

          Hello Caroline.

          You are so right about pushing the “blood issue” into touch until you are brainwashed. I too had a huge problem with this at the very start. It is a very clever ploy. I only saw this when I “woke up”.

    • July 9, 2016 at 5:31 am

      M Saurus,
      I wish not to disagree with you, but my own experience proves to me that the victim of a high control group does not even understand their mind is being subverted.

      For example, I shunned my brother when he got disfellowshipped for reasons I’m still not clear on. It was almost a year that I would not talk to him, and I was torn up inside because of it. But that’s how we were supposed to treat disfellowshipped people, so it was the ‘right’ thing to do. In other words, my conscience was hijacked by someone else – I was a mindless zombie! I felt the choices I was making were GOOD! That’s how screwed up I was. I think Caroline, in her comment above, explains the process very well.

      Now, I regret my actions to my brother, and I do feel responsible. But that’s why the ex-JW community uses the term ‘waking up’ so often. We had to wake up and smell the reality. And now all our decisions can be made on that basis, for our own reasons.

      • July 10, 2016 at 2:07 am

        I totally agree….reading this is the last straw… it makes me want to cry…a life unfullfilled because of this high control cult…my husband follows everything the GB says without question because he has been told from birth that they are Christs brothers…. pish….I dont think Christ would ask for this needless death…this cult has to be finished…soon.

    • August 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      You mean the boy died because he was FORCED and Indoctrinated to refuse blood transfusion?

      • September 14, 2016 at 8:28 am

        What’s the difference between forced and coerced? That the little boy was inculcated with the blood thing says it all!

        • September 14, 2016 at 2:47 pm

          They are basically the same thing. The definition of coercion is the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.

          Coercion is often considered more insidious when it involves threats because it seeks to cause emotional turmoil such as ‘if you accept blood and die anyway then you won’t be resurrected.’

          Whichever word you prefer: it’s unethical.


  • July 10, 2016 at 2:08 am

    I totally agree….reading this is the last straw… it makes me want to cry…a life unfullfilled because of this high control cult…my husband follows everything the GB says without question because he has been told from birth that they are Christs brothers…. pish….I dont think Christ would ask for this needless death…this cult has to be finished…soon.

  • July 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    This further underscores (like Soviet Russia and Communist China when hardliners gained control of the Parties) that the hardliners are “large & in-charge” pushing ultra-conservative viewpoints and hastily shoving moderate viewpoints and “liberal” or progressive interpretations on Scripture over a cliff or into a closet. Shunning, death instead of blood, refusing military service [watch, they will recant on allowing civilian duties in lieu of enrollment or enlisting when conscripted], strict adherence to “no holidays” (even where a spouse has a non-believer who pushes for the holidays), disobeying government authorities because J* rules are better than earthly obedience [contempt of court fines for refusing to handover documents], etc. And, that dancing in the Kingdom Halls? and at wedding receptions? unscripted social potlucks? Bye-bye.

    Granted we may not see tanks roll onto the Tuxedo Park compound and set the buildings ablaze and render the Governing Body into blistered, cooked, hot-dog-like corpses, but a show-down between civilian judgement and government justice seems to be forthcoming for the pedophile violations, plus seeming human rights violations that run afowl of UN, EU and the USA’s (ironic) sanctioning of authoritarian entities violating and abusing individual rights of freedom.

    And, whether they are in the mountains of “upstate” New York, even Carmel, NY, or hiding at the bottom of the sea, in the swamps of Florida with its gators and pythons, Justice will pull them down. Even if a vast army drives them off the internet into exile–Amos 9:2-4.

  • July 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    As mentioned on other sites this is unbelievably an account from the Awake magazine published in 1995, apparently presented as a recent experience by the speaker. Josh was 19 at time of death.
    It seems incredible he would use this 21 years later. Josh did mention he was looking forward to seeing Baseball games also but this is left out in the retelling .

  • July 16, 2016 at 10:32 am

    I remember in 1994 facing the blood transfusion myself. I was 14 at the time. My mother was a witness but my father was not. My mother raised me and my two sisters as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The summer of 1994 I remember being tired all the time. Going to bed right after school and not waking up till early the next morning. I also started having really bad headaches. I just so happened to have a doctor’s apt that day. I remember telling the Dr that I was having really bad headaches and he just looked at the palms of my hands and then called my mother in the room. He told my mother to look at my palms and said that I was anemic and needed to go to the hospital. My parents took me to the emergency room and that night at midnight the emergency room drs told my mom that I had Leukemia. We were all shocked! I knew I was sick but I didnt think it would be Leukemia. I didnt know at the time exactly what Leukemia was but I saw plenty of St Jude Hospital specials to know that I was now one of those sick kids. The next day Drs told my parents and myself that I had Acute Myeloid Leukemia and that Blood Transfusions were the only treatment. Immediately my Mother refused and stated our witness belief. My dad just went along with the flow. He didn’t agree with my mom but wasn’t a take charge kinda man either. I remember elders coming by standing inside the room to see what I would say and what I wanted. I was a kid. At that point in my life going to the meetings is what I was told to do and I complied. I did what I was told not what I wanted. I felt right then like I was suppose to say no to blood and be strong. The pressure was definitely on. I felt what my mom wanted me to say but I was just a kid who wanted to live. But to throw guilt off I told the Dr that I wanted to live. That night a court order was obtained and blood was given to me. The look on my mother’s face made me feel like I was scum letting myself be raped. Some witnesses who worked at the hospital who worked at the hospital who had came in to check on me all of a sudden stopped coming by. Can you imagine the kind of emotional damage that can do to a child??? There is more to my story but I just felt the need to share that bit.

    • July 19, 2016 at 3:44 am

      Concerned One, I am so glad you were brave enough to stand at that young age up to the pressure. It is so easy for other people to put your life on the line when it isn’t they themselves who are going to die.

      We only get one chance at life and to throw it away on the hope of being resurrected is foolish. I am so happy for the decision that you made!!!

  • July 20, 2016 at 1:37 am

    I long for the day where the government body members Will be sent to jail

  • July 31, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    In times the scripture were written (or orally passed down in some cases), blood was used for all sorts of things. Animal blood for the most part was used for rituals of all kinds. At times, human blood as well. The ancient Hebrew people (and some modern orthodox but not most) were no strangers to ritual animal killing, but they at least tried to remove blood from the ritual.

    THIS is what Paul and others were cautioning against. Don’t do the things that prevailing Latin and Persian cultures saw as normal: wiping blood on your body or sometimes drinking it. Don’t do it. That is the context.

    In no way could the writers and oral traditionalists of scripture have possibly known that someday human blood could be used in a non ritualistic way to save human life. Bending scripture in this way to stubbornly hang on to this doctrine isn’t just wrong, it is murderous to those Witnesses that are willing to sacrifice themselves to appease God, when scripture says no such thing. I would argue that it is blasphemous in some of the worst ways imaginable.

    • July 31, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      History seems to show that martyrs can make a cause seem much more legitimate and meaningful. I tend to wonder if creating martyrs for the cause was at least part of the intent in the development of this rule by the org. It could also simply be one man’s blind, legalistic interpretation of scripture. But I do wonder at the reasoning behind it.


      • July 31, 2016 at 4:14 pm

        Well said. In the early days of this (45) I think they honestly did believe the end was imminent. No need for Martyrs. Many were still around from the Millions campaign. The science of transfusions was still relatively new and ignorance was abundant. That’s perhaps as apologist as I will go on that.

        Once the absurdity of this doctrine became more understood over the years the Society seems to have taken the martyr and loyalty approach. And with the death toll likely in the tens of thousands over the years, a change now is less of having egg on their face, and more about people having died in vain and actual litigation liability. It’s a mess of their own creation, and one they will hang on to as long as the organization survives. Much to the peril of its well intentioned followers.

  • August 1, 2016 at 9:09 am

    I am not an Ex JW so apologies for gate crashing your site. I have a friend who was brought up a JW then through one of her parents leaving a divorce ensued. She led her own life maintaining contact with both parents one of whom was a JW, the other remarried outside the cult. This all happened along time ago 30 years and my friend is now somewhat older having been married and divorced herself. She has had a tough time recently and been spending more time with her mother who is, not sure how you guys describe it but I would say “strict in her JW beliefs”. Up shot is she is now going back to the JW faith or cult as I call it.

    It’s so obvious to me that this is a direction she shouldn’t follow. Her life while being difficult was lived in a “good” way if that makes sense, and her lifestyle was probably the exact opposite from what it will now become, she will have to give up so much that has brought her joy especially through the difficult parts of her life.I know several ex JWs so knew a bit about them, but up until recently I thought it was a religion albeit a smaller less followed one but harmless. My mind has been blown away when researching it these last few days. I was raised a catholic which was pretty strict, I never believed there could be any other so called religions that were more so. Also the contradictions, never ending rule changing. Worst thing for me was finding out how little regard and lack of tolerance JWs have for people outside their so called faith. I can never get my head around why everyone regardless of faith, culture etc just cant get along. I will speak to my ex JW friends on that to see what their thoughts were on their non JW friends such as me at the time, given I wasn’t an angel, will be interesting.

    Anyway excuse the rambling. I wanted to say thank you all, for two things.

    1. I read a lot about how you are shunned when you leave. I have done the same but in reverse. I basically told my friend I want nothing to do with her now she is becoming a JW. It’s not that I am not tolerant towards other religions I am. I fully respect anyone’s religion and their right to chose and follow it. I like the diversity and think it makes the world a better place, with some exceptions obviously. I do have a problem with JWs I must admit, their doctrine seems to go against everything I believe as a human and how I was brought up. I am struggling to see why it isn’t banded globally to be honest! The thanks I owe you is that it is obviously wrong to be shunned when you leave your church and I as a friend am wrong to shun someone who wants to join. It’s probably what the Watch Tower wants as it leaves people vulnerable. Maybe what she needs just now is my support and not to be thrown to the lions.

    2. You are obviously all or mostly ex JWs. Let me say as someone who has never been one and who will never be one, how refreshing it is to read the discussions you guys have on this and other matters. I find them open, informative, educated and most of all conducted in a manner that gives you all credit, even though you have different views on it. This is how it should be. The world being what it is just now can learn a valuable lesson, especially the politicians.
    I hate to say it, but while you are all Ex JWs for different reasons, maybe your time there did have a positive impact on how you lead your lives after?

    Thanks again for providing food for thought and showing me I can be a better friend.

    • August 2, 2016 at 12:34 am

      Well written, and thanks for the feedback. On the last part of this, on being a former member as a positive, that’s absolutely correct in my case. Years of door to door ministry has given me the ability to meet and talk to people with zero social anxiety. Giving ‘talks’ as a child, and into adulthood, has given me zero fear of talking in front of large groups. Things that have served me well in life and business.

      Although a large portion of my family and friends stopped talking to me when I left, I have no doubt that this is a positive thing overall for me. I’ve made new friends, and the family I have is all that I need. You appreciate things immensely when they have been taken away at some point.

      I wish your friend the best. She may or may not figure this all out, and Witnesses (like most cults) tend to attract people who are at their low points. It’s a sad fact of life.

    • August 2, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Depending on how deep your friend has been sucked into the cult, you may still be able to reach her. The information available on the child abuse cases and related issues might get her thinking. There are some good personal accounts on this site:

      Perhaps buy her a copy of Crisis of Conscience as a gift?

      You may have already tried reasoning with her to no avail. If you really want to help her, I’d recommend reviewing the information in combating cult mind control by Steve Hassan.

      Just some suggestions. She may be too far gone to rescue at this point and you may have already tried your best to reach her. But I just hate to see innocent folks get sucked into this.


  • August 19, 2016 at 7:08 am

    My parents were inactive witnesses for many years, but still clung to the beliefs — especially “abstain from blood.” They also clung to the defunct prohibition on vaccinations. Since “waking up,” I have realized how all of that put my health, and my life, at risk, and it’s frightening. Looking back, it’s amazing how this cult had long-reaching effects. My father later died refusing a blood transfusion, although his situation was complicated, and I don’t know how much of a difference it might have made. If I had not been out for 23 years, Tony Morris and this current crop of idiots would have done it for me!

  • August 19, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    This boy was saved from a life of brainwashing and control from my evil, dying cult.

    JEHOBO your God has spoken!

  • August 27, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    I came to love a witness who has an open mind. She was attracted to much of what I had to say after I spent a few years studying about the organization and its’ directives. Being shunned by “friends” in the organization was more than she could bear and she returned to active membership. We will part as friends with broken dreams.

  • September 2, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I think it is a slap in the face to the medical teams around the world that have the ability to save people these days. I think it is disgusting how they can all applaud this as well, i agree that the parents have to except responsibility for this as well, what right do these cult leaders have to tell others how to run their lives..

  • September 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Hello to all.

    Belief is the end of reason. Watchtower is as extreme and fundamental as it gets. I know this from personal experience, having lost my family, my home and life as I knew it when I formally quit the cult. Allowing any person to die when their life can be saved is murder. Watchtower pedals a fantasy and it costs lives. Then you hear the gb crowing with delight when a child dies because of their insane and criminal indoctrination. Sad to say, I can see no end to the slaughter caused by delusional and evil people.

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