Ian McKewan has spoken out against Watchtower's blood teachings
Ian McKewan has spoken out against Watchtower’s blood teachings

Renowned author Ian McEwan has launched a scathing attack on Watchtower’s blood policy, calling it “utterly perverse and inhumane.”

McEwan was quoted in The Times yesterday explaining his motivation for writing his forthcoming novella, The Children’s Act – a story of Catholic parents who refuse to allow the separation of their conjoined twins, even though both would die as a result.

According to The Times, McEwan “had been inspired to write it after a family friend, a judge, told him of a case about the death from leukemia of a Jehovah’s Witness teenager whose parents refused to sanction a blood transfusion.”

“I found that religion was distinctly unhelpful in making compassionate and reasoned judgments about people’s lives,” said McEwan. “On the whole, the secular mind seems far superior in its reach and judgment especially in the Jehovah’s Witness case where parents would allow their children to die because of some theological line invented in 1945 in Brooklyn by some committee at their watchtower seems utterly perverse and inhumane.”

It is extremely rare for public figures to speak out against the teachings and practices of the Watch Tower Society. Many either know too little about what goes on inside the religion, or are anxious not to offend any religious minorities.

That a respected figure such as McEwan should condemn Watchtower’s blood policy so openly, even showing some level of research by pinpointing the year it was introduced, shows that a tipping point is being reached. Watchtower cannot bank on public ignorance and passivity indefinitely.








Special thanks to the JWsurvey reader who sent in this newspaper clipping.

Picture credit: London Evening Standard

Further reading…

41 thoughts on “Ian McEwan slams Watchtower’s blood stance as “utterly perverse and inhumane”

  • March 29, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Well done Ian, Christopher Hitchens would approve. I like the quote “the secular mind seems far superior in its reach and judgemental especially” in the JW case.

    Perhaps this is the start of the media coverage you were looking for John?

    • March 29, 2014 at 7:50 am

      I won’t get too carried away just yet, but it is encouraging!

  • March 29, 2014 at 7:44 am

    How long does it take to come under the spell of a hypnotist when they wave that watch back in forth in front of you? Maybe 15 seconds and you are under their control. They can make you stop smoking or cackle like a chicken. All it takes for the Watchtower is 15 or 20 scriptures and for the uninformed Bible student to come under it’s spell and be convinced that only the Governing Body is speaking for God through the Watchtower and be willing to sacrifice their own children to their opinions as to what the Bible is telling us about blood. That is why it is so important to not miss any meetings and keep reading the Watchtower so that we don’t wake up and realize just how controlled our brains have become.

  • March 29, 2014 at 7:56 am

    We are lucky they are not TODAY teaching that (Leviticus 15:18) . . .“‘When a man lies with a woman and has an emission of semen, they should bathe in water and be unclean until the evening.

    Imagine what will happen when this becomes a NEW LIGHT…

    “we find detailed statutes concerning uncleanness ascribed to seminal emissions, menstruation, and childbirth. (Leviticus 12:1-6; 15:16-24) Such laws given to ancient Israel fostered a healthy lifestyle, upheld lofty moral values, and stressed the sanctity of blood and the need for atonement for sins.” (w06 6/1 p. 31; http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/l/r1/lp-e?q=w06+6%2F1+p.+31)!!

  • March 29, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Pussy footing around perverse religious practices is, finally, disappearing into history.

    Paedophile Catholic priests and Islamic bombers have, of course, been disowned by most of their co -religionists, but the damage has been done.

    The automatic ‘respect’ for foul behaviour and obscene ideas can no longer be maintained. JWs will no longer be able to hide behind the latterday ‘freedom of religion’ consensus in order to defend their foul practices. They may get the tax benefits that the ‘religious’ label confers, for a little longer, but as the UK at any rate, becomes increasingly secular, maybe religions will have to demonstrate that they really do provide education and charitable services, as there is nothing intrinsically charitable about religion per se.

    And JWdom is the antithesis of charity. AM glad that Ian McEwan has seen fit to condemn the JWs’ murderous diktat.

  • March 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I guess media coverage is a product of size and extremism. A very large religion would get coverage for little extremism and a small but very extremist group would get the same amount.

    WT is a corporate business with legal and PR departements and they carefully engineer their ways to fly beneath the radar, while still maintaining efficiency (as the growth, sustainability and turnover are also products of size and extremism).

  • March 29, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    +Bonnie – well said. It is interesting that hypnosis / hypnotherapy is one of the taboo practices, because it is well-known that a hypnotized subject can not be subject to further hypnosis techniques.

  • March 29, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    +Haki, this mode of argument has long been used by the Rainbow Flag wavers to dismiss Lev 18 verses used to cast them into the pits of Gehenna by extreme Christian viewpoints, although JW’s put homosexuals at the front of the line for resurrection. But, it’s a slippery slope, how much of the Law gets re-admitted? Why not the Sabbath, since that would have offended the Jewish adherents in first century? wearing mixed fabrics?

    And, we also have, as I’ve repeatedly noted, the sticky wicket that “the life is in the blood”. Is it? I thought it was a “life force”? And, if life=soul=blood, and blood can be separated from the body, what really is the soul? apparently, it’s not the body.

    Core doctrines, my left foot… the Watchtower throws all cards on the table when it comes time to make a buck. Blood usage is an example. The camel’s nose is in the tent by letting in blood “fractions.” Is that a medical term? Let’s see…



    That’s the link limit…

    [rubs Violet Ray wand crackling with Tesla-coil blue lightning over skin] aahhhh, the core doctrines…

  • March 29, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Part 2 – There is a medical term for “blood fractionation”–the medical term refers to these plasma components by differing terms as referenced in previous glossary links. I actually used fractionation in one of those classes that led me to “higher learning” [gots my edumacation], and I also love fractionation of my eggs (keep reading…).

    Hint, listen to this as you continue reading,
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK62tfoCmuQ&w=420&h=315%5D

    The debate from a few years back

    The process of blood fractionation involves changing the temperature and acidity of the content–akin to boiling an egg or introducing an akali to oils to congeal fatty acids. It also involves centrigual forces to break apart the substances into layers, much like a capaccino, or white russian, is layered by substances of differing densities settling.

    So, toss the baby out with the bath water, and if it’s strong enough to fight off the gators from the swamp bring it back into the house when the sun rises. It’s a real mess as some old-timers won’t take blood, some very old, old-timers who will take blood parts (the way it was years ago), and then newbies (JW ‘wet backs’–still drying off from the pool dip) who don’t go near the stuff because they’re hopelessly confused and play it conservatively lest Geehobah sets a fiery spinning (there it is again) sword in front of their path to Paradise.

    :-) Have a nice day, everyone!

  • March 30, 2014 at 2:07 am

    I kind of wonder how much longer they can keep getting slammed for before it sinks in that the need to change. I guess they have managed to do it for the last 140 years so why change now

  • March 30, 2014 at 3:56 am

    Change? Jwdom is defined by flip flopping and change. Rapture? Christmas? Blood? It would bin the Bible and Jehovah if that seemed like a good way to increase the capital value of its global property and publishing empire.

  • March 30, 2014 at 5:57 am

    Thinking of leaving
    I guess the more the WT is exposed, the more information people will have, so the journey out is easier. Also less people will join because of the abundance of evidence.

    The best thing the WT can do is not change its stance. It will help more people wake up.
    They are a sect, with rigid ideas and structures. They can tinker with doctrine and make it more palatable, but hey, its still a prison, with prison bars and a culture of you will obey or take the consequences.

  • March 30, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    As always, enjoyed so many of the observations from everyone.

    This made me think of the Inca frozen Ice Maiden. She is a marvel, as she was frozen over 500 years ago and she is very well preserved. Unlike mummys she looks very life like and has been very well preserved. Something more insidious however was at work in her death. She, like her siblings were sacrificed by the Incas to their mountain God. Each of them were sacrificed/killed prior to being placed on top of the mountain and freezing solid.

    Share the story of the “frozen maiden” with any Jehovah’s witness they will think, how tragic, that a family willingly sacrificed their children to a make believe mountain God. For me that is an incredible irony, one that is lost on faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    I.E. Exodus 19:3 “Then Moses went up to the true God, and Jehovah called to him from the mountain, saying: …..’

    1. Mount Sinai is a specific location, so not figurative.
    2. Why would God speak from a mountain if he was not a mountain God?

    “Many peoples will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion law will go forth, and the word of Jehovah out of Jerusalem”

    According to Jehovah’s Witnesses their mountain Gods worship is the elevated state of their religious beliefs (JW book Isaiah’s Prophecy p. 44-45 par 19-21)

    It is at this location we find the bloodstained garments of men women and children sacrificed to the Mountain God Jehovah. They were not abducted and killed anymore than the Frozen Maiden or her siblings. They went willingly to their deaths. To me the frozen maiden represents the sadness and loss of so many to extremist religions that contribute nothing but fear and control to humanity.

    The antidote to Jehovah’s Witness faith is the same as the Incas, it is through education. It is that simple as so many of you know and have pointed out. That is certainly why the Watchtower is making a concerted effort to stop their young from going to college, ignorance is necessary to believe their lies and follow their insidious decrees.

    Matthew 11:25 “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent” New American Standard Bible

    Prescription to be a Jehovah’s Witness, not wise nor intelligent. Unreal! That used to be me. Thanks for the continued research and education everyone.

  • March 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    This is just the kind of publicity the Apostate Army needs to help its cause along. Ian McEwan is a respected author
    and well known. He will reach many people who otherwise
    would not use our websites. It’s good to know that there
    are people of his calibre out there who can help to spread
    the message and alert the general public to the practices
    of the WTS.

  • March 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks for also posting the evidence and some source materials.

  • March 30, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    I don’t normally agree with the wts. But ,I went to that site and yes, they are making in roads into the field of bloodless surgery. Apparently, many operation can be performed with out blood and at times its unnecessary. However, I still think it should come down to a conscience matter and not be forced upon a person with the threat of being d/f.
    Have peace duds.

  • March 31, 2014 at 12:47 am

    I detest it utterly when JWs answer objections to the blood ban with remarks about the benefits of bloodless surgery.

    Whatever the potential or merits of bloodless surgery, they have never been the JWs’ concern. Their murderous blood ban nonsense is nothing more than a ghastly and hideous tool in the armoury of a mind control cult.

    In the JW fantasy world an imminent Armageddon and advent of an earthly paradise is going to render surgery and medicine of all varieties utterly superfluous and irrelevant. So if you believe in JW bullshit, then you have no need to believe in the advance of medical techniques.

    As Armageddon is, anyway, utter fantasy and nonsense, the whole world, including JWs, is dependent on the medical services and techniques currently available, bloodless or otherwise. All medical treatment requires trained and educated medical practitioners. JWs frown on higher education. So, if we all, in the pursuit of a fantasy Armageddon survival, became dedicated JW doorknockers, and foreswore a decent education, there would be no medical practitioners, bloodless or otherwise, to look after us.

    I hope, ‘response’, that your link was not an attempt to defend the JWs’ murderous blood diktats. If it was, it has failed utterly.

  • March 31, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Ian M was decrying religious arrogance and the impact that has on children. Seems like a valid criticism. He did not only mention JW’s. It reminds me of how many American Christians think that the Constitution is the same as the Bible and that whilst it gives them freedom of religion, it also somehow gives them the right to take lives, by, for example, refusing children medical treatment.
    Its funny how defenders of such a callous, man invented doctrine, will question who Ian M is when most people who read books know he has written numerous best sellers. But I guess JW’s only read WT approved material, which is sad for them isn’t it.

  • March 31, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Response. Read good books. Education dispels ignorance.

  • March 31, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    It has been a very contentious issue for many years since the Watchtower offered a middle-ground of allowing blood fractions, but leaving what those are undefined or to the medical community to define, AND as a matter of conscience whether someone wants to participate or not.

    But, why was the blood policy started in 1945? Go back to why the flag non-salute policy was installed. It coincides conveniently with lagging growth in numbers and the constant need for Watchtower, Inc to pump-up the numbers–get some publicity. As the adage goes, “any publicity is good, as long as gets your name gets in the media”. Certain events also propelled this issue to be a turning point that the “leadership” (not named Governing Body or recognized formally by the group of JW’s at the time) would recognize.

    Watchtower, Inc was still struggling to get itself firmly entrenched as “capstone” on the JW pyramid of congregations, circuits and districts. No shunning policies, but by spotlighting itself as controversial on conscience, it got media attention and became an infamous household name.

    And, on this pyre–this altar–are the lives of the little lambs, the innocents, who continue to pile-up sheepishly following the greedy, fleece-wearing shepherds climbing hill after hill, always expecting each crest to bring them into the vale of Paradise and a glowing Lamb of God–the Ram to be there waiting for them.

  • April 1, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Says who?

  • April 3, 2014 at 8:41 am

    i do believe that blood is holy,the blood in each and every person is life.

  • April 3, 2014 at 8:46 am

    can any one deney that that blood is holy ?/

  • April 3, 2014 at 8:50 am

    may Jehovah forgive each and every one of you,I ask this in the name of Jesus.Blood is holy.

  • April 3, 2014 at 8:53 am

    May God forgive you.

  • April 3, 2014 at 9:28 am

    We, you and I have no right to point fingers at each other ,rather go down on our knees and ask Jehovah God to guide us and lead us to the truth ,which I think we will only know at the resurrection, all churches (trees) have rotten fruit some more than others.

  • April 3, 2014 at 9:32 am

    wake up my friend go down unto your knees and ask Jehovah to help you,first look at yourself before you judge others.

  • April 3, 2014 at 9:47 am

    they are not a sect, they do ot follow a man ,but Jehovah and his son Jesus

  • April 3, 2014 at 9:50 am

    it is not noncense ,blood is holy.

    • April 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

      If blood is holy, then it is right that it should be donated in order to save a life.

      You, Doug, have pointed a finger, albeit in a vague sort of way. You have a right to do that.

      It is good that celebrity fingers are now being pointed at that murderous little sect in Christendom, that late 19th century American Adventist breakaway outfit, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, on account of their murderous edicts on blood transfusion.

    • April 5, 2014 at 12:56 am

      Well Doug? Are you capable of answering any questions? You appear to be approving the JWs’ murderous edicts on blood. You have declared they are not a sect. You appear, also ,to imagine that the Bible is the infallible word of God.

      These are three extraordinary beliefs which can only be based on tragic ignorance. Your belief (for al that it is utterly unevidenced) that blood is ‘holy’ has been answered. If blood is holy its curative and life saving properties should surely be used. How can you disagree with that?

      Anyone who knows anything about JW history knows that the Bible Students were simply a spinoff group from late 19th century American Adventists. They are therefore a sect. You, Doug, declared they are not. What evidence have you to back up that apparently ludicrous assertion?

      If you believe the Bible to be the infallible Word of God, please explain what evidence there is to support this. Fern has already pointed out several of the Bible’s woeful inconsistencies.

      You, Doug, have come on this thread and, with a hideous self righteous tone demanded that we repent. What have we to repent for? You have simply displayed an obscene arrogance and ignorance. Answers, please!

  • April 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    This goes back to the question: “Why weren’t dinosaurs mentioned when the animals, fish, mold, bacteria, insects, we’re gathered to board the Ark?” Answer: Because the writers didn’t have the knowledge of the existence of dinosaurs. The biblical writers had no understanding of the discipline we know as medicine, their knowledge was limited and restricted by non-sensical laws and the fact few traveled far from the place of their birth. The prohibition against wearing mixed fabrics has been mentioned, let me add eating shellfish, cussing, adultery, being a disobedient child to the mix of stoning worthy offenses. We pick and choose to lists of restrictions or dd in a few the founders were sensitive t. The JW’s don’t smoke take transfusions, the Worldwide Church of God didn’t believe in doctors or medicine, make-up, jewelry, etc. A person who kills a child by preventing doctors from giving the child care or a transfusion is not a more godly person than a mother who does; a woman wearing makeup is not less worthy to their God than a woman who doesn’t. You can give advice to your followers but when it’s a life and death situation it’s murder to intimidate a follower into not having lifesaving surgery, a transfusion or taking a pill to control blood pressure; by using the very error filled book, then adding your own spin on a verse. I agree with the writer, it’s a horrible thing to let life go without a fight, because of all that we know and can do, we will never be able to reverse death or create life, there is nothing more precious.

  • April 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    If blood is holy friend, then isn’t a gift of blood to keep another alive the greatest gift a person can give another? I’m at 8 gallons of blood given so far, I pray that my donations were able to save many lives. I had to have a very involved spinal fusion, since the blood is made in one’s bones, they bleed sometimes uncontrollably when cut. I required 6 pints before the bleeding stopped, 4 were my own. If blood is holy in the sense I believe you are making it, please tell me what special procedures you follow when dealing with bloody bandages.

  • April 7, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Art Fern,

    I don’t believe in the Flood either, but bear in mind that it is alleged to have taken place circa 2370BCE. Dinosaurs had been extinct for millions of years by then.

    You do have a point, however. Why didn’t God tell the writer that these magnificent animals had lived before? Why don’t we get a better explanation of past ecosystems? Because it is a myth and there was no one to tell the writer.

    Peace be with you


  • April 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Excelsior, I certainly agree with you. I mentioned the Dino since many believe that man and all animals lived at the same time. I was turned when I discovered the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, existed before and long after the flood, that the story was a copy of a Sumerian flood story written 500-1000 years before, the study of ice cores going back an incredible 800,000 years, tree rings older than 10,000 years show no epic floods of Noah’s size. When you accept what is true without the need to ignore, dispel, or raise ridicules arguments against discovery you feel such peace. I don’t think denying what we have seen and studied and know to be true in order to maintain our religious faith comes without a high price. I appreciate your comments as well as so many incredible others.

  • April 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks for some other magnificent article. Where else may just anyone get that kind
    of information in such a perfect manner of writing? I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for such information.

  • April 26, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Just had the dubious pleasure of confronting a few elders at my front door. I assume they were helping out some newbies going door to door. I told them I asked the JW’s never to come back here again, numerous times, yet they still come back, and it is very rude and irritating.
    They started in on me just the same.
    When I asked them to show me the line in the bible that specifically says not to get a blood transfusion, they weren’t able to. I said “Just because a JW decades ago interprets a line like “do not eat blood” to mean don’t get blood transfusions doesn’t mean people shouldn’t avail themselves of all available medical technology in this day and age.” I also told them that a knew someone who has a friend JW who is going to die because he needs a liver transplant, and they took him off the list for a new liver because he will only do bloodless surgery. I said it is shameful that people are willing to die instead of take blood. He replied that isn’t true and they aren’t willing to die. Oh really?
    I don’t know why I bother, they are so brainwashed they will never listen to anything anyone outside of their scam religion says.

  • May 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    My dear old Mum has gone to her meeting tonight and she will have her medical alert card renewed. It saddens me but it is her choice.

    Her “go bag” has not gone anywhere, and she has had to remove all the dried fruit from it, as it has all gone beyond its use by date! Exactly like her religion, boom, boom!! Thank you, I’ll be here all week…

    This religion is bonkers! From the ridiculous to the sinister and everything in between. I am reminded daily why being disfellowshipped was the best thing that could have happened to me. I am free!

    Peace be with you


  • September 7, 2014 at 8:09 am

    It is unfortunate that anyone “has” to be disfellowshipped, but life can’t be sane within the parameters of the “Society”. The blood issue got me out but, I have learned so much since. In Ian’s book interview on Public Radio he clearly states how impressed he was with the parents of the 17 year old.
    Not the people he expected to meet. The Witnesses cannot be matched at how well they can convert insanity to normalcy. Few are the ones who see it when in it, especially if you’re born into it.

  • October 31, 2014 at 3:41 am

    It is not, Bloater, in the interests of good medical practice, that the JWs impse the blood ban. (Or at any rate threaten with Armageddon execution those receiving blood).

    The blood ban is but a control tool. There are thousands of cases, since 1945, when the blood ban was arbitrarily introduced, when JWs have died unnecessarily; in cases where a transfusion of blood provided the only hope for survival. Indeed there is a copy of the Awake from the 1990s which callously celebrates the deaths of children who died instead of receiving life saving blood.

    JWs have now softened their stance o blood. Blood fractions, they say, are OK. The only source of such fractions is human blood. With the ultimate in hypocrisy, however, the JW bosses still ban the donation of blood, the only source of the fractions which may save another JW’s life.

    Were all the world to convert to JWdom, and follow the JW edicts to desist from Higher Education, there would be no medical services of any sort, with or without blood.

    When I was a JW I was told that my mission was not to patch up the Old World, but to study and preach in readiness for the new. JWs have no interest in improving medical treatment. In their earthly paradise, due any time now, there will be no illness and no need for medics.


    • October 31, 2014 at 4:04 am

      Rowland, you’re like an eagle when it comes to pouncing on pro-Watchtower spammers even after I’ve deleted their comments! As you know, I am more than tolerant of open discussion, but Watchtower has more than enough opportunities to push its “bloodless treatment is the best treatment” argument without JWsurvey being added to its arsenal. The simple truth the likes of Bloater fail to comprehend is that it should be the patient’s uninfluenced choice what treatment they choose or decline – not that of seven deluded men in New York.

Comments are closed.