Since a doctrinal decision reached at Watchtower headquarters some time in 1945, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been prohibited from receiving various medical treatments involving blood.
This has resulted in untold numbers of Witnesses over many decades (including children) dying out of what amounts to little more than a token act of loyalty or, some would say, martyrdom.
Not only does the Bible long predate the use of blood transfusions as medical treatments, but even if early Christians could have known about blood transfusions these would likely have been deemed permissible under the Jewish rabbinic tradition of pikuach nefesh, whereby the preservation of life surmounted all other considerations.
Though all needless deaths are saddening, few stories better capture the madness and tragedy of Watchtower’s blood stance than that of a JW mother called Michelle, whose death due to blood-loss while giving birth has been enshrined on an Instagram page.
A friend of Michelle posted a video/photo montage to the “jw_inspirational” handle of Instagram showing a video of her baby shower (which the friend claims to have hosted) set to music, along with pictures of the newborn baby girl – Emma Marie.
In a comment posted to the video, the friend describes the tragedy that unfolded at Emma Marie’s birth:
“Well, while delivering Emma; Michelle lost a lot of blood. So much so that she needed a blood transfusion. Michelle refused. Even after having a tube inserted in her and not being able to speak… She signed NO BLOOD. Our dear sister despite finally having the baby she’s wanted for such a long time remained loyal to the end.”
The senseless loss of life of a young 28-year-old woman, whose newborn daughter begins her existence deprived of her mother on purely religious grounds, was predictably greeted with gushing praise and expressions of validation by Jehovah’s Witnesses viewing the thread.
In case you missed them, here are some of the comments in response to the video…
“Thoughts and prayers go out #seeyouin paradise we will see our loved ones again.”
“I just thought her story was amazing and she was so faithful and loyal. She was so encouraging. Like the brother said in her talk she will continue to move people and look… Just being posted on here she has!!”
“What an awesome organization to be a part of.”
“I love JEHOVAHs organization so much! It’s so amazing that everyone is sharing love to the family and some are even sharing their personal stories. It feels like a bunch of friends talking and getting to know each other. This is amazing!”
“It will soon be over! We have eternity to spend with family and friends.”
“Truly a sad story but faith strengthening. Thank you for sharing.”
“I will meet her in paradise, and she will meet the baby girl.”
As a former Witness, it is shocking to think I would once have either tried excusing or endorsing such mindless comments, or even offered similar sentiments myself. If the coercion in Watchtower literature is potent enough to allow a mother to excuse herself from her baby daughter’s life out of misplaced feelings of loyalty, it is certainly strong enough to make an otherwise intelligent person try to rationalize such a senseless loss of precious human life and put a positive spin on it.
I can only hope that little Emma Marie doesn’t grow up to blame herself, or her mother, for what has happened. Blame for this outrage lies squarely on the shoulders of a group of deluded, cloistered men in Brooklyn who have the power to save lives right now by lifting the needless ban on blood, but refuse to.
If nothing else, any right-minded person can plainly see that claims to moral superiority by Watchtower or its supporters are laughable at best. As far as “Jehovah’s organization” and its Governing Body are concerned, lives are expendable when it comes to showing the world how different they are. And babies can grow up without mothers, or die abstaining from life-saving medical treatment themselves, if it means more precious human life being offered up on Watchtower’s gruesome altar of obedience.
One day enlightened future generations will look back on atrocities such as this, and wonder how on earth cult groups could claim lives so cheaply right under the noses of the civilized world well into the 21st Century. As far as I’m concerned, the day when we can start looking back on these outrages cannot come soon enough.