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JW Insider

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  1. This is not a natural breakdown. These are the four components that are of highest importance to those who separate and break down donated blood for medical purposes. For the purposes of supporting life (while in the body), blood's major components are: Water Oxygen Proteins Sugar Fat Waste From the perspective of someone who is injured the major components of blood become: Neutrofils Lymphocyte antibodies Clotting Factors Platelets Volume From the Bible's perspective, blood has only one major component: Blood As indicated by the Watch Tower publications, the most natural use of the term major components with respect to the volume (percentage) of blood, would be: Plasma (55%) Blood Cells (45%) 55% + 45% = 100%. This is not just true of the Watch Tower publications. It's also true of the site you quoted: The blood that runs through the veins, arteries, and capillaries is known as whole blood, a mixture of about 55 percent plasma and 45 percent blood cells. -
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    The Watchtower agrees: *** w90 6/1 p. 30 Questions From Readers *** Human blood can be separated into dark cellular material and a yellowish fluid (plasma, or serum). The cellular part (45 percent by volume) is made up of what are commonly called red cells, white cells, and platelets. The other 55 percent is the plasma. This is 90 percent water, but it carries small amounts of many proteins, hormones, salts, and enzymes. Today, much of the donated blood is separated into the primary components. One patient may be given a transfusion of plasma (perhaps FFP, fresh frozen plasma) to treat shock. But an anemic patient might be given packed red cells, that is, red cells that had been stored and then put in a fluid and transfused. The Awake! shows just how minor white cells and platelets are to the overall volume of blood by charting the same idea and showing that only about 1% of the total is platelets and white cells. *** g90 10/22 p. 4 Selling Blood Is Big Business *** The Main Components of Blood Plasma: about 55 percent of the blood. It is 92 percent water; the rest is made up of complex proteins, such as globulins, fibrinogens, and albumin Platelets: about 0.17 percent of the blood White Cells: about 0.1 percent Red Cells: about 45 percent The Awake! got the percentage of white and red cells wrong. It's really about 3% white cells, therefore closer to about 41% red. The breakdown into "four main components" is correct from the perspective of the preliminary treating and centrifuging of blood to extract its most valuable fractions (components). But it is arbitrary for the Watch Tower publications to use a breakdown that uses the word "major" to refer to the value of a component for its medical re-use, when the Bible says nothing about the value of transfused fractions. In the Bible, the entire volume of blood is important because it represents life.
  2. I have never read anything by Barbara Anderson on the topic, and I saw in a Google Search that AJWRB came up but I have not read anything there yet either. I have no problem reading it, but when I see something like this come up, I prefer to start out on my own, with more neutral information, before muddying the waters with presentations from parties I expect to be more biased. Also, yes, I see I have come to this discussion a bit late. I have discussed the blood issue at length over on jw-archive a couple years ago, but I have only wanted to discuss it from a Biblical, doctrinal perspective. Until now, I have purposely avoided the "science" and technical side of transfusions and fractions. I have done this because I have my own bias that the Bible is already clear enough, and therefore all this discussion of medical knowledge and fractions is irrelevant: (Matthew 23:23, 24) 23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you give the tenth of the mint and the dill and the cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercy and faithfulness. These things it was necessary to do, yet not to disregard the other things. 24 Blind guides, who strain out the gnat but gulp down the camel! So I am still not the one to discuss the medical side of this issue. For now I'll just try to answer the specific questions about my meaning. It looks like there is no such thing, technically, as a "major" or "minor" fraction. Blood is either whole, or it's broken down into fractions. Calling any of them major or minor is arbitrary. And of course the term fraction means exactly the same as component, It is arbitrary to say that blood separates into 4 "major" components or "major" fractions: plasma, platelets, red cells and white cells. So I only intended to use the term "minor" fraction as a way of following the arbitrary terminology of the WT publications which then allows anything defined as "minor" to be "your personal decision." So let me think if that answers your question. Reviewing, cryosupernatant is a fraction of blood. It is derived as a fraction of whole plasma. It is treated as a "minor" fraction in Watch Tower usage in the sense that anything presented as a "minor fraction" can be left up to the choice of the individual. Calling any fraction a "minor fraction" is a kind of "code" by which we can justify allowing individual choice from the "Watch Tower" perspective. This is undoubtedly why the following source is worded in this same way when discussing Jehovah's Witnesses: Hill, Steven, MD, Care of the Cardiothoracic Surgical Patient Refusing Transfusion, Medically Challenging Patients Undergoing Cardiothoracic Surgery edited by Neal H. Cohan, MD, Wolters Kluwer │ Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009, pp. 327-347. Again, restating, I am only utilizing the term with the Watch Tower's usage as a reference point. Through both words and charts, the Watch Tower uses the term to convey the idea of "minor" in respect to its position in the hierarchy of blood components, highlighting also a "minor" or low percentage of blood over-all. After arbitrarily dividing blood into four fractions called major, then any further fractioning after (or "below") those first four arbitrary divisions will be called minor. The implication is that the term minor is suitable because these "minor" fractions are typically labeled in percentages of 1% to 33%. This would explain the need to remove items on the list that would have been labeled 99%. Otherwise, I see no explanation for why the Watch Tower publications would keep any secrecy around a so-called minor fraction which is technically 99% of a whole "major" fraction (or component). That is approximately how I understand it, too. Cryosupernatant is 99% of the original plasma volume. (And plasma makes up 55% of the original volume of whole blood.) Without the water, plasma can be stored as dry powder and then reconstituted with distilled water for transfusion. Cryosupernatant contains all the original water that was in the original plasma from the time of donation, so it is usually frozen but still used fairly soon after a blood donation. But with or without the water it is still "your personal decision" to accept 100% of the original plasma, when offered in these two separate forms.
  3. True. I put this out there hoping that someone might know for sure or that someone who is holding back might be nudged. That might not be fair to the parties involved. Yet, I still think it was the right thing to do based on the seriousness of the reasoning I heard so far. I will not mention the speculation again, unless I learn something that is more specific and useful to a serious discussion. I think I'll stick with getting more complete info on the questions I had in the first place. It's not so far off. As I'm sure you already know, the four so-called "major" fractions are forbidden. One of those "major" fractions is PLASMA. And JWs can accept 100% of PLASMA on the same day, during the same procedure. The 2006 km worksheet says "Unacceptable to Christians: PLASMA" But then it says that clotting factors are "Your personal decision." *** km 11/06 p. 5 How Do I View Blood Fractions and Medical Procedures Involving My Own Blood? *** There are various proteins that help blood to clot in order to stop __ I accept bleeding. Some are given blood-derived to patients who tend to clotting factors bleed easily. They are or also used in medical __ I refuse glues to seal wounds blood-derived and to stop bleeding clotting factors after surgery. One combination of clotting factors is known as cryoprecipitate. Among the so-called "minor" fractions listed as acceptable on the chart under plasma are some that are up to 4% of plasma (albumin), up to 3% (immunoglobulins) and clotting factors up to about 1% (cryoprecipitate): But one was purposely left off the list, even though the HLC has been told to let doctors know, and to let JW patients know it can be accepted if an emergency arises. It wasn't listed because it would have shown that one of the "minor" fractions was 99% of plasma (cryosupernatant). How would it have looked if the chart had included it? It would have shown that we don't take Plasma, but that we can decide to take a "minor" fraction of 99% plasma, and 1% plasma. But these aren't just any two "minor fractions." In fact, they are WHOLE PLASMA, where it's simply frozen in such a way that it can be easily split into two parts: 1% cryoprecipate and 99% cryosupernatant. If a patient doesn't respond as anticipated to one of the two choices, the doctor can simply utilize the other one which will have somewhat different properties based on the proportion of included factors. But each contains everything the other contains, only in different proportions. All together, they make up exactly the original 100% of the plasma. Knowing this, you might think that many JWs will refuse, yet I believe that the available reports on this so far show that over 95% of JWs will and have accepted the 99% plasma solution just as easily as they will accept the 1% plasma solution. You might also think it's dishonest to leave the 99% plasma solution off the list, if we really accept it as a minor fraction. I see that this is what most JWs believe about it whenever the subject has come up on-line. And that's why most JWs who have defended the KM worksheet don't really believe it's permitted. In fact, 3 or 4 well known JW defenders have all argued at length that it can't really be true that the 99% solution is considered acceptable. Note here, for instance:
      Hello guest!
    But then a site by a respected JW who evidently knew the facts actually included reasons for accepting the 99% percent solution, even though this had never been published outside of direct communications between the HLC and physicians:
      Hello guest!
    In the case of some larger fractions such as Cryosupernatant or Cryoprecipitate where the process does not necessarily completely destroy blood and may allow reconstitution other facts such as above are considered. Since God has allowed proteins such as found in Cryo to be transferred from the blood stream of mother to the fetus some individual JWs view this as an indication that Cryo is not included in the prohibition of blood. I suppose that we couldn't list it openly because it could easily "stumble" someone who wondered why Plasma was a "major fraction" and therefore unacceptable, and yet 99% of Plasma was acceptable as a "minor" fraction. But then I got an answer from a respected source who tells me that this is exactly what we have been telling doctors for many years. Doctors have consistently reported for many years now that JW elders have "allowed" it, that it is now being referred to as a minor fraction, and that patients should rightly be informed. Not only that but Witnesses who have been arguing against it for many years are now embarrassed to note that the jw.org site has also now recently included it here:
      Hello guest!
    Treatment of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura with the cryosupernatant fraction of plasma: a case report and review of the literature. Ellis J, Theodossiou C, Schwarzenberger P. Source‎: Am J Med Sci 1999;318(3):190-3. Indexed‎: PubMed 10487410
  4. I understand. One of them is my great-grandfather. I bought one a few years ago and gave it to my parents, but forgot that I might like to keep one myself. If not I'll make a reproduction of a reproduction.
  5. I've read that a version of a Hebrew-Aramaic plural of Sicarii could be si-cari-ot or ish-cari-ot. (plural of masculine nouns end in -im; plural of feminine nouns end in -ot or -iot). This could indicate that Judas Iscariot was once a sicarii, just as Simon the Zealot (or zealous one) may have once been one of the terrorist "Zealots," their common name in Judea and Galilee. Even names like "Boanerges" or "Sons of Thunder" could have had roots in prior terrorist activities. A comment in a Google look-up of "boanerges" referring to James and John the sons of Zebedee in Mark 3:17 says: from Galilean dialectal corruption of Hebrew bene reghesh "sons of rage" (interpreted in Greek as "sons of thunder")
  6. Thought provoking though the cartoon is, it misleads in that no one takes all of the blood fractions at one time. I still feel it is pointless and damaging to speculate on Bro Smalley's supposed view. True. I shouldn't have used the word "exactly." I meant that if I had to guess, knowing about his particular history with the doctrine, that it could well have been the fraction problem that is is ridiculously parodied in JTR's cartoon. I understand the idea that it could be "pointless and damaging." Yet, if someone we have deemed to be an expert has evidence that can result in an adjustment to our teaching, then do we lose interest in his expertise because it makes us uncomfortable? I see why we might argue for that position because of the direction he might have taken. What if our expert on vaccinations for so many years (C J Woodworth) while editing the Golden Age magazine, learned that he had been wrong about vaccinations all those years, but then he learned that no one wanted the new information --until a quarter century later-- because we had become too invested in the earlier anti-vaccination teaching? A brother once recorded two hour-long interviews with Grace DeCecca about her husband's imprisonment in 1918, and she revealed at least half-a-dozen points that she evidently hadn't told anyone before about her husband Giovanni and others, or at least they never became known very widely. These weren't points that would result in a doctrinal change, of course, but they became of great interest to Brother Wischuck and others who collected that sort of historical information. Anyway, I can't help but think this could be important, but I admit that I am already disposed to revisiting the doctrine. I also tend to perk up when the subject of correcting errors pops up. But that's also just a bad habit of anyone who has ever been put to work as a researcher or proofreader.
  7. OK. I always hear that apostates make changes to the photocopies, but haven't seen an instance yet. Right. The ones that some Bible Student groups continued to publish after they were no longer printed by the Watch Tower. It was the Dawn Bible Students in East Rutherford, I think. I never bothered to see what changes were made during that time, if any, although I know that the Watch Tower magazine published some remarks about the changes the Watch Tower itself made to various editions during the early 1900's up until 1915. Do you have replicas, or reproductions of the press photographs that each of the speakers at conventions (and other venues) once used in the early 1900's when advertising talks. At some of the early conventions you could purchase these photos of Russell and Van Amburgh and others. I saw a few advertised once, and only purchased the single sheet (also found in a convention report) with a picture of Russell in the middle and smaller photos of other speakers on the same page. I'm interested in a few of the individual photos.
  8. Could you explain exactly how you define the difference between replica and reproduction? I notice that in your description of a Dead Sea Scroll item you are selling, you include the words: I offer reproductions of Watchtower archives NOT replicas. A replica may have changed texts or were replicated to look like the original. A reproduction, however, is an actual copy of the original photo or written script. I understand that this refers to Watchtower publications and related books, not the DSS item. Also, have you ever seen a Watchtower publication item for sale, either replica or reproduction, that had text changed? I have seen very sloppy quotes taken from Watchtower publications, but have never seen an altered replica or reproduction. If you have evidence of one, this would be very important to in addressing the common claim that non-JWs and ex-JWs have often altered original material to make the Watch Tower Society look bad.
  9. I think Melinda is rightly concerned that this does not turn into the kind of discussion that creates doubts that we are not ready to face, and I thought about that before posting in the first place, but made a decision to go ahead based on some of the very scriptural passages Melinda quoted. If I feel up to it, I might explain tonight or tomorrow, if I get a chance. Hard to imagine him (Gene) diverging from the Society's view in any way. He was one of those who would not have varied from Watchtower doctrine by one iota back when the chronology doctrines were being questioned by many of his department colleagues. My close friends know my own feelings about chronology and the "doubled generation," but on the blood issue, the ones I contacted only knew that I had a couple questions about fractions. (Especially cryosupernatant. Although yesterday I just got the definitive answer to that one without contacting Brother Smalley.) If I had to offer a best guess, I'd say the problem for Brother Smalley was exactly what JTR is showing in the cartoon above (posted 3/9/17 9:55am EST). Remember, however, that this info about someone's personal beliefs is second-hand info, somewhere between advice and gossip. Even if true at one time, it might not be true at the moment. People change. But I wouldn't have put his name here if I didn't think this was an extremely serious matter that needs an explanation. Since this is really about life and death, then I think we all deserve more transparency. (Just as I think we need more transparency on the thinking that went into the doubled generation, child abuse procedures, etc.) But I also have the impression that this now goes well beyond fractions and reaches another level (for Gene): that no one should have ever died unnecessarily over this doctrine. I can see how doubting fractions could lead to the latter view more easily than the latter view leading to the fractions doctrine. However, when I got the final answer to cryosupernatant an entirely new and very plausible explanation of his view just occurred to me. It's a bit complex to explain, however.
  10. I think there was more of a bunker mentality throughout many congregations in the twentieth century. The fear was that the Society's and congregation's reputation would suffer, especially if someone admitted to hospital staff that a JW minister beat his wife, in a small town where people knew people personally. Probably a much greater danger of a reputation problem for a person whose name was known to the entire world (Sister Jackson).
  11. This was my sister's experience. She was always told to err on the side of enduring abuse, even if it meant not going for needed treatment at a hospital - for violent abuse. Her husband, my brother-in-law, remained a ministerial servant after at least half-a-dozen complaints. My sister was disfellowshipped for finally "defying" the elders' recommendations and separating from her husband saying she had no intention of ever trying to patch things up with "mildness and submissiveness"
  12. Funny how almost all bombers since the B52 have been designed to make military contractors rich. And yet the B52, old as it is, is still around and flying, while BILLIONS of dollars worth of military aircraft built since then have never made it off the ground.
  13. @Arauna Yes, that was a good article. Tying it to the Nazi era might play a bit on current public Russophobia, but it's an excellent point to make to show the terrible potential. I wish the author had stated in the actual article that the link went to the video of Russian authorities planting the literature. I'm sure more people would click on it, and understand the situation better, if it were worded better inside the article.
  14. The average time between the abuse and the time of reporting that abuse is still about 30 years. So the kinds of forensics are quite different from a car accident, or what can be found in a "rape kit" for example. I wanted to interpret that into the "circumstantial" evidence mentioned, too. Disappointing not to see this show up in documentation. Also disappointed to see so many "holes" in our own documentation that were so easily pointed out by the ARC. Also saw about three openings made in the Spinks/O'Brien testimony that could hurt us further. One was, of course, the huge discrepancy between in trying to define the age of "approaching adulthood" admitted to be 16-17 generally, then anecdotally to 15, and then later aligned with the age of baptism! It was fortunate that Stewart didn't realize that this places the age back to as young as 8 years old. It adds an element that almost makes the congregational judicial matter moot. If the person is arrested and the matter becomes public, then there is already going to be a loss of congregational privileges. If there is a court case, how would it look if a judicial committee found the person "unchargeable" (not necessarily innocent) while the civil courts found him guilty. If the courts did not establish guilt, it is quite unlikely that the congregation could, yet we would be so wary of a repetition that the loss of position and privileges (along with probable monitoring to some extent) would produce the appearance of guilt even if the accused were potentially innocent.
  15. I've been involved in looking into matters of immorality (fornication, "loose conduct" etc) but have only seen a child abuse case from a distance. I would agree however that not all elders are the same. So I can't speak for the reaction to a case of child abuse, but I would certainly guess that you are right in that elders would surely place the safety of the victim first even if they could not prove that the accused was guilty. But in areas of immorality, elders don't always agree on recognizing the victim. I've seen cases where two sinners were treated equally wrong, but have also seen cases where the majority of elders missed a victim-in-the-making or treated the victim with more punishment than the aggressor. There's the all-too-typical case of a brother who takes advantage of a sister who lives alone, and offers to do things for her around her house, making sure that he gradually stays around later and later, stays for a meal and a TV show and finally "pushes the envelope" to see where a backrub or a massage might lead. There's the sister who has too much to drink and a brother claims to have been seduced. There's the sister-down-the-street who just happened to notice a brother's car parked overnight in "Sister Pioneer's" driveway. In that last case, we know that both parties to the overnight guest have been disfellowshipped for denying the sin, and thus being both unrepentant. That is surely a case where the elders decide without a heavy burden of proof (and only one witness!) The case of the tipsy sister, I have seen blamed on the sister as seductress, so that hers was the greater punishment. The brothers who worm their way into a single or widowed sister's home are usually both considered equally guilty even if it takes months for the prowling brother to discover the moment of weakness. The exposure and discussion of these matters is making us all more aware and more attuned to the right action to take. My wife, serving as principal of a high school with nearly 3,000 students has had to deal with this a couple of times. As a mandatory reporter she has been screamed at and begged not to turn in an incestuous abuser in one case, and a physically violent abuser in another. But it's the law. The best you can do sometimes is to get a social worker, or CPS rep to take over, but sometimes a mandatory reporter ends up breaking a family apart. It's the nature of the law, but more importantly, it's the nature of the crime. Of course the most insidious thing about institutional response to following the rules about contacting local authorities, is that, especially in religious institutions, there is the expectation that no one will believe you. It is often a person taking advantage of their authority and position in the first place. This makes the victim expect that even civil authorities will do nothing. When a priest, elder, deacon, or branch overseer is the perpetrator, then it's even worse: the victim and victim's guardians expect not to be believed. Guardians, other elders, and most of the entire congregation aren't expected to really believe the victim either.
  16. I would not have been surprised if the Society had decided to move the entire doctrine to a "matter of conscience." I would have been surprised to see the Society go back to the original, stricter stance, even if it was clearer. My wife and I were willing to go along with the Society's "fraction" stance until nearly 2000. Actually, my wife, although agreeing that fractions were a matter of conscience, believed that she would remain true to the original stricter position as a matter of her own conscience. Of course, we discussed this before the birth of our three children (between 1986 and 1994). My personal stance changed with respect to my children in the 1990's. For most of my life, I have held that associating with Jehovah's Witnesses requires that I be willing to accept doctrines publicly even if I disagree privately. Disagreeing publicly or personally can result in damage through causing divisions and stumbling. Of course, if someone asks directly, then I have no choice but to either explain my position or decline saying that I would rather not go into that issue right now. For most issues, this was easy. For example, I see a lot of problems remaining with our chronology doctrines, but they aren't important enough to make a fuss over. After all, a few people might have done better by going to college, choosing a more viable career, or saving up for retirement, and they might choose not to do so because of a "generation" doctrine. But that's not my business unless they ask for specific advice. But the blood doctrine can be a matter of life and death (in this life, anyway). My wife and I decided that we can choose what we wish for our own life, and might make choices that could result in death, just so we don't create unnecessary issues for others. That's what all of us are taught, so I would not be expecting anything more of myself here than would be true of most other JWs. However, although my wife and I disagreed for a time, I decided that I would never impose my own conscience upon someone else, especially not my own children. To me, respect for blood might mean "suicide" for myself, and this is my right. But if I truly respected blood, I would never make my own children (or grandchild) abstain from blood, assuming blood could mean an extension of their physical life. The reason is that I believe this would make me guilty of killing. In other words, I would be bloodguilty. The context of Acts 15 and 21 when compared with Galatians and 1 & 2 Corinthians is not so clear-cut that I would risk imposing death on someone. No one has given me the right to decide life and death for someone else. Even if Acts/Galatians/Corinthians really were as clear cut as we have claimed, it would most likely be overridden by Jesus' words that we should disobey the law if it means life or healing for someone else. (Matthew 12:1-12) . . .His disciples got hungry and started to pluck heads of grain and to eat. 2 At seeing this the Pharisees said to him: “Look! Your disciples are doing what it is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” 3 He said to them: “Have YOU not read what David did when he and the men with him got hungry? 4 How he entered into the house of God and they ate the loaves of presentation, something that it was not lawful for him to eat. . . 7 However, if YOU had understood what this means, ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice,’ YOU would not have condemned the guiltless ones. . . .So they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them: “If you have one sheep and that sheep falls into a pit on the Sabbath, is there a man among you who will not grab hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! . . . When someone else's life or health is at stake, love tells me to err on the side of mercy, not sacrifice.
  17. I'm sure there is still time. Maybe. I understood it in the sense that he doesn't want to minimize a person's sacrifice, or make it seem like it was all for nothing. A "good" U.S. politician won't speak out against the war in Afghanistan if he is speaking directly to "gold-star" parents of someone who died in that war. But this information regarding Smalley could still be wrong. Perhaps it could be based on someone misunderstanding something he said. Perhaps it was over something he said in grief or anger. It's also possible, I'm just guessing, that he believes very strongly in the previous stricter blood doctrine and regrets how far the "slippery slope" of "fractions" has taken us away from that original stance. And I suppose then that it's also possible (based on the mention of the year 1992), that if he really had rejected the original stricter blood doctrine, that he realized that more lives could be saved if he at least promoted a "watering down" of that doctrine by suggesting that "fractions" could be allowed. It's also true that, in spite of his influence on the progression of this doctrine, this is merely a personal view that shouldn't matter to any of us, and it is just his own conscience speaking. We don't live by the conscience of another person: "To his own master he stands or falls." - Romans 14:4.
  18. Liked the point about using news on site to find names of brothers going through suffering and trying to pronounce those names in his prayers. Good reminder that prayer should not be the same overused, generic phrases.
  19. I can't describe my feelings very well about something I just learned. I seriously don't know how to handle this issue. A couple days ago, I made a post in the area of this forum about the blood doctrine. While writing that post, it reminded me that I have been holding on to a couple of questions about the ins and outs of the doctrine, more specifically about why we now accept just about 100% of the products that are made from blood. It's true that we don't accept "whole blood" transfusions, but "whole blood" transfusions are so rarely offered any more that even the word "transfusion" has come to refer to to several blood therapies that JWs regularly accept. Anyway, it occurred to me that I should have no problem getting a couple of these specific questions answered because I know some of the people who were involved very deeply in the blood issue. About three years ago, at the end of 2013, I talked to Brother Rusk in NYC immediately after the Annual Meeting. I hadn't seen him for many years. He was also good friends with my wife and he gave our wedding talk back in the very early 1980's. When I met with Fred Rusk in his office at Brooklyn Bethel in 1979 and 1980 to talk about the wedding, my fiancee, and leaving Bethel, among other things, he very often took phone calls about the blood issue. He wouldn't send me out of his office, but would usually just say, can you wait a second, and then he would go on for up to an hour (during my work time) talking to doctors, hospital personnel, elders, circuit overseers, patients, or sometimes a brother down in the Service Department who was trying to word a letter correctly about our policy. Our policy was still fairly straightforward back then. Fractions were not a big "thing" yet, but there were still questions about what did and did not contain blood, or whether certain kinds of blood storage machines were acceptable or not (containing the patient's own blood). There were also issues regarding blood decisions that I had never thought of before, related to child custody, headship over family decisions, etc. Brother Rusk died fairly recently, but he wasn't the one involved so much with the new "fractions" policy anyway. The person who began taking over for Brother Rusk as the Society's subject-matter-expert on blood was Gene Smalley, also from the Writing Department. These two brothers have very different reputations. Brother Rusk was a very well-loved, peaceful man, who was nearly always soft-spoken, kind, patient and helpful. Even when taking care of a serious issue, you never saw anger. He was a cornucopia of the fruits of the spirit. Gene Smalley was almost the opposite in every way. Spiteful, hateful, bad-tempered, yelling, angry, backbiting, divisive, contentious, etc., etc. (He wasn't that way all the time of course, but often enough to gain a reputation, and more than once threatened with losing his job in Writing.) But his sweet wife Anita just died very recently (from cancer) and I thought this might be a good reason to contact him and, perhaps, if the conversation could be comfortably turned, it could be a chance to get a couple questions answered about fractions. He would know the precise answer. Well, I haven't called him yet. Instead, yesterday, I started asking around from friends who may have seen how he is doing recently. This includes one person who worked with him until fairly recently in Writing, and one person who was a close acquaintance of both Gene and Anita. Here is the most disturbing thing I learned. I was told that I shouldn't ask Gene Smalley about the blood doctrine. Although still on the Writing Committee, evidently he has not believed in the Blood Doctrine since about 1992, according to one of the persons I just spoke with. Yet, he has still promoted it and given interviews about it. I have always thought of Brother Smalley as the "father of the fractions doctrine." So he would be the perfect person to ask. But the persons I asked are both well known at Bethel, and one of them has even been mentioned in the publications as early as the 1970's. My obvious question was, "Well, if he doesn't believe in it, then why does he still defend it?" Both of the persons I asked gave me the same answer, even though I asked them separately. (Although one could have been repeating the answer they heard from the other.) The answer, paraphrased: Even though he doesn't believe in it, he still defended it because of all the persons who have died.
  20. I understand the claim that we "tear families apart" but we can always point to Jesus' words: (Matthew 10:34-37) . . .. 34 Do not think I came to bring peace to the earth; I came to bring, not peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 Indeed, a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and whoever has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me. Does anyone have any documentation on exactly what the complaint is behind the term "indoctrinating young people"? Is this a concern over young baptisms that feed into the disfellowshipping practice. Is it the government's fear of "cult" mentality that we saw with France? (Probably just an excuse) In Bulgaria it was about not even serving in supportive civilian roles to replace military service and the fact that we disfellowshipped those who chose to accept blood even when it was chosen as a life-saving alternative. In Bulgaria, of course, we merely invoked the change that was already in the works in some countries to allow JWs to serve in non-combatant civilian roles as alternative military service. On the blood issue we changed it from disfellowshipping to disassociation, which sounded different to the government, even though we clarified that nothing had changed on the congregational level regarding the shunning, etc., since we were to treat disfellowshipped and disassociated exactly the same. I went to visit Denmark last year, and was suprised to learn that almost no one pays attention to the name and beliefs of the major "national religion." It's like a state religion, that is just there to provide services for marriages and funerals, and otherwise no one seems to care. This is one of the things that makes Islam and Jehovah's Witnesses "scary" to some of them. I suspect that Islam, and Baptist and JW missionaries looking for converts is seen as disruptive for similar reasons. The "state religion" after years of supposed atheism has drifted into just a kind of traditional decoration that symbolizes unity and peace. There is a Russian Orthodox hierarchy, but they don't ask for any political influence. I think the Russian government has therefore become more sensitive to any religious groups who take their religion too seriously, and have their own "judicial systems" within these organizations. It's one of the things that Spain complains about with JWs, they don't even want the Catholics to have an internal judicial system. (Especially when crime is treated only as sin, and there is no transparency into what goes on behind the curtain.) Of course that might be an overreaction in Spain because their reputation suffered over the Inquisition, just like Germany tends to react at Nazism more harshly than surrounding nations.
  21. From a medical point of view, I would submit that it is not just the children, but very few JW parents themselves could "demonstrate an ability to understand the implications of the consequences of refusing treatment." I would also posit that very few JW parents have even fully considered the Biblical point of view on blood transfusions for themselves either. We can surmise this from the fact that the vast majority of JWs accepted what the Watchtower said about rejecting all organ transplants as final, right up until the time the Watchtower changed its position on them. Immediately, the vast majority of JWs accepted the opposite position about accepting all organ transplants as final. Clearly, JWs had not considered the matter for themselves, and had not been using their own thinking abilities or even their own conscience in the matter. If any have had any dealings at length with persons on the Hospital Liaison Committees (HLCs) in various congregations, then it is likely obvious to that JWs do not generally make up their own mind on the matter of blood, either. We merely submit to the "mind" of the Watchtower. JWs continually consult with the Society or HLC members about what blood-related therapies could be acceptable to their conscience and which ones are not allowed to be acceptable to their conscience. (Romans 14:1-5) 1 Welcome the man having weaknesses in his faith, but do not pass judgment on differing opinions. 2 One man has faith to eat everything, but the man who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let the one eating not look down on the one not eating, and let the one not eating not judge the one eating, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for Jehovah can make him stand. 5 One man judges one day as above another; another judges one day the same as all others; let each one be fully convinced in his own mind. There is a relatively new problem that medical professionals and medical authorities have been dealing with and this is finally being considered in the laws of the "superior authorities." (Romans 13:1-5) (Romans 13:1-5) 1 Let every person be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. 2 Therefore, whoever opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will bring judgment against themselves. . . . 5 There is therefore compelling reason for you to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath but also on account of your conscience. The new problem is that there are now several Jehovah's Witnesses who have "surprised" the medical professionals and medical authorities by asking that they or their child be treated as an exception to the general rule for Jehovah's Witnesses. They will accept blood or otherwise "forbidden fractions" for themselves or children and make this a matter of conscience. These Witnesses make this decision in spite of the risk to their spirituality and/or the risk to their standing and acceptance in the congregation. This new problem has already been discussed in several respected medical journals. It's difficult to imagine the complication that this can cause for hospital professionals, even where the HLC has done its best to explain the Watch Tower's position. (The medical journals even discuss the legal implications of keeping the final decision of the parent or child from getting back to the HLC or other representative from the congregation.) Even putting aside the Biblical aspect for the moment (i.e., consideration about prospects for eternal life), many JWs simply reject that there is ever a time when a blood transfusion offers the best chance of saving (i.e., extending) the life of the patient. There are supposed to always be alternatives, and even if not available, the risks of blood transfusion have been so magnified that many JWs often believe that the medical risk of accepting always overrides potentially life-saving medical benefits. But the Society has admitted that blood transfusions (and other blood therapies that JWs do not accept) are often actually life-saving (from a medical viewpoint, not a spiritual viewpoint). To understand the complications, therefore, let's assume that there are times when the Society is right and the medical authorities are right, and that there really are times when a blood transfusion (or related therapy) is the best chance for saving the life of the patient. We are only considering those types of cases below. Now consider the Law, for example and consider what should be the JW view toward the "superior authorities" in the following circumstances? How much effort should the HLC (or other consulted elders) put into convincing parents or child to conform to current "Watch Tower" policy in these situations? What is listed below are 28 different situations with the following "variables:" The person faced with the question is either: 6 or 16 years of age (6/16) - the 6-year-old is only considered in these cases with JW parents. Baptized or Unbaptized (B/U) - only applied to the 16 year old, where a 16 year old may be associating with Witnesses even though the parents are not JWs Parents are JW or not JW (PJW/NJW) - "mixed" marriage where only one spouse is JW is not included in any scenario. The child herself either wants to Accept, Reject or is Unconscious [and without directive] (A/R/U) The parent of the child either wants to agree with the child's decision or disagree (PA/PD) - note that if child is unconscious, then disagreement with a stated decision does not apply (although it is possible that a child carries a blood directive that JW parents reject at time of emergency) In other words, as an example, case #1 means that the child is 16, unbaptized, parents are JW, but the child wants to accept a blood transfusion, and the JW parents agree that she can choose to accept it. Case #28 is a 6-year-old unbaptized child with JW parents, where the child wants to reject a transfusion, but the parents disagree, and want her to accept it in this case. 16,U,PJW,A,PA 16,U,PJW,A,PD 16,B,PJW,A,PA 16,B,PJW,A,PD 16,U,PJW,R,PA 16,U,PJW,R,PD 16,B,PJW,R,PA 16,B,PJW,R,PD 16,U,PJW,U,PA 16,U,PJW,U,PD 16,B,PJW,U,PA 16,B,PJW,U,PD 16,U,NJW,A,PA 16,U,NJW,A,PD 16,B,NJW,A,PA 16,B,NJW,A,PD 16,U,NJW,R,PA 16,U,NJW,R,PD 16,B,NJW,R,PA 16,B,NJW,R,PD 16,U,NJW,U,PA 16,U,NJW,U,PD 16,B,NJW,U,PA 16,B,NJW,U,PD 6,U,PJW,A,PA 6,U,PJW,A,PD 6,U,PJW,R,PA 6,U,PJW,R,PD The complication of a child having one JW parent and one non-JW parent, is not considered at all here, and might be further complicated by the acceptance of gender roles, where, for example, a husband who is a non-JW demands that he be accepted as the "scriptural" spiritual head of the family. Also, even where the parent and child are in agreement, they may still be at odds with either the medical professionals or the HLC. The "law" of the superior authorities can also become a concern, and may also be a concern that the JW parent (or child) will see differently than the HLC based on their conscience. All these scenarios might be a clue as to why the Apostle Paul rejected the kind of Pharisaism that would try to account for all the various scenarios and merely left "legal" matters up to each individual conscience.
  22. Interesting point. Might be appropriate for a separate discussion. It's a curious doctrine. Here's the teaching with a little more context. *** w02 8/1 pp. 13-14 pars. 16-22 Loyally Submit to Godly Authority *** Finally, Jehovah replaced the Levitical priesthood with a very different one—a royal priesthood. That royal priesthood continues down to this day. 17 Who make up this royal priesthood today? The apostle Peter answers that question in his first inspired letter. To anointed members of the body of Christ, Peter wrote: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that you should declare abroad the excellencies’ of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9) From these words it is clear that, as a group, the anointed footstep followers of Jesus make up this “royal priesthood,” which Peter also called “a holy nation.” They constitute the channel that Jehovah uses to provide his people with instruction and spiritual direction.—Matthew 24:45-47. 18 Representing the royal priesthood are appointed elders, who serve in positions of responsibility in congregations of Jehovah’s people around the earth. These men deserve our respect and wholehearted support, whether they are of the anointed or not. Why? Because, through his holy spirit, Jehovah has appointed the older men to their positions. (Hebrews 13:7, 17) How can that be? 19 These older men meet the requirements that are set out in God’s Word, which is a product of God’s spirit. (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) Hence, their appointment can be said to be by holy spirit. (Acts 20:28) The older men, or elders, must be thoroughly familiar with God’s Word. Like the Supreme Judge who appointed them, the elders also must hate anything that resembles partiality in judgment.—Deuteronomy 10:17, 18. 20 Rather than challenge their authority, we truly appreciate our hardworking elders! Their record of faithful service, often over many decades, inspires our trust. They faithfully prepare for and conduct congregation meetings, work side by side with us in preaching the “good news of the Kingdom,” and provide Scriptural advice when we need it. (Matthew 24:14; Hebrews 10:23, 25; 1 Peter 5:2) They visit us when we are sick and comfort us when we mourn. They loyally and unselfishly support Kingdom interests. Jehovah’s spirit is upon them; they have his approval.—Galatians 5:22, 23. 21 Of course, the older men are not perfect. Mindful of their limitations, they do not try to lord it over the flock, “God’s inheritance.” Rather, they consider themselves ‘fellow workers for the joy of their brothers.’ (1 Peter 5:3; 2 Corinthians 1:24) Humble, hardworking elders love Jehovah, and they know that the closer they come to imitating him, the more good they will be able to do in the congregation. With this in mind, they constantly strive to cultivate such godly qualities as love, compassion, and patience. 22 How happy we are to have Jehovah as our invisible Ruler, Jesus Christ as our High Priest, members of the anointed royal priesthood as our teachers, and faithful Christian older men as our counselors! Although no organization directed by humans can be perfect, we are delighted to be able to serve God in the company of faithful fellow believers, who gladly submit to godly authority!

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