No human has the right to make laws and regulations for other humans that are not mentioned in the Bible. In an important article in The Watchtower in 1972, this truth was stressed with the words that no human has the right to “draw the line” if the Bible does not draw the line. The article said that this included the elders and the Governing Body.
Even though no person has the right to “draw the line” for us, all of us are dependent on other persons to learn the truth about God. This is so because deep and accurate knowledge in different areas is necessary in order to understand the Bible:
It is necessary to understand the languages Greek, Hebrew. and Aramaic, and have knowledge of linguistics.
It is necessary to identify the holy people that has fulfilled prophecies.
It is necessary to have a detailed knowledge of the whole Bible in order to make a synthesis of subjects that are spread all over the book.
It is necessary to have a good knowledge of world history because many prophecies are fulfilled on nations in the past and in the present.
One person does not have all this knowledge, and therefore it is necessary to have teachers from among the people of God. These teachers should not force their own personal interpretations on those that they teach. But they must arrange for interactive learning, so everyone can check the conclusions that they are presenting.
“Drawing the line” in connection with blood components
The principal example in the article is unjustly drawing the line in connection with blood components and blood fractions. What is forbidden in Acts 15:29 is the use of the red fluid in the veins of humans and animals for any purpose.
At the refresher course for members of the Hospital Liaison Committee in 1995, the members of the Governing Body expressed a different view, that all use of blood was not forbidden. This view centered around the purpose of the use of blood. If blood was used with the purpose of nourishing the body that was prohibited. But if blood was used with the purpose of healing sickness, this use was not forbidden.
I show that this view has led to several nonsensical situations. Particularly absurd is the distinction the Governing Body has made between the use of fractions of blood that represent eating and nourishment and the use of fractions that does not represent eating and nourishment. This means that in a serious situation with great blood loss, the decision of a Witness in connection with his health and welfare is based on the Governing Body’s idiosyncratic definition of the word “eating” and not on the Word of God.
One example of the nonsensical decisions of the members of the Governing Body where they unjustly have drawn the line relates to the issue of the use of the clotting Factor VIII for hemiphiliacs. In 1972, the decision was that one infusion of Factor VIII was acceptable but two infusions would be the same as eating Factor VIII, and was forbidden. In 1975, the members of the Governing Body decided that any use of Factor VIII was acceptable. But it took three years from de decision before it was published.
“Drawing the line” in connection in different situations
Several examples of how the members of the Governing Body repeatedly “drew the line” where the Scriptures are silent are presented:
1973: Those who use tobacco will be disfellowshipped. This is still valid.
1973: Those who use methadone in order to quit the use of hard drugs will be disfellowshipped. This was retracted in 2013.
1974: Oral and anal sex between married persons can lead to the dissolving of the marriage and to disfellowshipping. This was retracted in 1978.
1974: Rules regarding what kind of secular work Witnesses could have without being disfellowshipped were introduced.
1981: Witnesses who resign from their congregation will be shunned in the same way as disfellowshipped persons.
1983: A partial retraction of the retraction of 1978 occurred. Oral and anal sex between married persons was again viewed as a disfellowshipping offense.
These examples show how the members of the Governing Body have created a huge number of human commandments, and this has particularly been the case in the 21st century.
There can be no doubt that the words in the heading represent true Christian freedom. In issues related to Christian living and Christian doctrine, no Christian has the right to “draw the line” for other Christians. Below I bring a quotation from The Watchtower of October 1, 1972, page 590:
Jehovah God expects us to use our faculties of intelligence, our knowledge, understanding and judgment, and to do conscientiously what our faith points us to do. God does not place us under the conscience of some other human in such matters. We must each make our own decision in harmony with conscience—conscience molded by God’s Word. We must also take the consequences of our own decisions, not expect someone else to make the decision and bear that responsibility for us.
It would therefore be wrong in such matters to try to extract from someone else, from a body of elders or from the governing body of the Christian congregation, some rule or regulation that ‘draws the line’ on matters. Where God’s Word does not itself ‘draw the line,’ no human has the right to add to that Word by doing so.
Of particular importance are the words that neither the elders nor the Governing Body can make decisions for us; each Christian must bear his or her own responsibility. The words in the quotation accord with the view of the leaders of the Watchtower Society for three decades before the year 1972. The Society would not give any advice regarding issues that were not directly mentioned in the Scriptures. The Governing Body was formed in 1971, and it should not take a long time after its formation before the Governing Body started “to draw the line” in issues that were binding for individual Witnesses.
One reason given why the Watchtower Society would not give advice in issues that were not directly mentioned in the Bible is found in The Watchtower of September 15, 1951, page 574:
To draw up rules for all the possible situations relative to secular work would embark us upon the compilation of a voluminous, Talmudlike set of regulations, seeking to make all the fine distinctions as to when and when not certain work becomes objectionable.
During the 51 years since its formation, the Governing Body has not only made a Talmudlike set of regulations in connection with secular work. But in all areas of Christian life, the members of the Governing Body have “drawn the line” on the part of the Witnesses and have made sets of laws and regulations that have no basis in the Bible. This article gives several examples of this.
THE ROLE OF TEACHERS IN CONNECTION WITH “DRAWING THE LINE”
The quotation from The Watchtower of 1972 says that we “must use our faculties of intelligence, our knowledge, understanding, and judgment.” But the problem is that our knowledge and understanding is limited and therefore we are dependent on other persons.
For example, a young boy is interested in learning botany. But he cannot just go out in the field to collect flowers, studying these flowers and by this teach himself botany. The young boy needs to read books about botany written by knowledgeable persons, and he needs a teacher that can help him to understand these books in the right way. In all sides of our lives, we are dependent on advisers, on persons who have studied particular areas and who have collected data and drawn conclusions.
The use of advisers or teachers does not mean that we need others “to draw the line” for us. But it means that in order to make balanced judgments we need knowledge that has been collected by others. A boy who has completed primary school has based his learning on a great number of studies made by others, and he has been taught by a number of teachers. But that does not mean that he has been misled by his teachers. This is so because what a boy learns in primary school is quite objective, and only to a limited degree is he dependent on different interpretations of his teachers.
In connection with basic Bible knowledge, we are also dependent on teachers. A person cannot just read the Bible through, and voila! Now he knows the truth about God. Why not? Paul says in Romans 10:13-17:
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” 14 However, how will they call on him if they have not put faith in him? How, in turn, will they put faith in him about whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach? 15 How, in turn, will they preach unless they have been sent out? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”16 Nevertheless, they did not all obey the good news. For Isaiah says: “Jehovah, who has put faith in the thing heard from us?” 17 So faith follows the thing heard. In turn, what is heard is through the word about Christ.
Why is it necessary to have a preacher who would function as a teacher in order to learn the truth about God? The situation is the same as in primary school. A pupil cannot teach himself the subjects that are learned in primary school. He is completely dependent on a host of advisers and teachers. And the same is true in connection with the understanding of the Bible. There are some keys that are necessary in order to understand the Bible:
First, it is obvious that a detailed understanding of the Bible languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, is necessary to understand the text of the Bible, as well as a knowledge of linguistics. All the subtleties and nuances of the original text cannot be ascertained without such knowledge. This fact alone shows that we cannot stand alone. But those who hear the preaching are dependent on those who preach, and those who preach are dependent on other Christians who have the mentioned linguistic knowledge.
Second, a great number of Bible prophecies should be fulfilled on the “holy people,” the true Christian people. For example, there are several time prophecies: 1,260, 1,290, 1,135, and 2,300 days. To understand these prophecies, an identification of the people of God is necessary, as well as a detailed understanding of the history of this people. And those who hear the preaching of the Kingdom do not have such knowledge.
Third, a detailed knowledge of the entire Bible is necessary. Different details of Bible doctrines are spread throughout the whole book. A synthesis of these details must be made, and that requires detailed knowledge of the entire Bible. Those who hear the preaching do not have this knowledge.
Fourth, it is necessary to have a detailed knowledge of world history. This is so because prophecies in the books of Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other books have been fulfilled on different nations that have existed in the past, and on some nations that still are existing. And again, those who hear the preaching do not have such knowledge.
The four points mentioned above show that in order to understand the Bible we are dependent on advisers and teachers. In chapter 1 of my book, My Beloved Religion — And The Governing Body, I identify Jehovah’s Witnesses as the people of God. If this identification is correct, it means that the preachers among the Witnesses must be our teachers. It is necessary for all humans to have teachers. But there is also a danger with this, namely, that the teachers instead of presenting data present their interpretation of these data.
The Watchtower of August 1, 1974 discussed disfellowshipping, and on page 472 we read some words that counter the danger of the use of teachers:
Holding to the Scriptures, neither minimizing what they say nor reading into them something they do not say, will enable us to keep a balanced view toward disfellowshipped ones.
We now have two important instructions as to how our teachers should behave. They should not minimize what the Scriptures say or reading something into the Scriptures that is not there. And they should not “draw the line” for us when the Bible is silent regarding a particular issue. On pages 321-332 in my book, I demonstrate how my teachers among Jehovah’s Witnesses followed these instructions in the early 1960s. And because of this, I learned the truth from the Bible.
As I will show below, in the 1950s and 1960s there were a few examples where the leaders of the Watchtower Society “drew the line” without any basis in the Bible. However, a short time after the Governing Body was formed in 1971, the violation of these important instructions began to happen on a grander scale. The members of the Governing Body read into the text of the Bible things that the text did not say, and they “drew the line” in situations where the Bible did not draw the line. The primary example in this article is the prohibition against using blood and blood components and how the members of the Governing Body unjustly have “drawn the line” in connection with this issue.
INSTRUCTIONS IN CONNECTION WITH GOD’S LAW REGARDING BLOOD
The law of Moses said that the use of blood for any purpose was forbidden. The same prohibition is found in Acts 15:28, 29 (NWT84):
28 For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to YOU, except these necessary things 29 to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication.
My article, “Willingly and unrepentantly accepting blood” in the category “Disassociation” shows in detail that the prohibition in the Acts of the Apostles is not against eating blood and using it as nutrition. But the prohibition is against any use of blood. An important side of the present article is who has the right “to draw the line” in issues that are not directly mentioned in the Scriptures. On the basis of the conclusion that any use of blood is prohibited, I ask the question: “What is blood?”
The lexicon Aid To Bible Understanding (1969), page 243, published by the Watchtower Society says:
“The fluid which circulates in the principal vascular system of animals, carrying nourishment and oxygen to all parts of the body, and bringing away waste products to be excreted.” (Webster’s New International Dictionary, 2d ed., Unabridged) Thus the blood both feeds and cleanses the body. The chemical makeup of blood is so exceedingly complex that there is a great deal that to scientists is still in the realm of the unknown.
This is a definition of the word “blood,” and no one can dispute that this definition is the correct one. This means that here we have a situation where the Scriptures “draw the line.” The read fluid in the veins of humans and animals cannot rightly be used for any purpose, including medical purposes. From the time of World War II, blood transfusions became more and more common, and the leaders of the Watchtower Society rightly pointed out that a transfusion of blood was a violation of God’s law. However, in the late 1940s, scientists developed techniques to extract small fractions from the blood and use these for medical purposes. How should a Christian view such fractions when the Scriptures did not “draw the line”?
THE IMPORTANT ISSUE OF OBEDIENCE
The Roman Emperor Nero often arrested Christians. Let us imagine a Christian family of a father and mother and a small child, who was taken to the Colosseum. In the middle of the arena, there was an altar with a fire and beside the fire was a receptacle with incense. The father now got an ultimatum. If he put some incense on the fire and by this offered to the genius of the Emperor, he and his family would be released. If he refused, the family would be thrown to the wild animals.
In most instances, the Christians refused to sacrifice to the genius of the Emperor, and therefore they were killed. Because of this, the designation “martyr” was coined. Why did the Christians refuse to sacrifice in this way? They would not become contaminated in any way by taking the receptacle with incense in their hands or by putting some incense on the fire. So, it was nothing wrong with the receptacle, the incense, or the fire. But using these items in the described situation would be an act of idolatry, and it would mean disobedience to the law of God. Thus, the martyrs died because of their obedience to God.
The mentioned situation is a very good parallel to the issue of the prohibition of blood. If a Christian uses blood as food, or for some other purpose, he or she will not be contaminated in any way. But he or she is violating the law of God. That the focus is not on the fluid of blood or on the components of blood, is seen by the fact that Christians are allowed to eat meat, provided that the animal has been drained for blood.
However, if the throat of an ox is cut in order to drain the blood, a great part of its blood remains in the flesh after the draining. This means that a Christian who eats meat that is taken from this ox consumes quite a lot of blood components. But he or she is not violating God’s law because the ox has been partly drained for blood, as the law of God requires. This example is good to have in mind when we now will discuss the issue of blood components where the Scriptures do not “draw the line.”
UNJUSTLY “DRAWING THE LINE”
The Watchtower of September 15, 1951, page 574, would not give any advice regarding what kind of work Christians could choose. The article said: “So let each one accept his own responsibility and answer to his own conscience.” This is good Christian advice. The article also pointed out the problems if the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses should make decisions on the part of individual Witnesses and “draw the line”:
To draw up rules for all the possible situations relative to secular work would embark us upon the compilation of a voluminous, Talmudlike set of regulations, seeking to make all the fine distinctions as to when and when not certain work becomes objectionable
This is also good advice that accords with the saying in The Watchtower of 1972 that when the Word of God does not “draw the line,” “no human has the right to add to that Word by doing so.” However, while the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses generally refrained from “drawing the line” in issues where the Bible is silent before the formation of the Governing Body in 1971, there are a few exceptions, as I will show.
In the 1920s and 1930s, there were several articles in The Golden Age speaking against vaccines. One principal reason was that vaccines contained much blood that was forbidden by God’s law. The issue of vaccines was discussed in The Watchtower of December 15, 1952, page 764, and we read:
Most certainly it cannot reasonably or Scripturally be argued and proved that, by being vaccinated, the inoculated person is either eating or drinking blood and consuming it as food or receiving a blood transfusion… Hence all objection to vaccination on Scriptural grounds seems to be lacking.
The important point here is that the Scriptures do not say anything about vaccines, and therefore, whether to accept a vaccine or not must be based on the conscience of each one. The Watchtower is not “drawing the line” by pointing this out. However, four years later a new situation arose. The Awake! magazine of September 8. 1956, page 30, discussed the viewpoints of Dr. L.A. Erf of the Jefferson Medical College and Hospital at Philadelphia. The article said:
While this physician argues for the use of certain blood fractions, particularly albumin, such also come under the Scriptural ban.
This is a clear example of “drawing the line” where the Scriptures are silent. There is no prohibition against albumin in the Bible. But if a Christian’s conscience tells him or her not to use albumin, because it is extracted from blood, and the use of blood is forbidden, he or she has the right “to draw the line” and not use albumin. But it is clearly against the Scriptures when the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses “drew the line” for him or her and forbid the use of albumin!
READING INTO THE SCRIPTURES SOMETHING THAT THEY DO NOT SAY
The words in the heading are taken from The Watchtower of August 1, 1974, which are quoted above. Minimizing what the Scriptures say or reading something into the texts that are not there is, in reality, a rejection of the Bible as the only authority for Christians. In the 21st century, the members of the Governing Body have done this on a grand scale. But before the Governing Body was formed in 1971, only rarely were the Scriptures misused in this way.
One example related to the issue of the holiness of blood is found in The Watchtower of September 15, 1958, page 575:
Are we to consider the injection of serums such as diphtheria toxin antitoxin and blood fractions such as gamma globulin into the blood stream, for the purpose of building up resistance to disease by means of antibodies, the same as the drinking of blood or the taking of blood or blood plasma by means of transfusion?—N. P., United States.
No, it does not seem necessary that we put the two in the same category, although we have done so in times past. Each time the prohibition of blood is mentioned in the Scriptures it is in connection with taking it as food, and so it is as a nutrient that we are concerned with in its being forbidden. Thus when mankind for the first time was permitted to eat the flesh of animals, at the time of the restatement of the procreation mandate to the Deluge survivors, blood was specifically forbidden. (Gen. 9:3, 4) In the law of Moses blood was forbidden as food, and therefore we repeatedly find it linked with fat as things not to be eaten. (Lev. 3:17; 7:22-27) And so also in the days of the apostles; it was in connection with eating meat sacrificed to idols that the eating of strangled animals and blood was forbidden.—Acts 15:20, 29.
The injection of antibodies into the blood in a vehicle of blood serum or the use of blood fractions to create such antibodies is not the same as taking blood, either by mouth or by transfusion, as a nutrient to build up the body’s vital forces. While God did not intend for man to contaminate his blood stream by vaccines, serums or blood fractions, doing so does not seem to be included in God’s expressed will forbidding blood as food. It would therefore be a matter of individual judgment whether one accepted such types of medication or not.
The answer to the question is a clear example of reading into the Scriptures something that they do not say. It is true that the prohibition against blood in the Hebrew Scriptures relates to not eating or drinking blood because this was the actual situation in the days of Moses. But the reason for the prohibition is that blood represents life, and when an animal is slaughtered, the blood must be poured out in order to show that the life returns to God. The only legal use of blood is on the altar as a sacrifice, as Leviticus 17:11 shows. And this indicates that blood should not be used for any other purpose.
The Governing Body: The use of blood is allowed but not the use with the wrong purpose
In my article, “Willingly and unrepentantly accepting blood” in the category “Disassociation not based on the Bible” I show that the argument that the words in Acts 15:28, 29 only include a prohibition against eating blood or using it as nutrition is wrong. In Leviticus 17:10 there is a prohibition against eating blood, but Acts 15:29 says that Christians should “keep abstaining from” things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality.” Claiming that the words “keep abstaining from” only has the meaning “not eating” is to minimize what the Scriptures say and read into them something that they do not say.
We should note that the claim of The Watchtower article quoted above that the prohibition against “eating meat sacrificed to idols” in Acts 15:29 support the view that the prohibition against blood only includes the eating of blood is wrong. The meaning of the Greek word eidōlothutos according to Louw and Nida is: “‘that which has been sacrificed to idols.’ There is no specific element meaning ‘meat.’” It is obvious that the prohibition is against anything that is sacrificed to an idol, including incense and flowers. And similarly, because the only legal use of blood is on the altar, the prohibition must refer to any use of blood and not only to the use of blood as food.
Moreover, the view that the prohibition in Acts 15:29 against blood only refers to eating blood has led to absurd situations. In 1990, prospective members of the Hospital Liaison Committee (HLC) from the Scandinavian countries and Finland were invited to Arboga in Sweden for a seminar where they were taught how they could help sick Witnesses in connection with the issue of blood.
Five years after the seminar in Arboga, there was a refresher course for the members of the HLC. This course was evidently produced by members of the school of thought stressing that the Bible only prohibits blood used as nourishment for the body because this was stressed at different times during the course. I quote from the section: “Reasoning on the basis of biblical principles and medical procedures,” points 1 and 2:
1. Principle: Blood represents the life of a creature. It is wrong to eat it and by this sustain your life by the blood of life of another person, either blood from humans or from animals. “You shall not eat the blood of any kind of flesh, because the soul [the life] in all kinds of flesh is its blood. Anyone who eats it, will be cut off.” (Leviticus 17.14)
a) Application: It is wrong to accept a transfusion of full blood or one of the bigger blood components (like red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets or plasma). This is the same as eating blood. (w90 6.1, p. 30, 31; w89 3.1, p. 30, 31; w 78 11.1, s. 23; bq 17, 18)b) Application: Accepting immunoglobulins, coagulation factors, albumin, and other small blood fractions with the purpose of curing sickness and not with the purpose of nourishing the body is a matter of conscience (w94 10.1, s. 31; w90 6.1, s. 30, 31; w 78 11.1, s. 23; g 82 11.8, p. 23; g 82 11.8, p. 25)
2. Principle: Blood that has been wasted must not again be returned to the body in order to nourish it. Wasted blood, as a symbol of life, must be “poured out.” It returns to the Lifgiver, Jehovah. (Leviticus 17:13; Deuteronomy 12:15, 16)
a) Application: Pre-operative gathering of blood, storing the blood, and later infusion of the patient’s own blood cannot be accepted. (w89 3.1, p. 30, 31; w78 11.1, p. 22; g82 11.8, p. 25)
The first absurdity in the quotation above is the claim that it is not the use of blood that is wrong but it is the purpose of the use of blood that may be wrong. If blood is used as food, with the purpose of nourishing the body, this is forbidden. But if blood is used with the purpose of curing sickness, this is not forbidden.
The second absurdity is that the decision of a Witness as to which fractions of blood he or she can accept in a life-threatening situation is based on how the members of the Governing Body define the word “eating” — how the members of the Governing body “draw the line.” So, the life of a Witness can be based on a human definition of the word, and not on the law of God!
The third absurdity is the idiosyncratic way the members of the Governing Body define “eating” and “nourishment.” The definition in the quotation is that the infusion of full blood, red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, or plasma is forbidden because this is the same as eating blood. But the infusion of immunoglobulins, coagulation factors, albumin, and other small blood fractions is not forbidden because this is not the same as eating blood.
Let us look at the mentioned blood components from the point of view of eating and nourishment. Platelets constitute about 1% of the blood volume. Their function is to bind to the site of a damaged blood vessel and stop the bleeding. These cells have nothing to do with the nourishment of the body. White blood cells constitute about 1% of the blood volume, and they are the cells of the immune system. Their function is to protect the body against infectious diseases and foreign invaders. These cells have nothing to do with the nourishment of the body. Albumins, on the other hand, are proteins that constitute about 2% of the blood volume. They bind to various molecules in the blood and carry these around. Their main function is to regulate the movement of materials across the capillary wall, and these proteins have a function in connection with the metabolism and nourishment of the body.
So, the absurdity of the whole quotation above is that an infusion of platelets and white blood cells is defined as eating, in spite of the fact that they have nothing to do with the nourishment of the body. But an infusion of albumin is not defined as eating, in spite of the fact that these proteins constitute about 2% of the blood volume and have a function in connection with the nourishment of the body. The words from the refresher course that are quoted above are so silly that some may question whether I have quoted them correctly. Then I will say that I have all the original documents from the refresher course in my library, and I guarantee that the quotation is correct.
“Drawing the line” in connection with Factor VIII and hemophiliacs
There is also another situation where the definition of “eating” blood is just as absurd as the examples above from the refresher course show. Hemophilia is a condition when the blood of a person does not clot normally. External wounds usually are not serious, but internal bleeding in joints, tissues, and muscles may be serious, particularly bleeding in vital organs, such as the brain. Internal bleeding can be very painful, and it can also lead to death. Hemophiliacs especially lacks Factor VIII and sometimes Factor IX in the coagulations chain, and the treatment is particularly to give these persons infusions of Factors VIII or IX.
The Governing Body was created in 1971, and the view of the members was that one infusion of Factor VIII could be viewed as the use of it as medicine. But two or more infusions would be the same as eating Factor VIII. And that was forbidden. So, the members of the Governing Body “drew the line” after one infusion of Factor VIII, which is completely nonsensical.
In 1975, the members of the Governing Body changed their minds, and they decided that infusions of Factor VIII were no longer forbidden, but it was a matter of conscience. However, the members of the Governing Body did not want to publish their decision so they should not be put in a bad light. First, in 1978 was factor VIII indirectly mentioned in an article in The Watchtower, but the context was obscure, and it was difficult to know what the decision of the Governing Body really was.
The real problem with this situation was that for four years, hemophiliacs who trusted the Governing Body could not use Factor VIII. This resulted in extreme pain for some who were bleeding in their vital organs, and some possibly were bleeding to death. It would have been very important for faithful hemophiliacs to immediately be informed of the new view of the Governing Body, so they could use Factor VIII. But in order to save face the decision was first published in a covert way three years after the decision.
THE LAW OF ABSTAINING FROM BLOOD
I will one more time quote the definition of blood from the lexicon, Aid to Bible Understanding. Page 243:
“The fluid which circulates in the principal vascular system of animals, carrying nourishment and oxygen to all parts of the body, and bringing away waste products to be excreted.” (Webster’s New International Dictionary, 2d ed., Unabridged) Thus the blood both feeds and cleanses the body. The chemical makeup of blood is so exceedingly complex that there is a great deal that to scientists is still in the realm of the unknown.
I am absolutely certain that the definition of dam (Hebrew: “blood”) and haima (Greek: “blood”) above was accepted by all Jews who lived from the time of Moses and until the time of Jesus, and by all Christians who lived during the 1st century CE. There is no other definition of “blood.” This means that the requirement that Christians must “abstain from blood” only includes abstaining from the red fluid in the veins of humans and animals.
The main theme in this discussion is the words of the Governing Body from 1972: “Where God’s Word does not itself ‘draw the line,’ no human has the right to add to that Word by doing so.” I have demonstrated that the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses, with a few exceptions, followed this dictum from World War II until the formation of the Governing Body in 1971.
In connection with the prohibition of blood, where have the members of the Governing Body today “drawn the line”? The Kingdom Ministry for October 2006, page 6, shows which parts of blood that are unacceptable and which are acceptable according to the decision of the members of the Governing Body.
Table 1.1 Blood fractions that are allowed and not allowed according to the Governing Body
|UNACCEPTABLE TO CHRISTIANS||YOUR PERSONAL DECISION|
|WHOLE BLOOD||FRACTIONS||Choices You Need to Make|
|PLASMA||ALBUMIN—UP TO 4% OF PLASMA
A protein extracted from plasma. Types of albumin are found also in plants, in foods such as milk and eggs, and in the milk of a nursing mother. Albumin from blood is sometimes used in volume expanders to treat shock and severe burns. These preparations may contain up to 25 percent albumin. Minute amounts are used in the formulation of many other medicines, including some formulations of erythropoietin (EPO).
|____ I accept albumin
____ I refuse albumin
|IMMUNOGLOBULINS—UP TO 3% OF PLASMA
Protein fractions that may be used in some medicines that fight viruses and diseases, such as diphtheria, tetanus, viral hepatitis, and rabies. They may also be used to guard against some medical conditions that threaten the life of a developing baby and to counteract the effects of snake or spider venom.
|____ I accept immunoglobulins
____ I refuse immunoglobulins
|CLOTTING FACTORS—LESS THAN 1% OF PLASMA
There are various proteins that help blood to clot in order to stop bleeding. Some are given to patients who tend to bleed easily. They are also used in medical glues to seal wounds and to stop bleeding after surgery. One combination of clotting factors is known as cryoprecipitate. Note: Some clotting factors are now made from nonblood sources.
|____ I accept blood-derived clotting factors
____ I refuse blood-derived clotting factors
|HEMOGLOBIN—33% OF RED CELLS
A protein that transports oxygen throughout the body and carbon dioxide to the lungs. Products being developed from human or animal hemoglobin could be used to treat patients with acute anemia or massive blood loss.
|____ I accept hemoglobin
____ I refuse hemoglobin
|HEMIN—LESS THAN 2% OF RED CELLS
An enzyme inhibitor derived from hemoglobin that is used to treat a group of rare genetic blood disorders (known as porphyria) that affect the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems.
|____ I accept hemin
____ I refuse hemin
|WHITE CELLS||NTERFERONS—A TINY FRACTION OF WHITE CELLS
Proteins that fight certain viral infections and cancers. Most interferons are not derived from blood. Some are made from fractions of human white blood cells.
|____ I accept hemin
____ I refuse hemin
|PLATELETS||At present, no fractions from platelets are being isolated for direct use in medical treatment.|
The table shows where the members of the Governing Body have “drawn the line.” The table shows that an infusion of plasma, red cells, white cells, or platelets is unacceptable for Christians. But we may ask: Where in the Scriptures do we find it written that an infusion of one of these components is wrong? The answer is obvious. This means that the members of the Governing Body have violated the saying of The Watchtower of 1972. They have added to the Word of God by “drawing the line” where the Word of God does not do so and is silent.
RETURNING TO THE REAL ISSUE – OBEDIENCE TO GOD
The refresher course for the members of the Hospital Liaison Committee in 1995 taught that if blood or blood fractions were used for the purpose of nourishing the body, that was forbidden. But if the purpose was to cure sickness that was not forbidden. This is a clear rejection of the law of God. This law says that the use of blood for any purpose, except draining it from an animal and letting it fall to the ground, is forbidden!
I have already shown that Christians are allowed to eat meat. And this meat includes a lot of blood fractions. However, because the animal from which the meat is taken has been bled, those eating the meat do not violate God’s law. So, the important point is that there is nothing wrong with the blood fractions that are included in the meat. And it is not wrong to get these blood fractions from animals into one’s body. But the real issue is obedience to God.
Table 1.1 shows that according to the members of the Governing Body, it is a personal decision whether to take albumin, immunoglobulins, clotting factors, hemoglobin, hemin, and interferons into the body. But full blood, red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma is unacceptable for Christians. The refresher course distinguished between “the bigger blood components” that were unacceptable for Christians and “the small blood fractions” that were acceptable. However, platelets and white blood cells, which are called “the bigger blood components” each constitutes only about 1% of blood volume, but albumin constitutes about 2% of blood volume and hemoglobin constitutes around 13% of blood volume, and both are called “small blood fractions.”
As I already have mentioned, taking blood fractions into the body by eating meat is not a violation of the holiness of blood. And similarly, taking one of the “small blood fractions” into the body neither is a violation of the holiness of blood. This is so because there is no prohibition in the Holy Scriptures against any of these fractions. But what about the so-called “bigger blood components”? There is no prohibition against any of these components in the Scriptures, and this means that taking one of these components into the body neither is a violation of the holiness of blood. When there is no prohibition, taking these components into the body can be compared with taking blood components into the body by eating meat. When the members of the Governing Body have “drawn the line” in connection with blood components that are acceptable and not acceptable for Christians, they have unjustly added something to the Word of God.
The situation in connection with blood components and blood fractions can be illuminated by Romans 14:5-18
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. 6 The one who observes the day observes it to Jehovah. Also, the one who eats, eats to Jehovah, for he gives thanks to God; and the one who does not eat does not eat to Jehovah, and yet gives thanks to God. 7 Not one of us, in fact, lives with regard to himself only, and no one dies with regard to himself only.8 For if we live, we live to Jehovah, and if we die, we die to Jehovah. So both if we live and if we die, we belong to Jehovah. 9 For to this end Christ died and came to life again, so that he might be Lord over both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says Jehovah, ‘to me every knee will bend, and every tongue will make open acknowledgment to God.’” 12 So, then, each of us will render an account for himself to God. 13 Therefore, let us not judge one another any longer but, rather, be determined not to put a stumbling block or an obstacle before a brother. 14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; only where a man considers something to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 For if your brother is being offended because of food, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not by your food ruin that one for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore, do not let the good you do be spoken of as bad. 17 For the Kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking, but means righteousness and peace and joy with holy spirit. 18 For whoever slaves for Christ in this way is acceptable to God and has approval with men.
A basic point in the quotation above is the Christian freedom of the servants of God. A Jew who had kept the Jewish sabbath all his life, and who had become a Christian, could continue to rest on the sabbath day, as he always had done. He was free to do that. And similarly, a Jew who never had eaten an animal that was unclean according to the law of Moses, and who became a Christian, could continue not to eat “unclean animals,” just as Peter did according to Acts 10:10-16. He was free to do that. However, a Christian would, of course, not eat meat or other kinds of food that were sacrificed to an idol or eat blood because that would be a violation of God’s laws to Christians.
The important point is that each Christian has the freedom to make choices when something is not forbidden by the law of God. Paul says in verse 5: “Let each one be fully convinced in his own mind.” This shows that decisions regarding Christian living should be made by each Christian. And verse 10 shows that other Christians do not have the right to judge the decisions of a brother or look down on the brother because of his decisions. This will also imply that some Christians do not have the right to make rules that other Christians must follow. But that is exactly what the members of the Governing Body unjustly have done in connection with blood components and fractions. And even worse, the members of the Governing Body have decided that those who do not follow their manmade rules regarding blood components will be disfellowshipped. This is contrary to verse 13 above where we read: “Therefore, let us not judge one another any longer but, rather, be determined not to put a stumbling block or an obstacle before a brother.”
The conclusion is that the only thing that is forbidden in the Scriptures is to use the red fluid in the veins of humans or animals for any purpose!
. Blood or blood fractions that are contaminated and given as a transfusion may physically contaminate the person.
. The letter “w” refers to the Norwegian edition of The Watchtower, and “g” refers to the Norwegian Awake!. The letters “bq” refers to the booklet Jehovah’s Witnesses and the question of blood.
. For a detailed discussion of the issue of hemophiliacs and Factor VII, see the article “Manslaughter” in the category “The eleven disfellowshipping offenses,” under the heading “The ‘criminal negligence’ of the GB may lead to bloodguilt.” Also, see the article “The implementation of the elder arrangement was a blessing — the creation of the Governing Body has been a disaster” in the category “The Governing Body.”
THE DEVELOPMENT OF ADDING TO GOD’S WORD BY UNJUSTLY “DRAWING THE LINE”
In my book, My Beloved Religion — And The Governing Body, chapters 2 and 3, I show that there was no governing body in the first century CE and that there should not be a small group of men during Christ’s presence who were appointed as “the faithful and discreet slave.” This means that the eight men of the Governing Body who have given themselves unlimited power have no biblical legacy.
A worldwide organization with millions of members must have a group of leaders. And the duty of these leaders must be to organize all these members so the organization functions in a smooth way. This requires that the leaders make some rules and regulations that the members must follow in order to have a united organization. By making rules and regulations the leaders in a number of situations must “draw the line.” But this only relates to organizational matters. And no leader has the right to “draw the line” in issues dealing with Christian faith and Christian living when the Holy Scriptures do not “draw the line” in these situations.
In addition to leaders, the worldwide Christian organization also needs teachers because it is impossible for any person just to read the Bible and by this learn the truth about God. However, the teachers do not have the right to “draw the line” in issues dealing with Christian faith and Christian living. But the duty of the teachers is to present information from the Bible that those who are being taught can check, and by this, the teachers will arrange for interactive learning. So, neither the leaders nor the teachers have the right “to draw the line” when God’s Word does not “draw the line.” Doing so would add to God’s Word. This was the view of the members of the Governing Body in 1972.
I have shown that between World War II and the year 1971, when the Governing Body was formed, only rarely did the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses “draw the line” when that was not directly based on the Scriptures. However, in the first years after the Governing Body was formed, the Body started to function as a government for Jehovah’s Witnesses. And the result was that the Governing Body “drew the line” in connection with many issues without any basis in the Scriptures. The article, “The implementation of the elder arrangement was a blessing — the creation of the Governing Body has been a disaster” in the category “The Governing Body” gives a number of examples where the Governing Body unjustly “drew the line.” I refer to a few of these examples below.
1973: The Governing Body decided that persons who continued to use tobacco should be disfellowshipped. The Watchtower of February 15, 1969, page 129, says: “The Bible does not comment directly on the view that God’s servants should have concerning the use of tobacco.” This quotation shows that the members of the Governing Body with open eyes contradicted the words of The Watchtower from the year before that no human had the right “to draw the line” when God’s Word does not “draw the line. This prohibition has lasted for 49 years.
1973: The Governing Body decided that persons who had quit their habit of using hard drugs would not be reinstated in the congregation if they used methadone. Methadone is not mentioned in the Bible. And by “drawing the line” in this way, the Governing Body ignored the fact that methadone does not cause intoxication and that it simply is a medicine. The prohibition against the use of methadone lasted for 40 years until 2013 when it was reversed. This decision of the Governing Body has prevented a great number of persons of quitting the use of hard drugs, and it has also caused an early death for a great number of these persons.
1974: The members of the Governing Body decided to intervene in the marital life of Christian couples. They decided that oral and anal sex and other lewd practices by married couples were the same as sexual immorality (porneia). Such actions could be a reason for dissolving the marriage, and persons could be disfellowshipped from the congregation. The “drawing of the line” in these cases caused much harm to husbands, wives, and children. And after 3 1/2 years, The Watchtower of February 15, 1978, page 30, admitted that the decision from 1974 was wrong. And the reason for the retraction was “in view of the absence of clear Scriptural instruction.” This reason is interesting because it corroborates with the words from 1972 that no human has the right to draw the line if the Scriptures do not draw the line.
1974: The members of the Governing Body introduce a number of new regulations in connection with secular work.
During the next seven years, the members of the Governing Body did not unjustly “draw the line” on the part of the community of Witnesses in connection with important issues related to Christian faith and Christian living. But a great number of rules were made in connection with less important issues.
1981: As early as the year 1952, the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses “drew the line” in connection with disfellowshipped persons because shunning such persons was introduced. As I show in three articles in the category “Shunning not based on the Bible,” the idea of shunning those who have been disfellowshipped is a human commandment that has no basis in the Bible. Christians are told not to fraternize with disfellowshipped persons. But they should speak with such persons and admonish them to follow the norms of Jehovah.
Until the year 1981, anyone could resign from Jehovah’s Witnesses without any sanctions. But now this was changed, and the basis of this change reveals how far the members of the Governing Body were willing to go in making human commandments and “drawing the line” contrary to the Bible. 2 John 10 says:
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him.
The members of the Governing Body admit that the persons mentioned in the verse are not disfellowshipped Christians. But they probably were Gnostics. In spite of this, the words are used in The Watchtower as proof that disfellowshipped persons must be shunned. The Watchtower of September 15, 1981, page 23, says:
Persons who make themselves “not of our sort” by deliberately rejecting the faith and beliefs of Jehovah’s witnesses should appropriately be viewed and treated as are those who have been disfellowshipped for wrongdoing.
The Watchtower of July 15, 1985, page 30, gives a reason why persons who resign should be shunned:
A person who had willfully and formally disassociated himself from the congregation would have matched that description. By deliberately repudiating God’s congregation and by renouncing the Christian way, he would have made himself an apostate.
These words show that the members of the Governing Body view themselves as those who are appointed by God as a government for Jehovah’s Witnesses. and that they have the right to make laws for the Witnesses that are not based on the Bible. That those who resign “have matched” the description of the antichrists and therefore must be shunned is an extra-biblical claim. And the words also show that the members of the Governing Body do not feel any shame by publicly exposing themselves as persons who have the right to “draw the line” in situations where the Bible does not draw the line.
1983: In 1978, the members of the Governing Body retracted the decision from 1974 that oral and anal sex inside marriage could dissolve the marriage and lead to disfellowshipping “in view of the absence of clear Scriptural instruction.” The Watchtower also said that it was wrong for others to meddle in the sexual relations between married persons. The Watchtower of March 15, 1983, page 31, had a partial retraction of the retraction from 1978: We read:
As already stated, it is not for elders to “police” the private marital matters of couples in the congregation. However, if it becomes known that a member of the congregation is practicing or openly advocating perverted sex relations within the marriage bond, that one certainly would not be irreprehensible, and so would not be acceptable for special privileges, such as serving as an elder, a ministerial servant or a pioneer. Such practice and advocacy could even lead to expulsion from the congregation.
These words show that the members of the Governing Body now had “drawn the line” as to which forms of sexual relations between married persons were right and which were wrong. The article even calls these new human rules “God’s thoughts.”
I will not give more examples of how the members of the Governing Body have added to the Word of God by “drawing the line” in situations where the Word of God does not draw the line. For more examples, I refer to my article, “The implementation of the elder arrangement was a blessing — the creation of the Governing Body has been a disaster,” in the category, “The Governing Body.”
However, the unjust action of “drawing the line” by the members of the Governing Body continued in the last part of the 20th century and throughout the 21st century. Today, there are 37 disfellowshipping offenses that are made up and introduced by the members of the Governing Body without any basis in the Bible. And there are a great number of other extra-biblical rules made by the Governing Body.
The work of the Governing Body as leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses started in a fair way in 1971. And in 1972, the members of the Governing Body put themselves in the right position below the king Jesus Christ by saying publicly, “Where God’s Word does not itself ‘draw the line,’ no human has the right to add to God’s Word by doing so.” But the actions of the members of the Governing Body in the 20th century and in the 21st century show that this dictum soon was rejected and that they put themselves in the position of Jesus Christ by excessively adding laws and rules to God’s Word.
|The members of the Governing Body have made several hundred laws and rules that are binding for all Jehovah’s Witnesses. These laws and rules are not based on the Bible but they are human commandments. This is a serious violation of Bible principles because no human has the right to make laws and rules in addition to the Bible.|
The two dictums from The Watchtower of 1972 and 1974 are:
“Where God’s Word does not itself ‘draw the line,’ No human has the right to add to God’s Word by doing so.”
“Holding to the Scriptures, neither minimizing what they say nor reading into them something they do not say.”
The only way to be faithful to the Scriptures is to follow these maxims. Between World War II and 1971, these dictums were followed with few exceptions. But after the Governing Body was created in 1971, the course was changed, and the members of the Governing Body “drew the line” in situation after situation, without any basis in the Scriptures. In the 21st century, in particular, several hundred extra-biblical laws and rules have been made.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are still the people of God. But as also was the case at the end of the 1st century CE, the leaders have given themselves more and more power, and they have introduced rules and laws that violate principles in the Scriptures.