Blood Transfusions – Watchtower “Truth” vs. Fact

According to Lee Elder, Director of AJWRB (Associated Jehovah’s Witness for Reform on Blood), most Jehovah’s Witnesses believe “…blood transfusions are bad medicine and the equivalent of playing Russian Roulette.”

The Watchtower has so thoroughly indoctrinated them about the potential risks of transfusions, even in life and death situations where doctors and emergency technicians have no viable alternatives, “…that the mere thought is totally abhorrent to many of them.”

These irrational fears often persist for years even among former Jehovah’s Witnesses. One can only guess at how many injured and sick Jehovah’s Witnesses and their non-baptized family members have died from lack of proper medical treatment since the mid 1940s when the Watchtower first introduced their “No Blood!” doctrine.

Even vaccinations and organ transplants were banned or discouraged from the 1930′s all the way into the mid 1980s. Many JWs could not travel outside of their own countries because they refused smallpox and other vaccinations required to get border entry permits. Most JWs (quietly encouraged by Watchtower leaders) refused both the Salk injection and Sabin oral vaccines, even during worst periods of worldwide polio epidemics in the 1950s. That fact has quietly gone unmentioned by the Watchtower in recent years and is largely unknown by most modern-day JWs. It’s noteworthy that Watchtower officers and traveling overseers quietly bent their own rules, willingly getting required vaccinations so that they could travel to other countries.

As Lee Elder points out in his recent article on, “…it is a fair statement that Watchtower writers cannot be trusted when it comes to the presentation of science. They cherry pick stale statistics that demonstrate both their bias and dishonesty. Their lack of objectivity is appalling when you consider that life and death decisions are made based on this information and frequently those decisions involve minor children and adolescents.”

Lee makes it clear that there are valid arguments on both sides of the question. “This is not to say that blood products are without risks. This includes the vast array of blood products approved for use by the Watchtower Society. The question really comes down to risk versus benefit. If there are alternatives that can do the job doctors generally prefer to use them for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, there are not always viable alternatives to blood products.”

Lee also makes the point that the Watchtower does not always truthfully tell the “whole story.” He continues, “Clearly, the risks are far less than suggested by the Watchtower Society. You can view the Blood brochure online at the Watchtower Society website [] and see that even now in 2014 they continue to publish the risk rate of 1 death per 13,000 bottles. This despite the fact that the actual risk of death is less than 1 per 2,000,000.”

In other words, as Lee makes very clear, “You have a greater chance of dying from a lightning strike than a blood transfusion.”

Check out the new website and read Lee Elder’s original article in its entirely as described above. He also includes interesting graphics and supporting references at:



“Lee Elder,” Director of AJWRB and editor of, has accepted his nomination to join AAWA’s Board of Advisors. “Lee” has been at the forefront of the blood reform movement for many years. Because of his unique situation, he has decided to remain anonymous, keeping his personal details private for now. Those of us who have had the privilege to meet him can assure our readers and supporters that he is “the real deal” – intelligent, competent, and totally dedicated to his cause. He fits in well with AAWA’s board.

AJWRB has been around since 1998 and has its own board of directors. Its existence has been threatened for several years and its organization structure has changed several times. But its website has existed in some form since the organization’s founding. In late 2013 AAWA’s Board and officers offered a helping hand and technical support to give a proper home and a visitor friendly website.

AJWRB’s goal is, and has always been, to educate, inform and provide advice to physicians, attorneys – and yes, even individual Jehovah’s Witnesses about the Watchtower’s blood policy.Other than full cooperation with AAWA’s board and joining us in our fight for changes in the Watchtower’s blood doctrine, AJWRB remains otherwise autonomous. Lee Elder and his fellow AJWRB board members have proven themselves capable and consistent in their fight to save Jehovah’s Witnesses and their families from dying needlessly or suffering complications due to resistance to transfusions and blood related treatment.

Gregorio Smith, independent filmmaker and writer, has also accepted his nomination to AAWA’s board. Gregorio is editor, director, and producer of the film, “Truth Be Told.” We will publish more information about Mr. Smith and his future involvement with AAWA in a forthcoming article. Visit his website here.


Blood Transfusions – Watchtower “Truth” vs. Fact — 7 Comments

  1. After 30 years with Watchtower I still would not accept blood transfusions. Use of blood products should be personeal choice for the benefit. In the 1960s I did not accept the blood with the shot given my children. They were okay.
    Transfusions are too much of a business for proffit and much risk and can be circomvented by blood plasma expanders. Good doctors prefef not to use blood, as stated by your article.
    The problem if find is in the medical systems’s prejudice against a personal choice of NOT accepting blood. Many times treatment is withheld that could save the life otherwise.
    This issue should not be controlled by WT or any other. The medical system does much questionable and harmful-lethal treatments. I know. It is a big business as is religion. The whole world is upside down.

    • Hello Elmay, for many ex witnesses there is still an entrenched view regarding the use of blood and its products that can be very difficult for individuals to come to terms with. There is one particular area that all responsible surgeons will agree on and it is with regard to hemorrhage, internal bleeding, and subsequent heavy and dramatic blood loss. They all agree in these emergency circumstances there is no alternative other than to act responsibly and to have a blood transfusion thereby allowing the bodies internal organs to continue functioning as the trauma specialist act on the injuries sustained. There are no alternatives other than blood to counteract a life threatening situation brought about through hemorrhage and trauma injuries.

    • Elmay, In my recent experience I have found just the opposite when dealing with doctors. 12 years ago, before I had open heart surgery involving 5 bypasses, I asked my doctor if I would be getting blood transfusions. He replied that under normal circumstances that I would not, but they would have blood available in the operating room in case I began hemorrhaging or if my blood counts dropped too far below a “safe level.” I was not taking a stand against having transfusions, just asking out of curiosity.

      He informed me that only about 5% of all corrective surgeries, even those involving the heart, liver and intestines, actually required blood transfusions during the surgery. As you stated about the cost of blood, he mentioned that the operation would be expensive enough (turned out to be nearly $250,000), so blood therapy would only add to that. He made it clear to me, however, that if necessary they would under normal circumstances, take every other course first before resorting to blood transfusions, but once the decision was made to use blood they would without hesitation. I was OK with that.

      I never mentioned Jehovah’s Witnesses or my past beliefs or any of that. I think the hospital’s high standards had more to do with continued concerns relating to the AIDS virus – although all blood is now screened for all kinds of diseases and may be filtered prior to release to hospitals. I don’t think they ever connect patients directly to donors any more like they did back in the World War 2 days.

      During emergencies and major surgery doctors are always keeping a close eye on the patient’s blood pressure and volume counts. Now when they do surgery or handle injuries they are constantly applying pressure and using cauterization to control blood loss. They don’t need anyone from an HLC hanging over their shoulders making them do the right thing, at least in the USA, Canada, and most of Europe.

  2. I read an article in my local newspaper that contained a reference to Lee Elder’s website. I carefully, very carefully memorized the address. AJWRB was the first website I dared to visit that went counter to WT. It was the first step I took on my journey out of the Watchtower. I read with intense interest everything on Lee’s site. He completely changed my mind on the efficacy of accepting a blood transfusion.
    You see back in 1982 when my second son was born the doctor who headed the intensive care nursery told me that my newborn would not live the day out if he did not receive a blood transfusion. My husband and I adamantly refused. To make a long story short, my son not only lived without a transfusion but thrived. From then on we were ardent supporters of the WT’s stance on rejecting blood. So you see Lee really had to make a convincing argument to change my mind so radically. When I reasoned on the matter I could see that everything that was said on AJWRB was backed up by scientific evidence, no conjecture, no “new light’, just the facts.
    Thank you Lee Elder.
    A very grateful, and thanks to you, Reopened Mind

  3. (Leviticus 3:16, 17) . . .All the fat belongs to Jehovah. 17 “‘It is a statute to time indefinite for YOUR generations, in all YOUR dwelling places: YOU must not eat any fat or any blood at all.’”

    When I found out the ISRAELITES were not to eat FAT and BLOOD which were believed to be Jehovah’s food, I was shocked!! FAT is no more a problem! What about blood? Does Jehovah still considers BLOOD his food? If yes, what type of BLOOD does he/she feed on?

    Stupidity is hard to fight.

  4. Hi Hakizimana, that is a scripture that broke through the conditioning and helped me finally understand what it was really about. Those laws were for the Israelite’s, and in context it has nothing to do with us and modern medicine. I still have a reluctance when it comes to blood transfusions – but I am making progress to see it more realistically through informing myself of all the facts, not just some cherry picked ones.

  5. Hi Asiza Tait , good progress. The secret is to be free and join others whatever your role can be, in finding solutions to everyday problem humans have to face. Blood transfusions is one of discoveries I love. You will cry if you learn that Jehovah’s Witnesses are forbidden to have some vaccines not to “EAT BLOOD”!!! Good progress anyway. I was a Seventh Day Adventist before I became a JW but could not and still cannot eat some types of meet like porc though I now know it is not a sin. Religion has a lot of power on the way we think and behave!

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