At the time of this writing, an estimated 34,104 Witnesses have needlessly died due to the Watchtower’s blood policies since 1961.
Who is responsible for those deaths?
Certainly the Governing Body takes no responsibility. Looking back, there never was an apology or even a admission of wrong on their part when their former rules cost the lives of followers who were denied vaccinations, organ transplants, and fractionated blood transfusions — even after they realized the rules they’d laid down were bogus.
Nevertheless, we place the bulk of the blame squarely on their shoulders. When you have duped the gullible into believing that you know “God’s Laws” and you tell them that life-saving medical procedures are against those laws, and that they will be shunned and suffer eternal death for breaking those laws, then you bear responsibility for their deaths.
Of course individual Witnesses must also share some blame for not checking the facts for themselves. But we need to cut them some slack; it is not easy to fact-check when one is being unduly influenced by a cult.
Then what can we say of Jehovah’s Witness parents who blindly follow when the Watchtower says, in effect: “Let your children die rather than disobey our rules, no matter how wrong our rules may appear to you and no matter if they seem to lack common-sense”?
Only the undue influence of a cult is strong enough to come between the powerful love of a parent and a child. The fact that Witness parents allow their children to die for want of a transfusion is, in fact, the surest proof that they are the victims of cult indoctrination.
Some Witnesses feel that they are safe and secure as long as they follow whatever the organization tells them. They think that when they “meet their maker” they can say, “I just followed whatever your organization told me was right and avoided what it said was wrong.” Then, if it turns out the organization made mistakes about right and wrong, it won’t be their fault.
Here’s an example from a Witness who corresponded with me some years ago:
I therefore work to keep myself from freaking out on what doesn’t work at my own workplace and in my own cong. I go to work, its never perfect, but my GOAL in working? – – is to get a paycheck – – not run the damn thing.
Similarly I attend Christian meeting where my “goal” is life everlasting (truth FROM the bible), not to run the damn thing but to get a paycheck… and let Jehovah worry about everyone else, the Org, whatever.
When we overstep our realm of god given authority with actions, we commit actions against gods arrangements… Since individual Christians therefore are free to submit their thinking to the WTS. The WTS are the ones commissioned to make it happen or not make it happen (assuming they are the chosen channel for that sort of thing etc.) Our standing before god as free agents has been fulfilled, we have done our part. If we really believe that god runs things, we really believe that we are not responsible to freak out in actions against the revealed channels.
But there’s nothing in the Bible that suggests that we can shirk our responsibility in this way. Nowhere does it say that individuals are absolved of all responsibility for their actions as long as their actions are in accord with some autocratic organization — even one that claims to be directed by a god.
No, we are each responsible for our own actions. We cannot say “I was just following orders.” Even human tribunals (such as the courts of justice at the Nuremberg Trials) do not fall for such an excuse. It is our individual duty as human beings to decide right and wrong for ourselves, guided by our reason and our inherent empathy. As Jesus reputedly said:
Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
If you are a Jehovah’s Witness parent, know that God (or nature) has made you responsible for the protection of your child. You cannot look your child in the eye and say, “I have to let you die because someone told me so; don’t blame me!” The responsibility is yours to make certain that the actions you take are truly in the best interests of your child’s welfare. After reading through this 8-part series of articles I don’t see how any rational person could help but see that what the Watchtower demands of parents in this regard is ungrounded, fallacious, counterfactual, and morally reprehensible. (And I’m putting it mildly.)
As we’ve seen, the Watchtower’s blood policies are not biblical, loving, or sensible. Therefore the Governing Body are unnecessarily putting the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses in danger.
According to the Bible, when we deliberately put someone’s life unnecessarily in danger, we could become bloodguilty.
(Awake!, June 22, 1985, p. 27)
What does the Watchtower tell us we must do if we find that we are a member of a bloodguilty organization?
The Scriptures show that if we are part of any organization that is bloodguilty before God, we must sever our ties with it if we do not want to share in its sins. (Rev. 18;4, 24: Mic. 4:3)
Such action deserves urgent attention.
(United in Worship of the Only True God, p. 155 – WBTS 1983)
The rest is up to you.