Beliefs about blood:
They refuse to accept blood transfusions and do not allow them to be given to their children. This is based upon four passages in the Bible which prohibit the consuming of blood:
Genesis 9:4 "But flesh (meat) with...blood...ye shall not eat"
Leviticus 17:12-14 "...No soul of you shall eat blood...whosoever eateth it shall be cut off"
Acts 15:29 "That ye abstain...from blood..."
Acts 21:25 "...Gentiles...keep themselves from things offered to idols and from blood..."
The WTS interprets "eating" of blood in its most general form to include accepting "transfusion of whole blood, packed RBCs, and plasma, as well as WBC and platelet administration." . Essentially all other Christian and Jewish faith groups belief that the passages refer to dietary laws; i.e. to the actual eating of meat containing blood.
Because Witnesses believe that any blood that leaves the body must be destroyed, they do not approve of an individual storing his own blood for a later autotransfusion.
Child Protective Services often intrude on parents' rights and take into care sick WTS children whose health or life is threatened by the lack of a blood transfusion. An adult Jehovah's Witness who willingly accepts a blood transfusion is considered to be committing a sin and might forfeit his or her eternal life. Many non WTS sources imply that the church teaches that all who have had a transfusion (even if given against their will or at an age or situation when they cannot give informed consent) will lose their eternal life. This is in error.
The 1997-FEB edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) contained a review of the book Blood on the Altar by David Reed. The reviewer wrote that if the information in the book is true, then the WTS policy on blood transfusions has "led thousands to die needlessly." Unfortunately, neither JAMA nor the book reviewer have reviewed the accuracy of this data.
The WTS periodical Awake once showed pictures of Jehovah's Witnesses children who followed the churches ban on blood transfusions and died. 2 It is, of course, unknown how many would still have died if they had a transfusion. One particularly sad case occurred in the UK when a woman bled to death after giving birth to her second child. 17 An unusual court case involving a Witness and a blood transfusion occurred in Pomona, CA. Keith Cook, a drunken driver, had rammed his pickup truck into a stationary car, pushing it into a 55 year old woman, Jadine Russell. she was standing by the side of the road. She was a Jehovah's Witness, refused a blood transfusion, and died in hospital. Cook was found not guilty on his original murder charge, but was convicted of manslaughter. Prosecutors said Cook was responsible for the death because he caused the injuries. His lawyers argued that the immediate cause of Russell's death was her refusal of a blood transfusion. 18 There appears to be a significant movement within the medical community to minimize or eliminate blood transfusions during surgery. 20, 21, 22 The group: Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood " describe themselves as "a diverse group of Witnesses from many countries, including elders and other organization officials, Hospital Liaison Committee members, Doctors, and members of the general public who have volunteered their time and energies in an effort to bring about an end to a tragic and misguided policy that has claimed thousands of lives, many of them children. promoting change within the WTS on the topic of blood transfusions."
In 1967, they said that organ transplants are a form of cannibalism and are to be shunned. 12 They reversed this decision in 1980 and made transplants a matter of personal conscience. 13 Unfortunately, an unknown number of Jehovah's Witnesses had died between 1967 and 1980 because they had refused available transplants.
Bone marrow transplants:
1963, they considered that any fraction of blood was a nutrient and not to be used in medical treatment. 15 In 1978, they reversed this decision for certain blood fractions used for the treatment of hemophiliacs. 16 In 1984, they declared that accepting a bone marrow transplant was up to the individual conscience.
Many Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs, (e.g. inerrancy of the Bible, the Virgin Birth, Jesus giving his life as a ransom for past and future humanity, opposition to divorce, homosexuality, pre-marital sex and abortion, the power of Satan, etc.) are similar to those of Fundamentalist Christianity.
They do not believe in the Trinity. Instead, they follow a strict monotheism, in which:
Jehovah is the Supreme Being,
Jesus is the son of God, a created being.
Christ is believed to have originally existed in a pre-human state as the Archangel Michael. He later took human form as a man like any other person, except that he was sinless at birth and remained so through life. After the crucifixion, Christ died and was resurrected as an invisible, non-material, glorious spirit creature.
The Holy Ghost is not a separate entity, but is simply the method by which God interacts with the world.
The Heavenly Kingdom took effect in 1914 with the invisible enthronement of Christ as King. It is currently occupied by a little flock or Anointed Class of about 135,400 people. All were selected after Christ's ascension into heaven at Pentecost (33 CE) and during subsequent centuries. The selection of the full complement of 144,000 was completed in 1935. Some 8,600 are still living on earth. They will spend eternity with God and Christ as spirit creatures. The latter number increases slightly from time to time as anointed but unfaithful members are replaced.
They reject the traditional symbol of Christianity, the cross, as being of pagan origin. They translate the Greek word from the Christian Scriptures "stauros" as "torture stake", and believe that Jesus was crucified on a single upright wooden stake with no cross beam.
Christ's Second Coming was not a physical return to earth. It was an invisible event in 1914 in which Satan and Christ engaged in a heavenly battle. Afterwards, Christ began to the rule the Heavenly Kingdom as King of Kings. Satan was expelled to Earth. World War I was a visible sign of Satan's earthly and the beginning of the woes that would accompany the "last days of this system of things."
In the very near future, the battle of Armageddon will begin. Jesus, under Jehovah's divine rage, will execute vengeance upon the rest of Christendom and followers of other religions. The WTS refers to other religions as Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion (Revelation 17). After much suffering, massive human extermination and many upheavals, the world will be purified. God's Kingdom, a theocracy, will be established on earth for 1000 years. This is known as the millennium or the New System of things. The "other sheep" (those who survive Armageddon, will live in peace in the newly created utopia. They will be joined by the worthy dead who have been resurrected.
After the 1000 years of God's Kingdom, Satan and his demons will be released for a short time. They, and their human followers, will then be destroyed.
People who die before Armageddon actually cease to exist. They expire and their body deteriorates and returns to dust. At the time of resurrection, God will create a new body for each believer. It will be similar to their former shell, but without the imperfections. They will resume life with their original personality and memories.
They totally deny the existence of the traditional Christian view of Hell. Satan is regarded as having created the concept of Hellfire in order to turn people against God. They believe that hell is the "common grave of mankind" where people go when they die. They are not conscious there. Unbelievers simply cease to exist at death.
Salvation requires that one must accept doctrines as interpreted by the Governing Body from the Bible, be baptized as a Jehovah's Witness and follow the program of works as laid out by the Governing Body. (Evangelical Christians deny the necessity of "works" which is implicit in the third requirement).
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