Blood Transfusions.

Why Do Jehovah's Witnesses Refuse Blood Transfusions?

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Bible prohibits the eating of blood. They believe that injecting blood into their veins is the same thing as eating it.

Jehovah's Witnesses don't want to die, but they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary.

According to Watchtower's official rules (that only Elders have access to), if a JW voluntarily has a blood transfusion and is not repentant, they automatically 'disassociate' themselves from the organization. They are shunned by parents, grandparents, children, ... all relatives and the only close friends that they have. [1]

Punishment For Having A Blood Transfusion.

The Watchtower tells JW's to shun and avoid all contact with loved ones who are disfellowshipped (excommunicated) or disassociated.

In fact hatred for people who leave the organization is strongly encouraged. See Apostate Jehovah's Witnesses

Disagreeing with the organization is not allowed. JW's can get disfellowshipped for being critical of the Elders and the organization.

If they have a blood transfusion, JW's are cut off from all family and friends in the organization.

This is tragic because when someone is seriously ill, can you imagine what it's like to be all alone?

Parents, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, ... closest friends, ... all abandon you and pretend you no longer exist if you decided to have a blood transfusion.

  • Shunning is especially harsh because active, practicing JW's don't have any close friends outside the Watchtower religion. They are isolated from the world

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that eternal life in God's Kingdom is dependent upon strict obedience to God's laws as explained by the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses (God's faithful slave).

Refusal of Blood Transfusions For Emergency Situations.

It's interesting that JW's don't see a difference between eating blood every day as part of their diet, and having a blood transfusion one time to save a life.

For most people blood transfusions are a rare event. Some live their entire lifetime and never need one. Why are JW's willing to die?

Jehovah's Witnesses point to evidence that even in emergency situations Jehovah's ancient people were not to eat blood. 1 Samuel 14:31-35. Jehovah's Witnesses believe God wants them to abstain from blood, even in life threatening situations.

They believe that if they try to save their life they'll lose it. And if they lose their life because they are faithful to Jesus, then they'll be rewarded with eternal life in God's Kingdom.

Jesus said this, 'If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.' NLT, Matthew 10:39

Therefore the need for a blood transfusion is much like a 'test' from Jesus. Will they pass of fail?

Since JW's worry about missing out on eternal life, and use the words of Jesus to support their beliefs, let's take a look at the example Jesus left us.

We know that Jesus could heal the sick and even resurrect the dead, but if he wasn't able to do these miracles, would he break God's law to save a life? What does the Bible say?

What Did Jesus Say?

The Bible says that Jesus broke the rules, - even in non-emergency situations! Certainly in life or death situations Jesus would have broken Jehovah's laws in a heart beat, - without giving it a second thought. See Jehovah vs Jesus

It was the Pharisees who attempted to keep the law at all costs. However the Jewish leaders were not monsters. There is evidence that even the Pharisees broke God's laws in emergency situations when the life of a human or animal was at risk. Luke 13:15,17;

Jesus loved people. He put the welfare of people first and rules second. e.g. The Bible says that 'the ruler of the Synagogue' was angered because Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath day. Luke 13:10-17; Since it was not an emergency, the Pharisees were concerned that Jesus broke God's law. Working on the Sabbath was a serious crime punishable by death. Exodus 31:15

Jesus said "The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath." Mark 2:27.

Couldn't we apply this same principle to the prohibition on eating blood? The purpose of the law was to bless people, not put their life in danger.

The rule about not eating blood was not meant to harm people or deny them of the essentials of life. There were healthier food choices. A prohibition on eating blood didn't deprive their bodies of essential nutrients or put their lives at risk in any way.

What Did Jehovah Say?

Would Jehovah be angered if a JW has a blood transfusion?

According to Jewish tradition, a sick person could be given aid on the Sabbath if their life was threatened. (i.e. an emergency situation.)

e.g. The Pharisees had no problem breaking the Sabbath law to give their animals water, even though breaking the Sabbath law was punished by death. Luke 13:15,17;

Clearly then, if the Sabbath law could be broken to save a life or to be humane to an animal, the law on blood could be broken as well when someone's life was threatened.

God is love. His laws can be broken to do good.

However Jesus took it one step farther. Jesus broke the Sabbath law to heal people who could have waited until another day. Luke 13:14-17 This angered the Pharisees and they plotted to put him to death. Mark 3:6

Jesus explained God's love for all people, - 'good' people (according to your definition), 'enemies', 'the ungrateful and the wicked'. Luke 6:35. Jesus is the path to eternal life. 1 John 5:11; Jude 1:21; John 3:36; John 17:3; John 6:68. All authority in heaven and on earth was given to Jesus. Matthew 28:18.

2000 years ago the Jews were able to break the Sabbath law to provide water for their animals. Luke 13:14-17; Certainly then the Jews could have broken God's law on eating blood if it meant life or death.

What About 1 Samuel 14:31-35?

As for the so-called 'emergency' situation in 1 Samuel 14:31-35, it is not likely that people would have died.

The Bible says that the Israelites 'were exhausted' and that's why they didn't take the time to drain the blood out of the animals they killed for food. There is no evidence whatsoever that this was an emergency life or death situation.

Why the JW Religion Is Wrong About Blood Transfusions.

According to the Bible, followers of Jesus and Jehovah can break the God's laws to save a life and do good. That's what Jesus did.

God's son put love first, ahead of his Father's laws. He had compassion for people. He healed them at every opportunity and even on the Sabbath.

The law was made for the people. The people were not made to meet the requirements of the law. Mark 2:27; Mark 3:1-6

JW's believe they are showing respect for blood by refusing blood transfusions. However they are not showing respect for human life, God, and Jesus by refusing blood transfusions. They are showing respect for the organization and no one else.

Jesus said, 'What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'" ' Matthew 15:11

There is a difference between eating blood every day as part of your diet and having a blood transfusion to save a life.

According to Jesus, 'The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.'

God is love. All His laws were made to bless His people, not put their lives at risk.

If Jesus openly broke the Sabbath law (which was punishable by death) to heal people who could have waited another day, certainly JW's could break God's law on eating blood to save a life.

The question is this. Will JW's obey the JW religion? Or will they put God first and live?

What You Can Do.

If you're a health care professional and a JW refuses blood, print this article and give it to them. Take a look at some of the other articles as well and see if something catches your attention.

JW's are not allowed to visit websites such as this one because information is censored by the organization. If you send them here they might be too afraid to consider what we have to say. JW's believe that all viewpoints that oppose what the organization says are Satanic. See Two Choices

Continued > Why Jehovah's Witnesses Are Wrong About Blood Transfusions. Leviticus 17

More Articles About Blood Transfusions.


1. It's important to note that Jehovah's Witnesses may argue that they shun members who have a blood transfusion. Here's why.

  1. They are not allowed to read the official Watchtower rules
  2. They're trying to protect the organization. See 'Theocratic Lying'
  3. They are embarrassed to admit they practice shunning and it's required by the organization.. See Watchtower Shunning Policy

2. It's very tough for Jehovah's Witnesses to accept a blood transfusion as a matter of conscience, because they know they'll be abandoned, rejected, shunned, and even hated at a time when they need the support of loved ones the most.