Jehovah`s Witness/Clarification re ORGAN TRANSPLANT

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Question
Hello once again EddieG


Please consider this quote:

11/15/67 pages 702-706:  "Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. This is cannibalistic. God did not grant permission for humans to try to perpetuate their lives by cannibalistically taking into their bodies human flesh, whether  chewed or in the form of whole organs or body parts taken from others."




Now how do JWs says it's a PERSONAL CHOICE?




Looking forward

Answer
Hi Dave,

Thanks for the question, but I'm not sure why you asked the same question again since it was addressed many times already. In fact Brother Hepburn gave a very extensive explanation and Sister T gave one as well.

Anyway since you asked, the short answer to your question is:

IT IS INDEED A MATTER OF CHOICE, A PERSONAL CHOICE (according to ones CONSCIENCE - Bible trained or not).

And in addition the quote you provided doesn't say otherwise.

Matter of fact the article that you quoted from, it stated the following:

"It should be evident from this discussion that Christians who have been enlightened by God’s Word do not need to make these decisions simply on the basis of personal whim or emotion. They can consider the divine principles recorded in the Scriptures and use these in making personal decisions as they look to God for direction, trusting him and putting their confidence in the future that he has in store for those who love him.—Prov. 3:5, 6; Ps. 119:105. *** w67 11/15 pp. 703-704 Questions From Readers ***--  end quote

So again it's clear IF you READ the ENTIRE article, the decision is up to the INDIVIDUAL. It is as you put it a PERSONAL CHOICE.

But to satisfy your curiosity as well as to clear up the misunderstanding by others (Linda G)

I'll put it in a life or death situation.

I'll put it this way:

-- Supposed you happen to be in a similar situation like those who crashed in the Andes Mountains of Chile in 1972. How would handle your situation in order to stay alive?

Will you (like the survivors) be willing to eat the flesh of your fellow (dead) passengers?

Or ABSTAIN from eating their flesh no matter what?

What will you do in such situation Dave - in a matter of life and death situation?

Will you allow others to make the decision for you or will you make the decision for yourself?

Now what if some of your fellow survivors chose not to violate their conscience and refused to eat their (dead) fellow human beings? Will you condemn and say to them that what they did was wrong? That their decision was INCORRECT? Or will you give them the right to make that decision?

What about those who did ate, will you judge them too? Will you say to them that what they did was wrong? That their decision was INCORRECT?

If not, then really, what is the difference between this life and death situation (the eating of human flesh to stay alive) and that of the "organ transplant"?

Basically none, other than one is "chewed" and the other is transplanted - both go into the same body to sustain life.

But again who should make the decision, Dave?

If you say it's your own decision and no one else, then what gives you the right to question the decisions of others?

Now, since we're discussing ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION, and since "God did not grant permission for humans to try to perpetuate their lives by cannibalistically taking into their bodies human flesh, whether chewed or in the form of whole organs or body parts taken from others", does this mean that we have no CHOICE but to UNREASONABLY abide by such decree?

The answer is obviously NO as already stated.

But looking at your question again, you (as well as others) seem to imply, that since the Watchtower stated that "taking into their bodies human flesh, whether chewed or in the form of whole organs or body parts taken from others" is "cannibalistic", thus the DECISION WAS/IS ALREADY MADE FOR ALL by the Watchtower.

As already shown - that is not the case! Not at all!

The statement you quoted IS stating the FACT! both in medical terms and in human terms.

Note the article again:

"First, it would be well to have in mind that organ transplant operations, such as are now being performed in an attempt to repair the body or extend a life-span, were not the custom thousands of years ago, so we cannot expect to find legislation in the Bible on transplanting human organs. Yet, this does not mean that we have no indication of God’s view of such matters." -- end quote

And since:

"Humans were allowed by God to eat animal flesh and to sustain their human lives by taking the lives of animals, though they were not permitted to eat blood. Did this include eating human flesh, sustaining one’s life by means of the body or part of the body of another human, alive or dead? No! That would be cannibalism, a practice abhorrent to all civilized people. Jehovah clearly made a distinction between the lives of animals and the lives of humans, mankind being created in God’s image, with his qualities. (Gen. 1:27) This distinction is evident in His next words. God proceeded to show that man’s life is sacred and is not to be taken at will, as may be done with the animals to be used for food. To show disrespect for the sanctity of human life would make one liable to have his own life taken.—Gen. 9:5, 6." -- end quote

Thus:

"It is of interest to note that in its discussion of cannibalism the Encyclopœdia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings, Volume 3, page 199, has a section designated “Medical cannibalism.” It points out that this is associated with the idea of obtaining strength or some medical virtue from the flesh of another human, adding: “The most remarkable example of this practice occurs in China. Among the poor it is not uncommon for a member of the family to cut a piece of flesh from arm or leg, which is cooked and then given to a sick relative. . . . The whole superstition in China is certainly connected with the idea that the eating of the human body strengthens the eater. . . . Among savages the practice is found of giving a sick man some blood to drink drawn from the veins of a relative.” Some might argue that therapeutic practices involved in modern organ transplant operations are more scientific than such primitive treatment. Nonetheless, it is evident that men practicing medicine have not been beyond using treatments that amount to cannibalism if such have been thought justified."-- end quote

But as our knowledge advances so does technology.

And just like the technology used in processing blood into many parts/sub-parts (fractions) had advanced, ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION in the same way if not more had advance exponentially. And it's this technological advancement that has BLURRED the way we look at things, especially human organs. Never before, can we separate, isolate, dissect, process human tissues / parts into many parts and sub-parts - down to the cellular level.

Because of this it is OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE to be certain that such ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION (whether flesh or blood) is NOT a violation, in violation of God's LAW ON BLOOD! That our conscience IS clear ON the  matter.

And since the advancement of medical science and technology has BLURRED the lines of whether  ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION is cannibalism or not, we need to be sure that the THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS. That it's NOT a violation of God's LAW ON BLOOD!

Really, for what real value if we're able to save our lives now but then violate God's law and later lose the chance of a lifetime - to live with an everlasting life in a paradise earth? None at all!

Thus in this case the end doesn't justify the means or the means doesn't justify the end.

In addition if your (God given) conscience allows you OR not allow you to take in human flesh in any form or in some LIMITED form, the decision is STILL between you and your God. In NO uncertain TERMS it's anyone else is - but yours alone.

And for true Christians, the principle is clear:

“For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for the sake of me and the good news will save it.” (Mark 8:35)

“This is the will of him that sent me, that I should lose nothing out of all that he has given me but that I should resurrect it at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone that beholds the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him at the last day.”” (John 6:39, 40)

So if we TRULY love and trust God and his commands, if we truly love and trust Jesus' words, there's NOTHING in this world that will make us violate our Bible based conscience. None!

Finally, the same article SPECIFICALLY stated:

"Modern science has developed many different types of operations that involve human body parts, some common and usually successful and others experimental and often unsuccessful. It is not our place to decide whether such operations are advisable or warranted from a scientific or medical standpoint. It would be well, though, for Christians faced with a decision in this regard to consider the indication as to God’s viewpoint presented in the Scriptures.—Eph. 5:10." -- end quote

In addition:

"...personal views and conscientious feelings vary on this issue of transplantation. It is well known that the use of human materials for human consumption varies all the way from minor items, such as hormones and corneas, to major organs, such as kidneys and hearts. While the Bible specifically forbids consuming blood, there is no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue. For this reason, each individual faced with making a decision on this matter should carefully and prayerfully weigh matters and then decide conscientiously what he or she could or could not do before God. It is a matter for personal decision. (Gal. 6:5) The congregation judicial committee would not take disciplinary action if someone accepted an organ transplant." -- end quote -"*** w80 3/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***

But consider:

"Those who receive blood from another person face risks essentially similar to those undergoing an organ transplant. Immune responses tend to reject foreign tissue. In some cases, blood transfusions can actually prevent the activation of natural immune responses. Such immunosuppression leaves the patient vulnerable to postoperative infections and to viruses that had previously been inactive. It is no wonder that Professor Ian M. Franklin, quoted at the outset of this article, encourages clinicians to “think once, twice and three times before transfusing patients.”-- end quote - *** g 8/06 p. 6 Transfusion Medicine—Is Its Future Secure? ***

Bottom line, it's according to ones (God trained) conscience on how to view such matters. Whether it violates God's commands or not. AND no one should judge the decision made by others. As for minors - it's the (God fearing) parent's decision to make, no one else.

On a Side Note:

****

"● ...are we to conclude that Jehovah’s witnesses oppose the people’s use of transfusions?

That would be a wrong conclusion. Jehovah’s witnesses do not oppose the people’s use of transfusions, but allow each one the right to decide for himself what he can conscientiously do. The Israelites felt bound to abide by God’s law forbidding the eating of meat with the blood congealed in it, but still they had no objection whatever to those outside God’s organization doing it, and even supplied unbled carcasses to outsiders who regularly ate such things anyway. (Deut. 14:21) Each one decides for himself, and bears the responsibility for his course. Jehovah’s witnesses consecrate their lives to God and feel bound by his Word, and with these things in view they individually decide their personal course and bear their personal responsibility therefor before God. So, as Joshua once said to the Israelites, “If it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; . . . as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah.”—Josh. 24:15, AS. -- end quote. *** w51 7/1 p. 416 Questions From Readers ***

******

"Bloodless Heart Transplant

 Last October, three-year-old Chandra Sharp was admitted to a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A., with a heart that was not only enlarged but also failing. She was undernourished, her growth stunted, her weight only 19 pounds [9 kg], and she needed a heart transplant. She was given only a few weeks to live. Her parents agreed to the transplant but not to blood transfusion. They are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

 This was no issue with the surgeon, Dr. Charles Fraser. The Flint Journal of Michigan reported on December 1, 1993: “Fraser said the Cleveland Clinic and other medical centers are becoming adept at performing many surgeries—including transplants—without the infusion into the patient of other people’s blood. ‘We have learned more about how to conserve blood, and how to prime the heart-lung machine with solutions other than blood,’ said Fraser.” He then added: “Some specialty hospitals have for decades been doing major cardiovascular operations without blood transfusions. . . . We always try to do surgery without (transfused) blood.”

 On October 29, he performed the heart transplant on Chandra without blood. A month later Chandra was reported doing well.-- end quote *** g94 5/22 p. 7 He ‘Remembered His Creator in the Days of His Youth’ ***

****

"AT AGE 61, José, a Belgian from the small town of Oupeye, was told that he would need a liver transplant. “It was the shock of my life,” he says. Just four decades ago, liver transplants were unthinkable. Even in the 1970’s, the survival rate was only about 30 percent. Today, however, liver transplants are routinely performed, with a much higher success rate.

But there is still a major drawback. Since liver transplants often involve excessive bleeding, doctors usually administer blood transfusions during the operation. Because of his religious convictions, José did not want blood. But he did want the liver transplant. Impossible? Some might think so. But the chief surgeon felt that he and his colleagues had a good chance of operating successfully without blood. And that is precisely what they did! Just 25 days after his operation, José was back home with his wife and daughter." --- end quote *** g00 1/8 p. 3 Pioneers in Medicine ***

*****

"Fractionation—The Use of Blood’s Lesser Ingredients in Medicine

 Science and technology make it possible to identify and extract elements from blood through a process called fractionation. To illustrate: Seawater, which is 96.5 percent water, can be divided through fractionation processes in order to capture the remaining substances present, such as magnesium, bromine and, of course, salt. Likewise, blood plasma, which makes up more than half the volume of whole blood, is over 90 percent water and can be processed to harvest fractions including proteins, such as albumin, fibrinogen, and various globulins.
 As part of a treatment or therapy, a doctor might recommend concentrated amounts of a plasma fraction. An example of such is protein-rich cryoprecipitate, which is obtained by freezing and then thawing plasma. This insoluble portion of plasma is rich in coagulation factors and is usually given to patients to stop bleeding. Other treatments may involve a product that contains a blood fraction, whether in trace amounts or as a primary ingredient. Some plasma proteins are used in routine injections that can help to increase immunity after exposure to infectious agents. Nearly all blood fractions being used in medical applications consist of the proteins found in blood plasma.
 According to Science News, “scientists have identified only several hundred of the estimated thousands of proteins typically coursing through a person’s bloodstream.” As understanding of blood grows in the future, new products derived from these proteins may emerge."-- end quote - *** g 8/06 p. 9 Transfusion Medicine—Is Its Future Secure? ***

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So will you take in human organs?

The decision is yours alone Dave just like any JW.  

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