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Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known for their refusal to accept blood products for medical procedures.

There are dangers associated with the medical use of blood but this is not the issue. It is irrelevant. Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught by their controlling body that their objection to the medical use of blood products is based purely on Scripture. It is a religious issue. It relies on the controlling body’s claimed ability to correctly interpret the Bible.

Any medical procedure brings associated risks. The decision to accept or reject a medical procedure, including the medical use of blood, must be made intelligently, in face of the facts.

It becomes a more serious issue if facts are being withheld, distorted or misrepresented in order to support faulty interpretation.

When a blanket ban is imposed, regardless of the individual diagnosis and prognosis, this can put lives needlessly at risk.

It is quite telling that although the WTS says the issue regarding blood is religious, it spends so much effort telling Witnesses about medical issues. This is a clear indication that individual Witnesses do hold deep concerns about the WTS’s stance.



In 1977, the Watchtower Society produced a definitive booklet “Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Question of Blood”. It covered religious, moral and medical issues. These three documents relate to that WTS booklet.

  • The first document is a Study I wrote in the 1980s that addresses each point raised in the Society’s booklet.
  • The second document provides an extract from that Study.
  • The third document reproduces the Chapter from the Study dealing with the WTS’s handling of medical sources.

In April 1989, I received a personal letter from Ray Franz, who wrote:
“While the booklet on Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Question of Blood was written primarily by Gene Smalley, I know that Dr. [Lowell] Dixon reviewed it with him and made suggestions.”

I have provided a scan of his letter.

The Watchtowers Handling of Blood

Extract from my "Handling Blood"

Handling Medical Evidence

Letter from Ray Franz

I provided this file for researchers. It lists the 106 References provided in the booklet, “Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Question of Blood”. It shows the context in the booklet of each Reference.

When the Watchtower’s arguments are removed, it is surprising that their conclusions can be arrived at, unless of course one starts with the conclusion they want to arrive at, and is using these References to support a predetermined outcome.

Refs from “JWs and Question of Blood”

The Society’s New Testament appeal concerning abstention from “Blood” is based on the declaration by James at Acts 15. Has James been understood correctly?

Acts 15 Acts 21 and Ezekiel

A JW Elder needed answers from the WTS concerning the medical use of blood, so he wrote to them.
The communications that followed bring together several threads:

  • there are JWs who are unhappy with the WTS's current position on blood, and they have reasons for their discontent
  • how the WTS attempted to manage the situation
  • the WTS's focus on loyalty to the Governing Body above Scriptural proof
  • the devastating effect on the Elder.

The attached PDF file provides a synopsis and an analysis of their correspondence.

The Jensen letters analysis and commentary


The real reason JWs refuse some blood products and some medical procedures involving blood.

The WTS, which is not a “No Blood” organization, says it is ok to withhold the truth and to be evasive with the truth.

The WTS expects JWs to break the law by passing on confidential patient information to their Elders.

Help a JW patient make their own decision on the medical use of blood.

Manage the information available to the WTS’s Hospital Liaison Committees.

Information to help formulate laws on managing JW patients.

Difficulties that thinking JWs have with the WTS’s teachings on blood.

Loyalty Test

“Blood” Shows Respect for Life

Our heavenly Father has given us the precious gift of Life. He expects us to recognise this, and we are to take complete care of his gift.

The medical use of blood supports God’s respect for his precious gift of life.

Blood and the Sacredness of Life

Brochure from the WTS

The Watchtower Society issued a 4-page booklet telling the medical profession that their objections to the medical use of blood is based on religious grounds.  The attached copy was released in Australia in 1983.

Governing Body's 1983 Blood Brochure


InterVarsity Press, copyright holders of “The Meaning of the Word ‘Blood’ in Scripture” by Rev. A M Stibbs, have given permission for the entire publication to be made available.

The Meaning of 'Blood'

About 4 pages from “New and Living Way: An explanation of the Epistle to the Hebrews” by Antony Snell.

blood antony snell

A pithy column from a 1975 newspaper in Perth, Western Australia.

This kind of god is not worth dying for

Eight litres of blood is taken from a horse every 2 or 3 months. That blood is stored and then filtered in the creation of life-saving vaccines.

Blood from sheep and cattle is also taken, stored and used for life-saving vaccines

Unsung Heroes horses save 1000 lives

A study by Max Hatton shows what the Bible says about blood. Concludes with an appeal to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Max Hatton on Blood

On Thursday May 5, 2011, Australia’s national broadcaster carried the story of a woman whose life was saved with an artificial blood product based on cow’s blood.

This is the transcript of that story from the program, “The World Today”.

Synthetic blood saves a life ABC World Today

“The Sacredness of Human Blood”, Golden Age, February 4, 1931

1931 02 04 Golden Age on vaccinations, blood


The Scriptural meaning of “blood” is forcefully presented
by Bible scholar Dr Leon Morris in his books, such as:


  • The Atonement: its Meaning and Sacrifice (several references, such as at pages 52 - 57)


  • The Cross in the New Testament (such as at pages 219 and 321 ftnt.)


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