Jose Mestre – the living impact of refusing blood transfusions

 

I really hope this photo disturbs you, that your initial reaction is one of revulsion – but that this initial reaction turns instead to the reason why. Because I want you to realise that when Jose Mestre was 14 this tumour (condition called haemangioma) was small on his lip. At 51 this is what it has become. The reason that he has not had any treatment? Because as a Jehovah’s Witness he would refuse a blood transfusion and treating the tumour may cause severe blood loss.

Now there may be an operation that may limit the blood loss – finally there seems to be a form of treatment that he can accept. I have argued that an adult has the right to refuse medical treatment, even if it was not in their best interests to do so. Yet the reason for my protest against the Jehovah’s Witness stand on blood is based on lives that could have been saved wasted, families left without a parent, a child never given the chance to reason for themselves whether this was a rational thing to refuse.

One would hope that no one would point to Jose Mestre and say that his faith is a testament to a sacrifice to god, and shows the power of belief. Myself, it shows how religious belief can manifest itself as a delusion. I would hope that if a 14 year old in present day Portugal had a similar condition then the law would be in a position to make him a ward of court.

Perhaps we can only hope that the state will not tolerate the acceptance of the hand welding the knife over a child as an offering to god (like Abraham) – that no parent has the right to refuse medical treatment that is in the interests of a child. That people may well tolerate the right of an adult to live their own life but not respect the decision which goes against their personal welfare and those closest to them.

The elephant in the room – religion – is not as benign as people make out. It can be challenged, it does need to be scrutinised. It should not be appeased when it stands in the way of the pursuit of happiness and liberty. Jose Mestre was not given that chance in his childhood; as an adult he could have chosen differently. We can try to allow children  the chance to grow up and be adults and make an informed choice about who they are, and what they want to do with their life.

But if they are allowed to die they do not get that chance. Jose Mestre had a chance as an adult, his family were there to help him take another option. He choose instead the faith of his mother. The circumstances are rather unclear as to why this has continued. I would suspect that the mental health authorities have let Jose Mestre down.

The irony is that Revelation 21:4 “And he will wipe every tear from their eyes … the former things have passed away” – yet medical science strives to improve the human condition – and many lives have been saved by blood transfusions – some will turn their back on such progress, and teach their children to do the same.

Personally I do not want to wait forever for my tears to be dried by an imaginary hand. I hope your revulsion has turned towards a belief system that is highly dubious.

You may also want to take part in the Blood Challenge – life over death.

UPDATE: after operation – facing a brighter future

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58 Comments

Filed under Jehovah's Witnesses, Religion

58 responses to “Jose Mestre – the living impact of refusing blood transfusions

  1. john

    i find that yet again there are so many people out there that are willing to impose there own feelings and beliefs onto those that are emotionaly affected by what we see and read ….it is very easy to quote parts of the bible to make it fit into what we feel should be the “norm”
    all to often people i call “9 TO 5 ” christians can remove the lable of christians when it is convieniant or when it poses an obsticle for them
    a true christian is one who lives his or her life by the principles that are layed down in the bible and does not side step issues when they conflict with what they believe
    “the world would be a safer and better place to live in if all of mankind lived there lives by the sermon on the mount” those were the words of
    MAHATMA GANDHI who was not a christian but reconised that its who we live our lives is what makes us who we are

  2. I would never accuse the JWs of being 9 to 5 in their approach to christianity. Nor does Jesus on how his followers should live their lives.

    My concern with the Sermon of the Mount is that it suggests you can hang on to good character traits, not because they are in themselves good, but because there is a reward in heaven waiting for you.

    Also the idea of thought crime being like the action, to a point that you would cut off a limb so your thought crime did not become a reality – again because heaven rather than this life maters. Not exactly as beautiful or touching as one would hope.

    Morality is based on the ability to reason on the consequences of your action, itself impacted by how groups and others interact and think about such things. To have it based on “suffer now it is a sign that you will be rewarded when you are dead – take my word for it I am the son of god.”

    No I would rather live a good life because I recognise the value in the only life I have. My actions matter more for their consequences and accountability should be in the here and now.

  3. loopyloo350

    I am no longer a Jehovah’s Witness, left in 1979, but there are many as many cases for refusing blood transfusion as there are for accepting them. It boggles my mind as a former nurse that he refused the operation because of not wanting a blood transfusion. There are other options and we were taught that using those options like artifical plasma was acceptable. I feel there is more to this story than just the refusal of blood transfusions. I have a feeling that is was just as much the proscription of altering the body, which is one of the reasons cancer treatment is sometimes refused if it means removing the breast or uterus.

  4. An alternative to blood transfusions in a critical blood loss situation would be great. As I have argued. I am sure there is more to Jose’s decision than we know – which I allude to in my blog.

    Yet the welfare of a person outweighs any tenant of faith where no one else is harmed. If there was a god that cannot understand such a victimless crime, than such a being is not worthy of adoration. Thankfully, it all seems like an ancient superstition and part of a long history of the Bible students/Jehovah’s Witnesses’s having health fads.

    My main bone is that children should never die for this belief imposed by adults.

    • TS

      Understanding that this is YOUR blog, you are posting your views; which is your right. You attack though, rather than open up for honest discussion with people of different views.This young man, (he was not a child) made his choice as everyone can, including you. I find it hard to believe he would take such a strong stand on something he did not believe in himself, rather than just the fact that it was his mother’s religion. Do you think perhaps that you are imposing your beliefs on him, others and on religion. Exactly what you accuse Christians of doing? It is not a “victimless crime” if the individual truly believes his relationship with God and eternal life is at stake. Even if you believe that the Bible and religion holds little or no value, HE has to live with HIS conscience. You have to live with yours. A persons conscience is a large part of a persons welfare. Not just the physical person, but their state of mind and beliefs need to be respected. Yours as well as his.

      • Follow up article his sister became his guardian to make decisions as court found he lacked capacity to make his own by informed best interests. Result he has since had the operation. You are mistaken in thinking he was doing this because of sincerely contemplated theological thought on scripture.

        You obscure that I mention adults should make their own decision to refuse medical treatment such as blood transfusions. Suggesting I do not support religious freedom, and wish to impose atheism on everyone is disrespecting what my actual opinion is in the post and throughout the blog.

        Clearly you have not read this blog. Beliefs are not people. Disagreement and different views are part of civil discourse with one another. Making them religious does not make them immune from that discussion because of sensibilities.

  5. All I can say is wow. I just found your blog I will read more when I have some time. I have had many debates with my wife and her family about the blood transfusion issue.

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  7. Robin

    Didn’t that mythical “Jesus” go around healing the sick and afflicted wherever he found them ?

    Even had them brought to him ?

    Jose Mestre’s is a physical manifestation of the grotesque mental deformity and delusion of all those people of faith in religion and the supernatural.

  8. Rudolf

    Everyone is attacking the Biblical based standpoint about blood and bloodtransfusion from Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you don’t believe in the Bible and do not understand or accept the understanding from the Bible, you will always stay critical against Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    Consider this:
    Would the Greatest Docter and Shepperd, from who the Bible says that he is Love and who loves his Creation, do something to harm it or mankind?
    If he says to abstain from blood, because the blood is the live of some one, who are you to say that it’s wrong to listen to him?
    Couldn’t he know better than we?
    At least if you don’t except him as your Lawgiver you will never understand his ways.
    Jesus said in Matthew 13:11,12: 11 In reply he said: “To YOU it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted. 12 For whoever has, more will be given him and he will be made to abound; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

    So try to learn THE TRUTH about the Bible and do not stick to your own ideas about things but try to be one of the ones Jesus meant.

    • AuzziegobHATESgodgobbers

      This bloke named jesus is a purely made up load of biblical bollocks.And the plight of this man with his tumour is just another disgusting part of what godgobbers can indoctrinate into children.The mind numbing stupidity of the cult of jw is nothing but a an early death sentence.

  9. Did the writers of the bible:

    know the will of god?
    that this is binding on us thousands of years later?
    that they knew what modern medicine could do thousands of years later?
    that this was not just a dietary requirement that binds even in life and death situations?

    And most important question for me:
    that I should put the writings of ignorant men who knew nothing about the compositiion of blood before the life of a child?

    I can say it is wrong because people will die without it in a critical blood loss situation. You want to put ancient superstition before your own life fine. But when it comes to infants do not make me think your god demands a child dies rather than have medical attention.

    I am not sticking to that idea.

  10. MisSympathetic

    I have read all your comments with interest. I too used to be a Jehovah’s Witness, so I can see both points of view.

    What is often NOT understood is that there are numerous alternatives to blood transfusions, but often the press sensationalise a situation and these options are not mentioned. The medical profession will use blood as a first fix because it is cheaper, but most are also aware that it poses many complications and healing is less quick than without. Good surgeons often prefer not to use blood for these reasons, and they are more careful in their work.

    JWs view life as a sacred gift, so will explore every avenue to prolong it using ways that do not ask them to compromise their faith. To take blood would mean several things: 1. they would be disobeying God’s explicit law, 2. they would have a guilty conscience, 3. they put their future at stake.

    To the Witnesses, the current life they have is temporary and the real purpose of God was to create perfect people on a perfect earth. This plan was thwarted initially and postponed, but is about to be put into effect. The Witnesses believe that after this Armageddon, everyone who has previously died will be resurrected with a perfect physical body, to live a purposeful and happy life in peace on earth, which will have been returned to a paradise state and be ruled by God’s kingdom. IF they are disobedient then they give up their chance of this future life.

    Their faith in this future, which is foretold in the Bible, is so strong that they would prefer to sacrifice this current imperfect and troubled life in order to achieve it. They would be putting in jeopardy their chance at ‘real life’ if they compromise and are disobedient, and to them, this is unthinkable.

    When one understands the circumstances of the JWs’ refusal of blood transfusions, it is more understandable. There isn’t space to give full details here, but obviously there are more factors too. The Witnesses have brochures and videos with full information, and have extremely well-organised Hospital Liaison Committees to give help, support and equipment to both patients and medical personnel involved.

    In the piece on Jose Mestre, which I have just watched, it looks as though there is more involved that wasn’t shown to us. We are not told his state of mental health, only that the tumour has invaded his cerebral tissue. We are given the impression that the decision on blood was initially his mother’s and that he has continued in the religion.

    At the end of the day, his situation is desperate. If he doesn’t have surgery, the English doctors have told him his breathing and eating will be further impeded by the still-growing tumour and he will die – how he manages now is a marvel to me. If he has surgery and accepts blood, he will die at the end of this life, which may be shortened anyway, and in his mind, will have missed out on a happy future. He is obviously frightened at the thought of the surgery – anyone in his situation would be. I am just grateful I am not in his predicament, and wish him all the best.

    I would be interested to know how his story continues.

  11. The key thing is there is no alternative to a blood transfusion in a critical blood loss situation. Anything else is second best – and the difference between life and death.

    Surgery with little blood loss where the body will have the time to recover with a synthetic alternative is not the issue. But at the margin there again could be a problem.

    Understandable that life here should be viewed as temporary, and there is something better in the next state of existence? Not sure I can agree that it is understandable – it is irrational, irresponsible and suicidal. You can appreciate just how sinister the reasoning is – death is to be welcomed, allowing in this situation a fast track to paradise earth and perfect existence. Get the razor blades out and shave with your eyes closed.

    I agree that the mental health factor is key here.

    1. Assuming that bible commandments are binding regardless of the consequences, there is nothing clear about a dietary commandment applying to a blood transfusion that would save life.

    2. Yes guilty unless the court forced it through. Than Satan gives a guilt free pass presumably.

    3. Indeed they do. And the history of the organisation is not one to bet your life on.

  12. marjorie grant

    Its clare that you are fixated on your own understanding. open your mine to other belife . you would not want a man to tell you that you should have a abortion look at it in the same way for refusing blood and to correct the cost on blood transfusion it is more epensive to push blood on patient that the alternitive. studies have shown that 2years ago blood transfusion cost 42euros today its about 142 euro that from a european studies. you have the sangus study to research before you knock others choice do the research on the alternitive. they are over 100,000 physician in over a 150 country and 80% of patient would strongly favor not having blood tranfusion. and there where 5million hepitis infection from tainted blood. please do the research. apostate

  13. If you read my blog you will notice that I am all for a synthetic alternative – the thing is that in a critical blood loss situation the synthetic version is useless; only a blood transfusion gives you the best shot at survival.

    Thankfully blood screening has improved, and if you read this blog on Jose you would notice that I support an adult’s right to choose for themselves; but I do not support making that choice for a child when it reduces their chance at survival even if it is based on the parent’s religious belief.

    To be open minded is to look at the facts, but not to be so open minded that your brain falls out that you will accept anything. The belief on blood is irrational because it takes a dietary command based on a superstitious belief that blood is the life force and then is taken to mean this is a prohibition on the use of blood transfusions.

    By the way worth downloading the Google spell checker and using before you post 🙂

  14. No one seems to be pointing out that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult. They deny basic Christian beliefs (the deity of Christ and many others). I am a devout Christian and I think it’s ridiculous that someone would refuse a blood transfusion. Restricting Christian liberty through legalism is strictly prohibited in Christianity. We do not live under bondage (Romans 8:15). To the best of my knowledge, Christ never even remotely eluded to this in his ministry (blood transfusions were not even attempted until the 15th century).

    The point of a cult is to keep people under control, and that’s the goal of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in this regard and in most aspects of their religion. In contrast, the point of true Christianity is not just that our tears will be wiped away someday. The promises of Christ are not pie-in-the-sky. The promise of a new and better life are to be sought after and attained every day, in every aspect of life. This idea is what lead Christian people to found great universities and medical institutions in the United States, educating and caring for people in order to IMPROVE their quality of life.

    Christ’s words are “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” If Jose Mestre truly claims to be a follower of this man Jesus, he should compare his belief system with these words and honestly ask whether he can make a claim to this more abundant life. If he can’t, then he’s following a Jesus that’s not the Jesus of the Bible; but a Jesus that someone else has imagined and duped him into believing.

  15. John Fairfull, I think I do point that out:

    https://homoeconomicusnet.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/are-the-jehovahs-witnesses-a-cult/

    Mind you philanthropy, charity, access to education and health care thankfully are not dependent on Christianity – the idea of the public good is one universal principle everyone can relate to. It is a shame when people use religion to go against that rather than for it.

  16. intelligent

    Jose’ is a JW because he chooses to be one. As JW we are instructed by the bible to abstain from blood as it is sacred and holy. We dont accept Blood Transfusions due to the high risk involved -HIV,wrong blood type,body rejection-.This is besides the blood being sacred. As a witness one dedicates their lives to Jehovah and you do everything to honour him. Jose knows why he made his decision and I am very proud to stand by him. If you people read your bibles and actually took the time to understand what we believe you would understand WHY he made that decision. I have the deepest respect for that man. BTW there are other methods that are safer and have a better result , than taking blood that is unclean. And we have the latest technology and scientific information that will enable him to have the surgery. You people should start reading more facts not hersay!

  17. As you are aware if you are concerned about facts, synthetic alternatives to blood are not quick enough in a critical blood loss situation to be useful. Only the belief that blood is “sacred” in the way the Society claims would you refuse it – unless death was preferable to you.

    As that was a real factor in Jose’s case he has chosen to have the tumour grow to cover his face then be put in a position where a blood transfusion may prove necessary.

    Blood is not sacred because God claims it to be. The writers of the Hebrew Scriptures considered it to be. To hold people’s lives hostage to ancient superstition that leads to people’s death is shameful.

    It is irrational, it defies reason. It is a false argument about the risks when considering the many lives saved by blood transfusions.

  18. Sarah Towers

    Im a christian and believe that because Jesus came that we are now in a new era – i’m sure if Jesus was in front of Jose in the flesh he would say, have the blood transfusion and operations and trust in me at the same time – unfortunately the Jehovahs witness’s movenment is man made and also kind of a cult. Deceiving many !!!

    Jesus christ is the only way to the Father !!! and our only passage to Heaven and a life with Jesus ! so first and formost i would like to say that Jose and everyone needs Jesus in their lives !!!! with myuch love Sarah
    John 3 :16

  19. I would rather be reassured that I had a skilled surgeon to perform the operation. Accepting that sometimes these things do go wrong.

    That is the problem when people accept things as true on the basis of faith, without question or evidence. That level of scrutiny to find out how things are is the only defense we have against delusions being accepted.

  20. jas

    I was bought up a catholic, and later in life after alot of turmoil in life became a JW.

    I now consider myself to be neither, but a believer in God and Jesus. I believe we are all God’s children, and Jesus came to earth as His Son to deliver the message that He loves us, and has given us His Son in death to forgive us of our sins.

    What we decide to do in life is up to us, but I reckon to treat our gift of life, and our health as less important than in the Holy Spirit it was given to us is the bigger sin, that we should take medical advances as a gift from God, for all good comes from Him, and we should get all the help we need to stay healthy and well and appreciate life, and to help others where we can, in anyway we can is truly a gift from God.

    To sum up, Jose needs help, and through the God given talents of men he can get it, and life, his ‘sacred’ gift of life should be lived to the full, and in turn he could help others, and those similary afflicted with guidence and love. This is what Jesus would have done.

    Jas

  21. Dhrani

    If this is Jose’s choice, then let him be a man and stand up on his own by taking full responsibility for his actions and his own life. Stop traumatizing those who love and look after him.

    Let the JWs financially and emotionally support Jose, since it’s been their beliefs that have incited his condition. If he’s indeed the marytr they view him to be, why hasn’t even the ugliest woman among them offered herself in marriage so he can at least have a family of his own?

    His sister is right for saying she’s had enough. He’s tortured his family and loved ones long enough. What he has put his family through is criminal in the name of his god.

    As for Inrelligent’s remarks about the bible – get your head out of the sand and research exactly how the bible as we know it today came into being. That’s what true bible study is all about.

    Any faith that causes it’s believers to seperate themselves from the realities of the real world in which they inescapably must live in, out of fear of death or hell fire, are the real killers and abusers.

    JWs are a cult that have taken the liberty to write their own bible in order to support the dogma they spew. They’ve created their own brand of christianity and tout it as truth. The real truth is how the bible was created in the first place.

    Free your mind and the rest will follow.

  22. Luny

    I have been following the Jose Mestre matter for some time and was on-line this morning to see if he had had the tumor removing operation yet. I am a bit confused by some of the comments here. While I do not attend or belong to any church or temple, I consider myself more of a Christian than most who claim that title. This is because I have found that most people who call themselves Christians, followers of the Christ who are supposed to follow his teachings and example, do not. I also believe that each person is responsible for his/her actions and is likewise, responsible for the results of those actions or inactions. (I realize there are many people who cannot be held responsible, such as those who are mentally retarded; I am speaking here of adults with reasoning capability.) I believe in God, but I also believe that there are many, many, many holy persons and prophets, not just the Christ, that I can emulate – Ghandi, Christ, Buddah, even Mohammed.

    Jose Mestre has chosen to follow Christ as a Jehovah’s Witness. Whether one agrees with the tenets of JW or not, it is Mr. Mestre’s right to do so; it is not someone else’s right to tell him (or anyone else for that matter) how or who he should worship, or that his beliefs are wrong. That he follows the teachings of his chosen religion to the extent that he will not do anything to betray those beliefs, including having an operation to remove his tumor, is a testament to the man’s faith. For anyone to tell him otherwise, is to belittle that faith. I would certainly not feel comfortable in forcing him to have an operation he did not want because it is in conflict with his beliefs. Rather, I find him to be a truer Christian than most people who do not know this man – literally do not know him, have never met him or his family, yet who feel they have the right to insist he have this operation.

    By the same reasoning, I do not want anyone telling me that I am going to burn in hell or that I am “lost” because I do not believe the same way they do. “Believe in my brand of Christianity (Islam, Buddism, insert any religion here) or you are denied entry into the kingdom of heaven.” What arrogance!

    Homoeconomicus and the rest of you have your beliefs, but please, do not force them down the throats of those who may not agree with you, do not belittle those whose beliefs differ from you and please do not for one moment think that you have the right to make any person do something they do not want to do, including having an operation. By trying to force someone to live by your beliefs and rules, you are, in effect, playing God, and that definitely is not your right.

  23. Luny:

    I think it is clear from the blog that I am not forcing blood transfusions on adults that make the choice to refuse treatment. Individuals have rights – one reason why I am a secularist.

    I am pointing out that it is an irrational way of killing yourself. Faith in something based on ignorance, superstition and misunderstanding deserves to be questioned – no one has the right not to be disagreed with. This is not belittling anyone.

    His choices do impact on others, so we would hope that his choices are based on the best decision that can be made in the circumstances – for which he takes personal responsibility alone.

  24. jerrylorum

    Sorry for a stupid question, but would the JW allow a person to store his own blood? i.e. remove pints of blood gradually over months to be used by that same person in surgery? If so, Jose mestre can do so and use his own blood for his surgery right?

    • Belle

      Unfortunately this is not medically viable, as blood has a very short “shelf life”. I believe (and this is just what I have been told when donating) that the blood is tested and then used within weeks. I’m sure there’s a website around that could give you a more accurate timeframe for blood transfusions, but unfortunately I don’t think storing one’s own blood would work.

  25. The question assumes the problem is one of property rights of blood as it leaves the body and whether you can have it back. That your own blood is more yours than Jehovah’s.

    The JW view is that you are digesting blood – whether originally yours or not is irrelevant.

    Though comparing a blood transfusion to eating blood is not only misleading but shows a lack of understanding of the medical procedure itself.

  26. TheTruth

    Homoe-

    The bottom line is, God has asked us to abstain from blood…period. This man realizes that regardless of what happens on this earth, it is not worth disobeying what God has commanded. Even as a parent, as hard as it might be, we would have to make this stand for our young ones regardless of the situation. This is not an easy decision as we value life and want to live as much as anyone. Is it worth it to you? We realize that this present world is not how God intended it to be. We await the future as God has clearly stated in his word the bible. I challenge you just one thing, educate yourself from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Accept a bible study so that you can understand why it is they are so firm on this stand. Its not fair for you to criticize and belittle when you don’t know. Their belief is based on Gods Word the Bible, and not mans. I think that if nothing else, you will respect their views and understand their stand.

    • Belle

      “The bottom line is, God has asked us to abstain from blood…period.” Does that include all blood then? What of the blood of non-human animals? Are you telling me that this man is a strict vegetarian, or vegan?

  27. Lisa

    Just to point out that JW’s are NOT Christians. No, no they’re not. Here is a well-researched brief commentary on what the JWs believe: http://hankhanegraaff.blogspot.com/2008/02/jehovahs-witnesses.html

    To Luny and others who think along the same lines, what exactly is it that you think makes someone “more” of a Christian than another? We are ALL the same in God’s eyes….there is not a “better” Christian. We are equals, regardless of how much we tithe, how much time we give in service, how much scripture we have memorized, or how many people we invite to church. Caution: faith without works IS a dead faith, but we are saved by GRACE, NOT WORKS. Simply put: faith in Jesus as the Messiah is ALL it takes to be saved from a horrible eternity.

    As far as Jose goes, to get on topic, while I completely disagree with his belief set, I respect his right to HAVE that belief. I hope the guy got the surgery to get that mass off of his face. What an uncomfortable existence!!!!

  28. Praveen

    I saw this show on TLC(The LEarning Channel in the U.S.). I am going to be blunt. THis guy is an idiot for putting his family through this stuff. His mother , who I assume passed away, is another idiot. His sister GIta is the real heroic figure here. She put up with that stubborn moron for too long instead of living her life to the fullest. IF this guy is such a man, he wouldn’t make life tough for his sister by forcing her to spend so much time looking for a treatment that wont include blood transfusions.

    All this stuff about the dangers of blood transfusion is such a red herring. He could have his blood stored over time. or if it was possible, the hospital would not have a problem using a more expensive synthetic alternative. I am sure if he did not have these stupid conditions, some world famous hospital would have treated him for free in exchange for the publicitiy and reputation it would get for helping him out.

    In the documentary, not once, does he express regret that his sister has to undergo all that extra burden not just to help him daily, but to find that treatment option that doesn’t involve transfusion. He whines about how no one cares about his feelings.

    Do we condone female circumcision by some islamic people just because some of their fundamentalists think that is the right thing to do ? There is a lot of crazy stuff.It is one thing not to prefer blood transfusions. BUt to outright reject it? THat is madness. This was the first documentary in which I actually ended up despising the “victim”.

  29. Thetruth:

    I studied with the JWs for 6 years as a child and was preparing to become a Ministerial Servant (see Jehovah’s Witness Category for more).

    So I do know the mindset, the reasons why. The term delusion would be meaningless if it did not explain the power that an idea can have on someone, even when it defies their best interests, and would lead to the unnecessary death of a child.

    Refusing medication, female circumcision, suicide bombing – some people seem to think that religion can legitimise any act. The only defense to this is to say that you need more then faith to do that – and that lack of recognition is the factor in secularists and fundamentalists having no common ground and the reason why ideas really do matter.

  30. TheTruth

    Homoe-

    As you clearly studied as a child, the bible identifies the human heart as treacherous. And that it was not Gods intention for man to direct his own step, as the world has cleary proven through history. And so its true, that because of religion, many have done horrible things over the years all in the name of religion.

    I think that it all begins with where it is you get your guidance and can you prove that it is certainly Gods will. As one of JW i have been studying the Bible for over 30 years. Because of its incredible accuracy and numerous prophesies I sincerely feel that it is inspired by God. But no where does it condone suicide bombings, etc. And so every issue in our lives, every decision we make must be determined by our study of the scriptures. The obstaining of blood is not an “idea” motivating us to put our very lives in jeopardy. Its a simple command by God.

    It brings a smile to my face to see that you were reaching out to be a Ministerial Servant, as I have been serving as one for many years. As a matter fact I just attended a District Convention and enjoyed it very much. You probably remember such conventions. Its a shame that something keeps you from continuing your studies. I hope that someday you will resume your studies as it has brought such a wonderful hope for me and my family. Let me know if you would be interested in recieving any literature, as I would be happy to mail it to you. Sincerely, The Truth.

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  33. jesus is not man that he should lie nor repent of his words. look at the woman that got healed who had the issue of blood.look at lazarus that got raised from the dead. let us create man in our own image was the word in genesis,and let him have dominion. the lord gave us liberty to make choices.jose find time to benefit from the talent God has given to expert like doctors,to improve your health.
    your sister is a golden sister,allow her to carry her cross and u also carry your cross.think of making children and try and allow your sister the basic life she deserve.
    finally,God loves u and does want you to suffer by this mask u have on your face.

  34. Mea

    I do think it’s odd that you are attacking him based on his beliefs when there are so many people who refuse blood transfusions just because of the risks and the proven slower recovery rate. MANY dr’s without even a belief in a god let alone Jehovah have and gone on record saying they wouldn’t have them. We should thank all these people for making a stand that has brought other options and better practices such as all of the bloodless clinics. If Jose had made this choice for any other reason you wouldn’t be so passionate about it, it’s simply that you don’t agree with his reasons and that’s just arrogance on your part.

  35. Do you honestly think it is rational for him to have spent his entire adult life with this tumour on his face, to a point where it will kill him?

    To suggest that substituting religion as a barrier to him having the operation, or treatment as a result that could save his life in a critical blood lose situation, would still make me think he was still not acting in his best interests.

    Disagreeing with someone does not equal arrogance.

  36. Mea

    No but feeling that you from your standpoint know better what choices he should have made and make now is. Maybe should have had it done when he was younger and it was small, we don’t know the reasons he did it. Perhaps his parents couldn’t afford it, perhaps there wasn’t a suitable medical facility close. All I’m saying is it’s his life and good for him if he unlike most these days found something that offers hope and something bigger than himself. I hope that for his faith he does receive the reward he had in mind when he made the choice to listen to God rather than men. I’m glad it worked out for him and i’m sure his family is happy and proud that he stood up for what he believes. So why should you judge the choices they made? His best interest are with eternity in mind. You are thinking of a mere 70 or 80 years. He did have the surgery for it when it wouldn’t cost him what he holds most dear.

  37. Mea,

    We do know the reasons why he did not. His mother was involved with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. She died while he was young. None of the other family members are part of the faith. Nor is he baptized. It seems in deference to his dead mother.

    Nor is it entirely rational to let a tumour grow to the point that it has. If you think your medical needs should be based on promises in the hereafter then you and I will disagree. Because not only do I think no one is in a position to make that call beyond our death, but to sincerely hope that an after life works that way is disconcerting.

    As I said last year: “Yet the welfare of a person outweighs any tenant of faith where no one else is harmed. If there was a god that cannot understand such a victimless crime, than such a being is not worthy of adoration. Thankfully, it all seems like an ancient superstition and part of a long history of the Bible students/Jehovah’s Witnesses’s having health fads.”

  38. Mea

    You have no faith and that is why you say that. You believe nothing is bigger or more important than you and right now. And that’s sad. Maybe he simply felt that the witnesses were correct in the medical reasons for not accepting blood and respected his mothers beliefs. I work in the medical field. In a lab that deals mainly with blood and i have seen some very scary things that result from blood transfusions. They work sometimes and sometimes they don’t. My only issue with you is that you are upset over his reasons for not wanting one when it’s none of your concern. If he has no claim to the witness faith other than his mother why are you upset and blaming them? You don’t know the reasons because you don’t know what’s really in his heart.

  39. Victor

    Homoeco has not presented not a single piece of scientific evidence that blood transfusion is the most reliable treatment vs non blood intervention.

  40. Victor, in a critical blood loss situation a blood transfusion is the only thing that will make the difference – that is not disputed in the scientific community.

    Perhaps you are missing that refusing blood for religious reasons, even when it is the only thing that can save your life (lack of alternatives or a critical loss situation) is the basis of this blog – refusing for religious reasons is irrational.

    Scientific concerns about blood transfusions are valid:

    “There is virtually no high-quality study in surgery, or intensive or acute care – outside of when you are bleeding to death – that shows that blood transfusion is beneficial, and many that show it is bad for you,” says Gavin Murphy, a cardiac surgeon at the Bristol Heart Institute, who ran the UK study.”

    http://www.scientistlive.com/lab/?/Medical/2008/04/24/20256/Harmful_blood_transfusions?/

    The bleeding to death bit is what I am on about.

  41. Victor

    Homoeco – You said you studied with the JW for six yrs. Did you get baptized and are now disfellowshiped, or did you renounce? If you were, you forgot that many true christians gave their lives for a path considered “irrational” by the mayority.

    In 1817, Irish clergyman John R Cotter, commenting on Mathew 24:9 wrote: “[The] Persistence [of Christians] to reform the life of humanity by means of its preaching, far from provoking the gratefulness of people, in fact would cause hatred and persecution to the disciples for putting its depravations in the open”

    So, are you perplexed? You should be (1Peter 4:4).

  42. I juse saw this and the treeman on tlc, and please dont bash this mans religion or christianity period. I pray for this man I am muslim and I am concerned about him tonite my prayers will go to him and I hope he gets through the surgery. Good luck Jose.

  43. Feldjager

    Jose, as an adult, clearly has the right to refuse treatment for whatever reasons he decides. If his religious beliefs prevent him from accepting blood, then it is his right, to chose to live with this burden. However, when it comes to children, I have to agree 100% with homoeconomicusnet. Parents should NOT be allowed to make life and death decisions based on religious beliefs, or any other. If a child has a life threatening condition, and will die without a blood transfusion, the parents should NOT be allowed to prevent that transfusion. That is basically committing Depraved In deference. Parents should not be allowed to let their children die, or suffer terrible ailments based on their religious beliefs. I am a huge supporter of the separation of church and state, but when the welfare of children comes into play, I think sometimes the stats has to act in the best interest of the child.

  44. ana

    Jose passed away at Saint John’s Hospital in London after suffering massive blood loss during the operation to remove part of his tumor.

  45. Pingback: Has Jose Mestre died? « Homo economicus’ Weblog

  46. Frank

    Homo e,

    I wonder,
    Who is the Blind one,
    Can any Physician guarantee that blood transfusion will save a persons life? NO!

    If you do survive(a traumatic event so severe that you resort to blood transfusion) will your quality of life be such that it will not affect your mental health. How about quality of life? Do you offer any comfort beyond this present uncertain life?…No!

    Is it better for parents to send their children to die on some national alter called patriotism(in a unfriendly, lonely foreign field). I’m a Vietnam veteran & lost many friends. My father was a twenty year WW2 & Korean war vet.

    Studying the bible after this upbringing & experience convinced me that obeying & dying for Good is worth more than any human institution that doesn’t care about you.

    To Shed their children’s blood or the blood of other children’s blood for any national interests is evil, unjust & unwise as well as wrong. My father was a Corpsman on Iwo Jima Tarawa & Saipan & saw the worst of it before he was 19. He is so hardened that he can’t be normal. actually holding people together even babies as their life’s blood left them.

    All human ruled governments dominate the poor to their injury, because they are based on selfishness & greed, favor the rich & powerful.

    So rather than putting down Biblical Faith. How presumptuous how haughty, how shallow to put your self up as a judge of this poor fellow’s belief’s.

    If God does not step in & remove this wicked system as the Bible clearly forecasts…what do you offer that is better? A few years of trouble & anguish with no hope.

    Your words are so empty & void.

    How is your faith in the American way, “Dream” now, as we see this world’s economy melting down because the intellectual Guru’s who scammed the working class.

    Sacrificing the economic future, the ecological-systems putting the earth it self in jeopardy…all sacrificed by the lead of “intellectual secularists”. Who care so little about the majority which includes most of our children & the majority of mankind, are lowly families who can’t afford health care & defend themselves against those with tricky tongues And know no Compassion for the unfortunates.

    You ought to give thought to who is really being fooled.

    Those who put faith in this world system or those who see Bible prophesy being fulfilled?
    It’s written all over the world’s media’s plainly visible to reasonable ones.

    I feel sorry for those who are being duped by secularism & the sacred cow of science today. I would rather die with the hope that Jose has & admire his endurance of wicked words vacuous of any semblance of compassion for poor unfortunate people.

    Rivers of life’s sacred blood have flowed on the earth due to arrogance & refusal to listen to our Creators clear advice. No faithful Jehovah’s Witness
    would kill your sons or daughters.Nor would they knowingly bilk anyones savings account or the ecology
    of our Home, planet earth. refusing to see the wisdom of the Bibles direction is what is Stupid & unreasonable.

    This lack of fellow feeling is what caused all of the conflicts we see today.You have free will to choose, Jose does not?

    Change yourself for good before you try to change others.

    6,000 years of recorded history shows how unsuccessful man’s advice is. What makes your words so reliable. You & I all of us will die in this world. At least Jose had a beautiful future to believe in.

    • @Frank – the bible was written by men who did not know what blood was, nor that it could be used to save life in a medical procedure. They saw it as a life force, and therefore sacred. Hence the dietary requirement for the Israelities to not eat blood. It is only the Jehovah’s Witnesses suggesting this applies to blood transfusions.

      I’m not offering anything beyond pointing out that some decisions are best based on much more relevant information

  47. Jon

    Firstly, I am not a Jehovah’s witness, and I don’t claim to understand their aversion to blood transfusion – except perhaps on purely metaphysical grounds. Ironically, with this case, the same metaphysical arguments could be made about the nature of Jose being altered constantly by cellular destruction by his tumor, as it takes him over, is he less Jose and more tumor….

    That’s not the important point here. The important point is this – Jose with full free will, as an adult, chose to refuse treatment of his own accord. He is a rational human being, and it was his right do so. His reasons for doing so are irrelevant. If you want to blame the Watchtower Society for his choices, then you must blame advertisements for smoking, overeating, prescription drug abuse, but not just these – in fact every decision another may see as unwise that based on any outside influence!

    Your argument is absurd! Because Jose was exposed to some ideas about blood transfusion being bad, he is no longer responsible for his actions and the proponents of this idea that are to blame. Have a little respect for the sovereignty of an individual over his actions. People make good and bad decisions every day. No one is responsible for Jose’s condition than Jose, and no one has any right to pass any judgement on this man than himself.

    Some people are going to say that he owed it to his loved ones to seek treatmment. To this I say why? The same problem cccurs here as blaming the Watchtower Society for his decisions. Imagine the roles were reversed and he was the only non Jehova’s witness in his family, and they all saw blood transfusion as something worse than his death, while he did not believe so. You’d say that he should defy his family and go with his own wishes. In this instance you’d be right, and the reason you’d be right proves my point. Jose is sovereign over his own life, and no one bears any responsibility for his life but himself, and no one has any right (or even power really) to make him act in any way contrary to his own accord.

    No faith, no family, nor any church has any moral blame in this situation. Jose chose, Jose lived (or died perhaps) with the consequences of his choice. So be it.

    • That could be true provided there was no mental health issue. My concern is that by saying “I refuse for religious reasons” prevented a proper evaluation of Jose’s mental capacity and best interests. I could well be wrong but I would be interested to know how involved social services were with him.

  48. Belle

    I donate 420ml of blood every 3 months (legal limit, I can’t donate more) in the hopes that it will save a life, or improve the quality of life for someone else. Blood is willingly donated, by people just like me, and it is never given due to force or coercion. If someone is willingly offering you their blood, to help improve your life then why refuse it?

    If you would refuse blood for religious reasons then consider this- wouldn’t your God want you to have a healthy and happy life? If he truly loves you, how could he disapprove of something that would give you a greater quality of life? Wouldn’t he want his sons and daughters to be healthy and strong, to live productive and fulfilling lives? Or perhaps He does not really take an interest in whether 1 human being receives a blood transfusion? Maybe it should be a decision based on what is best for your health, rather than what we assume is the will of God? We don’t know what his take on blood transfusions is because we haven’t heard from him ‘officially’ in 2000 years! Maybe his ideas have changed with the times too, and he is open to blood transfusions now that they are safely donated?

    Still, if an adult decides to refuse a blood transfusion due to their religious beliefs then that is their choice. HOWEVER I believe that no child should suffer because of their parents beliefs. To deny a child life-saving treatment because of one’s own religious stance is negligent and cruel. Children should be given the chance to live long and happy lives, not forced to suffer for a religion they don’t even understand, or necessarily accept. I believe that up until the age of 21 a child should be given whatever medical treatment they need to have their life saved from disease or injury. If once they are 21 and fully understand the concept and consequences of religion then they can make the decision for themselves whether they will accept blood transfusions and other treatments considered dubious by religious groups (eg. heart valve implants from pigs, vasectomy, chemotherapy etc).

    A child should be protected and cared for, not left to die because of a parents beliefs. When they are old enough to understand their parents beliefs they can decide for themselves whether they believe too. But until then, they need to be given every chance to live happy, healthy and long lives.

  49. Pingback: Jose Mestre – facing a brighter future « Homo economicus' Weblog

  50. Martha

    I don’t think Jose Mestre was afraid to die during surgery. He is a Jehovah’s Witness. He has DISOWNED himself.

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