Jehovah's Witness family stands firm on blood transfusions

Otago Daily Times, New Zealand/January 22, 2009

Victor and Vivienne Walker, Jehovah's Witnesses for the past 23 years, say their rejection of blood transfusions is not open to debate.

"Our non-negotiable stand on blood is Bible-based," Mr Walker told NZPA.

The Bible stated blood was sacred, represented life, and was not to be stored.

There were better alternatives to blood transfusions and more doctors were using these methods, he said.

"This is because of improved recovery rates and cost savings from non-blood treatments."

Jehovah's Witnesses operate hospital liaison committees to guide doctors and hospital staff in the use of non-blood strategies for their followers.

Mr Walker is in the Lower North Island committee.

"If our child needs a transfusion, we will find out what the options are, and explore non-blood alternatives. In most cases there are non-blood alternatives," he said.

The Wellington couple had never looked back since becoming Jehovah's Witnesses.

Mr Taylor said he was brought up in a family that practised Christian values, but only went to church for special occasions like funerals or weddings.

Mrs Taylor had a stronger Christian influence in her youth, mainly from her grandparents.

When they got married they had not been certain which religion to follow.

"I was not even sure about the existence of God," Mr Taylor said.

The couple spent time together studying the Bible seeking answers.

"It was at this time that Jehovah's Witnesses came knocking on our door."

"We studied the Bible for about 15 months and what we found was that we could not refute the doctrines taught by the Witnesses.

"We also found that the literature and reasoning that supposedly spoke against the Witnesses was clearly not supported by scripture."

They were baptised as Jehovah's Witnesses in 1984. Both are ordained ministers. Mr Taylor is also a marriage celebrant.

Mrs Taylor told NZPA that she had dealings with many families through the public school system as a result of schooling their four children.

"You see the mounting stress and problems that families are facing daily.

"We have raised our children with Bible principles and we make sure we communicate with them about any issues they may be facing.

"We have a good family life and the Bible as a guide really does work."

Mrs Taylor is a registered nurse and has worked in the children's ward, intensive care, coronary care, and the emergency department of hospitals. She is now a homemaker.

Mr Taylor has worked for the New Zealand Food Safety Authority as assistant director (operations and communications), with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Hutt City Council. He is a Massey University graduate in agricultural economics.

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