Many commentators have cited 1945 as the date Watchtower announced its religious position against blood transfusion. That assertion is wrong. More importantly commentators often miss the import of what Watchtower did publish in 1945 regarding blood transfusion as it relates to belief held by the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
1. It was first in 1944 that Watchtower articulated a position against blood transfusion. This presentation we find in the following statement:
See The Watchtower, December 1, 1944 p. 362
2. The oft cited 1945 Watchtower presentation was a response to objection from the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses about what Watchtower had published in 1944, which is a very important fact that should not be overlooked because of its significance then and now. This objection we find in the following statement:
See The Watchtower, July 1, 1945 p. 199.
1945 marked the year in which the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses began objecting to Watchtower’s teaching that it is wrong to accept blood transfusion. Despite decades of Watchtower teaching otherwise and finally imposing its religious view under pain of its organized communal shunning program, things have not changed.
To this day the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses has not wholly accepted Watchtower’s doctrinal position opposing blood transfusion as wrong, and to this day individuals in the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses voice their discontent with the doctrine, See The Watchtower, March 1, 1950 pp 79-80,The Watchtower, May 1, 1950 pp 143-144,The Watchtower, May 15, 1950 pp 158-159.
Lack of support for Watchtower’s blood taboo among Jehovah’s Witnesses is observed by the Watchtower organization and medical researchers who consistently find a significant minority that is, despite the dire social consequence for accepting blood transfusion, willing to and does accept blood transfusion.
● Watchtower admits this observation by testifying that Witness have accepted blood transfusion despite the potential consequence of being disfellowshipped. See The Watchtower, October 15, 1987 p. 14. Secular news sources have also recorded this.
● Medical researchers have shared their observations based on review of records and direct surveys, which in both instances consistently finds a 10-12% minority that holds a view contrary to Watchtower’s doctrine. See Larry J. Findley, MD and Paul M. Redstone, MD, Blood Transfusion in Adult Jehovah’s Witnesses A Case Study of One Congregation, Arch Intern Med, March 1982; Vol. 142 pp. 606-607, Kaaron Benson, Special Article: Management of the Jehovah's Witness Oncology Patient, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Cancer Control Journal, Vol. 2, No. 6, November/December 1995, Cynthia Gyamfi, MD and Richard L. Berkowitz, MD, Responses by Pregnant Jehovah’s Witnesses on Health Care Proxies, Obstet and Gynecol Vol. 104, No. 3, September 2004 pp 541-544.
● Internal Watchtower documents also demonstrate that the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses has never embraced Watchtower’s blood taboo as Watchtower would have it embraced. See: Blood — How Resolute?
So what happened at Watchtower in 1945?
1945 witnessed the beginning of Watchtower's now 55 year effort to force a doctrine onto the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Watchtower began teaching its blood transfusion taboo in 1944. When simply teaching it did not work, Watchtower began imposing its teaching under pain of disfellowshipping, which enforcement technique remains to this day under the term “disassociation”.
In 1945: Watchtower decided to force a teaching onto the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses whether it wanted to accept it or not. That decision is what happened at Watchtower in 1945.
In 1945: the community of Jehovah's Witnesses began objecting to this teaching by Watchtower, and have persisted in that objecting as best they could under threat of Watchtower’s harsh shunning policy. This resistance is what happened in 1945, and it persists.
Only when Watchtower ceases its policy to excommunicate Jehovah’s Witnesses for conscientiously breaching its blood doctrine will a clear picture emerge to answer whether a majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses accept or reject Watchtower’s blood doctrine.