I was scared shitless the first time I voted. Scared about being a mentally diseased apostate, living my life in complete opposition to how I was raised.
I can tell you I thought the walls of the voting booth would close in on me, the earth would rumble, and Jehovah’s deep, Santa-like voice would bellow, “Rebekah! How dare you bow to the Golden Calf!” Alas, that did not happen. Is it weird that I kind of wish my over-active imagination would gift me with these Michael Bay moments in real life?
Then there’s the no-blood thing.
In my first marriage, it caused quite a stir and that scenario is described in my book, TRAIN GONE. The catastrophe following the decision to not accept a blood transfusion doesn’t make a sound. It’s dissonantly quiet.
To blood or not to blood?
When my beloved dachshund, Moron, was diagnosed with some type of cancer I can’t recall the specifics of now, he needed chemotherapy treatments and two blood transfusions. Before you ask– yes, I did bring him for chemo treatments. It wasn’t even a second thought—he was my dapper little guy. My little Moron. There will be more about him in the sequel.
The blood transfusion, though. I did take pause there. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to save him or do all I could for him. It was because since birth I was quite literally a card-carrying Jehovah’s Witness, refusing blood transfusions. Each member of the rank-and-file has a medical directive card in their wallet or purse, signed by their Power Of Attorney of choice, stating they will refuse a transfusion if one is needed. Meaning they’re okay with dying. And parents are okay with their children dying.
Some folks already know this. Many have lived, or are still living, this horrific nightmare. Some didn’t survive. People I knew personally didn’t survive because of a small card on their person. It’s actually scary to think that as a child, my parents would have let me die instead of allowing medical professionals to do their job.
I know—some of you are wondering why, how, and where this asinine tenant comes from. One verse in the book of Acts says, “abstain from blood.” That’s it. One tiny scripture. One little sentence. That one sentence was enough for Watchtower’s steering committee, the Governing Body, to say, “Guys, the good book says we should abstain from blood. No blood transfusions, no blood duck dinners, pressed duck…etc. We stay away completely.”
Now of course, my imagination takes hold again, and I see the GB seated around an expensive cherry wood table, sitting in cushy leather seats, passing around a bottle of scotch, bibles in one hand, a crystal highball glass in the other… I’m fairly certain I may be right about the bottle of scotch.
And seriously, that’s it. It was one scripture that slingshot their whole “no blood” practice into flight, and that pebble just keeps flying far and away. What they don’t admit is that it’s mass murder, happening one by one. It’s not like Jim Jones, killing 909 people with cyanide, then himself. Or David Koresh burning seventy-six people alive. Or Heaven’s Gate taking the lives of thirty-nine people. Those instances made national news, headlining every newspaper for days.
The Governing Body—controlling millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses—have claimed the lives of approximately 900 people a year. Nine. Hundred. Per. Year. Nine hundred men, women, and children. Shit, Jim Jones killed over 900 people just the one time! The Governing Body commands the death of about 900 per year.
But that doesn’t make the news. Why? Because it happens one at a time. Sporadically. Around the world. And these silent murders are protected behind the guise of a church. Not okay, GB. Not. Okay.
So, now what?
I’ll tell you I feel pretty fortunate that I didn’t need a transfusion while I was a card-carrying J-Dub. And in case you’re wondering—yes, Moron did have the two transfusions I mentioned. One of them, oddly enough, took place when I was en route to a J-Dub assembly, toying with the idea of “going back.” I didn’t go back. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Now what? Well, instead of just being angry about it, for the first time in my life, I planned to donate blood. In honor of all the people who died because of this ridiculous credo. Only I wasn’t able to. I have an iron deficiency; I’m anemic. Thanks, endometriosis.
So, the next time you donate blood, please, do me a favor and think of the 900 rank-and-file J-Dub lives that the ol’ GB seizes every year due to biblical misinterpretation.
Hug your dogs. Hug your family. Hug your tribe. You know, when this pandemic simmers down.