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Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Hales exclusive brethren/ Plymouth brethren Christian church antipathy to organ transplants

Twenty something years ago a cousin of mine in fellowship with the HEB/PBCC was dying of cystic fibrosis, he was offered a heart and lung transplant which would according to Medics save his life.

His brother who is now a respected PBCC elder told him if he went for the transplant he would loose the love of both God and his family.


17 comments:

  1. I remember a similar story for some brother who if I remember correctly was living in Argentina. He needed a heart transplant and the HEB preferred to have him die rather than allow the needed transplant. I believe they used their version of this scripture as a reason for not allowing the transplant - "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it"

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    1. That incident illustrates that the Brethren’s extreme biblical literalism is not merely ignorance and folly: it can also be lethal. The source of this lethal ignorance might have been Jim Taylor, who disapproved of donating hearts for transplant surgery (Vol. 130 page 32).

      A similar incident, also lethal, is recounted in a paper titled “Belief and morals among the Taylorites” written by Professor Peter Caws.

      He writes
      “As the doctrine of separation hardened, other effects were felt. One of my uncles saw through the corruption of James Taylor Jr earlier than many of his contemporaries and (being more independent and more courageous than my father) left in the middle 1960s.

      In 1970 his wife, my aunt, contracted leukaemia, and since she had a twin sister her doctors suggested a bone-marrow transplant, which might have given her a few more years of life.

      But the twin was still in fellowship, and the brethren in her local meeting denied this appeal, because my aunt had been ‘withdrawn from’. Within two weeks of their refusal she died.

      My uncle wrote to me with justified anger, stressing that the local judgement had been communicated, as the brethren put it, ‘in all tenderness’. In all tenderness they let her die, to safeguard their own purity. He thought it amounted to murder.”

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    2. I should have said that the paper by Peter Caws that I cited was published in The Evangelical Times (UK) in the year 2000.

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  2. I remember the funeral of this member, who died tragically young. I am not sure how old he would have survived to be with a transplant as CF shows little mercy, but his return to the HEB at the 11th hour before his death seemed to be tantamount to coercion using someone's physical extremity.

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  3. Not so different from the JW's and blood transfusions. I regularly pass a new windowless Kingdom Hall on my travels, I don't know why the two of them don't join forces.

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    1. They may actually have to. The CC have the power to pass the assets of a listed trust to a similar trust if the requirements for listing are not met. So it is perhaps conceivable that the EB Meeting Rooms could become JW Kingdom Halls, the two groups are remarkably similar. I don't think that the EB would be very happy if their assets were distributed to: JW's, Mormons, Quakers, and (heaven forbid) the Plymouth Brethren, but I think it could happen if the EB refuse to drop their Separation doctrine.

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  4. This has not come to my attention before - not sure why. The story of the twin who died because her sister was not allowed to donate marrow is chilling.

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  5. Too busy tweeting?

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  6. Ian's comment "That incident illustrates that the Brethren’s extreme biblical literalism is not merely ignorance and folly: it can also be lethal." is very true.

    By banning transplants, what will be the next ridiculous step? Banning surgery? Banning amputations? Let people suffer as it is "God's will"?

    The extreme would be banning medication, but Jesus spoke about that so it is OK I suppose.

    I don't think it will be long before they follow the JWs with the blood transfusion ban.

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  7. The thing about tweeting is that you don't to follow the tweeter - that way you don't get to see their tweets. Simples.

    Does anyone know when transplants were banned? Was it in JT's time as Ian suggests? I guess before that transplants were not available. Has the issue of blood transfusion ever been discussed?

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  8. The Peebs are okay with blood transfusions. As regards organ transplants there have been brethren with liver transplants. I believe it was Symington who drew the line at heart transplants.

    Spenser

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  9. As far as the HEB and transplants/transfusions go, it is better to receive than give. As far as I know, they are forbidden from organ donation but quite happy to accept someone else's liver, kidney, blood etc.

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    1. I can understand the need for replacement livers. With the alcohol consumption rate of the EB, these could be the priority transplant.

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  10. J. Taylor Jr. said it was wrong for Brethren to give blood, unless it was for another member of the Exclusives. He refers to something similar that his father said. Here are some extracts of his published ministry and letters in which he says this.

    Letters of James Taylor Jr. Vol. 1, page 334 (in a letter dated 23 February 1956)
    DEAR —, —I have yours of Feb. 14th; as to blood transfusions, I notice father makes a reference to it but does not enlarge on the matter in one of the readings on the Kingdom of God (Vol. 165 p. 53) [NS 59:56]. It came up in other readings which were not recorded, and I remember that it was concluded that it was not right to do it generally, but for one of the brethren it could be done.

    Letters of James Taylor Jr. Vol. 4, page 58 (a letter to Mr. Leslie A. Corbin, 14 November 1963)
    In regard to your inquiry about the donation of blood, I think this to be right in regard to your own family and also for the brethren, that is, those in fellowship. In these cases it would be a matter of righteousness, but to donate promiscuously I do not think is right.

    Ministry of J. T. Jr., Vol. 38, page 311 (1965)
    R.L.E. Is it right for a believer to donate blood to unbelievers ?
    J.T.Jr. I do not think so. Your blood belongs to God. It is quite right, I think, to give it to the brethren, but to be promiscuous about it is not right.

    Ministry of J. T. Jr., Vol. 80, page 51 (Des Moines, 12-13 May 1967)
    C.D. May I ask a question as to blood transfusions? Is there any point in it?
    J.T.Jr. The blood of a saint is fine blood. In an emergency, you have to go by it. This is not that people want to do anything wrong; they want to keep people alive, so be sure whose blood you are getting into you if you can; try to get the blood of a spiritual man. You do not know whose blood you are getting, do you?
    S.McC. J.T. stressed in Cleveland, during the war, that we should avoid promiscuous blood-giving. He did not say anything about transfusions, but during the war, when the Red Cross and others were appealing for blood, he said that we should not act like the world, and promiscuously give blood as the world gives.

    Mr Taylor similarly disapproved of donating hearts for transplant surgery (Ministry of J.T.Jr. Vol. 130 page 32).

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    1. This appalling ministry shows that James Taylor Jr was a dictator running a religious cult.

      If leaders Garth Christie and Bruce D Hales want their following to be accepted as a mainstream church which acts for the public benefit they should immediately reject what James Taylor Jr said.

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    2. Another corner turned? Apparently it's OK to cheer them on now.

      http://www.theplymouthbrethren.org.uk/community/rrt-assist-at-anthony-nolan-fundraising-event/

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  11. Symington said of transplants that kidneys were OK but not hearts as 'the love of God is in your hearts'. Superstition, of course, taking figurative language and making it literal.

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