I am a non-practicing Catholic. My daughter is dating a boy who is a Jehovah's Witness. I have many concerns. He told me that he is unable to have a blood transfusion. Where in the Bible is that forbidden? He also believes that sex before marriage is forbidden. And I think he struggles with this because they are sexually active. He seems to be at odds with many of the requirements of his religion, although he believes in the teachings of Jehovah’s Witness. Can you help me to better understand the severity of his beliefs? They seem so extreme to me. Thank you.
The Bible clearly teaches that sex before marriage is forbidden. Please see my previous answer at What Does the Bible Say About..Sex Before Marriage? for the scriptures about that.
The reason Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions depends on an interpretation of what is meant by eating blood. “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” (Acts 15:28-29) If, they say, you can feed a person intravenously, then a blood transfusion is the same as eating blood. Since the apostles forbade eating blood, they necessarily forbade blood transfusions. Most people argue that receiving blood intravenously is not the same as eating it. Whether right or wrong, I admire them for sticking to their beliefs on this matter even in the face of death.
The other most notable belief held by most Jehovah’s Witnesses is their objection to serving an earthly government. This has led them to be conscientious objectors in war time, and in extreme cases has resulted in some refusing to pay taxes. The argument is that they are citizens of God’s kingdom. Allegiance to any other government could conflict with that allegiance. Furthermore, if they were to fight in a war they might be killing other members of God’s kingdom. As far as paying taxes, I have yet to hear a good response from them when I point out that Jesus said to pay taxes to the Roman government. “Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's. And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.” (Luke 20:22-25) Paul also taught that we can follow the local government. (See What Does the Bible Say About..Government? for more on that.)
Some of the Jehovah’s Witness doctrines may seem harsh to some. But that is true of any Christian beliefs. Some people consider the prohibition on sex outside of marriage harsh, although it elevates marriage to something special. Some consider attendance in the assembly of God’s church to be harsh, although those of us who love God consider it an easy thing. Some consider the idea of God sacrificing his only-begotten son for our sins to be harsh, but I am glad he did it.