Saturday, April 26, 2008

Religions Speak Up for Organ Donation

Religions Speak Up For Saving Lives
by Heather May, SL Tribune,
May - When deciding whether to donate their or their loved ones' organs, many will turn to their faith to find the answer.
In an effort to encourage more donation, Intermountain Donor Services this week reminded Utahns that most mainstream religions encourage donation or leave it to the individual to decide.
''One of the biggest questions people have from time to time is, 'What does my religion feel about donation?' '' said Alex McDonald, Intermountain Donor Services spokesman.
Leaders from four religions - the LDS Church, United Church of Christ, Congregation Kol Ami and Quaker - held a news conference Tuesday to explain their faith's teachings.
The LDS Church recently changed its statement on organ donation from one of neutrality to calling the giving of organs and tissues a "selfless act that often results in great benefit to individuals with medical conditions."
Scott Parker, who represents the LDS Church on the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, cautioned that the decision is still an individual one.
Rabbi Tracee Rosen said there is a misconception that donation is considered a "mutilation" by Jews because of the sanctity the Jewish tradition places on the ritual cleansing of the body and the teaching that all body parts should be buried.
"The opportunity to use a part of the body in order to save somebody's life is in fact encouraged," she said, recalling one of her congregant's daughters who received a heart transplant over the weekend.
The donor "gave a 38-year-old woman a chance to have a normal life," Rosen said.
Russell Baker, pastor of a United Church of Christ in Bountiful, said his denomination "strongly" encourages donation. He is signed up to give.
"I want to continue an act of grace even in my death," he said.
Elaine Emmi, a Quaker and chairwoman of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, said she plans to donate her body to science, though her church has no set doctrine on donation. She encouraged religious leaders to ponder donation, because they may be asked by their members what to do.
Matt Robinson, who attended the news conference with his 2-year-old son Brick, hopes such statements will help the boy get a kidney. Brick was born with just one that wasn't fully developed, and he has been on the waiting list since January.
"It may put to rest any preconceptions," said Robinson, a member of the LDS Church who lives in Eagle Mountain. "When the name Christ is used, people are more willing to open their hearts."
* HEATHER MAY can be reached at or 801-257-8723. Send comments about this story to

Organ and tissue donation by religion
Baptists: Donation is a compassionate and personal choice.

Buddhism: Donation is a matter of individual conscience.
Catholicism: Donation is an act of charity and love.
Christian Science: Donation is an individual decision.
Episcopal: Donation emulates Christ's sacrifice for mankind.
Hinduism: Donation is an individual decision.
Islam:Donation fulfills the priority of saving human life.
Jehovah's Witness: Donation is an individual decision.
Judaism: Four major branches encourage donation.
Lutheran: Donation contributes to the well-being of humanity.
LDS: Donation is a selfless act to be considered on an individual basis.
Pentecostal: Donation is a personal choice.
Presbyterian: Donation is encouraged.
Quakers: Donation is an individual decision.
Seventh-Day Adventist: Donation is strongly encouraged.
Shinto: Expresses concern about "injuring" a dead body.
Unitarian Universalist: Donation is an act of love.
United Church of Christ: Donation is strongly encouraged.
United Methodist: Donation is encouraged.


Dave said...

Over half of the 98,000 Americans on the national transplant waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of our neighbors suffer and die needlessly every year as a result.

There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren't willing to share the gift of life should go to the back of the waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

Janice said...

Glad the Church came out with a statement. I've always been a donor, Dale has been of the opinion that he needed to take them with him. Hopefully now that the Church says it's okay and an act of love he will get with the program. Hugs to all. Janice