Myths about religion and organ donation cause hesitation
When Jensen and her husband realized the seriousness of Conrad's condition, they walked to her husband's office to offer a prayer together before returning to the hospital to make the excruciating decision.
"I didn't think at the time, 'Is my religion for or against it?' because I felt more than knew that it wasn't against it," she said. Jensen is LDS.
Today, Jensen maintains a relationship with three recipients of Conrad's organs, including Jill Hyde, who received his heart. Seeing Hyde marry and adopt a child has validated the decision to donate, Jensen said.
"My family had incredible experiences," she said. "We would say that (donation) gives you … a co-experience with joy as you go through your loss."
For a comprehensive list of religious groups and their positions on organ donation, or http://www.organdonor.gov/ to become an organ donor, visit organdonor.gov. In Utah or Idaho, visit Intermountain Donor Services.
Religious groups and organ donation
There is general agreement among most religions that donation is an act of charity in support of human life.
Buddhists believe organ and tissue donation is a matter that should be left to an individual's conscience. Reverend Gyomay Masao, president and founder of the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, said, "We honor those people who donate their bodies and organs to the advancement of medical science and to saving lives."
Organ and tissue donation is considered an act of charity and love, and transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican.
The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints
The church believes that "the donation of organs and tissues is a selfless act that often results in great benefit to individuals with medical conditions." It also holds that decisions about donation are individual ones to be made in conjunction with family, medical personnel and prayer.
The Greek Orthodox Church supports donation as a way to better human life in the form of transplantation or research that will lead to improvements in the prevention of disease.
Donation is not only permitted, but encouraged. Muslim scholars of the most prestigious academies are unanimous in declaring that organ donation is an act of merit and in certain circumstances can be an obligation.
Judaism sanctions and encourages organ donation in order to save lives. The Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards has stated that organ donations represent not only an act of kindness, but are also a "commanded obligation" that saves human lives.
The Southern Baptist Convention has no official position on organ donation. "Such decisions are a matter of personal conscience," writes Dr. Steve Lemke, provost of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
"The United Methodist Church recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors," reports a church policy statement.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.