Monday, May 15, 2017

Needless Measles Outbreaks

Did you know that measles was almost eradicated in the United States at the turn of the 21st Century? But thanks to misinformation and fear-mongering, measles outbreaks are on the rise. Don't fool around with your children's health. Vaccines work and it's been proven repeatedly that they do not cause autism.

If you are worried about vaccines, talk to your doctor (not to someone at your health foods store) about your concerns. Ask him or her if they vaccinate their own children. Read the article linked above and see what parents learned after their children had the measles. Check out the Center for Disease Control's excellent website, especially this page for parents who are concerned about vaccines:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Idaho Needs to Remove Its Faith Healing Exemption

Last summer, the Idaho Legislature's Mariah Walton Faith Healing Panel convened to hear arguments and testimony about Idaho's faith-healing exemption, which provides that parents who reject medical treatment for their children based on their religious beliefs are exempted from legal prosecution.

One of Mariah Walton's sisters gave emotional testimony that declared in practically the same breath that had her parents realized that Mariah had been born with a congenital heart defect, they would have made other choices. Yet in commenting on a proposed regulation that would require parents to provide semi-annual medical wellness check-ups, she complained about having "laws for everything," and asked rhetorically who should have to pay for such check-ups if they were to be required by "your laws." I daresay that most parents would think that wellness check-ups that would reveal serious illnesses in time to treat them would be a small price to pay.

When I began this blog, it was to reach out to parents who I believed may have felt trapped by the teachings of their faith, and been afraid to provide proper medical treatment for their children. But after listening to and reading testimony from the panel's hearing, and thinking about what the State of Oregon did to solve its problem of deaths caused by child neglect, I've become convinced that the first order of business should be to change state laws that protect parents from prosecution for legally sanctioned child neglect.

In the end, The Mariah Walton Faith Healing Panel declined to make a recommendation to the Idaho State Legislature. Idaho's citizens need to ask themselves if it is moral to have an exemption to child safety laws, which permit parents to legally neglect their children. Write or call your elected representatives and insist that the exemption be removed from child safety laws.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What If I Prefer "Holistic Medicine"?

There are lots of bright, loving parents out there who are afraid of or have a problem with medical science. So when their kids get sick, they "treat" them with "alternative medicines." What's wrong with that?

First of all, most parents aren't familiar with the course a disease takes, so they can mistake what appears to be "getting better" for actually getting worse, much, much worse.

Second, "alternative medicines" that have stood the test of time--that work--aren't called alternative medicine; they're called medicine. Props to Tim Minchin.

Here's why you don't want to "treat" your child with holistic medicines to the exclusion of proper care from a licensed healthcare provider: In a heartbreaking case, Tamara Lovett, a Canadian mom from Calgary, Alberta "treated" her seven-year- old son, Ryan, who was sick with not just one, but several treatable illnesses, with "holistic medicines." He died. Had she taken him promptly to a medical doctor, he would be alive today. She stood trial and was found guilty of "failing to provide the necessaries of life, causing death." I don't want that to happen to you. More important, I don't want your child to die unnecessarily.

Now there is reason to be concerned about the over-use of antibiotics, and you should talk to a licensed healthcare provider if you are wondering about that. There's also a very helpful book available to help you talk intelligently with that doctor. Breaking the Antibiotic Habit: A Parent's Guide to Coughs, Colds, Ear Infections, and Sore Throats by Paul A. Offit, MD. Caution: reading this book, even repeatedly, does not make you a licensed healthcare provider, and you need to take your child to a real one. Use this book to help you have intelligent conversations with healthcare providers. 

So if you like using, say, "aroma therapy," knock yourself out; it will make your house smell good. But when your kids are sick, for God's sake, for your own sake, and most importantly for your children's sake, take them to a licensed healthcare provider. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Howard Clark's Healing

In 1964, I met Howard Clark at the Feast of Tabernacles in Squaw Valley. I was nine years old and my family told me his story, that he'd been divinely healed of paralysis caused by wounds sustained in the Korean War. Today I am a skeptic, and as such, I suspect that if Mr. Clark was healed of anything, it was a psychological "healing." One of the things that was said about it was that the VA continued to pay him full disability, despite his claim that he had been healed. I heard Clark confirm this in a sermon in 1974 or 1977.

I contacted the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri to ask if I could learn anything about his healing from these records. At first I was told that they had located the file and that the information I requested would be sent to me in mid-September at no charge. Then shortly afterwards I was informed that because of his separation date, the entire records were available to the public, and as such were not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. They offered to sell me a complete copy of his personnel file for $70. I sent a check in that amount, but then asked if the information I was seeking would be in that file. The NPRC said that it would not be, no or ever, because it was part of his medical record which is in the custody of the Veterans Administration. Those records are only available to next-of-kin. The NPRC kindly intercepted my check and returned it to me.

One of my relatives was married to a minister of the Worldwide Church of God (known as the Radio Church of God in 1958, when this healing purportedly occurred) who had worked under Howard Clark as a local elder while Clark was pastor of a congregation of the church in El Monte, California. They said, circa 1974, that Clark told them he was in constant pain and wished that God had healed him entirely or not at all.

I wrote to Howard Clark's son several weeks ago, asking if his father, at the end of his life, had still believed he had been divinely healed, because the few individuals I knew of who had known him personally said that it was a topic he didn't talk about much. To date I haven't heard back from him.

If anyone with personal knowledge of Mr. Clark's alleged healing would care to contact me about this story, I would appreciate it very much.

Mariah Walton

I received an email from Sara Walton Brady who read the Introduction on my profile, which dealt with her sister Mariah Walton's congenital heart defect. She told me that the information was incorrect and asked me to take it down. She sent me a link to her testimony before the Mariah Walton Faith Healing Working Group, where she decries the purportedly false information that various groups have used to further the agenda of passing laws to protect children by eliminating the exclusionary clauses in child safety laws. As far as I can tell from listening to her testimony, the family is hurt and embarrassed because she says they would all do things differently now if they knew then what they know now. She also states that her parents are not members of a fringe LDS group, that they have always only been members of the LDS group, and that the church does not teach against seeking medical care. Furthermore, because her mother is "knowledgeable" about "natural healing," and used those methods in addition to praying for Mariah's healing, that they were not relying strictly on prayer. She says that if her parents had known about Mariah's heart defect, her mother would never have tried to treat it with herbs.
Sara Brady argues near the end of her testimony that she doesn't like the idea of mandated twice a year well-child check ups. The irony of that is that had Mariah's parents been legally obliged to do this, Mariah's heart defect would have been discovered in time to repair it.

So here is what I'm going to do. I am going to link Sara's testimony and an ABC interview of Mariah and Emily, another sister, and let my readers mull this over. By the way, there is absolutely no mention of Mariah having blackmailed her father, so I can't imagine what ABC was thinking to title the interview the way they did.

Here's a link to a telephone interview with Emily Walton, further describing what happened to Mariah.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Word to the Wives . . .

Your child is ill and their father tells you that you and he are going to have faith in God to heal your child, no matter what--even if it means letting your child die, because, he says, nothing can happen outside of God's will. Your church teaches--indeed the Bible teaches, that wives must obey their husbands. Maybe other members of your congregation tell you that you are fearful. Maybe your church is so exclusive that you hardly know anyone who isn't a member of it who would help you. The longer your child is ill, the more desperately you want to take them to a proper doctor. But your thoughts are confusing, and you're afraid to trust them. Maybe Satan is tempting you to be weak in faith and to disobey your husband. Maybe you feel like you're going crazy with all the contradictory thoughts swirling around in your head. Scriptures about trust and obedience. Because you know it's stupid and criminal to deny your sick child proper medical care. This woman is going to prison for twenty years because she obeyed her husband.

This poor woman is not a martyr; she and her dead baby are victims of ignorance and poverty.

Don't obey your husband when he refuses to take proper care of your children. Don't think that this is what it means to trust in the Lord with all your heart. Take some control over your life and the lives of your children. You'll be glad you did.



Saturday, August 20, 2016


Hi, Readers:

Sorry for the long gap since my last post. I have been researching instances of healings, and it's raised some interesting questions. Stay tuned as we look into these; meanwhile, if you have healing stories of your own, feel free to share them below.