Monday, August 29, 2016

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy an effective treatment for massive blood loss

“In a famous experiment in 1960 published in the first edition of the Journal of
Cardiovascular Surgery Dr. Boerema of the Netherlands anesthetized pigs, removed nearly all of their blood, and replaced it with salt water while he compressed them to three atmospheres in a hyperbaric chamber. 

"At 3 ATA the pigs, with essentially no blood, were completely alive and well. Dr. Boerema then removed the saline, replaced the blood, and brought the pigs to surface pressure where they remained alive and well. This phenomenon has been proven effective in other experiments and is the basis for clinical use in extreme blood loss anemia. 

"The best examples are Jehovah’s Witness patients who have lost massive amounts of blood and because of religious proscription are unable to receive blood transfusions. These patients are kept alive over weeks with repetitive Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy until their blood system is able to naturally produce enough blood to sustain life.” [Read more…]

Is there a Hyperbaric chamber near you? Check here: 
To read my other columns about blood medicine, start here: 
Bill K. Underwood is a columnist and author of several books. You can support this page by following this link to his books at 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

15,000 former Lutherans click "unsubscribe" on their faith.

Until 2012, Lutheranism was Norway's official religion. However, with church attendance at about 2%, the state has been bugging the church to clean up their messy records for years. To enable this, the church set up a website last Monday to help people check their enrollment status or to sign up.

But they also provided the option to un-enroll—which proved far and away the most popular feature. According to the church's website, the first day the page was up, 10,854 people clicked the let-me-out button. By Friday, that number had climbed to 15,035.

 Dropping “official state religion” status in 2012 gave the Church the authority to name its own bishops and deans, without having to bow to the government’s final say on such issues.
The previous requirement for at least half of all government ministers to be members of the Church was also be scrapped, and even the minister of church affairs no longer needs to belong to the church.
Unlike other European countries with a church tax, Norway subsidizes churches on a per capita basis, instead of taking a church deduction from each church-member's paycheck. So the Lutheran Church's foot-dragging is not surprising... [Read more.]

Monday, August 22, 2016

Korean conscientious objectors cautiously hopeful about the future

In a historic change from past practice, Korean courts this year are opting to acquit rather than punish young men who refuse to do compulsory military service on the grounds of their religious beliefs.

This year alone, district courts acquitted nine Jehovah's Witnesses of violations of the Military Law. The most recent ruling came one week ago from the Cheongju District Court which stated, "There are many ways to contribute to the nation without violating a person's basic rights such as social service or alternate work. It is unjust to punish military objectors by criminal law without even making efforts to provide alternatives."

"It is unjust to punish military objectors by criminal law without even making efforts to provide alternatives."

Another hopeful sign comes from Kim Jae-hyung, a Supreme Court justice nominee who recently expressed his support for such objectors and alternative ways to serve the country. His confirmation hearing will begin in September, and if confirmed, he is expected to add a different opinion on the 13-justice court.

While the government has claimed that conscientious objectors do not enjoy public support, Amnesty International Korea and Gallup recently conducted a survey in which more than 70 percent of respondents expressed support for conscientious objectors.

Kim Dong-in, another Jehovah's Witness, claimed it's time for the Korean government to take a stance.

"If you look at the world, fewer countries refuse to recognize conscious objectors. It will eventually happen in Korea. It's time for Korea to voluntarily recognize them instead of being coerced to do so under pressure," he said… [Read more] 

Quarry for stone jars discovered in Galilee

“There were six stone water jars set there for the Jewish custom of purification.” (John 2:6)

Archaeological excavations conducted in Galilee in early August, under the direction of Dr. Yonatan Adler of Ariel University, have unearthed a 2,000 year-old cave which functioned as a quarry and industrial workshop for the production of stone vessels.

The large subterranean cavern, hewn into a chalkstone hillside, was discovered at a site named ‘Einot Amitai near Nazareth in northern Israel. The cave yielded numerous remains of stone vessels in various stages of production, attesting to a thriving industry.

In ancient times, most tableware, cooking pots and storage jars were made of pottery. In the first century of the Common Era, however, Jews throughout Judea and Galilee used tableware and storage vessels made of soft, local chalkstone. The reason for this curious choice of material seems to have been religious; according to ancient Jewish law, vessels made of stone can never become ritually impure, and as a result ancient Jews began to produce their everyday tableware from stone.

While fragments of stone vessels have been found in the past at numerous Early Roman period sites throughout Israel, and two workshops are known from the Jerusalem area, this is the first time that full-scale excavations are conducted at a stone vessel production site in Galilee… [Read more.]

Friday, August 19, 2016

Should you be worried about Zika?

“Zika Virus has been around for decades. In fact, it was first observed in monkeys in 1947, when researchers from the Rockefeller Foundation were conducting a research for Yellow Fever in the Zika Forest of Uganda. Instances of Zika virus in humans arose every now and then, but cases were mostly in equatorial regions. The symptoms were also mild enough that it could be left alone until it clears within a week, just like any normal fever,” says an article in Tech Times.  

Florida now has confirmed cases of Zika. Miami is spraying a strong insecticide to kill mosquitoes. The main ingredient in that insecticide is called Naled.

Naled is one of a class of insecticides referred to as organophosphates. These chemicals act by interfering with the activities of cholinesterase, an enzyme that is essential for the proper working of the nervous systems of both humans and insects…Severe poisoning will affect the central nervous system, producing incoordination, slurred speech, loss of reflexes, weakness, fatigue… Naled is highly to moderately toxic to birds… Naled is toxic to most types of aquatic life… Naled is highly toxic to bees… Protective clothing must be worn when handling naled. (Given that, what do you see wrong in the picture above?) …Basic manufacturer: Valent U.S.A. Corp…” 

The main pesticide used in Brazil was pyriproxyfen. Here’s what it does:

Pyriproxyfen mimics a natural hormone in insects and disrupts their growth. It is a type of insect growth regulator that affects mostly young insects and eggs…In studies with rats, more than three quarters left the body within seven days. However, very small amounts of pyriproxyfen can be stored in fat and breast milk in the body… Two groups of laying hens were fed pyriproxyfen for eight days. A very small amount of the dose was found in the eggs, with most in the yolks…In one study, rats fed high doses of pyriproxyfen during pregnancy did not have any effects on their young. Similarly exposed rabbits had reduced birth rates only at the highest dose tested. In another study with rats, some young had unusual skeletal and digestive changes… Pyriproxyfen is practically nontoxic to birds, mammals, and adult honeybees. However, eggs and larval stages of honeybees and other insects are much more likely to be sensitive than adults…” 

“Starting in 2014, pyriproxifen was put into Brazilian water supplies to fight the proliferation of mosquito larvae… On February 3, 2016, the [possibility] that pyriproxyfen, not the Zika virus, is the cause of the 2015-2016 microcephaly outbreak in Brazil was raised in a report of the Argentinean organization Physicians in Crop-Sprayed Villages…On February 13, the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul suspended pyriproxyfen's use… ‘the city of Recife has the current highest reported amount of cases of microcephaly, yet pyriproxyfen is not used in the region…’ Manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical of Japan,” according to Wikipedia.

I'm no scientist, but it seems like if you replace a chemical that harms the nervous system with one that affects eggs, fetal skeletons, and birth rates, and you begin to see birth defects...

Now, here’s part of the story that wasn’t generally reported:

“After experts scrutinized 732 of the cases [in Brazil] they found that more than half either weren’t microcephaly, or weren’t related to Zika. Just 270 were confirmed as microcephaly that appears to be linked to Zika or other infectious diseases…The condition can also be caused by genetic factors or drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy,” according to the Washington Post. 

 Bill K. Underwood is the author of several novels and one non-fiction self-help book, all available at

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Helping Haiti - Give generously but wisely

I first posted this on Examiner in 2010. Within a month, it became the most-read column of my entire writing career. Much of the information is still relevant. 

Unless you’re a robot, the tragedy in Haiti can’t help but pull at your heartstrings. Unfortunately, there are people out there who are as soulless as robots, who will use your emotions to rip you off. Here are some recommendations from various watchdog organizations on giving. There are lessons to be learned from the Haiti tragedy that, sadly, will continue to have relevance. 
  • Avoid giving food, clothing or other in-kind gifts unless they are specifically requested, and you know the group has a way to quickly and efficiently distribute them.
  • Find out if the group you're planning to donate to already has an on-the-ground presence in afflicted area. Transportation in and out is limited, so if a group doesn’t already have a significant presence there, your contribution may be diverted elsewhere.
  • Giving online is dangerous. Make sure you know who is operating the site. Spammers have created what look very much like legitimate sites.
  • Be highly suspicious of claims that '100 percent of your donation will go to victims.' Every legitimate charity involves some operating costs. A claim of 60% to 85% of money raised reaching Haiti is considered reasonable. Legitimate costs are salaries for workers and executives, advertising the charity, etc. The problem is that since charities are non-profits, they are mostly unaccountable for what they take in and how they spend it. Do your homework. Google the officers of the charity, see if you can find out how high on the hog they are living. For example: according to, the current CEO of Red Cross, Gail J. McGovern, was paid about $1,037,000 in 2010.
  • Don’t text your donation! I know, it’s convenient, but the money won’t likely get to the charity right away.  Why not? (I know you would never do this but) some of your friends may have called a 900 number at some time. Does “900-meet-asian-chicks” get the money right away? No. First, your phone company has to bill you, I mean your friend. Then the bill has to be paid. Then the phone company has to forward the portion collected to the 900 company. Same thing is true of texting money to a charity. It could be a few months before your money is doing any good in Haiti or wherever it's needed, and in the meantime, the phone company is making money off the billing fees and the interest.
What about donating through your church?

Last week, I selected 30 churches at random from the Phoenix phone book, and emailed them some questions about Haiti donations. Not surprisingly, most churches are reluctant to talk about the tons of loot they are raking in. Below is the text of my email, and the very few replies I got.

 "I write a column for I’m currently working on a column about donations for Haiti. I’m sending this email to about a dozen churches in the Phoenix area. I would like your answers to the following questions. If you can supply the answers, great! If you choose not to answer, that’s fine, but my column will state that I got no reply from your church, or that you chose not to comment on a particular question.

  • How many different services do you have in a week?
  • What is your average attendance?
  • Do you pass a collection plate at each service?
  • Do you pass it more than once?
  • Do you suggest/require a donation amount? How much?
  • Do you communicate by letter, email, or phone call with your members regarding amounts they are suggested/required to donate?
  • Besides the upkeep of your facility, what are the donations used for?
  • Do you have salaried ministers or other local employees of the church?
  • Are you asking your members to give something extra for Haiti?
  • If so, are you taking that money from the regular donations, or do you have some special arrangement? (Passing a collection plate again, sending out request letters, etc.)
  • If you are making special donation arrangements for Haiti, do you have a target figure?
  • What percentage of the funds earmarked for Haiti do you expect to reach Haiti? (For example, reports on many reputable charities that have a less-than-stellar record - some as low as 10-15%.)
  • Where are you sending the Haiti funds? (your organization’s upper management, CARE, United Way, etc.)
  • What arrangement do you have for informing members of what they are contributing and how their money is being used?
I look forward to hearing from you.

A Baptist church replied: 
“We have 3 Sunday Worship Celebrations. And then a Wednesday evening Service that is a little different than Sunday's. Our total Sunday worship attendance is slightly more than 200, and we have Sunday small groups for all ages with attendance of about 150. Yes, we pass a collection plate at each service. No, we do not pass it more than once. We do not require a donation amount.” However, he followed that up with, “We do believe that a Christ Follower will be generous in giving and that the biblical minimum standard goal is the tithe, which is 10 percent of their income.” 
For the record, tithing was a Jewish arrangement to support the Levites, who were not allowed to own land. It was never a Christian requirement. If it were, Jesus would not have died with no possessions other than the clothes on his back. 
The Baptist church hedged a bit on the question about sending collection letters. “To date 'no' to the suggested donations, and we do not 'require' donations.” His reply to how the money is used was also a bit vague: “Ministry, Missions, Personnel.” As to salaries, “1 full time pastor, and other part time staff.” Yes to the question of asking for something extra for Haiti. As to the question of special collections for Haiti:Last Sunday all of our undesignated offerings (normal offerings not marked for a specific purpose) went to the Haitian Disaster Relief efforts. And now we will encourage our people to give if they wish to give more. We will have information in the Sunday bulletin and on our website (which I suppose that you have seen) that direct people to a trusted site for supporting the work.” On the question of what percentage of funds earmarked for Haiti actually get to Haiti, he replied, “100%.” But the next question, Where are you sending the funds, he answered, “It is going through our Arizona Southern Baptist Convention or through the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.” But he already acknowledged that “pastors” and “staff” collect salaries, so how could “100%” be reaching Haiti? On the question of advising members about how the money is used: “We keep confidential records of all contributions that come through [our] Church, and give a report back to individuals who contribute. Regarding the Haitian Relief efforts the agencies through which we contribute will have various measures of reporting.”

Next reply was from a Lutheran church:
 “This time of year we average 3000, average weekly for the whole year 1350. We pass the plate once each service. We do not suggest or require a donation amount. No requirements, all strictly voluntary.” 
His reply to how the money is used was also a bit vague. “Salaries of staff, program costs, mission trips and outreach, community service.” He also acknowledged that the ministers receive a salary. (I keep mentioning that because, as previously noted, Jesus died poor, Paul made tents to support himself, and Jesus told his followers, ‘You received free, give free.’ Since none of us have paid Jesus for our biblical education, how can anyone justify charging parishioners for his services?) 
To the question of asking members to give something extra for Haiti he answered, “Absolutely.” The next question about how they were collecting the ‘something extra’ for Haiti he answered vaguely, “special donations.” How? He already said they only pass the plate once, and that they don’t send dunning letters. As to a target figure, he said they have no target, but that when the tsunami hit southeast Asia, they raised over $30,000. As to the percent of the funds for Haiti he expected to reach Haiti, he too replied, “100%.” 
On the question of where the funds are going he answered, “We send them through our national church office, to a related organization set up to handle disaster relief around the world:  Lutheran Disaster Relief.  No overhead, all to direct aid.” That sounds great! However, I searched for “Lutheran Disaster Relief” and found no such organization. I did find an organization called Lutheran Disaster Response. When I clicked on that, it took me to the website of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, where asking for money for Haiti is clearly their top agenda at the moment. At the bottom of the page, in really tiny letters was this caveat: “Any funds not needed for this relief effort will be used for other disaster purposes as determined by LCMS World Relief and Human Care.” As with the Baptists, if their ministers and staff are salaried, they are not sending 100% to Haiti. 

The next reply I got was also from a Lutheran church:
"We have 3 services per week with an average attendance of a little under 500.  We do pass collection plates in each service and that offering supports the overall ministry of [our church.]  We have some staff people including myself (Senior Pastor), an office staff, and we operate a pre-school.”  (Wait a minute, I’m just guessing here, but isn’t it likely that parents who make use of the preschool are required to pay for that service, rather than it being supported by the collection plate? Hmmm.) “We continue to encourage our members to contribute financially for the aid of the people of Haiti by supporting LCMS World Relief and Human Care. This organization has had workers on the ground in Haiti from very early on after the disaster helping with food, water and medical needs, emergency housing and spiritual needs in many ways.”  
I finally got an honest answer regarding the percentage of donations that would actually reach Haiti. “I don’t know the exact percentage of administrative costs verses dollars directly to services and resources but you can likely find such information through their website.” No, actually, you can’t. What I did find, in addition to the warning already noted about how they can use your funds however they see fit, was some salary information.
As of 2006, the President of the LCMS received a salary of $158,870. The First Vice President, $129,160. The Secretary:  $147,263. Vice President/Treasurer:  $147,263. Chief Administrative Officer:  $129,160. Executive officers of major legal entities (Corporate Synod, CPH, CHI, Church Extension Fund, Foundation) received an average annual salary of $133,864. Executive directors of Corporate Synod, WBP, other boards, commissions and departments including LCEF and LCMS Foundation) and CPH VP and other officers received an average salary of $122,350. 
The Lutheran minister continued: “We have published [the website] information for our members and encouraged them to give personal donations in addition to what we do collectively as a congregation.” (You might want to be careful about that… if they start poking around like I did and discover where their money is going your donations might dry up.) “We do not require specific amounts of donations but we do know many of our members are quite generous in giving for a number of needs.” Let’s do some math, shall we? 1500 visitors a week. Since I’m not a church-goer per se I have no idea what a ‘generous’ contribution is, but If each one drops a $5 in the collection plate, that’s $18,000 a month, $216,000 a year!
The next reply I got was from the executive assistant to the pastor of City of Grace Church, who declined to answer the questions herself, and advised me that the pastor was unable to do so as he was in Haiti with the City of Grace Disaster relief team.
The last reply I got was from an elder at a Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall. He wrote: “Our kingdom hall is used by four congregations to avoid crowding and to allow us to get to know each other better. Each congregation meets twice a week, attendance averages 110 per meeting. No collections are ever taken in any kingdom hall anywhere in the world. No plate is passed, no dunning letters are sent out. We do not tithe. We have no paid ministers or staff. Each congregation is presided over by a body of elders, none superior to any other. We have a box at the back of the hall with a slot in the top where people can anonymously contribute what they can, if they wish, to pay for the utilities and maintenance of the building. We keep costs down by all of us – elders and publishers – jointly working together on cleaning and maintenance projects. We have another box where people can drop a contribution, if they wish, to the worldwide work of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That money supports the printing of millions of copies of The Watchtower and Awake! magazine, Bibles, and other study aids. These publications are not sold; they are given freely to any who agree to read them. The brothers and sisters who live and work at the world headquarters in New York and in branch offices around the world are all volunteers. None – from the newest laborer to the members of the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses – receive a salary.  The funds sent in for the worldwide work also support thousands of missionaries in other lands. Our missionaries are not school teachers or social workers. They devote their full time to teaching people the Bible. As all our meetings are about studying the Bible, money is not mentioned. Occasionally a letter is read thanking the congregation for contributions received. Every penny contributed is scrupulously accounted for, and any member of the congregation is free to ask any of the elders for an accounting of what the money was spent on. There is no special collection for Haiti; there is no need for that. (What? Why not?) Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide consider ourselves a brotherhood, and the problems of our brothers in Haiti are the same as if they happened to our literal family members, so there is no need to urge anyone to contribute. (Oh.)  Jehovah’s Witnesses in Dominican Republic were on the road to Haiti with relief supplies within hours after the quake hit. Several Witness doctors from Dominican Republic and elsewhere have been working almost nonstop since the quake. Money and other supplies from the Watchtower Society headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, were sent immediately to Haiti and Dominican Republic, and supplies and money are still pouring in. Of course, no repayment will ever be asked for or expected… we know they would do the same for us.”

Well, that was refreshing. I went to and searched it for references to money, donations, charity. All I found were Watchtower articles such as “Is money your master or your servant?” and “Is pursuit of money making you sick?” Try as I might, there was no way to donate any money to the organization, nor any request for donations. The only mention of money I found, in connection with Haiti, was in a public news release entitled  “Witnesses’ relief efforts well under way for victims of earthquake in Haiti.” A single line at the bottom read, “The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is caring for these expenses by utilizing funds donated to the Witnesses’ worldwide work.”


1. Since people do, in 2018, like to be able to do their baking online, does now have a way for a person to contribute. But you do still have to look for it. You can browse their site for hours and never notice any request for funds.

2. One Haitian customs official, while approving the importation of the construction materials, commented: “Jehovah’s Witnesses were among the first ones who came across the border to get help for people. They don’t just talk about helping, they really do it.” In the first six months following the quake, 1,700 homes had already been built by the Witnesses for those who had lost theirs.

3. The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.
The Red Cross’ initial plan said the focus would be building homes — an internal proposal put the number at 700. Each would have finished floors, toilets, showers, even rainwater collection systems. The houses were supposed to be finished in January 2013.
None of that ever happened. Carline Noailles, who was the project’s manager in Washington, said it was endlessly delayed because the Red Cross “didn’t have the know-how.”
4. Another signature project, known in Creole as “A More Resilient Great North,” is supposed to rehabilitate roads in poor, rural communities and to help them get clean water and sanitation.
But two years after it started, the $13 million effort has faltered badly. An internal evaluation found residents were upset because nothing had been done to improve water access or infrastructure or to make “contributions of any sort to the well being of households,” the report said.
When a cholera epidemic raged through Haiti nine months after the quake, the biggest part of the Red Cross’ response — a plan to distribute soap and oral rehydration salts — was crippled by “internal issues that go unaddressed,” wrote the director of the Haiti program in her May 2011 memo.

5. "Brittany Koper, a granddaughter of Paul Crouch Sr., [founder of Trinity Broadcast Network] alleged in a lawsuit... that top bosses in the organization threatened her life with a gun and fired her and her husband Michael after she refused to illegally funnel some $100 million of charitable assets to their personal accounts."

Please subscribe and leave a comment. Follow me on Facebook.  

Bill K. Underwood is a columnist, consultant, photographer and author of three bible-friendly novels available in either ebook or paper at