In early March 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 cases were increasing rapidly in the United States and around the world. Like so many, I began to ask “what do I do to protect my family, my patients, and myself?”
As an allopathic physician, from the outset of the pandemic, I was entirely supportive of and in favor of mitigating factors such as social distancing and mask wearing, but I was very eager to discover more information about the novel coronavirus that could further prevent acquiring the disease and its severe symptoms.
As I researched the literature, I was convinced that there was more that could be done to mitigate the effects of SARS-CoV-2 besides merely mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand sanitizer.
With much prayer and the support and participation of some of the most influential and accomplished Seventh-day Adventist physicians, we collectively embarked on the AWR COVID-19 Medical Symposium. Focusing on God’s 8 natural laws of health, the symposium was overwhelmingly successful and viewed by thousands around the world.
Out of this successful response, the AWR360 Health YouTube program, Level UP, was birthed. From March 2020 until December 2020 we released weekly shows on COVID with scientifically proven ways to optimize immunity.
As we approached November and December of 2020, I, like many American physicians, was faced with a decision – whether or not to get vaccinated for COVID-19. As a full-time practicing obstetrician and gynecologist-laborist, whose duty is to care for all inpatient pregnancy-related issues, and who is responsible for many very sick COVID patients, I was first in line for the COVID vaccines.
Like many of my colleagues, living and working through the pandemic was a scary experience. The fear of bringing the virus home to my family or of getting sick, myself, kept me ever on high anti-viral vigilance. I was very diligent to comply with all CDC and hospital-issued safety protocols.
In addition to these protocols, I faithfully followed whole person health principles that resulted in decreased mortality for Seventh-day Adventist medical care facilities during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. These natural health principles are now supported by science and have been demonstrated to help optimize immunity, not only to viruses but also to bacteria, cancer, and many other conditions.
These health principles are familiar but far too often neglected: 1) the external and internal use of water through hydrotherapy and adequate water consumption; 2) getting fresh air and open space; 3) a whole-food, plant-based diet; 4) avoidance of the deleterious effects of harmful substances such caffeine alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, and to use moderately beneficial things; 5) adequate rest/sleep – sometimes difficult to achieve as OB/GYN who works 24-hour shifts; 6) regular exercise, 7) adequate vitamin D through sunlight and, if necessary, supplementation; and finally, 8) an abiding faith or trust in a loving God.
Through God’s blessing in following these principles of whole-person health, I remained healthy despite my high exposure to the virus. At one point, Arizona was labeled the number one COVID spot in the globe. But the Lord’s methods proved true.
In addition to my inherent concern about the danger of SARS-CoV-2, as a medical professional, I also had some questions about the Emergency Use Authorized mRNA and DNA vaccines. The more I probed and studied, the more those questions turned to serious concerns about these vaccines.
I began to call many of my colleagues and voiced my concerns about the vaccines. Much to my surprise, these well-meaning friends were, for the most part, unsupportive of me asking these important questions.
One of my biggest scientific questions was, how do we know how long non-biologically produced mRNA and subsequent spike protein production lasts, and how do we know that this injected mRNA won’t leave the site of injection and be taken up by the vasculature and deposited in various organs of the body?
I wasn’t the only one asking these questions. But like many other concerned medical professionals also discovered, I found that too often my questions were ignored and silenced.
On a personal note, I suffer from an autoimmune condition, namely, polymyositis. My polymyositis was so bad that about 9 years ago I was unable to walk up and downstairs. By employing God’s wholistic methods outlined above, I was able to avoid high-dose steroids and can praise God that I have not had an autoimmune “flare-up” in over 7 years.
Given the presence of that autoimmune condition as a potential contraindication, the COVID vaccines were concerning to me, as I feared they may worsen my autoimmune condition. On the other hand, I did not want to be presumptuous and risk acquiring COVID and, given my medical condition, have a worsened cytokine storm either.
As I pondered the matter I was perplexed. I wanted to honor God in my body and not be presumptuous either way. I spent several days earnestly praying and asking God for wisdom.
Meanwhile, I scheduled myself for the Pfizer vaccine at 1:30 pm, in late January. At 9:30 am I was on the phone praying with a couple of my friends. Much to my surprise one of the friends prayed that God would give me unequivocal evidence by doing something to me that would show His will for me regarding the Pfizer vaccine.
What happened next absolutely floored me.
Although I was completely well at 9:30 am at the time of that prayer, just one hour later, at 10:30 am I was flat on my back with a 103°F temperature.
I was shortly taken to Urgent Care and ultimately the Emergency Room with chest pain. Everyone was convinced I had severe COVID. Much to everyone’s surprise, I had an unusual case of strep throat. This strep throat seems to have come out of nowhere! In my adult life, I’ve never had it.
Needless to say, I got the answer to prayer that my friend asked for, and I did not get the COVID vaccine. It seemed as clear to me as possible that, for whatever reason, God did not want me to get that Pfizer mRNA vaccine.
One month later, still feeling concerned that I was being presumptuous in not getting vaccinated, I signed up and was accepted for the Novavax COVID Phase 3 clinical trials.
During the interview process, they took my entire history, including my autoimmune history. They said that was not a problem and accepted me into the program. A few days later I was notified to show up at the vaccine clinic for my Novavax experimental vaccine.
Again, feeling somewhat apprehensive as to God’s will I prayed that if this was not God’s will that He stop me; but at that point, I felt that I should get vaccinated.
Upon my arrival, I was taken into a room and again the researcher asked me all the same questions previously asked to determine acceptance to the program. This time, however, when he asked about the autoimmune history, and I answered the same as previously, he seemed greatly alarmed and concerned. After leaving the exam room and returning with the Investigational Supervisor, I was warned it was unsafe for me to get vaccinated, given my autoimmune condition. They apologized but felt that the risk did not outweigh any potential benefit I may get from the vaccine. I graciously thanked them and left, believing that God had clearly told me, personally, not to get any COVID vaccine.
At this point, I began to thoroughly research the literature and became more and more convinced there were significant scientific concerns surrounding the spike protein as produced by the mRNA and DNA vaccines. This conclusion did not come without great thought and prayer. I am not “anti-vax,” in fact, I am fully vaccinated but believe in medical autonomy and that each person has the right to decide for themselves what is best for their health.
I believe that the spike protein has significant potentially dangerous results, and as a physician, I have taken a Hippocratic Oath to do no harm and, thereby, must protect the defenseless. As a Christian, what is even of greater concern is the observed loss of liberty of conscience over the mass vaccination campaign.
As I personally witnessed the sequestration of differing opinions, the allowance for only one voice, and one rhetoric within the government, media, medical communities, education systems, and even in some congregations, I became increasingly more concerned as a Christian Physician. I again vowed to God that I would defend liberty of conscience and the defenseless and that I would do or say whatever He desired.
I began to feel the conviction to partner with other concerned Seventh-day Adventist Christians and Christians of other faiths who held similar beliefs, but the problem was that I didn’t know where to find those who shared these concerns.
After fasting and praying, God led me to a Seventh-day Adventist Christian friend from college, Dr. Lionel Lee, who introduced me to a number of fellow believing physicians and scientists, along with world re-known cardiologist and COVID expert, Dr. Peter McCullough, MD, MPH.
The conviction was strengthening that we needed a safe forum for Seventh-day Adventists and fellow believers of other faiths to have access to sound science and liberty of conscience support, namely, to offer exemptions for people desiring to avoid the COVID vaccines.
Again, the conviction came to connect with fellow Seventh-day Adventist Christian doctors, pastors, and attorneys. Through the miraculous working of God, I was put in contact with Mr. Chris Chung, who quickly connected me with a number of concerned physicians and pastors. Within 2 days we set up a Zoom Meeting and were blessed to have Scott Ritsema, Pastor Wyatt Allen, and Dr. McCullough present a wholistic approach to the COVID vaccine dilemma. This Zoom meeting met 7 days ago.
What I am thrilled to report, is that since that time, in just 7 days, God has provided a full-fledged ministry, Liberty and Health Alliance (LHA), along with a logo, the utilization of a 501c3, and website, all for the purpose of focusing on our God-ordained duty of liberty of conscience (i.e. the right to choose between right and wrong) and the importance of physical, mental and spiritual health.
In the last 20 years, I have had the blessing of founding and running several health ministries, but I have never seen God work so mightily in such a short period of time. This experience has even further inspired me to more fully share His message of liberty and health to a hurting world.
While God clearly told me I was not to get the COVID vaccines, it does not mean that God has given the same answer to everyone. No one, regardless of their position, should ever feel coerced, whether through spiritual, physical, or emotional means, to take or not take any medical treatment including the COVID vaccines. One’s health choices are a personal decision and should be valued as such. I thoroughly believe that if we ask God for His guidance and direction, He will reveal His wholistic plan for us.
I pray that this testimony will encourage and inspire you, as well, and want to personally invite you to look over our website, LibertyandHealth.org, and subscribe to our email list. Thank you for praying for this new ministry and asking the Lord how He would have you be involved. Praying for God’s blessing and protection on you and your families.
Lela Gilbert Lewis, MD, MPH, FACOG
Board Certified OB/GYN