HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Is the cure for cancer contained in a book that's sitting on your nightstand?
It's a claim made in a video that's circulating by email and social media across the country.
The claim is that the cure for cancer -all cancers- is hidden specifically on page 859 on an ancient version of the King James Bible (circa 1600's). The video's author says it's specifically in the New Testament's Book of Matthew- thus, called the "Matthew 4 Protocol." It maintains that if you have cancer, any kind, and follow the protocol, you'll be healed.
I started to investigate this claim to cure cancer, and those behind it, when an email that linked to an almost 30 minute video hit my inbox. Did someone decode a biblical cancer cure or are there some who are preying on desperate people willing to try anything to survive?
The email claimed oncologists were stunned at the "cure" and "Untreatable, late stage cancers disappear in weeks."
The email also claimed that it was "verified by independent research from the University of Southern California, Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Chicago and the University of South Florida."
The author introduces himself as Brian Chambers and he says he's led a very unique research project - a search for information hidden in the Bible. He says he and others have discovered a healing code, hidden on page 859 of the King James Bible and that after "fact-checking it with the help of a world-renowned naturopathic medical doctor," named later as Mark Stengler, they have arrived at an astonishing conclusion: that there is a set of instructions encoded in Matthew 4 and if you follow these instructions that they've "decoded," cancer can no longer survive in your body.
The video lasts nearly 30 minutes. It asserts that the Matthew 4 Protocol is a cancer treatment that's "completely non-invasive and can be safely used with conventional therapies without costing you an added penny." That protocol, the author says, "completely eliminates even highly aggressive, late-stage cancers in less than one month."
The video goes on to say that the Matthew 4 Protocol has been "verified by some of the world's top cancer researchers and what they've discovered will blow your mind." It cites a scientific trial on the protocol at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Chicago that claims mice and people have been cured using this protocol. The video says the protocol "does not involve drugs or supplements. Not a single pill and that mainstream researchers admit that it could replace chemo as the standard for care".
It also maintains that the doctor, who fact-checked the Bible's healing code, who is a leader in natural medicine and holds a masters degree from a California seminary, has laid out a step-by-step plan that shows you how to harness the power of the Matthew 4 Cancer Protocol.
It says I can get this life-saving information completely free and in addition, I can receive even -more gifts from Dr. Stengler.
Lydia is a stage 4 cancer patient. She's a Christian. Her doctor has almost exhausted all pharmaceutical options. Lydia is very vulnerable and desperate. She watched this video and was impressed and optimistic.
"I'm willing to try anything right now, to know I'll be able to live longer," she said. "Whatever he's put in that book, I truly believe I can be cured. He's taken the time to create nine to 10 books. He's got to have a little bit of genius work there."
Lydia was sold, and we wanted to see if the cure was really free and what, if anything, was hidden in scripture. So with the click of a button, we sent in my request for free information.
In the end, it wasn't free. It actually cost $74. It took more than two weeks, but the package finally arrived.
Inside was a newsletter, Dr. Mark Stengler's single paperback containing nine volumes of his Natural Healing Library and a 40-page booklet: The Bible's Healing Code Revealed.
Only a mere seven and a half pages of this 40-page booklet, just the first chapter, was devoted to the Matthew 4 Protocol, the supposed cure for all cancers.
I read it and so did ordained minister and cancer researcher, Rob Seitz. He did not mince words.
"Our creator did not encode that. I think it is an unbelievable, immoral con job," he said. "The purpose of the Bible is to reveal God. It does not contain hidden codes. The message in Matthew is talking about how Jesus went into the desert for 40 days to pray."
Dr. Mark McClelland, ordained Baptist preacher, agreed.
"It means what it says and that is, a story about Jesus fasting, being tempted by the devil, quoting Deuteronomy, giving Satan truth to counteract his lies," said McClelland.
Mark's wife, Jan, is currently battling cancer. He says the Matthew 4 Protocol was never a part of her treatment.
"I can tell you, to make a claim that God is hiding a cancer cure in Matthew 4 is just preposterous, biblically speaking," he said. "I know what the Bible says and there is no secret code."
Both ministers say we should be suspicious when this reported cure is only in one version, one translation of the Bible, the one written in the 1600's. Why not in prior ancient texts written in other languages? Why would it refer to specific verses and only a page number?
What is the so-called hidden Matthew 4 Protocol? It is a special low-carb diet that eliminates bread, coupled with intermittent fasting.
"The most unethical thing we can do is to intentionally give cancer patients false hope in an attempt to get money from them. There are many places I think," said Seitz. 'Faith and science come together. This is not, emphatically not, one of them."
McClelland says none of the verses in Matthew 4 direct Christ's followers to eliminate bread and other carbs from their diets because taking bread away would be inconsistent with the rest of the Bible.
"In Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer and said you should say, 'give us this day our daily bread,'" said McClelland. "He did not say, 'give us this day our daily no carbs diet, preferably broccoli.' He said bread. In Matthew 14, he took five loaves of bread and two fish and multiplied them and fed 5,000. Why would our sovereign God, who knows everything, give bread to people if it was going to make them more sick?"
So where is the science behind this so-called Matthew 4 cure? We looked for peer-reviewed studies and also contacted the National Cancer Institute under the National Institutes of Health that funds cancer studies. Here's the Institute's response: "NCI researchers have not looked at these claims nor do we have any background for it."
I also contacted the universities listed that supposedly conducted the studies on the Matthew 4 Protocol as touted by Brian Chambers with Health Revelations that proved the Bible's secret cure. The University of South Florida confirmed it "has done no such verification." They go on to say, "There is no way this is true and it is very disturbing that our name would be attached to this."
The University asked that WAFF provide them with the links to the materials, so they can take "appropriate action."
Aside from the claims made that the cure for cancer is hidden in Matthew 4, could diet play a complementary role in cancer treatment?
Seitz, who also lost his mom to cancer, says yes, but if intermittent fasting and diet alone cured cancer, why wouldn't oncologists have seen it as an natural consequence in their cancer patients who have trouble eating during treatment?
"They've got a bad misquoting of science, willful misinterpretation of Matthew 4, wrapped up into this religious scientific ball and use it as a way to exploit patients," said Seitz.
The Federal Trade Commission first said they weren't investigating and after a follow up call, they said they could not comment.
Michele Mason with the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama says, as a result of our investigation, the BBB is also investigating.
"There's no scientific evidence right now that's been accepted that would stand behind what's being claimed," said Michele Mason.
Mason says the linked website to order the booklet that makes these claims is not registered to Brian Chambers or Dr. Mark Stengler. That's the first red flag. She also says it is unclear if it really is Dr. Stengler who is authoring and authenticating this biblical claim or someone using his name.
We reached out to Stengler multiple times without a response. We also tried to track down Brian Chambers in Maryland where the booklet, The Bible's Healing Code Revealed, is published without any results. After calling two numbers for the publisher, Health Revelations, we called one number listed on the inside cover of the booklet and got a call center representing several companies. A representative could not give contact information for Brian Chambers, but suggested submitting an on-line form requesting an interview. Three requests went unanswered.
"Matthew 7:15 says, 'Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves," said Seitz. "These people are wolves, taking advantage of God's flock."
This leaves Lydia, who was so hopeful after viewing the video, disappointed. She says a low-carb diet hasn't helped her so far.
"I really want a cure for cancer, not just for me, but for everyone else, too," she said.
The booklet that touts the biblical cancer cure has a disclaimer: "Don't take this as medical advice or instruction."
Seitz says use your head. He suggests that if you've got questions about Matthew 4, talk to a minister. If you have questions about cancer, talk to an oncologist or cancer researcher.
We asked for our money back via email and certified mail a few weeks ago based on a promise of full refund if we weren't happy for any reason with the product we were sent. After two inquiries, our money was finally returned.