An air conditioner repairman and self-described bishop is barred from hawking industrial bleach as a drinkable cure-all, a Harris County District Judge ruled August 10.
The order was issued more than a year after the Harris County Attorney's Office had sought an injunction against Shane Hawkins of Angleton, for selling a chlorine dioxide solution as a "sacrament" for an organization called Genesis II Church, run by an octogenarian ex-Scientologist living in exile.
The bleach, sold as "Miracle Mineral Solution," is marketed by Genesis II and various "church chapters" as a cure for 95 percent of the world's maladies.
In the county's May 2016 motion for a permanent injunction, prosecutor Rosemarie Donnelly cited the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 2010 warning that ingesting high dosages of the bleach can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and severe dehydration. Prosecutors alleged that Hawkins held sales pitches — marketed as “sacramental training classes" — in Houston-area hotels. Attendees were told to bring a $500 cash donation in an envelope.
“Consumers who have MMS should stop using it immediately and throw it away,” the agency recommended.
Hawkins represented himself in the county's lawsuit, stating in an affidavit that he was “neither schooled in law, legal ease [sic] language, nor etiquette, has never studied at college, has no attorney nor the money to afford an attorney.”
In another filing he called the County Attorney's Office, "a FRAUD! ONCE A FRAUD, ALWAYS A FRAUD; underhanded, EVIL, no Morals.”
In yet another filing, he wrote that he had evidence proving that "chlorine dioxide is not dangerous."
Hawkins also wrote, “In this great land, we do not condemn, convict, nor [are] we allowed frivolous law suits based on what One MIGHT do to can cause serious harm to health….If this is the case, then everyone who drives a car or owns a gun should be sued in this same way to prevent them from MIGHT or Could cause serious harm to health….You see how dumb and stupid this lawsuit is?”
"Dumb and stupid" might be another way to describe some of the tenets of Genesis II Church.
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Led by Jim Humble, a man who claims to be descended from an ancient alien race, Genesis II and its Miracle Mineral Solution are popular among anti-vaccination enthusiasts and critics of evidence-based medicine in general.
In November 2016, the Houston Press covered the tragic story of one MMS consumer, 22-year-old Jennifer Hollis, whose mother believed she (Hollis) had "chronic lyme disease." There's no indication Hollis suffered from the condition — which the Centers for Disease Control says doesn't actually exist — but Hollis posted YouTube videos suggesting the treatment was helping. (Hollis's MMS was purchased online, not from Hawkins.)
In one video, she said that a friend had taken an MMS "colon cleanse," which expelled a gigantic parasitic worm. (Many MMS users say that a variety of conditions, including autism, are caused by intestinal parasites called ropeworms).
Unfortunately, MMS proved no cure for Hollis, who committed suicide on May 12, 2016, with a gun she bought that morning.