The founder of a fringe "church" who had claimed a chemical solution could cure virtually any disease, from autism to cancer to herpes, said he takes it back -- just days after ABC News tracked him down in Mexico to ask about the dangerous game prosecutors say his church is playing with desperate people.
"There are certainly times I have said some things that I probably should have said differently. For lack of a better way to express things at the time -- or because others put words in my mouth, in the past I have stated that MMS cures most of all diseases. Today, I say that MMS cures nothing!" Jim Humble, founder and archbishop of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, wrote in a newsletter posted on the church's website Thursday.
But while federal prosecutors say MMS, Miracle Mineral Solution, is really just industrial bleach, Humble maintained in his note that it, along with "various other important health tools," can "combat the ill effects of poor foods, and chemicals that make us sick."
U.S. officials and medical experts told ABC News that it's the MMS that can make people very sick, as shown Friday on ABC News "20/20".
"They might as well be selling Clorox," said Ben Mizer of the Department of Justice, who indicted four people for selling the stuff in Nevada in 2013. "You wouldn't drink Clorox, so there is no reason to drink MMS."
Humble and other church officials in the U.S. and around the world have marketed MMS as a miracle cure or treatment online and at weekend seminars, held up as a way to overcome breast cancer or childhood autism. ABC News was there at one of the seminars presided over by a church archbishop, Mark Grenon.
"HIV. I wish everyone had HIV, and that's all the disease we had to deal with. We'd get rid of that quick. Easy," Grenon said at one point. And later: "So what would you use this for? The cancer, Lyme disease, Parkinson's. Stuff that's taking a long time to heal. Usually within three to six months, they're fine."
Outside that conference, ABC News asked Grenon about his claims. He denied that the church was doing anything wrong, stood by the claims MMS can cure diseases and accused an ABC News reporter of being an "actor" and "pawn" of the pharmaceutical industry.
Humble was more difficult to track down, but ABC News eventually found him living in a small town outside Guadalajara, Mexico, outside the reach of American law. There, Humble maintained that MMS should be given to women with breast cancer and children with autism. When asked about allegations that he was just a con man, Humble said they "ain't true."
The newsletter with Humble's apparent dramatic reversal on the "cure" claims came this week amid a flood of emails into an ABC News reporter's inbox from MMS supporters -- hundreds of emails that came in the wake of ABC News' first online report Wednesday calling it and later reports lies.
"MMS saved my life," wrote one person from Malaysia. Another man from Michigan wrote, "I have been using MMS for 10 [years] now and it has helped me with my health in several different ways ranging from the common cold to eliminating cancer." One woman added, "Whenever my dogs looked really sick, MMS has helped to cure the sickness sometimes immediately."
More than 500 people reached out to the ABC News producer to tell their stories of using MMS, many, like Grenon, accusing ABC News of being beholden to "big pharma."
"You need to get a real job," wrote one Humble follower. "You need to stop harassing wonderful, honest hearted, good people like Jim Humble. You need to stop the lies and wake up."
It's unclear what the reaction inside the pro-MMS community was to Humble's recantation.