What is the Matthew 4 Protocol, and Can it Cure Cancer? (Fact Check)
Editor’s Note: for an update on these cancer claims, see the March 9 2014 article, “What Connects the Matthew 4 Protocol to Dr. Mark Stengler?”
What is the Matthew 4 Cancer Protocol — and can it really cure cancer?
If you’ve found this web page, it’s likely because someone has sent you a link proclaiming to have found a cure for cancer… the “Matthew 4 Protocol”. I’ve looked into it. Let me tell you what I’ve found.
Yesterday I received an e-mail solicitation from GOP USA, a mailing list for Republicans that apparently markets against atheists, declaring that it had breaking news of a health discovery that No Atheist Can Explain:
Is this a scam?
Some scamsters earn money through fraudulent lawsuits, so let me be clear about what I mean when I use the word “scam.” A scam is an enterprise using sly tactics to convince people to buy products when there is no solid proof the products can do what they’re supposed to do. When I look for a scam, the first thing I try to figure out is whether those who are hawking a product are clear and above-board or are elusive and secretive. The second thing I try to figure out is whether the purveyors are clear about what their product is supposed to accomplish. The third thing I try to figure out is whether there is any proof that the product actually accomplishes what advertising says it will accomplish.
Let’s get started by looking at this message. What exactly has been discovered? We can’t tell right away from the announcement. Usually when a big, meaningful and verifiable discovery happens there’s no pussyfooting around about it. People come right out and say “Life On Mars” or “Conclusive DNA Identification of Bigfoot Confirmed” — or not, which is how we know that the discovery hasn’t happened. The people who have propped up this web page are elusive about exactly what they mean by “defeating some of our worst diseases.” This is Indication #1 of a Scam.
Instead, there’s some vague reference to a “Bible Code.” You have not read any newspaper articles trumpeting the breaking of a “Bible Code” lately, have you? If it were an obvious breakthrough, you’d have heard about it in the newspapers. This is Indication #2 of a Scam.
All three links in the advertisement lead to the same web page: a subpage of healthrevelations.net, a website claimed to be run by one “Brian Chambers” but actually registered to “Jason Pell.” This is Indication #3 of a Scam.
If you try to load the home page of healthrevelations.net, you’ll be redirected to besthealthnutritionals.com, another website claimed to be run by one “Jenny Thompson” but again actually registered to “Jason Pell.” This is Indication #4 of a Scam.
At the bottom of the besthealthnutritionals.com web page, the owner of the website is identified as “Health Revelations” and attaches the following disclaimers:
“HEALTH DISCLAIMER! THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS SITE SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS PERSONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR INSTRUCTION. NO ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN BASED SOLELY ON THE CONTENTS OF THIS SITE. READERS SHOULD CONSULT APPROPRIATE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS ON ANY MATTER RELATING TO THEIR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.”
“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
In other words, never mind anything else they say about curing cancer or your Auntie’s lumbago. They don’t actually mean any of it. This is Indication #5 of a Scam.
The title of the web page besthealthnutritionals.com is “Dr. Mark Stengler’s Best Health Nutritionals – Official Site.” But “Dr. Mark Stengler” is not a medical doctor — he’s a “naturopath” who has not gone to medical school or been board certified in real medicine. Besides, if Dr. Mark Stengler were actually involved in this website and had actually found a cure for cancer (and heart disease, and aching joints) involving the “Matthew 4 Protocol” or the Crown of Thorns plant, don’t you’d think you’d find reference to this amazing accomplishment on his website, markstengler.com? Go ahead: search markstengler.com for any reference to the “Matthew 4 Protocol” or the “Crown of Thorns plant.” You won’t find a single one. Visit “Dr. Stengler’s” Facebook page: no mention of any amazing “Matthew 4 Protocol” or “Crown of Thorns” cure. That’s quite curious for such a breakthrough discovery, one that so many thousands of cancer patients would be happy to spread the news about, and one that any doctor would become famous for discovering. If “Dr. Mark Stengler” is really involved in the discovery and sale of this amazing “cure,” why wouldn’t he be trumpeting the fact to the hills, or at least modestly mentioning his accomplishment somewhere on his highly promotional website? That’s all absent from markstengler.com. This is Indication #6 of a Scam.
What do you encounter when you’re directed to that first web page at healthrevelations.net? You’re stuck watching an interminable embedded HTML5 video (25 minutes long) that poses the following questions:
Am I a Mexican jumping bean? Is Britney Spears the secret President of East Kentucky? You see, anyone can ask a question. You’re meant to think that the answer is, “Why, yes!” But actually, if you listen to that 25 minute video, you’ll never get an answer to either question. This is Indication #7 of a Scam.
The closest you’ll get is a pitch, that to find the answer you should read a book about the “Matthew 4 Protocol,” a book supposedly getting around to identifying instructions for curing cancer in the Bible’s Book of Matthew Chapter 4, King James Version.
Go ahead: Read Matthew Chapter 4 in the King James Bible. There is no information in Matthew Chapter 4 about what one should do to cure cancer — other than be the Son of God and perform supernatural miracles, that is. I don’t think that’s a reasonable aspiration for most of us. This is Indication #8 of a Scam.
The other vague connection you’ll hear in the 25-minute movie, with no connection made to any “Bible Code”, is that an extract from the Crown of Thorns plant is somehow connected to the Bible, which has a code, which will kill all cancers. Is the Crown of Thorns plant extract the Matthew 4 Protocol? The video doesn’t exactly say that — but it does imply it (And in case you’re wondering, neither the Crown of Thorns plant nor Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns is referenced in the Book of Matthew Chapter 4. I have no earthly or heavenly idea what the connection is between this plant and the mysterious “Bible Code.”). The video does declare that the Crown of Thorns plant will end heart disease, fix your aching joints and more. All that from one plant extract? Sounds fishy, doesn’t it? This is Indication #9 of a Scam.
But wait, you say, the cure has been “verified by independent research from the University of Southern California, Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Chicago, and University of South Florida”! It says so on the website! With all that research behind it, the “Matthew 4 Protocol” must be legit, you might be thinking. But does the website provide any links to this “independent research”? Nope. Search the University of South Florida (usf.edu), Mt. Sinai Medical Center (sinai.org), and University of Southern California (usc.edu) websites for references to “Matthew 4” or the “Crown of Thorns Plant” and you’ll find nothing about any confirmed or prospective cure for cancer, heart disease or joint pain. Head to scholar.google.com and search for “crown of thorns” or “euphorbia milii” (its Latin species name) and “cancer” — you will find no peer-reviewed papers in any journal of large or small significance finding any anti-cancer properties of the substance. You will find research showing that the plant kills molluscs and shows signs of being a carcinogen — a cancer-causing agent. This is Indication #10 of a Scam.
The bottom line is that there is no proof of this website’s claims and every sign of an exploitative fly-by-night operation.
I could be wrong, of course. Maybe there is a magic cure-all “Matthew 4 Protocol,” even though the protocol is not specified by the end of the video. Maybe the Crown of Thorns plant has actually been shown by university research to cure cancer and heart disease and Uncle Joe’s bum knee in clinical trials… that have been hidden away by everyone in some secret nook. If that cure exists, I only issue the most reasonable request: show me the direct evidence of the cure. Show me the clinical trials. Show me the peer-reviewed reports. That’s what you should be asking for, too.
They’ll never show you, just like they’ll never show me. Why? The most straightforward explanation is that the cure does not exist.