The Church of Conscious Living – another Stephanie Messenger Anti-vaccine Enterprise

Stephanie Messenger is in the business of anti-vaccinationism. She’s an old hand.

Messenger is one of the founders of the Queensland anti-vaccination group, the Vaccination Awareness and Information Service. She ran the group with anti-vaccine stalwart Susan Lindberg and Roxanne Iwinski, the latter leaving later to gain a conscience. Messenger and Lindberg even wrote an anti-vaccine manual with Meryl Dorey, called Vaccination Roulette, which was published by the hideous anti-vaccine pressure group, the Australian Vaccination Network. Messenger’s husband, Leslie Bailey – remember that name – is the business name holder for Vaccination Awareness and Information Service.

Healthy Lifestyles Naturally is another business run by Messenger which seems to be a portal into which the pouring of money is partaken: other people’s money. HLN is the business entity to whom marks part themselves from their cash to pay for such things as the recent series of seminars which are no longer occurring where they were going to occur, past seminars (below), and that grotesque book intended for children – a boys’ and girls’ death and disfigurement manual – Melanie’s Marvelous Measles:

Messenger 36 MMM cover

The main website for HLN is Nature Matters, from where many Messenger-related purchases can be made. HLN has been the business underpinning Messenger’s seminars throughout the years. All of her seminars are anti-vaccine, and tied in with them is one of her other organisations, Get Rid of SIDS (more below). Another of her clever business opportunities is taking a piece out of the feminine hygiene market. Peter Bowditch was able to get hold of a sample when he took one for the team a few years ago:

These things emit negative ions which can cure a range of medical and physical conditions. It almost goes without saying that they cure PMS, but it is the other things they work on that make them worth every cent of the price. They came with an A4 page covered on both sides with testimonials in very small type. The first one of these is from “Garry”, who put them in his underpants to take away the pain and discomfort of diverticulitis. Not only that, but Garry had a PSA reading of 14.2 (doubled in a year!) and the pads took away the incontinence and “irritating pain” caused by his enlarged prostate.

Messenger 37 ion padsPhoto courtesy Peter Bowditch.

What is much more disturbing is the advertising claims Messenger uses – more sinister than the testimonials noted above – so as to terrorise her marks into buying her pads by claiming that normal pads and tampons cause cancer. From Working Women magazine, Spring 2011:

Messenger 35 pads tampons causing cervical cancer Spring 2011 Working Women magazineThere isn’t a cesspit these people won’t swim through.

Of course, the business name holder of HLN is – you guessed it – Leslie Bailey.

Get Rid of SIDS is Messenger’s registered health promotion charity. It has Deductible Gift Recipient status. Along with Messenger’s other organisation, GanKinMan Foundation (more below), GRoS was listed as the organiser of the recent anti-vaccine seminars which feature anti-vaccine fundamentalist Sherri Tenpenny as the lead speaker. Read that out aloud again: a registered health promotion charity organised an anti-vaccine tour. The basis for Messenger’s GRoS charity is the promotion of the Toxic Gas Theory, by Dr Sprott. SIDS and Kids, a real SIDS organisation, states:

Rigorously conducted, scientifically based research has concluded that there is no evidence to support the link between wrapping mattresses and the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

and:

Dr Sprott’s hypothesis has received vigorous criticism from major SUDI researchers and Paediatric experts. They consider that there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the theory. Dr Sprott’s book is said to contain “factual errors and presents an unproven hypothesis as scientific fact”

So, the foundation stone of Messenger’s charity is false.  And she uses the legitimacy of the word “charity” to organise and plug an anti-vaccine series of seminars, tricking venues into accepting her booking by conveniently refusing to disclose that she and the lead speaker are anti-vaccine fundamentalists.

So, we know Messenger is the treasurer, and the founder of GRoS. But who was the trademark holder for GRoS? Indeed it is: Leslie Bailey.

This leads us to the next organisation, the GanKinMan Foundation. Born of an ugly union between greed and deceit the fake foundation is not registered anywhere. So, it isn’t a “foundation”. It got its name from exploiting the names and images of three of the world’s best ever human beings: Mandela, King, and Gandhi. Hopefully the lawyers of the Nelson Mandela Foundation are still chasing the hideous Messenger for this brazen desecration of Madiba’s memory.

The foundation was created for the purpose of organising the Tenpenny tour, alongside and using the reputation of the Get Rid of SIDS charity, whilst at the same time deliberately hiding the identities of those pulling the levers. Diluted Thinking notes, of the confusing payment delivery:

Payments for seminar tickets go directly to Stephanie Messenger and NOT the advertised organisers and please note that both advertised organisers are controlled by Stephanie Messenger…

Payments for goods (including the seminars) on behalf of Messenger’s “Healthy Lifestyles Naturally” and “Vaccination Awareness & Information Service” are to be deposited into a bank account in the name of “GanKinMan Foundation”.

In addition to this, an email received from the domain name of gankinman.com originated in Brisbane (QLD), a From: field in the header shows the term “StephaniePC” and its attached pdf document shows the author as “Stephanie” in the document properties.

I must stress that no published information from GanKinMan Foundation – its website, seminar advertising or emails – provides the name of any individual.

So, having gone to so much trouble in de-identifying those who run the fake foundation – Messenger would never give a straight answer to journalists, saying only that she was “involved” – who else is behind this non-foundation? I’ll let the wonderful Diluted Thinking tell you, again:

Its website http://www.gankinman.com/ provides no contact names but the contact phone number listed belongs to Les Bailey, Eclectic Services (QLD) Pty Ltd, according to WHOIS data for a different domain name. The gankinman.com domain was first registered on 3 November 2014 using an anonymising service.

That’s right. Leslie Bailey, registered using an anonymiser. And the contact number for GanKinMan is the business phone number of Bailey’s business.

Now we get to the main story, and I apologise for the necessary delay.

Many of us have heard of the Church of Conscious Living. It gained some notoriety in the press a couple of years ago, with Jane Hansen writing in the Daily Telegraph, in May 2013:

The Church of Conscious Living was founded by Jane Leonforte and Adriano Regano in Queensland in 2008, with the express purpose of creating a front for vaccination exemptions. In a letter sent by the “church” to their followers, Ms Leonforte and Mr Regano admit “we have decided to create a ‘religion’, so, amongst other things, we can claim ‘religious exemption’, if the need ever arises, for ourselves and our children.”

And in June 2013, Jane Hansen again writes in the Daily Telegraph:

Anti-vaccine activists have created a sham ‘Church of Conscious Living’ to exploit a loophole in federal and State vaccination laws, which allow parents to claim childcare rebates and access daycare centres if they have a religious objection.

Catherine Cusack MLC also covered the topic in her op-ed for the Daily Telegraph, in May 2013:

We don’t need a “religious exemption” as there are no recognised religions opposed to immunisation. Most of the world’s religions are united in the fight to save children from disease and death, which is why we have reached the remarkable point where, thanks to vaccination, polio can be wiped from the face of the Earth.

So, we’ve known about the CoCL for some years. After all, it has been around since 2008. But we were always under the impression that the fake church was run by Jane Leonforte. How wrong we were. Leonforte ceased officially running the church in early 2010. And, in a mea culpa, I and others hadn’t checked behind the scenes of this fake church. Well, we have now. Again, I’ll pass to Diluted Thinking, to whom all of the glory must be bestowed:

It appears that Stephanie Messenger and her husband, Leslie Bailey, have been running this church for some time now.

Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) records show that the business name “Church of Conscious Living” was registered by Leslie Bailey on 29 Dec 2009.

The WHOIS record for the Church of Conscious Living domain, churchofcl.com, shows all registrant and contact details as Les Bailey, Eclectic Services (QLD) Pty Ltd;

The postal address for the church is the same postal address as Eclectic Services (QLD) Pty Ltd and the church has been using that address from at least July 2013;

A membership form’s document properties shows author “LesLapTop” with creation date June 2013;

A membership form’s document properties shows author “Eclectic” with creation date of February 2010.

SING IT WITH ME SISTERS AND BROTHERS OF THE FAITH: IT’S THE LES AND STEPH DONATION FOUNDATION SENSATION. YEEEEEEAAAH.

And it’s not like they’ve only been involved since after the fake church was founded.  No. They were there for the opening ceremony:

Messenger 28 present at first COCL meeting 2008 with Lindberg and Iwinski VAIS

Indeed, Messenger was present at first COCL meeting in 2008, with Lindberg and Iwinski of VAIS. She gave a talk. She was there for the inaugural cutting of the watermelon!

And not only was Messenger at the cutting of the watermelon, she was involved in actively promoting the fear required surrounding the creation of the new church – along with the church’s creators – before the inaugural cutting of the watermelon. This is from the December 2007 AVN Doing the Rounds newsletter:

COCL 4 Messenger create a religion

Before we go there is another item we want to keep an eye on. I know of several substantial complaints which have been lodged with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission regarding the many regulatory anomalies surrounding Messenger’s and Bailey’s various organisations. Only today there have been many changes on their ACNC Charity Register Summary:

Messenger 38 ACNCMessenger 39 ACNCWe can see a lot of detail has been removed, and it also notes an annual report was received today.  It was nine months late. This is something to watch. If this despicable organisation is stripped of its charity licence and DGR, it can’t come soon enough.

For a magnificent summary of this extremely confusing collection of businesses, organisations, non-entities, and the charity, see Diluted Thinking’s new page, here.

Thanks.

Update January 28 2015

Purely for ease of access I thought I should include this post from the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network, posted to their official Facebook page, on May 29 2013. This post is the one to which various media outlets are referring when they cite the AVN’s promotion of the sham church. The AVN have only ever promoted the church. They have never been involved in the operation nor the set-up of the church:

COCL 5 AVN May 29 2013 promo

About reasonable hank

I'm reasonable, mostly.
This entry was posted in anti-vaccination dishonesty, australian vaccination network, AVN, meryl dorey, skeptic, stop the australian vaccination network and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Church of Conscious Living – another Stephanie Messenger Anti-vaccine Enterprise

  1. Dave says:

    Great work Hank, those services certainly are eclectic!

  2. Stephen says:

    Thanks for a thorough and eloquent takedown mate.
    I hope S.M. & L.B. will soon peruse it and weep.

  3. Jonathan Burke says:

    Absolutely champion effort. Have to say, that description of their opening ceremony was hilarious. Bad grammar aside, I loved “This was followed by the ceremonial cutting of the watermelon”. Just sums up the woo based thinking so well.

  4. grackle says:

    Excellent work as always.

    It would be so easy and so accurate for them to change the name to the Church of Contagious
    Living.

  5. rseglenieks says:

    Great work! I wonder if her supporters will think this all just a conspiracy too…

  6. Jamie says:

    Just sensational.

  7. davehpt says:

    Reblogged this on Lose Weight, No Bullshit and commented:
    these fucking people, man.

  8. @advodiaboli says:

    Reblogged this on Losing In The Lucky Country and commented:
    In the present environment of the Tenpenny anti-health saga it’s well worth catching up on this brilliant post from reasonablehank who has joined the disturbing dots with information from Diluted Thinking.

  9. Tony Goodfellow says:

    It is no surprises that she uses religious imagery and language “The Church of Conscious Living” “Ceremonial cutting of the watermelon.” Opposition of vaccination/inoculation from religious quarters isn’t a new thing with the earliest irrational opposition to inoculation from smallpox when it was first deployed:

    Rev. Edward Massey, who in 1772 preached and published a sermon entitled _The Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation_. In this he declared that Job’s distemper was probably confluent smallpox; that he had been inoculated doubtless by the devil; that diseases are sent by Providence for the punishment of sin; and that the proposed attempt to prevent them is “a diabolical operation.” Not less vigorous was the sermon of the Rev. Mr. Delafaye, entitled _Inoculation an Indefensible Practice_. This struggle went on for thirty years. It is a pleasure to note some churchmen–and among them Madox, Bishop of Worcester–giving battle on the side of right reason; but as late as 1753 we have a noted rector at Canterbury denouncing inoculation from his pulpit in the primatial city, and many of his brethren following his example.
    The same opposition was vigorous in Protestant Scotland. A large body of ministers joined in denouncing the new practice as “flying in the face of Providence,” and “endeavouring to baffle a Divine judgment.”

    At least these ministers were honest enough to accept that the inoculation works/saves lives, unlike the utterly dishonest Stephanie Messenger protecting her business model with sophitry and meidcal profiteering.

    http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/whitem10.html

  10. Thinus says:

    Reblogged this on Dr Thinus' musings and commented:
    There we have it – simply rip-off artists posing as people concerned about our health. Shameless

  11. Sue says:

    It’s so sad that Ms Messenger’s first child died tragically with the genetic condition Alexander Disease. To watch a child deteriorate in front of your eyes, and nobody be able to help, must be devastating. To respond by looking for something to blame, and challenge your energies into it, is an understandable reaction. making that campaign against vaccines, however, could cause tragedies for other families.

    What a shame this woman appears not to have received the support she needed to grieve for this poor child in a way that does not endanger the health of other children.

    It’s a good thing that this anti-vax tour has been derailed. The event-management skills could be channeled into something more constructive – like bereavement support for grieving parents and siblings. I would happily support any venue that hosted that type of event.

  12. Pingback: Stephanie Messenger’s anti-vaccine SIDS charity status revoked | reasonablehank

  13. Pingback: Anti-vaccine activists secretly plot to defraud the Commonwealth | reasonablehank

  14. Pingback: No Jab No Pay No Way protests – anti-vaccine to their very core | reasonablehank

  15. Pingback: Bowral (NSW) preschool owner an anti-vaccine activist – round two of antivax protests | reasonablehank

  16. Pingback: Beware the violent antis – Lismore Mayor physically assaulted | reasonablehank

  17. Pingback: Anti-vaccine nurses and midwives 15 – Margaret Supel: Victoria | reasonablehank

  18. Pingback: Anti-vaccine chiropractors 48 | reasonablehank

  19. Pingback: Anti-vaccine nurses and midwives 18 – Satya Cetinich: New South Wales | reasonable hank

Leave a Reply