Tuesday, February 14, 2017

MLM and Origins of Belief and Values

Today's blog is about challenging where your beliefs and values come from. Everyone has an inherent set of beliefs and values, but most people don't understand whether these beliefs or values came from within or were established through outside stimuli. Human beings, by nature, are group oriented and thrive by belonging to communities which are developed through similarities. These similarities are usually genetic, but they do develop into social similarities over time. Eventually certain people within the community will rise due to certain inherent traits, such as the ability speak publicly, and begin to transform the community into a belief and value system that is congruent to their own. Before long, people will rely on the belief and value systems of the group and will lose their own value and belief system.

This crux between self belief and group belief has been contended with since the beginning of civilization. There is a natural hierarchy within humans and the idea of every human having perfect equality is inherently flawed. No civilization can exist properly with every human having perfect equality, yet this Utopian philosophy still exists as many people with limited control over their lives view this as the ideal situation. There will always be leaders and followers and those leaders will work to convert the followers to their sets of beliefs and values.

MLMs are no different as they work to form groupthink (Orwell) throughout their downlines. They have a specific set of leaders that teach the followers what is important, both materialistically and spiritually. MLMers show videos of mansions, cars, boats, vacations, and most importantly money which installs the materialistic part of the value system. Then MLMers support their spiritual value system by installing specific religious beliefs. MLMs are adaptable as well and utilize targeted demographics to morph their value and belief systems based on the culture they are infiltrating. Not everyone can be converted to a certain Western Style value system, which is why MLMs can become anything a certain group desires.

The important thing to note is the emphasis of the group belief system taking over the self belief system. This is very similar to the mob theory where an individual may not participate in harassing or violating another individual, however if certain people in a mob decide it is important to terrorize another person, then other individuals may drop their own self beliefs to fit in with the group. MLMs prey on individuals with low self-confidence, low self-worth, and people who are highly impressionable or vulnerable.

The first weapon against this type of manipulation is introspection. The only persons that can truly understand what is important to their well-being and happiness is themselves. By taking the time to critically think about your own values, you can start to prioritize and eliminate certain group beliefs.

The second important weapon is to understand that things are not black and white. This kindergarten philosophy does not apply to any real life situation as human beings continue to become more and more complex. There is always something of value from every group and that does not mean that the value comes from something good. A group can show you bad traits and ignorance which should be avoided, while still offering a level of camaraderie that other groups do not have. This is part of what makes MLM very tantalizing, because they introduce a certain bond that human beings desire while taking advantage of a person's vulnerability to a poor financial situation.

If you have a story involving abuses from your upline and would like me to share it on this blog as a guest post, then please e-mail me and I will be more than happy to post it! Your stories are not as unique as you may think, and your stories are some of the most impactful resources we have to fight MLMs. I will keep your anonymity upon request.


  1. It's an interesting concept in social science. The MLM leaders can get this big group motivated almost by an US versus them mentality. They set the common goal of early retirement, lifelong residual income and untold wealth.

    Then their group must try to convert the rest of the world. Those who are successful become one of the leaders and the rest become disenfranchised "losers" who are now shunned by the group.

    1. Joe --

      One of the only reasons these MLMs are successful is the "Us vs. Them" philosophy. They are posing as the common folk and that they have once been the "disenfranchised losers", but now have solved the riddle of life and become the stars.

      If they did not condemn every piece of information that was inconsistent with their teachings, then they would not have such a strong loyalty in their followers because they would constantly be corrupted by dissenting opinions. They work tirelessly to think of new ways to disprove, discredit, and disregard the opposition.

  2. Dear Dr. Doe --

    Everything in your post is thoughtful, clear, rational, balanced, and sensible.

    But unfortunately, those are the EXACT OPPOSITE of the mental characteristics that fester and breed and are encouraged in an MLM.

    MLMs, on principle, loathe and despise calmness and rational thought. They think that such things are for "losers." An MLM cannot survive without mindless enthusiasm and illogical fanaticism.

    Joe Cool's point about the "us versus them" mentality goes back to the cultic idea that "Those who are not with us are against us." MLMs are required to think in this manner. If they didn't, there would actually be room for disagreement and free thought. And MLMs can't handle that. At the deepest core of every MLM, there is a tunnel-vision totalitarianism of thought.

    1. Anonymous -

      Thank you for your comment.

      I agree that MLMs loathe calmness and rational thought and would like to embellish on your thought by suggesting MLMs hide behind culturally and sociologically approved messages. By utilizing religion, family, and marriage as wholesome values they are able to manipulate and deceive the MLMers.

      MLMs are cunning in this facet and this is what makes them so dangerous. People, too often, are underestimating the ability for a scam to "get them". They don't understand that as long as they have a certain set of values, then they can be "gotten" because MLMs will morph to whatever dreamlike vision of values that particular individual has.

    2. John - In a situation of real danger, or perceived danger, it seems that the majority of humans instinctively react - our higher mental faculties shut down and, like chimpanzees, we will follow any dominant leader who beats his chest and who seems to know the way to safety.

      Fighteningly, if you were to invite a couple of thousands unsuspecting humans to a theatre, then turn out the lights throw a smoke bomb, scream 'fire' and open a brightly-lit door marked 'Exit', few of the panicking multitude would stop to think. Those who do would probably be trampled underfoot.

      History prooves that humans can quite easily be stampeded to their deaths by trickery, but they can also be stampeded into throwing away their freedom, and/or money, by slightly-modified trickery.

      The most-powerful weapon in the hands of the 'MLM' cultic deceiver has been the mind of the deceived.

      Countless Ambots, like my own brother, have been so convinced that they couldn't possibly be deceived, that it has been child's play not only to deceive them, but also to keep them deceived.

    3. David --

      That is an interesting thought, especially since I don't know how well I would be able to handle a situation like that. It would especially get exacerbated if I had family members to look after during a situation like that.

      I will probably snag this analogy in the future, because it fits perfectly with the idea of shutting ones brain off in an effort to survive.

    4. John - Interesting. I know from my own experience that the instict to protect others, particularly persons weaker than yourself, can be even more overwhelming than the instinct to protect oneself.

      If you study the background of individuals who have won medals for extraordinary acts of selfless courage (like Britain's Victoria Cross), a majority of them turn out to be persons who lost one, or both parents, at a young age, and who had responsibilty for their family members thrust upon them.

      I find a good way of judging a person's character, is to imagine how they would react in a situation of danger. Would they stand with you to protect weaker persons, or would they run and hide to protect themselves?

  3. It's true that MLMs (Amway in particular) use values like religion, family, and marriage as camouflage. But once you are in Amway, you find that all those things are considered totally expendable, and are sacrificed ruthlessly in order to maintain the Amway business.

    That's why your pompous Amway upline will tell you to miss important family obligations if they conflict with an Amway meeting or function. Or tell you to drain your children's education fund in order to keep up your PV level. Or tell you to divorce your wife if she's not sufficiently "on board" with the Amway mentality. Nothing (religion, family, or marriage) must stand in the way of the Amway "Plan."

    You'd think that people would see this, and recognize that Amway is a fraud. But many people don't see this, or just shut their eyes.

    1. Anonymous,

      That is a great point about the emptiness of the values portrayed by MLMs. They are very quick to suggest they respect great or wholesome values, but it all goes by the waste side if the MLM devotion becomes weak.

      My wife (fiancee at the time) would not have continued to be with me had I listened to a high ranking Amway member. He suggested Amway was more important than both my future relationship and happiness because Amway could give me those things and more. He didn't know anything about my wife, her successes (which are far greater than mine), or her amazing family that has come to embrace me. His narrow focus was solely on extracting my cash and keeping me devoted. Had I been in a more vulnerable position, his tactics may have actually worked better.

    2. Anonymous - In my life, I've had the dubious privilege of watching quite a number of addicts at close range; particularly, alcoholics, but also a couple of chronic gambling addicts. Various journalists whom I've encountered, and who have started to look at the 'MLM' phenomenon, have been struck by the alarming similarities between self-destructive chronic 'MLM' adherents and self-destructive chronic gambling addicts.

      At one time, I also began to study the causes and results of chronic eating disorders and I coined the term 'financial anorexics' to describe chronic 'MLM' adherents. However, I found that some people were very offended by this comparison.

      Nonetheless, a frightening pair of questions and answers are:

      Q. How could you drive a vulnerable person into anorexia where he/she will literally waste away to nothing physically, but not be able to see the tragic reality of his/her situation?

      A. Feed the target a 'negative' image of him/herself by cutting the target off from his/her friends and relatives. Keep bombarding the target with 'positive' images of slim, happy and attractive people whilst contantly telling the target that he/she is fat, miserable and ugly - no matter how skeletal he/she becomes in reality.

      Q. How could you drive a vulnerable person into financial anorexia?

      I don't think it's necessary on this Blog to spell out the answer to this question.

      BTW. To get further insight into the mindset of chronic 'MLM' adherents, I would invite anyone to look at another crack-pot cultic fairy story known as the 'Breatharianism.'

      Essentially, both 'Breatharianism' and 'MLM' can be laid out in the apocryphal sory of Delaney's Donkey.

      Mr. Delaney, an Irish farmer, trains his donkey to live without eating, by progressively feeding it less and less. Just when Delaney's donkey has successfully learned to live on absolutely nothing, it drops dead.

    3. Yes, this is the real sickness and evil of the entire Amway ripoff. They tell you that NOTHING AT ALL is more important than Amway. Not love, not marriage, not friendship, not anything!

      How they can say this with a straight face escapes me. Amway is just a lousy little sales-and-promotion game, nothing else. It's just some little nickel-and-dime racket for pushing vitamins, soap suds, and cheap cosmetics. How the bloody hell could Amway be "more important" than a loving relationship with someone?

      And yet Amway manages to brainwash people into thinking that this is so.

    4. Anonymous - My brother truly believed that in 'Amway' he had finally found his vocation in life and that all his previous selfish thinking had been wrong. In his deluded self-righteous state of mind, he imagined that by committing himself wholly to recruiting people into 'Amway' he was not only helping himself to achieve his dreams, but he was helping others to do the same. My brother was like a man who had fallen head over heels in love.

      When I informed my brother that I was going to file complaints about 'Amway' with UK government agencies, he truly believed that I was evil and deluded. I was told by my mother that, because I was "trying to destroy my brother's business out of jealousy," she was going to disown me. Later, I realised that my brother and mother were psychotic and in great danger.


    5. The following is a part-transcript of a hard-core 'Amway' training tape peddled in my brother's 'Amway/IBS' network, but I think that only adherents above a certain level have been exposed to overtly 'religious' material like this. It was given to me by Eric Scheibeler:

      ‘I'm convinced more and more each day that this (‘Amway’) business was God's idea. What I'm saying is God created this (‘Amway’) business so that we could pull families together and help people — and the Devil does not like that ! If you don't believe there's a Devil, go on the Internet ! Man I'm telling you, there's a Devil ! The Devil does not like this (‘Amway’) business ! - He does not like the unity in this (Amway’) business ! All I want to say to you is: guys, if I were the Devil and I saw a business that was keeping marriages together, where that men learned how to love their wife … they're taught from stage in Leadership sessions how to love their wife … where women are taught how to really integrate the marriage … the husband and wife relationship … where parents are taught how to bring up their children and encourage them to speak life and positive things into them so that those children have good healthy self-images and believe that they can really do anything that they put their minds to do . If I saw a business that was responsible for holding those marriages and families together, and getting people out of debt, and learning how to treat people with dignity, respect and kindness … a business that gave people hope for freedom, hope for their financial future … that a person could not even succeed in this (‘Amway’) business without helping somebody else, and that the more people you help the more money you make… a business that teaches the principles of morals and ethics and integrity, that gives dignity to human life, that validates marriages an institution that should be reverenced that should not be put down or criticised or belittled .… If I saw a business that did all those things and so much more for humanity .… If I were the Devil, I'd hate it with a passion ! And I am convinced that not only does Satan hate the Church, I'm convinced with all my heart that Satan has good reason for hating this (‘Amway’) business. He has good reason for hating Dexter and Birdie and every Leader in their organisation. Satan hates this (‘Amway’) business with a passion, because this (‘Amway’) business stands for everything he hates ! And if you want to know whose behind those Websites, all I ask you is, who could it be… huh ? … Could it be Satan ?’

      Pastor Mark Gorman 2001

    6. Dear Mr. Brear --

      I think your phrase "financial anorexics" is a brilliant coinage, and one that encapsulates MLM victims perfectly. The fact that people were deeply offended by the phrase is proof of its value and effectiveness. People take great umbrage when you get under their skin with a powerful image that captures the truth that they don't want to hear. I urge you to use the phrase frequently and without apology.

      The short homily by Pastor Mark Gorman is a textbook case of self-delusion. With all the mounting evidence of the devastation (financial and emotional) that Amway wreaks wherever it goes, this pious buffoon still defends it as the work of God. As we say in Brooklyn, un-fucking-believable.

      The real truth is the polar opposite of what Pastor Gorman says. Amway is profoundly evil, and a tool of Satan. It is greed-driven, contemptuous of failure, addicted to fantasy, utterly devoted to Mammon instead of God, and thrives on the exploitation of others in the down-line. It does its work by lies, exaggerations, pure hype, and shameless fakery.

      Is such stuff the work of God? I don't think so. And the moral enormity of setting up Amway as parallel in value to the Church is beyond blasphemy. It's demonic in the literal sense of the word.

    7. Anonymous - I forgot to mention that the title of Mark Gormon's tape was, 'How to Deal With Negative Websites.'

      I think that one day, it might be generally accepted that the 'MLM' cult phenomenon can only be satisfactorily explained in similar medical/psychological terms to anorexia.

      Perhaps I have paid the price for being the first observer to dare to publish this disturbing explanation.

      There are some experienced qualified observers who say that anorexia is a psychotic disorder, whilst others say it's a form of addiction.

      I have formed the opinion that anorexia is a form of addiction, or mania, which can lead, in the most chronic cases, to life-threatening psychosis.

      Chronic, total self-destructive belief in the 'MLM' fairy story ('Financial Anorexia') can be described in almost identical terms.

      This analysis then begs the question: how can you accurately describe 'MLM' - a self-perpetuating lie which was maliciously designed to make its relatively few pedlars fabulously wealthy by producing a form of contagious mass-psychosis.

      Given the global scale of the 'MLM' cult phenomenon, its multiplying variants and its 70+ year duration, should it really be decribed as an unrecognised form of evolving psychological, and economic, warfare?

  4. I've just checked Mark Gorman's website. He's a motivational speaker who claims to combine religion with business. And guess what? He makes money by selling CDs and tapes.

    I see that the Amway "Tool Scam" has an ecclesiastical cousin.


    1. Yes Anonymous, Mark Gormon has indeed been yet another greedy little 'Assemblies of God' pastor/parasite busily feeding off various 'MLM' rackets for years.


      Gormon has been peddling all the familiar 'MLM/Prosperity Gospel' bullshit in the form of publications, recordings and personal appearances.