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News Around the Web: Scientology and College Student Recruited by MLM

September 13, 2013

Here are two articles from around the web that readers of this site may find interesting:

First, actress Leah Remini talks about her split from Scientology with Ellen DeGeneres.

“We’ve lost friends that can no longer talk to us and are still in the organization”

“These are friends that we’ve had for dozens of years.”

It’s common within cults and multi-level marketing companies for ex-members to be shunned by those still within these organizations. Those who quit are often called names like losers and traitors.

Fortunately for Remini, she had a support group outside of Scientology that she was able to lean on following her departure. She is planning to write a memoir of her time in the organization. Talking to People Magazine, she hints at some of her reasons for leaving:

“I believe that people should be able to question things. I believe that people should value family, and value friendships, and hold those things sacrosanct. That for me, that’s what I’m about. It wouldn’t matter what it was, simply because no one is going to tell me how I need to think, no one is going to tell me who I can, and cannot, talk to.”

Does your current or former MLM organization allow for free-thinking and questioning?

Second, college student, Darrin Moret, shares his story of how a college student got recruited into a multi-level marketing scheme. Moret’s description of the opportunity meeting sounds very similar to the ones described here on this site. I would be interested in seeing a demographic breakdown of MLM companies. Are most of the new recruits in the college or just-out-of-college age range?

Moret describes the typical scene at many MLM conferences:

I was completely unaware of all this when, on my first weekend as an associate, I was pressured into attending a full-day, unpaid sales conference in Orange County. Company associates from all over Southern California converged on the convention center in Anaheim to hear from some of the top names in the company. The vibe was more cultish than corporate. As if on cue, those in the congregation would rise, clap, and sit back down before and after every speech, and would listen intently to every word being said as if it contained the key to their success.

Go read Moret’s testimony and share what similarities you see with your former MLM.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2013 10:59 am

    ““My” company seemed to have little interest in the sale of a legitimate product or service to an end consumer. While the sale of a marketable product or service to an end consumer is commonly viewed as the distinguishing aspect between legitimate MLMs and pyramid schemes, there are many who contend that they are one and the same.”

    If that doesn’t wrap up MLMs in a single paragraph, you can call me Uncle Orrey.

  2. MinitureGiantSpaceHamster permalink
    September 13, 2013 4:46 pm

    What I find interesting is how the “new and unique” business opportunity I was introduced to sounds near identical to the business opportunity described in the college student article. The only difference seems to be the alleged product sold.

    At the time it was new and unique to me so I was easily snared. Now I look back and see it as something that would have put a wedge between me and my family and prevented me from following my dreams. All the power to the people who remain in LIFE, you’re free to do what you want. I on the other hand am proud to call myself a quitter. It has given me the opportunity for me to pursue what I want in my actual life. 🙂

    On a side note: Speaking of quitting, as this this article I read the other day points out, sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.

  3. Heather - "Just Came To" permalink
    September 19, 2013 7:42 am

    I read Darrin’s article. The entire time I was thinking of all the comebacks that Orrin Woodward would say to Darrin’s objections. For example, remember what Orrin said about saturation? He told the story of a prospect who was worried about saturation but did not join the business, thereby disproving his own theory. So, Orrin basically said that saturation wouldn’t ever be a problem because not everyone will build the business. However, the point of being an IBO is to build a huge downline of IBOs who are building the business as fervently as you are. But wouldn’t that be awfully hard to do if not everyone will build the business as fervently as you do (or at all)?

    Didn’t Orrin and Chris say that not everyone will reach excellence (i.e. top levels) in the business because of the amount of excellence it requires? In fact, only a small sliver of people end of there, and they know it, and we know it. But if only a tiny percentage of people are going to “do the work” required to reach those levels, how are they going to get to a million people? According to the structure of the business, the top levels of excellence are going to have to expand a lot. But, only a tiny percentage of people are going to put in the work to get there.

    My head is going in circles. How about yours?

    Is there a specific term for doctrine that is full of fallacious logic like what I described above?

    Is this level of confusion a cult tactic?

  4. Vogel permalink
    September 19, 2013 8:22 am

    Reminds me of the immortal line uttered by Yogi Berra in reference to Ruggeri’s restaurant in St. Louis:

    “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

  5. SpaceHamster permalink
    September 25, 2013 6:18 am

    The more time I spend away from Team/LIFE and reading various personal finance blogs the more convinced I am this MLM will lead people, at best, spinning their wheels financially. As comfy as it may seem at the top, I would never want all that stress. Imagine the fear they’d have hoping their entire downline won’t collapse? How will they ever support their high consumption lifestyle? What other skills do they have? Would they be able to go back to a “normal job”? I’ll admit this is just my own view, without any first hand experience up there. Much to the chagrin of anyone in LIFE, if you go and research alternatives to your financial woes I’m 99% certain Team/LIFE won’t appear so happy and attractive.

  6. Vogel permalink
    September 25, 2013 1:14 pm

    A Sisyphean task indeed. Like trying to collect sand with a sieve.

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