Lately we’ve been talking about multi-level business schemes (MLMs)–how backbiting they are, how bloodthirsty they are, how abundant of a accident bet they are. Lately I’ve been reminded afresh about aloof how big the overlap is amid MLMs and fundagelical-style Christianity. Today I’ll appearance you some of those similarities–and we’ll see how accessible it is for addition to escape one apocryphal and adverse accumulation alone to acreage absolutely in the boilerplate of one that’s aloof as bad or worse, all because of conduct credibility aggregate by both groups.
We’ve been adage for a while now that MLMs admire such acceptance amid Christians because the two mindsets are so similar. That’s why bodies antic that MLM stands for Mormons Accident Money, a nod to the actuality that Mormons are actively over-represented in the ranks of bodies who accompany an MLM acquisitive their investments will beggarly money for nothin’ and breed for free, eventually.
One needn’t arch over to Utah to see bags of bodies complex in MLMs, though. Any accumulation that appearance those basal conduct credibility is activity to accept associates who are actual accessible to the come-ons of a scam.
In fact, if we fabricated a Venn diagram of the similarities amid the mindsets of bodies in MLMs and Christianity, we’d end up with two circles that were actual about printed one on top of the other!
It’s important to agenda that Christianity itself isn’t the problem so abundant as the account that undergird the religion. If a Christian deconverts tomorrow, they still adeptness abatement into a agnate bamboozlement by Saturday if they don’t amount out what led them to that religious accumulation in the aboriginal abode and (even added importantly!) alpha acclamation those vulnerabilities.1
That’s why I’m not activity to aloof point and beam at the poor asinine Christians in their abounding hundreds of MLMs flogging their cheap-ass books and abhorrent architecture on amusing media. I’m activity to do article far, far worse. I’m activity to acrylic a bright arrow from one accumulation to the other.
The bulletin is consistently perfect, in a burst system. Any time we see this acceptance in a group, we charge to accede that a huge red flag. Alas, in both Christianity and MLMs, the bodies complex are taught–and abundantly believe–that the arrangement works, as continued as you assignment the system. That agency that as continued as they are fervent, diligent, and aboveboard enough, again they will be acknowledged with the arrangement they’ve bought into.
The bodies who get sucked up into these groups artlessly aren’t accustomed to ask how they can apperceive that this arrangement works the way its salespeople say it should. They won’t be accustomed to set a blow date or victory/defeat action for their captivation with this system. There’ll be no “If at (a reasonable deadline, not the 2-5 years one MLM guy suggested) I’m not accomplishing appreciably and allegedly bigger than I am now, again I’m walking abroad from this group.” The bald advancement of such a analysis will accept bodies in both groups up in arms! Such a adventurous body will be lectured about how they can’t possibly set a time absolute on success, or abroad upbraided for adventuresome to analysis the Powers That Be.
In a way this action looks a bit like how a bank aficionado thinks of the big payoff: it’s consistently aloof a little bit bottomward the road, but aback it comes, oh honey, it’s activity to be big–and it’ll absolutely accomplish aggregate perfect. Aback the adjustment doesn’t appear in a reasonable timeframe, though, neither Christians nor MLM participants are accustomed to adjudge that the agreement has concluded–especially if the after-effects aren’t affectionate to the burst system.
Of course, aback the participants leave anyway, the MLMers and Christians larboard abaft in their groups will insult, malign, and belittle those quitters. From the column area I begin the aloft image, one alibi cited was “My dog is sick.” We’re accustomed no ambience whatsoever for that odd alibi (and no affirmation that he absolutely anytime heard it from anyone directly), but it’s actual bright that the abominable guy up there with the Uncanny Valley grimace/grin is cogent us this acumen because he wants us to anticipate the actuality giving it was amiss to leave his MLM because their dog was sick. In agnate fashion, Christian leaders are additionally actual addicted of policing people’s affidavit for abrogation their groups–and they additionally don’t anticipate that there’s anytime a accurate acumen for accomplishing so.
Seriously. Watch out for any accumulation that artlessly never allows for any blameless acumen to leave. Watch how they amusement those who leave, and how they allocution about those who accept already left. That’s how they’ll be talking about you, if and aback you leave. Same goes for anyone who rejects the accumulation afterwards aing at all. Remember that it is not anyone else’s appropriate to criticize why or aback or how you leave any group, and your affidavit aren’t anybody’s business but your own.
People who get complex in wackadoodle religions and MLMs aren’t all dumb. They’ve got corpuscle phones aloof like everybody else. They can calmly accessory up debunks of whatever it is they’re because advance their time and money into.
They aloof don’t.
Every distinct actuality accessory Mark Driscoll’s new abbey in Scottsdale, Arizona goes into their architecture only after casual demonstrators captivation up signs to acquaint them that Mark Driscoll is a abhorrent animal actuality and an absurd hypocrite. They know. They could absolutely acquisition out added if they so chose. And yet they airing into Trinity Abbey anyhow and, presumably, accord this guy money with some array of reliability.
In agnate fashion, the bodies accepting into MLMs could calmly ascertain that about every distinct body who gets into one of these scams is activity to lose massive amounts of money at their affected “business.” This advice is actual calmly begin online in assorted places; there are alike absolute blogs accounting by bodies who’ve able this or that MLM and accept the action scars to prove it.
But aback achievement and agony booty authority of addition who already acutely distrusts what critics accept to say about anything, again the pie-in-the-sky promises of both MLMs and Christianity alpha aural absolutely good.
Little admiration MLMers generally braid their adoration and their “business” and allocution about how their betray is a “blessing” to both themselves and anybody they can actuate to comedy forth with it (or aloof dispense or alike beset into it). Obviously Christians feel that their adoration is a “blessing” to anybody and don’t apperception manipulating or coercing bodies into arena forth with their Pretendy Fun Time Game with them–since it’ll be to those folks’ account in the end, amirite? They, forth with MLM participants, absolutely don’t get why anybody thinks annihilation abroad about their group!
People can alone get to that point by advisedly bypassing a accomplished lot of adverse affirmation in the absolute world–and to do that, they charge to accept a handy, accessible way to abatement that evidence. They accept to be able to abate it, hand-wave it away, abbreviate it, alike abstain it–and they accept to be able to do this every distinct day, maybe abounding times a day. The added animated the Christian or MLM participant, the added adequate they are to be deeply-indoctrinated to disbelief absolute experts and to put confused assurance into bodies who aren’t experts at all, but rather are aloof as apprenticed as they themselves are.
I’ll aloof say this: if I were activity to betray a group, I couldn’t possibly ask for bigger marks than a citizenry accomplished aback adolescence to accessory abroad from real-world affirmation of any affectionate if it contradicts their indoctrination, to accessory bottomward on analytical thinking, and to abstain analytic leaders.
The access in cultural absorption actuality paid to both MLMs’ and fundagelicalism’s annihilative natures has resulted in a awe-inspiring sight: bodies who audibly acknowledge that yes, they apperceive that this X is generally actual bloodthirsty and after-effects in annihilation but ache for the participants involved, but that their X is one of the few adequate ones and of advance that is why they are complex with it and not one of those ickie ones. And like these added situations, this one happens in both MLMs and Christianity.
When a sweet, believing Christian from one of the absolutely abominable groups shows up to acquaint anybody that yes, they apperceive that their accumulation is bigoted, ist, phobic, and one of the affliction and best astern amusing clubs in the nation (a bearings they will usually call as accepting its flaws), but they’re still an alive allotment of it for whatever reason, they’re adage article absolutely aspersing in the continued arrangement of things. (Yes, I’ve encountered this personally. Often.)
In a agnate way, aback anybody in any MLM tells us that yes, they’re acquainted that beneath than 1% of participants will alike breach alike in their alleged scam, but that they themselves are successful at it so they’re abashed with it, that’s a actuality we charge to abstain like the plague. That’s addition who is accept with overextension and causing ache as continued as they account from it.
That said, they don’t appetite to be advised by the aggregation they keep. First, it’d accomplish them sad for others to anticipate ailing of them, sure. But additional and added importantly, they may still appetite to accomplish a auction with us, alike if it happens at the amount of the added bodies in their tribe.
Don’t assurance a agent who tells you that they’re absolutely acquainted of all the coarse aspects of the accumulation they’re in–but that their little bend of that head is great. A burst arrangement is burst throughout. Also, that is addition who is willing to bandy their tribemates beneath the bus if it agency maybe authoritative a sale.
This point of conduct is additionally ambuscade abaft both MLMers and Christians’ absolute alertness to try to account sales from those who are alike added atrocious than they are. And I’m not accept with that either.
Here’s area it all comes together.
We’ve talked off and on in comments for ages about Christians’ allure with burning forgiveness, their alacrity to acquisition “the angle,” and their agitation with dabbling gratification. For all that babble about affliction and charity, the boilerplate Christian is not alike vaguely absorbed in any of that. Veruca Salt would admire them!
When addition who lacks the ability, experience, or abilities to accretion a adapted aftereffect considers their options, therefore, they see a brace of avenues. They can either accretion those requisites through time and accomplishment and again go afterwards the aftereffect they desire, or abroad they can somehow instantly appear into that aftereffect through some quick-fix scheme.
Most of us wouldn’t alike accede the arrangement because we apperceive they don’t assignment and are generally hideously bent alike so. That’s why none of us has a afire career appropriate now as ex-atheist acceptance healers.
The actuality who gravitates to the burning arrangement is addition who’s been indoctrinated to abstain able opinions about how absurd that arrangement is; who’s accept with accommodating in a absolutely bloodthirsty arrangement as continued as it’ll account themselves; who absolutely believes that article can appear from nothing;2 and who doesn’t feel like they’re accustomed to alike anticipate about allurement afflictive questions about the scheme–like alike if it absolutely absolutely works at all.
(It’s additionally why we ascertain so generally that addition complex in one of the manifestations of this conduct is either backbiting and greedy, or abroad absolutely atrocious and afraid.)
And that’s the conduct we accept to defeat in ourselves aback we deconvert. Those are the underpinnings that accomplish us accessible to scams and cabal theories. Otherwise we’ll aloof be like this adult accepting what the r/antiMLM subreddit alleged a “LuLaMeltdown” aback she accomplished aloof how abundant money she’d absent in her time as a LuLaRoe benefactor victim: activity betrayed, angry, alike disconsolate–and yet she’s still complex in four added MLMs that she’s not quitting!
That’s it for today! The second-to-last allotment of this miniseries involves addition who absolved abroad from actuality a “Bible-thumper,” as he puts it, into article far, far added rational and able (sorry, I can’t accumulate a beeline face: gang, he’s begin a way to about-face the Ancient Astronauts hoax into a cabal theory–and it’s alike added awesomely wackadoodle than it sounds). And aftermost of all we’ll accessory at addition who’s begin a way to morph his captivation in the Satanic Panic into article added adequate to modern-day fundagelicals. Old scams never die; they aloof put on new unicorn leggings. See you soon!
1 Christianity aloof gathers up all those abominable conduct credibility into one abhorrent array of joy, is all, and again extends its avaricious easily apparent to try to gather everyone in ability into its grasp, so it’s a lot easier to see–and advance aback against–that tribe.
2 Which makes Creationism all the added laughable! The abstraction that article can’t possibly appear from annihilation is one of their criticisms of the accustomed accurate accord apropos the origins of the universe/Earth/life/etc, but their worldview is based absolutely on this idea.
Endnote: I’m not absolutely a accidental affiliate of the r/antiMLM subreddit. I aloof lurk there–and awful acclaim it. Sometimes it’s absolutely accessible to see how religious conduct credibility comedy out in non-churchy contexts.
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