Gasp! A cult! Did I just title my blog post in such an inflammatory way? Well, now that I have your attention let me first confess that I was once in a Multi-level Marketing (MLM) cult. Yes. It is true. You could not have convinced me of it for many of those years, but eventually I was exposed to the truth and believed it. Thank God!
Some of you may have been following a controversial blog post I recently wrote and know what inspired this blog post. I fought the idea for a while for two reasons. First, I felt I would have to confess that I was in one of the legs of Amway that operates like a cult. Amway isn’t necessarily a cult, but some of the groups in it have cult-like behaviors. Secondly, I didn’t want to stir up the hornet’s nest of angry comments such as those from some MLM representatives and company supporters that have already been bombarding me when I wrote the blog Warnings dōTERRA & Young Living Won’t Tell You.
So here is the truth. It is so easy to fall into a cult whether it be in an MLM, religious group or other organization. I fell in because I had a need. The “plan” that I saw promised to fulfill my need beyond my wildest dreams. The other reason is that many cults use half-truths. The false parts are buried under the shadow of the truth.
Here are signs I learned from my experiences:
- Members are encouraged to only read the organizations recommended reading list.
- Friends, family and experts who do not agree with what the organization is teaching are labeled as negative, ignorant or any other derogatory terms. When someone leaves the organization they are labeled negative, sinful, lost, or confused.
- Information that contradicts the teaching of the organization is removed from chat groups, Facebook groups and so forth by the administrators or upline. They defend everything they do and teach even when others say it is harmful or dangerous. (Definition of an upline: A MLM sales rep’s upline receives compensation based on her sales as well as their own. The term is also used to describe those in the ranks above someone in a pyramid scheme.)
- Members are deemed negative when they question the teaching of the organization.
- Members have an inappropriate or almost star-struck god-like admiration of the leaders. The leadership is charismatic claiming special knowledge, abilities or experiences.
- Administrators and uplines have an overzealous and unquestioning commitment to the organization’s leader, belief system and practices. Leaders promote the goals of the group over the good of the individual.
- The organization is elitist. They may claim to have a special or exalted status or product above all others. They will often put down other organizations to build themselves up. They teach that they have a special corner on the truth or a special corner on the market.
- The group has a polarized “us versus them” mentality. They are openly hostile to anyone who does not share their beliefs.
- The leader has questionable character that is overlooked, defended or simply ignored.
- The group is highly focused on bringing in new members and making a profit.
- Members are expected to attend weekly, monthly or quarterly “training” by the organization via books, tapes, seminars, large and small gatherings, online training and so forth. All the training and teachings usually come from the leader and administration with few or no outside influences or references from other sources.
- Members are encouraged to associate mainly with loyal members. Contact with non-members is for the purpose of adding them to your downline organization, selling them product or converting them. There is a subtle control element throughout all the organization does, from friendships and relationships to daily living practices and speech that is considered “beneficial” or “acceptable.”
When I was in Amway, my parents were worried. They wanted to be supportive, but after one meeting they were alarmed that I had been sucked into a cult. My upline told me they were just negative and couldn’t understand the dream. When I met Dennis, he had a successful Amway business. He was not sponsored by my upline. I was told that he was negative and I should stay away from him. This was due to the fact that he had begun to question the practices of the organization. Also they knew that if I did marry him I would likely leave their organization and join his business.
I am not saying that all MLM organizations are cults. I am cautioning you to take a close look at these twelve signs versus the reality of any MLM you are in or approached by. Are any of them true? Or have you found a healthy line in an MLM? Don’t be afraid to honestly evaluate your surroundings. I don’t for one moment regret my years in Amway or the line of sponsorship I was in. I learned a ton and it was all worthwhile. I’m just sharing to be honest and give an insiders view from my own experiences.
IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING AN ESSENTIAL OIL INJURY PLEASE READ: What to do When Injured While Using Essential Oils.
Ginger M. says
Great article, Kayla! As someone who has talked to and minister to numerous people over the last 18 years who have been drawn into cults and cult-like mentalities in a variety of arenas, I can positively say that this is very real and very much intentional with the exact methods you lay out here. It’s important to look past the appeals and promises that come at your weaknesses, fears, desperations and personal needs and see the bigger picture. It’s equally important to seek trusted, wise and expert counsel first before getting involved if possible. Bottom line – If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is not true. It it plays on your emotions and seems to be THE ANSWER to your circumstances….Beware and proceed with caution!
Very good advice! Yes proceed with caution.
Kathy Main says
I havent gotten t his attitude from doterra at all. I was given a sample and the first night I took it I had the best sleep I had had in a year. I know many of the people in it, and trust them. I have also heard several sucess stories from people I have known for years. I am signingup next week and I cant wait. The oil that helped me sleep I put in water, and had no ill affect.
Every MLM is different and every leg of a MLM is different.
Kayla, I would like to know why you appear to sound so against Dt and YL. I know you say you are not and have defended your comments as being educational and encouraging so people do research but the immediate force that comes at me when I read a bit of your stuff – and the whole article about what these two MLM don’t tell you – I got a strong sense of being against them. Then I read the 12 cult list and I don’t see any of that. And it does read that you are saying the two companies in particular as well as many other MLM follow these cult rules.
It is true that no matter what we do to get to a level of financial success we will have to fight negativity because people in mass want everyone to stay the same. they use negativity to keep us from trying. that is not cult – its human nature.
If you have info I need about EO then i want to learn it – but why not talk just about the oil and not the people behind the companies – as there are good and bad apples in every barrel and it is getting harder to detect them – as the Word says it will.
You want credibility based on your experience with aromatherapy but i am sorry to say I do see more trashing of company practices and the people who use them than i do evidence of harm.
Don’t forget: everyone is just trying to get themselves ahead in this world that says 100 negative things said about every 1 positive claim we try to tell that we have experienced. To fight those kind of odds you really do have to stop listening to negative feed back. every famous person in world who got over that threshold did just that – they went for it no matter how many negative things were said to them. So a company that encourages this is not CULTISH – they are doing what everyone has had to do to get over that negative hump.
I am not against any company. I am against teaching dangerous practices. All my experience, training and research confirms that teaching internal usage and undiluted application is dangerous.
There are many links in several of my blogs posts that give evidence of harm.
Kelly, from one who has experience a “cult” MLM ambush and lost a dear friend because declined to join, Kayla speaks the truth. I was invited to dinner and instead of catching up enjoying spending some time together the entire meal was a sales pitch and i was given a load of material to read and listen to. When I later met with her to give back all the materials and decline to join she got upset at my “negativity” and stormed off. All I said was that I wasn’t interested. She never spoke to me again. Wouldn’t answer my calls or return them. I’ve not seen or spoken to her in 20+ years. That happened to every mutual friend we had who didnt join. No not all are like that but people need to be warned of what to look for in these businesses. Look closely at their claims. Pay attention to detail. For example, claims that their product is better than others using a term that has a trademark symbol means they made up the term and trademarked it. It doesn’t exist in the industry. This leads me to question everything else they say.
Lori – I am so sorry this happened to you. And saddened for the person who lost so many friends by not being able to hear the word no.
Yes – it is important to pay attention to the details and keep your eyes wide open. Not all lines in a MLM operate like a cult so there isn’t a blanket statement that covers any one MLM. Watching for the signs makes all the difference.
As the suggestion of my son’s medical doctor we decided to try essential oils when he was being treated for symptoms suffered fro a head injury. He did or distribute or sell them, but recommended me to a colleague of his who was well-versed in alternative treatments. I researched and attended a few online classes, a Young Living, Class in person and a doTerra Class in person. For me, it was a no-brainer…I went with doTerra. doTerra never once put any other MLM Essential Oil Co. down, they answered ALL of my questions, have educated me and my family and made it very clear that not all essential oils are meant to be ingested. the oils that can be ingested should be consumed in a very conservative manner. The doTerra distributor that I have worked with has also been willing to speak with both of my son’s physicians to make sure that he achieves the best results. My son has experienced many benefits and has seen amazing results. I thank God every day for bring doTerra Essential Oils into my family’s life. They do not seem cultish at all. I am kind of frustrated and tired of seeing aroma therapists and others making derogatory comments about doTerra lumping them in with all MLM’s and Young Living Essential Oils. Thank you for letting me vent. I just has to get that out there. My experience with essential oils and doTerra has been a very positive, laidback, no pressure experience. I do not sell essential oils I just enjoy using them with common sense.
I am not saying that all MLM organizations are cults. I am not saying doTerra or Young Living or Amway or any other MLM is necessarily a cult. There are lines in every MLM that do behave like cults and other lines that do not. I am cautioning you to take a close look at these twelve signs versus the reality of any MLM you are in or approached by. The blog post was inspired by angry and cult-like comments that came from both YL and dT, but I also received comments from people in both MLMs that were apologetic for the attacks from others. People are people – some leaders will lead with integrity and others will not.
And when I put Doterra lemon oil in my water, it burns my lips, mouth, tongue. Doterra Peppermint oil burns my skin. I actually buy the products, but I cannot ingest them or apply non diluted to my skin. I have the same issue with some Mary Kay products. Not true with others I know. Be careful what you claim. All products are not one size fits all.
Amanda Foxon-Hill says
I agree! Great article, I can’t understand why people love this type of cult mentality, I would find it hard not to challenge and look for validation outside of prescribed texts as that is my nature as a science lady 🙂
Reading outside information is so very important when you are in a MLM of any kind.
Marge Clark says
Well done Kayla (and you are forgiven the errors of your youth! 😉 I think part of it, besides the charisma and the sense of belonging and of being on ‘a winning team”… it is just EASIER to believe what we are taught than to think for ourselves.
If George Orwell had written a book about business practices it might well have described one or both of the MLM’s you reference!
Thanks Marge! You are so very right.
Well done! The article won’t make you popular, but doing the right thing rarely does. I have been in the MLMs and even companies where the above was very true. I have lost friends because I said that I just don’t support MLMs. I questioned a “health” product that has harmful ingredients, and I am now not invited to family stuff because I’m not supportive of that person. I even had a lady leave a Bible study and badmouth me because I asked that she not use our group as a customer base (she would do things during announcements). She said, “but we are faith-based!” None of them are. They may purport to be, but none of them truly are. They will just say that because it’s another inroad to loyalty. It makes me so sad, but then I read articles like this and realize I’m not alone, and with kindness and grace, perhaps we can pick up and dust off our MLM friends when they fall (and most of them do eventually) and help them rebuild. Wonderful wonderful article!
I have been very bothered by the “faith-based” claim used to basically sell products to church members as well. Great attitude – yes we will be here to help our friends dust themselves off after the experience.
Thanks for sharing.
A family member who is part of a MLM EO group bought me a membership as a gift so I could get the diffuser. I was automatically added to this group’s FB page. I have seen people ask for objective proof about the company’s claims, or third-party certification of the therapeutic grade claims, and each time those posts were deleted. Posts asking about the safety of internal use, EOs that shouldn’t be used for children or when pregnant, were treated as if the questions made no sense. People are being told to ingest everything, to use everything with children, even newborns, etc. If someone gets a rash it’s always a sign of detoxing, never a sensitivity or allergic reaction. These people are not really trained at all. It’s very disturbing. I fear that someone will be seriously injured following these recommendations.
Wow! This all sounds so dangerous. I heard from someone in dT that my blog with safety warnings had gone been posted a group and was quickly deleted by the admin. Your comment easily covers #’s 1-4 and #8.
I have had people trying to sell me on EOs and that they will solve my recent health issues. What they don’t know and i found out is that I have a blood disorder and those oils that they say are going to help me be stronger and improve my health, could have serious, even life threatening consequences. I have nicely tried to say that they aren’t all good for everyone and it is like you are attacking them and their family or something. I was then over and over again just told how “their oils” are superior to others, when I was not talking about quality, but that even the highest quality can be and may be even more dangerous.
I know that YL & dt have both been maligned on Kayla’s blog. I have many friends in both organizations & am glad to say that neither company says to ingest or use on children/infants ‘every oil’. I know that both groups of friends also say that you should check oils as to sensitivity.
I use oils & love results I get from them. I do, however check against current scientific research & encourage my friends to do the same.
I’m not sure why there is such vitriol towards these 2 MLMs.
The criticism of the two groups having cult-like tendencies comes from the comments made on the blog post referenced in this blog post. I invite you to take a moment to read through the comments and see which side has such vitriol. http://kaylafioravanti.com/warnings-doterra-young-living-wont-tell-you/#comments
I am simply sharing facts on this blog post and in the comments. What comes out at me from the reps of the MLM companies perfectly fits the definition of vitriol. Even in this blog post I said, “I am not saying that all MLM organizations are cults. I am cautioning you to take a close look at these twelve signs versus the reality of any MLM you are in or approached by.” I also don’t believe this blog post is maligns either company, “speak about (someone) in a spitefully critical manner.” There is no spite at all in this post or the one I link to.
There are many people in both YL and dT who would not fall into the category of being cult-like. I wasn’t saying that. I think I was pretty gently in my wording in this blog post. I even confessed to having fallen into a MLM cult myself and shared from my own personal experience. There is no, “cruel and bitter criticism,” from the definition of vitriol in my blog post or comments.
Here are a few quotes from dT and YL reps said to me just to clarify.
“One look at Kaylas mug and I’m completely sickened. If one ends up looking constipated from her beliefs.”
“You lady are a f****** idiot. Please go get a lobotomy.” (curse word edited by me)
“I actually feel badly for you, near ignorant.”
Do their therapeutic quality claims have a trademark symbol next to them? It means they made it up! The term doesn’t exist in the industry. What else are they making up?
Deborah Dare says
This is a primary reason why I do not now, nor will I ever purchase EO from an MLM organization. I work in the chemical industry and 3rd party testing is the only way to go. Companies that are unwilling to pay for objective 3rd party testing will not gain my trust, nor my business. The fodder these organizations generate re other companies’ EOs being subpar is just a marketing tactic. It’s not rocket science people, MLMs are not structured as such to ensure, support or prove the efficacy of their products. The structure is purely about $$$$.
Kayla – I am buying your book and I want to offer a very sincere thank you for printing the truth.
Deborah Dare says
A TM symbol does not offer any proof of truth or not. It is simply a means of protecting a symbol or phrase and is associated with branding, not with any type of proof that a product is what it says it is, or not.
Mark Fuller says
I really enjoyed this article. Bear in mind that I am a Cosmetic Formulator who deals with EO’s generally only as a replacement for Synthetic fragrances in Naturally compliant Cosmetic Formulations.
I see the same phenomenon in “natural” cosmetics. I will say that many people will produce under a Natural Standard (NSF, NPA and USDA NOP) and these products are great! However we also see a great deal of scaremongering in Cosmetics that is not supported by Science but rather innuendo.
Here is a link to a book that really explained it well. It shows that it isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue, but rather an issue of when we politicize and issue and ignore Science that doesn’t support our predisposed conclusion. When confronted with Science they will generally respond with anger and claim persecution by (insert here). It can be “Big Pharma”, the FDA or any organizatrion that doesn’t share their view. It’s Science people, not emotions or politics!
Love the title “Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left.” When I went to D.C. to meet with people in Congress (but mostly their assistants who really run the world) I found that no one knew a single thing about the science of the legislation they were trying to pass. It was all feel-good fallacies. No one wanted to hear the science even when it was explained in simple language.
I will have to check out your book. You are so right – science should trump emotions and politics. It may anger some that I like your title — but unfortunately, from my experience, it was the Democrats pushing the un-scientific laws and unwilling to listen to the true science. It should not be a left, right, Democrat, or Republican issue — all rational people should be able to hear scientific facts even when they don’t fit into preconceived beliefs.
CL Hendricks says
Your article is much nicer than the article I did recently on Essential Oils MLM Cult
Anna Dickey says
I love your Stepford (YL) Wives picture!!!
Great article. I was a rep for a cosmetic company for many years. I’m proud to say the group that I was in did not practice any of the things on your list. The proof is now evident as I am reaping benefits of years of using the products! With that being said however, other reps in the same company were not so fortunate and most of the things on your list were part of their group. So, it is possible for a company to be cultilistic (?) and not to be at the same time. Keep an eye on the leaders of the pack. Always be aware.
The leaders (or upline) are a huge key I think. They share information and I think they can put a cult-like spin on things that were not or removed the cult-like spin that comes from above.
Lizzy Bee says
Thank you for having the courage to speak out about the dangerous trends exploding all over social media. The Pinterest “recipes” advocating the ingestion of multiple essential oils worry and anger me. I find it extremely unethical and I am wondering what long-term effects the MLM companies like YL and dT will have on the aromatherapy/essential oil industry. Thank you for your insightful research.
You are spot-on with the “cult” comparison. It is quite obvious (especially reading through some comments on your previous post!) that there are some uneducated, ignorant, and dangerously devoted individuals within the realms of the MLM essential oil companies.
I don’t doubt that there are, on the other hand, consultants who truly believe in the products they are selling. I’m sure there are some who have experienced great results with essential oils and simply want to share their stories. I just have a problem with sales-driven MLM essential oil companies. Their bottom line is business, not health.
Christine V says
I have enjoyed your opinions and fact sharing.
I am kinda new to EOs and have membership to one of the 2 Big ones, I wanted the diffuser, but not to sell.
I have bought, sold and know more than your average person does about different types of cults. Like screaming red flags.
Your article is great. I worked at a corporate office for an MLM and never “drank the koolaid” so I ended up being bullied and conveniently laid off two weeks before my maternity leave started. It was sad because I did think they offered quality products, just overpriced. And lead by a crazy man that people worshipped.
Elizabeth J says
I have always felt the same way about MLMs. I’m fortunate in that I am with Young Living, and my upline is VERY supportive in researching outside just what the company says. When it comes to ingesting oils, I don’t promote it. I simply provide the information to those who purchase a kit from me, and encourage them to do their own research online. I make it known it’s a controversial practice, and send then to sites that are both in favor and against it. Anyway, our group is definitely more of a “cheering one another on and helping each other out without expecting anything in return” group. I’m grateful to have them, and to have my oils, and if someone find success with another brand, I simply say, “To each, his/her own.” I’m not here to convert anyone. 🙂
I am amazed and appalled at the comments in the other article. Truly incredible.
A month ago I “signed on” with Young Living because I wanted to use the oils, not to sell/make money. I’d just give the wholesale discount to any friends that want them. So far I’m enjoying them and working to learn how they can help me in a variety of ways.
Anyway, I’ve been researching like crazy on everything I can outside of any YL literature. Hence the reason I’m here. 🙂 I’m in marketing, so it’s only natural I take all “marketing” with a grain of salt. Anyway, my research leads me to feel confident that they should not be ingested, and only used properly diluted. I’m especially particular as I’d like to pass the results along to my children, safely.
It’s ironic that commentators call your other article slander, when what you wrote can only be for the good. For the sake of devil’s advocate, maybe you’re not totally right. So the oils wouldn’t be quite as effective? MUCH safer than the other way around. The old cliche “everything in moderation” wasn’t coined for fun.
Thanks for your great information. I’m continuing to poke around. 🙂
Exactly! Everything is moderation. I turned off comments on that blog post, but I still get some nasty messages. I love the delete button these days.
Enjoyed reading your article and the comments. I’ve used essential oils for about 3 yrs now, and have found amazing results for several issues. I am also an RN for 30 yrs and have some knowledge of potential dangers of inappropriate use of “natural medicine”, but have a much greater knowledge of horrible side effects and outcomes from synthetic prescription meds. I did get introduced to essential oils from an MLM, but I have never pictured it as a cult! Yes, there are business meetings for those who want to take it on, and yes, of course, you have to believe in your product and know it works to be excited about it- but it’s not any different, I imagine, than sales meetings and conventions going on all over the world. MLM is only a business model, and like any other, the business can be a good or bad one. Avon, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc, are all network marketing businesses.
I finally decided to “sell” because I was having such great success in using these oils. And most of my downline are other nurses. The company I’m with is pouring money into research, and has many, many physicians and other health care practitioners on board.
I do believe that everyone should have access to natural treatments as an option. I believe the research and information should be available to everyone. I don’t see this as any different than teaching patients to be informed about healthcare from any aspect. We could easily argue that modern medicine has a cult like following from many patients who refuse to take any responsibility for their own health and just keep on getting those prescriptions filled, thinking that is just the way it’s done in this world, in this age, and of course, their doctors could never be wrong. Wrong.
I’m not bashing science or medicine as a whole, I respect training and education, and have a love of science myself. I also never knew what aromatherapists did before essential oils, and now have a great respect for that science.
I get my oils from my company, because I get a paycheck now for sharing something beautiful, and am enjoying the heck out of it. If there is an oil they don’t sell yet, I will buy from an online company that I like and trust.
I don’t believe I’m involved in a cult (!) but do have a new respect in my old age for a solid business in which the leaders have more integrity in my opinion, than the leaders of any hospital I’ve ever worked for; now if you want to talk about shady…
One more thing about the cult comments…I have seen/heard comments from people spouting about how “our company is the best, blah, blah, blah…”
I can’t say I see that zeal any different from people’s enthusiasms about their football teams, or political parties; they just want their side to win, and get carried away. But it’s not a CULT. Most people I know who use oils simply love the naturalness of them. I used to have my son at an ENT doc 3-4 times/yr with ear infections. Now, he uses a diluted blend around his ear 3-4 times a day, for 2-3 days, and it’s gone. And we DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH ANTIBIOTICS! So simple. Yes there can be reactions, problems, but there is SO much less to worry about…I’m not afraid of nature as much as I’m afraid of synthetic drugs. That’s it in a nutshell.
Oh, okay, I use doTERRA oils. I had never heard of any other company when I was invited to a doTERRA class/party. If I had been invited to a YL class instead, I probably would have bought from them. But I’m very happy with our products, and am enjoying beginning my part time career doing this…instead of teaching patients about all the side effects of their new prescriptions and watching some go home with scripts from 3-4 different doctors after one hospital stay, knowing those docs (who are good people and doing what they’ve been trained to do), so much of the time, are too busy to even consider what the others have done until there’s a problem. And the poor patients don’t know any better. Yes essential oils are a good thing. Good business is a good thing. Education and change is a good thing. And an appreciation for pure and natural is a good thing.
Best comment here. Thanks.
I don’t even know how you were able to process and write about it so well! I recently took a step back and wrote a cryptic message about stepping away from a religious organization and my Amway business. It seems everyone I try to talk to finds out about my new position on this issue and ignores me or pushes me away. I don’t even understand how I didn’t see it before. How could I when I thought the product was good or the scripture reference was good?
However, you are absolutely right. The best cure was reading material outside what was deemed good for me – by either organization. For me that started when I went for a business degree and realized that MLM’s were not operating as a true business model. It took awhile to put the piece together but I finally put a finger on it. In both cases the way they focused on the recruit/marketing material was revealing. Neither really wanted to sell/recruit in a way that served the broad base of customers they proclaimed were their target market. Instead both provide materials & teachings that sell/recruit with the intent of incorporating them into the organization.
Thank you posting!
I am glad you got out. I have been out for more than a decade. Time and perspective heals. Good luck on your journey.
I am very glad I came across your blog Kayla; it falls in line with how I was taught, my own research and those I consider mentors, also how I practice as an aroma therapist. The most garbage mouthed, insulting, vile comments I have ever read come from the essential oil MLM’s when they disagree with educated professionals in the aromatherapy world. I read your previous post Warnings…that prompted this post. In a group when they attack someone they are bullies without a rational thought among them. With that alone I find no credibility in them and I boo the DT & YL companies. I saw just last night a Pinterest pin on a Doterra reps page for 50 drops of a combined 5 essential oils in a roll on with no carrier oil base. This is utter nonsense and to think the use of essential oils has come to this, being exploited by the uneducated and the trend to ‘play’ around with essential oils. I have seen it around me just recently. Get a diffuser and 6 or 7 essential oils kit for a slashed price like it is a sale at Walmart. They buy and the only clue they have is what they read in a booklet because the sales rep barely knows anything but what she read and is glad to have the sale and sign someone up. But one thing for sure is they are told to put EO’s in water and to apply ‘neat’. So no matter what is said the reps are still giving this advice. It is sad all the way around. So thank you for your posts and you handled yourself very well when being attacked for being right!
I know you have deleted several Comments. A few friends have tried to comment here. So I am sure this will be too. You’re too proud and love your “You Did So Awesome, GREAT JOB” comments! I can tell you from many years of experience you are NOT 100% correct. The problems are people not reading labels and listening. So please stop with the “How bad do Terra and Young Living companies are”! Most people do know to dilute their oils with carriers and help themselves just fine. You are a fear monger.
Have a nice day.
All comments go through an approval process. You can see from all the comments that were NOT positive that I do allow negative comments. http://kaylafioravanti.com/warnings-doterra-young-living-wont-tell-you/
I stopped approving hateful comments. I stopped allowing people to curse at me on my blog. I stopped approving comments with attacks that had been asked and answered.
I actually don’t attack the corporations doTerra and Young Living in this blog or any other. I am not saying that all MLM organizations are cults. I am not saying that dT or YL are cults. I am cautioning you to take a close look at these twelve signs versus the reality of any MLM you are in. That is it.
If giving people information and asking them to do their own research is fear mongering then the world has become a very sad place.
You asked new questions and had fresh attacks so I allowed your comment.
Stacy, BSN, MSN, RN, CEN says
“Members are encouraged to only read the organizations recommended reading list. Friends, family and experts who do not agree with what the organization is teaching are labeled as negative, ignorant or any other derogatory terms. When someone leaves the organization they are labeled negative, sinful, lost, or confused.”
I was listed as a problem child! My up line wanted my SSN and password to my site so they can change and order as needed. When I reported this… Nothing was done.
I asked to speak with corporate compliance- nothing. An insider has informed me that my membership is flagged (trouble maker).
“Information that contradicts the teaching of the organization is removed from chat groups, Facebook groups and so forth by the administrators or upline. They defend everything they do and teach even when others say it is harmful or dangerous.”
I was and am harassed constantly busy up line.. Threatening emails… Sent to cooperate compliance- not a word- nada.
I was bullied to drop and changed where I layered the Pyramid. As I wasn’t procuring…
“Members are deemed negative when they question the teaching of the organization. Members have an inappropriate or almost star-struck god-like admiration of the leaders. The leadership is charismatic claiming special knowledge, abilities or experiences. Administrators and uplines have an overzealous and unquestioning commitment to the organization’s leader, belief system and practices. Leaders promote the goals of the group over the good of the individual. The organization is elitist. They may claim to have a special or exalted status or product above all others. They will often put down other organizations to build themselves up. They teach that they have a special corner on the truth or a special corner on the market. The group has a polarized “us versus them” mentality. They are openly hostile to anyone who does not share their beliefs. The leader has questionable character that is overlooked, defended or simply ignored.”
Oh My Gosh. My up line is god!
“The group is highly focused on bringing in new members and making a profit.”
My entire church ward was harassed, if you weren’t part of the oil clique you were ostracized. Reported it to Bishop. Sorry not my problem.
After reading this blog, it was the last straw of denial. Thank you for helping me escape the chains that bound me.
I started with YL, just signed up to really try EO’s but after much research I decided to steer away from the MLM organizations and go with another brand of oil that was a fraction of the cost and yet has the same results. This company I went with was Plant Therapy and they helped educate me on oil safety. I have friends that use YL and when I would post a new oil from PT, I had one ask if they were safe to ingest as YL. I was thrown back from their question that I asked for clarification. She went on to provide me a blog post stating that the FDA approved their oils for consumption. I immediately went to look this information up to confirm and I found nothing to substantiate their claim.
I have a friend that was consuming YL oils and suffered damage to her esophagus. This damage is irreversible. She was told that you can put a couple drops of some of these oils in water and drink them. Well I think we learn in grade school that oil and water don’t mix well. I’m thankful that I was educated by my friend. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
Carrier oils such as coconut oil are appropriate in a measured dram dropper.,
I love oils!
The whole MLM thing kills me– it’s the people not the oils that give alternative medicine a negative light.
I appreciate your honest approach with this particular article. I own a very small boutique and sell many different categories of oils. one being essentials. I seem to deal with the “New Snobs of the essential oil world of MLM.” I do not mean to be harsh but one meeting at a relative’s house and a starter kit and they know everything. They enter my boutique and instantly begin to question and snarl at my 100% pure essential oils that I hav eused for years with much success. So I wanted you to know that I am printing out your article and MAKING COPIES! I will kindly hand them one on their way out after they have finished insulting me and my boutique. THANK YOU
Shannon, I’ve said this before in my comment: do I think DoTerra’s oils are better than yours? Nope!! I just like the pretty bottle!
Well, I am a DoTerra Wellness Advocate. Do I sell the oils to anyone? No. I use them myself because I like the way they smell. Do I think DoTerra’s oils are the best around? No, not really. Then why do I buy DoTerra? To be honest: I am a sucker for packaging. The bottles are beautiful. That’s about it. I also like the design of their logo.
One question: I love Spearmint oil.
Why is it dangerous? I diffuse it because I like the smell.
Because of your recommendations, I do not ingest oils. What you say makes perfect sense. Regardless of purity, the chemical constituents are far too concentrated to be safe in all instances, and why take the chance? For example, arsenic and mercury are naturally occurring and pure. But they’re also toxic! Purity doesn’t matter if the plant oil itself is toxic in high concentrations! Thanks for taking the time to spread reason.
So quick question. I have used eo on my babies when they were newborns (always diluted) and I have ingested it diluted with natural spring water and coconut oil. I had a very bad case of strep throat and I did a mixture of eo and I was relieved instantly from it and haven’t had to take any antibiotics. Of course I used 2 drops only of each 2x a day for 3 days and I can’t tell you how much it’s helped. Now for my son he was always fish since a baby and now at 2 yrs old has leaky gut. Could it be from using eo at such a young age? Even now my hotlistic dr tells me to keep using eo on him. Should I stop? You’re article opened up my mind n question but always scares me now.
I would touch bases with Sylla at the Atlantic Institute about the leaky gut. She is far more aware of the injuries people are experiencing. http://www.atlanticinstitute.com/
I would be extremely cautious using essential oils on a 2 year old. Make sure you dilute them to 0.5% and only use essential oils recommended by aromatherapist for babies. I have a list in my book, but I am not sure if I have it online.
Thank you so much for sharing your research about using essential oils. It did open my eyes quite a bit, I have used oils on me and my kids last 2 years and never even thought I could cause some harm with them. I do agree with you that people should be caucious and educated before they ingest or apply anything on their bodies. That was the main purpose of your warning about essential oils, not to scare people of, but to educate them and make them more aware. There are always two sides to a story and I just don’t understand why some take it so personally and make unnecessary attacks! I have been reading all the comments in this and previous blog with negative comments for last two evenings and all that information made me rethink lots of things. I tried to be nonjudgmental and take from it additional info that can benefit me in a long term. I just wanted to say thank you for bringing that awareness out there, it is much needed.
Kayla, I am saddened but the negativity in the comments and I just want to thank you for your articles and research. Especially the one about the essential oils. I have used and ingested them thinking it was perfectly safe to do so. So I appreciate your research and warning.
I also want to thank you for this article as I have seen an explosion of the MLM businesses and I can see your points in them, the thought process and inclusion or I should say exclusion. I have many friends that are doing one or another. I have thought about them myself but there is that question in the back of my mind – pyramid scheme. I am sure not all are bad and not all lines are negative but I really like your 12 warning signs. As a previous commenter said, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.
I totally agree with you – not all lines are bad and not all lines are negative. Thank you for your kind words.
KIMBERLY GAUTHIER says
I have been under attack by Young Living for more than a month. First, they accused me of making medical claims about their oils, but couldn’t provide proof that I did so – it turns out that they had a problem with the books on essential oils I was recommending. They weren’t on their approved list, so they told me to remove them from my blog – a blog that is mine, that I pay for, and only had a handful of posts about essential oils.
Then they told me to go through social media and remove every mention of Young Living that I’ve made over a year. Impossible. I asked how I was supposed to do this, they didn’t care – they gave me a list of social media sites and told me to get to work and threatened me with legal action if I didn’t comply.
When the threats started, I decided to cancel my account. I was getting a bit worried for my own small business. It wasn’t worth it to have a relationship with them if they were going to threaten me. Canceling was an entirely new ordeal – at first, they called an said they didn’t want me to leave, and then they warned me that I wasn’t canceling, they were firing me.
Now, they’re going through my social media accounts and threatening me with copyright infringement for using media that they provided when I was a distributor. When I was a distributor, I could promote them all I wanted; I guess now that I’m not a distributor, they’re trying to have my social media sites and blog shut down.
It’s truly frightening and I’m warning everyone to be careful about Young Living. I’m a small business and I’m right at a point where I can do this full time. To have a corporation come along and shut me down, because I won’t drink the Koolaid is unnerving.
Kim! I hate to hear this. I am so sorry you are having to go through all this. I remember when you mentioned taking things off your website but I didn’t realize it was this messy.
Thank you for this article and the one on some of the dangerous practices that seem to stem from certain companies. I had a rep out oil onto my hand neat which, whilst it didn’t burn, was tingling and not in a pleasant way. One rep I personally know if Inget so much as a cold she claims ado Terra would mean I’d never get sick again etc. It’s complete and utter madness. I also believe people get brainwashed and become over reliant on the oils from these companies – why would someone going on a holiday need to pack 20 oils with them. Just relax and enjoy the Hol. It comes across as obsessive to me.
I have done an introduction course in aromatherapy and sadly I have more knowledge than some of these reps who are advocating dangerous, and potentially, illegal practices.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for this. I joined Young Living two months ago and have spent a LOT of money. I got sucked in by great “deals” and of course if you are ingesting and constantly diffusing the oils, putting them in everything and using them with little to no dilution, you will go through them quickly!
I finally came to my senses after a a particularly alarming social media post by someone in my upline. While I had already seen some perfect examples of “cult-like” behaviour from her and others, what did it for me was a post providing dangerous and illogical medical advice (the usual “any bad reaction is just your body detoxing” argument).
Sadly, I think that this person and most YL distributors honestly believe that they are providing good advice. And I don’t think they realize that they themselves are victims of the company’s excellent marketing strategy.
Great piece! I have lost many friends due to not joining Doterra. It is very sad. Cheers to you for writing this and bringing light to the world!
I was in a leg of an Amway business before, specifically WWDB. I’m not saying all WWDB organizations display the aforementioned qualities, but hell all of those things describes the organization I was a part of to the tee. I joined primarily because I was drawn to how well-mannered the members were compared to most of the other people I’ve met. They were all very positive, uplifting, encouraging, and they gave the illusion of success. At the time of my direct sponsor finding me, I was in between jobs and I even became homeless at one point (couch surfing between his house and later on his girlfriend’s). I love them both to death, and I’m grateful for all the lessons they’ve bestowed upon me. However, I later on noticed that the way they would communicate the opportunity to others was quite deceptive and I came to realize their interactions with others were disingenuous. I also came across other lucrative opportunities that better fit my personality and didn’t require me to feel like I’m buttering up others and lying to them just so they can join my organization. I was encouraged to dump any friend who was “negative” about the business (aka expressed concern for me) and I was told that the only way to succeed is if I talked only to those who have the results (aka my uplines). As much as I love my direct sponsor as a brother, I came to realize my friendship with him wasn’t a true friendship. I stayed as long as I can because, as cliche and stupid as this sounds, I thought I owed them my current state. It took me a long time to rebuild my sense of identity again, but I’m glad I woke up from it. In spite of everything, I don’t regret having joined my upline’s organization because they still in a way made me a better person. I know now to be more careful in the future. Thank you for your article, I wish you the best. 🙂
Hi Yumi, I officially left WWDB in the beginning of 2017 after struggling for several months with feeling like a lot of what was being taught and said by the organization’s leaders wasn’t sitting well with me. I felt exactly like how you felt…they were very disingenuous about their interactions with others and the only reason they wanted to talk to someone outside “the business” was to recruit them. They used so much jargon that was truly truth embellishing and tactics that would ensure a prospect would be tricked into just one more meeting. There was a lot of weaving of information and withholding of information whenever a prospect would ask a direct question about what the name of the organization was or what they did. Instead, the prospect had to “earn the right to be educated about this business opportunity.” It is all a guise to try and get the prospect to go to the next meeting and attend some events. I joined because they made me believe I could truly help people as they believe they are doing. But they continue to call people who are not in the business “mediocre” “average” “the masses” “sheeple (people who are just like sheep)” and create a it’s an “us vs them” mentality, even believing people who are not in the business are blind or dumb because they don’t get it. I believed them for 3.5 years but began to see holes in their logic and morality. A lot of the leaders claim to be Christian and have even quoted some Bible verses, but they have all used it to the advantage of the business. I could go on and on. They think they are the ones “thinking outside the box” when in fact, they are taught to be close minded and only think with “like minded people” in the business and not get information or “counsel” from anyone who doesn’t “have fruit on the tree.”
Modern day cults are in plain sight.
I stumbled across your post about essential oil safety a few days ago, and was very impressed by how you dealt with all the negative comments. Your thoroughly researched information led me to look at the rest of your blog, and that’s when I found this post. As someone who was involved in a cult group within a religious organization, I believe this post is spot on. It’s important to acknowledge that cult like practices can be in any organization, not just religious ones.
I got involved in an mlm essential oil company a few years ago, and in the past few months, I have started to notice some similarities between that organization and the religious group I was a part of. One of the red flags that really got me thinking was when I saw people on the Facebook group I was a part of posting that they were “purging” their homes and bodies of all products that weren’t from that mlm. They said things along the lines of “I’m convinced that so and so’s products are the best and purest, and have been convicted that i need to get rid of all my other personal care products.” Or “Try these prdoducts and you’ll be convinced they’re the only ones you’ll ever need.” (Not a direct quote, just a generalization of the things I heard).
Once I started reading and hearing more and more of these type of things, it started to click in my brain, but not all the way. Even after realizing this, it has taken me a few months to totally separate myself from this company. I was never in it for the money, just for personal use, but I still found it hard to let go. I thought to myself, “I still have points to use, and some their products are really good, and all the people are really nice, and …” After doing more of my own research outside of the company’s resources, I was really starting to get concerned about their lack of safety information. Then I stumbled across your post, Warnings DōTERRA and Young Living Won’t Tell You, which led me to this article. Now I’m completely convinced that the mlm is a cult ( at least the leg of the company that I’m involved in.) I told myself I would never get involved in a cult ever again, and here I am! What the $&@@&!!!?? Am I doing!? Thank you so much for this and all the other information you make public to everyone. I know this was written three years ago, but it lives on in this beautiful thing called the internet. Thanks for keeping all your information available despite all the haters. Continue to keep up the good work, I look forward to reading your more recent blog posts.
Thank You – I have a loved one involved in an EO MLM org. Once I declined involvement (first, I refuse to pay 2000%+ markup on ANYTHING, second, the company is using the reps terribly), I was basically shunned. It grieves me terribly, but I’m glad to know there is a voice of reason out here.