The Explosive Evidence Of Cult Behaviour In Amway
The Amway Cult
Amway is one of the oldest and largest network marketing companies in the world. It is also one of the most controversial. So controversial, in fact, that it has been compared to one of the most notorious and murderous cults in American history. So what is it about Amway that causes such outrage, and does Amway deserve to be ostracised in this way? This article examines ‘The Amway Cult’, and asks ‘Is Amway evil?’
What Is A Cult?
First of all, what exactly do we mean by a ‘cult’? Well, the most common use of the word ‘cult’ refers to unorthodox religious groups that the majority of people believe to be false or extremist in nature. They often characterise themselves by living apart from the rest of society, and following a charismatic but often dangerous leader. A cult doesn’t always have to be religious in nature, however, and is usually defined as a group or sect bound together by the common veneration of the same thing, person or ideal. Whilst many cults are essentially harmless, some cults are seen as being potentially very dangerous.
The Danger Of Cults
The most shocking example of this was demonstrated by the cult of the Peoples (sic) Temple. On November 18th, 1978, nine hundred and nine members of the Peoples Temple committed mass suicide at Jonestown, Guyana, after armed members had murdered 5 people (a defector, 3 journalists and a Congressman) at the colony’s airstrip. Jim Jones, the cult’s leader and principal orchestrator of the murders and mass suicides, was also accused of sexually and physically abusing both male and female members of the cult, of faking healings, and of brainwashing his followers. One of the most enduring images from the tragedy is the cult’s use of purple Kool-Aid juice to ingest the poison that was used to kill them. The tragedy was the greatest single loss of civilian lives in America until the Septmber 11th attacks in 2001.
‘Purple Kool Aid Drinkers
It is therefore both tasteless and offensive to accuse Amway of being a similar cult to the Peoples Temple. Critics often refer to Amway Distributors as ‘Purple Kool Aid drinkers’ in an appalling comparison to the Jonestown tragedy, but to compare an MLM business to a cult which claimed the lives of more than 900 people is inappropriate in the extreme.
However, the old saying that there is ‘no smoke without fire’ still holds much credence. Whilst the comparisons to the Peoples Temple are ill-advised and sensationalist, the underlying truth that Amway resembles a cult is one which needs to be examined.
Is Amway A Cult?
The allegations that Amway is a cult mainly centre around the large meetings of Distributors that they hold regularly, often in big conference centers or arenas. Motivational speakers address the crowds, who clap, cheer, chant slogans, sing songs, and are often reduced to tears. The crowd are encouraged to buy up tapes and books by the speakers, which are advertised as essential resources if you want to succeed with Amway. Critics believe this amounts to brainwashing Distributors, not only in the sense that they are brainwashed into spending a lot of money on the products, but also in the sense that once they have bought the products they are firmly under the influence of the speaker, who can manipulate them into acting in a certain way on the basis that the listener is led to believe that the information is absolutely essential to success, and infallibly true.
Although it is impossible to condone comparisons between Amway and Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple, one can see why such comparisons have been made by some. Here we are apparently seeing large groups of impressionable people at the mercy of a few powerful and influential figures, whose words are held to be crucial and infallible, and whose example must be followed at all costs if success is to follow. It also creates a dependency on the motivational resources, since Distributors soon feel isolated and vulnerable without them.
The situation is made worse by the revelation that, much of the time, the top Amway Distributors who are giving the motivational advice are making a significant proportion of their income by this means, and not by selling the Amway products that they are supposedly promoting. Promises that following their example will lead to richness are therefore hollow, it is said, because these people are only wealthy as a result of their motivational speaking and through sales of their resources. People are therefore brainwashed into exerting a level of effort that in reality is never going to produce a significant enough financial return to justify the total investment. Similar to a cult, when things start to go wrong people are unable to see past their leaders, and therefore miss the crucial realisation of what the real problems are. Blind loyalty, and a failure to identify the real problems, causes the Distributor to continually repeat the same mistakes and continually fail in their business.
How To ‘Escape’ From The Amway Cult
But if this were true of Amway, then how can it be that it has survived as one of America’s leading MLM companies for more than 50-years? There must surely be more to Amway than these accusations suggest?
Well, the truth is that the problems with Amway tend to center around the motivational tools and resources encouraged by the company, and not with the actual company itself. Amway claim to offer a low-risk business opportunity, due to the small amount of initial investment required to buy into the business. For this reason, the Distributors who do end up losing a lot of money tend to do so because they invest far too much capital and faith in the motivational books and tapes sold by the top Amway Distributors. If you could find a better way of investing your money instead of spending it on the much-criticised resources, it is entirely possible to make a great business with Amway.
You just have to have the belief to stand on your own two feet, and take the initiative with your business. To call Amway a cult is misleading, but it is true that certain characteristics of the business do bear uneasy similarities to this phenomenon. If you can resist the temptation to follow the crowd, and learn how to take control of your business yourself, you could be well on your way to wriggling free from the culture of cult, and towards massive success in your Amway business.