Is there such thing as a MLM Cult? That is a very controversial topic with a wide variety of answers. For the purpose of this article, I will do my best to provide an objective review of the “cultish” aspects of network marketing. I’d like to preface by telling you that I am a network marketer and I have been involved with this industry in one way or another for ten years now. So, you could accuse me of “drinking the Kool-Aid.” And that is partially true, but I have also stepped back from the industry studying it from the outside in, as well as the inside-out. This gives me a unique perspective to cover this crazy topic. I hope you enjoy the information.
What are Cults?
According to one online dictionary, a cult is “a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.” Another definition I found online is “a group of people whose beliefs or practices are considered bizarre.”
If you were to take these definitions literally, you could accuse “any” religion of being a cult, to include Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses. Please know that I’m not personally accusing these organizations as being a cult, but it would be quite simple to argue that they are. Some common cults include the People’s Temple, Heaven’s Gate, and Branch Davidians.
Common Attributes of Cults
The two most common attributes for cults are (1) mind control and (2) the potential to get harmed. Some common “mind control” procedures include:
• Isolation from friends and family
• Getting a new identity from the group
• Their problems are reduced to one simple explanation
• A strict set of rules that all members follow
As far as the potential to get harmed, this might include damaged relationships, financial loss or even physical harm. Now that we’ve talked about some of the common attributes of cults, I would like to share my thoughts on the subject of network marketing cults.
Is There Such Thing as a MLM Cult
First and foremost, I do not believe that network marketing industry, its companies or its leaders are cults. However, I will be the first to admit that there are some “cultish behavior” that does go on in our industry. Here are a few examples I have personally experienced:
• Many people who have always worked in a job, now get hooked on the idea of being a business owner
• Many distributors are taught to get business advice from their upline (exclusively)
• Many distributors are taught that jobs are bad
• Many distributors are taught to avoid negative friends and family members
• Some distributors are taught to become a member of the “team” such as a successful distributor’s organization. The group typically has a team name, informal rules, and receives guidance from the upline.
• Many distributors are taught to flush their “stinking thinking”
• Many distributors are taught that this is the only way to build wealth
• Many new distributors are indoctrinated to the company or team at a live event
• Many organizations have rules and policies to follow
Please know that I don’t think all of these things/behaviors are bad. In fact, many of them are good things. It’s only when they are taken to the extreme that they become dangerous. For example, I think it is a good business idea to seek advice from someone who has accomplished what you are trying to accomplish. I also think it’s a wise idea to avoid negative people who bring you down. And if you want to make it big financially, you might need to reprogram some of your thinking.
My Best Advice to You
However, I don’t recommend anyone follow anyone BLINDLY. I don’t recommend that anyone takes all advice they get as “the only truth.” Ultimately, it’s up to you to evaluate the advice you are given and make your own decisions as to what is best for you and your family.
I will be the first to admit that I have “changed” since I first started this industry ten years ago. I have been on a long “personal development” journey and have developed skills that have enhanced my marriage, my businesses, my attitude, and my confidence. For these reasons alone, I continue to participate in the industry.
Ultimately, you need to decide what is best for you. If you feel that you are participating in a MLM Cult, by all means, get done. If your upline is telling you to do things that “violate your beliefs” by all means dig deeper and get more information before you do anything. Don’t follow anyone blindly. And don’t think that this is the only way to build wealth, either.
Share Your Story
I hope you’ve enjoyed my MLM Cult article. I would love to hear from you. If you have an experience that you would like to share with the rest of our community (about a MLM Cult Experience) please enter your story in the form below. If approved, it will be available for others to read, too. Thanks.
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