MLM stands for multi-level marketing.
“MLM companies sell their products or services through person-to-person sales. That means you’re selling directly to other people, maybe from your home, a customer’s home, or online. If you join an MLM program, the company may refer to you as an independent “distributor,” “participant,” or “contractor.” Most MLMs say you can make money two ways: 1) by selling the MLM’s products yourself to “retail” customers who are not involved in the MLM, and 2)by recruiting new distributors and earning commissions based on what they buy and their sales to retail customers. Your recruits, the people they recruit, and so on, become your sales network, or “downline.” If the MLM is not a pyramid scheme, it will pay you based on your sales to retail customers, without having to recruit new distributors.” (The Federal Trade Commission-1)
Basically, when a friend on Facebook messages you and says they are selling a product and wants to know if you are interested – that is most likely an MLM company. The most well-known MLM product is essential oils. However, a MLM company can sell pretty much anything; make-up, cleaning supplies, etc.
You may have heard some talk about how MLM essential oil companies dabble in New Age practices. While this is true, its not the only bad issue with MLM companies and what people who are involved with (sell for) one do.
I have a personal experience selling for a MLM company, as I used to sell Younique make-up. I struggled in my walk severely during that time and I know that it was because of what I was involved in. Not new-age practices, like with essential oils, but other things that caused sin in my life do to this “business” and took my eyes off Jesus.
A few of the things that I did and dealt with while participating in selling for a MLM company:
1- The idol of beauty and causing other women to stumble with this. I was constantly telling other women that they could be beautiful if they just used this make-up, and I was falling for the lie myself. This lie is extremely common with other MLMs too. Like what would be heard with BeachBody: “you can be beautiful if you just lose weight with our workout program”. The truth that you are beautiful because God knit you together in your mother’s womb and that you are made in His image, is practically denied.
2- The lie and jealousy that everything in your life would be perfect if you just had this make-up. We constantly had to be “on”; happy and perfect. Make other women jealous of our wonderful lives. They could have perfection too, if they just wore this make-up. The advice that we always received was “never post anything controversial” – so that means no political or religious posts. Of course, a verse here and there wasn’t a problem – but make it fluffy and don’t get into context. (Think Jeremiah 29:11)
3-The constant lying about how great the products were. Deceiving women by saying these were the best products out there. Using specific wording to make them think one thing when it was really something else.
4-Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) seems to have a huge impact in MLMs – especially the ones that are so-called “Christian companies”. Probably due to the “make lots of money” and “everything is wonderful” aspects.
5-Self-love, self-care, self-love, self-care. Ugh. (To see why self-love is a false ideology, read this post)
6-Instead of reading and studying the Bible, you are encouraged to read Rachel Hollis, or Brene Brown, or any other book that helps you with “your best life now” and being a “boss babe”. Lots of feminism creeps in.
Also, Younique, in particular, is a company founded by Mormons, so by selling their products, I was putting money into the pockets of the LDS church. That was hard to deal with, as well. Especially when the founder and other “top sales” people would talk about going to the temple and their mission trips.
I stopped after a few months. I had just had a baby and taking time away really showed me what I was doing and why it was so wrong. I had to not only stop selling for and associating with this company (and all MLMs), but repent as well.
I see so many Christian women flocking to these MLMs (myself included, obviously) and I don’t really know why. It’s a huge problem for more than just the new age practices with oils, as shown in the six points listed above. While those six reasons are written to my experience selling Younique, they can each be applied to any MLM experience. The idols and deception in all these MLMs is a huge problem that’s hardly ever talked about. The dirty little secret of Christian woman who are involved with MLMs.
We should be staying away but instead we are getting sucked into that world. It’s extremely heartbreaking.
Maybe there are women out there who are able to be involved with these companies without sinning or being sucked into new-age practices or WOF false teachings, and able to still keep their eyes focused on Jesus. But I wasn’t able to and I know of a lot of other women who had the same problems.
These are things to be aware of if you are involved in one or thinking about it. Even if you just purchase from them. Don’t fall for the “support your friend to help her put food on the table” especially if that friend is deceiving you. You are supporting the deception and everything else that comes along with it. A reference frequently used by women selling for MLMs is the Proverbs 31 woman. They say this because of verse 24 which says “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen.” However, one major problem with the comparison of a woman who sells for an MLM company to the Proverbs 31 woman, is that the Proverbs 31 woman didn’t cause idols, stumbling blocks, and lie to her family and friends in the name of business.
I am fully ashamed that I fell into the trap and will always regret it, but I am so grateful that the Lord showed me my sin and error. He is so faithful to not only show us, but to take our sin and shame, and to forgive us when we repent! Praise Him!
I’ve never really wanted to talk about my experience but I pray that by speaking out that the Lord uses this post to help someone else.