I personally wouldn’t see the point in going to a meeting

Believe me, as PW shared, they ARE prepared for your critical questions. I went to one MLM meeting with my husband. Even when I was pro MLM and “working the business” we were still a bit in shock at the “rah rah rah” idolization and almost worship of the MLM head and top distributors. As they encouraged us to bring potential distributors to these meetings, I remember thinking, “yeah right…I’d be too embarrassed to bring anyone here”.

The only thing I can think of to relate this to is how I have learned to parent, especially in the toddler years (though it still works now). Kids want no direction from parents at certain phases and in order to get through it,we would calmly in a non chalant manner state the consequences of certain actions WITHOUT attachment to outcome. Once they know what you want them to do, its over.

For instance, if green beans are not eaten, then there is no dessert. But I do not put a lot of energy into getting them to eat the green beans, I state the consequence and walk away not showing anything on my part for a desired outcome. Eat the green beans, don’t eat them…it is up to them.
Their choice, they have the control.

It might be a good frame of mind to reference if/when you do pose questions to your son. I feel for you. And hope your son sees through the fog sooner than later.

First, I don’t think you’re ready to take on a meeting

If you go to one of these meetings and start asking “negative” questions (or questions that force an unbiased examination of what they’re doing), you will cement your status as a nay-sayer and give up whatever ground you might have gained between now and then.

Confrontation is never a good idea, imo, with someone who is the victim of cult tactics, and you’ll find yourself in a room full of cult victims, probably LED by a cult victim. Remember, most of the people running the day-to-day operations of these things are unaware of the scams. They are simply doing what they’ve been taught to do.

Unless you are EXTREMELY well-versed in the questions you would likely encounter at a recruitment meeting or a “nut-and-bolts” seminar, they will tear your questions to shreds. They’re trained at doing that. I know. I was able to do it from the other side of the table. (While I was not able to recruit very many people when I was involved, I was very adept at convincing most of my prospects that I was not involved in something unethical or illegal.)

And finally, in regards to the money questions:

Yes, it is usually rude to inquire about someone’s personal finances. But is this or is this not a BUSINESS? You’re asking about how much money your son’s upline earns from the same business into which he was recruited. They (A/Q leaders) frequently talk about taking business advice from people who have “the fruit on the tree.” Well, is it rude to ask what kind of fruit they have and in what quantity? Is that not a germane question to ask if they’re going to limit who you can consult on the same criteria?

And when it comes to business, income and outflow are frequently in the conversation. It is NOT rude; it is normal and expected.

A few years ago, my wife and I were offered the opportunity to enter into a partnership with a medical practice near our home. The owner of the business provided us with all manner of documentation to illustrate the financial health of the company -INCLUDING his PERSONAL tax returns. He wanted to ensure that we understood what sort of income and profit his practice was generating and that he was not putting on some sort of “better-than-it-actually-is” front by having an undisclosed income source.

This sort of thing is not rare in business transactions. But it is almost unheard-of in MLM. They give every kind of excuse, but the one that seems to go unquestioned is that it’s rude to ask about one’s income. And again, I used it while I was involved to deflect MY lack of income from the business. It was “I’m just getting started.” I was “just getting started” for more than five years! And I never felt a twinge of guilt about saying it, since I was never any farther along, in terms of profit, than “just getting started.”

Keep reading. Keep asking those questions. Look at other web sites, including the ones that defend the business. Learn how participants view their activities and how they justify them. If you can manage it, go on a crash course, hitting as many sites as you can stand at a time. That may allow you to say the right things to your son without having to put yourself through a meeting in which you’d be vastly outnumbered.

For the most part, it’s a one-on-one effort getting people involved. It may (in many cases) be a one-on-one endeavor to get them out.

Good Luck to you!!

Have you had a chance to read back through the posts on the message board?

Lenna and I both have sons in Quixtar. We have the same concerns and feelings about this MLM as you do, as well as many others at this forum. You probably won’t find the magic answer you were hoping to find, but you will find lots of information, suggestions and support. Talking with others that know and understand first hand what it is like to have someone you love in a MLM has truely been a gift for me.

Chip and Deb suggested that your son pay rent if he is still living at home. I think that is a good idea because that’s part of being an adult and also so that ALL their money can’t be spent on QS products.
My son lives at home. He pays rent (weekly), has a car payment, has his own car insurance (not under mine), and has his own cell phone bill. I know that my son would be paying more for rent if he wasn’t living at home, plus he would have utility bills, which would leave him with less money for Quixtar products. The flip side to that is #1.I think that if he is living at home I have a better chance at asking questions that may plant the seeds that get him out of QS and #2.The money that he pays for rent I put in a separate savings account in my name, which he doesn’t know anything about, so that one day when he gets out of this scam if he is in debt that money can be used for that. If he doesn’t have debt the money can be used for furniture for an apartment or maybe saved for a down payment on a house. I figure it will help with a start to a new life.

Its not easy helping someone to think outside the fog

Questions said in a non confrontational way where the answers SHOULD make them think on their own is what I mean. Like, “So how much money exactly does your sponsor make…I mean, really make after you deduct expenses?” The trick I suppose is feigning an actual interest in his business without supporting it (or enabling him). But you’ll be asking questions that they are used to hearing from naysayers. Mind you these are normal questions that anyone should visit when getting involved in any business venture but MLMers are taught that those who ask them are “negative”. How much time do you spend, how much money do you make, how many people actually make any money, etc. will all usually get you some sort of hostile response.

I’m not sure there’s anything anyone can actually do to help someone see through the cult like fog of MLM BUT I will say that for me, being somewhat vocal to my family/friends about my research and feelings on MLMs….has helped. Some family members thought briefly about getting involved in an MLM but with them knowing my stand, asked me some questions first, approached it hesitantly and at the first sign of trouble (which happened before they even received their initial order…thank you Arbonne) they bailed out.

Well

if he is not going to school – then he should be paying room and board. You would still be cheaper than him living on his own….LOL!! And it may sound cruel, but the faster he runs out of money, the faster he may “see the light”.

I am responding to your inquiry

about how others decided for themselves to get out of the business. My parents joined the business when I was 12. My dad quickly saw through the BS, did independent research and quit the business. My mother was taken in and is to this day 100% sold on “the system.” (My parents have, by some miracle, stayed married but the strain Quixtar has caused on the marriage is very evident.)

When I graduated high school at 18 I began attending functions with my Mom and became totally engrossed in the system. I did attend college; however, I did not take it seriously and used it more as a way to meet potential recruits than for education. My three best friends completed college and went on to law school and medical school. I felt sorry for them because I knew that by the time they got out of school I’d be a diamond – we would all be wealthy but they would have to work and I wouldn’t. I was completely unconcerned about the future – I’d listen to tapes, sell products and be retired on a beach by the age of 25.

When I was 21 my upline encouraged my boyfriend and I to marry and focus on the business, and we did so. I am not one who tries to blame the negative in my life completely on Quixtar – I like to think that even in the thick of things I was still somewhat capable of thinking for myself – but I do know that without Quixtar my marriage would have had a stronger chance of success. For one, we would not have married so young. Secondly, we would not have blown our finances on The System to the point where, literally, we could barely eat, much less pay our bills. The system took its toll and I got divorced at 26 after 5 years of marriage. I’m not sure we even had a real marriage; our honeymoon consisted of going to a function and we were trusting and young and did everything our upline said.

At this point I began a lot of self-searching and wondered why my marriage had failed, why I was not in fact as successful as my friends who had now graduated from law school and medical school, why I was watching my own parents’ marriage crumble, etc.

I don’t know why but I did a search for Quixtar on the internet. I had been told a million times not to look at negative websites because they were full of false information put on the internet by losers who were not strong enough to build Quixtar. I put aside that notion just for a moment and looked at some of the websites – I have never felt more like a traitor in my life. I found a book by Eric Scheibler called “Merchants of Deception” and stayed up until 2:00 a.m. that same night finishing it. Things began to click – I had met Mr. Scheibler and been at many of the events mentioned in his book. I sent my father an email. He had never been pushy over the years – he was smart enough to know that challenging the system would only push me farther into it. However, once I brought the subject up, he sent me some case law regarding the Quixtar busines and especially the support system. I began to read and learn. At first I was filled with doubt, then as I came to accept, was overridden with guilt at all the people I had inadvertently hurt through my Quixtar business (which still bothers me today.) I was angry, confused, worried for my mother, thankful that I had gotten out, and unsure of what to do next. I was so used to asking for upline support when making decisions that I didn’t know how to make it on my own.

I’m now almost 29 and have been free of the business for 4 year. I honestly, for the first time I can remember, love my life. It wasn’t an easy road, but I think for myself, have a wonderful boyfriend and a great job, and can make friends naturally without thinking of the entire world as prospects. It was a long journey for me and it might be for your son as well, but hang in there and try not to give up.

Sorry, this turned more into my life story than a helpful answer for you. If you can get him to read Mr. Scheibler’s book it may help.
However, don’t force it on him – perhaps download it to the computer and he will come across it on his own. People all along tried to tell me I was in a cult, but until I started to question and doubt on my own, I didn’t listen to them. Just be there, love him and be there when the light does come on.

Mary Ann –

these observations come from me as someone who’s casually observed the tendencies of friends’ kids who are also either bipolar or OCD – I have no background in psychology or medicine.

You seem to have a double-edged problem here – a son who’s been sucked into a blog who wants him to “conform”…..and he suffers from a condition that seems prone to addictions. From reading posts on this forum, I’m convinced there’s a LOT of people who get addicted to the artificial “high” that surrounds these Motivational Forums. They LOVE the “excitement” and “love” and “positive attitude” that everyone seems to exude. But they’re TRAINED to be that way, and yes, because they try to separate their recruit from the rest of the naysayers (that would be you!)…they DO operate like a cult.

And you son needs to be handled like he has an addiction. Do NOT help him financially or be an enabler…but DO ask questions that hopefully will make him question what he’s doing. There’s some helpful stories in the files section, of others who have helped their loved one escape the pull of the AMOs.

I was in Amway back in the 1990s

as well as Reliv & Freelife in the 90s as well. I highly recommend you read Steve Hassan’s book, “Releasing The Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves”, and read the information on his website on Amway/Quixtar. Read on both Amway & Quixtar. Quixtar is going to be called Amway Global, as he international ‘business’ is called now. This should make it easier for others to know they are Amway. Quixtar was just a different name for Amway in the USA (& I think Canada, but not sure). They will probably do even worse, after they go back to the Amway name. They are going to have other changes. I don’t know what they are, or why they are doing them.
Does anyone know what they are, or might be, and why they are implementing the changes?

I’m sorry you and your family are dealing with this

Its so sad how many families are impacted negatively by MLMs.

I’m not sure this will be helpful but no one in my family said a word to me about my MLM. Even my husband supported me (though I found out later he had his doubts). It was my own questioning in the face of the reality that A) I wasn’t making a dime and B) I was spending a lot to not make a dime.

Maybe if you found a way to pose questions in a supportive way where the answers might spur some thinking?

Thanks to everyone for their responses

For others struggling with a family member in a cult, I’m finding Steven Hassan’s book very helpful. I agree that confrontation will not work. It just makes him distrust us. I’m looking to build trust with him right now in hopes that he will see me as an ally rather than a parent who doesn’t get it.

My son keeps saying he’s not in it for the money – he’s doing this to help other people. One of the reasons he is so enamored of Quixtar is because he feels he has gotten many non-financial things from the business: friends, a sense of belonging and purpose, dreams, hope, spirituality, etc. He said he’s always wanted to ‘save the world’ and this is how he’s going to do it. When I hear that, it scares me the most because just losing money isn’t going to deter him from ‘his dream’.

It would help me to hear people’s stories of how they decided to get out of their MLM business. What kinds of things did your family or friends do that helped you to quit ‘the business’? What helped you to see this thing was a scam and get out? Were there actions taken or things said by family members or friends that affected your thinking? If so, what were they? I understand everyone is different, but it would help me to hear what others found helpful in their experience.

I don’t want to be confrontational with someone who’s trying to be helpful…

…but…

Where on Earth did you get this? How do you spot someone, say in a mall, on the street, in a bookstore, anywhere, who has “the slightest self-doubt?”

And who DOESN’T have a least a little self-doubt?

MLMs do not distinguish who they are trying to get involved. The pitches that are used to promote them are designed to catch anything that will work *for that individual prospect.*

If you’re looking for a part-time income, the MLM rep will promote that.
If you’re looking for a full-time income, they’ll promote that.
If you’re looking to retire, they’ll promote that.

If you’re wanting to help a friend or family member out financially, or even if you just want to put more into the church or charity, they’ll promote that.

If you want to get rich, they’ll promote that.

If you want better vacations, they’ll promote that.

They don’t go after people who are self-doubters, or frustrated in their jobs, or weak-willed, or dumb or naĆ­ve. (I’ve heard all of those characterizations used to describe the “best prospect for MLM.”)

Are you getting the idea? There is not one specific thing that MLMs go after when seeking recruits. There is not one type of person who is more likely to get involved in MLM.

There is no blanket statement that covers it all. Anyone can be preyed upon if the rep happens to say the right things at the right time.

Is your son living with you?

I am only asking because sometimes parents subsidize their grown up children’s indulgences by providing them food and shelter. (I think reality sometimes strikes quicker when one has to make enough to pay rent, utilities and insurance). While this is ok sometimes, with things like MLM, tough love is sometimes called for. There are other Qx mommies here who can advise you better on this aspect, but it is food for thought.

Good luck!

If you can do this in a way that is non-confrontational

you’re likely to have better success. You’ve already discovered what confrontation does – it leads to dug-in heels. (Sorry, but the question about his upline being a friend without buying CDs is confrontational. OF COURSE, his answer would be “Yes.” He doesn’t know otherwise right now. My wife and I thought our upline would care about us, too.
Haven’t heard from them in over 6 years now.)

There’s an old expression that, paraphrased, says, “If I tell you it’s true, you can doubt me, but if YOU find out it’s true, then you must believe it is.” If you tell him it’s a scam, he can choose who he wants to believe. But if he finds out *on his own* that the claims that it’s a scam are true, he cannot doubt it.

Be gentle and lead him to find the truth on his own. Then be there for him when the light goes on. He’ll need support when he exits. And above all else, don’t offer anything that resembles “I told you so.”

Tell your son or you do a search for Larry Winters Tax Evasion

Maybe that will put a put enough questions in his mind to wake up. I was brainwashed by these people for more years than I want to admit. They are good at it. Try to get him to miss a function some how. The fog lifted after that for me. For me when someone challenged me I got more determined. But, I thought these people were who they say they were.
As soon as I realized they were not I started to see the light. Hope this helps. Ask him if his upline would still be his friend if he wasnt buying the CD’s?

These people prey on people who have the slightest self-doubt

They look for a nitch in the armor of good people who have good intentions. I sat in my first Quixtar meeting listening to a guy named Dick Wilson say things like, “Do you want to continue being a failure all your life?” This question may make most people angry, but this is a way of weeding out the undesirables. It is shock thearpy, but in a very bad way. There are 40 or 50 other people at these meetings who are already brainwashed, and all of them wearing their one best suit of clothes because they are told they have to portray a positive view of everything. The all gather around you and tell you how happy they are since joining quixtar and how wonderful life will be and how they all are going to help you. If they were sinking on the Titanic, they would all be standing on deck telling each other how pretty water was till they were dead. If one of them started to complain, they are taught that even listening to a negative thought or word will cause them to, “go back to being a failure like they were in the past”. The leaders of this cult are pure evil. The keep telling you that success is right around the corner if you will just stick with “the plan”.
Think of it as getting slight fever. A normal person would slow down from their regular pace of life, rest, drink plenty of fluids and possibly consult a doctor. Quixtar would tell you that it is not a fever that is slowing you down. They will tell you that is it is all in your mind and that drinking water is just admitting to the negative thought you are ill. As you get worse, they remind you to look at all the other successful people around you, and that THEY have learned to put aside the negativity and become successful. As you get worse, they tell you that you need to work harder, and buy tapes and books to learn to overcome your false ideas that are causing your negativity which in turn is making you think you are sick. Most people would notice it and get treatment, but Quixtar tells you that if you that if you admit the sickness is there, you are already a failure. They tell you to ignore it and so you get weaker and deeper into their cult…and they are a cult. Dick Wilson actualy told me that he and his wife never get sick and that the reason my wife was disabled was because of my negativity.
Some Quixtar leaders present it as a new business idea. Others, like my group, presented it as doing God’s will by meeting the needs of others through Quixtar. They told us it was our job as fellow belivers in God to help too, or we would not be pleasing God. There is nothing they will not say to get you hooked and keep you hooked. You are not even allowed to ask questions if the answer could possibly be a negative one. If you ask “Why?”, you are told you are lacking in faith and you should feel ashmed of yoruself for causing other to fail with your negativity. If you continue to ask or complain even a short time, the entire group will not ony stop listening to you, but will totally cut you off from all communications. The word is passed through out the group that you are now an undesirable. When I quit I told the head man and then called the person who signed me up a few hours later. The word had already been passed. All the guy who signed me up would say was that he had been told he could not talk to me. He was total brainwashing!.
In my opinion the people who head Quixtar should be held responsible for crimes as bad as murder. The year I was in it 5 people killed themselves. There was a youth pastor who taught the kids at his church that the only way to happiness was to do God will, and that was to follow Quixtar plan to the point of ignoring everyone who said anything negative, including their parents. People who are the least bit desparate or feel they need to take a chance to “make it big” will listen…and then the Quixtar leaches will suck the life out of them. In my opinion the leaders of Quixtar are liars, thives, home wreckers and murderers. Keep inmind that the guilty ones are the few at the top. They rest are unsuspecting victims. Occasionally one of the victims finds favor with one of the top people and is “invited into the special top bunch” which makes a ton of money off selling the teaching CD’s and materials to the group. It is at that point they make the transition from victim to attacker.
If you are a couple, they will start telling the woman that unless she pleases her man physically, she will be the cause of his failure and they will both fail. An by pleasing I do not mean bringing him a cup of coffee and a newspaper. Whether religious beliefs are used, or just business tricks, the Quixtar cult is all about control.

How annoying!

I’d sure be miffed at spending my money on a class just to be a captive audience for someone’s MLM pitch.

Still if you’re thinking of going legal, learn more here – installment loans no credit check, I’d probably either talk with the girl or complain to the teacher. While I’d not want my learning experience tainted, I wouldn’t want to get her in too much trouble (since I look at her as ignorant).
So I’d give her a chance to do the right thing. I might print out the school rules on business promotion and have a heart to heart with her in a kind way. It might be all that’s needed. Or all the classmates could complain to the teacher and let her do the heart to heart. Only then if the MLM speak didn’t stop would I go to the school administrators.

My take on it. Hope it gets resolved for you soon.

I don’t like other mlms pussing their products on me either!

Try to politely, but very sternly, tell her that you are not interested in her candle business. You are at school to learn – no be pressured into purchasing candles!

If polite sterness does not work, she may have to face the fact that she is an annoying idot who needs to keep her mouth shut and learn about massage – after all she’s paying a tuition to learn massage – not push candles!

I’d do some web research on the drone’s MLM

print out some key pages on this particular group, then print out a couple others, then go to the head of the school again and tell her what happened, but also explain to her how the teacher’s question opened the door on it.

Another option is to memorize a few links that show the problems with this MLM, or have them printed out on small pieces of paper, even blank business cards would do. When she does that in front of the class again, if she mentions the company name, wait until she finishes, raise your hand and *politely* mention that you’ve researched the company and that there are many experts consider it a pyramid plan (don’t say scheme, that’s too offensive). You can add you have experiences with them if it fits and even say you’ve got links for those that don’t believe you. This would have to be done VERY gently.

It would turn this woman against you, but she’s a drone, so you knew that could happen. If this happens a few times, she might realize that just mentioning her company will invoke a response that it’s a pyramid plan and might realize that at least around you she should shut up.

I don’t know about you

but I would let it be known that I would much prefer to stick a wick in a cow patty and burn that, at least then you know what you are smelling is Bull Sh*t but nobody is getting rich from my money. In my books that smells much sweeter than any mlm product.

I have been enjoying massage school over all

I need help though. Yesterday in massage class, we talked about aromatherapy. How it works ect. The teacher asked all of us what our favorite scents where and why and the crazy mlm chick did it again. She said “I love the scents as soon as I walk into my house”. “I have a candle business and I sell them and I love my candle biz”. She adressed the whole class including the teacher. She is really starting to push the schools limits and I see other peoples tolerance levels being tested.

Anybody know the polite way to handle this and is there a legal way? It’s very distracting and destructive to the learning and non judgemental environment they have. Should I get a petition together with the other classmates?

The teacher also asked another question about our “why we love our favorite scents”, the mlm girl tried to answer in an mlm speak way and at least the teacher cut her off this time. Kudo’s to the teacher!

This, right here, along with your previous attempt at posting

shows you do NOT know what this group is about. In the email you’re sent when you join the group it tells you about the group and tells you what to read before posting to this group. In that material it states clearly that there is no effort toward balancing our discussion. As far as we are concerned, ALL MLMs are bad. Why? Well, when you’ve got people who have lost loved ones to an MLM, then coming in here, to a survivor’s group and saying, “I’ve got a good MLM” is like going into AA or Al-Anon and saying, “Hey, I know you’ve had trouble in the past, but try this beer. It’s not like the rest.”
You are careless, thoughtless, and egocentric. Yes, those are personal attacks and people here know I don’t use personal attacks, but in this case, I can back it up. You were sent, on joining, material to tell you about this group. You didn’t read it. You barged right into a group of people who have been hurt by MLMs. Some of us have seen our children, parents, loved ones, and friends brainwashed by MLMs and had relationships and families destroyed by them. And with all that pain, you want to barge in here and tell us, “Hey, some are good.” That’s careless and thoughtless. Even when you were told that it was clear you had not read what this group is about, you still insisted on jumping in and having your say. That’s egocentric.

I know you won’t post this but feel it is important enough to try

Recently a member asked for help with a problem and like Hal I providered that member with how they should handle their issue.
I received a thank from them because what I recomended took care of the issue.
Hal and I have already had a run in because both of us feel deeply about certain issues, which we seem to have different outlooks on.
I was burned by a “bad” MLM company big time. Being honest if someone mentioned MLM I went off on them. BUT much later in life I was talked into “LOOKING” at an opportunity. That one happen to be a company that puts it people first.
All I am saying is please don’t judge all by the ones that scam it’s people. Be wise enough to completely check them out before you do anything and that includes rejecting them off hand.
Ask the people here what they know about the company and check other sources as well. Do the research before you commit either way.
I wish you as many blessing as there are grains of sand.

about 8 years too long

and poorer for the experience. I can relate to glynis.

8 years + with the same “system”: INA. They peddled their books/seminars/tape program… I bought in line and sinker, and spent almost every waking moment outside of my “real J.O.B” working it: Making new contacts, buying prospecting tapes, giving them out (and getting about 50% of them back), buying “demo kits” “kits”, being on all the programs, etc…

I worked it hard for a spell, because I didn’t want ot go the way of the “circles” and the job chart… so, if things didn’t work out, I redoubled my efforts, and threw more time into it, along with more money into the “system”.

As a result, didn’t get too far “in the business” (shade short of 2500), Didn’t have that “killer mentality” that is needed to fool enough people into buying into the system…