MLMs and the Desire for “Abundancy”

I’ll begin by being perfectly clear–I have nothing against financial success and wealth. If I found myself making oodles of cash, I would be pretty darn pleased. I daresay most people desire some form of financial security and what is the American Dream if not to create that sort of stability?

But Latter-Day Saint culture seems packed with multi-level marketing and, according to my Facebook groups, aimed particularly towards wives, often those who want nothing more than to be a stay-at-home mom. For whatever reason related to this difficult economy, these women often want to be helping out with finances. I’m a working mom, I totally respect that. They want to be at home, or working outside the home isn’t financially logical, and money is still needed for basic bills or desired for making things easier or even just more luxurious. Once again, I respect that. There’s a reason we aren’t scrimping by in my grandmother’s basement but rather I’m working. Avoiding my grandmother’s basement isn’t the only reason I’m working, of course, but I understand the desire to not be living in such circumstances when you’re adults with a family.

I recently mused about those Facebook groups.  One of the regular posts was ways to earn money from home, and inevitably MLMs would pop up. A recent incident of memorability was such a request with a specific NO MLMs tag attached to it. The next day had an apology post from one of the group administrators complete with a note that every woman who had brought up her MLM anyway had been removed from the group.

People in MLMs LOVE MLMs. And despite not being immune from making purchases, I can’t help but be a little frightened of the zeal. Let’s be real: it can be flat-out freaky.

I don’t really want to talk about the figures and numbers and data of MLM success and failures. My question here is, why?

Why is there such a heavy focus and celebration of making so much money?

Once again, I do not intend to slam the rich. I do not intend to slam those who work high-paying careers. I do not intend to slam those who enjoy their money. But I also confess that as a school teacher living in a little house who clearly did not go for a high-paying career for whatever reason, such intense chasing of money is hard to understand.

With high-paying careers, you’re hopefully doing something you enjoy. Something that interests you, challenges you–and also happens to pay pretty decently. You like your career. Maybe you wouldn’t do it if the pay wasn’t worth it, but you are generally happy doing what you’re doing.

But the most I hear from MLMs is about the money. Dazzling phrases of Financial Freedom! Be Your Own Boss! Have All you Desire! Live Abundantly!

Since when did abundance fall into limited terms applying only to finance?

Suddenly an MLM goes from a fun side-hustle that may pay a few bills to meaning untold wealth. The message isn’t about the product, it’s about what the product will hopefully get you.

So a relative of mine made millions in an MLM. He had a beautiful home on a mountaintop. It was pretty cool. One day, some guys from the company came to take video of his house and property–for the purpose of using it to entice potential consultants. Who cares about the product? Do this and maybe you’ll become rich!

I confess I’ve actually perused sites like PinkTruth and such, or even just random MLM disaster stories on the interweb. I find them fascinating, like a car accident. So much of the talk given to these people involved vague promises of wealth!

And while wealth is probably very nice, why is this money side such a focus? Why is it all about the money? The big houses? The vacations?

To stay on the PinkTruth/Mary Kay angle, Mary Kay is a Christian sort of company. Yet I scratch my head at the focus on so much material wealth. Same goes for my own specific religion. How many of these moms in my Latter-Day Saint mom groups are looking for a way to bring in some fun money and how many of them are looking beyond the mark of caring for their children in the home towards lavish lifestyles? I already know several woman who still wound up having to put their kids in daycare in order to work many hours on their MLM businesses that were supposed to allow them to stay home. To go further on that thought, I already see a lot of desire for the finer things in life that go beyond simple wishing and toward what I would consider for myself unrighteous greed.

When I went looking for more information on MLMs, the supportive sites also failed to mention their actual businesses and only spoke of the potential millions to be made.

None of it was about the work. It was all about skipping over something someone may or may not enjoy and getting to the millions of dollars.

Why isn’t it about the joy of selling if you’re a salesman type with the income to make it worthwhile? Why is it just about the end result, like the MLM is a magic genie come to make all wishes come true?

Instead of living godly lives on whatever income your family has or can reasonable obtain and being happy in such lives, why must there be so much strife toward extreme wealth?

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