Today, no one knows for certain the total number of individuals around the world who have been tricked into wasting their time money in blame-the-victim 'MLM Income Opportunity/Prosperity Gospel' cultic rackets since this pernicious phenomenon first raised its (heavily-disguised) ugly head in the USA in the late 1940s and early 1950s - with a big grin on its clean-cut instigators' faces, the Bible in one hand and Stars and Stripes in the other.
- has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
- is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, ideal love, etc.
- believes that he/she is special and unique and can only be understood by other special people.
- requires excessive admiration.
- strong sense of self-entitlement.
- takes advantage of others to achieve his/her own ends.
- lacks empathy.
- is often envious or believes that others are envious of him/her.
- arrogant disposition.
'Herbalife' has employed co-ordinated, devious techniques of social and psychological persuasion (variously described as: ‘covert hypnosis’, 'visualisation', 'duplication', ‘mental manipulation’, ‘coercive behaviour modification’, ‘group pressure’, ‘(totalistic) thought reform’, ‘ego destruction’, ‘mind control’, ‘brainwashing’, ‘neuro-linguistic programming’, ‘love bombing’, etc.). These techniques are designed to fulfil the hidden criminal objectives of 'Herbalife's' leaders by provoking in the adherents an infantile total dependence on the group to the detriment of themselves and of their existing family, and/or other, relationships. 'Herbalife' has manipulated its adherents’ existing beliefs and instinctual desires, creating the illusion that they are exercising free will. In this way,'Herbalife' adherents have also been surreptitiously coerced into following potentially harmful, physical procedures (sleep deprivation, protein restriction, repetitive chanting/ moving, etc.) which were similarly designed to facilitate the shutting down of an individual’s critical and evaluative faculties without his/ her fully-informed consent.
Although initiation can at first appear to be reasonable and benefits achievable, the 'Herbalife economic / medical pseudo-science gradually becomes evermore costly and mystifying. Ultimately, it is completely incomprehensible and its claimed benefits are never quantifiable. The self-righteous euphoria and relentless enthusiasm of 'Herbalife' proselytisers can be highly infectious and deeply misleading. They are convinced that their own salvation also depends on saving others.
Tellingly, the accurate terms, 'general public' and 'overall net-income,' have been specifically excluded from thought-stopping 'MLM' jargon. These terms are usually replaced by the impressive-sounding, but essentially meaningless, words, 'income' and 'customers and end users.' When faced with wide-eyed adherents, and/or grinning propagandists, spouting this particular 'MLM' jargon, 'income' can be accurately translated as, 'net-loss income,' and 'customers and end users' as, 'members of the never-ending chain of losing-participants who have been deceived into regularly purchasing effectively-unsaleable commodities, and/or services (based on the false-expectation of future reward).'
'Herbalife' itself can be accurately described as being only one part of a largely-unrecognised, ongoing, criminogenic / cultic phenomenon of historic significance. The quantifiable evidence demonstrates that, for decades, right under the noses of ill-informed, and/or naive, and /or corrupt, regulators, legislators, journalists, etc., hundreds of copy-cat 'MLM' rackets have been organised so that effectively 100% of all contributing participants were compelled to lose their money, whilst the insignificant percentage of bosses have shared billions of dollars of unlawful revenue which they have laundered as lawful 'sales.'
For many years afterwards, recovering former cult adherents can suffer from psychological problems (which are also generally indicative of the victims of abuse): depression; overwhelming feelings (guilt, grief, shame, fear, anger, embarrassment, etc.); dependency/ inability to make decisions; retarded psychological/ intellectual development; suicidal thoughts; panic/ anxiety attacks; extreme identity confusion; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; insomnia/ nightmares; eating disorders; psychosomatic illness; fear of forming intimate relationships; inability to trust; etc.
David Brear (copyright 2016)
6. When, and how, were you first approached to participate in 'MLM' and when was the name 'Herbalife' first mentioned?'
- Was 'Herbalife' first presented to you individually or as part of a group?
- Did the presentation comprise drawing circles containing numbers and percentages on a board or sheet of paper?
- Did you fully-understand the presentation?
- Was the presentation given by a man with a woman nodding in agreement next to him?
- Were you given to believe that anyone could understand 'MLM?'
- Did the recruiters seem generally happy and excited as though they had wonderful news to share?
- to earn income?
- to buy products and/or services at a discount price?
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming?
- coercive behaviour modification?
- group pressure?
- covert hypnosis?
- thought reform?
- mental manipulation?
- love bombing?
- to alter you habitual way of speaking? (if yes, give a brief explanation)
- to alter your habitual way of dressing? (if yes, give a brief explanation)
- to alter you habitual way of eating? (if yes, give a brief explanation)
- to alter your habitual sleep pattern? (if yes, give a brief explanation)
- to alter you habitual social contacts? (if yes, give a brief explanation)
- that everyone above you in your 'MLM Network' was your 'Upline' and everyone beneath you was your 'Downline?'
- that your 'Upline' was there to help you and was to be 'admired and respected?'
- that your 'Upline's success in MLM depended on helping his/her 'Downline' to succeed?'
- to divide everyone, and everything, in your life into 'negative' vs 'positive?'
- that 'MLM' products were to be deemed 'positive' and non-'MLM' products deemed 'negative?'
- that you should buy a regular quota (by value) of 'positive' products?
- that you should draw up a list of prospective 'MLM' recruits comprising everyone you had ever encountered in your life?
- that you should progressively contact all these 'prospects' and attempt to recruit them using a precisely-worded 'positive' script?
- that when trying to recruit 'prospects' you should exhibit excitement and enthusiasm, and recite your own personal 'story' describing how your life had been been transformed for the better by 'Herbalife?'
- that you should never say anything 'negative' about 'MLM?'
- that you should never listen to, or look at, anything 'negative' about 'MLM?'
- that all persons who refused to join you (particularly, those who said 'MLM' is a scam) were to be deemed 'negative' and a threat to your own success?
- that all 'negative' persons were to be deemed 'losers, whiners, dream stealers,' etc., and should be excluded from your life?
- that all persons with regular jobs were to be labelled 'Just Over Broke' losers?
- that you should only have contact with 'positive winners?'
- that you should regularly buy, and listen to, recordings of 'positive winners?'
- that you should regularly buy tickets to, and attend, extended meetings conducted by 'positive winners' at which you took part in group, rhythmic chanting and moving?
- that you should regularly buy, and read, publications, written by 'positive winners?'
- that you should exactly duplicate the 100% positive mental attitude and behaviour of the 'positive winners' in your 'Upline?'
- that you should regularly visualise your 'dreams an goals' in life (luxury cars, expensive houses, exotic holiday destinations, etc.)?
- that you should fix images of your 'dreams and goals' in strategic places in your home?
- that all persons who develop a '100% positive mental attitude and never quit, ultimately achieve their dreams and goals in MLM?'
- that all persons who 'fail to achieve their dreams and goals in MLM, are negative losers, whiners, quitters etc., who always try to blame others, when they only have themselves to blame?'
- that you should disclose personal information about yourself, and about your friends and family, to your 'Upline?'
- that you should gather personal information about your 'prospects' (i.e. the persons whom you wanted to recruit) in order to find their 'hot button' (i.e. a specific means of approach tailored to an individual's personal situation and which could get him/her excited about 'Herbalife').
31. As a result of duplicating the 'proven Herbalife plan,' approximately how many days per week were you active and approximately how much of your own time did you commit each day?
32. How long did you remain under contract to 'Herbalife?'
33. Did you ever retail any 'Herbalife' products to members of the general public, i.e. to persons who were not under contract to 'Herbalife?' (if yes, give brief details).
34. Did you ever attempt to retail 'Herbalife' products to any persons (excluding members of your own family) who were not under contract to 'Herbalife?'
35. Did you ever personally witness anyone retailing 'Herbalife' products to any persons who were not under contract to 'Herbalife?' (if yes, give brief details).
36. Did you ever manage to recruit anyone into 'Herbalife?' (if yes, give brief details).
37. What level(s), if any, did you rise to in the 'Herbalife' hierarchy? (give brief details).
38. What do you now consider yourself to be, or to have been - a 'Herbalife:'
- 'Customer ?'
40. As a result of your involvement with 'Herbalife,' did you lose contact with any family members, and/or with anyone with whom you had previously been close? (if yes, give brief details).
41. Have you filed, or attempted to file, a complaint about 'Herbalife' with any law enforcement agency? (if yes, give brief details).