MLM (Multi Level Marketing), financial fraud and Church leadership warnings?

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MLM (Multi Level Marketing), financial fraud and Church leadership warnings?

Postby davidtheweb » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:06 pm

I've been looking for messages from the brethren concerning these, and although I found reference to one Presidency letter from 2008 that was read in church, my Google-fu is otherwise lacking. I also don't seem to be using the right words to search by on the LDS website. Does anything come to mind?

My personal interest stems from the damage that the involvement of these MLM companies can do to relationships within a ward or branch, creating emotional barriers between members and causing individuals and families to drop out. (My thoughts)

A principle of the MLM concept seems to be that there will be a 'bottom level' of people that will pay for the rest of the pyramid above them. When this social network is introduced to the ward or branch, this bottom level is inevitably going to consist of your fellow brethren and sisters. Any adversity or issue resulting from poor product, service or communication in such a setup is going to have harmful reverberations and when tied to the social fabric of a church organization, can severely hamper that organization's ability to fulfill its duties through the destruction of the relationships within.

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:37 pm

The starting point for any search would be Handbook 2. Failing that, I'd have a talk with a member of the Bishopric who would have access to Handbook 1.

Since the handbook has recently come out, it may supersede any past advice on the issue.
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Postby gregwanderson » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:54 pm

The First Presidency has issued warnings in the past about the use of church relationships to entice people into financial relationships. Perhaps those warnings could have been worded more bluntly (Be thankful that they don't ask ME to write their letters because my wording wouldn't be as nice) but the members had a responsiblity to listen and remember. I realize that, in the situation described at the start of this discussion, the damage is already done and the members might not appreciate someone saying "I told you so" (or, at least, the First Presidency told you so). Nevertheless, it's a lesson those people will need to remember again and again. I've personally been burned because I trusted someone who seemed like "a good guy" but, in the end, was simply bad at doing business.

In a small or close-knit community this kind of thing is always a possibility. There are many ways that civic or "temporal" matters can mix poorly with our church associations. Imagine if people who may-or-may-not have positions of authority in the ward hold political power in local government. What if the Elders Quorum President runs for office? How much can the Bishop praise the man's church service without implying a political endorsement? Can the Bishop feel comfortable taking a stand on a local zoning issue when other members of the ward (or non-members who may have an ax to grind) stand to gain or lose financially from the civic decision? I have no idea if Bishops or Stake Presidents are instructed on how to talk about politics in their roles as members of community (or, in other words, if they choose to go to a local, civic meeting and make comments as opposed to saying things on Sunday in the church). But I can think of one very sticky situation where I have witnessed local church leaders stuck in the middle of each other's civic involvement... and some relationships in the ward have suffered severely.

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Postby jdlessley » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:06 pm

Moderator comment: Before anybody responds to the previous post and the second two paragraphs of the lead post of this thread please keep in mind the Code of Conductof these forums. We are not to enter into political, religious, or legal discussions or debates. Please direct your posts and comments to the topic of finding guidance the OP requested in the first paragraph.
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Postby aebrown » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:19 pm

davidtheweb wrote:I've been looking for messages from the brethren concerning these, and although I found reference to one Presidency letter from 2008 that was read in church, my Google-fu is otherwise lacking. I also don't seem to be using the right words to search by on the LDS website. Does anything come to mind?

It's not clear to me whether you found the actual text of the 27 February 2008 letter, but you can find the complete text in a Newsroom article: Personal Financial Sufficiency and Integrity. That article also contains excerpts from and links to talks by other Church leaders on the topic.
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Postby WelchTC » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:52 am

I would like to add that most MLM or Network Marketing companies are not necessarily fraudulent as the title of this thread might imply. As with any business and/or marketing plan, there are those who will misuse it for their personal gain. As indicated above, the ultimate responsibility is on the individual to ensure their financial situation.


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Get rich quick

Postby lambsonb » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:53 am

The whole article is about avauding fraud and In the third paragraph of this article there is counsel against participation in get-rich-quick schemes. I know that this does not directly address your question but it does give counsel against get rich quick schemes which sometimes can include multilevel marketing. The last paragraph also has some great advice. Here is a link to the article.

Hope it helps.

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