Anniversary of Hope of Pain
December 16 marks for me an anniversary, a time on which my life hinges. Everything was thrown into chaos that fateful night,
Who was I?
Who was I before this night? I was me, a lonely college student, arrogant, prideful, and sinful. I could take the impossible course loads and live to tell the tale. My claim is fame is getting a GPA of 3.25 while taking Physical Chemistry II, Organic Chemistry II, Analytical Chemistry II, and Physiology. I am not a genius, though some people try to accuse me of that. Since I did so well, I became arrogant. Kind of like Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction”, and a fall into destruction I would take. I studied hard, had few friends, had awkward social habits, etc. In short, I was dysfunctional. I had come from a home with a lot of bad elements. It was not absolutely terrible, but had more bad elements than good.
What got me in?
I entered ‘the business’ because I saw a way to interact with people. I hated people, but I was so alone. There I was at my sponsor’s house (he was my best friend, got in about six months earlier) and he was talking to another person about this thing as I watched. I was listening about how this was ‘my business’ and these are ‘my products’. I was sold on how much money I would make and that I could be a millionaire. I was the first one awake the next morning and I was in the kitchen alone eating Happy Days cereal (Quixtar’s version of Lucky Charms). I was thinking about the implications of joining this ‘business’. I understood the concept of not buying other peoples’ products if I had my own business, so I was pondering what it would be like raising a child in an environment where General Mills is not a name brand, but Critics Choice is. I wondered if it mattered. I did not see ‘The Plan’ again; it was six months since I saw it and it didn’t make any sense to me then. I had to leave early, but told my friend to stop by that night.
That night, I was visited by my soon-to-be sponsor. He never showed me the plan, but drew out the ‘8 Team Player Steps’ (There was a 9th added shortly after). He then told me that 97 out of 100 people I talked to would not get in. He also told me that many of the people would be negative about it. He asked if these 97 people would keep me from my dreams that were written on that paper: a big yellow legal pad and a red felt pen. I only had about $60 in my checking account (and no debt except a very small student loan). He got me in by ordering the required literature, but not the product pack. I remember him saying that he will have to explain that to the upline.
I went to a meeting (Team Training), and they promoted another meeting (Winter Conference; ‘Dream Weekend’), then they promoted another and another. Even though I saw no results, they said to keep going to meetings. They explained that some people get in and succeed right away and that others, it takes a while before a ‘take off point’. It goes like this:
Picture a line that is straight and flat, then, at a certain point, it angles up at a forty-five degree angle. They explain that the flat period is a certain unknown amount of time that a person has to be in the system ‘growing’ until they reach that take off point and start to succeed. They teach that any person who stays in long enough will reach that point.
I was floundering in that I was doing everything they said to. I was getting praised for listening and reading. I received receipts for tapes and books that said, “Tool flow = group growth; Keep up the good work!” I was pondering if I should take an account of my business, but there was a John Maxwell book on the booklist and I remember it saying not to quit at a low point. Of course, John Maxwell is a Pastor! His work MUST be good. I decided not to quit, but to ‘keep doing what I was doing’, despite ‘insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results’. I was trapped by my own mind. If I stayed, it would cost me thousands of dollars, but it would all be worth it because I would strike success suddenly and pay it all back in less than a year. Or I could quit, and be branded as a loser. I also had to ponder the words of Rex Renfrow: “Why would God NOT want you in this business; you have time, money, and are helping people”. Therefore, I would be turning away from God if I left, and I certainly didn’t ant that.
I made some friends in this business…I think. My best friend is a still a friend. I met one other person that I still talk to. Most of the people, since I left, they have not contacted me. I have seen a few in passing, they keep telling me about how good they are doing. I am reminded of a story: All this positive great thinking is what I used to spew forth (I am not saying to be a negative nanny here, but there is a boundary you shouldn’t cross). I bumped into an acquaintance at one point in time and he asked how I was. I said, “GREAT”. He asked enthusiastically what was so great, but I truly didn’t have an answer. I knew at this point that I was simply lying. Things were not bad, but they were not GREAT either. The rest of my downline had just quit, I had no money, more was being spent on tools than I made, work was manageable, but difficult.
I ponder the question even today if it was in this business that I came to Christ? Here is the evidence for:
I was in a meeting where the man on stage was preaching about similar to the Gospel. I was not listening, but I was moved to cry for hours and know that Jesus Christ was Lord. I started to read the Bible and even noted some changes to my life, starting with being nice to people.
Here is the evidence against:
I still tried to do things all on my own, rarely prayed, did not enter a church for almost a year, and filtered information from the Bible through teachings of ‘the business’.
I do not know the answer to this question, and I do not think that anyone else can answer it for me. My current belief lies in an exposition from James. In that book, the second chapter, he talks about the fact that demons believe in Him. The difference is that the demons do not put their allegiance to Him. This is one of three categories that people fall into. The first is to believe in and have faith in Jesus Christ. These are the saved Christians. Next, there are those that know that Jesus is Lord, but they do not have faith in Him. The last is those that do not know that Jesus is Lord. The latter two categories are not saved. They are not Christians. I believe it is the second of these groups is what Jesus had in mind in Matthew , “Away from me, you evil doings, for I never knew you”. They look like Christians, but their foundation is the sand (world) not the Rock (Christ). How do I reconcile this? I hold that day,
Where did I go from here?
Somewhere in the middle of my stay in BWW, I started to study doctrine. I noticed too many inconsistencies to continue to brush them under the rug. It was later that I would discover that the whole system is built on the sand of the Word-Faith movement. Sadly, this movement is the driving force behind a lot of mega-churches, and even many best selling ‘Christian’ books.
The discrepancies I found:
- God wants you to be rich – They take this argument straight from Health and Wealth theology. It basically says this: God wants you to be rich (Deuteronomy 27-28; 3 John 2). God will give you anything you ask for (John 16:23-24). The reality is that although God loves his people, it is not about life in the here and now. That is a speck of time, a relative zero with the span of eternity. Further, it is not about you, it is about God. In the pursuit of working for Him, preaching the true Gospel, ministering out of love for Jesus, you will receive joy, blessing of unknown source. This blessing will not be to fulfill your carnal pleasures, as it was in BWW, it will be a blessing much deeper. God does not want you to be rich; He wants you to be faithful. That means that if you have a choice between God and money, you take God. In BWW, the evidence is out there that money is the God.
- God wants you to do this business because you will be free, be helping people, and have money. After all, it is money that sends preachers, prints bibles, etc. – God does not want you to pursue riches. If that were the case, there is only one potential good character in the New Testament: Philemon. Everyone else that had money in that time are harshly condemned by the book of James among others. Further, this business has only 5 in 2000 people making the Platinum level (typically the ‘break even point’ for those fully committed to the system) according to Quixtars own numbers. Are you really helping people make money, or are you lining your own pockets at the expense of others? Freedom? Even if you make it to the ‘promised land’ of Diamond, you have to work 40+ hours a week just to maintain it. You still get to sleep in, as they all have destroyed their alarm clock: I have a way that EVERYONE can do this: WORK SECOND SHIFT. This is exactly what the Diamonds are doing. Perhaps they make more money than working second other places, but what is the source? Often times exploiting other people for the tool money. The last part of this argument comes from Russell Conwell who authored ‘Acre of Diamonds’. Although it is true that the money does all those things, God does not need your money, He needs your heart. When your heart is in place, your faith is in place, everything else will be as well. This was used by Rex at the conclusion to every talk I ever saw him give. It is designed to scare you from quitting. On a previous post, I wrote about a tiny fraction of the biblical basis for wealth. I will repeat it here due to it’s importance:
- Read Matthew 19:16-22. This passage does NOT mean that a person must give everything away to be saved (yes, there have been apostic theologies called ‘poverty Gospels’ which teach this). In this verse, Jesus is testing just how well this young man kept the commandments. In fact, he failed the first one. This man loved his money more than God, which is why he went away grieving. For him, his property was worth more than his soul. POINT NUMBER 1: Money is a problem when you put it before God.
- Next, read 1 Timothy 6:3-6. In this verse, we see the problem with using the platform of Godliness to gain material goods. In the last part (vs. 6), we see that contentment, not dreams, is the way to gain. Contentment and dreams are two opposing sides of the spectrum. POINT NUMBER 2: Contentment is the path to sound living.
- Next, read 1 Timothy 6:9-10. It is clear from observing the BWW system that a total all consuming love for money is the motivation behind the actions. POINT NUMBER 3: When your focus is earning money, you are subjecting yourself to great temptations for practicing evil.
- With these points in mind, I want you to know that having money is not a sin. Going on a good vacation, having a nice car, a nice house, etc, are not sins. The problem arises when you use a deceptive system of mind control to fleece people out of hard earned money so that you can buy a whole lot of things to motivate people to do more of the same.
- Total edification of the upline – Many people in the business talk about how close to perfect their uplines are. In reality, we are all in the same sinking boat, not perfect, nor even approaching perfect, but many of us are redeemed, will be resurrected into perfection. Anyone claiming near perfection for themselves or their superior will have a lot of answering to do before the throne of God.
- Many of the people in the business give the glory of their marriage, money, even salvation to the business – God is the sole owner of all that praise and glory. It is not the business that gave it, it is God. The glory goes to God. Of course, if you were to confront people on this point, they will of course say that it was God who led them to the team. The problem is that the team get confused as to which Gospel to share: Jesus Christ or the Plan. The Plan is often the first one to be shown.
- Answering to another man (boss, etc) is frowned upon – We see a general disrespect for authority in this business (except the upline, who demands total obedience). The bible, however, tells us to be in submission to all authority because they are ordained by God. This even goes as far as being obedient to an authority who is wretched (so far as you do not violate a command from God).
- Play is better than work – This one I responded to on a previous post. This business produces a problem in a lot of people that work is a bad thing. Many people find aspects of work difficult, but the BWW (and other organizations) instill a hate for work, such that people want to do nothing but play. Genesis 2:15, God places man in the garden to maintain and be a steward over it. Part of this was the break on the seventh day (I do not affirm that Sabbath is a New Testament Principle, but I do affirm the importance of rest, [Colossians 2:16]). There are many passages pointing to this, but I will not take the time to list them all.
- There is a quote from a tape which the concept is popular – The quote is “Someone who does not fight with you in the battle, should not celebrate with you in the victory” and I analyzed the tape it came from here. This is very selfish. What about all the people that are rejoicing with the man who found his sheep (Luke 15:3-7)? What about those rejoicing with the woman finding the coin (Luke 15:8-10)?
- General covetousness – This business is very heavy on covetous behavior, but it is denied totally. If you address the situation, they have redefined covetousness to mean violating some other commandment to get something. They always fall on the percentage of income my car cost me verses their car cost them. They look at the absolute giving (they claim, but never verify despite verifying the expensive cars, houses, etc) verses from the heart giving that God is truly look for.
- There are many other points that can be made here, check the archives and index for more.
All these discrepancies facilitated my leaving BWW. If I only learned my lesson earlier, I would have saved myself a headache, a lot of pain, and over $25,000. I just pray that my experiences helps one person avoid a similar fate. This day marks the 5th year since I started my ‘Independent Business’ with Britt World Wide. In the end, I am only wiser, yet broker.
Peace in Christ,Xanadustc