The answer is NO – and this article will hopefully explain why. As the Life Leadership organization continues to grow larger, one of the weapons that negative critics may use is to call Life Leadership a “cult”. In most cases, ignorant people who are looking for a derogatory and antagonistic word to use in an argument may use this term. In spite of this, Life Leadership will continue to grow and make waves. We live in a world seems to be falling further into the shadow of evil – where the masses rename the word “sin” into politically correct terms like “a person’s choice”, “ a mistake” or “morally dyslexic”. In contrast to this, Life Leadership is simply working to help lead people back to Biblical truth by way of marketplace ministry. This will continue to create a disparity as time goes on.
Cult vs. Culture
The purpose of a cult is to indirectly enslave people for a twisted purpose. In contrast, Life Leadership aims to help people learn how to be free from enslavement, especially enslavement to debt. Consider the following verses:
1 Corinthians 7:23 “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”
Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”
This is what Life Leadership is all about – helping people first to not be slaves to poor thinking, then apply new thinking so that people can live freer, more abundant lives. There is no hidden agenda, no plans to exploit or take advantage of people. People are free to be involved in any capacity that they choose.
If you attend a live event, what you will find is not a cult, but instead a positive culture. A grace filled environment where success principles are shared but not mandated. Where positive attitudes are rampant and there is a positive pressure to improve your thinking through the reading of good books. Once you attend a seminar, your will see how laughable the “cult” label is and how this new “culture” can be a blessing to everybody. How exciting!
History of the term “cult”
From the beginning when God created Man, He included in our being the need to worship. It is hard-wired in all of us. The problem is when we are not taught properly to worship God and his son, Jesus Christ; we will always fill the void by worshiping something, anything else – because we long to do so. Early organizations in history have taken advantage of this to manipulate, exploit or harm groups of people in very subtle ways. This is the real history of a “cult” as we think of them today.
The word “cult” was first used in the early 17th century, borrowed from the French culte, and from Latin cultus (worship). It was originally used as a neutral term, not to describe a group of fanatic religionists, but to describe the different acts of worship or religious ceremonies. In the early 19th century, the term was used to negatively describe “excess devotion” to something. By the 1930’s, the term “cult” was termed “heresy” and the term “cultist” acquired the connotation of Satanism. Today, the term “cult” can be defined many ways:
“Cult” Definition #1:
A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.
“Cult” Definition #2:
A belief system that claims to have the truth of Christ and salvation but they deny one or more of the core doctrines of the Christian faith.
“Cult” Definition #3:
A belief system that alters the absolute truth of the Bible. A cult always offers an alternate foundation of truth – something separate from the Bible.
Was Life Leadership created to be a cult?
Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady were both raised in lower-middle class families in southeast Michigan. They both worked hard pursuing engineering careers in the automotive field. They did this to raise their families and live a happy life. The problem is that the “secure” corporate world around them was changing. Part of this was because the early to mid-1990’s signaled the end of the industrial age and beginning of the information age. They were disconcerted when they saw how the ladder to corporate success lead to more hours, more time away from family and ultimately more stress. In addition, I am sure it was scary to see how easily their jobs could be taken from them in the ever-changing automotive industry. At this point, they did NOT say to each other, “Hey, I have an idea! Lets start a cult so that we can take advantage of brainwashing other cult members so we can be rich!” No, this is ridiculous! The truth is that they simply looked for opportunities to work for themselves in a business of their own.
How could somebody mistake Life Leadership for a “cult”?
Over time, Orrin and Chris decided that, instead of being selfish, they would create the first ever business model where there are no special deal for themselves or any of the other founders. They created a model that would compensate a person solely based upon their performance, even to the point that a new person’s income could surpass anybody’s income, including their own. This is not only fair, but VERY ATTRACTIVE to people looking for an opportunity to be compensated based upon performance only. No politics, no bureaucracy, no “good-ol’-boys” club, just performance! So when you do something this cool, it is going to upset the status quo in the business world. Competitors can either adapt or throw stones. Because Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and the other founders have put together something this attractive, they naturally have a large following of people who speak well of them through edification. This type of edification, to the outside observer, could be misinterpreted, especially if what they see and read everyday is negative and full of gossip and back-biting.
Ways to identify a real “cult”:
- Who do they identify their source of Authority?
- What do they believe about the trinity?
- What do they believe about Salvation?
- They oppose critical thinking and discourage people from thinking for themselves.
- They dishonor the family unit.
- They isolate members and penalize them for leaving the group.
- They seek loyalty to a leader above loyalty to Jesus.
- They cross biblical boundaries of behavior.
- They encourage separation from church.
- They emphasize special revelations that contradict Scripture.
- They group lavishes the leader with un-earned luxury.
- They seek to alter personality and, in some cases, create a new name for certain members.
Life Leadership passes all 12 of these tests with flying colors. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where we will analyze this list point by point.