Tagged: cult

Life Leadership a Cult? Part 2

Let’s dive into the facts that show how Life Leadership is not a “cult”, but a fantastic “culture” that is making a difference in people’s lives around the world.  Here is the link to part 1 of this article –>

Ways to identify a real “cult”:

  1. Who do they identify their source of Authority?
  2. What do they believe about the trinity?
  3. What do they believe about Salvation?
  4. They oppose critical thinking and discourage people from thinking for themselves.
  5. They dishonor the family unit.
  6. They isolate members and penalize them for leaving the group.
  7. They seek loyalty to a leader above loyalty to Jesus.
  8. They cross biblical boundaries of behavior.
  9. They encourage separation from church.
  10. They emphasize special revelations that contradict Scripture.
  11. They group lavishes the leader with un-earned luxury.
  12. They seek to alter personality and, in some cases, create a new name for certain members.

How does Life Leadership stack up to this list?

First of all, Life Leadership is a business that sells a product. A business inherently cannot be scrutinized and compared to a “cult”-like church or organization. Secondly, the Life Leadership does not, and will never harbor prejudice based upon another member’s faith or belief system.  Life Leadership will never profess or publish any particular religious views or doctrine, because Life Leadership is a business.  Success in the marketplace (along with State and Federal law) is the only measuring stick we can use. However, because what we are analyzing are the motives and intentions of this community of people, it is imperative to study its pinnacle of leadership. Orrin Woodward is a founding member of Life Leadership and is currently serving as Chairman of the top leadership group within Life Leadership called “the Policy Council”.  Chris Brady is also a founding member and currently serves as CEO and creative director of Life Leadership. Here is how these two gentlemen stack up to the aforementioned list, keeping in mind that they have never forced their beliefs onto other people:

  1. Orrin and Chris both believe the complete Bible (The 66 books of the Old & New Testament) as the ultimate source of absolute truth.
  2. Orrin and Chris both believe in only one living and true God, and in the Godhead there are three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
  3. Orrin and Chris both believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process.
  4. Orrin, Chris and the entire Policy Council believe in a self-directed education. They want you to read and think for yourself. There are certain recommendations to build the business model, but no rules. The only rules are ones that are sales and marketing rules enforced by the FTC and federal government.
  5. Every piece of media sold by Life Leadership is meant to encourage people to think and analyze their own lives (not the lives of others).
  6. Members and customers are encouraged to be free to work inside of win-win relationships. There are no penalties for leaving. The goal is for everybody to have a positive experience regardless of his or her tenure.  In reference to business goals, living debt free is elevated as one of the highest goals for every customer and member.
  7. Loyalty is earned through service. Orrin Woodward and the rest of the PC work tirelessly to serve their teams. They are never ashamed to give honor where honor is due.
  8. Character, integrity and strong moral fiber are the goals to personal growth in the Life Leadership business. The Bible is the rock that Orrin and Chris stand upon. However, I will tell you that Orrin and Chris are, just like all Christians, sinners saved by grace.   Every member in Life Leadership is being molded and going through a personal growth process.   To pick them apart and try to find fault, you would first have to “take the log out of your own eye”.
  9. Again, the Life Leadership begins every meeting with a word of prayer. There is a non-denominational Sunday worship service at all National Conventions. Every man and woman has free will to seek their creator their own way.  The leadership team encourages and challenges members to seek answers to the deeper questions about your life.  They don’t tell you what to believe, but instead, as Tim Marks always says, “know why you believe what you believe”. Whatever your faith is, make sure it is a studied faith.
  10. Orrin and Chris certainly do not stand on stage and share revelation that contradicts the Bible.  Again, Life Leadership is a business group, not a religious group.
  11.  There is no special treatment or lavishing of luxuries with any of the PC. They teach by example by either being completely debt-free (including no mortgage) or striving to be. The PC earns his or her bonuses and commissions with the same compensation plan everybody else has.  The Financial Fitness Program is at the center of everything that is taught with respect to money.
  12. As somebody earns success in Life Leadership, they do not become a new person. They are the same person, just a little wiser and a more humble. Wise, because they had to read to learn how to solve problems in people’s lives. Humble, because success in Life Leadership depends on taking your eyes off of yourself and helping another human being towards success.

When you get to know Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady and the rest of the PC leaders, you will see that they are always mindful of where their blessings come from. They understand the truth of Matthew 23:12 and Luke 14:11 –

“And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

Life Leadership is NOT a cult

The longer you are around this organization and it’s leaders, you will see that these folks are living right! Keep in mind that I said to get around the leaders (I realize that every once in a while a newer member may make mistakes and sometimes misrepresent the business model). Nobody in the organization is perfect, but they are striving to get better every day. Life Leadership is a fantastic opportunity for people to grow personally and professionally – beginning with understanding the Financial Matrix and how to escape its grasp on your life. Life Leadership is helping customers and members both learn how to experience freedom more abundantly – in the areas of financial freedom, political freedom and spiritual freedom. So do your due diligence; if you have not attended a Life Leadership seminar (especially a major convention) you really wont know what you are missing. Enjoy the journey!

#SetTheRecordStraight

PS. Check out what Life Leadership is doing with the All Grace Outreach (AGO) program:

Life Leadership a Cult? The truth may shock you!

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”:

  1. Who do they identify their source of Authority?
  2. What do they believe about the trinity?
  3. What do they believe about Salvation?
  4. They oppose critical thinking and discourage people from thinking for themselves.
  5. They dishonor the family unit.
  6. They isolate members and penalize them for leaving the group.
  7. They seek loyalty to a leader above loyalty to Jesus.
  8. They cross biblical boundaries of behavior.
  9. They encourage separation from church.
  10. They emphasize special revelations that contradict Scripture.
  11. They group lavishes the leader with un-earned luxury.
  12. 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.

#SetTheRecordStraight

 

Critical Thinking Is Critical

Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.

Francis Bacon

When we read things online — particularly personal stories and testimonials, we usually operate with the assumption that they’re true. We want to believe people. And when they tell their stories, they usually make sense…at first glance.

If you want to get at the truth, you have to read past first glance. People may be telling their truth, as they experienced it and remember it. That’s often not the whole story.

Whenever you read criticism, you have to apply critical thinking. While most people have an idea what that term means, let’s define it more specifically:

The Problem
Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.

A Definition
Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and
imposing intellectual standards upon them.

The Result
A well cultivated critical thinker:

  • raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
  • gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.

Critical thinking is, in short, self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities and a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.

(Taken from Richard Paul and Linda Elder, The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, Foundation for Critical Thinking Press, 2008)

So when you read criticism or personal anecdotes online, you can’t just allow yourself to be drawn into their story. This isn’t a movie — the willing suspension of disbelief does not apply.

Here are a few tips for applying critical thinking when reading criticism:

  1. What’s their agenda? Are they simply speaking their truth, or are they just venting their anger? Or trying to stir up controversy to generate traffic for their web site? Or reinforce a larger agenda with any example they possibly can? Or maybe it’s even a hidden commercial interest. Follow the money.
  2. Are they using propaganda techniques? Are they simply stating the facts, or are they trying to denounce, demonize, marginalize and neutralize the opposing views? Read a few threads on Ripoff Report and see how nearly everyone who takes the side of the company rather than the consumer is denounced as a shill.
  3. Do they have first-hand experience? Or are they just relaying stories they’ve heard from others? Or worse, just hopping on the bandwagon? An issue can look much larger than it actually is because of this amplification effect.
  4. Are they owning their part in what happened? Most people don’t really want to take responsibility for their own actions and decisions — I mean really don’t want to. Look at the general pattern of their speech — are they playing the victim?  People with an external locus of control tend to be less successful, more stressed, less healthy, and more prone to clinical depression than those with an internal locus of control.  I’d say it’s hard to tell this about a person in one forum post, but very often, these people tell their whole life story, as if to somehow validate what happened to them.
  5. What didn’t they say? There’s a reason that in court we ask people to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” The most common form of dishonesty is the sin of omission. What facts are they leaving out that could completely change the meaning of what happened?
  6. Silence is not guilt. One of the most common tactics of critics is to invite (dare) them to come respond to their questions and accusations…in that forum, of course. That’s a fool’s errand. For one thing, it’s a hostile environment, in which most participants have already made up their mind. For another, it adds fuel to the fire for the search engines — just not a smart move for the company.

If you want the truth, you need to hear both (or all, as the case may be) sides of the story, apply some critical thinking to separate the facts from the fiction, and then decide for yourself.

Let’s look at some examples of these in action:

  1. Hidden agenda — Top 30 Global Leadership GurusHaters gonna hate, ’cause that’s what they do. But when someone goes so far out of their way, first of all to spread their hate, and secondly, to cover their own tracks, you have to wonder…  In an update on Scott Allen’s analysis (and great example of critical thinking) of the Top 30 Global Leadership Gurus issue, it has come out that the new owner of that site may not even be a real person. When they were unresponsive to reasonable attempts to communicate, Orrin and Chris hired a private investigator to track them down, only to find that all the contact information in the domain registration was fake. Read the analysis on why the whole issue stank to begin with, and then ask yourself, who has the time, energy and money on their hands to justify buying a website, under a fake identity, just to discredit Orrin and Chris?
  2. Propaganda tactics — Freedom of Mind — This popular anti-cult site accuses TEAM/LIFE of “behavior control”. Here’s an example: “Members are strongly encouraged to hang around with ‘The right association’- those people who have the results that you want in life, namely the TEAM.” Seriously? It’s a proven fact that your success is significantly impacted by the people you hang around with. When it’s on Lifehacker, it’s “truth”, but when it comes from LIFE, it’s “behavior control”? This is a prime example of propaganda tactics — re-positioning the truth as something insidious when it comes from the source you’re attacking. Demonization. Marginalization.
  3. Hearsay — TeamScam — There’s an open discussion thread on the critic site TeamScam that has 193 comments on it, the vast majority of them negative. How many of those people have any real first-hand experience inside TEAM or LIFE? It looks like about 17.  And of those 17, 8 had a positive experience, 3 neutral or balanced, and 6 a negative one. The overall impression is very deceiving, because not only are there several critics with no first-hand experience, they also write longer and more frequent comments.

Those are just a few examples. I’ll be going into some of these in considerably more depth in future posts, including answering all of Amthrax’s 50+ Questions for TEAM/LIFE.

Stay tuned, and keep your thinking cap on.