Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Religion in Mary Kay

mk4me contributed this piece... you may have already seen it, but just in case you haven't, here it is.

If I am going to try this authoring thing, I figure I might as well jump in with both feet. This is a topic that has always really bugged me when I read the posts on PT about the abuse of religion in Mary Kay and have always wanted to comment. I truly hope I offend no one.

First, an observation I have made having been in Mary Kay for quite a few years, different parts of the Country seem to have a different flavor in how much religion is a part of the business. Being from New England originally, I guess we must appear to be cold heathens or something because I notice that it seems like the Bible belt states seem to be far more "religious". Now I am not saying people are more or less spiritual, it just seems there is a difference in how it is portrayed.

I have seen people that attend Church regularly and say they are good Christians and yet they will run over someone in the parking lot trying to leave the Church.

I personally feel very spiritual but when I am dealing with my business, I come across as business individual. I feel that my actions, behavior, and my treatment of others is the way I will be judged far more than what I say. (What's the old saying, Your actions are so loud, I can't hear what you are saying!)

Manipulation by way of religion is wrong in any situation. I personally get very offended when I read stuff like, "the God" we are taught to worship in Mary Kay isn't the same God we are taught to worship in Church. Mary Kay was a woman (personally I feel a wonderful woman) but not a saint. She put her panty hose on one leg at a time. Mary Kay is a business not a religion even if some choose to use it as "their" ministry. If an individual allows the issue to be confused, that is on the individual.

To try to excuse or justify wrong doing by saying, it was the way you were taught, you are only trying to make excuses for your wrong doings. If you feel guilty about your past behavior, apologize, ask for forgiveness, and move on. The day I stand in judgment, I don't think blaming someone else for my wrong doing is going to get me off the hook.

Saying that Mary Kay made you lie to your husband, or use someone else's credit card etc...is just wrong. It is wrong in MK and it is wrong out of MK. If you wouldn't do it outside of Mary Kay, why would you feel it is right to do it in Mary Kay.

I have been at Seminar where a speaker has not been my "cup of tea" because it is far more "preach-ey" than "speach-ey" but that is her right and her personality and just because it isn't "me", I still feel she has the right (we do live in the USA)to be who she is if she has earned her 5 minutes in the spotlight. If she is offensive to me, I have the right not to listen. If I were speaking, I would not expect someone to tell me I should be more Scriptural when I speak because that just isn't me.

The way I see things, we will have temptation in life. If we believe in God versus Satan, good versus evil, we will be put to the test over and over again in our lives. We are even given many examples in the Bible. From the very beginning we are given the story of Adam and Eve. Eve was tested, she chose wrong - Adam made his decision too. Can there be a more powerful scripture in choosing right from wrong. I believe we will be judged on our actions, we will be tempted, our strength to make the right decisions in the hard times is our test. These decisions measure our character. We will all make mistakes; we are imperfect humans, but being able to understand the errors of our ways and not continuing to repeat the behavior
is in my understanding where we will gain forgiveness.

I know I am far from perfect, just ask my hubby or kids. I have made mistakes and I am sure I will make many more, but if I make a poor choice that is on me, no one else.

One of my most favorite sayings - God was good enough to give you a brain; you should show some appreciation and use it.

As far as the Company philosophy of God first, family second, career third. I have no trouble keeping this in balance. If it on a rare occasion gets out of kilter, I adjust. There are times that I need to work for my Faith and family though. We are not wealthy and I contribute to the financial well being of the family. This means there are times that I must work even if it means maybe giving up something I would maybe not want to give up. The point is, it is RARE for me to have to make such a choice. I would rather have the choice that I have - than knowing every day I must leave my home and work 40+ hours a week, Monday - Friday with no flexibility.

This is a very emotional topic for me and I just hope some of my passion is coming through in my writing, because I would never want someone unfamiliar with our Company to believe everything they will read on PT. Mary Kay is not a cult. We are free to come and go as we please. There is even the 90% buyback if you choose to leave. We are not handcuffed, bound, or physically restrained, if you want to not be a part of Mary Kay, don't. It really is simple.

One final note, I have often wondered what they will blame if there is a consultant that is of a different faith or an atheist that makes poor business decisions? How would it be possible to manipulate an individual that didn't believe in the "God" you were using to manipulate with but still made the same mistakes??


  1. I really like this post, MK4ME!

    I have been to many business events where religion played a large part of the proceedings - but I live in the South, so that is a huge part of the culture down here in the Bible Belt. :D

  2. As I've said before on another blog (ME's, I think), I'm not a religious person. Not for want of my mother trying though. K-8 was in a private Catholic boys school with both nuns and lay taeachers. My family religion was Episcopal (Mom is English), so when it came time in school for specialized Catholic teachings, the Jewish kids and I sat outside the chapel. In preparation for Christmas, we all learned to sing songs (Holy Night, etc) in French. Yuk. Other than that, it was a great school. I was very well prepared for high school. (Another private school, but not a religious one.) I guess I've seen too much hypocrisy by religious people and too much religious war (praise the Lord and pass the ammunition).

    That said, I am very tolerant of a person's religious beliefs. I just don't see the need for a diety in my life. And as an engineer and a nuclear-trained naval officer, I am well-versed in the scientific method and isotope decay, so don't try to convince me that the earth is something less than 4 billin years old or that man was created, not evolved. (There, have I pissed off enough people yet?)

    Do not interpret the above to mean that I am pro-abortion. Anyone who thinks that abortion is a good thing should go ask an adopted child if he/she would have rather been killed.

    I do have a problem with the way some Mary Kay people use their success to proselytize from the seminar stage or at their unit meetings. And at Leadership Conf, a couple of the teachers in the 75-99 unit size classes went out of their way to say, (paraphrased) "the Company has asked us to avoid discussing religion or faith, but I'm going to give thanks, give God the glory for my success, etc anyway".

    Being a non-religious person, I just don't understand team members or prospects who say, "we're praying about it." Sorry, your appropriate diety is not going to bring you customers like manna from heaven. You're going to have to get out there, open your mouth and burn some shoe leather.

    Mary Kay Ash's philosophy of God first, family second, career third did not prevent her from working hard and being a member of the "five o'clock club" (that's 5 AM, the time she got up in the morning.) Yes, she went to church on Sunday, but as I'm sure that she knew what she had to do to put food on her table. My wife once asked a NSD (now an emeritus) who was one of the first NSD's how to talk to a team member who was working a day job and then going to church on Sunday, spending 2-3 nights a week at choir practice, plus bible study on Wednesday nights and was complaining that she just didn't understand why she had no time for MK and why couldn't she move up. It's tough love, but my wife (who doesn't like organized religions but attends a small bible study weekly) was told by the NSD to ask the team member if her pastor was paying her mortgage. No there's a tough question to try to sugar-coat. It worked in this case, but in other situations my wife was not even tried to go that route.

    There are people in this country who are rabidly anti-religion. We just had a new customer call my wife. She was referred to her after calling 1-800-MARYKAY. She said that she was on hold for 15 minutes, and didn't know that "Mary Kay was a preacher." My wife told her that Mary Kay wasn't, and asked what gave the idea that she was. The customer (yes, she purchased) said that while on hold she had to listen to Mary Kay preaching. It probably was a tape of a seminar speech. I made the delivery the next day, and while the time on hold went down to 10 minutes, the "preaching" statement was repeated. I didn't bother to try to discuss this with her, because it would have obviously turned into an argument. I personally doubt that she was on hold for more that three minutes, but when you're listening to something that you don't want to listen to and vehemently disagree with the use of the word "God" in any context, even once, then three minutes is 2 minutes, 55 seconds too long.

    My (long, drawn-out) point is that bringing religion into a business relationship, either director to unit member or consultant to customer, can be risky. Some people will think that you overdid it, under-did it, insulted their religion or lack of one, etc. Other than Mary Kay or social/fraternal organizations, I've never been to a business meeting that opened with a prayer, except at a few business dinners. Certainly not in Silicon Valley, where some of the top people are likely to be Indian, European, Chinese, Japanese, or Jewish. However, I'm sure that Covenant Transport does.

  3. I think its ok to thank the Lord but its not ok to make it seem like he is dependent upon YOU to get out and do your business.
    Faith without works is dead, there are atheist who are successful so Christians can be successful too.

  4. anon - do you have it backwards?? Did you mean to say "... but it's not ok to make it seem like you are dependent on HIM to get out and do your business."

  5. MK4ME--great post! I wrote a similar post on my own blog about a month or so ago. I feel that business is business and religion is personal. I think if a consultant wants to pray about her business, that is her prerogative. I think it gets sticky if someone starts preaching during speeches. I felt there were times at Seminar that it was more like a revival than a business event. That was uncomfortable for me.
    My stance on organized religion is similar to mkhonesty's.
    Great post. :)
    ~Shades of Pink~

  6. Hi everyone,

    Good post MK4ME.

    mkhonesty, just thought I would weigh in on your comment.

    I am from the other point of view regarding the existence of a deity.

    I have a very difficult time fathoming how someone familiar with the scientific method (anyone, not just you) can really believe that we can KNOW for certain anything about how this planet came to be and how it came to be the way that it is.

    Further - understanding what we do about the law of entropy, (the universe tends to go from order to chaos) the proof that we have that the universe is expanding, and the fact that no mutations we see today are ever beneficial.... coupled with the phenomenal complexity of our bodies systems, natural ecosystems, and the fragile, delicate balance of myriad factors such as oxygen levels, temperature, etc. - I don't understand how anyone could believe all of this happened accidentally in an unguided, undesigned series of nearly impossible fortunate events. The odds are staggering!

    However, having said all that, I believe that you and I clearly hold the high ground over many with simple common sense. While our opinions of the existence of a deity (as large a role as that plays in our lives) could not possibly vary more, we both agree that bringing your religious beliefs into a work place is (to say the least) very risky.

    I admire (because I believe similarly) those that have found a niche in their business that allows them to pray with their team and practice together what they all believe to be the appropriate method of honoring God. If a business owner hires people with the knowledge that the entire company prays together before each day, prospective employees should either respect and endure that or find another job. It is that business owners business. Similarly, if I worked for someone that believed so strongly that there is no deity that he forbid praying, etc. in the workplace, I would either endure that or find another job.

    I think that it would be foolish for a consultant/director to disqualify potential recruits just because they believed differently than her. And if you have a massive corporation with hundreds of thousands of members in your sales force, you have to expect that some of them do not want to be preached to. The person on hold with corporate should certainly not have been subjected to that... but as you pointed out, it may have been exaggerated, and as I pointed out, it IS the company's prerogative to use what they want for "hold music".

    Regarding people thanking God for their success, (at seminar and such) I don't think that is necessarily bad. There is, "I would like to thank my friends, my family, and most of all God", and there is, "The only reason I am standing here is because of God... if you don't know God, you are going to burn in..."

    If someone believes in the existence of God, believes that He has a vested interest in their lives/success, and they want to thank Him for that, there should be no problem. If someone wants to force Him on others, you cross into an entirely different realm that easily jumps the line to inappropriate.

    I hope that all makes sense, and that you don't feel I have attacked you in any way. I really think we both are in agreement (more or less) about the "issue" even though we are looking at it from completely different points of view.

  7. I have only one observation about this whole thread. Is Mary Kay a "multilevel-marketing" company? If it is, it's a dishonest way to do business, whether specific religious beliefs are mentioned or not. Does it have practices in common with Amway, Shaklee, Monavie Fruit Juice, Primerica, Mannatech etc.? They are cult-like organizations that prey upon the hopes of those who want luxurious vacations, cars and high self-sustaining incomes that derive from the work of others, not themselves.

  8. clear,

    Thanks for weighing in.

    Semantics come into play here. To avoid miscommunication lets agree on some definitions.

    Multi-level Marketing: A term that describes a marketing structure used by some companies as part of their overall marketing strategy. The structure is designed to create a marketing and sales force by compensating promoters of company products not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of other promoters they introduce to the company.

    Pyramid Scheme: A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Pyramid schemes are a form of fraud.

    Mary Kay is clearly a multi level marketing company based on this definition. This (in my opinion) is not a dishonest way to do business nor does it make it a cult-like organization. It is simply a different marketing strategy. Instead of spending a huge part of your budget on advertising, you spend it on individuals who promote the product because they believe in it.

    However, I do not believe Mary Kay is a pyramid scheme. I think some people (based on what we hear from Pink Truth and some on this site) in Mary Kay try to use Mary Kay as their own personal pyramid scheme --- even seeing marginal success in this. But eventually a pyramid scheme will collapse. I think that is why we see/hear complaints from those that tried the "get rich quick" approach while the ones (mk4me) selling product and promoting the company are happy and continue to see success.

    Hope that helps, and thanks again for joining the conversation.

  9. It's my understanding (based on years and years of various MLM distributors trying to recruit me) that "multilevel marketing" is simply another way of saying "pyramid scheme." The original terminology (pyramid) became stigamized, so it was changed. In fact now, many companies use the term "network marketing" because "multilevel" has developed the same stigmas as the grandfather phrase. No matter how you verbally re-define it, you end up with a majority of late-entry distributors who are trying to sell to a saturated market, and end up just paying for the product themselves. They came into it expecting easy sales, extravagant vacations and free cars; to me, that's a dishonest business model.

    Since I'm a guy, nobody has ever tried to recruit me into Mary Kay; that's why I'm wondering if it's an MLM like the others. A lot of what I've read (even from successful members) makes it sound that way.


For Further Reading...

This Week On Pink Truth - Click Here
Pros and Cons of Mary Kay - Read or Contribute or Both!
First Post - Why I Started This Blog
The Article I Wrote For ScamTypes.com (here) (there)
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