Merchants of Deception

Discussion in 'Books About Cults and Extracting Oneself from Coer' started by Mick Wenlock, Mar 5, 2009.

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  1. Mick Wenlock

    Mick Wenlock Admin Emeritus (retired)

    Is an e-book by Eric Scheibeiler and is about the control techniques used by the Amway Motivational Organizations.

    Amazing to see the exact same control techniques used in Amway and in Scientology.
  2. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    Hey thanks for this Mick. I've just downloaded a copy. Looks very interesting. Not surprising that scientology gets mentioned in the "people's perceptions of Merchants of Deception" section at the beginning.

    Many years ago I looked into doing Amway (to make money for going up the scientology bridge of course) and I remember thinking that Amway wanted as much commitment/belief from me as I had to give scientology. I never got involved for that reason.

    Thanks again Mick. I'm going to have a good read of this e-book.
  3. Mick Wenlock

    Mick Wenlock Admin Emeritus (retired)


    I think you will enjoy it - but be prepared to get some emotions stirred up!
  4. Desert Lady

    Desert Lady New Member

    Thank you for this, Mick. My son was brieflly involved in Quixtar and I am grateful I had successfully exited the cult of scientology so that I could help him recognize Quixtar as a cult and leave it. All cults have the same methodology for recruiting and holding members captive.

    I can also recommend Anthony Storr's "Feet of Clay" and Chet Raymo's "Skeptics and True Believers."
  5. airhead

    airhead Patron with Honors

    MLM companies are DANGEROUS!! I'll check out this book.
  6. Wisened One

    Wisened One Crusader

    I always hated MLM! (Yet they had good products!).

    We were involved in Super Blue-Green Algae (Cell-Tech), then almost got into Malaleuca, DID get into Equinox (did nothing with it and had $5000.00 worth of product that rotted in our garage! :banghead:), Was into Noni for a bit (Morinda).

    Jeeez, glad we woke up from all THAT crap, too! :thumbsup:
  7. sallydannce

    sallydannce Gold Meritorious Patron

    The e-book Merchants of Deception is written with heart and soul. I could not put it down.

    While the "product" Eric was involved in was different to scientology, the similarities of what he went through were stark and in my face.

    I started to heavily identify with his experience when he writes about his “waking up” period and the hell he went through to get his head sorted.

    He wrote:

    Those words grabbed me! My story. Different cult, same story.

    He talks of how the things he found about Amway on the internet did not help him initially. He describes how he ran into wall after wall trying to get his thinking straight again. He talks of his depression, how his world just fell apart. And how he began to re-build it. He offers a fascinating and raw account of what it really is like waking up from a cult.

    Raw, honest, real. I found his e-book an excellent cult-recovery resource.

    As part of my recovery I have tried to read about other cults, stories of those that left and how they recovered. Currently reading Seduction Poison by Deborah Layton (Jonestown survivor). This has helped me at many levels, not least to broaden my perspective on cults and know that what I went through is not unique, nor is it particularly exclusive to scientology.

    Scientology does have very refined controlled methods. Refined recruitment and refined methods of keeping members hooked. Scientology has been described as “the mother of all cults”. But scientology ain't some stand-out "special" group. It is more & more becoming, in my view, just another sad destructive cult that was born from the mind of yet another self-centered, sad, small man trying to make his mark in the world.

    There are people in this world who will use others for their own purposes. To feel more worthwhile, to satisfy their own deeply hidden insecurities, to satisfy their lust for extreme amounts of money, power, glory, etc, etc.

    Eric Scheibeler’s e-book, Merchants of Deception is an account of how such people impact on the lives of those of us that get caught up in the madness of these people.

    I am grateful to Eric for sharing his experience in such an honest way.
  8. Telepathetic

    Telepathetic Gold Meritorious Patron


    I got hoodwincked into paying about 200 dollars for Amway and when I attended one of their meetings I was supprised at how similar to Scientology this group was! At the time I was still in the cult, so I thought it was great. What a sucker I was:duh:

    Thanks for the info, I'm going to check out this book.

    Oh,by the way, another good book also is, Battle for the Mind, by William Sargant. It expounds on the physiology of brainwashing. Other books cover the psychology behind it, so this is an interesting and different angle on the subject.

  9. FlunkedForLaughing

    FlunkedForLaughing Patron with Honors

    I read Merchants Of Deception, and I also couldn't put it down. I read it in one marathon reading session lasting an entire Saturday. The similarities of Amway and Scientology are scary. The first one that stuck out for me is the tactics they used to get him to spend money on a credit card to attend his first big training. The reason he gave as to why he couldn't go, they used it against him and said that was the exact reason he MUST go. It sounded like a typical Scn reg cycle.

    I had seen the Amway business a few years before I got involved with Scn. For one reason or another I never did Amway, but somehow I always regretted it. Now I can clearly see the disaster I avoided.

    Like SallyDance said, I found it helpful to read about other cult experiences, to learn about cult recovery. This book lead me to Steven Hassan's "Combatting Cult Mind Control". Steven was recruited into the Unification Church (Moonies). The Moonies are like the Sea Org - no sleep, no pay, difficult work that lasts all day, no time to themselves, us-versus-them mentality, willing to cheat lie and steal to advance their religion, and on and on. Can you imagine the recruiting process that it takes to bring a person from going to a self-help seminar all the way to joining the Moonies and giving them all your money and assets? The mind-control techniques are discussed in his book.

    Something else I found very helpful was a documentary on cable TV about the Jonestown Massacre. They had interviews with survivors, and they had LOTS of video footage of Jonestown. They documented everything as they went along with good video footage, even on the day when they all killed themselves! You get to see the mindset of those people. They were in a cult and didn't know it. Actually, that's how it always is - cult members don't know they are in a cult, until they are ready to leave.

    They had video footage of a senator from California, who flew down to check out Jonestown in Guyana. They had a meeting in the main tent the night before he left. Everyone was there, and they all seemed polite and happy. He mentioned that he saw nothing wrong and it seemed that everyone liked it there, and the place ERUPTED in a loud enthusiastic standing ovation. It was just like you see at the Scn events. The same type of spontaneous loud cheering/clapping/jumping wild approval that lasted 3 or 4 minutes. I saw that and thought, my Gawd, that's what happens in Scn! Same thing!

    The next morning the senator was shot and killed, along with his camera man and several others as they tried to fly home. Then Jim Jones called everyone to the main tent, and told them basically that this was a sign from God that the enemy was coming for them, and they had to end it peacefully by drinking the Kool Aid, or else it would end violently, and God didn't want that. The Jonestown cameras filmed most of this, including Jim Jones telling the people to get in line and drink the Kool Aid!!! 919 peple died that day.

    I remember being told by a Sea Org member that the truth behind the Jonestown massacre was the fact that it was a secret operation run by the CIA along with the Psychs. The purpose was to put a bad spin on any group that could be called a "cult". Since Scn was wrongly accused of being a "cult", then it was obvious that it was a subtle attack on Scn, to make it harder for Scn to exist. At the time I bought it completely. Now I can see how much BS it was, because there was proof. Yes there were some people with guns shooting some people, but the majority drank the Kool Aid just like a good cult member was told to do. It was a freaking cult, not some secret CIA/Psych Op.

  10. programmer_guy

    programmer_guy True Ex-Scientologist

    Thanks, Mick.

    I downloaded this free book tonight and I will read it.
  11. scooter

    scooter Gold Meritorious Patron

    Thanks guys - I've got some excellent reading ahead of me it seems :D
  12. Human Again

    Human Again Silver Meritorious Patron

    After Scientology I was involved in 2 MLMs. I have come to the conclusion that they are intentionally set up so that a few make money from the unpaid work of many. Overpriced products and overblown promises of results are also standard.

    Cults - every one of them.
  13. Tiger Lily

    Tiger Lily Gold Meritorious Patron

    I bought all that stuff too :no: :no: :duh:
  14. Tiger Lily

    Tiger Lily Gold Meritorious Patron

    HA -- I did that too -- got involved in MLM's. . .was darn good at it too; guess I was well conditioned by Scientology.

    I got out when I started to look at everybody as "meat" -- potential recruits -- instead of as people, and as means to forward my own self-interests. I realized that was no way to view the world and quit.

    Interestingly, Scientology was less transparent (more insidious) and I stayed in that for years after I was done MLMing.

  15. Human Again

    Human Again Silver Meritorious Patron

    Yeah, Scn is sneaky. I made good income too but it was hard as hell to help my downline achieve the same success. When I was told by my upline that it was their problems, they weren't in the right vibration or they didn't have the skills or the mindset etc and that if they just followed the system they woudl succeed my alarm bells went off - this view that the system is perfect and the people are flawed -I could just about hear the words PTS comming out of their mouths... it stank like a week in an org and I was out there pronto!
  16. Tiger Lily

    Tiger Lily Gold Meritorious Patron

    Yep that's it!! :yes: Good job spotting that! That's one of the silver linings; I now spot that stuff much more easily too!


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