By former direct distributor

Nevin Miller


The information contained in this article is the opinion of the author
and the author alone, except of course for the thoughts and comments
made by or attributed to others.


The following story is about our particular experience as AMWAY
Distributors of 3+ years, and our observations of what is required for

What this story is not about are the following well established facts;
over 70% of AMWAY distributors never sponsor anyone, almost all
distributors quit after showing less than five plans, most fail to renew
after one year, getting new distributors to place orders for products is
more difficult than you would think, most of the products are overpriced
and of inferior quality, or any of the dozens of other problems inherent
in trying to build a multi level business.

What this story is about is that you simply cannot be successful in
Amway if you're in a Dexter Yager run organization, and don't have a
right wing conservative, Christian agenda.

Thinking of getting in Amway, or already in and don't fit the mold
above? Regardless of what your upline tells you, you'll never (be
allowed to) make it unless you are able to compromise your own basic
principles, and then be in business with people whose fundamental
beliefs are not only different than yours, but pressed upon you at every

Save yourself time, money and heartache and read our story with an open


In the early days of our Amway experience, while aware of the
information on Amway on the internet, I never thought for a moment that
I would be one to write about our Amway experience, unless it was to
help the writer of the stories in the Amagram. That's how much I
believed in the business! As Silver producers, I believe that I may
possess insights into the business that most people never obtain, as the
level of Silver producer, and the experiences and the resultant time
spent with your upline, is probably reached by less than 1 in a 100

However, I am writing now because I believe that if I can help just one
person avoid the ongoing nightmare that we had in the business, my
effort in writing this piece will be worthwhile. Whether you're in the
business or just thinking about it, if your principal reference source
for the business is your upline (who by definition may not have your
interests at heart), a prudent person would seek a balance of
information upon which to base a decision.


During the three and a half years we were active distributors, we showed
the plan a minimum of 15 times a month, showed it 30 times (plus)
several times, were on SOT and go-getter's tape, always did our 100PV,
counseled regularly, and went to all weekly open meetings, monthly
Seminars and Rallies, and major functions. In short, we couldn't have
been more "Plugged In". We sponsored over 30 people personally
(front-line) and sponsored another 50-75 people in depth in the various
groups in which we worked. We sponsored up, had doctors, dentists,
engineers, accountants, salespeople, and many other professionals in our
organization. We spent lots of time with our upline PSDD, Sapphire,
Pearl, Emerald and Diamond.

We finally made a conscious decision to quit the business at the level
of Silver Producer (no one built depth under us, we went Silver through
our own efforts), having lost over $25,000 during 1996 as directs.
However, we didn't quit because we lost money (most start up businesses
do), we quit because no matter what we did our upline took consistent
and deliberate steps to ensure we didn't succeed. Sounds crazy doesn't

However, when all of the evidence is viewed objectively, the motivation
for their destructive behavior becomes obvious. We could not continue
to accept the conservative and religious agenda of Amway being inserted
into "Our Business." The more successful we became, the more we voiced
our concerns, and the harder it became to continue to pacify us and our
organization. If you doubt what I'm saying could be true, then read on
and see if you still feel that way when I'm done!


My wife and I are both highly educated, self-employed professionals
making six figure incomes in the mortgage and real estate industry. We
have two wonderful boys, and own our home. We are both liberals,
although at times the far left offends me almost as much as the extreme
right. We are both agnostic, and relate to Clarence Darrows observation
vis a vis about God. "I would never claim to be certain about what
ignorant men are sure of". However, this doesn't mean that we are not
respectful of others points of view, in contrast, we firmly believe that
everyone is entitled to believe what they want, worship who the want,
and be who they are. We have many Christian friends, from before and
after the business, as well as Jews, Buddhists, Catholics and others.


We saw the plan from our accountant for whom we had, and still have, a
lot of respect, and became distributors the summer of 1994. To say the
timing was right for us was an understatement, and fortunately or
unfortunately depending upon about whom you are referring to, I had
never heard of Amway before, so I had no pre-conceived notions about the
business. We traveled to Missouri for our first Family Reunion shortly
after getting in the business and took our first downline with us. The
function did get us excited, there were about 1200 people having quite a
good time, or so it seemed. By the time 90 days had gone by we were new
quicksilver's (definition....5 personally sponsored distributors, total
of at least 15 in your group) with a downline of over 20 people, and 8
personal people sponsored. In contrast to most people who start slow
(and then slow down), our fast start was probably a curse, because it
gave us even more belief that we could "Go Diamond". Naturally with
such a fast start our entire upline (to the Diamond) quickly became
aware of who we were.


We were in Dexter Yagers organization and our immediate upline Diamond
was Mr. W. After six months in the business, full immersion into the
"Training System", and exposure to Dexter at a Free Enterprise Day, I
had growing serious doubts about our ability (and the ability of those
we brought into the business) to succeed in the business. My concerns
were principally about what I now refer to as the "Culture of Dexter's
Organization", and nothing to do with my ability to carry out the
activities of showing the plan, sponsoring people, and building a
network. I firmly believe that politics, religion and business should
never be mixed, and expressed that thought innocently to my upline in
the Fall of 1994.

As a quick aside, here's a few examples of what you "Learn" when you are
part of Dexter's System..... We were consistently exposed to dozens of
most conservative of speakers (Kemp, Quayle, Myrick, etc..) at Dexter's
events, and once even had to listen to Newt Gingrich for 45 minutes
(when his ethics were seriously in question). We were strongly
counseled, not once but over and over and over, to go to church services
on Sundays, to "get right with God", even though our religious
philosophy was made very clear to our upline. We heard Dexter call
Hillary a lesbian. Hold on, keep reading, I'm not making any of this up!
We saw copies of the "Clinton Chronicles", a publication advanced by
Dexter purporting to show all the people Clinton has had KILLED while in
politics. We heard Dexter disparage liberals and the Democratic Party
in the most crass and unbelievable ways on dozens of occasions. We
opened and closed meetings with prayer constantly. We heard Dexter,
time after time after time, discredit the value of education. He used
to brag about the fact that neither he nor any of his kids have gone to
college, and many didn't finish high school (actually, now that's quite
obvious). One time, we we're even told by a Double Diamond that "you
don't have to be a Christian to build this business, but those of us
that are have all the big groups." Boy, that should have made me run
right then. The "messages" that used to come down on AMVOX were
routinely repulsive and completely inappropriate. We were regularly
"treated" to messages from extreme right wing conservatives on
everything from advocating abortion clinic protestations to ousting
crooked "Liberal" judge's etc. We were constantly being urged to write
to our Republican "Leaders" about one cause or another. We probably
lost two dozen distributors due to the vitriol and hatred expressed on
Amvox alone!

With respect to our diamond and his culture, things got even more
uncomfortable (for us) because it was so close to home, so to speak.
Examples... As a reward for achieving certain things in the business we
were "offered" the opportunity to go hunting with Mr. W. By the way,
you don't decline to fully participate in promotions, period! However,
killing animals for sport is not high on my list of how to have a good
time. Other promotions involved winning shotguns and fur coats. If we
were afforded the "opportunity" to be around our immediate upline
Sapphire, we were regularly treated to pearls of wisdom like "them damn
spotted owls and those commie liberals that care more about owls than
jobs". It was pretty difficult for me to edify such ignorant thinking,
but that's not the point.

I began to express my fears and concerns about various issues related to
this "culture problem" more frequently as time went on to our upline
PSDD (as you're supposed to do in the business). I was re-assured that
I had nothing to worry about (in hindsight this was probably a mistake -
to tell people who can dictate whether you will be successful that you
think their practices are seriously questionable). As time went on
these issues got worse, not better. However, I was assured over and
over by my upline, that my group wouldn't have to be exposed to Dexter's
brand of hatred and bigotry, and that I could run my business the way I
wanted to ("when I made it"). I was even told that there are lots of
people at senior levels in the business that feel exactly like I do, so
if I just ignored these problems eventually everything would be fine.
For a couple of years, this pacified me (but just barely), because as I
have come to understand much later, the motivation that came down in the
"System" through the AMO was so powerfully mind bending that I actually
believed I could be a diamond. It was when I wasn't listening to tapes
and thus, thinking clearly, that I realized could not and would never be
allowed to.

In the fall of 1996 we were "lucky" enough to be invited to Mr. W's
"condo" at a resort in central Missouri for a day of jet skiing, and
spending time with "the Diamond". Again, when you qualify for a
promotion, you go, even if you have to travel to Missouri and live in
California (I think we had shown 40 plans the previous 40 days). So,
before we went (trying to make something good out of this) I expressed
to our PSDD, for about the tenth time, that I really needed a few
minutes of one-on-one time with Mr. W to discuss these issues. I was
assured that if I made the trip, he'd find a little time for me. So, you
can already tell what's coming I hope, when we got there Mr. W told me
that, he absolutely didn't have even a minute for me - he just couldn't
spare the time. Sorry, no time, no matter what, period! Late that night
after dinner and "Leadership", he invited everyone to come back to his
condo, to "Hear about what was really goin' on in Washington" because
Dexter and a bunch of his Diamonds had just gotten back from two days
with Newt and Dexter's straw puppet congresswoman Sue Myrick. So, we go
all the way to Missouri to discuss our fears and concerns about the
business with respect to the politics and religion and Mr. W won't even
talk to me personally (after promises that he would). However, he made
sure that I was invited to a group discussion about the very issues that
("I feel") are so inappropriately in the business. What a guy!


We live and work in California. All of our active upline is in Nebraska
or Wyoming. When we first got started we "Plugged Into" other of
Dexter's diamonds groups for open meetings and Seminars and Rallies.
Visits to California by our upline were rare, although they did come to
visit on an infrequent basis. As our group got bigger, eventually our
PSDD pacified us and came out and did a few open meetings. We were
starting to have significant success in our monthly meetings in the Fall
of 1995, and went Silver in the Spring of 1996. It seemed only a
strange co-incidence to us at the time, but our PSDD then told us he
wasn't coming to California to do any more Open Meetings. Instead he
said, he was going to go to New Mexico where we had a much smaller group
of people. New Mexico seemed closer to him than us, and it was in our
group so I didn't question it initially. When I finally did press so
hard he had to answer about why he was abandoning California after the
commitment we had put in, he reluctantly said that is was on "orders
from his upline".

During this same period and with respect to the monthly Seminars and
Rallies (S&R's), we eventually plugged into a well-known and extremely
fast growing branch of Mr. L's Diamond organization. We finally found
this group after fumbling around for a couple of years looking for local
leadership. In contrast to Mr. W's S&R's, religion and politics were
significantly downplayed and the focus was as much as is possible,
building an AMWAY business. We went to Mr. L's local functions for a
year and a half (still went to Mr. M's major functions), and eventually
became recognized leaders in his group which is very important in the
eyes of your downline as you try to establish credibility in the
business. As I look back with hindsight, it was probably the "grounding"
I constantly received from the local Mr. L group, and how well they were
run - with an minimum intrusion of Dexter's culture, that kept me
believing that I could do it.

I was eventually offered the opportunity to be a speaker at Open
Meetings in Mr. L's group in the Fall of 1996. Naturally, you guessed
it, we were informed by our upline that we weren't high enough pins to
do Open meetings, when in fact no such rule whatsoever exists in Amway's
rules and policies.

After three years in the business, we saw little to no growth in Mr. W's
group. Seeing others succeed is critical for your belief that you can do
it also. Mr. W's big functions had about 1200 people in attendance when
we started, and about 1200 when we quit, three and a half years later.
We saw far more big pins quit his group than we ever saw "break". In
contrast, the local group of Mr. L's that we were plugged into had
significant growth, broke lots and lots of big pins, and (I'll admit it)
was actually inspiring! I think in retrospect that there's a lesson
here for the double diamond (and Mr. W) about who has the big groups -
and what role religion and politics should play in business.


I constantly reported to our PSDD during 1996 how things were going in
our group, because I was plugged in, and how much we liked the
non-political, non-religious nature of the Mr. L's organization (if you
don't know by now, this "Counsel Upline" stuff is, among other things,
just a clever way for diamonds to gather knowledge on their downline
distributors). In fact, I made several suggestions to our upline about
how they might change a few things and duplicate some of Mr. L's group's
success. I probably shouldn't have done this, but hey, I'm a team

The straw that broke the camel's back arrived in the spring of 1997.
Our Diamond ordered us to no longer attend Mr. L's monthly functions. I
obviously protested and was given the weak excuse that "Mr. L is on the
outs with Dexter". That sure seemed funny to me because Mr. L is one of
the fastest growing "Pins" in all of Amway, having gone from Diamond to
Double Diamond in the last three years, when most of AMWAY USA is going
backwards. We had spent the entire previous year and a half building up
Mr. L 's organization to our group, and were, for all practical
purposes, part of their successful team, a necessary ingredient to
success in this business. We were continuing to grow as an organization
and we were being ordered attend functions elsewhere. Surprised? I
couldn't believe it either.

So, at obvious crossroads, we arrived at a solution. I had finally
reached the conclusion that I couldn't continue building the business in
Mr. W's group, but that we might be able to stay in the business if at
least we had a buffer like Mr. L between us and Dexter and his diamonds
in our upline. I still didn't see the writing on the wall, but here's
the basis for the solution I arrived at. Our Diamond claimed he was
personally sponsored by a Diamond named Mr. S and I personally knew this
to be untrue. This information was a closely held secret in the
organization, we weren't told until we were Silver, but common knowledge
among higher pins. Apparently at some point in his early existence in
the business, he didn't get along with his upline and was "foster
sponsored" by the Mr. S, but left his volume with his upline. As an
aside, Amway's rules about this type of activity are extremely
self-serving, i.e.; they can be manipulated (and obviously are) to the
satisfaction of Amway or a big pin, if necessary.

So, we asked our upline for permission to be "foster sponsored" by Mr.
L's group (just like Mr. W had done), something that Mr. L eventually
indicated was fine with him (and he's a bigger pin then Mr. W.). Being
"foster sponsored" felt like the correct moral thing to do, as our
volume would continue to flow up through our sponsor and upline, but we
would be away from the culture of the Mr. W's organization. We met or
spoke with our entire group who ALL (every one of them) indicated they
would like to make the move from Mr. W's training, meetings, tools, etc,
to Mr. L's group.

Our upline PSDD initially reacted with anger, but eventually told us
that they would hate to lose us, but they clearly understood our
feelings (in fact they went so far as to finally admit that they had
many of the same). They indicated that they would check upline and get
back to us. They did shortly thereafter, and we were told that if we
could find a group willing to take us under their wing, so to speak, we
were free to go. I passed this information to Mr. L who said all he
wanted to do before proceeding was talk to Mr. W. I passed this
information back upline, and, in hindsight, what was inevitable finally
occurred. Mr. W picked up his ol' trusty Amvox and sent a message to
our whole organization (I had thought it was our business, remember?).
He told them "I was not to be followed into Mr. L's group under any
circumstances", and then, for justification, told them lie after lie
about us for the next five minutes. I called Mr. W on Amvox and
pleaded for the opportunity to have a simple discussion about this
matter and he flatly refused to talk with me. Three years, 500 plans
later, tens of thousands of dollars of our money in his pocket, and this
man who ends his calls with "Love Ya" won't even give me the courtesy of
a one-to-one conversation. Instead, he sent me an Amvox in which he had
the audacity to tell me, among other things, that "I didn't understand
my own thinking" along with another 3 minutes of vile self-serving
double talk. Can you imagine someone who doesn't even know you very
well telling you that you don't feel the way you profess to feel? Can
you believe that? But, he didn't stop there. Mr. W then Amvox'ed our
entire group on multiple occasions continuing to slander me, and had
subsequent one on one meetings with our leaders and key distributors.
Eventually his actions sickened me to the point where, along with the
realizations that we had during this period, made the thought of putting
one more cent in these people's pockets under any circumstances, truly


They tolerated my wife and I, our "Liberal" group, and our beliefs, as
long as we kept putting money in their pockets. Mr. W knew our
viewpoints the moment we first shared them upline. In fact, I believe
that he knew (probably in the Fall of 94 right after I first expressed
our grave concerns) that at some point we'd reach the realizations we
did and either force a confrontation or quit peacefully.

The real reason that Mr. W wouldn't let us be "foster sponsored" by Mr.
L, even after we offered to leave our business volume with Mr. W, is
because he would lose the income from the sale of tools and training
functions to our group. You see, it's not sales of Amway products that
make the Diamonds money, it's the money they make off the system that
creates the "lifestyle." This fact is beyond dispute.

However, Amways new BSM arbitration agreements absolutely allow for the
purchase of motivational tools from anyone you want, so no matter how
you look at it, there was nothing in Amways rules that should have
precluded us from making the move that would have saved our business.

What's the lesson for those of you still trying? The lesson is that
they'll pacify you and ignore your pleas until it's clear they can't any
longer, and then you find out how much of a business of your own it
really is!


Dexter Yager's AMO system is a powerfully mind bending and manipulative
force in AMWAY. It is extremely well thought out, highly collusive,
deliberate method of extracting massive sums of money from innocent,
trusting people who are consistently lied to and constantly misled. The
AMO systems are designed around a simple premise. We can keep people
thinking that they can be successful longer than we could without it,
and during this period, they'll buy tapes and products they never would
have had the AMO not affected their ability to think critically!

Some people are destined to be successful in anything they do, and it's
the inner make up of those people, not the AMO system, that is
responsible for their success.

Big pins can do whatever they want, even if it involves breaking the
most sacrosanct of Amway's rules. Little pins have to follow all the
rules, even the ones the big pins routinely break!

Just because Amway, Dexter and his diamonds have a Christianity and
right wing political agenda inserted squarely into the business and have
for years, doesn't make it any less wrong.

In my experience, Yager and his diamonds simply will not let someone
with a publicly stated agenda different from theirs be successful - (If
you doubt that this is true, just try and find some evidence to the

You will never succeed when the AMO is the real leader of your group,
not you, unless you believe what the AMO leaders believe. Irrespective
of how much they tell you you're a leader, your Diamond is the boss, so
it's not your business, period!

Unfortunately, when you see the plan you aren't told you have a choice
about who to be sponsored by. If you're still serious about the
business, with all of it's moral, legal, and ethical problems, at least
make sure that you're sponsored by a large pin who makes you a personal
commitment, and don't ever consider being a long distance group from

I believe that the Diamonds get some perverse pleasure out of forcefully
positioning people with different points of view squarely into their
agenda, when they know in their hearts the people will never (be allowed
to) succeed.

I also believe our Amway Diamond is a spiritually and morally bankrupt
man, who would never allow me the opportunity to express my "Culture
Problem" feelings to him because he knew in his heart that there is no
defense for the behavior of Dexter and his Diamonds. I believe that
Moral men stand up and defend what they profess to believe, immoral men
run from confrontations, and avoid facing the truth whenever

If the AMO system could keep me in the business for 3 and years, with
my strong objection to the Christianity and right wing politics, just
imagine how long they keep people with beliefs similar to theirs buying
overpriced products and worthless motivational materials.

Given the now highly publicized AMO and tools problems in AMWAY, the
FTC's decision with regard to Amway's legality is now out of date! I
think they should look again.

Intelligent Feedback Encouraged

E-Mail to nevinm@slip.net.


The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.