The Word "Cult-like" Keeps Cropping Up with MLM Essential Oils

The idea of an essential oils MLM cult may not even cross your mind when you first hear of Young Living, doTERRA, or any other multi-level essential oils company. However, if you’ve ever been deeply involved in any essential oils MLM for any length of time…or worse if you’ve ever disagreed with the practices of Young Living or doTERRA, you’ve probably encountered the weird almost cult-like attitude of many of their distributors, sales reps and consultants.

Before going any further, let me say that not ALL of those in Young Living and doTERRA are mindless zombies. Many...some...a few...are able to think for themselves and are wise enough to research beyond the party line. They are to be commended. The rest? Read on.

Young Living Isn’t a Cult!

Well, of course, Young Living isn’t an essential oils MLM cult. However, if you’ve ever legitimately questioned or disagreed with some of the information they teach (preach) about how to use essential oils, you have no doubt encountered the weird cult-like thinking and attitude so prevalent among their distributors.

You absolutely cannot disagree with them or try to educate them about the dangers of using essential oils in the wrong way.

They absolutely refuse to hear it! They refer to their Young Living manual, idolize Gary Young, and quote what they’ve been told by their upline. They have an almost holier-than-thou attitude, disparaging any knowledge that doesn’t come from Young Living.

So maybe Young Living is an essential oils MLM cult.

What About doTERRA?

DoTERRA is the same way, being an essential oils MLM cult. Which shouldn’t be surprising since doTERRA was started by a guy that used to be some high-up mucky-muck in Young Living.

Encountering the Essential Oils MLM Cult on Facebook

I belong to several Facebook groups about essential oils and aromatherapy that specifically are there for the purpose of educating people about the safe ways to use essential oils. Almost every day in one discussion or another someone will advocate ingesting essential oils, using the oils neat, or using essential oils on children and infants.

Needless to say on those groups that absolutely forbid the promotion of ingesting essential oils and using EOs neat, true adherents to any particular essential oils MLM don’t stay long…or they soon learn to keep quiet.

There’s hope for those folks, as eventually you’ll see them post something to the effect of “I’m learning so much here! Thank you! I didn’t realize that what I’d been told was so wrong!

Detecting Essential Oils MLM Cult Thinking

You don’t have to look very hard to start seeing the rabid, vociferous attitudes displayed by both Young Living and doTERRA people. Just do a search for “Young Living a cult?” and you’ll come across some eye-opening articles written for the purpose of educating people to the dangers of essential oils MLMs. They are calm and rational. However, once you start reading the comments, you will be shocked at what some people say:

From GloryBeHerbals’ article “Why I Will Never Use Young Living” :

  • I use YL oils and I have not seen ANYWHERE that anyone puts EOs in their eyes. We are "trained" to NEVER put an oil in your eye. This is bogus. Who are you working for?
  • Let me guess you work for Do Terra!! Go to oman yourself to witness the process..Go to any of Young Living farms... I havent found one compamy [sic] that offers the consumer to part take in harvest
  • Don't believe everything you read... No where in any of the YL literature have I seen a all oils are digestible ever. Could you please verify this information. Your word is gold I am certain. But show me where you read Gary Young recommending ingesting all oils and their safety.

  • Well I am a YL Independent Distributor… Instead of slagging something off that I believe you have never tried maybe look at your own insecurities and why you are hell bent on this sort of stuff instead of educating people about the hazards of pharmaceutical products. Seriously get a life and do some good rather than sitting there putting your negative crap into the world. If you were open then you would use your experience and knowledge to educate rather than the rubbish you are going on with. Good luck to you because your poison is going to be what gets you in the end. I guess then it will be someone else's fault there as well. [Posted by “Anonymous” – no surprise there]

  • …YL is the only company that can tick 12 boxes when asking the questions from the book Healing Oils of the Bible by David Stewart Ph.D… you are ignorant and that is disgusting.

  • You're [sic] link to quack watch makes me question the credibility of your article.

That doesn’t even touch the stories by people who’ve learned the hard way about following the advice given out by Young Living and doTERRA reps, who are repeating the party line of their particular essential oils MLM cult.

Anyway, that’s for another day and another article.

Signs of a Cult or An Essential Oils MLM Cult

I found this very informative list about the characteristics of a cult. Some definitely seem to apply to Young Living and doTERRA, while others might not. You’ll see my input between the [brackets]. You decide:

  1. The group shows extreme zealousness and unwavering commitment to its leader (dead or alive), regarding as Truth (law) his ideology, belief system and practices.

  2. Questioning, expressing doubts or dissent are discouraged or even punished.

  3. Mind-altering practices (meditation, chanting, debilitating work schedules) are used to control the adherents and suppress all doubts.

  4. The leadership dictates how members should act, think and feel.

  5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself [its products], and its leader(s) [our oils are the best, other oils are bad, come to the farm, etc].

  6. Has an us-vs-them mentality [Young Living vs. doTERRA is rabid]

  7. The leader answers to no one

  8. Teaches or implies that the ends justify the means [say what is necessary to sell the product], and may result in people participating in actions they would never have considered before [putting their children in danger by giving them essential oils when they wouldn’t even consider giving their child an aspirin or giving honey to an infant].

  9. Uses guilt or shame to control members

  10. Members are encouraged to cut ties with family and friends (those that don’t agree with the group’s ideology)
  11. The group has a goal of bringing in new members [building a downline]

  12. The group has a goal of making money [sell, sell, sell]

  13. Members are encouraged to devote a great deal of time to the group

  14. Members are encouraged to socialize only with other members

  15. True believers feel there is no life outside of the group and might even fear reprisals [loss of friends and social standing] if they leave the group


Now, if you’ve answered “yes” to more than five of the 15 signs of essential oils MLM cult, then…

You get the idea. Also for Christians there’s something else to consider. Many of the terms used in describing the benefits of the oils come straight from religion and religious practices that are diametrically opposed to Biblical Christianity. Also a topic to be addressed at another time in another article.

free twitter buttons

Discounted Bath and Body products. Buy Essential Oils, Perfumes and Colognes at

Aromatherapy for Natural Living