Religious Abuse in Mary Kay

Written by SuzyQ

We have alluded to the damage that can be done in Mary Kay, but I want to talk specifically about religious abuse. It has been covered before, so if you are an old timer, I apologize for the rerun. If you are new, I hope this helps you in some small way.

I have always considered my religion and my beliefs to be intensely personal and private. I didn’t consider myself to be a “Christian” as so many do, in that I prayed to God and my prayers consisted of phrases like “God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.” Most self professed Christians I had been exposed to were intolerant and hypocritical “Jesus Freaks.” I was very comfortable with my choice of doctrines and beliefs. Someone asked me if I was a Christian once, and I remember replying, “Well, I am a major denomination, and last time I checked, that sufficed.” They assured me they would pray for me.

The God thing and Mary Kay…

I remember asking my recruiter many years ago, before I signed my agreement, if MK was some sort of religious cult. She laughed and said “NO!” I believed her.

Fast forward to my first Seminar. All the top directors used God as their business partners, God was blessing them and they thanked God and Mary Kay for the success they were enjoying. I dismissed them as misguided, but well intended, zealots. My business grows, I go up the career ladder as fast as my credit card levels and manipulative skills can allow me and soon I am in the 2% club and am a director. I feel as though I am in suspended animation for awhile. The longer I am in MK the more attuned I become to the religious inferences. And it is amazing. And really, really scary.

I had been invited to join a Bible Study and finally went. We prayed for red jackets, production and bar pins. I wasn’t aware we could do that. I had grown up believing “Thy will be done” and my wishes had never factored into that. I am looking around at these other women who seem to have something I am missing. They are enjoying more success with MK than I was, and I am thinking that I really missed the boat, or at least skipped some pretty spectacular catechism classes as a much younger person.

So I listen, and I buy the books and the CDs they listen to. I became a John Maxwell, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Jack Canfield, Bruce Wilkinsen, etc. groupie. Everything I am hearing from top directors about God and Mary Kay, and hearing a nsd say that God holds MK in the palm of his hand resonates with me. I am not right with God and that is why I am not right with my business. Such a relief to figure this out, finally. Hundreds of dollars and sleepless nights finally over.

Or. Maybe. Not.

Meetings now include prayers, public and private. Interviews are prefaced with silent prayers for the right words. My business becomes my mission field. THIS is my purpose. It’s so not about make-up, it’s about bringing people to God. I had a problem with the materialism in my own zealot-like behavior and sought the wise counsel of a now nsd. I remember asking her what God had to do with a pink Cadillac and was told that it is an outward symbol that is attractive to someone, our lifestyle attracts people to MK, and that’s why is was so important for me to be in a Cadillac. Essentially, get them with the Cadillac and the bling and then bring them to God. Okay. I bought that.

And continued in my own little mission field. Without much success. I threw my heart over the bar, I believed God put sharp women in my path, I prayed before every interview, meeting, class and skin care class, that the right words would touch her heart and then I would give God the glory during my Seminar speech. It was all for God and His Glory. I was victorious, I was blessed, I was the daughter of the King and I would be rewarded.

Except that I had nothing really to show for it. I was not doing well. Every now and then I would recruit, but my unit wasn’t, so I wasn’t being the leader God wanted me to be. I learned that I needed to do all I could and then I was to stand on faith. I did and I did, and there was no blessing to show me I was on the path.

It was me. I heard over and over how women would die and would have to face God and Mary Kay. Sometimes, it was Mary Kay and God. And I knew I was such a shame-filled miserable failure that I would miss them both. I talked to a spiritual advisor… I told him that I had heard at a Bible study that frogs were falling from the sky in Hawaii, and that this had been foretold in the Bible and was the beginning of Revelations. (I had been unable to find the frog thing in my Bible, but by that time, I thought I had the wrong Bible.) He told me he hadn’t heard about the frog thing and he reminded me that Mary Kay was not a religion, and perhaps, another Bible study, not related to Mary Kay, might be in order. I asked him, based on my prior religious training, if I had been saved. He smiled, took my hand, and said, “We have that covered.” I left and cried in my car for 20 minutes.

So, after that, I buy more stuff to keep me on track… medals, slogans in my car, new books, more events, more prayers, more everything. Nothing is working. I am left, by myself, in my guilt and anguish and despair. There is a part of me that knows it’s me and I am on way to hell.

About this time I Google negative Mary Kay and I am sent to Mary Kay Sucks (now Pink Truth). I read this negative stuff about Mary Kay and meet some of the losers, whiners, and non-believers. And I can’t quit reading. I start questioning Mary Kay and since I have blended Mary Kay and God, I am, in fact, questioning God. Why is God punishing me? Why would He not allow me success in Mary Kay? What did I do wrong? How do I fix it? Can I fix it? Have I blown it already? Am I going to hell? I am going to hell for sure, now.

So, I start questioning Mary Kay… many many questions… I read Pink Truth/Mary Kay Sucks and need some direction… of course, when I talk about my discoveries on MKS/PT with my sister directors, I am urged to get away and not let that negativity into my heart or my head. I can’t stay away! I can’t stay away! I am learning “what not to do” so I keep reading… ARE YOU READING THAT NEGATIVE SITE????? NO! No, not me, not any more. Whoa… that was my bad, so sorry! What was I thinking? So glad to have learned what not to do, but, no siree, not going back there.

And there’s a link on my desktop. I am learning and listening to the posters, Shabby in Pink, Bananarama and I am obsessed. I go back and forth between my Unit Net site, InTouch and MKS/PT. The days are full.

Slowly, slowly, it occurs to me that MK is NOT God, and a new peace comes to me. I start really looking at what has been said and what has been done and what has been implied and I start to see the lie. I take the books off my shelf. I put them in the garage for the sale I always say I will have and never do… these “Godly” books and their messages are now contaminated.

I Google negative Joel Osteen and read that. I Google negative Joyce Meyer and read that. The Secret is introduced. I knew of prosperity and abundance thinking when it was Abraham Hicks. (for newbies, the info was channeled through 6 beings of Light, etc etc) New Age interacts with Prosperity Theology. MK aficionados insist it is from the Book of Abraham… in the Bible, you know???? Of course, I have the wrong Bible, again.

I know this is long. I also know It is the most painful passage for me out of MK. I can’t be the only one. Please. God is not MK. God does not hold MK in the palm of His hand. If you question MK, you are NOT questioning God. MK is a cult by all definitions. If you think we who post and comment on PT are demonic, you are wrong. You are believing the myth perpetuated by a group of women who would have you believe that a Cadillac is the new crucifix, that frontloading inventory is in someone’s best interest, that Mary Kay is the way to bring people to God.

If you question MK, you are using the God given ability to discern the truth from the lie. False Prophets vs. False Profits. My prayer is that you can figure this out for yourself much sooner, and less painfully than me. A special heart felt thanks to my friend Pink Truth who saved me from months of anguish. I am blessed.


  1. LaVonne Carter

    To this day I wonder why no one has put forth a Mary Kay Bible. I mean, there are Bibles for men, women, teens, mothers, sister, aunts, grandmothers…why not one for consultants in a pink faux leather cover? When you become a director you pick up the car and the Director Edition of the Bible, maybe it has tabs or something. When you become NSD you get the REAL pink leather, with gold edges, Bible, when you pick up your suit or something.

    I am not trying to put ideas in anyone’s head, i was just shocked it hasn’t been done.

  2. Cougar

    I am a Christian. I did find all this prosperity doctrine going on in MK very concerning. I didn’t see it much from my adoptive director here in town but did see it in material I was given, from my director and at Career Conference. No where in the Bible does it promise anyone who prays enough that they will be given prosperity. In fact, the Bible talks about the road for most Christians is “narrow” and sometimes difficult. God is not Santa and I had a big problem with this mentality in many of the MK leadership. Just the same as when I had a problem with some family members of my cousin who died of cancer saying he wasn’t faithful enough. He was the most honest and faithful person I have ever met. I am not so quick to paint all in MK with the same religious brush but for sure this mentality is a problem.

    1. anan

      Wow!!!!! I know someone who recently started going to church. This is someone whom I’ve known for many years who I’ve never heard mention the word God or Jesus. Now, that’s all she talks about. Because she’s hooked on Mary Kay, like that great song by Kacey Musgraves. It’s amazing what a cult will do to a person. She wouldn’t make any changes for her children, but she’d do it for a buinch of phony, wannabe Mary Kays.
      Could someone please tell me how this company is so addictive like drigs or alcohol???

  3. Oh, Tracy, if only I had read this in 1989. I am a Catholic and I used to
    do a decade of the Rosary on my knees after Mass for every recruit. And
    wonder why it did not “work.” I remember kneeling by the statue of the
    Blessed Mother and asking God what I was doing wrong. Why wasn’t the
    money coming? My husband needed a job. My daughters were in trouble
    at school. My physical and emotional health had landed me in the hospital
    for a month. Mary Kay was supposed to be the answer to all my problems
    but it was only increasing our debt.
    I stopped attending MKC events and ordering product. We moved a
    thousand miles away and MKC did not go with us. The debt was paid
    with the sale of the house. Religion is no longer pink and poisonous.
    Thank you so much for this post. And thank you for Pink Truth.

    1. Mrvy

      Antique rose, I do hope your MK experience didn’t steer you away from Catholicism (you say you “are” a Catholic, so I presume probably not). It’s actually contrary to Catholic teaching to believe the prosperity doctrine. Many great saints endured years of trials and lack of “success” in their life on Earth. Heck, Jesus was not exactly a “success” while on Earth – the percentage of people He preached to who followed Him and His teachings was relatively small.

      I am a Mary Kay user and actually love the products and how they’ ve improved my skin. I said “no” once, years ago, to “would you like to join me in this business” and haven’t been asked since. Perhaps my consultant knows I have no sales skill and am satisfied with my career.

      (I found this site after watching “Hell on Heels” late one night. Very fun and campy take on Mary Kay, and quite balanced.)

  4. Weekended

    I’m so sorry that you went through this Suzy Q. It’s probably the worst part about MLM businesses–invoking God or something else “spiritual” in an attempt to make things seem legitimate.

  5. rkcanada

    I’ve always struggled with my faith so having to thank God etc was a bit of an issue with me. Here in my part of Canada, the directors say “faith first, family second, MK third” as they’re trying to recruit other religious folk rather than just Christians…..

    1. KatU

      That’s what they say here, too. And at first, it sounds great, but in my case, it wasn’t true. I am a Catholic, and when a guest priest was in town giving a talk on an evening when the usual MK meeting was going on, I was given quite the cold shoulder when I chose church over MK. Apparently in my unit, MK=God and God=MK only when they do not conflict.

  6. 4:8 girl

    So sorry you had to deal w/all of this SuzyQ, but I appreciate you sharing your story as it echoes most of ours! 🙂

    “…it is an outward symbol that is attractive to someone, our lifestyle attracts people to MK, and that’s why is was so important for me to be in a Cadillac. Essentially, get them with the Cadillac and the bling and then bring them to God. Okay. I bought that.” Sadly, many of us bought into it. This has been my biggest struggle – coming to terms w/this sort of manipulation. Thankfully, God is forgiving, compassionate, & loving. I’m grateful I was convicted to leave.

    From Matthew 6:21 – Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. I can honestly say where my treasure is, & it has absolutely nothing to do w/MK or material goods!

  7. Anniekins

    I’m a Christian and I feel that the people you listed are not authentic Christians, but its own materialistic religion. Slightly off-topic, I lurked for a while, but decided to comment since a childhood friend randomly “reached out” now that she’s back from Seminar and a DIQ. I told a white lie and said I had another obligation, but she’s pretty persistent and trying to pressure me into going to next week’s thing. I have no intention of going. Do I just ignore any more messages? I really do not want to get sucked into it, and I am so weirded out because I haven’t spoken to this person in about ten years.

    1. Cougar

      I do recall attending my first (and last ever!) Career Conference and several of the women would stand to raise their hands in praise (like they were at church) when a National or someone important would be speaking. At the time I remember thinking how strange that was and really inappropriate.

  8. Benjamin

    That is terrible.

    What a perversion of a person’s faith, to use that to sell them on something. Growling sheep, ya know what I mean?

    “Those determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin.” — 1 Timothy 6:9

    That about sums up MLM, doesn’t it?

  9. Barbara

    Well, crap.

    I just attended my friend’s “debut party” and ended up signing up as a consultant to get the 50% off of products. We’re both Muslim.

    I would LOVE to see the faces of these women though, if we all rolled into a national conference in beautiful dresses and hijabs (headscarves). I bet you could hear a pin drop.

    1. Lazy Gardens

      Go full niqab or burka if you want to really fry their brainz.

      But seriously, you can get steeper than 50% discounts on eBay.

      Cancel the contract, send product back and just walk off.

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