Religious Manipulation in Mary Kay

Written by Anonymous

Mary Kay consultants are vulnerable. They are told to follow the direction of their sales directors and sales directors. Those in leadership have an opportunity to manipulate these women, especially when it comes to religion and spirituality.

We’ve all seen them: brand new, giddy, starry-eyed Mary Kay consultants. They are full of hope, expectation, awe, and a little bit of fear at their first unit meeting or first big Mary Kay Cosmetics event. They are like sponges, ready and willing to absorb everything they hear.

And of course, they are told from day one to do everything their director tells them to do.

Because of this vulnerability, I believe the new consultant elevates her director to an unhealthy level, and most times, the director is happy to become whatever that consultant thinks she is… pastor, preacher, teacher, mother, grandmother, best friend, business partner, or even…..should I say it? GOD.

There are some women who come into Mary Kay with their spiritual identity firmly intact, and nothing their director or national says would influence their beliefs anyway. These women, unfortunately, are the minority.

The vast majority of women who join MK need something more, and most often it’s a spiritual filling that they’re longing for. It all starts at the interview. “God first, Family second, and Career third. Isn’t it great that Mary Kay allows us to keep our priorities in order while making money?” First seed planted. Now the watering begins…

The prayers at the unit meetings. The prayers for production. Even prayers TO Mary Kay Ash the woman. Then the countless I-stories from women who were homeless, bankrupt, in jail, or on drugs, who turned to Mary Kay and found God!

Don’t get me wrong here. It is entirely possible that God has used Mary Kay to bring many women to Him. I firmly believe that God will use WHATEVER necessary to bring us to a closer relationship with Him. He will use anybody, any situation, or any company to get our attention.

God is no respecter of persons, so I don’t imagine He’s any respecter of MLMs either. Have you ever heard a National or a top director declare “This is an anointed company.” or “God has His hand on this company.” or “When I get to heaven I know Mary Kay will be there waiting for me.”?

Sick stuff. It’s not Mary Kay the company that is “anointed” or “special” or “holy”. It is the GOD of the universe that may have used certain people in this company for His glory. Period.

You know, for me, it really boils down to the separation of church and state. I don’t want government interfering in my personal religious freedom in any way, shape or form. My spirituality is mine alone, and although this country was founded on Christian values and principles, I reserve my right to believe whatever I want. If I want to believe that my favorite house plant is my God, then so be it. (I’m a Christian, by the way, so don’t anyone start praying for me.)

Although Mary Kay is a private company and therefore not subject to the separation of church and state per se, I believe they have a responsibility to stop manipulating its sales force with religion. Case in point: Stacy James. I think Stacy is smart, attractive, and obviously very successful in her Mary Kay business. I have nothing against her personally.

What I resent, however, is her narcissistic assumption that every woman at seminar this past year actually wanted to listen to her go on and on and on about her spiritual beliefs, her new church, her pastor and his wife, and their decision to move from Nebraska to Oklahoma.

And I must confess; at the time I ate it up! I got the warm fuzzies and goosebumps as she owned that stage. (She really is a dynamic speaker.) But looking back, I realize that I had no choice! I had spent over $1000 to attend Seminar to get training so that I might further advance myself up the career path.

But, no. I heard more spiritual nonsense during my 4 days in Dallas than I did any type of real training. However, I did come home very well indoctrinated in the Gospel according to Pastor Stacy James! (Kind of like “But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!) Stacy’s “name it and claim it” rendition of the gospel coupled with her newfound passion for “The Secret” movie can be an intoxicating mix for many spiritually vulnerable consultants.

Stacy is entitled to believe what she wants. But when she passes it on and holds it up as necessary for moving up in Mary Kay, I call this spiritual abuse. She, among others, are taking scripture and God, and twisting them to elicit more loyalty from their sales force. I don’t think Stacy has an intentional, malicious plan in place to do this. I just think that she, like many other NSDs, has become too powerful, too influential, and too important in Mary Kay. I believe that these Nationals actually believe that they have been “called” to share the Good News. And maybe a few of them have. But it’s when they take scripture, and twist it to meet THEIR needs, that it becomes dangerous and disgusting.

But Stacy is not the only one. She just happens to be one of the most obvious. This spiritual “mentorship” happens at all levels every single day in the Mary Kay world. We’ve all seen it, been a part of it, or even doled it out a few times ourselves.

As a director, I never intentionally manipulated my unit to order or to recruit, but peppering my “training” with intimations of God and scripture were probably manipulation enough! But I was just doing as I had been taught. It starts at the top and trickles down.

And Corporate sits back and smiles, doing nothing to stop it. Why should they? There’s no better way to get women to order than to use God! It’s all about their bottom line. Cha-ching! Until women stand up and say “No thanks” to the latest and greatest spiritual “wisdom” from the top, this will continue. Find a healthy, well-balanced church to attend instead of leaving your spiritual growth in the hands of a Mary Kay National Sales Director.


  1. All of this leaves me to wonder. What were women actually thinking when they got involved with this?

    • For me, I was pretty messed up emotionally and mentally (although I didn’t realize it then). MLMs prey on vulnerable people and use their insecurities and struggles to promise them an answer.

      • Thank you Kristen! This is just too crazy! I did not get involving this but I did the research.

  2. And Pam Shaw. Elevated and constant scripture lecturer. And the elevation of Gloria. Sick! You could never be good enough or do enough for those two to make you feel like you weren’t a pion.

  3. This is one of the things that ticks me off most about Mary Kay. They say “God first, family second, career third” but the reality is far different. Because so many of them see their Mary Kay career as a calling from God, it becomes Career First and everything else last. If Jesus went to their Seminar he’d start flipping tables.

  4. “I think Stacy is smart, attractive, and obviously very successful in her Mary Kay business.”

    But, but, but… her successful “business” is a scam. She’s making money through manipulation and exploitation. That isn’t anything we should admire.

    It see the word “narcissism” a lot when the discussion turns to people high up in MLMs. I’ve come to believe it’s practically a pre-requisite. How else does one explain their ability to ignore completely the suffering they bring upon others?

  5. After reading NayMKWay’s comment about narcissism in the upper ranks, a thought occurred to me. If I were me, lol, and I did get involved in MK and adopted the manipulation etc., and rose to a substantial rank through practicing those actions, what would I do when somehow the inescapable truth would confront me?

    I am CERTAIN it does confront those who have a pliable conscience, still, and then that begs the question, how do they just keep committing these ethical crimes?

    My conclusion is that I would be hit in the face with the truth of my exploitation of innocents, my manipulations to steal money out of their hands, homes, mouths and futures and so on – I could be strongly averse to admitting to these facts because I would probably have a lifestyle dependent on being a pimp, and to admit what I have done won’t fix the past, will destroy my present, and hey!!! I never held a gun to anyone’s head!

  6. “God is no respecter of persons, so I don’t imagine He’s any respecter of MLMs either.”

  7. I naively felt more “religious” courtesy of MK, yet I was ALWAYS incredibly uncomfortable with the hand holding, the prayers, the proselytizing, and more that was out there. Yes, I have beliefs, and yes they are likely a little different than yours. (I had a Jewish friend who was in MK briefly and was VERY put off.) God was shoved into everything, and when I once commented, “If God is your co-pilot, you’re in the wrong seat,” people thought I was a crazy heretic.

    That “religious” path I thought I was walking with MK was a sham. It wasn’t MY faith path. In fact, my faith and belief path turned out to be very different than what was constantly spewed at Seminar and all of the events. If my former senior saw me today, she’d likely try to throw holy water on me and shove communion bread down my throat.

  8. I really was excited about God first, family then job when I joined MK. My director kept scheduling things on Sundays, which I hated! Sunday is for church and family! She once told me “God will have to take a backseat while I build my national area…. I am finally done, after 5 years! I so agree about using faith as a tool to manipulate people! So glad to be done!

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