Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Religion • AMWAY-Richard DeVos and The AG

Richard DeVos, a star in Assemblies of God circles, is a man who loves being wealthy to the extent that he flaunts it, and at times appears to be showing off. He dreses the part of a very successful businessman and his overall carriage would seem to confirm it.

Having seen and observed him at several minister’s conferences where he was always the featured speaker, he would make a point of stating from the podium, “Don’t ask me, I’m not going to give any of you any money.” The sheeple would give a knowing muffled laugh acknowledging that they knew he was wealthy, that they were awed by that fact and they would like to have some of that money.

So much into himself, Devos shortened his name, Richard, to RICH. The name he chose for his company, AMWAY, was a derivative of the Name God, Who Identified Himself to Moses, when asked what name He should be known as. God answered,, “I AM THAT I AM.” (Exodus 3:14.) So with not so subtle implications, AMWAY would be to Christians, God’s Way. Clever.

In his quest to make a fortune, DeVos developed a pyramid scheme selling operation. Amway would consist of household products that would be hustled, door to door, to one’s own family or in contacts developed through social circles, neighbors and civic organizations and of course, the church. The goal is to recruit more salespeople.

An ambitious salesman/recruit who gives an illustrated screen presentation of the effectiveness of the products, convinces the ‘mark’ (carnival term for sucker) of the fortune to be made, as each salesman recruited would have part of their commissions directed up the pyramid to the one that recruited him, and the one who recruited the recruiter who….and on it goes. It is the ultimate ‘Pyramid Scheme” that legitimate businesses frown upon.

It is tor be remembered that Proctor & Gamble, who also dealt in household products were hit by vicious rumors stating that their symbols are satanic and that an executive with P&G stated on The Phil Donahue Show that they were supporters of Satan. Nobody checked the Phil Donahue show to verify this. The program directors declared no such program took place and no appearance by a P&G executive took place.

The AG people were (and are) quick and anxious to run with any damaging rumor about anyone.

It took a devastating toll on P&G. THEN they learned that these rumors began with Rich DeVos who started the whole campaign, wanting to knock out competition, with lies and slander, typical Assemblies of God tactics. P&G sued Devos and AMWAY and were awarded over a million dollars.

One sales technique of recruiters is to make the mark dissatisfied with what they presently have. “You shouldn’t settle for this, you should have a bigger house (photo shown) or, top-of-the line car (photos of Rolls Royce) and be able to enjoy life” (photos shown of tropical paradise complete with palms and bikini-clad girls).

At a service I did at Trinity Assembly of God in Charlotte, Pastor Calvin Bacon introduced me to Dexter Yeager who had become a close friend of Jim Bakker host of The PTL Club. Yeager had become a legend of sorts. In his forties, he had found himself out of work,  joined AMWAY and amassed a fortune, along with several banks he acquired. Now he had the best of everything, including a fleet of limousines for his personal use.

Yeager had the unusual habit of carrying a shoulder satchel. “Take a look inside,” he invited me. I reached in and came out with a fist full of one hundred dollar bills. “Good Lord,” I exclaimed, “How much is in there?”

“Fifteen-twenty thousand dollars,” he answered nonchalantly. “This is my pocket money.”

It was Yeager who corrupted Jim Bakker by convincing him he should not be satisfied with what he had. Jim so admired Yeager, his lifestyle and the money he was able to make utilizing the AMWAY pryamid sales scheme, that Jim let Yeager sign him up as an AMWAY representative. He then began to hustle each studio audience, usually about 200 a day that came to the telecast.

Checking internet sites later, I found one that had a stock of Apologetics books. That was a subject of interest since a concentration on my Bachelor’s Degree would be Apologetics.

When I went on the Website I learned it was a news and products site owned by DeVos. As I started checking through, I found a whole section devoted to vicious attacks against me, with not one truthful “fact.” I was ready to sue him and had three lawyers ready to take the case pro-bono. Even though I could have won. I withdrew the case thinking this will just give more “proof”  to atheists that Christianity is bad.

I called Devos’ office. He would not talk to me, his staff was rude, and his secretary screamed at me. This was not a novelty. When I tried to call Ray Rachels, the L.A. District Superintendent of AG,  his sweet, cute little secretary screamed at me. I kid you not.

Smith Wigglesworth, a totally Spirit Filled man was once taken to visit an asylum for the criminally insane—inmates with the definite spirit of Satan within them. As he entered a door at one end of the huge room, all the inmates began screaming, yelling and pounding the bars of their cells with metal cups. When Wigglesworth went out the door on the other end, the inmates suddenly quieted down and were at peace. Ironically, this shows a distinct similarity as the Spirit of Satan clashes with the spirit of God, causing chaos and screaming..

After my introduction to Dexter Yeager by Pastor Bacon, Yeager announced that he wanted to take Pastor and Mrs. Bacon, and me to dinner as his guest. I very much looked forward to that dinner. One of his posh limousines pulled up, and away we went…to Perkin’s Pancake House.

Upcoming: The Question: Why Would You Stay in Christianity?

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