The Vitamin and Supplement Business

Some time ago our church brought on staff a Christian counselor as our recovery ministries began to develop. Good idea. His view was that part of counseling is making sure that counselees were physically healthy as they entered into the counseling process. Good idea. They needed to be taking vitamins and nutrition supplements and his wife just happened to be selling them. Bad idea.

I was stunned by the ease with which he mixed spiritual health and his wife’s profit. Duh!!!!!! They eventually left the church but she made sure she contacted all her “church friends” to remind them where to go to get their stuff. This in and of itself was good for a colon cleansing to me. I couldn’t believe it.

I was reminded of this when I saw this:

Concerned Women for America (CWA) is in the vitamin business. The organization has teamed with Vemma, a liquid nutritional supplement company. CWA members are encouraged by founder Beverly LaHaye to buy Vemma because a portion of the proceeds will go to CWA.

This kind of thing is rampant in the church. Jerry Falwell used to send out a “newspaper” and it was filled with supplement ads. It is prevalent among the home schooling crowd. Churches can be filled with networks of pyramid schemes of the Amway type ready to enlist visitors to the kingdom of God and riches on earth.

Anglicans aren’t as susceptible to this, and this alone could almost make me one of them.

One thought on “The Vitamin and Supplement Business

  1. my old church had a few of these scams running. Everyone thought they were going to retire early. Unfortunatly, when everyone in your tiny cicle is selling the crap, no one makes any money. Also, one of the companies sold magnets that fixed your chi or something like that. those bracletsd that align your life force to improve your golf swing remind me of that sillyness.

    I think the problem is four-fold

    1. general distrust of science

    part of this has to do with the evolution debate [which is really only a debate in religious circles] but trust of things like homeopathy, supplements, and miricle tonics go right along with believing that phychics are real [though possibly powered by demons] and prayer really works – even though no scientific test has ever verified [and many have disproven] psychic ability and faith healing.

    2. general regard for anecdotal evidence

    if one person they trust knows someone who cured thier terminal cancer with vitamin C, then it must be true. If one person was faith healed, it really works. this is also called confirmation bias. it can be seen easily enough with mediums – they can get 95% of thier comments wrong, but if they tell someone thier dead grandmother wants them to stop worrying about the money – Zing they are clearly not fake.

    3. trust of authority w/o qualification

    Don – i know you are an intelligent/well-read individual, when you make comments about philosophy or the christian bible, I trust that you are not making up facts. If you say augustine said, “blah blah blah” I have no reason to think you would make it up so I trust your authority. I may disagree with your conclusions, but I trust you to be intelectually honest in fields where you have knowledge.

    BUT – many pastors / lay leaders act as though they are experts in every field. Biology, cosmology, cosmetology, ethics, theology, philosophy, counciling, psychology, business, politics, medicine, economics,sociology…the fact is that many of them aren’t even that good at bible study.

    AND – many congregants trust thier authority – after all, it comes from God, right?

    4. group think

    this isn’t uniquely religious, but it does seem to be a requirement in many christian circles.

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