Do they want success for you or do they really want you to succeed for them? The truth as I know it about Mike & Michi Woods.
Disclaimer: the following was given to me by a reader who wished to express his (or her) experiences in the Amway business with these Diamonds. The information is solely that of the author. If anyone else in their group has stories to share ("good" or "bad"), feel free to send them to me.
This [essay] serves as a warning to [these Diamonds] and a plea to [you, the reader, to] open your eyes to the deception that flows from the lips of this couple.
My experience with EDC Mike Woods lasted about 3.5 years (He just became EDC recently - around 3/99). I will honestly say that he is not a particularly evil person. He seems to be a good father and husband. But if you are doing business with the man, beware. He is one of the shrewdest persons I've ever met. His use of semantics is phenomenal. I will attempt to make a fair case of what I've gone through during my time spent [in the Amway business with these people].
In 1995, I was approached by a good friend to look at the Amway business. I had been in it prior and was not interested in joining again until he mentioned that the corporation was opening in China. This struck my attention because I had many contacts there so I though that it may be a golden egg opportunity for me. It was then that I was introduced to Mike. My friend had told him about my many contacts and he seemed eager to meet me.
What came of that meeting was my involvement in the Amway business again and more importantly, my involvement with Mike Woods. I will say that I like the Amway corporation and the products they offer. Although some of the products are over-priced, they are on the most part excellent quality products and I have nothing bad to say about the corporation. With that disclaimer aside, I will say that I have disagreements with Mike Woods. Here's why: He is a master of semantics. He knows how to articulate his words so craftily that an outright lie can sound so convincing. I will list examples below.
"I'm too good for your company."
If you choose to be involved in the Amway business with this man, you will find that he will warm up really nicely to you in the beginning (so long as you show potential). About three months later, you will find that unless you've made significant progress, he will distance himself from you in a systematic fashion. You see, when you first meet him, he is just another guy that is talking about his business. He wants you to be a part of it and so he is required to be attractive. After you've been in for a few months, you see him on stage [receiving] standing ovations on a regular basis. You begin to feel like this dude is some superstar and is someone that needs to be looked up to. At that point, his distance works to his advantage. He uses this to get you to do what is best for him, build a business and buy the products. Now, this is a good thing, right? Yes and no. As far as building the business, there is nothing wrong with that, but it is wrong when you're asked to spend money (you just don't have) to buy tons of tapes and attend countless functions at outrageous prices. People do these things for Mike - because he said to do it, not really for their [own] business. I know because I did it. I had invited Mike & Michi to my wedding. A simple enough gesture. He agreed to come but when the RSVP's were being tallied, he was no where to be found. So I approached him about it and his reply was utterly ludicrous. According to him, he needed to go to a Colon Cleansing Camp for a week with another EDC, Dave Severn. At the time, I believed him... until I came back from the honeymoon and lo and behold, he never left. What ever happened to "I'll be a friend to you"? Well, the TRUTH is... he'll be a friend so long as you're making him MONEY!
Now remember, this is only an account with Mike Woods. I'm in no way saying that everyone is like this. I happen to know for a fact that there are some wonderful leaders in WWDB that would never behave this way.
"I only want to best for you...NOT"
Actually, he only wants what will best for your business- which would be best for his business. During on of our "counseling sessions" (I now call it "voluntary brainwashing session"), I was reminded of a situation and then condemned for it. It went like this: On a Sunday afternoon, my wife and I went over to their office to drop some things off. We dressed casually and arrived about 30 minutes before a presentation was to begin. When Michi saw that we were not dressed in business attire she inquired as to our plans for the evening. My mother had been away for over a year and just returned a couple weeks ago and so we were going to have Sunday dinner with her. Simple enough right. Who could object to one having dinner with his mother after not seeing her for so long. Well, apparently it was a no-no for them. I was chastised for not being involved enough, my mediocrity, and for goofing off while I've got a business to build and a wife to take care of. My wife broke down in tears while I just sat there taking his abuse. I felt awful, I felt disappointed, and I felt like such a loser. And so did my wife. All because this man systematically placed himself as such an influence on our daily decisions. About a year and a half later, my mother was struck by a truck while crossing the street. For 25 days my mother laid on the hospital bed in the ICU (intensive care unit) on the brink of death. She couldn't talk, eat, move or even breathe on her own. All she ever wanted was to spend a little time with her son and he wanted to take that away so I could build a business. If that's not selfish, I don't know what is. Fortunately, I didn't heed to his suggestion and my mother did make it through but what if it didn't happen that way. What if I did do as he said and never saw my mother in her last days? How could I have been able to live with that? How could I have justified placing a business before the woman who sacrificed so much to raise me? How could Mike & Michi live with themselves for that?
"Wives, love your husbands...and nag, complain, give the cold shoulder and disrespect him until he succeeds in our business"
Before I start this story, I will say that WWDB offers some of the finest marriage building books on the market. I will also say that these books have been a major encouragement to my wife and I. Without reading these books, our marriage would not be as strong today. If I've gotten anything out of being involved, it was the development of my marriage due to reading these books. However, that's not to say that Mike & Michi hasn't pinned one spouse against another. Of all the things that I experienced, this pissed me off the most. Mike didn't come from the best of backgrounds. He and Michi both worked in the hotel industry and partied a lot after work. In fact, he was quite a party animal prior to Amway. In a sense, he still is. It has worked to his advantage in building such a large organization. In many of the more intense meetings that were for the core group of people, he would go on and on about what a macho man he is for getting his wife out of work. Mike would basically brag about the fine things he has provided for his wife and his kids, the Rolls Royce, the fancy home, the trips around the world, etc. The main purpose for this was not to stroke his own ego- there were plenty of brown nosers to do that. The purpose was make the husbands feel like less of a man because they haven't done what Mike has, and for the wife to feel like she's missing out because her husband hasn't done it. All of this is played for the wife to be seduced into the dream. Overall, men are much more practical. They can live without all the fancy-dancy goo-goo eyed things. Women are much more susceptible to all this... just look at Hollywood and the countless female lives it has taken. (Not to say men don't fall for it, just not as easily) All of these hopes and dreams that are SUPPOSE to be reality. The woman is left asking, "What kind of man wouldn't be able to provide all these things? Isn't it the man's obligation to give his wife anything her heart desires?" "Spoil her rotten" is the theme at many of his meetings! Now if I were a woman, that's the kind of man I would want, right? Of course! Who wouldn't? The problem now lies in the great expectation and the failure to produce it. The wife slowly begins to lose respect for her man because he can't meet up to those obligations. She will never say it to his face but deep inside she feels it and it becomes apparent in the relationship. The marriage is strained because the wife can't have what will make her happy and husband is stressed because he can't give it to her. Communication begins to fade because of all the underlying resentment toward each other. There are then only two options. You either make it happen fast or you quit. Quitting is scary because you just don't want to be branded as a quitter. But staying is also tough because with each passing day, the marriage is disintegrating.
So, is this problem self-induced or is it leader-induced? Well, the answer lies in the problem itself. The problem is in the resentment based upon the lack of results. The results (Diamond rings, trips, houses, and plenty-o-cash) are constantly being hammered down your throat. Phrases like: "It so simple," "You need to be with us," "It's just a decision away." All these sound so enticing and so attainable. It is attainable but only with a tremendous sacrifice... your life. Are people supposed to be bogged down with obsessions of all the luxuries of life? We see it on TV all the time, right? Yes, but when it makes the man out to be a failure in the eyes of his own wife if he can not be the next Diamond, then it is an outright assault on the sanctity of marriage. They refer to this as "Getting a BIG DREAM". Nothing wrong with having a dream and pursuing it, right? It becomes wrong when the dream plays a more important role than it should. It becomes wrong when the "dream" causes a man to feel like a bad husband when things aren't going as he expected. It becomes wrong when husband and wife can't face each other because of built-up resentment for not achieving a goal. The best way to bring down a family is to divide it from within... I cannot and will not allow that happen. Couples, please don't let a dream for material things or luxurious lifestyle come between the respect that you have for each other as a person. "For what profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?"
"Love God...just enough to get what you want"
When I first saw the many people being preached to at a WWDB function, I must say that I was quite impressed to see such a good work being for God. I saw nothing wrong with having a Sunday morning reserved to share the gospel... some called it a cult for that, but I just saw it as sharing because the opportunity was there for open ears. However, as I listened more and more to Mike's knowledge of scripture, I began to see [that] his theology [was] faulty. Basically, God is a means to an end for Mike & Michi... at least that's what he teaches. Again, I must state that this pertains only to this particular EDC. I have seen great men of God on a WWDB stage.
For a Christian, there is really nothing more important than to follow God's call in life. Everyone has a role to play in the church. Whether it is big or small, it is important in God's eyes. Think of the time when Jesus saw the Pharisee's throwing money into the offering for everyone to see so that they may be praised for their good works. And later, a poor woman secretly places all she had...two pennies. Jesus said that the woman gave much more than any of those Pharisees.
I recall attending a function while Mike was giving the introductory message to receive the offering during a Sunday morning service. He basically quoted a scripture in Malachi that reads that God would bless you if you give... that you have to give to get. Then he openly dropped his envelope in the bucket announcing to everyone that it contained $1,000.00 First of all, God is no good-luck charm. He will bless you when you give your heart to Him; he doesn't need your money. Secondly, wasn't he just a like the Pharisee when he announced to the room his grand contribution in a effort to guilt everyone into giving? That scene was all-too reminiscent of a crooked televangelist. Lastly, if Mike was really making what he said he was making (after all, he was a diamond for some time then), a thousand bucks ain't much to cough up, is it?
At a Leadership function held at the Hawaii Convention Center, Mike was asked to do the altar call by his upline Diamond, Toshi Taba. A bunch of people walked forward and we all prayed for them. Immediately after the prayer, he said something to this effect: "Okay, you've made a great decision in your life and you should all find yourselves a good home church. However, be careful. If your church has a need for help and asks for your assistance, don't do it. It will be a distraction from your business. Let someone else do it, someone without a dream." Michi Woods says it this way to those who chose to serve in the church rather in Amway, "God gave you a dream, but because you were unfaithful to it, He gave you another." Are those the most self-serving words or what? This is where they are so off in their own brand of self-righteousness. He literally has openly put down people who serve at the church with fund-raisers. Condescending words like: "Go ahead and bake some brownies and send the money to Ethiopia, that'll bring the country right back on it's feet!" I would like to know when was the last time they ever sent a gob of money to Ethiopia. Yet Mike & Michi have condemned the very woman that Jesus would have commended... the meek gentle spirit that does what she can. Perhaps not much in man's eye, but a fortune in God's eyes. Christian - beware of adopting this attitude from being around him.
Building the Amway business is not wrong. But telling people to give up their family, church, time and practically their life is wrong.