Beware the Untrustworthy Mentor

 I was having a discussion today, with someone who has become a friend of mine these past months, regarding why so few people speak up; outraged by their experiences. He offered a statement that I
thought was right on target. He said, "The 'system' most have participated in taught them that their lack of accomplishment was their fault. Therefore many see themselves this way. Not all, but many."

As well, it did not tell them that they were simply tape and meeting fodder to an upline who profited from their failure. It told them that they were failures...losers. Having lost self-respect many left that business dejected. At that point another emotion took over; embarrassment. Now they have to deal with what they perceive as failure and foolishness.

I would offer the following: when the best part of one's nature, faith, family and love of country, is taken advantage of by a handful of people that know exactly what they are doing there is nothing to be embarrassed about. There is no failure. I would suggest that the only failure is in the total lack of integrity by one's perpetrators.

I honestly believe that Dateline NBC will give all of those people that have been harmed a platform from which to speak with credibility. They will no longer be the "fools" for "falling for that stuff." They will not be failures nor have anything to be ashamed of. In fact, I believe they will be awarded an opportunity to be heard like never before.

Remember that, as this unfolds.

I was reading through parts of a book the other night that, in my opinion, discusses this experience very well. It was a discussion about untrustworthy mentors and how to spot them. The author cites Jim Jones as the example of such. So many of the issues he raises struck a chord and brought back so many bad memories of the things I experienced and/or witnessed in that business.

Before I conclude please read the following and decide for yourself it is applies to your situation. I have shortened some of the text due to space limitations.

"Beware the Untrustworthy Mentor

Do you remember the name Jim Jones?...almost a thousand of his followers...took (or were pressured into taking) poisoned Kool-Aid in a sacrament of death The story of Jim Jones and of his innocent disciples will always be a warning against untrustworthy mentors and a terrible example of the consequences for those who trust them.

A Worthy Mentor Will Not Abuse Your Time.
Jim Jones kept his followers in a state of exhaustion...The longer and harder they worked the more exhausted they became...When you're exhausted even from doing good you lose the ability to think, to make wise decisions, to protect yourself and those you love. If a mentor is pushing you beyond your limits, if you are feeling more and more exhausted beware!

A Worthy Mentor Will Not Abuse Your Money
...Inevitably he ended up controlling their money, and with it their lives. If a mentor wants to control your money, if you discover that he's cheating you or holding back even temporarily something that you are owed, beware!

A Worthy Mentor Will Not Abuse Discipline
...Not only did he tell them what was right and wrong, he instituted penalties for doing wrong that included verbal and physical abuse in private and public. He yelled at them. He humiliated them....The people lived in fear. If a mentor humiliates you in public...beware!

A Worthy Mentor Will Not Abuse You Sexually
...As her trust in him grew stronger, the more sexual advantage he took of that trust...A worthy mentor will...act professionally, knowing that you are vulnerable and never take advantage of your vulnerability.

A Worthy Mentor Will Not Abuse Intimacy
Jim Jones was a master manipulator. One by one he gained the confidence of his followers...He loved to use gossip, half-truths, and lies to separate friends and to destroy relationships. He wanted the people to trust Jim Jones alone...If a mentor is working to destroy your relationships, if he wants you to trust him and him alone, beware!

A Worthy Mentor Will Not Abuse Authority
From the beginning Jones worked to destroy his followers' confidence in any of the old authority figures in their lives. He showed them how untrustworthy their parents had been...He warned them against giving each other advice (unless they were quoting his sayings)...And he refused to let them question his authority or to answer their questions honestly. If a mentor refuses to answer any questions you ask, if he tries to cut you off from any outside source of information, beware!"

Time, Money, Discipline, Sex, Intimacy, Authority

As I read the author's words I was struck by how accurate it was. It is my opinion that the "system" kingpins take advantage of many of these same areas of trust given them so freely by their followers.
One of the recurring statements I made to corporate officials prior to my leaving was, "You should be ashamed of yourselves." No response on their part.

One other quote in his book struck me. He wrote, "`Profit' made at the expense of human or planetary suffering is not profit at all. The real costs are not being figured in. Those bottom lines should be written not in black but in blood red. "Profit" that demeans and dehumanizes our brothers and sisters...will lead
eventually to the death of us all..."

As I closed this book to set it on my nightstand, I sat back in my chair curious as to why this author would use Jim Jones alone as the example of untrustworthy mentorship. In fact, his book was filled with references of people that I may have used as well. However, he seemed to view them differently. In fact, based on my interpretation, it appears as though he sees some of them as great leaders.

To me they were the "system" kingpins.

By the way, the author of this book and these words is .....Rich DeVos and his book is called Compassionate Capitalism (1993). It struck me with a tremendous sense of irony.

Lastly, it is my opinion that our experiences will have been for a reason. Never forget what we are all capable of when called upon to protect others. I believe that call will come. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this forum.

Bo Short

The preceding comments are based on my opinions and experiences.