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Mormonism LIVE: 078: Mormon Affinity Fraud

RFM & Bill take a look at Affinity Fraud in Utah and that which seems to have a root in taking advantage of unhealthy boundaries of trust within Mormonism. Affinity Fraud is a type of investment fraud in which a con artist targets members of an identifiable group based on things such as race, age, religion, etc. The fraudster either is or pretends to be, a member of the group. Often the fraudster promotes a Ponzi or pyramid scheme. Mormons are taught to trust their leaders, those who have a bright countenance, those with the Priesthood, Those who seem to be successful at Church or in business, and Mormons over non-Mormons. These often have members of the Church being particularly vulnerable to such rackets


5 thoughts on “Mormonism LIVE: 078: Mormon Affinity Fraud”

  1. There are two related aspects of the allure of affinity fraud among Mormons, and that has to do with the integral coincidence of Mormonism and prosperity theology. Mormons have been taught from birth that faithfulness will result on “blessings”, and the most obvious form of faithfulness is tithing and the most obvious type of “blessing” is money. The average Mormon has been waiting their whole lives to see some sort of return on their commitment to the church. So when a pyramid scheme falls into the average Mormon’s lap, they instantly infer that it is their lucky day and God has finally delivered on his promises, and to reject the offer is to contravene the direct intervention of God in their lives. So of course they are going to jump right in. And if they get in at the start, they do indeed receive lots and lots of “blessings”. And it’s even more super special if the offers come from their Priesthood leaders- because, again, the leaders’ apparent financial success is instantly ascribed to their favored status in the eyes of God.

    You pondered why the church leaders do very little to stop pyramid schemes. The cynic in me says that to do so would be to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The main operators of pyramid schemes certainly pay lots and lots of tithing. Maybe they feel deep spiritual motivations for doing so, or maybe they want to appear extra stalwart and spiritual and demonstrative of God’s love for his faithful flock. As for the marks, the ones who get in at the start get very rich, and they automatically ascribe their unexpected windfall to God’s reward for paying their tithing and so the first thing they do is pay more tithing so they can get even more “blessings”. And all the church has to do is sit back and watch the money roll in, with absolutely no intention of giving any of it back not matter who has to become homeless when the bottom drops out. So they have every incentive to never do anything substantive to prevent any of this. Rather than deplore pyramid schemes, they relish them with glee.

    Just some thoughts. Thank you.

    1. Corey,

      You are absolutely SPOT ON with yuur analysis. General Authorities themselves, as well as their close relatives, have also been involved with barely legal MLM and Ponzi schemes, and the Brethren know this, so they have to be careful because they don’t want to get their blood kin in trouble. RfM is absolutely correct that there needs to be an Warning from the Apostles every General Conference, and there needs to be a Warning in every LIAHONA on the inside of the front cover. Only then would most MORmONS because wary of MLMs and Ponzis. The fact that the Brethren are almost completely silent, is highly suspicious. Either they don’t care, or they are protecting blood relatives who make GRAVY from these venture and don’t want them to get into trouble. Had I not seen them before, numerous times, I would have never believed it. Today, I’m a “Believer”. I believe the Brethren will lie, bribe, deny, hide, in order to protect thieves and pelophiles among their own ranks (i.e. the Second Anointed), and their blood relatives. I wish I’ve never seen it, but I have, multiple times. Yes, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not taught in the Wards. The “Prosperity Gospel” replaced that a long long time ago. By their fruits ye shall know them.

  2. Great show as usual. One of the most disturbing things Alicia mentioned was that she was afraid her dad would be angry because she was calling him late. It was the night of the raid. That is super sad to me. I have three daughters and have never been angry when any of them call me late at night. I am generally when that happens so says a bit to me about Mr. Rust’s character separate and apart from the fraud.

  3. Very brave of the women to tell her story. Being a Naturopath really only works in places like Seattle, Portland, Santa Monica, Orange County, San Diego, where people are very “New Age” and have a lot of money. Not a big demand for them in conservative areas like Alaska. But in Seattle, especially North Side, and Bellevue (east side), yes absolutely. Also, Portland’s pricey area, southwest side. Other good areas to be a Naturopath would be Scotsdale Arizona, Irvine California, San Marcos (north of San Diego), Carlsbad, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica (my old home town), Ventura County (Ventura, Thousand Oaks, Moor Park), San Louis Obispo/Pismo Beach, San Francisco, Marin County, Silicon Valley. All expensive places to live, but the more “New Agers/liberal” the more they seek Alternative Medicine. Beverly Hills/West Hollywood. Very expensive to live in any of these places, but, any Naturopath business would thrive in these locations. Just a thought.

    I remember seeing a photo of Rust in “The Mormon Murders” by Neifeh and Smith, published in 1987. Take a look at him in that book! You will know “Something is wrong”. You see a kid with a look of “PURE” arrogance. Take a look at it. I think sociopathy might be a birth defect. I’m not sure if Mormonism “makes” sociopaths, or they are just born that way, and Mormonism is a very comfortable place for them.

  4. The most dangerous place to grow up is usually your birth environment. Most people don’t understand that you learn what you live . A good wack on the butt when I was four kept me a better distance from the canal that flowed by our farm. Was that child abuse ? Or did it save my life? Mormonism requires one thing of its leadership. Success in temporal matters . And that success is sometimes based on image or education. Driving factors and the oldest saying in Mormon dumb do not aspire to a calling . Those of us raised in the culture seldom recognize the dangers because that is all we know. Think about Joseph smith and his last two years on the earth. What a mess . What was going on? It was one massive fraudulent move after another. No free press bilking money from new comers self appointment the council of fifty . Hubris was a basic function of mr smith and it lives on today . Ounce the snowball gets rolling it ain’t gonna stop. Tom Phillips law suit was in fact warranted, look where that went . The cabal is in full swing it’s gears are well oiled and it’s job is to destroy individual greatness, kindness, dignity, Christlike love , good hell the thirteenth article of faith. And it all boils down to one thing . If you don’t walk up to every covenant made in this house this day you will be in my power ! Sound familiar? Thought it would. The most fundamental teaching in the temple is clear satan is the god of this world. Froto baggins will never be the prophet as long as he (old scratch) is in charge. My sympathies go out to all who have ever been defrauded by religious charlatans. And non religious ones also . Kids raised on dairies are seldom offended by the smell of cow poo they are infinitely used it . It’s the only thing they know . We who were not still like the ice cream though .

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