Sunday, February 08, 2009

Honesty in Advertising?



Meet Kennon Vaughan.

From all indications, Kennon is aggressively putting himself on the fast track to be the next Oral Roberts or Jimmy Swaggert. This young hopeful in the religious Personality Pageant seems to be making all the right moves too. That’s not what brought him to my attention, however. He seems to be making no bones about creating a religious money machine with himself at the top of the hierarchical pyramid. He has named his operation “Downline Ministries”.

From Netlingo.com

Downline: Refers to multi-level marketing (MLM) and describes people who work beneath you, or 'down the line'. A person's job would be to recruit others to sell their product, and in return, receive a percentage of their sales. The next person's job then is to recruit people even more so below them, and receive a percentage of their sales. This technique continues down and down. Part of the scheme of this entire process revolves around the people at the top being the real money makers. MLM existed before the Internet, but the Net has helped it to really take off.

From the Mission Statement at downineministries.com:

“In the Spring of 2004, after a year of prayerfully discerning the specific nature of this call, I founded “DownLine Ministries” to aid in the training of men to make disciples. “DownLine” is a non-profit organization, birthed under the guidance and leadership of a phenomenal Board of Directors, including Kem Wilson Jr., Jack Moore, Roy “Soup” Campbell, Hamp Holcomb, Dr. David Libby, Paul Ellis, and Dr. James Selecman.”

So, the mission is essentially to train people how to train followers - for a fee of course. I have never noticed a shortage in willing followers or Seminary Schools, but Kennon apparently discovered a need that required filling. And who gets to be the Band Leader of this new chapter of the Jesus Glee Club? One guess.

I have to admire his style, if not his motives or ethics, which remain questionable. He has run his campaign with the skill of a General. He has made all the right moves. He has formed strategic alliances and a nice mutual admiration society. He has secured the all-important 501c3 classification for his school. Visitors are informed of this and invited to participate through donation right on his home page. He has shown a good understanding of multi-tier, multi-faceted marketing, including the use of testimonials from self-interested parties. Some of them should end, “I’m not just a satisfied customer, I’m also on the Board of Directors.”

Vaughan has worked hard to promote himself as a leader with a squeaky clean reputation. His Bachelor Party is even a matter of public record. You won’t see any of the usual shenanigans here, it’s an athletic competition. If there are any skeletons in his closet, he’s working hard to keep them in the past. That way they can be attributed to his life before he was “saved” and easily overlooked/forgiven by the faithful. Vaughan has also made a strategic marriage. I’m not saying he doesn’t love this woman, but he certainly did not settle for his high school sweetheart, or the girl next door. I predict that she will be more help in this venture than Tammy Faye was to Jim Bakker. He has wasted no time in starting a family, either. Given the usual Christian hang-ups about human sexuality, making babies is a requirement. Besides, people tend to show more trust toward a “family man”, for reasons known only to psychologists. Freddie List was a classmate of mine, so I don’t afford family men or Paragons of the Church any special consideration. I digress.

In six short years, Kennon Vaughan has taken an idea from dream to infrastructure. He is likely to go far if he doesn’t succumb to any of the temptations that seem to plague the successful Alpha personality. Power corrupts, as a look at the history of Swaggert, Bakker, or Roberts could tell you. That Vaughan has the alpha personality is indisputable. He is highly competitive, and shows a strong will to dominate. He is on a track that will very likely allow him to surround himself with people who will give him what he wants, wealth, power, and a panoply.

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11 Comments:

At 3:40 PM, Blogger air plane advertising said...

Why do people respond well to aerial advertising

 
At 6:37 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

Um, because they're easily amused?

&*^^@m blog spam!

 
At 7:53 AM, Anonymous rita said...

Christians can be so gullible & so shallow! With these types of scams their religion really works against them, by encouraging their trusting sheep like behavior.

I predict this sheep shearer will rake in the wool.

 
At 5:40 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

rita: Yeah, me too. I almost don't feel sorry for the "sheep". Almost.

 
At 6:19 PM, Blogger Rita said...

I had some friends that practically worshiped the ground that Jimmy Swaggert walked on & sent him lots of money for his ministry. They were crushed by his downfall. It took them a long time to reconcile themselves to the fact that he was just a human being like the rest of us. But in the long run they were the wiser for it.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Rev. Barking Nonsequitur said...

Is this guy's ministry like Eckankar or Summum? They're into pryamids too..

People "trust" married men because they are less likely to take risks - of course that ALSO means they are easier to exploit. The last thing a family guy wants is to come home and tell his wife and kids that he lost his job.

 
At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Spamacopita said...

Why is everyone getting into Sodomite Dog Polishing? because it's FUN and reduces Phlegm! Find out more @ www.Sodomitedogpolishing.com

 
At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you will find downline money scams are built on the biblical principals of discipleship which the program of downline refers to. It has nothing to do with downlines of money but of spiritual learning, passing down what you learn like a rabbi to his disciple, who later does the same. The cost of higher education in this country is the real day light robbery. Downline is a bargain for an optional low low fee which does not go to Kennon Vaughan. Your words are very foolish and not based on any kind of truth about Kennon or this program. Thanks for trying to tarnish a good mans name when there are so few good men left. Perhaps you need to take a look at your own heart before you worry about someones elses good and honest efforts to contribute to a better world. Spreading lies and false rumors is a foolish mans game. Try being a positive not a negative.

 
At 1:55 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

Anonymous:

I think I will find no such thing. The name is obviously derived from the practices of Amway, as is the mission. Our hero wants to live the phat life, and will using other people's money that he talked them out of. Nothing new, that's just what Paul was trying to accomplish. The cost of higher education in this country is another topic that has as much to do with the price of beans in the Congo as it does with Kennon's alleged altruistic motives. I call it like I see it, another tent-show huckster building a money machine.

"Spreading lies and false rumors is a foolish man's game"

I don't know, a long succession of Popes and other pretenders have done all right for themselves by perpetuating bullshit. P. T. Barnum said it best.

Who are you anyway, and were you paid for your self-righteous indignation? You read like a typical damage-control service.

Looked in my heart, saw blood. I can check my kidney or my brain next, your call.

 
At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

..try the brain. Somethings missing.

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

Actually, anon, you might be right. I seem to be missing that sublimated bit of the sex center that religious practitioners jerk off for money. The indoctrination didn't take.

 

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