The only connection I can find between Amway and Freemasonry are the variety of websites that list Amway founder Richard DeVos as being a 33rd degree Freemason. While none of these are actual masonic lodge sites and are mostly operated by anti-mason groups (which are not always the most accurate), I did find one lodge website – the Toowoomba Lodge in Queensland, Australia – that lists DeVos as a freemason.
The Amway brand – which is an abbreviation of “American Way” was co-founded in 1959 by Richard DeVos, Sr. 87, and his high school friend, the now deceased Jay Van Andel. Within 50 years, the company made DeVos, the son of poor Dutch immigrants, into a multi-billionaire. It sells an estimated $11 billion a year in cosmetics, vitamin supplements, and assorted household products through a network of private distributors.
DeVos is a staunch Christian conservative who has invested millions in groups such as the American Family Association, the Republican National Committee and the American Enterprise Institute. His son, Richard, Jr., now runs the organization.
Amway’s long history is only surpassed by its many controversies stemming from accusations of being a cult, an illegal pyramid scheme business, price fixing and misrepresenting the amount of money distributors can expect to make. The internet is full of stories from disgruntled distributors which I won’t rehash here, but some of their criticism is warranted. At least that’s what the FTC thinks.
Even though a 1979 ruling cleared the organization of charges that it was operating an illegal pyramid scheme, they found that Amway was not only guilty of price fixing, it was also exaggerating the amount of money distributors can expect to make selling their products. The Commission ordered Amway to provide actual averages per distributor to potential customers, letting them know that more than half of distributors make no money selling Amway with the average monthly profit among distributors being a mere $100.
There has also been considerable criticism of the motivational tools used by the company, which are provided to Amway by separate entities. Some of these have been described as brainwashing and cult-like. This article from Virginia Commonwealth University details the issues surrounding this aspect of Amway’s business.
Because of my research into multi-level marketing organizations, I would personally never become involved in one because they don’t make distributors any money and the products they sell – particularly those in the supplement market – are usually over-hyped and generally worthless. While Amway does have a supplement line, they also sell a variety of household products and cosmetics that are fine to use