True Story of Christian Tempted into Pyramid Selling: Why Didn’t Faith and Church Help Her ?

A woman.
A woman. (photo:
By CCD contributor: Wang ZhengminSeptember 6th, 2018

In recent years, many churches across China claim that their preachers and members are involved in pyramid schemes and even a whole congregation is tempted into pyramid scams. So, announcement from various churches across the country express their resistance and warning to pyramid selling. However, many Christians still fall into the trick. 

This article shares how a Christian woman was trapped into pyramid selling and became a subchief. 

During the process, faith didn't help her resist the temptation and her church failed to act as a helper, but it became an onlooker, a judge and a critic. The real case is worthy of our reflection. 

Story of Lu Lili

Lu Lili was born in a town of Shandong in 1984. Like the other girls in her area, she dropped out of middle school because she had a younger brother. She worked in a clothing factory in Qingdao. In 2008 when Sichuan Earthquake broke out, the family members of one of her female workers were unharmed because they hid into a local church rather than the other buildings which, later on, collapsed because of the disaster. 

Hearing the good news, the factory leader showed his Christian identity. The female worker said she was also a Christian. They began to hold a gathering in meetings. To get along with her other colleagues and the leader, Lu kept joining their gatherings. Over time, she became to believe in God and received baptism.

A couple of years later, she married a Christian lorry driver. After a year, they had a child. When her child was enrolled in a kindergarten, she found a new job working for a business brand on WeChat, China's hottest social networking platform. The brand was created by a famous Christian couple, but she didn't make profits. She was harassed by many male clients. Meanwhile, she also worked in insurance but failed to get many clients. 

Knowing that she suffered from frequent harassment, her husband strongly objected to it. She quitted the insurance job and only sold women's products on WeChat. However, as their child grew up, which meant more expenses, they had a financial crisis. Last year, they had a divorce. 

Hoping to receive the help from the church, she found that most of the congregation were elderly women who were unable to recommend her for a job.  Afterward, she contacted a pyramid scheme named 3M, where she gained about 100,000 yuan with an initial investment of 10,000 yuan.  However, most people she took in lost money. 

In 2018, she came to know a product that was said to be a kind of biological water that could replace gasoline and cost half the amount. She united two partners to import the program into a city. Each of them invested 100,000 yuan and was appointed the agent. Now she is the speaker for potential members who are encouraged to be new investors. Since it was difficult to generalize the program, she prayed to God for it.

Currently, she has gained much from the program. Some of the earnings have been donated to the church and the rest used to improve her life. Despite that she still goes to church and never advocates the program, the congregation knows that she is a subchief of a pyramid scheme. 

Dialogue with Lu 

As a local preacher in Shandong, I had an interview with her:

I: Do you know or think that you are doing pyramid selling?

Lu: My job is not pyramid selling that recruits member by a pyramid of an incentive system without any product. I'm engaged in a supported project that promotes biofuel gasoline.Investments into the project and every profit source can be explained and not faked. The profits come from the sales of real products and are used for bonus shares for investment and premium. 

I: Does doing the project conflict with your faith?

Lu: No. I share my faith when lecturing. I use a devotional notebook. Jesus lets us love people, so we must be rich to love people better. I'm doing what all workplace Christians do, but our duties differ. I started a business. 

I : How do other members in the church regard you?

Lu: Many brothers and sisters don't know the real situation, so they talk behind my back that I was stuck into a pyramid scheme and had issues with other subchiefs and that I was a lover of pleasure. But I'm upright above gossip. I boldly say in the Lord that I live according to Christian standards. 

I: Apart from criticizing you,what else do those who see your job as pyramid selling do?

Lu: They only criticize me. Nobody helps me. They provocatively ask me, "Are you doing a pyramid scheme? How is that project going?" I ignore them and pray for them. Except their accusation of me, none of them prayed or helped me, even if giving me a bad work opportunity. For example, nobody introduced a Christian man to me after my divorce. Instead, they ruined my reputation. I will remarry a non-Christian who has a mild temper, experienced, and knows how to treasure life.  

- Translated by Karen Luo

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