Episode 250: HeartSell

Join John, Flip, Jeff and Thayne as they explore the history of the church and the sales techniques they have used in the past and present.  The Episode culminates in a discuss of the HeartSell technique used and marketed by Bonneville International.

Episode 250

11 comments on “Episode 250: HeartSell”

  1. icebreaker Reply

    a few things

    On my mission I once got to go on splits with one of the highest baptizing Elders in the mission. I prepared spiritually and was pumped up to be able to spend a day with such a spiritual giant. Turns out he was a smarmy, pushy guilt tripping jerk – definitely did not feel he “loved” the people — but he was good at his “job”. Missionaries CAN serve and love the people and help their lives – but there is no correlation to that and number of baptisms.

    I was involved with a family that ended up saving all their money to go to the closest temple in a different country. I was prepared for them to return and praise my name and tell about how this was the most spiritual experience of their lives since this was the narrative I was fed and since I was acting like it was the most spiritual experience of my life (even though we all know that it was not).

    Afterwards, the wife came to talk to me and was cursing my name and shaking her fist at me about why I hadn’t warned her of what was going to happen. She hated it – but was still in love with the idea of an eternal family – but you could see that this was not the religion she thought she had signed up for – not the experience that she had sacrificed so much time and money to travel to the temple for. It creeped her out – as it does with many.

  2. Dan Madsen Reply

    Hi I enjoyed the podcast very much all though I thought there wasn’t that much about heartsell.
    One thing about the bait and switch. I don’t think the problem is that they sell you everlasting life and then you get religion, because religion is the tool. Like when you sell beef jerky and get a dehydrator, the dehydrator is the tool to get the jerky. The problem is what they don’t tell you, you’ll have to make room for the tool, time for the tool, clean the tool, push the tool to others, by these accessories etc.

  3. Ronald Jensen Reply

    Enjoyed the podcast. However, one small correction: Deseret Management Company, the parent of Bonneville International, is indeed owned by the LDS Church. Since the presiding bishopric is responsible for all of the temporal activities of the church, I believe that DMC flows up to the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop, which flows to the Corporation of the President….

  4. Roger Fleig Reply

    Excellent podcast! This is one of those pivotal ones for fully deconstructing what I allowed into my head. I particularly like this point that John made: the church is very aware of how inefficient the missionary system is at finding converts [that stay with the church]… They stay with the missionary system though, because the point is rather to lock those missionaries into the church instead.

  5. Gabriel Von Himmel Reply

    “The Religion Making Business” or Mormon Marketing
    ‘whether it is true or not may actually be irrelevant.’
    We have Robert Millet to divine the parameters of Mormon Schemes.
    Bait and Switch and Mormonism
    Neo-Orthodoxy Manifesto
    Salvation Plan:
    Robert Millet, Professor of Religious Understanding states in
    ‘Getting At The Truth’
    “If the general authorities do not teach something today, it is not part of our doctrine today. That does not, however, mean that a particular teaching is untrue. A teaching may be true and yet not a part of what is taught and emphasized by the Church today. In fact, if the Brethren do not teach it today, if it is not taught directly in the standard works, or if it is not found in our correlated curriculum, whether it is true or not may actually be irrelevant.”

    – Robert Millet, Getting at the Truth, p. 66
    some things that are useful are not very true

    Robert Millet Getting At The Truth Caveat:
    “Relevant Truth or Untruth is subject to change or reversal by revelation of verifying authorities or priestly fiat.”

    It’s a bit murky but one can still get at the truth, Robert Millet

    Thanks John Larsen for opening up your comments to others beside the ELECT. “You are the Mort Shal of mormonism.”

  6. Gabriel von Himmel Reply

    I meant to write, It’s a bit murky but one can still get at the truth, Robert Millet

    Thanks John Larsen for opening up your comments to others beside the ELECT. “You are the Mort Sahl of mormonism.”
    Robert Millet is in on the ground floor of Mormon Neo-Orthodoxy,
    Yet more to learn and yet even more to forget. It is hoped it will be all sorted out in the end. . .

  7. labguy Reply

    Enjoy your podcasts and comments for the most part. I do take exception with your comments regarding Cosmos; both the original and current series. I loved the original though I didn’t watch them until many years after they were made. The current Cosmos is GREAT! You put it down and admit you haven’t even watched it. For anyone interested in science, this is a great series. For those wanting to learn some science it is a great series. It’s a lot of information, but it is presented in a professional way. Watch it before you criticize it!

    • randy Reply

      Hi LabGuy. Cosmos is an area where John and I disagree. I think it is a great show and helps people learn just a little bit about how reality around them works. But I am a Scientists so no one is really surprised by that. I will get John to watch the new one some day…

  8. MaggieMagoo Reply

    I just listened to this podcast and am left deeply troubled, so troubled I had to stop and throw up in a garbage can on my daily walk because it was so disturbing.


    Because I am a birth mother. Or in other words, I am a woman who had the full force of Bonneville International’s “HeartSell”® techniques aimed at me to convince me I wasn’t giving my daughter away, I was “giving her more.” “HeartSell”® was used to create the “Adoption: It’s About Love” campaign for the LDS church under the direction of former LDSFS employee Steve Sunday. (Sunday now owns his own adoption agency and also sits on the board of directors of the National Council For Adoption.)

    The entire purpose of the Adoption: It’s About Love campaign is to convince single expectant parents they simply cannot provide what a child needs for a successful life. As a single expectant mother in the LDS church, a woman already feels pretty worthless and is extremely emotionally vulnerable. Enter LDSFS with their “It’s About Love” campaign. When you first meet with a counselor, they spend a lot of time building a relationship of trust with you, exploring your feelings about being pregnant out of wedlock and what that means for your future and your child’s future. Then, they have you do worksheets to help you “clarify” what you can provide a child. On one half of the sheet, it lists about 30 items that a married couple can provide, from vacations to stable home to higher education opportunities. The other side of the paper is blank except for the word, “Love.” Then, as the single expectant mother, you are supposed to write down what you can offer your baby. Everything else is already covered in the other side of the page, and you are left feeling like there is nothing you can provide your child.

    Counselors are trained to help you “explore options” in ways that continually point back to adoption as being the perfect solution to all the troubles in front of you. It is touted as the immediate, loving, unselfish solution to the selfish act of getting pregnant before you are married. Through the use of the high pressured sales techniques perfected in the commitment pattern, LDSFS counselors box you into a corner where the ONLY seemingly sane, loving, and unselfish “choice” is to give your baby to complete strangers to raise. Then they start putting pressure on you to pick a family, now now now NOW, knowing that if you build a relationship of trust with prospective adoptive couple, you are far less likely to “disrupt” the adoption, ie KEEP YOUR BABY. Once you have a family selected, it is follow up, follow up, follow up to make sure you don’t change your mind.

    Listening to this podcast, particularly the last 20 or so minutes where the guys really get into why “HeartSell”® techniques are so damaging and manipulative leaves me feeling angrier than I have ever been. There are the exact techniques used by social workers and adoption counselors for LDSFS to convince vulnerable pregnant women to voluntarily terminate their parental rights. At one point, one the hosts on the podcasts said the church treats people like chattel. A truer observation has never been made, at least in my own life. I now understand, more clearly than ever before, my daughter and I NEVER stood a chance against the powerful machinery of the LDS church and “HeartSell”®.

    Adoption isn’t really about love. It’s about manipulation and coercion, “HeartSell”® style.

    I think I need to go throw up again. I can’t believe I placed my beloved daughter for adoption because I was naive and trusting enough of my bishop and counselor to fall for some carefully crafted advertising campaign designed to strategically manipulate my emotions to move me towards a specific action.

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