A few months ago I discovered a small reddish patch on my wrist, and when it didn’t go away I asked a pharmacist to recommend something. She did, but the anti-fungal ointment I purchased had no effect. Recently a couple of friends gave me some tee tree oil, and also a vial of clove oil. Two things are happening: My spot is beginning to fade, and I smell like a fantastically scrumptious candle.
A lot of women are buying, using and even getting into the business of selling essential oils these days, but it seems to me that a growing number of them are bringing in a spiritual element that has me concerned. Some are convinced that oils applied in strategic spots on your skin or in your home can manipulate energy centers that will heal the spirit. That right there should be a red flag to any Christian believer. Any spiritual element to oils is NOT the Spirit of God, but the Spirit of the Age. More bluntly, the New Age. See Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Isaiah 44:25; Jeremiah 27:9; 2 Kings 21:6; 23:24 on heathen divination and spiritism.
Yes, I know God has already provided for our needs in nature. I’m not saying we should boycott these oils, but I do think as Christians we need to ask ourselves a few questions. When do these oils cross the line? Should we be discounting medical treatments for the promises of these oils, based on another person’s experience?
And here’s another thing: In addition to the sin of spiritual manipulation which God forbids, there is a financial piece of this that Christians are buying into: Pyramid schemes. These are designed to put the focus on how much cash you can make off others you can manipulate into selling these oils under you.
If you are dabbling and dabbing for any spiritual or financial gain, please read this article by Christine Pack and Cathy Matthews over at Sola Sisters blog. It will open your eyes to the concerns we share. Here is an intro and link to the article:
Posted by Christine Pack and Cathy Mathews
For those Christians who haven’t heard, essential oils are big business. Big, big business. Make no mistake: essential oils are the hottest thing going since yoga invaded the church a decade ago. One of the largest and most well known of these essential oils companies is Young Living. Young Living sells its products through Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), a pyramid form of selling that works through networking. (Other MLM companies that might be familiar to some readers are Amway, Juice Plus, Pampered Chef, Herbalife and Mary Kay.)
If you happen to be one of the few that hasn’t yet heard about essential oils, just wait. One day soon your Facebook inbox will blow up with invitations to this or that essential oils home party. If you choose to attend one of these parties, you might learn some useful tips for making nice-smelling homemade cleaning products or cosmetics with essential oils, but you might also be exposed to some very unbiblical concepts about sin, sanctification and illness.
Before I go any further, let me first state clearly that we are not concerned with the use of essential oils in foods, cosmetics and cleansers. We also view essential oils to be, in and of themselves, spiritually neutral. By that, we mean that we believe Christians can use them with a clean conscience and a right understanding of man, nature, God, physical vs. spiritual healing, etc. BUT, we do also want to warn that some EO companies and distributors (Young Living, in particular, which was founded by a professing Christian named Gary Young) use, sell, promote, and teach about EOs using New Age/New Thought concepts and spirituality, specifically in the areas of sin, sanctification and illness, and concepts that are clearly counter to what the Bible teaches on these things.
The area of alternative treatments, in general, is a tricky one to navigate, as we don’t have any desire to throw out all alternative treatments as being bad or unbiblical. What we do want to do is give clear warnings about the dangers that we do see about how some alternative products are marketed, since many of our readers will probably come into contact with some of this thinking, given that alternative treatments, on the whole, have become mainstreamed not only in the culture at large, but also, within the Christian community (and particularly the Christian homeschooling community).
Having said all that, our primary concerns are as follows:
(1) We are concerned when essential oils (or other alternative treatments) are marketed as having spiritual benefits that should only be ascribed to God;
(2) We desire to give clear warnings that the alternative treatment industry, on the whole, is almost entirely unregulated, and to educate others about what the implications of this are; and
(3) We are concerned when Christians choose to partner with, promote and sell products in tandem with companies that are undergirded with New Age/New Thought beliefs (i.e., being “unequally yoked”).
EOs MARKETED AS HAVING SPIRITUAL BENEFIT THAT BELONGS ONLY TO GOD
Below are some Young Living essential oils product descriptions which reveal the usage of New Age/New Thought concepts and statements for the marketing of the YL Oils:
White Angelica: Promotes feelings of protection and security, and can be used to guard against negative energy.
Balsam Fir: may be used to balance moods, promote a sense of well being and increase spirituality.
Douglas Fir: Used by Native Americans to enhance spirituality.
Juniper: promotes spirituality and encourages self esteem. Traditionally taken internally for purification and cleansing.
Ylang Ylang: traditionally used to balance the mind and emotions, this oil may also help control negative feelings such as frustration and anger.
Abundance: Was used by the ancients to attract prosperity and magnify joy and peace.
Aroma Life: used to energize your life force and promote heart vitality.
Australian Blue: will uplift the spirit and purify the body. This oil is taken from a plant that is revered in aboriginal culture.
Dream Catcher: is designed to harness the power of positive dreams and guard against clouded vision, helping you realize your desires and stay on the path to fulfillment.
The quotes below come directly from the CEO of Young Living, Gary Young, and have direct bearing on his views and marketing strategies for his essential oils. (HT: Chuck and Julie Cohen) My commentary and notes are in blue following the comments by Young.
Blog entries by Gary Young:
Surrender Negativity and Unconscious Manipulation – 10-18-12
“Disease is nothing more than manipulation, because disease creates control and gives you power over everyone around you. So then surrender, create the energy of giving it up, surrender that attachment; surrender that control.”
MY NOTE: this is not the biblical view of disease, which is that disease is a result of the Fall. Young’s view is more in keeping with Taoism.
The Transforming Power of Frankincense – 4-26-12
“As you are diffusing Transformation, it will stimulate the receptors in the limbic system and will open up the pineal gland. You will start to have feelings and thoughts, and maybe you will even see in a dream state ideas or visions of what can happen in your life.”
MY NOTE: We’re not taught anywhere in scripture to attempt to manipulate energy centers [“energy centers” AKA “chakras”…..an occult Hindu concept] in the body [whether that’s through yoga, meditation, acupuncture, application of essential oils, etc., etc.] in order to have dreams or visions about the future for our lives. In fact, this goes directly against what God says in Deut 29:29 “The hidden things belong to the Lord.” All that God wants us to know, He reveals plainly to us…….chasing after hidden knowledge is akin to witchcraft, and God detests it.
Five Secrets to Having More Energy and Vitality, Part III – 12-12-11
“As we continue through the Five Secrets for More Energy series, we come to the third chakra, otherwise known as the fire chakra. This energy center is located at the solar plexus and corresponds to our passion for life and our will, drive, and ability to express anger. When our fire chakra energy is low, blocked, or depleted, we may experience depression or boredom and lose touch with our purpose and passion.
In our culture, expressing anger is a touchy subject. Performing polarity yoga combined with Young Living essential oils may help you unleash anger and help you reconnect to your passion. Remember: According to energy medicine principles, if your energy is not moving, it gets stuck and stagnant—which leads to imbalances and possible illness. The secret to having more energy is to keep the energy you do have moving!”
MY NOTE: So many problems here…….First of all, these are blatant teachings of the Hindu/occult concept of the chakra system. Also, this is not the biblical model for how someone is to deal with anger/sin. Anger doesn’t just get fixed by someone’s “energy” being manipulated or “balanced.” For the Christian, besetting sins should be acknowledged, repented of, and prayed over, while making conscious efforts to put off the deeds of the flesh and put on the deeds of the Spirit. And finally, his teaching that having imbalances of energy can lead to illness is a Taoist concept, not a Christian one. Christians don’t see all of creation living in a perfect and whole harmony, with occasional energy imbalances that need to be righted through various means (yoga, acupuncture, reiki, meditation, oils, etc., etc.). That is the Taoist view. The Christian view on the other hand, is that when Adam and Eve fell, ALL of the earth was cursed. “For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.” (Rom 8:22)
In addition to these quotes from Young Living founder Gary Young, Young also cites a book called Healing Oils in the Bible. The author of this book, David Stewart, seems to equate all biblical references to “oil” with essential oils. But this idea that oils used during biblical times were essential oils is not accurate. In fact, there is no documented historical evidence for usage of essential oils during biblical times. This is because the procedure for making essential oils had not yet been invented, and would not be created for another 800 years or so. Oils and oil usage are referenced a number of times in the Bible, but these are references to regular, pressed oils (like olive oil) or infused oils, not essential oils. For an excellent analysis of the problems with Stewart’s book, please see our recently published article, A Critique of David Stewart’s “Healing Oils of the Bible.” This article was written by Sola Sisters contributing writer Marcia Montenegro. Marcia, a former professional astrologer, is the creator of the Christian Answers For the New Age website, is seminary trained, and is also a contributing writer to Rose Publishing, a resource very familiar to many homeschooling Christians. (Please also note that Stewart has written an article [Are Chakras New Age?] affirming an eastern [and unbiblical] view of the body known as the chakra system.)
For a more in-depth analysis of the unbiblical concepts used in the marketing of Young Living essential oils, please see Chuck and Julie Cohen’s excellent article, Aromatherapy: Biblical Path to Healing or Demonic Deception?
YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS MARKETED WITH UNBIBLICAL CONCEPTS
Abundance essential oil blend, from theYoung Living website
Here is just one example of Young Living essential oils being marketed with unbiblical concepts. This is a Young Living essential oil blend called “Abundance,” which is marketed with the idea that with this oil, the user can activate what is known as the “Law of Attraction.” This is not a biblical concept. It is more in alignment with New Thought, which is what Oprah Winfrey believes. Professing Christians who are Word of Faith also believe this concept, but it is still an unbiblical concept. (You can read more about the “Law of Attraction” here, and why it is unbiblical.)
The way in which the above oil blend is marketed with unbiblical concepts is only one of many examples from the Young Living website. To see this for yourself, please visit the Young Living website – Young Living Essential Oil Singles can be viewed here, Young Living Essential Oil Blends can be viewed here. Below are a few more screenshots of products with product descriptions.
Aroma Life essential oil blend, from the Young Living website
Dream Catcher essential oil blend, from the Young Living website
Forgiveness essential oil blend, from the Young Living website
Release essential oil blend, from the Young Living website
White Angelica essential oil blend, from the Young Living website
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.” (1 Cor 10:21)