doTERRA US Founder Deals With Son’s Burn Tragedy… By Shilling Products?

DoTerra Founder Sons AccidentWatching your son get third-degree burns all over his body is the type of family tragedy that every parent fears. But for one dad (who also happens to be a midlevel marketing pro), this is also an opportunity to tout the magic of his products.

Andy Goddard is a ”Presidential Diamond” seller, and US Founder, of doTERRA oils. On July 2 his son, 15-year-old Max Goddard, was the victim of a horrific explosion. Goddard has been sharing the family’s response to this tragedy on It has been an occasion to document the progress of his recovery. But it’s also been a great venue for marketing his company’s products.

According to Goddard’s website there was an explosion, his son caught on fire, and he ended up with third degree burns on 30% of his body (with second degree burns on another 10% of his body). What happens next is more confusing. Rather than take him directly to the hospital, his parents doused him with doTERRA essential oils, gave him a bath, and then drove to the hospital.

According to the website:

original post oilsThe posting has since been edited to read:

“He took his clothes off in the kitchen and we put him in our bathtub under cold water. He said an explosion went off and He was blinded by the light and stumbled around, then ran into the house.

While he was in the tub, Markus and I gave him a priesthood blessing. I carried him to the van and we rushed him to the AF hospital.”

The posts on the site go on to document the ways that doTERRA products have aided in Max’s recovery. As one of the very few people at the tippy top of the doTERRA pyramid, Goddard has done extremely well with the company Presidential Diamond sellers averaged $1,372,000 per year in 2013.

Selling doTerra last year (facebook)DoTERRA sells essential oils , aromatic oils that are used for holistic treatments.  There is evidence that aromatherapy and essential oils may effectively help with a variety of ailments, including anxiety, menstrual pain, colds, and breathing problems.  The problem is not that essential oils aren’t effective, or are harmful, but instead, the claims of their miraculous properties wildly outstrip their proven usages.  It is said that essential oils treat or even ”cure” cancer , heart disease , strokes  and, of course, burns.

DoTERRA is a multi-level marketing company, which relies not just on its salespeople to sell the oil, but also to sell the company to other people so that they can become salespeople and sell the oil, too (Some popular companies of this sort are Avon, Mary Kay, and The Pampered Chef).  Somebody who sells the product can earn a small commission. Somebody who convinces somebody else to sign up under them can earn a small commission on their recruit’s sales, as well as on their own.  The more recruits you have, the more money you make.

To become a Presidential Diamond of doTERRA , the salesperson must have recruited six people who have reached the Platinum level. Each of those six people must have led three people to the Silver level (in order to reach Platinum).  Each of those people, in order to become Silver, must have recruited three people to the Elite level, and each of those people must have recruited 15 people to sell the product in order to become Elite.  While many people sign up for these types of companies because they love the product (I myself sold Usborne Books for a short time, and still love the children’s books I got out of it), those who are looking to become rich must be savvy about selling the business, not just selling the oils.

Perhaps you have somebody (or somebodies) in your news feed ”Start your own business, set your own hours, make money doing what you love!” a seemingly constant stream of ”my life is amazing because of this company” with no mention of the fact that what they want to do in order to make money is to get you to do what they are doing (recruiting people under them). To be hugely successful at these types of companies, the bottom line has to supersede personal relationships. Every person that you see or meet is a potential recruit. Every interaction is a potential sale. I can’t be the only person who has seen inappropriate sales pitches on Facebook somebody pours their heart out about being depressed, and a good friend or relative turns it around and says ”you know what would help with depression?  Owning your own business!  Setting your own hours!”

Andy Goddard has been very successful at doTERRA, recently traveling to Haiti with the doTERRA owners and other Presidential Diamonds. In early June, he posted to his Facebook page, ”4yr. old Talmage just asked me, “Dad, why don’t you have a job?” I love my life.”

Dad why don't you have a jobHe has reached a level of success with the company that is rare, and can only be reached with a steadfast dedication to selling the company. has been sitting idle for a couple of years, and now his parents decided to start using it to tell the story of Max’s accident, to ask for prayers, and document his recovery. But instead of a straightforward recount of a horrible accident with heightened emotions, it reads like a doTERRA testimonial.  The very first comment, and the majority of the comments from readers from the start, reflects this sentiment.  Commenter Bernie Rotolante wrote: ”Prayers for a miraculous and speedy recovery for Max as well as The Lord lifting you all up during this time. Thank you for sharing your story and Thank God for DoTerra and their amazing essential oils!!!”

Commenter1Andy makes it clear that the oils are, indeed, miraculous.  ”He [the doctor] was open to us using essential oils in Max’s treatment. We agreed to give Max 1 more hour to see if the pressure had gone down in his arms and hands. We kept slathering the oils on him, Dr. M. did the test, and his numbers were all within acceptable range. The escharotomy that Dr. L. was planning on doing just hours earlier was evaded!”

miracles of oil2The hospital is apparently allowing (encouraging?) a liberal amount of essential oil treatment.

Irrigating woundsI cannot verify the treatment perhaps the use of oils is being exaggerated, perhaps not.  It’s hard for me to imagine a hospital allowing people to slather a critical care burn patient with oils, but according to Andy, this is exactly what is happening.

But the tone of the website salesperson testimonial in the face of such a horrendous accident, is what gets me. The boy may not survive the accident, and if he does, recovery is going to be long and difficult. I’m going to give the Goddards the benefit of the doubt (of a lot of doubts) and assume that their reaction to this tragedy was to slip into auto-pilot, to do what they know best. In their case, what they know best is to rely heavily on homeopathic products, and while doing so, broadcast it so as to encourage others to try them.

But the fact that they deleted the description of the oils they used BEFORE taking Max to the hospital betrays the fact that many of the posts on are shilling these products. Maybe they realized that broadcasting their usage of essential oils before contacting an emergency medical professional was a bit too much of a medical leap to share with people who might do the same in a burn situation.

But what they are doing, if they are telling the truth, could be incredibly dangerous for a boy with terrible, terrible burns (now that they have doctor approval, it is less dangerous, but to wait to go to the hospital in order to use essential oils in a life-or-death situation seems unthinkably foolhardy). What they are doing if they are not telling the truth is incredibly, incredibly misleading and dangerous for people who read and believe their testimony and may try to mimic their results if they are in a similar situation.

Commenter if we have the same problem

Many MLM companies work well because the products are good, and perhaps that is true for doTERRA (I’ve never tried the oils myself). However, when a company relies on its own salespeople to turn all relationships and interactions into sales pitches, and expects its untrained (medically speaking) salespeople to dabble in medical advice, medical emergencies are simply opportunities to test product, and life is nothing more than a sales pitch, even in the midst of tragedy.

(Image: Facebook)

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