Eva Briggs, M.D., exposed many problems with Young Living Essential Oils in her report “The Real Story of Gary Young and Young Living Essential Oils,” May 31, 2013, which is available HERE
Young claims to have a earned doctorate in naturopathy, but his “degree” was purchased from a diploma mill called Bernadean University, and he has never been licensed to practice naturopathy. A degree from Bernadean is not recognized by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education, which is recognized as a crediting agency with the Department of Education.
While living in Spokane, Washington, in the early 1980s, Young caused the death of his baby (by his first wife) by leaving it under water for an hour after birth in a whirlpool as an experiment.
In the 1980s, Young operated a clinic in Rosarita Beach, Mexico, that used laetrile to treat cancer. Laetrile is made from apricot pits. An estimated 50,000 to 75,000 Americans took laetrile treatments for cancer, but it turned out to be bogus and many died from the toxicity of the treatment itself.
Young was arrested in Spokane, Washington, in 1983 for practicing medicine without a license. He pled guilty to the unlawful practice of medicine and was sentenced to a year of probation (“The Truth about Gary Young,” Jul. 13, 2014, Web Page).
Young was arrested in California in 1988 for “a variety of charges related to the sale of ineffective and worthless medical treatments.”
Young was arrested in 1993 for threatening several family members with an axe. Two days before the assault, he had been ousted from Young Living, Inc. “for fraudulent misrepresentation of himself as a doctor, misuse of company funds to support his personal endeavors, erratic behavior during meetings, and other problems.” “Court and police records from Spokane, Washington, show that two days later, September 29, 1993, Young returned to the company headquarters with an axe. He attempted to force entry into the company office, removing the doors hinge pins, battering at the door with the axe, threatening and terrorizing company employees and his wife. He had to be removed by the police” (Eva Briggs, M.D., “Total Wacko at Total Health Expo in Toronto,” Canadian Quackery Watch,
Sherman Johnson, an M.D. who headed up the Young Life Research Clinic of Natural Medicine, pled guilty to manslaughter after injecting his patient, a longtime girlfriend, with a lethal dose of narcotics and falsifying her death certificate.
At a Total Health Expo in Toronto on March 20, 2004, Young spoke on “Hormones and Rejuvenation.” He showed a photo of Shirali Mislimov, who was reported in National Geographic Magazine (January 1973) to be 168 years old. Young claimed to have personally interviewed and photographed Mislimov, but that is impossible. Mislimov died in 1973, whereas Young claims in his biography to have been hit on the head in February 1973 by a falling tree after which he was supposedly paralyzed for years. Young also claimed that the Hunza people of China commonly live to more than 100 years old, but this has been debunked for further study. These bogus claims were used to promote Young’s “Berry Young Juice” made from Chinese wolfberry and other ingredients, supposedly based on an ancient Chinese formula that was personally revealed to Young by a “renowned Chinese scientist” named Dr. Songquio Zhao. There is no reference to this man apart from Young’s promotional material (Eva Briggs, M.D., “Total Wacko at Total Health Expo in Toronto,” Canadian Quackery Watch,
Young Living Essential Oils claims that its oils are all natural, but chemist Dr. Robert Pappas proved that the jasmine and birch oils contain synthetic oils. While working for the Lebermuth Company, he was approached by a YLEO representative who asked him to test the company’s jasmine oil. “Dr. Pappas said that he discovered conclusively that the oil had very high percentages of chemical known as DPG (dipropylene glycol), which was being sold as a ‘pure’ jasmine oil” (“Damning Evidence that Young Living and DoTERRA’s Essential Oils Are Adulterated,” Utah Stories, Aug. 15, 2014).
MARKS OF QUACKERY
Young Living Essentials Oils has the marks of quackery that we give in the book The Bible and Diet. Consider some of these:
A quack diet is based on bogus “science.”
While quacks discredit “traditional medicine,” their remedies are usually based on bogus science. This is true of Young Essential Oils. Young’s lecture “The Missing Link,” which was long used to train distributors, is filled with bogus science, as exposed by Eva Briggs, M.D., in “The Real Story of Gary Young and Young Living Essential Oils,” May 31, 2013, which is available at
For example, Young claims that oils “transport nutrients” and play the same function in plants as blood does in humans, which is false and ridiculous.
Of Young’s “The Missing Link,” Robert P. Adams of Baylor University called it “pure garbage.” Rodney Croteau of Washington State University said Young’s writings “are among the most unscientific and intellectually unsound that I have ever read.” Dr. Eva Briggs says his writings “reveal a complete and utter lack of knowledge about even basic science.”
A quack diet promises near perfect health and longevity and makes high-sounding claims.
When asked by the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah, what essential oils are good for, Mary Young replied, “They do everything under the sun” (“Oil of Success Brings Healthy $230 Million a Year to Lehi Company,” Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, May 5, 2013).
That’s a pretty big claim!
Until a warning was issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September 2014, Young Living Essential Oils distributors made many wild-eyed claims about the health benefits and healing properties of the products, including the claim that they could help in the cure of autism, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and Ebola. Since such claims would cause the oils to be listed as drugs and thus subject to testing, Young Living has toned down or removed the claims (“FDA warns three companies against marketing their products as Ebola treatments or cures,” The Washington Post, Sept. 24, 2014; “Honey Boo Boo, Snake Oil, and Ebola,” The Daily Beast, Dec. 5, 2014).
One of the ads for Young Living Essential Oils on theoildropper.com proclaimed, “Viruses (including Ebola) are no match for Young Living Essential Oils.” It said that YLEO Thieves oil “can even fight against airborne carried germs. ... This blend helped protect people against the Black Plague endemic in France.” The ad is no longer online.
Ads for Young Living Essential Oils at essentialsurvival.org claimed that YLEO’s Thieves oil “has been shown in university studies to obliterate bacteria and viruses, as well as mold.” And YLEO’s Frankincense oil was said to “have an anti-tumor effect on the following types of cancer cells, causing them to implode: Prostate cancer cells . . . Colon cancer cells . . . Cervical cancer cells . . . Bladder cancer cells . . . Leukemia cells . . . Melanoma and fibrosarcoma cells . . . Brain tumor cells.”
Ads on Pinterest.com claimed that Young Living Essential Oils were good for arteriosclerosis, hypertension, cancer, insomnia, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Today, the Young Living Essential Oils catalog only goes so far to make the following claims that are vague enough to be meaningless when put to any scientific test, but which still hold out the promise of health and healing, both physical and spiritual, to those who use them:
“can maintain overall vitality”
“encourages peaceful and spiritual feelings”
“brings a deeper sense of spirituality”
“enhances spiritual journey and meditation experience”
“contributes to overall wellness”
“supports a healthy immune response”
“promotes a more radiant, younger-looking appearance”
“supports joints and tissue health”
“balances the body’s overall enzyme activity”
“supports the body’s systems”
“supports core intestinal health”
“provides optimal antioxidant protection”
“supports overall wellness”
“supports cognitive alertness and fitness”
“supports a unique normal brain function”
“boosts feelings of masculinity and confidence”
“supports health weight-management goals”
“created to enhance the frequency of harmonic magnetic energy field that surrounds us”
“energizes your life force”
“designed to enhance the process of dreaming and visualization”
The promotion of energy fields, life forces, dreaming, meditation, spirituality, and visualization takes Young Living Essential Oils directly into the realm of New Age occultism.
A quack diet is based on testimonials.
In the case of Young Living Essential Oils, the company is founded on Young’s own testimony of healing from a logging accident. He implies that he was healed by his oils, but there is no evidence to back up the claim. He has never documented either his injury or his cure.
A quack diet is tied to a money-making scheme.
Young Living Essential Oils is a money-making enterprise which has made Donald Gary Young wealthy. YLEO owns six farms and seven distilleries worldwide. By 2013, Young Living Essential Oils had 785 employees worldwide with offices in Utah, Japan, Ecuador, Peru, and Australia, and was making $230 million a year (“Oil of Success Brings Healthy $230 Million a Year to Lehi Company,” Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, May 5, 2013).
There is nothing inherently wrong with building a successful business and making money, but when one’s income is tied to one’s testimony about a certain product, it must be carefully tested.
A quack tends to discredit “standard medicine.”
This theme runs through many of the testimonies pertaining to Young Living Essential Oils. At the Total Health Expo in Toronto in March 2004, Gary Young claimed that scientists and doctors are “all participants in a giant conspiracy” and they suppress genuine discoveries in order to obtain grant money.
A quack diet plan promotes “all natural” as opposed to “synthetic.”
Young Living Essential Oils makes a large issue of the alleged fact that its oils are all natural, though this has been disproven in scientific tests.
A quack diet plan claims to be based on the Bible.
Many promoters of essential oils try to find a biblical basis. For example, one wrote, “I am a Christian too, a strong one, and have done a lot of research on the biblical basis of using oils for healthcare. I started using them on my children and can’t believe the amazing results. Check my oil website. ... Look at these verses: Ezekiel 47:12; Gen. 37:25; Matt 2:11; Numbers 16 (Aaron stops a plague with frankincense and myrrh!); Exodus 12:22; 29:7; Leviticus 2:1-2, Mark 14:3, and my favorite James 5:14-15. From a healthcare standpoint, the oils will change your life. From a spiritual standpoint, you may change other’s lives” (from http://jontioils.com/wordpress/wake-up-people-2/).
The biblical ignorance reflected in this statement is frightful. Most of the references have nothing to do with the use of oils for healing or healthcare. In Numbers 16, Aaron didn’t stop the plague with frankincense and myrrh. The power of God stopped it. The incense was used to make an atonement (Num. 16:46). It was a spiritual issue, not a physical one. The Tabernacle incense signified Christ’s intercession for man’s sin. As for James 5:14-15, the healing is not through oil but through prayer. We believe in anointing with oil, but it is symbolic of the healing ministry of the Holy Spirit. The oil is used as an “anointing,” not for a healing balm. James plainly says it is “the prayer of faith” that saves the sick.
God made oils, and they have many good and helpful uses, but there is no panacea for all of life’s troubles and health problems. We age, get sick, and die because of sin, ultimately, not because of lack of oils, herbs, vitamins, or supplements.
Diet is important, and diet can affect one’s health, but there is no diet and no supplement and no program that can legitimately promise health or longevity.
Young Living Essential Oils is based on bogus claims by a man of questionable character, and that is a loud warning to those who have ears to hear.
Sharing Policy: Much of our material is available for free, such as the hundreds of articles at the Way of Life web site. Other items we sell to help fund our expensive literature and foreign church planting ministries. Way of Life's content falls into two categories: sharable and non-sharable. Things that we encourage you to share include the audio sermons, O Timothy magazine, FBIS articles, and the free eVideos and free eBooks. You are welcome to make copies of these at your own expense and share them with friends and family, but they cannot be posted to web sites. You are also welcome to use excerpts from the articles in your writings, in sermons, in church bulletins, etc. All we ask is that you give proper credit. Things we do not want copied and distributed freely are items like the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library, print editions of our books, electronic editions of the books that we sell, the videos that we sell, etc. The items have taken years to produce at enormous expense in time and money, and we use the income from sales to help fund the ministry. We trust that your Christian honesty will preserve the integrity of this policy. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward" (1 Timothy 5:18).
Goal:Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc., the Fundamental Baptist Information Service is an e-mail posting for Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. Our primary goal with the FBIS is to provide material to assist preachers in the edification and protection of the churches.
Offering: We take up a quarterly offering to fund this ministry, and those who use the materials are expected to participate (Galatians 6:6) if they can. We do not solicit funds from those who do not agree with our preaching and who are not helped by these publications. We seek offerings only from those who are helped. OFFERINGS can be mailed or made online with with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Paypal. For information see: www.wayoflife.org/about/makeanoffering.html.
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials