Wait! You got it all wrong! (Article Update): By mid 2007, I have found it necessary to update this article due to both the continued prevalence of the original hoax letters and newer variations that have arisen. Some of the most surprising mail I have received actually argues against the facts established in this article. Individuals professing to be concerned believers have written to say that they had witnessed some of the alleged events and have told us that we have "gotten it all wrong", claiming that we are the ones spreading lies. Our response to these claims now follows this article, so make sure you read it first if you are inclined to send us such a letter.
What would you do if you received a letter like the following?...
Having received and read such a letter, if you are like many Christians, you would do one of two things... You would ignore it because you ignore all calls for boycotts, or you would take it to heart and perhaps forward it to some friends (whether or not you intend to actively participate in any boycott). These days, with the quick and easy medium of e-mail, more and more people choose to pass it on -- and often to a large list of friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately there needs to be another course of action. YOU NEED TO CHECK IT OUT. Why? Because in this case (and in a host of other instances as well) IT'S A LIE!!!
When Christians become the source of lies something is seriously wrong. Yes, I know many do it unwittingly but that's the problem. As followers of Jesus Christ, people who should love the truth, we need to be careful in all our dealings and talk whether with Christians or non-Christians. Moreover, if our actions or speech bring discredit to the cause of Christ, we need to do all we can to correct it.
Why Procter & Gamble is the target of such malicious attacks is a mystery. I find it hard to believe that a Christian would have started such a thing, yet professing Christian individuals and churches have definitely continued them. Worse still, some are updating these false petitions to give them a sense of current urgency and, of course, adding to the list of products that are supposed to be boycotted. Again, I would doubt that any Christian is involved in that intentional deception but many a non-Christian would like to see the church discredited in any way possible. In these false causes, they have certainly found their means.
Back when I first wrote about this Procter & Gamble rumor in 1992, I already had a number of variations of the letter in my possession, many of them having been forwarded to me by individuals and at least one from a church bulletin board. By 1992, these letters had already undergone more than ten years of circulation and alteration. What, perhaps, is most amazing is that these early forms all had to be circulated from individual to individual either in person, or by postal mail, or perhaps by fax in the late 80's onward. All of these were inefficient in comparison to the mass distribution that e-mail has shown itself to be capable of. To show you how the same lies are merely getting new packaging (and rapid distribution) here's an early version to compare with the more recent one...
The earliest forms of this hoax seem to have begun in the early 80's when some alarmist decided that the P & G moon and stars logo was a symbol of Satanism. Every one of the letters, over all these years, have attempted to tie P & G to Satanism in some way. While there appears to be occasional ebbs and surges in the popularity and circulation of these letters, they have never have died out completely. (Some known surges, 1982, 1985, 1991-92, 1999). The updating and changing of the material being circulated seems to always start new rounds of circulation.
From early variations that directly attacked the standard P&G moon and stars logo, later forms imply (or state) that a new more sinister logo is on the way (or has already been changed, and will show up any day now). For all the years that this falsehood has been circulated, it has never happened and according to P&G is not going to happen.
It should be noted that many of the letters use not only a main show (i.e. Phil Donahue or Sally Jesse Raphael) but also a secondary 'witness' (i.e. Merv Griffin or Oprah Winfrey or Jenny Jones). The latest forms often reference three different talk shows.
So, in response, lets examine all the facts. In order, here's what we need to consider.
The P&G trademark originated around 1851, when many products did not carry a visible brand name, as a symbol for Star brand candles. This way, even people who could not read could see P&G's trademark and know they would get consistent quality. The original trademark was refined into a star which multiplied into thirteen stars for the 13 original American colonies and a man-in-the-moon, a popular decorative fancy of the 1800's. P&G management recognized the importance of the man-in-the-moon element when they eliminated it from the trademark in the 1860's. A merchant "down river" rejected a shipment of Star Candles, an early P&G product, which carried the modified trademark. He chided the Company by letter for sending imitations. The moon promptly went back into service, and the trademark was officially registered with the U.S. Patent Office in 1882. Some of their variations (from P & G) are as follows...
As for the company itself, it began in a humble fashion. Established in 1837, Procter & Gamble started as a small, family operated soap and candle company in Cincinnati, Ohio. From that modest beginning, P&G has grown into a global company which today has sales in over 140 countries and on-the-ground operations in more than 70 countries.
The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio provides us with an interesting look at the founder's CHRISTIAN beliefs.
This church also attests to the fact that subsequent executives of this corporation have been active members of their congregations as well. This brief glimpse of history shows that it is obvious that the intent of the original owners, and the designers of the P&G logo, was not Satanic. (If Satanic concepts can be read into every symbol using stars [because Satanists and witches use star shaped pentagrams], even the US flag would become suspect. Because a Satanic or New Age Group has adopted any symbol, the mere use of a similar symbol by anyone else cannot be automatically used to show association. That's like saying that anyone using a rainbow is a New Ager, solely because they have adopted and commonly used that symbol.)
Phil Donahue has issued
numerous letters regarding this matter. Two signed copies I have in
my possession are dated August 2, 1991 and April 5, 1995. The text of
both is as follows...
A signed letter (April 19, 1990) from Peter Barsocchini, a vice president of Merv Griffin Enterprises, again testifies to the falsehood of the circulating letters.
A signed letter from Maurice Tunick, executive producer of the Sally Show (August 16,1999), reads like the others...
In addition, Sally's web site (FAQ.) contains this statement...
A later (and updated) response on her web site has similar content...
The Liz Claiborne allegations appear to be a recent addition to a long list of falsehoods in the circulating P&G letters. I do not, as of yet, have a letter from the Oprah show. But when I do, it is sure to read like all the others. The statements are completely false. The pattern here should be clear by now.
Finally, Ed Glavin, Jenny Jones' executive producer, lays to rest the statements made about her show (August 6, 1999)...
In a world of conspiracies, many still refuse to believe even clear cut statements. When P&G and every talk-show issues statements denying the fabricated events being circulated, some refuse to still believe. Of those, some would never be persuaded by any amount of evidence, but for those who would accept the challenge, here's an area to consider. With millions of viewers in Canada and the US, owning millions of VCRs, why hasn't even one tape been produced to support these Satanic allegations? I'm not talking about faint claims of being able to get such a tape, or that the cousin of my friend's uncle has one, but an in-the-hand original or copy. You see, no one has one. The reason? Because they don't exist.
While initially ignoring the allegations, apart from issuing strong (and repeated) statements to the contrary (try about 150,000 phone calls and letters in the 80's alone) perhaps hoping they would go away P&G has had to take more aggressive action over the years. This especially became necessary when at least one competitor was using the allegations to their financial advantage. More than 10 years ago P&G began to hire specific security consultants (forces) to track the sources of these lies and those who maliciously spread them. By 1999, Procter and Gamble had filed 15 lawsuits, six against Amway distributors. All were concluded in P&G's favor.
When even courts of law, with the burden of proof necessary for lawsuits, ascertain that these fabrications are outright lies, how much more testimony should we need?! In fact, without evidence to the contrary (not unsubstantiated allegations), Procter and Gamble's statements should be accepted at face value.
Two Amway distributors, James & Linda Newton, who lost a legal suit against them by P&G (to the tune of $75,000!) issued this formal statement...
In the early 90's, Human Life International (HLI), who had circulated one of the false letters in their Canadian newsletter, become a prominent source for these lies. They had done so, without research or verification, by solely relying on the source coming from one prominent member; the Superior General of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Having been made aware of the gross inaccuracies in their published statement, they later (February 11, 1992) printed and distributed a formal apology to P&G. Their letter of apology ended by saying...
Hosts of other church leaders and evangelists have issued statements in support of Procter and Gamble in regards to this matter. Even columnist Ann Landers. Everyone who has studied the matter has come to the same conclusion, there are no truth to the lies tying P&G to Satanism. This too should speak volumes.
The Bible tells us to establish things out of the mouths of two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15, 2 Corinthians 13:1). With the multitudes of witnesses, whose testimony we have now provided, the truth about all these Procter and Gamble allegations should be well known. They're a complete FABRICATION, and a MALICIOUS LIE. No one, and especially Christians, have any business trafficking in lies. Unless we (all Christians) go out of our way to help stop these lies, sad-to-say I'll likely be writing an update a few years from now, adding the denials of another generation of talk show hosts. Let's stand NOW for the truth.
Since Christians and churches have been some of the most instrumental in circulating these lies concerning Procter & Gamble, it brings discredit to Jesus Christ. If you don't think the secular world sees it in this fashion, just consider these excerpts from an editorial in The Freeman Courier (SD, USA. February 1, 1989), entitled "A run on the rumor mill."
In conclusion, if you receive a petition or letter like this one regarding P&G - investigate it. Don't spread it unless you know it to be true. And, if you were involved in spreading these malicious mistruths, write a letter of apology (recognize that no matter how unintentional, it was still wrong unintentional sin is still sin!) and circulate it to everyone you sent the original to. Better still, even if you have never circulated these false letters, circulate this one or another one in support of P&G in the name of the church we owe it to them (1 Peter 2:12, Matthew 5:16).
For the record, this is an example (2007) of some of the letters we have received in regards to the above article...
Before you send us a similar letter, consider the response I have provided to every similar letter thus far...
I must confess I'm perplexed over those who vigorously argue that they witnessed one of these events that never happened. It's actually quite rare (in my mail) for a claimant to have witnessed it first hand, usually it was a brother, sister, uncle, cousin, neighbor, or the like. Of course, the more people removed the more likely the facts got distorted (or invented). Returning to the rare individuals who claim first-person knowledge, of course without any evidence, I can only echo what a lawyer friend of mine said... "Human memory is inherently unreliable." Perhaps this was why God required complete agreement from at least two or three witnesses for any conviction under Old Testament law (Deuteronomy 19:15)! In fact, allegations in the church are still to be settled by the same standard (Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19). In regards to the circulating hoaxes, these isolated professed witnesses certainly don't meet that requirement, they differ on details ranging from when the alleged shows aired, to what actually took place in them. Hosts of actual witnesses, in consistent opposition, have far more credibility. The truth remains a fact fixed in time; lies and deception seem capable of never ending change. Seek the truth!