Tag Archives: Warren Jeffs

NXIVM and Other Cults

DOS brand as per Government Exhibit GX-352 in US v. Raniere, Source https://www.courthousenews.com/former-slave-master-describes-sex-cult-branding-ritual/, Author US Attorney’s Office, EDNY (PD as work product of federal govt.)

And Jesus answered and said to them:  ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many’ ” (Matt. 24: 4-5).

NXIVM is old news.  Keith Raniere has joined the ranks of such infamous cult leaders as Marshall Applewhite, Jim Jones, Warren Jeffs, and David Koresh [1].

But the NXIVM phenomenon has lessons for us.  Here are a few:

1.  A charismatic leader may not be what he claims. 

All that glitters is not gold.

Though venerated as a virtual god, Keith Raniere was originally an Amway distributor [2A].  The self-proclaimed guru and life coach called himself the “smartest man in the world” when, in fact, he had difficulty completing college.

2.  The endorsement of celebrities is no guarantee of an organization’s trustworthiness.

NXIVM was supported by Seagrams heiresses, Clare and Sara Bronfman, to the tune of some $85 million [2B].

Among the celebrities who once endorsed NXIVM were actresses Allison Mack, India Oxenberg, and Sarah Edmondson [3].  Keith Raniere even appeared with the Dalai Lama.

3.  Hierarchy and ritual are no guarantees of an organization’s spirituality.

NXIVM had both.

4.  Finances often reveal the true nature of an organization.

Actions speak louder than words.  Lofty sounding goals are not enough.

Keith Raniere promised his followers they would change the world [2C].  Instead, Raniere’s actions confirmed his desire for sex, money, and power.

Legally, NXIVM was comprised of dozens of shell corporations, their finances dubious [2D].  Functionally, NXIVM was little more than a pyramid scheme, designed to bilk Raniere’s followers of their savings [2E].

A seemingly endless series of classes were heavily promoted. All promised self-knowledge and self-improvement, albeit at a cost.  Meanwhile, members often went unpaid for their labor.

Raniere’s earlier venture, Consumer Buyline (a multi-level marketing company) was shut down in 1993 after being investigated for fraud by 20 states.

5.  Excessive control is a major red flag.

There is a fine line between indoctrination and brainwashing; that line must not be crossed.

New members were introduced to NXIVM’s philosophy of “rational inquiry” at intensive, 14 hour-per-day seminars lasting more than 2 weeks.

Loyalty to NXIVM was emphasized over loyalty to family.  The dress, diet, and life decisions of members were all closely regulated by NXIVM.  Even the weight of members was monitored.

Other tactics employed at NXIVM included sleeplessness, isolation, starvation, corporal punishment, and coercion via blackmail.  Cult leaders Jim Jones and Charles Manson, also, used “love bombing” – excessive displays of attention and affection intended to overwhelm [5]. Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Christianity, Justice, Law, Religion, sex trafficking, Slavery

Overcoming the World, Part 1 – Fame and Systemic Abuse

What a world it has become.  Headlines scream off the page at us:

Parents Arrested After Allegedly Forcing Girl, 5, to OD on Soda [1].

Doctor convicted of endangering stepdaughter in “waterboarding” Trial[2].

Couple Arrested for Enslaving Teen Girl[3].

FAME

Certainly, fame and affluence do not assure the safety of children.  Melvin Morse – the doctor mentioned above – had appeared on “Oprah” and “Good Morning America”. Fame may, in fact, foster a sense of entitlement on the part of some predators. They come to believe the prohibition against abuse is for lesser mortals.

And fame seems to provide an exemption of sorts from basic standards of morality.

Woody Allen’s adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, continues to maintain that the filmmaker sexually assaulted her, some two decades ago [4]. Allen was never prosecuted [5A] [5B].

Woody Allen, you may remember, was, also, involved sexually with Soon-Yi Previn, 35 years his junior. Soon-Yi (whom Allen later married) was another adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, a woman with whom Allen had a longterm relationship. Allen has been quoted as saying, “What was the scandal?…There was no scandal…” [6].

Overseas, BBC star Jimmy Savile was repeatedly investigated, but never prosecuted either. Only after his death was it revealed that Savile had abused a staggering 400 children or more, often while they were hospital patients [7].  The possibility of a wider British pedophile ring with influential members protected from prosecution is still being explored.

The California trial of ex-football player Darren Sharper for rape should be instructive. Sharper is under investigation for a total of seven rapes in four states [8]. Assuming the allegations against him to be true, Sharper felt no compunction about drugging women in order to have sex with them.

SYSTEMIC ABUSE

Systemic abuse may be even more appalling. The public is by now familiar with the Catholic Church sex scandal. In “Secrets of the Vatican,” the investigative program, Frontline, recently exposed the culture of corruption which allowed sexual perversion to flourish [9]. But the Catholic Church is not alone in this.

Continue reading

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women