HomeNewsThe NXIVM brand: The awful crimes committed by their secret cult

The NXIVM brand: The awful crimes committed by their secret cult

Everyone by now has heard the horror stories of NXIVM and their secret cult. But what crimes did the brand actually commit over the years?

The NXIVM brand: The awful crimes committed by their secret cult

Before the 2018 arrest of Smallville actress Allison Mack, hardly anyone in the public had heard of the NXIVM brand or their professional development seminars. These seminars gave birth to the NXIVM cult that committed a host of awful crimes and injustices against its members. NXIVM was founded in 1998 and has used cruel tactics to fill its ranks & punish dissent.

Everyone by now has heard the horror stories of NXIVM and their secret cult. But what crimes did the brand actually commit over the years?

What techniques did the NXIVM brand use?

Quickly after its founding, NXIVM was accused of using cult-like techniques. One common technique in NXIVM seminars was the use of “rational inquiry”: answering a series of questions and observations framed by carefully selected concepts of what is “good”. The technique was used to modify an individual’s thinking and change how they experienced the world.

Some have likened the rational inquiry technique to a type of interrogation, similar to other techniques often used by cults to control members. NXIVM brand leader Keither Raniere developed a deep fascination with Scientology and Neuro-linguistic programming years before launching these seminars and likely applied many of their tactics when developing his rational inquiry system.

Everyone by now has heard the horror stories of NXIVM and their secret cult. But what crimes did the brand actually commit over the years?

How did the NXIVM brand become a cult?

Once Raniere was able to draw a subject into the NXIVM brand of self-improvement seminars, he quickly worked to establish a rigid hierarchy among the members. Raniere established the title “Vanguard” for himself, and “Prefect” for his second-in-command Allison Mack. He used colored sashes to establish rank among the rest, a hierarchical system of rules to control NXIVM members. 

From the ranks of his professional development hierarchy, Raniere recruited high-ranking members into a secret organization within the NXIVM brand called “DOS” or “The Vow”. Raniere demanded these elite members recruit female slaves to work under them and perform menial tasks. The top members of DOS subjected women to corporal punishment from the “masters”.

Everyone by now has heard the horror stories of NXIVM and their secret cult. But what crimes did the brand actually commit over the years?

The NXIVM brand used branding, violence, and forced sex against its cult members

The DOS organization was known as a “secret sisterhood” and slaves were encouraged to recruit their own slaves to work under them. The DOS was a pyramid scheme of slaves recruiting other slaves, all under Raniere’s power. Slaves were branded with their master’s initials, usually Raniere or Mack, and were forced to have sex with Raniere.  

Raniere developed a system of collecting “collateral” within the NXIVM brand. At first, Raniere requested that members forfeit small amounts of money when they skipped doing something productive, such as going to the gym. Slowly, the fines for infractions grew larger, ultimately forcing members to provide nude pictures, blackmail information, or large sums of money as collateral. 

With this collateral in place, Raniere was able to deepen further the slavery that women faced in his DOS organization. He punished members harshly with solitary confinement, physical violence, psychological abuse, and forced exposure to extreme weather without clothes in order to maintain power over his members. Raniere also humiliated the women and forced them on diets if he deemed them too “fat”.

Everyone by now has heard the horror stories of NXIVM and their secret cult. But what crimes did the brand actually commit over the years?

The NXIVM brand catered to Raniere’s perverted fantasies

There have even been reports of Raniere grooming a young girl to take her virginity. When she met Raniere, the girl in question was 16 years old. Her family had moved to the U.S. from Mexico because they had heard about Raniere’s self-development seminars. Weeks before her 18th birthday, Raniere started to discuss how he was going to consummate their relationship after she had lost the required weight.

After she turned 18, Raniere gave the young woman a call to tell her it was “time”. He escorted her to an office building where he raped her; after that day she was required to perform oral sex on him regularly. Raniere even forced the young woman and her sister to have group sex with him on multiple occasions, threatening to deport them back to Mexico if they didn’t meet his expectations. 

Everyone by now has heard the horror stories of NXIVM and their secret cult. But what crimes did the brand actually commit over the years?

NXIVM members have been arrested, but Raniere still waits on sentencing 

Both Raniere & Allison Mack were arrested in 2018 along with other high-ranking members of the NXIVM brand cult. As of 2019, five members associated with the cult have pleaded guilty to various charges.

In June 2019, Raniere was convicted by a federal court of sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, identity theft, and recketeering. Raniere’s sentencing date is delayed due to coronavirus; however, he is likely to receive life in prison for his ghastly past. Unlike Jeffrey Epstein, it’s hard to know if Raniere will succumb to the prison blues.  

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Reader of words and people, Jorge enjoys the simple things in life – like a cloud, or Whitehead's process philosophy contextualized within modern digital systems. He loves watching arthouse and independent films, but isn't too proud to root for the baby mamas on Maury Povich.

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