From ‘The Vow’ to ‘Seduced’: All the docuseries exposing the NXIVM cult
Whenever something heinous happens people tend to gravitate towards it. It’s sort of twisted, but we’re drawn to the pain of others. We love to investigate the dark side of human nature. Maybe it’s because we care about understanding the broken. Maybe it’s because it shows us a version of ourselves we’re not willing to risk enacting but are fascinated by the possibility of. Maybe we’re just trying to fathom the depths of evil.
Whatever your reason, you’ve probably found yourself hooked on a true crime podcast or enthralled in a crime documentary before. One of the most publicized scandals of the last few years is the abuse taking place in the NXIVM company. You’ve probably heard of them. They’re more commonly know as the NXIVM sex cult. This multi-level marketing company offered self-help programs for the betterment of its members.
In truth, NXIVM did infuse positivity and freedom into the lives of many members. For this reason, many former NXIVM members are dismayed the entire organization has been branded as a sexual abuse scheme. The subgroups you were in really determined how much you suffered at the hands of manipulation. The DOS subgroup in particular earned NXIVM its label as a sex cult.
It’s true that within this subgroup women were brainwashed into sexual slavery. The founder, Keith Raniere, is the picture of a sadistic narcissist. He even went by the regal title of “Vanguard” when addressed by NXIVM members. More than two years after Raniere’s arrest, the NXIVM cult is the topic of various shows. Here we’ll focus on which docuseries you should ogle if you care to learn more about the organization.
The Vow, which was produced by HBO, is probably the most well-known docuseries on the NXIVM cult. Sarah Edmondon, Mark Vincent, and Bonnie Piesse are at the center of the story in this docuseries. They’re all former high-level NXIVM members so the series is able to spill many insights about the cult.
The Vow features the testimony of other NXIVM victims as well. You can tell the creators wanted to focus on immersing viewers in what it was like to get sucked in by NXIVM. In that way, it’s not your typical true crime documentary. Things are not always told linearly and you get to dive into the emotion of these former members’ journeys.
Though this docuseries gets you really close and personal with various victims, some point out The Vow often leaves out some of the juiciest details, like what exactly all of NXIVM’s secret subgroups are, or what ideological pillars Keith Raniere’s philosophy stood on.
So, although the slow-release method The Vow uses can leave you addicted, you’re sometimes left wanting. It has however been renewed for a second season. Perhaps some of the holes in the story will be addressed later on. As they say, save the best for last.
Season 1 of Uncover
The first season of the Uncover podcast covers the NXIVM cult. Remember the former NXIVM cult member Sarah Edmondson we mentioned? Well, the host of the podcast is a childhood friend of hers. Uncover provides unique inside looks on NXIVM. From interviewing Keith Raniere’s defense attorney to incorporating expert input, this podcast has it going on.
Uncover even includes coverage of Keith Raniere’s trial and speaks to people from Raniere’s past. What The Vow leaves out about Raniere’s belief system Uncover fills in. Since the host knows Edmondson personally, he’s able to coax details out of her that other interviewers were unable to uncover. Even if you’re not usually into podcasts, this one is worth giving a listen. It only has a run time of six and a half hours.
Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult
Starz produced Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult. This docuseries gets into the nitty gritty of the twisted power dynamics and sexual abuse perpatrated by Keith Raniere. It focuses pretty singularly on former high-level member India Oxenberg. Oxenberg is actually one of the executive producers of the show.
In Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult Oxenberg gets into the twisted philosophy of Raniere and the rampant manipulation inflicted on NXIVM’s members. As she looks back on her time there you get to hear details about DOS, the infamous subgroup where master-slave relationships were commonplace.
The style of the show is less artsy and a lot more blunt than The Vow. One feature often much appreciated about Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult is the inclusion of interviews with trauma specialists and cult experts. It’s the right docuseries to watch if you’d rather be delivered the raw details than whisked away on an eerie journey.