NXIVM: A Cult of Self-Improvement or a Sex Cult?
NXIVM was a self-improvement organization founded in 1998 by Keith Raniere. The organization offered a variety of programs and courses that were designed to help people improve their lives. However, NXIVM was also a cult that used coercive and abusive tactics to control its members.
Raniere was a charismatic leader who was able to attract a large following of people who were looking to improve their lives. He promised them that his programs would help them to achieve their goals and to become better people. However, Raniere’s programs were actually designed to control and manipulate his followers.
One of the ways that Raniere controlled his followers was by using a system of “vows.” Members were required to make vows of obedience to Raniere and to the organization. These vows were often accompanied by physical and emotional abuse. Members were also required to provide Raniere with personal information, such as their financial information and their sexual history.
Raniere also used a system of blackmail to control his followers. He would threaten to expose members’ secrets if they tried to leave the organization. This made it very difficult for members to leave, even if they wanted to.
In addition to using coercive and abusive tactics, Raniere also used sex to control his followers. He created a secret society within NXIVM called DOS, which stood for Dominus Obsequious Sororium, or “Master Over the Slave Women.” Members of DOS were required to be branded with Raniere’s initials and to have sex with him.
NXIVM was eventually shut down in 2018 after Raniere was arrested on charges of sex trafficking, racketeering, and other crimes. He was convicted in 2019 and sentenced to 120 years in prison.
The NXIVM case is a reminder of the dangers of cults. Cults can be very difficult to escape, and they can cause a great deal of harm to their members. It is important to be aware of the signs of a cult so that you can avoid getting involved in one.
- Frank Parlato (2019). The women who escaped NXIVM: Stories of hope and healing from the cult that stole their lives. New York: Hachette Books.
- Sarah Edmondson and Lawrence Wright (2018). Seduced: Inside the NXIVM cult. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- Rick Ross (2019). Cults Inside Out: How to Help Someone Escape and Take Back Their Life. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.