NXIVM’s vexing effect on believers

October 1, 2007 — His followers bow in his presence and call him “Vanguard.”

His detractors square off with him in court and call him a manipulative “brainwasher” who wrecks lives with his “extremely dangerous,” “cult-like” group.

Keith Raniere, leader of an Albany-based organization called NXIVM (pronounced nex-e-um), has built a lucrative empire with his Executive Success Programs.

NXIVM, run by Raniere, 47, and President Nancy Salzman, a 52-year-old registered nurse, claims to pull in at least $4 million a year. Big-name devotees like Seagram heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman back Raniere – and “The Family,” as insiders call the group – despite his checkered past.

In the 1990s, the Brooklyn-born Raniere, son of New York adman and fund-raiser James Raniere, shuttered a multimillion-dollar marketing firm after authorities in several states alleged that it was an illegal pyramid scheme.

Today, devotees shell out as much as $7,500 to attend NXIVM’s 16-day motivational seminars, called “intensives,” where they are coached using Raniere’s patented behavior-modification “technology.”

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CultFAQ.org: Frequently Asked Questions About Cults, Sects, and Related Issues

Includes definitions of terms (e.g. cult, sect, anticult, countercult, new religious movement, cult apologist, etcetera)

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Members, or “ESPians,” also bow to Salzman, called “Prefect,” and refer to nonbelievers to as “parasites” or “suppressives.”

Some who have left have turned against NXIVM and divulged its “secret” policies – only to find themselves mired in years of litigation with Raniere and Salzman.

In published accounts, ex-members and mental-health professionals call NXIVM a “cult-like” group that uses sensory deprivation, “brainwashing” and other mind-bending tactics – sometimes to the point of psychological breakdowns.

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Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
New York Post, USA
Oct. 1, 2007
Jeane MacIntosh
www.nypost.com

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This post was last updated: Monday, October 1, 2007 at 12:42 PM, Central European Time (CET)