Crime: Nxivm Branding Ritual Was Scripted by Cult Leader to Be ‘Like a Sacrifice’ - PressFrom - US
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CrimeNxivm Branding Ritual Was Scripted by Cult Leader to Be ‘Like a Sacrifice’

02:45  27 may  2019
02:45  27 may  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

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Accused sex cult leader Keith Raniere wanted the branding of his female slaves to mimic ritualistic human sacrifice , a Brooklyn jury heard Wednesday. The Nxivm founder’s disturbing fantasies were captured on an audio recording by “Smallville” actress and DOS slave Allison Mack, while the two

The company has been described as a cult and a pyramid scheme, and has also been alleged to be a During NXIVM seminars, students were expected to call Raniere and Salzman "Vanguard" and reasoning for the titles was that Raniere was the leader of a philosophical movement and Salzman

Nxivm Branding Ritual Was Scripted by Cult Leader to Be ‘Like a Sacrifice’© Keith Raniere Conversations, via YouTube Keith Raniere, 58, co-founded Nxivm (pronounced nex-ee-um) in the 1990s as a self-help organization based in a suburban town in upstate New York.

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In a letter and in emails, the leader of Nxivm tried to distance himself from the branding ritual that had led some members to break away from the cultlike group.

But the ceremonial branding of some women involved in Nxivm followed a script created by the leader, Keith Raniere, and a handful of select followers who had promised complete obedience to him, according to four recorded conversations introduced last week as evidence in his racketeering and sex trafficking trial.

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NXIVM leader Keith Raniere insisted that they ask on video to be branded so it would not appear “Do you think a person should be completely nude and held to the table, almost like a sacrifice ?” Timeline of NXIVM sex cult case. Prosecutors played the video as NXIVM deputy Lauren Salzman

Is NXIVM a cult ? NXIVM – which began, in 1998, as a “ personal and professional development program” Publications like the Albany Times-Union, Forbes,Vanity Fair and the New York Post have According to the Times Union, NXIVM leaders have consistently denied that the group is a cult .

“Do you think the person who is being branded should be completely nude and sort of held to the table like a sort of, almost, like a sacrifice?” Mr. Raniere asked the actress Allison Mack in one recording.

He went on to outline his vision for how women’s bodies would be arranged before being branded: “legs spread straight, like feet being held to the side of the table, hands probably above the head, being held almost like tied down.”

The women, who were referred to as “slaves,” were illustrating their submission in an indelible way: Their skin was seared with a symbol that included Mr. Raniere’s initials.

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The recordings have offered the first contemporaneous account of how Mr. Raniere helped devise one of the group’s most secret and controversial practices within Nxivm. The brandings were connected to a Nxivm subset called D.O.S. that he had repeatedly assured others he had nothing to do with.

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Life as a Nxivm ‘Slave’: Branding, Whippings and Cold Showers [What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.] The branding ceremony took place in 2017 inside a house near Albany, where female members of the so-called cult Nxivm held an initiation for the newest member of an ultrasecret sect. That member, Lauren Salzman, testified on Monday that she knelt and said, “Master, please brand me, it would be an honor, an honor I want to wear for the rest of my life.” Then she was held down on a massage table as someone used a cauterizing pen to etch the initials of Keith Raniere, Nxivm’s leader, into an area near her hip. “It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced,” Ms.

The founder and leader behind the now defunct organisation known as NXIVM was also the mastermind behind the branding ceremony. “Almost like a sacrifice ?” he seems to ask while trying to explain his idea. “It’s a feeling of submission.” Raniere also said the branding ritual itself should be

The leader of purported self-help group NXIVM was arrested this week and charged with sex trafficking. The group came under fire last year for allegedly promoting cult - like behaviours, including the branding of women who were part of a splinter group known as DOS — Dominant over Submissive.

Mr. Raniere has denied wrongdoing. His lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, said in an email on Sunday that Mr. Raniere played a role in the creation of the subset but was not a member. “He collaborated with the first line members in the group’s creation and he hoped the women would take over going forward,” Mr. Agnifilo said.

In addition to showing how Mr. Raniere meticulously planned the branding ceremonies, the recordings also illustrate the hold he had over certain followers.

“The person should ask to be branded,” Mr. Raniere told Ms. Mack in a recording. “She should say, ‘Please brand me. It would be an honor’ — or something like that — ‘an honor I want to wear for the rest of my life.’”

Ms. Mack responded by twice saying “O.K.” A witness in the case, Lauren Salzman, testified that she was asked to say those very words before being branded in 2017.

Mr. Raniere’s trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, which is set to enter its fourth week on Tuesday, has had no shortage of surprising, even shocking, moments. There has been testimony that Mr. Raniere had sex with an underage girl and that people within Nxivm saw him as all-knowing and practically infallible.

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Hundreds of members fled Nxivm after they learned about the branding , but Centers like this one were the place for Nxivm courses, though they weren’t taught by Raniere The purpose of Nxivm was to “feel those things so that you can work them through and then they’re not uncomfortable anymore.”

Nxivm Branding Ritual Was Scripted by Cult Leader to Be ‘Like a Sacrifice’© Ruth Fremson/The New York Times Sarah Edmonson, shown here displaying the Nxivm branding, left the group in June 2017.

But the branding of women who joined a clandestine “sorority” within Nxivm, called The Vow or D.O.S., is at the heart of the Nxivm case, providing the most visible and graphic example of Mr. Raniere’s control.

Mr. Raniere, 58, co-founded Nxivm (pronounced nex-ee-um) in the 1990s as a self-help organization based in a suburban town in upstate New York. He is now on trial on charges of racketeering conspiracy, identity theft, extortion, forced labor, money laundering, wire fraud and sex trafficking.

Although he presented himself as a guru-like humanitarian, prosecutors and former Nxivm members have described Mr. Raniere as a mountebank who exploited his followers.

Among them were the eight women whom Mr. Raniere recruited to join D.O.S., and who were referred to as “first line D.O.S. masters.” Each recruited additional slaves, and those slaves in turn recruited others. All were supposed to be loyal to Mr. Raniere, who was called “grandmaster.”

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NXIVM , the star-studded sex cult that recently landed actress Allison Mack under house arrest, is already getting the TV treatment. In a statement, United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue claimed that, “Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship

the arrest of NXIVM cult leader Keith Raniere, high-ranking member Allison Mack acknowledges her role in the now-infamous practice of ritual branding that’s And Mack described the group of Masters (veteran members) and slaves (new recruits) as being “ like a little family” — which has lately been a

To join D.O.S., the women provided “collateral” in the form of sexually explicit photographs or other sensitive material meant to guarantee their unquestioning obedience, according to trial testimony. Some were said to have been assigned by their masters to have sex with Mr. Raniere.

Outrage over the brandings caused some Nxivm and D.O.S. members to depart and led to blog posts and news articles. Soon after word emerged that the authorities were investigating the group.

Mr. Raniere appeared to recognize that news reports about the brandings might threaten Nxivm. After a story about the branding ran in The New York Times, he emailed a draft position statement to the first line masters, according to testimony.

He wrote that women who had been branded were now being shamed by a “misogynistic strike” and added that D.O.S. “has nothing at all to do” with Nxivm, Ms. Salzman testified.

“This sorority is autonomous, separate and distinct from Nxivm, Keith Raniere and associates,” the statement said, adding that he had “little knowledge or authority in the issue.”

In a separate letter to Nxivm members, Mr. Raniere wrote, “I feel it is important to clarify the sorority is not part of NXIVM and that I am not associated with the group.”

Ms. Salzman, who was a first line master in D.O.S., testified that Mr. Raniere came up with a plan to say that the brand was not meant to include his initials but represented the seven chakras, the four elements, or “Bar Alpha Mu” — a combination, apparently, of a mathematical symbol and two Greek letters.

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A former Hollywood actress, Mack rose up the ranks of the cult Nxivm —whose founder, Keith Raniere, was recently arrested in Mexico—to second in command. Nxivm (pronounced “Nexium”) is currently in the press because its leader Keith Raniere was arrested in Mexico on Sunday.

Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress involved in an ongoing legal dispute with Donald Trump, attacked internet users comparing a mark on her hip to the symbols branded on members of the Clinton-linked Nxivm sex trafficking ring.

“I lied to everybody,” Ms. Salzman testified about Mr. Raniere’s involvement in D.O.S. “I lied to the entire community about it. I lied to the media about it.”

The new recordings of Mr. Raniere’s meetings with first line D.O.S. masters show his role as an architect of the group, speaking about how it should be structured, and acknowledging that the brand itself was tied to him.

“The monogram as it is right now is very directly related to my initials,” Mr. Raniere said in a meeting recorded in 2016.

The group discussed how to obscure that fact, with one woman saying, “If you have a husband, and now you have this thing, I think they’re going to try to figure it out.”

Another woman said the brand seemed like a “cool, kind of alien symbol.”

Mr. Raniere said in the conversation with Ms. Mack that the brandings could evoke a “feeling of submission,” and that women should ask to be branded before being held down “so it doesn’t seem like they’re being coerced.” He added that videotaping the brandings would provide additional collateral and that women should therefore be placed in “a more vulnerable position.”

Ms. Mack said that the pain of the brandings could be seen as a symbol of the slaves’ love for their masters. Mr. Raniere agreed.

“It is the love of saints,” he said. “It is the love of the purest beings that walk the earth.”

'Please let me out': Former Nxivm member testifies about being held in a room for 2 years.
A former member of Nxivm testifies group members kept her in forced isolation for two years without seeing her family. The woman, identified by prosecutors as "Daniela," also testified against the group's founder, Keith Raniere, at the trial in Brooklyn, New York.

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