Ex-NXIVM member gives insight into what he experienced

By An Ex -NXIVM Student

Frank, I am writing this as personal closure.  Hopefully, my testimony will help someone.  I am giving you my consent to publish my testimony as long as you keep it intact (you may do a spell check/grammar correction if necessary).

My suggestion would be to publish it in 6 different parts in order not to make it too long, but I understand it is your blog and it would be your decision.

I am a Mexican male. That is all the personal details I will share as nothing else is necessary.

Before I tell you my story, I want to say that during the time I attended ESP courses, and when I mingled with people who belonged to ESP, I did not witness anything illegal. Neither did I have the suspicion that something illegal was happening.

I will try to be as objective as possible in my recollection of the facts.

PART 1 – THE 5 DAY INTENSIVE

More than 13 years ago, I met a girl. She was joyful and smart and we started being friends. I will call her Jane. As we started to trust each other more, she invited me and another friend to an ESP introductory session, in which a high-ranked member explained vaguely what ESP was about.

They mentioned who Keith Raniere was and they talked about all the already known ‘selling points’ about him: He was among the top three best problem solvers in the world, he had an IQ off the charts, he was a child prodigy, he had created a very innovative technology based on physics and mathematics, etc.

My friend and I thought that it was a bit too much and seemed like brainwashing. We did not talk about it afterward.

Jane, however, used to swear by ESP. She was a coach (yellow sash) at the time and was very convinced about the organization and was constantly taking courses (and giving them) and hanging out with people from ESP. She even mentioned that she had achieved much of her personal growth due to ESP and was constantly talking about it to everyone.

As time passed, Jane and I started dating, but after some more time, things did not go as expected and in an attempt to revive the relationship, I told her that I would attend an ESP intensive of 5 days. Her whole face lit up as she had been wanting me to join ESP for some time.

She immediately took out an application for me to fill out (I now guess she always carried one).

If I had not fully trusted Jane, I would never have attended ESP — but that is how they recruit… through personal trust.

I attended the 5-day intensive with 9 other people. I guess there were as many staff as attendees.

I cannot complain about super-long hours (although at the end of the day it felt like it feels after a hard day at work), harassment, unusual temperature, sleep deprivation or bad food.

On the positive side, it was refreshing to spend 5 days among individuals (the attendees) who shared similar values and ideas about the world. The classroom environment was safe and I felt I could share anything with the group without being judged. Everyone was very relaxed, joyful, positive and helpful, including staff members. I did not witness any discomfort from anyone.

During those 5 days, it was as if we were taught the definitions or the foundation under which ESP operated. Overall I felt as if I had a positive experience, but in retrospect, I now realize that there were some details that I ignored:

  • We were introduced to the ranking system (sashes) and I found it strange that the highest ranked member was about 5-6 ranks below Nancy Salzman and it seemed impossible for anybody to go through all the ranks as if it was designed to have people always looking for more.
  • They told us that Keith should be addressed as Vanguard because he was the head of a new philosophical movement, which I thought was loony…
  • They talked about taxes as if they were justifying themselves on the fact that they were not paying them. At the time, I thought that no serious organization would openly talk about this topic.
  • They talked about money and why it was important to make more – as it was a reflection of you as a person.
  • Throughout the 5 days, Ayn Rand was repeatedly quoted. I had never heard about her before, but she was cited with such arrogance and authority that I thought she was an important philosopher. When I later read Ayn Rand and investigated more about her, things started to feel weird.
  • We were taught about disintegrations and when I asked if Keith had zero disintegrations, the head trainer told me that no one knew, but what was important was to focus on myself rather than on other people (I now realize that he skillfully avoided the question).
  • We went through the module in which they explain why ESP is not a cult. Basically, they told us that you cannot be brainwashed if you do not consent to it. To be honest, I did not give this module much thought.
  • During the 5 days, I was bombarded with love and praises by the staff members. Perhaps everyone was, but I did not notice it. This made me feel very important and appreciated and left a very good impression on me.

I finished the 5-day intensive and moved on with my life. I learned some concepts that I liked and helped me become more productive at work. My overall assessment of the course was positive.

Since, at the time, I had not been exposed to any other personal growth methodologies and did not know anything about PNL, some of the concepts that we learned were innovative to me (and ESP never discloses that some of those tools-concepts-skills were not invented by them).

After the intensive, I did some research on Keith, Nancy and ESP (there were no smartphones at the time, so I had to do it from a computer at home) and found the “Cult of Personality” article from Forbes. The article surprised me when it mentioned that someone had had a mental breakdown at an intensive.

Although we reviewed a lot of material, I did not think that someone could have had such reaction from just taking the course. I found the claims by Tony Natalie exaggerated. The fact that Keith had been involved in a MLM company with a pyramid schemed raised a red flag inside my head.

I do not remember if I read a Rick Ross article at this time or if it was later on, but I found some articles about Nancy a bit troubling.

I confronted Jane about the articles that I found and she told me that there were many things on the internet that were not necessarily true and that in the case of the Forbes article, Edgar Bronfman was so angry at his daughters that he had arranged to have the article published (some rich families are unusual…). She also told me that I should take whatever I found useful from the course and apply it in my life. She also encouraged me to recruit more members to ESP in order to move up through the rank system.

At this point, I had never met Keith or Nancy (just Nancy through the videos) so they remained abstract figures.  But my small investigation left me with a somehow bitter taste in my mouth…

[To be continued]…

About the author

Frank Parlato

Frank Parlato is the founder of the FrankReport, publisher and editor-in-chief of Artvoice, The Niagara Falls Reporter, Front Page and the South Buffalo News.

49 Comments

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  • The question I want answered is this. If Raniere was among the top three best problem solvers in the world, who are the other two?

  • Just wanted to clarify something about Heidi’s story.

    Even though Gina’s suicide didn’t happen until 2003 —- FrankReport has made it clear that Gina was allegedly harmed/raped/abused by Keith beginning way back in the 1980’s when she was a teen.

    Therefore Heidi accepted a $10k payment from Keith long after she knew damn well that he’d been harming her sister for many years. Yet Heidi likes to imply that she’s a hero in this story, or at least one of the good guys.

    Heidi knew FULL WELL that her sister was abused in various ways by Keith going back to the 1980’s, both mentally and physically. Yet Heidi still accepted a $10k payment from Keith anyway (according to her article). That’s a hypocrite in my opinion.

    I also find her “slogan” story a bit bizarre.

    Heidi ranted that Keith is a thief who’s not the true owner of that slogan, but then she simultaneously confirms that she accepted Keith’s $10,000 “as payment for that slogan”.

    It’s called a contract. You either accepted it or you refused his terms and returned payment.

    If it was a gift from Keith, you wouldn’t have said it was payment for the slogan, right?

    I’m just amazed that after all the harm that Keith caused to you and Gina (going back to the 1980’s), that you didn’t return that money immediately (the same day) and tell him to go fuck himself.

    I would have refused that money if somebody had abused my sister for many years like that.

    I guess you’re not the saint and martyr that you like to pretend to be.

    I just feel sorry for your husband that you admit to leaving. It takes a real heartless person to leave her husband like that on a whim. You’re no hero in this story Heidi.

    You’re just a remorseful villain in my opinion, somebody who deserves very little praise in this NXIVM story.

    …And Keeffe did all kinds of harm to many people before leaving NXIVM, which you alone don’t have the power to forgive, you twat. Who cares if you forgive her.

    To make amends she needs to testify for the prostitution, otherwise she’s just a selfish twat who is a villain in this story and not a hero.

      • Too funny!
        No, you were right the first time. She should testify for the whores.

        And my…. how quickly you changed….don’t blink, right?

    • Agreed!! Someone needs to put these so called “heroes” in their places…many of the latest “whistleblowers” were forewarned of the evil one and stayed and helped to harm others who left before them ! A dose of humble Pie might help them…or just plain honesty!

  • Here’s a fitting Ayn Rand quote for Keith. We can evade reality- But we cannot evade the consequences of reality. Keith loved to steal others ideas and pass them off as his own.
    This is an interesting story being posted, I think we all would like to hear what Esp was like for the average person who was never part of the inner circle, who got talked into taking a class by a pretty girl.

  • NXIVM/ESP used attractive, friendly, personable young women to disarm potential recruits.
    People who do not seem threatening.
    And when necessary NXIVM used actresses to seal the deal.

    What one will find is that the serious corruption was centered in the home office near Albany.
    Few of the people in Vancouver were involved.

    The closer the NXIVMleader was to Raniere and Albany the more likely that person was to be marinated in NXIVM corruption.
    So far the most corrupt have been Raniere, the Bronfmans, Mack and Clyne and the Salzmans.
    The main exception to that is Emiliano Salinas and his boy friend Betancourt.

    Even limiting that corruption to Albany leaves up to 150 people as potential criminal defendants or serious witnesses to criminal behavior.

    • Vancouver does seem to get a lot of blame when they are the ones who made Nxivm look legitimate. It’s hard to hold to much power over someone living in another country. Mexico is a whole different set up than Vancouver.

      • Were you involved with NXIVM? The Vancouver branch was still making money and providing women for Raniere. And Canadian money was hidden.

    • I agree with this statement.

      I think that by the point people reached those circles (ranks) they were slowly and steadily introduced to some of the shady things going on in NXIVM.
      Perhaps smuggling a bit of cash into the US at the beggining, then not paying taxes?

      In the recorded phone conversation between Tony Zarattini and Emiliano Salinas, women branding it is perfectly rationalised from Emiliano´s perspective. He also rationalises Keith having sex with his students and with members of his organisation.

      The brainwashing worked so well because it was done very very slowly and they had a very effective way of filtering (expelling) individuals who were not in agreement with NXIVM terms (they were not promoted higher in the ranks).

        • I did not.
          I am 90% sure Kristin Kreuk and Nicki Clyne were in a course i attended but i never interacted with them personally.
          I could not give you any information about any of them.

          • It is relevant to the story.

            Were these actresses travelling to other cities for courses? Kristin Kreuk certainly was. She coached in Vancouver, Tacoma, Albany and Los Angeles and even held meetings in her own home.

            Also, it would be fascinating to know what kind of nonsense these silly actresses brainwashed themselves with.

        • The course in which i am 90% sure they were present took place in Albany. It was a Level 2 course and they were taking the course, not coaching it.
          I did not interact with them and to be honest they were irrelevant to me.
          I only knew they were actresses is because someone else told me.

          • Kristin Kreuk was at least a yellow sash with two stripes. If she was taking a level 2 and not coaching, presumably this was early in her NXIVM career, before 2009? She joined in 2006 and the same year was holding meetings at her Vancouver house. Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman and other top NXIVM people were in her house the year she joined.

  • Wow.

    A great article. Keep it coming.

    This is much better than the stuff written by Heidi the Hypocrite.

    Heidi likes to talk about how evil Keith was to her sister, but then she admits to accepting $10k from Keith even after he supposedly harmed her own sister, instead of IMMEDIATELY giving that money back and telling Keith to go fuck himself (what kind of sister accepts money from a man who she claims harmed her own sister?).

    Heidi’s a hypocritical troll, who likes to attack others and pretend to be righteous.

  • ESP teaches its members to play víctim whenever confronted with the truth of it being a fraudulent and criminal organization.

    • Prior to this whole criminal prosecution situation starting, the only time you were allowed to be a victim was when they were telling you that you had to say you were one so they could then tell you that you can’t say you are one because there are no ultimate victims.

      You aren’t even supposed to ever address an accusation, because that would give it credibility, and everybody is supposed to be pretending everything is perfect.

      • “You aren’t even supposed to ever address an accusation, because that would give it credibility, and everybody is supposed to be pretending everything is perfect.”

        Like Kristin Crook.

      • “everybody is supposed to be pretending everything is perfect.” You mean, like all the super fake, over the top, gigantic smiles in the photos? Yes…everything is perfect. Except they are broke, unsuccessful, and not in meaningful relationships. They are also blind followers of a con man. Oops.

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