Ex NXIVM student” Part 2 – The ‘Ethos’ Program

NXIVM teaches Executive Success Programs.
By An Ex -NXIVM Student


When I took the first intensive, I was living in a city with no ESP center, so my contact with the organization was very limited.  After about a year, I moved (for work) to a city with an ESP center. My family lived in that city. So did Jane. We were still dating.

Three months after I moved, Jane convinced me to enroll in Ethos, the program in which you can take as many classes per day, as many days of the month as you desire (like a gym membership, as they like to tell you). It was during this time in which I learned the most about NXIVM and when I met more people involved in it.

The classes were taught by coaches (yellow sash) or proctors (orange sash) and I learned some new techniques and skills that I found helpful, especially at work. I got a new job with a much better position and almost twice the pay.

I was invited to volleyball nights, movie nights and to hang out in many events with people from ESP. The environment, in general, was always very relaxed, very friendly and people genuinely seemed to care about the well being of others.

I liked some people very much and I made good friends.

Now that I think about it, I had not noticed that many of the longtime members of ESP rarely interacted much with people outside of the organization, that is why they had all those events throughout the week and when they interacted out of the ESP circle, they were always trying to recruit new members.

I also witnessed that the general maintenance of the ESP center was done by the coaches, who had to work a certain number of hours a week (obviously with no pay) and also had to pay for their Ethos membership if they wanted to remain coaches.

Since I attended so many classes, I started to intuitively understand the EM (Exploration of Meaning) technology. I had many EMs done. To this day I cannot tell that any of them worked. ESP claims that through EMs you can address certain root causes of a behavior that you want to modify and therefore that behavior would be changed forever. I was never able to do it. This is the core foundation in which ESP relies (that is why the technology is called “Rational Inquiry”). My opinion is that that is nonsense and snake oil.

Some of the people I met were truly convinced that EMs worked and they would get them frequently. Those people also claimed that their behaviors had changed due to the EMs they had.

Once, during a class, one of the students did not agree with the content. After class, a bunch of coaches (and perhaps a proctor) tried to convince the person to adopt the point of view that ESP had on such topic (intellectual property). I remember feeling weird that that many people were trying too hard to change the mindset of one individual. They tried several arguments and rationales.

Second Red Flag.

Emiliano Salinas was like a semi-god to Mexican NXIVM members.

During this time I first heard about Emiliano Salinas being a member of ESP. For the common Mexican, the Salinas family is viewed with much resentment since they did a lot of damage to the country. In ESP, Emiliano was spoken about as a semi-god. They only had positive things to say about him; people looked up to him; they praised him constantly and I got the feeling that they only did it because he is the son of an ex-president and a very influential person.

I felt the same way about Marc Vicente; everyone seemed to bow at him because he was a public figure.

At this point, I learned from a very trusted source within ESP that one of the proctors (orange sash) was making about US $15K – $20K per month.

For someone around 30 and living in Mexico, making US $20K a month (and without paying taxes… allegedly) was a huge sum of money.

I have to be honest and say that this motivated me to continue in ESP and to try to move up the ranks.
What if I could reach such levels?

Even if I was half successful, I would have a very comfortable lifestyle!

V-week was approaching and people started to behave frantically about it. They would tell stories about the previous years and how it was the best event of their lives.

They were preparing plays, dances, training for a triathlon and many other things.

I found it somehow odd that in the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, the ‘productive people’ gathered once a year for 2 weeks to celebrate that they were (from their perspective) changing the world.

At this point, I had read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead (both by Ayn Rand) and I found that many concepts in ESP were taken from those books. The parallelism and resemblance with Scientology were also troubling.

Red Flag number 3.

As the date approached everyone was working very hard to get as many people to go to v-week as possible. The recruiting efforts and techniques were aggressive.

They were doing EMs to people to remove the disintegration that prevented them from attending V-week.

Red Flag number 4.


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Frank Parlato


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  • Something I learned much later after my intensive is that an EM is almost a direct (albeit less effective) copy of Morty Lefkoe method of eliminating beliefs.

      • I only had two with Siobahn, but they were worthless. I have had success with Morty Lefkoe’s method I would say 40 to 50% of the times that I did it, so he was significantly more effective than an EM, IMO.
        It’s too bad after he passed away that his wife took down the page where you could walk yourself through his process or you would be able to see exactly what it was.
        I was really amazed the first time… Basically I just realised I think this is what an EM is allegedly supposed to be. It’s clear the EM was a straight copy.

      • I was mistaken in saying his wife took down the page. If you go to Morty Lefkoe’s website, right at the top of the page there is a link for “eliminate a belief free”. I think you have to put an e-mail address to do it, but it would probably be interesting for people to see what a NXIVM EM tried to duplicate.
        It’s especially ridiculous to think about them trying to charge 50-60$ (may have gone up since when I was involved) for something you can do on Morty’s website for free.

    • JS, thank you very much for this. ML’s method is a sound and sure way of cutting through what we call in our staffroom, GKB or Gordion Knot Bullshit. Always looking for things to help students with the dreaded and common PTSD. I would never have found this man through the usual channels and its genuinely useful!!!

      • Always happy to be of service, so I am glad to know it is something useful for you. It sounds like you are doing very important work, and I wish you the best.

        • Thats sweet of you JS, Its regular work in irregular times – so much trouble in the world. Its amazing and so sad how personally people can take even natural disaster, and how these gordian knot beliefs get in the way of healing and progress, Morty Lefkoe is spot on. thanks again and all the best to you.

  • Ethos. My understanding was it was a ethics teaching. I can tell you first hand there is no ethic among NXVIM or any of its people.

  • I figured out why ESP sounds so familiar. I grew up in the EST generation (Werner Erhard’s shit), and possibly due to hearing horror stories from that, I’m astounded that anyone would fall for any of this nonsense.

    • Great question “lilikoian”, thanks for posting it!
      One of the reasons that motivated me to write my experience is to let people know why some of us fell for this and under which circumstances NXIVM involves you in their scheme.

      Now that i am able to see things in a retrospective manner i feel silly to have fallen for something like this, however, at the time it did not feel silly at all.
      Keep in mind a few important things:

      1. I was never requested to do anything illegal or against my will.
      2. I had never been in contact with any self help organisations (in Mexico very few people are aware of Werner Erhard. We briefly learned about David Koresh but that seemed an extreme example and a long shot) and therefore some of the techniques and skills that i learned actually worked — This is a key point because for those of us who were rookies on this, NXIVM seemed/feeled legit.
      3. I am not old enough to have properly learned about EST.
      4. The environment that i was exposed to was always positive, upbeating, intelectually estimulating and safe.
      5. I was recruited through someone who i fully trusted (as so was she) so i decided to give it a try and once some of the techniques made sense and helped me, i continued.

      Someone commented that most of the corruption and shady things in NXIVM happened on the circles closer to Keith and Nancy. I believe that to be true.
      I also believe that some people were genuinely trying to make a difference, but also willingly chose to ignore all the bad stuff about Keith and Nancy (especially in the most recent years).
      For me, the MLM scheme and the urgency to always be recruiting more people became unbearable.

      I hope this helped.

      • Did you at least know that criminal activity took place? Did you know anything about tax evasion? What sash rank were you?

        • I never witnessed any criminal activities when i attended courses. In a similar fashion, no one ever confessed to me of any crimial activities going on inside NXIVM.

          After i left, i started reading more about Keith, Nancy and NXIVM in general and i was grossed out by all the things i read.
          I do believe many of the allegations against NXIVM to be true.

          The fact that Edgar Boone ‘retired’ from NXIVM just to come back 1 year later (aproximately) leads me to believe that he quit because he found out something very wrong in the inner circle close to Keith and/or Nancy.

          I can only assume that they were evading taxes since they believed to be ethical not to pay taxes and they even have a course about it.

          In Mexico NXIVM accepted a lot of payments in cash. It would have been very easi to smuggle cash into the US.

          • Damn, thats some good information bud. I didn’t know they had an entire course dedicated to not paying taxes. Could you perhaps elaborate on what you know about that course?

            Is a white sash the lowest level in the striped path? If a white sash believes they were not paying taxes, surely those higher up knew and even participated.

            What would you say about yellow sashes? Is it likely that they knew about tax evasion or participated?

            How long were you involved with them for and why did you leave? Were there any consequences?

        • I am sorry Anonymus, i meant they had a module (i wrote too fast and made a writting mistake) around taxes that lasts¡ed 1-2 hours. This was one of the first modules they thaught.

          The white sash is the lowest level, followed by yellow and then orange (allegedly this came from Keith`s days when he practiced Judo).

          In my experience yellow sashes (coaches) were mostly well intentioned people who wanted to climb up the ranks and enjoyed what they were doing. They recieved no compensation and made almost no money from NXIVM, so it would be hard for them to be evading taxes from NXIVM. They also had their regular day jobs.

          Orange sashes (proctors) probably had some self-outside businesses but almost all of them were dedicated full time to NXIVM (recruiting, doing EM`s and teaching classes). I assume it was when you became a proctor that you started to witness more of these practices.

          I was on and off NXIVM for some time. If I add it all it would be about 1-1.5 years.
          I got out with no consecuences. I was too low of a rank (and just interacted with Nancy briefly once) and i did not bring new people into the organization, so i guess it was not worth the trouble.
          People kept inviting me back after i got out, but always in a respectful manner.

          • “In my experience yellow sashes (coaches) were mostly well intentioned people who wanted to climb up the ranks and enjoyed what they were doing. They recieved no compensation and made almost no money from NXIVM, so it would be hard for them to be evading taxes from NXIVM. They also had their regular day jobs.”

            I thought yellow sashes did make some money coaching based on how many people they recruited? And that they put the money back into NXIVM for more courses i.e tax evasion?

            What about yellow sashes with stripes? What did the stripes mean?

          • I always had the impression that when someone became a proctor (orange sash) is when they started to recieve compensation for recruitment, not before.
            I might be wrong because i was never a coach, but i remember my coach friends telling me that.

            The stripes were subranks of the sash. Each sash had 4 stripes. After the 4th stripe, the next level would be the following sash (white, yellow, orange, green, etc…).

          • I cannot exactly recall the requisites in order to get a new strip on the sash. It was more than a decade ago and i was not too fonded of making my career inside NXIVM.

            Some stripes were alligned with recruitment new members, other to personal growth, personal goals and things like that.

  • I figured out why Pea Onyu is always so angry at defectors like India.

    It’s because India met a handsome young man to live a normal life with.

    But poor little Pea Onyu is stuck living a lonely life without a real man.

    Pea’s only ‘man’ is a fat, disgusting and pig-like man with fat hooves for feet.

    What’s it like having those fat hooves wrapped around you Pea? Do they smell as badly as they look?

    • Raniere could be losing a lot of weight in jail. Between eating less high-fat food and worrying about living in prison for a very long time, perhaps the remainder of his miserable life, he may become the favorite orifice for lots of other prisoners. Skinny, lack of sleep, Raniere is becoming his favorite NXIVM f*ck toy.

      • He will not get skinny. The diet is all wrong, filled with the wrong fats, processed foods, white bread, and the “bad” sugars. He will struggle not to gain weight.

    • FYI, Pea is not real – the posts present no real insights or new information. Don’t buy into the bullsh**t. Don’t waste your time.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com