Guest View: I took the 5-day intensive – but went no further – here’s why

Nancy Salzman teaching students in class.

Guest View by Double Anonymous

Most people who attended Nxivm were good, honest and intelligent people.

No one could know the real truth below the surface, as most approached Nxivm with hopeful expectations and were lured in by it’s pseudo-scientific research and claims.

I’m very glad Heidi is championing those who were taken in and encouraging those to come forward.

I wonder why I didn’t attend longer than the initial 5 day Intensive in 1998/99? Time was a factor and I also felt I had already gotten what I needed to develop a totally new aspect to my career.

Yet, in the back of my mind, there were concerns about Nxivm. I quickly sensed they were marketers of products they did not develop themselves. I had previously done the EST training, the Landmark Forum and was familiar with NLP, the influence of Socrates upon the development of Rational-Emotive Therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology, so I quickly recognized the parts that Raniere and Salzman had “borrowed” from those technologies.

Though I admired how they put it all together into a nifty package, I also recognized what they were selling was not original – as they claimed.

Furthermore, I didn’t believe in the concept of “the world’s smartest man” as such a thing simply does not exist. All intelligence is relative to social and environmental contexts and can’t be measured by abstract test means.

I put up with their claims for 5 days because I wanted to benefit from what Nxivm had to give to me.

Long story short, I thought they had something to give, but I didn’t trust them completely. I also never suspected they would become the criminals that they were: a MLM marketing scheme that only enriched those at the top and kept most dependent and poor; rape, sexual scandals and abuse; legal harassment of dissidents; collecting blackmail material; money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes.

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Frank Parlato


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  • Good observations, Double. Yes, it’s striking how many different belief systems Nx appropriated to throw into their poison brew. Almost as many *extractions* as there were harem members over the years.

    One of Keith’s longest term girlfriends, Barbara Bouchey, describes her Nx experience as being that of frog in a pot that doesn’t know it’s being slow-brewed until it’s too late to hop out! (To paraphrase Barbara.).

    I know Keith & Nancy stole from Gina’s brain trust in the sense that they used what “worked” on her to formulate the “tech” and seems others thereafter also contributed their souls and ideas, like Barbara created “Vanguard week,” serving in the role of Dagny from Ayn Rand’s fiction “Atlas Shrugged” — the romantic interest of the hero who’s mission was too amass the world’s wealth in the control of most “ethical rulers” to create a Utopian Society. A “Camelot,” Barbara calls it.

    Ayn Rand’s philosophies being, of course, one of those Nx extrapolated and perverted to part its wealthier clients from their trust funds. For, example Ayn Rand herself is quoted in interviews saying that if the wealth is controlled by anything less than scrupulously ethical individuals (such as do not exist except in her fictions) it’s “only a matter of time” before that society falls apart into utter destruction.

    But Keith & Nancy just snagged the cliff notes that rationalized their thievery as the creation of an utopian, ethical world —
    full of Dagny’s and Nazi reincarnates and Buddhist Goddesses and even Space Shuttle disaster culprits like the still missing Kristin Snyder — who all paid one way or another.

    So, when you say this poison hodgepodge makes an admirable “nifty little package,” that benefitted you for a week, I’m sorry, but I recoil. The Nx pyramid was built like the Egyptian ones with the blood, sweat and tears of SLAVES.

    It’s only a matter of time.

    What spooked you from taking further courses?

  • I don’t know where else to comment other than emailing Frank. Anyone or anyway of finding out about Heather Anne?

  • Thanks for sharing this Double Anonymous! I’m glad you came forward also to share your story.

    Does anyone know why NXIVM decided to refer to their curriculum as technology? Wonder if there is a financial benefit to them by claiming this in regards to potential litigation.

  • Yet, all these things you mention, sex scandals, rape, legal abuse, etc are part and parcel of these groups, no matter what the ideology.
    I know from personal experience, having been involved, or exposed, to 3 so called religious groups, the social dynamics, if you will, are virtually the same, only the nomenclature used is different.

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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