This is Part 17 of our Lauren Salzman series. The series has been largely based on Lauren’s testimony in the trial of Keith Alan Raniere. Our purpose is to explore whether Lauren – one of the leaders of Nxivm –is more victim or more perpetrator in the 20-year criminal Nxivm enterprise led by Keith Alan Raniere.
Lauren was involved in Nxivm for the duration – 20 years.
In this post, we get into Lauren’s views of the slave philosophy of DOS. As she is led by the adroit questioning of Assistant US Attorney Tanya Hajjar, her testimony effectively helps sinks Raniere by revealing the astoundingly sinister slave concepts he taught.
But her testimony also makes it clear that Lauren believes every word [or almost every word] of the DOS slave philosophy.
She does not think it is wrong. She is actually justifying it rather than just explaining it.
AUSA Hajjar is alternately reading and having Lauren read from the DOS bible, the secret handbook that Raniere created – with help from Lauren, Loreta Garza and Rosa Laura Junco – his stenographers in effect – for he was too lazy to write anything himself.
So, we are learning more about the DOS philosophy from the excerpts from the book.
But the real value of this post is that Lauren is asked to explain the meaning of various passages. Her explanations – her interpretations and justification of Raniere’s twisted and perverse teachings – are eye-openers, not so much for what they reveal about DOS, but what they reveal about Lauren.
It shows how fully she bought into this manipulative, destructive, enslavement lifestyle – and how she is still palpably a believer.
I am convinced she would go back to it in a minute if Raniere was free, or if someone came along to replace him and would offer her a chance to be a slave again.
In short, Lauren believes in slavery. She wants to be a slave to a man and perhaps, as we shall see, to a degree a slave master to other women.
In this post, we are, of course, going to get more of Lauren’s run-on sentences, her Nxivm word salad jargon, and her confused articulation at times. But if we cut through that – we will get one of the best explanations of Raniere’s enslavement technique ever offered.
Lauren brings us here a true insight into the secret world of DOS and Nxivm and Raniere and how he ensnared women with lies and manipulation and something that was for some of them incredibly seductive – slavery to him.
Lauren explains how they believed, literally believed, that this was so good for them and good for other women.
Tanya Hajjar is examining Lauren Salzman. She has the DOS handbook entered into evidence as an exhibit and begins by reading from it herself.
Q Now, … we were at Lesson 8, “A Tool. The tool doesn’t have a want. The tool doesn’t look at its use. The tool is just a good tool. The nature of being a sharp knife is to be sharp, it’s not to care if it’s being used as a murder weapon or being used for surgery.” In this context, what is the tool, what does that refer to?
A The slave is the tool.
Q “And the moment you start to care about the use, now you have your pride. To be a tool in a sense is saying ‘no excuses.’” What does that mean in the context of DOS?
A It meant that whatever use your master had for you was to be done joyously and if you cared about what you were being asked to do or the why, it was your pride, your issues interfering with your success, effectiveness at being a good slave.
Q Were these principles just abstract or were they applied every day in DOS?
A They were applied.
Q Lesson 10: “Joyously offering all your decisions to be made or used by your master.” Under Lesson 10, there are these practices; can you read the practices, please?
A “ Spend time thinking of how you can proactively further your master with the current capacities you have. Choose to act on one thing that you would not have acted on otherwise.” And then number two is: “What other capacities can you build to be able to further the master more. Make a plan on building those capacities and how that will further the master.”
Q Can you explain that in the context of DOS, what that means?
A That ideally you’re looking to always make your master more successful, more effective, more potent in the world and so you should be always looking at how to proactively be doing that and if you’re limited in your capacity to do that, then you should make a plan of how you can become unlimited so that you can further them even more.
Q Under the same lesson: “You offer this as an opportunity for your master to use you as a tool. If you see yourself as a tool, the greatest door to opportunity, the greatest door for you is to be the tool, for you to be the vessel.” Can you explain what this means?
A That the greatest — that you should always be looking for these opportunities for your master to be able to employ you as a tool and that somehow in doing that, being like the vessel or the most open to that and the most willing to do that, to be the tool in any way or whatever it is and derive the greatest joy from that is the greatest opportunity for growth in yourself.
Q Was a DOS slave permitted to question the motives or the reasoning behind an order?
Q Lesson 11: “Surrender your life, mind, body and possessions for unconditional use. What goes on within my body is personal to me and that too is the use of that as much as I can give over I do.” What does that mean?
A It means that anything they want, your goal is to be able to serve them regardless of what it is and as much as you can, whatever goes on with your thoughts, your emotions, your body, your capacities, your work product, whatever it is, it is just all to serve them and to do that — as much as you can do that, that’s the goal.
Q And “them” is who?
A The master.
Q Turning to Chapter 3, can you read the text at Chapter 3?
A “The joy of obedience is far greater than the distaste of any command. The harder the task required, the greater joy to complete. The harder the task completed, the greater proof to your master and yourself of your strength and commitment.”
Q What does this mean?
A It means that ideally you should be able to build joy in obeying and that that joy is far greater than anything you could be asked to do no matter how hard or distasteful it is, the joy should be better and the fact that it is harder or distasteful should make that joy more because you’re proving to your master and yourself that you’re that committed that you’d be willing to do anything, even really difficult and awful or distasteful ugly things, whatever they are.
Q Here’s some examples of requests or commands here: “If the master were to command you and say, at the bottom, take off all your clothes, run outside and jump up and down and say everyone, look at me, look at me, look at me, you would be taking off your clothes already and seeking to understand that, you’re not worried that it’s cold out, you’re not worried that there’s a public, you’re not worried that the police might come, none of that is involved, that is your evaluation of it.”
Q What does that mean to you?
A It means that you should be doing the command before you even question the command and that the objective is just to seek — to understand how to do that command best, not to question why that command or any consequences of the command.
Q Did you convey these, the concepts expressed in the book, did you convey this concept to your slaves as well?
A Essentially, yes. I don’t know that I specifically read this part but, yeah, the concept of it, their job was to do that.
Q So, under Lesson 11, “Pushing Beyond Indoctrination. You believe certain things are good and bad and that constrains, that circumscribes your life and they’re just not true.” What does that mean?
A It’s a statement of our indoctrination, that like basically the way we’re raised we come to believe certain things that are limiting, that certain things are bad which may not be bad or certain things are good which may not necessarily be good, getting hung up on the goodness or badness of it is constraining because we should be able to transcend our indoctrination because it can be limiting.
Q Was this a concept that was taught in NXIVM more broadly, this idea of social indoctrination?
Q Was this a concept the defendant taught?
Q In this concept, the social indoctrination, that certain things are good and bad, is that something you are intended to get out of?
A I don’t understand.
Q Is a social indoctrination a bad thing in this concept?
A Well, that certain aspects of social indoctrination can be limiting and so to transcend that would be to evolve beyond those limitations.
Q Can you give an example?
A Sure. Like — I don’t know, you can think of like in any social custom but let’s say, for example — well, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience where like as a child growing up you go over to eat at somebody else’s house and their family does something like completely different than what your family does, so it just feels kind of awkward or uncomfortable, that’s just like a simple example of you’re indoctrinated in a certain way in your family and you may find as you come to grow that there are other ways to do things but there may be something that like maybe your religion says is bad, like getting divorced for example, you know, or your culture may say that that’s really bad where another culture may not think that’s bad; so, to realize that it is not bad in itself, it serves a function, you might be able to take advantage of that function where you didn’t perceive it as an option before. That’s just like a simple neutral example.
Q Did the defendant in the defendant’s — as he explained this concept, did it go further than that, did it go to things that were assessed as good and bad?
A Yeah, I mean when we started getting into things more along the lines of like Jness curriculum when it was first introduced or SOP, then you start getting into more I guess you could call them like heated subjects, like people have more investment around, like having monogamous relationships, for example, like and in Jness then we started to introduce like the concept of men being more naturally polyamorous and women being more naturally monogamous, so somehow transcending our — as women, our belief that we need to own our men and own the sex that they have as just as our own somehow this limiting belief and that if we could come to understand their more biological nature and some of the social constraints that have been put on them, them being men, in general, that as women we would not be so fearful or controlling and we would come to accept and be really grateful for the things that they give us and not need to own them or put constraints on them to feel secure in our relationships.
Q Do you have a view on that concept now?
A Well, I mean certainly through the curriculum it legitimized the lifestyle that I think Keith wanted to live and had a whole community of people who could understand that and support it or even defend and protect it against criticism or other consequences.
Q Is this the same concept, the same section, “Unique Experience Breaking Through Your Indoctrination”, is that the same social indoctrination concept you explained?
Q Chapter 4 is titled “Quality;” can you read the text under “Quality?”
A “ You must give your master your very best at all times. All things done for your master must be of the highest quality you can offer.”
Q And under Chapter 5 titled “Aliveness,” can you read that chapter?
A “ As such, a good slave actively seeks to give her master a competitive advantage over all other people and in all situations. Always make your master increasingly more powerful, influential and capable through your actions and thoughts.”
Q And this concept, did that take — did that have practical applications in the context of DOS?
Q Can you explain that?
A Well, we were always looking to be able to uphold our master, I mean in my case Keith, to help him, to edify him, you know, and help others see that — like his good contributions and in essence we were — I mean specifically in DOS, I mean not just the edification, I mean tribute was very prevalent and pervasive in ESP; in DOS especially we were seeking to find influential people to bring in to help increase the potency and the influence of the group and ultimately the group’s objectives which were, you know, Keith was at the helm of that, they were his goals and objectives, his vision for the group. And in NXIVM it was part of that too, having powerful and influential people. It wasn’t as much the objective but, you know, certainly you become more — you have more capacity if you have more power and influence.
Q And by recruiting people of influence or power into DOS, did you see that as by extension making the defendant more powerful or influential?
A I didn’t think of it that way at the time but I do think that, I do think it is that.
Q Lesson 5 is “Good Versus Bad” and under that section, I just want to — I’ll just read this paragraph to you, a little bit above that there’s a highlighted phrase: “The strongest bond that we can have as being for the good is a new bond that’s created which is the vow. Criminals won’t turn each other in because they’re scared of being killed. The reason why people of the vow won’t turn each other in, you can say that they are scared of the collateral but it is a collateral that they put up to certify that their bond is as good as any criminal bond, any bad bond.” What’s the criminal bond, what’s the bad bond?
A The criminal bond is that if you — it’s like in — I guess you could look at like criminal organizations or mafia organizations, why you don’t rat on the people in the group, because you get killed if you do that.
Q So, criminals won’t turn each other in because they’re scared of being killed, that’s the criminal bond, the bad bond?
A That’s the concept, yeah. I mean it says it, right, they’re scared of being killed, that’s the criminal bond.
Q So, the collateral that they put up to certify that their bond is as good as any criminal bond, any bad bond; what do you understand that to mean?
A That the collateral is as scary as that or even more scary than that and we — I mean we looked at it in the part we read before, where you’re supposed to see it that death is not even a way out of it, so it’s supposed to be stronger than even the fear of being killed if you were to violate the vow, that’s how strong the collateral is supposed to be.
Q This is under Lesson 12,” Powerful and Influential; if you’re not always making your master, the time when you’re not always, you’re a minion for the bad, you’re a minion for evil. Always make your master increasingly more powerful which means they’re at a certain level of power, is that enough.” What does that mean?
A Well, there are some concepts that were laid out a little bit before in the book that talk about that fear and comfort basically are vehicles for tools of hate or for evil because ultimately the reason we’re being hateful is to be more comfortable or we’re being hateful to get things that we haven’t earned and so — and that — so, laziness, comfort, fearfulness breeds hate, these are the concepts that we lay out in the book before this but also that we’ve been taught within NXIVM. So, it’s saying like that ideally you know that you’re not breeding that by always being disciplined, always being vigilant, always working and so it links it up with the master in this context, if you’re not always making your master, you know, increasingly more powerful, then you’re being a minion for evil because you’re being lazy about it or the only reason you wouldn’t do it is either laziness or issues, fear, so somehow that breeds evil, you know, doing this is good and not doing this becomes evil.
Aside from the obvious criminal implications in the language of the handbook – such as the knife doesn’t care if it is used for murder, or that the DOS bond is akin to the Mafia bond only worse – there is a ceaseless and relentless effort on Raniere’s part to get his slaves to obscure the differences between good and evil, safe and dangerous, and healthy and deleterious.
He is mind-fucking them.
And the curious thing is that at this stage – even after his arrest – and her facing prison – Lauren is still on board.
Sure, she is saying the things she thinks will help her, what the prosecution wants to hear.
But of all the witnesses who came and testified against Raniere, Lauren was the only one who testified about the glories of the teachings, as if it were anything but moral rot and sadism thinly disguised.
She doesn’t see that. Why? Because Lauren Salzman is a slave.
Perhaps Lauren is truly emblematic of a type – the kind of woman that could become enslaved by Nxivm.
Lauren is by no means stupid. She is bright. But there is some terrible flaw, some weakness in her, some lack of confidence or belief in herself that makes her embrace the notion of slavery to a certain man.
She was not ugly. She could have found another man. But she would rather share a slave master with 20 other women than have a man who might love her as an equal.
This should be studied and understood. The type who seeks to be a slave as fulfillment, and once enslaved, abdicates all moral responsibility to her master as if she were a tool – whether used to murder or perform surgery – Lauren [and Raniere] trained her mind to not judge.
But just trust.
She had 20 years of this.
So, is she a victim? Is she mentally incapable of doing anything differently? If so, should she not be excused for much or all of what she did that was criminal?
Her biggest crime was not telling other slaves that Raniere was the secret leader of DOS. She admits for the sake of not going to prison longer than she has to – that this was wrong. But I do not really think Lauren thinks it is wrong.
She was a tool. Raniere’s tool. He told her to do it, and she simply obeyed. There was no intent to do harm. She probably thought – if she thought at all about it – that she was doing good.
She was just a tool in his hand. She was to obey the command before she thought about its rightness or wrongness.
And we don’t charge the knife if it is used for a crime.
Earlier posts in the Lauren Salzman series.