Former medical doctor Brandon Porter experienced the opposite of Executive Success in his life. His medical license was revoked after a hearing where it was determined that the human fright experiments he conducted – and his illegal suppression of poisoning outbreak at Vanguard Week 2016 – warranted the harsh outcome, depriving Porter of his living.
Somehow this has not deterred Porter from continuing his support for Keith Raniere who oversaw and approved the human fright experiments and colluded with Porter to keep the outbreak a secret from authorities.
Porter’s letter was written back on December 1, 2019, but he apparently continues to support Raniere since he has not sought to withdraw his letter. Raniere is set to be sentenced on Oct. 27.
It is peculiar that at the time he wrote the letter to the judge, he had already lost his medical license [which occurred in April 2019] but continues to refer to himself as an MD in the letter. It is also of interest that Porter does not mention the revocation of his license and that it was directly related to following the judgment of his mentor, Keith Raniere. For a time after he lost his ability to practice medicine, he worked as an insulation salesman, a position he lost because of reports about him in the Frank Report. He has since left the Albany area and returned to the Midwest where he grew up.
His letter is addressed to Judge Nicholas Garaufis,
I am writing to share information about Keith Raniere and NXIVM that was not represented in the press, nor his trial. I hope you consider this information when considering his sentence. I will give you a little background about me and the reasons I participated in NXIVM. The reason I want to share this information is that NXIVM has been described as a criminal organization. It was not a criminal organization. It was an organization that valued people and helped to serve as an example for a humanitarian organization.
Keith Raniere’s inspiration and ideas provided the foundation for this organization and its techniques provided significant benefit to many people.
I met Keith Raniere in the summer of 2001. I was in the midst of my MD/PhD training. At first, I was taken aback by the high accolades Keith was given in the small organization. As I gained more benefits from the trainings, I could see that people appreciated Keith relative to the amount of benefit his life’s work, Rational Inquiry, provided them. I had a few direct interactions with Keith during the second part of a 16-day intensive training. In my experience, he was kind, humble, thoughtful and helpful. I was impressed that he and Nancy Salzman could develop a process with deep philosophical grounding that a wide range of people could take in, enjoy, and benefit from.
I became a coach in ESP because I like to help people and I noticed that the Rational Inquiry tools helped people in ways I hadn’t thought possible. Depressed people were putting away their depression, anxious people were putting aside their anxieties, loving people were becoming even more loving. All of these wonderful results were simply cultivated through ESP’s consistent system of discussing morality, ethics, and what it means to be a human being. I was impressed and wanted to help others with the natural struggles that come with being human.
I came to know Keith more when I moved to Albany, NY in 2009 to work as a physician at a local hospital and to help set up ways to measure the effects of the NXIVM trainings. I played volleyball with Keith and the volleyball team once or twice a week. I had many opportunities to see him interact with a variety of people, including his close friends, ESP proctors, coaches, and students. He was always gracious and kind. He would give people undivided attention. People would seek his advice on a wide variety of topics and he readily acknowledged when he didn’t have the specific type of knowledge the person was seeking. His usual response to people seeking advice was to not give a definitive response. Instead, he helped people see different options so the individual could have the experience of evaluating their situation with their own values and making their own decisions on their own personally challenging topic.
Over my 17 years participating with Executive Success Programs and NXIVM, I got to know hundreds of coaches (including the professional coaches) and students. In my experience, these people were dedicated to helping other people realize the best version of themselves. We did this by helping people develop the tools necessary to build positive traits or put away negative traits. In the process of this, the NXIVM curriculum also helped us find the individualized positive reasons we did things so people could actively build their conscience around their most important values. Also, the curriculum helped people find immoral things we were doing so we could see the negative behaviors, acknowledge their effects, and fix the negative behaviors if we wanted to fix them. Many people feel bad about themselves because we fill our lives with doing the things we know, in our own judgement, to be bad. The curriculum helped us recognize these behaviors, develop a plan, and execute the plan to change these behaviors for the better. When people chose to address these behaviors, they felt truly liberated.
In my experience, the NXIVM coaches and students were not a group of bamboozled acolytes. NXIVM included a wide array of people, many trained in the highest echelon of universities. They were excited to explore important ideas including the natures of honor, noble actions, ethics, morality, love, responsibility, and conscience. The people of NXIVM were interested in figuring out how to build joy in their lives, even though life, in general, includes significant emotional pain. In my experience, it was an absolute joy to explore important philosophical ideas together and share in the process of self-discovery together. The foundation of the NXIVM community was a celebration of how, together, we each contribute to each person’s self-discovery process. This is an important point because the foundation of NXIVM wasn’t a celebration of Keith Raniere as a demigod, in the way the media and government portrayed. People appreciated Keith’s contribution to their lives relative to the amount of benefit he provided them. They appreciated the other people in NXIVM relative to the amount of benefit the other people provided them. In general, it was a group of people who appreciated each other, greatly. He designed the organization to be grateful for each person’s contribution to our lives. In my experience, the organization improved in its capacity to do this, each year.
The company Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman created, Executive Success Programs, was dedicated to helping people grow ethically and compassionately. People were able to use the company structure as a place to make their mistakes (at the expense of the company) in the process of discovering and developing the type of person they wanted to be. The company’s focus was upon helping people and upon building an ethical, humanitarian business. Keith helped inspire an environment where people could explore important philosophical questions in relationship to their own, personal moral convictions. The goal of the system was to help each person find their own beliefs (conclusions) that were inconsistent with their highest ideals, and then the person could make their own decision about these inconsistent beliefs. The process is both elegant and humanitarian because it doesn’t simply replace one’s beliefs with another person’s beliefs. The individual makes their own conclusions based upon their own, higher moral values. The unique curriculum helped thousands of people improve their lives and the lives of those around them. The ethics of the people in the company improved with time.
These principles; personal responsibility, ethical evaluation, building consistency in one’s beliefs, and doing what one determines is right (based upon one’s ethical evaluation of the situation) were common threads in all of Keith’s trainings I participated in. This included ESP, Ultima, SOP, JNESS Tracks, SOP Complete, Ethicist, The Source, and Exo-Eso. As a consequence of these trainings, I experienced improvements in my roles as a physician, father, husband, and friend. I gained greater capacity for empathy and compassion. I was better able to uphold my values in the context of stress. My love for the closest people in my life increased. My capacity to help people through difficult times increased. I saw similar, if not better, improvements in my friends who used Keith Raniere’s trainings in their own lives. I saw many people move towards a curiosity driven, scientifically minded, compassion-oriented process of interacting with others. In my experience, the positive changes in people were profound and specific to the person and what they wanted to improve upon.
The people in NXIVM were not perfect and acknowledged this. However, I saw people grow morally, over my years of participation, by putting away their anger, developing a compassionate perspective, and performing more loving actions. This was not an authoritarian system and sometimes people would misunderstand certain ideas and Keith’s next training compassionately addressed these misunderstandings and provided the opportunity for deeper understandings for important principles. In my experience, each new intensive helped cultivate an improved ethical, moral direction for the organization as a whole.
Keith was a mentor to me. I trusted his judgment when it came to helping people because he was very good at helping people. I saw him interact with hundreds of people. He is able to figure people out quickly and plant seeds that inspire curiosity and help people discover new understandings of themselves. I have met no other person with his skill in helping people in this way. These skills are not inborn. They were created over time and required significant insight into the nature of himself and humanity, in general. This is not something people can learn in books. He inspired people to make people the most important value in their lives. He inspired us to be willing to love and to take the difficult path of doing what is right. In my opinion, this is a particularly important philosophical decision, given our present society’s prevailing morality which is based upon materialism and comfort. Keith’s themes of personal responsibility, ethical evaluation, upholding people, constant improvement towards our personal goals, and building the capacity to do what is right in the context of conflict, are important themes and he was able to help many people feel confident in exploring and upholding these challenging values in their lives.
I can say with confidence that Keith helped me learn about responsibility, honor, commitment, character, love and how to help people experience joy in their lives even though life includes significant emotional pain. One of the ways I learned these traits was through first imitating Keith and then figuring out, through trial and error, how to best uphold these ideas in my own way. Over my 20 years of experience in NXIVM, I noticed that the people closest to Keith improved in in similar ways. Importantly, this included being more thoughtful and more compassionate with others.
All of Keith’s trainings were developed to help create experiences to help people examine and influence their own values so they could develop themselves into their ideal version of themselves. I didn’t know about DOS until people left the group and spoke out against Keith. Given the high stakes in this situation, I do not trust much of the information I have about DOS. However, I personally knew many of the women who were members and I respected them as people who were dedicated to helping other people. I witnessed each of these people help many others and I respected their opinions in this regard. As a consequence, I have left the hypothesis open that DOS was an experiential process with the purpose of helping people overcome specific issues. Obviously, this process went wrong at some point in the execution of the idea, perhaps even in the conception of the idea.
I do not have direct access to Keith’s motives for any of his actions. Indeed, I don’t have direct access to all of his actions, his personal struggles, and his effects in the world to help me understand him fully as a person. This is terribly frustrating to me when analyzing reports of his actions and his recent conviction. In my evaluation of Keith, I have wanted to gather all of the information I could about him. Given your solemn decision regarding the extent of his punishment, I imagine you feel similarly. Right now, based upon the information available to me, my 20 years of experience knowing Keith, and experiencing and observing the results of the trainings he created, I think he can still serve a benefit to our society. I hope you find the information I am sharing with you helpful in making your decision.
Brandon B. Porter, M.D., Ph.D.