By Deke Sharon
Thank you so very much for responding in detail. Obviously you care a great deal about all this, which means a lot.
I would still very much like to hear from Keith himself (as he’s the head honcho), but you bring up some really good points and I’d like to know more:
Clare wrote: First, I know the people who back Rick Ross to fabricate the cult controversy through a carefully funded, politically orchestrated campaign of media and law.
Can you be more specific? Who is funding him and his efforts? And why?
(Rick Ross is the guy who has a web site with many articles about NXIVM and Keith).
And also, when doing a big web search, I have to say I can’t find any positive articles about either Keith or NXIVM. Any idea why?
I tried to find out who the realrickross blogger is, or any other info, but these articles seem to be the long and short of it, which I have to say is not impressive. Rick Ross, imperfect as he is, stands behind his work and statements.
I did find a wikipedia article about him that seems carefully vetted:
Clare wrote: Keith tends not to talk about his achievements and has always kept very quiet about the people he knows.
Hmm. His web site talks about his achievements (reading at age 2, etc.), but they’re neither very recent nor reflected in the media. And also, let’s be honest – as humble as he is, he’s a businessman who relies on his reputation, as we all do. He probably took part in the bio at keithraniere.com if not wrote it outright. Which isn’t a sin at all, and shouldn’t be seen as such.
Anyway, what has he done, since you know him well?
Clare wrote: Is he money driven? Although his past businesses have put him in a profit position of over $1 million dollars a month, he did not take this money and lives in the same house he has for the last 20 years: an $80k (purchase price) condominium in a small suburban neighborhood. He lives a very simple, modest life where he teaches voice, piano and invents—he also coaches some to the top people in the world.
So he has/had heaps of money at his disposal, but doesn’t/didn’t spend it? I’m not sure I understand.
He also got sued by several states for having a pyramid/Ponzi scheme. You gotta admit – that looks bad.
Speaking of money, Forbes Magazine said you loaned NXIVM $2 million dollars. That’s a whole bunch of money, especially to an organization that charges $10,000 for a seminar (is that right?). And it is/was to be paid off via life coaching as opposed to repaid?
Is that report correct? If so, what did the organization need so much money for?
Rational and compromising is good.
Doing the right thing is also good.
But why so many law suits? One article said that he has several cases currently pending in Albany court. Is that right? That also doesn’t look good.
Don’t get me wrong – no one has to look good all the time. But there are just a bunch of things floating unanswered. And not answering doesn’t look good.
He has a book? I’d love to read it! But I can’t find it online. How can I get a copy?
I can’t find these journals online either. What kind of journals are they, and what are the articles about? I’d love to read them.
You think he’d be smart enough to dodge all this bad press, no?
…sorry. Just attempting some levity.
I gotta say, you guys are dumping all this money and time into collegiate a cappella… why not Free Tibet?!? Or AIDS research? Or global hunger?
You gotta admit – it’s a little unusual. Your network appears out of nowhere with no background, history or experience in a cappella and all of a sudden throws an a cappella seminar twice a year free of charge at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars a pop.
I can’t find this online either. My google skills are apparently waning. Any link?
So why aren’t their testimonials splashed on the website? Or anywhere else to be found, for that matter? I’m not doubting many people have taken the training… but wouldn’t some positive words from a number of them do worlds of good to contrast claims of being a cult?
If these people are happy with their experiences, and the point of NXIVM is to help people be more empowered, and y’all have a rather significant PR problem… why not get their endorsements? It’s absolutely standard.
You have to understand: your organization is built largely on one man’s credibility, and that credibility is suspect throughout any media reports I could find online. The guy’s smart and connected… and yet hasn’t rectified the situation, and doesn’t even speak up here. In our silly little forum, where people want to support and believe him.
Again, doesn’t look good.
I’m not sure I know what you mean… but for people who don’t know him, a brief search on his name is not reassuring. Do you mean a recommendation to people that he has taught? Pull in in some big names? Wait… how about you? Wanna make a call and land the House Jacks a record deal? We’ll call the album “Get Down, Clare!” and promise the art will have an equestrian theme.
Dianetics can get Tom Cruise to say or do about anything for them. I’m sorry, but this doesn’t support anything. Doesn’t mean you’re a part of a cult, but it doesn’t refute it either.
Clare wrote: Do you think Keith needs to recruit college students?
Recruit? I don’t know. Perhaps future leaders of tomorrow and potential seminar attendees? Doesn’t have to be a recruitment move. Could just be good business. A loss leader of sorts.
Let me ask you: Why give something free to a bunch of college students, most of whom have plenty of money or their families have plenty of money? As a demographic, they’re about as non-needy as they come. Community college students? Sure. Dropouts? Absolutely. But these a cappella singers are at private universities, mostly, and many will eventually make bank. They don’t need help.
[Ed. Note: There was an unhappy, apparently liquor-fueled party in connection to the event that went amok.]
Don’t get me wrong – I love college a cappella. More than most. Not as much as some of the freaks here. But damn close. And I have spent much too much time helping that community. But I came from it, sang it, loved it, wanted to share it and help it grow. To come from the inside is not unusual. To come from outside, so rapidly and without explanation is, as you see from this thread, suspect.
I don’t know what Keith’s motives are (and we all have many motives in life). But it does seem to have started with Keith, and then your community snapped into action. Which is also unusual. So many people all of a sudden focused on a cappella because one guy gets an idea.
I started CASA because I wanted to make a career of a cappella. I love it, and knew similar fans and singers needed a community and services. Part of my drive was altruistic – to help people – and part selfish – I can’t make a career of something without a community to support it. I make no bones.
I don’t know his motives, but so far they have not been forthcoming. And speculation does not favor unfettered altruism on Keith’s part.
Explanations in general that speak only of altruism coming from anyone who doesn’t look like Mother Theresa are suspect, so he shouldn’t take it personally.
Clare wrote: Now it is everyone’s choice who to believe Ross (see above) or Raniere (see above.)
It’s not a matter of not believing him – there’s nothing much that’s been posted by him to believe or not believe. Online you can see him posting repeatedly in another forum (HiIQ topic) and being chatty. Great! You’ve been welcomed to this community, Keith – please speak up! We’re chatty too. And have better breath than the UberMensa folks.
[Ed Note: Sharon is referring to High IQ community forums Keith occasionally commented on.]
Jesus was a criminal. The Dali Lama is a criminal. I’m not saying Ross is either of them, but a criminal act in his youth does not discredit every word he says thereafter. And he has some legitimate concerns about other organizations.
Information is information, and the source must be considered, and in Rick Ross’ case I think it is. But there needs to be other information, and I prefer first person information to second or third person information.
That’s cool! I have no doubt that Keith is capable of helping people, motivating people, providing valuable perspective and insight. And good at problem solving (although he’s got a problem right now and isn’t really solving it!)
I don’t think anyone doubts his abilities, regardless of their position on the cult issue. He’s been successful, and has built a significant organization/community that is able to quickly mobilize money and energy to make things happen. Impressive.
Please understand whereas I think you’re a very sweet, caring, motivated woman, it’s not enough for you to say you’re not in a cult. No one would ever admit to being in a cult, nor would they think they’re in one if they are. Scientology? Cult. John Travolta seems like a very nice guy, and I’m sure he could convince the world he’s not in a cult. Except that he is.
And to that end, please understand or at least accept that your testimonial isn’t enough. The questions are still floating out there.
I’d like them to go away! Who here doesn’t like $30,000 dumped into free a cappella festivals twice a year?!?
But they’re out there, and I’m stepping up to try and help them get answered to everyone’s satisfaction.
His site says he has gathered “information about controversial groups, some called ‘cults'” – which is an appropriate description of the list, from what I know. Amway is an organization with some serious problems.
The LDS church is controversial. Heck – so is the Catholic church!
I can’t find Oprah on there.
Anyway, I can’t throw that baby out with the bathwater. I consider his site a public service, if a flawed one.
BTW – can you cite any articles from the pre-Rick Ross period?
I dunno about it… but it’s hardly the only negative press. Easy enough to chip away at one story… but so many?
People here are well read, and by in large critical thinkers. It’s one of the things I like most about this community. Plus the Caddyshack references.
Thanks again for stepping up and speaking. You’ve shown yourself to be a person of great character for not shying away from adversity, and engaging in what must be a difficult, frustrating conversation. Very much appreciated!!
(BTW – I kept every word you said in this, as I didn’t want you frustrated that you were selectively quoted or responded to. I tried to give everything you said equal consideration)
Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com
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