‘Don’t Call It a Cult’ — New Book on NXIVM by Vice Reporter Sarah Berman to Be Published This Month by Viking

Sara Berman's new book, Don't Call It A Cult, is about NXIVM. Photo Credit: Lenny Crisco https://twitter.com/akkabah

A new book is coming out on NXIVM by Vice reporter Sarah Berman. It is called “Don’t Call It A Cult.

Berman attended the trial of Keith Raniere and is from Vancouver. The book will go on sale on April 20, 2021. It will be 320 pages.  [ISBN: 9780735237902]

Here is how Penguin/Random House advertises the book which can be purchased in paperback $24.95, audio $24.95 or e-book $13.99:

They draw you in with the promise of empowerment, self-discovery, women helping women. The more secretive those connections are, the more exclusive you feel. Little did you know, you just joined a cult.

Sex trafficking. Self-help coaching. Forced labour. Mentorship. Multi-level marketing. Gaslighting.

Investigative journalist Sarah Berman explores the shocking practices of NXIVM, an organization run by Keith Raniere and his high-profile enablers (Seagram heir Clare Bronfman; Smallville actor Allison Mack; Battlestar Galactica actor Nicki Clyne). In her deeply researched account, Berman unravels how young women seeking creative coaching and networking opportunities found themselves blackmailed, literally branded, near-starved, and enslaved. With the help of the Bronfman fortune, Raniere built a wall of silence around these abuses, leveraging the legal system to go after enemies and whistleblowers.

Don’t Call It a Cult shows that these abuses looked very different from the inside, where young women initially received mentorship and protection. Don’t Call It a Cult is a riveting account of NXIVM’s rise to power, its ability to evade prosecution for decades, and the investigation that finally revealed its dark secrets to the world. It explores why so many were drawn to its message of empowerment yet could not recognize its manipulative and harmful leader for what he was–a criminal.

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The author is described: SARAH BERMAN is an investigative journalist based in Vancouver covering crime, drugs, cults, politics, and culture. She is a former senior editor at VICE and past contributor to AdbustersReuters, Maclean’sThe Globe and Mail, the Vancouver Sun, and other publications.


An enthusiastic review by Bob Kronbauer on Vancouver Is Awesome, entitled NXIVM sex cult pervert Keith Raniere revealed in new book by Vancouver author reads in part:

Why you should read ‘Don’t Call It a Cult

Vancouver author Sarah Berman’s first book, Don’t Call It a Cult, is an absolute work of art…

It’s billed as “the shocking story of Keith Raniere and the women of NXIVM”, and if you’re like me you might think you’ve already read (and heard) everything that there is to know about this twisted mess, and that nothing about the story could shock you.

And you’d be wrong, as I was.

Drawing on years of investigative reporting she did on the cult for Vice as well as months of new research exclusively for the book, Berman delivers stunning new details from sources who spoke to her both on and off the record. The story holds you until the very end.

Berman’s research over the years has seen her travel from New York to Mexico and back to Vancouver where, as you’ll already know if you’ve followed the story of this multi-level marketing self-help company turned sex cult, an unsettling amount of it takes place…

If you read Don’t Call It a Cult you’ll learn that [Raniere] is undeniably a sex-trafficking fraudster, who he hurt and when, how it was allowed to happen, and much of the why.

Learn more about the book on Berman’s Twitter



About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • La Luz del Mundo [Wikipedia]

    The Iglesia del Dios Vivo, Columna y Apoyo de la Verdad, La Luz del Mundo, (English: Church of the Living God, Pillar and Ground of the Truth, The Light of the World)—or simply La Luz del Mundo (LLDM)—is a nontrinitarian Christian denomination with international headquarters in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. La Luz del Mundo practices a form of restorationist theology centered on three leaders: Aarón—born Eusebio—Joaquín González (1896–1964), Samuel Joaquín Flores (1937–2014), and Naasón Joaquín García (born 1969), who are regarded as modern-day apostles of Jesus Christ.


  • infobae

    Martes 13 de Abril de 2021

    Ya hay fecha para el juicio contra Naasón Joaquín García: La Luz del Mundo espera justicia para el “Apóstol de Jesucristo”

    El líder del culto es investigado por abuso sexual en agravio a menores de edad

    12 de Abril de 2021

    El Tribunal Superior de Los Ángeles, California, estableció la fecha en la que iniciará el juicio contra Naasón Merarí Joaquín García, máximo líder de la organización religiosa La Luz del Mundo.

    [ … ]




    Tuesday, April 13, 2021

    There is already a date for the trial against Naasón Joaquín García: The Light of the World awaits justice for the “Apostle of Jesus Christ”.

    Cult leader is being investigated for sexual abuse of minors

    April 12, 2021

    The Superior Court of Los Angeles, California, established the date on which the trial against Naasón Merarí Joaquín García, top leader of the religious organization La Luz del Mundo, will begin.

    Ronald Coen, judge assigned to the case, established during the hearing, held this Monday, April 12, that the trial will begin on September 27 and that 10 calendar days before (the 17th) the preparation hearings will be held.

    Also known among his community as the “Apostle of Jesus Christ”, his defense has repeatedly managed to postpone the formal start of this part of the judicial process, since it was originally planned to begin the trial on November 12 of last year; however, thanks to the legal representation team he got, it was postponed to January 6.

    In addition to this, it was also postponed, once again, for February 10, to later delay it for another two months. According to a note from the EFE news agency, “Judge Coen granted this Monday’s deadline until September considering the requests of the defendant’s lawyers who asked for enough time for the adequate preparation of the trial”.

    This statement contradicts what the Light of the World said in a communiqué issued this same Monday, where they point out that they allegedly requested that Joaquin Garcia’s case has been dealt with expeditiously.

    “Once again, justice for the Apostle has been delayed while the Superior Court continues to deny requests for an expedited and due process process process, including access for the defense team to exculpatory documents and files,” the cult said.

    In this regard, the religious organization points out that the U.S. justice system denied the evidence to conduct a fair defense; however, the authority granted more than five months for it to do so.

    “The Court has continued to delay the trial, even stating that it could not construct a jury at this time, due to the numerous attempts by the prosecution to deny evidence for the defense,” the statement adds.

    Among other things, it also condemned the amount of the bail and called it a “record”, as it was set at USD 90 million (around 1,800 million Mexican pesos); however, the Light of the World expressed that they are confident that Naasón will be exonerated.

    “Despite the various judicial denials and the claims of the prosecution, we remain firm in our confidence that justice will prevail and the Apostle of Jesus Christ Naasón Joaquín García will be exonerated. His honesty and values are known by millions of people, who will continue to pray for him and the authorities until the conclusion of this process”, the statement closed.

    This case is of utmost importance for Mexican public life, since the leader of the Light of the World is being investigated for sexually abusing minors. In addition, Animal Político revealed that two candidates for federal deputies for the Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) party are followers of Naasón Joaquín García.

    According to journalist Zedryk Raziel, Morena candidates Emmanuel Reyes Carmona and Hamlet García Almaguer are not only part of the Christian congregation led by Naasón Joaquín, but have also defended him on different occasions and assure that he is innocent.

    This information arises in the context of the revelations at the end of March about the links of other Morena politicians with NXIVM, a cult led by Keith Raniere, sentenced to 120 years in prison by the US justice system for a series of sexual crimes. The candidate for the Institutional Revolution Party (PRI) for the governorship of Nuevo Leon released a video where his Morena opponent, Clara Luz Flores (who is also known to congressional candidate, Emmanuel Reyes), appears in a long interview with the leader of the organization.

  • My book title: DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO lol:-Pl how about that?! It was 100% a cult. They 100% lost. Goodbye and good riddance,Keith Raniere 🙂

  • What’s the point of sending someone to prison or rehab? 20 years ago Norway distanced itself from the “punitive” approach to incarceration and drastically reduced recidivism rates. The BBC visited a prison and spoke with officials who are trained to serve as mentors and role models for prisoners.
    Read on here: https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-48900840

    • The point of sending criminals to prison are many. To keep them from victimizing the general population. As punishment so that there are consequences for committing crimes.

      As for Norway, the US is not a Scandinavian country. Very different societies. It also should be pointed out that crime is rising alarmingly in Norway. According to https://www.lifeinnorway.net/crime-figures/ Last year’s murder rate was the highest in seven years. Domestic violence rose 500% in five years. Rapes have risen too.

      • 1. Criminals (murders, rapes, pedophilia, etc.) are not the same as criminals. Criminals should have the death penalty, not jail. The majority of criminals should not have jail either since they do not reform in prison.
        2. Crime and rape in Norway has skyrocketed due to foreigners. It is foreigners who commit most of the crimes, although the press hides it to protect them from the Norwegian popular reaction. This is also happening throughout Europe without exception.

    • The link is to a Spanish article.

      Some people are born criminals. My brother was born a criminal and still is to this day. He has no remorse. Most “criminals” are criminals through and through. Generally speaking, if they had a moral compass, they wouldn’t have done the crime in the first place.

      Perhaps a few criminals can be successfully rehabilitated; good luck sifting through the dregs.

  • Meanwhile 13 miles from Allison Mack’s California home in Huntington Beach a White Lives Matter rally was attacked by Black Lives Matter and the police.

    RAW VIDEO: Clash between ‘White Lives Matter’ and others in Huntington Beach, Calif.
    (Why do they say others instead of Black Lives Matter or Antifa?)

    • It is hard when you want things on the internet to be true.

      That is meant sincerely.

      But you are being woefully mislead.

      There were like 10 – 20 dudes with swastika tattoos. Residents ran them off main Street.

      There were KKK flyers widely distributed leading up to the event all over Orange County.

      The police helped the white lives/Klan folk by escorting them into a car and driving them away to ensure their safety.

      Hbpd And OC sheriff are famously pro-white lives mattering. Very, very MAGA friendly area.

      It like the Alabama of Southern CA.

      At least one openly Qanon member is currently on the city council. Which is very Republican overall.

      The majority of the past city council marched in a pro-Trump rally on the beach 4 years ago. It was full of Nazi flags and white supremacy paraphernalia. None of them took issue with that. At all.

      The city council discussed balancing free speech with letting the Klu Klux Klan and counter-protesters wreck havoc.

      The area is a tourist destination and the Klu Klux klan is very bad for business. It was unanimously decided to handle the white lives matter March in a certain manner. That includes the Qanon council member.

      Honestly, you would probably love it in Huntington Beach. You can openly hate. And find many like-minded souls.

      And Allison Mack lives 13 miles away? It is a tenuous tie-in to make this relevant on the Frank Report, and also probably not accurate.

      Relax! White people are gonna be just fine.

      And remember. Trust but verify!

      • Anonymous 1:30 PM-

        You are trying to have a meaningful dialogue with someone that inhabits another plane of consciousness.

        This peculiar individual believes Ozzie & Harriet was real, and Barry Goldwater was a liberal.

        He’ll only respond to you if you quote from the following sources, G. Gordon Liddy, the Führer, David Duke, or Lyndon LaRouche.

        PS Shadow has a photo of Randy Weaver in his kitchen.

  • Be looking forward to the reviews of more informed readers to see if this person adds any new angle to the story. I suspect its a retread over everything already covered by news reports, this site, and the docs only with her interviewing the NXIVM nobodies (equivalent of D-listers/reality show creepers) in the cult who will likely just exaggerate what they knew, what they tried to do (but really didn’t) and their level of importance on things getting exposed.

  • Looks like another stale tale of NXIVM —- 2 years late to the party — as told thru the distorted & biased lens of an extreme left-wing author.

    Let me ask Frank a single, honest question.


    Do you think people like India Oxenberg (and others who left the cult) were actually hanging around and having sex with Keith for years JUST BECAUSE they were being blackmailed?

    You can’t honestly believe that, do you Frank?

    Keep in mind, these same gals HAD NO PROBLEM LEAVING THE CULT when they really wanted to, even though their sordid sex tales would be told to the world (i.e., they didn’t seem to mind if the content of their blackmail material was made known to the world).

    Thus, it kinda seems over-dramatic for this author to claim that the MAIN reason these DOS women were staying in the cult was because they were blackmailed.

    To be honest, every woman (who submitted blackmail material) was able to leave the cult with no problems, when they finally wanted to.

    I’m starting to believe that even Sarah Edmondson voluntarily got branded cuz she thought it was a ‘cool new experience’. Then she changed her mind after the fact, mainly to placate her hubby who was pissed. Then she convinced herself that she was branded against her will, to bring her attitude in line with hubby’s.

    This is a common psych tactic by weak people.

    I’m starting to see things from the lens of Nicki Clyne now —- and I’m starting to think maybe she’s not as crazy as everybody makes her out to be.

    Frank needs to keep a more open mind before announcing that the drivel written in this book is pure fact.

    Have a good day.

    • ==I’m starting to see things from the lens of Nicki Clyne now…

      [rolleyes] at “starting” says the culter.

    • —I’m starting to believe that even Sarah Edmondson voluntarily got branded cuz she thought it was a ‘cool new experience’.

      Watch the video that was leaked by Mexican television and you will come to that conclusion.

      • How did Mexican television “leak” it if it was a private video recorded and owned by NXIVM/DOS?

        You sound like Nicki when she lied that someone from NXIVM/DOS didn’t leak the video. You’re probably just another NXIVM dead-ender.

        • NXIVM leaked it and the Mexican media broadcast it.

          Don’t get caught up in semantics dude—leaked/released/dumped/shared/spewed

        • According to Nicki Clyne in the Dossier Project group chat videos, she said Sarah Edmondson’s branding video was on her cell phone for some reason even though Lauren Salzman was Sarah’s master and Nicki wasn’t even present when Sarah was branded. Nicki alleges the videos on her were stolen or hacked, including Sarah’s branding video, which is really hard to believe.

      • I’ve watched the video. Sarah is reading off of a script. It doesn’t look like a “cool new experience” at all.

          • Nice Guy, THAT was your takeaway from that video? Not the bizarreness of the whole situation and the fact that they were holding one another down and filming it naked but that one platonic kiss? Did you then surmise they all banged each other afterward? What are you, twelve?

    • You can always tell when a leftover drops a comment on FR. It’s comical. Very much like a child weaving a tall tale. Don’t quit your Cafe job.

  • Yes! This is the investigative journalist who has really put her boots on the ground, and I love that her work gets attention here.

    At first, I remembered Susan Berman & Fred Durst and that, whoops, Susan Berman would be the late S. Berman. This writer is a Vancouver woman, Sarah Berman, a real, working investigative journalist who has built considerable experience, not some shot in the dark.

    There is a lot to look forward to from her, because she’s been researching, has tracked her own quotes to use as reference notes and has some new tea. Or coffee. Yay!

    • Oh dear. Maybe not Fred Durst. Robert Durst. Gyad, Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit, pardon the hell outta this mayhem, from not having any editing options. So limp. Limp.

    • I BET….Someone, in Chicago, popped a raging boner; when they saw Allison Mack with a gag in her mouth.

      On a prop-bet— I bet they, immediately, ordered a life-size poster from Vista Print.

  • When a woman did not believe a proclamation by Jesus of Albany, it started raining on her but not him.
    (From a story related by Lauren Salzman.)

    It’s a cult all right from its sashes to its hand clap.

    Does this look like a cult to you?

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

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