Ruth: Swami’s Ashram Fraud Seen Best in Vicious Anonymous Comments

By Ruth Graham

I would first like to share a quote from Le Petit Prince:

“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox, “but you must not forget it. You become responsible forever for that what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.”

If anyone wants to see what the ashram was like behind the curtain, it can be seen in many comments to my article Swami’s Evil First Assistant: What Makes Sharon Ward Tick?

A toxic organization that does not want to take responsibility for itself is represented by comments I’ve received for stating my truth.

Attacking my character, name calling, distortions of truth – all
anonymously. That’s the key. None of them are taking any responsibility.

I am.

I’m not hurt by it. It hardens my resolve.

It also shows itself for what it was and always has been.

For now, I stand out, but I’m not the only one. And ya’ll know it.

I always knew what I had to say, and never changed my story. When I said it, I knew it was going to be powerful and elicit a strong response in people. For that reason, I hesitated.

Because these so-called spiritual people do not want light shone on how actually stagnant and rotten they are. I knew they would hiss and whine and shoot stink bombs to high heaven. I knew it was a group of deeply entrenched people terrified of their own imminent expiration dates.

I know there are a bunch of people horrifically afraid of the person they thought was weak and small. When you have this kind of information that damages people, and it’s real, you don’t throw it around to anyone as if it’s of no consequence.

The ashram higher-ups thought of Ruth as inconsequential. She now has a truth of consequence to tell.

Why do you think I waited nine years to share anything? You think I carried a grudge that long? No, I would have not survived with that level of hate for that long, especially since too much happened
to me in that place.

I would not be able to take up new hobbies, travel the world, laugh. I’ve come forward because now I’m compelled to say the right thing.
I think the people who claim I have some unresolved jealousy are actually projecting a lot of how it is in the snakepit community there, and it shows.

The Swami Chetanananda, a drug addicted consorter with prostitutes and a conniver of donations – who women say loves to strangle women for sexual and sadistic pleasure – is seen with his enthralled devotees. 

In the cauldron of the ashram, or “compound,” as I call it, rivalries are permanent. It’s a place with decades-long henpecking going on. There is no growth there. People are stagnant and stuck in that place, chewing on each other, a slow, despairing disaster.

They can’t allow young people to take over without exploiting them. Maybe the young people that used to be there, like I used to be,
think they have air when they’re huffing the gas of imaginary promises?

I get it. I can understand that money can be given and money opens many doors, but does that translate to real strength in the real

Maybe they think they are initiates into spiritual cannibalism, and they think they will have magical power over other lesser beings forever. They think the accolades they get from a few people in that one small place will translate into real world respect, strength and understanding among other humans.

I feel sad for them, knowing how fragile it really is. Yes, Shoemaker [AKA Swami Chetanananda] has money, and obviously has manipulative skills.

But what is the outcome?

What skills are you learning, lifers? The skill of covering up for other abusers? The skill of doing every drug? The skill of targeting vulnerable people? The skill of existing in a toxic workspace?

The skill of sitting really still while you fart into a cushion? You can do that at home, can’t you?

What is the skill? The skill of pickling yourself with healthy food, supplements, probiotics, crystals and yoga to give you a long life, but not actually doing anything with it?

The skill of being as fragile as a rice paper when it comes to a
complex reality? Plenty of people do that without a guru.

Let’s talk about someone from the ashram in the comments right now. Lila.

Lila, I know who you are. You’re not trans. You’re on drugs and unhinged. You’ve crawled back to the person you originally claimed raped you, probably to secure more drugs or maybe to try to finally get the attention of another person who shares the same sick proclivities as you.

Like attracts like.

I don’t know, but good luck with that.

Either way, I know you’re not trans, and I have verifiable proof that
would bury you and your lies. I am culpable in one thing, and that is for trusting you in any measure.

Trusting you with Jesse, trusting you with any private information.

However, you seriously miscalculated me, probably due to your own lack of sobriety.

Non-sober people tend to lose against sober people all the time.

Here’s your opportunity for growth. I now take responsibility for this. Have you taken responsibility for yourself?

After all you’re 16 years older than me? You are fit, and told me how strong you were and how you’re bigger than me. I know you’re never going to show your face as “Lila” because if you do, your whole angle is to try to regain good graces with the meth-head Swami by undermining me with defamatory attacks will fall apart.

You’ll lose your temporary hold. It’s temporary. You know it.

The same goes with Fig and many anons here. Your inability to stand forward with your name is a testament to your inability to take responsibility for your words and deeds. You want to cause hurt, but
not openly. What does that say about you?

J. Michael Shoemaker known to his adoring followers as Swami Chetanananda.

The sad thing for you all is it’s actually destined to fall apart. It’s not going up from here. I think even the Rat King Michael himself knows this, and in his cowardly way he is cowering like you are.

Besides, all the prior victims know this. We understand now that the power has shifted and is with us.

For those who might not be in the ashram and are calling me names, etc., I see the same patterns now in the world, as I did in the relatively small community I was in.

I’m now wise to this behavior. It took me a long time to understand these things, because I myself was raised in a very secluded
environment for my childhood, and was very naive to the variety and breadth of human behavior.

I was easily duped and pushed around.

I have learned now to call it what it is, the actions of crybullies, or those seeking authority outside themselves (outside of their own internal locus) by attacking others.

Instead of being self-reliant, these people can’t stand to see self-reliance in others. Most particularly, it’s those who are so insecure in their own beliefs that they must ad hominem (attack the person) of anyone with a different belief. And there are a few that deep down know they are scoundrels and know no other way.

They are stuck, like I used to be, living in that spider trap of an ashram.

Why are your followers so terrified to stand in the light? Because you know it’s a big fat FRAUD.

I want to share what another anonymous person said here against me. It’s a tell, and tragicomic in the way they think this proves anything. This is from Fig.

They say someone said to my face in front of everyone at the ashram.

“You little trouble maker you.”

I want to thank them, because it’s one of those little stories that I remember, but felt it was too small to share.

In my recollection, that person yelled it at me in front of everyone.

They didn’t “say it.”

And Fig who claims it proves something against me will never be able to state what it is that made me deserve to be called it, because it would either be a

1) ridiculous lie

2) Such a small thing it didn’t deserve that level of verbal abuse in a workspace. Ever.

They yelled it at me and never actually explained what I did wrong.

They yelled it at me, because the way that place operates is via abuse and shame, not progression and support. Fig you step on your own self sharing this.

They yelled it at me, because despite the fact they weren’t my boss, they felt they had “rank” and felt entitled to verbally abuse me randomly, in front of everyone.

I still don’t know why they yelled that at me that day. Still.

Fig, who claimed I deserved to be called a trouble maker….they know who the real trouble makers are. I was not one of them.

Fig is someone who clearly has one foot in the door and one out on the ashram. But they will never show their face.

Because despite Fig being older than me, she is not capable of that level of personal responsibility for her accusations.

I want to ask them, too, what they know about the “positive energy” they claimed I experienced there.

My life was hell there. When I left, I went through some truly difficult experiences after that, but still don’t compare to how hellish that place was for me. It truly is a benchmark to me of hell.

Don’t speak to me about what that energy was. Can you measure it? Photograph it?

BTW, leaving for me would have meant homelessness. Fig obviously has the perspective of a lifer of the ashram so that narrows that down. Someone who has never learned about the real world; about
domestic violence, coercive control and financial control, and what homelessness is.

I suspect Fig may come from some family money. I actually did choose the threat of homelessness over the ashram in the end.

That was the calculus I made when I started saying “no” to demands that violated my own integrity, like falsifying SSI or covering up for my sexual abusers.

I actually made that final decision in my head that if I lived there one more second, I would turn into a deranged sociopath like Jimi, Moni or Sharon. Or worse, a broken belly crawler coward, like Fig, or

Govind, Swami, Claudia and Margi

Similar to the time Moni yelled at me about my heart chakra being closed, that place was a venomous pit of gossip and backstabbing, under a veneer of Rosemary’s Baby, coated with a pretty good marketing scheme and perks for those who played the toxic game well.

The Swami and Moni O’Neil – one day the true story of what he did to her will come to the surface.

At the core is a conman, serial sexual abuser. Those who threw their hat in with that stripe of humanity, like Sharon Ward, who pledged to take responsibility for others’ lives, need to take ownership of what they’ve done to those lives, like the fox says in Le Petit Prince.

I take responsibility for the fact they duped me for so long. I take responsibility for the fact that I thought I could ever thrive in that place. I take responsibility for the fact that I did benefit in some ways
via learning some trades (not well though, lol, certainly not legally), while behind closed doors massive abuses and fraud were going on.

I take responsibility for the fact that this place inspired me to learn a
lot about cult abuse and coercive control, so I’m somewhat of an expert “troll” as the user WTF said.

I’m only a troll to trolls who crawl in darkness and can’t show their faces. They don’t like me much. They never did.

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  • “You become responsible forever for that what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.”

    Can anyone help me out with this one. I’m guessing this is an analogy to the ashram somehow, so In this analogy, who is the little prince? The swami? Or Ruth? Who is the rose? Who has been tamed? Who is the fox? I don’t get it.

  • “I’m only a troll to trolls who crawl in darkness and can’t show their faces.”

    Using a nickname online for privacy reasons means a person is crawling in darkness? Ok.

    • What is worse, a troll as you say, or a Guru who lies to his students, takes advantage of vulnerable Women, does drugs, manipulates people? What is worse? A person who uses trickery in the realm of spirituality is far worse than a used car salesman. At least on used car lot, everyone knows the score. I will happily be a troll rather than a “fake” friend, or fraudulent spiritual person.

  • Let’s take a look at Swami’s closest associate: Theresa. One of the most gracious, charming, and warm individuals I have ever met –when she chooses to be. An information “octopus”, Theresa’s main job was collecting any and all information and passing it along to Swami.

    A master of passive -aggressive behavior, she threw her weight around in the ashram, and “muscled” a lot of people. She is a prime, #1 cult facilitator, along with Sadhvi. She did tremendous damage, by the fact that she “fanned the flames” of whomever Swami the snake, had earmarked as a special student. She is two faced, and full of shit. Left strings of unpaid bills, and hid behind Swami. Theresa, it is YOUR turn to get called out. We are just getting going here.

    Regarding a comment someone posted that I am very mild in my criticism of Swami: I beg to differ with you. I think he is a seriously screwed up guy, who manipulated and abused many. He is a first class shit head/narcissist/psychopath, and deserves any, and all retribution for his snake like ways.

    • I NEVER knew ANY of those positive adjectives could apply to Theresa. She was a haughty bitch 24/7 when I lived in the ashram.

    • Fig, what do you know about Theresa’s knowledge regarding the death of her sister Liz? If she was an information “octopus” what did she gather about her own sister? What do you know or what did Theresa tell you about the wellfare of Liz’s children and grandchildren? What do you know or what did Thresa tell you about their treatment by Shoemaker and the “community”? What do you know about LIz’s grandchildren and how well Liz’s ex-husband, children and grandchildren are doing after leaving the “community”? Did they suffer from post-cult PTSD symptoms? Where did the funds come from for Liz’s ex-husband to start a resturant, Pinocchio, in Portland come from? Was there payout’s to family members after Liz was found dead? How much harm was done to the entire family? What did you learn from Theresa about harm done to other members of the “community”?

      • That restaurant Pinocchio’s was in (and out) of business years before Liz died. Just to keep the timeline straight.

    • I was unaware I was posting the same story over and over. People are getting interested in this. One of the leading documentary producers in the USA has contacted me.

      A documentary is likely – starring Ruth. She is the new Sarah Edmondson of cult busters.

      • This is an interesting story. It’s not repetitive at all.

        Ruth is answering her detractors —- which is better than remaining silent and letting them control the narrative.

        The person above, who ‘pretends’ that they wanna get back to the investigation (LOL) —- is really just a member of the ARB (Anti-Ruth Brigade).

        Allison Mack probably had 500 stories written about her on FR.

        Keep up the heat on the Swami. The Swami is ripe for a fall.

        In the photos of each class, I noticed that the higher-ranked (older) people were sitting closest to the Swami — which makes me believe that the reason lower-ranked students were urged to attend classes (and not to be late) was to enforce the ‘ranking’ system of the ashram upon them, or the pecking order.

        • They did sit in front. Sharon, Jim, Howard, Theresa, Monica. All sitting as close as they could, backs ram-rod straight, trying to outdo each other in the contest of Swami’s Most Favored Disciple. Rather pathetic and embarrassing for 60+ yr old people, tbh.

        • —Allison Mack probably had 500 stories written about her on FR.

          Yep, by one person, hiding out in the shadow in Chicago.

          You’re an old timer on the Frank Report don’t you remember?

  • Ruth Graham has turned this entire discussion into something about her! Guns, and Trans? Who cares? This is about Swami Chetanananda and the Church of Divine Dirty Business. Let’s stay focused on the main topic. Grow up Riuth.

    • Well, Ruth wasn’t the one who first brought up guns and trans. Someone else did.

      But I agree the focus should be on swami Chet and his #1 Sharon Ward etc. and not a free-for-all to eviscerate an ex boyfriend.

  • Ruth is right.

    The powerful people of the ashram are now deathly afraid of the person they once believed to be meek, weak and powerless.

    Ruth and her group of ex-members are the ones with the power now.

    They are the ones creating a support group for others leaving the ashram.

    Sharon and her management team should be crapping their panties.

    By the way, the IRS has something called the “Forever Statute” —- which, in essence, allows the IRS to reach back beyond the usual statute of limitations, to sue people civilly whenever FRAUD can be shown.

    *Even though the Swami’s organization may be classified as a tax exempt ‘church’—- it must still pay FICA payroll taxes for all non-clergy employees, which would include FAKE UNPAID INTERNS (who are really employees in the eyes of the IRS).

    If you can show a WILLFUL ATTEMPT TO EVADE TAX — such as a fraudulent scheme by a church to evade FICA taxes by creating fake internships — then the “forever statute” allows the IRS to disregard the statute of limitations to sue people civilly.

    *See section (c) Exceptions, subsection (2) Willful Attempt to Evade Tax

    **Normally, the IRS has a 3-year statute of limitations to assess taxes.

    **For cases involving ‘large mistakes’ made on a tax return, the IRS has a 6-year statute of limitations to assess taxes.

    **For cases of deliberate FRAUD (where ‘schemes’ are designed to cheat the IRS out of taxes) —- then no time limit exists for assessing taxes and suing people to recover these taxes plus huge penalties for cheating.

    If what Ruth said is accurate —– then Sharon Ward has been deliberately paying people off the books using an internal bartering system, without reporting this to the IRS (i.e., Ruth worked full time for years in exchange for room & board and tuition; and I’m sure that other people were paid using this barter system too).

    The IRS views ‘bartering’ as normal income being paid.

    Unpaid interns cannot receive full room & board in exchange for their work (if they’re ‘credited’ more than 20 percent of what a real employee would be paid to do the same work, the IRS views them as employees).

    …And, during the civil investigation, if the IRS discovers that the Swami’s been doing this within the last 6 years (in Gold Beach) —- they can potentially be charged with criminal tax fraud charges.

    But there’s no rush.

    Take your time. Get all of your ducks in a row first.

    Wait for enough people to join your group. Document everything meticulously.

    You don’t need copies of any documents.

    You only need each person’s ‘testimony’ —- about how the fraud worked and how they were forced to work in exchange for room & board or tuition, with as much detail as possible.

    The power of multiple people, all testifying to the same thing, carries a lot of weight.

    Then, when you’re finally ready —– have the IRS sue the shit out of Sharon and the Swami. 🙂

    • maybe start with the corporate Non-profit board structure (members, directors, etc), obtain corporate tax returns and reporting, basically start the case file for federal or state action – certainly enough material to work with. if doing it as a class action, there’re likely attorneys experienced with class actions of these type that could take it on a commission basis, … been done lots of times before, nothing new here.

  • Ruth, you have come into your own. You are seeing clearly now and your desire to shed light on the snake pit and its vile inhabitants is nothing short of heroic in my eyes. What your abusers never anticipated is your character and strength being bolstered by their actions; the “insignificant mouse” becoming a warrior.

    Your spiritual growth began as you rose from the ashes of that hell hole and the freaks it attracted and harbored.

    Thank you from another survivor. .

  • Re Ruth’s Latest Article:

    I find her 100% credible.

    After all the years have passed by I believe she decided to come out partially because of the Frank Report article and she sees the opportunity to stop the Swami and makes sure no other women suffer at his hands.

    Ruth has nothing to gain.

      • “Ruth has nothing to gain other than helping people.”

        Well, a possible motive could be to get hush money. Sorry, but I find the vicious attacks on the ex with a rich mom a little suspect.

        • What? so if the violent ex has ‘a rich mom’ one must leave them be? – just in case a passing cynic might mount a character assasination, in which they project, whatever their own crass response would be?

          • My point is that IMO it is false to say that these ex-ashram folks have nothing to gain besides helping people. They are under the impression that the swami pays out large sums of money to keep people quiet. I’m not saying that is indeed each person’s motivation, but it is at least a remote possibility.

        • WTF posted this on Sept. 16, below are my thoughts

          September 16, 2022 at 10:38 am
          My point is that IMO it is false to say that these ex-ashram folks have nothing to gain besides helping people. They are under the impression that the swami pays out large sums of money to keep people quiet. I’m not saying that is indeed each person’s motivation, but it is at least a remote possibility.

          These ex-ashram folks (as WTF calls them), or ex-cult members have a lot to gain for themselves by speaking out. They can tell their stories of harm, abuse, and exploitation. It is empowering to speak, to use your voice after being silenced by an abusive group and a traumatizing narcissist. It is validating to read the posts of others who suffered similar abuses. Speaking out helps reduce the shame you feel for being fraudulently recruited, for being duped and harmed. When you are caught in a cultic system of abuse, you are isolated and you often are told you are “crazy”, you are “damaged”, you are “on the spectrum”, you have a “drug addiction” or any number of other things to keep you in the cult. You are told that the “Swami” can cure you, can heal you, can make you whole again or can enlighten you. Is seems that this is what Laura, Ruth, Krystyn, Dan and many others were told.

          These lies that destroy a person’s self-confidence and agency are amplified by the group who repeat what the “Swami” says. By putting your cult abuse story out there, you join others and gain confidence that what you experienced was real, and that no amount of “gaslighting” by other cult members can force you to repress your own emotions and thoughts. You begin a journey of recovery and healing.

          Ex-members can bring their experiences to law enforcement, be it the police, the IRS, the Dept. of Labor or the FBI, there are many avenues to pursue. We have read of sexual and physical abuse, labor exploitation, tax evasion and coercive control. They can also seek a civil suit or an out of court settlement for financial recompense for the time they lost, the labor they gave, the sexual and physical abuse they endured. The evidence bar is lower for a civli suit and an out of court settlement, which is a negociated agreement that can bring financial relief to a victim who was exploited. Use the tools that are there to heal and recover, use your voice, your experience, the legal system, the power of narrative and the power of being part of an ex-member group that is seeking justice.

          Now there are bubbling’s coming up of pedophilia and perhaps extortion. Speak ex-members, tell what you know in the safety of anonymous posts to the Frank Report. Then as more is exposed, more ex-members can feel confident in telling their stories of harm and abuse.

      • She’s not going to have sex with you, NiceGuy.

        And anyway, you are married and thus considered Chronic Royalty in the Annals of Onanism.

        Give it up.

        • Ruth is a cute kid. She’s old enough to be my daughter.
          I wouldn’t date her and she definitely wouldn’t date me.

          Young women who like old men are like Unicorns, they don’t exist. 🦄

      • Continually saying “not credible, not credible” without anything to back up your claims, only makes you look like a fool with a personal agenda.

      • Whose data? If you were talking about what I wrote, I was going off the fact that many ex-ashram members in these comments seem to believe that the swami has been paying people off with large sums of hush money (with NDAs) for decades. Is it really that far-fetched to believe they might want a piece of that pie?

        If you weren’t addressing me, oh well.

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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