News of NXIVM: Spotlight on the ‘Prefect’, and the Connection Between Food and Cults

By Paul Serran

The Vow, Part 2, has rekindled greatly the interest by the media in the whole NXIVM tale, and the cast of ‘characters’ that became familiar to the mainstream public over the last two years.

Fashion magazine ‘Elle’, for example, published a long and detailed article called ‘Where is Nancy Salzman Now?

‘Part Two also offers new insight into the people who supported and enabled him—perhaps nobody more so than the group’s co-founder Nancy Salzman, who is interviewed extensively.’

Nancy Salzman

The magazine goes on to present a ‘guide’ to ‘Salzman’s role in NXIVM, and what’s happened to her since the group’s crimes came to light.’

Elle reminds readers of how ‘the Prefect’ Salzman worked with Raniere for two decades, and the result of that work.

‘According to former NXIVM member Ivy Nevares, […] Salzman held a deeply abusive role within NXIVM as a coach and a teacher. […] [A]fter Raniere sexually assaulted Nevares, Salzman told her that she was lucky to have been singled out.’

MK10ART’s painting of Nancy Salzman

Nevares: ‘As prefect, she had the second most powerful and exalted status: We bowed to her, we thanked her as a ritual at the end of every class. […] But as a teacher, she was brutal and punishing, often using public humiliation and verbal abuse to quash dissent.’

Salzman tries to defend herself in The Vow Part 2.

‘In The Vow, Part 2, Salzman continues to defend herself,’ the Elle article notes, adding that she ‘insisted that she had no knowledge of DOS, the so-called secret society within NXIVM which was used to seduce female members into being branded and giving up compromising information that was later used to blackmail them.’

We have noted previously in other articles how the Prefect keeps miserably insisting that her multilevel marketing scam was a healthy and positive force in the world.

SALZMAN: ‘I spent twenty years trying to make the world a better place, and this is where I ended up.’

[After pleading guilty, Salzman was sentenced to 42 months in prison. Salzman serves her sentence at FCI Hazelton in West Virginia. She’s scheduled for release in December 2024.]

Oneida free-love cult.

On the other hand, once you have wet the public’s appetite for the NXIVM saga, it’s also possible to start finding it in all those different little contexts.

One tasty example is ‘The Curious Connection Between Food and Cults‘, where they interview food historian Sarah Lohman.

Ever since she discovered that Oneida ‘made flatware to make money for their 19th century free-love cult’, she went into a rabbit-hole and ‘I realized that there are often a lot of connections between food and cults.’

Many would immediately focus on ‘the tragic mass poisoning at Jonestown in 1978’, but she reminds us that ‘many late 19th-century cults were founded on agrarian principles that promoted vegetarianism and eschewed animal cruelty’, which she considers to be a positive thing.

Fruitland museum.

Sarah Lohman brings many other examples to the plate: author Louisa May Alcott joined ‘Fruitlands’, a Transcendentalist vegetarian cult cofounded by her father in the 1840s.

They ‘saw the divine good in nature and humanity. At Fruitlands, that meant a simple, agrarian society that didn’t use animal labor and stressed a vegetarian diet.’

Ironically, owing to their lack of farming skills, ‘the community struggled to feed itself and disbanded after seven months’.

How about a cult- affiliated restaurant in LA that attracted the likes of John Lennon, Warren Beatty, and Steve McQueen?

Father Yod and his 13 wives, Los Angles, 1973.

‘In the 1960s and ’70s, locals seeking healthy, natural food headed to the Source Family restaurant. The Sunset Strip space was run by the followers of ‘Father Yod” – Yes, you read it right – a ‘former marine turned spiritualist leader’ whose real name was Jim Baker.

‘The menu of organic salads, soups, and fresh juices revolved around the dietary wisdom that Yod found in the teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed through the Essene Gospels of Peace.’

The restaurant closed when the master went to Hawaii to be with his many wives.

Allison Mack [r] and Lauren Salzman. Both women were on low cal diets.
Finally, as it had to be: NXIVM is mentioned: ‘a pyramid scheme and personality cult founded by Keith Raniere in the early 2000s.’

Lohman notes how ‘forced starvation played a role in breaking [the slaves] down. […] India Oxenberg, who details her experience in the documentary Seduced, was limited to a 500 to 800 calories each day.’

For easier control Raniere was ‘having them calorie-count and starve themselves to a point that made them completely malleable. […] That puts people into a very manipulative state where it’s easy to coerce them.’

The food historian ends with a reflection that’s perhaps a bit obvious, but can never be said enough: ‘When wielded carefully, food can fund and fuel a community, but in the wrong hands, a diet can be a very dangerous thing.’

About the author

Paul Serran


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  • When the human body is hungry, it eats itself, it does a cleaning process, it starts by eliminating all sick cells, cancer, and aging cells.

    ʜᴜɴɢᴇʀ ᴋᴇᴇᴘꜱ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴅʏ ʏᴏᴜɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ꜰɪɢʜᴛꜱ ᴅɪꜱᴇᴀꜱᴇꜱ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴅɪᴀʙᴇᴛᴇꜱ.

    During hunger the body makes special proteins that are created only under certain circumstances. And when they are made, the organism selectively gathers these proteins around sick, cancerous or dead cells, dissolves them and restores them and benefits the organism of nutrients produced from this process.

    This is how recycling is done during fasting. Scientists have achieved through lengthy specialized studies that the process of autophagy requires unusual conditions that force the organism to do that process.

    These special circumstances include a person abstaining from eating for 16 hours (cycle 8/16). Humans should function normally during this period.

    ᴛʜɪꜱ ᴘʀᴏᴄᴇꜱꜱ ꜱʜᴏᴜʟᴅ ʙᴇ ʀᴇᴘᴇᴀᴛᴇᴅ ꜰᴏʀ ꜱᴏᴍᴇ ᴛɪᴍᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴀᴄʜɪᴇᴠᴇ ᴍᴀxɪᴍᴜᴍ ᴄʟᴇᴀɴꜱɪɴɢ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴅʏ ᴀɴᴅ ɴᴏᴛ ᴛᴏ ʀᴇᴀᴄᴛɪᴠᴀᴛᴇ ꜱɪᴄᴋ ᴄᴇʟʟꜱ.
    “It is recommended to repeat the process of hunger and thirst one or two days a week according to Yoshinori Ohsumi – NOBEL PRIZE in PHYSIOLOGYand MEDICINE ”

    Hmm Remarkable, something Dr. Roberts agreed with & told shes crazy for too!!

  • The most recent episode of The Vow is incredibly sad. Nancy Salzman and her daughters, especially Lauren, are extreme victims of the creep KR. The fact they are victims too does not erase their culpability for assisting KR in hurting others. But wow, they lost so much due to falling for his manipulation and lies.

    Watching this most recent episode makes me wonder how KR can continue to have supporters.

    • They were loser manipulators before ESP/NXIVM….they didn’t lose anything. A leopard doesn’t change its spots. They were bad before joining, bad during, and will be bad later. They are opportunists. I have no sympathy. Burn in hell you three.

      • Nancy’s daughters were young; Lauren was understandably led astray due to her inexperience as well as her mother’s involvement. There’s no evidence these women were bad before crossing paths with KR. Nancy’s special weakness may have been the need for status and attention. KR gave Nancy the title and the fancy sash, then manipulated her to do his dirty work. It all seems to be part of the typical playbook of the psychopath – get others to do your dirty work – hoodwink them into investing in it emotionally (using their weaknesses) – then have them continue based on arguments of “the ends justify the means.” It looks to me like Nancy is suffering now especially due to her loss of social standing – her reputation has been totally trashed. That’s part of the playbook too — the injury to her now as a consequence of having fallen for it is something that goes to the heart of her greatest sensitivity – her need for respectability and status.

        As for your comment about Goebbels – it’s rarely helpful to bring names of Nazis into discussions not related to WWII and the holocaust. Such additions add more heat than light.

    • I you feel bad for Joseph Goebbels too? I guess Hitler abused Goebbels? The Salzman 3 were all adults complicit and knowing of what they were doing. They weren’t dumb.

    • Nancy a victim? She made MILLIONS of dollars…and hid most of it with family before she got raided…. if she was such a victim….she didn’t have to take millions of dollars from others….if she was such a victim ….setup a victims fund for your other “Co victims” with the millions you stashed, muled, and hid. But you won’t – you’re not a victim. You’re a money laundering manipulative criminal.

      • I too have been drawn into the nightmare. I am not impressed with Nancy Salzman so far. Her denials are astounding. She had almost one half of a million dollars in cash when arrested. Who knows how much more was already hidden away before her arrest? No doubt she and her legal representatives must have declared the topic of tax evasion and money laundering off the table on Season 2 of the Vow. But her tearful denials of knowledge of any sex abuse trafficking etc is sickening.

    • Nancy said : “I spent 40 years trying to make the world a better place because I started before I knew keith raniere.” She admits she was a nut job before she created Executive Success Programs / NXIVM. She will never change. Nancy and her family are all out of this world.

  • Pipe Dream

    Alumna speaks about dismantling the NXIVM sex cult
    Moira Penza, ’05, was instrumental in the investigation and conviction of the Albany-based sex cult leaders in 2020.


    Students and faculty alike gathered in the Innovative Technologies Center this past Tuesday to listen to Moira Penza, ‘05, give a powerful lecture about her success in dismantling the NXIVM sex cult. The lecture gave a behind-the-scenes look at the process of the trial, the evidence put forward and, ultimately, what led to the conviction of the individuals involved.

    Penza, a graduate of Harpur College, had double-majored in English and history before she studied at Cornell Law School. She described her decision to attend Binghamton University as “one of the best decisions of [her] life.” Now, she works primarily on behalf of victims of sexual violence.

    The time she first caught wind of NXIVM was in October 2017, when she found a New York Times article titled, “Inside a Secret Group Where Women are Branded.” She suspected that there was a great deal of crime and illegal activity involved, and thus began the investigation that would change her life.

    The NXIVM cult was based outside Albany, NY, and led by Keith Raniere. A small, inner-circle of women was responsible for carrying out Raniere’s demands. Penza talked the audience through Raniere’s role in creating a secret organization, referred to as “DOS,” in which women were recruited into what was claimed to be a self-help, women empowerment organization, unaware that the vows they made to obey the other women involved actually vowing to women who Raniere controlled.

    The group instituted such behavior by collecting collateral from the women, in which they were ordered to provide harmful confessions about themselves or family members that could be true or false, rights to financial assets, explicit images or videos — such as nude photographs — or anything else that, if released, could potentially ruin the life of the individual. This was done to prevent women from leaving the organization or revealing its existence to anyone outside of the group. The women were subject to branding, food and sleep deprivation, unpaid labor and, ultimately, sexual abuse.

    Penza led the audience through the factors and evidence that went into the trial, what needed to be proven in order to convict Raniere and others and how they did so. Ultimately, Penza and her team were able to convict Raniere on all counts of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, sex trafficking, attempted sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. Raniere was ultimately sentenced to 120 years in prison.

    At the end of the presentation, Penza addressed the audience with the lessons she learned through handling such a case.

    “When you have the privilege to act on something, you do so,” Penza said.

    Rebecca Jacobson, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law, was fascinated by hearing the details of a real trial, as opposed to trials depicted through film and television shows.

    “I’ve never, sadly never, had the chance to really hear what goes on in a real case, what is actually involved in these kinds of high-level, high-profile cases,” Jacobson said. “I’ve only ever had impressions through, you know, Law and Order SVU and such. So, when I got the opportunity to come and actually see someone give a really amazing breakdown of what they did in a very recent case, I was floored at how different my perceptions were from what they actually [do].”

    The presentation was so impactful that it reinstated Jacobson’s interests and goals for the future.

    “It was just very eye-opening, and that made me really interested in giving more energy and more time to be invested in this field when I was kind of wanting to change my major,” Jacobson said.

    Amelia Thorp, educational director of the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society and a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law, discussed her inspiration for attending the lecture, which all started with The Vow — an HBO documentary depicting the experiences of those deeply involved in NXIVM.

    “I had watched the documentary that HBO had put out like two years ago and it really interested me, especially from the aspect of coercion of women that was occurring,” Thorp said.

    As a member of the Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society, Thorp was particularly interested in hearing Penza’s story, viewing the lecture as an inspiration for her future career goals.

    “I just wanted to see how that happened, because [at] Thurgood Marshall we are social justice oriented. It’s nice to see in such a negative situation that there is some positive aspect to it because I think a lot of us in Thurgood Marshall want to go down career paths where we’re going to work with some pretty ugly cases,” Thorp said.

    Faculty were also moved by Penza’s words. Harpur College Dean Celia Klin described the pride she feels when seeing such successful Harpur College alumni such as Penza, and how this serves as a constant reminder of her purpose at BU.

    “I know it when I see the students who are currently here, I believe in what they are learning and that they are going to make a difference in the world, but then I see it all the time in our [alumni],” Klin said.

    Ever since Klin stepped into the role about three years ago, she has had a great deal of interaction with Harpur College alumni. Seeing such wide success from graduates like Penza and other alumni across all fields is a source of inspiration for Klin.

    “You know what’s really lovely when talking to alumni is that they talk so, not just fondly about their Harpur [College] years, but they understand with some time having passed how important it was,” Klin said. “You know even if they weren’t sure when they were here, what they wanted to do or where they were headed, when they get there they reflect and think, ‘Yeah. This began with my Harpur [College] years.’ And that’s a lovely feeling.”

  • Anyone at the CIA know anyone at NXIVM?

    “… In the early 1970s, suspicions began to surface in the press, implicating the Peoples Temple in an array of allegations including gunrunning, drug-smuggling, kidnapping, murder, brainwashing, extortion and torture. Under attack at home, and feeling the pressure abroad, Temple officials undertook secret negotiations with the Soviet Embassy in Georgetown, laying the groundwork for the en masse defection of more than a thousand poor Americans. According to the CIA, it took no interest in these discussions.

    Nevertheless, when Congressman Ryan began to scrutinize the Temple in 1978, two things happened. First, according to his aides, he was stonewalled by the State Department. Second, upon arriving in Guyana, he was given an escort who had been identified a decade earlier as a ranking CIA officer.[43]

    This second fact would seem to explain how it is that the CIA was the first to learn of the deaths at Jonestown, describing them as “mass suicides” — hours before the bodies were discovered by the Guyanese Defense Forces.

    Under the circumstances, only the most naive could fail to be skeptical of the disinterested stance that the FBI and the CIA claim to have taken. But what does it mean? Why would these agencies give a de facto grant of immunity to the Peoples Temple? And why would the CIA maneuver its Chief of Station into position to surveil Congressman Ryan, the co-author of legislation curtailing CIA activities abroad, on his trip to Jonestown? .. “

  • What about that asinine bad acting class mirror exercise/teen girl slap fight Keith Raniere instigated with Lauren Salzman in the most recent The Vow 2 episode?

    And then that clumsy clod clocked Lauren in the face “accidentally” .

    And these cult following drooling adults were all just sitting there. NO ONE (besides Keith very minimally) were like, “Lauren, are you okay? WTF Keith!”

    The lackeys all acted like it wasn’t the cringest show an adult man could put on in front of an audience.

    Not only that, but those minion morons probably were paying to witness Keith slap fight one of his girlfriends in front of a crowd.

    t’s really hard not to view them all as empathy lacking follower zombies when they stare reverently at a spastic vanguard laying waste to Lauren’s face and playing it off as groundbreaking pseudo science “human potential” gold for the audience to digest.

    Uh, no. It’s just an old perv slapping a chick from your cimmunity and trying to normalize abusing her to tears in a group setting.

  • Interesting read. I looked up “father yod” in Wikipedia:

    Turnes out he also was a judo champ, just like Keith! At least that’s what he said……
    He moved to Hawaï and jumped of a cliff with a hangglider, without any prior training. It didn’t end well for him: he died.
    Another legend in his own mind bites the dust…. Yod and Vanguard: idiots……

  • Libertad bajo Palabra

    Clara Luz Flores, amiga de Keith Raniere de la secta NXIVM, quiere ser la encargada de la seguridad de los mexicanos
    Por Libertad Bajo Palabra – 6 noviembre, 2022 en Avenida Principal, Carrusel, Nacionales

    [ translation]

    Clara Luz Flores, friend of Keith Raniere of the NXIVM sect, wants to be in charge of the security of the Mexicans.

    Clara Luz Flores, who at first denied any kind of relationship with NXIVM sect leader Keith Raniere, in the end turned out to be a great friend of the man who enslaved and branded women. Of course, Clarea Luz, failed Morena candidate for the governorship of Nuevo Leon, says she was not aware of her friend’s practices; which accuses her of tremendous naivety or quiet stupidity.
    Well, with this letter of introduction, the still head of the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, seeks to be the Undersecretary of Public Security, replacing Ricardo Mejía, who will undoubtedly be Morena’s candidate for the governorship of Coahuila. It is unfortunate that this former PRI member, who lied to all the people of Nuevo Leon about her relationship with a criminal, could have such an important position in the country as Undersecretary of Public Security.
    Her relationship with Keith Raniere shows an unwise woman, without criteria, somewhat fanatic and submissive to charismatic leaders such as Raniere or López Obrador himself. Now that we think about it, in a country co-governed by organized crime, she even seems to be the ideal candidate for the job.

  • Northeast Public Radio

    Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen faces challenge from attorney Michael Phillips
    WAMC Northeast Public Radio
    Published November 5, 2022 at 1:10 PM EDT

    [ … ]

    Phillips says the theme of his campaign is “one standard of justice” for all county residents.

    Describing his platform to WAMC, Phillips quickly pointed to the legal battles surrounding NXIVM. The sex cult masked as a self-help organization operated by Keith Raniere was founded in the late 90s and was headquartered in the Albany County Town of Colonie, and maintained offices in southern Saratoga County. Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in 2020 after a federal trial.

    “Senior U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garafuis, Eastern District of New York, when he sentenced the NXIVM criminals, Keith Raniere and his little band of miscreants, he made the statement – this was covered in the Times Union – it was ‘incomprehensible.’ That’s a good word. It’s the word he used, ‘incomprehensible’ to this court, Eastern District of New York, how NXIVM could have operated for so long, 15 years without the involvement of local prosecutor,” said Phillips.

    [ … ]

    Election Day is Tuesday.

    • How many state attorneys general ignored “NXIVM”?
      It was a multi-level marketing scheme.
      No one in New York knew Raniere wasn’t allowed to start another MLM business?
      The state attorney general allowed to Raniere to “enroll” how many thousands of people?

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