Today, some fret that several people still follow the Vanguard and long for the return of NXIVM upon his release from prison.
People find it incredulous that anyone could stick with Keith Raniere with all the information available about him.
Yet there are fine and lovely people who still think he’s tops. Here are some 22 followers still profoundly supportive of the grand master.
Esther Chiappone Carlson
For Nxivm members who got out in 2017 or 2018, do not look down on the above list.
You might recall days gone by when someone told you about the rascal Raniere.
You read it in the Albany Times Union or Forbes or heard from Barbara Bouchey or Susan Dones and ignored it.
We need a little patience for the remaining followers. They must come to grips in their own way, just as you did, that Raniere deceived them.
Susan Dones left NXIVM in 2009, along with Bouchey and seven other women. At that time, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people thought Raniere was superb.
And Dones and Bouchey were evil.
They tried to warn the followers, but few would listen.
In 2010, John Tighe had a blog called Saratoga in Decline. He wrote about NXIVM. The blog no longer exists. But my records show that on Friday, September 24, 2010, Tighe published this op-ed of Dones.
Though Dones spoke out loud and clear, almost nobody left. The celebrated whistleblowers Sarah Edmondson, and Mark Vicente, were hostile to her.
Nancy Salzman, who says she found out about Raniere after his arrest, opposed Dones.
Lauren Salzman, Kristin Kreuk, Allison Mack, Emiliano Salinas, Alejandro Betancourt – and many more – say they now know the truth. They would not listen then.
They stuck with the Vanguard.
So here is what Susan Dones had to say — back in 2010 — eight years before the feds collated the mighty one.
Published September 24, 2010
By Susan Dones
To people concerned about loved ones inside of NXIVM
The following is my opinion from my personal experience of my time within NXIVM. It may not be everyone’s experience. I hope this part of my story will help you better understand what your loved ones might be going through and why it is hard to get through to them, even to get them to read or listen to the mountain of information out there that exposes NXIVM for what it is.
In my opinion, NXIVM is a cult.
To NXIVM members who read this, I know this post must only support what you have been told about me, unless you question your red flags. It is the proof you need to keep your belief that I am a suppressive. I admit I can sometimes be an arrogant asshole, but I must disagree with being close to or having “taken the fall.”
There is too much information from many sources pointing to the fact that NXIVM is a cult. I believe NXIVM was abusive to me, others, and most likely to you when you did not toe the line.
John Tighe has invited people who read/write on this blog to share their experiences, either pro NXIVM or not. The more we do, the more we get the full story of this organization.
There are no trade secrets exposed in this post. Sorry, Steve [Coffey – attorney for NXIVM], for the loss of money you could earn by suing me for breaching my contract.
If you want to support NXIVM in a suit against me, I have nothing to give, as I lost all my investments with NXIVM, and hopefully, I will get through my bankruptcy.
I believe a big issue with people on the “inside” of NXIVM, from the hindsight of almost ten years of involvement in NXIVM, is the conditioning that takes place when one “joins the mission.”
There is what I call the grooming of one’s thoughts, beliefs, and behavior. This happened to me through the classes I took and the “feedback” from the leadership circle. Am I a victim of this?
Some would say so.
I did choose to participate, but from my understanding of humanitarian and moral behavior, I don’t believe the teachings of Keith/Vanguard, and my beliefs, are on the same page in the dictionary.
Along with many others, we were conned.
I found the “mind-bending” of NXIVM to be subtle, a slow drip, which is hard to object to. You don’t know it’s happening.
A frog will do what it can to jump out of a hot pot of water. But a frog will slowly adapt to comfortable water, and then gradually heated until it is too late to get out of the pot until it is cooked.
The leadership within NXVIM supports each other in their edification of each other.
When we questioned anything that showed we didn’t comply with what was expected, they sent people to deal with us.
Keith said on the third day of the NXIVM 9 meetings that I was the most controversial member of NXIVM. You would have to ask him to know what he meant by that. I want to think it was because I was high rank who ran the center in Tacoma to their disliking and did not tow the NXIVM line.
There are promises made when you join the mission of being more successful in the world. The leadership of NXIVM is skilled at finding one’s Achilles heel. Mine was a desire to help people and be more successful in business.
There was either praise and reward or taking away things and punishment. How they choose what works best to bring people into line is beyond me. Whatever they do, it worked on me for years.
I was asked if the leadership would have treated me better, would I have stayed?
This is so hard to answer. I was on the hot seat for so many years for not toeing the line.
If I had more positive attention from NXIVM leaders for what I was doing for the organization and open discussions about complaints that many had, I might have stayed in my fog bank and still be involved.
If I had been treated better or “set up better,” I likely would not have been willing to meet with what is known as the NXIVM 9. I would only have gotten one side (Keith’s) of his sexual behavior story and the money lost in gambling in the commodities market.
I might have bought it hook, line and sinker. I did for years.
Most people within NXIVM are not open to outside information. It’s part of the conditioning that takes place. People believe Keith is the world’s smartest man, without really investigating “The Fruit On His Tree.”
Why do they believe this?
Well, an entire group supports that belief within NXIVM. They giveth and taketh away based on your questions and reactions.
You are sold this with the promise of getting what you want. For those who “bought it,” you either toe the line or deal with the repercussions.
I believed what Nancy Salzman and her other upper leadership told me about people.
Here are some of the things I blindly believed.
Nancy Salzman told me she “loaned” Toni Natalie $80,000 that Toni did not repay after she left Keith. Many upper leaders (some who never met Toni) said Toni was a suppressive and a thief.
It wasn’t until after I left NIXVM and started doing research that I found a very different story.
Most people do not know that NXIVM, Keith, Nancy and others kept Toni in bankruptcy hell for over 8 years. If one reads the court documents of Toni, Joe O’Hara and Barbara Bouchey, you will see a pattern of what I believe is using the legal system to bully people. This pattern follows other lawsuits, such as the Rick Ross and Precision Development suits.
Nancy Salzman told me that Joe O’Hara was a criminal and had stolen money from a foundation of NXIVM. After leaving NXIVM in my research for the truth, I found this was a lie. I didn’t know Joe, so I believed it when I was told without any other “data” about him.
In hindsight, this is not critical thinking, or being a sheep. HELLO SHEEP.
Barbara Bouchey and Nancy Salzman
Nancy Salzman told me that Barbara Bouchey was suppressive and “crazy”. I know what it’s like to be one of the people sticking your neck out to talk about things that were not in the best interest of NXVIM. Barbara was active in trying to change things within NXIVM. I knew she wasn’t suppressive, nor did she need a mental institution for being “crazy”.
Barbara Bouchey, Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman – when both women thought he was grand.
There was a time when Keith was not talking to Barbara, and the question “out in the community” was, “What do you think Barbara did that was so bad that even Keith would not talk to her?”
What do you think this puts into the minds of followers?
What I found out after getting the other side of the story was Barbara had broken off her relationship with Keith, and he stopped talking to her. Due to the code of silence the inner circle had around Keith’s sexual behavior, Barbara was caught between a rock and a hard place in coming forward about why Keith stopped talking to her.
Most people wouldn’t even ask her due to their conditioning. The leadership knew that Barbara would likely not break the code of silence, nor would people ask her why Keith was not talking to her. She passed around this “question” likely to discredit Barbara in early damage control if she left NXIVM.
Nancy Salzman told me that she and Keith had “hypothesized” that I was a full suppressive and likely had taken “the fall”. (Psychopath is what she was saying).
This was followed by many other NXIVM leaders coming to me to give me “feedback” about anything I said and did, backing up the feedback with “you know you’re working on your issues of suppression. You want to get better, don’t you?”
If I did not stay within the fine line of acceptable behavior, this is what happened. The leadership also planted seeds regarding me being “suppressive” and it grew like wildfire within the community. If I left, it was because I was suppressive, and why believe what I have to say about NXIVM.
If I stayed and changed my ways, well it was the tech that “cured her”. Hence more damage control for the ones who ask too many questions and make too many waves.
This went on for years. The longer it went on, more and more people heard the “story” and believed it to be true. What do you think happened if I got angry, put my foot down, questioned someone’s authority? It just validated the Susan is suppressive “story.”
Most non-NXVIM members would tell someone who says such a thing to “frack off” if these things were happening to them. You have not been the frog with the temperature slowly turned up, but the frog in hot water when reading of such things.
MK10ART painting of Susan Dones
Until you’re in it, it’s hard to understand, just like any form of abuse. People don’t understand why a woman will stay with an abusive husband. Some will not, but many do, to the slow drip of taking away her self-esteem, she starts to believe she is a piece of crap.
Due to the conditioning and trust put into Keith, Nancy and their leaders, those exposed to this “wolf pack type of feedback” question ourselves. It’s a classic abuse/abusers conditioning you see on Lifetime movies. This is why so many of us went to training after training, paying thousands of dollars to help ourselves. We believe the lies we were being told about ourselves.
I don’t know where the lies start. Is it with Keith, who has conditioned his close woman followers since before and during CBI days? Did Keith get to Nancy and condition her, and now she helps him, or was she this way when she started working with him? When one of the leaders falls from grace and is not towing the line, I have seen them getting “wolf pack feedback”.
Due to the “fog”, we cannot see what non-NXIVM people can see. The training has ways to put in “Double Binds” (Here) that can then be used by the leadership of NXIVM against someone to get them back into line.
The ones that toe the line the most are the ones that stay the longest. If you question the contradictions, the “wolf feedback pack” comes after you. It is my opinion that many have left due to the “wolf pack,” but remain quiet because they still fear the wolf pack or worse, a law suit.
It isn’t until you can see through the fog (usually with a big date with reality) that you can see what is happening to them. My date was the meetings that took place with the NXIVM 9 and the three days of meeting with Keith to confront him with our concerns. The veil of fog was lifted, and I could see that NXIMV was not what I thought it was. To stay regardless of what I liked about the training or my love for some members was not worth what I had to give up within myself to stay.
My hope is that this is helpful for some family/friends who still have loved ones inside of NXIVM.
It might help one inside NXIVM who is questioning. It might bring me into the lawsuits that NXIVM is so famous for, the fruit on Keith’s tree.