NXIVM Is Scientology Repackaged; Part 1

This is the first in a series that examines the book Scarred: The True Story Of How I Escaped The Cult That Bound My Life by Sarah Edmondson, and how it shows NXIVM is Scientology repackaged.

By Jeffrey Jay

Known also as ‘Mockingbird’

Scientology and NXIVM – Parallels and Plagiarism

I was in Scientology for twenty-five years, so I have some familiarity with the doctrine and practices of that group.

I left Scientology in 2014 and spent many hundreds of hours trying to find out what Scientology is and does, in addition to what it teaches members of the group.

I have communicated with hundreds of ex-members and examined significant material on the organization’s true history and the founder Ronald Hubbard.

I have also been fortunate to get to question and gain excellent advice from cult experts, most notably Jon Atack.

I have read several dozen books on the topic, including several biographies of Hubbard and ex-members, and many books on hypnosis, cognitive dissonance theory, psychology, cults, abusive relationships, human predators, critical thinking, rhetoric, and related topics.

I have also explored the subjects from which Hubbard likely plagiarized his techniques, including hypnosis, the occult, psychology, and many others. It is safe to say, after finding hundreds of ideas that Hubbard almost certainly plagiarized, that he likely never had an original thought in his life.

Since leaving Scientology, I have established Mockingbird’s Nest blog on Scientology. Between that platform and the Ex Scientologist Message Board, Facebook and Quora, I have published over five hundred posts on Scientology and related topics, and likely had a million views of these posts.

I watched seasons one and two of The Vow (documentary series on NXIVM). I had heard from several people that NXIVM likely has techniques plagiarized from Scientology, among many other sources.

MK10ART painting of Keith Raniere

I listened to a podcast in which ex-Scientologists Mike Rinder and Leah Remini interviewed ex-NXIVM member Sarah Edmondson.

Mike Rinder and Leah Remini, former members of the Church of Scientology, now critics.

Rinder remarked he read Edmondson’s book, Scarred, and started taking notes on similarities or ideas likely plagiarized from Scientology.

Rinder said he was just writing note after note, and eventually just gave up.

In my efforts to untangle myself from the web of lies in Scientology, finding the sources Hubbard likely plagiarized from in their original forms was useful and necessary for me.

Only when I spent many hours looking at the subjects in their original forms did I realize that what was actually happening in Scientology wasn’t what Hubbard claimed.

He knew what he was trying to achieve. In rare moments, Hubbard publicly and privately acknowledged his true intentions and his knowledge that his techniques in their earlier forms were designed to achieve those intentions. Still, by hiding their origins, he hid his intention, and the fact that he didn’t create these methods, and they were not beneficial but harmful frauds that others abandoned in many cases when they realized they were not helpful or ethical.

This took away the false genius attributed to Hubbard, because being a prolific plagiarist is far less impressive than being a genius who comes up with hundreds of original ideas and methods with millions of words of doctrine.

I realized that if someone familiar with Scientology and cults as a subject reads Scarred, they could likely find ideas and techniques used in NXIVM and Scientology.

Reading Scarred and compiling and comparing such a list could create a helpful resource. It would be valid for ex-members of both groups.

Some NXIVM members would see Keith Raniere as a plagiarist-conman in his own right, and some ex-Scientologists could see the same predatory behavior in both men and cast aside any illusions that Hubbard was altruistic or even honest.

Sarah Edmondson’s book about her experiences in NXIVM might also shine a light on how Raniere stole from Scientology.

I believe the public can benefit by seeing what similarities exist between these groups, so they can see that all cults have the same foundation, a relationship based on lies, coercion, and abuse.

I read the book Scarred and immediately saw what Rinder realized. I took notes on similarities and likely plagiarized ideas, and found many examples.

On several pages in a row, I found four examples per page with similarities strong enough to consider NXIVM as repackaged or slightly altered Scientology.

That’s a lot of examples, and it’s worth the time and effort to document them and elaborate on the subject.

The first noteworthy similarity between Scientology and NXIVM is in the prologue.

Scarred page 3

Any resistance would be turned around and used as my issue. It would prove that I’m “entitled,” or Lauren could say that I’m “mad-dogging,” NXIVM’s term for being defensive. 

This is similar to several terms and concepts used in Scientology, notably H E and R E – human emotion and reaction.

Here is the definition from Scientology’s
Human Emotion and Reaction

Human Emotion and Reaction, the counter emotions and reactions which aberrated human beings express when they are guided toward survival objectives. They are usually below 2.0 on the Tone Scale.

(LRH Def. Notes) Abbr. HE & R.

Let me explain:

“Abberated” means not sane, irrational, or in error when describing a person or their thoughts or perceptions.

“Survival objectives” are goals that benefit or increase survival, in other words, good.

“Counter emotions” are emotions against something, in this case, against survival objectives.

The “tone scale” is a way to examine and classify human emotion in Scientology. It’s not an original idea, but a combination of ideas from other practices and not remotely scientific.

The important thing to understand is that any behavior or feelings below 2.0 on this tone scale are seen as more harmful than beneficial, more irrational than rational.

So, both “mad-dogging” and H E and R E are unfalsifiable claims that a person displays improper and irrational emotions in response to something.

Think about it.

If I say or do ANYTHING that outrages or upsets you, I can say you are “mad-dogging” me, or displaying H E and R E!

It is a way to dominate another person and take attention from the criticism they may have and turn it back on them with no recourse.

It’s authoritarian and can fit the description of gaslighting.

Was “mad-dogging” lifted from Scientology?

Lots of abusers habitually blame the victims of abuse for the abuse in similar ways to both of these methods. It has been around for probably thousands of years and doesn’t seem to be going away.

(Scarred page 4)

Each time I’ve recited this part of NXIVM’s twelve-point mission statement, I’ve proclaimed my ongoing commitment to improve myself in my effort to be at-cause in our world, taking full responsibility as the generator of every single experience in my life.

The term “at-cause” is a concept that has a prominent place in Scientology.

Chapter 8 in the book Fundamentals of Thought entitled Causation and Knowledge introduces the concepts of cause and effect used in Scientology.

I recommend that any ex-NXIVM member who wishes to understand the likely origin of the term “at-cause” and related ideas used in NXIVM read Chapter 8.

It may help you understand that Raniere plagiarized an insidious idea.

The fact that Raniere took Hubbard’s redefined terms without attribution is not what I find immoral and objectionable. He used the term “at cause” in the same way as Hubbard, to restrict and control thought covertly in his followers and mentally enslave them by using loaded language.

A very abridged reference that is also useful is the definition of “responsibility” found in the book Introduction to Scientology Ethics.

Full responsibility is not fault; it is recognition of being cause.
Responsibility also means a state, quality or fact of being responsible, and responsible means legally or ethically accountable for the care or welfare of another. Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority. Being the source or cause of something. Capable of making moral or rational decisions on one’s own and therefore answerable for one’s behavior. Able to be trusted or depended upon; reliable. Based upon or characterized by good judgment or sound thinking.

The way “at-cause” is used in NXIVM is likely to have been taken from the definition it has in Scientology as is “full responsibility” itself.

In Scientology and NXIVM, if a person is unhappy with something, they are seen as being “effect” instead of at cause, and blamed for bad things that happen to them.

But in a hierarchical cult structure, the founder or leader of a cult is somehow not responsible for the bad press they get or financial, legal, or health problems they have.

They may be convicted of crimes like Hubbard and Raniere, but they don’t take responsibility for the crimes or convictions.

It’s a con and control mechanism in abusive relationships and cults.

Stay tuned for Part 2.


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  • Edmondson should be sharing a cell with Mack. They BOTH recruited women into DOS knowing full well a brand was part of initiation.

  • Something else that may be relevant is that in the seemingly never ending path of cults plagiarizing ideas from others and each other we have in addition to Scientology founder Ronald Hubbard stealing ideas and techniques from hypnosis, psychoanalysis, the occult, abreactive therapy, aka catharsis therapy, psychology, and dozens of individuals in his turn we have the fact that other groups such as The Forum, EST, Landmark and many, many others taking ideas and techniques from Dianetics and Scientology in their own turn.

    So, even though Scientology likely never had more than a hundred thousand members in the eighties and early nineties and now has perhaps twenty thousand members world-wide or less, the various offshoots have possibly included up to two million people, the majority of which never know the methods used in their group were derived from Scientology.

    I have written on this extensively at my blog and in my opinion the top historian on Scientology Jon Atack has covered this in his books, articles, and YouTube videos.

    • Whilst referring to the foundations of Scientology (and therefore other groups that cribbed from it) and in referring to Jon Atack also, might I highlight this video with Atack and Chris Shelton that discusses delicate, yet important, subjects. It is titled “The Occult Foundation of Scientology”, runs to nearly 2 hours and was released at the end of November 2022.

      In the interests of deflecting abuse from those triggered by such ideas might I remind readers in advance that some of these concepts are considered “Bizarre Beliefs” which are often noted as being traits held by those with severely disordered personalities.

      • I am quite familiar with the work of Chris Shelton and Jon Atack and have also quoted Jon Atack regarding the occult origins of Scientology and in fact like many ex members of Scientology at first didn’t believe Scientology was plagiarized from the occult but after reading an analysis of the occult text The OAHSPE and The Book of Law I realized Hubbard extensively and covertly incorporated the occult in Dianetics and Scientology from the very beginning until the end.

        If you have never spent hours reading the occult you may never see the concepts stolen from it.

        Regarding personality types that believe these things there are a few things worth noting.

        Cults usually don’t start with their most exotic ideas, they gradually transition members from socially acceptable ideas to step by step become more divergent from their entry point.

        Alexandra Stein in her book Terror, Love and Brainwashing described how cults have information for outsiders and new members called propaganda and very different information for members who go deeper into the group called indoctrination and she gave many examples of how the information for outsiders is often the opposite of the truth that is indoctrinated into members later as a deeper commitment is demanded.

        Scientology seems to support human rights in propaganda but is totalitarian in truth. Many political cults seem far left in their recruitment but are ultimately fascistic in the inner circle.

        NXIVM is no exception and promotes being ethical and humanitarian in the recruiting material and is certainly the opposite in how Keith Raniere ultimately decided to run the group.

        Another relevant point is that Margaret Singer was a professor and she noted that every semester she got new students who wondered what personality disorders were in the cult members and she had to teach them that any person who can be lied to can be recruited into a cult.

        No cult says “want to have your life ruined by a crazy maniac who lacks honesty, decency, and compassion? Want to be used, abused, and thrown away like garbage on the whims of a petulant and belligerent human predator?”

        They all pretend to be something that they are not.

        • “NXIVM”, “Scientology” and “Social and Emotional Learning” are more respectable than “Brainwashing”.

          “In this episode of Behind The Deep State, host Alex Newman explains how Deep State-controlled government schools are using “Social and Emotional Learning” (SEL) to indoctrinate and manipulate children’s emotions. He also explores the occult roots of this new tool being used to brainwash America’s youth, and the radical politics of the people behind it.


          • God, what a load of old bollocks this is.

            Let’s just hope the the global Satanists take over and protect us all from this Christian fascist BS!

  • Was Raniere ever in Scientology or did he just read some books? He WAS in Amway and I was first drawn to this website because I saw striking similarities between Amway and NXIVM. If you’d like to be a guest on my podcast to discuss these issues let me know.

    • Scott-

      Heidi Hutchinson explained how Kieth stole directly from NXIVM.

      Like you don’t remember. Maybe you should [redacted.]

        • Over the course of 8 years in Amway…

          ….You spent more money on the
          Tools Scam than you made. It took you 8 years to realize you were losing money.

          Sales – expenses = profits.

          Can’t you add and subtract, you dumb motherfucker? LOL

          …And you Hutchinson is the dumb, delusional one.

          Scott your dumber than box of hair.

          • I realized I was losing money the first year. You don’t know how businesses work. “…And you Hutchinson is the dumb, delusional one.” Try a complete sentence next time, you STUPID, DUMB, IDIOT. LOL

          • —I realized I was losing money the first year.

            What about the other 7 years? LOL

            You dumb motherfucker. LOL

    • This is a great question! I personally was in Scientology for twenty five years and was at a local organization in Buffalo New York for the vast majority of that time and spent a couple months at the International Training Organization in Los Angeles, one of the two major hubs of Scientology in the US with the Flag land base in Clearwater Florida being the other. I also spent a short time at the Excalibur building in New York city as a Sea Org recruit.

      There are many people who have exposure to Scientology who never go into an organization.

      For example Charlie Manson according to one biography I have seen, was given extensive auditing using Scientology while in prison and he used several Scientology terms correctly in interviews but he never joined the organization according to his biography.

      I have heard rumors regarding Keith Raniere and how he got access to Scientology materials.

      I don’t know how he acquired the materials but I can assure you that someone, somehow in my opinion incorporated ideas and practices from Scientology into NXIVM.

      I hope that the information from this post helps people.

      I also want to point out that many thousands and thousands of copies of books and tapes from Scientology are available for sale and Keith Raniere and everyone else can easily buy these.

      I have interacted with people all around the world who either were Scientologists or still are and some people in remote places just buy the books and tapes and never go to the organization.

      My point is that he had some exposure to these ideas and if interested could have acquired the materials quite easily.

        • In my studies of cults I found that many groups ultimately are cultic whether they have or lack religious components.

          The cult expert Margaret Singer interviewed over four thousand ex cult members. She remarked that a cult is group that tries to control all or nearly all your decision making and that a cult leader must have two traits. They must be willing to lie to people and to exploit them.

          She found business cults, therapy cults, doomsday cults, exercise cults, multi level marketing cults, drug rehab cults, a carpet cleaning cult and even a horse grooming cult as well as various political cults and religious cults.

          In her book Cults In Our Midst she described the underlying nature of these groups. It’s like a basic foundation on top of which various different details can be added.

        • “I find it interesting…”

          I find it interesting how similar Alanzo and you are, do you find it interesting how similar you are?

          • Please have Alanzo on your pod. Give the people what they really want – Lou Albano on Piper’s Pit. (You already ruined it with Mockingbird by not playing it cool)

    • Hey-de-ho! Scott Johnson,
      Here’s a paradoxical question:
      If it’s better to give than receive why’s your wife so damn happy and laughing after we have anal sex?

      Answer: cuz ur the butt of the joke.

        • I have to agree with Scott on this one. The reprehensible knave who wrote the comment is to be admonished chastised and abused in a vile and cruel manner. Plus called stupid. [not LOL]

        • Scotty🛵,

          No shit it wasn’t paradoxical or funny. Interestingly, you had to verify your conclusion with Frank.
          It shows you lack critical thinking skills and belief in yourself.

          No wonder Amway suckered your dumb ass over the course of 8 years. Such a toolbag! LOL

          You dumbass! You prove Mockingbird’s premise.
          “Uhh Frank was thats funny?!? I be, uhm, too stupid to judge 4 myself.”

          Are you living with your folks now?

          • Asking Frank was an inside joke. Just like you’re a joke, inside AND out. LOL My folks are dead, hundreds of miles away. What’s your next STUPID comment? LOL

          • —Asking Frank was an inside joke.

            Your special relationship with Frank. Inside joke. Ain’t that special.

            You’re still a loser!

          • I just gotta say what’s on everybody’s mind here – you’re a terrible Amway salesman.

          • What’s really on everyone’s mind is who’s pee pee did Scooter slobber on to be allowed back to FR? I’ve got my money on Richard. BTW, do you ever speak on your pod or do you always let the guest carry the show for an hr and a half?

            On topic since Scott’s parents are dead and presumably somewhere in Florida – remember when Scott made fun of Shadow because his Dad was dying? That may sneak into the top 10 most sickening moments of Scoot’s FR career.

    • I want to emphasize that I have never been in NXIVM and am not an expert on the practices and history of that group.

      I certainly can see similarities to Scientology from decades there and have been working since 2014 to understand what happens in Scientology and the true intention and origins of the practices in Scientology.

      I can see that ex members of NXIVM have far more experience with the history of their group and the various players in creating and carrying forward the doctrine and practices in the group.

      I can quote another source, who may be telling you something that you already have firsthand experience with, so people here may be able to provide more information and have more well supported and accurate information than I have access to regarding the details.

      Here is a quote from Tony Ortega and his interview with cult expert Rick Alan Ross regarding his experience with both NXIVM and Scientology.

      “We first heard about Nxivm and Keith Raniere more than a dozen years ago and from Rick Ross, an Arizona cult expert we’ve known since 1995.

      Ross and Raniere tangled for years, and for that reason Rick is reluctant to say much at all about the criminal court case that Raniere is currently facing.

      “Raniere sued me for 14 years. He was relentless in harassing people, and things kept escalating until his arrest last year,” he told us yesterday from Tucson.

      But if he’s reticent about discussing Raniere’s prosecution, Ross said he could talk about something that he knows fascinates our audience: Nxivm’s connection to Scientology.

      “What did Raniere take from Scientology? Everything. I mean, he has a whole module about disconnection from suppressive persons. Where did that come from? When I read that, I realized he was copying from Scientology,” Ross says. “A lot of Nxivm is Scientology, some of it is Ayn Rand, some of it is multi-level marketing, and it also takes from Landmark Education and Werner Erhard. Raniere was anything but original.”

      Heidi Hutchinson, a former Nxivm member who met Raniere in 1984, told the CBC that one of the things that characterized him in the late 1980s was his interest in Scientology.

      “Scientology is really kind of infused in this,” Ross says. “Nxivm is sold like Scientology, as a self-improvement, educational process, where you become an improved human being through its training routines. And you confess to your coach, like you would to an auditor.

      “I would say some of the most important modules in Nxivm read like Hubbard. So I’m surprised that Scientology didn’t go after Nxivm the way they went after Erhard. But maybe they didn’t because Nxivm was harassing me,” Ross adds.

      He’s referring to a situation that goes back to the mid-1990s, when we first met Ross and wrote about him. Ross had been sued by a young member of a Christian church in Washington state, but Rick insisted that the case only happened because the plaintiff, Jason Scott, had been recruited by Scientology to go after him (something Scott later acknowledged).”

      This was published by Tony Ortega at his blog, The Underground Bunker on March 8, 2019.


      I highly recommend the book Cults Inside Out by Rick Alan Ross personally and consider it a superb reference on the topic.

      Rick Alan Ross also has several YouTube videos in which he describes the connection between Scientologys and NXIVM and was an influence in my decision to explore the topic.

  • Thank you for this article. It’s so important for as many as possible to see that so many of us have been so deceived.

  • Interesting article. The author left Ayn Rand of the flowchart. Raniere claimed to be influenced by her.

    • Rand and Objectivism are on the chart off to the right and near the bottom. I didn’t create the flow chart and hope the quote below it gives proper credit to the creator.

        • In my original post at my blog I have a quote below the illustration. I didn’t realize it’s not in the post here.

          Influences on NXIVM beliefs and practices, sourced from Natalie et al (2019), rendered in the mode of W.S. Bainbridge, e.g. Bainbridge 1978. |NXIVM teachings drew upon diverse influences, including Ayn Rand (“parasites”), L. Ron Hubbard (“suppressives”), Milton Erickson’s hypnosis, Isaac Asimov’s science fiction, Rudolf Steiner, Tony Robbins, and neuro-linguistic programming. NXIVM incorporated elements of multi-level marketing and practices from judo, with colored cloth for rank and bowing.

    • Let’s face it, Raniere didn’t care about someone else’s philosophical views except how he could (ab)use them to get into the panties of women.

      • It seems that every cult leader is an expression of their own psychology and while I am no expert on Raniere it is quite likely he hated women and desired them and this is central to how he expressed himself.

  • Thank you to Frank Parlato for sharing this here. I feel that the Ex NXIVM members are probably the people who can most benefit from this information and The Frank Report is the most likely place for it to reach them.

    I would love feedback from anyone on this material.

    PS, here’s a link to my blog for anyone who is interested. It has over five hundred posts on Scientology.


    Blog Archive by Topic

  • This subject comes up a lot on a number of Podcasts and YouTube live-streams. It was here on FR that I became aware of the nexus-of-cults: narcissists, narcissistic-relational-systems and hypnosis in discussions about NXIVM and Scientology.

    In July Kristin Keeffe revealed she and Alan went to the Scientology Center where he underwent Auditing: https://trialsandtruths.us/2022/07/ask-me-anything-about-nxivm/#comment-99

    It has been said that the leader of my-group-of-interest had access to Hubbard’s material. I’ve been told by people who were there at the time that he obtained these on the black-market, having been impressed by Hubbard.

    Looking forward to Part 2 of this.

    • FYI, there are thousands and thousands of copies of books and taped lectures by Hubbard out in the world and you can very easily buy them. Bridge publications (a part of Scientology) will sell you literally thousands of taped lectures by Hubbard and dozens of his books! No black market needed.

      • “… Science fiction writer and U.S. Navy officer L. Ron Hubbard soon moved into the Parsonage; he and Parsons became close friends. Parsons wrote to Crowley that although Hubbard had “no formal training in Magick he has an extraordinary amount of experience and understanding in the field. From some of his experiences I deduce he is direct touch with some higher intelligence, possibly his Guardian Angel. … He is the most Thelemic person I have ever met and is in complete accord with our own principles.”

        Parsons and Sara were in an open relationship encouraged by the O.T.O.’s polyandrous sexual ethics …”


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.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

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 premieres on May 22, 2022.

IMDb — Frank Parlato


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