This post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds
NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”) is a marketing organization that offers self-help personal and professional development seminars. Founded in 1998 by former computer programmer Keith Rainere in Albany, NY, NXIVM’s president is Nancy Salzman, the two are referred to, respectively, as “Vanguard” and “Prefect”.
More than 12,000 people have attended NXIVM’s seminars between its founding in 1998 and 2010. The organization claims to have worked with more than 16,000 people in 30 countries. Among NXIVM’s clients are notables such as actresses Linda Evans (always a sucker for cults) and Kristin Kreuk and Allison Mack of the Smallville TV series; UK mogul Richard Branson; BET co-founder Sheila Johnson; former U.S. surgeon general Antonia Novello; Stephen Cooper of Enron; Ana Cristina Fox, daughter of former Mexican president and rabid anti-Trumper Vicente Fox; and Seagram heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman who have plowed millions of dollars into NXIVM. In addition, the director of NXIVM in Mexico is Emiliano Salinas, son of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas.
But former members have exposed NXIVM as a sex cult. According to an exposé by Barry Meier for The New York Times, members of a “secret sisterhood” of 70-80 women within NXIVM, including actress Allison Mack, are branded with Raniere’s initials (KR), referred to as “slaves”, blackmailed, and beaten with paddles. Women who wish to join the “sisterhood” are required to provide nude photos or other potentially damaging information about themselves.
Ryan Parry reports for the Daily Mail, January 24, 2018, that none other than the Dalai Lama was paid $1 million to travel to America to speak at a NXIVM event in Albany, New York in 2009. Attended by 3,000 of the cult’s followers, the Dalai Lama’s appearance was trumpeted by NXIVM as an endorsement and a “victory”. The Dalai Lama even honored cult leader Keith Raniere with a khata — a traditional Tibetan ceremonial scarf that symbolizes purity and compassion.
Daily Mail uncovered how NXIVM plotted to get the Dalai Lama to speak at the event, a scheme that involved Seagram heiress Sara Bronfman and Lama Tenzin Dhonden, the Dalai Lama’s effective ambassador (“personal emissary of peace”) to the U.S., who are said to have had an illicit affair. Tibetan monks are supposed to be celibate.
Dhonden arranged for Sara Bronfman and her sister Clare, as well as NXIVM president Nancy Salzman, to meet with the Dalai Lama in Dharmsala, India. There the women offered to make a contribution of more than $1 million, and invited “His Holiness” to New York to meet NXIVM leader Raniere.
However, after local media in Albany, NY, reported that the Dalai Lama was planning a four-day trip to the U.S. visiting prestigious colleges alongside “cult” leader Raniere, the Dalai Lam canceled the visit, concerned over the negative media attention. The Bronfman sisters flew back to India, this time with NXIVM leader Raniere in tow, to convince the Dalai Lama the press coverage was inaccurate. The Dalai Lama then agreed to attend a one-day NXIVM event as part of an already scheduled trip to the U.S. to visit Harvard University in Massachusetts.
On her blog, Sara Bronfman called the Dalai Lama’s change of mind a success: “After an onslaught of negative articles and powerful local personalities voicing their lack of support for his proposed visit, His Holiness postponed until the truth became evident. In the end the truth prevailed, but in the process we lost participants, money and good faith.”
In a YouTube video of the event held at the Palace Theater in Albany on May 6, 2009, the Dalai Lama was asked by someone in the audience about his canceled visit. “His Holiness” said about Raniere and NXIVM: “If you have done something wrong, you must accept, you must admit, change, make correction. If you have not done (anything wrong), make clear all these allegations (are untrue), truthfully, honestly, openly, transparently.”
Having said that, however, Raniere was called on stage and the Dalai Lama draped the khata — a symbol of purity and compassion — around the cult leader’s neck.