The Best Definition of a Cult: Evil Posing as Good

Once I heard International Cultic Studies Association’s Executive Director, Micheal Langone, call social parasites and scavengers like “school” evil posing as good. He was presenting at a conference on spiritual abuse. I was struck by his succinct elegance.

Today’s best example of evil posing as good has to be a fucked up group called Nxivm, headed up by a sociopath named Keith Raniere. He was recently arrested and charged with sex trafficking and racketeering. If you want to understand the worst of the worst you can read this New York Times article about the damage perpetrated by Nxivm: The ‘Sex Cult’ That Preached Empowerment.

A number of ex-“school”-mates and readers have brought both this group and this article to my attention, asking me to post about it. I am quite fortunate that my misadventure was silly in comparison. School inflicted its share of damage, for sure, but just enough for me to wake up and get the fuck out, so I could recover, vowing, never again: cult lite, as my dear friend, and ex-classmate, 007, like to call it. But I’m trotting out my little tale, in part, to expose the deception and the damage it inflicts and groups that do far worse.

One of the ex-Nxivm members interviewed in the article –who was led into a ritual by other members who neglected to tell her that she was about to get branded … yes, branded — said … ” … Nothing was what we thought it was.” That’s right. All cults trot out some bullshit because no one joins cults. They are always the antithesis of what they claim to be.

Here’s another tidbit from the article: “Breaking down identity was only the first part of Nxivm — replacing your identity with another, or ‘replacing data with data’, in Nxivm speak, was the second part. As Nxians erased their fears, they began doing what they truly wanted to do with their lives (or perhaps what Raniere or high-ranked members wanted them to do)…” My bets are on the latter.

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