Oct 23, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 10/22/2020

NXIVM, Heaven's Gate, QAnon 
"Allison said she had a special program she thought could help me," India Oxenberg tells PEOPLE

"Mack told India the secret group was called DOS (for the Latin phrase Dominus Obsequious Sororium, roughly translated to "Master Over Slave.") And within the sinister "sisterhood," Mack would eventually become India's master, the one who demanded "ultimate obedience."

Now 29, India is sharing her harrowing story for the first time in the powerful STARZ four part docuseries Seduced: Inside The Nxivm Cult, which begins airing October 18, at 9 pm EST/PST.

"I knew too much about what happened," says India, "and I had a moral obligation to make sure it didn't happen to anyone else."

When Mack told her about DOS, she said she needed "something to make sure I wouldn't share what she was about to disclose," India recalls. 'That's how I ended up providing her with collateral. In reality, it was like I handed over the keys to lock myself in prison.'"

"Have you given thanks for your BS detector lately? Has it served you well during this dire age of disinformation? Lately I find myself grateful for whatever is left of mine, honed by a lifetime of being told I have an attitude problem, give off "negative energy" or ask too many questions.

Which leads me, with authentic enthusiasm, to applaud filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer for their thoroughly absorbing HBO documentary series, "The Vow," an elliptical and haunting journey into the dark heart of a self-help group known as NXIVM (pronounced "nexium"), that was exposed in 2017 as both a cult and a pyramid scheme.

Some of the women drawn into NXIVM's elite circles have described coerced sex, vigilance over their diets and daily routines, blackmailing schemes and secret branding ceremonies at which the initials of NXIVM's founder and self-anointed guru (a remarkably influential little creep named Keith Raniere) were seared on their private areas. Former acolytes talk about how Raniere and NXIVM tried to sue them into oblivion after they left the group, among other intimidation tactics. Still others talk about a broader realization: They'd joined a cult and didn't know it until they were too far in."
"Heaven's Gate hit just about every bullet point on the cult checklist.

Followers believed that Earth would be "recycled" by the year 2027, and that their salvation was an alien spacecraft travelling closely behind the Hale-Bopp comet, which would transport them to an extraterrestrial "Kingdom of Heaven". Naturally, they had a self-appointed messiah: the former music teacher Marshall Applewhite, who co-founded Heaven's Gate in 1975 with a fellow Texan, a nurse named Bonnie Nettles.

In 1997, the year the Hale-Bopp came closest to Earth, 39 Heaven's Gate members died by suicide in a San Diego mansion that doubled as the cult's headquarters. The suicides are believed to have taken place over the course of three days, with each member discovered wearing identical black outfits, box-fresh Nike Decades and arm bands reading, "Heaven's Gate Away Team". In the months that followed, at least three former members also died by suicide.

Despite this tragic end, there are still people out there interested in joining Heaven's Gate. Luckily for them, the cult's original website is still online – and among all the impassioned literature about the group's beliefs, there's something else prospective members will be happy to find: an email address.

I wondered who, in 2020, would be maintaining the email address for a cult whose members are all famously dead. So I emailed it to find out, asking how many members – if any – are left.

"None," came the reply. "The Group came to an end in 1997. There are no members or anything to join."

So who was I speaking to? "We joined at the beginning, in 1975, and have been with them for 45 years. There are us two here in Arizona and a couple more around the country.''

It turns out these four Americans were instructed to tend to the website in the mid-1990s and have been doing so ever since, replying to emails and taking care of daily legal and archiving issues in the downtime from their regular jobs."

YouTube said it would be enforcing the updated policy immediately and plans to "ramp up in the weeks to come."

"YouTube said Thursday that it would no longer allow content that targets individuals and groups with conspiracy theories, specifically QAnon and its antecedent, "pizzagate."

"Today, we are taking another step in our efforts to curb hate and harassment by removing more conspiracy theory content used to justify real-world violence," the company announced on its blog.

The new rules, an expansion of YouTube's existing hate and harassment policies, will prohibit content that "threatens or harrasses someone by suggesting they are complicit in one of these harmful conspiracies, such as QAnon or Pizzagate," the post read.

YouTube said it would be enforcing the updated policy immediately and plans to "ramp up in the weeks to come."

YouTube's move to rid the platform of QAnon content follows similar recent changes by other social media platforms. In July, Twitter removed QAnon accounts and restricted QAnon content. Last week, Facebook said it would remove groups, pages and Instagram accounts that identified with QAnon."

News, Education, Intervention, Recovery



Intervention101.com to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.

CultRecovery101.com assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice.

CultNEWS101.com news, links, resources.





Cults101.org resources about cults, cultic groups, abusive relationships, movements, religions, political organizations and related topics.

Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.

Please forward articles that you think we should add to CultNEWS101.com.

No comments: