What lessons from the Nxivm prosecution should Scientology watchers take? - 2021-06-15

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F347.png What lessons from the Nxivm prosecution should Scientology watchers take? June 15, 2021, John P, Underground Bunker

Our community is, once again, helping academic researchers gain perspective on Scientology and on other abusive groups. The International Journal of Coercion, Abuse and Manipulation just published a special issue devoted to Scientology and Nxivm individually, and to drawing parallels between the two groups. This journal is a new publication of the International Cultic Studies Association, since it's an "open access" journal, you can download the issue from the journal's home page.

The lead article, by University of Alberta sociologist Stephen Kent, pulls numerous sources from The Underground Bunker universe. Kent referenced Tony's book on Paulette Cooper, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, plus more than a few of Tony's Scientology news articles and a couple of posts that Tony did looking at Nxivm. Dr. Kent also refers to all the classic books, including Jon Atack's A Piece of Blue Sky, Larry Wright's Going Clear, Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology, Ron Miscavige's Ruthless, and Russell Miller's Bare-Faced Messiah.

One particularly interesting point of discussion among those who follow both groups is just how much Scientology is embedded in Nxivm's content. It is frequently mentioned that Nxivm talks about "suppressive persons" just like Scientology does. There are other places where Nxivm uses Scientology jargon with the same meaning. But those are very surface comparisons. In looking through the Scientology Service Completions database and doing a fairly thorough search, I was unable to find evidence that Nxivm founder Keith Raniere was ever a practicing Scientologist. In his paper, I think Dr. Kent has done enough digging to say definitively that Nxivm was only slightly influenced by Scientology "tech." One former Nxivm confidant wrote in her expose that Raniere had read Dianetics in Nxivm's early days. More recent court testimony from Mark Vicente, a Nxivm insider who turned whistleblower and prosecution witness, suggested that Raniere looked at Scientology with an eye only towards grabbing some concepts in a hurry to try and incorporate them into his body of dogma. He was hardly trying to create a Scientology splinter group like "Avatar."

Wikipedia cite:
{{cite news | first = John | last = P | title = What lessons from the Nxivm prosecution should Scientology watchers take? | url = https://tonyortega.org/2021/06/15/what-lessons-from-the-nxivm-prosecution-should-scientology-watchers-take/ | work = Underground Bunker | date = June 15, 2021 | accessdate = July 1, 2021 }}