ESP - Executive Success Programs - NXIVM
Posted by: a ()
Date: April 30, 2007 12:47AM

I have recently completed a 5 day Executive Success Programs intensive, led by Lauren Salzman.

I was "recruited" by a very close friend, who is an intelligent business professional. This person named several other professionals who I was familiar with who were going to be taking the course as well. These included people I trusted and still trust. I was asked if I was interested in "investing in myself" and that while the course was expensive "I couldn't afford not to take it".

I am a long time researcher of Eastern religions and New Age philosophies, I've read many books and educated myself on various complimenting belief systems (Buddhism, Taoism, Zen), as well as a book or two on Quantum Mechanics, for the purpose of self discovery and my own personal growth. So the concept of a program designed to improve my self awareness and apply it directly to a business environment, sounded extremely enticing.

I read the company web page for ESP, as well as the company web page for NXIVM and nothing too glaring jumped out for me (as I'd never been approached by a cult-like group before I had no basis for comparison). As everything seemed to check out, I decided to pay my money, and began looking forward to this new learning experience.

The first day of the intensive, they managed to take every optimistic opinion I had about the process and shatter it. I immediately shut-down and my defenses went up after receiving a document entitled "rules and rituals" which informed us to never speak of any of our experiences in ESP, remove our shoes, bow, and pay "tribute" to founder, Keith Rainier. There was a lengthy explanation on how to perform a perfect handshake (as well as the ESP secret handshake). An explanation of how the different colored "sash" hierarchy worked (which seems based entirely on recruitment rather than any measurable skill-set). And the request that Keith Rainier was to be referred to as "Vanguard" and Nancy Salzmann as "Prefect". The robotic, monotone, video instruction of Nancy Salzman didn't raise my confidence either, even when it was repeated immediately afterwards - with only slightly more enthusiasm - by her daughter, Lauren.

I quickly grew tired of being reminded of Keith Rainier's IQ. At times it was 211, at others it jumped to 240 depending on who was praising his amazingness. We were also told that Keith was East Coast Judo champion at age 12, and that he had "total recall" which allowed him to never have any need for taking notes (despite the fact that he did for the benefit of else could Nancy develop these marvelous lesson modules?). The amateurish video of Nancy Salzman also told us that there were so many problems with the world today that there were only 2 or 3 people in the world who could solve them, and "Vanguard" was one of them.

In the end it was a 2 hour block, which Lauren devoted to discussing the negative connotation behind the word "cult", and why "suppressives" considered ESP a "cult", and why ESP had been accused of being a "cult", that encouraged me to do a little more research on my original suspicions, at which point I stumbled on Rick Ross' website.

I considered requesting a refund, but my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to see it through till the end. I experienced a successful "EM" (Exploration of Meaning) and also witnessed many others go through their moments of clarity. Most were extremely vulnerable woman (about 25 women to 5 men in the class), who were quick to adopt the "Espian" way of thinking at the slightest realization that they might be responsible for their own actions.

I did not witness anything overtly harmful during the 5 days, and aside from being fleeced of their hard earned money in what seems like merely another elaborate pyramid scheme, I think most of these people are adults and are fully capable of making their own decisions. My personal opinion...for all the value I gained from the program, anyone who has chosen to follow Keith Rainier and Nancy Salzman is an easily influenced person with almost no self esteem.

I highly recommend that anyone who comes in contact with ESP, should read the information on Rick Ross' ESP page, as the info Rick provides is 100% acurate. While seemingly harmless, ESP is potentially very harmful to anyone who is feeling vulnerable and desprate and looking for a 'quick fix' for their problems.

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ESP - Executive Success Programs - NXIVM
Posted by: bigskeptic ()
Date: May 02, 2007 01:23AM

I am somewhat familiar with this group... I know many peope who are very involved. I am certainly not interested in joining and never have been due mostly to the large numbers of participants who experience marital problems (divorce) or mental issues. I agree that this group seems to attract mostly women with some self esteem issues. Also, conveniently, it is expensive which attracts wealthy women with self esteem issues.

I'm not sure if this group is a cult but it sure seems like one. I also find it hilarious that their "leader" invented some crazy way to make the world perfect. Isn't there a slew of groups just like this one all over the country? Groups that promote self help and life enhancement? He isn't even the guy who came up with this idea first! It seems that he just copycatted all of these other groups when he realized how much money could be made. If he's so brilliant, why didn't he skip judo when he was 12 and start working on this incredible program?

Cult? Who knows, but I agree- buyer beware... do research before you sign up.

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ESP - Executive Success Programs - NXIVM
Posted by: Murph ()
Date: May 02, 2007 02:09PM

It's definitely a cult. There really would be no need to defend themselves against accusations of being a cult if they weren't. It just wouldn't be an issue. They devote an entire two hour module to why they aren't a cult. Methinks they protest too much.

It's financial exploitation of emotional issues and vulnerabilities. They will totally drain you dry if you let them. That's the real mission. Saving the world and doing good for humanity is the hook.

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ESP - Executive Success Programs - NXIVM
Posted by: chet ()
Date: May 04, 2007 03:29AM

Thanks for sharing, a.

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Re: ESP - Executive Success Programs - NXIVM
Posted by: hara ()
Date: June 10, 2008 03:54AM

I see this thread hasn't been active for a while, but I just recently discovered this board. It is extremely useful to hear someone's clear description of their experience with ESP. (Thanks, a.) A friend recommened this program to me -- but with reservations, mostly due to cost. She only mentioned it because I was describing my recent emotional challenges ... which led to a long conversation about alternative methods to handle depression. She said she had tried a number of things (including Art of Living) -- but after she did NXIVM, she was never depressed again. Something in her mind was permanently shifted. She said she chose not to do all the levels, but she keeps marginally involved by taking an occasional class. Other than that, it's a very low-profile part of her very successful-looking life (she is doing work that she loves, living in an attractive home, has a dynamic and positive relationship with her husband [who introduced her to it], pursues creative hobbies, and maintains her health.) She told me not to be too concerned about any negative publicity I might see about the group on the web.
Even just talking to her about it, I felt something shift in me, and was then briefly inspired to look up ESP on the web. But I wasn't too attracted to their website -- thank goodness; and having been through a cult experience before, I'm a little less quick to jump.

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Re: ESP - Executive Success Programs - NXIVM
Posted by: AnneP ()
Date: March 14, 2009 02:08AM

Yes, deinitely a cult. Speaking from my own experience as being the part of then a very small innercircle - back in the early 90s.

But it's quite simple... designed for those - mostly women - who have no self-confidence or center. They are conditioned to draw their "life energy from Keith" with quite simple but very effective techniques.

His tactics were almost too simple and yet classic for a cult leader. He stripped the women – and at times men – around him of their identity, then, their relationships, money, etc. It could be as simple as telling his women repeatedly they “could loose a couple of pounds”. People who gave into him were a particular kind: no matter where they came from – rich and poor, powerful families and nobody – they all lacked self esteem and needed almost constant reassurance from another. Keith would pint point their weaknesses – which wasn’t too difficult – and begin to play on them. Self image worked great on women – doubting our self-worth is what we, women, do so well! But a lot more went into the game. A big part of it was physical fatigue. Keith kept crazy hours in his townhome in Clifton Park which he shared with Karen, Pam and Kristin at the time. They wouldn’t sleep at night until early morning hours. Then, they’d sleep until maybe 11 – Keith sometimes till 1pm. This was in no way healthy especially since the business they were running required attention in the morning as well. Karen’s skin tone was literally grey and the texture uneven and so unhealthy. Pam and Kristin were pale, and all of them were very thin. This sleeplessness, no doubt, had a major effect on their nervous system. Physically exhausted people are easier to control. Their reaction and ability to analyze are far gone. Have you ever had so little sleep that the next day you felt like you had Styrofoam for a brain? Well, imagine that scenario for days, weeks, months…

I spent numerous weekends at their townhome just hanging out. Keith would “talk” to the women one on one sometimes. For some it involved discussing their place in the universe, their spiritual progress; for others it was a psychoanalysis session; and for some it was purely physical. But in any case, it was his time to exert his influence on an individual level. And we all waited impatiently for his time for us. And he used that as well. He’d postpone meetings with us, tell a person “it’s not time yet”, sending that person into a wild spin, trying to figure out “what am I doing wrong??”. He would send Pam to inform me he had five minutes to talk to me and then, at the last moment, say he was too busy or I simply had to wait to practice patience… In reality it was not a patience practice but a very good way to make me even less patient and more pliable to his influence once I finally WAS alone with him, breathlessly waiting for his wisdom… This is a classic method of control: we were like hungry mice waiting for “scraps” of his precious attention and when we were rewarded with even a passing look, touch or word, we felt as though we finally had a huge meal after months of starvation. Our time was spent searching for his attention and reveling in our happiness once we received even a minuscule amount of it. We were so involved in that process, there was little room left for anything else: his attention was our means for survival like food for conditioned lab animals.

Luckily, something in me told me to do things to "shock" him, so I did, he did not approve, then was almost freightened of me and we parted ways. He did mess me up a bit, I won't lie. I had a series of unworthy and unsuccessful relationships after - it took me a while to heal and I wasn't even CLOSE to lacking self-confidence the way the others did. So, imagine how damaged they are at this point... My heart goes out to them and yet... we all make our own life choices.

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Re: ESP - Executive Success Programs - NXIVM
Posted by: chet ()
Date: March 14, 2009 05:37AM

Hi AnneP.

My name is Chet Hardin. I am a reporter in Albany, and I have written somewhat extensively about NXIVM and Raniere. You can find a few of my articles here on Rick's site, as well as at and just by Googling my name along with Raniere's and/or NXIVM.

I am interested in speaking with you a little more in detail about your experience with Raniere. This can easily be off the record. I am very willing to protect your identity, as I have done that for many people, former Nxians.

You can reach me here:

This invitation of course goes to anyone who has dealt with NXIVM. As anyone who follows the group must be aware, they are hosting the appearance of the Dalai Lama in Albany in April. []


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Re: ESP - Executive Success Programs - NXIVM
Posted by: mroseberg ()
Date: June 02, 2009 08:35AM

I spent some time with the NXIVM program and the people in the program do not seem like critical thinkers to me. Not one person I came across had a thought that was their own. It was always Vanguard says this and Prefect says that. When you question any one about anything they always come back with don't you think the smartest man in world would know this or that. If he's so smart, why can't he win any law suits, why are all the people who work for the company broke, where are all these inventions Vanguard is suppose to have? If you don't get this answer they question "your intent" as if to say, are you being suppressive. I have seen how they treat people who they say are suppressive and it is scary, they send a gang after the suppressive one and start to set up the "critical thinkers" in the organization to believe that the only reason someone would leave is because they are suppressive. For a group that is based on humanity, they sure do not treat folks who leave in a way that upholds their humanity.

In keeping with the teachings of NXIVM, in my opinion run as fast as you can from this organization as you can.

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