Keith Raniere and his “coaching” creation called NXIVM (pronounced Nexium, like the pill for heartburn sufferers) made the cover of the subscription issue of Forbes Magazine.

Mr. Raniere may need some of the original Nexium to help his stomach soon.

The NXIVM article titled “Cult of Personality” describes a seeming subculture of “devoted followers” focused upon the teachings of the self-proclaimed “Vanguard” Raniere.

It appears the Forbes reporter was not too impressed with Mr. Raniere’s philosophy, he speculated that it might just be “horse manure.”

But Raniere has attracted a moneyed enough following to warrant the attention of Forbes.

Vanguard’s philosophy or “manure” has fertilized the minds of such notables as Sheila Johnson, cofounder of Black Entertainment Television; Antonia C. Novello, a former U.S. surgeon general; Stephen Cooper, acting chief executive of Enron; the Seagram fortune’s Edgar Bronfman Sr. and two of his daughters; Ana Cristina Fox, daughter of the Mexican president and Emiliano Salinas, son of a former president of Mexico.

Forbes also noted “a darker and more manipulative side to Keith Raniere.”

Edgar Bronfman Sr. who dropped out of the NXIVM now says, “I think it’s a cult.” He hasn’t talked to his daughters in months; they remain devoted to Raniere and his teachings.

CutNews readers may recall that NXIVM/Raniere sued The Ross Institute (TRI) for posting critical articles about its courses. Raniere also sued the authors of those articles, psychiatrist John Hochman and psychologist Paul Martin.

The lawsuit claims that TRI and the good doctors were somehow guilty of trade secret and copyright violations by citing Raniere’s material within their critical analysis of his programs.

A federal judge has repeatedly rebuffed NXIVM’s legal efforts to remove the articles from the Internet.

Hochman’s article was quoted within Forbes.

NXIVM “is a kingdom of sorts, ruled by a Vanguard, who writes his own dictionary of the English language, has his own moral code and the ability to generate taxes on subjects by having them participate in his seminars. It is a kingdom with no physical borders, but with psychological borders–influencing how his subjects spend their time, socialize, and think,” Hochman stated.

Forbes also reported that one woman “began to have hallucinations and had a mental breakdown at her hotel near Albany. She went to a hospital and required psychiatric treatment.” Her psychiatrist stated that “in the last three years he has treated two others who have taken the class; one had a psychotic episode.”

Forbes Magazine has more than a million subscribers and the NIXIVM article is reportedly the cover story of the current subscription edition.

This may make the affluent crowd Raniere seemingly targets more likely to be on guard about “Vanguard.”

Kenneth Hagin, the man often referred to as the “father” of the so-called “Word-Faith” movement (WFM), died yesterday at 86 reports KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Hagin moved to Tulsa from Texas in 1966 and eventually created a religious empire based upon controversial teachings many Christians call “heresy.”

The WFM teaches that Christians can essentially claim anything in the name of Jesus. This includes health and material wealth. It has often been called the “health” and “wealth” gospel and more derisively the “name it, claim it” or “blab it, grab it” doctrine.

Hagin’s Rhema Bible Training Center USA founded in 1974 reportedly produced 23,000 alumni and is often cited as the wellspring of the WFM.

Notorious and flamboyant TV preachers Robert Tilton and Benny Hinn are perhaps the two most visible promoters of the WFM. Though Hagin’s devoted disciple televangelist Kenneth Copeland may be his most readily identified theological proponent.

The Word-Faith doctrines have historically caused friction between its adherents and conservative or traditional Christians. Hagin was also a focus of controversy within Pentecostalism, which largely rejected his teachings.

Two critical books written about Kenneth Hagin denounced him as both a heretic and plagiarist; these books are A Different Gospel by D.R. McConnell and Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraff

Another book, The Walking Wounded by Jeremy Reynalds, points out the causalities of the WFM.

Nevertheless Hagin delivered a popular message, telling many what they wanted to hear. That message was essentially you can have anything you want through faith, with an odd mix of proscribed and supposedly biblical incantations.

By the time of his death Hagin’s religious empire reportedly comprised training centers in 14 nations, with churches in more than a hundred countries. His legacy also includes the Rhema Prayer and Healing Center in Tulsa and two regular radio shows. A church Hagin founded in Tulsa now has 8,000 members.

Despite repeated allegations of willful plagiarism Hagin was a prolific and popular author who reputedly produced more than 65 million books through his Faith Library Publications. He also launched the monthly Word of Faith Magazine, which currently claims 400,000 readers.

Kenneth Hagin Jr., Executive Vice President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries runs the Tulsa mega-church started by Hagin Sr. and seems to be the shepherd of his father’s legacy.

Madonna’s new book The English Roses may be little more than the latest installment of her never-ending story regarding the recruitment of members for the so-called “Kabbalah Centre” led by Philip Berg.

Only this time the star seems to have her sights set on kids.

On a recent Oprah show the 20th Century pop icon talked about her pet project the “Spirituality for Kids Foundation” (SFKF), which appears to be another proselytizing ploy hatched by the Kabbalah Centre.

Madonna is prominently quoted on the main page of the SFKF website and her book is its publicity hook.

The singer has said, “I only wish I had been exposed to understanding the laws of the universe when I was kid. I could have saved myself a lot of pain and suffering.”

This is an allusion to the beliefs of Berg and his followers, now being marketed for children.

Berg’s “laws of the universe” are spoon-fed to kids within a curriculum in three stages. Each successive level a bit more demanding and complex than the previous one.

Level One is the “Rules of the Game of Life,” Level Two “The Spiritual Detective: Finding the Clues Within,” and finally Level Three “The Art of Problem Solving.”

It is at Level Two that things start getting a bit bizarre.

At this stage children are taught “nothing in the world is random and that everything is the result of some prior action, thought, feeling or belief…life is fair.”

But is it “fair” that some children are born with disabilities, or victimized through incest? Are rape victims somehow chosen as “the result of some prior action”? What about deaths due to random tragedies such as a plane or car crash?

And are the victims of 9-11and their families evidence of how “life is fair”?

Does Madonna actually believe that all “pain and suffering” can be avoided by knowing the supposed “laws of the universe”?

The Kabbalah Centre’s Level Two: lesson four claims, “They are responsible for the people and situations that are in their lives…What they put out into the world comes back to them.”

How would the Holocaust fit within this explanation? Was the murder of millions by the Nazis somehow the result of what their victims “put out into the world”?

No. And this doesn’t sound like the premise for a good story to tell children either.

However, this philosophy does apparently represent the core of Philip Berg’s teachings, which is now at the center of Madonna’s universe.

The rest of Berg’s lessons largely deal with the power of the light, discuss colors and assorted mumbo jumbo that sounds like hockus pockus in a world based upon magic.

Maybe Madonna should have written a book about little witches working spells instead of The English Roses? This theme might have been better received than the critically panned and reportedly boring book she has just launched.

Oops, another Londoner JK Rowling with her Harry Potter series has already done that. Besides Madonna wants us to take her fantasy seriously.

Despite the pretty title and tears shed on Oprah there is something a little sinister about Madonna’s latest effort as a writer. It seems that Philip Berg is pulling the strings for Madonna’s recent public performances and the aging diva has become little more than his “puppet,” according to London’s Daily Express.

The singer’s book appears to be one more orchestrated and carefully planned promotional effort staged by the Kabbalah Centre that revolves around Philip Berg’s lesson plan for the world.

This is clear by visiting the SFKF website, which promotes Madonna’s new book alongside Mrs. Berg’s audio tape titled “Spiritual Parenthood” and announcements about related events staged at the Kabbalah Centres.

SFKF targets “at risk” children and their parents, seemingly preying upon those most vulnerable within society.

And of course parents are encouraged to join in and participate.

As Madonna’s career continues to slow down the aging diva seems to feel her quest for greater spirituality is gaining momentum. She recently explained, “This is really important to me because it defines almost everything I am.”

Who would have thought that the tough street-wise waif of the 1980s that scorned convention, mocked popular culture and dominated her “boy toys” would end up like this.

The Material Girl doesn’t even seem to do her own material, but instead appears to work from a script given to her by an older man some say is her master.

NXIVM, a controversial organization called a “cult,” proposed a 67,000 square foot complex to be built in the town of Halfmoon near Albany, New York. But it seems that project may be effectively blocked reports the Albany Times-Union.

The Sartoga Count Planning Board has nixed NXIVM (pronounced Nexium) proposed building.

More than a hundred residents signed a petition saying they didn’t want NXIVM in their neighborhood.

The controversial organization’s titular head and self-proclaimed “Prefect” is Nancy Salzman, though the real power behind NXIVM seems to be Salzman’s “mentor” Keith Raniere, who students call “Vanguard.”

Troubled history

Keith Raniere has a troubled history. His previous business incarnations include a multi-level marketing scheme and vitamin/health food concerns. Both businesses failed.

Mr. Raniere’s multi-level marketing business called Consumer Buyline was labeled a “pyramid scheme” by New York Attorney General Robert Abrams and literally sued out of existence by several state attorney generals including New York, Pennsylvania and Arkansas.

Consumer Buyline left in its wake unpaid taxes, liens, judgments and many unhappy participants.

A class action lawsuit filed in Boston was apparently the final round for the company. Raniere agreed to pay $25,000 in a final settlement during 1992, which effectively restricted his business. At this time he claimed to be broke.

Lesson learned?

What did Keith Raniere learn from his past business experiences?

In an affidavit filed last month in Albany federal court Mr. Raniere states, “Throughout this process I had learned how people can cheat to win.” And he seems to think that the collapse of Consumer Buyline was somehow due to “political problems.”

New business

The man they call “Vanguard” today is described as a “scientist, mathematician, philosopher and entrepreneur.” And he is now selling something called “Rational Inquiry.” This is what NXIVM says is a “science based on [a]…belief.”

Learning this “science” in-depth includes 16 consecutive days of intensive training 12 hours a day. This comes to 192 hours of structured coaching classes. Students may then take additional intensives, courses and attend various events and classes.

Expert opinions

Forensic psychiatrist and noted cult expert John Hochman, who reviewed the NXIVM program warns, “Mind control represents indoctrination without informed consent. It relies on calculated strategies to mislead and to misinform. It particularly relies on emotional manipulation.”

Hochman concluded, [NXIVM] is a kingdom of sorts, ruled by a Vanguard, who writes his own dictionary of the English language, has his own moral code, and the ability to generate taxes on subjects by having them participate in his seminars.”

Psychologist Paul Martin whose work is focused upon the treatment of cult victims also reviewed the NXIVM programs and compared them to thought reform often called “brainwashing.”

Martin said, “ESP has characteristics that are consistent with the themes of thought reform.”

He also offered this observation within a separate critical analysis. “What then are some of the consequences of those subject to thought reform programs? [Robert J.] Lifton [author of Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism] observed certain clinical symptoms in the subjects he studied. For example: ‘borderline psychotic state, split identity, fear…’”

Martin adds, “There were first-hand reports of some becoming psychotic.”

At least three NXIVM students that attended its intensive programs subsequently sought psychiatric care. One of those students, while in the midst of a “Level 2 Intensive,” had a psychotic episode and was hospitalized in Albany.

Lawsuits

In an effort to remove the reports written by Hochman and Martin from public view, Keith Raniere and his “mentored” associate Nancy Salzman have filed lawsuits in federal court against the good doctors, the Ross Institute and myself. They claim “trade secret” and “copyright” violations, because the doctors quote NXIVM material to substantiate points made within their reports.

This is the same legal strategy often employed by the notorious “cult” Scientology in numerous failed lawsuits filed against its own critics on the Internet.

In an interesting twist it appears that Nancy O’Meara, a well-known Scientology operative, has assisted Raniere and Salzman in their current litigation.

O’Meara wrote in an August email, “I am working on two cases right now where [Rick Ross] is being sued for copyright trademark violation.”

Whose model?

Raniere claims NXIVM courses are based upon “my model.” And NXIVM’s “12 Point Mission Statement” states its goal is to reach “an internal “state of clear.”

Ironically, this is precisely the same verbiage often used by Scientology to describe a goal of its training. Raniere also frequently uses the description “suppressive person,” more language commonly associated with Scientology.

Another apparent source for some of NXIVM’s language and principles seems to be Landmark Education, previously known as EST, a controversial company also engaged in the business of large group awareness training, courses and seminars.

Mr. Raniere also likes to quote Ayn Rand the author of Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead.

So whose model is NXIVM really based upon?

Is Keith Raniere guilty of trade secret and copyright violations?

Reported losses

NXIVM sought court ordered injunctions to either close down this website or remove the critical articles about its programs previously mentioned.

Last week a federal judge denied the injunctions .

Mr. Raniere claimed in a recent court affidavit, “We have even lost a 4 year veteran Principal Coach… Goldie Hawn cancelled her engagement…a billionaire network founder…has left…we are losing $10,000 a day in revenue and the problem is escalating.”

With his building plan blocked, the above claimed losses and a federal judge denying his court motions, is Keith Raniere on another losing streak?

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder and leader of Transcendental Meditation (TM), is attempting to make inroads within America’s public schools reports the Fairfield Ledger.

In press conferences carried by satellite uplink across the United States and in Canada the guru’s devotees touted TM as “consciousness-based education.”

Perennial presidential candidate John Hagelin, Maharishi’s pick for the White House, was busy spinning for his mentor.

“Conventional education has failed in its purpose of developing full human ability,” Hagelin told a crowd. “Maharishi’s consciousness-based education focuses on the development of the knower,” he claimed.

Right.

Is that the same educational process that has apparently transformed Hagelin from a Harvard Ph.D. to little more than a stooge for Maharishi?

Maybe that’s the point of “Maharishi…ED,” to persuade people and draw them into orbit around the old guru. This certainly seems to be the case with Hagelin and many other TM enthusiasts.

Another of the guru’s groupies proclaimed that through Maharishi’s teachings “a new world of angelic individuals” might be created.

But public schools are a place for education, not indoctrination according to some spiritual master’s special philosophy.

It appears that Maharishi and his cult following, are hoping to indoctrinate school children.

The Mormon Church (LDS) is buying up another chunk of downtown Salt Lake City (SLC).

First the church apparently was intent on establishing a buffer zone for its historical temple, where free speech would be prohibited. Now it apparently wants to offer city residents a trade off, through better shopping opportunities.

After all, who needs to waste time on free speech when you can have fun shopping?

The LDS investment arm called Property Reserve Inc. cut a deal to purchase two shopping plazas, which will potentially be combined into one super mall by linking them up with a skywalk, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.

This is what the Mormon Church calls its “master plan” to determine development of downtown SLC.

“It’s great. I think it’s wonderful that the church is going to take over,” said one exited resident.

However, the LDS “take over” of Utah was long ago an accomplished “master plan.”

Madonna’s foray into children’s books isn’t going well, despite a much-publicized promotional spin on Oprah today.

England’s Mail on Sunday didn’t like the former “material girl’s” material, even for kids. A critic wrote the singer possessed neither the talent for prose nor even the imagination to be a successful author.

The Mail urged the 20th Century sensation to “stick to the day job,” concluding that her first written work for children titled English Roses, is “pedestrian…and certainly no classic.”

The flowery title and Madonna’s London address doesn’t seem to matter much to her British critics.

The book’s illustrations, not done by the diva, got a better review.

Harry Potter creator JK Rowling, another Londoner, apparently has nothing to worry about.

The American press was brutal to the expatriate.

Madonna has a “persecution complex so narcissistic that she ought to have paid readers $100 an hour,” proclaimed the San Francisco Chronicle.

The central character of Madonna’s book is pretty “Binah,” a blond girl who suffers from “toooooooo much attention.”

Amen.

Madonna seemingly used little Binah as her alter ego, a self-indulgence that apparently didn’t work as a literary device.

The singer’s book is supposedly suffused with spiritual principles, reportedly lifted from the idiosyncratic “Kaballah Center,” led by Philip Berg and often called a “cult”

It appears the aging sex symbol’s writing talents are as limited as her understanding of Jewish mysticism. Since beginning her association with Berg the trajectory of Madonna’s career has been less than transcendent.

The pop diva has become Berg’s high priestess of proselytizing amongst Hollywood celebrities. Is she now hoping to try out as his missionary for kids?

Four more books are planned in a touted series. Does Madonna think she’s Moses?

Well, maybe the pop priestess and the prophet have one thing in common and it’s not being Jewish. The fading icon turned proselytizer, like Moses, may not make into the Promised Land of successful publishing.

English Roses may be Swept Away, like her last movie was by the critics. Of course this Hollywood heroine may just label that further proof of enduring “persecution.”

Husband/director/collaborator and fellow Kaballah Center groupie Guy Ritchie seems to be experiencing his own form of persecution too.

Not only was his movie partnership with Madonna a flop, but the last script submitted by the English director infused with its own dose of “Kaballah,” was rejected.

The publisher of English Roses may be expecting some sort of miracle. The book’s first printing includes more than one million copies in 30 languages.

But expecting Madonna to part the Red Sea might have been a better bet.

Alleged murderer Scot Peterson sits in jail while his lawyers appear to be feverishly playing the role of media spin-doctors specializing in Satanism.

Once again the never-ending Peterson spin machine churned out yet another “satanic cult” theory, which they hope will focus attention away from their client.

Up until now Peterson’s lawyers have not pointed out a plausible “satanic cult” specifically by name as the possible murderers responsible for the brutal slaying of Laci Peterson and her unborn son Conner.

But now it seems they have found one to tag in their latest theory, which may hang literally by a thread.

The Peterson’s defense team has found an overcoat they claim may belong to a cult member that supposedly bragged about killing Laci Peterson reports the Modesto Bee.

They are still woefully short on specifics, such as who is the bragging cultist in the overcoat, but they have come up with another prop for their production.

Last time it was gruesome graffiti near the bay, which somehow linked the murder to a cult of “satanic” artists.

That theory flopped when the artists came forward and said they were more of a club and certainly not “Satanists.”

And before this tale there were scary stories from a self-proclaimed “cult survivor.”

Now it’s an overcoat with an Oakland Raiders patch. Maybe the Raiders are somehow suspect?

Peterson’s attorneys did come up with a possible group to cast suspicion upon this time. A violent cult whose leaders are in prison, which has been defunct for more than a decade.

The Peterson defense team wants the press, public and potential jury pool to believe that somehow there is a malevolent remnant still roving the streets of Modesto.

Uh huh.

A former Modesto police officer familiar with the cult named wasn’t buying it. “One minute it’s white supremacy, one minute it’s God, one minute it’s witchcraft and the next it’s Satan,” he pointed out.

What’s next for Scott Peterson’s lawyers after this story sputters and then fails?

Stay tuned as the busy defense team churns out one conspiracy theory after another.

The problem with their latest showing, is even though they managed to come up with another prop, shouldn’t they at least provide one actor?

If Peterson’s attorneys are so intent on staging a satanic show at court time, they will need more than props to convince a jury. And something more than imprisoned cultists to hang their coat on.

Psychologist and peripatetic professional “cult apologist” Dick Anthony is on the road again.

This time the man who often defends Scientology and considers Rev. Moon’s Unification Church and the Waco Davidians “non traditional religions” is plying his trade in Dixie.

Anthony charges $3,500 per day for his services and is now working for Jane Whaley, the leader of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) in Spindale, North Carolina.

WOFF has often been called a “cult,” so it seems that would qualify Whaley as a client for Anthony.

Whaley and her followers are warring against a mother for custody of her four minor children. The alleged “cult leader” has apparently decided that some parents can’t leave her church with their family intact.

Former members say Whaley essentially controls her following through “brainwashing.”

However, Anthony is slated to submit an affidavit that will rebut such claims reports the Digital Courier.

Such a job is rather routine for the traveling professional apologist whose trade seems to be getting “cults” off the hook in legal situations.

“Have apologies, will travel,” must be Anthony’s motto in what appears to be a lucrative business.

And he certainly has his work cut out for him in the WOFF case.

The group is known for its bizarre behavior through such practices as “blasting.” This is when members are subjected to so-called “strong prayer” to deliver them from evil influences and/or sinfulness. Blasting basically amounts to surrounding and then screaming at someone designated as a likely “sinner.”

Not a pleasant experience according to some former members.

During recent court proceedings in Spindale Anthony was seen taking copious notes.

But at $3,500 per day is Whaley really getting her money’s worth?

Maybe the alleged “cult leader” should have checked out Anthony’s references first, case by case.

Dick has been on a bit of a losing streak lately.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Scientology, two of his most recent clients, each paid out substantial settlements despite Dick’s help.

The Witnesses alone opted to pay a plaintiff $1.5 million, the largest settlement in their history, rather than rely on Anthony as an expert in court.

Such settlements don’t really support the effectiveness and/or professional ability of this “cult apologist.”

Never mind. Anthony still seems to be laughing all the way to the bank and it looks like another good payday for him in Spindale.

Former teen sensation Britney Spears appears to be the latest celebrity to jump into a “cult.”

Her spokesperson admitted that the pop singer has been recruited by Madonna, the high priestess of proselytizing, reports MSNBC.

Madonna seems to be spending her middle age as a missionary for the so-called “Kaballah Center” run by Philip Berg.

Spears fashion sense has often been ridiculed, but now it might be her common sense that is questioned.

Perhaps she just wants to follow another Hollywood trend and is desperately seeking some guru or fringe group to hook up with; it often appears that almost every star has.

Britney likes to mimic Madonna. And the former “Material Girl” turned religious devotee does go on about her much touted “spirituality.”

Will Spears also start gulping down the rather bizarre and somewhat pricey “Kaballah water“?

Apparently Madonna got more than her tongue inside Britney’s head.