The Vow: At Cause
September 21, 2020 2:14 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Sarah confides to Mark about DOS, a secret group involving "masters" and "slaves," and struggles in her relationships with NXIVM, her husband and her best friend; Sarah and Mark lament how many members they've recruited and question what to do next.
posted by knownassociate (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was so dreading that when Sarah confided to her husband about the branding, that he would be on Keith's side, since cults tend to attract people who's loyalties can be confused. So so happy when he immediately had her back.

What kind of punishment do these people who built it up and brought people in, but then later realized what was going on, what should be done with them? How should they feel? They get credit for leaving and helping others leave as soon as they realized something was wrong, but they are also responsible for the suffering of others who joined.

And JFC why does every cult have to end up as a sex cult?
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:10 AM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

One of the interesting/baffling things about this documentary is that there is so much recurrent blather from the NXIVM folk about how the entire program is about transforming people into 'moral' and 'ethical' paragons to lead the world... but there's a *complete* lack of any explanation of what those morals and ethics actually ARE. Instead, there's just a nonstop stream of transparently manipulative emotional domination techniques applied to the 'students'.

It's so weird that there's not a single bit of the intended 'teachings' shown at any point that focus on their moral/ethical decision-making, that it almost makes me feel like the documentarians are actively not showing it in order to make the group look even worse. Which is ridiculous, because I KNOW the group is an incredibly awful emotional manipulation MLM scheme that culminates in skeevy power-pressured BDSM sex cult nonsense. But a similar takedown of Herbalife or whatever would at least have a look at the fake health supplements and their ingredients - why not a similar examination of the NXIVM teachings? Is there really absolutely nothing to it?
posted by FatherDagon at 12:03 PM on September 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

why not a similar examination of the NXIVM teachings? Is there really absolutely nothing to it?

Two things:

1) the emotional, physical, and legal control is the ethics. If you are the producer, why would you want to be a liar and to be promoting lies? Seems like that's not what motivated the show's creation. I respect the creators' perogative.

2) in the USA, we do live in a country where a white people's death cult is closing in on control of the courts. I wouldn't want those lies given airtime, in case of copycats. Personally, I am afraid of these cults. I'm thoroughly uninterested in how to make my own.
posted by eustatic at 5:51 AM on September 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

A third thing: television is a medium uniquely horrible for translating spiritual teachings.

Church happens in the streets. The revolution will be live.
posted by eustatic at 5:58 AM on September 24, 2020

Did it really cure someone with Tourettes, though?
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:38 PM on September 24, 2020

Marc Elliot, the man apparently cured of Tourettes, continues to support NXIVM. He did write a book about his experience titled My Tourette's.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:47 PM on September 24, 2020

I wonder where we can watch the movie:
posted by Obscure Reference at 2:15 PM on September 24, 2020

Eustatic, the comment about copycats is fascinating! Never thought about that.
posted by knownassociate at 6:45 PM on September 24, 2020

Did it really cure someone with Tourettes, though?

I looked into this a little bit. They did not cure someone with Tourette’s.

A substantial percentage of Tourette’s sufferers age out of it. That could be what happened to Marc.

It also looks like they applied conventional treatments for Tourette’s and claimed them as novel, new treatments. A conventional treatment for Tourette’s is to take up a relaxing, focused hobby, and in the doc we see Marc playing piano. If you give someone an Advil, you don’t get to claim that you cured their headache by miracle technology.

And, because we’re dealing with NXIVM’s world of fraud and lies, you have to wonder if Marc ever had Tourette’s.
posted by chrchr at 10:15 AM on September 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

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