The NXIVM cult is all over the news now, but it didn’t start out the way it has all ended…Or rather than “ended”, I should phrase it this way: When it all began, it wasn’t the group you now know about. I’m not sure what – if anything – is left of the disgraced group at present. There are a few known faithful adherents who possess varying takeaways regarding the main messages. However, they are staying very very quiet and out of the public eye.
Remember: NXIVM didn’t start out with a sexual slavery division called DOS! It began as a multilevel marketing company. Keith Raniere (the group’s now-imprisoned, manipulative hypnotist of a leader, worshipfully referred to by members as “The Vanguard”) had learned his tips and tricks about MLMs from being in Amway. Yes, it’s true. Scott Johnson is one of the people to enlighten me to that fact. Before I go any further, I should say that my own dad was in Amway for a blip in time and left when he realized it wasn’t ultimately profitable – certainly not for the immense dedication and time required. He and my mom did meet their very best friends through the group though. So “cults” can have benefits and are not always all bad (if you want to think of Amway as being one).
Johnson maintains informative websites about Amway’s scam-way tactics. He frequently writes about the parallels between NXIVM’s methods (the NXIVM that dealt with business and offered courses under its Executive Success Program, rather than the NXIVM you know of as a “sex trafficking cult.” Again, that whole sex thing came to light later…) and Amway’s.
NXIVM has had many evolutions since it began as Consumers Buyline, as well as many offshoots. The most notorious of the offshoots is DOS because of the attention that sex trafficking garners.
Another more benign-seeming offshoot of NXIVM was “The Source”. If you are an actor based in NYC or Brooklyn, you may have attended a meeting for this group. The idea was to get through to actors about opening themselves up more, kineticising that potential energy (AKA “self actualization”) and identifying the tools and tricks to be one’s best. All the lingo that they used was perfectly designed to appeal to a struggling actor.
One Canadian television personality had been so captivated by “The Source” (which was also big in Vancouver at one point) that she was swept up into the group which ended up feeding her to NXIVM. Like Jonah in the belly of the whale, the insides were dark and deep until she was finally able to pry the mouth open, expelling herself from the mammal. But she did so only after being inducted into DOS and having her pubic region painfully branded with the initials of Keith Raniere and actor-turned-NXIVM slave recruiter Allison Mack.
In NYC just a few short years ago, Allison Mack was out with another actor named Mark Hildreth, scouting for new recruits to “The Source”.
The hope was that the recruits would see the beauty in Keith Raniere’s teachings. Upon attending a meeting with other actors in Brooklyn, the actors would hear about getting the tools to thoroughly introspect, identify what they were doing wrong and figure out how to do it all effectively.
What would sound like a bunch of hocus pocus, BS mumbo jumbo to some were words that would bring a young and impressionable actor like Mack to tears. One young woman met the duo and found Hildreth to be both attractive and captivating, but also thought to herself: This is creepy AF, weird and culty.
Hildreth would never hear back from this young actor who he saw as a potential new recruit. However, there are accounts of other NYC-based actors approached about “The Source” who met Hildreth and Mack at meetings and had different takeaways.
Had the young woman (referenced above) connected well with Mack, she may have ended up depleting her savings on courses and even possibly moving to Rochester to become a DOS sex slave devoted to Keith Raniere. She may also have ultimately followed him to Mexico as Mack did, being under his potent hypnotic spell and believing in the greatness of The Vanguard.
But this young woman – despite finding Hildreth to be somewhat cute, dynamic and intoxicating (Hildreth had reportedly learned his skills from the very best of the best, The Vanguard himself) – realized she was being fed a bunch of gobbledygook.
She went back to her acting and trying to make it in NYC the ole fashioned way, shying away from all sketchy Brooklyn-based meetings.
So where is Mark Hildreth today and what does he have to say about all of this?
Understandably, it seems he is ashamed, and perhaps any brainwashing he himself had been subjected to, has worn off. He’s doing his acting thing and his social media reflects a devotion to those projects.
From all of the reports I’ve combed through, it seems that Hildreth had little to no knowledge of DOS and looked at “The Source” as a way for people to actualize potential and grow professionally. The only “crime” Hildreth should probably be ashamed of having a more direct connection to? Encouraging people to become part of a group that charged ridiculously overpriced fees for self-improvement courses (Richard Branson took some NXIVM courses. However, I wouldn’t worry about his wallet having taken a hit).
Hildreth allegedly split from the whole NXIVM/”The Source” crew in 2016 after discovering that Raniere was hitting on his girlfriend. I don’t get what the allure was of this hairy, overgrown Harry Potter lookalike, but Raniere was known to have quite the harem to satiate his polyamorous desires.
It seems that now, Hildreth wants all of this to be behind him. He wishes the public would stop associating him with NXIVM. I cannot blame the guy for these desires, but I do have a lot of questions:
What exactly did Mark Hildreth know about NXIVM as a group when he severed ties to Raniere?
Did he keep in touch with Allison Mack?
How many DOS slaves were originally recruits of “The Source”?
And here are some questions for you, the readers:
Did you know of anyone who was approached by Mark Hildreth and Allison Mack about “The Source”?
Did you ever attend one of those Brooklyn-based meetings yourself?
Feel free to respond in the comments section, or email me directly by going to the “contact” portion of this website.
There are indeed so many unanswered questions about NXIVM. Fortunately for Mark Hildreth, it appears he got out just in time.
(Pictured: actor Mark Hildreth)