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Seattle Holy Rollers Killings: The End to an Oregon Love Cult (2003) (historylink.org)
45 points by smacktoward 72 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 26 comments



This is a well-written piece, and it seems almost a bit whimsical. And then you read the last paragraph.

One of the most remarkable essays I’ve ever read.


Fascinating read. The recent equivalent is probably https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NXIVM. They had all kinds of strange rituals branding, slavery, sex trafficking. Given the caliber of people involved I think it received relatively little media attention.

I wonder if they still conduct regular meetings even though the company is technically dissolved. Will they pick a new leader? If all the blackmail material was exposed at trial is it still useful to them, or they have to generate new versions of it...


> Products: Seminars, female sex slaves including children


It must be a joke. But maybe only a half-joke given the stuff they pleaded guilty to.


NVIXM wasn't as salacious of an organization as it has been portrayed in the media. It was a self-help organization. The leader was a loon, a non-monogamist, and built himself up as a pseudo-spiritual leader/guru. Not that it makes it right but the branding and the 'slavery' only occurred to a handful of women at the top of the organization. I don't think there was any 'sex trafficking'. Very few people saw the sexual stuff because only specific individuals were groomed to make it to that level.

The CBC produced a podcast[1] which talks with one of the women who was branded. What is intriguing is no one wants to talk bad about the teachings of the organization because they felt they got something positive out of it. But the crazy shit at the top is what crashed the organization.

[1] https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/current-affairs-informatio...


> NVIXM wasn't as salacious of an organization as it has been portrayed in the media. It was a self-help organization. The leader was a loon, a non-monogamist, and built himself up as a pseudo-spiritual leader/guru. Not that it makes it right but the branding and the 'slavery' only occurred to a handful of women at the top of the organization.

And how exactly do you think a loon can pull off a sex slavery operation without having all of this tiered and staged brainwashing? Just go up to random people on the street and ask 'hey, I'd like to brand you and make you my sex slave, interested?'


You completely missed the point. Almost all of the NVIXM followers had no clue this stuff was going on at the very top of the organization. Yes, specific individuals were groomed to move up in the organization, but the leader wasn't grooming them for 'sex slavery'. The high-ups knew that the leader was non-monogamous and slept with women from the organization, but even the woman from the podcast who talks about being branded hadn't ever been approached by the leader.

The media just loved to jump on the 'sex cult' idea and then portrayed it as that's what it was. The branding had nothing to do with anything sexual - it was done as a 'sorority'-type initiation for the higher-up women. The slavery was also part of the 'sorority' and didn't really have anything to do with the leader.

Listen to the podcast and you'll understand.


You're the one who is not understanding here. All of this "nothing to do with anything sexual" grooming had one specific, simple goal: Make these women feel both powerful and powerless: That they had been chosen and been given gifts, and that their life would fall apart without the approval of their benefactors. These grooming behaviors can be leveraged into the salacious story that was NVIXM's downfall.


And almost all scientologists don't/didn't know the volcano nukes story. Rather they were getting fed bullshit about self-improvement and hero-worship of their fraud 'guru'. That's how cults typically work, NVIXM was no different.

NVIXM was in fact a rum of the mill sex-cult and plenty of people were pointing it out 15+ years ago.


At first I thought it was kind of overblown but these people pleaded guilty to things like:

* Sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography

* Conspiracy to conceal and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain and fraudulent use of identification.

* Sex trafficking

* Attempted sex trafficking

* Trafficking for labor and services

* Conspiracy to alter records for use in an official proceeding

* Sex trafficking conspiracy, forced labor conspiracy, racketeering conspiracy, and wire fraud conspiracy

Yeah one can argue that US prosecution is overzealous and forces people to plead to stuff they are not guilty of. But I don't think it applies here as much. These are famous actresses and other wealthy people. They definitely have enough money for top lawyers.


From self-describing as self-help to the 'guru' leader having a veritable harem, the whole thing was very typical of modern cults, which NVIXM has been widely considered as for years before the arrests.


> It was a self-help organization.

Of course. With some exceptions most cults are.

Do you see him approaching Allison Mack and saying "How about joining this cool organization where we'll brand you and then we'll have undocumented immigrant slaves doing labor for us, and produce blackmail and CP?". Of course it had to be some self-actualization or self-help bullshit.


This guy is a perfect example of someone who 'needed killin'. Which is a valid defense in some states (but not California).


Kinda reminds me of this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_McElroy


I can't stress this any more seriously:

This is not a can of worms you want to open.


Yes. The Mexican Autodefensas are required reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grupos_de_Autodefensa_Comunita...

It starts with drug cartels in conjunction with local lawmen terrorizing avocado farmers (because avocados are big business), and the avocado farmers in the village arm up, oust the corrupt police and drug dealers, and end up getting involved in the drug business.


Which states and what’s the legalese?



Seems more like perfect examples of jury nullification and professional misconduct in the justice system.


Is there a site or place where I can find more stories like this? Cults like this fascinate me, especially from like the 60s and 70s. I know about the rainbow family a little bit, but I'd like to learn more about the underbelly of the flower power movement.


Last Podcast on the Left is a great series on cults and serial killers, they cover some of the best stories in history:

https://www.lastpodcastontheleft.com/

Here's one on the Order of Solar Temple (3 parts)

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-341-order-sola...

(skip their alien and conspiracy stuff which they mostly do jokingly or any of their "side story" stuff which is always filler)


[1] is a 20-part article about the rise and fall of Rajneeshpuram, a city built in Oregon (why is it always Oregon?) in the 80’s to house the followers of an Indian guru-slash-cult-leader. If you’ve never heard of Rajneespuram, definitely check this out (there are other resources if you don’t have time for the long article, I think 99PI did an episode on it): the story meanders into gold Rolls-Royces, international drug and arms smuggling, and bioweapon terrorist attacks.

[1]: https://longform.org/archive/tags/rajneesh


Oh this is perfect! I was worried that it was a podcast or a documentary.


There is a documentary on Netflix about it called Wild Wild Country that's almost entirely primary-source video (they recorded everything) and modern-day interviews with former members and government officials. It's fascinating.


The Casefile podcast has an excellent series of scripted podcasts about Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre.

https://casefilepodcast.com/case-60-jonestown-part-1/

https://casefilepodcast.com/case-60-jonestown-part-2/

https://casefilepodcast.com/case-60-jonestown-part-3/


The legacy of this one guy and his cult of personality is pretty amazing. I think this would make a fascinating Paul Thomas Anderson movie.




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