Self-proclaimed “self-help group” NXIVM is being put on blast again on Dec. 15, as ABC’s 20/20 dives deep into one woman named Sarah Edmondson’s story of being indoctrinated into the secret cult and branded with the founder initials in a horrifying initiation ceremony. If you have questions about the group, well, welcome to the club. Scroll down for all of the answers you’re looking for.

Is NXIVM a cult?

While the decade-old company brands itself as multi-level marketing organization that offers personal and professional development seminars, many reports claim that it houses a secret society called DOS, which is supposedly a sex cult. Women are allegedly invited after attending some confidential NXIVM seminars, and once initiated, they’re reportedly branded and enslaved. After women are indoctrinated, they can have “slaves” of their own. Slaves are required to answer their “master” at all hours of the day within 60 seconds, or they are allegedly punished by being paddled or forced to fast.

What does NXIVM mean?

Though the company does not explain it’s name’s meaning, reveals that NXIVM has an astrological life path of 7, which is significant to the group. “Number 7 resounds with the vibrations and energies of the ‘Aggregate Consciousness’, confidence and most profound sense of being, otherworldly arousing and mindfulness, profound illumination, otherworldly advancement, supernatural quality, instinct and inward knowing.”

Who is Keith Raniere?

Keith Rainere is the guy who founded NXIVM. He told 20/20 that he has nothing to do with the DOS cult group within his company, but a bombshell report from the New York Times in October said that “former members have depicted him as a man who manipulated his adherents, had sex with them, and urged women to follow near-starvation diets to achieve the type of physique he found appealing.” 20/20 also reports that he has a genius IQ, was a talented pianist, and a judo champ as a child.

allison mack smallville cast — the cw
The CW

Allison Mack and the Smallville cast

How is Smallville’s Allison Mack involved in NXIVM?

In November, DailyMail reported that Smallville star Allison Mack was a senior member of the DOS sex cult segment of NXIVM, second only to Keith himself. Learn even more by tuning in to 20/20 on Dec. 15 at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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