Cults and New Religions: A Brief History

Front Cover
Wiley, Sep 24, 2007 - Religion - 272 pages
1 Review
Cults and New Religions offers an overview of the history and development of eight new religious movements in the late twentieth century: the Church of Scientology, Transcendental Meditation, Unificationism, The Family International, the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, and Wicca.

The book profiles each new religion, describing its origins, doctrines and rituals, leadership and organization. Each chapter includes a discussion of one of the major sources of controversy surrounding these movements, controversies that have led to them being popularly regarded as “cults”: whether they are indeed authentic religions, the validity of claims that brainwashing techniques are used to gain and retain members, their potential for violence, the implications of experimentation with unconventional sexual practices, and the deeply rooted cultural fears they engender.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Cults and New Religions: A Brief History

User Review  - Jesss - Goodreads

Gerald Gardner marries JZ Knight, and the pastor would be Sun Myung Moon. Location and witnesses The Church of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard and David Burg... yeah right... Read full review


A Primer
The Question of Religion
The Questions of Science

9 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Douglas E. Cowan is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Social Development Studies at Renison University College, the University of Waterloo. He is the author of Cyberhenge: Modern Pagans on the Internet (2005), The Remnant Spirit: Conservative Reform in Mainline Protestantism (2003), and Bearing False Witness? An Introduction to the Christian Countercult (2003). He has also edited Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet (with Lorne L. Dawson, 2004) and Religion on the Internet: Research Prospects and Promises (with Jeffrey K. Hadden, 2000). He is one of the co-general editors of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions.

David G. Bromley is Professor of Religious Studies in the School of World Studies and an Affiliate Professor in the Sociology Program in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. His most recent books are Defining Religion: Critical Approaches to Drawing Boundaries Between Sacred and Secular (2003), Cults, Religion and Violence (2001), Toward Reflexive Ethnography: Participating, Observing, Narrating (2001), and The Politics of Religious Apostasy (1998).

Bibliographic information