Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities

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Syracuse University Press, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 246 pages
2 Reviews
Len Oakes explores the phenomenon of cult leaders. He examines the psychology of charisma and proposes his own theory of the five-stage life cycle of the two types of prophets: the messianic and charismatic.
Often characterized by isolation, autonomy, grandiosity, and manipulativeness, Oakes maintains that the cult leader has a narcissistic personality. This individual possesses a heightened empathy, confidence, and memory, as well as autonomy and detachment - while appearing disquietingly normal most of the time.
The author has interviewed several leaders whom, he feels, exemplify the charismatic personality. He also provides insight into the behavior and personality of many well-known cult leaders such as Jim Jones, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, L. Ron Hubbard, Werner Erhard, Kathryn Kuhlman, and J. H. Noyes.
For eleven years, Oakes was a member of a charismatic communal group, during which time he simultaneously undertook his research into the psychology of charisma. His results - informed by both insider and academic viewpoints - contradicts many current accepted beliefs about cult leaders and their followers.
  

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Review: Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities

User Review  - Marcus - Goodreads

Wow. I'm going to let this one sit for awhile before giving it a full review, but this was my first book on prophetic leaders as a genre and it was a very, very interesting read. Read full review

Review: Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities

User Review  - Bill - Goodreads

A former cult member, Len Oakes, leaves his cult and gets his Phd in Psychology. The group he left allows him to return and study them, and Dr. Oakes goes onto study the psychology of many charismatic ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Charisma
25
Early Narcissism
44
Incubation
74
Awakening
98
Mission
114
The Followers and Their Quest
123
The Charismatic Moment
144
The Soul of the Prophet
165
Decline or Fall?
176
Conclusions
185
Appendixes A On Theory and Method
199
B Leaders and Groups Studied
213
Works Cited
215
Index
235
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Len Oakes is a senior consultant psychologist with the Cairnmillar Institute of Melbourne, Australia.

Bibliographic information