Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements

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Oxford University Press Canada, 1998 - Cultes - 231 pages
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Long the focus of controversy, cults, --what sociologists prefer to call new religious movements--have been studied by scholars for years. Yet little of this information has made its way into public awareness. Comprehending Cults is a comprehensive and balanced overview which synthesizes and assesses the results of thirty years of research into new religious movements by historians, sociologists, and psychologists of religion. Organized in terms of seven of the most commonly asked questions about cults (Why did they emerge? Who joins them and why? Why do some become violent?) the book clarifies the issues at stake, seeking to replace prejudice and speculation with reliable insights into the nature of cult activity.
Comprehending Cults examines the history and theory of the development of new religious movements as well as the factors, both social and economic, which determine their success. The book explores particular issues and factions in new religious movements including discussions on Scientology and other initiatory groups; Hare Krishna and other Indian-based religious groups; new religious movements and violence; the Unification Church; coercive conversion controversy (deprogramming); the Satanism scare; women and religious movements; and the future of religion.
Written in an easy-to-read yet detailed manner, Comprehending Cults provides an excellent introduction to the study of new religious phenomena, one equally suited to general readers, students, and scholars.

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Chapter One What Are New Reliqious Movements?
Chapter Two Whu Did New Reliqious Movements Emerqe?
Chapter Three Who Joins New Reliqious Movements and Why?

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Common terms and phrases

activities American anomie Anthony and Robbins anti-cult movement anti-cultists apocalyptic argue Aum Shinrikyo baby boomers Bainbridge 1985 Barker batf Beckford behaviour beliefs Berger Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Bo and Peep Book of Revelation brainwashing Branch Davidians Bromley Bryan Wilson Buddhist Catholic Charismatic Renewal Chapter charismatic authority charismatic leaders Charismatic movements Chidester Children of God Chogyam Trungpa Christian Church of Satan Church of Scientology church-sect typology Citizens Freedom Foundation Civil Religion client cults comet Hale-Bopp commitment contemporary converts counter-culture Cult Awareness Network cult movements cultural David G David Koresh Davidians Dawson deprivation deprogrammed destructive cults Divine Light Mission Eckankar Eileen Barker Enroth Erhard Seminar Training example exit counselling experience Fourth Great Awakening gious Glock Gods We Trust Gordon Melton groups groupthink Guyana Hare Krishna Heaven's Gate Holy Order human human potential movement individual Jehovah's Witnesses Jesus Movement Jim Jones join nrms Jonestown Krishna Consciousness Lewiston Lofland Luc Jouret Margaret Singer Max Weber Meher Baba Melton membership ment mind control modern Moonies neo-pagan Nichiren Shoshu North America nrms often organizations Orthodox Judaism Palmer Pentecostal Pentecostalist per cent perspective post-modern Press psychological Rajneesh Rajneeshpuram rational-legal authority recruits reli Religious Conversion religious movements Religious Pluralism Richardson Robbins and Anthony Robert Balch Rochford Rodney Stark role Ron Hubbard Saul Levine Scientology Sea Org sects secularization sexual significance of nrms Singer social society Sociological Sociological Analysis sociologists sociology of religion Soka Gakkai Solar Temple specific spiritual Stark and Bainbridge study of nrms Study of Religion Sun Myung Moon tend theory Theosophy Third Great Awakening Tibetan Buddhism tion traditional Transcendental Meditation typology Unification Church University Vajradhatu Waco Westley William Sims Wilson women York Post

About the author (1998)

Lorne L. Dawson comes from Saskatchewan, but has lived most of his life in Ontario. He received his Hons. B.A. from Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario) and his M.A. and Ph.D. from McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario). He is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario). Most of his publications deal with matters of theory and method in the study of religion and sociology. For many years he has taught a large course on newreligious movements, and recently published five articles in the field and edited the book Cults in Context: Readings in the Study of New Religious Movements (1996).

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