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The New Religious Movements Experience in America (American Religious Experience) (The American Religious Experience)

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9780313328077: The New Religious Movements Experience in America (American Religious Experience) (The American Religious Experience)
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Wherever and whenever they appear, new religious movements always produce conflict. Even as they attract members who enthusiastically embrace their innovative teachings, new religions often provoke strongly negative reactions-often because they challenge established notions of proper religious action, belief, and morality. Opponents of new religious movements often brand them as cults and urge their fellow citizens, their own religions, and even the government to take action against what they see as suspicious and potentially dangerous movements; the members often complain that their motives have been misconstrued and argue that their groups are unfairly persecuted. The New Religious Movements Experience in America outlines the conflict between representatives of the status quo and new religions and examines how these groups appear both to their members and to their cultural opponents. This work is ideal for anyone-students, parents, and teachers-who wish to gain a deeper understanding of new religious movements in America. New religions have always been part of the American religious landscape, and this book moves beyond the contemporary period to discuss examples of new religions that have originated, survived or died, and sometimes prospered throughout U. S. history. Among the groups discussed are the Mormons, the Peoples Temple, the Branch Davidians, Spiritualism, Theosophy, the Church Universal and Triumphant, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Soka Gakkai, the Nation of Islam, Wiccans and neo-Pagans, the Church of Satan, the Church of Scientology, Heaven's Gate, and the Raelians. The New Religious Movements Experience in America includes a glossary and a list of resources for those interested in doing further research on the experience of the followers of new religions.

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Review:

"This is an erudite and well-written book, designed to serve as a text for courses in new religious movements in modern American religions. The author combines a knowledge of social scientific research on new religious phenomena with a well-informed religious studies and theological perspective that is historically grounded....This book makes and excellent addition to available literature on new religions in America. The integration of various literatures on new religions recommends the book to several disciplines interested in the topic."-Journal of Church and State

"[A]n excellent guide, a recommended reference pick."-MBR Bookwatch

"For anyone curious about the scope and impact of alternative religions in our country, this serves as an excellent introduction....Recommended for all public libraries."-Library Journal

"An excellent guide, a recommended reference pick."-MBR Bookwatch

?[A]n excellent guide, a recommended reference pick.?-MBR Bookwatch

?For anyone curious about the scope and impact of alternative religions in our country, this serves as an excellent introduction....Recommended for all public libraries.?-Library Journal

?More analytical that similar studies, Gallagher's book furthers the comparative project, juxtaposing groups in order to shed light on the new religions themselves and on the American cultural context in which they have emerged and often thrived. If religion is, as Gallagher argues, "a set of processes through which human beings build for themselves distinctive worlds of meaning that they then inhabit" (21), then NRMs provide fertile ground for the scholar of relgion.?-The Journal of Religion

?This book provides a thumb nail sketch of the history, beliefs, practices and interactions with the rest of the society for each of the religions discussed....It is the scope of the work and its clear engaging prose that make it particularly good for a course in New Religious Movements, Sociology of Religion, or American Studies. Its use as a text is enhanced be the inclusion of a glossary and a list of additional readings for each of the religions and topics discussed.?-Sociology of Religion

?This is an erudite and well-written book, designed to serve as a text for courses in new religious movements in modern American religions. The author combines a knowledge of social scientific research on new religious phenomena with a well-informed religious studies and theological perspective that is historically grounded....This book makes and excellent addition to available literature on new religions in America. The integration of various literatures on new religions recommends the book to several disciplines interested in the topic.?-Journal of Church and State

"More analytical that similar studies, Gallagher's book furthers the comparative project, juxtaposing groups in order to shed light on the new religions themselves and on the American cultural context in which they have emerged and often thrived. If religion is, as Gallagher argues, "a set of processes through which human beings build for themselves distinctive worlds of meaning that they then inhabit" (21), then NRMs provide fertile ground for the scholar of relgion."-The Journal of Religion

About the Author:

EUGENE V. GALLAGHER is the Rosemary Park Professor of Religious Studies and Faculty Fellow of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Connecticut College. He is the co-author of Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America (1995) with James D. Tabor, and the author of Expectation and Experience: Explaining Religious Conversion (1990).

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