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The Order of the Solar Temple

  • Author : Professor James R Lewis
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2013-05-28
  • Total pages :242
  • ISBN : 1409477223

Summary : In October 1994, fifty-three members of the Order of the Solar Temple in Switzerland and Québec were murdered or committed suicide. This incident and two later group suicides in subsequent years played a pivotal role in inflaming the cult controversy in Europe, influencing the public to support harsher actions against non-traditional religions. Despite the importance of the Order of the Solar Temple, there are relatively few studies published in English. This book brings together the best scholarship on the Solar Temple including newly commissioned pieces from leading scholars, a selection of Solar Temple documents, and important previously published articles newly edited for inclusion within this book. This is the first book-length study of the Order of the Solar Temple to be published in English.

Controversial New Religions

  • Author : James R. Lewis,Jesper Aagaard Petersen
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2014
  • Total pages :480
  • ISBN : 0199315310

Summary : In terms of public opinion, new religious movements are considered controversial for a variety of reasons ranging from how they speak, dress, and eat, to the way they think and their sense of community. Their social organization often runs counter to popular expectations by experimenting withcommunal living (or strict individualism), alternative leadership roles (or flat network structures), unusual economic dispositions, and new political and ethical values. As a result the general public views new religions with a mixture of curiosity, amusement, and anxiety, sustained by lavish mediaemphasis on oddness and tragedy rather than familiarity and lived experience. This updated and revised second edition of Controversial New Religions offers a scholarly, dispassionate look at those groups that have generated the most attention, including some very well-known classical groups like The Family, Unification Church, Scientology, and Jim Jones' People's Temple; somerelative newcomers such as the Kabbalah Centre, the Order of the Solar Temple, Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate, and the Falun Gong; and some interesting cases like contemporary Satanism, the Raelians, Black nationalism, and various Pagan groups. Written by established scholars as well as youngerexperts in the field, each essay combines an overview of the history and beliefs of each organization or movement with original and insightful analysis. By presenting decades of scholarly work on new religious movements in an accessible form, this book will be an invaluable resource for all thosewho seek a view of new religions that is deeper than what can be found in sensationalistic media stories.

Violence and New Religious Movements

  • Author : James R. Lewis
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2011-04-06
  • Total pages :456
  • ISBN : 9780199831319

Summary : The relationship between new religious movements (NRMs) and violence has long been a topic of intense public interest--an interest heavily fueled by multiple incidents of mass violence involving certain groups. Some of these incidents have made international headlines. When New Religious Movements make the news, it's usually because of some violent episode. Some of the most famous NRMs are known much more for the violent way they came to an end than for anything else. Violence and New Religious Movements offers a comprehensive examination of violence by-and against-new religious movements. The book begins with theoretical essays on the relationship between violence and NRMs and then moves on to examine particular groups. There are essays on the "Big Five"--the most well-known cases of violent incidents involving NRMs: Jonestown, Waco, Solar Temple, the Aum Shunrikyo subway attack, and the Heaven's Gate suicides. But the book also provides a richer survey by examining a host of lesser-known groups. This volume is the culmination of decades of research by scholars of New Religious Movements.

Legal Cases, New Religious Movements, and Minority Faiths

  • Author : Professor James T Richardson,Professor François Bellanger
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2014-09-28
  • Total pages :240
  • ISBN : 1472428749

Summary : Exploring cases in different parts of the world, this book offers a practical insight for understanding the relations of NRMs and other minority religions and the law from the perspective of legal cases. Including contributions from scholars, legal practitioners, actual or former members, this book presents an objective approach to understanding why so many legal actions have involved NRMs and other minority faiths in recent years in western societies, and the consequences of those actions for the society and the religious group as well.

Survived by One

  • Author : Robert E. Hanlon,Thomas V Odle
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2013-08-06
  • Total pages :195
  • ISBN : 0809332639

Summary : On November 8, 1985, 18-year-old Tom Odle brutally murdered his parents and three siblings in the small southern Illinois town of Mount Vernon, sending shockwaves throughout the nation. The murder of the Odle family remains one of the most horrific family mass murders in U.S. history. Odle was sentenced to death and, after seventeen years on death row, expected a lethal injection to end his life. However, Illinois governor George Ryan’s moratorium on the death penalty in 2000, and later commutation of all death sentences in 2003, changed Odle’s sentence to natural life. The commutation of his death sentence was an epiphany for Odle. Prior to the commutation of his death sentence, Odle lived in denial, repressing any feelings about his family and his horrible crime. Following the commutation and the removal of the weight of eventual execution associated with his death sentence, he was confronted with an unfamiliar reality. A future. As a result, he realized that he needed to understand why he murdered his family. He reached out to Dr. Robert Hanlon, a neuropsychologist who had examined him in the past. Dr. Hanlon engaged Odle in a therapeutic process of introspection and self-reflection, which became the basis of their collaboration on this book. Hanlon tells a gripping story of Odle’s life as an abused child, the life experiences that formed his personality, and his tragic homicidal escalation to mass murder, seamlessly weaving into the narrative Odle’s unadorned reflections of his childhood, finding a new family on death row, and his belief in the powers of redemption. As our nation attempts to understand the continual mass murders occurring in the U.S., Survived by One sheds some light on the psychological aspects of why and how such acts of extreme carnage may occur. However, Survived by One offers a never-been-told perspective from the mass murderer himself, as he searches for the answers concurrently being asked by the nation and the world.


  • Author : Jay B. Holberg
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2007-07-05
  • Total pages :250
  • ISBN : 0387489428

Summary : This book tells two stories. The first and most obvious is why the star known as Sirius has been regarded as an important fixture of the night sky by many civilizations and cultures since the beginnings of history. A second, but related, narrative is the prominent part that Sirius has played in how we came to achieve our current scientific understanding of the nature and fate of the stars. This is the first book to integrate the cultural history of Sirius with modern astrophysics in a way which provides a realistic view of how science progresses over time.

Cults, Religion, and Violence

  • Author : Professor of Sociology and Anthropology David G Bromley,David G. Bromley,J. Gordon Melton
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2002-05-13
  • Total pages :249
  • ISBN : 9780521668989

Summary : Explores recent high profile cases of new religious movements involved in violence.

Contemporary Religious Satanism

  • Author : Jesper Aagaard Petersen
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2016-12-05
  • Total pages :290
  • ISBN : 1351949063

Summary : The Church of Satan was founded by Anton LaVey on April 30, 1966. In his hands, Satan became a provocative symbol for indulgence, vital existence, natural wisdom and the human being's true animal nature. At present, religious Satanism exists primarily as a decentralized subculture with a strong internet presence within a larger Satanic milieu in Western culture. Though most are inspired by LaVey, the majority of contemporary Satanists are not members of the Church of Satan. The various expressions of modern Satanism all navigate in today's detraditionalized religious market through the creative appropriation of popular culture, philosophy, literature and religion. The concrete solutions are varied; but they all understand the power of transgression allying oneself with a most powerful symbol of resistance, namely Satan. Thus, contemporary religious Satanism could be understood as a complex negotiation of atheism, secularism, esotericism and self: A "self-religion" in the modern age. Despite the fascinating nature of religious Satanism, it has attracted little scholarship until relatively recently. This book brings together a group of international scholars to produce the first serious book-length study of religious Satanism, presenting a collection that will have wide appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike. The first part contains broader studies of influential groups and important aspects of the Satanic milieu, especially regarding historical developments, the construction of tradition and issues of legitimacy. The second part narrows the view to regional variations, especially with studies on Northern and Eastern Europe. The third part consists of primary documents selected for their representational and informational value.

Sacred Suicide

  • Author : Carole M. Cusack
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2016-04-08
  • Total pages :310
  • ISBN : 1317060199

Summary : The label 'Suicide Cults' has been applied to a wide variety of different alternative religions, from Jonestown to the Solar Temple to Heaven's Gate. Additionally, observers have asked if such group suicides are in any way comparable to Islamist suicide terrorism, or to historical incidents of mass suicide, such as the mass suicide of the ancient community of Masada. Organizationally and ideologically diverse, it turns out that the primary shared trait of these various groups is a common stereotype of religion as an irrational force that pushes fanatics to undertake acts of suicidal violence. Offering a valuable perspective on New Religious Movements and on religion and violence, Sacred Suicide brings together contributions from a diverse range of international scholars of sociology, religious studies and criminology.

Mystics and Messiahs

  • Author : Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies Philip Jenkins,Philip Jenkins
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2000
  • Total pages :294
  • ISBN : 0195127447

Summary : Looks at cults and anti-cult scares in American history and reveals the true characteristics of religious fringe movements and why they inspire such fierce antagonism.

The Mystical Geography of Quebec

  • Author : Susan J. Palmer,Martin Geoffroy,Paul L. Gareau
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2020-03-02
  • Total pages :274
  • ISBN : 3030330621

Summary : This study of new religious movements in Quebec focuses on nine groups—including the notoriously violent Solar Temple; the iconoclastic Temple of Priapus; and the various “Catholic” schisms, such as those led by a mystical pope; the Holy Spirit incarnate; or the reappearance of the Virgin Mary. Eleven contributing authors offer rich ethnographies and sociological insights on new spiritual groups that highlight the quintessential features of Quebec's new religions (“sectes” in the francophone media). The editors argue that Quebec provides a favorable “ecology” for alternative spirituality, and explore the influences behind this situation: the rapid decline of the Catholic Church after Vatican Il; the “Quiet Revolution,” a utopian faith in Science; the 1975 Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms; and an open immigration that welcomes diverse faiths. The themes of Quebec nationalism found in prophetic writings that fuel apocalyptic ferment are explored by the editors who find in these sectarian communities echoes of Quebec’s larger Sovereignty movement.

Which Cult Should I Join?

  • Author : Jo Stewart
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2017-05
  • Total pages :144
  • ISBN : 1925418359

Summary : A lighthearted--but factual--look at some of the craziest cults in modern history. Do you prefer applesauce (Heaven's Gate) to Kool-Aid (Peoples Temple)? Do you think carrots are "the food of the Masters" (Church Universal and Triumphant) or that swimming and joking should be forbidden (the Fellowship of Friends)? This is the book for you! We help sort your E.T.-loving Raelians from your Moonies, your snake-handling Church of God with Signs Following from your Branch Davidians. To make the path to the reader's chosen cult easy, Which Cult Should I Join? is structured like a Choose Your Own Adventure book--in that the reader makes a series of decisions along the way to come to their chosen cult. And with forty of the most high-profile modern cults covered, we have one to suit every reader.

A Doomsday Reader

  • Author : Ted Daniels
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :1999-08-01
  • Total pages :253
  • ISBN : 0814719090

Summary : Gathers apocalyptic writings from Communism, Nazism, the environmental movement, the Branch Davidians, the Order of the Solar Temple, Aum Shinri Kyo, the Montana Freemen, and Aryan hate groups

Killer Cults

  • Author : Stephen Singular
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2020-07-07
  • Total pages :320
  • ISBN : 9781454939399

Summary : Some cults, led by leaders like Charlie Manson, Jim Jones, and David Koresh, are notorious. But others are less well known, such as Shoko Asahara and his doomsday cult, Aum Shinrikyo, who orchestrated the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. How do these leaders get such often-unfathomable power over their adherents? Across a series of profiles, Killer Cults revealsthe jaw-dropping truth behind some of the most mystifying and deadly cults and their leaders, all of whom led their followers down a dark, murderous path.

High Weirdness

  • Author : Erik Davis
  • Publisher :
  • Release Date :2019-11-05
  • Total pages :550
  • ISBN : 1907222871

Summary : An exploration of the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson. A study of the spiritual provocations to be found in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson, High Weirdness charts the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality that arose from the American counterculture of the 1970s. These three authors changed the way millions of readers thought, dreamed, and experienced reality—but how did their writings reflect, as well as shape, the seismic cultural shifts taking place in America? In High Weirdness, Erik Davis—America's leading scholar of high strangeness—examines the published and unpublished writings of these vital, iconoclastic thinkers, as well as their own life-changing mystical experiences. Davis explores the complex lattice of the strange that flowed through America's West Coast at a time of radical technological, political, and social upheaval to present a new theory of the weird as a viable mode for a renewed engagement with reality.