Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History

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Are religious fringe movements a recent phenomeon in American history? Are widespread fears of mass suicides, sexual abuse, and brainwashing in cults justified? Do marginalized religious groups play any positive role in American spiritual life? Do the panics over such groups follow any discernible pattern?
Phillip Jenkins gives fascinating--and surprising--answers to these and many other questions in Mystics and Messiahs, the first full account of cults and anti-cult scares in American history. Jenkins shows that, contrary to popular belief, cults were by no means an invention of the 1960s. In fact, most of the frightening images and stereotypes surrounding fringe religious movements are traceable to the mid-nineteenth century when Mormons, Freemasons, and even Catholics were vehemently denounced for supposed ritualistic violence, fraud, and sexual depravity. As Charles Ferguson observed in 1928, "America has always been the sanctuary of amazing cults." But America has also been the home of an often hysterical anti-cult backlash. Jenkins provides an insightful new analysis of why cults arouse such fear and hatred both in the secular world and in mainstream churches, many of which--Baptists, Quakers, Pentecostals, and Methodists--were themselves originally regarded as cults. Most importantly, Jenkins argues that an accurate historical perspective is urgently needed if we are to avoid the kind of catastrophic confrontation that occurred in Waco or the ruinous prosecution of imagined Satanic cults in the 1980s.
While not ignoring genuine instances of aberrant behavior, Mystics and Messiahs goes beyond the vast edifice of myth, distortion, and hype to reveal the true characteristics of religious fringe movements and why they inspire such fierce antagonism.
 

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MYSTICS AND MESSISAHS: Cults and New Religions in American History

Reseña de usuario  - Kirkus

A fascinating look at the importance of the religious fringe in American life. Jenkins (History & Religious Studies/Penn State Univ.; Pedophiles and Priests, not reviewed) argues convincingly that ... Leer reseña completa

Mystics and messiahs: cults and new religions in American history

Reseña de usuario  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Benjamin Purnell and the House of David, Jim Jones and the People's Temple, Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, Aimee Semple McPherson and her Angelus Temple, Father Divine, the Shakers, and the ... Leer reseña completa

Índice

Overrun with Messiahs
3
False Prophets and Deluded Subjects The Nineteenth Century
25
AntiChristian Cults? The Christian Sects 18901930
46
The First New Age
70
Black Gods
100
The Cult Racket Anticult Campaigns 19201940
121
The Purge of the Forties
149
The New Boom 19601980
165
Cult Wars 19691985
187
Devil Cults and Doomsday Cults 19802000
208
Teeming with Faith
227
Notes
241
Index
283
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Sobre el autor (2000)


Philip Jenkins, one of the world's leading religion scholars joined Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion as Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion.

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