The Cult Experience

The Cult Experience

The Cult Experience

The Cult Experience

Synopsis

"Literature on cults and sects in the US continues to grow. This volume is a creative addition and that from a psychological perspective. The psychologist-author writes deftly, objectively, and with verve.... The volume is enhanced by a useful glossary, bibliography, and index. Public libraries as well as undergraduate libraries will find this to be a valuable addition to their religious holdings." - Choice

Excerpt

New cults appear in every era when psychological uncertainty and sociopolitical upheaval cause people to question accepted values and seek new ones. In our own time a great number of religious groups with startlingly different beliefs and diverse lifestyles have attracted thousands of followers, particularly young people who reject the standards inherited from mainstream American society. Youth's search for new truth and higher values has led many to identify with cults, either domestic or imported, and this volume focuses primarily on that dynamic but volatile segment of today's religious population. Andrew J. Pavlos has been trained in the psychological and social branches of the behavioral sciences, and he uses these insights to discuss three basic aspects of the cult experience: conversion, commitment to, and identification with various units. Pavlos does not claim that his perspective adequately covers all aspects of these diverse phenomena. He reviews the content and theory of extant literature and finds that the subject does not lend itself to definitive treatment or a single answer. Instead, he has wisely chosen to provide an accurate, readable book for the general public, showing how his special fields provide insight.

Why do people join cults in the first place? Pavlos spends a great deal of time on conversion experiences and considers general models for this psychological transition. He does not indulge in . . .

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