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Endtime Family, The

Children of God

William Sims Bainbridge

Publication Year: 2002

This groundbreaking analysis of the controversial religious group, The Family, or The Children of God, uses interviews, observational techniques, and a comprehensive questionnaire completed by more than a thousand Family members. William Sims Bainbridge explores how Family members infuse spirituality with sexuality, channel messages that they believe emanate from beyond life, and await the final Endtime. He also examines attempts by anti-cultists and the state to “deprogram” members of the group, including children, by forcibly seizing them. The book’s blending of theoretical analysis with vivid accounts of this remarkable counterculture poses a fascinating question for social scientists and society—how is it that The Children of God both differ from the general public and, in other ways, are so surprisingly similar to it?

Published by: State University of New York Press

The Endtime Family

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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

"How are we to understand radical religious movements that depart from the traditions of the ordinary churches and challenge the spiritual deadness of secular society? Are they, as their opponents would have us believe, pathological collections of abnormal individuals and conspiracies based on fraud..."

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pp. 1-20

"Near the end of the second millennium of Christianity, grave doubts existed about the future of faith in Jesus. Materialism in America and atheistic ideologies in Europe eroded religion. Science was claiming ever more..."

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pp. 21-44

"With the notable exceptions of a study about the narrow topic of recruitment in the Unification Church performed by Eileen Barker, and a report prepared by E. Burke Rochford for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, we lack systematic survey data about new religious..."

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pp. 45-68

"Before it is a commune, a radical departure from conventional society, or an experiment in collective love, the Family is a religious group. Critics tend to ignore this fact, but any objective analysis of the Family must recognize its fundamentally religious nature. It was founded by a Protestant clergyman, has..."

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pp. 69-90

"Faith is as much about what people do as what they think, so we must consider religious behavior as well as belief. But some of the most significant forms of religious behavior are subjective experiences of contact with the supernatural, and practices such as prayer naturally generate spiritual experiences."

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pp. 91-116

"Scholars and ordinary citizens alike have conjectured that new religious movements are the result of alienation from conventional society.1 For example, a disappointed former member of the Family, Miriam Williams, has said that she and the others 'received relief from alienation at the price..."

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pp. 117-140

"The Family is famous for its unconventional orientation toward sex, yet we have seen that its religious beliefs are in many ways quite traditional. Religious communal movements tend to regulate sexual relations among members,..."

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pp. 141-168

"Years ago, the Children of God became parents, and now the Grandchildren of God are in the process of doing so, as well. Few religious movements survive, let alone grow, unless they produce children in significant numbers..."

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pp. 169-174

"The Family is a novel religious movement in considerable tension with the surrounding sociocultural environment, yet its members are very similar to nonmembers in many respects. Of course they differ from outsiders in some of their religious beliefs and practices, and in those aspects of their lifestyle that..."


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pp. 175-188


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pp. 189-198


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pp. 199-204

E-ISBN-13: 9780791489178
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791452639
Print-ISBN-10: 0791452638

Page Count: 218
Publication Year: 2002