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Childhood Familial Experiences as Antecedents of Adult Membership in New Religious Movements: A Literature Review

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Is it possible to identify specific familial patterns as antecedents of adult membership in new religious movements? Can the choice of an NRM be predicted by the childhood experiences of individuals joining such movements? This international literature review seeks to answer these questions, investigating the assumption that early family experiences affect adults' decisions to join NRMs. It includes empirical studies that have been written in English, German and French since 1970, and gives an overview of findings on childhood family structures, including parents and siblings, as well as early family relationships and atmospheres. On the whole, the studies from different countries and decades support the hypothesis that early family experiences have an impact on adult membership in NRMs. However, it seems that individuals with different early experiences are attracted to different kinds of groups. Whereas many studies found problematic family backgrounds and absent fathers in converts' biographies, suggesting a compensatory function of membership, some point to a continuation or restoration of early experiences. More interdisciplinary comparative research on NRMs is needed to gain a better understanding of the psychodynamic processes and psychological offers of different groups.
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Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, Volume 10, Issue 4, pages
1737, ISSN 1092-6690 (print), 1541-8480 (electronic). © 2007 by The Regents of the
University of California. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission
to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press’s
Rights and Permissions website, at http://www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo/asp.
DOI: 10.1525/nr.2007.10.4.17
Childhood Familial Experiences as
Antecedents of Adult Membership
in New Religious Movements
A Literature Review
Sebastian Murken and Sussan Namini
ABSTRACT: Is it possible to identify specific familial patterns as
antecedents of adult membership in new religious movements? Can the
choice of an NRM be predicted by the childhood experiences of
individuals joining such movements? This international literature review
seeks to answer these questions, investigating the assumption that early
family experiences affect adults’ decisions to join NRMs. It includes
empirical studies that have been written in English, German and French
since 1970, and gives an overview of findings on childhood family
structures, including parents and siblings, as well as early family
relationships and atmospheres. On the whole, the studies from different
countries and decades support the hypothesis that early family
experiences have an impact on adult membership in NRMs. However, it
seems that individuals with different early experiences are attracted to
different kinds of groups. Whereas many studies found problematic family
backgrounds and absent fathers in converts’ biographies, suggesting a
compensatory function of membership, some point to a continuation or
restoration of early experiences. More interdisciplinary comparative
research on NRMs is needed to gain a better understanding of the
psychodynamic processes and psychological offers of different groups.
F
amilies, especially parents, have played a pivotal role in the debate
on so-called cults or new religious movements (NRMs) since it
began in the early 1970s. Parents were concerned about their sons
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and daughters who left universities and promising careers to follow
unfamiliar religious leaders and join their groups. After parents in the
United States had voiced their concerns, networks of parents and
families emerged that grew into a national movement. In many other
countries, too, parental initiatives were among the first “anticult”
groups. David G. Bromley and Anson Shupe note: “Although NRMs
would certainly have engendered opposition from other quarters, it is
unlikely that the intensity of controversy that has occurred would have
transpired without the family conflict as its driving force.”
1
Even today,
NRMs are accused of being not only “anti-self” and “anti-society,” but
also “anti-family.”
2
Hence, it is not surprising that professionals and
scholars from a multitude of backgrounds have paid considerable
attention to the impact of an individual’s membership in an NRM on
the “outside” family. They have discussed the emotional reactions of
parents (and, to a lesser degree, siblings) as well as the consequences of
the person’s membership for the family system and have given practical
advice on how to handle the situation.
3
At the same time, scholars have repeatedly questioned the
widespread assumption that NRMs have a destructive impact on families.
A quarter of a century ago, Brock K. Kilbourne and James T. Richardson
critically asked whether there was not “a case of misattribution of
cause?”
4
and twenty years later John A. Saliba wrote: “It would, however,
be naive to conceive of the new religions mainly as disrupters of family
life. Joining a new movement might be an indicator that all is not well
at home.”
5
Interestingly, like the charges that are brought forward
against NRMs, the assumption that difficulties in families may make
(especially young) people susceptible to the offers of NRMs often seems
to be more speculative than evidence-based. Frequently, authors present
it as a fact without reporting much empirical evidence.
6
In general,
research on the question of family antecedents to membership in NRMs
seems to be scarce and scattered.
However, during our research in the context of a large German
project on adult self-chosen membership in NRMs,
7
we realized that
more studies are available than are apparent at first glance. We therefore
started a systematic literature review on family antecedents to adult
membership in NRMs. The purpose of the review was to compile
international research data from a variety of sources to survey whether
nuclear family variables of different kinds, including relationships to
parents and siblings, may indeed play a predisposing role in conversion
to NRMs later in life. Psychological research has shown that early family
experiences have long-term effects on an individual’s life and
development.
8
Moreover, studies from psychology of religion have
demonstrated that these early experiences impact adult religiosity.
9
Thus, we assume that early family antecedents also influence an adult’s
decision to join an NRM.
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LITERATURE REVIEWED
Several research strategies were applied to identify literature on early
family antecedents to membership in NRMs. First, a database search was
conducted using (a) ATLA Religion Database, an international electronic
database of the American Theological Library Association; (b) PsycINFO,
an international electronic database of the American Psychological
Association; and (c) PSYNDEX, a German electronic database which
encompasses German and English publications of authors from German-
speaking countries since 1977.
10
Major bibliographies on NRMs were
systematically examined,
11
and other literature available on membership
in NRMs was screened for its relevance to the questions of the review.
Moreover, sources identified through any of the search strategies were
checked for further references to other relevant publications. Empirical
studies written in English, German or French since 1970 were included
in the review.
We focused on the question of whether early familial experiences
have latent long-term effects on NRM membership later in life, and so
we limited the literature considered. Findings on family systems and
relationships to family members at the time individuals joined the new
religious movements in their adult lives were not included, as they refer
to different psychological processes (in these studies, the moment of
crisis can be assumed to be much stronger than the latency effect that
was the focus of this study).
12
Studies with clinical populations were not
considered because of the selection bias and because psychopathology
in general has been found to be related to adverse childhood experiences,
which are therefore overrepresented in clinical populations.
13
Single-
case studies were excluded for methodological purposes. They are
usually highly selective and do not allow conclusions to be drawn for
larger samples.
As we could not expect to find a large amount of studies on the
topic, we included studies on a great variety of groups in our review. We
understand the term “new religious movement” (or “cult”) in a broad
sense to include “borderline cases”
14
such as Pentecostalism and groups
like the Jehovah’s Witnesses that may be classified as “sects.”
15
Following
Rainer Flasche, we subsume all groups that have been formed since the
mid-nineteenth century.
16
This use of the term “new religious
movement” also seems to be the most appropriate as the scope of the
review is international, so that studies from various countries, which
differ with regard to their religious situation, have been included. For
example, whereas the United States has a religiously pluralistic society
in which the choice of one’s religion is common, in many European
countries the Protestant Churches and/or Roman Catholic Church are
the established religious institutions with dominating roles in society.
Traditionally, infants are baptized in the faith of their parents, and the
Murken and Namini: Childhood Familial Experiences
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Table 1. Overview of Studies Included in the Review Classified
by Publication Date.
Author (year) Country NRMs studied
Deutsch (1975) United States Group surrounding an American
guru (“Baba”)
Levine and Salter United States Mixed group of nine different
(1976); Levine (1978) NRMs (ISKCON, Divine Light,
3HO, Unification Church,
Foundation, Process, Jesus People,
Scientology, Children of God)
Heirich (1977) United States Catholic Pentecostalism
Berger and Hexel Germany Unification Church, Ananda
(1981) Marga, Divine Light Mission,
Scientology
Ullman (1982; 1989) United States ISKCON, Baha’i
Deutsch and Miller United States Unification Church
(1983)
Kuner (1983) Germany Children of God, Unification
Church, Ananda Marga
Barker (1984) Great Britain, Unification Church
United States
Klosinski (1985) Germany Neo-Sannyas Movement
Poling and Kenney United States ISKCON
(1986)
van der Lans and Netherlands Divine Light Mission, Neo-Sannyas
Derks (1986) Movement
Jacobs (1989) United States Mixed group of fourteen different
NRMs, including charismatic
Christian groups, Hindu-based
groups, Buddhist groups and
miscellaneous groups
Gering et al. (1994) Germany Charismatic/Pentecostal
community
Martignetti (1998) United States Hindu-based guru-devotee group,
Unitarian Universalist Church
Doktór (1993) Poland Psychotronic Society, Zen
Buddhism, Brahma Kumaris,
Raja Yoga, Rebirthing, Polish
Transcendental Meditation Society,
Taiji course, Catholic Charismatic
Renewal Movement
Rohmann Germany Mixed group of eighteen different
(1999, 2000a, 2000b) NRMs, i.e., groups,
Christianfundamentalist guru
movements, psychocults and
esoteric movements
(continued)
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individual is expected to remain true to his or her denomination. The
choice of a new religion or denomination is still uncommon and
contributes to some scepticism towards all religious groups differing
from the major churches. Therefore, the religious groups and
phenomena that are deemed deviant and controversial may differ
interculturally as well as the ways in which religious groups are
classified.
17
Table 1 presents an overview of all studies that were finally included
in the review with information on publication date, country and the
NRMs investigated. See the bibliography of the studies at the end of this
article.
FINDINGS FROM LITERATURE
For a systematic approach to the findings on early family antecedents
to adult membership in NRMs, we distinguish two types of early nuclear
family experiences: (a) experiences with authority figures, i.e. parents
(including the family atmosphere); and (b) experiences with peers, i.e.
siblings. Due to substantial differences in research designs and samples
between studies, a meta-analysis in a strict sense
18
is not possible.
Although some of the studies aim at a more general objective for which
reports about childhood conditions are only side products, these
findings are nevertheless included here. Relevant results are outlined
below for each study; in the conclusion, some general tendencies are
highlighted and discussed.
Murken and Namini: Childhood Familial Experiences
21
Table 1. (Continued)
Author (year) Country NRMs studied
Halama and Slovakia Catholic Charismatic movement
Halamová (2005)
Saroglou et al. (2005); Belgium Mixed group of different NRMs,
Buxant et al. (in press) i.e., ISKCON, Catholic Charismatic
groups, Protestant evangelical
congregations, Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints, Seventh-day
Adventist Church, miscellaneous
groups of Protestant inspiration
Namini and Murken Germany Pentecostal parish, New Apostolic
(forthcoming 2008) Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Note: In the table and in the text of this article group names are used as they are given
in the publications, although some groups changed their names over the years. For
instance, the “Children of God” became “The Family”; the “Divine Light Mission” was
replaced by “Elan Vital.”
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Experiences with Parents and the Family Atmosphere
Over the years, a number of studies have been conducted on early
relationships that converts had with their parents. In her study on early
family antecedents of conversions to Roman Catholicism, Orthodox
Judaism, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
and Baha’i, Chana Ullman showed that in all of these individuals
emotional factors prior to the conversion seem to be much more
important than cognitive ones. A much higher proportion from the
convert group than from the non-convert control group reported an
extremely unhappy childhood and a greater number of traumatic
events. Among the 40 converts, only six were classified as having had a
normal or happy childhood (15 percent versus 73 percent of the control
group). Nearly 80 percent of the converts—women as well as men—
reported that their fathers had been either absent, passive-unavailable or
actively rejecting, whereas only 23 percent of the control group did so.
About one-third had no or only very little contact with their biological
fathers from the ages of four or five, which was about three times higher
than the norm reported for the average white American population.
Altogether, converts also perceived their relationship to their mothers
as having been more problematic than non-converts. Moreover, Ullman
found that most reports of early traumatic incidents such as parental loss
came from the ISKCON converts.
19
In his study, Alexander Deutsch reported that “virtually all” of the
fourteen devotees of an American guru had histories of unsatisfactory
parental relationships. “In explaining their improved mental states,
they would frequently contrast Baba’s attitudes and teachings and the
atmosphere of their new ‘family’ with the attitudes and conduct of
their parents and other authority figures.”
20
Deutsch and Michael
J. Miller studied four women who had joined the Unification Church
in their early twenties; all of them reported a disturbed family
background. Three of the converts had a similar pattern in their family
histories: Parents were usually distant to each other, in two cases they
were divorced. The participants characterized their mothers as
unaffectionate, while they regarded their fathers fondly, despite
perceived shortcomings.
21
Tommy H. Poling and J. Frank Kenney’s biographical data on thirty-
two converts to ISKCON revealed that 31 percent of the devotees
reported the death of a parent and another 31 percent reported
parental divorce before they joined ISKCON. Apart from a “sensate
orientation,”
22
which Poling and Kenney found to be characteristic of
the individuals studied as well as of the group’s specific mythology,
rituals, and lifestyle, the authors identified early family discord—
especially the absence of the father—as a predisposing factor specific
to converts to the Hare Krishna movement: “ISKCON compensates for
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Murken and Namini: Childhood Familial Experiences
23
this loss in the person and authority of the ‘guru,’ who is viewed as
the ideal father—that is, a person who is firm, understanding,
knowledgeable, saintly, and experienced.”
23
Janet L. Jacobs, who
studied forty former religious devotees of non-traditional religious
movements with a charismatic leader and patriarchal structure, similarly
emphasized the “desire to experience both the ideal family and the
fathering of a protective and loving male authority figure.”
24
She
perceived the rise and growth of such movements in the United States
in the 1960s and 1970s as a compensation for social developments,
suggesting that the family structure of traditional (white) middle-class
families assigned men more external roles, resulting in the absence of
fathers from physical and emotional care-taking of children.
These findings from the United States are in line with some
European results. Wolfgang Kuner, in a large research project in
Germany, studied a variety of conditions that preceded young people’s
conversion to one of three NRMs, Children of God (n = 43),
25
Unification Church (n = 290) or Ananda Marga (n = 49). He
collected, among other variables, data on (early) family situations as
part of the social background and found it to be an important aspect
in understanding the phenomenon. He concluded that specific
psychological needs, which root in early familial imprinting, find
fulfillment in religious groups, and that the individual finds a religiously
clothed “remake” of his or her family of origin in his or her religious
group. More specifically, Kuner found that all group members reported
a dominant mother and weak (often distant) father; the childrearing
style emphasized subordination and dependence. Compared to the
general West German population, a significantly higher number of
subjects—with the exception of male members of Ananda Marga—
came from incomplete families. Additionally, Kuner found differential
family characteristics for the respective members of the three groups.
For example, the members of the Children of God typically reported an
unstable family atmosphere, and the members of the Unification
Church an emotional one.
26
Similarly, Herbert Berger and Peter C.
Hexel’s qualitative analysis of the in-depth interviews they conducted
with thirty-six young members of the Unification Church, Ananda
Marga, Divine Light Mission, and Scientology in Germany indicated
that differences in childhood family experiences exist among the
members of different NRMs. Scientology members tended to come
from families that had offered little emotional warmth and security and
in which functionality had dominated. The Unification Church members
were comprised of two groups with family backgrounds opposite in
nature: one group came from harmonious families that had offered
stability by not moving house, whereas the other group had experienced
many ruptures, including upbringing in an institution and death of the
mother.
27
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Another comparative study, which was conducted in the Netherlands
by Jan M. van der Lans and Frans Derks, who interviewed nineteen
members of the Divine Light Mission and eighteen followers
(sannyasins) of Bhagwan/Osho, likewise indicated that individuals who
join different groups differ with regard to family background. The
authors even stated that one of the most important differences between
the two patterns of pre-conversion experiences concerned childhood.
Apart from differences in religious upbringing, they found that the
majority of Divine Light Mission respondents described the family
atmosphere in their childhood as positive, while almost half of the
Bhagwan Rajneesh sannyasins perceived a negative atmosphere.
28
Gunther Klosinski, who interviewed twenty-five members of the Neo-
Sannyas Movement in Germany, found that twenty-two (73 percent)
talked about serious family or other relationship problems during
adolescence. One-third reported severe problems with their fathers, six
persons with their mothers, and four with both parents. They either
experienced a situation of emotional deficiency or of excessively strong
ties to the family/parents. Thus, Klosinski came to the conclusion that
unresolved conflicts between parents and children play an important
role in the conversion process.
29
In our own empirical study, we investigated the idea of a fit between
group and individual to which some authors had pointed.
30
We
investigated differences in early family structures between three groups
of adults who were either in recent close contact with or had already
become new members in a Pentecostal parish (n = 21), the New
Apostolic Church (n = 28), or the Jehovah’s Witnesses (n = 22). A
comparison of the groups showed that they differed significantly with
regard to loss of a parent before the age of fifteen (through death,
divorce, etc.). Only 10 percent of the Pentecostal group reported a loss
while 23 percent of the Jehovah’s Witnesses group, and 43 percent of
the New Apostolics reported a major loss. With the exception of two
individuals who had lost both parents, all other persons reported the
loss of the father. A look at data from the general population indicated
that the rate of loss of a father in the Pentecostal group corresponded
to the rate in the general German population, whereas the rate in the
New Apostolic group was more than four times higher. We assumed that
the extraordinarily high proportion of individuals who grew up without
their biological father in the New Apostolic group could be explained
by the church’s specific offer of a father-oriented theology and a
hierarchy with the chief apostle—a strong father figure—at the top.
31
The assumption that differences in early relationships to fathers exist
between members of different NRMs is supported by Tadeusz Doktór’s
study in Poland. He found differences regarding the average number of
years of the father’s absence as well as the proportion of individuals who
reported that their fathers had not taken part in their upbringing
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(e.g., 35.3 percent of participants of a Taiji group, n = 16; 4.8 percent of
members of Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga in which women are in leading
positions, n = 21). Doktór concluded that groups in which “the
authoritative position of a spiritual leader is taken by a man who could
be treated as a father figure” may offer individuals “deprived of a father
in their childhood ...a composite of reward and compensator.”
32
Coralie Buxant, Vassilis Saroglou, Stefania Casalfiore, and Louis-
Léon Christians assessed attachment histories in a sample of 113
members of different NRMs in a recent study conducted in Belgium.
The majority of respondents were first generation members; 25 percent
were born into the group or had joined it before the age of 18. In
comparison to an adult control group from the average population,
the respondents reported significantly more insecure childhood
attachment to their fathers, whereas no significant difference was found
for childhood attachment to mothers.
33
An earlier analysis of the data,
based upon three combined parental scores for secure, avoidant, and
anxious-ambivalent attachment, furnished the result that, compared
against an adult control group from the average population, the NRMs’
members retrospectively reported significantly higher anxious/ambivalent
as well as avoidant attachment to parents, whereas no significant
difference was found for secure attachment. In combination with other
findings from their study, the authors concluded that their results
support the assumption that God and religion can offer compensation
to individuals with early insecure relationship experiences.
34
Additional
studies with twenty-eight individuals attending conferences on positive
thinking, new spiritualities, or Asian religions, without being members
of NRMs, and twenty ex-members from a variety of NRMs supported the
assumption that individuals interested or involved in new forms of
religiosity tend to show insecure attachment histories.
35
Looking at the findings described so far, the assumption that
problematic family backgrounds promote membership in NRMs can be
corroborated by research findings. However, as some of the comparative
studies already suggested, findings and interpretations are not
unequivocal and some contradictory results have to be considered as
well. With regard to retrospective perceptions of parental authority, C.
Anthony Martignetti did not find any statistically significant differences
between individuals in a Hindu-based guru-devotee relationship,
individuals belonging to a non-hierarchical Unitarian Universalist
church, and a non-religious group.
36
In their study of conversion
accounts published in an internal bulletin of the Catholic Charismatic
movement in Bratislava, Slovakia, Peter Halama and Júlia Halamová
found that in nine out of the thirty accounts people spoke about their
family backgrounds: four reported a positive and five reported a
negative emotional framework. The authors concluded that their
findings “give no support to a prevalence of intensive family stress
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during childhood and adolescence among converts.”
37
Saul V. Levine
and Nancy E. Salter studied 106 members of nine different groups.
Most of their subjects came from “fairly stable backgrounds”; seventy-
one of the members came from intact families, the parents of twenty-
three had divorced, and eight had lost a parent through death.
38
Eileen
Barker in her study on the process of becoming a member of the
Unification Church came to the conclusion “that Moonies do not tend
to come from poor or obviously unhappy home backgrounds.” However,
she found some differences between the Moonies and the control
group: 13 percent of the parents of the Moonies versus 8 percent of the
parents of the control group had separated before the individuals’ age
of 21. Consequently, 15 percent of the Moonies versus 5 percent of the
controls had a step-parent. More individuals of the control group had
mothers who worked when they were children.
39
Dieter Rohmann, in a
German questionnaire study, surveyed family members and/or friends
(n = 110) who had sought advice because one or more family members/
friends had joined a “cult,” that is, a group from one of the following
categories: a Christian fundamentalist group, a guru movement, or a
psychic cult/esoteric group. He concluded that people who join “cults”
do not come from divorced families or “broken homes” more
frequently. However, he found that a dysfunctional family background,
for example, a family situation characterized by conflict and
disharmony, was reported for 89 percent of the cases. In a comparative
analysis he found that individuals who had joined psychic cults or
esoteric movements more often than the other two groups came from
divorced families and had experienced strained family situations,
whereas members of guru movements rarely reported difficult family
backgrounds. Those who had joined a Christian fundamentalist group
had more often grown up in families in which personal problems or
emotions were hardly discussed.
40
Siblings
So far, the role of siblings and birth order as a predisposing factor for
later membership in NRMs has been given less attention. In the
following, we will review some scattered findings from American and
German studies. With regard to size of sibling group, the findings are
quite homogenous. In most studies, converts to NRMs report coming
from relatively large families. Kuner found that, compared to the
general West German population, the subjects of all three groups came
from families with a disproportionately large number of children: 43
percent of members of the Children of God, 45 percent of members of
the Unification Church, and 33 percent of members of Ananda Marga
came from families with four or more siblings, whereas only 8 percent
of the general population did.
41
Of the 106 members of nine different
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groups studied by Levine and Salter, six (5.7 percent) were only
children, whereas 70 percent came from families with three or more
children.
42
These figures correspond roughly to the findings of
Rohmann’s German study. Only 2.7 percent of the members were single
children, 34.6 percent had one sibling, and 62.7 percent at least two
siblings.
43
In another German project, Ralf Gering, Nils Grübel, Claudia
Haydt, Günter Kehrer, Istvan Keul, and Frank Starz studied members of
a newly established Pentecostal community (n = 52). Although slightly
more than 70 percent of the respondents were aged less than 30 years,
and hence, born in a time of decreasing family size, to the surprise of the
authors nearly one-third came from families with more than three
children.
44
In Berger and Hexel’s study, 11 percent of members of the
NRMs studied were single children, 31 percent had one brother or
sister, 25 percent two, and 34 percent three or more siblings.
45
Data from our own recent study in Germany are only partly in line
with previous findings. Whereas 68 percent of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
group had two or more siblings, 64 percent of the New Apostolic group
grew up as a single child or with only one sibling. We interpreted this
difference in the context of the groups’ theologies and religious
practices. Jehovah’s Witnesses devalue the importance of the individual
and seem to require a heightened ability to subordinate oneself to a
dogmatic theology plus a strict weekly schedule. A capability to adapt to
peers is needed when Bible studies and proselytizing activities are done
together with other believers.
46
With regard to birth order rank, the findings are less homogenous.
Whereas Levine and Salter found that merely eighteen (17 percent) of
their 106 subjects were single or first-born children,
47
in Rohmann’s
sample 37.3 percent were first-born or single children, 27.2 percent
middle children, and 35.5 percent youngest children.
48
Berger and Hexel found that among those members who had
brothers and sisters, 25 percent were the eldest child, 44 percent the
youngest, and 31 percent in between.
49
In a study on “Spirit-baptized”
converts to Catholic Pentecostalism (n = 152), Max Heirich found “a
surprisingly high proportion” of middle siblings among the converts and
relatively few eldest children in devout households. However, when he
compared the converts’ group to a Catholic control group the two
groups hardly differed.
50
Kuner found that male members of the
Children of God and female members of the Unification Church were
the first child more often than expected by chance. On the other hand,
female members of the Children of God and Ananda Marga as well as
male members of the Unification Church and Ananda Marga were more
often the middle child.
51
When drawing a composite picture of the
typical ISKCON devotee on the basis of their research, Poling and
Kenney concluded: “He is a member of a large family and is typically the
middle child.”
52
Rohmann, on the other hand, found that first-borns
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were overrepresented in the group of guru movements.
53
Our own
data yielded no statistically significant differences between the three
NRM groups. However, descriptive analyses showed some trends: 53
percent of the New Apostolics studied were the eldest or a single child,
whereas 52 percent of the Pentecostal group members grew up as the
youngest child. In consideration of Sulloway’s work on birth order, we
suggest that eldest and single children are attracted to the New
Apostolic Church as it offers a more conservative religiosity than the
other groups (in the German context) as well as more possibilities for
ambitious and achievement-oriented men. In contrast, later-borns may
be more open towards Pentecostal religiosity as it offers more new
experiences.
54
CONCLUSION
An extensive literature review confirmed the impression that rather
little systematic research on early family antecedents of adult membership
in NRMs is available and that findings are scattered. Within the past 36
years, we could identify only nineteen research projects with relevant
data to be included in the review.
55
Over the years, however, there has
been a continuous international interest in the topic. As is shown by the
two most recent European studies, the topic even seems to be one of
very current interest in the field of psychology of religion.
56
Although it is difficult to draw general conclusions since the studies
reviewed differ in place, time, sample, and research design, they
support the notion that early family experiences have an effect on
adult membership in NRMs. Many of the studies seem to confirm the
widespread assumption that membership in NRMs offers some kind of
compensation for individuals with problematic family backgrounds
and absent fathers. Thus, they are attracted by groups that have a
strong father-oriented theology or emphasize the community and offer
a strong male authority figure (e.g., ISKCON, Unification Church,
New Apostolic Church) and seem to promise the ideal family or ideal
father.
57
In a similar way, individuals with absent mothers may be
attracted to groups with mother-figures and mother-oriented
theologies. Due to the small proportion of groups with women in
leading positions this question still needs to be investigated. Some
studies, however, suggest that the characteristics of NRMs may not
necessarily serve a compensatory function. For individuals who grew
up in stable families, NRMs may offer a corresponding environment
and be experienced as a continuation or restoration of the early
conditions.
58
The large number of siblings found in many of the
studies may also be understood in the sense of a correspondence
between early family group experiences and religious group
experiences.
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Although similar early experiences seem to predispose individuals
for adult membership in different new religious groups—which is
plausible as many of them share certain structural and theological
characteristics—the review at the same time shows that generalizations
are problematic. A number of comparative studies indicate that
differences in early family experiences route seekers to membership in
different groups.
59
These results suggest that individual needs arising
from specific early family experiences may be fulfilled especially well by
distinct characteristics of particular religious groups. It seems that
neither the characteristics of the person, nor the features of the
religious group alone can sufficiently explain the membership process,
but that the interaction—more precisely, the fit—between the person
and the group is important.
Moreover, if individuals with similar early family experiences choose
different groups, the underlying psychodynamic processes may differ.
Some individuals with unhappy family backgrounds may find a solution
for their inner conflicts in a group that offers an ideal family, whereas
others may prefer an NRM with a therapeutic offer or a high emphasis
on individualism. Some may choose a group that offers an emotional
relationship with a religious figure or a very personal father-like God
concept; others may choose a cognition-based faith or a more
impersonal God. Therefore, the role of the father, which is obviously of
major importance, must be better understood. Although Freud has
often been criticized for his view of religion, his early assumption that
religion provides people with an “exalted father”
60
seems plausible for
at least some of the cases, thus encouraging researchers to pay more
attention to psychoanalytical and other developmental theories.
There are, however, some limitations to the conclusions drawn above
that have to be mentioned. The studies included in the review are of
quite different quality, sample size and research design. Some include
a control group, others do not. Some have more objective measures
for childhood experiences, others use their personal judgement.
The quality of personal recollection is sometimes questionable.
61
Nevertheless, since this is all the material we have at the present, we have
to draw at least preliminary conclusions and try to validate them in
further research. Ideally, a systematic research agenda will be developed
and applied in the future.
62
Following the paradigm of a person-religion fit model, more
interdisciplinary comparative research is needed in order to come to a
better understanding of what different NRMs offer their members, to
assess the importance of group dynamics versus theologies, and to be
able to explore more deeply these questions and psychological
dynamics. As long as researchers continue to treat members of different
NRMs in an undifferentiated way, that is, as one group, they run the risk
of overlooking important pieces of the larger picture.
Murken and Namini: Childhood Familial Experiences
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ENDNOTES
1
David G. Bromley and Anson Shupe, “Public Reaction against New Religious
Movements,” in Cults and New Religious Movements: A Report of the American
Psychiatric Association, ed. Marc Galanter (Washington, D.C.: American
Psychiatric Association, 1989), 305–34, quote on 314. For a discussion of the
role of parents in the cult debate see also J. Gordon Melton, “Anti-cultists in the
United States: An Historical Perspective,” in New Religious Movements: Challenge
and Response, ed. Bryan Wilson and Jamie Cresswell (London: Routledge, 1999),
213–33; and Elisabeth Arweck, Researching New Religious Movements: Responses
and Redefinitions (London: Routledge, 2006), for example 41–45.
2
John A. Saliba, Understanding New Religious Movements (Walnut Creek, Calif.:
Altamira Press, 2003), 32–35.
3
See, for example, Eileen Barker, New Religious Movements: A Practical Introduction
(London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1989), 87–123; David V. Barrett, The
New Believers (New York: Cassell & Co, 2001), 40–46; Michael D. Langone, “Cult
Involvement: Suggestions for Concerned Parents and Professionals,” Cultic
Studies Journal 2 (1985): 148–68.
4
Brock K. Kilbourne and James T. Richardson, “Cults versus Families: A Case of
Misattribution of Cause?” Marriage and Family Review 4 (1981): 81–100.
5
Saliba, Understanding New Religious Movements, 82.
6
Although three out of the nine factors John M. Curtis and Mimi J. Curtis,
“Factors Related to Susceptibility and Recruitment by Cults,” Psychological
Reports 73 (1993): 451–60, assume to make individuals susceptible to “cults”
are family-related—(a) “tenuous, deteriorated, or nonexistent family relations
and social support systems,” (b) “history of severe child abuse or neglect,” and
(c) “exposure to idiosyncratic or eccentric family patterns”—the authors do
not cite any empirical study on family antecedents to membership in a “cult.”
Beth Robinson, Ellen M. Frye, and Loretta J. Bradley, “Cult Affiliation and
Disaffiliation: Implications for Counseling,” Counseling and Values 41 (1997):
166–73, state that “several family dynamics have been correlated with a tendency
to affiliate with a cult group” (167), but rely on rather old literature (dating back
to 1958) and hardly cite any empirical study on the matter. See also Mark I.
Sirkin and Bruce A. Grellong, “Cult versus Non-Cult Jewish Families: Factors
Influencing Conversion,” Cultic Studies Journal 5 (1988): 2–22: “Data from
families are scarce in the cult literature” (5).
7
The authors gratefully acknowledge the German Volkswagen Foundation’s
funding of the multi-method, longitudinal German research project entitled
“Self-chosen Membership in New Religious Movements: Psychosocial Motives
and Consequences” (May 2002 – September 2007).
8
For example, Mary Dozier, K. Chase Stovall, and Kathleen E. Albus,
“Attachment and Psychopathology in Adulthood,” in Handbook of Attachment:
Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications, ed. Jude Cassidy and Phillip Shaver
(New York: Guilford Press, 1999), 497–519; Ulrich T. Egle, Jochen Hardt, Ralf
Nickel, Bernd Kappis, and Sven O. Hoffmann, “Früher Stress und
Langzeitfolgen für die Gesundheit - Wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnisstand und
Forschungsdesiderate” [Long-Term Effects of Adverse Childhood Experience -
Actual Evidence and Needs for Research], Zeitschrift für Psychosomatische Medizin
Nova Religio
30
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und Psychotherapie 48 (2002): 411–34; Frank J. Sulloway, Born to Rebel: Birth Order,
Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives (New York: Vintage Books, 1997).
9
For example, Alex Bierman, “The Effects of Childhood Maltreatment on Adult
Religiosity and Spirituality: Rejecting God the Father Because of Abusive
Fathers?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 44 (2005): 349–59; Ian T. Birky
and Samuel Ball, “Parental Trait Influence on God as an Object
Representation,” Journal of Psychology 122 (1988): 133–37; Pehr Granqvist and
Lee A. Kirkpatrick, “Religious Conversion and Perceived Childhood
Attachment: A Meta-Analysis,” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 14
(2004): 223–50.
10
The following combinations of search terms and their German equivalents
respectively were used: (family* or parent* or mother* or father* or sibling* or
brother* or sister* or birth order) and (cult or cults or cultic or new religion*
or sect or sects or sectarian or alternative religion* or guru or charismatic* or
Hare Krishna or ISKCON or Jehovah* or Pentecostal* or Scientology* or
Unification Church* or Moon or Bhagwan or Rajneesh or Osho or sannyas*
or neo-sannyas*). Due to the huge number of possible NRMs, separate terms
were included in the database search only for those groups on which, to the
authors’ knowledge, a certain amount of research has been done. A last
literature search was conducted in January 2006.
11
Elisabeth Arweck and Peter B. Clarke, New Religious Movements in Western
Europe: An Annotated Bibliography (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997);
James A. Beckford and James T. Richardson, “A Bibliography of Social Scientific
Studies of New Religious Movements,” Social Compass 30 (1983): 111–35; Diane
Choquette, New Religious Movements in the United States and Canada: A Critical
Assessment and Annotated Bibliography (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985);
John A. Saliba, Psychiatry and the Cults: An Annotated Bibliography (New York:
Garland Publishing, 1987); John A. Saliba, Social Science and the Cults: An
Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland Publishing, 1990).
12
For example, Neil Maron, “Family Environment as a Factor in Vulnerability to
Cult Involvement,” Cultic Studies Journal 5 (1988): 23–43; Florence W. Kaslow and
Lita Linzer Schwartz, “Vulnerability and Invulnerability to the Cults: An
Assessment of Family Dynamics, Functioning, and Values,” in Marital and Family
Therapy: New Perspectives in Theory, Research and Practice, ed. Dennis A. Bagarozzi,
Anthony P. Jurich, and Robert W. Jackson (New York: Human Sciences Press,
1983), 165–90; Sirkin and Grellong, “Cult versus Non-Cult Jewish Families”;
Marjory Fisher Zerin, “The Pied Piper Phenomenon: Family Systems and
Vulnerability to Cults,” in Scientific Research and New Religions: Divergent
Perspectives, ed. Brock K. Kilbourne (San Francisco: American Association for the
Advancement of Science, Pacific Division, 1985), 160–73.
13
Dozier, Stovall, and Albus, “Attachment and Psychopathology”; Egle, Hardt,
Nickel, Kappis, and Hoffmann, “Früher Stress.” Of course we do not neglect the
possibility that psychopathology may attract persons to NRMs, but that would be
another question.
14
George D. Chryssides, Exploring New Religions (London: Cassell, 1999), 22.
15
Whereas Chryssides, Exploring New Religions, 77–119, includes Jehovah’s
Witnesses in his chapter on “The Old New Religions,” Stephen J. Hunt,
Alternative Religions: A Sociological Introduction (Hampshire: Ashgate, 2003), 42,
Murken and Namini: Childhood Familial Experiences
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classifies Jehovah’s Witnesses as a sect. Differences in classifying groups can be
explained by the fact that “‘sect’ and ‘cult’ are overlapping concepts,” as Saliba,
Understanding New Religious Movements, 10, points out, for which, according to
Chryssides, Exploring New Religions, 7, “there is no consistent, agreed sociological
definition.”
16
Rainer Flasche, “Neue Religionen” [New Religions], in Die Religionen der
Gegenwart: Geschichte und Glauben, ed. Peter Antes (München: C. H. Beck, 1996),
280–98, see 282. Additionally, many of the “old new religions” remain
controversial. See Chryssides, Exploring New Religions, 77. For a discussion of the
term “new religion” or “new religious movement” see, for example, Eileen
Barker, “What Are We Studying?” Nova Religio 8, no. 1 ( July 2004): 88–102;
Chryssides, Exploring New Religions, 4–23; J. Gordon Melton, “Toward a Definition
of ‘New Religion,’” Nova Religio 8, no. 1 (July 2004): 73–87.
17
For example, Europeans usually do not distinguish between “sects” and “cults.”
Instead, they include both kinds of groups under the pejorative terms “sect,”
“secta” (Spanish), “secte” (French), “Sekte” (German), and “setta” (Italian). See
Melton, “Toward a Definition of ‘New Religion,’” 74. For the role of and
reactions to NRMs in different countries worldwide, see Nova Religio 4, no. 2
(April 2001). For an early discussion of differences in societal reactions to
NRMs, see James A. Beckford, “The ‘Cult-Problem’ in Five Countries: The
Social Construction of Religious Controversy,” in Of Gods and Men: New Religious
Movements in the West. Proceedings of the 1981 Annual Conference of the British
Sociological Association Sociology of Religion Study Group, ed. Eileen Barker (Macon,
Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1983), 195–214.
18
For example, John E. Hunter and Frank L. Schmidt, Methods of Meta-Analysis:
Correcting Error and Bias in Research Findings (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2004).
19
Chana Ullman, “Cognitive and Emotional Antecedents of Religious
Conversion,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 43 (1982): 183–92; Chana
Ullman, The Transformed Self: The Psychology of Religious Conversion (New York:
Plenum Press, 1989).
20
Alexander Deutsch, “Observations on a Sidewalk Ashram,” Archives of General
Psychiatry 32 (1975): 166–75, quote on 168.
21
Alexander Deutsch and Michael J. Miller, “A Clinical Study of Four Unification
Church Members,” American Journal of Psychiatry 140 (1983): 767–70.
22
An individual has a “sensate orientation” when he or she is receptive to
concrete, sensory stimuli. ISKCON can be said to have a sensate orientation
insofar as it emphasizes sensory religious symbols and practices such as the use
of beads, incense, the consumption of food, chanting and dancing. Tommy H.
Poling and J. Frank Kenney, The Hare Krishna Character Type: A Study of the Sensate
Personality (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1986).
23
Poling and Kenney, Hare Krishna Character Type, 156.
24
Janet L. Jacobs, Divine Disenchantment: Deconverting from New Religions
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), 5.
25
N ” is the statistical abbreviation for number of individuals studied.
26
Wolfgang Kuner, Soziogenese der Mitgliedschaft in drei Neuen Religiösen Bewegungen
[Sociogenesis of membership in three new religious movements] (Frankfurt am
Main: Peter Lang, 1983).
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27
Herbert Berger and Peter C. Hexel, Ursachen und Wirkungen gesellschaftlicher
Verweigerung junger Menschen unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der ‘Jugendreligionen’
(Bd. 1) [Causes and effects of young people’s refusal of society under special
consideration of the ‘youth religions’ (vol. 1)] (Wien: European Center for
Social Welfare and Research, 1981).
28
Jan M. van der Lans and Frans Derks, “Premies versus Sannyasins,” Update: A
Quarterly Journal on New Religious Movements 10, no. 2 (1986): 19–27.
29
Gunther Klosinski, Warum Bhagwan? Auf der Suche nach Heimat, Geborgenheit
und Liebe [Why Bhagwan? In search of home, security, and love] (München:
Kösel, 1985).
30
Especially Kuner, Soziogenese; Poling and Kenney, Hare Krishna Character Type;
van der Lans and Derks, “Premies versus Sannyasins.”
31
Sussan Namini and Sebastian Murken, “Familial Antecedents and the Choice
of a New Religious Movement: Which Person in Which Religious Group?”
forthcoming in Nova Religio 11, no. 3 (February 2008).
32
Tadeusz Doktór, “New Religious Movements in Poland and the Stark-
Bainbridge Theory of Religion,” Temenos 29 (1993): 37–45, quote on 43.
33
Coralie Buxant, Vassilis Saroglou, Stefania Casalfiore, and Louis-Léon
Christians, “Cognitive and Emotional Characteristics of New Religious Movement
Members: New Questions and Data on the Mental Health Issue,” Mental Health,
Religion, and Culture (in press).
34
Vassilis Saroglou, Louis-Léon Christians, Coralie Buxant, and Stefania
Casalfiore, Mouvements religieux contestés: Psychologie, droit et politiques de précaution
[Controversial religious movements: Psychology, law, and politics of precaution]
(Gent: Academia Press, 2005). It is to be noted that, from an attachment-
theoretical perspective, the religious compensation of early attachment
insecurities (compensation hypothesis) is only one way in which religion may
function in adult life. Some support is also available for the correspondence
hypothesis, which predicts that the security or insecurity of an individual’s early
attachment experience directly (i.e., in the form of continuity) instead of
inversely influences adult religiosity. See Lee A. Kirkpatrick, “An Attachment-
Theory Approach to the Psychology of Religion,” International Journal for the
Psychology of Religion 2 (1992): 3–28; Lee A. Kirkpatrick, Attachment, Evolution, and
the Psychology of Religion (New York: Guilford Press, 2005).
35
Saroglou, Christians, Buxant, and Casalfiore, Mouvements religieux contestés.
The authors also replicated their study with a sample of 238 Jehovah’s Witnesses
and found different patterns of childhood attachment in this group. We do not
report them here because the sample contained an even higher proportion of
individuals who had been socialized in the group (37 percent) than the mixed
sample of NRM members. As Sebastian Murken discussed in “Soziale und
psychische Auswirkungen der Mitgliedschaft in neuen religiösen Bewegungen
unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der sozialen Integration und psychischen
Gesundheit” [Social and psychic consequences of membership in new religious
movements with special consideration of social integration and mental health],
in Neue religiöse und ideologische Gemeinschaften und Psychogruppen.
Forschungsprojekte und Gutachten der Enquete-Kommission ‘Sogenannte Sekten und
Psychogruppen,’ ed. Deutscher Bundestag Enquete-Kommission (Hamm:
Hoheneck, 1998), 297–354, the psychological and psychodynamic situation of
Murken and Namini: Childhood Familial Experiences
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individuals who converted to NRMs is not comparable to the situation of
socialized members.
36
C. Anthony Martignetti, “Gurus and Devotees: Guides or Gods? Pathology or
Faith?” Pastoral Psychology 47 (1998): 127–44.
37
Peter Halama and Júlia Halamová, “Process of Religious Conversion in the
Catholic Charismatic Movement: A Qualitative Analysis,” Archiv für
Religionspsychologie 27 (2005): 69–91, quote on 86. However, the authors’
conclusion has to be treated with caution because the study did not include any
non-convert control group.
38
Saul V. Levine and Nancy E. Salter, “Youth and Contemporary Religious
Movements: Psychosocial Findings,” Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal 21
(1976): 411-20, quote on 414. See also Saul V. Levine, “Youth and Religious
Cults: A Societal and Clinical Dilemma,” Adolescent Psychiatry 6 (1978): 75–89.
39
Eileen Barker, The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? (Oxford: Basil
Blackwell, 1984), quote on 196.
40
Dieter Rohmann, Ein Kult für alle Fälle: Eine empirische Studie zum Thema
‘Mögliche Prädisposition einer Sekten-, Kultmitgliedschaft’ [A cult for all cases: An
empirical study on the topic of ‘potential predispositions for sect, cult
membership’] (Bern: Edition Soziothek, 2000); Dieter Rohmann, “Mögliche
Prädisposition einer Sekten-/Kultmitgliedschaft. Zusammenfassung einer
empirischen Studie” [Potential predispositions for sect, cult membership.
Summary of an empirical study], Report Psychologie 24 (1999): 764–65; Dieter
Rohmann, “Jeder hat seinen Kult” [Everybody has his own cult], Psychologie
Heute 27, no.8 (2000): 48–51.
41
Kuner, Soziogenese, 227.
42
Levine and Salter, “Youth and Contemporary Religious Movements”; Levine,
“Youth and Religious Cults.”
43
Rohmann, Ein Kult für alle Fälle.
44
Ralf Gering, Nils Grübel, Claudia Haydt, Günter Kehrer, Istvan Keul, and
Frank Starz, “‘Mancherlei Gaben und ein Geist?’ Eine charismatisch-evangelikale
Gemeinde in Tübingen” [‘Various gifts and one spirit?’ A charismatic-
evangelical parish in Tuebingen], Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft 2 (1994):
23–47.
45
Berger and Hexel, Ursachen und Wirkungen.
46
Namini and Murken, “Familial Antecedents and the Choice of a New
Religious Movement.”
47
Levine and Salter, “Youth and Contemporary Religious Movements”; Levine,
“Youth and Religious Cults.”
48
Rohmann, Ein Kult für alle Fälle.
49
Berger and Hexel, Ursachen und Wirkungen.
50
Max Heirich, “Change of Heart: A Test of Some Widely Held Theories about
Religious Conversion,” American Journal of Sociology 83 (1977): 653–80, quote on 664.
51
Kuner, Soziogenese.
52
Poling and Kenney, Hare Krishna Character Type, 146.
53
Rohmann, Ein Kult für alle Fälle; Rohmann, “Mögliche Prädisposition”;
Rohmann, “Jeder hat seinen Kult.”
Nova Religio
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54
Namini and Murken, “Familial Antecedents and the Choice of a New
Religious Movement”; Sulloway, Born to Rebel.
55
The authors appreciate all references to further relevant studies that have not
been identified and included in this review.
56
Namini and Murken, “Familial Antecedents and the Choice of a New
Religious Movement”; Buxant, Saroglou, Casalfiore, and Christians, “Cognitive
and Emotional Characteristics.” This current interest can at least partly be
ascribed to the attention given to the attachment-theoretical approach to
religion in the last few years. See Kirkpatrick, Attachment, Evolution, and the
Psychology of Religion; Pehr Granqvist, “On the Relation between Secular and
Divine Relationships: An Emerging Attachment Perspective and a Critique of
the ‘Depth’ Approaches,” International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 16
(2006): 1–18.
57
For example, Berger and Hexel, Ursachen und Wirkungen; Namini and Murken,
“Familial Antecedents and the Choice of a New Religious Movement”; Poling
and Kenney, Hare Krishna Character Type; Deutsch, “Observations on a Sidewalk
Ashram.”
58
For example, Barker, Making of a Moonie, 210 (italics by the author):
This does not mean that people become Moonies in spite of a happy family background;
they are, I believe, quite liable to join because of one. That is to say, in so far as Moonies
are looking for the warmth and affection of a secure family life, this is unlikely to be
because they have never known one; they are far more likely to be hoping to return
to one.
However, the difficulty of deciding whether a process of compensation or
correspondence is going on becomes obvious when Barker seamlessly continues:
They are not likely to be turning to the Reverend and Mrs Moon as “True Parents”
because they have never known parents whom they respected and loved; they are
much more likely to be responding to the idea that those who are in the “parental
position” can legitimately claim respect and obedience because they have grown up
respecting their own parents (perhaps so much so that they were particularly
disillusioned or disoriented when they recognized that their parents, like other human
beings, have certain frailties and are not entirely omniscient.)
See also, Berger and Hexel, Ursachen und Wirkungen.
59
For example, Doktór, “New Religious Movements in Poland”; Kuner,
Soziogenese; Namini and Murken, “Familial Antecedents and the Choice of a
New Religious Movement”; van der Lans and Derks, “Premies versus
Sannyasins.”
60
Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo, Standard Edition, vol. 13 (London: Hogarth
Press, 1913).
61
Although it can be assumed that data on structural aspects of family life, such
as loss of a parent and number of siblings, is unlikely to be distorted, the
appraisal of early relationships may be influenced by the participants’ religious
development. On the one hand, highly Christian subjects could be influenced
by the biblical command to “honor father and mother.” On the other hand,
sociologists who research conversion narratives assert that converts tend to
devalue their pasts. We agree, however, with other authors that retrospective
Murken and Namini: Childhood Familial Experiences
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accounts of converts are not less reliable than those used in other social science
contexts and that they offer valuable sources of information, especially if
prospective data are not available. See, for example, Robin D. Perrin and Armand
L. Mauss, “Strictly speaking. . . : Kelley’s Quandary and the Vineyard Christian
Fellowship,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 32 (1993): 125–35; and Brian
J. Zinnbauer and Kenneth I. Pargament, “Spiritual Conversion: A Study of
Religious Change among College Students,” Journal for the Scientific Study of
Religion 37 (1998): 161–80.
62
See Susan Pitchford, Christopher Bader, and Rodney Stark, “Doing Field
Studies of Religious Movements: An Agenda,” Journal for the Scientific Study of
Religion 40 (2001): 379–92.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF STUDIES INCLUDED
IN THE REVIEW
Barker, Eileen. 1984. The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? Oxford:
Basil Blackwell.
Berger, Herbert, and Peter C. Hexel. 1981. Ursachen und Wirkungen gesellschaftlicher
Verweigerung junger Menschen unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der
‘Jugendreligionen’ (Bd. 1) [Causes and effects of young people’s refusal of
society under special consideration of the ‘youth religions’ (vol. 1)]. Wien:
European Center for Social Welfare and Research.
Buxant, Coralie, Vassilis Saroglou, Stefania Casalfiore, and Louis-Léon Christians.
In press. “Cognitive and Emotional Characteristics of New Religious Movement
Members: New Questions and Data on the Mental Health Issue.” Mental
Health, Religion, and Culture.
Deutsch, Alexander. 1975. “Observations on a Sidewalk Ashram.” Archives of
General Psychiatry 32: 166–75.
Deutsch, Alexander, and Michael J. Miller. 1983. “A Clinical Study of Four
Unification Church Members.” American Journal of Psychiatry 140: 767–70.
Doktór, Tadeusz. 1993. “New Religious Movements in Poland and the Stark-
Bainbridge Theory of Religion.” Temenos 29: 37–45.
Gering, Ralf, Nils Grübel, Claudia Haydt, Günter Kehrer, Istvan Keul, and Frank
Starz. 1994. “‘Mancherlei Gaben und ein Geist’? Eine charismatisch-
evangelikale Gemeinde in Tübingen” [‘Various gifts and one spirit’? A
charismatic-evangelical parish in Tuebingen]. Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft
2: 23–47.
Halama, Peter, and Júlia Halamová. 2005. “Process of Religious Conversion in
the Catholic Charismatic Movement: A Qualitative Analysis.” Archiv für
Religionspsychologie 27: 69–91.
Heirich, Max. 1977. “Change of Heart: A Test of Some Widely Held Theories
about Religious Conversion.” American Journal of Sociology 83: 653–80.
Jacobs, Janet L. 1989. Divine Disenchantment: Deconverting from New Religions.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Nova Religio
36
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Klosinski, Gunther. 1985. Warum Bhagwan? Auf der Suche nach Heimat,
Geborgenheit und Liebe [Why Bhagwan? In search of home, security, and love].
München: Kösel.
Kuner, Wolfgang. 1983. Soziogenese der Mitgliedschaft in drei Neuen Religiösen
Bewegungen [Sociogenesis of membership in three new religious movements].
Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Levine, Saul V. 1978. “Youth and Religious Cults: A Societal and Clinical
Dilemma.” Adolescent Psychiatry 6: 75–89.
Levine, Saul V., and Nancy E. Salter. 1976. “Youth and Contemporary Religious
Movements: Psychosocial Findings.” Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal
21: 411–20.
Martignetti, C. Anthony. 1998. “Gurus and Devotees: Guides or Gods? Pathology
or Faith?” Pastoral Psychology 47: 127–44.
Namini, Sussan, and Sebastian Murken. Forthcoming. “Familial Antecedents
and the Choice of a New Religious Movement: Which Person in Which
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... Rambo, 1993). Idee te zostały skonceptualizowane w paradygmacie [5] nawrócenia jako racjonalnego wyboru (Loveland, 2003), w którym opisuje się ( de-)konwertytę jako osobę dokonującą wyborów na "duchowym rynku" oraz w modelu dopasowania osoba-środowisko, w którym proces nawrócenia jest efektem interakcji między potrzebami, celami, cechami osoby a możliwościami ich realizacji, jakie oferuje konkretna grupa czy system religijny (Murken, Namini, 2007). Koncepcja dekonwersji Streiba jest zakorzeniona w zarysowanej wyżej tradycji badań nad nawróceniem. ...
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1. Haven of Last Resort: Conversion and the Search for Relief.- 2. The Relationship with Authority: Conversion and the Quest for the Perfect Father.- 3. The Infatuation with the Group: Conversion and Social Influence.- 4. Adolescent Conversion and the Search for Identity.- 5. Merger with the Perfect Object: Conversion and the Narcissistic Condition.- 6. Conversion and the Quest for Meaning.- 7. The Transformed Self: Summary and Implications.- Appendix I. Interview.- Appendix II. Interview Scoring.- Appendix III. Discrete Emotions: Scoring Rules.- References.