Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cult: The Little Word that Could, or How to Demonize in One Easy Lesson

I have long had an interest in the sociology of religion and the typologies sociology developed to help it understand religion, an interest that goes back to the 1970s, and I have long had an interest in intellectual polemics and apologetics, including academic polemics and apologetics and the role ideology plays in intellectual academic and polemics. This paper, written in 1998, attempted to bring together, rather like Robert Oppenheimer was able to bring together his obsessions with New Mexico and nuclear physics in the Manhattan Project, my interest in sociological typologies of religion and the ideological underpinnings of the sociology of religion specifically and intellectual and academic culture generally. This essay was originally intended to be the first chapter in my dissertation on Mormonism (part of it did end up in my dissertation). As is clear from this essay my interest in Mormonism was less in Mormonism per se than on cultural ideas about Mormonism, on social theory, and on the sociology of social movements. In this it reflects my long-standing interest in the sociology of knowledge and how we, including we academics, socially and culturally construct our identities, socially and culturally construct our communities, socially and culturally construct our realities and how we, while we are doing this, simultaneously construct our holy and our demonic. I have corrected, or tried to correct misspellings and writing infelicities, and have updated the bibliography. Enjoy.

Today few words evoke such fear and loathing in human hearts and minds as the term “cult”. In eighteenth and nineteenth century America, “Indian” and “Negro” did. In the nineteenth century, “immigrant”, Catholic, and Mormon did. In the early part of the twentieth century, “Red”, “Jew”, and “Negro” did. In the latter part of the twentieth century, “Commie” did. Today “terrorist” does. However, few of these other terms (at least for the moment) have had the staying power that “cult” has. [1]

“Cult”, from the French “culte” and Latin “cultus”, originally referred to “worship”, “care”, and “adoration”. With the triumph of Christianity under Theodosius and its ascendancy to state religion in the Roman Empire and, later in most of Christendom, however, “cult” along with the term “sect” took on negative connotations. “Sects” and “cults” were regarded as heretical and unorthodox by the powers that were. And these powers that were generally had the ability to make their definitions stick. [2]

The persecution of religious groups has a long history in Europe and North America. From the Middle Ages to today many Europeans accused Jews of killing their God and ascribed to them all sorts of perversions from drinking the blood of Christian children to involvement in a political and economic conspiracy to take over the world. During the Middle Ages Christians sought to cleanse “infidel” Muslims from the Holy Land and by the thirteenth century the infamous Inquisition, which sought to cleanse Christianity itself of heresy was in full swing. In the fifteenth century “orthodox” Catholics burned Jan Hus at the stake as a “heretic” and fought wars with his followers. In the sixteenth century both Catholics and Lutherans (who, like the Catholics, held to a belief that church and the state should be one) tortured, mutilated, and killed thousands of Anabaptist “heretics” while Catholic Frenchmen fought and massacred Protestant Frenchmen (Huguenots), Frenchwomen, and French children in a pogrom in Paris that. It was also at this time that the “heretic” Father Miguel Serveto de Villanova (1511-1553) was burned at the stake in Jean Calvin's Protestant theocratic kingdom on the shores of Lake Geneva for his unorthodox views on God and original sin. In the seventeenth century Protestants who themselves sought religious freedom persecuted, tortured, and executed “unorthodox” Quakers in both the Old World and the New. [3]

In nineteenth century America anti-Catholicism, anti-Masonism, anti-Mormonism, and anti-Shakerism were rampant and sometimes brutal and deadly. Catholic monasteries were burned by anti-Catholic crowds in several American cities while a substantial literature accusing Catholics of all sorts of sexual perversions was not uncommon. [4]

Shakers were accused of being a dangerous group that deceptively lured the naïve into a dangerous and unhealthful faith. They were accused of breaking up families, of holding members against their will, of duping converts out of their financial resources, and of elevating Mother Ann Lee to the statue of Christ. Their leaders were said to have abused their authority and to have gained personally from their use of the community’s assets. Critics filed lawsuits against them and occasionally mobbed and beat them. Many attribute Shaker leader “Mother” Ann Lee's early death to the beatings and stonings she endured at the hands of anti-Shaker mobs. [5]

The Oneida Community was harassed by opponents throughout their existence. In Putney, New Hampshire, where the movement began, Noyes and his followers faced protests and possible arrest for “adultery”. Before he could be arrested, Noyes fled to New York. When he and his Putney followers took up residence in the Mansion House at Oneida, New York they faced harassment from their broader and, to a lesser extent, their immediate community. Oneida’s sexual practices were the target of Anthony Comstock's state law aimed at their “immoral works”. And they were the targets of an obscenity bill he convinced the federal government to pass which, among other things, forbade the dissemination of literature dealing with birth control, something widely practiced at Oneida and something which the group evangelized about through their newspapers and books many of which passed through the mail. Oneida was also the target of Professor John Mears of Hamilton College who wrote and preached against the “systematic concubinage” taking place at the community’s Mansion House both of which he classed with evil and uncivilized polygamy. Eventually, Methodists, Baptists, and Congregationalists joined Mears adding their voices to his calls for an end to Oneida “debaucheries”. [6]

Mormons were accused of group think, self-righteousness, abuse, incest, biological devolution, and deviant sexual practices. Members and leaders were attacked, beaten, and tarred and feathered. This Anti-Mormon violence eventually resulted in the assassination of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith by an angry mob in Carthage, Illinois. But this wasn’t the end of it. Even after the Saints immigrated to the valleys of what would become Utah they were hounded by opponents and the American state for their practice of polygamy and their mixing of Church and State. [7]

In the twentieth century Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) were persecuted and attacked on a number of occasions for their “anti-Americanism” during a nativist campaign led by the American Legion. There were 3000 acts of mob violence against JW men, women, and children in forty-five US states, sometimes while law enforcement stood by and watched, doing nothing. In Canada the group was banned by Parliament. Witnesses were beaten, mobbed, and persecuted by the police while JW children were expelled from school for refusing to salute the flag and sing the national anthem. In Nazi Germany Witnesses’ faced persecution from the state for their anti-nationalist activities. Many ended up in concentration camps. [8] In the 1990s Branch Davidians were immolated by the American federal government at their compound near Waco, Texas because they were a “cult”. In the twenty first century Scientologists in Germany and France and a number of Christian and non-Christian groups in Russia are second class citizens with little right to religious freedom. [9]

To try to combat ideological notions of religion grounded in ideas about “orthodoxy” and “heresy” and their very real physical and psychological consequences, sociologists have expended a great deal of time and effort to construct “value-free” definitions of these terms. Weber used “sect” as a term for groups that accepted only religiously qualified individuals into its membership. Troeltsch distinguished between “church”, “sect”, and “mysticism” seeing the first as a conservative institution accommodated to the world and part of the social order, “sect” as an exclusive group in tension with the social order which aspires to perfection and direct fellowship among its members, and “mysticism” as a radical movement uninterested in engaging the world and characterized by spontaneity, iconoclasm, and idealism. Niebuhr followed Troeltsch adding to his categories “denomination”, an institution which has accommodated to the world and which is powerful enough to dominate the social order if it so chooses. Finally Howard Becker added the term “cult”, a loose association of persons characterized by a private and eclectic religiosity, to this typological smorgasbord. [10]

As is so often the case in academia, however, increasing definitional specificity combined with a measure of “objectivity” was hardly the end of the debate about what “church”, “sect”, and “cult” meant. In fact, definitional specificity and attempts at dispassionate analysis seem to have exacerbated the very issue they sought to quiet. The so-called “cult” explosion in the 1960s and 1970s, for instance, led to further debate on just what all of these terms meant, particularly of the term “cult”.

Probably, the most influential recent attempt at clarification of what “church”, “denomination”, “sect”, and “cult” mean has been that of Rodney Stark and William Bainbridge. Stark and Bainbridge saw “churches” as organizations which dominate society (Lutheranism in Sweden, for instance), “denominations” as organizations which accommodate to society (Methodism, for instance), and “sects” as schisms within churches or denominations which attempt to purify the movement and restore it to its “original” form (Conservative Mennonitism, for instance). They delineated three types of “cults”: audience “cults” which were diffuse and little organized (“New Age Movements” such as astrology, for example), client “cults” which were largely therapeutic and magical (est, for instance), and “cult” movements which consisted of full fledged organizations and were evangelical in nature (the Unification Church and Mormonism, for example). “Cults”, for them, were either new (Mormonism) or transplanted religious groups or movements (American forms of Hinduism, and American forms of Buddhism) which were in a tense relationship with the broader social and religious environment in their new milieu (even more than “sects”). [11]

Other scholars dismissed such an “ahistorical” and “typological” approach to “cult” altogether by urging analysts to take a more historical approach to such groups. Roy Wallis, suggested that “cults” were proto-religions. For him all religions, at one time were, “cults”. Over time they routinize and bureaucratize becoming “churches” (Roman and Orthodox Christianity in Europe), “denominations” (Methodists), or established “sects” (the Mennonite Church). [12]

Sociology has not been the only academic discipline interested in divining a neutral and objective definition of “cult”. Psychiatrist Marc Gallanter has advocated a social psychological approach to cults which draws on systems theory and sociobiology. Gallanter asserts that “charismatic cults” are, in most cases, adaptive responses to social pressures and psychiatric disorder. They are, he writes, tight knit social communities, often ideologically distinct from and isolated from the broader social environment, which they regard with suspicion, defensiveness, and paranoia. They are characterized by strong mutual support networks, a strong set of shared beliefs, a strong set of behavioral norms, a strong sense of commitment to fellow members, an emphasis on joint group activities, and a strong uniform routine for group members. They make tough demands on community members and tend to reward uniformity and conformity and punish alienation. Members who fall from the “faith” and are recalcitrant are often scapegoated and become deviant symbols for the community to look down to (shades of Emile Durkheim). [13]

“Cults”, Gallanter writes, tend to emerge at times in which the values of society are felt to be inadequate for addressing major social issues. Charismatic leaders are reputed to be able to offer solutions to these problems and are “marketed” to potential converts on this basis. Converts to “charismatic cults” are generally looking for someone or some thing to help them solve their problems. Individuals who are unhappy due to situational problems, chronic distress, and who have limited ties to family and friends, often find the atmosphere of acceptance and support in these communities a solution to their problems. Conversion is usually an emotional experience for converts offering them a release from this neurotic distress replacing it with a feeling of well-being. They are thus adaptive in psychological terms and Gallanter argues that converts to the “Divine Light Mission” and the “Unification Church” experienced a decline in neurotic disorder symptoms. [14]

As time goes by, notes Gallanter, the initial zealous phase in the life of charismatic cults declines. With this they then can now move in several potential directions. They can bureaucratize in the process transferring the original charismatic qualities of the leader to the group's leadership hierarchy. They can assimilate into broader society or move into direct conflict with the surrounding society by emphasizing their ideological differences from “mainstream” society promoting their isolation from it. This last alternative can lead to violence. In such situations marginal groups, on occasion, will migrate in order to avoid violent conflict with that broader society (a la English Quakers and European Anabaptists). [15]

Not everyone was happy with the typological cottage industry that has so typified sociological and social psychological discussions of “church”, “sect”, and “cult”. James Beckford argues, for instance, that the church”/”denomination”/”sect”/”cult” typology has made religion into something singularly distinct from other ostensibly similar organizational forms. He urges analysts to view religion as just another organizational type and analyze it as such. [16]

Moreover, the very concepts of “church”, “denomination”, “sect”, and “cult” are, as several commentators note, inherently ambiguous and fluid. To take one example, Mormonism, as Stark and Bainbridge recognize, is a “church” in the Mormon Culture Region because it dominates the social and cultural landscape of that region, a “denomination in Missouri, where the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (today the Community of Christ) formed, a “cult” in the minds of many nineteenth century and contemporary “mainstream” Christians, and is finally a “sect” when we are speaking of the many fundamentalist Mormon groups trying to restore “original” Mormonism in the Mormon Culture Region and beyond. Religious historian Sydney Ahlstrom was so confused by Latter-day Saints that he admitted that he thought Mormonism could rightly be labeled a people, a denomination, a church, a sect, a mystery cult, a new religion, and an American subculture all at the same time. But can a single group be all of these at once? And if it can, does this mean that the terms are too broad to have any precise meaning and hence are of little use? [17]

Despite all their best efforts to de-demonize terms like “sect” and “cult” historical, sociological, and psychological analysis of “sects” and “cults” has largely been characterized by a sometimes overt and sometimes underlying normative conception of these terms. Utilizing the language of “hard” medical, psychiatric, and communication “science”, some analysts have seen “sects” and “cults” as the charismatic products of confidence men and women and, more recently, as abusive to humans and hence dangerous to their health. Historian G.R. Elton, for instance, describes sixteenth century Anabaptism in his once standard synthesis on the Reformation as a “violent phenomenon born out of irrational and psychologically unbalanced dreams resting on a denial of reason and the elevation of the belief in direct inspiration which enables men to do as they please”. [18] Norman Cohn characterizes mediaeval Christian apocalyptic groups as part of the lunatic fringe of Europe. But he doesn’t stop there. For Cohn, modern day Leninism was part and parcel of the same lunatic fringe, a lunatic fringe that invariably led to Terror, mass murder, and genocide. [19]

This psychological, psychiatric, or medical model has not only been applied to Mediaeval and Reformation Christian groups, it has been applied to religious revivalism for at least a century. As Leigh Eric Schmidt notes many analysts of American religious revivals have often seen these and the behaviors they produce in abnormal psychological terms and played these behaviors up or down depending upon their ideological bias. William Warren Sweet, for instance, downplayed the “emotional excesses” of the camp meetings and was “dubious” about the behaviors associated with them, just what you’d expect from an upstanding “civilized” Methodist of the twentieth century. Evolutionary psychologist Frederick Morgan Davenport saw them as the nervous remnants of “uncivilized” and “primitive” religion while John Berecz connected revivalist behaviors to those associated with Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorders pointing up the naturalistic bias underlying his approach to religious behavior and ideology. [20]

Pyschological and psychiatric explanations have long been applied to the study of a number of new religious movements including Mormonism. Fawn Brodie’s No Man Knows My History argues that Smith was a manipulative megalomaniac who was increasingly unable to distinguish fantasy from reality and whose sexual excesses played a major part in destroying him. Anne Felt Tyler sees Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith as a con man. Louis Kern perceives the Mormon practice of “the Principle” of polygamy as simply Joseph Smith’s personal response to the familial and sexual ambiguity of early nineteenth century. Lawrence Foster speculates that Smith may have been a manic-depressive. Charles Sellers portrays Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith as a fraud, a shyster, and a trickster, and suggests that LDS theology, with its characteristic patriarchalism, resulted from a kind of “male panic” caused by the economic dislocations in family structure that were again brought about by the transformations wrought by the Erie Canal. [21]

Probably the most popular, influential, and visible book utilizing this approach to explore a number of recent social and religious groups, however, has been Snapping, a book co-authored by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman. [22] Conway and Siegelman trace what they call an “epidemic of sudden personality change” in the United States, to the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Americans, they write, disillusioned with the increasingly meaningless affluence of a technocratic, organizational society, and over stimulated by the information overload of the mass production, mass consumption and mass media society of the modern world, began to look to eastern philosophies, therapeutic techniques, and the new movements, eastern philosophies, therapeutic techniques, (est, the Unification Church, Scientology), and drugs popular during this period to provide meaning in their lives. These new authoritarian movements (and they do paint all “cults” with this broad totalitarian brush), along with new Christian “cults” like I Found It, The Way, and the Children of God, likewise interested in “converts”, turned to personality changing techniques, mind or thought control, and the marketing strategies of American advertisers in order to maintain membership and grow. These methods caused consumers minds to “snap”, caused them, in other words, to have a traumatic experience (often seen as higher state of consciousness, a mystical breakthrough, enlightenment, etc., by the snapee) and subsequently to have a break in their continuity of awareness (a breakdown in information processing in the brain of the person “snapped”). [23]

“Snapping”, claim Conway and Siegelman, was and is behind the growth in “cult” membership. It was also behind the devotion of “the Family” to Charles Manson, the transformation of David Berkowitz into “Son of Sam” and the metamorphosis of Patty Hearst into “Tanya”, revolutionary soldier in the Symbionese Liberation Army (“sects” meet “cults” meet serial killers meet “terrorists”). [24]

According to Conway and Siegelman, “snapping” results in detachment, a lack of emotion, hallucinations, a vulnerability to suggestion, and the transformation of life habits, family relationships, beliefs, and values of the snapee. “Snapping” leads to self-destructive and often, in extreme circumstances, criminal behavior. To maintain control of those who have “snapped”, groups or individuals manipulating the snapee use sleep deprivation, food deprivation, threats, lies, manipulations, a sense of false caring, ideologies which assert that the convert will find happiness and fulfillment in their new “family”, and they play on convert fears. Conway and Siegelman emphasize that those who have “snapped” can be “cured” through “deprogramming”, a technique used to “recover” the original personality of the snapee, or, though not as quickly or successfully, through psychiatric care and, if the occasion demands it, mental health hospital care and medication. [25]

Running along a track parallel to this “value-free” social science and the ostensibly positivist medical-psychiatric science of the mind was one that was not so value neutral and which drew extensively on the medical-psychiatric model. Evangelical sociologist Ronald Enroth, taking a perspective very similar to Conway and Siegelman, argues that “extremist” “cults” (the mindbending mercenaries of misery which, unlike Conway and Siegelman, Enroth distinguishes from non-extremist cults though he doesn't quite say why) are characterized by authoritarianism, members who hail from the upper and middle classes, and the use of thought control techniques (like Conway and Siegelman, Enroth draws on Robert Lifton’s research on Chinese brain washing techniques during the Korean War here). “Extremist cults” (which Enroth, unlike Conway and Siegelman, notes are not novel), he writes, force members to cut ties with family and friends, give up their possessions to the group, forge new identities, and replace their old “families” with their new “cult” family. “Extremist cults” utilize group pressure, sleep and food deprivation, isolation, sensory bombardment, manichean ideologies, and fear to keep and maintain “believers”. They demand a great deal of their “followers”. [26]

In good reformist social science fashion Enroth urges concerned citizens and the state to reunite families and free the fettered minds of “cult” captives. Also, being the good evangelical Christian he appears to be, Enroth refers to “extremist cults” as “spiritual counterfeits” and “demonic conspiracies” out to “subvert “the true gospel of Jesus Christ” For Enroth, Satan seems to the founder of such unwholesome extremist groups. [27]

Not surprisingly, devotees of these various approaches to “cults” rarely (if ever) seem to talk to one another. Sociologists are aware of some of the analyses that come out of the other camps and often refer to the religious and medical-psychological devotees as “anti-cultists”. Those in the religious camp refer to sociologists who disagree with them as “cult apologists” and borrow heavily from the medical-psychology camp because the conclusions they reach are easily assimilated into and consistent with conservative Christian claims about evil “cults”. The medical-psychological camp often seek support from the religious camp, while generally ignoring what is going on in the sociological camp, except when they want to criticize its practitioners. It's all rather like a cross between a culture war, a turf battle, and groups of monads orbiting around each other all the while being unable to talk to one another (a la a famous New Yorker illustration illustrating in human form Leibniz’s theory of monads). To put it another way, the “languages” these groups speak, while they intersect at certain points (they all use the term “cult” for instance), are, by and large, so different that communication between them is difficult and consensus is virtually impossible. Perhaps this is a consequence of a social and cultural setting which has compartmentalized disciplines into specialized knowledges and discourses and a segmented labor knowledge market that is highly specialized. This might not be such a problem if all of these camps propagated and evangelized rather innocuous views and if they all had a limited relationship to power, the legal apparatus, and the mass media. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. [28]

All of these approaches to “cults”, in fact, have impacted and influenced broader communities. Sociological approaches have long influenced historical and sociological analyses of new and old religious groups. Conway and Siegelman have had an impact on the anti-cult movement, the mental health community, and the media. The DSM III, for instance, the manual used by psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists in the 1980s to diagnose mental illness, ascribed “atypical dissociative disorder” to “cults” and proposed treatments to “cure” this “disorder. Enroth’s approach harmonizes well with an evangelical community that sees itself as normative and anything unlike it as a form of religious or secular heresy. [29]

While no one could or should mistake this Evangelical “cult” analysis as “value-free” social research unless, of course, one is already a believing Evangelical, [30] Sociologists and social psychologists do want readers to take their discourse for “value-free” social scientific analysis. And one must admit that compared with the language coming out of the religious camp it is “neutral” and “objective”. It is also relatively harmless representing, as it does, the intellectual and academic mania for typologising and categorising. While categorization reflects the power of the knowledge class to categorize, it is a power, at least in this case, which is relatively harmless and often quite humane. It has led many sociologists to strongly promote the civil, religious, and human rights of “cults” and “cult” members in a variety of settings [31]. Still, many in the sociological camp do nevertheless share an explicit or implicit view that “cults” are “abnormal” in a historical and social sense. Deprivation and status anxiety theories, with their assumptions that social stresses lead directly to social pathologies assume the existence a “normal” and “functional” social system against which “cult” movements are contrasted and assumed to be “dysfunctional”. This terminology, borrowed to some extent from biological science by a whole host of analysts ranging from Social Darwinists to Functionalists like Talcott Parsons, is confusing and may be both theoretically problematic. Other theories delineate (if largely on a statistical and historical basis) a group of “mainstream denominations” and counterpoint these to “alternative” or “marginal” “cults” and “sects” that likewise hover in the nether regions of American society and culture (and which they and others sometimes romanticize) and are often in tension with it. While it may be possible to construct a notion of “normal” (means, modes, medians) and “deviant” (outliers) from statistical data, we must simultaneously explore the social and cultural construction of both the notion of “mainstream” and “non-mainstream” over time and across space (in “humanist”, “qualitative” and “statistical” social scientific discourses). [32]

Unfortunately, it has probably been the former with their organic and biological metaphors which have been the most influential in historical and sociological analyses. For example, the Brodie, Tyler, Kern, and Sellers portraits of Joseph Smith noted earlier seem more caricature and stereotype than flesh and blood historical analysis of Mormonism and its founder. In fact, these analyses are so caricatured and stereotyped that they seem to be simply modern versions of the polemics associated with the anti-Mormon cottage industry that arose almost simultaneously with Mormonism in the 1830s. By assuming that Mormon religious experiences are patently ludicrous and that the Mormon Prophet was a neurotic, calculating fraud and a swindler Brodie, Tyler, Kern, and Sellers are simply unable to approach Mormonism and Joseph Smith with a measure of sympathy and neutrality and thereby grasp the deeply held religious motivations of believers. And even if one does assume that those “bumpkins” who became Mormons were hoodwinked by the master swindler Joseph Smith and his partners in crime, one needs to describe the process by which this massive con game succeeded and how it created new identities for its members in the process. Unfortunately, none of these commentators do this. In the end the mainstream/outsider categorizations Brodie, Tyler, Kern, and Sellers work in and the marginalizations they lead to raise questions about whether religious stereotypes and caricatures based on underlying assumptions about rationality and common sense are far more common in the groves of academe than they should be. [33]

In fact, the questionable use of evidence, questions about whether any evidence is being used at all, and the tendency toward reductionism and fetishisation are common complaints about and common problems in psychohistorical and psychobiographical analyses of religious movements. Lawrence Foster admits that his speculation that Smith may have been manic depressive is tenuous. What little documentary evidence he found to back up his conclusions—and much of this comes from anti-Mormon texts—is, in the final analysis, a taking over of anti-Mormon rhetoric which attempted to undermine Mormonism by asserting that their leader was mentally unstable. A similar problem undermines one recent book on the American New Left of the 1960's and foregrounds the ideological bias that is often at the heart of psychohistory and psychobiography. In that book Rothman and Lichter go so far to assert that the average 1960s New Leftist was a self-hating, sexually inadequate narcissist with a declining ego who was motivated by irrational power drives. As was the case with Erik Erikson's psychobiography of Luther and R.G.L. Waite's psychobiography of Hitler, Rothman’s and Lichter's book has been quite controversial and criticized, amongst other things, for engaging in speculation that goes beyond the available evidence. Such speculations, of course, often tell us more about the analysts and their assumptions than they do about the supposed subjects of analysis. [34]

Richard Anderson's approach with its developmental emphasis and its assertions that one can discern in the Book of Mormon the various egos and alter egos that Smith knowingly and unknowingly wrote into that document, would, on the surface, seem resistant to many of the criticisms leveled at the psychohistories since it avoids the discourse of sociopathology which is too often characteristic of scholarly attempts to deconstruct Mormon mass psychology. However, his analysis raises the same questions problematic psychohistories do, namely that of the use of sources as well as the issue of the role broader cultural and historical forces and contexts play in the construction of individual minds. In terms of sources, the only evidence Anderson can offer in support of his thesis, and the psychological assumptions which underlie it, is the very text he claims that is the product of Smith's mind, the Book of Mormon. Given this one invariably wonders whether this reconstructed mind is more that of the books academic interpreter than the presumed author of the text. After all, Smith wasn’t the only one who said he saw the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was “translated”. Eight others claimed to have been shown the Golden Plates. Mormonism was a social and cultural movement and the Book of Mormon may disclose its cultural contexts more than it reveals the projection of one powerless American mind from early nineteenth century that Anderson claims. [35]

It is not only psychohistory and psychobiography that gets mired in the muck of ideological bias and questions of what is “normal” and what is “abnormal”. The medical/psychiatric model Conway and Siegelman base their analysis on has similar problems as well. Conway and Siegelman, like Parsons and others before and after them, are clearly borrowing metaphors from biological science which are functional in nature and applying them to social and cultural life. This might not be so dangerous if it weren't for the fact that, on occasion, classifications grounded in such ideological forms become part of the academic-public “curative” discourse and practice of psychiatry as I noted earlier. [36]

Conway and Siegelman would almost certainly agree with the DSM III classification of “cults” noted above and take satisfaction that the psychological and psychiatric community they once criticized for inactivity in the war against “cults” had finally taken a stand and seen the light (if only for a short season). “Cults” and therapeutic groups are, they claim, abnormal because behaviors associated with them (detachment, a lack of emotion, hallucinations, a vulnerability to suggestion, and the transformation of life habits, family relationships, beliefs, and values) are, abnormal, unhealthy, and physically and mentally dangerous. [37]

All of this raises a host of questions. While specific individuals do experience mental illness (whatever the etiology—biological, social, cultural, the product of an interaction between the individual human organism and its broader social and cultural environments) is it possible to describe societies or social groups as “abnormal”, “insane”, “mentally ill”, “pathological”, “neurotic”? While some social groups and social movements, and their leaders, do manipulate members what society and organization doesn't?

In the end I find the Conway and Siegelman book a frustrating one. On the one hand, there is much to admire in the book. It is grounded in a conception of experience, communication, information processing, and personality construction that is attentive to historical change and cross-cultural variation. It recognizes that history, culture, and social forces are a major component of personality construction and it recognizes that personalities can change over time. Additionally, it points to specific methods a number of social and cultural groups and even nation-states use to manipulate their members or their citizens.

On the other hand, their conception of communication and information processing is far too naively positivist, far too inattentive to multivocality, and far too inattentive to the variety historical, social, and cultural factors which have influenced the construction of human personalities. Despite the fact that Conway and Siegelman recognize that cultures and hence personalities vary cross-culturally, and that historical circumstances within cultures lead to variation, they remain wedded to a normative notion of communication, information processing, and personality within cultures that distinguishes “normal” or healthy personalities from “abnormal” or unhealthy ones. For them a healthy personality expresses itself in involvement, emotional display, invulnerability to suggestion, and consistent life habits, family relationships, beliefs, and values (the opposite of the characteristics they ascribe to abnormal personalities). [38]

While Conway and Siegelman note that the unhealthy personality characteristics of “cult” members were products of changes in American social and cultural life in the 1960s and 1970s (though they do point to important changes in the 1920s through 1960s that prepared the ground for “cults”), one is not sure whether fundamental characteristics like those noted above, change as society changes. For example can one argue that as changes in society and culture occur, new personalities arise which are adaptive in new social circumstances? Even if we accept a functionalist notion that a core of positive personality characteristics remain static over time in one particular culture formation, and that one can delineate positive and negative personalities in the first place (a big, and ultimately fallacious assumption) within specific cultural groups, the question arises as to whether “cult” or therapeutic groups are themselves functional in a subcultural or countercultural kind of way. [39]

The interviews Conway and Siegelman conducted indicate over and over again that “cults” and therapeutic groups do offer positive and functional psychological comfort or healing to those who joined them, something Galanter points out as I noted earlier. “Lawrence” and “Cathy Gordon” spoke of how they were “seeing the world in its proper perspective” when they became members of the Unification Church. “Jean Turner” spoke of how Transcendental Meditation relieved her from stress and how her first encounter group experience was a pleasant one. [40]

It is these interviews that point to another major problem with the book. The interviews conducted by Conway and Sieglman are drawn almost exclusively from individuals who were once in a cult and who have now been reborn and see their ex-”cult” and ex-therapeutic group life in negative hues or who are long term anti-cultists. They are, in other words, strongly biased. The former “cult” or therapy group members they interviewed are dissidents who have been “deprogrammed” (or would it be more accurate to say newly programmed?) or “cured” and who now see “cults” and therapy groups in a negative light. “Anti-cultists” are well, “anti-cultists (for whatever reason). They simply don't like “cults” or therapy groups. Constructing an analysis of “cult” and therapeutic groups on the shaky sand of the “testimony” of dissident former members or “anti-cultists” is as problematic as constructing a history of the United States from interviews with “anti-Americans” or a history of the Soviet Union from interviews with Soviet dissidents, anti-Bolshevik Russian aristocrats, or American “anti-commies”. This is an inherent bias that can only be counteracted by interviewing and studying members who remain in the groups under study and remain satisfied with the groups under investigation. [41]

Unfortunately, Conway and Siegelman do not undertake such interviews or analysis because (and this undermines their claims of being scientific and objective) they (in good deductive fashion) assume that “cult” members are suffering from information disease and personality disorders. The problem with this deductive position is that those who have studied “cults” from the inside have found that “cults” are not all that successful at conversion. Ninety percent of those who attend Unification Church seminars (the same seminars that Conway and Siegelman claim cause individuals to “snap”) did not join the movement. Nor are they all that successful at retaining members: the Unification Church has a large turnover rate and a core membership of around ten thousand souls. It is difficult to think of a group with such “success” rates as a nefarious conspiracy to take over the world through mind control techniques. One can only wonder whether Conway and Siegelman are exaggerating the threat of “cults” and therapeutic groups to the American Way of Life for personal reasons or even manufacturing the threat. [42]

Conway and Siegelman are rather quick to uncritically accept the credibility of “cult” dissidents and “anti-cult” activists and to use their “testimonials” to construct a melodramatic narrative in which good dissident ex-”cult” members and critical “anti-cultists” square off against evil “cult” leaders and their mindless minions for control of the world. (Conway and Siegelman play the role of academic “prophets” warning the world of an impending mental apocalypse). And they do this very effectively through the use of a rhetorical/demagogic strategy that counterpoints stories of heartbroken parents (who simply want to help their (adult) children return to a “normal” state) and the heroic deprogrammers who help them, against the shadowy, conspiracy ridden world of “cult” and therapeutic groups that threaten our way of life and which seeks to conquer America and the world through devious mind “snapping” means. In this tale “cults” and therapeutic groups have become the equivalent of what “commies” were to Joseph McCarthy and what Jews have often been to the Christian Church. [43]

What makes this “cult”/”commie” connection even more tangible is the fact that Conway and Siegelman are drawing on, transforming, and extending cold war fears of “evil godless commie” totalitarianism and brainwashing. Conway and Siegelman see “cults”, therapeutic groups, and Madison Avenue advertising firms as manipulative mind bending groups who are using lies, misrepresentation, false affection, the promise of fulfillment, discussion, and debate (just as those “evil godless” Communist Chinese did to American POWs during the Korean War) to take over the world. The narrative themes underlying Conway's and Siegelman's analysis are the spitting image of what they accuse cults of, namely, using manipulation to gain control of human hearts and minds. [44]

And then there is the issue of the language Conway and Siegelman use to describe these “cults”. Too often our “objective” scientists refer to these groups as “strange” and “bizarre”. For instance, in their discussion of types of “information disease” Conway and Siegelman refer to Hare Krishnas as having “strange appearance and practices”. Apparently, for Conway and Siegelman they are “strange” because they wear clothing that has an Indian origin. In other words, Conway and Siegelman universalize the “American Way” of fashion and judge other styles as “normal” or “strange” by that standard (are they in need of the noted twelve step fetishisers anonymous program?). Krishnas are “strange” because they do not wear what “normal” red, white, and blue Americans do. [45]

Finally, Conway and Siegelman's analysis is hurt because of its limited attentiveness to specific social and historical contexts of “cult” action (a phenomenon due, in large part, to their uncritical acceptance of “cult” dissident and “anti-cult” discourse). They miss the fact that “cults” are not a phenomena peculiar to 1960s and 70s America and Western Europe. As Wallis points out, as we noted earlier, what are now “mainstream religions” were once “cults”. Christianity was a “new religious movement”. Mormonism began as an “alternative religious movement”. Islam was once a “fringe religious movement”. The Baha'i Faith was once a “cult”. Each of these social groups experienced a historical trajectory in which they moved from a “charismatic” period with a “charismatic” leader to a point at which they became a rational bureaucratic institution complete with a routinized belief system [46].

Moreover, “cults” are constantly arising in both North America and Western Europe. The nineteenth century saw the rise of Spiritualism, Theosophy, “New Thought”, and a flowering of Eastern religions and philosophies among the intellectual elite of Western Europe and North America (does this mean that mass society and culture with its information overload is not the culprit? Or has mind overload been going on for longer than Conway and Siegelman realize). It is in their analysis of the Peoples Temple, however, where this selective historical amnesia really becomes particularly evident. [47]

Conway and Siegelman see the Peoples Temple as a scheme devised by founder and leader Jim Jones to create a socialist utopia all the while masquerading in the guise of a more palatable Christian fundamentalism. For them Jones is a scam artist whose “snapping” abilities were limited making it necessary for him to resort to verbal and physical violence and isolation in order to run his scam (the standard tools of classic brainwashing). [48]

Their story is a sad moral tale of unsung heroes and unheard prophets warning the public and the US government of the dangers of Jim Jones and the church he had founded. The problem with this scenario is that it ignores certain important aspects of Peoples Temple history. While vocal ex-members did play critical roles in the drama, the roles they played were not always positive. They lobbied the media (who know a potentially sensationalist story when they see one) and government officials at several levels to look into the finances and life style of the Temple. In fact, one of the sources Conway and Siegelman relied on, Grace Stoen, was fighting a legal battle with Jones over custody of her son, John and had a personal and ideological interest in having others look into the affairs of the group and of seeing them in a particular light. [49]

These attacks on Jones and his parishioners were not isolated incidents. Since his days in Indianapolis, Jones and his members had been subject to racist and political attack. Jones was strongly anti-racist, integrationist, and leftist (and he was sympathetic to communism—not necessarily the thing to be in Indiana at that, or really any other, time in the Hoosier state). The religious community he established reflected these beliefs. It was integrationist, anti-racist, and leftist in rhetoric and practice. Because of this the church drew (often unwanted) attention. It was, in sum, quite controversial.

Because it stirred up controversy Jones and his followers fled Indiana for the more “liberal” golden shores of Northern California in 1965. In California they involved themselves in social activism and politics. They ran a “human services” ministry of “care” homes for juveniles and the elderly, they supported the political candidacy of left-liberal George Moscone, and were instrumental in his electoral victory. They were also communal.

These activities brought them to the attention of both the media and the state and federal governments. The 1960s and 1970s was a time when a number of federal and state agencies spied on and often had plants within groups on the left. There were rumors that the Temple itself was under investigation for tax evasion as early as 1975. Then in 1977 American Indian Movement activist and Temple friend Dennis Banks learned that the U.S Treasury was investigating (at the instigation of reporter George Klineman) the Temple's tax situation. Faced with what they felt was a governmental threat, the Peoples Temple began migrating (a tried and true method of a number of oppositional social movements like the Anabaptists and Quakers) to land they had purchased in Guyana. [50]

After the migration Jonestown's increasingly more organized opponents continued to feed information to the media and federal government investigators. Those who had left their children with the Peoples Temple when they defected began turning to the courts in order to try to regain custody of their young. When state investigations and court actions stalled, the “Organized Relatives” began turning to political pressure and public relations campaigns. They urged the embassy in Guyana to check on evidence of mass starvation and torture and imprisonment. The agency found no mass starvation or no torture.

But that didn’t stop the relatives groups. Eventually, they began to pin all their hopes on what Leo Ryan, a San Mateo congressman who had long been sympathetic to the “anti-cult” movement, might do for them. Ryan had asked Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to investigate Jonestown in December 1977. The State Department refused saying that the situation did not warrant any action. So in November of 1978 Ryan, a freelance reporter, an NBC camera crew, and several “Concerned Relatives” went to Jonestown as part of a congressional delegation. As is well known, that trip ended in tragedy. In the end, Ryan, reporter Don Harris, and defector Patricia Parks lay dead from Temple attacks, while 912 members of the Peoples Temple committed mass suicide by drinking a kind of kool-aid cocktail. [51]

There is no doubt that Jones became more and more paranoid as time went on. Perhaps, given the opposition to his church he had good cause to be paranoid, however. There is no doubt that some of Jones's methods and actions were “abusive”. In the end, one can't help but wonder what Temple history would have been like if they had not been in almost constant conflict with those less liberal around them, media, the federal government, and oppositional groups of dissidents and “anti-cultists”.

Of course, sociological typology and aberrant individual or social psychology have not been the only way commentators have tried to uncover the collective psychology of social groups. Some have attempted to focus on broader cultural contexts in order to delineate the national characters or the collective psychological spirit of an age in a particular social and cultural group. Drawing on Turner's frontier thesis and de Tocqueville's observations and arguments in Democracy in America, David Potter argues that the character of white Americans has been dominated by an egalitarianism which, combined with American abundance, gave rise to both individualism and idealism, materialism and conformity. Potter asserts that equality meant different things to different people. For some it meant that all Americans had an equal opportunity for success. For others it meant an equality expressed in the idea of the dignity of humankind. To assume the former opportunity egalitarians had to explain away the influence wealth had in the United States and the differences in influence that resulted from these wealth differences. Those who assumed the latter had to play up an egalitarianism in which no one could or should see himself or herself as superior to any other American. This second thread thus downplayed class and status differences in American society and culture and gave rise to two strains of American egalitarianism: a utopian strain which idealistically predicted that in America everyone could achieve a high material standard of living and a conformism strain which emphasized that to question the opinion of others was to assert that you were more intelligent and hence better than those you questioned. [52]

Edward Pessen offers a rather different portrait of American national character in the Jackson Era. Drawing on the writings of foreign travelers to the United States in the early nineteenth century, Pessen paints a picture of Jackson Era in which white Americans are hospitable, friendly, open, cordial, generous, benevolent, impolite, curious, humorless, dull, cold (especially in New England), cruel (their treatment of slaves and First Peoples), racist, unsympathetic to poor people, violent (especially in the South and on the frontier), selfish, full of self doubts, thin skinned, boastful, ethnocentric, ripe with regional ethnocentrisms and hatreds, complainers, practical, clever but not profound, conversationally ungifted, interested in the latest scandals, given to believing the worst, conformists who followed the majority opinion, joiners, migratory, restless, inveterate slouches, inveterate spitters, excessive drinkers, gamblers, inveterate speculators, gluttons, unrefined, egalitarian believing that each person was as good as any other, hypocrites, prudish, materialistic, displayers of their wealth, snobs, opportunists, amoral, shrewd, social climbers, disrespectful of tradition, disrespectful of the law, disrespectful of learning and intellectual accomplishment, and contemptuous of life. Pessen recognizes the contradictory nature of this portrayal and suggests that this was primarily the result of variations in wealth and locality (urban versus rural and New England versus the South versus the West). Drawing on Tocqueville's Democracy in America, he asserts that the egalitarian and democratic rhetoric of Americans, a rhetoric sometimes overemphasized by foreign observers, drew attention away from the fact that Americans were a breed of bigoted, cruel, vain, boastful, self-possessed, anti-intellectual, and hypocritical yet pragmatic materialistic conformers. [53]

As Alex Inkeles points out, national character studies are often too general and too broad in their focus. In this instance as in others, both Potter's and Pessen's delineation of national characteristics are so broad as to raise questions about their usefulness in delineating the collective characteristics of any era. Questions can also be raised about whether white regional subcultural and countercultural groups in Jacksonian America shared the same national characteristics as those of mainstream American society. Did Mormons and the Oneida Community, for instance, share the same collective personality with urban Irish workers, urban elites, Presbyterians in rural New York, “men on the make”, white Southern plantation owners, and Tammany Hall elected officials? Additionally they raise the question of why the frontier, if it was the crucible of American democracy, gave rise to egalitarian ideologies, like those of the Oneida Community, and anti-democratic ideologies like those of the frontier Mormons. Finally, if we assume that the frontier is irrelevant to American character, national character studies which paint in broad strokes raise the question of why both Mormons and the Oneida Community instituted sexual and marriage practices so opposed to the “prudish” character of American society Pessen notes? [54]

Here, as in earlier psychobiographies, the question of the utilization of sources, particularly in the case of Pessen, becomes an issue. Are foreign the travel accounts which specify American personality characteristics really neutral sources from which to derive white American character? Pessen admits that some are problematic but argues that those he used share a degree of analytical and interpretive “objectivity”? The question remains, however, how Pessen made such a determination.

To try to overcome the questions surrounding the broad character of much national personality analysis some analysts have focused on specific aspects of Jacksonian character or Jacksonian social psychology. Michael Rogin and Ronald Takaki, drawing extensively on the former, have used psychoanalytic concepts to argue that the hatred of First Peoples so common to the era was grounded in an infantile disorder. White Americans, they argue, saw First Peoples as an ever-migrating childlike and backward people of the “uncivilized” and “uncultivated” forest (they saw themselves, of course, as civilizers). White Antebellum White Americans, they claim, projected or grafted their own savagery onto Native Americans and, in the process, managed to blame the victim (First Peoples) as well as the march of history, for their own genocide. One wonders whether psychoanalytic theory is really necessary for an understanding of white “Indian hatred” in this case when a cultural explanation would suffice just as well if not better. In other words, one person’s emphasis on the role cultural ethnocentrism played in the genocide of First Peoples is better than another person's emphasis on psychoanalytic projection. [55]

Most psychoanalytically or psychologically oriented analyses point up a fundamental problem with psychological and psychoanalytic theorizing—its tendency to fetishise and then universalize the western mind and its “disabilities” or “abnormalities”. The culture and personality school prominent during and after the Second World War tried to confront these issues head on. They sought to relate personality traits and the symbolic aspects of culture to the specifics of parent-child relationships. Their tendency to emphasize and universalize the impact of different swaddling techniques or toilet training methods leaves much to be desired, however. Nancy Chodorow's not uncontroversial and unproblematic updating of this approach which uses a developmental model to link gender differences to childhood enculturation and socialization is, at least to me, a more compelling model since it is less reductive and more historically and culturally sensitive. [56]

In her essay on the ritualistic culture of nineteenth century white middle class women, Smith-Rosenberg argues that we need to leave psychoanalytic and psychological conceptions of “normality” and “abnormality” behind and concentrate instead on cultural norms and cultural options. Marvin Meyers, and John William Ward, try to do just this by isolating and analyzing what they believe to be the dominant cultural forms and ideological structures they say characterized Jacksonian America. Ward argues that Jackson symbolized, for white Americans at the time, the heroic but brutal anti-intellectual self-made man who, with the help of divine providence, willed his way to transcendence of the natural order of things and, in the process, made manifest America's destiny. Marvin Meyers, on the other hand, sees Jacksonians as paradoxical, as both primitivists who wanted to restore America to its Jeffersonian gentlemen farmers, and, at the same time, as utopians who hoped to bring about a laissez-faire paradise. Again, issues of generality, consistency, and sources become paramount in analyzing these interpretations. [57]

In the end all of this makes one wonder whether we should jettison terms like “church”, “denomination”, “sect”, and “cult” as they are used by historians, sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and the media today, notions of social and cultural “normality” and “abnormality”, and social psychological conceptions of national or group character and concentrate instead on the history and culture of social groups and social movements. Processes related to group origins, including sectarianisation, are indeed important—both Jim Jones and Joseph Smith, for instance, were attempting to recover the spirit and doctrines of the primitive church and, as Lawrence Friedman has shown one can approach the figures in the abolition movement in upstate New York in a historically and culturally sensitive way and discover, in the process, how the collective characters of groups or cells which sprung up around William Lloyd Garrison, Arthur Tappan, and Gerritt Smith were the products, in part, of interactions between these cells and the tensions between community and individualism in their ideologies and practices within them. [58] Regardless of how much weight we give to psychologies, individual or collective, however, it is important, nevertheless, to also be critically attentive to academic labeling and categorization (particularly those that filter out into the mass media, governmental circles and popular consciousness). After all, academic labeling and categorization can be hazardous to the collective health of “marginal” social groups, just ask the Mormons who were attacked again and again for their “un-Christian” and “un-American” character. And just ask the Branch Davidians who were labeled a dysfunctional “cult” and whose leader, David Koresh, was called a “con-man” by the “anti-cult experts” on whom the FBI primarily relied. [59]

End Notes
1. Michael Rogin; Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), James Aho; This Thing of Darkness: A Sociology of the Enemy (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994), Richard Drinnon; Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hatred and Empire Building (NYC: Schocken, 1980), Thomas Gossett; Race: The History of an Idea in America (NYC: Schocken, 1965), David Bennett; The Party of Fear: The American Far Right from Nativism to the Militia Movement (NYC: Vintage, revised and updated edition, 1995), John Higham; Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925 (NYC: Vintage, 1963), Dale Knobel; “America for the Americans”: The Nativist Movement in the United States (NYC: Twayne, 1996), Richard Hofstadter; The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1965), Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab; The Politics of Unreason: Right-Wing Extremism in America, 1790-1970 (NYC: Harper and Row, 1970), Roger Daniels; The Politics of Prejudice (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1962), William Preston; Aliens and Dissenters: American Suppression of Radicals 1903-1933 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, second edition, 1985), Robert Goldstein; Political Repression in Modern American: From 1870 to 1976 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, second edition, 1991), Daniel Bell (ed.); The Radical Right (Garden City, NY.: Anchor, 1964) Catherine McNichol Stock; Rural Radicals: From Bacon's Rebellion to the Oklahoma City Bombing (NYC: Penguin, 1996), Patricia Cayo Sexton; The War on Labor and the Left: Understanding America's Unique Conservativism (Boulder, CO.:Westview, 1991), Richard Gid Powers; Not Without Honor: The History of American Anticommunism (New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press, Conn., 1995), Robert Murray; Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920 (NYC: McGraw-Hill, 1955), Ellen Schrecker; Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (NYC: Little, Brown, 1998), Betty Dobratz and Stephanie Shanks-Meile; The White Separatist Movement in the United States: White Power, White Pride (Baltimore, MD.: Johns Hopkins University, Mary., revised edition, 2000), Roy Billington; The Protestant Crusade: A Study in the Origins of American Nativism, 1800-1860 (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1952), Donald Kinzer; An Episode in Anti-Catholicism: The American Protective Association (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1964), David Brion Davis; “Some Themes of Counter-Subversion: An Analysis of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Catholic, and Anti-Mormon Literature”, Mississippi Valley Historical Review 47 (September 1960), pp. 205-224, and Nancy Cott; Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), pp. 128-131. Fear and paranoia hasn’t only been a monopoly of “the radical right”. On left paranoia see Richard Ellis; The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998). On the construction of deviance see S. Cohen; Folk Devils and Moral Panics (London: Routledge, third edition, 2002), Cohen (ed.); Images of Deviance (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971), Howard Becker; Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance (NYC: Free Press, 1963), Becker; The Other Side: Perspectives on Deviance (NYC: Free Press, 1964), Stuart Hall, Tony Jefferson, John Clarke, and Brian Roberts; Policing the Crisis (London: Macmillan, 1978), Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson (eds.); Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain (London: Routledge, 1975), S Cohen and J. Young (eds.); The Manufacture of News: Deviance, Social Problems, and the Mass Media (London: Constable, 1973).

2. On the meanings associated with the term “cult” see Stephen Stein; Communities of Dissent: A History of Alternative Religions in America (NYC: Oxford, 2003), p. 4-5. Parallel to this was another use of the term “cult”. Popular movements which centered on local holy persons or sacred places were often referred to by the term “cult”. While officials in the Catholic Church viewed these in somewhat negative terms they often had to accommodate themselves to the “cult” because of its popularity. On this see Victor and Edith Turner; Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture: Anthropological Perspectives (NYC: Columbia University Press, 1978).

3. Norman Davies; Europe: A History (NYC: Harper and Row, revised edition, 1998), pp. 419, 488, 493, 506, 594. On the tendency for human groups to persecute those different from themselves see Aho; This Thing of Darkness. On European and American anti-Semitism see Gavin Langmuir; History, Religion, and Anti-Semitism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), George Mosse; Toward the Final Solution (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1975), and Frederic Cople Jaher; A Scapegoat in the Wilderness: The Origins and Rise of Anti-Semitism in America (Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press, 1994). Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots is a melodrama which tells two tales: the story of a religious war and a narrative of a doomed love between a Huguenot man and a Catholic woman. On the construction of “others” and the persecution of them in Christendom see Linda Woodhead; An Introduction to Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) pp. 135ff. and R.I. Moore; The Formation of a Persecuting Society (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987). On the execution of Quaker women in Boston see Mark Noll; A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1992), p. 65. Henry Kamen (The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997)) argues that the inquisition was not as active and malevolent as previously supposed.

4. On anti-Catholicism and Anti-masonry in the U.S. see Davis; “Some Themes of Counter-Subversion". On American anti-Catholicism see Billington; The Protestant Crusade.

5. Stephen Stein; Communities of Dissent: A History of Alternative Religions in America (NYC: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 56. On Anti-Shaker discourse see Elizabeth A. DeWolfe; Shaking the Faith: Women, Family, and Mary Marshall Dyer’s Anti-Shaker Campaign, 1815-1867 (NYC: Palgrave, 2002). Dyer’s own critiques of Shakerism include Shakerism Exposed (Hanover, NH: Dartmouth Press, n.d [ca. 1852]), A Brief Statement of the Sufferings of Mary Dyer Occasioned By the Society Called Shakers (Concord, NH: Joseph Spear, 1818), A Portraiture of Shakerism… (Concord, NH: Printed for the Author [by Sylvester Goss], 1822), and Reply to the Shakers (Concord, [NH]: Printed for the Author, 1824).

6. For John Mears criticisms of Oneida (and the Mormons) see his “Utah and the Oneida Community”, The Independent 31 (1879), p. 1584. Mears’ anti-Oneida activities were reported in the New York Times, 15 February 1879, p. 1. On anti-Oneida activities generally see Maren Lockwood Carden; Oneida: Utopian Community to Modern Corporation (NYC: Harper and Row, 1969) pp. 101, 103 and Cott; Public Vows, pp. 124, 128.

7. On Anti-Mormonism see Davis Bitton; “Antimormonism: Periodization, Strategies, Motivation”; 1985, unpublished paper in author's possession, William O. Nelson; “Anti-Mormon Publications”; in Ludlow (ed.); Encyclopedia of Mormonism (NYC: Macmillan, 1992), Leonard Arrington and Jon Haupt; “The Missouri and Illinois Mormons in Ante-Bellum Fiction”, Dialogue 5:1 (1970), Arrington and Haupt; “Intolerable Zion: Images of Mormonism in Nineteenth Century Fiction”, Western Humanities Review 22 (Summer 1968) pp. 37-50, Arrington and Rebecca Cornwall Foster; “Perpetuation of a Myth: Mormon Danites in Western Novels, 1840-90”, BYU Studies 23:2 (Spring 1983), Gary Bunker and Davis Bitton; The Mormon Graphic Image, 1834-1914 (SLC: University of Utah Press, 1983), Terryl Givens; The Viper in the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1997), Jan Shipps; “From Gentile to Non-Mormon: Mormon Perceptions of the Other” in Shipps; Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years Among the Mormons (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), pp. 124-142, Jan Shipps; “From Satyr to Saint: American Perception of the Mormons, 1860-1960” in Shipps; Sojourner in the Promised Land, pp. 51-97, and Shipps; “Surveying the Mormon Image Since 1960” in Shipps; Sojourner in the Promised Land, pp. 98-123. Criticisms of Mormonism are numerous and sundry and include E.D. Howe; Mormonism Unvailed (SLC: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1834), John C. Bennett; The History of the Saints, or, An Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), Ed Decker; The God Makers: The Mormon Quest for Godhood (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1984), which was also produced as a film. There are also scholarly condemnations of Mormonism. For these see John Heinerman and Anson Shupe; The Mormon Corporate Empire (Boston: Beacon, 1985), Massimo Introvigne; “The Devil Makers: Contemporary Evangelical Fundamentalism Anti-Mormonism”, Dialogue 27:1, pp. 153-169, and Anson Shupe; The Darker Side of Virtue: Corruption, Scandal and the Mormon Empire (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1991).

8. On the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses see Shawn Francis Peters; Judging Jehovah's Witnesses: Religious Persecution and the Dawn of the Rights Revolution (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000), William Kaplan; State and Salvation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989), Acts of Jehovah's Witnesses in Modern Times: 1975 Yearbook (Brooklyn: Watchtower, 1975), and American Civil Liberties Union; The Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses (NYC: ACLU, 1941).

9. Philip Jenkins; Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History (NYC: Oxford University Press, 2000), Timothy Miller (ed.); America's Alternative Religions (Albany: SUNY Press, NY, 1995), James Tabor and Eugene Gallagher; Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), and Stuart Wright (ed); Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).

10. Thomas Robbins; Cults, Charisma, and the Sociology of New Religious Movements (London: Sage, 1988), Meredith McGuire; Religion: The Social Context (Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth, third edition, 1992), pp. 134-172, Max Weber; Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London: Routledge, 1930), pp. 144-154, Ernst Troeltsch; The Social Teachings of the Christian Churches (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox, 1960), pp. 461-465, H. Richard Niebuhr; The Social Sources of Denominationalism (Cleveland, OH.: Meridian, 1929), pp. 17-21, Howard Becker; Through Values to Social Interpretation (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1950), pp. 627-628, and Becker; Systematic Sociology on the Basis of the Beziehungslehre and Gebildelehre of Leopold Van Wiese (NYC: Wiley, 1932). Niebuhr saw class, nationalism, region, and ethnicity as the social forces that divided Christianity.

11. Rodney Stark and William Bainbridge; The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revivals, and Cult Formation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986), pp. 19-37.

12. Roy Wallis; “The Cult and Its Transformation” in Wallis (ed.); Sectarianism: Analysis of Religious and non-Religious Sects, (NYC: Wiley), pp. 35-49. Wallis is following Max Weber.

13. Marc Gallanter; Cults, Faith Healing, and Coercion (NYC: Oxford University Press, second edition, 1999), pp. 6, 15-33, 34-59.

14. Gallanter; Cults, Faith Healing, and Coercion, pp. 2, 5, 9, 31-32, 65, 81-88.

15. Gallanter; Cults, Faith Healing, and Coercion, pp. 92-109. Gallanter is again drawing on Weber here.

16. James Beckford; “Explaining Religious Movements”, International Social Science Journal, 29:2 (1977), pp. 135-249. One can argue that the terms developed to study religion can be used to study other organizational forms a la Weber.

17. Stark and Bainbridge: The Future of Religion, pp. 65, 193-194, 198, 200, 204, 247, 256, especially p. 245 and Sydney Ahlstrom; The Religious History of the American People (New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press, 1972) p. 509.

18. G.R. Elton; Reformation Europe 1517-1559 (London: Fontana, 1963), pp 86-103 especially p. 103. Given that Anabaptism was, at least according to Elton, a movement of the poor Elton’s characterization of Anabaptism as part of the loony fringe raises not only the issue of religious-ideological bias but also the issue of class bias.

19. Norman Cohn; The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millennarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages (NYC: Oxford, revised and expanded edition, 1970).

20. Leigh Eric Schmidt; “Preface to the New Edition” in Holy Fairs: Scotland and the Making of American Revivalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, second edition, 2001), William Warren Sweet; Revivalism in America: Its Origin, Growth, and Decline (NYC: Scribner’s, 1944), pp. 124 and 132, Frederick Morgan Davenport; Primitive Traits in Religious Revivals: A Study in Mental and Social Evolution (NYC: Macmillan, 1916), p. 10, and John Berecz; Understanding Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Related Problems (NYC: Springer, 1992), p. 187. For an excellent intellectual history of religious experience and intellectual and academic attempts to explain religious experience see Ann Taves; Fits, Trances, and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Religious Experience from Wesley to James (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999). For an excellent intellectual history of the suspicion of the role hearing played in religious experience and belief see Leigh Eric Schmidt; Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000).

21. Fawn Brodie; No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith (NYC: Knopf, second edition, 1971), pp. 412-413, 418-421, Anne Felt Tyler; Freedom's Ferment: Phases of American Social History from the Colonial Period to the Outbreak of the Civil War (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1944), pp. 86-107, Louis Kern; An Ordered Love: Sex Roles and Sexuality in Victorian Utopias: The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981), Lawrence Foster; “The Psychology of Religious Genius: Joseph Smith and the Origins of New Religious Movements”, in Bryan Waterman (ed.); The Prophet Puzzle (SLC: Signature, 1999), pp. 183-208, Charles Sellers; The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America 1815-1846 (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 217-225. Sellers’ psychological assessment of Smith is probably influenced by the work of Fawn Brodie. For excellent critiques of Sellers see Howe; “Charles Sellers, the Market Revolution, and the Shaping of American Identity in Whig-Jacksonian America”, pp. 54-74 in Mark Noll (ed.); God and Mammon: Protestants, Money, and the Market, 1790-1860 (NYC: Oxford University Press, 2001) and Carwardine; “Charles Sellers’ “Antinomians” and “Arminians”: Methodists and the Market Revolution”, pp. 75-98 in Noll (ed.); God and Mammon.

22. The importance of Conway and Siegelman and their work in this debate can be seen in Conway and their appearances on Good Morning America, the Today show, The Tonight Show, Prime Time Live, 20/20, 48 Hours, NBC Nightly News, CNN Late Edition, Larry King Live, and more than 300 radio and television programs in the U.S., Canada and Europe. They have lectured at more than 40 colleges and universities, where their books have long been required texts, and addressed numerous professional associations, mainline religious denominations, and civic organizations. Articles by or about them have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, People, Playboy, Science Digest and Yahoo! Internet Life, and have been cited in publications as varied as Time, Forbes, Psychology Today, New Society, Ladies Home Journal, GQ, and Connoisseur, and in United Press International, Reuters, and Voice of America dispatches, in the translation of their works into other languages. In November 2005, the Italian edition of Conway and Siegelman’s book, L’Eroe Oscuro dell’Età dell’Informazione (Codice Edizioni), premiered at the Genoa Science Festival. A French edition of the book, Héros pathétique de l’âge de l’information, will be published in 2012. In May 2006, L’Eroe Oscuro won a Menzione d’Onore in the Premio Letterario Serono, the only international book award for works that “interlace between science and literature”.

23. Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman; Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change (NYC: Delta, expanded edition, 1979), pp. 53-58. Interestingly, Conway's and Siegelman's notion of personality change parallels Turner's notion of liminality.

24. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, p. 12.

25. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, pp. 63-78, 151-182, 251-252. There have been a number of portrayals of “cults” in recent American popular culture. Fox's King of the Hill (the episode “Fun with Jane and Jane”, 21 April 2002) nicely portrays the “snapping” thesis in an episode where LuAnne goes to college and joins a sorority which turns out to be a “cult”. The Simpson’s also did a “cult” episode. The tragedy at “Jonestown” was the subject of a television mini-series (Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, 15 April 1980, CBS). There have also been other popular culture takes on “cults” in the literary and television worlds. Gore Vidal's Messiah and Frank Herbert's Dune series to name just a few. Vidal's book sees the rise of one new religion as associated with hypnosis, media manipulation by Madison Avenue business types, mind control, cold war fear, terror, authoritarianism, and the manipulation of history. Vidal's fictional tale picks out many of the same factors to which later non-fictional writers would make reference in later years.

26. Ronald Enroth; Youth, Brainwashing, and the Extremist Cult (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Zondervan, 1977) and Enroth; “Cults and Evangelicals: Labeling and Lumping”, Cultic Studies Journal, 2:2 (1985), 321-325.

27. Enroth; Youth, Brainwashing, and the Extremist Cult (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Zondervan, 1977) and Enroth; “Cults and Evangelicals”. Needless to say, evangelicals include Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and even Catholicism in the “cult” category. On this see Sean McCloud; Making the American Religious Fringe: Exotics, Subversives, and Journalists, 1955-1993 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), pp. 47-49.

28. For a social and cultural analyses of the “Anti-cult” movement see Anson Shupe and David Bromley; The New Vigilantes: Deprogrammers, Anti-Cultists, and the New Religions (Beverly Hills, CA.: Sage, 1980) and Shupe and Bromley; “The Evolution of Modern American Anticult Ideology: A Case Study in Frame Extension” in Miller (ed.); America's Alternative Religions, pp. 411-416.

29. American Psychiatric Association; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual III (Washington, DC: APA, 1980). The American Psychiatric Association (APA) once labeled homosexuality deviant and curable as well. Some, mostly Evangelical, psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists maintain that it still is. American Psychiatric Association; DSM II (Washington, DC: APA, 1968), p. 44. See Ronald Bayer; Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis (Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 1981), and Edward Shorter; A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac (NYC: Wiley, 1997). 30. For an excursion into the utopian/dystopian mental world of Evangelical cult inquisitors see Bob Larson; Larson's New Book of Cults (Wheaton, IL.: Tyndale, 1989), Walter Martin; Kingdom of the Cults (Minneapolis, MN.: Bethany House,) and the web site associated with the Apologetics Index. The Apologetics Index is encyclopedic and contains articles on various “cults” as well as “cult apologists” like David Bromley, Anson Shupe, J. Gordon Melton, and Evangelical Irving Hexham. One of the leading “anti-cult” groups, the Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was, along with one of its deprogrammers, Rick Ross, sued for kidnapping a “cult” member, found guilty, and declared bankruptcy to avoid paying the judgment. Its website (irony of ironies) has been taken over by an anti-anti-”cult” group that, according to one “anti-cult” website, has ties to a Scientologist.

31. Michel Foucault; The Order of Things (NYC: Pantheon, 1970), Foucault; The Archaeology of Knowledge (NYC: Pantheon, 1972), Foucault; Discipline and Punish; Pantheon: NYC, 1975, Foucault; History of Sexuality, I (NYC: Pantheon, 1979), Foucault; Madness and Civilization (NYC: Pantheon, 1967), Christopher Simpson (ed.); Universities and Empire: Money and Politics in the Social Sciences (NYC: New Press, 1998). Noam Chomsky, Ira Katznelson, R.C. Lewontin, David Montgomery, Laura Nader, Richard Ohmann, Ray Siever, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Howard Zinn (eds); The Cold War and the University: Toward an Intellectual History of the Post-Cold War World (NYC: New Press, 1997), Sigmund Diamond; Compromised Campus: The Collaboration of Universities with the Intelligence Community (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1992), Ellen Schrecker; No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1986), Robin Blackburn (ed.); Ideology in Social Science: Readings in Critical Social Theory (London: Fontana, 1973), Shupe and Bromley; The New Vigilantes, Bromley and James Richardson; The Brainwashing/Deprogramming Controversy: Sociological, Psychological, Legal, and Historical Perspectives (NYC: Mellen, 1983. James C. Scott's, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition (New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press, 1998) explores the (for Scott mildly) dystopian modern world that social engineering “expertise” has created and how these ideologies have impacted architecture, agriculture, politics, economics, culture, mass housing, and mass murder.

32. For an excellent discussion of the social and cultural construction of the American religious “mainstream” and “fringe” (note the binarism here) see Sean McCloud; Making the American Religious Fringe: Exotics, Subversives, and Journalists, 1955-1993 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

33. Fawn Brodie; No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith (New York: Knopf, second edition, 1971), Anne Felt Tyler; Freedom's Ferment: Phases of American Social History from the Colonial Period to the Outbreak of the Civil War (New York: Harper and Row, 1944), Louis Kern; An Ordered Love: Sex Roles and Sexuality in Victorian Utopias—The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981), and Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America 1815-1846 (NewYork: Oxford University Press, 1991).

34. Foster; “The Psychology of Religious Genius: Joseph Smith and the Origins of New Religious Movements”, in Waterman (ed.); The Prophet Puzzle, pp. 183-208, Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter; Roots of Radicalism: Jews, Christians, and the New Left (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1992), Erik Erikson; Young Man Luther (NYC: Norton, 1958) and R.G.L. Waite's The Psychopathic God—Adolf Hitler (NYC: NAL, 1977). Lewis Feuer in his The Conflict of Generations: The Character and Significance of Student Movements (NYC: Basic, 1969) argues that student movements, in general, are kinds of oedipal revolts against teachers and the authority they represent, a not very surprising argument from a university professor and “authority” figure caught up in the ferment of the sixties. For one among many critiques of psychohistory and psychobiography see Gertrude Himmelfarb's review of psychobiographies of Burke and Mill; "Case Studies in Psychohistory" in Himmelfarb; The New History and the Old: Critical Essays and Interpretations (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1987), pp. 107-120.

35. Anderson; Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon (SLC: Signature, 1999), pp. xvii-xl and 1-14 and “The Testimony of the Three Witnesses, and The Testimony of the Eight Witnesses” in the Book of Mormon. These statements were originally found in the back of the 1830 edition. In modern editions they can be found in the front of the book.

36. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, pp. 13, 152, 225.

37. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, pp. 83-87, 109-133, 152. The most recent edition of the DSM seems to have eliminated “cults” from among its “disordered” category. This is just another instance of how even academic disciplines and medical practices are politicized if not inherently political.

38. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, p. 252.

39. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, pp. 55-61.

40. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, pp. 29-35 (the Gordon’s), and 20-25 (Jean Turner)

41. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, pp. 62-78 (deprogrammer Ted Patrick).

42. The data on the Unification Church is from Eileen Barker; The Making of a Moonie: Brainwashing or Choice (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984) and Barker; “The Unification Church” in Miller (ed.); America's Alternative Religions, pp. 223-229. Other scholars of alternative religion have found similar things. William Bainbridge's Endtime Family (Albany: SUNY Press, 2002) found that members of the Children of God mirror the demographics of the societies in which they live.

43. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, pp. 62-78. Philip Jenkins also makes the “commie”, “cult”, “brainwashing” connection in his Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History (NYC: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 188-189.

44. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, pp. 55-58 and Abbot Gleason; Totalitarianism: The Inner History of the Cold War (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1995) particularly his chapter on brainwashing. The Manchurian Candidate in both book form by Richard Condon (1959) and film form directed by John Frankenheimer (1962) is an interesting take on the issues of communism and brainwashing.

45. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, pp. 17, 28, 137, 220, 247-251.

46. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, Wallis; The Cult and it's Transformation, Davies; Europe, Ahlstrom; The Religious History of the American People, R.T. Handy; A History of the Churches in the United States and Canada (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1979), Miller (ed.); America's Alternative Religions.

47. For an excellent reader on alternative religions in America see Miller (ed.); America's Alternative Religions.

48. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping pp. 227-252. My analyses draws heavily on John R. Hall; “Peoples Temple”, in Miller (ed.); America's Alternative Religions, pp. 303-311. Also see Hall’s expanded history of Jonestown, Gone From the Promised Land: Jonestown in American Cultural History (New Brunswick, NJ.: Transaction, NJ., 1987).

49. Conway and Siegelman; Snapping, p. 231. There is some question as to whether John was Jones's and Grace Stoen's son, or the son of Grace and her husband Tim. Grace Stoen had defected from the Temple in July 1976 leaving Tim and John behind. In the fall of 1976 Tim Stoen signed a power-of-attorney form giving Jones and others the right to “exercise all powers and rights that I [Tim] might do in connection with the said minor.” It seems clear that Jones, who was bisexual and who did have sexual relations with a number of his members, regarded John as his son. Hall; “Peoples Temple” in Miller (ed.); America's Alternative Religions, pp 307-308.

50. As far as I know, the US government still refuses to release information they collected on the Peoples Temple. If and when they do, this could provide us with a fuller understanding of the role the federal government played in the tragedy of the Peoples Temple and Jonestown. Kleinman was a journalist who began writing exposes on the Peoples Temple for the magazine New West in the late mid- to late 1970s. These were fueled, in part, by information provided by defectors and by political opponents of Moscone. Jones had been to British Guyana and Brasil exploring the possibilities of migration there as early as 1964. The Peoples Temple is not the only “cult” to be investigated by the American state or federal government (usually at the instigation of “anti-cultists”). In the 1970s the Attorney General of the state of New York and New York's Charity Fraud Bureau investigated the Children of God (the Family). The Vermont Senate investigated “cults” in general. The leader of the Unification Church, Sun Myung Moon, was investigated and jailed for tax evasion (ironically against the urgings of many “mainline” religious groups). On these and other “cult” investigations by government entities see Jenkins; Mystics and Messiahs, pp 202 ff.

51. It really wasn't a congressional delegation since it didn't meet the criteria for a delegation defined by the Congress. On this see Hall; “Peoples Temple” in Miller (ed.); America's Alternative Religions, p. 308.

52. David M. Potter, “The Quest for the National Character”, (1962), in: History and Society: Essays of David M. Potter, edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1973), pp. 228-255, Frederick Jackson Turner; The Frontier in American History (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1920), Alexis de Tocqueville; Democracy in America and Two Essays on America, translated by Gerald Bevan (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2003).

53. Pessen; Jacksonian America, pp. 4-32, and Tocqueville; Democracy in America.

54. Alex Inkeles; “National Character and Modern Political Systems” in Hsu (ed.); Psychological Anthropology (Cambridge: Schenkman Books, 1972), pp. 202-240 and Pessen; Jacksonian America, pp. 4-32.

55. Michael Rogin; “Liberal Society and the Indian Question” in Rogin; Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), pp. 134-168 and Ronald Takaki; Iron Cages: Race and Culture in Nineteenth-Century America (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1990). Takaki draws extensively on Rogin. Also see Thomas Gossett; Race: The History of an Idea in America (NYC: Schocken, 1963) and Robert Berkhofer; The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (NYC: Vintage, 1978).

56. Nancy Chodorow; The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978), and Chodorow; “Family Structure and Feminine Personality” in Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere (eds.); Women, Culture, and Society (Palo Alto, CA.: Stanford University Press, 1974), pp. 43-68. There is no doubt that our “childhood” and “adult” experiences impact and influence our lives though there is a question as to how useful psychoanalytic perspectives are in helping us understand these processes. What is equally clear is that any exploration of how a particular individuals have been impacted by their parents, their family, their friends, their acquaintances, and the social and cultural factors that surround them must be sensitive to historical and cross-cultural variation in parent-child interactions, how our interpretations of these interactions change over time, and we must avoid biological reductionism. On the comparative turn among a few social and cultural psychologists see Clifford Geertz; “Imbalancing Act: Jerome Bruner’s Cultural Psychology” in Geertz; Available Light: Anthropological Reflections on Philosophical Topics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), pp. 187-202. I would argue, by the way, that some of the best theoretical and empirical work in social psychology came some years back in the writings of Lev Vygotsky, Erving Goffman, and Jerome Bruner.

57. Carroll Smith-Rosenberg; “The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations between Women in Nineteenth-century America”, Signs, 1 (Autumn 1975), pp. 1-29, John William Ward; Andrew Jackson: Symbol for an Age (NYC: Oxford University Press, 1955), Marvin Meyers; The Jacksonian Persuasion: Politics and Belief (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, revised edition, 1960).

58. Lawrence Friedman; Gregarious Saints: Self and Community in American Abolitionism 1830-1850 (NYC: Cambridge University Press, 1982).

59. On the hazards of academic and media categorizations to group health see the essays in Miller (ed.); America's Alternative Religions and critical studies of what happened to the Branch Davidians, Tabor and Gallagher; Why Waco and Wright (ed.); Armageddon in Waco.

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