Strange Gods: the Great American Cult Scare

Strange GodsTitle: Strange Gods: the Great American Cult Scare

Author: David G Bromley and Anson D Shupe Jr

ISBN: 0807032565

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When this book was published, New Religious Movement were first beginning to appear in  US society,  causing considerable controversy and not a little moral panic.

This book briefly outlines the history and beliefs of a number of the New Religious Movements that were current at the time, including the Unification Church (the ‘Moonies’) and Scientology – including their manipulative behaviour and controversial finances.

However, it of interest here for the  author’s description of inappropriate and repressive social responses to this development – especially their insightful critiques of early ‘anti-cultist’ and ‘deprogramming’ movements (which were, potentially, as harmful as the cults themselves).

The New Vigilantes

the new vigilanatesTitle: The new Vigilantes: Deprogrammers, Anti Cultists, and the New Religions

Author: Anson D Shupe Jr and David G Bromley

ISBN: 0803910614


In the 1970s a new occupation briefly emerged – that of ‘deprogrammer’. At this time, there was a widespread belief that the New Religious Movements of the time (such as the ‘Moonies’, which were prominent at the time) owed their converts to a programme of ‘brainwashing’. This implied that converts were not responsible for their actions. Continue reading