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Religious Tolerance logo

Books about cults, the anti-cult
movement and the counter-clult movement.

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Some books about new religious movements:

bullet Lorne Dawson, "Comprehending cults: the sociology of new religious movements," Oxford Univ. Press, (1998). A book about new religious movements written from an academic perspective. An excellent antidote to the misinformation and intolerance found in anti-cult and counter-cult books. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store.

bullet Alex Heard, "Apocalypse pretty soon: Travels in end-time America," Main Street Books, (1999) A humorous book about cults and individuals with very unusual beliefs. He "gets inside their closed systems to poke fun from within, and often puts things in historical context." (Ffrom an review). Very highly regarded by reviewers. Review/order this book.

bullet Philip Jenkins, "Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History," Oxford Press, (2001). Jenkins shows that "...cults and new religious movements and their mystical or messianic leaders have been on the American scene for a long time. He emphasizes that distinguishing between cults, a pejorative term, and denominations or religions is highly subjective, especially since, in time, cults often become denominations. This serious and important volume is well written but not necessarily light reading." (From an review). Review/order this book.

bullet Nancy O'Mera, "Cult Alert; a practical handbook for saving families." Foundation for Religious Freedom, (1999) The author is a volunteer at the new Cult Awareness network. She advises parents, family and loved ones who fear "cult" involvement to calm down, stay in communication and get more information. A very inexpensive book. Review/order this book.

bullet S.J. Palmer & C. Hardman, Eds., "Children in new religions," Rutgers Univ. Press, (1999). A study by a professor in religious studies of children of parents who joined new religious movements 30 to 40 years ago. Review/order this book.

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Books by representatives of the Anti-Cult movement (ACM):

The ACM promotes the largely discredited belief that brainwashing and mind control techniques are widely used among new religious movements. These beliefs are now met with massive skepticism by most sociologists and psychologists specializing in new religious movements: 

bullet M.T. Singer, et al., "Cults in our midst: The continuing fight against their hidden menace," Jossey-Bass Publishers, (1996). A book by perhaps the best known supporter of the Anti-Cult Movement, who died in late 2003. Review/order this book.

bullet Steven Hassan, "Combatting cult mind control," Inner Traditions Intl., (1990). A book by one of the most active anti-cult deprogrammers. Review/order this book.

bullet Gayle M. Woodsum, "The Ultimate Challenge: A Revolutionary, Sane and Sensible Response to Ritualistic and Cult-Related Abuse," Action Resources Intl., (1998). Review/order this book.

bullet Jeanne Marie Lorena & Paula Levy Editors, "Breaking Ritual Silence : An Anthology of Ritual Abuse Survivors' Stories," Trout & Sons, (1998). Review/order this book.

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Books by representatives of the Counter-Cult movement(CCM):

These are almost exclusively conservative Christians who are concerned about heresy. They view many new religious movements as masquerading as mainstream Christians which teach one or more non-traditional beliefs about God, Jesus or some other aspect of Christianity:

bullet Richard Abanes, "Cults, new religious movements and your family: A guide to ten non-Christian groups out to convert your loved ones," Crossway books, (1998). Review/order this book

bullet Keith L. Brooks & Irvine Robertson, "The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error 1," Moody Publishers, (Revised 1987). This is a packet of ten pamphlets. Review/order these pamphlets

bullet Hank Hanegraaff, "Christianity in Crisis," Harvest House Publishers, (1993). A book by perhaps the best known promoter of the Counter-Cult MovementReview/order this book.

bullet Walter Martin & Hank Hanegraaff (Editors), "The Kingdom of the Cults," Bethany House, (2002). This is by far the most popular book from the CCM. Review/order this book

bullet Josh McDowell & Don Stewart, "Handbook Of Today's Religions," Nelson Reference, (1992). Review/order this book

bullet Ron Rhodes, "The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions," Zondervan, (2001). Review/order this book

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A book promoting both Anti-Cult and Counter-Cult views:

bullet Mary Alice Chrnalogar, "Twisted Scriptures," Zondervan, (Revised 2000). As the name implies, the author accuses many religious groups -- including mainstream denominations -- of twisting the meaning of the Bible. She is a deprogrammer with an international reputation. She is a Roman Catholic -- unusual in a field dominated by Evangelical Protestants. "Chrnalogar reveals how classic mind control techniques are used to systematically seduce followers into total obedience." (From an review). Review/order this book

horizontal rule, recommends the following books on "cults." However, their definition of the term appears to be more inclusive than most.

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Latest update: 2016-SEP-24
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