This article is based upon participant-observation of a Falun Gong group in Columbus, Ohio and includes a descriptive account of the exercises and local organizational structure. The totalistic rhetoric of Falun Gong founder, Li Hongzhi, is undermined by the non-hierarchical organizational structure of the movement. The privileging of orthopraxy over orthodoxy at the local level further undermines Li's totalism. However, the persecution of Falun Gong and the vilification of Li Hongzhi by the government of the People's Republic of China have resulted in an escalation of Li's totalistic and apocalyptic rhetoric. The ongoing persecution is currently the greatest threat to the structural stability of the Falun Gong movement. Nonetheless, barring external pressure, Falun Gong organizational structure and orthopraxy sufficiently counterbalance Li's totalistic tendencies.
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Craig A. Burgdoff; How Falun Gong Practice Undermines Li Hongzhi's Totalistic Rhetoric. Nova Religio 1 April 2003; 6 (2): 332–347. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2003.6.2.332
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