For years after Peoples Temple ceased to exist, both scholars and the public debated the Temple’s status as a new religious movement. These debates left out an important perspective: Jim Jones’ own evaluation of the Temple’s relation to new religions. This article uses Doug McAdam’s work on social movement formation to organize Jones’ commentary on new religions. Expanding Stephen Kent’s concept of spiritual kinship lineage, this article argues that Jones identified the same political changes as giving rise to, as well as contesting, both Peoples Temple and various new religious movements. By identifying this plethora of reactions to the same political cause, Jones legitimated the Temple’s worldview and subsequent mobilization. Moreover, Jones leveraged this kinship to avail himself of the variety of strategies utilized by these groups while pointing out their doctrinal, organizational, and political flaws, thus asserting the Temple’s superiority in the process.
Research Article| November 01 2018
Spiritual Siblings: The Function of New Religions in Peoples Temple Doctrine
Nova Religio (2018) 22 (2): 40–64.
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Kristian Klippenstein; Spiritual Siblings: The Function of New Religions in Peoples Temple Doctrine. Nova Religio 1 November 2018; 22 (2): 40–64. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2018.22.2.40
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