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Displaying: 1-10 of 321 documents


articles
1. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Marianna Ruah-Midbar Shapiro Historians as Storytellers: A Critical Examination of New Age Religion’s Scholarly Historiography
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This study makes a bold statement on the problematic nature of historic academic research, and its implications on our understanding of religion and culture. The case study is New Age religion’s scholarly historiography. It appears that New Age religion plays a part within narrative imagination, which often contains moral allusions as to the heroes or antiheroes, as well as literary allusions to the causal sources of events or to expected developments. We review the conflicts that arise between utterly differing opinions in some of the field’s fundamental issues, and thus evoke several of the challenges historical research on NA faces: when did it debut on the historical stage? Which ideological movements did it draw upon? Who are its unmistakable heralds? Did it already reach the height of its strength, and if so, when? The survey of scholarly studies indicates that the history of New Age is ever-changing. Thus, we argue that though historic discussion may deepen the analysis of a religious phenomenon and its understanding and give it context and meaning—it cannot decipher it. We cannot rely on history in defining a phenomenon, in attempting to comprehend its essence, its power, its importance, and most certainly not its future.
2. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Margrethe Løøv Between Religion and Science: Shifting Views on Knowledge in Acem and the Transcendental Meditation Movement
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This article offers a comparative analysis of the relationship between science and religion in Acem and the Transcendental Meditation organisation. Both these meditation movements have their historical origin in the teachings of the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Hindu Advaita Vedānta tradition. Their further development in the West has been characterised by varying degrees of cultural adaptation. The TM movement has retained a worldview which is inherently religious, but has developed its teachings through its encounters with modern science, and developed a panoply of alternative “scientific” disciplines. The TM movement has also systematically employed scientific terms and tropes to communicate effectively with a Western audience. Acem has discarded religious explanations altogether, and sees modern science as the sole source of reliable knowledge. The shifts in what is conceived to be plausible forms of knowledge have been paired with changes in terminology and self-descriptions. It is argued that the increased emphasis on and normative elevation of science can be seen as strategies to gain legitimacy and appeal in a cultural environment that tends to favour science over religion. The article thus sheds light upon some of the challenges that may arise when a body of knowledge moves between different cultural contexts, and strategies used to encounter these.
3. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier Normal but Peculiar: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Normalization and Differentiation Strategies
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The aim of this paper is to analyse the recent “I’m a Mormon” publicity campaign put forward by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church, or the LDS Church) and its significance in the larger scheme of Latter-day Saints’ public relations history. Since the nineteenth century, Mormons have had to negotiate with mainstream society in order to obtain a comfortable position while maintaining their identity as “peculiar people.” Through a detailed analysis of selected “I’m a Mormon” capsules, broadcasted on the Mormon.org website, this paper presents the recent normalization and differentiation strategies put forward by the Church of Jesus Christ, and exposes the relationship between these tactics and the strategies used by the Church throughout history. We note that while members of the Church of Jesus Christ aim to be accepted by mainstream Americans and viewed as somewhat “normal,” they also seek to maintain an aura of uniqueness associated with their specific religious beliefs and values. This falls under what we refer to as differentiation.
4. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Stephanie Griswold The Raid is On: Elaborations on the Short Creek Women’s Recollections of the 1953 Raid
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Through decades of anti-bigamy legislation, the practice of plural marriage was officially outlawed. In the first half of the twentieth century, contemporary polygamists faced raids in the 1930s, 1940s, and the largest of the time, in 1953. The 1953 raid in Short Creek, Arizona, executed by Arizona Governor Howard Pyle, was meant to put down the “insurrection” of “white slavery” in the border town now known as Colorado City. Though there was significant media coverage of the raid and subsequent trials, and there have been academic works on the subject, the experiences of the women while in state custody require further conversation. In this article, transcriptions of those recollections are examined in order to continue the discussion started in Martha Bradley’s seminal work, Kidnapped from that Land, with a focus on the female experience in their own words.
5. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Xinzhang Zhang, George A. Dunn Spiritual Movements, Secret Societies, and Destructive Cults: Panel Discussion, Hangzhou, October 2017
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During September 22–24, 2017, Zhejiang University hosted an International Symposium on the Theoretical and Practical Issues of Faiths in the Construction of the Community of Common Destiny for All Mankind in Hangzhou, China. In the course of this conference, six scholars from Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and China participated in an interdisciplinary panel discussion about “Spiritual Movements, Secret Societies, and Destructive Cults.” Covering such topics as the general spiritual situation of the contemporary world, the religious marketplace, the dangerous tendencies within some religious movements, and the role of the state in relation to religious communities, the discussion concludes with an examination of the conflict of Falun Gong with the Chinese government and the faults of the group’s leadership that brought the conflict to a head. The discussion offers a fruitful combination of theoretical insights and concrete case studies that provides a wide and deep purview of our present spiritual situation, setting forth both its dangers and its positive potential. This paper is a transcript of the panel discussion, with a brief introduction identifying its highlights.
book reviews
6. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack Hsun Chang and Benjamin Penny, Religion in Taiwan and China: Locality and Transmission
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7. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack Tobias Churton, Deconstructing Gurdjieff: Biography of a Spiritual Magician
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8. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Carole M. Cusack Stephen Edred Flowers, The Northern Dawn: A History of the Reawakening of the Germanic Spirit, Volume 1, revised edition
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9. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Ajay Dave Sumantra Bose, Secular States, Religious Politics: India, Turkey, and the Future of Secularism
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10. Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Bernard Doherty Carole M. Cusack and Helen Farley, eds. Religion, The Occult, and the Paranormal
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