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American Cults


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Table of Contents

About the Author

Introduction: Crystal Balls and Conspiracies

Prologue: What Makes a Cult Possible?

Part I: In the Beginning: Why is America Such a Fertile Field for the Growth of Cults?
Ch. 1. Lip-Service Religion
Ch. 2. Rebelliousness
Ch. 3. Entrepreneurship
Ch. 4. Religious Freedom
Ch. 5. Evolving Social Media
Ch. 6. Infatuation with Conspiracy Theory
Ch. 7. Living on "The Eve of Destruction"

Part II. Offshoots: Breaking Away from Traditional Religions
Ch. 8. Cyrus Teed and the Koreshan Unity
Ch. 9. Father Divine and the Peace Mission
Ch. 10. Jim Jones and the People's Temple Full Gospel Church
Ch. 11. Jim Baker, the PTL Club, and the Return of Jesus
Ch. 12. The Evangelical Church, Politics, and the NRA
Ch. 13. Joshua, Jesus, Mohammad, and the Implications of Jihad
Ch. 14. David Berg and the Family International
Ch. 15. The Watchtower Society and Jehovah's Witnesses
Ch. 16. Gay Rights, Free Speech, and the Westboro Baptist Church
Ch. 17. Jane Whaley, the Word of Faith Fellowship, and the Gospel of Prosperity
Ch. 18. David Koresh and the Branch Davidians

Part III. Science, Politics, Economics, and Metaphysics: A Codependent Relationship
Ch. 19. The Cult of Scientism
Ch. 20. The Dogma of Politics
Ch. 21. Multi-Level Marketing Cults (MLMs): Pyramids, Ponzis, and Profits
Ch. 22. The World of Metaphysics: "It Seems to Me ..."
Ch. 23. Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church
Ch. 24. Eckankar: Discovering God

Part IV. The Universe and Beyond: Answers from the Final Frontier
Ch. 25. The Christian Rapture, Carl Jung, and Flying Saucers
Ch. 26. The Church of Scientology
Ch. 27. Raelians and the Elohim: Intelligent Design for Atheists
Ch. 28. Into the Universe: Latter-day Saints and the Colonization of the Cosmos
Ch. 29. Heaven's Gate: Help from Above?

Part V. Prophets of the End Times: Telling the Future for Fun and Profit
Ch. 30. From 666 to the "Seventy Sevens": What Does the Bible Really Say about THE END?
Ch. 31. From Nostradamus to Edgar Cayce and Beyond
Ch. 32. The Doomsday Clock
Ch. 33. Roch Theriault and the Ant Hill Kids

Part VI. The Rise of Racial Religion Cults and Social Media: From WASPS to Computers and Beyond
Ch. 34. From the Ku Klux Klan to White Nationalism
Ch. 35. The New Militia Movement
Ch. 36. Nuwaubian Nation: From Black Supremacists to UFOs
Ch. 37. Social Media and the Rise of Hate Groups
Ch. 38. Spoofing the Movement: Fun with Cults
Ch. 39. QAnon: Political Conspiracy and Religious Icons

Part VII. Sex in the City: The Dark Potency of Cults
Ch. 40. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: Coming to America
Ch. 41. Keith Raniere and NXIVM: The Case of the Self-Styled Revered One
Ch. 42. Sullivanians: Sex as a Way of Life

Part VIII. Conclusions: What's Ahead for Individual Freedom?

Epilogue: How Do I Get Out?

About the Author

Jim Willis earned his master's degree in theology from Andover Newton Theological School, and he has been an ordained minister for over 40 years. He has also taught college courses in comparative religion and cross-cultural studies. His background in theology and education led to his writing more than twenty on history, religion, the apocalypse, cross-cultural spirituality, and the mysteries of the unknown. His books include Visible Ink Press' Censoring God; Hidden History; and Lost Civilizations. He lives in the woods of South Carolina.


"... describes 40 cults and charismatic leaders in the US, including those that broke away from traditional religions, racial religion cults, sex cults, prophets, and those related to aliens. Topics include Jim Jones, Jim Bakker, David Koresh, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Church of Scientology, Heaven's Gate, the Ku Klux Klan, QAnon, Antifa, NXIVM, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the cult of scientism, multi-level marketing, and the dogma of politics, and why the US is fertile ground for cults." - Book News

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