A major, perhaps the major, focus of early research on New Religious Movements (NRMs) was on the people who joined. Most of the field's pioneer researchers were sociologists. However, the profile of NRM members had changed substantially by the twenty-first century - changes largely missed because the great majority of current NRM specialists are not quantitatively oriented. Sects & Stats aims to overturn the conventional wisdom by drawing on current quantitative data from two sources: questionnaire research on select NRMs and relevant national census data collected by Anglophone countries. Sects & Stats also makes a strong argument for the use of longitudinal methods in studying alternative religions. Additionally, through case studies drawn from the author's own research projects over the years, readers will be brought into a conversation about some of the issues involved in how to conduct such research.
James R. Lewis is Professor at the University of Tromso. His most recent books include Sacred Schisms (edited with Sarah Lewis, Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Children of Jesus and Mary (with Nicolas Levine, Oxford University Press, 2010). He is editor of the Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements.
Preface Introduction I. Quasi-longitudinal Approaches 1. Whatever Happened to Youthful Converts? 2. Social Networks and Conversion II. Three Styles of Longitudinal Research 3. Increasing Complexity vs. Prior Generalizations: Census Data and Longitudinal Approaches 4. Toward a Paradigm for Longitudinal Studies: The Order of Christ Sophia 5. The Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness: Demographic Patterns, 1998-2011 III. Mixed Method Approaches 6. Demise of the Teen Witch Fad 7. Who Serves Satan? 8. NRMs and Gender - The Case of Scientology IV. Ex-Members 9. Post-Involvement Attitudes 10. Member vs. Ex-member Profiles Afterword: Directions for Future Research Appendix: Anglophone Census and National Survey Data on NRMs