Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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Name of first book dealing with what have come to be called "the new religions" or contemporary "cults."

This book by John Lofland (Prentice Hall 1966), which described the early beginnings of the Unification Church in America, has become a classic for several reasons, including its sociological perspective, its presentation of the most-cited "conversion model" in the social sciences (see Lofland and Stark 1965), and the information contained about the early UC. The book was republished in 1977 (Irvington) with a lengthy "epilogue" updating developments in the UC as well as the theoretical work contained in the first edition. The term doomsday cult has become a part of everyday parlance, being used regularly in the media to refer to apocalyptic religious groups.

James T. Richardson


J. Lofland, "Becoming a World-Saver Revisited," in Conversion Careers , ed. J. T. Richardson (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1978): 10-23

J. Lofland and R. Stark, "Becoming a World-Saver," American Sociological Review 30(1965):862-874.

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