MODERN RELIGIONS: AN EXPERIENTIAL ANALYSIS AND EXPOSÉ
eBook (PDF), 384 Pages
This book is an experiential analysis of over twenty modern religious/spiritual groups. The book is divided into two generic segments, inclusive of a tri-perspective experiential analysis using a variety of cult danger rating scales, and a more personal experiential description of the author's involvement in these groups, written in stream of consciousness essay form. The groups explored include controversial religious organizations such as Scientology and The Unification Church, as well as lesser known religious groups such as Conversations with God and Avatar, and also new age retreat centers such as Omega Institute for Holistic Studies and Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. The author describes both the dangers and benefits of various groups, and based upon his own experiences is able to rate these groups on a cult danger vs. spiritual benefits scale on a gradient from "high cult danger" to "favorable spiritual group."
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Apr 12, 2013Elliot Benjamin, Ph.D., describes his experiences in a variety of new age spiritual organizations, most of which are psychology-based groups. He describes each group and offers his ratings based on three academic scales in use since the 1970s: the Anthony Typology, the Wilber Integral Model, and the Bonewits Cult Danger Scale. He then places the groups on a spectrum that ranges from favorable and benign to high cult danger. Along with the more notorious groups such as Scientology and Avatar, Dr. Benjamin rates about a dozen groups that he considers benign. This may help researchers who study group dynamics to recognize what makes a group dangerous. Researchers will find plentiful information on lesser known groups. Since many of the groups described in the book are small, or not considered dangerous, until now they may have been ignored in the cultic studies literature. Hopefully, the information on benign groups will put some people’s minds at ease. Closer Look at the Author In... More > chapters two and three, Dr. Benjamin presents a collection of essays he wrote at the time he was going through his group encounters. The essays are presented in two sections, first the late 1990s and early 2000s; then the 1970s. Dr. Benjamin’s essays in chapters two and three read like journal entries, written in the moment. Dr. Benjamin describes his deepest and most conflicted affiliation in chapter four: Encounters with Scientology. In a series of his characteristic journal-like essays, he reveals little-known details about the group, such as how they get people to join and what goes on in an auditing session. One of the most terrifying aspects of Dr. Benjamin’s experience was the amount of money he invested in the various groups he joined. He discusses the financial hardships of group involvement quite extensively, which will be informative for seekers who are considering a similar path. In essence, Dr. B. is an unapologetic cult-hopper, revealing in chapter five his disappointment with the Jewish religion of his ancestors and the loss of his father at the age of two as factors that may have led him to search for meaning through new age group involvement. He also admits that he joined particular groups after falling in love with women involved in the groups. Publishing this book is a milestone for Dr. Benjamin, since it is the culmination of his nearly forty years of writing about alternative spiritual organizations.< Less
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- Elliot Benjamin (Standard Copyright License)
- Natural Dimension Publications
- September 26, 2011
- File Format
- File Size
- 5.57 MB
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