The reasons why a person joins a NRM (cult)

Essay by efunkUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2004

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The reasons behind the joining of a new religious movement or NRM are often numerous. It is thought by many that new recruits are gullible, idealistic individuals who are fooled by a conniving cult member. While this may be the case some of the time it should also be pointed out that there is this underlying assertion that everyone can be susceptible to these "masters" of trickery. There are many theories as to why one joins a new religious movement and do they do so freely. Theories such as the relative-deprivation theory and the Lofland-Stark model of conversion will be reviewed and discussed. The theory of brainwashing being the precursor to someone joining and staying in the cult system will also be looked at.

The question of who exactly joins new religious movements is often asked when studying the topic. NRM's overall have a more heterogeneous membership then commonly thought (Dawson, 1998).

There are various aspects in regards to cult enrollment which can be discussed such as age, sex and social status. It has been found through various studies that members of cults tend on a whole to be young in age. For instance the Unification Church in Britain is made up of mostly of members between the ages of 21 -26, 50 percent to be exact with the average age being 23 (Dawson, 1998). This is not only the case, 56 percent of Krishna Consciousness members were between 20 and 25 and 68.2 percent of members of Nichiren Shoshu were under the age of 34 (Dawson, 1998). In terms of the gender of NRM member's females are more likely to join a group. Women in particular are under stress of the fragility of marriage, the disintegration of the mother-child bond and increased stress related to both the personal and...