Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, provides a sociological interpretation of the phenomenon of new religious movements. While the author does not offer an apologia for cults--in either a religious or a sociological sense--he does attempt to replace suspicion and misinformation with a greater knowledge of the facts (as best we know them) and a measure of sympathetic understanding.
Completely revised and updated in this second edition, the book examines all aspects of cults, while striving to delineate the very real limits of our knowledge. In addition to dealing with the troublesome aspects of the subject, including issues of violence, sexuality, and brainwashing, the author also considers the possibility that new religious movements are a source of spiritual satisfaction to their members. Offering up-to-date social science research about contemporary religious cults, Comprehending Cults, Second Edition, is ideal for undergraduate sociology of religion and new religious movements courses.