Over half of U.S. religions have formed since 1960, but the term "cult" applies only to a few high-demand religious groups. In the 1990s, a series of violent incidents involving alternative religious groups reactivated the controversy in the United States, Europe, and East Asia. High-profile terrorist violence such as the September 11 attacks has prompted interest in the issue of religion and violence, which in turn has stimulated new work on the cult issue.
This volume surveys the cult controversies from the early 1970s to the present. Included is an in-depth look at brainwashing and the issue of alternative religions and violence. The principal controversial religions, movements, and individuals that have made the headlines are also examined.