Template talk:New Religious Movements

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"cults" or "new religious movements"[edit]

Sources seem to point to New religious movement as a more modern, neutral, and inclusive expression than Cult. What do people think of renaming the template? There is not one now for new religious movements. BigJim707 (talk) 21:01, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Fine with that. --JN466 23:43, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Good. How about a section on the major groups? BigJim707 (talk) 16:02, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
undid hasty move. in principal, no objection, but I would like to see further input on the matter, given the time frame involved here, no consensus exists just yet.--Semitransgenic (talk) 16:56, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
No problem. I actually didn't expect the issue to be controversial. BigJim707 (talk) 20:17, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

Reorganization of the entire template would be in order with the scope being altered. It would be useful to separate out scholarly organizations from the ACM groups. I like BigJim's suggestion of the including the most prominent groups into the template. Any ideas on how to reorganize it? The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 17:14, 28 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Agreed. A section on the major groups would be useful too. --JN466 18:51, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Alternatively, leave this template as it is and create a separate template for new religious movements. But would a template to navigate between NRMs really serve a purpose? How likely is it that someone reading about one NRM is going to want to read about an unrelated NRM?   Will Beback  talk  21:42, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I believe it is quite likely indeed. Many books in the field for example address a whole variety of such movements. --JN466 21:44, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's true.
As for the name, another alternative is to use both names: "Cults and new religious movements". Many of the articles are clearly about cults, not necessarily new religious movements.   Will Beback  talk  23:28, 28 September 2011 (UTC)
That is I have always favored "New and Alternative Religions" and mostly why the entire field has been going that way. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 00:46, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
And folks would be comfortable including, in a "New and Alternative Religions" template, articles such as: Cult apologist, Cults and governments, Cult of personality, Cult suicide, Destructive cult, Doomsday cult, Political cult, Cult Awareness Network, Cult Information Centre, Anti-cult movement, and Christian countercult movement?   Will Beback  talk  04:21, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Except for cult of personality, yes. --JN466 08:13, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
usage of the word "cult," without any negative connotations (in the context of the "NRM" v "Cult" debate), is feasible, and not just in the case of "cult of personality" or "political cult" it's still a perfectly good word to describe certain types of group behaviour, even those that are not inherently religious by nature. There is also the "definitions and boundaries" matter: have they been established with any degree of certainty? Are there any instances remaining where the word "cult" might be more appropriate than NRM? A survey of sources is required to clarify this. Additionally, many government sources still adhere to the term "cult" in cases where NRM might be equally applicable, how do we address this? is it appropriate to ignore such sources? --Semitransgenic (talk) 11:35, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Will, I am perfectly comfortable with including those in a New and Alternative religions template, the term cult is often pejorative slur for such groups. I wold never label a movement a cult but pretending the concepts are not involved in popular discourse would be silly. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 14:02, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
There could also be a section on important books written on the topic. BigJim707 (talk) 15:23, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
use of the word "alternative" might best be avoided. Alternative to what? "mainstream" religion? but couldn't a group argue that their religion is the only one they know, as such it is not an alternative to anything. Others could argue that all religion is alternative: to a scientific understanding of reality. "Alternative" raises too many contextual issues. At least "NRM" avoids this, a new religion is yet another religion, a new set of beliefs and practices, nothing more. --Semitransgenic (talk) 15:31, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
It is the trend in Academic Literature to refer to these groups New and Alternative Religions. It is based in the framework of Rodney Stark's "Market theory of a religious economy," thus alternative religions are by default those with low market share. 19th century Catholicism in America is a beautiful example of this, while not "New" it had all the stigma associated with alternative religious scene. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 17:20, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
it may be a trend, but it appears NRM is still by far the most widely used term, in place of cult, across the academic fields that deal with aspects of religious belief. It seems Stark also suggested Novel Religious Movements, some good reasons here also why it is unfortunate the word cult is now viewed as problematic. --Semitransgenic (talk) 17:39, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
While "NRM" in one wording or another is increasingly common, "cult" is still used in a lot of references and articles. NPOV requires that we avoid endorsing one view over another, which is why either having two templates, or a template with two names, would be most consistent with Wikipedia policy.   Will Beback  talk  22:45, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
we could throw the whole lot in, cover all bases, and call it the "New Religious Movements, Cults, and Sects" template. That way we acknowledge the various terms currently in use, without forcing a POV issue. --Semitransgenic (talk) 22:54, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
That may be the best solution.   Will Beback  talk  23:06, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
It sounds like a good idea to me too. BigJim707 (talk) 23:59, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Oppose, We should avoid pejorative terms neutral language is the center of NPOV, We should represent mainstream scholarship not stereotypes. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 16:43, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
"Cult" is used by many mainstream scholars. For example, J. Gordon Melton, author of Biographical Dictionary of American Cult and Sect Leaders. It's a term in common and scholarly use, and we'd be non-neutral if we excluded it entirely. Further, we seem to agree that it's appropriate for the template to include many articles that have "cult" in their title.   Will Beback  talk  22:08, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Agree with ResidentAnthropologist. Will, that book by Melton is 25 years old. His 2009 Encyclopedia of American Religions has a section on new religious movements (p. 49) that only uses the word "cult" in quotation marks, in historical references, and he has more recently said, "My working definition of a cult is a group that you don't like, and I say that somewhat facetiously, but at the same time, in fact, that is my working definition of a cult. It is a group that somebody doesn't like. It is a derogatory term, and I have never seen it redeemed from the derogatory connotations that it picked up in the sociological literature in the 1930s." Its use is generally deprecated by mainstream scholars today, for exactly the same reasons. --JN466 22:49, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
Are we going to remove citations to 25-year-old books? Is the scholarship no longer valid? We should include the full range of scholarship. While we should give greater weight to more recent scholarly works, where appropriate, we should not deny the existence of earlier scholarship that has not been repudiated. By agreement here, the template is going to include a significant number of articles about cults. So "New Religious Movements, Cults, and Sects" seems like an accurate and inclusive title which describes its contents.   Will Beback  talk  23:09, 30 September 2011 (UTC)
despite the politically correct move away from a perfectly good English word, whether certain scholars like it or not, it is still used in mainstream news coverage, for instance today in the Gaurdian, and it is a perfectly valid word when used in a wide range of contexts. Bainbridge explains quite clearly how the word "cult" can be used without it being "pejorative." Again, there are still issues regarding "definitions and boundaries" that have to be addressed. I see no sense in banishing the word "cult" when we can just as easily acknowledge the words usage and ignore all the fuss over scholarly political correctness. The word still has common currency, ignoring this fact is just plain silly, it also assumes that everyone who views the word will automatically perceive it to mean something negative, which is simply not true. --Semitransgenic (talk) 00:05, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
We generally use neutral, up-to-date language, especially in navigation; we say African American and not American negro, which in no wise implies that any source using the earlier term thereby becomes unreliable. Language changes, and we reflect these changes. Including a pejorative and emotive buzzword like "cult" lowers the tone, and does not encourage neutral writing; cf. WP:LABEL, which actually lists cult as its first example. Here is another quote from a leading scholar, David G. Bromley: "Cult is a four-letter word for a religion you don't like." We can and should be more neutral than that; it's one of the five pillars of this project. Cheers, --JN466 01:06, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
language usage changes such as Negro to African American are not equivalent to changing Cult to New Religious Movement, that's a very poor analogy. The Guardian is a fairly reputable publication, we wont find the word Negro, but they see the word cult as fit for use, and in this item, published yesterday, it uses the word and quotes a scholarly source, a professor, who also finds the word usable. Also, “labelling an organisation a cult” as per WP:LABEL (a guideline determined by consensus) is not the issue at hand. --Semitransgenic (talk) 13:49, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Cult apologist => New religous movement apologist
  • Cults and governments => New religous movement and governments
  • Cult suicide => New religous movement suicide
  • Destructive cult => Destructive new religous movements
  • Doomsday cult => Doomsday new religous movement
  • Political cult => Political new religous movement
  • Anti-cult movement => Anti-new religous movement movement
  • Christian countercult movement => Christian counter-new religious movement movement

Do editors here propose to rename these articles?   Will Beback  talk  01:25, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

I think the word cult (or sect) should be retained in the title. It is in current academic usage (which includes disciplines outside schools of divinity or religious studies) and there are plenty of scholarly books written with "cult" in the title. In addition "New Religious Movements" would not cover political cult. (I think a separate template for NRMs would be fine.) Going back to the current usage of the word "cult" in the academic literature, here are forthcoming books from Cambridge University Press on the Mao cult [1] and from Yale University Press on the Stalin cult. [2] Here are some recent titles from Oxford University Press on religious cults. [3][4] Here are two recent titles from the University of California Press.[5][6] Mathsci (talk) 07:04, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Here is a Google Books search, covering the past 10 years, for university press publications with "cults" in the title: 9 titles (discounting the books that are about ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, medieval saints' cults and other unrelated topics).
  • Here is the corresponding search for "new religious movements" in the title: 17 titles, including the Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements
  • Here is the corresponding search for "new religions": 8 titles
That means 25 out of 34 recent (< 10 yrs) university publications in the field use "new religions" or "new religious movements" in the title, and if we only use one term, that is the one we should standardise on. --JN466 12:46, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Countermovements speak of cults; university courses in the field generally have "new religious movements" in the title, or use a similar approach to the one proposed here, to wit: [7]. As most of the article titles above reflect the (non-neutral) language of countermovements, I wouldn't entertain the idea of changing them, except perhaps for "Cults and governments" (a topic which is a subject of scholarly research). I can live with "New Religious Movements, Cults, and Sects" – it is an improvement on what we have now. --JN466 12:46, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
We also see books with mixed titles by academic publishers, such as: “Cults and New Religions: A Brief History” (Bromley 2008), “Cults and new religious movements: a reader” (Dawson 2006), “Cults, Religion, and Violence” (Bromley & Melton 2002), “Cults, Sects and New Religions” (Barker 2002), “Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History” (Jenkins 2000), “The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions” (Lewis 1998).--Semitransgenic (talk) 13:49, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm coming round to the idea. Here is another university course that has NRM, cults and sects in the title, even though it only uses NRM in the content description: [8]. That's quite analogous to our situation here, as we're looking for a title, and the words cults and sects are obviously felt to be helpful in advertising what the course is about. And it must be said that there are also university courses that just use cults: [9] --JN466 14:02, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Should we proceed with the proposed template title change then? --Semitransgenic (talk) 12:46, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

List of groups[edit]

On the religion template there is a section for "recent" religions. Could we use that as a starting point for a list of major NRM's? Or do you think a list of groups is a good idea? BigJim707 (talk) 13:46, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

I think it may be difficult to decide which ones are "major". In some cases, minor NRMs have received a lot of attention, making them important despite their size.   Will Beback  talk  20:42, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
I'd suggest starting with a criterion that we are prepared to include groups that have one or several full-length book treatments devoted to them. If that turns out to be too many, we can tighten the criterion. --JN466 21:12, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm not convinced of the wisdom of adding a list, but that sounds like it might a workable way to do so.   Will Beback  talk  22:59, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
if a list is really necessary, probably best begin with organisations that a broad range of notable academics have explicitly identified as NRMs (where there is a general agreement about the use of the definition, as applied to such groups). --Semitransgenic (talk) 09:01, 11 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm thinking that readers are probably interested in articles on individual groups and since they are no longer labeled as "cults" by the template it would be okay to list them. I agree with Jayen's suggestion to only include groups that have considerable notability. BigJim707 (talk) 20:53, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Would anyone object if I started the section on notable groups? BigJim707 (talk) 21:29, 16 October 2011 (UTC)

We have Category:New religious movements. We have List of new religious movements, which some are considering deleting. We had List of cults, which was deleted. Can you state more clearly how this list is going to be different from those lists, and what purpose it will serve in this template that isn't already accomplished by the category and the list?   Will Beback  talk  16:52, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree. There could be hundreds of groups on the template. On the other hand I don't know why so many anti-cult groups are there now. Borock (talk) 17:01, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
The inclusion of groups that study NRMs is separate from the inclusion of NRMs themselves.   Will Beback  talk  18:13, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
I did notice that the Council on Mind Abuse seems like a fairly minor organization which no longer exists. Kitfoxxe (talk) 19:22, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I'd favour deleting it. We should generally list only the more notable cult-watching groups/anti-cult organisations. I do think we should list the more notable NRMs themselves, given that the template is named "NRMs, cults and sects". Off the top of my head, some of the more notable ones that have definitely been the subject of book-length studies include Baha'ism, Children of God, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Divine Light Mission, Falun Gong, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Jehovah's Witnesses, Order of the Solar Temple, Peoples Temple, Raëlism, Rajneesh movement, Sahaja Yoga, Sathya Sai Baba movement, Scientology, Soka Gakkai, Unification Church. Is anyone aware of book-length studies of the Transcendental Meditation movement? If so, that might be good to include too. --JN466 01:14, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
I think the list provided here would be different in only referencing the most prominent ones that are likely to be of most interest. Category:New religious movements is not easy to navigate for the reader who is just interested in some of the major groups. --JN466 01:18, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
I'd support including that list, if there is some understanding that tons of minor groups would not be added. Borock (talk) 02:53, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
I've added your list. Perhaps Nation of Islam and maybe Neopaganism could also be included. Borock (talk) 16:00, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
I've added Nation of Islam and Wicca under major groups, and have added Neo-Paganism under concepts.
I've also made some other changes: 1. listing major NRMs/cults/sects first; 2. consolidating concepts and theories in one list, "Concepts", 3. added anti-cult organisations under "Opposition", and 4. listed scholarly organisations and journals under "Scholarship". --JN466 16:42, 22 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Here's a scholarly book on TM: Link. There are also lots of books promoting it and some Christian anti-cult books debunking it. Borock (talk) 11:17, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
It looks good ya'll, Props to Jayen466 for doing the redesign. It is a huge improvement. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 15:42, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Notable figures[edit]

started a group that compiles notable figures, offers an at a glance overview of founders, group leaders etc. may seem like duplication, certain individuals are synonymous their movement, but not in all cases, and we shouldn't assume the general reader is already aware of the connections. --Semitransgenic (talk) 02:57, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

One can see that either way. But as the founders or leaders are usually mentioned in the lead sentences of the respective movement articles, I'd prefer not having an additional section, just to keep the template manageable.
Of the recent additions to the list of major groups, do the following meet our inclusion criterion that there should be at least one independent book-length scholarly study of the movement?
i see no harm in adding a list of key figures, separate from the movement listing, manageability shouldn't be a problem, it's a pop down menu, this is still pretty small compared to some on here. Not sure I agree with the necessity of full length book coverage to qualify inclusion. Church of Satan is certainly well documented from what I see. Perhaps if an item has received coverage across a range of academic titles that should suffice. --Semitransgenic (talk) 15:55, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Landmark is tied to Werner Erhard, there are several biographies of him, Church of Statan has several monographs and studies, Unfamiliar with [School of Economic Science]]. I can verify there is not a scholarly or popular book length item written on them. Christian Reformed Church in North America seems not but I am not doing any in depth search right now. I have to agree with Jayen466 that the removing the founders of each religion would be preferable. I would also note the book length requirement keeps the list manageable. The whole thing could probably lean towards more to the more recent movements and those that remain outside the mainstream. Quakerism for example what ever its roots in early America, is now pretty mainstream, theologically at even if not organizationally. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 18:31, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
if we lean toward the more recent movements, require at least one complete scholarly text per item, and also remove any mention of key individuals, it's not going to be a very informative template. We are creating a navigational aid here, so people can get an overview of the subject matter and navigate the subject space easily. There are no specific guidelines on template manageability. Looking at one example given there's plenty covered, and there are busier examples. Additionally we are attempting to cover a diverse range of articles using one template. Template guideline No.3 states that the articles should refer to each other, to a reasonable extent. Not sure that can happen here without overlooking obvious disparities. I favour giving a broad overview. --Semitransgenic (talk) 22:31, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

School of Economic Science[edit]

I just checked out the School of Economic Science. It doesn't seem to be such major group and not even clearly a NRM, cult, or sect. Does it really belong on the template? Kitfoxxe (talk) 06:18, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Don't think so; I wasn't able to find a book-length scholarly study of them, as far as I recall. --JN466 06:43, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
i disagree with the suggestion that a "book-length scholarly study" is as requirement for inclusion. SES is mentioned in multiple scholarly NRM texts, most notably in:
It's referred to as "a British NRM" in
and is mentioned briefly in the following:
--Semitransgenic (talk) 12:10, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that there are hundreds of NRMs that have those types and numbers of mentions, at which point it would become entirely subjective which ones we include and exclude. --JN466 13:23, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
true, then perhaps we should address item coverage in terms of numbers of published book chapters in the NRM literature? excluding items such as "Encyclopedia of new religious movements." The issue is one of notability, not whether or not an entire book has been dedicated to a subject.--Semitransgenic (talk) 15:14, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
IIRC, the standard we discussed above is "one or several full-length book treatments devoted to them", not necessarily scholarly books. I think there's some ambiguity in cases where leaders of NRMs have been the subject of books which also focus on their movements. I don't have any input on SES.   Will Beback  talk  02:54, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
well if we are adamant about sticking to that requirement there is a book on SES--Semitransgenic (talk) 03:23, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
That book seems to have been written to promote it. Not that that's a bad thing, but it doesn't speak to the notability/importance of the organization. Also the template is calling them "major groups", not just "notable groups." Kitfoxxe (talk) 16:26, 10 November 2011 (UTC)
Agree. We are looking for third-party coverage, not primary sources. --JN466 17:10, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Toooo BIG[edit]

This template is far too big. All the organisations and individuals should be culled from it. -- Alan Liefting (talk) - 20:19, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

Disagree. see the following, compare, are they also too big? --Semitransgenic (talk) 11:35, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd favour dropping the individuals and restricting the groups to those that have had at least one book-length scholarly study written about them (see above); essentially a revert to this version (with Aum Shinrikyo added). --JN466 04:48, 11 November 2011 (UTC)
again, i see no valid reason to remove individuals. in many cases the personalties that initiated/lead such movements are notable in their own right, hence the fact that there are articles for each: the movement, the leader (often a charismatic personality). Additionally, coverage across a range of scholarly sources, where at least one book chapter is devoted to the subject, should be good enough for inclusion. --Semitransgenic (talk) 11:35, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Unsourced Additions[edit]

I note that User:Semitransgenic made several additions to the template in October 2011. Specifically, I am interested in the addition of Landmark Education to the list. As has been thoroughly discussed on other articles, there are not WP:Reliable sources that indicate that Landmark is a New Religious Movement, a Cult, or a Sect. It should not be included in this template without first providing a source. I have not invetigated the other additions, although I see that there are also some living persons added - which should be removed as unsourced per WP:BLP. I intend to remove Landmark and the living persons following this discussion. -- (talk) 17:48, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Let's try to find some sources. My feeling is that the NRM/cult designation is not uncommon in relation to est, but less common and accepted in the case of Landmark Education. See e.g. [10][11] --JN466 18:03, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • In particular, I note the discrepancy between these two results: [12][13] --JN466 18:14, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Similarly: [14][15] Of course these are high-level searches, and numbers are no replacement for reading the sources, which may or may not label est or Landmark a cult or NRM, but the numbers in themselves strongly suggest that est has occurred far more often in cult discourse than Landmark has. --JN466 18:23, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Inclusion criteria[edit]

What exactly is the criteria for inclusion on this template? The template seems to have morphed significantly since the September 2011 rename from Template:Cults to Template:New Religious Movements, Cults, and Sects, becoming quite bloated, and includes organizations that are not defined as NRM, cults, or sects on the very articles they are linking to. If an orginization is not found at List of new religious movements, why would it appear on this template under the Major groups section? -- (talk) 18:53, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is ranked by the National Council of Churches as the fourth largest Christian denomination in the United States. We should not include them.-- (talk) 17:46, 7 March 2012 (UTC)
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a protestant denomination. We should not include them.-- (talk) 17:55, 7 March 2012 (UTC)

Should Lord's Resistance Army and Joseph Kony be in this template? -- (talk) 17:25, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

How about Holy Spirit Movement and Alice Auma? -- (talk) 17:28, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Template ill-defined[edit]

I don't have a great interest in this template, but I just read the talk page history on the move from "Cults" to "New Religious Movements, Cults, and Sects." In hindsight I think the move was well-intentioned but perhaps misguided, resulting in an ill-defined template. While "NRM" is certainly a less-offensive alternative for "cult" it is also much broader. The same goes for "sect." This opens the door for inclusion of many organizations that are not technically cults or sects, and causes problems with WP:LABEL and WP:WEASEL. (I also note that the template is linked mainly from cult-related articles.)

Let me give a bad analogy... Say somebody created a category called "Wikipedia Users, Biased editors, and Trolls." These are all three valid categories, and "Wikipedia Users" and "Biased editors" are less-offensive names for Trolls. The problem begins when you start putting people who aren't Trolls into the category because they're in the Users or Biased category. Chances are, they won't be very happy about being in the category with Trolls, especially since they're stuck in the category without any way to clarify that they're just Users or biased editors, but not trolls. (I'd argue, by the way, that most editors have bias, but aren't trolls). Start slapping the template on articles about Trolling, and you're going to have a lot of unhappy editors, and an unstable template. Now please forgive the bad analogy.

I can think of two solutions to this problem. The first would be to rename this template back to "Cults" and then make sure that any organization included in the template fits the strict technical definition of a cult. The second solution is to leave the name as is, but make it very clear that any organization included in the template fits the strictest definition of cult (i.e. exclude new religious movements if they aren't cults). This could be achieved with a header on the talk page and probably some invisible <!--commentary--> at the top of the template for people trying to edit it. Thoughts? ~Adjwilley (talk) 18:14, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Oppose title change.Books with mixed titles by academic publishers, include: “Cults and New Religions: A Brief History” (Bromley 2008), “Cults and new religious movements: a reader” (Dawson 2006), “Cults, Religion, and Violence” (Bromley & Melton 2002), “Cults, Sects and New Religions” (Barker 2002), “Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History” (Jenkins 2000), “The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions” (Lewis 1998). Addtionally, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are dealt with as NRM's in a number of such texts. Semitransgenic (talk) 13:49, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you that the Latter Day Saint movement is a NRM, along with Jehova's Witnesses, Adventists, Bahá'í, etc. That's obvious. My impression, though, is that this template deals primarily with cults, despite the name change. It's linked in articles like Cult, Anti-cult movement, Recovery from Cults, Destructive cult, Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network, Combatting Cult Mind Control, Cult suicide, Christian countercult movement, Cult Awareness Network, (and the list goes on). And, Template:Cults redirects here. So again, my point is not that groups like the LDS, JW, Adventist, and Unitarians aren't NRM's. My point is that they aren't cults, and shouldn't be included in the cult-related template.
You said you oppose the name change...How do you feel about clearly defining the scope of the template to deal with the problem of NRM's that aren't cults or sects? ~Adjwilley (talk) 19:23, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
we are defining a subject space, and are doing so quite broadly, the subjects NRM, sect, and cult are intertwined, the academic NRM titles reflect this, it's a question of definitions and boundaries and this is something academics are still teasing out. The tainted by association line of reasoning is not convincing. I personally think it is unfortunate that a perfectly good word such as 'cult' is viewed negatively, but should we remove NRM entries from the template because of this? Surely our readers are capable of teasing out what's what fro themselves. Semitransgenic talk. 20:08, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Please see WP:NAVBOX for some of the problems with having a template subject that's too broadly defined. Specifically, we are in violation of the guidelines that "All articles within a template relate to a single, coherent subject" and that "The articles should refer to each other, to a reasonable extent." Additionally, please see points 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 in WP:Categories, lists, and navigation templates#Disadvantages of a template that list more problems with this template.
If nobody else comments on this discussion, perhaps we could list this at WP:TFD to get a third opinion. Thoughts? ~Adjwilley (talk) 20:31, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
the template reflects the subject space as defined in the academic literature, it is a single coherent subject, it's called 'New Religious Movements Cults and Sects', that the subject area is by its very definition quite broad is not our problem, reliable sources support the existence of the the title currently in place. Semitransgenic talk. 20:52, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree that the template reflects a subject space, but the fact that it is quite broad is our problem, if you read the WP guidelines I listed above. Would you mind commenting on those and answering my query about listing this at WP:TFD? Also, I have contacted two of the editors involved in the move above, asking for a comment. (The other two, unfortunately, are no longer with us.) ~Adjwilley (talk) 21:49, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I proposed the move. What I was thinking is that NRM is the more mainstream term. If we have a template just for cults it's going to reflect mainly fringe views, it seems to me. I'm not sure it would be good to have a template for that. BigJim707 (talk) 04:10, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
@Adjwilley, you state above that "my impression, though, is that this template deals primarily with cults," and you go on list a few groups that are, in your view, not cults. But in fact the template doesn't deal primarily with cults and is in fact broader in coverage precisely because NRMs, cults, and sects, are interrelated.The line of reasoning in your initial comments relates specifically to the matter of what it is you believe to be a cult/NRM/sect, your concern appears to be that if certain groups/people are listed, they may be tainted by association if included in a template that features the word cult. Can you tell us which groups are cults and which are NRMs perhaps? -- Semitransgenic talk. 10:13, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
@BigJim707, Thanks for your comment. My impression is that the term NRM can be used as a respectful substitute for "cult", but is much broader. In other words, a NRM is simply a new religious movement, whereas a cult is a NRM whose beliefs and practices are considered abnormal or bizzare. Is this something you agree with?
@Semitransgenic, My point was that despite the name change and inclusion of non-cult NRM's, the template is being used as a template about cults, and is being linked mostly by articles about cults. Also, you seem to have (again) ignored my queries about Wikipedia guidelines and TFD. It seems we are talking past each other (WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT) so I'd like to try a different approach to find some common ground. We obviously disagree on something, but I can't figure out what it is. Would you be willing to state your agreement or disagreement with a few statements? ~Adjwilley (talk) 17:17, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
not convinced we are contravening guidelines, the headings may appear unrelated, because up until now the template has only been rolled out for cult related articles, no one has, as yet, added it to all of the articles listed. My view is that the template title should reflect, as closely as possible, the kinds of subject space definitions we find in academic texts; we should not try to redefine said subject space along POV lines, and we should especially not ignore existing scholarly definitions. In principal I have no objection to an NRM specific template, but I think it is more informative to show how NRMs, cults, and sects are intertwined and believe this is the least problematic way to do it. We could of course subdivide the Main groups template section, but then we have to debate which groups belong to which category, which again leads to problems. -- Semitransgenic talk. 18:26, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

The problem is with the common and academic definitions of the word "cult". In Anthropology the Jesuits would be technically considered a "cult" as a subset or sub-culture of the Catholic Religion. The term is most often used to describe specialized groups within a larger culture with their own set of rituals and beliefs.

In anthropology, an organization for the conduct of ritual, magical, or other religious observances. Many so-called primitive tribes, for example, have ancestor cults, in which dead ancestors are considered divine and activities are organized to respect their memory and invoke their aid. A cult is also a religious group held together by a dominant, often charismatic individual, or by the worship of a divinity, an idol, or some other object. ( See animism, fetish, and totemism.) [1]

But in common usage the term is derogatory. "3. a quasi-religious organization using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents" [2]

So, including the word "cult" in the template will ensure continued discord and misunderstanding. All of these are New Religious Movements. There is no need for the disreputable word, "cult".

--Sarunfeldt (talk) 21:02, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Establishing common ground[edit]

Please complete the following table, indicating your agreement or disagreement with the following statements. Feel free to use the {{tick}} and {{cross}} templates. ~Adjwilley (talk) 20:07, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Please indicate your agreement or disagreement with the statement.
Statement Adjwilley Semitransgenic BigJim707 Steve Dufour Kitfoxxe
There exists a scholarly definition of the word "cult." ☑Y ☒N ☒N ☒N
"Cults" are a subset of New Religious Movements (NRMs) ☑Y not always, some are not religious at all ☑Y in general ☑Y the word is usually used that way
A "cult" is a NRM with beliefs/practices that are considered abnormal or bizarre. ☑Y sometimes ☑Y mostly ☒N not really
In the literature, "NRM" and "cult" are sometimes used interchangeably. yellow tickY unsure, but I think so. ☑Y ☑Y ☒N they are not used by same people, or for same meaning/intention
The word "cult" is often considered derogatory, while NRM is less so ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y except that NRM is used to not be derogatory at all
There are many NRMs that are not cults. ☑Y ☑Y depends on who is defining the statement is meaningless because the terms are not used in same language
The groups: Latter Day Saints, Jehova's Witnesses, Adventists, Bahá'í, and Unitarians are all NRMs, but are not cults. ☑Y The Christian anti-cult movement says they are all cults. depends on who is defining meaningless, as above
The aforementioned groups should be included in this template. ☒N ☑Y ☑Y depends on what is decided about purpose of template
The majority of articles that link to this template are related to cults, (as opposed to non-cult NRMs) ☑Y ☑Y this seems to have changed I added it to some of the articles on the template itself
There are several "cults" linked in the template, alongside non-cult NRM's ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y
It is important to try to follow Wikipedia policies and guidelines. ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y
I agree with the Template guidelines listed at WP:NAVBOX. ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y
I agree with the specific guideline for templates that "All articles within a template relate to a single, coherent subject." ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y
I agree with the specific guideline for templates that "The articles [within a template] should refer to each other, to a reasonable extent" ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y
I believe that the articles linked in this template all refer to each other, to a reasonable extent ☒N I think that most articles on non-cult NRMs don't refer to the cult-related articles. ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y
I agree with the specific guideline for templates that "There should be a Wikipedia article on the subject of the template." ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y
Though there are Wikipedia articles on Cults and New Religious Movements, there is no Wikipedia article on New Religious Movements, Cults, and Sects. ☑Y Update: it looks like somebody created a redirect with that name that points to Sociological classifications of religious movements. ☑Y ☑Y ☑Y
I would agree to the proposed solution of renaming this template to Template:Cults and removing the non-cult NRMs. ☑Y ☒N ☒N ☒N
I would agree to the proposed solution of renaming this template to Template:Cults and creating a separate template called Template:New Religious Movements to hold all of the non-cult NRMs. ☑Y ☒N ☒N ☒N
I would agree to a variation on the solutions proposed above, such as not renaming the template, but limiting its contents to bona-fide cults, and perhaps creating another template to accept the non-cult NRMs. ☑Y ☒N ☒N ☒N
I would agree to the proposed solution of subdividing the groups of the Main groups into cults and not-cults. ☒N too bulky already ☒N no way to define ☒N ☒N
I am willing to work toward a compromise that we can both agree on. ☑Y ☑Y if possible ☑Y ☑Y
The template should be deleted since it represents only the fringe view (anti-cult movement). ☒N The template should be modified to reflect the scholarly view. ☑Y ☒N ☑Y
Rename to "New Religious Movements" and create new template for "Cults and the anti-cult movement." ☑YThat sounds like something I could go for. ☑Y reasonable compromise ☑Y maybe, but deletion is better
If you would like to add any more statements you feel are relevant, please do so here.
nice idea, and no offence, but you clearly have too much free time on your hands. Unfortunately, this matter does not concern me enough to enter into a protracted debate so it's best for all concerned that I withdraw from this discussion. Good luck sorting it out. Semitransgenic talk. 09:14, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
No offense taken. I actually don't have a lot of free time, but tables are pretty easy to make with the WikiEd toolbar. I'm sorry we couldn't reach a consensus... I'm a little unsure which direction to go from here. Perhaps I can get some guidance, or at least a third opinion, if I leave a note at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Religion/New religious movements work group. I'll also see if I can find a scholarly definition of "cult" that BigJim707 and I can agree upon. ~Adjwilley (talk) 18:15, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
i suggest you try and get Jayen466 to chip in, this is one of his areas of interest, you may also find there is more common ground regarding the direction the template should take. Semitransgenic talk. 21:16, 11 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. ~Adjwilley (talk) 22:49, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Definition of "cult"[edit]

Based on the response by BigJim707, I've done some research into the definition of "cult" and it is indeed messy. It looks like scholars have generally replaced the word "cult" with "NRM" because of the the negative connotations, but at the same time, there's no clear set of criteria for for classifying NRMs. Also, it looks like some scholars still use the term "cult" for groups they believe to be extremely manipulative and exploitative. I think this usage would be much better for the purposes of this template than, say, the usage of the Christian countercult movement.

Specifically what I'm proposing is that for this template we narrow our definition of "cult" to the very small subset of NRM's that are extremely manipulative and exploitative, are run by powerful, unchecked, charismatic leaders, and have bizarre and/or destructive practices. (See also: Destructive cult.) We should rely on scholarly works that call a group a cult, not public (or our own) opinion.

Additionally, it may be a good idea to create a second template specifically for NRM's. If we do that, I propose renaming this template to "Cults (New Religious Movements)" or simply "Cults". This would satisfy the WP guideline that "There should be a Wikipedia article on the subject of the template." Thoughts? ~Adjwilley (talk) 20:53, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

When many people hear the word "cult" they think of the more main-stream groups, like for instance the "Mormonism is a cult" controversy going on now in the US due to Romney running for president. Besides that some of the smaller groups are more like criminal gangs or terrorist organizations with some religious or supernatural aspect, not really "new religious movements." Kitfoxxe (talk) 02:25, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Part of the problem is also the only reasons a group becomes notable is if it grows big enough/lasts long enough to attract attention OR if it commits some kind of crime. There must be thousands of groups that get together in someone's living room to talk about reincarnation or whatever, but WP doesn't notice them. BTW if the real topic of the template is the Anti-cult movement maybe it should be renamed to that.BigJim707 (talk) 04:33, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
@Kitfoxxe, I don't think it would be a good idea to change our definition of "cult" to that of, say, Pastor Jeffres, who I believe started the recent "Mormonism is a cult" controversy. If we accepted his definition of "cult" we'd also have to include Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, and most of the other major world-religions outside Christianity. ([16]) Our usage of the word should reflect recent, reliable sources, which I believe reserve the word only for the destructive cults I mentioned above.
@BigJim707, You are right. If we changed it back to "cult" we'd only be able to include the cult-groups that have become notable. I think Anti-cult movement should be included in the template (as it is currently), but should not be the title, since there are several things in the template besides groups. The other option would be to rename this to NRM, which would allow us to safely include the major NRMs like Bahai, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnessism, Adventism, etc. ~Adjwilley (talk) 16:55, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Destructive cult uses most of its space to talk about Osama bin Laden as an example. He certainly was destructive but, according to what I have heard, Islamic terrorists mostly attend the same mosques as other people. So probably not a new religious movement. It's also somewhat ironic, and sad, that some anti-cultists who were successful in their campaigns against peaceful groups ran into trouble when they took on the smaller, violent ones. Leo Ryan is probably the most notable example here. Anyway, I think a title change to "New Religious Movements" would be a good idea. And yes Destructive cult, cult suicide, etc. are topics that are related to NRMs, if only because of the anti-cult movement being a common factor. Steve Dufour (talk) 01:52, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
That sounds pretty reasonable. ~Adjwilley (talk) 03:11, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree. BigJim707 (talk) 05:24, 15 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Where do we go from here? Obviously people are not happy with the template as it is. Steve Dufour (talk) 14:13, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I guess the next logical step would be to request a move. I'll ask Tedder, who locked the template, if he can move the page. I can also start work on Template:Cults and the anti-cult movement or something like that, if there's consensus for it. ~Adjwilley (talk) 14:57, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I support your plan. Steve Dufour (talk) 17:20, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
@Adjwilley wasn't one of your objections to the current title based the fact that no article of this name exists? likewise applies to the new template name. Incidentally, the current heading is now a live title and redirects to Sociological classifications of religious movements, an article that deals explicitly with the matter of overlap. -- Semitransgenic talk. 17:42, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
@Semitransgenic, you bring up a good point about the new template name. While it is certainly a narrower field than "NRM's, Cults, and Sects," it is still broad enough that no single Wikipedia article exists with that title. We may need to think up a better title for the new template if/when its created. For instance, we could pick "Cults" or "Anti-cult movement," or perhaps something else. I don't have a whole lot of experience in the area, so I'm not sure what would be relevant or useful. Do you have any suggestions? ~Adjwilley (talk) 18:45, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd be fine with just "Cults" as the title of the new template. The anti-cult movement is already included in the article Cult. Steve Dufour (talk) 00:52, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
That sounds good to me too. BigJim707 (talk) 03:46, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Ditto. ~Adjwilley (talk) 04:46, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Stongly disagree with the idea of having any template called Cults. I propose removing the named notable movements in the exsiting template and shift them to a template called New religious movements, we then keep the current template heading with the redirect to Sociological classifications of religious movements and cull the content to headings that relate to this topic. Semitransgenic talk. 11:27, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd say delete the template, right now it is about half anti-cult material -- which represents a fringe view in both the study of religion and in psychology. Would we have a template for "Space travel" which includes NASA and the Russian space program, science fiction, and UFOism including therapy groups for recovering UFO abductees (they exist)? Kitfoxxe (talk) 14:24, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
@Semitransgenic and Kitfoxxe, What would you both think of moving this to NRM, purging the fringe material, and then not creating a new "Cults" template? (It's not that I'm against deleting this, it's just I don't know how many would agree to that...) ~Adjwilley (talk) 23:26, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
I would support that since it would take care of my objections to the template as it is. Kitfoxxe (talk) 05:50, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
"moving this to NRM, purging the fringe material" is fine with me, but I still think we need some way of presenting a subject space overview, using a template, that addresses church-sect typology as it relates to definitions of NRMs,cults, and sects. Semitransgenic talk. 12:36, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
How about including in this template Sociological classifications of religious movements? It is also possible to include that in the "See also" section of related articles. I don't know about other readers but I am more likely to check out a "see also" article than one on a template. Kitfoxxe (talk) 18:41, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
putting Sociological classifications of religious movements as a 'see also' on relevant pages is definitely a good idea, and giving it prominence in this or any future template dealing with NRMs could help in demonstrating to readers how sects, cults, and NRM's are interrelated. Semitransgenic talk. 16:34, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 11 March 2012[edit]

add to Major Groups the following: Followers of Christ, The Brethren (Jim Roberts group), Two by Twos, Umbanda and Urantia Foundation

• Astynax talk 21:16, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

 Administrator note: Is there any opposition to adding these links to the template? — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 20:42, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

There also seems to be a problem with the link to Nation of Islam. Kitfoxxe (talk) 18:16, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. Can an admin fix this wikilink? Thanks, Madman (talk) 04:26, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
I have objection about adding Followers of Christ, The Brethren, Two by Twos and Urantia Foundation to the Major Group section, since all of the mentioned is not, or at least not proven, to be a major group. Grrahnbahr (talk) 00:45, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Remove International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Majority of contemporary sources would disagree with the classification with anti-cult slant.--Wikidas© 19:53, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

 Administrator note: Is there any opposition to removing this link from the template? — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 20:42, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
International Society for Krishna Consciousness has been studied widely as a new religious movement and should remain listed, discussion regarding the template's future and what items it will include continues above.-- Semitransgenic talk. 23:03, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

I'll deactivate the request per objections above. If you reach a consensus about what to include, you can put in another request. Regarding the Nation of Islam link, it seems to be working for me. Could you clarify what needs changing there? Tra (Talk) 18:52, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Note the Nation of Islam link was fixed by another admin on 18 March. tedder (talk) 19:12, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 14 March 2012[edit]

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) should be removed from this template since it is not a cult, sect or new religious movement - it is an established Christian denomination founded in the mid seventeenth century, with 360 000 members worldwide. It is a member of the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches (in the USA) and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (in the UK/Ireland). It is a mainstream Christian organisation, and does not really fit into any of the definitions of cult as listed on the cult wikipedia page. (talk) 20:29, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

The number of members is less than that of many new religious movements. Quakers are given as an example at New religious movement, but not at List of new religious movements. The final determination, for the purposes of Wikipedia, needs to be what is stated in reliable sources rather than more ambiguous criteria. I don't have any such sources to hand, but hopefully someone can clarify the matter.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:29, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
It seems that the IP editor is (at least in part) concerned with the religion being listed in a template that has the word cult in the title. As I understand, the word cult in the context of actual religious denominations has been mostly replaced by the term New Religious Movement in academic works because of the negative connotations associated with cult. We are currently trying to rename this template to "New Religious Movements" which should make concerns like this one obsolete. ~Adjwilley (talk) 04:45, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
The request doesn't just object to the word cult (though most objections to inclusion in this template do). The IP editor specifically objects also to the classification of new religious movement due to the group's 17th century origins. Is there any indication in reliable sources for either a) classifying Quakers as a new religious movement, or b) a definition of new religious movement indicating a maximum age for inclusion?--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:53, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
New religious movement starts out: "A new religious movement (NRM) is a religious community or ethical, spiritual, or philosophical group of modern origin, which has a peripheral place within the dominant religious culture." This fits the Quakers quite well, with the only question being the definition of "modern." (be right back with that) BigJim707 (talk) 06:03, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Modern history says: "The modern era began approximately in the 16th century.[3][4] Many major events caused Europe to change around the turn of the 16th century, starting with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the fall of Muslim Spain and the discovery of the Americas in 1492, and Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation in 1517." I'd also add book publication, effective long distance navigation, and widespread use of guns in war. BigJim707 (talk) 06:21, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
And of course modern science: "Copernicus' epochal book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), published just before his death in 1543, is often regarded as the starting point of modern astronomy and the defining epiphany that began the scientific revolution." - Nicolaus CopernicusBigJim707 (talk) 06:30, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
And from Quakers: "The movement began in mid-17th century England when travelling preachers, including George Fox, James Naylor, Margaret Fell and Francis Howgill, broke away from the Church of England and set out to convert others to what they believed were the practices of the early Church. They emphasised a personal, direct experience of Christ, acquired through both direct experience of Christ, and through reading the Bible.[2]" Sounds modern and new to me. BigJim707 (talk) 06:39, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, BigJim707. The dates indicated in those sources seem more than adequate to include Quakers within the definition of new religious movement.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:03, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
If we define a New Religious Movement as simply being a religious/ethical/spiritual/philosophical group founded at some point since the mid-fifteenth century then one could equally well include the Church of England, Puritanism, Presbyterianism, Methodist Church, Evangelicalism, Baptist Church or really just about any Christian organisation other than the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church. One could equally well define, say, Darwinism as a new movement, or the whole of modern science, or communism.... This definition is far too wide - if this is genuinely a template to list every new movement which has opposed or not been in keeping with mid-fifteenth century religious ideas then there should be millions of other organisations and movements on it. If it is in fact a list of small twentieth century cults (which is what most of the other organisations are) then it should be removed. Religious Society of Friends is not listed on List of new religious movements, and there is no academic source that anyone has cited to back up the claim that it is a new religious movement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:16, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
The other groups you named are considered part of mainstream Christianity. Others like the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Unity Church are more or less outside of that, and are usually considered NRMs (or "cults" by fundamentalist Christians). The objection that started this thread seems to be that the Quakers should be in the first group, not that they are not new, religious, and a movement -- which obviously every group mentioned is (if everything after 1500 is "new"). Kitfoxxe (talk) 14:04, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Quakers generally are considered to be part of mainstream Christianity, too. Hence their membership of mainstream Christian ecumenical organisations such as World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches (in the USA) and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (in the UK/Ireland) - and their acceptance into these organisations by other mainstream Christian churches. New Religious Movements such as Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Unity Church are not members of the World Council of Churches.
I looked at Google Scholar for relevant academic sources (search for Quakers "new religious movement")[17]. The first six sources to come up are as follows:
1. [18] New religious movements: challenge and response By Bryan R. Wilson, Jamie Cresswell - the only reference to Quakers in this is a sentence it takes a long time for a dissenting religious body to receive any degree of disinterested approval from the general public (such as, over many decades, has been achieved by the Quakers and Salvation Army) - this is comparing NRMs with groups that have a 'disinterested approval' and puts Quakers in the same category as the Salvation Army.
2. [19] New religious movements in Britain: The context and the membership, E Barker - Social Compass, 1983 - the only reference to Quakers in this is Since Establishment a very important source and channel for dissent in Britain has been the Nonconformist or Free Churches, the most successful of these being the Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Methodists. This is categorising Quakers amongst other non-conformist churches, and saying that all of these are an early form of New Religious Movement in that they broke away from the Established Church (ie the Church of England).
3. [20] 'Cults, Religion, and Violence By David G. Bromley, J. Gordon Melton - the only reference to Quakers in this is in a footnote on page 45 which says The conflicts between what would now be considered the major religious bodies in the United States and both the government and other religious groups constitute a history of religious intolerance that includes the Congregationalist killing of Quakers, periodic outbursts of anti-Catholicism, anti-Hindu riots along the West Coast at the beginning of the twentieth century, and the burning and bombing of African American churches during the civil rights movement - again this is not putting Quakers in the category of a New Religious Movement
4. [21] Scientology: Therapeutic cult to religious sect, R Wallis - Sociology, 1975 - the only reference to Quakers in this is the phrase The Quakers eg appear to have fluctuated between sectarianism and denominationalism - this suggests that the Quakers at some points in their history have been considered a sect and at other points a denomination. It does not show that Quakers have ever been a cult or New Religious Movement.
5. [[22]] Sects and violence: Factors enhancing the volatility of marginal religious movements, T Robbins, 1996 - Quakers are mentioned only briefly in this phrase Knox discusses the doctrine, which was articulated by John Wycliffe but which can be identified in later groups such as the Hussites, Anabaptists, and early Quakers, that dominion is founded on grace - in this the author is referring only to early Quakers (ie Quakers in the seventeenth century) and comparing them to Hussites and Anabaptists - whilst all fairly marginal Christian churches, none a New Religious Movement.
6. [23] New religious movements in the twenty-first century: legal, political, and social challenges in global perspective by PC Lucas, 2004 Quakers are mentioned in the introduction in a section called 'The Role of the Churches' - In Canada, according to Hexham, the churches have generally stayed clear of anticult crusaders. Notwithstanding their own vivid history of persecution and victimization, the Quakers maybe something of an exception - in this passage Quakers are being portrayed (at least in Canada) as one of the anticult mainstream churches rather than as a New Religious Movement.
Essentially, none of the sources portray Quakers as being a New Religious Movement - most portray them as a mainstream non-conformist church. Those who seek to include Quakers in this template have provided no reliable sources to back up their claims. I strongly urge Religious Society of Friends to be removed from this template until someone can come up with a reliable source backing up their claims. (talk) 22:52, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I agree with the IP editor that this should be removed. ~Adjwilley (talk) 23:20, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

I have disabled this request for now, as it is not clear to me whether there is consensus for this removal at this time. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 20:40, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 17 March 2012[edit]

Currently the template does not link to the Nation of Islam article, due to malformed coding ? Please sort. Thanks.

Twyndylyng (talk) 15:05, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

It's true. Currently the link is piping to Nation of Islam, Cults, and Sects which doesn't exist. It would be nice if an admin could fix this. The code [[Nation of Islam, Cults, and Sects|Nation of Islam]] should simply be changed to [[Nation of Islam]]. ~Adjwilley (talk) 23:19, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

2nd request[edit]

Please fix Nation of Islam redlink


{{Tfd|New Religious Movements, Cults, and Sects}}

This is a request for adding the TfD-box above the template. Grrahnbahr (talk) 08:01, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

editing of this template has been locked since 7th March. Discussion regrading its future is ongoing. Best raise your objections above rather than start a new discussion here. Semitransgenic talk. 12:48, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
plus Added — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 20:39, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Where is David Koresh? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:28, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Never mind, I just added it. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:30, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Major problems with major groups[edit]

The TfD is over, with no consensus about deletion. The template's name is changed, and it commits. Several of the users who woted to keep the template, made comments about needed changes. I suggest to split up the Major group-section into at least two groups of NRMs: Major group, witch only contain for sure major groups, as LdS, adventists, falun gong and so on. Another group could be notable movements, witch not could be described as a major group.

The template lacks definitions of what groups witch should be included, as in a broader definition, thousands of groups could be classified as a NRM.

Another option could be to remove every group that don't fill in a certain definition of Major group, like every NRM with a peak less than 500,000 adherents. Grrahnbahr (talk) 11:30, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

The suggestion to separate major groups from other notable groups sounds like a good idea.
List of New Religious Movements seems fairly well sourced (on first glance). If a group cannot be similarly sourced as being classified as an NRM, it may not qualify for inclusion in the template. (There may be groups not currently listed at the List article that can be similarly sourced, so inclusion at the List on its own wouldn't be the determining factor. Haven't checked.) Agreement would also need to be reached on a classification of 'major', ideally based on some kind of source.--Jeffro77 (talk) 13:26, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
With this in mind, I have removed Religious Society of Friends from the template since it is neither included in List of New Religious Movements nor has anyone sourced it as being classified as an NRM (see discussion above) so it does not belong in the template Ceiriog (talk) 20:02, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

New Section[edit]

User:Baseball Bugs is complaining at Talk:Jehovah's Witnesses#Use of template about inclusion of this template at the article, Jehovah's Witnesses. He claims that using the template in that article is inappropriate. He contends that inclusion of the template incorrectly implies that JWs are a cult or that they are in some way affiliated with leaders of other groups named in the template. (However, he has not specifically objected to the inclusion of Jehovah's Witnesses in the template itself, nor the definition of JWs as a new religious movement, but nevertheless claims that the template should not be used at the article.) I have suggested repeatedly that he discuss any concerns with the template at this page, but he insists on attacking my motives at the JW talk page instead.

Do any other editors consider it unreasonable to include this template in the footer of the Jehovah's Witnesses article? If so, why?--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:36, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

You all need to decide what this template really is. It started out as cults, and has been expanded to a much broader umbrella. To call JW's a "new religious movement" is fair. To lump it in with the likes of Jim Jones is totally un-fair, and makes wikipedia look stupid and biased. If you want a template for cults, make one for cults and separate the cults (at least the murderous ones) from this here template. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:58, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
You keep singling out JWs as being 'unfairly treated' by the template, even though many groups are listed.
It appears that you do not understand the fundamental issues of why there can't be a separate 'cults' template. Just as you've come along to 'defend' JWs (though no attack was made), so members of other groups could come along and object that 'xyz' isn't a cult if 'cults' (which is poorly defined) were listed in a separate template. It is therefore better to have a template that includes broader issues related to new religious movements. The template makes no attempt to 'lump' groups together beyond categorisation of new religious movements.
It is possible that the template could present cult-related topics in a manner that more clearly indicates that not all topics necessarily relate to all groups, which should be discussed further.--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:22, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
There are those who claim that Catholics, non-Catholics and Mormons are also "cults". Usually a cult is some fringe, extreme group. I'll be the first to opine that JW's are fringe and are also unpatriotic. I don't much care for them. But there's a big difference between being goofy and being murderous. They don't belong in the same template. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:32, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
If there were a separate template just for 'cults', who would decide which groups are actually 'cults'? You??
Because the term 'cult' is ill-defined, it is better to include the topic within the broader new religious movements.--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:41, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
When the template was proposed for deletion, several of the keep-voters added something like "but remove the cult-stuff". The mix of cult-stuff and lack of clear definitions of what the template should include (together with a POV-pushing name), was main reasons for me to propose it for deletion, as it appaired to be POV-pushing and breaking guidelines for templates, but I have no problems with broader consensus (I consider the survival of the template as lack of consensus, and still think it should be deleted, but will make suggestions to improve it, since it will be here at least yet for a while). When the template is kept because of lack of consensus, and suggestions for improvements are made, both in the discussion, and in the talk page, it should be included when considering the future of the template. When a cult is interesting only because of mass suicide or other bizarre attitudes, it should be reconsidered if this tiny cults is representing for the topic NRM. Grrahnbahr (talk) 12:42, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree that major groups should be separated from groups that are notable for 'other' reasons. Because it would be problematic to have a separate template that only lists 'cults' (as was also indicated at the TfD), I'm not sure about deleting those topics altogether from this template. This needs broader discussion.--Jeffro77 (talk) 14:45, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
@Grrahnbahr the deletion proposal was just that, it was not a forum for establishing how the template should be configured, consensus for any further changes should be built here. In addition to a groups size is the matter of press/academic coverage, and I think we know that the Jonestown incident has received significant coverage; therefore Jones' notability is without question. Suggesting that wikipedia readers are somehow unable to differentiate between a fairly innocuous religious movement and a disastrous one seems a little silly to me. Semitransgenic talk. 15:55, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I've made a bold edit, removing some of the more heavily cult-related topics, groups, and founders, namely:

If somebody disagrees with this edit, they can revert, or simply add back the group(s) they think should not have been removed. I feel this edit will help resolve the current discussion, as well as give us something concrete to discuss as we decide on a direction for the template. As a side note, I have left Cult and Anti-cult movement in the list, since these are broader topics that apply to NRM's (particularly the anti-cult movement). ~Adjwilley (talk) 16:38, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

@Semitransgenic: Sorry for the edit conflict above... In response to your comment about consensus, my impression was that there was consensus both on the TfD and on the talk page ([24]) to move the template and then "purge" the fringe-cult material. Either way, I've now made an edit purging some of the material, so we can discuss it and see if the consensus is still there. ~Adjwilley (talk) 16:58, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
well, as I said above, some groups have received significant coverage, irrespective of their size, and for good reason, so I see no valid justification for removing such notable groups and their leaders. The other content we could probably lose. Semitransgenic talk. 17:34, 6 April 2012 (UTC)


A number of cult-specific issues have been removed from the template, as indicated above. Perhaps there should be a separate Cults template that only lists concepts. The template would not list groups or individuals. Such a template would be used on articles about cult related topics, and not on pages about specific groups or people. It would be appropriate for certain topics (e.g. Cult, Anti-cult movement) to be listed on both templates.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:49, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

That seems like a reasonable suggestion. If such a template were created, what would you think about a title like Anti-cult movement? I think that would tie together the various concepts just as well as the title Cults, and might also serve to discourage editors down the road from adding groups they view as cults to the template. ~Adjwilley (talk) 01:37, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Calling the template anti-cult movement may be biased. It may wrongly suggest that all cults are merely the poor misunderstood victims of the mean old 'anti-cult movement', whereas some are extremely dangerous. However, the proposed template probably be called something more than just cults for the reason you've given.--Jeffro77 (talk) 02:09, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Context in which the template is presented[edit]

By putting the template at the bottom of pages like Destructive Cult http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destructive_cult and Cult, it implies that the NRMs listed are destructive cults and cults. The template includes Unitarian Unilateralism and Shambala. I don't think anyone familiar with these movements would consider them cults, certainly not destructive cults.

GatesofDawn67 (talk) 18:22, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Inform is not scholarship[edit]

Inform is not scholarship. It is information dissemination. Andries (talk) 08:13, 21 February 2013 (UTC) I think it should in in a a seperate field public education together with e.g. American Family Foundation. Andries (talk) 07:51, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

Bringing this up again. NRM ≠ Cult[edit]

This is an issue that has not been resolved and really needs to.

  • "Cult" is a subjective term that can apply to any group, depending on which group or individual you ask - inclusion of groups in the template is contentious, since the term, as used by the Chtistian countercult movement, the anti-cult movement, and assorted "specialists" is usually used in a negative context.
  • "Cult" has also been used historically
  • Cult and NRMs are not interchangeable terms

The template should be renamed "New religious movements" and all references to cult should be moved to a separate template (or templates, since the definition varies so vastly)

Zambelo (talk) 07:28, 26 November 2013 (UTC)

Note there are problems with organising anything under the term "cult" per se so I wouldn't recommend creating a new template under that name, see some recent history here. HelenOnline 07:24, 17 May 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition, Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
  2. ^ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition 2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins