CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne

The 2013 CESNUR Conference co-organized by
Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR)
International Society for the Study of New Religions (ISSNR)
Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University
Finyar (The Nordic Network for the Study of New Religiosity)
Dalarna University


Falun (Sweden), 21-24 June 2013
Dalarna University, Högskolegatan 2, Falun

[See also .pdf of the Booklet]


Friday June 21, 2013

8,45 / Field Trip

Participants with the “full registration” package will congregate for a departure at 8,45 a.m. in Stockholm, Klarabergsviadukten (just above the Central Train Station: from the station take the escalator upwards to Klarabergsviadukten; after the escalator, go out through the doors to the right, where they will find the bus), and board a bus for a field trip that will take them to culturally significant locations throughout the Swedish region of Dalarna (bus will leave at 9 a.m.). Dalarna is famous for its small and picturesque villages, beautiful nature, traditional culture and handicraft. We will first visit Falun’s World Heritage Site and the 17th century part of the town. At that time, Falun was one of the most important towns in Sweden because of its copper mine. Then we will continue to the old traditional villages around Lake Siljan, stopping on our way at some other places of traditional and cultural importance. The journey will culminate with a traditional Swedish Midsummer Feast in the village of Leksand, before our arrival in Falun late that evening.

Saturday June 22, 2013

9-11 / Session 1 - Plenary

Is the World of Religions Really Changing?

Welcome by Academic Authorities

Presiding and Introducing: Massimo INTROVIGNE

Fluctuations, Transformations and New World Orders: Changing Religious Movements in a Changing World
Eileen BARKER (London School of Economics)

Texas Pentecostalism: A Test Case for the Definition of New Religions
J. Gordon MELTON (Baylor Univerity, Waco)

Religions in Italy 2013

11-11,30 / Coffee Break

11,30-13 / Parallel Sessions

11,30-13 / Session 2

Contemporary Socio-Religious Movements of Russian Origin in Post-Soviet and Western Societies


The Anastasia Movement: From Russia to the West
Rasa PRANSKEVICIUTE (Uppsala University)

Cosmocentrism and the Idea of the Social and Religious Activities of Fedorov's Religious-Philosophic Movement in Contemporary Russia
Elean KONSTANTINOVA (The Institute of World Literature, Moscow)

The Transformations of Russian New Age Movement “Anastasia”
Julia ANDREEVA (European University, St. Petersburg)

“New Cosmic Religion” and the Ancient Cult of the White Old Man Interpreted Anew: Communities of Ritual Healers in Post-Soviet Kalmykia
Valeriya GAZIZOVA (University of Oslo)

11,30-13 / Session 3

Old New Religions and Changing Attitudes to Ecumenism

Chair: Dyron DAUGHRITY

The Watch Tower's Changing Hymnody: How Music Reflects Change among Jehovah's Witnesses
George D. CHRYSSIDES (University of Birmingham)

Christian Science in Ecumenical Dialogue: Signs of Change
Shirley PAULSON (University of Birmingham)

Unorthodox Orthodoxy in Britain
Margaret Z. WILKINS (Independent Scholar and Researcher, UK)

11,30-13 / Session 4

The Changing New Age

Chair: Jean-François MAYER

New Age, Spiritual or Religious? Self-designations within the New Age Movement
Knut MELVAER - Margrethe LØØV (University of Bergen)

“Lielvarde Belt”: Folk Tradition, the New Age Religion and Nationalism in Latvia
Agita MISANE (University of Latvia)

Textual Lives and New Age Spirituality
Lisbeth MIKAELSSON (University of Bergen)

Is It Really only “Love and Light”? The Belief in Evil Spirits within New Age
Sara DUPPILS (Åbo Akademi University, Turku)

11,30-13 / Session 5

Changing Jewish and Israeli Perspectives

Chair: Alessandro AMICARELLI

Shifting Feminisms in the Jewish Renewal Movement
Chava WEISSLER (Lehigh University, Bethlehem)

The Mutable Nature of the Common Enemy. The Changing Reaction of the Israeli Government to New Religious Movements
Adam KLIN-ORON (Hebrew University, Jerusalem) - Marianna RUAH-MIDBAR (Zefat Academic College)

Is There a Real Difference Between Business Consultancy and Channeling?
Nurit ZAIDMAN (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva)

13-14,15 / Lunch (Scandic Hotel)

14,30-18 / Parallel Sessions
[Each session will have a coffee break between 16,15 and 16,30]

14,30-18 / Session 6

Changing Religion in Scandinavia

Chair: Liselotte FRISK

The Case of Aarhus, Denmark. Changes in the Field of New Religious Movements from 2002 to 2012
Lars AHLIN (University of Aarhus)

A Buyer's Market: The Commodification of Religion in Sweden
Gwendolyn ALEXIS (Monmouth University, West Long Branch)

Strategies Among Young Jehovah’s Witnesses in Secondary School in Sweden
Pernilla LIEDGREN DOBRONRAVOFF (Dalarna University, Falun)

Nigerian Pentecostalism in Sweden: The Case of Redeemed Christian Church of God
Nils MALMSTRÖM (Lund University)

14,30-18 / Session 7

Changing Movements: Case Studies - I

Chair: Philippe MURILLO

The Anzac Spirit: A Civil Religious Movement
Zoe ALDERTON (University of Sydney)

The Spiritist Revival. The Raising Voice of Popular Religion?
Anne KALVIG (University of Bergen)

From Children of God to Children of Members: Changing Views on Children in TFI 1988-2013
Sanja NILSSON (Dalarna University, Falun)

The Movement for the Spiritual Integration into the Absolute. Facets of an Identity: Minority of Conscience, Minority of Sexual Practice, and Minority Born of Repression
Gabriel ANDREESCU (National School for Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest)

14,30-18 / Session 8

Changing Local/Glocal Religious Landscapes - I

Chair: Agita MISANE

Analysis of the Religious Pluralism in Spain
Sonia BARTOL SÁNCHEZ (International University of La Rioja)

“We Are no Longer Able to Hear God!”: A Consideration of Christianity’s Fall from Grace in Western Europe
Dyron DAUGHRITY (Pepperdine University, Malibu)

Global Hindu Religious Movements and Their Return Home
Ferdinando SARDELLA (Uppsala University)

Challenges for Religious Diversity in Lithuania
Milda ALISAUSKIENE (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas)

The Phenomenon of Philippine Homegrown Religious Movements That Have Attracted Global Following
Maria Lourdes B. GONZALEZ (University of Asia and the Pacific, Pasig City)

14,30-18 / Session 9

Gender and New Religions

Chair: Susan J. PALMER

A Quantitative Perspective on Gender and New Religions
James R. LEWIS - Inga B. TØLLEFSEN (University of Tromsø)

Every Man and Every Woman Is a Star: The Social Construction of Gender in Contemporary Ordo Templi Orientis
Manon HEDENBORG-WHITE (Stockholm University)

“God Giving Birth”. Monica Sjoo’s Role as a Bridge Between Radical and Spiritual Feminism and British Wiccan-derived Paganism, c. 1970 - c. 1990
Shai FERARO (Tel-Aviv University)

Part Feminine, Part Masculine, All Divine: Israeli Channeling as Solving Conflicting Gender Roles
Adam KLIN-ORON (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

A Feminine Psychology/Philosophy in NRMs: On the Problem of Empathy
Marzia A. COLTRI (AEREC - Accademia Europea per le Relazioni Economiche e Culturali, Roma)

14,30-18 / Session 10

Changing Islam


Religious Ethnic Minorities: The Case of Muslim Roma in Bulgaria
Alessandro AMICARELLI (Roma Nation Embassy, London)

The Gulen Movement and Its Contributions: New Social Movement Perspective
Yu-Cheng LIU (National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan)

Christian-Moslem Relations in Southeast Asia: Towards Peace and Harmony
Elizabeth T. URGEL (University of Asia and the Pacific, Pasig City)

18-19 / Business Meeting for the members of the International Society for the Study of New Religions (ISSNR)

19,15 / Reception (Dalarna University)

Sunday June 23, 2013

8,30-9,45 / Session 11 - Plenary

The Occult, Prophecy, and the End of the World

Chair: J. Gordon MELTON

From Occultism and Spiritualism to Idealism and Mysticism, American Metaphysical Religion in the Making: Theosophy and New Thought
Philippe MURILLO (University of Toulouse)

Why the World Did not End and the New Age Exists after all: Maya Calendar, December 2012, Believers and the Media
Jean-François MAYER (Religioscope, Fribourg)

9,45-10 / Coffee Break

10-13 / Session 12 - Plenary

A Drama in Sweden: Murder in the Knutby Philadelphia Pentecostal Church

Chair: Eileen BARKER

The 2004 Murder (movie)

Knutby Philadelphia Church: An Inside Perspective
Pastor Peter GEMBÄCK (Knutby Philadelphia Church)

Sweden’s “Bride of Christ”, Åsa Waldau: A Study of Feminine Mysticism and Prophecy
Susan J. PALMER (Concordia University, Montreal)

The Life Story of Helge Fossmo: An Interpretation of Personal Narrative
Liselotte FRISK (Dalarna University, Falun)

13,15-14,45 / Lunch (Scandic Hotel)

15-18,30 / Parallel Sessions
[Each session will have a coffee break between 16,15 and 16,30]

15-18,30 / Session 13

Esotericism and New Religions [Session organized in co-operation with ContERN (Contemporary Esotericism Research Network)]

Chair: PierLuigi ZOCCATELLI

Discursive Complexes as a Tool to Systematize the Study of Contemporary Esotericism
Kennet GRANHOLM (Stockholm University)

Twenty-First Century Templars: The Evolution of the Ordo Templi Orientis under Hymenaeus Beta (1985-)
Christian GIUDICE (University of Gothenburg)

“Unveiling the Number 19”: Secrecy, Concealment and Revelation in the Religious Thought of Mother Tynnetta Muhammad
Justine BAKKER (University of Amsterdam)

From Goddess to Cyborg: The Pagan and the Posthuman in the Digital Age
Venetia ROBERTSON (University of Sydney)

Neo-Pagans On-Line: An Example of Third Space
Giulia EVOLVI (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Colorado, Boulder)

15-18,30 / Session 14

Changing Local/Glocal Religious Landscapes - II

Chair: Ferdinando SARDELLA

Travel and New Religions
Alex NORMAN (University of Sydney)

Two Forms of Religious Pluralism: Monistic and Pluralistic
Jae-Hyun PARK (Daejin University)

East Asia’s Circular Theology and Deconstructive Theology: A Comparison
Nam-Sik KO (Daejin University)

15-18,30 / Session 15

Alternative Archaeology and New Religiosity in the Twilight Zone of Science

Presiding and Introducing: Pia ANDERSSON (Stockholm University) - Alternative Archaeology: A Brief Introduction

God, Gods and Spacemen: Ancient Astronaut Narratives and Re-readings of the Bible
Erik A. W. ÖSTLING (Stockholm University)

Semiotic Arousal in Millenarian Representations of the Megalithic Past: Alternative Archaeologies in the 2012 Phenomenon
Kevin WHITESIDES (University of Edinburgh)

Alternative Archaelogy, Has It Happened?: Paganism and Archaeology in Twenty-first Century in Britain
Robert WALLIS (Richmond University, London) - Jenny BLAIN (Sheffield Hallam University)

Mainstream Archaeology and Alternative Archaeology in Scandinavia
Stig WELINDER (Mid Sweden University, Härnösand)

15-18,30 / Session 16

“American” Movements: Changes and Controversies

Chair: Alessandro AMICARELLI

The Controversy around the LDS Paris Temple Project
Bernadette RIGAL-CELLARD (University of Bordeaux)

The Love Never Dies: 25 Years of “Charisma” as a Tool for NRM Studies
Christopher HARTNEY (University of Sydney)

“The Mormon Moment”: When Did It Begin and Has It Really Ended?
Michael W. HOMER (Utah State Historical Society)

Health Dissent in Conservative American Subcultures
Holly FOLK (Western Washington University)

19,30 / Banquet (Scandic Hotel)

Monday June 24, 2013

8,30-10,45 / Parallel Sessions

8,30-10,45 / Session 17

Changing Movements and Perspectives from Korea

Chair: Christopher HARTNEY

Return of Korean Messiahs in the Crisis of Christianity: A Comparative Study of Unification Church, WMS Church of God, Jesus’ Morning Star Movement and Shinchonji
Shin AHN (Pai Chai University, Daejeon)

The Changing Concept of “New Religions” from a Religio-typological Context
Kim CHONGSUH (Seoul National University)

The Ultimate Aim of New Religion Movements and the New Rule and the Social Structure of the New World (Centering the Rule of Heaven and the Culture of Neo-Human)
Gang-Hyen HAN (Mejiro University, Saitama)

8,30-10,45 / Session 18

Changing Movements: Case Studies - II

Chair: George D. CHRYSSIDES

Converting to Soka Gakkai in Cuba: Individual Motivations and Organizational Strategies
Girardo Rodriguez PLASENCIA (Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu)

A Case Study on Taiwan Contemporary New Religions in Terms of Changing Religious Movement in a Changing Society. Focused on Taiwan I Kuan Dao
Gyung-Won LEE (Daejin University)

The Death of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and What It Portends for the Unification Church
Dan FEFFERMAN (International Coalition for Religious Freedom, Washington DC)

An Update on Religious Freedom Issues Relating to the Unification Church in Japan
Shunsuke UOTANI (Universal Peace Federation, Tokyo)

8,30-10,45 / Session 19

Changing Controversies

Chair: Philippe MURILLO

Addressing the Issue of Interaction Between New Spiritual Movements and Society from the Perspective of Conflict Theory
Natalia SHELARU (Soteria International, Copenhagen)

Squeezing into Uncomfortable Spaces: Scholarly Objectivity and Strong Opinions
David WEBSTER (University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham)

The Reluctant Player: Negotiating Tensions in the Study of New Religious Movements
Cimminnee HOLT (Concordia University, Montreal)

Jesus’ Wife: A New Controversy in the Study of Christian Faith
David W. KIM (Seoul National University)


8,30-10,45 / Session 20

Swedenborgianism in a Changing World

Chair: Marzia COLTRI

From “Ed” to “Web”: The Changing Audience of Swedenborgianism
Jane WILLIAMS-HOGAN (Bryn Athyn College)

Science, Modernity, and Individuations of Belief: Swedenborg and the Roots of American Religious Pluralism
Devin ZUBER (Swedenborg House of Studies of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley)

“Times They Are a-Changin”: Faith Conversations in 2013
Göran APPELGREN (Swedenborgian Pastor, Stockholm)

Smuggling Religion: Swedenborgianism and Literary Fiction
Sylvia MONTGOMERY SHAW (Writer, Boston)

10,45-11 / Coffee Break

11-12,45 / Session 21 - Plenary

Changing Movements in a Changing Society: A Local Story with a Global Meaning

Chair: Jean-François MAYER

Pyramid of Merkine: New Age or Popular Catholicism?
Milda ALISAUSKIENE (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas)

Lithuanian Occulture and the Magic of Druskininkai: From Ciurlionis to Povilas Zekas

13 / Departures and Field Trip

For those registered for the field trips, buses will leave the university from Högskolan Dalarna at 13 p.m. (box lunches will be provided), taking participants either directly to Arlanda Airport (arrival: 16 p.m.) near Stockholm or to a visit to Kalle Runristare, a neo-Pagan rune-carver on an island outside Stockholm. This island, Adelsö, is a World Heritage Site with historical importance, where the kings lived in the Viking era. The journey ends in Stockholm in the late evening.


Registration for Option 1 has been closed on May 15, 2013. Those without a confirmed registration for Option 1 should know that there are no extra places available on the CESNUR buses going to Falun on Friday June 21 and they should reach Falun on their own.

Those who have registered for Option 1 have purchased a full package, including transportation from Stockholm, the field trip on Friday (including meals); lunches; the reception on Saturday evening and the banquet on Sunday evening and either transportation back to Arlanda Airport only or the field trip with arrival in Stockholm on Monday evening.

Option 2 - Conference attendance only, including lunch on Saturday and Sunday, the Saturday reception and the Sunday banquet (but no field trips or transportation): Euro 120 – remains open for registration at the conference door on Saturday June 22, opening at 8.45 a.m.



We urge you to make your travelling and lodging arrangements as early as possible, as midsummer is a very important holiday in Sweden. Journeys will be cheaper and more available if you book early. For those who arrange their own train journey between Arlanda and Falun, please observe that it is possible to buy train tickets from about three months before the journey, and that the tickets from that time on becomes increasingly expensive. See www.sj.se.


Scandic Hotel (www.scandichotels.com/Hotels/Countries/Sweden/Falun/Hotels/Scandic-Lugnet), just beside the university, is offering special prices for our conference guests. The price, inclusive of a generous breakfast, is 700 SEK for a single room (en suite), 800 SEK for a double room (en suite). To get this price, please write to falun@scandichotels.com, mentioning the code “Changing Religious Movements”.

A cheaper option is an old prison which has been converted into a youth hostel. Three nights, inclusive of breakfast, in a single room, costs 1250 SEK (sharing a common bathroom). Rooms with several beds cost 950 SEK per person for three nights. To get this price, write the code “Changing Religious Movements”. See www.falufangelse.se (write to info@falufangelse.se). The youth hostel is situated about a 20-minute walk from the university, but is, on the other hand, closer to the town center.