CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne

The 2014 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


sveziaWaco, Texas, 4-7 June 2014
The George W. Truett Theological Seminary - Baylor University

[The Truett Seminary is located on the northeast corner of the Baylor campus at 1100 South 3rd Street, Waco. All events of June 5, 6, and 7 (but not those of June 4) will take place there.]


Wednesday June 4, 2014

Hilton Hotel, 113 South University Parks Drive, Waco

6 p.m. - 7 p.m. / Registration

7 p.m. / Opening Reception

The Uniquely Texan Religions of the Lone Star State
A presentation by J. Gordon MELTON (Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, Baylor University, Waco) and Timothy MILLER (University of Kansas)

Thursday June 5, 2014

The George W. Truett Theological Seminary, 1100 South 3rd Street, Waco

9.30 a.m. - 1.15 p.m. / Session 1 - Plenary

Thinking Globally, Existing Locally

Welcome by Academic Authorities

Presiding and Introducing: Massimo INTROVIGNE

Christianity and the Future of Religion in China
Rodney STARK (Distinguished Professor of Social Sciences, Baylor University, Waco)

Here, There or Everywhere? Who Cares, and How?
Eileen BARKER (London School of Economics)

Religion behind Bars... Maximum Security Seminaries
Byron JOHNSON (Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Baylor University, Waco)

11.15 a.m. - 11.30 a.m. / Coffee Break

How Much Does Gender Matters? Women in New Religious Movements: The Case of Lithuania
Milda ALISAUSKIENE (University of Vilnius)

The Siege of the Branch Davidians at Mount Carmel Center According to the FBI
Catherine WESSINGER (Loyola University, New Orleans)

The FLDS in the Wake of the 2008 Texas State Raid
Stuart WRIGHT (Lamar University, Beaumont: paper prepared in co-operation with James T. Richardson)

1.15 p.m. - 2.30 p.m. / Lunch

2.30 p.m. - 7.15 p.m. / Parallel Sessions

2.30 p.m. - 4 p.m. / Session 2

Islam and Movements in/from Islamic Countries

Chair: James BEVERLEY

Female Empowerment among Muslim Women in Polygamist Marriages
Jennifer Lara FAGEN and Stuart A. WRIGHT (Lamar University, Beaumont)

Looking at Common Denominators in Judaism, Christianity and Islam for Promoting Peace in 21st Century
Farooq HASSAN (Georgetown University, Washington D.C.)

Harun Yahya’s Religious Message between Local Decline and Global Success: What Is Islamic in “Islamic Creationism”?
Stefano BIGLIARDI (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Santa Fe, Mexico City)

2.30 p.m - 4.30 p.m. / Session 3

Global Tourists, Local Devotees


A Schematic for Assessing the Attribution of Charisma in Followers of New Religious Movements
Susan M. SETTA (Northeastern University, Boston)

Posthumous Charisma: The Architectural Routinization of Weber’s Paradigm
Daniel TOWER (University of Sydney)

“But Harry Potter Isn’t Real!”: Studying Snapeism and Fiction-Based Religions
Zoe ALDERTON (University of Sydney)

Rate and Review: Online Responses to NRM Sites by Tourists
Alex NORMAN (University of Sydney)

The New Global Strategy of an Old Local Church: Church Planting in the Maronite Diaspora
Mouna GHOSSAIN-ZAITER (University of Bordeaux 3)

2.30 p.m. - 4 p.m. / Session 4

Health and Vitality in Western Alternative Spiritualities from 1875 to the Present

Chair: Alain BOUCHARD

Health and Vitality among Jehovah’s Witnesses
George D. CHRYSSIDES (University of Birmingham)

Faith or Healing: Addressing Three Assumptions about Christian Science
Madelon MAUPIN (Christian Science)

Chiropractic and the Business Cultures of Alternative Spirituality
Holly FOLK (Western Washington University)

4.30 p.m. - 4.45 p.m. / Coffee Break

4.45 p.m. - 7.15 p.m. / Session 5

Global Movements from the East

Chair: Liselotte FRISK

The Impact of Social Change on Religious Tradition: The Anthio Central Church in Taiwan
Chi-Rong CHEN (Aletheia University, Taiwan)

A Study on the Converted Cause of Shin-Cheon-Ji Devotees
Jungeun LEE (Seoul National University)

Globalism and Locality of New Korean Religions. Global Ethics and Social Participation of Cheondogyo and Won-Buddhism as New Korean Religions
Kwangsoo PARK (Wonkwang Univeristy, Iksan)

The Hidden New Salvation and the Other Existence: A Comparative Study of Korean New Religious Movements
Gang-Hyen HAN (International Academy of Neo-Humans Culture, Bucheon City)

Fulfilment Concept: the Founding Thought of Daesoonjinrihoe in Korea
David W. KIM (Australian National University, Canberra)

A Comparative Research on the Integration of Three Traditional Religions in East Asian New Religions, Focused on Daesoonjinrihoe in Korea and Ikuandao in China
Gyungwon LEE (Daejin University, Pocheon City)

The Viewpoints of Church History and the Concept of New Religion in Korea
Chongsuh KIM (Seoul National University)

Friday June 6, 2014

The George W. Truett Theological Seminary, 1100 South 3rd Street, Waco

9.30 a.m. - 11.00 a.m. / Session 6 - Plenary

Global Esotericism

Chair: James T. RICHARDSON

My Pilgrimage to Esotericism. Why Western Esotericism is Pertinent to the Academic Curriculum
Jeffrey KRIPAL (J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and head of the Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Mysticism Program, Rice University, Houston)

Energy Healers: Who They Are and What They Do
Jeff LEVIN (Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, Baylor University, Waco)

Literary Modernism and the Rise of Esoteric Fiction
Mark MORRISSON (Penn State University)

11.00 a.m. - 11.30 a.m. / Coffee Break

11.30 a.m. - 1 p.m. / Session 7 - Plenary

A Tale of Twelve Tribes

Chair: Timothy MILLER

The German Raid on the Twelve Tribes and its Aftermath
Susan J. PALMER (Concordia University, Montreal)

Twelve Tribes: Parenting and Discipline of Children, Doctrine and Practice
Liselotte FRISK (Dalarna University, Falun)

The Reuben Tribe in the Southwest of France
Bernadette RIGAL-CELLARD (University of Bordeaux 3)

Respondents: Jean SWANTKO WISEMAN, Holger ROEHRS, Edward "Isaac" DAWSON, Charles E. WISEMAN

1 p.m. - 2.30 p.m. / Lunch

2.30 p.m. - 6.30 p.m. / Parallel Sessions

2.30 p.m. - 4 p.m. / Session 8

Globalized Esotericism

Chair: PierLuigi ZOCCATELLI

Art in the Spiritual World: Lamberto Caffarelli and Antroposophy
Michele OLZI (University of Milan)

The Return of Baal (to the Holy Land): Canaanite Reconstructionism Among Contemporary Israeli Pagans - A Double-edged Sword
Shai FERARO (Tel Aviv University)

Blood, Sweat, and Urine: The Scent of Feminine Fluids in Anton Szandor Lavey’s “The Satanic Witch”
Cimminnee HOLT (Concordia University, Montreal)

2.30 p.m. - 4 p.m. / Session 9

L’innovation religieuse et ses problèmes (Session in French)

Chair: Bernadette RIGAL-CELLARD

L’Évangile selon le Billboard : musique, innovations religieuses et globalisation
Alain BOUCHARD (Université Laval)

Guérir par la prière : pratique religieuse ou médicale ? L’ambiguïté non résolue du statut juridique de la Science Chrétienne aux États-Unis
Nawal ISSAOUI (Université de Bordeaux 3)

Le problème de la marginalisation des artistes engagés dans le mouvement théosophique : Reginald Machell (1854-1927) et Charmion von Weigand (1896-1983) aux États-Unis et Florence Fuller (1867-1947) en Australie

2.30 p.m. - 4 p.m. / Session 10

Global/Local Controversies and the Law

Chair: Stuart WRIGHT

Religious Freedom in the West: Is the Glass Half Full and Getting Fuller?
James T. RICHARDSON (University of Nevada, Reno)

Update on Religious Freedom in Japan Regarding the Unification Church
Dan FEFFERMAN (International Coalition for Religious Freedom, Washington DC)

Between Fringe Catholic and the Catholic Fringe: The Australian (False?) Pope Little Pebble (aka William Kamm) and the Order of St Charbel
Christopher HARTNEY (University of Sydney)

4 p.m. - 4.30 a.m. / Coffee Break

4.30 p.m. - 6.30 p.m. / Session 11

Case Studies

Chair: Holly FOLK

American Christian Zionism: John Hagee and His Co-religionists’ Case
Katia BATUT (University of Bordeaux 3)

Affect and Spirit: The Pre-Discursive in Afro-Caribbean New Religions
Stephen D. GLAZIER (University of Nebraska, Lincoln)

Soto Zen in Peru, Present and Future
Germain McKENZIE-GONZALEZ (Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.)

From the Mountain to the Web: Spiritual Tourist Sites of the Ascended Masters
Madeline DUNTLEY (Bowling Green State University)

The Challenge of New Religious Movements in Africa (A Comparative Study of the New Testament and Mormonism’s Social Actions)
Amarachi Nnachi UKOMA (Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki)

4.30 p.m. - 6 p.m. / Session 12

A Global/Local Look at the Church of Scientology

Chair: Massimo INTROVIGNE

From American to World Religion: L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’s Roots in the American West
Donald A. WESTBROOK (Claremont Graduate University)

Texas Showdown: The Battles between Mark Rathbun and Scientology
James A. BEVERLEY (Tyndale Seminary, Toronto)

Religious Privilege in the Scientology Discourse of Mark Rathbun
Don JOLLY (Master’s Student, New York University)

Government Raids on Scientology in Nine Countries: Origins and Aftermaths
Susan J. PALMER (Concordia University, Montreal)

7.30 p.m. / Banquet

Hilton Hotel, 113 South University Parks Drive, Waco

Presiding: J.Gordon MELTON

Where Have All the Cultists Gone... Long Time Passing?
Philip JENKINS (Distinguished Professor of History, Baylor University, Waco)

Saturday June 7, 2014

The George W. Truett Theological Seminary, 1100 South 3rd Street, Waco

9.30 a.m. - 11 a.m. / Session 13 - Plenary

Old New Religions: Once in Trouble, Always in Trouble?

Chair: Eileen BARKER

An Old/New Questions: Mormonism and Freemasonry

Michael HOMER (Utah State Historical Society) unveils his new book Joseph’s Temples: The Dynamic Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism (Utah State University Press)

Jehovah’s Witnesses in Court in Europe: Trailblazing for Religious Freedom
James T. RICHARDSON (University of Nevada, Reno)

American Unbelief (Atheism, Humanism, Freethought) as a New Religious Movement
J. Gordon MELTON (Baylor University, Waco)

11 a.m. - 11.15 a.m. / Coffee Break

11.15 a.m. - 1 p.m. / Session 14 - Plenary

New Religious Movements and Modern Visual Arts: An Important Part of the Future of Our Field of Studies

Chair: J. Gordon MELTON

Abstract Art in Its Spiritual and Scientific Context
Linda DALRYMPLE HENDERSON (David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Art History and Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Professor, The University of Texas at Austin)

Zöllner's Knot: Jean Delville (1867-1953), Theosophy, and the Fourth Dimension

The Art of Damanhur: Exploring Oberto Airaudi’s “Selfic Paintings”

1 p.m. / Field Trip

We will tour the Homestead Heritage community just north of Waco. This is a contemporary neo-Mennonite community of some 1500 residents. There are two options for registrants, to be indicated in the registration form:

– Group A: This group will eat lunch at Homestead Heritage and then spend the afternoon at the community, tour their worship facilities, the large community where they make a variety of cloth, wood, and food products (for sale), and their operating nineteenth-century flour mill. They will also have a unique opportunity for a dialogue with the community leadership on both their community life and the new theological construct that informs it. Homestead has been located near Waco for over two decades and now has more than a thousand people affiliated with it, mostly full-time residents.

– Group B: This group will eat lunch at Homestead Heritage, have a quick tour of its main facilities, and then depart for a visit to Mt. Carmel, the site formerly inhabited by the Branch Davidians and the site of the tragic events in 1993. Catherine Wessinger will be on hand to provide commentary, and several of the survivors from the 1993 fire will be present during the conference.

All registered participants will receive one book descriptive of the community, included in the conference fee, and Group A attendees will receive a second book representative of their thought, also included in the conference fee.


1 / Registration – Includes conference attendance, three lunches, the banquet, and the field trip: Euro 150.

2 / ISSNR Registration – Same as no. 1, discounted for members in good standing of the International Society for the Study of New Religions: Euro 135.

3 / Texas Residents Special – Conference attendance only with no meals, banquet, or field trip: Euro 40.


The primary hotel for the CESNUR conference in Waco is the Waco Hilton (where both the Wednesday evening reception and program and Friday banquet will be held). Just a block away is the Courtyard by Marriott. Both have a conference rate at $115.00/night. Both have free shuttles from the airport and town, and from the Baylor University campus, where the CESNUR program will happen. Both are in walking distance from the campus (about a half-mile). Mention Baylor and the CESNUR conference when making reservations.

For those who might be driving to Waco, there are a number of lesser-priced hotels along Highway 35, but not within easy walking distance. Parking will be free on campus at the Truett Seminary lot adjacent to the building in which the CESNUR program will be held.


Waco, Texas is located halfway between Dallas and Austin, Texas, along Interstate Highway 35. Air flights to Waco are only from Dallas on American Airlines, but there are six flights daily and the hotels have free shuttles to and from the airport that is just outside of town. All the major airlines service Dallas. One can also rent a car in Dallas and drive (about 90 miles).

Weather: Waco should have an afternoon temperature around 25-30°C which will drop to 15-20°C in the evening.

Sites: While in Waco, visitors may wish to visit the Dr. Pepper Museum (Dr. Pepper was originated in Waco and made his beverage there for many years), the Texas Ranger Museum adjacent to the Baylor campus, and the newly opened Mammoth Site, where a number of mammoth bones were recently discovered.