During the past several decades, sociologists and scholars in Religious Studies have created an additional category, “new religious movements,” to use in the study of religion. This category is proving extremely useful not only in the consideration of new movements in modern times but also in examining the coming into being of such world traditions as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Professors Butler and Shipps, both senior scholars in the field of American religion, will talk about the many religious movements that originated in America across the years. They will reflect on what occurred when such movements could no longer be described as pristine or innovative. Which ones were likely not just to survive, but to grow? Because many new religious movements did not endure, the fascinating question of why some survived and some did not will be addressed. Many possibilities existed for those that lived on. What were they, and what happened as they matured? How did these religious movements change when they advanced beyond the boundaries of the United States? These questions will be the focus of this free-wheeling conversation that will move past the general and settle on the particular–Mormonism–before it draws to a close.
JAN SHIPPS, JON BUTLER