1 Whatever Happened to Youthful Converts?
James R. Lewis [+]
Chapters One and Two challenge two different generalizations about conversion to NRMs using a type of quasi-longitudinal method (projecting backward from current data) in both chapters. The youth crisis model of conversion posited that new recruits were predominantly young people whose involvement could be explained as a function of their youth (e.g., as an adolescent developmental crisis). The first chapter presents statistics on recruits to seven different contemporary new religions that fundamentally challenge this item of conventional wisdom. Six out of seven data sets also embody a striking pattern of gradually increasing age across time for new converts.