The Insider/Outsider Debate - New Perspectives in the Study of Religion - George D. Chryssides

The Insider/Outsider Debate - New Perspectives in the Study of Religion - George D. Chryssides

Chapter 19: Moving Out: Disengagement and Ex-Membership in New Religious Movements

The Insider/Outsider Debate - New Perspectives in the Study of Religion - George D. Chryssides

George D. Chryssides [+-]
University of Birmingham and York St John University
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George D. Chryssides is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham and York St John University (UK). He has taught at various British universities and was Head of Religious Studies at the University of Wolverhampton from 2001 until 2008. Having written extensively on Christianity and new religious movements, and has a particular interest in Jehovah’s Witnesses. Recent publications include Jehovah’s Witnesses: Continuity and Change (2016), Historical Dictionary of Jehovah’s Witnesses (2 ed 2019), Minority Religions in Europe and the Middle East (2019), The Insider-Outsider Debate (co-edited with Stephen E. Gregg, 2019), and The Bloomsbury Handbook to Studying Christians (co-edited with Stephen E. Gregg, 2020). George Chryssides is currently president of the International Society for the Study of New Religions, and a Governor of Inform (Information Network on Religious Movements), based at King’s College London.

Description

The ex-member is a distinctive type of outsider. Particularly in the study of new religious movements, the vociferous hostile ex-member tends to gain most atttention in the media and the anticult movement. Such members are sometimes referred to as ‘career apostates’, engaging in writing and being interviewed about their experience. In this chapter it is argued that the career apostate is only one type of ex-member among several, and the author explores how other types of ex-member have positioned themselves regarding the movements they have left. The chapter discusses the problems that can arise in leaving a new religion, and assesses the degree to which credence can be placed on ex-member testimony. The author concludes that, although some ‘career ex-members’ can often be considered as being so preoccupied with the organisation they have left to the extent that they remain virtually insiders, while other ex-members often provide valuable evidence about such organisations, particularly if they have aspired to offices that allow access to restricted information.

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Citation

Chryssides, George. Chapter 19: Moving Out: Disengagement and Ex-Membership in New Religious Movements. The Insider/Outsider Debate - New Perspectives in the Study of Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 371-392 Oct 2019. ISBN 9781781793442. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=27467. Date accessed: 21 Jul 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27467. Oct 2019

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