The Endtime Family

Children of God

By William Sims Bainbridge

Subjects: Sociology
Paperback : 9780791452646, 218 pages, January 2002
Hardcover : 9780791452639, 218 pages, January 2002

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Table of contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


1. Persecution

2. Survey

3. Beliefs

4. Practices

5. Alienation

6. Sexuality

7. Children





A fascinating examination of a religious counterculture group showing how it differs from mainstream society, yet is similar in other ways.


This groundbreaking analysis of the controversial religious group, The Family, or The Children of God, uses interviews, observational techniques, and a comprehensive questionnaire completed by more than a thousand Family members. William Sims Bainbridge explores how Family members infuse spirituality with sexuality, channel messages that they believe emanate from beyond life, and await the final Endtime. He also examines attempts by anti-cultists and the state to "deprogram" members of the group, including children, by forcibly seizing them. The book's blending of theoretical analysis with vivid accounts of this remarkable counterculture poses a fascinating question for social scientists and society—how is it that The Children of God both differ from the general public and, in other ways, are so surprisingly similar to it?

William Sims Bainbridge is Staff Associate for the Management and Planning Division of Social and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation. He is the author of many books, including The Sociology of Religious Movements.


"Bainbridge is unquestionably among the most able scholars in the sociology of religion today. In The Endtime Family, he skillfully weaves significant theoretical ideas together, presenting the best inquiry to date into the heart and soul of this controversial group. Bainbridge has written a marvelous book that both dispels many myths and gives the reader more than a glimpse of a 'cult' with a human face." — Jeffrey K. Hadden, coeditor of Religion on the Internet: Research Prospects and Promises