When Prophets Die

The Postcharismatic Fate of New Religious Movements

Edited by Timothy Miller

Subjects: Religion
Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780791407189, 241 pages, September 1991
Hardcover : 9780791407172, 241 pages, September 1991

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Table of contents



Introduction: When Prophets Die: The Succession Crisis in New Religions
J. Gordon Melton

1. The Shakers: The Adaptation of Prophecy
Diane Sasson

2. Postcharismatic Authority in the Amana Society: The Legacy of Christian Metz
Jonathan G. Andelson

3. American Indian Prophets
James R. Lewis

4. The Latter Day Saint Movement: A Study in Survival
Steven L. Shields

5. They Found a Formula: 450 Years of Hutterite Communitarianism
Timothy Miller

6. Democracy vs. Hierarchy: The Evolution of Authority in the Theosophical Society
Catherine Wessinger

7. Charisma and Covenant: The Christian Science Movement in its Initial Postcharismatic Phase
John K. Simmons

8. When Prophets Die: The Case of the Spirit Fruit Society
H. Roger Grant

9. The Rastafari of Jamaica
Barry Chevannes

10. The Call of the Lotus-Eyed Lord: The Fate of Krishna Consciousness in the West
Steven J. Gelberg

11. Siddha Yoga: Swami Muktananda and the Seat of Power
Gene R. Thursby

12. When the Prophet Is Yet Living: A Case Study of the Unification Church
Michael L. Mickler




When the charismatic founder/leader of a religious movement dies, the popular belief is that the movement usually disintegrates. However, many new religions not only survive but prosper, despite leadership transition. In this book, prominent scholars examine what happened to eleven new movements following the deaths of their leaders, and why. An Introduction by J. Gordon Melton serves to integrate the case studies.

Timothy Miller is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.