World Affirming New Religious Movements

According to Roy Walllis, World Affirming New Religious Movements aim to help individuals achieve success within mainstream society by unleashing their spiritual potential.

This is the third type of movement in Wallis three fold typology of New Religious Movement, and is most closely related to Bruce’s concept of ‘the cult’.

Examples of World Affirming NRMs…

  • Transcendental Meditation
  • Scientology
  • The Human Potential Movement

Key features of World Affirming New Religious Movements

  • They aim to help members achieve their full potential in terms of the dominant values of mainstream society.
  • These groups claim to access to spiritual or supernatural powers, and aim to help members access these powers so that they can be successful in life, by unleashing their full potential.
  • Besides the above, they tend to lack any formal religious doctrine, and are the ‘least religious’ of Wallis’ three NRMS, at least in the conventional or traditional sense of what organised religion is about.
  • They are extremely individualistic: success is seen as a matter of individual effort.
  • There is little attempt to control members lives, low commitment. Turnover of membership tends to be quite high.
  • Membership tends to be ‘tiered’.
  • Membership is highly inclusive – World Affirming NRMs want as larger membership base as possible. Membership of such groups may be limited to a client base consumer style relationship…. members ‘buy spiritual services’ from the group.

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