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RELS 225 2009-03-04: Sexual Deviance. Attendance No Announcements Review of last class Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Why are NRMs accused of sexual deviance?. Review: FLDS. FLDS History: Split from main Mormon church 100 years ago

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rels 225 2009 03 04 sexual deviance
RELS 225 2009-03-04: Sexual Deviance
  • Attendance
  • No Announcements
  • Review of last class
    • Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Why are NRMs accused of sexual deviance?
review flds
Review: FLDS
  • FLDS History: Split from main Mormon church 100 years ago
  • Where: Utah, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, South Dakota, Creston and Bountiful, BC
  • Warren Jeffs
    • Leader until November 20, 2007
  • April 2008 Raid
    • March 30, 2008 tip
    • April 3-10: Texas Rangers in control of YFZ Ranch.
    • May 29: Texas Supreme Court rules orders children to be returned.
  • Plural marriage and placement marriage
    • a man having multiple wives is ordained by God
    • wives are required to be subordinate to their husbands.
    • Women are assigned a husband by revelation to the prophet.
  • Social implications of polygyny
    • excess males must leave (teen years)
    • Importing females
    • genetic disorders
    • Females marry young before develop an interest in boys their own age.
    • New unregistered wives can apply for welfare as single mothers.
    • minimal education
nrms and sexual deviance
NRMs and Sexual Deviance
  • Marginal religious groups have historically been accused of sexual deviance
  • No comprehensive study of this issue has been published
  • How do gender differences impact the study of NRMs?
sexual deviance and the cults
Sexual Deviance and the Cults
  • New religions tend to be “antinomian”
  • Oneida community (1849-1881) in NY: complex marriage
  • 1960s sexual revolution counter-culture against sexual repression
  • 1970s David Berg’s “Children of God” The law of love; flirty fishing
  • 1980s Osho (Rajneesh): overcome western obsession with sex.
  • Others are ascetic (Unification; ISKCON)
dilemmas of moral relativity
Dilemmas of Moral Relativity
  • Religious freedom is guaranteed by law. Who is to say what is “deviant”?
  • Does it victimize someone? Objectify them? Treat them as a means to an end?
religious significance of sex
Religious Significance of Sex
  • Why is sex prominent in cults?
    • Associated with deepest, most intimate self
    • Symbolic of relations with the divine
  • Selflessness: putting others above the individual
    • Utopian ideals that everything should be shared
  • Abuses can creep in when larger society’s values are rejected
child abuse and the social control of nrms
Child Abuse and the Social Control of NRMs
  • Anti-cult movement lost the brainwashing card, and turned to the child abuse card.
  • Are children harmed simply by being raised by people with marginal beliefs? (People’s Temple; Branch Davidians; FLDS)
  • 1993 raid on Children of God in Argentina
    • No physical evidence of abuse
    • Damages awarded to Childreon of God/The Family
    • COG introduced safeguards to protect children
    • No question David Berg was responsible for this reputation, and that some children were pressured into sexual activity
    • By 1987 these practices were disavowed, and by 1995 the movement reformed.
gender matters
Gender Matters
  • Gender: a “master status” defining one’s sense of self.
  • Feminist movement has challenged earlier roles, leading to anomie for women. NRMs often spell out new models of gender.
  • Aidala 1985: low tolerance among women and men in NRMs for ambiguity in social roles.
    • Women relinquish some rights to give their men unambiguous roles as well.
gender role diversity in nrms
Gender Role Diversity in NRMs
  • Palmer 1994: 3 part typology of sexual ideologies: sex-polarity; sex-complimentarity; sex-unity.
    • Sex-polar (ISKCON; Rajneesh): one sex is superior; limited relationships
      • Rajneesh has free love, to detach from sexuality; attracts women wanting empowerment
      • ISCKON has segregation
    • Sex-complimentary (Unification; Mormons): marriage is needed to unite two halves.
    • Sex-unity: (Scientology; Raelians) one’s sex is irrelevant, not part of who you really are.
  • 3 Common features:
    • Reject courting phase
    • Only one or two roles for women
    • Reducing the load of child care
  • The women studied choose to find the solution to social anomie in spirituality rather than elsewhere
two twists on palmer 1994
Two twists on Palmer 1994
  • Davidman 1990: Women studied wanted a family
    • Difference in findings due to mainstream/marginal difference?
  • Women were responding not to gender ambiguity itself, but the haphazard way sexual experimentation was taking place in society.
but what about the children
But what about the children?
  • Sexual “deviance” in NRMs is largely the search for “better” expressions of oneself as sexual beings.
  • But how can “better” be defined? Is it totally relative and subjective?
  • For Monday:
    • “Why Do Some NRMs Become Violent?”
    • Summarize Comprehending Cults Chapter 7 online
  • For Wednesday:
    • Read “The Apocalypse at Jonestown,” chapter 12 in Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader.
    • Write online quiz on this reading