Anson Shupe

Anson Shupe

Anson D. Shupe is an American sociologist who studies religious groups and the anti-cult movement. He is a Professor of Sociology at the joint campus of Indiana State University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Indiana, teaching courses such as "Deviant Behavior and Social Control" and "Sociology of Religion". [ [ Anson Shupe] , profile at Indiana University - Purdue University. ]



Shupe completed his doctorate in political sociology at Indiana University in 1975 under the direction of Lawrence E. Hazelrigg. During the late 1970s, he began combining his interests in religion, politics, and deviance, publishing several books and numerous articles in professional journals, analyzing new religious movements and the anti-cult movement counter-movements that arose in opposition to them.

Shupe diversified his research to include religious groups and movements in the New Christian Right, religious broadcasting, and the role of fundamentalist religious traditions in politics.

Shupe also produced another body of research on violent and abusive practices within families, combining his research interest in family violence and his prior work on religion in a new line on violation of trust by clergy, most notably "In the Name of All That's Holy: A Theory of Clergy Malfeasance" (Praeger 1995).

Shupe collaborates in his research with a number of other scholars in the sociology of religion, including David G. Bromley and Jeffrey K. Hadden. Shupe was elected to office in several professional associations, including the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Association for the Sociology of Religion. He also became an articulate advocate, through his writing for both popular and professional audiences, for religious libertarianism.

In the 1970s and 1980s Shupe wrote extensively about the ensuing social conflict concerning cults and new religious movements. He was a keen interpreter and analyst of the social dynamics involved as various networks of interested parties began to publicly oppose cults. The formation of a social movement in North America known as the anti-cult movement centered on allegations of manipulation, abuse, mind control and brainwashing. Shupe analysed these claims in accordance with social theories on conflict and propaganda. However, Shupe, along with other scholars such as David Bromley, entered the social conflict with discourses that opposed the brainwashing allegations of anti-cult activists. Like Bromley, Shupe was alarmed at the similarities he perceived between anti-cult resistance and the witch hunts of the Middle Ages. Shupe was also alarmed at the possible erosion of religious and civil liberties arising from the campaigns of anti-cult activists to curb the presence of cults in society. It is at this juncture that Shupe's critics in the anti-cult movement began to question his arguments, methods and motives.

After the collapse of the Cult Awareness Network (CAN) as an anti-cult organization, Shupe co-wrote a paper with Susan Darnell about CAN based on an alleged examination of its archives and papers. [ [ CAN, We Hardly Knew Ye: Sex, Drugs, Deprogrammers’ Kickbacks, and Corporate Crime in the (old) Cult Awareness Network] , by Anson Shupe, Susan E. Darnell, presented at the 2000 SSSR meeting in Houston, Texas, October 21.] He has also explored this further in his book "Agents of Discord".


Due to his testimonies for Scientology, Shupe has been criticized by sociologist Prof. Stephen A. Kent. [ When Scholars Know Sin: Alternative Religions and Their Academic Supporters] , Skeptic Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 3, 1998] During the lawsuit of Jason Scott against Rick Ross and the Cult Awareness Network, Shupe worked closely together with Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon, whom he later called "my friend and colleague", [ [ Letter from Anson D. Shupe to Massimo Introvigne] , June 5, 2001] and testified at the trial as an expert witness against CAN. In their article in The Skeptic, Kent and Theresa Krebs detailed his role further: In a deposition, Shupe admitted that he had never attended a CAN meeting, didn't know the names of its officers and that he had not conducted formal research on the organization since 1987 or formally interviewed anyone on the "countercult" movement since 1979; however, he claimed that he kept informed, and the court rejected CAN's challenge of his admissibility as an expert witness.


* "Moonies" in America: Cult. Church. and Crusade". Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE Publications, 1979. (with David G. Bromley). Introduction by John Lofland. 269 pp.
* "The New Vigilantes: Anti-Cultists, Deprogrammers and the New Religions". Beverly Hills, SAGE Publications, 1980. 267 pp.
* "Six Perspectives on New Religions: A Case Study Approach". Lewiston and Queenston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1981. 235 pp. ISBN 0-88946-983-0
* "Strange Gods: The Great American Cult Scare". Boston: Beacon, 1981. (with David G. Bromley) 249 pp. ISBN 0-8070-3256-5
* "The Anti-Cult Movement in America: A Bibliography and Historical Survey". New York: Garland Press, 1984. (with David G. Bromley and Donna L. Oliver) i-xiii + 169 pp.
* "A Documentary History of the Anti-Cult Movement". Arlington, TX, University of Texas Center for Social Research Press, 1986. (with David G. Bromley) 376 pp.
* "The Mormon Corporate Empire". Boston: Beacon, 1986. (with John Heinerman) ISBN 0-8070-0406-5
* "Televangelism, Power and Politics on God's Frontier", Anson Shupe and Jeffrey Hadden, Henry Holt & Co (April 1, 1988), 325pp. ISBN 0-8050-0778-4
* "The Darker Side of Virtue: Corruption, Scandal, and the Mormon Empire", Prometheus Books (May 1, 1991), 168pp. ISBN 0-87975-654-3
* "Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective: Revival of Religious Fundamentalism in East and West", Bronislaw Misztal & Anson Shupe (Eds.), Praeger Publishers (November 30, 1992), 240pp. ISBN 0-275-94218-X
* "Anti-Cult Movements in Cross-Cultural Perspective". New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1994. (edited with David G. Bromley). ISBN 0-8153-1428-0
* "Bad Pastors: Clergy Misconduct in Modern America" New York: New York University Press, 2000, Edited by Anson Shupe, William A. Stacey, Susan E. Darnell; ISBN 0-8147-8147-0
* "The Cult Awareness Network and the Anticult Movement: Implications for NRMs in America" (with Susan E. Darnell and Kendrick Moxon) in "New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America". edited by Derek H. Davis and Barry Hankins. Waco: J.M.Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies and Baylor University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-929182-64-2
* "Agents of Discord: The Cult Awareness Network, Deprogramming and Bad Science". New Brunswick: Transaction, 2006. (with Susan E. Darnell) ISBN 0-7658-0323-2
* "Spoils of the Kingdom - Clergy Misconduct and Religious Community". University of Illinois Press, 2007. ISBN 0-25203-159-8, ISBN 978-0252031595.


* Jackson W. Carroll, Review of In The Name of All That's Holy, "Review of Religious Research" 38 (1996): 90-91.
* Hans A. Baer, Review of The Darker Side of Virtue, "Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion", 31 (1992): 242-243.
* A.J. Pavlos, Review of Six Perspectives on New Religions, "Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion", 22 (1983): 95-96.
* Stephen A. Kent and Theresa Krebs, "When Scholars Know Sin: Alternative Religions and Their Academic Supporters," "Skeptic", 6/3 (1988): 36-44. Also see J. Gordon Melton, Anson D. Shupe and James R. Lewis, "When Scholars Know Sin" Forum Reply to Kent and Krebs, "Skeptic", 7/1 (1999): 14-21.
* [ Did Scientology Strike Back?] , "The American Lawyer", June 1997


External links

* [ Curriculum Vitae]
* [ The Reconstructionist Movement on the New Christian Right] by Anson Shupe
* [ ApologeticsIndex site on Anson Shupe]

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