After the Founder Dies

David V. Barrett

in The Fragmentation of a Sect

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199861514
Published online May 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979943 | DOI:
After the Founder Dies

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After the death of their founder religions often face a period of turmoil and readjustment, even if the succession has been well planned. An original typological model is used to categorise and analyse four ideal types of outcome: continuation, dissolution, reform/revolution and schism, and also increased convergence with or divergence from mainstream religion and society; the model is applied to the Worldwide Church of God and to a variety of other new religious movements. The chapter then examines a number of other factors affecting a movement after the death of its founder including: the second leader; the continuing organization; demography; doctrine; whether the movement is inward- or outward-looking; the internet; and the personality of new leaders. Finally it looks briefly at what may happen in some of the larger Worldwide offshoots when their now-elderly founder/leaders die.

Keywords: death; succession; typological model; continuation; dissolution; reform/revolution; schism; convergence; divergence; second leader

Chapter.  12533 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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