Demographic questionnaires were administered to members of the Order of Christ Sophia (OCS) in 2005 and 2008. This chapter examines the membership's characteristics and analyzes how people became members. Though some of the OCS data support generally accepted conclusions that researchers have drawn from earlier studies of new religious movements, on certain points the data call into question—sometimes dramatically—prior generalizations. Thus, for example, the scholarly consensus is that the great majority of recruits become involved in new religious movements (NRMs) in response to the “youth crisis” that takes place during the difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood. The average member of the order, however, became involved in his or her 30s. This and a number of other characteristics of the OCS membership challenge general conclusions about recruits to new religions that have been drawn from previous research.
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