Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religious Communities

ISBN : 9780195398892

Stuart A. Wright; Susan J. Palmer
304 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jan 2016
Send mail

While scholars, media, and the public may be aware of a few extraordinary government raids on religious communities, such as the U.S. federal raid on the Branch Davidians in 1993, very few people are aware of the scope and frequency with which these raids occur. Following the Texas state raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints in 2008, authors Stuart Wright and Susan Palmer decided to study these raids in the aggregate-rather than as individual cases-by collecting data on raids that have taken place over the last six decades. They did this both to establish for the first time an archive of raided groups, and to determine if any patterns could be identified. Even they were surprised at their findings; there were far more raids than expected, and the vast majority of them had occurred since 1990, reflecting a sharp, almost exponential increase. What could account for this sudden and dramatic increase in state control of minority religions? In Storming Zion, Wright and Palmer argue that the increased use of these high-risk and extreme types of enforcement corresponds to expanded organization and initiatives by opponents of unconventional religions. Anti-cult organizations provide strategic "frames" that define potential conflicts or problems in a given community as inherently dangerous, and construct narratives that draw on stereotypes of child and sexual abuse, brainwashing, and even mass suicide. The targeted group is made to appear more dangerous than it is, resulting in an overreaction by authorities. Wright and Palmer explore the implications of heightened state repression and control of minority religions in an increasingly multicultural, globalized world. At a time of rapidly shifting demographics within Western societies this book cautions against state control of marginalized groups and offers insight about why the responses to these groups is often so reactionary.



Chapter 1. Government Raids on Religious Communities

Chapter 2. Countermovement Mobilization and Government Raids

Chapter 3. The Twelve Tribes

Chapter 4. The Family International/Children of God\

Chapter 5. Branch Davidians

Chapter 6. The United Nuwaubian Nation

Chapter 7. The Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints

Chapter 8. The Church of Scientology

Chapter 9. Raids in France

Chapter 10. Exploring the Causes and Consequences of Raids on NRM Communities




About the author: 

Stuart A. Wright is Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice at Lamar University. Dr. Wright is known internationally for his research on religious and political movements, conflict and violence. He has previously published five books, including Armageddon in Waco (1995), Patriots, Politics, and the Oklahoma City Bombing (2007) and Saints under Siege: The Texas State Raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (with James T. Richardson, 2011).; Susan J. Palmer is Professor of Religious Studies at Dawson College as well as Affiliate Professor in the Religion Department at Concordia University. She is also a member of the Religious Studies Faculty at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. She is currently working on the research project, Exploring Government Raids on Religious Communities, supported by the Social Sciences and the Humanities Research Council. She is the author of 10 books including Moon Sisters, Krishna Mother, Rajneesh Lovers: Women's Roles in New Religions (1994); Children in New Religions (co-edited with Charlotte Hardman, 1998); New Heretics of France (2011), and Aliens Adored: Rael's New Religion (2004).

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.