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J. Gordon Melton

From Academic Kids

J. Gordon Melton is the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and is a research specialist with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His specialization is religion and New Religious Movements and he is the author of more than twenty-five books, including several encyclopedias, handbooks, and almanacs on American religion and new religious movements. Melton is also an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Melton is one of the more prominent critics of the anti-cult and some of the countercult organizations that he considers biased and ignorant.

Melton seems to receive more than the usual amount of criticism from the anti-cult movement and former members of cults and NRMS for, what they consider, his unrealistically uncritical writings about cults and NRMs. For example, countercult activist Anton Hein has criticized him because of what Hein considers excessive skepticism of the testimonies of ex-members of new religious movements. [1] (http://www.apologeticsindex.org/m06.html).

According to the financial books of the Children of God, his institute received money from the Children of God. This happened after he wrote about them.

He said, strongly in contrast to popular opinion, about the Peoples Temple, "This wasn't a cult. This was a respectable, mainline Christian group." [2] (http://www.apologeticsindex.org/p21.html)

In 1995, Melton was part of an American delegation, funded by Aum Shinrikyo, that travelled to Japan to investigate Aum's activities and claims of persecution and erroneously declared Aum to be innocent.

Dr. David C. Lane praises his encyclopedic works but considers him not critical enough about gurus.

Bibliography

  • Finding Enlightenment: Ramtha's School of Ancient Wisdom ISBN 1-885223-61-7 (1998) Beyond Words Publishing, Inc. Hillsboro Oregon

External links

Critical sites

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