US Cult Movements Seen in New Light in ‘American Messiahs’

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Adam Morris’ new book “American Messiahs: False Prophets of a Damned Nation” traces a lineage of fringe evangelical "messiah" figures in the U.S. While these figures, like civil rights leader Father Divine and cult leader Jim Jones, were eccentric, manipulative, and even violent in their practices, Morris also finds them making social criticisms that were ahead of their time. We talk to Morris about how these radical movements--from the Shakers of the 1700s to Jim Jones’ disastrous Peoples Temple--have influenced and been shaped by American culture.

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