Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
From its very inception. the general, overarching goal of this study has been to integrate two academic disciplines that had a relatively small amount of previous scholarship uniting them. This paper has shown that it is quite possible to intermingle the fields of leadership studies and religion successfully. The specific purpose of this paper was the further exploration of the topic of charismatic leadership in a relatively untouched context, that of radical religious groups in modem America. The result of this project is a lengthy treatment of the topic of charismatic leadership in two specific case studies, and the final product presents several insights regarding the nature of charismatic leadership and the variety of religious beliefs in America.
However, for as many insights as this paper offers. it also leads to severa] new areas of inquiry. This study presented case studies from two different religious "categories,'' a sect and a cult. Perhaps a study comparing and contrasting groups within the same sort of religious movemenL For example, a paper comparing/contrasting the cases of Jim Jones and David Koresh, or a study examining the correlations between Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, might provide an entirely new set of insights regarding the different manifestations of charismatic leadership within a religious context. Another possible modification of this study would be a carefully orchestrated comparison between a religious leader and a secular leader. This sort of project would have to be closely monitored, however, as it would be very difficult to find two leaders that are similar enough to compare them in a valid study. In other words. the researcher would have to find a way to isolate a single variable, the presence or lack of religious faith, and ensuring that this variable is the only difference between the two cases. In addition to these possible changes in the study. it would be possible to conduct this study again, only using different cases. That is, the researcher would choose new cases to study. yet still choose cases representing both a cult and a sect. For example, a paper comparing Heaven's Gate to the Pentecostalist movement could be quite interesting. All of these ideas could be used to ex.tend the goal of this study, to continue the exploration of charismatic leadership in radical religious movements.
Mathew, Stefanie R., "The prophet and the preacher : an exploration of charismatic leadership in two American religious movements" (1997). Honors Theses. 1196.