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Bounded Choice – True Believers and Charismatic Cults - California Scholarship Online
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Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults

Janja Lalich


Heaven's Gate, a secretive group of celibate “monks” awaiting pickup by a UFO, captured intense public attention in 1997 when its members committed collective suicide. As a way of understanding such perplexing events, many have seen those who join cults as needy, lost souls, unable to think for themselves. This book, which looks at the cult phenomenon, dispels such simple formulations by explaining how normal, intelligent people can give up years of their lives—and sometimes their very lives—to groups and beliefs that appear bizarre and irrational. Looking closely at Heaven's Gate and at the D ... More

Keywords: Heaven's Gate, collective suicide, cults, Democratic Workers Party, devotees, charisma, commitment, bounded choice

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780520231948
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520231948.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Janja Lalich, author