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The Truth about Cults, Communes and Gurus -- Prof. Stephen Lloyd-Moffett

Thursdays, October 5, 12, & 19 2023 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Three-Session Course

Odd Fellows Hall, SLO

$15 for LLCC Members $30 for Others

Click Here Now to Purchase a Ticket on Ticketleap

This is a three-session course by Professor Stephen Lloyd-Moffett about cults, communes and spiritual utopias and gurus.

Session 1: Cults

We will look at the origins of the term “cults” and trace its history to the present, where the appetite for movies, podcasts, and TV shows about cults seem to reach a fever pitch. We will examine the way in which the field of Religious Studies has reframed the discussion on alternative religious movements and struggled to make a distinction between a cult and a religion. Finally, we will look at the latest research on what leads people to join alternative religious movement and why they sometimes end up in abuse and death.

Session 2: Communes & Spiritual Utopias

The desire to escape the world with your spiritual kin and establish a spiritual utopia is longstanding in American history. From the Shakers to Mormons to Jonestown to Rajneeshpurim, Americans have come together in the hope of creating a better, separate society. These experiments in spiritual communal living have often not ended well. This session explores this impulse toward creating spiritual utopias.

Session 3: Gurus & Spiritual Masters

Spiritual masters hold wisdom that draw people to them and inspire the spiritual lives of millions around the world. Gurus, Sheikhs, Swamis, Lamas, and other living saints play an important role in many people’s lives. They also can be manipulative, corrupt, and dangerous. What is the appeal of the Guru? In this session we will look at many gurus who came to America and seek to understand their appeal.

Dr. Stephen Lloyd-Moffett is an internationally known Religious Studies scholar and Professor of Religious Studies at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. A dynamic, popular community lecturer, he is the recipient the Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts teaching award and the President’s Community Service Award. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently, The Spirit of Wine and The Spirit of Winemakers.

Professor Lloyd-Moffett holds an M.A. in Religious Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara; Master of Theology from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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