A different perspective on why some individuals are drawn tonew religious movements has been linked to the rapid social change.
Accordingto Wilson (1970) when a society experience rapid change the established norms andvalues are disrupted, resulting in normlessness. This erosion of norms createsa state of uncertainty and as a response individual often turn to NRMs for guidance. Wallis (1984) shows how social change resultedin young people spending more time in education.
This enabled them to develop acounter culture. The believe in these new forms of ideology and political movementspresented young people with alternative world views. Bruce(1995) suggests that the development of counter cultures that embraced radicalpolitical movements and ideologies didn’t bring about the alternative worldview they proposed. Consequently, this led young people turning to NRMs for answers.Furthermore, social change erodes the social structures that mediate between theindividual and formal structures of society. The replacement of extended families and homogeneousneighbourhoods by social inventions, eliminate the mediatingfactor by fostering relations that transcend kinship ties.Likewise, this results in individuals being less dependent on the traditionalfamilial structure.
It appears that New Religious movements attract new membersas there able to combine the personalistic-expressive roles in the familialsetting and impersonal instrumental roles in dominant formal structures. (Robinset al 1979) Lofland and stark 1960s observational research on the Moonies revealedthat interpersonal bonds were central to the recruitment of new members. New memberswere less likely to stay if a bond didn’t develop however if a bond was createdpeople were more likely to join. More importantly certain people were drawn tothe group not because of ideology but the attachment they developed with members.Moreover, Individuals can join New religious movements through Pre-existing socialnetworks. Lofland and stark (1965) noticed that majority of Moonies members hadbeen commonly connected by long-standing relations. Also, other potential memberswere drawn from this first recruit’s immediate social network. Similarly, Lynch(1977, 1980) found other members social ties were central in recruitingconverts for the Church of the Sun, a new cult movement in Southern California.
Members of this cult had no social life other than that existed within the cultmembers. Accordingly, Richardson andStewart (1977) found similar results with the Jesus movement highlighting thecentral role played by social networks in attracting new members to newreligious movements.