Last updated on: 11/7/2012 | Author: ProCon.org

Other and Unclassified Religions

The 124 religious groups shown in the second chart, although divided into subgroups for the purposes of clarity and organization, are considered as distinct religions due to their unique systems of belief rather than as denominations of the various subgroups described.

I. Summary Chart of 9 “Other” Religious Subgroups

II. Listing of 124 “Other” Religions in America

I. Summary Chart of 9 “Other” Religious Subgroups
  Subgroup/
(Total religions in subgroup)*
Description
1. Mail Order / Internet (21) Religious bodies accessed solely through the internet and/or by post.
2. Communal (39)

“A Commune is a kind of intentional community where most resources are shared and there is little or no personal property….communes…are often referred to as egalitarian communities. These include: Eastern Religious Communes, Christian Communes, Psychological Communes (based on mystical or gestalt principles), Rehabilitational Communes, Cooperative Communes, Alternative-Family Communes, Countercultural Communes (‘hippies’), and Political Communes.”

(Wikipedia,”Commune: Intentional Community,” 12/27/05)

3. Rosicrucianism (11)

“The Rosicrucian teachings strive to create a liveable philosophy incorporating various aspects of science and mysticism and seek to free society of the enslaving power of superstitions… The Rosicrucian path provides the means to awaken one’s innate potential for higher knowledge, which lays dormant without enlightenment. Natural laws are learned and applied which allow one to experience an aware union with Divine or Cosmic Consciousness… Rosicrucian teachings are centered on the ‘mastery of life,”…the belief that man’s success is through his ability to use his mental imaging power to bring forth concrete reality.”

(Religious Movements Page, University of Virginia, “The Rosicrucian Order,” https://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu, 12/27/05)

[Editor’s Note: The San Jose, CA-based Rosicrucian order named AMORC (Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis) states on its website (accessed Oct. 29, 2012) that Rosicrucianism is not regarded by its adherents as a religion: “Becoming a Rosicrucian student does not in any way require you to leave your church, join a church, or change your religious beliefs… Some Rosicrucian members do not subscribe to any specific religious beliefs at all. For students who do, we encourage them to participate in the religion of their choice.”]

4. Occult Orders (7)

“There are many definitions of the Occult; no general consensus exists. Some groups divide the Occult into three branches: 1) Divination: Various harmless methods of foretelling the future; 2) Religious and Spiritual Pursuits: These are normally a group of unrelated minority religions; 3) Magick: This is a list that includes ceremonial magick and many other schools of practice involving rituals and spells. They are used to change the environment, in order to reach the magician’s goals.”

(Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, “The Occult,” www.religioustolerance.org, 12/27/05)

5. Theosophy / Other Theosophical Groups (18)

“Theosophy teaches that our world and all others go through numerous rounds of evolution from the primordial to the material to the spiritual, and that in these grand evolutionary cycles all humanity experiences numerous incarnations from less-advanced to more-advanced states of being. According to Theosophists, teachings about the evolutionary history of the cosmos are preserved in partial form in many world religions, carefully guarded by the Masters or Mahatmas, advanced beings who have evolved past the point of dependence on the physical world. Theosophists call this understanding of the world ‘the Ancient Wisdom.’ Theosophy, then, is the study of Ancient Wisdom. Through Theosophy, one finds answers to life’s deepest, most significant questions…A common motto among Theosophists reflects this: ‘There is no religion higher than the truth.'”

(Religious Movements Page, University of Virginia, “Theosophy,” https://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu, 12/27/05)

6. Alice Bailey Groups (6)

“After spells as an evangelical Christian and a member of the Esoteric Section of the Theosophical Society, Alice Bailey founded the Arcane School in 1923… According to Alice Bailey, almost all of her books were dictated to her by the Tibetan, Djwhal Khul…These are textbooks on occult science, astrology, white magic, meditation and general occultism. It has been said that A.A.B.’s books are more inspirational than informational as the works themselves are occult artifacts which have a definite effect upon those who read them.”

(Wikipedia, “Alice Bailey,” 12/27/05)

7. I AM Groups (8)

“The name ‘I AM’ refers to the name that God gave Himself in Exodus 3:14. The basis of the ‘I AM’ belief rests on the idea that every person has a connection to an ‘omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent’ God who controls all. The energy of God, and other divine beings, such as the Ascended Masters, takes the form of light…Each person has a higher self that is connected, by light, to God…Jesus, one of the Ascended Masters, was responsible for releasing the ‘Christ Light,’ which is the ‘Mighty I AM Presence.’ This made the Light available to all who wished to move out of darkness and into the Divine Light of Love…Because God, is present in everyone’s higher being through the ‘Mighty I AM Presence,’ it is simply a matter of tapping into one’s higher self in order to use the power. An ‘I AM’ student, in conjunction with the teachings of the Ascended Masters, can use the Presence to eliminate evil and bring justice to the world….The ultimate goal is to purify oneself, with the guidance of the Ascended Masters and the aid of the Violet Flame [a light generated by the ‘I AM Presence’], so as to leave the human body and become an Ascended Master.”

(Religious Movements Page, University of Virginia, “I AM Religious Activity,” https://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu, 12/27/05)

8. Voodoo (7)

“Vodun, like Christianity, is a religion of many traditions. Each group follows a different spiritual path and worships a slightly different pantheon of spirits, called Loa. The word means ‘mystery’ in the Yoruba language. Yoruba traditional belief included a chief God Olorun, who is remote and unknowable. He authorized a lesser God Obatala to create the earth and all life forms. A battle between the two Gods led to Obatala’s temporary banishment…There are a number of points of similarity between Roman Catholicism and Vodun…Followers of Vodun believe that each person has a soul which is composed of two parts: a gros bon ange or ‘big guardian angel’, and a ti bon ange or ‘little guardian angel’. The latter leaves the body during sleep and when the person is possessed by a Loa during a ritual. There is a concern that the ti bon ange can be damaged or captured by evil sorcery while it is free of the body.”

(Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, “Vodun,” www.religioustolerance.org, 12/27/05)

9. Satanism (7)

“Any individual or group that worships Satan or a precursor/analogue of Satan, either in a literal or figurative form. Satanists in [the Atheistic] tradition believe in, and worship, no deity at all. Instead they honor the spirit of Satan, or at least some equivalent of Satan (such as the ancient Egyptian god Set)…Atheistic Satanists worship the ideals of Satan and present him as an idol whose traits are to be emulated. Satan is often also worshipped simply as a symbol of resistance to dominant Christian ethos. A good example of a group based on these principles is the Church of Satan…Theistic Satanism…involves the belief that Satan or some equivalent does exist, and this satanic deity is the main focus of worship. The Temple of Set…is a church that leans more toward this philosophy.”

(Religious Movements Page, University of Virginia, “Satanism,” https://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu, 12/27/05)

Total: 124 New Age Religions
II. Listing of 124 “Other” Religions in America*
  Name of Religion Description -each term in this column is defined in the summary chart Membership (If Known)
1. American Fellowship Church Mail Order / Internet 15,000 (1991)
2. Calvary Grace Christian Church of Faith Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
3. The Church of Seven Planes Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
4. Church of the Holy Monarch Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
5. First International Church of the Web Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
6. Holy Gospel Church IV, Inc. Mail Order / Internet 10,000 (1992)
7. House of F.A.M.E. Mansions of Glory Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
8. Life Science Church Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
9. Ministers for Christ Assembly of Churches Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
10. Praise Christ Ministries Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
11. Progressive Universal LIfe Church Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
12. St. Matthew’s Churches Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
13. Spiritual Life Concepts Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
14. United Christian Ministries International Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
15. United Church of the Apostles Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
16. Universal Life Church Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
17. Universal Life Mission Church Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
18. Universal Matrix Church Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
19. Universal Ministries Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
20. World Christianship Ministries Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
21. World Harvest Church Mail Order / Internet Unavailable
22. Amana Church Society (Community of True Inspiration) Communal 500 (1997)
23. Bruderhof Communities in New York Communal 2,250 (1997)
24. Christ’s Church of the Golden Rule Communal 65 (2002)
25. Church of the Brotherhood Communal Unavailable
26. Church of the Saviour Communal 165 (1992)
27. The Colony Communal Unavailable
28. Ecumenical Institute Communal 1,000 (1997)
29. Esoteric Fraternity Communal Unavailable
30. Hutterian Brethren-Dariusleut Communal Unavailable
31. Hutterian Brethren-Schmiedeleut Communal Unavailable
32. The Peace Mission Movement Communal Unavailable
33. People of the Living God Communal Unavailable
34. Shiloh Trust Communal Unavailable
35. Temple Society Communal 1,500 (2002)
36. Aquarian Research Foundation Communal Unavailable
37. Bride of Christ Church Communal Unavailable
38. Christ’s Household of Faith Communal 500 (1995)
39. Church of Jesus Christ at Armageddon Communal 100 (2002)
40. Circle of Friends Communal Unavailable
41. The Family Communal 9,937 (1997)
42. The Farm Communal 230 (1995)
43. The Finders Communal Unavailable
44. Jesus People USA Communal Unavailable
45. Kerista Commune Communal 200 (1993)
46. Lama Foundation Communal Unavailable
47. Mu Farm Communal 30 (1988)
48. Padanaram Settlement Communal 200 (1992)
49. Rainbow Family of Living Light Communal Unavailable
50. Reba Place Church and Associated Communities Communal Unavailable
51. REMAR International Communal 15,000 (1992)
52. Renaissance Church of Beauty Communal Unavailable
53. Salem Acres Communal Unavailable
54. Shepherdsfield Community Communal 100 (2001)
55. Sirius Communal 25 (1997)
56. Solar Logos Foundation Communal Unavailable
57. The Synanon Church Communal Unavailable
58. Twelve Tribes Communal 650 (1995)
59. Universal Industrial Church of the New World Comforter Communal Unavailable
60. West Coast Communities Communal Unavailable
61. Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis Rosicrucianism Unavailable
62. Ancient Rosae Crucis Rosicrucianism Unavailable
63. Ausar Auset Society Rosicrucianism Unavailable
64. Cofraternity of the Rose Cross Rosicrucianism Unavailable
65. Fraternitas Rosae Crucis Rosicrucianism Unavailable
66. Lectorium Rosicrucianum Rosicrucianism Unavailable
67. New Age Bible and Philosophy Center Rosicrucianism Unavailable
68. Rosicrucian Anthroposophical League Rosicrucianism Unavailable
69. Rosicrucian Fellowship Rosicrucianism 700 (2002)
70. Societas Rosicruciana in America Rosicrucianism Unavailable
71. Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis Rosicrucianism Unavailable
72. Astara Occult Orders Unavailable
73. Brotherhood of the White Temple Occult Orders Unavailable
74. Church of Light Occult Orders Unavailable
75. Lemurian Fellowship Occult Orders Unavailable
76. Mayan Order Occult Orders Unavailable
77. Sabian Assembly Occult Orders Unavailable
78. Stelle Group Occult Orders Unavailable
79. Hermetic Society for World Service Theosophy Unavailable
80. Temple of the People Theosophy Unavailable
81. Theosophical Society in America Theosophy 5,580 (2002)

82. The Word Foundation, Inc. Theosophy 400 (2002)

83. Aquarian Educational Group Alice Bailey Groups 150 (1995)

84. Arcane School Alice Bailey Groups Unavailable

85. Meditation Groups, Inc. Alice Bailey Groups Unavailable

86. School for Esoteric Studies Alice Bailey Groups 300 (1992)

87. School of Light and Realization Alice Bailey Groups Unavailable

88. Upper Triad Alice Bailey Groups Unavailable

89. Ascended Master Teaching Foundation I AM Groups Unavailable

90. The Bridge to Spiritual Freedom, Inc. I AM Groups Unavailable

91. Church Universal and Triumphant I AM Groups Unavailable

92. City of the Sun Foundation I AM Groups Unavailable

93. “I AM” Religious Activity I AM Groups Unavailable

94. Joy Foundation, Inc. I AM Groups 35 (1992)

95. Morningland-Church fo the Ascended Christ I AM Groups 5,000 (2002)

96. University of the Christ Light with the Twelve Rays I AM Groups Unavailable

97. Agni Yoga Society Other Theosophical Groups 600 (2001)

98. Amica Temple of Radiance Other Theosophical Groups Unavailable

99. Ann Ree Colton Foundation of Niscience, Inc. Other Theosophical Groups 175 (2002)

100. Anthroposophical Society Other Theosophical Groups Unavailable

101. Church of Cosmic Origina and School of Thought Other Theosophical Groups Unavailable

102. Ecumenical Ministry of the Unity of All Religions Other Theosophical Groups Unavailable

103. Esoteric Mystery School Other Theosophical Groups Unavailable

104. Fraternite Blanche Universelle Other Theosophical Groups 2,200 (2002)

105. Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research Other Theosophical Groups Unavailable

106. Light of Christ Community Church Other Theosophical Groups 396 (2002)

107. Oasis Fellowship Other Theosophical Groups Unavailable

108. Open Way Other Theosophical Groups Unavailable

109. Order of the Cross Other Theosophical Groups 96 (1990)

110. Universal Great Brotherhood Other Theosophical Groups Unavailable

111. African Theological Archministry Voodoo 10,000 (2002)

112. Afro-American Vodoun Voodoo Unavailable

113. Chamber of Holy Voodoo Voodoo Unavailable

114. Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye Voodoo Unavailable

115. Church of the Seven African Powers Voodoo 100-200 (2002)

116. First Church of Voodoo Voodoo Unavailable

117. Voodoo Spiritual Temple Voodoo Unavailable

118. Church of Satan Satanism Unavailable

119. First Church of Satan Satanism Unavailable

120. First Satanic Church Satanism Unavailable

121. Luciferian Light Group Satanism Unavailable

122. Order of Dionysus/Sabazios Satanism Unavailable

123. Order of the Black Ram Satanism Unavailable

124. Temple of Set Satanism 500 (2002)

 

1 Source: J. Gordon Melton, The Encyclopedia of American Religions, 7th Edition.