Flirty Fishing in the Children of God: The Sexual Body as a Site of Proselytization and Salvation

The Children of God [now called The Family] emerged as an apocalyptic new religious movement in the late 1960s. By the late 1970s, the group had engendered a great deal of academic and popular debate due to, among other things, its controversial sexual practices. In this article, I examine one such...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Marburg Journal of Religion (Band 12)
Main Author: Raine, Susan
Format: Journal Articles
Language:English
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2007
Online Access:Online Access
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Summary:The Children of God [now called The Family] emerged as an apocalyptic new religious movement in the late 1960s. By the late 1970s, the group had engendered a great deal of academic and popular debate due to, among other things, its controversial sexual practices. In this article, I examine one such practice, namely, Flirty Fishing, in which many women in the group used their sexuality in combination with scriptural discussions as a method of proselytization. Utilizing social theories of the body, I explore the ways that many of the women may have adopted strategies that helped them to perceive their bodies and their behaviours in ways that did not threaten their senses of self. I consider both how women were able to endure the physical and emotional aspects of Flirty Fishing, and how they contextualized their behaviour in terms of the group’s general dynamics and belief system. Thus, I explore not only the organizational imposition of certain modes of behaviour on the body, but also individual perceptions of, responses to, and negotiations of them. Importantly, this article applies a theoretical approach to the study of new religious movements that few scholars thus far have explored.
DOI:https://doi.org/10.17192/mjr.2007.12.3608