Sacred Journeys

Sacred Journeys

Sacred Journeys: The Conversion of Young Americans to Divine Light Mission is a sociological book about the adherents of the Divine Light Mission in the 1970s. In the work, author James V. Downton, Jr. analyzes a sample group of young Americans, and their conversion process to the ideals of the Divine Light Mission and their relationship with Guru Maharaj Ji, currently known as Prem Rawat.

Downton, a sociologist and professor emeritus of Sociology at the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Colorado at Boulder, spent one month in an ashram and relied on interviews with eighteen followers, presenting a "vivid picture of the social and psychologically dynamics which led to their spiritual awakening". He followed the mission for a period of five years chronicling the followers' personal changes and the evolution of the movement itself. Downton himself later wrote an article in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, which explored these issues further. Downton also cited the work again, with co-author Wehr, in an article in Journal of Peace Research analyzing social activism and its relationship to pacifism.

The work is cited in other books and academic journal articles in various contexts including religious conversion and de-conversion in religions, cults and new religious movements, spirituality among descendants of Spanish Jews, participation in religion and others.

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