Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 29–43

Misattribution and social control in the children of god

  • Stephen A. Kent

DOI: 10.1007/BF02354497

Cite this article as:
Kent, S.A. J Relig Health (1994) 33: 29. doi:10.1007/BF02354497


This article argues that deviant religions use supposedly godly justifications for their punishment systems by establishing theologies in which members misattribute divine authority to leaders whom they relate to emotionally as to demanding parents. These misattributing theologies “sanctify” the harsh suffering that members often experience. Illustrations of the theoretical points come from texts published by the Children of God in its early period (the 1970s), supplemented by accounts given by two women who have left the group.

Copyright information

© Institutes of Religion and Health 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen A. Kent
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology of the University of AlbertaEdmonton