Such groups may manifest social movement characteristics in their societies of destination but are likely to have a much more institutional form in their societies of origin.
The available evidence strongly indicates that there has been a long history of nontraditional religious groups in the United States and that these groups have maintained a strong minority presence (Moore 1985).
More recently, however, world-affirming movements as a whole (embracing among others metaphysical movements such as the Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship, such ‘self-religions’ as Exegesis and Silva Mind Control, African and Japanese new religions, for example the Aladura churches and Sōka Gakkai respectively) have experienced considerable growth.
The world-affirming movements (or self- or psycho-religions) aim to transform the individual by providing the means for complete self-realization, in the sense of becoming fully aware that the real or inner self is divine and that the ultimate goal of the religious quest is not to know but to become God.
In contrast to movements in earlier eras, contemporary NRMs are much more likely to make conscious decisions about whether to define and present themselves as religious and whether to seek administrative/legal legitimation as religious bodies.
Finally, a great number of NRMs are cultural transplants, most often of Asian origin, new in the sense only that they are new to the West.
They have been classified on their attitude towards society and the level of involvement of their adherents.
Since a high proportion of these NRMs have survived, the overall number has continued to rise.
Through the 1950s, the religious triumvirate Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaismdominated the American religious landscape.
Hostile to wider society and expect a high level of commitment.
Typically led by a charismatic leader and claim to have the monopoly of truth. WALLIS coined the term “new religious movement” to cover the different types of religious movements growing.