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Revelatory EventsThree Case Studies of the Emergence of New Spiritual Paths$
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Ann Taves

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691131016

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691131016.001.0001

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Groups

Groups

Chapter:
(p.225) Chapter 10 Groups
Source:
Revelatory Events
Author(s):

Ann Taves

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691131016.003.0014

Drawing on the three cases discussed in the preceding chapters, this chapter compares the process of group formation and the emergence of suprahuman entities and guidance processes, and extends the social identity approach to creativity to encompass suprahuman entities. It argues that Smith, Wilson, and Schucman played a distinctive role in mediating a first-person voice that they claimed was not their own. But their personal self-concept as mediator of something more than themselves cannot account for the formation of a new group around a newly revealed spiritual path. If an emergent group does not accept the presence of the suprahuman entities, no group will form and no path will emerge. Indeed, without group recognition, the individual claimant is likely to be perceived as eccentric, if not crazy. This means that the group itself is constituted in its own self-conception through its recognition of the presence of one or more suprahuman entities conveyed by and at the same time distinct from the humans who mediate them.

Keywords:   group formation, suprahuman entities, Helen Schucman, Bill Wilson, Joseph Smith

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