Discussions of any religion can easily raise passions. But arguments tend to become even more heated when the religion under discussion is characterized as new. Divisions around the study of new religious movements (NRMs), or cults, or nontraditional or alternative or emergent religions are so acute that there is even controversy over what to call them. John Saliba strives to bring balance to these discussions by offering perspectives on new religions from different academic perspectives: history, psychology, sociology, law, theology, and counseling. This approach provides rich descriptions of a broad range of movements while demonstrating how the differing aims of the disciplines can create much of the controversy around NRMs. The new second edition has been updated and revised throughout and includes a new foreword by noted historian of religion, J. Gordon Melton. For classes in religion or the social sciences, or for interested individuals, Understanding New Religious Movements offers the most objective introduction possible.