Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion Hosts International Conference about New Religions

June 4, 2014
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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (June 4, 2014) – The Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion is hosting the 2014 International Conference on New and Alternative Religions in George W. Truett Theological Seminary today. The conference, which runs today through Saturday, will cover topics about lesser-known religions in the U.S. – specifically the South – as well as those elsewhere in the world.

"The Vitality of New Religions: Thinking Globally, Existing Locally" is this year’s conference theme. Gordon Melton, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of American Religious History for Baylor ISR, said the conference is meant to provide a religious and international perspective of the West.

“The purpose of the conference is to present the latest research and continue conversation about new religion in our culture,” Melton said.

This annual conference is attended by scholars from around the globe for the purpose of learning and engaging with one another about how religion is evolving and what roles in that look like in today’s culture. Last year, the conference was hosted in Falun, Sweden.

Speakers for conference sessions, which are free and open to the public, will cover topics about new religions specific to Texas and its surrounding areas and the effect the religions have had trying to inhabit these regions. Religions ranging from Latter-day Saints, the House of Yahweh and Freemasonry will be discussed.

“Hopefully, the attendees will walk away from this conference thinking about the seriousness of these religions discussed as well as the privilege it is to have religious freedom,” Melton said.

The conference runs through Saturday afternoon and will end with a trip to Homestead Heritage or an optional visit to the Branch Davidian site. The conference is sponsored by the Center for Studies of New Religion.

Truett Seminary is located on the northeast corner of the Baylor campus at 1100 S. Third Street, Waco. All events of June 5, 6 and 7 will take place there. The event is closed to the public.

Visit the event page for for more information.

by Rebecca Flannery, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute’s mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, ISR scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve. For more information, visit

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