Dr. J. Gordon Melton is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of Baylor University's Institute for Studies in Religion and the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbra, California. He is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College (B.A., 1964), Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary (M.Div. 1968), and Northwestern University (Ph.D. 1975). He is also an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.
Dr. Melton is a pioneering scholar in the field of New Religions Studies and helped to create the sub-discipline. He sits on the international board of the Center for Studies in New Religions (CESNUR) based in Turin, Italy, the primary academic association focusing studies of new and minority religions. Dr. Melton is the author of more than thirty-five books, including The Church of Scientology, and numerous scholarly articles and papers.