September 26, 2022

Imagine eating a bag of salty chips. Before you begin to munch on the chips, a frosty glass of cold water would only be mildly tempting. But with each chip you consume, the more attractive the glass of water becomes. The act of eating the chips increases the value of the glass of water. By the same principle, for every moment one spends in a stuffy auditorium with no air conditioning, the exit door becomes more and more attractive. In... Read more

September 19, 2022

The first several articles in this column focused on the history of conversion research. Understanding how religious conversion works is important to understanding how deconversion works. But it has come time to dig into the features of deconversion. Deconversion research is still in its infancy in comparison to conversion research. And so the first task of the researcher is to define what “deconversion” means. The leading figure in deconversion research is currently Dr. John Marriott. In his book The Anatomy... Read more

September 13, 2022

Because of the vast separation in time, location, and culture between the development of Judeo-Christian religion and the various religions of the Incas, Aztecs, Mayans, and other Mesoamerican civilizations, it may seem like a stretch to compare their respective religious approaches to the shameless slaying of human beings. However, the comparison and contrast of each of these people groups may say a lot about the ways in which religions interact with political powers and respond to outsiders which may seem... Read more

September 12, 2022

The Divine Precept was a cult which had begun in Korea, attracting thousands of members. It spread to America by way of a very enthusiastic and dedicated evangelist, Miss Yoon-Sook Lee, who attracted a few hundred followers in her early evangelism. The cult’s leader, Mr. Chang, had had a vision from God in which he learned that God would return to earth in the year 1967, and shape the world into the perfect conditions of Paradise. However, the fatal year... Read more

September 8, 2022

The Conversion of Yoon-Sook Lee Miss Yoon-Sook Lee had a problem. It started as chronic diarrhea, but rapidly developed into nephritis. All of the medical treatment available to her failed to restore her health, and things did not look good. It was about this time that Miss Lee learned of the Divine Precept. This religious movement, which operated not far from her home in Korea, had been founded only a short time ago, and had already accumulated thousands of followers.... Read more

September 5, 2022

Pre-Scientific Views on Conversion People have been practicing religion since the dawn of human history, and arguably before. And for all of that time, people have been changing their minds in relationship to religious belief. Pharaoh Akhenaten is said to have changed the religious landscape of Egypt by elevating Aten as the sole focus of worship. King Solomon is recorded in the Bible as having many foreign wives who turned him from worship of Israel’s God to the worship of... Read more

September 2, 2022

For this first entry in Switching Sides, I would like to tell you the story of who I am and what can be expected in this blog. How I Got into Psychology My name is Joel Furches, and I am a research psychologist specializing in religious conversion and deconversion research. But how did I get here, and why do I do what I do? The story of Switching Sides goes all the way back to High School. In the carpool... Read more

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