Religious Recruitment and the Management of Dissonance: A Sociological Perspective*


  • *

    Revieu version of a paper presented at the Canadian Sociological and Anthropological Association Meetings, Toronto, Ontario, August 23-26, 1974. I would like to thank Vito Signorile, Ann Diemer, Steve Wieting, Gary Deaver, Gary Bouma and Andrew Effrat for their comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this paper. I would also like to thank Reverend Ken Jaggs and Harry Burstyn for their assistance with the project.


While religious organizations are not concerned with cognitive dissonance, per se, their concerns with acquiring new members maintaining member beliefs, obtaining member commitments and deterring members from leaving. are all affected by their abilities to manage (avoid, tolerate and exploit) dissonance experienced by those persons. Conceptualizing dissonance as a socially negotiable phenomenon, a sociological version of dissonance is examined in the context of religious recruitment.