DR. STARRS is a professor of geography at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89557.
UTOPIA, DYSTOPIA, AND SUBLIME APOCALYPSE IN MONTANA'S CHURCH UNIVERSAL AND TRIUMPHANT
Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
2005 American Geographical Society
Volume 95, Issue 1, pages 97–121, January 2005
How to Cite
STARRS, P. F. and WRIGHT, J. B. (2005), UTOPIA, DYSTOPIA, AND SUBLIME APOCALYPSE IN MONTANA'S CHURCH UNIVERSAL AND TRIUMPHANT. Geographical Review, 95: 97–121. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2005.tb00193.x
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
- Church Universal and Triumphant;
- geography of religion;
- social engineering;
ABSTRACT. The search for a perfected place on earth is rarely easy or forgiving. Utopias and dystopias demonstrate the practical frailties of attempts to build better human associations, whether as literary efforts or in actual, on-the-ground experiments. With a proprietary interest in evaluating the dimensions of place making, geographers can lay claim to be frontline critics of efforts that attempt to craft a better world. The catalog of personality cultists, charismatically murderous leaders, and apocalyptic mass death is long. The Church Universal and Triumphant, currently of Paradise Valley, Montana, is examined as the home for twenty-five years of an ongoing effort to “improve” lives. If its dilemmas and apparent failures are in keeping with the history of past utopian ventures, geographical lessons remain to be learned about the costs of planning for perfection.