Chapter 5: Conversion and Commitment: Sociological Perspectives

Multiple Choice Test Questions

1. Extensive research by sociologists shows that brainwashing is the primary recruitment technique of
a. religious cults (new religious movements).
b. evangelical sects.
c. Roman Catholic convents.
d. mainline Protestant denominations.
e. none of the above

2. What argument is given against the claim that NRMs (new religious movements) brainwash their new recruits?
a. Most new cult members willingly and actively seeking membership
b. Religious cults do not hold the sort of intense physical control required for brainwashing
c. Conventional churches encourage brainwashing within cults because the process intensifies the commitment and investment of remaining members
e. None. ALL NRMs, in fact, brainwash new members in order to strengthen commitment

3. In Kanter's theory, the sacrifice mechanism is one component of which type of commitment?
a. Instrumental.
b. Affective.
c. Moral.
d. Situational.
e. Authoritarian.

4. A young recruit to a religious group is constantly asked to focus on her inadequacies and to confess all behaviors, thoughts, and feelings which might violate the norms of the group. Leaders frequently point out her faults and weaknesses as a way of "helping her grow in the spirit." According to Kanter's commitment theory, which type of commitment mechanism does this represent?
a. Renunciation.
b. Mortification.
c. Investment.
d. Sacrifice.
e. Transcendence.

5. In order to belong to a religious group, a person must give up his previous friends and family and focus all friendship on the group. In Kanter's theory, this is an example of which mechanism of commitment?
a. Transcendence.
b. Instrumental.
c. Mortification.
d. Investment.
e. Renunciation.

6. In Kanter's theory, which of the following would strengthen moral commitment?
a. Transcendence.
b. Instrumental.
c. Renunciation.
d. Investment.
e. None of the above.

7. In Kanter's theory, the transcendence mechanism is one component of which overall type of commitment?
a. Instrumental.
b. Affective.
c. Moral.
d. Situational.
e. Authoritarian.

8. In Kanter's theory, which of the following would strengthen instrumental commitment?
a. Transcendence.
b. Renunciation.
c. Mortification.
d. Investment.
e. Communion.

9. Mortification can help extremely close-knit groups function more harmoniously and smoothly because
a. when members do not have large egos, they are less likely to argue with others and assert their own opinions.
b. it improves self-esteem of members.
c. it decreases commitment to the organization.
d. it increases affective commitment.
e. it increases the likelihood that members will challenge the leaders when those leaders make a poor decision.

10. Kanter's research on religious communities has shown that when members make big sacrifices for the group,
a. they become resentful toward the group.
b. their commitment to the group, and especially the organization itself, increases.
c. they demand higher prestige in the group.
d. they begin to oppose communal living and equal sharing among members.
e. they become disaffected and are likely to leave the group soon afterwards.

11. Which commitment mechanism results in individuals deciding that leaving the group is too costly?
a. Mortification
b. Renunciation
c. Sacrifice
d. Transcendence

12. The importance of reference groups in religious commitment reflects the concept of __________, in which members cut ties with outsiders and define them as evil or insignificant.
a. Moral commitment
b. Brainwashing
c. Rational Choice Theory
d. Renunciation
e. Role Theory

13. The author of your textbook notes, liberal churches may have lower levels of commitment because they emphasize individuality and personal self-esteem. Unlike conservative churches, liberal communities de-emphasize which commitment mechanism?
a. Sacrifice
b. Communion
c. Renunciation
d. Transcendence
e. Mortification
14. In Lofland's theory of conversion, which of the following is NOT a predisposing condition for conversion?
a. Tension
b. Religious problem-solving perspective
c. Religious seekership
d. Close cult affective bonds

15. Research shows that probably the most important factor contributing to the process of conversion to a "new religious movement" (i.e. a "cult") is
a. a theology that is highly rational and logically consistent.
b. a change of reference groups.
c. physical coercion.
d. mind control.
e. the economic stability of the group which causes recruits to think the group will offer financial benefits.

16. Which of the following is NOT a criticism of the Lofland conversion model?
a. Most research shows that the development or pre-existence of close emotional bonds to members is insignificant.
b. Having tension or having personal crisis may be a result of conversion rather than a cause.
c. Reporting tension or personal crisis prior to conversion may be a matter of later revision in interpretation by the person of her pre-cult life; such tension may or may not have been present at the time.
d. Having a religious problem-solving perspective may be facilitative, but is not necessary to conversion.
e. Whether weak extra-cult bonds are essential may vary depending on whether the "outsiders" are hostile to the group; if the family is not antagonistic, the strength of the extra-cult bond may not be an issue.

17. According to the author of your textbook, the typical sequence in conversion to a new religious movement (NRM) is commitment to
a. the organization, then to the beliefs, and finally to the members themselves.
b. the beliefs, then to the members, and finally to the organization.
c. the beliefs, then to the organization, and finally to the members themselves.
d. the members as friends, then to the organization, and finally to the belief system.
e. none of the above; cult members are usually recruited through brainwashing.
18. Batson and his colleagues' six propositions on the social psychology of creativity and of religious experience include each of the following EXCEPT
a. reality is socially constructed.
b. the creative process may have a physiological basis.
c. creativity involves improvement in one's cognitive organization.
d. the creative process follows identifiable stages.
e. religious illumination experiences are similar to artistic creative experiences, but dramatically unlike scientific breakthroughs.

19. The Batson, Schoenrade, and Ventis cognitive theory suggests that religious experience can best be understood
a. as akin to sports.
b. as a form of mental illness.
c. as analogous to scientific and artistic creativity.
d. as a form of dependency-attachment to a parental figure.
e. as a form of mind-control by a charismatic leader.

20. According to Batson, Schoenrade, and Ventis, the sequence by which creative religious insight occurs is:
a. incubation; illumination; baffled struggle; verification.
b. incubation; baffled struggle; verification; illumination.
c. baffled struggle; verification; incubation; illumination.
d. verification; baffled struggle; illumination; incubation.
e. baffled struggle; incubation; illumination; verification.

21. According to Religion-as-Creativity Theory, when does religious, creative, and scientific inspiration occur?
a. When the individual tries to solve a problem using his or her existing cognitive structures.
b. When the individual is at his or her most frustrated and confused state of mind
c. After the individual gives up trying to solve the problem and stops thinking about it
d. When the individual begins fasting and enters into a state of intense concentration on the problem

22. The spiritual experience of Siddhartha, the Buddha, most closely demonstrates the principles of:
a. Religion-as-creativity theory.
b. Role Theory.
c. Rational Choice.
d. Loflands Process Model.
e. Kanters Multidimensional Commitment Model.

23. Within the rational choice theory, there are two major approaches:
a. supply side theory and cost/benefits
b. supply side theory and demand side theory
c. supernatural compensators and cost/benefits
d. demand side theory and role theory
e. role theory and supply side theory

24. Supply side rational choice theorists stress the way in which
a. commitment is elicited and sustained by meeting the demand for religious products.
b. new recruits make an investment in the religious group, thus supplying the organization with more committed members.
c. religious communities produce religious commodities to meet the demand.
d. new recruits weigh the costs of joining a religious organization with the benefits that the organization can supply
e. members fulfill their needs through a religious organization

25. The rational choice model of conversion suggests that
a. new recruits try to resist the role, but find that under the coercive techniques of cults, the only rational choice is to give in and submit to the charismatic leader.
b. people who join new religious movements do so consciously and deliberately because they believe, often correctly, that these groups will help them to meet certain needs.
c. compelling social pressures and tensions impel persons toward joining a cult.
d. new religious movements are rational, deliberate, and active in establishing effective mind control techniques to gain members.
e. unconscious psychological needs compel the individual to join the group.

26. The free-rider problem refers to
a. religiously-motivated people providing rides for civil rights protestors who were boycotting the city buses.
b. people who seek illegal tax breaks by using religion as a subterfuge to gain tax-free status.
c. people in leadership positions who get special prestige and privileges in a religious organization.
d. people who have little commitment getting the same rewards or services as those who are highly committed, thereby creating dissatisfaction and undermining commitment to the church, temple, or mosque.
e. poor people who have few resources but who contribute far more than they can afford to the temple, mosque, or church.

27. The "supply-side" approach to rational choice theory of religious commitment maintain that
a. individual preferences for religious goods are highly variable over time.
b. reality is socially constructed based on reference groups and their symbols.
c. the focus should be on individual choices rather than on the firms that are established to meet religious needs.
d. the leadership initiative and responsiveness in congregations have little impact on loyalty or commitment.
e. religious communities must produce a product that people want or the "franchise" will likely go out of business.

28. The idea that churchgoers are rather like consumers, each seeking a church that meets their needs in a competitive market is a perspective introduced by
a. symbolic interactionism.
b. Lofland's process model of commitment.
c. rational choice theory.
d. the cognitive creativity theory..
e. conflict theory.

29. Conservative churches, according to your textbook author, are growing because
a. massive numbers of people are leaving mainline liberal churches to join more conservative ones.
b. people are realizing that conservative churches are more flexible and open to the values of the larger culture than are stodgy, mainline churches.
c. God is calling people back to the true faith, which is best set forth by conservatives.
d. the devil is luring people away from mainline churches.
e. the members generally have higher birth rates and these churches frequently have more commitment mechanisms to retain members.

30. Much of the switching of denominations in the United States and Canada is due to
a. conversions due to televangelism programs.
b. downward social mobility
c. inter-denominational marriages.
d. people joining churches composed of folks who are unlike themselves because of a desire for multicultural enrichment.
e. all of the above.

31. The pattern of switching denominations indicates
a. that beliefs are far more important than friendship networks when it comes to mainline churches.
b. that economic growth trends and upward social mobility of people are correlated to those prosperous people joining more conservative churches.
c. a recent trend from liberal churches toward more conservative or evangelical ones.
d. a trend from conservative churches to more liberal churches and from the latter to "none."
e. that liberal Protestants have the highest retention rates. They are the least likely to lose members.

32. As an overall national pattern, the religious groups that have been growing at the fastest rate are
a. conservative churches.
b. mainline churches
c. the most liberal churches.
d. reformed Jewish synagogues.
e. Roman Catholic churches.

33. The textbook says that religiously committed people often think of their ties as a particular type of relationship. This relationship with the church/religious group may best be described as a
a. covenantal relationship.
b. contractual relationship.
c. cost/benefit relationship.
d. family relationship.
e. high-risk relationship.

34. As people move into a higher socioeconomic class, they may often modify their religious ideas because
a. higher socioeconomic status groups usually have a more authoritatian religion than lower socioeconomic groups
b. higher socioeconomic groups tend to emphasize obedience to authority more than do lower socioeconomic groups.
c. people experience a higher comfort level when surrounded by others with similar values and self-interests.
d. their old socioeconomic class has shunned them.
e. none of the above.

35. Which of the following factors is NOT a reason why people are likely to switch their religious affiliation, according to the author of our textbook?
a. change in socioeconomic class
b. belonging to a religious group that isolates itself
c. geographical mobility
d. exposure to another tradition through friends or family members







1 Extensive research by sociologists shows that brainwashing is the primary recruitment technique of
a. religious cults (new religious movements).
b. evangelical sects.
c. Roman Catholic convents.
d. mainline Protestant denominations.
*e. none of the above

2. What argument is given against the claim that NRMs (new religious movements) brainwash their new recruits?
a. Most new cult members willingly and actively seeking membership
*b. Religious cults do not hold the sort of intense physical control required for brainwashing
c. Conventional churches encourage brainwashing within cults because the process intensifies the commitment and investment of remaining members
e. None. ALL NRMs, in fact, brainwash new members in order to strengthen commitment

3. In Kanter's theory, the sacrifice mechanism is one component of which type of commitment?
*a. Instrumental.
b. Affective.
c. Moral.
d. Situational.
e. Authoritarian.

4. A young recruit to a religious group is constantly asked to focus on her inadequacies and to confess all behaviors, thoughts, and feelings which might violate the norms of the group. Leaders frequently point out her faults and weaknesses as a way of "helping her grow in the spirit." According to Kanter's commitment theory, which type of commitment mechanism does this represent?
a. Renunciation.
*b. Mortification.
c. Investment.
d. Sacrifice.
e. Transcendence.

5. In order to belong to a religious group, a person must give up his previous friends and family and focus all friendship on the group. In Kanter's theory, this is an example of which mechanism of commitment?
a. Transcendence.
b. Instrumental.
c. Mortification.
d. Investment.
*e. Renunciation.

6. In Kanter's theory, which of the following would strengthen moral commitment?
*a. Transcendence.
b. Instrumental.
c. Renunciation.
d. Investment.
e. None of the above.

7. In Kanter's theory, the transcendence mechanism is one component of which overall type of commitment?
a. Instrumental.
b. Affective.
*c. Moral.
d. Situational.
e. Authoritarian.

8. In Kanter's theory, which of the following would strengthen instrumental commitment?
a. Transcendence.
b. Renunciation.
c. Mortification.
*d. Investment.
e. Communion.

9. Mortification can help extremely close-knit groups function more harmoniously and smoothly because
*a. when members do not have large egos, they are less likely to argue with others and assert their own opinions.
b. it improves self-esteem of members.
c. it decreases commitment to the organization.
d. it increases affective commitment.
e. it increases the likelihood that members will challenge the leaders when those leaders make a poor decision.

10. Kanter's research on religious communities has shown that when members make big sacrifices for the group,
a. they become resentful toward the group.
*b. their commitment to the group, and especially the organization itself, increases.
c. they demand higher prestige in the group.
d. they begin to oppose communal living and equal sharing among members.
e. they become disaffected and are likely to leave the group soon afterwards.

11. Which commitment mechanism results in individuals deciding that leaving the group is too costly?
a. Mortification
b. Renunciation
*c. Sacrifice
d. Transcendence

12. The importance of reference groups in religious commitment reflects the concept of __________, in which members cut ties with outsiders and define them as evil or insignificant.
a. Moral commitment
b. Brainwashing
c. Rational Choice Theory
*d. Renunciation
e. Role Theory

13. The author of your textbook notes, liberal churches may have lower levels of commitment because they emphasize individuality and personal self-esteem. Unlike conservative churches, liberal communities de-emphasize which commitment mechanism?
a. Sacrifice
b. Communion
c. Renunciation
d. Transcendence
*e. Mortification

14. In Lofland's theory of conversion, which of the following is NOT a predisposing condition for conversion?
a. Tension
b. Religious problem-solving perspective
c. Religious seekership
*d. Close cult affective bonds

15. Research shows that probably the most important factor contributing to the process of conversion to a "new religious movement" (i.e. a "cult") is
a. a theology that is highly rational and logically consistent.
*b. a change of reference groups.
c. physical coercion.
d. mind control.
e. the economic stability of the group which causes recruits to think the group will offer financial benefits.

16. Which of the following is NOT a criticism of the Lofland conversion model?
*a. Most research shows that the development or pre-existence of close emotional bonds to members is insignificant.
b. Having tension or having personal crisis may be a result of conversion rather than a cause.
c. Reporting tension or personal crisis prior to conversion may be a matter of later revision in interpretation by the person of her pre-cult life; such tension may or may not have been present at the time.
d. Having a religious problem-solving perspective may be facilitative, but is not necessary to conversion.
e. Whether weak extra-cult bonds are essential may vary depending on whether the "outsiders" are hostile to the group; if the family is not antagonistic, the strength of the extra-cult bond may not be an issue.

17. According to the author of your textbook, the typical sequence in conversion to a new religious movement (NRM) is commitment to
a. the organization, then to the beliefs, and finally to the members themselves.
b. the beliefs, then to the members, and finally to the organization.
c. the beliefs, then to the organization, and finally to the members themselves.
*d. the members as friends, then to the organization, and finally to the belief system.
e. none of the above; cult members are usually recruited through brainwashing.

18. Batson and his colleagues' six propositions on the social psychology of creativity and of religious experience include each of the following EXCEPT
a. reality is socially constructed.
b. the creative process may have a physiological basis.
c. creativity involves improvement in one's cognitive organization.
d. the creative process follows identifiable stages.
*e. religious illumination experiences are similar to artistic creative experiences, but dramatically unlike scientific breakthroughs.

19. The Batson, Schoenrade, and Ventis cognitive theory suggests that religious experience can best be understood
a. as akin to sports.
b. as a form of mental illness.
*c. as analogous to scientific and artistic creativity.
d. as a form of dependency-attachment to a parental figure.
e. as a form of mind-control by a charismatic leader.

20. According to Batson, Schoenrade, and Ventis, the sequence by which creative religious insight occurs is:
a. incubation; illumination; baffled struggle; verification.
b. incubation; baffled struggle; verification; illumination.
c. baffled struggle; verification; incubation; illumination.
d. verification; baffled struggle; illumination; incubation.
*e. baffled struggle; incubation; illumination; verification.

21. According to Religion-as-Creativity Theory, when does religious, creative, and scientific inspiration occur?
a. When the individual tries to solve a problem using his or her existing cognitive structures.
b. When the individual is at his or her most frustrated and confused state of mind
*c. After the individual gives up trying to solve the problem and stops thinking about it
d. When the individual begins fasting and enters into a state of intense concentration on the problem

22. The spiritual experience of Siddhartha, the Buddha, most closely demonstrates the principles of:
*a. Religion-as-creativity theory.
b. Role Theory.
c. Rational Choice.
d. Loflands Process Model.
e. Kanters Multidimensional Commitment Model.

23. Within the rational choice theory, there are two major approaches:
a. supply side theory and cost/benefits
*b. supply side theory and demand side theory
c. supernatural compensators and cost/benefits
d. demand side theory and role theory
e. role theory and supply side theory

24. Supply side rational choice theorists stress the way in which
a. commitment is elicited and sustained by meeting the demand for religious products.
b. new recruits make an investment in the religious group, thus supplying the organization with more committed members.
*c. religious communities produce religious commodities to meet the demand.
d. new recruits weigh the costs of joining a religious organization with the benefits that the organization can supply
e. members fulfill their needs through a religious organization

25. The rational choice model of conversion suggests that
a. new recruits try to resist the role, but find that under the coercive techniques of cults, the only rational choice is to give in and submit to the charismatic leader.
*b. people who join new religious movements do so consciously and deliberately because they believe, often correctly, that these groups will help them to meet certain needs.
c. compelling social pressures and tensions impel persons toward joining a cult.
d. new religious movements are rational, deliberate, and active in establishing effective mind control techniques to gain members.
e. unconscious psychological needs compel the individual to join the group.

26. The free-rider problem refers to
a. religiously-motivated people providing rides for civil rights protestors who were boycotting the city buses.
b. people who seek illegal tax breaks by using religion as a subterfuge to gain tax-free status.
c. people in leadership positions who get special prestige and privileges in a religious organization.
*d. people who have little commitment getting the same rewards or services as those who are highly committed, thereby creating dissatisfaction and undermining commitment to the church, temple, or mosque.
e. poor people who have few resources but who contribute far more than they can afford to the temple, mosque, or church.

27. The "supply-side" approach to rational choice theory of religious commitment maintain that
a. individual preferences for religious goods are highly variable over time.
b. reality is socially constructed based on reference groups and their symbols.
c. the focus should be on individual choices rather than on the firms that are established to meet religious needs.
d. the leadership initiative and responsiveness in congregations have little impact on loyalty or commitment.
*e. religious communities must produce a product that people want or the "franchise" will likely go out of business.

28. The idea that churchgoers are rather like consumers, each seeking a church that meets their needs in a competitive market is a perspective introduced by
a. symbolic interactionism.
b. Lofland's process model of commitment.
*c. rational choice theory.
d. the cognitive creativity theory..
e. conflict theory.

29. Conservative churches, according to your textbook author, are growing because
a. massive numbers of people are leaving mainline liberal churches to join more conservative ones.
b. people are realizing that conservative churches are more flexible and open to the values of the larger culture than are stodgy, mainline churches.
c. God is calling people back to the true faith, which is best set forth by conservatives.
d. the devil is luring people away from mainline churches.
*e. the members generally have higher birth rates and these churches frequently have more commitment mechanisms to retain members.

30. Much of the switching of denominations in the United States and Canada is due to
a. conversions due to televangelism programs.
b. downward social mobility
*c. inter-denominational marriages.
d. people joining churches composed of folks who are unlike themselves because of a desire for multicultural enrichment.
e. all of the above.

31. The pattern of switching denominations indicates
a. that beliefs are far more important than friendship networks when it comes to mainline churches.
b. that economic growth trends and upward social mobility of people are correlated to those prosperous people joining more conservative churches.
c. a recent trend from liberal churches toward more conservative or evangelical ones.
*d. a trend from conservative churches to more liberal churches and from the latter to "none."
e. that liberal Protestants have the highest retention rates. They are the least likely to lose members.

32. As an overall national pattern, the religious groups that have been growing at the fastest rate are
*a. conservative churches.
b. mainline churches
c. the most liberal churches.
d. reformed Jewish synagogues.
e. Roman Catholic churches.

33. The textbook says that religiously committed people often think of their ties as a particular type of relationship. This relationship with the church/religious group may best be described as a
*a. covenantal relationship.
b. contractual relationship.
c. cost/benefit relationship.
d. family relationship.
e. high-risk relationship.

34. As people move into a higher socioeconomic class, they may often modify their religious ideas because
a. higher socioeconomic status groups usually have a more authoritatian religion than lower socioeconomic groups
b. higher socioeconomic groups tend to emphasize obedience to authority more than do lower socioeconomic groups.
*c. people experience a higher comfort level when surrounded by others with similar values and self-interests.
d. their old socioeconomic class has shunned them.
e. none of the above.

35. Which of the following factors is NOT a reason why people are likely to switch their religious affiliation, according to the author of our textbook?
a. change in socioeconomic class
*b. belonging to a religious group that isolates itself
c. geographical mobility
d. exposure to another tradition through friends or family members