University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
While many scholars have attempted to understand the unique contours of the definition of “cult,” there are still rampant disagreements across different disciplines and scholarly persuasions about the way that a “cult” functions differently than other organizations. In this essay, I aim to clarify how the function of a “cult” is contingent upon a set of rhetorical strategies used by the group to systematically remove agency from group members. One of those rhetorical strategies is compelling individuals to perform according to strict heteronormative gender enactments. To understand how this strategy works, I will turn to four spiritually metanoic narratives published by the Twelve Tribes, an aberrant religious organization that exercises identity control over their members and analyze them through the theoretical lenses of gender performance, spiritual metanoia, and identification/consubstantiality.
To Dr. Palmer: you have made of me a perpetual student. I will never take for granted the passion you have instilled in me to understand words in their puzzling perfection. Thank you. To Dr. Beech: your intelligence and humor inspire me. I am incredibly lucky to know you as a teacher and purveyor of incredible wit. Thank you. To Nathan: without you, there would never be a word on these pages. Your faith in my ability keeps me driven, and I’m lucky to know you. Thank you. To Lewis: your meows of encouragement are invaluable; I dread to imagine where I’d be without a sassy cat like you. Thank you.
B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
Cults; Religion--Study and teaching
Twelve Tribes (Religious movement)
Chestnut, Navah, "Gender performance in “cult” conversion narratives: the Twelve Tribes" (2024). Honors Theses.