Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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A generic name given by the media to a number of groups of young people who came together in the late 1960s and early 1970s to live communally and promote an "experiential" version of fundamentalism (Richardson and Davis 1983). The best known of these was the Children of God (now known as The Family), but there were other such groups, including Shiloh Youth Ministries, which was the second largest of the JM groups (Richardson et al. 1979), and many others around the country (Enroth et al. 1972, Ellwood 1973).

The JM groups were made up of young, relatively affluent people, the majority of whom were white males. Most participants had been involved with drug use, and a number had been caught up in the sexual "revolution" of the time as well. The groups proselytized aggressively, promoting the message of fundamentalist Christianity among young people on the streets and highways of America. Most of the groups also practiced glossolalia, and their lifestyle was very casual in terms of dress and living situations. The JM had a heavy emphasis on music, with "Jesus rock" becoming quite popular in part because of the promotion of the JM Christian message to other young people via music. Some of the groups became international and spread their lifestyle and practices around the world.

Jesus People USA is another major JM group, currently centered in the Chicago area. They publish a well-respected Christian periodical called Cornerstone as a part of their ministry.

See also The Family

James T. Richardson


R. Ellwood, One Way (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1973)

R. Enroth et al., The Jesus People (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1972)

J. T. Richardson and R. Davis, "Experiential Fundamentalism," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 51(1983):397-425

J. T. Richardson et al., Organized Miracles (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1979)

L. Streiker, The Jesus Trip (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1971)

H. Ward, The Far-Out Saints of the Jesus Communes (New York: Association Press, 1972).

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