A Program for the Study of New Religious Movements began in June. Concerned about their effect on American culture, the Rockefeller Foundation funded a conference in Berkeley, leading to a book, Understanding New Religions (1978), edited by Jacob Needleman and George Baker.

In the next phase, 1980-83, the Program became the Center for the Study of New Religious Movements. Scholars produced working papers on: 1. Coercion and authority (brainwashing and deprogramming); 2. New religious movements’ impact on social values and education; and 3. Legal issues: economic, political, and public policy implications. After fulfilling the terms of the NEH and Rockefeller Foundation grants, the Center closed in 1983.