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  • 1.
    Frisk, Liselotte
    et al.
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Upbringing and Schooling of the Children in the Exclusive Brethren: The Swedish Perspective2015Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
  • 2.
    Frisk, Liselotte
    et al.
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Åkerbäck, Peter
    Stockholms universitet.
    Children in Minority Religions: Growing up in Controversial Religious Groups2018Bok (Fagfellevurdert)
  • 3.
    Frisk, Liselotte
    et al.
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    Åkerbäck, Peter
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Guds nya barnbarn: Att växa upp i kontroversiella religiösa grupper2017Bok (Annet vitenskapelig)
    Abstract [sv]

    Hur är det att vara barn och växa upp i en religiös minoritetsgrupp som Hare Krishna, Scientologi-kyrkan, Jehovas Vittnen, Knutby Filadelfia, Plymouth-bröderna, Enighetskyrkan eller Guds Barn/Familjen? Boken bygger framför allt på ett 70-tal intervjuer med såväl vuxna som barn som vuxit upp i dessa grupper, samt på intervjuer med ett 20-tal föräldrar, men också på fältobservationer och textstudier av gruppernas material kring barn och barnuppfostran. Livsvillkoren för barnen kan vara mycket olika, bland annat för att de olika religiösa grupperna har olika ideologier och syn på barnuppfostran, men också på individuella omständigheter inom olika familjer, fas i gruppens utveckling samt samhällets gensvar och reaktioner på gruppen ifråga. Boken diskuterar teman som socialisation, identitet, avhopp och skolgång, men tar också upp farhågor kring dessa grupper som auktoritär uppfostran, aga, isolering från samhället, separationer mellan föräldrar och barn, och bristande omsorg vad gäller mat och hälsa. Författare är professor i religionsvetenskap Liselotte Frisk, Högskolan Dalarna, fil. dr Peter Åkerbäck, Stockholms Universitet, och doktorand Sanja Nilsson, Högskolan Dalarna och Göteborgs universitet.

  • 4.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    A shattered sacred story: the rise and fall of the Bride of Christ within the charismatic congregation Knutby Filadelfia, Sweden2017Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    Knutby Filadelfia is a charismatic Christian congregation of approximately 90 members located in Sweden. The congregation is known particularly for what has been called “The Knutby Drama” taking place in January 2004 when a pastor persuaded a young female member to shoot two members of the congregation, one of whom died. The perpetrator of the crime was under the impression that she acted according to God’s will, expressed in text messages received on her mobile phone. The murdered member’s sister, Pastor Åsa M Waldau, was dubbed “the Bride of Christ” by the media after rumours stating that she has claimed to be the New Jerusalem, and married to Jesus, which later proved correct. Waldau has had a unique position as the group´s charismatic leader since the early 1990s. The mystique surrounding Waldau’s person and a theology based on her in the role as the Bride of Christ in a semi-erotic narrative including a wedding and prophesies in the form of love letters from Jesus (called Dojadid by Waldau) has been sternly denied by leaders and members of the congregation since 2004. However, rapid changes has taken place within the group. Waldau was unexpectedly banned from the congregation in November 2016, and along with her, the charismatic pop icon-like pastor Urban Fält was thrown out of the congregation. Following these drastic measurements, the congregation publicly denounced both leaders and the Christ of Bride-theology, stating publicly that they had been the victims of psychological abuse by manipulative charismatic leaders.

    This paper presents the undercurrents in the sacred story of the Bride of Christ: how it was invented, post 2004 repressed but secretly sustained in practice, and finally by what means it was finally shattered and rejected by the congregation in 2016. It relates these developments to similar events in other new religions and discusses the possibilities of the congregation to survive and maintain its membership beyond the crisis.

  • 5.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Utbildning och humaniora, Religionsvetenskap.
    Barn i Krishna-rörelsen i Sverige: Bör vi oroa oss?2010Inngår i: Aura. Tidskrift för akademiska studier av nyreligiositet, ISSN 2000-4419, Vol. 2, nr 1, s. 1-21Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [sv]

    Hur man uppfostrar barn inom nyreligiösa rörelser är en ständig debattfråga. Ofta dras vitt skilda grupper över en kam, inte sällan styrs debatten av ett ensidigt perspektiv och gamla uppgifter. När föreställningar byggda på förutfattade meningar får ersätta fakta finns risk för att barn som växer upp inom nyreligiösa rörelser tar skada genom samhällets oförmåga att leta efter likheter snarare än olikheter. Bristen på kunskap om dessa barns faktiska uppväxtvillkor riskerar att underbygga fördomar och i längden medverka till ett ökat spänningsförhållande mellan allmänheten och den grupp barnen växer upp inom. Aktuell forskning på ämnet är därför av största vikt.Syftet med artikeln har varit att beskriva hur barn som växer upp inom Hare Krishna-rörelsens jordbrukskollektiv Almviks By i Sverige idag socialiseras och om möjligt besvara frågan om det finns anledning till oro från samhällets sida när det gäller barnens situation.Utgångspunkten är en lista över orosmoment man från samhällets sida upplever när det gäller barn som växer upp inom nyreligiösa rörelser. Denna är hämtad ur den statliga utredningen I God Tro: Samhället och Nyandligheten (1998). Genom deltagande observationer i Almviks Gård har socialisationen av barn analyserats ur ett socialkonstruktivistiskt perspektiv.Resultatet av undersökningen visar att religiös socialisering integreras i den övriga socialisationen. Inga av de farhågor som beskrivs i den statliga utredningen präglar socialisationen på ett övergripande sätt.

  • 6.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    Children in New Religions2016Inngår i: The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements / [ed] James R. Lewis and Inga B. Tollefsen, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, vol 2, s. 248-263Kapittel i bok, del av antologi (Fagfellevurdert)
  • 7.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    Crying in the Flesh: Disciplining Children in Knutby Filadelfia2016Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
    Abstract [en]

    Knutby Filadelfia is a small Christian charismatic congregation residing outside Uppsala, Sweden. The group became known worldwide in January 2004 when a pastor allegedly persuaded a young female member to shoot two other members, one of whom died. The perpetrator of the crime was under the impression that she acted according to God’s will. Right from the onset of the group’s entrance into the eye of the media, rumours of abusive child rearing and harsh discipline of children has surrounded the group, especially when recorded sermons from the group’s church service where pastors encouraging corporal punishment of children started circulating on the internet. To contextualize this specific case, democratic child-rearing norms in Sweden are briefly accounted for. Since corporal punishment is illegal in Sweden, the groups’ alleged practice of authoritative child rearing methods were soon publicly questioned, and voices were raised from the public and from representatives from the medical community for investigations. Ex-members testified to parental abuse dictated by the group’s charismatic leadership and some families came under investigation. This paper addresses the issue of parental disciplining within the group from the perspective of the leadership of the group, the media, and the perspective of the supposed victims: the children themselves. It also discusses methodological difficulties connected to researching children in new religious communes. 

  • 8.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Exploring Alternative Childhoods: Studying Kids in Cults2014Inngår i: Sociology of Family, Social Life and Childhood, 2014Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
    Abstract [en]

    The study of new religious movements (cults) has been a controversial topic since its inception in the early 1970s. Numerous volumes have been published on a variety of topics, e. g.: affiliation and defection, the impact of charismatic leadership, gender roles and sexuality, violence and mass suicides, and the relationship with the media. However, very little attention has been given to the children of these movements. The situation for the children growing up in the movements constitute, at best, a small part of the study of a movement, but they are rarely ever subjects of such a study in their own right. Most commonly, their situation is investigated in retrospect, as they tell their life stories to researchers once they have reached adulthood. Not surprisingly, these life stories tend to look quite different depending on whether a member has stayed in or left the group. Another problematic aspect regarding the studies done in retrospect, is that new religious movements are, by definition, prone to rapid change. This may result in vast differences concerning socialization between generations, even between siblings within a family. Therefore, factual and up to date information about socialization within new religious movements is highly important. This presentation takes a look at the current field of study and suggests how this”blind spot” in the study of childhood can be covered. 

  • 9.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Utbildning och humaniora, Religionsvetenskap.
    From Children of God to Children of Members: Changing Views on Children in TFI 1988-20132013Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
    Abstract [en]

    From Children of God to Children of Members: Changing Views on Children in TFI 1988-2013

    The Family International is one of the most extensively studied new religious movements in the world. They are also one of few surviving new religious movements founded in the 1960’s. Due to the group’s continuous prophecy as well as society’s strong reactions to their radical theology and intense critique of mainstream society the movement has changed rapidly throughout its history. The movement’s comprehension of childhood and its attitude towards children have had specific consequences for the group in terms of intervention from social services and raids against Family communes. For some children particularly this has led to frequent relocating and homeschooling in order to limit contact with people outside the group and to avoid attracting attention from social services. The view of children within the group changed dramatically in 2010, when the organizational change “the Reboot” declared children no longer members but “children of members”.

    This paper examines the changes in normative views on children’s roles and the idea of childhood within The Family International in the last 25 years with particular focus on the Swedish context. By analyzing the movement’s own publications, academic publications, and media coverage on the group as well as biographical texts, a picture of a rapidly changing movement emerges. How has children’s roles within the movement been understood during the last 25 years? The paper argues that the movement has had to reevaluate its understanding of children and childhood as a consequence of the increasing awareness in mainstream society of children’s welfare.  

  • 10.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    From Children of God to Children of Members: Changing Views on Children in The Family International 1988-20152016Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 11.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    Isn't it dangerous there?: Exploring children's accounts of growing up in contemporary minority religions in Sweden2016Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 12.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Göteborgs universitet.
    Performing Perfectly: Presentations of Childhood in Knutby Filadelfia Before and After the Dissolution of the Congregation2019Doktoravhandling, monografi (Annet vitenskapelig)
    Abstract [en]

    The Knutby Filadelfia Congregation, founded in 1921, started out as a Pentecostal congregation. It has, however, been considered a deviant and semi-isolated new religious movement ever since it became known to the public after a murder took place within its community in 2004. The massive media attention it received revealed the presence of a charismatic leader within the group, and the development of a new theology in which the charismatic leader was considered to be the Bride of Christ. After 2004, the congregation reinforced its boundaries with society, and then suddenly began to dissolve in 2016. This study discusses the development of totalistic features within the congregation from the perspective of sociologist Erving Goffman; it highlights the simultaneous presence of in-group as well as out-group social stigma; and it explores the conflicting presentations of childhood in the congregation in performances from before and after the dissolution of the congregation.

    The results are based on empirical material from 25 semi-structured interviews with children and youth aged 7–25, 2 focus group interviews with youths, and 24 days of participant observations. Goffman’s theoretical framework, including the key concepts total institutions, stigma, and presentations, is used together with an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach in order to explore the experiences of childhoods as presented by children and youth within the congregation.

    The findings suggest that their individual understandings of and responses to the presence of a charismatic authority, as well as the consequences of such authorities on parent–child relations, are individual. The Pre-Narratives focus on stigmatisation from society, while the Post-Narratives include stigma within the congregation in the form of social exclusion. The study further indicates that the presentations of childhoods given prior to and after the dissolution of the congregation, the so-called Pre- and Post-Narratives, differ due to changing dramaturgical loyalties, although they should both be considered front-stage activity in Goffman’s terms.

  • 13.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Utbildning och humaniora, Religionsvetenskap.
    Rebooting The Family: Organizational Change within The Family International2011Inngår i: International Journal for the Study of New Religions, ISSN 2041-952X, Vol. 2, nr 2, s. 157-178Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    The Family International (TFI) is a religious movement that emerged in the late 1960s. It was founded by David Berg (1919-1994), who later came to be perceived by adherents as the End-Time Prophet. The movement is based on Christian theology but has never had more than 10,000 followers. It has, however, made itself internationally famous through a radical interpretation of the Bible and critique of mainstream society. The Family has received media attention partly due to its liberal views on sexuality.1 The group is well-known within the research field of sociology of religion and new religious movements, and has been extensively studied as a “high-tension” group" that has limited and regulated contact with mainstream society. Although there are some excellent in-depth case studies on the Family,3 the group is constantly changing due to its theology being based on continuous prophecy. This means that the group’s doctrines and praxis have changed considerably over the course of its 40-year history. This article examines the latest change in The Family International, called the Reboot, which was implemented in September 2010, in order to get a clearer picture of what constitutes this shift. This article also aims to show how changes in social boundaries due to the implementation of the Reboot are perceived by some members of The Family International.

  • 14.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap.
    Schooling Krishna's Swedish Grandchildren: A History of the Swedish Gurukula: Past, Present and Future2014Inngår i: INFORM Anniversary Conference: 'Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future, 2014Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    The first ISKCON gurukula was opened at the temple Korsnäs gård in 1979 in Sweden. It was subsequently moved to the farm project at Almviks gård, and operated in different forms until the closing down in 2003. In 2010 the inhabitants at Almviks gård again applied for permission to run a school for children, but the application was denied. This article aims to detail the history of the Swedish gurukula in relation to the international development of ISKCON-headed gurukulas and discuss the following questions; why was it instigated and why did it close? How has the applications for a new school been received by the authorities? Is it likely that a new gurukula could open up in Sweden and how would it be organized? What is done to educate the children in religious theory and practice at this point?

  • 15.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    She sees the smallest one: Children's of Love and Longing for the Charismatic Leader in Knutby Filadelfia, Sweden2016Inngår i: Children and Families in Recent Communal Groups, 2016Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
  • 16.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    "She sees the smallest ones ..”: Children's construction of love and longing for the charismatic leader in Knutby Filadelfia, Sweden2016Konferansepaper (Annet vitenskapelig)
    Abstract [en]

    Knutby Filadelfia is a Christian congregation of approximately 85 members residing outside Uppsala, Sweden. The group became publicly known in January 2004 when a pastor allegedly persuaded a young female member to shoot two other members, one of whom died. The perpetrator of the crime was under the impression that she acted according to God’s will. The murdered member’s sister, Pastor Åsa M Waldau, called “the bride of Christ” by the media, has a unique position as the group´s charismatic leader. Since 2008 Waldau has gone into seclusion, leaving her post as a pastor as an effect of the media coverage. Her role in the congregation is still, however, of great importance. This presentation aims at describing the children in the congregation with special focus on how they perceive their relation to Waldau, and argues that her role as a charismatic leader was enhanced by her withdrawal from the group.

  • 17.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    "She sees the smallest ones": Children's construction of love and longing for the charismatic leader in Knutby Filadelfia2015Inngår i: Children in new and minority religions: questions and cases, 2015Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    Knutby Filadelfia is a Christian congregation of approximately 85 members residing outside Uppsala, Sweden. The group became publicly known in January 2004 when a pastor allegedly persuaded a young female member to shoot two other members, one of whom died. The perpetrator of the crime was under the impression that she acted according to God’s will. The murdered member’s sister, pastor Åsa M Waldau, called “the bride of Christ” by the media, has a unique position as the group´s charismatic leader. . Since 2008 Waldau has gone into seclusion, leaving her post as a pastor as an effect of the media coverage. Her role in the congregation is still, however, of great importance. This presentation aims at describing the children in the congregation with special focus on how they perceive their relation to Waldau, and argues that her role as a charismatic leader was enhanced by her withdrawal from the group.

  • 18.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    The Brill Handbook of Nordic New Religions2016Inngår i: Nordic Journal of Religion and Society, ISSN 0809-7291, E-ISSN 1890-7008, Vol. 29, nr 1, s. 79-80Artikkel, omtale (Annet vitenskapelig)
  • 19.
    Nilsson, Sanja
    Högskolan Dalarna, Akademin Humaniora och medier, Religionsvetenskap. Gothenburg University.
    The rise and fall of the Bride of Christ: The breakup of the contemporary charismatic christian community Knutby Filadelfia, Sweden2017Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    Knutby Filadelfia is a charismatic Christian congregation of approximately 90 members located in Sweden. The congregation is known particularly for what has been called “The Knutby Drama” taking place in January 2004 when a pastor persuaded a young female member to shoot two members of the congregation, one of whom died. The perpetrator of the crime was under the impression that she acted according to God’s will, expressed in text messages received on her mobile phone. The murdered member’s sister, Pastor Åsa M Waldau, was dubbed “the Bride of Christ” by the media after rumours stating that she has claimed to be the New Jerusalem, and married to Jesus, which later proved correct. Waldau has had a unique position as the group´s charismatic leader since the early 1990s. The mystique surrounding Waldau’s person and a theology based on her in the role as the Bride of Christ in a semi-erotic narrative including a wedding and prophesies in the form of love letters from Jesus (called Dojadid by Waldau) has been sternly denied by leaders and members of the congregation since 2004. However, rapid changes has taken place within the group. Waldau was unexpectedly banned from the congregation in November 2016, and along with her, the charismatic pop icon-like pastor Urban Fält was thrown out of the congregation. Following these drastic measurements, the congregation publicly denounced both leaders and the Christ of Bride-theology, stating publicly that they had been the victims of psychological abuse by manipulative charismatic leaders.

    This paper presents the undercurrents in the sacred story of the Bride of Christ: how it was invented, post 2004 repressed but secretly sustained in practice, and finally by what means it was finally shattered and rejected by the congregation in 2016. It relates these developments to similar events in other new religions and discusses the possibilities of the congregation to survive and maintain its membership beyond the crisis.

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