The great outpouring of new religious and spiritual movements in the United States after 1965 led to the formation of thousands of spiritual intentional communities. Those communities were based in all the world's major religions, as well as in new expressions of religion articulated by a rising generation of independent spiritual teachers. Many communities gathered around charismatic leaders, and quite a few of them continued after the leader died or stepped down. Over time those communities that survived evolved in form and outlook; in some cases once-authoritative leaders were deposed, and in others the death or departure of a leader led to changes in the group. External social pressure in several cases influenced various groups' developmental trajectories. This paper examines the histories of several religious communal groups, focusing on ones that have survived and exploring the modifications they have undertaken as their members have matured.
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