J. Gordon Melton is the director for the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California, and is a research specialist with the department of religions studies at the University of California. He is the author of more than twenty-six books, including several encyclopedias, handbooks, and almanacs on American religion, new religious movements, and directories of churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship. He is also an ordained elder in the United Methodist church and a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society for the American Study of Religion, the American Society of Church History, the Communal Studies Association, and the Society for the Study of Metaphysical Religion.
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