Ron Hubbard, has had to fight in courts around the world to be recognized as a religion in order to obtain such secular benefits as tax exemption.
Most NRMs would fit into the sociological category of either sector cult, but scholars came to favor the term NRM in order to avoid the pejorative overtones associated in the public mind with these labels.
Secondly, founding leaders are frequently accorded a charismatic authority by their followers.
This means they are accorded the right to have a direct say over more aspects of their followers’ lives than, say, the pope, or even an ayatollah, and are unlikely to be held accountable to anyone, except perhaps the God(s) to whom they alone may have a direct hotline.
Clear boundaries are, thus, drawn between “true” and “false”; “good” and “bad”; “them” and “us”; and “before” and “after” (conversion).
Fifthly, NRMs have been greeted with suspicion, fear, and even hatred by those to whom they pose an alternative.
This has, however, led to ”NRM” being associated in the rhetoric of the movements’ opponents with what they consider to be not a neutral but a ”cult apologist” position.
A fourth, but by no means universal, characteristic of new religions is that they frequently operate with a dichotomous mindset.
But none of these had successfully replaced ”new religious movement” by the beginning of the third millennium.
The enormous diversity within the current wave of new religions cannot be overemphasized.
That said, however, it is also the case that there are certain characteristics which the movements might be expected to share insofar as they are new and religious.
Firstly, almost by definition, NRMs have a membership of converts, and converts to any religion are notoriously more committed and enthusiastic than those born into their religion.