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By Richard Quebedeaux

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Extra info for By What Authority? The Rise of Personality Cults in American Christianity.

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By calling Angelus Temple, anyone could get the time of day. Aimee wrote hymns and full-length religious operas which were performed at the temple. She founded a publishing house, a Bible college, and a radio station, in addition to the more usual ministries of the typical Protestant church of her day. Angelus Temple also took part in Pasadena's annual Tournament of Roses parade on New Year's Day; and its award-winning floats, featured in the media, gave the church additional visibility. Aimee Semple McPherson created a church-based revivalism suited to the ethos of the jazz age, of Hollywood and the movie stars, whom she knew personally.

Cities were systematically divided into districts, in which homes were visited by "squads" of recruiters. Celebrities were found to sit with the evangelist on the platform while Ira D. Sankey, the popular composer of sentimental gospel songs, led the "massed choirs. " Religion here may have been old-fashioned in content, but it was communicated by the use of very new techniques. Moody had a simple, clear, no-nonsense style of preaching. This, together with his warm personality, enabled him to establish complete rapport with those who attended his revivals.

2 3 Positive thinking as the motivational technique of successful living-it works-is the dominant "behavioral" ideal of popu­ lar religion in modern America, the method by which the expected results of conversion ("the abundant life") are to be realized. The focus on conversion, of being born again, in the religion of contemporary mass culture is rooted in the history of revivalism with its evangelical theology and zeal to spread the word. But "positive thinking" as a key methodological element in popular religion has far different origins that go back to the early years of the nineteenth century and the desire to integrate science, religion, and health .

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