James R. Lewis is Dean of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at the World University of America and Senior Editor at the Center for Academic Publications. He is a world-recognized authority on non-traditional religions including sects, cults, and secular groups. One of the strengths of American pluralism is the diversity of religious affiliations outside the mainstream. In this prodigious resource, Lewis presents biographies of more than 350 alternative prophets and the groups they formed.

The following list gives a sampling of the variety of new religions: Herbert W. Armstrong (Worldwide Church of God), Sri Aurobindo (a major Hindu seer to the West), Israel Baal Shem Tov (Hassidic Judaism), Helena P. Blavatsky (Theosophical Society), Edgar Cayce (psychic), Louis Farrakhan (Nation of Islam), Charles Sherlock Fillmore (Unity School of Christianity), L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology), Kathryn Kuhlman (faith healer), Ann Lee (Shakers), Jane Roberts (New Age channel), Starhawk (Neopagan leader), John Paul Twitchell (ECKANKAR), and Swami Paramahansa Yogananda (Self-Realization Fellowship).