I would like to express my appreciation to a number of people who contributed to the development of this book. I am especially grateful for the cooperation of the followers of Guru Maharaj Ji whose stories make up the core of the work. With very few exceptions, their trusting attitude, generosity, and honesty never wavered, which made our association warm and valuable beyond the pragmatic goal of finishing the manuscript.
To my wife, Mary, and my children, Katherine and Diana, I owe a special note of thanks for giving me the time and support for my writing. Mary read and criticized various portions of the book, which definitely improved it.
I am also very grateful to Lucy DuPertuis, a follower, for reading and criticizing earlier drafts of the book. Her help was invaluable to me. Others working at the Divine Light Mission headquarters in Denver were also helpful. Cliff Bowden and Joe Anctil read the manuscript and proposed revisions, most having to do with factual material. While not always agreeing with me, both respected my point of view and made no effort to change it, which I appreciated. I was especially happy for the opportunity to work with Cliff, who had been working on a Ph.D. in sociology before joining the Mission and therefore could understand the theoretical side of the study.
I would also like to thank Suzy Pensinger for transcribing the interviews; Ron Rinkle for organizing the questionnaire data and doing a statistical summary for me; Joan Biagi and Dick Skeen for their assistance in tracking down the literature dealing with conversion and commitment, and Judy Warren Little for helping me to organize the interview data.
Let me thank the members of the Council on Research and Creative Work at the University of Colorado for funding the transcription phase of the study.
Finally, I am grateful to Robert Hunter who, as director of the Bureau of Sociological Research, in 1972 provided me with a typist to help with the transcription process and also provided me with a quiet office where I began organizing the materials.