Religious Faith as Cultural Heritage at the Refuge for World Truths

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Faith undergirds the Refuge for World Truths, a multireligious heritage-scape that emerged out of an old Spanish land grant adjacent to the Wild West mining and ranching town of Crestone, Colorado. Established by an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team in the late twentieth century, the Refuge’s spiritual centers were founded upon different faith commitments. Christian, [Sufi] Muslim, and Baha’i centers adhere to a monotheistic faith and claim divine revelation as the source of their presence in the Refuge. New Age, polytheistic, and nontheistic groups base their faith claim on the personal mystical revelations of “Glenn,” a local peripatetic and self-described prophet who hailed the arrival of the original couple. Two stints of ethnographic research point to the spiritual centers’ public ritual performances as both invitations to pilgrims to intensify this faith and as functional cogs in the integration and continuity of the heritage-scape’s ritual economy. Finally, the faith expressions underlying the Refuge for World Truths allow this unique locality to champion interreligious dialogue as a method for addressing diversity and negotiating potential onsite conflict on the path to peaceful mutuality.