Historically, religions have served as both conservative forces and catalysts for change. In their capacities as repositories of meanings, religions can motivate large numbers of individuals-even whole populations-either to sustain traditions or to reformulate goals and ideals and do things differently (Lenski, 1951). Moreover, it is only through using a broad historical perspective that people can sufficiently understand the depth and scope of religious influences, and the strength of their impact on the quantity and quality of social life and social change (Ashbrook, 1993).