There is no formal membership as such in the ülen Movement. Individuals do not belong to any single community or network only. What distinguishes the Gülen Movement is the multiplicity of its participants’ affiliations; they participate simultaneously in a number of areas of social life and in associations of various kinds.
Author and journalist Abdullah Aymaz exemplifies these multiple affiliations: “I am a teacher and a writer. I have commitments like my job and also voluntary extra contributions at the media organ I work for as a columnist. I also take part in neighborhood and community work where my family resides. I have interests in scientific issues and therefore take part in the editorial board and the selection committee of a popular scientific monthly. My children attend a high school and I take part in the family group of the school to improve the educational level of the school. I also engage in interfaith dialogue and visit and receive people from different faith communities. I also attend meetings and networks of people from my own hometown and former places I lived in. In short, I participate in several networks due to my place of residence, job, interests, hometown, children’s education, and so forth. Likewise, there are thousands of people attending more networks and doing more community services in the Gülen Movement than I do.”
In each of these settings only a part of the self, and only certain dimensions of the personality and experience, are activated. In a religiously-motivated search, alternative affiliations are a journey for personal and spiritual development and meaning.