Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Does a Historian Go From Writing a History of Campus Crusade for Christ to Writing a Biography of Brigham Young?

No, he did not convert to Mormonism.

John Turner explains at The Anxious Bench.  Here is a taste:

...By the time I’d spent several years writing a dissertation and book on Campus Crusade for Christ, I was tired of studying post-WWII evangelicalism in the United States. I grew up with one foot (or at least a few toes) in the evangelical subculture: Young Life in high school, InterVarsity in college, etc. In a sense, I wrote about Campus Crusade to better understand my own religious heritage.

Studying my own roots was satisfying, but I didn’t want to continue to do so. Research and writing are opportunities to learn, and one learns the most – or, at least I enjoy learning – by traversing more foreign ground.

By the way, I hear Turner's biography of Young is must reading. (Maybe the powers-that-be at Harvard University Press will send me a copy to review here at the blog.  Please?  Pretty please?).  The New Yorker declares that it is "a definitive biography of Mormonism’s greatest activist and apostle.” Nice work, John!