Religious Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

John Turner

John  Turner

John Turner

Undergraduate Academic Advisor

Associate Professor

American Religion; Mormonism

John Turner teaches and writes about the the place of religion in American history. Prof. Turner holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Prof. Turner's first book, Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ: The Renewal of Evangelicalism in Postwar America, won Christianity Today’s 2009 prize for best History / Biography.

More recently, Prof. Turner has switched his research focus to the history and present nature of Mormonism in the United States. In 2012, he published Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet, the result of several years of archival work in Salt Lake City and other Utah repositories. His biography emphasizes Brigham Young's early religious experiences (such as speaking in tongues), the transformative effect of Joseph Smith’s murder on Young’s personality and approach to leadership, Young’s outsized family, and his thirty-year battle with the U.S. government for control of the Utah Territory.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, Prof. Turner was a visiting scholar at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, where he taught a course on Mormonism and worked on a book about the place of Jesus Christ within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He blogs for Religion in American History and The Anxious Bench, and has written for popular outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

Selected Publications

Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet (Harvard University Press, 2012)

Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ  (University of North Carolina Press, 2008)