Conversions by Craig Harline
Two Family Stories from the Reformation and Modern America (New Directions in Narrative History)

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This powerful and innovative work by a gifted cultural historian explores the effects of religious conversion on family relationships, showing how the challenges of the Reformation can offer insight to families facing similarly divisive situations today.

Craig Harline begins with the story of young Jacob Rolandus, the son of a Dutch Reformed preacher, who converted to Catholicism in 1654 and ran away from home, causing his family to disown him. In the companion story, Michael Sunbloom, a young American, leaves his family's religion in 1973 to convert to Mormonism, similarly upsetting his distraught parents. The modern twist to Michael's story is his realization that he is gay, causing him to leave his new church, and upsetting his parents again—but this time the family reconciles.

Recounting these stories in short, alternating chapters, Harline underscores the parallel aspects of the two far-flung families. Despite different outcomes and forms, their situations involve nearly identical dynamics and heart-wrenching choices. Through the author's deeply informed imagination, the experiences of a seventeenth-century European family are transformed into immediately recognizable terms.


About Craig Harline

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CRAIG HARLINE, a professor of history at Brigham Young University, is the author of" A Bishop's Tale,"" The Burdens of Sister Margaret," and" Miracles at the Jesus Oak," His research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, and other granting agencies. He lives in Orem, Utah.
Published September 15, 2011 by Yale University Press. 313 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Travel, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Conversions

Publishers Weekly

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A cultural historian at Brigham Young University, Harline (Miracles at the Jesus Oak) narrates the histories of two individuals who changed faiths at personal cost to them.

Oct 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Conversions: Two Family Stori...

Deseret News

In "Conversions," Craig Harline effectively links the common denominators of two separate conversion stories from different time periods.

Oct 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Conversions: Two Family Stori...

Englewood Review of Books

Conversion involves radical change and stories of conversion, whether Augustine’s dramatic courtyard experience or a simple testimony delivered during a church service, are common markers of Christian identity.

Nov 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Conversions: Two Family Stori...

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