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Conversions: Two Family Stories from the Reformation and Modern America (New Directions in Narrative History) Hardcover – September 15, 2011
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“An absorbing, creative book… it will definitely become a go-to book for readers interested in the history and psychology of conversion.”—Lauren Winner, author of Girl Meets God: A Memoir (Lauren Winner)
Top Customer Reviews
Most impressive is the ability with which Harline sheds the comfortable realm of the academic authorial voice to write the latter portion of the book in the first person with honesty and forthrightness. A personal friend of the contemporary individual, he lays bare his own struggles to reconcile his Mormon faith with what he had learned about his friend. This book will add significantly to the dialogue surrounding this issue and all others that involve the chasm between gay men and women and their search to embrace their sexual orientation while being observant in their various religious faiths.Read more ›
Harline employs storytelling techniques to draw you in and to bridge the past and present. Jacob Rolandus's daring night escape from his Reformed home to Catholicism in 1654 is narrated in the present tense: "And now the field at last! But here more disappointment: the horse still hasn't arrived, and the friend waiting with the bag says that he can't make the journey either, because he has a bad foot" (5). In contrast, Michael Sunbloom's family reacted to his conversion to Mormonism in the past tense: "When the cousin started asking about Mormonism, and what in the world had moved Michael to convert, Michael hesitated, stepped as far into the hallway as he could [to avoid letting his parents overhear], and took the risk of answering. Big mistake" (76-77). These two stories are told alternately, one chapter relating Jacob's tale, the next, Michael's. This back-and-forth, "too be continued" construction naturally pulls readers to the next episode.
Unlike most history books, Harline puts himself directly into the story. By alternately centering Jacob, Michael, and himself as the main protagonist, Harline's book inhabits a borderland between academic excellence and dangerous self-disclosure/didacticism.Read more ›
As a side note, I found it amazing that BYU allowed one of its professors to publish a book that appears to defend the changing views of homosexuality and how the commonly-held Biblical perspectives may, from a historical perspective, be in fact misguided.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Incredible story, but more importantly, full of insights into our lives today. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone.Published on June 10, 2013 by Jeff
An extremely well researched and insightful book. The story is so compelling and well written it was hard to lay the book down. Read morePublished on March 28, 2012 by Heritage
Being a religious convert myself, I found the multiple stories of conversion in Harline's book fascinating. Read morePublished on February 14, 2012 by Caroleen
First off, this book caught my eye in the BYU bookstore, and I bought it seeing it was written by a BYU professor, so the attitudes expressed in this book came as a surprise to say... Read morePublished on January 16, 2012 by Cosmo the Cougar