John Turner

John Turner

John Turner


American Religion; Mormonism; History of Colonial New England

I teach and write about the the place of religion in American history. I came to George Mason University in 2012, having earned a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Previously, I taught at the University of South Alabama.

My teaching and scholarship center on the history of religion in the United States, especially Mormonism, evangelicalism, and seventeenth-century puritanism. I love spending time in archives, resurrecting the lives of women and men who made cultures that are very different from our own, and I love spending time in the classroom, exploring those lives and cultures with students from all sorts of backgrounds.  

George Mason University is an ideal setting for the academic study of religion. Our campus has the diversity to which many institutions aspire, meaning that students bring many different perspectives to the classroom. Regardless of your own background and beliefs, Religious Studies offers a setting in which you can explore beliefs and practices that have shaped human history and continue to shape contemporary cultures. 

If you want to know more about me, visit




Selected Publications

The Knew They Were Pilgrims: Plymouth Colony and the Contest for American Liberty (Yale University Press, 2020).
The Mormon Jesus: A Biography (Harvard University Press, 2016).
Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet (Harvard University Press, 2012).
Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ  (University of North Carolina Press, 2008).

Dissertations Supervised

Jordan Bratt, "The Convert to Zion": The Mormon Conversion Experience in the Nineteenth Century (2023)