John G. Turner has been teaching at the University of South Alabama since August 2006, after finishing a PhD in history at the University of Notre Dame. Along the way, he also earned a Masters of Divinity from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Turner's teaching and research center on American culture and politics during the 19th and 20th centuries. He is fascinated by the connections between religion and American national identity, including the perennial debates (dating back to the founding of the republic) over whether the United States was/is/should be a Christian nation. He is also interested in the relationship between religious freedom and religious establishment in nineteenth-century America, especially as it pertains to the experiences of religious and racial minorities.
Turner's first book, Bill Bright & Campus Crusade for Christ (2008) explores the history of American evangelicalism since 1945. Specifically, he uses Campus Crusade as a lens through which to analyze evangelical efforts to restore American politics and education to their "Christian roots."
His second book is Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet (2012),is a biography of the second president/prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It emphasizes 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 30-year battle with the U.S. government for control of the Utah Territory.