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Authors Who Are Converts to a Different Religion

This is a list of authors who are religious converts. This list is necessarily restricted to people who have formally affiliated with a religious tradition other than one they were raised in. (Naturally, if we included all authors who have experienced philosophical or spiritual changes in their life of any kind, we would have to include most authors.* For many authors, each book they write is a kind of conversion experience.)

To limit this list to a manageable size, it does not include authors who have only written religious books or autobiographies about their conversion.

Author Previous Affiliation New Religious Affiliation Genre Example of Writing
Gael Baudino Dianic Wicca Quaker fantasy Dragonsword Trilogy
James BeauSeigneur Catholic/
Evangelical Evangelical science fiction Christ Clone trilogy
Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff Protestant Baha'i fantasy The Meri
Hermann Broch Judaism Catholic novels (German/Austrian) The Sleepwalkers; The Death of Virgil
Jo Clayton ? Catholic fantasy The Burning Ground; A Bait of Dreams
G. K. Chesterton Unitarian; Anglican Catholic science fiction; mystery; religious non-fiction The Man Who Knew Too Much; Orthodoxy
Avram Davidson Orthodox Judaism Tenrikyo science fiction
Clash of Star-Kings
John Donne Catholic Anglican (priest) metaphysical poems, songs, sermons (English writer) "Dead Souls"
Theodore Dreiser Catholic Congregationalist novels (American) An American Tragedy; Carrie
J. M. DeMatteis ? Hindu (Meher Baba) comic books Moon Shadow
David Doering Episcopalian Latter-day Saint science fiction "Dan Venture and the Gurad Marauders"
John Dryden ? Catholic poetry, plays, critical essays (English writer) Marriage A-la-Mode (1672)
Thom Duncan Evangelical Latter-day Saint playwright
science fiction
"A Sceptre, A Sword, A Scented Rose"
Richard Dutcher Pentecostal Latter-day Saint screenwriter "Girl Crazy"; "God's Army"
Anthony Flew Methodist, atheist Deism philosophy formerly one of world's leading atheists; God and Philosophy; New Essays in Philosophical Theology, "Theology and Falsification" (1950): article which introduced: "principle of falsifiability"; "The Presumption of Atheism" (1989)
Graham Greene ? Catholic novels (British) The Power and the Glory; The Third Man; The Heart of the Matter
Robert Hayden Baptist Baha'i poet Ballad of Remembrance
Chris Heimerdinger ? Latter-day Saint YA fiction Ben Franklin and the Chamber of Time; "Tennis Shoes" series
Heinrich Heine Judaism Lutheran poetry, songs (German) Buch der Lieder (The Book of Songs)
Ernest Hemingway Congregationalist Catholic novels, short stories (American) The Sun Also Rises; The Old Man and the Sea
Carolivia Herron Baptist Judaism novels; non-fiction; children's books Thereafter Jonnie; Nappy Hair
Gerard Manley Hopkins ? Catholic (Jesuit priest) poems (British Victorian poet) The Windhover; Pied Beauty
Deal Hudson Baptist
Catholic philosophy Understanding Maritain; professor at Fordham University; Editor of Crisis Magazine
Robert Hugh Benson Anglican
Catholic fantasy, science fiction, non-fiction, historical novels Lord of the World; The Dawn of All; The Light Invisible; A Mirror of Shalott; The Religion of the Plain Man; By What Authority?; The King's Achievement
Katherine Kurtz Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Roman Catholic; Old Catholic Celtic Christian fantasy Camber of Culdi
Kathryn H. Kidd ? Latter-day Saint science fiction
Linda Hoffman Kimball Methodist Latter-day Saint contemporary fiction; essay Home to Roost
Ronald Knox Anglican minster Catholic priest mystery; satire;
Bible scholarship
The Viaduct Murder
Karl Kraus Judaism Catholic satire, essays, plays, poems (German/Austrian) The Last Days of Mankind
Neil LaBute
? Latter-day Saint screenwriter; playwright "In the Company of Men"
Julius Lester
Methodist Judaism black history Black Cowboy, Wild Horses: A True Story; From Slave Ship to Freedom Road; Lovesong: Becoming a Jew
Clare Boothe Luce
nonreligious Catholic journalist; playwright Stuffed Shirts; Europe in the Spring; Abide With Me; Kiss the Boys Goodbye
Margaret Marcus/
Maryam Jameelah
Judaism Islam essayist; poet
Lee Martin ? Latter-day Saint mystery "Deb Ralston" series; e.g., Hacker
Daniel Moore/
Abd al-Hayy Moore
Zen Buddhism Islam poet "The Chronicles of Akhira", "Halley's Comet", Holograms
K. L. Morgan   Latter-day Saint young adult fantasy; holiday Castledance
David Morse ? Quaker alternative history The Iron Bridge
Michael McKenny Baha'i Pagan fantasy "Slug Lizard"
Michael McNulty ? Latter-day Saint documentaries Waco: Rules of Engagement (received an Emmy award and an Academy Award nomination)
Walter M. Miller, Jr. atheist Catholic science fiction A Canticle for Leibowitz
John Henry Newman Anglican Catholic (cardinal)   Apologia Pro Vita Sua, A Grammar of Assent
Walker Percy agnostic Presbyterian Catholic contemporary fiction; philosophy The Moviegoer
Anne Perry ? Latter-day Saint mystery
The Sins of the Wolf
Katherine Ann Porter ? Catholic short stories, novels, essays (American) The Ship of Fools
Joseph Roth Judaism Catholic novels (German/Austrian) The Radetzky March
Jean Jacques Rousseau Calvinist Catholic philosophy, essays, some music (French) The Confessions; Emile
Mary Doria Russell Catholic Judaism science fiction The Sparrow
Frank Schaeffer Evangelical; Protestant fundamentalism Greek Orthodox contemporary fiction; non-fiction religious Portofino; Saving Grandma; The Scrapweed Goat
Laura Schlessinger father: non-practicing Jew
mother: cultural Catholic
Orthodox Judaism self-help/advice The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Laws in Everyday Life
Joan Slonczewski ? Quaker science fiction
Daughter of Elysium
Cordwainer Smith Methodist Episcopalian science fiction Norstrilia
Eliza R. Snow Disciples of Christ Latter-day Saint poetry; hymns; history My First View of a Western Prairie
Mickey Spillane Protestant Jehovah's Witnesses mystery/crime The Girl Hunters
received the title of Grand Master from the Mystery Writers of America in 1995
D. T. Steiner Catholic Wicca science fiction "Moon Time"
Pamela Taylor Atheist Islam science fiction "The Cathedral" in Citizen Culture Magazine, Feb 2005; "First Impressions" (comtemporary) and "Hajar's Long Walk" (fable) in Many Voices, One Faith: Islamic Writers Alliance Anthology 1 (2004)
Clarence Thomas Baptist
Catholic law "I Am a Man, a Black Man, an American"
many Supreme Court rulings, opinions, etc.
Juliet Thompson ? Baha'i playwright I, Magdalene
J. R. R. Tolkien Protestant (Methodist/Baptist/Anglican) Catholic fantasy The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings
Sigrid Undset Lutheran Catholic novels (Norwegian) Kristin Lavransdatter
Evelyn Waugh ? Catholic satirical novels (English writer) Vile Bodies; A Handful of Dust
Sharon D. Welch RLDS
(now Community of Christ)
Unitarian-Universalist feminist A Feminist Ethic of Risk (Other Feminist Voices); Sweet Dreams in America : Making Ethics and Spirituality Work; Communities of Resistance and Solidarity: A Feminist Theology of Liberation
Roger White Catholic Baha'i poet Another Song, Another Season: Poems and Portrayals
Oscar Wilde Church of Ireland (Anglican) Catholic plays, short stories, novels (Anglo-Irish writer) The Happy Prince; The Picture of Dorian Gray
Gene Wolfe Presbyterian Catholic science fiction The Claw of the Conciliator
Michael Wolfe Christian mother
Jewish father
Islam journalist The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca
Peter Q. Warinner   Latter-day Saint science fiction/fantasy Sumdar, the Tetralogy: Book One: Birth into Dreams (Wysteria Ltd., 2002); Clinical Microbiology Review (Wysteria); EKG and Heart Murmurs (Pocket Brain)
Dave Wolverton   Latter-day Saint science fiction/fantasy The Courtship of Princess Leia; Runelords

* Many authors have converted more fully to the faith of their childhood, without switching denominational loyalties. For example, C. S. Lewis is often described as a convert to Christianity. It is true that he was, philosophically, an atheist for period of time, following which he gradually moved away from atheism until he became a life-long proponent of Christianity. But he was born into an Anglican family, baptized into the Church of England soon after his birth, and when he became actively religious again, it was in the Church of England. His is certainly an interesting and compelling story, but many other authors and individuals have had similar, albeit less publicized, experiences.

NOTE: "Latter-day Saint" refers to a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes abbreviated "LDS".

Note to authors: has no desire to intrude upon the personal lives of any individuals. The information on this page comes from publicly available files such as interviews, book notes, etc. All authors speak primarily through their writing. If anybody prefers to not be noted here, we will respect their request, remove the information and think nothing of it.

Web page created 6 January 2000. Last modified 29 May 2006.

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