Ashton Reynolds

Ph.D. Program





MA in History, Southern Methodist University
BA in Theology and Philosophy, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

Ashton is a PhD Candidate studying American Religious History in the early nineteenth century working under Kate Carte, PhD. He is particularly interested in how grief, trauma, and family dynamics influence religious conversion and life. At the same time, he seeks to address the question of what degree personal ethics change after conversion or if those ethics substantively remain the same but are presented differently.
Additionally, he is interested in when and why outside majority groups chose to weaponize minority religious group’s beliefs (or at times rumors or belief) against them. This could be for reasons ranging from land acquisition to creating a normative religious expression for Citizenship Identity. Ashton is exploring these question as he researches and writes his dissertation centering on the Strangite branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and their Prophet and President James Jesse Strang who operated in Michigan, Wisconsin, and the east coast from 1845 to 1855.

Ashton received the William R. Coe Fellowship from The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University for 2022-2023 to research the James Jesse Strang collection and other materials in their Western Americana collection relating to Mormonism and American Religion in the U.S. west.

Outside of school Ashton enjoys spending time with his family, walking his dog, and pursuing an inexplicable passion for composting. He enjoys feeding wild Texas history facts – of which there are no shortage – to his oldest daughter so she can use them to get her 7th grade Texas history teacher off track with a story in class. Ashton’s favorite novelist was Cormac McCarthy because he likes his fiction historically informed, dark, and heart-breaking.



Ashton Reynolds