Christopher Smith was brought up as an evangelical Protestant of the rock-n-rolling, tongues-speaking, hands-raising variety. He investigated Mormonism for a time in high school, prying himself out of bed before sunrise for several months to attend early morning seminary. Though he never joined the Church, he remained interested in Mormonism throughout his BA program in Biblical Studies at Fresno Pacific University. By the time he graduated, casual interfaith engagement had developed into bona fide academic interest. He began attending Mormon history conferences, writing articles on Mormon history topics, and getting caught up in a community of Mormon scholars whom he liked and respected and whose fellowship he craved. Around the time he finished an MA program in Christian History at Wheaton College, Chris learned that Claremont Graduate University had started a Mormon Studies program with Richard Bushman as the Howard Hunter chair. Surrendering to the inevitability of fate, he enrolled.