Where the Soul Hungers

One Doctor's Journey from Atheism to Faith

Though raised as a Latter-day Saint in Utah, Samuel M. Brown was an atheist from an early age, and proud of it. At least until God became an undeniable presence in his life. His conversion to the faith of his forbearers happened by degrees, and today he is joyfully living a life in Christ. In this volume, Sam Brown narrates a number of the waypoints on his journey into believing and belonging. Some of those moments are dramatic, but many are composed of small and simple things, which take on profound significance as Sam reflects on them now in these pages. With gentle, self-critical humor and a generous regard for those who have accompanied him on his way, this book by Sam Brown is an offer to walk with you a while on your own journey of faith.


God is real. Christ is real. Love is real. We belong to one another. Sam Brown not only recounts his spiritual journey to arrive at these simple but inexhaustible truths but invites the reader to join with him in opening up to the possibilities inherent in a God-drenched world. These probing and moving essays show what can happen when a brilliant mind meets the refinement of a beautiful soul. The Latter-day Saint community is richer, and the world is truer, because Sam Brown has chosen the life of faith.

Patrick Q. Mason

Where the Soul Hungers models discipleship that engages both the mind and heart. Members of the Church will find new insights into their devotional habits, and those whose faith practices are burdened by questions and concerns will find a sympathetic fellow traveler who brings hope and purpose to the journey. Brown responds to such challenges by participating in practices of faith and engaging with his church community. He combines memorable personal experiences with detailed musings that uncover spiritual significance in his life and in modern life more broadly.

Sharon Harris

Metanoeo, “to repent,” can be more richly translated as “to reshape the heart; to think differently.” Sam Brown models how to do both, in tender, compelling stories that are deeply personal and profoundly universal. His at times searing vulnerability is our gain, in this edifying and moving memoir.

Terryl Givens

About the Author

Samuel M. Brown

Samuel M. Brown is Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of Utah and an intensive care physician in the Shock Trauma ICU at Intermountain Medical Center. His latest book on Latter-day Saint history and theology, Joseph Smith's Translation: The Words and Worlds of Early Mormonism was published by Oxford University Press in 2020 and his award-winning book In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. His previous contribution to the Maxwell Institute's Living Faith Series, First Principles and Ordinances: The Fourth Article of Faith in Light of the Temple, was published in 2014. He is also translator of Aleksandr Men’s Son of Man: The Story of Christ and Christianity (Oakwood Publications, 1998). 

Table of Contents

  • Life is a Funny Place
  • Lost in Identity
  • In Praise of the Inauthentic Life
  • Leroy and Me
  • The Bread of Life, with Chocolate Chips
  • Redemption and the Work of Opera
  • The Scent of the Gospel
  • Who’s My David?
  • Suffer the Children
  • Your Socks Don’t Match
  • What of the Wisdom of Solomon?
  • Promises to Keep
  • Hungry
  • The Place I Go to Cry
  • Sacraments in the Time of Pestilence
View More

Publication Information

  • Publication Month: May
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Language: English,
  • Page Count: 140
  • Binding: Paperback, eBook
  • Price: $ 12.99
  • Imprint: Deseret Book

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The views expressed here and in Maxwell Institute publications are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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