Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences


Douglas Dixon

Document Type



This paper focuses on Private Joe Doe, a Hoosier soldier in the Korean War who struggled with the conflict between conservative Christian beliefs and modernity. The author reviewed 85 letters that Doe sent home to his mother, in addition to Private Doe’s mother’s memoirs and the evangelical literature that Doe encountered in his formative years. Although Doe had been socialized to believe that the church solved the most pressing problems, his experiences also underscored the power of modern science, New Deal programs, public education, and changing roles of women. This is a case study of a young Hoosier soldier’s search for religious identity.