Date of Award



© 2018 Sara Austin

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

William Boozang

Second Advisor

Suzan Nelson

Third Advisor

Michelle Collay


Given that everything we learn is scaffolded onto prior knowledge, how and what we learn is infinitely complex. There are many factors influencing learning, including environment, social and institutional attitudes, access, conditioning and biases. Among the social and environmental factors, religious affiliation is a powerful force which can either encourage educational pursuit, or discourage and demonize it.

This study used Mezirow’s Transformative Learning Theory (2003) to examine the lived experiences of individuals who were raised in biblical literalist faith traditions. The researcher conducted loosely structured interviews with each participant to learn about their educational and spiritual journeys as they left the religion of their childhood in search of a more integrated approach to knowledge and spirituality. The study culminated in recommendations for educators teaching students from such a background.


Ed.D. Dissertation