The best stories contain surprising twists.
I already was fascinated with "Convert Nation," an interview piece by Emma Green in The Atlantic.
But then Green served up not one but two satisfying twists — and before the story barely got started.
Let's start with the first two paragraphs:
Jane Picken didn’t know much about religion growing up. Her parents were Christians, but she was orphaned at a young age, and the person who helped raise her “utterly rejected” revealed religion. Years later, when she met Abraham Cohen at a party, they really hit it off—they were engaged within three weeks. But first, they had a religion problem to fix.
Cohen was the son of a cantor, or worship leader, at a Philadelphia synagogue. His father wasn’t comfortable with him marrying someone who wasn’t Jewish. At first, Cohen didn’t want to push his faith on his fiancée, but Jane really loved Jewish rituals like lighting Shabbat candles and eating with family on Friday nights. She decided to convert, taking the name Sarah.
That anecdotal lede seems pretty standard for an article with a subtitle pointing to one-third of Americans identifying with a religion different from the one with which they grew up.
But then the third paragraph slaps you in the face and declares, "Hey, this scenario isn't as simple as it first appeared":