Ignatius Press

Whatever happened to the 'free speech kid' from the early '90s and why is he now Catholic?

A conversion story readers will have trouble putting down

SAN FRANCISCO — According to Pew Research, more than half (55%) of U.S. adults have taken to prayer during the pandemic, including 39% of people who rarely pray or don’t belong to any religion. Ian Murphy, author of the new book DYING TO LIVE: FROM AGNOSTIC TO BAPTIST TO CATHOLIC, understands this desire to pray and encounter something higher than oneself, especially in difficult times.

Murphy currently teaches at Divine Mercy University, and is a Catholic writer and speaker, yet his easy demeanor, humorous wit and entertaining personality give a glimpse into the divinely inspired journey, full of twists and turns, that led him to become Catholic.

Always a curious kid, Murphy started contemplating complicated questions about God early in life as an agnostic — he says in the book, “I always loved Jesus, even as an agnostic” — and professed his Christianity in eighth grade. He became a national news sensation as a high school senior whose commencement speech was initially banned because he was planning to mention Jesus. Murphy became known as the “free speech kid” and ended up giving that speech, to the delight of his family and supporters. But that’s only the beginning; soon God would be showing off his immense love of Ian and gently pulling on his heart to come home.

DYING TO LIVE is filled with not only the sincere passion of someone who loves Christ but a witty and humorous storytelling of his hippie, Christian parents (a horse spoke to his dad at Woodstock, supposedly), his irreverent but loving family from New Jersey, and tales from how he only joined a church and went to a Christian camp because of a girl for whom he was head over heels.

“Most of us converts can speak of a long pursuit by the Hound of Heaven. But only Ian Murphy can begin his story with a helicopter chase,” said Scott Hahn, author of Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism, in the foreword to DYING TO LIVE. “And the plot only gets stranger and more exciting from there. This is one of those few religious autobiographies that could just as well be an action movie”

For more information, to request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Ian Murphy, please contact Kevin Wandra (404-788-1276 or [email protected]) of Carmel Communications.     

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