Rodney Turner was a professor of religion, an author of religious subjects, and a lyricist.
Turner was born on November 18, 1922, in Norfolk, Virginia. The family moved to New York City at the beginning of the Great Depression and there he and his mother were converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was eight years old at the time. He was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Force after he completed high school and served as a ball turret gunner on a B-24 bomber while he was stationed in Italy.
After his release from military service, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University. There he met and married Bonnie Lou Dalley and they had six children. He later obtained his Doctorate in Education degree from the University of Southern California. He taught Seminary, was a principal, and beginning in 1956, became an instructor then professor at BYU in the College of Religious Instruction. He retired in 1988.
He wrote numerous religious articles and published books such as Woman and the Priesthood, The Footstool of God: Earth in Scripture and Prophecy, This Eternal Earth, and Jesus and Joseph. He also wrote poetry and collaborated with composer Janice Kapp Perry on “It Was an April Day,” “I Will Come unto Christ,” “Star of the Son,” “Christmas Light, Christmas Joy,” and “Son of Mary, Son of God.”
He served in the Church of Jesus Christ throughout his life and was bishop twice, a stake high councilor, temple worker, in a branch presidency at the Missionary Training Center, and taught gospel doctrine. He and his wife served an education mission to Hawaii in 1993. He taught at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies and was a tour guide to Israel.
He passed away on November 5, 2014.