This essay argues that oral history allows scholars to see what might otherwise be invisible to them: the gods and spirits that are a forceful presence in the lives of religious people. Oral history changes how scholars write religious history by illuminating how choices of religious belief, practice, and identity are rooted in how religious people understand and interact with an unseen spiritual world. To illustrate this point, this essay focuses on the religious changes experienced by Hmong Americans. Hmong decisions to adopt Christianity or return to indigenous Hmong religion were religious choices that were the product of the constant interaction between Hmong people and the gods that richly populate their spiritual landscape.

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