Holy Ghost Girl

Holy Ghost Girl

A Memoir

Book - 2011
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Donna Johnson's remarkable story of being raised under the biggest gospel tent in the world, by David Terrell, one of the most famous evangelical ministers of the 1960s and 70s. Holy Ghost Girl is a compassionate, humorous exploration of faith, betrayal, and coming of age on the sawdust trail.

She was just three years old when her mother signed on as the organist of tent revivalist David Terrell, and before long, Donna Johnson was part of the hugely popular evangelical preacher's inner circle. At seventeen, she left the ministry for good, with a trove of stranger- than-fiction memories. A homecoming like no other, Holy Ghost Girl brings to life miracles, exorcisms, and faceoffs with the Ku Klux Klan. And that's just what went on under the tent.

As Terrell became known worldwide during the 1960s and '70s, the caravan of broken-down cars and trucks that made up his ministry evolved into fleets of Mercedes and airplanes. The glories of the Word mixed with betrayals of the flesh and Donna's mother bore Terrell's children in one of the several secret households he maintained. Thousands of followers, dubbed "Terrellites" by the press, left their homes to await the end of the world in cultlike communities. Jesus didn't show, but the IRS did, and the prophet/healer went to prison.

Recounted with deadpan observations and surreal detail, Holy Ghost Girl bypasses easy judgment to articulate a rich world in which the mystery of faith and human frailty share a surprising and humorous coexistence.
Publisher: New York : Gotham Books, c2011.
ISBN: 9781592406302
Characteristics: 278 p. : 22 cm.


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Jan 15, 2015

Although interspersed with times of tremendous humor and the good that can come from evangelism this biography looks at the forgotten victims in this crazy market--the children. Life from the depth of poverty to fleets of cars and airplanes. Don't let the title scare you away! If you do you will miss a thought provoking book that will make you laugh, make you angry, make you laugh, make you cry, and make you wonder if things like this still go on in my own "backyard"?

May 22, 2013

A fascinating, yet disturbing, look at the inside workings of Brother David Terrell, the last of the old-time tent revival evangelists. The author spent her earliest years on the circuit with her mother, Brother David's organist and mistress. Faith and betrayal are huge themes in this memoir.

Apr 05, 2012

Extremely well written...

Feb 22, 2012

When I started to read this book I thought it was fiction and I was mesmerized by how the author drew nuances between the characters through subtle description. Then I read the book jacket and realized this was a memoir, not fiction. Thus, I was even more hooked. A moving but not sappy story of how a child manages growing up in a dysfunctional evangelical family.


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