By Donna M. Johnson
A compassionate, humorous memoir of religion, betrayal, and coming of age at the evangelical sawdust path.
Long ahead of the Blues Brothers coined the time period, Donna M. Johnson’s relatives was once on a venture from God. She was once simply 3 years previous whilst her mom signed on because the organist for tent revivalist David Terrell. earlier than lengthy, Donna and her relatives have been a part of the highly renowned evangelical preacher’s internal circle. At seventeen, she left the ministry for strong, with a trove of stranger-than-fiction thoughts. A homecoming like no different, Holy Ghost Girl brings to lifestyles miracles, exorcisms, and face-offs with the Ku Klux Klan. And that’s simply what went on below the tent.
As Terrell turned identified world wide throughout the Nineteen Sixties and ’70s, he enthralled—and healed—thousands an evening, andthe caravan of broken-down autos and vehicles that made up his ministry advanced into fleets of Mercedes and personal jets. The glories of the notice combined with betrayals of the flesh, and Donna’s mom bore Terrell’s kids in a single of the key families he maintained. Terrell’s fans, dubbed “Terrellites” by way of the clicking, descended on backwaters around the South to wait for the apocalypse in cult-like communities.
Johnson’s own tale takes us into the center of a magical and deeply improper family members the place the norms are whatever yet general and the place love covers a mess of sin. acknowledged with the deadpan observations and surreal element just a child might become aware of, Holy Ghost Girl bypasses effortless judgment to articulate a wealthy global within which the secret of religion and human frailty percentage a shocking and funny coexistence.
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Additional resources for Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir
We prayed, and that i cried loads i assumed definitely my sins were washed away. fallacious. the subsequent morning Sister Coleman introduced Gary and that i may perhaps now not play jointly with out grownup supervision. i used to be pressured. “What do you suggest? What will we do? ” She gave me a protracted, significant glance. “Nothing. That’s the purpose. You do not anything. You avoid one another except there's a grown-up within the room. ” i assumed she may relent, yet she didn’t. while Gary all started kindergarten a couple of months later, she wouldn't allow us to stroll to varsity jointly. She made him depart first and permit me move a couple of minutes later. She didn’t recognize that Gary waited for me in the back of a bush simply round the nook and that we comprehensive the stroll jointly. The extra Sister Coleman knew approximately me, the fewer she beloved me. at some point after assembly with my first-grade instructor after institution, she strolled into the empty lecture room the place I waited, grabbed my arm, and squeezed it not easy. Her voice used to be regular or even. “Get to the auto now. ” I stumbled during the hallway and into the parking zone, along with her hand heavy on my shoulder. after we have been within the motor vehicle, she became the major within the ignition and pumped the gasoline pedal. The engine sputtered to lifestyles and he or she became and glared at me. “Why are you disappearing into the woods with boys in the course of recess? ” “I’m no longer. ” “They’ve noticeable you. ” “It’s girls and boys. ” She gripped the wheel and gunned the engine. “You are a perverse baby. ” I didn’t comprehend the note “perverse,” yet i'll inform it didn’t suggest whatever strong. i attempted to give an explanation for. “We cross into the woods to allow them to repent and provides their hearts to the Lord. I’m doing God’s paintings. ” It was once real. I witnessed to my classmates in the course of recess, then took them into the woods, the place I had them kneel down and ask Jesus to be their own savior. Tammy, the prettiest lady in my category, had virtually gotten the Holy Ghost after just a couple of mins of training. “One boy acknowledged you kissed him. ” “He acknowledged he wouldn’t repent if I didn’t. ” She positioned the auto in apparatus and we pulled out of the parking zone and clear of the varsity. “If you’re so taken with the Lord’s paintings, why did you scouse borrow cookies from one other little lady? And why did you lie while the instructor requested you approximately it? She is familiar with you probably did it. ” There it was once, one other sin. with the lie. 3 in case you counted the kiss, and that i needed to, contemplating how a lot I loved that boy. i used to be now not shocked while Sister Coleman started to desire Gary over me. because the selected one, Gary dwelt in a land of perpetual smiles and kindnesses. “Here, honey, allow me assist you with these buttons. ” “Do you will want one other sucker? ” Or turning to her outdated aunt Eunice, “He’s simply the sweetest baby I’ve ever obvious. ” She responded such a lot of my questions with a terse certain or no and little eye touch. Questions that required additional clarification have been neglected. Her emotional coldness made me depressing, yet I understood and permitted it because the penalty for my sins. i used to be regularly trying to find how one can ingratiate myself together with her. as soon as once we have been on an extended journey, I devised a video game within which Gary counted fuel stations and that i counted church buildings.