Donna M. Johnson, author of Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir, on tour October 2011

Posted By on June 7, 2011

About Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (October 13, 2011)

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.

About Donna M. Johnson

Donna M. Johnson has written about religion for The Dallas Morning News and other publications. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, the poet and author Kirk Wilson.



Donna M. Johnson’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, October 4th:  Joyfully Retired

Wednesday, October 5th:  Melody & Words

Thursday, October 6th:  Bermuda Onion

Monday, October 10th:  Chaotic Compendiums

Thursday, October 13th:  In the Next Room

Friday, October 14th:  Books, Movies, and Chinese Food

Friday, October 14th:  Colloquium

Monday, October 17th:  Raging Bibliomania

Tuesday, October 18th:  Amused by Books

Wednesday, October 19th:  Book Addiction

Monday, October 24th:  BookNAround

Tuesday, October 25th:  Life in Review

Wednesday, October 26th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos

Thursday, October 27th:  Broken Teepee

Thursday, October 27th:  Books Like Breathing

Monday, January 9th: A Fair Substitute for Heaven


4 Responses to “Donna M. Johnson, author of Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir, on tour October 2011”

  1. nadine says:

    Donna,I APPLAUD YOUR COURAGE and your honesty in writing this book. Maybe it will help some of the people still stuck in that religeon to get out before their whole life was wasted.hats off to you girlfriend…….. nadine

  2. Trudy Hannam says:

    Donna, I just finished your book and what a life you led!!! I would like to know where your mother is now and the rest of your family. It is amazing that you had love for your mother after you were deserted so many times.
    I had a Catholic religious background, and have put it in my past. I hope that you have been able to do that also. My husband says that religion is the opiate of the mind. The mind does control the body, and that’s why faithhealers work. 60 minutes just had a program on how medications and placebos work the same. I believe it.
    Good luck with your future.

  3. tonya cook says:

    Hi Donna,
    Your book touched me so deeply, it was as if I was right there with you while you were writing it. There are so many simularities. My mother brought a copy fo your book to me and said ” you have to read this!!!”. I did and I was so moved at the way you were brought up and yet you are not bitter with your mother or God.You are a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing your book with all of us!!
    Tonya Cook

  4. jerry says:

    donna if you get this i to was brought up under the david terrell ministry..i never knew all of his secret life but now it makes more sence that i left that and am glad my wife found a copy of your book, randell was in his early twenties when i first met him and i have known greg and pam forever. i myself have given thousands of dollars to him over a 30 yr span, i am sorry for all you went through but glad you wrote this may GOD bless you and thanks again truely and inspiration and insight…

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