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Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth: How a Gay Child Was Saved from Religion

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth: How a Gay Child Was Saved from Religion offers an illuminating glimpse into a child's sequestered world of abuse, homophobia, and religious extremism. Scott Terry's memoir is a compelling, poignant and occasionally humorous look into the Jehovah's Witness faith -- a religion that refers to itself as The Truth -- and a brave account of Te ...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published October 6th 2012 by Lethe Press (first published September 21st 2012)
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4.26  · 
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 ·  65 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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A.B. Gayle
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay, non-fiction, shelf-32
4.5 rounded up to 5

Scott Terry’s recollection of growing up in a household dominated by people claiming to adhere to the precepts of being Jehovah’s Witnesses is harrowing reading. What the author as a child longed for, more than anything, was acceptance and attention. Not because he was gay, as that was still something he was barely aware of, but first and foremost as a person and as a child of a father whose love he longed for. Everything changed when his mother left and he gained the stepmoth
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I won this book through the Giveaways program. When I first entered the drawing back in Aug. or Sept. I was surprised that there was already a rating, though my understanding was the book had not yet been published. Since the rating was 1 star I assumed it was a religionist who was offended. But I still wasn't sure what to expect.

Growing up in the NYC metropolitan area I knew nothing of real cowboys, much less Armageddon. The subdivision I grew up in was all Catholic; there was a Jewish family o
Stephen Johnson
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of a young boy constantly reminded that he was unwanted and unloved while growing up in a religion that he looked too for hope, but instead only found unrelenting guilt as he slowly comes to grips with his sexuality.

I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness myself. I am also gay. So obviously this book resonates with me on several levels. While I never underwent the neglect and abuse that Scott suffered in his life, the constant reminder that "Armageddon was coming", "it's just around
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Such a compelling story you won't be able to put it down. My heart cried as I read of the abuse and injustice the author and his sister lived on a daily basis. Mr. Terry's story was not quite what I expected, however, it was his story to tell and he told it with such details that there's no room for doubt. Even thru the worst parts of his life he never deviated from the truth. How many would take pen in hand and admit to the abuse he suffered or the crimes he had to commit just to stay alive. Th ...more
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
"What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers."  ~Logan Pearsall Smith, All Trivia, Afterthoughts, 1931

When people live through traumatic circumstances, it's all too human to fixate on the trauma. It's real, it happened, it hurt. If we're the type of reader who thrills to clog the freeway in the hopes of catching a glimpse of an accident - well, trauma alone makes for a riveting account. For most though, we want more - we want to understand how the trauma was coped with
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding autobiographical story. This story resonates with me because I too was raised in the same religion until the age of 33 when I was disfellowshipped and shunned entirely. I didn't have an abusive stepmother like the author did, but what happened in many families behind closed doors was likely much the same, if not physical abuse, then plenty of mental and emotional abuse. Scott Terry's story is enjoyable to read, but also makes you cringe at what he had to endure to get to the good lif ...more
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth is a powerful story about forgiveness and acceptance. To read my review in its entirety, please click HERE.
Rabid Readers Reviews
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Scott Terry has an elegantly understated way of writing. He and his older sister grew up on the edge without a sense of home. Everything belonged to their stepmother. The house was “Fluffy’s house” and they were only allowed in it by permission. Food was “Fluffy’s food.” In a scene later in the memoir Terry is 14 and on a family trip when he tries Fluffy by taking a Dorito from a bag that his step-siblings are sharing. Fluffy yells at him and he runs off crying. How isolated he was, especially a ...more
Elisa Rolle
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
2013 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention (5* from at least 1 judge)
Jerry L. Wheeler
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Scott Terry is an ordinary Joe—or, rather, an ordinary former Jehovah’s Witness—with a particularly difficult upbringing. His life was complicated not only by the conflict between his homosexuality and his religion, but also by an emotionally and physically abusive stepmother with the rather contradictory nickname of Fluffy. The happy ending is that Terry emerges from this vile atmosphere with his integrity, his perspective, and his sense of self-worth intact. Former Jehovah’s Witnesses are amon ...more
Jubal Smith
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I initially put this on the back burner because I really didn't want to rehash my conservative, religious Jehovah's Witness past. But once I started, I had a hard time putting it down. Scott's writing style is so easy and light. I felt like he was sitting in my own living room, unfolding the story of his life, year by year.

Although I was not raised in an abusive house like Scott, I could completely relate to his internal struggles he faced because of being a Jehovah's Witness, in a small town,
Jenny Hayworth
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome storyteller. Even though so many memories recounted were so sad, they were told with such style and with such heart and soul and insight. The author sounds like such a humble man, and even though he suffered appalling neglect and abuse as a child he is not bitter, twisted or full of hate. He has accepted who he is and is comfortable in his own skin despite JWs condemnation and the loss of a relationship with his father and sister. Brilliant story for others who raised in fundamentalism a ...more
Andd Becker
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Admirable is the man who self-searches and who reveals, in his writings, the painful aspects of his younger self's life. Addressing issues of conflict requires courage.
This courageous author's autobiography will inspire readers to delve into their own lives to examine ways in which they were mistreated and misinformed as children.
I received this book free through the goodreads FIRST READS program.
Maria Kiguthi
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The author has a compelling style that really helps tell his story. I was not very familiar with Jehovah Witnesses, but discovered that legalistic religions have similar effects on kids since I was raised in one as well. The life of Mr. Terry resonated with me and I enjoyed reading his Memoir. I received a copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. This funny and tragic retelling of Terry's youth is lightly interspersed with the voice of his eight-year old self. It is brutally honest, starkly poignant, and moving. It is a fast read and an interesting view into what it must have been to grow up the way Terry did.
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. Many of the feelings that the author was relating emulated the feelings I have.
Jeremy Howell
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'll be writing my thoughts in depth later, probably on my blog, because I have an awful lot to say about this one. Will update later with copy/link.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I won this on Goodreads Giveaways - thanks Goodreads! :-)

This was the true story of the evil stepmother and absent father. Not only was the author subject to physical/emotional abuse and neglect - but he also had a comparison with how his stepmother's "real" children were treated. Overall a moving and inspiring story, but I have just one criticism: I didn't see how the religion (Jehovah's Witnesses) really added much to the torture. It seems the parents used religion as an excuse, but it certain
scavola scavola
Oct 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I was expecting a story of a young man, in spite of his religion, redefining himself as a gay cowboy. First, there are no cowboys and second, this isn’t a story but an autobiography and the author takes us way back. Sexuality comes up about 50% through, the brief period the author was in the rodeo at about 85%. Instead, we get a thorough accounting of a childhood devastated by neglect and physical abuse. If it were stated as such, I would’ve passed, as I have my own shit to deal with. The author ...more
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
I could have given this book 3 stars, but it is just not the sort of book I tend to enjoy or read...too touchy-feely, self-helpy for my taste. That said, the author does a good job explaining his emotions and his developing ability to accept himself for who he is. I did learn more about the Jehovah's Witness church, and it was about what I expected.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
A religious horror story of growing up in a very strict Jehovah Witness household with a stepmother from hell and knowing that you have gay feelings from an early age. Because I found the concentration to be on the religious aspect, I'm voting no. There just wan't enough about how he finally came out. It was an interesting look at the Jehovah Witnesses.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-protagonist
John Molnar
rated it it was amazing
Aug 09, 2012
Kathleen Wells
rated it really liked it
Sep 15, 2014
rated it really liked it
Dec 01, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Aug 30, 2016
Scott Terry
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
rated it it was amazing
Nov 30, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Sep 10, 2013
rated it did not like it
Aug 21, 2012
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Memoir picked up for film development 1 1 Sep 05, 2017 03:05PM  
Lethe Press Books: Scott Terry 1 3 Aug 18, 2014 06:23AM  
GLBT Book Club: Advocate magazine 20 Must-Reads 7 26 May 17, 2013 06:52AM  
Huffington Post story 1 5 Aug 31, 2012 10:22AM  

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SCOTT TERRY is a freelance writer, watercolorist, and urban farmer. He has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and his work has been covered by NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and other popular media outlets. He lives in Northern California.