Title: Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth by Scott Terry
How a Gay Child was Saved from Religion
Publisher: Lethe Press
Genre: GLBT, Memoir
Length: 248 pages
Book Rating: B+
Review Copy Obtained from Author
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 Terry’s successful escape from a troubled past.
At the age of ten, Terry had embraced the Witnesses’ prediction that the world would come to an end in 1975 and was preparing for Armageddon. As an adolescent, he prayed for God to strip away his growing attraction to other young men. But, by adulthood, Terry found himself no longer believing in the promised apocalypse. Through a series of adventures and misadventures, he left the Witness religion behind and became a cowboy, riding bulls in the rodeo. He overcame the hurdles of parental abuse, religious extremism, and homophobia, and learned that Truth is a concept of honesty rather than false righteousness, a means to live a life openly, for Terry as a gay man.
Scott Terry’s memoir Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth: How a Gay Child Was Saved from Religion is a riveting account of his abusive and isolated childhood.
Scott and his sister, Sissy, were raised by their father Virgil and stepmother Fluffy following their parents’ divorce when Scott was three years old. Virgil and Fluffy are devout members of the Jehovah’s Witness and throughout the years Scott lives with them he too, embraces the teachings and beliefs of his religion. Scott slowly realizes he is attracted to men but the homophobia he experiences through both the church and his father leave him fervently praying for God to take away his homosexuality.
Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth is a heartbreaking story of emotional and physical abuse by Scott’s stepmother Fluffy. Unrealistic demands and denial of basic necessities occur on a daily basis. Scott’s father, Virgil, is absent much of the time and refuses to acknowledge the abuse his children suffer at the hands of Fluffy. He does allow the children visits with various grandparents throughout their childhood. These trips are the only glimpses of normal life Scott and Sissy have. They are full of the love and caring that these two children desperately need. Unfortunately, these visits come to an abrupt end and when Sissy demands to live with her mother, Scott is left to bear the burden of abuse alone.
After an attempt to run away from home fails, salvation comes in the form of Scott’s Aunt Dot. With Aunt Dot, Scott finally finds unconditional love and support. Under her care, he slowly leaves the indoctrination of the Jehovah’s Witness behind and finds a place for himself in the rodeo world. Scott forges a semblance of a relationship with his mother and reconnects with Sissy. He reconciles his previous misconceptions about homosexuality and he slowly embraces his own sexuality.
Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth is a powerful story about forgiveness and acceptance. It is sometimes difficult to read and I found the actions of Virgil and Fluffy incomprehensible. Scott Terry provides valuable insight and information about the Jehovah Witness religion and their almost cult like beliefs.
Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth: How a Gay Child Was Saved from Religion is an incredibly engrossing and moving memoir that I highly recommend.