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Ratings and reviews have changed. Grace McCleen. She’s also oddly silent on her take on religion now — on whether or not she still considers herself a Christian, whether she believes in God at all. Reviews for Westboro Baptist Church. There's a problem loading this menu right now. As a real-life drama, this is a deep insight into the many ways the human mind adapts and even warms to indoctrination and control by fear. When you purchase an independently reviewed book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. He created it for us. Throughout, she paints a nuanced portrait of the lure and pain of zealotry, though she leaves many questions unanswered. The church had fewer than 100 congregants, most of whom were Fred Phelps’s family members. Created by Conan O'Brien, Andy Richter. Years later, she would become one of Westboro’s most adamant defenders, but on that day she was simply the granddaughter of Fred Phelps, the church’s founder, pastor and fire-and-brimstone provocateur. Believe on the Lord Jesus for remission of sins (Acts 10:43, 16:31). or. Not Now. She knew leaving the church would mean losing everyone she’d ever loved. Just as they’d done to her brother after he defected, the family would block her from their lives. The Cult of Trump won’t destroy America, and … Reviewed in the United States on March 30, 2013. With Conan O'Brien, Andy Richter, Anna Faris, Jackson Nicoll. Forgot account? I could not wait to finish it and move on. Luke Goldstein October 9, 2019 Comments Off on Book Review: ‘Unfollow — A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church’ by Megan Phelps-Roper 279 Views In November 2012, at age 26, Megan and her sister Grace finally left Westboro, fleeing to South Dakota to hide from the world as they found a new equilibrium. I could almost hear it swinging open on hinges groaning with age, unleashing a surge of memories buried inside — as if they had been deliberately locked away so as to cause no disturbance.”, As her faith continues to unravel, she thinks, “If we were wrong, then I had spent every day of my life industriously sowing doom, discord and rage to so many — not at the behest of God, but of my grandfather.” She remembers Fred’s mantra: “There’s something wonderfully liberating in the notion that you’re 100 percent right.”. Top subscription boxes – right to your door. It tells the story of the Drain family and how they became one of the few outsiders to be allowed in the church. I give the book five stars for a very interesting read and would recommend it for anyone with a curiosity about cults and how destructive they are. She describes this doting new family that bent over backwards to help her and make her feel welcome (though that didn't last) and a close-knit, well-organized community in which even the children have jobs to do that are done without complaint. She had her teenage years robbed from her but I am glad that she was able to escape the church and wish her luck. Now She Protests the Church That Made Her Do It. She was stunned. My own reading of it included an extra dose of surrealism because I live in the same town as the Phelps and daily drive past some of the places she mentions. “In the era of Donald Trump,” she writes, “the echoes of Westboro are undeniable: the division of the world into Us and Them; the vilification of compromise; the knee-jerk expulsion of insiders who violate group orthodoxy; and the demonization of outsiders and the inability to substantively engage with their ideas, because we simply cannot step outside of our own.” Underneath it all, in her words, is “a sentiment that Westboro members would readily recognize: We have nothing to learn from these people.”. This page works best with JavaScript. October 21, 2009 (San Diego) - Members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed outside local schools during the past week, bearing messages of hate directed towards Jews, gays, and … Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2013. The church described itself as an “old-school (or primitive) Baptist Church.” In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest at funerals, arguing that even hateful speech, … Just like a in great play, you can see the foreshadowing of the fissures that will eventually rupture Lauren's world, as her family and church gradually shift and crack. She urges all of us to reach out in good faith to those we disagree with, to try to understand the experiences and motives that have shaped their stances, and to realize that grievous behavior isn’t necessarily driven by ill intent. Disabling it will result in some disabled or missing features. I found the father, Steve, to be an interesting character. But as their targets multiplied and their pickets became more blistering, so too did the local and even global reaction. If you don't know the basics of psychology or what it means to be in a cult, please read up on that before picking up this book so you can appreciate Lauren's message. Family and friends had gathered to mourn Joshua Munns, a 25-year-old Anderson man who was kidnapped more than a year ago and later murdered in Iraq. Log In. Very emotional at times, Lauren does a good job of describing her ordeal when her family had finally come to the point of disowning her. Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2013. But for three members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., a memorial service Saturday (April 12) at Anderson-Cottonwood Neighborhood Church became a pulpit to spew a message of hate. For a few brief (VERY brief) moments, I found myself coveting what she had there at the beginning. She also goes into details about the lives of other church members, including the Pastor, Fred Phelps, his daughter and main mouth-piece for the church, Shirley Phelps-Roper, Margie Phelps, Megan Phelps and Jael Phelps just to name a few. Responses of encouragement and forgiveness poured in, even from those she’d once ruthlessly condemned. Lauren Danielle Drain (born December 31, 1985) is a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church who wrote the 2013 book Banished, which chronicles her experiences and eventual banishment from the church. 15 were here. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. “The heck you say. Reviewed in the United States on April 26, 2013. But Phelps-Roper does note the current, seemingly uncrossable national divide, each side sure of its Truth and unwilling to hear the other’s. Lauren is self-perceptive and honest, and does her best to explain "what was going through her head," and the book will give you a whole new appreciation for the power of social acceptance and peer pressure. This is not an in-depth account with interviews and researched second-hand information, it is her experiences and observations. That it did. Even after Phelps’s death in 2014, his extended family was believed to constitute most of the membership—probably fewer than 100 people in all. Create New Account. See all details for Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Drain,... © 1996-2021, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. In the new doc we find out why people turned their backs on the hatred it spreads. She talks about how the church operates in terms of membership, procedures for baptism, and the dis-fellowship (banishing) of members. Of course her feelings at the time she was in the church are going to be happy -- that is what happens when you're brainwashed. Many people in Topeka, Kan., first became aware of the Westboro Baptist Church in the early 1990s, when members began what would become their trademark public action: picketing to protest what they saw as the ills of an ungodly world. See more of Atheists of The Westboro Baptist Church on Facebook. Create New Account. As someone so deeply enmeshed in religion, the author is in a unique position to ponder the overlap between extremist and mainstream religiosity, or the ways many mainstream evangelicals have driven the culture wars in the name of their God. Our children are taught from the cradle what the Lord their God requires of them. She was an enthusiastic believer and enjoyed the triumph of hurling invectives and Scripture at the ignorant masses. Besides, how could she survive without the security of Westboro, where everything was black and white and every decision made for her? Unfortunately, the book dodges the overarching question of whether Westboro is an aberration or an extension of the dogmatism of many religious adherents who lack tolerance for theological diversity. Book Review: ‘Unfollow — A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church’ by Megan Phelps-Roper. Yes a church sermon by Phelps and Co. is just as scary as seeing them protest out on the streets. The first to prod her conscience was an Orthodox Jew from Jerusalem who pointed out inaccuracies in her Old Testament translations and encouraged her to learn Hebrew to see for herself. They’d referred to him with disgust, casting him as “a selfish jerk who wanted only to pursue his own lusts.” If the church was right, abandoning it would doom her to eternal punishment. how can you support a killer of a 10 yr old little girl. 197 Comments / User Reviews. 1:32),” members of the Westboro Baptist Church began what would become a vicious, decades-long campaign against homosexuals, Jews, Muslims and other perceived sinners. Among the picketers was 5-year-old Megan Phelps-Roper, holding a sign she could not read. Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2013. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in, Reviewed in the United States on October 11, 2019, Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2020. Westboro Baptist Church, Inc. is a Kansas Not For-Profit Corporation filed on May 15, 1967. Her writing style is very simple, straightforward but sufficiently descriptive. jenny s. over a year ago. But a few opponents took a different tack. At the end of the book, Lauren seems to be at peace with her experience and I'm happy for her and happy that since she had been writing the book, several members, including Megan Phelps-Roper and Grace Phelps have left the Westboro Congregation. Log In. When he came back he had a completely different mindset and ended up joining the church. The Westboro Baptist Church is very well known for their hatred towards gay people and for picketing on military funerals. Meanwhile her weak mother has no input into the family dynamic, content to let her clearly-abusive husband harangue and humiliate their oldest child. (“You think the internet was created by God for these pornographers?” her grandfather says, referring to general pop culture. She knew her public silence would be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of Westboro’s message, so she tweeted an apology, explaining she’d left the church. Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper review — inside the Westboro Baptist Church Love is strong in this memoir of life in an extremist church, says Grace McCleen. The next month, the Sandy Hook massacre occurred. Cancel reply. God hates fags and all proud sinners (Psalm 5:5). That doesn't necessarily make it any less informational, it just wasn't what I initially expected. “If the church was wrong about all those things, what else were we wrong about?” Phelps-Roper reflects. If you are at all interested in this group and why they do what they do, Lauren's book will suck you in and help you understand. Louis Theroux revists Westboro Baptist Church for a third time. I've had an academic curiosity about the Westboro Baptist Church for some time, not out of agreement with their beliefs, but just out of sheer morbid curiosity. He and his followers believed God had handpicked them for the “eternal conflict between the righteous and the wicked.” It was their obligation — and their key to heaven — to rebuke outsiders for betraying God’s word. 5 out of 5. (Although they purport to believe this, they also claim to know that they are among the elect who will be saved.) She dismissed their raging responses as ignorant or close-minded, exactly what they thought of her. I've had an academic curiosity about the Westboro Baptist Church for some time, not out of agreement with their beliefs, but just out of sheer morbid curiosity. She also tried to bury her unease about Westboro’s apparent violation of “love thy neighbor,” and was unsettled by the duplicity of the elders who took over as Phelps aged, as when they created a fake “Int’l News Service” claiming they’d picketed Westminster Abbey (though they were in Topeka), including Photoshopped images. The company's filing status is listed as Active And In Good Standing and its File Number is 0235903. Far from feeling "positive" about the WBC, Lauren relates her feelings at the time she was in the church, which are not the same as her feelings after being banished. Slowly she started noticing that what was in the Bible and what they were preaching did not add up and starting questioning the church, which led to a series of events that ultimately led to her being kicked out. They picketed at American soldiers’ funerals, thanking God for killing those who’d fought for a country that “institutionalized sin.” They prayed God would kill Westboro’s enemies. Although frequent readers of memoirs will probably find it unimpressive, for me the subject matter was fascinating enough to suck me in. Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery and exclusive access to music, movies, TV shows, original audio series, and Kindle books. It was the same thing over and over and over. Some reviewers have also complained she was a "whiny teenage girl trying to fit in." Westboro Baptist Church was founded in 1955 by Fred Waldron Phelps, who served as its pastor for many years thereafter. Before I read this book, I felt sorry for the children in the Westboro Baptist Church because it seemed to me that people in a church that spouts so much hatred must beat their children. Westboro Baptist Church sits right across the street. He was an aspiring filmmaker who took a trip to make a documentary about the church and originally wanted to show how they were bogus. The catch is that your lot is cast at birth but revealed only upon death. I've often wondered why the Westboro Baptist Church picketed with those "God Hates You" signs and figured this book would enlighten me. Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Drain,... Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Drain, Lauren. “The question felt like an iron key sliding into the lock of a long-sealed door. When he noted the hypocrisy of Westboro’s calling for the death penalty for gay people — “Didn’t your mom have your oldest brother out of wedlock? To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in. we stand for the truth of the bible and refuse to sugarcoat sin for anyone Her mother, Shirley Phelps-Roper, was one of Phelps’s 13 children and served as the church’s picket organizer and spokesperson. Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church is an incredible and compelling statement from a genuinely battle-tested cult survivor. Believe on the Lord Jesus for remission of sins (Acts 10:43, 16:31). Twitter pounced on the lies. She knew leaving the church would mean losing everyone she’d ever loved. She vividly portrays the comfort and sense of purpose she felt when surrounded by her tightknit extended family, a sanctuary where every expectation was clear and every problem had a pat solution. UNFOLLOW A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church By Megan Phelps-Roper. She was taught the Westboro Baptist Church doctrine and at the age of 13, she was baptized as a member of the church. Still, great read! Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2019. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. Editor's note: This book review includes a homophobic slur. Megan Phelps-Roper (born January 31, 1986) is a former member and spokesperson of the Westboro Baptist Church.Her mother is Shirley Phelps-Roper and her grandfather is the church's founder Fred Phelps.She grew up in Topeka, Kansas in a compound with other members of the church. So the WBC sees its mission as spreading this dismal news among the almost certainly damned. Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is an American church known for its use of inflammatory hate speech, especially against LGBT+ people, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, atheists, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, U.S. soldiers and politicians. Lauren provides a very well-written account of her experiences with the infamous church that provides insight on a very confusing, provacative group of people. For a sociological assignment for school I actually had the guts to go to this place and do an assignment. Her book reflects its author’s upbringing, and often cites biblical passages to explain why Westboro’s members were so persuadable. I just did not think this book was well written. Westboro members celebrated AIDS, famine, the Sept. 11 attacks and other tragedies. She also explains why she left. In 1991, a breakaway church in Topeka, Kan., began picketing at a nearby park popular with gay men. Westboro Baptist is still a tiny church, with 43 … … That’s another sin that deserves the death penalty, isn’t it?” — Megan cut off contact; he was fraying her beliefs. Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS. The Westboro Baptist Church is a family-run hate cult that was started up by Pastor Fred Phelps in 1955 and is still going strong thanks to a family full of brainwashed kids and grandchildren. Westboro announced it would protest the memorials with signs saying, “Pray for More Dead Kids.” “My relief at not participating was tempered by my distress at the number of times I had done exactly the same,” Megan writes, sickened that false righteousness had driven her to devote herself to such cruelty. how dare you picket our soliders they fight for your freedom. Comment. Holding handmade signs that read “Gays Are Worthy of Death (ROM. By 13, Megan was happily sparring with opponents in the chat room of the church’s website, GodHatesFags.com. Though they disapproved of Westboro, they approached her with curiosity and humor instead of scorn, lowering her defensiveness. Both Fred and Shirley were loving but had violent tempers, and Megan worked hard to win their and God’s approval. Repent or perish (Luke 13:3). Doctrine and at the age of 13, Megan was happily sparring with opponents in United. 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