Interesting story on Megan Phelps

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Joined in 2005
February 7, 2013, 17:53

I thought this was interesting

On how Megan Phelps LEFT the Westboro Church; Its funny – on some level – I can empathise with her – I had been taught rock music was demonic. Demons came from TV. Science fiction books were burnt by my parents… when I left home and the church I entered a world of exploration that I think was similar to waht Megan Phelps is experiencing.

What to other people think ???

For nearly all of her twenty-seven years, Megan believed it: believed what her grandfather Fred Phelps preached from the pulpit; believed what her dad Brent and her mom Shirley taught during the family’s daily Bible studies; believed (mostly) what it said on those signs that have made Westboro disproportionately influential in American life—“God hates fags”; “God hates your idols”; “God hates America.”

Megan was the one who pioneered the use of social media at Westboro, becoming the first in her family to go on Twitter. Effervescent and effusive, she gave hundreds of interviews, charming journalists from all over the world. Organized and proactive, she, for a time, even had responsibility for keeping track of the congregation’s protest schedule.

Then, in November, she left.

Joined in 2012
February 7, 2013, 20:24

I heard about it this morning on The Guardian news website by fluke. I was typing in 'Westboro Baptist Church' in Google to see what they were up to and just happened to see the latest goss.

I think it's great that both Megan and her sister Grace have left. Of course there will be many people who will hold a grudge towards them for the venom they spat out of their mouths towards others, but I think it is important for people to understand their side of the story and empathise with them. I can certainly relate to the feeling of being *brainwashed* as Megan described it, because for almost 10 years I believed that I was worthless, a sinner, and going to hell for eternity, and all of this was coming from my own religion (so you could say that in a way, I too have been brainwashed). So I've put myself in her shoes, and I truly get it.

The Phelps sisters were brought up in a world of hate. It was all they knew, and they of course (as with any victim of controlling, verbally abusive parents) would have had to please their parents by encouraging and spreading their gospel of hate until they were in a situation where they were A) old enough to have their own mind and potentially break free, and B) able to support themselves financially should they be kicked out of the house (which would have been a fear of theirs, because that's exactly what happened with Lauren Drain – and in fact her book of surviving the WBC is out in March, and I am definitely getting that).

Everyone deserves a second chance, and I'm so glad they're free. They now have the opportunity to make a positive difference in people's lives, and hopefully their departure will ultimately make others in the WBC take a good hard look at their position in it all (Megan was actually considered amongst the Westboro Baptist Church followers as the next potential leader, so with her gone now, it may very well change some minds and stir up some conversation in the congregation – bit of a tongue twister there, lol). Yes, their names will unfortunately forever be tainted because of what their parents made them say and do, but that was then, and this is now.

I think it takes true guts to have to leave your family in order to get some sort of your own life back on track. I was watching an inspirational video last night where the community leader who supports and gives hope to LGBT teens said that everyone has two families… your biological family, and then the family you constantly make through out life, which consists of friends and community. Hopefully both Megan and Grace's new, second family, will be able to empathise with them and be there for them. I admire their courage to leave the WBC, good luck to them, their future, and their freedom!

Joined in 2005
February 7, 2013, 21:12


Good points – one minor observation – Not everyone has a biological family.

Or to be precise – not everyone KNOWS their biological family.

Their family are not built on Blood ties. Such families can be remarkably strong still. State wards and orphans for example. Sometimes you build such relationships with in-laws and I know cases of such relationships outlasting partnerships.

Also other Phelps have left – they arent the first.

Joined in 2013
February 22, 2013, 22:09

I empathise a lot with leaving a very coercive church. The one I went to held monthly book burnings for any fantsy fiction books, but in practice also included the texts of other religions. As i was just a young teen then I did not know better either, not until I found their abuse intolerable and my own sexuality was developing and making me question things.

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