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Anyone reading "Banished" about leaving Westboro?


AtroposHeart

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I just got a copy of it today and read about two chapters, I havn't reached the parts about her life inside the cult, yet.

 

It is intersting so far. It is mostly detailing her father's personality at the start and you can see how he fell for that cult.

 

Anyone read or intersted in reading it?

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It is mostly detailing her father's personality at the start and you can see how he fell for that cult.

I will read it as soon as I can lay my hand on it. The father must be your typical cult-leader-psychopath. Kudos to Dr. Thomas Sheridan and Dr. Peter Hare.

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I will read it as soon as I can lay my hand on it. The father must be your typical cult-leader-psychopath. Kudos to Dr. Thomas Sheridan and Dr. Peter Hare.

Dr. Thoman Sheridan and Dr.Peter Hare?

Can you explain more of this to me?

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This thread didn't catch my eye, it reached out and grabbed it. I am fascinated with WBC after seeing Louis Theroux's (sp?) docs about them. I remember seeing an interview with one of the Phelp's sons that left and have hoped someone would write a book about them from an insider's perspective. Thanks so much for posting about this. I had to quit with the book I was reading about Scientology because it just creeped me out and depressed me, but this is sure to just get my righteous anger going to make me turn the page. God bless Jenna M Hill, but I had to stop reading. That's just about the only book I've just stopped cold on reading. I didn't think it was possible to make me have to put a book down.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is my first post here. I actually KNEW most of the Westboro Baptist folks because of my time in Topeka. There are LOTS of them, and they work regular jobs. Most are lawyers (Phelps, Chartered) and they are actually GOOD lawyers. They work with people being foreclosed on, evictions, bankruptcies, etc. (The only thing they won't do are second divorces.) Apparently, despite their hate-mongering, they are great attorneys and you are likely to win. They also do lots of pro-bono. That's the good part.

The rest of them work out in the community, like Child Protective Services, the prison system, etc. This covers their bases.

Lauren was actually banished years ago, after she communicated with a guy online (who was her boyfriend for awhile, but not her current fiance) She was a member of one of the few families involved with WBC who are not directly related. Her dad used to be a liberal until he got involved with the WBC, then he converted. He works for their PR Department, computers, making the signs, etc.

Lauren, fortunately. was an RN when she was banished, and had a job at a local hospital in Topeka. But, she really lacked life skills and had to figure a lot of things out. She has three younger siblings still in the cult. She now lives in CT, works as a nurse, and is engaged.

Her father is basically a controlling jerk who forces his family to do whatever he says. His wife is weak.

Encouraging to the whole story is Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper left the fold back in January. They are living in South Dakota. Since they are actual family members and Megan was integral to the church, this was a big one.

ETA: Yes, I read the book. I actually pre-ordered it and did have a brief twitter conversation with Lauren. I told her whenever I would see them picketing my shul, I said a prayer that they would get out. I told her my prayers were answered.

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I'm 10th in a line of 20 to get a library copy - which makes me very happy -- lots of people are reading this book!

Can hardly wait to read and discuss.

Welcome, Stephanie66! Your boots-on-ground info is most interesting. So many times, we've wondered why Topekans don't just run the church out on rails -- sounds as if the family do add some real value to the community when they're not hate-mongering.

I wonder what any of the attorneys in the bunch would do if an obviously gay person wanted to retain their legal services.

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Finished it yesterday.

My awareness of WBC was limited to news reports, so I was hoping to get some idea of their philosophy (such as it is) from this book. I came away as confused as ever. The purpose of WBC is to tell everyone (except some WBC members) that they're all going to hell because...Fred Phelps says so? I had hoped to learn how one person could have such influence and control over others, but the book never really explained that. Maybe because there's no rational explanation? The book was interesting, but I was hoping for more analysis, I guess. Must have been very difficult to write, though.

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If a gay person retained their services for the things they do, they would represent him or her. They really DO separate their professional lives from their personal lives.

According to the book, Lauren's dad lost his job because he was involved with WBC. Personally, I don't think that is fair and their religion, hateful though it is, is protected.

Topekans ARE sick of them and would very much like them to leave, but, as I said, their free speech and their right to their religious beliefs are protected. As they should be.

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If a gay person retained their services for the things they do, they would represent him or her. They really DO separate their professional lives from their personal lives.

According to the book, Lauren's dad lost his job because he was involved with WBC. Personally, I don't think that is fair and their religion, hateful though it is, is protected.

Topekans ARE sick of them and would very much like them to leave, but, as I said, their free speech and their right to their religious beliefs are protected. As they should be.

But what actually *is* their religion? I couldn't get a sense of it from the book, aside from God hating everyone except the Phelps family and a handful of their associates. If you read about, say, People's Temple or the Branch Davidians, you do get a sense of some philosophy or ideas that sort of "hang together", even though the thinking behind them may be kind of...out there. I didn't get any sense of WBC aside from all-encompassing hatred.

Sorry--I'm probably not expressing my question all that clearly, but I just watched 19KAC so have lost several thousand brain cells :p. WBC seems less of a religion than it does a political agenda with references to "God" thrown in for justification (and tax exempt purposes). And how did Fred Phelps come to exert so much influence over this group, aside from the familial relationship? He doesn't strike me as a charismatic leader.

Wish the book had explained some of this, but it clearly was very emotionally difficult for her to put her experience into words. Glad to hear she's doing well.

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I just ordered made my monthly order from Amazon and this is on it's way to my house. Yay!

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Got my copy a couple of days ago and, as is my wont, leafed ahead after reading the first couple of chapters.

It looks as though her exit takes up a very few pages in the book, so I'm wondering if this is going to be more a "tell-all" than an actual description of the personal growth to leave such an all-encompassing group.

It's also interesting that so far, I haven't seen her mention Fred Phelps by name - it's always "the pastor."

And it's interesting that Shirley Phelps Roper comes across as a loving, supportive adult to the young author! You wouldn't expect that from Shirley's abrasive, loud-mouthed, manically grinning TV appearances (or at least, I didn't).

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Weird thing to hear you read that about Shirley. The guys that painted the gay pride house across from her said the same thing about her behaving friendly and civil.

Freddy on the other hand....he always seems in the middle of a rabies fit.

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I just got my copy today and am looking forward to reading it. I've got a few other books to get through first, but I'm excited to read this.

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I just finished reading it yesterday. It was an interesting read to say the least. I did like seeing how her family got to where they are today, but parts of it felt superficial to me. Of course you can't really fault someone who is trying to understand what exactly happened to change their life so much at 14 and a childs perspective to the adults in their life, but I guess parts of me felt like I still didn't understand why?

To me it definitely felt like the father had serious issues and was lead pretty easily once sucked into that cult. Its great to see her questioning and learning now that she's left, but I almost wish she'd lived outside a bit longer before the book came out? Sometimes it felt like there was substance missing to the experiences. Might just be me though.

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I read this over Friday and Saturday. I couldn't put it down and have weird tan lines cause I was trying to read and lay out at the same time. Her father is portrayed as a weak minded and easily influenced searcher who was a bully/control freak and her mom was like an automaton. I could not believe that Shirley was the freakin voice of reason and kindness/support during her years there and at her banishment. The main point I got about their religion is that everyone but them is going to hell, and it seems that Freddie may have had a homosexual experience that has made him have an unreasonable hatred for the military and dead soldiers warm his cockles. I'm so glad she got out, and can't imagine how she felt having to learn how to live without the siblings she raised and adored-seriously, WTH was up with that, her parents were like the fucking Duggars only less appreciative if that's even possible :evil: - and getting through the shock and depression of her banishment. Jael's reaction really intrigued me. It seemed like she was sooooo angry because she really cared about Lauren and was angry that she had supposedly done something to screw up and get kicked out. Her initial reaction of grief was telling. Then the hateful WBC bitch came out. The Hoarders couple broke my heart.

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I read it a couple of weeks ago, and was alternately angry, sad, and confused. The confusion was mostly over the WBC doctrine. I get that they blame LGBTs for *everything*--sunburn, tornadoes, birth defects, poverty, war, etc. I just don't understand why this community is singled out for 100% of the blame. As I read, I was sad and angry for Lauren, over and over. Her father resembles a pathological narcissist and her mother is a tragic figure who wouldn't (or couldn't) protect her children. Like another poster said, it was hard to reconcile Lauren's warm descriptions of Shirley with the absurdly hateful character I've seen interviewed over the years.

Her father coldly ditched her at a hotel, and her transition into her own life was wrenching, but Lauren is doing well today. As I read toward end of the book, I kept remembering the adage "Success is the best revenge." Lauren doesn't want revenge, and she seems extremely mature for someone who has been emotionally battered throughout her formative years. But I want it for her, and doubtless other readers do too.

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I read it a couple of weeks ago, and was alternately angry, sad, and confused. The confusion was mostly over the WBC doctrine. I get that they blame LGBTs for *everything*--sunburn, tornadoes, birth defects, poverty, war, etc. I just don't understand why this community is singled out for 100% of the blame. As I read, I was sad and angry for Lauren, over and over. Her father resembles a pathological narcissist and her mother is a tragic figure who wouldn't (or couldn't) protect her children. Like another poster said, it was hard to reconcile Lauren's warm descriptions of Shirley with the absurdly hateful character I've seen interviewed over the years.

Her father coldly ditched her at a hotel, and her transition into her own life was wrenching, but Lauren is doing well today. As I read toward end of the book, I kept remembering the adage "Success is the best revenge." Lauren doesn't want revenge, and she seems extremely mature for someone who has been emotionally battered throughout her formative years. But I want it for her, and doubtless other readers do too.

I know! And I can't put the wretched thing down. To the part where Shirley's son has left, and Lauren is beginning to see the hypocrisy in the WBC between how Phelpses are treated, in contrast with, well, everyone else.

So these people sincerely believe the lie that most of the people conceived and born into this world are irreversibly doomed by God to hell and that it is WBC's mission in life to mock those unfortunate individuals.

What in (pardon the expression) hell satisfaction could this give any normal, sane human? Evidently, Mr. & Mrs. Drain are neither. I confess to having read ahead and whereas Mrs. DRain's last comment (possibly forever) to her firstborn was along the lines of "You are a whore and I hate you forever" .... are neitehr normal, sane nor human.

The difference between Sweet Shirley and Enforcer Shirley (for I do believe she, not the old man, is in charge) are terrifying.

The fact that Lauren is still a believer in God, and has tried whole heartedly to learn what the Bible really says about God and life and death and heaven/hell is miraculous. Simply miraculous. Yes, may only the best happen to her, her fiance, and the family who still love her. It would also be great if her sisters and brother could come to their senses and join her in sanity and real faith, but it's so dificult to hold out hope.

PS: Reading the first several chapters, where she wants her daddy's approval so much, and enthusiastically follows his lead into picketing, etc., I couldn't help but think of Sarah Maxwell and talk on other boards about helping her to freedom. Sarah's 31 and has been in a very very similar mishigas since age 8. She'll never leave, we might as well stop even thinking about it. So. Incredibly. Sad.

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I have no idea what they believe, but I think others have summed it up well. They blame gay people for all of the world's problems. Well...they hate Jews as well. I used to go to synagogue in Topeka (before I gave it all up) and they would picket and say awful things. I remember once when they were picketing, my daughter (who was maybe 11 at the time) rolled down the window of the car and yelled, "Shabbat Shalom!" with a huge smile on her face. I loved it so much it became a regular thing. You want to scream awful things about how Hitler was on the right track? Shabbat Shalom.

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OH, they're pretty generous with the blame. They have signs hating - in addition to the Jews and gays - the U.S. government, soldiers, Christians, mourners .... have more to say but it's TSU's feeding time.

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I need to pick this book up! I really want to understand what they are trying to accomplish. A lot of the things they do just seem like its out of anger and hatefulness. Sounds like a good read.

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