Former Westboro church member Lauren Drain does NOH8 Campaign


27-year-old former Westboro Baptist Church member Lauren Drain is telling her story about what it was like being a member of the small family church known for picketing the funerals of soldiers, and threatening to protest at a memorial service for the victims of the Newtown massacre.

Lauren wrote a book that came out last week called Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church describing her experience growing up and leaving the church, and in one of the most defiant acts she could make against the church, has posed for the pro-gay marriage NOH8 campaign.

She said in a statement on the compaign’s website: The main reason I posed for the NOH8 Campaign was in direct response to the judgments of the WBC. I wanted to show people that despite having grown up within the cult and having spent a good portion of my life on the picket line, condemning our deceased soldiers, reveling in any and all forms of tragedy and simply striving to be hurtful in the name of God; that the WBC is wrong and what I did at the time was wrong!”

She was cast out of the church at age 22 after she started questioning the teachings of the church, because to her they contradicted God’s message. She still has three siblings left in the church, and Lauren is deeply concerned about them. On a recent Piers Morgan appearance, she said, “They have no opportunity to see any type of outside influence, any type of other perspective on God, any other type of knowledge of a good life or good people. They have no idea there is happiness, and life and forgiveness on the outside.”

The Westboro church seems to be founded on hate, and the core of their message is that all the bad things that happen in America are caused by the country’s acceptance of gay people. Leader Fred Phelps founded the now 40-member church in 1955 on the principal that only a small, select group will enter heaven, and God hates everyone else. Lauren’s father joined their family to the church about 13 years ago, but most of the members of the church are relatives of Phelps. Instead of being moved to save the rest of the world, as many religions try to do, Westboro members seem to find glee in alerting others of their own damnation.

Go to the 6 minute mark in this clip from a documentary about Westboro church where one member giggles as she tells the documentary maker Louis Theroux that he’s going to hell:

Here’s another clip from Theroux’s follow-up documentary. A young man tells Theroux, “You’re supposed to rejoice over all of God’s judgements.” When Theroux asks him if he rejoices when soldiers die in Iraq or people get hit by cars or get cancer, he replies “Absolutely. I love it. And I can tell you right now it’s because it’s the righteous judgment of God Almighty.”

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  • Charla

    I saw a documentary on that “church” a few years ago on one of the Discovery channels and I couldn’t help but wonder why the leader was so focused on gays. Literally obsessed with it. The church did no good. They didn’t help their community or preach about anything positive. They even picketed a Jewish synagogue because it caught fire (as a result of the gays of course). Very sad people.

    • Liz

      I had this discussion with my parents the other day- with his level of obsession we see it coming out in the future that the leader is gay himself!

  • JustMe

    When I first saw the picture before I read the title, I thought it was Maci (from Teen Mom)…they kind of look alike, at least in the NoH8 picture.

    • Bebe

      Me too!

    • kim

      I thought it was Lindsey from season 3or4

  • Googly Eyes

    It blows my mind how people could even THINK about joining a crazy cult like that! Or to believe that what they “stand for” is okay on any level. It’s scary to think about the fact that there are whackadoo’s like this living amongst us. Good for her for freeing herself from that life!

    • kate

      What’s even worse is someone like this girl- whose father was the one who chose it for her and her siblings. And not everyone has the self awareness and the wherewithal to realize they’re in a bad situation and pull themselves out, particularly when family is involved. Good for this woman.

  • Nessa86

    Im glad to see that hopefully Lauren is finding some peace after her banishment from the church. I cant imagine what it would be like to just one day have your mother and father and siblings just turn their back to you and act like you didn’t exist, When you’ve done NOTHING wrong. I watch an interview with her, I think actually by Louis Theroux and altho she seemed to be moving on with her life, She still had some wish or hope that her family would take her back and I just felt so much for her.