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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

Inside the Westboro Baptist Church

Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church - Lauren Drain, Lisa Pulitzer

At fifteen Lauren Drain moved from Florida to Kansas with her family  to join the Westboro Baptist Church, famous for picketing the funerals of American soldiers killed in battle with huge signs and shouted slogans denouncing homosexuality.  The church and its teachings were her world for eight years, and then she was banished. While a member of the church she embraced its belief in a  wrathful God bent on punishing just about everyone.  She didn’t see the church’s protest messages as hateful--she saw passion, bravery, and superior reasoning ability, and was proud, at the time, to be a member of the group.  


As someone interested trying to understand  people’s motivations, beliefs, and behavior I found Lauren’s story fascinating and moving.  She wanted to be a full and faithful member of the Westboro Baptist Church, but not being part of the Phelps family she always felt some insecurity, and her need to seek clarification on several Biblical issues got her branded as a trouble maker. When even her family turned their backs on her, she was forced to find a new way to live and think.  Lauren writes about the evolution of her beliefs and actions with openness and honesty.  It’s a mesmerizing and often heartbreaking book, which she ends with an apology for the hurt she has caused.