Wednesday, March 06, 2013
I Would Have Sworn She Was Raised An Ultra-Orthodox Jew! Go Figger!
Brainwashed. Manipulated. Controlled.
Those are the words former Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) member Lauren Drain used to describe her time as part of the controversial organization during an interview Monday on "Piers Morgan Tonight."
Drain, now 27, was thrown out of the WBC at the age of 22. She has recently written a memoir about her experiences.
On Monday, Drain told Morgan about the control WBC members wield, especially over children in the group.
"They control what you believe, what you say, what you do, what friends you have," Drain said. "They say everyone on the outside's evil. And they don't allow any outside influence at all."
WBC members claim to speak for God, Drain said, which is how they dismiss outsiders who criticize the group for its virulently hateful rhetoric.
"It's unfortunate and it's atrocity, the things that they do and say -- horrible things they do and say," Drain told Morgan. "But yeah, they claim that they're speaking for God."
In her book, Drain writes that she ultimately began to question some of the group's core teachings, which she believed contradicted God's message. That's when the group, as well as her entire family, cast her out forever.
But Drain still has three siblings "still stuck" inside the church, and that's what still scares and saddens her.
"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," Drain told Morgan. "They have no idea there is happiness, and life and forgiveness on the outside."
Since leaving the WBC, Drain has worked to distance herself from the group's stigma. She's appeared in a NOH8 campaign ad and participated in candid Reddit Ask Me Anything.
Perhaps spurred on by Drain's example, two other former members, Megan Phelps-Roper and her younger sister, Grace, publicly announced in February that they had fled the church. They also apologized for their actions.