Megan and Grace Phelps Leave Westboro Church

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Megan and Grace Phelps Leave Westboro Church

Post28 Feb 2013

Megan Phelps-Roper is a 27-year old woman who was a key member, potential leader and relative of the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, a notoriously hardline Christian cult in America famous for its "God Hate Fags" posters and outrageous picketing and statements. It featured in numerous TV shows spouting its uncompromising Biblical faith.

She was, in short, an 'Om Radhe' or Sister Jayanti Kripalani of her religion.

In an unbelievable turn around of fortunes, she and Sister Grace have recently left the cult proving that it can and does happen. Megan and Grace join the many thousands of people trying to rediscover their lives again after exiting a cult.
Megan Phelps wrote:Until very recently, this is what I lived, breathed, studied, believed, preached – loudly, daily, and for nearly 27 years. I never thought it would change. I never wanted it to. Then suddenly: it did.

And I left.

Where do you go from there?

I don’t know, exactly. My Sister Grace is with me, though. We’re trying to figure it out together.

About being in and then leaving such a tight cult, @meganphelps noted:
It has little to do with age, I think. Once that worldview is established, it’s almost impermeable to outside viewpoints or logic (which you're preemptively told are evil and heavily warned against).

I suppose you can say there's technically a choice (as in, that people of age have a legal right to decide or something), but for most of my life, I never saw leaving – or anything other than staying and doing what they said (believing it was what God said) – as a real option. Leaving was sadness, and Hell, and destruction, and losing the only family, friends, faith, truth I'd ever known. It simply wasn't on the table.

I suppose you can also say, "You grow up and you see that it's hateful and hurtful, and it's a choice to continue there" – but the simple process of aging doesn't make you more mature or able to see outside the only framework you've ever been taught. That requires more than years.

In fact: I'd say the longer you live in that environment, the harder it is to see that there are choices. You become hardened in The Knowledge that only [the cult] is right, and you cannot see the things they have wrong. It's in your very best interest to beat back any doubts you have, and to overlook every inconsistency – because if they're wrong, you lose everything.

I guess what I am saying is: to me, the word "choice" implies a conscious decision – and at least in my experience, that consciousness wasn't there until the very end of my time at [the cult].


The follow up, here portrays the inner struggle of wanting to leave well. Of exiting members they say, "[everyone] that leaves is job security for the rest of us ... every rebel that goes takes away a heavy burden".
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Re: Megan and Grace Phelps Leave Westboro Church

Post02 Mar 2013

It's amazing how one day, despite all their conditioning, socialisation, sense of loyalty and relationships, people will ''wake up" and hear what their heart/conscience/instincts are saying.

Hope springs eternal.
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Re: Megan and Grace Phelps Leave Westboro Church

Post03 Mar 2013

Given the degree of fundamentalism within their cult, and the public expression of it, I think it is amazing proof that people can and do change too.

There's a good article about how it all started to unravel when she was questioned about her faith.

I am thinking the public demonstrations and how they are useful to cults to reinforce adherents commitment to their religion. How, say, the BKs' "Peace Marches" might be more useful in hardening BKs' adherence rather than convincing non-BKs of the religion's value. That is, by being seen to be a BK one sticks as a BK in order not to risk losing face in public to both non-BKs and BKs.

I, personally, used to loath doing "public service" and had to force myself to do it, or at least be cajoled into doing so to "earn my fortune". They used to ask you do terribly embarrassing things, like standing outside Indian supermarkets with stalls and posters explaining The Knowledge to passersby ... the BK equivalent of what the Westboro Church do.

Now the BKs seem to be more into running New Age book shops, and flattering retreat centers for the middle classes.

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