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Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church Hardcover – March 5, 2013
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"Provides important insights into how fundamentalist movements attract and reprogram eager seekers, and the psychological effort required for survivors to adapt to life outside their reality-distortion field." -The Daily Beast
"Provides a disturbing look into the fringe group." -USA TODAY
"In gripping detail, [Drain] reflects on her fall from grace, how it opened her eyes and how she's built a new life filled with love, not hate. Three out of four stars."
From the Author
I will forever miss and love you, my sweet Faithy Marie, who I know I will never get to know as I deserve to, being your eldest sister. To this day, I can hear your cute little voice in my head saying "I love you, Sissy," as you hugged and kissed me before bed each night, as if it were yesterday. I wish I hadn't missed a single day of you growing up, as it was such a pleasure to watch.
Boaz Abel, you are my only brother and have the sweetest little personality, always wanting to take care of young Faithy and protect her, even when you were as young as a toddler. I remember you always running around the house, dressing up in costumes, begging me to take you to fun places, and sneaking down into my room when I was studying. I will never forget the look on your face when I came back to the house after be- ing kicked out, or that you grabbed me tightly when we both knew we wouldn't see each other again. You are such a sweet boy with tremendous potential, and I hope one day you will see that God's love is not celebrated through hate.
Taylor, you are a grown woman now, but I can honestly say I will always see you as my little sister and closest friend for six- teen years of my life. The sadness I have over our separation is beyond what words can express. The things we have been through together honestly surpass any bond I have achieved thus far in my life. I remember you sitting every day in your cute little crib always smiling at me when Mom and I came to visit you at the hospital. You have always been incredibly smart, and I remember studying in high school and college and realizing your potential was beyond mine. I wish I could have been there for you on every special occasion, birthday, and graduation to show you how proud of you I am.
I hope you do not hold regrets against me and know I will always be here if and when you are ready to pursue the real love of God and discover the love of family. I love and miss each of you.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is a sobering testament. It is one thing- tragic but comprehensible- for children or even a teenager to be indoctrinated into a ravingly inhumane religious ideology. But for an educated articulate adult, and an atheist no less? The sad fact shown in this book is that the members of this ridiculous church are for the most part highly intelligent people. They have gained the world of pure righteousness, but at the cost of any possibility of self understanding. This was a bargain that Lauren Drain seemed unsuited by nature to keep, so her conflict with the church was painful but inevitable. Go girl!
The good news is that while this book was in press, two more young women defected from Westboro Baptist. Hopefully with publication, more will follow.
Most of the book deals with Lauren's life with the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) and definitely gives an insider's perspective. She is a person a lot of us would be able to relate to: a girl who seeks parental approval, a teenager who's confused about what the world teaches and what her parents teach her, an adult trying to make her mark in the world.
I would recommend this book to anyone who 1. is curious about the WBC, 2. needs a little motivation/inspiration in their life, and/or 3. feels that the mistakes of their past overshadow their present and future. A word of advice for those in the second category (or anyone for that matter): finish the book to the end, including the epilogue and the acknowledgements. I think this is the first time I have ever read the acknowledgements portion of a book.
All that being said, I wish all the best to Lauren Drain and I pray that God will bless her in the years to come.
The character of Steve Drain is an interesting sort. He was basically a "lost soul" himself that was full of aimless direction. It was only when he joined the cult that he started to see himself as someone with a purpose. Even before he joined, Steve put the principles of the WBC to work in his own home, and the typical teenage life that Lauren knew was over as Steve started to overreact to the littlest of things. He began to see Shirley Phelps-Roper as his guiding light over his wife, Luci. After reading this book, I saw Luci as a mostly subservient woman to her husband and aches to have her family in Florida back, but having them back would cost her husband and children. I also thought Steve tried too hard to be like Shirley, as he wanted to go to law school only to have that dream quashed when Shirley told him he would not be hired on at their law firm.
If Fred Phelps ("The Pastor", as he is referred to by Lauren throughout the book) is at the top of the WBC pyramid, then Shirley and her sister Margie are the seconds-in-command at the cult. They are the faces of the Church that one will most likely see in television interviews with their sick, perverted grins. From the way Lauren describes them, it is almost a case of "good cop, bad cop".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I appreciate the author's willingness to reveal what she saw of the inner-workings of this particularly reprehensible cult. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jan Strnad
Lauren depicts an insider's view of the theology and heirarchy of the Westboro Baptist Church with intelligence and without hatred. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joanne Gareau
This is a great book written by a gutsy and courageous young woman who participated in something horrible and then had the courage to move away from a very toxic... Read morePublished 2 months ago by jack barranger
One of the best books I've listened to in years! This book gives such a special sneak peak into the lives of the westboro baptists lives from an insider view. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JenLeigh712
The message behind this book is well thought out and respectful. It's rough to read about the treatment of other people that WBC promotes.Published 5 months ago by Mercutio
When I look at true stories I wonder how something could be so real. It is hard to read this story and know that something so hard truly happened. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bonnie O'Connor
Good book about this cult. If exiting a cult, you will appreciate her insight and experiences.Published 5 months ago by Robert Clarillos