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Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church Hardcover – March 5, 2013
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From the Author
I have dedicated this book to my siblings, whom I still hold incredibly dear to my heart and who were my inspiration for writing this book. Although I will never again hold up a sign judging another person, I want you each to know that I have not lost faith in God. I believe love of family is one of the most incredible and precious things in life and a gift from God.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Rarer still is the person who understands this extreme group of people. Most Americans shake their heads or their fists at the church. Perhaps they puzzle for a moment over WBC's rhetoric. But most folks feel bewildered and angry and move on after banging their heads against what appears to be an unsolvable riddle: How could anyone enjoy hate so much? And how could anyone believe that God revels in calamity and destruction?
Lauren Drain understands.
In 2008, the Westboro Baptist Church excommunicated Lauren, who had been a member for seven years.
Banished is Lauren's memoir of life prior to the WBC, why her family joined the controversial church, what life was like within the extreme sect, how she was banished from the group, and her healing process and newfound sense of love and security apart from the church.
The book provides an insider's view from start to finish. What family dynamics make someone susceptible to joining an extreme religious group? What makes such a person stay? And what does such a person experience when the group they love excommunicates them?
As a member of a Bible-cult for 25 years, and as the author of a blog which confronts spiritual abuse, I found Lauren's memoir filled with pain, candor, and courage.
This could not have been an easy book to write.
Though Lauren never uses the word "cult" to describe the WBC, the concept of religious brainwashing is frequently cited. Indeed, the eight components of thought reform are all present as Lauren explains what life was like in the WBC.
Banished is the most comprehensive and chilling look at life in an extreme religious group that I have ever read. It enables a reader to experience--and thus understand--the dynamics of religious brainwashing.
While the Westboro Baptist Church serves as the most well-known example of a current extreme religious group in the United States, the eight dynamics of religious brainwashing it highlights are present in numerous other groups.
Yes, read this book to understand Westboro Baptist Church. But read it most of all to gauge whether similar dynamics may be at work in your church.
Such churches are not so rare.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I felt bad for Lauren, for everything she went through. Lauren, you are Not evil or a whore.
I highly recommend this book!!!