Zach Phelps-Roper

July 27, 2014

I am Zach Phelps-Roper. I am a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church. Ask me anything!

I grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church all my life, before leaving in February of this year.


EDIT: A lot of you guys want to know if it's true that the objective of the church is to piss people off to the point of violence, sue, and gain profit. the answer is no. :)

edit 2: the most common question I receive is about my current beliefs. I still believe in God, but I believe God loves everyone. :) I attend a Unitarian Universalist church.

edit 3: I encourage EVERYONE to treat the members of the WBC with LOVE! That will make a difference. Saying "fuck you" can easily be forgotten and it doesn't change their beliefs but only makes them feel validated. However, to help you get it out of your system, here is a video of an old woman screaming "GO FUCK YOURSELF" at a WBC member:

However, I also want you to understand that my family are human beings. This is a GREAT short video (under 20 minutes) made for a college class that really makes you understand them. :)

edit:I am also interested in doing media. So, if you send me a message saying who you are and what you represent, I'll seriously consider it. :)

What is the most ridiculous thing they asked/made you do in the name of God?

I feel like the most ridiculous thing I was ever required to do in the name of God was pray for others to die.... Since leaving Westboro Baptist Church, I have discovered that I have no malice in my heart... I want everyone to be happy.

Pray for whom to die? That's just wrong.

When I was at Westboro, I did pray for these people to die: President Barack Obama; Lady Gaga; Albert Synder (of Synder V. Phelps, the Supreme Court Case); George W. Bush; and many, many other people.

Let me just say this though: I no longer pray for harm to come on ANYONE under any circumstances. I have left behind my former religious convictions.

This is a nice thing to hear - do you think other WBC people might also see the light?

Absolutely! =D I will do my best to shed the light of Unconditional Love on them =D

That sounds pretty un Christian. How did you all reconcile that with the teachings of Christ regarding forgiveness?

Well, there is a verse in Psalm 50:10-11, I think, where it says, "The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked; so that a man will say, verily there is a God in the earth. Verily, he judgeth righteously."

So, that's how they justify praying (and being thankful) for people to die.

Oh c'mon...Lady Gaga? What'd she ever do?

There is a music video that answers this question.

Wow, actually praying for people too die? That is messed up and I am not even religious. My work sent me to Topeka all the time, I hated being there knowing I was in the same city as your family, I hope they get categorized as a hate group and lose all their funding and tax write offs...

I don't think the government has the authority to call things "hate groups". Regardless, even if the government would call it something other than a church, it is non-profit and therefore, qualifies being tax exempt.

Any specific reason why the Church wants Lady Gaga dead?

My family literally produced two music videos answering this question. Here is the sequel to the first.

I found this video to be hypocritical. From what I remember, "Judge not, lest you be judged".

Well, they interpret that verse to mean that you shouldn't replace your judgement with God's judgement. Also, when people vilify the WBC for judging, they, themselves, are too, judgement.

There's also a quote from Christ that commands for people to "judge righteous judgement" John 7:24

Wow thanks for responding! (I've never had a question in an AMA answered before). Also I do not know what the appropriate response to this video is... should I be amused or horrified?

It's kind of catchy. Actually, most of the girls in that video have already left the church now. :D

I am way late to this so this probably won't get seen, but when you say you have left behind former religious convictions, does this mean you are na atheist now? Or that you have a different view or perception of God than the one you once had?

Just wanting to let you know... I saw it. ;) However, this has already been answered. Look through the AMA and you'll find it.

I notice WBC doesn't protest in Canada because here hate groups can be outlawed and you can be charged with disseminating hate.

My family is specifically banned from Canada.

What is a clod

A stupid person.

Did no one ever just ask "what about when Jesus said 'let he who is perfect cast the first stone'"? Or was that just glossed over?

That was a common thing used to rebuke our doctrine. The thing is, there are plenty of verses that command you to preach against sin. Isaiah 58:1, for example, says "Cry aloud, spare not, life up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions."

How they took "he who is without sin cast the first stone" was very literally. Stoning was the common way of killing people then and they do not view warning someone of their sins as synonymous with murdering someone for their sins.

Also, Jesus later said "Go and sin no more".

What made you leave? I mean I know the horrible things they have done or were there any outside factors?

I left Westboro Baptist Church on February 20, 2014, because my parents were getting angry at me for complaining about my lower back and shoulder pain all the time... The pain felt horrifying in the midst of my nursing job, which I had just started... The night I left, my father was yelling at me when I asked if I could go to the Emergency Room.

I know he didn't mean to scare me... he is always under a lot of pressure. I just couldn't take the pressure any longer, and I had to get out... And I'm very glad I did now, in retrospect... I can see now that I was hurting a lot of people with the message of Westboro, and I no longer believe most of what they preach any longer.

I'm sorry, I don't see the connection. Why did physical pain cause you to leave your church? I'm not well versed in this religion.

Edit: this is a serious question, I don't get why I'm being downvoted. ELI5, people.

I left because my parents were giving me a very hard time about my physical pain.

I did hate God at the time I left WBC, which is another reason why I didn't want to be there... I felt like he was cursing me.

Is the WBC against medical care? I'm not familiar with all of their beliefs, but it sounds like from what you said that you were excommunicated for seeking medical care. I'm I misunderstanding you?

No, they're not against medical care... but they thought that I was exaggerating my pain at the time.

Wait, what? They got angry at you for having pain? Did they blame you for not being faithful enough that the pain would be taken by god?

Yes, they doubted that I was praying to God for relief... and I actually wasn't at the time... because I was so intent on finding the cause of my back pain and shoulder pain, I was spending an enormous amount of time researching it.

I no longer believe most of what they preach any longer.

What do you still believe?

I believe in God and in Absolute Predestination, or Destiny or Fate... That is the whole of my belief system.

Serious question: do you think the back and shoulder pain was from picketing?

No, it was on the job.

Why protest anything if nothing can be changed? Something here doesn't jive. Isn't the point of protest to change the future?

No, the point is to condemn the world so the world's sins is not on their hands. They often compare themselves to Noah, who preached for over 100 years, and didn't convince anyone.

Were you involved in the filming of the Louis Theroux documentaries? How were the documentaries received by the church and what is your opinions of them?

Yes. I was in the background of both documentaries.

I think Louis Theroux painted a pretty great picture of what it was like to live at Westboro Baptist Church... and I'm glad that he made the documentaries... It shows just how powerful religious beliefs can be, and just how dangerous they can become, if they begin to hurt other people... I mean, I can see Westboro's message can cause people to commit suicide, or act violently against homosexuals, for example... This is why I am choosing to speak out against them, so to speak, by wanting to win them over with unconditional love.

My family absolutely went crazy about how much coverage the Louis Theroux documentaries have gotten; they are so thankful for getting their message out there. They have aired in dozens of countries around the world, at least, on public television... so they thank God for it.

So many questions man. I'm a British guy, and I think you're banned from my country? Is that still the case even though you've left?

What was the family's positions on the documentaries made by Louis Theroux?

Did you ever get the impression that the family was just doing it for... Fame? Or something other than what they were actually saying?

Side note, cheers for doing this AMA. Hope you can get on with your life and succeed.

  1. Yes, all members of the Westboro Baptist Church are banned from entering the United Kingdom. I've never tried to enter England, but my sister went to Canada, and we are banned from going there, too. She was initially denied access, but then explained that she left. I don't know how the process went, but she was eventually allowed in Canada. I imagine it'd be the same there, but again, I've never tried.

  2. Well, they literally believe every single word the preach and the goal is to get the most eyes and ears on the message as possible, so you could say the intention is for "fame" in that way. However, understand, they're human beings, and like everyone, they would like to be respected and treated with kindness, but they're not. But they're certainly willing to make that sacrifice to publish the message.

3.My family absolutely went crazy about how much coverage the Louis Theroux documentaries have gotten; they are so thankful for getting their message out there. They have aired in dozens of countries around the world, at least, on public television... so they thank God for it.

They would like to be treated with kindness? When they pray for people to die and hurt others with their beliefs? Wat?

If we treat them with kindness, they will realize that their interpretations of the Bible are a**-backwards... and then they will open up their minds, I strongly believe. They think they have a complete gambit on what the Bible says and mean... they think they have the infallible interpretation, deep down... and with good reason, I should say! They know a LOT about the Bible, and they study the scriptures everyday... But I still think that the Bible is not a document so easily interpreted.

I agree that we should be kind (or ignore), but I think it's hypocritical for them to want to be treated thus after spewing such hate. Do they want to be the only ones allowed to hurt people? Do they think hate is love thus they're showing you love.. but only want lovelove in return. Aw, gee, thanks for telling me my family member is burning in hell, that's so sweet.

Well.... they don't believe that what they are saying is hateful... they only feel like what they are doing is loving because they don't want to necessarily see people split Hell wide open when they die... and if they fail to warn the living, then God will punish THEM for not doing so.

So, they are destined to be hated... unless we allow room for understanding.

I've never tried to enter England

Meh, you're not missing much :P

LOL! I would love to visit sometime!

Why does the wbc go after homosexuality so hard instead of other things the bible forbids?

Two reasons.

  1. Homosexuality is the sin that they interpret to have destroyed Sodom.

  2. There are gay pride parades, but not murderer, stealing, adultery, etc. pride parades. So they feel a commission to tell the world that it is sinful, when mainstream is against that notion.

You should go to one of their rallies holding up anti-WBC signs.

I went to one of their pickets and held up pro-love signs. :D You can find it on Youtube.

Do WBC members eat at Red Lobster?

teehee... yes

What's so great about the city of Sodom that they feel they have to avenge so much?

They believe they were planted in Topeka, Kansas for a reason... because it is the dead center of the USA. So, they go forth and conquer, not worrying about it ;)

You are awesome!


Do they miss that the point of the Sodom and Gomorrah story is that even though the entire city was filled with sinners the ONE faithful man was saved?

No, they believe that.... it's just that, they believe they are the only faithful people saved.

Do they understand that homosexuality doesn't harm people in the way that theft, murder, etc do?

They believe that acceptance of the sin is the bottom rung on the depravity chain and will result in the destruction of America, and by extent, the world. As God destroyed Sodom.

I mean sure their aren't parades for all the things you mentioned. But their tons of movies, video games, books and just our culture itself embraces all of those things.

Yes, but the movies do not encourage murder and theft as an innocent alternate lifestyle.

So do they believe that no other civilization has angered God enough to do that since Sodom? Or do they attribute other disasters to this?

In a nutshell, they blame every calamity, tragedy, or disaster on America's sin, which is primarily homosexuality. There is also a verse in Proverbs that says God laughs at calamities.

Do they realize that the Bible provides its own exegesis of the destruction of Sodom had nothing to do with homosexuality and everything to do with what they are guilty of?

I.e. Ezekiel 16:49:

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.

I can almost accept an honest bigot. But this blatant hypocrisy, willful ignorance, and selective "hearing" is too much!

The next verse, however, says they committed "abomination" which is the exact same word used to describe homosexuality. Also, Sodom's fate was determined after the men of the city attempted to rape the male angels.

I'm pretty sure that if they tried to rape female angels, they would have fallen by the same fate.

I hate to bang the shellfish drum, but there it is in Leviticus 11:12. Shellfish is an abomination. Same word (depending on version, which is another reason to distrust any word-association based interpretation).

For all we know, they had a strong Red Lobster-style franchise going there. All you can eat.

That is the ceremonial law which was abolished. Christ spoke about it in Acts. I couldn't tell you the exact verse, but you know how Google works.

If homosexuality is the equivalent of abomination, what caused you to begin accepting and supporting homosexuality?

I'm speaking in biblical terms, homosexuality is referred to as an abomination. Today, I do not believe that and am a full supporter of marriage equality. The person was just speaking Bible, so I responded with Bible. :)

Okay, be honest.

Do they actually believe this crap, really for real reals; or is this just a clever front for a family business based around litigation-based income?

They actually believe it.

Why is America so special? Why can't all the calamities be a result of, say, Thailand's sins?

The Westboro Baptist Church has this website

I think that answers your question. ;)

Now for the real question:

How many WBC members are actually gay? You don't have to say who you suspect, just a number would be nice.

No WBC members are openly homosexual.

How is homosexuality America's sin?

Same sex marriage

If that's true, doesn't it seem like God is an asshole? I wouldn't want to be on that kind of person's good side... it would take a true coward to want to be friends with such a god instead of standing up against him, dontyathink?

You would want to be on God's good side if you believed to your core that God can and will send you into a lake of fire for eternity for refusing to obey.

We're you completely "cut out" of the family like I've heard others were? Have you tried to keep in contact with anyone?

Yes, I have been completely disowned from my family at, and been ex-communicted from, Westboro Baptist Church.

Upon leaving, I was told to not contact anyone at Westboro but my older brother Sam... but that never stopped me from being a bit of a rebel I tried to contact others in the church for the past several months until my brother Sam finally called me back and said, "Please, stop doing it brother. Only talk to me...". When I told him, "Okay, that's fair enough," he was flabbergasted and gratefully said, "Well, THANKS!" Or something like that. :D My memory is a little bit hazy as to the exact words he used, but the concept remains the same... I drove them f***** nuts! XD

This all seems insane to me. You must have really had your life flipped upside down by this. Huge respect.

It really was... thank you kindly!

He got in one little cult and his mom got scared and said "You're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air."


Do you ever miss you family?

Every day. :)

What would happen if you just stood across the street and watched your family protest something? What would they do if you just kept repeating as a way to visually see them and let them see you?

That's already happened and what they did was ignore me.

Is there a chance of saving Sam as well?

Well, I think there's always a chance. However, less so with him than the younger members. Sam's married, in his late thirties, and has five kids. He's kind of becoming the "old guard", if you get me.

Do you and other ex-WBC members ever meet up?

Oh, from time to time. I can't reveal too much about that, though. ;)

I'm beyond shocked that you know what this means.

My mom's watched South Park from time to time.

South Park?! Of all things. They haven't even made fun of WBC, I don't think. Do you think your mom would be happy if they did include them in an episode? I know they love to see themselves on TV in any capacity.

There was one episode of South Park about the word faggot, and some guy held a sign that said "God hate fags". She particularly liked the Mormon episode.


They'd avoid me.

Next time they are at protest you should hold a sign saying "I love you mom"

I shouted that when I saw her at a picket. :)

God forbid, but if you were diagnosed with some awful disease that meant you were to die soon, do you think your family would be there for you and put their beliefs to the side?

I think they'd be sad, because they're human being, they've grown up with me, they interacted me, so they are emotionally attached me. However, they'd likely suppress those sentiments, and claim that my injury/death was God's wrath for leaving the church.

How has the WBC changed after the passing of Fred Phelps?

He died in March; I left in February.

What was your reaction to the news story when he died, even though you left before he passed?

I was very mixed in my emotions at the time... I was very angry, but a friend of mine told me that maybe he was suffering from dementia... so all the unkind things that he had done in the past year could possibly be chalked up to that.

Now, I have nothing but love for him... God rest his soul.

He died!?? And I missed it?!

Yeah... no one protested his funeral because he didn't have one.

Have any of the "higher-ups" in the church explicitly confided in you that their protests are done for publicity? If not, do you think this to be the root of the protests?

No one at Westboro Baptist Church has ever told me that they did their preaching for publicity or for money... It is strictly their religious convictions that drive them to preach their message... They believe that if they don't preach the words that they are preaching, then they will BURN IN HELL when they die for all of eternity... They act out of fear for themselves and their children, and they will ex-communicate anyone, ever their own wife or children, to save their souls.

So basically. They treat people like shit for their own benefit in the afterlife.

Even though the church has hurt hundreds of families; I truly believe that the greatest pain that is inflicted in on my own. 50+ ex WBC members have lost parents, siblings, cousins, friends, etc. for no longer sharing the beliefs, but they love them so much.

Does no one ever wonder to themselves "why would I want anything to do with a god like that anyway?", it's funny because all it takes to wake up from their brainwashing is having a little bit of personal integrity, and actually caring more about other people and being good than you do about a person reward at the end of your life or the avoidance of punishment, as soon as that happens you realize "hmm so if I would never do that to my own children, then that means I'm more moral than that god to begin with, and that makes no sense".

in all honesty if you accept their belief system it makes more sense that they've been tricked by the evil god satan rather than being instructed by the good god or in any way connected to anything good.

Well, when I first left, I still believed what my told me and thought that God was sick and evil. However, what motivated me to not leave earlier, and what motivates the others to stay is a fear of hell.

Did you ever accidentally walk in on your parents having sex?


Are you against the church?

Yes. I've even counter protested them here in Topeka. :)

I have one more question. How is your faith now?

My faith in God has never been stronger =D

You said earlier that if everyone just treated them with kindness that they would eventually see what they are doing wrong. So why would you then protest against them ?

I protested them in love. :D

So, are you still in Kansas? Cause if you are, I'm only 45 minutes from you in Emporia and we could counter-protest them together!

I'm still in Topeka. :D

Do you have any ideas of how a bunch of people could join together and protest them in love?

Most of the counter-protests against them that I've noticed are in anger against their message, but would there be a good way for a bunch of people to join together and show them enough love to maybe make a difference?

Be motivated not because you hate the people, but be motivated because you LOVE THEM, because they're HUMAN BEINGS, and challenge the message with words of love. :)

It's hot.... In Topeka.

The Westboro Baptist Church actually posted a Vine about that episode of Foster's.

What did it feel like to protest the funerals of the little kids that were killed in a school bus accident?

I don't know if I ever did protest the funerals of anyone in a school bus accident, but if I did at the time, I would have felt that I was doing the right thing. When I was at Westboro, I viewed every tragedy as at the hands of an ANGRY God who HATED most of mankind, and I was scared, in all honesty, when I stood on the streets. My world view was that everyone hated me.

He was a kid, dude, do you realize how terrifying that must be?

It was scary standing on the streets... I was always afraid of physical confrontations.

Okay. That has nothing to do with my post lol. People did hate him. Most of the world actually. I still kind of do hate him.

You can hate me =D But, I can only say I'm sorry so many times, brother =D

To be honest a lot of this AMA comes off as a fake ploy to get people not to hate them anyways. But I don't give a shit how people are raised. This guy looks like he's 30 for shit's sake. You know right from wrong by the time you're eight. The guys who ram planes into the building are indoctrinated from a young age. Should we be alright with it? These people are scumbags, and the vast majority of people hate them. I just didn't want him to wonder his whole life, he needs to know yes, most people hated you. Some certainly still do.

Well... it depends on your definition on what is "right" and what is "wrong."

Westboro thinks they are right... You think you are right... and I think I am right ....

We only do what we think is right, if you think about it.

If you're told something your entire life and told everything counteracting it is literally trying to send you to hell, how do you magically determine that it's not true? I don't think you know how indoctrination works lol. This guy is clearly trying to atone and right his past wrongs, coming on and saying nothing more than you still hate him isn't giving him closure, it's being edgy.

And a cursory Google search shows he's 23, btw.

True. I'm 23 years old =D


I answered this question in the AMA description. ;) No, WBC members want you to put your hands off of them.

When you picketed funerals of dead soldiers, have you ever felt some sort of remorse or sympathy? While at the church has it ever dawned on you that what you did was purely hateful?

At the time of the funerals, I did not feel remorseful of the picketing... I honestly did not become sympathetic to the plight of others who have lost someone until I lost my grandfather.

When I was at the church, I always thought I was doing the kindest thing in the world: warning people lest they should die and go to Hell for sinning willfully against God. I was taught to believe, that was the kindest thing I could ever do for anyone.

If that's your message, then why wasn't it ever on your signs?

It was. The more controversial signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates Fags" are simply more known, though.

How religious are you after leaving Westboro? Has their fundamentalism negatively affected your ability to have a religious life?

I am not too religious since leaving Westboro, so to speak... but I feel very spiritual. I do attend a Universalist Unitarian church in Topeka, Kansas, and they are pretty much for standing up for Unconditional Love for all people... And I fully support that. I hope that they will stand with me to protest Westboro with Unconditional Love so that we can show them that the world wouldn't hate them if the world saw just how powerful their religious convictions really are.

It's nice to hear that you didn't disavow religion altogether. I see several people that leave radical religious groups and just assume that all religions are similar to the one they just left. I'm so happy you found a welcoming community too!

Thank you!!! I feel very loved by my community =D

What are your views towards gay rights now?

I fully and with great pride and thankfulness support the rights of all people, whether gay, lesbian, transgender, etc... They are all humans to me, and they all deserve protection under the law. Who am I to stop love or say, "You can't get married?"

You are a good man

Thank you kindly, groggboy!

Hey, I, I, hey, I also think you're a good man. [Eagerly waits for pat on the head]


Christian lesbian here. Those words brought tears to my eyes (and down my cheeks, frankly). So glad to hear of other Christians having the decency to respect and love humans for who they are! You truly seem like a great person. So much respect for who you are, how you've changed yourself and how you see the world. I wish you happiness for your whole life.

Thank you! Wish you much joy in your future, as well. :)

You seem like a really great guy, I wish you luck in contacting your family

Thank you. :)

If I can clarify, do you believe that gay sex is sinful as preached in the Bible, but support the legalization of gay marriage? Or do you hold that there is nothing wrong with gay sex/marriage within the church at all?

They believe homosexuality is a sin so therefore, they believe same-sex marriage is wrong.

My mother always took issue with the people who claimed homosexuality was ok, but were opposed to same-sex marriage.

So what's with all of those shitty parody songs? Panic at the Disco hasn't been relevant for about 7-8 years now, but WBC suddenly decides to cover them?

We've always parodied music. "You ain't got no Poker Face. You've just got your whorish face!" "God hates America", etc. I don't why that particular one became so viral, though.

After the oral arguments in the Supreme Court case, there was tons of media and journalists posing questions and one guy asked if we ever took into consideration the deceased Marine family's feeling and we sang our Ozzy Osbourne parody in response. "Crying about you feelings, for your sin no shame, you're going straight to hell on your crazy train."

So what's with all of those shitty parody songs? Panic at the Disco hasn't been relevant for about 7-8 years now, but WBC suddenly decides to cover them?

Well, WBC went to a protest at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO recently... I suspect that is why they might have parodied them.

In your estimation, how many of the church members are actually repressed homosexuals?

In my humble opinion, I cannot speak for the sexual orientation of anyone at Westboro... I may have possible speculations for some people... but to avoid embarrassing anyone and causing potential slander, I will have to keep those comments to myself... Sorry, friend :D

Is there anything from the church you still agree with ?

I still believe in the existence of God, but not as a Trinity... just one, the Father.

I also believe in Absolute Predestination, otherwise called Fate or Destiny. So, I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.

I also believe in Absolute Predestination, otherwise called Fate or Destiny.

So, there's no free will?

So, I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.

What do you mean by that? What kind of reason? Give an example.

Well, I believe that my grandfather was meant to die, as sad as that may seem, so that I could become a more compassionate person and open up my heart those who have lost sons in the wars of the Middle East, for example.

This scares the shit out of me, in a way.

It means that whatever you do, you believe you yourself are not responsible for it, but instead that "fate" or "destiny" is responsible. You think you can get away with murder if it'd suit you, or feel no remorse for what you have done in the past, or feel sorry for a family who lost a kid to cancer or an accident.

Well, I don't believe in causing harm in any way, either, now... I believe in unconditional love, and that means making strides to being kind to everyone at all times...

It's easy for me, I think, because I practice it every day now =D If I ever offended you, I would try to make it right.

Interesting. I saw in a previous post you're attending a UU church now.

What are your views on Jesus? Misinterpreted teacher? God in disguise? A crazy guy?

EDIT: previous, not precious.

Hmmm... Jesus hasn't been on the world in thousands of years. I'd love to meet him.:D

Why did the westboro baptist church ask people to respect Fred Phelps funeral, when they would picket at other people's funerals?

That never happened. That was a media lie.

The WBC doesn't do funerals; they view them as "worshiping the dead".

What is the WBC stance on heterosexual relations?

And by relations I mean the insertion of a penis into a vagina.

They believe sexual relations should solely exist in marriage which is one man, one woman, for life.

Assuming you are single, does that mean you are a virgin?

I am a virgin, and I do intend to be one when I get married... but not because of Westboro's beliefs any more.

I want to marry someone who is large-hearted and compassionate, not for their physical appearances... I could fall in love with any girl who believed and practiced unconditional love for all others... someone who was sensitive and didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

The adults grew up in the 60's though. How many of them do you truly believe haven't had sex outside marriage? Because I'm going with zero.

Well, I obviously cannot know every intricate details of their sex lives, but yes, a few are guilty of having committed the sin of fornication.


Absolutely. I was always afraid on the picket line, unless there were at least 20 other people out there standing with me.

One time, I got separated from my family when we were protesting a high school... I was completely surrounded by teenagers (I was just 17 at the time) who held signs above their heads and were shouting... I couldn't see my family, and I was probably never more afraid in my life if violence were to break out. It was a fearful occasion... I prayed quietly in my head for a way out, and then a few minutes later, I was able to escape when the crowd parted... WOW.

Did you ever protest in Conway South Carolina? I went to school there.... I waved at you guys!... Then gave you the finger... But still!

Was that this school, by chance?

Did you enjoy living with your parents?

Most of the time, I really enjoyed living with my parents... We did a lot of fun things together like go on vacations, watch movies together, play video games, etc... And they provided more than enough for us to eat healthy and never lack food, a roof over our heads, etc. All of my physical needs were met... but by the time I left, I felt like I was being emotionally abused by my parents because they would say things like, "Zach, you're 23 years old... You don't know shit [so quit trying to act like you're an expert on treating back pain, or something similar to that statement.]"

Hello, I was shocked when I learned of the transformation of Fred, how do you think he went from being a former civil rights activist for african-americans to someone so against civil rights for the LGBT community?

I believe this change came in an instant... See, back in 1990 or maybe 1989, my Grandfather was out on a bike ride with my older brother Josh at Gage Park. At some point, my brother went out a bit ahead of my grandfather, and then a man solicited Josh to come into the bushes... I would say, a pedophile. HOWEVER, my Grandfather I think made the assumption that this was a homosexual man because Gage Park was known as a "cruisy spot" for gay men to hook up and have sex at night. So, my grandfather took to the City Council to ask them to clean up the park... when what he asked for was not given, he took to the streets in protest "Protect [your] children: Gays in Restrooms!" That was how it started, I have been told... and you can learn more about Westboro's first 10 years on their website,, and click on the "Hatemongers" documentary tab to watch the documentary that a current pastor of the church, Steve Drain, himself video-taped prior to becoming a member.

Hello, I was shocked when I learned of the transformation of Fred, how do you think he went from being a former civil rights activist for african-americans to someone so against civil rights for the LGBT community?

Well, he think he developed a more open-mind when he went through a harrowing experience of almost losing his wife to pneumonia... and he doubted his faith in God, probably, for trying to "take her away from him," I might speculate.

Have you felt remorseful about leaving, or thought about going back?

In my previous "attempts" to escape Westboro, I always felt a strong pull to be with my family there... and a fear of going to Hell if I didn't return also lingered in the back of my mind... But since my final departure on February 20, 2014, I have not wanted to go back because I finally realized that I do not believe most of their religious beliefs one wit, ESPECIALLY about the existence of a physical Hell where one's soul goes when they die. I will NEVER go back to Westboro as it stands today; you can't make me :D teehee! But, I hope to win them over by showing them that perhaps ONE of their interpretations of the Bible is dead wrong: that the World does NOT completely hate them, as they have often said... If I could get people to see just how deeply rooted their religious beliefs are, and show people that the ONLY way to get them off the streets was to show them forgiveness and compassion... then perhaps we can finally silence their negative messages.

What part of the church did you respect the most? Do you still good qualities in it?

The best thing about Westboro, I believe, is that they are really f****** passionate about what they believe in, and they are great publishers. If they could devote that amazing passion for spreading a message free of charge for other great causes, in my humble opinion... such as feeding the hungry ... they would be immensely successful at it!

Today, I am trying to spread of message of unconditional love to the world... I need all the help I can get to unite the world in compassion for the poor, brokenhearted, the abused, etc.

Zach, on a scale of 1-10, how much do you like chorizo sausages?

I don't think I have ever tried chorizo sausages... I bet they would taste good though, I give it a 7/10!

You need to try them! It might be a life changing event.

Teehee! =D

seriously you need to get on this one. delicious.

I will eventually; thanks guys! =D

Since leaving the church, how has your mental health changed? Do you feel better or worse emotionally?

Well... I think people are entitled to believe what they want to believe. In some cases, religious convictions cause people to commit physical, emotional, and sexual harm on others... And this is the part of religion that I shy away from. I have yet to see anyone as extreme as my family in terms of religious beliefs, except with small exceptions such as Jim Jones... but that doesn't mean it may not be happening. I am sure there are a lot of churches like Westboro out there who are just not vocal about their beliefs in ways like Westboro is.

Since leaving the church, how has your mental health changed? Do you feel better or worse emotionally?

I feel like my mental health has never been better; I am utterly happy about 99% of the time.

That's all fine, but what I'm really asking is about your mental health personally. I imagine growing up in that type of community has had a lot of influence on your beliefs and personality (almost like brainwashing), and now you must be recreating an identity to some extent. Do you feel as though you were brainwashed there? If so, what kindof changes in yourself have you experienced since leaving?

I do feel like I was brainwashed there, but now, I am trying to embrace a different approach: loving unconditionally by being very humble in my approach to other people.

What do you plan to do with your life now that you left the WBC?

I plan to spread a message of unconditional love to the world! I want to help the poor, the hungry, the brokenhearted, the abused, etc! Anyone that needs help, I want to help!

Have you reached out to the others of the church that have left? All of you should band together and create another church against the westboro!

I have reached out to former members to counter-protest Westboro with a message of unconditional love... but I'm not really feeling the love from them on that front :\

Does the WBC believe in 'tongues?'

They don't believe anyone today "speaks in tongues;" they think this was a gift specially given during the time of the New Testament only

Good afternoon! Thanks for doing this AMA.

1) Now that you've left the church are you allowed entry into countries where you would've been previously denied?

2) What was your initial reaction to the counter-protesters? Does the church feel like they're right about their opinion on culture when many counter-protests involve shouting swears at them?

1) I haven't tried entering any other countries yet... I may someday!

2) I used to think counter-protesters were completely wrong to be siding against us, which, in essence, meant they were siding for Satan against God. I think that when counter-protesters do swear at them, this simply strengthens their beliefs that the culture that we live in is a Satanic one.

Have you any contacts with the other members who left the church?

Yup! Lots. But I'm not allowed to share their personal information.

Who will be the next member to leave? :)

Not sure... I have speculated a few times that my sister Rebekah might want to leave, because she strikes me as being a very compassionate person... but I could be completely wrong.

Thoughts on Scotch and Breaking Bad?

I have never drunk Scotch, and I have never watched Breaking Bad XD

What made you realize they were batshit crazy?

I don't think that Westboro, or anyone for that matter, is truly, truly crazy... it's just that, I had to leave there in order to find inner peace. I realized their message was hazardous to the health of some segments of society, particularly the mental health of veterans and homosexuals AND the physical health of homosexuals when I thought about how their message might affect others... If you tell someone, "You're going to Hell for all of eternity," and the person already feels super depressed... I can see them saying, "Then why don't I just get it over with?"

You seem very nice

Thank you! I encourage you to strive for kindness, compassion, and care, too.

Do you still believe in God?

Yes I do, with all of my heart

What are you doing right now to make up for all the terrible shit you've done?

I am spreading a message of unconditional love to the world by posting positive messages on social media such as Facebook (Zacharias Phelps-Roper) and Twitter (@ZachyPac) for one thing... I hope to volunteer in my community and pursue government office someday, too!

What was leaving like? Who took you in your first days out? How did you get on your feet?

The night I left was perhaps the worst night of my life... I was in horrible back and shoulder pain, and I was emotionally distraught about it.

A few of my cousins, who prefer to remain nameless, took me in... and they helped me get on my feet. I love them a lot for having mercy on me and not leaving me to fend for myself alone.

Do you still attend church? If so, which denomination have you chosen?

I have been attending a Universalist Unitarian Church in Topeka, Kansas. I am a fairly regular member there because I believe in positivity and love!

Have you taken up any other religious practice since?

Please see the above message from Human_Sandwich; thanks!

Do you think the people of the church are racist as well?

Nope... They say that God only hates people who are proud sinners, not remorseful repenters.

Do you think anyone in the church realizes they may have inadvertently helped the cause of the LGBT community? I know a few conservative Christians who were horrified to realize their views were similar to Westboro, and have since changed their ways as far as being homophobes.

Teehee; I don't think they ever cared to find out. =D I'm glad that it did... I am a heterosexual ally to all LGBT individuals.

Was there anything your family or the church told you about the world that you later learned was a lie?

Well, I don't think they ever meant to lie to me about the world... At the moment, i can't think of anything.

Listen, I'm not trying to troll or be a jerk, but the one question I've always had about the whole scenario is was Fred Phelps Sr. gay? Do you have any light to shed on that? I'm really curious, because in my experience most of the serious bigots I've ever met have some feelings that make them really uncomfortable, feelings that they're hating and repressing and lashing out at. Anyway, thanks for doing the AMA. Glad to hear you're doing well.

I have no reason to believe my grandfather was a closet homosexual; he has 13 children, and he always seemed to express great, intimate love for his wife.

And thank you: I am doing extremely well =D

Other than picketing and the anti gay stuff, how is the church? Are the people friendly, do they generally want others to be happy?

The church consists of very friendly people who love each other (for the most part except where grudges, like in other families, may lie). They want people to be happy, but I think they are going about it the wrong way... That is just my humble opinion, though.

I know I'm late to the AMA, but I have a question: are common people allowed to visit the church, like, go to a service there and see what it's like? Or do you have to go through some sort of initiation first?

We had visitors all the time. You just had to get in touch with a member prior to the Sunday afternoon

Is there any part of the Westboro Baptist church that you still feel strongly about?

I still believe in God, and I still believe in Absolute Predestination, or Fate or Destiny. =D That's about it on the major points.

How do you leave the WBC?

How are those in the Church educated about general stuff? Are they all homeschooled, or are they allowed to go to public/private schools?

Are there people willing to actively join the Church or is it just a couple families and they continue to pass their views to their children?


In order to leave WBC, you have to cut all ties for the most part: take all your belongings and leave.

Our Church members' children to attent public school.

Not too many people want to join Westboro, but I could name most everyone who has ever been baptized and/or left after intentionally wanting to stay off the top of my head... in the past 10 years or so.

What was your reaction to the WBC getting their asses kicked at Dio's funeral?

I wasn't aware of this... If there was physical violence, I would discourage that because hatred against them in any form simply strengthens their beliefs.

I don't care if he gets closure. I wish Hell was real, because I'd love nothing more than for a guy who picketed people's funerals to burn there forever. I wish this dude nothing but the absolute worst in life.

Well... I'm sorry you feel that way, my friend... But I only wish for you to live long and prosper.

I embrace unconditional love for all... and I can understand where you are coming from. Peace my main man! (or woman)... since I can't really tell your gender from your name ;) Thanks!

Is there any truth to the belief that a big reason why WBC members protest in public is to instigate violence upon their members by the people being protested, only to turn around and slap those same people with civil suits?


I have several questions, as I have never seen someone do an AMA on such a widely discussed subject.

1) As a member of the US Military, I can speak for many members that I know personally on this subject. Why are members of the WBBC so anti-military and why do they feel the need to be so disrespectful to the dead who have died to protect their rights?

2) Has the experience of you being a member caused you to turn away from faith or beliefs?

3) Are there any redeeming factors in your eyes about the WBBC?

Thank you for doing this AMA, also. Many people have questions about the subject but few answers.

1) They are anti-military because they believe that the military is fighting for the rights of homosexuals to marry. And they protest at the funerals because of the example of Luke 16... they say the dead soldier WANTS them to be at the funeral to warn the living, lest their relatives likewise die and go to Hell.

2) Well, actually, no =D I am open to learning about other religions... I feel drawn toward anything positive and loving!

3) The WBC is very passionate about what they stand up for... if only they had a more unifying cause, such as perhaps fighting poverty, homelessness, and abuse/neglect.

This may seem silly but how do they come up with the signs? Is there, like, a committee? I've always wondered.

Also, do you have a favorite sign? Yes they are hateful, but (to me) some of them can be pretty funny/clever.

Anyone is allowed to submit an idea for a sign... the chief sign designer, Steve Drain, makes it happen ;)

My favorite sign is, "God Loves A Humble Heart." I feel that humility is the most beautiful aspect of a person... I have become infatuated with women who I thought had very humble hearts in the past.

Sorry I didn't hear about this, but what was your reaction when Anonymous hacked your website and protested against your church?

I don't think that criminally hacking Westboro will solve anything except make them more determined to spread their message... I would support their counter-protests if they tried to show them love, rather than act out of anger, or so it would seem.

What ultimately made you leave the church? Do you have any regrets in leaving?

I had back and shoulder pain that I felt wasn't being addressed... no regrets yet! =D

how does this whole thing work? are truly all of thew members believe in the cause or is it more like a har core and everyone just runs along, since every fight will just end with a ban from the family...

also: what is the general tone, when riding to picket a funeral/smthng similar? are the bwc members hyped, scared, proud about what will happen during the day?

Well, for the most part, they are all hard-core members... I used to be one until I started running into problems with my parents and we would blow up at each other... it felt wrong, I would say. I didn't realize how controlling they really were by their use of anger to shame me until after I left... but I forgive them for it.

Well, when we would ride to the pickets, I was usually watching a movie or playing a game on my phone... =D The adults were usually very excited, but I wasn't usually so.

Do they actually go after people who seem to be more hot headed? Ive heard they do this to instigate aggression and if that person takes a swing at a member the church will sue them.

No, they are non-discriminatory preachers =D

They don't sue anyone who tries to hurt them... they take it as a symbol that they are "God's Elect" or "His chosen people bound for Heaven."

Did you genuinely believe in what you were preaching against? Did you really believe you were the only people not going to Hell and why? What behaviors made your group so special (in your mind/at the time)?

Yes, I truly believed the message of WBC at the time I was with them... and I was scared shitless about going to Hell.

I believed WBC was the only true "Church" because they seemed to follow the bible literally and not pick and choose what they preached about... the Bible talks a LOT about the hatred of God

It also talks about God's Grace, Mercy, and Love

They interpret all verses that pertain to God's love to be reserved only for God's elect, which is a small remnant.

Is it true Freddy had a change of heart before he died?

Absolutely. This is an article on the subject =D

Homosexuality is a sin from the old testament so why does the WBC feel that homosexuality is so wrong yet other things that are prohibited in the old testament are not kept, such as eating pork?

Well, they believe that Acts 10 did away with the Ceremonial Law, which would forbid the eating of pork.

Homosexuality, which they say falls under the Moral Law, never went away... See Revelation 22:15, where WBC interprets "dogs" to be "homosexuals"

Are you open to accept other religion/system of beliefs, or is it closed chapter for you?

I am open to learning about other religions, but to me, religion can be dangerous... So I am careful about what religious beliefs I might assimilate...

If it is Loving, I will support it openly. =D

How do you feel would be the best way to deal with religious hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church when they visit your community and attempt to spread their hate?

I thought you would never ask!

I think that we need to approach them with forgiveness and love... otherwise, they will always think that the world universally hates them, and they will NEVER go away with their hateful message. I'm just sayin'... let's make 'em challenge their beliefs a little bit and "kill 'em with kindness" ;-)

Exactly what I've always thought. I look at them holding their signs and all I want to do is go up to them and give them a hug and tell them that the world doesn't hate them. That there's so much love, why would you want to breed hatred.


What do you think has to happen for WBC to fully fall apart or at the very least for other members to leave?

I thought you would never ask! I think that we need to approach them with forgiveness and love... otherwise, they will always think that the world universally hates them, and they will NEVER go away with their hateful message. I'm just sayin'... let's make 'em challenge their beliefs a little bit and "kill 'em with kindness" ;-)

How are women treated in the WBC compared to men?

The women are treated equally in terms of kindness..

However, women are not allowed to be pastors, nor are they allowed to cut their hair.

what urged you to leave? was it hard? how long did it take to come to the decision to leave?

I felt, to be perfectly honest, a little afraid for my life... my father would erupt on occasion, such as the night I left... It was a very hard decision to leave because I loved my family so much... and I forgive my father for erupting... Life is stressful, and people can only take so much stress, ya know?

It take years for me to finally leave for good because I wanted to be loved by my family, despite our ideological differences.

Did you ever publicly represent WBC like at a grade school/high school, and if so, what did you do?

Yeah! I ran Cross Country and Track in high school: I was the fastest runner on the team for most of our cross country meets, and I at least lettered in Track =D

It seems a lot of young people are being ex-communicated or are leaving in the last couple years. What do you think the future holds for the WBC? are there a lot of family members still in? are there other new joiners?

I think that WBC's days are numbered. They will fall apart, if not for the stress, then by the "heart-seeking missiles of unconditional love" that I will blast their way in the forms of counter-protesting... just watch me work some magic =D


Well, yes... I talk about it in this article:

Is the driving factor really their beliefs or is it the money from counter-suits in first amendment violations?

It's the beliefs 100%. They work hard for their money like other people, and they have only sued people who tried to imprison them or stop them from protesting.

Can you remember the point in time that you thought "This is all bullshit?"

I finally renounced Westboro's beliefs, for the most part, after I left the church...

The neighbors across the street, the gay activists, what has the church said about them in private? I'm sure publicly they denounce it, but I wonder what else they say?

For reference:

They only denounced them... they really had nothing else to say about them =D

Were you allowed to watch movies and tv shows that are popular? Could you be like hey let's go watch Star Wars? Or Game of Thrones is on let's watch that?

Yeah, I certainly could, for the most part.

I love Star Wars!

But Game of Thrones is not really my cup of tea... other people at Westboro watched it.

I'm going to assume you protested fallen soldiers funerals. How did you feel when you were protesting? Why does the Westboro feel the need to do this?

I felt like I was doing the right thing... but literally, I was afraid at most pickets whenever there was any large number of people counter-protesting us.

Westboro protests at funerals of fallen soldiers because they view them as having fought and died for homosexuals to marry in the USA.

What in your opinion, is the best way (for the general public) to deal with the WBC? I've always wondered if there is anything better than just ignoring them at their protests...

Counter-protest them with unconditional love... that's what I would say =D Show them that the world doesn't hate them, and we'll prove this verse wrong:

Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall HATE you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.

Do you believe the current members of church will go to hell? I know that's a hard question, but I'm curious since strictly by the bible, they likely meet the requirements of being saved. I'd love to know if you fear they are going to hell likely the way they fear for you right now?

I don't believe in a literal Hell where people burn for eternity anymore... I do believe in a metaphorical one, a state of mind really.

How do people treat you knowing that you were a former member of a "church of religious zealots"? Is it hard to make friends outside of the church with people knowing your history?

Thanks for this AMA and hope you find some peace in you new life.

most people have been very forgiving of me =D It's nice to know that.

I remember seeing a protest the WBC did in Boston and noticed that several of their members wore NY Yankees hats. I immediately realized that their whole point is to incite people into violent our unlawful actions and then to sue them.

Would you say that's a fair assessment of what keeps the WBC train rolling?

Nope. That's a popular rumor, but it's not true. I understand where it comes from, though. It's inconceivable for so much time, effort, and money to be invested into something NOT for financial gain, but it's true.

Why would a bunch of bumpkins from Kentucky show up in Boston wearing Yankees hats unless they were there to provoke? The video's on YouTube.

Link me. ;)

How did parents in the WBC decide what films or books their children were allowed? I noticed in Theroux's documentaries that one of the girls had Twilight on her shelf. I'd have thought vampires were too 'sinful' or 'demonic' for their beliefs (even wimpy glittery ones). Are there rules for this?

If we were allowed to watch "Godly" material, then we wouldn't be allowed to watch any TV, or read any books besides the Bible. :)

We could pretty much whatever we want. Although, it can depend from parent to parent. My aunt Betty, for instance, had issues with her children hear swearing in movies, although my mom didn't family. I guess you could say that my family is pretty normal in this regard.

What is forbidden is idolatry, if you make a tv show to have such a high place in your life, then you're subject to scrutiny. In terms of content, though, the only thing that was really banned was pornography.

Thanks for doing this AMA and all the best to you.

  1. How did the church afford to send its members all over the US for protests? What form of income did/does it have and how much?

  2. Now that Fred Phelps is dead, what do you think are the chances of the WBC's survival, post-Fred?

  1. They have jobs; it all fluctuates. Over 200k annually on airfare alone, though.

  2. Hmm... The church is constantly getter smaller; I think that has more to do with time, rather than my grandfather's passing, though. Then again, his death probably caused some people to question things and we were taught that God is responsible for all deaths. I don't know for sure. We'll wait and see what the future holds.

Hi Zach, I am curious about their jobs. Being "The most hated family in America" and possible one of the most familiar, how on Earth were they able to sustain a career within the public realm? They weren't fired or refused work because of their dealings with the Church? Some of your family are in the law or nursing industry (source: Theroux documentaries) did they have many clients or patients that just flat out refused their service/care?

Also, I'm just curious, in the documentaries there was a man of Asian descent that sat in the back of the church, Louis interviewed him and he said he wanted to be part of the church, did he end up being welcomed to Westboro?

Yes, some members have lost their jobs because of their religious affiliation.

However, they're tenacious and good employees, so they eventually find something. ;) They also own their own business.

Okay, so I have a question. I was stationed in Norfolk and I can vividly remember that WBC was protesting a funeral I was at. Now, the patriot guard showed up to counter protest followed by the KKK. Yeah, the KKK showed up to counter protest the WBC. In your opinion, how is it that an organization can continue to survive even when they are hated by literally the entire country?

I'm glad you got out of it, I really am. I hope you're doing better now for all it matters too. However, if it's not too bold of me, I wish horrible things on Shirley Phelps-Roper. Horrible horrible things.

The Westboro Baptist Church has never wanted to be endorsed by the KKK, or the world, really. In fact, they rejoice in being despised, because Jesus is quoted as saying that being loathed by the world is a sign of following him.

You shouldn't wish death to my mother; (which is what I assume you're implying) she is a very kind woman and I love her dearly. Yes, I know that may seem hard to believe to someone who only reads the signs, but she is so amazing and admirable.

I'm sorry, I don't believe you in regards to your mother.

That's because you do not know her. :)

I believe you. I was at your Savannah protest in 2011 (you guys stayed in Hilton Head). I got to talk to your mother at length... and I think I might remember talking to you as well. Y'all were in a white van, and I asked to speak to your mother one morning when you were getting out of your van and setting up to protest. I brought a bible with me. She stayed and we spoke for a while about scripture and interpretations. Obviously it was the typical- me trying to convince her, and her trying to convince me. A lot of your family ended up coming by and joining the discussion (you included, I think??). After what I recall as a 15-20 minute discussion, we said our goodbyes and I thanked her for her time and she thanked me for "genuinely wanting to learn."

She seemed nice... but her views and interpretations are, in my eyes, wrong. Because of those interpretations, she genuinely felt called to hate.

You know, she actually believes she is called to love, but the only way to love is to tell America that God hates her for her sins.

I was always curious that Shirley seems to be the "spokesperson".
Given that WBC is "old school" and the whole "a woman must be silent" thing; is that just another way for them to troll the public at large or does she have some special standing in the church that allows them to ignore their own rules?

The "women being silent" thing refers strictly in a church setting. Women aren't forbidden from preaching the scriptures, there's plenty of Biblical examples of women speaking God's word. It is only forbidden in the context of pulpit.

Does the family in general actually believe the crap they spout? Or is it a business at this point?

Such a common question, yikes. I'm going to have edit the description and give an answer.

I always thought the logic of protesting funerals of military and others who were not even gay was so convoluted. If you believe homosexuality is wrong, go protest a gay pride parade, not a military funeral! IIRC they believed that the soldiers had supported a country that in turn supported homosexuality.

Yet I assume they pay their taxes and so they continue living in the US so they can be accused of supporting the US. What would they say about that?

It's not just homosexuality. Abortion divorce, etc. are the laws of the land in America and therefore, because the military is defending a nation that has made God its number enemy, the deaths of the soldiers is God's curse. There is also a zeitgeist of the deceased soldier being a blessing of God in America, and the church pickets to label it as an adumbration and to warn everyone to flee God's wrath. That is the reasoning behind the church protesting at military funerals.

Jesus Christ said, "Rule under Caesar, that which is Caesar's, and rule onto God, that which is God's." They are lawfully required to pay their taxes, so they are able to do so without feeling as though they are rebelling against God.

Hope I answered your questions! :)

Is there any chance at all that the remaining members will just fucking go away?

Yes, but it will take time and love.

Remember that at WBC pickets, there are almost always children there. If you were to look past my family's religion, you'd probably think well of them. They are lawyers, nurses, computer programers, correction officers, and have high levels of responsibility to family and community. When they look at them, and they see the counter protestors, who are often very hateful and spiteful, and scream harassing comments to them, it does validate the veracity of the message to the children. This is why we must show them love.

Do you think anything can be done to help others leave the WBC? Either by yourself or members of the public?

Yes... shower WBC with unconditional love: show them that the world does not hate them, and that we can understand why they do the things they do.

Please show forgiveness for them... that is the only way, as I see it.

Who decides what goes on those signs? I first thought WBC were a bunch of Trolls getting laughs. The slogans seem designed to inflict maximum offense as disrespectfully as possible,almost childish.

Steve Drain is the chief sign designer.

Yeah, they are supposed to be punchy.


Yes, I would happily do so. I do it every day, as it comes up.

Congrats on getting out. I'm not into religion, but I just can't justify the hatred that the WBC puts out there in the name of God... Even if I don't believe in one.

How did you, and others justify the truly hateful messages that you were putting out to the public? Like protesting soldiers funerals, ect.?

Well, in the case of soldiers funerals, I used to protest them because, as I saw it, I was warning the living not to "sin" by "fighting for a nation that promotes same-sex marriage" like the dead soldier did.

It all made perfect sense when I was in the church... in retrospect, not so much ;-)

Are you still a christian? Or has your departure turned you away from religion?

Well, I still believe in acting Christ-like, with compassion for others. I don't really believe I can call myself a Christian because I don't view Jesus Christ as the son of God... in my studies, I have come to believe that we are all sons and daughters of God. I also don't believe in the Holy Spirit or the Father, necessarily... There is just one God, I believe... But that is just my opinion, and I may be completely wrong... And I don't want to force my religion down anybody's throats.

I am a member of the Patriot Guard Riders. How did you feel about us while you were a member of the church and how, if at all, have your opinions changed since leaving? How did the other members of the WBC react when they knew a large counter protest was planned?

Edit: Wow, thanks for the Gold.

Watch videos of my family's pickets. Practically every single out of state picket has a plethora of counter protestors. They're used to it.

A lifetime of these beliefs couldn't have been easy to cast aside. You've said that while on picket lines, you fully believed in everything you were protesting against. I feel like it would take something huge to change someone as completely as you are claiming you have been. What changed? What was the catalyst for your leaving the church? How did you so fully cast aside a lifetime of, what I consider to essentially be, brainwashing?

I left the church because I didn't feel unconditionally loved there, really... I felt emotionally abused at the time I left, and afraid for my life when my father would yell at me.

I hit rock bottom... and slowly but surely, I feel like I have been climbing ever higher towards positivity and happiness and satisfaction with my life... And I want to help others reach this state, as well.

I found love outside of Westboro in the form of hundreds of people who love me and forgive me for what I have done.... and it feels so amazing to be confident in being able to trust my decision-making skills... I feel very blessed now =D

While you were still with the WBC, was the church gaining or losing members? I know I've heard a few times about certain people leaving but you never hear about them actually recruiting members.

Either way, Do you believe the WBC will survive the next 5-10 years and why?

The church has always consistently had about 70 people attending the services... the number of actual baptized members usually sits around 40.

I am not sure how long WBC will survive, but I am going to do my best to minimize that amount of time... because I don't want them to harm other people with their extremely negative and hurtful approach to exercising their religious beliefs. And I know that they are scaring some people silly... I have a friend who has known about WBC for years who has been sexually, physically and emotionally abused... but I guess if it wasn't for the fact that he was afraid of going to Hell should he commit suicide, he might have already done so... So, for that one reason, I do thank WBC for preaching about Hell (though I don't believe in it)... and that is the ONLY thing that may actually be positive about believing in Hell.

During your time at the church, did people ever attack you physically?

Yes, several times... It was always scary to be on the picket line

Do you still have any religious beliefs at all?

I believe in one God, and Absolute Predestination, aka Fate or Destiny... =D And, I believe in the power of Unconditional Love to bring about World Peace some day =D

  1. Do most family members have secular professions outside of the church? How does their involvement in WBC affect their careers and outside relationships? I've heard some of them are lawyers, so do they have successful practices where they take the usual sort of cases?
  2. I always got the idea that WBC was mostly family members. What is the actual size of the congregation? Are there people in the church who don't picket for whatever reason?
  3. How do WBC members meet and marry people? Would their spouses have to be church members? How did being in the family affect your dating life? When you were at nursing school and in your job, did everyone know you were WBC?
  1. Yes, everyone works =D I would say that most of my aunts and uncles are lawyers, and they do take the usual cases EXCEPT they will not handle first-marriage divorce cases.

  2. Approximately 70 members, and yes, most of them are related by blood to the Phelps family, but not all. (No in-breeding going on there, I assure you.) Everyone pickets except for a handful of people who only come to the church for the Sunday Service, like a young man named Jack Wu and an older gentleman named Tony Capo.

3) They can only marry members in the congregation. I never dated when I was in the church, but I once proposed to a member... I got rejected =\ It was so depressing for a while.... But since I left WBC, I have been dating a LOT =D So far, I haven't tied the knot, but I am always excited to talk to the ladies who I think are sensitive B) Yeah, and everyone I knew from nursing school knew I was WBC... It was quite obvious since Westboro is so infamous here =D

I am confused how they get clients as lawyers. Doesn't everyone in Kansas hate them and want to avoid being associated with the Phelps and Roper names?

Yes, everyone knows who they are, but they also know they're good lawyers. My aunt has argued in front of the Supreme Court.

Why are most of them lawyers?

Most of Fred Phelps's children and son and daughter-in-laws have law degrees because my grandfather encouraged others to pursue a Juris Doctorate and paid the way for them to do so. He put over a dozen people through law school.

What was the nature of the case she argued?

She actually argued a case defending the WBC's first amendment rights. Google: Snyder v. Phelps

EXCEPT they will not handle first-marriage divorce cases

Why just first marriage?

The Bible says God hates divorce.

Do wbc members lurk on reddit, 4chan, and the many other sites? Do they care you do this?

I don't think WBC members lurk anywhere... they're too busy picketing and stuff =D

They probably think I am a very evil person for what I'm doing.... but oh well! =D

Awhile back, an active member who became nurse, I think she was the one that Louis spent a lot of time with in his first documentary, did an AMA. And it looked like she lurked around a bit, but she obviously got a lot of downvotes.


That's right. here's her profile. She seems to still be fairly active.

Yes, she wants to promote Westboro picketing reddit.

You left the church in February; how long did it take to change your mindset and approach life from a pro-love viewpoint? Were you always a closet nice guy?

I was also a nice guy, I think deep down =D I used to get into fights as a kid, but that's another story =) I was a bit of a hothead.

But, it took about 8 weeks for me to unleash my mind from my negative thoughts and discover the power of Love... =D

And thank you for the compliment... I'm blushing!

Are you still Christian?

Nope... I still believe in acting Christ-like, with compassion for others. I don't really believe I can call myself a Christian because I don't view Jesus Christ as the son of God... in my studies, I have come to believe that we are all sons and daughters of God. I also don't believe in the Holy Spirit or the Father, necessarily... There is just one God, I believe... But that is just my opinion, and I may be completely wrong... And I don't want to force my religion down anybody's throats.

How do you get into the church? You say only 40 people have been baptized but 70 turn up. How did those additional 30 get permission to be there?

Oh, the do not believe in infant baptism. When you come to a certain age, you have to make a statement saying you want to member and the elders interview, etc. and all of that. Obviously, young kids have yet to go through that process.

This is a free country and they can believe whatever they want, but it seems their tactics are counterproductive. If the mission is for sinners to repent, at some point didn't they say, wow we have put forth all this effort for so long and hardly anyone has listened, so maybe we should try a different approach?

It's like they only preach to save themselves, because if they are hated that proves that they are righteous, but not caring about whether it is actually working.

The goal isn't to be persuasive; it is simply to preach so the people cannot say that they were not warned.

So, yes, you could say they preach to save themselves. They believe that if they do not preach against America's immoralities, then the sins of the nation are on their hands.

I noticed your last name is Phelps-Roper. Is that just coincidence or are you related to Fred Phelps or are you required to use the Phelps name if you're a member of the WBC?

My mother, Shirley, is Fred Phelps' daughter. When she got married, she wanted to keep the family name, so she's now Shirley Phelps-Roper and I'm her son, so my surname is Phelps-Roper. :)

How do we stop them? Like... what would it take?

You can't. They are absolutely convinced that they are doing God's will and that the picketing is the only thing that will give them any hope of not spending eternity being burned in fires of unbearable temperature. Also, America has the first amendment.

How do people in WBC make a living? Do they have regular jobs?

Yep. WBC members are lawyers, nurses, computer programers, correction officers, etc.

I've talked with Shirley on Yahoo Answers, and she refuses to have a discussion with anyone. Why is it that she (and others with the WBC) use insults and name-calling and claim to be showing the love of Christ? Do they really think that Christ wants them insulting people and laughing at non-believers?

She's on Yahoo Answers? What is her profile? Can you link it? She believes rebuking is the way to love and it is snatching time, so she uses explicit language.

As a person with a degree in psychology, the WBC really intrigues me.

I'll try to limit my question to something that hopefully won't take forever to answer.

How exactly do the members of the WBC rationalize their behavior? I was always under the impression that Jesus Christ preached love for your fellow man above all else, yet it seems that the WBC revel in stirring hate and dissension among their fellow man. What passages in the Bible do they look to to justify their behavior? I've listened to the mouthpieces of the WBC, but I'm more interested in the "common man's" perspective of the whole thing.

Leviticus 19:17 is the verse they cite the most.

When Jesus made the the commandment to "love thy neighbor", he was quoting from Leviticus 19 and the seventeenth verse says that in order to love your neighbor, you are to rebuke them for their sin. Here's an analogy that they always say to make sense of it: If your friend is about to fall off a cliff, do you lie to him and tell him everything is okay? Or do you yell at him to stop?

They believe that what they are doing is not only the best thing to do, but the only proper thing to do. They also are motivated out of fear of hell; they are convinced that the picketing is the only thing that will give them hope of entering the kingdom of heaven.

You said you have a psychology degree; I'm curious: What's your job?

Believe it or not, I'm a chef. I only have a bachelor's in psych and that can't really get you anything other than a state job and I'm not interested in taking kids away from their parents.

Back to you, though (since this is your AMA, after all).

So, I get the whole Mark 15:16 thing ("And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.), but do all the members believe that the way that they share their gospel is the proper way? Or is there a bit of a "follow the leader" kind of mentality going on? Often times a charismatic leader can convince people to do things that they otherwise wouldn't do... especially if there is a large book ripe with bits and pieces that you can use to support just about any position that you choose to take... so, do people in the WBC often worry about what they're doing? Is everyone in complete agreement that this is what they should do? Do people have concerns that must be assuaged before they actually picket?

Chef? Hmm. Satisfied with your salary?

"And of some have compassion, making a difference. And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."

They believe the nation is stubborn and refuses to obey God, so their blunt and punchy message is the only appropriate one at this hour. Keep in mind, they do not at all see "saving souls" and "preaching the gospel" as the same thing. They simply wish to preach it, and how it lands of other people's hearts is up to God. As long as you've heard the words, they're confident that they've done their duty.

Can you comment on your, or anyone's, experience in leaving the WBC and then adapting to "normal" life? (Dating, finding friends, etc.) As the WBC is made up mainly of your family, where did y'all intend to find people to marry? If an anthropologist or sociologist wanted to live among and study the WBC, how would they go about best securing this?

A lot of the members in their twenties have given up on marriage, but it is always possible! Someone your age and of the opposite sex may join the church, and you two might have a connection and get married. This has happened before, but not often.

Do you think WBC will die out now that Fred is dead? Who will be the next leader and how will they be chosen?

There was never an official leader. My grandfather wasn't in the right health to participate in pickets, so all he did was preach in the pulpit, which is pretty much irrelevant to the outside world. Today, several elder men in the church which include sons, son-in-laws, grandsons, and one friend of Fred Phelps run the ministry.

You're probably done with this AMA (I read almost all of it, your POV is fascinating). Just wanted to say how inspiring your positivity is, and how impressive your strength of will is. It takes a lot for people to stand up for what is right in this world, and so many people become cynical after going through the type of childhood you had, so to see you be so loving and caring is really amazing. Do you ever feel resentment towards your parents for indoctrinating you into this religion that's so harmful (both to you and to others)? And if you ever choose to have children, would you raise them with a religious faith?

No, of course not. They were well-intentioned; they believed it was the most loving thing to do to a child.

You're probably done with this AMA (I read almost all of it, your POV is fascinating). Just wanted to say how inspiring your positivity is, and how impressive your strength of will is. It takes a lot for people to stand up for what is right in this world, and so many people become cynical after going through the type of childhood you had, so to see you be so loving and caring is really amazing. Do you ever feel resentment towards your parents for indoctrinating you into this religion that's so harmful (both to you and to others)? And if you ever choose to have children, would you raise them with a religious faith?

I feel nothing but love for my parents who, for a fear of my never-dying soul as they think it, tried to raise me not to go to Hell.

I would love to have kids, and I would raise them to be nothing but loving children... I wouldn't lay a finger on them, but teach them to be kind to each other and the world.

I feel like a lot of the hate for the gays stems from Fred Phelps' own suppressed homosexuality. Confirm/Deny?

I've never seen any evidence of my grandfather being homosexual. :)

Hey there. I'm a little late but I wanted to say that you are a very good man for standing up for what you believe in and even going against your family. My question is kind of blunt but at the time you were participating in the church's activities, did you have any clue how much the majority of society hated you? Sorry if it sounds condescending, I've just always wondered.

Of course we knew everyone hated us. How do you think people reacted to our protests? And you know what? We loved it; it made us feel validated. We were taught enmity with the world was the goal.

You like the idea of it... But I refuse to believe anyone actually likes being hated by literally millions of people... It goes against human nature.

What are you going to do for a job? Do you put ex wbc on your resume? I wouldn't...

You know, I'm sure that there is an instinctive reaction with them that is displeased with the vitriol against however. However, their minds are overwhelmed with the scriptures, and fear of hell, and Christ said that the world is to despise you for following him. So, in that wise, they do love being loathed.

What are your thoughts on Russell Brand's interview with members of the WBC?

Funny. And I agree with him! We should all be kind to one another. :)

I think the WBC group is completely reprehensible. Why shouldn't be just tell them to f*k off?

Think! How many times have people told my family to "fuck off"? Thousands. Combined, the members have probably seen at least a million middle fingers. XD

It doesn't accomplish anything; it's impulsive, immature, and only makes them feel like they're doing the right thing.

Show them LOVE. :D

Why do they cut their hair when it says clearly in the bible that you can't?

The women do not.

What does the Westboro Baptist Church say about other forms of Christianity (Catholicism, etc)? Other religions outside of Christianity?

What are your views now towards other religions (e.g. differences based on what you have seen/heard/experienced)?

Thank you for doing this AMA!

I laughed when you said Catholicism. Every religion outside of WBC is a "false religious system" and the Catholics are the worst! They even have a website

I don't know a lot about Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. so I cannot tell you my views on them but I can tell you what I do care about and this is the ONLY thing that matters: that people be kind and love one another. If you do that, then I don't really care what your religion is. :D

Completely off topic, why is your reddit name sydneylauren? That is in fact my name. Super creepy and random.

Because you're my soul mate. :D

It seems like WBC is always in the news as the worst example of religious extremism in the US.

Are there other groups that we should know about that have a similar hard-core attitude like WBC?

Does the WBC get involved with other christian groups? Or are they shunned by everyone?

The worst? Yikes. The church wasn't good, I definitely agree with that. However, we never killed anyone.

No, the WBC doesn't endorse any other church.

What did u think of the line in Attila's song Callout regarding the Westboro Baptist Church?

Edit: Ig I should mention it's the last line (I think) in the song

I had no idea what that is. I'm listening to it now. :)

Zach, some of your answers are nonsensical to the point of satire, the lady gaga video, the back pain as the reason you left... are you trolling us Onion style?

No, I'm serious. That wasn't an actual Lady Gaga video, that was a video that my family produced.

What exactly are the goals of WBC? I grew up going to church, and we were always taught to love everyone, unconditionally. I mean the way everything goes with religion these days, it just didn't make sense to me. I'm almost scared to call myself a Christian.

Leviticus 19:17 says that you are to love your neighbor by rebuking him for his sin. That's the goal: to rebuke the world for its sins.

What is the largest misconception of the church that people have?

That the members are hateful, when in truth, they're kind and misguided.

What is the largest misconception of the church that people have?

That WBC may just be trying to scam people out of their money...

LOL, they are doing it wrong if they tell everyone that they are going to Hell XD They haven't taken a single donation from anyone

Where there any people who picketed opposite to the WBC, saying the exact opposite things they were saying?

That happens at basically every single out of state picket. :) Unfortunately, that atmosphere on the counter protesters side is often too hateful... There needs to be more love.

What is the goal of WBC pickets? Is the WBC seeking to "reform" society in some way and change people's minds, or do they even care what people do with their message?

To preach.

Hey, Zach. Thank you for spreading a message of unconditional love and unity. We need more people like you in the world.

What is your view on the humanist idea of love and kindness without the concept of a "higher power"?

Here's my view: Who cares? I personally believe that because there is a creation, there has to be a creator. I could never PROVE it, but I just believe it. As long as you're kind, loving, and treat others with respect: WHO CARES if you deny the idea of a higher power? Who cares? Who cares? Who cares?

Just love one another. :D

Did you listen to the podcast on Feast of Fun with Shirley Phelps? If so, what were your thoughts / opinion on it?

Also, how do you view the perspective that WBC is actually advancing gay rights by utilizing such a polarizing perspective? (As shown by Josh-KilmerPurcell).

My mom has done hundreds, if not thousands of radio interviews. Where do you people find these things? XD No, I probably have not heard it.

We're all familiar with that view; it's been said for years. We didn't really care about the veracity. All that mattered was that the words were published; the editorials were supremely irrelevant.

Do people ever harass you because of your past with the WBC? How do you respond to them?

Not really in real life. Some people on reddit have harassed me because of my past and feel like I'll never be able to do "enough" because of where I was born. I just show them love. :D

Do people ever harass you because of your past with the WBC? How do you respond to them?

Yes, people do become angry sometimes at me... but I don't respond with anger to them... I just say, "I'm sorry for what I did, and I will try to never hurt people's feelings ever again."

Hope I'm not too late, but the Bible clearly states in multiple passages that the ONLY way to heaven is through Christ who died for our sins. How does the church justify saying that so many people will go to Hell even if they trust in the Lord as their savior?

I don't understand the confusion here...

Sorry, poor wording. I guess I'm asking how the church justifies "cutting out" portions of the Bible they don't agree with? It seems like WBC believes the more sins you commit, the more likely you are to go to Hell. Whereas the Bibles consistently mentions that good deeds aren't the way to get into heaven-sinning doesn't keep you from God as long as you believe Christ died on the cross.

The Bible says deeds don't win you to heaven, but it does say faith without works is dead and with so many people in unrepentant sin (e.g. divorce and remarriage), they're going to hell for not even striving to obey God.

There is this verse that says "He that saith I know him and keepeth not his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him"

What sort of media (books, TV, movies, etc.) was allowed in your home? Was most of it produced by the church, or were there external materials deemed acceptable?

Pretty much anything, actually. Besides porno. My mom wasn't strict when it came to that stuff. I always like Pokemon. :D

But Pokémon evolve...

Pokemon rock! I don't know if I believe in evolution, but I try to keep an open-mind now.

I hope you'll look into it! It's such a beautiful process, and observable, and backed with so much evidence. I'm very enthusiastic about the life on this earth and how it came about, and though I'm not religious I don't think there's any reason why evolution couldn't be the way that a God could create species. Are you into animals at all, both currently living and long since extinct?

What're the best sources to learn about evolution? I like videos.

What are some common misconceptions people have about the WBC? Is there anything interesting or funny about them you could tell us?

That they're hateful.

I think I understand, or at least have one way of understanding. What he's saying is that they view the world, as twisted as it sounds, through rose-colored glasses. They feel that by showing these signs that they are loving the world. Imagine if you were part of the WBC and you went around telling people that you hate them. That would suck, because you'd see that hate being fired right back at you.

But if you think that you're spreading love, and that the hateful message is coming from God, but you're just a messenger, then you can rationalize away all the hate by saying that they're misdirecting it at you, when it really should be going to God.

/u/sydneylauren33 tell me if I'm close in the slightest.

You're right on. :)

What are some common misconceptions people have about the WBC? Is there anything interesting or funny about them you could tell us?

People seem to think that they WANT you to hurt them on the picket line so they can sue you... Not true.

If that was the case, they would never be out of a courtroom suing people.

Their convictions are religiously-based.

As for anything funny about them... well, I once walked in on one of my older male cousins having a bubble bath playing the PSP! That was pretty funny XD

So upset that I missed this one, but I'm glad you did this AMA! My question: Does WBC consider themselves a branch of Christianity? Or even Baptism?

I was born and raid Baptist, although I'm more agnostic now. So I'm well versed in a lot of fundamental scripture, and I can find almost no justification in so many of the hateful things the members of WBC partake in. I've always wanted to speak to a group of WBC members, honestly, to try and figure out what's going on in their heads

The WBC does consider themselves Christian. However, they're a tad reluctant to use the term because they view most churches today as whorish, money-hungry, and not faithful to the Bible.

Do you still believe homosexuality is still a sin?


Have you seen the Shirley Phelps Prank Call by Friday Night Cranks? Also, what do you think about Panic! At The Disco's response to protests?

  1. No.

  2. I thought it was great. Turn it into a good cause. :) Again, I do feel the need to reiterate: love them! Make that be a priority.

Hi Zach,

WBC recently came to CSU to pocket the lifestyle in Fort Collins. I had a nice conversation with Beniah (sp?) Phelps about his views while he was picketing. Aside from his warped message that obviously came from indoctrination, he was an extremely nice fellow with a cheerful sense of humor. My heart goes out to him.

Do you happen to know Beniah personally? Do you think he too might ever escape the clutches of the church? I'd be very interested to know how his life turns out.

Of course I know Benaiah! He's my cousin. I think there's a chance they'll all leave.

How many kids did Fred Phelps actually have?


Oh, thanks, I only watched the documentary with Louis Theroux that one time so that's where I got curious.

After that scene, Louis admits he knew that he had thirteen children, but four have left the church. He wanted to know how many kids he had to see if he still considers them his children. ;)

It's interesting how you forgot that part.


The church ABSOLUTELY speaks about the plethora of pedophiles in the Catholic church. They have produced a website called

Wow, you're still answering questions!

I've often thought that the Westboro Baptist Church must, to some degree, thrive on the attention that the press gives them. I've also thought at times that if everyone simply ignored them - they would lose power. What are your thoughts?

Lose power? Perhaps. They weren't really super well known when they picketed AIDS victims, but when the soldiers' funerals thing started, that's when the media picked up.

However, psychologically, I don't think it's possible to convince the entire country to ignore them. I don't think that's practical. What I want to do, is change the culture of how we do counter protests. If we can get just ten people at a protest to speak lovingly, I think that will draw an influence. As opposed to showing your middle fingers and screaming about how we rape our children. It's immature and it doesn't help. What we need is love. :)

How often are WBC members met with violence? I imagine if you are protesting a soldier's funeral their family would be less than pleased and military members come from military families. I've always wondered how often fisticuffs get thrown.

Many, many, many times...

In the BBC documentary, there's a point where a bunch of you guys are in the van on the way to a protest, and while your mom is ranting to the interviewer, the camera pans to the back and focuses in on a smiley faced mofo in sunglasses, seemingly stifling some laughter. This was probably my favorite part of the documentary. Was that you? If not, has that boy left the church too? Are there family members who have or haven't left who are just plain entertained by the WBC's antics?

No, that was not me, that was Jacob Phelps and he is still in the church.

Your probably long gone but I didn't come across this question and was hoping for an answer:

Have you thought about joining a mainstream Christian church? Or have you completely disassociated yourself with religion for life?

I'm part of a Unitarian church. Perhaps a little too heretical to be considered "main stream" but it is "extreme" in the way of love and I like that. :D

Do you get to read the bible for yourself or is it told to you? Because i cannot get how somebody who reads the thing can twist it so much as you guys do/did

We were encourage to read every verse in the Bible.


Of course not. They procreate by marrying people who they are not related to.

how are you?

I'm great. Thank you. :) How are you?

Thanks for doing this AMA and sticking with it for so long, even if a lot of the questions you've been given are kind of repetitive. Hope mine isn't! Always good to see someone who is promoting goodness and changing their life for the better.

I'm curious to know how/why/under what circumstances the WBC will cancel an announced protest. As a West Virginian, I can very clearly remember when WBC announced protests in the state as a response to both the Sago (2006 - I clearly remember the phrase "Brokeback Mountaineers" in the announcement) and Upper Big Branch (2010) mine disasters. But neither of the protests ever materialized. I think that a small contingent of WBC finally showed up for a non-specific protest at the state capitol several years later - around 2012, but it was very obvious that they had planned, then cancelled protests that were more immediate in light of those two tragedies.

Could you give any insight into why the demonstrations were called off in those specific cases, or more generally what would make them cancel a planned demonstration otherwise? I assume that there were a lot of violent threats being sent their way in those two cases, but also assume that was the case with any other demonstration they planned to put on? Was there a theological rationale that guided the decision to cancel, or was it 100% "oh shit, some of the people there really aren't kidding about what they plan to do if we show up?"

Really fluctuates! Sometimes they're busy with other pickets, other times, they don't go out of fear of it being too dangerous.

How can we stop them?

Show them love. Slowly, but surely, I have faith it'll work. ;)

I apologize if this has been already asked, or if you have stopped answering.

How can we, as a people or government, stop or minimize the WBC's public activities? While I support free speech, I believe that the activities of the WBC are pushing the borders of what is legal.

You cannot. America has freedom of speech and the SCOTUS has deemed that the WBC falls under protected speech.

What you can do.. and I know I've said this a lot but it is worth repeating is that you need to show them unconditional love. :)

What would be a good thing to say to a WBC protestor that would catch them off guard and make them realize, even the slightest bit, that their actions are misguided?

I've said it a million times before and I'll say it a million times again: LOVE THEM. :D

From an Atheist PoV, WBC appear to be lunatics spouting hate and nonsense without any proof of what they are saying. Akin to that guy on the street with his cardboard sign saying 'repent, the world is ending'.

I know not all religions are the same, but unchecked this is what they can lead to, therefore I'm sticking with my guns that all religions are a bad idea.

The WBC also has signs that basically say "REPENT, THE WORLD IS ENDING"

Didn't expect a reply! Might as well go ahead and ask a question then!

Have you ever questioned the existence of a deity? If so was it before or after leaving? - If not, how are you sure that the deity you believe in is the right one?

Good job for getting out,

Much love

I've always believed in God and I don't see that ever changing. However, in the last few months, my perception of God has (extremely) changed. From believing God hated most of mankind to believing God loves every single individual. Now, how can I be assured of the certainty? It just feels right to me; I know it in my heart. As opposed to the perception of God that I had been so indoctrinated to believe.

Having said that, can I prove my idea of what God is like and do I know everything? Of course not. I have no interest in intellectually defending my view on God, because I know it's something that's exclusive to me. It doesn't matter, ultimately, what you or I believe in, what matters is how we treat ot hers and how we feel about ourselves.

Hi Zach. One thing that has always confused me about Christian opposition of homosexuality and transgender persons is how people avoid the obvious physical existence of intersex medical conditions and the questions that raises. People rarely if ever address it, but it seems very, very relevant. For example, if God has staunch views about what it means to be male or female, and supports only heterosexuality, then why is God making intersex people? (And numerous other LGBT and intersex animals? Why would he create things he hates?) And who should someone who is intersex like to be "heterosexual" and not "homosexual"? Is someone who is genetically XY but has a female crotch at birth, and female brain considered male or female (like Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome)? Is someone who has XX genes but got born with a male crotch and male brain (like in severe cases of CAH) to be considered male or female? Many of these intersex medical conditions are caused by hormonal abnormalities. Which medically, we know also causes people to get born transgender (transgender people have the brain physically a different sex from the rest of the body, which even shows up on MRI) and the same thing, in less severity or other parts of the brain, has been shown to cause gayness and lesbianism. It is possible to make a XX butch lesbian rat in a lab, by applying small amounts of testosterone during brain formation -- if you would have applied the testosterone during crotch formation it would be the crotch which would form male). Have you ever heard any explanations of intersex persons? Do you think these people are rational enough that educating them about these medical issues could reduce their hate? It is hard to understand because essentially, they seem to believe in "choices" even while it seems we have clear evidence to the contrary, in the obvious existence of intersex persons, etc. Basically, do you believe that they don't know these things, and better education could reduce their hate?

There is a verse in Romans that describes God creating "vessels of wrath" and "vessels of mercy", with most of mankind being the former. So, yes, they believe God creates most of mankind just to send them to hell. That's just how they believe God rolls, as they'd say.

What is your view on the last line of this song?

Hmm.. Apathetic. I've heard "fuck you" uncountable times; I'm numb to it.

You say that it is not the objective of the church to sue and gain profit. But the church does profit from its lawsuits, right? And if not, what are its other streams of income?

The church only sues when a government violates their rights. The last time I recall this happening was in 2007 when a police time in Nebraska arrested my mom for having my brother stand on the America flag. I think she got 17k for that, but obviously, in the big picture, this is insignificant if you're talking profit.If some random guy hits them, they won't sue him.

They get money by working. :)

How many people are left in the Westboro Baptist Church? I've heard their numbers are slowly dwindling.

23 of Fred Phelps' grandchildren have left the church. In total, the amount of ex-members is probably over fifty.

How does the WBC manage to stay funded? There has to be some very wealthy members.

Yeah, they have good jobs. The picketing is very important to them, so they save up.

I have nothing but respect for you for taking what must have been a very hard step.

I've seen who I presume were your mom and sisters on the Jeremy Kyle Show (I am in the UK) and I was utterly appalled and flabbergasted by them - and I saw the contempt with which they treated your brother (I assume Sam?) because he had already left the church.

Have you been able to reconnect fully with him at least?

So for what it's worth - I think you are a good man.

Wow, I cannot believe you remember that! That interview was in 2007. Must have struck a cord.

The brother who you're referring to is Josh, the second child. Sam's the oldest, and he's still in the church, married, kids, and all that. I have of course gotten in touch with him, but I can't reveal too much detail.

One of my sisters in that Jeremy Kyle interview has left, too.

Fred Phelps was one of the few white southerners who was involved in the civil rights movement, but then became the head of a controversial group.

What happened exactly?

The Bible never condemns being black, whereas it does condemn homosexuality.

Firstly, I want to thank you for doing this AMA. I'm from the United Kingdom and saw the documentaries from Louis Theroux and I have to admit that WBC intrigued me. I have a couple of questions for you, if you don't mind answering them (I'm kinda late to the party, sorry).

1) How fairly do you think the documentaries portrayed life in the Church? Have you watched them since leaving and what was your opinion, if so?

2) In terms of censorship, if there was any, what weren't you allowed to do/watch/read/eat? Since leaving the chuch, have you done these things and what do you think of them?

3) Have you contacted any of the other members who left the church and how are they doing, if so?

I'm glad you are happy and hope that one day your family will accept you for your new views. It must be hard to be cut off from the people you love, even if you don't agree with their views.

  1. You get a good idea of what all the members are like through the Louis Theroux documentaries.

  2. In terms of books or tv, I haven't really had new privileges. I can enjoy these materials more without fear of being labelled as an adulterer, but other than that, not really. The biggest freedom since leaving is the connections that I've been able to make with everyone in the world, including my family who have left the church. They took me drinking once.

  3. Answered above. They're doing well. :)


I think the world needs love; that's what I think and I think the world needs to start showing unconditional love.

What are your views on the "Church" of Scientology?

I should probably be better informed on it before I make a judgement on it. :)

So I'm not sure if this has already been asked but it seems your family attends a regular school growing up, if so, how did those at your school react to you? I can't imagine you were very popular in school if they knew who you were. Was that tough?

Some people were rude, but I was always nice so it wasn't too bad. ;)

Hi Zach, thanks for doing this. As a Christian, I'd like to know how Westboro reconcile the message of Grace with their own message? i.e. We're saved by grace, not works and the implications this has for the way we interact with others?

Psalms 5:5 for God hating people Leviticus 19:17 which says that you are to rebuke people to love your neighbor John 7:24 to judge people Some verse in John that says if you don't obey God and claim to be a Christian, you're a liar. Proverbs 1:26 says God laughs at calamities. Those are the common verses we used to defend our doctrine Oh, and it also says faith without works is dead.

How much inbreeding is there in WBC?


I know I totally missed this AMA, but I want to know, with all the hate and filth you're indoctrinated with at WBC how is it that all of you that have left/escaped are such amazingly nice, kind, intelligent and non-violent people? I mean you leave WBC and suddenly you're nicer and kinder than Mormons and love everybody. It just boggles my mind. It seems from the outside that the entire Phelps family is wholly bigoted, poorly educated and full of hate and fear.

The WBC members are kind people and we were always taught to refrain from violence. In fact, people have been kicked out for being too aggressive on the picket line. They're also well-educated.

As someone who has read the Bible, I could never reconcile the belief in hellfire to be coming from a god of love. I never found anywhere where hellfire is promised for sinners, even satan himself is only going to be locked away for a thousand years. Have your views on hellfire and such punishment changed since leaving the church?

Quite drastically. I don't believe in hell. :)

How big is the WBC? There's different numbers online and it's tough to tell. Specifically how many people participate in every aspect of the church, not just protests.

What would you guess the median age of the church's members to be?

Also you said that many members are directly related to Phelps in some way or another. Are you? If so could you say how distant?

Lastly did you ever feel like you were part of a "cult" while a member? If not, do you feel like you were in a "cult" now that you've transitioned into normality(if there is such a thing).

Thanks for doing this AMA. You've shed light on a topic that clearly nobody but yourself and the others who have left WBC could explain.

  1. Roughly 70.

  2. Oh, I have no idea. Ha ha.

  3. Yep. I'm Fred Phelps' grandson.

  4. Well, cult is subjective, and that name-calling won't really get us anything. I've never really thought about whether or not it is a cult, and it doesn't really matter. :)

Were you and your siblings home schooled?

If so, do you feel that had you had a daily interaction with regular people, such at a school, you would not have been as indoctrinated as you were?

No. We all went public school.

Great AMA, I only have one question. Why do you still believe in a God and his Bible when it can clearly cause so much hate?

Even if it's misinterpretation, it's still used as a tool for hate, why believe at all?

I don't believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible; I believe in a higher power. However, if you don't believe that then that's supremely irrelevant. Just be kind. :)

you know anyone in your fam who was raised under fred phelps thats closest to being a real atheist? is it you?

it just amazes me the hold brainwashing at such a young age still has. your a got dang adult and you still believe in fairy tail nonsense even when youve seen first hand what religion really is, its all a lie from top to bottom.

how you are still not atheist is so telling about this so called "higher power" of pre-pubertile brain scrubbing.

Fred's son, Nate is an atheist.

Hey, thanks for doing this and I'm glad to see you are still answering questions. sorry if this has been asked already and I missed it. I got a little obsessed with the WBC after watching the first Louis Theroux documentary and wound up spending days watching and reading everything I could about them.

So my question... How do you feel about Steve Drain? Is he a true believer or a guy that saw a chance to take over a cult and is attracted to the power it gives him over his family and other church members? I just can't buy the "came to shoot a documentary and saw the light" story. It just doesn't come off as genuine to me.

He definitely believes the doctrine.

I have two friends whose parents go to a church with similar (though much less extreme) views to the WBC, e.g., if they hate us we're doing a good job, friends/family must be disowned if they "turn against God"... etc.

I went to one of their sermons as a favor to my friends' father, who had asked I do so for fixing my car instead of the money I offered. I felt physically ill by the end - the thought of something like WBC gaining traction in my own town was frightening.

Two questions:

  1. Does WBC also believe in conspiracy theories, like my friends' parents' church? (e.g. lizard people in politics, the Twilight books being written by the author at the behest of a demon, etc.)
  2. What do you think would happen if the message of hate spread to other areas? How would WBC react?

Thank you for doing this AMA. I know it must have been very hard to abandon your life, and by helping to stop their hate and even turn them back by showing them love, you're doing something good for the whole world.

  1. I don't think they probably believe in conspiracy theories =D

  2. WBC would be incredibly happy if other churches started sprouting up like theirs... but I doubt it would happen. ;-)

I have two friends whose parents go to a church with similar (though much less extreme) views to the WBC, e.g., if they hate us we're doing a good job, friends/family must be disowned if they "turn against God"... etc.

I went to one of their sermons as a favor to my friends' father, who had asked I do so for fixing my car instead of the money I offered. I felt physically ill by the end - the thought of something like WBC gaining traction in my own town was frightening.

Two questions:

  1. Does WBC also believe in conspiracy theories, like my friends' parents' church? (e.g. lizard people in politics, the Twilight books being written by the author at the behest of a demon, etc.)
  2. What do you think would happen if the message of hate spread to other areas? How would WBC react?

Thank you for doing this AMA. I know it must have been very hard to abandon your life, and by helping to stop their hate and even turn them back by showing them love, you're doing something good for the whole world.

And thank you for your kindness... I want to show everyone unconditional love and respect... I feel like this is the only way to stop the hate and end intolerance.

What is the name of that church?

Westboro Baptist Church

What were normal church services like?

A lot of Hell Fire and Brimstone, mixed with a little bit of Love which is pretty well exclusively reserved for the members of Westboro... they don't believe anyone else will probably go to Heaven when they die.

thanks for reveiling these things! are you ok?

Never better!

How do you feel about the movie Red State?

It just isn't my cup of tea. =D

I went to highschool with you guys at Topeka west. Was it hard to picket the lunches of your peers?

Yeah, it was pretty hard, even after I graduated.

Your church has done more to advance the rights of homosexuals than anybody else. Just wanted to say thanks.

Please pass this on to your church. Really, if it hadn't been for your church, gay marriage would have NEVER been accepted.

As for my question: It is a testament to the quality of American people that entire funeral congregations have not just up and beat the shit out of funeral protesters. Has it occurred to the church that America is turning the other cheek to actions that actually deserve brutal beat downs?

Nah, they do get beat on at times or tried to get run over... that message has not sunk in whatsoever.

What was your first encounter with an LGTBQ like? Did you give them a chance? If so, what made you realize that you were prejudging?

Are you still Baptist/Christian?

My first encounters with LBGTQ on the picket line? The one that most firmly stands out in my mind is when some "anarchists" were whispering things in my ear that made me cringe... they were dressed like drag queens of sorts.

I realized that not all homosexuals are violent and/or rude, I would say, when I met a young gay man server at an Olive Garden in Topeka one day with my sister... He offered to pay for my dinner when he found out who we were, and that I had just left the church. I was so shocked by finding out that he was gay, and that he was being so friendly, I said, "Oh, please, you don't have to! I'll pay the bill in full" XD I have since learned to accept financial help, even if I may not need it.

Thank you for doing this AMA.

Did you ever figure out the source of your back and shoulder pain? Have you ever tried swimming as an exercise to help?

My back pain is related to having a weak core, or so I have been told by my physical trainer.

My shoulder pain is gone now, but it occurred due to a bad patient lift on my very first day of work as a nurse... talk about a confidence-killer. I developed like 20 trigger points that required injection therapy... Oooh, I can still feel the sting of those needles!

Would it be fair to say that the WBC intentionally picks and chooses what parts of scripture to pay attention to in order to further their own agenda?

Nah, they are open to reading the entire bible... They preach both the OT and NT parts.

Topekan here. How do they feel about the rainbow house?

I love those guys! I just visited Aaron Jackson the other day to talk about how I could help them out!

Can you please tell us as much as you can about Jack Wu? I remember seeing him in the Louis doc and thinking he deserved his own separate documentary. I wish louis had spent more time with him. I won't say what i think his story is but his words in the doc make it pretty obvious. What's that dude's deal?

He is kinda on the fence, I think, about joining Westboro. Once upon a time, he tried to join, but he wouldn't commit to going to pickets or doing volunteer stuff around the church, I think.

Some have speculated he may actually be gay... which would explain a lot O_O I can't be sure.

He is a really nice guy, though, no matter what his sexual orientation may be. =D

how do you feel about Fred Phelps' death?

I love my Grandfather... May his spirit finally have rest

  1. Why is it they are allowed to bring children to their picketing? It seems like a very unsafe place to put a child.
  2. How many times has cps tried to take away kids?
  3. How do family members get treated in every day normal life situations? At work, out at dinner, walking around town (when they aren't protesting)

1) Well... some might argue, why is it that parents can bring their children out on Halloween? The world is always a dangerous place... that's why. Parental rights.

2) Cops haven't taken anyone away... yet. Not sure how many attempts have been made, if any.

3) When not protesting, people usually don't know who they are at all... they are infamous, yet unknown, at the same time... except for my Mom... Everyone recognizes her everywhere she goes. =D

Was your grandfather actually excommunicated from the church?


I am a gay man, and when I came out I tried to kill myself after seeing your family in their documentary. The fact that anyone could hate me without knowing who I was or what I had done really hurt. 1. Does the Westboro Baptist Church actually hope to make people more pious, or are they simply trying to exemplify how terrible the rest of us are? 2. No judgement, but do you personally feel any responsibility for what the church has done? Thanks so much!!

1) They are simply delivering a message... they don't care how anyone receives it, whether positively or negatively.

2) Yes, I do feel personally responsible for my conduct, to some degree... But I have forgiven myself because I was raised in it from birth, and I forgive them because they are still lingering in a "mind trap" as I call it...

I am sorry to see you try to take your life, good sir... Your example is precisely why I felt the need to speak out about overcoming them with unconditional love and forgiveness, lest more people try to harm themselves.

Have you since made an attempt to apologize for any of the funeral pickets of military families performed by WBC? Those demonstrations were/are absolutely in poor taste.

Yes, I have, publicly on facebook I apologized for the funeral pickets of military families.

I believe funerals are sacred.

Why is everyone at that church inconsiderate assholes?

They are immune to caring what other people think because they care more about not burning in Hell for eternity... that is why they seem to be inconsiderate of other people's feelings.

Have you read into any Buddhist teachings? I'm not religious by any means, but it's a spiritual way of understanding ones self. Just a thought. Love you ex-wbc folks

Yes, I love buddhism... freedom from excessive desire and emotional pain, yes! I love that thought!

When I think of the Westboro Baptist Church, I'm always reminded of this quote from To Kill a Mockingbird: "sometimes the bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in another, and you can look down the street and see the results." Since leaving the church, do you agree with that quote as related to the WBC?

I agree. Yes I do.

Kind of late, but how was it growing up? I imagine the wbc like Charles manson and his followers. I'm not too knowledgeable of what the church believed or what they did. I know the things I've seen on tv about protesting about homosexuals and soldiers, but what did you learn growing up? Do you believe you were brainwashed into believing everything Phelps told you?

Growing up was a blast there; I had a lot of fun, and a relatively happy childhood =D

I believe I was brainwashed, but not intentionally so... they wanted to save me from Hell, so they taught my the Bible every day.

Have any of your childhood experiences hindered your life as an adult?

PS - I live in Topeka, thanks for doing this! If you ever want a burger or something, hit me up. This has been an interesting read!

LOL! Really?

Sweet B)

Anyways, as far as childhood experiences, nothing hinders me now =D I am free as an eagle, and I feel like I can free other people from emotional pain, too! It is quite a liberating feeling!

Say two members of the church have premarital sex, how would the church react?

The church would likely call into question whether or not they should still be members... likely, both would be voted out unless they apologized profusely for it and shed tears of repentance... It has happened before.

Sorry if this was already addressed.. I never paid much attention to WBC, but I noticed that some signs are very anti semitism. Does the bible not say that the Jews are Gods people? Can you provide some reasoning behind this? Thanks

Oh, here is the verse that they use to justify "God hates Jews"

Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Matthew 27:25

lol that is some really really fucking loose interpretation. The only actual scripture I know of where it literally says God hates someone is in Romans 8 "For Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated"

Psalms 5:5 is the scripture they use to justify their God hates X signs.

Ah! Excellent I didn't know about this one. Thank you. Now can you reconcile how God = love when sometimes God clearly = hate?

They believe God is only love for the elect.

I've seen you mention back and shoulder pain several times. Did you ever find out what was causing it?

I got injured on the job.

How did you justify your church picketing the funerals of our fallen soldiers and their families?

For clarification purposes: I think protests against ANYONE'S funeral is disrespectful and wrong; I'm merely explaining the rationale for why they picket the funerals of deceased soldiers.

The United States is an immoral nation that has policies of sin including same-sex marriage, abortion, and divorce. It also has a culture of rebellion against God's standards in fornication, gluttony, idolatry, etc. Because the U.S. standards for wickedness, if a man or woman attempts to defend the nation, they have declared God as their number one enemy and they view the plethora of deaths as proof of God's curse against the fallen men and women.

However, when a soldier dies, the majority of the people typically proclaim that the person was a hero and was God's blessing to America. So they picket to preach the reality of God's judgement and to warn the family that the wrath of God abided upon their child and that they need to repent, obey, and have a chance at fleeing eternal damnation in hell.

In fact, they believe the soldier is in hell and that he or she WANTS the family to heed the message.

I know I'm late but I'll ask anyway

Have you read Lauren Drain's book? I read it and I found it to be quite interesting and informative into the real personalities of several WBC members.

No, I haven't read her book yet, sorry!

Do you still believe Obama is the Antichrist?

No, When I left the church, I actually thought that I was the antichrist.

Are all these people in the video actually descended from Fred Phelps, or do churchmembers change their name to Phelps?

What portion of the church has the last name Phelps?

Excellent thread, btw. Obviously what you've done takes strenght. I think the most important and impressive part of it is the way you are helping others see that these are just people like everyone else.

The people interviewed in the video are all children, son/daughter-in-laws, and grandkids of Fred Phelps.

Is there anyone WBC likes, except for other WBC members of course?

The King James 1611 Bible

I always wanted to advertise for and convene a Gay Kissathon Prom to be held in front of a WBC demonstration. Everybody in hotpants in a homosexual kissing marathon, with at least the guys shirtless if not both. Plenty of 80s prom standards like Spandau Ballet and some nice gay champ anthems like I'm Coming Out by Diana Ross and We Are The Champions and stuff. All the stereotypes like leather daddies and bears and twinks and softball butches and lipstick lesbians, and all the average joes and janes. Pelvises pressed together. Squeezy buns. Loving looks. Steamy looks. Everybody having a great time with a mixture of complete contempt for your clownish cause, IDGAF, and total comfort in who they are. I think it would be the best thing that ever happened because I think you guys' heads would have exploded. How do you think you'd have reacted? My other idea was driving past in a sewage tanker truck and hosing down the whole line of you guys with powerful columns of shit stew. That would have been awesome too but I really think Gay Kissathon Prom would have been perfect.

There was a lesbian wedding across the church a while ago.

I know I'm late to the thread. But since the leader has now died (I forgot his name ) who do you think will become the new leader? Or do you think as of right now the members of WBC are disputing over who it should be? Thanks for doing the AMA

There's a group of elder men who are all sons, grandsons, or son-in-laws of Fred Phelps. With one exception.

Do you miss your family?


Were you in the Louis Theroux documentaries? Which obe were you?

I was in both, but you can only find me in the backgrounds.

In the first one, you can see me at the picket of the soldier's funeral; you can hear my mom calling my name in that one. I'm also seen working on signs.

In the second, I'm reading a hymn book. :)

You keep saying "treat them (WBC) with kindness", that it's the only way (if any) that will change their views, etc. But don't you think that, had the entire world NOT vocally opposed/hated/despised the WBC, you may not have questioned your beliefs and left? Like, if everyone greeted you warmly and was like "it's okay I forgive you brothers/sisters" to you, what reason would you ever have to question and think that your belief system was wrong?

No, the hate 100% validates them in their beliefs. Jesus said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first".

If they were shown LOVE by the outside world, that would cause departure at a more rapid rate.

Why does the church specifically picket at jewish temples and functions? Most other christians I've met have respect for the religion as another monotheistic religion.

Because they preach lies and lead people to hell.

which mormon episode?

All About Mormons.

What are their views on Jesus? He was a Jew himself but in the video you posted they are picketing and saying God hates Jews.

They believe Jesus Christ was and is the son of God, therefore, he was and is God. He came in the form of man to minister to the Jewish people, but they ended up having him be killed, and therefore, God hates Jews.

But wasn't Jesus Christ being killed part of the whole scheme? He was supposed to suffer and die as a surrogate for mankind? Why would Jews then be held accountable, when they were just doing their part?

That's just how God rolls, as they'd say . They believe God is responsible for every grass that grows, for every cell that moves, EVERYTHING that happens is caused by God.

So, yes, God made the Jews killed Jesus, and therefore, God hates the Jews for killing Jesus. In fact, they believe God created most of mankind to send them to hell. I understand that this is strange to people who are not familiar with this concept, but my aunt Margie would always say, "If you don't like the way God orchestrated things, you go create your own universe and do things the way you want."

What were Fred's sermons like? Did he ever talk about anything other then hate and how terrible others are?

You can actually listen to them for yourself. :)

How do you view other religions of the world now, especially those that hold other radical points of view?

I should probably study other religions before I give any opinion on them. :)

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Zach Phelps-Roper conducted on Reddit on 2014-07-27. The Reddit AMA can be found here.