A former member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church reveals for the first time how her life has changed since she escaped from their clutches. Four years ago the world saw Libby Phelps picketing Obama Inauguration and taking part in anti Gay and Anti Semitic protests.  She never had a haircut and was unable to travel anywhere other than the USA. article-2269567-17386A2C000005DC-289_306x423.jpg

 We sometimes forget that those who become the first victims to any cult are those who are held within its clutches.  Fear of the world and everything outside keeps many from fleeing.   It can be a strange symptom even within any closed environment that may not even be a cult.  The simple fact that you become isolated from the community in general can lead to an irrational fear of those who are living outside.  Such a fear may seem or appear justified on the surface but is really irrational. Yes the world is not always a nice place but neither is the fear that can exist in an isolated community locked away from the outside. We are to be in the world even if we are not of this world.  The strange effect is that everyone on the outside can be perceived as some enemy or ogre just waiting to pounce and rip ones inners out.  The boogeyman of child hood fears resurrected.  I remember once being in Bible College and it was not a cult.  I came back of holiday to be told that the place had intruders.  I remember lying in bed one night fearing that someone would try to get through my bed room window.  The fear for real, the possibilities were real.  But I choose to defeat that fear because my God was bigger than my fears. I quickly fell asleep soon afterwards. Fear can be conquered and I never had another sleepless night.    

Now age 29, Libby Phelps Alvarez after fleeing the church, is finding peace with her new life. But walking away from everything she’d ever known, including praying for homosexual, Jewish and Chinese people to die, wasn’t easy, she told the Kansas City Star: ‘That first year, there would be days it would hit me really hard.’

Mrs Phelps Alvarez is the granddaughter of Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr., the founder and pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church – an American independent Baptist church known for its extreme ideologies.  The group would often be found picketing funerals of American soldiers and just about anywhere where they would be noticed.

Often we see the headlines that the church has decided to picket some funeral somewhere or other, But rarely do we hear news about those who have fled this cult.  News which can give hope to others who may have a desire to leave but fear holds them back.  There is no easy answer to leaving, but what can say is that there is HOPE.  There are many emotional complexities about leaving friends and especially family who are still under the influence of a cult.  But with Hope comes possibilities.  With possibilities comes a new freedom.    She is not alone in getting out, as her brother Josh escaped two years before she did, which might have been a precursor to encouraging her to leave.   

This is libby’s story and if you are in a cult like the Westbro Baptist remember there is life outside.

It was after church members confronted her about a bikini she had worn during a family vacation that she decided to follow her brother lead.

She knew how she was supposed to reply to their complaints, she said, ‘Apologize, ask forgiveness, and assure the members she would never wear a bikini again’. But unable to repent for something she didn’t believe to be wrong, she said she fled.

When she left, she had a car, a small amount of money and nothing else. She was able to save up for her own apartment lease thanks to her boss, who let her stay with her for four months.

Estranged from her family, Mrs Phelps Alvarez now lives in Lawrence not far from the University of Kansas campus with her newlywed husband, Logan. 

Although it is just 30 minutes from where she grew up, she is unable to speak to her cousin, Megan, or mother, and she says she still lies in bed sometimes thinking about, and mourning the fact that she will never again be able to speak to them.

But without the constraints of the church, she quickly began to branch out, experiencing things that had been forbidden to her for 25 years.

She went out with her boss to a bar for the first time, to a music concert, to the hairdresser, and she even got her ears pierced – ‘another big no no in the church,’ she said.

It was when she was shopping at Urban Outfitters in Lawrence that she bumped into a former physical therapy patient, Logan – also a member of the church.

He bought her flowers, which turned into a date – and it didn’t take long for her to tell him who her family was and that if he wanted, she would offer him an out; a chance to cut and run.

To Libby enjoy your new life

To Libby enjoy your new life

Within four months, Logan proposed, and the newlyweds have since traveled the world together.

‘No one is allowed to leave the country while at WBC,’ she writes on her Facebook. But together, the couple have been to England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France.

After she escaped, she accepted an interview request by 96.5 The Buzz in Kansas. The radio host delicately asked her what the craziest thing that church members had ever made her do. She replied: ‘To pray for people to die.’

The church is actively involved in actions against gay people, and in addition to conducting anti-gay protests at military funerals, the organization pickets other celebrity funerals and public events that are likely to get it media attention.

Protests against Judaism are also prevalent, and the church’s website states: ‘The only true Jews are Christians. The rest of the people who claim to be Jews aren’t, and they are nothing more than typical, impenitent sinners… the vast majority of Jews support fags.’

Mrs Phelps Alvarez says she often thinks about her cousin Megan, who was her best friend and confidante, who she knows she will never see again unless she also leaves the church.

‘I would take her to Covent Garden in England and for ice cream and tea in London,’ Mrs Phelps Alvarez said.

‘And there was a place in Germany, the Hofbrauhaus, it’s really famous, there’s a brass band. And I know that Megan would love going on The Tube in England…’

‘I wish that she could experience the same things. Or that she would have the opportunity or the choice to experience the same things.’

Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2269567/I-pray-people-die-Woman-escaped-hate-cult-Westboro-Baptist-Church-finds-peace-new-life-freedom.html#ixzz2JdqnQqMN

I hope that if you are or were part of a cult please leave your experiences on how you got out.  There are many I believe held captive that truly want out.  But it is going to take a lot of encouragement.  They need to hear from others that life does not finish when one gets out.

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Comments
  1. holyghostman says:

    I was involved in the wof cult for a long time. Even though I didnt aprrove of the leaders tecniques I over looked alot because he was my friend. I guess when we build relationships they do influence us weather good or bad. When we leave the cult we feel like we are turncoats because we are leaving our friends and relationships behind. In my case I left a long standing relationship of 16yrs and It does hurt. We must remember no matter what happens Jesus is there everystep of the way to help us.

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