‘Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church,’ by Megan Phelps-Roper

Judgement is easy; true understanding and engaging conversation is difficult, yet essential, in the world today. This is the argument that Megan Phelps-Roper, granddaughter of Fred Phelps, makes in her memoir of leaving the Westboro Baptist Church, which she was born into. WBC is synonymous with hate speech and is a fundamentalist Christian church based in Topeka, Kansas. (It is actually designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.) Throughout her life Megan Phelps-Roper engaged in picketing the funerals of fallen service members as well as hate speech against LGBTQ people, the Jewish community, and others. Through Twitter and other online platforms, Phelps-Roper began to realize the inconsistency in her family’s beliefs as well as the true pain her actions had caused. Illustrating formidable growth in her sheltered worldview, she and her sister left the church, their family, and everything they had ever known behind. Through this riveting memoir that details her love, pain, and bravery, Phelps-Roper makes a beautiful case for engaging with and having thoughtful conversations with those you disagree. Although this book details the hateful rhetoric of this church, she thoughtfully wraps her story into one of hope for our very divided world and is definitely worth the read.

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