Lauren Drain's father pulled her out of high school and placed her under house arrest. Soon, her family had joined the Westboro Baptist Church—the Topeka-based cult known for their "GOD HATES FAGS" signs. When it was discovered that Drain had been chatting online with a boy from Connecticut, she was banished by Westboro and forced to form a new life for herself.
In her upcoming book, Banished (co-written by Lisa Pulitzer), Drain describes the physical and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, her adolescent years in the cult, and why—as a new generation of Westboro members reach adolescence—the "church" may be falling apart.
But despite what Drain describes as her father’s winning charm and his earnest searching, he had a chilling dark side: obsessive and controlling, he hit her, shoved her, and called her a “whore” for talking to a boy she liked. The violence preceded his involvement with Westboro, and seemed to have more to do with his panic about controlling his family than his religious ideology. He was so abusive that one day, terrified, Drain called Child Protective Services on the family’s cordless phone from the front yard. “I just needed my father to know I was serious about defending myself from his physical bullying, and I was reaching my breaking point,” she writes. When her father found out, he forced her to call back and tell CPS she had been lying, and no one from the agency followed up. Drain was pulled out of high school and forbidden from leaving the family’s house in Florida. [The Daily Beast]