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Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
I first heard of the Westboro Baptist Church when they picketed Matthew Shepard’s funeral in Laramie, Wyoming. Mr. Shepard was beaten to death by two men because of his homosexuality. As I listened to “Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church” by Lauren Drain, I was horrified by the way the church treated her and especially by the way her parents treated her. Lauren’s father showed signs of instability before he became tied up with the WBC. Like most young girls she sought her father’s approval and attention. While filming a documentary on the WBC, Lauren’s father became caught up in their beliefs. He began to turn to them for guidance in parenting Lauren. No matter how hard Lauren tried she was labeled a trouble maker. Often she asked questions of the conflicting doctrine, angering the leaders of the church. After eight years of methodical emotional and psychological abuse, as well as some physical abuse, she was banished from the congregation. Lauren has turned her life around; she no longer serves a god of hatred; she now serves the God of love.
Lauren Drain shares the details of her life with the WBC. I should state that the WBC is not affiliated with any known Baptist Church. Without apology I label the Westboro Baptist Church a cult. “Banished” is written from Lauren’s perspective. My review is on the audio format which was narrated by the author. I was mesmerized by the content of this tale; however, there was much repetition. At times the content sounded childlike but this did not disturb me or detract from the text; as she has undergone great suffering, it is understandable that she would tell her story as she remembers it … through the eyes of her earlier years. Lauren is lucky that they banished her when they did.