Fred Phelps | Libby Phelps Alvarez | News | Shirley Phelps-Roper | Westboro Baptist Church

Westboro Baptist Church Defector on Why She Left and is Now Fighting for Gay Equality

The NY Post today published a lengthy profile on Libby Phelps Alvarez, who left the Westboro Baptist Church. The interview takes place at what Shirley Phelps-Roper calls the "sodomite rainbow house" which sits directly across the street from her old church.

PhelpsA few nuggets from the interview:

The whole family talks about homosexuality, every single day. And it’s always about how homosexuals are dooming the world. They talk about fornication and divorce, remarriage and adultery, but the main thing is the homosexual lifestyle. It wasn’t a personal hatred toward anybody. We were taught that we were doing a loving thing.

Either you are one or you’re enabling one, and so everybody — except the Westboro people — is going to hell.

Church was on Sundays, for an hour. All the women had to wear head-coverings, because women are seen as submissive.

Gramps would always do the sermon. He was so good at it, so intense. He would talk about topical things that were going on, and it would always come back to homosexuality, nearly every single time.

Family life at home:

When 9/11 happened, I heard it on the radio in the car. I was actually driving over to the church. It was jaw-dropping. I thought, “Oh my God. I can’t believe that happened.” And then I get to the house and everyone was celebrating, like, “This is awesome! God is punishing this nation!” So I had to change, and be like, “Oh, OK, that’s awesome.” So I did. That’s what I thought.

And her change in attitude:

I don’t really think my personality has changed much, but I think my ideas on life have changed. When I had first left, if I would see a homosexual couple, I would scrunch up my nose. Then it got to where I still thought it was wrong, but I wouldn’t say or do anything. And now it’s to the point where it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t really care if somebody is gay. I know that I want to be good to people. I still believe in God. I just think that he’s more forgiving.

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  1. I wonder if WBC will picket her funeral.

    Posted by: Joey | Apr 16, 2013 4:41:50 PM

  2. Congratulations, Libby. I have known people who have left cultish religious groups in the past, and it was not easy for them. I hope that you are able to find peace on your new path.

    Posted by: | Apr 16, 2013 4:48:09 PM

  3. It sure sounds like someone at the top of the Phelps food chain, coughred, is repressing something.

    Posted by: Marc C | Apr 16, 2013 5:00:20 PM

  4. The Paranoia Switch by Martha Stout (

    These familiar history McCarthyism, the World War II internment of Japanese-Americans, and the rise of the Klu Klux Klan after the Civil War – are three American examples of what I have called “limbic wars.” Every limbic war can be divided into six stages.

    These stages do not have distinct beginning or ends, but rather merge, almost imperceptibly, each into the next. The first phase always involves a traumatizing event, usually a war or an attack. The five subsequent stages are essential reaction to the fear instilled in people minds by the initial tragedy.

    The second stage is the all-important one. If leaders willing to us the paranoia switch are not embraced by the people, a limbic war may not occur at all, and the unhappy unfolding of Stages 3 through 6 can be avoided. If they accept the fear brokers, the process continues into its third stage.

    The Six Stages of Limbic War
    1. Group Trauma
    2. Fear Brokers
    3. Scapegoatism
    4. Cultural Regression
    5. Recognition & Backlash
    6. Regret & Amnesia

    Ten Behavioral Characteristics of Fear Brokers
    1. Fear brokers speak to us of fear, dangerous people and frightening situations
    2. Fear brokers are not limited by facts; they use alarming “unfacts”
    3. Fear brokers tend to accuse those who disagree with them of being unpatriotic or naïve
    4. Feat brokers look good
    5. Fear brokers behave like archetypal parents
    6. Fear brokers shame us over sex
    7. Fear brokers praise us for being moral and heroic, contradicting as it is
    8. Fear brokers project personal infallibility
    9. Fear brokers are secretive, and are certain that other people too, are keeping dangerous secrets
    10. Fear brokers use language that pulls for primitive affect

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Apr 16, 2013 5:03:10 PM

  5. Where in Christianity is hate-mongering an involved practice? What are Fred Phelps and the WBC afraid of anyhow? Rainbows? Unicorns? A flaming pink queer apocalypse? I attempted to address this with a portrait of the good reverend on my artist’s blog at Drop in and let me know what you think!

    Posted by: Brandt Hardinndt | Apr 16, 2013 5:21:23 PM

  6. Any American who would be celebrating 911 is a certifiable idiot lunatic

    Posted by: jaragon | Apr 16, 2013 5:28:02 PM

  7. On another gay site, there was an article about the WBC predictably blaming the Boston Marathon bombing on same-sex marriage. Since the WBC needs incidents to blame on same-sex marriage, does that give the WBC a motive that could warrant an FBI investigation? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Posted by: B | Apr 16, 2013 6:25:04 PM

  8. There's some serious internalized homophobia in that family for sure. Probably some child molesting and incest too. Adultery and domestic abuse wouldn't surprise me either.

    Posted by: HirsuteHeuristics | Apr 16, 2013 6:58:24 PM

  9. Her last name is Alvarez. She married a Hispanic. I told you the reason these Westboro members left is sexual. They wanted to meet people and it was difficult because their beliefs and dedication is so far from the norm.

    Posted by: Billy Crytical | Apr 16, 2013 7:09:08 PM

  10. Actually, children do not believe everything adults tell them, as every parent discovers one way or the other. That doesn't mean they are rational, just that swaying them is not intrinsically easy.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 16, 2013 8:43:03 PM

  11. Yes, she still seems to be having some struggles on this issue. But it's a process. She was apart of the Westboro Baptist Church for her entire life up until a few years ago! That does damage to a person. To expect her to immediately become a pro-gay LGBT activist is unfair. To think she's going to immediately go from horrendously homophobic to completely accepting off the bat isn't realistic. It's going to take her a long time, if ever, for her to fully recover. But at least she's trying, and more important, taken the first step---gotten away from the WBC, and instead deciding to think for herself. Deserves credit for that.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 16, 2013 11:36:26 PM

  12. ...I agree, Libby has a long way to go to prove that she really made the right decision to leave that vipers-nest of hate.But, leaving is a start. And it is becoming clearer and clearer that ol'man Gramps Phelps has a stunning fixation on homosexuality.He thinks of nothing else, he speaks of nothing else. He is mentally ill and delusional and is getting WAY too much press. Being the center of attention is imperative to him. Most psychotics have this trait.He has brain damage from having been a professional fighter in his youth.His reasons for NOT joining the Army and the Boy Scouts are disturbingly unclear. A circuit blew back then and he has never been "right"....He is constitutionally incapable of rational though or behavior. The tragedy of his existence is that his family believe in him and worship him and spout his lunacy daily.
    Daughter Shirley is the mouth piece of this coven because she has an articulate voice. She can almost make one think that she is sane. She is not.Not by a longshot.Wht do we let these WBC cretins get under our skin?That is the real question here. Why do we let them get the press they hunger for? Not sure. I am guilty of letting them anger and frustrate me. I wish them ill-health and harm. And that worries me. I don't believe in their angry, vengeful god. Mine is loving and caring. They take up too much space on this planet. They are hucksters and charletons and worse....dangerous. When ol'man Phelps finally draws his last breath, I want him in all kinds of pain and suffering.And when he finally croaks I want to piss on his grave. Shame on me. Sorry.

    Posted by: thom | Apr 17, 2013 8:06:52 AM

  13. I think that there should be a Congressional investigation into the funding of the Westboro Baptist Church. They seem to be everywhere and someone must be funding the trips. Some GLBT gay rights group should demand public hearings.

    Posted by: Stephen Stillwell | Apr 17, 2013 8:17:19 AM

  14. ...I wouldn't be surprised if such an investigation took place, that we would find a huge amount of their filthy money comes from private hate-mongering groups...all one has to do is look around us and we can see some T-Baggers reaching into their pockets to fling at WBC or some NOM types, or some just far right zealots that want to annihilate anything they don't understand or relate to...WBC has many avenues to $$$'s ..make no mistake. If you have ever seen pictures of their "compound" you would see they live pretty damn well, pretty damn well indeed. Scary.

    Posted by: thom | Apr 17, 2013 10:01:15 AM

  15. It's great to see that she is capable of having her own mind.She's not far from what she was indoctrinated and brainwashed to believe,but this is one hell of a step in the right direction considering what she is walking away from.

    Posted by: Mikah | Apr 17, 2013 10:51:08 AM

  16. One thing we can hope for and perhaps expect (if her comment that only 'Gramps' is allowed preach,) is that the WBC is a personality cult of one old man, and that it will collapse as soon ad he kicks yhe bucket.

    Posted by: Charles | Apr 18, 2013 5:54:22 AM

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