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"So what Gramps said to me was right," Drain says.
"I didn't know about that," Phelps-Roper tells Drain after hearing the story for the first time. "Sorry."
"No, that's OK," Drain says. "It was good. I needed to know that. Gramps said that to me before it even happened."
Steve Drain e-mailed Shirley Phelps-Roper a month after finishing his documentary: He was moving his family to Topeka.
"We're having a garage sale," he told her. "We're getting all of our things packed up."
Before they left, they had a going-away beach party with their families. Steve passed out copies of Hatemongers. It was the last time that they heard from some of their relatives. Others tried to convince them that they were making a mistake.
Luci's mother tried to talk her out of leaving. Luci wouldn't listen. It's been five years since she has spoken with her parents.
Steve's brother sent him a long e-mail, saying Steve was joining a cult. Steve hasn't spoken with his family in eight years.
"I didn't know what the heck I was going to do next," Steve admits. "I didn't have a plan. Neither Luci nor I had jobs. I just knew that I needed to get here."
The Ryder truck rolled into Topeka on July 2, 2001, and parked at the Drains' new one-bedroom home on the same block as the church.
"It speaks volumes when you pack up a family and move here," Phelps-Roper says. "He wasn't here long, and he asked to be a member. And we had absolutely no reason why he shouldn't be."
In August 2001, Phelps baptized Steve in the pool behind the church. Luci's and Lauren's baptisms followed that fall. And 10-year-old Taylor made a profession of faith and was baptized in March 2002.
Drain helped Phelps create the "God hates" signs that are now synonymous with the church. He also assisted in remodeling the Phelps Chartered law office and building homes for various family members. But Steve's niche is making "crazy videos," he says, promoting Westboro's message. He became a kind of propaganda minister for the church, spreading its message 24/7. His "WBC Video News" shorts allow Phelps to hurl fire and brimstone at the latest newsmakers, and his short "Sign Movies" explain the meanings of various Westboro picket slogans. He also produced a half-hour documentary on Obama's ascension to the White House, along with videos called Beast Watch and Jews News. He estimates that he has made 190 videos for the church. His latest production is a series of shorts called "God H8s," Westboro's answer to the No H8 campaign.
His parodies of Lady Gaga, Eminem and Paul Simon are his most successful pieces. They've been viewed thousands of times on YouTube.
"The only reason I tried to make things look a little bit cool is so the people will stay there a little bit longer, so they'll get preached to," Steve says. "We're just trying to meet people where they are ... and rattle their cages a little bit."
No photos of Lauren Drain hang on the walls of Steve and Luci's Topeka home. There are photos of the Drains' other children — Taylor, 9-year-old Boaz Abel and 7-year-old Faith Marie (named after Fred Phelps' wife) — and members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Lauren's photos were taken down after she was kicked out of the church in December 2007 when she was 21.