At Westboro Baptist Church, Steve Drain found religion but lost a daughter 

Page 6 of 6

"If she was one of the Lord's people, then she'd be here," Taylor says of her older sister. She calls the church "the happiest place in the world."


Phelps-Roper estimates that around 25 people have left Westboro since 2004. Phelps-Roper lost her son, Josh, as part of what she calls "a great falling away." Steve Drain says 12 of the 13 who have left in the past four years have been under the age of 25. But this isn't a sign of crisis, he says, because there's always a perfect number of people in "the Lord's church." Those who leave were just a test, sent to humble God's servants.

In March, two of the defectors, Josh and his cousin, Libby Phelps, appeared onstage for a question-and-answer session after the Kansas City premiere of Kevin Smith's Westboro-inspired horror movie, Red State. Josh talked of eventual successors to his grandfather. The two names he mentioned: Fred Phelps' son, Tim Phelps, and Steve Drain.

Months later, Josh's words are still ringing in Steve's ears as he strolls across the adjoining backyards of several Phelps family homes to the print shop inside Fred Phelps' home. It's also the church. Steve says he won't lead Westboro.

"The whole idea of having some long-range aspiration doesn't fit the notion of being a Christian," he says as he walks past the pool where he was baptized. "I have no desire for that. I don't feel equipped for that. And, as I said, I'm looking for the Lord to come any day now. I don't even think that's a condition of my mind."

Back at home, Boaz and Faith have returned from school. Steve calls them "walking picket signs." Faith, a little girl with long blond hair, a pink shirt and sparkly shoes, bounces around the house and gives her dad a big hug. Boaz, wearing a Super Mario T-shirt, blue jeans and Chuck Taylor All Stars, stands in the kitchen watching cartoons on a small TV on the counter.

Neither is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, even though both attend church services. Neither has made a public profession of faith yet.

"The Lord hasn't done anything to their heart to make them feel inclined to say, 'I want to serve the Lord,'" Steve says. "They're my children, and I raise them to a Bible standard, and I make them behave themselves, but they're not members of the church."

Boaz and Faith may never make a public profession of faith. And that doesn't seem to worry the Drains.

"We're not results-oriented," Steve says. "We just do what the Lord says for us to do. And if he shows his mercy on us, he shows his mercy on us. We don't even know if we're going to heaven."

Comments (125)

Showing 1-25 of 125

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 125

Add a comment

More by Justin Kendall

Latest in Feature

Facebook Activity

All contents ©2014 Kansas City Pitch LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Kansas City Pitch LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.

All contents © 2012 SouthComm, Inc. 210 12th Ave S. Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of SouthComm, Inc.
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Website powered by Foundation