Lauren Drain: Hachette Speakers Bureau

Lauren Drain

Former Westboro Baptist Church Member Now Living a Happy, Balanced Life & Supporter of Human Rights

Lauren Drain was a member of the highly controversial organization known as the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) as an indoctrinated child between the years of 2001 and 2008, until she was banished for questioning the belief system and the methods used by the church in expressing their ideology.

These days it’s hard to turn on the news and not witness members of this radical group picketing and protesting at events such as the funerals of soldiers, the 9-year old victim of the Tucson shooting, and Elizabeth Edwards, all in front of their grieving families. The WBC is fervently anti-gay, anti-Semitic, and appears to be anti- everything and everyone in-between. This viewpoint is openly displayed via hate speech on the offensive signs members hold up during their purposely ill-timed demonstrations at events not meant to be open to the public.

And they aren’t going anywhere: in March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the WBC’s right to picket funerals.

Since no organized religion will claim affiliation with the WBC, it’s perhaps more accurate to think of them as a cult. Drain was thrust into that cult at the age of 15, and then spat back out again seven years later. Her memoir Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church (co- authored by Lisa Pulitzer) is the first look inside the organization, as well as a fascinating story of adaptation and perseverance.

Drain spent her early years enjoying a normal life with her family in Florida. But when her formerly liberal and secular father set out to produce a documentary about the WBC, his detached interest gradually evolved into fascination, and he moved the entire family to Kansas to join the church and live on their compound. Over the next seven years, Drain fully assimilated their extreme beliefs, and became a member of the church and an active and vocal picketer. But as she matured and began to challenge some of the church’s tenets, she was unceremoniously cast out from the church and permanently cut off from her family and from everyone else she knew and loved. Banished is the story of Drain’s fight to find herself amidst dramatic changes in a world of extremists and a life in exile.

The past has been stripped away and nowadays Drain lives a happy, freethinking life while partaking in a plethora of activities and hobbies that she was once forbidden from enjoying.

Drain has posed for the NOH8 campaign promoting marriage, gender and human equality and regularly speaks against the WBC. She has openly apologized to all the females she has hurt in her past life and has become a voice for the children still stuck within the cult.

Drain works as a registered nurse. She lives with her fiancé in Connecticut, where she enjoys outdoor activities including endurance races, hiking, dirt biking, and camping.

Interested in booking Lauren Drain to speak at your next event?

Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau.


  • Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church
  • From Hate to Love: My Personal Journey to Happiness, Freethinking and Becoming a Supporter of Human Rights

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