Lauren Drain, a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church, published a book about leaving the hate group. Lauren thinks that founder Fred Phelps’s anti-gay bigotry may have spawned from a gay experience he had in the military.
Lauren Drain said in The Advocate, “I never understood why, when [the media asked him], “Why are you so against the homosexuals? Did you have a homosexual experience? Do you have homosexual tendencies?” And he would get so mad, he would shut down. And he’d be like, “I can’t talk to this person anymore, they’re stupid.” His reaction to that was stronger than any other question you can ask him. So I always wondered that — why does he get so mad? If I’m not gay, I’ll just say I’m not gay. And I’m not going to freak out, like, “Why are you calling me gay?” I always thought that was super strange. … I don’t know what happened there, so [speculation] is all that I can leave it at. But something happened, and something made him change his mind about the military, and in turn have kind of a crusade against sexual immorality and homosexuals.”
Phelps was a Boy Scout, headed into the military, but at age 17 he changed his mind and began his anti-gay hate crusade. What happened to Fred at age 17?