The Westboro Baptist Church is well-known for loudly making its hateful, virulently homophobic views known by protesting at high-profile funerals, including those of soldiers.
But for family members who have escaped what they call a "cult," the church's silence may be the loudest protest of all.
Just before her 22nd birthday, Lauren Drain was kicked out of the Topeka-based church, reportedly for "questioning elements of church doctrine," according to Advocate.com. Since then, she moved on to become a registered nurse and she joined the NOH8 campaign.
On Sunday, Lauren posted a photo from her wedding to reddit, showing her walking down the aisle not with her father, but with other friends who have escaped the church as well.
"My father is in a cult & wouldn't attend my wedding, so two ex-cult members & close friends who also escaped stepped in to take his role & give me away," she titled the thread.
In an email exchange with Business Insider, Lauren confirmed she did invite her family members, but they did not attend, nor did they even respond.
"When I was ostracized I was given a few hours to pack my life into a few suitcases, dropped off by my father at a motel and told to never return, never contact my siblings and that I was now disowned," Drain wrote in a plea to help other WBC escapees. "Anyone that leaves or is kicked out is banished for life and all ties to your family, friends, community, life are severed and you are truly on your own."
In a comment in the reddit thread, Lauren writes:
My name is Lauren Drain & I was kicked out of the cult (the Westboro Baptist Church) where the rest of my family, including my 3 younger siblings are still trapped. This is a photo from our wedding last month, none of my family attended but I was lucky enough to have Megan & Grace Phelps-Roper, who also escaped, step in and take the lead roles during the wedding. I'm now doing all that I can to reconnect with my 3 trapped siblings. They are forbidden from speaking to me & all my efforts thus far have been shut down. However, I hope they too escape by any means one day! Here is the wedding highlight video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T_aPOc8pXU or if you want to know more: https://www.facebook.com/LaurenDrain
You can see more from Drain's wedding in this Youtube video.
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