On Monday evening, "Piers Morgan Tonight" welcomed "Banished" author Lauren Drain to the program for a candid and revealing live interview.
A former member of the Westboro Baptist Church, Drain opened up about the place of worship most infamously know for its for anti-gay and anti-Semitic messages, and protests at national events, including memorial services for fallen soldiers:
"It's very controlling," said Drain, regarding her experience as a church member. "They control what you believe, what you say, what you do, what friends you have. They say everyone on the outside's evil. And they don't allow any outside influence at all."
Now 27, Drain spent her formative years – from 2001 through 2008 – within the WBC, before being banished for not adhering exclusively to the church's ways of worship:
"It's unfortunate and it's atrocity, the things that they do and say - horrible things they do and say. But yeah, they claim that they're speaking for God."
In response to Drain's book and appearance on the program, the Westboro Baptist Church issued the following statement:
"The scripture is clear:
At Matt. 10:34-39, the Lord Jesus Christ said: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother…and a man’s foes will be they of his own household.
Though making a profession of faith early on, Lauren, as a grown woman, chose to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season rather than to endure afflictions with the people of God. She simply doesn’t believe the things we believe.
We don’t care how many books you write – Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t allow fornication.
As to the veracity of the book, her parents have read several excerpts. It is so filled with lies, the book shops that carry it should offer their customers a little truth in advertising and display it on the fiction shelf. In one easily verifiable but ignored example, Lauren writes:
'I overheard (my Dad) tell (my Mom) that he was pawning my baseball card collection to help pay for the move. I had a signed Babe Ruth card in there that was very valuable.'
Just Google ‘autographed Babe Ruth card’! Depending on the year, such a card could command hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her dad is a man of modest means, and would never have had such a thing. Every page that her parents have read contains such lies.
We have spoken with the show’s producers, and it is our position that a balanced reporting of this book should include a fair and proper platform for response – Lauren’s adult sister, Taylor, is now the same age that Lauren was when she left the church, and is a member in good standing at Westboro Baptist Church. She can offer a unique and compelling perspective to what Lauren claims in her book. Taylor, and other members, have offered to appear on Piers Morgan’s show to provide such a full and proper response."
Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as Drain explains to Piers Morgan that the church "did brainwash me."
» Follow "Piers Morgan Tonight" on Twitter
» Follow "Piers Morgan Tonight" on Instagram