Lauren Drain was dropped off by her father at a motel and told never to return to her home — the Westboro Baptist Church community — five years ago.
She had a few suitcases of her belongings and no friends, family or community to support her, having grown up in the isolated church, which is known for its radical condemnation of homosexuality in the U.S. She was, essentially, alone at the age of 22, according to the Huffington Post.
Drain, now 27 years old and the author of a memoir, recently launched a campaign to raise money to support other members of the Westboro Baptist Church who have already left, been kicked out or are considering leaving the congregation, according to International Business Times.
"With more and more young members defecting or being kicked out for questioning the church, I want to set up a safety net for those who need help getting back on their feet once they escape,” Drain said.
The Westboro Baptist Church is infamous for preaching messages such as “God Hates Fags,” “God Hates Fag Enablers” and “God Hates You.” The church is often accused of being a cult, and consists of about 70 members, who tout the belief that the world’s problems stem from god punishing the world for homosexuality, which the church claims god hates.
Drain aims to raise $20,000 through her campaign and to simultaneously show current members of the Westboro Baptist Church that they can start over in a community outside of the one into which they were born. Drain said she wants members of the church that the world is willing to “forgive them.”
"If this (campaign) is successful in helping, maybe it will set a great example for those others who are thinking of walking away from the only family they've had, the only friends they know, the community they are forced to maintain and the only life they have ever had," Drain said.
Bo, Taylor and Faith Drain — Lauren Drain’s three younger siblings — are still part of the Westboro Baptist Church. Drain said that members of the church are brainwashed to believe the outside world is filled with evil.
Just 19 members of the church have escaped it in the last 10 years, Drain said.