They are messengers of hate. The Westboro Baptist Church has become infamous for callously picketing the funerals of American soldiers killed in combat.
Shamefully, they even threatened to picket funerals following the massacre at Newtown, Connecticut.
But just who are these people who have become notorious for their outlandish behavior? Now, for the first time, INSIDE EDITION spoke to an insider.
Lauren Drain has been banished from the church, and disowned by her family for speaking out.
She said she was sucked in when she turned 14, and her father joined the church.
"I think I was brainwashed in this cult. Definitely," she said.
Drain found herself carrying signs like "Don't Pray for the USA" at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. But she said she knew it was wrong even then.
"I prayed that no one would see me knowing that was such a shameful thing that I was doing," she said.
When Lauren questioned the church's teachings, and wanted to date outside the church, she was placed under house arrest for a month, and then later banished. She was only 21.
"It wasn't until afterwards that I realized how much harm and destruction I had done to other families and how awful that was," she said.
While watching a video of the protest, Drain spotted her sister, who she has not seen in five years. She said, "She's so intelligent. She's such a sweet girl and I hate to see her, and this is all that can become of her.
Drain told the story of her seven years inside the Church in a new book, Banished - Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church. The church claims the book is all lies.
She is now rebuilding a life outside the Church, works as a cardiac nurse, and is engaged to her boyfriend, David. But she said she still misses her family and has this plea:
"I'm pleading with my family to leave. Stop, you know. I'm still trying to tell them there's hope," she said.
The Westboro Baptist Church issued this statement to INSIDE EDITION:
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, 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. The only reason that this book is a story is that the bible preaching of Westboro Baptist Church is hated the world over, and so any attempt to vilify the church is welcomed. But it changes nothing - God still hates fags and same-sex marriage will doom any nation that adopts it an acceptable practice.