Megan Phelps-Roper

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January 2019

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Megan Phelps-Roper Hi Jenna,

There are many! I write about quite a few of them in UNFOLLOW. They fell into two general categories: (1) internal inconsistencies within Wes…more
Hi Jenna,

There are many! I write about quite a few of them in UNFOLLOW. They fell into two general categories: (1) internal inconsistencies within Westboro’s doctrines, and (2) emotional arguments about how our protests were affecting people. I feel strongly that because of the way I was raised, the latter had very little chance of changing my mind until I could grasp the former. For more than two decades, many people (both on and off social media) had used emotional arguments, but I had been taught that any feelings we had that contradicted Westboro doctrines were evil—quite literally (“God Hates Your Feelings”). There are a lot more details in the book, tracking how my mind was changed over time, but this is the general idea!

Thanks so much for your question, Jenna, and I hope this helps clarify a bit!

Average rating: 4.16 · 15,102 ratings · 1,894 reviews · 2 distinct worksSimilar authors
Unfollow: A Journey from Ha...

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“Doubt was nothing more than an epistemological humility: a deep and practical awareness that outside our sphere of knowledge there existed information and experiences that might show our position to be in error. Doubt causes us to hold a strong position a bit more loosely, such that an acknowledgment of ignorance or error doesn't crush our sense of self or leave us totally unmoored if our position proves untenable. Certainty is the opposite: it hampers inquiry and hinders growth. It teaches us to ignore evidence that contradicts our ideas, and encourages us to defend our position at all costs, even as it reveals itself as indefensible. Certainty sees compromise as weak, hypocritical, evil, suppressing empathy and allowing us to justify inflicting horrible pain on others.”
Megan Phelps-Roper, Unfollow: A Journey from Hatred to Hope

“The discovery of internal inconsistency and hypocrisy as an important first step in seeing outside of group dogma.”
Megan Phelps-Roper, Unfollow: A Journey from Hatred to Hope

“That the answer to bad ideas is to publicly reason against them, to advocate for and propagate better ones. And that it is dangerous to vest any central authority with broad powers to limit the bounds of acceptable discussion—because these powers lend themselves to authoritarian abuse, the creation of echo chambers, and the marginalization of ideas that are true but unpopular. In short, the principles underlying the freedom of speech recognize that all of us are susceptible to cognitive deficiencies and groupthink, and that an open marketplace of ideas is our best defense against them.”
Megan Phelps-Roper, Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church

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