Girl on a Wire Walking the Line Between Faith and Freedom in the Westboro Baptist Church By Libby Phelps, By Sara Stewart
It wasn’t until Libby Phelps was an adult, a twenty-five year old, that she escaped the Westboro Baptist Church. She is the granddaughter of its founder, Fred Phelps, and when she left, the church and its values were all she’d known. She didn’t tell her family she was leaving. It happened in just a few minutes; she ran into her house, grabbed a bag, and fled. No goodbyes.

Based in Topeka, Kansas, the Westboro Baptist Church community is one the country’s most notorious evangelical groups. Its members are known for their boisterous picketing—their zealous members with anti-military, anti-Semitic, and anti-gay signs—“Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “God Hates Jews,” or “Thank God for 9/11”—and their notorious catchphrase “God hates fags.” Search for them online and you’re directed to their website,

The church makes headlines in news across the country. You’ve driven past its picketers or seen them on TV. It has seventy members and ninety percent of them are part of Libby’s family. They picket concerts, football games, other churches, and, most notoriously, the funerals of servicemen and victims of hate crimes. For its members, to question its rules is to risk going to hell—where worms eat at your body and fire shoots out of your eyeballs.

In Girl on a Wire, Libby is candid about her experience and what’s happened since her escape. On Anderson Cooper Live, she was confronted by the mother of a soldier whose funeral had been picketed, and had to respond. Despite it all, she cares for her family. Her grandfather’s sermons were fear mongering, but she loves him. This unusual memoir presents a rare, inside look into a notorious cult, and is an astonishing story of strength, bravery, and determination.
TitleGirl on a Wire
SubtitleWalking the Line Between Faith and Freedom in the Westboro Baptist Church
AuthorBy Libby Phelps, By Sara Stewart
PublisherSkyhorse Publishing
ImprintSkyhorse Publishing
Published8 August 2017
Dimensions6.00 x 9.00in.
Illustrations16 color photos.

About the author

Libby Phelps was part of the Westboro Baptist Church until she was twenty-five years old. She’s participated in a BBC documentary titled America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis, has been on The Today Show and Anderson Cooper Live, and featured in media such as the New York Post, Lost Angeles Times, and Today, she’s a physical therapist and lives with her husband and son in Lawrence, Kansas.

Sara Stewart has been a features writer for the New York Post for over a decade and wrote an extensive profile of Libby for the Post in April 2013. She has also written features for The Contently Foundation for Investigative Journalism, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, the feminist site Women & Hollywood, and more. She splits her time between Brooklyn, NY and Indiana, PA.

"Very honest . . . surprising and powerful—I suppose we’d all like to believe that everything becomes much easier when you leave an oppressive environment. But of course, it doesn’t work that way. In fact, life becomes more complicated."—Louis Theroux, documentarian


"From the inside of one of America’s most infamous churches, Phelps delivers a captivating study of how free speech can become a vehicle for cruelty and hatred."--Publishers Weekly
ISBNs: 9781510703254 978-1-5107-0325-4 Title: girl on a wire category:REL ISBNs: 9781510703278 978-1-5107-0327-8 Title: girl on a wire category:REL ISBNs: 9781510739185 978-1-5107-3918-5 Title: girl on a wire category:REL 
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