One can hardly fault Theroux for not analyzing sermons or listening to Westboro Baptists talk about Scripture. Libby Phelps grew up in the infamous anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. Megan left … In 2010, I asked Jael Phelps (now Holroyd) about an instance of an empathic response. Photo courtesy of BBC. Oscars Best Picture Winners Best Picture Winners Golden Globes Emmys San Diego Comic-Con New York Comic-Con Sundance Film Festival Toronto Int'l Film … We watch, however, as Theroux takes Megan’s side as a champion of causes, a journalistic advocate, only to condemn the Westboro Baptists time and again, often to their faces, leaving little conversational space. Since then she has become one of the church's most prominent critics. WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH aka the worst. She currently is planning to work with Planting Peace founder Aaron Jackson on what's described as an anti-bullying initiative. Mr Holroyd, who moved to Kansas and in 2012 married Jael Phelps, spoke to Louis Theroux 4 / 11 Mr Holroyd has been re-christened 'Matthias' by the church and now has three children ... the new convert from Britain was swiftly married to Gramps’ granddaughter Jael Phelps. Steven, now known as Brother Matthias, married church member Jael Phelps in 2012 and the couple has since had three children. You may have found your way here because you’ve seen some of my work on TV or for any number of reasons, either way I’m glad you’re here! I’ve queried and listened to Westboro Baptists possibly more “than any other person” who is not part of the group. DAMNING Britain as the home of decadence and sin, images of The Queen, Gary Glitter and Boy George flash across the screen with the words: God Hates The UK. Jael Phelps. Close. Jael married Ansel Morse in 1816, at age 22. Now the potential saint is the subject of a new film. But glossing over the changes at Westboro leads Theroux to misunderstand how well the church is surviving. What’s clear from my research is that this “enemy” is more than surviving – it is emerging from a complicated history under the leadership of Phelps, an adversarial Calvinist who was both a civil rights litigator and a harsh anti-gay protester. Theroux asks Shirley Phelps-Roper, Megan’s mother, to talk about losing children from the church. I friended Jael Phelps, now Jael Holroyd on facebook, she seemed so normal but at the same time is all for what that group stands for , I assume this is her sister. Fifty three percent of voters opposed the measure, keeping the ordinance in the books. Westboro Baptist Church. We get the impression that Holroyd has nothing to say. Topeka, KS, is where Jael Holroyd lives today. “We are human beings, we … I know that Jael Phelps recently closed her facebook account, maybe more to follow? All rights reserved. Well, Megan Phelps-Roper, for one. For further details of our complaints policy and to make a complaint please click this link:, Comments are subject to our community guidelines, which can be viewed, Bradford postal worker Steven Holroyd is the most unlikely recruit to the US cult notorious for its homophobic hate speech, Steven , re-christened Mathias by the church, said: 'The reality is that Britain is broken. A recently posted interview with Jael Phelps Roper of Westboro Baptist Church. As “Surviving” winds down, Theroux concludes that the church has “slightly diluted” its message, implying that this has helped WBC attract new members to make up for those who have left. #godsVote #Recount” Phelps-Roper left the anti-LGBT+ church when she met her now husband on Twitter and he challenged her beliefs. Libby Phelps Alvarez was raised as a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, a vitriolic group founded by her grandfather, Fred Phelps. Theroux misses the point. To see all content on The Sun, please use the Site Map. In her public advocacy on Westboro Baptist Church, Megan has encouraged outsiders to have “real conversations” with her kin. Jael Phelps and Jael M Holroyd are some of the alias or nicknames that Jael has used. (RNS) — No single congregation in America has had the kind of recognition, or notoriety, that the Westboro Baptist Church achieved in the 1990s. Maybe she was dealing with this? On this  third visit, cracks have started to appear in the church following the death in 2014 of its leader, Pastor Fred Phelps. He trains everyday, and for long periods of time. Archived. Simon Holroyd from Bradford, who has since changed his name to Mathias, married Jael Phelps back in 2012 and the couple share a number of children. Archived. Ms Phelps-Roper, the granddaughter of founder Reverend Fred Phelps, was once described as the “future leader” of the church. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski). There’s just hatred between these factions — things don’t look good for the UK. Filmmaker Louis Theroux met Steven for his latest BBC2 documentary on the hate group. A recently posted interview with Jael Phelps Roper of Westboro Baptist Church. She also helped explain the project to other Westboro Baptist interviewees. I sit down, and a smiling, older man walks by and shows me which book we will be singing out of, a piece of information I probably could have gleaned for myself since it was the only book that wasn’t a Bible. Topeka, KS. Since then, too, the church had lost quite a few young adults, most notably Megan Phelps-Roper, Phelps’ granddaughter, who walked away from the tight-knit community in 2012. A few weeks ago I found a photo on Twitter of Jael at a picket holding a tiny baby. Michael Phelps has admitted that the Covid-19 pandemic is taking a toll on his mental health. Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our, They’re still here: The curious evolution of Westboro Baptist Church. Most concretely, Theroux doesn’t bother to fact-check the church’s membership numbers. Now the girls have become involved in Judaism, speaking at festivals like Jewlicious and Le Mood, and even attending Shabbat services. Louis has now returned to the church to make another documentary. The few exceptions are Theroux’s chats with Jael (Phelps) Holroyd, who talks to him so warily about her British husband that the filmmaker teases her gently. Pastor Phelps died in 2014, aged 84, under a dark cloud. Join Facebook to connect with Jael Phelps and others you may know. The church’s eight elders (not seven, as Theroux reports) have also profoundly changed its internal discourse. Phelps moved back to San Francisco in the early 1980s. After all, as church elder Steve Drain told my students, it is boring for nonbelievers to converse with people “who love and fear the Lord.”, Westboro Baptist Church members demonstrate outside of Olathe North High School on May 20, 2018, near Kansas City. Her grandfather, the late Fred Phelps founded the church which is largely made up of Libby's family members. Despite his title, he never gets close to answering how the group has survived the tensions Phelps fostered. But Phelps was different from the garden-variety grinch in one important way: ... Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more. I don’t excuse the pain felt by the targets of his pickets but I have tried to understand his motives and his followers, for whom Phelps’ unrelenting message of “God hates” is held up as a kind of tough love. In fact, there is clear evidence that Westboro Baptists have been strategically refashioning their message, rebranding their website and modifying their picket signs to include more about, for instance, Jesus and love. At the same time, Phelps’ granddaughter, Jael Phelps, lost her bid for a seat on the City Council. As of now, Westboro Baptist’s membership has increased by 40% in the past five years. The church’s latest congregation member, J, thanks Louis for the initial inspiration. She now campaigns to change it from the outside, and Theroux tries to turn her into a case study of surviving a dynamic that is as controversial as Phelps’ ministry. Jael Strauss now says she's the happiest she's ever been. Yet, abruptly, Theroux’s narration immediately calls Shirley a “self-created victim of the hate she had sowed.”. The problem with “Surviving” is that the film spends more time gawking at WBC’s trademark street preaching and little time acquainting us with what most onlookers never see: churchgoers’ actual lives and ideas. But Theroux misses how important this shift in the language of Westboro’s sermons is. Post jobs, find pros, and collaborate commission-free in our professional marketplace. Pastor Fred Phelps, whose bizarre protests have made his tiny church reviled around the world, has a terrifying hold over his congregation. Bradford postal worker Steven Holroyd is the  most unlikely recruit to the US cult notorious for its  homophobic hate speech. Michael Phelps in 2020 is far away from the grandeur of being the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time. MAAD, JAEL & Jengi), Usually I Don't (Do This) and more. What is Michael Phelps doing now? Grace now regularly attends Friday night Shabbat services at Temple Beth Sholom, a Reform synagogue in Topeka, Kan., where she still catches glimpses of her family as they picket the exterior. Theroux captures Megan’s anguish in tender moments and even, in the film’s most troubling scene, appears to deliberately trigger her pain. Listen to music by JAEL on Apple Music. Now, however, she has crossed the picket line. Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected. EVER. (RNS) — With his two previous “Most Hated Family” documentaries, the British-American journalist Louis Theroux has done as much as anyone in the past dozen years to raise the profile of the Westboro Baptist Church. He first visited Westboro in 2006 and returned  in 2011 for America’s Most Hated Family In Crisis. Top row, l-r: Rebekah Phelps-Roper, Libby Phelps, Megan Phelps-Roper Bottom l-r: Jael Phelps, Louis Theroux, and Lauren Drain. (Hillel Gray is an assistant teaching professor in comparative religion, with a project on “Empathy and the Religious ‘Enemy,'” at Miami University of Ohio. Pastor Fred Phelps, whose bizarre protests have made his tiny church reviled around the world, has a terrifying hold over his congregation. Jael Phelps, a community member on The Stranger. hope you enjoyed Jael Phelps Wedding photos today, and don't forget to share them with your friends on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook & Twitter for more wedding design inspiration, and upcoming trends, keep reading of Stephanie Phelps Wedding, Elizabeth Phelps Wedding or Bentley Phelps Wedding. The Sun website is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Our journalists strive for accuracy but on occasion we make mistakes. The film rarely takes viewers beyond the church’s familiar posters by delving into their communal discussions or showing the impact of the protests on members’ personal lives. Mar 29, 2017 Getty/Instagram. About; Jobs; Blog; Developers; Guidelines; Privacy; Terms; Help; Report abuse; Help forum “Surviving” captures this dynamic as congregants read along with a sermon on Christian life by Ben Phelps, a grandson of the founder, who talks about being charitable. Mathias is now married to Jael Phelps, Pastor Phelps' granddaughter, and has three children. Close. “A large family, selling a hateful brand of religious certainty, must have had appeal to someone who’d always felt alone.”. Michael Phelps, who retired as the most decorated Olympian in history in 2016, is not holding out much hope for a clean Olympics Games in Tokyo next year. Famed for … 679215 Registered office: 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF. Yet the changes afoot, from its public preaching to its sermons, from new recruits to marriages among members, signal that it is alive and well and thriving in Topeka. Yet in my research I’ve known Sam to show other sides of himself and his Christian ethics when given a chance. Now 27, Drain tells her side of the story about life as a member of the infamous hate group in Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church (Grand Central), out March 5. My analysis of 600 WBC sermons from the past 15 years shows how talk about hate and wrath have declined in sermons since Fred Phelps died and love and mercy terms have increased significantly. But now three of her children have turned their back on her and been excommunicated. In a magazine interview, Theroux even predicts that Westboro Baptist Church will shrink. What brought Theroux back this time is his apparent curiosity about how the church has changed since the 2014 death of its founder, Fred Phelps Sr. For decades, Phelps was an intimidating, Bible-thumping, headlines-grabbing provocateur, and it’s easy to imagine that Phelps’ decline — when I interviewed him in 2010, he was already in poor health — and his eventual demise could have destabilized the church. "The Sun", "Sun", "Sun Online" are registered trademarks or trade names of News Group Newspapers Limited. Happy member of the Most Hated Church in the World who's warning you: if you don't heed His word, then get your own God-Smackin'! He said: “Mathias came across as somebody who had never really fitted into his old life. Filmmaker Louis Theroux, left, with Westboro Baptist Church elder Steve Drain with a WBC sign featuring Theroux’s head. The Olympic athlete and his wife Nicole Michele Phelps welcomed their third child into the world—a beautiful baby boy. Summary: Jael Holroyd's birthday is 01/28/1985 and is 35 years old. family. Megan Phelps-Roper left the Westboro Baptist Church when she met her husband on Twitter. Kevin Smith’s mission to turn Red State into some sort of tent-revival referendum on the state of modern filmmaking and the celebrity of Kevin Smith is clearly working, and if he can maintain a level of P.T. Your destruction is imminent! Dr. Gray met Jael on his first visit to Topeka, when she was starting out as a nurse. After shunning the church, her daughter Meghan, 28, used her inside knowledge to oppose Westboro. Phelps’s church is well-known throughout the U.S. for extremist anti-gay pickets. Fred Phelps, Shirley Phelps, Steeve Drain and Jael Phelps have all used the “A” word as a cuss word. His age resonates through every word. Encounters that assume good faith, she said in a compelling TED talk, could win over family. Theroux allows that “the message of the sermon has mellowed.”. Phelps is a beast when it comes to preparation. Find top songs and albums by JAEL including Hey Stranger (feat. Jael Phelps doesn't have any favorites yet. Westboro Baptist is still a tiny church, with 43 members in 2013, according to its reports to state authorities, and 61 members as of 2018. The church appears to have given Mathias a family and security he had never had after his mum died from cancer when he was 13. Stay tuned. RELATED: They’re still here: The curious evolution of Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper during the National Geographic Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton on July 25, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP). Make another documentary she doesn ’ t look good for the US.! Host, Journalist, Writer, Producer report that a US Marine his! Losing children from the church, her daughter Meghan, 28, used inside! His spirit check out Jael Phelps, a community member on the Stranger what 's as! 9 other siblings the U.S. for extremist anti-gay pickets, used her inside knowledge to oppose.! Uk and join the church, her daughter Meghan, 28, her. Rethinking their ideas evidence that he had told the people across the at!, Phelps ’ s just a divided society, between false Religion the... About struggling with her doctrinal commitments a British man had moved to from! 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