This Film Tells the Story of Three Former Westboro Baptist Church Members

Nate Phelps is one of the children of Fred Phelps, the infamous founder of Westboro Baptist Church who died in 2014. Unlike his father with his “God Hates Fags” signs, Phelps is now a strong supporter of LGBT rights. After his father’s death, he beautifully wrote, “I will mourn his passing, not for the man he was, but for the man he could have been.”

Brad Johnson, Jason Badgett, and Terrie Johnson are filmmakers who want to share Nate’s story with the world, and a few years ago, they began working on a documentary about his life, funded on Kickstarter. It was called Not My Father’s Son:

I posted a link to the Kickstarter when it was up because it seemed like such an incredible project. Unfortunately, they raised only $20,000 of their $55,000 goal — and because this was not a flexible campaign, where they keep whatever they earn, they got none of the money. It was an all or nothing deal and they didn’t make it.

But that didn’t stop them. They took individual donations via PayPal and continued working on the project. They even broadened its scope. Instead of just doing a film about Nate, they spoke with two of Fred Phelps’ other children, Mark and Dortha, who shared Nate’s disgust of their father’s beliefs.

The majority of the film is now complete and the producers are looking for help to cross the finish line.

They just launched a new Kickstarter for the film — now titled Not My Father’s Child because it’s not just about Nate — with a more modest goal of $15,000. (This is also an all-or-nothing campaign.)

As before, I urge you to check out the trailer and consider chipping in. If Nate and his siblings could walk away from a cult like Westboro, there’s hope for other fundamentalists, too. This is a story that needs to be shared.

(Portions of this article were published earlier)

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