OLD MONROE, Mo. (KMOX) – Zach Phelps-Roper is settling into his new neighborhood in Old Monroe, about an hour north of St. Louis.  He’s there working with a group called United Bikers for Unjust Causes – part of what they do is counter protest the Westboro Baptist Church which is most of Zach’s family. His grandfather is the church’s founder, Fred Phelps.

Zach says he was protesting as young as 3 years old. He would hold up signs that said things like “God Hates Fags,” but now he holds signs that say “God Loves You.”

He says he was too young to know what the sign even meant – he felt brainwashed – we asked Zach if he thought the church was a cult. Listen to his response below:

Zach left the church over a disagreement with his parents. He said he was experiencing pain and they thought the solution was to pray it away. Zach said he felt like no one was listening to him, so he left. As he began to meet people, he realized the profound effect Westboro had.

“It was at first a painful process but I love to live life now. I look forward to each day and it feels like every day gets better than the last.”

We asked Zach for his thoughts on Heaven and Hell:

Zach also talked about his grandfather, Fred Phelps:

KMOX did reach out to Westboro for a comment but they never responded.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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