The Joe Rogan Experience Episode 974 with Megan Phelps-Roper

Episode Number: 974
Episode Guest: Megan Phelps-Roper
Original Airdate: June 8, 2017
Episode Sponsors: Onnit, NatureBox, ZipRecruiter, Caveman Coffee

Guest Bio: Megan Phelps-Roper is a social media activist, lobbying to overcome divisions and hatred between religious and political divides. Formerly a prominent member of the Westboro Baptist Church, she left the church with her sister Grace in November of 2012.

Topics Discussed: What it was like growing up in the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC); she thought they were helping people; why the church protests soldiers’ funerals; they feel they are doing the right thing; reaction to the church protesting funerals; what her first time protesting a funeral was like; what made her leave the church; conversations through Twitter helped her leave; talking with a Jewish person on Twitter; she protested a Jewish cultural festival; her church is against violence; learning about repentance from the Jewish guy; contradictions in the church; why does the church use slurs for gay people; Joe explains the origins of the word “faggot“; she and her sister left the church together in their mid/late twenties; they must be obedient to the laws of men; the church is a culture of tattle-tails; her social life was connected to the church; she met her husband on Twitter; she was supposed to date someone from the church; her relationship with her sister; how she left the church; they didn’t forcibly try to make her stay, but tried to convince her; the church isn’t a cult, but aspects are cult-ish; she had no job outside the church; meeting Louis Theroux when he made his The Most Hated Family in America documentary about them; she has a degree in finance; Left Behind movies; women aren’t allowed to cut their hair in the church; clothes and wearing two different types of fabric; New Testament; the church wouldn’t address older versions of the bible; why does God punish some people; the bible can be interpreted different ways; the bible is written in a style that we don’t use to communicate anymore; (1:00:00) she loves/loved the style in which the bible was written; Joe thinks the bible is interesting as a time capsule; 300,000-year-old bones found in Morocco; evolution wasn’t taught; The Paleo Manifesto book; Twitter changed her life; talk about Twitter; learning to hate the evil and love the good; moments don’t define people; So You’ve Been Publically Shamed book; we love when people do bad things; people looking for things to get offended at; the tweet that ruined Justine Sacco’s life; Sarah Silverman talked about the WBC in her latest Netflix special; people are the product of their experiences; we like to put people in boxes; she didn’t get a job immediately after leaving the church; they would protest Scientology; the church had signs that said “Thank God for 9/11” at a parade for Obama’s (?) first inauguration; they would stand on American flags; her mom was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor; police protecting people; violence on campuses; the church has a right to protest; should the cops protect the protesters; first amendment rights; the church’s goal wasn’t violence; debate about police protection for the church and its protesters; Joe thinks part of her still wants to defend the church; her cousin has also left the church; she moved to Deadwood, South Dakota with her sister; other family members have left; she doesn’t talk to family who are still with the church; following family members on Twitter; her mom was once kicked off Twitter; her mom blocked her on Twitter; her mom won’t talk to her; debating family on Twitter; pointing out contradictory bible verses to her family on Twitter; talk about the meaning of “neighbor” in the bible; the church is an echo chamber; she and her sister were staying with Jehovah’s witnesses; she got a job at a marketing company; how did she change her views; people were understanding and empathetic to her after she left the church; realizing she knew nothing about the Jewish religion and its people; (2:00:00) speaking at a Jewish festival; travelling after leaving the church; she hasn’t spoken to her dad, but has spoken with his family; she left the church less than 5 years ago; she sees no evidence of God and doesn’t believe in him; atheism; we don’t know enough about the universe to say there is no God; Joe talks again about Moses, the burning bush, and DMT; saying there is no God is just as silly as saying there is one; the Jehovah’s witnesses she knows left their church; Jehovah’s witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays; it’s important to question things and look for evidence; she would love to talk to her mom; she thinks someone from the church will listen to this podcast; she hopes her brothers and sisters will leave; prayer and praying; the church would send out a flyer of the soldiers that have died and ask for more deaths; she’s writing a book; she’s hesitant about teaching anyone anything; she doesn’t walk around with a sense of certainty or righteousness; the church says the human heart is deceitful; contradictory verses in the bible; man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty don’t go together; she misses her grandfather very much; the problem with ideologies is that they can’t be questioned; comfort in patterns and certainty; uncertainty after leaving the church was overwhelming; just be a good person; we want to join teams; humans are weird; people have a hard time changing; she lived with a Rabbi that she once called a whore; she still holds onto so much from home; the bible is comforting and familiar to her still; the bible and religion is like mathematics to Joe; justifying your thinking by demonizing other types of thinking; she’s not trying to hurt or embarrass the church, she wants to help; admitting that she fucked up and her life was a lie; “Weird” Al Yankovic’s “Everything You Know is Wrong” song; people feel imprisoned by their past; it’s hard for people to admit they don’t know something or when they’ve messed up; wrestling with uncertainty; we’re in the middle of a storm of understanding; more talk about Twitter and how it has helped her.

My Thoughts: Sticks to talk about the church and her life since leaving. If you enjoyed the podcasts about Scientology, you’ll like this one as well.

Podcast Video: Below is a video of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast episode #974 available for streaming via YouTube.

Podcast Audio: Audio for this episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is available through iTunes, Stitcher, or you can download the MP3 directly to add it to the audio player of your choice.