The most recent selection in the 17-year history of the One Book South Dakota program is “Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church” by Megan Phelps-Roper. Learn about and discuss the book via Zoom during your lunch break! Friday, September 4th at 12:00 pm Central. Copies of the book are available for checkout from the Vermillion Public Library. Registration is required: bit.ly/onebookvpl. The first 30 people to register will each get a free Reader Guide and a South Dakota Humanities Council sticky pad!
About the book:
The activist and TED speaker Megan Phelps-Roper reveals her life growing up in the most hated family in America.
At the age of five, Megan Phelps-Roper began protesting homosexuality and other alleged vices alongside fellow members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Founded by her grandfather and consisting almost entirely of her extended family, the tiny group would gain worldwide notoriety for its pickets at military funerals and celebrations of death and tragedy. As Phelps-Roper grew up, she saw that church members were close companions and accomplished debaters, applying the logic of predestination and the language of the King James Bible to everyday life with aplomb―which, as the church’s Twitter spokeswoman, she learned to do with great skill. Soon, however, dialogue on Twitter caused her to begin doubting the church’s leaders and message: If humans were sinful and fallible, how could the church itself be so confident about its beliefs? As she digitally jousted with critics, she started to wonder if sometimes they had a point―and then she began exchanging messages with a man who would help change her life.
A gripping memoir of escaping extremism and falling in love, “Unfollow” relates Phelps-Roper’s moral awakening, her departure from the church, and how she exchanged the absolutes she grew up with for new forms of warmth and community. Rich with suspense and thoughtful reflection, Phelps-Roper’s life story exposes the dangers of black-and-white thinking and the need for true humility in a time of angry polarization.
Register below to access the Zoom session, hosted by the Edith B. Siegrist Vermillion Public Library, and lead by SDHC Scholar, Dr. Marilyn Carlson Aronson. Please register by September 3rd, 2020: bit.ly/onebookvpl.
This program was made possible by the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.