Huffpost Religion

Nate Phelps, Son Of Westboro Baptist Church Leader, Speaks Out On HuffPost Live (WATCH)

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Nate Phelps is the son of Pastor Fred Phelps -- the founder of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church. Known for picketing military funerals and spewing hate against gays and other religious groups, the church has been widely criticized as a hate group.

By age 16, Nate found himself at odds with his father's views and tired of the extreme physical punishment he endured. On his 18th birthday, he escaped his family, driving off in a used Rambler Classic in the middle of the night. He slept in a gas station bathroom for three straight nights, filled with a mixture of fear and hope.

Nate eventually began a new life, moving first to California and then to Canada. Today, he joined HuffPost Live from Calgary, Alberta, to share his amazing life story.

Also joining the conversation were James Schwartz, who grew up gay and Amish in Michigan, leaving his community so he could live openly. We also heard from Libby Anne, a woman raised within the Christian ministry Vision Forum -- which advocates Quiverfull's patriarchal principles. As a college student, she too, left her religion behind.

The Executive Director of MeadowHaven, a long term treatment facility for escapees of high-control organizations, also lent his perspective to the conversation, explaining his approach to healing.

Watch the full conversation below.

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