Megan Phelps-Roper

Writer, activist
A former member of Westboro Baptist Church, Megan Phelps-Roper is now a writer and educator on topics related to extremism, bullying and empathy in dialogue.

Why you should listen

Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church, the Topeka, Kansas church known internationally for its daily public protests against members of the LGBT community, Jews, the military and countless others. As a child, teenager and early 20-something, she participated in the picketing almost daily and pioneered the use of social media in the church. Dialogue with "enemies" online proved instrumental in her deradicalization, and she left the church and her entire way of life in November 2012. Since then she has become an advocate for people and ideas she was taught to despise -- especially the value of empathy in dialogue with people across ideological lines. She speaks widely, engaging audiences in schools, universities, faith groups, and law enforcement anti-extremism workshops. Her forthcoming memoir will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Megan Phelps-Roper’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Megan Phelps-Roper


A night to talk about redemption: TEDNYC Rebirth

February 17, 2017

How do we make sense of the tumult around us? How can we grapple with the confusion and alarm so many of us are feeling? In a special session of talks curated and hosted by Jon Ronson at TED HQ on Wednesday night, six speakers looked not at the ruin that follows hardship but the […]

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