The new Louis Theroux documentary we're all itching to see airs this weekend
Set record as Louis will revisit one of his most notorious documentaries.
During Louis Theroux's first documentary about life in The Westboro Baptist Church, there were so many moments of rage, disgust and sadness that it was difficult to digest it all.
For those who didn't see the documentary, the cult-like Christian ministry picketed military funerals and other high-profile events with deliberately provocative chants and placards that were violently homophobic and racist.
As Theroux embedded himself in the community, it was difficult not to feel a degree of sympathy with some of the younger members because, to their young minds, they've known nothing but hatred after being raised in this close-knit cauldron of homophobia and bigotry.
There's a moment when Theroux asks a young boy why he believes that 'God hates fags,' for example. The boy's inability to articulate anything even close to a rational sentence was heartbreaking.
Theroux had revisited the ministry in 2011, but in 2014, their church's founder Pastor Fred Phelps passed away, and since then the family has faced some changes that threaten to break down the once tight-knit community.
Theroux will be returning to document The Westboro Baptist Church in a new documentary, which airs on Sunday.
In an interview with Stylist, Theroux explained why he has decided to revisit this topic for a third time.
"Enough time went by and I began seeing signs they were starting to change a little bit," he said.
"Specifically, that this rather extraordinary ex-member called Megan Phelps was beginning to campaign in a very thoughtful and informed and sensitive way for tolerance and understanding. I felt it was a helpful way of looking at the nature of profound ideological disagreement.
"In a sense, it’s a kind of version, I don’t want to stretch this too far, but in its own way it’s reminiscent of the Islamic State, this concept of radicalisation and de-radicalisation. To what extent can someone reform and change? These guys out there in Iraq and Syria who joined ISIS and now say they want to come back, to what extent do we feel that people having espoused hateful views are capable of changing?," he added.
As for the narrative approach that the new documentary will take, the official synopsis states: "Immersing himself in the strange and unpleasant world of Westboro, Louis explores what happens when a hate-group largely populated by one family loses its patriarch.
"And, as he discovers, Pastor Phelps’ doctrine of divine hate has cast a shadow not only on the church's true believers, but also on those who have managed to escape Westboro's vice-like grip."
Louis Theroux: Surviving America’s Most Hated Family airs on BBC Two at 9pm on Sunday, 14 July.