Board of Directors
Dr. Darrel W. Ray is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Recovering From Religion. Dr. Ray has been a psychologist for over thirty years and is the author of four books: two on organizational teamwork as well as “The God Virus-How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture” and “Sex and God-How Religion Distorts Sexuality”. He has been a student of religion most of his life and holds a Masters Degree in religion as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology/Anthropology with a Doctorate in psychology. He is also the director of the Recovering From Religion program called The Secular Therapy Project; a groundbreaking effort to anonymously match interested clients with therapists who adhere to evidence based, secular therapeutic practices in their mental health treatment approach.
A life-long evangelical Southern Baptist, Sarah spent years as a dutiful wife and mother before finding the courage to leave an abusive marriage. She ultimately let go of her faith, becoming a passionate advocate for growing the secular community by developing resources for practical support as people reconsidering the role of religion in their life.
In 2011 she joined the leadership of Recovering From Religion and in 2012 she was appointed the Executive Director. Thanks to her tireless efforts, Recovering From Religion is well known as the bridge of hope for those negatively impacted by religion. In 2014 she was honored with the American Atheists “Atheist of the Year” award for her activism throughout the secular movement and in January 2015 she was elected President of the Reason Rally Coalition.
When she is not busy directing RR and organizing events like Apostacon, she enjoys spending time with her family and homeschooling her many children.
Nathan Phelps is an author and engaging speaker on religion and child abuse, as well as an outspoken LGBT advocate, and the Executive Director for the Center For Inquiry in Calgary. He has dedicated his life to spreading his message and has become an inspiration to those who grew up in oppressive religious families.
The son of the notorious Fred Phelps, Nathan was raised inside Westboro Baptist Church, America’s most infamous church family. He grew up physically, emotionally and mentally bullied daily by his father, all in the name of God, until his 18th birthday when he managed to finally escape. Despite his background, Nathan hopes to continue spreading his message of healing, love, and acceptance through the goals and vision of Recovering From Religion. Currently, Mr. Phelps is completing a documentary with filmmaker Brad Johnson called Not My Father’s Son, which chronicles his own journey from faith and fundamentalism to tolerance and freethought.
AJ Johnson is vice president & co-founder of Be Secular, a business specifically modeled to expand and empower the Secular Movement. Offering 5 years of nonprofit development experience, she serves on the board of Recovering from Religion, as the development adviser for Black Atheists Of America, and offers fundraising advice to other secular groups and projects. Fully embracing her identity as an “out and proud” black, atheist, bisexual woman has long fueled her passion for helping others in need of support and encouragement throughout both the secular and LGBTQ communities. She graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), gaining valuable leadership experience as a residential adviser (RA) for new students and teaching English to Thai children while studying abroad. Before becoming vice president of Be Secular, she served as Assistant Director of Development for Scholarships at UNC.