My Memoir Introduction: I Was Born a “Saint”– a Slave!

INTRODUCTION


shack-with-fence-and-windmills

I was born some time ago,
Way out in the sticks,
In a valley of old Mexico,
In 1946.
(So begins my saga.)



     

I am conscious that my narrative
savers of incredibility:

The fault is in the subject,
not in the narrator.”
~The City of the Saints,
By Richard F. Burton,
1861
*(quote borrowed from Irving Wallace’s
outstanding biography,

The Twenty-Seventh Wife”)
1961

************



  The Cards of Life

Life dealt me cards — I played my hand
With confidence — I had it planned …
When, later, life revealed the score
It shook me to my very core!
I wondered then — still wonder now:
Could I have changed my life somehow?
And — if life dealt this hand again —
Would I repeat my life of pain?
Or would my hand, ignoring me,
Repeat this life and destiny?
Hiding in a Cave of Trunks”
By Ester Benjamin Shifren
2012

@@@@@@




I learned that even when life deals you a bad hand,
you can still have a happy life if you are willing
to take a chance and put the past behind you.”
~Illegitimate
Brian Mackert
2008



       



  December 10, 2016

In four months I will turn 71, and it will be the 50th anniversary of my 1967 escape from living “The Principle” (plural marriage/ polygamy) in the now largely extinct bizarre,  backward, dangerous Mormon fundamentalist LeBaron cult that was headquartered in Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico.

I was born and raised a fourth-generation Mormon polygamist — “polygamist” meaning anyone who believes in and lives polygamy. My great-great-grandfather, Benjamin F. Johnson, a bright and gifted writer, was one of the self-proclaimed Prophet Joseph Smith’s personal Scribes, starting at the tender age of eighteen. (Joseph Smith also sealed him to himself as a son! So in a roundabout way, that makes Joseph Smith my Great-grandfather, three places removed!)

That’s the most prestigious bloodline one can come by if one is Mormon. Mother didn’t mince beans about letting me and my thirteen siblings know we were “part of the royal blood” — and she held her head high as she proclaimed we were of this enviable hierarchy.

Actually, we came by way of “Royal Bloodlines” in more ways than one: We Spencers are also related, through my father, to Princess Diana Spencer, Winston Spencer Churchhill, the two Pres. Bush families — and other such.

We even could have been children of the self-proclaimed prophet, the late Rulon Jeff’s: While Mother was single, in the early 1940s, and living in Utah, she dated polygamist Rulon Jeffs, father of the now incarcerated, infamous FLDS leader, Warren Jeffs!

As my youngest sister Lenora (born on my wedding day!) likes to facetiously say,”Warren Jeffs could’ve been another brother by another mother!” And I like to retort, “We also could’ve been his sister by a different Mister!” (Heaven forbid!)

Even more ironic, when you consider how “royal” our blood is, is Mother’s brother and my once beloved Uncle Ervil is the now-deceased infamous criminal known to the world as the “Mormon Manson,” or “Evil Ervil” LeBaron — or the past “Mormon Mafiosoand Malevolent Dictator of the now-extinct Lebaron Crime Family.

Uncle Ervil was, at one time, the all-powerful, priestcraft-working, cult-creating Uncle whom I had been taught, as a kid and member of the cult, stood as “The Second Grand Head” — next only to my Uncle Joel, the self-proclaimed prophet of “The Church of the First Born.”

I had known, loved, feared, revered, and respected Uncle Ervil — before his scandalous schizophrenic psychosis and sociopathic psychopathy worsened, leading him completely and hopelessly off the deep end.

Another unusual coincidence is that my Aunt Irene LeBaron Spencer, best-selling author of the Memoir, “Shattered Dreams,” used as her second book’s cover (“Cult Insanity“– A book about Uncle Ervil, et Al, and the LeBaron cults) a photograph I took of Uncle Ervil holding my daughter when she was eight years old — before I knew he was a paranoid schizophrenic and psychopath.

You can view this photograph that’s now on her book cover. See Aunt Irene’s book, “Cult Insanity,” in my Menu under “Media on Some of My Extended Family.” Uncle Ervil’s then right-hand man, my brother-in-law Dan Jordan, is also in the picture.

I took this picture of them in 1972 when I was still a student at UCLA. The two had come to my home, at Mother’s request, to go with me to the US Immigration Office to bear witness that I was indeed an American.

I needed to get my US citizenship papers in order to become a public schoolteacher in the United States. I was born in old Mexico of American parents but they didn’t register my birth with the US Embassy in Mexico. So now I was having to verify my citizenship in order to get these needed legal documents.

 I had no idea, when Uncle Ervil LeBaron and my brother-in-law Dan Jordan came to my home, they were at that very moment plotting the murder of people such as my Uncle Joel LeBaron, my Uncle Ervil’s own brother and the self-proclaimed “Prophet” of their backward, isolated Chihuahuan-desert cult I had escaped from five years earlier.

I consider myself lucky these two sociopaths/ psychopaths (my brother-in-law Dan Jordan and my Uncle Ervil LeBaron) didn’t kill me during that visit — I being a “daughter of perdition” for having abandoned their so-called church.

I think all that saved me is, even though I fled my uncle Joel’s and Ervil’s cult five years earlier, Uncle Ervil held a fantasy I was actually going to go to all the trouble to get my Bachelor’s Degree and Teaching Credential, then return to his cult to teach “the Saints,” for free, of course — as I had from ages fourteen to nineteen. Well, thanks but no thanks!

I had started teaching in the LeBaron colony shortly after my family repatriated to Mexico in 1960 to live again in LeBaron, a colony my maternal grandfather Dayer LeBaron had started, built on land my father and mother left him when they returned to the United States. I was only one year old then. I was fourteen when my family returned again to live in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.

It was seven years later when I managed to escape from the LeBaron cult to return to the United States. That was rather a miracle in itself. But then I miraculously entered a Junior College in Los Angeles within five months after I made it out of the cult! I was twenty-one, at the time, penniless, had a three-year-old child — and only six years of formal education!

When Uncle Ervil came to my apartment in 1972, I was in my fifth year of struggling through college on little education and less money — struggling to get a college degree and a teaching credential so I could get a job as a public school teacher.

Though I loved teaching and wanted to be a teacher, I sure never, ever was going to get stuck barefoot and pregnant again in Colonia LeBaron teaching for free — like I had before. But Uncle Ervil didn’t know what was going on in my mind. That may be why I lived to tell about it!

Going back to where I was before I digressed, as I said previously, the reason Uncle Ervil, bringing along with him his sidekick Dan Jordan, had come to LA was to testify before Officials at the US Immigration Office that I was indeed an American citizen — born in Mexico of American parents.

Uncle Ervil thus helped me get my Citizenship papers in order so I could obtain my Teaching Credential and be able to teach in the US. It was a God-send he did this for me, given that I was considered in his eyes an “apostate.” Apostates are generally left to die by family, relatives, and the rest of the cult. For it is said they have left “the truth.”

Leaving “the truth” was synonymous with turning my back on God and His all-important “Church,” to join hands with the devil. Such people were considered in their eyes to be “the biggest dangers to ‘the Lord’s work’ because they had once known the truth and turned their back on it.” That catchphrase is an understatement and a “glittering generality” used to create a smoke screen so people wouldn’t suspect what they were really up to.

Now I know I have to take understatements, such as that glittering generality above and re-word them. For example, a number of them were involved in illegal activities. They cloaked their illegal activities under the guise of the glittering generality, “We are doing the Lord’s work.

Another favorite “cloak” and glittering generality they used to cover their secret activities (especially from children or outsiders) was,” We’re doing missionary work,” or “We’re going on a mission,” or “We’re preaching the gospel to these people.”

For example, when I was a kid, my mother used those terms from time to time, as she locked us out of the house (while Daddy was out of town) so she could do “missionary work” (in the missionary position?! LOL!) with some man she was attracted to — and vice versa.

It worked really well because we kids were so indoctrinated as to the perfection of our parents, and the importance of “spreading the gospel, being Saints, and doing what was right,” that it would never have entered our minds that they were doing what was wrong, rather than what was right; i.e., they were not actually preaching the gospel, like they pretended to be doing.

It was years before I realized such statements as “Apostates are the biggest threat to the Lord’s work and the building up of the kingdom of God” were but cover-ups, smokescreens, and understatement for their real fears: Underhanded people in cults greatly fear people who leave their “Church” because they know too much. For example, they know about at least some of the illegal activities done and justified in the name of “bleeding the beast” “to build up God’s kingdom.”

Yes, people like me who leave such a cult “know too much.” And I definitely did “know too much,” though I didn’t realize it at the time. If I want to take my life in my own hands, I may explain to you later what I mean by “knowing too much.” Meanwhile, you can read between the lines.

But going back to my family being related to the “royal bloodlines,” that Mother was so proud to be related to, to be sure, Uncle Ervil (along with his fourteen wives and sixty-something children) was also related to these “royal bloodlines” and very proud of it — as were all his wives, children, and posterity. Quite an irony, yes? You might say I’m getting it from both ends! But as one of Uncle Ervil’s children told me recently, “You can’t choose your family, relatives, nor bloodline.”

Everybody I have told my story to over the past fifty years has said to me,”Your story would make a good movie. You must write a book! If you do, I will buy it. Let me know when it is published.”

I have not written it, until now, because it was not safe for me to tell the truth I wished to write. Only if I could tell the whole truth, did I wish to write my story. It is still not safe. I can’t tell the whole story without compromising my safety and lifestyle. But at long last, I have begun getting this book out that has been building and simmering on my back burners (within) since 1967 when I escaped the Mormon fundamentalist religion/cult I was raised in.

But at long last, I have begun getting this book out that has been building and simmering on my back burner since 1967 when I escaped the Mormon fundamentalist religion I was raised in.

Another reason I have not written my book until now is that for the first fifty years after fleeing the extremist Mormon fundamentalist sect, and thus all my family, friends and foundation there, it was too painful to dwell for long on my past life in that “Church.”

It depressed me so much that I couldn’t write a book on my past even if I had felt my present status and security wouldn’t be compromised by publishing my truth about that past.

I have journaled regularly from age nine till the present day -– did an awful lot of stream-of-consciousness writing. Therapists say that is what kept me from “going under” all these years.

But some may beg to differ. They will tell you that I am crazy/odd/unique/strange/ weird! To such comments, I say, “If only all my writing, reading self-help books, and talking to the occasional therapist could’ve saved me even more from the ravages of my despotic, cultic upbringing! And if only my life could’ve been normal!”

People have enough to deal with and overcome in life without all the deprivations, devastations, and privations that are added to it by being raised in a backward, isolated, cult background.

For starters, it’s very discouraging and humiliating to be seen by others as odd, weird, crazy, different, backward, naïve, gullible, unsophisticated, a country bumpkin, poorly educated, a Plyg — and so on and so forth.

One vain person even jeered as he told me, “You can take the girl out of the mountain, but you can’t take the mountain out of the girl.” All this and more I have had to endure over the years — Even people making fun of my Tex-mex drawl. But there is a bully born every moment. When I take a good look at the people grinding me under, I find their words tell more about them than about me — in every case. And this is so in life.

But as for writing my Memoirs, all I’m sure of is, given a choice of leisure-time activities, writing was and still is likely my first choice, despite how time-consuming and how much work it is. I enjoy writing. I especially like the creative aspect of it.

Through writing, I find company when my isolation and loneliness is otherwise unbearable. And there I unwind from the anxiety, tiredness, and tensions of the day, gain insight and find answers through the inspiration that comes from my “writing meditation” — my deep thinking.

There I cathart (“thot-fart”), find solace, am my own best friend and companion — my mind, my muse, and I … There I unravel the pains, plans, and mysteries of my past as well as my present journey towards self-actualization and individuation. There I grow and develop as I ponder each breakthrough — each step of my awakening into this “brave new world.”

While journaling, I also compare my new insights and experiences with the drama, trauma, and brainwashing of my past. And in my writing, I celebrate and come to better understand each epiphany and step I encounter in my exciting adventure as I look through my new window — my new “looking glass” on the world — and reflect on the past and present.

Actually, like Alice in Wonderland, when I was seventeen and still in the cult, I too, looked through a “looking glass;” i.e., a different window, saw a new window on the world and was catapulted through it and out of that tunnel vision — as well as the tunnel I had been raised in. Yes, I fell right through that new and open window, and out of my secluded cult tunnel into this “foreign world-USA” I have been progressively making my way through ever since.

During my first few years in this new world, I questioned whether I had done the right thing — whether I had indeed been turned over to “the buffetings of Satan” and his wicked world. The longer I was away from the cult and the more I took a good look at what was happening there, the more I was confident that I had made the right decision in 1967 when I fled “God’s only true church,” as the cult calls it.

Many of my past life’s experiences and the brainwashing of growing up in a cult had blocked my feelings and thoughts. Writing helped and is still helping me unblock these feelings and the mind control, thus allowing me to gradually move ahead in my life’s journey, free and unencumbered.

It is through my journaling — and now this blogging and book-writing too — that I assimilate all. Like taking notes in a college course, I compare each new idea, feeling, and insight with the dogma and experiences of my past -– the craziness of the cult I was finally able to escape –- escape from in person, at least.

But try as I may, I have not been able to thoroughly escape from its bind on my subconscious, my persona, and my life. To completely escape my cult-created backwardness, damage, wrong teachings, and other wrongs is one of my fervent goals.

At least it gives me something to live for when all else seems hapless, helpless, and hopeless. And old age threatens to devour me before I’ve even half-fulfilled my hopes, dreams, and goals.

As an aside, I understand the ACLU requests we don’t call the extremist sect I escaped from a “cult.” Also that we don’t say “I escaped,” and was “brainwashed,” for fear we may offend those who belong to what I managed to finally escape!

But my opinion is that such words as “cult” are the truth it takes to jolt -– to help awaken the mind-controlled, brainwashed, true-believing people continuing to be born into and bound by the grips of these Mormon-Fundamentalist doomsday cults. If we can’t use some social pressure, what hope have we to stop this vice vehemently invading our quite-unaware world?

The “political correctness” protectionism of being unable to call it a cult, etc., only helps to reinforce and propagate the captivity of the many born into bondage and White slavery in Mormon fundamentalist religious organizations — that, by the way, are growing by leaps and bounds as I speak, due to polygamy, child bride marriages, mind control measures, and not practicing birth control.

Of course, those embondaged by Mormon fundamentalism are the ones least likely to read what I write. Therefore, I mainly write for those who have managed to get out and are looking for backup material to further assure them they did the right thing by leaving.

And I write for people who want to learn and become more aware. But I especially write for escapees of Mormon fundamentalist groups who are looking for more understanding as to what happened to them in their cult, and why.

I write, as well, for all Mormon fundamentalist sects who are looking for more information on how they can better make it in this “foreign land:” The United States of America; i.e., the normal world they have found themselves in. I hope reading my story of success and redemption, upon having escaped radical Mormonism, will help Mormon fundamentalist cult escapees better make it in their own new existence.

It took me years of University courses, other reading, counseling with therapists, and simply living free from Mormon Fundamentalism before I could stand back and realize what I had grown up in was nothing but a cult. It helped me immensely to understand that! Because then I could better see that I had done the right thing, at age twenty-one, to get out while I could.

And it helped me to know that I had definitely made the right choice — despite being warned that I’d be damned and turned over to the “buffetings of Satan” if I even dared question the words of the prophet, let alone dared  leave “the truth/the church;” i.e., The Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times, and Mormon Fundamentalism.

The Sociological definition of “cult” is: “A body of religious rites and practices associated with the worship or propitiation of a particular divinity or group of supernatural beings.”

Also: A religious group and way of life that secludes its members from the world so much so that they are unable to fit into normal society. 

The American Heritage Dictionary describes “Cult” as being a religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living communally under an authoritarian, charismatic leader.

That said, I believe that if it looks like, feels like, and rattles like a snake, it is a Diamond Back/ a “cult”! Who are we kidding?! Why call it by any other name? Besides, where is my right to freedom of speech?

And how do we warn or make aware those who could benefit from our observations and experience if we can only cover up for and placate the vice that the Mormon Fundamentalists have already been too adept at perpetrating? To pretend they are not a cult is doing just that: It’s helping to perpetuate the many evils of the Mormon fundamentalist sects.

For example, Mormon fundamentalist sects perpetrate and perpetuate: Lawlessness, being laws onto themselves, Pedophilia, Polygamy, White slavery, Welfare Fraud, Child Labor, Child Abuse, Child Trafficking, Racketeering — and much more, all in the guise of “An alternative lifestyle full of Saints just trying to live God’s laws under the freedom protections of the US government” –- a government they bleed daily, and regularly pray for the destruction of!

Also, note that at the same time the adults in these cults demand “freedom of religion;” i.e., protection from the US government, they, in the name of religion, take away all the rights and protection of the children born into their cult! Yes, they refuse to accept that “One person’s “Rights” end where another person’s “Rights” begin!”

As my years in freedom roll on, since having fled the Mormon fundamentalist “underground” slave trade, barbarism, and bondage I was born and raised in, I continue to become more deprogrammed and more sure of what a wayward, warping, diabolical church/ cult/ monster I was born into and my life ruined by, in the name of religion.

The more I continue to think, question, read books, and listen to educational documentaries and interviews done by Rebecca Kimbel, Doris Hanson, Ed Kociela, Kristen Decker, and others on YouTube, C-SPAN II, and other such, the more aware I become that many of the main tenets I was taught to most revere and embrace were and are complete rubbish; i.e., the total opposite of what is good and righteous.

Therefore, in my Memoir/ blogs, I make it a point to unravel untruths and cover-ups, so as to show the world what I mean by “The total opposite of what is good and righteous.” This way I may better dispel what “the snake;” i.e., “the Diamondback” would have us see as “God’s Plan,” rather than the devil’s!

This is a Memoir as opposed to an Autobiography, because of the leeway given me thus. In other words, though I have, from age nine, kept journals –- They reach from the floor to the ceiling by now — I would never get this history written if I were to go back and uproot every piece of Info in my journals to make sure of the exact day, etc.

So where it is not necessary, I don’t worry about petty details. It’s the big picture that is important. This said, I’ll leave off here to continue my story in “Chapter 1: My House of Cards.” 

Till next time, thank you for visiting my Website — And for reading especially my blogs that tell you what my Memoir’s intentions are. And thank you for just being you.

Cheers,
Stephany Spencer/AKA: Beulah Spencer-LeBaron de Tucker 





My Song: “Pretty City Chick: A Bit o’ Bio in Verse”

 

 Pretty City Chick

Dearest friends and fans: Please note:
This “sorta” silly song I wrote
Is half-finished so I won’t gloat —
And pray my poem won’t get your goat;

But it’s late — my blog’s due “mañana;
If you check this song later on … uh …
You may find it partly “re-wrote.”
It needs work,” is my last quote.
Even so, enjoy what I wrote,
As I humorously emote:

Pretty City Chick

 

 NOTE: The following is a tongue-in-cheek song I wrote: 

 Intro:
Hi! I’m a Hack Who’s
Written a hit
Called “Pretty City chick,”
A Hee-ha Comedy Song —
A Bi
t o’ Bio in Verse,
Fer Better or Worse —
With Truth ‘n’ Exaggeration
Interspersed:

Hey, they say I’m a pretty City chick
And Hillbilly music makes some sick;
But my Hillbilly ways are here to stick;
So you may as well get over it —
And join in ’n’ sing a bit,
‘Cause I’m a city chick
And shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.

Born in Mexican sticks in 1946.
I’ve dual citizenship,
And that’s pretty hip —
But now I’m a city chick.

I’m an all-American-mongrel,
Apple-pie girl
 —
Hines-57 mixed-up mutt,
With apple pie stickin’ to my gut ’n’ butt;
But red-necked reactionary ignoramuses
Ain’t my thing.
I’m here for music and to sing!

Yeah, I’m an All-American-Mexican,
Scotch-Irish “Mick”
,
With Welch ’n’ English,
So sure, I’m a Brit,
With French, German,
And Mohawk Indian a bit.
If there’s no Tom Slick hidin’ in the pit,
Far as I know, that’s about it —
That‘s my story
And I’m “shitickin” to it!

My father was a proud Veteran
Of World War I.
Those Vets were well-appreciated
For what they’d done!
Pa was an artist, creative,
And Jack-of-all-trades;
Master of a few —
Good at so many things,
There seemed little he couldn’t do.

Ma was a creative, author,
And artist, thru ’n’ thru;
Poet, performer,
Trained concert pianist — Whew!
She loved to discuss religious principles
And read religious Lit, old ’n’ new —
Long as it agreed with
What she already “knew.”
She graduated with a BA
In Journalism too;
Quite an accomplishment
‘Cause Ma was sixty-two!

She was runnin’ me competition then,
For I was still in College too,
Strugglin’ to make it up
From the cult she’d put me thru …
If she only knew!
But her motto was:
Anything you can do,
I can do better;
I can do anything better than you!”
(And she meant it too!)

Refrain:
Hey, they call me a “pretty City Chick,”
But Hillbilly music is my “shtick,”
And my Hillbilly ways are here to stick;
So you may as well “git” over it
And join in ‘n’ sing a bit
With this pretty city chick,
‘Cause shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.

Born in Mexican sticks in 1946,
I’ve dual citizenship
And that’s pretty hip.
Well, that’s my story
And I’m “shtickin’ ” to it:
“I’m a pretty city chick.”

(By Stephany Spencer)


The following is an iPhone video of me at the California Writers Club, March 2017, performing the above song I wrote, “Pretty City Chick” (before I recently “re-writ”  part of it!):

 




My song: “Our First Thanksgiving Day: A Thanksgiving Medley”

‘Our First Thanksgiving Day: A Thanksgiving Medley

indians-and-pilgrims-color

Across the Atlantic Ocean, a long time ago
Came pilgrims on the Mayflower, a new world to know.
Freedom of religion was what they sought;
Starvation and illness were problems they fought.

But the people worked together,
And some friendly Indians taught
These pilgrims how to better use the new land they got.
So it wasn’t long before they could say:

We’ve made it through this first hard year: 
 Let’s have a feast and thank the Lord
On our grateful Thanksgiving Day!”

Tag: So they had a feast to celebrate
Our first Thanksgiving Day!)

*Note: Sing to traditional tune:
Over the River and Through the Woods,”
— with some variation.
(
Follow my lyrics singing traditional song below.)

(By Stephany Spencer, 1990)
(Photo courtesy of Google Plus)

 


 “Thanksgiving Day”
1- Over the river and through the woods,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow.
Oh, over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the nose and it bites the toes,
As over the ground we go!

2- Over the river and through the woods,
To have a first-rate play,
Hear the bells ring,”Ting-a-ling-ling”!
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!
Over the river and through the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground, like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day!

3- Over the river and through the woods,
And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!
Over the river and through the woods,
Now, Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

My poem: “Bio Ballad in Verse, for Better or Worse”

daddy-ma-and-fam-in-color
I’m age 12 here, 2nd to left, middle row

Bio Ballad in Verse — for Better or Worse

I was born some time ago,
Way out in the sticks,
In Mexico’s Rocky Mountain Range,
The year 1946;

Was raised in a
Mormon fundamentalist cult,
Where renegade,
Self-righteous, half-hicks
Believed it sinful
With “the world,” to mix.

But they were mostly
Egotistical fools,
Who thought they were ”
“God’s chosen handful;”
God’s Saints and
Heavenly-kingdom “tools”!

Unfortunately, they were
Mostly backward bigots,
Extremists, and
White-trash hypocrites —
Full of themselves,
False pride, and narcissism,
They fed on stoicism,
Self-denial, and masochism!

 “You can lead a horse to water,
But you can’t make it drink
.”
Same goes for blind followers
Being lead to the brink:
Unless they choose to lift their blinders
And use their God-given head,
Brainwashed from birth,
They will usually follow, instead;
You can’t change them;
You can’t make them think.

So by the time I turned seven,
My parents had seven girls in a row —
When we went walking down the street,
We presented quite a show!

By the time I was eleven,
There were children ten:
My parents believed birth control
Would keep them out of heaven.

So when I turned thirteen,
I had siblings twelve;
For everything I ever got,
I had to dig and delve!

By the time I was twenty-one,
I was fit to go under,
But God created a wonder:
Catapulted me asunder
Like a bolt of thunder —
And hurled into the “wicked” world!

Now, on the outside looking in
At these “Saints” knee-deep in sin,
I gaze at them and quietly pray,
As I smother a little grin:

 “Thank you, Goodness,
For helping me win:
Thank you for the free agency
To begin again!

“Yeah, thank you, God,
For my freedom of choice;
And thanks for the right
To follow my own voice;
And to be wise
And eventually self-actualize
!”

Thus, I escaped the stoic hell —
Left the cult behind,
To go out in “the wicked world,
A better life to find.
Well, every year’s gotten better
Since I fled that bitter bind.

 I’ve found, out in “the world,”
A better life and times,
Where people are more compassionate,
Educated, and kind.

So thank you, my new world
Oh, how you shine!
And thank you for helping me
Make it, dear Humankind.

   (Stephany Spencer 2016)

My Review of Ester Shifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of Trunks”

‘* Note: The following is a book review I did of an acquaintance’s book,”Hiding in a Cave of Trunks.” Unfortunately, when I copied and pasted my review, as usual, it didn’t turn out looking nearly as nice as it looks on Goodreads.com, but it will do.
Hiding in a Cave of Trunks

 Read

 My book review of Esther Shifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of trunks”

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Hiding in a Cave of Trunks

by Ester Benjamin Shifren

Hiding in a Cave of Trunks: A Prominent Jewish Family’s Century in Shanghai and Internment in a WWII POW camp.

Against an impressive historical background, China-born Ester Benjamin Shifren relates the saga of her family’s century-long existence in Shanghai, the city often referred to as “The Paris of the East,” and details the culture and tribulations of the colorful multi …more

Kindle Edition, 276 pages

Published December 4th 2012

Kindle eBook $3.99AmazonStores ▾Libraries




MY REVIEW

Oct 31, 2016

  My Book Review of Esther Schifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of Trunks”

Ester Shifren, highly gifted author, artist, poet, performer, musician, speaker and more, has been a fellow member of my California Writers Club for many years. I thought I knew her till I read her wonderfully written memoir and history book combined. Was blown away by her unique writing style and the depth of the material she presented.

Loved learning about her life as a Jew growing up in China during the World War II era. It was most inspiring to read how her family managed to survive almost three years of incarceration in China during that time period.

You have to read the book to know what I’m talking about. I will only say that I lost sleep reading Ester’s book far into the night. It was so interesting, fascinating, and beautifully written I couldn’t put it down.

I plan to read Ester’s historical memoir again at least one more time. Will also use it for ideas and a guide for writing my own memoirs. This book should be on High School and University required reading lists, as well as in every public library. Ester, you “made history” when you wrote your memoirs!

 

 

 

 

My Review of Charlotte LeBaron’s “Maud’s Story”

 

 

It’s a short biography of Maud Lucinda McDonald LeBaron. that consists mostly of a published collection of letters supposedly written by her* — and some run-together, often hard-to-decipher paragraphs/vignettes “in Maud’s own words.”

It appears, at the time of this book’s writing, Aunt Charlotte still belonged to “The Church of the First Born.” Her “Maud’s Story,” contains a revised version —  a rewrite of the history of the Joel-LeBaron-Prophet saga, wherein she turns the tale upside down — and him into a martyred Prophet. Thus, she shows, though not intentionally, how religious myths are made.


As a word of clarification, Maud Lucinda McDonald LeBaron is my maternal grandmother, of whom I am “the spittin’ image” (I was always told this while growing up). In fact, the above photo of her looks so much like me at that age, I look at it and think it’s me. I can’t tell the difference!




Still, I resent she used my Grandmother matriarch Maud Lucinda McDonald LeBaron’s story to draw in Grandmother’s progeny, relatives, and others, so as to promote her’s (Charlotte’s) and Uncle Joel’s Church of the Firstborn doctrine — a la Charlotte LeBaron’s viewpoint. In that sense, “Maud’s Story” really should be “Charlotte’s Story.”


But to give Aunt Charlotte some credit, though I was disappointed “Maud’s Story” wasn’t imbued with more of Grandmother’s colorful history, she includes in her booklet numerous short vignettes which I’ve coined: “Quotes from Grandma’s Notes.”


Perhaps, to get more of Grandmother’s history, Charlotte expects us to read “The LeBaron Story,” a manuscript largely written by MY mother Esther LeBaron Spencer — though Charlotte helped her husband (my Uncle Verlan LeBaron) compile, finish, and publish Mother’s work. Nonetheless, this book strikes me as an apologists’ story and is also largely written to preach the Church of the Firstborn doctrine.


I find its covert preaching of the Church of the First Born dogma distasteful — especially the revising of its doctrine and history to make it more palatable than it was when my Uncles Ervil and Joel LeBaron first spawned this sect/cult in the early to mid-1950s.



 





(Comments transferred from Facebook”:)

Says Moira Blackmore:
I knew Maud, she went out of her busy days by visiting me all alone in Galeana with my 4 baby girls, and when their were shooting guns in my back neighborhood… thank you Steff … I love you, Maud, I love Charlotte as well, years later … 

 Steph Spencer

Steph Spencer: I appreciate your feedback, Moira, and your attempts to always be positive and loving. That’s what makes the world go around. I’m so happy Grandma visited you and helped lift your spirits during a very bad time.

I remember her being concerned about your being over there alone and her begging someone to take her over to visit you. I do not remember who she got to do the driving as she could not drive.

And now I’m getting off onto a bunny trail: I know she visited you out of care and concern for you and your situation. But she was also often there for visitors and people she was trying to help convert to the cult. Converts meant more tithing money — and consecrations of all their wealth to the Bishop’s storehouse!

Such money was largely how Grandma and her sons managed to survive down in the Mexico LeBaron colony. Especially was more money needed as each of her sons married more and more wives who bore more and more children. 

Given her help with the church’s conversion of new members, it seems aging Grandma Maud had no energy and time left over for her own hundreds of grand, great-grand, great-great, and great-great-great-grandchildren … not to mention her thousands of other relatives ad infinitum.

During the two years I lived at home before I was married off at age 16, I recall only a few times after we moved to the LeBaron colony that she ever came by her daughter/my mother Esther LeBaron Spencer’s place to visit, even though we lived within walking distance of Grandmother Maud.

 Nor did my Grandmother Maud ever visit me, once I was married, even in my hours of need and desperation, although I lived within walking distance of her.I may as well have not had a grandmother. But she did help Mother a lot after my father died. By then I was 18 and married — no longer living with my mom. 

When I was fourteen and we moved from the United States to where Grandmother lived in Mexico, I had thought, “Now I will finally have one of those grandmothers I have so often read about in children’s literature and so longed for as I was growing up.” 

But Grandmother Maud, though she had favored and spoiled Mama when she was raising her, was never emotionally there for me nor the rest of my mother’s thirteen other children, as far as I know. Not much anyway.

Certainly never was she a grandma that made cookies for her grandkids, let alone did she give us grandchildren any other gifts. Not even hugs. She always had a big twinkling smile for me and her other grandchildren, though, whenever we saw her at church or elsewhere.

 Our Family was not a hugging-touching family. But pioneer-woman Grandmother was also simply overwhelmed and overworked, given her primitive lifestyle and her monumental duties, including being one of the church pianists.

To put it succinctly, there was simply no way my ever-aging grandmother could muster all the time and energy needed to keep up with her exponentially growing progeny. She was already 68 years old when my family moved to the LeBaron colony; I was 14 years old then.

I had always lived within walking distance of her, while in the LeBaron colony, so she did come by three or four times, after I was married, to give me some piano lessons. She was around seventy-three years old then! Thanks, Grandma! 

But other than that, in the four years I lived there on my own after I was married at age sixteen, Grandmother only dropped by one other time  but not to see her new grandchild that I had almost died giving birth to at age seventeen. My baby and I were simply taken for granted, as was generally the custom there!

 TThe reason she came by that one time was to take back a piece of piano sheet music she had given me that she now wanted to turn around and give to an investigator of our cult who was a pianist! I told Grandma, “No! You gave the music to me!! So it’s mine now! And I want it. So you can’t take it back to give to somebody else!”

Grandmom was furious with me for not giving it back to her so she could gift it to the investigator of our “Church”! Getting converts — new people into God’s work — was part of her and her sons’ bread and butter. So that investigator was more important than I, her granddaughter. On top of that, she treated me as if the music still belonged to her though she had given it to me the year before. Such Indian trading! 

Now I know where Mother learned this taking-back of what she had given me as if she still had tabs on it so could turn around, whenever she wanted to, and give it to somebody else — even though I still very much wanted it! I never knew what to depend on. Then you wonder what causes schizophrenic kids? I’m at least sure this behavior did not help any. 

Bottom line: When there are lots of kids and relatives, they are not highly valued. They get taken for granted. They are pawns in the hands of the powers that be and regularly sacrificed for “the cause”!

  


Rachel LeBaron Anderson:
 The BIG question: “Will what you are going to say improve the world by being said?”
Steph Spencer
Steph Spencer Good question, Rachel! I ask myself that important question all the time as I write my Memoirs!
Rachel LeBaron Anderson
Rachel LeBaron Anderson You are bringing healing to the younger generations trying to make sense of everything, building strong roots, many generations will be glad someone wrote things down.
 
Steph Spencer

Steph Spencer Thanks so much for this insightful response and feedback! As always, Rachel, you show wisdom and intellect. Your remarks are much appreciated and will help me as I take time to “make sense of everything” on my end. That is certainly one of my goals!



 
 

Dena McLean I enjoyed reading this book, not only to learn about family but specifically learn more about my Great Grandmother Maud. I know the story is all in perspective but I like to hear all perspectives.

Even if I don’t agree with the religious views, I find it fascinating how they chose Joel LeBaron, Alma’s priesthood keys and all the people connected to each story and then trying to find them in genealogy. Right now, I’m trying to discover if the man who baptized Maud was John Smith, as in Joseph Smith’s brother’s son or another John Smith. I hope to find some truth.

 
 
Steph Spencer

Steph Spencer Thank you for this valuable feedback. As always, I’m impressed with your scholarliness. To be sure, Charlotte’s “Maud’s Story” is skewed: It attempts to convert people to the belief that Joel was a true Prophet, etc.

Aunt Charlotte Kunz LeBaron was there pretty much from the beginning of Joel and Ervil’s “Church” but chose to change how Joel got the “priesthood keys,” et cetera. Newcomers to the story believe her fabrications. That’s how myths are built.




My Review of Luna Lindsey’s “Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control”

Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control — A perfect title that says it all!, October 31, 2016
This review is from: Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control (Kindle Edition:
Says Stephany Spencer: I discovered Luna Lindsey through Facebook. Her obvious brilliance and observation lead me to become a Facebook friend and follower of her’s. That’s when I learned she was also an Author and had even written a book that I, an ex-Mormon fundamentalist, needed to read: “Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control.”

Her well-researched book is a must-read for anybody wanting to understand mind control and how intelligent people can be converted to a cult — or be born into one, and not see the problems, contradictions, and errors in their belief system.

And it’s a must-read, also, for anyone needing help with undoing all the subconscious brainwashing and mind control messages and beliefs imbued in them while growing up Mormon.

Another plus for reading the book is that Lindsey is a brilliant person with a captivating and interesting writing style and a depth of insight and ideas that lets you know you are in the presence of genius.

We are all indebted to her for the work, time, and effort she put into getting this book written and published — no small task!

The research she did, alone, attests to the genius of this woman — Autistic, but you would only know it, or be able to believe it, if you knew that some of our most intelligent scientists (at such places as the Caltech Think Tank in California) are highly functioning autistic geniuses.

Luna Lindsey is a remarkable young woman who has authored a book you won’t regret having spent your valuable money and time on. And it’s a great reference guide, besides!






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My Notes, Quotes, Jokes, Pokes, ‘n’ Anecdotes


Bimbo Weeps:

 I’m sittin’ alone in the moonlight,
At the Heartbreak Hotel Café,
Abandoned by women and men;
And here’s all I have to say,
“I’ll never eat garlic nor onions again —
Not till my dying day —
NOT if it drives possible friendships away,
Miraculously keeping romance at bay!”

By Stephany Spencer

****************************************






man-in-bed-with-three-women

Bimbo Notes:

One’s a plenty, two’s a crowd,
Three on the sidewalk is not allowed.”
Anonymous
(But have you ever noticed in “Big Love” they might
Be doing it behind your back — or closed doors?
Step on a crack and try to keep track!)
Stephany Spencer





*************************************************
Bimbo Speaketh

Please, God, don’t let me be a fruitcake this Christmas;
I don’t want to be eaten by one either!
Stephany Spencer

*************************************************




dog-on-computer

Online Dating

When it comes to online dating,
If  you’re lookin’ for a mating,
The odds are good
That the goods are odd;
So “wrots of wruck” with your mate-baiting!
I won’t be holding my bag waiting.
Stephany Spencer

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 Longing for a Soulmate No More

I used to long for a Soulmate,
But I don’t long anymore,
‘Cause I damn well know in my core
Who’d get stuck picking up after him …
Plus a whole lot more!

For that same reason,
In my “Golden-Sage” season,

I no longer dream of Mr. Wright
Nor a shining-armored knight;
I’ve learned they’re all fairytales –
No one’s coming to save me;
For sure, no horny, hairy males!
And Stupid-Cupid least of all:
Cupid’s but Libido and Nature
Having a ball.

At long last, I’ve come to see

My soulmate’s the other half of me;
And it’s well that this should be.
So I’ll leave my fate to God,
And what will be, we’ll see!

Stephany Spencer

 

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Me, Myself, and I

Sittin’ alone in the moonlight,
I heard a lonesome cry;
It must have come from within;
There was only me, myself, and I!

Then I chanced to ask it,”Why? Why?!”
Spoke the voice in soft reply:
“’Because, wherefore, and therefore; That’s why!”
So I gathered myself up with a sigh,
To face the great by-and-by and cry,

Because, in reality, there could only be
Lonely me, myself, and I.
By Stephany Spencer
(Written at age 14)              

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Bimbo Speaks:
“Love may be blind,
but jealousy and envy sport
wide-angled telescopic vision
with binocular hindsight!”
Stephany Spencer



lady-with-the-hat

“Complacency breeds poor insight,
While envy sports telescopic sight!”
Stephany Spencer




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cartoon-dancer

Says Bimbo:
Who cares if four-inch heels
Give you bunions,
Backaches, ‘n’ achin’ feet?

What’s important is yer legs
Look long ‘n’ sleek,
And yer ankles slim ‘n’ petite!
Stephany Spencer

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cas-in-black-hat

 Bimbo Says: 

“There’s a vast amount of undeveloped territory
just below my fancy hat ‘n’ hairdo —
 right betwixt me ears two!”
Stephany Spencer

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mouse-minnnie

The Bimbo Class

My claim-to-fame is shoppin’,
‘Cause most parts of me
Are perfect ‘n’ hoppin’;

So if it’s all the same to you,
I’ll keep right on a-boppin’
In my fancy hat ’n’ updo;

Let the intellectuals study it,
If they want to —

And the undeveloped matter
Under it too!

But in “Alice, Through the Lookin’ Glass,
It didn’t matter where
The Mad Hatter had ‘er — nor ‘er class;
An’ it doesn’t matter a hair
To the hare, either, what I do
So don’t be a “hare-up-my-ass”!
(Well, did you expect better
Of the Bimbo class?!)
Stephany Spencer








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gray-hair

A Bimbo-Breakthrough:
Old age ain’t for sissies …
And neither is bein’ a woman!
 Stephany Spencer 

Bio Ballad of a Cult Survivor: My Bio in Verse, for Better or Worse

 

dad-ma-9-kids-1
My family in 1956 — I’m in middle row, 2nd From left

Bio Ballad of a Cult Survivor:
My Bio in Verse, for Better or Worse
(by Stephany Spencer)

1-  I was born some time ago, way out in the sticks,
In a Mormon cult in Mexico, in nineteen forty-six;
By the time I was eleven, we were a family of twelve;
For everything I ever got, I had to dig and delve.
Refrain: Dig and delve? Yes, dig and delve.
For everything I ever got, I had to dig and delve.

2-  We lived among the hicks; created toys out of sticks,
But we thought we were the best — God’s chosen people!
This was the only life I knew, all the while I grew;
To pass God’s tests is what we were here to do.

Chorus
 Oh, a hick! Yes, a dad-gummed polygamist hick,
Born into a cult, “Plyg!” was the ultimate insult;
But how was I to know someday I would grow
And leave it all behind, that stoic life of woe?
Refrain: Life of woe? Oh, misery and woe –
So I left it all behind, a better world to know

3-  A masochistic life of hell we all did sow —
It was the only world I’d ever know,
Till one day I did find these people were all blind —
And sniffing after some false prophet’s behind!

5-  So I escaped this fanatic cult — left it all behind;
Into the world I went, a whole new life to find;
I settled in LA, and found a better way;
And now I am a Graduate of UCLA.

6  When I fled the polygamist cult, wasn’t sure what to expect;
Times were hard and the wages were too low.
But I kept on keeping on, though progress was slow;
‘Twas better than I got in Old Mexico.

7-  Now here I am today, living in a whole new way
From the backward one I started out with;
I’m grateful for each day, and the good ole USA,
“You’ve come a long way, Babe,” I tell myself each day.
TAG: I am a cult survivor, you sure could say —
And a thriver in every way!