In 2017 I bought and read, on Kindle, “Maud’s Story,” a 2013 self-published “Vanity Press” book written by my Aunt Charlotte LeBaron (Uncle Verlan LeBaron’s first wife). It appears, according to the content of her biography of Grandma, Aunt Charlotte still belongs to “The Church of the First Born.”
Her latest book is mostly a published collection of a few of my grandmother’s letters — and some vignettes Grandma wrote that are run together in often hard-to-decipher paragraphs.
More to be said on this later. For now, I will only say: In her book she’s done a revised version/ a rewriting of the history of the “Joel LeBaron: Prophet” saga, turning it upside down — and him into a martyred prophet. (Thus, she shows, though not intentionally, how religious myths are made.)
*Note: As of 2017, I’ve witten another Review of Aunt Charlotte’s book, and posted it below. (It’s also posted on Goodreads.com and Amazon.com) :
Maud Lucinda LeBaron is my maternal grandmother, of whom I am “the spittin’ image,” I was always told 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!
Needless to say, Grandma Maud LeBaron was special to me. So when I saw, on Amazon.com, Aunt Charlotte had published her story, I spent $4.00 on it … and three hours reading it — such was its brevity. That includes the many times I had to re-read parts, attempting to understand what had been said, because Aunt Charlotte isn’t a natural author.
Suffice it to say, the book was no bargain: Its shortness left me wanting more. And it is supposed to be Grandmother LeBaron’s story but many of the tales Grandma used to entertain us with are not in the book.
Nevertheless, nobody else has published anything about her. So I’m grateful Aunt Charlotte wrote all she did. (“If you don’t like how the story was written, write it yourself,” they admonish.)
Still, I resent she used my grandmother, Matriarch Maud Lucinda LeBaron’s story to draw in her progeny and relatives, as well as others, so as to promote her’s and Uncle Joel’s Church of the Firstborn doctrine — a la Charlotte LeBaron’s viewpoint. So “Maud’s Story” really should be “Charlotte’s Story.”
But to give Aunt Charlotte 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 that are: “Quotes from Grandma’s Notes.
“Perhaps, to get more of Grandmother’s history, Charlotte expects us to read “The LeBaron Story,” which she also authored … with her husband, my Uncle Verlan. (This book is another apologists’ chronicle largely written to preach the Church of the Firstborn religious doctrine.)
To be sure, Aunt Charlotte has rewritten history in “The LeBaron Story” and “Maud’s Story” so as to turn Uncle Joel into a Prophet, Saint, and Martyr — And his untimely murder into “A Modern-Day Cain and Abel story.” But there is a lot more to this whole dirty tale than she’s letting on. So “Charlotte’s Story” is myth in the making, if ever there was such!
My final thoughts on “Maud’s Story” are: Grandmother should have given a sermon or two in church, if she was truly as well-versed in the cult’s dogma as she appeared to be in Charlotte’s short biography — or were words put in her mouth? I.e., Did someone else write those letters for Grandma — or at least coach her in the writing of them?*
I’m especially referring to what Grandma supposedly said in those letters to her girlhood friend, Spencer W. Kimball. I say “supposedly” because Aunt Charlotte wasn’t honest about the story of how my Uncle Joel became the self-proclaimed “One Mighty and Strong.” Therefore, I can’t trust anything else in the book.
Though I could say more, I’ll suffice it to say: Should she ever do a reprint of her book, please get a good editor to go over it beforehand. And do not run Grandmother’s notes ‘n’ quotes together as if they were one organized piece — because they’re not:
They are short vignettes and should be separated as such. That way, the reader isn’t hoping to find the rest of the tale in the next paragraph, only to be left hanging — for a whole new tale has taken up!
*Ghost writing was the name of the game when I was in the cult: One of the sect’s two leading Scriptorians (Ervil LeBaron and William Preston Tucker, my husband) would write the exposé, or such, then publish it with whatever name or signature they thought would most impress those receiving the literature — or letter.