My Memoir Introduction: I Was Born a “Saint”
I was born some time ago,
Way out in the sticks,
In a valley of old Mexico,
(So begins my saga.)
*A note to my readers: Today I have decided to officially begin blogging about my memoirs in earnest — blogs to be later turned into a book. I will still continue to post poems and other such. But as for now, I am putting my story, my memoirs, first and foremost.
“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,
*(quote borrowed from Irving Wallace’s
“The Twenty-Seventh Wife”)
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
“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.”
My Blog-Book is dedicated to the escapees and would-be escapees of Mormon orthodoxy, as well as to all those with inquiring minds who wish to know what it’s like to be raised in a Mormon Fundamentalist cult, be married off as a child bride, and to then eventually escape this barbaric lifestyle, and live to write about it.
*An apology, and a protection for the innocent — mainly myself: I have changed the names in various cases, or haven’t used a name at all. (I’m more interested in telling what was done; not who did it.) Also, bear in mind the dialogue employed is paraphrased to the best of my ability and memory.
PREFACE: 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” in a bizarre, backward, and dangerous Mormon fundamentalist LeBaron cult headquartered in Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico.*
I was born and raised a fourth-generation Mormon polygamist. 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 18. 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! Hmmmm!
That’s the most prestigious bloodline one can come by … if one is Mormon. And I used to be. As I grew up, 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 could even 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!! Yuck!
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 than ever, when you consider how “royal” our blood is, is that 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 Mafioso” and 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, and revered 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 it of these guys in 1972 when I was still a student at UCLA. The two had come to my home “on a mission.”
It was before I had any idea they were plotting the murder of people such as my Uncle Joel LeBaron, Ervil’s own brother and self- proclaimed “Prophet” of their backward and isolated Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahuan-Desert cult I had escaped five years before.
I consider myself lucky these two sociopaths/ psychopaths (my brother-in-law Dan Jordan and Uncle Ervil LeBaron) didn’t kill me during that visit — I being a “daughter of perdition” for having abandoned their so-called church.
But Uncle Ervil held a fantasy that I was going to actually go to all the trouble to get my Bachelor’s Degree and Teaching Credential (After having escaped the LeBaron cult three years earlier!) then return to their cult to teach “the Saints,” … for free. Well, thanks but no thanks!
Within six months after I’d escaped the LeBaron cult, I’d miraculously entered a Junior College in Los Angeles. I was twenty-one, at that time, penniless, and had only a country school’s 8th-grade graduation certificate.
I’d started teaching in the LeBaron colony at age fourteen, shortly after my family repatriated to Mexico in 1960 to live in LeBaron. But that didn’t mean I was ever going to get stuck barefoot and pregnant doing that again — 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, 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 … so I would 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 were/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” /i.e., being an apostate, was synonymous with turning my back on God and His all-important “Church,” to join hands with the devil’s work. Such people are/ 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.”
Now I know I have to take statements, such as that “glittering generality” above and re-word them. For example, they cloaked all their illegal activities under the guise of “We are doing the Lord’s work.”
Another favorite “cloak” 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, or such, 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, etc., like they pretended to be doing.
It was years before I realised such statements as “Apostates are the biggest threat to the Lord’s work and the building up of the kingdom of God” were really but cover-ups, smokescreens, and understatement for their real fears; i.e., underhanded people and cults greatly fear people who leave their “Church” because they know too much. They know about at least some of the illegal activities done and justified in the name of “bleeding the beast,” for example.
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’m brave and 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’s 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 — This includes his step-children; i.e., children wives he married already had) 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.”
But 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’s still not safe, and I still 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 since 1967 when I escaped the Mormon fundamentalist religion/cult 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, though, 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 like the creative aspect of it, especially.
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 (thought fart!), find solace, am my own best friend … There I unravel the pains and mysteries of my past as well as my present journey towards self-actualization and individuation. And there I grow and develop as I ponder each breakthrough and step of my awakening into my “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.
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.” That’s when I saw a new window on the world. And was almost as quickly catapulted through it and out of the tunnel vision; i.e., tunnel I had been raised in.
Yes, I fell right through that new and open window into this new and present world I have been progressively making my way up through ever since.
In 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. But the longer I was away from the cult and the more I took a good view of what was happening there, the more I could rest assured I had made the right decision when in 1967 I fled “God’s only true church,” as the cult called 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 — Though 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 for themselves “freedom of religion;” i.e., protection from the US government, they, themselves, 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” ends where another person’s “Rights” begins!”
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 surer 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 (in the cult) 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 “My Memoirs Prologue: My House of Cards.” (*See my Menu on my homepage to locate this and other blogs.”)
PS: It has come to my attention that some people think they can only get to my Website through one of my social media sites such as Facebook. So let me give you my URL. That way you may access my Website directly: https://StephanySpencer.com — Stephany with a “y.”
If you click on my “Follow” button and leave me your e-mail address, each time a new blog is posted, you will get an e-mail alerting you. My cell phone number, in case you would like to call me, is 818-624-8522.
I would love feedback from my readers. Your comments, “Like’s,” etc., help guide and motivate what I, a writer, will write next. I would really appreciate it, also, if you would let me know, through comments or calls, if you find any spelling and grammatical errors — or ANY other errors in my writing.
I have nobody editing or critiquing what I write before I post it. So your feedback is important. Thank you in advance for the time you take to let me know these vital things. Know you are much appreciated!
Now, 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.
Stephany Spencer/AKA: Beulah Spencer Tucker de LeBaron