“You own everything that happened to you.
Tell your stories. If people wanted you
to write warmly about them,
they should have behaved better.”
~ Anne Lamott
Going back to where we left off with Daddy saying he wanted to have a large family of children, let me tell you that this is one dream he fulfilled: He had eleven beautiful children with his first wife, Ava (Eva?) Bowman Spencer.
And fourteen more beautiful children with his second wife, my mother, Esther LeBaron Spencer. Thus, he was not only guaranteed to never be lonely again but to never have a moment’s peace or quietude, either.
And more often than not, there was even a new baby crying — to keep him up at night! But he finally learned how to pretty much fix that: He would waterboard them (not that uncommon, at least among the Mormon fundamentalists). At times he would even beat the tiny new babies incessantly for crying. (Tears!!)
But mainly, he mostly held his big strong hand over their mouth and nose till they were suffocating, all the while yelling at them:
“Shut up the goddamned crying!! Do you hear?! Shut up, I said, or you’ll get more to cry for!!”
After he did that consistently, a number of times, it generally taught most of his babies not to be caught dead crying anymore — if they could possibly help it. (Then you wonder why Morman fundamentalist children are so well-behaved?!)
He, like many fundamentalists, believed the Bible’s “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” meant to literally beat the devil out of the kids, to make them submissive to adults and thus to God — and the sooner they were made submissive, the better.
But some spiritual leaders believe “the rod” is only a metaphor for “the gospel.” In other words, if you don’t teach your children the gospel, they will grow up spoiled, wayward, and rebellious.
I believe force and brutality toward children — or anyone … or any animal — does just the opposite of beating the devil out of them: It beats the devil into them; i.e., can make them angry, hateful, emotionally disturbed, mean, and devilish. It also can cause them/people to split from themselves, and to lose their will, give up, and become zombies or such. (It breaks their spirit.)
In fact, one of the best ways to hypnotize a hyperactive or misbehaving child is to get up close to him/her, plant yourself right in his/her space, and yell vociferously at this child: “Behave!!!! Stop that!!!” Or whatever else it is you wish of the child. The child will do what you tell him/her after that … at least for a while.
So I wonder what kind of abuse my father suffered at the hands of adults when he was growing up, since violent and abusive ways of parenting are now understood to be passed down from one generation to the next.
Unless one is able to recognize, then intercept and stop this abusive cycle and pattern learned from one’s upbringing and teachings, it will be passed on to one’s own offspring ad infinitum!
But thank God/Goodness, there are now laws in our country that carry stiff penalties for abusing children — as well as women, animals — or anyone … thanks to coalitions of good people who have worked diligently together throughout our society and other civilized parts of the world to make this world and life a better and the safer place for everyone.
However, reclusive families, such as exist in cults, often remain backwards when it comes to improvements in their behavior. Believing they are the only ones with “the truth,” and lead by poorly educated, narrow-minded leaders, they learn nothing much from “the world” that, nonetheless, continues to change as it strives to learn and to make a better world for all: through education, college, books, publications, educational T.V., films, and so forth — and now computers, smart phones, social media, and other Hi Tech devices and mechanisms.
That said, one reason Daddy and Mother were so anxious to move to the LeBaron colony in Old Mexico in 1960 was because shortly before their decision to move, a federal law was passed against Child Abuse. It stipulated dire legal penalties for parents who hit, beat, or otherwise physically abused their children. Daddy proclaimed vehemently, in regards to that law:
“What right has the government to step in and tell me how to raise my children?! I am the Priesthood head of my family! The Bible says, ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child.’ In other words, we are to ‘bend the twig’ correctly. We do that by beating the devil out of our children while they are still young enough to be taught how to behave and grow up as straight vines, not twisted and warped ones.
“Once a seedling is warped, you can’t change it. You can observe an example of that in plants and trees that weren’t supported and staked properly so they would grow straight rather than deformed. I can’t wait to get out of this wicked country and gather with the Saints in Zion, there in Colonia LeBaron where I’m free to exercise Biblical laws when it comes to raising my family!”
*Continued in My Memoirs: My Daddy, Pt. 5