This Memoir, written around thirty years ago, struck me as the work of an immature apologist and revisionist. Its bias toward Uncle Ervil’s cold-hearted cult hangs like a cobweb over the entire tale authored by none other than my Ex-Aunt, the infamous Rena Chynoweth.
That said, the book is still in the public libraries, et Al, but is sadly in need of a rewrite and update. How do I know? Because yesterday I had the fortunate opportunity to meet one of my Uncle Ervil’s more than fifty children, the brilliant, gifted, and beautiful Gabriella LeBaron, soon to graduate from the ivy league Cornell University. (Update: She has graduated now!)
She told me how Rena had indeed taken in Uncle Ervil’s kids and raised them, chancing her own life and well-being while she helped them get out of Ervil’s cult and become good law-abiding citizens! Hats off to Rena!
This is a long story I hope Gabriela will eventually write, herself. For it is the story of great love, sacrifice, dedication, and redemption — especially on the part of Rena, her husband, and others who helped her, including the invaluable nonprofit group, “Discovery.”
In her old memoir of over thirty years ago, it seemed Rena bragged about and exploited, at times, the soldier part she played in the sad and sordid tale of her serial-killer husband Ervil’s bloody, violent, and psychotic cult. At the same time, though, she ended her book with these words:
“I was given a ‘second chance.’ Maybe God wants to use me to reach those kids [Uncle Ervil’s children]. Because I’ve been through years of intensive self-deprogramming myself, I feel I can help them through my own experiences because I understand their very complicated background.
“They should also receive extensive professional help, guidance, and a chance to be around people who really care what happens to them. Simply putting the younger children in foster homes and hoping for the best is not the way to handle the situation.
They will only run away and return to the lifestyle they always knew, breaking the law and posing a danger to people’s lives. They should not be allowed to grow to adulthood without being given a chance to learn proper values.
“These last remnants of Ervil LeBaron’s flock are still a risk to the rest of society. They are the last ones who may still feel bound by his blood covenant that has claimed so many innocent lives.
They have grown up around violence and violent teachings, and there is grave danger they will pass these values on to their own children. I want the killing to stop. Only by finding those still out there and getting them the help they need can we stop the bloodshed.
“What John, my mother, and I envision is a ranch –- a place where these young people can live with family who loves them, where they can finally have the chance to go to school and church, and be be able to receive the counseling and guidance that will help them become assets to society.
There are a few of us who are willing to do anything we can to give them a chance. If God is willing, and with His help, we shall succeed.
“If anyone has information that would help us reach out to the LeBaron children please contact … ” Note: Here Rena gave an address and a phone number where she could be contacted. But the resource was around thirty years old, so was likely not worth my posting here, I felt.
But I also had reservations as to how helpful she would be to Ervil’s remnants, given the tone of her memoir. But as of yesterday, April 5, 2016, I learned that she did indeed do a great service to the remnants of Ervil’s children still left in his cult. In fact, Rena and her cohorts are largely responsible for having brought to an end the devious cult Ervil LeBaron started!! WOW!!
So I am very impressed, now, with Rena — How she not only remade herself, but used her personal awakening to also help remake and save other unfortunate cult inductees born and raised in my uncle Ervil’s bizarre and dangerous mafioso cult.
When her memoir was published, it sounded to me like she had lots of deprogramming and repentance still left in her wake before she could convince me she was no longer caught up in the beliefs of “The Lambs of God” and it’s avenging angels.
So I didn’t see how it would be helpful at all to stick Uncle Ervil’s warped children off on some ranch with her and others like her. Besides, that sounded like just another reclusive cult to me. I felt the best way to civilize warped children was to fully emerse them in a much better environment than the one they came from.
I didn’t think it would be beneficial for a messed up and confused band of cult and ex-cult members to all be living together on some ranch with simply more of their own kind who also grew up in their backwards, brainwashed, degenerate, and vengeful cult past.
It seemed to me, to best heal and overcome “damaged human goods,” They would need to mix and mingle with a normal and better example of beings — strong people they could emulate and learn from — not some adults who still likely had a lifetime of healing left ahead of them before they fully emerged from their bloody cult mindset and the harm it left in its wake.
And, as an aside, I had also recently seen some of the Lambs of God and The Book Of Revelations “Avenging Angels” literature being passed out in my area! It is scary stuff and told me the cult of Ervilites still had its leaders.
Or perhaps it was a take-off from Uncle Ervil’s cult, and possibly indoctrinating at least some of Ervil’s progeny. Or it was a new group, altogether, but using Ervil’s teachings and trying to bring converts into its bloody cult under a new “prophet,” now.
But still I had said, “I would be very happy if Rena, et Al, did have a hand in ending this malevolent cult. Let’s pray that’s the case.” Well, it is and was the case!
As I said, yesterday Gabriela told me it was thanks to Ervil’s ex-wife Rena’s loving and devoted care of her ex-husband Ervil’s kids that she, herself, was brought out of her father’s cult mess she had grown up in.
And Gabriela has since become a new person, on her way to doing wonderful service to help make the world a better place to live in! Plus she’s an author, blogger, poet, artist, academic, and more. I’m expecting great things from her in the future — in keeping with the great things she is doing now by getting her college degrees, etc..
But getting back to my review of Rena’s book, the 1993 edition leaves out some very interesting information Rena gave us in her first edition published in 1990 — stuff I had hoped to re-read in this 1993 edition, but it was omitted! Darn! But I’m sure some people are most happy they are not mentioned in her 1993 edition!
I must add that Rena’s old memoir desperately needs to be fact-checked! Not all is factual. Also she makes assumptions about a number of serious things that took place in Ervil’s life, as though she were an authority on the subjects. But her assumptions are based only on uneducated and wishful thinking.
For example, she claims “Ervil had nothing to do with the JFK murder.” What does she really know about this? She wasn’t around Ervil or the cult in 1963. I was. Furthermore, she was only a small kid at that time.
Continuing with my criticisms, important parts of “The Blood Covenant” history were conveniently omitted. She wrote more about her girlish romantic escapades and her “middle class” self than anythng — though she and her family hardly did fit the sociological definition of “middle class.” “Lower-lower middle class” or “working-class” was more like it.
The chronicle of her life as Ervil’s wife appeared to be largely an attempt to be in the limelight and cash in on the notoriety of her Ex-husband, Ervil LeBaron, so as to make money and be a star — albeit a notorious one. Maybe we can’t blame her?
So, sadly, we were lucky to get three paragraphs about her cold-blooded murder of Dr. Rulon Allred. And the best apology she could come up with, as to the “Lambs of God” atrocities and murders was, “This did not need to happen.”
Here’s what Scott Anderson had to say:
“In 1990, Rena published her autobiography, “The Blood Covenant.” The ghostwritten book is rather bizarre, a rewrite of “Perils of Penelope,” in which Penelope has a gun and knows how to use it.
Interspersed with gratuitous digs at her murdered sister, Lorna, and insistent claims to having been a “victim,” Rena offers long and clinically detailed accounts of her many brushes with oversexed male suitors.
The small matter of Rulon Allred’s murder is dealt with in a few paragraphs. In 1979, the baby-faced, eight-months-pregnant Rena had taken the witness stand to tearfully deny any role in the elderly man’s slaying. In her book, and with all the passion of a financial reporter, she admitted to being the killer.” (Author of “The 4 O’clock Murders”)
Suffice it to say, you may find her book worth a perusal just to see how a member of Ervil LeBaron’s self-appointed murder-for-God cult used to think.
But if you want to get a better handle on the real scary scoop, read from start to finish “The 4 O’clock Murders” by Scott Anderson. And “Prophet of Blood” by Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Dale Van Atta.
Note: These books may be he found at public libraries, bookstores like Amazon.com, and possibly on Kindle.
Note: Some entries in the above documentaries are not always exactly right, but hats off to these Author’s for doing as well as they did with a subject that was often hard to get “the truth” about.
And as an added note, this many years later since those books were published, there has been great change and progress in Uncle Ervil’s children and families: True tales of redemption and of what’s amazingly possible in the human spirit, against all odds.
To get an idea of what I mean, read Uncle Ervil’s daughter’s memoir published in March of 2017, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” available in bookstores everywhere. You may also check her website: AnnaLeBaron.com
- You may use your search engine to look up people and topics, if you wish more information on anyone or anything I mentioned in this blog. Also check YouTube, Wikipedia, and other sites.