Investigative Journalist Scott Anderson, Author of The 4 O’clock Murders
Scott Anderson’s “The 4 O’clock Murders,” published in 1993, is a must read for those interested in a documentary of America’s most bizarre but now apparently defunct crime family. The Doc chronicles the history of this extremist cult initiated in the late 1960s by the sociopathic serial killer, Ervil LeBaron. (He was my uncle, no less.)
The cult was largely made up of Uncle Ervil’s fourteen wives and about sixty children, plus a few other staunch followers and their wives and children. He called his organization the “Church of the Lamb of God.” But it was, in reality, a fundamentalist Mormon-mafioso syndicated crime family cloaked under the guise of religion.
Anderson’s text is the most up-to-date book on this cult. Thanks to his dedicated and daring work, we have an amazing wealth of information and insight to further our research, awareness, and understanding of “Evil Ervil,” and his avenging angels.
I’ve been told the “Ervilites” no longer exist. But that’s not to say another extreme cult of “avenging angel’s” couldn’t rise from its ashes to take up where the “Ervilites” left off. You are with me in hoping that never happens.
Recently, I read Scott Anderson’s “The 4 O’clock Murders,” only to have my hair stand on end when I realized how little I had ever really known about this horrifyingly horrific, dangerous, and devious band of outlaws.
I’m not proud to say most of them were my relatives. And that it was all spawned by my charismatic and brilliant, but lunatic Uncle Ervil and his treacherous teachings — that included hearing God regularly tell him to “Kill those sons of bitches!”
But maniacal “Mormon Manson” Ervil couldn’t have succeeded in his reign of terror without the dastardly group of mislead, autistic-like, demented people who followed his violent, crazy, megalomaniac, and malevolent religious philosophy.
The majority of Uncle Joel LeBaron’s Church of the Firstborn followers couldn’t stomach his brother Ervil LeBaron’s violent, threatening, and far-fetched Philosophy of life. Nor did they want anything to do with his domineering, devious, and deceptive ways.
Ervil’s overbearing, self-centered, presumptuous, pseudo-authoritative sense-of-entitlement was hard for most to take — not to mention his nonstop talk, wayward religious doctrines — and his bad breath.
Uncle Ervil’s priestcraftly manipulations drove some of my peaceful Uncle Joel’s followers into frenzied frustration, rebellion, and disillusionment — such that they left Joel’s cult Uncle Ervil had a large role in helping him build.
In other words, most of Uncle Joel LeBaron’s followers (myself included) wouldn’t leave Joel’s sect to join the violent renegade cult Ervil LeBaron started. (Ervil initiated it after Joel excommunicated him from the “Church of the First Born,” a Mormon offshoot cult.)
Therefore, you have to wonder about the adults who did choose to follow Uncle Ervil, hook, line, and sinker/stinker (Pun intended) — and even to murder for him!
In 1967, at age twenty-one, I escaped Uncle Joel LeBaron’s cult — just as Uncle Ervil, his right hand man and brother, was beginning to preach his own violent, subversive civil-law and blood-atonement doctrine, along with all its mafioso underpinnings.
A few years after I fled “The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times,” Uncle Joel finally dissmembershipped my uncle, Ervil, from his “church,” due to, among other things, his insurrection, insubordination, aggrandizement, and threatening blood-atonement philosophy.
You must read the following books, “The 4 O’Clock Murders,” “Prophet of Blood,” and my recently-deceased Aunt Irene Koonz LeBaron/Spencer’s book, “Cult Insanity,” to know what I’m talking about — if you aren’t already familiar with the LeBaron-Madmen story.
I wish there were an update of this bloody LeBaron Documentary, “The Four O’clock Murders.” Written over twenty-five years ago, much has taken place among the Ervilites, LeBarons, and Joel’s cult since Scott Anderson went out on a limb, putting his life on the line, to chronicle and publish this incredulous history of a vengeful crime family that makes Manson and his “family” seem tame in comparison.
But I’m grateful Anderson wrote the Doc. Without his honesty and dedication, I and the world would never have known the extent to which this bloody, Satanic, and ill-begotten cult was willing to go — though we do have the earlier and equally well-written and researched documentary, “The Prophet of Blood,“ chronicled and published in 1981 by Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Dale Van Atta.
These Documentaries may not always be right-on-the-button. But they’re close enough. The Authors did well, given the difficulty involved in obtaining information. Even ex-cult members usually don’t talk — especially to outsiders. If bits of Info were circumspect, blame the cult members they interviewed!
That said, “The Prophet of Blood,” is a recommended read. It contains historical data not in “The 4 O’clock Murders.”
Scott Anderson’s Documentary, published twelve years later, chronicles updated history of the bloody and loony legacy spawned by the maniacal “prophet,” Ervil LeBaron. It’s a pathetic legacy of a “Prophet out for Profit” … and out of his mind.