My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer: Ma Meets Pa … Or Was It the Other Way Around? — Part 11
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
Winston Spencer Churchill
“It was love at first sight!” exclaimed Mama. ” On October 13, 1943, while I was visiting my brother Alma’s friend, in walked a tall, dark, and handsome stranger [Floyd Otto Spencer]. I knew, the moment I laid eyes on him, he was the man for me!
I was about twenty-three, then, in my second year at Tempe State University — And quite sure I didn’t want to live polygamy! But all that changed after I saw yer pa because I knew, the minute our eyes met, he was the man I was supposed to marry!” [NOTE: See “Spencer Family Album and Scrapbook,” compiled by my sister Nola.]
“So the following day, while your Pa was up on the roof in sunny Mesa, Arizona, helpin’ my brother Alma re-roof my brother Ben’s house, I took advantage of the chance to be up there on the roof, too, so I could get to know ‘the tall, dark, and handsome stranger.’ ”
It didn’t matter that my future Daddy was twenty-six years her senior, already married to a beautiful woman, Eva Bowman, and together those two had ten gorgeous children — and another on the way. None of that mattered because Mama was a Mormon fundamentalist.
What did matter in Mormon fundamentalist eyes is Ma was “an old maid” at the time she met future Pa. Now, how had she, an attractive, gifted, and accomplished young woman, existed so long under the radar without being “married up”? For “Plygs” are generally married off as children — because, to them, marriage and having all the kids one can have is what Life is all about; i.e., All that matters to Mormon fundamentalists, in general, is having all the kids and wives they can have — so as to bring all the little spirits they possibly can into good Mormon fundamentalist homes.
These homes are the best homes in the world, they believe. They simply sacrifice their ALL to serve God by bringing as many as they can of these little foreordained spirits down into “good Mormon homes;” i.e., homes that live the “fullness of the gospel,” as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught it — Homes where not one jot nor one tittle of these early prophets’ words and teachings have been changed! (Is that obsessive-compulsive or what?! Well, they don’t think so.)
But getting back to where I got sidetracked, I’ll tell you what Mother was doing still single at twenty-two: This “catch” was “a Mexico LeBaron.” Now if you’re a Mormon fundamentalist, you know what that means: There was mental illness in Ma’s Family; i.e., “The Mexico-LeBaron Family.”
Let me give you some backstory — if I have the story right. (LeBaron stories are/ were wont to change from time to time): Ma’s big brother, my Uncle Ben, was not only bipolar/schizophrenic, but had recently let the various Mormon fundamentalist groups know they were to follow him as their “Priesthood Head,” because he was the “One Mighty ‘n’ Strong.” Uncle Ben further quipped: “I get revelations from God regularly … Thus sayeth the Lord! “
He claimed his father had given him a special priesthood mantle — the “Scepter of Power,” or “The Right of the Firstborn.” (My maternal grandfather, Dayer LeBaron, taught his family this mantle of priesthood power was given to him, Dayer, by his grandfather, Benjamin F. Johnson — who got it from the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith. Crazy? And how!)
In today’s blog, it’s not my intent to go into Mormon fundamentalist and LeBaron doctrines and claims, other than to say all this above crazy business meant Uncle Ben claimed to hold the priesthood keys to the kingdom of God on earth. So he was, therefore, “The one Mighty ‘n’ strong, come in the last days to set the house of God in order” — as prophesied in Mormon scriptures.
The Mormon fundamentalists believe “The house of God” (i.e., the mainstream Mormon church) had gotten out of order and lost the keys to the priesthood and, thus, favor with God when they signed away plural marriage in the Manifesto of 1890. (For polygamy was the highest commandment their Prophet Joseph Smith had given them.)
Trust me, that’s all we have time to tell about these fundamentalist doctrines and beliefs, at the moment. We’ve already gotten far off the subject of “Ma Meets Pa.” But at least you now know why Ma did not feel she was a home-breaker … Instead, believed she was a “home-maker.”
Continued in: “My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer: Ma Meets Pa … Or Was It the Other Way Around? — Part 12”