My Memoir, Part 16: Esther LeBaron Spencer de McDonald — Ma and Pa

family, color.jpeg
Esther LeBaron de McDonald & Floyd Otto Spencer family in 1958

 


“Men never do evil so completely
and cheerfully as when they do it
from religious conviction.”
Blaise Pascal


Picking up where we left off last week, I find it reprehensible Mormon fundamentalist dogma encourages women to intrude upon established marriages, break them up (as Mother did when she went after Father, who was already married and had nine or ten children at the time — and another soon on the way) —  all in the name of polygamy; i.e., “living a higher law.” 

In other words, it encourages adultery: It “legalizes” a woman’s going after a man she’s attracted to, though he is another woman’s “Contracted property.”

It’s altogether barbaric, ludicrous, deplorable, and inexcusable that a religion could teach doctrines that break up marriages and families. Laws that leave the wife broken-hearted, betrayed, her home downtrodden, and her life and that of her kids smashed to smithereens.

Often, thanks to problems with trying to live polygamy,  children are left to grow up fatherless. And the now-single wife is forced to be mother and father to her large family of small children – A sure way to invite misery, poverty, deprivation; i.e., under-class living.

That’s exactly what happened in my father’s case. His Junior-High-age kids even had to quit school and work to help support the large, abandoned family! My father’s betrayed wife Eva, now a sad, grieving, and lonely mother of eleven fatherless children, had to leave the home and go to work too.

So who was left to tend home and babies? Obviously, the older children had to play mama. And become premature homemakers besides.

That’s what happened! Unfortunately, all the above is a typical scenario that broken families endure, thanks to evils like Mormon polygamous doctrines that put “celestial marriage” ahead of everything else.

I’m not proud of the part Mum played in the dire suffering and hell Daddy’s first wife and children endured, even if it was part of Mummy’s fundamentalist Mormon religion to break up marriages.

I only know she could never stand to have done to her what she did to others: She never practiced what she preached, when it came to polygamy. She was too jealous to allow Daddy a plural wife.

And Daddy wasn’t about to add on a second wife unless Mom was in full agreement. He’d already suffered, almost beyond endurance, after losing his first wife and eleven children.

Having learned his lesson the hard way, Dad wasn’t about to stumble, bumble, or ramble into another briar patch — to gamble again on whether taking a plural wife would or wouldn’t work out — womanizer or no womanizer.

In other words, he wasn’t wandering down any more poison ivy-bedecked garden paths — without his legal wife’s full agreement and encouragement. Even then, he might hesitate.

For Eva had been in agreement, to begin with, when it came to her husband taking a second wife — to fulfill Joseph Smith’s commandment to live plural marriage or be damned.

But within six months of Daddy’s having wedded Mummy; i.e., bedded Mommy, Eva could bear no more. She packed up kids and all and divorced him.

Though Mother didn’t mind or didn’t know what she was doing, at age twenty-two or twenty-three, when she went after somebody else’s attractive father and husband “in order to live plural marriage” — that is, have the man she wanted — in the end, she herself was unable to share her handsome husband, once Eva had left him.

She never encouraged Father to take another wife — never lived polygamy … Just talked about it. Just as she talked about herself being the most perfect, holy, and righteous woman on earth — the most-Godly example of how to live “the gospel;” i.e., Mormon fundamentalism. But again, it was all talk.

Ma even wrote and disseminated articles on the subject of how to live plural marriage — and the importance of this “holy law of matrimony”!

Followers follow, so the Mormon fundamentalists she put pressure on and talked into going into plural marriage, never took into account Mama had never lived it, herself, to speak of.

Anyway, Mother had, as the power behind her “punch,” the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live “the holy law of matrimony” or be damned to hell. So her followers drank the “punch” — and were damned to hell … till death do us part?? I damn well think so!

Even so, Mum had a following … admirers … true-believing people who idolized and lauded her — because she told them she knew she had her “calling and election made sure!”

If asked how she was so sure she was going to the highest degree of glory in heaven, when she died, she invariably vouched: “My Patriarchal Blessing told me so!” … as though she were so much more special than the rest of us?

(Continued in: “My Memoirs Backstory: Esther LeBaron Spencer de McDonald — Part 17”)


  • The following link is a YouTube presentation done by my Aunt Susan Ray Schmidt (formerly Susan Ray LeBaron, one of Uncle Verlan’s former wives who left him), wherein she tells the audience how much she had longed to know that she was saved; i.e., had her “calling and election made sure” … “like Esther LeBaron Spencer:”


 

 

 

4 thoughts on “My Memoir, Part 16: Esther LeBaron Spencer de McDonald — Ma and Pa

  1. Dear Stephany,
    As I read this I thought about how your Mom was very lucky to preach polygamy and not have to live it.
    It kinda remonds me of what I recently learned about the early Mormon Presidents of the church. Growong up everyone in mainstream LDS would talk about Joseph Smith being a polygamist and placing that blame on just him and how the church separated from him and his polygamy ways. I just started looking up information on the Mormon Prophets and to my amazement there are 6 more Prophets after Joseph Smith that practiced polygamy. The LDS are not as innocent as I thought they were. This reminded me of your Mom’s situation of saying one thing and doing another. Your Mom sounds like great woman, I’m glad people thought highly of her and she didn’t have to practice polygamy. I also loved the video.
    Thanks,
    Dena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dena, how nice to hear from you again, for I know you’re very busy right now with your new job and going back to college on top of caring for your husband, home, and family.

      I love that you are studying early Mormon history and finding out what I have found out, myself. You impress me!

      Like

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