My Memoirs Backstory: Esther LeBaron Spencer de McDonald — Ma ‘n’ Pa — Part 17

family, all but sharon
1964 LeBaron–Spencer family photo (one Sis not in Pic)

 

“A wise man learns from other man’s experience.
A fool cannot learn even from his own.”
Will Durant


Taking up from last week’s blog: Since Mother did not/would not live polygamy when it came to sharing Daddy with another woman, I resent that she maneuvered and manipulated me into a harem — a life she could not live herself.

But what’s new?! Ma operated on double standards: What was not good enough for her was good enough for her daughter. Or she and Daddy were hoping I would be able to live the “highest law of God,” even though Mother was not able to.

I’m sure she wasn’t duplicitous on purpose, but her actions showed a lack of integrity and forethought, not to mention, empathy for me. But what can you expect from a true-believing “Saint” trapped mentally, spiritually, and physically in a world of evil, lies, perversion, fraud, and fantasy — and unable to find a way out?

Perhaps, her lack of feeling and integrity was at least partially brought on by her splitting from herself due to not only subconscious guilt because she was not living all the gospel precepts she taught and believed in, but also because her artistic and other deep human needs were not being met.

And all these needs conflicted terribly with her crazy Mormon fundamentalist beliefs she’d been so indoctrinated and brainwashed with since birth — such as having to have all the kids she could have, one after another, no matter what the condition of her health was! And having to live “The law of chastity” (I’ll explain this in a future blog.) — just two examples of the strict fundamentalist beliefs her “profits/Prophets” had instilled in her.

She dared not do what was best for her or her family. She was taught that she had to do what was best for “God” and “His gospel.” But when you remove the glittering generalities, you realize “God and the gospel” really referred to the “Profit” of the cult — he was “God and the gospel.” He was the one who benefitted from all the cult indoctrination he instilled in his followers.

So, since Mama dared not think for herself nor question “the truth,” she wasn’t  aware of her two-faced-ness — if only because she couldn’t admit to herself she was “not good enough” to be able to live up to what she considered “the highest laws of God” … she who lived in a dream world, and told everybody she was the greatest, most righteous woman upon the face of the earth.*

Though Ma raised me to believe I would go to hell if I didn’t live polygamy, she never lived it during her twenty-two-year marriage with Father — after his first wife divorced him. But, hey, fourteen children and one wife were more than enough for one old man (or young man).

It was a blessing in disguise, I realize, now that I have escaped the cult, that Daddy didn’t have more wives and kids for our family to contend with and have to share our parents’ attention, energies, and already meager income with.

And as for attention, what was that? About the only attention I ever got was when I was in trouble or they were piling on me more slave-bound work.

But, actually, as a Mormon fundamentalist, I didn’t think in terms of attention, being a slave, etc. That would’ve been selfish and evil. We were happy masochists in our misery as we denied ourselves in order to make any necessary sacrifices to bring more little spirits into “good Mormon fundamentalist homes “– such as ours. (LOL!)

We believed we were serving God by doing this. (We told ourselves a lot of stories!) But now that I look back on it, in reality, we were serving the self-proclaimed prophet/ profit, not God/Goodness:

The more kids we produced, and the more sacrifices we made, the more power and profit for the Prophet — and the more little girls available for him and his favorite priesthood members. And that’s how it goes.


  • The cult leaders taught that if we even dared question what they told us and whether polygamy, etc., was correct, we would be turned over to the buffetings of Satan. And that meant we would lose our mind. That was a very real concern for my Mother – and even for me, while in the cult.

Please keep in mind: Throughout my blogs and Memoirs, I am talking only about the years I knew Mother. Everybody changes as they age.

I had no contact with her the last few years of her life before she became riddled with dementia, then died at ninety-two. So I’ll cut her some slack and say that she must’ve been doing something right, or she wouldn’t have had so many people who loved her till the end and still have fond memories of her.

(Continued July 21, 2017: “My Memoirs Backstory: Esther LeBaron Spencer de McDonald — Part 18”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “My Memoirs Backstory: Esther LeBaron Spencer de McDonald — Ma ‘n’ Pa — Part 17

  1. Okay, I’m beginning to understand your mother a little better and what she was dealing with. I know she loved her brothers very much — all the more so because she thought Joel and Ervil were God’s chosen.

    You have led an amazing life. I am so glad you are sharing your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your continued feedback and encouragement. I have relatives telling me I should forget the past, let it all go, and definitely do not write about it — because all it does is bring further persecution, et cetera, to those with the last name of LeBaron — or who lived in LeBaron.

      You are so right … so observant when you note the reasons Mother loved and revered her brothers so much.

      This is a family who stuck together and thought highly of each other, despite the ostracization they grew up with in the Mormon colonies.

      I am not at all sure what it is that my maternal grandparents did that raised their children to get along so well together and to think so highly of each other and of their mother and father. Though some of my grandparents’ children definitely did have issues with their off-the-wall father … as did many people. More on all that in upcoming blogs.

      They rather saw each other as gods, despite being marginalized and maligned by the majority of people where they lived. The LeBarons believed they were very special. And it helped that they believed their father carried a special mantle or scepter of power!

      There is a lot to be said for that family pride, togetherness, and support of each other, I guess, and for how well they got along together and loved each other, for it hardly morphed down into my own immediate family — especially when it came to the first half of my parents’ fourteen children.

      Most if not all of my LeBaron and LeBaron off-shoots and extended family members and relatives have also grown up with this belief that they’re very special. The jury might still be out on some of that. But Mormons tend to believe they’re very special anyway.

      Suffice it to say, Mormons, Mormon fundamentalists, LeBarons, et Al, need all the help they can get to combat the bad publicity they get. And I know my blog probably isn’t helping a whole lot, though I hope it does far more good in the world than it does harm to some of my relatives as I reveal hidden truths and insights. Let’s hope so!

      Like

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