Pt 19-E: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

My Memoir, Part 19-E: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
 And More Perils of Polygamy

me-in-plaid-dress-14
Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron, age 14, On our homestead in Colonia LeBaron in 1961

 



“An important question for leaders:
‘Am I building people,
or building my dream
and using people to do it?’ “

John Maxwell


I left off in “My Memoir Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-D” saying:

The secretly arranged marriage my Uncle Ervil LeBaron had manipulated me into wasn’t at all like I had fantasized marriage would be — not at all how I had romanticized matrimony and the meeting of my future husband would come about. Instead, I didn’t look forward to being Homer Babbit’s wife/ plural wife.

“Why did God want me to do something that seemed so unnatural,” is what I would have asked myself if, at the brainwashed and controlled age of “sweet sixteen,” I’d known enough to ask crucial questions. But there were few respected boundaries, let alone rights, in my cultish upbringing. I was simply to do what I was told and not ask questions. Children were to be seen, not heard. I had been threatened by my father with a beating, at age fifteen, for simply daring to respectfully ask, “Why?”

Notwithstanding, missing was the passion and desire I’d expected there would be as my wedding day approached. I was sad and out of sorts about how it was all coming down. I had been in love before, a number of times, and this wasn’t it! And though I surely wanted to do what God wanted me to do, I sure wished something would happen, too, so this marriage wouldn’t happen … wouldn’t go through!

Ervil was going to have Homer and me marry sans dating and sans me even knowing the guy, let alone being attracted to him! It blows me over, now, to think my unscrupulous uncle would care so little about me and my needs and feelings that he would use priestcraft to manipulate totally naïve, trusting, and special me for his own power and financial gain — would pretend that he stood as God to us people, got revelation for us, and could, therefore, tell me who I was supposed to marry — and without even bringing my parents in on it! 

He was using me and the members of his cult as though we were nothing but animals and human pawns in his hands put on earth to fulfill his plans — as though nobody mattered but him. This is evil. And it has left its repercussions reverberating in my life ever since. (More on that later.)

Evil Ervil had everyone duped. But I fail to see why all those who raised him and/or grew up with him and knew him well — his mother, my mother, her brothers, and their friends such as Homer — didn’t see and prevent what Ervil was doing to those in his fold. In other words, by saying or doing nothing, and looking the other way, these adults basically condoned it.

Uncle Ervil knew the most important thing in my sixteen-year-old Mormon fundamentalist female mind at that time was: Who am I supposed to marry and when? And how can I best help build up the kingdom of God? He knew this because this was what I was born and bred on. The woman’s whole purpose in life, in Mormon fundamentalism, was to marry the right man — as revealed to her by revelation — and to serve God or “The Work;” i.e., “The work of God/ Building up God’s kingdom on earth.”

There were already many men in the LeBaron cult who had gone to my father and asked to have permission to marry me. It had been going on for the whole two years since my family moved to the LeBaron colony cult in 1960 when I was only fourteen. Daddy had turned most of them down, using the excuse that I was too young — which, of course, made them dislike my father more than maybe they already did. Or, at least, being refused permission to court or marry me hurt those men’s feelings.

To my LeBaron uncles and Mormon fundamentalist members, thirteen was not too young to be married off as a polygamist’s “wife.” So in Uncle Ervil’s mind, sixteen was the perfect age for a woman to marry; i.e., Get her before she could think for herself! Nor did he care how I felt about it. Again, I was just somebody for this sociopathic/ psychopathic master manipulator to use for his own vain purposes, glorification, and financial gain.

(Continued October 4, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-F”)



In this video, Producer Rebecca Kimbel, one of my aunt-in-laws, is interviewing one of my many first cousins, Donna LeBaron Goldberg, who grew up in Colonia LeBaron where I spent over eight years of my life as a child and young adult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pt 19-D: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

My Memoir, Part 19-D: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
And More Perils of Polygamy

me-on-cement
 Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron, doing some after-school reading to a couple of her students, Verlan M. and Joel, Ivan, or Nathan LeBaron? (correct me if I have their names wrong.) We’re perched on a pile of dried cement outside our adobe schoolhouse in 1962.

 



“The successful leader
is the one who makes the right move
at the right moment with the right motive.”
John Maxwell 



Continuing where we left off in “My Memoir Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-C:

Heck! Here I am alone in the dark in a car with a middle-aged male Mormon stranger in an arranged marriage situation and this was the first time I’d ever been alone with a man! To think it had to be in this bizarre, coerced, traumatic, unnatural setting — not romantic at all, despite the moonlit night. Fortunately and unfortunately, as it turns out, it was to be my first and final meeting with Ervil’s well-meaning but badly misused and abused “amigo,” Homer Babbitt.

When inhibited and bashful Babbitt attempted to make conversation with timid, discombobulated me, out of habit, he and I were so shy the cat got our tongues before we could grab it! So he was barely able to bashfully babble:

“The Prophet Ervil said the Lord revealed to him we are supposed to be married in a couple of days. I’m to give him a piece of land because he got me you for my second wife so I can further build the work of God. So I want to know, do you agree to be my plural wife so I can enter into ‘the principle of celestial marriage’ to better serve God?”

I replied, “I agree to marry you because Uncle Ervil prophesied it was what God wanted me to do to help build up the kingdom of God on earth.”

After that “proposal,” so unmemorable for me was that secret evening rendezvous that all I pretty much recall is he then drove me back to the outskirts of my home and dropped me off where nobody would see nor hear his car coming and going.

I don’t remember anything else about that time with homely Homer, except that I didn’t feel good about it! The whole event was a bummer for me. It left me off-balance and with a feeling of nervous nausea in the pit of my troubled mind and nervous stomach. Some date, right? 

I didn’t understand what was coming off nor going on with this marriage Uncle Ervil had suddenly arranged — and all behind my parents’ back, on the spur of the moment, in the dead of day, in the name of God. It made me question whether there could really be a God.

For one thing, it wasn’t at all like I had fantasized — not at all how I had romanticized matrimony and meeting my future husband would be. Instead, I didn’t look forward to being Homer Babbitt’s wife/ plural wife. “Why did God want me to do something that seemed so unnatural,” is what I would have asked myself if I knew enough to ask questions.

Missing was the passion I’d expected there would be as my wedding day approached. I was sad and out of sorts about how it was all coming down. And though I surely wanted to do what God wanted me to do, I surely wished something would happen, too, so this marriage wouldn’t happen … wouldn’t go through.

(Continued September 27, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-E”)

Pt 19-C: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

My Memoir, Part 19-C: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
 And More Perils of Polygamy

me-in-red-blouse-15
Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron in 1962, age 16, on our “ranch” in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.

cactus-and-adobe-hut



“Nearly all men can stand adversity,
but if you want to test a man’s character,
give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln


I left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-B” commenting:

In Homer Babbitt’s kiss
There was no connubial bliss,
Though that was my very first kiss!
And my very first date …
Yet, barely a kiss and barely a date.
Still, Ervil prophesied he was my fate!

And now I wax into half-assed poetry,
Because no matter how “Homely Homer” kissed me,
I would’ve missed marital bliss, believe me,
Because despite Ervil’s wheelings ‘n’ dealings,
I felt no friendly feelings
For this pockmarked Mormon Mister.
He could go marry my sister!!

In reality, my love-sick stomach was reeling:
Because, when it came to my “celestial” sealing,
I longed to be kissing Bill Tucker,
Not this pock-marred, scarred-faced fucker!

Talk about an upcoming frigid Miss
In a marriage devoid of connubial bliss,
Because she was stuck in bed with
A man she couldn’t kiss
And a marriage missing luster,
Thanks to Ervil, the fuckin’ fuck-Buster!

But, to further forward his meddlin’,
While my present and future peddlin’,
Evil Ervil, chief head of “Cult LeBaron,”
Called my parents to a meetin’ wherein
I could secretly slip out the back
To meet my soon-to-be “quack”/spouse
Without my parents about the house
To smell the lousy “louse” trap
Set behind their manipulated back
To catch ‘n’ mate their poor little “mouse,”
And to a polygamist male espouse!

All I remember about my miserable meet-up
With my arranged husband-to-be, in this secret prenup,
Is being surrounded by a desert mesquite-cacti outback,
In homely Homer’s hidden black Cadillac,
And both of us blushing to beat the band
As we self-consciously took each other’s hand —

The first time I’d ever been alone with a man!
And now we were expected to take a stand
And solemnly join our compromised lives …
By telling each other conjured-up lies —
Expected to make our wedding vows …
But I could not my passions arouse.

With heated and flushing countenance
Completely bathed in moonlight intense,
We couldn’t hide how uncomfortable we felt
As Homer stood near me and then knelt.
Being together alone that night
Simply and completely did not feel right!

Homer was unable to utter a word
In this setting so “utter”-ly absurd:
I, a naïve sixteen-year-old,
But soon a child bride to be;
He a marred-faced American-Mexican
Going on forty-three.

We two didn’t even know each other.
We felt more like sister and brother.
We’d never been together before,
Nor even been introduced afore
That secret evening rendezvous
When this man I never even knew
Suddenly showed up at my door.
… And now I’ll close down; I’ll say no more,
But promise next week more trivia galore!

(Continued in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-D”)



The following video is an excellent depiction of my upbringing in Mormon fundamentalism.

Pt 19-B: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

 

My Memoir, Part 19-B: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
 And More Perils of Polygamy

three-pictures-of-ervil
The middle picture is how I remember my Uncle Ervil M. LeBaron in the 1960s

 

“A wise leader inspires and motivates,
rather than intimidating and manipulating.”
Henry Ford


Getting back to my life being hijacked in the name of plural marriage: As I mentioned in my last blog, Mother’s brother, Ervil M. LeBaron, was in on the manipulation of my love-life too. (What’s new?! Whose life was he not in on? But of course, I didn’t know this, back then.)

As it turns out, Ervil LeBaron had time for everyone’s family but his own. This cunning Con was too busy using and abusing others — all the new converts and you name it — under the highfalutin pretense of being “The Second Grand Head” of God’s church on earth.

His maneuvering and manipulating others to his own advantage was only outdone by his coercion and priestcraft when it came to pulling the wool over the eyes of the “lambs” and fleecing the newbie true-believing “Church of the Firstborn” sheep.

My Uncle “Evil Ervil” was truly something else — and in his heyday and depth of glory with all those trusting true-believing followers and converts suddenly now at his deceptive fingertips once his and his brother’s (self-proclaimed Prophet Joel LeBaron) new “Church” began to take off in the late 1950s.

Well, as it turns out, while my uncle was horrendously manipulating my life on one level, unbeknownst to me (as I said in the previous blog), my parents (another set of controllers found wanting in the area of integrity) were secretly snooping into my personal belongings, betraying my trust in them as they managed to find each new place I hid my diary. By regularly reading my journal entries, they too were able to control and manipulate my life and happiness!

Reading my diaries behind my back must’ve been the entertainment of the day for my parents in their collusion to eavesdrop, by way of my diaries, on what I believed were my private thoughts!

But I can’t even imagine their “entertainment” when they found that Ervil, Mumma’s younger brother, had, behind my parents’ back, secretly bartered me off in marriage (in the name of God, revelation, and building up “His” kingdom) to Homer Babbitt, Mum’s girlhood friend — in exchange for land!!

In my Journal entry of July 15, 1962, I wrote that Ervil had told me not to tell my parents about my upcoming marriage to Homer — “So the devil can’t interfere with God’s plans,” said he. I also wrote that I was not at all attracted to Homer Babbitt– and that when we kissed to cement our engagement to marry, it felt icky.

Homer’s kiss wasn’t much more than a peck on the lips … thank God. And That was my first kiss ever, too! (Oh dear, and Heaven help us!) Also my first date ever — though hardly a kiss and hardly a date. But no matter how Homer had kissed me, I would’ve gotten no pleasure whatsoever out of it because I had no feelings for him whatsoever.

I don’t recall doing anything else with this extremely shy, middle-aged stranger. Only recall that, to cement our coerced marriage vows, Uncle Ervil arranged for the rendezvous wherein Homer Babbitt and I secretly convened in his black Buick he’d skillfully hidden behind a secluded clump of mesquite bushes toward the outskirts of the small LeBaron scrabble colony. Situated in the Chihuahuan desert, in 1962 the cult was amply surrounded by cacti, mesquite, and other desert vegetation suitable for hiding in!

(Continued September 15, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-C”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pt 19-A: Ma, Pa, Me, and Perils of Polygamy

  • My Memoir, Part 19-A: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
    Ma, Pa, and Perils of Polygamy

    ma and grma, 2
    Mama and Grandmama

“No influence is so powerful
as the that of the mother.”

Sarah Josepha Hale


Picking up from “My Memoir Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — Ma ‘n’ Pa — Part 18:”

As I’ve said before, Mother could not live polygamy herself — at least not during her twenty-two years of marriage with my father. So I really resent she maneuvered and manipulated me into a harem — a life she couldn’t stomach herself. But what’s new?!

Since she and Pa raised me to believe I would go to hell if I didn’t live polygamy (because Joseph Smith said so). Obviously then, they expected their kids to be able to do things they were never able to do themselves. Or they were trying to at least save me from going to hell when they couldn’t save themselves. Dream on!

Therefore, though I was barely sixteen, still tied to Mother’s apron strings and too young to know any better nor have any input, Mumsy, along with Pappy’s priestcraft and support, worked her witchcraft that dumped me into William Preston Tucker’s family/ harem – an arranged polygamic marriage, and one that would bring glory to hers and Daddy’s name — for Bill Tucker was arguably the biggest catch in town.

To manipulate me, among other things, Mum told me, “I had a revelation last night that showed me plain as day that you are supposed to marry William Preston Tucker.”

Many years later, I discovered her so-called “revelation” was that she (and Dad!) had simply secretly read my private and personal diary wherein I had stated Bill was the man I was in love with.

But, I learned a few years later, at least half the town was in love with this alpha male, William Preston Tucker — Men and women! (To be sure, Mormon polygamy allows for mayhem!)

My parents had convinced me they were perfect … and saints. So it never entered my mind that while I was away from home dutifully and conscientiously doing the job they got me into, starting at age fourteen — volunteer school teaching for the LeBaron colony cult — they were regularly reading, entirely unbeknownst to me, my hidden diary. Then discussing together my most private and secret daily entries and thoughts — things I believed only I knew … personal things only I was supposed to know!!

I poured my heart and soul out in my diary. You could say I had “diarrhea/dia-ry’-a” of the mouth. This writing is what kept me alive and sane while in the cult. But I never dreamed it was also what kept my parents, and, later on, other manipulators and enemies able to read my mind and, thus, have power over me and my life.

Since I recorded all my private thoughts and feelings, intruders into my personal diaries (such as my husband and his other wives, later on down the line!) had perfect access to my mental processes, problems, plans, secret feelings about them and others — and you name it! Golly Gee!!

My brain might as well have been opened up for Cons and rivals to covertly listen in on all my most private and personal plans and thoughts so they could take my power. For I used my journals to process, cathart, and “thought fart,” and otherwise wend my way through the LeBaron Mormon polygamist cult mess I had to deal with on a daily basis as a young teen going through the perils of coming of age in a foreign land and fanatic fundamentalist, mind-boggling belief system.

And, wouldn’t you know, my Uncle Ervil LeBaron played his part in manipulating my life, and turning it upside down too. But I’ll take up with that in next week’s Blog.

(Continued September 8, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-B”)