“People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a clause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Give your new disciples rituals to perform. Ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.
“The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Green, 1998
Taking up where we left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low — Part 20-C:
Other than my Honeymoon, a one-day trip to Chihuahua City, Mexico, and a five-day trip to Guadalajara, Mexico — all with my husband Bill — plus a trip up to the mountain town of Nico Las Bravos, Mexico, to visit relatives, from 1960 till 1967 I was pretty much stuck in the little windswept Colonia LeBaron, Mexico, a secluded Chihuahuan mountain desert enclave if ever there was one. I didn’t know Spanish, had a baby, no money, and couldn’t drive. Had no car if I could’ve.
And there were no means of public transportation. I was lucky if I could hop a ride, now and then, with somebody who lived in the LeBaron colony, to go to Casas Grandes, the small, quite dilapidated — at least in the 1960’s — Mexican town where our colony members usually shopped for most of their groceries and other needs.
In other words, I was cut off from the outside world and its influences. Our small primitive colony had no electricity, telephones, telegraphs, newspapers, magazines, schools, libraries … the list gets longer! So it precluded TVs, or any other news or information source, of course, though a few people had radios — a luxury I could not afford.
But, eight months after I was married, and sharing a home with Bill’s second wife Lolita, thanks to an old box of magazines and books Serendipity and Synchronicity joined hands to leave on my front porch by way of a disgruntled member — an apostate who fled LeBaron — I found myself with informative and investigative things to read — thanks be to God, Goodness, and my Higher Power! I was seventeen years old and no longer under the watchful eye of my parents. But even Bill’s other two wives were careful to report me to him if they caught me reading! I was to spend all my time working!
But, before anyone could see what was in the box, I hastily gathered it up and hid the inflammatory material, magazines, and pamphlets. Though I was supposed to burn the “Godsend,” I secretly devoured its contents. Ever a God-fearing, yet intellectual and curious person — a bookworm — I couldn’t resist the temptation! I was hoping it would have answers to some of my probing questions. I wasn’t disappointed.
One book in the box, “The Power Of Positive Thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peale, was a most influential work in my developing the ability to think for myself and to see through things such as the fallacies of polygamy — though common sense helped me see through that anyway. But Peale’s work created the means of a breakthrough for me.
Along with Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, my husband Bill Tucker’s influence and input, and my own experiences and reasoning, at age 17, Dr. Peale helped me to see through the glittering generalities and other mumbo-jumbo of mind-controlling religions.
He taught me how to put into down-to-earth terms scriptural verses, catchphrases, and other terminologies and clichés religions and cults commonly use to control their followers and keep them brainwashed and fearful.
I’ve forgotten more than I ever knew in this area — threw it out with the bathwater when I flew the coop and fled the cult. So, 55 years later and after the fact, I’m unable right now to come up with a good example of what I’m talking about. Soon as I think of one, I’ll clarify what I mean.
But another wonderful bonus that came from reading Dr. Peale’s book is he taught me how to overcome my worst problems: Shyness and fear of being around people. His book taught me how to face my fears and overcome them! Before his “blessing” arrived on my doorstep, I was a teenager and still unable to go knock on the door of even an aunt I really wanted to visit! And I would even cross the street so I wouldn’t have to say “Hi” to my own cousins! That’s how timid and bashful I was.
But getting back to Colonia LeBaron in 1963 — back to where I was before I sprouted wings and flew over the prison walls that bound me — after four years of watching for my chance, a loophole opened where I could finally escape the LeBaron cult, Mormonism — and all other cults that have presented themselves ever since.
The “cult of doubt and disbelief” is the only one I have not been able to fully escape since then. But after 40 years of “wandering in the wilderness” literally, I’ve finally gathered enough input and Info to know that, among other things, making no choice is also a choice, as is indecision.
So I’ve chosen to “Let go and let God.” That is, some years ago, I finally realized that fear of believing in something (for fear another cult would be able to overtake me) was actually a “cult of fear.” I’m happy to say that now I have at least finally been able to regain a spiritual basis. For example, I now know there is some kind of hereafter. And I firmly believe we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. And we have probably lived many lifetimes — and will continue on where we leave off in this life.
To my credit, within five months of escaping polygamy and Mormonism in 1967, I realized the philosopher Ayn Rand, herself, was a cult leader! She was my husband Bill Tucker’s new-found philosophical leader, shortly before he died — your philosophy of life being your religion.
Although my husband hadn’t seen it before he died at age 31, I, at age 21, was able to comprehend the above and to also see that Ayn Rand and other atheists had no more proof that God does not exist than religious people have proof that God does exist. Quite a conundrum? I’ll leave you this yummy-gummy gumdrop to chew on till I come up with a new dewdrop containing more oxymorons to gum up your reasoning … and drop you on your head. Just kidding!
Pretty City Chick
By Stephany Spencer
Dearest friends and fans: Please note:
This “sorta” silly song I wrote
Is half-finished so I won’t gloat —
And pray my poem won’t get your goat.
But it’s late — my blog’s due “mañana.”
If you check this song later on … uh …
You may find it partly “re-wrote.”
It needs work,” is my last quote.
Even so, enjoy what I wrote,
As I humorously emote:
Pretty City Chick
NOTE: The following is a tongue-in-cheek song I wrote:
Hi! I’m a Hack Who’s
Written a Hit
Called “Pretty City chick,”
A Hee-ha Comedy Song —
A Bit o’ Bio in Verse,
Fer Better or Worse —
With Truth ‘n’ Exaggeration
Hey, they say I’m a pretty city chick
And Hillbilly music makes some sick;
But my Hillbilly ways are here to stick,
So you may as well get over it —
And join in ’n’ sing a bit,
‘Cause I’m a city chick
And shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.
Born in Mexican sticks in 1946.
I’ve dual citizenship,
And that’s pretty hip —
And now I’m a city chick.
I’m an all-American-mongrel,
Apple-pie girl —
A Hines-57 mixed-up mutt,
With apple pie stickin’ to my gut ’n’ butt;
But red-necked reactionary ignoramuses
Ain’t my thing.
I’m here for music and to sing!
Yeah, I’m an All-American-Mexican,
With Welch ’n’ English,
So sure, I’m a Brit,
With French, German,
And Mohawk Indian a bit.
If there’s no Tom Slick hidin’ in the pit,
Far as I know, that’s about it —
That‘s my story
And I’m “shitickin” to it!
My father was a proud Veteran
Of World War I.
Those Vets were well-appreciated
For what they’d done!
Pa was an artist, creative,
Master of a few —
Good at so many things,
There seemed little he couldn’t do.
Ma was a creative, author,
And artist, thru ’n’ thru;
Trained concert pianist — Whew!
She loved to discuss religious principles
And read religious Lit, old ’n’ new —
Long as it agreed with
What she already “knew.”
She graduated with a BA
In Journalism too;
Quite an accomplishment
‘Cause Ma was sixty-two!
She was runnin’ me competition then,
For I was still in College too,
Strugglin’ to make it up
From the cult she’d put me thru …
If she only knew!
But her motto was:
“Anything you can do,
I can do better;
I can do anything better than you!”
(And she meant it too!)
Hey, they call me a pretty city chick,
But Hillbilly music is my “shtick,”
And my Hillbilly ways are here to stick;
So you may as well “git” over it
And join in ‘n’ sing a bit
With this pretty city chick,
‘Cause shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.
Born in Mexican sticks in 1946,
I’ve dual citizenship
And that’s pretty hip.
Well, that’s my story
And I’m “shtickin’ ” to it:
“I’m a pretty city chick.”
*The following is an iPhone video of me in 2017 at age 71 performing the above lyrics at the California Writers Club — fifty years after escaping polygamy & Mormon fundamentalism. It’s a standup-comedy song I wrote called “I’m a Hit.” I recently “re-writ” part of it and renamed it “Pretty City-Chick”:
(Continued July 23, 2018: “My Memoir: Ma, Pa, Me — And And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low: — Part 20–E”