the-lebaron-story-book-cover-2
Joseph Smith, Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Alma Dayer LeBaron, and Joel Franklin LeBaron


“The LeBaron Story” is truly a “Vanity Book” — not only because my uncle Verlan LeBaron paid a publishing company in 1981 (back when self-publishing was not the norm) to publish the book — but also because it’s a revisionistic, apologetic, and biased history of “the Mexico LeBarons;” i.e., my grandparents Maud and Dayer LeBaron and their offspring.

What’s more, though my Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Verlan finished and got the book published, they are largely NOT the main authors of it. Truth is, Uncle Verlan was FAR too busy to write a book — even if he knew how — too busy working, traveling around from country to country visiting his ten wives and fifty-plus kids — and running from his brother Ervil who was out to kill him! Aunt Charlotte was about that busy too!

Fact is, MY mother/Verlan’s older sister Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer (who possessed a BA in Journalism) is the one who birthed and did the groundwork for what is now “The LeBaron Story.” She wrote a large part of this book, then turned her “baby” — her manuscript over to Verlan, along with her journals and notes, telling him he could finish and publish her book — could even have all the proceeds from it!

Did she tell them they could have ALL the credit for it too? I know Mother could be ridiculously magnanimous and philanthropic at times. But was she this magnanimous and philanthropic? Even if it were the case, too bad those who published her “baby” didn’t return ANY of her magnanimity and philanthropy. That is, they gave my mother NOT a bit of thanks nor credit for all the work she put into initiating then writing most of The LeBaron Story” — her gift to Verlan LeBaron and “God’s work.” Nowhere do you even get a suggestion that anyone other than Verlan and Charlotte had anythong to do with writing this text! How sad!!

Turning her book idea and all her manuscript work over to the new head of “The Church of The First Born of the Fullness of Times was Mother’s loving and conscientious effort to help her brother Verlan look good and thereby better “build up the kingdom of God.” And it was her way of paying tithing to extend and defend “God’s work” because Verlan had taken over for her brother Joel F. LeBaron, “The One Mighty and Strong Prophet,” after Joel was murdered by his brother Ervil!

The work of finishing and compiling Mother’s grandiose book was largely done by my Uncle Verlan’s first wife Charlotte who did not know enough of the LeBaron family history to write it without relying heavily upon Info from my mother Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer’s journals and notes!

Therefore, about two-thirds of “The LeBaron Story” came directly from my dear Mum’s half-completed manuscript, notes, and journal entries. I was around when she was writing part of her family history — the Mexico-LeBaron history. Delusional Mumma was so proud of her heritage she thought it MOST mportant the world know about her “saintly family” — the greatest and most holy family ever born into the world — next to Christ … perhaps — through whom “The One Mighty and Strong Prophet Joel LeBaron” was born. (Does this smell of megalomania?)

Mumma talked much about her writing endeavors — the “LeBaron History” she was birthing. Having read part of her manuscript and journals, I recognize her writing voice and input throughout “The LeBaron Story” that makes up a large part of this book.

Therefore, note the two different writer’s voices inThe LeBaron Story”! Anything with beautifully written structured writing, defined paragraphs, quotes, sources listed at the back of the book, etc., is my mother Esther LeBaron Spencer’s writing voice — part of her contribution. Whereas Aunt Charlotte, Uncle Verlan, et Al’s writing voices are in the chapters where everything is run together and there aren’t structured paragraphs, footnotes, etc.

But, even though Uncle Verlan and Aunt Charlotte used large parts of what Mother wrote, word for word — used her material exactly as she had written it — no editing whatsoever — as I said before, they gave my creative, ambitious, giving Mom not one BIT of credit — not one speck of acknowledgment …  let alone so much as a howdy-do-dee or thank-you! It’s tantamount to plagiarism … and shameful how Charlotte and Verlan took ALL the credit for Mama’s talent, initiative, education, writing, and hard work!

But getting back to the body of the book, if you were to take the authors’ word for everything, the Mexico LeBarons are/were “a saintly people with a Godly mission.” Well, I beg to differ: Wishing doesn’t make it so. In other words, wishful thinking, such as self-proclaiming oneself as “The One Mighty and Strong,” and claiming one comes from “A Godly people with a Messianic mission” doesn’t make it true.

Much of the book’s lore takes place in Chihuahua, Mexico. Unfortunately, the authors tell the story in the words of true-believing, fundamentalist-Mormon-LeBaron cult members. In other words, it’s a highly biased history with a missionary purpose.

True to their fanatic religiosity, the book was mainly written to proselytize and promote Uncle Joel LeBaron’s cult: “The Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times.” This presupposes a revision — rewritten history, then; i.e., a white-washing of the LeBarons. Thus, it’s myth in the making.

Nonetheless, I was able to glean a bit of useful information from it. So I’m glad the book was written despite the biased viewpoint because nobody else in the immediate Mexico LeBaron family has written a first-hand history about themselves — and it shows how biased they were, some of what their bias was, and how they used it to portray and supplant themselves as God’s only emissaries of “the truth,” His Work, and His Plan. It’s a bias that supports their grandiose sense-of-entitlement and efforts to achieve power, control, and position in the world. Suffice it to say, despite

Suffice it to say, despite “The LeBaron Story” needing a good Editor’s service, it was quite an endeavor and accomplishment on the part of my not well-educated nor well-read but extremely busy country uncle and his wives. All the while they were compiling Mother’s notes and manuscripts, then finishing this chronology, they were ever laboring under heavy pressures and disadvantages such as raising huge families of children while living in backward, primitive conditions–and running for their life. But book-buyer beware …  be wary! That’s all I can say!

I was given a copy of this book many years ago when it first came out in 1981– fourteen years after I escaped the LeBaron cult in 1967. After reading the text, the obvious Messianic preaching and purpose, plus the revisionism, white-washing, and grandiose fabrications throughout the chronicle of “The LeBaron Story” got my gut so badly I was on my way to toss the book in the dumpster when two of Uncle Verlan’s daughters dropped in. They believed their father was a prophet, so were very happy to be gifted with “The LeBaron Story.” And I was very happy to get rid of it.

But thirty-six years later, for purposes of my own understanding and research, I had to re-buy the book! Argh! It’s going for around $45.00 in hardback on Amazon.com now. Wonders never cease to amaze me … so I wonder! Well, to each his own … and read on!



One thought on “~ Review of Verlan LeBaron and Esther LeBaron Spencer’s “The LeBaron Story”

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