Pt 39:
Ma, Pa, Me,
And Polygamy on Parade

My Mother: beautiful brainiac, talented, Esther LeBaron-McDonald Spencer

“What the mother sings to the cradle
goes all the way to the coffin.”

Henry Ward Beecher

Our habits of perfectionism are deeply harmful. Perfectionism distracts us and keeps us from moving forward, out of a fear of messing up or not being good enough. “

Parenting is Political

I got off onto other bunny trails these past few months. Today I’m returning to an earlier blog topic: my mother pushin’ ‘n’ peddlin’ polygamy.

I left off in blog “Pt 23, Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade,” saying maybe Mama felt if she got others to live polygamy, she could vindicate herself for not having lived the dastardly* polygamy lifestyle; i.e., not having shared her handy-dandy “Daddy.”

Maybe Mom thought God would let her into the highest degree of glory without sharing her husband, IF she did Him a favor by getting everybody else, instead, to share their husbands by way of polygamy, “The celestial law of marriage.”

But that wasn’t being honest with herself nor others.  Guess she didn’t see she was preachin’ one thing, doin’ another. Presumably, she was trying to be “perfect;” despite her imperfections.

It was in her blind spot (as it was mine, for many years) that whether she was a perfect self or not, made no difference. We must revel in ourselves exactly as we are — accepting our good parts along with our bad.

We ARE “perfect in our imperfectness.” Forget double standards; the need to make others think we’re something we’re not; and the grandiose idea that rules apply to everyone but ourselves.

Mormon doctrine puts a lot of emphasis on being perfect.  Unfortunately, this puts their gifted, extra-conscientious, high-achieving true-believing followers — like my grandparents and their children — Mama, for example — under immense stress, guilt, and pressure to perform, toe the line, and be Mormon-perfect.

Mormons have to work their way into “The highest degree of glory”/heaven:
“By their works, they are saved.”
(Jesus did not die for their sins, in other words!
Personally, I think Karma will get us, either way.)

I believe we are here to grow, learn, and develop. So, as said before, Mother didn’t have to be great, let alone perfect, in order to be loved, special, respected … and go to heaven.

She simply had to love and accept herself … as a unique person — a princess, in and of herself … like all of us. Each individual is a caterpillar in metamorphosis on her/his way to becoming a fully-evolved “perfect” Monarch butterfly.

It’s possible my maternal grandparents put a lot of pressure on their children to be perfect — as if the Mormon religion didn’t already put enough perfectionist pressure on its members.

Greatly compounding this perfection scenario was growing up in the Mexican-Mormon colonies where the prejudice and marginalization of Momma’s family was a constant.

(To be continued after this important notice:)


On Facebook, 8-22-2019, I received the following notice, sent by Mormon Gentle Community Activist and Director of SOUND CHOICES COALITION Angela Kelly:

There’s talk of a polygamy reform bill in the works that could do more harm than good. Please repost and tag anyone you know who may have been harmed by this practice. #polygamymetooRepost across platforms Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn….

For more on this topic, see Angela Kelly’s Facebook site; especially if you could add comments that would help stop the “polygamy reform bill” from going through. The following is a comment I sent to her site:

Hi, Angela Kelly: 
Around three years ago, I wrote and posted on my website,, a blog titled “Should Polygamy Be Legalized?” 
I’ve also written and posted many blogs on the harm done me and others, thanks to polygamy.

 Rather than write another essay pointing out the treacheries of polygamy, I refer you to my blogs. There, I’m in the process of detailing my upbringing; wherein, I was pawned off at 16 to an older polygamist and his wives. It only gets worse from there–till I escaped “there.”

Bottom line: Tell those polygamy manipulators to STOP trying to legalize the barbaric, backward, Bronze-age practice of polygamy; i.e., slavery: “Polygamy and slavery, the twin relics of barbarism,” said Abraham Lincoln–a wise man!

Here’s my daughter’s response to my above comments, and to the polygamy reform bill:

Hello Mom:
Thank you for sending this. I can’t believe anyone would try to make this legal! Lincoln’s words offer so much sanity and validation!

I have been thinking about the long-term pain caused by cults and polygamy; and one thing that magnifies the treachery is the lack of validation.

Victims need to be heard! Congress even thinking of legalizing polygamy feels like the victims have not been heard! The moral compass of some of these men in charge is fragile.      

Pt 40-A:
Ma, Pa, Me, and
Pitfalls of Polygamy

Maud Lucinda McDonald LeBaron on her land in Colonia LeBaron, Mexico; with four of her sons, left to right: Floren, Alma, Verlan, Ervil

“When a task is once begun,
Never leave it till it’s done;
Be the labor great or small,
Do it well or not at all.”

A typical Perfectionistic
adage I grew up with

In blog, “Pt 39: Ma, Pa, Me, and Pitfalls of Polygamy,” I left off saying: Mormons must work their way into heaven. “By your works, you are saved.” Jesus didn’t die for their sins!

Therefore, my LeBaron grandparents put pressure on their children to be perfect/do good works; as if the Mormon religion didn’t put enough pressure on its members.

Compounding this perfectionism scenario was growing up in the Mormon colonies of old Mexico where the prejudice and marginalization of Momma’s family was a constant.

It seems to me, the Mexico-LeBaron children felt undue pressure to be other than themselves in order to be acceptable; because, among other things, they were ostracized and treated as “not good enough.”

A Mexico-LeBaron oficionado/fan recently told me, “Some Mormons in Colonia Juarez were envious of the Mexico-LeBarons: They had more brains, looks, and talents than any one family ought to have.”

“Some Mormons resented this,” She continued. They thought they, being mainstream Mormons, were above the LeBarons; should, therefore, be better than/more gifted than the “apostate” LeBaron family.”

I believe she has a point there. But another factor figuring into the marginalization of the Mexico-LeBarons is many people can’t handle Creatives. They feel threatened by people who don’t do everything according to the status quo; who come up with “all the good ideas.”

Maybe the LeBarons didn’t realize part of the reason they were sidelined and treated like they were bad was because some envious and recentful people were downsizing them; using extreme measures, including gaslighting. [1]

It’s also possible envious persons projected their guilt and faults onto this heavily maligned, scapegoated, but amazingly gifted family.

In other words, they victimized the victims. I’m not saying the Mexico-LeBaron’s were perfect — just perfect targets for some small-town, small-minded people.

The downside:
Children mirror how they are seen. Other peoples’ feelings and attitudes toward them reflect back on them; as if they are looking into a mirror.

They learn to see themselves as others see them; i.e., through others’ eyes: When they look into peoples’ eyes, they come to see themselves by what is reflected/mirrored back to them from other people.

Be that what it may, there’s no question the Mexico-LeBarons were scapegoats for some sick people. Only sick people, families, and societies need scapegoats.

[1] — gas·light/ˈɡaslīt/Learn to pronounce;
verb, gerund, or present participle: gaslighting

1- Manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity: E.g., “In the first episode, Karen Valentine is being gaslighted by her husband”

The following is Sound Choices Coalition Director Angela Kelly’s super expose on the upcoming polygamy reform bill:
(I have committed it to memory, to better confront those polygamists, et Al, doing their best to legalize polygamy, a system they were raised in; so believe they will go to hell if they don’t live it.
(Read 132nd section of the D & C as a reminder of why Mormons lived Polygamy– and Mormon fundamentalists continue to live it–and continue to try to get it legalized!):

Angela KellyAugust 21 at 7:07 AM:

If your firm belief on polygamy is based off the views presented in one particular podcast, ( which I have also listened to so I’m completely aware of the views and opinions expressed in there) – may I suggest you look at this from more than just one side of the issue?

Canada studied the issue for two years; and after 4 months of expert testimony–comprising more than 90 reports examining the issue from all sides — anthropology, psychology, sociology, law, economics, history, and theology–the more than 300-page decision by their Supreme Court is now considered the most comprehensive study done on polygamy in the world. You can find it by doing a quick Google search. “Polygamy reference case Canada 2011)

The decision is significant, not only with regard to polygamy, but also for the way it addresses the issues related to the scope of religious freedom and the definition of family relationships.

Canada is considered one of the most liberal countries in the world. They were fourth in the world to legalize gay marriage and some forms of bestiality were legal until just this year.

Many of the Attorney’s involved could not have foreseen their liberal views changing so drastically as to keep polygamy a crime.

The evidence contained within the case is staggering. I would also suggest that decriminalization is not something that can be approached as a harmless social experiment.

It’s a nice idea that the harms that go hand-in-hand with the practice of polygamy could be addressed if only the practice would be brought into the sunlight through decriminalization. But there is no reason to believe ( from the evidence) that this would happen.

Polygamy needs insularity to hide the abuse that it requires to sustain itself through generations. It requires insularity to shield the methods of control and indoctrination that will guarantee the next generation of willing child brides.

The research shows that polygamy’s harm to society includes the critical fact that a great many of its individual harms are not specific to any particular religious, cultural or regional context.

They can be generalized and expected to occur wherever polygamy exists. And I would look at Israel:
In January 2017 their government passed an $825 million plan–part of which included the creation of a government committee to eradicate polygamy and help the women and children who are hurt by it.

The 315-page report specifies 84 recommendations spanning law-enforcement, education, health and welfare reform —
All in response to Israel’s most disenfranchised population of Bedouin, who are ravaged by this practice of polygamy.

You don’t have countries spending millions of dollars to eradicate the practice, to just interfere with consenting adults sexual practices and family arrangements…The comprehensive evidence speaks for itself.

Now it’s up to you to widen the lens through which you form your opinion. #PolygaMeToo

Pt 40-B:
Esther LeBaron Spencer:
Ma, Pa, Me, and Pitfalls of Polygamy

Gifted Susan Ray Schmidt was part of my Uncle Verlan LeBaron’s harem. After escaping polygamy, she penned the above super memoir. Her writer’s voice reads like a 19th-century Jane Austen novel.

“The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.” 

Francis Bacon

I left off in the last blog saying there’s no question the Mexico-LeBarons were scapegoats for sick people: Only sick people need scapegoats. [1]

However, that’s not to say some Mexico-LeBarons’ behavior, idiosyncrasies, and Peccadilloes didn’t bring on part of the ostracism they suffered.

Despite the scapegoating (that included persecution), being the talk of the town, etc., the Mexico-LeBarons, nonetheless, had friends and families in the Mexican Mormon colonies and elsewhere who stood by them for a lifetime. Tom/Osmond Jone’s family, Hector Spencer’s family, and Homer Babbitt’s family are examples I can think of, off the top of my head.

But some LeBarons’ tendencies to brag and to disregard social mores [2], alone, was enough to get the whole family blackballed, bullied, and treated by many, in the Mormon colonies—and even the Mormon fundamentalist groups—as renegades, scapegoats, and scum; adding to the devastating problems low self-esteem and mental illness already caused Maud and Dayer’s family—the Mexico-LeBarons.

As if these weren’t enough setbacks, perfectionism and having to work one’s way into heaven compounded the situation, adding more confusion and devastation to my already belabored Mexico-LeBaron family.

Part of being perfect, in Orthodox Mormondom, meant perpetuating plural marriage; i.e., marrying one’s children off into polygamy — if only to get kudos and status.

Unfortunately for me, my family, and extended family, this “perfectionism and perpetuating polygamy” carried right on down into my immediate family, my mom Esther being a Mexico-LeBaron.

One of the biggest moronic injustices—an oxymoron in this Mormon polygamic scenario—is Mom and Dad expected their kids to do things they, themselves, were never able to do—such as live polygamy; as if their offspring were more perfect than they.

That is to say, they pushed their kids into polygamy, even though they didn’t “push” themselves into it. Totally UNFAIR! Totally power-pushing, totalitarian Plygism!


1. A person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others; especially for reasons of expediency.
Synonyms: whipping boy, victim, Aunt Sally; More

2. (in the Bible) a goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish chief priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it (Lev. 16).

Verb: make a scapegoat of. “Few things are harder for kids to bear than being scapegoated”

[2]. › mores:

The term “mores” refers to the norms set by society, largely for behavior and appearance.

Individuals who do not follow social mores are often considered social deviants. … Mores are often dictated by a society’s values, ethics, and sometimes religious influences.

Pt 40-C:
Esther LeBaron Spencer:
Ma, Pa, Me, and Pitfalls of Polygamy

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dad-by-short-creek-home.jpg
1953 Short Creek Raid arrest of my Fundy, 58-year-old father Floyd Otto Spencer; in front of our rock home in Short Creek, Arizona (Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society)


Although the box is full of evils, we must remember
there is Hope at the bottom.
Utah needs to open this Box, deal with the evils,
and start giving people Hope again.”


The above photo of my father Floyd Spencer being arrested during the 1953 Short Creek Raid/Police Action is one of many such images in the Archives of Arizona’s effort to rid its borders of renegade Mormon polygamy—before the problem proliferated exponentially.

The Short Creek Raid failed….for the same reason the 2008 El Dorado, Texas Raid/Police Action failed: News-Media memes misled a naive public; consequently, Polygamy is proliferating out of control.

Unfortunately, my well-meaning fundamentalist parents, by following Mormon beliefs, perpetuated and proliferated polygamy/White slavery:

Out of ignorance, brainwashing, and fanaticism, they pushed the barbaric polygamic practice onto me and my siblings, my mom Esther being a true-believing Mexico-LeBaron.

In order to live with “the saints” and raise their kids in polygamy/polygyny, in 1953 Ma and Pa moved from St. George, Utah, to the polygamist enclave, Short Creek, Arizona; only nine months before the raid they knew, even before they moved there, was going to happen!

True-believers, they took it for granted they were God’s “only true Saints,” so were under the assumption God would protect them from the coming law-inforcement round-up of Short Creek polygamists.

My parents further figured this coming Arizona police action would pass them by because my father was not a polygamist—at least not since his first wife Eva left him shortly after he took Ma as his plural wife in 1944.

But why did Ma and Pa believe they and “the Short Creekers”/Mormon Fundies were the “only true Saints”?
Mormon Plygs think they’re “SO holy” because they’re abiding by Joseph Smith’s command to live Plural Marriage [a euphemism for bigamy]; even though it was outlawed in the mainstream Mormon church in 1890.

Surprise! God didn’t protect my family:
In the 1953 police action/raid on polygamists, Daddy was put in jail—although he had but one wife; jailed because he wouldn’t promise the judge he would not live polygamy and wouldn’t raise his kids to do the same.

It followed we kids were removed from our “Plygville” home bisecting Utah and Arizona, bused to Mesa, Arizona to subsist on the Arizona State Welfare System; released two years later to return to our polygamic lifestyle in Short Creek, Az. Go figure!

  1. › short-creek-raid-photos-arizona-polygamy-mormon
    Apr 20, 2014 – Just before dawn on July 26, 1953Arizona law enforcement launched what has since become known as the Short Creek Raid: the arrest of … › wiki › Short_Creek_raid

The Short Creek raid is an Arizona Department of Public Safety and Arizona National Guard action against Mormon fundamentalists that took place on the morning of July 26, 1953, at Short CreekArizona.

Pt 40-D:
Esther LeBaron Spencer:
Ma, Pa, Me, and Pitfalls of Polygamy

Circa 1956: My parents and 9 of their ultimately 14 kids; shortly after leaving Short Creek, Arizona to live in nearby Hurricane, Utah

Writers do not live one life, they live two.
There is the living and then there is the writing.

Anaïs Nin

Pardon me, but it perturbs me to this day that, underlying my parents’ polygamic, Fundamentalist lifestyle was their expectation their kids do things they, themselves, were unable to do—as if their offspring were better; more spiritual than they.

At the same time, Ma and Pa drummed into us that THEY, our parents, were the “most perfect”—an oxymoron in itself:
“Perfect” is the highest degree one can reach—at least in the English language. There’s no “perfect, more perfect, and MOST perfect”….far’s I know; ‘cept in fundyism.

Another example of my begetter’s double-talk: They lived with Mormon Fundies and pushed polygamy to HIGH heaven; even telling mainstream Mormons they/the LDS were going to hell for not living PM/Plural Marriage.

Nevertheless, my begetters never lived for more than six months this “law of celestial marriage/the Law of Abraham”—two euphemisms for polygyny.

Nonetheless, they made sure we kids became polygynist spouses—if only by brainwashing us from the get-go; i.e., controlling our life from the day we were born.

In other words, my “perfect” parents added more conundrums to their oxymoronic, Mormon-fundamentalist, double-standard lifestyle when they taught us they were better than everyone else; yet, their actions and words belied this.

Adding to their daily peccadilloes, my parents didn’t practice what they preached—couldn’t live their religion’s highest law, Plural Marriage.

It was “Do what I say; not what I do.”
Crazy-making, toxic-teaching? And how! Nevertheless, due to my parents’ smoke and mirrors [1], I grew up believing they were perfect—better than everyone else; including me!

How could I not
think my progenitors were perfect when Mother regularly told us Father was the greatest man in the world; she the greatest woman—too perfect to have even common faults, feelings, and failings….such as temper tantrums, jealousy, and low self-esteem.

Furthermore, Mama consistently impressed upon us she was God’s favorite female. [2] Living in a fantasy world can be wonderful….as long as you never have to face reality.

It was motivational and confidence-building to grow up in a Fundy dreamworld that included believing my LeBaron-Spencer family was “THE BEST”! But what goes up must come down.

When, at sixteen, I was married off to bigamist Bill Tucker, I quickly found he and his first two wives Marilyn and Lolita didn’t believe my parents and family-of-origin were the least bit perfect; far less that Ma and Pa were “THE BEST, bar NONE”!

What had been UP took a tumble down. I hit the ground, looked up and found meself, along with me former family, at the bottom of me husband’s harem heap! From where I lay, I could see right up their asses!

My former family and I could take a flying leap, as far as Bill and his other wives were concerned—or follow at the rear of THEIR “perfect” family and friends.

Life sure skins some knees. Mine are still trying to heal from the scars and scabs of it all—the big fall from “the top;” then having to heel at Bill and his other wives’ will, beck, and call.

It’s not easy being down under! It’s much more fun to be Number One! But living with honesty and integrity is the way to go—that and abiding by the Golden Rule: behaving the way we want others to behave.

Yet, it’s “Live and learn.” Life is a process, when all is said and done. I, for one, am not done! My knees are always healing from some new lessons learned the hard way. I can be grateful God/Good is merciful: Most of my lessons are learned the easy way. How about you?

  1. Wikipedia: Smoke and mirrors is a classic technique in magical illusions that makes an entity appear to hover in empty space. It was documented as early as 1770 and …
  1. NORTH AMERICAN: smoke and mirrors:
    the obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or irrelevant information. “The budget process is an exercise in smoke and mirrors”
  2. Narcissistic personality disorder – Wikipedia › wiki › Narcissistic_personality_disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a long-term … The condition of NPD should be differentiated from mania and substance use … Treatments for narcissistic personality disorder have not been well studied. … usually do not consider themselves to have a mental health problem.


Thriving post narcissistic trauma

Skip to content


Invalidation and narcissism: Why they slowly erase you

8 minute read

Invalidation and narcissism go hand in hand. Ever get the feeling you’re invisible? Like you are entirely worthless and just don’t matter? If yes, you know all too well the obliteration that inevitably comes from narcissistic invalidation.

It is the default modus operandi for pathological narcissists, underpinning all forms of abuse, whether physical, psychological, mental, or sexual. The effects are horrendously damaging and disempowering.

Invalidation is used to slowly erase you. After all, when you’ve been emptied of your identity, full compliance to the narcissist’s demands is almost guaranteed. There’s little left to fight with.

BUT…the very fact you are reading this now means you are not down and out. You are still fighting for you.

And in this battle to reclaim your life from narcissism, raising your awareness of when they are abusing you, sets in motion your release from the nightmare.

This article is the first instalment in a two-part series on invalidation and narcissism. In this piece we expose why they do it, and how to spot it in action.

*(NOTE: See above links for rest of this essay.)

Pt 40-E:
Esther LeBaron Spencer:
Ma, Pa, Me, and Pitfalls of Polygamy

My beautiful mother Esther LeBaron Spencer, second row, right, in front of our rock house; arrested during 1953 Short Creek Raid; her then seven kids at front; another in her belly past due.

Abraham Lincoln
ran on the Republican Platform
of ending the
“twin relics of barbarism:
slavery and polygamy.

Mormon Think

In the previous blog I asked:
How could I not think my parents were perfect? Children don’t question what their parents tell them. Mother regularly told us she and Daddy were the two best people in the world—too perfect to have ANY sins or shortcomings.

Nevertheless, Mom was too jealous to allow Dad a plural wife; they remained monogamous Mormon Fundies throughout their twenty-two-year marriage.

Even so, they expected their kids to be polygamic spouses—though they, my progenitors, NEVER set us the example of living polygamy, their religion’s highest law; i.e., “God’s HIGHEST law: celestial marriage”/polygyny.

Adding more smoke and mirrors to this funny Mormon Fundy “Do what I say, not what I do” befuddling double talk, double-bind [1], double-blind dogma (i.e., cognitive dissonance) [2] is:

Blind followers love to look up to “perfect” people….such as my parents (LOL!)—love to have idols/examples they can strive to become like….if only they, too, can be so perfect….some day.

It gives them something special to live for, look forward to, and be inspired by when the going gets rougher; the going always rough—always tough in Plyg-Fundy families.

So the vicious cycle of deceit and irrationality continues on in the world of illusive perfectionism; an important ingrediant of fundamentalism.

It follows, then, that it’s easy for perfectionistic, Fundamentalist parents to fall into the trap of expecting their kids to do things they, themselves, can’t do—can’t do because they don’t recognize nor admit they have a dark side/a shadow side [2] —an ingrediant of narcissism, by the way. [3]

But, more than this, I think my parents were simply taking the easier way out by mindlessly following the Prophet’s/”profit’s” admonitions.

If they’d been using common sense and good reason— including having the strength and integrity to be honest with themselves—rather than duped followers who’d escaped into a fantasy world….
because the stoic, foot washing, fanatic life their religion expected them to live was impossible and deplorable….
they would’ve gotten out of Mormon fundamentalism long before they got their kids into it!

Thanks for visiting!
Thanks for feedback.
~Stephany Spencer-LeBaron

  1. double bind is a dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, with one negating the other. … The double bind occurs when the person cannot confront the inherent dilemma, and therefore can neither resolve it nor opt out of the situation.
  2. cog·ni·tive dis·so·nance; noun (PSYCHOLOGY):
    The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes; especially as relates to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

3. › Shadow-Effect-Illuminating-Hidden-Power

The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self Paperback – May 3, 2011. … New York Times bestselling authors and internationally acclaimed leaders in the field of new thought, Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, and Marianne Williamson have joined together to share their knowledge on one of the most crucial obstacles to happiness we face—the shadow.

These three luminaries, each with a signature approach, bring to light the parts of ourselves we deny but that still direct our life. The result is a practical and profound journey to wholeness. 

Inside you will discover how to:

 1- Make peace with yourself, others, and the world
2- Bring light to the parts of yourself that have the power to transform your life
3- Find the courage to let go of all that holds you back
4- Reconnect with the person you were meant to be and the life you were meant to live

The Secret Language of Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths: How Abusers Manipulate and Traumatize Their Victims – The Minds Journal
Link · The Minds Journal 

(Continued Oct 17, 2019, “Pt 41-A: Esther LeBaron Spencer and “More on” LeBaron Madness”)

2 thoughts on “Pt 39–40-E: Esther LeBaron Spencer: Ma, Pa, Me, and Pitfalls of Polygamy

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