Pt 43:
Esther LeBaron Spencer
and Lesbian Love

ma & friend
Circa 1935: Esther LeBaron Spencer (right) & companion

“All I am I owe to my mother.
I attribute all my success in life

to the moral, intellectual,
and physical education
I received from her.”

George Washington

Pt 43-A:
My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer
and Lesbian Love

In August of 1958, during a hot-as-hell Hurricane, Utah school summer vacation, Mummsy—trying to appease me, her adolescent bookworm-daughter’s incessant complaints of boredom, no books to read, and nothing to do—lent me her coming-of-age autobiography.

But reading her girlhood diary added more heat to our already sultry summer. Mum had some explaining to do! I’d opened an envelope she’d long ago glued to the front of her journal declaring:
“Deep-Dark Secret! Keep OUT!!”

Had Mum really expected me not to open that tempting note?
Or did she want to share with me her secret—to educate pubescent me in a roundabout way by allowing me to discover her most-special memory, her surreptitious affair involving her long-ago forbidden-love?

I’m only sure she had hidden within this envelope her artfully penciled firecrackers shooting sparks everywhere, secret code only she could crack, and the comment:
Most wonderful experience of my life!!!”

Clandestine inscriptions ensued her ejaculation suggesting a recent rendezvous she’d had with her bosom-buddy, 17-year-old Meggy, who’d initiated moves on her, my 16-year-old mother-to-be [Esther LeBaron], during their most recent sleep-over—moves that culminated in “incredulous fireworks.”

After I questioned her concerning the secret diary insert, Mummsy opened a fairly frank discussion with me, hoping to soften some of what I’d read and seen. But sexually-naïve, pre-teen me couldn’t conceive nor comprehend, back then, what actually transpired between “Saint Mum” and her chum.

Here’s embarrassed Mum’s [paraphrased] explanation—her attempt to mollify and put to rest assumptions and questions on my part regarding her now-compromised reputation and sanctity:

“When I was in 7th grade [in Colonia Juarez, Mexico],” she began, “I was best-friends with an LDS Mormon girl in 8th-grade named Meg [not her real name].

“She really loved me, “Mummsy continued, “…. my looks, my expert piano playing … everything. Whenever we were together, she’d request I play one piano piece after another, while she’d sit ‘n’ listen, paint ‘n’ draw; enthralled by the many beautiful Piano Concertos and other classics I could play by memory.

“We were companions for years….spent every moment we could together. How we loved to read books ‘n’ poetry to each other, do our schoolwork together, and share our dreams ‘n’ interests. She, like me, was a talented, top student.

“Meg often invited me to sleep over. One night, things progressed to where she even took off my bra, sucked my titties; then removed my panties … and … well … so on … like you saw in my journal.

“It was the most glorious experience of my life … out of this world! I saw stars! Later I learned what we done was against the gospel! So don’t you ever do what I did! Hear?! Now you know, don’t sin the same.

“I’ve long-since repented. Am only tellin’ you these things ’cause you read my secret entry. But you must never, EVER reveal what you found. Understand!?” It’s our secret, now!

“Oh, I’ll never tell, Mum!” I patriotically responded. “[Mum’s the word!] I promise!”
At that age, I couldn’t imagine Mom being anything but perfect. She could do no wrong. She was my mom! And that’s how she liked it! That’s how she’d raised me to think about her and Daddy.

“Alright,” Mum continued. “But I won’t tell you any more ’bout it….except to say I had some of the best times of my life with Meg. We remained chums up until a few years after I married.

“When Meg got married, our friendship ended. But how I loved her…and miss her to this day. How she admired me, my piano playing and other things….like the pretty clothes I could sew—which I made from patterns created myself. [In her High School Home-Ec class, she was taught how to make her own original patterns.]

“I know now what sleep-overs can lead to,” Mum continued. “That’s why I’ve never allowed my kids to sleep at friend’s homes. I’ve kept my eye on you kids…making sure you stay pure…and have no chance to play nasty.

“Even so, I was the purest girl in the Mormon colonies…and in ALL of Mormondom…and the whole world. Mormon leaders, when they came to visit our Mormon colony, even told me so.”

Years later, Mum confided:

“I’d always hoped to find a best friend like my chum Meg who could be my husband’s plural wife … a companion with whom I could share women’s things — such as all our secrets, deepest feelings … life’s experiences … love … stuff like that women can’t share or enjoy with a man. Sadly, it never came to pass.

“But, when I was growing up, our family’s best friend Tom Jones and his two wives shared a wonderful, loving, plural-marriage relationship. They lived near us in Colonia Juarez (He was Osmond Jone’s father). I had so hoped to grow up and have a marriage like their’s—a sister-wife with whom I could share everything the way they did. Tom’s two wives couldn’t stand to be apart! Often spent their nights in the same bed.

“They lived right across from each other. Only a sidewalk separated their abodes. But they found even this too big a distance. They loved each other so much, got along so well, and spent every moment they could together—the perfect epitome of how polygamy should be lived.”

Much later still, when I was fifty-five years old, my sister Mary told me Mother told her—when Mother was in her late fifties—“Sex is better without a man.”

Neither I nor Mary know exactly what Mummsy meant. But it’s most “interesting.” And so far and away from anything she ever brought us up to think or believe, when it came to sex, marriage, and men!

I related the above incidents, not to titillate but to educate, inform, and unmask Mum’s perennial deceptions, denial, double standards, bigotry and hypocrisy—her Mormon-ocracy. She wasn’t the perfect saint she professed to be.

She NEVER practiced what she preached to me. I can see she was never even really sure of what she believed, nor what was right, in many a case. What’s more, she changed her beliefs, behavior, and lifestyle as suited her. Yet, NEVER allowed me the same free agency!

I’m fed up with the stories she and other Mormon fundamentalists told/tell to make people think they were/are perfect — so as to guilt and control others. And convert new people to Mormon fundamentalism and polygamy.

But also to convince people the reason they, the Mormon fundamentalists, are “so perfect” is that they are Mormon/ born Mormon. Mormons believe they are fore-ordained to be God’s chosen people. Whereas, Calvinists believe they are pre-ordained to be God’s chosen people.

However, Jews “know” they are God’s chosen people! Well, doesn’t the Bible say the Jews are God’s chosen people? Yet, the Jews wrote the Bible….so they should know. Right? And on and ON goes the saga of ethnocentricity!

Suffice it to say, with age comes wisdom.
I’ve found there’s good and bad in everyone.
Human beings are a weak, ignorant, arrogant species, in many a way—
but born to live and learn.
If we push from our life everyone who hurts or harms us,
or isn’t perfect, we’ll end up all alone in the world.

We must learn to love people…
faults, failings, and all–
Forgive and let live.
Mum, like everyone,
had her share of
good and bad qualities.

But she was my mother.
She could’ve aborted me—
or shoved me back in at birth.
Or flushed me down the toilet.
Instead, she gave me life and love
to the best of her inability.

She and Daddy drug me up,
and put me down.
Till I was sixteen,
they kept me around.
Then married me off
into polygamy
to get rid of me
and their responsibility;
I, second oldest of their progeny,
their fourteen children/brats, respectively.

Once, when I let Mum have it
for all the mistakes,
wrongs, ‘n’ retrograde moves
she’d made in raising me,
she simply cried and replied:

“I did the best I knew how!”

So what more can I say, but:
Thanks, Mum! Wow!
I’ll do it my way—
Make it on my own,
from now on—
Take it from here,
from here on,
if it kills me!
Just don’t try to control me
with any more of your
“doing the best you can.”
I can make my own mistakes,
thank you.
And you can’t be blamed—
not much, anyway, anymore, anyhow!

Family Secrets – The Path from Shame to Healing

by John Bradshaw

One thought on “Pt 43: Esther LeBaron Spencer and Lesbian Love

  1. From Kristyn Decker:
    Wow!!! Another great Part! I Think many women who don’t like sex, often because of their partner’s lack of attention or care, or just the man himself, or from past or present trauma, have a better attitude toward polygamy – hoping to find female friends or partners for themselves and/or to hopefully keep their husbands sex drive away from them.

    Also, I had a therapist tell me years ago that those kinds of relationships are very common. Not “always or necessarily” meaning sexual relationships with other women make them lesbians; could be just good or better sex.

    Steph Spencer’s reply to Kristyn Decker’s above comment:
    Thank you so much for this feedback, Kristyn. It means a lot to me when you read and comment on my blogs. Hope you don’t mind my transfering your comment from FaceBook to my blog, so other readers’ benefit; since most people will never see your very pertinent remarks if they’re only on Facebook.
    Take care!


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