This Memoir, written over thirty-five years ago, struck me as the work of an immature apologist and revisionist. Its bias toward my Uncle Ervil’s cold-hearted cult hangs like a cobweb over this tale co-authored by my Ex-Aunt, infamous Rena Chynoweth.
The last I checked, this book was still in the public libraries. But sadly in need of a rewrite and updates. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet one of my Uncle Ervil’s more than fifty children, the brilliant, gifted Gabriela LeBaron, on break from classes at Cornell University.
She told me Rena had indeed taken in Uncle Ervil’s kids and raised them, chancing her own life and well-being while helping them get out of Ervil’s cult and become good law-abiding citizens! Hats off to Rena!
This is a long story I hope Gabriela will eventually write. It is a story of great love, sacrifice, dedication, and redemption — especially on the part of Rena, her husband, and others who helped her, including the invaluable “nonprofit” group, “Discovery.” **
( INSERT: October 10, 2017:
Please see, at the bottom of this essay, what I “discovered” about the “Discovery” Organization/Business. Then you be the judge. Some of my cousins/Uncle Ervil’s children vouch for what the “Discovery” group did for them. But it’s common to leave one cult, only to be taken in by another.)
Getting back to my Review of Rena’s Memoir “The Blood Covenant”(written going on 40 years ago), it seemed to me she bragged about and exploited the soldier part she played in this sad, sordid tale of her psychotic, serial-killer husband Ervil’s violent, brainwashed cult. At the same time, however, she ended her book with these positive words:
“I was given a ‘second chance. Maybe God wants to use me to reach those kids [Uncle Ervil’s children]. Because I’ve been through years of intensive self-deprogramming myself, I feel I can help them through my own experiences because I understand their very complicated background.
“They should also receive extensive professional help, guidance, and a chance to be around people who really care what happens to them. Simply putting the younger children in foster homes and hoping for the best is not the way to handle the situation.
“They will only run away and return to the lifestyle they always knew, breaking the law and posing a danger to people’s lives. They should not be allowed to grow to adulthood without being given a chance to learn proper values.
“These last remnants of Ervil LeBaron’s flock are still a risk to the rest of society. They are the last ones who may still feel bound by his blood covenant that has claimed so many innocent lives.
“They have grown up around violence and violent teachings, and there is grave danger they will pass these values on to their own children. I want the killing to stop. Only by finding those still out there and getting them the help they need can we stop the bloodshed.
“What John, my mother, and I envision is a ranch –- a place where these young people can live with family who loves them, where they can finally have the chance to go to school and church and be able to receive the counseling and guidance that will help them become assets to society.
“There are a few of us who are willing to do anything we can to give them a chance. If God is willing, and with His help, we shall succeed. If anyone has information that would help us reach out to the LeBaron children please contact … ”
*Note: March 2022
Rena left an address and phone number. But, at the time of this latest update, the resource was about 40 years old. So is likely outdated.
When I first wrote this blog in 2015, I had reservations as to how helpful Rena and her ranch would be to Ervil’s remnants, given the tone of her memoir.
But on April 5, 2016, I learned from my cousin Gabriela that Rena did indeed do a great service to society and the remnants of Ervil’s children still left in his cult!
In fact, Gabriela said Rena and her cohorts are largely responsible for having brought to an end the devious and divisive cult Ervil LeBaron started! WOW! I pray that’s the case.
If so, I’m impressed with the present-day Rena. Because this means she not only remade herself: She used her personal awakening to help remake and save other unfortunate cult inductees born and raised in my Uncle Ervil’s bizarre and dangerous mafioso clan.
But Rena’s now very old memoir sounded to me like she had (at the time of its writing) much deprogramming and repentance left to do, before she could convince me she was no longer caught up in some of the abusive beliefs of “The Lambs of God” and it’s avenging angels.
Based on that old memoir, I couldn’t see how it would be helpful to sequester, on a secluded ranch, Uncle Ervil’s warped children who would then have none but Rena and the likes of her as role models.
Besides, her ranch idea sounded like another reclusive cult to me. I felt the best way to civilize warped and abused children was to fully immerse them in a much more healthy environment than the one they came from.
In other words, I didn’t think it would be beneficial for a messed up and confused band of cult and ex-cult members to be living together on a singular ranch with largely their own kind who’d also grown up in their backward, brainwashed, degenerate past.
It seemed to me, the best way to heal “damaged human goods” was to mix and mingle them with normal and better examples — strong people they could emulate and learn from — not some adults who still likely had a lifetime of healing left ahead of them before they fully emerged from their bloody cult mindset, and the harm it left in its wake.
To add to my apprehensions, In 2015, as I exited my car–in the Los Angeles, California area–a young man handed me a proselytizing pamphlet. Its doctrine and the image of a sword on the front told me it was material from Ervil’s Lambs of God — or an off-shoot thereof.
My blood curdled as I realized The Book Of Revelations and “Avenging Angels” literature was still being disseminated — and in my area, no less! It’s scary stuff; and sickening to know the cult of Ervilites still has/had its leaders … or splinter-groups.
I figure a take-off from Uncle Ervil’s cult was possibly indoctrinating some of Ervil’s progeny and old cult members. Or it was a new group, altogether. But using Ervil’s teachings to bring converts into its bloody cult under a new self-proclaimed prophet.
I am happy if Rena, et Al, had a hand in ending Uncle Ervil’s malevolent cult. Let’s pray that’s the case. But that Lit I was handed leaves me worried–despite Uncle Ervil LeBaron’s astute daughter Gabriela LeBaron vouching to me in 2016 that Ervil’s cult no longer existed.
Gabriela told me it was thanks to Ervil’s ex-wife Rena’s loving and devoted care of her ex-husband Ervil’s kids that she, Gabriela, was brought out of her father’s cult-cesspool she had grown up in.
Since then, Gabriela has blossomed into a new person, on her way to doing wonderful service to help make the world a better place. She’s a poet, artist, academic, leader, and more. I’m expecting great things from her in the future — in keeping with the things she is doing now by getting her college degree, etc.
That said, Rena’s old memoir “Blood Covenant” is still a worthwhile read. But desperately needs updating and fact-checking! E.g., It makes assumptions as though she were an authority on a number of serious things that took place in Ervil’s life–assumptions based on her uneducated, wishful thinking.
Example: She claims “Ervil had nothing to do with the JFK murder.” What did she really know about this? She wasn’t around Ervil or the cult in 1963. I was. Furthermore, she was only a small kid at that time.
Continuing with my criticisms: Important parts of “The Blood Covenant” history were conveniently omitted. She wrote more about her girlish romantic escapades and her “middle class” self than anything. But she and her family hardly fit the sociological definition of “middle class.” “Lower-lower middle class” or “working-class” was more like it.
The chronicle of her life as Ervil’s wife appeared to be largely an attempt to be in the limelight and cash in on the notoriety of her Ex-husband, Ervil LeBaron, so as to make money and be a star — albeit a notorious one.
Sadly, we were lucky to get three paragraphs about her cold-blooded murder of Dr. Rulon Allred. And the best apology she could come up with, as to the “Lambs of God” atrocities and murders was, “This did not need to happen.”
Here’s what Scott Anderson had to say:
“In 1990, Rena published her autobiography, “The Blood Covenant.” The ghostwritten book is rather bizarre, a rewrite of “Perils of Penelope,” in which Penelope has a gun and knows how to use it.
Interspersed with gratuitous digs at her murdered sister, Lorna, and insistent claims to having been a “victim,” Rena offers long and clinically detailed accounts of her many brushes with oversexed male suitors.
The small matter of Rulon Allred’s murder is dealt with in a few paragraphs. In 1979, the baby-faced, eight-months-pregnant Rena had taken the witness stand to tearfully deny any role in the elderly man’s slaying. In her book, and with all the passion of a financial reporter, she admitted to being the killer.” (Author of “The 4 O’clock Murders”)
Suffice it to say, you may find Rena’s memoir worth a perusal, if only to see how a member of Ervil LeBaron’s self-appointed murder-for-God cult used to think.
But if you want to get a better handle on the real scary-scoop, read “The 4 O’clock Murders” by Scott Anderson. And “Prophet of Blood” by Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Dale Van Atta.
Note: These books may still be he found at public libraries, bookstores, Amazon.com; and are possibly on Kindle.
Note: Some entries in the above documentaries are not completely right. But hats off to these Author’s for doing as well as they did with a subject that was often next-to-impossible to get “the truth” about.
Since these books were published, there has been great change and progress in Uncle Ervil’s children and families: tales of redemption and examples of what’s possible in the human spirit, against all odds.
As an example, read Uncle Ervil’s daughter’s memoir published in 2017, “The Polygamist’s Daughter;” available in bookstores everywhere. You may also go to the “University” of YouTube to see her interviews; and check her website: AnnaLeBaron.com
- Online, there’s much information on anyone or anything I mentioned in this blog. Check YouTube, Wikipedia, and other sites.
- The following is an excellent video Documentary on my Uncle Ervil LeBaron and the LeBaron saga.
** 10/17/ 2017 — Look what I just found online regarding the Discovery training group I mentioned above. It’s well worth reading!:
Howdy, all you straight shooters out there. There is another thread on this site detailing the creepy and controlling tactics of the Discovery Cult operating in the Dallas area, but a new year deserves a new thread.
I just got an email from a contact asking me if I still have Info on Discovery. I do! For those of you who have not read my previous posts, myself and some other straight shooters with family members swindled by D had quite a heated exchange with certain misguided cult-goers. They went on to easier targets no doubt. But my contact assures me that they have simply tried to slip back under the radar.
This group (cult) has an upsidedown view on family values. Put quite simply if your spouse attends Discovery “training” and you chose not to go, the Facilitators or TAs will tell them that you can’t be trusted with details of the training and that if they can’t convince you to attend then you don’t care about them, you will never understand them, and in the end they will have to break ties with you – But not to worry cause their NEW family cares about them and will fill the void where their family and friends once dwelled.
I’ll tell you the basic jist so you don’t have to be subjected to the verbal abuse and physical conditioning; ie, withholding of water, food, bathroom breaks, and personal space.
They will pressure your husband, wife, son, daughter, ect., to give members of the opposite sex “PEE-PEE to PEE-PEE” hugs (their term, not mine) and to not share with their “old” family the way that the facilitators verbally abuse and degrade each member of the group as their turn comes, breaking their spirit and reducing them to tears in a public setting for all to witness. They basically make them feel worthless for the first two days and then make nice and become their best friend on the last day.
The owner of this cult has no formal training in this dispicable form of therapy, nor any training — ANY therapy. This Cult is operated by a lawyer and a gas station owner. It’s all on the web, if you care to investigate.
If you are considering going to Discovery training of if someone you care about is thinking about going – INVESTIGATE! They will break them down and put their own twisted values back into the shell that once was your loved one.
What made you realize Discovery was a scam? You are lucky to get out with your mind still intact. They are still registered as Discovery Training Ministries LLC with the IRS, although they don’t include that info on their website.
I’m still around, guys. As long as Discovery is robbing people of their hard-earned money, I’ll be here to tell what I know about them.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/2008 12:10AM by notmuch4games.
Notmuch4games, good to see you are still in the fight! I too will remain to educate people just how evil Discovery is.
Straightup, it is crazy how the people become total believers. I refused to contribute to D2 (financially), and it looked like my Ex would stop going but low and behold one of her new “family” came forward and paid for the entire weekend, including gas money! They sent her a lot of emails and cards trying to shame her into signing up for the next training. It was all about sending money to Discovery. But she couldn’t see that.
They sent her a lot of emails and cards trying to shame her into signing up for the next training. It was all about sending money to Discovery. But she couldn’t see that.
I am glad you didn’t become one of those zombies!
There is an entity called the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us.html). Here is their mission statement:
“The mission of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists is to protect the public by ensuring that psychological services are provided to the people of Texas by qualified and competent practitioners who adhere to established professional standards.”
They exist to regulate the practice of psychology in the state of Texas. That also encompasses investigating people or companies practicing psychology without a license. I feel Discovery Training uses methods which could be considered practicing psychology.
A person can file a formal complaint against anyone who they feel is practicing psychology without a license. Maybe if enough people come forward the gas station owner and lawyer might get investigated?
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/2008 07:40AM by Enviro_Cop.
I filed some paperwork, but I was advised that the lawyer that helps run this scam had all the language just true enough to not be fraudulent. Discovery works very hard at giving a legitimate, even benevolent appearance to the mental, emotional, and even physical abuse administered at the hands of it’s facilitators. Anyone who has had dealings know that this group is anything but legit. They brainwash their members, alienate them, and then squeeze all of the money they can out of them.
Anyone who has had dealings know that this group is anything but legit. They brainwash their members, alienate them, and then squeeze all of the money they can out of them.
I actually called the “Ewing Ranch” of Dallas fame where D holds it’s abuse siminars and spoke to the site manager. He was quite shocked at my claims about the D cult. He seemed unsure of the validity of my Info, so he gave me his email address and I sent him a condensed version of my file on Lowder and his cult.
I noticed that Discovery’s website now has them meeting at the Dallas Doubletree. Hope I did that! 😉 When I have time, I’ll speak to the GM at Doubletree too. I actually stay at that particular hotel when I’m on that side of town.
Straightup, hang in there. Your mind has had bogus and hairbrained ideas inserted into it by invasive methods. You will slowly start to regain the person who went to the brainwashing siminar. All of the old issues will still be there, but they are YOUR issues and YOU are the only with the solution. There is no GAS STATION OWNER, NO LAWYER, and no magic pill that will solve yours mine or anyone else’s problems. Discovery in Dallas is selling magic beans, and people are still buying the crap. STOP DISCOVERY CULT NOW! Keep your loved ones away from cults (LGAT, Discovery, etc.)
All of the old issues will still be there, but they are YOUR issues and YOU are the only with the solution. There is no GAS STATION OWNER, NO LAWYER, and no magic pill that will solve yours mine or anyone else’s problems. Discovery in Dallas is selling magic beans, and people are still buying the crap. STOP DISCOVERY CULT NOW! Keep your loved ones away from cults (LGAT, Discovery, etc.)
I really wish I had seen this forum before last weekend: My friend made me go.
I am definitely a “changed” woman! I’ve never been more depressed in my life. The sickest thing is, I am NOT one to be swayed by this kind of thing. Or at least I never thought I was….but on Sunday, I was all about this damn thing. Telling my friends to go and everything. It took a long, long discussion with one of my more rational friends to realize what had happened. This whole damn thing is sick, and I’m so angry about it. Is there anything we can do to stop it? I feel so used.