Pt 34-A: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, The Mexico LeBarons, and Hearing Voices

Pt 34: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, The Mexico LeBarons, and Hearing Voices

The young and the old of my dear Grandpa Dayer LeBaron



“There is only one way to bring a child up
in the way he should go
and that is to travel that way yourself.”
Abraham Lincoln



IF it’s true Grandpa Dayer’s grandfather B.F. Johnson held a special priesthood he called “the mantle” or “Scepter of Power,” then there were delusions of grandeur, schizophrenia, and personality disorders in my great-great-grandfather, himself. But I understand that Benjamin F. Johnson’s immediate family say they never heard B.F.J. claim he held ANY such special priesthood power!

Grandpa Dayer LeBaron is said to have claimed his grandfather Benjamin F. Johnson passed on to him a special priesthood blessing and power” called “The Mantle” “that the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith passed on to him, B.F.J., before he died.

That’s another story for another time. If you’re interested in the lore, read Mother’s/Aunt Charlotte’s/ Uncle Verlan’s revisionist histories titled “The LeBaron Story,” and “Maud’s Story.”  These two manuscripts preach a 1980’s whitewashed, enhanced, and rewritten version of the Mexico-LeBaron claims—a tale that has morphed way beyond the early Church of the Firstborn/CFB story I first heard in 1957—the year I was baptized into my uncle Joel LeBaron’s “Church.” I was eleven years old.

The point I’m getting at in this blog is BOTH Grandpa AND Grandma LeBaron had immediate relatives with personality disorders and mental illness (See previous blog, Pt 33, updated since it was published on February 22, 2019).

Says Historian Kris Wray: Benjamin F. Johnson had two brothers – Joel and Seth – whom he said in his “My Life’s Review” experienced “mania” and were “weakened in mind” at one time or another, though he stated they had “sound” minds later. If there was genetic disposition of some form of mental illness in the LeBaron and Johnson lines, which at the point of Dayer had been merged together, Dayer’s dad marrying his Johnson cousin may have magnified it. 

Add to this that BOTH my maternal grandparents heard voices, from time to time, that were “as plain as day,” to quote Grandma. And my maternal grandfather A.D. was said to be a crack pot: He led an extreme, unreasonable, unstable life due to the visions he had and the voices in his head that spoke to him, among other things.

But Grandfather Dayer ALSO showed SOME signs of borderline autistic-personality-disorder. For instance:

1- Things had to be just SO for him. He didn’t deal well with change.

https://www.additudemag.com/autism-spectrum-disorder-in-adults/

2- He “lacked tact” in dealing with people; i.e., He exhibited low empathy: Couldn’t relate well to how others felt.

3- He was hardheaded—would not compromise nor budge, when it came to his “principles,” and what was “true and right” … no matter the outcome or consequences of his sticking to what he believed was “the truth”! He Was definitely a “Fundi”!

4- He couldn’t tolerate change in beliefs and concepts: e.g, “God and the truth were the same yesterday, today, and forever!” There were no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it! Would this explain why he became a Morman fundamentalist/Fundi: He couldn’t deal with revisionist Mormonism, no matter the reasons for the doctrinal changes?

5- When he was convinced of a certain thing to do or accomplish, he worked harder at it than anybody else around. Could concentrate for long hours at a time, till the job was completed to the best of his ability—a perfectionist. Mother said he/ her father A.D. worked harder than anybody she knew!

His maladies caused him, his wives, and his children to lead an outcast, rather nomadic, Gypsy-like life due to the schizophrenic voices he heard and dreams he had telling him to first do this — then that; then something different altogether. He had a dream, for example, that he was to raise his family in Old Mexico, come hell or high water! So he did!

And no sooner would he have picked up, lock, stock, and barrel, to move to a new homestead, but what the voices might tell him he had to move and set up a new homestead somewhere else! Just one example of how his mental instability affected him and his family. I don’t know if Grandpa Dayer ever came to see how irrational, unstabilizing, and crazy-making all this was! Grandma Maud had to follow his/her husband’s lead because she believed he held the priesthood. In Mormon fundamentalism the man ruled the roost.

Grandpa A.D. LeBaron apparently raised most of his children to believe he had received a special “scepter of power” from his grandfather Benjamin F. Johnson — a mantle wherein he was set apart to do a special work to put the house of God back in order so as to prepare the world for Christ’s second coming.* [My sister who works as a nurse in a mental institution says she hears this kind of stuff daily from her patients!]

This mantle/priesthood power somehow became confused with his raising his sons to believe (so the story goes) that before he died, he would pass on to one of themwhoever showed himself most righteous—this sceptor of power—a power only given to that one mighty and strong the Prophet Joseph Smith said would come in the last days to prepare the Saints for the second coming of Christ.

As to how Mother says my grandfather says [She-says-He-says] he acquired this special “Sceptor of Power,” she told me: When my Pa was fast asleep one night, suddenly he was awakened. There was a bright light in the room. Then Papa said he felt a grip on his shoulder, looked up, and saw his dead grandfather Benjamin F. Johnson standing there surrounded in glory. (Continued in the next blog.)

*[NOTE: Mormon fundamentalists believed the LDS Mormon church had lost the keys to the kingdom and gotten out of order when it signed the Manifesto of 1890, thus doing away with polygamy, “God’s highest and most venerable law.”]

**For further understanding of this topic, check out articles online such as: Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults/ASD Symptoms: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjKwNfv1t3gAhWStZ4KHVBvBWYQFjAAegQIChAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.additudemag.com%2Fautism-spectrum-disorder-in-adults%2F&usg=AOvVaw0tKWaAHVoNpAf1KDdbHIV6

(Continued March 15, 2019, “Pt 34-B: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer and Hearing Voices”)

Pt 33: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer and Family Incest


My maternal great-grandparents Lucinda Mariah Emmerson and William Wesley McDonald

“The heart of the mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”
Honore De Balzac
P

Incest on my maternal grandfather Alma Dayer LeBaron’s side definitely contributed to the mental illness prevalent in most of my maternal grandparents’ ten children who lived to adulthood!

Grandfather Alma Dayer LeBaron, Sr.’s parents were first cousins: His grandfather Benjamin Franklin Johnson’s seventh wife’s daughter Sarah Jane Johnson married her paternal Aunt Esther Melita Johnson’s son Benjamin Franklin LeBaron—Benjamin Franklin Johnson’s nephew. Incest plain and simple!

The dilemma — and the reason incest is illegal: When close relatives marry, they compound bad/ recessive genes in their family tree. Says historian Kris Wray: Benjamin F. Johnson had two brothers — Joel and Seth — whom he said in his “My Life’s Review” experienced “mania” and were “weakened in mind” at one time or another, though he stated they had “sound” minds later.

In other words, there WAS genetic disposition for mental illness in the LeBaron AND Johnson lines (NOT just in my grandmother Maud McDonald’s line). Dayer’s dad marrying his Johnson first-cousin magnified it. 

Mania is a facet of type I bipolar disorder in which the mood state is abnormally heightened and accompanied by hyperactivity and a reduced need for sleep.

By contrast, hypomania (often described as “mania-light”) is a type II bipolar disorder which neither has the range nor severity of symptoms that classic mania has. (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjKv53WyubgAhUUs54KHXqaBBkQFjACegQIBxAL&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.verywellmind.com%2Fsymptoms-of-mania-380311&usg=AOvVaw1rN1sW2GH8_ntXBJYx8aKY)

In my quest to further understand what might have caused the unusual amount of mental illness in my Mexico-LeBaron family, years ago I was told the following by my sister Judith Spencer: “Mental illness ran in the bloodlines of BOTH our Grandma Maud’s parents William Wesley McDonald and Lucinda Mariah Emmerson.

“People TOLD our grandmother’s parents, William Wesley McDonald and Lucinda Mariah Emerson, ‘DO NOT marry!! There’s ‘bad blood’ in your families!’In other words,” she said, “There was mental illness in both their family trees! For them to marry could only compound the problem. They married anyway.” * Love and libido won out!

It is now known Schizophrenia is heritable — AND SKIPS a generation to show up in the SECOND generation of children born into bloodlines where at least one of the parents has the schizophrenia/ manic-depressive/ bipolar gene.

As it turns out, in the Mexico-LeBarons’ case schizophrenia/ bipolar disease/ personality disorders not only ran in BOTH our Grandmother Maud’s parents’ family trees, but ALSO in Grandfather Dayer’s family tree. That would more than double the schizophrenic /bipolar genetics and heritability.

I do not personally know about any mental disorders that ran in my great-grandmother Lucinda Mariah Emmerson’s family line. Only that, though schizophrenia is found in all nationalities and races, Sweden and Ireland rate the highest for this disorder. Norway follows close behind. (The Scots Irish? When history’s followed back far enough, they are Irish.) 

In past decades, schizophrenia was often called “Manic Depression.” Today it is usually referred to as Bipolar Disease. “McDonald” is an Irish/ Scots Irish surname. “Emmerson” is a Swedish surname. I mention this as only one piece of the puzzle contributing to mental challenges in my beloved Mexico-LeBaron family line.

Though my grandmother Maud’s parents Wesley McDonald and Lucinda Mariah Emerson had mental illness running in their family trees (as many family trees do, I might add), out of Grandma Maud’s own immediate family of originnone of her siblings suffered notable mental illness—as far as I know. And none of Wesley and Mariah McDonald’s children exhibited any of the mental illness that existed in their father Wesley McDonald’s later years.

Grandma Maud told me about a number of occasions in her life when she’d heard a voice speak to her “plain as day.” This and other such things may have been mild signs of Schizophrenia in Gramma Maud. But I read in a book on Schizophrenia that eating green potatoes, among other things, could affect a temporary Schizophrenic disorder in at least some people. So you never know.

Case in point, however: The mental-illness gene my great-grandfather William Wesley McDonald carried DID skip a generation! That is, it didn’t show up, as far as I know, in the siblings of my grandmother Maud McDonald’s family of origin. BUT it showed up BIG-TIME in the next generation — Grandpa Dayer and Grandma Maud LeBarons’ children. Most, if not all of their living children had mental problems to one degree or another.

For example, every one of Grandpa and Grandma LeBaron’s seven living sons claimed to be, at one time or another and to one degree or another, “The one mighty and strong”/OM&S.** Some of this may have been brought on by upbringing, desires for power and profit, and other such, rather than by defective genes.

But it’s also likely they heard voices, and had revelations, dreams, and inspiration that told them they were “the one mighty and strong prophet” spoken of in Mormon Scriptures.

Grandpa and Grandma LeBaron’s creative and talented daughter Lucinda spent most of her life in a mental institution — as did their brilliant oldest son Ben. And their disturbed son Ervil went clear over the cliff—“was the spittin’ image,” said Grandmamma Maud, of her own father William Wesley McDonald who began to hear voices, get revelations, etc., in his latter years!***

Their gifted and beautiful daughter Esther (my mother) lived in a mild dream world along with other personality disorders. Example: from time to time she/ Mama had manic-depressive episodes/ bipolar symptoms — including a few “nervous breakdowns.” And she had a narcissistic personality disorder, including delusions of grandeur. Paranoia also visited Mama as well as pathological lying; i.e., she believed her own lies.

Nevertheless, many people loved, respected, and befriended my mother throughout her life. In other words, Mother’s mental issues didn’t get in the way of her relationships with most people—though they got in my way!

As a young woman, Mother once told people she was a Hollywood starlet and a Concert Pianist. In actuality, my grandma Maud saw to it her daughter Esther/my mother got piano lessons and the time to practice enough to memorize a number of beautiful Piano Concertos.

But that did not make her a Concert Pianist; i.e., she never held the prestigious position of accompanyig Philharmonic Orchestra’s as their Concert Pianst! Instead, she quit college early on to become the plural wife of an old man, baring him fourteen kids along with six miscarriages within the space of 21 years; i.e., She was a stay-at-home mom.

Mother also told people she and all her kids and husband had their “callings and elections made sure.” (That is to say, HER kids were ALL going to heaven. No question about it!!)

She told people she “knew” HER husband and HER kids were going to “the highest degree of glory” “because they, like her, were so pure and saintly — so holy they were incapable of experiencing even “evil emotions such as envy or jealousy”! (That made them perfectly cut out to live polygamy, right? However, in her 21 years of marriage, Mom was too jealous to share Pop with even ONE other concurrent wife!)

Nevertheless, I don’t believe anybody in the cult ever noticed the inconsistentcies in what she preached and what she practiced. She said her Patriarchal Blessing “said so” and they believed her. This was mostly wishful thinking, exaggeration, and delusions of grandeur. Up until I escaped the LeBaron sect she belonged to, she also told people I/moi was her most perfect and holy child!

It helped cause Ma a nervous breakdown, therefore, when at age 21 I FLED the religion she raised me in — the religion she was SO sure was the ONLY true religion — the one you HAD to believe in to go to the highest degree of glory!

Needless to say, after I fled Mother’s religion/cult, she condemned me to hell, saying I wasn’t as spiritual as she and the rest of her kids were. (She somehow always took it upon herself to be my judge! … I thought that was God’s job!)

Now, back to the subject of mental illness in the Mexico-LeBarons’ immediate family: What further caused the Mexico-LeBaron children’s mental disorders is: There was not ONLY mental illness and personality disorders in BOTH my maternal grandparent’s family trees, but BOTH Grandmother Maud AND Grandfather Dayer, THEMSELVES, talked, not infrequently, about having unusually vivid dreams, revelations, and “hearing voices” — voices that spoke to them and gave them guidance. In other words, this meant double the schizophrenic characteristics in just the Mexico-LeBaron children’s parents, alone!

I know some people are gifted with a high level of intuition, extra-sensory perception/ ESP, and so forth. The gift of inspiration/ “a still, small voice,” etc., runs in creative families like the Mexico-LeBarons. And Poets are said to be prophets. Furthermore, schizophrenia runs high in creative families. Still, Grandfather Dayer’s extra-sensory perceptions went beyond that of healthy and normal.

To sum it all up, my maternal grandparents carried outward signs of mental-illness; e.g., voices talking to them, on TOP of their inner genetic markers for mental disorders. This tally sheet quadrupled chances that at least some of their Mexico-LeBaron children would inherit mental problems—especially given there were other stressors and traumas in their life that helped kick in the recessive genes for mental illness.

*This concludes my comments. Thank you for visiting my blog!
Your feedback would be most beneficial.
Now, till next time, be of good cheer; Spring is almost here! ~ Stephany

(Continued March 3, 2019, “Pt 34-A: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer and Mental Illness.”)

*My sister Judith Spencer’s oldest daughter was schizophrenic/ bipolar. Because of this, Judy did much research, trying to understand the disease, how it came about, and how to deal with it. I don’t recall, now, the relatives she spoke with on my grandma Maud’s and grandpa Dayer’s family sides. But the information I related above was told to her by them.


** See The LeBaron Story, andMaud’s Story,” on Amazon.com and Kindle. Though these books were written to preach “The Church of the First Born” doctrine, they are all we have of the Mexico-LeBaron Family’s published history — about our only source, though highly biased.

*** See “Cult Insanity” and Shattered Dreams by Irene Spencer

Pt 32: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, The Mexico-LeBarons, and Mental Illness

Pt 32: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, the Mexico-LeBarons, and Mental Illness


three-pictures-of-ervil


“The conscience of children is formed
by the influences that surrounded them;
their notions of good and evil are the result of
the moral atmosphere they breathe.”

Jean Paul Richter



We left off last week with this assertion: People should take responsibility for their actions; not project blame onto the devil nor others for what happens to them and their children.

As we saw in the previous blogs, Grandfather Dayer and Grandmother Maud’s life and child-rearing included plenty of things that could cause mental breakdowns — though they tended to put most of the blame on the persecution and ostracism their kids suffered growing up in the Mormon colonies in Mexico. No question, that took its toll!

But Grandma told us her son Ervil was the “spittin’ image” of her own father: “Even looks exactly like ‘im!” she efused. [*1] But she only divulged this long-held secret after her son Ervil began showing severe psychotic breaks — as in intent to murder his brother Joel, et Al. 

In an afterthought, Grandma Maud added, disconcertingly, “Despite his bein’ highly gifted in art, music, teaching, and other areas, Pa broke in his older years — same as his grandson Ervil.

“But before he became mentally ill, my handsome father taught Art and Music in High School, often delivered sermons in church. And  was a much sought-after Singer, as well as a teacher of church doctrinal classes.

“Him and my ma regularly sang duets in church and elsewhere. Both had perfect pitch … could sight-sing sheet music, so they could do fine when they had no instrumental backup or a pitchpipe. They really knew their Music Theory, too. Music was very important in my home as we grew up.”

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all Grandma would tell about her father. In fact, as I pointed out, she never, ever let anybody know about her father going off the deep end until she saw her son Ervil, “had the spirit of murder,” as she referred to it in her letters to Ervil. [*1]

Makes me wonder what else my Grandmother Maud never told us about her family of origin. What else was she hiding? For example, why would she marry my Grandfather Dayer when he was an outcast (though she says when she married him she didn’t know he was an outcast).

In the same breath, she claimed her “McDonalds of Arizona” family “were highly respected and well to do—owned a real estate office.” I only know (from personal experience) Grandma, though I love her, was a “storyteller.” [*2]

But I understand her brother Max McDonald (who was a pal of Pres. Spencer W. Kimball in his young years—they played and performed music together, among other things) was a Real Estate broker and owned his own Real Estate office.

Because being “crazy” carried such stigma and shame back in Grandmother’s day, as noted earlier, she only let us know about her own father’s mental breakdown when it became absolutely necessary to do everything in her power to get her dear son Ervil to see the error of his ways … in hopes he would not end up a “Cain.”

In the next blog, I will continue with this mental-illness thread, tying it in with incest in my Mexico-LeBaron family: Grandpa Dayer’s father Benjamin Franklin LeBaron married his first cousin Sarah Jane Johnson—daughter of his/ Benjamin Franklin LeBaron’s maternal uncle Benjamin F. Johnson’s seventh wife).[*1]  

(Continued February 22, 2019: “Pt 33: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer and Family incest”)


*1– See: “The LeBaron Story,” Pages 201 through 210. Also see: “Maud’s Story.” Both books are/ were available on Amazon.com and/or Kindle. Though these books were written mostly to preach The Church of the First Born dogma, they’re all we have of the Mexico-LeBaron family’s published history.

NOTE: For those questioning what I quoted Grandma saying, please check out the following Facebook statement (used without my niece Vicky LeBaron’s permission, as of yet, because I trust she won’t mind): 

2-7-2019: “I heard my grandmother — G.Grandma Maud’s, daughter Esther LeBaron Spencer — say on multiple occasions almost exactly what Steph Spencer is saying. 
I also heard one of G.G. Maud’s daughter-in-laws say the same type of comments about what Maud had told her about Ervil, in various conversations over the years:

“Basically, that mental illness ran in the McDonald family. And that she had been concerned about Ervil because of her father’s mental health struggles, and the fact that Ervil reminded her of her father more than any of her other sons. [She said] ‘He was handsome like her father.’ Or ‘He had a charismatic personality and a way with words.’ If I’m not mistaken her father was rather tall, too [like her son Ervil].

I don’t particularly think uncle Ervil looked like great-great-grandfather Wesley, either, but she may have recognized mannerisms and perhaps his walk or the way he talked etc. as being like her father. Often, I think the way my children act reminds me more of their grandparents and great grandparents, than the way they look. 
And I definitely feel like several of my children are very much like their grandparents and others don’t seem to see it.”

*2– See Cult Insanity” by Irene Spencer

~ Pt 24: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade

Pt 24: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade

 

Life’s Highway
To everyone their openeth
A way, ways, and a way;
And the high soul takes the high way,
The low soul takes the low;
While in between on the misty flats
The rest drift to and fro.
But to everyone their openeth
A high way and low.
And everyone decideth
The way his soul shall go.
(I memorized this poem when I was 13)
Author unknown


Taking up where we left off in:
“Pt 23: Mom, Dad, Me, and Polygamy on Parade:”

Today, let’s expand on a disturbing theme I mentioned earlier: My sister Mary told me Mother made advances toward her ex-husband polygamist Sigfried Widmar. (He already had a number of plural wives at the time.) Ugh!

Not sure if Mumma married Siegfried. But it’s disgusting to court, let alone marry your own daughter’s ex-husband — especially given that he very badly mistreated her daughter, my sister Mary, while she was married to Sig. Not only that, Sig had greatly neglected and maltreated his three sons Mary bore him (Mom’s grandchildren), including never visiting them nor sending child-support after the divorce!

Mother was taking care of herself and lacked a sense of boundaries. But messy Mormon fundamentalism and religious polygamy leave ample space for disgrace — ample justification for fornication. Incest is common. Mothers and daughters married to the same man, in some polygamist cults, is but one example.

While Daddy was still living, Mother had designs on MY husband William Preston Tucker! She was in love with him, idolized him, and fantasized that she would be married to him in the celestial kingdom (if not sooner!) — one avenue Mormon polygamy allows! (Orthodox Mormons believe righteous Mormon men will have any number of wives in heaven — so it doesn’t matter that here on earth they are your own mother, mother-in-law, daughter, et Al!

Ma would turn on like a Christmas tree fawning over MY husband polygamist Billy Tucker whenever he came around! She literally preened about like a peacock in heat waving her fan along with her tailfeathers to wow my “cock” — showing him she was his fan … wanted him to be her fan.

As a part of her courting fanfare, peacock-hen Ma performed for my lover Bill her fanciest piano pieces — difficult classics like Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto in C Sharp Minor,” “The Swan” by Saint-Saens, (https://youtu.be/zNbXuFBjncw), and Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” Oh, Mum knew how to impress — knew how my beloved Billy took to classical music!

Bill fancied himself classy when he listened to and appreciated such music. Thank God Mum’s mom, my Pianist/piano-teaching Grandma Maud LeBaron saw to it Mummy got ample years of private piano lessons and plenty of time to practice and perfect her pretty fancy piano pieces; otherwise, Mumma wouldn’t have had much to impress others with — fat ‘n’ 40 with her fourteen beautiful kidlings straggling along behind her fantastic fan feathers!

Though Bill had a Bachelor of Science degree with honors and an Honorary Masters degree from UCLA and had also taught for a while at Texas Western University, he was always conscious of the fact he grew up poor (He was born during the Depression era). He was ashamed of his father, who, though an artist and talented musician, was never well-to-do and made his living as a machinist and Foreman in a factory.

But that’s only the half of it when it comes to Mumma flying in, in her fantasy world (for let it be known that Mumma lived in quite a dreamworld) and coming on to my hubby like a peacock spreading its fantastic fan feathers! She was strutting her stuff while fantasizing about being Bill’s favorite wife in the hereafter — if not in the here-and-now — while I was still married to and greatly neglected by my Billy … and she was still married to my daddy!! 

She was having her problems with her hot-tempered, tyrannical spouse — my mean, aged papa twenty-six years her senior. But I was having my troubles with Bill too! He was no saint! Just an Alpha Male many women and men were in love. They, like me, idolized and adored gifted “Charming Billy.”

(Remember the song: “Oh, where have you been, Billy Boy, Billy Boy? Oh, where have you beencharming Billy?) People in the cult couldn’t get enough of Billy Tucker. Many wanted to mate with him to get even closer — wanted to be a part of this amazing creaton … wanted to connect sexually. (Not sure how many ever did but they wanted to.)

Fuck! As luck would have it, much to my grief, Bill, my spouse the louse, left me after four-and-a-half trying years. That is, he “put me aside” — separated from me because, after too much suffering and disappointment, I had dissociated — had withdrawn bodily feelings for him. I had told him I no longer felt anything — was numb during conjugal relationships — no longer even felt when he fondled my once highly sensitive breasts! I’d managed to shut off physical feelings for him so as to distance myself from the eternal emotional pain caused by him and polygamy.

His “putting me aside” — that is, separating from me — though it devastated me, didn’t bother Mama at all! She saw it as a windfall for her! So it goes without saying, she didn’t sympathize with me and my sorrow, let alone did she try to help her twenty-year-old me patch things up with my precious hubby. Instead, Ma gleefully licked her chops for her chance to top me and take up with Billy in my place; i.e., displace me! (How would you like to have your mom as your competition — as if Bill’s other wives, boyfriends, and suitors weren’t competition enough!)

But a few months later, as Lady Fuck fanned her cards, Mother’s aces in the hole fell like dumped dominoes: After Bill separated from me, he secretly skipped out of Colonia LeBaron and Mom’s life! Then, safely hidden from Mom’s brother my uncle Ervil LeBaron — and his Danites — Bill announced he had left the LeBaron cult and Mormon fundamentalism for good and forever.

Then, three months after that, Bill died! “God took Bill!” said the true-believing cult members.It’s payback for his leaving the one and only true church!

Actually, Bill died of a ruptured appendix — payback for years in a cult where he couldn’t afford physicals even if he would visit a doctor. Sadly, Bill was allergic to the wonder drug Penicillin, the modern miracle medicine that has wiped out most deaths these days due to a burst appendix. (Penicillin cures the once-fatal infection, peritonitis, that quickly sets in following a ruptured appendix.)

You should have seen Mother at Bill’s funeral! It was held in Southern California. But she made sure to catch a ride leaving Mexico to go to the United States though she couldn’t afford it. Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer simply had to attend her son-in-law (fantasy lover) Bill’s burial!

At the graveside, Ma was so caught up in her “poor me” misfortune of losing her fantasy lover Bill that her daughter, myself, was insignificant in her eyes. She wanted everybody to feel sorry for HER because SHE lost her “son-in-law.” So caught up in her attention-getting drama and trying to get in touch with her own feelings was Mama that she never once acknowledged me and mine. Never walked over to say hello to me, her grieving girl, let alone did she show me any other sympathy or empathy — never inquired as to how I might feel about my adored husband’s suddenly and unexpectedly dying! Of course, I had left her church by then so perhaps she was simply shunning me. (?) But so had her “Billy” apostatized from her church! Go figure.

At the Memorial Service, immature Mama hadn’t comforted me, either. She was probably unnerved that I was there! And it seemed I was supposed to be fawning over her! Go figure again. I already have … long since: The poor lady had a narcissistic personality disorder. 20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists Use to Silence You I was only an appendage swinging off her like a pendulum: If she was okay, I was okay. She didn’t totally see me as a viable and dynamic entity separate from herself. (We’ll discuss this topic more in a future chapter.)

(Continued September 18, 2018: in “Pt 25: Mom, Dad, Me, and Polygamy on Parade”)


 

~ Pt 23: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade


My Memoir: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade — Part 23

ma in pink skirt, 1
                                       My Mama in her late forties


“People see what they want to see
till they want to see.”
Dena McLean
(My cousin)


I left off in blog“Pt 22: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade,” saying: Mama preached polygamy and told people they would go to hell if they did not live it, but other than her first six months of marriage to Daddy, she never shared/ had to share her own husband/my father in the whole twenty-two years she was married to him.

But not long after Daddy died, she once again “helped save” a man by becoming his plural wife — as she had with Daddy. I mentioned this man in a previous blog: This new husband was an attractive LDS Mormon man around fifty years of age: Mel Orchard. He was as big a windbag as Ma! But a bigger kicker is his legal wife, a mainline Mormon, didn’t know the marriage took place! Mother was around forty-six or so, then.

She was not married to windbag Mel for long. In an effort to become his favorite wife, Ma manipulated a sixteen-year-old virgin into becoming old-man Mel’s third wife. To make a long story shorter, word has it she told this young girl and her family she’d had a revelation their daughter was to marry “her” husband Mel. But Ma’s ploy backfired on her.

After helping old-man-Mel secure his child bride, much to her ire, he neglected Mama. As you might imagine, her efforts and sacrifice to please her new husband did not bring in the appreciation and favoritism from him she believed and preached was supposed to happen when a woman got her husband another wife “to build up his kingdom.” (Mormon fundamentalism has all kinds of pie-in-the-sky, not-down-to-earth beliefs about plural marriage and how it’s supposed to work!)

My dreamer but let-down Ma was too jealous, hurt, and aggravated to remain married to her heart-throb Melvin after procuring for him a nubile maid only to find her manipulations ended up losing more of his love and time, rather than gaining her more of it. The old gentleman spent most of his time and energy trying to please his new teenage wife — trying to get it up and on with this adolescent “fawn”!

Not long after that, Ma took up with an old High School flame, a handsome Hispanic hunk — Catholic, charming, and very married — who lived in Chihuahua City, a-few-hours-drive from her residence in Colonia LeBaron. When she was in her teens, Mother’s parents would not allow her to marry him: He was of the wrong religion and race. But she and this stunningly gorgeous Mexican man had never fallen out of love.

Now, many years later and a lot of water under the bridge and despite his being married, his wife not knowing about it, and his not being Mormon, Mama carried on a back-room bedroom affair with him — perhaps hoping she could convert him to Mormon fundamentalism in time (?). I witnessed a part of that affair when, while visiting her in 1973, he chanced to drop by.

Mama told her kids and me she was taking her “friend” into her den “to discuss the gospel.” But I was an astute twenty-seven-year-old who had been around the block a few times by then. The sounds coming from her lioness’s den — squeaking springs combined with climactic screams — were not the sounds of discussing the gospel, no matter how exciting the discussion was!

(Continued in: “Pt 24: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade”)



~ Pt 21: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade

 

~ Pt 21: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade

 

jeffs-with-wives
Rulon Jeffs, his miscreant son Warren Jeffs, and a few of their “shared” wives

“Civilization is social order
supporting cultural creativity.”
Will Durant


Taking up from “Pt 20-A-J: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade,” it bears restating that one of my Mormon fundamentalist sisters who married so many Misters never ever caught on … never bothered to catch on how to check out, before she took on her next “husband,” whether the new “hunk” was going to treat her right — though she married wrong.

This is only one example of how the foot-washing, stoic, three-ring circus of “The Law of Celestial Marriage” works — The “BED-lam”  J. Smith and B. Young loosed in this world. Their helluva law ought to be renamed The Lawless Law of Telestial Marriage the orthodox Mormon law that undoes what it took civilization 2000 years to build.

It’s barbaric, deplorable, and inexcusable that a “gospel” could teach doctrines that break up marriages, families, and civilized life — laws that leave the wife broken-hearted, betrayed, her home downtrodden, and her life and that of her kids damaged beyond repair.

It bears repeating that, thanks to problems with polygamy, children often grow up fatherless. And the abandoned or neglected wife or Ex-wife must play the role of both mother and father to her humongous family of small children – the perfect recipe for misery, poverty, deprivation … and under-class living. Unfortunately, the above is a typical scenario that both broken and unbroken families endure, thanks to Mormon polygamous doctrines.

I’m not proud of what my mother, sister, myself, and others like us do/did by becoming involved with an already-married man, though we were doing what we were taught God wanted us to do.

As I said before, I’m sad and chagrined that Mother had a part in the dire sufferings and hell Daddy’s first wife and children went through, even if it was part of Mother’s fanatic fundamentalist Mormon “privilege” — nay, her obligation to break up marriages; i.e., to move in and marry a man already married, to make sure he went to heaven by making sure he lived “The Law of Celestial Marriage” — “the holy law of matrimony” — no matter the consequences — and no matter whether she wanted or didn’t want to participate in this plural marriage mess — which, if given a choice, she didn’t want.

Mama only entered polygamy after much stalling and consideration and at a very late stage in a Mormon fundamentalist girl’s life: She was around 23. (Especially in Mother’s time, the mid-1940s, an orthodox Mormon girl was considered an old maid if not married by around age 18.) Mother only became a polygamous wife because it had been drilled into her that her salvation depended upon it!

Nonetheless, “An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation – nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” Mahatma Gandhi

(Continued August 18, in ” Pt 22: Ma Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade”)



~ Pt 20-J: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade

Pt 20-J: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade

luna-l-recovering-agency
 I recommend this well-researched book authored by Ex-LDS Mormon Luna Lindsey — A super Text for anyone wishing to lift the veil of Mormon mind control.


People see what they want to see,
believe what they want to believe; 

It’s impossible to reason
with an irrational person. 

 Stephany Spencer


I left off in “Pt 20-I: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade” saying in the cult I came from, a Mormon fundamentalist man usually did not turn down a needy “woman in distress” — if she asked him to marry her. Most men usually don’t. Especially would-be Mormon White Knights in shining armor — especially if polygamy is “the law;” i.e., part of their religious tenets!

This is only one example of how the foot-washing, stoic, three-ring circus of “The Law of Celestial Marriage” works — The “BED-lam” Joe Smith and Brig Young spawned in this helluva world. I’ve coined their so-called “Celestial Law” The Lawless Law of Telestial Marriage: The orthodox Mormon law that undoes what it took civilization 2000 years to build!

It’s barbaric, deplorable, and inexcusable that any religion could teach doctrines that break up marriages, families, and civilized life — and create laws that leave the wife broken-hearted, betrayed, her home downtrodden, and her life and that of her kids smashed to smithereens.

Often, as said previously, thanks to the numerous problems involved in trying to live polygamy, children are all too often left to grow up fatherless. And the wife is forced to be both mother and father to her huge family of small kids – a sure way to instigate misery, poverty, deprivation — and the perfect recipe for under-class living.

As mentioned before, this is what happened in my father’s case. His oldest children still at home and even his Jr-High-age children had to quit school and go to work to help support Daddy’s abandoned family. His betrayed wife Eva had to leave the home and become a minimum-wage-earner.

He had 11 children with Eva. They ranged from 23 years of age to an infant not quite two months old When Eva divorced Daddy six months after he married my mother as his plural wife.

Who was left to tend the house and babies? The older children, of course. They had to play mama to the younger ones — had to grow up too fast in order to take on the responsibilities of premature homemakers. That’s what happened! Unfortunately, all of the above is a typical scenario most broken families endure, thanks to Mormon plural-marriage doctrines.

I’m not proud of what my sister and others like her do/did. I’m sad and chagrined that my brainwashed young Mother unknowingly and unwittingly had a part in the dire loss, suffering, and hell Daddy’s first wife and children went through, quadrupled by the fact they grew up without a father — if only because Daddy’s first wife couldn’t endure the pain of abuse, betrayal, and polygamy.

Unfortunately, it was part of Mother’s fundamentalist Mormon upbringing to break up marriages and leave behind a trail of tears and destruction. Of course, these stoic masochists never consider it “breaking up marriages.” They consider it “following God’s Commandments and putting ‘doing what’s right’ above all else”– because “the more you suffer the greater your rewards in heaven.”

Bear in mind most of those brainwashed to believe in polygamy wouldn’t possibly live this lifestyle if their “profit” J. Smith hadn’t Commanded it. And if they didn’t believe their salvation depended on it, come hell or high water. (See Mormon Scriptures: Revelation, 12 July 1843 [D&C 132], Page 1 – The Joseph Smith Papers

Nevertheless, Mother, though she wouldn’t admit it to herself, could never stand to have done to her what she did to others: Caught between a rock and a hard spot, she never practiced polygamy with Father — except in the first six months of marriage as Father’s plural wife before Eva divorced him.

In their following 22 years of marriage after Eva left, Mother probably always intended to practice plural marriage once more but she procrastinated so never had to further endure living this dire law with Pa.

He married Mama in around 1943 as his second wife, his attempt to have a harem in order to follow his Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live polygamy or be damned. But Mama soon ended up Papa’s only wife, just as he soon ended up monogamous again.

So it bears repeating: Mama never practiced what she preached and believed. She couldn’t — especially when it came to “practicing polygamy:” She never lived Plural Marriage with Papa the twenty-two years she had him — her handsome hard-working hunk — all to herself. She just talked about it.

(Continued August 2, 2018, in “Pt 20, A-J: Polygamy on Parade”)



~ Pt 20-I: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade

Pt 20-I: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade

family, all but sharon
My family in 1964 — one sister absent)

Abuse: 
“When fear rules,
Obedience is the only
survival choice.”
Toni Morrison
“God Help the Child”


My parents, though trying prodigiously to do what was right, foolishly spawned a bunch of foot-washing fundamentalist children bound by fear and preposterous, polygamy propaganda.

Example: Continuing with the expose of how one sister was affected by this Mormon fundamentalist dogma, I asked her why she dropped each “husband” — that is, those that hadn’t dropped her first. Her innocent, non-introspective response was:

“Because they didn’t treat me right, weren’t living polygamy right … and weren’t hard workers like Daddy — couldn’t compare to him. Therefore, I was smart to leave them. It taught them a lesson: They couldn’t get away with neglecting me and not supporting me and my children. And, of course, I had to choose a new man because women are supposed to have a husband as their head, their priesthood leader.”

She never could see that living polygamy “right” is wrong. Because living religious polygamy, itself, IS WRONG. It enslaves women, for starters. It’s a Satanic utopian ideal built on some male “profit’s” foolish, selfish, testosterone-based fantasy.

I say: Wake up, Sister, before another Mister makes you mother of yet another brother or sister by yet another Mister … who’s also “not like your father”!

The law of cause-and-effect screams, “If you touch a hot stove and it burns you, stop touching the damn thing! Back off!! The burn is obviously telling you you’re doing something wrong! So stop it!!”

But cult brainwashing demolishes people’s better judgment. It causes them to mistrust their own inner voice, to live in fear, and to follow their leader — their prophet, ignoring outward signs that what they’re doing is a mistake.

I call my sister’s “sleeping around” simply legalized prostitution — the ability and “right” to proposition any married or single man she wants as her next husband. What’s worse, in her brand of polygamy, the guy believes he can’t refuse! Nor does a man’s other wives usually have a say in it. What a great way to break down family life and ties, trust, and the sacredness of holy matrimony!

One way my sister courted a new mister was to simply ask him over to repair her plumbing — literally! And to sip ‘n’ sup a bit, afterward, as reward and enticement toward acquiring her latest heartthrob or male object/ husband.

I’m told it didn’t matter if the man she was chasing had a pregnant wife at home almost on the delivery table who desperately needed him by her side. Nothing mattered but living polygamy — i.e., “getting her plumbing serviced.”

An orthodox Mormon man usually did not turn down a needy “woman in distress.” Men usually don’t — especially would-be White Knights in shining armor — especially if polygamy is “the law”!

And get this: My Sis says, “I know I’m pretty. I don’t care how his other wives feel when I go after their husband. My having a husband and living plural marriage comes first.” This almost smells of sociopathy: She’s taking care of herself and “Screw the rest!” 

And why should she care about other women? In polygamy, they are her competition. It’s not supposed to be the case in that belief system, but it is because she’s human: “The other women” get in her way when it comes to happiness and having her needs fulfilled.

Or, to look at it from a social-psychological viewpoint, perhaps she never got Daddy all to herself, as a little girl. By going after another woman’s husband, she’s simply subconsciously still trying to win her Dad from her mother (“the other woman”) when she goes after another person’s “Pa.” 

Be all these conjectures what they may, the last I knew, she never caught on … never bothered to catch on how to check out, before she took on her next “husband,” whether the new hunk was going to work out — going to “treat her right” — though she married wrong! (But how do we even know she treated him right?)

Continued July 26, 2018, in “Pt 20-J: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade


Pt 20-G, Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy Parasites

My Memoir: Pt 20-G, Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy Parasites

mormon-beliefs-org
The caption should read: “What Orthodox Mormons Believe: Polygamy



“Everything can be taken
from a person but one thing:
The last of the human freedoms –
to choose one’s attitude
in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.
Viktor Frankel
Man’s Search for Meaning



Continuing where we left off in “Pt 20-F, Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy Parasites,” it bears repeating what I said in an earlier blog: It’s reprehensible that Mormon fundamentalist dogma encourages women to intrude upon established marriages and break them up, all in the name of “living a higher law” — as 22-year-old Mother inadvertently did, though she thought she was doing right — doing what God wanted when she fell for 48-year-old mainstream Mormon Pa who was already married and had going-on eleven children with his wife Eva who did not want to live polygamy!

In other words, Mormon fundamentalist doctrine encourages adultery: It encourages a woman to go after the married man she’s attracted to in the name of “a higher law” — “The celestial law of marriage” — though he is another woman’s “Contracted Property.” Orthodox Mormon thought: God’s laws supersede man’s laws. I say, what a bunch of bull pucky!! But what can you expect fairly illiterate Mormon male self-proclaimed “profits” to teach and prophesy when fundamentalism is all about power?

Polygamy simply creates disorganization, lawlessness, and laws onto themselves; i.e., havoc in the social order in the name of God!  It encourages men to womanize and women to “man-ize;” — to seduce a married man to have and share as her husband in the name of “celestial marriage.”  

But these Mormon fundamentalist women are usually thinking like monogamists. In other words, due to human nature, there is inbuilt and immediate competition: These women are generally hoping and working to be the man’s favorite wife … the one he spends most of his time with — all the while wishing they were his only wife.

Glittering generalities (e.g., Celestial Marriage) aside, in the end, “Celestial Marriage” or polygamy — commonly called “eternal marriage” in Mormon fundamentalism — is literally “Telestial marriage” — Hell on earth!

To repeat, religious polygamy opens the door to disorganization, rampant lechery, waywardness, lawlessness –– not Godliness — and encourages women to be the natural predators they already biologically are if not hemmed in by law, religion, good sense, and social pressure.

Example: One of my nine sisters has married and dropped at least nineteen different polygamist men since she was an adolescent. Her first marriage was arranged by my parents when she was only around 16 years old. But the rest is history.

She was very offended when I told her it sounded to me like legalized prostitution! She told me and her kids that she was (paraphrased): Just teaching those men a lesson! I showed other polygamist women how to stand up for themselves against husbands who don’t treat their plural wives right!”

One of her sons added, “My mom sure kicked ass down there in the LeBaron colony! By leaving each husband when they didn’t do right by her, she sure taught those men a thing or two!”

If she had been married to all of those men at the same time, she would really have taught them “a thing or three;” that is,  an even a greater lesson — a real honest-to-god lesson about what it’s like to be mistreated as a polygamist’s wife!

But one reason women don’t have harems is they’d, more likely than not, have a lot of men to clean up after, serve, and cook for rather than just one. I saw a comic strip on Facebook the other day where a woman had come home from work to find all five of her husbands sitting on the couch raucously watching sports on TV while gobbling bags of popcorn. “Whose turn was it to take out the trash today?!” She cried disgustedly. “It’s spilling all over the garage floor!”

I’m sad and ashamed to say my serial-polygamist sister has children fathered by at least three different fathers — though her first two husbands left her by default, thanks to polygamy and its inherent faults — including male irresponsibility. But that still does not smooth over her lifestyle-choices that suffer for lack of good values, education, and intellectual insight.

It seems she was unable to take into account the law of cause-and-effect and other down-to-earth concepts. She was too busy with irrational up-in-the-sky concepts; i.e., sacrificing for the hereafter! I mean, anything’s okay in Mormon fundamentalism if it’s done in the name of living The “holy matrimonial law of polygamy” so as to bear more children for God’s kingdom.

Continued July 12, 2018, in: “Pt 20-H: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy Parasites” 


~ Short Creek/ Colorado City, Arizona-Utah: “They Changed the Name of Our Hometown”

me-shortcreek
Photo of my Short Creek, Arizona/Utah Elementary School mixed-grade class of 1st-5th graders, taken when I was in first grade — two months before the 1953 Short Creek Raid.


Sing your song,
Dance your dance,
Tell your tale.
—Frank McCourt,
 Modern-day Dickens,
Author of best-selling classics:
Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis, and Teacher Man




They Changed the Name of Our Hometown*

1— They changed the name of our hometown the other day,
But in the hearts of some Short Creek will always stay;
The cliffs so high, the valleys filled with memories —
How can they change a hometown’s name or verse to trees?

2— Oh, I’ve been asked a thousand times or more, I guess,
If from the town Short Creek I came; I answer Yes;
With head erect, I proudly say my hometown’s name;
But, since the change to Colorado City it ain’t the same.

3— When I was ten, my family left my dear hometown;
For Colonia LeBaron, Mexico, we were bound.
But Hurricane, Utah became our four-year camping ground;
Still, throughout the years, I can’t forget Short Creek, I’ve found.

CHORUS:
 I’ve been asked a thousand times or more,
If from Short Creek I came;
With head held high, I answer Yes,
So proud to say the name;
But since the change to Colorado City,
It’s not the same;
So in my heart, the name Short Creek
Will still remain.
Tag:
And, in my heart, they’ll never change
My hometown’s name!


*NOTE: Original lyrics by David Stubbs.
~Verse 3, plus line & word changes by Stephany Spencer
~~ Melody borrowed from Joe & Audrey Allison’s Classic Country song:
“He’ll Have to Go” — 
First line: Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone.

 


*In the following video, recorded March 3, 2018, I’m performing the above song, “They Changed the Name of Our Hometown,”  at the California Writer’s Club. Between nerves and lack of practice, I’ll be the first to say the rendition could use some work. I plan to eventually re-record and repost it. But this video gives an idea of how the melody goes.


 

 

~ Pt 19-P: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy 

 

My Memoir: Part 19-P — Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — 
More Perils of Polygamy

bill & me, 2
17-year-old pregnant me with 27-year-old hubby Billy, 1963

 


“As I sifted through my memories,
my life came to me in bits and pieces,
often disconnected, just like my dreams.
Even normal memory has gaps,
but traumatic memory is even more discontinuous.
This is my story, which put me back together.”
Lost Boy
Brent W. Jeffs
2009


Continuing where I left off  in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer– And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-O”:

As I said previously, my sixteen-year-old first cousin Jenny Lou LeBaron’s parents weren’t around to snoop into her private diaries. So my uncle Ervil LeBaron won the second time around in his efforts to get Homer Babbitt a child bride in exchange for a parcel of his land.

After getting Jenny married to Homer, he set to work to convince his bosom-buddy Billy Tucker to follow through with marrying me — the way my parents wanted him to.

But let’s back up a bit. At first, Ervil (one of Mother’s younger brothers) didn’t know what hit when he found I was suddenly being given away to Billy! Like how was he, Ervil, going to explain to Homer that, despite the revelations he got that I was supposed to marry him, Homer, his sister Esther (my mother) had her own “revelation” I was supposed to marry Billy/William Preston Tucker?

But, Ervil, as usual, wormed out of his having promised me to Homer by coming up with a new revelation for Homer as to whom he was to marry when the first “revelation” fell through.

Nonetheless, “Evil Ervil” was blindsided in his own shenanigans and misuse of power because he had no idea my parents knew about his secret attempt to marry me off to Homer Babbitt! I had no idea my parents knew about it either. I found that out far down the line — after I was already Bill’s concubine.

So, despite Ervil’s efforts to keep “the adversary” (the devil) from finding out about his plans, lo and behold, “the adversary” — in the name of my parents — did find out about the self-proclaimed-profit Ervil’s latest priestcraft! And in a most unexpected way. But Mother, with Daddy’s help, had me convinced it was “through a dream — a revelation” she “came to know” I was supposed to marry Bill Tucker!

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I had not told my parents what Uncle Ervil LeBaron (The Second Grand Head in the Priesthood of the LeBaron cult) was directing me to do, because Uncle Ervil, who practically stood as God to the people, had told me, “God doesn’t want your parents to know till you’re already married to Homer.”

“Let’s keep this a secret between me, you, and Homer,” Uncle Ervil had adamantly whispered to me. “We don’t want “the adversary” to get wind of what’s going on here and try to stop God’s work — God’s desire you marry Homer to help build up His kingdom on earth.” (Replace “God” with “Ervil.”)

(Continued in: “My Memoir Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-Q”)


*Anna LeBaron, in the following video, is one of my many first cousins, and one of my Uncle Ervil LeBaron’s almost 60 children:

 

~ Pt 19-O: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

My Memoir, Part 19-O: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — 
And More Perils of Polygamy



“Leaders who win the respect of others
are the ones who deliver more than they promise,
not the ones who promise more than they can deliver.”
Mark A. Clement


Taking up where I left off in my blog “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron  McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-N”:

It seems I got off onto a little bunny trail a few blogs back. So it’s high time we backtrack — get back to where Uncle Ervil and my parents were manipulating my love life in the name of polygamy to get me married off to “Billy” — back to where, in July of 1963, my sixteen-year-old-self was in the process of being pawned off in a prearranged marriage to ten-years-my-senior William Preston Tucker (leader of the infamous French missionaries excommunicated from the LDS/ Mormon church around 1958).

Since Uncle Ervil wasn’t able to do anything about his sister/my mom throwing a jackhammer into his plans to trade me to Homer Babbit for land, Ervil manipulated another of his nieces into marrying Babbit in my place.

Yes, smooth-talking Uncle Ervil soon had one of his brother Wesley’s daughters, my red-haired sixteen-year-old cousin Jenny Lou LeBaron married to Homer. Poor Jenny Lou! At the time, she was only visiting the LeBaron colony. But visiting the LeBaron colony was dangerous. She ended up homesteading as forty-three-year-old Babbit’s polygamous bride. Her parents weren’t by her side to protect her from her uncle Ervil’s revelations and manipulations!

My parents “protected” me by betraying me! They had raised me to believe I could trust them impeccably because they were Saints. But they were frauds. For years, they regularly snuck into and read my private diaries, unbeknownst to me that this was going on. Then discussed among themselves my thoughts and business meant for my eyes only. (I found this out only many years after-the-fact.)

Thus, they not only knew every personal thought that went on in my adolescent brain. (No wonder they had become so down on me!) But also, inadvertently, during their daily entertainment, learned of Ervil’s devious plans to marry me to Homer Babbit behind their backs!

That’s how my parents got the bright/”bride” idea to turn around, themselves, and manipulate my love-life and who I was to marry! They boggled Ervil’s plans to barter me to Babbit, by replacing them with their own plans to barter me to Bill.

After all, I had written in my journal, “Bill Tucker is the man I’m really in love with, not Homer!” However, there was a selfish method to my parents’ madness: It brought far more prestige to them to have me married to Bill rather than to Babbit. I don’t know which was worse for me in the end! (I was so in love with Bill but he shattered ‘n’ battered me. Babbit would’ve built me up, appreciated and loved me.)

Since Jenny’s parents weren’t around to snoop into her diaries, Ervil won the second time around. He got Jenny married to Homer in a heartbeat. Then set to work to convince his bosom-buddy Billy to comply with my parents’ wishes that he marry me.

(Ervil had quickly seen how Bill’s marrying me would work for him. For one thing, Homer wouldn’t wonder why I hadn’t ended up marrying him after all Ervil’s wheelings and dealings with him!)

(Continued in: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-P”)



Excellent expose by renowned speaker Steven Hassan, author of “Combatting Cult Mind Control,” and leader in recognizing brainwashing and mind control techniques.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Pt 19-M: Esther LeBaron Spencer, me, and More Perils of Polygamy

My Memoir, Part 19-M: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
 And More Perils of Polygamy


my yellow house
My lonely “Little House on the Hill” where I lived most of the 4.5 years I was married to Bill, in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua Mexico


“To handle your self, use your head;
to handle others, use your heart.
George Bernard Shaw



Taking up where we left off in“My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-L”:

Bill’s second wife, Lolita, played mouthpiece for “the family” when, not long after I was married to Bill, she warned me to never go home to visit my parents, exclaiming, “Bill doesn’t like his wives going home talking to their parents and family. If he ever finds you’ve told ANYTHING about what’s going on in your marriage or his family, he’ll DUMP you! And that’s that!! That’s the end of your marriage to him!! He’ll put you aside and never take you back!!”

Newly married to Bill, the love of my life, of course, I wanted to be a good wife. So, what’s a shy, naïve, teenage Plyg to do when she’s not allowed to talk to the people who care most about her, her parents and Sibs — those who could give her the best advice and support, once she’s married, but being knifed?!

And since when does a normal husband deny his new adolescent bride/concubine the right to go home now and then to visit her parents and family?? Marriage should not mean the husband owns the wife hook, line, and sinker! 

I look at this whole scenario now and think, “WHAT a stinker was Bill!! It’s unbelievable what secluded cults and cult leaders get away with!”

Once I was married into this polygamous mess, I really needed my parent’s advice and help and my sisters’ friendship — the absence of which crippled more than ever the highly disadvantaged child bride I was. And tripled the loneliness I felt. I was married and a wife, but my spouse I was so in love with was usually absent from my life.

 Bill’s other two wives were no source of help nor friendship. Instead, they were my rivals — enemies. Dangerously jealous, their resentment and envy of me was only outdone by their working together to undermine me in the eyes of my husband, their friends, and the colony.

One of the main ways they did this, to begin with, was by constantly running down my family of origin. Even in front of me, I would tell Bill their latest bad stories about my/ “the Spencer family.” Making my parents and siblings look like the worst people on the planet couldn’t help but cause Bill to think less of me by association. Meanwhile, they built their own families up to high heaven!*

Therefore, I was most uncomfortable around them. That’s an understatement! I ended up alone and lost in my little yellow house on the hill where I spent most of my days waiting for Bill, coping, crying, raising my child on my own … and always longing for my husband and home! (What husband?!)


*Note: After Bill died, there was no need anymore to ruin my reputation in his eyes by, among other things, maligning my family. So Bill’s first two wives Maryilyn and Lolita (pseudonym) unbelievably became buddies with my family–the family whose character they had assassinated for the previous 4.5 years!!  

 Their ploy now: Make me look bad in the eyes of my family who already resented me because I’d left the cult. By becoming friends with my mother and rival sister Judith, especially, Maryilyn and Lolita built themselves up by running me down. That way, people wouldn’t think them SO bad for having ostracized me while Bill was alive.

Yes, they pretended to be in with my family — the family they had so defaced the whole four-and-a-half years I was married to Bill (so Bill would lose his love and respect for me!) Even told my mother and siblings it was MY fault they had thought so badly of my family! Their antics were easy to get away with: I was on the outs with my family and everyone else in the cult for having left their religion and escaped their clutches!*


NOTE:* Paraphrasing Steven Hassan, leading authority on destructive mind-control groups: People are born with authentic selves. Unhealthy parenting, groups, or cults exert undue influence, making you but a clone — an extension of your parents or the group.

Destructive groups don’t allow you free will. They won’t let you leave with your dignity intact. They want to control you. You have to believe what they believe no matter what!
Steven Hassan – Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Hassan

Freedom of Mind Resource Center | Undue Influence Training …https://freedomofmind.com/


(Continued in: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-N”)



 

 

~ Pt 19-K: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

My Memoir, Part 19-K: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
and More Perils of Polygamy

bill-1
 William Preston Tucker/Bill, in the French mission field around 1958, I believe.

 



“True leadership must be
for the benefit of the followers,
not the enrichment of the leaders.”
Warren G. Bennis


Taking up where we left off in “My Memoir Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy, Part 19-J”

In a very short time after being married into Bill Tucker’s family/”love nest,” I found I had simply been catapulted out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-flames. I’d thought I was escaping my hellish home life with my family of origin for a heavenly love life with the man I was deeply in love with, idolized, and adored. It turned out just the opposite:

In fact, over time I came to realize I was nothing but a Mormon fundamentalist sex slave — a concubine in a harem where I wasn’t wanted. And in a cult with no Dr. Phil to fill me in on the whys and wherefores of monogamy, let alone polygamy — though I needed advice, understanding, and help in the biggest way and to the endth degree.

My parents had told me they’d had a revelation Bill was the man I was supposed to be married to for all eternity. And that I would be Bill’s best, most righteous, and favorite wife — and that was only the beginning of the bunk they filled me full of before I married Bill.

And Uncle Ervil, a “prophet,” had also really pushed this marriage — Plus I’d been so indoctrinated with a bunch of other garbage about plural marriage — that, as a teenage bride, I was up to my forehead in shit, but so full of crap, I couldn’t see past it!

But I found a whole different scenario and “crap” once I became Bill’s third “wife.” For the purposes of this short blog, I will simply say: What went on in my new family was done in secrecy. I did not realize, till years later, many significant things, including why my new family forbade me to go home and visit my mother and father, let alone talk about the troubles and travails, problems, loneliness, and grief my marriage brought me, their bereft teenage daughter.

I was not allowed to talk to anyone else such as sisters or friends, either. And forget counselors. Uncle Ervil was my only source for counseling. And some counselor he was!

All he, my narcissistic and calculating, power-pushing uncle told me, when I went to him in torment and travail at age nineteen, was: “Any problems a woman has in her marriage are her fault. If you buckle down, submit to, and serve your husband unquestioningly and fervently — doing everything he tells you to do — this will cure all your marriage problems!!! (As if I wasn’t already a slave to my husband, serving him with all my heart in hopes of winning his heart!)

Now I realize there was good reason for why the second wife told me (paraphrasing): “Bill hates when we go home to visit our parents. And will put any wife aside if he should find she told her parents or ANYONE about ANYTHING going on in our marriage OR Bill’s household!! And remember: Bill is NOT one to forgive transgressions! Once he puts you aside, he will never forgive you nor take you back. He’ll be THROUGH with you!!!”

I sure did not know it then but know now reasons why my new family was adamant I didn’t visit my family-of-origin — especially my parents: They were hiding bisexuality, among other things — even from me! (In the LeBaron cult in the 1960s, homosexuality was a sin punishable by the death penalty — and that’s but the beginning of it.)

(Continued November 16, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-L”)



The following is one of the many excellent informative interviews you can find on YouTube that reveals many truths about the Mormon fundamentalist cult lifestyle I was raised in.

Here Aunt Rebecca Kunz Kimbel is interviewing her sister, my Aunt Irene Kunz LeBaron/Spencer, formerly a wife of my Uncle Verlan LeBaron, one of my mother’s eight brothers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Pt 19-J: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

My Memoir, Part 19-J: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — 
And More Perils of Polygamy

me-bill
October 1962: Bill and Beulah Tucker, ages 16 and 26 consecutively


“Human history
becomes more and more
a race between education
and catastrophe.”

H.G. Wells


Taking up where we left off in my last blog, “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-I”: 

My husband William Preston Tucker/ Bill
Had been at the top of his class and hill —
And tops elsewhere, if you will.
But, as a Mormon, Will’d always felt
A little at the bottom, classwise,
‘Cause he couldn’t rise to the top ranks
Of the Mormon priesthood pecking-order.

Why? He wasn’t part of the blueblood
Of the Mormon church nor of the
Mormon fundamentalist LeBaron “Church.”
And there wasn’t much he could do about it,
Though he was “top notch”
In most every other way … they say.

But, by “wisely” marrying me,
Bill instantly became part of “royalty”–
Because he was now not only
Related to Joel and Ervil LeBaron,
The self-appointed prophets of our cult,
But to the Prophet Joseph Smith,
The god of Mormonism —
And plural matrimony!

That is, he finally became part of
The Mormon royal blood

Just in time to leave Mormonism
For good and forever!
But it wasn’t till years later
Bill finally outed himself —
At least when it came
To announcing he’d left the LeBaron cult
And Mormonism altogether!

In other words, taking me “on,” literally,
As his third wife in “Plurality,”
Placated Bill’s going against his wives’ will —
Their adamant insistence he NOT marry me —
Because it catapulted this social climber
To a higher level still on the
Mormon-blueblood totem pole
Where “ancestor worship,” bloodline,
And who you’re related to
Counts commensurately
Toward your value and prestige —
If you’re a Mormon.

So “Billy-goat Fucker” got
Some of HIS needs met by marrying me.
But none of mine were met by marrying this “He”
And becoming his wife “Number Three.”

So let me give a word of advice
To the innocent Mormon maiden
Whose virginity’s being taken —
Not once but twice —
First through manipulative covert vice;
Second through the-holy-name-of-matrimony lies:

If you have to live polygyny,
To save your soul eternally,
Marry a man you’ll never fall for,
Let alone desire sexually.

This assures he can’t hurt you emotionally.
And you won’t hunger to be with him constantly,
Nor miss him when he’s gone long hours —
A bumblebee sniffing other flowers,
Or bedding and abetting his many wives —
“Them’s” just the facts, guys!

If you’re not in love with “Hubby,”
You won’t go through the pains of polygamy
I suffered the five years I was
Trapped ‘n’ strapped to “BIG Dick-Dicky,”
(Bill Tucker, the fricken-prick fucker)
All the while trying to sort things out —
As a teenage bride on the outs.

 I cried and cried, I’ll now confide,
When I found myself in a supposed marriage,
Abandoned, barefoot and pregnant,
But stuck pushing a baby carriage.

Religiously and intensely, I tried
To understand, incessantly,
The ups ‘n’ downs of polygamy,
And what was going on with it and me,
In my arranged concubinage —
And in plural marriage, period!

Over time, I came to realize I,
A horny, idealistic, innocent,
Brainwashed female adolescent,
Was “boiled alive” by my parents
And Ervil’s meddling in my life,
Peddling me off as a present/bride,
At barely sweet-sixteen,
To twenty-six-year-old bigamist Bill
As his third but much younger,
Much less educated,
Much less worldly-wise wife …
And much less wanted!

Thus, I found myself thrust
Into a marriage that was
But a hotbed for heartaches
At Heartbreak Hotel.
However, though filled with grief,
Struggle, strife, and travail,
I was warned by the other wives
To never, EVER my parents tell,
Nor tell anyone else, as well,
About my marriage life —
Its dilemmas, melodramas, lies;
My tremendous trauma and travail.
All was covered up and masked well
By religiosity’s saintly disguise and veil.

To put it succinctly and bluntly,
My arranged polygamic marriage
Had but a modicum of ecstasy
Mixed
with pure agony, angst, and hell —
Stuff NO naïve “don’t-ask-don’t-tell,”
Highly-sensitive childbride
Should ever have to suffer or confide —
And all in the name of:
The Celestial Law of Matrimony;
I.e., Plural Marriage”… or Big-amy.
Ah, well — Oh, HELL!!!

(Continued November 8, 2017, in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-K.“)

The following Video gives more excellent background on how I was raised as a Mormon fundamentalist Plyg. The photo shows eight of my handsome Uncle Verlan’s ten wives. And features my aunt Irene Kunz LeBaron/ Spencer being interviewed by her half-sister and my half-aunt-in-law, Producer Rebecca Kunz Kimbel.



~ Pt 19-I: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

 

My Memoir, Part 19-I: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
And More Perils of Polygamy

me, in asian dress
Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron in 1972, age 26 and soon to graduate from UCLA after escaping polygamy in 1967!!

“Man, created in God’s image and likeness,
is not just flesh and blood.
The sexual instinct is not all that he has:
Man is also, and preeminently, intelligent and free.
And thanks to these powers, he is and must remain
superior to the rest of creation;
they give him mastery over his physical,
psychological, and affective appetites.” 

Pope Paul VI


I left off in the last blog, “My Memoir Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer– And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-H,” pronouncing:

“Fuck The Law of Chastity”! My being added to the harem greatly affected the other two wives and Bill Tucker, too — especially did it affect his and their love life. More on this in my upcoming Memoir. But, I’ll just tell you, now, they did not believe in, let alone live the Mormon fundamentalist doctrine of “The Law of Chastity” — and that’s not the half of it!!

Example: Bill told me one of his wives (Won’t mention her name now) was most horny and hot WHEN she was pregnant … so he said that was his favorite time with her in bed. (Like most polygamist men, he was one to kiss and tell. Therefore, that gives me more to tell you, as well, in due time! LOL!)

But, nothing whets the sexual appetite more than your husband getting a new, sexy, nubile, plural wife six to fifteen years younger than you! Bill’s first wife was thirty-one, the second twenty-two years old when I, sweet-sexy-sixteen, was married to their/my husband. That’s another story you’ll read about in my upcoming Memoir.

Presently, I’ll tell you I would not have suffered half as much in my arranged marriage had I been married to Homer Babbitt whom I did not love and was not at all attracted to … so would not have been longing for, sexually, nor otherwise.

I say “arranged marriage” because, Bill, ever a people-pleaser who could not say “no” when under pressure, only married me due to the manipulation and social pressure his buddy Ervil LeBaron put on him to get him to marry me.

But, Bill, always out to collect more prestige and popularity, knew it would be a notch on his belt — as well as on the Mormon-LeBaron blueblood totem pole — were he to marry me. You see, I was “royalty”! I was a niece of “The Second Grand Head,” Ervil LeBaron, and of Joel LeBaron, the Prophet of our “Church.”

On top of that, I was/ am a great-great-granddaughter of the “renowned” Benjamin F. Johnson whom the self-proclaimed Prophet Joseph Smith had sealed to him as a son — and through whom the self-proclaimed “profit” Joel LeBaron claimed his priesthood keys and the “Scepter of Power” — the priesthood power which made Joel “The One Mighty and Strong;” i.e., the Prophet the “Profit” Joseph Smith prophesied was to come in the last days to set the house of God in order. (!!!) (My uncle Joel set it in order alright, LOL!)

So, against the wishes of his first two plural wives, and though they fought him tooth-‘n’-toenail, Bill added me to his harem — even though it lacked integrity (I learned years later) because, secretly, Bill no longer believed in polygamy and was making plans to leave the LeBaron cult and colony!

Bill, as a Mormon, had always felt a little inferior, when it came to the Mormon prestige totem-pole and pecking-order because he was not part of the blueblood of the Mormon church nor of the Mormon fundamentalist LeBaron “Church” … though he was totally “top notch” in about every other way, they say!

But by marrying me, Bill not only became related to the prophets of our church/cult but also related to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the god of Mormonism! That is, he finally became a part of the Mormon royal blood — just in time to leave Mormonism altogether … four years later!

(Continued November 1, 2017, in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer– And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-J.“)


*The following video production, produced by my Aunt-in-law Rebecca Kunz Kimbel and featuring her half-sister, my Aunt Irene Kunz LeBaron/ Spencer, is an excellent overview and introduction to what my life was like growing up in and living in the LeBaron colony in Mexico and in Mormon fundamentalist cults, in general.


~ Pt 19-H: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

My Memoir, Part 19-H: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
And More Perils of Polygamy

156be-ervil-booked-into-jail
My Uncle Ervil M. LeBaron after he was arrested and Jailed


“History is little more than
the register of the crimes, follies,
and misfortunes of mankind.”
Edward Gibbon


I left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-G” relating how I had come to realize people did not just sail off into the sunny sunset and “live happily ever after” once they were married — the way fairytales end. My Mormon fundamentalist parents and cult had filled me full of such poppycock!

No, I found my/”our” husband, Bill Tucker, was still having sex with his other two wives because they felt the same way about their husband as I: They wanted him just as much as I did — because we were all very much in love with him.

And to add to our sexual pleasure, Bill, though only about 5’7″ tall, was endowed with nearly a ten-inch pecker — when extended to its fullest! (Not hiding when the “pricks” were passed out, he had proudly allowed me to measure his gorgeous member.)

But it took innocent and naïve childbride me around four months before I came to realize I was not the only one still having sex with him — and still really wanting him sexually — even once pregnant. It was such a shock to find sex didn’t end once we were “married happily ever after.”

And even more of a shock was when I found that Bill was still having sex with his pregnant wives — even though it seemed okay for him to still be having sex with me (I was pregnant within two months of being married to him)!

Sex during pregnancy definitely went against the teachings of our church/cult — and against our prophets Joel and Ervil’s teachings. However, I eventually came to learn Bill’s other two wives wanted him sexually, even more so, once their husband “took me on”!

I can’t tell you how this realization affected me, my true-believing faith, and my understanding of “the law of chastity” and “the gospel” that I was raised with and taught extensively, especially by my mother, Esther LeBaron. (The law of chastity was one of the many fanatic fundamentalist gospel teachings she had ingrained in her by her own stoic Mormon parents.)*

She bragged to me, among other things, that she and Daddy had lived the law of chastity during the whole of their twenty-two-year marriage! (The jury is still out on that one. More on that to come!)

Since I was her favorite child before I escaped the church/cult at age twenty-one, she proudly told me,”Beulah, one of the reasons you turned out so special, beautiful, and bright is I conceived you under the protection of the holy white garments and the law of chastity.”(!!!)

This revered Mormon fundamentalist law included that having sex was only to get pregnant. Sex was to be discontinued as soon as you were pregnant. And only participated in while you were fully clothed in your temple garments that covered you from neck to ankle and shoulder to wrist. And NO sex was to be had while you were nursing, either.

You wonder how my horny dad ever held out — especially since masturbation and bestiality, in the teachings of the law of chastity,  were also dire sins — as rightly bestiality should be a mortal sin: It is raping animals!! (Or did Dad hold out? I may tell you in my upcoming book.)

But that’s only part of the “law of chastity” the early Mormon prophets taught. To further complicate married life, sex was only for procreation and considered lustful if you enjoyed it. This and more!

Needless to say, “fuck” the law of chastity! My being added to the harem greatly affected the other two wives, Bill, and his and their love life and hunger for more sex more often. There’ll be more on this in my upcoming Memoir/ book. I’ll just tell you now they did not believe in, let alone keep the Mormon fundamentalist principles of “The Law of Chastity”– and that’s not the half of it!

For example, Bill told me that one of his wives (I won’t mention her name now) was most horny and hot WHEN she was pregnant — so that was his favorite time with her in bed!

(Continued October 25, 2017, in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-I.”)

*The following video productions are excellent overviews and introductions into some of what my life was like growing up and living in Mormon fundamentalist cults.



 

 

 

~ Pt 19-G: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

 

My Memoir, Part 19-G: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — 
And More Perils of Polygamy

me at 20
Beulah (Stephany) Spencer LeBaron de Tucker in 1966, age 20. (Mexico City in the background.)

 


“Use power to help people.
For we are given power
not to advance our own purposes
nor to make a great show
in the world, 
nor a name.
There is but one just use of power
and it is to serve people.”
George Bush


In “My Memoir Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-F” I left off saying:

Nobody knew Ervil was doing and saying the same things to everybody. For example, he would say he “got a revelation” they were supposed to marry so-and-so. Or he got a revelation he, Ervil, was supposed to marry them … or so-and-so’s wife! And so on and so forth. You get the idea.

Yes, Ervil was even getting revelations that he was supposed to marry women who were already married! That is, Ervil said God told him to take women away from their husband and make them one of his own wives!

Meanwhile, I had written in my journal: “Bill Tucker’s the man I’m in love with. But I am going to marry Homer Babbit because I definitely want to serve God. And Uncle Ervil told me this was how I could best serve ‘Him’ and the building up of ‘His’ Kingdom.”

After my parents read in my diary the above words, and about Ervil and Homer’s collusion to secretly marry me without my parents knowing about it, they secretly contacted William Preston Tucker/ AKA Bill, and made arrangements (behind Ervil’s, Homer’s, and my back!) for Bill to marry me instead — and post haste! More on this in an upcoming blog.

Meanwhile, Uncle Ervil, “Second Grand Head” of the church/cult had no idea (nor did I) that my parents had quickly hustled me off onto Bill Tucker only after having snuck into my private diary and read that Ervil was about to have me secretly married to Homer! (Wow! All this secrecy, sneaking around, deception, and controlling of people’s life behind their back!!)

I’ve gotten off onto a little bunny trail, and am getting ahead of the story, too, when I say it’s wonderful to be married to the man you’re deeply in love with. But it would have been nicer if that man had returned the respect and feelings — especially would it have been nice if you’re a naïve sixteen-year-old who has no idea what love, marriage, and polygamy is all about. But has lots of idealized fantasies about what she thinks it’s all about — such as how “wonderful” it will be. (LOL!!!)

For example, besides all the crap Mom and Pop had instilled in me* about “how wonderful” polygamy is, I still believed what I’d learned in fairytales: That sex and everything else ended once you were married. Because, once you were married, you simply sailed off into the beautiful sunset and “lived happily ever after!” Well, isn’t that how every fairytale ends: Boy-gets-girl, “Then they live happily ever after”?

Girl, was I in for a shock! For example, I found, after I was married, that not only did I still want my husband’s kisses, but I very much wanted him sexually too. And the desire only grew stronger and stronger, and sex only grew better and better with each lovemaking session. (Believe me, it wouldn’t have been like this had I been married to Homer Babbitt!)

Then I came to realize the other two wives felt the same way about “our”/ their husband, Bill Tucker. Not only that, but I also came to realize they, too, were still having sex with him — and even more so once their husband took me “on”!

(Continued October 18, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-H”)


*The following interview features my Aunt-in-law Rebecca Kimbel and my bright cyberspace friend Kathleen Covington. I’ve posted it as it gives great insight into the Mormon fundamentalist cult and the propaganda I was raised on.

~ Pt 19-C: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

My Memoir, Part 19-C: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
 And More Perils of Polygamy

me-in-red-blouse-15
Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron in 1962, age 16, on our “ranch” in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.


cactus-and-adobe-hut



“Nearly all men can stand adversity,
but if you want to test a man’s character,
give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln


I left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-B” commenting:

In Homer Babbitt’s kiss
There was no connubial bliss,
Though that was my very first kiss!
And my very first date …
Yet, barely a kiss and barely a date.
Still, Ervil prophesied he was my fate!

And now I wax into half-assed poetry,
Because no matter how “Homely Homer” kissed me,
I would’ve missed marital bliss, believe me,
Because despite Ervil’s wheelings ‘n’ dealings,
I felt no friendly feelings
For this pockmarked Mormon Mister.
He could go marry my sister!!

In reality, my love-sick stomach was reeling:
Because, when it came to my “celestial” sealing,
I longed to be kissing Bill Tucker,
Not this pock-marred, scarred-faced fucker!

Talk about an upcoming frigid Miss
In a marriage devoid of connubial bliss,
Because she was stuck in bed with
A man she couldn’t kiss
And a marriage missing luster,
Thanks to Ervil, the fuckin’ fuck-Buster!

But, to further forward his meddlin’,
While my present and future peddlin’,
Evil Ervil, chief head of “Cult LeBaron,”
Called my parents to a meetin’ wherein
I could secretly slip out the back
To meet my soon-to-be “quack”/spouse
Without my parents about the house
To smell the lousy “louse” trap
Set behind their manipulated back
To catch ‘n’ mate their poor little “mouse,”
And to a polygamist male espouse!

All I remember about my miserable meet-up
With my arranged husband-to-be, in this secret prenup,
Is being surrounded by a desert mesquite-cacti outback,
In homely Homer’s hidden black Cadillac,
And both of us blushing to beat the band
As we self-consciously took each other’s hand —

The first time I’d ever been alone with a man!
And now we were expected to take a stand
And solemnly join our compromised lives …
By telling each other conjured-up lies —
Expected to make our wedding vows …
But I could not my passions arouse.

With heated and flushing countenance
Completely bathed in moonlight intense,
We couldn’t hide how uncomfortable we felt
As Homer stood near me and then knelt.
Being together alone that night
Simply and completely did not feel right!

Homer was unable to utter a word
In this setting so “utter”-ly absurd:
I, a naïve sixteen-year-old,
But soon a child bride to be;
He a marred-faced American-Mexican
Going on forty-three.

We two didn’t even know each other.
We felt more like sister and brother.
We’d never been together before,
Nor even been introduced afore
That secret evening rendezvous
When this man I never even knew
Suddenly showed up at my door.
… And now I’ll close down; I’ll say no more,
But promise next week more trivia galore!

(Continued in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-D”)



The following video is an excellent depiction of my upbringing in Mormon fundamentalism.

~ Pt 19-B: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

 

My Memoir, Part 19-B: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
 And More Perils of Polygamy

three-pictures-of-ervil
The middle picture is how I remember my Uncle Ervil M. LeBaron in the 1960s

 

“A wise leader inspires and motivates,
rather than intimidating and manipulating.”
Henry Ford


Getting back to my life being hijacked in the name of plural marriage: As I mentioned in my last blog, Mother’s brother, Ervil M. LeBaron, was in on the manipulation of my love-life too. (What’s new?! Whose life was he not in on? But of course, I didn’t know this, back then.)

As it turns out, Ervil LeBaron had time for everyone’s family but his own. This cunning Con was too busy using and abusing others — all the new converts and you name it — under the highfalutin pretense of being “The Second Grand Head” of God’s church on earth.

His maneuvering and manipulating others to his own advantage was only outdone by his coercion and priestcraft when it came to pulling the wool over the eyes of the “lambs” and fleecing the newbie true-believing “Church of the Firstborn” sheep.

My Uncle “Evil Ervil” was truly something else — and in his heyday and depth of glory with all those trusting true-believing followers and converts suddenly now at his deceptive fingertips once his and his brother’s (self-proclaimed Prophet Joel LeBaron) new “Church” began to take off in the late 1950s.

Well, as it turns out, while my uncle was horrendously manipulating my life on one level, unbeknownst to me (as I said in the previous blog), my parents (another set of controllers found wanting in the area of integrity) were secretly snooping into my personal belongings, betraying my trust in them as they managed to find each new place I hid my diary. By regularly reading my journal entries, they too were able to control and manipulate my life and happiness!

Reading my diaries behind my back must’ve been the entertainment of the day for my parents in their collusion to eavesdrop, by way of my diaries, on what I believed were my private thoughts!

But I can’t even imagine their “entertainment” when they found that Ervil, Mumma’s younger brother, had, behind my parents’ back, secretly bartered me off in marriage (in the name of God, revelation, and building up “His” kingdom) to Homer Babbitt, Mum’s girlhood friend — in exchange for land!!

In my Journal entry of July 15, 1962, I wrote that Ervil had told me not to tell my parents about my upcoming marriage to Homer — “So the devil can’t interfere with God’s plans,” said he. I also wrote that I was not at all attracted to Homer Babbitt– and that when we kissed to cement our engagement to marry, it felt icky.

Homer’s kiss wasn’t much more than a peck on the lips … thank God. And That was my first kiss ever, too! (Oh dear, and Heaven help us!) Also my first date ever — though hardly a kiss and hardly a date. But no matter how Homer had kissed me, I would’ve gotten no pleasure whatsoever out of it because I had no feelings for him whatsoever.

I don’t recall doing anything else with this extremely shy, middle-aged stranger. Only recall that, to cement our coerced marriage vows, Uncle Ervil arranged for the rendezvous wherein Homer Babbitt and I secretly convened in his black Buick he’d skillfully hidden behind a secluded clump of mesquite bushes toward the outskirts of the small LeBaron scrabble colony. Situated in the Chihuahuan desert, in 1962 the cult was amply surrounded by cacti, mesquite, and other desert vegetation suitable for hiding in!

(Continued September 15, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-C”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ My Poem: Life’s Dash

LIFE’S DASH

My cousin, the famous Eddie Le Baron


“There’ll be two dates on your tombstone
And all your friends will read ‘em;
But all that’s going to matter-
Is that little dash between ‘em.”
Kevin Welch


LIFE’S DASH
by Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron

1-  Between the date of birth and death,
There’s always a little dash —
To me, it depicts life’s run-time,
So I call the line “life’s dash.”

This dash mark on a gravestone,
As in football’s forty-yard dash*,
Represents our life’s game,
That’s over in a flash.

2-  So ‘Midst the trauma ‘n’ melodrama,
Strum, ‘n’ strife, ‘n’ stress,
Let’s take time, now and then,
To review our life in progress.

During the period of our dash,
Let’s consider our one-act scene;
Are we a human-doing,
O
r are we a human being?

3-  While busy making our mark in life,
Let’s enjoy our jaunty trip —
Our journey through this cosmic world.
But here’s a timely tip:

  There’ll be two dates on our grave plaque
Separated by a dash,
But it’s how we live life’s dash that speaks,
Not silent sod nor ash.
CHORUS:
Those we’ve known may forget,
After we’ve done life’s “splash,”
Our date of birth and death,
But not how we lived life’s dash.”
TAG: Don’t forget, they won’t forget
How we lived “life’s dash.”


* Since the following video recording was done, I’ve rewritten part of my “Dash” song I performed at the California Writers Club 11/4/2017 — the day before “All Saints Day.”




Coach Lou Holtz read the following composition

to his players in 1996 at a team meeting:

From “A Teen’s Game Plan for Life”

by Lou Holtz:

A few years ago Notre Dame went over to Dublin, Ireland to play the Naval Academy in football.

“When we were over there, we went to a twelfth-century cemetery. All we saw was a group of dilapidated walls and huge tombstones. One of our players, Alton Maiden, sat down at this cemetery and wrote the following poem:”

The DASH

(By Alton Maiden, 1995)

I’ve seen death staring at me with my own eyes

In a way many cannot know.

I’ve seen death take lots of people

But leave me here below.

I’ve heard many mothers’ cries

But death refused to hear.

And in my life, I’ve seen many faces

Filled with many tears.

After death has come and gone

A tombstone sits for us to see.

It’s not more than a symbol

Of a person’s memory.

I read the person’s name,

Read date of birth, see the dash —

And the date the person passed.

Then, thinking about the tombstone,

Realize the important thing is the dash.

Yes, I see the name of the person

But that I might forget.

I read the date of birth and death

But even that may not stick.

But thinking about the person

I can’t help but think of “the dash.”

Because that represents one’s life

And that will always last.

So when you begin to charter your life

Make sure it’s a positive path.

People may forget your birth and death

But always remember:

They’ll never forget your dash.

~ by Alton Maiden, 1995 ~

Visit Alton Maiden on Twitter

 *Don’t be so quick to judge a player by his 40 time.

Print

  • Front Office View
  • Published: Feb. 24, 2011 at 02:58 p.m.
  • Updated: Aug. 3, 2012 at 10:31 a.m.
  • 0 Likes  |  0 Comments
    Ben Liebenberg / NFL
    It’s one thing to run a fast 40-yard dash in shorts on a fast track, but does that speed translate to the football field?

    INDIANAPOLIS — Paul Brown started this whole mess. But I bet the man who invented the use of a 40-yard dash never thought it would become this big.

    How big? So big that when I worked with the Oakland Raiders, the 40 dictated everything we did — and I mean everything.

    Brown, the former Cleveland Browns head coach and Bengals founder, wanted to determine how fast his players were covering a punt, so he chose 40 yards — the distance most punts traveled — as a measuring stick. Little did he know that a 40 time would become such a huge phenomenon.

    Michael Conroy / Associated Press
    Chris Johnson has the fastest 40 time since 2006. His speed has translated to the NFL, but that’s not the case for everyone. Check out the entire list here.
    Fastest 40s at combine since 2006 (top five)
    Player Year Time
    Chris Johnson 2006 4.24
    Jacoby Ford 2010 4.28
    Yamon Figurs 2007 4.30
    Darrius Heyward-Bey 2009 4.30
    Tye Hill 2006 4.30

    Think about it: What’s the one question every single prospect leaving the NFL Scouting Combine this year will be asked? “What was your forty time?”

    Maybe Brown should have patented his idea.

    The 40 time has become the measuring tool for most teams and, yes, I have to admit, I relied on knowing the times of each player. And if I was building a team I would want specific requirements of height, weight, and speed for each position. My goal would be to have a big, fast football team — not a track team that forced me to rely solely on the 40-yard dash in shorts.

    Back in his day, Brown’s 40-yard test looked vastly different than the one being utilized at the combine today, even though the distance traveled is the same. In today’s 40, players work on their start from an elongated three-point stance — unlike the one used in football — trying to gain yardage with their first step. The runners stay low for the first 10 yards, not raising their head, and finish 10 yards past the end line.

    Little did Coach Brown know that agents would one day send their clients to speed camps hoping to improve their 40-yard times and their draft status.

    With time comes improvement, so naturally the 40 times have improved as players have gotten stronger, highly trained and in peak condition. But the essential value of this quick dash as a measuring stick has not changed. The most fundamental question that must be asked after knowing a player’s time and what makes the 40 a valued tool: Does he play the game of football with that speed?

    For example, Deion Sanders was lightning fast at the combine in New Orleans in 1989. By more than one account, he ran the 40 in 4.19 seconds, thought to be the second-fastest ever run at the combine (Bo Jackson has the fastest verifiable combine 40 time of 4.12 seconds in 1986). And Sanders just kept on running, Forrest Gump-style, right into the locker room. However, the key validation came when Sanders showed he was fast on the football field, as well. His speed translated to his game, which then validated the 40-yard dash.

    There have been players that time fast in the 40, but when watching them play football they don’t look nearly as fast. Jets defensive end Vernon Gholston ran extremely well at the combine, but when he was evaluated on tape from Ohio State, his speed never translated to the field. Little wonder he has played three years in the league and has yet to record a sack. He isn’t the only one. There have been countless workout warriors who have shown well at the combine and failed in the NFL.

    Some players are fast, but do not play fast, while others time slow, but play fast in pads. And that is the key for finding the right balance when using the 40 times as a measuring stick. Like all things, when evaluating college players, everything falls back to the evaluation of playing the game. Does this player play fast? Can his 40 time be seen when he puts on his pads?

    Surfaces can be deceiving, too. When Coach Brown started running his 40s, grass was the only surface he had his players run on. Today, with many different surfaces available, it becomes a challenge to adjust the time correctly. It is widely understood that a player is much faster on a track and turf than grass, but the question remains how much faster. When I worked with the Raiders, and even now, they adjust every time from the combine slower. If a player runs 4.47 at Indy, the Raiders will adjust it to around 4.51. For the Raiders, the 40 is everything, so they make it difficult for prospects to run a great time.

    Adjusting the times can create a problem. What happens to a player who runs bad at the combine but improves his time at his campus workout? Does he move up the board? If he does, then why should players even run in Indy? And is the adjustment the right number or a number arbitrarily picked out of a hat?

    When I headed the Browns‘ personnel department, we would always use the natural Indy time as our official 40 times. Jim Schwartz, a scout of ours at the time and current head coach of the Detroit Lions, kept a database of times run at Indy and those run at the school’s pro days. Believe it or not, some of the 40 times were actually slower on the home surface than at Indy. We wanted to have some consistency of adjustments.

    But even with the consistency of adjustments, all these variables made the 40 time extremely difficult to use as the sole measuring stick. In Cleveland, we knew it was an important tool, but it can’t be the only tool because the playing speed must match the time speed.

    When sitting at home this weekend watching the combine, remind yourself of two critical points when making an evaluation. The first, never begin with the end in mind, and secondly, never believe the 40 time unless you can see the speed during a game.

    If you follow those two rules to the end, then even from your couch you can pick the right players.

    Follow Michael Lombardi on Twitter @michaelombardi.

    Print


    Spotlight

    Another Dash Poem/Song:

    ~ Pt 1–18: My Mother Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and Mormon Polygamist Cults Unmasked

    PART 1

    My Memoir:

    My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

    My Maternal Grandparents:

    Maud Lucinda McDonald & Alma Dayer LeBaron



    “Mother! For love of thee it was begun;

    In thy most honored name today ’tis done.

    And though all earthly cares must cease

    In that fair land of everlasting peace,

    Love aye is one, and they who love are one;

    Time cannot end what God in time begun;

    And thou wilt joy e’en in thine endless rest,

    To know thy child obeys thy last behest”

    A Nameless Nobleman

    Jane G. Austin 1881*

    *(I was told Jane Goodwin Austin is a great-grand-daughter a-number-of-places-removed of Dr. Francis LeBaron, and is my distant cousin.)





    The world called her “Plyg.” We called her “Mother,” or “Mama” — Daddy called her “Esther,” “Mother,” or “Ma” — as in “Go ask yer Ma.”

    My mama, Esther LeBaron Spencer, was born August 1, 1921, in Colonia Pacheco, Chihuahua, a small Mormon colony in Old Mexico. And died in 2013, at age 92, in Cancun, Mexico — I believe.

    She was the middle child of thirteen children born to Mormon fundamentalist Americans Maud Lucinda McDonald and Alma Dayer LeBaron — my maternal grandparents.

    Colonia Pacheco was colonized around the turn of the 20th century by American Mormon polygynists/ polygamists who crossed over the United States’ border to Mexico seeking refuge from prosecution when in 1862 the US government passed a law against polygamy.

    When Brigham Young said, “This is the place,” the land of Utah belonged to Mexico. Polygamy was not prosecuted there unless the first wife filed a complaint.

    But the Mormons’ new “safe haven” didn’t last long: The United States went to war with Mexico in 1846, won the battle in 1848, and the Utah Territory was ceded to the US in 1850 as part of the spoils.

    This meant Brigham Young’s polygamist Mormon church, much to their dismay, was once again under US law! So once again under fire to discard the practice of polygamy.

    In fact, by this date, the US Government was set to confiscate the Mormon church’s lands, property, money, and even their right to be called a church if they didn’t remove from their religious tenants this illegal, barbaric institution!

    So Wilford Woodruff, the presiding President/Prophet of the The Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ LDS church, was utterly forced to draw up “The Manifesto of 1890,” a mandate and “revelation from God” outlawing polygamy in the Mormon church.

    This explains why, then, before Mother was born, her parents/ my grandparents had left the United States to raise their family in Mexico: They intended to live “the law of plural marriage.” So this required, for their safety, they leave the Victorian Americans and join other Mormon fundamentalists in Mexico.

    My grandparents would not discontinue the practice of polygamy, despite the “Manifesto of 1890,” because they believed it was wrong for the Mormon church to have outlawed polygamy, no matter what, given their Prophet Joseph Smith had said that it must be lived to attain the highest degree of glory in the hereafter.

    With this stance, Mother’s parents became outlaws/laws unto themselves, because they, along with a few other zealot Mormons, thought the Mormon church had fallen away from Joseph Smith’s true teachings.

    Therefore, they didn’t intend to go along with the new “revelation” and mandates regarding plural marriage set in 1890 by the Mormon church Prophet, Wilford Woodruff, and his Quarm of Twelve Apostles.



     NOTE: The following lyrics consist of a tongue-in-cheek poem/ song I wrote. It is posted on my Website, but I’ve included it in this blog because it has a couple of stanzas about Mama: 

     Pretty City-Chick

    The following is

    A Hee-ha Comedy Song —

    A Bit o’ Bio in Verse,

    Fer Better er Worse —

    With Truth ‘n’ Exaggeration

    Interspersed:

    Pretty City-Chick

    (By Stephany Spencer C 2016)

    Hey, they say

    I’m a pretty city-chick.

    And Hillbilly music

    makes some sick,

    But my Hillbilly ways

    Are here to stick;

    So we may as well

    Get over it —

    And join in

    And sing a bit,

    ‘Cause I’m a city-chick,

    But shit-kickin’ music

    is my shtick.

    Born in Mexican sticks

    in 1946.

    I’ve dual citizenship,

    And now I’m a city chick.

    I’m an all-American-mongrel,

    Apple-pie girl —

    Hines-57 mixed-up mutt,

    With apple pie stickin’

    To my butt ’n’ gut;

    But red-necked

    Reactionary ignoramuses

    Ain’t my thing.

    I came for music

    And to sing!

    Yeah, I’m an

    All-American-Mexican,

    Scotch-Irish “Mick”,

    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 shtickin’ 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,

    And Jack-of-all-trades;

    Master of a few —

    Good at so many things,

    There was little

    He couldn’t do.

    Ma was a creative,

    Author and artist,

    thru ’n’ thru;

    Poet, performer,

    Trained concert pianist —

    Whew!

    She loved to discuss

    Religious principles, too,

    And read religious Lit,

    Old and new —

    Long as it agreed

    With what she

    Already “knew.”

    She graduated with a BA

    In Journalism too;

    Quite an accomplishment

    ‘Cause Mom 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!)

    Refrain:

     Hey, they call me  

    “Pretty city-chick;”

    Though Hillbilly music

    Makes some sick,

    My Hillbilly ways

    Are here to stick;

    So you may as well

    “Git” over it

    And join in

    And sing a bit!

    ‘Cause I’m a hip chick,

    And 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 pretty city-chick.

    (By Stephany Spencer C 2015)



    The following is an iPhone video of me at the California Writers Club, March 2017, performing the above song I wrote, “Pretty City Chick (before I edited and re-wrote part of it):





    PART 2

    My Memoir:

    My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

    LeBaron passport pic

    1920 Passport Picture of Alma Dayer LeBaron & Maud Lucinda McDonald Emerson de LeBaron & family: Children, from left to right: Ben, Alma, Wesley, Irene, Lucinda, Jenny



    “My mother was the source

    from which I derived

    the guiding principles of my life.”

    John Wesley



    left off in Part One where Mama’s parents, Alma Dayer and Maud Lucinda McDonald LeBaron, didn’t agree with the mainline Mormon church’s new mandate regarding polygamy. Why?  Because the Prophet Joseph Smith had given a commandment from God (stated in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132) that the Saints must live Plural Marriage or be damned. In other words, Joseph Smith had set his followers up to suffer a life of hell — which, for most people, is all living polygamy is: A living hell.

    Said Mama, in reference to my grandparents’ stance on the Mormon Manifestos of 1890 and 1904:

    “Ma ‘n’ Pa didn’t believe it was right for the Mormon church to outlaw polygamy, given the Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied it must be lived to attain the highest degree of glory in the Hereafter! So they joined ranks with a fledgling Mormon fundamentalist movement that insisted on followin’ the Prophet Joseph Smith’s revelation commanding they live polygamy or be damned.

    “They’d follow this commandment even if it meant they and the rest of their Mormon brethren would once more be driven from their homes and lands, tarred ‘n’ feathered, stripped of their financial assets, and thrown out of the country, jailed, or killed. You see, Ma ‘n’ Pa were stalwarts who’d lay down their lives for ‘the gospel’ … as would I,” proclaimed Mama.

    As I said in last week’s blog, I only wish my self-righteous, stoic grandparents, parents, and the rest of the rebel Mormons who chose (and still choose) to continue living polygamy would’ve been/ would be half as strict about living Christian and other Scriptural doctrines taught by their self-proclaimed Prophet Joseph Smith as they were/are about living polygamy!

    It makes me wonder what it was about the original many thousands of Mormon people who chose to follow such as Joseph Smith! In that same vein, I also wonder what it was/is about the zealot Mormon fundamentalists who believe they are “God’s chosen handful” and who were/are so determined, still, to continue to have more than one wife, come hell or high water!

    Because most Mormons saw the wisdom and practicality of giving up plural marriage and abiding by US law. And they also saw the practicality of following their Prophet Wilford Woodruff’s new “revelation” that discontinued polygamy in the LDS church … for the time being, that is … unfortunately, however, not for the hereafter!!

    Getting back to the main story, Mama told me: “My parents, left the US and moved to the Mormon colonies in Old Mexico before I was born ’cause they intended to live ‘the Holy and God-ordained law of Plural Marriage’.

    “However, after I was born, in 1921, due to financial circumstances, they had to move back to ‘The States.’ There, Pa bought us a home in the small, southern, agrarian Mormon town of La Verkin, Utah, — one where we could plant our own orchard ‘n’ garden … and keep a goat too. I was still a baby then.

    “While there, Pa found the plural wife he’d been lookin’ for — pretty eighteen-year-old Onie Jones. He married her soon after he convinced Ma of the righteousness of taking Onie as his plural wife. Though the three of them did their best to keep this plural marriage a secret, word soon got out in that small Utah town.

    “Not long after that, a friend informed my father a Mormon mob was gatherin’ to lynch him! So he, Ma, ‘n’ Onie grabbed us kids in the dead of night ‘n’ fled back over the Mexican border to live in the Mormon colonies in Old Mexico again.

    It was 1923 by then. If my parents hadn’t fled when they did, it’s said the mainline Mormons would’ve done them in … because they felt my parents had done THEM in by ignorin’ their church’s mandate against polygamy.

    “You see, in 1904, to please the US government and its citizens, and to show they respected the laws of the land, the LDS church had finally instigated a second Manifesto outlawing polygamy in their church:  From ‘The Manifesto of 1890’ to ‘The Manifesto of 1904,’ there’d been a moratorium on polygamy in the LDS church, which allowed Mormons to get used to the new anti-polygamy regulations.

    “But,” continued Mama, “by 1904, those still livin’ polygamy had to either get rid of their plural wives or get out of the country; i.e., move to Old Mexico. Anyone takin’ a plural wife after 1904 would not only be excommunicated from the LDS church ‘n’ considered an apostate, but they’d also be jailed.

    ” My father was one of the first men to disregard the Mormon church’s new Manifesto of 1904: He took a plural wife in 1923 (because he believed God’s laws came ahead of the laws of the land). So Ma ‘n’ Pa were excommunicated and disfellowshipped from their beloved church.”

    You see, by 1923, polygamy was more than ever frowned upon among the mainstream Mormons: It threatened the safety and solitude they had finally gained, among other things.

    Therefore, they wanted Dayer LeBaron and his two wives OUT of their midst — if only to show other Mormons what would happen, should they choose to follow Dayer’s example — The insurrection wherein he continued to take plural wives despite the Mormon church’s modern, updated doctrinal revelation and mandate regarding Joseph Smith’s “Holy Principle of Plural Marriage.”



    PART 3

    My Memoir:

    My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

    Mormon colonies

    A family of Mormon colonists around the turn of the 20th Century

    “Mother is the bank where we deposit

    all our hurts and worries.”

    Author unknown



    As I mentioned in Part Two of “My Mama,” by the advent of the 1900s, the US government had resorted to extreme pressure to get the Mormon church to discontinue its institution of polygamy — a relic of barbarism and a threat to our country that was unfortunately and inadvertently introduced by Joseph Smith in the mid 1800s, as delineated in the “Doctrine and Covenants,” Section 132 (Mormon Scriptures).

    In reference to this, Mama, years ago, explained to me: “To avert further travails, the LDS church had begun implementin’ stringent measures to wipe out plural marriage within its membership so as to protect its people, church, and Mormon church properties.

    “Passin’ of the second Mormon Manifesto in 1904 meant Pa, ‘n’ his two wives, ‘n’ children, were no longer welcome in the Mormon colonies where my family had fled for refuge in 1923 — after barely outsmarting a mainstream Mormon mob, arrest, ‘n’ bein’ thrown into a Utah jail for havin’ entered into polygamy. 

    “My Ma, Pa, ‘n’ family had lived in various Mormon colonies in Mexico previously, goin’ back ‘n’ forth between them and the US a number of times, over the years. 

    “But this time, when we come back, my parents had gone against the Mormon Manifestos of both 1890 and 1904: They’d taken a plural wife, ‘n’ thereby were considered by the church to be ‘In a state of apostasy.’ 

    “That meant our family was now considered apostates. So we was disfellowshipped from our Church ‘n’ social activities in the Mormon colonies,” continued Mama.”

    “Instead of bein’ accepted with open arms, as he was in the past when he was with his grandfather Benjamin F. Johnson [who was a key figure in developing the Mormon colonies in Mexico], Pa was now an enigma.

    “So our family became persecuted ‘n’ ostracized — The church’s way of discouraging other men from followin’ my father’s example of takin’ multiple wives.”

    “In other words, since the Mormon moratorium on polygamy was o’er by 1904, my parents’ havin’ gone against the LDS church’s updated marriage law now meant their raisin’ us kids in a terrible atmosphere of mainstream Mormon scapegoatin’ ‘n’ rejection — wherever they chose to settle in ‘Mormonland.’

    “It was during the Great Depression ‘n’ World War II era. Them two calamities affected our family, ‘n’ also Pa’s ability to get enough well-payin’ work in “The States.” 

    “So our family was endurin’ extreme poverty, ” Mama opined. “Ma ‘n’ Pa couldn’t afford to move their large family somewhere else, even if they’d decided to remove us kids from the terrible ostracization ‘n’ persecution they found the small Mormon colonies now meted out on ‘specially my eldest siblings!”

    So the Mormon colonies that had once been a place of refuge for Mormon polygamists had, by 1923, become the opposite: A place of persecution and ostracization for polygamists — if they had entered into polygamy after 1904, that is.

    “Those who already had more than one wife BEFORE the Manifesto of 1904, were NOT rejected ‘n’ persecuted as my Pa, Dayer LeBaron, ‘n’ his family was!” Mother explained.

    “We were ostracized ’cause my father was the only man in the Mormon colonies,” she continued, “who went ahead ‘n’ took a plural wife after 1904, despite the church’s mandates.”

    So that was the situation my grandparents found themselves in when they took their family back to Colonia Juarez, Mexico, thinking they were settling in the best place possible to raise their kids. As it turned out, it was the worst place possible!!

    But at least, having moved to Old Mexico, their polygamous family was protected by tolerant Mexican marriage laws, when it came to polygamy — just not by tolerant LDS Mormon marriage laws.

    That said, being “Plygs,” my grandparents simply should not have been bringing up their children in a mainstream Mormon colony where polygamy was no longer tolerated — if they knew what was best for them! But they didn’t.



    PART 4

    My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

    LeBaron homestead.jpeg

    Mama’s home in Colonia Juraez, Chihuahua, México


    “God could not be everywhere,

    so he made mothers.”

     (old Jewish proverb)



    As I related in the previous blog, Mama’s family returned to settle in the Mormon colonies in Mexico in 1924. Mama was around two-and-a-half years old at the time my grandparents and Aunt Onie fled the United States, barely outsmarting a mainline Mormon mob, arrest, and being thrown into a Utah jail for having broken the law by entering into polygamy.

    “My family had lived in various Mormon colonies in Mexico previously,” Mama told me, “goin’ back and forth between them and the United States a number of times over the years.

    “By our return in 1924, Pa had been able to buy a large fixer-upper home in the poorest section of Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. It was one of the homes abandoned by Mormon colonists who fled back to the United States to avoid the catastrophes of the Mexican Revolutionary War of 1910.

    “Bein’ a pretty good handyman, Papa, along with the help of my three young brothers, Ben, Wesley, and Alma, and some cheap Mexican laborers, was able to soon fix the home up enough to live in.

      “We were lucky we could afford even that piece of property to house Papa’s two wives and soon-to-be ten children — for your Grandma was expectin’ her ninth child, Ervil … and Aunt Onie was pregnant too.

    “In 1929, five years after our family moved to Colonia Juarez, the United States’ Stock Market crashed. Many people lost all their money, and huge numbers of people were out of work. It was hard for Pa to find any payin’ jobs in the terrible economic depression that had set in. 

    “So our family was stuck livin’ in the Mormon colonies where we were excoriated and rejected. Every day, on the way home from school, mainstream Mormon kids would call us Mormon fundamentalist kids horrible names, throw rocks and sticks at us, and chase us home, tryin’ to beat us up.

    We didn’t understand why they would do this, because some of them, though not excommunicated from the Mormon church, were kids of polygamists, themselves! Or their grandparents had been polygamists — before The Manifesto of 1890 outlawed polygamy in the Mormon church.

    “Most adults in town just looked the other way and let it happen … Let their kids beat us up and call us horrid names. Some adults even encouraged the children to harass and molest us. 

    But, despite all this,  Mama and Papa had hoped their children would eventually be accepted back into the social setting in Colonia Juarez, thinkin’ it was still the best place to raise their kids.

    “Unfortunately, not till I was in eighth grade did the Mormon colonies let up on some of their ostracization toward the LeBaron family … Partly ’cause they’d seen what this terrible persecution had done to my older siblings.

    “But by then, my elder siblings had suffered from seven to eleven years of heavy rejection and intolerance — the treatment given the worst outcasts and scapegoats in Mormondom,” Mama moaned.

    Really sad, I say! One of those things that should never happen to any child! And unfortunately, it only added to what Mother and her siblings already had suffered growing up in their stoic, fanatically religious Mormon orthodox family — with a crackpot father at the helm, besides.

    But to top it all off, Grandpa Dayer was often absent months at a time, struggling to make a living working in the United States doing odd jobs, and painting houses — or whatever else he could do to bring in money. (As I mentioned before, Mexican law does not allow Americans to earn a wage in Mexico, even though they have children born there!)

    It was extremely hard for Grandpa Alma Dayer LeBaron to support his two huge, constantly expanding and growing young families, especially between the years of 1929 and 1946 — the years of the Great Depression in the United States and World War II.

    Needless to say, what happens in the US also affects its neighbors south of the border. And so, against this backdrop of dire economic straitjacketing, Grandpa, his two wives, and their swarm of young children and teenagers were all living under the same roof for seven years.

    I don’t know how many children the two wives ultimately had, during the seven years they lived in “the big house.” I only know that Grandmother already had eight children and another soon to be on the way when Grandfather married Onie as his plural wife in 1923.

    Among Mormon fundamentalists, the practice of birth control was a mortal sin. So altogether, Grandma bore Grandpa thirteen children, and Aunt Onie bore him six — before she left him. (More on that later.)

    I’ll leave you to a guesstimate of how many adults, children, and babies in diapers were housed altogether, under one roof, before Grandfather could finally afford to buy a separate “roof” for his second family!



    PART 5

    My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

    IMG_6326

    My beautiful mother, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer


    Juarez Stake Academy

    (Jr. High/High School of Colonia Juarez, México)



    “My mama is so good to me,

    She works for me each day,

    So She can buy me food and clothes,

    And many toys for play.

    I love my mama,

    Yes, I do, my mama good and kind;

    And if I looked and looked,

    No better mama could I find.”

    (Author unknown — Children’s song)




    As a kid, I used to ask Mama what her life was like when she was a kid. Fundamentalist Mormon “Saints” believe they are/are supposed to be perfect. So Mama mostly only told me about the many good things in her life as she was growing up. But she sometimes would admit to some bad things that happened too.

    For example: In answer to my questions about her childhood, Mama exclaimed: “I loved my life! It couldn’t have been more perfect! The persecution my older brothers ‘n’ sisters had to suffer had let up a lot by the time I was of school-age. And Pa only gave me one spankin’ in all my life — which I deserved! [She wouldn’t tell me what she did to deserve it.]

    “However, I still experienced feelings of low self-worth ‘n’ excruciating shame … which I always worked hard to try to overcome. Even though my siblings ‘n’ I were top students at Juarez Stake Academy [Her High School’s name], it still really affected my self-esteem ’cause I grew up with my family bein’ looked down upon ‘n’ not bein’ accepted.

    “The LDS Stake President ‘n’ Superintendent of our school system said my brother Ben was the brightest student ever to have gone through the Juarez Stake Academy!” [It was a very small-town High School, to be sure, in the early to mid-1900s, when Mother and her siblings attended this Mormon colony’s public schools. So not too much competition.]

    Mother often talked about “The-best this” and “The-best that!” (This is how I was raised!) The jury is still out on whether Uncle Ben still holds that title — or if he ever held it at all! But I always heard about how brilliant he was — before he had the mental breakdown and schizophrenia/bipolar disease set in.

    Mama continued: “So despite how well us LeBaron kids did in school, my parents were called ‘apostates.’ And people in the Mormon colonies were told to not associate with us, other than for doin’ business.

    “Ma ‘n’ Pa didn’t, therefore, go to church, though they believed in Mormonism. Even so, us kids went to the mainline Mormon colony’s only Church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There, we were taught the revisionist Mormon doctrines: That polygamy was now a sin, for example … ‘n’ they taught me my parents were sinners.

    “Yet, since my parents were Mormon fundamentalists, at home we were taught the orthodox Mormon doctrines — The Mormon beliefs lived before the Manifesto of 1890.

    “It was confusing to have my ma ‘n’ pa pointin’ out how the Mormon church was now out of order …  all the while at the LDS church I was goin’ to, my siblings ‘n’ I were taught our parents were out of order ‘n’ on the wrong path — ‘n’ therefore goin’ against God ‘n’ God’s leaders — so headed for hell!

    “But even though Pa had more than one wife, ‘n’ people of my same faith were makin’ fun of our family ‘n’ my father, they respected Mother’s piano teachin’ ‘n’ playin’ … And my own piano expertise, too … ’cause Ma was the best piano teacher … ‘n’ I was the best pianist in the colonies!”

    [There was at least one other outstanding pianist back then in the Mormon Colonies in Mexico: The one who taught Mother to play Piano Concertos, etc. (Ione Fenn?) — so Mother could accompany a Symphony Orchestra performing Piano Concertos. I don’t recall hearing much about this expert pianist and piano teacher … or whether she was really “the best”!]

    But let’s let Mama continue: *”So I grew up with mixed feelings: On the one hand, I knew I was the best ‘n’ most outstanding girl in town — And for that matter, in all of Mormondom.


    *”How could I be sure of this? ‘Cause whenever church Apostles ‘n’ other church leaders visited our colony, they would tell us the Mormons of Colonia Juarez were the very best ‘n’ purest of all the Mormons they met in any other Mormon town or city.

    “And I knew I was the best ‘n’ purest of all the girls ‘n’ women in Colonia Juarez. So that’s how I knew I was the best ‘n’ most perfect woman in the whole world — given that Mormon women are better, to begin with, than women of the world …

    “So, as I said before, I knew I was the best ‘n’ purest of all them Mormon women. [I will enlarge upon this in a later blog. Meanwhile, the jury is still out on it. LOL!]

    “But on the other hand, I came to feel like my family ‘n’ I were the lowest people in town — due to how so many people talked ’bout us, ‘n’ shamed ‘n’ shunned us.

    “Still, when my two older siblings, Ben ‘n’ Lucinda, went crazy, that added more ridicule, ostracization, ‘n’ shame to our family. [In those backward days, especially in small towns, the mentally ill weren’t looked upon kindly.]

    “Even so, and in spite of all our sorrows ‘n’ religious confusion, how I loved playin’ with ‘n’ doin’ things with my half-sisters, Aunt Onie’s children — Barbara, Clara, Verla, and Ilene. And how I loved bein’ the only girl in the middle of my own seven brothers: Ben, Wesley, Alma, Joel, Ervil, Floren, and Verlan. 


     Please note: When I’m quoting things Mother said, way back when, please don’t think, by any means, that I agree with all her ideas or ways of thinking.

    That’s but the way I was raised. However, it was a long time ago, and I have changed a lot since then (Let’s hope!) — not only in my values, but in my lack of prejudice, and in my education, rationality, and understanding also.

    I’m sure Mother changed some in her outlook, beliefs, and values, too, over the years. Since I left her cult and moved away, I wasn’t around her a lot in her last forty-six years.

    But the few times I had spoken to or seen her during that time of estrangement, I could only wonder how she never saw through the numerous fallacies she preached and believed in so zealously: Things such as polygamy, for example — even though she was too jealous to live polygamy, herself (according to Daddy).



    PART 6

    My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

    ma at 14

    My mama, Esther LeBaron-McDonald, at age 14



    “People are what their mothers make them.”

    Ralph Waldo Emerson



    I left off in last week’s blog where Mama had exclaimed how, despite persecution and her own religious confusion, she had wonderful times doing things with her half-sisters, Aunt Onie’s children. And had also loved being not only the middle child but the only girl in the middle of seven brothers: Ben, Wesley, and Alma were born before Mama. After her came Joel, Ervil, Floren, and Verlan.

    Mama explained to me, as I continued to question her about her life growing up:

    “Ma had four girls. But my sister Jenny died at age six from eatin’ poison mistletoe berries. I’d just turned four. After we arrived home from Jenny’s burial site, some Mormon neighbors met us with food ‘n’ flowers. I told them, ‘We left Jenny up there on the hill!!’ “

    “Ma couldn’t bear to discipline me after losin’ Jenny so I was spoiled rotten. Then I was pampered even more after Ma had twins, David ‘n’ Mary — who also died. I was eleven by then. They were the last kids she bore … but they were ‘Blue babies:’ The cord was wrapped ’round their necks, so they strangled to death. 

    “Irene, my parents’ oldest child,” continued Mama, somberly: “was nine years my senior. She grew up ‘n’ left home by the time I was ten. And Lucinda, five years my senior, had a nervous breakdown at age seventeen. She was in a mental institution, off ‘n’ on, after that — till years later she had to be institutionalized for the remainder of her life. When I asked Mama why she went crazy, she was in one of her rare moments of utter honesty as see responded to my query:

     “I was twelve when my gifted, artistic, ‘n’ highly sensitive sister Lucinda had her first mental breakdown. What broke her was hearin’ one of her Mormon teachers (who was also the Mormon Stake President of Colonia Juarez) runnin’ her father down to her High School class.

    “He didn’t know she was in the back of the room. Among other things, he told the class: ‘Lucinda’s father, Dayer LeBaron’s a crazy crackpot … a bad man … an apostate! He’s goin’ to hell … ‘n’ may even be a son of perdition.’ [The worst thing you can be in Mormondom!]

    “But what also lead to your Aunt Lucinda’s emotional breakdown,” Mama added, “was she’d gone into the bathroom medicine cabinet ‘n’ secretly taken a bunch of pills to try to start her period. The pills made her deathly sick!

    “Eventually, Ma ‘n’ Pa found she was pregnant. So Pa beat the livin’ daylights out of her. Why? Because she’d lost her virginity … and was now gunna have a bastard baby who was not only part Mexican, but its father wasn’t even Mormon! So Lucinda had brought even more shame on our despised ‘n’ denigrated family!

    “After Lucinda went crazy, Pa beat her relentlessly … tryin’ to beat the devil out of her. Evil spirits had taken her over: She’d been turned over to ‘the buffetings of Satan,’ due to her transgressions ‘n’ fornication.”

    Mama never told me the rest of the story — Just one more story that was covered up so the iconoclastic “Mexico LeBarons” would look like “A godly family with a saintly mission.”

    “Needless to say,” Mama continued, “When Lucinda went crazy, your grandma spoiled me even more. The loss of Jenny, then my oldest sister leavin’ home … ‘n’ now Lucinda goin’ out of her mind, caused Ma to treat me with kid gloves ‘n’ coddle me like a treasure beyond measure!

    “Besides, I was her only daughter left at home. Gettin’ top grades at school, along with my looks ‘n’ charms … ‘n’ playin’ difficult Piano Concertos like Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto in C Sharp Minor,” was helpin’ to make our family look better. Ma valued me for that too.

    “I was like the Savior of the family, so to speak. So, though I was the middle child, I wasn’t insignificant the way a middle child often is … especially since I was the only girl ‘mongst all them boys!”


    * Please note: When I quote/ paraphrase things Mother said, way back when, please don’t think I agree, by any means, with all her ideas or ways of thinking and doing.

    That’s the way I was raised. But that was a long time ago. Since then, I have routed out a lot of these backward beliefs, and ways of thinking, and behaving — Let’s hope! — Not only in my values but in my lack of prejudice, as well as in my rationality and understanding.

    Perhaps Mama even changed a bit, in her outlook and values, too, before she died at age ninety-two. I wasn’t around to see.



    PART 7

    My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

    ma's face

    My pretty Mama (Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer)

    “The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.”

    Harriet Ward Beecher



    We left off last week where I was questioning Mama about her childhood. Let’s continue with her telling me the following unbelievable coincidence:  

    “Because I had so much fun with my seven brothers when I was growin’ up,” she exclaimed, “I wanted to have seven boys in a row when I got married. Instead, I got seven girls in a row! [Doris, Beulah/Stephany, Sharon, Judith, Mary, Pauline, ‘n’ Nola]. That just shows ‘to-go-you’: Be careful what you wish for!”

    Then she continued, “Aunt Onie [Mama’s father’s plural wife] ‘n’ her daughters ‘n’ my two older sisters, Irene ‘n’ Lucinda, did most of the upkeep of the home ‘n’ the care of the kids, while your Grandma was busy spoilin’ me … ‘n’ teachin’ piano lessons to help your Grandpa feed ‘n’ support his two wives ‘n’ all his kids.

    “Besides teachin’ piano lessons there, in Colonia Juarez, where I was raised,” Mama continued, “Mama/ your grandma was oft’ times gone one or two days at a time, twice a week (up to five days a week sometimes!) teachin’ piano lessons in the nearby Mormon colonies. 

    “Even so, she let me out of all the housework ‘n’ other chores ‘n’ responsibilities about the home ‘n’ yard — long as I studied hard to get top grades, went to my piano lessons, ‘n’ practiced the piano long hours  — so I could perform outstanding piano solos in public, to impress our Mormon oppressors, ‘n’ make our family look better in the eyes of the town’s people who always gossiped about us ‘n’ put us down.

    “Consequently, “Mama laughed, “much to your Pa’s aggravation ‘n’ disappointment, once he married me, he discovered I didn’t know how to be a homemaker!

     All I knew how to do was be a pianist ‘n’ scholar … and artist, ‘n’ poet, ‘n ‘writer. At twenty-two, when I married your Pa, I could barely make a bed, let alone bake bread!

    “When your Pa complained to your grandma that I didn’t know how to boil water, let alone bake beans, she merely retorted, ‘Ah, well … She’s got plenty of years ahead to learn them things!’ “

    But the upside is Mama was the top student in her small, mostly Mormon 8th-grade graduating class. Thus she got to give the Valedictory Address! 

    “And, as part of our graduating program, I also played a difficult piano solo, “The Fawns,” Mama proudly informed me. “Plus I harmonized in a duet I sang with another student  — while my mama accompanied us on the piano … I was only thirteen years old!

    But my gettin’ so many important parts in our graduation program, ‘n’ outdoin’ all the other Mormon kids that were supposed to be so much better than me and my polygamist family, created envy ‘n’ aggravation amongst the Mormon colonists who’d been so busy runnin’ us LeBarons down all them years.

    “But at least they saw Dayer’s family had excelled in spite of bein’ made the scapegoats of the town … ‘n’ treated so low down … like untouchables … though my older siblings (Irene, Ben, Lucinda, Wesley, ‘n’ Alma) got it lots worse than I did,” she ruefully reiterated.

    “By the time I reached my teens (as I told you before, I was the seventh child) the Mormons had decided to start treatin’ ‘apostate’ Dayer LeBaron’s family better.

    “They finally begun lettin’ us participate in their Mormon Social’s, for example —  especially after they saw what the persecution had done to my older siblings: 

    “For example, Ben ‘n’ Lucinda had nervous breakdowns in their late teens. Then eventually went completely crazy … never to recover! Spent most of their life in a mental institution,” she said, tearfully wiping her eyes.

    Then Mama continued, “Since it was a Mormon colony, all the school ‘n’ church socials were always combined. That meant we were always left out of everything — especially my first six older siblings!! It was devastatin’ … so hard on my talented ‘n’ gifted older brothers ‘n’ sisters … So very painful for them ‘n’ my whole family!!”



    PART 8

    My Mama: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer–

    And the Perils of Polygamy 

    IMG_6337

    Grandpa LeBaron’s second wife, Aunt Onie, and their six children



    “It is not our exalted feelings,

    it is our sentiments that build

    the necessary home.”

    Elizabeth Bowen



    We left off where I was querying Mama about her past, present, parents … and the perils of polygamy:

    “Sadly,” Mama told me, “Pa ‘n’ Ma failed miserably in their all-out efforts to follow Joseph Smith’s commandment to live polygamy or be damned to hell. Aunt Onie* ultimately left Papa, taking with her, her six children she’d borne him.

    Actually, what happened is, while Grandpa Dayer was away on one of his long trips painting houses in the United States, Aunt Onie fell for and had an affair with a handsome and charming young Mexican man. When she became pregnant with his child, her affair was discovered. So Grandpa “put her aside.

    But, personally, I don’t blame Aunt Onie for being attracted to another man: She was around thirty years old. Her fifty-year-old husband was gone much of the time. And when home, Onie had to share him with Grandmother Maud (thirteen years Onie’s senior), and a household full of children and chores … plus all the jobs her husband had to do around home, yard, and town.

    But even if none of that mattered, it’s hard to resist temptation when you’re young, attractive, lonely, lovelorn, forlorn … and your husband is generally off sowin’ his wild “corn”/oats. And what’s worse, when he is home, sex is only for having children:

    [Grandpa Believed and held to the “law of purity,” the Mormon fundamentalist doctrine that once the wife  was pregnant (and also while she was nursing) the husband was to leave her alone and have no sex with her!]

    But note the oxymoron: Aunt Onie’s husband could have a plural wife, but God forbid Aunt Onie had a plural husband — though if anyone ever needed a plural husband, it was she!

    Aunt Onie finally solved her love-n-loneliness dilemmas by leaving Grandfather Dayer and polygamy altogether. She simply went to visit her family of origin in Hurricane, Utah, settled near them — and never returned.

    Poor, grief-stricken, and emotionally abandoned Aunt Onie was shunned till she was forced, though totally heart-broken about it, to adopt out her beautiful illegitimate brown baby: Adultery and bearing a baby out of wedlock — especially a half-breed  — was simply unacceptable among 1930’s Mormons!

    But Aunt Onie lived near and visited regularly her darling “bastard baby,” as they were called back then. How do I know all this? Because Mama told me. And because, between the years of 1955 and 1960, my family lived near Aunt Onie in Hurricane, Utah.

    One day Aunt Onie actually came to my school and gave a speech to our Jr. High/High School student body, as part of a Community Outreach Program. The theme of her speech centered on how she, as a young adult, had made some egregious errors she hoped we would not fall into, ourselves.

    Among the many things she told us was: “I ignored my parents’ ‘n’ the church’s advice, ‘n’ married into polygamy. My rebellion ‘n’ goin’ against the leaders of the church led me into a life of sin, misery, ‘n’ shame.

    “After unbearable sufferin’ ‘n loneliness — which sin always leads to — I eventually saw the error of my ways, repented of my sins, ‘n’ returned to the LDS Church. Then I got rebaptized for the remission of my sins.”

    Tears were rolling down her cheeks as she related her painful misgivings, mistakes, and miserable story. What an amazingly strong woman she was to open up and share, honestly, her experiences and lessons with us young people. I was and still am impressed with her show of humility and integrity. Aunt Onie was a wonderful example to us students, that day … and a wonderful public speaker!

    Now let’s get back to where Mama was telling me about when she and her siblings lost Aunt Onie and their half-siblings who had been so much a part of their life for around fourteen years — including the two years or so when Onie babysat them and helped care for them before she married Grandpa Dayer as his plural wife:

    “Words cannot express the sorrow I felt … our whole family felt,” reminisced Mama –– “upon losing Aunt Onie ‘n’ our playmates — our six half-brothers ‘n’ sisters we’d grown up with.

    “We’d shared the same house with them for seven years. And Aunt Onie had taken care of us like a second mother, while Mama was often gone — busy teachin’ piano lessons to help support the family.” 

    Mother and her siblings never got over having lost their “other mother,” and six half-siblings. But during the years my family lived in Hurricane, Utah, Mama and Aunt Onie visited regularly. This helped Ma not miss so much her mother and family in Mexico.


    *Note: They called Grandpa’s plural/second wife, “Aunt,” as a show of affection and kinship. Though in some polygamous families, the plural wife might have been called “Mama Onie,” or other such.



    PART 9

    My Mama: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer–

    And the Perils of Polygamy

    ma in pink skirt, 1

    My mama, Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer


    “The mother-child relationship is paradoxical,

    and in a sense, tragic.

    It requires the most intense love

    on the mother’s side,

    yet this very love must help the child

    grow away from the mother,

    and to become fully independent.”

    Erich Fromm



    Mother never told me much about how she was affected growing up in the polygamous love-triangle that existed between her parents and her father’s plural wife, Onie.

    She was two years old when her parents, who had already been married fourteen years, brought naïve and the trusting, pretty,  sexy, eighteen-year-old Onie (thirteen years younger than Mama’s mother, and around twenty years younger than her father) into their already well-established family.

    Then they lived in the same house altogether (happily ever after?) the first seven years after her pa took his beloved, gorgeous, nubile Onie as a plural wife! Having, myself, been given away, at age sixteen, as a child bride in a prearranged polygamous marriage to a man ten years my senior, his first wife fifteen years my senior … and so on … I have a very good idea what bedlam innocent Onie found herself in!

    No fairy tales or beans about it: You can imagine there were plenty of troubles and extenuating circumstances that reigned in Mama’s immediate polygamous family-of-origin — a salt-of-the-earth family of scrabble farmers, house-painting handymen — and a piano-teaching Mommie (who was pregnant and bearing babies, besides, a good part of the time she was off teaching piano lessons).

    Especially must this polygamous arrangement have been difficult, given the triangulated (strangulated?) love affair of three adults all housed together under one crowded roof … a roof falling in on them … figuratively speaking, if not literally.

    Add to this hillbilly, barbarous, and backward combination the herd of babies, adolescents, and cantankerous teenagers — And one “priesthood-holding patriarch” — who reigned religiously, ruling the roost with a Mormon fundamentalist’s fanatic, foot-washing, and zealous iron hand:

    In orthodox Mormonism, the man has the first, last, and every word in between. So you can imagine, then, there was probably turmoil the likes of which you don’t want to imagine! (I’m just imagining!)

    I’m certain it was especially burdensome and difficult when, periodically, Mother’s father, Dayer, returned home after working in the United States for months on end. His frequent absenteeisms naturally heightened pressures between the two lonely,  overworked housewives who had to share him. But it also made it difficult for Grandpa Dayer to discipline his children who regarded their father as somewhat a stranger and only a visitor.

    Add to this hot-to-trot pot the deprivation and strain dire poverty presents in the lives of polygamous households and their large, deprived families of children — usually born within a year or two of each other. In such a situation, you have a volcanic and miserable stew abrew, whose loose lid could blow off at any moment. And sometimes it did.

    So it had to be a pressure relief — and a welcome relief –– for Grandpa to be gone. At least, he wasn’t torn between trying to spread himself around amongst two wives and his umpteen children — each vying for a part of this X factor’s energies, time, help, money, and affection. (“Everything you own owns a part of you!”)

    In the polygamy brew, let’s not overlook, too, polygamist husbands are free to court and hang out with more than a few “Broads” — while away from their lonely wives … And one reason men seek sex is to relieve pressure.

    This philandering lifestyle is participated in by polygamist men with gusto and a narcissistic sense of entitlement — all the while their abandoned, put-upon, loving wives are home alone struggling to keep a meal on the table and clothes on the kids!

    Not only that: Polygamous wives are left to be mother and father of their womanizing husband’s broods of babies — children basically abandoned by their father and left to the equally abandoned wives to singlehandedly, dedicatedly, and religiously raise … And most likely in deprivation and poverty! It’s truly slave labor — even if a labor of love. And all in the name of religion (or slavery?)!



    PART 10

    My Mama: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —

    And the Perils of Polygamy

    ma sitting, 2 1

    Mama, Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer, & grandchild


     One-of-a-kind: M-O-M

    Out of all the Mothers in the world,

    you’re one-of-a-kind; 

    So thanks, Mom!

    No better mama could I find!

    Rebecca Germany

    and Stephany Spencer


    Continuing where I left off in the previous blog discussing “The Perils of Polygamy,” let’s add to this perilous Mormon-fundamentalist doctrine discussion one of its greatest oxymorons:

    Child brides and young women are thrown into idealistic polygamous relationships without the least training or preparation for such difficult liaisons! This is one of the worst ingredients in this stressful and volatile plural-marriage-mess-up.

     And once thrown to the pernicious “polygamy wolves,” it’s “Stink, sink, or swim:” They’re eaten alive, then expected to automatically know how to spit up and live polygamy like a saint … though it’s an altogether unfair and unnatural way to live.

    Now add to this pernicious, perilous, presumptuous, and preposterous plural-marriage pot the ever-abiding and overriding following foul-smelling, fallacious, and insidious ingredient: These unfortunate “plygs” believe they are Saints –– but they’re not. Now stir!

    A mature couple in a monogamous marriage generally has enough trouble making a go of it. When you throw into a nubile polygamous marriage all the ingredients included in the plural-marriage kit (a kit filled with kinks and sticks that wedge themselves into the spokes of the vehicle’s fine tuning) it’s a wonder the volatile wheel can turn at all!

    And a wonder the fire of love isn’t put out altogether. Sometimes it is. But often times there was no love, to begin with — just an arranged marriage participated in out of obligation and belief that that’s what God wants.

    Add to this boiling brew that Mormon fundamentalists consider themselves “God’s chosen handful.” So they take for granted they should automatically know how to cook it all up — the polygamous soup recipe, that is — perfectly — even though they got no training in the matter of how to cook it — and ain’t no saints!

    Now add to this stew that there are no manuals — no recipes written on the subject of how to live the dastardly, difficult life of polygamy — let alone a Dr. Phil to contact for counseling and guidance — no matter how badly a wife, husband, child, and family needs help and advice.

    The end result? You have a cesspool of living hell — not harmony. People have to shut off their emotions to survive! To be sure, it’s a life only true Saints could endure or traverse. Yet, fools wade in where angels fear to tread. I know! I’ve been there, done that … and never want to do it again!

    So, I feel for my zealous grandmother, grandfather, and his plural wife, Aunt Onie (discussed in previous blogs). They tried so hard to live their Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment: “Live polygamy or be damned to hell.

    Hell?! They were already in hell! They just didn’t know it! Or couldn’t admit it … because it ran against the grain of their religion to think, let alone dare believe such stuff.

    Poor miserable Mama! But as in all things in this world, amidst the bad, there’s always some good. And she attests that her childhood “had many wonderful times.” Nonetheless, she grew up in the polygamists’ barbarous, backward lifestyle laden with deprivation and unnecessary dilemmas.

    Monogamous mothers and fathers don’t have enough time, money, and attention to give to their children when they have from five to twenty-five babies — or more! — all born within a year or two of each other — as in the case of Mormon fundamentalist families.

    So you know the polygamist father of a huge herd of kids ain’t got the wherewithal to give to his flock — including all his wives. Therefore, Mama and her nineteen siblings and half-siblings, plus her mother, father, and his plural wife suffered a lot of needless hell … and they didn’t have to wait “till death do us part.”

    Only it’s considered blasphemous, among Mormon fundamentalists, to think this way. They generally wouldn’t dream of thinking the way I now think — though, let me tell you, it’s far from the way I was brought up to think!

    Mormon fundamentalists believe they are doing a glorious and blessed thing when they bring all the children they possibly can into “good Mormon fundamentalist families — and harems.” (I mean, it’s literally quantity, not quality!)

    After they’ve produced all the kids and wives they possibly can, they all then swim in their surreal soup, surviving only by living in a dream world where they’re cut off from their real feelings and individuality.

    This surreal, sanctimonious soup they manage to sip only by keeping a smile on their face, a prayer in their heart … and a tale in their head that they’re “very, very happy, mightily blessed ... and better/ better off than everyone else.”

    It’s a rather ridiculous but rewarding tale; one that assures them they’re going to the highest degree of glory, once they die (the women on their husband’s shirt tails, no less!) … because they lived polygamy and also had all the kids they possibly could.” (All that matters to most Mormon fundamentalists is how many wives and children they have!)

    They’re so misled … and reason even less. The truth is pretty much the opposite of what they believe. But they’re taught to follow their patriarchal leaders … not to use their head or heart.

    They’re commonly told: “When your leader speaks, your thinking has been done.” And they’re admonished to sacrifice in this life … and live for the hereafter. (Life’s too miserable to live for the here-‘n’-now!)

    Living in this illusion — this delusion — they have no idea what real attention and love is.  Nor are they prepared to do as well nor have as good a life as they might have had were they raised normally; i.e., if they were raised to fit into our modern world … not a fastidious foot-washing fantasy.

    Sadly, in their religious fanaticism, they pass their masochistic, ignorant, depraved and deprived lifestyle on, generation after generation — a secluded, backward, and lawless lifestyle that perpetrates and perpetuates polygamy and huge progenies of neglected and abused children.

    What’s worse, in the name of religious freedom, these children born in the United States to one man and his multiple wives are children born without the protection and rights the rest of America’s children are born with. (That’s another story, but I’ve discussed it, somewhat, in earlier blogs.)

    Suffice it to say, “Plural marriage” is nothing but an illegal, insensitive, narcissistic, and irresponsible lifestyle generated by Joe Smith, an uneducated, sense-of-entitlement, self-proclaimed prophet … a “prophet” there for the “profit,” power, and prestige!



    PART 11

    My Memoir:

    My Mama: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer: Ma Meets Pa …


    Or Was It the Other Way Around? 

    dad, 18 5

    My daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer, around 1917



    History will be kind to me for


    I intend to write it.

    Winston Spencer Churchill



    “It was love at first sight!” exclaimed Mama. ” On October 13, 1943, while I was visiting my brother Alma’s friend, in walked a tall, dark, and handsome stranger [Floyd Otto Spencer]. I knew, the moment I laid eyes on him, he was the man for me!

     I was about twenty-three, then, in my second year at Tempe State University — And quite sure I didn’t want to live polygamy! But all that changed after I saw yer pa because I knew, the minute our eyes met, he was the man I was supposed to marry!” [NOTE: See “Spencer Family Album and Scrapbook,” compiled by my sister Nola.]

    “So the following day, while your Pa was up on the roof in sunny Mesa, Arizona, helpin’ my brother Alma re-roof my brother Ben’s house, I took advantage of the chance to be up there on the roof, too, so I could get to know ‘the tall, dark, and handsome stranger.’ ” 

    It didn’t matter that my future Daddy was twenty-six years her senior, already married to a beautiful woman, Eva Bowman, and together those two had ten gorgeous children — and another on the way. None of that mattered because Mama was a Mormon fundamentalist.

    What did matter in Mormon fundamentalist eyes is Ma was “an old maid” at the time she met future Pa. Now, how had she, an attractive, gifted, and accomplished young woman, existed so long under the radar without being  “married up”?  For “Plygs” are generally married off as children — because, to them, marriage and having all the kids one can have is what Life is all about; i.e., All that matters to Mormon fundamentalists, in general, is having all the kids and wives they can have — so as to bring all the little spirits they possibly can into good Mormon fundamentalist homes.

    These homes are the best homes in the world, they believe. They simply sacrifice their ALL to serve God by bringing as many as they can of these little foreordained spirits down into “good Mormon homes;” i.e., homes that live the “fullness of the gospel,” as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught it — Homes where not one jot nor one tittle of these early prophets’ words and teachings have been changed! (Is that obsessive-compulsive or what?! Well, they don’t think so.)

    But getting back to where I got sidetracked, I’ll tell you what Mother was doing still single at twenty-two: This “catch” was “a Mexico LeBaron.” Now if you’re a Mormon fundamentalist, you know what that means: There was mental illness in Ma’s Family; i.e., “The Mexico-LeBaron Family.”

    Let me give you some backstory — if I have the story right. (LeBaron stories are/ were wont to change from time to time): Ma’s big brother, my Uncle Ben, was not only bipolar/schizophrenic, but had recently let the various Mormon fundamentalist groups know they were to follow him as their “Priesthood Head,” because he was the “One Mighty ‘n’ Strong.” Uncle Ben further quipped: “I get revelations from God regularly … Thus sayeth the Lord! “

    He claimed his father had given him a special priesthood mantle — the “Scepter of Power,” or “The Right of the Firstborn.” (My maternal grandfather, Dayer LeBaron, taught his family this mantle of priesthood power was given to him, Dayer, by his grandfather, Benjamin F. Johnson — who got it from the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith. Crazy? And how!)

    In today’s blog, it’s not my intent to go into Mormon fundamentalist and LeBaron doctrines, other than to say all this above crazy business meant Uncle Ben claimed to hold the priesthood keys to the kingdom of God on earth. So he was, therefore, “The one Mighty ‘n’ strong, come in the last days to set the house of God in order” — as prophesied in Mormon scriptures.

    The Mormon fundamentalists believe “The house of God” (i.e., the mainstream Mormon church) had gotten out of order and lost the keys to the priesthood and, thus, favor with God when they signed away plural marriage in the Manifesto of 1890. (For polygamy was the highest commandment their Prophet Joseph Smith had given them.)

    Trust me, that’s all we have time to tell about these fundamentalist doctrines and beliefs, at the moment. We’ve already gotten far off the subject of “Ma Meets Pa.” But at least now you know why Ma did not feel she was a home-breaker … Instead, believed she was a “home-maker.”



    PART 12

    My parents: Esther LeBaron-McDonald & Floyd Otto Spencer

    Home Sweet Home

    Chorus:

    Home! Home!

    Sweet, sweet home!

    There’s no place like home —

    There’s no place like home

    Verses:

    ‘Mid pleasures and palaces,

    Though I may roam,

    Be it ever so humble,

    There’s no place like home.

    A charm from the sky

    Seems to hallow us there,

    Which seek thro’ the world,

    Is ne’er met with elsewhere

    To thee, I’ll return,

    Overburdened with care;

    The heart’s dearest solace

    Will smile on me there

    No more from that cottage

    Again I will roam;

    Be it ever so humble,

    There’s no place like home.

    NOTE: “Home Sweet Home” was one of Daddy’s favorite songs. (When I was ten years old, he taught me to play it on the harmonica).

    This classic folksong and hymn was written by American lyricist John Howard Payne and English composer Sir Henry Bishop for an opera that was first produced in London in 1823. The song became hugely popular throughout the United States, and was a favorite of both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.)




    Let’s continue where we left off in Part 11 of “My Mama,” where she was saying: “I didn’t feel I was a home-breaker … The thought never entered my mind. I believed I was a ‘home-maker’ because I brought your Pa into ‘the glorious Principle of Plural Marriage.’

    “I knew his living this holy principle, as laid down by Joseph Smith, would ensure he would not only have a chance to obtain a home in heaven with God — but he’d also be able to become a God, himself, in the hereafter … and create worlds of his own … and, thus, many homes throughout eternity. Therefore, I was not a ‘homebreaker’ … I was a ‘home-maker.’ ”

    So here we have fervent Mormon fundamentalist homewrecker, lovestruck Ma, instead of perched upon a chair doing her college homework, perched upon the housetop doing “homemaker homework” …  flirting in a “pretty-please” position irresistible to future Pa — the guy Mama’s ma said, “had one-foot-in-the-grave.” (He was forty-eight years old — twenty-six years older than Mama.)

      Now, while beautiful future Mother was ardently gazing into gorgeous future Father’s eyes, Mother’s brothers were arduously and assiduously helping lay new shingles as fastidiously as they were waxing unwise in converting future brother-in-law to polygamy, Mormon orthodoxy … and all its lies!

    The re-roofing while preaching gave gorgeous Ma multiple moments to be with handsome Pa … Moments in which they got to know each other — up on the rooftop in sunny Arizona.

    All during this time, Uncle Ben wasted no time showing my future father, mainstream Mormon Floyd Spencer, scriptures that would convince him the Mormon church was out of order.

    However, he was unable to convince future Father that he, Benjamin Teasdale LeBaron, was the one mighty ’n’ strong — come to set the the Mormon church/ the house of God back in order — despite Uncle Ben’s constantly hearing voices from within while relating to future Father his “Thus sayeth the Lord!” revelations. “The word of God” came to my schizophrenic uncle on a regular basis (as usual) … And on a stepped-up basis while working with and trying to convert future Father to his, Uncle Ben’s, new church.



    PART 13

     Floyd Otto Spencer and Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, my parents — perhaps around the time they were married in 1944


    “Home is the place where,

    when you have to go there,

    they have to take you in.”

    Robert Frost



    We left off where Uncle Ben wasn’t able to convince my future Pa, Floyd Spencer, that he, Benjamin Teasdale LeBaron, was The One Mighty ‘n’ Strong come to set the house of God in order. However, Uncle Ben had convinced Floyd Spencer the only way he could be saved was to enter into Plural Marriage; i.e., polygamy/ polygyny/ bigamy.

    In fact, betwixt Ma and her brother Ben, my handsome mainstream Mormon pa, Floyd Spencer, was quickly converted to “Plural Marriage” and “the fullness of the gospel;” i.e., Mormon fundamentalist gospel.

    It wasn’t hard: My young sexy “future Ma” was regularly looking, with eyes aglow, into the eyes of my middle-aged “future Pa” — and the countenance of the man she “knew” she was to marry — And “Pa” had a reputation for being a womanizer — said a half-brother of mine I met years ago — one of Daddy’s sons by his first wife.

    But what finally cinched Floyd’s conversion to polygamy was Uncle Ben’s reading him the 132nd sec. of The Doctrine and Covenants — the Mormon scriptural revelation wherein J. Smith commands his followers to live Plural Marriage or be damned to hell.

    After future Pa’s conversion to Mormon fundamentalism, it wasn’t long thereafter before he and future Ma were lovers. Having first met on October 13, 1943, in cold January—three months later—the two were snuggled up in the bed of future Pa’s pick-up truck with Uncle Ben — or Uncle Alma? — in the cab at the wheel hitting the unpaved 1944 rocky rutted road at top speed while the vehicle bounced ‘n bumped up-‘n-down (‘n humped ‘n’ pumped?) as they sped along towards the Mormon town, Colonia Juarez, Mexico — so Pa could get permission from Ma’s pa to marry Ma — while they were still hopefully chaste?! Hmmm! (I would’ve loved to have gone along for the ride!)*

    But Daddy didn’t get much permission from his legal wife Eva to take a ride — let alone a second wife. She could “take a hike,” as far as he was concerned because Joseph Smith’s commandment to “live polygamy or be damned” came ahead of everything else — and he’d be damned if he’d be damned!

    So Eva, his wife of 23 years and mother of their 10 children — and one on the way — agreed to go along with Joseph Smith’s teachings that required a man live polygamy. I’m getting ahead of the story a little, now, when I tell you that after six-suffering months with her handsome, hardworking husband, she couldn’t take plural marriage anymore.

    Feeling betrayed, and unable to bear any longer the heartbreak, jealousy, and loneliness brought on by her husband bedding and abetting his nubile twenty-two-year-old polygamist bride, on October 31, 1944, Eva divorced him on the basis of Adultery, Assault and Battery, Abandonment, Emotional Abuse, and Incompatibility.

    While at it, she obtained a Restraining Order … barring him from their younger kids still at home with her. (Tears!) So Daddy never saw his youngest children again till they were in their mid to late teens. I was fourteen at the time and present when he met his two youngest, Jimmy and Vonda, for the first time since they were babies.

    Daddy had to pull a lot of strings behind Eva’s back to get to see them. But he felt lucky they got to meet at all! These two children who did not know him had been so turned against him, it wasn’t a warm welcome, only a short reunion … but better than none.

    *[NOTE: On January 15, 1944, in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, my mother was married to my father as a plural wife. A month later, on February 19, 1944 they went to Salt Lake City to be sealed by Joseph White Musser. Neither of these marriages were legal: Daddy was still married to his first wife Eva. But on June 22, 1945, they were legally married in Mexico because by then Daddy’s first wife had divorced him. (See “Spencer Family Album and Scrapbook” compiled by my sister Nola.)


    PART 14

    dad-collage

    A collage of Daddy’s two families, et Al



    “That which does not kill you
    will strengthen you.”
    Nietzsche

    ””’

    Let’s go back to Part 13 where my “future ma and pa” lay or sat on a makeshift bed of blankets in the back of “future Papa’s” pickup. The blankets padded their backs and butts as they bounced and bumped along in a rough and rickety ride over 1944s rutted roads in their 1930s vehicle that soon left Mesa, Arizona far behind as they bounded for the Mexican border making lickety-split time!

    Like bandits, they had to get out of Dodge to dodge the law that would like to put Pain jail for practicing polygamy. My young uncles Ben and Alma participated in the excitement and the anticipation as they sat in the truck’s cab taking turns at the wheel while conversing excitedly about their soon-to-be brother-in-law’s recent conversion to Plural Marriage and “the fullness of the gospel;” i.e., Mormon fundamentalism.

    They were proud of themselves and their ability to preach the gospel — their ability to be good missionaries. Felt they had done “a good day’s work” by bringing another soul into “The Work” — That is, “The work of God, in God’s only true Church upon the face of the earth.”

    This “accomplishment” heightened their sense of self-esteem and self-worth — puffed them up a bit as they continued making a beeline for their hometown, the Mexican Mormon colony, Colonia Juarez … so their sister, Esther, could get their papa’s permission to wed — ASAP!

    To make a longer story shorter, my parents Esther and Floyd easily obtained permission from Mother’s father to marry — though her parents weren’t particularly happy she was marrying a man over twice her age who already had “one foot in the grave,” as my maternal grandma liked to say.

    Nevertheless, “future Mama’s” Mormon fundamentalist parents were relieved their middle child and youngest living daughter Esther LeBaron-McDonald had finally “come to her senses” … had, in the end, chosen to marry into polygamy.

    I confess, they had been very worried about her salvation and her entering the highest degree of glory, once in heaven, because, for some years there, Esther had professed (to their dismay) not to believe in nor want to live plural marriage:

    “Part of what changed my mind ‘n’ convinced me to accept ‘the holy and righteous Principle of Plural Marriage,’ Mama said, “is I had a marvelously inspired revelation — a dream that showed me plural marriage was right. It even outlined exactly how it should be lived … And how glorious it could be … if participated in correctly.”

     Daddy, likewise, believed he had done the right thing to take a plural wife. But sometimes I wonder if he wondered if he’d chosen wrongly. For, not long after he’d married Mom to his dismay, his hair suddenly turned from Salt-and-Pepper gray to pure white … And thinned … as he turned “blue” and thinner under the unexpected stresses, losses, devastation, and sorrows that followed his new Mormon fundamentalist faith and lifestyle.

    Especially devastating to him was losing his eleven childrennot to mention his beloved wife Eva. Then, for all his sacrifices and attempts to live “The Holy Principle of Matrimony/Plural Marriage,” he was soon, again, a monogamist, anyway!! And remained that way till the day he died — was never able to take on another plural wife, so as to live “The fullness of the gospel.”

    My ma was too jealous to let him take another wife — never mind that she, herself, took Pa from Eva! That’s what polygamists do, you know. It doesn’t enter their mind that they are taking somebody else’s husband or spouse. They are too busy believing they’re only serving God and abiding by Joseph Smith’s Commandments to live polygamy or go to hell.)

    Ah, what travesties and travails life doth present us … And how much of our pain and sorrow do we bringeth upon ourselves because, though we may think we are doing what is right, we are, in reality, holding our fingers on a hot stove; i.e., We’re doing what is wrong. Pain is our warning that we’re doing something not good for us.

    However, not realizing this, Daddy concluded: “I couldn’t allow Eva to wear the pants in the family, pussy whip me, and carry me down to hell with her ‘cause she wouldn’t abide by the higher laws of God.

    She was too weak to follow me, her husband and priesthood head — too rebellious to live the fullness of the gospel. So, instead of doing what was right, by following God’s command to live plural marriage, she chose to do wrong — to get revenge … causing me no end of trouble with the law and the Mormon church. Even kept me from ever seeing my kids!!!*

    “Nonetheless, I had to put God’s Commandments first … That is, to give my life for God and the truth. I knew I could not let her stop me from doing what I believed was right; I had to  continue to follow the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live ‘The Holy Principle of Plural Marriage’ … or die trying … or I’d be damned.” (And he’d be damned if he’d be damned!)


    * Bear in mind that I’m trying to present Daddy’s point of view. To be sure, it didn’t include such things as his violence – his physical and mental abuse towards Eva and her kids. I suspect this was sufficient reason to provoke betrayed Eva to obtain a Restraining Order against him to keep him away from her and her kids … and off her property.

    He was of the old-country thinking: Thought it his position and right, as man of the house, to beat his wife and children into submission; that is, control them by “whipping them into shape.” Mama was of this mindset, also! (She bent to her husband’s/ her priesthood head’s will, as good Mormon fundamentalist wives do … “so she wouldn’t deserve his wrath.”)

    And, of course, when it comes to his first wife Eva, Daddy didn’t admit to his betrayal of her, nor the hurt he caused her and her/his family when he took on another wife and family.

    Unfortunately, Mormon fundamentalists follow their early founders to the hilt (when it comes to some things) – leaders who told them living plural marriage was God’s highest and most holy law. Being stoics, they believed they had to put aside their own feelings and needs … as well as the feelings and needs of all others … in order to live polygamy! Ridiculous? And how! But that’s how they believed.



    PART 15

    Dad 51+

    My daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer

    “Home isn’t home anymore.”

    (from Olivia Newton John’s song)



    Let’s go back to last week’s blog where Daddy said:

    “I couldn’t allow Eva to wear the pants in the family, pussy-whip me, and carry me down to hell with her ‘cause she wouldn’t abide by the higher laws of God and Joseph Smith. Instead, she was rebellious … not spiritual enough to follow her priesthood head, do what was the right, and live the fullness of the gospel.

    “She turned my kids against me, besides! Even took out a Restraining Order to keep me from seeing them ever again.* So I had to divest myself of her in order to follow the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live ‘The Principle of Plural Marriage’ or be damned. 

    “Before I married yer ma, Eva had agreed to go along with my takin’ a plural wife. But she soon changed her mind, betrayed me … and went to the law to get me in trouble.

    “Because of her treachery, I had to sell out and flee the country. And set up a totally new homestead in Old Mexico — though I knew no Spanish! And, as an American, wasn’t allowed to get a job and make a living there, either!

    “Eva even had the Mormon church cut me off as an apostate! That was vengeful and traitorous! She couldn’t wait to get me into all kinds of legal fixes and ruin my estate. Due to her actions, I lost a lot of money because I had to sell, in too big a hurry, my home and almost everything I owned, so as to go into hiding in Old Mexico.

    “To put it succinctly, she was a revengeful ingrate. Her treachery and rebellion knew no bounds. It was unforgivable … for she had been, so many years, my wonderful wife and helpmate — only to  turn against me and do me in!” Under these conditions, Daddy chose to stay with his new, twenty-six years-younger new wife, Mama/ Esther LeBaron de McDonald.

    Mama said, “After he married me, he had far fewer migraines than he’d had livin’ with Eva. She was a perfectionist, an immaculate housekeeper, and always pressured him too much. Yer pa could never please her. Her continuous and unending high demands on him to make more money so they could, among other things, live in a better class and lifestyle, stressed him out.”

    Well, he got quite the opposite with Mama! She was of a creative and artistic nature, a lay-back, and easy-going person — never much concerned about what others thought of her housekeeping. She lived in a dream world — believed she was high class and the greatest woman in the world … among other things … and above cleaning house and other such menial chores.

    He must have missed Eva’s, “A place for everything and everything in its place,” for, in that way, Daddy was like Eva: He kept his shop organized and immaculate. Born with the gene one must inherit to be able to organize things, each one of Daddy’s tools hung proudly and neatly on the wall in its own place when he wasn’t using it.

    Not only that, his artistic placement of them formed a beautiful design that was relaxing to the eye and a pleasure to behold. It was such a change from Mama’s disorganized, dirty home — which got increasingly worse over the years as she became more and more inundated and overwhelmed with the responsibility of too many children and all else that goes into managing a well-run and efficiently maintained household.

    But to add to her distress and tiring, unending chores, true to stoic Mormon fundamentalist ways, she was in a constant cycle of being either pregnant, nursing, or becoming pregnant again. And to be sure, women’s work never ends! And Daddy never helped out in the house. That was “women’s work,” he said!

    And no matter how Mother’s state of health and energies declined, she and Daddy believed it their loyal duty to put childbearing and their own comforts secondary to bringing another little fore-ordained special spirit into their “righteous Mormon home.” She and Daddy would give their life for any one of their yet unborn babies. And Mama loved to tell people her dream was to have twenty-six kids or die trying! Instead, Daddy died first.

    But Mother remained ever an artist, as long as she lived … never an efficient homemaker. She should’ve had servants, but, of course, we could not afford them. Though, after moving to Mexico, where labor was cheap, she would hire a cleaning lady, when the place got too dirty and the dishes piled too high — and she couldn’t get one of her kids to do the cleaning — because they had all grown up and flown the coop, or other such.

    As for Daddy’s migraines, they generally let up, anyway, as people age. However, I’ve always wondered why Mother’s generally messy home didn’t give him a full-blown migraine every time he walked in the door. Well, actually, Mother would hustle us all into the house to quickly clean up messes, as much as possible, before Daddy got home from work. And that helped keep him from flying into a rage because the place was a mess and his meal was not on the table when he got home after a hard day’s labor in the fields or in construction work, or whatever he was working at.

    But what most helped keep peace in the home was Daddy knew Mama was very much in love with him and was so proud of him and all his accomplishments, talents, and abilities. He could not have been more appreciated and valued. And, since Mama believed she was the greatest woman on earth, it went without saying she believed she was married to the greatest man on earth — next to the Prophet! Daddy liked that feeling of importance and being cared for and honored.

    On top of that, Mama felt rich due to how well Daddy/ Floyd O. Spencer supported her and her family. But “Rich” is relative. I guess she was rich, in comparison to the dire poverty she and her indigent family of Scrabble farmers grew up in, in Old Mexico — Not to mention, the pitiful want and starvation she saw all around her among many of the Mexican peoples! So I’d like to say Ma and Pa lived happily ever after … but did they?


    • Again, bear in mind I’m trying to present Daddy’s point of view. To be sure, that point of view didn’t include such things as his violence – his physical and mental abuse towards Eva and his/ her kids.

    As I said in the previous blog, being of the old school, Daddy believed he had a right to administer physical abuse when his wife or kids were in rebellion. But I suspect this was sufficient reason to provoke betrayed Eva to obtain a Restraining Order against him to keep him away from her and her kids … and off her property.

    And, of course, when it comes to his first wife, Eva, Daddy didn’t acknowledge his betrayal of her, nor the hurt he caused her and her family when he took on another wife and family. Why? Because Mormon fundamentalists believe fulfilling Joseph Smith’s Commandment to “live polygamy or go to hell” comes ahead of everything else!



    PART 16

    family, color.jpeg

    Esther LeBaron-McDonald & Floyd Otto Spencer & family in 1958


    “Men never do evil so completely

    and cheerfully as when they do it

    from religious conviction.”

    Blaise Pascal


    Picking up where we left off last week, I find it reprehensible that Mormon fundamentalist dogma encourages women to intrude upon already established marriages and families, break them up (as Mother did when she went after Father, who was already married and had nine or ten children at the time — and another soon on the way) — and all in the name of polygamy; i.e., “living a higher law.” 

    In other words, it encourages adultery in that it allows a woman to go after the man she’s attracted to, though he’s another woman’s husband, and seduce him to have/share as her husband, too, in the name of “plural marriage or celestial marriage.” Glittering generality’s aside, in the end, “celestial marriage” simply opens the door to disorganization, rampant lechery, and lawlessness — not Godliness.

    It’s altogether barbaric, ludicrous, deplorable, and inexcusable that a religion could teach doctrines that break up marriages and families, leave the wife broken-hearted and betrayed, her home downtrodden, her life and that of her kids smashed to smithereens, her children to grow up fatherless — and the Jr.-High-age kids to have to quit school and go to work to support the family.

    But that’s what happened! I’m not proud my mother had a part in this, even if it was part of her religion to do so. I only know she could never stand it being done to her: She never practiced what she believed and preached, when it came to polygamy. She was too jealous to allow Daddy a plural wife.

    And Daddy wasn’t about to add on a second wife unless Mother was in full agreement. He’d already suffered, almost beyond endurance, after losing his first wife and eleven children.

    Having learned his lesson the hard way, he wasn’t going to stumble, bumble, nor ramble into another briar patch — wasn’t about to gamble again on whether taking a plural wife would or would not work out — womanizer or no womanizer.

    In other words, he wasn’t taking a chance on wandering down another poison ivy-bedecked path — without his legal wife’s full agreement and encouragement. Even then, he might hesitate.

    For Eva had been in agreement, to begin with, when it came to her husband taking a second wife — to fulfill Joseph Smith’s commandment to live plural marriage or be damned. But within six months of Daddy’s having wedded; i.e., bedded Mommy, Eva could bear no more. She packed up kids and all and divorced him.

    Though Mother didn’t mind or didn’t know what she was doing, at age twenty-two or twenty-three, when she went after somebody else’s attractive father and husband in order to “live plural marriage” — that is, have the man she wanted — in the end, she herself was unable to share her handsome husband, once Eva had left him.

    She never encouraged Father to take another wife — never lived polygamy … Just talked about it. Just as she talked about herself being the most perfect, holy, and righteous woman on earth — the most-Godly example of how to live “the gospel”/ Mormon fundamentalism. But again, it was all talk.

    Mother even wrote and disseminated articles on the subject of how to live plural marriage — and the importance of this holy law of matrimony!

    Followers follow, so the Mormon fundamentalists she put pressure on and talked into going into plural marriage, never took into account Mama had never lived it, herself, to speak of.

    Anyway, Mother had, as the power behind her “punch,” the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live “the holy law of matrimony” or be damned to hell. So her followers drank the “punch” — and were damned to hell … till death do us part?? I damn well think so!

    Even so, Mama had a following … admirers … true-believing people who idolized and lauded her — because she told them she knew she had her “calling and election made sure!”

    If asked how she was so sure she was going to the highest degree of glory in heaven, when she died, she invariably vouched: “My Patriarchal Blessing told me so!” … as though she were so much more special than the rest of us?*


    • The following link is a YouTube presentation done by my Aunt Susan Ray Schmidt (formerly Susan Ray LeBaron, one of Uncle Verlan’s former wives who left him), wherein she tells the audience how much she had longed to know that she was saved; i.e., had her “calling and election made sure” … “like Esther LeBaron Spencer:”




    PART 17

    family, all but sharon

    1964 LeBaron–Spencer family photo (one Sis not in Pic)

    “A wise man learns from other man’s experience.

    A fool cannot learn even from his own.”

    Will Durant


    Taking up from last week’s blog: Since Mother did not/would not live polygamy when it came to sharing Daddy with another woman, I resent that she maneuvered and manipulated me into a harem — a life she could not live herself.

    But what’s new?! Ma operated on double standards: What was not good enough for her was good enough for her daughter. Or she and Daddy were hoping I would be able to live the “highest law of God,” even though Mother was not able to.

    I’m sure she wasn’t duplicitous on purpose, but her actions showed a lack of integrity and forethought, not to mention, empathy for me. But what can you expect from a true-believing “Saint” trapped mentally, spiritually, and physically in a world of evil, lies, perversion, fraud, and fantasy — and unable to find a way out?

    Perhaps, her lack of feeling and integrity was at least partially brought on by her splitting from herself due to not only subconscious guilt because she was not living all the gospel precepts she taught and believed in, but also because her artistic and other deep human needs were not being met.

    And all these needs conflicted terribly with her crazy Mormon fundamentalist beliefs she’d been so indoctrinated and brainwashed with since birth — such as having to have all the kids she could have, one after another, no matter what the condition of her health was! And having to live “The law of chastity” (I’ll explain this in a future blog.) — just two examples of the strict fundamentalist beliefs her “profits/Prophets” had instilled in her.

    She dared not do what was best for her or her family. She was taught that she had to do what was best for “God” and “His gospel.” But when you remove the glittering generalities, you realize “God and the gospel” really referred to the “Profit” of the cult — he was “God and the gospel.” He was the one who benefitted from all the cult indoctrination he instilled in his followers.

    So, since Mama dared not think for herself nor question “the truth,” she wasn’t aware of her two-facedness — if only because she couldn’t admit to herself she was “not good enough” to be able to live up to what she considered “the highest laws of God” … she who lived in a dream world, and told everybody she was the greatest, most righteous woman upon the face of the earth.*

    Though Ma raised me to believe I would go to hell if I didn’t live polygamy, she never lived it during her twenty-two-year marriage with Father — after his first wife divorced him. But, hey, fourteen children and one wife were more than enough for one old man (or young man).

    It was a blessing in disguise, I realize, now that I have escaped the cult, that Daddy didn’t have more wives and kids for our family to contend with and have to share our parents’ attention, energies, and already meager income with.

    And as for attention, what was that? About the only attention I ever got was when I was in trouble or they were piling on me more slave-bound work.

    But, actually, as a Mormon fundamentalist, I didn’t think in terms of attention, being a slave, etc. That would’ve been selfish and evil. We were happy masochists in our misery as we denied ourselves in order to make any necessary sacrifices to bring more little spirits into “good Mormon fundamentalist homes “– such as ours. (LOL!)

    We believed we were serving God by doing this. (We told ourselves a lot of stories!) But now that I look back on it, in reality, we were serving the self-proclaimed prophet/ profit, not God/Goodness:

    The more kids we produced, and the more sacrifices we made, the more power and profit for the Prophet — and the more little girls available for him and his favorite priesthood members. And that’s how it goes.


    • The cult leaders taught that if we even dared question what they told us and whether polygamy, etc., was correct, we would be turned over to the buffetings of Satan. And that meant we would lose our mind. That was a very real concern for my Mother – and even for me, while in the cult.

    Please keep in mind: Throughout my blogs and Memoirs, I am talking only about the years I knew Mother. Everybody changes as they age.

    I had no contact with her the last few years of her life before she became riddled with dementia, then died at ninety-two. So I’ll cut her some slack and say that she must’ve been doing something right, or she wouldn’t have had so many people who loved her till the end and still have fond memories of her.



    Part 18

    man-in-bed-with-three-women

    Bigamy Is “BIG LOVE” Literally


    One’s a plenty, two’s a crowd,

    Three on the sidewalk

    Is not allowed.”

    (Anonymous)

    (But have you noticed in “Big Love”

    They may be doing it behind your back …

    As in behind closed doors?

    Step on a crack

    And try to keep track!)

    Stephany Spencer-LeBaron


    As mentioned in previous blogs, Ma raised me to believe I would go to hell if I didn’t live polygamy. Yet, she didn’t practice what she preached: She never lived Plural Marriage during her twenty-two years with Father.*

    I resent this duplicity: How she incessantly preached “The Principle” and maneuvered others into it/polygamy as if she were a saint, Priestess, and the greatest example and authority on the subject — Though living “The Sacred Principle” was something she could not do herself — At least not while she was married to her own man.*

    Maybe she felt she could vindicate herself for not having lived it – not having shared Daddy – by getting everybody else, instead, to share their husbands or/and live polygamy/”The Celestial Principle/Law of Marriage.”

    But how I remember her ranting on about this “Principle” all the while I was growing up! And talking about how great “The Law of Celestial Marriage” was. Then she’d go on about the dream she had wherein God showed her how “wonderful and glorious” plural marriage is “when lived correctly.” I believe she got off on the power of pushing “The Principle.”

    Pushing Plural Marriage as though she were the prime epitome of how to live it, is only one example of how she wasn’t honest with herself as to who she  was and what she was doing by meddling in others’ marriages; i.e., directing others to live P.M., under the threat of going to hell if they did not, as if she, herself, were living it/polygamy!

    That, perhaps, was her greatest downfall – not being strong enough to be honest with herself and others about who she really was, rather than sinking into a “wannabe” fantasy and Con world where she believed her own lies — that she was something she was not and so perfect she had her “Calling and Election” made sure.

    In other words, Mother was basically telling people she was going to the highest degree of glory without having lived “The Law of Plural Marriage” during her twenty-two years with Father before he died. Truth be told, she never could share him with another woman.

    The high road would have been to have accepted herself as she was and for who and what she was, warts, worms, and all, instead of trying to fool others by putting on that she was perfect, the supreme example of how to live, and blessed above all others. I guess she did not feel secure enough to live without pretense.*

    Apparently, not understanding she needed to accept and portray herself as she was, lack of integrity became “the best policy — that is, pathological lying —  she apparently believed her own stories.

    Perhaps, believing she wouldn’t have nearly the influence and glory she had when carrying on as if she was God’s greatest daughter, she claimed to be above all others — “The Best,” Number One,” and “The most perfect woman in the world. God’s favorite female.”

    In other words, she chose to live in a dream world of delusional thinking rather than be herself, a LeBaron whom many despised. But maybe one of the reasons the Dayer LeBaron family was largely despised, among other reasons, was because they lacked integrity — not to mention they didn’t fit in.

    All the while I was growing up, being a “mundane commoner” was an anathema in Mother’s language. The last thing she wanted was to fit in and be average. She felt she was above others. And thrived on the attention and respect she got by going about like she was royalty and “The only one.”

    But, at the same time, she would remind me, “Where much is given, much is expected.” And she meant it: She was good at doing community service and charity.

    She once told me, “I never turn down a beggar — a “wayfarin’ stranger.” It could be God in disguise testing to see whether I follow His admonitions to feed the poor and needy.” So delusions of grandeur reigned hand-in-hand with dualism, duplicity — and fear of God’s retribution.



    *Note: Please keep in mind: Throughout my blogs and Memoirs, I am talking only about the years I knew Mother. Everybody changes as they age. I had no contact with her the last few years of her life before she became riddled with dementia, then died at ninety-two.

    So I’ll cut her some slack and say that she must’ve been doing something right, or she wouldn’t have had so many people who loved her till the end and still have fond memories of her.

    *I know of at least six different times wherein Mother courted married men she was interested in. One of those men was Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs’ father — before she met, courted, then chose to marry Daddy, instead.


    *The following sermon is a perfect example of some of the stuff Mother preached in order to get people to live polygamy. And this is a perfect example of where she got her Mormon fundamentalist doctrine and authority:

    (Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4., pp. 55-57; also printed in Deseret News, Vol. 6, pp. 235-236):

    “I wish my women, and brother Kimball’s and brother Grant’s to leave, and every woman in this Territory, or else say in their hearts that they will embrace the Gospel — the whole of it….say to your wives, ‘Take all that I have and be set at liberty; but if you stay with me you shall comply with the law of God, and that too without any murmuring and whining.

    You must fulfill the law of God in every respect, and round up your shoulders to walk up to the mark without any grunting. Now recollect that two weeks from tomorrow I am going to set you at liberty.

    But the first wife will say, ‘It is hard, for I have lived with my husband twenty years, or thirty, and have raised a family of children for him, and it is a great trial to me for him to have more women;’ then I say it is time that you gave him up to other women who will bear children.

    If * wife had borne me all the children that she ever would bare, the celestial law would teach me to take young women that would have children….

    Sisters, I am not joking, I do not throw out my proposition to banter your feelings, to see whether you will leave your husbands, all or any of you. But I know that there is no cessation to the everlasting whining of many of the women in this territory; I am satisfied that this is the case.

    And if the women will turn from the commandments of God and continue to despise the order of heaven, I will pray that the curse of the Almighty may be close to their heals and that it may be following them all the day long….

     Prepare yourselves for two weeks from tomorrow; and I will tell you now, that if you will tarry with your husbands after I have set you free, you must bow down to it, and submit yourselves to the celestial law.
    You may go where you please, after two weeks from to-morrow; but, remember, that I will not hear any more of this whining.”

    (Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4., pp. 55-57; also printed in Deseret News, Vol. 6, pp. 235-236)

    Comments from Mormon Think: Obviously Brigham was motivated to give this speech because the women were not happy with polygamy. From searching records and reading various published stories from faithful polygamous wives, we have found many women that were very upset practicing LDS polygamy and not one account of a truly happily married polygamous woman from the 1800s but obviously, there must be some.

    A few quotes from polygamous wives:

    “Here was my husband,” she said, “gray-headed, taking to his bed young girls in mockery of marriage. Of course, there could be no joy for him in such an intercourse except the indulgence of his fanaticism and of something else, perhaps, which I hesitate to mention.”

    -Sarah Pratt speaking of her husband, the apostle Orson Pratt who dated a 16-year-old girl (and then married her) when he was 57. (Van Wagoner 1986, pp. 92)

    “God will be very cruel if he does not give us poor women adequate compensation for the trials we have endured in polygamy.”

    Mary Ann Angell Young, Brigham Young’s second wife

    “I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.”

    -Helen Mar Kimball, Mormon Polygamy: A History, p. 53

    Check out Mormon Think for more sources on polygamy and other LDS history.

    Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
    Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
    Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young would have been a millennial blogger, but she died in 1901. The wife of Brigham Young, and prior to that Joseph Smith, and prior to that Henry Jacobs, who was sent on a mission by Brigham before he married her, Zina loves writing, long walks on the beach, and playing the field.

    ~ DAVID M.’S LIFE STORY: (Anna LeBaron’s Half-Brother) The story you are about to read is true.

    Caveat … The story you are about to read is true and I never killed anyone unless it was a justifiable homicide.

    Guest Blog: David Marston’s Life Story (A Brother of Anna LeBaron)

     

    DAVID M.

    Caveat…The story you are about to read is true and I never killed anyone unless it was a justifiable homicide.

    My name is David M. and I am 57. I was born on December 16, 1952 in Mesa Arizona. I am the eldest of 12 children. I am a Sagittarius and I love adventure. My adventure started when I was five years old after my parents Nephi and Anna Mae took me to live in a colony of ex-Mormons in the state of Chihuahua Mexico called Colonia LeBaron. This colony is a small place that is just south of Galeana Chihuahua Mexico and is and just north of San Buenaventura Chihuahua Mexico. This is a colony where they practice polygamy. (I do not practice it.) During my childhood I did not have time to be a kid because the elders had us all in the fields clearing it so they could plant alfalfa, tomatoes, sugar cane and corn. It was difficult time to say the least. By the time I was 9 years old I was taught how to plow the cleared fields behind a mule team and was out there plowing the rows to be planted. That is the way it was between 9 and 12 years old.

    Ervil LeBaron

    During that time my mother left my dad Nephi and married the second in charge of the church called Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times or as call I call it “The Cult.” His name was Ervil LeBaron (Look him up on Goggle) and he had 9 or 10 wives and many children. He was an evil man with the soul of the devil. Ervil hated me with all his might because I was the eldest son of my mother and not a product of him. This is the only explanation I can come up with because before I started rebelling I was an obedient kid. Well because of his hatred for me through no fault of my own I became rebellious and refused to follow his orders and defied him at every turn. One day when I was 12 years old I flat out refused to do something he ordered me to do so he ended up beating me with his fists and kicked me with his feet to the point I lost consciousness. I remember that before losing consciousness I saw my mother standing at the front door of our house watching what was going on and she walked back into the house.

    David’s mother, Anna Mae

    When I regained consciousness in the dirt street in front of our house I dragged my bleeding body to a hand cranked well where I drew water and washed the blood from my body. It took me a lot of years to forgive my mother for that but I have since forgiven her.

    She was caught up looking at Ervil as a living God because she felt he was a Prophet and felt he could do no wrong. Even though my mother says she does not remember the incident I have still forgiven her and moved on from that. I remember while cleaning up the blood from my body I felt such a burning rage sweep through me. I had such pure hatred pulsing through my heart and soul for Ervil that I decided then and there I was going to kill him even if I had to do it with my bare hands. Ervil was a huge man compared to me but I really did not care at that point.

    I remember getting a kerosene lamp (We had no electricity) and going down into the dark basement of the house. I was always scared to go down there but this day I was not scared. I rummaged through the boxes and odds and ends looking for something to use to kill him. I eventually found a rusty single shot 12 gauge shotgun and some old shotgun shells. I remember sneaking the shotgun out of the house then going far away from the house where I tested it to see if it worked. I figured out how to load it and boy did it work. I nearly broke my shoulder firing it. I then hid out where I knew Ervil would come by in his truck and waited and waited until he showed up. While I was waiting, something happened to me that to this day I cannot explain. While waiting with this rage which was building and building, I began to feel an intense heat begin to permeate my body.

    It started at my feet and worked its way all the way to the top of my head. The sensation was so real I remember being confused and wondering where the heat was coming from. This heat was of such intensity I can only describe it as if one is too close to a raging bonfire and your flesh feels like it is coming off. I dropped the shotgun on the ground and as soon as I did the intense heat dissipated. I picked up the shotgun and took it to a small manmade lake located nearby and threw it in the lake. I believe there was some Devine intervention that day, which stopped me from becoming a murderer, well that is what I think anyway and I am glad I did not kill Ervil even though he was an evil, evil man. After throwing the shotgun into the lake I returned home where I took a blanket and four loaves of my mother’s homemade wheat bread and with the clothes on my back I walked to the highway and hopped a ride never to return.

    From the age of 12 until I was 16 years old I roamed alone throughout Mexico working as a cowboy field hand and construction worker. I spent much of my time living under bridges, bushes the stars and in culverts along the highway. Needless to say I had many adventures. (More to plug in here) I eventually ended up in Tijuana Baja California Mexico during winter time. I only had a blanket to keep warm which did not do very well in that respect but it was better than a stick in the eye. I was freezing and hungry and sick with a nagging strong cough. I found myself on a street in Tijuana where all the prostitutes hang out. I walked up and down the street to talking to several of them individually asking them for some food. All but one yelled at me something to the effect “Lárgate Niño malcriado” which loosely translated means “Get the “F” out of here you miscreant child.” One of the women named Maria took pity on me though and got me something to eat and took me to a pharmacy where she paid for some medicine. I remember the guy gave me a shot in my butt which seemed to eventually cure whatever I had.

    She bought me a warm coat and let me live with her down at the Tijuana River where back then people lived in board and tarpaper type shacks. It was a filthy place to live but at least I had a roof over my head. I think they have all been torn down now. I lived with her for about 3 or 4 months and she treated me like her little brother. I walked the streets with her to keep my eye on her so she would not get hurt. I think I was 14 years old then. I then left and continued my way down south never to see her again. I wish I knew where she was so I could find her and thank her for helping me in my time of need. I then ended up in a small community just south of Ensenada called either Ejido or Colonia Chapultepec where Estero Beach is located. I ran into a local kid named Felipe on the beach who rented horses to the American Tourists. I hung out with him during the day and at night I lived under an overturned boat on the beach just outside Estero Beach next to a dilapidated bait shack where I later sold salted anchovies to the tourists. I remember one day while walking along the highway in Maneadero Baja California I stopped to rest in an olive grove next to a ditch. I distinctly remember asking myself if being a homeless person was all I was ever going to amount to.

    It was at that point I decided I had to somehow find my way to my grandma’s house in Mesa Arizona. All I knew at that point is that I had a grandmother named Hattie in Mesa Arizona and an Uncle Melvin. I said goodbye to my friend Felipe and headed south. While walking along the highway between Maneadero and Colonia Vicente Guerrero one night I decided to sleep in a culvert under the highway. I was out in the middle of nowhere. I had been walking along the highway picking up cigarette butts people had thrown out of their cars and was smoking them. I went down into the culvert and wrapped myself in my blanket and fell asleep. The next thing I remember is hearing these God awful snarling sounds coming from the area of my feet. I woke up and realized that a large pack of coyotes were in the culvert and in the process of attacking me. They must have thought I was a dead body or something and were going to eat me. I probably smelled pretty ripe at that time. When they started biting my shoes and tearing at my blanket I rose up in such a fright I began screaming at them at the top of my lungs. I picked up anything I could lay my hands on and threw whatever I had in my hand at them.

    I ran up to the highway and just kept running with a rock in my hand and looking behind me to make sure they were not coming after me. When daylight came I was going to throw the rock away but realized it was a crystal about the size of a half a pack of cigarettes or a little less. I kept that rock all these years and made a small crystal rock necklace with it which I have to this very day. I continued my journey south and ended up in Colonia Vicente Guerrero where I found a job digging for clams at the beach. It was cold work because I had to go out into the surf waist deep early in the morning and dig them out with a garden type pitch fork and put them into a gunny sack. I worked as a clam digger for a while living in a rusted out car next to the sand dunes and ate clams every day. I then headed south again and got a ride in a pickup truck with a Mexican man who ended up dropping me off in the middle of the desert because he was turning off the main highway and going east up into the mountains. There I was, without food and water in the middle of nowhere during the middle of the day. It had been raining so I looked around in the desert for any pools of water may have collected and the only water I found was that which had collected in some cow hoof prints. Of course I drank it.

     

    Mama Espinoza

    I found a rattlesnake by accident which I killed with a rock and skinned and gutted with my bare hands because I did not have a knife. I did have matches though which I used to light the cigarette butts I found discarded along the highway. I found some dry grass and started a little camp fire which I used to cook the snake over the coals. I had done that before with jack rabbits I had killed while roaming throughout Mexico. I then found a Cholla Cactus and an Ocotillo bush. I removed several sections from the cactus and Ocotillo with some rocks and sticks to form a ring on the ground so I could sleep in the middle and keep the snakes away from me. I had a restless sleep that night and the next day I was picked up by another Mexican man in a pickup truck and off I went making it to El Rosario Baja California. I remember coming down into the town from the mesa and being dropped off at Mama Espinoza’s Restaurant. There was one of those old gas pumps in front of the restaurant the type where the gasoline was hand pumped into a glass container on top of the pump. I think I was 15 years old then. Back then there were no paved roads that I recall beyond El Rosario. I remember that I was starving and that Mama Espinoza took me in and gave me food and a warm place to sleep.

    She treated me as though I was one of her own children. I told her my name was David Martinez because I was an illegal alien in Mexico and did not want to get in trouble. Back then I was a kid and I think I was not expected to have a Mexican Government ID but just the same I did it to be on the safe side. I worked at the restaurant for a time then I went to work at a ranch called Rancho San Juan de Dios located in the mountains south east of El Rosario where Anita’s husband Heraclio Espinoza owned a small ranch. One of Mama Espinoza’s sons and his wife lived on the ranch at the time. Before her son was at the ranch he worked as an abalone diver and wore a hard hat type diving suit to gather abalone. While I was at the ranch an old man came who was hired to build an adobe house next to a water tank and a small stream. One of my jobs was that of helper and had to haul big adobe bricks to him. The man was an alcoholic. I don’t know how, but he managed to keep everything level and plumb. Whatever he was drinking he always put it in his coffee morning noon and night. At night after work he would drink some more and walk along the lonely dirt road in the hills of the ranch singing and yelling. There was nothing around for miles and miles but cactus, wild animals and cows.

    One night the old man took off on one of his walks and I fell asleep. I was suddenly awakened and could hear him yelling very loudly from a long way away. It sounded as though he was injured or something. I went to wake up Mama Espinoza’s son at the main house and found he too was awakened by the yells of the old man. We walked for a long distance down the road in pitch black toward the yelling old man. When we found him he was lying on the ground drunk as a skunk with one of his arms over the neck of a calf and singing to it. We dragged him for what seemed like an eternity back to his bunk where he refused to go to sleep and kept arguing that he wanted to go back and sing to the calf some more. We had to hold him down until he finally passed out. The next morning he denied he did any such thing and was pissed at us for making up the story. I wonder what happened to him. After I returned to the restaurant from Rancho San Juan de Dies, one day a young American Tourist traveling alone stopped to buy gas at Mama Espinoza’s in an old World War II 4X4 ambulance wagon. It was still painted in the military green.

    He told me that he was going to cross over the mountains to the other side of Baja California and head over to San Felipe Baja California. I told him I was an American and was trying to get to my grandmother’s house in Mesa Arizona. He offered to give me a ride as far as San Felipe so that day I told Mama Espinoza I had to leave. I thanked her for her kindness and left with American who gave me a ride to San Felipe. I got a job in San Felipe working as a dishwasher at a restaurant on the beach north of town. I slept in a small rat infested trailer while working there. I remember the owner had an old, old Toyota Helix pickup truck that we always had to park on a hill to start it by popping the clutch because the starter would not work. One day I got so sick that I remember dreaming that rats were eating me. The next thing I know is I am waking up in the surf and the pickup truck is parked on the beach. I guess I drove it to the beach and jumped into the surf which must have reduced my fever to some degree. I remember an American tourist couple were walking on the beach and pulled me from the surf. I guess I was out of my mind because the next thing I know I was at the local clinic where they paid for my care. I wish I knew who they were so I could thank them.

    I had the Hong Cong Flu or something. One day after I felt better and working at the restaurant a shrimp boat captain came to the restaurant from his fishing boat on a smaller boat which he beached and came into the restaurant to eat. I found out he was out of Guam’s Sonora which was on the other side of Bhatia de California and one step closer in getting to Arizona. After explaining my situation and wanting to get to my grandmother’s house in Arizona I asked if he would give me passage to Guam’s which he said he would. I worked for 2 or 3 weeks on the shrimp boat. I remember that for the first couple of days I was so seasick I was in the fetal position in the living quarters. After that I was ok and got my sea legs. The captain dropped me off in Guam’s where I got work with Circus Vargas feeding the elephant and cleaning up their poop. I remember they had such large poops. While working at the circus I found out there was a warehouse near the Port of Guam’s where semi tractor trailer drivers loaded up to head to Nogales Mexico which borders with Arizona. I asked around for passage to the border until one of the drivers finally consented to give me a ride.

    He gave me a pack of Raleigh cigarettes and told me to meet him at the warehouse the next morning before light. I camped out near the warehouse next to some trash cans all night long until he showed up at the warehouse then next morning. The trucker gave me a ride to Nogales Mexico. He drove me all the way to the border and pointed out a line of people walking into the United States and told me “Kid get in the line and when you reach the immigration man tell him you are an American Citizen.” I got in line and continued forward with the rest of the people. At the time I was wearing rags for clothes and had cardboard in my shoes to cover the holes in the soles of my shoes. I also spoke better Spanish than English at the time. Well when I reached the immigration guy I told him I was an American Citizen trying to reach my grandmother’s house in Mesa Arizona. For whatever reason he did not believe me, and neither did any of the other immigration guys. They ended up turning me over to the Mexican Immigration who locked me up in the Nogales Mexico Jail. God was I scared. I was in a big cell with many criminals and with only one toilet to go to the bathroom. I spent the night wide awake and never used the bathroom once.

    The following day the Chief of Police had me brought to him and asked me what the hell I was doing in his jail cell. I told him about Colonia LeBaron and my homeless travels throughout Mexico and that I was a 16 year old American Citizen just trying to get to my grandmother’s house in Mesa Arizona. God did he raise the roof at the police station with the people who placed me in the jail cell. The Chief made a telephone call to someone and the next thing I know is two Americans came to interview me at the police station. I told them my story and the names of my grandma and uncle and they said they would try to find them for me. For the next 4 months or so I lived at the police station in a small room where they put a cot so I could have a place to sleep. The policemen bought me some new clothes and new shoes and some of them even took me to their house so I could take a shower. I became the official police shoeshine boy, office cleaner and interpreter until my Uncle Melvin showed up with my American Birth Certificate and took me home to my grandmother’s house in Mesa Arizona.

    David M.

    At the Age of 17 I joined the Marines and went to Boot Camp in San Diego California. God only knows how I passed the test to get into the Marines since I had no real formal education before the little I received when I went to my grandmother’s house. At the age of 19 I married a girl while stationed at Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot Hawthorne, Nevada. Her name is Donna. We were married for 10 years and had 3 children Katrina, David Jr. and Dana. I now have 6 grandchildren. While in the Marines I was a Military Policeman then went on to become a Criminal Investigator with the Criminal Investigation Division. I was sent to Okinawa Japan where I worked with the drug suppression team. We worked closely with the Japanese Narcotics Control Department, which is the Japanese D.E.A. because the Military personnel would trade military equipment and arms with the Japanese Mafia called the Yakuza in exchange for drugs.

    One day our team consisting of Americans and our Japanese counterparts entered into an operation against the Yakuza. One of my responsibilities was to be a lookout on the outer perimeter looking for anyone sneaking up from behind us while the assault team entered the building to take down the Yakuza and any military personnel in the building.

    I was located in an open raw sewage ditch we called “Benjo Ditches” which is common in Okinawa. What a stench. I had my .45 Caliber pistol locked and loaded in my right hand with several other loaded magazines at the ready. I had just looked back toward the warehouse from my rear when suddenly the hair on the back of my neck rose up. I whirled around my pistol in hand with my elbow tucked into my side and to my horror there was a Yakuza pointing a shotgun at my head from about 10 feet away. It seemed like everything slowed down at that point.

    I remember realizing he was not one of the good guys because he was not wearing the yellow pieces of cloth each of the team members tied around their left and right upper arms. This all must have happened in microseconds because as soon as I turned I pulled the trigger as fast as I could and emptied my magazine into the man and he fell dead. I remember that one of the first things I thought about afterwards was that moment many years back when I was going to shoot Ervil LeBaron with the shotgun and wondered if I had shot him would I have survived this shotgun encounter. To this day I wonder if there was a connection with the two incidents. I later had to go before a Japanese Judge where I was exonerated and the incident declared self defense.

    After coming home from Okinawa I divorced my first wife and three years later I married a Marine. We had a son who now works for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department as a Corrections Deputy. My second wife the Marine and I ended up going to the first Gulf War called Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. She was in the desert closer to the enemy in Kuwait than I was. She was near Al-Saffaniyah and I was assigned to the Port of Al-Jubayl and was the Chief of Detectives in charge of seven Criminal Investigators responsible for investigating crimes for 75,000 Marines. My wife was an Electronic Repair Technician. We rarely saw one another. Occasionally I would sneak away from the base and drive the one hundred miles at breakneck speeds in my white Crown Victoria to get there before dark. I wore one of those red and white checkered Saudi Arabian headdresses to blend in with the rest of the Saudi Arabians driving on the road. I would bring her things she could not get out in the desert and only had time to spend an hour or so with her. Before heading back I would have to fuel up at the fuel farm from big bladders of “Mo-Gas” and head back on the dirt road at night with my headlights out because they were in black out conditions.

    David M.

    It was a bitch driving in the desert on the dirt road with my head poked out of the driver window trying to keep on the road and going through military check points in a civilian car hoping they would not shoot at me while trying to get back to the highway. Once on the highway though I drove the 100 miles back to Al-Jubayl at 100 miles an hour or higher in that Ford Crown Victoria. I loved that car. I went to see her only a couple of times during my 9 months in Saudi Arabia. When I returned to the states I retired after 23 years and would only drive a Ford Crown Victoria for years up until recently. Since my retirement I started another career as a Criminal Defense Investigator and I work for a county government in California. I have about eight years left before I can retire and get my second retirement. My wife continued on with her career in the Marines and also did two tours in Iraq before she retired this year after serving 30 years. We have been separated for the past 15 years but still live under the same roof. She lives in her side of the house and me in mine. Life continues on. Let’s see where my next adventure begins.

    David’s blog on his trip to see Mama Espinoza will follow in a few days.

    0 THOUGHTS ON “GUEST BLOG: DAVID’S LIFE STORY”

    1. Dear David: For some reason, your name is hidden behind the the bar that begins where we write our comments, so I’m unable to see if my voice recognition program spelled correctly or even wrote correctly what I spoke into it. If that makes any sense!

      A friend I met who found my Website while surfing for more stories and information about LeBarons, found your story. She Emailed me the link, saying she figured she had found a story I had not read about the LeBarons. How right she was!

      I loved your “Adventure” attitude toward life, despite how you survived such unbelievable experiences. I thought my life was bad, but I could not have begun to have survived what you survived and lived through.

      Your life far surpasses what your sister Anna LeBaron relates in her book. Your story should be made into a book and sold if you could use the money, and it’s worth it to you to go to the trouble to sell your book. In fact, I think it could become a classic — something I akin to another Huckleberry Finn Adventure!

      I should tell you who I am. I lived across the street from your mother, and remember what a gorgeous and sweet young boy you were at eight or nine — when I taught you for a little while in my little school. I was only 15 or 16 years old then.

      I am Beulah Spencer or “Miss Beulah,” as my students called me. Ervil is my mother Esther LeBaron Spencer’s brother. The hate you felt Ervil had for you defined the hate I saw that he carried for everything and everyone.

      He was a very angry, blaming, revengeful man. I wish your story could get out there right along with your sister Anna’s right now. The world needs to see what this psychopath was really like. I could tell you a lot more, but first I would love it if you had the time to check out my Website at StephanySpencer.com.

      And I would love to talk to you. Meanwhile, I need to go eat dinner while I cry my heart out. I know of no other way to relieve myself of some of the deep pain I feel after having just read your tear-jerker “shoot from the hip” story. It is such a perfect example of what went on in Colonia LeBaron, too.

      It shows how strong and smart you were that you left when you did. Were I in your shoes, I would have sat by the roadside and cried till I died. Instead, you faced and withstood, then overcame unbelievable and dastardly life experiences — for a tender little boy of no more than twelve, to begin with, no less.

      Talk about a story of redemption and courage! No story can surpass yours! Caroline Lane wrote on my Website, in the comment section of my book report I posted on your sister Anna’s book, that Anna was the perfect poster child of someone who has overcome impossible odds.

      I am pretty sure that she has replaced Anna’s story with yours, now, as the perfect LeBaron survival poster child. BTW, she is the one who sent me the link to your Website.

      Call me at 818-363-7664. Or if you prefer, email me at Steph Spencer10@Gmail.com. Or you could simply leave a comment on one of my Posts on my Website. For I would love to touch bases with you.

      Much love, sympathy, compassion, and respect for you,
      Stephany Spencer de LeBaron/ AKA: Beulah Spencer Tucker

    2. Hi, again, David.

      I see you I was in too big a rush to send you my comments. I should have reread and edited everything at least one more time. A number of egregious errors slipped by, thanks to my undependable Word Recognition program.

      I even forgot to give you my URL, it appears. It is StephanySpencer.com

      Looking forward to hearing from you, dear David. You are one amazing person. When I knew you at age nine, never could I have imagined the life of such a perfectly beautiful boy would turn out like this!

      I thought Aunt Anna Mae was a loving mother. No, it seems she had no heart — and less sense. I do not care how much she thought Ervil was God, you don’t allow anyone to kick and beat your child unconscious and then leave him lying in the street to come to his senses on his own and drag his way to the well to pump water to clean himself up, blood and all.

      This woman should be behind bars. Nobody could be brainwashed enough to be as heartless as she was with her children. She was somewhat as non-empathetic as was Ervil.

      I remember what she did to your father Nephi all too well. What makes it even worse — so much worse — is Nephi had grown up with Ervil and his siblings, so was somewhat like part of the LeBaron family.

      But Evil-Ervil betrayed all his family, friends, and everyone else. Some of his children, such as Gabriela LeBaron, still want to think he was a God — and she believes that people are casting blame on him unfairly — and that it was “others,” such as some of his wives, who ordered all those murders, etc. How I wish I could cut-and-paste your story and send it to her.

      She has her own blog site: GabrielaLeBaron.com, but it’s not open to everyone to read. You have to get her permission, now, to read or see what she posts there.

      Take care and warm regards,
      Beulah/ Stephany

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    ~ Pt 16: Esther LeBaron Spencer — Ma, Pa, and Me

    family, color.jpeg
    Esther LeBaron de McDonald & Floyd Otto Spencer family in 1958

     


    “Men never do evil so completely
    and cheerfully as when they do it
    from religious conviction.”
    Blaise Pascal


    Picking up where we left off last week, I find it reprehensible Mormon fundamentalist dogma encourages women to intrude upon established marriages, break them up (as Mother did when she went after Father, who was already married and had nine or ten children at the time — and another soon on the way) —  all in the name of polygamy; i.e., “living a higher law.” 

    In other words, it encourages adultery: It “legalizes” a woman’s going after a man she’s attracted to, though he is another woman’s “Contracted property.”

    It’s altogether barbaric, ludicrous, deplorable, and inexcusable that a religion could teach doctrines that break up marriages and families. Laws that leave the wife broken-hearted, betrayed, her home downtrodden, and her life and that of her kids smashed to smithereens.

    Often, thanks to problems with trying to live polygamy,  children are left to grow up fatherless. And the now-single wife is forced to be mother and father to her large family of small children – A sure way to invite misery, poverty, deprivation; i.e., under-class living.

    That’s exactly what happened in my father’s case. His Junior-High-age kids even had to quit school and work to help support the large, abandoned family! My father’s betrayed wife Eva, now a sad, grieving, and lonely mother of eleven fatherless children, had to leave the home and go to work too.

    So who was left to tend home and babies? Obviously, the older children had to play mama. And become premature homemakers besides.

    That’s what happened! Unfortunately, all the above is a typical scenario that broken families endure, thanks to evils like Mormon polygamous doctrines that put “celestial marriage” ahead of everything else.

    I’m not proud of the part Mum played in the dire suffering and hell Daddy’s first wife and children endured, even if it was part of Mummy’s fundamentalist Mormon religion to break up marriages.

    I only know she could never stand to have done to her what she did to others: She never practiced what she preached, when it came to polygamy. She was too jealous to allow Daddy a plural wife.

    And Daddy wasn’t about to add on a second wife unless Mom was in full agreement. He’d already suffered, almost beyond endurance, after losing his first wife and eleven children.

    Having learned his lesson the hard way, Dad wasn’t about to stumble, bumble, or ramble into another briar patch — to gamble again on whether taking a plural wife would or wouldn’t work out — womanizer or no womanizer.

    In other words, he wasn’t wandering down any more poison ivy-bedecked garden paths — without his legal wife’s full agreement and encouragement. Even then, he might hesitate.

    For Eva had been in agreement, to begin with, when it came to her husband taking a second wife — to fulfill Joseph Smith’s commandment to live plural marriage or be damned.

    But within six months of Daddy’s having wedded Mummy; i.e., bedded Mommy, Eva could bear no more. She packed up kids and all and divorced him.

    Though Mother didn’t mind or didn’t know what she was doing, at age twenty-two or twenty-three, when she went after somebody else’s attractive father and husband “in order to live plural marriage” — that is, have the man she wanted — in the end, she herself was unable to share her handsome husband, once Eva had left him.

    She never encouraged Father to take another wife — never lived polygamy … Just talked about it. Just as she talked about herself being the most perfect, holy, and righteous woman on earth — the most-Godly example of how to live “the gospel;” i.e., Mormon fundamentalism. But again, it was all talk.

    Ma even wrote and disseminated articles on the subject of how to live plural marriage — and the importance of this “holy law of matrimony”!

    Followers follow, so the Mormon fundamentalists she put pressure on and talked into going into plural marriage, never took into account Mama had never lived it, herself, to speak of.

    Anyway, Mother had, as the power behind her “punch,” the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live “the holy law of matrimony” or be damned to hell. So her followers drank the “punch” — and were damned to hell … till death do us part?? I damn well think so!

    Even so, Mum had a following … admirers … true-believing people who idolized and lauded her — because she told them she knew she had her “calling and election made sure!”

    If asked how she was so sure she was going to the highest degree of glory in heaven, when she died, she invariably vouched: “My Patriarchal Blessing told me so!” … as though she were so much more special than the rest of us?

    (Continued in: “My Memoirs Backstory: Esther LeBaron Spencer de McDonald — Part 17”)


    • The following link is a YouTube presentation done by my Aunt Susan Ray Schmidt (formerly Susan Ray LeBaron, one of Uncle Verlan’s former wives who left him), wherein she tells the audience how much she had longed to know that she was saved; i.e., had her “calling and election made sure” … “like Esther LeBaron Spencer:”


     

     

     

    ~ Pt 14: Esther LeBaron Spencer — Ma Meets Pa … Or Was It the Other Way Around?

    dad-collage
    A collage of Daddy’s two families, et Al


    “That which does not kill you

    will make you stronger.”

    Nietche



    Let’s go back to Part 13 where my “future ma and pa” lay or sat on a makeshift bed of blankets in the back of “future Papa’s” pickup. The blankets padded their backs and butts as they bounced and bumped along in a rough and rickety ride over 1944s rutted roads in their 1930s vehicle that soon left Mesa, Arizona far behind as they bounded for the Mexican border making lickety-split time!

    Like bandits, they had to get out of Dodge to dodge the law that would like to put Pain jail for practicing polygamy. My young uncles Ben and Alma participated in the excitement and the anticipation as they sat in the truck’s cab taking turns at the wheel while conversing excitedly about their soon-to-be brother-in-law’s recent conversion to Plural Marriage and “the fullness of the gospel;” i.e., Mormon fundamentalism.

    They were proud of themselves and their ability to preach the gospel — their ability to be good missionaries. Felt they had done “a good day’s work” by bringing another soul into “The Work” — That is, “The work of God, in God’s only true Church upon the face of the earth.”

    This “accomplishment” heightened their sense of self-esteem and self-worth — puffed them up a bit as they continued making a beeline for their hometown, the Mexican Mormon colony, Colonia Juarez … so their sister, Esther, could get their papa’s permission to wed — ASAP!

    To make a longer story shorter, my parents Esther and Floyd easily obtained permission from Mother’s father to marry — though her parents weren’t particularly happy she was marrying a man over twice her age who already had “one foot in the grave,” as my maternal grandma liked to say.

    Nevertheless, “future Mama’s” Mormon fundamentalist parents were relieved their middle child and youngest living daughter Esther LeBaron-McDonald had finally “come to her senses” … had, in the end, chosen to marry into polygamy.

    I confess, they had been very worried about her salvation and her entering the highest degree of glory, once in heaven, because, for some years there, Esther had professed (to their dismay) not to believe in nor want to live plural marriage:

    “Part of what changed my mind ‘n’ convinced me to accept ‘the holy and righteous Principle of Plural Marriage,’ Mama said, “is I had a marvelously inspired revelation — a dream that showed me plural marriage was right. It even outlined exactly how it should be lived … And how glorious it could be … if participated in correctly.”

     Daddy, likewise, believed he had done the right thing to take a plural wife. But sometimes I wonder if he wondered if he’d chosen wrongly. For, not long after he’d married Mom to his dismay, his hair suddenly turned from Salt-and-Pepper gray to pure white … And thinned … as he turned “blue” and thinner under the unexpected stresses, losses, devastation, and sorrows that followed his new Mormon fundamentalist faith and lifestyle.

    Especially devastating to him was losing his eleven childrennot to mention his beloved wife Eva. Then, for all his sacrifices and attempts to live “The Holy Principle of Matrimony/Plural Marriage,” he was soon, again, a monogamist, anyway!! And remained that way till the day he died — was never able to take on another plural wife, so as to live “The fullness of the gospel.”

    My ma was too jealous to let him take another wife — never mind that she, herself, took Pa from Eva! That’s what polygamists do, you know. It doesn’t enter their mind that they are taking somebody else’s husband or spouse. They are too busy believing they’re only serving God and abiding by Joseph Smith’s Commandments to live polygamy or go to hell.)

    Ah, what travesties and travails life doth present us … And how much of our pain and sorrow do we bringeth upon ourselves because, though we may think we are doing what is right, we are, in reality, holding our fingers on a hot stove; i.e., We’re doing what is wrong. Pain is our warning that we’re doing something not good for us.

    However, not realizing this, Daddy concluded: “I couldn’t allow Eva to wear the pants in the family, pussy whip me, and carry me down to hell with her ‘cause she wouldn’t abide by the higher laws of God.

    She was too weak to follow me, her husband and priesthood head — too rebellious to live the fullness of the gospel. So, instead of doing what was right, by following God’s command to live plural marriage, she chose to do wrong — to get revenge … causing me no end of trouble with the law and the Mormon church. Even kept me from ever seeing my kids!!!*

    “Nonetheless, I had to put God’s Commandments first … That is, to give my life for God and the truth. I knew I could not let her stop me from doing what I believed was right; I had to  continue to follow the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live ‘The Holy Principle of Plural Marriage’ … or die trying … or I’d be damned.” (And he’d be damned if he’d be damned!)


    * Bear in mind that I’m trying to present Daddy’s point of view. To be sure, it didn’t include such things as his violence – his physical and mental abuse towards Eva and her kids. I suspect this was sufficient reason to provoke betrayed Eva to obtain a Restraining Order against him to keep him away from her and her kids … and off her property.

    He was of the old-country thinking: Thought it his position and right, as man of the house, to beat his wife and children into submission; that is, control them by “whipping them into shape.” Mama was of this mindset, also! (She bent to her husband’s/ her priesthood head’s will, as good Mormon fundamentalist wives do … “so she wouldn’t deserve his wrath.”)

    And, of course, when it comes to his first wife Eva, Daddy didn’t admit to his betrayal of her, nor the hurt he caused her and her/his family when he took on another wife and family.

    Unfortunately, Mormon fundamentalists follow their early founders to the hilt (when it comes to some things) – leaders who told them living plural marriage was God’s highest and most holy law. Being stoics, they believed they had to put aside their own feelings and needs … as well as the feelings and needs of all others … in order to live polygamy! Ridiculous? And how! But that’s how they believed.





    ~ Pt 13: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer: Ma Meets Pa

     Floyd Otto Spencer and Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, my parents —perhaps around the time they were married in 1944


    “Home is the place where,
    when you have to go there,
    they have to take you in.”
    Robert Frost



    We left off where Uncle Ben wasn’t able to convince my future Pa, Floyd Spencer, that he, Benjamin Teasdale LeBaron, was The One Mighty ‘n’ Strong come to set the house of God in order. However, Uncle Ben had convinced Floyd Spencer the only way he could be saved was to enter into Plural Marriage; i.e., polygamy/ polygyny/ bigamy.

    In fact, betwixt Ma and her brother Ben, my handsome mainstream Mormon pa, Floyd Spencer, was quickly converted to “Plural Marriage” and “the fullness of the gospel;” i.e., Mormon fundamentalist gospel.

    It wasn’t hard: My young sexy “future Ma” was regularly looking, with eyes aglow, into the eyes of my middle-aged “future Pa” — and the countenance of the man she “knew” she was to marry — And “Pa” had a reputation for being a womanizer — said a half-brother of mine I met years ago — one of Daddy’s sons by his first wife.

    But what finally cinched Floyd’s conversion to polygamy was Uncle Ben’s reading him the 132nd sec. of The Doctrine and Covenants — the Mormon scriptural revelation wherein J. Smith commands his followers to live Plural Marriage or be damned to hell.

    After future Pa’s conversion to Mormon fundamentalism, it wasn’t long thereafter before he and future Ma were lovers. Having first met on October 13, 1943, in cold January—three months later—the two were snuggled up in the bed of future Pa’s pick-up truck with Uncle Ben — or Uncle Alma? — in the cab at the wheel hitting the unpaved 1944 rocky rutted road at top speed while the vehicle bounced ‘n bumped up-‘n-down (‘n humped ‘n’ pumped?) as they sped along towards the Mormon town, Colonia Juarez, Mexico — so Pa could get permission from Ma’s pa to marry Ma — while they were still hopefully chaste?! Hmmm! (I would’ve loved to have gone along for the ride!)*

    But Daddy didn’t get much permission from his legal wife Eva to take a ride — let alone a second wife. She could “take a hike,” as far as he was concerned because Joseph Smith’s commandment to “live polygamy or be damned” came ahead of everything else — and he’d be damned if he’d be damned!

    So Eva, his wife of 23 years and mother of their 10 children — and one on the way — agreed to go along with Joseph Smith’s teachings that required a man live polygamy. I’m getting ahead of the story a little, now, when I tell you that after six-suffering months with her handsome, hardworking husband, she couldn’t take plural marriage anymore.

    Feeling betrayed, and unable to bear any longer the heartbreak, jealousy, and loneliness brought on by her husband bedding and abetting his nubile twenty-two-year-old polygamist bride, on October 31, 1944, Eva divorced him on the basis of Adultery, Assault and Battery, Abandonment, Emotional Abuse, and Incompatibility.

    While at it, she obtained a Restraining Order … barring him from their younger kids still at home with her. (Tears!) So Daddy never saw his youngest children again till they were in their mid to late teens. I was fourteen at the time and present when he met his two youngest, Jimmy and Vonda, for the first time since they were babies.

    Daddy had to pull a lot of strings behind Eva’s back to get to see them. But he felt lucky they got to meet at all! These two children who did not know him had been so turned against him, it wasn’t a warm welcome, only a short reunion … but better than none.

    *[NOTE: On January 15, 1944, in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, my mother was married to my father as a plural wife. A month later, on February 19, 1944 they went to Salt Lake City to be sealed by Joseph White Musser. Neither of these marriages were legal: Daddy was still married to his first wife Eva. But on June 22, 1945, they were legally married in Mexico because by then Daddy’s first wife had divorced him. (See “Spencer Family Album and Scrapbook” compiled by my sister Nola.)


    Continued in: “My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer: Ma Meets Pa … Or Was It the Other Way Around? — Part 14″













    ~ Pt 9: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and the Perils of Polygamy

    My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, Pt 9 — And the Perils of Polygamy

    ma in pink skirt, 1
    My mama, Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer


    “The mother-child relationship is paradoxical,
    and in a sense, tragic.
    It requires the most intense love on the mother’s side,
    yet this very love must help the child
    grow away from the mother,
    and to become fully independent.”
    Erich Fromm



    Mother never told me much about how she was affected growing up in the polygamous love-triangle that existed between her parents and her father’s plural wife, Onie.

    She was two years old when her parents, who had already been married fourteen years, brought naïve and trusting, pretty,  sexy, eighteen-year-old Onie (thirteen years younger than Mama’s mother, and twenty years younger than her father) into their already well-established family.

    Then they lived in the same house altogether (happily ever after?) the first seven years after her pa took his beloved, gorgeous, nubile Onie as a plural wife!

    Having, myself, been given away, at age sixteen, as a child bride in a prearranged polygamous marriage to a man ten years my senior, his first wife fifteen years my senior … and so on … I have a very good idea what bedlam innocent Onie found herself in!

    No fairy tales or beans about it: You can imagine there were plenty of troubles and extenuating circumstances that reigned in Mama’s immediate polygamous family-of-origin — a salt-of-the-earth family of scrabble farmers, house-painting handymen — and a piano-teaching Mommie (who was pregnant and bearing babies, besides, a good part of the time she was off teaching piano lessons).

    Especially must this polygamous arrangement have been difficult, given the triangulated (strangulated?) love affair of three adults all housed together under one crowded roof … a roof falling in on them … figuratively speaking, if not literally.

    Add to this hillbilly, barbarous, and backward combination the herd of babies, adolescents, and cantankerous teenagers — And one “priesthood-holding patriarch” — who reigned religiously, ruling the roost with a Mormon fundamentalist’s fanatic, foot-washing, and zealous iron hand:

    In orthodox Mormonism, the man has the first, last, and every word in between. So you can imagine, then, there was probably turmoil the likes of which you don’t want to imagine! (I’m just imagining!)

    I’m certain it was especially burdensome and difficult when, periodically, Mother’s father, Dayer, returned home after working in the United States for months on end.

    His frequent absenteeisms naturally heightened pressures between the two lonely, overworked housewives who had to share him. But it also made it difficult for Grandpa Dayer to discipline his children who regarded their father as somewhat a stranger and only a visitor.

    Add to this hot-to-trot pot the deprivation and strain dire poverty presents in the lives of polygamous households and their large, deprived families of children — usually born within a year or two of each other.

    In such a situation, you have a volcanic and miserable stew abrew whose loose lid could blow off at any moment. And sometimes it did.

    So it had to be a pressure relief — and a welcome relief –– for Grandpa to be gone. At least, he wasn’t torn between trying to spread himself around amongst two wives and his umpteen children — each vying for a part of this X factor’s energies, time, help, money, and affection. (“Everything you own owns a part of you!”)

    In the polygamy brew, let’s not overlook, too, polygamist husbands are free to court and hang out with more than a few “Broads” — while away from their lonely wives … And one reason men seek sex is to relieve pressure.

    This philandering lifestyle is participated in by polygamist men with gusto and a narcissistic sense of entitlement — all the while their abandoned, put-upon, lonely, loving wives are home alone struggling to keep a meal on the table and clothes on the kids!

    Not only that: Polygamous wives are left to be mother and father of their womanizing husband’s broods of babies — children basically abandoned by their father and left to the equally abandoned wives to singlehandedly, dedicatedly, and religiously raise … And most likely in deprivation and poverty! It’s truly slave labor — even if a labor of love. And all in the name of religion (or slavery?)!

    Continued in: “My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, Pt 10 — And the Perils of Polygamy”

     

     

     

     

    ~ Pt 8: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and the Perils of Polygamy

    My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And the Perils of Polygamy — Pt 8

    IMG_6337
    Grandpa LeBaron’s second wife, Aunt Onie, and their six children



    “It is not our exalted feelings,
    it is our sentiments that build the necessary home.”
    Elizabeth Bowen



    We left off where I was querying Mama about her past, present, parents … and the perils of polygamy:

    “Sadly,” Mama told me, “Pa ‘n’ Ma failed miserably in their all-out efforts to follow Joseph Smith’s commandment to live polygamy or be damned to hell. Aunt Onie* ultimately left Papa, taking with her, her six children she’d borne him.

    Actually, what happened is, while Grandpa Dayer was away on one of his long trips painting houses in the United States, Aunt Onie fell for and had an affair with a handsome and charming young Mexican man. When she became pregnant with his child, her affair was discovered. So Grandpa “put her aside.

    But, personally, I don’t blame Aunt Onie for being attracted to another man: She was around thirty years old. Her fifty-year-old husband was gone much of the time. And when home, Onie had to share him with Grandmother Maud (thirteen years Onie’s senior), and a household full of children and chores … plus all the jobs her husband had to do around home, yard, and town.

    But even if none of that mattered, it’s hard to resist temptation when you’re young, attractive, lonely, lovelorn, forlorn … and your husband is generally off sowin’ his wild “corn”/oats. And what’s worse, when he is home, sex is only for having children:

    [Grandpa believed and held to “The Law of Chastity,” the Mormon fundamentalist doctrine that proclaimed, among other things, that sex was only for procreation. And once the wife  was pregnant (and also while she was nursing) he was to leave her alone and have no more sex with her!]

    But note the oxymoron: Aunt Onie’s husband could have a plural wife, but God forbid Aunt Onie had a plural husband — though if anyone ever needed a plural husband, it was she!

    Aunt Onie finally solved her love-n-loneliness dilemmas by leaving Grandfather Dayer and polygamy altogether. She simply went to visit her family of origin in Hurricane, Utah, settled near them — and never returned.

    Poor, grief-stricken, and emotionally abandoned Aunt Onie was shunned till she was forced, though totally heartbroken about it, to adopt out her beautiful illegitimate brown baby: Adultery and bearing a baby out of wedlock — especially a half-breed  — was simply unacceptable among 1930’s Mormons!

    But Aunt Onie lived near and visited regularly her darling “bastard baby,” as they were called back then. How do I know all this? Because Mama told me. And because, between the years of 1955 and 1960, my family lived near Aunt Onie in Hurricane, Utah.

    One day Aunt Onie actually came to my school and gave a speech to our Jr. High/High School student body, as part of a Community Outreach Program. The theme of her speech centered on how she, as a young adult, had made some egregious errors she hoped we would not fall into, ourselves.

    Among the many things she told us was: “I ignored my parents’ ‘n’ the church’s advice, ‘n’ married into polygamy. My rebellion ‘n’ goin’ against the leaders of the church led me into a life of sin, misery, ‘n’ shame.

    “After unbearable sufferin’ ‘n loneliness — which sin always leads to — I eventually saw the error of my ways, repented of my sins, ‘n’ returned to the LDS Church. Then I got rebaptized for the remission of my sins.”

    Tears were rolling down her cheeks as she related her painful misgivings, mistakes, and miserable story. What an amazingly strong woman she was to open up and share, honestly, her experiences and lessons with us young people. I was and still am impressed with her show of humility and integrity. Aunt Onie was a wonderful example to us students, that day … and a wonderful public speaker!

    Now let’s get back to where Mama was telling me about when she and her siblings lost Aunt Onie and their half-siblings who had been so much a part of their life for around fourteen years — including the two years or so when Onie babysat them and helped care for them before she married Grandpa Dayer as his plural wife:

    “Words cannot express the sorrow I felt … our whole family felt,” reminisced Mama –– “upon losing Aunt Onie ‘n’ our playmates — our six half-brothers ‘n’ sisters we’d grown up with.

    “We’d shared the same house with them for seven years. And Aunt Onie had taken care of us like a second mother, while Mama was often gone — busy teachin’ piano lessons to help support the family.” 

    Mother and her siblings never got over having lost their “other mother,” and six half-siblings. But during the years my family lived in Hurricane, Utah, Mama and Aunt Onie visited regularly. This helped Ma not miss so much her mother and family in Mexico.


    *Note: They called Grandpa’s plural/second wife, “Aunt,” as a show of affection and kinship. Though in some polygamous families, the plural wife might have been called “Mama Onie,” or other such.

    Continued in: “My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And the Perils of Polygamy — Pt 9”

     

    ~ Pt 4: My Mother Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, at the Perils of Polygamy

    My Mama, Part 4 — Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer 

    LeBaron homestead.jpeg
    Mama’s home in Colonia Juraez, Chihuahua, México


    “God could not be everywhere,
    so he made mothers.”
     (old Jewish proverb)



    As I related in the previous blog, Mama’s family returned to settle in the Mormon colonies in Mexico in 1924. Mama was around two-and-a-half years old at the time my grandparents and Aunt Onie fled the United States, barely outsmarting a mainline Mormon mob, arrest, and being thrown into a Utah jail for having broken the law by entering into polygamy.

    “My family had lived in various Mormon colonies in Mexico previously,” Mama told me, “goin’ back and forth between them and the United States a number of times over the years.

    “By our return in 1924, Pa had been able to buy a large fixer-upper home in the poorest section of Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. It was one of the homes abandoned by Mormon colonists who fled back to the United States to avoid the catastrophes of the Mexican Revolutionary War of 1910.

    “Bein’ a pretty good handyman, Papa, along with the help of my three young brothers, Ben, Wesley, and Alma, and some cheap Mexican laborers, was able to soon fix the home up enough to live in.

      “We were lucky we could afford even that piece of property to house Papa’s two wives and soon-to-be ten children — for your Grandma was expectin’ her ninth child, Ervil … and Aunt Onie was pregnant too.

    “In 1929, five years after our family moved to Colonia Juarez, the United States’ Stock Market crashed. Many people lost all their money, and huge numbers of people were out of work. It was hard for Pa to find any payin’ jobs in the terrible economic depression that had set in. 

    “So our family was stuck livin’ in the Mormon colonies where we were excoriated and rejected. Every day, on the way home from school, mainstream Mormon kids would call us Mormon fundamentalist kids horrible names, throw rocks and sticks at us, and chase us home, tryin’ to beat us up.

    We didn’t understand why they would do this, because some of them, though not excommunicated from the Mormon church, were kids of polygamists, themselves! Or their grandparents had been polygamists — before The Manifesto of 1890 outlawed polygamy in the Mormon church.

    “Most adults in town just looked the other way and let it happen … Let their kids beat us up and call us horrid names. Some adults even encouraged the children to harass and molest us. 

    But, despite all this,  Mama and Papa had hoped their children would eventually be accepted back into the social setting in Colonia Juarez, thinkin’ it was still the best place to raise their kids.

    “Unfortunately, not till I was in eighth grade did the Mormon colonies let up on some of their ostracization toward the LeBaron family … Partly ’cause they’d seen what this terrible persecution had done to my older siblings.

    “But by then, my elder siblings had suffered from seven to eleven years of heavy rejection and intolerance — the treatment given the worst outcasts and scapegoats in Mormondom,” Mama moaned.

    Really sad, I say! One of those things that should never happen to any child! And unfortunately, it only added to what Mother and her siblings already had suffered growing up in their stoic, fanatically religious Mormon orthodox family — with a crackpot father at the helm, besides.

    But to top it all off, Grandpa Dayer was often absent months at a time, struggling to make a living working in the United States doing odd jobs, and painting houses — or whatever else he could do to bring in money. (As I mentioned before, Mexican law does not allow Americans to earn a wage in Mexico, even though they have children born there!)

    It was extremely hard for Grandpa Alma Dayer LeBaron to support his two huge, constantly expanding and growing young families, especially between the years of 1929 and 1946 — the years of the Great Depression in the United States and World War II.

    Needless to say, what happens in the US also affects its neighbors south of the border. And so, against this backdrop of dire economic straitjacketing, Grandpa, his two wives, and their swarm of young children and teenagers were all living under the same roof for seven years.

    I don’t know how many children the two wives ultimately had, during the seven years they lived in “the big house.” I only know that Grandmother already had eight children and another soon to be on the way when Grandfather married Onie as his plural wife in 1923.

    Among Mormon fundamentalists, the practice of birth control was a mortal sin. So altogether, Grandma bore Grandpa thirteen children, and Aunt Onie bore him six — before she left him. (More on that later.)

    I’ll leave you to a guesstimate of how many adults, children, and babies in diapers were housed altogether, under one roof, before Grandfather could finally afford to buy a separate “roof” for his second family!

    Continued in: “My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, My Mama, Pt 5”

    ~ Pt 3: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and Polygamy

    My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, Pt 3

    Mormon colonies
    A family of Mormon colonists around the turn of the 20th Century

    “Mother is the bank where we deposit
    all our hurts and worries.”
    Author unknown



    *MY MEMOIRS: My Mama, Part 3

    As I mentioned in Part Two of “My Mama,” by the advent of the 1900s, the US government had resorted to extreme pressure to get the Mormon church to discontinue its institution of polygamy — a relic of barbarism and a threat to our country that was unfortunately and inadvertently introduced by Joseph Smith in the mid 1800s, as delineated in the “Doctrine and Covenants,” Section 132 (Mormon Scriptures).

    In reference to this, Mama, years ago, explained to me: “To avert further travails, the LDS church had begun implementin’ stringent measures to wipe out plural marriage within its membership so as to protect its people, church, and Mormon church properties.

    “Passin’ of the second Mormon Manifesto in 1904 meant Pa, ‘n’ his two wives, ‘n’ children, were no longer welcome in the Mormon colonies where my family had fled for refuge in 1923 — after barely outsmarting a mainstream Mormon mob, arrest, ‘n’ bein’ thrown into a Utah jail for havin’ entered into polygamy. 

    “My Ma, Pa, ‘n’ family had lived in various Mormon colonies in Mexico previously, goin’ back ‘n’ forth between them and the US a number of times, over the years. 

    “But this time, when we come back, my parents had gone against the Mormon Manifestos of both 1890 and 1904: They’d taken a plural wife, ‘n’ thereby were considered by the church to be ‘In a state of apostasy.’ 

    “That meant our family was now considered apostates. So we was disfellowshipped from our Church ‘n’ social activities in the Mormon colonies,” continued Mama.”

    “Instead of bein’ accepted with open arms, as he was in the past when he was with his grandfather Benjamin F. Johnson [who was a key figure in developing the Mormon colonies in Mexico], Pa was now an enigma.

    “So our family became persecuted ‘n’ ostracized — The church’s way of discouraging other men from followin’ my father’s example of takin’ multiple wives.”

    “In other words, since the Mormon moratorium on polygamy was o’er by 1904, my parents’ havin’ gone against the LDS church’s updated marriage law now meant their raisin’ us kids in a terrible atmosphere of mainstream Mormon scapegoatin’ ‘n’ rejection — wherever they chose to settle in ‘Mormonland.’

    “It was during the Great Depression ‘n’ World War II era. Them two calamities affected our family, ‘n’ also Pa’s ability to get enough well-payin’ work in “The States.” 

    “So our family was endurin’ extreme poverty, ” Mama opined. “Ma ‘n’ Pa couldn’t afford to move their large family somewhere else, even if they’d decided to remove us kids from the terrible ostracization ‘n’ persecution they found the small Mormon colonies now meted out on ‘specially my eldest siblings!”

    So the Mormon colonies that had once been a place of refuge for Mormon polygamists had, by 1923, become the opposite: A place of persecution and ostracization for polygamists — if they had entered into polygamy after 1904, that is.

    “Those who already had more than one wife BEFORE the Manifesto of 1904, were NOT rejected ‘n’ persecuted as my Pa, Dayer LeBaron, ‘n’ his family was!” Mother explained.

    “We were ostracized ’cause my father was the only man in the Mormon colonies,” she continued, “who went ahead ‘n’ took a plural wife after 1904, despite the church’s mandates.”

    So that was the situation my grandparents found themselves in when they took their family back to Colonia Juarez, Mexico, thinking they were settling in the best place possible to raise their kids. As it turned out, it was the worst place possible!!

    But at least, having moved to Old Mexico, their polygamous family was protected by tolerant Mexican marriage laws, when it came to polygamy — just not by tolerant LDS Mormon marriage laws.

    That said, being “Plygs,” my grandparents simply should not have been bringing up their children in a mainstream Mormon colony where polygamy was no longer tolerated — if they knew what was best for them! But they didn’t.

    Continued in: “My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, Pt 4”

    ~ Pt 2: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and Polygamy

    My Memoir: My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, Pt 2

    LeBaron passport pic
    1920 Passport Picture of Alma Dayer LeBaron & Maud Lucinda McDonald LeBaron & family: Children, from left to right: Ben, Alma, Wesley, Irene, Lucinda, Jenny



    “My mother was the source from which I derived
    the guiding principles of my life.”
    John Wesley



    I left off in Part One where Mama’s parents, Alma Dayer and Maud Lucinda McDonald LeBaron, didn’t agree with the mainline Mormon church’s new mandate regarding polygamy. Why?  Because the Prophet Joseph Smith had given a commandment from God (stated in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132) that the Saints must live Plural Marriage or be damned. In other words, Joseph Smith had set his followers up to suffer a life of hell — which, for most people, is all living polygamy is: A living hell.

    Said Mama, in reference to my grandparents’ stance on the Mormon Manifestos of 1890 and 1904:

    “Ma ‘n’ Pa didn’t believe it was right for the Mormon church to outlaw polygamy, given the Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied it must be lived to attain the highest degree of glory in the Hereafter!

     So they joined ranks with a fledgling Mormon fundamentalist movement that insisted on followin’ the Prophet Joseph Smith’s revelation commanding they live polygamy or be damned.

    “They’d follow this commandment even if it meant they and the rest of their Mormon brethren would once more be driven from their homes and lands, tarred ‘n’ feathered, stripped of their financial assets, and thrown out of the country, jailed, or killed. You see, Ma ‘n’ Pa were stalwarts who’d lay down their lives for ‘the gospel’ … as would I,” proclaimed Mama.

    As I said in last week’s blog, I only wish my self-righteous, stoic grandparents, parents, and the rest of the rebel Mormons who chose (and still choose) to continue living polygamy would’ve been/ would be half as strict about living Christian and other Scriptural doctrines taught by their self-proclaimed Prophet Joseph Smith as they were/are about living polygamy!

    It makes me wonder what it was about the original many thousands of Mormon people who chose to follow such as Joseph Smith! In that same vein, I also wonder what it was/is about the zealot Mormon fundamentalists who believe they are “God’s chosen handful” and who were/are so determined, still, to continue to have more than one wife, come hell or high water!

    Because most Mormons saw the wisdom and practicality of giving up plural marriage and abiding by US law. And they also saw the practicality of following their Prophet Wilford Woodruff’s new “revelation” that discontinued polygamy in the LDS church … for the time being, that is … unfortunately, however, not for the hereafter!!

    Getting back to the main story, Mama told me: “My parents, left the US and moved to the Mormon colonies in Old Mexico before I was born ’cause they intended to live ‘the Holy and God-ordained law of Plural Marriage’.

    “However, after I was born, in 1921, due to financial circumstances, they had to move back to ‘The States.’ There, Pa bought us a home in the small, southern, agrarian Mormon town of La Verkin, Utah, — one where we could plant our own orchard ‘n’ garden … and keep a goat too. I was still a baby then.

    “While there, Pa found the plural wife he’d been lookin’ for — pretty eighteen-year-old Onie Jones. He married her soon after he convinced Ma of the righteousness of taking Onie as his plural wife. Though the three of them did their best to keep this plural marriage a secret, word soon got out in that small Utah town.

    “Not long after that, a friend informed my father a Mormon mob was gatherin’ to lynch him! So he, Ma, ‘n’ Onie grabbed us kids in the dead of night ‘n’ fled back over the Mexican border to live in the Mormon colonies in Old Mexico again.

    It was 1923 by then. If my parents hadn’t fled when they did, it’s said the mainline Mormons would’ve done them in … because they felt my parents had done THEM in by ignorin’ their church’s mandate against polygamy.

    “You see, in 1904, to please the US government and its citizens, and to show they respected the laws of the land, the LDS church had finally instigated a second Manifesto outlawing polygamy in their church:  From ‘The Manifesto of 1890’ to ‘The Manifesto of 1904,’ there’d been a moratorium on polygamy in the LDS church, which allowed Mormons to get used to the new anti-polygamy regulations.

    “But,” continued Mama, “by 1904, those still livin’ polygamy had to either get rid of their plural wives or get out of the country; i.e., move to Old Mexico. Anyone takin’ a plural wife after 1904 would not only be excommunicated from the LDS church ‘n’ considered an apostate, but they’d also be jailed.

    ” My father was one of the first men to disregard the Mormon church’s new Manifesto of 1904: He took a plural wife in 1923 (because he believed God’s laws came ahead of the laws of the land). So, Ma ‘n’ Pa were excommunicated and disfellowshipped from their beloved church.”

    You see, by 1923, polygamy was more than ever frowned upon among the mainstream Mormons: It threatened the safety and solitude they had finally gained, among other things.

    Therefore, they wanted Dayer LeBaron and his two wives OUT of their midst — if only to show other Mormons what would happen, should they choose to follow Dayer’s example of insurrection wherein he continued to take plural wives despite the Mormon church’s modern, updated doctrinal revelation and mandate regarding Joseph Smith’s “Holy Principle of Plural Marriage.”


    ~ My Review of Scott Anderson’s “The 4 O’Clock Murders”

     

     

     

     

     

    Investigative Journalist Scott Anderson, Author of The 4 O’clock Murders

    Scott Anderson’s “The 4 O’clock Murders,” published in 1993, is a must-read for those interested in a documentary of America’s most bizarre but now apparently defunct crime family. The Doc chronicles the history of this extremist cult initiated in the late 1960s by the sociopathic serial killer, Ervil LeBaron. (He was my uncle, no less.)

    The cult was largely made up of Uncle Ervil’s fourteen wives and about sixty children, plus a few other staunch followers and their wives and children. He called his cult organization the “Church of the Lamb of God.” But it was, in reality, anything but lamb-like. Ervil LeBaron’s cult was a fundamentalist Mormon-mafioso syndicated crime family cloaked under the guise of religion.

    Anderson’s text is the most up-to-date book on this cult. Thanks to his dedicated and daring work, we have an amazing wealth of information and insight to further our research, awareness, and understanding of “Evil Ervil,” and his avenging angels.

    I’ve been told the “Ervilites” no longer exist. But that’s not to say another extreme cult of “avenging angel’s” couldn’t or hasn’t risen from its ashes to take up where the “Ervilites” left off. You are with me in hoping that isn’t the case and never happens.

    Recently, I read Scott Anderson’s “The 4 O’clock Murders,” only to have my hair stand on end when I realized how little I had ever really known about this horrifyingly horrific, dangerous, and devious band of outlaws.

    I’m not proud to say most of them were my relatives. And that it was all spawned by my charismatic and brilliant, but lunatic Uncle Ervil and his treacherous teachings — that included hearing God regularly tell him to “Kill those sons of bitches!”

    But maniacal “Mormon Manson” Ervil couldn’t have succeeded in his reign of terror without the dastardly group of mislead miscreant, autistic-like, demented people who followed his violent, crazy, megalomaniac, and malevolent religious philosophy.

    The majority of Uncle Joel LeBaron’s Church of the Firstborn followers couldn’t stomach his brother Ervil LeBaron’s violent, threatening, and far-fetched Philosophy of life. Nor did they want anything to do with his domineering, devious, and deceptive ways.

    Ervil’s overbearing, self-centered, presumptuous, pseudo-authoritative sense-of-entitlement was hard for most to take — not to mention his nonstop talk, wayward religious doctrines — and his bad breath.

    Uncle Ervil’s priestcraft and manipulations drove some of my peaceful Uncle Joel’s followers into frenzied frustration, rebellion, and disillusionment — such that they left Joel’s cult Uncle Ervil had a large role in helping Joel build.

    In other words, most of Uncle Joel LeBaron’s followers (myself included) wouldn’t leave Joel’s sect to join the violent renegade, retrograde cult Ervil LeBaron started. (Ervil initiated it after Joel excommunicated him from the “Church of the First Born,” a Mormon-offshoot cult.)

    Therefore, you have to wonder about the adults who did choose to follow Uncle Ervil, hook, line, and sinker/stinker (Pun intended) — and even to murder for him!

     In 1967, at age twenty-one, I escaped Uncle Joel LeBaron’s cult — just as Uncle Ervil, his right-hand man, and brother, was beginning to preach his own violent, subversive civil-law and blood-atonement doctrine, along with all its mafioso underpinnings.

    A few years after I fled “The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times,” Uncle Joel, as I mentioned above, finally disfellowshipped his brother Ervil from his “church,” due to, among other things, Ervil’s insurrection, insubordination, aggrandizement, and blood-atonement philosophy.

    You must read the following books, “The 4 O’Clock Murders,” “Prophet of Blood,” and my recently-deceased Aunt Irene Koonz LeBaron/Spencer’s book, “Cult Insanity,” to know what I’m talking about — if you aren’t already familiar with the LeBaron-Madmen story.

    I wish there were an update of this bloody LeBaron Documentary, “The Four O’clock Murders.” Written over twenty-five years ago, much has taken place among the Ervilites, LeBarons, and Joel’s cult since Scott Anderson went out on a limb, putting his life on the line, to chronicle and publish this incredulous history of a vengeful crime family that makes Manson and his “family” seem tame in comparison.

     I’m grateful Anderson scribed this well-written Doc. Without his honesty and dedication, I and the world would never have known the extent to which this bloody, Satanic, and ill-begotten cult was willing to go — although we do have the earlier and equally well-written and researched documentary, “The Prophet of Blood, chronicled and published in 1981 by Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Dale Van Atta.

    These Documentaries may not always be right-on-the-button. But they’re close enough to “Who’s got the button?” The Authors did well, given the difficulty involved in obtaining information. Even ex-cult members usually don’t talk — especially to outsiders. If bits of Info were circumspect, blame the cult members they interviewed!

    That said“The Prophet of Blood,” is a recommended read. It contains historical data not in “The 4 O’clock Murders.”

    Scott Anderson’s Documentary published twelve years later, chronicles updated history of the bloody and loony legacy spawned by the maniacal “prophet,” Ervil LeBaron. It’s a pathetic legacy of a “Prophet out for Profit” … out of his mind.

    prophet-of-blood-book-cover

    ~ My Review of My Aunt Rena Chynoweth’s “The Blood Covenant”

    blood-covenant-by-r-blood-blood-covenant-by-chynoweth-1
    A ghostwritten Memoir about Rena Chynoweth, Ervil LeBaron, and his cult

    This Memoir, written around thirty years ago, struck me as the work of an immature apologist and revisionist. Its bias toward Uncle Ervil’s cold-hearted cult hangs like a cobweb over the entire tale authored by none other than my Ex-Aunt, the infamous Rena Chynoweth.

    That said, the book is still in the public libraries, et Al, but is sadly in need of a rewrite and update. How do I know? Because yesterday I had the fortunate opportunity to meet one of my Uncle Ervil’s more than fifty children, the brilliant, gifted, and beautiful Gabriella LeBaron, soon to graduate from the ivy league Cornell University. (Update: She has graduated now, I assume!)

    She told me how Rena had indeed taken in Uncle Ervil’s kids and raised them, chancing her own life and well-being while she helped 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, herself. For it is the 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: See below for what I just “discovered” online about this “Discovery” Organization/ Business! Then you be the judge. All I know is some of my cousins really vouch for what it did for them. But it’s common to leave one cult only to be taken in by another.)

    In her old memoir of over thirty years ago, it seemed Rena bragged about and exploited, at times, the soldier part she played in the sad and sordid tale of her serial-killer husband Ervil’s bloody, violent, and psychotic cult. At the same time, though, she ended her book with these 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: Here Rena gave an address and a phone number where she could be contacted. But the resource was around thirty years old, so was likely not worth my posting here, I felt.

    But I also had reservations as to how helpful she would be to Ervil’s remnants, given the tone of her memoir. But as of yesterday, April 5, 2016, I learned that she did indeed do a great service to the remnants of Ervil’s children still left in his cult. In fact, Rena and her cohorts are largely responsible for having brought to an end the devious and divisive cult Ervil LeBaron started!! WOW!!

    So I am very impressed, now, with Rena — How she not only remade herself but 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 group.

    When her memoir was published, it sounded to me like she had lots of deprogramming and repentance still left in her wake 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.

     So I didn’t see how it would be helpful at all to stick Uncle Ervil’s warped children off on some ranch with her and others like her. Besides, that sounded like just another reclusive cult to me. I felt the best way to civilize warped children was to fully immerse them in a much better environment than the one they came from.

    I didn’t think it would be beneficial for a messed up and confused band of cult and ex-cult members to all be living together on some ranch with simply more of their own kind who also grew up in their backward, brainwashed, degenerate, and vengeful cult past.

    It seemed to me, to best heal and overcome “damaged human goods,”  They would need to mix and mingle with a normal and better example of beings — 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 within them in its wake.

    And, as an aside, I had also recently seen some of the Lambs of God and The Book Of Revelations “Avenging Angels” literature being passed out in my area! It is scary stuff and told me the cult of Ervilites still had its leaders.

    Or perhaps it was a take-off from Uncle Ervil’s cult and possibly indoctrinating at least some of Ervil’s progeny. Or it was a new group, altogether, but using Ervil’s teachings and trying to bring converts into its bloody cult under a new “prophet,” now.

    But still, I had said, “I would be very happy if Rena, et Al, did have a hand in ending this malevolent cult. Let’s pray that’s the case.” Well, it is and was the case, according to my uncle Ervil LeBaron’s astute and beautiful daughter Gabriela!

    As I said, 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, herself, was brought out of her father’s cult mess she had grown up in.

    And Gabriela has since become a new person, on her way to doing wonderful service to help make the world a better place! She’s an author, blogger, 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, as per Rena’s old memoir “Blood Covenant,” penned over 30 years ago, it’s still a worthwhile read but desperately needs to be fact-checked!  Not all is factual. Also, she makes assumptions about a number of serious things that took place in Ervil’s life, as though she were an authority on the subjects. But her assumptions are based only on uneducated and wishful thinking.

    For example, she claims “Ervil had nothing to do with the JFK murder.” What does she really know about thisShe 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 — though  she and her family hardly did 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. Maybe we can’t blame her?

    So, 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 her book worth a perusal just 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 from start to finish “The 4 O’clock Murders” by Scott Anderson. And “Prophet of Blood” by Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Dale Van Atta.

    Note: These books may be he found at public libraries, bookstores like Amazon.com, and possibly on Kindle.

     

     

    Note: Some entries in the above documentaries are not always exactly right, but hats off to these Author’s for doing as well as they did with a subject that was often hard to get “the truth” about.

    And as an added note, this many years later since those books were published, there has been great change and progress in Uncle Ervil’s children and families: True tales of redemption and of what’s amazingly possible in the human spirit, against all odds.

    To get an idea of what I mean, read Uncle Ervil’s daughter’s memoir published in March of 2017, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” available in bookstores everywhere. You may also go to the “University” of  YouTube to see interferes of her, and check her website: AnnaLeBaron.com


    • You may use your search engine to look up people and topics if you wish more information on anyone or anything I mentioned in this blog. Also 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!:

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    Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: notmuch4games ()
    Date: February 20, 2008 03:32AM

    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.

     

    Options: ReplyQuote

    Re: Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: straightup ()
    Date: March 07, 2008 06:36AM
    NM4Games- WELL SAID! You hit the nail on the head. You have been fed the same cult crap as the rest of us. I wish I had come here before I went to Discovery. You could have saved me much money and much more trouble.
    Looks like you have their number. CREEPS!!! I’m still reeling from my experiance. I have lots of questions and a little insight. I’ll send you a message. Keep up the good work
    Options: ReplyQuote

    Re: Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: Enviro_Cop ()
    Date: May 27, 2008 09:26AM
    Hey Straightup:
    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.

    EC

    Options: ReplyQuote

    Re: Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: notmuch4games ()
    Date: June 03, 2008 12:07AM

    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.

    Options: ReplyQuote

    Re: Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: straightup ()
    Date: June 03, 2008 05:34AM
    EC, I have read your comments and the other comments by the creeps from Discovery. They are all so completely fooled by the mind games and BS being fed to them by Lowder and his ilk! I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for me 🙂
    I wasted a lot of money on that crap and I have more problems now than I did before. Actually, my old problems are probably small compared with the new issues I picked up at Discovery. I am practically broke after completing two “classes.” I was approached about helping to pay for another classmate’s tuition shortly after my first class. I had never seen the mean-spirited money-hungry side of the facilitators until I told them that I could barely afford to go to D2 myself.
    They were completely different after they saw that I wasn’t going to sign my life away. I was willing to give everything (spiritually) that I had, but I think the money thing really pissed them off. At D2, they kept making references to selfishness and self-centeredness when I would come around. Now I can see them for what they are. A business! I wish I had seen this thread before I wasted my money. Has anyone ever sued a group like that and recouped their money?
    At D2, they kept making references to selfishness and self-centeredness when I would come around. Now, I can see them for what they are. A business! I wish I had seen this thread before I wasted my money. Has anyone ever sued a group like that and recouped their money?
    Options: ReplyQuote

    Re: Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: Enviro_Cop ()
    Date: June 03, 2008 07:14AM

    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?

    EC

    Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/03/2008 07:40AM by Enviro_Cop.

    Options: ReplyQuote

    Re: Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: notmuch4games ()
    Date: June 06, 2008 12:50AM

    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.)

    Options: ReplyQuote

    Re: Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: notmuch4games ()
    Date: August 07, 2008 10:49PM
    Hope everybody is staying away from Discovery and other cults out there. Just send me a message if anyone has questions about D. I am happy to tell what I know to anyone with an interest. Keep up the fight, guys. Maybe someday the authorities will “discover” what many of us already know: DISCOVERY IS A CULT AND IT DESTROYS FAMILIES FOR MONITARY GAIN. God bless!
    Options: ReplyQuote

    Re: Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: done ()
    Date: September 25, 2008 01:57PM

    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.

    Options: ReplyQuote

    Re: Dallas Discovery Cult Still Ruining Lives
    Posted by: Harley21 ()
    Date: October 07, 2008 12:53PM
    I do not know anything of this cult but I do feel like giving some advice: Do not blame yourself. Always stay positive and hang out with that rational friend of yours. I believe that we can learn from ALL things good and bad……I bet this will make you a much stronger person in the long run. Be good to yourself and smile always.
    Options: ReplyQuote
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    ~ My Review of “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass!

    r4186h8vhr4l-_ac_us218_its-not-about-sex-my-ass-pic

    Note: This book was so good I listened to it straight through in audiobook form, then turned around and listened to it again; then bought the hardcover edition!
    January 9, 2017

    By Stephany Spencer

    My book review of “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass: Confessions of an Ex-Mormon Ex-Polygamist Ex-Wife (Kindle Edition)

    I don’t usually do book reviews, for lack of time. But this book was so good I listened to it straight through, on Audible — and am listening to it again, for the third time,  right now. And also bought the book!

    I am an Ex-FLDS, Ex-polygamist wife, Escapee of my Uncle Joel LeBaron’s Mormon fundamentalist cult … and a recovering Mormon. So I found the story, humor, and satire in this superbly-written Memoir extra hilarious. I could well relate to it all firsthand! That’s putting it mildly: I about split in half laughing at these clever writers’ tongue-in-cheek asides and observations of life in polygamy and a Mormon fundamentalist cult!

    I am still so rebbed up from this excellent, well-written book I listened to from start to finish, non-stop, that I’m following it up with this review — to help me come down from my high, after the great marathon read/listen!

    I want to say it is one of the best books I’ve ever read/listened to — It’s a classic. The narrator, also, couldn’t have been better! I only wish I had words and time to give it the best review any expert writer could give it.

    It not only is a true view of what polygamy and Mormon cults are all about but gives some good advice, too, on how to avoid one — or how to get out of one if you find yourself in one.

    I have an aunt who, after her husband (my Uncle Ervil LeBaron) died, joined Harmston’s group — the cult Joanne Hanks and her husband had belonged to then left. After many years, now, of being married to Harmston, my aunt unfortunately still believes he’s “The One Mighty and Strong”/a prophet! So kudos to the author and her husband for seeing through Harmston’s cult — before it could “Harm” (pun intended) her and her husband anymore — and for having the wherewithal to finally leave!

    A sister of mine says Harmston’s clan is worse and more dangerous than was the cult of the psychotic serial killer “Evil Ervil” — “The Mormon Manson”! I’m still wondering about this. For I have not heard anything in the news, so far, nor in “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass!” to tell me Harmston is a dangerous psychotic megalomaniac murderer like my uncle Ervil was. Though I read recently that Harmston does preach “blood atonement.”

    Perhaps it was safer to not tell all that. But thanks, Joanne Hanks and Steve Cuno, for writing this book! Your words, insight, and humor have helped me in my healing journey. And it will also help and has already helped many others who’ve read or listened to your superbly written top-rate Memoir.

     

    ~ My Review of My Cousin Anna LeBaron’s “The Polygamist’s Daughter”

     

     

     

     

    By Stephany Spencer: My Book Review of my cousin Anna LeBaron’s Memoir: “The Polygamist’s Daughter”

    Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., I was honored with a complimentary ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of cousin Anna LeBaron’s bravely written book, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” published March 21, 2017.

    Regarding Anna’s Memoir, I was disappointed she didn’t tell us more about her miscreant father, “Evil Ervil,” (the murderous “Mormon Manson”). Also wish she had gone more into the details of her “running away from home.” (I would not have cared if the book were longer!)

    As it was, her book said very little about her colorful father. And her “running away” was simply to call her married sister to take her in — a sister within walking distance, no less. Still, I have to give her credit for having had the sense and courage to run away at the tender age of thirteen, no less! For having run away, she might even very well have been killed by the cult she fled!

    Even so, in essence, her book was milquetoast for me, in comparison to what was really going on in her family and father’s violent cult that drove her to flee the abusive and corrupt lifestyle. However, I realize she was between a rock and a hard spot when it came to relating this treacherous past.

    Furthermore, she was so very young when much of the treachery happened within her family’s cult that she apparently didn’t know much about it — and maybe still doesn’t know that much — and doesn’t want to know that much. But there are a number of good books on the subject. They are just hard for my Uncle Ervil’s children to take in and accept. I do understand that!

    I, an old veteran of much of that history, also realize that if she were totally up front, it would possibly compromise her present and future — and her amazing success and redemption in surviving her malevolent past. To give Anna credit, she is such an example of the human spirit and its ability to survive and rise above every adversity handed it.

    Her father is my mother’s brother. And was my husband’s buddy/ boyfriend for ten years — so  I knew him well … as well as you could know a devious and manipulative man like my Uncle Ervil LeBaron for whom I had felt much love, respect, and reverence till he went off the deep end in his jealous and murderous power-pushing psychopathy.

    Presently, I feel mostly pity, shame, and disgust for my dangerous but now-deceased charismatic zealot evil uncle who, though mentally ill, sociopathic and revengeful, nonetheless, had a lot of people convinced he was a prophet.

    To better understand that whole scenario, read Cult Insanity” by Irene Spencer;” “Prophet of Blood,” by Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Dale Van Atta. And “The 4 O’clock Murders,”  by Scott Anderson — among other books on this history.

    Also, here, on my Website, you might want to read my book reviews of these above books. Plus, listen to YouTube documentaries and interviews on Ervil, the LeBarons, and Mormon fundamentalist polygamists. They give great background and insight into what Anna LeBaron was brought up in. But you won’t find it in her book.

    To further understand this whole bizarre LeBaron crime family mafia scene, check Wikipedia and other online Info about Ervil LeBaron, including my Website Menu bar underMedia About my Family, Friends, and Mormon Fundamentalist Cults.” And “Famous ‘n’ Infamous Relatives of Mine.” You could, as well, watch the excellent film,Prophet of Evil,” starring Brian Dennehy.

    Getting back to Anna LeBaron’s Memoir, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” everyone in the LeBaron Colony in the 1960’s saw how Uncle Ervil went about preaching and “doing missionary work,” totally indifferent toward his nine neglected children he had already born at that time by his first wife, my beautiful but bipolar Mexican peasant Aunt Delfina.

    These indigent kids were left to roam the streets, starving, and unkempt —  not to mention his fifty or more other deprived, depraved, and abandoned children he bore by his additional thirteen way-out wives he added to his harem as time went on and the LeBaron cult grew and developed — and he and his wives taught their children to be murderers!

    So it hurt to the quick to hear, firsthand, in Anna’s Memoir how it felt for her to be so badly neglected and used by her non-empathetic, uncaring, sense-of-entitlement, narcissistic father!

    But when I then read how Ervil’s unloved and abused daughter Lillian died, I grieved for days. She was one of Aunt Delfina’s darling children whom, when Aunt Delfina was depressed and mentally ill, I had helped look out for while I lived near them in the LeBaron Colony in Mexico before I escaped the cult in 1967 at age twenty-one.

    Sweet Lillian was only around five or so, then. And I don’t believe Anna had been born yet. But I had lived across the street from her jolly mother with the beautiful singing voice, Aunt Anna Mae Marston/ AKA LeBaron.

    I had taught her older siblings (including gorgeous David Marston — see his life’s story I have posted on my Website: DAVID M.’S LIFE STORY: (Anna LeBaron’s Half-Brother –The story you are about to read is true)) in my Colonia LeBaron Preschool I started in my home at age fifteen.

    Therefore, though I wish Anna had gone more into depth about her very colorful past life, I’m proud of her efforts and the work she put into writing and publishing all that she did of her Life Story. The world benefits by knowing “The unspeakable.”

    I’m sure her tragic memories were anything but easy to have to relive in order to put into print. But I get a sense she is protecting her 50+ siblings and other relatives by not revealing more of her early upbringing and beliefs. (There is much meat only she and her siblings could tell an amateur social-psychologist like me. But she kept it from us.)

    As for her story, I felt it finally picked up in the latter part where she began to shoot a little from the hip. I especially found it enlightening and helpful when she went into detail about how she overcame a bout of deep depression.

    I benefited, also, when she told of her epiphany that gave her a new lease on life — a greater purpose for living. She is presently a Life Coach. And works to help improve the world — just the opposite of what her father did!

    Though her father preached that he was “Here to set the house of God in order, to prepare it for the second coming of Christ,” in reality, he did just the opposite of everything he preached and claimed: He was really here “to set the Devil’s house in order” … and prepare the world for a living Hell!

    Like her father Ervil, Anna LeBaron is bright, a writer, and a leader. Unlike her father, she exhibits integrity, sanity, empathy, and a loving, giving spirit. So my hat goes off to Anna! She has come a long way, met redemption, made a lot of good choices, and overcome a lot.

    I look forward to her next book — but only if she is deep enough and feels safe enough to shoot from the hip — all the way — and “tell all.”

    For me, a person that grew up in the LeBaron cult her father helped build, that would be a much more helpful, healing, and insightful sociological study and book — not mishmash but well worth my precious time and money to buy and read.

    An afterthought: Possibly, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” given its book cover and all, was mostly meant for the children’s and “Young Adults” section of the library.

    In that case, it didn’t need great depth of insight and information — the likes of which an older informed and astute adult like me (who’s read over one-hundred books about/ written by Mormon fundamentalist cult escapees and authorities) would likely be looking for.


     



    ~ My Notes, Quotes, Jokes, Pokes, ‘n’ Anecdotes


    Bimbo Weeps:

     I’m sittin’ alone in the moonlight,
    At the Heartbreak Hotel Café,
    Abandoned by women and men;
    And here’s all I have to say,
    “I’ll never eat garlic nor onions again —
    Not till my dying day —
    NOT if it drives possible friendships away,
    Miraculously keeping romance at bay!”

    By Stephany Spencer

    ****************************************






    man-in-bed-with-three-women

    Bimbo Notes:

    One’s a plenty, two’s a crowd,
    Three on the sidewalk is not allowed.”
    Anonymous
    (But have you ever noticed in “Big Love” they might
    Be doing it behind your back — or closed doors?
    Step on a crack and try to keep track!)
    Stephany Spencer





    *************************************************
    Bimbo Speaketh

    Please, God, don’t let me be a fruitcake this Christmas;
    I don’t want to be eaten by one either!
    Stephany Spencer

    *************************************************




    dog-on-computer

    Online Dating

    When it comes to online dating,
    If  you’re lookin’ for a mating,
    The odds are good
    That the goods are odd;
    So “wrots of wruck” with your mate-baiting!
    I won’t be holding my bag waiting.
    Stephany Spencer

    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&





     Longing for a Soulmate No More

    I used to long for a Soulmate,
    But I don’t long anymore,
    ‘Cause I damn well know in my core
    Who’d get stuck picking up after him …
    Plus a whole lot more!

    For that same reason,
    In my “Golden-Sage” season,

    I no longer dream of Mr. Wright
    Nor a shining-armored knight;
    I’ve learned they’re all fairytales –
    No one’s coming to save me;
    For sure, no horny, hairy males!
    And Stupid-Cupid least of all:
    Cupid’s but Libido and Nature
    Having a ball.

    At long last, I’ve come to see

    My soulmate’s the other half of me;
    And it’s well that this should be.
    So I’ll leave my fate to God,
    And what will be, we’ll see!

    Stephany Spencer

     

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    Me, Myself, and I

    Sittin’ alone in the moonlight,
    I heard a lonesome cry;
    It must have come from within;
    There was only me, myself, and I!

    Then I chanced to ask it,”Why? Why?!”
    Spoke the voice in soft reply:
    “’Because, wherefore, and therefore; That’s why!”
    So I gathered myself up with a sigh,
    To face the great by-and-by and cry,

    Because, in reality, there could only be
    Lonely me, myself, and I.
    By Stephany Spencer
    (Written at age 14)              

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@







    Bimbo Speaks:
    “Love may be blind,
    but jealousy and envy sport
    wide-angled telescopic vision
    with binocular hindsight!”
    Stephany Spencer



    lady-with-the-hat

    “Complacency breeds poor insight,
    While envy sports telescopic sight!”
    Stephany Spencer




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    cartoon-dancer

    Says Bimbo:
    Who cares if four-inch heels
    Give you bunions,
    Backaches, ‘n’ achin’ feet?

    What’s important is yer legs
    Look long ‘n’ sleek,
    And yer ankles slim ‘n’ petite!
    Stephany Spencer

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@








    cas-in-black-hat

     Bimbo Says: 

    “There’s a vast amount of undeveloped territory
    just below my fancy hat ‘n’ hairdo —
     right betwixt me ears two!”
    Stephany Spencer

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@






    mouse-minnnie

    The Bimbo Class

    My claim-to-fame is shoppin’,
    ‘Cause most parts of me
    Are perfect ‘n’ hoppin’;

    So if it’s all the same to you,
    I’ll keep right on a-boppin’
    In my fancy hat ’n’ updo–

    Let the intellectuals study it,
    If they want to —

    And the undeveloped matter
    Under it too!

    But in “Alice, Through the Lookin’ Glass,
    It didn’t matter where
    The Mad Hatter had ‘er — nor ‘er class;
    An’ it doesn’t matter a hair
    To the hare, either, what I do
    So don’t be a “hare-up-my-ass”!
    (Well, did you expect better
    Of the Bimbo class?!)
    Stephany Spencer








    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    gray-hair

    A Bimbo-Breakthrough:
    Old age ain’t for sissies …
    And neither is bein’ a woman!
     Stephany Spencer 

    Bio Ballad of a Cult Survivor: My Bio in Verse, for Better or Worse

     

    dad-ma-9-kids-1
    My family in 1956 — I’m in middle row, 2nd From left


    Bio Ballad of a Cult Survivor:
    My Bio in Verse, for Better or Worse
    (by Stephany Spencer)

    1-  I was born some time ago, way out in the sticks,
    In a Mormon cult in Mexico, in nineteen forty-six;
    By the time I was eleven, we were a family of twelve;
    For everything I ever got, I had to dig and delve.
    Refrain: Dig and delve? Yes, dig and delve.
    For everything I ever got, I had to dig and delve.

    2-  We lived among the hicks; created toys out of sticks,
    But we thought we were the best — God’s chosen people!
    This was the only life I knew, all the while I grew;
    To pass God’s tests is what we were here to do.

    Chorus
     Oh, a hick! Yes, a dad-gummed polygamist hick,
    Born into a cult, “Plyg!” was the ultimate insult;
    But how was I to know someday I would grow
    And leave it all behind, that stoic life of woe?
    Refrain: Life of woe? Oh, misery and woe –
    So I left it all behind, a better world to know

    3-  A masochistic life of hell we all did sow —
    It was the only world I’d ever know,
    Till one day I did find these people were all blind —
    And sniffing after some false prophet’s behind!

    5-  So I escaped this fanatic cult — left it all behind;
    Into the world I went, a whole new life to find;
    I settled in LA, and found a better way;
    And now I am a Graduate of UCLA.

    6  When I fled the polygamist cult, wasn’t sure what to expect;
    Times were hard and the wages were too low.
    But I kept on keeping on, though progress was slow;
    ‘Twas better than I got in Old Mexico.

    7-  Now here I am today, living in a whole new way
    From the backward one I started out with;
    I’m grateful for each day, and the good ole USA,
    “You’ve come a long way, Babe,” I tell myself each day.
    TAG: I am a cult survivor, you sure could say —
    And a thriver in every way!

             

    My Poem: “The Sands of My Hourglass”

       hourglass-with-sand-and-watch

    The sands of time are running
    Through my hourglass,
    Telling me I don’t have much time –
    Taking away my time as sure
    As any hands on a clock;
    And I can’t get the speed to stop;
    Neither my heart that goes
    Pitter-pat like raindrops
    On the window pane of my life;
    And like the pain in my soul
    That’s running down my cheeks
    Like teardrops on a window glass —
    Or the glasses I look out from.

    And I wonder what is wrong
    And why my time
    Won’t stop running away with me
    And from me —
    Hard as I try to catch up with it —
    Get with it — not behind it.
    It’s synonymous with
    Life’s impermanence,
    Which I also want to stop
    But cannot control
    Any more than the sands running
    Through the hourglass
    Of my life … or my door-stop.

    ~ My Song: “A New Day’s Dawning”

    blazing-night-view

     A New Day’s Dawning:
    By Stephany Spencer  

    1- I feel bad, I feel blue,
    Sad because this day is through;
    Still so much left to do;
    But in the morning I’ll start anew.
    For God gives, and God takes;
    Every day is a gift God makes.
    Soon my life will be through,
    But Blues, be off with you!
    (Chorus)

    2-  Same ole story, same ole song:
    Can’t believe this day is gone!
    But a new day’s coming along,
    Beginning at the break of dawn,
       Bringing with it a brand-new song:
    We’re all right where we belong;
    By doing right, we can’t go wrong,
    So blues get along! Begone!

    Chorus:
    “Every day’s a blessing, every day’s a song;
    Grateful for each golden dawn.
    Though this day will soon move on,
    When one day closes, another comes along.
    When one day closes, a new day comes along.

       

    ~ Memoir: I won and I Lost … Or How More Is Less

    daddy-ma-and-fam-in-color
    My family in 1958 (I’m 2nd to left, middle row)

    (NOTE: Not Hurricane High School: But this photo is the best depiction I could find of how I recall Hurricane High back when I attended 6th-8th grades there, between 1957–1960.)red brick school


    A Memoir Story by Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron



    It was the 1959–1960 school year in small-town Hurricane, Utah. And everybody in my eighth-grade English class hated our teacher Miss Naegle – everybody but me. They complained about her incessantly, saying: Miss Naegle talks TOO much, isn’t fair, and she gives way-too-hard homework!

    But I was taking her class for the second year in a row because I had learned so much in her 7th-grade English class. And I found her lessons and methodology exciting and challenging.

    For one thing, she used an old-fashioned method of seating wherein every class member sat in his/her desk that snaked around the edge of the room according to his/her grades.

    The “A” students sat at “the top” of the class. The “B” students came next in succession. Then the “C”s followed as the students in their desks continued to snake on down to the bottom of the room where the “D” students sat — and finally the “F’s.”

    The “F” students were the ones who hated Miss Naegle the most. They acted out every chance they got. What did they have to lose? They were already as low as they could go. Sadly, the only attention these possibly dyslexic, ADHD, or otherwise learning-disabled children got was when they acted like smart alecks and class clowns.

    But the competition among the students at the top of the class was exciting and rife. We got plenty of attention. I was usually sitting in one of the first three top seats. But I never thought of myself as better or smarter than anyone else. I just expected myself to sit in the top section because that was where I fell, grade-wise. I’d gotten used to enjoying this coveted position in the room. And used to thinking of myself as one of the “A” students. So did everyone else in the class.

    But I was very shy and highly sensitive. Would cry if the teacher looked at me with a sternly raised eyebrow. Otherwise, I was generally having tremendous fun sitting somewhere within the top seats in class competing with the other top students in my English-class who were enjoying vying with me to stay in or get back up in the top seat. Since it came easily for me to stay up there, it added to the reasons I had liked Miss Naegle’s class enough to choose her as my English teacher a second year in a row.

    But one day, just as band class was over, I got up to go to my English class only to notice a dark, wet blotch on the behind of my red plaid skirt. Mortified, I held my clarinet case behind me to cover my butt and rushed to “The Old Maid”–as we commonly called Miss Naegle (she was thirty, unmarried, and looked really old to us thirteen-year-olds):

    “Miss Naegle,” I embarrassingly whispered, “I have an emergency! My monthly just started and it’s showing on the back of my skirt. May I be excused to go to the restroom?” 

    Why SURE,” Miss Naegle crooned.

    But when I got back to class, everybody yelled, “Beulah’s late!! She has to go to the bottom of the class!” And Miss Naegle did it with class:

    “Beulah, you’re late!” she chastised me. “You know the rules! Now go sit down at the bottom of the class!” She pretended she hadn’t excused my entering “late,” though I had actually come to class early and gotten her permission to go use the restroom! So I was not only humiliated but devastated and betrayed by my favorite teacher. (But she was only one of my teachers who showed “the little Saints” how to ostracize and persecute us Mormon fundamentalists in their midst.)

    I knew grades were due to be made out arbitrarily any minute in Miss Naegle’s room in that religiously fanatic red-necked, red brick schoolhouse where all the “Latter Day Saints”/LDS were acceptable and all the “Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints”/ FLDS were not.

     “LDS” stands for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s commonly called “The Mormon Church.”  “FLDS” stands for The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or “The Fundamentalist Mormon Church.” 

    The “FLDS,”  were not accepted–NOT wanted in that little redneck mainstream Mormon town. Our family had moved to Hurricane “temporarily,” three years before, after leaving the nearby Fundamentalist Mormon town of Short Creek.

    I was going on ten years old when my parents left the Short Creek group because they had become disillusioned with many teachings and actions of that town and its self-proclaimed prophet, Leroy Johnson.

    Short Creek is now called Colorado City (on the map) to take attention off this infamous polygamist town after it hit big-time news in 1953 due to its “BIG LOVE” activity and other lawlessness.

    In 1953, Arizona (backed by Utahan authorities) sent an organized humanitarian police-and-rescue force into this renegade polygamist town in an all-out attempt to eradicate the lawless polygamist cult infestation that was growing exponentially on the twin borders of Utah and Arizona.

    Unfortunately, the modus operandi failed (the same way The 2008 Texas Raid on El Dorado and the YFZ Ranch failed!). The 1953 humanitarian law-and-order rescue-attempt is now referred to as “The Short Creek Raid.” 

    Although the Short Creek Raid basically failed, our government reached SOME success when around 1958, not long after the 1953 “raid” ended, an Interstate Highway was built that wound its way right through the middle of this secretive enclave!! This backward, secluded, law-unto-itself cult hideaway could never again remain entirely hidden! 

    But (as of the time this story was written) in 2017–the infestation and insurrection still persists, though quelled somewhat now, thanks to the state of Texas that had the guts to stick to its guns and put Warren Jeffs behind bars for life — plus the teeth to jail a few other main leaders of this cult. Thank goodness at least for that!

    Recently, the state of Arizona issued mandates to Colorado City (as of around July 2017) to divide up the land into Deeds of Trust that can be owned individually. Wow! Some progress at long last.

    But, being a survivor of the 1953 Short Creek “Raid” that took place when I was seven years old, I was not pleased with Texas’ decision to return the 464 children back to their lawbreaking, human-rights-abusive polygamist cult leaders and parents.

    During that El Dorado YFZ Raid, I had prayed fervently that Texas would NOT send those abused, trapped kids back to their brainwashed cult parents. For one thing, children born into Mormon fundamentalism are not protected under the rights other American citizens take for granted.

    But Texas succumbed: Backed up against the wall by naïve public sentiment and news-media smoke screens, it ended up sending those misfortunate kids back into the environment of White slavery they were unfortunately born into!

    Due to the pressure and ignorance of the public that forced the Texas Government to return the YFZ kids to the abuse of their extremist and secluded polygamist cult, my prayers weren’t fulfilled. Suffice it to say, I wish I had been put in a good foster home instead of sent back to live with my Mormon fundamentalist parents once The 1953 “Raid” ended.

    Instead, I was sent back to the Mormon fundamentalist Short Creek colony to continue a backward lifestyle in a law-breaking, abusive, secluded enclave where I would be raised a polygamist by brainwashed, fanatic, laws-unto-themselves parents who didn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, lived only for the hereafter, and thought the sky was falling!


    NOTE: The following is a picture of me with my classmates when I was in first grade in Short Creek — It’s a mixed-grade small class where Mrs. Verda Lartsen taught grades 1st-through 5th!


    me-shortcreek
    Photo of my Short Creek, Arizona/Utah Elementary School mixed-grade class of 1st-5th graders, taken when I was in first grade — two months before the 1953 Short Creek Raid.


    Sing your song,

    Dance your dance,

    Tell your tale.

    —Frank McCourt,

       Modern-day Dickens, 

       Author of best-selling classics

       Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis, and Teacher Man



     

    They Changed the Name of Our Hometown*

    1— They changed the name of our hometown the other day,

    But in the hearts of some Short Creek will always stay;

    The cliffs so high, the valleys filled with memories —

    How can they change a hometown’s name or verse to trees?

    2— Oh, I’ve been asked a thousand times or more, I guess,

    If from the town Short Creek I came; I answer, “Yes;”

    With head erect, I proudly say my hometown’s name;

    But, since the change to “Colorado City,” it ain’t the same.

    3— When I was ten, my family left my dear hometown;

    For Colonia LeBaron, Mexico, we were bound.

    But Hurricane, Utah became our four-year camping ground;

    Still, throughout the years, I can’t forget Short Creek, I’ve found.

    Refrain:

    I’ve been asked a thousand times or more,

    If from Short Creek I came;

    With head held high, I answer “Yes,”

    So proud to say the name;

    But since the change to Colorado City,

    It’s not the same;

    So in my heart, the name “Short Creek”

    Will still remain.

    Tag:

    And in my heart, they’ll never change

    My hometown’s name!


    *NOTE: Original lyrics by David Stubbs.

    ~Verse 3, plus line & word changes by Stephany Spencer.

    ~~ Melody borrowed from Joe & Audrey Allison’s Classic Country song:

    He’ll Have to Go” — First line: “Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone.”


    *In the following video, recorded March 3, 2018, I’m performing the above song, “They Changed the Name of Our Hometown,”  at the California Writer’s Club. Between nerves and lack of practice, I’ll be the first to say the rendition could use some work. I plan to eventually re-record and repost it. But this video gives an idea of how the melody goes.




    PART TWO



    me-with-church-mates
    I’m on the right, second row back



    We left off in Part One of, “I Won and I Lost,” where I was giving some backstory on a bit of Mormon Fundamentalist history and what my Mormon Fundamentalist family was doing in 1956 in the small mainstream Mormon town of Hurricane, Utah — a town where Mormon Fundamentalists were an enigma.

    That is an understatement: We were a thorn in their sides — a reminder of when many of their ancestors lived polygamy until it was outlawed in the United States in 1862, forcing the LDS Mormon Church to officially discontinue it as a church doctrine in 1890. They did so in a written statement referred to as “The Manifesto,” written by the church’s then presiding Prophet, Wilford Woodruff. 

    Wilford Woodruff was driven to this decision to prevent the LDS Mormons from being thrown off their land once again. The US government intended to take all the Mormon church’s money and property, among other things, if the Mormons did not abide by the law and ban the backward and barbaric practice of polygamy. Furthermore, Utah could not become a state in The Union till it did away with polygamy.

    By 1956 and sixty-six years since the Mormon church had banned polygamy, Mormon fundamentalists in mainstream Mormon eyes were seen as undesirables, apostates, renegades, and lawbreakers.

    Besides that, “Fundamentalists” or “The FLDS,” et Al., were regularly headlined negatively in the news, embarrassing mainline Mormons struggling to live by the laws of the land as well as live down their past stigmatization, and, at long last, fit in — and respect the Rule of Law. This pattern continues today: Mormon Fundamentalists give mainstream Mormons a bad rap among non-Mormon societies who confuse mainline Mormons with the fanatic Mormon Fundamentalists.

     Hurricane, Utah and other Mormon towns around Hurricane are stop-off places or new homes for many refugees from the polygamist townships nearby. Mormon Fundamentalists who leave or escape polygamy, the FLDS dogma, and the control of Short Creek/Colorado City, Hilldale, Centennial Park, and other polygamist towns nearby, hope to make a new life for themselves and their families “Out in the world” –- in other words, outside these renegade and extremist Mormon Fundamentalist strongholds.

    My family was one of the families who fled the secluded, strangulating, renegade Mormon fundamentalist Short Creek cult, using nearby Hurricane, Utah as a stop-off place in 1956–It was a place to get our bearings after going through the traumatic two-and-a-half-year *Short Creek Raid

     When that fiasco was over, the state of Arizona released Daddy from jail/parole, along with all the other men of Short Creek who chose jail over agreeing to quit living or believing in polygamy, the most important tenet of their religion.

    My father and the rest of the Mormon Fundamentalist men in Short Creek knew the self-proclaimed Prophet Joseph Smith said God gave him a revelation commanding “The Saints”/ i.e., Mormons to live plural marriage or be damned to Hell for all eternity.”

    So they’d be damned (pun intended) if they would be caught dead not having more than one wife and all the kids they could produce through this “Principle”! In other words, they chose jail over Hell — or Hell in this life rather than eternal damnation in the next life.

    My parents’ plans were to stay in Hurricane ’till Daddy earned enough money to move us to the new Fundamentalist Mormon cult they had joined, The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times,  headquartered in *Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico. Two of my mother’s seven brothers, Uncles Joel and Ervil LeBaron, spawned this new extremist Mormon Fundamentalist sect in 1955. I say they both started it for the following reasons:

    My Uncle Joel was a self-proclaimed, agrarian, hay-seed Prophet who convinced some of his family he had gotten “the mantle” or “Scepter of Power”– the “Priesthood keys to the kingdom”– from his dying father, Alma Dayer LeBaron — who claimed to have gotten these “keys” from his grandfather, Benjamin F. Johnson. And, according to Uncle Joel, Benjamin F. Johnson got “the keys to the kingdom” from his “spiritual father,” Joseph Smith before he died!

    At the same time, this scrabble-farming, peddler, painter, polygamist, self-proclaimed “profit,” my Uncle Joel, also claimed to have gotten revelations or a vision from God and angels who visited him in person and told him he was the Prophet who held the scepter of power to set the Mormon church *back in order. After this manifestation, Uncle Joel decided to set up his own church. His brothers Wesley and Floren helped him register it legally, in Salt Lake City, Utah in the mid-1950s.

    But Joel’s  somewhat intellectual and scholarly, though not-well-educated eighteen-months-younger brother Ervil (who had obtained a small-town Mexican-Mormon-colony education before dropping out of school at age fifteen) found the Scriptures to support his much-less-scholarly brother Joel’s claims to be “The One Mighty and Strong.” (Their Prophet Joseph Smith foretells of this Prophet’s coming to prepare the saints for the second coming of Christ.)

     Ervil was also his brother Joel’s mouthpiece, doing most of the missionary work and pulpit-preaching that got the groveling cult off the ground. Ervil’s biggest contribution was some doctrinal pamphlets he scribed, especially his “Priesthood Expounded”–persuasive among a few mainstream Mormons.

    Priesthood Expounded” is the Mormon fundamentalist Lit some young, impressionable, wayward Mormon missionaries in the French mission field got hold of around 1958. The pamphlet’s contents converted around thirteen of these idealistic visionaries to Uncle Joel’s cult, “The Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times.”

    Seven of these rather bright, young, enthusiastic Mormon French missionaries soon thereafter joined the indigent LeBaron scrabble-cult in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.

    It was the shot-in-the-arm that got my Uncle Joel and Ervil’s cult off the ground onto the map. Especially responsible for this cult’s take-off was my now-deceased dreamer-of-a-husband– the leading (and misleading) charismatic French missionary conman, William Preston Tucker.

    So my Mother’s brother Ervil was the “golden goose” who laid the golden egg that hatched his brother Joel’s “Church” — which hatched into a small goose-like success; i.e., it spawned a flock of gosling followers — because those golden-goose eggs got into the hands of the right geese … or better still, the wrong geese–those seven exuberant, misled Mormon French missionaries!

    But just as unbelievably ironic is that Uncle Ervil, around twenty years later, turned into the biggest goose of all — actually the biggest gander! He, Ervil-the-egghead, in 1972, vengefully brought his brother Joel’s “church” (“the embryonic egg”) right back down to ground-zero by rivalrously cracking it apart!

    How? He had his henchmen KILL his brother Joel! Thus, murderous and maniacal Cain-like Ervil broke The Golden Egg “Able” right in two: It rolled off the table and died a most-messy death … gooey egg yolk and albumin all over the place! Lots of grieving people were left wiping tears of anguish and loss from their face at the prophet Joel’s funeral service.

    Yeah, evil-Ervil cracked that LeBaron goose egg “Able,” wide open. Metaphorically speaking, Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, never to be put together again at all!*

    But out of the cracked “Humpty Dumpty” hatched LeBaron gosling offshoots—even some Colonia LeBaron “Golden Eggs” (say fans of the Mexico LeBaron branch). But, for sure, it’s a LeBaron history still in the making, still in the taking, still making news-breaking history … and still being written and rewritten.

    Just as uncanny, unbelievable, cracked, and bizarre as the above LeBaron history is that of how Mother’s seven brothers, as well as her father, the crackpot Dayer LeBaron, each claimed, at one time or another, to be “The One Mighty and Strong Prophet/OM&S — “The Firstborn sent to prepare the world for the return of Christ.”

    Some say my Uncle Verlan never claimed to be a prophet. However, I talked to two of his daughters years ago who truly believed he was “The One Mighty and Strong” –their father having succeeded Joel when Ervil murdered him! There are as many stories as there are people who tell them when it comes to “The LeBaron Story.”)

    However, other than Uncle Joel and Uncle Ervil’s “Fundy” Mormon cults, none of these other eccentric millennial LeBaron upstarts made it off the ground onto the map! Instead (as in the case of Uncles Ervil’s and Joel’s “goose eggs”), each of them was nothing but a miserable, inflated flock of wayward, doomsday “geese.” 

    In other words, each of my other uncles’ cults, like Joel and Ervil’s cults, was but a bag of wind that barely made it off the ground before it flew over the cuckoo’s nest, took a nosedive, did a complete tailspin, and topped it off by turning upside down the world for Christ’s return. That is, each of my uncles’ cult’s succeeded only in toppling into a world of hell people seeking heaven … a story my Memoir tells.


    *You may use your search engine to obtain more information on this 1953 Short Creek Raid. I won’t be getting into it until later on in my Memoir blogs.

    *Colonia LeBaron, itself, was founded in Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico by my maternal grandfather Alma Dayer LeBaron, in 1944, ON LAND my father and mother left my maternal grandparents when they, my parents, returned to live in the United States.

    You may check Wikipedia and other sites for more history, details, pictures, etc., to do with these topics.)

    * Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ LDS Church became “out of order,” according to Mormon fundamentalists, when President Wilford Woodruff signed The Manifesto in 1890 to do away with Joseph Smith’s revelation that said the Saints must live polygamy or be damned.

    * See:Prophet of Blood,” by Ben Bradlee and Dale Van Atta, “The 4 O’clock Murders,” by Scott Anderson; and “Cult Insanity,” by Irene Spencer.

    Also check my Website’s Menu for “Media on My Extended Family, Friends, and Mormon Fundamentalist Cults.”

    And My other Media post: “Famous ‘n’ Infamous Relatives.”


    PART THREE

    me-in-plaid-14-1
    Beulah Stephany Spencer de LeBaron in Colonia LeBaron, circa 1960, age 14 (clothesline in  background)

    I left off in Part Two of “I Won and I Lost,” where my parents had moved their family from the fundamentalist Mormon town of Short Creek to the nearby small agrarian mainstream Mormon townsite,  Hurricane, Utah. I was ten years old then.

    My parents planned to stay in Hurricane only four-and-a-half years while Daddy worked till he turned sixty-five and could begin collecting Social Security and his Veteran’s Pension. Then their plan was to move to Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico where my uncle Joel had started a new Mormon fundamentalist sect. My maternal grandmother, five uncle’s, and other relatives lived there. And Mother, herself, was born in Mexico in 1921 in the mountainous Colonia Pacheco, Chihuahua — a Mormon colony.

    But whatever my family’s plans, we were not welcome in Hurricane. For one thing, the Mormon Fundamentalist “Short Cricker’s” were close neighbors to the mainstream Mormon “Hurricanites” … too close! So they often frequented Hurricane to shop, go to school, live, work … and so on.

     Mormon Fundamentalists (FLDS) almost always stuck out due to the females wearing the same-mold, crown-like “Plyg-dos,”(hairdos) and attire. In other words, most FLDS made no effort to fit in. Rather, they took pride in standing out because they believed they were OUTSTANDING and “a peculiar people,” as spoken of in the Scriptures. They believed they were God’s chosen hand-full; i.e.,  superior to the mainstream Mormons who had given up “The fullness of the gospel.”

    In my class of 1960, out of eighty-four students, David Lloyd and I (both Plygs/polygamists back then — were the top students in our Hurricane, Utah Jr. High class. My sister Judith Spencer, I, and another “Fundy” from Short Creek, Fawn Stubbs, had been the best artists that Hurricane’s Elementary, Junior High, and High School had seen in years!

    Mainstream Mormons/ LDS Mormons didn’t like the polygamists’ kids out-doing “the Saints.” The Mormon fundmentalists/ FLDS out-doing in any way the mainstream Mormons only made the Mormon Fundies an extra-unnerving and unwanted infestation for this small agrarian town of LDS Mormons whose own ancestors gave up polygamy in 1890, under government duress and fear of losing their lands and homes, again, if they did not abide by US laws so as to become a state in the Union. 

     LDS Mormons followed the mandates of their church leaders to give up “plural marriage” despite their Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live polygamy or be damned. But, now, here were these perennial thorn-in-their-side FLDS Mormons, like my family, who thumbed their noses at mainline Mormons who gave up polygamy instead of following the Prophet Joseph Smith’s revelation to live polygamy — live it despite what the laws of the land said and in spite of persecution and prosecution.

    In fact, my father would tell the LDS they were going to hell because they gave up “the law of plural marriage”! My true-believing, fanatic, antagonistic parents further riled the LDS townspeople by telling me and my siblings to preach polygamy and the “fullness of the gospel,” to our schoolmates and friends — should we ever acquire friends, given our isolated and ostracized position in the town.

    We were literally to inform our peers and Mormon acquaintances that they and their parents and family were going to be condemned to hell in the hereafter for having given up the most important commandment and revelation the Prophet Joseph Smith ever gave!

    Where did my parents and other Mormon fundamentalists come off thinking they knew more than anybody else and were the only ones with the true religion — the only ones going to heaven? Such provincial thinking! Plus, they forgot that “Pride goeth before a fall.” So you can imagine how unwelcome our family was among these mainstream Mormons.

    With this history under our belt, let’s return to the little 1960’s red-necked, red-brick schoolhouse where Miss Naegle unfairly, yet too conveniently allowed the little Rednecks to topple me from my coveted seat at the top of the class and dump me down at the very bottom of our class — into the “F” section. 

    Making this abuse and betrayal even more embarrassing and painful was her joining in with my little redneck-rivals as they clapped and cheered loudly at my misfortune—as though we were at a ballgame and the mainstream Mormons were winning. (I’ve referred to them as “Rednecks” for effect. But, honestly, my family and I were MORE red-necked than most of them!)

    However, as God and luck often intervened on my behalf, homework was checked aloud in class each morning following roll call. Because I had no mistakes in my homework, I immediately got  back up into the B+ section! So my peers and teacher didn’t get very far sending me to the bottom of the class. It lasted all of fifteen minutes. But listen to what happened next:

    Seeing how I had so rapidly ascended back into almost the “A” section, suddenly, without warning, Miss Naegle snatched her BIG BLACK GRADE BOOK, exclaiming, “It’s time for me to give out your final grade for the semester!”

    (As I said before, she determined it arbitrarily, by wherever we happened to be sitting in her class whenever she chose to give out the final grades for our Report Card.)

    In other words, my 8th-Grade English teacher was making sure I did not again get straight “A’s” on my Report Card — the way I had my first semester at Hurricane Jr. High School when the faculty did not yet know I, the attractive, outstanding, talented new 7th-Grader, was a “Plyg” from Short Creek!

    But every semester, after the first Report Card I got at Hurricane High School (where my Jr. High School classes were held), my teachers found ways to unfairly give me a lower grade to keep me from making front-page news again the way I had the year before, in 1959, when I first started Seventh Grade there.

    That year, my first semester in seventh grade, I had been headlined in the town’s newspaper as the only student from 7th to 11th grade to have made straight “A’s.”

    The LDS church and other Mormons refer to themselves as “The Saints,”  or “Latter Day Saints” — or “LDS.” This LDS faculty who gave me my grades in 1959 had not yet learned, by the end of my first semester in 7th Grade, that my family was from Short Creek.

    In other words, they hadn’t found out we were “FLDS/Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints;” not “LDS.” And the Latter-day Saint faculty of Hurricane High School needed to know this! They kept tabs on who the Plygs–the FLDS were in their classes.

    As soon as the Hurricane High School/ Jr. High faculty and the town found out that I and my family were Mormon fundamentalists, they let their students know.

    And immediately thereafter, the kids began calling my siblings and me names like “Licey,” “Stinky,” and “Short Cricker.” But their favorite slur was “Plyg.” How it chafed, hurt, and humiliated me when my fellow classmates pointed fingers at me, called me names, and made fun of highly-sensitive me.

    To add to the painful persecution and marginalization, if I should sit near one of them in class, they would quickly get up and shout, “Ooooo!! Licey! Beulah has lice!” Then they would shun me by moving to a different seat where they pretended to blow the lice off themselves. But many of these little “saints/ devils,” were descendants of polygamists, themselves!

    It was very painful going to school in that small Mormon town, even though I was Mormon, too — just not “LDS” Mormon. It would have been less painful had my family tried to fit in. And had they also accepted the community. Instead, they continued to act as though they were better than all the mainstream Mormons around them — to the point they condemned them to their faces, at times!!

    My parents made it very hard on their little children who had to bear the brunt of such behavior and of being different. My family’s not trying to fit in and not “doing as Rome did when in Rome” only added to our being spurned, resented, persecuted, and despised at school by our peers and teachers.

    It would have been better for us Mormon Fundamentalist children participating in the LDS Mormon public schools if our parents had let us be a part of the mainstream Mormons. Instead, they made no effort to teach us how to get along with them — nor anyone else not of our Mormon fundamentalist faith!!

    How un-Christian, right?! But my control-freak, fundamentalist parents believed it was their way or the highway. They thought it their God-ordained duty to call to repentance mainline Mormons who didn’t believe like they did. And they incessantly taught me and my siblings that we were above and beyond the mainstream Mormons because they were not living “the fullness of the gospel” the Prophet Joseph Smith had taught.

    Be that what it was, at the end of every school semester, the Hurricane newspaper printed the names of the “Straight-A” students from Hurricane High/Jr. High School. Their one embarrassing oversight on my behalf, when I was in 7th grade, was enough to put the whole Hurricane High School Mormon faculty on alert to NEVER let that happen again!

    In other words, make sure “Plyg” Beulah Spencer did not end up frontline news in the town’s newspapers, again, as “the only student from 7th to 11th grade who got “Straight-A’s.”

    Many parents and leaders in the town were furious that semester when a “Polygamist” got the top ranking in town for the best grades; ie, had out-ranked/ outflanked all the little “Saints,” from 7th to 11th grade.

    So now you understand why Miss Naegle unfairly got out her BLACK Grade Book at the very moment I was almost backup into the “A” section.

                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~PART FOUR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    me-in-plaid-dress-14
    Beulah Stephany Spencer de LeBaron, age 14 (Clothesline in background)

    We left off in Part 3 where I had almost gotten back up into the “A” section of  Miss Naegle’s 8th-grade English class when Miss Naegle suddenly and unexpectedly snatched up her BIG BLACK GRADE BOOK and cried:

    “I told you I would surprise you as to when I would give out your final grades for this first semester’s Report Card. Well, now is that moment! SURPRISE!!”

    As I said before, she determined our grades willy-nilly. That is, she determined them by whatever section of her class we were sitting in whenever she chose to give out the Final Grade for our Report Card — be it the “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” section — whether we really deserved that grade or not!!

    It was all subjective so she could assign grades in any way, shape, or form that suited her purpose. In other words, she had it set up so she could manipulate our grades so “Plygs” wouldn’t get the top grades … and so she could please parents who complained that her grading system wasn’t fair so THEIR “poor” child never got an “A.”

    To be exact, this LDS-biased teacher was making sure I did NOT get on the Honor Roll again as an “A” student and thus be once more headlined in the town’s newspaper. The Mormon faculty now knew who I, the high-achieving, beautiful new student was: I was “Miss Plyggie from goldern Short-Cricky” — someone small-town Hurricane did not want making big-time news! 

    As I said in the last blog, there was an uproar in Hurricane, Utah in 1958 when the little town newspaper printed MY picture along with a piece about me being “The Top Student” — and the ONLY student from 7th through 11th grade to obtain a “Straight-A” GPA!

    A teacher-faculty uproar followed after they found out the Straight-A 7th Grader the newspaper article talked about was me, a Mormon Fundy! Mormon fundamentalists were lepers in that small town. So how was it I could be showing up all the little “Saints” from LDS families?

    It WASN’T FUNNY!
    People get envious and come undone
    When outdone by the very one
    They thought was down-under-’em …
    Their untouchable, scapegoat scum.

    So now you understand why my teacher got out that Grade Book before I could move back up into the “A” section. And why she once again betrayed me – and in so doing, continued to show the class how to treat “Plygs.”  (In actuality, it was an all-out Cold War — the LDS against the FLDS!

    So my classmates sat and watched Miss Naegle unfairly give me my first “B+,” down from the “A” I’d had the whole semester and year before – till that opportunistic moment in her grading system where she was able to give out our final Report Card grades for the semester simply based on where we were sitting the moment she maneuvered our sitting arrangement so she could give me the grade she wanted to give me — not the grade I earned.

    But hey! It appears this action not only kept her in good favor with the Mormon town and teaching faculty but with Sammy, Jr.’s (not his real name) family too. His father had recently been in to see Miss Naegle saying:

     “Sammy tries so hard to get an “A,” but no matter what he does, he never gets into the top section so as to come home with an “A” in English like his older brother in High School always does!”

    (Sammy, Jr.’s father was Sammy, Sr., better known as “Bishop Sam Johnson” (Not his real name) — the most important position in a small Mormon town.)

    Our teacher could only give so many “A’s,” “B’s,” and so forth, or our school would lose its accreditation. So little C-average-Sam got his first damn “A” that semester… or probably ever — and was so happy! And I got my first B+ — and was SO unhappy … and Miss Naegle stayed in good with all the Saints in “Little Mormon Town.”

    NOTE: It was not a good example to let “polygamists,” or so-called “apostate Mormons” outdo “the Saints.” So the rest of the LDS faculty (after finding out who I was) ALSO did THEIR utmost to keep me from shining– did their best to put the Saints’ kids above me, whenever possible. To be sure, allowing Mormon fundamentalist children to be shining examples did not set a desirable president for the “little Saints.”

                                                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A few months later, as luck would have it, the second semester was looming to a close and Miss Naegle’s final Report Card grades were due to be given out again at ANY moment … when suddenly she gave us the most formidable homework assignment I’ve ever experienced or could ever hope to experience again in my born days:

    While peering over the horned rims of her 1950’s cat-eyed, rose-colored glasses, she glared sternly down at us 8th graders, the way she always did when she wanted to punctuate her words. Then, that little blond haired, red-necked, red-faced spinster in the little red-brick schoolhouse assigned us the whole 105 Prepositions of the English language, vociferously stipulating:

    “These words are to be memorized in alphabetical order by Friday!” Knowing that our last day of 8th Grade was only four days away, she boomed,And whoever doesn’t memorize the whole list in order gets an “F” as their final grade!!”

    I had already committed to memory her list of Helping Verbs: Is, are, was, were, has, have, had, does, do, did, am, be, been, being, may, must, might, can, could, shall, should, will, would.

    And I had memorized other lists of words she had assigned us to learn, such as all the Conjunctions and Subordinate and Coordinate Conjunctions. And rules like: “Adverbs tell: How, when, where, why, affirm, deny.”  And “Adjectives tell: What kind, which one, how many, whose.”

    As I hung out the wash that Monday evening, I began the daunting task of memorizing the whole monotonous mass of 105 Prepositions — on top of doing all the other homework from my other classes!

    An hour passed as I painstakingly pinned wet clothes on the lines while concentrating on trying to commit to memory those meaningless long lines of nonsense words.

    Big raindrops began to roll from my eyes. I was about to be hung out to dry myself.  For having only memorized the first forty words, the Prepositions beginning with “A” and “B,” I found myself wishing language had never been born. And my mind took a downturn as I decided this was going to be the first assignment in my life I wouldn’t complete.

    Which meant I was finally going to FAIL! The “F” word, mind you! The thought curdled my mind! I could picture being spurned again as Miss Naegle and the class cried, “Beulah, go to the bottom of the class!” — a hard thing for an “A” student to have to do.

    So heading for the house before I had a full-blown nervous breakdown, I cried, “Mama! I can’t do this! It’s driving me insane!! “I can’t memorize this inane, boring list of propositions! I can’t stand even trying to!!!”

     

    Mama saved the day. In her wise-beyond-years demeanor, she smiled and said,“Why don’t you put it to music?”
    “Yeah, but what song shall I use?!” I wailed.
    Oh, just any song that fits. You could even make up a tune if you wanted to.”

    Having memorized the most difficult Piano Concertos, Mother knew about memorizing! And she surmised I could create tunes. So we were on a roll. What’s more, her advice worked! I was back out there with a bang, clothes flying out of my hands onto the clotheslines faster than I banged out tunes fitting particular lines of the preposterous Preposition homework:

    “At, about, above, aboard, across, according to, along, alongside, against — And so on and so forth. I’ve long since forgotten the tunes I used and abused to help me memorize each section of the alphabetical list. But like muscle memory, the hundred-five Prepositions have stuck forever and for good!

    PART FIVE:

    Come Friday morning, I was ready — except for BURNOUT. Seems I almost met my Maker! And it was a daunting experience. Even so, I was wondering if Billy Nickerson, my secret sweetheart, would do better than I.

    hurricane-and-colorado-city-sign
    The beautiful Vermilion Hills of Utah  and Arizona, leaving Hurricane, Utah, heading toward Short Creek: Colorado City, Arizona, Hilldale, Utah, and Centennial Park, et Al

    Billy Nickerson was a gorgeous thirteen-year-old, highly-gifted Hispanic-American whose father worked as a Physicist on the Hurricane Mesa.

    (“Mesa” means “table”/a flat surface.”) On this Mountain tabletop in Hurricane, Utah, a large part of the scientific work and testing of the first Sputnik was being done. Testing to improve the H-bomb was also going on there. So were other top-secret defense projects to do with our country’s race with Russia to win the Cold War and be first to send a man to the moon.)

    As it turns out, bright Billy thought the homework silly. So did his parents. Therefore, he memorized the first two groups of prepositions: The A’s and B’s. Then went outside to participate in his favorite sport: Winning all the High School boys in tether-ball — the way he usually did after school.

    I often stayed after school to watch these boys’ intense, exciting “matches” between the short 8th Grader, Billy, and the tall 9th through 12th Grade boys. For Billy would beat them every time — one right after the other! Such energy, strength, endurance, and genius I have never since seen in sports — though I  seldom watch Sports! My love for Billy was my motivation to watch this after-school competitive game.

    My preferred “games” mostly involved things to do with words, music, and other intellectual or artistic and creative pursuits. Therefore, when Friday came, our last day of school for that year, Billy was at the top of the class, so was first to recite what he had memorized of the 105 Prepositions, which was forty of them. So let the games begin!! Now I knew I would win!

    It being my turn next, the words popped out of me like clothespins pinned to a clothesline at break-neck speed! I only stumbled a few times — out of nervousness, anxiety, and an exhausted mind.

    I was literally brain-dead, pale, and worn out that last day of school, after four intense days of angst and effort put into memorizing this horrendous mass of monotonous, meaningless nonsense words — along with doing my after-school housework chores and the homework for my other five classes to get ready for my final grades and tests that came in four days — the last day of school.

    I still can’t believe mean Miss Naegle forced me, a “Straight-A” student, to memorize all those pretty-petty Prepositions in order to avoid taking home an “F” as the Final Grade on my year-end Report Card!

    This Report Card was the most important of the year for it would delineate the top students that year at the little red-brick schoolhouse that housed the Hurricane Jr. High and High School students. These top students would be big news in the town’s newspaper.

    That would explain Miss Naegle’s all-out attempt to come up with something to help the LDS Saints win the Cold War against the FLDS Saints — something so atrocious and audacious as to assign her captive 8th-Graders to memorize, in the last four days of school, the whole 105 English prepositions!

    This assignment would have been bad at any time. But it was sadistically treacherous to assign it the last week of school when we had but four evenings of homework time left before our Final Grades were due — grades so important to us — to ME!!!

    But it was the witch-bitch’s effort to move me out of the “A” section that made her act so outrageously! LOL! But no, it really was not a laughing matter. I almost had a nervous breakdown under the stress and unfairness of this senseless homework assignment!

    But Miss Naegle’s wicked act backfired on her. Not only did I recite from memory the whole one-hundred-five prepositions, exchanging places with Billy Nickerson to sit at the top of the class and get my “A+,” but none of Miss Naegle’s other eighty-three eighth-grade students had succeeded at all in completing this over-the-top homework task.

    So Miss Naegle had to give me, “Miss Plyggie,” her “A” … But she didn’t have to make a big deal of it –- And she didn’t! She totally ignored my feat — my exceptional workmanship and memory, as though I were insignificant … didn’t exist. And as though what I did wasn’t amazing and worth acknowledging — even to me in private!

    She was perturbed and angry that I had surmounted her impossible homework assignment, using it to rise to the top again. The schoolmarm couldn’t believe I had memorized all those ridiculous words, and in order, too, within four short evenings of homework-time before the school year ended.

    But even more unbelievable and unforgivable is this Latter-Day-Saint Mormon teacher never gave me ANY encouragement or recognition in anything I EVER did, despite my outstanding achievements for the past two years in her’s and every other teachers’ classes at Hurricane Jr. High.

    It’s an oxymoron and a conundrum that LDS Mormons do so much missionary work to gain converts, yet fail to see how they could win many Mormon fundamentalists over to their sect were they to treat them humanely and without singling them out for ostracism and ruination.

    My memory of my four-and-a-half years (1956-1960) in the agrarian, two-faced Mormon town of Hurricane, Utah was enough to turn me away from ever wishing to become a part of mainstream Mormonism. I would vomit first. I lost respect for them due to the smallness and ungodliness of the majority of them. Atheism was preferable.

    In all my years in Hurricane, I definitely encountered a few saints, however. And I had a few wonderful life-giving experiences in Hurricane. But only TWO of my many Mormon teachers EVER treated me fairly and with respect. The same goes for my classmates and the rest of the people in Hurricane, in general.*

    Many of my teachers treated me the same way Miss Naegle had: Entirely unfairly and like I was invisible, though I was not only an innocent and highly sensitive, gifted child, but also diligent, conscientious, and hard-working.

    For example, at the end of the Preposition recitations, Naegle pretended to never have threatened anyone with an “F” as their final Report-Card Grade should they not memorize that whole list — IN order and without errors!

    In fact, the measly monster simply dropped the whole frickin’ nightmare as if she’d never heard of it. Because both her 8th-Grade classes failed the assignment miserably — Everyone, that is, but me, “Miss Plyggie”! You would think she would at least have complimented me in private on my feat if she couldn’t do it in front of the class  — or better still, in front of the whole school!

    But she never showed me one ounce of acknowledgment or appreciation for my success, my amazing achievement–especially given how the rest of her eighty-four students stumbled, then thumbed their nose at her assignment!

    But what else could she do when all the Saints were brilliant and all the rest were outcasts — and I had failed to fail her manipulative assignment? She intended this homework assignment to be HER winning hand. It was targeted for the last day of school. She thought for sure I’d be HAD and she’d get to give me an “F.” Or at least get me out of the “A” section.

    It being the last day of school, she thought I wouldn’t have time to work my way back up — back into the “A” section again before she pulled out her BIG black grade book to assign our final grades. But it turned out SHE “got had” BAD instead:

    Sammy, Jr.’s DAD, the Bishop, had called her — as had other parents — to inquire about the horrendous homework task that was leading to mental breakdowns among the Saints’ kids!

    So once again, I, the leperous Mormon Fundy (“Short Cricker“) was the talk of the town and the school! Word went out and around about how I had managed to memorize the whole 105 prepositions in only a short time while doing all my other year-end school homework and after-school housework chores!

    Being the second to the oldest of eleven children by then, I had big chores for sure. This added to my feat’s monumentalness! Most of the kids came from very small families, had TV, Radio, phonographs, magazines, and other modern inventions, and conveniences–as well as a chance to read, a better education, and so forth.

    But my family was still using an outhouse, pots to piss ‘n’ crap in at night, a galvanized tub to bathe in — using water we heated on a wood stove! Yes, I was a poor and deprived child with many disadvantages — such as lost schooling and being brought up in a cult. Yet, I was somehow one of the outstanding students in the 8th grade, in that little agrarian town.

    For example, most of Miss Naegle’s other eighty-four students weren’t able to memorize much more than fifteen or twenty of the monotonous, brain-frying, outlandishly-long list of boring words. Therefore, these eighty-four 8th Graders totally FAILED the assignment!

    But, when I later checked with my classmates, after they got their Report Cards: NOT ONE of them had gotten an “F” on their report card, despite all Miss Naegle’s threats!! But why am I so sure she would’ve followed through with her threats and given ME an “F” as my year-end final Report Card grade, had I not memorized the whole list in order and without any mistakes?

    And why did I feel I had won but had also somehow lost as I sat in that envied seat at the top of the class sobbing a silent sigh of relief that I had “made the grade”?

    I had not only avoided the “F” meant for me but beat out all the other eighty-four 8th-Graders besides — Thanks to my musically-trained, gifted mother who saved me from a mental breakdown by suggesting I use music to help me memorize that torturous, maniacal homework assignment.

    To this day, about all that list of memorized prepositions has been good for, besides inadvertently winning Miss Naegle at her own game, is to entertain a captive audience till their eyes bug out — so here goes: Are you ready? (This is what I tell audiences when I’m going to entertain them by reciting the whole hundred-five prepositions aloud by memory … which I still do from time to time … to this day.)



              Here is the list of prepositions I memorized in order:

    At, about, above, aboard, across, according to, along, alongside, against, among, amongst, amid, amidst, around, after;

     

     

    Before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between,  betwixt, beyond, but, because of, by, by way of, by means of, by reason of, by virtue of;

    Concerning, considering;   down, during, despite, due to;   “ere, except, excepting;

    For, from;    in, into, instead of, in care of; in case of, in front of, in place of, in spite of, in accordance with, in reference to, in preference to, in regard to, in regards to, in respect to, in addition to;    like;    ‘mid, ‘midst;    near,’neath, notwithstanding;

    Of, off, on, onto, on account of, on top of, over, o’er, out, outside;   past;

    ’round, respecting, regarding;   since, save, sans;   to, towards, through, throughout,’till;    unless, until; up, upon, unto, underneath;   via, versus, Vs.;

    With, within, without, with respect to or for, without respect to or for, with reference to, without reference to, with preference to, without preference for.”

                                              *********************

     

    Having committed all these 105 Prepositions to memory, at least I know to never say, “Between you and I” — But it still slips out now and again! However, I even heard President Bill Clinton say that once!

    But for all I know, to say “between you and I,” instead of “between you and me,” is now considered correct … and to say “between you and me” is now considered archaic — as in the case of saying, “It is I.

    That’s the way things are when it comes to language: It’s subjective. We may have to unlearn things we thought were correct because new customs determine them incorrect. Language is a living thing. It is born, grows up, gets old, and dies — just like people.

    This concludes the news from the 1960’s little red-brick schoolhouse where all the Saints’ kids were above average, all their parents were proud members of the only true church on earth — and all the rest were going to hell!


     *Thanks, again, for your valuable feedback, Caroline. You continue to be the wind beneath my wings. I wish others would leave me their feedback. And that they would leave it on my Website in the “Comment” box, as you do. Some leave their comments on social media where it is soon lost.

    Take care,
    Stephany


    *NOTE:
    February 9, 2019:

    The blog “I Won and I Lost” was written about three years ago. Some things have changed since then and the writing of this portion of my memoir.
    A week ago, out of the blue, I got a call from Ross Gregerson, one of my former Hurricane Jr. High classmates.

    He is part of the committee organizing our 55th Class Reunion!
    Imagine!! 55 class reunions and I have never, ever been to one … nor did I want to go — till Ross, then David Lloyd contacted and invited me (a few days ago), followed up by Kenny Buttons consistent and informative emails.
    As of now, I have committed myself to attend. And I’m very touched and MUCH impressed by “The Bad Knees Reunion Committee” for inviting ME. (Maybe it takes bad knees for people to put up with somebody like me?!)
    I will be letting you know the outcome. There is much more to this story, but it will have to be written another day. The hours for this day have run out! Stay tuned and keep in touch for more news about things from the Little Red Schoolhouse and “The Bad-Knees-Reunion Committee”!

    ~ My Poem: “In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grande”

        
    *In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande,
    I buried my diaries in the desert sand;
    Now they lie lost in a foreign land —
    Lost in LeBaron when I fled the clan.

    Buried my poetry in the desert’s brew, too.
    It’s now lost in sandstorms that blew.
    With each new windstorm, more sands would accrue,
    So adios, muse babies! Adios and adieu!

    You lie where I was born and grew,
    There, in LeBaron, the home I once knew.
    I couldn’t find you when I fled and flew.
    So part of me’s left now buried in you.

    Slowly the tears trickle, two by two,
    Down my cheekbones like drops of dew,
    Ever homesick but can’t ties renew,
    It’s adios to my past — adios and adieu.

    When will my loneliness finally end?
    When will this pain fade away, my friend?
    And where are my Journals and the poems I penned,
    Then buried in the earth to protect them back then?

    They’re buried where my past lies buried and dead,
    Hidden with my heart that broke when I fled,
    ‘Cause all I’d believed and held dear, instead,
    Suddenly collapsed and had to be shed.

    Still, I long for my family and old friends too,
    Who could not see things the way I do,
    They wouldn’t allow me to have my own voice —
    They didn’t respect my freedom of choice.

    Still, I long for my life that lies buried with you —
    For the part that split when from there I flew,
    When I tried to find life in the US anew,
    To follow my dreams and my hopes renew;

    Now in deep abyss, I traverse this earth,
    Looking for meaning to renew life’s worth;
    Looking for Mother’s long-gone mirth,
    Though now she sleeps in Mexican earth.

    No sooner had I almost found rebirth,
    Then signs of death came, bearing no mirth —
    Bouncing and banging on my back door,
    While backing me up downhill more and more.

     But part of me already died years ago —
    That part I left when I escaped Mexico —
    Back where my heart lies half-buried alive —
    Back where my past took a nose dive.

    Perhaps that other half’s in my hometown,
    Buried in Chihuahua, Mexico’s ground,
    But I can’t go back, can’t traverse the Rio Grande,
    The river’s too wide so I stay on dry land.

    Remaining in my new world on this other side.
    Still, so many lonely rivers I have cried;
    And though most tears have finally dried,
    Many old rivers are still left inside.

    Too many rivers between me ’n’ those I know;
    Gulfs too wide since I let them go.
    Yet, part of me’s buried there in Mexico,
    Down past the Rio Grande I love so.

    Part of me’s there, though put to the test,
    ‘Cause that’s where my many dear ones rest:
    Part’s with my past, while part’s here with me,
    Longing for home, wherever home may be.

    Divided and torn by the Rio Grande
    Flowing between me and LeBaron land.
    I wonder, is half my heart buried there,
    In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande?

    (By Stephany Spencer,  4/2008)

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    *NOTE: I revised this poem (see below)
    — Did surgery on it: Cut out over half its verses. (My writers’ club doesn’t accept, for their newsletter, poems longer than 45 lines. I submitted and had published this poem in the California Writers Club’s November 2016 newsletter, “The Scribe.“)

    Also, when it comes to singing this narrative poem, forty-five lines makes for a three-minute performance — plenty for a poem this deep and full of story. Just to verify this, I sang my song yesterday at Songmakers’ Saturday Song-Circle. The group agreed that forty-five lines is plenty if I sing it rather than read it. (I read it to them, also — the five-minute version — just to get their helpful critique and feedback. And they kindly sat through the whole thing!)

    *The following is the shortened version: (But I have since done even more painful surgery on this poem — I’ve now cut it down to a twenty-eight line poem to perform as a song. (I only have that version in my song folder.) @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    coyoacan-more-21-of-39

      
    In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grande

    In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande,
    I buried my diaries in the desert sand;
    Now they lie lost in a foreign land —
    Lost in LeBaron when I fled the clan.

    Lost my poetry in the desert brew too.
    It’s now buried in sandstorms that blew.
    With each new windstorm, more sands would accrue;
    So adios, muse babies! Goodbye to you.

    You lie where I was born and grew —
    There, in LeBaron, the home I once knew.
    I couldn’t find you when I fled and flew.
    So part of me’s left now buried in you;

    Buried where my past lies buried and dead,
    Hidden with my heart that broke when I fled,
    ‘Cause all I’d believed and held dear, instead,
    Suddenly collapsed and had to be shed.

    Still, I long for my family and old friends too,
    Who could not see things the way I do,
    They wouldn’t allow me to have my own voice —
    They didn’t respect my freedom of choice.

    Now, in deep abyss, I traverse this earth,
    Looking for meaning to renew life’s worth;
    Looking for Mother’s long-gone mirth,
    Though now she sleeps in Mexican Earth.

     But part of me’s buried in Mexico,
    The part that died when I escaped years ago —
    Back where my heart lies half-buried alive —
    Back where my past took a nose dive.

    Perhaps that other half’s in my hometown,
    Buried in Chihuahua, Mexico’s ground,
    But I can’t go back — can’t traverse the Rio Grande,
    The river’s too wide so I stay on dry land.

    Remaining in my new world on this other side.
    Still, so many lonely rivers I have cried,
    And though most tears have finally dried,
    Many old rivers are still left inside.

    Too many rivers between me and those I know,
    Gulfs too wide since I let them go.
    But part of me lies there in Mexico,
    Down past the Rio Grande I love so.

    Divided and torn by the Rio Grande
    Flowing between me and LeBaron land,
    I wonder: Is half my heart buried there,
    In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande?

    (By Stephany Spencer  ,2008)



      Hi, friends, family and relatives: This is the Rendition I did today at my California Writers Club get-together and Open Mic –- a performance of my song I wrote in 2008 called “In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grand.”
     Comments
    Dena McLean

    Dena McLean It’s great that you can sing and play an instrument all in front of an audience. It’s not easy.

     

    Steph Spencer

    Steph Spencer Thanks for your feedback, Dena. Yes, you are right when you comment that it’s not easy to perform in front of a live audience. One Actor put it this way: “To be a Performer is to scare yourself to death for the rest of your life.” Because almost always, at least one thing unexpected happens.

    For example, this time the Mic setup at the California Writers Club was not amenable to me and my guitar, so I was unable to have my written lyrics in front of me in case my mind went blank. I had to walk over to the podium when I needed to double check the next verse I was to sing.

    Of course, that didn’t go over so well in the video. But now I know I need to always take my music stand along wherever I go to perform — just in case the setup is different from when I performed there the month before.

    But, once again, it proves what speakers and other performers already know: No matter how many times you perform, you always learn at least one new thing with each and every performance.

    I was not proud of how the video came out, either, but I posted it anyway, for practice, and so people could hear the music that goes with my lyrics posted above, “In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grande:”

    The lighting was poor and the video should have been done closer up. In the end, it all made my dark apparel look dismal. It’s hard to get anybody, on the spot, to know how to take a good video with my iPhone! But with this experience, I now know, next time, to look for a better amateur photographer, LOL!



    ~ My First Blog

    My First Blog

    with-sunglasses
    Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron, 2015, age 69

    7/2016          Hi!  I’m Stephany Spencer/AKA Beulah Spencer-LeBaron de Tucker.

    Welcome to my own little corner of the World-Wide Web — My “Virtual” piece of valuable Internet Real Estate!  Yes, I being “Creative Aboard,” say welcome aboard!  And please feel free to click around and see what’s useful to you. How may I help you?

    I am a Creative: Author, Artist, Poet, Performer, Lyricist, Singer-songwriter, Musician, Speaker — Just a professional Jackalynn-of-many-trades — And a retired teacher on her endless summer.

    At the moment, I’m excited about this recent launch of my first Website/Photoblog site! My URL is: https://StephanySpencer.com. It serves as my Scrapbook, Blog site, and a connection to you and the rest of the world.

    My email address is StephSpencer10@gmail.com, should you wish to contact me.

    Over time I’ll be sharing with you a variety of topics and poetry, but mostly my miserable Memoirs (I love alliteration!), along with some happy and redemptive stories of how I escaped a dangerous, fanatic, Mormon fundamentalist foot-washing cult I  was born and raised in and lived to write about; i.e., to tell why and how I made it out of there and up to here. 

    I’ll also be sharing with you poetry and songs I’ve written, as well as videos of my performances, artwork, and more. I’m looking forward to your input, honesty, and ideas. I promise I’ll read all your comments, and will respond as time allows. For I mean for each blog to be a dialog, not a monolog.

    Through my Website, I’ll test the waters and heed your input. It will be of import for if and when I decide to finish writing my shoot-from-the-hip Memoirs: the surreal saga of how I survived stunting child abuse as a White slave while growing up poor and deprived. 

    Seven years of my life (the years between 1960 and 1967) were spent in my Uncle Joel and Ervil LeBaron’s secluded, backward, extremist Mormon Fundamentalist cult, headquartered in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.

    I escaped this self-righteous and controlling cult in 1967, at the age of twenty-one, with only my three-year-old daughter, one suitcase, and $5.00 to our name — plus an 8th Grade Diploma received in 1960, after only around six years of rather poor public education, mostly from Utah’s small-town 1950s schools.

    Part of that education took place in infamous Short Creek, Utah’s one-room schoolhouse that housed grades one through five under the tutelage of brave Mrs. Verda Lartzen.

    The rest is “her-story” or “my-story” — But with much credit going to our good ole USA’s government, people, and God — though at the time, I no longer believed in God — my understanding of God.

    Now I see “God“(meaning anything that is “Good”) has been with me all along. Though the going has been far from easy, I see the tracks where God carried me when I could no longer make it on my own! The help showed up in ominous ways, such that I cannot question that a Higher Power exists — a Loving Energy overlooking my life.

    So, to be sure, all glory goes to God/Goodness that I’ve made it through so well, these many years, since escaping the devastation and setbacks of my cult upbringing.

    Within five months of escaping the LeBaron cult at age twenty-one, for example, I miraculously started college — though all I had was about six years of public education, an eighth-grade diploma, and had not been inside a classroom for about eight years … And was limping along on culture shock and post-traumatic stress syndrome, besides.

    However, College was a dream come true! Thanks to California’s Junior Colleges (mostly funded by taxpayers’ dollars back then), Scholarships, Work-study, Grants and Loans — and the Welfare system, — I was able to take the GED test, then start studying at East Los Angeles College, in California.

    Amazing too is, though I had been out of school since age fourteen, barely had six years of public education, and only an eighth-grade Jr. High School diploma, I was on the “Dean’s List” for top grades by my second semester!

    I, sadly, had not had the chance for an education in High School’s 9th, 10th, 11th, nor 12th Grades, yet within two years, I earned an Associate of Arts degree in Music, then graduated from UCLA in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. And attained a Teacher’s Credential and Post-graduate work from California State University, Northridge, in 1976, specializing in Liberal Arts and Bilingual Ed.

    Presently I am a member of the California Writers Club (https://cwc-sfv.org) where I was Programs Chair and also helped with Hospitality. (*See the above CWC Website for some of my  pieces published over the years in “The Valley Scribe, newsletter of the California Writers Club.)

    I was a member of Champagne Toastmasters (https://ChampagneToastmasters.com). And am a longtime member of Songmakers, Inc. (https://Songmakers.org).

    Ever a Creative, the world is my oyster and I a pearl forming within her. Life is my canvas on which I purposely paint with gusto, all the while it takes me along to new destinations and dimensions — and hopefully, right on through to the “pearly” gates!

     I have learned: “If you rest, you rust;” You either live or you die. Bob Dylan so aptly reminds us of this in his lyrical line borrowed from the late great singer-songwriter, Woodie Guthrie:
    “If you aren’t busy livin’,
    You’re busy dyin’.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

     So here’s to life!
    I’m tryin,’ yes, I am.
    Though I ain’t thru cryin’,
    “L’ Chaim,” and cheers! 
    (by Stephany Spencer-LeBaron)

    ~ My Memoir and Poem: Bright Childhood a Gift

    Me, Bill and baby: Side views
     28-year-old Bill Tucker and 18-year-old Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron de Tucker with our Six-month-old baby Asenath Marie


    “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

    William James


    In July 1967, three months after my/our husband, William Preston Tucker/AKA: Bill Tucker (I say “our” husband because I was one of Bill’s three wives), announced to the “church” he was leaving, he died from a burst appendix. Up until then, he had been one of the two top leading priesthood members of my Uncle Joel LeBaron’s Messianic Mormon fundamentalist cult.

    My Uncle Ervil LeBaron, Joel’s eighteen-months-younger brother, was the other top-ranking priesthood member of Joel’s “church,” “The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times” — a Mormon Fundamentalist doomsday cult headquartered in Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico.

    When Bill died, most of the true-believing members of this apocalyptic extremist group believed God had taken him because he left “The Church.” In their minds, he had apostatized from the only true religion upon the face of the earth. Therefore, half the people who had followed my/our husband out of Joel’s cult of polygamists, just three months before, returned to his cult — now more fervent followers than ever!

    Bill’s dying was all the sign they needed to convince them Joel’s “church” was true, after all. And Bill had simply been led astray by Satan and his minions. It didn’t carry much weight with them that Bill died because he was allergic to Penicillin — the wonder drug that cures peritonitisthe fatal infection that sets in when the appendix burst.

    The following poem was written shortly after my husband’s death. I was barely twenty-one, had just escaped the LeBaron cult two months before, had a three-year-old daughter, no money, no home, no support system — “No nothing” but the legacy of having spent my past seven years held captive in a secluded, backwards, and abusive polygamist cult, where I was married at sixteen, in a prearranged marriage, to a man (William Preston Tucker) ten years my senior who already had two other wives — the oldest one, Marilyn Tucker, fifteen years my senior and immensely jealous of me — not to mention his other wife who was six years my senior.

    During my seven years — from age fourteen to twenty-one — living in the LeBaron cult in Mexico, I was deprived of an education and every modern convenience — plus any type of contact with the outside world. That meant, among other things, no telephone, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, or books. And the motto was: “Keep them barefoot ‘n’ pregnant.”

    Most of us were living a religiously-fanatic, backward, poverty-stricken lifestyle worse than many people lived in the feudal systems of the Middle Ages — the Medieval Period; i.e., the period from 500 AD to 1500 AD — or the 6th- 16th centuries.

    I used a bucket tied to a rope to draw water from a well about half a block from my kitchen, scrubbed laundry on a washboard or my knuckles, bathed in a small galvanized metal tub, and had no indoor plumbing.

    For most of us in LeBaron, “toilet” meant a rickety old unpainted wooden outhouse — and a “stink” pot or can kept under our bed … that needed frequent emptying and cleaning. It was like camping out, except I lived in a cinderblock or adobe abode instead of a tent — depending on which period of my seven years I spent in LeBaron.

    We had no electricity, either. I lit a coal oil lamp for light when evening fell and didn’t have the luxury of a cook stove, let alone a fireplace. This is but a glimpse of the background I left behind upon entering “Babylon” — as the cult called it.

    Yes, within a month or so after my husband’s death, I had left the LeBaron Colony behind, and moved to “the foreign country of California, USA.” Grief-stricken and shorn of my previous religious foundation and security system, needless to say, in every way, California was culture shock and post-traumatic-stress syndrome/PTSD in three-quarter time — except I was only waltzing to keep from crying.

    To make matters worse, though I was twenty-one, I barely had six years of a mostly Utahan country-school education — which I was lucky to have gotten before my parents moved me and the rest of their family to Mexico in 1960 to “gather with the Saints” in the LeBaron Colony — a backward, secluded “get-away” in the Rocky Mountain Range that extended from Western Canada, the Southwestern United State, and on into Mexico. Once there, my education ended and dire deprivation began.

    My teaching career also began: I hadn’t been there in that corner of The Rockies’ — that desolate little LeBaron Chihuahuan-desert dump more than three months but what my parents volunteered my 16-year-old sister and me, an extremely shy, fourteen-year-old, to teach the colony’s kids. I was suddenly, and with no preparation, handed the adult responsibility of a group of twelve kids, ranging from ten years to my own age! And I hadn’t the slightest understanding of pedagogy and its centuries-year-old precepts!!

    I’d never had a reason to think about teaching theories before, let alone think about why and what youngsters should learn — other than when I played house and pretended I was a schoolteacher teaching my dolls – or my little siblings! And fantasized about growing up and being a teacher someday.

    But now, I had to figure out everything on my own — and without the benefit of books or paper — and all within a day or two! Had to figure out such things as “Why Schools? And why teach, anyway? And if education is important, how, why, and what should I be teaching?” I had never had any reason to think about such lofty adult ideas and ideals. And why should I? Children simply take these things for granted, having grown up with education being “a given,” and going to schools given by grown-ups.

    But now I was thrown this — another unbelievable whopper — while still suffering culture shock, due to the isolated, bleak little boring, backward, wind-swept desert colony — an utterly sweltering, desolate, dry, sandy oasis, as compared to what I had barely left behind in the small agrarian town Hurricane, Utah, USA!

    Now, on top of this, suddenly I was deluged with the role of “responsible adult” to add to my PTSD and the other emotional distress and loneliness I was dealing with, but could hardly endure. The distress included my raging adolescent hormones, the loss of my home, bedroom, most of my toys, friends, teachers, lifestyle, and the school I so loved back in Utah. But there were also many other strange things and changes I found and had to adjust to in this Third-World, foreign country. The Mexican peoples, different customs, and Spanish, itself, were monsters for a shy, introverted teenager to adjust to. And to add to all of it, my siblings and I were crammed into a temporary one-room windowless adobe hut with a dirt floor, where we lived for a year or more while Daddy built our family a residence of our own.

    But there were also many other strange things and changes I had to contend with and adjust to in this third-World, foreign country. The Mexican peoples, different customs, and Spanish, itself, were monsters for a shy, introverted teenager like me to adjust to. To add to it all, my siblings and I were crammed into a dark, cramped, one-room adobe hut with a dirt floor and the only one window that was covered by, not glass, but see-through plastic! There we lived for a year or more while Daddy built our family a residence of our own.

    To add to it all, my siblings and I were crammed into a dark, stank, one-room adobe hut with a dirt floor. Its only window was covered by oiled butcher paper! There we lived for a year or more while Daddy built our family a residence of our own.

    To put it succinctly, the LeBaron colony was utterly not what my mother had built it up to be –– Not at all what I was expecting or looking forward to! My parents got us kids all excited about leaving our home and many of our belongings, etc., in exchange for this rugged pioneer life — this primitive existence in Old Mexico —  “to live with the Saints and help build up the kingdom of God”!

    But we were fleeing there, also, to avoid the famine and destruction one of Ma’s dreams showed her was soon to rain down upon “the wicked and worldly United States” — the country that was going to finally be punished by God for having persecuted and killed the early Mormon Saints — especially Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum!

    But be that what it may, to add to my disappointment, despair, and distress, I was now expected to carry an adult job … to be a teacher, no less! Well, I almost lost my mind trying to deal with this sudden responsibility thrust upon me. It was just one more security blanket pulled off me.

    Trying to figure out the answers to all my queries about why and what to teach … and a lot more … was mind-boggling beyond words! What were my parents thinking?! They had to be dreaming … certainly, they weren’t rational!

    Fortunately, before I went crazy with the stress of this stupendous responsibility I hadn’t been given even the least preparation for, Daddy caught me, the evening after my first strenuous day of teaching, lying face down on the couch in the living room, and thrashing around in a fetal position., trying to smother my sobs so nobody would hear.

    I continued wreathing in agony, as Daddy, deeply concerned, tenderly inquired of me, “What’s wrong?” And I wailed, in response: “I don’t know how nor what to teach … And I’m too nervous to talk in front of those kids!

    I never before saw him so worried. He couldn’t locate Mumma quickly enough. Finding her in the kitchen, he had some anxious words with her; whereupon, she dropped what she was doing and came to my rescue. It’s amazing what a few words of consolation from your mumma can do:

    For starters, she told me she’d had some teacher-training classes during her couple of years of college. Then quieted my worries by telling me she would take over my classroom the following morning, to demonstrate how to educate and to control the unruly kids.

    Well, all I can say is it was about time! With her Teacher Training, she should’ve been teaching the class! But after her Teacher Demonstration, that following morning, she even gave me a book for beginning Educators that taught some teaching theory and explained how to prepare and organize lesson plans (Apparently, it was a book left over from her College days). Again, all I can say is, “It was about time!” But better late than never.

    Need I say, my parents sure could put the cart before the horse! For I was somehow expected to already know how to teach, of course … in this little cult where everything was perfect and God would simply drop the knowledge you needed into your mind during one hour of sleep — “like Joseph sold into Egypt, where God gave him a dream filling him in on everything he needed to know.”

    Mama actually and truly believed if God thought you needed the knowledge, he’d give it to you in a dream. So education and study weren’t even needed, really. I’m not kidding! That’s what Mother believed … and told me!

    But it’s her double standards, and living in a fantasy world, once more — for here she also had thrown me, at age fourteen, into my own classroom of students I was expected to teach — without the least preparation — And certainly no dream came that night from God to fill me in on “Everything I needed to know to do this job!”

    But, fortunately, after the one-time teaching Demo, and the other bit of help Ma provided me, a light bulb switched on in my beleaguered and overwhelmed brain. I was off and running from then on! This fourteen-year-old child-teacher/”idiot savant” was back to playing school with a bang and a bounce! But now it was the real deal — hardly make believe anymore.

    And not only did my students love me, and I them — and teaching, too — but I got called “Miss Beulah” … or “Miss Booyah” … all over town, from then on, as I ran into my students after school or during the weekends. This show of affection and respect was an unexpected dividend — a wonderful bonus; an uplifting experience for me. It made the whole thing worth it. But “Beulah” is a very difficult name for tiny tots and even first and second graders to pronounce.

    I recall secretly struggling to learn to pronounce “Beulah,” myself when I was three or four. I wanted to be able to correctly tell people what my name was when they asked. But no child should have to go through the embarrassment of not being able to say their own name correctly. So I recommend simple nicknames  for “Simple Savants”… or “Simple Simons.” Save the difficult names for when small children are old enough to confidently pronounce each syllable of their “Handle/ Moniker/ John Henry.”

    But names aside, I soon became pretty good at creating lesson plans in my mind, on the fly, or by the seat of my pants … creative that I am. I mean, “When there’s a will, there’s a way”!

    But my lesson plans didn’t come close to what I was able to do after some maturity, a college education, and the numerous teachers’ training courses, and other studies I pursued, after escaping that backwards, bizarre, conceited cult — Escaped it at twenty-one to “get a life,” a college degree, and a teaching credential.

    But getting back to “the little adobe schoolhouse,” in LeBaron: The following year, they had me teaching a group of twenty kids, ranging from ages five to fifteen, many of whom needed to learn how to read — or were there to simply learn English.

    And I, fifteen years old by then, was expected to work miracles — though I didn’t even know Spanish, let alone the pedagogy behind Bilingual Ed. Furthermore, I was expected to do all this without even a decent chalkboard or chalk, let alone the benefit of other teaching supplies … not even books and paper, to speak of.

    And, of course (other than Mother’s one-hour amateur teaching demonstration) there was not the least teacher preparation nor training. And if there had been such a highfalutin thing offered, you can be sure it would’ve been me, fresh off the streets, they’d have dragged or roped in to teach others how to teach what I had not been taught myself — and Mother and other adults were too busy to teach, LOL! Except it wasn’t a laughing matter:

    They were very busy reinventing the wheel and “The Little Red Schoolhouse” … in “Zion, the gathering place of the Saints,” where people took themselves most seriously as they diligently strove to build up the kingdom of God and prepare a place of refuge “for when the calamities started in the US, and people had to flee over the border to Old Mexico — no less! – to save their lives.”

    Crazy? Yes, and how! Because they could barely save their own lives, let alone help anyone else’s, once the sky started falling.  About all they could do was continue to follow Chicken Little; i.e., “The Prophets Joel and Ervil.”

    When I escaped that cult in 1967, I didn’t know how to drive, use a telephone, nor count change — let alone exchange American money. I could barely use Mexican money, having had so little script allowed me during my childhood or married life.

    Our cult, like most Mormon fundamentalist cults, believed women shouldn’t be allowed to have or manage money. Therefore, you can be sure I didn’t know how to write a check, let alone open a bank account, get on a bus or train … or take a taxi.

    So at my/our husband’s funeral, my oldest sister told me I could come stay with her in San Diego, California, and she’d help me get situated in my new life and find a job … given that I had no money, Basic Education, nor work experience, to speak of, and couldn’t drive — plus had a toddler to look after, besides.

    And who should know, better than she, all the disadvantages and back sets I’d just left behind, such that I wasn’t prepared for this  “foreign country” and frightening life of single motherhood.

    On top of that, I had recently announced to the cult that I no longer believed in their religious dogma and had left their secluded colony for good. So my “big” sister (seventeen months older than I) knew she was all I had to turn to for help in getting started in my new world.

    Looking back on it now, I guess it sounded pretty impressive and good to my “big” sister that she should invite me to come live with her and “she’d help me get set up.” After all, she’d heard and seen other people around her say and do such a benevolent thing.

    So I guess it seemed to this twenty-three-year-old, average-minded ingénue like the thing any normal and sensitive sister in her right shoes would say to any normal and helpless sister in my wrong shoes, I being her younger and destitute widowed “apostate,” social-scientific-thinking sister.

    But, much to my disappointment, let down, and dismay, in the two to three weeks my toddler and I were there, she never did one thing to help me find a job!

    Even worse, food began to gradually dwindle then disappear from her abode, ultimately leaving the cupboard bare but for some canned orange juice. That’s all she left for my baby and me the last five days we lived with her and her husband Stephen Silver … who was usually away visiting his other wives.

    I suppose she was trying to give me the “hint to git”? That she really hadn’t meant for me to take her up on it when she invited me to come live with her “till I got started on my own”?

    Like, was her husband/ my brother-in-law Stephen Silver put out with her when I actually showed up on their doorstep  … or what? Obviously, there wasn’t … and still isn’t … much communication going on between me and her. I’m supposed to pretend things didn’t happen the way they did, I guess.

    But, for sure, she has apparently never taken a look at what she did. All I’m certain of is she sure didn’t/ doesn’t think she owed/owes me any apology. At least I’ve never gotten one — and fifty years have passed since then. That was just how people, at least in my family, did things.

    They weren’t dependable. Didn’t keep their word — Didn’t follow through on what they promised. We simply took each other for granted, didn’t expect too much — and usually got less. People weren’t/aren’t valued so much when there are an awful lot of them — as in huge families. I was simply grateful for the few times, over the years, my older sister had come through for me!

    But, though there has been no communication between me and her about that time, by now, I’ve figured out she and Stephen weren’t starving like my baby and me. And it was NOT a common thing for my sister to have no food in her house: The louse was eating out to avoid feeding me and my baby!

    But she never told me what she was up to. I simply thought they were low on money. And was just as naïvely still trusting my sister would eventually help me find that all-important job!

    But, to add insult to injury, Stephen learned from her I had $18.00 pocket change. Even in 1967 that didn’t go very far — especially when I had a child to support! So I was taken aback when he asked me to give him all the money I had — even asked me if I was sure I didn’t have any dimes or pennies left in my apron pocket!

    Now, wouldn’t you think the right thing for such a “saint” (and future “profit”!) to do (since I couldn’t drive and and there was no transportation within walking distance of their apartment) would’ve been to take me shopping so I could use that money to buy some food for my malnourished baby and me! (Or maybe even get me set up with Welfare?)

    But, apparently, he thought I owed him some money for having stayed at his wife’s place a bit. So he was simply exacting all he could get from me. And maybe he thought it was too dangerous to have me go to the Public Welfare Dept. to get assistance: They might find out about him, a Plyg, and he’d be thrown in jail.

    But, fortunately for him, I didn’t know how to use a phone, let alone that a Department of Social Services existed; i.e., a Public Welfare System that offered aid to starving families with dependent children. I didn’t know anything because he and my sister never explained anything … nor did anyone else.

    They apparently had too many of their own problems to worry about to consider me. Plygs are extremely busy people. Just trying to make ends meet and stay out of jail is more hell than most can handle.

    So, instead of helping me in any way, get what followed next — a  story so shocking and inhumane I can still barely relate it to this day: Without ANY warning, in the dead of night the two took off, abandoning me and my toddler.

    Yes, unbelievably, and without any word to me that they were going to leave, these “Saints” fled, leaving my baby and me to further starve to death. We literally went five full days with only water, till we were rescued. But that’s another gory story for a later line.

    Over time, I realized these Mormon fundamentalist Plyg “Saints”  had fled their apartment, while I was sleeping, to not only dump me and my kid but to also avoid paying the many months’ back rent they owed! But what can I expect from my older sister? I had always been a thorn in her side.

    She had never gotten over my being born! I guess my parents hadn’t properly prepared her, at the tender age of seventeen months, for my sudden arrival on the scene and “her” territory.

    To make matters worse, I immediately began to take her place and nurse at my/HER mama’s breast! And, later on, to use HER potty … without anyone’s permission: I potty trained myself at age one. I saw how much attention my older sister got for using her potty and leaving a turd. So I copied her … And left my own turd. Then properly got Mother by the hand and took her to show her what I left in the pot, expecting she would really praise me, too.

    But I will never forget how upset my twenty-nine-month-old Sis was. Oh, the dismay she showed when I’d usurped her very special potty chambers. I recall Mama tenderly trying to convince her of how important it was to share her special new potty chair with me. “Do-do,” as I called her at that age, never did agree. She simply put up with me, an intruder on her territory, because she had no alternative.

    And when it comes to “interlopers,” she didn’t have much more use for the US government and the rule of law, either … Other than it afforded her and her husband and his other wives a living, a welfare check, and more. Thank God for the good ole Americans that do respect the rule of law so as to create wonderful things interlopers (such as bleed-the-beast “Saints”) can benefit from.

    Ah yes, these self-proclaimed Mormon saints were simply bleeding the beast … including me and my baby. To add insult to injury, these same self-righteous “saintly beasts” actually proclaimed themselves to be better than my/ Bill’s “apostate” kid and me!

    What’s more unbelievable, given their behavior, is Stephen had been my/ our husband’s “best boyfriend.” Of course, I didn’t know this at the time. Over many years, I pieced the puzzle together. It started back when they’d met in France’s mainstream-Mormon mission field where they spent about two years in close quarters as missionary companions — even sharing the same bunk the whole time!

    So Bill was no doubt turning over in his grave as he saw how his secret lover Steve (i.e., wife?) had ultimately vented his uncontainable jealousy towards me — And also vented his feelings of betrayal and grief he’d long since harbored towards Bill because he could never marry Bill and have him all to himself. 

    So how did he get even with Bill and me? He simply abandoned us … me and the baby I’d had with Bill; i.e., He left us to expire once his lover Bill had expired.

    But what a wickedly proverbial betrayal it was that Steve would actually leave me and my/ Bill’s baby unprotected and “without a pot to piss in,” given that Bill had helped Steve often — So many times he’d come to Steve and his family’s rescue, over the course of the twelve years he and Steve had remained “Best Buddies”!

    What’s worse, as it stood for me, after Bill died, his first/ legal wife got all the monthly Social Security money the US government paid to Bill’s family upon his death. She even took all the money from our chicken business in Mexico — though she shared some with Bill’s second wife — her “best girlfriend” and sidekick.

    But those two left me and my child to the wolves — because I wasn’t “really” part of “the family;” i.e.,”the love nest.” And they made that choice, not Bill. But Bill went along with whatever choices his two oldest wive’s made, more often than not. Life with a harem was more peaceful for him when those squeaky hinges/”hens” got the grease; i.e., He let these first two jealous wives wear the pants and have the power… usually.

    Actually, they thought (as I had) that my sister was going to help me get a job and get situated in the United States after my/our husband’s demise! But that was still no excuse for them to take for themselves and their kids all the money and gifts that came into our family, after Bill’s death, leaving me and Bill’s baby he impregnated me with, helpless and hopeless once he died.

    But what was new, when it came to me and them? This was how it had always been — my having to sink, think, then swim — or die trying. No help from them, to speak of. They did the bare minimum … to save face, and not a farthing’s fart more! Bill wasn’t much help either.

    But, getting back to Stephen Silver: To top off ALL else he did and didn’t do, later on, that narcissistic nut case started a Mormon fundamentalist cult of his own — after he spent some years in the country of Israel, no less, trying to convert the Jews to the idea that he, Stephen (half Jewish), was the Messiah prophesied of old!!

    When that didn’t work, that’s when Steve returned to the United States, got a perm, sported a redheaded Afro, and set himself up as a self-proclaimed prophet — “The one mighty ‘n’ strong,” if you will, as spoken of in Mormon Scriptures. And that’s only the half of it when it comes to Steve and his crazy, nitwit shit!

    I got side-tracked with this backstory. Let’s continue with my story about why and when I wrote the following poem, “Bright Childhood a Blessing.” At the time my muse brought this poem to me, I was without even a religious base, having left my religion — The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times. I had left it, in my mind, a year before I knew my husband had left it.

    He had secretly left it, in his mind, too, a year or so before he dared tell me he’d quit believing in my Uncles, Joel and Ervil LeBaron and their priesthood claims and doctrine! Anyway, needless to say, when he passed away, my baby and I were left without any support system whatsoever. 

    Add to this that, because I had left “The Church of the First Born,” I was being maligned and ostracized by many people in the cult … including my mother, older sister, and most of my other siblings.

    My toddler and I were considered basically “bad” because I was no longer a “true believer.” So we were left to rot and be forgot … Conveniently abandoned by God’s self-proclaimed chosen handful … who always claimed to be so full of love, charity, and goodness!

    But, wouldn’t you know, these self-righteous self-proclaimed Saints left me and Bill’s baby to die: They considered us “Daughters of Perdition” … simply because I had chosen to use the God-given brain I was endowed with to make my own choices in life. (God forbid I should do such a thing!) And it is with this backdrop the following poem came to me … came to be:

    Bright Childhood a Gift
    (By Stephany Spencer, age 21)

    Bright childhood was a gift on loan.
    Today I wander back, wondering
    Why that gift has flown.
    Now I’m abandoned, on my own.

    Steeped in drudgery to the bone,
    Helplessly, hopelessly I groan.
    What am I now? Who took away
    That life I once had known?
    Who caused me to be so flung
    When hope had almost grown?

    Who finds it wise to lend me loss —
    This misery once unknown?
    Filled with heartaches made of stone –
    Who took me here to moan?
    Who left me here, greatly lost —

    With people but alone?

    Come end this anguish fierce!
    Put justice in its place!
    Don’t tarry long, I pray —
    I cannot bear this pace.

    You gave me once a mother dear,
    A father who did care,
    Plus friends and sisters near;
    They helped to pave each stair.

    But quick You took that life;
    Left me dangling in the dearth
    Of helpless stress and strife —
    Still a mother, no longer wife.

    Once I asked to be made strong
    A soldier in Your crew.
    I hadn’t dreamt this was what
    My energies were due.

    Now I pray to bring me up
    From out a crushing pain; 
    Bring back hope, bring back joy,
    Bring heaven once again.

     (By Stephany Spencer, age 21)


    In the following video, my cousin Donna LeBaron Goldberg is interviewed by her aunt (my aunt-in-law) Producer Rebecca Kunz Kimbel. Donna was born and raised in Colonia LeBaron and the LeBaron Mormon fundamentalist cult where I was raised and spent eight years of my childhood and young adulthood.



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