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 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” 


~ Review of Gabriella Owens’ “BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Expose of Macho Cooking”

 [ BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Expose on Macho Cooking
Owens, Gabriella ( Author ) ] { Paperback } 2013
Paperback

On Review: Gabriella Owens’ Book, BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Expose’ of Macho Cooking

Dear Readers:

I couldn’t believe a cookbook could keep me so engrossed I couldn’t put it down! Because I hate to cook! But by the time I finished reading, loving, and laughing my way through “BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Expose on Macho Cooking” — a book full of humor, impressive information, pizza recipes galore, and more — Gabriella Owens had made a believer out of me! I was seriously considering becoming a “barbecued-pizza specialist” and party host myself.

But I figured the least I could do, after reading her exceptional expose –even learning what pizza peels are for– was to stop three pizzas short of a pizza peel to write this sizzling review.

Gifted Author Gabriella is not only an expert on gourmet barbecue pizza parties, fine wines, wineries, and more, but a comedian — and the President of the California Writer’s Club, San Fernando Valley Branch.

Her creative pizzas put the California Pizza House to shame! But they might be interested in some of her “fabulicious-Pizzalicious” dishes and recipes.

While reading “BBQ Pizza,” I was kept so thoroughly entertained– laughing so hard all the way–I learned how to appreciate and appraise wines, put together perfect pizza parties, and much more — all with no pain!

I told Gabriella: “You’re a standup comedian in a “sitdown” position ‘neath a toadstool lampshade waiting to be discovered! So “standup” and deliver! I’ll turn the lights on any time.”

Meanwhile, everyone should at least discover her hidden talent for writing comedy by reading her book and watching her comedic YouTube movie “BBQ Pizza: Macho Cook to the Rescue—With His Pastrami Pizza Recipe!”

If you’re a standup comedian or would like to be, there are some great lines in this creative author’s book that could keep your audience in uproarious laughter indefinitely.

 Hey guys, buy BBQ Pizza: A Flaming Exposé
Of Macho Cooking
or put it on your reading list today.
You won’t be sorry:
You’ll have a fabulucious day!

By Stephany Spencer

 

 

~ Fred Morrow Plumbing, and Super-Savings on Sewer Sub-Meters!

Fred Morrow
Fred Morrow

Poets for Fred Morrow Plumbing,*
A
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(He’s installed hundreds of these meter readers!)

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Contractor’s corporation —
In my humble opinion,
Best plumbing Co. in the nation!

I hired Fred Morrow
So I wouldn’t be sorry tomorrow;
Did my homework;
So I don’t repent in sorrow!

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Morrow’s super-plumber Stal
Installed my sewer sub-meter “machine;”
‘Twas some of the best work I’ve ever seen!
If you want a good job done overall,
Fred Morrow Plumbing’s the company to call.
Want to save, all-in-all? Then I say, “Don’t stall”:

Call Fred Morrow services:
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And energy lost on disservices;
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And interview the whole Plumbing lot
Recommended for this job on Next Door and Yelp.
Then, like me, you may yell and cry, “Help!!”
Because you’ll get the opposite of what I got
With Fred Morrow’s Plumbing
Whom I ultimately sought.

He started his company in late 1970;
 Has around twenty-two employees presently;
I say, “Hire this incredulous hot entity!”
 He’s the only plumbing company with high integrity
That I’ve found around in years —
The only one lately that hasn’t left me
With problems, fears, and tears.

Hats off to Fred Morrow Plumbing,
And a BIG round of cheers!!
May this company be around
For many more years!

By Stephany Spencer
StephanySpencer.com

*Fred Morrow Plumbing: 818-376-6538
 FredMorrowPlumbing.com
16137 Valerio Street,
Van Nuys, California 91406


  • NOTE: I found the following book online. Am posting it here because a guy by the name of “Fred Morrow,” who owns “Fred Morrow Plumbing” — an attorney turned plumber — I thought was one of the protagonists in this story.

    After buying and reading the book on Kindle, I discovered my Google search had found the names “Fred” and “Morrow” in the novel and had somehow linked them with “Fred Morrow Plumbing,” the company I was doing research on.

    But a coincidence: The protagonist in the book IS much like Fred Morrow. However, his name is “Nate Morrow,” he owns his own plumbing company, has high integrity — and the “Fred” in Pemberton’s novel, it turns out, is the protagonist Rita’s uncle!

    I’m leaving this Book recommendation on my blog because I think anybody who knows Fred Morrow would find this book a fascinating read, to say the least! See the book’s title and a clip from the novel listed below:

    Regarding Rita – Google Books Result
    https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1459274555

    Morrow was supposed to meet her at her apartment, five minutes ago. Couldn’t these people … No point in activating Uncle Fred’s antenna, she told herself, but in the back of her mind, she knew Fred had little to do with it. She didn’t want … Fred wasn’t sitting on the front porch, and neither was the plumber. Suddenly fatigue …

    [PDF]

     

~ 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-F: Esther LeBaron Spencer, Me, and More Perils of Polygamy

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

me-in-plaid-14-1
Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron in 1960, age 14, on our homestead in Colonia LeBaron 

 



“Leadership is not wielding authority –
It’s empowering people.”
Becky Brodin


I left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-E” on the following note:

I Now know my mother’s brother, Ervil LeBaron, was a psychopath and sociopath and, therefore, lacked a conscience. But I wonder if Homer didn’t have a twinge of conscience in secretly pulling this marriage off without my parents knowing it — especially since he had known my mother since childhood.

Yes, didn’t Homer feel at least a little guilt in taking off, behind my parents’ back, with Mother’s then-favorite and best-looking, sexiest daughter? — especially since he had been a companion of Mother and her brothers there in the Mexico-Mormon colonies where they had grown up together!

In my diary, during this high-pressured and off-balance time Uncle Ervil was putting me through by way of his false revelations, I wrote: “I’m not looking forward to marrying Homer … I don’t even know this strange man. He barely arrived in the colony three days ago! I feel very nervous, confused, and “discumbooberated”[discombobulated] over suddenly, out of the blue, being married to him.

“But I am happy and feel so special because God revealed to Uncle Ervil what I’m supposed to do. I had been so longing to know what my mission in life was — who I was supposed to marry, and how I could best serve God — and so longing to get away from home and be on my own!

“Bill Tucker’s the man I’m in love with. But I am going to marry Homer Babbitt 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.”

I see now that I was really only serving Uncle Ervil and “his” kingdom. But I had been taught, back then, that Ervil LeBaron was “like God to the people,” and second in command to Uncle Joel, our main Prophet. So what was a girl to do?!

At this stressful time, I also said in my diary, “Uncle Ervil told me he had a revelation I was supposed to marry Homer. I just wish I could feel in love with the man I’m supposed to marry. And how come I didn’t get this revelation from God too? Why did it only come through my uncle?”

But, at that time, I trusted implicitly my towering 6′ 4″, seemingly magnanimous, articulate, and charismatic uncle! It didn’t enter my mind that he could do any wrong because I was taught he could only do right: He was “a prophet of God.” But now I know he did wrong and was only a “profit” of evil.

Of course, Ervil did not let me know he was simply trading me, one of his nieces, to his friend Homer for some of Homer’s land. I found all that out many years later, as I discovered more and more the freeloading, free-wheeling -“n”- dealing con Ervil was.

From reading peoples’ memoirs, and other such, I discovered I was far from the only one “Evil Ervil” got “special revelation” for. And far from the only one whose marriage and life he’d manipulated and ultimately ruined with his dastardly and devilish deceptions.

It seems he screwed up everyone’s lives and marriages he came in contact with. But everybody I knew trusted him implicitly. Nobody dreamed he was deceiving them by pretending he got revelations from God as to what they were supposed to do when all he was really doing was taking advantage of their trust in him so as to use them.*

(Continued October 11, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-G”)


*The memoirs of other Ex-LeBaron cult members relate how Ervil manipulated their lives and marriages. See my Menubar for “Media on My Extended Family, Friends, and Fundamentalist Mormon Cults.” There I have listed some memoirs and books about Ervil, such as “Prophet of Blood,” by Ben Bradley and Dale Van Atta.


This following interview with my Aunts Rebecca Kimbel, Susan Ray Shmidt, and others is one of the many great interviews Doris Hanson has posted on YouTube that explain well what my upbringing in the Mormon fundamentalist cults entailed.

 

 

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

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

me-in-plaid-dress-14
Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron, age 14, On our homestead in Colonia LeBaron in 1961

 



“An important question for leaders:
‘Am I building people,
or building my dream
and using people to do it?’ “

John Maxwell


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

The secretly arranged marriage my Uncle Ervil LeBaron had manipulated me into wasn’t at all like I had fantasized marriage would be — not at all how I had romanticized matrimony and the meeting of my future husband would come about. Instead, I didn’t look forward to being Homer Babbit’s wife/ plural wife.

“Why did God want me to do something that seemed so unnatural,” is what I would have asked myself if, at the brainwashed and controlled age of “sweet sixteen,” I’d known enough to ask crucial questions. But there were few respected boundaries, let alone rights, in my cultish upbringing. I was simply to do what I was told and not ask questions. Children were to be seen, not heard. I had been threatened by my father with a beating, at age fifteen, for simply daring to respectfully ask, “Why?”

Notwithstanding, missing was the passion and desire I’d expected there would be as my wedding day approached. I was sad and out of sorts about how it was all coming down. I had been in love before, a number of times, and this wasn’t it! And though I surely wanted to do what God wanted me to do, I sure wished something would happen, too, so this marriage wouldn’t happen … wouldn’t go through!

Ervil was going to have Homer and me marry sans dating and sans me even knowing the guy, let alone being attracted to him! It blows me over, now, to think my unscrupulous uncle would care so little about me and my needs and feelings that he would use priestcraft to manipulate totally naïve, trusting, and special me for his own power and financial gain — would pretend that he stood as God to us people, got revelation for us, and could, therefore, tell me who I was supposed to marry — and without even bringing my parents in on it! 

He was using me and the members of his cult as though we were nothing but animals and human pawns in his hands put on earth to fulfill his plans — as though nobody mattered but him. This is evil. And it has left its repercussions reverberating in my life ever since. (More on that later.)

Evil Ervil had everyone duped. But I fail to see why all those who raised him and/or grew up with him and knew him well — his mother, my mother, her brothers, and their friends such as Homer — didn’t see and prevent what Ervil was doing to those in his fold. In other words, by saying or doing nothing, and looking the other way, these adults basically condoned it.

Uncle Ervil knew the most important thing in my sixteen-year-old Mormon fundamentalist female mind at that time was: Who am I supposed to marry and when? And how can I best help build up the kingdom of God? He knew this because this was what I was born and bred on. The woman’s whole purpose in life, in Mormon fundamentalism, was to marry the right man — as revealed to her by revelation — and to serve God or “The Work;” i.e., “The work of God/ Building up God’s kingdom on earth.”

There were already many men in the LeBaron cult who had gone to my father and asked to have permission to marry me. It had been going on for the whole two years since my family moved to the LeBaron colony cult in 1960 when I was only fourteen. Daddy had turned most of them down, using the excuse that I was too young — which, of course, made them dislike my father more than maybe they already did. Or, at least, being refused permission to court or marry me hurt those men’s feelings.

To my LeBaron uncles and Mormon fundamentalist members, thirteen was not too young to be married off as a polygamist’s “wife.” So in Uncle Ervil’s mind, sixteen was the perfect age for a woman to marry; i.e., Get her before she could think for herself! Nor did he care how I felt about it. Again, I was just somebody for this sociopathic/ psychopathic master manipulator to use for his own vain purposes, glorification, and financial gain.

(Continued October 4, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-F”)



In this video, Producer Rebecca Kimbel, one of my aunt-in-laws, is interviewing one of my many first cousins, Donna LeBaron Goldberg, who grew up in Colonia LeBaron where I spent over eight years of my life as a child and young adult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ 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”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Pt 19-A: Ma, Pa, Me, and Perils of Polygamy

  • My Memoir, Part 19-A: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
    Ma, Pa, and Perils of Polygamy

    ma and grma, 2
    Mama and Grandmama

“No influence is so powerful
as the that of the mother.”

Sarah Josepha Hale


Picking up from “My Memoir Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — Ma ‘n’ Pa — Part 18:”

As I’ve said before, Mother could not live polygamy herself — at least not during her twenty-two years of marriage with my father. So I really resent she maneuvered and manipulated me into a harem — a life she couldn’t stomach herself. But what’s new?!

Since she and Pa raised me to believe I would go to hell if I didn’t live polygamy (because Joseph Smith said so). Obviously then, they expected their kids to be able to do things they were never able to do themselves. Or they were trying to at least save me from going to hell when they couldn’t save themselves. Dream on!

Therefore, though I was barely sixteen, still tied to Mother’s apron strings and too young to know any better nor have any input, Mumsy, along with Pappy’s priestcraft and support, worked her witchcraft that dumped me into William Preston Tucker’s family/ harem – an arranged polygamic marriage, and one that would bring glory to hers and Daddy’s name — for Bill Tucker was arguably the biggest catch in town.

To manipulate me, among other things, Mum told me, “I had a revelation last night that showed me plain as day that you are supposed to marry William Preston Tucker.”

Many years later, I discovered her so-called “revelation” was that she (and Dad!) had simply secretly read my private and personal diary wherein I had stated Bill was the man I was in love with.

But, I learned a few years later, at least half the town was in love with this alpha male, William Preston Tucker — Men and women! (To be sure, Mormon polygamy allows for mayhem!)

My parents had convinced me they were perfect … and saints. So it never entered my mind that while I was away from home dutifully and conscientiously doing the job they got me into, starting at age fourteen — volunteer school teaching for the LeBaron colony cult — they were regularly reading, entirely unbeknownst to me, my hidden diary. Then discussing together my most private and secret daily entries and thoughts — things I believed only I knew … personal things only I was supposed to know!!

I poured my heart and soul out in my diary. You could say I had “diarrhea/dia-ry’-a” of the mouth. This writing is what kept me alive and sane while in the cult. But I never dreamed it was also what kept my parents, and, later on, other manipulators and enemies able to read my mind and, thus, have power over me and my life.

Since I recorded all my private thoughts and feelings, intruders into my personal diaries (such as my husband and his other wives, later on down the line!) had perfect access to my mental processes, problems, plans, secret feelings about them and others — and you name it! Golly Gee!!

My brain might as well have been opened up for Cons and rivals to covertly listen in on all my most private and personal plans and thoughts so they could take my power. For I used my journals to process, cathart, and “thought fart,” and otherwise wend my way through the LeBaron Mormon polygamist cult mess I had to deal with on a daily basis as a young teen going through the perils of coming of age in a foreign land and fanatic fundamentalist, mind-boggling belief system.

And, wouldn’t you know, my Uncle Ervil LeBaron played his part in manipulating my life, and turning it upside down too. But I’ll take up with that in next week’s Blog.

(Continued September 8, 2017: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-B”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ 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.

~ Pt 17: Esther LeBaron Spencer — Ma, Pa, ‘n’ Me

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 “Perfect” 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 feelings 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.

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.

Since Mummy 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 Mum 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 — that is, after his first wife divorced him within six months of his marrying Mama as his polygamic wife. 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 polygamic 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. 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 labor.

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. As I’ve said before, it was all about quantity, not quality.


  • The cult leaders taught if we even dared question what they told us and whether polygamy and “the gospel” was correct, we would be turned over to the buffetings of Satan. That meant we would likely lose our mind … as well as our soul —  very real concerns for my Mother and me.

*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 she must’ve been doing something right or she wouldn’t have had, perhaps, some followers/true-believers who idolized her till the end and still have fond memories of her.

(Continued in: “My Memoirs Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — Part 18”)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ 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”

 

 

 

 

~ 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 “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 Ruth Wariner’s Memoir, “The Sound Of Gravel”

 

 

The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir by [Wariner, Ruth]

 

NOTE: The following essay is my Book Review of “The Sound of Gravel,” a Memoir by Ruth Wariner, a first cousin of mine.
(“Wariner” is Ruth’s mother’s maiden name. My Uncle Joel LeBaron was Ruth’s father.)


By Stephany Spencer:
In the past year, I’ve read once and listened three times, so far, to Ruth Wariner’s best-selling book/audiobook, “The Sound of Gravel.”  It has gotten higher ratings from me with each new read or listen. So I’ve found it pays to read or listen to a book more than once!

With my first read, I deemed the book “Not what I expected.” I grew up much the same way she had, so I had preconceived notions of what it would or should be about. Ruth is my mother’s brother’s daughter and my first cousin. It took going through her Memoir a second time, as an audiobook too, to be able to say:

You go, cousin Ruth! It’s a well-written Memoir that should be read as well as listened to at least two times by everyone who thinks Mormon cults are ‘Just people exercising their freedom of religion.’ “

This well-scripted book gives you some idea of what “people just exercising their freedom of religion” do to the kids born into these Mormon fundamentalist cults! I should know: I grew up in, then escaped fifty years ago, this same cult Ruth was raised in!

People raised in abusive, traumatizing childhoods often split/revert into themselves when anything goes wrong in their life. I learned from the late Dr. David Viscot that feeling sorry for one’s self is a form of splitting.

Children and adults from abusive backgrounds may often do this pity-potty-party thing in an effort to protect themselves, and to better handle a bad situation. However, it only leads to despondency and depression.

Thanks to Ruth’s Memoir, she’s taught me to replace despondent thoughts with the song/mantra: “Count Your Many Blessings.” I grew up singing this song. But I didn’t realize, till I read and then listened to Ruth’s book for the third time, that this is what I needed to do to keep a good spirit with me.

Singing “Count Your Blessings “reminds me to start adding up all my blessings instead of my cursings. I’ve found it’s the best way — the proactive way to avoid depression, negativity, and feeling sorry for myself in the face of traumatic situations: Aging, for example!

Now, whenever dark clouds threaten to rain on my sunshine, I quickly remember to say or sing: “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” For there is no end to the blessings that have been bestowed upon me in my life, despite all the bad things I’ve had “bestowed upon me,” also — and survived!

I grew up singing the song, “Count Your Many Blessings, “just as my cousin Ruth had. But I had not gotten well the lesson Ruth’s mother, Kathy, taught Ruth when she consistently and quickly always reminded her daughter to “count her blessings” — no matter how bad things were!!

At first, this seemed like a silly thing for Ruth’s mom to incessantly say, in the face of all the mire and dire adversity Ruth and her family constantly lived with. But now I realize Ruth’s mother, Kathy, had learned from her upbringing a good lesson that she  passed down to her own children:

Counting one’s blessings chases out helplessness, hopelessness, blame, negativity, depression, and feeling sorry for oneself. It turns the frown upside down into a smile, and supplants downsides with a positive upside attitude and action: The best prescriptions for surviving any bad situation.

Thank you, Ruth, for passing this lesson on down to me  — along with many other lessons you have taught that bring others up through the blessing of your outstanding Memoir — your valuable gift to the world. I am looking forward to your next book. Write on!



*Count Your Many Blessings

1-  When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Refrain:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]

 2-  Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by

3-  When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

4-  So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

By Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1897

*(This song is in hymn books and online.)

*The following video gives insight into Mormon fundamentalism and how I and Ruth were raised  — and what we escaped.

~ My Song: “A Happy-New-Year Medley”

 HAPPY NEW YEAR!
TWO-THOUSAND-NINETEEN IS HERE!!

new-years-day

By Stephany Spencer
(to tune of Auld Lang Syne)

1-  Two-thousand-nineteen is here!
We are one year older:
Everyone has grown
And we are bolder
As we enter this new year.

 So let us make a resolution
To never be the problem —
Only the solution
To our problems … every one.

2-  Then let us spread hope and good cheer
From here on through December,
‘Cause, when it is all said and done,
That is what people remember.

Chorus:
So Happy New Year, everyone!
Happy New Year, everyone!!
Let’s spread good cheer and have some fun —
Another new year has begun!


(Traditional Scott’s air, Auld Lang Syne, by Robert Burns)

3-  Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And days of auld lang syne?

For days of auld lang syne, my jo,
For days of auld lang syne;
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
For days of auld lang syne.

My poem: “Bio Ballad in Verse, for Better or Worse”

daddy-ma-and-fam-in-color
I’m age 12 here, 2nd to left, middle row

Bio Ballad in Verse — for Better or Worse

I was born some time ago,
Way out in the sticks,
In Mexico’s Rocky Mountain Range,
The year 1946;

Was raised in a
Mormon fundamentalist cult,
Where renegade,
Self-righteous, half-hicks
Believed it sinful
With “the world,” to mix.

But they were mostly
Egotistical fools,
Who thought they were ”
“God’s chosen handful;”
God’s Saints and
Heavenly-kingdom “tools”!

Unfortunately, they were
Mostly backward bigots,
Extremists, and
White-trash hypocrites —
Full of themselves,
False pride, and narcissism,
They fed on stoicism,
Self-denial, and masochism!

 “You can lead a horse to water,
But you can’t make it drink
.”
Same goes for blind followers
Being lead to the brink:
Unless they choose to lift their blinders
And use their God-given head,
Brainwashed from birth,
They will usually follow, instead;
You can’t change them;
You can’t make them think.

So by the time I turned seven,
My parents had seven girls in a row —
When we went walking down the street,
We presented quite a show!

By the time I was eleven,
There were children ten:
My parents believed birth control
Would keep them out of heaven.

So when I turned thirteen,
I had siblings twelve;
For everything I ever got,
I had to dig and delve!

By the time I was twenty-one,
I was fit to go under,
But God created a wonder:
Catapulted me asunder
Like a bolt of thunder —
And hurled into the “wicked” world!

Now, on the outside looking in
At these “Saints” knee-deep in sin,
I gaze at them and quietly pray,
As I smother a little grin:

 “Thank you, Goodness,
For helping me win:
Thank you for the free agency
To begin again!

“Yeah, thank you, God,
For my freedom of choice;
And thanks for the right
To follow my own voice;
And to be wise
And eventually self-actualize
!”

Thus, I escaped the stoic hell —
Left the cult behind,
To go out in “the wicked world,
A better life to find.
Well, every year’s gotten better
Since I fled that bitter bind.

 I’ve found, out in “the world,”
A better life and times,
Where people are more compassionate,
Educated, and kind.

So thank you, my new world
Oh, how you shine!
And thank you for helping me
Make it, dear Humankind.

   (Stephany Spencer 2016)

My Review of Ester Shifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of Trunks”

‘* Note: The following is a book review I did of an acquaintance’s book,”Hiding in a Cave of Trunks.” Unfortunately, when I copied and pasted my review, as usual, it didn’t turn out looking nearly as nice as it looks on Goodreads.com, but it will do.
Hiding in a Cave of Trunks

 Read

 My book review of Esther Shifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of trunks”

Preview

Hiding in a Cave of Trunks

by Ester Benjamin Shifren

Hiding in a Cave of Trunks: A Prominent Jewish Family’s Century in Shanghai and Internment in a WWII POW camp.

Against an impressive historical background, China-born Ester Benjamin Shifren relates the saga of her family’s century-long existence in Shanghai, the city often referred to as “The Paris of the East,” and details the culture and tribulations of the colorful multi …more

Kindle Edition, 276 pages

Published December 4th 2012

Kindle eBook $3.99AmazonStores ▾Libraries




MY REVIEW

Oct 31, 2016

  My Book Review of Esther Schifren’s “Hiding in a Cave of Trunks”

Ester Shifren, highly gifted author, artist, poet, performer, musician, speaker and more, has been a fellow member of my California Writers Club for many years. I thought I knew her till I read her wonderfully written memoir and history book combined. Was blown away by her unique writing style and the depth of the material she presented.

Loved learning about her life as a Jew growing up in China during the World War II era. It was most inspiring to read how her family managed to survive almost three years of incarceration in China during that time period.

You have to read the book to know what I’m talking about. I will only say that I lost sleep reading Ester’s book far into the night. It was so interesting, fascinating, and beautifully written I couldn’t put it down.

I plan to read Ester’s historical memoir again at least one more time. Will also use it for ideas and a guide for writing my own memoirs. This book should be on High School and University required reading lists, as well as in every public library. Ester, you “made history” when you wrote your memoirs!

 

 

 

 

~ My Review of Luna Lindsey’s “Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control”

Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control — A perfect title that says it all!, October 31, 2016
This review is from: Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control (Kindle Edition:
Says Stephany Spencer: I discovered Luna Lindsey through Facebook. Her obvious brilliance and observation lead me to become a Facebook friend and follower of her’s. That’s when I learned she was also an Author and had even written a book that I, an ex-Mormon fundamentalist, needed to read: “Recovering Agency: Lifting the Veil of Mormon Mind Control.”

Her well-researched book is a must-read for anybody wanting to understand mind control and how intelligent people can be converted to a cult — or be born into one, and not see the problems, contradictions, and errors in their belief system.

And it’s a must-read, also, for anyone needing help with undoing all the subconscious brainwashing and mind control messages and beliefs imbued in them while growing up Mormon.

Another plus for reading the book is that Lindsey is a brilliant person with a captivating and interesting writing style and a depth of insight and ideas that lets you know you are in the presence of genius.

We are all indebted to her for the work, time, and effort she put into getting this book written and published — no small task!

The research she did, alone, attests to the genius of this woman — Autistic, but you would only know it, or be able to believe it, if you knew that some of our most intelligent scientists (at such places as the Caltech Think Tank in California) are highly functioning autistic geniuses.

Luna Lindsey is a remarkable young woman who has authored a book you won’t regret having spent your valuable money and time on. And it’s a great reference guide, besides!






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~ 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

 

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@






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)              

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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

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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

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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








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gray-hair

A Bimbo-Breakthrough:
Old age ain’t for sissies …
And neither is bein’ a woman!
 Stephany Spencer 

~ My Original Quotes, Notes, ‘n’ Anecdotes on Writing ‘n’ Creativity

me-waitress-1
Stephany Spencer, age 20, taken off guard

Hi! I am Stephany Spencer, Poet, Lyricist, Memoirist, and Musician — a professional Jackalinof-many-trades. And a retired teacher on her endless summer. Welcome to my own little corner of the world-wide-web! 

As we speak, my fledgling Website continues to grow as I continue to develop the skills of a Webmaster, Blogger, and Photoblogger.
 It’s work so fun, I doubt it will ever be done!
For I do love the creative process —

The “one-on-one.”
I’m thrilled to share it with you here on my very own little online block of the globe:
My valuable virtual acre of Internet real estate! 

I’m looking forward to connecting with you. Till then, feel free to click around and scroll down on this blog site, and also on my Menu Bar, to become acquainted with my Website. It was lovely chatting with you. If you are a follower of my blogs, that’s even lovelier!

Till next time, then, be well and cheers!
Your Host,
Stephany Spencer

PS: Please note:
Ever a Creative, the world is my oyster
and I a pearl forming within her.
Life is my canvas on which I purposely
paint and spin with gusto,
All the while it takes me along to
new dimensions — then hopefully on
to her “pearly” gates and within!

 I have learned: “If you rest, you rust” —
You either live or die.
Bob Dylan so aptly reminds us
of this in his lyric line
borrowed from the late great
singer-songwriter, 
Woodie Guthrie:
 “If you aren’t busy livin’, you’re busy dyin’.”

And So here’s to life!
I’m tryin,’ yes, I am —
And though I ain’t thru cryin’,
“L’ Chaim,” and cheers, 
~Stephany Spencer

PS: On another note,
I am the proud progeny of
a long list of writers and poets:

I’ve inherited a bit of their giftedness
for writing verse, for better or worse.

This is my double-edged sword:
A gift and a curse.

But Life goes on, comes and is gone …
Sail On,” says my California Writers Club emblem.
 Now if you look closely, you may see me sailing on,

“Writing” “write” now on a song!
So “write on”!

Dwell in possibilities,”
said Emily Dickinson.

These possibilities are all that
keep me from falling off
As I get along!
Stephany Spencer





writing-man-with-pen-etc

  Ode to The California Writers Club

The California Writers Club is our oyster, 
And we writers the pearls being polished within her.
Stephany Spencer  2016 

pearl in oyster

 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of CWC-SFV,
Wherein the California Writers Club has been our oyster,

 And we members pearls growing within her;
 Daily being polished till we sparkle and shimmer
With illustrious word pearls that glimmer ‘n’ glitter
“Write on” to vocabulary perfection.

Stephany Spencer 2016



 

Advice for Creatives:
Dare to fail or fail to dare!
 That is, take it on a dare:
Dare to fail to do well.
For you must first dare to fail,
 Or you’ll never discover
If you can do anything well!
Stephany Spencer 




floral-background-vintage

Advice for Creatives:
To do well, first dare to fail —
or fail to dare do anything well!

Buoyed when Pressfield encouraged creative works,
My own creativity now no longer shirks;
I’ve ceased hiding my light beneath lampshades;
Because today I dare call spades, spades;
I’m beginning to finally face my muse
And my own creative juices use.

‘Tis said one must “paint badly” to paint well;
Or dare to “write badly” to tell a tale;
Where our creative works will lead,
If we but follow our beckoning heed,
We never can know nor can we tell;
All we can do is dare to fail,
In order to find out if we can do well.

In other words, we must start somewhere
Our powers of creativity to share and wield —
Resist resistance,” stresses Steven Pressfield,
In his inspired work, The War of Art;
If we don’t dare fail, we’ll never start,
Never write the book of our heart;
Never let genius do its part.

So dare to break through the blocks:
Whenever your amazing muse knocks,
Win your inner creative battles
By daring to fail to ever do well;
The final outcome time only can tell.
But it’s worth the effort to give your gifts,
For you discover and fulfill yourself as well,
When you create art and tell your tale.
Stephany Spencer 2016






       dog-on-computer

1-  “Point Blank:”
 The point at which all thought leaves the frontal lobe
and one comes face to face with writer’s block.

(Author unknown — Dan Pointer?)




2-  “Point Blank:”
The point at which one’s pen comes face to face with
an empty frontal lobe shot through by the bullet of writers’ block.

(Stephany Spencer)





 

Most creatives who’ve achieved monumental fame
First had to master their dynamic domain.
Stephany Spencer

A song is nothing but a poem set to music.
Stephany Spencer






writing-pad-and-desk

~  I was sixty before my dormant creativity
Picked itself up from the doormat
Where it pretty much played a passive act …
For forty years, to be exact.
( Stephany Spencer)






spiderweb-in-blue

~  I was sixty before my dormant creativity
Picked herself up from the doormat,
Dusted herself off and began to shine —
After having lain there for forty years
Collecting the dust and cobwebs of time.
Hallelujah!! Now I no longer need
an X-Ray Machine my muse to find!

( Stephany Spencer)





nice-spiderweb


~  My creativity lay hibernating thirty years
In the dusty cobwebs of time,
Before it picked itself up and came back out
Into the light of day to shine;
Now I no longer need a flashlight
my amusing muse to find!

( Stephany Spencer)






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“Think in terms of possibilities.”
(Emily Dickinson)






 

This quote I wrote — I wrote this quote:

Yesterday’s sorrow is the humor of tomorrow;
In other words: Today’s sorrow is grist 
For the humor mills of tomorrow.

Please Note: I wrote each quote; 
Though the concept has been around a long time,
‘Twas moi who put it to rhythm and rhyme.
(Stephany Spencer)




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Innovation
The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas

as in escaping from old ones.
~ J M Keynes

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



 feet-and-sandals

“Long Fellows”

I’m a poet and I know it,
But my feet don’t show it:
They’re not “Longfellow’s;”
They’re “short fellows“!
(Stephany Spencer)


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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.

   

My Poem: “Pushy Prez”

    birds-on-plaques

Pushy Prez

I’m repelled by his trying to screw me onto the Volunteers Board

Through arm twisting and emotional blackmail.

It’s a wonder my arm is still in its socket anymore,

And I in control of my own destiny and free will.

Badgering me will get you nothing but backpedaling from me —

That is, pedaling backwards away from you as fast as can be!

4-2010/ 9-2016

My Poem: “Advice for Creatives”

DARE

floral-background-vintage

 To dare present your creative works
to the world
And see your artistic creations unfurled,
You must start by daring:
Daring to fail
And daring to do well,
Or fail to dare do anything well;
Daring to fail is part of daring to do well.

Buoyed when Author Steven Pressfield
Encouraged creative works,
My creativity now no longer shirks;
I’ve ceased hiding my light beneath lampshades;
Today I daringly call spades, spades —
I’m beginning to finally face my muse,
And my creative juices use.

We must “paint badly” to paint well,
And dare to “write badly” to tell our tale;
Where our creative works then lead,
Should we follow the muse’s heed,
Artistic natures never can tell;
We can only face our fears and dare to fail,
In order to discover if we can ever do well.

But if creativity we are to wield
We must “Resist Resistance,”
Stresses Steven Pressfield
In his work, The War of Art.
That is, Creatives must somewhere start 
In order to their creative gifts impart.

If they don’t dare fail, they’ll never start …
Never survive the writers-block dart …
Never write the book of their heart;
Never do their creative part.

So dare to break through artists’ blocks
Whenever your amazing muse knocks.
To win your inner creative battles,
You must do it on a dare: Dare to fail …
Or you’ll never find if you can ever do well.

Daring creates an artistic outpour;
Time only can tell what’s next at your door;
But it’s worth the effort to face “Resistance”
And give your gifts, despite its insistence,
Because you discover and fulfill yourself,
And countless others as well,
When you create your art
And tell your tale!

By Stephany Spencer, C 2016

My Poem: “Dr. Kwak”

ducks-vintage-painting

 “Judas,” with her doctor’s plaque
hung above her door,
Should have read: “Dr. Kwak treats
gullibles and more!”
For “A Quack and a sucker
are born each minute!”

 

That sucks! So don’t get dropped in it!
Don’t fall for each quacky gimmick.
You could end up dead in a minute,
And all ’cause Polly wanted a “Quacker.”

Be a researcher and reader, instead.
Above all, use your own head.
If you can help it, don’t be a sucker,
And don’t be “quacker” —
Though it’s not so easily done as said.

Regular medical doctors
are often no better;
and that sucks!
It’s difficult to trust anyone,
when involved are big bucks;
but I’ll die trying …
While inadvertently continuing to help
doctors earn more bucks!

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baby-ducks

  Quacks and Suckers 

A “quack” and a sucker are born every minute!
That sucks! Quack-quack!
But don’t be a sucker nor a quacker …
Nor a smacker when you suck ‘er.
And never smack ‘er!
That’s life. You make the best of it.
If it helps, Baby, suck a tit.
But eventually, you’ll get over it.
Life sucks!
Get over it!

2-2010/9-2016

 

 

 

My Original Sayings and Short Poems: From My Pen to Yours

~ Original Sayings ‘n’ Short Poems From My Pen to Yours

poetry-plaque

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mouse-mini-in-bow-and-heels

I Think Mice Are Very Nice

I think mice are very nice.
Some people say they have lice,
And leave mouse tracks in their rice.
With pet mice that’s quite rare,
So therefore I declare,
I still think mice are very nice!
Stephany Spencer
(My first poem, age 8)


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 This quote I wrote — I wrote this quote:

Yesterday’s sorrow is the humor of tomorrow.
That is, today’s sorrow is grist
For humor mills of tomorrow.

NOTE: I wrote the quote:
Though the concept’s
Been around a long time,
‘Twas moi who put it
To rhythm and rhyme.
Stephany Spencer


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birds-on-plaques

~WORDS OF ADVICE:~

Threadbare Underwear

Since we were dormouse poor,
I preferred to live by the following adage,

(To not be caught with threadbare
“Holy” towels and underwear
When unexpected guests were there):

Use the worst first,
‘Lest the best be gone
Before the guest!
 Beulah Stephany Spencer,
(age 12)

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feet-and-sandals

“Long Fellows”

I’m a poet and I know it,
But my feet don’t show it:
They’re not “Longfellow’s”—
They be short “Fellows.”
(Stephany Spencer )

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grindstone-and-wagon-wheel

The Old Grind

   I’ve kept my head to the grindstone
And my shoulder to the wheel;
It was the only way I knew
To grind out a good deal.
(Stephany Spencer 2013)

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pigs

The “Butt” of a Joke

His butt’s as broad as a “Broad’s” or “Bitch’s,”
But flat as the broadside of a brown barn in britches!
Is this “butt” but a yarn in stitches?
Sure not sure which it is!
(Stephany Spencer  2016)


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two-hands-and-heart-shape

Anecdote Quote

Find love before it’s too late,
Always good advice to take,

For the older you get
And the longer you wait,
The harder it gets to find a good mate.

(Stephany Spencer)

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bridge-over-water

   Go Thru It to Get Thru It

          They say I have to go through it to get through it — 
Go back over my past and go through all that shit again
Till I’m through it — through with it.

So the only way out is through it, then;
And we must do it over again and again
Till we get it. And then we can move on.
Get it?  Got it!  Then move on!   :)~
(Stephany Spencer)


========================================

prophet-of-evil-dvd

Sociopathy

Watch out for people who offer
“A shoulder to hold ‘er,
Or cry on!
Or who promise the sky;
Then lie on and on —
As they let it fall on you;
For one in ten people
is a Con — a sociopath,
Says the author of the book,

The Sociopath Next Door,”
Authored by 
Martha Stout.
(You may want to check it out!)
(Stephany Spencer)

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

alps-of-switzerland

Follow Your Own Higher Power

Fanatics say, “Don’t think you’re a big shot
‘Cause you’re not. You’re likely a big snot!”
“And don’t get out of line!” They say:
“Toe the line;”
“That is, serve the Divine!”
But I say, use your own brain;

Follow your own Higher Power’s line.
That’s the reason God gave you a mind.
(Stephany Spencer)


#######################################################

woman-on-the-loveseat

None of Our Business

What I think of myself is none of your business.
And what you think of me is none of mine!
Said another Way: What I thinketh of me is none of thine;
And what thou thinketh of me is none of mine.
(Stephany Spencer)


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images-2

Stinky Propositions

They fit hand-in-glove, those in iniquity —
The power-mongers and their brown-nosers
Rooting for perks, power, and popularity.
I’ll do anything to make it!
Even stoop ‘n’ take it,” says he —

I’d let him make it in my ass,”
Says gay Joe Krass, the “wannabe” —

Anything to be in a movie!”
It’s a stinkin’ proposition, if you ask me!

(Stephany Spencer)


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Age-ing = Sage-ing”

man-from-1700s

The Edge of Age: Forever young

The “edge of age” is always cutting
Into my funny bone, my joy, and “amore,” anymore.
As I “sage,” I find it hurts to be laughed at,
Spat upon, left out, left to die,
or looked down upon,

As though old age were a catching sore:
Verily, ostracization hurts to the core!

Yet, oldsters are the butt of comedians’ jokes and fun,
Because we find old-foggie puns funny when we’re young.
But now I find such humor is unkind — way overdone.
“Old folks!” you say? Listen:
We oldsters are still human, still someone!

Everyone is aging from the moment begun!
It won’t be long before you, too,
hit the wall on the run,

Then discover, like us “sagers,”
One’s soul is forever young.

(Stephany Spencer)



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11116395355_b1149a1f49_k-jpgflower-rainbow

Doctors and Hospitals:



 “““““““““““““““““““““““

    
dr

Doctors: Free-wheeling Racketeers

Without an ombudsman to accompany me,
 Doctors can be freewheeling racketeers, I see –-

Free to wheel their rackets however they please,
Unresponsive to their patients’ pleads;
Especially when there’s no witness to back them up,
Doc’s ‘n’ dentist have no fears: Their peer-policies
Assure no corrections by their peers!
Complete power corrupts completely,
So they’re Rollin’ in high gears!
Therefore, I can be an impatient inpatient,
Laden with fears!
(Stephany Spencer)


upset-14-year-old

   
I’m an impatient inpatient!

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********************************************************************

airplane-takeoff

……………………………………..

Let’s “Take Off” the Weight:
“Butt” Wait! There’s more:
food-on-plates

  Party Pounds

Party PoundsParty Potluck Dinners.
So if you would be thinner,

Avoid the party-potluck-dinner!   :)~
(Stephany Spencer)


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asparagus-and-berries

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////   

From Lips to Hips

They say,”A moment on the lips,
Forever on the hips!”
I say: “Food’s a moment in the mouth,

“Butt” sits forever down south!”
(Stephany Spencer)


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exercise

Work It Out

 Work it out to get it out — again and again.
 That is, to be healthier, you must
work out the anger and the pain

That’s been stored up in your body again and again —
That is to say, stored up time after time;
Therefore, you must work it out time and again.
( Stephany Spencer)



Men and Romance: My Romance with Chance …  A Chance Romance
banjo

        In Love with a Womanizer

 Being fit into his schedule,
As fits his playing ’round,
Leaves me unfit to get around downtown,
‘Cause I’m tied up in stitches and fits
Over a womanizing brown 
clown
Whose misdeeds incessantly get me down.
(Stephany Spencer)


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My Aunt-in-law Producer Rebecca Kimbel

177_Rebecca_Kimbel   In today’s blog, I am featuring my amazing Aunt: Rebecca Kimbel. I highly recommend listening to her YouTube interviews, among other things. To make it easier to get to know a little about her, I copied and pasted some of her online information.

But you may find more information at her website, RebeccaKimbel.com, and on her YouTube Channel.

Around a year ago, I discovered her on  YouTube where she had produced many  live interviews with Ex-Mormon fundamentalists.

She is one of my many relatives I did not know about or had lost contact with when I went into hiding after escaping the cult I was raised in.

Since coming into contact with her and listening to videos of her TV shows recorded on YouTube, I have become so much more enlightened.

I also recommend listening to the outstanding speech she did on Ted X — which you can find and listen to on YouTube.

There, in around 18 minutes, she manages to outline ALL the most poignant factors involved in Mormon fundamentalism, including being raised a White slave in modern America!

I look forward to your comments and feedback, knowing you will benefit from having listened to any of Aunt Rebecca’s Independently produced TV shows she has also recorded on YouTube.

But for now, I present her remarkable online Bio:

 

Specializing In

Motivational Speaking  *  Workshops/Seminars  *  Writing

Helping Businesses, Communities, and Individuals to Maximize their Potential

Rebecca Kimbel is a powerful motivational speaker whose compassion, wisdom, and leadership skills can change your relationships, your neighborhood, your business and your life.

Effectiveness of public speaking and private communication requires an understanding of people, problems and time. Kimbel is a profound example of mastering these skills and teaching them. 
Her expertise has been presented in over one hundred hours of television broadcast, newspapers and other publications, the web, public formats, private coaching, seminars/workshops and Toastmasters International where she served as Area Governor 2006-2008. She was awarded Toastmasters International Area Governor of the year 2007-2008. Kimbel is a Distinguished Toastmaster ( DTM ) which is The highest accomplishment award of Toastmasters International.

Kimbel’s qualifications and experience make her a heart felt, moving, dynamic and unforgettable speaker.
Catch My New Show!
The Rebecca Kimbel Show airs on Tuesdays 7 pm on channel 12 Access Humboldt.  Access Humboldt Schedule
Visit My Youtube Channel
This channel features a unique collection of unsung heroes, those who have outstanding courage, and those who inspire us, motivate us and change our lives. Some bring us joy; others bring us leading edge thinking to dare to rise above our challenges. We present examples of courage to make life better and down to earth practical applications to controlling the direction of your own life. The variety of interviews continues to grow as we salute the better qualities in those who are influencing a better tomorrow. We invite you to join us.

 

Help Support Human Rights Awareness
Human Rights Awareness

Publicly Televised on Comcast
Walnut Creek, California
Program          Keeping Our Neighborhoods Safe


“Kimbel’s powerful presentation is a wonderful model to make life work better in your community”, stated Producer Pat Van Horn. “Rebecca Kimbel was diligently working with the viable parts of the community to build safe neighborhoods and to help explain laws and how to use them to bring about positive change. That is what Kimbel is all about, teaching people to work together, creating community concluded Van Horn.”

 

Program         Communication Skills to Build Community

Procuder Pat Van Horn has referred to Kimbel as a person who “builds community.” “Kimbel is well known in Northern California and has provided a valuable resource of leadership and communication skills to help develop community and its desired cause and effect. Kimbel is a dedicated person who does a lot of training, community work and is truly an outstanding leader, not only as a Toastmaster, but as a Community Focus Person, stated Van Horn.”

Program         Polygamy, Are All Americans Free?

“Rebecca Kimbel enlightened the viewing audience and myself, she is a wonderful messenger to help people understand. The key to Kimbel’s message is to educate and help individuals, said Pat Van Horn.” 

 

 

 

 

~ My Introductory Blog

My Introductory Blog

 

IMG_3642

Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron, 2016, age 70

Hello and welcome to my Photoblog site — My own little corner of the World-Wide-Web!

 

My name is Stephany Spencer/AKA Beulah Spencer LeBaron de Tucker.

My goal is to share personal stories, essays, prose, poetry, artwork, and other creative works and opinion, in hopes you will not only give me your feedback but may also gain insight, inspiration, and enlightenment to help you in your journey through life. If you are creative and curious, then this blog is for you.

I have been posting blogs at least once per week for going on fourteen months, as of July 29, 2017. But starting August 4, 2017, I will be posting blogs sporadically, so as to devote more time to writing my books.

 And I don’t intend for this to be a monolog but a dialog. I want you to give me your feedback in the “Comments” section. I will read every comment and respond as I’m able.

*If you want me to address, please leave a comment below. I am looking forward to connecting with you.

~ 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’.”
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 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)