Pt 31-C: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, the Mexico-LeBarons, and Mental Illness

    Pt 31-C: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, the Mexico-LeBarons, and Mental Illness

My maternal Grandpa, Alma Dayer LeBaron

  “He did the wrong thing for the right reason.” 

Stephany Spencer-LeBaron

Repeating what was said in previous blogs, both my mother and Grandmother Maud LeBaron believed the cause of mental illness in their immediate family was mainly due to the townspeople who ostracized and persecuted them incessantly.

But people need to take a good look at what part they, themselves, play in what happens to them and the lives of their children.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Let’s continue where we left off in blog “Pt 31-B.”

M- All the previous situations discussed in blogs “Pt 31-A & B,” and more, contributed to mental illness in the Mexico-LeBaron family—especially given that there was a history of mental illness in both my grandmother and grandfather LeBaron’s family lines.

N- Let’s not leave out that Grandpa Dayer LeBaron, himself, was not well-balanced mentally. Besides being guided by dreams, voices he heard in his head, and other such, he had personality disorders. On top of that, he, himself, was born and raised in a Mormon polygamous pioneer family—So no doubt he suffered and experienced many of the same things his own children later endured.

What’s more, despite how handsome he was, Grandpa Dayer was already an outcast when Grandma Maud married him. But she, too, had a few personality disorders, albeit to a lesser degree. And HER own father became mentally deranged in her later years. More on this in future blogs.

O- Now let us factor in the Mexico-LeBarons’ many fanatical and shaming fundamentalist Mormon/Fundy beliefs. And the ignorance we all share as human beings. ALL of this and more colluded, collided, and escalated to incubate the insanity and other personality disorders running in the Mexico-LeBarons’ genes—a collusion that eventually kicked in big-time with especially my grandparents’ sensitive and highly-gifted Ben, Wesley, Lucinda, and Ervil.

P- We’ve gotten this far and haven’t mentioned they didn’t believe in Psychology nor Psychological Counseling. And there was no Dr. Phil anywhere to be seen!

Q- What’s worse, besides being laws unto themselves, and largely ostracized by others, this beautiful, bright, talented family was nonetheless not well-educated nor well read—though they thought they were.

 R-  And, on top of all else, they were pretty much isolated. They lived far away from family and relatives and without many friends. Plus, they lived during the Great Depression, in a foreign, strange land, in a small-town—a Mexican-Mormon colony that faught tooth-and-toenail these gorgeous, highly gifted, Mexico-LeBaron renegades and creatives living on the fringe of society and reality.

S- The Maud and Dayer LeBaron family simply had almost nowhere to turn for help in the face of all their extenuating problems and situations! And to exacerbate everything else, Grandpa Dayer lacked tact. The last thing he would do was compromise ANY of his values in order to come to an agreement so as to get along with others who differed with him. He didn’t believe in compromising when it came to telling the truth and doing what was right. It was not beneath him to tell people they were stupid and going to hell if they didn’t agree with him and follow his beliefs.

T- I almost left out a crucial factor: Not only were the Mexico-LeBarons ostracized by most of their own town’s people, AND the mainstream Mormon church, but by all the Mormon fundamentalist groups too—the “Fundies”!

U- Now add to this that in the time the Mexico-LeBarons lived—the olden daysMental Illness carried terrible stigmas! People held extreme and fearful beliefs such as “The devil or evil spirits are in the mentally ill person!” Many believed Satan resided in the insane so avoided the family.

A person could be ostracized from the community because he or she was mentally deranged. Often the mentally challenged person’s whole family would be ostracized right along with the crazy member. They would be jeered at, sticks and stones thrown to break their bones—the list goes on. Sadly, the Mexico-LeBarons endured all this and more.

V- When you consider the many things my overly-challenged Mexico-LeBaron family had to bear up under, it’s a wonder they survived at all and remained strong and determined in so many ways. (Nietzsche said: “Whatever doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” Really?!)

One way they survived was to try to prove themselves by out-doing others whenever they were able to. (Often that was not such a challenge for the Mexico-LeBarons!) Another tactic they employed was to try to rise above the gossip and persecution. Still another was to escape into a dreamworld. Mother said she purposely created stories in her mind about the way she wanted her life to be because this helped her survive the terrible ostracism and shame brought upon her and her family.

W- I’m not saying the Mexico-LeBarons didn’t have their faults and foibles that caused them to be cast out by most people. I’m saying this was a most unusual and strong family, considering all they endured and survived. And, despite everything, they were leaders, no less: They acquired followers and they lead them—by hook or crook!

(Continued January 28, 2019 in “Pt 31-D: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, the Mexico-LeBarons, and Mental Illness)


Pt 31-B: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, The Mexico LeBarons, and Mental Illness

Pt 31-B: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer,
The Mexico LeBarons, and Mental Illness

1920: passport photo of Dayer and Maud LeBaron with their first six out of 13 children they would eventually have


“As you work on your memoir, write with fidelity to your own experience while knowing that memory is fallible. Write with respect for your subjects, even if they come across as louts. And tell your story true, artfully, and with courage.”  
Tracy seeley
My Ruby Slippers


(We left off on letter “E” in blog “Pt 31-A”)

Repeating what was said in blog Pt 31-A, both my mother Esther LeBaron Spencer and maternal grandmother Maud McDonald LeBaron believed the cause of mental illness in their immediate family was mainly due to the Mexican-Mormon townspeople of Colonia Juarez who severely ostracized and persecuted them during the twenty years they lived there.

But I believe people must look at what part they, themselves, played/ play in what happens to them and their offspring. Many things went into the Mexico-LeBaron mental-illness factor.

Let’s continue where we left off with what I believe caused the mental illness in my dear Mexico-LeBaron family:

     F-  Mormon fundamentalists/Fundies believed in beating the devil out of their children—as in Spare the rod, spoil the child. Force, physical and emotional abuse, brutality — these were only some of the control tactics my well-meaning, old-country, perfectionistic grandparents employed to keep their children in line in an effort to make SURE they were perfect little Saints bound for the the highest degree of glory in the hereafter-as if one can force somebody back to heaven! (Wasn’t that Satan’s plan, according to Mormon doctrine? Jesus wanted to let us all choose for ourselves what we wanted to do.)

     G-  They stuck to many strict, stoic, fallacious beliefs—backward values and fears they lived by, taught, and ingrained in their children. These shaming, guilt-provoking, fanatic religious strictures were, alone, enough to cause mental illness—especially in highly sensitive kids.

     H–  Add to that the unstable life of moving back and forth from one homestead, town, and country to another during especially the older Mexico-LeBaron childrens’ lives.

     I-  Then, take into account that not only was their mother Maud absent much of the time teaching piano lessons to help support the huge family, but their father was also often gone months at a time. The oldest children, who lacked parenting themselves, were, nonetheless, left to raise the younger ones—if any of them got raised at all!

     J- On top of this, I am told in the latter years of my grandparents’ marriage my grandmother Maud separated from Grandfather Dayer and went to live in the United States for a number of years. Not sure if she took her youngest children (who were teenagers by then) with her. But the separating of one’s parents is, in and of itself, a great emotional stress on the children.

     K-  Now, add to this whole scenario the problems involved in dealing with polygamy, including two plural wives and all their kids living in the same house for seven years — and Maud being many years older than Onie.

     L-  And remember: These were the olden days. Hindsight is always the best sight. We have come a long way in understanding and knowledge since my grandparents’ day. Child-protective laws and much more have changed since then. At least we hope so.

I only know my grandparents had their sight set on heaven and the hereafter so were definitely trying to do what they believed was right. They thought if they did what God commanded them to do, He would take care of the rest!

(To be continued January 17, 2019)

Pt 31-A: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, the Mexico LeBarons, and Mental Illness

Pt 31-A: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer,
the Mexico LeBarons, and Mental Illness

grandma-and-grandpa
Grandpa Alma Dayer LeBaron and his second oldest daughter Lucinda LeBaron Butchereit

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

As I said in the previous blog, both my mother and maternal grandmother Maud LeBaron believed the cause of mental illness in their immediate family was mainly due to the townspeople who ostracized and persecuted them incessantly.


But I believe people need to take a good look at what part they, themselves, played/ play in what happens to them and the lives of their children. My opinion as to what caused the mental illnesses includes the following list:

But I believe people need to take a good look at what part they, themselves, played/ play in what happens to them and the lives of their children. My opinion as to what caused the mental illnesses includes the following list:

1-  The genes for susceptibility to a number of mental illnesses runs in both of my maternal grandparents’ family lines! That’s a biggie!

2-  There were some huge problems in my grandparents’ household and in the upbringing of their children — problems that affected their mental well-being from the womb to the tomb. 

3-  Enduring their whole life the small-town Mormon venom, denigration, and ostracism definitely played a large part in my grandparents’ children’s succumbing to multiple mental and emotional illnesses. Especially damaging to the LeBaron children was being shunned by the most influential people of their own religion and community.

4- In hindsight, and judging by my own personal sight, my grandparents’ choices greatly affected their children. I’ve listed some of those choices here:

     A-  Staying in the Mormon colonies to raise their children, despite the devastating effects ostracization and persecution have on especially sensitive children .

     B-  Taking a plural wife, thereby ignoring their church’s Manifesto of 1890 that outlawed polygamy. This not only compounded the familial problems that already existed, but forced my grandparents to move to Old Mexico to raise their family — a place where Grandfather Dayer was not allowed to earn a living. So he had to leave his family for months at a time to work in the United States.

     C-  Living polygamy multiplied the poverty, stress, deprivation, and emotional upheaval, not to mention that it brought on ostracism and persecution BIG-time. All these things lead to stress—and stress helps lead to mental illness, especially when it already exists in the genes.

     D-  Sticking to Mormon fundamentalist beliefs and values, come hell or high water, meant having all the children they could possibly have — whether it was healthy or not — which also meant much greater poverty and far less time, money, attention, food, and love for each child.

     E-  Having lots of kids meant the older children, especially, had to work far too hard to help raise all those babies. Since the oldest child born to my grandparents was a girl (Irene), she suffered the biggest brunt of having to play mommy to the huge family born to Grandpa Dayer and Grandma Maud. (Orthodox Mormon beliefs put quantity ahead of quality … and their beliefs ahead of common sense and the needs of their babies, children, and themselves.)

(Continued January 7, 2019, in Pt 31-B: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, the Mexico LeBarons, and Mental Illness)

Pt 21-29: More Memories of My Parents Esther LeBaron and Floyd Spencer



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“Pt 22: Ma Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade”




My oldest grandchild–born free from the chains of polygamy



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



1958 Spencer family Photo–I’m 2nd oldest, 2nd from left, 2nd row

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




 Pt 25: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Pa, Me, ‘n’ Polygamy

dad-ma-9-kids-1

 Taken around 1956-1957: My parents and 9 of their then 10 children. I’m around 10 or 11 years old in this picture–just got back from cherry-picking in a friend’s orchard so my hair is all mussed up.


Never complain about
what your parents couldn’t give you.
It was probably all they had.”
“Strong Mind”



I left off on “Pt 24: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Pa, Me, ‘n’ Polygamy.”

Let’s change the topic a bit and go back to when I was twelve and we inquisitive LeBaron-Spencer siblings — 11 of us by then — were once more huddled in the living room around our loving, peaceful parents. Those who could manage to get there first were sitting on the colorful rag-rug Mama had made and spread out in front of our warm fireplace hearth Daddy designed and built.

The periphery of the fireplace was artfully decorated with shades of variegated vermilion petrified-wood — rock-work laid by my artisan father’s own skilled hands.  I loved to study its eye-catching splendor while listening to our parents’ religious lessons.

It was Family Home Evening again — our Monday-night Mormon family get-together my parents held sporadically. As was customary in our family during these times, we older children were taking advantage of the time together with our seemingly Godlike mom and pop to pump them for information about their past. After we’d heard about how they met and married, I couldn’t help but interject the all-important question:  “Mama, were you a virgin when you married Daddy?”

I don’t know what prompted me to ask that question. I should’ve “known” Mama was a virgin, given how she so strictly instilled within us children that it was a matter of life or death that we be virgins on our wedding night. That was good old Mormon fundamentalist doctrine!

A man could have lots of wives … But the man had to be a virgin too … on his first wedding night, anyway! (After that, he could marry any number of women though he was no longer a virgin! Still, each of his wives had to be a virgin! But there were exceptions to this rule, too, such as in the case of divorce.)

But it was an all-important question to me, given Momma and Papa had so fervently impressed upon me and my siblings that we be chaste virgins when we married. We were not even to kiss a man till we were at the marriage alter! I repeat: We were not to KISS our loved one till we were at the marriage alter!!

Therefore, I was taken aback when Mama flushed, then exchanged with Papa an embarrassed equivocal half-grin implying, “Don’t ask; don’t you tell.” Then, having established an unspoken agreement and understanding with Papa, Mama carefully chose her words as she formed her response: “Why … of course, I was a virgin on my wedding night!”

But I sensed the look exchanged between her and Papa suggested a special and personal secret held between the two. It left me with the impression the jury was still out on the Ma-plus-Pa virginity equation.

Given their equivocation, I only wonder: Was Pa on the bottom or the top? And was their “wedding night” in the back of the pickup bouncing toward Ma’s parents’ home? That’s all I want to know! It’s more than I could know at the tender age of twelve … You have to know a little to ask a lot. At that age, I barely knew how babies were begot … and wished I knew NOT … if it was what I thought.

But I certainly wanted to believe my parents abided by the chaste rules they taught from the time I was a tot: People must NOT lose their virginity! And, I repeat, Shouldn’t even kiss until they were at the marriage alter!

Older and wiser now, I suspect some of that bouncing of the pickup bed that carried Mommy and Poppy from Mesa, Arizona to Chihuahua, old Mexico was created by more than the bumps in the rutted, rugged 1944 roads those many hours the truck sped along at top speed towards Mama’s parents’ home. (Perhaps Uncle Ben was doing his utmost to get these two lovers — my future parents — to his father’s presence while his sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law were still “chaste”?)

Oh, well. What the hell! Nature has purposely made the attraction between two people in love too difficult for abstinence — especially when they’re alone and getting to “know each other better” in the back of a secluded pickup. At least, that’s what I surmise. What’s your opinion?

I also suspect (from what I learned when Mother let me read her diary she wrote when she was in her late teens) other activities also had something to do with whether Mother’s hymen was still unbroken. I’ll tell you what I mean in an upcoming blog. Meanwhile, who knows what else may have passed between Ma, Pa, and those five years following the incident she wrote \ about in her diary.


Pt 26: More Memories of My Mom Esther LeBaron Spencer

ma at 14

My mother Esther LeBaron-McDonald Spencer at age 21



“You can never go home.”
Sinclair Lewis

Another variable in the equivocation, as to Mom’s virginity on her wedding night, is the following (Perhaps I’m throwing a hand grenade into the equation?): When I was about fourteen, Momma told me how girls she knew, when she was growing up, used things like bananas, carrots, and broomstick handles to put up “the place where babies are born.” Also used these and other devices to try to achieve an abortion!

I barely knew what she was talking about … and didn’t know masturbation or the need for such existed. Don’t know why Mum told me this stuff. I assume she was expounding on thoughts she had at the moment. Or was she suggesting I use the same tools, should the need arise — only don’t tell anyone the idea came from her?

That’s questionable, given part of virginity means an unbroken hyman. I think she was simply telling me some of the “worldly” things she knew “bad girls” used to do — but things she thought I wouldn’t do because I was her girl so “wasn’t worldly.” She believed I was better than they: I was “born a Saint.”

Such are the things my pure, perfect … perfectly-fanatic Mormon mum told me on the sly in moments of weakness and reverie. I suppose they were things too interesting to keep to herself. And I was Mum’s confidant.

Here’s another piece of juicy information Mumma shared with me after I asked her to explain what a “dirty joke” was. A couple of my sixth-grade classmates used the term but laughed at me when I asked what it meant. They said, “Go ask yer mom!” So I did.

At first, Mum told me “Johnny fell in a mud puddle”  was an example of a dirty jokeBut I was dissatisfied with that answer, so she caved in — but only after securing from me a promise I’d never repeat what she told me! Then she quickly recited the following bawdy rhyme she’d learned as a youngster. I admit I’m breaking my promise for I’m repeating what she said:

“Mary had a little lamb;
It wasn’t worth a Tinker’s damn.
She took it to bed with her to sleep.
The sheep was found to be a ram,
So Mary had a little lamb.

“When Mary had a little lamb,
The doctor was horrified.
But when Old McDonald had a farm,
The doctor almost died!”

Mum had to explain what this “dirty joke” meant — but I had no trouble converting the rhyme to memory.

You get the idea, though: The jury is still out on whether Mumma was indeed a virgin on her wedding night — and it will always be out. So your guess is as good as mine. And my guess is she wasn’t — despite the fact she and Pop had raised me to believe suicide was preferable to losing my virginity. Had I lost my virginity before my wedding night, I would have committed suicide. It was that serious!

But I was raised on triple standards! I didn’t know it then. I know it now. Little ears have big listening capacities. During my growing years, I learned many things my parents had no idea I was picking up on. I recall illicit things I experienced and heard before I could barely babble. But I had the adults fooled. So take my advice: Never assume a baby who can’t talk, can’t understand and remember what YOU are talking about or doing!

Well, I’ve said my piece. Now peace to you till next week’s blog … or “journal jog.” My head’s beginning to nod. ‘Tis time for bed … to roll some rrrr’s before the sun peeps ‘neath my window shades once more.



My father and mother standing on their land “the Galeana Springs”

Pt 27: More Memories of My Mom Esther LeBaron and Dad Floyd Spencer


“One I love with all my heart,
Mother, dear, it’s you;
And I want to make you glad;
Yes, indeed, I do!
I will help you every day,
Smiling as I go,
And I’ll never make you sad
Because I love you so.”
(Author unknown)


We left off in “Part 26: More Memories of My Mom Esther LeBaron Spencer” with me questioning Mom about her early years. ​As I continued to query her about her early life and how she met and married Pop, she moaned: “I NEVER wanted to leave my family and Old Mexico. But yer pa wasn’t allowed to make a livin’ in Mexico, being a US citizen. By marryin’ him, I was forced to live in “The States” … far from my family for thirteen years!!

“I was always homesick for my family in Mexico. Yer pa knew this so his favorite song was, ‘I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen.’ (See: https://youtu.be/TEHnzFC7M9A ) He would tear up when I played it for him on the piano … or sang it to him while accompanyin’ myself on the guitar.”

Dad kept his word to Mum. Soon as he turned sixty-five and could retire with full Social Security and Veterans Pension benefits, he moved Mum back to Mexico. We eleven kids went along for the ride!

One more stowaway sneaked along too … hidden in Mum’s belly! Well, everyone knows it’s cheaper by the dozen. At least that’s what Mumma always told everyone. (US dollars went further especially back then– if you lived in Old Mexico as opposed to the United States.)

So in August of 1960, my family returned to Old Mexico to settle in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua on their homestead my grandfather and grandmother had continued to build and enlarge upon — on land Dad bought in 1944. (Dad and Mum turned their parcela over to my grandparents Dayer and Maud LeBaron in 1947 when they decided to take their budding family and move back to the US.)

Grandpa Dayer and Grandma Maud could never afford to move out of Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. But once Dad married Mum (secretly) on Feb. 17, 1944 — as a plural wife* —  he’d had to “Get the hell out of Dodge:” ** Moving to old Mexico to live near my mother’s family was the perfect “get away” hideout for my parents to dodge the law for about three years — just long enough for me and my older sister to be born in Chihuahua, Mexico — thereby becoming American-Mexicans.

My parents’ days living in Old Mexico ended in early 1947 when Daddy was involved in a devastating near-death incident: While working to repair a flour mill in Colonia Dublan, Mexico, his leg accidentally slipped, fell into the mill’s grain grinder, and was badly chewed up before he could regain his balance. Being a World-War-I Veteran,  Daddy was taken to the Veterans’ hospital in El Paso, Texas where he remained for nearly three months while doctors and nurses struggled day and night to save and repair his leg so he could walk again.

What he did! Their dedicated efforts and peoples’ prayers paid off. Daddy’s leg was not only saved but he was able to even run on it. However, the immense amount of scar tissue in the damaged leg was to hurt him for the rest of his life — or the next 18 years. Poor Daddy!

This excruciating pain didn’t slow down the industrious hard worker he was. However, it added to his temper already compromised by aging, physical pain from his bad back, arthritic pains, and post-traumatic-stress issues brought on by his World War I Army Service. Add to that his emotional pain that included loss of his first wife Eva and his eleven children he had with her — and my mumma’s poor housekeeping and cooking — and you’ve got a walking volcano ready to errupt at any moment!

Nonetheless, this stalwart, dedicated, religious man, my papa, never gave up for a moment! He hung in there like a true soldier, holding fast to his beliefs and values till the end when, on April 18, 1965, a heart attack took him precipitated by an incident in late 1964 some like to call a “work accident.” (More on that in my upcoming book.)


*They were married by the Mormon fundamentalist leader Joseph W. Musser. This was kept a great secret: Polygamy was illegal and so was Musser’s performing such marriages/ sealings. (See: Joseph White Musser: Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_White_Musser)


** Daddy told me he had to flee with Mama to live in old Mexico because his first wife Eva, a mainstream Mormon, had created a huge public stink and gotten him in trouble with the law and LDS church for taking a plural wife and becoming a Mormon fundamentalist. Can you blame her? (See my previous writings on this in blogs about my father and Mother.)

So, in 1944 Daddy sold in a hurry — at a loss — his belongings in Arizona and bought cheap land — a parcela — in Chihuahua, Mexico, not far from Colonia Juarez where Mama grew up. But he had to work in the United States to earn a living. It was illegal for Americans to earn a wage in Mexico — part of Mexico’s efforts not to lose more of their land to the USA — as they had in the war of 1846. Mexican–American War – Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican–American_War)


Pt 28: Ma ‘n’ Pa

me with sisters
Me, my twin sisters Judith and Sharon on Mom’s lap, and my older sister Doris


“Home is wherever I’m with you.”
“HOME
by Edward Sharp
and the Magnetic Zeros


“Home,” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros

“Home is whenever I’m with you.”
Edward Sharpe*


Beginning where we left off in “Pt 27: More Memories of My Mama Esther LeBaron-McDonald and My Papa Floyd Otto Spencer:”

In early 1947, Pa was lying incapacitated in a Texas hospital. In order to be near him, Ma hurriedly packed up all her belongings, including me and Doris not quite potty-trained, and moved back to the United States — with two stowaways in her belly besides ... Twins!

On April 18, 1947 I turned a year old, “big” sister Doris 2.5 years old, and Ma 25.8 years old … her hands full and her belly too. She was expecting but NOT twins! Nonetheless, June 21st, 1947 — ready or not — they popped out headfirst to greet everyone. Fourteen months my junior, these twins — darling though they were, a novelty, and an attention-getter — quadrupled Ma’s handful during her time of crisis.

To lighten pressures, Pa’s first wife Eva divorced him Oct. 30, 1944 — a month before my parents’ first child Doris was born November 27 (Thanksgiving Day), 1944. So Pa no longer had to fear being tossed in jail for bigamy. This lessened my parents’ load immensely! No longer polygamists, except in belief, now they lived in the United States without worries of prosecution. It was persecution they had to worry about from then on, being Mormon fundamentalists.

As mentioned earlier, before my parents left Mexico, they turned over to Grandfather and Grandmother LeBaron the land they had bought there in Galeana, Chihuahua — land Pa bought in Ma’s name as she was born in Mexico.

Heretofore unnable to afford to move out of mainstream-Mormon Colonia Juarez, now, thanks to my parents, in 1944 my maternal grandparents were able to finally leave their homestead of 20 years, leaving with it the many years of rejection they’d suffered and halfway survived in the Mormon colonies.

Settling on Ma and Pa’s “ejido,” my scrabble-farming grandparents and their children who still remained at home began building a new life and world. It was indeed a struggle. (You shall hear how they fared in Mexico down past the Rio Grande!) But The Mexico LeBarons (Dayer, Maud, their kids, and extended family) at long last had escaped the rejection and ostracism they’d painfully endured while living in the mainstream Mormon townsites.

Once Mother’s brothers born in Mexico (Ervil, Floren, and Verlan) reached the age they could each own a “parcela” (i.e., government land parcelled out to Mexican citizens to homestead on), they acquired surrounding pieces of property that joined the land my father had bought and registered in American-Mexican Ma’s name. That’s how “Colonia LeBaron” came to be … how it got its start! Many pieces/parcelas came together to make this pie.

By the time my family, “the Spencers,” moved back to Mexico in August 1960, Pa had turned sixty-five, Ma thirty-nine, and I fourteen. Ma’s pa, Grandpa Dayer, died nine years earlier so of Ma’s parents only my Gramma Maud remained. (Born in 1892, Gramma was but three years older than Pa. Just thought you’d like to know!)

Given this bit of backstory, you now know how, when my parents returned to their agrarian Chihuahuan desert home now called Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico, they “landed” on property they already owned. It was within walking distance of Gramma — though Pa and Gramma didn’t get along so we didn’t see much of her at our house. But some of Mother’s brothers and extended family homesteading in Mexico also lived near us, including Uncle’s Joel, Ervil, Floren, Verlan, their wives and children, and my Aunt Lucinda’s three children.

Soon after my Ma’s repatriating to Mexico, the land of her nativity, Ma and Pa bought another piece of property in her name* “The Galeana Springs.” It was located within a few miles of our homestead in Colonia LeBaron and had a natural running spring on it!

Once back in Mexico on her Motherland, Ma shed joyful tears, crying, “It’s so wonderful to finally be back with my family again — back home where I belong in Old Mexico with my kids and Pa … on our own ‘rancho’ !”


*My pa, being an American, wasn’t allowed to own real estate in Mexico. Ma had dual citizenship, having been born in Mexico in 1921 of American parents; therefore, she could own property in Old Mexico.


  • Thanks, cousin Dena McLean, for sending me the YouTube link to this lovely theme song “HOME” !

Continued November 20, 2018, “Pt 29: My Ma Esther LeBaron Spencer and My Grandma Mau

Pt 29: My Two “Ma’s,” Esther LeBaron Spencer and Grandma Maud LeBaron

ma and grma, 2
My mama Esther with her mama, my Grandmama Maud


“The hand that rocks the cradle
rules the nation and its destiny.”
South African Proverb



I wonder: Did my attractive mama Esther LeBaron marry a father figure—my papa Floyd Spencer was 26 years older than she. Could part of my gifted, outstanding 22-year-old mother’s attraction to my not-well-educated autodidact 48-year-old father have been a subconscious need to make up for her father’s frequent absenteeism much of the time she was growing up?

At the time my talented, beautiful, bright mother met and married my over-the-hill father, she was in college. She was not without prospects. To say she had also been around the block a few times by then is putting it lightly. She had even dated the gifted and powerful Mormon fundamentalist cult leader Rulon Jeffs, father of the infamous, incarcerated-for-life, self-proclaimed “profit”/ Prophet-of-evil Warren Jeffs.* 

Therefore, it’s almost inconceivable choosy, particular Mormon Mama would enter into marriage with a married man—handsome, talented, and charming though he was—with one foot already in the grave (as Mama’s ma Maud, liked to put it).

While Mama was growing up, even when her father Alma Dayer LeBaron was home, he was so busy working, catching up on repairs around the old home and property, and otherwise dividing his time between two wives and a huge herd of kids—ultimately, he begat nineteen of them—he scarcely had time to say “Boo!” to his amazing but rather neglected middle child Esther, fourth daughter of his first wife Maud—not to mention his four other gorgeous daughters by second wife Onie—and his ten all-important Mormon-priesthood-holding boys.

Naturally, these special siblings ran amazing Mother competition for their father’s few moments of attention and even fewer favors. Top that off by his being gone so many months at a time working in the United States that when he came home he was like a stranger. Some of his children didn’t know him! It added to the trouble he had getting them to mind and respect him.

Being a Mormon polygamist with two wives and a ton of children to support and feed is an impossible feat to pull off gracefully and successfully no matter where or when you live. But Grandfather Dayer and his humongous family, as of 1921, were living in old Mexico, a country where Americans were/are not allowed to earn a living; therefore the necessity of Dayer LeBaron’s working in the United States to make a living while homesteading his wives and children in Mexico safe from America’s laws that were then being strictly enforced, when he came to polygamy.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, in 1929 the US Stock Market crashed, leading to the Great Depression wherein jobs, money, and wages were nearly impossible to come by. This economic depression lasted until World War II ended in 1946. Many times Grandpa Dayer LeBaron’s family and children went without food and other necessities of life.

.

But Mama adored her Papa Alma Dayer — or A.D. LeBaron, as he was often called. Likewise, she adored her husband—my father F.O. Spencer … totally idealized him. Obsessing over HOW WONERFUL he was, she often told us children what a perfect Saint our daddy was. Said he was the greatest man in the world! His holding the Mormon priesthood further heightened Mama’s pride in HER “Daddy” — the moniker she usually used when referring to my Daddy. 

As the world turns, around 1965, Aunt Onie, my grandpa Dayer’s plural wife/ex-plural wife (she divorced him many years before — after bearing him six children) paid the LeBaron colony her one and only visit, that I know of, since she had taken her kids and fled in disgrace, grief, and disillusionment many years before. I lived in the LeBaron Colony, was married, and around nineteen years old when Aunt Onie visited.

The last time I had seen her, we were still living in Hurricane, Utah, within walking distance of her home. In August 1960, we had visited Aunt Onie one last time to say goodbye just before we moved to Colonia LeBaron, Mexico.

So, needless to say, this many years later Mama was overjoyed to have “Aunt” Onie, her “second mom,” visit her in her new homestead in LeBaron. But after a day or two had passed and my Grandmama Maud still had not visited with Aunt Onie, I asked Gramma if she was going to see Onie:

Caught off guard, she hissed a superlative under her breath I didn’t quite catch, then, through clenched teeth spat out: 

“I’ve seen enough of that woman to last me a lifetime!!” 

Regaining control—embarrassed by her slip—she told me SURE she’d be seeing Onie “soon,” no doubt. But honesty had prevailed. To keep face, Grandma was forced to see her ex-sister-wife, eventually, while she was visiting the LeBaron colony.

Note: Polygamist women ever try to set a good example by pretending they “do” plural marriage WELL. My grandma, Matriarch of Colonia LeBaron, mother of the self-proclaimed prophet Joel LeBaron, was no exception. Above all others in the clan, she was expected to be perfect when it came to living polygamy—especially since she unswervingly preached and proclaimed the righteousness of sharing one’s husband with his other wives—including the getting along with them as though polygamy were heavenly—HEAVEN on earth … and the only path to celestial glory!

Grandma was also trying to set … expected to set a perfect example for us Mormon Plygs so we would want to go into or continue “practicing plural marriage—the law of Sarah.” Furthermore, a female Mormon fundamentalist “Saint” is looked upon as a bad, unspiritual, fallen woman if she can’t pull off polygamy perfectly and with a bang!

Well, Gramma did eventually visit with “Aunt” Onie (We called Onie “Aunt” to show respect.) while she was still there in the LeBaron colony. She had to. Her “face” was hanging on it! (:<}  ~I’m told they had a “nice get-together.”  I hope so! Only know I didn’t envy Gramma. It had to be a tough situation to be put in.

Aunt Onie had long since rejoined the mainline Mormon church and remarried, so it was extra big of her to make the effort to go to Old Mexico to visit the fundamentalist Mormon colony that still homesteaded many of Grandpa and Grandma LeBaron’s children, including Mama — one of Maud and Dayer’s many children Onie helped raise along with her own six little ones.

NOTE: Years later, Aunt Onie again visited Grandma Maud who was then living in San Diego, California with her youngest son Verlan LeBaron and his first wife Charlotte and their flock of kids.

Once more, that was very big of Onie. And big of Grandma — because I’m certain she did her best to act like she had been a good, God-fearing “sister wife,” as she hugged Onie and put on an act of sheer enjoyment that she was seeing her dead husband’s ex-plural wife/ her ex-sister wife again after many years apart and tons of tears, blood, and water below the bridge.

After all, keeping up appearances is much of what Mormon fundamentalism IS all about — especially for the woman in a polygamous marriage  — an impossible-to-follow religious philosophy! You have to “keep sweet” … have to appear to be that ideal saint Mormon fundamentalist wives and women are expected and biased to be!



*Note: Warren Jeffs is, nonetheless, still leading and controlling from his jail cell his secluded Mormon fundamentalist cult in Short Creek/ AKA: Colorado City, Arizona!!

(Continued December 10, 2018, in Pt 30: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer and Grandma Maud)

me with sisters
Me, my twin sisters Judith and Sharon on Mom’s lap, and my older sister Doris


“Home is wherever I’m with you.”
“HOME
by Edward Sharp
and the Magnetic Zeros


“Home,” by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros

“Home is whenever I’m with you.”
Edward Sharpe*


Beginning where we left off in “Pt 27: More Memories of My Mama Esther LeBaron-McDonald and My Papa Floyd Otto Spencer:”

In early 1947, Pa was lying incapacitated in a Texas hospital. In order to be near him, Ma hurriedly packed up all her belongings, including me and Doris not quite potty-trained, and moved back to the United States — with two stowaways in her belly besides ... Twins!

On April 18, 1947 I turned a year old, “big” sister Doris 2.5 years old, and Ma 25.8 years old … her hands full and her belly too. She was expecting but NOT twins! Nonetheless, June 21st, 1947 — ready or not — they popped out headfirst to greet everyone. Fourteen months my junior, these twins — darling though they were, a novelty, and an attention-getter — quadrupled Ma’s handful during her time of crisis.

To lighten pressures, Pa’s first wife Eva divorced him Oct. 30, 1944 — a month before my parents’ first child Doris was born November 27 (Thanksgiving Day), 1944. So Pa no longer had to fear being tossed in jail for bigamy. This lessened my parents’ load immensely! No longer polygamists, except in belief, now they lived in the United States without worries of prosecution. It was persecution they had to worry about from then on, being Mormon fundamentalists.

As mentioned earlier, before my parents left Mexico, they turned over to Grandfather and Grandmother LeBaron the land they had bought there in Galeana, Chihuahua — land Pa bought in Ma’s name as she was born in Mexico.

Heretofore unnable to afford to move out of mainstream-Mormon Colonia Juarez, now, thanks to my parents, in 1944 my maternal grandparents were able to finally leave their homestead of 20 years, leaving with it the many years of rejection they’d suffered and halfway survived in the Mormon colonies.

Settling on Ma and Pa’s “ejido,” my scrabble-farming grandparents and their children who still remained at home began building a new life and world. It was indeed a struggle. (You shall hear how they fared in Mexico down past the Rio Grande!) But The Mexico LeBarons (Dayer, Maud, their kids, and extended family) at long last had escaped the rejection and ostracism they’d painfully endured while living in the mainstream Mormon townsites.

Once Mother’s brothers born in Mexico (Ervil, Floren, and Verlan) reached the age they could each own a “parcela” (i.e., government land parcelled out to Mexican citizens to homestead on), they acquired surrounding pieces of property that joined the land my father had bought and registered in American-Mexican Ma’s name. That’s how “Colonia LeBaron” came to be … how it got its start! Many pieces/parcelas came together to make this pie.

By the time my family, “the Spencers,” moved back to Mexico in August 1960, Pa had turned sixty-five, Ma thirty-nine, and I fourteen. Ma’s pa, Grandpa Dayer, died nine years earlier so of Ma’s parents only my Gramma Maud remained. (Born in 1892, Gramma was but three years older than Pa. Just thought you’d like to know!)

Given this bit of backstory, you now know how, when my parents returned to their agrarian Chihuahuan desert home now called Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico, they “landed” on property they already owned. It was within walking distance of Gramma — though Pa and Gramma didn’t get along so we didn’t see much of her at our house. But some of Mother’s brothers and extended family homesteading in Mexico also lived near us, including Uncle’s Joel, Ervil, Floren, Verlan, their wives and children, and my Aunt Lucinda’s three children.

Soon after my Ma’s repatriating to Mexico, the land of her nativity, Ma and Pa bought another piece of property in her name* “The Galeana Springs.” It was located within a few miles of our homestead in Colonia LeBaron and had a natural running spring on it!

Once back in Mexico on her Motherland, Ma shed joyful tears, crying, “It’s so wonderful to finally be back with my family again — back home where I belong in Old Mexico with my kids and Pa … on our own ‘rancho’ !”


*My pa, being an American, wasn’t allowed to own real estate in Mexico. Ma had dual citizenship, having been born in Mexico in 1921 of American parents; therefore, she could own property in Old Mexico.


  • Thanks, cousin Dena McLean, for sending me the YouTube link to this lovely theme song “HOME” !

Continued November 20, 2018, “Pt 29: My Ma Esther LeBaron Spencer and My Grandma Maud

Pt 27: More Memories of My Parents Esther LeBaron and Floyd Spencer

My father and mother standing on their land “the Galeana Springs”

Pt 27: More Memories of My Mom Esther LeBaron and Dad Floyd Spencer


“One I love with all my heart,
Mother, dear, it’s you;
And I want to make you glad;
Yes, indeed, I do!
I will help you every day,
Smiling as I go,
And I’ll never make you sad
Because I love you so.”
(Author unknown)


We left off in “Part 26: More Memories of My Mom Esther LeBaron Spencer” with me questioning Mom about her early years. ​As I continued to query her about her early life and how she met and married Pop, she moaned: “I NEVER wanted to leave my family and Old Mexico. But yer pa wasn’t allowed to make a livin’ in Mexico, being a US citizen. By marryin’ him, I was forced to live in “The States” … far from my family for thirteen years!!

“I was always homesick for my family in Mexico. Yer pa knew this so his favorite song was, ‘I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen.’ (See: https://youtu.be/TEHnzFC7M9A ) He would tear up when I played it for him on the piano … or sang it to him while accompanyin’ myself on the guitar.”

Dad kept his word to Mum. Soon as he turned sixty-five and could retire with full Social Security and Veterans Pension benefits, he moved Mum back to Mexico. We eleven kids went along for the ride!

One more stowaway sneaked along too … hidden in Mum’s belly! Well, everyone knows it’s cheaper by the dozen. At least that’s what Mumma always told everyone. (US dollars went further especially back then– if you lived in Old Mexico as opposed to the United States.)

So in August of 1960, my family returned to Old Mexico to settle in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua on their homestead my grandfather and grandmother had continued to build and enlarge upon — on land Dad bought in 1944. (Dad and Mum turned their parcela over to my grandparents Dayer and Maud LeBaron in 1947 when they decided to take their budding family and move back to the US.)

Grandpa Dayer and Grandma Maud could never afford to move out of Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. But once Dad married Mum (secretly) on Feb. 17, 1944 — as a plural wife* —  he’d had to “Get the hell out of Dodge:” ** Moving to old Mexico to live near my mother’s family was the perfect “get away” hideout for my parents to dodge the law for about three years — just long enough for me and my older sister to be born in Chihuahua, Mexico — thereby becoming American-Mexicans.

My parents’ days living in Old Mexico ended in early 1947 when Daddy was involved in a devastating near-death incident: While working to repair a flour mill in Colonia Dublan, Mexico, his leg accidentally slipped, fell into the mill’s grain grinder, and was badly chewed up before he could regain his balance. Being a World-War-I Veteran,  Daddy was taken to the Veterans’ hospital in El Paso, Texas where he remained for nearly three months while doctors and nurses struggled day and night to save and repair his leg so he could walk again.

What he did! Their dedicated efforts and peoples’ prayers paid off. Daddy’s leg was not only saved but he was able to even run on it. However, the immense amount of scar tissue in the damaged leg was to hurt him for the rest of his life — or the next 18 years. Poor Daddy!

This excruciating pain didn’t slow down the industrious hard worker he was. However, it added to his temper already compromised by aging, physical pain from his bad back, arthritic pains, and post-traumatic-stress issues brought on by his World War I Army Service. Add to that his emotional pain that included loss of his first wife Eva and his eleven children he had with her — and my mumma’s poor housekeeping and cooking — and you’ve got a walking volcano ready to errupt at any moment!

Nonetheless, this stalwart, dedicated, religious man, my papa, never gave up for a moment! He hung in there like a true soldier, holding fast to his beliefs and values till the end when, on April 18, 1965, a heart attack took him precipitated by an incident in late 1964 some like to call a “work accident.” (More on that in my upcoming book.)

Continued November 9, 2018: “Pt 28: My Ma ‘n Pa, Esther LeBaron and Floyd Spencer”


*They were married by the Mormon fundamentalist leader Joseph W. Musser. This was kept a great secret: Polygamy was illegal and so was Musser’s performing such marriages/ sealings. (See: Joseph White Musser: Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_White_Musser)


** Daddy told me he had to flee with Mama to live in old Mexico because his first wife Eva, a mainstream Mormon, had created a huge public stink and gotten him in trouble with the law and LDS church for taking a plural wife and becoming a Mormon fundamentalist. Can you blame her? (See my previous writings on this in blogs about my father and Mother.)

So, in 1944 Daddy sold in a hurry — at a loss — his belongings in Arizona and bought cheap land — a parcela — in Chihuahua, Mexico, not far from Colonia Juarez where Mama grew up. But he had to work in the United States to earn a living. It was illegal for Americans to earn a wage in Mexico — part of Mexico’s efforts not to lose more of their land to the USA — as they had in the war of 1846. Mexican–American War – Wikipediahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican–American_War)


~ Pt 19: A-M: Mexico-LeBaron Mom, Pop, Me, and the Perils of Polygamy

NOTE:  I’ve renamed and reposted today’s blog, “Part 19: A-Z — Mom, Pop, Me, and the Perils of Polygamy,” because I’ve rewritten segments of it. Today’s post consists of “Pt 19: A-M” — to be followed next week by “Pt. 19: N-Z.”  These 26 memoir blogs in my “Part 19” series exist as individual posts also.


 ~The following posts are largely grouped memoir blogs of experiences with my parents and others. It’s difficult to present one’s memoir in the form of separate blog posts. Bear with me till it all comes together — one way or another. 


My Memoir Backstory, Part 19-A: My Ma Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer,  Pa, Me, and the Perils of Polygamy

  • ma and grma, 2

“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, ‘n’ Me, Part 18:”

 Other than her first six months in a polygamous marriage with my father (a married man with ten children and another on the way at the time she married him, he soon became monogamous: His first wife left him.) Mother could not/did not live polygamy again during her twenty-two years of marriage to my father. So I resent that she manipulated me into a harem — a life she couldn’t live herself. But what’s new?

She and Pa raised me to believe I would go to hell if I didn’t live polygamy — because Joseph Smith said so. Obviously, my parents expected their kids to do things they were unable to do themselves. Maybe they were trying to save us from going to hell when they couldn’t save themselves (?). Dream on!

So, when I was barely sixteen, still tied to Mummsy’s apron strings, and too young to know better or have any input, Mummsy, along with Pappy’s priestcraft, worked her witchcraft to arrange a polygamic marriage that dumped me into 26-year-old William Preston Tucker’s family; i.e., his harem. It was an arrangment that would bring glory to my parents’ — Bill Tucker was arguably the biggest catch in town.

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

Years later I discovered her so-called “revelation” was she and Dad had secretly read my private diary wherein I stated Bill was the man I was in love with. (I learned a few years later at least half the town was in love with this alpha male, William Preston Tucker — Men and women! Mormon polygamy allows for mayhem!)

My parents had convinced me they were perfect saints. So it never entered my mind 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 — they were reading and discussing, unbeknownst to me, my hidden diary’s private daily 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. While “running off at the mouth” kept me alive and sane, on the one hand, on the other hand, it kept my parents in a position that would practically devastate my life, in the end.

Since I recorded all my private thoughts and feelings, intruders into my personal diaries 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 to covertly listen in on my private plans and thoughts so they could control me. I used my journals to cathart, “thought fart,” and otherwise wend my way through the LeBaron moron Mormon mess I dealt with as an adolescent coming of age in a foreign land and fanatic fundamentalist belief system.

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






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

three-pictures-of-ervil

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


Continuing with the story of 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” (ErVIL) was truly something else — in his heyday and depth of glory with all those trusting, true-believing followers and converts suddenly at his deceptive fingertips once his and his brother Joel LeBaron’s new “Church” began to take off in the late 1950s.

While Uncle ErVIL was manipulating my life by way of his priest craft, my parents — another set of controllers found wanting in the area of integrity — were secretly snooping into my personal Journal so able to control and manipulate my life also! Reading my diaries behind my back must’ve been the entertainment of the day for them in their collusion to eavesdrop on what I believed were my private thoughts!

But I can’t imagine their “entertainment” when they found 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 married, old-man 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: 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. That was my first kiss ever! Oh dear and Heaven help us! It was also my first date ever — though hardly a kiss and barely 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 whatsoever for him. Only lots of anxiety.

I don’t recall doing anything else with this extremely shy, middle-aged stranger. I 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!




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

me-in-red-blouse-15


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 first kiss,
And my first date,
It was barely a kiss and barely a date.
But Ervil prophesied he was my fate!

Now I wax into half-assed poetry,
‘Cause no matter how “Homely Homer” kissed me,
I would’ve missed marital bliss, believe me,
‘Cause 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:
‘Cause, when it came to my “celestial” sealing,
I longed to be kissing Bill Tucker,
Not this pock-marred, scarr-faced fucker!

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

To further forward his meddlin’,
While my present and future peddlin’,
Evil ErVIL, chief head of “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 mesquite-cacti outback,
In homely Homer’s hidden black Cadillac,
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
Totally and intensely 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 ever knew
Suddenly showed up at my back door.
… And now I’ll close; I’ll say no more,
But promise next week more trivia galore!



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




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

me-on-cement



“The successful leader
is the one who makes the right move
at the right moment with the right motive.”
John Maxwell 



Continuing where we left off in “My Memoir Backstory: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-C:

Heck! Here I am alone in the dark in a car with a middle-aged male Mormon stranger in an arranged marriage situation and this was the first time I’d ever been alone with a man! To think, thanks to my uncle ErVIL, it had to be in this bizarre, coerced, traumatic, unnatural setting — not romantic at all, despite the moonlit night. Fortunately and unfortunately, as it turns out, it was to be my first and final meeting with Ervil’s well-meaning but badly misused and abused “amigo,” Homer Babbitt.

When inhibited and bashful Babbitt
attempted to make conversation with timid,
discombobulated me, out of habit,
he and I were so shy the cat got our tongues
before we could grab it!
So he was barely able to bashfully babble:

“The Prophet Ervil said the Lord revealed to him we are supposed to be married in a couple of days. I’m to give him a piece of land because he got me you for my second wife so I can further build the work of God. So I want to know, do you agree to be my plural wife so I can enter into ‘the principle of celestial marriage’ to better serve God?”

I replied, “I agree to marry you because Uncle Ervil prophesied it was what God wanted me to do to help build up the kingdom of God on earth.”

After that “proposal,” so unmemorable for me was that secret evening rendezvous that all I pretty much recall is Homer then drove me back to the outskirts of my home and dropped me off where nobody would see nor hear his car coming and going.

I don’t remember anything else about that time with homely Homer, except that I didn’t feel good about it! The whole event was a bummer. It left me off-balance with anxious nausea in the pit of my troubled mind and nervous stomach. Some date, right? 

I didn’t understand what was coming off nor going on with this marriage Uncle Ervil had suddenly arranged — ALL behind my parents’ back, on the spur of the moment, in the dead of day, in the name of God. It made me question whether there could really be a God.

For one thing, it wasn’t at all like I had fantasized — not at all how I had romanticized matrimony and meeting my future husband would be. Instead, I didn’t look forward to being Homer Babbitt’s wife/ plural wife. “Why did God want me to do something that seemed so unnatural,” is what I would have asked myself if I knew enough to ask questions.

Missing was the passion
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 —
All my dreams going up in smoke.

Though I surely wanted to do
What God wanted me to do,
I truly wished something would happen
So this marriage wouldn’t happen …
Couldn’t go through.




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

me-in-plaid-dress-14



“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,” if 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 the 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, mostly married men, who had gone to my father and asked for permission to marry me. It had been going on the whole two years since my family moved to homestead in the LeBaron cult in 1960 when I was only fourteen. Daddy had turned most of those male suitors 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.” I even know of one seven-year-old in Short Creek, the polygamist town on the border of Utah and Arizona, whose father told her to go tell the “profit” Uncle Roy she wanted to marry him! He told her to go home and wait till she was nine, then return. Roy married this little girl when she was only nine years old — just another woman in his harem!

I know of another case in Short Creek where the father, Lawrence Stud (pseudonym) traded his nine-year-old daughter to a polygamist for some land! 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.



In this video, Producer Rebecca Kimbel, one of my aunts-in-law, 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.




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

me-in-plaid-14-1



“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/ 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 about 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 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″, magnanimous, articulate, and charismatic uncle! It didn’t enter my mind he could do any wrong. I was taught he could only do right: He was “a perfect prophet of God.” But now I know he did wrong and was only a perfect “profit” of evil.

Of course, Ervil did not let me know he was simply horse-trading me, one of his nieces, to his friend Homer for some of Homer’s land. I found that out 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 devilish deceptions.

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 — only pretending he got revelations from God as to what they were supposed to do when, in reality, he was but taking advantage of their trust in him. Was only using them.*


*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.




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 tell them 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 — post haste! More on this in an upcoming blog.

Meanwhile, Uncle Ervil, “Second Grand Head” of the church; i.e., cult, had no idea (nor did I) that my parents had quickly hustled me off onto Bill Tucker ONLY after having snuck into my 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 behind their back!!)

I’ve gotten off onto a bunny trail and 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 more wonderful if that man had returned the respect and feelings — especially would it have been wonderful if you’re a naïve sixteen-year-old who has no idea what love, marriage, and polygamy are 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 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 blue yonder 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! 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 as I did 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”!


*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.




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

156be-ervil-booked-into-jail


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


I left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy — Part 19-G” relating that I had come to realize people did not simply sail off into the sunny sunset and “live happily ever after” once they were married — the way fairytales I heard and read had always ended. Children’s fairy tales, my Mormon fundamentalist parents, and the cult had filled me full of SUCH poppycock! They didn’t prepare me for reality!

One of my first wake-up calls and reality checks came when I found my/”our” husband Bill Tucker was  having sex with his other two wives, AFTER marriage — because they felt the same way about their husband as I: They wanted him just as much as I did — because we were all very much in love with him.

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

But it took innocent childbride me around four more months before I realized I was not the only one still having sex with him once pregnant — and still really wanting him sexually. It was such a shock to find sex didn’t end once we were “married happily ever after,” nor did it even end after we got pregnant! Shocking! Because I was raised on the “law of chastity” and Victorian values: Sex was not to be enjoyed. It was only for procreation!

But why was it so shocking to find Bill was still having sex with his other pregnant wives when it seemed okay for him to still be having sex with me when I was pregnant? It was just one more revelation, after I was married into polygamy as an adolescent, to realize Bill’s other wives had the same sexual feelings and desires I had.

I was pregnant within two months of marriage to Bill. What’s more, and common in polygamy, is all three of Bill’s wives were expecting a new baby around the same time. Sex during pregnancy definitely went against the teachings of our church/cult — and against our prophets Joel and Ervil’s teachings. However, I was in for even a bigger shocks when, eventually, I learned Bill’s other two wives wanted him sexually even more so once their husband “took me on”!

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

Ma bragged to me, among other things, that she and Pa had lived the “law of chastity” during the whole of their twenty-two-year marriage! (The jury is still out on that one!) Since I was her favorite child before I escaped the church/cult at age twenty-one, she proudly told me, when I was around age sixteen, “Beulah, one of the reasons you turned out so special, beautiful, and bright is I conceived you under the protection of the holy temple garments and the law of chastity.”(!!) 

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

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

But that’s only part of the “law of chastity” the early Mormon prophets taught. To further complicate married life, not only was sex purely for procreation but considered lustful if you enjoyed it even then. And this is only the half of it!

Needless to say, fuck the law of chastity! My being added to the harem greatly affected the other two wives, Bill, and his and their love life. It made them hunger for more sex more often. There’ll be more on this in my upcoming Memoir/ book. I’ll just tell you now they did not believe in, let alone keep the Mormon fundamentalist principles of “The Law of Chastity”– and that’s not the half of it! For example, they even had sex in the nude! (LOL!) And Bill told me one of his wives was more horny and hot WHEN she was pregnant — so that was his favorite time with her!



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







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

me, in asian dress

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

Pope Paul VI


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

“Fuck The Law of Chastity”! My being added to the harem greatly affected the other two wives and Bill Tucker, too — especially did it affect his and their love life. They did not believe in, let alone live the Mormon fundamentalist doctrine of “The Law of Chastity” — and that’s not the half of it!!

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

Suffice it, for now, to say the rivalry was rampant, and I would not have suffered half as much in my arranged marriage had I been married to Homer Babbitt whom I did not love and wasn’t attracted to … so I would not have been longing for him, sexually nor otherwise.

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

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

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

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

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

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



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






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

me-bill


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

H.G. Wells


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So “Billy-goat Fucker” got
Some of HIS needs met by marrying me.
But few of mine were met by marrying Billy
And becoming his wife “Number Three.”

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

If you must live polygyny,
To save your soul eternally,
Marry a man you’ll not fall for,
Let alone want sexually.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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






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

bill-1
Bill Tucker



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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




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

Kent Singleton, Alen Peterwright


Two of Bill’s Mormon French-missionary friends, LDS “Saints” “Dick ‘n’ Peter”



“By their friends, ye shall know them.”
Biblical Adidge


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

I said in an earlier blog that my being married into Bill’s “family” (or “love nest”?) was out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire: I thought I was escaping my hellish home life with my family of origin for a heavenly love life with the man I was deeply in love with, idolized, and adored. It turned out to be the opposite.

I sure didn’t know it during the years I was married to Bill, but I realized years later (as I became older, wiser, and more informed) the reason Bill and his other two wives were so touchy about my having any contact with my parents or family was that around a year before I was married to Bill, my older sister had gone home to visit our parents to tell them that she was just sick because, among other things, she had discovered her husband, “Saint Dick”, was fuckin’ ‘n’ suckin’ “Saint Peter.'” And stickin’ light bulbs and beer bottles up his butt … ‘n’ other such!

She was practically going nuts because she had witnessed it all for herself while looking through a keyhole after hearing noises in the living room way past her bedtime! 

More about this in my upcoming book. Suffice it to say, “Peter” had already returned to the United States with his wife by the time my uncle Ervil, et Al, heard from my parents the details my sister had witnessed.

When “Dicky’s” buddy Billy got wind of it by way of his bosom-buddy Ervil LeBaron, Billy betrayed bosom-buddy Ervil, ran to his old Mormon-Missionary pal Dicky and cried:

“Dick, get out of this colony! QUICK!!
Get yer family ‘n’ wife —
And FLEE for your life!!
Leave your belongings behind!
DO make haste!
There’s no time to waste!!
Hit for the US border before daybreak!
Daylight will be too late!
Ervil LeBaron’s rounding up
A Mexican mob at this moment
To tar ‘n’ feather yer dick,
And hang you by yer balls!!
 Mexicans in this area don’t tolerate
Homosexuals AT ALL …
Not one LITTLE bit!
Oh, shit! The words out!
They’ve found you out!
So you sure-as-hell better get out!!”
It makes me sick,
But GET, 
Dick! QUICK!!

In the Mormon French mission field in the mid to late 1950s, Peter, Dick (pseudonyms), and Bill were close friends. They had all been high-up priesthood leaders in the Mormon French Mission Field for about two years before Bill was ousted and excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because he had begun preaching Mormon fundamentalism to his followers, other French missionaries, and converts.

I think these above details give you a good idea why my new family — Bill’s family — was so careful to keep from me their private love life. And why they thoroughly warned and threatened me that if I were to go home to my parents to tell ANYTHING that was going on in my marriage or Bill’s family, I’d be dumped!

Now, what’s an adolescent girl to do when she’s stumped, but not even allowed to visit her parents and siblings once she’s married into a quagmire — cast from the frying pan into the fire?



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

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




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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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



 



*NOTE: The rest of this series is continued in the blog “Part 19: N-Z” to be published in a week or so. I grouped the series “Pt 19: A-Z” into these two different blogs to make it easier for people who might not be able to easily download the full series,  “Part 19: A- Z.”


 

~ Pt 26: More Memories of My Mom Esther LeBaron Spencer​

Pt 26: More Memories of My Mom Esther LeBaron Spencer

ma at 14

My mother Esther LeBaron-McDonald Spencer at age 21



“You can never go home.”
Sinclair Lewis

Another variable in the equivocation, as to Mom’s virginity on her wedding night, is the following (Perhaps I’m throwing a hand grenade into the equation?): When I was about fourteen, Momma told me how girls she knew, when she was growing up, used things like bananas, carrots, and broomstick handles to put up “the place where babies are born.” Also used these and other devices to try to achieve an abortion!

I barely knew what she was talking about … and didn’t know masturbation or the need for such existed. Don’t know why Mum told me this stuff. I assume she was expounding on thoughts she had at the moment. Or was she suggesting I use the same tools, should the need arise — only don’t tell anyone the idea came from her?

That’s questionable, given part of virginity means an unbroken hyman. I think she was simply telling me some of the “worldly” things she knew “bad girls” used to do — but things she thought I wouldn’t do because I was her girl so “wasn’t worldly.” She believed I was better than they: I was “born a Saint.”

Such are the things my pure, perfect … perfectly-fanatic Mormon mum told me on the sly in moments of weakness and reverie. I suppose they were things too interesting to keep to herself. And I was Mum’s confidant.

Here’s another piece of juicy information Mumma shared with me after I asked her to explain what a “dirty joke” was. A couple of my sixth-grade classmates used the term but laughed at me when I asked what it meant. They said, “Go ask yer mom!” So I did.

At first, Mum told me “Johnny fell in a mud puddle”  was an example of a dirty jokeBut I was dissatisfied with that answer, so she caved in — but only after securing from me a promise I’d never repeat what she told me! Then she quickly recited the following bawdy rhyme she’d learned as a youngster. I admit I’m breaking my promise for I’m repeating what she said:

“Mary had a little lamb;
It wasn’t worth a Tinker’s damn.
She took it to bed with her to sleep.
The sheep was found to be a ram,
So Mary had a little lamb.

“When Mary had a little lamb,
The doctor was horrified.
But when Old McDonald had a farm,
The doctor almost died!”

Mum had to explain what this “dirty joke” meant — but I had no trouble converting the rhyme to memory.

You get the idea, though: The jury is still out on whether Mumma was indeed a virgin on her wedding night — and it will always be out. So your guess is as good as mine. And my guess is she wasn’t — despite the fact she and Pop had raised me to believe suicide was preferable to losing my virginity. Had I lost my virginity before my wedding night, I would have committed suicide. It was that serious!

But I was raised on triple standards! I didn’t know it then. I know it now. Little ears have big listening capacities. During my growing years, I learned many things my parents had no idea I was picking up on. I recall illicit things I experienced and heard before I could barely babble. But I had the adults fooled. So take my advice: Never assume a baby who can’t talk, can’t understand and remember what YOU are talking about or doing!

Well, I’ve said my piece for now, so peace to you till next week’s blog — or “journal jog.” My head’s beginning to nod. ‘Tis time to get some sleep ‘n’ roll some rrrr’s before the sun peeps under my window sill.

Continued October 30, 2018, in “Pt 27: More Memories of My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer”


The following video gives insight into how I was raised and what my blog today depicted concerning virginity and Mormon Fundamentalism.

~ Pt 25: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Pa, Me ‘n’ Polygamy

 Pt 25: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Pa, Me, ‘n’ Polygamy

dad-ma-9-kids-1

My parents and nine of their then 10 children in 1956 or 1957. I’m around 10 or 11 years old in this picture–just got back from cherry-picking in a friend’s orchard so my hair is all mussed up.


Never complain about

what your parents couldn’t give you. 

It was probably all they had.”

“Strong Mind”



I left off on “Pt 24: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Pa, Me, ‘n’ Polygamy.”

Let’s change the topic a bit and go back to when I was twelve and we inquisitive LeBaron-Spencer siblings — 11 of us by then — were once more huddled in the living room around our loving, peaceful parents. Those who could manage to get there first were sitting on the colorful rag-rug Mama had made and spread out in front of our warm fireplace hearth Daddy designed and built.

The periphery of the fireplace was artfully decorated with shades of variegated vermilion petrified-wood — rock-work laid by my artisan father’s own skilled hands.  I loved to study its eye-catching splendor while listening to our parents’ religious lessons.

It was Family Home Evening again — our Monday-night Mormon family get-together my parents held sporadically. As was customary in our family during these times, we older children were taking advantage of the time together with our seemingly Godlike mom and pop to pump them for information about their past. After we’d heard about how they met and married, I couldn’t help but interject the all-important question:  “Mama, were you a virgin when you married Daddy?”

I don’t know what prompted me to ask that question. I should’ve “known” Mama was a virgin, given how she so strictly instilled within us children that it was a matter of life or death that we be virgins on our wedding night. That was good old Mormon fundamentalist doctrine!

A man could have lots of wives … But the man had to be a virgin too … on his first wedding night, anyway! (After that, he could marry any number of women though he was no longer a virgin! Still, each of his wives had to be a virgin! But there were exceptions to this rule, too, such as in the case of divorce.)

But it was an all-important question to me, given Momma and Papa had so fervently impressed upon me and my siblings that we be chaste virgins when we married. We were not even to kiss a man till we were at the marriage alter! I repeat: We were not to KISS our loved one till we were at the marriage alter!!

Therefore, I was taken aback when Mama flushed, then exchanged with Papa an embarrassed equivocal half-grin implying, “Don’t ask; don’t you tell.” Then, having established an unspoken agreement and understanding with Papa, Mama carefully chose her words as she formed her response: “Why … of course, I was a virgin on my wedding night!”

But I sensed the look exchanged between her and Papa suggested a special and personal secret held between the two. It left me with the impression the jury was still out on the Ma-plus-Pa virginity equation.

Given their equivocation, I only wonder: Was Pa on the bottom or the top? And was their “wedding night” in the back of the pickup bouncing toward Ma’s parents’ home? That’s all I want to know! It’s more than I could know at the tender age of twelve … You have to know a little to ask a lot. At that age, I barely knew how babies were begot … and wished I knew NOT … if it was what I thought.

But I certainly wanted to believe my parents abided by the chaste rules they taught from the time I was a tot: People must NOT lose their virginity! And, I repeat, Shouldn’t even kiss until they were at the marriage alter!

Older and wiser now, I suspect some of that bouncing of the pickup bed that carried Mommy and Poppy from Mesa, Arizona to Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico was created by more than the bumps in the rutted, rugged 1944 roads those many hours the truck sped along at top speed towards Mama’s parents’ home. (Perhaps Uncle Ben was doing his utmost to get these two lovers — my future parents — to his father’s presence while his sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law were still “chaste”?)

Oh, well. What the hell! Nature has purposely made the attraction between two people in love too difficult for abstinence — especially when they’re snuggled up alone together on a freezing January day in the back of a secluded pickup “getting to know each other better.” At least, that’s what I surmise. What’s your opinion?

I also suspect (from what I learned when Mother let me read her diary she wrote when she was in her late teens) other activities also had something to do with whether Mother’s hymen was still unbroken. I’ll tell you what I mean in an upcoming blog. Meanwhile, who knows what else may have passed between Ma, Pa, and those five years following the incident she wrote about in her diary!

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

Continued September 28, 2018: My Mama Esther LeBaron Spencer, Pa, Me, ‘n’ Polygamy — Part 26