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

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

Cassie with bowl
My gifted granddaughter born free — free from polygamy’s slavery when I fled Mormon fundamentalism in 1967.

As you work on your memoir,
tell your story true, artfully and with courage,
writing with fidelity to your own experience
while knowing that memory is fallible.
Tracy Seeley.
My Ruby Slippers,


Repeating what was said in “Pt 21: Ma Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade, “I’m not proud of what I, my mother, sister, and others like us do/did due to our religious polygamist upbringing.

I’m sad Mother played a part in the suffering Daddy’s first wife and children went through in their abandonment when he took a plural wife — even if it was part of Mother’s fanatic fundamentalist Mormon “privilege” — nay, her obligation to break up marriages; i.e., to move in on a married man 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 that the first wife would soon divorce her husband who entered religious polygamy against her will — so he would no longer be living “The Law of Abraham” anyway.

I’m not proud, either, of the part at least eight of my parents’ ten daughters played in breaking up other men’s marriages although it was in the name of their backward brainwashing’s “blessed polygamy.” Nor am I proud of my three-out-of-four brothers who became polygamists, causing themselves and their women needless suffering.

What’s more, I’m not proud of how long it took me (once I left polygamy and my authoritarian orthodox Mormon upbringing) to develop different understandings and standards when it came to not falling in love with married men, not falling for married men’s lies, and not getting involved with married men period!

While growing up, the backward idea had been so ingrained in me that the only good men were polygamist men, that, for many years after escaping polygamy, I couldn’t fully fall for nor respect a man who was monogamist — even though I wanted to and was totally against polygamy — knew its devastations well!

For too many years I couldn’t subdue — didn’t realize I needed to subdue the subconscious scripts and residual residue of my childhood’s cultural plural-marriage input. For far too long, old polygamy tapes continued playing havoc in the dark crevices of my mind, whether I liked it or not — knew it or not.

To compound the trauma of leaving a cult, it was years before I realized that to get involved with a married man was to become separated from your soul on top of all else. After much suffering and undue harm to myself and others, I finally woke up, learned my lessons, smelled the coffee, and moved on. Now there’s no way, I’m happy to say, that a cheating man will achieve collaboration, consent, or intent on my part, no matter how attractive the proposition. What’s wrong is wrong!

For one thing, if he’ll cheat on his wife, he’ll cheat on me. Monogamy, fidelity, and respect for contracts and the rule of law have come about for a reason. Civilization was won through trial and error over eons of experience, mistakes, and lessons learned the hard way.

But my family and I were indoctrinated in Mormon fundamentalism to do just the opposite of the hard-won laws of Civilization: In breaking up marriages, or bedding and abetting married men, we women were errantly, ignorantly, and barbarically doing what we were raised from birth to do and fervently believed was God’s will. But that didn’t make it right nor undo the suffering sinning inevitably brings. Karmic laws kick in whether you think you’re doing right or not.

So it bears repeating: Though fourth-generation-Mormon-polygamist Mom mind-controlled and manipulated her kids into living polygamy, in an effort to make sure they were “saved” — just as had been instilled in her to do and was done to her by her parents, too — she was only trying to do what she had been taught was right: Make sure we went to heaven. She was carrying out what she believed was God’s will, even though she hadn’t noticed she could never stand to have done to her what she did to others.

I repeat: She never practiced what she preached when it came to polygamy. Although she likely always thought she was going to, even wrote and published pamphlets pushing plural marriage/”The Law of Abraham,” she never entered polygamy the whole twenty-two years she had to herself her handsome hubby, my daddy, once his first wife left him after six months of “practicing polygamy.”

However, Mother DID move in on other men’s marriages before, during, and after her marriage to Pop. She was lucky she never had to let another woman/a plural wife move in on her marriage with my pop. More on this in a future “flop.”

(Continued August 28, in “Pt 23: Ma Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade”)



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

Pt 20-A: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy-On-The-Down-Low

Bill and I in church 1963



Tom Weston said you can tell
God created people in his own image
because he hates all the same people,
coincidentally, that you do.
(
The Christian far-right)


I left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On the Down-Low, Part 19-Z” remarking on a trip I managed to go on with Bill to Guadalajara, Mexico in 1965 — about a year after my trip with Bill and Bruce to Chihuahua City, Mexico.

Although a naïve nineteen-year-old, there I witnessed Bill with his buddy Stephen Silver making what I now know was a hit at the Mariachi Square, famous the world over as a gathering place for homosexuals.

I got sidetracked for a while writing about that “trip.” Now let’s get back to my trip to Chihuahua City, where I got “screwed.” But to add to Bill’s screwing me over, on the way to Bruce’s first wife Juna’s home in Chihuahua City and then back to Bruce’s second wife’s home in Colonia LeBaron, where Bill and I lived, I discovered how much men gossip — even “Saints.”

Right in front of me, while leaving me out of their conversation, these two Mormon-fundamentalist “priesthood holding Saints,” aye Plyg men, talked incessantly about my parents (one of Bill’s three sets of mothers and fathers-in-law) and my family — “The Spencer’s” … Their latest escapades, shenanigans, Spencer bigotry, narrow-mindedness … you name it!

When I attempted to stick up for my family, Bill cut me off with, “You told me …” and he went on from there. In other words, in order to further run me and my family down, my chameleon-faced husband Bill was actually betraying me by telling his buddy Bruce things I had shared with him privately!

It showed me he was ashamed to be married to me, at least when around Bruce — though somehow my uncle’s Joel and Ervil, my mother’s brothers, were good enough for Bill — and Bruce! As mentioned in previous blogs, my husband and Uncle Ervil were best buddies. And Bill was Uncle Ervil’s right-hand man! Go figure! But if you know how Uncle “Evil” Ervil lived, you better understand how ironic all this really was!

However, bully Bruce showed how high class and superior to me he thought he and Billy were when he quipped:

“You can take the girl out of the mountains but you can’t take the mountains out of the girl!” My ears hung, my tears stung. I could’ve shrunk into the seat beside my unsupportive spouse busy cutting ME to shreds by cutting down my family. I felt like the bottom of the barrel at the bargain basement sale!

But the irony is, this is the same Bruce Wakeham who, around 1958, joined my Uncle Joel LeBaron’s Mormon fundamentalist cult and moved himself and his family, including his parents, to the little backward LeBaron colony my maternal grandparents started on land my father and mother left them when, in 1947, my parents returned to live in the United States!

Even more hilarious: A few years after my hay-seed, self-proclaimed “profit” Uncle Joel died, Bruce, himself, was one of a number of Joel’s followers who took up claiming to be the new One-Mighty-and-Strong Prophet to replace Uncle Joel! Now tell me about class and Bruce’s being superior to me and my family!

I realize, now I’m older and wiser, my family and I were scapegoats for Bill and his bisexual buddies and lesbian harems — all big bullies and shams passing for perfect Mormon fundamentalist Saints. In that cult, they passed pretty well. But they were big frogs in a very little LeBaron pond!

When it came to Bill and Bruce making mincemeat out of my family, I realize one thing “eating” little 5.6 ft screwball-Billy with the nine-inch-six-pack-willy was my parents: They were deathly against homosexuality — as if my parents, themselves, were saintly examples in this or any other realm! Trip on that if you will!



Pt 20-B: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy On-The-Down-Low

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My parents Esther LeBaron-McDonald and Floyd Otto Spencer 


“To describe my mother would be
to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.”
Maya Angelou 


I left off with “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On The Down-Low — Part 20-A.” Let’s now backtrack a few blogs — go back to before I was married to Bill.

I had barely graduated from eighth grade in Hurricane, Utah, in June of 1960, when my parents pulled us up, locks, stocks, shocks, ‘n’ barrels, to move to the desolate Rocky Mountain Range desert enclave Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico to gather with the “Saints” to escape the calamities soon to hit the US. In other words, they believed the Chicken-Little tales that the sky was falling. Armageddon was imminent.

Once in that baron colony, I got no opportunity for further formal education beyond the eighth grade. Nor was I allowed to read, let alone have contact with the outside world in any way, shape, or form. That precluded TV and radio, of course.

In other words, I was cut off from all outside influences. High Tech and other computer technology hadn’t been invented yet, as far as I knew — cut off from “the world,” I would’ve been the last to know.

All that being what it was, had my parents and Uncle Ervil had the integrity to leave things in my own nubile life to take their natural course, I would at least never have been thrown into a marriage where I was deeply in love with a man who (unbeknownst to me and my family) didn’t even believe in Mormonism anymore — let alone polygamy — let alone did he want another wife … let alone would he care about her — let alone did he tell my parents or anyone else what he really valued or believed! Chameleons never do. They do what makes them look and feel best under the circumstances.

The idol of the LeBaron cult and colony, Bill/William Preston Tucker, the man I was pawned off onto, lacked integrity. In plain English, he was two-faced. Known for being a good diplomat, he couldn’t stand confrontation. That means he couldn’t say “No!” So, with social pressure put upon him by my Uncle Ervil, Bill’s best buddy, and by my parents — Bill went ahead and married me, the lesser of two evils — as far as he could see.

Only other bisexuals in the clan, and Uncle Joel, the clan’s prophet, knew the real “Bill”… The real deal … the bisexual Bill — the gay guy who wanted more time for his boyfriends — not more wives. Two was quite enough to keep his wives from knowing where he was and what he was doing at all times.

I mean, having more than one wife was his perfect Plyg ploy for passing as normal or straight while hiding his male sexual sprees he regularly carried on behind our backs — on the down-low.


 



Pt 20-C: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy On-The-Down-Low

Me, Bill and baby: Side views
 Our 6-month-old Asenath Marie, 18-year-old Me, and 26-year-old Billy 

 


Advice on How to Handle Overt and
Covert Narcissists:

Saying “I do not consent” won’t work with narcissists:
They don’t care about boundaries.
They will keep coming at you.
Look up “grey rock,” quietly let authorities know
of the toxic person, and, so you are taken seriously,
allude to the narcissist your willingness
to go to court on grounds of harassment. 

Otherwise, ignore the person unless
communication is unavoidable.
Learn not to take the narcissist’s behavior personally.
Keep in mind the overt/ covert narcissist
is a delusional, mentally ill person”



Emphasizing what I said previously in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low — Part 20-B:”

Had Dad, Mom, and her brother Ervil, left me alone, I would’ve had a chance to grow up and learn to think for myself. That’s precisely what they didn’t want. They wanted to use me to their advantage … to run my life as it best suited them.

But they did it in the name of making sure I go to heaven. That is, Mormon fundamentalists believe you have to live polygamy to go to the highest degree of glory. They don’t realize you can’t force anyone to be saved: It doesn’t work that way:
“A person convinced against their will,
Is of the same opinion still.”

My parents and Uncle Ervil should have waited to see if Bill showed interest in me before they pawned me off onto him! They didn’t care. In plural marriage, it’s easy-come-easy-go.

Bill Tucker, like the rest of the single and married men in the LeBaron cult, was attracted to me from the day I arrived there in the colony at age fourteen. Two years later, when Bill and I married, he told me: “I was always in love with you but I didn’t ask to marry you because I thought you were too young!” Yeah, right!

What he didn’t tell was the whole truth: He was gradually and quietly pulling up stakes, preparing to leave the LeBaron cult and colony in the dead of night, burning his bridges behind him, the first chance he got without being caught and killed. Bill Tucker knew too much to be let out alive!

Had things been done properly, I would not have been an adolescent thrown to the wolves in a marriage where the man had both arms twisted till he gave in to taking a plural wife he didn’t want. He didn’t want wife number-three. Two was plenty, thank you! Nevertheless, Uncle Ervil LeBaron was twisting one arm, my parents the other. Worse yet, Bill’s harem didn’t want another wife — at least, not one who wasn’t bisexual — wouldn’t fit into their Big Love nest/fest.





Pt 20-D: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy On-The-Down-Low

Norman Vincent Peale


Law 27
“People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a clause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Give your new disciples rituals to perform. Ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.
The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Green, 1998


Taking up where we left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low — Part 20-C:

Other than my Honeymoon, a one-day trip to Chihuahua City, Mexico, and a five-day trip to Guadalajara, Mexico — all with my husband Bill — plus a trip up to the mountain town of Nico Las Bravos, Mexico, to visit relatives, from 1960 till 1967 I was pretty much stuck in the little windswept Colonia LeBaron, Mexico, a secluded Chihuahuan mountain desert enclave if ever there was one. I didn’t know Spanish, had a baby, no money, and couldn’t drive. Had no car if I could’ve.

To make matters worse, there were no means of public transportation. I was lucky if I could hop a ride now and then with somebody who lived in the LeBaron colony to go to Casas Grandes, the quite dilapidated — at least in the 1960’s — small Mexican town where our colony members usually shopped for most of their groceries and other needs.

In other words, I was cut off from the outside world and its influences. Our little primitive colony had no indoor plumbing let alone electricity, telephones, telegraphs, newspapers, magazines, schools, libraries … the list gets longer! So it precluded TVs, or any other news or information source, of course, though a few people had radios — a luxury I could not afford.

But, eight months after I was married and sharing a home with Bill’s second wife Lolita, thanks to an old box of magazines and books Serendipity and Synchronicity joined hands to leave on our front porch by way of a disgruntled member — an apostate who fled LeBaron — I found myself with informative and investigative things to read — thanks be to God, my Higher Power!

I was seventeen years old and no longer under the watchful eye of my parents. But even Bill’s other two wives were careful to report me to him if they caught me reading! I was to spend all my time working!

But, before anyone could see what was in the box, I hastily gathered it up and hid the inflammatory material, magazines, and pamphlets. Though I was supposed to burn the “Godsend,” I secretly devoured its contents. Ever a God-fearing, yet intellectual and curious person — a bookworm — I couldn’t resist the temptation! I was hoping it would have answers to some of my probing questions. I wasn’t disappointed.

One book in the box, “The Power Of Positive Thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peale, was a most influential work in my developing the ability to think for myself and to see through things such as the fallacies of polygamy — though common sense helped me see through that anyway. But Peale’s work created the means of a breakthrough for me.

Along with Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, my husband Bill Tucker’s influence and input, and my own experiences and reasoning, at age 17, Dr. Peale helped me to see through the glittering generalities and other mumbo-jumbo of mind-controlling religions.

He taught me how to put into down-to-earth terms scriptural verses, catchphrases, and other terminologies and clichés religions and cults commonly use to control their followers and keep them brainwashed and fearful.

I’ve forgotten more than I ever knew in this area — threw it out with the bathwater when I flew the coop and fled the cult. So, 55 years later, I’m unable to come up with a good example of what I’m talking about. Soon as I think of one, I’ll clarify what I mean.

But another wonderful bonus that came from reading Dr. Peale’s book is he taught me how to overcome my worst problems: Shyness and fear of talking to people — other than my immediate family. His book taught me how to face my fears and overcome them! Before his “blessing” arrived on my doorstep, I was a teenager and still unable to go knock on the door of even an aunt I really wanted to visit! And I would even cross the street so I wouldn’t have to say “Hi” to my own cousins! That’s how timid and bashful I was. People used to tell me the cat had my tongue. 

But getting back to Colonia LeBaron in 1963 — back to where I was before I sprouted wings and flew over the prison walls that bound me —  after four years of watching for my chance, a loophole opened where I could finally escape the LeBaron cult, Mormonism — and all other cults that have presented themselves ever since.

The “cult of doubt and disbelief” is the only one I have not been able to fully escape since then. But after 40 years of “wandering in the wilderness” literally, I’ve finally gathered enough input and information to know that, among other things, making no choice is also a choice, as is indecision.

So I’ve chosen to “Let go and let God.”  That is, some years ago, I finally realized that fear of believing in something (for fear another cult would be able to overtake me) was actually a “cult of fear.” I’m happy to say that now I have finally been able to regain a spiritual basis.

For example, I now acknowledge there is some kind of hereafter, Life is the “College of Hard Knocks,” and when opportunity knocks, answer! I believe we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, we have probably lived many lifetimes — and will continue on where we leave off in this life.

To my credit, within five months of escaping polygamy and Mormonism in 1967, I realized the philosopher Ayn Rand, herself, was a cult leader! She was my husband Bill Tucker’s new-found philosophical leader, shortly before he died — your philosophy of life being your religion.

Although my husband hadn’t seen it before he died at age 31, I, at age 21, was able to comprehend the above and to also see that Ayn Rand and other atheists had no more proof that God does not exist than religious people have proof God does exist. Quite a conundrum? I’ll leave you this yummy-gummy gumdrop to chew on till I come up with new dewdrops containing more oxymorons to gum up your reasoning. LOL!


  Pretty City Chick
  By Stephany Spencer

Dearest friends and fans, please note:
This “sorta” silly song I wrote
Is half-finished so I won’t gloat —
And pray my poem won’t get your goat.

But it’s late — my blog’s due “mañana.
If you check this song later on … uh …
You may find it partly “re-wrote.”
It needs work,” is my last quote.
Even so, enjoy what I wrote,
As I humorously emote:

Pretty City Chick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 NOTE: The following is a tongue-in-cheek song I wrote: 

 Intro:
Hi! I’m a Hack Who’s
Written a Hit
Called “Pretty City chick,”
A Hee-ha Comedy Song —
A Bi
t o’ Bio in Verse,
For Better or Worse —
With Truth ‘n’ Exaggeration
Interspersed:

Hey, they say I’m a pretty city chick
And Hillbilly music makes some sick;
But my Hillbilly ways are here to stick,
So you may as well get over it —
And join in ’n’ sing a bit,
‘Cause I’m a city chick
And shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.

Born in Mexican sticks in 1946.
I’ve dual citizenship,
And that’s pretty hip —
And now I’m a city chick.

I’m an all-American-mongrel,
Apple-pie girl
 —

Hines-57 mixed-up mutt,
With apple pie stickin’ to my gut ’n’ butt;
But red-necked reactionary ignoramuses

Ain’t my thing.
I’m here for music and to sing!

Yeah, I’m an All-American-Mexican,
Scotch-Irish “Mick”
,

With Welch ’n’ English,
So sure, I’m a Brit,
With French, German,
And Mohawk Indian a bit.
If there’s no Tom Slick hidin’ in the pit,
Far as I know, that’s about it —
That‘s my story
And I’m “shitickin” to it!

My father was a proud Veteran
Of World War I.
Those Vets were well-appreciated
For what they’d done!
Pa was an artist, creative,
And Jack-of-all-trades;
Master of a few —
Good at so many things,
There seemed little he couldn’t do.

Ma was a creative, author,
And artist, thru ’n’ thru;
Poet, performer,

Trained concert pianist — Whew!
She loved to discuss religious principles
And read religious Lit, old ’n’ new —
Long as it agreed with
What she already “knew.”
She graduated with a BA
In Journalism too;
Quite an accomplishment
‘Cause Ma was sixty-two!

She was runnin’ me competition then,
For I was still in College too,
Strugglin’ to make it up
From the cult she’d put me thru …
If she only knew!
But her motto was:
Anything you can do,
I can do better;
I can do anything better than you!”
(And she meant it too!)

Refrain:
Hey, they call me a pretty city chick,

But Hillbilly music is my “shtick,”
And my Hillbilly ways are here to stick;
So you may as well “git” over it
And join in ‘n’ sing a bit
With this pretty city chick,
‘Cause shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.

Born in Mexican sticks in 1946,
I’ve dual citizenship
And that’s pretty hip.
Well, that’s my story
And I’m “shtickin’ ” to it:
“I’m a pretty city chick.”


*The following is an iPhone video of me in 2017 at age 71 performing the above lyrics at the California Writers Club — fifty years after escaping polygamy & Mormon fundamentalism. It’s a standup-comedy song I wrote called “I’m a Hit.” I recently “re-writ”  part of it and renamed it “Pretty City-Chick”:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Pt 20-E: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy On-The-Down-Low

ma in pink skirt, 1
My Mother Esther LeBaron Mcdonald de Spencer in her mid 40s

“You have to have standards,
no matter how low!”
Anne Lamott


Picking up from the previous blog, “Part 20-D: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy On-The-Down-Low:

Previously, I said William Preston Tucker/ AKA: Bill, the 26-year-old polygamist I was pawned off on, was commonly two-faced. It was too important for him to be liked. In order to be liked, he couldn’t possibly let people know how he felt, what he really believed, and who and what he actually was — for example, gay/ bisexual, and a nonbeliever. If the “True believing” orthodox Mormons knew this stuff, Bill would have been run out of the cult and colony on a steel rail, with one up his ass!!

But duplicitous Bill worked amazingly well the trusting crowd of naïve sect followers. His charisma, good diplomacy, and clever deceptions were only outdone by his charm, cunning cons, mastery of the Scriptures — and his good looks and lies.

Part of Bill’s above package was he couldn’t stand confrontation. That means he couldn’t say “No.” So when push came to shove, he caved in to all the arm-twisting and married adolescent me though he didn’t really want me. But there were perks in it for him, some of which I mentioned in earlier blogs.

I didn’t mention that my Uncle Ervil LeBaron convinced his buddy Bill one perk to having a third wife was it would help him handle his first two waring wives. Bill told me, soon after we were married, they fought like cats and dogs! Well, marrying me certainly solved that problem. I was such a threat to Bill’s first two wives, they quickly bonded and banded together to keep him away from me! That’s a story in itself.

But getting back to where I left off a few blogs back saying Mummy, besides sneaking into my diary, reading that I was in love with Bill Tucker, and then falsely claiming she’d had a revelation I was to marry him, further exhibited lack of integrity by incessantly preaching and promoting “The glorious principle of holy matrimony;” i.e., “Plural Marriage” — though she could not live this “holy principle” herself! Not much anyway. But, again, what’s new? She often didn’t practice what she preached. (Sorry, all you Esther-idolizers.)

Yes, this fearful, fanatic Mormon fundamentalist preached and wrote numerous articles teaching the glories and importance of living the law of plural marriage as if she were an authority on it, though almost everything she had to say about it was hearsay!

As far back as I can remember, she incessantly discussed with others “The Principle” — Joseph Smith’s mandate to live polygamy or be banned from the highest degree of glory in heaven. It was a typical topic among intellectual well-meaning orthodox Mormons.

But Mother led all the rest when it came to pushing polygamy — other than perhaps Rhea Kunz, a well-known independent Mormon fundamentalist in my time. She was my Aunt Charlotte Kunz LeBaron’s mother — my Uncle Verlan LeBaron’s mother-in-law … one of his many mothers-in-law: He had ten wives.

It’s a blast from the past to remember jealous Ma and zealous Rhea exuberantly and fervently going on and ON about the virtues and principles of polygamy. In fact, Rhea had designs on becoming my father’s plural wife! But Daddy couldn’t stand strong, outspoken women who “wore the pants.” So in no time, Daddy, with his razor-sharp tongue, put intellectual and scholarly Rhea in her place and sent her packing. Mother was SO relieved she didn’t have to share her husband with her cohort Rhea!

Nonetheless, Mother ever and always worked overtime to get her kids, converts, and others to live “The highest and most heavenly, God-given principle of Polygamy,” as well asThe the law of Chastity” … all the while not living either, herself. But people didn’t notice she was not living “The Principle” — only talking about it! Far less did they know she wasn’t living The Law of Chastity either!

My twin sisters, who shared the common wall between our parents’ bedroom and their’s, told me they regularly heard springs squeaking and squawking — and other “squeaks and squawks” going on at night in Ma and Pa’s sanctuary, though Mother was pregnant or nursing. And when wasn’t she pregnant during the whole 22 years she was married to Pa before he died at about age 69?! To cut her some slack, though,

Yet, when wasn’t she pregnant or nursing during the whole 22 years she was married to Pa before he died at about age 70?! To cut her some slack, though, perhaps she was but constantly procrastinating when it came to practicing what she preached.

To defend her “spring-squawking,” she told me (when I was around 20 years old): “Beulah, when a  woman is a man’s only wife, she’s obligated to break The Law of Chastity, as the lesser of two evils. Because if a man doesn’t have sex regularly, he can become impotent and then not be able to have any more children. That would be terrible! One of the advantages to polygamy” she continued “is a woman can more easily abide by ‘The Law of Chastity,’ and doesn’t have to have sex as often!

She made sex sound like an evil ordeal to be endured — all the while getting her fair share of it, it appears, with her old man 26 years her senior. (Once, after I was married, she told me, “Your pa seems mean and gruff but he is so kind and tender when we are all alone together in bed at night.)

Wow! You can bet Mama sure never preached nor wrote about that stuff in her severe sermons to others on living “The Law of Chastity.”

To repeat what I’ve said in previous blogs, living “The Law of Chastity” includes having sex only while fully clothed in your white Temple garments and ONLY, and I mean ONLY to get the female pregnant!! To enjoy it even then is considered unspiritual, lustful, and lecherous! (Talk about obsessive-compulsive, perfectionistic, control-freak thinking!)

Rhea Kunz also got off on incessantly and piously preaching The Law of Holy Matrimony and The Law of Chastity. This stalwart sanctimonious fanatic even wrote rather virulent books and pamphlets on these subjects as if she were some great saintly leader and the perfect female example who stood above all the rest of us when it came to living plural marriage and all the other “righteous” principles of early Mormonism.

But, like Mother, Rhea also never married into polygamy again after her polygamous marriage went on the rocks, even though living polygamy and the law of chastity were the hallmarks of a good, faithful, high-standing Mormon fundamentalist!

What it boils down to is Ma and Rhea said one thing, did another: They were great windbags — big frogs, in a little pond, that intimidated and worried all the rest.

They told others how to live but were all talk; not examples. Still, people looked up to them, revered them — and yearned to have their “calling and election made sure” the way Mother claimed she had hers made sure!

In other words, Mother went around telling people in the cult that she knew for sure she was going to the highest degree of glory when she died! And people believed her! (Can you believe that?!) Well, these people believed Joel LeBaron was “the one mighty and strong prophet.” And Mother was his sister. So in their eyes, she was practically a prophet!

Even so, neither Mother nor Rhea were living “Celestial Marriage,” the very thing they were preaching to everyone else they had to live in order to have their “Callings and Elections” made sure. Is there a message here or what? People, wake up!

Psychologists say what people talk most about is what they most want to cover up. They are smoke-screening — hiding their shadow-self … what they are most ashamed of or guilty of … what they cannot deal with in themselves and don’t want others to know about or see.

So, though Mama held herself as more righteous and holy, above all others, and the leader of God’s chosen handful of faithful women, she remained monogamous in her around twenty-two-year marriage to Papaexcept for her first six months (As written about in previous blogs, Poppy’s first wife left him six months after he took Mummy as his plural wife). Was there a double standard in Mormon fundamentalism or what?

But, let it be noted, during Mummy’s adult life, though she was too jealous to endure Poppy taking a plural wife, she definitely did “endure” being a plural wife to other women’s husbands — though none of these flirtations or marriages ever lasted long.

For example, in her early 20s, before she met Poppy, she dated polygamist Rulon Jeffs, the now-infamous Warren Jeffs’ father!! One of my sisters once quipped, “He could’ve been our brother by a different mother!”

Some years after Poppy died, Mommy had a short-lived plural marriage as secret second wife to LDS Mormon Mel Orchard — another windbag like herself. (Mel’s LDS Mormon legal wife did not know about this polygamous wife her husband had taken!) After that illicit liaison failed, Mother joined Rev. Moon’s family and cult, “The Moonies.” More on that in next week’s blog.


 



Pt 20-F: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on-the-down-low

ma at 14
My amazing mama Esther LeBaron-McDonald at age 14

Notes from a Chat Site:

“Narcissists make me melt down and cry like a child.
It is a remarkable 
trick Narcissists pull.
They are petty and acquisitive — and have no scruples.

They value themselves by how much they can
steal from someone else through cunning, manipulation,
or simply
 believing they are entitled:
‘What is mine is mine; what is yours is mine.’

They get you to give up the goods with
some very clever lies and manipulations.
They are conmen, plain and simple.
Sooner or later, inconsistencies emerge,
but even the most educated mind can be towed under.
I have reached for help, and there is never anyone there.”



Taking up from my last blog, My Memoir: Part 20-E: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy On-The-Down-Low:”

When my amazing Mummy became disillusioned with her brother Joel LeBaron’s Mormon fundamentalist cult and Mormonism too, she and my sister Mary joined Rev. Moon’s organization for some time. Mary told me: Mumma even married Rev. Moon as one of his wives.

Later on, both Mummy and Mary left The Moon Organization — The Unification Church. That took some doing! But after that, Mummy was a desperate dummy: She returned to the doomsday Messianic Mormon cult in which her brother Joel LeBaron had been “The One Mighty and Strong” prophet. But Joel had died years earlier. I guess she’d had another one of her revelations? Or was waiting for “the prophet Joel’s” successor? Or a “successor” Mummy could believe in had laid claim to the position by then. I was long gone so don’t know all the details.

I only know how difficult it is to have nothing but the abyss to wake up to every morning because you have lost your faith, direction, and purpose — your explanation that gives meaning to life. This helps explain why, historically, most people, when they leave one cult, end up in another.

In a world where we don’t know where we came from, why we are here, or where we’re going, desperate people do desperate things. At best, we prove who we are by who we are not. For example, “We are God’s chosen people,” so we are not “the wicked world.” Or: “We are Christians so we are saved “– and so on and so forth.

My sister Judas (pseudonym) who died in 2012 at age sixty-four due to a brain tumor and ALS (ALS: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – Signs and Symptoms | Muscular …), was never one to mince words. She explained Mummy thus: Though quite gifted intellectually, somewhere along the line, all Mother’s marbles rolled to one side and got stuck … never again to get unstuck!

Judas, herself, had joined the LDS or mainstream Mormon church a number of years after she and her husband Hector Spencer* left the LeBaron cult and Mormon fundamentalism. Her marriage to Hec, when she was 18 and he around 42, started out as a polygamous marriage — again, totally orchestrated by Mother.

That’s one of the problems with religious polygamy: It leads to manipulating especially the young girls’ lives because they become pawns in a huge power play whenever men can have more than one wifenot to mention, it leaves no wives for the young men in the cult. They, too, are pawns in the hands of the authoritarian, totalitarian, theocratic leaders: Sadly, they’re often simply used to help support their father’s many wives and children!

Mother had good qualities. But her belief in Mormon fundamentalism and her weakness for wanting popularity and power, coupled with the faults and temptations inherent in mandated polygamy, taught her to believe she was doing God, her daughters, and the priesthood holders a great service when she placed them — her ten bright, beautiful, talented young daughters  — as polygamous wives with the most prestigious men in the cult, namely older married men she liked and wanted to please and gain favor with.

However, Judas’s marriage she arranged with Hector, so he could enter “The Principle,” soon became monogamous: His first wife, a mainstream LDS Mormon, divorced him immediately when she discovered he’d secretly taken a plural wife — 24 years his junior, no less! What’s worse, he couldn’t even support her and her children worth a darn, let alone a plural wife and her children.

Judas and Hec’s marriage lasted about twenty-three years before it crumbled: Judas had begun to rove. Around age 40, she fell in love with and married her Mormon boss, owner of a successful Real Estate business in southern Utah. At 56, he was fifteen years her senior. “But he’s young in comparison to ‘that old bag-of-bones’ Hector,” she told me. Hec’s going on 66 now!

To add to the drama, her new husband left his first wife — though they had been married in the Mormon Temple — to marry Judas in the Mormon temple! (Talk about a marriage made on earth!)

Let’s tell it for what it was: My sister Judas took another woman’s husband, whatever the justification. And, of course, she couldn’t do it alone. All’s fair in love and war? But being raised in orthodox Mormonism certainly affects one’s values and actions, even after one has “escaped polygamy” — as in the case of my sister Judas — the perennial Judas. But she explained it thus: “My marriage to Hector was arranged. I was never really in love with him. But I definitely experienced true love in my second marriage!”

As for my now-deceased sister Mary Spencer, she was married at the tender age of 15 as the second or plural wife of a much older man, Siegfried Widmar — another catastrophic polygamous marriage arranged by Mother, although Daddy may have colluded.

But Siegfried totally abandoned my sister Mary and their three darling little sons when she became ill with a life-threatening bone marrow disease brought on by radiation poisoning due to fallout from the H-bomb testing, tests that took place in the Nevada Flats area close to where my family lived in St. George, Utah when Mary was a baby.*

As regularly happens with polygamous marriages where the plural wife was a freebie, deprived and poorly educated child-bride Mary was left to raise her three little boys all by herself.* No financial support whatsoever came from Sigfried! What’s worse, he never even visited his precious fatherless sons when in the United States — where Mary fled after she left the Mexico LeBaron cult!

Once again: Whenever there is an abundance of something, it’s not much appreciated — an abundance of wives and children, in this case. (By this time, I don’t know how many more wives and children Sigfried had acquired. He was an important man in the cult. He had even become the leader of one of the cults that split off from Joel’s sect after Joel was killed by his competitive brother Ervil!)

Mary told me even our own mother became a plural wife (for a while) of HER ex-husband, Siegfried — despite how “Sig,” her Ex-son-in-law, had abused and abandoned her/Mary and her three sons/ Mumma’s grandsons!! (Polygamy breaks down all barriers and boundaries, in some people, in the name of “having a priesthood head,” if you’re a woman.)

Sadly, Mary died alone in a Utah hospital of cervical cancer on October 6, 2017, one month before her sixty-ninth birthday. The last I knew, she was a fervent follower of Marianne Williamson.


  • Hector Spencer was the Bishop of the LDS Mormon Church in Colonia Dublan when he left the mainstream Mormon church to join the LeBaron cult around 1964. He was close to Mother’s age and was one of the pals Mother and her brothers grew up with there in the Mexican Mormon colonies.)

  • Mother proudly left Mary outside in her baby carriage so she could watch the radiation clouds from the H-bomb tests as they floated overhead because we people living in the area had been propagandized to believe we were lucky to get to see history in the making — lucky to be living in the area where we could see these radiation clouds passing overhead!

As it turns out, “these lovely clouds” were radiating all the grass and alfalfa the cows and goats ate — among other foods and things — later to be passed on into the milk and milk products babies and others ate. (We are what we eat ate.)

Check out this radiation-poisoning of the people in our area that started, say some, in 1951 (some articles I read say it started at least by 1945 — and I believe that is more like it):

  • DOWNWIND FROM THE BOMB – The New York Times

  • I believe Mary was around 19 or 20 years old when Siegfried dumped her and her/his three little boys. At the time, Mary was lucky if she had five years of formal education. It’s amazing, therefore, what my sister survived and achieved in the years to come, despite her life of abuse, poverty, deprivation, illness, heartaches, and more.

 


** NOTE: The following Essay by blogger Bruce Holt posted here by permission:

Steven Hassan’s BITE Model…Part “B”

The BITE model: The specific methods that cults use to recruit and maintain control over people.

“B”: Behavior Control

  • Promote dependence and obedience
  • Modify behavior with rewards and punishments
  • Dictate where and with whom you live
  • Restrict or control sexuality
  • Control clothing and hairstyle
  • Regulate what and how much you eat and drink
  • Deprive you of seven to nine hours of sleep
  • Exploit you financially
  • Restrict leisure time and activities
  • Require you to seek permission for major decisions

To me, a former member of the LDS Church, these are self-evident. To a current member, they may not be so evident. Why? Confirmation bias. Obedience to authority, depending on authority for the current word of God, behaving in accordance with proscribed actions, paying tithes and generous offerings in order to receive anticipated rewards (blessings, status, ability to participate in ordinances not available to those who don’t), sexuality (including modes of dress, abstinence until marriage, heterosexual only, personal arousal, etc.), “busy work” (Ministering – formerly Home/Visiting Teaching), time-consuming callings and assignments, recommendation to date and marry within the Church, Word of Wisdom, etc.

These are methods to control behavior! Period!

Members will protest, saying they choose these things and are not forced. However, each of these things has a reward, if they are chosen, meaning they ARE, absolutely, forms of control! Sure, one does not have to follow or comply with these things, but where does that leave this member? What will happen? Will he/she be left alone?

If they are noticed, no (have you ever attended a Ward Council meeting??)!

This is behavior control, pure and simple.

Thoughts Pro/Con? Please comment!


 

Hi, Bruce:
Just wanted to add that another way the LDS Church controls, converts, deprives its people of sleep, time, and so forth, is in how it has High School students attending Seminary at 6 AM in the morning, no LESS — leaving little time outside their brainwashing-Seminary class for social life, homework, sufficient sleep for their growing bodies, etc.!  

~BTW, thanks for permission to use your blog! ~ Stephany Spencer

 

 



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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Pt 20-H: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy Parasites

kimbel and kociela

Listen on YouTube to my Aunt Irene (Kunz-LeBaron) Spencer’s half-sister, my aunt-in-law Rebecca Kunz Kimbel’s outstanding interview of Author Ed Kociela who wrote two excellent books I recommend: Plygs,” and “Plygs 2.”*



Till we learn from past mistakes,
we’re bound to repeat them
and pass them on to our progeny ad infinitum
in the form of bizarre institutions,
miscreant behavior, myths, and misconceptions.
Stephany Spencer



I left off in “Pt 20-G: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy Parasites” relating how one of my nine sisters has children fathered by at least three different husbands — though her first two left her by default, thanks to polygamy, its inherent negligence, delinquency, derelictsand easy-come-easy-go plural wives.

But that still doesn’t smooth over my sister’s lifestyle choices that suffer for lack of good values, education, logical thinking — and learning from past mistakes.

As said before, it seems she was unable to take into account the law of cause-and-effect and other down-to-earth concepts. She was too busy living for irrational up-in-the-sky concepts — too busy sacrificing for the hereafter.

I mean, anything’s okay in Mormon fundamentalism if it’s done in the name of living “The holy matrimonial law of polygamy.” It comes first and foremost — and above all else, because J. Smith said living celestial marriage was our ticket to heaven — the highest degree of glory. (See Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132 — Mormon Scriptures: Revelation, 12 July 1843 [D&C 132], Page 1 – The Joseph Smith Papers)

Out in the wicked world, people would generally consider my sister White trash; i.e., living an illiterate lifestyle wherein underclass people follow their whims rather than use forbearance, common sense, and rational reasoning before they make serious life-leaps. But, unfortunately, you can expect most any dastardly lifestyle and bizarre behavior when it comes to cults.

In my sister’s case, after each divorce, she continued to seek a new, attractive, already married Plyg, never seeing nor accepting polygamy would never work because it was not right! — despite what Joe Smith said!

But my Sis also kept remarrying for the usual: Love, loneliness, sex — and always thinking the next marriage would work … And because she needed financial support, help, and a father for her kids.

She kept remarrying, too, because she was brainwashed, fearful, hardheaded, not well-educated, even less well-read … and a follower, not a deep thinker. Therefore, she couldn’t see past what had been instilled in her growing up in the authoritarian theocracy of Mormon orthodoxy: “Women can only go to heaven on their husband’s coattails.”

My sister probably thought: If I don’t have a husband, how in hell can I make it to heaven?!? That is, how could she hitch a ride to heaven if she had no husband’s coattails to sail there on?!*

So, for this one of my parents’ ten girls, it was try, try, try again … and again … and again … and again … and again … and again ... ad infinitum! But never give in. Never give up trying to “Do what’s right.” If anything, the Mormon fundamentalist motto is: Do what is right — or die trying!

One wonders if she was bullheaded, dull, sociopathic, crazy, inconsiderate, horny, helpless, lonely, … or what!? Or simply a brain-dead, misled, sadomasochistic-glutton for punishment — and a foot-washing, fanatic Mormon cult member putting into practice Joe Smith and Brig Young’s commandment to “Live polygyny or be damned!”

Never mind that living religious polygyny/polygamy in the here-and-now dumps one into a hell on earth “here-and-now”!! That is, one doesn’t have to wait till “The Hereafter” to go to hell if one chooses not to live “Plural Marriage” so as to raise up lots of little kids for the glory and power of the self-proclaimed “Profit.”

But what about her kids?! How did it affect her babies when their mother married then divorced so many different “daddies”? Go figure! Polygamy leads to Hell here and Hell hereafter.

According to early self-proclaimed Mormon Prophets, you are doomed to suffer eternal Hell in the hereafter if you do not live plural marriage in the here-and-now … the “Herebefore”! But then they add, “Plural marriage will damn more than it will save.” Well, you’re Damned if you do and damned if you don’t!
~~~~~~~~~~~~

~Those damned self-proclaimed “profits”
Have you by the horns in fits,
coming and going,
Turned upside down by the balls,
Strung out ‘n’ crowing!


*NOTE: See YouTube for super discussions between Ex-Mormon- fundamentalist-turned-Producer Rebecca Kimbel (my aunt) and Ed Kociela, outstanding Author, Journalist, and expert on Mormon fundamentalists.


The Following is a Spoof on Mormonism/Mormon Fundamentalism 



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





 

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

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

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

It’s impossible to reason
with an irrational person. 

 Stephany Spencer


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Continued August 9, 2018, in “Pt 21: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade”)



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pt 20-D: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy On-The-Down-Low

Norman Vincent Peale

 


 

Law 27
“People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a clause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Give your new disciples rituals to perform. Ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.
The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Green, 1998


Taking up where we left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low — Part 20-C:

Other than my Honeymoon, a one-day trip to Chihuahua City, Mexico, and a five-day trip to Guadalajara, Mexico — all with my husband Bill — plus a trip up to the mountain town of Nico Las Bravos, Mexico, to visit relatives, from 1960 till 1967 I was pretty much stuck in the little windswept Colonia LeBaron, Mexico, a secluded Chihuahuan mountain desert enclave if ever there was one. I didn’t know Spanish, had a baby, no money, and couldn’t drive. Had no car if I could’ve.

And there were no means of public transportation. I was lucky if I could hop a ride, now and then, with somebody who lived in the LeBaron colony, to go to Casas Grandes, the small, quite dilapidated — at least in the 1960’s — Mexican town where our colony members usually shopped for most of their groceries and other needs.

In other words, I was cut off from the outside world and its influences. Our small primitive colony had no electricity, telephones, telegraphs, newspapers, magazines, schools, libraries … the list gets longer! So it precluded TVs, or any other news or information source, of course, though a few people had radios — a luxury I could not afford.

But, eight months after I was married, and sharing a home with Bill’s second wife Lolita, thanks to an old box of magazines and books Serendipity and Synchronicity joined hands to leave on my front porch by way of a disgruntled member — an apostate who fled LeBaron — I found myself with informative and investigative things to read — thanks be to God, Goodness, and my Higher Power! I was seventeen years old and no longer under the watchful eye of my parents. But even Bill’s other two wives were careful to report me to him if they caught me reading! I was to spend all my time working!

But, before anyone could see what was in the box, I hastily gathered it up and hid the inflammatory material, magazines, and pamphlets. Though I was supposed to burn the “Godsend,” I secretly devoured its contents. Ever a God-fearing, yet intellectual and curious person — a bookworm — I couldn’t resist the temptation! I was hoping it would have answers to some of my probing questions. I wasn’t disappointed.

One book in the box, “The Power Of Positive Thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peale, was a most influential work in my developing the ability to think for myself and to see through things such as the fallacies of polygamy — though common sense helped me see through that anyway. But Peale’s work created the means of a breakthrough for me.

Along with Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, my husband Bill Tucker’s influence and input, and my own experiences and reasoning, at age 17, Dr. Peale helped me to see through the glittering generalities and other mumbo-jumbo of mind-controlling religions.

He taught me how to put into down-to-earth terms scriptural verses, catchphrases, and other terminologies and clichés religions and cults commonly use to control their followers and keep them brainwashed and fearful.

I’ve forgotten more than I ever knew in this area — threw it out with the bathwater when I flew the coop and fled the cult. So, 55 years later and after the fact, I’m unable right now to come up with a good example of what I’m talking about. Soon as I think of one, I’ll clarify what I mean.

But another wonderful bonus that came from reading Dr. Peale’s book is he taught me how to overcome my worst problems: Shyness and fear of being around people. His book taught me how to face my fears and overcome them! Before his “blessing” arrived on my doorstep, I was a teenager and still unable to go knock on the door of even an aunt I really wanted to visit! And I would even cross the street so I wouldn’t have to say “Hi” to my own cousins! That’s how timid and bashful I was.

But getting back to Colonia LeBaron in 1963 — back to where I was before I sprouted wings and flew over the prison walls that bound me —  after four years of watching for my chance, a loophole opened where I could finally escape the LeBaron cult, Mormonism — and all other cults that have presented themselves ever since.

The “cult of doubt and disbelief” is the only one I have not been able to fully escape since then. But after 40 years of “wandering in the wilderness” literally, I’ve finally gathered enough input and Info to know that, among other things, making no choice is also a choice, as is indecision.

So I’ve chosen to “Let go and let God.”  That is, some years ago, I finally realized that fear of believing in something (for fear another cult would be able to overtake me) was actually a “cult of fear.” I’m happy to say that now I have at least finally been able to regain a spiritual basis. For example, I now know there is some kind of hereafter. And I firmly believe we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. And we have probably lived many lifetimes — and will continue on where we leave off in this life.

To my credit, within five months of escaping polygamy and Mormonism in 1967, I realized the philosopher Ayn Rand, herself, was a cult leader! She was my husband Bill Tucker’s new-found philosophical leader, shortly before he died — your philosophy of life being your religion.

Although my husband hadn’t seen it before he died at age 31, I, at age 21, was able to comprehend the above and to also see that Ayn Rand and other atheists had no more proof that God does not exist than religious people have proof that God does exist. Quite a conundrum? I’ll leave you this yummy-gummy gumdrop to chew on till I come up with a new dewdrop containing more oxymorons to gum up your reasoning … and drop you on your head. Just kidding!


  Pretty City Chick
  By Stephany Spencer

Dearest friends and fans: Please note:
This “sorta” silly song I wrote
Is half-finished so I won’t gloat —
And pray my poem won’t get your goat.

But it’s late — my blog’s due “mañana.
If you check this song later on … uh …
You may find it partly “re-wrote.”
It needs work,” is my last quote.
Even so, enjoy what I wrote,
As I humorously emote:

Pretty City Chick

 

 NOTE: The following is a tongue-in-cheek song I wrote: 

 Intro:
Hi! I’m a Hack Who’s
Written a Hit
Called “Pretty City chick,”
A Hee-ha Comedy Song —
A Bi
t o’ Bio in Verse,
Fer Better or Worse —
With Truth ‘n’ Exaggeration
Interspersed:

Hey, they say I’m a pretty city chick
And Hillbilly music makes some sick;
But my Hillbilly ways are here to stick,
So you may as well get over it —
And join in ’n’ sing a bit,
‘Cause I’m a city chick
And shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.

Born in Mexican sticks in 1946.
I’ve dual citizenship,
And that’s pretty hip —
And now I’m a city chick.

I’m an all-American-mongrel,
Apple-pie girl
 —

Hines-57 mixed-up mutt,
With apple pie stickin’ to my gut ’n’ butt;
But red-necked reactionary ignoramuses

Ain’t my thing.
I’m here for music and to sing!

Yeah, I’m an All-American-Mexican,
Scotch-Irish “Mick”
,

With Welch ’n’ English,
So sure, I’m a Brit,
With French, German,
And Mohawk Indian a bit.
If there’s no Tom Slick hidin’ in the pit,
Far as I know, that’s about it —
That‘s my story
And I’m “shitickin” to it!

My father was a proud Veteran
Of World War I.
Those Vets were well-appreciated
For what they’d done!
Pa was an artist, creative,
And Jack-of-all-trades;
Master of a few —
Good at so many things,
There seemed little he couldn’t do.

Ma was a creative, author,
And artist, thru ’n’ thru;
Poet, performer,

Trained concert pianist — Whew!
She loved to discuss religious principles
And read religious Lit, old ’n’ new —
Long as it agreed with
What she already “knew.”
She graduated with a BA
In Journalism too;
Quite an accomplishment
‘Cause Ma was sixty-two!

She was runnin’ me competition then,
For I was still in College too,
Strugglin’ to make it up
From the cult she’d put me thru …
If she only knew!
But her motto was:
Anything you can do,
I can do better;
I can do anything better than you!”
(And she meant it too!)

Refrain:
Hey, they call me a pretty city chick,

But Hillbilly music is my “shtick,”
And my Hillbilly ways are here to stick;
So you may as well “git” over it
And join in ‘n’ sing a bit
With this pretty city chick,
‘Cause shit-kickin’ music is my shtick.

Born in Mexican sticks in 1946,
I’ve dual citizenship
And that’s pretty hip.
Well, that’s my story
And I’m “shtickin’ ” to it:
“I’m a pretty city chick.”


*The following is an iPhone video of me in 2017 at age 71 performing the above lyrics at the California Writers Club — fifty years after escaping polygamy & Mormon fundamentalism. It’s a standup-comedy song I wrote called “I’m a Hit.” I recently “re-writ”  part of it and renamed it “Pretty City-Chick”:


 



 



(Continued July 23, 2018: “My Memoir: Ma, Pa, Me — And And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low: — Part 20–E”



~ Pts 1-9: My Father Floyd Spencer, Fundamentalist Mormon LeBaron Cult Member

PART 1

My Memoir:
My Daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer

dad, 18 5

My Daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer, age 19 



My Papa’s Waltz
The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
 
We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother’s countenance
Could not unfrown itself.
 
The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.
 
You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.
BY THEODORE ROETHKE
 
Theodore Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz” from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke.  Copyright 1942 by Heast Magazines, Inc.  Used by permission of Doubleday, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
All rights reserved.
Source: The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (1961)


MY DADDY

 My Memoir Backstory “My Daddy” takes up where I left off writing “My Memoir Introduction: I Was Born a “Saint.” After I wrote this blog, I realized I’d put the cart before the horse — started my Memoir bass-ackwards: I got myself born before I told you anything about how I got here.

Since we all come from the past, my readers ought to know what it is that went into my making. So I’ve decided to present a bunch of backstory, beginning with my father, Floyd Otto Spencer. Ending with my mother, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer and her LeBaron backstory. 

After this backstory, I’ll continue with my Memoirs. But it will include more tales about Mother and Father as they intertwine throughout my life.

Now for a bit of how I got here from the past. And some of what went into my making.



My Daddy: Part 1 

My handsome five-foot-10.5-inch, black-haired, black-eyed, dark-skinned (when tanned) father was a hot-tempered, strict, shy, witty, sharp-tongued, short-fused, highly gifted man. “Daddy,” as we called him, was also a sensitive Artist and Creative.

Born July 27, 1895, in Marion, Michigan, he died on my birthday, April 18, 1965, in Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico. I had just turned 19 years old that day. His death was the outcome of a freak “accident.” I believe my Mother Esther LeBaron Spencer and her brother, my Uncle Ervil LeBaron, had a hand in it. (I will relate this whole incident in my upcoming Memoir.)

Born in a backwoods frontier town, Daddy was very much of pioneer stock. His parents were mostly of English descent, he believed. He was unable to track his full genealogy. But knew his mother was one-half Indigenous American — Mohawk Indian to be exact.

One Sunday afternoon, in our small living room, lit only by light from the windows and fireplace, Mother was giving Daddy his monthly expert-looking haircut when we children, catching Daddy captive, saw a good chance to gather around his knees and pepper him with questions about his parents, grandparents, and past.

He was a shy man, of few words, and usually busy working. One of his favorite sayings was: “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and look like a fool than to open your mouth and prove you’re a fool.” Even now he was hesitant to answer all our forward questions. But when asked about his bloodline (for bloodlines are very important to Mormons), he sheepishly responded:

My grandmother on my mother’s side was a full-blooded Mohawk Indian squaw. I used to visit her in her Hogan from time to time.” He was embarrassed to admit this. But then he added:

She was a typical Indian … Sweet, poor, and no furniture to speak of. I can still see her squatting on the floor as she did her routine work in her dark little Hogan that had only one window and a fire burning in the middle of the room — smoke rising up and out through a hole in the ceiling.”

This helps to explain why Daddy used to chide Mother when he saw her squatting on the floor sorting beans or such. He’d cry: “You look like an old Indian squaw! Get up and sit on a chair at the table to sort your beans — like a civilized person!!”

However, after joining the LeBaron cult and learning from my uncles the Mormon beliefs Joseph Smith taught about the American Indians — that they “were part of the lost ten tribes of Israel, and were going to play a very important role in the last days,” Daddy made an effort to get in touch with the indigenous American Indian side of himself.

He even began to exhibit pride in being at least one-quarter American Indian. I say “at least” because he was not sure of his full heritage — only that his mother was half American Indian.

But one day he took a trip to visit the Hopi and Navajo Indian villages in Arizona and New Mexico, returning home feeling very exhilarated, uplifted, and more proud than ever of his Indian heritage. It rubbed off on me: I’m at least one-eighth American Indian, and proud of it.

 



 

 

My Daddy (around ages 19 & 53 consecutively)



“Show me someone who
believes you can’t change history,
and I’ll show you someone who
hasn’t tried to write their memoirs.”
Mark Twain




My Daddy, Part 2

Daddy was his parents’ only child. They divorced when he was three years old. When he was 14 years old, his mother bore a daughter, Doris, by her second marriage. Sadly, when he was 27, she died of rheumatic fever, leaving Daddy his mother’s only child again — though he had half-sisters from his father’s second marriage that he eventually got to meet and spend some time with.

He was raised Methodist and held White Anglo-Saxon Protestant values, including their strong work ethic. Daddy was always a hard worker. You might even say he was a workaholic. That figures: His father was a “raging alcoholic.” Going to extremes in any area is indicative of addiction. God is a drug for religious addicts –– religious fanatics. Daddy gave up alcohol and tobacco when he joined the Mormon church at around age 28. Religion then became his drug of choice.)

Twelve-Steppers,” especially ACA’S/ Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families — a 12-step program  — know what I’m talking about. If these terms are new to you, it may be worth looking up 12-step organizations in your area. They were very valuable in my development, given the dysfunctional family I was brought-up in — I mean brought-down in!

Now back to more bio about Dad: “At around age four,” Daddy told me, “my mother gave me away to her sisters to raise. Years later, Mother wanted me back. But I refused to go back because I was so hurt and angry at her for what she’d done!! I was happier living with my aunts and cousins,” remarked my father.

Then he continued, “I often had to dig tunnels in the snow during winter time to get to school because the snow piled up so high. Sometimes it was up higher than the schoolhouse door. My school consisted of one room and one teacher teaching all the grades from 1st through 12th

“I didn’t do very well in her classroom— Didn’t get along with that didactic, strict, bossy teacher. She regularly humiliated me in front of the class … often made me sit in the corner with a dunce cap on … partly because I was the clown of the class — always making the students laugh due to my witty wisecracks and cutting up.

“In fifth grade, I couldn’t take any more of this mean, punishing teacher I’d had since first grade. So I dropped out — refused to go to her one-room school anymore — though it was the only school around. I just couldn’t learn under her tutelage.

“However, from then on I felt I was a failure in many ways — not to mention that my parents divorced, then Mother gave me away when I was so little. That affected my self-worth. But due to my one and only elementary school teacher, I further questioned my self-worth, because I kind of believed it was due to my lack of brains that I wasn’t getting better grades in this teacher’s class.”

That bad impression of himself as a student and person went with him throughout his life. It affected his self-confidence and self-esteem, further adding to his shyness and his oftentimes not feeling very good about himself … in some ways.

But lack of a good supporting education, in and of itself, is enough to affect anyone’s self-confidence and achievement in life. They see many people able to accomplish things they cannot accomplish, often not realizing their only drawback was they had no competitive foundation — as in Daddy’s case where he had only a poor, one-room classroom education typical of the early 1900’s in backwoods pioneer towns. Education was not mandatory in those days. It was a privilege to go to any school. Families worse off than my fathers’ didn’t go to school at all.

It wasn’t till after 1918 and World War I had ended that our country realized public education must be made free, mandatory — and paid for by our tax dollars. It would not only prepare better future soldiers for our country’s defense system, but The Industrial Revolution, then in full swing, also required that people be able to read, write, do math, follow the Employer’s directions, show up for work on time, and be dependable. Mandatory education developed these skills and habits in an otherwise unruly, unschooled person.

But, despite a poor preparatory education, Daddy accomplished much more in life than many people with far better education and advantages. He was a proud and confident man in various ways, therefore. His being gifted, talented, and successful at things he attempted helped build his self-esteem, despite the negative aspects of his early education and childhood. This confidence exudes in his photos.

His teacher and that old-fashioned, backward school system had branded him as “Not Smart, a bad person, and a poor student — a DUNCE!” How sad, because he was a bright, gifted boy. I, having taught school for thirty years, should know what I am talking about!

It grieves me that there are teachers who can be so judgmental they brand children for life, thinking they know what they’re doing. They don’t! I’ve experienced this branding firsthand. It only shows the ignorance of the teachers who would do such a thing to any student.

Their ignorance, arrogance, ego, and the need to control gets the best of them. If they looked at and treated every student as if that child were the son or daughter of the school Superintendent, Principal, or President of the United States, I guarantee you that would take any judgmental Educator down a notch or two — and their students up a notch or two!


PART 3


dad-collage
Family Collage includes Dad’s mom and him as a boy (in glasses)

Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, 
begin it.
Boldness has genius, magic,
and power in it.
Begin it n
ow.”

~Goethe~
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@




The year was 1958. The setting: Our home in Hurricane, Utah. The place: Around our average-sized family-room fireplace:

While the flames flickered and leapt, warmed and lit our cozy little living room, we Spencer kids (there were eleven of us then) sat huddled around our parents on the colorful rag rug Mother crocheted.

I was twelve, second to the oldest, and seventeen months younger than my oldest sibling, Doris — one of my rivals! While sixty-three-year-old Daddy sat situated on a high stool with a towel wrapped around his neck and shoulders, my talented, artistic thirty-seven-year-old Mother was at her routine task of trimming his white hair with the hair clippers he’d bought for this purpose.

As was often the case during such times, we kids were once again peppering Papa with personal questions about his intriguing boyhood, family, life … and white hair!

” I discovered my first gray hair when I was only fourteen years old!” Daddy explained. “Gray hairs really stand out when your hair is pitch black like mine used to be!”

My siblings and I were further enlightened when Mother got out Daddy’s scrapbook and a photo album so he could explain the pictures and keepsakes in them. There was a picture of my paternal grandmother dressed to the “T” in the high fashions of the early 1900s:

My mother was a socialite,” he opined disapprovingly. “She was more concerned about her appearance and joining social circles than she was about staying home and being a good homemaker and mother. She always decked herself out in the latest grand styles of the day — as you can see in this picture,” continued Daddy, pointing to a photo of his attractive mother in a hat.

I never got to meet my paternal grandparents nor Daddy’s aunts who raised him. Daddy was about fifty-two when I was born. I was around five years old when, in her nineties, his last aunt died. At that time, she lived in Michigan and we lived in St. George, Utah. Lack of time and money precluded Daddy’s going to her funeral, though he had wanted to attend.

Before she died, I recall how elated he would be whenever a letter arrived from this aunt. Sometimes she would include a photo of herself, so I at least got to see what she looked like as a ninety-year-old woman … And I recall, too, the tears in Daddy’s eyes (a man who seldom showed any sign of tears) when he read the letter that said she’d died.

One of the many disadvantages of having a father old enough to be your grandfather is his parents die before you’re old enough to meet them — that is, if he even kept in contact with his parents at all — which he did little of.

Continuing with Daddy’s pictures: In another photo, his handsome “half-breed” entrepreneur mother stood on the porch in front of a wooden building. Daddy recounted: “My mother owned a hotel or boarding house. I helped her with the work there, oftentimes … sweeping the big porches, fixing things, and helping at the front desk. 

“In my free time, I loved to create things that really worked … like miniature model windmills I carved and devised myself, where the blades of the windmill could actually turn if you blew on them … or when there was wind.”

He was very proud of his ingenuity and creativity — the things he was amazingly able to build or sculpt though only a young boy — a child … things nobody else around him devised or created, not even adults. He loved to draw, too — funny caricatures and so forth.

“I also loved to design and create things like little wagons and cars with wheels that could roll — and even little houses and buildings. And I loved to carve whistles, wooden ducks, dogs, and other toys that had wheels on them so they could be pulled around with us wherever we went — which was how we made our toys move back in those days. 

My dream was to be an Engineer — How I longed to be in the driver’s seat of a train and to work on trains. Trains were the big thing then — an invention just coming into existence when I was a young boy. It was back when most people did not own a car and Model T Fords were barely becoming the big rage among the rich. 

“One of the first cars accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. I was thirteen years old when that car came out. Henry Ford was my idol! I loved that he was an Inventor. I wanted to be an Inventor myself — to design and create things like Ford and other Creators of my day.

“If I could’ve had my way and I’d had the advantage of money ‘n’ a good education, I would’ve been an Engineer. But instead of goin’ back to school ‘n’ workin’ for years to get the education I needed so as to go to college ‘n’ get an Engineering Degree, I married ‘n’ had a bunch of kids — to help build up God’s kingdom. Then spent my time workin’ to raise ‘n’ support my families — My first family with Eva. And now this one with yer ma.” Then Daddy changed the subject:

“As a youth, I never liked to sit around wastin’ time, nor to play silly games like the rest of the kids … liked to put my time to good use … to create things. Silly, noisy kids got on my nerves.* But being an only child was a very lonely life. That’s one reason I chose to have lots of kids when I got married.” 


*Explanation: Daddy was an Introvert — a creative like meIf you do not know the characteristics of the different and unique special Introvert brain and personality, there are a number of good books on the market that explain this valuable and wondrous trait.

If you are related to Floyd Otto Spencer, chances are you and some of your children and posterity are also Introverts. Most Creatives, such as artists and writers, are Introverts or at least Ambiverts, as opposed to Extroverts. The world needs all these personality types.

The following are titles of three excellent books on this subject that you may be interested in reading or at least skimming. If you can’t find some of these in your library or online, there are other books on the subject.

1- “The Introvert AdvantageHow to Thrive in an Extrovert World,”  by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.

2- “Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto,” by Anneli Rufus

3- “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You,” by Elaine N. Aaron, Ph.D.

PART 4

family, all but sharon.jpeg
My family (minus one sibling) in early 1964


You own everything that happened to you.
Tell your stories. 
If people wanted you
to write warmly about them,
they should have behaved better.”
 ~ Anne Lamott

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





Going back to where we left off with Daddy saying he wanted to have a large family of children, let me tell you that this is one dream he fulfilled. He had eleven beautiful children with his first wife Eva Bowman Spencer. And fourteen more beautiful children with his second wife, my mother Esther LeBaron Spencer. Thus, he was not only guaranteed to never be lonely again but to never have a moment’s peace or quietude, either.

More often than not, there was even a new baby crying, keeping him up at night. But he finally learned how to pretty much fix that: He would waterboard them (not that uncommon, at least among the Mormon fundamentalists). At times, he would even beat the tiny new babies incessantly for crying. (Tears!!)

But mainly, he mostly held his big strong hand over their mouth and nose till they were suffocating, all the while yelling at them:
Shut up the goddamned crying!! Do you hear?! Shut up, I said, or you’ll get more to cry about!!”

After he did that consistently a number of times, it generally taught most of his babies not to be caught dead crying  — if they could possibly help it. (Then you wonder why Morman fundamentalist children are so well-behaved?!)

He, like many fundamentalists, believed the Bible’s “Spare the rod and spoil the child” meant to literally beat the devil out of the kids so as to make them submissive to adults and thus to God. They believed the sooner they were made submissive, the better.

But I have since learned that some spiritual leaders believe “the rod” is only a metaphor for “the gospel.” In other words, if you don’t teach your children the gospel, they will grow up spoiled, wayward, and rebellious.

I believe force and brutality toward children — or anyone … or any animal — does just the opposite of beating the devil out of them: It beats the devil into them; i.e., can make them angry, hateful, emotionally disturbed, mean, and devilish. It also can cause them to split from themselves, and to lose their will, give up, and become zombies or such. It breaks their spirit.

In fact, one of the best ways to hypnotize a hyperactive, incorrigible, misbehaving child is to plant yourself right in his/her space and yell vociferously in the child’s face: “Behave!!!! Stop that!!!” Or whatever else it is you wish of the child. The child will do what you tell him/her after that … at least for a while.

 I wonder what kind of abuse my father suffered at the hands of adults when he was growing up since violent and abusive ways of parenting are generally passed down from one generation to the next.

Unless one is able to recognize, then intercept and stop this abusive cycle and pattern learned from one’s upbringing and teachings, it will be passed on to one’s own offspring ad infinitum!

But thank God/Goodness, there are now laws in our country that carry stiff penalties for abusing children — as well as women, animals — or anyone … thanks to coalitions of good people who have worked diligently together throughout our society and other civilized parts of the earth to make this world a better and safer place for everyone.

However, reclusive families, such as in cults, often remain backward when it comes to improvements in behavior norms. Believing they are the only ones with “the truth,” and lead by poorly educated, narrow-minded leaders,  they learn nothing much from “the world” that, nonetheless, continues to change and improve as it strives to learn how to make a better world for all through education, college, books, publications, educational T.V., films, computers, and social media.

That said, one reason Daddy and Mother were so anxious to move to the LeBaron colony in Old Mexico in 1960 was that shortly before their decision to move, a Federal law was passed against Child Abuse. It stipulated dire legal penalties for parents who hit, beat, or otherwise physically abused their children. Daddy proclaimed vehemently, in regards to that law:

“What the hell right has the government to step in and tell me how to raise my children?! I am the Priesthood head of my family! The Bible says, ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child.’ In other words, parents are to ‘bend the twig’ correctly. We do that by beating the devil out of our children while they are still young enough to be taught how to behave and grow up as straight vines, not twisted, warped ones. 

“Once a seedling is warped, you can’t change it. You can observe an example of that in plants and trees that weren’t supported and staked properly so they would grow straight rather than deformed. I can’t wait to get out of this wicked country and gather with the Saints in Zion, there in Colonia LeBaron where I’m free to exercise old, time-honored Biblical laws when it comes to raising my family!” 

PART 5

dad-51
Daddy (Floyd Otto Spencer) in his mid-50s

   “A good memoir is born from that uniquely
importanplace in your personal history.”
Writing Your Hot-Topic Memoir”
Dr. Scott 



@@@@@@

Daddy was an autodidact. In other words, he was self-taught in many areas. He would get books on auto mechanics, carpentry, building construction, watch and clock repair, farming, health — you name it — and learn how to do these things … How to eat healthfully, for example. Sometimes he took Night School classes too.

By the late 1940s or early 1950s, he was a Singer Sewing Machine salesman and repairman. He went from home to home selling and setting up this newfangled, popular electric sewing machine that had quickly outdated the old treadle sewing machines.

He taught the proud owners how to use their new modern electric Singer sewing machine and its many attachments — such as the attachment for making buttonholes. And he maintained the machines, should they need servicing.

Later on, he morphed into a self-employed entrepreneur — a General Contractor, capable of building homes and commercial buildings from the ground up, including creating the blueprints.

People hired him because he could save them money, time, and trouble by doing everything himself: He could do the blueprint, foundation, building’s frame, cement work, flooring, roofing, electrical, plumbing, brick and rock work, landscape, carpentry, painting, and whatever else the new building required.

Provided they had time to wait for a one-man job to be finished, he was your man. Hiring a bunch of contractors and construction workers to do the job all at once was much more expensive and time-consuming, but would get the job done a lot faster if that was what one needed to do.

Because he was an introvert (or ambivert?) he preferred to work by himself. It’s a good thing because he didn’t get along well with most people. He had an artistic, fastidious, and perfectionistic personality, topped off with religious fanaticism, a high-strung, short-fused temper, and a sharp tongue. What’s worse, he regularly called to repentance people in his presence he saw doing things that were against his religion!

For example, he would tell mainstream Mormons they were headed for hell because they had given up plural marriage, practiced birth control, and had “mutilated” the holy temple garments Joseph Smith “ordained of God” and said should never be cut nor otherwise changed. This foot washing fundamentalist father of mine took his religion very seriously!

That said, he would regularly worry, harass, and chastise women in the Mormon fundamentalist groups, too, for doing things like cutting their hair, sporting “worldly hairdos and makeup” — and for wearing their hemlines too high and their necklines too low! (Hemlines were supposed to be about down to the ankle, and necklines about up to the collarbone.)

“That tight sweater and skirt you’ve got on is exactly what leads men to rape women! You look like a goddamned Delilah!!” he swore at me one day when I was thirteen years old and dressed to go to school. That sure “learnt” me a lesson!

 Though I took off the sweater and skirt, so popular in the 1950s, and never wore such clothing again (during my life in the fundamentalist cult) I now know there is no excuse for men to rape women under any condition!

If how women look or dress determines whether they get raped or not, then what about Aborigines and other Indigenous societies who go/went around, as a way of life, stark naked, half-naked — and “half-baked“? (Pun intended.)

It’s all a matter of culture, style, and one’s values, really. Women are not to blame if some all-brawn-no-brains men choose to dominate and use women to their own advantage.

A man’s being more muscular than women doesn’t make him superior to women. It certainly doesn’t give him the right to brutalize them or run them. Only backward people adhere to that old-world way of thinking.

In general, men aren’t superior to women, other than muscularly. (When I was young and in shape, I was able to win more than one out-of-shape man in an arm wrestle, LOL!) Women are not objects, either, as some men seem to think. Men don’t own them — nor do they have the right to strong-arm nor otherwise control women — despite what some fundamentalist Mormons, et Al, believe.

But getting back to Daddy, his regularly chastising others and setting them straight led me to believe he, himself, was pretty perfect. He must be, it seemed, if he could call others on the carpet for not adhering to our extremist sect’s strict dress code or other such. If he could call others to repentance, he must be doing everything right himself, yes?

However, in hindsight (always the best sight) I see he needed to lighten up, simmer down, mind his own business — and quit projecting his own fears and faults onto others. In other words, like so many of us, he needed more patience and persistence, and less pestering of others; i.e., He needed to exhibit more charity. He just didn’t know it yet.

 


My Memoir:
My Daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer
PART 6

dad-side-view-3rd-try
Dad in his 60s


“Like all the arts, the Science of Deduction and Analysis
is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study,
nor is life long enough to allow any mortal to attain
the highest possible perfection in it.”
Arthur Conan Doyle



Shortly before Daddy died, I saw a change in him. His visage fairly glowed, and he had become much more loving, relaxed, patient, kind, and happy — such that I no longer feared so much being in his presence. He had become more pleasurable to be around.

It was as though he’d undergone an epiphany — a life-changing experience, though I was not around him enough nor on comfortable enough terms with him to inquire as to any such experiences he might have had. Furthermore, I was married then, and very busy taking care of my six-month-old baby at the time he was nearing death … then died.

During his lifetime he had always done a lot to help others. Being an all-around handyman and Jack-of-all-trades and Master of a few, people often came to him for advice or called on him to help them fix something.

He never turned them down, that I know of, much to Mother’s frustration and dismay. More than once I heard her complain“Daddy, why don’t you turn some of these people down?! There are things piling up around here to be done while others impinge on you to work for them for free!” (Mother generally called him “Daddy” just as we kids did.)

Yes, he had plenty of his own work around the house waiting to be done. But people appreciated and respected Daddy for his knowledge and know-how when it came to being “Mister-Fix-it-Man,” and he enjoyed his revered reputation, too. He was no Scriptorian, though … unlike my mother’s brother, Ervil LeBaron, who often called on Daddy to fix things for him.

Uncle Ervil, who many of my readers may know of or will soon hear about, was just the opposite of Daddy. He spent most of his time studying Scriptures and Mormon religious works, writing some — and preaching a lot. I don’t recall him ever doing any manual labor. He managed to get my father and others to serve him, instead.

I don’t know how much money religiously-stalwart Daddy also put toward supporting Uncle Ervil and all Ervil’s many wives and children, as well as my other uncles and their families, at times, when they were hard up for money and food.

I only know he certainly paid much more than his 10% in tithing, despite the large family he, himself, maintained. And he did this right up until the day he died at about seventy years of age! There was never any retirement for him — my hard-working papa!

Like everyone else, dedicated and diligent, conscientious Daddy liked feeling special and needed. And he enjoyed serving God, all the while being able to put to use his skills and ingenuity as he helped repair others’ broken equipment, or advised them on how to build something — or taught them how to do some of these things for themselves. Thus, he employed many of the things he had learned how to do … right up until the day he died.

So where he lost favor with people due to his judgmental temperament and sharp tongue, he gained respect and popularity by being otherwise naturally unassuming and willing to lend a humble, helping hand. And he benefitted from that respect, acceptance, and connection. It was a wonderful interchange of mutual love and appreciation.



*Other facts about Daddy that I didn’t bring up earlier:

*He was very sensitive, astute, and strong-willed. Therefore, as a young man, he abandoned his parents in Michigan, due to fallings-out with them — never again to contact them nor to return home for a visit.

His aunt had raised him since he was around four or five, I believe, as I related in an earlier blog. I’m not sure how young he was when he left his aunt’s home and took off to make it on his own. I’m only sure he was a true survivor. And what didn’t kill him made him stronger!


*Once he proudly told me:
At age twenty-eightI gave up smoking and drinking when I joined the Mormon church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). I was able to quit “cold turkey!” I simply decided to quit.  And I never smoked again!”

And Daddy said, of his past smoking habit:
People who will smoke will drink, and people who will drink will chase women.”

 He also informed me:
“I gave up square dancing, too, because I found that it led to fornication when men and women danced with other than their own spouse or partner.”




*Once, when I was twelve years old, he caught me looking up the word “sex” in the dictionary. He reproachfully admonished me, proclaiming: “The words “sex” and “fun” should be cut out of the dictionary!! Sex is only for procreation!  And people shouldn’t be wasting their time playing/ having fun. The Lord’s Kingdom won’t get built up that way!



I disagree with him in some of his misconceived conceptions. But we all are in a process of learning and growing during our lifetimes. I bring up these above points to simply show what a stoic life he, I, and other true-believing fundamentalists lived.

But other points in his favor are that while Daddy was living in Arizona, and raising a large family with his first wife Eva, he was a Boy Scout Master, which position he enjoyed and was very proud of.

And he was even Mayor of a small city for some time, I was told. But I’m not sure what city that was, let alone the dates. My daughter checked and couldn’t find his name listed as having been Mayor of the city where I thought my parents said he’d been Mayor. So who knows! More family lore?


PART 7

daddy-ma-and-fam-in-color
1958 Family Photo (I’m middlebrow, 2nd from left, .)

The Writer’s Prayer:
“Make this tale live for us
in all its many bearings, oh Muse.”
Steven Pressfield
The War of Art

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While married to his first wife Eva,* for some time Daddy owned a small Mercantile shop. Then World War II removed his main source of income, rubber tires:

“The war efforts needed all the rubber to build war equipment. Selling tires for the Model T Ford, and other such, was how I covered my overhead. So I was run out of business when I couldn’t sell rubber tires anymore,” he explained.

“While I still owned my store, a woman would come in daily and hit on me. I finally told her, ‘I haven’t got caught up to home yet!’ That sure put a damper on things!”

Daddy loved to tell that joke. One great thing about him is he was good at ad-libbing jokes and getting a laugh — a natural comedian, he had a wonderful sense of humor. Sadly, he tried to curb this special talent once the LeBaron cult started cracking down on light-mindedness — considered a sin. (They didn’t know “Laughter is the best medicine.”)

I never spent much time around Daddy. Highly sensitive me avoided being in the same space with him whenever possible.When I had to be around him, I hid in the shadows. When I could do so without being noticed, I would escape to my attic room, especially after I became a teenager because his anger and abuse doubled toward me by then.

I already mentioned a little about this in previous blogs: He had a terrible temper that I got the brunt of more than all the rest of his children put together. I was the scapegoat of the family, so was glad he was usually away from the house working all day. That lessened the stress I endured because of him — and because of Mother. She would get me in trouble with him every chance she got — like every day, once I became a teenager!

But on Sundays, he did not work — which meant he was always home keeping the Sabbath. After our daily morning prayers were said in the big family circle, breakfast, and our family Sunday School service was over, Daddy would sit in his overstuffed armchair in the living room and read the newspaper and comic strips in front of the fireplace he had built and decorated with petrifiedwood rock work.

Hidden out of his view and reach, I loved watching how he would sometimes laugh till he teared up reading the Little Orphan Annie comic series. As a child, I especially loved it when he would throw me the “Funny Papers” after he got through reading them.

Then I would lie on my stomach on the carpet, a distance from him, and try to read and understand The Funnies. But try as I may, as a kid, I never could figure out what Daddy found so funny about his favorite comic strip, Little Orphan Annie

I lacked the maturity and experience to comprehend such things. Daddy was twenty-six years older than Mother, and about fifty-two years older than I — old enough to be my grandfather.

But other than being around him on Sunday mornings so I could get the funnies once he was through with them, mostly I avoided being in the same room with him. I was afraid of him.

By the time I was 14, almost every day he would lash out at me, both physically and verbally. And, often, he would make fun of me and put me down in front of my family or friends … or whoever else happened to be around when he found a reason to ridicule me and “put me in my place.”

Because of this, I developed a confused love-hate feeling for him, though I never realized it till much later. Mother always told us what a saint Daddy was and that he was the very best man in the whole wide world! Needless to say, I never got to learn a whole lot about my father, due to it being so miserable for me … so threatening to be around him.

But I remember, when I was four years old, he took an oil painting class. I recall him sitting out under the backyard trees with his easel and paints, copying some nature scenes that included our house he had bought around two years before when it was not much more than a shack.

He was remodeling it to make it a livable home. He would buy a run-down ramshackle of a place, fix it up into a fairly decent abode, then, before we had much time to enjoy the better living conditions, we’d end up moving, for one reason or another, to a new ramshackle abode. And the whole damn scene would start all over again — we Spencers living in a mud adobe abode or whatever, till he fixed it up into a half-decent place to live — and then we would move. “Why couldn’t we ever stay in the home once it got fixed up and had running water, a shower, electricity, and a flushing toilet?” I used to wish and wonder.

We moved around twelve times from the time I was born in a mud adobe abode in Mexico till I turned fourteen! Then we moved back again, “fool” circle, to another mud adobe abode in the Mormon fundamentalist cult where I first started out: Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico!

Then, wouldn’t you know, no sooner did Daddy do a complete makeover of our new mud adobe abode in Colonia LeBaron, but what I was married off at age sixteen in an arranged polygamous marriage!  And that entailed moving again, this time to my own home …  and another mud adobe abode!)


PART 8

dad-in-collage-3
My father Floyd Spencer


“An unexamined life is not worth living.”
Plato … quoting Socrates

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In the Previous blog, I mentioned that when I was around four years old, Artist Daddy, with easel and oils, used to sit beneath the big green shade tree in our front yard and paint the nature scenes around about him. Often he used our home as a backdrop for his paintings. Mother kept these “Masterpieces” hanging on the wall in our home, proudly showing them off to visitors.

But, sadly, Daddy didn’t continue for long with his oil painting hobby and venture. Though oil painting had been a lifelong dream and yearning of his, he was in his late fifties when he’d finally had the where-with-all to try his hand at it. But, sadly, he soon discovered oil painting or water coloring pictures — or even sketching — took a lot more time and money than he could devote to his beloved hobby, Artist though he was … better still, “frustrated Artist”!

What it boiled down to was he had to give up his artistic drive and dream because it conflicted with what he believed was his higher calling: To bring little spirits up in heaven down into good Mormon fundamentalists homes; i.e., to have all the kids he could have! He was devout, to be sure. Whatever his faults, there was a lot of good and good intentions in this man.

After he sacrificed his painting hobby, due to conflicts of interests — God, his family, and religious beliefs came first — Mother gave him piano lessons because around about that time he had finally bought trainedconcert-pianist Mama a piano!

But when he saw four-year-old me could sit down and play by ear whatever I heard him practicing as he struggled to learn to play by note, he was humiliated and felt cheated that it should come so easily to me, a little kid, what he had to work so hard for as an old man.

So, just like my older sister … and for the same reasons, I suspect … they both soon gave up for good and forever any attempt to learn to play the piano. But Daddy qualified it with some truths when he said:

Bein’ an artist and playin’ musical instruments is for rich people. It takes an awful lot of time. And I have to spend my time and energy makin’ a living to support my family.” Then he added, as an afterthought,“Rich people get rich off the backs of the poor.”

However, I would qualify it with:
“The Haves” and “The Have-nots”
can usually be traced back to
“The Did’s” and “The Did-nots.”
(
Readers Digest) 

For example, the “Haves” did not have a lot of kids and wives! They chose “Quality over Quantity.”  

Even so, Daddy had learned to play the harmonica as a young man. When I was 10, he taught me how to play “Home, Sweet Home” on it. From there, I was off and running, easily picking out by ear other tunes on the harmonica.

But something I could never do was whistle, though Daddy could whistle like a Pro — the only one in our family that could ever do that, far as I know. Though we all really tried hard to learn how to whistle.

In fact, when I was nine years old, it was quite a funny sounding scene around our home and yard, there for a while: All of us kids and even Mother went about trying to “whistle a happy tune,” when, at best, we weren’t blowing much more than our lips, hot air, and a lot of strange sounds!

But whenever Dad was at home and working around the place, he was his own radio — and ours too! His whistling could be heard throughout the home and yard. And I loved it — loved his beautiful whistling of tunes that were always right on pitch.

In fact, one breezy spring morning in Hurricane, Utah, when I was around eleven, I was blown away when I heard Daddy out in the barn milking Bossy, our auburn Jersey cow, exquisitely whistling the hit tune from the 1950s Musical Oklahoma!: “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!”

Mother was a trained concert pianist. But Daddy’s musicianship was that of a gifted, born Whistler! I never realized, back then, what an asset and talent it truly is to be able to whistle — whistle any melody beautifully! Oh, how I would love to be able to do that myself.


PART 9


daddy-ma
Ma & Pa on their land, the Galeana Springs, near Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico

 


“In the course of my life,
I have often had to eat my words,

and I must confess that I have
always found it a wholesome diet.”

Winston Spencer Churchhill




In the previous blog, we were talking about some more of my father’s accomplishments and sacrifices. Among other such memorabilia is the following: He was a proud Veteran of World War I. He fought with the 308th Engineers from Ohio to the Rhine. There are videos of his Platoon on YouTube, showing them constructing a bridge, among other things.

While with his Platoon in France, during his WWI Service, Daddy got to meet Winston Spencer Churchhill! So he had double the reason, on January 24, 1965, for taking three days off work to keep his ear tuned to the radio all day and into the night when Churchhill died.

Yes, for three days he listened to the constant end-to-end radio broadcasts about world-famous leader Winston Spencer Churchhill as Radio Broadcasters expounded upon the many great accomplishments and services this icon had performed for society. Daddy could especially relate to Churchill’s accomplishments when it came to World War I and World War II. Sadly, I didn’t even know who Winston Spencer Churchill was!

It figures, as, at the time Churchill died, I was eighteen years old, had been married off in an arranged marriage at age sixteen, and held captive in the LeBaron doomsday cult in Mexico since August 1960.

 August 1960 was the unfortunate date my parents uprooted our family, locks, stocks, shocks, and barrels, to move to Zion “to gather and mingle with the Saints and avoid the calamities that were coming very soon to wipe out the wicked. (Colonia LeBaron was “Zion.”) In hindsight, I see it was really quite the other way around: Gathering to Zion was nothing but a calamity!

I had barely graduated from eighth grade, in Hurricane, Utah, before we left for this “Zion.” My parents walked us right into a ready-made viper’s den and cult calamity, thinking they were doing just the opposite — preparing for the end of the world that was due any week … if not sooner.

Well, it WAS the end of my world! Their man-made CALAMITY wiped out and ruined my hopes for “The good life.” I have been trying to do catch-up ever since.

As cult-fate would have it, there was plenty of wickedness going on in so-called Zion “to mingle with.” It turned out to be quite a little colony of “Saints” — or a “Little House of Horrors”!

I’m just glad it wasn’t another Jonestown! At least my self-proclaimed Prophet Uncle Joel never asked us to drink the Kool-Aid. However, self-proclaimed Prophet Uncle Ervil was quite another story.

As my Memoir unfolds, you shall hear what I mean. Because I intend to unmask the Colonia LeBaron Mormon fundamentalist cult life I endured while stuck living eight years in Mexico down past the Rio Grande — a life I barely survived to blog about. It was about fifty-eight years ago, as of March 2018, that my family “gathered to Zion.” I have been trying to get over it ever since.

Their prophet, my Uncle Joel LeBaron, had prophesied: “The destructions foreseen in the Book of Revelations are coming any day now to rain down upon the United States! Mexico is the land of refuge for the Saints.”  Mother claimed she, too, had seen this “end of days” in a dream!

Go figure: The sky was falling … another Chicken-Little story … or LeBaron story? If you want to get power, claim you’ve had a revelation, a dream that shows the world is coming to an end. You’ll most likely get some followers.

The truth is, yours and my world IS coming to an end: We never know the hour of our death … the end of our OWN world. (Maybe that’s what scares people to death so much!) But the world, itself, and new life will continue on, as it has for thousands of millenniums.

If you claim “the sky is falling/ the world is coming to an end, some Millennial’s (i.e., Messianic apocalyptic dooms-dayers who believe the end of the world and “the Millennium” is imminent) will likely believe and follow you. Chicken Little sure got his following … if you recall that children’s fairytale.

But now back to reality: After being pulled out of school and moved to that secluded and barren, Chihuahuan Desert wilderness, I had no chance for further education.

That was a calamity in itself! Quite the end of my world — at least as I had known it. I, a Bookworm, wasn’t even allowed to read, let alone have any contact with the outside world, in any way, shape, or form. So, no: I wouldn’t know who Churchhill was.

Before I was married, while living in LeBaron’s “Zion,” all my family-of-origin had, as far as connections with the outside world were concerned, was Daddy’s little battery-run radio — which only he was allowed to use!

Even worse, all we ever heard about from Mother was mostly cult dogma and propaganda. And how great she and her family heritage was: Her father, mother, brothers — especially her brothers, Joel and Ervil, the “prophets” of the cult! Mother had to be number one. So, sadly, I never got to know how special my father’s Spencer heritage was. For some reason, Daddy never mentioned it either. Or maybe he did but I wasn’t around to hear.




NOTE: Though there is more to relate, as to my father’s history, I will relate it in the context of my own continuing Memoirs.

For now, I conclude my nine-part series,”My Daddy,” (Renamed with the lyrics of the following comical song I wrote. There is a verse in it about my amazing father. But first this Intro:

Dearest friends and fans: Please note:
This “sorta” silly song I wrote
Is half-finished so I won’t gloat,
And pray my poem won’t get your goat.
But it’s late — blog’s due “mañana.
If you check this song later on … uh …
You may find it’s been partly “re-wrote;”
“I know it needs work” is my last quote.
Even so, hope you enjoy what I wrote.
And, now, I humorously emote: 

 INTRO:

Hi! I’m a hack who’s written a hit
Called “Pretty City Chick.”
It’s a Hee-ha comedy song —
A
 bit o’ bio in verse,
Fer better er worse —
With truth ‘n’ exaggeration
Interspersed:

Pretty City Chick
(By Stephany Spencer)

Hey, they say
I’m a pretty city chick.
And Hillbilly music
makes some sick,
But, my Hillbilly ways
Are here to stick;
So we may as well
Get over it —
And join in
And sing a bit,
‘Cause I’m a city chick,
But shit-kickin’ music
is my shtick.
Born in Mexican sticks
in 1946.
I’ve dual citizenship,
And I’m a city chick.

I’m an all-American-mongrel,
Apple-pie girl
 —
Hines-57 mixed-up mutt,
With apple pie stickin’
To my butt ’n’ gut.
But red-necked
Reactionary ignoramuses

Ain’t my thing.
I came for music
And to sing!

Yeah, I’m an
All-American-Mexican,
Scotch-Irish “Mick”
,
With Welch ’n’ English,
So, sure, I’m a Brit;
With French, German,
And Mohawk Indian a bit.
If there’s no Tom Slick
Hidin’ in the pit,
Far as I know,
That’s about it —
That’s my story
And I’m shtickin’ to it!

My father was
A proud Veteran
Of World War I.
Those Vets were
Well-appreciated
For what they’d done!
Pa was an artist, creative,
And Jack-of-all-trades;
Master of a few —
Good at so many things,
There was little
He couldn’t do.

Ma was a creative,
Author and artist,
thru ’n’ thru;
Poet, performer,
Trained concert pianist —
Whew!
She loved to discuss
Religious principles, too,
And read religious Lit,
Old and new —
Long as it agreed
With what she
Already “knew.”
She graduated with a BA
In Journalism too.
Quite an accomplishment
‘Cause Ma was sixty-two!

She was running me
Competition then,
For I was still in College too,
Strugglin’ to make it up
From the cult
She’d put me thru …
If she only knew!

But her motto was:
Anything you can do,
I can do better;
I can do anything
Better than you!”
(And she meant it too!)

Refrain:
 Hey, they say I’m a
Pretty city chick;
Though Hillbilly music
Makes some sick,
My Hillbilly ways
Are here to stick.
So you may as well
“Git” over it
And join in
And sing a bit!
‘Cause I’m a city chick,
And shit-kickin’ music
Is my shtick.

Born in Mexican sticks
In 1946,
I’ve dual citizenship
And that’s pretty hip.
Well, that’s my story
And I’m shtickin’ to it:
“I’m a pretty city chick!”



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

 

 

 




NOTE: This concludes my ninepart Series, “My Daddy,” renamed “Pt 1-9: My Father Floyd Spencer, Fundamentalist Mormon LeBaron Cult Member.”
Thanks for visiting and sharing my blog site with me. 

I love to write. But it’s icing on the blog when I have readers who devour it on top of my cooking it up!  

 In future blogs, I’ll tell you a little about my maternal grandparents and Mother — How she and Daddy met, some of their adventures together, etc. —

That is, I may tell you about the beginning of my father’s Mormon fundamentalist cult saga that culminated with his bringing me into the world — along with many other kids and events — which culminated in my creating this Blog. Chain reactions? That’s life!



~ Pt 19: A-Z, Mexico-LeBaron Mormon Cults, 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


“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?



*NOTE: 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, Galeana, 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/


 

 

 


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


 

From left to right: My Uncle Ervil Morrell LeBaron, My father Floyd Otto Spencer, My mother Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer, and my husband William Preston Tucker/ AKA: Bill


The Virginity

Try as he will, no man breaks wholly loose
From his first love, no matter who she be.
Oh, was there ever sailor free to choose,
That didn’t settle somewhere near the sea?

Myself, it don’t excite me nor amuse
To watch a pack o’ shipping on the sea;
But I can understand my neighbour‘s views
From certain things which have occurred to me.

Men must keep touch with things they used to use
 To earn their living, even when they are free;
And so come back upon the least excuse —
Same as the sailor settled near the sea.

He knows he’s never going on no cruise —
  He knows he’s done and finished with the sea;
And yet he likes to feel she’s there to use —
 If he should ask her — as she used to be.

Even though she cost him all he had to lose,
 Even though she made him sick to hear or see,
Still, what she left of him will mostly choose
Her skirts to sit by. How comes such to be?

Parsons in pulpits, tax-payers in pews,
Kings on your thrones, you know as well as me,
We’ve only one virginity to lose,
 And where we lost it there our hearts will be!

Rudyard Kipling


I left off saying in “My Memoir: Part 19-M — Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And More Perils of Polygamy” that once I was married off as an adolescent into Bill’s polygamous household, I desperately needed my parent’s love, advice, and support. Was so lonely for my family. But I was not allowed to visit them.

This tripled the loneliness I felt as a 16-year-old newlywed married to a man ten years my senior with whom I was so in love but who was usually vacant in my life and even less often in my bed. When Bill wasn’t with his other two wives or someone else, he was with my Uncle Ervil … or some other man?

Having more than one wife and more than one household assures a polygamist his wives can’t usually keep tabs on whom he is with or where he is when he’s not with them — just one advantage to polygamy — especially if the husband is a rover living a double life — like Bill.

To make matters worse, it was as though Bill and Ervil were joined at the hip. If they weren’t together writing religious pamphlets, or on a “missionary trip,” or visiting, preaching to cult members and investigators, they found other “urgent” reasons to “get out of Dodge,” dodge the bullets and be together — all in the name of “doing church business” and “building up the kingdom of God.”

Ervil was like one of Bill’s wives.* As I said, the two were attached at the hips “doing missionary work”* — sharing the same bed when out of town. And remember, these two polygamists were used to having sex at least once every night and possibly during the morning or daytime too, given their many wives (and boyfriends?). So I can only wonder what went on “undercover” when they were suddenly without their habitual sexual partners.

Given the above circumstances, and their belief that masturbation was a mortal sin, imagine how “hard UP” (pun intended) these Mormon fundamentalist “Saints” were for sex during their days and sometimes weeks of being away from home “Doing the Lord’s work” to convert new recruits so as to bring more tithing money into the church coffers — money that mostly ended up in Ervil’s and Bill’s back pockets to support themselves and their humongous families.


  • After Bill left Joel and Ervil’s “Church,” Ervil took Dan Jordan “on” as his right-hand man. My Aunt Delfina, Ervil’s first wife, said Dan was Ervil’s “wife” because he spent more time with Dan than with his wives!

*”Doing missionary work” was the common catchphrase and smokescreen that covered up and justified everything in the cult. It made sinners look like saints in the eyes of the “true believers.” (But I know now not to believe everything I see or am told!)



Excellent expose by renowned speaker and Author of “Combatting Cult Mind Control,” and leader in recognizing brainwashing tactics — and much more!





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




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


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

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

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

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

My parents “protected” me by betraying me! They had raised me to believe I could trust them impeccably because they were Saints. No, they were frauds. For years, they regularly snuck into and read my private diaries unbeknownst to me. Then discussed among themselves my thoughts and business meant for my eyes only. (I found this out many years after-the-fact.)

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

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

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

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

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



 




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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Part 19-Q — Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — 
And More Perils of Polygamy

me, cleavage
Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron, age 57; 36 years after escaping polygamy

three-lizards

Could This be Bill with his first two wives,
“horny toads” in a menage a trois?
Sex, drugs, ‘n’ “rock ‘n’ roll“… Rock on!


“The truth told with love and consideration is the key.
An honest account of what you experienced
is what memoir is all about.”
Rita Keeley Brown


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

Getting back to my being in the throes of “The First Grand Head” of the cult, my uncle Ervil LeBaron and his having a jackhammer thrown into his “perfect plans to marry me off to his pal, Homer (behind my parents’ back) let me give you a little pertinent backstory:

Mother and her siblings, including Ervil, had grown up with Homer Babbitt in the Mormon colonies in Colonia Juarez, Mexico. Timid blond-haired, blue-eyed Homer was around Momma’s age; that is, 26 years older than I. Extremely shy, unassuming, and quiet, he blushed often, highlighting his already red pockmarked face and neck deeply scarred from acne and boils. Sadly, the name “Homer” (Homely) fit him.

But he was a sweet, sensitive, kind, conscientious, considerate gentleman — with money. Quite rare in my neck of the woods. Barely converted from the LDS church to the LeBaron cult and polygamy, Homer was, in marrying me as his plural wife, trying to please both God and his childhood Mormon pal Ervil.

Even so, as I partly related earlier, my parents got busy post haste to covertly thwart Ervil’s plans to barter me off to Babbitt, by going to Bill, behind my back, and exclaiming, “If you want to marry Beulah, right now is your chance. Tomorrow will be too late!” 

But Bill, always the diplomat, countered with, “Beulah is too young. I need to wait a couple more years. I don’t have money to support another wife right now. Can’t even afford to take her on a honeymoon.”

He was REALLY hedging! Mormon fundamentalist Men usually did not take their plural wives on a honeymoon! There was enough trouble in Bedlam (Plyg Town) without them honeymooning each new plural wife. Furthermore, most polygamists couldn’t afford their first wife and her herd of up to possibly twenty-six kids, let alone a honeymoon for each new wife added to the harem.

And new wives meant ultimately even more kids–more expense and time: Each new wife stretched further and further the husband and father from his time and money. In the end, it was mostly the wives and children left to bear the brunt of this hapless, mindless lifestyle.

But true-believing, brainwashed Daddy nevertheless bribed Bill: “How’s about I help you out? I’ll give you some money … more than enough to take my favorite daughter on a honeymoon for a week. How’d that be?

That money sounded good to penniless-pauper Bill. He had to rely too much on the purse strings of his first wife Marilyn (Her parents  sent her money regularly from “The States”) in order to keep his family afloat in the LeBaron colony while he worked to get his chicken business off the ground, including a chicken packing plant for “pollos”/friers.

But wouldn’t you know, it was Ervil finding out about my parents trying to arrange my marriage to Bill that cemented the deal. More on “the deal” in the next blog.


 




My Memoirs: Part 19-R, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — 
And More Perils of Polygamy: My Honeymoon

me-wed-pic
My swollen-eyed Honeymoon photo, October 1963. We Honeymooned in a cheap hotel in Chihuahua City, Mexico — no screens on the windows but plenty of mosquitoes. 


We all come from the past,
and children ought to know what it was
that went into their making.”
Russell Baker



I had never traveled much past my own backyard, especially once we moved, when I was fourteen, to Chihuahua, Mexico to join the secluded wilderness LeBaron cult — “Zion.”

But when I was married off to twenty-six-year-old Bill Tucker in an arranged marriage (as I said in the last blog) Daddy gave Bill money to take me to Chihuahua City for a week’s Honeymoon.

 I’m so touched Daddy did that because he was not well to do and was often mean to me, besides. But it seems he cared enough to twist Bill’s arm to take me on a Honeymoon — or desperately wanted to get me off his hands!  It is more likely Daddy gave him the money in an effort to set up a little better deal for Bill at the start of our marriage because he felt guilty about having pawned me off onto Bill and his harem when Daddy knew Bill was out of work and couldn’t afford to support the two wives and five children he already had!!

Needless to say, Bill felt obligated to take me on a honeymoon. But he didn’t feel obligated to spend any of the money on me. And he didn’t! While in Chihuahua City, on our honeymoon, he took ME shopping to spend $ on his first wife Marilyn — money Daddy meant to be spent to help me get started in my new home because Bill said he couldn’t afford me!

Though, as a newlywedded teenager, I needed so many things to set up my new household, my new husband spent not a penny on me — other than for cheap lodgings for the both of us, restaurant meals he gobbled down, and gas for our automobile trip — a trip that (I realized years later), was mainly a business and pleasure trip for him: He met with boyfriends and with companies he was dealing with to get them to buy his fryers/pollos when they were ready to be beheaded, defeathered, and marketed.

When I married Bill, he and his two wives were in the process of starting a chicken business that would include a chicken-packing plant. Money to get the family business going would be mostly supplied by his first wife Marilyn’s dowery.

I realize now, Bill, having so recently come upon a little money of his own by way of my father, wanted to ingratiate himself with his jealous 31-year-old Marilyn (She was about five years older than he, 15 years older than I) for having taken me on as a third wife against her will — though she was largely financing his family and their upstart chicken business!!

Can you imagine how it hurt 16-year-old-child-bride me (who knew nothing about his family) to be left alone for an hour standing on the sidelines of my own Honeymoon watching the man I loved lovingly look for and pick out a costly gift for his first wife’s upcoming thirty-second birthday — while totally ignoring me?

 It wasn’t fun!
Welcome to Polygamy 101,
And the “Big Love” idea:
“Love-times-three.”
He bought “nada”
For new-homemaker-me.
Take a hint: Polygamy
Is a  big bunch of bull-pucky!
Don’t believe me?
Try it and see.




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

me-bill
Billy and me in 1963, Ages 16 and 26 consecutively


“And we are put on this earth a little space
that we might learn to bear the beams of love”
William Blake



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

It hurt SO to be left out in the cold on my own honeymoon as I stood in the background watching the foreground where the man I just married neglected me to lovingly look for and pick out an extravagant gift for his “old” wife Marilyn’s upcoming 32nd birthday. He not only ignored me. He bought me “nada.” No fun! Welcome to Polygamy 101.

I learned later that jealous Marilyn, about fifteen years my senior, was exceedingly upset Bill married me despite her ardent protests! Then he added kerosene to the coals: He took me (once again despite her’s and the SECOND wife’s avid protests) on a Honeymoon to Chihuahua City, a-few-hours drive away.

Taking me on a honeymoon for a week must’ve left narcissistic Billy feeling at least a little queasy: His first wife Marilyn and his favorite wife Lolita were home alone and horny, grieving his honeymooning and spooning child-bride me.

Was he showing them they were not enough? Or that I was too good a package to pass up? Bill could always pass his actions off onto: “Polygamy –“The Law of Plural Marriage” –comes first and foremost … above all else!”

Mormon fundamentalists believe building up the kingdom of God is all that matters. More wives means bringing more little spirits into good Mormon fundamentalist homes to build God’s work and combat Satan’s efforts to overcome Him.

Because Marilyn held and CONTROLLED the family purse strings, Bill wanted to make strides with her. So, though it was my honeymoon, he bought her an extravagant present on my time that actually came from his own money — the money Daddy gave him for me!

I was rudely learning that all this was par for the course in polygamous marriages. I wasn’t his only love and consideration nor concern. I had to share him — even on my honeymoon.

To top it off, the second day there, without warning, Bill heartlessly left me alone out in the car on the street for five hours with nothing to do!! Not even a radio to listen to — sans warning that he would be gone anywhere nearly so long — while he “did business and missionary work” (in the missionary position?) with a buddy or two:

I can’t have you at the meeting. These men have met Marilyn. Can’t let them know I have more than one wife,” was his easy way out.

Next: Despite his promised seven-day Honeymoon, about five days in, he suddenly told me, again without my having any say in it: “We’re going home now. Need to cut our Honeymoon short. Must get back home to take care of business.” I think he mostly missed and was worried about his other two wives, was bored with me, wasn’t in love with me, and didn’t value freebie-me much … let alone care how I felt. What do you think?

We returned home within five days of what turned out to be, all-in-all, a stressful, rather uneventful honeymoon — except (brace yourself) lying in the lap of my sexy husband as he steered the vehicle toward home, I had my way with him. We are lucky Bill didn’t lose his way at the wheel as he came — and I lived to tell the story!



NOTE: If you wonder what Mormon fundamentalist cults believe, how they are brainwashed, and why members don’t often leave — aren’t able to escape these clans — listen to the following YouTube interviews:



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

me wed cake
Bill and I cutting the cake

“The sharing of stories broadens our outlook on life. People identify with and draw strength from reading about the struggles of others. Readers can ‘try on’ the life of the character/s in the story and see how they would have felt and reacted without having to suffer through the experience themselves.
They ‘become’ that protagonist, that main character, as they step into his shoes and walk through the difficulties he faces.”

Rita Keeley Brown 


Continued from: “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — and More Perils of Polygamy: My Honeymoon — Part 19-S”)

I left off in the last blog saying that Bill promised me a seven-day Honeymoon; however, 4 1/2 days in he informed me: “We’re going home now. Need to cut this Honeymoon short … get back to take care of business.

Apparently, having taken care of “business” with his boyfriends in Chihuahua City, there was little enticement to remain away from his two grieving, furious, jealous wives conniving at home as to how best to work in cahoots so as to deal with Bill and me. (Deal they did!)

While Bill’s old black Cadillac rocked, rattled, ‘n’ rolled as it sped toward our homestead Colonia LeBaron, I lay in my lover’s lap and “had my way with him” — ever so lucky my husband didn’t lose control of the wheel as he came. Adolescent me who didn’t drive didn’t see how close we “came” to diving over the cliff to Dover-heaven in sexual oblivion!

The car swerved back-and-forth, skidding dangerously a few times. But determined Billy managed to muster all he had to keep his Cad on the road while he exploded in ecstasy! My, what a man — what I cad! The Angels must’ve been watching over us (How embarrassing!) where angels fear to tread. Thereafter, tread marks left on the highway were all that remained to tell the tale of our ecstatic but erratic, “wreckless” ride.

Other than that, it was, for me, a pretty blissful but stressful and uneventful five-day honeymoon with hubby — except for some luscious restaurant meals, visiting Chihuahua City’s Museum of Art and other such — including Mexico’s Robin Hood and Mexican-war-hero Pancho Villa’s museum home. His elderly wife still lived there and lead us on the tour.

We then saw the hit movie, “El Sid.” I had seen so few movies in my life (maybe two or three?) I had to keep asking Bill what was said and what was going on. And, did I mention the mosquitoes buzzing in, out, and all about as we slept, biting me on both eyelids just in time for our Honeymoon photos?

You shall hear, I fear, in my upcoming book, more about Bill’s and my Honeymoon — my initiation “into” Bill’s harem — and he into me. I promise! Can hardly wait to tell you this “herstory-history.”




Part 19-U — Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — 
And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low

me-bill-wives
Left to right:  Me, hubby Billy, 1st wife “Overlord” Marilyn, 2nd wife Lolita–both  wearing makeup; not I. ‘Twas against our religion.

“A memoir is your perception of your experience of
your involvement in a particular situation in your life.
It is not your sister’s, it is not your father’s, or anyone else’s.
There will always be someone who will say,
‘That’s not how I remember it.’ ” 

Rita  Keeley Brown


Taking up where we left off in“My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low, Part 19-T”:

My third trip in the five-and-a-half years since my family moved to Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico in 1960–including my honeymoon–was once again back to Chihuahua City, Mexico when I was nineteen. It happened only because I approached Bill pleading:

“Please! Since Daddy just died and I’m grieving, shouldn’t I be the one to go on this trip with you? You’ve taken the other two wives on lots of trips; yet, have never taken me anywhere except to Chihuahua on our honeymoon.”

Bill relented. But it was only a one-day-one-night business trip with him and one of his buddies, Bruce Wakeham, who drove us there and back in the cab of his bouncing gray pickup truck — the three of us crammed together like sardines, Bill between Bruce and me.

Just because Bill took me on what I thought would be a romantic trip where we might finally do some special bonding, it didn’t mean he had to make love to me that night or even talk to me … or anything else. And he didn’t! He barely tolerated me. Once at the Wakeham’s home, he ignored me altogether and, without a kiss or a goodbye, took off with Bruce, leaving me behind with Bruce’s first wife Juna. Tears!!

That night, when we went to bed, more tears and disappointment: Bill rolled over and turned his back on me, refusing my attempts to make love. Knowing what I know now about Bill and his buddies, I suspect Bill didn’t do his usual three-minute screw then fall asleep on me, when it was my night to be with him–though he loved how well he fit in me–because he was afraid Bruce would know … even though we were in bed undercover in the dead of night.

Was he afraid Bruce would be jealous? There were no curtains on the bedroom windows if you can believe it! But either way you “peek” at it, I was screwed — screwed over big-time by two-timing big-Plyg Billy! You’ll see more of what I mean in my next blog.



 



Part 19-V, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — 
And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low

bill-lg-pic
My husband William Preston Tucker in 1964, age 28

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them,
they should’ve behaved better.”
Anne Lamott,
“Bird by Bird”



I left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low, Part 19-U” remarking that when my husband Bill Tucker and I went to bed, our one night we spent in Chihuahua City, I suffered the usual tears and disappointments of my concubinage with this man I’d experienced since the day I married him at age sixteen — two-and-a-half years earlier.

This time the suffering was because I expected a loving, supportive, special trip, and to be all alone without the other two wives around so that finally Bill might bestow on me some special warmth.

But even when I was alone in bed with him, he didn’t show any love toward me, let alone some sympathy for my father having just died! Instead, he hadn’t given me any attention during the whole twenty-four-hour trip; now he simply rolled over, turned his back on me, and refused my attempts to make love.

Was this hot-blooded sex-fiend punishing me for asking to go on a trip with him, though this night would have been another wife’s turn– and his taking me on this trip was causing his other two wives further grief and jealousy…which meant more trouble for him when he got home? That never mattered when he took his other two wives on trips when it was my turn to spend the night with him!

Knowing what I know now about Bill and his buddies, I suspect Bill — though he loved how well he fit in me — didn’t do his usual three-minute screw, like he always did when it was my night to be with him (which was every third night, if he was in town) then fall asleep on top of me– his stocky, overweight body crushing my petite frame– because he was afraid Bruce would know — even though we were undercover in bed in the dead of night!

 To repeat what I wrote in the previous blog, maybe Bill was afraid Bruce would be jealous: There were no curtains on the bedroom windows! Either way you “peek,” I was screwed — screwed over big-time by two-timing-gay-Plyg Billy!

Well, I’ll leave you in the dark no more: I believe this hot-blooded “Billy” had gone off and gotten it on with Brucey– maybe some other “Willy” too. So he’d created special bonding with Brucey, plus got his sexual juices expunged. Was also being careful not to cause jealousy in Bruce. This would ruin his and Bruce’s special just-built or just-renewed connection … if Brucey should come checking on Billy and catch his willy in me.

I say this based on a trip I managed to go on with Bill to Guadalajara, Mexico in 1964, about a year earlier. I was barely eighteen then. There I witnessed, in a roundabout way, Billy and his buddy Stephen do this very thing I described above. It took place at Mariachi Square, famous the world over among homosexuals–at least back then–as a gathering place.



Part 19-W, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low


 

William Preston Tucker and his buddy Stephen 


People see what they want to see–
Don’t see
what they don’t want to see
till they want to see.

Stephany Spencer


Taking up where we left off in, “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low, Part 19-V”:

Being an adolescent eighteen year old, poorly educated, brainwashed, backward, duped, and dumb, I had no idea what the hell was going on when, while visiting Guadalajara, Mexico in 1964 with my twenty-eight-year-old handsome husband Billy Tucker, I unwittingly witnessed him and his horn-rimmed buddy Stephen Silver making “a connection” — a hit — at the Mariachi Squarefamous the world over as a gathering place for homosexual men … I learned years later.

Back then I believed on-the-down-low Bill’s bull when he told me he and his pal Steve would be out late “doing missionary work.” (In the missionary position?)

Later that night, I didn’t see them in action. I heard them in action — After Bill had left me at Stephen Silver’s home with Stephen’s two wives (one of them my sister) so he could, as he told me, “go back and rescue Stephen from the hotbed of bad influences at Mariachi Square.

That evening, long after retiring, I was awakened by weird midnight noises wafting up to my loft above from the living room below, fifty feet away … strange, odd animal expletives, guttural grunts, groans; sensuous heavy breathing. How heedless, how hedonistic of Bill and Steve to believe their women were fast asleep or wouldn’t hear. I could swear their “little head” was doing the thinking that night!!

At the time, I was “asleep…couldn’t hear” when it came to being in the dark about Bill’s double/down-low life. He knew he could count on that: Homosexuality was in my blind spot. I didn’t even know the word existed, let alone what it meant — let alone that my own “saintly” Mormon husband and his best “buddy” — his old French missionary pal — were “one” … frauds!

They had spent two years as missionary partners in the Mormon French mission field in the mid to late 1950s, when they were at their sexual prime — around nineteen to twenty-one years old — sharing the same bed or bunk! (Not sure which one was “on top.”)

Now wise, I realize those passionate sounds and other activities witnessed on that “trip” weren’t “doing missionary work:” Bill and Stephen brought home with them that night at least one of the gay guys they connected with at Guadalajara, Mexico’s Mariachi Square.



Part 19-X — Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — 
And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low

Me, and baby
Stephany Spencer-LeBaron de Tucker, age 18, with mine and Bill’s six-month-old baby Asenath Marie Tucker


 Online Chat Notes Denote NPD:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Said one woman, “You know, it’s so funny:
I used to think my Ex was the most
kind, loving, good-hearted man I ever met.
I used to think he was such a treasure
and that I didn’t deserve him.

When I found out about narcissism,
and started putting the pieces together,
my brain did an about-face …
I’m now in a better place, thank God!

Now I know that I’m dealing with an NPD ….
So sad though … It makes me weep.
They are masters at trying to make you feel like crap.
However, I figured out how to checkmate these A-holes,
in the future, since 
I have a knack for
attracting such relationships.”



I left off in the last blog, “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On-The-Down-Low, Part 19-W,” remarking:

Much older and wiser now, I realize the weird things I witnessed on that Guadalajara, Mexico “trip” weren’t doing missionary work: My twenty-eight-year-old Mormon fundamentalist husband William Preston Tucker and his best buddy/lover Stephen Silver had brought home with them at least one gay guy they connected with at Mariachi Square that night.

Believing my idol Bill was on a pedestal — a total Mormon saint– my eighteen-year-old innocent, trusting self figured the noises wafting up from down below were Bill and his buddy trying with all their might to “get it up” … I mean, to put across the Scriptures to someone they had met while at Mariachi Square doing missionary work.

I thought they were working so “HARD” to put across the gospel concepts of Mormon fundamentalism and my uncle Joel’s “Church” — the only true church on earth — that strained noises would somehow escape! BUT That’s exactly what Bill and Steve knew their naïve women would believe. Doing missionary work was ever the cover for everything undercover in the cult.

When Bill came to bed around 3 AM that night, I approached my “HARD”-working husband to make love only to find him oddly drenched with sweat… and exhausted! It seemed so strange but I figured it was due to his strenuous efforts to preach the gospel to the new contact. So I only admired my husband all the more for his hard work!

I didn’t question because I didn’t know enough to question. I was so sure Bill was the perfect emblem of virtuousness and virtuosity– That was the image he pretentiously portrayed. Bill was the LeBaron cult’s idol: He could do no wrong … so we thought… and so many of them still think to this day.

What amazes me now is, despite the intense sexual spree Bill had obviously just finished that left him drenched with perspiration, when I approached him to make love (it never entering my mind what he just finished doing), he was still able, though barely, to roll his wasted sopping self on top of me, get it up, penetrate, and go at it again … only to finish within fifteen seconds!

Then my stocky heavy hunk whom I had been waiting and longing for all evening, fell fast asleep on top of me without a word or a kiss, his dead weight crushing my petite five-foot-two frame! More cries, grunts, and groans — but this time they weren’t coming from badass Billy! I was crushed … in more ways than one.



Part 19-Y, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
and Polygamy On The Down-Low

Me, Bill and baby, 2
My Husb William Preston Tucker, age 28, our six-month-old Asenath Marie, and age-18 me, Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron de Tucker

A Reflection: 

Is God then so ignorant of things,
so unacquainted with the human heart
that He has to find out about a man by testing him?
Of course not. It is in order that a person
may find out about himself.

There are things in a person which are
hidden from the person in whom they are.
And they won’t come out, or be opened up, or discovered,
except through tests and trials and temptations.

If God stops testing,
it means the Master is stopping teaching …
you do not know yourself unless you learn yourself
through trial, temptation, and testing. 

St. Augustine of Hippo (430 A.D.)



I left off in “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer — And Polygamy On The Down-Low, Part 19-X” relating:

When my husband Bill came to bed around 3 AM, our first night in Guadalajara, Mexico, I approached him to make love, having no idea gay Billy and his beaus had barely finished a sexual rendezvous–NO idea such things existed. He liked to keep it that way.

 I only knew I was crushed by his quick finish and even quicker falling asleep on top of me… crushed by the dead weight of his limp body I held in my arms as I struggled to breathe in between sobs while supporting his heavy muscular frame–about the only warmth I had felt from him the whole time there — or since I don’t know where. (So many times I would like to kill him now–were I not so civilized. Then I recall: He’s already dead.)

On my second day in Guadalajara with Bill, after touring some of its beautiful landmarks with Steve as our guide, Bill took me with them to eat at a swazzi French restaurant where apparently one of their handsome Mexican contacts worked as a Waiter.

Daring as ever, when this Waiter came to take our orders, Billy and Stephen spoke with him in French — using an odd pug-nosed accent! (They had learned fluent French in school and while on their Mormon French mission in the late 1950s.)

The heavy nasal twang amongst the three carried on into their Spanish conversation! I only knew a few words in Spanish. No French. But, as with other weird things I’d witnessed on this trip with these two Homo’s, I never quit wondering why they used that odd nasality. I’d never heard Bill nor Stephen speak like that before nor since…but I was never around them very much, either.

Eventually, my wondering about the strange things witnessed on this trip bore fruit. After I escaped the cult, became more educated and experienced, listened, watched, and read for answers–It helped that I had been around the block a few times too–I discovered, among other things, pug-nosed nasal speech was a secret code homosexuals used to connect.

The “connection” with the Waiter worked: That night, while climbing the loft to our bunk, Bill raised his voluminous voice and bellowed–so I would believe I was the guilty party (victimizing the victim):

“I”m not taking you anywhere else with me and Steve! I’m going to punish you for coming on this trip when I didn’t say you could! You just hopped a ride! So, for our next four nights here, you are to stay on your side of the bed. And DON’T touch me!”

Isn’t it odd: While hidden away in the big city where Billy was free to enjoy the homosexual spree, he didn’t want me … couldn’t USE me, is more like it. Narcissistic Billy’s punishing me was simply an excuse to save his sexual juices for the gay rendezvous!

But on the truck trip to and from Guadalajara, when there weren’t any gay guys but Steve to save his sex for, Bill had NO problem responding to my sexual advances — even though one of Stephen’s wives was also riding in the back of the truck with us — whichever one wasn’t sitting up front with Steve when Bill relinquished HIS envied spot to get some sleep so he could take the wheel next.

So, on our way back home to Colonia LeBaron, bisexual Bill’s punishment ended as quickly as it began! This sex addict was back to screwing my body then falling asleep on me immediately after his three-minute fuck wherein he took advantage of my nubile body and how well he fit … when he thought the other person in the back of the truck was asleep.

I was so in love with Bill and so bluffed by Bill and my Mormon fundamentalist indoctrination, I took whatever I could get whenever I could get it — which was never nearly enough nor ever often enough. All my baffled the mind knew for certain was marriage was not at all like I had been told it would be, let alone how I fantasized it would be since I was four years old.



My Memoir: Part 19-Z, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
And Polygamy On The Down-Low


Me, Bill and baby: Side views
18-year-old Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron de Tucker with 28-year-old husband William Preston Tucker and our six-month-old Asenath Marie Tucker,

Women Beware:
Philanderers are Opportunists … Big Pretenders.
They will tell anybody anything they want to hear.
How can you tell if they’re lying? Their lips are moving.

If a person will break a marriage contract,
he or she will break any contract.

A conman gains a woman’s “con”fidence,
then conjures up dishonest and illegal methods to trick her.
Womanizers are cons/sociopaths:
Like convicts, they have no respect for “The Rule of Law.”

Every lady’s man I’ve ever known
has turned out to be a con
and bisexual on the down-low.
But it takes two to tango.
Men can’t do it without a predatorial, naïve,
or wanton woman’s help.

Stephany Spencer



I left off in the last blog “My Memoir: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer– And Polygamy On The Down-Low, Part 19-Y” stating:

On our way back home to Colonia LeBaron, bisexual Bill’s punishment ended! He returned to pretending he was my loving husband taking advantage of how well he fit … if the other person in the back of the truck was probably asleep.

But how is it I ended up on this trip Bill hadn’t “specifically” said I could go on? I complained to my older sister Doris, Stephen’s plural wife, saying: “Bill still has not given me a definite answer as to whether or not I can go on the trip with him. Each time I ask him, he simply responds, ‘You can PROBABLY go. I’ll see.’ And we’re supposed to leave tomorrow!”

She quipped, “Well, the way to handle that is to have your suitcase packed so you can grab it and hop in the back of the truck just as the engine starts up and they’re about to Roll. I’ll be in the back of the truck to help you. Bill will be up in the cab with Stephen so you’ll be well on your way to Guadalajara and my house before Bill knows you’ve made up his mind for him!

“I’ll let you know what time they plan to leave in the morning. We’ll sure teach Bill to give you a definite answer in the future so you’ll know whether or not to get a babysitter and be packed and ready to go!” 

As it turned out, I had my suitcase packed and was at the truck when Bill came to get in. Being concerned about how he looked to others, Bill put out his hand and graciously helped me get on the truck –along with my luggage. So he inadvertently gave me permission to go. His saying he didn’t simply showed lack of integrity –as did his blaming me for his own doing’s.

Day after day, as the time for Bill’s trip to Guadalajara had approached, he had left me up in the air … dangling. Didn’t bother to let me off the hook. Kept pretending he was going to take me with him when he really had no intentions (I now realize) of being with anyone but Stephen and the Gay life in Guadalajara.

Stephen, who had been living and working there for a while, had so raved about life in that city. But he had me believing he was raving about beautiful Guadalajara and its cultural life. Apparently, he never let on to anyone but Bill it was the Gay life there he was raving about!

Oddly enough, Bill was not taking either of his other two wives on this five-day trip. And it was definitely my turn, long since, to go on a trip with him! But as usual, once on the trip, Bill made sure I wouldn’t much enjoy it and wouldn’t be able to develop any intimacy with him.

Now I realize whenever he did not take one of his wives on a trip he was going on, it was because he wanted to be with a boyfriend — or alone in the dark fucking “bushes” in the park.

He didn’t want to be with me, as young, beautiful, and sexy as others said I was — “A ten on the ‘Richter’ scale,” according to my Artist brother-in-law Sigfried Widmar. “Any man would be proud to walk with you on his arm,” he added. Almost every Plyg in town wanted to!

But Bill did not need nor love me. Unless he could use women to his advantage, they were not his preference, I realize now. He was a Big Pretender–a charmer, a womanizer who said one thing, did another — An Opportunist who would tell a person anything they wanted to hear — such as “I love you.” How could you tell if he was lying? His lips were moving.

But Bill was further put off by me because I didn’t “bite”–  didn’t respond when his lesbian wives tried to bring me into “the family” –even at Bill’s behest. I was totally naïve and unaware of what the advances of his wives meant. Didn’t know lesbianism existed. Even had I known, I would’ve believed it was a terrible sin. So it was nothing I would ever want to be involved in– if ONLY because I was not sexually attracted to women.

The whole five years I was with Bill, I didn’t know such things as menages a trois existed — far less that some families in Mormon Fundamentalism participated in threesomes and group sex behind closed doors. I mean very closed. Because it was very against our religion!

*(Continued in my memoir: “Pt 20-A: Ma, Pa, Me, and Polygamy On-the-Down-Low”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

PART 1

My Memoir:
My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

 

My Maternal Grandparents:
Maud Lucinda McDonald & Alma Dayer LeBaron



“Mother! For love of thee it was begun;
In thy most honored name today ’tis done.
And though all earthly cares must cease
In that fair land of everlasting peace,
Love aye is one, and they who love are one;
Time cannot end what God in time begun;
And thou wilt joy e’en in thine endless rest,
To know thy child obeys thy last behest”

A Nameless Nobleman
Jane G. Austin 1881*
*(I was told Jane Goodwin Austin is a great-grand-daughter a-number-of-places-removed of Dr. Francis LeBaron, and is my distant cousin.)





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

 Pretty City-Chick

The following is
A Hee-ha Comedy Song —
A Bi
t o’ Bio in Verse,
Fer Better er Worse —
With Truth ‘n’ Exaggeration
Interspersed:

Pretty City-Chick
(By Stephany Spencer C 2016)

Hey, they say
I’m a pretty city-chick.
And Hillbilly music
makes some sick,
But my Hillbilly ways
Are here to stick;
So we may as well
Get over it —
And join in
And sing a bit,
‘Cause I’m a city-chick,
But shit-kickin’ music
is my shtick.
Born in Mexican sticks
in 1946.
I’ve dual citizenship,
And now I’m a city chick.

I’m an all-American-mongrel,
Apple-pie girl
 —
Hines-57 mixed-up mutt,
With apple pie stickin’
To my butt ’n’ gut;
But red-necked
Reactionary ignoramuses

Ain’t my thing.
I came for music
And to sing!

Yeah, I’m an
All-American-Mexican,
Scotch-Irish “Mick”
,
With Welch ’n’ English,
So, sure, I’m a Brit;
With French, German,
And Mohawk Indian a bit.

If there’s no Tom Slick
Hidin’ in the pit,
Far as I know,
That’s about it —
That’s my story
And I’m shtickin’ to it!

My father was
A proud Veteran
Of World War I.
Those Vets were
Well-appreciated
For what they’d done!

Pa was an artist, creative,
And Jack-of-all-trades;
Master of a few —
Good at so many things,
There was little
He couldn’t do.

Ma was a creative,
Author and artist,
thru ’n’ thru;
Poet, performer,
Trained concert pianist —
Whew!

She loved to discuss
Religious principles, too,
And read religious Lit,
Old and new —
Long as it agreed
With what she
Already “knew.”
She graduated with a BA
In Journalism too;
Quite an accomplishment
‘Cause Mom was sixty-two!

She was runnin’ me
Competition then,
For I was still in College too,
Strugglin’ to make it up
From the cult
She’d put me thru …
If she only knew!

But her motto was:
Anything you can do,
I can do better;
I can do anything
Better than you!”
(And she meant it too!)

Refrain:
 Hey, they call me  
“Pretty city-chick;”
Though Hillbilly music
Makes some sick,
My Hillbilly ways
Are here to stick;
So you may as well
“Git” over it
And join in
And sing a bit!
‘Cause I’m a hip chick,
And shit-kickin’ music
Is my shtick.

Born in Mexican sticks
In 1946,
I’ve dual citizenship
And that’s pretty hip.
Well, that’s my story,
And I’m shtickin’ to it;
I’m pretty city-chick.

(By Stephany Spencer C 2015)



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

 





PART 2
My Memoir:
My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

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


“My mother was the source
from which I derived
the guiding principles of my life.”
John Wesley



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART 3
My Memoir:
My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

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

“Mother is the bank where we deposit
all our hurts and worries.”
Author unknown



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART 4
My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

LeBaron homestead.jpeg
Mama’s home in Colonia Juraez, Chihuahua, México

“God could not be everywhere,
so he made mothers.”
 (old Jewish proverb)



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART 5
My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

IMG_6326
My beautiful mother, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

 

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



“My mama is so good to me,
She works for me each day,
So She can buy me food and clothes,
And many toys for play.
I love my mama,
Yes, I do, my mama good and kind;
And if I looked and looked,
No better mama could I find.”
(Author unknown — Children’s song)




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



PART 6
My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

ma at 14
My mama, Esther LeBaron-McDonald, at age 14


“People are what their mothers make them.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



PART 7
My Mama, Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer

ma's face
My pretty Mama (Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART 8
My Mama: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer–
And the Perils of Polygamy 

IMG_6337
Grandpa LeBaron’s second wife, Aunt Onie, and their six children


“It is not our exalted feelings,
it is our sentiments that build
the necessary home.”

Elizabeth Bowen



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



PART 9
My Mama: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer–
And the Perils of Polygamy

ma in pink skirt, 1
My mama, Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer

“The mother-child relationship is paradoxical,
and in a sense, tragic.
It requires the most intense love
on the mother’s side,

yet this very love must help the child
grow away from the mother,
and to become fully independent.”
Erich Fromm



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART 10
My Mama: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer —
And the Perils of Polygamy

ma sitting, 2 1
Mama, Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer, & grandchild

 One-of-a-kind: M-O-M
Out of all the Mothers in the world,
you’re one-of-a-kind; 
So thanks, Mom!
No better mama could I find!
Rebecca Germany
and Stephany Spencer


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART 11
My Memoir:
My Mama: Esther LeBaron McDonald de Spencer: Ma Meets Pa …
Or Was It the Other Way Around? 

dad, 18 5
My daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer, around 1917


History will be kind to me for
I intend to write it.

Winston Spencer Churchill



“It was love at first sight!” exclaimed Mama. “When I first met your Pa, he was up on the roof, in sunny Mesa, Arizona, helpin’ my brother Alma reroof my brother Ben’s house. The year was 1943, I was about twenty-three, ‘n’ in my second year at Tempe University — And quite sure I didn’t want to live polygamy. But all that changed when I met yer pa: I knew, the minute I saw him, he was the man I was supposed to marry!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART 12

 

My parents: Esther LeBaron-McDonald & Floyd Otto Spencer

Home Sweet Home

Chorus:
Home! Home!
Sweet, sweet home!
There’s no place like home —
There’s no place like home

Verses:
‘Mid pleasures and palaces,
Though I may roam,
Be it ever so humble,
There’s no place like home.

A charm from the sky
Seems to hallow us there,
Which seek thro’ the world,
Is ne’er met with elsewhere

To thee, I’ll return,
Overburdened with care;
The heart’s dearest solace
Will smile on me there

No more from that cottage
Again I will roam;
Be it ever so humble,
There’s no place like home.

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART 13

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


“Home is the place where,
when you have to go there,
t
hey have to take you in.”
Robert Frost



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

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

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

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

After future Pa’s conversion to Mormon fundamentalism, it wasn’t long before he and future Ma were lovers; and even sooner, snuggled up in the bed of/ the back of Pa’s pick-up truck, with Uncle Ben — or Uncle Alma? — in the cab at the wheel, hitting the unpaved rocky rutted road at top speed, while the vehicle bounced ‘n’ bumped up-‘n’-down (‘n’ humped ‘n’ pumped?) as they sped along towards the Mormon town, Colonia Juarez, Mexico — so Pa could get permission from Ma’s pa to marry Ma — while they were still hopefully chaste?! Hmmm! (I would’ve loved to have gone along for the ride!)

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

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

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

While at it, she obtained a Restraining Order … barring him from their kids.(Tears!) So Daddy never saw his youngest children again till they were in their mid to late teens. I was fourteen at the time and present when he met his two youngest for the first time since they were babies. Daddy had to pull a lot of strings behind Eva’s back to see them. And felt lucky they got to meet at all! They had been so turned against him, it wasn’t a warm welcome, only a short reunion … but better than no reunion.




PART 14

dad-collage
A collage of Daddy’s two families, et Al


“That which does not kill you
will make you stronger.”
Nietche



Let us backtrack to the previous blog where my “future ma and pa” lay … or sat … on a makeshift bed of blankets in the back of “future Papa’s” pickup truck. The blankets padded their backs and butts as they bounced and bumped along in a rough ‘n’ rickety ride over 1940s rutted roads in their 1940s vehicle that soon left Mesa, Arizona far behind, as they bounded for the Mexican border making lickety-split time!

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

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

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

But they had another important reason for going there: There was a certain so-‘n’-so (Was his name is Nathan Clark?* His name was kept secret so he wouldn’t get in trouble with the church or law) — a priesthood member in high standing in the LDS church who lived in that colony. He held the keys to “temple sealings/ celestial marriage.”

Though a member in good standing in the LDS church, he continued to perform Plural Marriages in secret — even though, ever since The Manifesto of 1890, Plural Marriage had been condemned and outlawed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

My future parents, Esther and Floyd, easily obtained permission from Mother’s father to marry, though her parents weren’t happy she was marrying a man over twice her age  — who already had “one foot in the grave” … as my maternal grandma liked to put it.

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, what travesties and travails life doth present us … And how much of our pain and sorrow do we bringeth upon ourselves because, though we may think we are doing what is right, we are, in reality, keeping our fingers on a hot stove by doing what’s wrong.

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

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

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


*Was his name is Nathan Clark? Or was it a different person who sealed my parents in marriage? To anyone reading my blog who knows the answer to this, I would really appreciate it if you would let me know … in my “Comments” box.

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

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

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

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



PART 15

Dad 51+
My daddy, Floyd Otto Spencer

 

“Home isn’t home anymore.”
(from Olivia Newton John’s song)



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



PART 16

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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




PART 17

family, all but sharon
1964 LeBaron–Spencer family photo (one Sis not in Pic)

“A wise man learns from other man’s experience.
A fool cannot learn even from his own.”
Will Durant


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



Part 18

man-in-bed-with-three-women
Bigamy Is “BIG LOVE” Literally

One’s a plenty, two’s a crowd,
Three on the sidewalk
Is not allowed.”
(Anonymous)
(But have you noticed in “Big Love”
They may be doing it behind your back …
As in behind closed doors?
Step on a crack
And try to keep track!)
Stephany Spencer-
LeBaron


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few quotes from polygamous wives:

“Here was my husband,” she said, “gray-headed, taking to his bed young girls in mockery of marriage. Of course, there could be no joy for him in such an intercourse except the indulgence of his fanaticism and of something else, perhaps, which I hesitate to mention.”
-Sarah Pratt speaking of her husband, the apostle Orson Pratt who dated a 16-year-old girl (and then married her) when he was 57. (Van Wagoner 1986, pp. 92)

“God will be very cruel if he does not give us poor women adequate compensation for the trials we have endured in polygamy.”
Mary Ann Angell Young, Brigham Young’s second wife

“I would never have been sealed to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me, by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.”
-Helen Mar Kimball, Mormon Polygamy: A History, p. 53

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

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

 

~ Memoir Poem: A Letter to My Art Teacher — And 6th-8th Grade Artwork

 

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


 

*The following picture elicited the poem
“A Letter to My Art Teacher.”


my-art-xmas

This is a poem I wrote to Mr. Webb, my Hurricane Jr. High eighth-grade Art teacher (because he said he was going to lower the grade on our Christmas-scene assignment if he saw erasures!)

I always got an “A” on my art work. But was very worried I would end up with a “B” on the picture you see below because I had to erase a number of times in an effort to correct the airplane wings. I didn’t succeed, as you can see! But the strong emotion involved in the whole project elicited the following poem: “A Letter to My Art Teacher:

Dear Mr. Webb:

If you’ll take mercy on my age,
You’ll excuse the mistakes on this page;
But look at it and like it not,
The blood in my veins will be running hot!

I thought and I drew to get an “A,”
And I expected it to be that way.
The smudges and the creases that you see
Were made because I didn’t want a “B.”

Don’t see the badness; the goodness instead.
I drew it all with a pencil lead.
The idea didn’t come from brain,
But I drew it’s all just the same.

Isn’t it wonderful? I think it is.
The dolly was made for sister Liz;
The drum was made in honor of Ted —
He does so admire purple and red.

The rest was made because the idea was that way;
I think it’s the very image of a Christmas Day.
I know, myself, the airplane is queer,
But to leave it out would ruin the design so dear.

Of course, if you don’t give me an “A,”
It only means you didn’t see it that way.
But I spent a very long time on it.
For hours it seems that I did sit,
Trying to make the whole scene perfect.

If you knew how hard it was to do,
You’d take mercy on my age —
My inexperience too;
You’d think of it my way,
And in your grade book
 You’d mark another “A.”


Note: It seems my lyrical letter worked:
Mr. Webb gave me an “A.”
Then wrote a little poem of his own to say:

You’ve been an outstanding student every day;
Your pictures are good and well worth an ‘A’.”
Mr. Webb
(That made my day!)

(The following is the original poem, written on the back of the above picture. Following this handwritten lyrical letter are some of the pictures I did in art classes, from ages twelve through fourteen.)

 

my-art-poem-to-art-teacher

 

my-art-girl-in-sweater

 

my-art-girl-model

 

 

my-art-blonde

 

my-art-airplane-1

 

my-art-moonlight

 

my-art-stormy-weather

 

 

 

my-art-cave

 

 

my-art-my-clothes

my-art-comic-strip

 

my-art-bull

 

my-art-bookcase-1

 

 

my-art-boy-fails

 

 

my-art-fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

my-art-snowman

 

 

my-art-squiglies

 

 

 

my-art-witch

 

 

 

 

my-art-pilgrim-indian

 

 

 

my-art-child

 

 

scan

 

 

 

 

my-art-jackolantern

 

~ My Memoir: Chapter 1, My House of Cards

 





newborn-baby-on-an-arm




The Cards of Life

Life dealt me cards — I played my hand
With confidence — I had it planned …
When, later, life revealed the score
It shook me to my very core!
I wondered then — still wonder now:
Could I have changed my life somehow?
And — if life dealt this hand again —
Would I repeat my life of pain?
Or would my hand, ignoring me,
Repeat this life and destiny?
Hiding in a Cave of Trunks
By Ester Benjamin Shifren
2012

@@@@@@

I learned that even when
life deals you a bad hand,
you can still have a happy life
if you are willing to take a chance
and put the past behind you.”
Illegitimate
Brian Mackert
2008

@@@@@@



 Intro
I was born some time ago,
Away out in the sticks,
In a valley of old Mexico,
In nineteen forty-six.

By the time I was eleven,
We were a family of twelve;
For everything I ever got,
I had to dig and delve.
by Beulah Stephany Spencer
1959, age 13

(*See my other four or five Blogs/ poems on this topic — to see/ read the rest of this Memoir poem. These poems usually begin with “Bio in Verse,” or some such rapacious title. I wrote a number of renditions — take-offs from the above two stanzas.)

 



Chapter 1                         My House of Cards                                 12/6/2016

My troubles all started when I was born … Actually, while I was being born. It seems from the moment I entered the “tunnel/canal” that leads to this world, I began suffering pain. And gave my mother a lot of undue pain, tears, and stitches, too — leaving her with scars, both figuratively and physically:

For I was born a “breach” baby. That is, I came butt first, “bass-ackwards, and upside down.” One could only wonder what would come next, then, in the cards for me — what next “breach” of contract or unexpected event I would bring with me — or life had in store for me.

One didn’t have to wonder long — The cards continued to be dealt. When the midwife found I was coming breach, she worriedly and hurriedly sent for the town’s noted obstetrician, Dr. Hector Reyes Tirada. By the time he arrived, there wasn’t a minute left to wait, for Mother had begun to fully dilate. Therefore, expediency was of the essence:

Once any part of a baby’s body has been in touch with oxygen more than twenty-five minutes, it begins to breathe. It would strangle to death if not delivered in time. Therefore, after sterilizing his hands, and though twenty-five-year-old Mother screamed — out of her mind with excruciating pain as he tore her — Dr. Reyes rapidly and urgently forced his huge expert hand up into Mother’s small birth canal. (You see, he had to quickly turn me around in her womb so he could gather me up by my feet and pull me out safely without breaking my neck.)

The miracle is he succeeded. That was a good card! He didn’t have to pull me apart to get me out — which actually sometimes happens in such “breach” home deliveries. But Mother didn’t fare so well. I’m not sure you want me to go into the details, so I won’t. Other than to tell you that she was in bed with phlebitis/”milk leg” for the next six months, due to complications from this birth.

Needless to say, breach births create a very painful and dangerous delivery — especially for the mother! But to add to our pain, the doctor was holding me upside down by the feet, slapping my tiny bare bottom, and crying loudly, in his accented English, “Breathe!! Breathe!!!”

Having just been pulled through a too-tight tunnel into a world of hell, I didn’t want to breathe. But it wasn’t just that trauma. The minute it was announced I was a girl, suddenly I heard a boomeranging, ill-tempered male voice taking the Lord’s name in vain as he vehemently cursed, “ God dammit!! Another girl!!  Breathe!! Dammit, breathe!!”  

NOTE: See my Blog and poem posted October 2016, “I Entered the World Foot First,” for more of the details concerning this part of my story. But for my present purposes, the above paragraph stands as my first example of how Mormon fundamentalist fanatics often preach one thing while doing another.

For example, they claim to totally want and value all the many babies they have, —“all those little spirit children up in heaven just waiting to come to good Mormon fundamentalist homes.” That is their ideal — their ideology. But in reality, they aren’t as righteous and forthright as they let on they are — or convince themselves they are.

Add to this that from the day I was born, I never was a favorite in my father’s eyes, and it wasn’t just because I was not a boy: I was literally and vociferously “cursed,” you might say, right from the start! (I’ve always kind of thought so … or wondered … sometimes. But all my cards haven’t been bad, by any means. So that leaves me to wonder some more. Hmmmmm!

You shall hear what I mean, in my upcoming blogs, when I tell some of my earliest memories of being raised a “Saint” — just more contradictions and ironies to come, that is, wherein my seemingly pious parents said one thing while doing another. E.g., Daddy commonly used profanity; i.e., He broke the commandment that says,”Thou shalt not take the Lord, thy God’s name in vain.”

But in his/their self-righteousness, he/they did not see nor acknowledge their contradictions … nor have the integrity nor strength to even admit it to themselves, often — all the while claiming to be Saints when they were really just humans. 

The hypocrisy was palpable! And their shadow-self hidden even from themselves. They were taught that they were God’s chosen people; therefore, were better than others — especially if they lived God’s highest laws: Plural marriage and not practicing birth control. They were going to “the highest degree of glory” for sure then!

Mormons believe Heaven consists of three degrees of glory, and each of these is broken down into three more degrees of glory — the highest degree being called the “Celestial Kingdom.” The middle degree is called the “Terrestrial Kingdom,” and Hell is called the “Telestial Kingdom.”

I was taught we Mormon fundamentalists were fore-ordained to return to heaven — that only all those people “out in the wicked world” — those who didn’t convert to Mormon fundamentalism and live God’s highest laws — would be excluded from heaven … due to their wickedness.

It was a double bind because at the same time my parents and our leaders taught this, I, for one, was constantly excoriated to the point I felt I was born to go to hell. Such inconsistencies in the belief system’s practices versus their teachings were and are problematic in themselves.

My parents and other Mormon fundamentalists were unable to understand or accept their shadow side. They have no idea they even had a shadow side. Such a concept certainly didn’t fit the beliefs handed down to them by their prophets. So they tried to hide their downsides, slip-ups, and sins. They were ashamed and afraid of their “shadow“/ their dark side.” But did bad things anyway … and covered them up by projecting their faults onto others, while pretending to be perfect themselves; i.e., Saints.

They fooled most people. But hindsight shows me the people who pretended to be most righteous were actually living the most sinful secret lives — all the more sinful because they pretended to be perfect saints living the Gospel.

Heavy religious social pressures within a sect, as they demand perfection of their conscientious members, may elicit this two-facedness — for the members’ survival, if nothing else.

But social misfits and imposters also use this guise of perfection within a  group to get away with things like rape, pedophilia, and you name it. You shall hear what I mean as my story unfolds in future blogs.

* Continued in “My Memoir” blogs. 


~ My Memoir Introduction: I Was Born a “Saint”– a Slave!

INTRODUCTION


shack-with-fence-and-windmills

I was born some time ago,
Way out in the sticks,
In a valley of old Mexico,
In 1946.
(So begins my saga.)



     

I am conscious that my narrative
savers of incredibility:

The fault is in the subject,
not in the narrator.”
~The City of the Saints,
By Richard F. Burton,
1861
*(quote borrowed from Irving Wallace’s
outstanding biography,

The Twenty-Seventh Wife”)
1961

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



  The Cards of Life

Life dealt me cards — I played my hand
With confidence — I had it planned …
When, later, life revealed the score
It shook me to my very core!
I wondered then — still wonder now:
Could I have changed my life somehow?
And — if life dealt this hand again —
Would I repeat my life of pain?
Or would my hand, ignoring me,
Repeat this life and destiny?
Hiding in a Cave of Trunks”
By Ester Benjamin Shifren
2012

@@@@@@




I learned that even when life deals you a bad hand,
you can still have a happy life if you are willing
to take a chance and put the past behind you.”
~Illegitimate
Brian Mackert
2008



       



  December 10, 2016

In four months I will turn 71, and it will be the 50th anniversary of my 1967 escape from living “The Principle” (plural marriage/ polygamy) in the now largely extinct bizarre,  backward, dangerous Mormon fundamentalist LeBaron cult that was headquartered in Colonia LeBaron, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico.

I was born and raised a fourth-generation Mormon polygamist — “polygamist” meaning anyone who believes in and lives polygamy. My great-great-grandfather, Benjamin F. Johnson, a bright and gifted writer, was one of the self-proclaimed Prophet Joseph Smith’s personal Scribes, starting at the tender age of eighteen. (Joseph Smith also sealed him to himself as a son! So in a roundabout way, that makes Joseph Smith my Great-grandfather, three places removed!)

That’s the most prestigious bloodline one can come by if one is Mormon. Mother didn’t mince beans about letting me and my thirteen siblings know we were “part of the royal blood” — and she held her head high as she proclaimed we were of this enviable hierarchy.

Actually, we came by way of “Royal Bloodlines” in more ways than one: We Spencers are also related, through my father, to Princess Diana Spencer, Winston Spencer Churchhill, the two Pres. Bush families — and other such.

We even could have been children of the self-proclaimed prophet, the late Rulon Jeff’s: While Mother was single, in the early 1940s, and living in Utah, she dated polygamist Rulon Jeffs, father of the now incarcerated, infamous FLDS leader, Warren Jeffs!

As my youngest sister Lenora (born on my wedding day!) likes to facetiously say,”Warren Jeffs could’ve been another brother by another mother!” And I like to retort, “We also could’ve been his sister by a different Mister!” (Heaven forbid!)

Even more ironic, when you consider how “royal” our blood is, is Mother’s brother and my once beloved Uncle Ervil is the now-deceased infamous criminal known to the world as the “Mormon Manson,” or “Evil Ervil” LeBaron — or the past “Mormon Mafiosoand Malevolent Dictator of the now-extinct Lebaron Crime Family.

Uncle Ervil was, at one time, the all-powerful, priestcraft-working, cult-creating Uncle whom I had been taught, as a kid and member of the cult, stood as “The Second Grand Head” — next only to my Uncle Joel, the self-proclaimed prophet of “The Church of the First Born.”

I had known, loved, feared, revered, and respected Uncle Ervil — before his scandalous schizophrenic psychosis and sociopathic psychopathy worsened, leading him completely and hopelessly off the deep end.

Another unusual coincidence is that my Aunt Irene LeBaron Spencer, best-selling author of the Memoir, “Shattered Dreams,” used as her second book’s cover (“Cult Insanity“– A book about Uncle Ervil, et Al, and the LeBaron cults) a photograph I took of Uncle Ervil holding my daughter when she was eight years old — before I knew he was a paranoid schizophrenic and psychopath.

You can view this photograph that’s now on her book cover. See Aunt Irene’s book, “Cult Insanity,” in my Menu under “Media on Some of My Extended Family.” Uncle Ervil’s then right-hand man, my brother-in-law Dan Jordan, is also in the picture.

I took this picture of them in 1972 when I was still a student at UCLA. The two had come to my home, at Mother’s request, to go with me to the US Immigration Office to bear witness that I was indeed an American.

I needed to get my US citizenship papers in order to become a public schoolteacher in the United States. I was born in old Mexico of American parents but they didn’t register my birth with the US Embassy in Mexico. So now I was having to verify my citizenship in order to get these needed legal documents.

 I had no idea, when Uncle Ervil LeBaron and my brother-in-law Dan Jordan came to my home, they were at that very moment plotting the murder of people such as my Uncle Joel LeBaron, my Uncle Ervil’s own brother and the self-proclaimed “Prophet” of their backward, isolated Chihuahuan-desert cult I had escaped from five years earlier.

I consider myself lucky these two sociopaths/ psychopaths (my brother-in-law Dan Jordan and my Uncle Ervil LeBaron) didn’t kill me during that visit — I being a “daughter of perdition” for having abandoned their so-called church.

I think all that saved me is, even though I fled my uncle Joel’s and Ervil’s cult five years earlier, Uncle Ervil held a fantasy I was actually going to go to all the trouble to get my Bachelor’s Degree and Teaching Credential, then return to his cult to teach “the Saints,” for free, of course — as I had from ages fourteen to nineteen. Well, thanks but no thanks!

I had started teaching in the LeBaron colony shortly after my family repatriated to Mexico in 1960 to live again in LeBaron, a colony my maternal grandfather Dayer LeBaron had started, built on land my father and mother left him when they returned to the United States. I was only one year old then. I was fourteen when my family returned again to live in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.

It was seven years later when I managed to escape from the LeBaron cult to return to the United States. That was rather a miracle in itself. But then I miraculously entered a Junior College in Los Angeles within five months after I made it out of the cult! I was twenty-one, at the time, penniless, had a three-year-old child — and only six years of formal education!

When Uncle Ervil came to my apartment in 1972, I was in my fifth year of struggling through college on little education and less money — struggling to get a college degree and a teaching credential so I could get a job as a public school teacher.

Though I loved teaching and wanted to be a teacher, I sure never, ever was going to get stuck barefoot and pregnant again in Colonia LeBaron teaching for free — like I had before. But Uncle Ervil didn’t know what was going on in my mind. That may be why I lived to tell about it!

Going back to where I was before I digressed, as I said previously, the reason Uncle Ervil, bringing along with him his sidekick Dan Jordan, had come to LA was to testify before Officials at the US Immigration Office that I was indeed an American citizen — born in Mexico of American parents.

Uncle Ervil thus helped me get my Citizenship papers in order so I could obtain my Teaching Credential and be able to teach in the US. It was a God-send he did this for me, given that I was considered in his eyes an “apostate.” Apostates are generally left to die by family, relatives, and the rest of the cult. For it is said they have left “the truth.”

Leaving “the truth” was synonymous with turning my back on God and His all-important “Church,” to join hands with the devil. Such people were considered in their eyes to be “the biggest dangers to ‘the Lord’s work’ because they had once known the truth and turned their back on it.” That catchphrase is an understatement and a “glittering generality” used to create a smoke screen so people wouldn’t suspect what they were really up to.

Now I know I have to take understatements, such as that glittering generality above and re-word them. For example, a number of them were involved in illegal activities. They cloaked their illegal activities under the guise of the glittering generality, “We are doing the Lord’s work.

Another favorite “cloak” and glittering generality they used to cover their secret activities (especially from children or outsiders) was,” We’re doing missionary work,” or “We’re going on a mission,” or “We’re preaching the gospel to these people.”

For example, when I was a kid, my mother used those terms from time to time, as she locked us out of the house (while Daddy was out of town) so she could do “missionary work” (in the missionary position?! LOL!) with some man she was attracted to — and vice versa.

It worked really well because we kids were so indoctrinated as to the perfection of our parents, and the importance of “spreading the gospel, being Saints, and doing what was right,” that it would never have entered our minds that they were doing what was wrong, rather than what was right; i.e., they were not actually preaching the gospel, like they pretended to be doing.

It was years before I realized such statements as “Apostates are the biggest threat to the Lord’s work and the building up of the kingdom of God” were but cover-ups, smokescreens, and understatement for their real fears: Underhanded people in cults greatly fear people who leave their “Church” because they know too much. For example, they know about at least some of the illegal activities done and justified in the name of “bleeding the beast” “to build up God’s kingdom.”

Yes, people like me who leave such a cult “know too much.” And I definitely did “know too much,” though I didn’t realize it at the time. If I want to take my life in my own hands, I may explain to you later what I mean by “knowing too much.” Meanwhile, you can read between the lines.

But going back to my family being related to the “royal bloodlines,” that Mother was so proud to be related to, to be sure, Uncle Ervil (along with his fourteen wives and sixty-something children) was also related to these “royal bloodlines” and very proud of it — as were all his wives, children, and posterity. Quite an irony, yes? You might say I’m getting it from both ends! But as one of Uncle Ervil’s children told me recently, “You can’t choose your family, relatives, nor bloodline.”

Everybody I have told my story to over the past fifty years has said to me,”Your story would make a good movie. You must write a book! If you do, I will buy it. Let me know when it is published.”

I have not written it, until now, because it was not safe for me to tell the truth I wished to write. Only if I could tell the whole truth, did I wish to write my story. It is still not safe. I can’t tell the whole story without compromising my safety and lifestyle. But at long last, I have begun getting this book out that has been building and simmering on my back burners (within) since 1967 when I escaped the Mormon fundamentalist religion/cult I was raised in.

But at long last, I have begun getting this book out that has been building and simmering on my back burner since 1967 when I escaped the Mormon fundamentalist religion I was raised in.

Another reason I have not written my book until now is that for the first fifty years after fleeing the extremist Mormon fundamentalist sect, and thus all my family, friends and foundation there, it was too painful to dwell for long on my past life in that “Church.”

It depressed me so much that I couldn’t write a book on my past even if I had felt my present status and security wouldn’t be compromised by publishing my truth about that past.

I have journaled regularly from age nine till the present day -– did an awful lot of stream-of-consciousness writing. Therapists say that is what kept me from “going under” all these years.

But some may beg to differ. They will tell you that I am crazy/odd/unique/strange/ weird! To such comments, I say, “If only all my writing, reading self-help books, and talking to the occasional therapist could’ve saved me even more from the ravages of my despotic, cultic upbringing! And if only my life could’ve been normal!”

People have enough to deal with and overcome in life without all the deprivations, devastations, and privations that are added to it by being raised in a backward, isolated, cult background.

For starters, it’s very discouraging and humiliating to be seen by others as odd, weird, crazy, different, backward, naïve, gullible, unsophisticated, a country bumpkin, poorly educated, a Plyg — and so on and so forth.

One vain person even jeered as he told me, “You can take the girl out of the mountain, but you can’t take the mountain out of the girl.” All this and more I have had to endure over the years — Even people making fun of my Tex-mex drawl. But there is a bully born every moment. When I take a good look at the people grinding me under, I find their words tell more about them than about me — in every case. And this is so in life.

But as for writing my Memoirs, all I’m sure of is, given a choice of leisure-time activities, writing was and still is likely my first choice, despite how time-consuming and how much work it is. I enjoy writing. I especially like the creative aspect of it.

Through writing, I find company when my isolation and loneliness is otherwise unbearable. And there I unwind from the anxiety, tiredness, and tensions of the day, gain insight and find answers through the inspiration that comes from my “writing meditation” — my deep thinking.

There I cathart (“thot-fart”), find solace, am my own best friend and companion — my mind, my muse, and I … There I unravel the pains, plans, and mysteries of my past as well as my present journey towards self-actualization and individuation. There I grow and develop as I ponder each breakthrough — each step of my awakening into this “brave new world.”

While journaling, I also compare my new insights and experiences with the drama, trauma, and brainwashing of my past. And in my writing, I celebrate and come to better understand each epiphany and step I encounter in my exciting adventure as I look through my new window — my new “looking glass” on the world — and reflect on the past and present.

Actually, like Alice in Wonderland, when I was seventeen and still in the cult, I too, looked through a “looking glass;” i.e., a different window, saw a new window on the world and was catapulted through it and out of that tunnel vision — as well as the tunnel I had been raised in. Yes, I fell right through that new and open window, and out of my secluded cult tunnel into this “foreign world-USA” I have been progressively making my way through ever since.

During my first few years in this new world, I questioned whether I had done the right thing — whether I had indeed been turned over to “the buffetings of Satan” and his wicked world. The longer I was away from the cult and the more I took a good look at what was happening there, the more I was confident that I had made the right decision in 1967 when I fled “God’s only true church,” as the cult calls it.

Many of my past life’s experiences and the brainwashing of growing up in a cult had blocked my feelings and thoughts. Writing helped and is still helping me unblock these feelings and the mind control, thus allowing me to gradually move ahead in my life’s journey, free and unencumbered.

It is through my journaling — and now this blogging and book-writing too — that I assimilate all. Like taking notes in a college course, I compare each new idea, feeling, and insight with the dogma and experiences of my past -– the craziness of the cult I was finally able to escape –- escape from in person, at least.

But try as I may, I have not been able to thoroughly escape from its bind on my subconscious, my persona, and my life. To completely escape my cult-created backwardness, damage, wrong teachings, and other wrongs is one of my fervent goals.

At least it gives me something to live for when all else seems hapless, helpless, and hopeless. And old age threatens to devour me before I’ve even half-fulfilled my hopes, dreams, and goals.

As an aside, I understand the ACLU requests we don’t call the extremist sect I escaped from a “cult.” Also that we don’t say “I escaped,” and was “brainwashed,” for fear we may offend those who belong to what I managed to finally escape!

But my opinion is that such words as “cult” are the truth it takes to jolt -– to help awaken the mind-controlled, brainwashed, true-believing people continuing to be born into and bound by the grips of these Mormon-Fundamentalist doomsday cults. If we can’t use some social pressure, what hope have we to stop this vice vehemently invading our quite-unaware world?

The “political correctness” protectionism of being unable to call it a cult, etc., only helps to reinforce and propagate the captivity of the many born into bondage and White slavery in Mormon fundamentalist religious organizations — that, by the way, are growing by leaps and bounds as I speak, due to polygamy, child bride marriages, mind control measures, and not practicing birth control.

Of course, those embondaged by Mormon fundamentalism are the ones least likely to read what I write. Therefore, I mainly write for those who have managed to get out and are looking for backup material to further assure them they did the right thing by leaving.

And I write for people who want to learn and become more aware. But I especially write for escapees of Mormon fundamentalist groups who are looking for more understanding as to what happened to them in their cult, and why.

I write, as well, for all Mormon fundamentalist sects who are looking for more information on how they can better make it in this “foreign land:” The United States of America; i.e., the normal world they have found themselves in. I hope reading my story of success and redemption, upon having escaped radical Mormonism, will help Mormon fundamentalist cult escapees better make it in their own new existence.

It took me years of University courses, other reading, counseling with therapists, and simply living free from Mormon Fundamentalism before I could stand back and realize what I had grown up in was nothing but a cult. It helped me immensely to understand that! Because then I could better see that I had done the right thing, at age twenty-one, to get out while I could.

And it helped me to know that I had definitely made the right choice — despite being warned that I’d be damned and turned over to the “buffetings of Satan” if I even dared question the words of the prophet, let alone dared  leave “the truth/the church;” i.e., The Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times, and Mormon Fundamentalism.

The Sociological definition of “cult” is: “A body of religious rites and practices associated with the worship or propitiation of a particular divinity or group of supernatural beings.”

Also: A religious group and way of life that secludes its members from the world so much so that they are unable to fit into normal society. 

The American Heritage Dictionary describes “Cult” as being a religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living communally under an authoritarian, charismatic leader.

That said, I believe that if it looks like, feels like, and rattles like a snake, it is a Diamond Back/ a “cult”! Who are we kidding?! Why call it by any other name? Besides, where is my right to freedom of speech?

And how do we warn or make aware those who could benefit from our observations and experience if we can only cover up for and placate the vice that the Mormon Fundamentalists have already been too adept at perpetrating? To pretend they are not a cult is doing just that: It’s helping to perpetuate the many evils of the Mormon fundamentalist sects.

For example, Mormon fundamentalist sects perpetrate and perpetuate: Lawlessness, being laws onto themselves, Pedophilia, Polygamy, White slavery, Welfare Fraud, Child Labor, Child Abuse, Child Trafficking, Racketeering — and much more, all in the guise of “An alternative lifestyle full of Saints just trying to live God’s laws under the freedom protections of the US government” –- a government they bleed daily, and regularly pray for the destruction of!

Also, note that at the same time the adults in these cults demand “freedom of religion;” i.e., protection from the US government, they, in the name of religion, take away all the rights and protection of the children born into their cult! Yes, they refuse to accept that “One person’s “Rights” end where another person’s “Rights” begin!”

As my years in freedom roll on, since having fled the Mormon fundamentalist “underground” slave trade, barbarism, and bondage I was born and raised in, I continue to become more deprogrammed and more sure of what a wayward, warping, diabolical church/ cult/ monster I was born into and my life ruined by, in the name of religion.

The more I continue to think, question, read books, and listen to educational documentaries and interviews done by Rebecca Kimbel, Doris Hanson, Ed Kociela, Kristen Decker, and others on YouTube, C-SPAN II, and other such, the more aware I become that many of the main tenets I was taught to most revere and embrace were and are complete rubbish; i.e., the total opposite of what is good and righteous.

Therefore, in my Memoir/ blogs, I make it a point to unravel untruths and cover-ups, so as to show the world what I mean by “The total opposite of what is good and righteous.” This way I may better dispel what “the snake;” i.e., “the Diamondback” would have us see as “God’s Plan,” rather than the devil’s!

This is a Memoir as opposed to an Autobiography, because of the leeway given me thus. In other words, though I have, from age nine, kept journals –- They reach from the floor to the ceiling by now — I would never get this history written if I were to go back and uproot every piece of Info in my journals to make sure of the exact day, etc.

So where it is not necessary, I don’t worry about petty details. It’s the big picture that is important. This said, I’ll leave off here to continue my story in “Chapter 1: My House of Cards.” 

Till next time, thank you for visiting my Website — And for reading especially my blogs that tell you what my Memoir’s intentions are. And thank you for just being you.

Cheers,
Stephany Spencer/AKA: Beulah Spencer-LeBaron de Tucker 





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dwell in possibilities,”
said Emily Dickinson.

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





writing-man-with-pen-etc

  Ode to The California Writers Club

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

pearl in oyster

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

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

Stephany Spencer 2016



 

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




floral-background-vintage

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

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

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

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

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






       dog-on-computer

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

(Author unknown — Dan Pointer?)




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

(Stephany Spencer)





 

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

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






writing-pad-and-desk

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






spiderweb-in-blue

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

( Stephany Spencer)





nice-spiderweb


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

( Stephany Spencer)






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






 

This quote I wrote — I wrote this quote:

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

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




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Innovation
The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas

as in escaping from old ones.
~ J M Keynes

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



 feet-and-sandals

“Long Fellows”

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


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My Poem: “Advice for Creatives”

DARE

floral-background-vintage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Stephany Spencer, C 2016

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

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

      poetry-plaque 


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mouse-mini-in-bow-and-heels

I Think Mice Are Very Nice

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


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 This quote I wrote — I wrote this quote:

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

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


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birds-on-plaques

~WORDS OF ADVICE:~

Use the worst first,*
‘Lest the best be gone
Afore the guest.
( Stephany Spencer, age 12)

* Since we were a huge, poor family,
I preferred to live by this adage;
Not be caught with threadbare

“holy” towels and underwear
when unexpected guests were there.

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 feet-and-sandals

“Long Fellows”

I’m a poet and I know it,
But my feet don’t show it:
They’re not “Longfellow’s.”
They be short “Fellows.”
(Stephany Spencer 2002)

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grindstone-and-wagon-wheel

The Old Grind

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

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pigs

The “Butt” of a Joke

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


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two-hands-and-heart-shape

Anecdote Quote

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

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

(Stephany Spencer)

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bridge-over-water

   Go Thru It to Get Thru It

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

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


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

prophet-of-evil-dvd

Sociopathy

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

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

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

alps-of-switzerland

Follow Your Own Higher Power

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

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


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

woman-on-the-loveseat

None of Our Business

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


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images-2

Stinky Propositions

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

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

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

(Stephany Spencer)


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Age-ing = Sage-ing”

man-from-1700s

The Edge of Age: Forever young

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

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

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

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

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

(Stephany Spencer)



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11116395355_b1149a1f49_k-jpgflower-rainbow

Doctors and Hospitals:



 “““““““““““““““““““““““

    dr

Doctors: Free-wheeling Racketeers

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

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


    upset-14-year-old
I’m an impatient inpatient!

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

 airplane-takeoff    

……………………………………..

Let’s “Take Off” the Weight:
“Butt” Wait! There’s more:

food-on-plates

  Party Pounds

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

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


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////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////   asparagus-and-berries

From Lips to Hips

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

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


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 exercise

Work It Out

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

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



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

banjo

        In Love with a Womanizer

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


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~ My Memoir: An Apology As To Name Changes, etc.

 

 

 

img_3348-1
Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron, 2016, age 70

Dear readers, please note: I have changed names in my Memoirs, in various cases, to protect the innocent — mainly myself!

I also acknowledge that in writing my memoir blogs, I know I can’t avoid hurting my family, relatives and past friends I grew up with. Anything I say at all against their church, or their religion, for example, hurts them.

In fact, just my leaving their religion I grew up in hurt them, as did other choices I needed to make for myself — such as dropping all contact with my family for many years during “the Ervil scare.” I decided back then that if my choices had to do with the safety and well-being of myself and daughter, I had to do what I had to do, even if it hurt them.

But when it comes to things I do that violate their rights or ability to consent, that’s where I try (and sometimes fail) to draw the line. If I need to say something bad about my family because it’s also part of my experience, I’ll try to be vague, keep their names out of it, and not demonize them. I’ll try to keep them humanized.

I was fortunate to have a fairly good family who simply made mistakes. I see any mistakes they made as coming from ignorance and misinformation. We all make mistakes. We wouldn’t be in this world if we were perfect.

None the less, I like what Anne Lamott said, You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”  

I am hoping that by “telling my stories,” I will be helping to make a better world through further enlightening and thus alleviating some of the world’s ignorance and misinformation. In so doing, I can’t help but enlighten myself in the process too — And isn’t that why we’re here: Enlightenment?

 

 

~ Memoir: I won and I Lost … Or How More Is Less

daddy-ma-and-fam-in-color
My family in 1958 (I’m 2nd to left, middle row)

 

(Not Hurricane High School, but this photo depicts how I recall it back when I attended 6th-8th grades, between 1957–1960.)red brick school



A Memoir Story by Beulah Stephany Spencer-LeBaron




It was the 1959–1960 school year in small-town Hurricane, Utah. And everybody in my eighth-grade English class hated our teacher Miss Naegle – everybody but me. They complained about her incessantly, saying things like: Miss Naegle talks too much, isn’t fair, and she gives too hard homework!

But I was taking her class for the second year in a row because I had learned so much in her 7th-grade English class. And I found her lessons and methodology exciting and challenging.

For one thing, she used an old-fashioned method of seating wherein every class member sat in his/her desk that snaked around the edge of the room according to his/her grades.

The “A” students sat at “the top” of the class. The “B” students came next in succession. Then the “C”s followed as the students in their desks continued to snake on down to the bottom of the room where the “D” students sat — and finally the “F’s.”

The “F” students were the ones who hated Miss Naegle the most. They acted out every chance they got. What did they have to lose? They were already as low as they could go. Sadly, the only attention these possibly dyslexic, ADHD, or otherwise learning-disabled children got was when they acted like smart alecks and class clowns.

But the competition among the students at the top of the class was exciting and rife. We got plenty of attention. I was usually sitting in one of the first three top seats. But I never thought of myself as better or smarter than anyone else. I just expected myself to sit in the top section because that was where I fell, grade-wise. I’d gotten used to enjoying this coveted position in the room. And used to thinking of myself as one of the “A” students. So did everyone else in the class.

But I was very shy and highly sensitive. Would cry if the teacher looked at me with a sternly raised eyebrow. Otherwise, I was generally having tremendous fun sitting somewhere within the top seats in class competing with the other top students who were enjoying vying with me to stay in or get back in the top seat. Since it came easily for me to stay up there, it added to the reasons I had liked Miss Naegle’s class enough to take it a second year in a row.

But one day, just as band class was over, I got up to go to my English class only to notice a dark wet blotch on the behind of my red plaid skirt. Mortified, I held my clarinet case behind me to cover my butt and rushed to “The Old Maid”–as we commonly called Miss Naegle (she was thirty, unmarried, and looked really old to us thirteen-year-olds):

“Miss Naegle,” I embarrassingly whispered, “I have an emergency! My monthly just started and it’s showing on the back of my skirt. May I be excused to go to the restroom?” 

Why sure,” Miss Naegle crooned.

But when I got back to class, everybody yelled, “Beulah’s late!! She has to go to the bottom of the class!” And Miss Naegle did it with class:

“Beulah, you’re late!” she chastised me. “You know the rules! Now go sit down at the bottom of the class!” She pretended she hadn’t excused my entering “late,” though I had actually come to class early and gotten her permission to go use the restroom! So I was not only humiliated but devastated and betrayed by my favorite teacher. She was only one of my teachers who showed “the little Saints” how to ostracize and persecute us Mormon fundamentalists in their midst.

So I was not only humiliated but devastated and betrayed by my favorite teacher. But she was only one of my teachers who showed “the little Saints” how to better ostracize and persecute us Mormon fundamentalists in their midst.

I knew grades were due to be made out arbitrarily any minute in Miss Naegle’s room in that religiously fanatic red-necked, red brick schoolhouse where all the “Latter Day Saints”/LDS were acceptable and all the “Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints”/ FLDS were not.

 “LDS” stands for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s commonly called “The Mormon Church.”  “FLDS” stands for The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or “The Fundamentalist Mormon Church.” 

The “FLDS,”  were not accepted–NOT wanted in that little redneck mainstream Mormon town. Our family had moved to Hurricane “temporarily,” three years before, after leaving the nearby Fundamentalist Mormon town of Short Creek.

I was going on ten years old when my parents left the Short Creek group because they had become disillusioned with many teachings and actions of that town and its self-proclaimed prophet, Leroy Johnson.

Short Creek is now called Colorado City (on the map) to take attention off this infamous polygamist town after it hit big-time news in 1953 due to its “BIG LOVE” activity and other lawlessness.

In 1953, Arizona (backed secretly by Utahan authorities) raided this renegade polygamist town in an all-out attempt to eradicate the polygamist cult infestation that was growing, lawlessly, on the twin borders of Utah and Arizona.

Unfortunately, the modus operandi failed, the same way The 2008 Texas Raid on El Dorado and the YFZ Ranch failed. The 1953 raid is now referred to as “The Short Creek Raid.” 

Although the Short Creek Raid basically failed, our government reached some success when around 1958, not long after the 1953 raid ended, an Interstate Highway was built that passed right through the middle of this secretive enclave. This secluded, law-unto-itself cult-hideaway could no longer remain totally hidden! 

But the infestation and insurrection still persists, though quelled somewhat now, thanks to the state of Texas that had the guts to stick to its guns and put Warren Jeffs behind bars for life — plus the teeth to jail a few other main leaders of this cult. Thank goodness at least for that!

Recently, the state of Arizona issued mandates to Colorado City (as of around July 2017) to divide up the land into Deeds of Trust that can be owned individually. Wow! Some progress at long last.

But, being a survivor of the 1953 Short Creek Raid that took place when I was seven years old, I was not pleased with Texas’ decision to return the 464 children back to their lawbreaking polygamist-cult parents.

During that El Dorado YFZ Raid, I had prayed fervently that Texas would NOT send those abused, trapped kids back to their brainwashed cult parents. For one thing, children born into Mormon fundamentalism are not protected under the rights other American citizens take for granted.

But Texas succumbed: Backed up against the wall by naïve public sentiment and news-media smoke screening, it ended up sending those misfortunate kids back to the environment of White slavery they were unfortunately born into.

Due to the pressure and ignorance of the public that forced the Texas Government to return the YFZ kids to the abuse of their extremist and secluded polygamist cult, my prayers weren’t fulfilled. Suffice it to say, I wish I had been put in a good foster home instead of sent back to live with my Mormon fundamentalist parents once The 1953 Raid ended.

Because I was sent back to continue a backward lifestyle in a law-breaking, abusive, secluded enclave where I would be raised a polygamist by brainwashed, fanatic, laws-unto-themselves parents who didn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, lived only for the hereafter, and thought the sky was falling!


NOTE: The following is a picture of me with my classmates when I was in first grade in Short Creek –It’s a mixed-grade class where Verda Lartsen taught grades 1st-through 5th.


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

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




They Changed the Name of Our Hometown*

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

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

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

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


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


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




PART TWO



me-with-church-mates
I’m on the right, second row back


We left off in Part One of, “I Won and I Lost,” where I was giving some backstory on a bit of Mormon Fundamentalist history and what my Mormon Fundamentalist family was doing in 1956 in the small mainstream Mormon town of Hurricane, Utah — a town where Mormon Fundamentalists were an enigma.

That is an understatement: We were a thorn in their sides — a reminder of when many of their ancestors lived polygamy until it was outlawed in the United States in 1862, forcing the LDS Mormon Church to officially discontinue it as a church doctrine in 1890. They did so in a written statement referred to as “The Manifesto,” written by the church’s then presiding Prophet, Wilford Woodruff. 

Wilford Woodruff was driven to this decision to prevent the LDS Mormons from being thrown off their land once again. The US government intended to take all the Mormon church’s money and property, among other things, if the Mormons did not abide by this law and ban the backward and barbaric practice of polygamy. Furthermore, Utah could not become a state in The Union till it did away with polygamy.

By 1956 and sixty-six years since the Mormon church had banned polygamy, Mormon fundamentalists in mainstream Mormon eyes were seen as undesirables, apostates, renegades, and lawbreakers.

Besides that, “Fundamentalists” or “The FLDS,” et Al., were regularly headlined negatively in the news, embarrassing mainline Mormons struggling to live by the laws of the land as well as live down their past stigmatization, and, at long last, fit in and respect the Rule of Law. This pattern continues today: Mormon Fundamentalists give mainstream Mormons a bad rap among non-Mormon societies who confuse them with the fanatic Mormon Fundamentalists.

But Hurricane, Utah and other Mormon towns around it are stop-off places or new homes for many refugees from the polygamist townships nearby. Mormon Fundamentalists who leave or escape polygamy, the FLDS dogma, and the control of Short Creek/Colorado City, Hilldale, Centennial Park, and other polygamist towns nearby, hope to make a new life for themselves and their families “Out in the world” –- in other words, outside these renegade and extremist Mormon Fundamentalist strongholds.

My family was one of the families who fled the secluded, strangulating, renegade Mormon fundamentalist Short Creek cult, using nearby Hurricane, Utah as a stop-off place in 1956–It was a place to get our bearings after going through the traumatic two-and-a-half-year *Short Creek Raid

 When that fiasco was over, the state of Arizona released Daddy from jail/parole, along with all the other men of Short Creek who chose jail over agreeing to quit living or believing in polygamy, the most important tenet of their religion.

My father and the rest of the Mormon Fundamentalist men in Short Creek knew the self-proclaimed Prophet Joseph Smith said God gave him a revelation commanding “The Saints”/ i.e., Mormons to live plural marriage or be damned to Hell for all eternity.”

So they’d be damned (pun intended) if they would be caught dead not having more than one wife and all the kids they could produce through this “Principle”! In other words, they chose jail over Hell — or Hell in this life rather than eternal damnation in the next life.

My parents’ plans were to stay in Hurricane ’till Daddy earned enough money to move us to the new Fundamentalist Mormon cult they had joined, The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times,  headquartered in *Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico. Two of my mother’s seven brothers, Uncles Joel and Ervil LeBaron, spawned this new extremist Mormon Fundamentalist sect in 1955. I say they both started it for the following reasons:

My Uncle Joel was a self-proclaimed agrarian hay-seed Prophet who convinced some of his family he had gotten “the mantle” or “Scepter of Power”– the “Priesthood keys to the kingdom”– from his dying father, Alma Dayer LeBaron — who claimed to have gotten these “keys” from his grandfather, Benjamin F. Johnson. And, according to Uncle Joel, Benjamin F. Johnson got “the keys to the kingdom” from his “spiritual father,” Joseph Smith before he died!

At the same time, this scrabble-farming, peddler, painter, polygamist, self-proclaimed “profit,” my Uncle Joel, also claimed to have gotten revelations or a vision from God and angels who visited him in person and told him he was the Prophet who held the scepter of power to set the Mormon church *back in order. After this manifestation, Uncle Joel decided to set up his own church. His brothers Wesley and Floren helped him register it legally, in Salt Lake City, Utah in the mid-1950s.

But his somewhat intellectual and scholarly though not-well-educated  eighteen-months-younger brother Ervil (who had obtained a small-town Mexican-Mormon-colony education before dropping out of school at age fifteen) found the Scriptures to support his much-less-scholarly brother Joel’s claims to be “The One Mighty and Strong.” (Their Prophet Joseph Smith foretells of this Prophet’s coming to prepare the saints for the second coming of Christ.)

 Ervil was also his brother Joel’s mouthpiece, doing most of the missionary work and pulpit-preaching that got the groveling cult off the ground. Ervil’s biggest contribution was some doctrinal pamphlets he scribed, especially his “Priesthood Expounded”–persuasive among a few mainstream Mormons.

Priesthood Expounded” is the Mormon fundamentalist Lit some young, impressionable, wayward Mormon missionaries in the French mission field got hold of around 1958. The pamphlet’s contents converted around thirteen of these idealistic visionaries to Uncle Joel’s cult, “The Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times.”

Seven of these rather bright, young, enthusiastic Mormon French missionaries soon thereafter joined the indigent LeBaron scrabble-cult in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico.

It was the shot-in-the-arm that got my Uncle Joel and Ervil’s cult off the ground onto the map. Especially responsible for this cult’s take-off was my now-deceased dreamer-of-a-husband– the leading (and misleading) charismatic French missionary Con, William Preston Tucker.

So my Mother’s brother Ervil was the “golden goose” who laid the golden egg that hatched her brother Joel’s “Church” which hatched into a small goose-like success; i.e., it spawned a flock of gosling followers — because those golden-goose eggs got into the hands of the right geese … or better still, the wrong geese–those seven exuberant misled French missionaries!

But just as unbelievably ironic is that Uncle Ervil, around twenty years later, turned into the biggest goose of all — actually the biggest gander: He, Ervil-the-egghead, in 1972, vengefully brought his brother Joel’s “church” (“the embryonic egg”) back down by rivalrously cracking it apart!

How? He had his henchmen kill his brother Joel. Thus, murderous and maniacal Cain-like Ervil broke The Golden Egg “Able” right in two: He rolled it off the table. It died a most-messy death … gooey egg yolk and albumin all over the place! Lots of grieving people were left wiping tears of anguish and loss from their face at the prophet Joel’s funeral service.

Yeah, evil-Ervil cracked that LeBaron goose egg “Able,” wide open. Metaphorically speaking, Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, never to be put together again at all!*

But out of the cracked “Humpty Dumpty” hatched LeBaron gosling offshoots–even some Colonia LeBaron “Golden Eggs,” say fans of the Mexico LeBaron branch. But for sure, it’s a LeBaron history still in the making, still in the taking, still making news-breaking history …and still being written and rewritten.

But just as uncanny, unbelievable, cracked, and bizarre as some of the above LeBaron history is, is that of how Mother’s seven brothers, as well as her father, the crackpot Dayer LeBaron, each claimed at one time or another in their life to be “The One Mighty and Strong Prophet — “The Firstborn sent to prepare the world for the return of Christ.”

Some say my Uncle Verlan never claimed to be a prophet. However, I talked to two of his daughters years ago who truly believed he was “The One Mighty and Strong” –their father having succeeded Joel when Ervil murdered him! There are as many stories as there are people who tell them when it comes to “The LeBaron Story.”)

However, other than Uncle Joel and Ervil’s Mormon cults, none of these other eccentric millennial LeBaron upstarts made it off the ground onto the map! Instead (as in the case of Uncles Ervil and Joel’s “goose eggs”), each of them was nothing but a miserable inflated flock of wayward doomsday “geese.” 

In other words, each of my other uncles’ cults, like Joel and Ervil’s cults, was but a bag of wind that barely made it off the ground before it flew over the cuckoo’s nest, took a nosedive, did a complete tailspin, and topped it off by turning upside down the world for Christ’s return. That is, each of my uncles’ cult’s succeeded only in toppling into a world of hell people seeking heaven … a story my Memoir will tell.


*You may use your search engine to obtain more information on this Short Creek Raid. I won’t be getting into it until later on in my Memoir blogs.

*Colonia LeBaron, itself, was founded in Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico by my maternal grandfather Alma Dayer LeBaron, in 1944, on land my father and mother left my maternal grandparents when they returned to live in the United States.

You may check Wikipedia and others sites for more history, details, pictures, etc., to do with these topics.)

* Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ LDS Church became “out of order,” according to Mormon fundamentalists when President Wilford Woodruff signed The Manifesto in 1890 to do away with Joseph Smith’s revelation that said the Saints must live polygamy or be damned.

* See:Prophet of Blood,” by Ben Bradlee and Dale Van Atta, “The 4 O’clock Murders,” by Scott Anderson; and “Cult Insanity,” by Irene Spencer.

Also check my Website’s Menu for “Media on My Extended Family, Friends, and Mormon Fundamentalist Cults.”
A
nd My other Media post: “Famous ‘n’ Infamous Relatives.”


PART THREE

me-in-plaid-14-1
Beulah Stephany Spencer de LeBaron in Colonia LeBaron, circa 1960, age 14 (clothesline in  background)

I left off in Part Two of “I Won and I Lost,” where my parents had moved their family from the fundamentalist Mormon town of Short Creek to the nearby mainstream Mormon small town of Hurricane, Utah. I was ten years old then.

My parents planned to stay in Hurricane only four-and-a-half years, while Daddy worked till he turned sixty-five and could begin collecting Social Security and his Veteran’s Pension. Then their plan was to move to Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico where my uncle Joel had started a new Mormon fundamentalist sect. My maternal grandmother, five uncle’s, and other relatives lived there. And Mother, herself, was born in Mexico in 1921 in the mountainous Colonia Pacheco, Chihuahua — a Mormon colony.

But whatever my family’s plans, we were not welcome in Hurricane. For one thing, the Mormon Fundamentalist “Short Cricker’s” were close neighbors to the mainstream Mormon “Hurricanites” … too close! So they often frequented Hurricane to shop, go to school, live, work, and so on.

 And Mormon Fundamentalists (FLDS) almost always stuck out due to the females wearing the same-mold, crown-like “Plyg-dos,”(hairdos) and attire. In other words, most FLDS made no effort to fit in. Rather, they took pride in standing out because they believed they were OUTSTANDING and “a peculiar people,” as spoken of in the Scriptures. They believed they were God’s chosen hand-full; i.e.,  superior to the mainstream Mormons who had given up “The fullness of the gospel.”

In my class of 1960, out of eighty-four students, David Lloyd and I (both Plygs–short for polygamists) were the most outstanding students in Hurricane, Utah and its surrounding small towns of students bussed to Hurricane for schooling. And my sister Judith Spencer, I, and another polygamist from Short Creek, Fawn Stubbs, had been the best artists that Hurricane’s Elementary, Junior High, and High School had seen in many years!

Mainstream Mormons/ LDS Mormons didn’t like polygamists out-doing “the Saints.” The Mormon fundamentalists/ FLDS out-doing in any way the mainstream Mormons only made  the Mormon Fundamentalists an extra-unnerving and unwanted infestation for this small agrarian town of LDS Mormons whose own ancestors gave up polygamy in 1890, under government duress and fear of losing their lands and homes, again, if they did not abide by US laws so as to become a state in the Union. 

 LDS Mormons followed the mandates of their church leaders to give up “plural marriage” despite their Prophet Joseph Smith’s commandment to live polygamy or be damned. But now, here were these perennial thorn-in-their-side FLDS Mormons, like my family, who thumbed their nose at mainline Mormons who gave up polygamy instead of following the Prophet Joseph Smith’s revelation to live polygamy — live it despite what the laws of the land said and in spite of persecution and prosecution.

In fact, my father would tell the LDS they were going to hell because they gave up “the law of plural marriage”! My true-believing, fanatic, antagonistic parents further riled the LDS townspeople by telling me and my siblings to preach polygamy and the “fullness of the gospel,” to our schoolmates and friends — should we ever acquire friends, given our isolated and ostracized position in the town.

We were literally to inform our peers and Mormon acquaintances that they and their parents and family were going to be condemned to hell in the hereafter for having given up the most important commandment and revelation the Prophet Joseph Smith ever gave!

Where did my parents and other Mormon fundamentalists come off thinking they knew more than anybody else and were the only ones with the true religion — the only ones going to heaven? Such provincial thinking! Plus, they forgot that “Pride goeth before a fall.” So you can imagine how unwelcome our family was among these mainstream Mormons.

With this history under our belt, let’s return to the little 1960’s red-necked, red-brick schoolhouse where Miss Naegle unfairly yet too conveniently allowed the little Rednecks to topple me from my coveted seat at the top of the class and dump me down at the very bottom of our class — the “F” section. 

Making this abuse and betrayal even more embarrassing and painful was her joining in with my little redneck-rivals as they clapped and cheered loudly at my misfortune–as though we were at a ballgame and the mainstream Mormons were winning. (I’ve referred to them as “Rednecks” for effect. But, honestly, my family and I were more red-necked than most of them!)

However, as God and luck often intervened on my behalf, homework was checked aloud in class each morning following roll call. Because I had no mistakes in my homework, that got me immediately back up into the B+ section! So my peers and teacher didn’t get very far sending me to the bottom of the class. It lasted all of fifteen minutes. But listen to what happened next:

Seeing how I had so rapidly ascended back into almost the “A” section, suddenly, without warning, Miss Naegle snatched her BIG BLACK GRADE BOOK, exclaiming, “It’s time for me to give out your final grade for the semester!”

As I said before, she determined it arbitrarily, by wherever we happened to be sitting in her class whenever she chose to give out the final grades for our Report Card.

In other words, my 8th-Grade English teacher was making sure I did not again get straight “A’s” on my Report Card — the way I had my first semester at Hurricane Jr. High School when the faculty did not yet know I, the attractive, outstanding, talented new 7th-Grader, was a “Plyg” from Short Creek!

But every semester, after the first Report Card I got at Hurricane High School (where my Jr. High School classes were held), my teachers found ways to unfairly give me a lower grade to keep me from making front-page news again the way I had the year before, in 1959, when I first started Seventh Grade there.

That year, my first semester in seventh grade, I had been headlined in the town’s newspaper as the only student from 7th to 11th grade to have made straight “A’s.”

The LDS church and other Mormons refer to themselves as “The Saints,”  or “Latter Day Saints” — or “LDS.” This LDS faculty who gave me my grades in 1959 had not yet learned by the end of my first semester in 7th Grade that my family was from Short Creek.

In other words, they hadn’t found out we were “FLDS.” That is, we were “Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints,” not “LDS.” And the Latter-day Saint faculty of Hurricane High School needed to know this! They kept tabs on who the Plygs–the FLDS were in their classes.

As soon as the Hurricane High School/ Jr. High faculty and the town found out that I and my family were Mormon fundamentalists, they let their students know.

And immediately thereafter, the kids began calling my siblings and me names like “Licey,” “Stinky,” and “Short Cricker.” But their favorite slur was “Plyg.” How it chafed, hurt, and humiliated me when my fellow classmates pointed fingers at me, called me names, and made fun of highly-sensitive me.

To add to the painful persecution and marginalization, if I should sit near one of them in class, they would quickly get up and shout, “Ooooo!! Licey! Beulah has lice!” Then they would shun me by moving to a different seat where they pretended to blow the lice off them. But many of these little “saints/ devils,” were descendants of polygamists themselves.

It was very painful going to school in that small Mormon town, even though I was Mormon, too — just not “LDS” Mormon. It would have been less painful had my family tried to fit in. And had they also accepted the community. Instead, they continued to act as though they were better than all the mainstream Mormons around them — to the point they condemned them to their faces, at times!!

My parents made it very hard on their little children who had to bear the brunt of such behavior and of being different. My family’s not trying to fit in and not “doing as Rome did when in Rome” only added to our being spurned, resented, persecuted, and despised at school by our peers and teachers.

It would have been better for us Mormon Fundamentalist children participating in the LDS Mormon public schools if our parents had let us be a part of the mainstream Mormons. Instead, they made no effort to teach us how to get along with them — nor anyone else not of our Mormon fundamentalist faith.

How un-Christian, right?! But my fundamentalist parents believed it was their way or the highway. They thought it their God-ordained duty to call to repentance mainline Mormons who didn’t believe like they did. And they incessantly taught me and my siblings that we were above and beyond the mainstream Mormons because they were not living “the fullness of the gospel” the Prophet Joseph Smith had taught.

Be that what it was, at the end of every school semester, the Hurricane newspaper printed the names of the straight “A” students from Hurricane High/Jr. High School. Their one embarrassing oversight on my behalf, when I was in 7th grade, was enough to put the whole Hurricane High School Mormon faculty on alert to not let that happen again!

In other words, make sure “Plyg” Beulah Spencer did not end up frontline news in the town’s newspapers, again, as “the only student from 7th to 11th grade who got straight ‘A’s’!”

Many parents and leaders in the town were furious that semester when a “Polygamist” got the top ranking in town for the best grades; ie, had out-ranked/ outflanked all the little “Saints,” from 7th to 11th grade.

So now you understand why Miss Naegle unfairly got out her BLACK Grade Book at the very moment I was almost back into the “A” section.

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~PART FOUR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

me-in-plaid-dress-14
Beulah Stephany Spencer de LeBaron, age 14 (Clothesline in background)

We left off in Part 3 where I had almost gotten back up into the “A” section of our class. Then my eighth-grade English teacher Miss Naegle suddenly and unexpectedly snatched up her BIG BLACK GRADE BOOK and said:

“I told you I would surprise you as to when I would give out your final grades for this first semester’s Report Card. Well, now is that moment! SURPRISE!!”

As I said before, she determined our grades willy-nilly. That is, she determined them by whatever section of her class we were sitting in whenever she chose to give out the Final Grade for our Report Card — be it the “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” section — whether we really deserved that grade or not. It was all subjective on purpose so she could assign grades in any way, shape, or form that suited her purpose. 

In other words, she had it set up so she could manipulate our grades so “Plygs” wouldn’t get the top grades … and so she could please parents who complained that her grading system wasn’t fair so their “poor” child never got an “A.”

To be exact, this LDS teacher was making sure I did not get on the Honor Roll again as an “A” student and thus be once more headlined in the town’s newspaper. The Mormon faculty now knew who I, the high achieving, beautiful, new student was: I was “Miss Pliggie from goll-dern Short-Cricky” — someone small-town Hurricane did not want making big-time news. 

As I said in my last blog, there was an uproar in Hurricane, Utah in 1958 when the little town newspaper printed my picture along with a piece about me being “The Top Student,” and the only one to obtain straight “A’s” out of all of the students from 7th through 11th grades.

A teacher-faculty uproar followed after they found out the Straight-A 7th Grader the newspaper article talked about was me, a Mormon fundamentalist! Mormon fundamentalists were lepers in that small town. So how was it I could be showing up all the little “Saints” from LDS families?

It WASN’T FUNNY!
People get envious and come undone
When outdone by the very one
They thought was down-under-’em —
Their untouchable, scapegoat scum.

So now you understand why my teacher got out that Grade Book before I could move back up into the “A” section. And why she once again betrayed me – and in so doing, continued to show the class how to treat the “Plygs.”  Actually, it was a Cold War — the LDS Mormons against the FLDS Mormons!

So my classmates sat and watched Miss Naegle unfairly give me my first “B+,” down from the “A” I’d had the whole semester and year before – till that opportunistic moment in her grading system where she was able to give out our final Report Card grades for the semester simply based on where we were sitting the moment she maneuvered our sitting arrangement so she could give me the grade she wanted to give me — not the grade I earned.

But hey! It appears this action not only kept her in good favor with the Mormon town and teaching faculty but with Sammy, Jr.’s family too. His father had recently been in to see Miss Naegle saying:

 “Sammy tries so hard to get an “A,” but no matter what he does, he never gets into the top section so as to come home with an “A” in English like his older brother in High School always does!”

(Sammy, Jr.’s father was Sammy, Sr., better known as “Bishop Sam Johnson” (Not his real name) — the most important position in a small Mormon town.)

Our teacher could only give so many “A’s,” “B’s,” and so forth, or our school would lose its accreditation. So little C-average-Sam got his first “A” that semester, or probably ever — and was so happy – and I got my first B+ — and was so unhappy … and Miss Naegle stayed in good with all the Saints in “Little Mormon Town.”

It was not a good example to let us “polygamists,” or so-called “apostate Mormons,” outdo “the Saints.” So the rest of the LDS faculty (after finding out who I was) also did their utmost to keep me from shining– did their utmost to put the Saints’ kids above me, whenever possible. Allowing Mormon fundamentalist children to be shining examples did not set a desirable president for the “little Saints.”

A few months later, as luck would have it, the second semester was looming to a close and Miss Naegle’s final Report Card grades were due to be given out again at any moment … when suddenly she gave us the most formidable homework assignment I’ve ever experienced or could ever hope to experience again in my born days:

While peering over the horned rims of her 1950’s cat-eyed, rose-colored glasses, she stared sternly down at us, the way she always did when she wanted to punctuate her words.

Then, that little blond haired, red-necked, red-faced spinster in the little red-brick schoolhouse, Hurricane High, assigned us the whole 105 Prepositions of the English language, vociferously stipulating:

“These words are to be memorized in alphabetical order by Friday!” Knowing that our last day of 8th Grade was only four days away, she boomed,And whoever doesn’t memorize the whole list in order gets an “F” as their final grade!!”

I had already committed to memory her list of Helping Verbs: Is, are, was, were, has, have, had, does, do, did, am, be, been, being, may, must, might, can, could, shall, should, will, would.

And I had memorized other lists of words she had assigned us to learn, such as all the Conjunctions, Subordinate, and Coordinate Conjunctions. And rules like: “Adverbs tell: How, when, where, why, affirm, deny.”  And “Adjectives tell: What kind, which one, how many, whose.”

As I hung out the wash that Monday evening, I began the daunting task of memorizing the whole monotonous mass of Prepositions — on top of doing all the other homework from my other classes!

An hour passed as I painstakingly pinned wet clothes on the lines while concentrating on trying to commit to memory those meaningless long lines of nonsense words.

Big raindrops began to roll from my eyes. I was about to be hung out to dry myself.  For having only memorized the first forty words, the Prepositions beginning with “A” and “B,” I found myself wishing language had never been born. And my mind took a downturn as I decided this was going to be the first assignment in my life I wouldn’t complete.

Which meant I was finally going to fail: The “F” word, mind you! The thought curdled my brain! I could picture being spurned again as Miss Naegle and the class cried, “Beulah, go to the bottom of the class!” — a hard thing for an “A” student to have to do.

So heading for the house before I had a full-blown nervous breakdown, I cried, “Mama! I can’t do this! It’s driving me insane!! “I can’t memorize this inane, boring list of propositions! I can’t stand even trying to!!”

Mama saved the day. In her wise-beyond-years demeanor, she smiled and said,“Why don’t you put it to music?”
“Yeah, but what song shall I use?!” I wailed.
Oh, just any song that fits. You could even make up a tune if you wanted.”

Having memorized the most difficult Piano Concertos, Mother knew about memorizing! And she surmised I could create tunes. So we were on a roll. What’s more, her advice worked! I was back out there with a bang, clothes flying out of my hands onto the clotheslines faster than I banged out tunes fitting particular lines of the preposterous Preposition homework:

“At, about, above, aboard, across, according to, along, alongside, against — And so on and so forth. I’ve long since forgotten the tunes I used and abused to help me memorize each section of the alphabetical list. But like muscle memory, the one-hundred-five Prepositions have stuck!

PART FIVE:

Come Friday morning, I was ready — except for burnout. Seems I almost met my Maker, and it was a daunting experience. Even so, I was wondering if Billy Nickerson, my secret sweetheart, would do better than I.

hurricane-and-colorado-city-sign
The beautiful Vermilion Hills of Utah  and Arizona, leaving Hurricane, Utah, heading toward Short Creek: Colorado City, Arizona, Hilldale, Utah, and Centennial Park


Billy Nickerson was a gorgeous thirteen-year-old, highly-gifted Hispanic-American whose father worked as a Physicist on the Hurricane Mesa.

(“Mesa” means “table”/a flat surface.”) On this Mountain tabletop near Hurricane, Utah, a large part of the scientific work and testing of the first Sputnik was being done. Testing to improve the H-bomb was also going on there. So were other top-secret defense projects to do with our country’s race with Russia to win the Cold War and be first to send a man to the moon.)

As it turns out, bright Billy thought the homework silly. So did his parents. Therefore, he memorized the first two groups of prepositions: The A’s and B’s. Then went outside to participate in his favorite sport: Winning all the High School boys in tether-ball — the way he usually did after school.

I often stayed after school to watch these boys’ intense, exciting “matches” between the short 8th Grader, Billy, and the tall 9th through 12th Grade boys. For Billy would beat them every time — one right after the other! Such energy, strength, endurance, and genius I have never since seen in sports — though I  seldom watch Sports! My love for Billy was my motivation to watch this after-school competitive game.

My preferred “games” mostly involved things to do with words, music, and other intellectual or artistic and creative pursuits. Therefore, when Friday came, our last day of school for that year, Billy was at the top of the class, so was first to recite what he had memorized of the 105 Prepositions, which was forty of them. So let the games begin! Now I knew I would win!

It being my turn next, the words popped out of me like clothespins being pinned to a clothesline at break-neck speed! I only stumbled a few times out of nervousness, anxiety, and an exhausted mind.

I was literally brain-dead, pale, and worn out that last day of school, after four intense days of angst and effort put into memorizing this horrendous mass of monotonous, meaningless nonsense words — along with doing my after-school housework chores and the homework for my other five classes to get ready for my final grades and tests that came in four days — the last day of school.

I still can’t believe mean Miss Naegle forced me, a straight “A” student, to memorize all those petty Prepositions in order to avoid taking home an “F” as the Final Grade on my year-end Report Card!

This Report Card was the most important of the year for it would delineate the top students that year at the little red-brick schoolhouse that housed the Hurricane Jr. High and High School students. And these top students would be big news in the town’s newspaper.

That would explain Miss Naegle’s all-out attempt to come up with something to help the LDS Saints win the Cold War against the FLDS Saints– something so atrocious and audacious as to assign her captive 8th-Graders to memorize, the last four days of school,  the whole 105 English prepositions!

This assignment would have been bad at any time. But it was sadistically treacherous to assign it when we had but four evenings of homework days left before the last day of school when our Final Grades were due — grades so important to us!!!

But it was the witch-bitch’s effort to move me out of the “A” section that made her act so outrageously! LOL! But no, it really was not a laughing matter. I almost had a nervous breakdown under the stress and unfairness of this senseless homework assignment!

But Miss Naegle’s wicked act backfired on her. Not only did I recite from memory the whole one-hundred-five prepositions, exchanging places with Billy Nickerson to sit at the top of the class and get my “A+,” but none of Miss Naegle’s other eighty-three eighth-grade students had succeeded at all in doing this over-the-top homework task.

So Miss Naegle had to give me, “Miss Pliggie,” her “A” … But she didn’t have to make a big deal of it –- And she didn’t! She totally ignored my feat — my exceptional workmanship and memory, as though I were insignificant … didn’t exist. And as though what I did wasn’t amazing and worth acknowledging!

She was perturbed and angry that I had surmounted her impossible homework assignment, using it to rise to the top again. The schoolmarm couldn’t believe I had memorized all those ridiculous words, and in order, too, within four short evenings of homework-time before the school year ended.

But even more unbelievable and unforgivable is this LDS Mormon teacher never gave me ANY encouragement or recognition in anything I EVER did, despite my outstanding achievements for the past two years in hers and every other teachers’ classes at Hurricane Junior High.

It’s an oxymoron and a conundrum that LDS Mormons do so much missionary work to gain converts, yet fail to see how they could win many Mormon fundamentalists over to their sect were they to treat them humanely and without singling them out for ostracization and ruination.

My memory of my four-and-a-half years in two-faced Mormon Hurricane, Utah was enough to turn me away from ever wishing to become a part of mainstream Mormonism. I would vomit first. I  lost respect for them and their smallness and ungodliness. Atheism was preferable.

In all my years in Hurricane, I definitely encountered a few saints, however. And I had a few wonderful life-giving experiences in Hurricane. But only two of my many Mormon teachers ever treated me fairly and with respect. The same goes for my classmates and the rest of the people in Hurricane, in general.

Many of my teachers treated me the same way Miss Naegle had: Entirely unfairly and like I was invisible, though I was not only an innocent and highly sensitive child but also diligent, conscientious, and hard-working.

For example, at the end of the Preposition recitations, Naegle pretended to never have threatened anyone with an “F” as their final Report Card Grade should they not memorize that whole list in order and without errors!

In fact, the measly monster simply dropped the whole frickin’ nightmare, as if she’d never heard of it. Because both her 8th-Grade classes failed the assignment miserably — Everyone, that is, but me, “Miss Plygie”! You would think she would at least have complimented me in private on my feat if she couldn’t do it in front of the class  — or better still, in front of the whole school!

But she never showed me one ounce of acknowledgment or appreciation for my success, my amazing achievement–especially given how the rest of her eighty-four students thumbed their nose at her assignment! But what else could she do when all the Saints were brilliant and all the rest were outcasts — and I had failed to fail her manipulative assignment?

She intended this homework assignment to be her winning hand. It was targeted for the last day of school. She thought for sure I’d be had and she would get to give me an “F,” or at least get me out of the “A” section.

With it being the last day of school, she thought I wouldn’t have time to work my way back up — back into the “A” section again before she pulled out her BIG black grade book to assign our final grades. But it turned out she “got had” BAD instead:

Sammy, Jr.’s dad, the Bishop, had called her — as had other parents — to inquire about this horrendous homework task that was leading to mental breakdowns among the Saints’ kids!

So once again, I, the leperous Mormon fundamentalist “Short Cricker,” was the talk of the town and the school! Word went out all over about how I had managed to memorize the whole 105 prepositions in only a short time while doing all my other year-end school homework and after-school housework chores!

Being the second to the oldest of eleven children by then, I had big chores for sure. This added to my feat’s monumental-ness! Most of the kids came from very small families, had TV, Radio, phonographs, magazines, and other modern inventions, and conveniences–as well as a chance to read, a better education, and so forth.

But my family was still using an outhouse, pots to piss and crap in at night, a galvanized tub to bathe in — using water we heated on a wood stove. Yes, I was a deprived child with many disadvantages, such as lost schooling, yet I was somehow the outstanding student, at least at my grade level, in that little agrarian town.

For example, none of Miss Naegle’s other eighty-four students were able to memorize much more than fifteen or twenty of the monotonous, brain-frying, outlandishly-long list of boring words — except for Billy Nickerson who memorized forty Prepositions in order, without much faltering.

Therefore, the rest of Miss Naegle’s eighty-four 8th Graders totally failed the assignment. None of them had memorized even close to the forty prepositions Billy had memorized, let alone the whole hundred-five prepositions I had memorized in order and without any mistakes!

I later checked with my classmates, after they got their Report Cards: NOT ONE of them had gotten an “F” on their report card, despite all Miss Naegle’s threats!! But why am I so sure she would’ve followed through with her threats and given ME an “F” as my year-end final Report Card grade, had I not memorized the whole list in order and without any mistakes?

And why did I feel I had won but had also somehow lost as I sat in that envied seat at the top of the class sobbing a silent sigh of relief that I had “made the grade”?

I had not only avoided the “F” meant for me but beat out all the other eighty-four 8th Graders besides — Thanks to my musically-trained, gifted mother who had saved me from a mental breakdown by suggesting I use music to help me memorize that torturous, maniacal homework assignment.

To this day, about all that list of memorized prepositions has been good for, besides inadvertently winning Miss Naegle at her own game, is to entertain a captive audience till their eyes bug out — so here goes: Are you ready? (This is what I tell audiences when I am going to entertain them by reciting the whole hundred-five prepositions aloud by memory — which I still do from time to time — to this day.)



          Here is the list of prepositions I memorized in order:

At, about, above, aboard, across, according to, along, alongside, against, among, amongst, amid, amidst, around, after;

Before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between,  betwixt, beyond, but, because of, by, by way of, by means of, by reason of, by virtue of;

Concerning, considering;   down, during, despite, due to;   “ere, except, excepting;

For, from;    in, into, instead of, in care of; in case of, in front of, in place of, in spite of, in accordance with, in reference to, in preference to, in regard to, in regards to, in respect to, in addition to;    like;    ‘mid, ‘midst;    near,’neath, notwithstanding;

Of, off, on, onto, on account of, on top of, over, o’er, out, outside;   past;
’round, respecting, regarding;   since, save, sans;   to, towards, through, throughout,’till;    unless, until; up, upon, unto, underneath;   via, versus, Vs.;

With, within, without, with respect to or for, without respect to or for, with reference to, without reference to, with preference to, without preference for.”

                                          *********************
Having committed all these 105 Prepositions to memory, at least I know to never say, “Between you and I” — But it still slips out now and again! However, I even heard President Bill Clinton say that once!

But for all I know, to say “between you and I,” instead of “between you and me,” is now considered correct … and to say “between you and me” is now considered archaic — as in the case of saying, “It is I.

That’s the way things are when it comes to language: It’s subjective. We may have to unlearn things we thought were correct because new customs determine them incorrect. Language is a living thing. It is born, grows up, gets old, and dies — just like people.

This concludes the news from the 1960’s little red-brick schoolhouse where all the Saints’ kids were above average, all their parents were proud members of the only true church on earth — and all the rest were going to hell!


 *Thanks, again, for your valuable feedback, Caroline. You continue to be the wind beneath my sales. I wish others would leave me their feedback. And that they would leave it on my Website in the “Comment” box, as you do. Some leave their comments on social media where it is soon lost.
Take care,
Stephany

 


 

~ Media on My Extended Family, Friends, and Fundamentalist Mormon Cults



prophet-of-evil-dvd  This is a movie done some years ago about my infamous Uncle Ervil LeBaron, my mother’s brother. He is now known as “Evil Ervil,” and “The Mormon Manson.” I knew, respected, and loved him before he went off the deep end with his sociopathy and psychosis.

The film was very well done. I love how brilliantly Brian Dennehy played the part of my Uncle Ervil. But no film can possibly portray the depth of suffering and lunacy that went on in this man’s life that also affected the lives of all his brainwashed, true-believing followers and children.

You will have to get the film from wherever you get movies and find out the rest of the story for yourself; though I will be telling my experiences with my Uncle Ervil later on down the line in my memoir blogging.



https://thetrueprophetfilm.com/proposed-cast/

THE TRUE PROPHET is an independent film written and directed by Scott Hillier and executive produced by…
THETRUEPROPHETFILM.COM

*NOTE: This movie was planning on its release in 2014. It was never released due to lack of funding. However, there is some interesting information on the site that you may find useful. For example, on this Website are some of Ervil’s writings and more. Must see.

*You may also read books written about him. I have listed here, below, some of these books. Wikipedia and other such sites relate a history of him also –– as well as a short history of the rest of the LeBaron family: His parents and siblings.



prophet-of-blood-book-cover
A Documentary about the LeBaron’s, especially Ervil LeBaron and his Cult

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

But hats off to him! Till I recently read his chronicle, I had no idea just how devious and wicked was the cult Uncle Ervil spawned; not to mention the people who followed him hook, line, and sinker/stinker!!



blood-covenant-by-r-blood-blood-covenant-by-chynoweth-1
Rena’s story about Ervil LeBaron and his cult

This Memoir, written about thirty years ago, seems merely an immature, biased, apologist’s cold hearted revisionist tale written by the infamous Rena Chynoweth wherein she could brag about the part she played in the sad and dirty story of her husband’s bloody, violent, and psychotic cult. All is not fact-checked nor factual, much is omitted, and she writes more about her girlish romantic escapades and herself than anything.

In other words, it appears to be, largely, an attempt to be in the limelight and cash in on the notoriety of Ervil LeBaron, so as to make money and be a starlet — albeit a notorious one. We were lucky to get two paragraphs about her cold-blooded murder of Dr. Rulon Allred. And the best apology she could come up with, as to the “Lambs of God” atrocities and murders is, “This did not need to happen.”

But you may find her book worth a perusal just to see how a member of Ervil LeBaron’s murderous cult used to think. I say “used to think”  because recently I had the opportunity to meet and visit with Gabriela LeBaron, a first cousin, and one of Uncle Ervil’s more than fifty children! She brought me up to date on how Ervil’s ex-cult is doing now — and that includes Rena!

Please see my Menu Bar to read about this important update and Info I have included in my full book review of Rena’s thirty-year-old Memoir The Blood Covenant.” 

If you want to get more of a chronicle of Ervil’s old mafioso cult, and its demise, read “The 4 O’clock Murders” by Scott Anderson, published in 1993And “Prophet of Blood” by Ben Bradlee and Dale Van Atta, published in 1981.

These two documentaries are not always exactly right, in some of the history of this cult they wrote about, but hats off to them for doing as well as they did with a subject that was often hard to get “the truth” about.



*For much more information on anyone or anything I mention on this site, you may use your search engine to look up these people and topics. Also check YouTube, Wikipedia, and other sites.



Both Doris Hanson and Aunt Rebecca Kimbel are success stories of brilliant and determined women — who are also escapees from Mormon Fundamentalist cults!

They are each now Independent TV Producers who also host their own YouTube sites, among other things. Each of them interviews, among other outstanding leaders and people, escapees from dangerous Mormon cults.

 



My cousin, Donna LeBaron Goldberg (as seen below with her sister Barbara LeBaron on their website header) is interviewed a number of times by Producer Aunt Rebecca Kimbel on YouTube, for example. I hope you check out these YouTube interviews.

donna-and-barbara-website




Doris Hansen and Rebecca Kimbel also each interviewed Authors Irene LeBaron Spencer (See: IreneSpencerbooks.com) and Susan Ray Schmidt (see her website). Both are my Aunts. And Aunt Irene is Donna LeBaron Goldberg’s and Barbara LeBaron’s mother, as seen in the photos above.



Aunt Rebecca Kimbel and Doris Hansen also interviewed, on their TV and YouTube sites, other relatives and friends of mine from my days in the cult — people such as my cousin, Carolyn Jessop, a memoirist who wrote the bestselling,”Escape,” and other books.

 

 





Also, check out Aunt Rebecca Kimbel’s excellent and adamant speech on YouTube’s TED-X Talks. (In around only 18 minutes, she did a genius presentation on all the main issues to do with Mormon cults, including White slavery.


See also (on Goodreads.com) her novel, “A Savage Wild,” published in 2013. I have yet to get and read it




See the film: “The Childbride of Short Creek.” It was on YouTube, among other places, the last time I checked. (To get Info for their Script, my sisters were interviewed by the writers of this film.)




Banking on Heaven is a Documentary my cousin Laurie Allen and her cohort, Dot Reidelbach, created. (It gives a good overview of life as a Mormon fundamentalist female in Short Creek, Arizona, and Hilldale, Utah.

I went online a few years ago and ordered a copy of their DVD. I don’t know if you can find it on YouTube or the Internet now. But give it a try.)
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 Some Recommended Books and Films Written Mostly by My Relatives and/or By Fellow Ex-Mormon Fundamentalists

(Many can be found in Public Libraries, on Amazon.com, etc., and on the Authors’ website. A number of them are in audiobook form also):

Shattered Dreams” and Cult Insanity” by Best-Selling Author Aunt Irene LeBaron Spencer, at IreneSpencerBooks.com. Her books are also in audiobook form. (Irene is my Aunt, through marriage, as is Rebecca Kimbel, Irene’s half-sister.)

*Note: I took the picture featured on Irene’s book cover,”Cult Insanity. (See it below in its original form :
Uncle Ervil LeBaron is holding my eight-year-old daughter, Asenath Marie Tucker, the little girl in the yellow dress. I took this photograph before I had any idea that Uncle Ervil was a psychotic sociopath.

ervil with marie
Uncle Ervil LeBaron, Brother-in-law Dan Jordan, & my daughter, Asenath Marie Tucker



 



One of my favorite books on the subject of my relatives and my past is the following book, written by a very talented writer, Aunt Susan Ray Schmidt. (I took care of her for five days when she was around nine years old (long before she married my Uncle Verlan LeBaron, of course, and thus became my aunt) while her parents were out of town, and we were still living in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico).

His Favorite Wife,”  by Susan Ray Schmidt (Another Aunt of mine,  her book reads like a novel. My family is mentioned in it.)




kimbel and kocielaplygs-book-cover

TWO EXCELLENT BOOKS:PLYGSand “PLYGS 2 by Ed Kociela,  available for sale on Amazon.com

*(He calls his book “Fiction,” to protect the innocent and himself, I suspect. It’s not fiction!

~ Also see Rebecca Kimbel’s YouTube interviews with this amazing journalist who spent many years writing news reports on the infamous polygamist town, Short Creek/AKA Colorado City.)




Another must read is Prophet’s Prey, by Sam Brower (also an audiobook).

A film came out September 2016: Prophet’s Prey. It is based on his book and was playing in theaters. I haven’t seen it yet.



Another “must read” is “God’s Brothel, by Andrea Moore-Emmett. (Also check out her super interviews with Rebecca Kimbel, and possibly also with Doris Hanson, on YouTube.)






No Man Knows My History, by the late UCLA researcher and professorFawn McKay Brodie (niece of David O. McKay, a former President and Prophet of the mainline  Mormon church) This book is a well-researched history of the so-called “Prophet Joseph Smith” — a must read!)

My great-great-grandfather, Benjamin F. Johnson, was sealed to Joseph Smith as a son. Beginning at the tender age of eighteen, he became one of Joseph Smith’s Scribes. (I recently read,  in a questionable place, that his son, Benjamin F. LeBaron, was also sealed to Joseph Smith as a son! But given the references for this claim, I’d say the jury is still out on this one!)





* This concludes my present most-recommended books and media on the subject to do with my Mormon fundamentalist past. However, there are plenty more books, films, and TV shows published on this subject of Mormon fundamentalism, polygamy, and cults.

Check libraries, bookstores, Youtube, your online search engine, and “Media” in the Menu of my own website for more material on these subjects. I own around one hundred books and also some films and TV productions about Mormonism, its past, and Mormon polygamist cults. Many of the books and scripts are written by former Mormon Fundamentalists who have left/escaped their cult.

I found all one hundred or more of my books worth reading, but have gleaned from them the ones I most recommend to start with. If I think of any other books or media, I will come back and add them later. But I’m sure this is more than enough to start with.

Again, you can always check the public libraries and online Book Stores like Amazon.com, also, if you want even more books and Media presently available on the subject.

I am open to questions or feedback on this material, should you wish to make comments on my site. Till then, happy reading, listening to, and watching films, YouTube interviews, and TV shows on this informative media.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you and to your following my site. Thank you in advance for your most appreciated feedback. It’s what we Authors thrive on.

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September 26, 2016:  

The following books and films, etc., I also recommend, if you are interested in learning more about my extended family, or/and other things to do with Mormon fundamentalism:

(*By the way, this Romney insert is not a book, but I thought it interesting. Also wanted to say, my mother (born 1921 in Colonia Pacheco, Mexico) grew up with Gov. Romney’s (George Romney, et Al) family, there in the Mormon colonies in Mexico.romney-and-polygamy 


 



“The LeBaron Story” is truly a “Vanity Book” — not only because my uncle Verlan LeBaron paid a publishing company in 1981 (back when self-publishing was far from the norm) to publish the book — but also because it is a revisionistic, apologetic, and biased history of some of my grandparents Maud and Dayer LeBaron’s rather grandiose offspring.

What’s more, my Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Verlan are largely NOT the authors of this book though they have taken all the credit for it. Truth is, Uncle Verlan was FAR too busy to write a book — even if he knew how — too busy working, traveling around from country to country visiting his ten wives and fifty-plus kids — and running from his brother Ervil who was out to kill him! And Aunt Charlotte was about this busy too!

Fact is, my mother/Verlan’s sister Esther LeBaron-McDonald de Spencer (with a BA in journalism) is the one whose idea it was to write “The LeBaron Story.” She wrote a large part of this book, then turned her manuscript over to Verlan, along with her journals and notes, telling him he could finish and publish her work — could even have all the proceeds from it!

It was Mother’s effort to help her brother Verlan “build up the kingdom of God” — her way of paying tithing and defending “God’s work” because Verlan had taken over for her brother Joel LeBaron, “The One Mighty and Strong,” after Joel was murdered by his brother Ervil!

The work of finishing and compiling Mother’s book was largely done by my Uncle Verlan’s first wife Charlotte who relied on Info from my mother’s journals and notes to help her.

About 2/3 of “The LeBaron Story,” therefore, came directly from my dear Mom’s manuscript as well as her journal entries. I remember when she was writing this history. She talked about it a lot at the time. I recognize her writing and input. It’s mixed throughout the text — makes up a large part of it.

You may want to note the two different writer’s voices used in the book! Anything with the more beautifully written structured writing, defined paragraphs, quotes, and sources listed at the back of the book, etc., is my mother Esther LeBaron Spencer’s writing voice — her contribution. Whereas Aunt Charlotte, Uncle Verlan, et Al’s writing voices are in the chapters where everything is run together and there aren’t structured paragraphs, footnotes, etc.

Although Uncle Verlan and Aunt Charlotte used large parts of what my Mother wrote, word for word — used her material exactly as she had written it — no editing at all — they gave Mother not one BIT of credit — not one speck of acknowledgment, let alone so much as a howdy-do-dee or thank-you. It’s tantamount to plagiarism — shameful how Charlotte and Verlan took all the credit for this book!

But getting to the body of the work, if you were to take the authors’ word for everything, for sure the Mexico LeBarons are/were “a saintly people with a Godly mission.” But I beg to differ: Wishing doesn’t make it so. In other words, wishful thinking, such as self-proclaiming oneself as “The One Mighty and Strong,” and claiming one comes from “A Godly people with a Messianic mission” doesn’t make it true.

Much of the book’s lore takes place in Chihuahua, Mexico. Unfortunately, the authors tell the story in the words of true-believing, fundamentalist-Mormon-LeBaron cult members. In other words, it’s a highly biased history with a Messianic purpose.

True to their fanatic religiosity, as I said above, the book was mainly written to proselytize and promote Uncle Joel LeBaron’s cult, “The Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times.” This presupposes a revised and rewritten history, then — and a white-washing of the LeBarons … It’s myth in the making, to be sure.

Nonetheless, I was able to glean a bit of useful information from it. I’m glad the book was written, despite the biased viewpoint, because nobody else in the immediate Mexico LeBaron family has written any first-hand history about themselves.

But suffice it to say, the book could use a good Editor’s service, if nothing else — although, even as it is, it was a big endeavor and accomplishment for my aunts and uncle to pull off. For they were very busy people who had done little reading in comparison to Scholars and those Majoring in Journalism or such. Plus they were laboring under great pressures and disadvantages like raising huge families of small children while living in backward, primitive conditions. But book-buyer beware …  be wary! That’s all I can say!

I was given a copy of this book many years ago when it first came out in 1981, fourteen years after I escaped the LeBaron cult in 1967. After reading the book, the preaching, plus the white-washing and grandiose fabrications throughout the chronicle of the LeBaron family got my gut so badly I was about to toss the book in the dumpster when my Uncle Verlan’s daughters Rhea and Donna dropped in. They still believed their father was a prophet, back then, so were very happy to be gifted with my book, “The LeBaron Story.” And I was very happy to get rid of it.

But thirty-six years later, for purposes of my own writing, understanding, and research, I had to re-buy the book on Kindle! Argh! It’s going for around $45.00 or so in hardback, no less, on Amazon.com. Wonders never cease to amaze me … so I wonder! Well, to each his own. Read on!



escaping-polygamy


stolen-innocents-book-imageElissa Wall was raised in the FLDS cult, the same cult that I was raised in for around eight years, as a child, before my parents left this fundamentalist group and joined another, the LeBaron group.



escape-from-polygamy-book-cover




Anna LeBaron is my cousin, one of  Uncle Ervil’s daughters.

Her above book, The Polygamist’s Daughter, is presently available in bookstores as of March 21, 2017. (See her website,  AnnaLeBaron.com.)





flora-jessop-church-of-liesThe is a wonderfully and intelligently written memoir by Flora Jessop, who was born and raised in the FLDS cult — there in Short Creek, Arizona (now called “Colorado City,” on the map) and Hilldale, Utah, where I lived for some time, as a child.




My sister, Lenora Spencer (mentioned in the credits of this book) gave Jon Krakauer a lot of the good information included in his book about Short Creek/Colorado City, Hilldale, and Centennial Park, Utah.

And then, in turn, he helped her a lot — with advice, etc., that would help her escape the bonds of White slavery, polygamy, and Mormon fundamentalism.

My niece, Vicky Rogers LeBaron, filled Krakauer in on some of the details, also, that have made up part of the research that went into writing this outstanding documentary.





the-sound-of-gravelMemoirist and Author Ruth Warinerruth-with-her-memoir Ruth (LeBaron) Wariner Centofante, a daughter of my mother’s brother, Uncle Joel LeBaron, published her memoirs Feb. 2016.
A best-seller, it’s in public libraries, audiobook is also available.




 

 

 

 

 

 

The book largely consists of a collection of some of my grandmother’s letters — and some vignettes Grandma wrote that are run together in often hard-to-decipher paragraphs.

More to be said on this later. I’ll only say, for now, she’s done a revised version/ a rewriting of the history of the “Joel LeBaron: Prophet” saga, turning it upside down, and him into a martyred prophet. (Thus, she shows, though not intentionally, how religious myths are made.)


*Note: It’s now 2017, and I’ve written a much longer Review of Aunt Charlotte’s “Maud’s Story,” posted below:

Maud Lucinda LeBaron is my maternal grandmother, of whom I am “the spittin’ image,” I was always told growing up. In fact, the above photo of her looks so much like me at that age, I look at it and think it’s me. I can’t tell the difference!




Still, I resent she used my grandmother Matriarch Maud Lucinda LeBaron’s story to draw in her progeny and relatives, as well as others, so as to promote her’s and Uncle Joel’s Church of the Firstborn doctrine — a la Charlotte LeBaron’s viewpoint. So “Maud’s Story” really should be “Charlotte’s Story.”


But to give Aunt Charlotte credit, though I was disappointed “Maud’s Story” wasn’t imbued with more of Grandmother’s colorful history, she includes in her booklet numerous short vignettes that are: “Quotes from Grandma’s Notes.


Perhaps, to get more of Grandmother’s history, Charlotte expects us to read “The LeBaron Story,” which she also authored with her husband, my Uncle Verlan. (This book is another apologists’ chronicle largely written to preach the Church of the Firstborn religious doctrine.)


I find its covert preaching of the Church of the First Born dogma distasteful — especially the revising of its doctrine and history to make it more palatable than it was when my Uncles Ervil and Joel LeBaron first spawned this sect/cult in 1953.







This is an excellent memoir written by a nephew of Warren Jeffs, Brent Jeffs. It is a very informative and bravely written memoir of one of the unfortunate and abused (sexually, physically, emotionally, and mentally) boys raised in the FLDS/Mormon fundamentalist cult. He has been interviewed on TV a number of times.

You go, Brent! More people need to follow your example and bring to light what is really going on in Mormon fundamentalist cults in the name of religion.




ervil-in-another-film  This film is/was about my Uncle Ervil LeBaron. Did a Google search and found it was scheduled to be released in 2014, but was canceled for lack of funding. But am told a new film on Uncle Ervil is due to be released in 2017 or 2018.




 

 

 

 

 

 

Joanne Hanks Memoir is one of the best books written on what life in polygamy is like, and why she eventually fled it. See my book review on her memoir. It’s posted on my Website.






~ My Poem: “In Mexico, Down Past the Rio Grande”

    rocks-near-colonia-le-baron

*In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande,
I buried my diaries in the desert sand;
Now they lie lost in a foreign land —
Lost in LeBaron when I left the clan.

Buried my poetry in the desert’s brew, too.
It’s now lost in sandstorms that blew.
With each new windstorm, more sands would accrue,
So adios, muse babies! Adios and adieu!

You lie where I was born and grew,
There, in LeBaron, the home I once knew.
I couldn’t find you when I fled and flew.
So part of me’s left now buried in you.

Slowly the tears trickle, two by two,
Down my cheekbones like drops of dew,
Ever homesick but can’t ties renew,
It’s adios to my past — adios and adieu.

When will my loneliness finally end?
When will this pain fade away, my friend?
And where are my Journals and the poems I penned,
Then buried in the earth to protect them back then?

They’re buried where my past lies buried and dead,
Hidden with my heart that broke when I fled,
‘Cause all I’d believed and held dear, instead,
Suddenly collapsed and had to be shed.

Still, I long for my family and old friends too,
Who could not see things the way I do,
They wouldn’t allow me to have my own voice —
They didn’t respect my freedom of choice.

Still, I long for my life that lies buried with you —
For the part that split when from there I flew,
When I tried to find life in the US anew,
To follow my dreams and my hopes renew;

Now in deep abyss, I traverse this earth,
Looking for meaning to renew life’s worth;
Looking for Mother’s long-gone mirth,
Though now she sleeps in Mexican earth.

No sooner had I almost found rebirth,
Then signs of death came, bearing no mirth —
Bouncing and banging on my back door,
While backing me up downhill more and more.

 But part of me already died years ago —
That part I left when I escaped Mexico —
Back where my heart lies half-buried alive —
Back where my past took a nose dive.

Perhaps that other half’s in my hometown,
Buried in Chihuahua, Mexico’s ground,
But I can’t go back, can’t traverse the Rio Grande,
The river’s too wide so I stay on dry land.

Remaining in my new world on this other side.
Still, so many lonely rivers I have cried;
And though most tears have finally dried,
Many old rivers are still left inside.

Too many rivers between me ’n’ those I know;
Gulfs too wide since I let them go.
Yet, part of me’s buried there in Mexico,
Down past the Rio Grande I love so.

Part of me’s there, though put to the test,
‘Cause that’s where my many dear ones rest:
Part’s with my past, while part’s here with me,
Longing for home, wherever home may be.

Divided and torn by the Rio Grande
Flowing between me and LeBaron land.
I wonder, is half my heart buried there,
In Mexico, down past the Rio Grande?

(By Stephany Spencer,  4/2008)

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*NOTE: I revised this poem (see below)
— Did surgery on it: Cut out over half its verses. (My writers’ club doesn’t accept, for their newsletter, poems longer than 45 lines. I submitted and had published this poem in the California Writers Club’s November 2016 newsletter, “The Scribe.“)

Also, when it comes to singing this narrative poem, forty-five lines makes for a three-minute performance — plenty for a poem this deep and full of story. Just to verify this, I sang my song yesterday at Songmakers’ Saturday Song-Circle. The group agreed that forty-five lines is plenty if I sing it rather than read it. (I read it to them, also — the five-minute version — just to get their helpful critique and feedback. And they kindly sat through the whole thing!)

*The following is the shortened version: (But I have since done even more painful surgery on this poem — I’ve now cut it down to a twenty-eight line poem to perform as a song. (I only have that version in my song folder.) @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@