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Shattered Dreams: My Life as a…

Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Irene Spencer

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4252424,867 (3.69)34
Title:Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife
Authors:Irene Spencer
Info:Center Street (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:non-fiction, extaordinary lives, polygamy, lonliness

Work details

Shattered Dreams : My Life as a Polygamist's Wife by Irene Spencer (2007)

  1. 20
    Favorite Wife: Escape from Polygamy by Susan Ray Schmidt (lquilter)
    lquilter: Sister-wives Irene and Susan tell their stories in Shattered Dreams and His Favorite Wife, respectively.
  2. 00
    Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints by Sam Brower (rxtheresa)
  3. 00
    The 4 O'Clock Murders by Scott Anderson (dara85)
    dara85: This book also encompasses the LeBaron family, the brothers of Verlyn LeBaron married to the author, Irene.

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Irene grew up in a polygamous home and was raised in the FLDS church (Fundamentalist Mormons). Her mother got out of her plural marriage and Irene came close to not entering into one, but her fears of going to hell if she didn't convinced her... along with other family and her future husband, Verlan. She became his second wife; her half-sister, Charlotte was his first. Irene hated it! And she felt worse and worse about it with every new wife brought into the family. This is the story of her life with Verlan and all the other wives and her 13 children that came.

Wow, Irene had a temper! She was feisty, but the entire situation just battered her mental state down. Verlan had no time for her with all the other wives and working in the U.S. (they mostly lived in Mexico and they were also in Nicaragua for a while). They were extremely poor, which apparently happens with a lot of plural wives – with all the extra wives and children to feed. Good read, though. ( )
  LibraryCin | Apr 15, 2014 |
Hard, heartbreaking, annoying and in some ways incomprehensible. On the whole Irene was a young woman torn between the religion of her upbringing, and what she knew to be its truths about hardship and lack of success.

Bookcrossing: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/6557073/ ( )
  wareagle78 | Jan 22, 2014 |
Finished reading last night.
I thought it was a good book but compared to for instance Escape by Caroline Jessop this woman had a great life! At least her husband tried and my Gosh she was a complainer especially compared to the other wives.
Complaining complaining but every time caving in.

Because it interests me the Mormons religion and especially those of the fundamentalists I've read a lot of books. These people the only thing they do is make kids and a lot of them live from the governments and the taxpayers while they despise these taxpayers cause they are lesser people.
They raise there children and brain wash them into thinking they will go to hell if they do not live according to there religion.

The problem with Mormons is that every man can say what he wants and pretends God told him that, and as with islam this is a great religion for men but not for women.
( )
  Marlene-NL | Apr 12, 2013 |
interesting a peek inside what it is really like to be one of many wives and the pressures as well as the joys ( )
  lilwolfmisty | Apr 11, 2013 |
I've read several books on the practice of polygamy by Fundamentalist Mormons, but none were as good as this book. It is a very detailed account of the philosophy and lifestyle of these people, the original Mormons. The subjugation of women, not as low as Muslim women, but still below any other group of women in the West, is evident. Not just from their almost non-position in the religion - they are just vessels to produce bodies for waiting souls - but also because they are essentially slave labour. The husbands in these polygamous families detailed in the book are away working arriving home with meagre amounts of money (the bulk of it was donated to missionary and other church work), and expecting the up to 9 wives and 58 children to support themselves and produce spare agricultural produce to sell.

Wives have to give their consent to a husband taking more wives, but if they aren't informed, well.... Husbands play favourites, living with the wife they are in love with, deny sex except for procreation (unless, it is hinted, you are a favourite), and have a fine old time of life with the promised reward of becoming gods on their own planets after death.

Only men can be so elevated and this godhead status is almost guaranteed if he marries a 'quorum' of seven wives and has fifty children (who could support 58 people? This is where the slave labour comes in, endless work for no personal reward). A woman's reward is that is she is very, very good, sweet and obedient then her husband will pull her through 'the veil' of death and ennoble her to be a goddess on his very own planet. If she is a bad woman, not sweet, obedient or uses birth control or tries to frustrate her husband in his duty of marrying many women, then she will burn in hell for all eternity. Nice.

I understand that the rule of polygamy was abandoned when a condition for statehood of Utah was that polygamy be banned although the US courts had long ruled it to be illegal.

I do have difficulty with a religion whose founder was a convicted conman and whose revelations (and those of his high-status co-religionists) benefit men, make use of women and whose beliefs are very hard to sustain 'gods on other planets' in today's world. When those religions then change their own absolutely sacred laws,perhaps the most essential one, because it is expedient to do so, I have a hard time seeing how anyone could actually believe in it and adhere to its principles. I also have a hard time in wondering how present LDS Mormons can accept the watering-down of the religion knowing it was done to appease the government, and side-lining of those who still follow it. This book does nothing to make me more positive and understanding. But then faith never required evidence, and facts that don't fit can always be explained away in any religion or set of beliefs.

That said, I respect people because of their actions and sometimes because of what they say, not because of what they believe - I'm not the thought-police. And I'm aware that my own existentialist philosophy isn't held in any high esteem by those who have other beliefs.

The book is a relevation of what it actually meant to be a polygamist wife. Highly recommended. ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Humor enables one to live in the midst of tragic events without being a tragic figure. -- E. T. "Cy" Eberhart
To my precious children, who made all my sacrifices worthwhile: Donna, André, Steven, Brent, Kaylen, Barbara, Margaret, Connie, LaSalle, Verlana, Seth, Lothair, and my little angel Leah, and my special gift from God, Sandra, who are both now in Heaven but live also in my heart.

To my husband, Hector J. Spencer, for allowing me to pursue my dreams, for loving all my children, and for always displaying a servant's heart. Thank you for making me not only your favorite wife but your only wife.
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Prologue: I edged sideways down the aisle of the crowded Greyhound, careful not to bump anyone with the bulky brown suitcase, which held my every possession: two or three plain cotton dresses, my undergarments, and toiletries--the sparse but precious contents of my hope chest.
Book One: Called To Be a Goddess. Chapter One:

As we were growing up, polygamy was the ruling tenet of our lives.
Epilogue: After all my struggles to finally choose freedom, it was tragedy that actually ended my twenty-eight-year marriage to Verlan LeBaron.
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Book description
The memoirs of a woman in a fundamentalist Mormon sect that promotes polygamy; her brother-in-law was the infamous Ervil LeBaron, who ordered the murder of scores of his co-religionists during and after his take-over of their church.
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Irene Spencer did as she felt God commanded in marrying her brother-in-law Verlan LeBaron, becoming his second wife at age 16. When the government raided the fundamentalist, polygamous Mormon village of Short Creek, Arizona, Irene and her family fled to Verlan's brothers' Mexican ranch. They lived in squalor and desolate conditions in the Mexican desert with Verlan's four brothers, one mentally ill sister, and numerous wives and children--Irene herself bore thirteen. The dramatic story of her life, and her escape to an outside world for which she was little prepared, reveals how far religion can be stretched and abused and how one woman and her children found their way to truth and redemption.--From publisher description.… (more)

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