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Cult Insanity by Irene Spencer

Cult Insanity (2009)

by Irene Spencer

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I like Irene's book they are easy to read and read more like fiction.
Ervil Lebaron , they should have the "r" out of his name. He hurt everyone who was loyal to him, or loved him, just to get his own way.
He had no respect for women and the things his wives and followers endured is beyond belief. ( )
  dara85 | Nov 14, 2010 |
This is the second book from Spencer, and somewhat less exciting than her first. This details the sordid details of the cult she married into. It's an interesting read, but it took me a couple of months to finish it.

I recommend her first book much more highly, as it was a more compelling read. ( )
  sister_t | May 1, 2010 |
Cult Insanity is a riveting true story of a woman who lived in a Mormon polygamist cult in the 1970s. Unlike the polygamist members you may have seen living a wealthy lifestyle on TV, both in fiction and news shows, this cult lived in abject poverty in Mexico. It is an interesting story of the generational hold that this type of cult has on its members. There are quite a few people that you have to keep track of, but that is to be expected when the men had 10 or more wives and dozens of children.

It is an interesting story of self-declared prophets, poverty, abuse, murder and finally freedom. There are photographs, a map, and an interesting chart with the wives and children of Ervil LeBaron showing which ones were murdered, put in prison, or died by their own hands. The story jumps around a little, and I found it disturbing to read about the author’s complicity in keeping a woman locked in a room for years. It was just too simplistic of an explanation to read that this woman “lost her mind” when she found out her husband took a second wife and needed to be locked up. There is little information about the author's life outside the Mormon cult, but she has written other books which may include that information. ( )
1 vote Tmtrvlr | Oct 26, 2009 |
This book was an intense and powerful look at a life I never knew existed. Although the writing was a bit amateurish in some areas, the subject matter and the actual story kept me enthralled with every page. It is the story of Evril LeBaron, the leader of a fundamentalist faction of the Mormon faith. Irene, the author is Evril's sister in-law and lived years in the same compound as Evril, with him being the "Patriarch" of the group. The things Irene describes are terrible and frightening. I am still reeling from this book and I read it over a week ago.

I think in saying the writing was a bit amateurish I need to explain myself. I found a lot of areas to repeat themselves and things moved along in a very choppily and it was hard to get a grip on during some parts. Especially during the climax of the book, she explains her way, then another persons view and then another. Either way this book is worth the read, especially if you are interested in cult societies.

(Believe me when I say, I know my writing is amateurish, as well) ( )
1 vote faith42love | Oct 22, 2009 |
Covers Irene Spencer's experiences with the LeBaron's Mexican-based fundamentalist LDS churches, from the 1950s through the 1970s. The level of detail regarding Ervil LeBaron is, as one would expect, more personal and closer-hand than The 4 O'Clock Murders. However, she basically ends the account when Ervil dies, as that it is about the same time she left the cult for good. So, while this book deepens and personalizes some of the cult history, and adds additional background, it's not a complete story of the cult, by any means.

I thought the book notable for its concise and well-written chapter(s) at the beginning of the book describing the history of Mormon fundamentalism, and laying out the connections between the Short Creek (Warren Jeffs) crowd, the Rulon Allred crowd, the LeBarons, and the independents. The Ervil LeBaron offspring chart is also the most current chart, and lists the sad outcomes of some more of his children -- murdered, suicide, life in prison.

Similar chronological coverage is provided by Susan Ray Schmidt's His Favorite Wife, although that memoir's coverage is primarily the late 60s through the 70s.

Note: One should compare Cult Insanity / Irene Spencer (2009) with The 4 O'Clock Murders / Scott Anderson (1993) and Prophet of Blood / Ben Bradlee & Dale Van Atta (1981), all of which cover the Lambs of God from their beginnings through their various murders in the 1970s. The 4 O'Clock Murders is largely derivative, and generally more superficial, with the material covered in Prophet of Blood -- that is, the beginnings of the cult through Ervil LeBaron's death. For the best journalistic coverage of that time (roughly through the end of the 1970s), it makes sense to read Prophet. Spencer fills in the exact same time period as Prophet of Blood, but with more personal detail and insight, and more of a sense of the role of polygamy in the Lambs of God and the Church of the Firstborn. To understand what happened with the cult after LeBaron's death, however, Anderson is important and is the only complete account. Spencer's book, written 16 years after Anderson's, unfortunately stops at the same time as Prophet of Blood -- with Ervil LeBaron's death. She updates Anderson only insofar as she updates the Ervil LeBaron offspring chart with updated suicides, murders, and imprisonments. (Grim.) ( )
  lquilter | Oct 14, 2009 |
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Ervil LeBaron, often referred to as "the Mormon Manson" who ordered the deaths of at least twenty-eight family members, friends and church members--and who had threatened to kill my husbandand me--was my brother-in-law. I was married to his brother, Verlan LeBaron for twenty-eight years.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446538191, Hardcover)

Life for Irene Spencer was a series of devastating disappointments and hardships. Irene's first book, Shattered Dreams, is the staggering chronicle of her struggle to provide for her children in abject poverty and feelings of abandonment each time her husband left to be with one of his other wives. Irene was raised to believe polygamy was the way of life necessary for her ticket to heaven.

The hard knocks of her environment were just the beginning of Irene's shocking tale. Insanity ran rampant in her husband's family and was the source of inconceivable events that unfolded throughout Irene's adult life. CULT INSANITY takes readers deeper into her story to uncover the outrageous behavior of her brother-in-law Ervil -- a self-proclaimed prophet who determined he was called to set the house of God in order -- and how he terrorized their colony. Claiming to be God's avenger and to have a license to kill in the name of God, Ervil ordered the murders of friends and family members, eliminating all those who challenged his authority.

For those who were gripped by Shattered Dreams, the rest of the story will blow them away. CULT INSANITY is a riveting, terrifying memoir of polygamist life under the tyranny of a madman.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:05 -0400)

"Irene Spencer tells the full story of her brother-in-law Ervil LeBaron and his unimaginable reign of terror and violence in their polygamist community"--Provided by the publisher

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