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Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement [Kindle Edition]

Irene Spencer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $11.99
Sold by: Hachette Book Group
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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Irene Spencer resides in Northern California with her husband of twenty-one years, Hector J. Spencer. During the twenty-eight years of her first marriage to a polygamous husband, Irene gave birth to thirteen children (all single births). She additionally adopted a newborn girl, who became her ninth child.

Irene has 123 grandchildren and sixty great-grandchildren. Among her many talents, she is an accomplished seamstress, a great cook, and is fluent in Spanish, and she has traveled to twenty-three countries and twenty-three states speaking on polygamy and related issues.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3489 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (July 29, 2009)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002JCJ6WU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,706 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but confusing September 18, 2009
By Judith
Here is the true story of Ervil LeBaron, the "Mormon Manson" as told from the point of view of his sister-in-law, Irene Spencer.

This is Mrs. Spencer's second book about being a plural wife in the LeBaron cult. I've read her first book, Shattered Dreams, as well. That first one was about her marriage to Verlan LeBaron, her jealousy of being one of ten wives, the depressing poverty they lived in as one man vainly tried to support ten wives and 58 children.

In Cult Insanity she discusses the history of the LeBaron cult, how several of the LeBaron brothers believed themselves to be God's prophet on Earth, and how brother Ervil's thirst for power led to murder, violence, and constant fear within the group. Ervil has his followers murder his brother Joel, repeatedly attempt to murder his brother Verlan, murder his own daughter, and kill about 25 people from his death list. The murders went on even after he died in prison as his followers continued to eliminate people from his death list, and then began to turn on one another. It's an amazing story of what can happen when a mentally ill person is able to recruit believers to carry out his evil plans.

Now I have read several books about the LeBarons--these two by Irene Spencer, another by her sister wife Susan, and one by Ervil's wife Rena, who killed for him. Despite all that, sometimes this new book was hard to follow. It was hard to keep track of who all the people were and how they were relatd to one another. With all the plural marriages, you'd have somebody married to one woman whose sister was married to that person's father who was also married to the first person's daughter. Very confusing. Some more charts would have been helpful, as well as more explanations.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Severely disturbed family January 20, 2010
Cult Insanity is the true-life memoir of the author, a woman who for years was married to one of the LeBaron brothers. To say that this family was simply "crazy" is putting it lightly: several generations of family members hearing voices, being locked up in insane asylums, running around nude in preparation of UFOs landing, and, oh yeah, all the murders places this family in the realms of the seriously mentally disturbed.

I didn't read the first book the author wrote (Shattered Dreams), which tells her life being married in polygamy. I wish I would've read that book first, because at times I was a bit lost with all the wives and the extended family. Cult Insanity focuses more on how the cult started, and on the murders; so there isn't much background on the family itself, except for a few of the LeBaron brothers.

The first two-thirds of the book moves a bit slow; with not much happening except the cult growing stronger and getting wierder. It's not until the last third of the book that it gets truly chilling and disturbing. Also, most of the murders are just a short footnote at the end; don't expect to find a detailed account of all that happened. I wish too the author would've written more what her own emotions were during this time. Often, she comes across as very detached, which certainly makes sense after some of the things she's been through
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Insanity describes it May 2, 2011
This book got only 3 stars due to the disjointed way it was written, there were too many names thrown around with no explanation of who they really were, it like to drove me nuts reading it. Lets put it this way...this is NOT a smooth read. The subject matter on the other hand was so interesting. I just don't understand the fundamentalists Mormons, the whole time I am readng this I am thinking "any normal, sane person would of walked away" why anyone would subject their children or themselves to this kind of life is beyond my comprehension, I'm sorry, I think this is for sure child neglect if not outright child abuse. I felt no sympathy for the author, not that I believe she was asking for any, I felt no connection, I just kept shaking my head. What a bunch of idiots!! Insanity is too mild a word for this kind of life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insanity is right April 15, 2010
This book was somewhat slow for me to get into, though once I had gotten a basic grasp of the story, it became a real page-turner. Mrs. Spencer's story illustrates one of the scariest things about cults, how most of the members are actually (or at least start out as) pretty normal people who, for one reason or another, were influenced by the promises of a charismatic leader or drawn in by a lifestyle or belief system that seemed to make sense at the time they got involved. In this book, we get to know people like Nephi Marston, Mauro Gutierrez, the author's uncle Dr. Rulon Allred, the leader of a rival FLDS group, and a number of the co-wives in the Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times, all normal and sympathetic people who would not have thought of themselves as members of a cult. There were a lot of brothers in the LeBaron family, and as Irene was warned prior to her marriage to Verlan, craziness ran in that family, though the LeBaron brother who takes center stage for his craziness here is the creepy, abusive, murderous, insane Ervil. (I loved how a typo rendered his name as Evil near the end of the book! Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
People need to read Irene Spencers " Scattered Dreams " before this one!
Published 1 month ago by J. Nielsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Justifiable Murder
Beware of groups where you're not allowed to question the leadership. What an insightful and down-to-earth account of one woman's years of living with people who abused their... Read more
Published 1 month ago by TSM
5.0 out of 5 stars Normally I would not even pick up a book like this but I've met...
I read Shattered dreams first. And that book was a tear Jerker. Then I was introduced to this book Cult Insanity. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Barbara Friesen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story
I first read favorite wife which lead me to read shattered dreams. And then The Cult insanity. I love how Irene explains her life in every book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by awesomeness ,sweat
5.0 out of 5 stars Would recommend, providing the dishes can wait till it's read
Irene is an excellent author. Her books are hard to put down. It's heart breaking at times, yet funny at other times.
Published 5 months ago by T. Vanderpool
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very interesting and informative
Published 9 months ago by Debbie Etheridge
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not as interesting as her first book
Published 10 months ago by Karen D
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow.
This is the second book I have read from Irene. She is such an incredible woman and I was just amazed at her story. Great book.
Published 12 months ago by Kay
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping story, but not well-executed
This is an interesting book about the people of Colonia Lebaron, the settlement founded by the Lebaron brothers while they were creating their form of polygamy, and the takeover of... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Shirley S
5.0 out of 5 stars Most insightful !
For some reason, I am intrigued by the stories that come out of polygamy. This one was totally riveting !
Published 18 months ago by Barbara Eddins
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More About the Author

Irene Spencer came from five generations of polygamy. As the second of ten wives, she was the mother of 14 of her husband's 58 children. During her twenty-eight years in a polygamous marriage, Irene gave birth to thirteen children (all single births). Her ninth child was adopted as a newborn daughter. Irene and Hector J. Spencer, her faithful husband of twenty-two years, travel spreading their love between all of their children and loved ones. Irene has 127 grandchildren and 121 great-grandchildren . . . AND . . . there are more great-grandchildren on the way. Irene tells people she doesn't have a family tree, she has a family forest!

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