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

4.1 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Irene Spencer came from four generations of polygamy. As the second of ten wives, she was the mother of fourteen of her husband's fifty-eight children. Irene lives in Anchorage Alaska, with her faithful husband of nineteen years, Hector J. Spencer, who never leaves her side. At eighty-four years of age, Hector travels with Irene, proudly basking in her recent, new-found success. They currently reside in Woodbridge, California with Irene's oldest daughter, where Irene continues to write and work on various projects.When she's not writing or speaking, Irene is on the road, traveling the globe from Alaska to Mexico, Idaho, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Louisiana to visit her family. Irene is also a world traveler, having traveled through twenty-five of the fifty U.S. states and to twenty-three foreign countries. She speaks both Spanish and English fluently.Although she had only a ninth-grade education, Irene earned her GED and took a creative writing class at University of Las Vegas. In fulfilling her passion and calling as an inspirational speaker, Irene shocks, amazes and motivates her audience. Irene interweaves humor throughout her testimony of her former, unconventional lifestyle. Irene serves as a keynote speaker for "rescue missions," church congregations, women's centers, and other groups and events throughout the country as invited. Despite the demands on her time to fulfill her speaking engagements, Irene finds time to continue her writing and spend time with her family. She plans to author additional books. Laural Merlington has recorded well over one hundred audiobooks, including works by Margaret Atwood and Alice Hoffman, and is the recipient of several AudioFile Earphones Awards. She has performed and directed for thirty years in theaters throughout the country. In addition to her extensive theater and voice-over work, Laural teaches college in her home state of Michigan.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3751 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Center Street; 1 edition (July 29, 2009)
  • Publication Date: August 12, 2009
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002JCJ6WU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,034 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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!

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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