- Paperback: 434 pages
- Publisher: Kassidy Lane; 1st edition (2006)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0028ICUE6
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 110 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,365,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy Paperback – 2006
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At fifteen she became his sixth wife And the infamous Ervil LeBaron became her brother-in-law. Where was the excitement I had anticipated as the wife of a leader? Babies, hard work, and poverty were the lot of a polygamist's wife. Our colonies consisted of run-down homes filled with lonely women and children, waiting for the scattered moments when our husbands could find time for a hurried visit home. Yet the times Verlan was home were the most frustrating of all. Knowing he was close yet sleeping in another wife's bed was pure torture. The irony of it was that when he was with me, i felt sorry for the others.
Top customer reviews
I would strongly recommend this book. Reading the others kind of brought their story together, especially after reading Sam Brower's book. This one stands out because it was set in the 60s on, and it was set in a different country, giving it a completely different slant to the polygamist family stories.
The realities of polygamous life for Susan were lots of hard work (the people in Colonia LeBaron lacked indoor plumbing, and got their water from wells). But Susan was used to hard work. What she had to accept was her love and emotional life being forever put on hold, as her husband attended to five other wives and unending church business.
By the time Susan is 23 she has three children, is pregnant with her fourth, and is one of eight wives. Her emotional pain and confusion lead her to search through Mormon writings and Biblical sources. She concludes that polygamy was abjured by the mainstream Mormon church leaders decades before for very good reasons. In a memorable passage Susan talks to one of her "sister-wives" about their situation: "Has it ever occurred to you that Verlan [their husband] never stays for very long in any of these remote dumps he moves us to? He comes for a short visit, and receives the very best each of us have to offer. We make special food, and wait on him...and wash his clothes in the creek...and he has a willing wife to snuggle up to every night he's home...And then within a week or so he's off, to see another batch of wives, where they also give him the very best they have to offer." (The sister-wife says yes, she's thought of these things, but "that's just the way things are...he has his own crosses to bear...he has our huge family to support, and the problems of the church..." The sister-wife tells Susan if she continues her rebellious questioning, she'll be giving up her "eternal blessings.")
At one point, Susan has her husband drive her and her children back to her parents' house, several days away. It's during this road trip, with her husband being attentive to her and the children, that Susan realized "the closeness and dependency that monogamous couples took for granted." This is probably the most poignant line in the book.
Eventually, Susan has this to say about the polygamous life she was raised in and lived: "The task of living polygamy so overwhelmed us all, that the very reason for the church's existence--our solemn duty to share the precious gospel of salvation...was lost in the confusion."
Another fascinating aspect of Susan's book is the fact that her husband's brother was a magnetic, deranged personality who set up a rival polygamous church and convinced a number of his fanatical followers to kill those he felt threatened by in the original colony church. He even killed his own brother, the "prophet" of the colony, Joel LeBaron. This is an exciting read on its own, (just Google "Ervil LeBaron") but surprisingly doesn't impact much of Susan's life until a year or two before she decides to leave Mexico for life in Idaho, and the search for a life unlike the "colony" life she'd known. That's the reason I didn't include it before this last paragraph. Susan's story is one of coming to respect her heart and mind, and having the courage to leave everything familiar behind to find the emotional support she hungered for, that could only be supplied by a loving, and consistently present, man for whom she would be the only wife. Something as ordinary as monogamous marriage was this woman's dream, and she eventually found it.
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