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

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

Written by Irene Spencer

Narrated by Laural Merlington


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

Written by Irene Spencer

Narrated by Laural Merlington

ratings:
4/5 (26 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 26, 2009
ISBN:
9781400183265
Format:
Audiobook

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 that 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.



In Cult Insanity, Spencer reveals 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. Cult Insanity is a riveting, terrifying memoir of polygamist life under the tyranny of a madman.
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 26, 2009
ISBN:
9781400183265
Format:
Audiobook


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What people think about Cult Insanity

4.1
26 ratings / 9 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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)
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    Cult Insanity is the story of Evril Lebaron, the brother in law of author Irene Spencer, a ruthless psychotic man, who killled 25 people, including family and church members. Irene Spencer was warned by her family that the Lebarons were a insane family, little did she know how insane some were.As it's mentioned above, Cult Insanity is a sequel to Shattered Dreams, but it is not necessary to have read Shattered Dreams before you read Cult Insanity. I've never read Shattered Dreams, but I want to now. I don't know much about the polygomy ways, but after reading this book I really want to know more. This book was a real eye opener to what goes on in these compounds, and i'm speechless that these women think this is what God wants.There are several books out there about Evril (doesn't that sound so much like Evil) Lebaron, but none have that personal touch that Irene Spencer brings. I really felt her terror while she was out there in Northern Mexico living in such close proximity to Evril. The evilness of Evril is transparent in every page as the story digs deeper and deeper into the sick mind of Evril. Again i'm dumbfounded why anyone would put themselves in such harm's way, and feel like they have no choice but to live life that way.Final words, this a gripping, disturbing book, and after reading it I defnitely want to know more about polygomy.
  • (2/5)
    I find polygamy and Mormonism interesting so I began this as an audiobook, but by chapter 7 I quit. I found it tedious.
  • (3/5)
    Irene Spencer was part of the FLDS (Fundamentalist Mormons) and one of multiple wives of Verlan LeBaron. The LeBaron’s were not thought highly of; in fact, it was thought they were crazy. Verlon’s brother Ervil thought himself a prophet, and when people didn’t follow him, he decided it was time for “blood atonement” - that is, those who didn’t follow him should be killed. Irene Spencer wrote an earlier book (Shattered Dreams) that I liked much much more. It followed her life. In this one, she was on the sidelines (somewhat), though her and her husband’s lives were in danger. I have to admit, when I started reading it, I was expecting a continuation of her first book (though I don’t recall where her earlier book left off, so maybe there wasn’t much to continue?), so it took me a while to realize that this wasn’t her own story this time, so it took a while to get a little more interested. There are a lot of people, so sometimes hard to remember who’s who. Overall, I’ll rate this one “ok”.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    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 person found this helpful