May 3, 2017
Anna LeBaron is the author of The Polygamist’s Daughter, a memoir about growing up as the daughter of the infamous Ervil LeBaron. In her memoir, Anna writes about growing up in a polygamist family, her father’s criminal activity, and constantly being on the run from authorities. Anna’s story really hits home for me because, not only did I grow up in polygamy myself, but I actually knew Anna’s mother, Anna Mae, and Annas father Ervil. My family had also been one of those on the run from her father. Ervil started having people killed who were leaving the church or followers of his brother Joel.
Anna LeBaron’s mother, Anna Mae, was first married to Nephi Marston and they lived across the street from the first house my Daddy and I built in Colonia LeBaron. Anna Mae and my mother became friends and at times I was sent to babysit Anna Mae’s children before Anna was born.
Ervil, Anna’s dad, eventually was successful in getting Anna Mae to leave her first husband for him. Something I never understood as Nephi was such a great man.
At one point, Ervil had told my mother he had had a dream that she was to leave Daddy to marry him, too. I was so glad that mother didn’t fall for that. Since he couldn’t marry my mother, Ervil told me he wanted to marry me. I was thirteen at the time, and he said he was going to ask my mother to save me for him until I was fourteen and could be married. I remember crying about this to my mother, who told me he was only teasing. Even if she really believed it, I was terrified!
I was spared but my poor sister Claudeen wasn’t as lucky! Mother allowed Ervils brother, Joel to marry her at fourteen instead!
Because I left polygamy and Colonia LeBaron years and years ago, I worried about meeting people from there again. When we left we had fled for our lives and had been trying to lay low and not bring any attention to where we were. We had been put on the LeBaron’s hit list and had received threats in the mail which were quickly turned over to the FBI. For years we weren’t sure who we could trust. Good people were turning on each other and it was hard to say whose side people were on.
But after reading Anna’s book, I could tell she is a genuinely loving person, so unlike her father, and I really wanted to meet her.
I had the great privilege of meeting Anna for dinner while she was on her book tour. I was nervous, but honestly, talking to her felt like I had met another one of my many sisters for the first time. I knew she was Ervil’s child and was a victim like I had been. Although my memories of Ervil and his family were tainted with fear, I reminded myself that her father’s actions were just that: her father’s. It would be horrible to judge anyone from the sins of their fathers.
Meeting Anna was wonderful. It was a great honor to have dinner with her. Anna is just the opposite of her father; while he was cunning and evil, she radiated love and knowledge. After speaking to her for a few minutes, it became clear to me that she embodies the love and hope of a Heavenly Father much more than the sentiments of her own father, Ervil LeBaron. I believe wholeheartedly that Anna can, and will, make a difference for good in this world.
I hope that others who grew up in a similar situation will find hope in her words. I have been encouraging family members to read her story as they can relate to and maybe even learn to let go of some things of this past painful life.
In The Polygamist’s Daughter, Anna takes the reader on a journey through pain and healing, and reminds us all that, after all, is said and done, “Forgiveness is freedom.”
Check out Anna’s Book
To learn more about Anna visit Annas Author site here.