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.
©2009 Irene Spencer; (P)2009 Tantor
I really wanted to enjoy Irene Spencer's second book; couldn't wait for it to be released. I have to admit, upon completion, that I found it difficult to follow. There were simply too many names and it jumped around too much and then it just dropped at the end. I was, I regret to say, disappointed. This woman has led an incredible life and her first book, "Shattered Dreams," was a treat to listen to. I would have preferred her to share more of her first-hand experiences than quoting other books as much as she did. I would recommend "Cult Insanity" only to die-hard fans of anything to do with Mormon Polygamy.
Irene Spencer's memoir of her life in a polygamous religious cult is truly a tribute to the limits of human endurance and suffering. Although difficult to keep up with the confusingly long list of wives, children and step and half relatives, the story of polygamy, abject poverty, mental and physical suffering and abuse, betrayal, lust and murder is a powerful tale, by turns amusing, depressing, touching and horrifying. It underscores man's inhumanity to man and how people will use manipulation to get what they want and religous zeal to gain power and justify their action. It opened my eyes to atrocities I never knew existed. I would suggest reading Spencer's "Shattered Dreams" memoir first and think both books would be improved if they had been combined together into one instead. My heart goes out to all the women and children ensnared in this lifestyle.
I read these books because I am continually amazed at how these seemingly intelligent people buy in to these wacko cults. In writing these books, it begs the question as to whether they are really completely normal now; how can they be? A good study in abnormal psychology, I guess.
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