Shattered Dreams Review
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Irene Kunz was raised in a polygamous family, as the daughter of a second wifeóbut her mother got out. As a teenager, Irene fell in love with a man, and she knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life in a monogamous relationship with him. But, at the same time, a man named Verlan LeBaron (who was already married to Ireneís half-sister) set his sights on Irene as his second wife. Despite her motherís warnings, the pressures and guilt imposed on her by other Mormons made her choose the heavenly glory that would be hers for all eternity if she followed the Principle of polygamy. So at 16 years old, she became a second wife (ultimately the second of ten wives) and the mother of thirteen of her husbandís 56 children.

All I knew about polygamy before reading Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamistís Wife was that it meant a man had multiple wives, And hey, for all I knew, it was a sexual free-for-all, too. Every manís dream, right? Boy, was I ever wrong.

This book is utterly fascinating. Irene Spencer very carefully explains polygamy and the Principal practiced by Mormon fundamentalists who resist the new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which abandoned polygamy over a hundred years ago. Following the Principle meant living an illegal lifestyle in secrecy. Spencer explains about the beliefs of Mormon fundamentalists, why they believe, and why they follow the teachings of prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

Taking on a religion is always difficult; after all, itís one of those subjects you donít bring up at cocktail parties. But Irene Spencer pens an awesome book in her own words, which makes reading it all the better. She does not wax eloquent but instead pours all of her feelings and emotions into her writing, giving us a harsh, real portrayal of her life of subservience and obedience, neglect and poverty, following your head and following your heart, all in the name of ďreligion.Ē

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