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Irene Spencer

Biography:

Irene Spencer came from five generations of polygamy. As the second of ten wives, she was the mother of 14 of her husband's 58 children. Her captivating story provides an intimate look at the daily struggles Irene faced as a plural wife.

During her twenty-eight years in a polygamous marriage, Irene gave birth to thirteen children (all single births). Her ninth child was adopted as a newborn daughter.

Irene has 121 grandchildren and 47 great-grandchildren and there are more grandchildren on the way! Irene tells people she doesn't have a family tree, she has a family forest. She finds time occasionally to baby-sit with each of her grandchildren, sharing enough time with each of them to convince them they are her favorite!

Irene's number one love is her family, so when she's not writing or speaking, she is on the road, traveling the globe from Alaska to Mexico, Idaho, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Louisiana to visit her "family forest". Irene attends as many new births, birthdays, weddings, etc. as possible.

Although she had only a ninth grade education, Irene earned her G.E.D. and took a creative writing class at UNLV. When asked, she always says her best degree came from the school of "hard knocks!"

Past Shows:

A Polygamist's Wife

Irene Spencer, a fifth generation polygamist, shared her account of being the second of ten wives and the mother of 14 of her husband's 58 children. She eventually escaped from her polygamist community, which practiced a fundamentalist offshoot of Mormonism. The group didn't offer religious freedom, but a kind of brainwashing, that allowed for the abuse of women and children, she detailed.We were taught that Jesus was a polygamist, said Spencer, who married her brother-in-law at the age of 16 in 1953. Most polygamists only have intercourse for procreation, so it's a myth that the husbands have a lot sex, she noted. They're taught that living in polygamy is necessary for eternal salvation, and those who don't practice this in the outside world are going to hell. Her group moved down to Mexico and lived in extreme poverty. They sewed clothes together from discarded fabrics, and made and sold cheese. Suicide rates are high in such sects-- Spencer said nine of her nieces and nep ... More »

Host: Ian Punnett

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