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Favorite Wife

Escape from Polygamy
Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
Length: 22 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Biographies & Memoirs
4.9 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Summary

She had no choice in the matter - none of the girls did. Her mission was to give birth to and raise many children in devoted service to a shared husband. Susan was 15 years old when she became the sixth wife of Verlan LeBaron, one of the leaders of a rogue Mormon cult, who was engaged in a blood feud with his brother that from 1972 to 1988 claimed up to two dozen lives.

In this gripping and eloquent book, Susan Ray Schmidt tells the story of growing up on the inside and of her ultimate escape with her children from an oppressive and violent life. Delving more deeply into this mysterious underworld than any previous work, Favorite Wife is a powerful account of the affairs of the heart, coming of age under exceptional circumstances, and the tough choices that are sometimes painfully necessary to preserve human dignity.

Susan Ray Schmidt was once a member of the Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times and the child-bride of polygamist Verlan LeBaron in Colonia LeBaron in Mexico. After eight years of marriage, she left her husband and fled with her five children back to America. She remarried three years later.

©2006 Susan Ray Schmidt (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Favorite Wife

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Hard Life

I really enjoyed this book though quite a lot of it was for me anyway, hard to listen to. I know the women were born into these beliefs but I don’t understand how any woman could put up with the sort of life Susan endured for years. Her husband to me anyway sounds like an incredibly selfish man who put his own needs before anything else and was only interested in amassing as many wife’s as possible. I don’t know how Susan managed to stay with him as long as she did. Am glad she found the courage to leave and hope her and her children are enjoying a better life now.

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Holding my breath with suspense!

This is an engaging and interesting book where you end up really caring for Susan and her fate. You want her to be happy and listen to how she endures countless trials.

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Eye opening

Really enjoyed this book, it's made me understand why some follow polygamy and why in the end they leave. It's really a sad story to think the lives of these women have been so limited due to their beliefs. Even though there are so many names mentioned in the book, it was fine to follow in the end.

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Great story

Very moving story of a very courageous woman. engaging and heartfelt, greatly enjoyed the book

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  • Brenda Cantwell
  • 05-05-19

Excellent memoir

This book is well written and well performed. Amazing grit that this woman displayed in her life. So happy she found the true God!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Shauna K. Wimmer
  • 12-09-20

Extremely compelling true story!!

i couldn't stop listening to this very compelling true story!!! I "binge-listened." Highly recommended for anyone interested in hearing a first-hand account of polygamy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • BarB
  • 30-03-20

If you have 22 hours to kill...

Find something else to do with it. This was literally one of the worst memoirs I’ve ever listened to- in fact, I had to listen on 1.5 speed just to get through the book. I had listened to Irene Spencer’s book Shattered Dreams and really enjoyed it. You could tell through her book that she accepted the very difficult life of a polygamist wife, and although it was hard, she wasn’t whining through it. Susan’s story read like a teenager’s diary. Seriously, every meal she made, every hissy fit she threw, every dress she made, etc.. you get the idea. I was fascinated by the story of the LaBaron clan, especially the Blood Atonement aspect of Ervil LaBaron and how he recruited people to kill for him in the name of God. I thought this would tell the story from Susan’s perspective and how the family survived. That was kind of always hanging in the background, but didn’t show up until there were 6 hours left of the story. So where did the first 16 hours go? That’s the whining part of Susan’s life. I don’t think she wrote this book to be enjoyed- I think she wrote it instead of spending a bunch of money on therapy. She did not take responsibility for her role in living this lifestyle. She blamed everyone else for her misery in life and I spent 22 hours waiting for the story to get better. If I could’ve returned this title, I would’ve. Since I couldn’t, I forced myself to listen to it. I’m trying to save you the money and the time.

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  • Rudy
  • 30-11-19

Interesting Story!

The story was so intriguing, but I felt like the writing was a little off. There were so many adjectives used. Like SO many! And adverbs, Wow. I have never heard the word "gingerly" used so many times! The language just seemed a little flowery and over-descriptive at times. Maybe the author has a thing for eyes, but she seemed to describe every person's eyes in every conversation they had. The performance of the narrator was odd. There were so many words and names mispronounced, which I understand, because they are not well known names. If you are not familiar with Mormon terms and names, you'd never notice. It is definitely worth listening to! I would recommend it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-09-20

Excellent

Considering the duration of this book, I feared that it would be filled with endless elaborations and an abundance of details that would lead me into boredom. However, this book is so well-written and with perfect level of detail - just enough to catch your attention and make you - yes, I said it - addicted. I rarely get emotionally invested in books, but I finished this audiobook within a week. I was already familiar with the Lebaron group, and have listened to all the other audiobooks on the group, but this is not necessarily a pre-requisite to listen to the book (it may enhance your experience, though).

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-08-20

Great book!

Coming from the Mormon upbringing it’s fascinating to hear this story. I have left the church as well but prior to leaving I had no clue there are so many other groups of “Mormons” that had their own prophets. I loved this.

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  • Licia Allen
  • 13-04-20

Great read!

Beautifully told story of abuse and redemption in fundamental Mormon polygamy. Hard to read as your heart breaks but hard to put down as you can’t wait to hear how it all turns out.

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  • JS
  • 01-02-20

eye opening

to hear it from an actual wife was eye opening. The struggles and fears are explained so vividly to people who have no clue what their lives were like. It is far from what "Sister wives" depicts. truthful and riviting.

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  • Soraya
  • 10-12-19

Very interesting and eye opening

Wow, What a crazy story. I enjoyed it thoroughly. I learned a lot about the polygamy lifestyle and prompted me to look more into this religion. Found out that this family was isolated in their crazy lives. Not all polygamist families live with this type of abuse and neglect, especially the hunger for power and greed for more wives. So glad she was able to escape. It was awful what she lived through.

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  • Sgarlits
  • 14-11-19

Disturbing

The book is well written and told, however it is overall disturbing. The author's account details her love for her former husband but knowing her age at the time makes this a hard listen at times.