A utopian dream turned dystopian nightmare: ‘Deliver Us From Ervil’ is the murky tale of a murderous fundamentalist Mormon cult

True Crime May 20, 2022
Deliver Us From Ervil podcast art
Listen to ‘Deliver Us From Ervil’

We also had to read the title twice. “Deliver Us From Ervil” is a new podcast that plunges us into the Chihuahua Desert of Mexico. It’s in Colonia LeBarón, an odd yet still thriving Mormon town, where journalist Jesse Hyde is covering a story about a drug cartel massacre when he uncovers the strange story of the LeBaron family.

They dreamt of a utopian Mormon community, but it quickly transformed into a nightmare. Their new religious faction became a Mormon cult that became a powerful crime family, led by the fanatic and murderous Ervil LeBaron.

A brand new true crime podcast from Novel and iHeartPodcasts, “Deliver Us From Ervil” delves into the murky history of the LeBarons and Ervil’s cult, The Church of the Lamb of God. Only a handful of episodes are out so far, each one just 50 minutes a piece.

Our host Jesse is a writer whose investigations and works revolve around crime, religion, and fanaticism. A Mormon himself, this story is undoubtedly personal as he dives deep into a tale riddled with taboo and controversy all surrounding the religion.

So, the LeBarons. Everywhere Jesse went in Colonia LeBarón, he heard the name. Nearly everyone in the town is a descendant of the family that settled on a ranch in the region in the 1950s. Jesse had to learn more.

He finds that the town was settled as a safe haven for Morman fundamentalists, meaning those who still wanted to practice elements of the religion (like polygamy) that the Church of the Latter Day Saints had outlawed. The LeBaron family chose to travel to Mexico where they could create their own Mormon utopia, only to find it quickly spiraling out of control thanks to one of their own.

The town and many of its members rapidly descended into violence, escalating from a mere cult to organized crime. They smuggled narcotics, stole cars, and carried out assassinations all laid out by Ervil LeBaron. They unleashed terror throughout Mexico and America, operating completely undetected for generations.

Jesse tells us this story through a series of first-person reports from the 1950s through to today. He interviews former cult members, victims of their crimes, and remaining LeBarons, along with the law enforcement officials, journalists, and prosecutors who have hunted them for decades. Jesse even speaks with an assassin: one of Ervil’s teenaged wives.

“Deliver Us From Ervil” is a gripping tale, a carefully woven epic that works diligently to separate the myth from the man. Jesse’s storytelling is decadent, and his Mormon background brings important context and details that would have otherwise been forgone.

This story needs to be heard to be believed, and you’ll never hear it better than with “Deliver Us From Ervil.”

Listen to ‘Deliver Us From Ervil’

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