As the daughter of Mormon leader Winston Blackmore, Mary Jayne Blackmore grew up within the closed-off polygamist community of Bountiful, BC. She spent her younger years riding ponies, raising pet lambs and playing in the hay in the Old Barn. Her family's staunch Fundamentalist Mormon faith imposed fanatical doomsday preparation and carried an instilled fear of the world outside her community.
The church community split in 2002 when her father was revoked of his leadership position by Prophet Warren Jeffs. In 2017 Winston Blackmore was convicted of practicing polygamy further inciting the media sensationalism and worldwide criticism that had surrounded Bountiful for decades. Through the evolving and controversial narrative of her young adult life, Mary Jayne was forced to redefine her faith, family and womanhood for herself.
Today, through her work and her personal exploration of feminism, Mary Jayne is helping to heal an injured community, one that she watched turn from safe and loving to defensive and resentful. She is also building her own place in the world--as a teacher, mother, writer and educated woman--and she has managed to restore loving bonds with her family, including her father.
From a childhood in an idyllic but sheltered community to early adulthood in an arranged marriage, ensuing divorce, and eventual return to Bountiful, BALANCING BOUNTIFUL is Mary Jayne's journey of coming of age and coming to terms with her background as she strives to answer the question: What is the right kind of family, the right kind of woman and the right kind of feminist?
Mary Jayne Blackmore was born and grew up in the polygamist community of Bountiful in rural British Columbia. She is the fifth child of Winston Blackmore's one hundred and fifty children and had a church-assigned marriage four days before her seventeenth birthday. She gave birth to her two children before she was twenty years old, and started college at twenty-one. The young family moved frequently for her husband's work and her studies, but their goal was always to return home to raise their children within the Bountiful community. After eleven years of marriage, Blackmore and her husband went their separate ways.
She has spent the last decade raising her children and raising a few eyebrows attending Burning Man and Shambhala. She enjoys backpacking and snowboarding. Passionate about understanding culture and women, she connects with the men and women in her travels to places like Turkey and India. She is engaged in political and environmental activism and ran for Mayor of the Town of Creston in 2019. She is an active member in the Bountiful community where she grew up and currently plants her garden and proudly calls herself a feminist.