Balancing Bountiful will be available for purchase on Oct. 23. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Press

Balancing Bountiful will be available for purchase on Oct. 23. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Press

Column: Blackmore book will challenge your biases

Woman shares her story of growing up as a Blackmore in Bountiful

Before moving to Creston in August, I had heard many different stories from a variety of people about the Blackmore family and the community of Bountiful.

As someone who has spent most of his life in Ottawa, polygamy was a topic that was rarely discussed. To hear about polygamist leader Winston Blackmore and his 150 children across more than 20 wives was a revelation indeed.

Prior to meeting with Mary Jayne Blackmore, the daughter of Winston, much of my knowledge about her family was derived from word of mouth and reading media reports. But as we talked, my preconceived notions and ideas about the Blackmores were called into question.

The vision I had of Bountiful was a place that was completely shut off from mainstream society, where women and children were governed by men and had little to no say in their lives. However, speaking with Mary Jayne revealed that women in the community are able to develop a sense of independence and choice.

Her unique upbringing and her world travels helped carve out her own understandings of independence, faith and womanhood. She really is her own person.

She spoke with pride and joy when discussing her upbringing in her community of Bountiful. Again, my limited knowledge told me children in Bountiful — like their mothers — lacked opportunities to live normal lives. Yet, Mary Jayne cherishes her childhood and cared about her family and the relationships she cultivated while growing up in Bountiful.

READ MORE: Mary Jayne Blackmore to release memoir of life and growing up in Bountiful

It requires a lot of courage and strength for someone like Mary Jayne to write her own story about her life as a woman in the Blackmore family. No matter your stance on the Blackmores, it’s important to listen.

Telling her own story challenges mainstream narratives and notions, but it also gives us more insight and perspective into the environment of growing up as a Blackmore in Bountiful.

In a time where women’s rights and voices are yet to be fully and equally recognized, it’s crucial that we support women and the stories they tell — especially for men. The challenges, barriers and misogyny that women face in society are far greater than those of their male counterparts, and we can learn how to become better allies by seeking to understand them.

It’s crucial that we take the time to listen to perspectives that are unfamiliar to us. For me, much of Bountiful and the Blackmores were shrouded in the mystery until meeting Mary Jayne and reading excerpts from her memoir.

Choosing to challenge your own biases and learn more about missing perspectives not only allows for greater understanding, but it helps grow your character as well.

Aaron Hemens writes for the Creston Valley Advance.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

The Baynes Sound Connector cable ferry. Black Press file photo
Baynes Sound Connector delayed due to emergency call

Paddleboarder was in distress near Union Bay Thursday

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read