Millie Blackmore: One of the 78 Wives of Warren Jeffs

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By David

Millie Blackmore’s story is one that sheds light on the complex and often hidden world of polygamous sects in North America. At a young age, she became intertwined with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a group that splintered from mainstream Mormonism and continued the practice of polygamy. Her marriage to the FLDS leader, Warren Jeffs, when she was only 13, became a focal point of controversy and legal action, highlighting issues of child marriage within the sect.

The FLDS, under Warren Jeffs’ leadership, gained notoriety for its strict adherence to polygamy and patriarchal hierarchy. Jeffs himself was convicted of child sexual assault, which cast an international spotlight on the FLDS and its practices. Millie Blackmore’s individual experience as one of his child brides stands as a poignant narrative among many, revealing the personal impact of the broader controversy surrounding the FLDS community.

Millie Blackmore: Background Profile

Millie Blackmore’s experiences reflect significant challenges and entanglements with a highly controversial religious sect, the FLDS Church. This section inspects her early years and outlines her connection to this institution.

Early Life and Family

Millie Blackmore was thrust into the international spotlight at a young age due to her family’s affiliation with the FLDS Church. Born in Canada, her formative years unfolded within the close-knit, isolated community of Bountiful in British Columbia. Her upbringing was deeply influenced by the stringent practices and beliefs this community espoused.

Connection to the FLDS Church

Blackmore’s connection to the FLDS Church is rooted in her family’s active participation within the sect. At the age of 13, she was married to Warren Jeffs, the then-leader of the FLDS Church, in a ceremony that has since been the subject of significant scrutiny and controversy. This event placed her at the heart of the complex dynamics within the church and pushed her into the public eye. Her subsequent actions and whereabouts, including a reported move to another compound in Canada, underscore the lasting impact of her early involvement with the FLDS Church.

FLDS Church and Leadership

The leadership of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) has been synonymous with controversy, largely due to its practices of polygamy and the legal issues faced by its leaders, Rulon Jeffs and his son, Warren Jeffs.

Rulon Jeffs and Warren Jeffs

Rulon Jeffs led the FLDS Church until his death in 2002, after which his son, Warren Jeffs, succeeded him. Warren Jeffs proclaimed himself a prophet of the FLDS Church, further perpetuating the group’s deeply ingrained belief in following the polygamous teachings that are rejected by mainstream Mormonism. Under Warren Jeffs’ leadership, the FLDS Church garnered significant media attention and legal scrutiny.

Religious Practices and Beliefs

The FLDS Church is rooted in the principle of polygamy, a practice which the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), commonly known as Mormons, officially abandoned in the late 19th century. FLDS members believe in the continuation of polygamy as a divine principle that must be followed to attain celestial glory. Warren Jeffs, in his capacity as the church’s prophet, held significant control over marital arrangements within the community.

Legal Controversies and Convictions

Legal controversies surrounding the FLDS Church stem from its unauthorized practices of polygamy and alleged underage marriages. Warren Jeffs faced multiple legal charges, culminating in a life sentence for his crimes related to two underage girls. He is currently serving his sentence in prison, which has had a sizable impact on the FLDS Church’s structure and influence. Moreover, the church has faced several law enforcement actions due to allegations of abuse and fraud within its ranks.

Social and Legal Issues

Millie Blackmore’s case has brought to light significant social and legal challenges surrounding polygamy and the marriage of underage individuals, particularly within certain religious communities in North America. The ensuing legal battles have further highlighted the complex interactions between government, law enforcement, and religious freedom.

Polygamy and Child Brides

The practice of polygamy, especially within groups like the FLDS Church, has raised legal questions in both the US and Canada. The public became aware of Millie Blackmore as a young teen who was married to FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs in a ceremony that has since been scrutinized for violating laws against underage marriage. Her story showcases the greater issue of child brides within the community, raising alarms about consent and legal marriage age.

Child Trafficking Accusations

Allegations of child trafficking for the purpose of marriage have been leveled against certain FLDS Church members. The case of Millie Blackmore has been cited as an example of such illegal activities. Her parents, who were active members of the Church, faced a trial confirming their involvement in the facilitation of her underage marriage.

Government and Law Enforcement Actions

Government and law enforcement agencies in the US and Canada have taken steps to address the complex issue of polygamy and child marriages within the FLDS Church. Investigations and legal actions against those violating the underage marriage laws have been initiated, and these efforts underscore the commitment to protecting children and upholding the law, which forbids such unions.

Major Events and Criminal Cases

Involvement with the FLDS Church has led to significant legal altercations for Millie Blackmore.

The Yearning for Zion Ranch Incident

In April 2008, the Yearning for Zion Ranch, a property of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) in Texas, was raided by law enforcement. This action stemmed from allegations of underage marriages and sexual abuse. The raid resulted in the removal of more than 400 children from the premises and brought national attention to the practices of the FLDS, along with figures such as Warren Jeffs, who was previously convicted and sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting minors.

Canadian Court Cases

Canadian authorities took action against individuals involved with similar allegations. Notably, James Oler and Winston Blackmore faced legal challenges in Canada related to polygamy and the wellbeing of children. Oler was convicted in 2018 of taking a child bride to the United States for sexual purposes.

Winston Blackmore, who was accused of having 24 wives and is the father of Millie Blackmore, was found guilty in a landmark case related to the same issues. Both cases underscored the efforts by Canadian law enforcement to address polygamy and its associated abuses within the FLDS community.

Life in FLDS Communities

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) communities are known for their insular lifestyles and adherence to the practice of polygamy. These communities, including the ones in Bountiful, British Columbia, and Colorado City, Arizona, operate under strict religious doctrines and are often directed by authoritative leadership.

Life in Bountiful, British Columbia

Bountiful, located in British Columbia, operates as a secluded community largely composed of FLDS members. Community life here revolves around religious teachings and routines, with the society structured under the leadership of figures like Brandon Blackmore. Life in Bountiful is characterized by a strong sense of communal living, with large families often sharing resources and responsibilities. The community has faced scrutiny for practices such as underage marriage and unregistered births.

Living Conditions in Colorado City, Arizona

In contrast to Bountiful, Colorado City, previously known as Short Creek, is situated in Arizona and has been at the center of numerous controversies involving the FLDS. The living conditions here reflect the austere and controlled environment imposed by the church’s leadership. Houses of Hiding and FLDS Compounds in the area are indicative of the community’s secretive nature, often built to accommodate the polygamous lifestyle endorsed by the church. Colorado City residents have faced issues ranging from eviction due to non-compliance with church dictates to limited access to public services, highlighting the control the FLDS exerts over its followers’ lives.

Personal Narratives and Exits from FLDS

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) has seen numerous personal narratives of exits, poignantly highlighting both the individual struggles of former members and the roles of support organizations in facilitating these exits.

Stories of Former Members

Former FLDS members such as Rachel Jeffs and Brielle Decker have shared their experiences, giving insight into the life within the FLDS and the challenges faced when leaving the community. Rachel Jeffs, the daughter of the controversial FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, recounts the abuses and the control exerted by the church leaders. On the other hand, Brielle Decker’s narrative casts light on the journey from being one of Warren Jeffs’ wives to finding autonomy after her departure from the sect.

  • Rachel Jeffs: Shared her story which includes the abuse she suffered under her father’s leadership.
  • Brielle Decker: Became the 65th wife of Warren Jeffs; later left the FLDS and turned her former residence into a refuge for others escaping the church.

Support Organizations for Former Members

Organizations such as the Sound Choices Coalition and The Dream Center work to assist those who leave the FLDS community. They provide resources, support networks, and sometimes even shelter for individuals like Alyshia Rae Blackmore and others faced with the challenges of adapting to life outside the FLDS.

  • The Dream Center: Offers shelter and support to those in transition, including former FLDS members.
  • Sound Choices Coalition: Focuses on education and advocacy to prevent abuses associated with polygamy and supports those escaping the FLDS.

Apostates, or those who have renounced their faith in the FLDS, often find solace and assistance in these organizations as they navigate the complexities of their new lives. Figures like Gail Blackmore facilitate understanding by sharing their experiences and aiding newcomers in their adjustment to life beyond the church.

Media Coverage and Public Perception

Millie Blackmore, a figure who has captured media attention, has had her public perception shaped significantly by various media outlets. Coverage by well-respected institutions such as CNN and The Salt Lake Tribune has played a crucial role in framing her narrative.

Press and Documentaries

The Salt Lake Tribune, known for its investigative journalism, has covered Millie Blackmore’s activities in-depth, affecting how the public views her work and contributions. This coverage comes with a level of credibility that can sway public opinion. On the other hand, Oxygen, with its focus on true crime and investigative documentaries, may present a different angle to her story, providing viewers with a more detailed and often personal look into Blackmore’s life.

Books and Personal Accounts

Personal narratives and biographical accounts in books about Millie Blackmore offer a contrasting perspective to that given by daily news. These accounts, possibly picked up by large publishers like Daily Mail, allow for a more nuanced understanding of Blackmore. They let the reader engage with her life’s events and their underlying contexts rather than just the outward media portrayal.

Current Status and Future Outlook

The disposition of Millie Blackmore’s life after her involvement with the FLDS Church and Warren Jeffs is a juxtaposition of personal development and ongoing legal complexities. Her trajectory lies in the balance of overcoming a tumultuous past and navigating the present legal landscape.

FLDS After Warren Jeffs

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church), a Mormon splinter group, experienced a seismic shift after their leader, Warren Jeffs, was incarcerated. The church, once under Jeffs’ strict control, has seen a power vacuum and a struggle for new leadership. Members like Millie Blackmore, who were once under Jeffs’ influence, now face the task of rebuilding their lives. The FBI continues to monitor the group to ensure compliance with federal laws.

Ongoing Legal Battles

Millie Blackmore is among those who have been entwined in legal battles pertaining to the practices of the FLDS. These cases investigate allegations of forced marriage and abuse within the church. As the legal system continues to delve into the FLDS Church’s activities, individuals like Blackmore are intertwined in the process, seeking justice and reform.

Related Legal and Social Movements

Millie Blackmore’s advocacy has intersected with broader legal and social movements addressing polygamy. These movements span across both national and international landscapes, focusing on legislation and societal implications.

Anti-Polygamy Initiatives

Stop Polygamy in Canada is a significant entity in the anti-polygamy landscape. With a firm stance against polygamy, it aligns itself with Canadian justice principles and has influenced public policy and legal reform. In particular, efforts in Canadian territories reflect a clear opposition to practices that contradict the country’s commitment to gender equality and uphold the monogamous nature of lawful marriage as defined by Canadian marital laws.

In the United States, states like New Mexico, have historically grappled with polygamy, especially in areas with fundamentalist sects. Efforts to curb polygamy have seen legal actions against communities such as Short Creek, which straddles the border with Arizona and was once the site of high-profile raids against polygamists.

International Perspectives on Polygamy

The international perspective on polygamy varies, with some nations banning the practice and others regulating it differently. Salt Lake City, located in Utah, stands as a hub for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which officially discontinued the practice of polygamy in 1890. However, splinter groups that have continued polygamous practices challenge legal systems and provoke discussion on civil liberties and cultural traditions.

International forums and American NGOs often lead dialogues on the legal status of polygamy, advocating for the protection of women’s rights and informed consent in marriage. These discussions point toward a global trend that weighs cultural customs against modern legal frameworks and international human rights standards.

Millie Blackmore: Personal Reflections and Contributions

Mildred “Millie” Blackmore, once intertwined with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church), faced a life that few could imagine. At a very young age, she became one of the wives of Warren Jeffs, the then-leader of the FLDS, an event that would mark a significant turn in her life’s trajectory.

Despite the early challenges, Millie’s life after her separation from the FLDS Church displayed her resilience. She managed to step out of the shadows cast by her previous affiliations with the controversial church to build an independent life. Her journey represents a personal evolution from being a figure in a highly publicized scandal to finding a path that is distinct from her past.

Millie’s story is not just one of personal survival, but also sheds light on the practices within the FLDS, contributing to a broader understanding of such isolated communities. Her experiences have been pivotal in bringing attention to issues within the FLDS Church, including forced marriages and the treatment of women and children.

While specific details of her current whereabouts or contributions post-FLDS remain scarce, references to Millie Blackmore often allude to a pursuit of reclaiming her life. Her experience is a testament to individual fortitude in the face of overwhelming adversity, and although she does not occupy headlines as she once did, Millie’s metamorphosis remains a powerful narrative of personal agency and transformation.