MAGGIE RAYNER lives in Vancouver on the West Coast of British Columbia. Kayaking, creating beautiful interiors, and biking endure as passions; small indulgences include maple walnut chocolates, chai tea lattes, and live theater. She has worked as an artisan and designer, and in marketing and law.
Belief systems and the choices people make – or don’t make – are of special interest to her. Reader response to her 2011 article in the Vancouver Sun, “Polygamy and Me: Growing up Mormon,” was the motivation for writing her memoir and first book, In Polygamy’s Shadow.
Borrowed Trousers is her second book in the series.
In Conversation with Maggie:
ON IN POLYGAMY’S SHADOW
“When I wrote “Polygamy and Me,” published in the Sun,
the leaders of the fundamental Mormon sect in Bountiful, in the south-eastern part of the province, were in the news for tax fraud. I felt so strongly about the plight of the women and children in Bountiful that my article wrote itself in minutes. I could so easily have been one of them. The memory of repulsion I felt as an adolescent, watching a man from Bountiful court my teenage sister while one of his pregnant wives and their toddlers looked on, remains with me today.
“Although my parents, mainstream Mormons, were waiting for the afterlife to resume polygamy, my ancestors practiced it. The polygamous value system of loyalty to church before family, of setting aside personal needs and desires, even foregoing basic necessities of life, for the church, was what I was raised with. The questions readers asked after my article was published in the Sun made me realize how little the general public know about day-to-day Mormonism or the impact of the religion on the family unit.
“My life and my children’s lives, their families, and our connection – or rather lack of connection – with my extended family continues to be impacted by Mormonism. I know we are not alone. My intention in writing In Polygamy’s Shadow is to inform those outside the church about the daily practices of Mormonism, as I experienced them, and to alert anyone considering the religion to the truth of its origins. My personal story is only the vehicle.”
ON BORROWED TROUSERS
“It seemed the natural next step to publish Borrowed Trousers, the daily journal my father kept during his two-year mission for the church in Texas and Louisiana from 1937 to 1939. I refer to his mission in In Polygamy’s Shadow. The story of my mother giving me the diary shortly before she died – a diary that the family never knew existed – forms the prelude to his journal which I transcribed “just as he wrote it.” I close by writing an epilogue which contains a startling surprise.
“There are so many secrets, and so much is hidden from the public – and its members – by the Mormon Church. Reading my father’s journal revealed one shameful secret – how abysmally the church, comprised of multi-billion-dollar corporations, treats its missionaries, particularly those with limited finances. As I read, a question that I’d never thought of came to mind, “Just how much is a new convert worth to the church in service hours, tithing, and endless donations, throughout their lifetime and in the generations that follow?”