Wife of accused B.C. polygamist testifies about life as a sister-wife

Wife testifies at B.C. polygamy trial

CRANBROOK, B.C. — The first legal wife of a man accused of polygamy has testified in B.C. Supreme Court about her marriage and life as a sister-wife with up to two dozen other women.

Jane Blackmore took the stand in a courtroom in Cranbrook, B.C., on Tuesday in the trial of Winston Blackmore and James Oler, who are each charged with one count of polygamy.

Winston Blackmore is the head of a religious group in Bountiful, a community in southeastern B.C. where residents are known for practising a faith that condones plural marriage.

He is accused of marrying 24 women, and Oler allegedly has four wives.

Jane Blackmore told the court that she grew up in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a group that broke away from the mainstream Mormon church at the turn of the 20th century.

After pressure from her father, she agreed to be married and was taken to see a prophet who would determine a husband for her based on divine instruction.

Blackmore said she learned at 10:30 p.m. on May 3, 1975 that her husband would be Winston Blackmore and they were married at 9 a.m. the next day.

Jane Blackmore told the court that she knew other wives were likely to follow because the FLDS faith dictates that a man must have three wives to advance in the church and attain the highest level of celestial glory.

Blackmore said she was sometimes asked to approve the marriages, but there were other unions she didn’t learn about until after the ceremony had occurred.

She testified that there was one instance where a young woman who was marrying Winston Blackmore travelled up from the United States with her younger sister.

Jane Blackmore told the court that the man conducting the ceremony claimed divine inspiration and married both sisters to Winston Blackmore.

Jane Blackmore left Bountiful and her relationship with Winston Blackmore in 2003, but testified that her former husband married over 25 women during the course of their relationship.

She also testified that Oler, her brother, had multiple wives and that she had attended the births of children he had with two of those wives.

The criminal trial has been more than 25 years in the making, with RCMP first investigating allegations that residents of the isolated, religious community were practising plural or “celestial” marriage in the early 1990s.

The trial is being heard by a judge alone and is expected to last at least two weeks. (Cranbrook Townsman)

 

Trevor Crawley, Cranbrook Townsman, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Attorney General defends Kelowna Mountie involved in rough arrest

Tyler Russell filed a lawsuit against Const. Siggy Pietrzak in June of this year

Pedestrian struck on Highway 97 in Kelowna

Paramedics, fire crews, and RCMP are on scene

‘Perfect storm’ causes influx of black widows in the Okanagan

The region’s only venomous spider has come out in full force this year

AlleyCats Okanagan: Pet of the week

Mort is available through AlleyCats Alliance

Okanagan College expands ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ to all students this fall

Wellness Wednesday workshops are designed to be psycho-educational

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Suspected human remains found in burned out vehicle on OKIB land

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP hand over investigation to Major Crimes

Kamloops RCMP search for armed robber of pizza restaurant

The incident unfolded on Monday evening at the Sahali Domino’s store

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Most Read