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

Just Posted

Choral Extravaganza brings valley choirs together

Sunday concert features six choirs singing together

Share a Smile Telethon hits the mark

The 38th annual OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre telethon in the books

Counsellor sees need for treatment centre regulations

An addictions counsellor sees need for regulations

Biosphere designation boosts national park drive

Certification outlines conservation as key part of sustainable tourism development

Visiting Vees pound West Kelowna Warriors

The Vees got hat tricks from two players en route to an 11-3 win

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Choral Extravaganza brings valley choirs together

Sunday concert features six choirs singing together

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

Boomer radio expands

Kelowna resident Allen Holender continues to expand his network

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Most Read