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

No red flags in expense audit, says former Fraser Health boss who fired Murray

Wynne Powell said report showed need for tighter rules, but didn’t suggest abuse of expense claims

RCMP’s auto theft team nabs Chilliwack suspect

Kao Daniel Macaulay, well-known to police, arrested in stolen red Honda on March 20

UPDATE: Man with gunshot wound drives into ditch on Chilliwack River Road

Serious crimes investigators believe early morning shooting to be targeted

WATCH: Rally at MP’s office Friday in Chilliwack to stop KM pipeline

Water samples from Chilliwack rivers were delivered to MP Strahl’s office in a symbolic gesture

Garrison store going to new heights for children’s charity

Save-On Foods employees raising cash for BC Children’s Hospital, by throwing managers from airplane

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Gas prices likely driving Canadians to US pumps

Customs say cost of fuel, nice weather, spring break are contributing factors of uptick of traffic

VIDEO: Hockey tournament remembers young fan

Hundreds take part in annual Jordan Owens memorial in Lower Mainland

Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of people support the massive March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.

Health officials called after acid spill near B.C.-Alberta border leaks into creek

Tanker truck crashed south of Dawson Creek, spilling 17,000 litres of hydrochloric acid

Embattled band Hedley plays last show in B.C. before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at Kelowna’s Prospera Place

Trudeau to exonerate B.C. First Nations chiefs hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister to absolve Tsilhqot’in chiefs in relation to deaths of 14 construction workers

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Most Read