As long as I can remember, the name “Bountiful” whispered from back lots of Canadian consciousnesses. Situated in South-eastern British Columbia, Bountiful holds its breath with eyes closed, praying no-one notices. Keep on driving – nothing to see here folks. Not really a town or village – Bountiful is referred to as a “settlement”. Since first settler Harold Blackmore arrived with his family in 1946, roughly 1000 people (descended from 6-8 men) call this Polygamist community home.
Bishop Winston Blackmore took the name “Bountiful” from The Book of Mormon in 1980 – despite dissension in the ranks, and a community now split into FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Inc. (a splinter group led by Winston Blackmore, who took offense when FLDS president and recent convicted felon Warren Jeffs got to big for his britches) – Bountiful remains unfazed by legal technicalities which frown upon incest, rape, underage/forced marriages, and illegal smuggling of child brides between Canada and Polygamist enclaves in America.
Until his 2006 arrest in Las Vegas, FLDS leader Warren Jeffs (a prominent member of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list – now serving time for Accomplice to Rape for forcing a 14 year old girl into marriage with her first cousin) visited Bountiful numerous times. A 2007 Provincial Court investigation concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to charge sect members with abuse or rape, based on the impossible task of finding victims willing to testify. Frustrated by defendants claims of “religious freedom”, special prosecutor William Peck took Section 293 of the Canadian Criminal Code regarding constitutional rights to practice Polygamy to the Supreme Court. In 2011, the Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld Canada’s Polygamy laws.
Today the British Columbia Criminal Justice Branch approved charges of Polygamy and “child related offenses” against 4 members of the Bountiful sect. Winston Blackmore and brother-in-law James Oler face Polygamy charges. (Blackmore is alleged to have 24 wives, Oler, 4) Blackmore’s son Brandon and wife Emily are charged with unlawfully removing a child under 16 from Canada “with the intention that an act be committed outside Canada that would be an offense against Section 151 (sexual interference) or 152 (invitation to sexual touching),” Newly appointed prosecutor Peter Wilson, “declined to approve” further charges of sexual exploitation – stating the standard of approving charges was not met in relation to the offenses.
Kudos Province of B.C. for finally standing up to these criminals. Religious freedom with everyone on board – knock yourselves out. Systematic abuse, exploitation, and degradation of women and children under the guise of religious freedom – I hope you rot in jail. Grooming little girls with your insidious message “keep sweet” (as in control your emotions, and don’t complain when we rape or trade you ), allowing yourselves to smoke and drink alcohol (a direct no-no for mainstream Mormons), forbidding women to cut their hair so they can use it to wash not just Christ’s but your feet in heaven – give me a break, I can’t take much more!
Freedom of religion isn’t the freedom to do anything you damn well please. Nothing would make me happier than watching that moment of realization – the look on your smug faces as you shuffle off to prison.
In conclusion, a snippet of history on Joseph Smith – in my opinion, the womanizing “snake oil” salesman responsible for all this nonsense…..
Bountiful, B.C. is polygamist town in south central British Columbia. In 1946 Harold Blackmore purchased property near the town of Lister; before long other fundamentalist Mormon families followed. This “plural marriage” haven was named Bountiful in the 1980’s under the leadership of Bishop Winston Blackmore. Since then the population has grown from 600 to around 1000; conservative estimates credit half a dozen men for “bountiful” growth.
About half the residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (FDLS), the rest are a break away sect following Winston Blackmore; who concluded FDLS leader Warren Jeffs had become too dictatorial. Prior to Warren Jeffs 2006 conviction for rape, Jeffs was a frequent visitor to Bountiful.
In 2007 the Province of B.C. appointed lawyer Richard Peck as a “special prosecutor” investigating allegations of polygamy. Peck concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to charge members under the Canadian criminal code; allegations of rape, sexual exploitation and abuse, where likely to be met by uncooperative witnesses claiming “religious freedom”. Peck suggested the province sort the matter out in front of a judge – specifically determining if section 293 of the criminal was constitutional. In 2011 the Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld the polygamy law.
(a) practises or enters into or in any manner agrees or consents to practise or enter into
(i) any form of polygamy, or
(ii) any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time,
whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage, or
(b) celebrates, assists or is a party to a rite, ceremony, contract or consent that purports to sanction a relationship mentioned in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii),
is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
Evidence in case of polygamy
(2) Where an accused is charged with an offence under this section, no averment or proof of the method by which the alleged relationship was entered into, agreed to or consented to is necessary in the indictment or on the trial of the accused, nor is it necessary on the trial to prove that the persons who are alleged to have entered into the relationship had or intended to have sexual intercourse.
Call me crazy but I just don’t get it. Despite a clearly defined criminal code, close ties to the YFZ ranch in Texas (dozens of children placed in state custody in a 2008 raid following accusations of sexual abuse), multiple allegations of abuse by Winston Blackmore -some resulting in charges later tossed out of court – Bountiful thrives with impunity. The province stopped funding Bountiful’s schools in 2012 – all but a handful now home schooled – I’m sure that had them shaking in their boots. Warren Jeffs went to jail, Sister Wives aired on TV and now everything is sunshine and roses? Yeah, right.
“Religious freedom” doesn’t mean getting away with forced marriage and sexual abuse. What good is law if religion gets to thumb their noses at it?