Two former bishops of an isolated religious commune in British Columbia have been found guilty of practising polygamy after a decades-long legal fight launched by the provincial government.
Winston Blackmore, 60, was married to Jane Blackmore and then married 24 additional women as part of so-called “celestial” marriages involving residents in the tiny community of Bountiful.
The court heard that his co-defendant, James Oler, 53, had five wives.
Justice Sheri Ann Donegan said Monday the evidence proves Blackmore has been a practising member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect that believes in plural marriage.
“His adherence to the practices and beliefs of the FLDS is not in dispute,” she said, reading her written ruling in a Cranbrook, B.C., courtroom.
“Mr. Blackmore … would not deny his faith in his 2009 statement to police. He spoke openly about his practice of polygamy.”
Blackmore was shown a list of his alleged wives and actually made two corrections to the details, Donegan said.
“Mr. Blackmore confirmed that all of his marriages were celestial marriages in accordance with FLDS rules and practices.”
This article continues at [National Post] Former Bountiful leaders found guilty of polygamy after decades-long legal fight