Tag Archives: B.C. Supreme Court

Witness #2: “I will practice my faith”

The People vs. Polygamy

Witness #2 testified from inside an isolated court room today. Her defence for polygamy was broadcast via closed-circut television to the councillors and gallery eagerly waiting in room 55 for the latest instalment in the trial examining polygamy in British Columbia.

Witness #2′s identity was kept secret under a publication ban that was granted before the trial. Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints bishop, James Oler, argued that naming any polygamous witnesses would put them in jeopardy of being criminally prosecuted if the current polygamy laws are not over tuned.

The court proceeded with hearing the defence of polygamy shortly after 10 AM.
She described her life growing up as part of the polygamous community of Bountiful as fulfilling and loving. The witness was born into a polygamous family and was raised on the teachings of the FLDS. At the age of 16, the witness told her parents that she was interested in college.

The invisible witness said that her parents suggested marriage as a means to remain financially secure during post-secondary education.

Within a few days the parents of witness #2′s consulted with leaders of the FLDS to find a potential husband for their 16 year old daughter. Despite the laws protecting people under the age of 18 from marrying, the leaders of the church waived the regulations and selected an older man who was already married to one wife.

The parents presented the church’s choice to the witness. After some thought and curiousity she agreed to meet her match. Within three months of the initial conversation about post-secondary education with her parents the witness was married into a polygamous relationship with the man selected by the FLDS.

Throughout the story the witness emphasized that she had complete control her own marriage and that she had no regrets in that decision.

However, she did admit that she regretted having her first child at such a young age. She said she had to leave the child at

while she attended midwifery classes at college. Unlike other testimony throughout the trial, this was the only time the witness mentioned any hardships or the absence of love.

More testimony from FLDS witnesses are set to resume tomorrow.

POLYGAMY in B.C.

Photograph by: Ric Ernst file photo, The Province

“Cold, lonely and hopeless,” is how Brenda Jensen described her childhood  in Bountiful, B.C.

Jensen is the daughter of Harold Blackmore, one of the founding fathers of B.C.’s most notable polygamist community.

She testified today at the polygamy trial hearings at the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. Jensen said that the community of Bountiful is not a nurturing environment but a community where children are taught to be broken and obedient to the priesthood.

After 45 minutes of testimony, Jensen broke down and cried while talking about the abuses and absence of parental love during her childhood.

She emphasized that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints owned the children and the “priesthood wanted empty souls not attached to family bonds.”

Jensen continued to describe Bountiful as a community based on lies propagated by their ‘religious leaders.’

“We had no right to be… no right to freedom… we were to be assigned to marriage… we were to be empty,” said Jensen during testimony.

She also stated that violence was an important tool in teaching children to obey. Smothering a crying baby and spankings are both common practices in the community of Bountiful. By the age of two, all children were expected to obey the commands of both adults, and more importantly the priesthood.

The polygamy trial is set to hear more testimony tomorrow.