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.


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