Winston Blackmore (born August 25, 1956) is the leader of a polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints group in Canada. He is described as "Canada’s best-known avowed polygamist".
Bishop and excommunication
Winston Blackmore was born into the first family on Aug. 25, 1956. Winston Blackmore’s father, Ray Blackmore, had six wives and 31 children. Winston Blackmore’s mother was Anna Mae, Ray’s first and only legal wife, and the family’s powerful matriarch. Winston was her fifth son and the ninth of her 13 children.
For two decades, Blackmore was the bishop of the Bountiful, British Columbia, group of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church), a polygamist community in the Creston Valley. Upon the death of Rulon Jeffs, Winston Blackmore was considered to be one of two potential successors for the role of the president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the other potential successor being Warren Jeffs. Winston had support that was equal or on-par to Warren Jeffs. Warren Jeffs ultimately succeeded his father Rulon Jeffs, largely due to having played an increasingly significant role in the church during the period up to Rulon's death.
In September 2002, FLDS Church president Warren Jeffs excommunicated him. However, Winston Blackmore asserts that he left the church on his own accord. The community of Bountiful was split nearly in half—about 400 people followed Blackmore, with the rest following Jeffs. Blackmore would go on to found the Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine) Inc.
Canadian polygamy case
Blackmore and another community leader, James Oler, were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in January 2009 and charged with polygamy. The charges were thrown out later, owing to questions about how the Crown selected its prosecutors.
The case was reopened by the provincial government in 2014, with the B.C. Supreme Court confirming that polygamy is against the law in a constitutional case. Blackmore's lawyers attempted to appeal the case, which was overruled in May 2016. Blackmore's trial began on April 18, 2017.
On July 24, 2017, Winston Blackmore was found guilty of polygamy in the B.C. Supreme Court. He, along with James Oler, face up to five years in prison for violation of Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
On May 15, 2018, in Cranbrook, British Columbia, special prosecutor Peter Wilson recommended a jail sentence of between 90 days and six months for Blackmore and a term of one month to 90 days for Oler. On 27 June 2018 Justice Sheri Ann Donegan sentenced Blackmore to six months house arrest. Oler was sentences to three months house arrest.
He is the nephew of former Social Credit Party of Canada leader John Horne Blackmore who, though not a polygamist himself, was excommunicated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1947 for "teaching and advocating the doctrine of plural marriage". As an MP, the elder Blackmore urged Parliament to repeal the anti-polygamy law and succeeded in removing specific references to Mormons that had been in the law.
His family operates J R Blackmore & Sons Ltd, a timber milling business.
- http://vancouversun.com/news/crime/daphne-bramham-even-guilty-verdicts-in-polygamy-trial-unlikely-to-end-bountiful-saga Daphne Bramham: Even guilty verdicts in polygamy trial unlikely to end Bountiful saga “Winston Blackmore was born into the first family on Aug. 25, 1956.”
- R. v Blackmore, 2017 BCSC 1288 (CanLII), par. 113, <http://canlii.ca/t/h50wb#par113>, retrieved on 2017-10-23.
- Canadian Press, "Court rules against B.C. polygamous leader Winston Blackmore, issues $150,000 in penalties", National Post, 28 August 2013.
- Canadian Press, "Polygamous family deemed unworthy of special tax status", CBC News, 4 May 2012.
- "LDS Church wins, Canadian polygamist loses in fight for 'Mormon' name". Salt Lake Tribune. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
Finally giving up the fight, Blackmore has agreed to change his group's corporate name to "the Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine) Inc.
- The Canadian Press (August 11, 2011). "B.C. polygamy evidence helps Warren Jeffs conviction". CBC.ca. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
- Fraser, Keith. "Accused polygamist Winston Blackmore loses court appeal". www.theprovince.com. The Province. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
- "Winston Blackmore and James Oler found guilty of polygamy by B.C. judge". CBC News. 2017-07-24. Retrieved 2018-07-19.
Two former religious leaders in B.C. have been found guilty of polygamy after marrying more than two dozen women over the course of 25 years.
- The Vancouver Sun (May 16, 2018). "Prosecutor recommends jail time for Winston Blackmore and James Oler". vancouversun.com. Retrieved 2018-05-06.
- Kathleen Joyce (June 28, 2018). "2 men with 29 wives and 160 children between them sentenced to house arrest following polygamy conviction". Fox News. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- ctv.ca (June 30, 2009). "B.C. polygamist wedded nine girls under 18". CTV BC. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- Bramham, Daphne. "Escape from Polygamy". The Secret World of Polygamy. Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
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