15-Year-Olds Married to Fundamental Mormon Polygamist in Bountiful, BC

The trial for Bountiful polygamists Winston Blackmore and James Oler began in Creston, BC this week. Each has been charged with one count of polygamy. (Oler has yet to be sentenced for his conviction of cross-border transportation of his 13-year-old daughter for sex.)

Records show Blackmore, now in his sixties, married 24 wives (other sources list more), half of them 17 years old or younger, with some as young as 15. Records show Oler married four women, and possibly a fifth.

In reading the scant media information available on the trial so far, my thoughts turned to a quote from Blackmore to his new wives, the day he married two young teenage sisters he’d just met, “Which one of you wants to go first? We’re in the business of making babies.”

Would you want this for your 15-year-old sister, daughter, niece, or neighbour? The prosecution is arguing for the conviction of Blackmore and Oler to protect all girls and women in Bountiful from this fate. The defence is arguing that its a-okay, all in the name of religion. The defence’s argument reminds me of the girls and women sacrificed on stone alters in ancient rituals. What century are we in again?


Friends of the White Rock Library “Read Local” Authors’ Open House Video on Youtube

On April 2, 2017 authors Robin Brunet (Red Robinson: The Last Deejay), Sheila Johnson (Buckskin and Broadcloth: A Celebration of E. Pauline Johnson), Patricia Sandberg (Sundogs and Yellow Cake: Gunnar Mines – A Canadian Story), Cristy Watson (On Cue), and I (In Polygamy’s Shadow: From a Mormon Childhood to a Life of Choice) participated in the annual Friends of the White Rock Library “Read Local” Authors’ Open House held at the library in White Rock.

A heartfelt thank you to Betty McDougall and all the Friends of the White Rock Library for organizing and providing an entertaining – and informative – afternoon. Thank you as well to Irene Plett of the White Rock and Surrey Writers for taping the event and posting it on youtube.

Click here to view my presentation of “In Polygamy’s Shadow.”

Behind the Scenes – Convictions in Bountiful, BC Child Trafficking Case

The foundation for the 2017 convictions in the Bountiful, BC Child Trafficking Case began in 1988 with Debbie Palmer’s escape from the community. Married at 15 as a plural wife to a 58-year-old man, she was handed around by the leaders of the polygamous Mormon sect to three different husbands.

In 2002 CBC’s The Fifth Estate aired the documentary about Debbie’s life, Leaving Bountiful. Further CBC documentaries and interviews exposed physical, sexual and emotional abuses in the community along with the cross-border transportation of adolescent girls – children – to the United States as plural wives to older men. Keep reading →

Severity of Harm to 13-Year-Old Girl Not Mentioned in Article

I just read the Salt Lake City Tribune’s report on Friday’s conviction of Bountiful, BC’s Emily and Brandon Blackmore. Reading it, I was keenly aware that The Tribune is owned by the Mormon Church. Kristyn Decker’s (50 Years in Polygamy, Sound Choices Coalition) comments about polygamist Winston Blackmore of Bountiful being treated like royalty by LDS deviants at the Mormon Sun Stone Symposium in Salt Lake City last summer also came to mind.

The lead sentence in the article may be a tear jerker for some – a son pleading for leniency for his father, convicted of trafficking his 13-year-old daughter to a pedophile – but not to me. I don’t find “my religion made me do it” any excuse for the nature and severity of this crime. Nowhere in the article was the severity of harm caused to his 13-year-old daughter, by his actions and by those of his wife’s, even mentioned.

If lasting change is to take place, and the children of our province are to be protected from harm, the perpetrators of unfathomably evil crimes such as these need to be held fully accountable.

Parents in Polygamous Mormon Community of Bountiful, BC Convicted of Child Trafficking for Sexual Purposes

February 3, 2017

In a landmark ruling today, Justice Paul Pearlman of the B.C. Supreme Court found former husband and wife Brandon Blackmore and Gail Blackmore guilty of the charge of taking their thirteen-year-old daughter across the border for a sexual purpose in 2004.

The Blackmores will be sentenced, April 13.


I Was a Human Library Book, In Polygamy’s Shadow, at the Vancouver Public Library, Downtown Branch

2017 Human Library at the Vancouver Public Library
2017 Human Library at the Vancouver Public Library

Relaxing with some of the other titles after last Sunday’s event, with Jordy who makes the Human Library hum and Emily in the forefront – our incredible organizer who keeps everything running smoothly.

There is only one weekend left – next February 4 and 5.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Human Library, check out my interview with the Georgia Straight



A thirteen-year-old girl, raised in the polygamous Mormon community of Bountiful, in south eastern BC, was delivered by her parents to be married to, and raped by, the fifty-year-old leader of their religious sect in the United States. Her parents, present at her wedding, were recently charged with child trafficking for sexual purposes. Their trial was held in November in Cranbrook, BC. The Judge will rule on the case on February 3rd. Keep reading →

Ask Permission or Claim Your Own Power?

In Polygamy's Shadow, Keynote speaker
In Polygamy’s Shadow, Keynote speaker, University Women’s Club of Vancouver at Hycroft, National Day of Remembrance and Action On Violence Against Women, December 6

I recognized the young woman by her signature Mormon smile, even before she told me that she’d just left the church. During the Q&A after my presentation of In Polygamy’s Shadow she asked, “How did you get off the membership list? Did you have go to your bishop, or to a bishop’s council?”

“I sent a letter to Salt Lake telling them what I thought of the church and instructing them to remove my name from all their records. I had to write twice.”

Only later did I remember that I’d sent the letter to everyone on the leadership directory.