Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mormon Polygamy on Trial : January 28 summary and media reports

After hearing from the individual witnesses, the cold light of statistical analysis is used to highlight the teen-age mothers and sub-standard educational opportunities that have strongly affected life in Bountiful. One ray of hope is that the FLDS appear to be honoring their 2008 commitment to cease underage marriages and the Mormon Hills school (on Winston Blackmore's side of the split) celebrated their first grade 12 graduation in 2010. Perhaps this provides some cause for hope -

CBC News - British Columbia - Polygamous town had many teen moms, court told

Data supports hard truth about brides in Bountiful

Mormon Polygamy on Trial : Summary and Media reports January 25 - 27

The BC Supreme court hearing on the constitutionality of Canada's anti-polygamy law is nearing the end of the evidence gathering phase. The earlier weeks were dominated by expert witness testimony. Witnesses from this past week are primarily residents of Bountiful BC who have chosen to speak out in favor of their life style. The wide range of media reports from these testimonies show how far the Bountiful FLDS culture is out of step with the wider North American society (15 yr old girls marrying 40+ yr old men, blatant disregard of immigration laws, etc. ) and they also show a wide range of reaction to these practices (from shocked disbelief to outright condemnation).

There is also an interesting counterpoint to the Bountiful example, as shown by Mary Batchelor and other independent Mormon Polygamists who choose to live in a more conventional and less isolated lifestyle.

Barbara Kay: The Stepford Wives of Bountiful B.C. | Full Comment | National Post

Bountiful woman said marriage of teen to her husband was 'revelation from God'

Polygamist’s wife testifies society’s bias ‘affects my everyday life’

CBC News - British Columbia - Plural wives recount marriages to older men

CBC News - British Columbia - Anti-polygamy law 'frightening,' wife says

First anonymous witness for FLDS testifies at polygamy hearing

The terrible choice: Child bride or plural wife?

Opinion: Child brides forced to make a marriage choice

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mormon Polygamy on Trial : Summary and media reports for Jan. 17 - 19

The past few days at court have focused on the more personal side of the debate. Brenda Jensen, daughter of Harold Blackmore and Truman Oler (my cousin and friend) spoke about their experiences growing up in Lister and Canyon BC (now mostly called Bountiful - thanks to Winston Blackmore). They tell a heart-breaking story of family conflict and stressed relationships. This goes back to the beginning of the community, as Brenda's family actually purchased the land that would become Bountiful. Conflict with his younger and more charismatic uncle Ray Blackmore eventually led to Harold's family re-locating to Colorado City, Arizona when Brenda was in her teens.

Truman spoke of the difficulties associated growing up in the "big house" that his father Dalmon built for their family. With more than 45 siblings, it was very difficult to find individual time for every child. Truman also spoke of his personal journey with his faith - and the decisions that led to him leaving the FLDS religion. Most hauntingly, Truman spoke of the pain and hardships that have come about as a result of the split that has divided the Bountiful community - and every family involved in it - into two rival factions. Truman's mother is on the more conservative side, led by Warren Jeffs, and she has left him with the impression that she considers it would have been better if he had not survived his birth.

Truman has been cheated and exploited by community leaders over the years. To his great credit, he has risen above all of this and he and his wife are raising two boys of their own. He is determined that they will not lack attention from their father. In view of all that has happened, what Truman most wants is to be able to return to the house where he grew up and simply be accepted as a brother, a son, and a friend.

Lonely childhood recalled at B.C. polygamy case

Former Bountiful resident tells court of childhood marked by loneliness, lack of love

Naturally, there are two sides to every story - The two most recent witnesses are from more liberal and independent expressions of fundamentalist Mormonism. These women came from Utah to share their personal stories with the court and they provide a sharp contrast to the stories that have come out of Bountiful and Colorado City.

Wife delights in closeness of her polygamist family, court told - The Globe and Mail

Utah woman defends polygamy in B.C. court

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mormon Polygamy on Trial : January 19 courtroom notes

Note: This is not an official transcript - I was typing as fast as I can - and there are undoubtedly many errors in spite of my best efforts to give a fair representation of the proceedings....

Professor Steve Kent: Witness called by STOP Polygamy in Canada

Professor of sociology: sociology is the study of social hierarchy in society. Class and so on.

Discipline overlaps with other disciplines. political science, psychology, etc.

Submitted as an expert witness - qualifications reviewed:

Adjunct professor in religious studies at u of a.

undergrad from university of maryland majoring in sociology. masters in history of religion, another religious studies degree from mcmaster. phd in religion and modern western society.

fellowships and awards from 1981 to present. Some are research grants and some are teaching awards. many course he teaches deal with comparative religions. taught a course in qualitative research methods. taught courses on religious sects which include fundamentalist mormonism.

teaches grad course which include materials on fundamentalist mormonism.

written several articles in peer reviewed journals. one specifically deals with fundamentalist mormon communities. conducted research into the history of fundamentalist mormon communities in north america.

“harms, human rights and harms of mormon polygamy” article written in 2009/2010.

consultations and testimonies: on 19 occasions in ireland, canada, united states, etc. given expert witnesses. taken and taught courses on qualitative research methodology. worked with a grad student, marla peters, who did research on bountiful. been collecting material on fundamentalist mormonism since 1978. started pulling information together on fundamentalist mormonism for a book on child abuse in alternative religions. research has been in the category of historical sociology. information taken from primary sources, archives,

has not done first hand interviews from people from fundamentalist mormon communities. Most people who have done interviews in these areas have an “in”. They have been mormons or have relatives in the mormon communities. If you are allowed into the groups, you have to be suspicious about why they have been allowed in for interviews.

Other groups, like the children of god, have been known to condition interview candidates so they will present the group in the best possible light.

Without an in - into the actual group, he is doubtful that he would be able to be useful. Therefore he felt it would be helpful to gather information on the group from what is already out there.

sociology of religion, including sociology of alternate religions flds polygamy as practiced in the flds communities, history of flds, including the harms in those communities, qualitative research methodologies.

No cross-examination

witness allowed as expert.

author of affidavit ex 55.

references to polygamous communities is understood to mean polygamous fundamentalist mormon communities.

most of the research methods are qualitative.

validity and reliability in qualitative research: occurs in part when researcher get complimentary and consistent information from a variety of sources. i.e. triangulation.

the more consistent information is from different sources, the more likely that the information is true.

general description of flds communities: flds under warren Jeff's est. up to 10000. colorado city,. bountiful. alred group - AUB - pinesdale montana about 1500. Kingston's, based in salt lake - about 1500 members. TLC under jim harmston in manti - members about 200 or 300. centennial park is a splinter of colorado city. tom green is small independent group. another group in utah that lives in caves.

detrimental impact of polygamy on people who live in these communities. what type of research have you done? what sources did you consult? where did information come from.

to do that, will rely on footnotes: tom Compton book (on the plural wives of joseph smith), fanny stenhouse book - from apostate in 1874. Ann eliza young - former bride of brigham young. 1915 article in an academic journal on incest on mormonism. detailed book on the alreds from 2007 which speaks about marriages which involve mothers and daughters. articles from salt lake tribune. combination of books, old historical books, media articles, etc.

conclusions on this section of the report - in a number of groups, there have been incestuous celestial marriages. mothers daughters, etc. marriages get re-arranged and people end up marrying cousins, uncles, etc. From supreme court of utah, there are step daughter marriages cited.

Genetic disorders and unmarked children graves: consulted works from former members - from flora jessop, materials from Phoenix new times (which broke the story on genetic disorders),

the major disorder is fumerocy disorder is especially high in the flds among the jessop and barlow branches of the families.

evidence on fumerocity disorder is fairly conclusive. also evidence of birth defects among the Kingston's. fumerocy is a deficiency that affects the crebs cycle and it does not allow brains to form. half the brain are water in some of these births.

in the Kingston's there are two vaginas or two penises or there are no sexual organs.

many of these groups do not register births or deaths and have their own graveyards. it is very difficult to get information.

janet bennion gives clues in her book - about child with retardation - only a little inkling but clue that something is going on.

missed a section.....

history of short creek, biographies of warren jeffs, theologic sources, and other sources.

dealing with lost boys: what research have you conducted?

used ... different media from new york times to salon. quoted from books from former members. all the books from young men that i was able to get ahold of. daphne branhams book. reports in la times. slc tribune. wall street journal. relied on alot of media accounts.

on working conditions: long article in a newspaper from around salt lake about kingston clans. kingston clan has major corporate involvement. many members work for this trashy little company. in canada - on the winston blackmore company - there are two reports which fine the black more company for unsafe working conditions. pattern seemed to be that the flds has lots of construction companies - boys are assigned to these work camps. sometimes boys misbehaving in the states would get sent to canada to work in winston’s lumber related companies.

some of these harms occur in societies that are not polygamous. why focus on the flds communities.

most of these harms are structurally based. everything i read and just base logic suggest that since the birth rate is about 50 50 - the young men will eventually become competition for marriage partners. very clear accounts from flds in hilldale and co city was to establish police force to keep young men and young women separate and if possible, run the young boys out of town. in one instance, young man gave a young woman a ride in pick up. police stopped them and beat young man up. later charged with assault.

welfare fraud and dependence on the state.

sources consulted include - history by a local person to start source. went back to old apostate sources from 1870s, spent most of time talking about current activities through different sources, groups work welfare system - called bleeding the beast - children of god used the term spoiling egypt. the group is hostile to society but is willing to use the resources because the group is special or chosen. used sources from national post, wallstreet journal etc. used sources from bennions book - said that women were impoverished and women used food stamps, shop lifting, etc. also tom green was required to pay back over 10000 for welfare fraud. largest case was conducted by the Kingston's. Kingston's are a fairly wealthy group but members live in poverty.

polygamy as a threat to the democratic state - fundamentalist Mormonism challenge to free and democratic society.

historical material included testimony from early flds us government investigation from prior to short creek raid. tracked down all major american court cases about polygamy. used hardly any of that material in here. been collecting books for years but also went online. people send emails because of his work. also getting material from google.

is it customary to use media reports.

there is a debate among the social sciences. some say that you should not use media in social sciences. however, media always lead the way. they are at trials in the communities, etc. researchers do not have the opportunity to be there. all major academics in this field use media account.

on threats to the state, based on flds communities in utah and arizona. in addition to reliance on welfare and services (like schools, etc). to be anyone of rank in the town, you have to be a male in good stead with the leaders of the town. all the major jobs were held by polygamists in the town. if someone was experiencing difficulties, who could you go to. sam roundy, who was a police man for many years had several reports of sex abuse and did not refer them to anyone for help.

for democracy, you need educated people who know who to go to someone for help and you have to be able to get hope from these sources.

in a recent book chapter, has written that polygamy should continue to be criminalized.

cross-ex by leah (ag bc)

assist court by giving authoritative material : two books about colorado city - used book by biceline - orangish red cover - the polygamist history of colorado city arizona.

in terms of early history of polygamy in western canada: edited by B. Y. card and howard palmer. history of mormonism in canada. the mormon presence in canada (collection of essays - 5 are about polygamy).

any other texts?

carmon hardy - a solemn covenant - daphne branham's book is most approachable and is by far most comprehensive. “secret lives of the saints”

in terms of settlement of bountiful: nothing is better than daphne branham’s book. she interviewed alot of people who others had missed. many were involved in this procedure. best source that i have seen.

Cross-ex by mr. wickett (flds)

on page 4 of report: in my opinion, polygamy involves serious violation of human rights. when you use phrase polygamy - what do you mean.

i really mean polygyny. one man with several wives. polygamy can mean either genders.

in your report, do you really mean polygyny?


in paper you wrote in 2006, polygamy, children and human rights, - entered paper into evidence - is this first writing on subject?


dealt with many of subjects reported today. abuses are from evidence from certain plg mormon groups.

paper coming out with information about same sex marriage and polyamory. believes that these things should not be affected

from first paper, should justice take a pen and write “plg as practiced within certain fundamentalist mormon groups”

yes - as far as i am concerned yes.

because what you have researched is based upon reports about certain fundamentalist mormon groups.


research has involved reading books, journals and media reports about this groups?


did you start with the working premise that these groups cause harm to society?

yes - that is fair.

in selecting material that you were reading, were you selecting material that supported your hypothesis that these groups cause serious harms in the usa and canada.

yes - i had a hypothesis that i was trying to prove.

the material that you chose to read was intended to prove your hypothesis - to be clear - ?

in picking up on this question of sources - had a student go through 96 footnotes and tallied that 25 are newspaper articles and 29 were books. also cited academic journals and 1 medical report. in the breakdown on books - is this a fair categorization?

what you say sounds accurate

next exhibit -

tallied up 25 articles - in earlier references you said why you think these are accurate

media accounts from reputable newspapers are generally reputable accounts

in terms of welfare fraud and dependence on the states - one conclusion is that these examples from 3 plgy groups suggest attitude of entitlement - the rest of society (gentiles) should pay for them. first paragraph is about kinstons where a multi-millionare of 70 M$ was required to pay back thousands to the utah government. from wallstreet journal?


next was from thomas green case?


source was a reuters report - and also the case report - Mr. green is not a member of these groups but independent?

yes - he is independent

next point - refers to colorado city and hilldale. source is from article from salt lake trib.


first 2 cases are kingston and green and 3rd is from an entire community. am i right in thinking that the 3rd case is what leads to your conclusion that god has ordained their practice and that gentiles should pay for it.

refers to article - points out that one kingston got away with it but 2 others were not so lucky. there were a few involved.

yes - but these are just a few individuals not a community.

your thinking is that if a few people are convicted of fraud then that permeates the entire community?

in the case of green, it was not green who received welfare but it was his wives.

in the case of green, only green was convicted?


(wickett) From US senate hearing, by harry reid - presented evidence from flora jessop - who said that the average household received 8 times assistance of average family. facts show that only two households received assistance... in comparison data from arizona communities, it showed only 44% households received food stamps as opposed to 78% which had been claimed. Only one family had been accused of fraud. public perception is that welfare fraud is prevalent but the evidence shows that his is not supported by the evidence. reports show that the sect teaches self-reliance. do you consider these sources as valid?

yes - i consider this valid but contrary evidence. but it does not consider the school funding, the airplanes, the cars used by mormon leaders, etc.

nonetheless, if this article is correct, would you agree that there is not a fundamental problem with welfare fraud. Does this not highlight a problem with using nothing but media sources.

Return from break at 11:45

Mr. W. referring to an article from salt lake trib from 1998. would have known a great deal of information about sexual abuse because was a doctor. source was a AP online article from 2008. continued that even if it was reported to law enforcement would have been reported to someone like sam roundy nothing would have been done. hospitals, etc, were prisons for female dissidents. referring to account from daphne branham article - which said that flora jessop stated that if she were caught when she was leaving hilldale arizona, she would have been committed to a mental institution in flagstaff arizona which was standard procedure. Turning to Dr. barlow, was he a general practitioner.


you noted that he was accused with abuse charges


are you aware of what happened to these charges?

if think he was involved with the YFZ charges - i don’t know?

then are you saying that you don’t know what is actually happening here?

I am saying that see this section very differently - i am only highlighting area where more research is needed.

you are here not to give opinion, do you think these things are definitive? do you not have to bring healthy skepticism to this?


in reference to the claims about the psych hospital in flagstaff, you would know if there is an institution in flagstaff?

i would not know

reading “are women committed to psych facilities as means of locking up dissident women in flds - and you compare this to stalinist facilities in communist russia. “ does it not seem ludicrous that police from the flds could get people locked up in a facility in the state of arizona without intervention of health care professions? psychiatrists from the state mental facility for example.

These are not actual police, these police are polygamous themselves, they have broken their oath to support the state.

is it not fair to say that you have chosen these sources because they support your case but you have not verified these sources.
i stated them because if these statements are true, then these are very serious human rights violations.

Is it not true that your research methods have been seriously criticized by many academic researchers?

some people may have criticized by work

they have criticized your work. that is a fact. referring to an article on brain-washing that occurs in the church of scientology. I am not here to debate scientology, but rather methodology. refers to another professor, quotes a critique of kents work which criticize his conclusions and his methodology. reads from professor dawson “indeed for good reasons, a sociologist normally treats the work of competing religious groups, apostates and disaffected members with some critical response” goes on to describe the accepted practice of triangulation - data should be gathered from members and ex-members, group members, followers... information must be triangulated and considered from several different sources.” do you agree that this is important in social science research?

yes - this is fundamental

Would you not agree that you have not followed this process in the affidavit in the document that you have given to the court today?

In response to this - quoting that professor dawson and professor kent were expert witnesses in a civil suit against the church on scientology in edmonton. professor dawson was reportedly under contract to the church of scientology at the time.

if a university researcher is conducting research in a community were members can be punished for giving information, it is a very delicate business to get information from members of these groups. i had no entry point. it is very difficult to get the information because you put the people at risk. the likelihood of getting critical information if it puts the subjects a potential risks. if it puts members at potential risk, you cannot get ethics approval on it.

For members who have left the group, then there information should be more reliable because they are not under the threat of punishment.

not necessarily - i have been having trouble determining if information is reliable.

getting alot of discussion about the paper, the rebuttal, etc. and how these will be marked for identification - especially from mr Samuel's who is STOP attorney.

Dr. Kent, you have heard discussion between lordship, mr. Samuel's and me.

MR. Wickett - I have completed my questions

Dr. Kent: I would like to clarify

Mr. Samuels: I would like to give Dr. Kent opportunity to clarify.

Dr. Kent: there is a 10 year gap between what Mr. Wickett gave as information about what I gathered from the media reports. there may have been a change in the behavior of the flds and this may have been due to public pressure from the media reports.

court reconvened at 2:00:

Ms. Darter (Witness number 7)

witness originally gave affidavit as anonymous. later decided to appear waiving anonymity. AGBC commented that affidavit was sworn with “we” rather than I. Mr. Wickett explained that it was originally sworn as a group affidavit rather than individual.

AG Canada also had a number of concerns that there are several aspects in the form of the affidavit - as it was originally drafted as a group affidavit. for example - it refers to “as a father” when she certainly cannot testify to this.

Why did you abandon anonymity in this case when you originally took it?

There is always some risk in speaking in public, however, since this is a historic case, recognized that this presented an important opportunity to present a perspective that might not otherwise be seen.

Did you grow up in a particular religious faith?

Brought up as an independent fundamentalist mormon.

was your family polygamous?

yes, my father had 2 wives. there were 32 children in total. her mother had 15 children. her father had rather traditional roles. for a time, the entire family lived in one house. when they later obtained the means, they purchased an additional house. When her father become ill, they purchased two houses side by side to care for their father and the mothers live as neighbors today.

Since they are not part of any church, they had sunday school in their home where they would read from the bible and book of mormon and other religious texts. her father or her mother would teach. sometimes they would go to the neighborhood lds church for primary.

In your faith, do you believe in arranged marriage?
No, I do not.

AG Canada (Mr. Cameron) objects- has given wide latitude in terms of the affidavit. however, the beliefs that the witness grew up with are not in the affidavit and should not be allowed.

Justice Bauman - this is not my strict understanding. if she were appearing as an expert witness, this might be well founded. however, I will allow this in this case.

Mr. Wickett - in the case of the lay witnesses that have appeared on behalf of the crown, they were given a wide latitude in the telling of their story.

Justice Bauman: this is correct, I will allow this.

Mr Wickett: Did your family participate in communal property?

No - however, this is a choice for members of our faith. I just do not choose to participate in this.

What is your educational background?
graduated high school at the local public school.

What do you do for a living?
Have worked in the mortgage industry, participated in a cleaning business with a sister wife.

She was 20 when she was married - as was her husband. Their fathers were working on the same project and her brother was a friend of her current husband. She now lives in a household with 2 other wives. She has 7 children of her own and the oldest is 20.

She chose plural marriage because of her upbringing. She wanted to have the same things in her own family as she saw growing up.

the third wife came into family about 10 years ago.. how did his come about?

she was in a marriage that did not work out. I had a strong feeling or belief that she would be a good fit in our family. i spoke to the other wife about it and she agreed. we talked to our husband about it and he agreed. so we prayed about it - and she prayed about it. would this be good for everyone in the family - that’s how we approached it.

She is not affiliated with any specific church. we encourage our children to attend other fundamentalist churches, they attend lds churches, christian churches. 18 yr daughter has read the koran. we encourage them to find their own beliefs and hope that they might choose plural marriage, but warn them that this is a more difficult path.

of the biological children, the oldest is attended a state run virtual college. the rest are i public school?

How are important decisions made?

we discuss everything and try to come to an agreement. sometimes if one person has a very strong opinion, the others will yield to this. in terms of the children, the major choices are made between the biological mother and the father.

in terms of the children, the father tries to spend one on one time with each child independently. he spends time with each child on their birthday - makes effort to know the personality of each child.

plural marriage is a very sacred and deep principle for me. it is what i chose. some siblings did not choose to live plural marriage. in spite of that, we continue to get together and we love each other. does not believe that they wont get to the same heaven. it would just be the best thing for me.

if you were to leave the marriage?

since i am a legal wife, i would have to get a divorce like anyone else. nevertheless, we are all free to leave if we so choose.

Why did you choose to do this, even though it is against the law in utah.

some laws exist which it might be better if they did not exist.

if plural marriage were decriminalized in utah, would this have an impact in my life?

it would certainly have an impact in my life. it would also have a positive impact on the lives of many people of many cultures that live this way and it would make it easier for them to get help. her son has a dream to play in the nfl and is afraid that this might not be possible because his parents are polygamous. (this may not be realistic but it was a concern for him.

Cross ex. by Leah Greathead from AGBC.

Q: On the last point, concerning son and football, noticed that a darter is a professional basketball family who plays professional basketball in utah and comes from a polygamous family. is that right?

A: yes - he is well-known

Did you appear before the notary public alone or with anyone else.
A: I appeared with one sister wife

was your husband there?
A: no

was this presented on behalf of your entire family?
A: yes - on behalf of myself, sister wives and husband

did everyone agree to what was in the affidavit?
A: yes

what did you write?
A: its kind of a mesh, but “everyday we make the choice to live this way ...” paragraph 25. however, they all worked together on the affidavit.

at beginning of questions, you testified that you had been out in public and done some public speaking.

A: yes

when you use the term polygamy, you use the term to mean one husband and more than one wife?
A: yes

were you doing public speaking in an effort to de-criminalize polygamy?

A: public speaking was to university groups, social services, etc. to encourage better understanding. sister wives and husband were on oprah. believes that decriminalization of polygamy would be the best outcome.

are you generally aware of polygyny in the state of utah? you mentioned that you went to other flds churches, which were they?


are you aware of flds?
A: yes

the alred group?
A: they are the aub

the kingston group, tom greens group?

A: yes i am aware of these

as a an independent fundamentalist mormon, do you considered yourself a mormon?
A: we share alot of common beliefs, but because that church began to excommunicate members who practice polygamy, i am not a member of that group.

do you have a patriarchal structure of your family?

A: we joint parent. we don’t get caught up on that.

you said that in terms of children, you said that the father and mother have the final say. what if they disagree, who would have the final say?

A: it would depend on the issue.

regarding mr. thomas green - he is an independent fundamentalist mormon - and he married a number of teenage girls - some as young as 13 -

A: yes, i am aware of that and i strongly disagree with that and there are laws against it that should be enforced.

regarding kingstons - are you aware of teenage brides?
A: somewhat aware of that

Do you share ownerships of your homes?
A: yes - however, in terms of a broader community, like the united order, we do not practice that.

Is your name on the title of your home?
A: I think so - not sure -

how about your sister wives?

A: no, does not think so, however, they have businesses and the same rights.

in ann wildes video, she said it is not necessary to obtain permission of other wives before the husband takes another wife. do you agree with this
A: no. in terms of fundamentalist beliefs there is a wide variety of opinions.

did you work with mary batchelor and ann wild.
A: yes - to fund raise for an abuse shelter

you mentioned that you are legally married and if you left that you would need a divorce, what about your sister wives?

A: they are not legally married and would not need a divorce. however, it is my belief that they should still be taken care of and their children should be taken care of. it would be very painful for everyone involved, especially the children.

Cross-ex of AG Canada
you testified that you considered that all of the wives are married to your husband. did you go through a marriage ceremony with all the wives?

A: yes

what was this like?

A: like almost any marriage ceremony. you make promises to love, honor etc.

relative to marriage ages:

A: both were 20 when married. second wife had been in another plural marriage that did not work out. she was 29 and her husband 30 when they were married.

in affidavit, you testified that if polygamy were de-criminalized, it would make it more difficult to hide abuses that occur in some of these relationships. What did you mean by this?

A: In one family, a house was vandalized by teenagers who wrote “polygamous bitches” on their house. the family did not call police for fear of prosecution. When Ms. Darter was a teenager, she was confronted by an exhibitionist when she was walking with a non-polygamous friend. The fried called the police to report the incident but she was afraid to contact police for fear she would get her family in trouble. however, her parents encouraged her to talk to police and it went well, but the fear was real.

In your relationship, is your husband free to take another wife?
A: yes

are you free to take another husband?
A: If I chose to do so, and if it was in by belief system and it was my desire.

would you still be in your current relationship?
A: no.

court adjourned at 3:00 pm

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mormon Polygamy on Trial : January 18 courtroom notes

January 18, 2011 Court Notes (please note that this is not an official transcript and I am not a professional stenographer. There are likely many errors in spite of my best efforts)

Testimony of Truman Richard Oler -

Karen Horsman from AG BC direct examination:

Understands that the court proceeding is to determine whether section 293 prohibiting polygamy is constitutional under Canadian law. After careful review, confirms that the affidavit is the same as the one that he swore. The affidavit contains information about his experiences growing up in Bountiful.

Truman is the son of Dalmon Oler and Memory Blackmore - sister of Winston Blackmore. Dalmon had six wives and memory was the second wife. Memory had 15 children and Truman is the 13th - he is 29 years of age. Truman is the full brother of Jimmy Oler.

Truman grew up in Canyon and was raised in the big house that Dalmon had made for his family. It was the biggest house in the community at the time that it was built. Not all of the wives lived in the big house all the time. On occasion, some of the mothers would move away and then come back. Truman stayed in the big house for his whole life in Bountiful. Truman was 16 when Dalmon died.

Truman went to church in Bountiful on every Sunday. There were also Saturday morning “work day” meetings. These meetings were required.

Once you turned 12, you were allowed to go to the priesthood meetings. At the meetings, they spoke about the work - how well they were doing financially compared to those who left and went to make their own living outside. There was also talk - not only in priesthood and also in church - how you needed to be sheltered and how you needed to train your children to be filled with the holy spirit every minute of every day. How you needed to be ready to give your heart and soul to the priesthood and the prophet at any time.

The men were taught that they were supposed to look up to their priesthood head - of your area - and do whatever you were told by them. Also that the duty of the man was to be willing to drop everything and do gods will at any point. Rulon jeffs was the prophet during Trumans younger years. Winston was the bishop and everyone was to check in with him. he was the number one man in canada and the representative of the prophet.

The role of the woman in the community had several main themes. If the man was old enough and married, that if a woman was placed with a man she was supposed to do whatever he wanted. They were supposed to have children - this was taught to them from the time they were children. From the age of 15 or 16, the girls wanted to be married and have children. The women were taught to look after the men.

As he was growing up, Truman was taught that marriage was something that they needed to do to get into the highest degree of heaven. you would have to be ready to marry anyone who was chosen for you. You could not get to the highest degree of heaven unless you had more than one wife. this was taught from the time they were very small. They were taught that there was no choice in marriage.

At home, at church and at school, you were taught that you should want to do whatever you were told to do. There were two choices - if you lived the way you were taught you would go to the highest level of heaven. If you chose to live another way, then you would be damned and go to hell. For a small child, the second choice was no choice at all.

As for marriage assignment - whenever the guys were deemed good enough or for the older guys if they were giving more money to the church - for the younger guys, when they reach 18 or 20 you had to be ready to accept anyone that they gave you because you had no choice and you had no idea who they would choose to give you. Truman saw cases where men were told that they were to marry someone, that if they rejected the woman, then they would be kicked out. IF they did not whole-heartedly do whatever they were told then they would have to leave. Often the young men were already ready to leave by the time this happened. They were always taught that the prophet would know God’s choice as to who they would marry and tell them. Looking back, it seems clear that winston had a lot to do with who would marry who. One prophet could not even know all the people in Canada, their ages and so on. From Truman’s perspective, Winston must have had alot to do with it.

Growing up, Truman was taught to stay away from people outside the community. They would prosecute them for what they did. They were the only people on earth who would be lifted up and everyone else would eventually be killed and swept off the earth.

Growing up, Truman was aware of the Utah communities that followed the same prophet that they did. People often went back and forth between the communities - especially from Canada for the April conferences in Utah. Girls from Canada would go down to be placed with men in the states and girls from the states would be brought to canada to be placed with canadian men. People would also travel to visit with family members. Young men would often be sent to other communities for work missions. Sometimes young men from the states would be sent to canada because they were being rebellious in the states and they would be placed with canadian people who it was thought that they could help keep the young men from doing the wrong things.

It was quite common for girls from the states to get married to men in Canada. Several of Truman’s sisters were married to men in the states. Truman lived for 3 months in colorado city during a time when he was trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. he did it as a self-test because he knew that the people that he would live with were on the straight and narrow path. while he worked with them, he attended all of the church meetings - saturday, sunday and even monday morning. he stayed with a brother-in-law and stayed on their straight and narrow path. He wanted to see if he would want to live the rest of his life like that and he decided that he did not. Truman called his brother Jim, who suggested that he talk with Warren Jeffs - where he said that he needed to go back to work on the logging crew in sundrie. truman did not want to be stranded in colorado city - whatever the prophet woudl have said, he would have to do. Jim came down to the states to get him and shortly after coming back to canada, truman left the church.

Truman had been out of the community for a bit and learned that people outside theh community were not that evil. After he learned this, he began to lose his faith in the church.

Truman does not remember spending any extended periods of time with his mom - especially one on one attention because there were so many children in the house. It was basically the same for all the other kids. they were taken care of and watched mainly by their older brothers and sisters. Truman’s mother worked as a school teacher and this took alot of her time. he remembers spending more time with his father - who would take the boys to help with work around the farm, as a mechanic and to work for other farmers in the valley. He only remembers celebrating a few birthdays - mostly in his early teens. On a couple of occasions, they had birthday breakfasts. One time he remembers getting a birthday cake. This didn’t happen every year and there weren’t many presents because this was a wordly tradition.

Truman remembers, from his perspective, that the wives were not as happy and holy as they often say. As a small child, he recalls his mother and the other ladies complaining about what the other wives were doing. the women were not treated equally and the mothers treated their own children better than the children of other mothers.

Truman was educated in the bountiful elementary school from kindergarden to grade 9. only members of the religious community attended the school. He doesn’t remember getting any practical education in bountiful. Going to school, it was never brought to their attention that they were going to need education later in life. he wasn’t told that he would need a grade 12 education to get into college. he doesn’t even remember being told what a college was. there was no career planning. the mentality was that there was no need for schooling - all they needed to know was how to make fence posts. That is what he did after he dropped out of school. every morning there was an assembly which was the main religion class. however, there was a second one during the day. there were reading assignments to read from the religious books. the boys and girls went to the same classroom. when the boys started getting to the age where they were interested in girls, they began to separate the boys and the girls to opposite sides of the classrooms. boys and girls were not supposed to talk to each other and they were not supposed to be alone together. even brothers and sisters were not supposed to be alone together in the same room. They were not taught that they were not supposed to marry someone that they were related to. Boys were to treat girls like they were dangerous poisonous snakes - it was taught in church and even more so at school. Brothers and sisters were not supposed to do anything together without adult supervision.

The bountiful school only went to grade 10. they were taught that they only needed to count to 175 because that is the number of fence posts that are shipped in a bundle. Truman dropped out in grade 9. his 2 younger brothers went back to school - however, at the end, they decided the last year at school was a waste of time. it is possible that they already had the attitude that they would not need school so they didn’t apply themselves. after grade 10, girls would often be placed with a man at the age of 16 or 17. Once in a while, younger girls would be pulled out of school to be placed with a man and they would not come back.

truman started working for Jr blackmore and sons. this company was owned by winston. he was 13 years old and at this time the company made posts and holes for fencing. At the same time, they had a farming operation with cattle and hay. They tried a number of other things, like buying a grain elevator, mattress factory, grocery store, etc. but these operations did not work out. The people from the church community would come and take advantage of the businesses through credit and not pay for it. When truman started working, he went out on crews to make fence posts during the summer. after quitting school, he made fence posts full time. Then he started working in the blackmore mechanic shop in kitchener near creston. his brother jim was the head mechanic for jr blackmore and sons at that time. Truman did not like working under jims direct supervision. He was only 15 or 16 at the tme and all the other mechanics were much older. he preferred to work with guys his age so he asked to go back out and make fence posts. This was seen as being a bit rebellious because jim told him that he was needed in the shop. around the same time. truman had asked to play on the creston community hockey team and this was denied. He was always living in the big house and he wanted to go and live in one of the crew houses where the other young men were living. After asking Jim, the was told that this would be considered. however, finally truman went out to work on fence posts without asking.

Finally jim assigned him to a logging crew in sundrie to operate machinery where he could use his mechanic ability to get the most out of the logging equipment. He worked in sundrie for 5 or 6 years. during this time, the blackmores began having financial troubles and the olers started seperate companies.

For wages, the young men got about 20 every two weeks (85 hrs). working full time, he was given 60 every two weeks. after leaving school, he received 100 every two weeks until he was 18. While working for blackmore and sons, he would be given checks to sign and cash but he never received the money himself. he doesn’t know what happened to the money but suspects that winston had control of it. he would not be given his 100 for the 2 weeks if he did not sign over these checks.

initially blackmores made fence posts for one of the mills in sundrie. when they started logging, they stopped making fenceposts. the young men stayed in several crew houses in one location. All the young men who worked there were from bountiful.

Concerning tithing; everyone was expected to pay ten percent of everything they owned to the church. at other times, they were expected to give back half of all the money that they were given to pay the back taxes. This was called a time of famine. no one was allowed to go out and get something to eat, instead they were to eat food that they had stored at home.

after the split, warren said that every male above the age of 18 had to pay $1000 to help pay for court cases that they were fighting in the states. if you did not pay, you were looked at differently. it was supposed to be voluntary, but it you did not pay, someone would start asking you what was wrong. men who were more diligent with paying these contributions would often get more wives. Individuals mostly did not have much for personal resources.

Truman did not pay the “famine fees” - (one half of his pay) and he did not pay the $1000 that warren wanted. his mother tried to cover for this so people would think that he was on the straight and narrow. (break at 11:15)

Reconvened at 11:30

During the time of the split which occurred in the bountiful community after warren Jeff's became prophet, truman was living in canyon, in the big house, as was his mother and much of the family.

warren accused winston of doing something wrong and tried to demote him from being bishop. everyone stayed together at first after Jim Oler was initially given the title of lead oler of canada. Jim then became the lead speaker at meetings and everyone continued to go to church. not long after, winston started having his own meetings and proclaimed himself a prophet of sorts. family members ended up on both sides of the split and they were no longer allowed to talk to each other or do anything together. this was one of the main things that led truman to question. what they were doing did not seem to be anything god-like or christ-like. it was nothing like the love your neighbor that they were taught. Truman was on the Jimmy oler side and there was alot of talk about all the things that winston was allowing and how these things were wrong. some of the women were beginning to cut their hair and wear jeans, etc.

after truman left warren’s side, he was able to associate with the winston side. however, all the winston group spent all their time complaining about the way that the winston side were doing everything wrong. whenever truman goes down to lister, he leaves feeling sad that they are holding on to the old ways and old grievances and they are not moving on to what they could be.

Recounting a conversation with jim oler about how he might be able to get a wife, truman relates that jim took him aside to one of the rooms in the big house and told him that if he was willing to make an extra step that he would be able to get a girl placed with him soon. that extra step was to make sure that you weren’t lagging in any areas, that you didn’t miss any meetings, etc. not long after this, truman decided to leave and not be involved in the church any longer. at this point in time, truman did not want to face the fact that he would not be able to accept just anyone that they might choose for him. after this, he made the decision to leave. he was in his early 20s.

In making the decision, it was very difficult. Growing up, everything he knew about was in the community. there was no way to imagine what it might mean to leave. when he got older, he saw how many of the older boys had to leave and be began to imagine that this was something that he might eventually have to do. he would have to leave all of his family behind - those who were still involved in the church. This was one of the major difficulties. on of the hardest things that that when all you know is in that lifestyle, you are never taught what it might mean to have your own car, your own house, to be your own person. He had no idea of where to go. The number one factor was that his grandma told him that - because he was on the verge of leaving - and he could not see anywhere that he could go because he was leaving both the teachings and the people - but his grandma told him that no matter what he did he would always have a place to come back. this meant so much to him because he now knew that he had a place to go. That was Lorna Blackmore.

One of the hardest things he faced going out was that he still believed that this was the one and only true church. he was now a goner. however, once he made the decision, he felt like something was lifted off his back. he felt like he could not live his life in there and even though he thought he was going to go to hell, he knew that he could not live his life there anymore. Lorna had lived in the community herself and had left before.

When truman was growing up, it was not very common for people to leave. after the split, there were already a few who left before him and they gave him support until he was able to get out and meet other people and do things. this made it easier. Several people began to leave the teachings, especially those who have followed winston. Only a few have left the warren side - he can only think of a few who have left. since warren took over, things started to get more enclosed. before they were under the direction of winston, even before the split, and even more after. people have lost lots of respect for him over things that he has done with his work and other areas. they are leaving the teaching and beginning to learn more about the world around them.

Truman is now married and has two young sons. Becoming a parent, has changed him so much, especially the way the kids in bountiful were and the way they are now. it was the women's responsibility to take care of the kids. the men went out to work and did not spend any time with their children. he can’t see why the men would have so many children if they don't want to take care of them. he can’t see anything more important than spending time with his children. He can see the children’s need and how his wife needs a break from time to time. when he was growing up, the women never had this chance. they were always having babies and there was no time for anything else.

Truman saw with his own eyes how one of his older brothers came home from a period away with work and he picked up one of his younger children who immediately cried because the child did not even know who his father was. Truman can’t imagine what it would be like if his boys did not know who he was.

His mother, memory, still lives in bountiful. the only contact that truman has with her is if he calls her. even when he does, he is not treated well and does not feel like calling again. when he see her or talks to her he can’t understand the way she is or the way that she does things. he wishes that his mother could somehow see that he is a good person. he doesn't;t hurt anyone or break any laws. in spite of this, she looks at him like he is lost. she says that it would be just as well if he was dead. she once told him a story, after he had left, that she had a still born child and she told it in such a way that it made him feel that she wished that he was that child. His mother has no interest in the way that he went back to school. Most of the time, his own mother treats him like he is a stranger. She doesn’t even ask about her grandchildren. she seems to think that it is like the end of the world.

Truman is tired of talking about and thinking about his childhood years in bountiful. However, he agreed to be involved in the court hearing because when he has the experience of trying to contact his family, he hears about their lives and it is heartbreaking to him. The enclosed state that they have come to - no television, limited computer access - he is hoping that his presence here may get back to some of his relatives on the inside. He is hoping that someday he might be able to go back to the house that he grew up in and be accepted as a son, a brother and a friend. He doesn’t believe that many of his relatives - especially those at the top - are living a very good life at the benefit of others. They can’t even see the harm that they are doing. most of them involved are very good hearted people who for the most part are among the best people he knows but they just don't know what they are doing or the harm they are causing and they think they are doing it in the name of God.

to take a young child's ability to think away from them is something he can’t comprehend. Winston often speaks about the charter of rights and freedoms - especially relating to the freedom of religion. the teaching of that one right takes away all the the other rights in the charter. it just doesn’t feel right to him that children should have to go through what he went trough - and all for no reason.

testimony completed at 12:05

No cross-examine from Mr. Wickett

Amicus thanks Mr. Oler for coming to court and providing his testimony-

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mormon Polygamy on Trial : January 17 courtroom notes

Please note: this is not an official transcript. There are likely many errors in the transcription, in spite of my best efforts and limited typing skills....

Brenda Lynn Jenson

Previously provided a video testimony and has come to court to provide information about living in a polygamous community. Brenda is the daughter of Harold Blackmore from his second wife. Her mother was 32 when she married Harold. Originally just considered themselves “religious polygamists” now are FLDS. Sees the FLDS as a segregation of the polygamists. She was born in Cranbrook and grew up in Lister on a 80 acre farm. Now renamed to Bountiful by Winston. Her father was a staunch Mormon who filled a mission, etc. As he studied the scriptures, he came to believe that the anti-polygamy manifesto was a political act and not a revelation. Came to understand that living polygamy was a necessary requirement to become a “good mormon”. When he and his brother read and prayed about the doctrine of polygamy, eventually his first wife gave him permission to take a second wife but the only person she would consider was her sister. Her sister originally refused, she already had filled a LDS mission, had a teaching career and was successful on her own. Eventually, Harold and Gwen convinced her to go along.

Harold and Gwen were originally living in Rosemary Alberta. Lister was selected because of its remote location and the proximity to the US border. In the course of their studies, they found the polygamist community in Colorado city and became connected with them. Joseph Musser was the prophet at the time.

All together, Harold had 15 children as a result of two marriages. Brenda lived in Lister until she was 14. Growing up, it was cold, lonely, isolated and hopeless. People were not nurturing. Being too close to your children would make it too difficult for parents to give up their children when the priesthood requested them. The children were to be empty vessels. The priesthood would get a revelation from god to assign the girls to specific men who would lead them to salvation. Brenda had no right to make a choice of her own or any preferences of who she would like to be with. She was not to have any preference or thoughts about a career or any decision in life. The priesthood men, or the prophets were to make all the decisions. For her growing up years, LeRoy Johnson was the main prophet. The priesthood leaders wanted the children to have no contact with people from the outside community. They were taught that people on the outside did not understand that the polygamists were called of god and that they would do anything possible to stop them from following god’s commands. They were taught that outsiders would attack them, kill them in their sleep, rape the women, etc. This is why it was so important to keep everything secret.

Growing up, she was familiar with the Eldon Palmer, Ray Blackmore, Dalmon Oler and the harold blackmore families. During her growing up years, she was in awe of colorado city because this is where the prophet and the priesthood leaders lived. She was also aware of polygamous families who lived in and near salt lake city. Many of the priesthood leaders had big homes there - partly because young men would travel to salt lake on work missions. People in bountiful payed big tithings to leaders in colorado city. Young men were taken to the USA for work missions and young women were taken to the states for marriages. People were assigned to whichever roles or tasks that the priesthood leaders determined would be the best for the overall community. When Harold’s family moved to colorado city, it was very significant because that meant there were 15 children who could be married into that community as a new bloodline.

Leroy johnson had several counselors who also had authority to make assignments, etc. Priesthood leaders came at least once per month. Priesthood meetings were held and the men of the community were instructed on what they should do and then the fathers would come home and teach their families. Usually 4 priesthood leaders would come at one time. Ray Blackmore became the first leader for the bountiful community, reporting directly to the priesthood leaders and the prophet. Violence was common in Bountiful because obedience was very important. Children as young as 2 years old were expect to obey immediately so they would not be a burden on the community. Physical violence was common with the children, smothering down (holding the had over the mouths of crying children), spanking, isolation, etc.

THe united order was implemented supposedly for the benefit of everyone. It was meant to be the “equalizer”. People would pay everything in and their needs were to be cared for. For brenda, it was like the book animal farm. Some pigs were worthier than others. Some people are blessed far more than others in the polygamous society. There is a pecking order - some families are treated better than others. If you belong to one family, it didn't matter what you did if you belonged to the right or the wrong family. When she was growing up in lister, she was lost in the crowd of many children. She did not have the experience of being important or sought out. She was one of many. There was mass discipline, mass conformity, etc. THere was no desire for a single person to become an individual.

The church owned the children. as a parent, you were to prepare to give the children over. When she was growing up, when a girl turned 16, the parents were to take the girl to the priesthood leaders and turn her over to them. THere was to be no more parental influence. In more modern times, the parents are told that the children are always considered to belong to the priesthood and god rather than the parents.

Girls were turned over at 16 in order to provide the maximum number of child bearing years. Women were given no choice about when or if they could have children. if a woman did not have children, she was not worthy.

different levels of priesthood were present. when she was growing up, a male had to have the priesthood before he could get married. priesthood meetings were a very important time for men to get council from the prophet about how to raise their children, treat their wives and what they should do. Harold frequently attended priesthood meetings in co city and on many occasions, the leaders were drunk and spoke with no respect about which girls were coming up, who would get who, etc. This was very difficult for harold because he was a very devout man.

Obedience was the most important thing that they could do to prove how devout they were in their support of the priesthood. you had to be obedient all the time, no matter what it cost you. not matter what happened to you, it was the will of god. if you were obedient, the priesthood would welcome you into heaven. It also meant extra wives and this is important because you needed 3 wives to gt to the highest level of heaven.

the lessons began at birth and were reinforced every day. obedience was required to prevent the child from exploring anything on their own. you had to follow rules about your education, what you wore, who you spoke to, etc. Growing up, they were taught over the pulpit and this was reinforced by their parents on a daily basis. Every sunday, the priesthood leaders would teach the community from the pulpit. school was another place to reinforce obedience. repercussions were severe in school if you asserted any rights of your own. it was usually physical violence or isolation. sometimes you were sequestered away with a worthy adult until they submitted. you had to be obedient without any hesitation.

if you did not obey, you would be excommunicated or you would be placed with someone who would teach you the right ways. Beatings were common with younger children. young women who didn’t show enough obedience were assigned with a partner who had proven themselves capable in controlling their wives and children.

Brenda experienced physical abuse and terrible emotional abuse. She never felt like she was good enough. She felt like she did not have a parent accessible to her. she had no one to do to. when things happened to her that she did not understand or explain, she was told that she deserved whatever happened. it was her fault because she had not done what was right. there was terrible hopelessness because there was nothing that you could do, there was no place to go and no one who would help you.

brenda was home-schooled. her mothers had both been home-schooled. her father had won a case that because both mothers were teachers and they should be able to do this. The children were taught that this was for their benefit because they would not be mocked and ridiculed by other children in the public schools.

For a period of time, the palmers lived in creston and their children went to public schools. Shortly, a school was opened in lister so all the children would go to school together. this was the children would nt be exposed to any outside influences that would confuse them.

The community used an old “rum-running” trail to go back and forth from the states. Harold was assigned eventually to go to short creek to help “build up the kingdom”. harold was in construction and the people in colorado city were living in poor housing. harold and gwen went first and started work. When the family went to the states, they used the back trail in the middle of the night to avoid crossing the border. Brenda was 14 when she went to colorado city. During her time in lister, she had more freedom - she could wear jeans and shirts. as soon as she arrived in co city, she had to start wearing the traditional dress of the flds women. she felt terrible - she did not like the restrictions that she had to conform to. In canada, she enjoyed riding horses but in co city, women were not allowed to ride horseback, go swimming or anything. She was allowed to read books in her family but not outside the home. she once took a book to school and it was ripped up.

school in short creek was almost like going to church on a weekday. there was a tremendous amount to correction and critiquing. the curriculum was totally administered from someone in the community. teachers were frequently recent high school graduates -mostly men -who were just recycled back.

when she approached marriageable age, she was terrified. if she did one little thing wrong, she knew that she would be assigned to the worst possible man. When she approached 15 or 16, she would have to go past the priesthood leaders to shake hands at the end of the meetings. She was aware that the priesthood leaders would ask young men and women to stand aside after shaking hands - with no prior warning - and you could be asked to stand aside to be married within the hour.

Her brother had been on a work mission in the hammond home. a sister had been the 11th wife of hammond. her brother came home from a work mission and told brenda that she would be the 13th wife. The sister had terrible difficulties trying to adjust to marion hammond. hammond was a very cruel man and would frequently lash out. Eventually, her father told her that she would not have to marry hammond - however, the sister decided that if she did not marry him, she would lose her salvation - so she married hammond. When brenda was told to marry hammond, she told her father that she did not want to marry him, and her father backed her. This was the happiest day of her life that her father would back her.

It was a very difficult decision because she felt like she was going against everything that she knew. it was like going against God and everything that she knew. It was not usual for parents to back their children in decisions like this. the blackmores had already began to question what the priesthood leaders were saying. their words were good but their actions were terrible. The priesthood leaders had ultimate power. people could be expelled from their homes, losing their families and everything that they had.

Her family eventually left the short creek community. harold was terribly disillusioned with the priesthood leadership. he was very sincere in his beliefs and very devout and he recognized how the leaders frequently destroyed people’s lives without any thought or feeling. eventually harold got a bleeding ulcer and needed medical care. he was taken by station wagon to the hospital - however, he had to have an escort by a priesthood leader to defer questions. the nurse told the driver to speed up because they were losing harold and the priesthood leader told them to slow down. this forced him to face the reality because he was not obedient enough - he questioned too much - and he would be allowed to die. this eliminated any traces of hope that anything good would come from the community. he realized he made a terrible mistake and he decided to leave. they wanted to move far away, but several children were already married into the community. they finally decided to move somewhere in utah that was about 30 miles from co city. this was in the spring of 1968. they slept on the ground for the summer until they could afford some properties, raw materials and build a small shelter. She went to her senior high school year in hurricane utah. eventually almost all the brothers and sisters came out from colorado city and left the group.

Harold was also a teacher in co city. he tried to open a gas station to help the family. they were desperately poor. the priesthood would not allow this because he was not obedient enough. anyone who tried to do something independent was punished in this way. Bountiful was their family farm but when the family moved to colorado city, the farm was transferred to the united effort plan. you had to turn over everything you had to the priesthood. the only right that they were taught about was the right to freedom of religion. this allowed them to live polygamy. as part of the obedience, they were told to keep sweet. never point out a harm that was done to you, never ruffle the peace. put it on the shelf meant to put away anything that was done to you and not let it bother you or anyone else. anything that was done to you were to be put on the shelf to fester rather than seek resolution.

All of the marriages that brenda was aware of were all placement marriages. no one that she remembers had had a choice in who they would marry. IN the early teachings, in her household, women had a say over whether another wife was added to the family. In other families, this was not the case. anything that they were told was the will of god and could not be questioned.

Brenda eventually chose to marry and she had a very happy marriage. She had 3 daughters and this was her choice. she had seen the emotional and financial desolation that results from very big families. she wanted her children to know that she would always be there for them and that she would always back them. she wanted them to know that they were always loved.

growing up, she was taught that her role in life was to please her husband and have as many children as possible. if they did this, they would please the priesthood and this would please god. if they were to study, it was to be the scriptures. any interest or talent that was used outside the community was flaunting yourself and not being true to god.

with her own children, she taught them that dreams were important and that there was no such thing as failure. failure was only a learning step. she taught her children that no one owned them.. her role, along with her husband were to help them accomplish everything that they possibly could.

in the flds community, some people were sent outside the community to get education for teaching certification, or other education, so that they would give credibility for the community. sometimes it was a punishment for a woman to be send to school because they would be told that they would not have any other children.

By the time harold left the flds, he continued to live polygamy with gwen and her sister. THey had grown to love and support each other through everything and they continued to be a loving supporting family for their children.

Growing up, brenda was sexually abused as a child. she had been told that it was her fault, it was not reported and nothing was done about it. As an adult, she did report this because it needed to be resolved as part of the healing process.

If one of her daughters chose to join the flds and enter into polygamy, brenda would warn her that she was giving up her freedom, entering slavery, entering harms way, etc. she would want her to do her research and find out what it is all about. however, after all of this, she would still love her daughter and she values freedom of choice.

Brenda believed that polygamy is harmful on every level. you are not supported emotionally or in any way. you are not good enough. men and women are segregated and men rule because they have the priesthood and women do not.

Cross-ex by Mr. Wickett:

Brenda left lister in 1968 when she was 14 yrs old. Her entire family left the flds when she was 17. Brenda is a member of the HOPE foundation. however, she does not consider herself to be an activist against polygamy.

In 2009, she gave an interview - handing over into evidence and to brenda asking if this is her - do you recall being interviewed by a reporter from christian week?


do you know that oler and blackmore were charged with the crime of polygamy in 2009?


reading this interview, do you remember saying “Brenda Jenson would welcome the legalization of polygamy”?

does not remember stating exactly this - however, she agrees with the context that if polygamy is legalized, then women would have a legal outlet from these relationships. If it was legalized, and women were going to leave these relationships, they would have more rights and would get out of the relationship what they put into it.

You said that the religion you grew up in was polygamy. were you not fundamentalist mormon?

when we were growing up, we were taught that we were following the original teachings of joseph smith. they were the chosen people who lived the original teachings. however we did not see themselves as mormons. We were not mormons.

Other than the flds, are you aware that there are other fundamentalist mormons - both organizations and individuals who practice polygamy?


do you have any estimate of how many other people fundamentalist mormon families are in north america?


did you father remain a believer in the prophet joseph smith?

no - he did not. he believed that the ideas were utopian and did not work in the real world. He remained a believer in polygamy if everyone was like minded. he continued to be a polygamist. her father continued to love both of his wives and he learned to love his children after they left the cult. he cared enough about brenda to tell her that she did not have to get married and he loved her sister enough to tell her the same.

would you not allow that your father loved you that much and that other parents in the flds love their children in the same way?

I would allow that - however the strict teachings of the flds do not allow a healthy or normal family life. it is not possible in a polygamous society.

Are you speaking this from your perspective in the flds society? Is it possible that polygamy can work in other circumstances?

I can only speak to what i know

Cross-ex ended at 12:05 - court adjourned for the remainder of the day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mormon Polygamy on Trial : Day 16 courtroom notes

Unofficial transcript - warning - there are likely many omissions and errors in the recording.

Jan 10, 2010 - Witte (pronounced like woody)

(commenced 10:03) Craig Cameron lawyer for AG Canada: seeks to qualify in marriage, history, family law and religious freedom.

Mr. Wickett from FLDS and BCCLA are not present.

John Witte Jr. -Received his education at Harvard. historical marriage, family law, religious freedom and legal history.

Currently professor of law at Emory law school. Emory law school has 50 faculty and 250 students. Emory is one of top 5 universities in US.

Witte co-founder of religion and law center at emory. teaches graduate courses in criminal law and family law. courses in comparitive religious liberty and the law.

Currently director of the religion and law center at Emory. The center specializes in the area of the religion and law. Issues of religion and human rights, sexuality, etc. Recently work on religion and the pursuit of happiness. Primarily focused on Abrahamic traditions but also attempting to include more information from eastern religions.

What approach does center take on its work. Seeks to be interdisciplinary, international and Inter-religious.

about 22 disciplines are represented.

Looks for comparison and flashpoints between various cultures and religions. Looking at aspects of individual freedom.

Attempt to give an open lectern to any voice that has a valid argument.

Center is non-partisan, non-aligned with any causes, etc...., The center itself is not associated with any individual causes but members can testify as experts in various cases.

Try to forgo any source of funding that expects pre-ordained results. Only want funding that allows for serious research into valid causes. Money will be sent back if benefactor expects results to move towards a specific outcome.

Editor or co-editor of several publication on law and religion. One is on marriage, religion and family. This series of publications is only on the issues of marriage, religion and society. Other publications are on religion and the state.

Received many awards and grants that led to projects under law and religion center. Some are joint venture projects with benefactor providing funds and emory providing scholarship.

Received funding from Pew foundation of 3.2 M$ in yr 2000 to do project on sex, marraige and family in the religions of the book and the other on children. Both projects were designed to sponsor a major interdisciplinary and inter-religious research effort to yeild 20 public forums, workshops, etc. and a major international conference. Out of project produced 32 volumes to date. the child project has same design and produced 24 volumes. each designed to look at the subject from ground up to look at how the tradtions of jewish, muslim and christian faiths compare to what is now known from modern sciences (pscych, sociology, etc).

religion culture and family- recently wrote a book on these issues - shifting models of marriage in the west from sacramental of medieval times, to culminating in the contract of marriage. overview. translated into 5 languages.

Written 180+ book chapters and publications. Tries to write 10 to 15 articles per year and a book per year.

Written extensively on religion, rights and liberties. Religious freedom questions under US constitutional law with comparison to other traditions.

Studies free exercise rights and whether a person’s freedom of thought, conscience and belief require exemptions under state law. recognizes both importance of and limitations to rights and exemptions. Looks at limitations on religious freedom claims that do harm to others and harms to democratic society.

Previous research is linked to the report on polygamy and monogamy in that this question is always present in the study of marriage history. Had not previously studied polygamy systematically.

qualfies as expert in legal history, religious freedom, religion and family law, diadic marriage law and the history of polygamy prohibitions.

Amicus : Professor Witte is not familiar with areas Canadian law. His expertise does not extend to Canadian legal history.

Primary duty is to assist the court and not be an advocate of any position.

testimony starts 10:40

Task included 4 things:

1. history of dyadic marriage in the west - starting at 5 or 6th century BCE in the west

2. look at treatment of polygamy in the west especially at law - why was polygamy specifically singled out against other sexual practices

look at the rise of impediments in the pre-contract phase as an impediment of subsequent engagement or marriage.

look at claims that have been made historically to engage in polygamy regardless of criminal prohibition of the same.

Report was structured in terms of chronology first - then identify major watershed periods where ideas where challenged and in transition.

More than 2500 yr tradition of treating marriage as dyadic relationship between man and woman.

started with rome in 6 Century BCE to 6C CE. Also unearthed biblical material and the early interpretation by church fathers from 2 to 6 century CE. looked at Catholic church justification where sources were taken from roman law.

looked at reformation era where common law was separated from canon law (post henry VIII - Witte reminds us that the English reformation was caused by a dispute over marriage sovereignty) and traces the emergence of prohibition against polygamy into criminal law in 1604.

ALso spent time working through enlightenment philosophers who looked at traditions vs natural law.

looked at the american story - how america perpetuates the history of western teachings on monogamy. also looks at history of those who sought religious exemption of criminal prohibitions against polygamy (mormons and also others).

Professor attempted to summarize to the very nub the concepts of monogamy and polygamy.

What were overall conclusions?

Western tradition has taught for 2500 yrs that marriage is a dyadic union between a man and a woman. in some jurisdictions, extended recently to same sex unions. consistently concluded that polygamy is not a valid union. after 9th century, polygamous unions became a serious capital offense - leading to execution in some cases. Thought that polygamy resulted in serious harms to women, children and society and could not be risked.

In fist section of the report, most important GrK and Roman period writings include a repeated core understanding of marriage that is then rationalized by philosophers - marriage is between man and woman - first by engagement contract and then by marriage contract. most often celebrated by party or celebrations. elaborate economic contracts are often between the engagement and the marriage. these contracts often survive past death or divorce. understood as a public and private institution that is consensual between the man and woman and also between the families. divorce requires a further contract and public acknowledgement.

The goods of marriage for the couple provides mutual friendship, support, love and mutual protection against wandering sexually. protection from assaults and also the only way to produce “legitimate children” and legal inheritances.

also thought to produce public goods because the household provides for the internal welfare and teaching for children. aristotle says man is a political animal but politics begins in the household.

roman marriage law began to formulate towards monogamy before the time of christianity - in the time of caeser augustus - and began to focus on crimes that undercut the goods that marriage provided to the community. singled out were adultery, incest and polygamy. these were un-natural ways of reproducing. Roman law created prohibition against polygamy among Jews, and north africans many yrs before christianity. initially, if parties were polygamous, they could not testify in court, hold military positions, hold political positions, etc. in 9th century, polygamy became a capital crime and was considered such until the 19th century. polygamy considered dangerous to society.

in what ways did greeks see dyadic marriage as useful for the state. saw dyadic structure as the only place were men and women could have equal offices and play equal roles to “complete each other” and to provide role models for children, etc. This balance creates children who can see how mercy and justice, equality and charity can be balanced. Aristotle saw this marriage as the first school of justice.

why are greek and roman thinkers relevant to today? Greeks and romans are forefathers and foremothers of our current democratic state. architects of western organized society. roman legal code is 1000 yrs old and deals with complex legal issues. Putting greek and roman law side by side shows that roman law incorporates concepts from greek philosophy. provides the source for church canon law and western law.

Prior to speaking to biblical foundations, explain to what extent the bible is in line with the greek and roman laws.

Bible is very consistent with greek traditions even though the hebrew bible was not influenced from the greek traditions. they developed independently but track similar teachings. preference towards monogamy are pre-biblical and pre-christian in origin.

the normative push of the biblical text is toward monogamy. starting in genesis, from 6 BCE, teachings are that 2 will become one flesh. Adam is incomplete without a woman. god creates a woman for adam and man becomes complete. therefore a man will leave mother and father and cleave unto his wife. Genesis 2:6 is echoed 6 times in the biblical text. overall, the biblical texts use a running metaphor of marriage as like the relationship between jahweh and his covenant people. It stresses the union of two - not 3 or 4 or 5.

IN new testament, marriage is used as a metaphor of the relationship between Christ and his church.

Problem is that there are about 12 stories of great biblical heroes who participate in polygamy. the church fathers, in his opinion, took the stories of woe within these great households as evidences of the harms from polygamy.

Two of those stories are famous and have been repeated by lawyers up to the 20th century. First is the story of Jacob who wanted to marry Rachel but was tricked and given Leah first. he was then in an incestuous relationship and and polygamous relationship. leah fertile and rachel not. leah lords this over rachel. concubines are then given to jacob to further the conflict. Then gives example of judah who has sex with his daughter in law. reuben has sex with his mother in law. there is sex, intrigue, slavery, violence associated with this story (*I’m pretty sure that this is a fairly good representation of what Witte said - however, there are a few mistakes in the story* for example, the first polygamist mentioned was a son of Adam, not Jacob. He also didn’t mention Abraham himself as the prototype patriarch polygamist, It is also difficult to say how Jacob marrying two sisters constituted incest - however, Isaac was told to marry his first cousin - and there was considerable incest (on the cousin level) in the early Jewish genealogies*)

the second example is from the story of king david. david’s psalms still very popular. david is polygamous and is inflamed in his passions. notwithstanding all his wifes and concubines, he falls for bathsheba. takes bathsheba during mestration - against torah. then david has bathsheba;s husband - uriah - killed. eventually leads to rape, incest, in david’s family and eventually leads to civil war. these stories can be seen as cautionary tales as to how polygamy leads to serious harms - perhaps ultimately violence and civil war.

10:35: the notion that polygamy is a cause of many harms has been seen as the valid reason to prohibit polygamy for more than 15 hundred yrs. Calvin also used these harms as a reference against polygamy.

Taking an argument from 13th century thomas aquinas - weaving philosophical insights with his own observations, makes an argument in a apologetic text against jews and other non-christians. First notes that humans produce fragile, dependent offspring that are dependent for long periods of time on parents support. Second, notes that humans do not have a “rutting season” with a following season of calm unlike other animals. Third, argues that human males must be induced to care for their offspring. females bond to their child naturally through pregnancy and nursing. men can be induced to care children only if they are convinced that they are his own offspring. If there was a unknown helpless child abandoned on the road, a woman would naturally pick it up and care for it but 99 men out of 100 would simply walk by and abandon the child (Witte seems to be paraphrasing something from Aquinas)because of these 3 facts of human sexual nature, humans have produced a system of pair bonding. aquinas allows that same investment and certainty can occur in polgyamous household. however, from natural justice, children are harmed because they do not have enough opportunity to bond with their fathers. their fathers have a long series of children. It also violates the rights of the wife because it violates the womans rights to mutuality and leaves her in a perpetual state of competition with other wives. this become the anchor argument of the enlightenment. the arguments becomes that hte child has the right to be raised by the natural parents that gave it birth, The woman has the natural right to her husband and not to be relegated to the position of slave in her household.

how did the enlightenment thinking differ from christian thinking?

beginning with john locke and others - enlightenment is post christian and sometimes anti christian. seeking by design to create a new school of thought. their arguments are now formed on philosophical grounds and not theological grounds. They seek to develop a philosophcial argumet based on natural law, philosophy, natural justice, etc. Many of them have rejected christianity as a working idium of thought. many were also working on a principle of human rights, etc. they use a differnent methodology but come to the same conclusions that polygamy is a cause of harm to women, children and society.

Justice bauman - does this invariably refer to polygyny rather than other forms of polygamy.

W; yes - they did not have these linguistic refinements available. whether using bigamy or polygamy, were assuming multiple wives for one husband.

Christianity recognized that marriage was monogamous and that is was an institution that had economical, social and sacramental aspects. Christian marraige was greco-roman marraige with a twist - because it had a push towards greater equality for women. in conrinthians, paul states that each has a right to the body of the other. in ephesian, it states that each one has an obligation to care for the body of the other.

Major enlightenment thinkers on the topic of polygamy and why they are significant for our western tradition. to take out a few who speak with authority on common law. First, henry Home - a lord of the scottish high court and a philosopher - offered several critical opinions in family law, marriage and sexuality - that were also on a-religious grounds. Why is polygamy a dangerous institution? gives a list of harms caused by polygyamy - it is bad for children because they do not have resources at their disposal. 25 children produced from 5 men gives more resources than 25 children by 1 man. Polygamy is a patriarchal fraud that renders women as indentured slaves who are in perpetual competition with the other wives. one wife is singled out as favourite and this leads to jealosy, competeition and eventually violence. It is bad for men, because it inflames a mans passion - ineviteably, if a man is allowed to have 2 wives, he will always want to take on a 3rd and 4th and 5th wife. Then the women will retailite by sleeping with other men and this will bring illegitamate children into the household.

Next is david hume - who is anti-christian - says that not one reed of christianity should stand unless it is backed up by other reasons. However strongly supports monogamy and condemns polygamy. it inevitably leads to a bad education for children. Humes was awre of polygamy because of knowledge of the british colonies. Humes states that the man will go to great lengths to confine, isolate and render their wives unattractive to other men to keep them under control.

William haly from cambridge gives a utilitarian justification - on the harms of polygamy - produces competition between the wives, corrupts the natural affection of the husbands, degrades women because they become simply instruments of pleasure for the males. the community gains nothing - while the man gains more children, each woman only has the same number of children as if each one had a single husband. if each women were divided into a single family, each woman would have more resources and children would have better care, support and inheretences.

Jeremy bentham says in regard to polygamy in general, it is not of the least service to mankind. not to either sexes the one that is abused or the one that is abused. the children do not have the same benefit of the attention of their parents. it is also bad for men because their passions are inflamed and once they have an additional wife, they will always desire more. Men’s desires, once unleashed, will not be tamed.

If we want to respect rights, dignity, etc. it is critical to support monogamy and criminalize polygamy.

These enlightentment arguments find their way into commonlaw writings about polygamy. This leaves monogamy as law and polygamy as crime.

Common law draws on a variety of sources including Anglo Saxon laws until the 7th century. after 1066, confirmation of saxon laws with additional of norma laws which came from roman laws. these laws are complemented by a body of canon law from the caltholic church. All of these systems prohibited polygamy. Two complementary systems from the 12th to the 16th century supported the ban on polygamy. after henry the VIII, whose break from the catholic church was related to marraige jurisdicion, marriage became the juristiction of the state alone. Since 1600s, there is a very firm capital crime prohibition against polygamy. When a man held more than one wife- whether bigamy or polygamy - , he could be convicted of a capital crime and put to death. The english common law prohibitions, from 1604 king james courts, were carried into the american colonies. after 1776, when english authority was cast aside, each state independently adopted criminal prohibtions against polygamy or bigamy. Jefferson instituted a comprehensive marraige law that included polygamy as a capital crime.

Regarding rights, responsibilities and obligations of marriage under common law - in 19th century efforts were made to describe marriage in terms that did not include theological canon law. Marriage becomes a status - this is more than a simple contract. Common law jurists go back to same formulations as roman law. Marriage is the union between a man and a woman presumably for life. triggers a set of natural rights and duties. man has duties to wife, wife has duties to husband that are over and above all other relationships. Parents have duties to children. these duties remain after death or divorce. presumption that spouses are required to care for each other first, and their loved ones. Marriage is a status that once acquired it cannot be removed. it is entered into by consent, but once entered into, it’s responsibilities are not negotiable.

Expanding on notion as both a private and public institution- this is an ancient teaching. It depends upon a contract, depends on mutual consent between the parties, private in these respects. However, also public responsiblity in terms of pro-creation, nurture and education for civil life for children, negotiated means of controlling distribution of wealth. This is celebrated by public announcements so that the public could weigh in on the validity of the unions. It is also a warning to all others against sexual advanced by others. society is invested in marriage - involves husband and wife, parents of partners, governments, religious institutions.. Divorce is also regulated - it is a public instition and it is a public decision on whether a marriage is dissolved. this is absolutely essential to society. these laws are essential - we might be inclined towards pair bonding and care for children but we are “wobbly” in these commitments. We need the stability of state law to insure we behave in the way that we should and do not simply follow our natural proviliclivities.

Lock saw this as part of the classic liberal understanding of a liberal society. Marriage is fundamental to the nation state. It performs a layer between the individual and the State. If marriage is not nurtured by the state, you lose the nurture of children, you lose the caring of husband and wife, you lose the means of conveying inheritance and property.

Court reconvenes at 2:02

Mr. Cameron: Can professor Witte comment on what the term conjugal union meant during in the formation of the common law.

Justice Bauman - is this necessary - I asked about the definition of polygamy.

Amicus - this would have been helpful earlier but not possibly now

Justice Bauman - can I get this information from the Brandize brief? - continue-

Cameron: Going back to the formation on the common law, polygamy and bigamy prohibitions go back to the 19th century -

Witte - No - it goes back to the 7th century. then it was continued up until the 19th century where we left off before lunch.

Prior to the Mormons - all of the states after the revolutionary war had to decide if they would adopt the pre-revolutionary laws. They all adopted prohibitions against bigamy universally until the mormons.

These bigamy laws were commonly used when one party to a marriage abandoned their spouse and went to another state. Or they were used when one party went overseas abandoning their spouse. If they were found-out, they were prosecuted and sent back.

Couples who lived together without legal marriage were charged with fornication, adultery or prostitution. Common-law marriages became a defense to these charges when couples were charged with these offenses would claim that they thought their previous marriage was dissolved - spouse died for example - and they had been living together as if married in this belief.

Congress passed anti-polygamy laws because they had jusistiction over the territories that were not yet states. After the Mormons announced their practice and preaching of polygamy, they determined that a law was required over the territories that was consistent with the laws that were over the states.

Can you comment on the rhetoric in the anti-polygamy laws?

There was ugly rhetoric on both sides of the debate. One must be aware of the context of the day. This was during the civil war, it was during the women’s property movement, this was during slavery, this was during the time when the native americans were being “reservated”. Many of the laws of the day used ugly rhetoric of this nature.

Concerns were related to the exploitation of women, the priviliging of the rich men over men who did not have capital, exploitation of women in the household - favoring of some and discrimination against others. concerns about coercion of the young, especially young women, and exposing children to violence and stresses in the household.

In speaking to common-law prohibitions on polygamy and the mormon challenge. Because of the distinctive placement of mormons in the 19th century, congress put in place its own laws for polygamy. when these laws were resisted, additional laws were put into place. in 1887, congress passed a law after armed conflict between mormon officials and federal marshalls, additional laws were put into place that confiscated the property of the mormon church until polygamy was abolished. after 1886, the mormon prophet, wilford woodruff received a new revelation that prohibited polygamy. After this, a small group of fundamentalist mormons have broken away from the main church and continued to practice polygamy. (*I know I did not get all of Witte’s own words recorded properly transcription, but it should be noted that he made several objective and verifiable factual errors in his narrative on the history Mormon polygamy - this is consistent with some of his later confusion on the subject. For anyone interested in his level of misunderstanding, the official transcript should be out in a few days.*).

Relating to the Green case (1980?s), a fundamentalist mormon was married to 9 wives, two of them under the age of consent. Some of the girls were under the age of 13. Green attempted to use the claim that the polygamy law violated his constitutional right to religious freedom. The Utah supreme court decision stated that whoever violated the anti-polygamy statute for religious or for secular reasons is liable for prosecution. The polygamy law serves the state’s rights to protect the vulnerable - in this case women and children. The religious freedom objection is not sufficient to balance the prevailing harms.

Judge Bauman comments that it is interesting that the Utah supreme court took such a short time to look at this item that we are taking months to discuss.

Witte: there are 4 sets of harms that are consistently identified with polygamy.
1)harms against women
-vulnerable women - orphans, etc are subject to stat. rape. arranged marriage, etc
-commodification of women - women are sold into marriage, women fathered into polygamous homes
-isolation of women - confining them to their homes, confining to small communities, women are bound in their homes - sometimes physically and sometimes through impoverishing them into bondage in the homes
-enslavement of some women and deification of other - jealously, scheming, etc
-objectification of women - they become vessels of procreation without the long term meaningful relationships
-impoverishment of women - women are not given opportunity or incentive to bring in their own resource. the spreading of one pot over too many women and children. Problems with legacy - post death provision is inadequate because the estate must be divided between many heirs.
-polygamy betrays fundamental ideals of companionship, women are unequal to each other and to their husbands. in modern language, polygamy offends the dignity of women

harms against children
Vulnerable to the years of discord and violence in the marital home. this is due to the inevitable violence and jealousy, intrigue and strife in the homes. Like in king davids household, these patterns frequently repeat
-harm to the development of democratic citizenship abilities. A child with a mother who is oppressed or virtually enslaved cannot develop these skills
-economic harms because of smaller child support
-harms the natural rights of the child

harms against men
One harm is often repeated is that richer, older men take multiple wives even if they are inferior in integrity or moral qualities, etc.
-polygamy causes the austracism of younger men
induces in them a false appetite in patriarchy, becoming a law unto themselves
-polygamy inflames the lusts of men - he is never satisfied with a second wife, he will always want more
-deprives a man of the bond of fellowship of mutual love. a man and woman should find their “other half”. refers to greek ideals (he does not go so far as to call soul mates - but this is certainly the context). Men in plyg rlationships are precluded from this benefit they are degraded because they can not find their other “half”.

4) harms against society
forms of violence, stat rape, sex assault, assault, are consequence of polygamy in society
polygamy has a second harm because it produces impoverished women, lacking opportunity to leave home, in post divorce or death women cannot cope independently. Men leave modest legacy and have limited resources for alimony and child support and this leaves women and children as a burden on society. Society often has to pay through welfare, etc.

Cross-examination: Only from Amicus (starts at 2:40)

On page 11 of report: paragraph 29 speaks of prohibition of polygamy - in 1604, parliament declared polygamy a capitol crime punishable by secular courts alone. To identify these laws- (hands out copies of the act of 1604) is this the law that you are speaking of?

W: yes - i believe it is.

A; Hands out the 1828 version of the law - is this the version you are speaking of

W: yes - i believe it is

A: a further consolidation was made in 1861 (hands out copies)
W: it is the same law

A: Law is repealed by the 1925 and 1967 legal provisions

W: for the 1925 repeal, it is my understanding that this only removed the statutory punishments. I don’t know what happened in the 1967 revisions.

A: Would France and the laws of France be considered the western legal tradition?
W: yes, france would be considered in this tradition

A: Would Belgium, france, luxemborgh be considered western
W: yes - all western european countries are part of this tradition. prior to the protestant reformation, they were all subject to canon law. After this period, i focused on england only. I do not claim to be able to speak about the divergence of laws of the continent.

A: In the laws of the continent, the definition is that one cannot enter into a marriage prior to the dissolution of the first.
W: yes, this would be a violation in the pre-contract phase of a marriage. It is a secular equivalent of the polygamy law.

A: are you familiar with the case of Hyde and Hyde in england. - you reference it in your report.
W: This is a case of where a mormon case trickled into an english court.

A: Are you familiar with this case?
W: I have not read the case recently. I did not cite the case elsewhere.

A: To summarize the opinion of the case, from the probate and divorce of England, the case involved a mormon couple married in Utah. Husband left the faith and went back to england. His wife did not. In england, he attempted to dissolve the marriage in an english court so he could re-marry. the english court did not recognize the husband’s case. The marriage was not considered valid because it was contracted in a state where polygamy was considered legal. The decision stated that the court only dealt with Christian marriage.

W; argued that something had to be wrong - polygamy was always against the law in the US territories. Witte challenged the amicus lawyer that something was wrong - confused or in error. Amicus stated that he was just reading from the decision. Witte objected again.

Finally Justice Bauman intervened that the English Hyde v Hyde case was from 1856. Witte accepted this and did not comment further.

A: marriage is more than a contract - it also creates a specialized status in all christian nations. it is of common acceptance on a universal basis and in christendom it is considered as being between one man and one woman. Would you consider this to be the standard statement on the definition of marriage until recently in canada?

W: Do not have ability to speak on laws of canada. however, this is identical to language used in a US supreme court case. this is kind of language is frequently used.

A: did you not testify on a supreme court case in ontario on same-sex marriage?
W: yes

A: going to court transcript - “when i refer to the west.... it is my understanding that these laws go back to canon law. when i refer to canon law, i am referring to christian law... divided into RC and protestant .... canon law dominated western legal understanding ... “ are these statements true?

W yes

A: In the 2005 transcript from the Supreme court of Canada case on same-sex marriage, you described the legal roots of marriage, development of marriage in christian tradition, early christian thought on marriage , explained how 19th century american law was influenced by protestant views of marriage. is this not what you are doing here?

W; yes

A: is not the western christian tradition informed by roman and greek law together with enlightenment philosophies.
W: yes

A: Quoting something by Witte that goes something like “ neither my scholarship or this document is a theological definition. however, it is necessary to examine religion and law considering the overwhelming influence of religion on marriage law.” is that true
W: yes

A: regarding the halperin case (same sex marraige case in ontario from 2005) - from the decision Witte gave the history of the framework of marriage in north america and the west - he sets marriage as the framework for procreation and being between two sexes.That is only reference to Witte’s work in the decision - do you know of any others.

W: no - i have not read the decision

A; from the decision, on page 22 - uses the reference from the Hyde v Hyde case. discusses how “this came at a time when the society was homogenous in shared christian values. this is no longer the case”. This is part of the decision of the supreme court of canada in the same-sex marriage case.

W: have you spoken about polygamy the past. given a radio interview with a ? adrea ??lucene?

A; not academically - but once

a; goes to emory law website information -
w; i have not seen this

a; is this your webpage?
w; yes - i will accept it is

a; quotes reference stating how polygamy is not legal but it may be in the future.
w; i have not seen this - not being evasive - just haven’t seen it

a; you will see that this is a 2008 Q and A interview - Q: you have been following the case about the raid in texas. do any of the legal issues there concern polygamy? will there be any charges on the basis of polygamy “ A: (from Witte) i doubt it - however, i suspect that the charges will largely be on abuse of women, underage marriage, child abuse, etc. Does this sound familiar?

w: yes - I could have said that

a; reading from Witte’s document “there has long been documentation of 30000 mormon fundamentalist and now there are muslim communities as well. rarely are these laws prosecuted because of the constitutional freedom of religion questions that it will undoubtedly raise. “ (or something like that...) Did you say that?
w: generally agrees it is possible

a; reading from interview “the rational used to be from a biblical basis ... it is harder to press that case today given the first amendment prohibition against the promotion of religion.” Did you say this?
w:yes - or at least it sounds familiar.

a: regarding reynolds decision - and considering other marriage laws in the USA - Were not inter-racial marriages illegal in many states?
b: yes

a; misagenation law struck down in 1886 and reynolds case from 1879. was not adultery also on the criminal code? and fornication on the criminal statute books? but you do not speak to these issues in your report

w: i do speak about adultery because of harms caused to women and children. there are also harms caused by no-fault divorce. these harms are very similar to those caused by polygamy.

a sodomy was also illegal in most states?
w; yes until lawrence case in texas

a; from texas of statute, laws against sodomy were deemed unconstitutional because it violated other statutes. in the lawrence case, the majority held that - from the Baur’s case - that because a state’s governing majority has held something is morally wrong does not mean that it should be illegal. Justice Scalia dissented - “the texas statutes seeks to further? or express? the moral values of the texas majority” from majority decision states “no legitimate state interest should violate freedom of the individual in these matters .. end of moral laws... “

A: did you cite the lawrence case.

w; no - sodomy is now considered to be a victimless crime, polygamy has victims - the women and the children. the victims are women, children, men and the state. it is now understood that same sex couples receive many of the same goods as heterosexual couples. it is still a dyadic marriage. with new forms of reproductive technology - children can even be born to same sex couples. putting sodomy aside, which some consider immoral - or morally repugnant.

moral repugnance is a legal term - mala in se - something bad and in and of itself - something grossly unnatural. Now the umbrella term for something like polygamy - or incest or bestiality. these things are the cause of over-riding harms.

a: turning to same sex marriage debates - in halperin case - and appreciate it has shifted - AG canada was, at that time, seeking to uphold the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman - Canada now embraces same sex marriage. in the usa, this debate rages on. Is this true.

w; yes this is changing state by state. 38 states now have prohibitions against same-sex marriage.

a; from a online article by witte - do you accept it is your article? \
w; yes

a; quoting from Witte’s article; “states have reduced marraige to a individual sexual contract between individuals. states have allowed parties to define their own status and obligations. criminal prosecutations for adultery, fornication, etc. have long ceased. Many states are hard pressed to resist the next logical step to same sex marriage. Is this true?

w; yes -

w; as social science literature has demonstrated, today's easy-in and easy out form of marriage (from no-fault divorce, lump sum payments, etc) has led to the feminization of poverty.