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


Anonymous said...

Did you stop covering the trial for good? You blog was the only unbiased source of info that I could find on the net.


keith said...

Thanks for the kind words! The major evidence part of the trial is pretty much over (except for a couple of surprizing additions this week from Provincial education and health services). I hope to write up a summary soon.

It appears that closing arguments will start on the 28th of March and they will be broadcast via the internet.