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Polygamy - Miscellaneous

Separate entries exist for Bountiful (Winston Blackmore) and Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS - Warren Jeffs).

Daphne Bramham: Polygamist parents go on trial for child trafficking

“Seventy years after a handful of fundamentalist Mormons staked out a secretive community in southeastern B.C. to practice the celestial law of plural marriage, three of their descendants will go on trial on Tuesday in Cranbrook. …The trial opens without Canada’s most notorious polygamist, Winston Blackmore, husband to 27 and father to 145. Blackmore was charged with one count of polygamy in 2014 at the same time as three others from Bountiful [Utah]. …Brandon and Gail Blackmore are accused of taking a child (known as M.M.B.) into the United States for illegal purposes in February 2004. The records were seized during a 2008 raid on the FLDS’s Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas and included the names of 31 girls aged 12 to 17, who over a 10-year period were alleged to have been transported by their parents between Canada and the United States for religious marriages. …A 2008 fax about the 13-year-old was also entered in evidence in the B.C. case. It was sent from a Texas child protection worker to a B.C. social worker informing that the Bountiful girl was among the mothers and children swept in the raid on the YFZ ranch.” (Vancouver Sun, 11/20/16) [IT 8.2]

Polygamy remains a crime as US Supreme Court won’t hear case from Sister Wives

 “The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear arguments from the husband and four wives who star in the television show Sister Wives, letting stand a lower court ruling that kept polygamy a crime in Utah. The appeal by Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown sought [to] remove the penalties for a practice that has caused consternation in Utah since the first Mormon settlers arrived. Some of the state’s politically active polygamists vowed Monday morning to continue efforts to decriminalize plural marriage.” (The Salt Lake Tribune, 01/23/17) [IT 8.2]

Herbert signs polygamy bill into Utah law

“Gov. Gary Herbert on Tuesday signed a bill that keeps polygamy a felony in Utah and increases the penalties for polygamists convicted of committing frauds and abuses. Herbert’s approval of HB99 affirms the position Utah has held since statehood—that polygamy is against the law. Yet it’s unclear how much of the bill will ever be used. …HB99 was a response to the lawsuit filed by the Brown family from the television show Sister Wives. The Browns sued the state after Lehi police investigated them for bigamy. Clark Waddoups, a federal judge in Salt Lake City, ruled for the Browns in 2013, saying Utah’s bigamy statute, as applied to polygamists, is unconstitutional. But the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Waddoups’ ruling on the grounds that the Browns were never prosecuted. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. …The new law keeps the offense a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, but the penalty could increase to 15 years if bigamy is prosecuted in conjunction with crimes such as abuse, fraud or human smuggling. Anyone leaving a polygamous marriage and reporting abuse or protecting a child would receive amnesty.” (The Salt Lake Tribune, 3/28/17) [IT 8.2]

Members of the Brown family, who appear on TLC’s Sister Wives, say they are consenting adults living a life they have chosen, one without the sexism and child abuse commonly attributed to polygamy. The wives took part recently in a University of Nevada Las Vegas forum that included antipolygamist former plural wives who painted a different picture. Willie Steed, from the documentary Breaking Polygamy: the Reeducation of Willie Steed, spoke about his experiences with child labor, an abusive father, lack of education, and hiding from federal authorities because of his family ties to FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. “My experience of polygamy was hell,” he said. “They say this life is about free agency. This was not free agency. Children really take a beating in polygamy.” Christine Brown, in contrast, spoke of growing up with her father’s sister wives and desiring the same for her own children. Kollene Snow, once a member of the Mormon Kingston Clan, said her family’s sister wives hated each other. Kristyn Decker, author of Fifty Years in Polygamy: Big Secrets and Little White Lies, spoke of her heartbreak at having to share her husband. Also commenting at the forum was Christine Maria Katas, who founded Voices for Dignity, which is against legalizing polygamy. Kody Brown maintained that ”Secrecy is a Petri dish for abuse. We have a transparent family. Our experience isn’t your experience.” He accused critics of stereotyping and said that “real crimes”—abuse and neglect—should be prosecuted, “not polygamy.” (Las Vegas Weekly, 5/1/13)

The Gray County (Ontario) police are investigating allegations of polygamy and abuse in the allegedly “cult-like” Jesus Christ Restored church in rural Chatsworth. Carol Christie, 59, claims she suffered sexual, physical, and psychological abuse while she was a member of the church for almost forty years. Christie reports that church founder Stanley King, whom followers called “The Prophet,” had a “harem” of wives, including her. She says that her mother, totally devoted to the church, brought her to other church members at the age of 18, and they beat her into agreeing to marry Stanley King. “I don’t know if my spirit was broke, or what, but that was it. There just seemed to be no way out.” He was not violent with her, she says, and was good with children—she saw this on missions to orphanages in India, for example—but he was a sexual predator in his church back home. “Your faith is based on fear,” Christie said, “because you’re terrorized psychologically. Everything you think, do and say is done out of fear.” When King died, according to Christie, his son, Fred King, took over the church, and the wives. She said members were taught to believe the outside world was hostile, that they would never survive it, and that if they left they’d be damned eternally. But Christie did leave on the death of Fred King, in 2008, shortly after he beat her in church on Easter Sunday; and she eventually joined several other leavers in an ongoing multimillion dollar suit against the church. Christie went to a lawyer and the media instead of the police because attempts to involve them in the past had failed. She is now writing a book about her experience in the church; any proceeds will be dedicated to helping the remaining 35 church members reintegrate into society. (Owen Sound Sun Times, 12/3/12)

Alleged Black Hebrews leader Peter Lukas Moses, Jr., pleaded guilty in June, in Durham, North Carolina, to murdering a woman and a 4-year-old boy in 2011. Moses avoided a possible death penalty by agreeing to testify against his codefendants. It is said they shared a home with other adult members of the group and their children, and that they practiced polygamy. It is believed that one of the deceased—both were buried in the back yard—was killed when trying to escape, the other because Moses thought the boy was gay. (Herald Sun, 6/11/12)