Sunday, May 9, 2010

Daughters of polygamous fundamentalist Mormon leader speak out against their father's cult

30 years ago, when Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was trying to force his Charter of Rights and Freedoms into the constitution, there were a few of us warning that if he succeeded, the only people who would end up having any rights would be perverts, criminals, deadbeats, and malcontents. The charter officially became part of the Constitution Act on April 17, 1982, and events since then have confirmed my misgivings. As a white, English-speaking, Canadian-born heterosexual male Bible-believing Christian, I’m definitely less free in 2010 than I was before 1982.

No group in Trudeaupia (formerly Canada) has benefited more from the human rights cancer than sodomite activists. When the Liberal government recognized the legitimacy of sodomite and lesbian marriages in the last decade, I predicted that the next step would be to legally permit polygamy. When the objective standard for marriage of one man and one woman is done away with, then everything just becomes a matter of preference, and it becomes illogical and increasingly difficult to prohibit other "arrangements." For years there has been a community of fundamentalist Mormons practicing polygamy in the small community of Bountiful, British Columbia. The B.C. government has been afraid to prosecute the polygamists because they don’t think it would survive a Charter challenge in court. As reported by Valerie Fortney of the Calgary Herald:

In January 2009, five years after RCMP began investigating the community of about 1,000 people, its spiritual leader, Winston Blackmore, was arrested and charged with one count of polygamy. Nineteen women were named on his indictment.

James Oler was also charged with one count of polygamy, with three women listed on his indictment.

The charges against both men were quashed on a technicality. Rather than appealing that decision, British Columbia's attorney general decided to refer the issue to the B.C. Supreme Court. The action, joined by the federal Justice Department, is meant to determine whether Canada's anti-polygamy laws are constitutional.

The non-Christian scholar Jacob Bronowski, in his television documentary series The Ascent of Man, argued from a secular point of view that when human societies outlawed polygamy, it was to prevent older men taking advantage of younger women. Think of what will happen if polygamy is permitted: older men will accumulate harems of younger women--women who rightly belong with younger men. There will be large numbers of young men without the civilizing influence of compatible women in their lives, and the result will be a society full of criminals and barbarians. The B.C. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case in the fall of 2010. Should the court rule in favour of the fundamentalist Mormon leaders, Trudeaupia will be pushed back into the dark ages (back past her starting point, in fact, because polygamy was never legal in Canada)--a rather ironic legacy of the country's most "progressive" Prime Minister.

Brenda Jensen and Lorna Jean Blackmore, half-sisters who are daughters of Bountiful’s Harold Blackmore and two of his wives, are now speaking out about the life they led within the Canadian Fundamentalist Curch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Jensen alleges that in the polygamist community, systematic mind control begins not long after birth.

"We are not individuals, we are not persons," Jensen says. "Our hearts and souls are killed before we even get a chance to know ourselves."

Rulon Jeffs, who died in 2002, was the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jensen hands out copies of photographs showing the late Rulon Jeffs, then in his 90s and posing with his two teenage wives on their wedding day.

"Look at those girls' eyes; they are dead," she says.

The goal, she says, is to make sure they are "empty vessels, so that righteous brothers could fill you up and lead you to exaltation.

"This is not a religion," says Jensen, who managed to avoid marriage to her "assigned" 60-year-old husband when she was 16 and married a young man from another sect after the family had moved to Arizona.

"This is a cult, and should be treated under the law both here and in the United States, as such."

Jensen now runs from her home in Utah the HOPE Organization, a nonprofit group devoted to helping survivors of abuse within polygamous relationships.

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