Winston Blackmore, pictured in 2008, has an estimated 145 children


Blackmore and Oler are from Bountiful in southeastern BC, a religious community of about 1,500 people founded in 1946.
Both are former bishops with a breakaway Mormon sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). Mr Blackmore was excommunicated from the FLDS in 2002 and replaced by Mr Oler. The Canadian religious leaders have been found guilty of practising polygamy by the Supreme Court of British Columbia (BC).
The trial heard Winston Blackmore, 61, married 24 women. His former brother-in-law James Oler, 53, married five.
They were both charged with one count of polygamy. Each face up to five years in prison.

[September 14 2013 New construction in South Dakota ]

FLDS Custer County, South Dakota construction site

FLDS Custer County, South Dakota construction site

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is constructing on its property located on Farmer Road in Custer County, South Dakota.
Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler was told by Ben “Ed” Johnson, the person in charge at the FLDS compound, that it is to be a milking barn, but after seeing photos of the project, Wheeler suspects it is something else. What that something else is, he doesn’t know.
Dave Green, Custer County planning director, sees a similarity between this structure and one at the FLDS Yearning For Zion (YFZ) compound in Eldorado, Texas. That structure is the size of a stadium and shaped like an amphitheatre in which it it has been rumored that a 30’ statue of FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs with a small child will be placed.
Green notes that the packing materials in which the statue was delivered to the YFZ compound is identical to packing materials seen in the photo shown here.
Although Green is concerned about what the FLDS may be constructing in that area, as there is no formula for dealing with an amphitheatre — should that be what it turns out to be —that structure isn’t Green’s main concern at the present time.
What concerns him are the two new buildings in progress in the lower right and lower center of the photo.
After the FLDS completed part one of the road project on 20 Mile Road, it was eligible to receive two building permits. Part two of the road project has also been completed— and completed very well, Green notes — but no building permits have been applied for, nor given.

[January 7]

Young women leaving FLDS church

Young women leaving FLDS church

A brewing battle between the FLDS church and the state of Texas was put on ice Friday when government attorneys discovered they didn’t actually serve the right people with the right court documents.
Texas attorneys moved to take control of the church’s Yearning for Zion Ranch on Nov. 27 when they filed a 91-page seizure warrant. The warrant alleged that the ranch functioned as a remote base for molesting children. According to Attorney General of Texas spokeswoman Lauren Bean, the case documents were served on Warren Jeffs, who is in prison, and his brother Issac Jeffs while he was visiting Warren. A copy of the documents also was taped to the gate at the ranch. Earlier this week, both sides agreed to give FLDS attorneys until Friday to respond to the allegations, which amounted to a civil lawsuit.
But by Friday, no one had filed a response from the FLDS.
Dan Gerson, who represents the FLDS in the case, confirmed Friday that he had not filed a response.
But Bean said the Friday deadline no longer applied after lawyers from her office learned that the correct people had not been served. Bean explained that at some point attorneys learned that rather than the Jeffs brothers, they actually needed to serve an “unknown possessor” of the ranch. Bean did not have information about the unknown possessor’s identity or how attorneys learned the correct party hadn’t been served.
However, that party had finally been served by Friday, Bean said.
As a result of the confusion, FLDS attorneys now have until Jan. 28 to respond to the state’s attempt to seize the ranch.

[December 13]

FLDS United Effort Plan trust, which was taken over by the state in 2005.

FLDS United Effort Plan trust, which was taken over by the state in 2005.

With Jeffs out of the picture, the UEP he once controlled is now in control of the State of Utah. Attorneys General for Utah and Arizona want to give the power back to the community where it belongs, but no one from the FLDS community is willing to discuss the issue with the state leaders. Jeffs is instructing his followers not to cooperate. Even the Mayor and city council members failed to show up at the important meeting.

The options presented by the state leaders to give the trust back to the FLDS include: 1) Nominating a new board of trustees. 2) Dissolving the trust and distributing the assets, this option had the most support from the mostly apostate FLDS who attended the meeting. 3) Dissolving the trust and liquidating the assets. 4) Negotiate a new arrangement.

Information from the meeting will be provided to Third District Judge Denise Lindberg in Utah who will ultimately determine the fate of the trust.

[October 11]
The decision by Utah’s Supreme Court upholds its own 2010 ruling that the three years the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints waited to challenge the state takeover was too long. It also bars the case from being heard by other state judges.

[June 6]Two polygamous sect property trust issues No immediate deadline was set for opinions on the issues, though there is an Aug. 1 deadline on the unpaid-bill question.

The Utah Supreme Court heard arguments June 6 on two issues related to the United Effort Plan trust, which was taken over by the state in 2005.

1 » Whether justices’ 2010 decision dismissing an FLDS challenge to the takeover should prevent any other courts — including a federal judge who later ruled the takeover was illegal — from considering the case. The answer could determine if the trust stays in state hands or goes back to the sect.

2 » If the state of Utah should pay more than $5.5 million in unpaid bills owed to the accountant who has been managing the trust and his employees.

Ex-FLDS spokesman wins default judgment

A former spokesman for the polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs has won a default judgment in a civil lawsuit accusing church leaders of burglarizing his office as retribution for speaking against the imprisoned leader.

A 5th District Court judge awarded Jessop and his business nearly $30 million after leaders Lyle Jeffs and John Wayman failed to respond, according to an order issued Monday.

Jessop said the leaders orchestrated a break-in to take back evidence he’d been using to coordinate Warren Jeffs’ defense and to trash the building. He broke with the leadership shortly before Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, who he took as plural wives.

“It went from being a religion … to being really nothing more than a cartel,” Jessop said.

USDC CDDU: Polygamy ruled legal

USDC CDDU: Polygamy ruled legal

Plural marriage case reversed as moot

The Utah County Attorney’s Office (“UCAO”) subsequently closed its file on the Browns and adopted a policy (“the UCAO Policy”) under which the Utah County Attorney will bring bigamy prosecutions only against those who (1) induce a partner to marry through misrepresentation or (2) are suspected of committing a collateral crime such as fraud or abuse. The Browns fall into neither category. Nonetheless, the district court denied the Utah County Attorney’s motion to dismiss the case as moot and instead granted summary judgment to the Browns.
The district court erred by proceeding to the merits. Federal courts are courts of
limited jurisdiction. They lack power to decide issues—however important or fiercely
contested—that are detached from a live dispute between the parties. Following adoption of the UCAO Policy, the Browns’ suit ceased to qualify as an Article III case or
controversy. Their suit was moot before the district court awarded them relief, and the court therefore lacked jurisdiction to decide the Browns’ claims.




[December 19 2013  ]

A coalition of polygamous groups in Utah have issued a joint statement, praising the ruling by a federal judge that basically decriminalized polygamy in the state.


[October 3]

Warren Jeffs lived here before imprisonment

Warren Jeffs lived here before imprisonment

William E. Jessop, who is leading a group of dissidents who have left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is trying to move into the house on the corner of Academy Avenue and Barlow Street in Colorado City, Ariz. Its current occupant is Seth Jeffs.

He’s the brother of Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the FLDS. Seth Jeffs was arrested in October 2005, carrying money and letters meant for his brother Warren, who was still a fugitive at the time.
On paper, the home belongs to the United Effort Plan, the trust holding much of the property here and in Hildale, Utah, that is currently in receivership. Jessop built the house and lived in it for years. The trust fiduciary, Bruce Wisan, has typically tried to return homes to people with reasonable claims on them.
But there’s no indication Seth Jeffs plans to leave soon.

   FLDS member Mary Harker, right, speaks with UEP trust administrator Bruce Wisan following a 2009 court hearing.

FLDS member Mary Harker, right, speaks with UEP trust administrator Bruce Wisan following a 2009 court hearing.

FLDS member Mary Harker, right, speaks with UEP trust administrator Bruce Wisan following a 2009 court hearing.
[February 15, 2012]
Utah’s attorney general has 90 days to pay off more than $5.5 million in debts incurred by managers of a communal land trust once run by jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.

United Effort Plan Trust — the $114 million communal property trust

United Effort Plan Trust — the $114 million communal property trust

Third District Judge Denise Lindberg set the deadline in an order issued February 13.
The money is owed to Salt lake City accountant Bruce Wisan, his attorneys and other firms hired to assist with management of the United Effort Plan Trust — the $114 million communal property trust of Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The trust holds the land and homes of FLDS members in the twin border communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., and in Bountiful, British Columbia.
No trust bills have been paid since 2008.
“We are disappointed in the ruling and are reviewing our options for appeal,” Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said. “We believe it is important to have the decision reviewed as expeditiously as possible.”
Utah seized control of the trust in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement by Jeffs and other Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leaders. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office backed the effort.
Wisan was to be paid from the sale of trust assets, but a string of pending lawsuits, including one pending before Denver’s 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, has blocked any land sales. back