Mormon expert testifies at B.C. polygamy trial of two Bountiful men

Published on April 19, 2017

CRANBROOK, B.C. — An expert in the history of the Mormon church says fundamentalists who practise polygamy would have to leave all but one of their wives if they wanted to join the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints.

Brian Hales is testifying today at the trial of Winston Blackmore and James Oler, who each face one charge of polygamy in British Columbia Supreme Court.

Hales has written several books on polygamy and Mormonism and told the trial in Cranbrook that a former polygamist could remain friends with his previous wives but could no longer live with or have sexual relations with them.

Blackmore and Oler have both served as bishops in the fundamentalist community of Bountiful in southeastern B.C., where residents are known for practising a religion that condones plural marriage.

Blackmore is accused of marrying 24 women, while an indictment against Oler says he has four wives.

The judge-alone trial is expected to last several weeks and include testimony from Blackmore's first wife, who is also Oler's sister.

The Canadian Press