April 14th, 2008
09:47 PM ET

Then, the polygamists in Bountiful

I’ve spent the last couple days in a picturesque Canadian town called Bountiful, a polygamous community of about 1000 people in British Columbia.  The Fundament Church of Latter Day Saints established a presence here in the 1940’s.  We traveled here to speak with Winston Blackmore, one of the top polygamy leaders in North America.  We wanted to get his reaction to the raid at the FLDS community in Texas.  

Blackmore rarely grants interviews. But he told us he thought the raid on the FLDS compound in Texas built 11 days ago was totally  unwarranted.  “I think if somebody else called for distress in any other community that size, the authorities wouldn't go in and mop up every last person that was there and put a hole in its temple,” he said.

Blackmore’s defense may seem surprising considering he’s no longer part of the FLDS church.  He had a bitter feud with self-described prophet Warren Jeffs, who excommunicated him in 2002.  Ever since, the community has been deeply divided.  Half are loyal to Blackmore, the other half to Jeffs, even though he’s still in prison.  Blackmore has great insight into the rituals and customs of the church, so his comments and opinions carry great weight.  For example, he was totally thrown off by the notion that a bed was discovered inside the Texas church  where ch were used to consummate marriages between older men and underage girls.  “It's certainly not consistent with anything I've known with those guys,” he said.

It was also fascinating to see and meet Blackmore’s rather large family.  It’s widely believed that he has more than two dozen wives and more than 100 children!  My wife and I just had our first child, so I know how difficult it is to raise one!  It’s mind – boggling to see that many kids running around a compound. 

And then I got to take a little tour around his property as I rode around with him on horseback.  It’s an assignment I won’t soon forget.

-Dan Simon, 360° Correspondent 


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Filed under: Dan Simon • Polygamy
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Matilda

    What about the boys. They are chased out from the community at certain age, because there are not enough women. Nature doesn't work that way. There was a social reason for polygamy to be accepted from different religions. Man died in war and there were to many young women left unwed. Today is not the same.

    April 15, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  2. SK

    "Blackmore rarely grants interviews."
    Are you kidding? I see him on the Canadian news all the time. He even gave interviews to Hana Gartner for her Fifth Estate segments.

    April 15, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  3. Laura

    Kathleen said her daughter was 18 with a 10 month old baby! If you subtract the 10 months from the 18 years and also subtract the 9 months of pregnancy then Kathleen has just admitted that her daughter was 15 or at most 16 when she was impregnated! Throw her in the slammer where she belongs! What kind of mother would subject their daughter to this in the name of religion?

    April 15, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  4. jay

    When someone asks our child's age we don't say 18+. That means she doesn't know the age of the kid or the kid is between 18 and 19. She also said that the 18+ old daughter had a 10 month old child. This surely means that she was married and pregnant underage. If you receive welfare from the state, you are subject to the scrutiny of the state too.

    April 15, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  5. Jack Johannsen

    The taxpayers pay for these children anyway. The so called married wives (sometimes 20 to one so called man) claim to be singel and collect WELFARE. They are users and this is a place of sex perverts and people awho are not human.

    April 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  6. Par

    And we thought that the Saudi Arabian kings lived shady lives? We don't even have to go all the way to the middle east to learn about men having a dozen wives and hundred children. Next time let's all take a moment of silence and look at our own communities before we start analyzing other parts of the world. This is happening in our United States of America!
    What happened to women's rights here?

    April 15, 2008 at 12:48 pm |
  7. In Chicago

    LISA – good questions!!! why NOT move the men? After all, they are the offenders here right???

    April 15, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  8. Taj

    Blackmore life is very interesting. He has a full time job of making babies with 24 wives. He is a staying home Dad. I imagine that five of his wives work in the kitchen, five take care of children & the other fourteen work outside to bring enough funds to support the family. I am sure that the Govt is also supporting them with Welfare checks & food stamps. I am sure they pay no taxes. It's an excellent idea to be a polygamist. I am seriously thinking to be one. Great life.

    April 15, 2008 at 10:37 am |
  9. Douglas Nielsen

    RE: Where are the MEN??? The women and children are the focus of the reporting, but where are the MEN??? Aren't the Men the criminals? Forcing themselves on underage females in the commune.
    Where are they hiding? Off camera. The men are still dictating what the women and children should do and say. Why not interview the young men who are 'kicked out' of the community, because they threaten the 'Lion King' of the pride. Let the women and children be, and focus on the MEN. You are showing women who have left the church. Can you find and interview a man who has left? And, why aren't the conventional MORMANS coming to the aid of the fundamentalists who wish to leave?

    April 15, 2008 at 10:36 am |
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