The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in Canada's Polygamous Mormon Sect

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9780307355898: The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in Canada's Polygamous Mormon Sect
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The Secret Lives of Saints paints a troubling portrait of an extreme religious sect. These zealous believers impose severe and often violent restrictions on women, deprive children of education and opt instead to school them in the tenets of their faith, defy the law and move freely and secretly over international borders. They punish dissent with violence and even death. No, this sect is not the Taliban, but North America's fundamentalist Mormons.

From its very beginning, the Mormon church, an offshoot of Christianity, found itself on the margins of both convention and the law. In addition to their unorthodox interpretation of the more mainstream Christian denominations, the Mormons embraced one tenet in particular that others found hard to accept: the idea that only by engaging in polygamous marriage could a man enter the highest realms of the kingdom of heaven.

In 1890, under immense pressure from the federal government in the United States, the Mormons agreed to renounce polygamy in return for the right to the status of statehood in Utah, where they had settled. Since then, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has officially taken the position that plural marriage is unlawful and is not to be pursued.

However, colonies of renegade fundamentalist Mormons have continued to practise polygamy and thrive to this day in Canada and the United States, despite the fact that they are flouting the law. In the U.S., the "prophet" Warren Jeffs made headlines when, having been placed on the list of America's Most Wanted, he was apprehended in 2006 and was convicted as an accomplice to rape. While his acolytes and subjects lived in poverty, Jeffs was driving around in a luxury SUV when state troopers pulled him over.

The story is much the same here in Canada, where the "bishop" of a fundamentalist sect in Bountiful, B.C., Winston Blackmore, heads up a multi-million dollar group of companies and flies on private jets while his supporters and employees live hard-scrabble lives and tithe their meager earnings to the church.

Daphne Bramham explores the history and ideas of this surprisingly resilient and insular society, asking the questions that surround its continued existence and telling the stories of the men and women whose lives are so entwined with it — both the leaders and the victims.

How can it be that a group can live in open defiance of the law for over 100 years, when its leaders appear on the Phil Donohue Show and CNN and boast of their practices, which include marriage to girls well below the legal age of consent? How do their schools receive government funding when they teach racism and indoctrinate pupils into the belief that women are naturally subordinate to men? How do fundamentalist Mormon businesses escape prosecution for their regular violations of child labour laws? How does the sect manage to straddle the Canada—U.S. border so effortlessly, with American girls living as plural wives in Canada without actually immigrating and Canadian girls shipped off to the U.S. the same way?

These are pointed questions, and a great deal depends on the answers. By delving into the life stories of the men and women who make up the ranks of the fundamentalist Mormons — or "Saints" as they call themselves — Bramham makes it clear that the arguments swirling around the legality of what goes on in Bountiful are anything but abstract. She tells the stories of young girls forced into "marriages" with men old enough to be their grandfathers and installed in households more like motels than homes, with each wife quartered separately and rigorously scheduled to have regular intercourse with her husband. She takes us into the life of a young girl forced into a "marriage" with such complex genealogical implications that she became her own step-grandmother.

And it is not just the girls who suffer under the religious regime of the fundamentalist patriarchs. As Bramham shows, simple math is enough to tell you that boys must suffer as well. And they do. Because the Saints believe they are compelled to marry more than one wife, it is inevitable that while some men — invariably the most powerful — have more than one wife (or indeed dozens), others are doomed to have none. These young men work doggedly for the businesses run by their leaders, at a fraction of the wage they should be earning, in the hope of one day being rewarded with a bride and, therefore, a ticket to heaven. But there will never be enough girls, and so some of the boys — those less compliant — are cast off and become "Lost Boys," uneducated and unprepared for the outside world, but cut off all the same from the only community they have ever known.

But for all the power wielded by the fundamentalist Mormon leaders, they are far from invincible. The Secret Lives of Saints also tells the stories of the men and women who have escaped the sect and challenged the Saints. Although, as Bramham argues forcefully, the government has often been asleep at the wheel when it comes to enforcing the law in the fundamentalist communes, the survivors and the fighters do have the law on their side and Bramham give a detailed and dramatic account of the prosecutors and police crusading to rein in the excesses of the Saints.

Finally, Bramham makes it clear that questions of justice and freedom, of religious and cultural difference, don't only apply to marginal sects like the Saints, but to every group. Balancing what is good for the individual with what is good for the group, or weighing the entitlement of any group against the laws and priorities of the whole country, is not easy. Our constitution allows us to pursue faith as we choose, and that is not a right anyone would challenge lightly. And yet, as the fundamentalist Mormons show, this freedom can become a source of oppression. In the end The Secret Lives of Saints is about what is required for any tolerant society.
From the Hardcover edition.

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About the Author:

Daphne Bramham has been a columnist at the Vancouver Sun since 2000 and has won numerous awards for her writing, including a National Newspaper Award. She was named Commentator of the Year by the Jack Webster Foundation in 2005 and was honoured by the non-profit group Beyond Borders for a series of columns on the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C.
From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

ONE

THE POLYGAMY CAPITAL OF CANADA


The community of Bountiful has been Canada’s dirty secret for more than sixty years. Tucked away in the southeastern corner of British Columbia, it’s out of sight and out of mind. As its founders had hoped in the mid-1940s, when they chose this remote location to raise their polygamous families, the neighbours don’t really mind. They’ve got secrets of their own. So, they don’t ask and the folks in Bountiful don’t tell what really goes on out there under the cliffs of the Skimmerhorn Mountains.

Bountiful, B.C., is the polygamy capital of Canada. You won’t find it on any map because it’s a made-up name. The official name of the place you’re looking for is Lister, but even with a detailed map of the Kootenay region, you’ll have to search hard to find it. Lister was founded by First World War veterans, who, as they sailed home from Europe, dreamed of setting up a co­operative fruit farm. But there wasn’t enough water and the land wasn’t suitable for fruit trees. So, by 1923, their utopia in tatters, veterans began drifting away.

The closest town of any size is Creston – population 5,201 at last count. At the Creston Museum, you’ll learn that this is a region with a history rich in dreamers, ne’er­do­wells, rounders, speculators, prospectors, hermits, murderers and even religious terrorists who emigrated from Russia.

It’s little more than a ten­minute drive from Creston to the cluster of homes, schools, barns and trailers that Blackmore renamed Bountiful. According to the Book of Mormon, that’s what an apocryphal character, Nephi, named North America when he arrived by sea from the Holy Land around 600 BC. The Mormons – mainstream and fundamentalist – believe that North America’s aboriginal people are descendants of Nephi’s brother, Laman. The Lamanites, as Mormons call native Indians, denied Christ, fell in league with the Devil and killed Nephi’s descendants. Needless to say, Mormons had little time for Lamanites, until recently, when the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter­day Saints began to view American Indians as an opportunity for expansion.

The folks at the Creston Tourist Information office will give you directions to Bountiful, but they may do so grudgingly. The good burghers of Creston aren’t happy that their pretty little town shares the infamy that comes with having twelve hundred polygamists living nearby. They’d prefer that people associate Creston with apples or cherries, or the local beer that’s “brewed right in the Kootenays,” as the company’s slogan says. Or that Creston be thought of as a nice place to retire. If Creston has to be known for something, they’d rather it was for the first-rate marijuana – the “B.C. bud” that’s grown only semi­surreptitiously throughout the lush valley – than polygamy.

Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau famously told Canadians that the state had no business in the bedrooms of the nation. Most people have forgotten that he said it during debates over a massive and controversial rewriting of the Criminal Code in 1967 that decriminalized “homosexual acts.” A few years later, his government again stepped back from the private realm of sexual relations and legalized abortion. Finally, Trudeau tried – with a new Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – to create a freer society where all men, women and children would have more choices open to them. Yet now Canadians – already burdened with the national characteristic of politeness – often repeat Trudeau’s quote to justify not poking into other people’s bedrooms even if it means ignoring abuse.

Certainly that’s what Creston’s elected representative to the regional district thinks. “We don’t see the monsters that everybody else says are living among us,” says John Kettle. He’s more concerned about the Hells Angels taking over the regional drug trade than about men having more than one wife. Kettle admits he’s been to Bountiful only a couple of times in the past twenty years, which is a bit surprising since he is the staunchest and most outspoken defender of Bountiful’s former bishop Winston Blackmore. Kettle describes Blackmore as one of his close friends. They’re also business partners.

In a letter to the local newspaper in 2004, local auctioneer Alex Ewashen gave full expression to the prevailing attitude about Bountiful:

What I see are healthy women and young ladies who do not need artificial makeup to make them look attractive . . . But, the poor things, they do not have a smoke pit at their school, they are not brought up to deem it their right to pierce their belly buttons and whatever else – why they don’t even have the freedom to show off their bare midriffs and their cleavages. And, horrors above all horrors, they are taught life skills in school, like cooking, sewing, and keeping house. And, yes, they do know how to raise children . . .

And how about the boys? To my knowledge I don’t know of any that didn’t grow up with a good work ethic. I can’t say that for the kids I used to be sent from the high school to introduce to the work force. Not long ago I saw a young Bountiful boy who I’m sure wasn’t old enough to have a driver’s license back up a 40-foot semi flat deck, I’m sure at 15 kilometres an hour in a perfectly straight line for a good 300 feet.

Ewashen concluded that many people are trying to return to simpler times. “Well, the Bountiful community doesn’t have to do that, they are there. If you want to go way, way back, God told Adam and Eve to go forth and multiply – he didn’t say to Eve to go forth and become a secretary, or a nurse, or a lawyer.” Of course, there’s no evidence that God told Adam to be a lawyer (or an auctioneer) either.

Polygamous communities might well produce some first­rate underage truck drivers. But they also have plenty of disadvantages that Ewashen overlooks. What goes on out there is not only illegal, it’s anathema to the core values and principles espoused by Canadians. Even though polygamy has been illegal in Canada since 1890, men are marrying multiple wives. Some of Bountiful’s men are in their forties and fifties when they marry girls as young as fourteen, which is Canada’s legal age of sexual consent. The legal age for marriage in B.C. is eighteen, with the consent of a B.C. Supreme Court judge required for any child under sixteen. But before they are even of legal age to be married, a third of Bountiful’s girls are impregnated by men who are at least a decade or more older than they are. Underage girls in Bountiful are two to seven times more likely to get pregnant than any other girls in the province.

Children – boys, mainly, but also girls – are frequently used as unpaid labourers in dangerous construction and forestry jobs. To ensure that those children don’t have any other choices, the leaders encourage them to leave school well before high­school graduation to become either wives and mothers or indentured labourers. It’s all done in the name of God and religion by men who are aiming to be gods with dozens of wives and hundreds of children serving them for all eternity.



Like most people in town, Creston’s mayor, Joe Snopek, is uncomfortable about looking into the bedrooms of Bountiful. In 2004, he said polygamy “is no different than a gay lifestyle or being a Jehovah Witness or anything else . . . And I sure would hate someone investigating my lifestyle.” But by the time B.C.’s attorney general ordered a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) investigation into allegations of sexual abuse, child brides and polygamy in 2005, so many journalists had asked Snopek about Bountiful that he’d grown weary of defending it. He’d even begun openly talking about some of the other abuses.

Snopek recalled how he had reported a Bountiful company to the Workers’ Compensation Board and the B.C. Labour Ministry a few years earlier because the contractor was using a crew of barefoot children – some as young as six and none older than thirteen – to pull shingles off the roof of a Creston home. “They [the WCB and Labour Ministry] didn’t do anything,” Snopek said. “The finding was that it was a family operation and they can do pretty much what they want. It puts us [the city] in a nasty position in one way. Where are the powers that be in government to shut down companies like that or do something about it?”

Snopek welcomed the RCMP investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse, child brides and trafficking of girls, and he urged police to look deeper into the community: “It’s time they [the government] stepped in and took a good hard look and not just at the smoke and mirrors that Winston [Blackmore] has been playing for the media.”

Still, many people in Creston do not want to get rid of the polygamists claiming to be “saints” – people who, much to the horror of mainstream Mormons, continue to assert that they are the only true members of Joseph Smith’s church. Many Creston businesses are afraid to lose customers. A local hardware store that stocks a small selection of books along with the usual fare of nails, paint and lumber, had Keep Sweet: Children of Polygamy on its shelves. The book is former resident Debbie Palmer’s gruelling account of the abuse and neglect she witnessed growing up in the fundamentalist community. The owners pulled the book off the shelves when people from Bountiful threatened to boycott their store.

Polygamists and their big families spend a lot of money on cars, trucks, gasoline, groceries, shoes and other necessities. Because of this, many people don’t want them gone, but, at the same time, they don’t want to know about polygamy. They don’t want to talk about it or have anybody else talk about it. If that means becoming inured to the sight of pregnant teenagers pushing a baby carriage while they hold the hand of a toddler, so be it. If it means another year when the New Year’s baby is the progeny of a polygamist, well, whatever. If the baby’s mother is little more than a child and the father is old enough to be the mother’s grandfather, well, let’s not get into that. And so what if everybody looks suspiciously similar and most have the same few last names because cousins marry cousins and stepfathers impregnate stepdaughters? They’re not hurting us.

But when Mayor Snopek recently had city staff calculate the economic impact of Bountiful on the community, they found that the Saints account for only about 10 per cent of the total economy. Of course, Snopek hasn’t really broadcast that to his citizens. So maybe people don’t know the limited extent of the Saints’ economic impact. Maybe they are only going on the perceptions gained at the grocery checkout. But it’s more likely that it’s not about the money at all. People just don’t want to see what’s in front of them.

Even though the Saints stick mostly to themselves, there’s evidence of them all over Creston. Logging trucks emblazoned with the names of their companies – J. R. Blackmore & Sons and Oler Brothers – frequently rumble along the wide street. Creston residents don’t find it unusual when a couple of “sister­wives” push a grocery cart or two up to the checkout at Extra Foods and start unloading several dozen eggs, litres of milk and large sacks of flour for their family of thirty or more.

Several of Winston Blackmore’s wives are on the local search and rescue team. And in the winter, a couple of nights a month, some of Blackmore’s sons, nephews, cousins and other relatives rent ice to play hockey at the local recreation centre, wearing sweaters bearing the J. R. Blackmore & Sons name. Until recently Blackmore paid as much as forty thousand dollars a year to rent ice time so that his family and others from Bountiful could skate without having to mix with outsiders – “gentiles” as they call all nonbelievers. Of course, with more than one hundred children of his own, Winston has enough Blackmores to start his own league. Yet, while Blackmore doesn’t want his sons, daughters and followers’ children socializing outside the community, he sees nothing wrong with lacing up his skates and playing in the Creston old-timers’ league alongside his good friend Chris Luke, the chief of the Lower Kootenay Indian band, which has leased thousands of acres of land to Blackmore Farms.

Creston businessmen may worry about losing Bountiful’s trade, but few people ask how a man like Blackmore can support his twenty-some wives and all those children. Few wonder just how many of their tax dollars go to subsidize them. And, if you are an outsider who asks about it, the folks in Creston are likely to get their backs up and tell you to mind your own business. Which is exactly what Blackmore and the folks in Bountiful say when they’re asked.

Many Creston residents will tell you that the Bountiful people don’t do drugs. They’ll say that they don’t drink alcohol, that many won’t touch even coffee or tea, for that matter. What lots of them say is that, from what they can see, the people look healthy and happy. What they don’t realize is that the people in Bountiful are programmed by their prophets to look happy.

The Bountiful people are taught from birth to “keep sweet.” Happiness is the only emotion that’s allowed. Anger, frustration, depression and especially rebellion are not allowed. They’re taught to suppress those emotions and to put all their energy into obeying the word of their prophet, who speaks directly to God.

Saints are also taught that it’s okay not to tell the truth to outsiders, especially if it means protecting the secrets of how many mothers and how few fathers there are or of how the fathers are ripping off the evil government, a practice known as “bleeding the beast.”

That’s the problem: most of the townsfolk don’t know much about Bountiful and neither do their politicians or police. Politicians have shamelessly curried favour with Bountiful’s leaders, accepting campaign donations and appointing some of the community’s members to government boards. To indiscriminant politicians, the Saints are just another group in Canada’s vote­rich multicultural tapestry.



To get to Bountiful, you follow paved backroads through the settlements of Erickson and Canyon, past farms and rolling meadows where cattle and horses graze. At a T-crossing, the road to Bountiful goes straight towards the mountain. You’ll know you’re nearly there when you see the first no trespassing sign. You will not be welcomed in this community where all but one or two small parcels of land are owned by the church’s United Effort Plan Trust (UEP). It is a tenet of the faith that land, labour and material goods are to be handed over to “the priesthood.” In theory, the bishop and the elders then divide it up according to each person’s individual needs. In practice, the bishops and elders get the biggest and best houses as well as the most – and prettiest – wives.

Once upon a time, at the sight of a stranger’s car, flocks of children used to scatter like small birds, abandoning their bicycles or trampolines. It doesn’t happen as much any more – even the people of Bountiful are getting used to being a tourist draw. But mothers are still likely to gather up their little girls in long dresses, pulling them into the bushes or the closest house. The boys – especia...

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Secret Lives of Saints paints a troubling portrait of an extreme religious sect. These zealous believers impose severe and often violent restrictions on women, deprive children of education and opt instead to school them in the tenets of their faith, defy the law and move freely and secretly over international borders. They punish dissent with violence and even death. No, this sect is not the Taliban, but North America s fundamentalist Mormons. From its very beginning, the Mormon church, an offshoot of Christianity, found itself on the margins of both convention and the law. In addition to their unorthodox interpretation of the more mainstream Christian denominations, the Mormons embraced one tenet in particular that others found hard to accept: the idea that only by engaging in polygamous marriage could a man enter the highest realms of the kingdom of heaven. In 1890, under immense pressure from the federal government in the United States, the Mormons agreed to renounce polygamy in return for the right to the status of statehood in Utah, where they had settled. Since then, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has officially taken the position that plural marriage is unlawful and is not to be pursued. However, colonies of renegade fundamentalist Mormons have continued to practise polygamy and thrive to this day in Canada and the United States, despite the fact that they are flouting the law. In the U.S., the prophet Warren Jeffs made headlines when, having been placed on the list of America s Most Wanted, he was apprehended in 2006 and was convicted as an accomplice to rape. While his acolytes and subjects lived in poverty, Jeffs was driving around in a luxury SUV when state troopers pulled him over. The story is much the same here in Canada, where the bishop of a fundamentalist sect in Bountiful, B.C., Winston Blackmore, heads up a multi-million dollar group of companies and flies on private jets while his supporters and employees live hard-scrabble lives and tithe their meager earnings to the church. Daphne Bramham explores the history and ideas of this surprisingly resilient and insular society, asking the questions that surround its continued existence and telling the stories of the men and women whose lives are so entwined with it both the leaders and the victims. How can it be that a group can live in open defiance of the law for over 100 years, when its leaders appear on the Phil Donohue Show and CNN and boast of their practices, which include marriage to girls well below the legal age of consent? How do their schools receive government funding when they teach racism and indoctrinate pupils into the belief that women are naturally subordinate to men? How do fundamentalist Mormon businesses escape prosecution for their regular violations of child labour laws? How does the sect manage to straddle the Canada U.S. border so effortlessly, with American girls living as plural wives in Canada without actually immigrating and Canadian girls shipped off to the U.S. the same way? These are pointed questions, and a great deal depends on the answers. By delving into the life stories of the men and women who make up the ranks of the fundamentalist Mormons or Saints as they call themselves Bramham makes it clear that the arguments swirling around the legality of what goes on in Bountiful are anything but abstract. She tells the stories of young girls forced into marriages with men old enough to be their grandfathers and installed in households more like motels than homes, with each wife quartered separately and rigorously scheduled to have regular intercourse with her husband. She takes us into the life of a young girl forced into a marriage with such complex genealogical implications that she became her own step-grandmother. And it is not just the girls who suffer under the religious regime of the fundamentalist patriarchs. As Bramham shows, simple math is enough to tell you that bo. Seller Inventory # AAC9780307355898

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Secret Lives of Saints paints a troubling portrait of an extreme religious sect. These zealous believers impose severe and often violent restrictions on women, deprive children of education and opt instead to school them in the tenets of their faith, defy the law and move freely and secretly over international borders. They punish dissent with violence and even death. No, this sect is not the Taliban, but North America s fundamentalist Mormons. From its very beginning, the Mormon church, an offshoot of Christianity, found itself on the margins of both convention and the law. In addition to their unorthodox interpretation of the more mainstream Christian denominations, the Mormons embraced one tenet in particular that others found hard to accept: the idea that only by engaging in polygamous marriage could a man enter the highest realms of the kingdom of heaven. In 1890, under immense pressure from the federal government in the United States, the Mormons agreed to renounce polygamy in return for the right to the status of statehood in Utah, where they had settled. Since then, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has officially taken the position that plural marriage is unlawful and is not to be pursued. However, colonies of renegade fundamentalist Mormons have continued to practise polygamy and thrive to this day in Canada and the United States, despite the fact that they are flouting the law. In the U.S., the prophet Warren Jeffs made headlines when, having been placed on the list of America s Most Wanted, he was apprehended in 2006 and was convicted as an accomplice to rape. While his acolytes and subjects lived in poverty, Jeffs was driving around in a luxury SUV when state troopers pulled him over. The story is much the same here in Canada, where the bishop of a fundamentalist sect in Bountiful, B.C., Winston Blackmore, heads up a multi-million dollar group of companies and flies on private jets while his supporters and employees live hard-scrabble lives and tithe their meager earnings to the church. Daphne Bramham explores the history and ideas of this surprisingly resilient and insular society, asking the questions that surround its continued existence and telling the stories of the men and women whose lives are so entwined with it both the leaders and the victims. How can it be that a group can live in open defiance of the law for over 100 years, when its leaders appear on the Phil Donohue Show and CNN and boast of their practices, which include marriage to girls well below the legal age of consent? How do their schools receive government funding when they teach racism and indoctrinate pupils into the belief that women are naturally subordinate to men? How do fundamentalist Mormon businesses escape prosecution for their regular violations of child labour laws? How does the sect manage to straddle the Canada U.S. border so effortlessly, with American girls living as plural wives in Canada without actually immigrating and Canadian girls shipped off to the U.S. the same way? These are pointed questions, and a great deal depends on the answers. By delving into the life stories of the men and women who make up the ranks of the fundamentalist Mormons or Saints as they call themselves Bramham makes it clear that the arguments swirling around the legality of what goes on in Bountiful are anything but abstract. She tells the stories of young girls forced into marriages with men old enough to be their grandfathers and installed in households more like motels than homes, with each wife quartered separately and rigorously scheduled to have regular intercourse with her husband. She takes us into the life of a young girl forced into a marriage with such complex genealogical implications that she became her own step-grandmother. And it is not just the girls who suffer under the religious regime of the fundamentalist patriarchs. As Bramham shows, simple math is enough to tell you that bo. Seller Inventory # AAC9780307355898

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The Secret Lives of Saints paints a troubling portrait of an extreme religious sect. These zealous believers impose severe and often violent restrictions on women, deprive children of education and opt instead to school them in the tenets of their faith, defy the law and move freely and secretly over international borders. They punish dissent with violence and even death. No, this sect is not the Taliban, but North America s fundamentalist Mormons. From its very beginning, the Mormon church, an offshoot of Christianity, found itself on the margins of both convention and the law. In addition to their unorthodox interpretation of the more mainstream Christian denominations, the Mormons embraced one tenet in particular that others found hard to accept: the idea that only by engaging in polygamous marriage could a man enter the highest realms of the kingdom of heaven. In 1890, under immense pressure from the federal government in the United States, the Mormons agreed to renounce polygamy in return for the right to the status of statehood in Utah, where they had settled. Since then, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has officially taken the position that plural marriage is unlawful and is not to be pursued. However, colonies of renegade fundamentalist Mormons have continued to practise polygamy and thrive to this day in Canada and the United States, despite the fact that they are flouting the law. In the U.S., the prophet Warren Jeffs made headlines when, having been placed on the list of America s Most Wanted, he was apprehended in 2006 and was convicted as an accomplice to rape. While his acolytes and subjects lived in poverty, Jeffs was driving around in a luxury SUV when state troopers pulled him over. The story is much the same here in Canada, where the bishop of a fundamentalist sect in Bountiful, B.C., Winston Blackmore, heads up a multi-million dollar group of companies and flies on private jets while his supporters and employees live hard-scrabble lives and tithe their meager earnings to the church. Daphne Bramham explores the history and ideas of this surprisingly resilient and insular society, asking the questions that surround its continued existence and telling the stories of the men and women whose lives are so entwined with it both the leaders and the victims. How can it be that a group can live in open defiance of the law for over 100 years, when its leaders appear on the Phil Donohue Show and CNN and boast of their practices, which include marriage to girls well below the legal age of consent? How do their schools receive government funding when they teach racism and indoctrinate pupils into the belief that women are naturally subordinate to men? How do fundamentalist Mormon businesses escape prosecution for their regular violations of child labour laws? How does the sect manage to straddle the Canada U.S. border so effortlessly, with American girls living as plural wives in Canada without actually immigrating and Canadian girls shipped off to the U.S. the same way? These are pointed questions, and a great deal depends on the answers. By delving into the life stories of the men and women who make up the ranks of the fundamentalist Mormons or Saints as they call themselves Bramham makes it clear that the arguments swirling around the legality of what goes on in Bountiful are anything but abstract. She tells the stories of young girls forced into marriages with men old enough to be their grandfathers and installed in households more like motels than homes, with each wife quartered separately and rigorously scheduled to have regular intercourse with her husband. She takes us into the life of a young girl forced into a marriage with such complex genealogical implications that she became her own step-grandmother. And it is not just the girls who suf. Seller Inventory # BZV9780307355898

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