Bountiful Archive

You'll find articles about this subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Polygamous leader borrowed $25K for end of the world, false predicted 15+ times by Warren Jeffs

B.C. polygamous leader Winston Blackmore says he took out a $25,000 loan from the bank in an effort to prepare for the end of the world.

The Canadian Press says

During testimony in the Tax Court of Canada on Thursday, Blackmore said he was directed by a patriarch in the community to get the money to “prepare for the worst.”

The cash was to be used to gather supplies for a religious sect in southeast B.C., near the Canada-U.S. border, he said.

“Another deadline for the end of the world has come and gone. Some 15 deadlines have passed,” Blackmore’s self-published online newsletter later said in March 2004.

“Did you write that?” federal government lawyer Lynn Burch asked Blackmore.

“I could have wrote it,” he said.

He acknowledged there had been at least 15 predictions for the end of the world from the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or FLDS, an offshoot of the Mormon church.

“Perhaps many more,” he added.

Burch asked if the predictions for the destruction of the world were part of the belief system of the FLDS faith.

“I don’t think they’re part of the tenet, but they certainly are part of the practice,” he replied.

Blackmore is testifying at a Tax Court trial as he fights a claim that he owes an extra $1.5 million for his taxes from 2000 to 2004 and in 2006.

In The Province, Andy Ivens writes

Blackmore further testified at his landmark tax trial that he personally owned various properties which were not transferred to a trust fund for the polygamous commune he led. He admitted this contravened the dictates of the FLDS.

Under cross-examination by Lynn Burch, a lawyer conducting the government of Canada’s case against him, Blackmore admitted that one of the basic principles of the FLDS is to “consecrate” — or transfer — all privately-held property to the United Effort Plan (UEP) Trust.

The trust, of which Blackmore was the sole Canadian trustee up until his excommunication from the FLDS in 2002, held the title to the property at Bountiful, B.C.

To win his case, Blackmore must prove to the Tax Court of Canada, Judge Diane Campbell ,that it is more likely than not that the flock he led before and after 2002 is a “congregation,” as defined in the federal Tax Act.

His personal holdings and his 40-per-cent share in the large, private company J.R. Blackmore and Sons (JRB) that dominated the commerce of Bountiful could lead a tax auditor to believe that the community did not share equally in it.

That is what brings him to Tax Court.

Though Warren Jeffs’ track record shows him to be a false prophet many times over, the cult leader — serving a life plus 20 years prison sentence for charges stemming from his ‘spiritual marriages’ to underaged girls — has been mailing out lots of ‘revelations’ promising apocalyptic events should he and other FLDS members not be set free.

Research resources on Bountiful
Research resources on the FLDS

Winston Blackmore describes living arrangements with his 21 wives

On the stand in federal tax court, Bountiful leader Winston Blackmore confirmed that he had 21 wives, including sisters whom he married on the same day in the same ceremony, The Globe and Mail reports:

“These are pretty much the list of people who lived with me as wives,” Mr. Blackmore said on Tuesday, following a series of questions from a Department of Justice lawyer that outlined the names and home communities of the women to whom Mr. Blackmore was “sealed” in ceremonies sanctioned by leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or FLDS.

Those women, and their dozens of children, at some point lived in or near Bountiful, sometimes sharing his home on arrangements worked out among the families, he said. “The mothers pretty much decided that,” he said. “They fit themselves where everybody fit best.”

Some of the women – about eight or nine, he said – left following a religious split in the community in 2002.

The women were named in a tax proceeding in which the Government of Canada is seeking to prove that Mr. Blackmore, as the patriarch of a large, polygamous family, repeatedly understated his income on tax returns, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars being owed to the government. Mr. Blackmore and his lawyers, relying on provisions of the Income Tax Act that relate to congregations, maintain that Bountiful is a congregation and Mr. Blackmore’s tax burden should be shared with the community.

The Province explains

Blackmore claims he is minister to approximately 400 followers in Bountiful and that they constitute a congregation, which should provide them an enormous break on taxes.

Blackmore is the main shareholder of J.R. Blackmore and Sons (JRB), a large logging and forest products company with many holdings in southeastern B.C. and Idaho.

But on his tax forms for the six years in question, he claims his and the other three directors’ incomes were spread out over the entire congregation because they live communally and share their wealth, in accordance with their beliefs.

The four directors claimed they supported their large families on incomes of between $15,000 and $45,000 in one year of the years that was audited. […]

Lawyer Lynn Burch of the federal Justice Department, cross-examined Blackmore on Tuesday on his living arrangements with his various wives and their more than 60 children.

Burch asked Blackmore to list all 20 “plural wives,” after his first wife Jane Blackmore, whom he legally married in 1975 and with whom they have seven children.

Their marriage was recognized by the provincial government, but the next 20 are not.

Postmedia News says

The FLDS broke away from the mainstream Mormon church in 1890 over issues of polygamy and communal living.

Blackmore was ousted as bishop of the FLDS commune in Bountiful in 2002. He says he is now a minister and a businessman.

Federal lawyers are expected to argue Blackmore is not the leader of a recognized religious group and Bountiful is not a commune.

If they succeed, Blackmore’s claim that he shared his tax burden with about 400 others in the community who follow him will deprive him of claiming expenses for a religious institution.

The case is reportedly the first challenge to Section 143 of the Tax Act, which defines what a religion is.

The case is separate from any criminal proceedings. A special prosecutor has been appointed to find out whether any criminal charges should arise from practices in Bountiful – other than polygamy – such as sexual exploitation, sexual abuse of a minor and human trafficking.

Research resources on the FLDS and on Bountiful (and why its members are referred as Mormon Fundamentalists)