‘Not guilty’ pleas for two ac­cused in polygamy trial

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

CRANBROOK, BRI­TISH COLUMBIA | The trial of two Cana­dian men from a fun­da­men­tal­ist sect that al­lows men to have mul­ti­ple wives opened Tues­day with not guilty pleas be­ing en­tered.

Win­ston Black­more and James Oler each face one count of polygamy. Both men were bish­ops in a re­li­gious set­tle­ment that fol­lows the teach­ings of the Fun­da­men­tal­ist Church of Je­sus Christ and Lat­ter-day Saints, of­ten re­ferred to as the FLDS. Mr. Oler is ac­cused of hav­ing four wives. Mr. Black­more is ac­cused of mar­ry­ing 24.

Mr. Black­more’s lawyer said his client chose to say noth­ing for re­li­gious rea­sons. “He doesn’t want to deny his faith. He doesn’t feel guilty,” Blair Suf­fre­dine said. “The tech­ni­cal way around that is don’t say any­thing, and they’ll en­ter the plea [of] not guilty.”

FLDS mem­bers prac­tice polygamy in ar­ranged mar­riages, a tra­di­tion tied to the early the­ol­ogy of the Mor­mon church. The main­stream Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints re­nounced polygamy in 1890, but sev­eral fun­da­men­tal­ist groups se­ceded in or­der to con­tinue the prac­tice.

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