Winston Blackmore, one of two men charged yesterday with polygamy, says he is the victim of religious persecution by a government with an eye on the provincial election in May.
“This is not about polygamy,” he told reporters at the Mormon Hills elementary school outside Creston, B.C.
“Tens of thousands of polygamists, among many different cultures, are hiding in plain sight all across Canada. They are known by their neighbours, police, legislators and the media just as we are,” he said. However those polygamists are accepted as active, valued members of the communities in which they live, he said.
“But they are not fundamentalist Mormons,” Mr. Blackmore added. “To us, this is about religious persecution. And persecution has always been about politics. Whatever else is involved in this, it is still all about politics.”
Winston Blackmore during Thursday’s press conference in the community of Bountiful near Creston, B.C.
A former bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Mr. Blackmore said Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees every person the right to their religion. “I guess now every person except those of us who are fundamentalists believing in practising Mormonism,” he also said.
Mr. Blackmore added that he was not surprised he was arrested in the months leading up to B.C. election. The government has been aware of the polygamous community for at least 19 years, he said. Three attorneys general, many special prosecutors and millions of dollars have been involved in a process that led to the conclusion that “fundamentalist Morons wants to practice the fundamentals of their faith,” he said.
“I am what I am and we are what we are. We are descended from a long line of Mormon believing people,” Mr. Blackmore said.
“My family did not make up our faith, nor we did we establish the fundamental teachings of Mormonism,” Mr. Blackmore also said.
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