Mother wins custody of Bountiful children

Canadian Press

CRANBROOK, B.C. The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that three children whose mother left the Mormon community of Bountiful, B.C., and now lives in Payette, Idaho, should remain with their mother.

Joseph Blackmore asked the court for sole interim custody but said he'd be content with an order for joint custody if his former wife returned with the children to live near him.

Teressa Blackmore said the real issue was her desire to keep her children, particularly her two daughters, out of the clutches of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mr. Blackmore claimed the church was a convenient red herring raised by his ex-wife as a cover to justify what would otherwise be regarded as wrongful conduct by her in denying him custody and access to the children.

While some men in Bountiful have multiple wives, court was told the Blackmores had a monogamous marriage.

Teressa Blackmore said she doesn't want her children to be exposed to the beliefs of the church in Bountiful and doesn't want them to grow up being programmed to be part of it.

Justice Thomas Melnick said while Joseph Blackmore might argue the church is irrelevant in his application for custody, it is an elephant in the corner of the room that inevitably cases a shadow over the proceedings.

Judge Melnick said apart from the issue of the church, it is in the best interests of the children that Teressa Blackmore continue to have custody.

He said while the Blackmores had a monogamous marriage, Joseph Blackmore continues to be an adherent of a church that has as one of its principles the practice of polygamy.