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Truman Oler Affidavit (Ex FLDS)

Truman Oler Affidavit (Ex FLDS)

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Affidavit of ex FLDS member Truman Oler for the Canadian Reference Case on Polygamy
Affidavit of ex FLDS member Truman Oler for the Canadian Reference Case on Polygamy

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09/26/2015

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JUL 1 4 ~O1O

Affidavit #1 of Truman Oler Sworn July q ,2010

No. 8-097767 Vancouver Registry

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

IN THE MATTER OF:

THE CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTION ACT, R.S.B.C. 1996, C.68

AND IN THE MATTER OF:

THE CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

AND IN THE MATTER OF:

A REFERENCE BY THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL SET OUT IN ORDER IN COUNCIL NO. 533 DATED OCTOBER 22, 2009 CONCERNING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF S. 293 OF THE CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46

AF.FIDAVIT

I, Truman Oler of the town of Marysville in the Province of British Columbia, MAKE OATH

AND SA Y THAT:

1. I have personal knowledge of matters deposed to in this affidavit.

2. I am currently 28 years old. I was born and raised in the FLDS community known as BountifuL I lived in "Canyon" which is where my dad Dalmon Oler had his house, I left Bountiful, and the FLDS church, about 6 or 7 years ago.

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3. My biological parents are Dalman and Memory Oler. Memory Olers parents were Annamae and Ray Blackmore. Memory Oler had 15 children with my. dad Dalman, including my brother Jim Oler. I am the 13th of the 15 children. My dad had five other wives. His other wives were Joanne Gallup (the first wife), Andrea, Lois, Alaire and Wanda. My dad had 47 children all together.

4. The Canyon area is nearby, but geographically separate from, the main Bountiful community in Lister although we were all part of the same religious community. Growing up I lived in the big house in Canyon. While I was growing up in Bountiful Winston Blackmore was the bishop in Bountiful and the prophet was Rulon Jeffs. Rulon lived in the United States.

5. I was aware of otherFLDS communities in Hildale (in Utah) and Colorado City (Arizona), and travelled down there a number of times. On one occasion I stayed for about three months. People in the FLDS often travelled back and forth between these communities and Bountiful. Lots of people travelled from Bountiful to these communities for the April Conference (a yearly meeting). Other reasons for travelling between Bountiful and Hildale and Colorado City .included marriages, Because there were lots of marriages between people in Bountiful and Hildale/Colorado City people travelled between these communities to visit family members. Rulon Jeffs came to Bountiful one or two times a year ..

6. I lived in the big house in Canyon. My mother lived in the big house the whole time I was growing up. My dad's other wives lived there too at various times, The other wives would move to other locations with their kids now and again. There were also lots of kids in the big house. I don't remember spending much time with my dad when I was young. Once I was between the age of 9 and 12 I spent more time with my dad. My brothers and I who were around the same age would help my dad with jobs like working on the farm, fixing trucks and all kinds of fanning equipment of our own. Dad also fixed other farmers' equipment in the valley and he would take us along.

7. My dad died when I was around 16 years old. He was 63 years old.

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8. I went to school in Bountiful from kindergarten through grade 9. I do not remember getting any practical education at the Bountiful school that would have prepared me for life as an adult. When I was growing up, the boys were encouraged to leave school early to work. The girls were taught that their role was to have lots of children and to obey the men. I do remember that we were taught religion for 1-2 hours per day. We were taught that the boys should follow their priesthood duty, obey everything you were told by the prophet or the bishop and in this way show that you were worthy to have one or more wives assigned to you. This was a lesson the boys and girls were taught every day, not just at school but also at home.

9. I also recall the boys were taught not to interact with the girls and that the girls were to be treated like "poison snakes". We were not allowed to talk or play with them. That seems stupid to me when I think about it now because in my situation we w~re all related to each other - those girls were our nieces or cousins or sisters. I never remember being taught that being related to someone means that morally you should not think of that person as someone you would marry or have kids with.

10. After I completed grade 9, I went to work for lR. Blackmore & Sons, a company run by Winston Blackmore. At the time I attended school in Bountiful it was common for boys to leave school before grade 9 to go to work at 1.R. Blackmore & Sons. At the time, the school in Bountiful only went up to grade 10. When I lived in Bountiful, most of the girls would finish grade 10 and then get married.

11. I was 15 years old when I started working full time for 1.R. Blackmore & Sons. Prior to that, 1 had worked during the summers since I was about 13 years old. When I was 17 years old I went to Sundre, Alberta, still working for 1.R. Blackmore & Sons. When I first started working I was making fence posts and running some of the machinery. I worked about 85 hours every two weeks and was initially paid $60 in cash for that When you turned 18 years old, the amount was increased to $100 for two weeks' work. While I worked for Blackmore & Sons I was issued cheques that I was told sign and I never

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received the cash. The expectation was that when we reached 18 - 20 we would get a vehicle from the company along with a fuel card and insurance. However, when I became that age, there were more and more of us reaching that age, we were no longer provided with a truck. Instead of getting a truck we were provided with $600 a month and told that we had to purchase vehicles, insurance, and fuel on our own.

12. Just before the split between Winston Blackmore and Warren Jeffs, Ken Oler took over the Sundre operations and started a logging company named Oler Brothers. The majority of the Sundre crew who had been working for J.R. Blackmore & Sons, including me, went to work for Oler Brothers. When I went to work for Oler Brothers I started to get about $400- 500 per month more. When I was in my early 20s I pushed to be paid by the hour. lasked Ken Oler, who said that I had to speak to Jimmy. Jimmy said I had to talk to Warren Jeffs. Typically when we worked in Sundre we would go back to Bountiful every other weekend. Every other Saturday there was usually a meeting where Warren spoke to us over the speaker phone. This issue was discussed and eventually we were paid $15 per hour.

13. We were all required to pay a tithing to the church. You had to pay 10% of all your earnings just to keep your standing, and there was always pressure to pay more, After the split between Winston Blackmore and Warren Jeffs, Warren would request that we pay $1000 almost every other month. All men over 18 were expected to pay this. I often did not have enough money and my mother would subsidize the difference.

14. Growing up in Bountiful, we were always taught that a man could not get to the highest degree of heaven unless he had plural wives. A man or woman in the FLDS could not decide who to marry, it was the prophet's decision. No one in the church really spoke about the fact that polygamy was illegal, but we Were told that we would be prosecuted for living like we did. The church always justified polygamy by saying that it was no different from a man wanting to sleep with someone other than his wife. This is the explanation I always remember - "how is polygamy any different?"

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15. The role of the man in the Bountiful community is to be a good "priesthood man", get married and have a family, The woman's role is tohave babies, be a good wife and obey her husband. That is the path to follow. If you don't follow the path you will lose everything. This was taught to everyone from a young age, in church, at home, in school and at work.

16. Shortly before I left the FLDS I was told by Jim that if I was willing to take the "extra step" I might be given a wife. By "taking the extra step" I understood Jim to mean that I should do things like work extra on Saturdays, check in with him and Warren more often to ask if there was anything different I should be doing, give extra money to the church, follow all the rules, and never miss any of the meetings.

17. I left Bountiful when I was about 21 years old. It was after Winston Blackmore had been kicked out of his position as bishop by Warren Jeffs, and my brother Jim became the bishop. The community became split in allegiance to Winston and to Jim. Family members stopped talking to each 'other depending on which side of the split they were on. At this time, I was still living in Canyon in a house with my brother Jim.

18. I began to question the practices of the FLDS church especially after the split. There were

family members, brothers and sisters, parents and children not allowed to see or talk with each other. This is one of the things that led me to leave. We were always taught growing up that we would go to hell if we ever left the church. I still believed that when I left but I also considered life in Bountiful living hell so I was prepared to leave.

19. I went through a party phase which involved lots of drinking after I left Bountiful. One reason for this was that I felt I had nothing to lose as I was doomed and going to hell so what could it hurt. The party phase seems pretty common for kids coming out of Bountiful perhaps because of their new found freedom. Sometimes it does not work out. It is hard to adjust to life on the outside after that kind of upbringing.

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20. It has been very hard, even now, to leave my family behind. Initially, one of the hardest things was thinking that there was no where to go. With the partying I went from one extreme to another. If you leave the FLDS you are told that you can never go back even to visit your familyunless you want to return and follow all of the teachings.

21. I am now married to someone who is not from the FLDS. I recently completed a course to get my certificate as a heavy duty mechanic. I would like to get my high school equivalency but have not been able to yet. I have two young sons, one is two years old and . the second was born at the end of June of this year.

22. I sometimes go back to Bountiful to visit my grandmother who had a stroke a few years ago. My mother Memory is still in the church and lives in Jim's house in Canyon. My mother very rarely tries to contact me. I sometimes go to Canyon to see her. IfI show up, she will come out of the house to talk to me but I not welcomed into the house. I have no contact with my brother Jim, or any of my siblings who have remained on the Jeffs side of the split.

13. My thinking about Bountiful and the FLDS has evolved the longer I have been away from the community. I now think that the FLDS is like a cult and that it is damaging for children to grow up in that environment. The FLDS does not permit anyone free choice. You are told what to do.

24. Now that I have spent time with my wife and her family, I can see how a family can function in a way that is healthy. There is the opportunity to get to know your family members and accept them for who they are not who someone else says they should be. Having children of my own has also changed my thinking. My time with my sons is important. I cannot imagine having multiple wives and having to .spread my attention across more than one family and the number of children families in Bountiful (including mine) had.

25. lam tired of talking and thinking about my childhood and teenage years. I consider it to have been a damaging way to have been raised. I knew when I left Bountiful I would be

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cut off from my family and this has been hard for me. I hope that this statement will help to uphold the law that was made to protect those in situations like I would in.

26. I dream of going down to the place where I was raised and made to feel welcome and treated like a family member and not some stranger who has been caught stealing something. Maybe someday things will change.

27. At this time, I have no personal relationships with anyone on the inside. I have left the teachings of Bountiful behind me and do not care to talk about it anymore. I do hope that in talking about it I may influence and help somebody still on the inside and also help those all. the outside see that there is a lot more to living and that you can have a mind of your

own.

28. I agreed to swear this affidavit for the Attorney General of British Columbia on this reference because I would like to see an end to the harm that is done to the children, women and men in this community and I believe polygamy to be part of that hann. I also want my family and relatives still involved in that lifestyle to know that they are still a part of my family and I never want to lose or be denied contact with them.

SWORN BEFORE ME at the City of

Cr TO in the Province of British

Col mbi is.3_ day of July 2010.

- - ---- -----

, iissioner for taking Affidavits

for British Columbia

Print Commissioner's name

Suzanne M. Pantazis Notary Public

Title "19- 10th Avenue S.

Oranbrook, Be • V1 C 2M9 Ph. (250) 426 4352

Phone Number

l /flevt:1'ICM ~

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Affidavit #1 of Truman Oler Sworn July CJ ,2010

No. S-097767 Vancouver Registry

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

IN THE MATTER OF:

THE CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTION ACT, R.S.B..C. 1996, C.68

AND IN THE MATTER OF:

THE CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

AND IN THE MATTER OF:

A REFERENCE BY THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL SET OUT IN ORDER IN COUNCIL NO. 533 DATED OCTOBER 22, 2009 CONCERNING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF S. 293 OF THE CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46

AFFIDAVIT

Ministry of Attorney General

Legal Services Branch 1301 -865 Hornby Street Vancouver Be V6Z2G3 Telephone: 604 660-3093 Facsimile: (604) 660-6797

Craig Jones Barrister and Solicitor

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