In the short time that Christian polygyny has been in existence in the West (in reality from about 1994/5 though I began as early as the 1980's) I have heard both success stories as well as a number of disasters. It is the latter that I want to focus on today.
A man is not ready to become a successful polygamist until he has understood the mind and heart of woman. That is not to say he needs to be a psychological expert because we all begin new things unprepared and insufficient in one area or another but it is to say that he must at least have a rudimentary knowledge of the differences of the spiritual, mental and emotional makeup of men and women.
Many a man has launched into polygyny full of the 'zeal of the Lord' but substantially lacking in wisdom. Many of them enter the fray (for that is what it becomes) believing that once the meaning of scripture is clear, and once having mastered the biblical teaching about patriarchy and polygyny, that they are prepared for anything. They aren't, not remotely. Learning and accepting the scriptural basis is the easy part.
For one thing we live in a culture that is not only far removed from Bible times where patriarchy was the norm and polygyny accepted as a truth of Yahweh, but where women have, at least from the point-of-view of the law, been given more power than men. Though counterfeit abusive patriarchy still exists, society is basically built upon a foundation of matriarchy and feminism today. And Yahweh's men are apt to forget that. What this means in practice is that society is against them from the start and that if they are to convince their loved ones of the truth of patriarchy they will have nothing but their own personal righteousness and the Spirit of Yahweh to fall back on. In polygamy, you're on your own without backup anywhere in society.
A Common Scenario
STAGE I. With interest in Evangelical Christianity and Messianic Judaism of polygyny rapidly growing I am discovering a common pattern repeating itself amongst patriarchal neophytes. Husband discovers a writing or a web site on Biblical polygyny and is converted (sometimes the wife discovers it first but typically she remains quiet about it). He is very excited about it, plunges into his Bible, and finds that he has a water-tight case for the principle. If he is wise he will, at this point, share his discovery with his wife. If he is foolish, he will launch ahead making prepartions to live this principle without informing - or adequately informing - his wife of what he is about to do.
STAGE II. Next he shares with his wife what he has discovered. He has about a 50% chance of success at this point. If his wife is not a 100% committed Bible-believing Christian then he has a minimal chance of showing her the truth. He would be far better advised to work on His wife's discipleship problems (not to mention his own - if he isn't walking 100% faithfully in Christ he should drop the polygamy issue like a hot potatoe - seriously!). If she is a faithful Christian walking a godly way then I would estimate that he has a 50:50 chance of winning her around. Even with polygamy only in the theoretical stage deep feelings are going to be aroused within her - feelings of deep insecurity about her husband's love and committment to her. Feelings of rejection, perhaps never before present in the marriage, will violently surface from time to time, and she will likely start a wrestle with her Adamic nature saying, "Well, this certainly isn't for ME!" And if she arrives at this conclusion, then the next stage will be: "Well, it's for sure NOT going to be for HIM either!" Thus the spiritual war is most likely to start at this stage. And if the man has not already prepared himself in prayer and fasting he is probably going to be caught unawares and thrown off ballance. It's at this point that his spiritual maturity will count for everything.
STAGE III. If the war hasn't started at this point it probably soon will. The woman, who may have enjoyed a stable and fulfilling Christian marriage, may suddenly begin to feel that her world is threatened. She will be desperately looking for signs that her husband truly loves her, on the one hand, and start wondering if perhaps he is being led by a perverse spirit. If she does not believe the Biblical revelation, then open rebellion is virtually certain, or otherwise total emotional withdrawal. He will usually face either a volcanic (Hecatic) or an iceberg (Lilithic) response.
It is a truism that not everyone is called into polygyny and whilst there are many ministers teaching plural marriage to their people not all of them are living the practice. You can be 99% certain that a Western woman who believes the principle to be biblical will assume that it is "not for us". And it might not be. But though a man ought to be prepared to accept 50% odds that it isn't for him, she is most likely to opt for 99% against.
STAGE IV. Polygamy is, by its very construction and heavenly ordinance, patriarchal. It assumes that a man will righteously lead. Without Christian leadership qualities a man is fundamentally unprepared to be a patriarch. It is at this stage that those men deficient in leadership skills may be tempted to use the Bible as a hammer and his headship as an anvil to metaphorically beat the truth into his wife without any regard for the very real emotional issues she is struggling with. And whilst she may well shift rapidly into rebellion mode (aided and abetted by the false expectations of modern society), he will often make the mistake of believing that she is 100% in rebellion when in fact what she is most looking for is assurance of love. It is at this point he must clearly distinguish between the way her heart and mind are behaving. It may well be that her mind is converted but her heart is in rebellion - she is a divided personality desperately in need of ministry. And unless the minister of her congregation, or a close friend, is polygamously-orientated, the chances are that the only person who can help her is her husband. If he fails to rise to that responsibility and challenge, then to whom else can she turn (for she must turn to someone unless she is of extraordinarily robust spiritual character as to be already leaning heavily on Yahweh)? Well, if she is not in a congregation teaching biblical patriarchy, she will turn to a pastor, parent, or friend who is hostile to the principle. And if she does that, you have virtually lost the battle already, because she will have the security of numbers, and this will count for more than Yahweh or what the Word says. Be prepared for that! Therefore you must keep the initiative. And to do that, you must put yourself into the thick of the battle and accept the blows that will be coming to you in the way that Yah'shua (Jesus) taught His disciples. You will be mentally and emotionally persecuted and woe unto you if you respond with anger or in like manner, for if you do, all your credibility will be blown out of the water and you may consider the polgygyny battle irretrievably lost.
Stage IV is probably the most crucial. If you can keep the inevitable conflict within your home between husband and wife you stand a good chance of succeeding. But the success of the venture will depend entirely on the man acting in a loving, sacrificial Christ-like way. For it is from that that the wife will be deriving her security - not the cold words of scripture (when your heart is in rebellion scripture will seem as the parched desert) - but the warm heart of a man suffering for what he believes to be true, and doing so as a living revelation of Christ-like love. Only when she has the comfort of the man's love, and the security that that brings, will the scriptures start speaking to her again.
BUT be prepared for failure, not on the husband's part, but the wife's. I have known cases where the husbands have been absolute saints where the wives have not only continued in their rebellion but have actually turned to naked evil. Polygamy, as I have taught so often, is the great sifter of men, for it reveals those who are truly in Elohim's (God's) Spirit and those who are not. If a wife turns to evil and allows demons to take control of her life (that is a strong possibility - I have seen it happen) then there is a high percentage chance that she was never a true born-again Christian or that she rejected Christ because of polygyny. In such a case the man must be prepared for separation and divorce. And if the situation has degenerated this far, there is also a possibility that he was not listening to the Spirit very clearly in the beginning and probably should never have let the situation so deterioriate. On the other hand, it may well have been Yahweh's will that this happen so that either (a) He could free a man for His service because his unconverted (and unconvertible) wife was an impediment to him, or (b) He could actually convert His wife through the polygamy crisis, whether or not it actually led to living the principle.
Yahweh works in many ways and for this reason a man MUST be walking in the Ruach (Spirit). In writing what I have it may seem that I am laying the blame for all the negativity in prospective polygamy on the wife but I am not for I have known men who have behaved foolishly like wild bulls and run roughshod over their sweethearts. Unless a radical reformation takes place in these men they will be the instruments of great destruction, perhaps driving away a wife of weak testimony completely from Christ, smashing up a family, and even leaving him spiritually destitute at the end of the day. There are many men who, at the end of the day, may well ask themselves, "Was it all worth it?" and may then blame the pinciple, the Bible, and finally Elohim (God) for the chaos in their lives. And if you are a pastor you may lose your wife, children and ministry - yes, I have known such men who were not called into the princinciple who lost everything. That is why I am giving you this WARNING.
I once knew a man who was very keen on becoming a polygamist. He was a close friend. When I understood his interest and that he had his eyes on a second woman, I received a prophecy from Yahweh warning me that he was not called and that if he tried to enter the principle he would destroy his family. He was so consumed with lust that he was unable to listen to the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and went ahead and unilaterally formed a relationship with a widow who was not even a believer (itself a transgression of Torah). I warned him many times to end the relationship but he refused. His first wife left him and obtained a court injunction preventing him from even seeing his children, and the widow eventually tired of him and left. His wife returned to the cult from which she had been saved from when his family came to Christ, taking her children back there to be indoctrinated. To this day, over 10 years later, he is a single man, without access to his children, and completely broken spiritually. This is what can happen to someone entering polygamy out of Yahweh's will. And I have met many foolish men who have made the same mistake as my friend.
The causes of failure are many but one major one is that the man assumes that a woman brought up in a neo-pagan Western tradition can just 'shift gears' without any sort of problem. He is baffled in his naïvity why she has such struggles and, if he is immature, comes to all the wrong conclusions about her and unfairly apportions all the blame on her, not untypically accusing her of being a 'Jezebel'. He must understand that women in our modern society are handicapped by false cultural expectations that are deeply engrained in our psyche, reinforced by centuries of pagan monogamy-only tradition. To enter polygamy you need a liberal dose of courage.
STAGE V. If the husband and wife aren't emotionally in tatters by this stage, and if the family hasn't fallen apart, then you are probably over the most difficult hurdle. If the husband is being loving and assuming his God-given rôle as a leader, and if the wife is trusting and submissive, then polygamy has a chance. There are, however, many other hurdles. To begin with, polygamy is something that must be constantly worked with, like any marriage, in fact, only it requires harder work. Secondly, there is a whole new war to be faced - the war against the prejudices and likely hostility of family, parents, friends, employers, and society as a whole, unless you have worked out a way to keep a low profile. There are many naïve men (it's usually the men) who, because of pride in having 'made it', or because they assume Yahweh wants them to blow their trumpets to all and sundry, parade their polygamy and wonder why Yahweh doesn't silence or defeat their enemies. What they must realise is that polygamy is new for Western society, and whilst this perverse society is willing to accommodate homosexuality, pornography, adultery, and every manner of perversion (as monogamy-only cultures do), it is not willing to admit a principle which challenges the very fabric of their fallen social order. Realise that polygamy will always be hated by the ungodly. Always. And when you've been a polygamist for a while as I have been for 30 years you'll come to understand that the motivating power behind this hatred is not righteousness at all (even though they will appeal to it for self-justification) but lust, jealosy, envy and in general the spirit of wickedness. For those who hate godly principles also hate Elohim (God). And there aren't two ways about. This, perhaps, more than anything else will make you realise just how right polygamy is.
I have been powerfully compelled by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) to write this article today because I sense that many who are struggling are losing the battle unnecessarily. Since polygyny is a principle of godliness the only way that women will ever accept it is if they can truly see this godliness at work in their husbands. For many men polygyny has awoken them from their spiritual slumber and forced them to confront the reality of spiritual lukewarmness within themselves, and thus blessed them richly. For many women polygyny has awoken them to a realisation of the bondage they find themselves in in the feministic society which desires an anti-Elohim (God) path of dominance and control over men. Is it any wonder that the New Age, which is driven by feminism, and especially polygyny's matriarchal counterpart, Wicca, have rejected Yahweh-Elohim, the Lord God of Israel, and turned to imaginary female deities like Gaia for their worship?
There are many who have come up to the gates of polygyny with joy in their hearts, filled with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), who have then suddenly turned away. I have known many, and my heart has been filled with anguish for them, for Satan has whispered his lies, flattering their Adam-nature, and led them back to the world's way of thinking. There will be many such casualties, and these especially need a lot of prayer.
I will be open with you, I have been in mourning for a week. I knew a lady who was making excellent progress in this principle and was full of the spirit of wonderment at the glory of it all. And then, suddenly, silence. Complete and utter silence. I was baffled. How could this have happened? I went into prayer for her and I saw a vision which shocked me. I saw the woman before me, her hair partly shaved off, and with two very large nails about six inches long stuck in her temple, one above each eye. Satan had somehow successfully blinded her, and violently so. I weep for her and pray that she may yet be free.
And you men who are not accustomed to weeping in your lives, be prepared to, for if you live polygyny in a godly way, you will know just how our Heavenly Father feels for fallen man. For this path is, to be sure, one of great joy, but it is also one of great suffering. Tou can't separate the two. Please remember what struggles women in this society must go through to embrace this principle. It is far harder for them today in this supposedly 'enlightened' society than it was for the ancients. You will understand more clearly through godly patriarchy the extent of the bondage that mankind is in, and especially in the West which has a tradition of Christianity, albeit an immasculated one.
I write this in a spirit of soberness knowing just what many of you must yet go through. Just be sure you know what you are doing, and make sure Yahweh is with you, before you launch the good ship 'Polygyny' otherwise you will find it sinking to the bottom of the harbour no sooner than you have got it off the launching ramp. But once that ship is fully afloat and fully rigged, it is one of the most wonderful witnesses of the glory of Christ that there is. It is a priceless treasure for men and women alike, a sure fortress of righteousness, a mirror of Yahweh's heart, and a path that the Church/Messianic Community must take into the next (21st) century for its salvation before the evil day of tribulation falls upon us. But remember, if Elohim (God) has not called you, He will oppose you all the way.
May you take courage and do what is right!