I do hate to be the bearer of ill-tidings, and to be truthful I enjoy even less to find myself in an increasing minority because I choose to stand my ground in defence of absolute Biblical truth. There are many I know who have smugly enjoyed my article on the cultic nature of the monogamy-only camp whilst failing to note the growing plank in their own eyes. Here at this ministry we will speak out against hypocrisy no matter whether it comes from our enemies or our erstwhile friends.
Those of you who like to follow Mormon affairs will have noticed that a few months ago the First Presidency of that Church sent out a letter to all its members asking them to take down their websites and to direct all enquirers to their church's official website at www.lds.org. The reason, they gave, was because members were often presenting different views of the gospel which was causing 'confusion' amongst their investigators. Though they did not say it openly, what they basically wanted was their own sanitised version of Mormon teaching.
Now I don't know what you feel about such things but personally all the alarm bells go off in my head when I hear of them. What this amounts to no more or less than censorship. And why would one wish to censor something if one wasn't trying to conceal it from public scrutiny? To be fair, the Mormons aren't the only ones who do this sort of things - many religious cults do. And increasingly political parties. In the last general election in Great Britain only the Labour Leader, Tony Blair, was allowed to give TV and radio interviews (breaking a long-standing tradition in British politics) and political candidates of that party were given a thick book with questions the public might ask with 'official' responses from Party headquarters. I am reminded of the Mormon 'missionary discussions' where the missionaries are directed only to ask specific questions, steering investigators along a path of enquiry which they know they can give answers supporting their faith whilst avoiding damaging ones. It seems the politicians are now doing the same thing. It won't be long before we'll be filling out Soviet-type election ballots with only one candidate on them.
To my absolute horror and disgust (and to the horror and disgust of a number of other patriarchs) one of the two largest Christian Polygamy ministries in the United States requested of its members to close down all their polygamy webpages and lead enquirers to their webpage only. Those who refused were sometimes severely criticised. It seems, sadly, that the spirit of cultism has now hit another major polygamy ministry.
Why is it that people get spiritually corrupted so easily? The reasons can be many and varied but perhaps one of them is because they make their living out of it. I happen to know that the ministry in question was experiencing a decline in members (members have to pay for the privilege - the non-paying are in a separate 'class' of their own) and therefore having its base threatened. Or it maybe a well-meaning but misguided desire to present a 'united front' to the public particularly in the aftermath of the Tom Greene débâcle in the United States. Whatever the reasons, they were ungodly and cultic, and their behaviour bodes ill for the future. The same site practices massive censorship of its incoming bulletin board posts. All references to other polygamy sites are automatically deleted before posting. In one post, a patriarch praised this and another ministry - the censors removed all references to myself and this ministry and 'stole' all the praise for themselves. Such is the height of dishonesty.
You cannot build a godly ministry unless you have openness and don't charge people to have access to basic information. To expect 100% theological unanimity is not realistic. This particular ministry now openly condemns any patriarch as ungodly who marries two sisters knowing fully well that the passage used to justify this is open to at least two different interpretations. In so doing the minister responsible effectively isolated a large segment of the Christian patriarchal movement, many of whom have married sisters or who would be open to marrying them. He has in so doing created a major stumbling block which perhaps he hopes will diminish in size as his own prominence in the patriarchal movement increases. What began as an open ministry and respectful of other views has become decidedly cultic in outlook. Now people live in fear of what to say. It seems that there are now two polygamy 'popes' just as there were in the Catholic Church many centuries ago in France (Avignon) and Italy (Rome).
Like it or not, the truth will not be silenced. And when churches and ministries start becoming dictatorial and closed, Yahweh takes away those who will not be stifled. This ministry does not seek to be populist with either the world or Christians/Messianics, nor does it expect uniformity of thought of its patriarch associates. Though they continue to uphold the basic tenets of this ministry they are free to have their own opinions in areas we do not agree in. That is, I maintain, the only way to have a free, mature and healthy spiritual relationship. When you start expecting uniformity you have a church and not a ministry.
There are many polygamists who have reacted too much over the success of the anti-polygamist camp which has exploited legitimate grievances against Tom Greene and has forced an untruthful association between them and polygamy itself. The devil will always do his dirtiest but suppressing free comment in order to present a united polygamous front is not the way to do it. Public opinion is a fickle thing and personally I would rather gradually change people's mindframes through patient, if sometimes slow, one-to-one ministry rather than try to score points with public opinion through the media. Websites like this exist for those who want to make a serious study of Christian/Messianic polygamy. There will always be dishonest rogues and no amount of sweating is going to make the slightest bit of difference. We must learn to live with being maligned and persecuted in the good old Christian tradition.