Do you ever wonder at the surplass if 'experts' in the world? On the internet at least, and certainly in my email bag, I receive dozens of letters from 'experts' assuring me that they have the solution to rapid wealth. What is particularly interesting about these 'experts' is that few of them have actually attained the wealth they claim to have the key to unlock.
I wonder how you would feel if, as a trainee surgeon at Medical School, you discovered that the principle lecturer had never once cut up a human body, never excised a cancer tumour, never carried out bypass surgery, never pinned a broken hip, and never given a blood transfusion? How much confidence would you have in a man who, though seemingly full of knowledge in the lecture theatre, had never actually done the 'real thing' himself? Would you, knowing that your instructor had never actually saved a life, feel confident enough to enter an operating theatre with his lecture notes, faced with a life-and-death situation?
Anyone applying for a job knows that whilst a sound education counts for a great deal in certain types of work that experience is probably the most highly regarded. A student straight out of medical school is not, as everyone knows, suddenly made a full-blown physician or surgeon. He must first work alongside other doctors and surgeons who have had lots of hands-on experience. Because his profession requires exactingly high standards, he must himself be shown to possess the same kind of standard as other experienced doctors and surgeons before he can be let loose on patients whose lives may be in his hands. I don't know about you, but if I were a patient about to have an operation and learned that the surgeon to operate on me had never held a scalpel in his life before, I would be dead scared - and with good justification.
Similarly, you wouldn't appoint a graduate in Nuclear Physics straight out of university the head of a Nuclear Reactor.
It therefore troubles me to come across all these 'experts' in Christian/Messianic polygamy some of whom have never been married polygamously in their lives. Their heads are full of theory and the experiences of others but have never known what it is to love or have an intimate relationship with two or more women at the same time. Sometimes other patriarchs and I, when in discussion, are stopped short in amazement by some of the things the self-professed experts in Christian/Messianic polygamy say knowing that they are themselves monogamists!
Now I am not criticising anyone for being a monogamist, Yah forbid! Neither am I criticising monogamists for having sound scriptural views about polygamy and sharing them with the world. I myself have never experienced the Millenium (no one has) but that doesn't mean I can't speculate about it based on what Elohim's (God's) Word already says on the subject. But I would be very, very concerned if I went to a Bible School to learn about pastoring to discover that the teacher had no pastoral experience. It is one thing to know the theory but when you are dealing with people there is no substitute for hands-on experience.
Of course, everybody has to start somewhere. We can't come out of school or college with the experience we are training to receive. That everybody accepts. And everyone needs a chance to start in something new. And that is why certain types of profession have apprenticeships to enable the person to 'work around' an experienced person, to observe, imitate, and get experience before trying it alone. No, everyone needs to have their first 'hands-on' experience, and as we all know, it's never quite what we imagined it to be.
There are many self-appointed 'experts' in Christian/Messianic polygamy who, with a head full of scripture, think they are equipped to advise others about marriage relationships. I have received severe criticism from one or two pro-polygamy monogamous men who frankly haven't a clue what they're talking about, but they believe they have a spiritual 'anointing' which more than compensates for their lack of hands-on experience. Even some of my pro-polygamy monogamous friends have laughed at the foolishness of such a notion.
There are plenty of on-line 'experts' who have never lived polygamy
I remember the first time I went into deliverance ministry. I had prepared myself by reading books on the subject, preparing detailed notes on how I would proceed in a deliverance session, and then launching boldly into the fray. Though I was lucky not to get a severe pasting, I at least saw how helpless I was without having someone who had some experience in this work guide me in what to do. And there are some types of ministry where all the studying in the world won't help you in the least because of unexpected situations which the books don't cover. Deliverance and practical polygamy are two such ministries.
I have never forgotten an essay by Kahlil Gibran (the title of which has escaped me) which tells the story of a young couple deeply in love going to a Catholic Priest for marriage counsel. The Priest is full of wise words but at the end of it the girl asks: "How can you, who have never been married, possibly know what it is like and so give counsel?" The celibate Priest was speechless.
To those of you wanting advice on practial polygamy, go to someone who has at least two wives and who has been living the lifestyle for a a few years. You'll not find the scriptorians much help. And if you can find a family who both know their Scriptures and have had plenty of experience, then you're probably on to a winner. But an added word of warning: I know of one man living polygamously who parades himself on the interner as an 'expert' whose scriptural exegesis is not only screwed up but whose polygamous marriage has been a disaster. Now I am not saying you must necessarily find a polygamist family which hasn't made mistakes (it doesn't exist, we all make mistakes) but it does mean (a) you must find a polygamous family that is now a success, and (b) you must find a polygamous family that admits its mistakes, has learned from them, and is willing to share them with others so they don't repeat them.
So, beware of the 'experts' who aren't. It's not worth trying to model your marriage around those who only teach theory. In fact, far better to go and visit a polygamous family living their life successfully with little theological knowledge than a monmogmous family with tons of theory. Better still, find a polygamous family with both! In the end you'll soon discover which provides refleshing water and which just hot air.