There is a revealing story from Poland, told by Isaac Bashevis Singer in his book, Short Friday of a Jew called Rabbi Jonathan Danziger of Yampol. Though he devotes his life to serving the Jewish community, everyone hates him and despises him and he, and his family, live in abject poverty. They pay him a miserable salary. Every day he thanks Elohim (God) for his circumstances even though he is himself desperately ill and his wife and widowed daughter live in abject mistery. As a minister, he congratulates himself and declares: "I place my reliance on no man" :
Do you know what that rabbi did? He resigned. He had become a slave, dependent on the pittance of a salary that was given to him, terrified of what people would say about him, or do to him. So he quit. And instead he went and worked in the orchard and became a fruit-picker.
"For the first time he realized that he was lying. No one relied on people more than he. The whole town gave him orders, he depended on everyone. Anyone could do him harm ... He, the rabbi, was a slave to every powerful man in the community. He must hope for gifts, for favors, and must always seek supporters. The rabbi began to examine the other worshippers. Not one of them needed allies. No one else worried about who might be for or against him. No one cared a penny for the tales of rumor-mongers. 'Then what's the point of lying?' the rabbi thought. 'Whom am I cheating? The Almighty?' The rabbi shuddered and covered his face in shame. His knees buckled ...Suddenly something inside the rabbi laughed. He lifted his hand as if swearing an oath. A long-forgotten joy came over him, and he felt an unexpected determination. In one moment everything became clear to him ... " (pp.179-80).
I mention this story because today I received an email from someone in one of the major polygamy ministries accusing me of being in this ministry just for the money. He accused me of making this whole site up - my wives and family, the Order I belong to ... everything - in order to get money. He started nosing into my history, checking up with the government about me, contacting old enemies, and accusing me of being one big LIAR ... without asking me personally for an explanation for his concerns first.
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. If he could see the poverty in which I and my family work in order to provide this ministry, how we have faithfully supported orphanages and other needy causes as we have been able to, he would have bowed his head in shame. He said that the whole FICP operation was a scam. And this, all from one claiming to be a 'Christian'.
I guess this man believes in 'shoot first, ask questions later'. He certainly has no respect for Yahweh's rules concerning lashon hara - spreading gossip and lies.
Unlike other polygamy ministries who have 'paying members', whose ministers depend on their followers in order to eat their daily bread like that Jewish rabbi, we at this ministry have never relied on anyone. We have never charged anyone anything, even for my novels, Bouquet of Roses, which can be read free on the net. The moment you are dependent on others for money, you become the slave of those whom you are serving.
In all my life as a minister I have never been paid a salary, nor have I asked for one. Ever. I have worked at a full-time job until recently. And this is the philosophy of all those in the Chavurat Bekorot. The man even had the gall to say we should tithe our congregations in India in order to pay off our tax debts (he even accused us of making those up too) - people who are living in a state of semi-starvation with the barest of necessities, surrounded by death from disease and destruction from seasonal monsoons.
Christians/Messianics have always debated whether there should be a paid ministry or not. We at the Chavurat Bekorot have always argued against it, believing in following Paul's example who, when he could not survive as an apostle, returned to tent-making. I have always followed the counsel of our Order not to salary the ministry or be salaried myself.
Many of the 'big shot' Christian/Messianic polygamist ministers rely on the paid membership of their followers in order to feed themselves and their families. Others, like myself, have always worked at an ordinary profession to finance our way, often with the help of our wives who, thanks to polygamy, have been able to share the burden of child-care in order to be free to pursue a paying career.
Without exception, every minister of the Chavurah Bekorot and our local congregations has earned his own keep. Tithes and offerings have gone towards supporting evangelism, the purchase of Bibles, publishing, feeding and taking care of the poor, and ministering to the less fortunate in our congregations and abroad. And the little money earned from the trilogy before we put it up on the net free, Bouquet of Roses, was been ploughed straight back into the ministry even though it had been intended for our family support. Because Bouquet of Roses is a witnessing tool we decided to stop charging for it. These were not easy decisions for us.
This is the very first time this ministry has been accused of being a money-making racket, surely one of the biggest jokes ever in view of the Second World conditions which we as a family live in under a First World environment with its crippling taxes that forces mothers into the job market and children into state-run kindergartens and schools. Many of our ministers have suffered in order to pursue their various ministries because we so passionately believe in sharing the truth of Elohim's (God's) Word. If any ministry was in it for the money, this ministry would disqualify on almost every count.
Of course, the reason we have suddenly been accused of these things is because we have been exposing the appalling cultism in the Christian Polygamy Movement, and the cultists want to maintain their squeaky-clean public image in order to curry public sympathy and admiration. If there is one thing you learn as a Bible-believing Christian/Messianic it is that everyone is accountable and that to compromise with the world - or to win its approval in any way - is to put your spiritual head on the chopping block. We here at thisd ministry try to be above board about everything with the exception of revealing our true names and locations, something our enemies have always demanded that we do for no other reason than to gloat and persecute.
All my wives support me in this. We are committed to our outreach both in this ministry and also (much more importantly) in reaching lost souls for Christ. We aren't perfect, we've made mistakes, and we're learning as we go, but we are trying our very best to give all we can to those who yearn after truth. We charge no-one, and when we make an appeal, it is only because the situation is desperate.
The fact that we are an 'underground movement' does, admittedly, make it difficult when those from the public suddenly decide they want to 'examine your credentials' and then start accusing you of being deceivers, for the simple reason we are in no position to stand forward publically and reveal our faces. These wicked people, moreoever, know this and wish only to make a 'smear' in order to cover their own sinful practices. Inevitably, it means that we will be left with a certain amount of slander sticking to us since we cannot openly defend ourselves. Such is the price we must pay in restoring a true biblical practice which the hounds of hell loathe. It is alright for those in similar ministries who are either themselves monogamists (and with nothing to lose by being public) or who live in countries where polygamy is accepted, but when you are yourself a polygamist with a large family living in a country which is violently hostile to the principle and who threaten your children, you don't have that freedom. What we do we do for our little ones.
I don't expect an apology from this latest slanderer. He must answer to his Elohim (God) and his conscience. I thank Yahweh that I am dependent on no man's money to perpetuate this ministry, nor do I ever hope to be. I do not wish to be a slave like Rabbi Danziger nor many Christian ministers out there. I, and my wives, accept the consequences of not knowing where our daily bread is coming from from one day to the next, knowing that we don't have to watch what we say, or trouble ourselves over our ministry's 'reputation', in order to be appease others. In time we hope to be more self sufficient so that we don't have to worry about these things.
It is for this reason that I have taken the decision to break all formal ties with other polygamy Ministries so that neither we, not they, have to watch over each other's shoulders to make sure we aren't spoiling one another's 'image'. Our vision is now, in any case, very different to theirs in many fundamental areas.
To be a minister bearing a prophetic vision of something Yahweh has communicated to you means in effect that you cannot rely on any other man but only Yahweh, as Rabbi Danziger in vain tried to do until he discovered that in order to be free he had to be self-sufficient like others. The Judges of ancient Israel - the equivalent of your modern Apostle-Patriarch - all had their professions in addition to their offices in theocratic government. And so, I think, it needs to be with any man who has been given a calling to bring forth a new revelation and understanding of an ancient God-ordained principle, plural marriage. It is, to be sure, a lonely path, as Elijah discovered, involving many lonely stints in the wilderness with the barest of physical necessities, but one we accept for the anticipated joy that others entering this pinciple on the correct premises will discover.
This article would never have had to be written had it not been for the malicious tongue-wagging and finger-pointing that has now started against us, and I regret the necessity of it. I write it more to share what our actual position it regarding "mammon" and other regrettable necessities and to assure out readers of our complete openness ... with the exception of our identities and locations. That you must take or leave. I just hope that this anonymous man and the ministry he espouses will just learn to go his own way and witnesses for his own beliefs, allowing others the freedom to do the same.
Fifteen years have transpired since I wrote the article above. Of the two big 'Christian' polygamy ministries back in 2001, one has collapsed and the surviving one (from which the unrepentant slanderer came) continues, for now, to claim to represent all Bible-believing Christians. You still need to pay to join them.