If the title of today's essay has left you somewhat bemused and shocked then I have in part achieved my purpose. There are times in life where you meet a situation and can't quite believe what you're seeing is true, especially if it is shocking. And yet your experience of human nature tells you that such scenarios are not only possible but that their probability is high given the depraved nature of 21st century man.
My subject today is not, as you might perhaps expect, Mormon baptism for the dead. Rather, I want to use this unusual practice to illustrate a frightening phenomenon which is taking place amongst certain patriarchal 'Christians' and 'Messianics'.
For those of you who don't know, the Mormons practice what is called 'baptism for the dead'. Taking an isolated scripture from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, they have evolved a whole system of occult ordinances which they believe guarantees the dead a chance to be saved so long as someone on earth who is a faithful temple-going Mormon can perform a proxy baptismal ordinance for them. The dead are not consulted in this matter, of course, even though the Mormon founder originally taught that a revelation had to be received confirming that the dead person in question had repented in the spirit world and wanted to be baptised. Mormons devote much time, energy and money in gathering genealogical records of their dead. If they find anyone who was not a Mormon, they baptise them by proxy in their temples in a font resembling the purification basin found in the old Mosaic temple supported by bronze oxen (the brazen laver). The theory is that if the dead want to become Mormons in the spirit world that the baptismal ordinance is validated, and if they aren't, then it isn't, and they've had their chance. The nearest equivalent I can think of would be for a minister to go into a town, baptise everyone whilst they were sleeping, and hope that when they awoke that some would want to be Christians/Messianics and accept the ordinance. Of course, this is a very skewered way of looking at repentance and the purpose of ordinances - one might as well issue the public with police uniforms in the hope that some will want to become police officers and put them on.
What has this to do with the contemporary polygamy scene? Sadly, a great deal. A pattern is emerging which both angers and saddens me because the victims are always the women. Because women who want to enter this lifestyle are in short supply, and because there are far more men trying to practice it than there ought to be (because they aren't remotely qualified), men are scouring the web in search of single women - usually recently widowed, divorced, or mentally unstable ... in other words, society's most vulnerable women - and are pressing them into hasty and usually disasterous marriages. By love-bombing such women who are grieving after the loss of a husband or boyfriend through death, separation, failed romance, or divorce, they create an emotional dependency on the patriarch and feel bound to please him because of all the attention they have received. They often marry because of false guilt or because they are 'on the rebound'. The pressure to become a part of a polygamous family can be great, and I have noticed not a few patriarchs who employ brainwashing and emotionally manipulative techniques.
Knowing that once he has got such a woman into bed she is scripturally bound to him, such men are not usually too interested in engagements except token or short ones. And even though an ungodly bond is formed through sex, it is a bond nevertheless, and one that most decent women are naturally loyal to - it kindles that desire that Yahweh spoke of when He declared that the desire of the woman would be towards her man.
So why the comparison to Mormon baptism for the dead? Quite simply, because what many of these unscrupulous men are doing is sleeping around with as many of these kinds of women as possible in the hope that some will stay. Most don't. The relationships, lacking any proper spiritual foundation, are short-lived and break up. And when these women, who have been bound by hasty covenants and sexually-binding union, then depart and find someone who really cares about them, they are forced into adultery. And from the foolish patriarch's point-of-view, he is opening the doors of hell to himself and his family: for every time a departed 'wife' sleeps with another man and becomes demonised because she is committing adultery, those demons pass to him by virtue of their one-flesh relationship, and are transferred to his bona fide wives whenever he sleeps with them. Such behaviour is an open door to spiritual destruction.
The trouble is, such men are usually more interested in the physical than the spiritual (though they may pay lip service to the latter) and may be completely unaware of the spiritual destruction taking place within them. They become experts at self-justification and evoke one intellectual rationalistion for their behaviour after another. And like some of those from the cults I vainly try to engage in intelligent conversation with, their thinking and consciousness becomes so warped that they are no longer living in reality. Satan has them bound up and they cannot see it.
My advice to single women is that you do not go rushing off to visit polygamous families that you do not know well and to beware of love-bombing. The cults are experts in this tactic and know how to lower the resistance of common sense and to sound spirituality. Sad though it may be to say, there are lots of predators out there who wear the label 'Christian' or 'Messianic' who are raveous wolves. Their agenda is not what it may seem. They employ as a kind of false logic a doctrine which I call 'polygamous fatalism' - if you find yourself in a situation (e.g. visiting a polygamous family) then Elohim (God), the false thinking goes, has led you there and you must marry into it. There are families out there whom innocently minded women visit hoping for fellowship and friendship who, once they get there, are pressed in various subtle ways to stay.
NEVER (save in very rare circumstances) marry a patriarch on your first visit and NEVER allow physical advances to take place. And if you have just lost a husband or boyfriend, give yourself AT LEAST one year's space to get over it, because the emotions you are carrying around with you are easily 'transferrable' to another man who appears sympathetic and caring, and it is easy to suppose that these feelings are genuine love for this new man when they are leftovers from your previous relationship. A genuine, caring patriarch will not want you to rush anything but will encourage you to spend time with Yahweh and offer no more than brotherhood and friendship. A patriarch, if he is a true Christian/Messianic gentleman, will not make advances on you while you are weak and vulnerable, nor manipulate your thinking by constantly telling you how wonderful his family is and how much better off you would be by joining it there and then, or at any rate as soon as possible. He will never take advantage of you. He may try to make you feel guilty by playing on your fears of being alone in a cruel and uncaring society by insiting that you get a spiritual covering as soon as possible, or the devil will get you! Don't listen to such a man but RUN!
Yes, a woman does need a covering - this I teach myself. But until Yahweh has led her to the right man, He will cover her, and the prayers if the saints of her local church (assembly), if it is a godly one, will cover her.
Getting 'married' doesn't necessarily provide you with a covering, however - it depends what kind of covering it is. Some patriarchs are so ungodly that they are just open doorways to demonic infestation. The covering of many men I know wouldn't deflect a straw thrown at them by the Adversary because they are so impure.
Polygamy is not the same as monogamy - it isn't just for 'anyone'. Polygamy is only for those who are mature in the Spirit. And the very clear revelation that Yahweh has given me in recent times concerning those men who are actually called into polygamy is that they are PASTORS with pastoral experience of a congregation and ELDERS who have likewise served as mature counsellors who know what it is to minister sacrificially and spiritually to the Body.
Beware, therefore, of lone patriarchs who either have no accountability to a Pastor or Elder and who are not actively serving members of a Bible-believing and -implementing congregation. In almost every situation where I have met such men, they have invariably departed from the faith in some way. And their wives, who mirror them by their one-fleshedness, are very much like them. Their wives and children become their 'congregation' as they suppose but since they are bound to him by covenants of family loyalty they are rarely objective.
There are many men and women who are now coming to this ministry and are asking me or other Elders here to be their Pastors to whom they can be accountable. Because a multiplicity of counsellors is better than just one, we are encouraging them to place themselves under two or three counsellors, the same way we do in our local congregations (assemblies). Every member of our Order has two counsellors to whom they can go for advice, prayer and support. Everyone has a prayer-partner for whom they especially pray for every day. We believe that the Body of Christ (Messianic Community) must be tightly networked together to have any real depth, committment and edifying nature. Accordingly every member, from newly baptised to the Pastor, has one or two souls he/she is directly responsible for, depending how mature he/she is, and more souls if he/she is a Deacon(ess) or an Elder/Eldress (see Houses and Cells).
There are many patriarchs who mistakenly believe that the local congregation (assembly) has somehow been superceeded by a kind of loose 'association' of patriarchal families where each patriarch is a king over his family with no accountability to anyone. This is extremely dangerous and can sometimes even be life-threatening. I know of cases where such men have evolved into tyrants, where pride and vanity has seized and puffed them up. They answer to no-one save to 'God' and their 'consciences', an excuse I hear time and time again from people who do not want to live a true Christian/Messianic life of humility, repentance, and reformation. And whilst this is not to say that tyrannical systems can't evolve in organised churches and assemblies (for we know this happens too), it is to say with the proper structure of mutual caring and accountability, built upon a true doctrine, that such things can be minimised and avoided.
This site and my own person have been frequently slandered because we insist on this kind of order amongst Patriarchs. There are those who even now are spreading ulgly falsehoods about myself and my family because they do not want their ungodliness exposed. Their reward is the lake of fire if they do not repent. As for myself, I have two counsellors to whom I have voluntarily made myself accountable and if anyone has a complaint against me I will happily give their names when required.
Please, ladies, be careful. It is always a good idea to get recommendations from other patriarchs before you go and visit one you think you might marry. It's possible we may know the man you are interested in and can either heartily recommend him or warn you before you get seriously hurt and find yourself committed to a relationship which was neither in Yahweh's will nor one you would have chosen under happier and more spiritual cicumstances. Watch out for the predators, for there are many!