The story of polygamy is always the story of change - or discovery and rediscovery - and in so many ways parallels the journey of the true disciple adjusting and readjusting his life as he draws ever closer to Christ through repentance from dead works.
Every new addition of a wife to a family is a unique experience. Those of you who know the author Immanuel Velikovsky may also have heard of one of his books called Worlds in Collision in which he postulated (quite convincingly, in my view) that at one time in the historic past, and as recalled in the myths of a great many cultures and civilizations, an intruder entered our Solar System causing (amongst other things) the formation of our Asteroid Belt. He posits the theorem that violent collisions between heavenly bodies have taken place locally in space that have also caused massive destruction on earth.
For many entering polygamy for the first time, the addition of a new wife has likely seemed like the collision of worlds. Every human being is his or her uniquely balanced (or unbalanced) system. And that system has come into being as the result of millions of micro-interations with people, environment and events, and sometimes some dramatic macro-interactions too. We learn, through the internal spiritual and psychological mechanisms bequeathed to us by the Creator, to make numerous conscious and unconscious mental, emotional and biological adjustments to cumulatively meet the needs of every day. We learn both to survive and, if we are lucky enough, to create zones of comfort and personal security.
The addition of a new wife is not at all unlike the solar system acquiring a new planet. As those of you who may have studied astronomy know, our solar system is a very finely attuned arrangement of planets of different masses occupying elliptical orbits. Every planet has an influence on the other viâ the medium of gravity and have different effects on each other depending on the plane of, and location in, their respective orbits. We all know, for instance, during conjunctions (when plants are alligned with one another) that there are definite effects on both the geo- and biospheres. The location of the moon relative to earth and sun particularly has strong influences on the tides of the earth and on animal behaviour. Thus were you to suddenly insert a new planet into our solar system, all the other planets would have to adjust. Put a new planet in the wrong place and you are likely to trigger off cataclysms. There are many who believe that the asteroid belt is the débris of a once Jupiterian-sized planet that lay between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter and got ripped apart by a comet or other intruding celestial body. And if this is true, then such is surely a warning on one level of how polygamous marriage can, if one is not very careful, go disasterously wrong.
Simple monogamous marriage is a bit like throwing a single planet (wife) into a simple orbit around the sun (the husband). But the more wives you add, the more complex the system becomes. Were you to set out to build a solar system with a pre-existing sun, you would essentially have two ways of doing it:
The mysterious sequence of the planets according to Bode's Law
- (1) You could assemble all the planets and hurl them towards the sun and let them sort themselves out. They would indeed settle eventually but not without considerable destruction first with the possible loss of some of the planets. The addition of wife to a family or a planet to a solar system isn't quite as simple as putting a peg into a hole ... at least not on a human level. Throw a bunch of people together in any situation, whether it be an office or an army platoon, and violent upheavals inevitably result unless you have leaders (NCOs and managers). But more than that, you need leaders who know what they are doing. Having had the 'pleasant' experience of serving in the Polish Army, I know what it is like when you have bad NCOs or bad officers. Where leadership is defective, the ordinary ranks (privates) struggle to create a hierarchy of their own based on experience and/or the carnal 'qualities' of dominance and control. I have been in a platoon where there were bad NCOs which resulted in the strongest (in terms of muscle and charisma ... though rarely brain) 'taking over'. And the NCO was simply content to let them do their own thing as it meant less responsibility for him. But it also resulted in a ineffective platoon that did not do well in the field. So humans will 'adjust' under their own masses and gravities but the result is usually painful. I know our platoon had not a few miserable men in it.
- (2) You could assemble all the planets and through careful planning insert them into precisely the right orbits at precisely the right moments like an intricate clock being wound up for the first time. Though this is not the place to discuss it, I am convinced that this is how our Solar System was assembled. Now you may think that our solar system was randomly condensed by gas, forming planets under its own gravity swirling out of a primitive sun as the evolutionists teach. But there is a precise mathematical distribution of the planets of increasing distances which conform to a law discovered by the German, Wolf, in 1741 and eventually formulated by Bode, and which we know as Bode's Law. Indeed, we know that the layout of our solar system is so precise that were we to adjust the orbit of our earth by the tiniest fraction, life as we know it here would cease to exist. The chances of this life-sustaining orbit happening randomly, even if you do believe in that atheistic religion called evolution, are nil.
If you want to build a successful polygamous marriage, then you have to let our Heavenly Father do it. This means letting Him choose the right women (or man), bringing her into the family at precisely the right moment, and watching miracles happen.
But unfortunately, as we well know, there are both those who go 'hunting' for wives and 'forcing' them into families as well as those who have a neo-Muslim fatalistic view that every and any woman who happens to 'come along' has been 'sent' by 'God' and is therefore 'destined' to become a part of that family. The results are Velikovskian and cataclysmic.
Now in the building of a Yahweh-ordained polygamous family it is not just a question of putting the planets in the right orbit with the right distance between the planets at the right ecliptic and at the right moment. Important though these things are, you cannot neglect one other vital thing: THE PLANETS MUST THEMSELVES BE PREPARED.
One of the reasons that so many polygamous marriages are a mess or have failed is because either the extant family or the wife coming in ... or both ... were NOT prepared. And by prepared I mean essentially they were not living the true Gospel as Yah'shua (Jesus) taught. It is for this reason that my first priority is always making sure that:
It is not enough for a wife to simply 'accept Christ'. That can mean almost anything you want it to. There are different degrees of accepting Christ - yielding to some of His teachings but not others. Before proposing to a new wife-to-be, make sure that she is walking on the same Gospel track as you are.
- (a) My own family is obeying the commandments with their eyes firmly on Christ (that means clearly defined family rules which align precisely with the Gospel); and
- (b) Any incoming wife is like-mindeded, and has as her first priority the biblical way.
I believe that every new polygamous marriage has to go through its struggles but that these diminish in proportion to ones' faithfulness to the commandments of Yahweh. I have proved this assertion so many times now as not to have the slightest doubt as to its veracity. There are many patriarchs whom I know who are telling me that they wish they had been stricter both in screening prospective wives as well as implementing the whole Gospel in their lives before they launched into polygamous waters. Their scars are all the reminding they need now.
There is only one Gospel and one interpretation, not hundreds. Any polygamous marriage will be shaped by the kind of 'tradition' or 'interpretation' you impose on your spiritual life. When people ask me why our family is so successful now (2001) my reply is always because we are now, as far as we know, living the way Yahweh intends all believers to live. This means throwing out all false 'Christian' abd 'Messianic' tradition, rejecting denominationalism, and simply getting back to biblical roots like the first believers. Ask any of my wives and they will, I know, agree with me - we thrive because we are allowing Yahweh to speak and to shape us. We have stopped offering excuses for ignoring His commandments, His laws, His sacred calendar, and the theocratic way of life. Our repentance has taken time, to be sure, and required a leap of faith at every step - but we took the steps, trusted in Him, and have seen the fruits. And whilst we are by no means problem-free (we have health and economic problems), the four of us do have peace, harmony and love.
Whenever couples or single people come to me and complain how they have been searching for sister-wives or husbands year after year and never been blessed, I tell them it is usually because they aren't being obedient to Yahweh. That offends some of them. They tell me of failed romances, of trickery and deception by male predators, of loneliness, and they wonder. Often they conclude they are not to be married polygamously (which may be true) or that they are doomed to remain single (which is a lie). In many cases Yahweh has already spoken to them but they have ignored Him. Usually they want to dictate to Yahweh their conditions for marriage - they want their comfort zones to be appeased, they want to live those parts of the Gospel that they want to live.
I could make a check-list of the things Yahweh expects us to be doing but I'll leave you to find them out for yourself in the Bible. It's all there. Trouble is, those blinkers have to come off first or you won't even notice the noonday sun scorching your face. Willful blindness is a terrible sin and Yahweh will not open the doors to destruction in your life when it comes to looking for marriage companions no matter how much you ask Him so long as you remain in rebellion. But persist long enough, you may well get what you want and yet don't want: WORLDS IN COLLISION.
What you don't want in polygamous marriage - worlds in collision