Q. Could you tell me what the essential differences between Mormon and your kind of polygamy are?
The differences are mostly of a theological nature. In terms of the daily running of the household I don't think there is much difference, remembering that there are many different ways that polygamous households can be run.
The Mormons (fundamentalists, not the current LDS Church which has abandoned polygamy) believe that a woman cannot be saved without her husband. That is, she cannot achieve the highest heavenly reward (however you want to describe it) without being 'sealed' to her husband in a religious ceremony in a Mormon temple. This places her in a position of dependency that is very different from Christian/Messianic polygamy since as Bible-believing and -implementing Christians/Messianics we believe that salvation depends on Christ, and Christ alone. My wives do not need me for their salvation or the rewards of heaven for they are accountable to Yahweh on their own merits or demerits. They are with me co-heirs of the same salvation and we are in every way equal in that respect. If I fell from grace (Yah forbid) they would still be entitled to the hightest rewards whereas in the fundamentalist Mormon system they would of necessity be obliged to find another husband to take them into their celestial kingdom.
I think this difference is very important because it fundamentally effects the way we look at one another. There is another important difference too between the Mormon and Christian/Messianic system. Like Mormons we New Covenant Christians believe in eternal marriage (which distinguishes us from other Christian/Messianic polygamists) but on different premises. For Mormons an outward sealing ceremony guarantees an eternal marriage so long as they are faithful to their Church; for us only a life lived in Christ guarantees marriage in the eternities. It is 'Church-free'. This means that we focus on pleasing Christ rather than any institution. This effects our behaviour enormously, giving us great freedom of spirit.
I think we have much to learn from the polygamist Mormons though their models, based very much on Victorian puritanism, are different from our own in many ways. They have 'head wives', we do not. We also look at the Gospel in a radically different way to them and this must of necessity affect the way we live our lives. We regard Mormonism as a cult, a semi-Christian religion that leads few to salvation. Whilst there were many successful Mormon polygamous marriages (and still are today) there were also many that were disasters, leading to suicide and even murder. Natural affection had little part in it, if we are to believe the teachings of Brigham Young, for it was seen more as a 'religious duty' than as something natural and joyful.
Mormon polygamy is based on compulsion because Smith and Young taught that a person could not inherit the greatest rewards without it, thus putting ladies under rpessure to enter it often against their will and heart-wishes. Christian/Messianic polygamy places no such burdens on its practicioners for we teach that a man or woman equally obtain the highest heavenly reward as celibates or monogamits or as polygamists state if that is Yahweh's will for them. Thus those who enter Christian/Messianic polygamy do so because they want to and not because they fear some terrible judgment or an inferior eternal state if they do not.
For this reason alone I would never become a Mormon polygamist for I would only want wives who wanted me for who I am and not on the basis of any bogus priesthood authority.