Continued from Part 1
Q. How important do you think romance in polygamy is? What is your view of one Christian polygamous group which says that romance is of the devil and that the polygamous relationship should be based entirely on spiritual criteria?
I have no time for what might be called 'aesthetic' polygamy such as the 19th century Mormons practiced and as some Calvinists advocate today. As a Christian/Messianic Israelite, I do not believe in compartmentalising the soul and putting some parts 'off bounds', but in ministering to the whole soul. Romance is a vital element of life and love, and whenever it has been suppressed by religionists or atheists, we have become the poorer for it. So I totally reject the assertion that romance is of the devil. What nonsense! You only have to read the Song of Solomon to see that it is bubbling with both romance and passion.
Having come to the defence of romance I must make some qualifications for I do not believe in the wild, impulsive carnal romance of the secular world. As a Christian/Messianic I believe that romance is a part of the equation of marriage which must harmonise with the melody of the spiritual life rather than the other way round. I believe the Christian/Messianic life is a romance also and not some dull, stiff Victorian formality. For me, heaven is a romantic place, and indeed is described as such in Scripture for our word "paradise" comes from the Persian meaning a 'walled garden'. When one thinks of romance, gardens and beautiful flowers spring to mind, along with stunning vistas of lakes, mountains and seas. Nature, in its unspoilt version, is a romantic garden.
As a polygamist with many wives, and therefore many romances as well as what might be called a single 'collective romance', my Christian/Messianic life is naturally enriched thereby. I am sure people have many different personal visions of how they think heaven will be but for us it is most certainly a large family in an idyllic setting with lots to do expanding the boundaries of love. Despite life's struggles and difficulties we always find time for beauty, romance and pleasure. We combine as our ideal the industriousness of the early American Protestant pioneers and the Asiatic Chinese with the dreamy but lofty vision of the European romantics, the down-to-earthness of the Hebrews, and the easy-going ability to relax of the Africans. Romance is an element which we would never dream of excising. In our family we dance a great deal too. We are a mini-culture of our own.
I like Kahlil Gibran's approach to romance and passion. He said:
Romance is a part of life and living and you are a fool if you try to suppress it. But you are an even greater fool if you let it run your life for it must be tempered by reason and the spirit. Is it not curious that Christ's suffering and death on our behalf, which has yielded eternal life, is often described as His 'Passion'? For His love is a passion for us, and it was that passion, tempered by reason and the spirit which has opened up the gates of Paradise to us again. Therefore marriage must be romantic and must be passionate to be alive, whether it be 'monogamous' or 'polygamous'.
"Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas. For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction. Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing; And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes" (The Prophet, Heinemann, London: 1976, pp.59-60).
Christian/Messianic polygamy is about life and living, and that includes romance, otherwise who would want it? Just like our relationship to Christ as a collective allegorical bride, polygamous marriage is both a one-to-one and a collective romance too. To understand more of this I would invite you to read some of the extracts of the Twelve Books of Abraham which we have published.
 Bouquet of Roses: A Romantic Polygamous Trilogy
 Romance in Polygamy