Q. Is a person 'born' a polygamist or is this a lifestyle that needs to be learned?
I believe that under the right circumstances everyone is capable of living polygamously, and living it happily. I do not, of course, believe that it is everyone's calling to live polygamously.
There are those who believe that we are born neither heterosexual nor homosexual but that the direction we go sexually is a product of a combination of different factors, including the environment in which we are brought up in. It cannot be an accident that there are, for example, far more homosexuals living today relative to the heterosexual population than there were, say, half a century ago, even allowing for the fact that homosexuals in the 1950's lived an essentially underground existence. Even if all those who were homosexuals in the 1950's had been able to come out into the open with their homosexuality, I still believe that there would have been fewer homosexuals relative to the heterosexual population than there are today. I believe that the reason for this is the social environment which has become tolerant of homosexuality, even encouraging it. This tells me that much, if not most, homosexuality is something that is acquired through a combination of social, psychological and circumstantial events and conditions.
In saying this I am not, of course, claiming that homosexuality is right. Indeed, as a Bible-believing Christian/Messianic, I firmly believe it to be a serious sin that excludes the one who practices it from the Kingdom of Heaven.
In an ideal society, where there are proper, healthy family and societal relationships, and where demonic temptation does not exist, I do not believe there would be any homosexuality at all. This would be consistent with the view that we 'grow into' our sexuality by imitating our peers and receiving the kinds of spiritual stimuli that lead to wholeness of spirit. It follows from this, if the premis is true, that polygamy would also be something that came quite naturally too. Where children grow up in a polygamous culture where there is a healthy family life, where husbands and wives are happy, etc., then it would only be natural for children to pursue that path. Where the problems begin is where godly principles are tabooed and chidlren are raised in an environment where the whole truth is not taught. This means, then, that I subscribe to the view that those who are not called into polygamy - the vast majority of people - but are called into monogamy, receive such a call because they would simply be unable to be 'reprogrammed' into the polygamy mindframe without considerable suffering of an order which would destroy their spiritual wholeness.
In the West, where polygamy is practically non-existent, the first generation of men and women must, of necessity, struggle as they make the mental, emotional and spiritual adjustments required to live the 'new' lifestyle. They must, in a word, be 'reprogrammed'. Because only a small minority will be willing to do this, and even less able, the majority will - so long as the cultures in which they live program them (government-sponsored social engineering) to live in a different lifestyle - always be monogamists or sexual deviants. (I am not equating these two, incidentally).
There are lessons to be learned here when it comes to a deviant practice, namely homosexuality. Those who are mentally, emotionally and spiritually programmed in the homosexual environment, and who are inwardly destroyed by events that lead them into that environment in the first place, take a long time to fully come out of it within themselves and also experience a great deal of suffering. A superficial judgment on the changeover from homosexuality to heterosexuality based on the cost involved might tempt a person to believe that such a changeover was wrong and harmful. The same rationale is used to discourage the change from the monogamy-mindframe to the polygamy one.
Two things must be said here. Firstly, we cannot judge the rightness or wrongness of a lifestyle simply because the changeover to another one requires a struggle. Were this our criterion for change then we would ban the medical profession as well for all the pain remedial therapy sometimes causes. Everyone accepts that healing the physical body is the right thing to do even if the treatment seems harsh (like radical surgery to remove cancer). Thus in the matter of the conversion from homosexuality to heterosexuality, there can be no dispute for the Bible-believing Christian/Messianic whose concern is spiritual health and eternal life.
Secondly, the changeover from monogamy to polygamy cannot be compared directly to that of homosexuality to heterosexuality since the former is a natural, progressive development of the marriage estate and the latter is the treatment of a spiritually pathological condition. I make the comparison only to point out that to change that complex phenomenon called the human being from one kind of a person to another can sometimes mean considerable readjustment that in the beginning causes pain. The pain is the result not of the destination state (polygamy) being pathological but because the way in which the monmogamy-only mindframe was forced into being by the wider culture is itself pathological. The aim of the Christian/Messianic is not to convert all monogamists into becoming polygamists as it might be to convert all homosexuals into hetersexuals, but to convert those monogamists who are called to be polygamists (and want to become polygamists of their own free will, men and women alike) into polygamists in the least painful way possible, and to convert the remaining monogamists into accepting that polygamy is not a deviation from their form of marriage but a natural extension of it. In short, the mission of all true Bible-believing polygamists must be to ultimately educate Christians/Messianics to the existence of, and train them to make the mental and emotional change towards accepting, polygyny as a Yahweh-ordained and sanctioned marriage institution.
Thus I would say that I do not believe anybody is 'born' a polygamist or a monogamist (or a homosexual, pedophile, or any other deviant). I believe that everyone is called to be married, and that this begins as celibate, and develops into monogamy and (sometimes) polygyny based on Yahweh's foreknowledge of what they are capable of, based on the way they have been brought up and have been formed by society, and what they choose to be. That a similar freedom to be a homosexual or a pedophile we know does not exist, except as a deviation from the divine will.
I cannot 100% say that we are born sexually neutral. Clearly boys and girls have male and female tendencies right from an early age though these may become distorted by many different things such as sexual abuse, harsh parenting or by poisonous chemicals. I believe that our spirits are either male or female, and that whilst our bodies have sexual characteristics that reflect that maleness or femaleness, I believe that our emotions or feelings are something that have to be trained in order to come to masculine or feminine maturity. The process of 'becoming a male' or 'becoming a female' is started from conception but may be interrupted or even reversed both in the womb or subsequent to birth. (I know of one case of a man who became a homosexual and traced the origin of this to the time when his mother was having an affair with a priest whilst she was pregnant - he developed a hatred for men in the womb which flipped him into homosexuality).
Becoming a polygamist is simply a natural development of that process but which is interrupted or 'capped' by our monogamy-only culture, the interruption or capping leading to a certain degree of abnormal behaviour which we see manifested as permissiveness in our monogamy-only culture. The monogamy-only mindframe may therefore be seen as a psychological abnormality or retardation, preventing those capable of maturing further from entering into the natural, or spiritual, stream of events, which in itself leads to pathological symptoms. Furthermore, I believe this process is as applicable both to men and women, for polygamy is also a 'natural' development for them within the cosmic framework we see manifested in the Bible. The polygynist man and the polygynist woman may, therefore, be seen as the complete unfolding of the two genders. By contrast, the fruit of our monogamy-only culture has been the unisexual person both in terms of the emasculation of men and the defeminisation of women. The monogamy-only cultural mindframe (or its doubly perverse counterpart, 'free love' or 'swinging') has thus led to the dehumanising of the genders, and spawned a whole host of perversions. This unisexualisation of men and women has led, in its turn, to all kinds abnormal reactions - to hyper-maccho men and butch feminist-lesbian women. The monogamy-only cultural mindframe has, in fact, spelled the death of femininity, leaving a perverse masculinity in both the men and women.
It should be obvious that had the monogamy-only mindframe been the natural one, where men and women are exact polar opposites like the proton and electron in the hydrogen atom, that Yahweh would have created Adam and Eve simultaneously out of the ground. But this He did not do. He created the man first, and then the woman out of him, without the man suffering any kind of 'loss', as it were. The Adam who existed before Eve, who was taken out of his side, was still the same male Adam afterwards, and not some earthworm-like hermaphrodite as many in the homosexual and feminist movements would wish us to believe. It is in this principle that the whole purpose of polygyny is to be understood, for why would Yahweh create and protect such a system of marriage were it not to be some kind of antetype of something greater? Why preserve a quaint quirk of a marriage practice, making the marriage issue so 'complicated' when He could have legislated for monogamy-only from the beginning? Could it be that the patriarchal man and his polygamist wives are the final unfolding of some great cosmic mystery which hithero Christians/Messianics have ignored or swept under the carpet because of the 1,400 old Western monogamy-only bias which has effectively squashed such theological researches? And could this great mystery be something that the prophets and apostles were hinting at in Yahweh's Word, but were restrained from probing deeper - or from making public?
I am, as our readers know, of the belief that nothing that Yahweh does is accidental. Given the prominence of the marriage principle as an illustration of the mysterious union between Yahweh and Israel, and Christ and the Church (Messianic Community), could it be that polygyny has some hitherto unrevealed or only partially revealed purpose in this the winding-up scene of this current Gospel dispensation? New Covenant Christians/Messianics believe they have the answers to some of these questions, which are not discussed here - to obtain that you must consult a prophet!
So to answer your question: no, I do not believe a man can be born a polygamist any more than he can be born a Christian or Messianic, but I do believe that he may be called to be, and to develop into, one. That will depend on Yahweh's will and on his, or her, personal choices.