Q. The Bible says that two or more witnesses are needed to make a marriage valid. How does that work in a polygamous marriage? Can your own wives be your witnesses?
Ideally, members of your families apart from your own wives should be your witnesses, but in these times when almost all our families will reject us for what we are doing, it may prove very difficult to find them. Now that the patriarchal community is growing in numbers, it shouldn't be too difficult to find witnesses amongst sympathisers.
In my second marriage - my first polygamous one - we knew absolutely no-one who supported us and did not dare to risk inviting others. As a result, my first wife was our only witness. I know that technically this did not make the marriage valid as far as the biblical law was concerned but we felt we had no choice at the time, and in which we felt justified. Circumstances were such that my first wife left shortly afterwards (though it has nothing to do with my entering polygamy for she had already started an adulterous affair). Not a happy beginning but in the 1980's there were no other patriarchal Christians/Messianics (that we knew of) in the West!
Some months later my second wife and I were publically remarried in the presence of many other witnesses but by this time my first wife had left and civilly divorced me. Also, our Church (Assembly), whilst some accepted polygamy in principle as a doctrine to be practiced in the millennium (others did not accept it), did not accept the practice officially, and so it was, as far as the witnesses were concerned, a monogamous marriage.
When my third wife came along we had two witnesses - my second wife and another lady to whom I was betrothed. The latter pulled out later. Nevertheless, it was legally (as far as the biblicaly Law was concerned) witnessed. And as is our practice, my second wife and I were re-married, this time in the presence of two witnesses. See, The Metaphysics of Echad Polygamy for a clarification.
When I married my fourth wife polygamy was being increasingly accepted in our spiritual community and so we had many witnesses, including the bride's parents who were also believers in the principle. This made the wedding especially blessed but no more or less legal than the others. Having the parents to give their daughter away was a great honour and privilege and one for which I am thankful for. It may never happen again unless I should marry a woman whose parents are themselves a part of the patriarchal movement. Practical necessity pretty well dictates that the vast majority of women will, in the first generation, not come from families where patriarchal marriage is accepted.
Some might argue that my first polygamous marriage was not legal in the first months, and I would not argue against that jurisdictionally. I know in my heart that Yahweh accepted it given the circumstances since we effectively had no other choice, and it has since been validated by the required number of witnesses. I do not anticipate it ever happening again as there are now plenty of people I know in the patriarchal movement who would be more than willing to be witnesses. We have even had one occasion to use online witnesses using a cam for someone else's wedding.
Ideally, then, parents should be involved though realistically in the first generation of polygamists this will be a rare luxury. A man's other wives may act as witnesses to a new marriage - the Bible nowhere says they cannot be. Let the Spirit and circumstances dictate what the best things to do is.