Hélène Holtz is the name of a ficticious character and the spunky pro-polygamy American star created by SBSK in his novel trilogy, Bouquet of Roses. She started as a kind of 'collective persona' of the wives of the Królewiec family before evolving into the character in the novel. She is a mixture of their traits, personlities and experiences, with a heavy dollop of her own imaginary character. You can read more of the materials created around this name in the Królewiec Wives Notebook which was at one time used as a witnessing tool on the internet. Though the interview is also ficticious, it employs many of the questions and queries that have been asked or made by women interested in joining our family, so it is authentic in terms of the kinds of things many women want to know about the Christian/Messianic polygamy lifestyle.
Well, Stan, I hardly know where to start. I've made a list of questions I wanted to ask and I hope that they're all reasonable and not too personal!
That's just fine, Hélène, feel free to ask whatever you like. If our intent is to bring honour to Christ then I'm sure you'll be steered by the right questions, and I in giving the right answers.
Right, here goes then. Well, how does a woman approach a Patriarch? It's really very embarrassing (for me, at any rate). There you are with a stable and peaceful family and I come with feelings that I'm a sort of intruder with no business poking my nose in. What's the correct way to approach it?
[Laughs]. Well, Hélène, there is no 'correct' way because we're all so different. Some women are shy and retiring and others are much more forward. The important thing to realise is that in a true Christian polygamous family the doors are never shut to potentially new wives. It's not as though you're approaching a fortress, at least not if you're a Christian with similar values to our own. To outsiders, and especially to unbelievers and those hostile to our way of life, the doors are most certainly shut. That goes for other women who are interested but perhaps for the wrong reasons. So you must not feel that you're 'poking your nose in' - my wives all expect others to come and are looking forward to it. If you're right for us, and Yahweh has ordained it, we'll just 'know'.
Even so, I do feel strange. I suppose it's because you already have an intimate relationship with your wives and I'm afraid to put a foot wrong.
Understandable. You feel vulnerable and maybe aren't quite sure whether what you've heard and read about us isn't all idealised or semi-fiction - you don't want to get hurt, and yet, you're hungry to understand and feel as we do. Am I near the mark?
Yeah, pretty well. How did you know?
I know four women* (*1999) very intimately and I've been through all their concerns and fears. As a polygamist you get to know female nature very well.
I think that's what attracted me most to you, I mean, the fact that you seem to understand me so well. I thought, 'This man must be a prophet, he seems to read my mind and heart'!
[Laughs]. No, not a prophet, at least not in the classical biblical sense, any more than a writer 'knows' who he writes about. It's more of a second nature. You get to know women's ways of behaviour so intimately that you can almost anticipate what's coming round the corner. Actually, one of my wives disagrees with me because she says I think I know what she's thinking when I don't. Sometimes that is true too. I'm not a prophetic reader of the female mind, but I think I have the advantage over most monogamists. I certainly understand their moods and appreciate so much the differences between male and female...
I guess in the beginning you didn't have that insight into women that you now do. How have those insights changed over the years?
When I first got married I had a very idealised, romantic view of women, and set them up on a pedistal. Don't misunderstand me, I still have an idealised picture and still view them with wonder, but at the same time I see them with all the defects they have. They are not so far different from men when it comes to the fallen nature. Let's say that I've made my goals for married life more realistic, that's to say, I don't expect them to become my ideal all in a day.
What is that ideal?
It's a conglomorate ideal based almost entirely on women characters from the Bible and some we have had revelation on. The unnamed woman at the end of Proverbs (perhaps Bathsheba?) ranks high - her industriousness, vitality, trustworthiness, creativity, charity, motherliness, dignity, and above all, fear of Yahweh (Proverbs 31:10-31).
Is that your favourite one?
One of them. Another is a lady called Judith, not the one from the Apocrypha (though I admire her too), but one from the patriarchal times that is not mentioned in our Bibles. She was a polygamist and deeply committed to Yahweh. There are others I could mention.
Of course, I don't expect any woman in my family to be anything other than who she is, but we set goals for character development based on historical personages. Every wife is different, and each compliments the other.
I suppose I want to know how I'm going to be loved if I marry you. I've got lots of faults and looking at your wives I see that they are streaks ahead of me in some areas. That makes me feel inadequate sometimes.
You soon realise in becoming a polygamous wife that excessive comparison with others is unhealthy. Of course, we're always comparing, because that's how we learn...by imitation. The important thing to realise is that you will be loved for who you are and not because of any expectation we may have of who you will ultimately become. There is a collective burden on all of us to become more Christ-like but it's Christ who sets the criteria, not me. If we have our eyes on Him we will mature and develop in the way that is natural for us. My job, and the job of your future sister-wives, would be to bear you along that path Christ has mapped out for you.
It's sounds wonderful but we all know that there are lots of problems along the way. What if one of your wives don't like me? What if none of them do?
There are things we all dislike in others, even in our nearest and dearest. Though I am the best of friends with my wives and we have much in common, and even though we're deeply in love and adore one another, there are areas where we are very different and there are things about each other that we don't like. But if you mean that your personalities are so different that when you're together it's like two north poles in a magnet repelling one another, then that's a major problem.
That's exactly what I mean. What then?
Well, it's possible that such a marriage won't work, especially if we don't place Christ first. Personality is a strange creature, because all personality has defects. Plural marriage forces you to look at yourself hard and long and decide what's good and what's bad, what to promote and what to get rid of. Personality is the combination of so many different things - the way we've been brought up, our hurts and fears, our habits good and bad, our self-image.... We're like an opening flower, changing all the time, even though sometimes it seems so slow we tend to despair of ever seeing any real change. But the beauty of the Holy Spirit is that it changes your personality -- smooths off the rough areas and gives you new graces. Personality is not, for a dedicated disciple of Christ, a real problem ultimately. The real problem with personality is not who we are but who we appear to be - our personality gets distorted by sin which makes us unattractive. Let Christ in for a clean-up and EVERYBODY becomes likeable.
I've seen Kryztina and Kasia change a lot over the years. We've been together a long time. Kryztina was in her early 30's when we married and Kasia was a teenager. Though their personalities are very distinct and different, and though they come from different age groups, they have leavened each other and also me. Plural marriage is like a melting pot where some of the ice melts in the glass but the ice remains nevertheless. It's as though we're separate cubes of ice but that there's a common 'pool' of melted personality too. It's the pool that excites me the most because it's about the kind of echad 'oneness' that Christ desired His disciples to strive after. Yet I adore their individual personalities too. I love for them who they are and try to see past their warts to the real 'them' - and I hope they do that to me.
A plural family is like blocks of ice melting and merging
But what if I don't get on?
Well, how would you answer that question if you were joining one of our communities and there were some people you didn't like? Would you ignore them? Or would the love of Christ impell you to try and build bridges? You don't need to answer that one because it's obvious as Christians we are to build bridges of love with even our enemies. The Church (Messianic Community) is not at all unlike a marriage. In fact, they're remarkably similar. We have the mandate from Christ to love one another as He loved us. The promise is that character defects will melt away given enough time and persistance. If you are worried about problems like character differences in a plural marriage then the best thing is to do in the beginning is just be around us as long as possible without being betrothed or fully married. Whether you decide to just stay as a spiritual sister or take the next step of being dedicated is up to you. You can't force a marriage any more than a friendship. And friendship is an essential part of plural marriage.
What would be the difference, I mean, between 'being around' and dedication?
Dedication is a committment to seek marriage ultimately but with the possibility of pulling out if it doesn't go the way you want. It's similar to what the world calls 'engagement'. As a 'dedicated' person we would work on the assumption that marriage was your goal and encourage you in that direction. As a visiting sister we would make no such assumption and treat you like any other visitor without ever broaching the subject of marriage unless you yourself wanted to. As a dedicated wife-to-be we would treat you as one entering the family as an intimate friend whilst looking forward to an even more intimate union. As a dedicated wife-to-be we would all work very hard to cultivate a family relationship with you - rather like an adopted sister, yet more, and we would expect you to make a similar effort.
But a dedicated wife-to-be has no intimate physical relationship, right?
No sexual relationship, no. But it would be closer than an ordinary sister. Hard to explain really. Words like 'super-sister' really sound ridiculous because there aren't words in our vocabulary to describe it. But like in all family relationships, there is a certain amount of physical contact.
Sort of like hugging, holding hands, and that sort of thing?
Yes -- it's the same sort of intimacy that parents have with children, or siblings with one another. Intimate, non-sexual contact is a part of it. But it's mostly the spiritual side that's cultivated - deep trust, love, respect, and much more. Some people have problems with physical contact so we wouldn't force it either. One of my children hates to be hugged because she was expected to hug at school by a very domineering teacher, and that has repelled her. So we don't hug her, and she doesn't hug us. People are damaged inside and it ofen takes time to heal.
I know you have three steps to marriage but isn't it a little difficult to keep those lines clear? I'll be honest with you, I'm in love, and I'm afraid that I might step over the boundaries. Is it wrong to be in love at this stage?
It's wrong to be in lust but never wrong to be in love so long as you're in love with Yah'shua (Jesus) too. Seeing that the love we have is so firmly rooted in Christ will hopefully make your spiritual walk deeper too. That's what we want for you and for ourselves. We want loving you to deepen our relationship with Christ and with each other. But if you step over the boundaries I will gently stop you short and in a way that won't make you embarrassed, I hope.
What about you? What if you go over the line?
Then I have no business being a patriarch in a plural family and am a fornicator. That would be the end of me and of our community. It's my burden and responsibility and I can give you no other answer other than you'll just have to trust me on that one. If that doesn't satisfy you then you'd need to ask my wives if I am honourable in this area. If that doesn't satisfy you either then you really don't trust me; and if you really don't trust me you shouldn't be thinking about entering this family, because trust is a cardinal principle. I trust my wives 100% and they trust me too. The only way to build that trust is to observe me outide of a dedication. I don't think there's really any more than that I can honestly say. You know, for us keeping our word is paramount - our word must be absolutely trustworthy. If we make a promise we are held to that promise. As priesthood members we enter covenants to be true to our word, and if we are not, we stand to lose our priesthood office.
Yes, that strict. We're no nonsense people when it comes to integrity and honour. It lies, together with deep love, at the heart of our ideals and our whole way of life. That's why I believe we are so stable. If there's the slightest sign that this trust is being betrayed, even if it's just in the thoughts, we expect instant confession and quick reconciliation. Plural marriage must be built on trust. Without it, it will fragment. Which is probably why those who are against us have done their uttermost to drive wedges between us. I praise God that they have never succeeded, at least not with my present wives. We have a rock hard relationship.
I'm reassured to hear that, and I can see that faith plays a big part. But it's a risk...
Marriage is by its very nature a risk, monogamous or polygamous, which is why it must be built on faith. We covenent always to be true to one another and for us holding covenant is a matter of life or death.
That's almost the opposite to the world...
Completely. People don't keep their word anymore. A survey I read disclosed that 70% of modern school children think that lying is OK. It's terrible. For us lying is a gross wickedness. So openness and honesty are important.
OK. What, if I marry you, and I start getting feelings of jealosy, what do I do? How do I beat it?
Jealosy is caused by a lack of trust, which comes because of a fear that we are not really loved as much as we expect. Amongst sister-wives, at some stage, especially early on in a marriage, there's the suspicion that the husband loves one wife more than the other, or has favourites. We have a rule, and it's this: the moment jealosy surfaces, you must get it out in the open by talking with me and/or the other wives.
But what happens if I get to feel that way whilst you're spending the night with one of your wives?
Then you come and knock on our door and we talk it out.
Even if you're in the middle of sex??
Yes, even then. We'll stop and we'll talk it out.
But that would spoil your evening?
It would spoil our whole lives if you were to carry around such feelings because jealosy is the spirit of murder. It would fracture our spiritual union. No, it's more important that you feel loved and accepted.
Most couples go crazy if you interrupt them in sex!
In Christ, sex is not the priority. The priority is love of one another. Therefore if you suddenly feel jealous, lonely, or are sad about something and want comfort, then we would expect you to come and interrupt us.
But I'd feel terrible...
That's because you've been conditioned to think and react in that way. In a New Covenant patriarchal community we have higher expectations, different sensitivities. I'll tell you how I feel. If I know one of my wives is sad, lonely, or angry, I have no peace within myself, because the unity of our family love is broken. I would not be able to rest until it was solved.
But some women might use that to manipulate you...
Yes, the fallen Lilith and Hecate nature does just that, but I give it no freedom. I call such to repentance quickly and invite them to talk and pray. I am merciless when it comes to the fallen, carnal nature. If a woman refuses to repent - to renounce selfish, maniulative, carnal impulses then she is on her way out of the family. She becomes a snake in Eden. But if she is upset for legitimate reasons, that's an entirely different matter. Then we shower her with grace and patiently love her until she has worked it out.
You don't pull your punches then..
Yahweh is not tolerant of sin. Sin breaks down our lines of communication with Him and the Spirit departs. A Pastor cannot tolerate sin in his fellowship and must do the same. Similarly, a patriarch cannot allow sin to have any sort of ascendancy in his family. Where it comes to the demon called jealosy (and it is a demon, because demons stand behind it) we stamp it out without mercy. Not the person being jealous, but the impulse that she has allowed to take root in her. That is why Yahweh told Eve that whilst the devil would constantly be biting at our ankles, we were responsible for crushing him in the head. Far too many plural marriages have come to grief in other communities because the patriarchs were weak-willed and thought that love would substitute for serpent head-crushing. Both are needed.
You're giving me the chills!
Not me, I hope, but the awful reality of deathly sin. If you see a snake about to attack your child, you don't pick up the snake and try to love it away - you kill it. If you don't, then the serpent takes over Eden.
I've often wondered about that, why there was a snake in Eden...
Eden is a representation of oursevles on one level, and fallen human nature is serpentine. Though we work hard to keep Zion pure, every member of Zion has a snake in his or her fallen nature. We either listen to it or we don't. What does that snake say to a patriarch's wives sometimes? Oh, the usual things: 'You can't trust him! He loves X more than you' or something like that. Wedge-building. Yes, the devil will strike at the heart of a woman's deepest need, to be loved and to be able to trust her husband. I've seen it so many times. Ask my wives, they'll tell you. You must be under no illusion if you enter this family - you will be tempted by the snake nature! But don't worry, you'll be taught a lot about it and how to deal with it. DISCUSSION and PRAYER are essential keys in plural marriage. If you're one who likes to bottle things away, then you're storing up trouble for yourself. I lost one wife for a few years because of that problem. If I sense a wife is doing that I can get quite a nag, but I believe it's for her and everyone else's best interests. Undealt with serious sin is a cancer that eats away at and ultimately destroys the harmony and union of a plural family.
I have to confess I'm a very possessive woman. I don't know if I could deal with that in a polygamous relationship.
Possessiveness comes from insecurity, and insecurity from a lack of love. It comes from a fear of missing something we have, or not getting something we want badly. It's root is simple: Pride. In fact, it's the root of almost every sin I've come across. We spend alot of time looking at pride. Jealosy starts with pride which often is a stubbornness to accept that others are equal to us in worth, especially if we don't like them and we observe them apparently happier than ourselves. There's nothing more provocative of pride than seeing people we dislike getting more blessed than we are.
I know you're right, but I'm scared - I'm not used to having a bright light shone on me...
You'd get that bright light shone on you whether you married into this family or just carried on being a member of the Community. We're dealing with problems that affect all mankind, and not just the marriage relationship. The blessing of plural marriage is that it brings all the sinful nature to the surface much quicker than in a monogamous marriage and even more quickly than those who live single, celibate lives. Plural marriage is a fire, I'll not conceal that from you, for everyone, myself included - either it warms you or you get burned. If you're humble and loving, you'll bask in it with joy; if you're proud, stubborn, rebellious, excessively independent-minded and jealously-inclined, you'll burn. Then you have to choose either to humble yourself or run.
You don't play around, do you, Stan?
Can't afford to. There's too much at stake. Love is not a cheap candy that you can just pick up and eat - true love, deep love, comes at a price. And that price is forsaking the fallen nature. Not only do I have other wives to think about but children too. I can't afford to have children damaged. They're too precious.
I don't know what to say, really. I don't feel worthy.
Worthiness has nothing to do with it, at least not your own perceptions of worthiness. It is Yahweh who decides who, and who is not, worthy. And that, in the Gospel of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), is based on FAITH. You know, there's a sin almost as great as pride and just as destructive, and it's what I call the 'I'm good for nothing Syndrome'. It's another lie of the devil. When we see the stupidty of arrogance, we often rush to the other extreme and indulge in excessive self-pity. It's still pride. But you'll learn more about this as part of your priesthood training. Some people think that repentance is wallowing in despair - it isn't - it's simply changing direction and not looking back.
You make it sound so easy.
Actually, it is. The trouble is we've been conditioned by false religious and secular traditions to react in a way that leads to psychological catharsis. Satan doesn't care whether we're haughty or wallowing in the mire so long as we've off the path that leads to eternal life. There's no life in wallowing, and haughtiness and arrogance is anti-life, because it's destructive of self and of others.
What about you? I bet you don't stay on the narrow and strait all the time.
No, of course not. I'm a human too. Whilst I am the leader in my family and have the responsibility to guide and minister to my wives, they too have a priestly call and must sometimes step in and rescue me. I have my downs. As priestesses they are my equal when it comes to the reception of the heavenly graces, and as women priests they have more of certain graces than I do, and vice versa. It's complimentary. I actually need my wives as much as they need me.
But if one is 'spiritually off-color', you have the others?
No, not true. As I've said, if one is sad, I am sad, even if all the others are delirious with happiness. That's the nature of the echad covenant-bond we have between us. Christian plural marriage, when lived properly, receives a blessing and spiritual anointing from Yahweh. It's not just a form of marriage that is permissable but has promises and blessings attached to it. That I know without any sort of doubt. Because Yahweh's hand is on our marriage, we live in security, knowing that He fully approves.
Was there ever a time when, after having taken more than one wife, you ever wondered if maybe you had made a mistake and were being led by your feelings instead of by the truth?
Oh yes, plenty of times! My supreme desire is to do what is right before Yahweh. I knew that I always wanted to live this life-style and I worried that my motives might have been impure and that I was just using the Scriptures to justify my own desires. It was like that in the beginning, especially when we had internal family unheavals and especially when we were persecuted for our belief and practice. I really challenged myself through and through until I had no doubt that what I was doing was right and God-sanctioned. Part of the problem was that I started living this lifestyle totally unaware that there were other Christians or Messianics living it and felt completely alone. At times I wondered, in my loneliness, whether this was a big delusion. But patriarchal Christianity is growing, and is growing fast, and I discovered to my great joy that there were other Evangelical Christians and Messianics who believed in ways similar to myself. I didn't discover their existence until 1997 when I first got on the Internet. Up until then I felt sandwiched between the Mormons and the Moslems, neither of whose polygamic lifestyles I liked or agreed with. I'm past the doubting phase now, praise Yah, and know that what I am doing is 100% right.
How do others like myself who are coming from the 'outside' and looking at polygamy for the first time supposed to get such an assurance, especially if we are called into it?
In the beginning, it is mostly faith. Having a clear understanding of the Bible teaching is an essential foundation. Without it we have nothing to stand on. Since I know you accept the Bible teaching on polygamy this is not, I suppose a problem for you?
No, I can see what the Scriptures teach.
But you want to know if you personally are called into it?
There is no one way to know whether you are called. All are called in different ways. Some have direct revelations from Yahweh, as my second wife, Isabel, did. Others, like my third and fourth, were already members of our community and simply fell in love with me and grew naturally into it.
So if I were a member of the Chavurat Bekorot and fell in love with you, believing that the principle was right, might that be my calling?
It could well be. Only you would know. You'd have to search your heart out honestly. I can't truthfully just give you a single formula because that would be like expecting unbelievers to become Christians in exactly the same way. Many people wrongly assume that to know whether or not patriarchal marriage is right for you will depend on some sort of dramatic miracle like a vision taking place. This is not so. The call to polygamy is no different, in my view, than the call to monogamy. People just 'know' whether they are to be monogamists or polygamists. It's something that just comes naturally to them. All marriage is a struggle to some degree or another so that's not to say that a 'call' implies no difficulties. If a woman falls in love with a Patriarch, is a member of the community, loves Yah'shua (Jesus) and is striving to be obedient to Him, then the chances are it is right for her to become a polygamist.
Must she be in love?
Not necessarily. Both my current wives decided to marry me before they fell in love, but falling in love followed quite quickly after their decision. In some respects I think that is a better way. It depends also, I think, on the nature of the 'falling in love'? Is it physical attraction? What triggered it? The patriarch's love for Christ? People fall in love for many reasons. If it is a worldly infatuation, we will soon spot it and it will fizzle out on its own. If it's in Christ it will build and become eternal love. Both my prospective wives were around my family a lot before making their decisions and so they knew what they were getting into. Kasia used to visit almost every weekend (she lived quite far away) and as Kryztina lived locally she popped in almost every day. Familiarity was the key, I think. And if you live far away like the USA and coming to Europe regularly isn't possible practically or economically, I recommend that you come and stay for three months on an 'extended vacation' so that you can really get to 'see'.
Great, that's really helpful. Thanks, Stan!
You're welcome. I hope this has been of help. May Yahweh bless you to make the right decision for your life.