Sarah-Jane Berg is the name of a semi-ficticious character created by SBSK in his novel trilogy, Bouquet of Roses, which developped from the person given this pseudonym. Unike Hélène Holtz, who was entirely ficticious and evolved into a kind of 'collective persona' of SBSK's wives, Sarah-Jane (not her real name) is based on a real woman who was briefly interested in joining the Królewiec family but who decided against in the end. Much of the material in this imaginary interview is therefore based on actual conversations and historical events though the actual person's identity has been concealed by fusing some material from the lives and experiences of others we know.
Sarah-Jane, no two people who are attracted to plural marriage come for exactly the same reasons and for this reason I am interested in getting your story. Perhaps you could tell us how you come to be involved in the patriarchal Christian movement?
Thanks, Stan, I should be happy to. My story is, as you said, different from the others on this site. I didn't come seeking for polygamy per se but for a deeper human relationship. I've been through one marriage and was badly scarred from it. My husband was insensitive, cold, and brutal. He often beat me up. He wasn't a believer, and neither was I -- well, I was a nominal Catholic though I stopped going to church after I left home. I eventually divorced him and took my daughter with me and tried to start a new life. My ex-husband was bitter and jealous and kept tabs on me. If he thought I was seeing another man he would come over to my flat and make trouble -- he even beat the door down once and beat me up. Everytime I moved he seemed to find me. In the end I got a restraining order put on him by the court.
It must have been a terrible time... How did you cope?
Not very well. I am a very feeling person and craved close human contact. I had many boy-friends and slept around but they all left me feeling empty and starving inside. I felt used. I know it was my own fault for encouraging them but I needed intimacy. I moved abroad and got caught up in the same endless cycle of shallow, short relationships. Men just wanted me for my body. I'm sure there were decent ones but I became so mistrustful that I thought the worse of all men.
So what sort of a dream relationship did you have?
The same as most women, I guess -- to fall in love with a good man who would take care of me and love me for all of me and not just my body -- who wanted a family and would accept my daughter.
And did you find a good man?
Some were nice but we didn't gel. None seemed right. Most of them were a lot older than I was, had had divorces of their own, were well-established economcially, and I was afraid that it might not work out what with divorces in both our histories. I looked around and I saw how unstable marriages were generally and didn't want to risk another marriage falling apart all over again.
But there are many good marriages in the world, even though they're getting scarcer -- didn't you once feel that taking the plunge would be worth it?
When you've been abused as I was, you don't want to get bitten twice, so you're extra careful, and especially when you've got a child to look after. Yes, I know, there are good marriages, but how could I be sure? And I was getting used to living the life of a single without all the hassel of having a husband I couldn't be entirely comfortable with.
I wanted to fall in love with a man, and he with me, and settle down happily and start a new family. But I didn't want a marriage that would suddenly flare up and then die down again. I wanted one that would grow and grow, get deeper and deeper..
But you couldn't find it?
No, I couldn't find a man -- or rather, I couldn't find a man who would talk about feelings and who had the same sort of goals as I did. Most of the married people I knew seemed happy enough and yet they seemed to lead boring and monotonous marriages. They each had their interests, made love once or twice a week or not at all, and that was that. And I wanted more -- much more.
Some might say you were greedy!
[Laughs] Come on, Stan, that must make you a glutton!
True. I know exactly what you mean, of course. So how did you find the depth you were seeking for? Did you meet someone special?
Well, yes and no. Yes, I met someone, and yet it wasn't someone. Or rather, it was someone who once lived but is no more. I came across a book, the Third Book of Abraham, one of the scriptures you use in your fellowship. It set me on fire when I first read it, even though it wasn't the whole book, just an extract. I knew when I read it that it was everything I wanted, and more -- it seemed too good to be true.
But I guess you weren't expecting it to be a polygamist book. How did you react to plural marriage?
You see, Stan, I've been through polygamy -- not true polygamy, but the world's serial polygamy, moving from one person to another, and it left me dead. My first husband wasn't faithful either. The idea of multiple partners was not something so strange even though I know what I did was universes apart from what you people believe and practice. My own stupidity had destroyed whatever pride I had had -- whatever cherished hopes I had entertained -- for a perfect monogamous marriage. Don't misunderstand me -- I don't mean monogamy is imperfect or not good enough for most people, but what I wanted couldn't be found in monogamy. I wanted what could only be found in the sharing of many people together.
But polygamy limits a woman to one partner whereas you'd experienced many. Didn't you find the whole idea a step backwards?
No, I didn't, because in having multiple partners I was not being who I was. It was dividing me up into split personalities. I'm convinced that a woman was not built to have many partners. I know women can adapt to having many men but they're never fulfilled -- their hearts get disorientated and they lose their identity. In fact, in my experience, they become less and less feminine. Men were made to have many partners and the more they have the more masculine they seem to get. But it doesn't happen that way with women. I can't explain it scientifically to you, it's just something I've observed.
I want to stress that I don't believe men should just have 'more partners' because that leads to inner disintegration too...
No, I understand that. But that's the beauty of the Third Book of Abraham. It's about 100% committment -- 100% loyalty. It's wonderful. When I first read the book I couldn't believe that such a man could ever exist. Everybody has weaknesses, and yet my whole soul burned within when I read the story, and I believed it. I mean, I really believed it and I yearned for it with my whole soul. It kind of ignited a fire within me.
But the Third Book of Abraham is an intensely religious book -- a proto-Christian book, in fact, and you were a non-believer...
I believed in God but I didn't really trust that He could help me or draw near to me. To me He was a distant father figure, an absent father, not real. But the Third Book of Abraham gave me a whole revelation about God that I'd never had before. It wasn't just Abraham's plural family that attracted me but the fact that it shone a bright light on our Heavenly Father and made Him real.
So you're saying that in a way you came to Yahweh through the book?
Yes, very much so. I discovered a love that I had never been taught in the Catholic Church. I never realised before how intimately connected God is with marriage and how much He loves it when it is pure. It was the Third Book of Abraham that awakened my interest in the Bible which I'd always thought of as a dull and stuffy book.
So the Bible's come alive for you now?
I can't read enough of it. It's strange, isn't it, coming in through the 'back door', as it were?
I don't think so. People come to Yahweh and His Word in so many different ways, even through false writings sometimes. I was awakened to the love of Yahweh through a Catholic film about Yah'shua (Jesus). Many come through a love of nature. People come in thousands of different ways. And we can never know how. Yahweh works in mysterious ways.
I know. I found God in the person of a wonderful son, Abraham. I guess that's what God wants us to be too -- reflections of His love.
I agree. Our lives are our witness to people. And I think the patriarch Abraham's life was such a life. But what did you see in the account of Abram's family that made it more attractive than your dream marriage?
My dream marriage was based on selfishness and fear. I wanted to possess and control because I was afraid to lose. And most of all, I wanted intimacy of a sort that takes an interest in cultivating a family for its own sake and not just leaving it to go to seed.
Go to seed?
Well, yes. Most marriages, it seems, are left to 'run themselves'. Couples expect things to 'work out'. They don't want to cultivate it or cross 'comfort zones', as you call them. They don't want to take risks and so end up compromising and then just settling to a middle way. But in firstborn marriage there's always something higher to reach for. And marriage isn't just for itself -- it reaches out to others. I've watched your family and I'm amazed that it seems to be constantly getting better and deeper. Oh, I know you have problems, but who hasn't? But when I talk to your wives they tell me that the love you share seems to get deeper and deeper all the time. The committment is amazing. I can see you mean it to last for ever and not end when physical life ends. You're investing for eternity. And that's the kind of marriage I want.
If you hadn't gone through all the heart-ache and loneliness of a bad marriage, divorce and failed relationships, do you think plural marriage would have been as attractive to you?
I don't know, no-one can really know. I think my problems gave me a better appreciation of what polygamy is because I had the contrast of pain and suffering and I could see the great love and light in it. I think I would have been attracted to the life-style...eventually...but it would probably have been a lot more difficult.
So what would you say to the people who accuse us of attracting people who are unstable and who therefore exploit the weaknesses of women who have major problems?
It's silly. Your own wives didn't go through what I've been through and had happy backgrounds compared to mine. Of course people enter marriage for the wrong reasons -- I know plenty of people who entered monogamous marriages thinking their marriages would sort out their problems and didn't. I admit I was hungry but the food I got wasn't an illusion -- it was real. I'm not married polygamously yet but I'm already comfortable and at peace with it. I can see it for its fruits -- at least I can see your family. I don't know about other polygamists.
So what are your plans for the future?
I'm trusting in God to provide all my needs. I've got the vision, thanks to the Third Book of Abraham and I'm at peace. I've also found Christ and I'm working on building my relationship up with Him first.
Thanks for sharing with us, Sarah-Jane.