Sadly, yes, but not always. People feel secure in numbers, and the longer a habit has been engrained, the more difficult it is to admit it's there let alone deal with it. So a new wife may enter a family and reveal some glaring deficiencies in it. How she 'reveals' it, of course, will determine in part whether she can move the others to change, especially (only, in fact) if she is justified by Scripture to move for a change in the family. If she is forceful she is unlikely to make much progress because she may start usurping the husband's leadership rôle. The moment a woman starts barking orders and exerting unauthorised leadership you know something is seriously wrong and that a major attitude change has to be made.
That was something I wanted to ask you - how should a wife push for change, especially if there is a major disagreement?
That depends what the nature of the reaction is from those resisting change. For one thing, the decision to change should always be deferred to the husband. That's his stewardship, when it comes to the overall dynamic of the family, not the wives'. They can discuss and agree or disagree, but any final decision must be his, and his alone ... as well as the authority to implement that change. Moreover, this cannot be an arbitrary decision on his part - he mustn't seek a resolution to a conflict simply to end the conflict, but must be leading and guiding his wives down the overall path which Yahweh has clearly shown him down which he must go. If he has no idea where he is going, then his decision will not only come across as arbitrary (as well it may be) but also lead to more problems and increasingly more hazardous spiritual instabilities. In spite of the fact that women, by their natural makeup, are more disposed to ride the waves of their feelings than men, they too, like us, crave order (unless they are destroyed or unformed like a child inside and pursue a near anarchistic way). Therefore the man must know exactly where he is going.
But what if one or more of the women don't understand where he's going, or why he's going that way ... and what do you do when the husband can't explain what he's doing because he's following a leading that he can't quite put into words and which sounds arbitrary and unreasonable when he tries?
Excellent questions! And I'm glad you raised them. Of course, we all want 'explanations', don't we? But let's be realistic. For one thing, the boss in a company is not obliged to tell his staff the strategies of his company. These days this is less and less common because it benefits the workforce to know what they are aiming for and what they should be doing to achieve it. But there are such things as company secrets because of the nature of the market.
A better example would be the way in which our Heavenly Father operates. He is under no obligation to tell us His plans (and when He does it is only to His prophets who are under a strict command to only share what He wants them to share). He reveals only as much as we need to know, partly because we are supposed to be walking in faith, and partly because too much knowledge can be stifling ... I'm sure you could think of other reasons too. We want to know, and sometimes we can get really desperate as Job did ... I know I have, but it has never got me anywhere. And whilst, like Job, I have just resigned myself to not getting the answer I wanted, I have later come to appreciate why His silence was the best possible course for me.
But husbands are not God - they are fallible ...
That is true. I believe that husbands should share and discuss family strategies with their wives whenever possible. But that's not really what I am talking about ... things like bringing up the children, family economy, and other things he should discuss thoroughly with his wives and invite their input and, if necessary, modify his views based on superior advice. What I am talking about chiefly here is the husband's rôle and responsibility as a family minister in dealing with carnal problems like pride, jealosy, resentment, favouritism, selfishness, aloofness, and so on. For if he has a vision of echad polygamy ... which doesn't just mean being in agreement about things (for we can agree in error too) ... then his goal is the kind of intimate oneness that is enjoyed by the Godhead but on a human plane. And he can't possibly achieve that unless he is actively engaged in leading his family in the way they must go to achieve that goal.
Are you saying that there are things that a husband cannot explain to his wives and they must simply trust and obey him?
Absolutely. A man called to be a polygamist must be a minister. He can't ultimately succeed in this lifestyle if he isn't. That is why I have hammered in the point over and over again that to enter this principle if you are not called to it, and equipped for it, is spiritual suicide. Polygamy, like no other principle in existence, forces you to confront your sin-nature in such a forceful and glaring manner that it will either make you or break you. And if you're not called into it - man or woman - it will break you. But once you know, you are obliged to ride the waves.
That doesn't mean, of course, that if you are experiencing gargantuan upheavals inside that you aren't called into it! That's often just a carnal cop-out ... an excuse to run away. Any kind of intimate relationship brings your own spiritual nature into sharp focus, for good and evil.
Certainly. Many of our carnal chartacter traits are the result of demonic forces ... demonic strongholds never properly dealt with but which are often starkly revealed in polygamous marriage. This scares a lot of people, especially those who are not sincere about working out their salvation in fear and trembling and who really aren't that serious about changing. I've said it before, and I've said it again, practically from Day #1 in a polygamous relationship you are plunged into a spiritual war ... or rather, the existing war is simply spotlighted and can't be hidden anymore.
And that's one of the reasons Yahweh promotes this lifestyle. It's His way of training up His sons and daughters for high responsibility and calling in the Kingdom. And what you don't need is ministers who have unresolved carnal tendencies that are going to impede judgment or sow strife. Yahweh's men and women ministers of these the last days, when polygamy has been restored for a purpose, have got to be clean. They have got to be straightened out. If they aren't, they will just crumble or cause unspeakable damage to those whom they have responsibility for or live together with. Look at some of the famous and influential so-called 'Christian' ministers and the things they are saying and doing. Many, if not most, are already in the enemy camp, misleading millions of souls with perncious heresies.
So whenever a new wife comes into a polygamous family that isn't compromising with the world, you have instant warfare. Be prepared for it. The question is, once the battle has begun, how do you deal with it? And that's where the water analogy comes in.
I was hoping you would return to that ...
You see, many patriarchs, when they see the ugliness of the carnal nature manifesting in a new wife, come down with an iron fist. Instead of working with the spiritual processes that will disarm and heal such tendencies, they apply brute force and suppress it. They may occasionally feel justified in doing so especially if the nature of the negative forces threatens to destabilise and destroy his family. And here he has a complicated balancing act to maintain.
You mean that sometimes 'brute force' is necessary?
In extreme situations, in order to prevent serious disorder, yes, it must be done - and I am speaking of the non-violent type, naturally. But this should never be the default reaction. Many patriarchs are so busy in other things that they never have time for their wives' problems and expect them to sort these out by themselves. That he cannot do. It is his duty to lead as the family minister. Yes, the other wives, if they are mature enough, can, and often do, sort out their personal problems between themselves, which is good, but it is not their responsibility to create the overall echad, for in truth they cannot. The husband has to be the directing force. And the way he directs is important.
Polygamous husbands - patriarchs - must always imitate what Yah'shua (Jesus) does. And in such comparable situations, best illustrated by looking at the dynamics of the local assembly or church, you will find that there is a dual response to manifestations of carnality and evil. These two principles are always operating hand-in-hand to some extent though the proportion in which they operate depends on the circumstances. Accordingly, guidance by the Ruach (Spirit) is essential.
Is this the principle of 'inner and outer clothing' that we often hear spoken of in the Holy Order?
Yes, very similar to it. Let me give you a practical illustration in a local congregation. If someone is seriously out of order and causing a disturbance in the congregation, the first thing that the Pastor will do, if he is following the scriptural pattern, is to silence the trouble-maker. Then he begins to minister to him with loving kindness, patience and persuasion. There are always, in any community setting, two sets of people to consider and minister to - the community as a whole and the individual out or order.
For instance, many years ago in my assembly (church), there was a member who was constantly teaching false doctrines and openly declaring that this was the fellowship's position to visitors and investigators. Not only did it confuse those seeking after Christ but drove many away. At first I tried to reason with him whilst not putting any ban on him, but he paid no attention and just continued. In the end I realised that I had to silence him because he was causing so much dissention in the flock and giving the public a false impression of who were were and what we stood for by misrepresenting us. I invited him to present his beliefs to the Elders of the congregation and defend them from the Bible. This he was not able to do, even when shown what the true teaching was, and we were eventually forced to disfellowship and excommunicate him. One never wants to do this but it became clear to us that Satan was operating through this man to destroy the congregation. This has happened more than once in my life
I learned in my early days as a pastor the importance of correct balances. If a wife gets out of control (and it does happen sometimes), then it is sometimes necessary to silence her until she has calmed down and can think rationally. The usual form is to ask her to go to her room or take a walk until she has calmed down.
You would consider that justifiable force?
Yes, absolutely. You can't, in any case, rationalise with a person who is angry or emotionally out of control. The best thing for everyone is to use a velvet-covered iron hand and just order her to 'stop' just as I have done with brethren out of control in the local assembly. That is not, of course, to gag them permanently, but is just a temporary measure for everybody's sake.
Knowing when and how to do this is very difficult ....
Oh yes, it is - very difficult. And I've experienced it in a monogamous marriage too ... once, when my first wife got completely out of control because she didn't get her own way (which in this case was manifestly evil), she began throwing things around the house. For the sake of the children, who were terrified, I had to restrain her forcibly. And this is not something that comes easily to me for I am by nature the quiet and pacific type. I rarely raise my voice and almost never my hand, but there have been times when both have been absolutely necessary.
Now other men may be of a quite different disposition to me. Many are very forceful and, in my opinion, brutal and abusive. The use of force is almost reflexive for them. But this is not the Christian/Messianic way. There are times and seasons to be strict and restrictive.
Now water is both very gentle and soothing, as well as powerful and destructive, even when it is gently moving. We have all sat in a stream or a river with a gentle current, I am sure, and enjoyed the sensation of the water over our skin. But little to we realise that that same water is eroding sharp and jagged stones into smooth pebbles.
If you want to smooth a stone you can use two methods - either you can get a powerful sand-papering device and do the job in a few minutes, or you can use the water-erosion method and watch the same result after weeks and months.
If both methods work, then both would surely be right at different times?
Good question. But beware. Yes, the violent sandpapering method works for sure, but what if you make a mistake? You could shatter the stone. Look at the jeweller who makes diamonds. Cutting diamonds is not an easy matter. Make a mistake and the diamond is flawed.
I get your point.
You see, we can trust Yahweh to use the violent sandpapering method and my goodness He frequently does. But He is omniponent, omniscient and has complete control. He knows how far to go and can control the forces which may be causing us strife ... forces we may resent but which are actually being used constructively for our benefit and salvation, to bring us to self-realisation, contriteness and repentance. But I would be very, very careful about conceeding such powers to finite man. Occasionally I have seen very mature ministers employ such methods to good effect but more often than not I have seen things go disasterously wrong, and souls damaged and ruined. And that is why I prefer the gentle erosion method.
Are you saying that you uniformly treat all spiritual maladies in your home?
No, sometimes one must strengthen the eroding current, but the medium is always water. And here water symbolises love. It may not always be appreciated as love, but that is often because people come with many preconceptions as to what love is and prefer to define it in a way which is convenient to their personal comfort zones.
Could you give an example of 'increasing the current'?
I could give many. For one thing, not letting problem-issues hide away or duck out of the spotlight. If a brother in the congregation or a wife in a polygamous family is, say, confronting a tendency like jealosy or the desire to dominate and control, then, at suitable intervals, I will bring the subject up again. By increasing the frequency of bringing the subject up again I am increasing the erosion force. If I feel the person can't deal with it for a legitimate reason, then I decrease the frequency in which I bring the issue to the fore. More often than not a person with such a problem will experience a resurgence of the problem simply by being around people and either he will be aggressive each time or he will exert his will power to control it by force of will. This initial form of self-control, though not itself capable of effecting a healing, is nevertheless the first conscious choice of love, because it senses that others are being hurt and it does not want to do this. Often, quite uninitentionally and with the best of motives, this 'checking' proceedure can lead to supression. This is very often where I step in to make sure that it does not remain that way ... and that means bringing the can of worms out into the daylight again.
That can be tricky sometimes, I've found.
Yes, very. For a loving husband does not want to hurt his wife and so it is with great reluctance that he brings the issues out again and again ...
And very draining too ...
Absolutely. To be a true minister either in a congregation or in a polygamous family is to literally lay your life down. You have to offer yourself as an emotional punchbag and take whatever comes, even if it means physically exhausting yourself. The way in which you react - by either taking the punches, punching back, or simply having nothing more to do with the person - determines the level of your spiritual maturity. That is the way I judge whether men are ready for callings as Elders or not ... and indeed women as Eldresses too. For if they are an emotional powderkeg, they can never be balanced and bring a healing ministry to others. At the same time, if they are so soft and sweet that they are not able to say 'no!' or 'enough' then equally they are unprepared, for their parishoners (or wives) will just ride roughshod over them.
So the message, once again, is balance ...
Balance and persistence. Poor pastors and husbands are often those who lack in one or the other. Balance is critical or you end up with a spiritually unhealthy congregation and family. But unless you persist ... and I'm talking about a lifetime committment here ... your whole ministry is a waste of time. You have to have staying power, resolution to see your stewardship to the very end, and enough love to motivate you to do it with a warm heart so that you don't just end up as a cold stone doing everything by shere will power. It is very easy to stop loving and to just do things by rote, like a machine, but if you do, your congregation and/or wives will come to resemble you. I have known patriarchs do this out of shere exhaustion because they have taken too much upon themselves, and this has led to unhappy households.
That water analogy was helpful, Stanisław, thank you.
It's a little gem I got from the Orient. Yahweh gives us so many wonderful clues in nature to teach us the different ways we can deal with ourselves and with other people.
You said earlier that you can't always explain to your wives why you do certain things. Could you elucidate on that?
If you are struggling with a particular carnal disposition like jealosy or the tendency to mistrust others, then you are, ipso facto (by that very fact), partially or even fully blind.
Even when you're calm?
Oh yes. I'm glad you mentioned that. I think most of us know that anger or emotional upset blinds - hence a 'blind rage'. But what people don't often realise is that even when they are calm they are blind too. They don't know what the outcome of their healing is going to be, because in all likelihood they have either never experienced it or it was so long ago that they have forgotten what it was like.
There is a world of difference between a theoretical proposition in your head and to be actually living in the spiritual condition you are forming mental pictures about. I have known people who have waxed eloquent on principles they have never experienced in their life. There's even one polygamy ministry where the minister is a monogamist and hasn't a clue what polygamy is except what he's seen, observed and theorised about. You can never know the truth of something and speak with authority about it until you have lived it ...
Now I am not saying that to be able to minister to ex-satanists, as I do from time to time, that you have to have been a satanist yourself to really understand them. There is a faculty of the human spirit which allows you to interface by a process akin to empathy so that you can feel and know, to some degree, what it is like to be in such a situation, and so be able to reach and help them with understanding. People who have studied Shakespeare have often wondered how he, and other authors, are seemingly able to get into the heart of a character like a thief or a murderer without ever having been either of these before. To that I can only answer that it is a gift. If you have that gift, Yahweh can use you, and use you mightily. And whilst it is true to say that an ex-satanist who has been saved often has a deeper appreciation and understanding of someone who has been in his or her predicament than one who has not, that is not to say that only they can minister. On the other hand, if you don't have that empathic gift (a gift incidentally which I believe the Spirit can, and often does, give to those who are born 'naturally' with it), then the chances are you may find yourself very limited in your capacity to minister, but by no means helpless.
But there is a difference between what I call looking 'up' to looking 'down'. In the realm of spirit, those who possess the anointing of the Holy Spirit and have overcome, for example, a particular vice, are able to look "down" and understand what those who are still struggling are going through. But the reverse is never true.
In this instance, it's like being separated by a two-way mirror (see diagram). The one who has overcome jealosy is able to look through the mirror at the sister or brother struggling with this carnal tendency and 'see'. But the one still struggling cannot 'see' the one who has overcome. All she or he sees is her or his reflection, and assumes that what is being seen is the other person. I have experienced this phenomenon so many times that I am not in the slightest doubt about its truthfulness.
That's a fascinating concept - I've never thought of it that way.
The person struggling - because so much passion is involved, and perhaps because they have overcome in other areas which their sister-wife or minister may be still struggling with, can often assume that they are beyond blindness and fantasy. But that's just the problem with all sinful tendencies. They not only render you blind to the precise nature of your problem but actually throw back false images at you so that what you think you see in your minister is just a reflection of your own unredeemed self. How many times have you been accused of a fault which isn't there but which is actually just a projection of the accusing person with the self-same fault?
Plenty of times!
Well, that's the principle in action. Sin is not only blind to itself but projects itself on those others who do not have the same sin. They will often justify themselves by saying things like 'Oh, well, you're not perfect' or something similar. And whilst this may be true in other areas, it is just a deflecting shield from their own particular problem.
So in a way, we are all ministering to one another?
Well, that's how I understand the Gospel. Everybody is able to, and called to, minister to everyone else, but in a non-compulsive way. But, added to this truthful observation, is the fact that Yahweh has also called certain people who are gifted or endowed with the ability to 'see the overall picture' such as ministers in congregations and husbands in homes.
Am I right in thinking you are implying that a wife in a polygamous relationship can't see the whole picture as her husband can?
On her own, no. In unity with her husband and sister-wives, yes, absolutely. And though this may not be a popular answer, it is nevertheless true. That is the nature of the female principle, and the way women were created. But remember this: in her turn, the wife is also ministering to her husband in other areas. He is not "without" his wife. I am not saying that a man is superior and without need of his wife or wives. It is a relationship of mutual dependance, each ministering differently. But when it comes to the overall vision, I will categorically state that only the husband is given it, and his wives must, to some extent and under biblical mandate, trust and follow him in faith.
That could be a tough pill for some of the sisters to swallow.
No tougher than a man being told that he can never be complete without the spiritual leavening of his wives. It is written in scripture that the wives reveal their husbands. And if you look carefully at the Godhead you will see funtional equivalences. (But you will need to understand New Covenant Godhead theology to appreciate this fully).
Yahweh often tells us to do things without explanation. Even Christ doesn't know the date of His return, showing that He is not omniscient in absolutely everything. He still doesn't know. Then we must ask ourself the question: who is it who reveals Christ to us? Answer: the Holy Spirit. This is a big subject and one we don't have time to get into here, suffice to say that the Holy Spirit, being female, is the revelaing principle when it comes to showing the children of men who Elohim (God) is. (Please see Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and His Place in the Godhead and The Trinity for a compehensive view of New Covenant Godhead theology).
So are you saying that your wives don't have a clear idea of where you're taking them?
No, I wouldn't put it quite like that. They have a general understanding of that, but none have seen the blueprint as I have, though I have been progressively revealing it to them.
Do you think they ever will?
Not until the end of the journey, no, I don't think so. As we must wait in faith following our allegorical Bridegroom, so they too must walk in a certain degree of faith, trusting me to not lead them astray.
Has that become easier over the years?
For the wives who have been with me a long time and stuck the course, most definitely. There were many things I taught them which they accepted with reluctance in the beginning but they obeyed and trusted me and can now see, further along the way, that I was right.
Well, my strict policy about acceptable and unacceptable music. Three out of four of my wives have all struggled with that (2002). One left me with the issue unresolved, and two have now understood to a much greater extent.
I can see that would be a problem for some. It's something that's 'in the blood' for most poeople.
Yes, it is. And without getting into a discussion on this interesting topic, contemporary music - be it pop or rock - is one of the major spiritual handicaps facing 21st century Christians/Messianics. I have come under a lot of pressure to compromise on this but I have to say that I am as hard and uncompromising as a rock in this area. It is difficult, if not impossible, to verbalise, made harder when demands to 'explain' myself have often been made. I can explain so much, but in reality much can only be understood through the Holy Spirit. I've been accused of letting personal preferences dictate what everyone else has to listen (or not listen) to in the family, and whilst it is true that I am not infallible, this is a burden that Yahweh has laid on my heart since even before I was an adult or became a Christian/Messianic, a burden that ran contrary to the cultural stream and the pressures put on me to conform with it. The Elders in our Order are in broad agreement. But even if I am slightly wrong in some musical areas, the point is I am creating a family unit that is moving along a unitary direction, and it is my stewardship to determine how best to do that.
Have you yourself been forced to abandon types of music you once liked in order to conform to the vision the Lord has given you?
Oh yes, definitely. I was, at one time, very much into electronic moog and was told expressly to drop that, and there have been some other forms too. This particular issue does, however, go beyond my home and into our wider fellowship where the Apostolate is equally strict. This is an area where the Body of Christ (Messianic Community) is particularly weak.
So this has been a source of stress for our family and every time a new wife comes into the family it seems to repeat itself. That is one of the great stresses of being a polygamist man.
Like having to start all over again?
Yes, and it gets harder the older and more tired you get . If a patriarch is as senstitive as he ought to be, and not a cold, aloof tyrant, then any new wife coming into his family will profoundly shake him.
Even if he's in love with her?
Oh yes, absolutely. Once he has entered into the mariage covenant and joined himself to her, the process of merging begins. There is the beginning of a transfer - both internally and externally - of thoughts, feelings, attitudes and habits. The experience is profound.
And when you meet areas of diagreement, then potential conflict?
Yes, but I am addressing more of the actual inner spiritual experience. When a new wife enters the family, it's like an umbillical cord comes into existence so there is an intimate exchange of the substance of that person. Because the husband is connected in a similar way to his other wives, and because the wives are themselves connected by mutual covenants, there is a partial exchange.
Oh yes, it is not complete, and can't be in the beginning. And though the connection with a marriage partner is much more intimate and is permanent, we experience similar things when we connect with the world. We possess - or ought to possess - mental, emotional, and spiritual filters as we interact with other people. Such things as impure sexual advances, sinful expressions, and so on, should meet an invisible filter in us, preventing us from bonding with them completely. This is also true when a new wife comes into the family.
You mean it's not a complete and free connection??
Potentially, yes, but in practice, no. Husband and wives have spiritual filters in place which the husband has set up through spiritual education. They were not always there and indeed I have had the same experience with every new wife. It is sometimes assumed, wrongly, that when a man and woman marry they should simply absorb unselectively all that the other is.
This is hard to convey and it is even easier to misconstrue. And it's very personal too.
On your wedding night, when the marriage is consummated physically, a unique spiritual connection is made. Every experience has been profound for me, not just because of the physical intimacy, but because I have been accutely aware of a mingling of spirits. It's like two swimming pools joining together with different coloured water in each and then mixing. Just as it is beautiful to watch colours mixing (at least it is for me) so it is equally awe-inspiring to sense the mingling of spirits. It's like a gentle osmosis - not so much a rush (as in physical passion) but a gentle meeting. Each time this has happened on my marriage night I have also sensed forces that I am confronted with that I cannot let past into me, so that full mingling cannot take place. The force may be an attitude (like jealosy) in which case I am aware of a barrier within me that does not let it pass. The reaction is not like that of an antibody being released at the presence of a foreign antigen in the blood stream.
It is hard to convey the precise experience but I hope you get what I mean.
Yes, I believe so.
Because I'm talking about spiritual forces here.
Do you mean to say, that whilst you are consummating a new marriage, that you are actually aware of this process in action?
Yes, absolutely. For me the act of first union is never blind passion. I am always fully conscious ... enjoying the intimacy, but also aware of my responsibility to Yahweh and to the other wives as to what I admit into the collective persona of the family through sexual transference.
These are very radical and hard-to-understand concepts ...
Well, this is what we mean by echad or oneness polygamy ... mystical polygamy if you like. Most polygamists probably never consider these things, with physical union being seen as no more than that -- physical union. But it isn't. Marriage is a much deeper, more spiritual and sacred experience. It is the most intimate form of union there is, which is why our relationship to Christ is depicted not only in marrital terms but specifically in polygamous one. I am one husband with three wives (2002), but there is also a fifth entity that is being created which is not an abstract concept of oneness but a literal, substantial spiritual body ... like a shell over all of us which defines our togetherness, and one which, as you know, I believe to be immortal if it in Christ.
What about the other way round? Should the wife be filtering out things in her husband?
If she has to do that -- assuming she can do it in the first place -- then in all likelihood he shouldn't be in polygamy. I believe she can, but that the action is not natural to the woman. Her desire is to her husband, and so the natural disposition of the woman is to just completely open up and want to merge with him. I have never asked my wives (perhaps I ought to ask them directly) but the impression I have got from each of them was that during the first marriage night their thoughts were not on what they were uniting with and whether they should erect barriers or filters up, but on the simple act of uniting.
And doubtless most men are thinking that way. I know I was, to a much greater extent, in my first marriage. Most men are in any case so occupied with the effects of testosterone that spiritual things are farthest from their mind.
Now I realise that the way I have said this could sound mechanical, heartless, and even weird to some. And that is why I was hestitant to talk about something so personal and so hard to articulate. I would not wish anyone to think that I was cold and calculating on my wedding night! Far from it! Like any other man, I am occupied with the multiplicity of stimulations and pleasures of that sacred time. But I put the spotlight on that particular phenomenon to the exclusion of the others only to illuminate something which is usually hidden - it isn't because everything else is less important!
This vision you have a polygamy is completely unlike anything else I have heard from other polygamists and polygamy ministries, and yet it all makes perfect sense as you explain it. The things you say I have experienced in my own plural marriage in similar ways. But how can a man have a proper spiritual vision before he enters into polygamy? What does he need to do, once he knows he has been called, and his first wife has the same calling and desire?
So many things, as you know, but let me in conclusion focus on one thing, and that is the sexual. Whether they want to admit it or not, for the vast majority of Christian/Messianic polygamists, the sexual aspects of having more than one wife are a part of the impulse that drives them to desire this lifestyle. Now I know I am treading on thin ice here and I don't want anyone to misunderstand me, so bear with me, because there is a dual principle that needs to be understood.
Firstly, if a man didn't have any sexual attraction to his second, third, or fourth wives (or however many he has) there would be something wrong with him. Men often feel they have to apologise for their sexual attraction, or somehow spiritualise it away, in order not to offend the sensibilities of the monogamy-only orientated woman. There is nothing wrong in a man being attracted sexually to more than one woman because it is natural and permissable. BUT ... and this takes me to the other principle ... unless he is SATISFIED with his first wife sexually, and doesn't NEED another wife, he will never enter into the true spirit of polygamy.
Or to put it another way: if a man has sexual hangups, or feels his first wife isn't giving him what he thinks he needs, then he should not be entering polygamy as a sexual cure or as a means to release his libido. Once a man thinks or behaves that way, he is degrading the worth of a woman by saying that she can never be enough for him and is therefore in some way inferior. To think or act in this way is not only a sin but a fatal error. If he enters a polygamous marriage in this mindframe, it distorts his spirituality, create stresses and frictions, and never leads to echad polygamy.
Before a man enters into polgamy, he has got to get his sexual hang-ups fixed. There are just no two questions about it. And whilst I know patriarchs have slipped into polygamy with the wrong mindframe and later sorted it out, and made successful polygamous marriages, to do so is to bring unnecessary burdens on the wives and to make them suffer. For no matter how much you think you may have your libido under control (and you must have that in polygamy), it is all too easy to delude yourself, and operate in blindness just like a wife struggling with a vice like jealosy.
Shouldn't a wife, using the same logic, not enter a polygamous marriage before she has fixed a jealosy problem?
A conscientious woman might think that way but you don't actually face the immediacy and full force of such a problem until you're 'in it'. Besides, her calling isn't the same as her husband's. As the head, the man has as his obligation to be ready to lead. It is his obligation to wage spiritual war on behalf of his wives as their spiritual covering. He has duties and responsibilities that the wives don't. That is his sacrifice. And if he isn't ready to make it, he has no business being a polygamist.
Women have their responsibilities, and one of them is to yield peaceably in tranquility, without resentment, to their husband's leadership even if they can't understand or agree always. That is her duty and sacrifice. Each have their respective spheres of responsibility. Neither has a greater burden or responsibility than the other in the general sense. When the whole picture is seen, it is clear that they are in every respect equal, but equal in different ways and in differenrt spheres of activity.
This is made hard, don't you think, by the blurring of gender rôles in society?
It's extremely difficult. Men have got to be men, and women be women. Women are too masculine and men too feminine these days - hence the lack of sound leadership and proper submission. And instead of the balanced middle ground, there is a polar opposite of beastly agressive butch macho-men and enslaved, child-like oppressed and imprisoned women. Society is completely polarised now, and we echad polygamists are slap in the middle taking the punches from both sides.
The brutality of men has forced women to either become more masculine, feministic and Jezebelic in order to survive, or reduced them to pathetic shadows of their real selves. Then there are the feminised men who won't do anything and are content to let their wives lead and exercise patriarchal prerogatives. Men and women are coming to Christ totally messed up, and then entering polygamy long before either are ready. You can't just leap from the world into Christ and then into polygamy, any more than a new convert can become a pastor overnight. Time, ministry, and a willingness to change under the influence of the water-principle are what is needed.
Thank you for painting out the 'big picture' - we often get caught up in the details of polygamy that we lose sight of the wider vision.
And it's a big picture, for to be a patriarch-polygamist in our day, you need a WHOLE battery of skills to be ready for the lifestyle. That is where, we hope, HEM can give guidance and training.
May Yahweh's blessings be upon all those who are called and struggling in Christian/Messianic polygamy, and may we all overcome in love, grace, patience and self-discipline.