HEM Świętosława Brzezinska's Corner - 36. Tapestry Against Polygamy: A Reasoned Response
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    Świętosława's Corner 36

    Tapestry Against Polygamy
    A Reasoned Response

    To the Tapestry Against Polygamy Website (now defunct - 2016):

    I have been reading over your website and I find it very interesting. However, I also find it very inaccurate and, in places, blatantly false. You want people to believe that women are abused in polygamy and no doubt there are some as human beings are involved. The problem with that line of thinking is that there are far more abuses committed in monogamous marriage. Should we, then, outlaw monogamy?

    In your writings, you have only mentioned the Mormon abuses. You have given the impression that that is the way all poly marriages are conducted and you could not be more wrong. There is a large and growing community of Christian/Messianic polygamists who are devoted to their families and their Elohim (God), raising healthy, happy and mentally secure children. If you feel you must oppose the Mormon vision of polygamy, then, by all means, do so. But please do not paint all the polygamists with a Mormon brush.

    I do not really expect a response from you as it has been my experience that monogamaniacs seldom wish their convictions to be disturbed by truth. If, however, you wisl to converse further, I am available for discussion.

    By the way, in case you have not figured it out, I am a woman. I am free, happy and at peace and the children in our family are happy, cared for and secure. We rely on no state agencies to help support our children nor indeed our household. Further, I am not being forced to write this as my husband does not even know that I have found your site.

    Interested in reading your response.

    Świętosława Brzezinska Królewieca (May 10, 2002)

    From Tapestry Against Polygamy:

    I am sorry but your argument doesn't hold water. Of course there is more abuse in monogamy since the numbers are obviously larger in the monogamous sector of the population.

    I too spent time as a Christian polygamous wife and have seen the same type of abuse on both sides of the fence. From what I have seen the abuse is inherent in the lifestyle of polygamy.

    Burana Friar (May 14, 2002)

    Dear Burana,

    I do not, in any way, mean to diminish what you have been through, nor do I wish to be overtly insulting, but I must say that what you say you have seen in no way compares to the numbers and statistics, hard and inflexible, that counteract your supposition that abuse is inherent in polygamy. That you were abused, I do not doubt and do not mean to trivialize, but I too am a survivor of catastrophic abuse, albeit in a monogamous marriage. I don't particular like having what I suffered triviallized either. The simple truth is that in human relationships, sometimes abuse happens. And if you are going to make statements claiming that abuse is inherent in any type of relationship, then you need to be a little more researched than just by 'what you have seen.' As one person on a planet of four to five billion, that is not any kind of reliable statistic.

    It is not my wish to convert you to my way of thinking. I know that a person convinced unwillingly is unconvinced. However, I think there are a few researched facts you need to deal with before you can credibly make the assertion that abuse is endemic to polygamy.

    Philip Kilbride, an American anthropologist, states in his book, Plural Marriage for Our Time, polygamy as a solution to some of the ills of the American society at large:

      "Research and History has shown that in monogamous societies; adultery, murder, divorce, abortion, and prostitution are more common."

    Here are a couple of statistics you might be interested in.

      "Among the 849 human societies examined by the anthropologist Murdock (1967), the vast majority (83%) practiced polygyny, men having more than one wife; monogamy was characteristic of only 16% of the societies." (Monogamy as a Prisoners Dilemma: Non-Monogamy as a Collective Action Problem, J. Hughes Department of Sociology University of Connecticut).

      "Of 1170 societies recorded in Murdock’s Ethnographic Atlas, polygyny (some men having more than one wife) is prevalent in 850" (Hartung, 1982; On the Economics of Polygamy, Theodore C. Bergström).

    Two separate statistics to show that polygamous societies far outnumber monogamous ones, and the statistics that are in comparing the two show unequivocally the higher incidence of murder, rape, abortion, and prostitution in the 'less abusive' monogamous ones. Again, we can talk about individual cases all day. I will count broken bones with you any day if that is what makes your boat float, but please do not present me with your preconceived and ill-researched notions fueled by nothing but your own personal distaste because of what you have experienced and try to pass it off to an informed public as truth. That is dishonest and, in itself, abusive and manipulative. If you truly have a case, then, of course, present it. But use ethical research techniques and present facts, then present you case in a venue that has the possibility of challenge and rebuttal. If your beliefs about polygamy are legitimate then you have made your case. If they are not, then at least the truth has been illustrated for those, especially those who may be vulnerable and in a confusing time, who have no first hand way of knowing what the actual facts are.

    If your cause will not support this method of research and rebuttal, then I propose to you that you have not properly identified who or what is in the dock for being abusive. I would be most pleased to continue this dialogue if you wish. However, I would much like to do it with some scholarly integrity. I am not dogmatic and I am teachable but I will not respond to uncontrolled emotionalism and call it truth. My view of the principle is highly researched, scripturally, sociologically, and practically, and I am prepared to present my views to anyone who wishes to evaluate and respond to them. Are you?

    I don't write these letters just trying to get a debate going. I do not have to go looking for one in obscure places to do that, but I do feel led to confront inaccuracy that is being presented to the public as truth. For instance, I have no doubt, from anecdotal evidence that I have heard, that Mormon polygamy was an unmitigated nightmare for the women trapped in in but in no way would I state that in public as a fact unless I personally had researched it and knew the statistics and events that form that belief. To do so not only harms personal credibility, but, more importantly, may harm some innocent who may take what you present as truth, literally. If you think that this is some small thing, I suggest you read what the Apostle Paul has to say about those of us who claim to be teachers and the liability we operate under. If you value your spiritual health, you must stop and consider that. Yahweh will wink at ignorance, but do you think He will wink at willful deceit in one who presents themself as a teacher? My Bible says not.

    I pray these facts and statistics will at least balance your views a bit. If you would like additional discussion, I humbly stand ready to offer such.

    In His Love

    In His Service


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    First created on 14 May 2002
    Updated on 12 August 2016

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