It was Karl's turn to drop his head. "I had no idea," he said meekly.
Suszana began to softly cry and Stan leaned over to put his arm around her.
"What Maria needs is a combination of firmness, patience and loving-kindness. She's not nearly ready for romance and indeed seems very mixed up about it. One part of her wants to wait a few years but the other is very taken with your purity and goodness, Karl. I am myself in two minds - on the one hand, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you as a prospective husband to her, but on the other hand I have to say that she isn't remotely ready for marriage and in that respect I could not recommend it. I'm sorry to say but outside the immediate family you are her one life-line. The fact that she was so rude to you betrays how much she actually loves you because I've never heard her speak to anyone outside the family like that."
Karl looked up, surprised.
"Brother Królewiec, tell me honestly - do you think that Maria and I are supposed to be married? Has the Lord told you anything?"
Stan paused. "It would be completely wrong of me to influence you in what must be a personal decision, and if Yahweh had told me in a revelation that you two were to be married because that was His will, I would never reveal it to either of you. From my own selfish point-of-view, I believe you are the best thing that could happen to Maria, but that doesn't necessarily mean that she's the right woman for you, or that you're the right man for her. If you two were to marry now it would be a disaster and you would both be utterly miserable. I also believe, as you do, that you are called to marry polygamously, but I give that as no more than my personal opinion. You are clearly prepared for it and I believe that given time you would make a good job of it. For that reason you can never let Maria dictate what kind of marriage you should lead. You must firmly but lovingly stand by your convictions. Stability is what she needs most of all. It's possible she may leave this place and try to find someone else, but I don't think so. She's a fiercely loyal person, and once that rod of pride has been broken, she will make a good Patriarch's wife. But not before. In the meantime she has a great struggle to go through."
Karl looked appreciatively at Stan. "There's one other thing I have to mention," he said almost reluctantly, and this time he was afraid to hurt Suszana.
"Say freely what is on your heart. The truth ultimately harms no-one," said Stan.
"Well," said Karl, "I believe she is being oppressed by demons. I think she has a demon problem, and I think it's getting worse. And I think it's polluting this colony."
Stan looked resolutely at him. "Yes, I know. She is being progressively demonished by all the pop and rock she listens to secretly - though I know about it. Satanists place chants on the majority of rock albums and each time people listen to them, demons are invoked and they literally pour into the listener. Each time I get rid of a radio, she seems to find another one, so it's quite a battle. We need you to help in intercessory prayer - every day - because it's hard work. It's a thankless labour of love."
Suszana remained silent throughout. Painful memories of the past were being stirred up, ones she had hoped to forget. But now what had been sown earlier was being reaped in her daughter. And she was having similar problems, though in different areas, with her two illegitimate daughters, Nikki and Shirley.
Stan looked at Karl again. "Would you be willing to help us in deliverance prayer for Maria?"
Karl thought for a moment. Yes, of course, as a Christian he wanted to help Maria be free, but he felt young and inexperienced. And he was also involved in this romantic web himself. He loved Maria as a sister but at this stage no more, because her worldliness utterly repelled him. He wasn't sure if he wanted to marry her. Sometimes he could see the possibility when he looked past her many faults, but at other times she was farthest from his mind.
Karl was already looking at one or two other young women who had visited the colony but had been too shy to take his interest further by directly cultivating a friendship. He knew the hazzards when it came to polygamy, that one had to be careful, and spend a lot of time preparing the theological and emotional ground carefully. It was hard for someone his age not to be physically attracted and awaken romantic desire but at the same time he didn't want the pain of being turned down by a woman who would only want him monogamously, as Maria currently did. He was sure the Lord would provide, as he had been taught, but found the colony's policy of cultivating friendship and brotherhood first quite difficult at times.
Though he had gotten over it, he had smarted at the clumsy and uninspired way that he had handled Hanna in the days before she was properly saved. He also felt stupid and inferior before the elder Patriarchs, sometimes forgetting that polygamy was not a cattle market but by divine providence, fearing that they with their greater wisdom and maturity would always be more successful in wooing women than he, a mere minor compared to them. He couldn't but help notice how Stan had attracted so many young women and at times considered the marriage stakes hopelessly stacked against a greenhorn like himself.
But he was interested to hear that two women from Estonia - Hilda and Silvia - were coming the following month in search of husbands, and knew that Stan was not going to take them. There had been much discussion in the colony in both the Engström, Nilsson and Åkerstedt households, though he knew his father wasn't particularly keen. And what could be worse than to have your own father as a competitor in romance! ... or so he had thought in his worldly mind-frame at odd moments of time when he had drifted away from his Christ-focus. What a hell it would be to live polygamy with God not in control, he had thought to himself, for then it would truly become a mere cattle market.
Suszana finally spoke, taking the young man's hand: "If you would pray for our daughter, I would be really grateful," and wiped away some more tears.
Karl was moved by this show of motherly love and yielded, and not reluctantly, for he had already made up his mind to do so having heard Stan speak.
"It's a 50:50 chance that Maria will go one way or the other," said Stan soberly. "There's a terrible battle being fought for her soul in the spirit-realm, and the more she stubbornly resists, the harder it will be for the Lord to keep Satan from taking her completely. God is full of grace, but the day of grace is not endless, and justice must finally make it's claim so long as a soul resists the plain truth. As you can imagine, we are very worried indeed, because it's not as though the final outcome is clear. I believe that she will overcome - eventually. My main concern is that it is sooner rather than later so that she is spared the suffering that inevitably comes from wanton rebellion against the Lord."
Stan stood up to indicate that there was nothing more that could be usefully discussed. Karl shook hands with Stan and Suszana and left considerably sobered.
Suszana remained with her husband for a while in his room, though she knew there was little they could discuss further about Maria. She would go up to her room and see what she could do for her.
Maria was Stan's firstborn child and therefore held a special affection for him, inspite of all the trials and tribulations she had brought into his life. He knew she had considerable potential and that once she had made the right choice would become a mighty instrument in His hand. But so long as she remained on the devil's turf, she would be a constant thorn in the side, and in some respects a serpent in Eden. Because of the strict rules of the colony, and the need to keep it pure, he knew there would be pressure to have her move off the property if she did not reform in at least the more important areas such as speaking respectfully to her elders and observing the sabbath in the prescribed way. Though her influence on the smaller children was not great, because she kept herself to herself, it was inevitable that the younger girls in the family would look up to her as a kind of rôle model, thus creating a very unhealthy situation. Balanced against this was the even more important need for Maria to find safety and love in a family environment, where godliness could be observed and experienced on a daily basis. Out in the world she would become easy pickings and by small increments be dragged into the worldly lifestyle with all its immorality and indifference to righteousness. She seemed to have no ambitions other than to be liked and adored, but all that she did only seemed to drive people away from her. There were one or two unbelievers in Poland who had been seriously interested in her, but she had turned these away when it became clear to her that they were more interested in her body than in adoring her inner self as she so much wanted. She was pretty, and therefore attractive to the opposite sex, but was anti-social and would not join in the partying scene. Though we may never know it for sure, it may have been her anti-social behaviour that saved her from getting into serious trouble.
Though stubborn and rebellious, Maria was not stupid. She knew that Kadesh-Naphtali was a place of safety and every time she went away soon longed to be back home. And in spite of her anti-polygamy stand (or neutrality, depending on her mood), she could see that her father and his wives were happy and that there was love all around. She repeatedly told Stan that she would never become a polygamist, and even though he had assured her that if this was God's will and what she wanted that he would honour that, she seemed to know that there might be a possibility, and that was enough to upset the applecart of her thinking.
Mind you, Suszanna had been a staunch anti-polyagmist for over two decades, so Maria's hostility may in part have been inherited. Suszanna's excuses had been all the usual ones - it wasn't 'natural', Adam had only one wife, polygamy wasn't 'equal', 'fair', or 'just' - Bishops and Deacons were only allowed one wife, and so on. She had armed herself with all the usual anti-polygamy rhetoric, assembled stories of unhappy polygamous families, and in general looked in all the wrong places in order to justify her own unredeemed feelings. And then, bitterest of ironies, she had left Stan and married a man who was himself not only a polygamist, but a dishonest one! But instead of condemning the man, who was also an adulterer, she rationalised his behaviour away because she had been in love with him!
Suszana had been so convinced of her 'rightness' that she had been willing to stake her whole life on it, much as Maria was now doing. Both women were no-nonsense types, but when they got off on a wrong track, they made complete and utter fools of themselves. Though many had envied Suszana as the 'perfect wife' when she was first married to Stan, they were soon to have the illusion popped when the marriage fell apart. The 'all-or-nothing' types make superb leaders when they're on the right track, but when they go off course, they often sink without trace.
It had taken Suszana nearly twenty years to learn from the hard knocks of life which she had received, not an easy thing for her personality-type. Though she was now settled and happy, there were still occasional problem areas. Apart from her own personal difficulties, she was now harvesting in her daughters the sins of her previous rebellious life, and was learning the awful truth of the curse that is passed down through the family for three generations. Though it was easily possible to break these curses through the atoning blood of Christ, it required the consent of the parties concerned. And Maria was not consenting. Their only recourse now was to petition the Throne of Grace and ask for God's merciful intervention
In this area of theology, Stan admitted he was completely floored. Though he was sure he had a basic working model of grace and justice that fitted with the biblical pattern, there were several examples which seem to shred his theory into pieces. Saul of Tarsus was the main doctrine-shredder because of the way the Lord broke in and turned his life around without any sort of appeal on his part. One moment he was a fanatical, murdering Talmudic Jew, and the next Christ was revealing Himself to him in such a way that he could not deny the evidence of his own eyes. Where was the justice in that? The only explanation that Stan could give was that Paul's appeal was, in a way, made in the future. Yahweh, knowing the man's heart, knew that justice would be satisfied by the magnitude of the sacrifice he was willing to make in response to Yahweh's act of grace. That was, he concluded, why he probably had to suffer so much.
Stan said that we would probably never fully understand how God reaches down to turn a man's life around. Trying to figure out cause-and-effect as the occultists do was, he claimed, a fruitless exercise, because Yahweh's mind simply can't be bottled up in human paradigms like that. That there was justice, he was in no doubt of, and was forced to see it in terms of something that was yet to be, that would satisfy justice and so explain the grace. He did not believe that Yahweh was completely arbitrary - that grace was something that could not be understood. For Stan, grace was something perfectly just and fair, only not in human terms. Since God had no favourites, showing no partiality whatsoever, being no respecter of persons, this was the only explanation that he could come up with.
It was therefore our husband's belief that if God suddenly broke into someone's life without any act of contrition or surrender on the person's part, that the price which had to be paid in order to meet the demands of justice was a life of complete and utter sacrifice like the apostle Paul's. He admitted the theory probably had flaws in it, but it served as a useful, if temporary, working model in his attempt to make sense out of life's most complex happenings. His hope was that if Maria did not manage to break through the pride and stubbornness barrier, that Yahweh would, for the salvation of her eternal soul. He had long had this niggling feeling that his daughter would make the ultimate sacrifice, as he knew he himself would one say, and in this more than anything else there was a mystical fellowship between the two. But he never said anything of it to her for fear that it would puff her up and make her even more impossible to live with. It would, he believed, be her subsequent faith that would save her after God had broken in, even though it was still hard for him to justify such a doctrine.
Stan's hunch proved to be right for Maria did have a divine appointment on her own Damascus Road. The crisis which had started on that November morning went from bad to worse. She became progressively more and more agitated, locking herself away in her room for hours on end, and neglecting most of her domestic duties. She began to hear voices telling her to do the most dreadful things and not a few members of the family grew alarmed. This would then be followed by great remorse because the thoughts the demons were planting in her mind were farthest from what she really wanted to do, but as their presence grew stronger and stronger, so her resistance began to weaken.
Stan's wives tended to give her a wide birth when she was about the house and to keep the small children away from her as her condition daily worsened. She would be found muttering under her breath like an old deranged woman, talking to imaginary people, and seeing phantoms around the house. She seemed to progressively disconnect from the real world around her and to live in her own inner hell. Stan grew more and more alarmed and the colony went into ever more active intercessory prayer for her, rebuking and binding the demons that were oppressing her, but ultimately failing because she simply let them right back in again through the ghastly music she listened to under headphones. So it was an uphill battle and one Stan knew they would ultimately lose if the Lord did not intervene.
In early December the miracle happened. Maria had gone to her room, locked her door (even though keys weren't allowed in the house), and got out a small portable radio she had smuggled into the house, and was soon bathing in the filth of the pop and rock world. As she was about to adjust the wavelength control to get another station, suddenly a huge man was standing in front of her, at least eight feet tall, and looking very stern. He was wearing what looked like a loose fitting brown shirt and brown trousers. His feet were naked but for brown sandals. His eyes seemed to be whirlpools of light.
For a moment, Maria was terrified. The radio set melted before her eyes and became a twisted lump of plastic and metal, forcing her to drop it out of her hands. But it didn't scald the duvet when it fell onto the bed. At the same time, the headphones slipped off her head and onto the floor.
The angel stood absolutely still for about a minute and then spoke, and when he did his voice seemed to thunder. She put her hands to her ears but she could still hear him.
"Why do you worship the devil?" he said sternly.
"I don't!" cried out Maria. "I worship God!"
"You worship the god of the music you listen to, and his name is Satan!" said the angel, in an even more rebuking tone.
The Spirit that accompanied the angel was so strong that she was unable to deny what he had said. She knew deep down in her soul that the messenger spoke the truth.
"It is hard for you to resist the truth," said the angel, but this time with compassion in his voice. "Go to your husband Karl and he will write down what you are to do." And with that the angel disappeared.
It was ten o'clock in the evening but Maria was out of her bed like a shot. With a mixture of terror and joy, she hurriedly ran out of her room, put on her coat, and went as fast as her feet could carry her to the Åkerstedts'.
She rang the door bell and Karl's father answered it.
"Hello, Maria," he said kindly. "What can we do for you at this time of the night?"
But she couldn't hear a word Bengt said. Again, he repeated his question, but all she could see were his lips moving.
"I want to see Karl!" she yelled, but could not hear anything she said. It was then that she suddenly realised that she was DEAF - she couldn't hear anything at all!
Panic gripped her but before she could turn on her heels and run back to the house, Karl appeared. Seeing the horror on her face, and wondering what terrible thing might have happened to her, he took her arm and gently led her into the house and into the living room.
Her mind was was in a whirl and when she spoke her words were slurred though comprehensible.
"An aingewl cayme into mah roum!" she shouted loudly, not knowing what volume level she was using. "Buwt Iye cawnt hear anywhing Iye'm saywing" she said, getting more and more frustrated.
Karl sat next to her and took her hand to try and calm her down. Bengt looked on and was about to go and ring Stan up when he felt the Spirit telling him not to, but to sit down and relax.
"What did the angel say?" asked Karl, but then realised she couldn't hear anything he was saying. He got up to get a pencil and pad of paper and returned, giving it to Maria, and then taking it back again in order to write down his question.
Maria started scribbling furiously for all her life's worth: "He said, 'Go to your husband Karl and he will write down what you are to do'" and then looked up at him blankly.
At first Karl thought this was some attention-getting trick on her part - that she was putting on the deafness too, but when she saw the disbelief in his eyes, she began to cry without making any noise at all, even though she was gasping and spluttering as one does in such a state. It then dawned on him that maybe she was telling him the truth after all.
He took the pad again: "What else did the angel say?" wrote Karl.
Maria hesitated. She did not want to relay the rest - she only wanted Karl to know that she was to marry him, which had been her ambition all along.
Karl wrote again: "Write everything - don't leave anything out - tell the truth!"
So reluctanly Maria wrote down the whole episode, about the way the angel appeared, how he had accused her of worshipping the devil, her denial, his condemnation of the music she listened to, his accusation of how she resisted the truth, and finally how he had told her to go to Karl and how her hearing had disappeared.
"What do I do?" she wrote down on the pad to Karl.
Karl didn't hestiate. "You have to change your whole life - accept Christ as the Lord of your whole life, get baptised, observe the Sabbath, repent of your rebellion and idolatry, apologise for speaking disrespectfully to your parents, stop your worship of Satan through bad music, never listen to pop and rock music again, accept polygamy if you want to marry me, apologise to everyone you have offended, be obedient to your parents, sing in Assembly, set a good example to your brothers and sisters, forget yourself, help out around the colony, work hard, and if you eventually marry me, to be obedient to what I say as your head, and from now on to do exactly what the Lord tells you to do."
He wrote without pause as though these things had been weighing heavily on his mind for a long time and he was simply repeating what he knew off pat. When Maria saw the list she was at first devastated and then angry, crumpled it up, and threw it on the floor. She raised herself up off the sofa, began shouting, and then stormed out of the house as she had done the month before. She slipped on the ice but did not hurt herself and trod more carefully on her way back to the herregård. By the time she reached the front door she was shaking, and muttering words that she could not hear: "The cheek! What a nerve!!", threw her boots and coat off onto the floor, and tramped upstairs to her room again.
The ruined radio lay on her bed where she had left it, reminding her that she had not imagined the whole experience, for she would almost certainly have tried to deny it had it not been for that crumpled up piece of electronics. She tried to shout and curse but she couldn't hear a word she said, nor the knocking on the wall telling her to pipe down as she was waking small children up. Then she started to cry but couldn't hear her own misery. She got under the duvet cover and lay staring at the ceiling, half expecting the angel to come back. But he didn't.
She remembered his words: "Go to your husband Karl and he will write down what you are to do." Then she remembered what her future 'husband' had written down, and every word stung her heart. "Never!" she cried out, but again couldn't hear what she was saying. And because she was so wrapped up in herself, it didn't cross her mind that others could hear her and that she was waking up the household. There was more thumping on the wall from her mother's room but again she didn't hear it. WładysławWładysław was in Gävle so there was no annoyed thumping from the next room.
She sank into misery and despair. How could she do everything that Karl had written? She might as well cease to exist, she thought to herself. Finally she went off to sleep but woke the next morning, still fully dressed, feeling no better than she did before. Though slightly more subdued when she realised she was still deaf, she was still up in arms.
By the time she came down to breakfast we had all been told what had happened. Bengt had buzzed Stan on the intercom and told him the whole episode, and he in his turn had told us the following morning. Stan was happy - buoyant would be the best world - convinced that it was show-down time for his daughter and that the Lord had answered his prayers.
Maria, who usually had very keen ears and seemed to hear the telephone or buzzer in all parts of the house was, of course, entirely ignorant of her father's knowledge of the previous night's proceedings. But when she saw her father's smiling face she began to boil inside and started shouting at him to stop looking at her in that way. But this time there was no reaction, just puzzlement on his face, for now she was not only deaf but also MUTE. They couldn't hear her either!
Panic began to seize her when she realised what had happened. What would be next? she thought to herself. "Oh, no! Not my sight! Don't take that away too!" she thought to herself, her words seemingly echoing inside the shell that was her body.
She sat down at the breakfast table and stared at her bowl of cereal, and started thinking. Of course, the Lord had taken away her hearing because she listened to so much bad music, and now He had taken away her voice because she had been blaspheming and speaking disrespectfully so much. But she didn't look at bad things, she thought to herself. "I don't look at porn or bad movies - maybe I won't lose my sight after all!"
Stan slipped his daughter a note. It read: "When you want to come and discuss this with me, just come along to my office," and left it at that.
Most mortals would have been humbled by losing both their hearing and speech but not Maria Królewieca. She was determined, it seemed, to hold out to the bitter end ... so long as she could retain her sight. It would be hell not to be able to see, hear or speak - that would be unbearable.
After breakfast she went back to her room and threw the mangled radio into the waste basket hoping that in doing so she might somehow rid herself of her two handicaps. She started craving for rock music but she had neither a radio or the ability to hear it. But the demons in her obliged happily enough, using the vast data bank of bad songs in her brain, and playing them back to her all jumbled up. Though she was deaf on the outside, everything on the inside was crystal clear.
The music grew louder and louder. Ugly faces started appearing before her and she put her hands up to her ears and closed her eyes as though somehow hoping to stop the hideous row that was drowning out her own thoughts. She began to see images of Druids, Wiccans and Satanists chanting over master-tapes of pop and rock music, casting spells on them, before they were used to mass produce tens of thousands of CD's, videos and cassettes with which to brainwash an indolent and senseless public.The demons started laughing, saying: "You're ours! YOU'RE OURS! YOU'RE OURS!!"
"NO!" she yelled inside, "I'm Christ's!! I'm covered by His blood! I'm saved!"
The demons laughed even louder and began to mock her. "If you were covered by His blood, we wouldn't be here!" and began to let off the most hideous screeching as though in evil celebration of their victory. Maria began to shake all over as she saw the prisoner that she truly was.
"Oh Lord, help me!" she cried within, and began to cry floods of tears as she bent up double on her bed. "Help me if you're there!"
Then there was silence - complete and deafening silence - and out of the silence came a booming voice like the sound of a powerful waterfall, and it said: "Read the piece of paper!"
Maria sat up shocked. Was that the Voice of the Lord? It was powerful and yet gentle too. But she did not want to read the piece of paper.
The mocking voices of the demons began to return, followed by laughter, and the violent strumming of electric guitars. She heard the screaming voices of a well-known rock band. The demons continued screaming and laughing in the background.
"All right, all right! I'll stop listening to rock!" she cried out again, but had determined in her mind to carry on listening to pop. The terrible noise continued, only the rock faded away and a well-known American pop star's voice came in. But the demons were still screaming and laughing. She put her hands up to her ears again and tried to scream as loud as she could, but no-one save the demons heard her, and laughed even more, until it felt as thought they were actually pressing against her face.
Maria leaped off her bed and stood on the floor facing the door and there at its foot was a piece of paper. Karl had come over to the house and, under the prompting of the Spirit, and with Stan's permission, slipped it under her door.
She bent down and grabbed it. The words seem to etch themselves in her mind: "You have to change your whole life - accept Christ as the Lord of your whole life, get baptised, observe the Sabbath, repent of your rebellion and idolatry, apologise for speaking disrespectfully to your parents, stop your worship of Satan through bad music, never listen to pop and rock music again, accept polygamy if you want to marry me, apologise to everyone you have offended, be obedient to your parents, sing in Assembly, set a good example to your brothers and sisters, forget yourself, help out around the colony, work hard, and if you eventually marry me, to be obedient to what I say as your head, and from now on to do exactly what the Lord tells you to do."
The music and the devilry stopped and all she could see and hear were Karl's words. They were painful to read and she was beginning to see how trapped she really was. Though it was the devil who had made her a slave to wickedness it was God, in His mercy, who had taken away her ability to hear and speak, just as He had taken away Paul's sight and Zechariah's voice.
She would now try to bargain with the Lord, which is always the last resort of a nearly defeated sinner. First she tried to save pop but give up rock. Then she said she would do everything on the list if Karl would not marry polygamously. Day after day she tried to negociate with the Lord and day after day the demons returned to haunt and plague her. Then she tried to call up the angel, to try and negociate with him, but he did not return.
"It's not fair! It's not fair!" she kept telling herself. "What have I ever done wrong?" and then remembered the terrible way she had spoken to her father, even threatening to kill him at one time and to expose his polygamy to the world ... that was one of the devil's favourite threats to polygamists, but Stan was not to be ruffled. Then she remembered how her neglect of duty meant extra work for the others. But she tried to rationalise that away too: "He's got lots of wives - it isn't much extra for them when it's split nine ways".
Then she tried the "polygamy is humiliating" ploy and "people outside will lose all respect for me" argument. Next it was finding as many faults with Karl as she could in order to make herself look better, but she knew he was an angel compared to herself.
She hadn't sung in a Church Assembly for ten years and had convinced herself that people would laugh at her if she opened her mouth. And yet she would defiantly scream out pop and rock lyrics at the top of her voice to try and provoke her father. As a small child she had memorised dozens of hymns and sung them with ghusto. Stan had been very proud of her then. But that had all stopped long ago.
"The strongest weapon against demons is the song of praise," said Stan to her one day. "Satan loathes praise. The song of praise has defeated entire armies and saved the Hebrews on more than one occasion. Music is powerful, but you have to choose the right kind. If you want to be victorious in your life, praise in word and song is an absolute must."
Then she remembered how the angel had accused her or worshipping Satan in the kind of music she listened to and sang aloud. She knew - because her father had told her so many times - that rock and pop was all about exaltation of the self as god and was high-level idolatry. Though she had never worshipped Satan directly as Satanists did, she was worshipping herself, and that amounted to much the same thing. The angel had told the truth.
She found her father and scribbled: "I'll do everything else except marry polygamously. God can't force me to marry someone I don't want to marry."
Stan wrote back: "That's true. He will never do that. But if you want to marry Karl you'll have to marry polygamously, because that's what he's been called to, and he intends to be obedient. If you want to marry monogamously, you are free too, but you'll have to find another husband."
"But the angel said that Karl was my husband!" she wrote.
"Yes, he is the one that Yahweh has given to you to marry. But you are free to choose. There are others out there you could marry but they won't be like Karl, and you must accept the next best, or the next best still. The choice is yours," wrote Stan.
"Will He give me my hearing and speech back if I choose not to marry Karl?"
"I believe so," wrote Stan. "That's negociable, I believe. But I can't truthfully say that the rest is."
Maria went off to think. She was not enjoying this one bit. Day after day questions and thoughts swam around her mind. Sometimes the demons and their infernal music would surface but she would rebuke them in the Name of Christ, claiming time to think over God's words to her. And they would usually go, though only after a struggle.
On the sixth day following the angel visit she finally yielded - with the exception of polygamy. She knelt by her bed and promised faithfully to do everything that was written on the piece of paper. When she had finished her prayer she felt a warm sensation over her whole body and then, quite suddenly, her hearing returned. She was so excited that she ran downstairs to her father's office, flung open his door without knocking, and shouted: "I CAN HEAR AGAIN!"
But no words came out of her mouth, and her heart sank.
"Can you hear what I'm saying?" asked Stan.
"Can you speak?"
She shook her head.
"What happened?" asked Stan.
So Maria proceeded to quickly scrawl on a piece of paper what had happened, how she had agreed to His terms as written by Karl, with the exception of polygamy. But in her heart she still wanted Karl monogamously.
Stan picked up what was going on. "You still haven't chosen in regard to the marriage issue. If you want Karl, you have to take polygamy with him. If you still don't want polygamy, then you have to let go of Karl. Once you've chosen, you will get your voice back again."
Maria left his office despondent. The struggle still wasn't over. And nor were a number of other issues properly resolved. Though she had agreed to all of Karl's other conditions, it was still more a matter of will-power than of her heart's desire. Though Karl was willing to lovingly work with her until the light of the Saviour's love had finally percolated down into her locked heart, he was not willing to sacrifice the calling he had to marry others. He had witnessed all that had happened in the Królewiec and Engström homes - and what was about to happen in the Nilssons' - and knew that this was what he wanted. Stan had counselled him a great deal, he was aware of the sacrifices, and understood that he might have to marry Maria before she was fully whole and healed inside. He was willing to sacrifice for her because of his love for her, provided she stuck to her covenants and provided she accepted other wives into the family.
"What do you think I should do, Brother Królewiec?" he asked him one day. "Should I marry Maria first or take another wife first? What would be best for her and for me?"
It was a sincere question and one that Stan had been asked by other prospective polygamists who were faced with taking women into their family who were disturbed in one way or another. They were not easy questions and could never be answered except with a clear Word from the Lord. He knew of men who mistakenly saw polygamy as a kind of sanitorium or hospice for hurt and damaged women. And though he knew of cases where the Lord had specifically commanded patriarchal men to take such women into the household and witnessed great healing miracles, he also knew of far many more who had acted on their own initiative and reaped the whirlwind of destruction.
"Marriage should never, never been viewed as therapy," insisted Stan once when counselling in the United States. "There are some men who think they are to be martyrs taking in spiritually damaged women. They view themselves as saviours and get destroyed by conceit and pride. Marriage can only ever be for love. It is not marriage that heals, save in some very rare cases where a women needs headship to restore her proper balance, but the love of Christ. It may well be that a damaged woman can, and should, be healed within marriage, but for the most part I would say that the ministry of healing should not be equated with marriage directly at all. The love that is needed for healing can get mixed up with romantic and sexual love, and whilst these two can heal on the emotional and sexual levels, they cannot directly administer to the spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.
"If a spiritually damaged woman is brought into a polygamous marriage she will bring strains and stresses with her which may not only upset the other wives but harm the children too. If such a woman is to be brought in, it must be with the absolute consent of the other wives, and must, of course, be in Yahweh's will.
"I can't give you any hard-and-fast rules because every situation is unique. It may be that such a woman should live under a separate roof, or it maybe that what she absolutely needs is to be round the love of the other wives so that she can be leavened by it. Even marriage is, at times, a redemptive ministry, but that is not it's main purpose, which is companionship. If a man marries a women out of sympathy for her but not love or the desire for her companionship, then it will go seriously wrong."
Karl knew that to take on Maria would mean much sacrifice and because it would require that he was determined to find another wife who could help him in his task. Stan challenged him to look carefully at his motives for wanting to do it that way, pointing out that another wife might undermine Maria's self-confidence and make even greater problems in the area of trust. It might be better to wait rather than marry her the way she was. The issues were complex and no human solution seemed to present itself. He even challenged him to consider that monogamy might be the best solution for Maria. Yet the angel had identified Karl as Maria's husband, so that issue seemed reasonably settled. And finally, Stan had asked him, what if Yahweh wanted Karl to be monogamous?"
Karl was in multiple dilemmas. Though he was convinced that polygamy was for him, when he was completely honest, he was not sure that it was 100% the Lord's will. And he hesitated about taking responsibility for Stan's eldest daughter, as much as he loved her. Since he had chosen to put the Lord first in his life in imitation of his father, he feared that Maria's demands might dilute that committment or even directly challenge it, and that was something he was not prepared to do. He was grateful, moreover, that Stan supported him in that decision, in spite of what he wanted for his daughter. And he thought that Karl was probably her best bet.