In this article I shall be introducing you to what we call Echad or Oneness Plural Marriage, the kind of polygamy we live, also known as Holy Echad Marriage or HEM (which can be monogamous too). I am going to start with an article you should have seen when reading the Essential Introduction: Holy Echad Marriage & the Elohim Principle which prefaces this website but in case you missed it, or skipped over it, I am going to share it with you again as it gives a concise overview of what the entire HEM website is about. So please read that first and then I will share a few thoughts on the importance of practical experience in learning more about this lifestyle as scriptural exegesis and theory isn't enough:
THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPERIENCE
Marriage is not something you debate or analyse but live. There is no end to debating and rarely agreement. Even amongst Christians/Messianics who acknowledge the Bible as the Word of Elohim (God), as we do, there is much debating. We are here not so much to debate the pro's and con's of plural marriage but to bear witness of what it is to live it successfully and joyfully. You can live, observe and discuss marriage. The unmarried observe and discuss - the married simply live.
"Truth is the daughter of Inspiration; analysis and debate keep the people away from the Truth" (Kahlil Gibran, Spiritual Sayings, p.7)
There are many homepages on the web that discuss patriarchal marriage and one or two that speak of its life. Above all else, we are a Practical Polygamy Page, though we do discuss the theory of polygamy at great length for the unmarrieds, for the searchers and for the apologists.
To live polygamy successfully does, however, require some sort of theoretical foundation, a vessel, if you like, into which those involved can pour their lives. The vessel in which we live our lives - New Covenant Patriarchal Marriage - is now well tried and has proven its resilience. It was not, moreover, always in its present shape, but has been refashioned a number of times to find the right fit. After over thirty years of exploration, we present to the world - and especially to the Christian/Messianic community - a way of life that is well tested and which works.
Only the other day I was discussing our polygamy with a Moslem couple from Aleppo, Syria. In spite of the fact that as Moslems they were the inheritors of a polygamous tradition, they had, like people from almost every religion - or no religion - almost no idea what it was that we were living. The lenses through which they viewed us so utterly and completely distorted everything we believe in and have experienced that we might just as well have been aliens from another world.
This website is large - and deliberately so. You cannot come to understand a lifestyle until you have properly immersed yourself in it, even if only as an observer. Theory alone, no matter how ingeniously constructed, will never give you an accurate perception of what living polygamy is, and certainly not echad polygamy which is not like other forms you may encounter, or may already have encountered. Furthermore, two families may utilise the same theory and end up living very different marriages. It is for this reason, therefore, that experience counts - and it counts a lot.
Kahlil Gibran tells the story of an engaged man and woman who go to their priest for advice about love and marriage. The priest waxes eloquent, speaks of giving and sharing, of thoughtfulness and tenderness, of cherishing and sacrifice. His advice is absolutely on the mark. But when he has finished, and is satisfied that he has performed his service well, the young woman stands up and asks how an unmarried priest can possibly know anything about, let alone give advice on, something that he has never experienced himself. How, she asks, can he know about passion, and feelings, and the physical impulses of ecstacy when he himself has never known a woman? And the couple leave in disgust.
The priest was well-meaning but his ministry was severely handicapped by his lack of experience. How could he, a celibate, advise them on sex? How could he, who had never experienced the tender caress of a woman, speak to them of the subtleties of physical affection? How could he, who had never known a deep relationship with a woman, give council on jealosy or the moodiness of women at the time of their menstruation? How could he possibly really KNOW anything, except that which he had heard from others?
Polygamous marriage is about movement and life. It is about the close, intimate interaction of human beings sharing a common purpose. It can only be understood through the eyes of those who have lived it. And if we, who have lived this longer than anyone else in the West (that we know of) can help others exploring polygamy or even embarking upon it, can help by sharing our own experience, we shall be more than satisfied.
We really hope this webpage will be a blessing to you who ever you may be. Whether you believe in polygamy or not, you will hopefully walk away having learned something and have experienced something of the richness life's diversity.