I have been told by well-meaning but completely misinformed and ignorant men and women (not to mention a few non-Christian ones) that I am an oppressed woman because I live the polygamist lifestyle. None of them have ever met me, they have never seen my family circumstances, they have never discussed polygamy with me, they have never met my sister-wives, our children, shared a meal with us, visited us, or even studied the history of polygamy. Most of them don't believe in modern revelation, prophecy, visions, and such things and yet, quite incredibly, they are able to look into the life of a complete stranger and say she is oppressed. How do they do it? How do they have this incredible gift?
Well, to be truthful, they do have a gift, and it's called the Gift of Fantasy.
I have to admit that there are some people - notably feminists - who think that even monogamous marriage is oppression. They believe that marriage and family life is outdated and should be abolished. I hear there are quite a few New Agey people who think this way.
I'm one of those people who believes that sunshine is darkness ... when I'm blindfolded. I'm one of those people who finds it hard to read a book when there's a bright light shining on it ... when I'm wearing sunglasses. And I'm also one of those people who thinks that marriage - and especially polygamy - is oppressive for women ... when I am blinded by ignorance and destructive life philosophies.
Well, I'm not wearing a blindfold, I'm not wearing sunglasses, and I don't subscribe to all those silly negative philosophies that are ruining mankind (and womankind). If you want to rummage around in my trash can, you'll find them all there. But if you want to know the real me, quit looking around the trashcan and get to know me as a person, alright?
What The Others Don't Have
My husband says I shouldn't boast, but since all these nasty people having been fantasizing and saying the opposite of the truth I feel I have to counter-balance the lies with a big dose of reality. I don't want to be brainwashed by anyone, even if they think they're do-gooders, so I'm going to give myself a reality check. So for the next minute or two I'm going to write down all I've got which I know the others haven't:
Do I need to say any more? My dictionary defines oppression as cruel, harsh or tyrannical. Well, I've never experienced any of those in my marriage. Ever. It also defines it as heavy, constricting, or depressing. My experience is exactly the opposite. It also describes oppression as subjugating by cruelty or force. I was never subjugated. I came to polygamy or my own free and joyful will and I am staying in it for the same reasons.
- 1. I know I'm dealing with absolute truth because everything I stand for and do is based solidly on the Bible. I don't care what people say about the Bible but only what the Bible says about people. And polygamy is 100% endorsed by the Bible;
- 2. Even if I didn't have the Bible I'd still have what I have - I'd have everything that Yahweh (God) has given me in my life. Ultimately I have my life;
- 3. I have complete and utter peace in my heart. I'm a whole person. I am one. There aren't conflicting ideas and philosophies battling away in my head. My conscience is at rest. I have found the Path - the Way;
- 4. I have joy in my heart. It isn't fake but real. I am genuinely happy. I don't wish I was living another way as a single, in a monogamous marriage, or as a libertine. I don't want my circumstances to change;
- 5. I have a fantastic husband whom I'm in love with, who's my best friend, whom I look up to and admire, whom I respect, in whom I safely trust because he is guided by the same Elohim (God) and Bible as I am;
- 6. I have fantastic sister-wife companions whom I love, who are also best friends, whom I look up to and admire, whom I respect, and in whom I safely trust because they are guided by the same Elohim (God), the same Bible, and the same husband;
- 7. I have a big family with lots of rôle models to follow, with plenty of skills and talents to learn from and different types of personality to be challenged by. Not only is my family a miniature society but it's far more intimate than any other society you'll ever find. Because my sister-wives share the same husband we have something that only other polygamists have and which monogamists can never ever understand;
- 8. I have more opportunity to give and be blessed on an hourly basis. I don't need to go out looking for people to help (though I do that too) because there are people who need help right next to me all the time. And I also have someone at hand to help me at any time when I need it;
- 9. I have companions who know my husband as well as I do because of our shared intimacy so I don't need outside councellors if I have problems who can't possibly know my husband as well as a wife does. That means I solve personal and family problems much more quickly and effectively. Between us we know far more about our husband than his own parents do!
- 10. I have sister-wife friends whom I know will never let me down. They've laid out the same stake and made exactly the same investment as I have. We all know we're in this together for better or worse (and so far all the 'worse' has been from outside the family - from misguided people who think I'm 'oppressed' when I'm not);
- 11. Because my life is so whole and integrated, I am free to think my own thoughts about any subject without ever feeling guilty. I have complete freedom of expression in my home because we are all on the same quest-journey for truth - we are learning together. My husband isn't some tyrant who dictates everything - our only 'dictator' (and how benevolent He is!) is Yahweh. My husband, as head, only makes decisions that override me or the others if there is a disagrement, and that almost never happens!
- 12. Because I don't accept the values of the so-called sexual revolution with its focus on physical things, I am not in revolt against Yahweh's wise and wholesome laws on sex. I therefore have a balanced, controlled and sufficient sex life. I do not need or want any more or less than I already have;
- 13. I have, in polygamy, a wonderful microscopic but focussed model of how my Savior, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is in union as a Bridegroom with His Bride, the Messianic Community (Church). Polygamy highlights all the tensions and difficulties that potentially can arise in our relationship to Christ because of our fallen, carnal nature, and gives me the keys of the Gospel to solve them. I therefore have, in my lifestyle, the most perfect and wonderful, the closest thing there is to the allegorical marriage of my Master (Lord) to myself and to all my sister-wives. By contrast, monogamy only gives me the keys of the first stage of my relationship to Christ, however vitally important that is. Whereas to me monogamy is like a deposit, polygamy is the full-payment - or better, monogamy is the runner's up prize whereas polygamy is first prize.
Now come on, let's be honest. You can think of plenty of monogamous marriages which fit the criteria of oppression. I know I can. I can think of plenty of common-law 'marriages' (people living together without marriage covenants) which fit the criteria also. I can also think of casual sexual relationships which are the same. And I can think of some polygamous relationships which also fit the criteria.
As far as humans alone are concerned (without reference to Elohim (God) or a religious system) oppression exists only when incompatible persons form an intimate relationship together. It is people who are oppressive and not necessarily always the systems - though it is true there are oppressive systems. I know of examples of oppressive monogamy and oppressive polygamy but that doesn't make monogamy and polygamy in general 'oppressive' - it's the types of the two which may be said to be either oppressive or liberating.
If you are in a good relationship with a spouse (monogamy) or spouses (polygamy) then by definition you are not in an oppressive situation. It is exactly the same with governments, isn't it? You can have free and oppressive democracies. You can have tyrannical and benevolent dictatorships. It all depends on the people in government. It's the same in marriage. The success or failure of monogamy or polygamy depends on those living it - whether they are good or bad (men and women).
So when people come and tell me that 'polygamy is oppressive' and that therefore I am oppressed, I tell them: 'Who do you think you are?' and 'Do you have the faintest idea of what you are talking about?'. Just because such people may have come across some polygamous families in the media (which isn't always reliable, is it?) where oppression is taking place, it doesn't mean they have seen all polygamous families or even that the majority are 'oppressive'. I know a lot more polygamous families than the average non-polygamist and I can truthfully say thay that only about 5% were 'oppressive'. And much of that 'oppression' was caused by the people who were 'oppressed' themselves by other things, such as a lack of self-worth, fear of people, or other psychological problems caused by upbringing and negative life experiences outside marriage.
Someone who is not ready for polygamy has a high chance of being 'oppressed' by it, but not necessarily because the husband or sister-wives are 'oppressive' themselves. Yes, I do know of one or two pretty horrible and oppressive polygamous husbands and some equally obnoxious polyamous wives, but I know far more oppressive and obnoxious monogamous husbands and wives. But so what? How do some individuals who aren't living marriage properly suddenly invalidate a whole system?
When I was a kid and changed schools when my Mom and Dad moved house, I felt really oppressed in my new school because I didn't know anyone, the teachers were unfamiliar, and the lessons were harder. But as I settled in and made friends and got to know the teachers better, and as the class work became easier, so I felt freer inside.
I learned from that experience that whilst there is plenty of real oppression in the outside world, a lot of it comes from within. I can underdstand why a lot of Christians who have never had contact with a living polygamous families, who have been fed negative information by the media and biased and untrue biblical teaching from their pastors, would feel uneasy about polygamy. We fear the unknown, especially when it's been distorted by misinformed, ignorant and sometimes just plain nasty people like Pastor Hud. There's a lot of negative propaganda about polygamy which just isn't true, and if you're a Christian/Messianic committed to the truth, then you have a duty of examine the facts honestly and without prejudice. You will discover that the Bible is actually pro-polygamy from cover to cover and that the version of Christianity/Messianism we have been taught in the orthodox churches and messianic synagogues is actually an amalgam of Biblical truth with Greco-Roman pagan culture.
I am not an oppressed woman - I consider myself to be the most liberated woman in the world. And if there was ever such a word as 'feminist' then I consider that I, and my sister-wives, are the true feminists, not the quacks who wants to ruin the family and make what is ultimately a lesbian world ... for that is the ultimate reality of secular feminism.
So whatever you may think of polygamy, Christianity, or me personally, please don't say that I have been oppressed by polygamy. I haven't. If you want to disagree with polygamy, then that's fine - I'm not forcing anyone to become a polygamist - but don't say I'm oppressed when I'm not, and don't say the Bible is against polygamy or calls it a sin or adultery when it doesn't.
Authors: SBSK, KMK