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    5

    A Fifth Vision:
    Why Converting to Polygamy
    Takes So Long
    (16 May 2002)

    Converting to or accepting polygamy as a true biblical principle that is to be lived today has tended to be met with either outright hostility and rejection or embraced with imprudent haste. Typically men have rushed into it not at all understanding that conversion to polygamy is not just a matter of saying 'yes' to having multiple wives but of having ones whole spiritual universe restructured. For whatever polygamy is, it is not simply monogamy on a larger scale. Christian/Messianic plural marriage is a calling to both men and women who wish to walk a path of holiness and which demands, to be successful, nothing less that a total renunciation of the ways of the flesh.

    We have, with great sadness, scanned the battlefield that has sprung up owing to an improper understanding of Christian/Messianic polygamy and counted the spritually dead which litter it. It has been supposed by the men, quite wrongly, that it is only the women who have to make great adjustments to live this lifestyle, and even then some of these men have assumed that it is something which needs to occur automatically in the ladies. This error - and it is a catastrophic error - is largely owed to the fact that the men do not realise that the changes required of them to live this lifestyle properly and successfully require nothing short of a total spiritual revolution in themselves too.

    This morning I had a prophetic dream which I wish to share with this community. I was shown a fish tank containing a resplendant fresh water angel fish which I understood represented a patriarch and nearby were several beautiful goldfish who were, I understood, his prospective wives, but were not yet united with him. Adjacent to this tank was another one filled with salt water which I understood represented the intended plural marriage environment and into which all the fish had to be transferred. As they were moved over they began to struggle for life and grew weaker and weaker. The large angel fish turned on his side and looked almost dead, and from what I can remember, the same fate awaited the goldfish. There was a major panic resulting in furious activity trying to save the lives of the dying fish but without avail. Though I did not see it, I understood that all the fish had perished.

    The moment I awoke I was reminded of a friend of mine whose hobby was the keeping of tropical fish. One particular interest of his was converting freshwater fish into marine fish - in other words, enabling freshwater fish to live in salt water. He showed me a tank of lovely freshwater angel fish living in a saltwater tank with marine fish. I was fascinated and asked him how he did this since I knew freshwater fish would instantly dehydrate by osmosis if placed in salt water and soon after die.

    "Each day," he told me, "I take out a very small cup of fresh water and replace it with salt water. This I do day after day for many weeks and months. The change is so small that the fish hardly detect what is going on. The process can sometimes take over a year, sometimes longer, depending on the species of fish. By gradually adding marine salt water to the fresh water, the fish are able to adapt without suffering any ill effects."

    "Can you do this to all species?" I asked him.

    "No," was his reply. "Only some species can make this transition."

    I never forgot that lesson. The polygamous way of life is deadly to those who are not called and for those who are called but who try to leap into it straight out of a monogamous mind-frame. And not only a mind-frame, for monogamy is also a way of feeling as well as having a vitally important spiritual component. All our lives we are conditioned to feel and think in certain ways. Expecting people to make an overnight leap from a monogamous way of being to a polygamous one is not only na´ve but suicidal. You can't do it in a day. To successfully live this lifestyle is not one giant leap of faith necessarily (though some indeed do seem to possess this capacity, though they are rare) but requires gentle, slow and patient change in small increments. The Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) may indeed bear witness to us that the principle is true and acceptable of Yahweh but it takes a long while to change thinking patterns and considerably longer for our feelings to catch up.

    Unless you have been brought up in a polygamous environment, or have been exposed to it for a long time in a positive mind-frame, leaping into it is folly. The enormous casualty rate that we find in this sad, sad first generation of Christian/Messianic polygamists is caused not by the principle being wrong but by the fact that it absolutely cannot be entered into hastily in a monogamy-only culture. It should never be forced - ever - especially in a society which has conditioned us to think and feel in wrong ways and whose norms are deeply engrained into us. To force someone into polygamy is no different from throwing freshwater fish into saltwater and expecting them to instantly flourish. The results are catastrophic no matter how true the principle is. And even doing it gently with some will be of no avail because they are not called at this time or even at all.

    Polygamy is not what the men think it is either. I have met many men who have been so badly burned by polygamy that they have sworn never to enter into it again. Sadly, their warnings are rarely heeded. Worse still, some of these men, in spite of being responsible for the spiritual crippling of wives in failed marriages, are still wife-hunting but have not made any mental, emotional or spiritual readjustments of their own. The reasons they do so are typically pride, like the minister in a major polygamy church whose polygamous marriage is falling apart and who continually finds fault with his wives but can't see the beam of wood in his own eye. To have the truth of his own unhappy family exposed would result in the certain death of his ministry, the loss of his income, his credibility, and influence which he wishes to protect at all costs, even to the extent of lying about his own family and building a façade [1]. Unfortunately, it's not just failed polygamous ministers who are doing this, but lone patriarchs too [2].

    The reason Christian polygamy is such an unmitigated disaster is not because it is wrong but because the ministers either don't know what a true polygamous spiritual environment is and are placing souls into a medium where they cannot possibly survive, or because they are throwing men and women into it without adequate preparation and time. To live Christian polygamy requires great sensitivity, compassion, wisdom, long-suffering and patience. You can't just leap into it anymore than you can throw freshwater fish into saltwater and expect them to survive [3].

    Polygamy requires tremendous love, selflessness and self-discipline. But you can no more make a polygamous man or woman overnight than you can turn a new believer into an apostle Paul, a Charles Haddon Spurgeon, or any of the great evangelists in a day. As I have maintained time and time again, polygamy is a call only given to those who have the giftedness, capacity for love, and self-discipline to live this way of life, not to mention the material resources. And whilst potentially anyone is capable of living it, we know that in reality people are currenrly unable to, unwilling to, or it is not their time. Recognising these things is important. No-one should feel that a stigma attaches to them because they are not living it whilst others are, for often people plunge into polygamy because they feel 'left out', because of pride ('I don't want to be viewed as inferior'), or fear ('If this is a better way of life, I don't want to be left behind'). We do not know the why's and wherefore's of everything and we should not burden ourselves with guilt or shame because we are not living polygamy at any one particular point of time. It was always my most cherished dream to be an evangelist but I do not consider myself the poorer or less blessed for not being called to be one at this time. I have other callings, one of which is witnessing of Echad Polygamy to those who are definitely called into it and being a kind of unofficial (and frequently unwelcome and unpopular) truant officer in the polygamy movement as a whole [4].

    The parable of the fresh- and salt-water fish is applicable on many levels and to different life activities, such as growing up to adulthood, the salt representing responsibility. Similarly, when gentiles were brought to Christ through the witnessing of the apostle Paul, they were brought to the Torah (Law) in small increments. Thus the Council of Jerusalem elected, under the prompting of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), not to burden the new converts with more than a few basic Torah rules so that they could grow into Christ step by step and not fall into the legalistic quagmire of contemporary Judaism. One could even use the fresh and marine water analogy to describe the difference between the 'multiple monogamy' form of polygamy common to most other ministries and the Echad Polygamy HEM teaches and embraces. Salt is powerful stuff and is represented by Christ as an illustration of discipleship with substance and discipleship.

    If you are entering the polygamy arena for the first time, I hope you will heed the warning of this dream. Polygamy is something which you absolutely cannot, and must not, rush or play around with. It is not recreational! Be prepared to invest many years or even the better part of your whole life before receiving Yahweh's approbation to enter it. And don't let it become a gospel hobby horse sidetracking you from more important things - some men get so consumed in the polygamy ideal that they spend the better part of their free time roaming the net for potential wives instead of fulfilling their callings to be witnesses and Kingdom-builders, and letting Yahweh bring their wife or wives into their lives at the right time. Those who are worth their salt will recognise compulsive behaviour (frequently carnally and sexually based when it comes to polygamy), repent of it, and be about more worthwhile pursuits. You may not want to hear this message but I assure you it is far better than frivolously wasting your time to, or committing spiritual suicide in, a lifestyle you have not been called to.

    Endnotes

    [1] In the end, he disgracefully abandoned all but one of his wives, along with their children, and started up a new ministry under a new name. This has forced some of his wives into adultery, making him an adulterer. Some of the children he shamelessly abandoned have turned to atheism.
    [2] Some of the stories are so appalling as to be amost unrepeatable, with one 'leader' murdering his second wife in the most grizzly manner because she had had enough of him and of the lifestyle. Such men bring calumny on patriarchy, polygamy and the name of Christ.
    [3] I was betrothed (engaged) to one of my wives for ten years before fully marrying her both to ensure she was properly founded and to await revelation from God. The fruits have been well worth the wait and preparation. You must also bear in mind that children from previous marriages may be involved, for whom a period of adjustment is important, not to mention maintaining healthy relations with family members who, while they may not agree with the lifestyle, will, in many cases, respect those who show them consideration.
    [4] Many spiritually wounded wives have come to us for ministry, and occasionally humble husbands, most of them most clearly not called into the principle but, in spite of their presumptuous and hasty, bound by covenants and with children needing fathering.

    Author: SBSK

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    First created on 16 May 2002
    Updated on 15 January 2016

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