As I tell “My Story” there have been various pieces that are uncomfortable, but none of them really are as uncomfortable as when my wife and I began to first inform people about what we were experiencing.
On July 2, 2013, I wrote in my journal:
What seems out of the blue, [a congregational leader] sent me a text message. [It said] “My wife and I are praying for you and your family today.”
My journal says, I responded replying:
I thank you, your prayers are much welcomed and very appreciated. We are waiting for His specific direction, He seems to be indicating that it will be soon.
Then I made this note to myself:
That was my response to [their] text, [they] never replied. I am not sure what prompted [their] text message to me, not sure if it really matters. I do wonder if I am to let [that congregational leader] know what is happening?
Other than that, I made no notes to myself about what I was trying to say. So all I can do is speculate that I found it important enough that the congregational leader seemingly spontaneously texted me. In essence, I have no clue what prompted their message to me.
However, I did respond saying that I was waiting on God’s leading, I felt that leading would occur soon. Then I made note to myself wondering if I was going to have to inform this leader.
That message and my contemplation become very important.
Up until August 2013, Mary and I had kept this developing event to ourselves. Our children and only about three others knew. Otherwise, no one knew.
We were trying to understand, verify, and confirm what we were experiencing. It became clear to us that it was happening. Mary believed fairly early that it was a Divine leading. I couldn’t shake the events. But I was doing everything I could to confirm or deny that it was the Divine leading.
Back then, I felt that I was on shaky ground, because my faith, my belief, in the Divine and leading in such manner was not yet solidified. Even though I had dialogued with a woman about marriage, I was still uncertain, yet was about to embark on a tremendous journey of letting congregational leaders, family and friends know what was happening.
The most difficult thing in my life has been letting others know what Mary and I were experiencing. During those early events, because I felt uncertain, I would express my uncertainty, even telling some of those that I spoke with that if I was being led incorrectly then I need their assistance and prayers. Assistance mostly came in the form of quick denunciation, emphatic statements that God could not and would not lead in such ways, and a subsequent distancing in our relationship.
I am here to tell you that response is in no way helpful when one feels overwhelmed and is trying to understand. Through that experience I had my eyes opened to the swift and decisive judgmentalism of believers. It was an extraordinary experience. On the positive side, personally, I have become far more patient with people who are wrestling with their own spirituality.
But back in August of 2013, I was beginning to feel the leading that I was to inform others, but that did not mean that I was completely ready for what was ahead.
On August 1, 2013, my journal records some events of that day. One of the things I was doing was getting ready for the day and was praying. In my journal, I wrote:
I asked if I am to inform [the congregational leader] and I was given an affirmative about that. So I have to contact [that leader], and let [them] know the developments.
It is one thing to have the Divine’s confirmation. It is another to move forward knowing that one has to be talking with people about matters that are so personal. Why? The answer is rather poignant. The Divine, even in all my prayerful experience, has a respect for my personhood. On the other hand, people do not.
Because of that, opening up opens one to vulnerability, vulnerability opens up oneself to hearing all kinds of hurtful things. Many want to become emotionally and spiritually vulnerable, but fear of being eviscerated is why so many refuse to open up, preferring the unhealthiness of their personal protective walls than take the risk that their diminutive courage will gain great reward.
Having experienced the raw reaction and rejection of many who were so close, I have greater appreciation for those who retain their protective barriers. That said though, prayerfully I was led to begin opening up. Personally, it took every ounce of courage to present myself to others.
Later that morning, I texted the congregational leader. I asked for an opportunity to inform them about “how things have developed for me”. The congregational leader responded favorably to talking with me.
From my journal entries, it seems that I thought I would have talked with them that very day. But that day ended without us talking about my situation. However, that night I did continue in prayer, and it became very clear that I was to notify this congregational leader.
I want to take a few moments, right here, to address something that has bothered me since all this began. One of the emphaticisms declared unto me is that God would NEVER perform this kind of leading. Because of that emphatic belief, one of the given criticisms was that I was being led by the adversary, that which some call Satan.
Let me ask all my critics: If the adversary was truly leading me in that, why on earth would the adversary lead me to tell a congregational leader? Hmm? Or my family? Or my friends?
There is no appropriate answer my critics can give, because there is one decisive truth about the adversary, and that truth is derived in the teachings of Jesus.
The adversary LIES.
The adversary is the father of lies.
Therefore the adversary seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.
Additionally, the development of my life was to bring things to the LIGHT. Light illuminates. Light does NOT allow things to remain hidden. GOD brings things to the light.
Do I have to be blunt? The adversary delights in darkness.
The adversary does NOT bring things to the light, because the adversary and evil reside in the dark.
Therefore, it is spiritually provable that if the leading had been from the adversary, I would have maintained a secret life, hidden from all.
How many men and women have been taken down when their unrighteous deeds where brought to light? The number is too great to count.
God always brings things to light, whereas the adversary retains things in darkness.
As harsh as this may sound, after experiencing that kind of judgmental knee-jerk response, it makes me think that many believers do NOT have a rudimentary understanding for these fundamental truths of scripture.
Having addressed that issue, I now return to the main part of this Installment.
So the Divine made it absolutely clear that I was to notify that congregational leader.
The next day, August 2, 2013, I was able to speak with that congregational leader. During that conversation, I encapsulated the events, narrowing it down to a few specific items so that they could understand what I had been experiencing. It was cordial. It felt to the point. It closed with the congregational leader informing me that they would pray about the matter and we should talk.
Later that night, Mary and I met the congregational leader either some time before, after, or during worship, I don’t recall which. That conversation had many things, including the congregational leader’s counseling and considerations. But a couple of things really invite my attention.
One of the items brought up was that I was to inform family.
Two, during the meeting, the congregational leader informed me that they had been led to understand that I was going to talk to them about the very things that I had discussed. The leader also shared details that I had never spoken to them about, but where directly correct regarding the situation.
It is those things that I cannot overlook. In essence, prior to me talking with them, God had prepped them by telling them the topics I would discuss, leading them to know information that I had not shared. That helped prove to me that the congregational leader was being led by God.
With regard to that congregational leader, I am pleased with the things that have developed between they and my family. It was a lengthy journey, but we have come to amicable terms, to which my family and I feel welcomed in that particular congregation.
Currently, my marriage retains the appearance of monogamy, in the sense that another wife is not yet part of our marriage. When that happens, things could change with that congregation, but indicators do not lead me to believe such.
So as I close, I want to reflect on something that I wrote in my journal. After that meeting with the congregational leader, I wrote in my journal the following:
Interestingly, [the congregational leader] did express that in all [their] years of ministry this was the first time to be approached about polygamy.
I want to consider how informative that statement actually is.
First, that statement is informative in the sense that here in modernity monogamy is so prevalent that most congregational leaders have never had to wrestle with the concept of polygamy, let alone interact with anyone who is living that marriage or anyone who is going to participate in a polygamous marriage.
Considering that, then that statement seems to convey that the number of individuals is few who are available and willing to provide spiritual and marital counseling to polygamous marriages. If so, then it also seems to convey that those who do council reside outside the sphere of believers.
Considering those things, then that statement may convey that the number of spiritual advisors for polygamous marriages seem non-existent within the sphere of believers. Keep in mind that that idea excludes those religious adherents found in Mormonism and Islam and other possible religions. I am focusing primarily on mainline Christendom, with some focus on Synagogues because of Messianic Judaism.
I suppose the point is that the Bible does NOT condemn polygamy, and the United States culture is changing regarding marriage, the change in culture is without dispute. Interestingly, more people seem to be becoming inquisitive about polygamy, a style of marriage that sets outside the sphere of traditional monogamy.
Considering the US cultural changes and the historical doctrinal interpretation of the church, there are few New Covenant leaders with spiritual, personal, and practical experience with polygamy. Over the past few years, I have interacted with several, masculine and feminine, who have participated or do participate in a polygamous marriage. These moments have given me some insight into what people consider Bible doctrine, but also the manner in which they approach their marriage.
Sadly there are marriage, family, and personal failures in polygamy, but those same marriage, family, and personal failures are found in monogamy. In short, monogamous couples do not have the corner on the sanctity of marriage and the protection of children and women or men for that matter.
There are real people, with real issues, having real relationship struggles. Because of the current church climate about polygamy, if those with polygamous marital issues want help, they most likely are not going to find help at their local corner church or messianic synagogue.
Many of these people have chosen their marriage and want to retain it and grow in healthy ways, so that it seems that some do not seek assistance. Like I have experienced, when they want assistance, they receive judgmentalism, censureship , and condemnation in abundance. The marriage is Biblical. God permitted. Just as monogamy needs nurturing and guidance, so does polygamy. Biblically, a healthy marriage is a healthy marriage, irrespective of the number of wives.
One last thought about that meeting with the congregational leader. The leader was gracious in their conduct. I felt they were non-argumentative in their presentation, even though they posed the typical disagreements. They were non-aggressive, by which I mean not pushy toward condemnation of the soul. They even closed our meeting with a prayer and prayed asking that we would receive confirmation about what was happening.
If I thought the meeting with the congregational leader was going to be difficult, one can only imagine how difficult it was to notify our parents. Because of the counseling from the congregational leader, in the days that followed that meeting, Mary and I notified our families.
Blessings and Shalom