In the news today, 183 women and children were taken from a ranch in Texas linked to polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. In November, Jeffs was sentenced in a Utah court to 10 years to life in prison as an accomplice to rape for forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry her 19-year-old first cousin. He’s currently in jail in AZ awaiting trial for similar things in that state.
I’ve been following Jeffs’ story for quite some time now, watching from the beginning when he was first accused in Utah. In 2006, he was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list when he attempted to flee from prosecution. Jeffs is considered to be the prophet of a Mormon fundamentalist group. Jeff’s father, Rulon T. Jeffs, had been the group’s prophet for 15 years before his death. He died at the age of 92, leaving an estimated 75 widows and 65 children. According to former followers, the prophet is considered to be God’s mouthpiece on earth. It is believed that God speaks directly to Warren Jeffs to reveal His will. And through the prophet, God directs which male members are worthy of entry into heaven (females are invited into heaven by satisfied husbands).
Before we, as mainstream evangelical Christians, consign this to just another cult teaching, we need to recognize that so-called Christian polygamy is on the rise. These are people who claim to be conservative, evangelical Christians who do not hold to a Mormon belief. Mark Henkel, founder of Truthbearer.org, (a pro-polygamy site) estimates that 50,000 Christians have become polygamists since the movement (unconnected to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) began around 12 years ago.
How different from the plan of God! God’s standard is clear from the beginning. In verse 23 of Genesis 2, Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman’.” She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.” God’s standard for marriage is found in verse 24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” How can a man and woman and woman and woman be one flesh?
The polygamy in the Bible was not God’s will – He allowed it and He described it – but it was never His plan or His will. God said in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” The fact that godly men like Abraham, David, Solomon, and others, had more than one wife, was not directed by God, but was permitted by Him, as Christ said about divorce. But God also reminds us concerning Israel in the wilderness, “They soon forgot His works; they waited not for his counsel. But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And God gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:13-15).