Polygamy and False Teachers

I’m still watching the news stories of the fallout from the raid on the polygamous compound in TX.  The mothers are upset because they’ve been separated from their children, the children are upset that they have been taken from their homes and family, and it seems everyone has strong feelings and opinions about what needs to be done.  All of us “good Christians” find it difficult to understand how these people have gone so far off track and ended up in this position.  Yet, God’s Word discusses the dangers of false teachings and tells us many times how to protect ourselves from them because as Jude 4 says, “certain men have crept in unnoticed.”  Jude continues telling us about these men by stating these men “long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (vs.4)

These are men who profess they are Christians but do not hold to the teachings of Christ.  They deny the unique deity of Christ.  Does this sound familiar to you who are knowledgeable of some of the teachings of the FLDS?  They claim to be Christians yet the men believe they are working towards godhood and are multiplying wives to themselves in order to populate their own planets when they become these gods.  It would be better for them to pay close attention to the warning in Jude 4.  They are destined for judgment and I can guarantee it will not be in front of Joseph Smith as they teach. 

The sin of turning the grace of God into lewdness is specifically mentioned in this verse.  How interesting to me to see that the leaders of FLDS spend a great deal of teaching, effort, and time in their polygamous lifestyle, making that a matter of salvation.  In order to become a god, a man is required to have at least 3 wives.   It’s not as if they are even taking wives who are at least adults.  They prefer young teen girls.  To develop and maintain a doctrine that comprises the majority of the foundation on which a religion is built which consists of making sex possible for men with as many women as possible all in the name of Christ seems to be the very definition of turning the grace of God into lewdness.

Jude 8 states, “Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.”  Jude is describing men like these polygamists who defile their bodies by engaging in the pleasures of the world – who dream and covet the opposite sex – whose thoughts and dreams consist of sexual misbehavior.  Their “prophet,” Warren Jeffs, believes he has the authority to decide which men get to go to heaven and the husbands have the authority to decide which wives get to go.  What a rejection of Christ’s authority!!!  These men also use their dreams and visions to control their followers and secure their loyalty.  They would do well to look to the warnings in Jude that, if God did not spare the angels or those in Sodom and Gomorrah, neither will he spare these false teachers.

For the rest of us,  Jude 20-25 tells us how to avoid falling into false teachings: “But you, Beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  And on some have compassion, making a distinction, but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.  Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever, amen.”

Polygamy and God’s Will

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).