Polygamy, Part 3 of 3

(multiple marriages may be more widespread than we realize)

Not everyone can handle the multiple marriage environment!

  • Anti-polygamists sometimes argue that supporting and living with several wives produces more problems than it solves; such as, added financial strain, domestic strife, and impractical living arrangements.
  • Polygamists commonly write on the cultural purposes for polygamy as observed in present-day societies; such as, widow relief, financial improvement, and an easier domestic life for all involved parties.
  • Defenders of polygamy are quick to point out that the Bible does not explicitly condemn polygamy, possibly implying that the absence of explicit condemnation provides permission to practice it.
  • Opponents of polygamy point out conversely that neither is polygamy explicitly advocated, possibly implying that the absence of explicit advocacy is a prohibition against the practice.
  • If a lack of explicit comment indeed exists with respect to polygamy, this can be largely explained by the fact that references to polygamy are almost exclusively Old Testament and much of the Old Testament is historical narrative.
  • In such narrative, the authors do not make frequent value judgments but leave the reader to determine which judgments are to be made.
  • Nobody in your Church ever told you that there is NO command against polygyny in the Scriptures.
  • Yes, polygyny is the correct spelling of having more than one wife at the same time.
  • Polygamy is a broader term which includes any multiple union including polyandry, which is a woman having more than one husband.
  • This is strictly forbidden in the Scriptures, in the original language, and by example.
  • Polygyny, on the other hand, is a man having more than one wife.
  • The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing —and then marry him.


    It's obvious that Cher is referring to polygamy, since she says "women" (plural) and "him" (one man); or is this just a representation of the poor grammar so many people use?

  • Many examples can be found in the Scriptures and is NOWHERE forbidden therein.
  • Polygamy is a very ancient practice found in many human societies.
  • The Bible did not condemn polygamy.
  • To the contrary, the Old Testament and Rabbinic writings frequently attest to the legality of polygamy.
  • King Solomon is said to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
  • Also, King David is said to have had many wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13).
  • The Old Testament does have some injunctions on how to distribute the property of a man among his sons from different wives (Deut. 22:7).
  • The only restriction on polygamy is a ban on taking a wife’s sister as a rival wife (Lev. 18:18).
  • The Talmud advises a maximum of four wives.
  • European Jews continued to practice polygamy until the sixteenth century.
  • Oriental Jews regularly practiced polygamy until they arrived in Israel where it is forbidden under civil law; however, under religious law which overrides civil law in such cases, it is permissible.
  • It is of interest to note that many, non-Muslim as well as Muslim, countries in the world today have outlawed polygamy.
  • Taking a second wife, even with the free consent of the first wife, is a violation of the law.
  • On the other hand, cheating on the wife, without her knowledge or consent, is perfectly legitimate as far as the law is concerned!
  • What is the legal wisdom behind such a contradiction?
  • Is the law designed to reward deception and punish honesty? It is one of the unfathomable paradoxes of our modern “civilized" world.
  • The Mormon Church asserts that it has no connection with advocates of polygamy or polygyny.

  • It is stated that there are over 30,000 people practicing polygamy in Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Arizona; who either regard themselves as preserving the original Mormon beliefs and customs, or have merely adopted polygamy (polygyny) as a desired way of life and not as part of the teachings of any church.
  • The Utah government has taken recent action against polygamy by raising the age of “consent” and hiring an investigator to probe “secret societies”.
  • Polygamists are now lobbying for their right to practice plural marriage as part of their First Amendment rights.
  • The Coalition for Religious Freedom and Tolerance went to the state capitol of Utah in January, 2002, to demand a constitutional amendment that would legalize polygamy.
  • The most public anti-polygamy action in recent years was the case of Tom Green who was sentenced to five years in prison for bigamy in Utah in August, 2001, despite arguing that he was permitted several wives because of his beliefs.
  • Green had been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1980.
  • Polygamy was much in the media spotlight during the Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City in 2002.
  • A new Utah beer was named “Polygamy Porter” and featured a man with several women on the label.
  • The advertising slogan urged buyers to take some home “for the wives”.

—Compiled from information located in the following sources:

"Mormon Polygamy Still Thrives" by Janice Perry (UPI); The Stars and Stripes;
May 21, 1985; page 13.
"Polygamists" by Richard Growald (UPI); The Stars and Stripes;
February 10, 1979; page 15.
"Facing the Taboo of Polygamy" by Tom Gorman (Los Angeles Times Service);
International Herald Tribune; May 17, 2001; pages 1 & 3.

Pointing to a page about polygamy. Back to Part 1 of polygamy or back to the gamo (marriage) unit.