Often times, Christians within Christian Polygamy are confronted with
the difficult issue of HOW to discreetly yet honestly introduce a second (or other additional) wife to other people.
One of the most common thoughts is the possibility of introducing additional
wives as "sisters", as in meaning, "sisters in Christ" etc.
But is this a good solution? Sincere Christians understandably
often ask about this.
Indeed, this rather common question was asked by one of the pastors,
at the FRIENDS AND FELLOWHELPERS listserv (aka, "FAF"),
in a post he made on February 28, 2000.
What now follows is the pastor's original question (February 28, 2000), then
the reply from the Founder of this ministry (February 29, 2000), and then a quick reply back again from the pastor (March 01, 2000).
May this be a blessing for all who read it.
From: Pastor I
To: FAF listserv
Date: Monday, February 28, 2000 1:32 PM
Another thought - it would be interesting to see what Mark, our exalted
leader thinks about this - these wives are sisters, are they not?
Sister/wives? Why can't you answer that the second one is your wife's
sister. That's no lie because that is exactly what they become. I see no
reason you should tell them any more than you want to. I'm not sure what I
will tell my congregation. It may not be the whole truth, then again it
may. We will just wait to see what the Lord says about this.
[[ Pastor I ]]
What now follows is the reply
which the Founder of this ministry posted
at the FRIENDS AND FELLOWHELPERS listserv (aka, "FAF"):
From: ! . . . TRUTH BEARER
To: FAF listserv
Date: Tuesday, February 29, 2000 12:01 PM
Subject: On Introducing wives as "sisters" [ & 1_Thess 5:22 ]
Greetings in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ!
While this is addressed to Pastor I who raised
this very good question (about introducing a second
wife to others as being the first wife's "sister"), this here
is going to be yet another one of those lengthy
and "meaty" kind of replies, which might be of interest
to those who enjoy this kind of thing. :-)
I pray it be a blessing for all who are able to read this.
Dear Pastor I,
Well, I don't know anything about my being exalted (LoL!)
but I do appreciate the humorous yet sincere edification!
You raise a good question, and it is one in which many
have seriously pondered upon, for sure.
U.S. President Bill Clinton's
1998 Meaning of What "IS" Is
Beyond the obvious ramifications which would occur if the
two women simply had so many visible genetic differences
between each other in their physical appearances
that it would be obvious that they are not sisters,
my first thought about calling a wife as the first wife's "sister"
(simply because she's a sister-wife and a sister in Christ)
is that it sounds all to similar to a certain U.S. President
who committed a crime, which holds a maximum sentence
of five years in prison if any of the citizens had done the crime,
and for which the U.S. Constitution mandated impeachment
and removal from office for "high crimes and misdemeanors".
Namely, it all sounds too much like the same sentence
which U.S. President Bill Clinton covered himself
under oath by saying the statement,
"It depends on what the meaning of IS is."
Please let me explain.
That is, say a man does this, and introduces his second wife
as his wife's "sister". Eventually, the day can come when
someone he has said that to discovers that she is actually
his wife in a polygynous marriage.
How do we think that most people would feel about their
having been told she was a "sister" rather than as a wife?
Human nature being what it is, my thought here is that most
people would feel as though they had been lied to.
And if they then "called the man to the carpet" on this
apparent lie, pointing out that she really is NOT his wife's
"sister", what would the man then be saying to
He would then be kind of "forced" to say,
"It depends on what the meaning of SISTER is."
And just as few of us Christians could accept
that kind of a statement as credible or honest when
the U.S. President said it under Oath in 1998, neither would such ones
likely find this kind of defense all too credible either.
Most people will still feel that they had been lied to.
(This is what happens when people speak, using a
a word which they define purposefully
differently than they consciously know that the other
person is thinking it means. This only comes off
as appearing as a lie.)
People Will Feel That
They Have Been Lied to
Truly, even if this is only a "technical" matter of semantics,
it still comes off as an "appearance of evil".
No matter how hard the man might try to present that
he had not lied, still though, the other(s) will still believe
that it had APPEARED to them that they had been lied to.
And, of course, that would NOT be a good testimony
for us to have as Christians (and especially from we who are pastors!).
When people first eventually discover that we are involved
in Christian Polygamy, we need every ounce of credibility
that we can possibly muster with which to help such others
be able to overcome the previously set mental-blocks
which they presently have about polygamy to begin with.
This is why we must be MORE MATURE Christians,
walking in an even higher standard than we
more often see among our brothers and sisters
in Christ. We must be even that much more
above "appearances of evil".
(Mind you, this is not talking about concerning ourselves with
those who irrationally accuse us of other sorts of so-called "appearances of evil",
but that should be understood as a "given" here, anyway.)
So, if they instead feel (and it would be rationally so in this case for them to feel this way) that they have caught us in a lie,
even if we can "justify" it through semantic word-dancing,
if they still feel lied to, then we have lost credibility.
Nothing else we can do could change that.
That's what they will think, and that will affect their
perception of Christian Polygamy as negative from
For indeed, when that happens, we have thus lost the ability to show
them that Christian Polygamy really is of God.
They would be thinking to themselves,
"If this is so much of God, then why did they lie to me?"
And the natural inclination for them then is to be against
it as they stand against lying, because they believe
they had been lied to. And they will hate that.
For, as it is written,
"A righteous man hateth lying..." (Proverbs 13:5a.)
Abstaining from All
Appearance of Evil
With all this, it would seem to me that it would be better to
*** say nothing *** (in terms of applying any "title" to her)
than to say anything which could potentially
come back as a trap or as an appearance of committing a
This thought process here is Scriptural too, of course.
As it is written,
"Abstain from all appearance of evil." (1_Thessalonians 5:22.)
Now, yes, I know that some have tried to use that
verse against us in Christian Polygamy to suggest
that that verse could also be saying we should not
live polygynously because it creates an
"appearance of evil" before the eyes of the ungodly.
But that is a fallicy, because there is no evil
in polygyny. It doesn't matter what the ungodly
might think, anyway. Doctrine is not defined by the ungodly!
And we do not conform Christian doctrine to the mere
beliefs of the unGodly, who may not have a "clue"
about the righteousness of Christian Polygamy.
So, living polygynously presents no "appearance
of evil" whatsoever.
But a lie, a deception, is an evil.
And that's why we need to be careful that we not
appear to be lying, because that would be an
"appearance of evil".
And yes, also, I can see someone saying that we supposedly
play another kind of "semantic" game when we call a second wife
a WIFE, when others define a wife as one who has the marriage
certificate from the false god of government. The dfference in
THIS case is that we are explaining our definition of WIFE
at the time we use it, if they ask. There is no hiding or
deception going on in this case. Hence, this is the kind
of situation where indeed it IS possible to honestly
use a word with a different definition than the definition
being understood by the other person ---because
it deliberately makes the different definition immediately
available for the other person to know. That's being honest
and open, and so therefore, there is no deception. Hence,
in this case, there is no "appearance of evil" ether.
So, openly calling a second wife a WIFE in front of someone
else who otherwise defines "WIFE" as one with a "marriage
license" from the false god of government, that is NOT
committing an "appearance of evil".
And living polygynously in Christian terms is not evil in any
way, so there can be no such "appearance of evil" matter
to apply that way either.
But a lie, or covert deception of differently-defined terms,
is at least an "appearance of evil" if not an evil outright indeed.
So, I suppose if one feels COMPELLED to say SOMETHING,
then it is important to make sure that it is neither
untrue nor an "appearance of evil" of telling an untruth.
And so, perhaps one can come up with alternatives
which are totally true, and which do NOT use word-game
For a simple example, I suppose a husband and/or a first wife
could introduce a second wife by her name, and simply say
how she is living with their family, and not go into any further
details. The less said, the better.
No doubt that it's disappointing and even heart-breaking sometimes
to not yet have the freedom in certain situations to introduce the
second (or other additional) wife as her being the wife she is, but the "title" is not
so much important to others as it is to the family anyway.
Yes, one wants to go "shout from the rooftops" about
how she's a wife, but in the end, the only ones who really care
about knowing that are those in one's own family anyway.
(It's also difficult to have to always be "on guard" with one's
words when speaking to others, too.)
So, my first thoughts on this good question here are
that it's better to say nothing than to say something which
could potentially later be perceived as an "appearance of evil"
having been committed.
Better to say NOTHING
Than to Appear as Lying
Yes, one can purposefully NOT SAY something and that
would not be deception, nor an "appearance of evil".
(In the U.S., we even apply this concept in constitutional law
with what is known as "pleading the 5th Amendment",
the right to not say anything, as that would be used
But to say something which could appear deceptive,
that is where a person can "get into trouble" here.
And to some, calling a second wife as the first
wife's "sister", when knowing that the other
person will intrepret that as though she were a
biological sister (et al), that could be considered
a deception to them.
So, we truly must be,
as it is written in Matthew 10:16c-d,
"wise as serpents, and harmless as doves"
in all that we do.
How does the old humorous phrase go?
If I recall correctly, it goes something like this...
"It is better to keep your mouth closed
and let someone think you're a fool,
than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
(I know I've fallen into that one! LoL)
But perhaps more accurately,
we need to be wisely aware of what we say
and when we say it.
As it is written,
"A fool uttereth all his mind:
but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
So, with all that, I would say that, while I can understand
the potential "technical" accuracy in semantic terms of calling a second
wife as being the first wife's "sister", it would seem to to
me that this could later hurt our testimony and credibility
later when we will need it most.
I pray that this has been of some value in response
to your very good question.
Thank you for asking it!
May the love of the Lord Christ Jesus be with us.
What now follows is Pastor I's reply
to the Founder of this ministry posted
at the FRIENDS AND FELLOWHELPERS listserv (aka, "FAF"):
From: Pastor I
To: FAF listserv
Date: Wednesday, March 01, 2000 11:55 AM
Subject: Re: On Intro'g wives as "sisters" [ & 1_Thess 5:22 ]
Now, see why I deferred to our "exalted" leader? that was very good. Thank
you. I've been seriously considering very strongly "what to say", too. The...
question of how to explain
[another wife] was haunting me. Additionally, making her feel like a "second" in the sense
of "here is my real wife and here is, uhhhh...". That part bothers me too. So
thank you for your instruction. I deeply appreciate it. This is all so new to
Pastor I, "ever learning" and someday hopefully a whole lot smarter
May we all, no matter who we are, be so "ever learning" and so humble as this dear Pastor I, indeed.
© February 29, 2000, TRUTH BEARER
P.O. Box 765, O.O.B., ME 04064