FAQs

Some Common Questions

You say that polygamy is acceptable according to the Bible – but what about ‘argument X’?

Check out the ‘Christian’ pages for answers to common objections to see if it has already been covered.

What exactly do you mean by “polygamy”?

“Polygamy”, as referred to on this site, is meant in its popular usage, where one husband has more than one wife at the same time. This is technically known as “polygyny”. On this site “polygamy” does not refer to “polyandry”, where one wife has more than one husband at once. That is a practice which has never been prevalent in human societies and which is supported by no major world religion.

But surely polygamy is illegal!

In most of the world polygamy is an acceptable social practice and is never a crime. In much of the Western world, including Britain and much of the United States, the practice of polygamy is not illegal. As long as the marriages are not registered with the state, there is no offence, although there is also hardly any legal recognition of the relationship. In a few states, the bigamy law is used together with a “common-law marriage” law to define polygamy as illegal. These laws also tend to make same-sex partnerships and cohabitation by unmarried couples illegal as well. They are the subject of debate and are expected to lead to constitutional challenges in the US Supreme Court.

In fact, to be absolutely accurate, it is not polygamy, but bigamy, that is sometimes illegal. Bigamy in many jurisdictions is the criminal offence of going through a second marriage ceremony which ostensibly creates a legal marriage, while a first marriage is still recognised. Polygamy can therefore be practiced without breaking the law simply by registering no more than one of the marriages. Where bigamy is illegal, polygamy can often be practiced lawfully. This site does not support the criminal practice of bigamy or any related form of deception.

Is this a Mormon site?

No. The webmaster is an evangelical Christian, hence the emphasis of some of the research.

Are the people responsible for this page practicing polygamists?

No.

Why don’t you practice what you preach?

I do. Respecting someone elses lifestyle does not necessarily mean adopting it as your own. This site exists to study the legal, academic and religious issues surrounding the existence of polygamy. During the course of its construction, and the related research, the webmaster has formed his own views that, in both society and the church, we should value diversity and freedom. This means refusing to discriminate against polygamists, just as we do for other minority groups.

So why is this site here?

The site is here to help develop respect for human rights, civil liberties, and the proper treatment of biblical texts. It is, like much research, an attempt to smooth the way for later researchers, by making it easier to find relevant information.

Can I put a Personals advert on your site?

No. The site is here for research, not dating.

Do you want to turn me into a polygamist?

No. I want you to be in a position to learn about polygamy, past and present. What you do with this information is up to you, but it is helpful in reaching a better understanding of certain Christian teaching, such as that surrounding marriage, divorce and remarriage, and in formulating policy for Christian missions.

Aren’t polygamists all freaky religious types?

No. The polygamists you see on the media often will be, because they make the programmes more interesting. Most polygamists are not like this. Like other people, some will be religious, some not, some will be deeply strange, and most not.

Aren’t you worried about promoting strange religions?

No – I’m not promoting them. I’m studying a particular form of marriage. I generally think that it is a good idea for people to marry within their own religion if they take it at all seriously.

If I email you, will you provide other people with my details?

No. It’s completely confidential. Sometimes I quote anonymously from emails, but never provide lists of those who email me. However, occasionally I get abusive emails and anyone who sends one of these cannot shelter under this protection!

Are the materials on this site protected by copyright?

Yes, all written material is protected by copyright law until 70 years after the author’s death. That’s 2078 and counting! However, all the material on this site is provided free-of-charge to those who access it. This does not mean that it takes no effort to produce or that it costs nothing to maintain. In fact it takes both time and money. Please respect these efforts by treating the material fairly.

Can I copy it or print it out?

Yes. Feel free to save these files to disc and view them offline, or print them out. However, if you pass the material on this page to anyone else then that’s “publishing” and you’ll have to follow these rules:- .

  • If you intend to publish multiple paper copies or to publish in electronic form, please seek permission by email. It will usually be given, except that there only needs to be one copy online, so permission will not be given for mirror sites. Inclusion of articles on other sites will be considered on a case by case basis. Permission should be sought as a courtousy to the author, who will then know where the material is being used. To maintain the integrity of this research resource, any permission given is subject to the conditions laid out here and may be withdrawn, unilaterally and without liability or obligation, at any time.
  • All copies should contain a clear reference to the address of the source website. This will normally be done automatically by the title at the top of the page.
  • The material may not be distributed for profit or any payment, including payments to cover the cost of the materials on which they are supplied.
  • Each page must be distributed as a complete unit. It may not be edited except as much as is required to remove hyperlinks. No material may be added to the same pages as that on which the pages are printed. Short quotations may be used under “fair use” procedures, but this implies that such quotations are not presented in a manner which omits important contextual details, or which is otherwise misleading.

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