This Independence Day, 2014, is cause for double celebration for Christians who know that the Bible never prohibited polygamy. Their modern movement, called, Christian Polygamy, is 20 years old today.
Polygamy is the oldest form of "traditional marriage." It goes all the way back to the Biblical book of Genesis. Involving Bible-studying Christians from any denomination, Christian Polygamy has no similarity, no history, no doctrine, and no other religious connection with any forms of Mormonism or of Latter Day Saints. Rather, without any doctrinal compulsion for polygamy, Christian Polygamists just believe that the Bible is true, that it never prohibited polygamy, and that husbands should be loving wives as truly selflessly "as Christ loves the churches."
What makes Christian Polygamy even more surprising is that it was this very movement that established benevolent standards by which the overall movement for unrelated consenting adult polygamy for all forms could even be possible. From its birth on July 4, 1994, through its first twenty years, this young history-making movement has grown up well.
THE 1st FIVE YEARS: 1994-1999
Twenty years ago, on July 4, 1994, an evangelical Christian named, Mark Henkel, published the first issue of a Maine Christian-based newspaper, The Standard Bearer. That very first issue included a history-changing article, demonstrating how even the author of Genesis - Moses - was a Bible-proven polygamist. More than any other polygamist in the Bible, revealing this point historically changed everything.
From thereonafter, the essential argumentations - that polygyny is completely and Biblically valid - were published and established. Using those arguments, the new movement, Christian Polygamy, began and grew. It is this new movement, started in the 1990s, that later made the overall national polygamy rights movement for unrelated consenting adults to even be possible.
During these auspicious beginnings, other Christians quickly recognized the validity of those argumentations in the newspaper. In the first three years, those argumentations spread to a new communication system: "the internet." Becoming global with a website, TruthBearer (eventually, TruthBearer.org) replaced that printed Maine newspaper.
As the "world wide web's" growth exploded in the mid-1990s, so grew the website. TruthBearer.org quickly became a cross-denominational organization of Christian activists for Christians. As neither a new religion nor a new denomination, the movement was simply "Continuing the Reformation" for all Bible-based Christian denominations.
THE 2nd FIVE YEARS: 1999-2004
In the second five years, additional elements were laid down to reach out and expand the movement.
First, the standard of "love-not-force" was established to protect women from cruel men - a standard which would later become valuable to other forms of unrelated consenting adult polygamy too. That benevolent and loving standard for polygamy became the first step that brought TruthBearer.org's Mark Henkel to the national stage, as media began to conduct interviews with him.
Second, via the webhosting services of TruthBearer.NET, an online community organized specific web-sites. BiblicalPolygamy.com became the resource for Bible arguments about polygamy. ChristianPolygamy.INFO provided clarity about the movement.
Thirdly, elements were organized to go beyond Christian Polygamy. In 2001, activists organized an official annual "Polygamy Day ®" with PolygamyDay.com. In 2003, an online "passport system" was developed at Pro-Polygamy.NET, and the professional media distribution site, Pro-Polygamy.com, was started to deliver content to the secular media. By the end of 2003, a religiously-neutral polygamy personals site was begun called, 2Wives.com - the oldest and most trusted polygamy personals site on the internet. Throughout this period, the TruthBearer.org organization stood alone in reaching out to the public and media, repeatedly defending the benevolent definition of unrelated consenting adult polygamy.
THE 3rd FIVE YEARS: 2004-2009
During the next five years, momentum picked up for the movement. In 2004, a renowned constitutional law professor, Jonathan Turley, began publishing op-eds using the same arguments and sound-bites as TruthBearer.org's Mark Henkel. In 2005, the latter was on Pat Robertson's "700 Club" which acknowledged Christian Polygamists as evangelical Christians - a historic moment making the words, "Christian" and "Polygamy," no longer a "contradiction in terms."
When the TV network, HBO, debuted a fictional series about Mormon Polygamy called "Big Love," the issue of consenting adult polygamy received more media attention. From NBC's TODAY Show to ABC's 20/20 to so many major media outlets, Henkel was fully acknowledged on the national stage as the established voice for the national polygamy rights movement for unrelated consenting adults. As of 2007, his official "Polygamy Rights Win-Win Solution to end the Marriage Debate" (to abolish all government marriage control for unrelated consenting adults) was well-solidified.
When news broke of the 2008 government raid of the Mormon-based FLDS cult in Texas, it became a frightful time for the movement as polygamy was being horribly mis-associated. Few people were willing to stand up publicly to explain polygamy in the media. No one else was spending money to defend the reputation of honest unrelated consenting adult polygamists of all forms from being falsely connected to such criminals and cults.
With the TruthBearer.org organization behind him, Mark Henkel agreed to step up, spend money for publicity, and be that voice. Adamantly opposing the criminal FLDS' cult leader, Warren Jeffs, and publicly standing as the lone healthy pro-polygamy voice in the media, Henkel thereby became wholly established as the National Polygamy Advocate ™.
To assist the media and others making requests for media interviews and public speaking, a new web-site was developed: NationalPolygamyAdvocate.com. This expanded beyond Christian Polygamy activism to the overall national polygamy rights movement for unrelated consenting adults. By the Spring of 2009, Henkel was publicly speaking at a political public hearing on marriage control, as well as being quoted in books and post-undergraduate research.
Christian Polygamy had certainly achieved much in 15 years.
THE 4th FIVE YEARS: 2009-2014
The fourth set of five years of the movement began with a long-term "behind the scenes" project. Professional public speeches presented by the National Polygamy Advocate ™ were recorded, making non-Mormon arguments to secular, mainstream, and non-polygamous audiences.
As this was happening, TV network TLC debuted a reality show of a Mormon Polygamous family called, "Sister Wives." After that family (i.e., the Browns) had been "public" on TV, a local police investigation was opened against them. In 2011, Constitutional law professor and attorney Jonathan Turley filed a lawsuit for them. That Autumn, the official Youtube-channel "MarkHenkelPolygamy" debuted, with its "Season One" series of videos: one speech-episode per week for ten weeks from the National Polygamy Advocate ™ was posted the next year.
On April 3, 2012, Mark Henkel presented a history-making keynote speech at Yale University - an invitation limited to top political elites, including US Supreme Court Justices and Presidential Candidates. In 2013, two more polygamy reality shows debuted, the DVD of the YALE Speech was released (e.g., on Amazon.com), and the National Polygamy Advocate's official Public Speaker "One Sheet" and "Cover Letter" were completed.
On December 13, 2013, a federal judge decided Jonathan Turley's filed-case, "Brown v. Buhman," in Utah. The decision de-criminalized "de facto polygamy" (multiple wives but only one marriage license) in the State of Utah while "de jure polygamy" (multiple wives with multiple marriage licenses) would still remain criminalized. To understand these details, the media conducted more interviews with the National Polygamy Advocate ™, including a rather hostile Nancy Grace on the TV network HLN. In these interviews, Henkel introduced a new acronym; with SSM as "same sex marriage," and with OMOW as "one man one woman," UCAP now stands for "unrelated consenting adult polygamy."
Lastly, to celebrate this special anniversary of 20 years of Christian Polygamy, a never-previously-released speech video was posted to the official Youtube-channel, "The Story of David and What It Shows (about God & Polygamy)." Whether a viewer is Christian, non-Christian, polygamous, or non-polygamous, the video is a "must-see" for anyone who follows the marriage control debate. Posted on July 4, 2014, this important Biblical storytelling account provides an enjoyable additional way to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Christian Polygamy.
BECAUSE OF CHRISTIAN POLYGAMY
Christian Polygamy paved the way for the unrelated consenting adult polygamy (UCAP) movement. Notwithstanding Hollywood's fixation on Mormon Polygamy and/or on the less committed, "Polyamory," it is Christian Polygamy that was publicly working in the trenches which brought the overall national polygamy rights movement for unrelated consenting adults to where it is today. Even non-Christian UCAP supporters can be thankful for Christian Polygamy - the young movement which started 20 years ago on July 4, 1994.
In the next 20 years, UCAP might very likely be de-criminalized. But specifically for Christians, the Reformation continues. It could even possibly be that, in these next coming 20 more years, Christians in all Bible-believing churches might even be thanking Christian Polygamists for their faithfulness to the truth that the Bible never prohibited polygamy. The rest of contemporary society could be likewise grateful for its providing the political win-win solution to end the marriage control debate.
Truly, therefore, with all these successes having occurred by their movement's 20th Anniversary, Christian Polygamists have every reason to be excited, doubly celebrating this Independence Day, 2014.
THE 1st FIVE YEARS: 1994-1999
"How Do You Know TRUTH?"
"Remember Moses wrote it ©"
"The History of the 'Movement'"
THE 2nd FIVE YEARS: 1999-2004
"July 4, 2004 - Christian Polygamy 'Movement' is 10 Years Old"
THE 3rd FIVE YEARS: 2004-2009
"USA TODAY Op-Ed Copies Pro-Polygamy Organization's Arguments"
"WSJ Helps End Polygamy Controversy of 'Turley's Arguments'"
"700 Club airs its First Report on Christian Polygamy Movement"
"Kick Government Out of Marriage, Not Churches"
"Marriage Control Losing Ground by 4th Anniversary of 'Lawrence'"
"FLDS was Always Opposed by National Polygamy Movement - Quotes"
"National Polygamy Rights Movement for Consenting Adults
Disavows FLDS, Says National Polygamy Rights Leader"
Mark Henkel Polygamy Testimony at Hearing for Same Sex Marriage 4-22-09 Maine
BOOK by Marci Hamilton, 2005
Cambridge University Press. Pg. 74
God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law
DISSERTATION by Allison Marie Martens, 2007
University of Texas. Pp. 1-2
A Movement of One's Own? American Social Movements and Constitutional Development in the Twentieth Century
"July 4, 2009 - Christian Polygamy Movement is 15 Years Old"
THE 4th FIVE YEARS: 2009-2014
"TLC's 'Sister Wives' puts the 'L' back in 'The Learning Channel'"
"Again, Jonathan Turley Repeats Polygamy Organization's Arguments"
"Speech Series Launched to Promote Polygamy Rights Nationally"
Public Speaking Videos - Season 1
"2nd Speech Series Released for Polygamy Rights Movement"
Public Speaking Videos - Season 2
"National Polygamy Advocate’s Speech at Yale, DVD Makes History"
Notable Guests at the YPU
"My Five Wives”
National Geographic 2013
"Mark Henkel - Yale - Repeal Anti-Polygamy Laws for Consenting Adults – [TRAILER]"
"Repeal Anti-Polygamy Laws for Consenting Adults - Mark Henkel - Yale (2013) "
Mark Henkel's Public Speaker "ONE SHEET"
Mark Henkel's Bibliographed "COVER LETTER"
'De Facto' Polygamy De-Criminalized in Utah by Federal Court
Mark Henkel on Thom Hartmann Show December 30, 2013
Mark Henkel, National Polygamy Advocate on Nancy Grace
"UCAP" Acronym detailed
Mark Henkel on Al Jazeera America Dec 14 2013
SPEECH: "The Story of David and What it Shows (about God & Polygamy) "
[Reviewed for publication - Pro-Polygamy.com Review Board.]