PO Box 55045, Phoenix AZ 85078-5045
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
COPYRIGHTED 1999 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - MAY BE REPRINTED OR QUOTED FROM ONLY IF CREDIT IS GIVEN LIBERATED CHRISTIANS, MAILING ADDRESS IS SHOWN AND WE ARE SENT A COPY OF PUBLICATION.
A SUMMARY OF LIBERATED CHRISTIANS' VIEWS
(IMPORTANT NOTE: This statement will show that Liberated Christians' views are not to be identified with Mormonism or the beliefs and practices of "Christian polygamists" groups which have been recently profiled by the media. Recent news stories have mentioned Liberated Christians along with these groups. This statement will also show that, strictly speaking, our views are not to be too closely identified with the patriarchal polygamy of the Old Testament Hebrews.)
Recent media attention has been paid to fundamentalist Mormon sects and families which continue to practice polygamy and also to certain groups which describe themselves as non-Mormon "Christian polygamists."
In light of these developments, we feel it is important to make a statement which summarizes our beliefs and distinguishes them from the beliefs of these recently publicized groups.
This statement does not contain biblical quotes to document or describe our beliefs. Various materials on this web site deal in a more detailed fashion with these beliefs and the relevant biblical material.
FROM THE BIBLICAL RECORD
We believe that the idea of multiple sexual partners is in no way prohibited by the teachings of the Hebrew or Christian scriptures.
The ancient Hebrews, as portrayed in the Old Testament, clearly believed in multiple partnerships and this practice is nowhere condemned by God.
When the New Testament scriptures are viewed as a whole, taking into account the cultural context in which they were written, it is clear that neither Jesus nor the writers of the New Testament condemned such practice, although it appears that polygamy had, for non-religious reasons, substantially declined within Jewish culture by the time of Christ.
Despite this biblical evidence, the Christian church has persistently opposed polygamous relationships and has, at times, actively persecuted families which chose to practice this lifestyle. The church has also used twisted interpretations of various scriptures in defense of its opposition to this lifestyle.
STARTING POINT FOR MULTIPLE INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS
It is our view that God's evident acceptance of the type of polygamy that existed among the Hebrews is a starting point for discussing and developing modern views on multiple intimate relationships. However, it is important to notice certain characteristics of that form of polygamy which we believe are deficient in light of the perspectives of Jesus and the character of the New Covenant in Christ that we find in the New Testament scriptures.
The practice of POLYGAMY among the Hebrews was, technically, the practice of POLYGYNY, i.e., the idea of one man having multiple wives. In the Hebrew culture and many others throughout history, polygyny was connected with a strong PATRIARCHAL structure in which wives were viewed as PHYSICAL PROPERTY of their husbands. This structure, shared with other Near Eastern peoples who were contemporaries of the Hebrews, severely restricted the rights and freedoms of women, even though certain protections for them were built into the laws regulating marital and family life.
NEW BEGINNING FOR MULTIPLE INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS
While we view God's acceptance of this form of polygamy under the OLD COVENANT (God's relationship with the Hebrews) as indicating his approval of multiple relationships, we believe that under the NEW COVENANT (God's relationship with both Jews and Gentiles through Jesus the Messiah) it was God's intention to modify the patriarchal system in order to give greater equality to women. We believe that substantial hints of a new order of respect and freedom for women may be discerned in Jesus' relationship with women and their prominence in the ministry of the apostles and the earliest Christian church. We see no reason why this new freedom should not apply to relationship styles, as well as other aspects of spiritual life.
Thus, our views of multiple relationships are based on a greater freedom of BOTH sexes to relate intimately to partners of their choice. This means that women may have multiple partners, as well as men. (Technically, this form of polygamy is called POLYANDRY.) Regardless of the form, these partners are not to be treated possessively and jealously as property, but set free to share themselves, in Christian love, with others, as they choose.
In some of the material on our web site it will be noticed that we appeal to the practice of the Old Testament Hebrews as support for our views. We continue to grow in our understanding of the message of the New Testament regarding love, freedom and a better perspective on the role of women in the family and church. As we do, we are relying more upon these New Testament ideas as a foundation for our views of multiple relationships than on the concepts found in the Hebrew scriptures.
NEW TERM FOR A NEW BEGINNING
The modern term, POLYAMORY (a Greek and Latin hybrid meaning "more loves" or "loving more than one"), was coined a number of years ago as an alternative to "responsible non-monogamy," a rather cumbersome term that was current among those who believed in multiple relationships. In Liberated Christians we also use this term for two additional purposes: to indicate that the relationships we advocate should be founded on principles of Christian love and as a way of distinguishing those relationships from patriarchal polygamy.
VIEWS AND THOSE OF MODERN "POLYGAMISTS"
In light of the preceding statements, it should be clear that our views of Christian polyamory are not compatible with those of patriarchal Mormonism. In addition, Mormons once practiced polygamy in obedience to unique doctrinal beliefs, compatible with their patriarchal religion, which relate to heavenly rewards for Mormon males. Although polygamy was formally renounced by the Mormon Church more than a hundred years ago, some Mormons still practice the lifestyle, many organized into fundamentalist sects. It is important to stress that our views of polyamory have no such doctrinal connections.
Nor is Liberated Christians to be confused with certain contemporary "Christian polygamy" movements, which are clearly patriarchal in nature, even though they are not Mormon in doctrine. Some of these groups have recently set up shop in isolated areas of Utah and other western states, where they believe they will, like their Mormon "cousins," be able to escape notice. They have, however, been discovered by the media, which has produced numerous newspaper, magazine and TV news-magazine reports on their beliefs and practices.
Typical of the sound-bite culture of modern journalism, which seems to neglect thorough research under the pressure of beating competing news organizations to sensational stories, some recent news stories have lumped Liberated Christians in with both the Mormon sects and the newly-noticed "Christian polygamists." It is important to us that we distance ourselves from these groups.
WE ARE AND WHAT WE AREN'T
In addition to distinguishing ourselves from the groups mentioned above, it is important to note that Liberated Christians is neither a church nor a cult. We do not advocate that Christians who share our views separate themselves from their churches or isolate themselves in cult-like groups. However, we do recognize that Christians who believe as we do may wish to find fellowship with others of like mind. We encourage them to do that and try to facilitate it through certain divisions of our web site and through personal contacts.
We in no way advocate or support individuals who wish to cheat on their spouses by establishing intimate relationships without their partner's knowledge and consent. In this sense, the old term "responsible non-monogamy" or the term "consensual non-monogamy" is a valid watchword within our circle. We believe that a true, loving polyamory can only exist when all partners are in agreement concerning the relationships.
We are primarily an information source for Christians who are interested in exploring their natural tendency toward multiple relationships and provide biblical study material supporting their interests.
We have no formal membership. We do not sell anything except for packets of printed material for those who do not have access to our Internet web site and a few video tapes related to the poly lifestyle. We also offer Sybian machines for women at a discounted price and we receive a small referral fee from the distribututor to help defray our costs.
Liberated Christians is a registered non-profit (though not tax-exempt) entity, almost the entire financial support of which comes from the personal funds of the founders, who earn their living through ordinary occupations. The founders, far from getting rich through Liberated Christians, are, in fact, substantially poorer for their efforts. This is a labor of love, not of profit. We are, however, grateful for supporters who occasionally contribute to the ministry.
WE VIEW THE BIBLE
The founders of Liberated Christians accept the Bible as our teaching source regarding our relationships with God and others and in that sense we might even be considered "conservative" Christians. We simply believe that the central biblical principle of loving God and loving neighbor may legitimately cover the practice of multiple intimate or sexual relationships. We believe that the tendency towards multiple relationships is a normal human tendency, not the product of sin.
We also believe that the Bible, especially the New Testament, does not teach the repressive, legalistic style of life and spirituality that has tended to characterize traditional Christianity and which stifles personal liberty in all areas of life, including the realm of sexuality and intimate relationships. In addition to advocating a liberated sexuality (which is not, by the way, the kind of "licentiousness" of which we are accused by our critics), we believe in a larger freedom to live our total lives under the "rule" of love that is possible if the Bible and the gospel of Christ are taken seriously.
ARE THE PEOPLE WHO SHARE OUR VIEWS?
Many of them are mainstream, evangelical Christians, including pastors and their wives, church elders and Sunday school teachers. Some are seminary-trained theologians. Others are lay men and women from many different church backgrounds or no organized Christian background at all. They come from all walks of life, including college students, doctors, ministry professionals, housewives and blue-collar workers. They may be your neighbors, co-workers or even your relatives. (Scary, isn't it?!) They are ordinary people who have simply acknowledged that they have polyamorous desires, as do most other people who are unable to admit it to themselves, their partners, their church or their God.
FRUIT OF THIS MINISTRY
Thousands of people from all parts of the world "hit" our web site weekly. Of the many who contact us, most indicate that they have considered thoughts similar to ours for some period of time, but had no idea that such views could be reconciled with biblical Christianity. Almost invariably, they express their gratitude for finding relief from the conflicts they have experienced between their faith and the inclinations they have had for expanding their loving relationships.
In the more than six years (including the two years that we have operated the web site) that we have been hearing the "stories" of those who contact us, becoming regular correspondents with many and personal friends of some, we have become convinced that there is a substantial sub-culture of Christian individuals and couples who believe essentially as we do. Many of these people are from "conservative" or "evangelical" backgrounds and are desperately looking for fellowship with those of like mind. It is those people whom we are trying to assist in their growth toward a peaceful acceptance of the basic goodness of their sexuality and their polyamorous desires and toward a mature, spiritually sound practice of the poly lifestyle.
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