In the early eighties I had a Mormon friend who challenged me on the issue of polygamy as well as other issues. I am always open to a challenge because that is what leads you to the truth. He was mainstream Mormon so he was monogamous in his personal life but he said that polygamy was okay because it was practiced by the Old Testament patriarchs and kings like David and Solomon. This I could not argue withbut I felt the Holy Spirit leading me in another direction. I could not find an outright condemnation of polygamy but I believe that a case can be made Biblically for monogamy. Polygamy in my view is much like divorce. It was given to man by man. It is not of divine origin. God gave us marriage between one man and one woman.
English Standard Version (ESV)
4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
Lamech was the first man in the Old Testament to practice polygamy. He was a descendant of Cain. By the time of Jesus most Jews were monogamus which implies to me that it wasn't a practice that fit into God's perfect will for our lives. More evidence that God prefers monogamy over polygamy is ! Timothy 3:2.
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
New American Standard Version (1995)
I believe that if God required monogamy for a Church leader then he would have surely preferred it for the general Church population at large. Polygamy is practiced today by certain indigenous cultures, the spin-off groups of the Mormon Church and Islam. Joseph Smith said that polygamy was an eternal commandment of the Mormon Church. The United States government almost went to war with the Mormons in 1857 over polygamy, among other things. Non-Mormons, or Gentiles as they were called,flooded into the Utah Territory which was established after the Mexican War in 1848. They appealed to Congress because they did not believe in polygamy and resented the power and influence of the Mormon Church in Utah. An anti-bigamy law was passed in 1862 called the Morril Act and in 1882 the Edmunds Act made polygamy a felony. By the late 1800's leaders of the church had been imprisoned, forced into hiding and Congress was on the verge of disenfranchising the Mormon Church. They took their case to the Supreme Court and lost. The Church was facing bankruptcy and the Church leader of the time Wilford Woodruff supposedly had a miraculous revelation in 1890 that God wanted Mormons to have only one wife. The hardcore Mormons who believed like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that polygamy was an eternal commandment from God, that was to be obeyed, headed for Canada, Mexico and remote areas of the United States to establish small Mormon conclaves that exist to this day. They have gotten around anti-polygamy laws by legally marrying one woman and all others are called their spiritual wives. This also enables them to commit welfare fraud because these spiritual wives can apply for welfare and food stamps because technically they are single women with children. Polygamy is also a cover in the Mormon Church for pedophiles. Some of these spiritual wives are as young as 11 or 12. Far too many are under 18 years old.
Islam allows their male members to have four wives. The Koran goes on to say however that if he cannot deal justly with multiple wives, then he should marry only one, or resort to "those whom your right hands possess" Surah 4:3. This refers to female slaves. Which is a justification for slavery. The so-called equality in marriage movement which is primarily focused on homosexual marriage has the potential to create havoc in the American legal system. Marriage has always been the prerogative of the state. For example I did not go to the Federal courthouse to get my marriage license. Until it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, which it can't, that homosexuals are born homosexual I do not believe that they can fall under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The reason interracial marriage is covered is because as long as men and women are allowed to marry in a state you cannot legally bar particular races from marrying each other. Another example are state election laws. Election laws are the responsibility of each state. This would never happen, but if a state decided that only legislators could vote in elections the state would be well within it's rights under the Constitution. However if it allows the average citizen to vote but limited that right to white people the state would be in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. This is why the state cannot deny the right of marriage to interracial couples of black and white since they allow that right to couples of other races. A man or woman can prove empirically that they were born male or female. A homosexual cannot prove that he was born a homosexual. To me this is the bottom line of the whole argument, setting aside all moral arguments. If behavior is covered by the 14th Amendment then any group can appeal for the right to be married. Polygamists will probably be the next group to press for legal recognition and we are already seeing signs of that. Gay marriage has never been legally accepted until recently and this has been primarily by liberal courts overruling the wishes of the people at large. Polygamy has never been legally accepted anywhere. This also opens the possibility that one day pedophiles will also press for the right to marry children. A father to marry a daughter or a mother a son. In this day and age nothing is too far fetched. If we grant homosexuals and polygamists the right of marriage then what judge will be able to draw a legal line in the sand.