In the history of mankind it is only relatively recently that the concept of monogamy has been accepted as the norm in mainstream society.
Arguably, this form of relationship is almost unknown in animals – and man is, after all, an animal. So, it is reasonable to assert that the “one man one woman” form of relationship is just not natural. Indeed, most ancient societies accepted polygamy as the norm. The only limitation to the number of wives a man could take was simply a reflection of his financial resources and social status.
Mainstream Christianity probably bears the blame for this seismic shift in attitudes to monogamy, although there is one notable Christian group which is an exception to this rule as shown below.
The extent of the irrationality of the concept of monogamy is demonstrated in many modern cultures by the fact that a substantial number of men – maybe even a majority – do have other “unofficial partners” or mistresses. The standard wedding promise of “til death us do part” is frequently honored more in the breach than the observance as divorce rates in western societies continue to grow.
However, not all societies, even today, seek to impose restrictions of the number of permitted wives.
Our LifeDaily team has put together this selection of men who managed to live with considerable numbers of wives. How happy they, or the wives, were with this arrangement is a matter of speculation.
King Solomon was reputedly very wise so he must have known a thing or two to arrive at the situation of having seven hundred wives and a further three hundred concubines, which is a biblical way of saying ” mistresses.” Strangely, only one of them, Naamah, is actually named, possibly because she was the mother of Rehoboam, Solomon’s successor, and the biblical story needed continuity.
Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar
Fat′h Ali Shah Qajar was the second King of Persia who lived from 1772 to 1834 and reigned for 37 of those years. In this time he managed to marry around 158 women. In his case the names of ALL his wives are listed in the book, Tarikh-e Azodi by Soltan Ahmad Mirza Azod-ed-Dowleh. He succeeded to father 260 children and 786 grandchildren.
Asentus Ogwella Akuku
This man from Kenya is believed to have more than a hundred wives. Akuku was married for the first time in 1939. He became a polygamist in 1944 at the age of 22, and then married more than 100 women in his lifetime. He divorced 85 wives for infidelity and outlived 12 of his wives, His last marriage was in 1992.
Akuku had 160 children and had to establish two elementary schools solely to educate them. He died in 2010 at the age of 94 from natural causes.
Mohammed Bello Abubakar
He was a Nigerian Islamist cleric who took 86 wives and fathered 170 children. He had worked as a preacher and Imam and lived with his family in one apartment block. Many of Mohammed’s wives were much younger than he was and a few were even younger than some of his elder children.
Islam allows a man to have four wives but Mohammed claimed that the Quran did not set a punishment for anyone who exceeded that number.
However, Abubakr was arrested in 2008 by Islamic authorities and tried before a Sharia court which ordered him to divorce 82 of his wives. He refused to obey and was sentenced to death. Eventually, Abubakr conceded to Sharia decree and agreed to the mass divorce in September 2008.
Warren Steed Jeffs
As mentioned above, the culture of most western countries is largely monogamist, especially if their religious base is Christianity.
One notable exception is Church of Latter Day Saints – better known as “The Mormons” – which allows men to take more than one wife. Warren Steed Jeffs was the president of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church based in Colorado City, Arizona and is believed to have married 80 women and had 250 children.
In 2002 he succeeded his father Rulon Timpson Jeffs and subsequently married all but two of his father’s widows. In 2007 he had to step down from the FDLS leadership after FBI declared him on their Top Ten Most Wanted List for case of rape, polygamy, tax evasion and kidnapping. Jeffs was captured, tried and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2007.
Rulon Timpson Jeffs
The father of Warren Steed Jeffs, Rulon Timpson Jeffs, lived from 1909 to 2002 during which time he married 75 women. He fathered 65 children and after his death was survived by 20 wives.
This businessman from Saudi Arabia has married 58 women over a period of 50 years following his first marriage at age 14. He has paid over this time more than $1.6 million in wedding expenses and settlements for divorced wives. However he has kept the same three wives for the past two decades. Only the fourth wife is changed every year as he claims “it’s the one for renewal.”
He was not only the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1847 until his death in 1877, but also he founded Salt Lake City, and served as the first governor of the Utah Territory, United States.
Over the 76 years of his life Brigham Young was believed to have acquired 55 wives of whom, 21 had never been married before 16 were widows 6 were divorced and 6 even had living husbands. Young had 56 children by 16 of his wives, out of which 46 reached adulthood.
Smith was the founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and is believed to have married 34 women during his lifetime, with ages ranging from 14 to 60. Initially he kept his other wives a secret in the first days of the Church. It took a long time before his first wife accepted the practice of “plural marriages” as practiced in the church.
Monogamy or polygamy – which is the most natural state?
What do you think about the concept of multiple wives? Would you agree to be one of many?
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