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Adultery: Sin or Sacrifice?

When I first started reading the HOJ's Constitution and Bylaws book, I was shocked to find the things that it contained. I had never read it as a member, just as I had never read the Bible. Now, having more knowledge in both areas, it's interesting to compare the teachings of the HOJ to the Bible and see just how different they really are.

The first section begins on page 52: CRIMES OF THE CENTURY Part 7 ADULTERY. "A married man, of this church, who becomes involved with an unmarried female of this church, shall, during the first thirty days of his involvement, report his act to his superior officer (Bishop), and if later on it is determined that the woman has become pregnant, the man shall report the matter to his wife. If his wife will agree for her husband to pay all medical fees and the cost of hospitalization, and permit her husband to furnish support for the child until the child reaches his 16th birthday anniversary, and that she will forgive him, the church will also forgive all first offenders when all accounts are paid and the receipts are turned over to the officer of the district. If the wife will not forgive her husband, who has committed an act of adultery against her, and after the church has bent every effort to cause the wife to show mercy to her erring husband and also to the female who has trespassed against her, if the wife remains adamant and unbending, then the church will have exercised its duty and the couple will have to resort to other sources; but the way of God is best for all concerned."

This seems like a very light punishment for a "crime of the century." No backseat shunning, no board meeting, no counselling...just coercing the wife into forgiving the "erring husband" and trespassing female. And of course, that's only if pregnancy occurs; otherwise, your superior officer forgives you. If you continue reading on page 53, you find that no matter how many times you commit adultery against your spouse, you'll never get excommunicated.

Keeping all this in mind, now we'll skip over to page 62: ARTICLE 16 THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY "If a man has sexual relations with a woman other than his wife, without the consent of his wife, then he commits sin, and has cheated his wife. It is lust for a man to ask his wife for such privileges. Hereafter if your husband asks you to let him go with a maid, do not conceal him, but report him to the Bishop of your district."

The Cambridge dictionary defines adultery as having sexual relations with someone other than your spouse; and of course, the Bible tells us, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Consent, in both areas, is irrelevant. However, after reading the HOJ's book of bylaws, you learn that it's NOT a sin to have sexual relations with someone other than your spouse if he/she consents. Is God's word in the Bible insufficient? How many times was this sin committed lawfully within the HOJ? How many wives sacrificed their husbands, their sanity, their self-respect?

This book was mainly authored during the late 1960's by Father J.I.S.; while he was living with many different wives who had many, many children for him. One woman alone was known to bear eight children. He was not alone in his efforts to help the HOJ grow; many men of all ranks have committed adultery and have fathered children who were raised by single mothers or childless families. Because of the great need for housing for all these pregnant single women, the home for unwed mothers was established at headquarters in Ohio. After Father J.I.S.' death, it was renamed "the grove" and used for the Father's main residence

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