There is so much misunderstanding, from within the culture and without, as to what patriarchal living is in plural marriage that we included in our Frequently Asked Questions in this blog. That I am the head of the family is without question, and we certainly have a hierarchy as do most organizations. However, that structure is not one which makes me above another.
The inspiration for me as to the correct pattern to follow comes from Christ as the head of the Church. He magnifies His station not in the power of position but in His power of service. Service is a powerful definition that is far too often overlooked in society. We all have an obligation to society, to make the world not about us, but about others. Ultimately, it is to love our neighbor as our self. For me, that starts first with service to my family.
In order for me to demonstrate what I mean by service, I must first say what it is not. Service is not being less than, subservient or dominated by. In other words it is being in a place that is not hierarchical, and in a way that is not obligatory. In fact true service is not even in being noble or to engage in a behavior of serving to get credit. Even as a father I have come to realize when I am sacrificing of myself I truly am not in service, for to sacrifice is not to give of your self.
For me patriarchal service is about giving my self over to a greater intention than my own sense of life. That intention is the love of my family. That is my wives, their children and all that come under my stewardship. In that role I am to serve my family. Ultimately it is about making a difference in their lives that will remain long after I am no longer a physical entity on earth.
The beauty of what I have learned from my role as patriarch to my family is that I have discovered a truer sense of who I am. For example, my wives continue to challenge me in who I really am and what I am really committed to. Also, as any father should know, your children are the windows to your soul, and they constantly bring insight into myself. They are potential, and they bring up all that I oppose in my self and all that I see possible for a better tomorrow.
In service to my family I discovered my dignity, my grace and a sense of purpose to life. I recently held my grandson, Asher Levi for the first time. I watched my daughter, the very girl who changed this Dad into a Daddy, now blossom into something greater than herself, as a mother. As I savored that moment I realized that all that I have given of my self to my daughter had turned into something greater, as this little bundle of pure love, cradled in my arms looked at me resonating pure love and joy. More than words, the connection at the moment embodied patriarchal service.