All in favor of polygamy say, “Tony!”

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Target Magazine
February 1994


The Tony whom we speak was born Bernie L. Hoffman, adopting the stage name Tony Alamo when trying to break into the entertainment world as a singer. He thought it sounded Italian and he was convinced members of that nationality possess considerable influence in the music profession. (His name has never been changed, legally.)

According to the tons of literature he distributes, Tony is the “World Pastor” of the Holy Alamo Christian Church in Southern California—with branches in Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois and New York. We have a whole stack of his pamphlets, the combined value of which, with $1 added, would buy a cup of coffee in an average cafe. The most widely circulated is The Pope’s Secrets, a gung-ho attack on Catholi¬cism. While most evangelicals concur that a glut of false teaching emanates from Rome, few would agree with Alamo’s tactics for spreading the alarm. For example, one leaflet is headlined: “Did you know that the POPE and RONALD REAGAN are a couple of ANTICHRIST DEVILS and that they are selling us all down the drain?” Such language does not impress intelligent people.

Tony is best known, perhaps, for me really class western boots he manufactures. His second claim to fame relates to his bizarre actions following the death of Susan Alamo, his first wife (he has had 3 or 4, but more on that later), who died of cancer in May of 1982. She had publicly announced God was going to heal her and when He didn’t, Tony refused to bury her, claiming God would raise her from the dead. He gave up when God “just took away my grief for Sue and gave me a new love.”

That new love, whom he married two years after Susan died, was 42-year-old Birgitta Gyllenhammar from Sweden, a clothes designer who manufactured her own line under the label Birgitta. She left Tony the following year and the last we heard she was operating at least one boutique in Beverly Hills—she owned two when they married. His third wife was Elizabeth Caldwell Amrbein and they got into a big custody battle over her children by her ex-husband, Nick. When Tony married Wife #3, Wife #2 called him a “bigamist,” claiming they were still legally married, although she said she had been trying to get him to agree to a divorce ever since their separation. Alamo gave his standard explanation: it was all a Catholic conspiracy! Wife #3 has since divorced Tony and both Birgitta and Elizabeth charge him with being “a wife beater.”

Tony’s latest pamphlet is The Polygamists. The opening line says: “Anyone who would believe that polygamy, according to God’s Holy-Scripture, is dead, would believe that God is dead, and that the Bible is meaningless.” And that is just for starters!

Well, Tony, we’ll go on record as saying that from the beginning God planned “one man, one woman.” Anything else is a violation of His will and, like divorce, was only permitted in the Old Testament during certain periods because of man’s “hardness of heart.” As our Lord said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female” (Matthew 19:4). Note the use of the singular: “male,” “female.” He did not make them “male” and “females”; it was not Adam and Eve, Mary, Rachel, Susan, Birgitta and Elizabeth. No, just Adam and Eve; one man, one woman. Not only so, “they are no more twain, but one flesh” (Vs.6). The first family was “a duality in unity.” Could Adam, Eve, Shirley, Geraldine, Janet, Doris and Margaret be one flesh, a duality in unity? Hardly. And the one husband was ordered to “cleave” to that one wife (Vs.5). Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words declares of the Greek word kollao, translated cleave: “to join fast together, to glue, cement, is primarily said of metals and other materials.” How many women does Tony think should be glued, cemented to one man?

In the Genesis creation account God said, “I will make him an help meet for him” (2:18). The noted Hebrew scholar, Franz Julius Delitzsch, translated this phrase, “I will make him, a help of his like.” W. H. Griffith Thomas said it was literally, “a helper as his counter-part.” God did not offer to make a harem to assist Adam, merely one, exclusive wife.

In typical male chauvinist fashion, Tony only permits the men to take more wives, not the wives to take more husbands. Why? He says the man is the boss; since the fall the woman is “not equal to the man anymore, but is under subjection to her one and only husband. She is to be totally dominated, ruled through and by the godly man through the Word of God (positively no more equal rights, ladies).”

Shades of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young! After all, that’s the way Smith started out, getting “revelations” from God to “take more wives.” In Tony’s case, he says if you disagree with him you think God is dead and the Bible is meaningless. No, Tony, we don’t think God is dead or that His Word is anything but divinely inspired, inerrant and relevant for His people today. We’ll sum up this item by quoting Dr. Henry M. Morris: “Polygamy, concubinage, polyandry, easy divorce, adultery, promiscuity, and other distortions of the marriage covenant have permeated many cultures, but, as the Lord Jesus said: ‘From the beginning it was not so’ (Matthew 19:8).”

How many wives does Tony have now? Who knows? Remember, Birgitta called him a bigamist when he married Elizabeth. Going from bigamy to polygamy is a very short step. And why put out a book defending the practice if you “ain’t doin'” it? It is Joe Smith, deja vu!

QUOTES OF NOTE: British novelist Julie Burchill claims Madonna “looks like a whore and thinks like a pimp.” Very well said!…Zig Ziglar observed: “The average American reads only two new books each year. If you read just 20 minutes each day, you will read the equivalent of twenty 200-page books by year’s end!”

In: Polygamy In The News

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