Dating For Eternity
12:30 pm, January 7th | by Sarah Devlin
Chris had failed as the Mormon Bachelor. It wasn’t the prediction I would have made before watching the show. As personally off-putting as I found Chris, if there was a group of people who seemed suited to a dating process that involved a great deal of seriousness very quickly, I would think it would be young Mormons. Kent Tuttle agreed:
We, as members of the church can learn a little bit from the world and how they do relationships and they too can learn from us and how we do relationships…Before you freak out here me out [sic]…The world can learn from us obviously because of our focus on family, eternity, and true and everlasting covenants in the house of the Lord under proper priesthood authority and everything that entails.
Obedience to the law of chastity and being faithful to covenants is another big one that people in the world often miss out on. With these values and principles and covenants intact, there really is no going wrong. Spencer W. Kimball said that almost any two righteous LDS members could make a successful and happy marriage. But flipping sides I think that in general people who aren’t LDS and are in the world generally end up marrying their best friends…
They believe in love and romance and affection as very important aspects to the relationship. They spend lots of time together and it is very genuine. However their marriages would have a much higher success rate I believe if they upheld LDS standards of living and had an eternal perspective like we do.
I found myself feeling like I had learned a very obvious lesson: dating on camera is doomed to failure. When I thought about it more, though, it seemed that the real trouble came from one person having too much power — giving the leads on The Bachelor/ette carte blanche to date and dump 25 different people in six weeks, or allowing a fame-hungry manipulator to carry out his or her schemes unimpeded, even at the expense of the integrity of the show, or asking an earnest guy in his twenties to serve as his better-looking friend’s dating proxy. The cameras weren’t necessarily the problem: the shows’ purity of intent and the power dynamics inherent in a dating competition were.
But the ABC series and The Mormon Bachelor were also heartening, in their way. At their core, regardless of their overarching missions (ratings/ad dollars for ABC; a religious counterpart to The Bachelor for TMB), both featured men and women whose desire to connect and fall in love was so nakedly apparent that it left them open to all manner of disappointments. But I also found it sweet and optimistic to see that kind of vulnerability onscreen, an antidote to the cynicism of Bachelor Pad and even the vagaries of dating in real life, which can amount to a contest of who can care the least.
I wondered if Chris resented starting The Mormon Bachelor in Kent’s shadow, a position he didn’t seem able to emerge from for the entire season. To me, he seemed a bit like Ashley Hebert, one of the most abused and manipulated Bachelor/ette leads in recent memory (although the girls Chris dated seemed infinitely kinder and more well-intentioned than most of Ashley’s suitors). Bentley, the villain on her season, repeatedly expressed his wish that the Bachelorette had been someone other than Hebert, just as the original star of The Mormon Bachelor was supposed to be Kent.
And yet Ashley Hebert was one of the only Bachelors or Bachelorettes to find a partner through the show in JP Rosenbaum, who was a steady, endlessly reassuring and positive force in her season. I found myself rooting for Chris to find his match. It was the final stop on the spectrum of emotions I felt toward him while watching his season, ranging from bemusement to irritation to pity to a sort of compassion by journey’s end. After all, not only was his season of The Mormon Bachelor something of a personal failure, it seemed to disappoint on a macro level as well. On the post for the season finale there were only a handful of comments, most of them negative.
These past two seasons have had too much unnecessary drama. I’m hoping season 5 will be more fun like seasons 1&2 were.
What a sad ending!
How about giving us an update on Kent’s situation?
And in December, they did. Kent was single again. In a clip he had filmed himself, he told the camera “As a man, you can’t get caught in an emotional roller coaster.”
I suspect she may have dumped him.