My last blog post was about waves in our lives and how it all seems just a little bit beyond us. Allowing agency, Heavenly Father lets us become surfers and choose which waves to ride, and when to enter or exit a wave. I have been riding the wave of the Mormon Bachelor for quite some time now…
I was announced as the Mormon Bachelor on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. In order to make my decision I spent time in fasting and prayer and pondering. I had made personal changes leading up to that point in my life where I felt like my desires were in the right place once again to desire a serious relationship for eternal marriage potential. I had just gotten out of a failed relationship and instead of getting depressed and crawling in hole I decided to have faith and move forward.
From day one on my journey with The Mormon Bachelor I have been fully invested. I was taking it very seriously because it is my life and future. I made a huge deal about my decision and about The Mormon Bachelor because it was a huge deal to me. In a very real way I decided to wear my heart on my sleeve. Pretty soon the declaration of being ready for love was not just to myself, my family, or the producer of the show, but to greater circles within the LDS community, and even out into the world. The Mormon Bachelor like I have said before, a big deal to me has now become a big deal to many more people. It continues to receive national media attention. It has picked up momentum because as members of the LDS church we are very different and our dating show is different and fascinating for that very reason. Just yesterday I did an interview with the CBS show, “The Insider.” People want to know about our standards of conduct and about the goal of temple marriage. At the heart of the show, our version is different than the real version because we are keeping it real and honest and genuine. The real Bachelor or Bachelorette show often fails because the bachelor or Bachelorette is not completely pure in their heart or intentions. Perhaps the motivation is money or fame, or maybe they just have someone already waiting for them to “finish the show” and lead on all the contestants. The Bachelor or Bachelorette may pick one in the end only to break up and cause an incredible amount of drama. A pure an open heart for love is what it takes for it to work out in my opinion. Which leads me into an important announcement…
Many of you may have heard the announcement elsewhere already but if you haven’t, I have decided to step down as The Mormon Bachelor for this season. The reason why is because in the process of preparing and rewiring my brain for love I met someone that I want to date exclusively. It is another wave that has begun in my life that I feel in a very real way is very much “beyond me.” Surprised? Me too. The decision process has all come about in the last week or two. Please let me explain…Not that I need to make myself feel better about all this but because a lot of people will wonder why and want to know the real scoop and from the beginning of this process I haven’t been alone on my journey. It may take awhile so take a seat…this is a mini novel once again. I am happy to share my experiences with all willing to really listen.
Sometimes we can’t plan love. It just happens. Often at a time when we are least expecting it. Her name is Carlie Butler. We met randomly one day while I was with two friends walking on the sidewalk near Venice beach while I was in LA to shoot for The Mormon Bachelor. Above is a picture of exactly where I was. She and her family are LDS and are involved in family and real life oriented YouTube video productions. You may have heard of them they are called “The Shaytards.” They are a little on the wild side but very fun and great people. Anyway Carlie was with her sister in law that day and camera crew interviewing random people in the street. I was with two of my best friends. One of my friends shouted at her from a distance asking if we could be in her video. She agreed and so we walked up and found out that they we were both LDS! They interviewed my friends and I about our favorite family vacations. The video is at the end of this post.
Carlie definitely left an impression on me that day. Not just because she is blonde and good looking (obvious) but because of her personality and wit and overall goodness I could feel. When we met it did come up in conversation that I was The Mormon Bachelor and I left thinking, wow I would love it if a girl like that applied for the show. I knew it was wishful thinking and tried to forget about her because of my commitment to the show. The only problem was that I could not forget about her. I contacted her via Twitter as “The Mormon Bachelor” but she had 23k followers. No way she would respond right? Wrong! We started a conversation and it progressed from there to a friendship very quickly. I loved talking to her and getting to know every little detail about her. She has so much of what I am looking for in a girl…light hearted and fun loving, on fire with her desire to live and share the gospel and help others, an honest heart full of conviction, loves and lives for family and has the same long term life goals of church service and changing the struggling world around her. She is such a sweetheart at the same time and selfless, living to make her son’s life better.
We decided to be friends because of my commitment to the show. With a solid foundation of friendship intact I decided we should meet and I would convince her to come on the show… Then I soon realized that in all major decision in our life someone else should never convince us that it is right. I would let her make her own decision just like every other girl to come on the show or not. She said she never really felt right about it and I was crushed…until I put myself in her shoes.
Understanding is everything because it gives you a new lens and perspective in which to see the world. New perspective leads to new and better ways of thinking. Too often we choose to see the world only through our lens and we limit ourselves. We become frustrated or upset at others actions without taking the time to really find out why they acted in a certain way. Once we walk a little while in another’s shoes or see the world from their view peace usually sets in. It doesn’t mean we need to agree with their decision but it calms our souls and lets us live in peace and harmony.
If I had just met a girl going to do her own “Bachelorette” and I had strong feelings for them how would I feel about her going to meet and date 13 other guys? She is a single mother of a boy named Cooper who is 4 years old. She gave her heart once to a man who didn’t treat it right and it was very traumatic. She will openly admit that she made a mistake by not marrying someone who could give her what she truly wanted in life which is a temple sealing and life in the church. She chose to move on as a divorced single mother and it is really not an easy road. Especially because she is from a small town in Pocatello and there are plenty of rumors and gossip. She has her boy and heart to protect. Throughout the development of our friendship she never once asked me to quit the show to date her. She stressed that the show was my thing and she would wait patiently for a chance with me if it didn’t work out with anyone on the show. Very wise and mature! She’s only 25! She has been through A LOT and it has given her such a beautiful heart.
Sometimes the most beautiful hearts are the broken ones. When muscles break, they build back even stronger than before. The Lord lets us make our own choices, our hearts break but then he is right there inviting us to give our hearts to him and promises that he will heal them. After all what he wants is a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.” (3 Nephi 12:19. Sometimes we have to break our hearts whether it in a relationship, or any other emotional, physical, or mental challenge that may present itself by chance or by our own doing before we are willing to be completely contrite and obedient, or simply to teach us something we need to add to our character. Often it is to purify our hearts that much more and allow us to progress because God loves us that much.
Some can be obedient from start to finish with no major mistakes ever in their life and I have so much respect for those who can do that. I learn so much from those special souls. But whether our mistakes are big or small they are still mistakes, and we all need the blessings of the Atonement. We cannot “earn” our way to Heaven. What we give will never be enough because we are human. But if our hearts are pure and centered in Christ we will eventually want to give up everything for him and the kingdom. We will do things for the right reasons and we will be blessed for it. Anyway enough of my sidetrack on broken hearts…it is a lesson I learned on my mission though from Elder Holland and I hold it very dear to my heart.
So when I realized that I had to make a decision about dating Carlie or doing the show what ensued was a good week and a half of a personal emotional battle.
As I progressed with my preparations for the show I realized that I was more excited to talk to Carlie and spend time with her then I was to go on the show and go on 13 blind dates. My heart was being tugged in two places with the show and with Carlie. I knew that I could not ride both waves at once. It would not be honest to me, to Carlie, to the girls coming on the show or to the very integrity of the show for me to be riding both waves at once.
I had to either cut ties with Carlie completely or quit the show to be fair to everyone. I went back in forth in my head for over a week. All the while I progressed with the show and I had very little communication with Carlie. I needed time and space to make a decision. All those around me could see my face light up as I talked about Carlie and how I felt about her. Distance only made my heart grow fonder and miss her. My heart would literally hurt when I didn’t talk to her for a day or two.
I am not very good at concealing my feelings I guess. For my family and others not directly involved in the process it was hard for them to see my genuine happiness about Carlie because they physically were not here in LA. It got to the point where even the producer as we were moving forward could see that Carlie was making me happy and that by progressing with the show I would simply be “putting on a smile” to simply save face. She was not ok with this.
Neither was I. We need to make very personal decisions alone with Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost and using our brains, as the scriptures say “you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore you shall feel that it is right (D&C 9:7-8). “
I have felt that it is right and a decision approved by my Heavenly Father. In every quiet moment, every long drive, and every moment alone reading my scriptures or on my knees praying out loud my thoughts turned to Carlie. I gave it time to clear my head while on vacation in Palm Springs. I made an elaborate pro/con list and weighed all options out in my mind. The closer and closer I got to Heavenly Father the more and more He pointed me to her. All I wanted was to be with her. Both waves were good and righteous it was just a matter of which one I wanted to ride. The Lord wants to grant us our righteous desires.
For me this decision really represents turning over a new leaf. I have always been really good at the infatuation stage of love. My family will tell you it pulls on their heartstrings because I am like “the boy who cried wolf.” I get really excited only to see the relationship fizzle after a couple weeks. For the first time in my life, because of the girl (Carlie is amazing) and because of timing I have wanted to freely commit and move forward in a relationship. I am truly a changed man. Once noncommittal, I am now willing to make big decisions and own up to them no matter what the consequences. I realize that many will not agree with my decision. They may think I am foolish or unwise to turn down such a great opportunity, to be a spokesperson for the church and missionary.
Yet the greatest opportunity I will ever have though is to pursue a real relationship with potential for eternal success. I was already a missionary. My mission now is to work towards a temple marriage. I know that it is “a good seed” as it says in Alma 32 and so as I nurture it and if she does the same we will see what happens!!! This is a giant leap of faith. Yet at the same time it was the easiest hard decision I have ever had to make in my life.
How often do you meet someone in dating where you have such strong feelings, they feel the same way back with no games and you both know God is involved from the very start? Only a couple other times in my life has that been the scenario. It is very rare, especially in today’s society. God has been completely removed from the equation. But never have I felt about anyone the way I feel about Carlie…the feelings are real and deep. For a long time I dated very selfishly…what can this girl do for me? Does she measure up to me? My attitude has changed and now the attitude is more of what can I do for her…how can I make her happy? It is a selfless attitude that has really brought so much power into my feelings for Carlie. I would do anything for her.
I am convinced the reason why I found Carlie through the whole Mormon Bachelor process is because I have successfully rewired my brain and heart for true love. Do I know today that I am going to marry Carlie? No of course not. True love withstands the tests of time we both have to give for it to work.
Do I think we have a good chance though at true love? Of course and that’s why I have chosen to be with Carlie. She makes me a better person. Ultimately there are four main questions to ask in any relationship… How do I feel about him/her? And how do I feel about myself when I’m around him/her? Then the other person has to ask themselves the same questions. Also, very wise counsel from long lasting happy relationships are whether or not you love being around that person and whether or not that person is your best friend. Carlie and I have all those things and more. Do we have our weaknesses? Sure! But we both believe in Ether 12:27 that if we humble ourselves before the Lord he can make our weak things into strengths. I’m extremely excited about the possibilities. I am already learning so much. Patience, forgiveness, independence, communication for understanding, sacrifice and compassion are all parts of our healthy friendship and now relationship.
In my dating and life experience I have come to a profound conclusion. It is a theory and you can take or leave what you want from it. 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. There is much to be learned on both sides. Before you freak out here me out…We both have similar divorce rates so lets not say that any one of us has it figured out completely. 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. Unmotivated by desire for physicality, strong cultural or familial push… people in the world often get married to someone they love to be around and who their personalities click with. 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.
Anyway I love The Mormon Bachelor because it is the uniting of two worlds as it pertains to love and dating. Much good comes and will come from it whether I am a part of it or not. Many of you may ask, how will the show continue for this season? Trust me I was worried about this more than anyone. I really feel for all those involved and the time and money and effort they have exhausted on my behalf. Not to take it lightly but there is an old phrase that says, “The show will go on.”
This is true and I have had it whispered to my soul for comfort. The Mormon Bachelor is a good thing and it will continue to be just that. I am convinced that everyone will still be intrigued, if not more so and it will continue to not only be a missionary opportunity but to bless the lives of everyone involved with pure intentions. The show gets lots of credit if Carlie and I’s relationship ends up working out. If it weren’t for the show I wouldn’t have met Carlie in the first place. Yet the biggest reason the show would get credit is because through the process of preparing I was transformed into a better man. I am not “the more than eligible bachelor” that I used to be. I feel as though I had to make the same decision leaving the show as I did coming into it. Do I want to be a forever Bachelor with Peter Pan syndrome and never grow up? Or do I want to work towards a temple marriage. I have made my decision. Whether it is Carlie or not, I will forever be indebted to The Mormon Bachelor for how it transformed me in my brain and in my heart.
As it says in Daniel 2:35, 44-45 in reference to The Lord’s Church, like a “stone cut out of the mountain” it will roll forth until it fills the whole earth. Just as the Lord can heal a broken heart he can also clean up and fix any difficult scenario, especially if his purposes are involved. Stay tuned in the next couple of days because there will be an announcement as to how the show is moving forward on www.themormonbachelor.com.
I am going to keep writing blog posts, and I will still be involved now minimally with the show. I am hoping that every once in awhile I will be able to give sneak peaks about my relationship with Carlie and where it is heading. Whether it blossoms or not will be up to both her and I but I would love your continued love and support throughout the process. We will most likely be telling our story together both on The Mormon Bachelor site and on her YouTube channel when the timing is right.
As an afterthought here’s the link to the YouTube video of when Carlie and I first met… I make an appearance several times throughout the 6-minute video!!! Its kind of fun to see!!! Check it out!!!