The Bachelorette had what host Chris Harrison called “one of the most talked about moments we have ever had” when one of the contestants left the show, leaving bachelorette Ashley Hebert in tears.
Production was almost cancelled when Bentley Williams, a 28-year-old divorced Mormon from Salt Lake City, left the show, saying Hebert wasn’t his type. Williams was considered a frontrunner, winning coveted roses, the tokens necessary to elude elimination, in every episode. Though Hebert wasn’t his type, it didn’t stop Williams from leading her on.
“I will be pissed if I don’t get the rose,” Williams said during an episode filmed in Las Vegas. “The competition makes it exciting, competing for her, but that’s the extent of me competing for her.”
For viewers across the country, Williams was one of the worst villains the reality show has seen, with host Harrison saying the 28-year-old Utah resident “just seems to have bad intentions.”
While William’s actions were shocking to some, they were all too familiar to women who’ve dated his type — the “Mormon All-Star.”
Outwardly pious, they love to brag about their Mormon missions in an attempt to appeal to young, attractive Mormon women. Their number one priority, however, is looking good. Mormon All-Stars spend plenty of time in front of the mirror, at the gym and in tanning beds. Their affinity for plaid shirts, flat brimmed hats and being shirtless as often as possible is no secret.
In Provo, Utah, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-owned Brigham Young University, Mormon All-Stars abound. Williams, who graduated from BYU in 2007, studied finance, a major noted on campus for having a large number of All-Stars, and lived in various Provo apartments notorious for being a magnet for his type.
While Mormon men traditionally dress in conservative white shirts and ties for Sunday meetings, the Provo 70th Young Single Adult Ward, a known All-Star congregation in the college town covering the Belmont Apartment complex, is noticeably relaxed in its dress. Purple and blue shirts pepper the congregation, which meets on BYU campus.
Single Mormon congregations provide ample opportunities for dating and courtship, and Mormon bishops and Sunday School teachers often speak about the importance of marriage. Sunday meetings are not without flirting, and activities planned by the congregation bolster the already busy social schedule of hot tubbing, DVD-watching and group dates.
But some say Mormon All-Stars take advantage of the culture of dating. One BYU grad said it’s common to see guys who “make three to five girls think they are his top babe at once.”
That seemed to explain Hebert’s relationship with Williams. Hebert freely admitted on Monday’s show she had fallen in love with Williams, but the kisses they shared were nothing more than NCMO (Provo slang for a “non-committal make out”) for him.
Sources close to Williams say he was misrepresented on the show. Williams assumed that a different woman would be on the show, but the producers “begged him to go on” regardless when Hebert was announced as the bachelorette.
Rumors that Williams was only going on to promote his business, a family fun center with trampolines and foam pits, reached Herbert before filming began.
“The fallacy behind that is he doesn’t promote his business at all,” said Raleigh Williams, his brother, adding the business wasn’t even open yet during filming.
The real reason he went on the show, his brother said, was because he “thought it’d be fun” and because it was a good “platform” to start dating again after his divorce. The reason he left was to get back to his daughter, and he knew religion would hamper any potential relationship with Hebert.
“She’s not Mormon, and he’s an active member of the church,” Williams’ brother said.
In Mormonism, dating within the faith is highly valued, making Hebert’s faith a valid excuse to leave. But why did he go on in the first place? If you really want to date a Mormon woman, ABC reality shows are not the place to look.
Williams’ true motives for going on the show are uncertain, but many in Provo assume he just wanted 15 minutes of fame. Though Williams won’t be mobbed like Jimmer Fredette when spotted around town, he’s still recognized. Last week, some BYU students met him at a Kinko’s Copy Center.
“You girls probably think I am the biggest jerk and a mean guy, but I’m totally not,” he said to them.
Although reality shows are notorious for their manipulation of reality in pursuit of water cooler drama, it’s hard to imagine how producers could have made him look as bad as he did. He did, after all, say things like “I’m not going to pass up an opportunity to mess with her head,” and “I’m going to make Ashley cry. I hope my hair looks OK.”
While women across the nation are fuming over Williams, he’s done a valuable service to all those dating or thinking about dating a Mormon All-Star. Sweetie, you might be convinced that he’s the one. He might even tell you he prayed and fasted and God told him you belong together, but if you see red flags, run.
Sorry, Mormon All-Stars, the game is up. They know your secrets.
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