A bride who pledged to stay a virgin until marriage presented her father with a certificate on her wedding day declaring that she’d kept her promise.
Brelyn Bowman, who married Timothy Bowman earlier this month in a ceremony attended by 3,500 people, posted a photo to Instagram last week that showed her dancing with her father. In the caption, she explained her unusual wedding gift to her dad. “Dancing with my first love,” she wrote in a post that got nearly 3,000 likes. “I was able to present a certificate of purity to him signed by my doctor that my hymen was still intact. Also, the covenant he gave me when I was 13. When you honor God, your life will automatically honor others!”
Brelyn Bowman with her father, Michael Freeman, a pastor. (Photo: Instagram/Brelyn Bowman)
Brelyn’s father, Michael A. Freeman, is the founder and pastor at the Spirit of Faith Christian Center in Maryland. He posted a photo of the purity certificate on Instagram two days ago, and the post has gotten more than 1,000 likes, though by his own admission it got some negative reaction as well. “Who knew that a pic like this would get so much negativity but a natural man will not understand things of the Spirit for they are foolishness to them!!!”
A couple of weeks before the Oct. 10 wedding, Brelyn posted her wedding invitation on Instagram, declaring the celebration would be open to the public. “How many times have you witnessed two virgins get married?” she said.
“If one person has made a decision to wait until marriage or decide to stop [and] wait we have done our job! Let’s make Jesus famous!” Brelyn wrote in another post.
The purity certificate seems to be an extension of the “purity ball” trend, in which fathers and daughters attend dances where daughters pledge to stay virgins until marriage. But some experts say it’s not the best way for a father to keep his daughter safe, no matter his intention.
“These purity pledges feel infantilizing and manipulative. While the father’s role in his daughter’s life should be to guide and protect her, it needs to be done in a way that empowers her to be in control of her life and her body,” marriage and family therapist Paul Hokemeyer tells Yahoo Parenting. “For too long our societies and families have subjugated women to inferior positions where they are controlled by the men in their lives. This subjugation has caused women to suffer a host of injustices and kept them trapped in dehumanizing rolls. These pledges make daughters into objects to be traded rather than human beings to be loved and valued.”
Women who choose to remain virgins until marriage should do so because of their own beliefs, not because of someone else’s. “Girls need to be taught that they have value, independent of a man’s approval,” Hokemeyer says.
But for now, Brelyn is sticking to her mission. “So excited to share our story and encourage others to wait!” she wrote in her latest Instagram post. “It’s not too late to wait, make a decision today!”