About two years ago, Erin Elton and her roommate, Aubrey Laidlaw, were "older" than the average Latter-day Saint single and frustrated with their dating lives.
Laidlaw had recently auditioned to be on the popular ABC reality TV show “The Bachelor” and hadn’t gotten the spot. As they talked about it, the two friends realized that even if they ever did manage to be on “The Bachelor,” it wouldn’t lead them to the eternal temple marriage they so desired.
Then they had an idea. What if they created a Mormon bachelor/bachelorette series?
So they did, and the online show will begin its fourth season this summer with dental student Kent Tuttle as the newest bachelor seeking true love.
Back in 2010, Laidlaw and Elton were surprised when men from all over the country responded to their online matchmaking venture. Laidlaw became the first Mormon bachelorette, going on 22 first dates, eight second dates, and finally she picked the man she ended up marrying — Matt Laidlaw. According to their blog, they are now happily married with a baby girl named Blair.
The show was such a success, they kept it going for several more seasons. In season two, bachelor Rick Buck proposed to Melanie Carney, but the engagement was broken off before the marriage. In season three, Ashley Chapmen simply didn’t find "The One" among her many candidates.
On July 1, season four begins, this time with Kent Tuttle looking for love. Once a player on the Brigham Young University men's volleyball team, Elton admitted that Tuttle is very handsome, but she said this isn’t all that made him stand out as the right man for this season's bachelor.
“He’s nice, he’s really fun, people like Kent,” Elton said. “He’s the kind of guy people want to be around.”
Tuttle said he heard about "The Mormon Bachelor" through a cousin who wanted him to sign up for it. He said he was completely opposed to it at first, but later down the line, he found that he was in the right place to give it a chance.
“I kind of said 'why not?’ ” he said. “I’m in the right spot in my life to find love, and that’s what the show is all about.”
Tuttle admitted to having his fears about going on 12 blind dates that will be recorded and put online.
“At the same time, I know there are sacrifices I have to make to find the one,” he said. “Love is a choice. I just have to find someone who is easy to love.”
Having dated a lot in his life, Tuttle is excited for the different experiences he will get from the show.
“I feel like it’s set up for success,” he said. “The show weeds out girls that aren’t interested in something serious, that aren’t interested in me, or that aren’t in the right spot in their lives."
He also said he realizes that you can’t always plan for love and it usually happens when you least expect it.
“I can’t really say what’s going to happen, it’s up to Heavenly Father,” he said.
Tuttle said he is looking for a girl who has character, who is honest, who is loyal and who has a great love capacity. He wants someone who is selfless and lighthearted.
“Life is hard enough,” he said. “I’m in dental school, and it’s not easy, and I need someone I can come home to who can make me laugh.”
Tuttle was chosen out of a pool of 44 men from all over the country. Elton said they narrowed it down to 12 finalists, had everyone weigh in on their opinions, and in the end it was Tuttle who really stood out.
Bachelorettes vying for a date with Tuttle go through a similar process. They each create a video about why they should be selected to date Tuttle that is posted online, and Elton said they try to pick girls who might fit with his personality — sweet girls who are kind to everyone and who are fun and outgoing.
“But a lot of the girls we’ve interviewed have been different,” Elton said. “Some have served missions, some haven’t, others have very serious careers and so on.”
In the end, there will be 13 bachelorettes that Tuttle will have to choose from.
Elton said they’ve changed the format a little this season. They will be having girls come back for more than just two dates, so that girls that Tuttle likes will be coming back more often.
“We’re just so excited,” Elton said. “Our main goal is just to help people find true love.”
To find out more and to watch "The Mormon Bachelor" starting July 1, visit themormonbachelor.com.
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