18:07 EST 5 June 2013
Hyrum Burton, a 22-year-old virgin, had been a missionary for nearly four years when he was informed by church elders that a teenage acquaintance had been told by God that she was supposed to marry him.
Burton is a polygamist who lives in Centennial Park, Arizona, a town of 1500 polygamists that stars on the National Geographic Channel’s show ‘Polygamy, USA’.
Hyrum had been placed into marriage by God with Kellie, an 18-year-old redhead he did not know, who had repeatedly been told by God that he was her husband.
One day church elders, known as the Brethren, who communicate directly with God, called in Hyrum to tell him he was leaving the mission. Days later the mystery as to why was revealed.
He was telephoned by the Brethren and told he had been chosen by a bride and was marrying Kellie Thompson in two weeks.
‘They say there’s a girl that wants to marry me. Her name is Kellie, and that’s all I really know about her.’
Burton’s Centennial Park branch of polygamist Fundamental Mormons, which split from the infamous FLDS polygamists led by imprisoned child predator Warren Jeffs nearly three decades ago, is unique.
The women, who wear makeup and regular, if modest, clothing choose their husbands husband through prayer and counsel with church elders. God, they believe instructs them. They cannot marry until they are 18.
The community’s’ spiritual marriages are preordained and last through eternity, the fundamentalists believe, and having children and living a polygamist life is thought to be God’s will.
For the first several episodes of ‘Polygamy, USA’ viewers saw Hyrum dutifully served his mission.
In Centennial Park the missionaries, who are young men often just out of high school, do everything for the town from garbage collection to handyman services while they work on their morals and prepare to hopefully be husband and fathers.
‘If I follow these rules [of being a missionary], you know, maybe I can bring myself to a point in my character growth where the Lord will bless me with a woman,’ Hyrum explained early on.
But Hyrum had a long wait and was kept as a missionary longer than the average two years. He played by rules all the while hoping to one day get a phone call that God (speaking via the Priesthood Council, aka the Brethren) had agreed he was worthy enough, ready and chosen to marry.
While he waited he could not date and was almost never around women to whom he wasn’t not related.
One episode showed him organizing a basketball tournament in the hopes a girl would notice him and the elders would respect him.
Unspoken throughout the show, and Hyrum’s angst, is that fact that with each man married to multiple women many men would, by sheer mathematics, wind up with no wife at all.
But Kellie, with God’s voice helping out, chose Hyrum.
Like her intended she was raised in the church, saved herself for marriage and never dated.
‘I wanted to stay virtuous until I was married,’ the teen explained.
Quick to blush, the recent high school graduate was born in Salt Lake City and had lived in Centennial Park for seven years. She explained that Hyrum is her destiny.
‘When I was in about 10th grade I started thinking about my life in the future and Hyrum’s name kept popping in my head, so I prayed about it. And I prayed about it clear til graduation.
‘I went in and talked to the Brethren about it and I said, “I feel like this is who I’m supposed to marry”. And they got back to me a few months later and they said, “this feels right to us”.’
Hyrum’s end of the betrothal was considerably less time consuming.
‘I got a call from the Brethren and they said, “we have a girl for you to marry and do you want it”. And I said yes and that’s how it went down.’
He has openly looked forward to his wedding and to the pleasures of marriage for years.
Once the engagement was official the new couple talked on the phone before their first outing, a short hike to the site of Centennial Park’s future temple.
There the two casually spoke about one day attending weddings of their grandchildren in that same spot.
Hyrum and Kellie had just two weeks to get to know each other before they get married.
‘You make the commitment to each other before you even know each other,’ Hyrum explained to the cameras.
‘I hope Kellie and I have things in common. I hope she agrees in how I want to raise my children.’
While the lack of basic knowledge about each other was missing, the lovebirds still got to enjoy traditional wedding eve celebrations – albeit tamer than many bachelorette and bachelor parties.
Kellie and some girlfriends went out for pedicures, where they talked about which wife they wanted to be.
Fortunately for Kellie she wants to be a first wife, rather than a ‘second, third or sixth’ like one of her friends. A pair of sister wives, two women married to the same man, nodded sagely along.
Another friend, Rose Marie, talked about her frustration that she too has been praying for years on who to marry but, unlike Kellie, she has yet to receive a name from God.
Meanwhile Hyrum went out drinking with friends at a local bar.
His friends joked his new bride would be responsible for waxing his eyebrows, but Hyrum’s head was full of other fears.
‘You’re thinking about getting married to a girl you don’t know who doesn’t know you and you’re going to spend the rest of your life together.’
But their shared religion, Kellie was confident, will be the foundation of their marriage.
Unfortunately for viewers the ceremony was deemed too sacred and cameras were not allowed to film the wedding, but the happy couple were shown just before and after they exchanged vows for an eternal union
They also married legally, as only a ‘first wife’ in polygamy can do. Marriage to more than one person is illegal.
In Centennial Park it is believed that, on his wedding day, the groom is reconnected to a woman he was promised to before he was born.
Hyrum insisted was ready.
‘Kellie is an awesome and I am ready to love her.’
After the ceremony the pair, still dressed in their wedding finery, met by a tree while Hyrum expressed his devotion to his new bride.
‘I want to promise to you that I will honor the Priesthood that sealed us together,’ he told his new missus.
‘We are one flesh now,’ he says before tipping his bride’s chin to his for one of the first kisses of their lives.
‘As long as your hand’s in mine I will do everything in my power to take care of you and help you get you back to your father in heaven. It doesn’t matter what happens but I will love you far beyond the rotting of our bodies and we’re in the dust and we’re wandering the eternities. Our love is forever.’
The season finale, during which Hyrum appears in a tease to confront the illegality of his religious beliefs, airs next Tuesday at 9 pm on the National Geographic Channel
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
his primary challenge = HB = 82 = Jumping to conclusions.
predictions for the year 2013 are at:
discover some of your own numerology for FREE at:
learn numerology from numerologist to the world, Ed Peterson:
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