On their wedding days, many brides like to take time to honor their fathers — typically with a special dance or speech. But, Maryland woman Brelyn Bowman went a nontraditional (or super, super traditional?) route by presenting her pastor father with a Certificate of Purity, which was signed by her gynecologist.
“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 said in the Instagram caption of her dancing with her dad, Dr. Mike Freeman. In other pictures, the wedding photographer captured the moment Brelyn presented the framed certificate to her dad. In the text on the certificate, Brelyn recalled the day in 2006 that she vowed to remain pure until her wedding day and said she did that to honor God as well as her “earthly father.”
Even though Brelyn’s older sister also gave Mike a Certificate of Purity at her wedding six years ago, he told Buzzfeed it wasn’t an expectation that Brelyn had to do the same thing. “I was totally unaware of what was about to take place,” Brelyn’s dad said. “During the remarks, she shared that she wanted to honor me by not allowing any man to touch her before her husband.”
After Brelyn’s post started going viral, new husband Timothy Bowman stood by her in a video on their wedding website to make it clear he shared the same commitment. “My whole thing was trying to be complete and make sure that I was, you know, at least on the road to being whole by myself so when I found my beautiful good thing, that I could bring something to the table and not just be trying to reach and grab things from her.”
Although the couple has received a lot of support, Brelyn’s also been criticized for going to such extreme lengths to prove her purity. Speaking to Fox 5 DC about the backlash to her Certificate of Purity, she said, “If people don’t understand, of course they can attack us because they don’t understand.” Timothy added they aren’t looking at critics as “haters,” but rather as people who have different viewpoints. He added, “I’d like them to respect our views as we respect their views. We just disagree.”
Brelyn’s father also weighed in on Instagram, where he said, “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!!! #meetthebowmans #readyourbible #prayingforyou.” On her own Instagram, Brelyn is captioning posts about the publicity with the hashtag #MakeJesusfamous.