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SALT LAKE CITY — A week and a half ago, 20 women were escorted to a secret country club somewhere in Utah to meet an “LDS Millionaire.”
An agency called LDS Matchmakers piqued Utah's interest when it announced a spousal search for the now-infamous (but still anonymous) bachelor by erecting 10 billboards along I-15 that read “LDS Millionaire looking for his wife. Exclusive VIP Event June 7.”
The agency received 2,500 applications and eventually whittled that list down to a group of women, all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who fit the bachelor’s preferences. Those women showed up to the agency June 7, turned in their phones, and signed a nondisclosure agreement to never reveal the identity of the bachelor.
Soon after, they were whisked away to the event.
Though unwilling to break their nondisclosure agreements and reveal the identity of the bachelor, two of those women agreed to speak with KSL.com about their experiences that day.
KSL.com discovered the LDS Millionaire’s identity prior to interviewing the women. Soon after, KSL.com contacted LDS Matchmakers via email in an attempt to work with the agency to release the man's name.
The agency never responded to requests for comment, but shortly after KSL.com sent our request to the agency, both women interviewed for this story called KSL.com requesting their names not be included in its publication. One woman expressed fear of legal retribution from the agency should the man’s name be released.
KSL.com has chosen to wait to release the man's name.
One of the women, a 24-year-old from Idaho, said she first heard about the event through a friend who shared a news article about the billboards on Facebook. Her friend wanted to apply but didn’t want to do it alone. Though the woman said “everyone was basically saying it’s kinda crazy,” she decided to go for it.
She was contacted a little while later by matchmakers from the agency who conducted a 15-minute Skype interview with her and asked her questions about herself, her preferences in men, and her activity in church.
She didn’t hear back from the agency for a while and assumed she hadn’t been chosen. A few days before the event, however, she was told she would be one of the 20 candidates at the “VIP event.” She quickly purchased a cocktail dress and headed down to the Beehive State four days later.
“I even had family members say it could be like a … human trafficking (thing). Like, they might kidnap you because you don’t have your phone. I did have a lot of people who were worried about me,” she said.
The 24-year-old and her fellow bachelorettes were not kidnapped, however, and instead arrived at the country club in a limo, where they walked the red carpet, sat down at tables set for dinner and listened to “endearing stories” from the bachelor’s sister, nephew and friend.
“I thought it was wonderful. I thought it was amazing. It was just fun. It was a nonthreatening, amazing environment,” said the second woman who agreed to speak with KSL.com.
Before the bachelor was revealed to the women, however, he stood behind a sheet clamped to some poles with a light shining behind so the women could see his silhouette. The ladies cheered while the emcee read off the bachelor's hobbies and the bachelor, still behind the sheet, mimed the actions.
Then, the sheet dropped.
“Yeah, he was not (what I expected),” the first woman said. “He was older, and I’m 24 … so that was (an age) difference.”
The matchmaking agency had initially revealed that the millionaire was between 31 and 45 years old. The first woman claims the youngest women there were 24 years old while the oldest woman she personally spoke with was 31. She said she wasn't sure how old the oldest candidates were.
The second woman, a 31-year-old divorced mother of one, said the age difference between her and the bachelor didn’t bother her as much, though she still wasn't sure of his age, even after the event. She did notice most women at the event were younger than she was.
“He was just very personable, really fun, easygoing; just a sweet guy,” she told KSL.com. “I was kind of thinking ahead of time, like, ‘OK, this is what his sister looks like. This is what his nephew looks like. They’re both, like, beautiful people, so he’s definitely going to be beautiful.’ … He definitely looked different, but he was still beautiful.”
After the big reveal, the millionaire regaled the women with a PowerPoint presentation of his top 10 reasons for participating in the event to find a wife. The reasons were “pretty generic," the first woman said. Both women told KSL.com that the bachelor chose to put the word "millionaire" on the billboard.
After the presentation, the bachelor went around to the tables to meet the women, and talked with each individually during a 5-minute “mini-date.”
Though the matchmaking agency organized the event in a way that wouldn’t cause drama, about half of the girls were “taking it more seriously, more competitive,” the 24-year-old said. One of the women had even traveled from New York and cancelled a modeling photo shoot to be there, she added.
“So it wasn’t completely drama-free like they were shooting for," she said.
After the first woman's mini-date with the millionaire, she told the matchmakers she wasn’t interested in going on any further dates with the bachelor. Even though the 24-year-old did not find an eternal companion in the millionaire, she said she doesn’t feel like the event was a waste of her time.
“I had decided, ‘Oh, he’s not for me, but I’m still going to have a lot of fun,” she said. “Honestly, I really didn’t feel like I had anything to lose. I do all of the dating apps anyway, and they did say that even if I don’t match with the man, and we don’t get along, they’ll keep me in their database for other men.”
The second woman, however, said she would be willing to go on another date with him, though she's still waiting to hear back from the matchmakers to see if the millionaire was interested in her.
“I really do hope and pray that … he is finding someone from that (event) or at least, like, having connections that way,” she said.
She also hopes the matchmaking agency will continue the trend of events.
"I totally think it was crazy and awesome," she said, "I just thought what a fun, neat thing to do and be a part of.”