Mon, Mar 24th, 2014

‘You are married to the Lord and your daddy is your boyfriend’: Purity balls, in which girls ‘gift their virginity’ to their fathers until marriage, sweeping America

  • Purity balls now take place in 48 states in the US, and in 17 countries
  • Daughters promise to remain pure and give virginity to fathers to ‘protect’
  • Girls given a ring as well as having wedding style ‘first dance’ with fathers

Purity balls, in which a girl pledges to remain ‘pure’ until her wedding day, symbolically ‘marries’ God, and promises her father that she will remain a virgin until she’s a wife, have become a phenomenon in America, now taking place in 48 out of the 50 states.

The balls resemble giant wedding ceremonies, with the girls – all around the age of 12 – wearing white gowns and dancing with their fathers who promise to ‘protect’ their daughter’s chastity.

During the ceremony, fathers present their daughters with purity rings, which they wear to symbolise their commitment to virginity.

In the movement purity means no sexual contact of any kind, including kisses, until after marriage.

One of the largest father-faughter purity balls – which is the subject of a Nightline Prime investigation – has been held for 14 consecutive years in Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

The event sees upwards of 60 fathers pledging to ‘protect their daughter’s choices for purity’.

Fathers taking part are expected to sign a ‘purity covenant’ in which they, as ‘High Priest of their home and family’ pledge ‘before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity’

The daughters silently commit to live pure lives before God through the symbol of laying down a white rose at the cross, before engaging in a wedding-type dance with their father.

An unidentified father and daughter kneel at a cross after the girls lay white roses symbolising their commitment to purity at a ball

Ron Jonson places the ring on the forth finger of his daughters left hand – her wedding finger

A new documentary follows two families who are taking part in this ritual; the Wilsons, whose father Randy is one of the founders of the father daughter balls, and the Johnsons from Indiana.

While all seven of the Wilson children are home schooled, socialising mainly with other members of their church community, the Johnson children attend a regular high school.

But while they might be exposed to normal teenage behaviour at school, at home they have the message of purity enforced by father Ron, who is the head pastor at the Living Stones Church.

One scene sees Ron kneeling in front of one of his younger daughter, gifting her with her purity ring.

‘One of the things you’ve been asking daddy about is “when am I going to get my purity ring?”

‘One of things I think it’s important to remember is this is your desire to do it the Lord’s way and really save yourself from kissing lots of toads along the way and wait for your prince charming to come along,’ he says.

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