Falling Waters, W.Va., teen wants to be an example

June 24, 2011|By MARIE GILBERT |
  • Jazzmin Pride sits outside the Review and Herald Publishing Association, where she participated in a purity ceremony and publicly promised not to have sex before marriage.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

It could have been a wedding.

There were flowers, ministers and a room filled with family and friends.

There also was a young woman dressed in white about to take vows.

But instead of saying "I do," she said "I won't."

It was part of a unique event known as a purity ceremony, where young women — tweens and older — pledge not to have sex before marriage.

A growing trend among many young people over the past decade, some ceremonies are elaborate affairs, with formal attire, an exchange of purity rings and sit-down dinners.

Others are more modest with only a simple promise of abstinence.

Jazzmin Pride knows all about the celebrations.

"One of my friends had one last year and she encouraged me to do one, too," the 17-year-old Highland View Academy student said.

The daughter of Ron and Jeri Pride of Falling Waters, W.Va. Jazzmin said she recently approached her parents about having her own purity ceremony, which she thinks took them by surprise.

"They thought it was a great endeavor," she said. "But I'm not sure they thought I would really go through with it."

When she showed her committment to the event, Jazzmin said her family and friends were very supportive.

"I have five siblings — one older and the rest younger," she said. "And they were really enthusiastic. They teased me a bit. But they were very encouraging."

One of her sisters took part in the ceremony as a flower girl.

Jazzmin said she has read about purity balls, with tuxedo-clad fathers, women in long gowns and 10-piece orchestras.

"Mine wasn't like that," she said. "I simply wanted to publicly make a statement about my stand on purity."

The event was held in a chandeliered room at the Review and Herald Publishing Association.

A member of New Joy Fellowship Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jazzmin said she was blessed and prayed over by several pastors, as well as her father.

"It was a great experience," she said.

Jazzmin said she invited several of her friends to the ceremony and is hopeful they will follow in her footsteps.

"At first, many of them asked 'why do that?,' she said. "But once they were at the ceremony, they really appreciated what I was doing. They even said the vows with me."

Jazzmin said she could see herself coordinating future ceremonies for interested young women.

"I hope I'm laying the groundwork," she said.

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