“I am loved” has long been the marketing slogan for Helzberg Diamonds, which is based in North Kansas City. The company has taken customer service to a new level by enabling couples to legally marry for free at more than 200 retail stores.
Helzberg ordained hundreds of associates through an exclusive partnership with the controversial Universal Life Church, according to a news release. While the goal of increasing marriage is laudable, questions arise about the organization giving the ordinations.
According to Apologeticsindex.com, a ministry that studies Christian doctrine and cults, the Universal Life Church doesn’t care “whether you are a Christian, Satanist, Kabbalist, Wiccan, atheist, or a creator of your own “homemade” religion. The ULC, from its international headquarters in Modesto, Calif., and its monastery in Tucson, Ariz., welcomes all.”
But the “church” is popular with many on the fringe and getting married outside a church is becoming popular.
To better understand views of wedding traditions, Helzberg Diamonds recently surveyed 1,000 U.S. millennials and found that 91 percent of those surveyed would consider eloping, and 63 percent of already-married millennials would elope if they had to do it all over again. Inspired by the survey data and by couples who shared their wedding plans with associates across the country, the company decided to invite couples to get “Hitched at Helzberg”.
“We listen to our customers and know that many wish to modernize current wedding traditions,” said Beryl Raff, chairman and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds. “We discovered that not only did we already have some ordained associates on staff, a few stores had also performed marriage ceremonies upon request. Inspired by these stories, we wanted to become the destination that could and would officiate for these couples in a relaxed and comfortable environment.”
Since Oct. 1, couples interested in getting “Hitched at Helzberg” just need to bring their marriage license to their nearest Helzberg Diamonds location. Ordained associates are available to perform free marriage ceremonies during regular work hours in any Helzberg Diamonds location.
Couples who plan to get “Hitched at Helzberg” are responsible for securing and submitting their marriage licenses and witnesses in accordance with their state laws before the ceremony. Participating couples will receive a custom celebration kit from Helzberg Diamonds following the ceremony, including a commemorative marriage certificate.
“The Universal Life Church has a long and proud history of making the institution of marriage more personal and more accessible,” said the Rev. George Freeman, presiding chaplain of the ULC. “We’re excited to welcome new members into the ULC family and are thrilled that so many associates of Helzberg Diamonds chose to get ordained.”
The church is not without its detractors and there is substantial investigative work on the organizations beliefs and practices.
According to Wikipedia, “Various religious groups have spoken out against its practice of immediate ordination without any requirements, suggesting that such an ordination is not even worth the paper it is printed on. Supporters of “open ordination” point out that none of the founders of the world’s major religions had advanced religious training.”
The church also offers degrees in a wide-ranging array of studies, including a Doctor of Immortality degree. That degree is awarded upon the candidate reading the book “A New Life – Do You Want It?” by the Reverend Kirby J. Hensley, the church’s illiterate founder.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice News