Luke Parker is "genuine" and wants to use 'The Bachelorette' to share his faith on national TV, brother and friends say
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/15/2019
Luke Parker revealed he recently found God and changed his player-like ways in The Bachelorette's Season 15 premiere, and members from his community are backing up his claims.
According to Luke's sister-in-law Hannah Parker -- who initially nominated Luke for the show -- her family hoped Hannah Brown would be the new Bachelorette star because they saw her reading from the Bible and writing in her journal during Colton Underwood's season of The Bachelor, which are interests Luke relates to and appreciates, the Gainesville Timesreported.
Luke is reportedly a member at Christ Place Church. He often helps out with the college ministry and has also allegedly taught Sunday school classes.
Mike Robertson, also a Sunday school teacher at Christ Place who has gotten to know Luke, told their local newspaper, "Our guys are praying for him every day."
Luke brought a study guide on the book of Hebrews to The Bachelorette mansion with him, according to the Gainesville Times, and he planned to read the book during taping while his friends back home did the same.
"He wants to share his faith and he wants to share his faith on national TV," Robertson said.
"He believes God has given him this opportunity to go out there, and he doesn't know what's going to happen to him there, but he's praying for opportunities."
Luke's family reportedly said it's important for the bachelor to find a woman who shares similar religious and moral values.
Luke and Brown even apparently attended the same church on different campuses when they were in college in Alabama. (Brown attended the University of Alabama, while Luke was a student at Faulkner University).
The more everyone learned about Brown, the more they reportedly believed the pair would be a great match.
"But Luke is the opposite. When he meets people, he is 100 percent meeting them and getting to know what they're about. And he's really looking to learn... If he meets you he wants to know about you."
Luke's brother Mike Parker apparently agrees Luke has the type of personality that would stand out among Brown's many bachelors.
"[Luke appearing on The Bachelorette] was always kind of a joke," Mike admitted to the Gainesville Times with a laugh.
"But in the back of our minds, we knew Luke would be great for it. He's a good looking guy, he's very outgoing, he's got a great personality. And I know I'm his brother and everything, but he's the most genuine guy I know."
When Luke first introduced himself to Brown on The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special in March and made a sweet opening statement about his excitement to get to know the new Bachelorette, Mike said his brother's true colors and character shined through.
"When I saw him on there -- I can read my brother better than anybody -- and I saw him being real, I saw him being Luke when he smiled, I saw the Luke everybody loves," Mike recalled. "And when I saw that... I was able to take a deep breath."
But a trailer that aired at the end of The Bachelorette's reunion special on May 6, footage from Season 15 -- which just premiered on Monday night -- portrayed Luke, a 24-year-old import/export manager from Gainesville, GA, in an unflattering light.
Not only did Mike Johnson call Luke "an evil, pathological liar," but Luke was also shown screaming in another man's face at one point during the season.
Hannah Parker predicted Luke would struggle with all the drama that comes with taping a reality dating competition show.
"I know that it's a reality TV show, and I've never been on one so I don't know how it works, but I imagine it's going to be kind of tough and they're going to put him in situations to maybe try to get him to act a certain way," Luke's sister-in-law said.
"So for him to stick to his guns and have character in all those situations they put him in, I think that's going to be the toughest part."
But Mike told the Gainesville Times he hopes the experience overall will make Luke a better person.
"I believe that God is using Luke. I don't know what this whole thing is going to look like for Luke at the end. It might just be one big learning experience for him," Mike explained.
"But at the end of the day, I want him to grow in maturity, I want him to grow in his faith, I want him to grow as a man and I can already see it happening."
Luke briefly touched upon his religion during his introduction video that aired on The Bachelorette's fifteenth-season premiere earlier this week.
"I like to think I'm a good looking guy, and when I was in college, a lot of the girls around me thought so too, and I definitely took advantage of that. But I was definitely getting a whole lot of emptiness. This emptiness overcame me and I had an encounter with God," Luke shared.
"I was in the shower and God was speaking to me. I realized that I wasn't the man I wanted to be, and I've been working on the husband I want to be for my future wife."
Many The Bachelorette fans, however, have been skeptical of Luke's alleged comments in light of the alarming May 6 trailer and speculation Luke might have been the bachelor who seems to attempt to sex-shame Hannah during an apparent overnight date.
The latest The Bachelorette trailer that aired on May 13 showed Hannah furious and crying, insisting she's still a moral, religious woman despite not being a virgin.
"I believe that sex was made for a man and woman in marriage, but I am having physical relationships. And honestly, I have had sex -- and Jesus still loves me," Hannah said. "How dare I be judged by a man!"