The Duggar family has been the center of controversy and turmoil for the last decade, as revelations about Josh Duggar and the molestation of his sisters came out, and later when he was arrested and convicted for child pornography for which he is serving a 12-year and seven-month prison sentence. As time has passed, additional accusations and exposures have come through, both from the children of the Duggar family and others familiar with their form of Christianity, known as IBLP, or Institute of Basic Life Principles.
The IBLP has many strict guidelines and rules that the Duggar children were raised with. For example, women were often separated from men and taught they could not work outside the home or wear pants. Rock music was forbidden, and that involved crazy stories, such as a man who died in a car accident because he was listening to rock music in his car.
Obedience was also highly emphasized, with children instructed to submit to their parents, wives to submit to their husbands, and husbands to submit to Bill Gothard. Children are taught that they are no longer under God's protection if they do not obey their parents. In addition, courtship is highly promoted, with many husbands and wives not sharing a first kiss until they are at their wedding altar.
This led to high levels of anxiety and perfectionism behind the scenes of their television show, 19 Kids and Counting. While TLC canceled the show after the allegations against Josh Duggar came to light, some of the children are opening up and sharing how their upbringing was difficult on them and how they have separated from the IBLP.
In an interview with ABC News, Jinger Duggar, the 5th oldest Duggar child, shared her experiences growing up and why she and her husband have moved to a different form of Christianity. She shares that her husband showed her that Christianity and faith in God do not have to revolve around fear of breaking the rules. Instead, it should revolve around love. The couple has two children and does not know whether or not they will have more. This goes against the Duggar beliefs of not using birth control and letting God decide how many children they should have.
Jinger released a memoir in early 2023 called "Becoming Free Indeed," detailing how she had to disentangle what she had been raised believing from what she now considers true Christianity.
Jill Duggar has also written a memoir detailing her upbringing in the Duggar household. In it, she will expose secrets well hidden from the public until recent years. She is looking to leave the state of Arkansas in preparation for her book's release, which none of her parents or siblings have praised her for. However, Deanna, Jim-Bob Duggar's sister, was among the first to comment on her social media post congratulating and letting her know how proud she was of Jill.
Jill says her memoir will detail the "unedited" version of being raised in the Duggar household. While the book won't be released until the 12th, preorders have it on track to become an instant best seller.
Shiny Happy People
More Duggar family secrets came to life when the Amazon docuseries "Shiny Happy People" was released. It exposes the beliefs of Bill Gothard, the founder of the ILBP, as well as the lifestyle of those who follow his teachings. Gothard stepped down when he was accused by more than 30 women of sexual harassment.
Jill's memoir is likely to be as successful as Jinger's, as society tries to understand the Duggar family's beliefs and what went on when the cameras weren't rolling. These memoirs, along with the Amazon documentary, show that even when things look perfect on the outside, you never know what's going on behind closed doors.