We need to be completely clear on something. The Duggar family aren’t just conservative Christians. They belong to and actively participate in the continuation of a fundamentalist cult, the Institute in Basic Life Principles. Family dad Jim Bob is a cult leader and generally arranges marriages for his children with the children of other IBLP leaders. The IBLP is famous for it’s sex pest leader, Bill Gothard, preying on at least 34 young women and children as well as its teachings that focus on purity, submissive gender roles for women, and homeschooling. AKA a groomer’s paradise.
Another fun fact about the IBLP is that it’s a 501c3 non-profit that rakes in 80 million dollars each year. Tax free. This means that the cult is free to enjoy public services paid for by taxpayers without contributing anything back to the community other than inflicting sex pests on unsuspecting women and children. Former IBLP members have created the website Recovering Grace to bring attention to the harm the cult does and provide support groups for former members.
“An emphasis on controlling every aspect of a woman’s physical appearance was central to the ATI [Advanced Training Institute, the homeschooling program run by IBLP] lifestyle, and conforming to Gothard’s personal tastes was an obsession shared by women and men. This meant wearing our hair (our Biblical “crowning glory”) long and keeping our curls touchably soft and loose. Gothard even made it known he strongly disliked the “wet look” (women wearing too much gel in their hair), and I was even once pulled aside at an ATI training institute in Oklahoma and told to start wearing less product.”
One of the Duggars, Josh Duggar, molested his younger sisters and a babysitter and still resides on the Duggar compound where many young girls (the same ages as his sisters when he abused them) live. He is now married to a woman who inexplicably continues to provide him with more children to victimize. Basically, he is living the sex predator dream life and no one close to him seems to have a problem with it — perhaps because their entire cult was formed by a man who created it to be as convenient to predatory men as possible.
Originally Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the adults in the family (though I won’t say “parents” because those roles are taken up by Jana Duggar and a variety of children through the family’s “buddy system”), decided to try to pray Josh’s predatory sex behaviors away. Shockingly, this didn’t work and Josh continued molesting his sisters in increasingly concerning ways such as fondling a little girl who was sitting on his lap underneath her clothing.
It’s important to know that during the time Josh was molesting his sisters, Jim Bob Duggar was serving in the Arkansas House of Representatives for District 6. Ironically he was vice chair of the House Corrections and Criminal Law Subcommittee.
Now, Jedidiah Duggar is currently running for Arkansas State House District 89 despite only having a GED and having no life experience. He only recently left Jim Bob and Michelle’s home in order to live in the district where he is running for office. He would not otherwise be eligible to run for this office. This a shady political practice known as “carpetbagging”. He currently shares a small bedroom with his twin brother where they each have a twin bed.
The reality star is running against a competent, qualified candidate who has actual experience serving the district. If elected, Jedidiah’s website states he would like to “advocate for pro-life measures” and “take a stand against liberal judges who trample on our God-given constitutional rights”.
(Disclosure: I got so upset compiling information on the Duggar family for this article I donated $50 to Jed’s competitor, Megan Godfrey, despite thankfully not living anywhere near their district.)
Another cool thing everyone in the Duggar family practices is called complementarianism. They believe that men are the heads of their household and women are DESIGNED BY GOD to be submissive to them. This does not end in the bedroom or the home of a family, it extends to public life and women these men aren’t even related to, including women who have not consented to their headship. One study found that complementarianism “positively correlates with the acceptance of beliefs that facilitate abuse”.
Complementarians believe men are created by god to be pastors and community leaders and women were created for the purpose of cooking, cleaning, being sexually available to their husband and birthing children. Even a “godly” woman in their religion can only be trusted to teach children, not other adults. According to complementarianism, a woman with a degree in theology is less qualified to be a pastor than any idiot man off the street with a copy of the King James bible and a “feeling” about how to interpret it. This explains a lot about why Jed feels he is qualified to run for office.
Complementarians don’t believe there are exceptions to gender roles as they define them. A female bodybuilder would not be more qualified to do heavy lifting than a male who doesn’t lift because these roles are not defined by reality or ability, but by what they believe god ordained.
IBLP also teaches that medical issues like cancer and miscarriages are caused by not being a good enough Christian as IBLP defines it. For instance, one homeschooling handbook created by IBLP teaches that contact with semen causes cancer in women, but only if they are not married to the person ejaculating the semen. This isn’t a belief that is compatible with someone who wants to hold public office and make medical decisions for others.
If someone in an IBLP family is sexually abused, they teach that the victim should be counseled about what they did to deserve it. In a handout created by the IBLP, they recommend asking the victim if perhaps god let the sex abuse happen to them because they dressed immodestly or have “evil friends”:
We all need to ask what kind of laws a person who believes this would support or refrain from supporting.
If you’d like another glimpse at how IBLP families are run, here is a clip of Austin Forsyth’s family on a short-lived TV show called World’s Strictest Parents in which they traumatize two troubled children unfamiliar with their cult:
The Forsyth family owns Fort Rock Family camp which has had such honored guests as Michael and Debi Pearl, who wrote a handbook about how to abuse your children they call the Pearl Method. The Pearl Method has lead to the deaths of at least three children, Sean Paddock, Lydia Schatz, and Hana Grace-Rose Williams. The prosecutor in the Schatz case called it “truly an evil book”.
In response to the dead children, the Pearls added a statement to their website which reads: “I laugh at my caustic critics, for our properly-spanked and trained children grow to maturity in great peace and love.”
Austin Forsyth is the teen boy of the “strictest” parents shown in the clip. He grew up to marry Joyanna Duggar, one of Josh Duggar’s victims. He is now brother-in-law to Jed Duggar.
There is likely a lot more scandal left to talk about where the Duggars are involved. For instance, where does the money that the family makes from their TLC show go? When the Josh Duggar molestation scandal broke, TLC cancelled the Duggars show and replaced it with a show about the family called Counting On which focuses on the adult women who were Josh Duggar’s victims. They are supposed to be receiving money for this show that would give them financial freedom from the predatory men in their lives. However, most fans and critics believe Jim Bob is given this money by TLC and uses it to continue to control his family. To be honest, there are only so many abused children I can read about and what I’ve compiled here is more than enough reason to pass over an unqualified candidate for public office. In America, you can believe whatever you want to. But you aren’t free to use those beliefs to get into public office and force those beliefs on your unsuspecting constituents. People of Arkansas district 89: please, please, please vote against this man. We have seen what happens when IBLP men are given power and there are too many victims already. If you don’t live in Jed’s district, I hope you will join me in giving his opponent, Megan Godfrey, whatever kind of support you can.