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Duggar Family Shame: Church Members Share Shocking Tales of Abuse

Anyone who’s regularly watched the family’s reality shows knows that the Duggars are a deeply religious lot.

But even the most diehard Duggar fans may not know the details of the belief system that Jim Bob and Michelle have imparted to their children.

The Duggars are Independent Baptists, but they’re also members of the Institute in Basic Life Principles and the Advanced Training Institute, both founded by controversial pastor and former personal guru of the Duggars, Bill Gothard.

Back in 2015, the Josh Duggar sex scandal shined some light on the institute’s teachings and more scandalous practices.

Not only did the organization assist Josh and his parents in evading prosecution, it also justified his misconduct with homeschooling curriculum that places the blame for sexual assault squarely on the victim.

Prior to Gothard resigning in disgrace after being accused of sexual misconduct by more than 50 former employees, he presided over the organization for decades, and – according to many former members – was directly or indirectly involved in countless acts of systemized sexual assault.

Recent revelations about the Duggars and the rise of the #MeToo movement have emboldened several alleged victims to come forward with shocking accounts of the abuse they suffered under Gothard’s watchful eye.

As reported by In Touch Weekly, an anonymous Reddit used was recently at the center of one of the sites “ask me anything” or AMA sessions.

And what she had to say about her time as a member of the IBLP-ATI is likely to shock even the most strident Duggar defenders.

“I was part of a fundamentalist Christian cult known as ATI/IBLP,” the user began.

“Recent scandals have hit the news about the cult leader Bill Gothard when over 50 women came forward with allegations that he sexually harassed them. But that’s only scratching the surface.”

“Let me tell you my scariest experience — and just keep in mind, I’m far from the only one,” she continued.

“First off, throughout my childhood, my father and sisters abused me sexually. Since the cult taught a strict familial hierarchy, with the father being top dog, then mother, then children in order of birth, as the youngest I was bottom of the totem pole.

“My father would twist Bible verses to justify rape, death threats, and more. Because ATI is a homeschool cult, it was really handy to cover up the abuse from any prying eyes.

“My home was a prison for 11 years until he died of a massive heart attack. And that’s not even the scariest experience.”

The user went on to explain how the abuse worsened as a result of her mother’s continued involvement with the IBLP.

“Fast forward two years. I’m 13, with a mother who’s frantically fixated on me being a ‘troubled child’ because 1. I dared resist my father’s advances and argue against the abuse I was suffering, gaining me the reputation of ‘rebellious,’ 2. I’m severely depressed because I’m a freaking rape victim and depression is considered sin, and 3. I asked too many questions as to WHY we believed the things we believed —you don’t ask questions, needless to say.”

She then describes being shipped off to Oklahoma without warning and enrolled in the IBLP’s “Log Cabin” program, which is designed to “retrain” resistant adolescents.

“All I know is I’m about to move to Oklahoma for a while to be fixed by ‘nice counselors’ because I’m a dirty sinner,” she writes.

“For the next two years, I am tortured, brainwashed, starved, sleep-deprived, threatened with a shotgun, punished, humiliated, interrogated, and terrorized.

“I lose 40 pounds in the first month or two. They take me off my medications (believing it is wrong to take them) cold turkey; I exhibit severe symptoms of withdrawal and they go ignored.

“I am worked grueling hours, sent on aimless hikes and marches, scrubbing floors on my hands and knees until my knuckles are cracked and bleeding from the bleach, punished with hard labor until I’m near fainting,” she adds.

“They had fun coming up with new and strange ‘punishments.’”

Through it all, the victim says, she was so brainwashed she didn’t fully realize that those who imprisoned her were engaging in the most egregious forms of abuse.

It wasn’t until years later that she began to become aware that something was deeply wrong with the religion she had been raised in.

“There really wasn’t one concrete ‘oh s–t’ moment,” she explains.

“But the first time I remember thinking ‘this is BS’ was how often people would be ‘sentenced’ to hell for the most trivial reasons. Everything from an impure thought to cursing to sleeping in late.”

Amazingly, despite the high-profile nature of their lives and the zeal with which they discuss their beliefs, the Duggars have managed to avoid commenting on their continued involvement with the IBLP-ATI.

That may prove increasingly difficult as time goes on.

Or the family’s legion of devoted fans may prove willing to continue turning a blind eye to the rampant abuse within the organization.

Watch Counting On online for a closer look at reality TV’s most controversial family.

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Pennsylvania Church Plans “Blessing” Ceremony for Couples and Their AR-15s

There have been many reactions over the past several days to the horrific killing of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school.

The survivors of this incident are calling for gun reform, many politicians are offering up thoughts and prayers and the President wants to arm as many well-trained teacher as he can with concealed weapons.

Then there’s World Peace and Unification Sanctuary in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania.

church pic

It wants to essentially marry gun holders and their AR-15s in a special “blessing” ceremony this week.

For real.

According to a press release from this controversial organization, the AR-15 symbolizes the “rod of iron” in the biblical book of Revelation.

It is there encouraging couples (only heterosexual couples, we might as well add) to bring the guns to a commitment ceremony Wednesday morning.

(The AR-15 is in the news because it is the gun used in the aforementioned Florida high school massacre; it has also been the weapon of choice used in the past by many other school shooters.)

If you can’t bring this gun in for the ceremony, the church implores its members to buy a $ 700 gift certificate from a gun store that can be blessed instead.

Naturally.

big gun

The church – which has been labeled a racist, homophobic and antisemitic hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center – is an offshoot of the Unification Church that was founded by Sun Myung Moon in the 1950s.

Oh, and it is also located a half mile from an elementary school.

This school has closed its doors on Wednesday in response and will bus students to a different location as a safety precaution.

This is how the church describes its gun ceremony on its website:

These actions to participate with crowns and a rod of iron/gift certificate are signs of attendance, sovereignty and vigilance to protect God’s coming nation of Cheon Il Guk.

They are also a Foundation of Faith and Substance to unite with the Second King who is advancing God’s providence at this time.

To not do so, if one is legally and personally able, would be a sign of great disrespect to the Second King of Cheon Il Guk and to True Father himself.

As the parable of the Ten Virgins spoken of in Matthew 25:1-13 explains, believers should be prepared internally and externally to receive the grace of the bridegroom’s arrival so they can be welcomed into the “wedding banquet.

dude with gun

Since this February 14 shooting, there has been a movement across the country to at least raise the minimum age for purchasing an AR-15 from 18 years old to 21 years old.

There’s also been a movement to outlaw purchasing of the gun entirely in some circles.

But the President does not seem open to this latter idea.

Richard Panzer, president of the church in question here, says this event was planned prior to the Florida high school tragedy.

“All of the weapons in the ceremony will be checked to make sure they are unloaded, with a zip tie so that no bullets can be inserted,” he says, adding:

“We are inviting local and state police to be on the premises, so that everything goes safely.”

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Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez Kiss on Valentine’s Day Date, After Church of Course

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez were sure to make time for each other — and a little makeout sesh — on Valentine’s night, but only after church, of course. Justin and Selena cozied up next to each other Wednesday night at a fancy Beverly Hills…

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Duggar Family Member Speaks Up Against Family Church!

The Duggars are controversial about so much more than just that they have a whole lot of kids. They have many controversial beliefs about women, children, faith, homeschooling, and society. Oh, and pants.

Though the Duggars are famous, they’re not the only members of their congregation. They’re not the only believers in the Institute in Basic Life Principles.

Well one member of the Duggar family is finally speaking out against the IBLP. And she’s not mincing words.

Amy Duggar, the Duggar cousin who’s taken steps to escape the almost feudal culture in which she was raised, tweeted:

“I have to be honest, and true to myself by tweeting this.”

That’s a good mindset for tweeting.

“I do not support Bill Gothard and the Institute of Biblical [sic] Life Principles in any way, shape, or form.”

That’s a powerful statement.

“I find his ‘teachings’ extremely questionable.”

Amy is not the only one. Not by a long shot.

Bill Gothard is the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles. For years, the now-disgraced minister instructed the Duggars in matters of faith.

Remember how Josh Duggar got his totally legit “counseling” from Bill Gothard after, infamously, Josh molested a number of young girls, including several of his own sisters?

Well, Bill Gothard stepped down from his position at the IBLP in 2014 after multiple accusations of sexual harassment.

Oh, and molestation.

It sounds like he’s not the best guy to let around your kids, but also not the best guy to try to talk to Josh about Josh’s own terrible crimes. 

Amy Duggar then goes on to clarify what she believes.

“I am a Christian.”

That shouldn’t be a shocker to anyone.

“I believe in God’s good Grace and freedom to be ourselves!”

That’s a huge part of what many Christians consider to believe the message of the gospel and the teachings of the New Testament.

“God gave us emotions, personalities, and He wants us to live our best life.”

Finally, she adds: “Legalism is the opposite of what my Bible teaches.”

Legalism, by the way, is when Christian fundamentalists place the Old Testament teachings referred to as the Law of Moses in a higher position than gospel teachings, requiring adherents to follow strict guidelines in how they live their lives.

And, specifically, legalism is the term applied to beliefs that place obedience to strict laws regarding lifestyle as seemingly more important than the usual accept-Jesus-as-your-savior method of attaining salvation described in the New Testament.

So, if her focus is on the New Testament (which, though I’m not going to tell anyone how to practice their faith, makes sense coming from a Christian), then yeah, legalism is the opposite of everything her beliefs stand for.

It ties into that Jeremy Vuolo quote about how he doesn’t believe that God saves people’s souls in order to make them wear skirts.

InTouch Weekly interviewed a former IBLP member, Rebecca Ishum, who describes exactly what it’s like within that fringe organization.

“I was conditioned to believe anything that anyone in authority told me without question.”

Scary, but standard for fringe organizations often characterized as cults.

“Because of that, I internalized all of the teachings and brought them back home with me. So, for example, there are a lot of physical requirements with IBLP.”

Most religious folks would say that that spiritual requirements are the priority, but it’s not so for IBLP.

“The physical requirements weren’t enforced to that degree at home (I wore shorts as a kid), but by the time I got home from my time in the training center, I was wearing skirts all of the time because I had been told that I was immodest otherwise, and I didn’t want to cause myself to be raped.”

Whoa!

“There is a lot of victim- and women-blaming in that cult.”

We’re glad that Amy Duggar got out and is living her best life, especially after her rough childhood. We just wish that we could say the same for literally every other Duggar daughter trapped in this dangerous cult, most of the sons, and every other member of the IBLP.

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