Last month, the world learned that Josiah Duggar and Lauren Swanson are engaged.
The news came as no great surprise, as Josiah and Lauren had been courting for several months, and Duggar courtships typically result in marriage.
But as Josiah knows from firsthand experience, that’s not always the case…
You see, unlike his brothers and sisters, Josiah’s first courtship was not his last.
Back in 2015, Josiah entered a relationship with Marjorie Jackson.
At the time, it was widely assumed that the young couple would follow in the footsteps of his older siblings by marrying and starting a family shortly thereafter.
After all, like other Duggar courting partners, Marjorie had been carefully selected and possessed all of the qualities prized by Josiah’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar:
Jackson was a fundamentalist Christian from a reputable family with a long history of service and involvement with the church.
So it came as quite a surprise when Josiah and Marjorie broke up.
For as long as the Duggars had been in the spotlight each and every new courtship had led to marriage and children.
Many fans stated that they were unaware that Duggars even had the option of ending a courtship.
Almost as surprising as the breakup was the manner in which the public found out about it.
No official announcement was made, and Marjorie simply disappeared from Josiah’s social media pages.
All photos of the two of them were deleted from Josiah’s Instagram account and that was that.
Shortly thereafter, rumors that Marjorie planned to write a tell-all about her time with the Duggars seem to lend credence to the widespread belief that this was a rather ugly breakup.
In an attempt to suppress the rumors, Josiah finally issued a statement and assured fans that he and Marjorie had simply decided to go their separate ways.
“Marjorie and I had a good time together. We were just trying to follow God’s lead on everything,” the statement read.
“She didn’t feel that it was the right timing then, so we called it quits for a bit.”
But fans in the Duggar discussion group on Reddit believe there may have been a more sinister reason for the split.
As In Touch Weekly points out, Josiah’s split from Marjorie is once again a frequent topic of conversation on the boards, seemingly as a result of his engagement to Lauren.
It seems many redditors are convinced that Marjorie – who has published multiple books and has a large following on social media – was interested in Josiah due to his fame and fortune.
The theorists who fall into this camp propose different ideas about exactly why Josiah and Marjorie called it quits:
Some believe he got wise to her ulterior motives and called the relationship off.
Others feel that she realized he wouldn’t be good for her reputation (due to the Josh Duggar sex scandals) or her bank account (due to the fact that TLC earnings are split many different ways) and decided to seek her fortune elsewhere.
“It’s a widely spread belief that Marjorie was more into the fame than she was into Josiah, but what if it wasn’t the fame she was after?” wrote one fan.
“What if she wanted a slice of that sweet, sweet TLC pie, but split as soon as she found out that Josiah would likely never see a cent of it?”
“‘Would you like to enter a courtship?’ ‘Yes, I’d be happy to.’ [side hug] ‘Just letting you know I don’t get any money from the show, Dad takes it all.’ ‘Oh, then I guess I can’t court if you’re broke, it’s over,'” another redditor joked.
Still others believe that Marjorie initially hoped to weather the storm of the Josh scandals, but eventually decided an association with the Duggars would do her career more harm than good.
“She wanted fame and was using Josiah to get it. She was all in until the Josh scandal hit. They lost [19 Kids and Counting] when they began courting. Showed her true colors and its obvious she was a user,” one commenter theorized.
“Hey Marjorie, God is a good score keeper! I didn’t like her, user! Funniest thing yet?
“She didn’t know there would be another show featuring the older Duggars. She probably hates herself now. She puts on a good show she is happy. But, deep down she cringed.”
Yes, it seems Marjorie has brought Duggar fans and critics together in their shared disdain for her. No easy feat!
Watch Counting On online for more on reality TV’s most controversial family.