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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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If you watched this week’s episode of Counting On, you got to witness the giddy joy of the Duggars as they learned that their already massive family is about to expand by one.
Yes, the entire clan learned that Joy-Anna Duggar was pregnant, but not everyone was able to receive the news in person.
Two of Joy’s sisters were informed of her big news via text message – Jinger because she’s relocated to Texas, and Jill because … well, no one knows exactly where Jill is these days.
The 26-year-old’s absence from last night’s episode had many fans wondering what could possibly compel Jill to miss something as monumental as her sister’s pregnancy announcement.
Many fans speculated that Jill is no longer living in Tontitown and may have once again left the country to perform missionary work.
Others theorized that her family has distanced themselves from Jill due to the fact that her husband, Derick Dillard, has been fired by TLC.
As is so often the case with this sort of thing, neither explanation is completely accurate … but neither is entirely without basis, either.
Currently, Jill is in Mexico with her husband and youngest son.
The family has reportedly embarked on a weeklong missionary excursion in Guadalajara.
The whereabouts of Jill and Derick’s eldest son, 2-year-old Samuel, are unknown, but it’s believed that he’s staying at the Duggar compound and being cared for by Michelle and the ever-attentive Jana.
But that’s a development of the last few days.
What fans want to know now is – where was Jill ten months ago when last night’s episode was filmed?
The answer to that question is a bit more complex.
Those who know the Dillards best say they have relocated to a smaller home in the interest of saving money.
(After all, the show was their sole source of income.)
The insiders insist that Jill wasn’t present for Joy’s announcement simply because she’s no longer appearing on Counting On.
They claim that Jill and Derick’s decision to move away from Tontitown was not the result of rocky relations with Jill’s family.
But they won’t go so far as to say all is well between the Dillards and the Duggars.
A common topic of discussion in Duggar-centric Reddit pages these days is the fact that several of Jill and Derick’s family members and former friends have recently unfollowed the couple on social media.
“The shunning begins… the Bates family have unfollowed Jill and Derick. Individual accounts unfollowing just Derick, meanwhile Ben unfollowed him, who’s next?” wrote one user.
“I predict that someone at Cross Church is going to have a ‘counseling session’ with Derick and then his account will abruptly disappear,” commented another.
“For as much as they probably agree with what he’s saying, at some point, they don’t want to be responsible for negative attention that this will invariably draw.”
“What he is doing is incredibly tacky. Twitter is not the place for personal, family or business grievances,” remarked a third.
Needless to say, all is not well between Jill and her family.
And as more Jill-free episodes of the Duggars’ reality show hit the air, you can expect fans to continue digging in hopes of unearthing the truth about just how bad the situation has gotten.
Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.
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When Joy-Anna Duggar married Austin Forsyth back in May, very little was known about Austin’s family.
Duggar obsessives did some digging – as they’re wont to do – and for the most part, what they found was not surprising.
As is the case with most Duggar in-laws, Austin comes from a family that’s very similar to the one he married into.
Like Jim Bob and Michelle, Austin’s parents are deeply religious and extremely conservative.
And the similarities don’t end there.
Both families subscribe to some esoteric and highly controversial beliefs, including the conviction that it’s their God-given duty to have as many children as possible – and to raise those children in an extremely strict fashion.
Over the years, the Duggars have been chastised for their support of parenting techniques that have been derided as violent and barbaric.
Many of their more controversial practices come from a scandalous parenting guide by authors Michael and Debi Pearl, entitled To Train Up a Child.
In addition to their support for “blanket training” and other forms of harsh corporal punishment adopted by the Duggars, the Pearls advocate other techniques that many regard as abusive, including using forced “fasting” as a means of punishment:
“A little fasting is good training,” the book reads.
“If you get a child who is particularly finicky and only eats a limited diet, then feed him mainly what he doesn’t like until he likes it.”
Within a year of the book’s publication, copies of To Train Up a Child were found in the homes of three different who died from child abuse.
Needless to say, unlike the time Jessa Duggar put a tortilla on her son’s head, this is a serious matter, and outrage from Duggar fans is fully warranted.
Perhaps that’s why the Duggars distanced themselves from the Pearl’s teachings – until recently.
As Counting On viewers are aware, the Forsyths own a campground in rural Arkansas that caters to families and religious groups.
Next month, the camp will host the annual Big Sandy Family Conference, a massive gathering of fundamentalist Christian families.
“Whether making new friendships with other families or rekindling relationships from previous years, the conference is an annual highlight for many,” reads an advertisement on the Forsyth’s website.
It all sounds innocent enough, but as many fans have noticed, the conference will feature appearances by Jim Bob and Michelle – as well as the Pearls.
“The Duggars humbly share their joys and trials, desiring to minister to other families who desire God’s best, even when their lives take unexpected turns,” reads a brief write-up about the Duggars on the campground’s website.
Jim Bob and Michelle’s message is still the same: trust in the Lord.”
The portion about the Pearls is even shorter and identifies them as the authors of several bestselling books.
While it seems that the Forsyths are trying to downplay both the Pearls’ controversial teachings and the couple’s connection to the Duggars, fans were quick to cry foul.
“I don’t believe in abusing children so I would never go to hear the Pearls,” one fan commented on the Duggars’ Facebook post about the event.
Several others echoed the sentiment, and those who were unaware that Michelle condoned such abusive techniques as blanket training were quick to express shock.
Needless to say, the Duggars will probably soon regret re-associating with the Pearls.
Unfortunately, it’s probably too late to pull out of the Forsyths big event.
Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV’s most controversial family.
Ever since that first teaser trailer for Jersey Shore: Family Vacation dropped, the world has wondered what this over-the-top reunion is going to be like.
But we don't have to wait for the April 5th premiere date to find out what's in store for these orange hooligans.
A new trailer is out that reveals a lot more, and you can see that below.
Snooki exclaims "We're back, bitches!" in a drawn out way.
It's almost as though they had never left.
But they did leave — a lot of the stars are parents. They talk up their age a lot, Snooki herself is 30. They're at different stages in their lives, but they're hardly geriatric.
And from the antics in this trailer, in which they drink and drink and drink in South Beach, they aim to prove that they haven't slowed down one bit since they were first horrifying audiences.
Jersey Shore was a reality series that some hailed as deceptively brilliant social commentary and others believed heralded the collapse of society.
But … maybe it was never that deep. Maybe it was just a bunch of idiots living their lives on camera, you know?
It looks like, in some ways, this revival is going to be more of the same.
But things have changed dramatically for so many of these stars.
As we mentioned, some of them are parents, now. They have actual responsibilities.
So while this revival will allow them to "go wild" as they haven't for years, as Jenni "JWOWW" Farley notes, it's likely that they're going to take better care of themselves than they did when they were young.
After all, they'll be going back to their lives as parents after the cameras shut off. The responsibilities of being a parent continue even when you're not with your kids.
Speaking of children, there's one guy who expressed shock, nervousness, and excitement during the trailer because of his own impending fatherhood.
Ronnie Ortiz-Magro makes it very clear in this trailer that can't believe that he's going to be a dad.
As you may recall, he didn't find the love of his life on Jersey Shore, but he did in real life.
And now, as you can see from the baby bump in that photo, his girlfriend Jen Harley is very much pregnant.
Of course, not everyone's major life transitions are positive ones.
(Yes, having children is a positive life change if you want children)
No, Snooki teases in the trailer that someone is going to be behind bars.
"Dude," Snooki says at one point. "Prison is no joke. It's scary."
She then follows up with a more ominous statement.
"He's literally not going to survive."
Smart money says that the guy headed for prison is Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino since he pleaded guilty to tax fraud.
We don't think that fans need to be picking out an outfit to wear to his presumably public funeral, however.
He's going to prison for tax fraud, which is bad, but not a violent crime. He'll probably have an unpleasant time in prison, because prison is zero fun, but not all prisons are created equally, and he's likely to be placed with other non-violent offenders.
But … yeah, it's going to suck.
Also, these folks drink a lot … and talk about drinking a lot.
They comment on who smells like alcohol, and they're clearly going out to have a good time — fist-pumping, of course, included.
One might wonder how much of this is staged. How many drinks are watered down. How many explosions of wild excitement were the results of multiple takes and specific instructions from producers.
But it looks like Jersey Shore: Family Vacation is shaping up to be just as wild of a ride as the original series.
Plus, they're in Florida.
Check out the new trailer:
The Duggar family is rich. Jim Bob made his fortune through real estate investments, and after all of their reality television ups and downs, he's worth over $ 3 million.
But 19 Kids and Counting isn't on television anymore, and Counting On doesn't rake in the same kind of money. But this family of over 30 members has found another revenue stream.
Fans believe that the Duggars are engaging in Instagram ads, like so many other reality stars.
Curiously, they don't seem to tag what appear to be product endorsements — usually of food — as #ads, but these posts are not subtle. At all.
Perhaps the Duggars are violating FTC regulations because they believe that they're above secular laws.
It's possible that they're just getting free products, but the volume of the posts seems to indicate to some fans that the Duggars must be getting paid for these promotions.
Take a look:
1. First of all, the Duggars LOVE Chick-fil-A
2. There’s a difference betwen Instagramming your meal …
3. Even Josh Duggar’s gotten in on the action
4. But the Duggars love more than just one restaurant that fits their brand
5. Derick helps out with these alleged promotions, too
6. Not the worst thing that we’ve seen in an IHOP parking lot…
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