Jill Duggar is sharing in her latest memoir, “Counting the Cost,” how her family was torn apart by toxic relationships and how reality TV took a toll on the overall well-being of her and her husband’s family.
She grew up on TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” which featured her and her family’s journey from growing up to getting married and everything in between. The family put their Institute in Basic Life Principles practices at the forefront of the show and were devout adherents to its cause. However, she shares that behind the scenes, turmoil was mounting inside their family life.
“It was like ‘The Truman Show,'” Duggar says. “It was hard to live day to day and have a camera in my face. And for some of my siblings, it’s all they’ve ever known … there were moments that were robbed from me, the private ones.”
Having no say in what moments were caught on camera really took a toll on her emotional capacity and what she perceived as the correct approach to honoring her mother and father.
“I just felt, ‘This is what I have to do,” Dugger says. “I have to honor my parents. I have to fall in line here.’ I didn’t really have a choice, and I did not like it, but at the same time, I felt this is what I had to do to be a good daughter, to be a good Christian.”
Jill Duggar Dillard is the second Duggar daughter this year to pen a book about her experience growing up on camera and leaving behind the IBLP lifestyle. Earlier this year Jinger Vuolo (formerly Duggar) released “Becoming Free Indeed,” which documented her journey of leaving behind IBLP practices to examine the Scriptures for herself and rebuild a life based on the truth of God’s gospel.
“It’s taken me years of saying, ‘Okay, well this what God’s Word says, and so I’m gonna believe this even if I had a twisted, warped view of the Bible for so many years from what Bill Gothard said this verse means,” Vuolo told Allie Beth Stuckey in an interview. “Walking through the Bible just verse by verse with preaching, teaching, all of that has helped me to take apart what’s true from what’s false.”
IBLP teachings from Bill Gothard have been taught and encouraged for years by many churches and Christians. However, the root of the principles have been severely taken out of biblical context. This includes confessing sins to parents in the same manner that one would to a priest.
“You go to them to confess every little sin and every little detail of your sin, and then God will forgive you,” Vuolo said.
IBLP founder Gothard himself was alleged to have sexually harassed women, which he apologized for back in 2014.
What’s important to take away from both Duggar and Vuolo’s stories is that cultlike teachings do not lead people to Christ; instead, they damage and destroy the individual who then must go back and build up their faith. It is only by following the Word of God that we can truly find and understand the kind of life He has for us.
Abby Trivett is a marketing copywriter and coordinator for Charisma Media.
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