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silvia

Do the Duggars' beliefs deflect the pressures of fame?

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silvia

People have mentioned how many TV families -- most notably, the Gosselins and the Honey Boo Boo clan, though I'm sure there are others -- tend to implode spectacularly under the pressure of being in the spotlight. And this phenomenon isn't limited to reality TV families; child stars, in general, seem to have a tough time of it psychologically, and they tend to start showing signs of trouble even before they're out of their teens (see Judy Garland, Drew Barrymore, Lindsay Lohan, Mary-Kate Olsen, Macaulay Culkin).

 

But for the Duggars, things have been fairly placid, at least on the surface. None of the kids (and there are now eight who are 18 or older) have visibly rebelled against their parents in any significant way. And the show has been on the air almost seven years now. That's a long time for so many kids to be in the public eye without really departing from the fringy lifestyle they were raised in. It's remarkable, especially considering the low second-generation retention rates of cults in general.

 

I wonder sometimes if we can credit their religious beliefs for this apparent stability -- totally independent of the religion's truth value. Obviously, the kids are pretty protected from the temptations of alcohol and drugs that have led so many performers astray. But I think there's something more than that: maybe that this belief system's emphasis on abnegating the self ("yourself last," having a servant's heart, "I am nothing without Christ," etc.) in part offsets the intense self-focus that generally accompanies fame and courts depression? Or maybe just that the "hedge of protection" has created such mental barriers that the kids no longer have the independent agency they would need to make their own mistakes? Or that this lifestyle forces them to get really good at shoving their pain down instead of externalizing it? I'm curious to hear your thoughts as to why the kids' course has run so apparently smooth thus far. (Of course, huge caveat here--things could start to unravel in a very public way down the line.)

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fraurosena

You know what? From birth, these kids have been deliberately stunted in their development by their parents. They were never allowed to show, let alone act upon any curiosity at all (blanket training!), nor were they ever allowed to think for themselves. The only thing they know is how to obey immediately and without thinking, and so all they do is follow blindly. They truly have been arrested in their development. Rebel? That would necessitate reflection and deliberation, things they were never taught how to do. Don’t think, don’t be curious, because that is dangerous! Take care not to mingle with the big bad outside world, hell is awaiting you there!

Rebelling or acting out would be going against everything they know, and I can imagine that would be absolutely terrifying. So I can’t see that happening soon…

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Furbabies

But, could one say that Jana, and possibly JD, ARE rebelling? Albeit in a quiet way... they aren't making multitudes of baebezzzz.

Edit: typo

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SassyPants
You know what? From birth, these kids have been deliberately stunted in their development by their parents. They were never allowed to show, let alone act upon any curiosity at all (blanket training!), nor were they ever allowed to think for themselves. The only thing they know is how to obey immediately and without thinking, and so all they do is follow blindly. They truly have been arrested in their development. Rebel? That would necessitate reflection and deliberation, things they were never taught how to do. Don’t think, don’t be curious, because that is dangerous! Take care not to mingle with the big bad outside world, hell is awaiting you there!

Rebelling or acting out would be going against everything they know, and I can imagine that would be absolutely terrifying. So I can’t see that happening soon…

Don't think (that's the lazy man's way, IMO), but the whole bit about curiosity being dangerous is bunk. The Duggars approach to life IS DANGEROUS. The kids have been shown playing with knives, handling guns, power tools etc without proper supervision, pogo sticking in the house, running around without supervision, working on a farm and hiking in inappropriate foot wear, baby equipment used inappropriately, a kid stuck with her head in the banister, little kids playing on stairs, and on and on. The Duggars care not 1 iota about safety, IMO.

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PracticeMakesProgress
I wonder sometimes if we can credit their religious beliefs for this apparent stability -- totally independent of the religion's truth value. Obviously, the kids are pretty protected from the temptations of alcohol and drugs that have led so many performers astray. But I think there's something more than that: maybe that this belief system's emphasis on abnegating the self ("yourself last," having a servant's heart, "I am nothing without Christ," etc.) in part offsets the intense self-focus that generally accompanies fame and courts depression? Or maybe just that the "hedge of protection" has created such mental barriers that the kids no longer have the independent agency they would need to make their own mistakes? Or that this lifestyle forces them to get really good at shoving their pain down instead of externalizing it? I'm curious to hear your thoughts as to why the kids' course has run so apparently smooth thus far. (Of course, huge caveat here--things could start to unravel in a very public way down the line.)

I could not agree more with that statement. Now, also like you said, there's still a chance that things could go full tilt Lohan at any moment, but I guarantee it would be preceded by a slow shift towards "self-focus" and away from the well-quoted "JOY" amendment...we have seen a lot of new Instagram accounts pop up... :naughty:

Are the Duggars peddlers of a religious movement propelled by a borderline sociopath? Yes. Does that automatically make them the worst people in the world? No. My interest in coming out of the lurking shadows on this website has everything to do with the need to criticize the harmful religious interpretations and actions of man, not criticize religion in general, as religion actually does have a positive and important place in the human experience, "believers" and "non-believers" alike.

Anyone who honestly and objectively reads the Bible cannot deny there is much wisdom in the words given, be they divinely inspired, or the words of wise elders. People that love to slam Levitical law for its absurd and "backwards" tenets fail to give it context. Why so many weird sex, shaving, and hygiene rules? Because people are dirty, and blood is a transport medium, and there are no hospitals or antibiotics. If a humble tribe of ex-slave nomads, constantly on the brink of extinction is to survive, you'd think there'd need to be some pretty strict rules? Yes. Now the woman-in-tent-during-period thing makes just a little speck more sense.

I use that extreme example to say this: whether you want to admit it or not, when people choose to truly live, commit honestly to the idea of a high power, who embodies omniscience and omnipresence, gives meaning to a sometimes meaningless existence, there IS great peace. When people believe wholeheartedly in redemption and reassurance for better things to come, it does have an amazing psychological effect. These people do become more focused, more immune, so to speak, to the typical pressures of the outside world. And believe it or not, being committed to a worthy cause outside oneself does help to alleviate (not cure, not prevent, not eliminate, mind you) the symptoms of self-obsession...the only REAL danger in this life change is whether or not the person committing is following the God and wisdom, or the messenger...cough, cough, GOTHARD, cough, cough.

The Duggars, even with all their faults and questionable choices, I fully believe will be die-hard Christian folk long after the cameras stop rolling. I don't doubt their sincere commitment to Jesus, one bit. And that kind of core stability--whether the benefit of faith in a true religion or just the best psychological coping mechanism of all--will help.

Some people are genuinely gifted with enough thoughtfulness and inherent goodness, they don't really need a moral babysitter (Mr. Practice). But many need an ethereal accountabilibuddy to keep sweet. To each his or her own. Whatever keeps you from becoming a Lohan Boo-Boo, I guess...

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SassyPants

I could not agree more with that statement. Now, also like you said, there's still a chance that things could go full tilt Lohan at any moment, but I guarantee it would be preceded by a slow shift towards "self-focus" and away from the well-quoted "JOY" amendment...we have seen a lot of new Instagram accounts pop up... :naughty:

Are the Duggars peddlers of a religious movement propelled by a borderline sociopath? Yes. Does that automatically make them the worst people in the world? No. My interest in coming out of the lurking shadows on this website has everything to do with the need to criticize the harmful religious interpretations and actions of man, not criticize religion in general, as religion actually does have a positive and important place in the human experience, "believers" and "non-believers" alike.

Anyone who honestly and objectively reads the Bible cannot deny there is much wisdom in the words given, be they divinely inspired, or the words of wise elders. People that love to slam Levitical law for its absurd and "backwards" tenets fail to give it context. Why so many weird sex, shaving, and hygiene rules? Because people are dirty, and blood is a transport medium, and there are no hospitals or antibiotics. If a humble tribe of ex-slave nomads, constantly on the brink of extinction is to survive, you'd think there'd need to be some pretty strict rules? Yes. Now the woman-in-tent-during-period thing makes just a little speck more sense.

I use that extreme example to say this: whether you want to admit it or not, when people choose to truly live, commit honestly to the idea of a high power, who embodies omniscience and omnipresence, gives meaning to a sometimes meaningless existence, there IS great peace. When people believe wholeheartedly in redemption and reassurance for better things to come, it does have an amazing psychological effect. These people do become more focused, more immune, so to speak, to the typical pressures of the outside world. And believe it or not, being committed to a worthy cause outside oneself does help to alleviate (not cure, not prevent, not eliminate, mind you) the symptoms of self-obsession...the only REAL danger in this life change is whether or not the person committing is following the God and wisdom, or the messenger...cough, cough, GOTHARD, cough, cough.

The Duggars, even with all their faults and questionable choices, I fully believe will be die-hard Christian folk long after the cameras stop rolling. I don't doubt their sincere commitment to Jesus, one bit. And that kind of core stability--whether the benefit of faith in a true religion or just the best psychological coping mechanism of all--will help.

Some people are genuinely gifted with enough thoughtfulness and inherent goodness, they don't really need a moral babysitter (Mr. Practice). But many need an ethereal accountabilibuddy to keep sweet. To each his or her own. Whatever keeps you from becoming a Lohan Boo-Boo, I guess...

You make many salient points, to which I would agree.

A quick question, do you have any problem at all dovetailing Gothardism and its tenets with the message that is being preached in most Christian churches? I was raised RC, attended Catholic schools from K- college degree and I have a hard time recognizing the Duggars as Christians when they seem to rely and focus so heavily on Gothard and his own commandments and rules.

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fraurosena

Don't think (that's the lazy man's way, IMO), but the whole bit about curiosity being dangerous is bunk. The Duggars approach to life IS DANGEROUS. The kids have been shown playing with knives, handling guns, power tools etc without proper supervision, pogo sticking in the house, running around without supervision, working on a farm and hiking in inappropriate foot wear, baby equipment used inappropriately, a kid stuck with her head in the banister, little kids playing on stairs, and on and on. The Duggars care not 1 iota about safety, IMO.

Oh, I agree with you completely about Duggars and safety. The curiosity I mean is curiosity about anything outside of their own belief system: the big bad world out there with all the evil temptations.

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SassyPants

Oh, I agree with you completely about Duggars and safety. The curiosity I mean is curiosity about anything outside of their own belief system: the big bad world out there with all the evil temptations.

Gotcha!

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Rainytown
But for the Duggars, things have been fairly placid, at least on the surface. None of the kids (and there are now eight who are 18 or older) have visibly rebelled against their parents in any significant way. And the show has been on the air almost seven years now. That's a long time for so many kids to be in the public eye without really departing from the fringy lifestyle they were raised in. It's remarkable, especially considering the low second-generation retention rates of cults in general.

I think it's on the surface. We've seen some rebellion -- Jana and JD both refuse to bend to what I'm sure is heavy and unrelenting pressure to marry. Josh moved his family out of the state against Jim Boob and J-Chelle's "advice". (Check out the facial expressions when Smuggar announced his intention of taking the job in DC, for instance). Jessa Blessa told her father on-camera she would elope with Bin if they didn't allow them to marry, and the pink wedding dress was a HUGE rebellion, in my opinion.

I admit being very curious to know what type of pressure (besides financial) Jim Boob and J-Chelle are exerting to keep things looking "normal" from the outside. It's become clear to media and viewers that with the recent spate of negative press coverage, the wheels are coming off the speeding bus as far as the family's attempts to portray themselves as normal. Here's a thought: If derickduggar had not dived into the vat of Kool-Aid, the rebellion would be on already. I'm wondering if Josiah's going to be the one to lead the charge instead. His fiancee enjoys dancing and the arts, for instance. It's hard to imagine he's going to clamp down on her after marriage, especially when we've seen that there doesn't seem to be a great relationship between him and his father. IMHO, of course, but he's going to cleave to Marjorie's seemingly normal family instead.

All it takes is the realization that the world is not full of evil and sin, and curiosity about relatively innocuous and/or important things their parents have blocked them from experiencing. Formerly fundie lite me learned this fact in my early 20's. They'll find out, too, and the games will be on.

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apandaaries
People have mentioned how many TV families -- most notably, the Gosselins and the Honey Boo Boo clan, though I'm sure there are others -- tend to implode spectacularly under the pressure of being in the spotlight. And this phenomenon isn't limited to reality TV families; child stars, in general, seem to have a tough time of it psychologically, and they tend to start showing signs of trouble even before they're out of their teens (see Judy Garland, Drew Barrymore, Lindsay Lohan, Mary-Kate Olsen, Macaulay Culkin).

But for the Duggars, things have been fairly placid, at least on the surface. None of the kids (and there are now eight who are 18 or older) have visibly rebelled against their parents in any significant way. And the show has been on the air almost seven years now. That's a long time for so many kids to be in the public eye without really departing from the fringy lifestyle they were raised in. It's remarkable, especially considering the low second-generation retention rates of cults in general.

I wonder sometimes if we can credit their religious beliefs for this apparent stability -- totally independent of the religion's truth value. Obviously, the kids are pretty protected from the temptations of alcohol and drugs that have led so many performers astray. But I think there's something more than that: maybe that this belief system's emphasis on abnegating the self ("yourself last," having a servant's heart, "I am nothing without Christ," etc.) in part offsets the intense self-focus that generally accompanies fame and courts depression? Or maybe just that the "hedge of protection" has created such mental barriers that the kids no longer have the independent agency they would need to make their own mistakes? Or that this lifestyle forces them to get really good at shoving their pain down instead of externalizing it? I'm curious to hear your thoughts as to why the kids' course has run so apparently smooth thus far. (Of course, huge caveat here--things could start to unravel in a very public way down the line.)

I agree with the bolded. I think that the children/kidults have been trained to keep sweet despite circumstances. Some have mastered this better than others (Jessa can't help but look smug; Jill goes a little extreme with her "happiness," as do Anna and Michelle; Jenny continues to defy all training). They have been trained to lack curiosity or ignore its stirrings, but they can obey better than the best service dog! I think a huge factor in their obedience is their extensive training, decimated curiosity, and sense of extreme righteousness about their way of life.

They are also FAR more insular and isolated than the other child actors/reality stars. It's much harder to act up or break out when you've never really seen what else is out there. The quality of their brainwashing is such that even when exposed to other ideas, they retreat back to what they have been assured is true (anyone remember Jana at the Creation Museum, noticing that evolution sounded rather believable? But then backtracking to more familiar ground).

I also think that the publicity and strength of the brand has kept some involved when they otherwise might have broken away. Jana and JD are the two best examples -- doing what they're supposed to, but only sort of. Devoted to their family, but not creating their own families/having eleventy kids. They have much more financial security now than they did as children, and staying nearby allows them to help ensure their siblings are taken care of.

Even if they do have doubts, they also have been told that literally everyone who doesn't believe as they do is on a path to hellfire and damnation. None of them truly have marketable skills, beyond perhaps manual labor for the boys or light office work for the girls. Their entire social network is other believers and the TLC crew. The married kids have some kind of funding/income, but they've also married into the cult and have partners who are believers. The unmarried kids/kidults likely don't have access to much money of their own. HOW would they ever break out? Who would they contact? Cousin Amy?

I think they are trapped by their fame. Leaving the cult would mean disobeying their parents, damaging the family brand, abandoning their siblings -- they've been trained not to do this. Fame has thus far mainly helped the family. I do think that we will eventually see the downfall of fame and the Duggars, but it will take awhile. They haven't been blanket training since the cameras started rolling, and it shows in the Lost Girls. Some of the Howlers may have potential, too. Time will tell. :whistle:

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silvia

I could not agree more with that statement. Now, also like you said, there's still a chance that things could go full tilt Lohan at any moment, but I guarantee it would be preceded by a slow shift towards "self-focus" and away from the well-quoted "JOY" amendment...we have seen a lot of new Instagram accounts pop up... :naughty:

Are the Duggars peddlers of a religious movement propelled by a borderline sociopath? Yes. Does that automatically make them the worst people in the world? No. My interest in coming out of the lurking shadows on this website has everything to do with the need to criticize the harmful religious interpretations and actions of man, not criticize religion in general, as religion actually does have a positive and important place in the human experience, "believers" and "non-believers" alike.

Anyone who honestly and objectively reads the Bible cannot deny there is much wisdom in the words given, be they divinely inspired, or the words of wise elders. People that love to slam Levitical law for its absurd and "backwards" tenets fail to give it context. Why so many weird sex, shaving, and hygiene rules? Because people are dirty, and blood is a transport medium, and there are no hospitals or antibiotics. If a humble tribe of ex-slave nomads, constantly on the brink of extinction is to survive, you'd think there'd need to be some pretty strict rules? Yes. Now the woman-in-tent-during-period thing makes just a little speck more sense.

I use that extreme example to say this: whether you want to admit it or not, when people choose to truly live, commit honestly to the idea of a high power, who embodies omniscience and omnipresence, gives meaning to a sometimes meaningless existence, there IS great peace. When people believe wholeheartedly in redemption and reassurance for better things to come, it does have an amazing psychological effect. These people do become more focused, more immune, so to speak, to the typical pressures of the outside world. And believe it or not, being committed to a worthy cause outside oneself does help to alleviate (not cure, not prevent, not eliminate, mind you) the symptoms of self-obsession...the only REAL danger in this life change is whether or not the person committing is following the God and wisdom, or the messenger...cough, cough, GOTHARD, cough, cough.

The Duggars, even with all their faults and questionable choices, I fully believe will be die-hard Christian folk long after the cameras stop rolling. I don't doubt their sincere commitment to Jesus, one bit. And that kind of core stability--whether the benefit of faith in a true religion or just the best psychological coping mechanism of all--will help.

Some people are genuinely gifted with enough thoughtfulness and inherent goodness, they don't really need a moral babysitter (Mr. Practice). But many need an ethereal accountabilibuddy to keep sweet. To each his or her own. Whatever keeps you from becoming a Lohan Boo-Boo, I guess...

This is really interesting -- you've articulated a lot of what I was thinking better than I could. The other piece of it is that the Duggars are telling themselves that even the FAME thing is a sacrifice for a larger purpose: to inspire others to virtuous Christian lifestyles. So, I guess, in the process of exalting themselves, they're actually humbling themselves. Or something. ;) But the important thing is that they probably believe that in all sincerity, and that that belief might help sustain them when the demands of fame do start to get to them.

I completely agree that religious belief, truth value aside, has some HUGE psychological upsides--it's quite true that devoting our lives to a principle larger than ourselves, or a cause we genuinely believe in, is strongly correlated with robust mental health and life satisfaction. But then, with the Duggars, you also have the really damaging stuff, the psychological foot-binding: the constraining adult children's agency and decision-making power to an almost unfathomable degree, the ever-present threats of hellfire and damnation, the willful refusal to acknowledge the criminal behavior of the creepy cult leader.

So how can we reap the psychological benefits of religious belief while avoiding the very real pitfalls? Does the Duggar family serve, simultaneously, as a model to emulate and a cautionary tale?

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servants-heart

I agree with the bolded. I think that the children/kidults have been trained to keep sweet despite circumstances. Some have mastered this better than others (Jessa can't help but look smug; Jill goes a little extreme with her "happiness," as do Anna and Michelle; Jenny continues to defy all training). They have been trained to lack curiosity or ignore its stirrings, but they can obey better than the best service dog! I think a huge factor in their obedience is their extensive training, decimated curiosity, and sense of extreme righteousness about their way of life.

They are also FAR more insular and isolated than the other child actors/reality stars. It's much harder to act up or break out when you've never really seen what else is out there. The quality of their brainwashing is such that even when exposed to other ideas, they retreat back to what they have been assured is true (anyone remember Jana at the Creation Museum, noticing that evolution sounded rather believable? But then backtracking to more familiar ground).

I also think that the publicity and strength of the brand has kept some involved when they otherwise might have broken away. Jana and JD are the two best examples -- doing what they're supposed to, but only sort of. Devoted to their family, but not creating their own families/having eleventy kids. They have much more financial security now than they did as children, and staying nearby allows them to help ensure their siblings are taken care of.

Even if they do have doubts, they also have been told that literally everyone who doesn't believe as they do is on a path to hellfire and damnation. None of them truly have marketable skills, beyond perhaps manual labor for the boys or light office work for the girls. Their entire social network is other believers and the TLC crew. The married kids have some kind of funding/income, but they've also married into the cult and have partners who are believers. The unmarried kids/kidults likely don't have access to much money of their own. HOW would they ever break out? Who would they contact? Cousin Amy?

I think they are trapped by their fame. Leaving the cult would mean disobeying their parents, damaging the family brand, abandoning their siblings -- they've been trained not to do this. Fame has thus far mainly helped the family. I do think that we will eventually see the downfall of fame and the Duggars, but it will take awhile. They haven't been blanket training since the cameras started rolling, and it shows in the Lost Girls. Some of the Howlers may have potential, too. Time will tell. :whistle:

This is an excellent point and I think you're right. I'm sure the kids know that if anyone tried to break free, there would be severe consequences from Boob. They're really going to strike trouble when the youngest Howlers and Lost Girls hit the teenage years though because their 'training' does not seem like it was at the same level as the older kids. The girls are certainly allowed a very long leash, and I think Hannie, Jenny and Jordyn in particular may really start to question things as they get older.

I've been watching some of the older specials lately, and the Duggars have changed a lot since then. Their fame has opened the kids' eyes to the outside world, and their lifestyle has changed as a result. Watching the episode from around the time of 14 and 16 Kids, they definitely appeared as a cult. Now, IMO, they appear as your average fundie family, and their rules about dress sense, for example, are continuing to relax. I actually cannot wait to see who breaks free :D

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roddma

Josh and Anna obviously still toe the line enough to keep both sets of parents happy. The Kellers always seem glad to see them.I agree I believe the younger kids will be more of a challenge. You can tell the difference in the older kids from early specials and the middle kids on down.

Then some people do not have a rebellious nature though they may disagree with some things they were taught. So wearing a pink dress may be a gentle way of disagreeing. As far as pressures from fame, yea I agree it likely makes them think of consequences. But these kids arent actors. I think andthis may sound oxymoron best to be a Lindsay Lohan. They are old enough now to say the heck with tv, a choice the Duggar kids lack/lacked.

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SassyPants

I think the carrots that are dangled over their heads are the opportunities and material items that the TLC gig has provided the family. The older kids, those who are old enough to make that decision to walk away and choose a different life know what life was like pre-TLC and I doubt any of them want to go back to that sort of existence. With little education and skills, they are mostly stuck, IMO.

It's easy for those of us who have not grown up with their limitations + their Gothard training to understand, but it's risking family, eternal salvation and in a way, life itself.

The Dillards could probably walk away and be fine- certainly they would have to live a much less lavish lifestyle, but they could do it. Same with JD. The rest, I do no think so.

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BlackSheep

The Duggars are showing signs of becoming the next casualties of reality TV. The same faith that can help them to deal with the pressures of fame can also help them to get through life after reality TV. They're going to need that faith.

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lascuba

I think their faith has a lot to do with their apparent stability, sure...in the same way that divorce rates were lower back when women had neither the education, job skills, nor social support to make divorce a feasible option. In other words, yes, their religion has kept them from "imploding," but that's not actually a good thing. We know from several ex-fundies, Cynthia Jeub most recently, that even when things looked great, mentally and emotionally they were not well.

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grandmadugger
I think the carrots that are dangled over their heads are the opportunities and material items that the TLC gig has provided the family. The older kids, those who are old enough to make that decision to walk away and choose a different life know what life was like pre-TLC and I doubt any of them want to go back to that sort of existence. With little education and skills, they are mostly stuck, IMO.

It's easy for those of us who have not grown up with their limitations + their Gothard training to understand, but it's risking family, eternal salvation and in a way, life itself.

The Dillards could probably walk away and be fine- certainly they would have to live a much less lavish lifestyle, but they could do it. Same with JD. The rest, I do no think so.

How sad that there is only one child out of 19 that could actually support themselves? I agree JD could walk out tomorrow morning and do fine. The rest well......

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SayWhat

Yes the Duggar's belief system helps them cope with the pressures of fame.

I do see future problems with the fame & power bandwagon. I believe that not many people can handle public fame, money & power. Eventually there will be a conflict between family members, in laws, etc and someone will not tow the party line.

I firmly believe the second generation tow the party line right now because it is their lively hood.

All the Duggars could find work but could not live the life style they are used to.

The only Duggar children that I see earning a decent middle class wage right now are Derrick with his accounting job & education & possibly JD.

I have hopes for Joseph, at least he is enrolled in a "college". I always thought he would do well in the trades, eg electrician, plumber, carpenter, HVAC, oil industry etc.

I worry most about the Duggar woman when the fame comes to an end. I guess they could right a tell all book or documentary and earn some $.

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BlackSheep

The Duggar women are most at risk, especially if a husband becomes incapacitated or dies. Boob and J'chelle would have to take them in ... right?

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PracticeMakesProgress

You make many salient points, to which I would agree.

A quick question, do you have any problem at all dovetailing Gothardism and its tenets with the message that is being preached in most Christian churches? I was raised RC, attended Catholic schools from K- college degree and I have a hard time recognizing the Duggars as Christians when they seem to rely and focus so heavily on Gothard and his own commandments and rules.

Nope, I don't have a problem doing that. In reality, deciding to become atheist/agnostic is as tough of a decision as deciding to be a Christian IF you actually do what's asked of you. It is made very clear within the Bible and throughout history that when people follow men instead of "the Word," things go awry...oh, I don't know, the settlement of the Americas, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the slave trade, yadda yadda yadda. Many always directly blame the religion for these occurrences, but there has to be manipulation at the top for these atrocities to fly.

Religion and state (at least Christian religion and state) became entangled when Constantine converted and now it was cool (and required) to be Christian instead of feeding Christians to lions for sport. Good and bad. Good people weren't dying for their beliefs, bad that religion became suddenly incorporated. You give the "holiest" men such political and religious power? Right. That always works out. :roll:

And that's where I come back to my first statement. To live out biblical tenets actually takes an incredible amount of INDIVIDUAL commitment, learning, and interpretation. It would be great if every person with a sincere interest could find a well-balanced mentor, preacher, pastor, priest, etc., to help them in that journey, but many pick a given church, turn their brains on auto-pilot, and get their religion processed for them through a human medium. THIS IS DANGEROUS. ALWAYS. Because sometimes this medium just flat out gets it wrong.

I'll jump back to Levitical law because I guess I just love it as a talking point so much: Okay, so now we have antibiotics, hospitals, modern hygiene, an understanding of bacteria, viruses, and disease, and MOST importantly, Christians have the New Testament which fulfills much of the prophecy of the OT, but negates many of the obsessive, restrictive rules. Obviously, the 10 commandments are upheld throughout OT/NT times, and Jesus reinforces many other ideals that should be taken to heart. But all in all, the overarching theme is: "Love, Be good, Do good, Believe in Me." That's it. That's pretty much your guide. And sometimes, it's frustratingly vague.

Isn't it easier to just listen to a seemingly committed, charismatic, young "godly" man who, in person, gives you all these neat, clean, tangible rules so that you KNOW for sure you're getting into heaven? Not only that, he promises you won't have mental illness, weight problems, your children will be obedient AND love you? All you have to do is give money and go to Big Sandy twice a year? What a trade! ...Doesn't it seem easy for people to forsake the difficulties of individual exploration and growth for a guaranteed path? Yes, yes it does.

And here's where I'll wrap up mega-post number 2. The good news is, those that are genuinely committed to the God, and not the messenger, will eventually smell stink and take out the trash. As much as I believe Gothard should have been beaten with a sack of rocks, he was at least removed from his throne because he was flat out wrong, and that ATI/IBLP board recognized it, or damage-controlled it, whatever you want to name it. People leave churches and find new ones, leave churches and find new religion or no religion because the internal meter gets set off. I actually think this is where you'll see the J'kids go. Look at the clothes. Look at the howlers (I sincerely doubt young Josie has had one iota of blanket training, thank GOD). I believe they'll all remain some brand of Christianity because it's too central to their individual experience. But, I do think there's hope that they will see what other men have to say about it, or hey hey, they'll go directly to the source itself.

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silvia
I think the carrots that are dangled over their heads are the opportunities and material items that the TLC gig has provided the family. The older kids, those who are old enough to make that decision to walk away and choose a different life know what life was like pre-TLC and I doubt any of them want to go back to that sort of existence. With little education and skills, they are mostly stuck, IMO.

It's easy for those of us who have not grown up with their limitations + their Gothard training to understand, but it's risking family, eternal salvation and in a way, life itself.

The Dillards could probably walk away and be fine- certainly they would have to live a much less lavish lifestyle, but they could do it. Same with JD. The rest, I do no think so.

Definitely. And while it took someone like Cynthia Jeub a huge amount of courage to walk away from her dysfunctional family, I think walking away would be an even taller order for Duggar kids. Not only would those kids have to deal with scorn and rejection from their family and community, they'd probably have writers and tabloid photographers hounding them at every turn, as famous as they've gotten. So--especially for someone like Jana, who doesn't really like the spotlight--it's easy to see how NOT toeing the line would be hugely stressful, and the kids are probably willing to endure a certain amount of stiflement in order to avoid dealing with the fallout of rebelling or making a break. (Of course, at the same time, Jim Bob is using $$$ to keep the kids in line and reinforce the status quo.)

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DGayle

I think it's a combination of a few factors. First there's the reality that they'd be kicked out of the family for any major infraction. Don't think they wouldn't be! Minor infractions already get them sent to ALERT or JttH. They also are told that they're doing God's work, and anything they lose out on is likely praised as a worthy sacrifice.

In their world, where kids are supposed to be happy happy happy happy HAPPY 25/8/366, what looks like minor rebellion to us is huge to them. And we are seeing rebellion. It's just not the sort of sex, drugs, and rock and roll rebellion we think it as.

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Seven Severn

Do all of the Duggar offspring think that they are as worthless/unworthy as Jinger seems to think she is? I didn't see the episode, but the way people have described her breakdown at Jessa's rehearsal dinner it sounds like they may be so emotionally/spiritually beaten down that they just wouldn't be able to see themselves being functional adults outside of the immediate Duggar sphere. I don't think that pressure is deflected at all -- I think it's redirected in ways that aren't immediately visible to us and it's abusive.

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Blueruin

To comment on a post up thread:

I think it's been said of FJ that the Dillard's are attending cross church. This while small could be a sign of taking a more liberal approach to Christianity. I think as the children grow up and are exposed to different churches they might find the drive to leave to a more moderate one ( if the congregation is strong enough to fill the same kind of spiritual need).

I think the fame can only shelter them so long, and I think it's rather telling what events they do. You don't see them signing up to do readings at B&N in San Francisco, they stick to their own culture and really try to control their surroundings, I can't imagine the type of emotional prep JB&M must have to do to the littles before going over seas (so they aren't curious and are always on guard).

While it would be harder for one of the girls to leave on their own I think it will be a girl to leave first, as long as they can find a "headship' that takes them out of the situation. It would be a lot harder IMO as a male to leave the family.

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clueliss
Do all of the Duggar offspring think that they are as worthless/unworthy as Jinger seems to think she is? I didn't see the episode, but the way people have described her breakdown at Jessa's rehearsal dinner it sounds like they may be so emotionally/spiritually beaten down that they just wouldn't be able to see themselves being functional adults outside of the immediate Duggar sphere. I don't think that pressure is deflected at all -- I think it's redirected in ways that aren't immediately visible to us and it's abusive.

I do not think Jinger thinks she is worthless. I believe (thank you JTTH) that they are encouraged to be humble. But with the twisted belief system they have and the lack of parental leadership where it counts that Jinger (and in some areas you'll see Jana do something similar) do this because they think this is what being humble is about. (Humility/Humbleness being the apparent opposite of Pride which seems to be labeled a bad/sin in their world). So heaven forbid we take pride in what we do, we are supposed to be humble and it's coming off over the camera as I'm worthless.

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