Thursday, January 19, 2023

Ex-Counting On star Jinger Duggar calls her upbringing ‘cultic’ and ‘harmful’

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Jinger Dugger shares her truth. the previous Count on star’s upcoming book, indeed become free describes her journey away from the ultra-conservative religion of her childhood and towards a different kind of faith. It was a process that began years ago when she first realized the harmful nature of her parents’ beliefs.

Jinger grew up on television alongside her 18 brothers and sisters, first on TLC 19 children and counting and then in the following series, Count on. Her parents, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, adopted a conservative Christian lifestyle based on the ideas of Bill Gothard and his Institute in Basic Life Principles. The children were homeschooled, girls were not allowed to wear trousers, dancing and listening to non-Christian music were forbidden.

Although the Duggars played the role of the perfect family on television, the reality was far from idyllic. Jinger’s older brother Josh sexually abused several of his siblings, it was later revealed. Meanwhile, the strict religious teachings led Jinger to believe that she was constantly falling short of God’s expectations of her.

“Fear was a big part of my childhood,” Jinger said in a recent interview with People. “I thought I only had to wear skirts and dresses to please God. Music with drums, places I’ve gone, or the wrong friendships can do harm.”

Even participating in healthy family activities made Jinger “terrified,” she shared. She worried that God wanted her to stay home and read the Bible instead.

Jinger said the IBLP teachings her parents followed were “based on fear and superstition.” This left her “crippled with fear” and “afraid of the outside world.” But as she grew up, she began to question the beliefs of her childhood.

The reality star – who married former professional footballer Jeremy Vuolo in 2016 – saw some people she knew walking away from the IBLP. She also began hearing disturbing stories about Gothard. (The religious leader has been accused of molesting multiple women, the Washington Post reported.)

“His teachings were so damaging and I see more of that in the lives of my friends and people who grew up with me in this community,” Jinger told People. “There are many cult-like tendencies.”

“The teaching I was raised under was harmful, it was harmful and there were lasting effects,” she said.

The former reality star ended up rejecting the IBLP beliefs she grew up under, though she didn’t completely reject Christianity. Now Jinger wants to distance herself from the principles her family championed Count on.

“I knew I needed to speak out about this publicly for spreading teachings that I now believe are harmful,” she told Publisher’s Weekly.

With her new book, Jinger hopes to help others who have had similar experiences with religion.

“I have written this book for each of you who would like to examine your faith without giving up on God. If you’ve been hurt by the teachings of Bill Gothard or any religious leader who claimed to speak for God but didn’t, I wrote this for you,” Jinger said in a YouTube video.

“When you grow up in a tight-knit community where everyone believes the same thing about everything, it can be difficult to even consider the possibility that what you were taught could have been wrong,” she added . “But we all have to, even if it’s difficult.”

Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Untangling Faith from Fear will be released on January 31, 2023. It is available for pre-order now.

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