Happy hump day, y’all. I wasn’t planning to write about the Duggars again today, but I saw Katie Joy’s recent video about fallout in the Duggar Family over Jill Duggar’s book. You can read my review of Counting the Cost by clicking here. I wanted to add a few of my own thoughts about what allegedly went down in the Duggar compound regarding Jill’s “bombshell” book. But first, here’s a link to Katie Joy’s video, from her channel, Without a Crystal Ball.
Jim Bob Duggar has gone through quite a tough few years. Less than a decade ago, he was seemingly on top of the world, with a successful reality TV show and huge brood of camera ready children who were ripe for marriage and starting their own families. Yes, people criticized him, and his way of life. But he was making a lot of money on the show and the many rental properties it enabled him to buy, rent out, or fix up and sell.
Of course, it turned out Jim Bob’s seemingly squeaky clean Christian kingdom was built on a swamp full of the worst kinds of sins and lies. Once the stench from the swamp leaked out from under his Tinkertoy Mansion in Tontitown, the kingdom started to crumble. With every passing year since that day in May 2015, when the world learned about what Josh did in 2002, things seem to have gotten worse for Jim Bob. And now, if we’re to believe Katie Joy’s reporting– which I know some people don’t– it looks like Jim Bob is starting to panic. He’s allegedly resorting to threats and harassment to keep his massive family in line.
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think Jim Bob is much of a Christian. I say that, even as I admit that I’m also not much of a Christian. Everything I ever learned about Christ painted him as an endlessly kind, humane, loving, gentle, decent, and service oriented person. Jesus Christ was not the type of person who aspired to be rich, powerful, or in control of anyone. He preached goodness, service, and kindness. And everything I’ve seen and read about Jim Bob makes me think that when he does do anything for anyone, it comes with many strings attached. Most of the “Christian” behavior I see from him is very much about image. It’s all surface oriented stuff designed to deceive.
I don’t know how accurate Katie Joy’s comments are regarding Jim Bob’s reactions to Jill’s book. However, based on what Jill wrote in her book– and I do believe her— I have a feeling that Jim Bob has threatened his children. According to Katie Joy’s video, posted above, Jim Bob has told his children that if any of them comment about Jill’s book or support it, he will disinherit them. And since Jill’s book dropped, there have been a couple of videos put out by Jessa Seewald and Joy Anna Forsyth, seemingly to distract the public from their sister’s book. They address some of the things Jill claimed in the book, such as the ban on dancing, the focus on the IBLP, and Jim Bob’s hoarding of monetary resources.
In the most recent videos by Joy Anna, her daughter, Evelyn, is shown dancing with joy with her brother, Gideon. She also said that she and her husband, and their children, are out of the IBLP. I don’t know if they are or not, although the IBLP is more of a belief system than a specific church. I also notice that they use music that has a drum beat. This was something Jill stated that was not allowed in their house when they were growing up. I see she has her kids in swimming lessons, and the older boy, Gideon, is swimming in normal trunks rather than “Wholesome Wear”. I like Joy Anna. She has a beautiful family, and she’s always seemed pretty normal to me, as Duggars go.
The day before Jill’s book came out, Jessa and Ben announced their fifth child is on the way. I like Jessa, too… She also has a beautiful family. At the end of their most recent video, they are shown on vacation in Florida, as they leave their kids with Michelle for a few days. I see Jessa and Jana are wearing pants, and Jessa is on the beach, not wearing a regular bathing suit, but not wearing Wholesome Wear, as they famously did when the reality show was on television.
So all of this seems to be making it seem like the Duggars are more “normal” now, and Jill’s book was exaggerating how things were when they were growing up. Except there’s a literal video history of how the Duggars did things. Yes, it was well edited, scripted, and whitewashed, but it’s still out there. And we’ve seen how Jim Bob acted when Josh was in court. He actually had the audacity to try to tell the judge what to do when he was testifying. According to the link:
According to People, when Jim Bob was asked to read the police report, he called it “tabloid information” and said to Judge Timothy L. Brooks, “I’m not going to allow it, are you going to allow for that?”
Apparently, the judge didn’t take too kindly to that, because he replied, “If there is [an] objection to be made, someone will make it but it won’t be you.”
That’s just one relatively recent example of Jim Bob trying to be in charge when it wasn’t appropriate for him to try to be in charge. And it’s pretty common knowledge that it comes to his children and grandchildren, Jim Bob believes that he is the Grand Poobah of all things. The idea of disinheriting one’s adult children when they behave in a displeasing way is certainly nothing new. I used to read a lot of “exMormon lit” and I’ve followed the Recovery from Mormonism message board for many years. I’ve read countless stories of people disinheriting and/or disowning their children over their decisions to leave the religion or do something that isn’t pleasing to their parents. So it certainly is within the realm of possibility that Jim Bob has told his children they’d better stay in line, or he’ll cut them off financially and disown them.
In fact, Jill even brings this up in her book:
Yes, we allotted, at different times, amounts to our children, for tax purposes, because each one of our children were benefiting from having all of their needs met (food, clothing, shelter, utilities, music lessons, education, travel, instruments, vehicles, phones, medical insurance, medical bills, etc.). Here are some low numbers of what was approximately spent on Jill in the last few years:
Apartment rate rent $750 x 24 months=$18,000
Utilities discounted $600 x 36=$21,600
Midwife education $5,000
Honda Pilot $9,000
Furniture $5,000 (If you don’t want the furniture, we will buy it back after 4 years of use for $3,000.)
Cell phone @ $50 x 120 months=$6,000
Car insurance $50 per month x 8 years=$4,800
Vehicle fuel (8 years) x $50/month= $4,800
Eating out $100/month with family debit card for 8 years=$9,600
Clothes & Goodwill on family debit cards $1,000 per year x 8 years=$8,000
Eating at home $3 per day x 12 years=$13,140
Gift to Dillard Family Ministries $10,000 (You paid yourself a salary from this, stated there was only $1,200 left when you closed it out, so you must have eventually received it. You can refund this ministry gift, and we will give it to you directly if you want us to.)
$129,940 is just the beginning of Jill’s expenses paid by Duggar family over the last several years. Most of this was made and spent on Jill before you two were married. Also, taking into account many other ways that we have spent money to help you all, for example, installing the AC in your home to El Salvador, the stove, the washing machine, etc. The total on Jill’s tax returns was $130,250. We would be willing to write a check for $20,000 to settle this once and for all.
Jill, when Mom and I pass on, you are set to receive 1/19th of everything we own that is set up in a trust for you kids.
If you attack us, probably your inheritance will be lowered significantly.
I love you, but I am grieved by the disrespect and the accusations that continue.
I have asked for forgiveness, and I hope that you will also, you have deeply offended your mother and I.
We love you and forgive you for the things you have said & done.
$20,000 is a one-time offer, take it or leave it, please let me know by Monday night, or the amount will be zero.
Love, Daddy Duggar
Duggar, Jill. Counting the Cost (pp. 218-219). Gallery Books. Kindle Edition.
The above passage is regarding Jill’s and Derick’s questions about the $130,000 Jim Bob reported that they were paid for being the reality show. They never saw any of that money, but it was reported to the IRS. So Jim Bob justifies what he did by saying that he paid for things on Jill’s behalf… including things that he was responsible for paying, since she was a minor at the time. Then he threatens to disown her, claiming that she’s been disrespectful to him and has “deeply offended” him and Michelle. Never once is it mentioned that Jill presented Jim Bob with a bill for all of the chores she did, to include practically raising several of her siblings, helping to build Jim Bob and Michelle’s house, cooking and cleaning, and the actual labor of being on a reality TV show.
This was when Jill and Derick hired a lawyer to represent their interests. That’s when the shit hit the fan:
Pops went ballistic.
First, he hit the phone. There were texts and voicemails and calls every day, but in none of them did he give the answers we requested. Instead he was calling for us to get things resolved, to move on and work things out. We told him that we wanted to do that too, and that all he had to do was communicate through our attorney, with the information requested.
Then came the next wave, a consolidated effort from several of my siblings. They hit the phones, sending voicemails and texts all day long, each one pleading with us to get this resolved. When that didn’t work, some of my siblings started visiting. They’d want to spend hours talking it through, trying to figure out what our problem was and why we weren’t doing what Pops wanted. I felt obligated to at least hear them out and show them we cared by listening. I could just about cope with the daytime visits, but when they wanted to stay up until midnight talking with Derick and me, when Derick had law school exams the next day, we finally told them no.
“What? How come you won’t talk?” they’d say. “This is way more important than law school.”
Duggar, Jill. Counting the Cost (pp. 220-221). Gallery Books. Kindle Edition.
What I’d like to tell the Duggar children, though, is that no amount of money is worth your dignity and self-respect. Especially if you’re claiming to be a Christian and trying to influence other people to follow your example. Christ wasn’t about money at all.
Moreover, Jim Bob’s wealth is certainly not what it once was. The younger Duggars and their spouses are probably better off focusing on building their own wealth, rather than “counting on” (see what I did there?) inheriting a lot of money from “Daddy Duggar”. By the time he dies, there may not be much left. There are lots of legal bills to be paid, and not so many people are interested in hearing Ma and Pa Duggar speak anymore.
I think inheritances can be a real burden, anyway. I’m kind of glad I was born into a family where there isn’t a lot of money to go around. I’ve never felt like I had to live my life according to my parents’ wishes, at least not once I became an adult. Once I got married and established my own household, they mostly left me alone. Or, at least my mom did. I don’t have any expectation of inheriting anything, so I don’t feel burdened to try to kiss anyone’s ass. I’d much rather be free to do what I want to do with my life.
I guess the bigger deal, besides the money, is the prospect of being disowned. I realize that’s not an easy thing to ponder, either. My husband was temporarily disowned by one of his daughters, and has apparently been permanently disowned by his older daughter. As a result of their behaviors when Bill went to war in Iraq (in 2007), they are not currently named in our wills. When we eventually update the wills, younger daughter probably will inherit whatever we have. She has a relationship with us. Older daughter can inherit whatever Ex and #3 leave for her and her other siblings. But I don’t expect it to be a big deal anyway, because Bill and I don’t have a lot of money or property, and I don’t see that changing much.
Younger daughter has her own family and her own money. We don’t tell her how to live her life, and she doesn’t condemn us for her father’s divorce from her mother and his decision to leave Mormonism. She also understands that the divorce was absolutely necessary; I wasn’t the cause of it; and Bill never had any intention of being out of her life for so many years. The “disowning” was solely her mother’s idea. Jim Bob Duggar and Ex have a lot in common, actually… right down to controlling their children with threats, other family members, religion, and money. Trump is kind of the same way, too… I imagine the only reason Melania is still hanging around him is because she’s been threatened into compliance. This is a very common thing among narcissistic, hyper-controlling types. Once you’ve experienced it and escaped, it’s very easy to spot.
Bill and I can speak from vast personal experience that shitcanning toxic, controlling, narcissistic people is a pathway to peace and joy. We’ve been broke before, thanks to Ex. Eventually the broke time in our lives passed. She grows ever more pathetic, while we thrive and enjoy living lives on our own terms. It’s a beautiful thing!
What would happen if the Duggar adult kids en masse simply decided to REFUSE to comply? Would Jim Bob cut all of them off? Would he sue them all? What would that do to his image? I think Jim Bob needs his children much more than they need him. And while I certainly don’t cheer for family strife, I do applaud anyone who manages to break free from narcissistic abuse and control freakery and lives their lives on their own terms.
I’m sure Jim Bob is scared. He’s getting older and that kingdom he built is falling apart. A natural part of getting older is loss, and I sense that he fears losing… everything from money, influence, power, and even his own life or Michelle’s. So he’s trying hard to hang on to his power by threatening his children with disowning and disinheritance. It’s nasty, and not Christ-like behavior at all! So I am rooting for the children– at least the ones with a clue– to rebel and get out of that cult. Life is much better when you’re free to live it the way YOU want to live it. And that goes for anyone reading this.
/sermon is now over. 😀