religion, videos, YouTube

A Christian diet cult crashes and burns…

Until last week, I had never heard of Gwen Shamblin Lara, or her husband, former Tarzan actor, Joe Lara. I didn’t know anything about their “church”, either– Remnant Fellowship— located in Brentwood, Tennessee. The couple came into my consciousness a few days ago, when news reports broke about how their 40 year old Cessna 501 airplane crashed into Percy Priest Lake in Smyrna, Tennessee, just east of Nashville. They had been headed for Palm Beach, Florida, home of many wealthy people and white Christians.

I didn’t initially pay much attention to the news about the crash. I had heard that Gwen Shamblin Lara’s ministry focused on breaking people out of addictions– particularly food addictions. I had noticed Gwen’s crazy high hair, and realized that she reminded me a bit of the late Jan Crouch, who famously had big pink hair and was seen on Trinity Broadcasting Network with her late husband, Paul. Those factors alone should have attracted me like a magnet to Gwen’s story. But I didn’t learn much about her until yesterday, when I caught Katie Joy’s videos about the Remnant Fellowship. I was pretty gobsmacked by them.

What’s with the hair?
Kudos to Katie Joy for dishing on this couple.

If you are interested in learning more about Gwen and Joe, I highly recommend watching Katie Joy’s videos from Without a Crystal Ball. I know a lot of people seem to have a problem with Katie Joy, but I think she did a good job covering this story. I watched and listened with some shock and disgust as I learned more about this couple, who claimed to be Christians, yet lived in extreme opulence and evidently promoted abuse and eating disordered behaviors.

In one clip Katie Joy provides, the skeletal looking Gwen is wearing a tank dress that is clearly at least a size too big for her. She stands with her hands in the air, the dress shifted to one side and the strap falling off her shoulder. Her voice is thick with a southern accent as she commends one mom for spanking her child. Another mom, Sonya Smith of Mableton, Georgia, followed Gwen’s advice to punish her son, locking him in his room with a Bible for days (starts at 8:20 in the second video). Gwen commends Sonya Smith for not “spoiling” her child.

In 2007, Sonya Smith, and her husband, Joseph, ultimately went on trial for the 2003 death of their eight year old son, Josef. In October 2003, Josef Smith passed out without ever regaining consciousness as the family had gathered in their kitchen to participate in a prayer session over the Internet. When Josef collapsed, father Joseph touched him, noting that the boy was “warm to the touch” but sweaty. He thought Josef was overheating, so he carried him outside to the carport and laid him down on the concrete. When that didn’t help cool off Josef, the family called 911 and Josef was brought into the dining room. Paramedics first encountered the child there; he wasn’t breathing and was without a pulse. They took him to a hospital, where he was determined brain dead. A day later, he was dead.

Medical examiners determined that Josef Smith had died having suffered extreme abuse from his parents. The police stated that the child was frequently locked in a closet and forced to pray to a picture of Jesus. His parents admitted to striking him with a glue stick, although they didn’t think the punishment was abusive. See the featured photo for an example of what a glue stick looks like. The ones in the photo are about a half inch in diameter and 12 inches long, but they come in different sizes and colors. Before I started learning more about fundie Christians, I had never heard of people spanking their kids with glue sticks. I always thought of them as being much smaller and in a plastic push up tube. Even the hot glue sticks I’ve seen were a lot shorter than the ones used by fundies to discipline their kids.

I always thought the “rod” was the gospel, not an actual rod…

Many devout Christians are particularly enamored of the Bible verse about sparing the rod and spoiling the child and take it very literally. I’m not sure if Gwen and Joe were fans of Michael and Debi Pearl’s controversial book, To Train Up A Child, but that book is infamous for its strong emphasis on corporal punishment for the purpose of “training children” to be obedient Christians. It goes as far as advising parents what implements they should use for spankings. It sounds to me like the Remnant Fellowship, which, like the LDS church, claims to be the “one true church”, might be in favor of the Pearls’ teachings about breaking children’s wills to turn them into good little Christian robots.

If you listen to Katie Joy’s video, at around 9:19, you hear Gwen Shamblin Lara preaching about not spoiling children and being sure to “spank” them to show love. But then you look at how she lived. She and her husband had a huge mansion decked out with gilded furniture, and they owned their own airplane… which ultimately led to their demise. And here she is telling her followers not to “spoil” their children, when she herself appears to be very pampered, living a lavish lifestyle on donations from her flock. Ultimately, her privileged lifestyle led to her early death, didn’t it? What a hypocrite!

Sonya and Joseph Smith became members of Gwen Shamblin Lara’s church in 2000. The Remnant Fellowship Church is an offshoot of Gwen’s “Weigh Down Workshop”, which is a diet program she started in 1996. The church is known for its focus on saving souls from Hell and reforming people with addictions to drugs, alcohol, and food. However, according to Katie Joy’s expose, this church’s methods are extremely controlling and abusive and many people have been harmed by it. The Smiths’ case led to authorities raiding and investigating the Remnant Fellowship Church in 2004; the church supported the Smiths in their legal fight.

As for the Smiths, according to Wikipedia, they were “each charged with four counts of murder, five counts of first-degree cruelty to children, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of false imprisonment.” On February 12, 2007, which would have been Josef’s 12th birthday, a jury found them guilty on eleven counts: “one count each of felony murder, reckless conduct, false imprisonment; three counts of aggravated assault, and four counts of cruelty to children (two specifically pertaining to glue sticks and others to unknown objects).” On March 27, 2007, Joseph and Sonya Smith were each sentenced to life plus thirty years– the maximum allowed by Georgia law. The case was appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court in 2010, but the original convictions and sentences were upheld. In February 2011, a petition was filed with the United States Supreme Court, asking the justices to review the decisions made by Georgia’s lower courts. The petition was denied.

I would not wish a plane crash on anyone. I’m sure the crash was horrific for everyone on board. Katie Joy said that the aircraft basically “broke” and there’s debris everywhere with no chance whatsoever of any survivors. However, after listening to Gwen Shamblin Lara speak and hearing about Josef Smith’s very sad case, I kind of feel relieved that Gwen will no longer be around to spread her particular brand of “the gospel”.

I’m sure the Remnant Fellowship won’t be going away, but at least now more people know about it and the potential dangers it poses to innocent people. It’s not hard to fall into abusive situations… whether they be abusive relationships with other people or abusive organizations like religious groups or cults. These systems thrive on attracting people who are weakened because they are in trouble. People with financial or health problems… people with low self-esteem or addictions… people who are desperately looking for a way out of a bad situation– these are all examples of folks who might be lured into joining falling into abuse. Sometimes, those situations lead to terrible tragedies involving innocent people like Josef Smith, or plane crashes that kill innocent people, like those who were onboard the private Cessna aircraft with Gwen and Joe.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post about culty churches, Shamblin Lara’s followers were required to close themselves off from other influences. They weren’t allowed to read anything not produced by Gwen or listen to music not made by Gwen’s son, Michael Shamblin. That raises some red flags, right? Gwen also says that her followers should not use antidepressants and they should disconnect from their families. More culty red flags!

For more information about this “cult” of starvation, check out Jen’s Fundie Fridays’ YouTube channel and its lengthy expose of Gwen Shamblin Lara’s “church” and weight loss program that combines religion with anorexic behaviors. This video below was made about a year ago. I wonder if Jan will do another video soon, now that Gwen and Joe are dancing with whatever they found in the great beyond after their plane crashed into Percy Priest Lake.

That hair on Gwen… wow. I like Jen’s style. She has a great sense of humor.

In the above video, I see clips from Gwen’s videos and they all depict her living the perfect, romanticized life, complete with music from Shrek (really?). All of the people are dressed to the nines and there are romantic gazebos and depictions of perfect family living… but that’s all it is. It’s just a facade– a highly staged, manipulated, fantastic facade– that sadly roped in enough followers for the Laras to be able to afford this very anti-Christlike church they promote. It’s obvious that Gwen was idolized by her followers, which is pretty much not what the Bible promotes, right? Idolatry is specifically forbidden, according to the Bible. See below, where it’s spelled out…

Yup… Idolatry is not Christian.

In yet another example of idol worship, Gwen Shamblin Lara even compared herself to Michael Jackson, claiming she was persecuted. But I think it’s fair to say that the criticism she got was warranted. People died following her… a child died! His parents are now in prison for the rest of their lives. She promoted pro-ana ideas, which are extremely dangerous, especially for people who already have tendencies to fall into eating disorders. And frankly, I think her hair was a crime against nature. So, while I don’t rejoice in the death of Gwen and Joe, I am glad that their toxic brand of “Christianity” has been dealt a serious blow. If the church continues, I hope it is run by people who are less dangerous and hypocritical… and culty.

Anyway… a week ago, I had never heard of Gwen Shamblin Lara. And now that I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, I’m glad I didn’t find her until she was dead. What a toxic load of shit her church is. I thought Teddi Mellencamp’s diet program was abusive and predatory. At least Teddi Mellencamp doesn’t marry dieting with religion. She just charges a lot of money to bully her customers into starving themselves down to a more “acceptable” size.

And she has more normal hair, too. Of course, her weight loss program is also pretty fucked up and dangerous.

In other news… I was successful in getting my second shot yesterday. So far, I feel okay. My arm is a bit sore and I’m a little tired, but otherwise, no sweat. Bill suffered a lot more from his second shot than I have so far. But I hesitate to celebrate too much, since I have heard that the side effects can come on within a day or two. I may be down for the count tomorrow or over the weekend. We shall see. I’m just glad it’s done.

Edited to add: Fundie Fridays posted a new video about a half hour ago (as of June 5, 2021 3:30pm Central European Summer Time)

Very newsy! This video is done by James instead of Jen.
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Duggars, true crime

Wonder if she’s eating her words yet…

I hope everyone had a good Mother’s Day. Mine was spent alone. I was not in a great mood, although it was better last night than it was Saturday night. Fortunately for all of my loved ones and friends, I was alone to enjoy my misery. Well, the dogs were with me, but they don’t mind when I get a bit crabby.

I spent way too much time watching YouTube videos in bed. I saw a bunch done by Katie Joy (Without a Crystal Ball), then took the time to find out why she’s so controversial. People complain that she shoots her mouth off about things, says “defamatory” things and has even been sued for defamation, and she supposedly rips off Reddit threads. All of those things may be true. I still think she’s kind of interesting, although now that I’ve see some of her work, I think I might find her interesting because of her speculation about the Duggar family. She watches them very closely and notices when things are “up”.

About a month ago, Katie Joy mentioned that the Duggars were acting “weird”. She had several theories as to why they were acting so strange. Think about it. Two sons got married in the span of just a few weeks– Justin Duggar married Claire Spivey and Jedidiah Duggar married Katey Nakatsu. Both weddings were, by Duggar standards, very private. By normal people’s standards, they were just kind of private. Katie Joy was able to live stream Jed’s wedding and report on it as it was happening. Naturally, People Magazine ran wedding announcements and photos. But this was still strange behavior by Duggar standards, and Katie Joy rightfully realized there was something rotten in Tonitown. However, I don’t think any of us had a clue about the seriousness of what was about to go down.

TLC cameras supposedly weren’t around to film the nuptials. That seems ominous to me, since even if they were thinking of canceling the show, one would think TLC would at least film these major events just in case they didn’t. Sounds like maybe a death knell is sounding for Counting On and the rest of the Duggar shows. I think Josh’s perversions have finally driven people to the point of lasting disgust.

Last night, as I was lying in bed about to fall asleep, I happened to see the below photo, which was shared to the Duggar Family News page…

I wonder if Elizabeth Davis is cringing yet.

Back in 2011, when Michelle had just miscarried the “doomed” 20th child, Jubilee Shalom, I kind of “lost” a longtime female friend over the Duggars. People on my Facebook page were discussing Michelle’s miscarriage and one guy, no longer a friend because several years later, he took issue when I later pointed out his misogynistic comments about Natalie Maines, cracked a tasteless quip about “19 kids and no longer counting.” My female friend– still technically a Facebook friend, but she no longer “talks” to me– got upset and shamed everyone for being insensitive to Michelle Duggar’s pain at losing a baby. This friend had publicly expressed that she “loved” and “admired” the Duggar family. Or, at least their public visage.

I was a bit annoyed by my friend’s shaming comments, and I wrote that I thought it was shitty that Michelle Duggar kept having babies, despite having so many young children who still so desperately needed her, and in spite of almost dying during her previous high drama pregnancy with Josie Duggar, who was born VERY prematurely. I thought it was very irresponsible and selfish for her to be having her 20th baby when she still had a medically fragile toddler (Josie) who needed her mother so much, in spite of all the sister-moms who were around to look after her. My “friend” deleted her comments. She didn’t unfriend me, but she doesn’t engage with me anymore.

Over the years, I’ve wondered if my old friend still “loves” the Duggar family so much that she’d ditch a longtime friend for them. Or maybe the Duggars were just an excuse. The truth is, she and I are very different, and we have rather divergent opinions about almost everything– especially politics. It’s a pity, though, because there was a time when we were good friends and had a lot of fun riding horses together.

So this morning, I woke up and checked Facebook. I was actually feeling okay, because Arran let me sleep until almost 5:00am. That’s a rare and beautiful thing, especially when Bill isn’t home. The first thing I saw was a now deleted comment that we should leave Josh alone because he’s getting “help”. Naturally, that comment caused a flood of indignant responses about what a piece of shit Josh is and how he deserves to be abused when he’s in prison. The person who made the inflammatory remark never came back to the discussion. Frankly, based on the deluge of angry and insulting comments she got, I can’t really blame her for not responding. I don’t agree with what she wrote– that Josh should be “left alone” and that he’s getting “help”– but I do think people should try to be more civilized when they interact on the Internet. Piling on someone and being rude isn’t a good way to get them to communicate. In fact, that’s a good way to squelch communication– and it’s hard to learn new things when people aren’t communicating.

Many people were saying Josh Duggar is scum of the earth and ought to be crucified. I understand the sentiment. However, I try to keep in mind that he still has a right to a fair trial. He hasn’t yet been proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Anyone in Josh’s situation, and anyone who presumably loves and depends on Josh (ie; his soon to be seven innocent children and his long suffering wife) would want for him to have a fair and impartial adjudication. You and I would certainly want a fair trial for ourselves and/or our loved ones. I can’t blame Josh for getting the best lawyers and experts he can afford to defend himself. I’m sure he will pursue every avenue. If I was in his shoes, I would do the same. On the other hand, I don’t have any plans to hang out on the Dark Web.

Moreover, while I definitely don’t think Josh is a good person at all, I also don’t think Josh is the worst person on the planet. I can think of quite a few people who are much, much worse by far. For instance, I think Larry Nassar is a lot worse than Josh is… although given more time, I think Josh could easily approach Larry’s grossness. Larry Nassar sexually abused hundreds of elite female athletes in the name of providing “medical treatment”. To my knowledge, Josh hasn’t yet approached the sheer volume of victims Nassar has. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t try if he had the opportunity, but he’s not there yet, as far as I know. Also, Josh hasn’t killed anyone, nor have I heard of anyone killing themselves because of Josh’s actions. Nassar, on the other hand, is partially responsible for at least one suicide… maybe even two, if you consider that his former sidekick, John Geddert, recently committed suicide as the law was closing in on him. He’s probably also not as repugnant as Jeffrey Epstein was… at least not yet. Maybe they’re cut from the same cloth. Jeez… as I sit here, I can think of a bunch of really awful men who used to be thought of as okay… Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, O.J. Simpson, Jared Fogle… the list goes on and on. And those people aren’t even mass murderers. If you think about it, Josh is in the company of a whole lot of reprehensible humans with penises.

Found in the files on Josh’s computer was a reportedly horrifying video called “Daisy’s Destruction”. I have not looked up this video, but I have heard people talking about it on YouTube. I also saw someone post the general specifics of what it’s about. Make no mistake about it. Based on the very limited knowledge I have of it, it’s definitely not something decent people want to be viewing. However, while I think anyone who enjoys watching such a video is totally vile, much viler still are the people who produced and distributed it. I don’t want to go into specifics of what’s in the video or the generalities of what it took to make it. Suffice to say that to make this video, some extremely horrible, inhumane, and heartbreaking things happened… things that are just unconscionable. Anyone who enjoys viewing that kind of material is, for sure, extremely sick and depraved. But I don’t think people who view the video are worse than the people who dreamed it up, made it for public consumption, and shamelessly raked in all of the money the sick and depraved are willing to pay for it. I think the people who make and sell this stuff are worse than the people who consume it.

I also disagree with people who think Josh should be abused or killed by other inmates. I certainly don’t condone what Josh has admitted to doing in the past, or what he’s allegedly done more recently. I wouldn’t blame other inmates for wanting to hurt or kill him, simply due to what’s been reported about him. However, it’s not the inmates’ place to exact justice on others. Ideally, people in prison should be focused on paying for their own crimes, rather than punishing others. Moreover, while I personally believe Josh Duggar is probably beyond rehabilitation and he clearly has issues with harming women and girls, I don’t know that for certain. All I know is what I’ve seen and read in the media, what I know from my formal studies, and what I know from personal experience. I suspect I’m right about him, but I don’t know him personally. I’ve only seen the whitewashed version of his life on TV and the more salacious items that have been in the news.

I have always believed Josh Duggar’s parents are, at least in part, to blame for the fact that he’s so fucked up. It’s pretty plain that Josh had problems way before he was an adult. The Duggars’ response was to tell him to repress his sexuality (but offering no real help), avoid all sin, and do hard labor. They did nothing to help the victims of Josh’s abuse, but instead pressured them to forgive and forget and sweep it all under the rug so Jim Bob could get rich and famous on reality TV. I heard them say they were looking to the Lord, but their actions didn’t match their words. That’s pretty far from Christlike behavior, even though I hear them “praising God and Jesus” all the time, and cringe when I hear Michelle’s highly irritating baby voice. Maybe Josh would have still been the person he is if his parents had done more to help him, but at least if they’d tried to get him real help as well as hold him (and him ALONE) accountable for what he did to his sisters and the babysitter, he might have had a chance to become a better person.

I want to share a few interesting TikTok videos I just watched. Someone calling herself “Lawyer Carrie” just brought up a point that I think a lot of people haven’t considered. I hadn’t considered it myself, mainly because it never occurred to me. Before this morning, I had never heard of “glitter bombing“. Check this out…

@carriejernigan1

Reply to @hoodiegirl1011 This is all speculative on what various defenses we could see at a trial #lawyer #duggar #joshduggar #duggartiktok

♬ original sound – ✨LAWYER CARRIE✨
Interesting… I don’t know if it will work, given Josh’s history, but it is definitely possible the defense lawyers will try this.
Glitter bombing? That’s a new one for me… and food for thought.
I have heard of the Dark Web, because Bill got a master’s degree in cybersecurity. It’s a world I don’t want to access, but it’s not illegal to be there.

Josh Duggar is a fraud and a massive hypocrite. He’s definitely got serious issues. Anyone who listens to him is liable to come away with the idea that Josh is a smarmy, fake, narcissistic creep, and that’s not even knowing what he did to his sisters and his alleged issues with receiving and possessing CP. That being said, he’s one person among an ever expanding group of really bad people. He’s probably not the worst of the worst… yet, anyway.

This video is a load of crap that hasn’t aged well. Wonder if the interviewer is eating his words yet.

That being said, I do think it’s possible that Josh told the truth when he said someone “sent” the videos to him. When the Feds came to talk to him, Josh allegedly asked if someone was downloading CP to his computer. It sounds like if he wasn’t himself accessing the images, it’s possible he was threatened by someone and that person carried out their threats. Some people are saying that the fact that he brought that up is damning, but personally, I think if he was really viewing CP, he would be more tight-lipped about it. I definitely think this is a theory that should be thoroughly investigated, if it hasn’t been already. However, I have also read that over 90% of federal charges lead to convictions. So, the chances of Josh getting off are probably pretty small. I do think he’ll get some time in prison.

Could it be the case for Josh? Maybe…

Lawyer Carrie on TikTok has pointed out that they only found three days worth of images on one computer. It does occur to me that if Josh was really addicted and a hard core user, he probably would have a lot more bad stuff– more than just three days’ worth–, and there would be evidence of heavier usage than what has been reported. I also think he certainly could be the type of person who would piss someone off on the Dark Web and they might try to get revenge by “glitter bombing” him. The Dark Web is not known for its fair and law abiding citizens. The very fact that Josh was hanging out there is shady enough. No, it’s not illegal to be on the Dark Web, but many of the people hanging out there are up to no good and a lot of crimes get their start there. It’s possible Josh screwed someone over financially and they got back at him by pinning him with CP. But, like I said… simply hanging around on the Dark Web is suspicious and shady enough. It’s not a place where law abiding people tend to hang out much.

The fact that Josh was on the Dark Web is definitely questionable, and makes me think he’s definitely guilty of something. But… as slimy and revolting as Josh is, I do think there is a chance that someone was getting revenge on him for some reason. That doesn’t mean I think he’s completely innocent, a good person, or that he should be completely exonerated. But I do think that because he’s never been convicted of a crime before, has access to expensive lawyers and computer experts, and there may be a motive for someone to fuck him over, he might not get the decades in prison that a lot of people are hoping he gets. And I wouldn’t blame him for taking his best shot at beating the charges.

I do wonder if any of the people who used to defend the Duggars are eating their words yet. But then, I don’t think they should be too hard on themselves. The Duggars have fooled a whole lot of decent people for years. I’m sure there’s a whole lot of stuff under the surface that could come out, now that the perfect Christian facade is slipping. I feel sorry for the innocent children who are associated with this ugliness… especially Josh’s children, who are probably going to be paying dearly for the rest of their lives for their father’s reputation.

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bad TV, Duggars, videos, YouTube

It’s Josh Duggar, not Josh DOO-gar…

Okay… since Bill is gone again, I’ve been filling my hours by watching lots of YouTube. As I’ve been watching, I’ve been shocked by how many people have been turning a buck by making live stream videos and shit. They clearly monetize their efforts, and judging by the sheer numbers of videos done about Josh Duggar, they must be making some bank. Which brings me to the title of today’s post…

I ran into this guy’s video this morning. I don’t know a thing about him, but I had to stop watching after hearing him mispronounce Josh’s last name three or four times within just a minute or two. At this point, I don’t know if Scott Reisch means to be taken seriously, or this is just a joke.

This guy, Scott Reisch, made this video called “Crime Talk Busy Docket Friday: How Much Trouble is Josh Duggar Really In?” to talk about Josh Duggar. But you can see Josh’s name is misspelled on the thumbnail above, and within just a few minutes of talking, Reisch keeps mispronouncing the Duggar name, saying “Doo-gar”, accent on the first syllable. I can see in the comments that some people find this mispronunciation funny. Personally, it makes me think Reisch is unprofessional and probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about. If he were a real journalist, he’d get the name right. If he were an expert in crime talk, he’d also get the name right… and well, it just grates to hear him fuck up a name that has been all over the news for over a week now, not to mention all over reality TV for years.

On the other hand, I’m glad to know there’s at least one person who doesn’t know the Duggars. Maybe there’s hope that Josh will get a fair trial, if it comes down to that (and it probably will). But if Scott Reisch doesn’t know Josh’s name, how can I expect he knows anything about the case or take him seriously? And why would I want to spend my time generating ad revenue listening to that, especially when hearing the mispronunciation is so annoying to a stickler like me?

I also discovered Emily D. Baker’s channel. Emily D. Baker, as you might know, does the Lawyer Reacts channel on YouTube, and she covers legal issues of all kinds. I kept seeing her videos suggested and, last night, finally decided to actually view one to hear what she had to say about Josh. I kind of liked Emily’s video, although it ran for over two hours. She was a prosecutor for some time and is still now a licensed attorney, although I get the sense that she isn’t practicing law right now. In any case, I found her a lot more professional than Scott Reisch, despite her liberal and unapologetic use of profanity. Actually, I kind of enjoy her use of profanity. She’s a woman after my own heart.

Emily D. Baker was present on the Zoom call and heard all of the gritty details of what kind of bad stuff was found on Josh’s computers.

Emily D. Baker was present on the Zoom call that served for Josh’s bail bonds hearing. She said it was a very lengthy session. I liked that Emily took the time to explain, rather emphatically, that even if we all hate what Josh Duggar has allegedly done and are sick of his smug, smarmy face, he does have Constitutional rights that must be protected. And so, although the requirements surrounding his release and continued time out of custody are very onerous, so far he has managed to arrange a situation that satisfies the court’s conditions. Because he’s been able to do that, he’s entitled to be out of jail for now, even though the prosecution is against it. We may not like it, and he may end up failing spectacularly, but his rights were preserved. That’s a good thing, since I’m sure Boob will do all he can to minimize Josh’s accountability in this matter. For some reason, he seems to think of Josh as “golden”.

I don’t know if I’ll keep watching Emily’s channel, although she does say it’s for “legal nerds”. I don’t know if I’d call myself a “legal nerd” per se, but I do find the law interesting. I wonder sometimes if I should have gone to law school… but then, if I had married Bill, I might still be in the situation I ultimately landed in, only with a lot more student loan debt. 😉 Frankly, at this point, I wish I’d just studied music. At least I really enjoy music, and I’m naturally good at it. If I was destined to be Bill’s wife, it would have landed me in the same place, and maybe I could have used those skills the way my mom used her organ playing skills for so many years.

And finally, I’ve gotten re-hooked on Without a Crystal Ball, which is “Katie Joy’s” Duggar focused channel. Katie Joy seems to be a rival of Pickles– of the Duggar Family News Facebook group and page. I’ve noticed some in Pickles’ group don’t seem to like Katie Joy, and Katie Joy herself has said on her channel that she knows Pickles doesn’t like her. I’m not sure why that is. It could be because they’re rivals. Maybe one or the other thinks she knows more about the true Duggar scoop and resents having competition. Personally, I think both enterprises have some value.

Katie Joy is good on camera. She almost always has pretty eye makeup and a good presence. I admire her for being good on video. I don’t like being on video myself, which is one reason why The Overeducated Housewife is a blog instead of a vlog. I get super self-conscious about my appearance, plus I hate putting on makeup unless I’m going somewhere. However, I do have a pretty good speaking voice… maybe someday I’ll try doing a podcast. Katie Joy does have a pronounced Midwestern accent. I heard her say that she lives in Minnesota, which is probably why she has such an accent. It cracks me up.

Katie Joy’s videos are pretty professional, a lot of the time. When she does live streams, sometimes, there’s a bit of dead air. But I am impressed by how together she is on camera, and her ability to do her eye makeup. She seems to have real sources, too.

I found Katie Joy some months ago, watched a few of her videos, but then moved on. Now that I’m stuck here alone for the next two weeks, I’ve fallen back down the rabbit hole. I don’t know why I’m so interested in the Duggars. I don’t watch their show anymore and haven’t in years… I guess it’s the whole fundie Christian narcissism bent that has me interested. Jim Bob Duggar is a MASSIVE control freak who has been selling the public on his brand of sick theocracy for years now. I’m sure he and his ilk would love to see the entire country living the way he does… with lots of guns, religion, and oppression of women. I probably should be disgusted enough by him not to pay him any mind, but I can’t help finding him fascinating… kind of in the same way I’ve found Ex fascinating for so long.

On another note, I’ve noticed a WHOLE LOT of people writing about the Duggars lately. I know they’re topical right now, but some of the stuff that’s being put out there is pure crap. Someone shared an article in the Duggar Family News group the other day. I had to quit reading it, though, because the reporter didn’t know the difference between “flouting” and “flaunting”. And y’all know that’s one of my *many* pet peeves. I guess the Duggars are bankable, though, if only through clicks and ad revenue. I personally don’t care if anyone reads the crap I post. This blog isn’t monetized.

What else have I been watching besides the “Doo-gars”? Well, I found a very interesting and entertaining channel called History Scope. The guy who makes these animated videos about world history is often funny and educational, and he picks topics that I am curious about. So I have watched a few of his videos and subscribed to his channel. So far, in the past week, I’ve learned more about the breakup of the Soviet Union, the reunification of Germany, the breakup of Yugoslavia, how alcohol was discovered, and why North and South Korea were divided into separate countries.

This was a particularly good video. I really enjoyed it.
This one is good, too.

I think I especially enjoyed the above two History Scope videos because I remember when both of these major historical events happened. I was still a teenager, and had been raised during the Cold War. Later, I lived in what was once part of the Soviet Union and is now the Republic of Armenia. And now, I live in reunified Germany and have actually visited what was once East Germany more than a couple of times. Bill even used to guard the border of what was once West Germany and Czechoslovakia, back in the beginning of his Army career in the late 80s. He was living in Bavaria when the wall came down. So yes, the German Reunification video is a winner for me. I’d love to know where the guy who makes these videos is from. He sounds like he might be from Eastern Europe, but I also see he’s done a bunch of videos about the Dutch. In any case, his accent charms me.

In other news… I undercooked a chicken yesterday. I was disappointed about that, since I used to be a really good cook. I also found myself watching Drink TV, which is a service I subscribed two a couple of years ago, but never used because we had an old Apple TV in our bedroom and couldn’t add apps to it. I have a newer Apple TV in our entertainment room, but that room lacks proper seating. So I ordered a new Apple TV and it got to us recently… and now, as you can see, I’m getting my money’s worth, watching videos. I probably should be power walking, trying to lose my beer gut and loosen up my sore, chronically stiff back.

Seriously… I am so fucking tired of these ridiculously long TDYs Bill keeps doing. I probably wouldn’t be so pissed about them if we had a chance to travel and he wasn’t working his ass off, but we’ve been locked down for six fucking months. I’m fucking over it. But in saying that, I know I have it a lot easier than others do… so there’s no need for anyone to send any toxic positivity my way. I can do that by myself.

I know I shouldn’t care about Josh Doo-gar or Josh Duggar… I know caring about them only adds to their “importance” in American pop culture. But I’m bored and, if I’m honest, a bit depressed. I figure watching videos about fundies is better than getting loaded or mingling with people who might pass along COVID-19 germs. In another month, I’ll get my second shot and maybe… just maybe… we can do something fun and/or interesting before I do something drastic. Right now, the high point of my day will probably be getting the new power supply for our lawnmower. Tragic.

Edited to add: New parts arrived and I switched them out with the old ones. I’m still getting the dreaded flashing blue light, which means there’s a fault loop signal issue on the robot mower. But I am not getting a message that there’s an issue on the display, and I notice the mower is now charging. Since it’s been plugged in for two weeks now, I would have expected there to be no need for charging, if the power supply wasn’t the issue. So I’ll let it charge for awhile and try again. Hopefully, that will do the trick and Bill won’t have to re-lay the boundary wire again in two fucking weeks when he’s home.

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Duggars, true crime

Josh Duggar is getting out of jail today…

I woke up this morning to the news that Josh Duggar will be temporarily released from jail today. Six days ago, Josh turned himself in, his wife Anna at his side, having been busted on federal charges for two counts of receiving and possessing images depicting child sexual abuse. Before I went to bed last night, I read an article that provided more details about Josh’s case. Federal agents found about 200 images on Josh’s computer, which was heavily rigged to deceive his wife, Anna. All of the images involved very young female children, some of whom were toddler aged. Despite all of that talk about the Duggars monitoring Internet usage and avoiding “wordly” things like pop music and television, Josh has developed some very sick obsessions that he’s accessed online. And despite his training at the School of the Dining Room Table, Josh is surprisingly tech savvy. He knows how to go to the dark, sleazy underworld on the Internet to satisfy his sick obsessions and perversions.

Frankly, as much as I dislike prison as a punishment, I think prison is exactly where Josh belongs. Prison should be reserved for people who are dangerous, and I think Josh has proven that he is VERY dangerous, especially to young children, the most vulnerable people in society.

Ugh… I can’t believe I watched the whole thing… Josh is truly disgusting.

According to a live stream video put out by Duggar expert, Katie Joy, who runs the Without a Crystal Ball YouTube channel, Josh’s computer had software on it called Covenant Eyes, which was supposed to send Anna information about the sites Josh was viewing on the Internet. But Josh also had his machine rigged with a TOR browser and a Linux system that allowed him to access the dark web, where there were no “eyes” on him. There, he was engaged in some very dark and shady activities that are about as far away from Christlike as a person can get.

People magazine reports that Josh will be released to “close family friends”, Lacount and Maria Reber. The Rebers say they don’t know Josh very well, but they are close to Josh’s parents, Jim Boob and Michelle, whom they know through church. The couple felt they should help the Duggars, even though Maria Reber says she’s only familiar with the charges against Josh and doesn’t know the details. Federal probation officer, Diem Nguyen, testified that Maria Reber had expressed concern that Josh would be released into her home, since her husband works full-time and she would be left for several hours alone with Josh during the daytime. For that reason, among others, Nguyen recommended against letting Josh out of jail.

The Rebers have a 22 year old daughter who gives piano lessons, but she will have to find another place to deliver her lessons. The Rebers also own firearms– big surprise– but no firearm safe. The judge did indicate that she wanted the weapons out the the Rebers’ home, since it would obviously not be a good thing if Josh decided to play with them while facing decades in prison.

Josh will have to be supervised 24/7. He’s not going to be allowed Internet access, must surrender his cell phone, and will be wearing a GPS monitor. Josh is not allowed to be around any children who aren’t his– and if he does see his own children, with whom he will be allowed unlimited contact, it can only be in the presence of his wife, Anna. He cannot see his minor brothers and sisters or his nieces or nephews.

I can’t help but remember Mark Salling, an actor who played Noah Puckerman on Glee. Salling was facing a prison sentence because, like Josh Duggar, he was in possession of images depicting child sexual abuse and had also been accused of sexual assault against an ex girlfriend, whom he sued for defamation of character. Salling was eventually forced to settle with his ex girlfriend, whom he was ordered to pay $2.7 million. When he was arrested in 2015, Salling was found to be in possession of over 50,000 illegal images. In 2017, Salling pleaded guilty to the charges and probably would have been sentenced to 4 to 7 years in prison. He also would have had to go to a treatment program and register as a sex offender. However, Salling never got sentenced because on January 30, 2018, Salling committed suicide by hanging himself.

While Josh Duggar is definitely not Mark Salling, there is a concern that he might try to commit suicide if he has access to weapons or any other means. Personally, I doubt Josh would ever try to commit suicide, mainly because I think he’s probably a sociopath. I suspect he thinks he will beat these charges, even though the evidence is extremely compelling and federal charges are notoriously difficult to refute. According to Katie Joy, who reportedly has many contacts within the Duggar family, Josh’s attitude during the bail hearing was surprisingly lighthearted. And the fact that he used the same easily guessed password for his regular accounts, such as banking, as he did for his porn sites, tells me that he’s unbelievably arrogant and never thought he’d be caught. And of course, he’s also a Christian, and a lot of Christians think they’re blessed and God is smiling on them… especially if they’re famous and wealthy, like Boob is.

I don’t know what life was actually like for Josh when he was growing up, but one thing I have observed is that Josh has always had access to his parents and their vast resources, even though his sex pest proclivities have caused significant issues for the Duggar empire. It’s because of Josh’s molestation scandal that 19 Kids and Counting was scandalized and canceled. Of course, that show was really just rebranded into one about the adult kids as Jim Boob continued to collect all the money on behalf of the adults… and I did notice, before I quit watching several years ago, that Boob and Michelle were becoming more and more visible on camera. But the point is, Josh hasn’t been shunned or excluded from the family circle.

Contrast that to what’s happened to his sister and one of his victims, Jill Duggar Dillard. Jill reportedly isn’t allowed to visit her family unless she has permission from Boob. She basically had to sue her father to get paid for her time on Counting On, and what she was paid basically amounted to minimum wage. When her sister (and fellow Josh victim), Jessa, went into labor with her latest baby, Ivy Jane, Jill had to ask permission to be able to go onto Boob’s property to help Jessa give birth. Jill and her husband, Derick, are definitely set apart from the family. Granted, I think part of it has been their (wise) choice– and they are now in charge of their own lives, which is how it should be. But the point is, Josh is definitely someone with deep and troubling issues. He’s been enabled, while his much healthier and less threatening sister, Jill, has been ostracized. And while Boob may find Jill a threat because she’s not living life according to Boob’s standards for women, it seems to me that if you really have the truth, it can’t be threatened because someone decides to wear pants, get a piercing, or seek therapy. If the Duggars had sought real help for Josh, back when he was a teenager, perhaps they would not be in the horrifying situation they’re in at this time.

I don’t understand the thinking of a lot of devout Christians, anyway. Or, at least the ones who profess to be Christians, yet vote for vile, disgusting, self-serving cretins like Donald Trump and revile people like Joe Biden. I’m not naive when it comes to politics. I know both of our major political parties in the United States are equally bad. But not all people are created equally in terms of their characters. For me, it’s pretty obvious that Donald Trump is a selfish, abusive, criminal. Any man who brazenly speaks about other people the way he does, with no shame or compunction whatsoever, is not someone who ever should have been allowed to lead– particularly the most powerful nation on the planet. By contrast, I see Joe Biden making decisions that clearly indicate that he cares about someone other than himself. It seems to me that Republicans who purport to be Christians are basically full of shit, and are only concerned with money and the appearance of being “blessed”, as well as keeping women under control. And the more I hear about the Duggars and the type of people who are their “friends”, the more I think that segment of society is corrupt and evil, despite all of their talk about emulating Jesus and worshiping God.

Well… we’ll see how well all of this works out for Josh and his family. I suspect that he may wind up back in the clink before too long. Even if he’s got the best intentions of being a model defendant, I suspect he’ll screw up before long. He can’t help himself, and he’s obviously very manipulative, dishonest, and sneaky. I really hope Anna wises up and finds herself a divorce attorney soon, before something truly tragic and irreversible happens. I know she was raised impoverished, in a cult. I know it seems like it would be impossible for her to break free of the Duggar trap. But I also know that there are many people who would help her in a heartbeat, if she would just reach out and ask.

Now to move on to cheerier subjects.

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