The Stir has been coming out with some “interesting” reports on Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald’s wedding. According to writers for The Stir, Jessa and Ben’s decision to have their first kiss in private was made in the moment, and wasn’t something the Duggar parents knew of ahead of time (or were very happy with either), and also according to writers for The Stir, when Jinger went back to get Jessa at the conclusion of her private moment with Ben, the couple were caught in the middle having sex. The Stir gleefully declares it a “Duggar sex scandal.”
But here’s the thing: None of this is true. The Stir is getting this information from satire blogs it apparently thinks are true. You would think they would do a bit more investigating on the reliability of their sources before putting something like this out there as fact!
“Michelle was shaking her head,” Ashleigh, who writes the Christian blog My Life As a Stay At Home Wife and Mom, wrote in a November 3 post, describing the wedding. “My husband started to crack up, and I had to elbow him in the ribs. It was quite funny though. I wish you could have seen the looks on their faces.”
Then this blogger claims Jim Bob asked the producers to edit the footage so it looks like they’re pleased with the decision instead of shocked. (The wedding should air next year on 19 Kids & Counting.)
“Afterwards, I heard Jim Bob and someone from TLC talking about altering the storyline to make it look like Jim Bob and Michelle were in on it the whole time,” Ashleigh says. “It was a surprise to most of us that the children wished to be alone … However, it seemed to be most of all a shock to the bride’s parents.”
And here is the gist of The Stir’s second article:
Mary B. left a comment on the blog My Life as a Stay at Home Wife and Mom saying that what Jessa and Ben were doing in that private church room was the talk of the ceremony. According to her, Jinger Duggar went to retrieve the couple for the reception, and what she saw shocked her.
“Multiple people were discussing that when Jinger opened the door to get Jess for the reception, she immediately closed the door with a look of shock on her face,” Mary wrote. “A big group of the girls were waiting outside the room to walk with her out … and my own daughters saw as well.”
. . .
I am not sure why they would not wait for the evening to pray and then consummate God’s marriage. The Lord has blessed them and brought them together. To hear so many people discussing what they inadvertently walked into was heartbreaking and troubling … I believe Jessa and Ben are in deep lust with each other.
“In deep lust with each other”? This is not how these people talk. And besides, even if this did happen, it happened after they were married, which means that for the Duggars and their supporters this would fall into “funny story to tell the grandchildren” not “shock, horror, lust!” This quote should have been an obvious satire.
How do I know this blog, “My Life as a Stay At Home Wife and Mother,” is satire? The fact that the blog has no pictures and has a generic sounding name should be a tipoff. This isn’t how these people blog! But honestly, all you have to do is look at some other posts. So let’s look at some of what Ashleigh has posted.
There are posts like this:
The Devil is trying to pull us down! But we won’t let him win!
It started with that EVIL DOLL that kept making its way to my sweet boy Matthew.
Today, my heart is filled with sorrow. I left the girls at home while I went grocery shopping. When I came back, I saw a horrible sight. My children were playing with other children. Apparently there is a house right next door, and they have three children, around the same ages as my daughters. The problem is, I don’t know these children. Most likely, they go to public school and have ungodly influences in their lives. I simply can’t handle it. I scurried the girls back into the house. I told them they are to never go outside when I am not home ever again. I have been ignoring them all day. My heart is too heavy to deal with this.
My daughters do not go to Public School. There are horrible, Godless heathen children there and I do not want my babies around that. My daughters do not home school either. There is no need for them to learn social studies or English. Children learn from the world around them. One of my daughters taught herself how to read.
My daughters don’t need to be schooled because they will be keepers at home. They play with each other. They don’t go anywhere because they don’t need to. I would not be the least bit surpised if they didn’t know about the world outside our home… and that is the way I like it.
This is not how these people talk. It just isn’t. Even if they believe the neighbor children are a bad example, they don’t write about it like this. Even the baby doll thing—my parents didn’t have a problem with my little brothers playing with dolls, because “they’re going to be daddies too.” As for the schooling thing, even those bloggers who talk about the importance of girls becoming wives and mothers rather than having careers don’t go this far. This whole blog reads like a parody.
Remember that Ashleigh claims she and her husband and children were invited to the Duggar wedding. There is nothing on this blog to even suggest they know the Duggars, or that they would be on the Duggars’ radar, especially given Ashleigh’s claim that her daughters are so isolated that they probably don’t know that a world outside their home exists.
In case you’re still not sure whether this is a parody blog, consider the following.
In one post, Ashleigh links to another blog and then has this to say:
My dearest friend Elizabeth who lives in a tent behind my house with her young children has posted her catch up.
Lord willing, she will post more often.
So what of the other blog? Who is Elizabeth, and is that blog satire too? Well, yes.
In an earlier post, Ashleigh says this of Elizabeth:
Nataleigh’s intended Joshua has a mother who I have become quite fond of. And now, she has her own blog!
Her “intended”? Let’s read more:
Nataleigh is eight years old. Today, her father brought home a ten year old boy. He introduced Nataleigh to the boy, who’s name is Joshua. What a strong biblical name! My husband told me we are renting out our guest house to Joshua and his family because my husband intends on having Joshua and Nataleigh marry when Nataleigh turns 13. My baby girl is growing up so fast! She will be 13 in just five short years! Time flies…
And then there’s this:
My husband believes in raising an army for God. He wants us to raise our children to be Godly children. I want him to be happy. I was taught to submit to my husband. No, I don’t necessarily LIKE the idea of my daughter being married off at 13. But my husband knows best, because he was raised to be a Man Of God. I’m just a woman. What do I know besides babies and housekeeping?
I told Troy about the apparent laws against a 13 year old getting married. He said he would check into it. After a day or two passed, he said that we don’t want trouble with the law, and age of consent is 16. So Natty will wait eight years to marry. I am relieved. I’m not sure how Joshua’s family feels about it, but we shall pray for the best.
And then this on Elizabeth’s blog:
This has been very difficult for me to write about, Nataleigh’s father and Mark found out that the age of consent is 16, so we will have to wait another 3 years for the wedding. I’m so dissapointed, the wedding is in 8 years. Eight. That means that the soonest I will be a grandmother is in about 9 years. That is almost an entire decade.
I’m trying to look on the bright side but I am very disapointed.
Yes, I know there are some in this culture who encourage early marriage, but 13 would be shockingly early even for them. There is nothing about this exchange that reads as real. And again, even if they were real, these women, with their fetish for very very early marriage, would shock even the Duggars. That these bloggers are for real, and that Ashleigh was invited to the Duggar wedding, strains the imagination to the breaking point.
One of the tips actually came from the comments of Ashleigh’s blog, by an anonymous commenter who signed her comment “Mary B.” If you read back through Ashleigh’s blog, you will find that there are frequently anonymous commenters who are clearly in on the joke, posting comments as ridiculous as Ashleigh’s blog itself—praising her desire to marry Nataleigh off at 13, for example, and cautioning to watch Nataleigh closely because eight-year-olds frequently struggle with lust. And besides, as I already stated, Mary B.’s shock and claim that Ben and Jessa are “in deep lust with each other” is obvious satire.
Honestly, perhaps the most surprising thing here is that not one but two writers at The Stir were completely taken in by a blog and comments that are obvious satire to anyone who is the least bit informed. These writers apparently know too little about the Duggars’ culture to recognize obvious satire when they see it. And if they know so little, they really shouldn’t be reporting on this subject. Would you want a reporter who knows nothing about the rules of basketball reporting on a game? I don’t think so. And this, to be honest, is the problem I have with so much reporting on the Duggars. There is so little actual understanding of the Duggars’ culture that informed reporting is almost impossible to find.