Quoting Quiverfull: Bill Gothard’s Link To The Duggars

Quoting Quiverfull: Bill Gothard’s Link To The Duggars March 9, 2014

Looks like some of the media outlets are starting to put together the fact that ’19 Kids & Counting’ Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have been serious supporters of Bill Gothard and his IBLP and ATI programs and, to a lesser extent, Doug Phillips and Vision Forum.

Now it looks like the Duggars are busy distancing themselves from Gothard and Phillips. Links to Gothard and Vision Forum are now gone from the official Duggar family websites. These scandals could not have broken at a worse time for the Duggars as they have a new television season and the four eldest Duggar daughters are on the brink of publishing their first book, “Growing Up Duggar”.

Lest the Duggars manage to start fooling some of their viewing public into thinking they were never truly affiliated with either ministry we’re going to track and update media mentions of the links between these moral failures they once looked up to and themselves with snippets posted of each article. No whitewashing, denying or ‘forgetting’. The weeks to come are likely going to be filled with Duggars furiously back pedaling.

The Wire – Another Major ‘Biblical Patriarchy’ Organization is in Crisis Because of a Sex Scandal

And arguably the world’s biggest advocates for the conservative Quiverfull and homeschooling movements — the reality TV family the Duggars — are devotees of Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute seminars. Until recently, the Duggars’ official website called Gothard’s Embassy Institute (which he also founded) their “#1 recommended resource”for families (that page now displays as blank).

Radar Online – Duggar Family Mentor Sex Scandal: Bill Gothard Resigns

The man involved in the sex scandal who ran an organization that the Duggar family belonged to has resigned from his job after he was accused of sexually harassing more than 35 young women and teenagers.

Bill Gothard founded the Institutes for Basic Life Principles — a ministry which Jim Bob Duggar, wife Michelle, and their children had gathered on several occasions, sent a letter to families in the group telling them that he was departing, according to Religion News Service.

ATI is a homeschooling program in which Jinger Duggar quoted the organization’s theme song in the Duggar’s book The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

Washington Post – Conservative Leader Bill Gothard Resigns

Gothard’s ministry had been a popular gathering spot for thousands of Christian families, including the Duggar family from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute conferences were also popular among families within the Quiverfull movement, who eschew birth control and promote big families.

Stargasm – Are the Duggars in a Cult? IBLP’s Bill Gothard Accused of Sexually Abusing 35 Women

Despite the scandal, 19 Kids and Counting‘s Duggar family remains heavily involved with both organizations: Josh Duggar’s brother-in-law is the ATI administrative director. Jim Bob Duggar, Michelle Duggar and a handful of their children have given Embassy Institute lectures.

In the newly released memoir Growing Up Duggar, the four eldest daughters even promoted ATI and IBLP programs. They specifically spoke about the Journey to the Heart retreat — which begins at the IBLP headquarters in Illinois and takes the young women to the Northwoods Conference Center in Michigan where Recovering Grace says “most of the sexual misconduct occurred.” The Duggar girls now serve as retreat leaders.

According to sources, Josiah Duggar is currently at International ALERT Academy (IAA), which is a bootcamp-type training camp designed by Gothard.

United Bates of America‘s Bates family is even more involved as patriarch Gil Bates is on the IBLP Board of Directors. The Bates family also took time to celebrate Gothard’s birthday during daughter Erin Bates’ wedding last year.

Test Bill Gothard’s ATI or Doug Phillips Vision Forum or even the Duggars against The Cult Test.

Huffington Post – Bill Gothard, Conservative Leader, Placed On Leave Following Abuse Allegations

Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles was once a popular gathering spot for thousands of Christian families, including the Duggar family from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute conferences were also popular among devotees of the Quiverfull movement, who promote large families and eschew birth control.

Charisma News – Homeschooling Leader Bill Gothard Resigns Among Abuse Allegations

(Interestingly enough the Washington Post, Charisma News and Huffington Post have posted the exact same article. Who is the originator?) – Gothard’s ministry had been a popular gathering spot for thousands of Christian families, including the Duggar family from TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting.” Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute conferences were also popular among families within the Quiverfull movement, who eschew birth control and promote big families.

Jezebel – Conservative Leader With Ties to Duggar Family Faces Abuse Allegations

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are featured on the IBLP website, which credits one of the seminars as providing “direction for them as a couple:”

Jim Bob attended a Basic Seminar in 1980 and Michelle in 1985. They were married soon after and found the principles of the Basic Seminar gave practical direction for them as a couple. Together they began a family that is now known around the world through the TV series 19 Kids and Counting. They have already had an amazing two hundred episodes with an average viewing audience of 1.5 million. Being in the spotlight year after year has forced them to discover the secret to making God the head of their home. They will share practical ways about how to do this.

Gothard founded the Advanced Training Institute in 1984, which serves as a homeschooling training program based around the Sermon on the Mount. The Duggars are followers of Gothard’s ATI teachings; photos of the family at ATI seminars can be found on the family website here.

The allegations come at a time when IBLP is experiencing heavy financial losses as well:


Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • Carry

    They’re gonna be doing a book signing tour, if anyone is near any of the places they’ll be at, go there and ask about it. They can’t deny that they followed Gothardism, so…

  • Nea

    The same media that is keeping Gothard’s feet to the fire is going to keep the Duggars in a spotlight they don’t want. And I’ll admit to the schadenfreude; the Duggars *wanted* their beliefs in front of the secular world and now they *are,* warts and all. I wonder if anyone in that sheltered family — and by now Jim Bob is as sheltered as the rest, surrounded by TLC yes-men — will be able to roll with the landing as the tiger they’ve ridden turns on them…

  • Nea

    $5 says they’ll deny it all. After all, it’s not on their website *now* so it doesn’t count. It’ll all be Jim Bob just selectively wanting whatever Gothard ordered because ”it’s best for us.”

  • Trollface McGee

    They can delete it all they want – with modern technology it’s easy to find everything they’ve said in the past. I’m curious. One one hand, TLC has whitewashed the Duggars into this perfect, functional, debt-free family to keep up ratings which has made public perception much more positive than it should be. On the other hand, their show is losing popularity with them looking like they’re not going to be popping out #20, so perhaps they’ll get thrown under the bus.
    I, for one, hope they’re finally exposed for the extremists they are and the ideology they promote. I’m sick of the praise they get. The kids don’t go to real colleges, the girls don’t have real options for education and employment, the girls become teen parents far younger than most actual teen parents and the only reason they’re debt free is because they have a TV show and a talent for cheating the tax system.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    What an excellent idea Carry! The only flaw might be if they do a book signing like those done by President Carter, where you stand behind a velvet rope ten feet away and some flunky hands the book to the author for signing.

    Still it’s worth checking out. As long as they aren’t doing book signings in Wal Mart. I always have weird stuff happening to me in the Wal Mart.

  • Carry

    Thanks! 🙂 and yeah, I can see that happening. Also, would anyone be doing a review of this book like how some are reviewing the Pearls books? I’ve read little bits available online, and reviews on Amazon and it sounds like a pretty toxic book (with maybe little bits of good advice but totally surrounded by bullshit).

  • Edie Moore McGee

    I’m shredding as fast as I can!

  • Mel

    I’m curious where the money from the book that the four eldest girls wrote goes. Does the money go to them? I can’t imagine they’d get the money outright before they’re married. Would they get it as a dowry? What about money that comes in after they’ve married…and I’m assuming at least two of them get married in the next, say, three years since the whole courtship racket is about the only way to bring in more viewers.

  • tulips

    Looking forward to the inevitable “Very Special Duggar Back Peddle” episode.
    Mwa ha ha ha

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “…so perhaps they’ll get thrown under the bus…”

    If that happens, what do you want to bet that they’ll lambaste the “secular culture” for “turning on them”? Instead of remaining discreetly silent about their marquee figure’s misdeeds to avoid “scandal”– as IBLP did about Bill Gothard’s sexual predations.

    Re: “…a talent for cheating the tax system…”

    Don’t you mean “manipulating Reagan era tax loopholes intended to help the rich get richer to their advantage”? If they were actually cheating on their taxes… well, even Al Capone got taken done for income tax evasion.

    If Gothard actually instructed his disciples in ‘How to commit tax fraud for fun and profit’, wouldn’t that be a second scandal, if not even grounds for criminal charges against Gothard and ATI/IBLP?

  • yulaffin

    But the Internet is forever…

  • Independent Thinker

    The reviews on Amazon state the girls themselves did not write the book. The book is written by a ghost writer who interviewed the girls about their beliefs. (More likely than not with Jim Bob across the table). The ghost writer is surely getting a cut.

  • Nea

    Which they will have to be reminded of.

  • Trollface McGee

    I hope that they can have a claim to the money from the books and the show – even if a ghost writer was involved, their image is still used and of course, they are a part of the show. I can see it ending up in a lawsuit if some of them decide that this lifestyle isn’t for them.

  • Trollface McGee

    Of course they will blame the secular media – fundies never pass up a chance to cry persecution (in fact, there was a case where they staged persecution to have something to whine about.
    And yeah, I should have made it clearer – he’s good at legally gaming the tax system. The image they present is them being ethical and hardworking, not savvy at finding loopholes in the tax code.

  • Catherine

    Oh goodness, THIS. I’m sick of hearing about what a normal, healthy family the are, even from otherwise self-identified liberal Christians.

  • Nea

    Not to mention that they keep implying that Jim Bob’s dubious business dealings are enough to feed and clothe a family that size, when we all know they’d be halfway to destitute if he hadn’t sold the family to TV.

  • SinginDiva721

    I’d like to see someone like Libby Anne do a review like she is doing for the Pearl’s books. I know I saw someone doing a review of the Duggar’s other book, A Love that Multiplies. Wasn’t Libby Anne but I think it was someone here on the No Longer Quivering site. But I don’t think they have gotten past the first couple of chapters.
    I’d think about going to a book signing if they did one around where I live. But I’m sure it would draw all the fundie crowds out of the woodwork. Then again, that might be entertainment enough…

  • Bodhisvaha

    Delicious as it is to see another patriarchal Christian leader/institution fall to a sex scandal, I’m wondering about the Duggar girls. Were any of them victims? Will any of them look back on some event or series of events and realize that they brushed shoulders with an abuser or abusee, or that they enabled or covered up some kind of harassment or abuse? (If so, I hope it was out of innocence, the same way as I can understand now that favourite songs of mine from middle school are actually about stalking, misogyny, etc.)

    How would the girls (or boys, for that matter) react now, assuming that you could talk to them alone, somewhere safe? Especially if any of the possibilities above were the case? How is this going to change them? Would they come forward and say this is real; it happened to me or near me? Would they toe the party line? Or would they keep silent?

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    To be fair, President Carter (and any president really) had/has good cause to be 10 feet away from strangers and closely guarded during a book signing.

  • Anne

    I’m really curious what the Duggar girls think of this. I doubt the parents can hide this, and considering that they’ve participated in the camps he runs, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least a few of them start questioning. I mean, knowing that someone your all wise parents said was good and holy winding up being a sex abuser? Pretty rocking I’d imagine.

  • Anne

    Why would you want to put them in such an uncomfortable position though? It’s not their fault.

  • Mary Smithson

    Ahhhh, tainted by association. Of course, the Duggars are guilty of SOMETHING because they attended an institute where a leader has been accused of misconduct. The Duggars are guilty, guilty, guilty. Youtube Haters everywhere are rubbing their hands together and laughing maniacally, exclaiming, “Now, they are getting what they deserve those Do-Good Duggars with all their happy children.”