What TLC’s Duggar Family and Charlie Manson’s The Family Have in Common

What TLC’s Duggar Family and Charlie Manson’s The Family Have in Common May 31, 2015

Photo from Wikipedia
Photo from Wikipedia

by Suzanne Titkemeyer

Lately I’ve taken to watching NBC’s new show “Aquarius” It’s set roughly in 1967-1968 time frame and deals with the Manson Family’s early years. Plus it’s a good solid cop procedural, and you know how I love a cop procedural show. The two lead cops are a straight-laced 1950s style cop named Hodiak and his younger hippie-esque counterpart Shafe. And yes, some of the stories are mixed up with law enforcement and the Manson Family.

It’s not 100% true, nor is it 100% fiction, which makes it even more intriguing to me. I was a kid during the Manson era and as a teenager became fascinated with the Manson Family, particularly in light of the era I lived in of sex, drugs and rock and roll. I could see how middle class kids from dysfunctional families could be caught up in the mystical bullshit constantly spewing from master-manipulator Charles Manson. Had I been the right age in the right place I can see where I might have been sucked in too.

The actor playing Manson, Gethin Anthony, on “Aquarius” played Renly Baratheon on “Game of Thrones” my favorite show and he somehow has managed to get the speech cadences and accents of Charlie down perfectly while being believably menacing at the same time. Of all the guys that have played the role of Charlie Manson in various productions Gethin manages to be much more believable than the others.

I admit, I’m getting sucked into this by NBC because they took the Netflix approach with this series, releasing every episode on Xfinity On Demand immediately after airing the first episode on their broadcast channel. I’ve been zipping through the episodes like an addict.

But, as I’m watching this I’m reminded anew that Bill Gothard, Jim Bob Duggar and Charles Manson all have something in common. They all are master manipulators leading apocalyptic cults. They all base their bullshit brainwashing on the Bible and they all twist what’s actually said in the Bible to suit their own agendas.

So, okay, perhaps I’ll give Jim Bob a pass, after all I have always gotten the vibe that he is following his wife Michelle’s lead. Plus he’s also under the headship of Bill “Grabby Hands” Gothard. He’s more a follower than a leader. A Tex Watson to Bill Gothard’s Charlie Manson.

Earlier in the year I read a book on Manson, one of the few that is a genuine scholarly attempt to look objectively at the life of Charlies Manson and what shaped him. The name of the book is “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson” by Jeff Guinn In the book Guinn points out that Manson spent many of his early years and teenage years attending a fundamentalist type church and took many of the methods to manipulate others straight from his years in the church. He learned his methods right from the pulpit, combined with early exposure to strange Biblical interpretations and the counter culture of the 1960s culminating into a strong manipulator that got others to do his dirty work.

So how was The Family like the Duggar family?

1 – Women solely exist for sexual pleasure and to take care of men.

2 – No birth control is allowed.

3 – Both are patriarchal groups

4 – Isolation of group from the outside world. A closed system.

5 – Indoctrination of followers to a belief system anyone outside of the group can see is harmful.

6 – Bible verses twisted to uniquely fit leader’s need to keep everyone obedient.

7 – Women kept unnaturally child-like.

8 – Biggest threat to followers to insure obedience is being cast out of the family group.

9 – Communal living with most possessions being shared.

10- Free thinking or questioning the leader is punishable.

11- Sublimation of ego required.

12- Group controlled by fear mongering by leader.

13- Women have no rights to their own bodies or personal autonomy.

14- “Us Versus The World” group thinking.

15- Women are required to have a joyful attitude all of the time.

16- No disobedience to the leader is allowed.

17- Women not allowed to say no to sex.

18- No protection against sexual abuse for the children of the group.

19- Molestation of children by family members.

20- No legitimate educational opportunities for children. Education is denigrated.

21- Natural home birth is upheld as the ultimate goal of motherhood.

22- Children are handed off to others in the group to raise instead of each mother raising their own children.

23- Women do all of the work of running the home.

I know I’ve missed a few, but these are the ones that jumped out at me this morning. Don’t believe me about the total control the patriarch exhibits? Just take a look at how Jim Bob Duggar deals with catching a son masturbating

Be sure to check out “Aquarius” and the NBC site for the show. There’s lots of interesting things at the site, like this blog about 1967. I’ve been loving the soundtrack as it’s the soundtrack of both that time frame and my childhood.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be appearing on Fox News to be interviewed by Megyn Kelly over their son’s sex crimes. It takes place Wednesday at 9 pm est. Feel pretty sure it’s going to be the biggest pile of bullshit since the last time Charlie Manson turned on the charm to seduce girls into joining The Family.


Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin of NLQ and also the wife of a man who had sense enough to recognize their church as a cult before dragging her out. She is a crazy old cat lady keeps busy with her grown children, her rescue animals, foster care animals and her love of all things art. Contrary to Fundy-Belief she’s usually smiling, laughing or smirking while swilling diet coke and dispensing sarcasm.


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