The Duggar Family – What is Worthy of Criticism?

The Duggar Family – What is Worthy of Criticism? June 19, 2019

If you’ve noticed I try not to talk about the Duggar family much any longer. We don’t watch ‘Counting On’ on TLC, or the multitude of weddings and births. We don’t even comment on the tacky Instagram or Twitter posts, or the MLM clothing posts the sisters make. Mostly what things we try to discuss here are legitimate things, like Michelle Duggar promoting LGBTQ hatred in her robocalls. Or Josh’s various sexual crimes. The usage of the Pearls ‘Blanket training’ of the children. But today’s bashing I am seeing over Mary Duggar’s funeral leads me to wonder this: what is worthy of criticism in the Duggar’s world.

So what are people saying about Mary Duggar’s funeral? There seem to be two distinctly different camps in Duggar-ire. The first bunch of folks are outraged that scandal-ridden Josh Duggar was one of the speakers at the funeral and that he was one of the pall bearers carrying the casket.

The other group are upset that Jill Duggar Dillard took photos at the funeral, posted them online and posted descriptions with tacky little emojis illustrating everything.

I love how this British tabloid article describes Josh Duggar as a ‘Sex Pest’ even if he’s been behaving as far as we know for quite a while now.

Last week when family matriarch Mary Duggar tragically drown in her swimming pool various Duggars posts all sorts of things, from sweet to silly to downright tacky. This set the stage for the funeral ire.

Look, I get it! Jill Duggar Dillard’s posts seemed more like something posted by a 12 year old pre-teen popping her Bubble Yum and live Tweeting the funeral. You have to consider that she might be 28 years old,  but the fact that the Duggars infantilize their children is playing out in her tackier behaviors. Hate that, hate what her parents have done to her that creates all this silly stuff.

I have to say I am extremely puzzled by the people hating on Josh Duggar for being a pall bearer. This is his grandmother. It’s entirely understandable that he would be involved in the service. Having relations with adult film stars and cheating on one’s wife does not preclude one from grieving, or casket carrying. Again, be angry with the fact that his parents covered up his crimes, excused all of his bad behavior, not that he participated in a beloved relatives funeral.

There are plenty of real things to be upset about in the Duggar family. How they grieve is not one of them. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar deserve the scorn. They are the ones that enforced the toxic rules of Bill Gothard, covered Josh’s crimes up, reused to allow their children normal lives and development, beat their children, used their children for money and publicity and a million other things that make up the awful reality of Quiverfull.

While we stand against everything that Quiverfull involves, this hatred of the things many Southern families do, acting tacky at funerals, pall bearing, speaking, is not worthy of hate, or even concern. We save our fights at NLQ for real issues.

Oh, the tales I could tell of wacky family funerals I have attended in the Deep South.

 


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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 32 years. You can read more about the author here.
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Saraquill

    Was anyone bashing Mary herself? I don’t know enough about her to have much of an opinion. As far as I know she wasn’t QF and was a source of free labor for the household.

  • AFo

    I know TLC was filming at the funeral. Is it too much to hope that Jill posted the pictures as a sort of “f you for firing me, I’m stealing your thunder” thing?

  • Tawreos

    Jill Duggar Dillard’s posts seemed more like something posted by a 12 year old pre-teen popping her Bubble Yum and live Tweeting the funeral.

    It’s also the actions of a person that was raised in a family that looks like it was only able to make ends meet by whoring out their lives to the TV cameras. She may be just trying to make sure she keeps the fame money flowing, somehow.

  • SAO

    It’s worth pointing out that Jill’s career, and really, the only career she remotely has credentials for is media influencer and reality tv celebrity. There’s not really much advice or information out there about how to keep the eyeballs on you while not being too tacky. I’m not convinced that anyone has succeeded, at least not without being the kind of brand that has a brand manager managing the image, not the ‘celeb’ herself.

    When Jill falls out of the spotlight, she’ll be someone with no skills and a husband who doesn’t want to work for a living. So, if tacky posts keep her in the game, expect more of them.

  • GShelley

    I did notice that there is an ultrasound with the caption “just had our gender reveal ultrasound”
    Is that a thing? I’ve only ever heard people refer to the sex of the fetus, so is this just her way of saying “gender is just another word for sex, and you can tell gender from the genitals”, or could the hospital where the scan took plae have use the term “gender”?

  • Michael Neville

    That Josh was a pallbearer at a close relative’s funeral means nothing except to the family. There’s plenty of reasons to du‍mp on Josh, carrying Mary’s casket is not one of them.

  • Littleblueheathen

    The South can be a very tacky place at times and funerals just seem to exacerbate that. There is a small country community in South Alabama where, years ago, if there weren’t shots fired – like, AT someone (usually at the gravesite) it wasn’t a proper funeral. I think that sometimes, in their grief, people who haven’t had much “home training” as we call it, just lose their s#*t and act out. The Duggars failed miserably at home training when they substituted their brand of “training”, and this is the result.

    Editing to say, Josh being a pallbearer for his granny is nothing I’d put him down for. He has provided us with so many more awful things.

  • Littleblueheathen

    It would be a nice display of gumption on her part.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    You know that is always possible. I don’t buy the Jazz Jennings thing being entirely the reason TLC fired them either. There are piles of rumors about Derick and their suddenly leaving El Salvador that indicate something rather unsavory went down that TLC would not approve of.

  • paganheart

    I think the anger at Josh stems from the fact that he was never properly punished or received proper treatment (his faith-based “rehab” was basically a joke) for molesting at least four of his sisters and a family friend, to say nothing of repeatedly cheating on his wife. There are many who think he should be rotting in prison, or that at the very least he should be ostracized and not allowed at family events where there are young girls present, because they may not be safe around him. I am definitely in this category; if I had young daughters and a relative who was essentially an untreated sex offender like Josh, no way would I allow them anywhere near him.

    There also seems to be a persistent narrative in the gossip magazines that every time Josh makes an appearance at a wedding or other family event, it means JimBob is trying to get him back on TV. But it seems like TLC producers, to their credit, are not letting that happen…not yet anyway….

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I can see being concerned about him being around young family members, that is a legitimate concern.

  • Friend

    Gender reveal parties have been a thing for a few years. Simpler ones are sort of like a baby shower, announcing girl or boy by cutting through white frosting to reveal pink or blue cake. Calling these s3x reveal parties would sound a bit raunchy.

    People try to outdo one another in revealing the gender at the party. My personal favorite: “Border patrol agent’s gender reveal party ignited a 47,000-acre wildfire.” https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/02/us/az-off-duty-border-patrol-agent-wildfire/index.html

  • Aloha

    I thought it was a little scammy how they wanted to spiritualize the passing of this great woman of God … as if she had a dignified passing.

    Then you find out that she actually drowned in the swimming pool in a horrific and sad accident. It’s like they’re white-washing god’s error to let granny die so ignobly, and making it seem that she peacefully fell asleep in her bed.

  • GShelley

    I’ve heard of the parties, but never using that term for the actual ultrasound, but I suppose that could explain it. It just seemed so strange I was wondering if there were other explanations rather than an intentional “gender is just genitals”

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    That is something I find more worrisome, that and the fact that TLC filmed the damn funeral. That’s just tacky.

  • Jennifer

    Exactly, and I think some of the anger comes from the fact that he was presumably asked to speak and be a pall-bearer. It’s a reminder that he never seemed to receive proper push-back from his family for his crimes.

  • Jennifer

    I doubt she put much thought into the emojis. If her husband really doesn’t want to work, hope he gets his act together.

  • Mimc

    I agree much of the duggar bashing really misses the point. And Many of the Posts on free jinger These days are just gossip about babies and things. It reads like a fan site. I’m glad you focus on the real problems not just gossip.

  • Friend

    The TLC part is tacky, but people film and photograph funerals all the time. It’s a huge change in American culture over the past 20 years. People used to think of cameras at funerals as intruding on grief. Now they want to create a record, perhaps for themselves, perhaps someone who cannot attend, such as a frail elderly widow. Sometimes there’s a videographer, sometimes just a person with an iPhone.

  • Friend

    When a troubling person comes to a funeral, the family ought to protect the children, preferably beforehand, but also during and after. “You’re going to meet Aunt Mildred for the first time. I never told you this, but she stole a lot of money from Grandpa. That’s why we are not friends with her.” (The Duggars, of course, do not have a uniform history of protecting children.)

  • Mel

    On the flip side, I received a flyer when I scheduled Spawn’s 20-week ultrasound that explained that the main reason that the ultrasound was being done was to determine if the baby was developing well – not to determine gender.

    Even before Spawn showed up very, very early, I had a moment where I was amazed-horrified-befuddled that people lived such charmed lives that they weren’t worried at all that their kid was missing a major organ or had signs of a major developmental disaster.

    And even though the ultrasound tech wasn’t supposed to tell us anything about our son’s organs when I explained that I had a brother who died of a undiagnosed birth defect she let me know that his organs looked like what she’s seen in lots of normal babies before which was incredibly sweet.

  • Aloha

    I think if they were making a statement to replace liberal values with conservative ones, then they would have said,
    “Baby’s sex is determined.” For some reason, Conservatives don’t like the word “gender.”

  • Nea

    Weren’t Jill and Derick the ones who had to return a whole lot of money because their patrons thought they were donating to an actual mission while the couple just used it for private travel? TLC may bottom-feed but misappropriation of funds is a crime they can’t wallpaper over.

  • Saraquill

    Should I even get pregnant and get pushed into doing a gender reveal, I’m totally doing chocolate or rainbow sprinkles frosting. I don’t believe in pushing gender roles on someone who’s not even born yet.

  • Mimc

    Or the fact that his victims are being force one again to spend time with him. That’s not great either.

  • Friend

    Well, they don’t like the other word either…

  • Friend

    I just don’t get why gender is a big enough deal to rate a party, attendant with contrived novelty, competition, etc., etc. Just wait for the baby shower.

  • Mel

    Building on that, I think part of the issue is that Jill has never been allowed to grow into an adult woman. Girls in CP/QF society are allowed to mature to about one day short of being able to question their parents and two days short of admitting they are sexual beings.

    This enforced immatuirty comes across in a lot of ways – but one way is that she communicates much like a young teenager does with literal pictures to represent feelings and (often) over-usage of exclamation points to show emphasis.

  • SAO

    Evangelicals often go to South America to convert the heathens (aka Catholics) but I’d assume that the bulk of Americans consider Catholicism to be more mainstream than the church of JimBob. I think the original pitch was some medical work, but Jill’s training was inadequate, to say the least and I’ve long had the impression Derrick wants to be a TV preacher, not someone who actually works for a living.

    So, just trying to convert “heathens” might have been quite problematic for TLC.

  • Mel

    It’s also the sign of a culture that never really allows anyone to grow up. Men are encouraged to stay in a young teenage uber-masculine “look at me your leader” level of maturity while women are expected to stay a few months younger than that.

    Really, JB and Michelle’s handling of Josh’s multiple molestations only makes sense if they have the capacity of young teenagers. They don’t protect their daughters. They don’t get help for their son. They kind of punished Josh – but they didn’t really even follow through on that. It’s seriously like what you would get from a passel of preteens rather than adults (let alone adults of multiple children.)

  • Polytropos

    Agreed. It’s not a crime to be tacky, and focusing on superficial ad hominem stuff can actually obscure the real problems with the Duggars’ ideology. Having said that though, I do hope there are people out there watching Jill’s behavior and realizing that this is the end product of Quiverfull ideology: a woman of 28 who has the emotional maturity and social graces of a 12 year old.

  • persephone

    She’s been taught to ignore her feelings, so she has no way to deal with something this big. The immaturity just adds to it. They’ve been taught all their lives to smile, no matter what.

  • Delta

    Their handling of Josh’s crimes also makes sense if you consider the fact that they follow/followed Bill Gothard’s ATI/IBLP, whose teachings on sexual abuse are beyond reprehensible.

    As for why they thought Gothard had any good ideas in the first place, maybe you’re right.

  • Delta

    I think she doesn’t want to say the word “sex.”

  • Delta

    Probably to know which set of color-coded gifts to buy when the child is born.

  • paganheart

    Maybe Jill and Derrick did have some legitimate interest in mission work; maybe JimBob was just trying to throw them a proverbial bone to keep Jill from breaking rank after Josh’s molestation scandal. But to me, the whole thing smacked of a plot trope common in many “Reality” TV shows: “Let’s take our subjects out of their usual environment and put them in some strange and exotic locale, and film how they behave.” (Spoiler Alert: They behave very badly, most of the time.) It didn’t go as planned, obviously, once Jill and Derrick started begging for money online to support their “mission work,” and many legitimate mission groups rightly criticized them for not having any of the training and education required of modern missionaries. Others questioned why Derrick and Jill weren’t working on behalf of a church or religious charity or NGO. It would not surprise me at all if their “mission work” was little more than a glorified vacation, a TV show plot, an excuse to beg for money, or all the above. TLC probably had a big hand in it, and pulled the plug when things went sideways.

  • Friend

    People buy baby gifts after baby is born all the time. That way you know for sure what is appropriate (size, medical considerations, etc.)

    Baby showers are held just a couple of weeks before the due date. The organizers of baby showers can easily tell guests whether a girl or boy is expected.

    Somehow people have been managing to decorate nurseries and get pink or blue things without gender reveal parties. If they are small and simple, fine—no more unnecessary than any other gathering. But the competition…

  • Jennifer

    Would they have to have roles automatically because they’re a boy or girl?

  • Jennifer

    Yes, that site really went south. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been helpful with info in the past, but it’s definitely gone the way of a gossip site now. There was actually a poll about which Botkin sister was more attractive, and they also trashed a friend of mine and her daughter who used to be VF supporters.

  • Mimc

    Wow that’s a weird poll for a sure that explicating claims not to be a fan site. I found most of the read posts to read more like fan posts. Speculating as to the next birth or wedding.

  • Mimc

    Lol Just hopped over there to see if anything has changed and one of the pinned threads of titled THIS IS NOT DUGGAR FAN SITE. Lol I can see where that would be harder to mod on a forum than a blog.

  • SAO

    To do work on behalf of an NGO, you have to have some useful skills and you should be supervised. Jill and Derrick, between them, have very few skills. If you go on behalf of a church to ‘win souls,’ you generally have to belong to the church. Or at least not think you know more about doctrine than more senior people in the church organization.

    The sad thing is that I doubt either of them understood how totally useless they are.

  • Mel

    I do buy the Jazz Jennings thing – entertainment has always has an unspoken rule that you can’t take swipes at people who are employed by the same studio unless your beef brings in more cash for both – but I’ve always wondered if Sam’s birth had something to do with it, too. Derick had a tweetstorm two years back when he blabbed all the dirt about the fact TLC was paying the senior Duggars and not the second generation. During that storm, he made some comment about TLC having filmed the birth of his son, having a huge medical bill and not getting paid. I’ve always assumed that he was talking about Izzy’s birth which had an unplanned hospital birth w/C-section which would have hit them hard even with a 60-90% discount negotiated for being uninsured.

    But he could also have been talking about Sam’s birth which has been wrapped in mystery but we know involved a 40 hour trial labor for a HBAC (my guess) or a 40 hour trial of labor under an OB for a VBAC (I can’t rule that out…but that’s a crazy long labor on a scar especially since Jill’s never had a previous vaginal birth) which lead to another C-section and a compromised infant who needed two weeks in the NICU (per Derick and careful analysis of the pics that the Dillards released) and and came home on a nasal cannula (based on Jana’s Instagram). That’s a huge financial hit – and that’s assuming that the C-section was uncomplicated on Jill’s end. Uterine ruptures with bleeding can get expensive quick if it turns into a uterine repair, needs blood transfusions or becomes the dreaded c-section hysterectomy which is a scary procedure for OB/GYNs since the uterine blood supply is pumped up since pregnancy……

  • Delta

    It reminds me of how the “Christmas season” keeps starting earlier and earlier in the year.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I am wondering if she didn’t end up with a hysterectomy. It would explain a lot of things, like being dropped by TLC. No more babies, no more use on the show.

  • Saraquill

    There’d be the “right” clothes, toys, decour, etc foisted upon the child.

  • tatortotcassie

    TLC filmed the funerals for Grandpa (Mary’s husband) and JB&Michelle’s stillborn child (Jubilee?) It doesn’t make it any less tacky but it does show consistent tackiness.

  • Astrin Ymris

    The pall bearer seems reasonable– because as Suzanne says, the fact that he’s a sexual predator doesn’t mean he can’t grieve– but having him speak at the funeral seems over the line. It implies that he’s still considered someone with moral credibility. Let Jana do the speaking instead.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I wonder if religious cults– and ATI/NIFB– are cults under the BITE model– are uniquely appealing to emotionally immature people who have no idea how to adult, and are scared of trying? The cult leader tells them what to do and how, and all they have to do is run in the traces, and trust that God– AKA White Privilege– will take care of everything for them.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Gender has until very recently been a synonym for sex. I’m slightly annoyed, because no one’s offered a new term to take its place. Since sex is also used for having sex, we really need such a synonym. Just sayin’.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Huh? I know some people don’t want to know beforehand, but I’ve never heard of a medical facility refused to reveal gender as a matter of policy.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I don’t either when we’re talking of babies and small children. I support trans rights, but I don’t want to give up a useful word.

  • Delta

    Words can have multiple meanings, and that’s okay. However, you have a point; there’s a few reasons the trans community moved away from calling ourselves “transsexual” and switched to “transgender” instead, and I think that’s one of them.

    That said, I have a question. If you think it would be inappropriate to refer to the “sex” of a child (or in this case, a fetus), why would using a different word for it be more appropriate? For most babies, whether M or F is written on their birth certificate is based on their genitalia. Why is that fine, but only if you don’t use a certain word for it?

    (Also, as a general rule — if you have to preface your statement with “I support [minority group], but…” you might want to rethink that statement.)

  • Mel

    They let you know the gender if you want to know – but they point out that finding the gender is not a major objective in a 20-week scan and failure to find out the gender is not reason enough to schedule another scan.

    As I remember Spawn’s 20 week scan (which was actually near the beginning of week 21), he was in a great position to check his heart right off the bat so they did that first and then we found out that he was a boy. Since Spawn’s often a very agreeable child, he was positioned very well to tell that he was a little boy, not a little girl.