The Duggar Family

| 36 Comments

DuggarsLast evening, I was sucked into two hours of programming about the Duggar family. Jim Bob (nope, not kidding) and Michelle Duggar are an Arkansas couple in their late 30s who "decided to let God decide how many children they would have." So far, the count is 16--9 boys and 7 girls, ages 17 through newborn at the time the show was filmed. And they all have names that begin with a J. Seriously. Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, and Johannah Faith.

At first, I was watching the show because the logistics of life with 16 children fascinates me. I mean, how do you cook for 18 every day? What about clothes? How much does this whole enterprise cost? And that part of it was interesting. I kept watching, though, because I was both intrigued and aghast and what wasn't being said about the family.

The Duggars are fundamentalist Christians. This was clear from the program, if you were paying any attention (the girls all have long hair and wear long dresses, the children are home schooled, Michelle's speech is interjected with claims that this or that is a miracle, etc.), and any lingering doubts are cleared up by the family's website. However, the two hours of programs I watched never mentioned the family's faith explicitly, either as a reason for their having so many children and living their lives the way that they do (which it is) or in passing.

The Duggars write this on their website:

When we are out together we get questions like... "Is this a school group?", "Are they all yours?", "Are you Catholic or Mormon?", "Don't you know what causes this?" These questions give us many opportunities to share with others the hope that is in us, that children are a gift from God. We did not always view children as a gift. Michelle & I did not have any children for the first 4 years of marriage.

We chose to use the birth control pill. After our first child was born, Michelle started back on the pill, shortly after, she miscarried. We found that sometimes the birth control pill will allow you to conceive, but then cause a miscarriage.

We then realized we had the same heart attitude about children as those willfully choosing abortion (wanting to make our own plans, live our own lives, children could be a bother or interruption).

We searched the scriptures & found that God says, "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: & the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them" (Psalms 127:3-5).

They make it clear, when left to their own devices, that they have so many children because they believe that's the way God wants it--i.e. they believe birth control is wrong. They also make it clear that they are happy with the publicity their large family attracts, because it gives them the opportunity to prosthletize. Why, then, were the programs about them so devoid of clear references to their religious beliefs?

While watching the Duggars, I couldn't help but think of the DeBolt family. With a total of nineteen children, the majority of whom were adopted, and the majority of whom were also special needs, the logistics of the DeBolt household were even more impressive than the Duggar's. However, in the DeBolts case, their organization was fairly low on the list of things I found to admire about them while I watched their story. In the case of the Duggars, it was just about all I could come up with. Watching the Duggars gave me the creepy feeling of being trapped, as long-suffering Michelle gestated, birthed, fed, and raised one perfect blond Christian soldier after another, all under the watchful eye of her patriarchal politician (yep, that too) husband. Looking at the Duggar's pantry, stocked with more food than the general store in my hometown, I felt disgusted. Watching the construction on their new 7,000 square foot house (where there is still just one boys' bedroom and one girls'' bedroom) felt like watching a Wal-Mart go up.

The DeBolts adopted children from all over the world, many of whom had few other options save institutionalization. They opened their lives to these kids not because they were afraid their God would smite them otherwise, or because they were building an army of people to think just like them, but because they knew they were needed and that they could help. I suspect that there was some underlying Christianity in the DeBolt household as well, but it never forced girls to do girls' work while boys did boys'. Each child in the DeBolt household seemed clear in his or her role, not just as a member of the family, but also as an individual. The Duggar children, however, when asked about whether or not they felt their individuality was stifled, were hard-pressed to come up with something more than "some of us love pickles, some don't" to prove their senses of self.

Once I started poking around on the Internet, I saw that much has been written about the Duggars already. A lot of it is not very flattering, but makes a good point about the inherent selfishness in reproducing the way that the Duggars have, and the flawed Christian logic in their doing so. Much as I dislike the tone of some of these articles, as well as their focus on the kids and Michelle as the problem, rather than putting the blame with Jim Bob, where I'd bet it actually lies, I have to agree. What the Duggars have done isn't an example of Christianity the way I see it, no matter how they may be held up by Focus on the Family and the like as a beacon of hope. If the Duggars were truly in it for the good of the children, and of the world, and felt that they had infinite love and resources to give to kids, they would have done something much more like the DeBolts. If children are indeed the heritage of the Lord, that means all children, not just the ones in your own bloodline.

36 Comments

You say, "What the Duggars have done isn't an example of Christianity *the way I see it*..." (emphasis mine). With all due respect, who has given you the authority to sit in judgment over them? To be a Christian means to follow Christ...but nowhere in Scripture does it say it's according to your (or anyone else's) viewpoint. We're all left to puzzle out Scripture and live it (or not) according to our consciences. While I can never imagine having 17 children (natural OR adopted), I think the Duggar's should be commended for raising a family who seem to genuinely love and support each other. So what if the kids are home-schooled? At least they're getting a decent education and don't have to worry about the very real threat of knives and guns within the public school system. I'd say that's more than a fair exchange. Who cares if the kids wear long dresses and shirts buttoned to the throat? I'd take that any day over the ubiquitous belly-baring tops, g-string revealing pants, and thug-wear of today's teens. Finally, the kids are well-mannered, respectful and helpful. What parent wouldn't be thrilled at such success within their own families? Where's the "flaw" in this? Would our current society be so damaged!

The Duggars searched God's Word and His will concerning their lives. They came to a conclusion that not many these days would. They chose according to their consciences, which is their RIGHT. Before we throw stones at them for choosing what you or I wouldn't, let's take a step back and afford them a measure of grace that we expect and demand from others on our own behalf, but all too often don't extend. If the greatest sins these people have committed is staying together in marriage and raising a gaggle of good kids, well then I'm doomed.

I have a personal friend who is related to this family. They are using the system and it is not fair. TLC paid for the house that was built on the show and for the road trip that they all took. They receive state aid, benefits, and charity. If they cannot afford to pay for their kids why should they have 17 of them? I dont want to pay for a family that is selfishly having more kids than they can afford.

I'm not all that interested in getting into this debate (if you look at the dateline you'll see this is an old post, but I'm sure it came up on some sort of search, since the Duggars just had another baby). I pretty much said my piece in my original post. There are few things I really don't want to argue about, but God's will is sure as hell one of them.

Actually, any sort of notion that what the Duggars are doing as being non-Christian is the most ridiculous notion in the world. There is no one single example of how Christianity could/should show itself. And to denounce the Duggars for not adopting as opposed to having those children is asinine and completely incorrect. The ability to have that many children is a blessing- if it's welcomed, and it is something by the Duggars that is fully embraced. Those two factors combined fully support their Christian ideals and actions. Adopting children who either a. are in need of homes b. have special needs and need homes is just another form of Christianity. And as for Grace- I realize I'm coming into this post more than half a year after the last one, but it's very narrow minded to put up such a sensitive subject as to whether or not a person is truly Christian and then reject debate on it. Fair enough if you no longer wish to discuss it for the sake of the effort put forth, but at the same time anyone making platitudes against your opinion should also be embraced, if nothing else. That's quite the (unfair) judgment you placed on the Duggars. And you have seen nothing to the contrary to give case to your pity for Michelle and her 'patriarchal politician husband'. Perhaps most of the happiness is due to the fact that they are on television, but I am sure there is a huge element of truth to it. The genuine happiness in that family is one of the reasons why their story is so extraordinary. I think you, as well as others should recognize it as one of many facets of God's influence on the people of the earth and refrain from judgement because it truly is remarkable.

As a Catholic/Christian I'll say it: THESE PEOPLE ARE SELFISH!!!

This is disgusting. Their attitude is smug to say the least. Having kid after kid like this isin't doing God's will, it's publicity hunting, plain and simple. Even if mom and dad are monetarily rich, they cannot possibly be giving these kids the loving attention and care they need. How would you feel competing with 17 other siblings for attention?

I cannot think for even a second that these people have though through the long term consequences of their actions. Families of four are stretched and strained enough as is in modern society, how can a family of 18 possibly get these kids what they need to become citizens of the world. Their is no justification for what they are doing, and it is setting a horrible example.

When I their first program I admired them. I thought how wonderful to be so organized with such a large family. Then when the show was on again I realized how so much responsibility is heaped on the older children. These parents are very selfish. They just keep making babies and handing them off to the other children. Will these children ever realize their full potention, especially the girls? Childhood is very short and their childhood is being snatched away from very early. It think it is shameful.

Geezus.
I just wonder what the grand total will end up being! I do know this: statistically speaking, these folks are in for some problems. At least 2 of the kids will have drug addiction issues, 2 or 3 girls will get pregnant or end up in an abusive relationship, and 2 or 3 of the boys will be in trouble with the law. Not to mention the psychologcial issues likely to develop in some of these kids. Mark my words!!!

I am utterly in shock from these people. The world is overpopulated enough. We don't need MORE people being brought into this world when the planet and its current citizens are already in trouble. Usually the amount of children one has isn't anyone's business, but it becomes the world's business when they greedily hog resources with their sheer numbers.

I don't care how "well-behaved" these children are; they're brainwashed. It's like they're part of a small army. The children have no sense of individuality, and the parents only taught them to help each other because they couldn't possibly pay attention to all those children themselves. They will grow up never having a sense of what being a kid is. Having responsibilities is one thing, but living as a servant is another.

I am appalled at how selfish these people are. So shame on all of you people who think it's not in our right to judge them. They're screwing everyone else over with their close-minded interpretation of their religion.

I really feel that the Duggar family is an inspiration to me and should be to anyone else who witnesses their family and life. Although I may not desire to have as many children as they do, I would love for my family to have the same values and morals as theirs does. The people on this blog who are bashing what the Duggars are doing must really be unhappy with their lives because you do not even know their real lives to judge them so harshly like that. To say that the Duggars are being selfish by having so many children that are using resources and causing more waste, and how they should not have had those children because the world is already overpopulated, I feel is not accurate at all. For one, the Duggar family is using less resources than the modern-day family of 4. Currently our economy is in a total wreck due to the overspending and over consuming (and the total greed of this society) that the people of this world have done for many many years now that it is ridiculous. This family makes most of their clothes and what they cannot make they purchase at the the thrift stores. They even make their own soap from scratch. Hence, saving money. For two, as for overpopulating the world, this family is doing what God intended for all of us to do, and that is to procreate and populate the earth the right way. The right way is by being a loving-married couple and having God at the center of your life--not by getting knocked-up at age 14 and having 10 kids by the time you are 20 and being on welfare the rest of your life. I am not saying that people cannot make mistakes and end up pregnant and rely on welfare until they are able to get up on their feet again, but the key words are 'rely on welfare until they are able to get on their feet again', which most teenagers do not do. Would we rather have teenagers having baby after baby and having the government take care of the baby(ies), or would we rather have more loving, caring families, such as the Duggars, who want to have children and who are able to care for them and who are still married after 20 some odd years eventhough the divorce rate in this country with just one or two kids is 60% or more?!!! I would rather our society look more like the Duggar family. If our society looked more like their family, I don't believe we would have children without families, drug and alcohol addicted families, divorced parents, single-parent families, teenage mothers and parents, materialism, and greed and consumerism,as we do in this world today.

Duggers = Selfish, egocentric, Ignorant and unevolved. Not only is it horific, and in my opinion child abuse to have so many children, but a scourge upon the earth which as humans we are destroying by our unabashed disregard for the fragility of this beautiful planet which was a gift. We are here to be guardians and caretakers of the earth and everyday we corrupt it more by our unconcious and arrogant attitude of self entitlement. The Duggers supreme disregard for anyone's future but their own, is so offensive they should be in jail for what they cause by contributing so abominably to overpopulating this world..

I say shame on them, Like the judge told OJ, they are the epitiome of ignorance and arogance combined...and in my eyes no better than anyone who commits murder for they are murdering our planet.

What I am amazed with on this page is people actually calling this family selfish. I think they actually represent the antithesis of selfishness. Michelle Duggar devotes most of her days homeschooling her children which is a huge, selfless, task in itself. They invest so much time into their children, which is more than you could say for the majority of families in America. Michelle seems so giving and loving to me. I find her to be quite an inspiration. Its rare to see mothers like that in todays society. I think its selfish when both parents work full time(away from their kids) and rack up a bunch of credit card debt trying to selfishly buy expensive "stuff" they dont really need. The Duggars try to live within their means. They but things at thrift shops, not the Gap. I think they are a wonderful family. God bless them

Lovely piece, just wonderfully well thought and written.
Bravo!

They appear to be very loving parents. Howerver, if they needed no help why are the older kids "parenting" the younger kids? Take that responsibility away from the Duggars and there's no way they could do this between the two of the. Unfortunately, the older kids didn't ask to become parents.

Why is everyone so concerned about how this family lives? If you opened up your doors to a television show what would everyone say about you? Stop being so judgemental and just appreciate that this family obviously loves their children and want them to grow up to have a heart for God which by the way is what the bible tells us to do.
As far as the way they dress it also tells us in the bible that women should dress like ladies and dress in modest apparel. 1 Timothy 2:9 Don't be so judgemental towards them when all they are doing is raising their children the way God has in his word told us to.

I don't know about most of you, but the God I know is an awesome God. He is more likely to approve of what the Duggars are doing and how they are doing it, than he is to approve of those of you that are laughing and criticizing His preferred way of life for His Children.

God is the one that gave us all our senses of humor :-)
So I bet he's laughing at them, too!

I can't WAIT to see how f-d up these kids are later in life. Hopefully TLC will still be taking the same interest in them then as it does now so we can all watch :-)

As for laughing and criticizing, hell yes, we are LAUGHING! That's why they call television "entertainment" :-) This three-ring circus is funny as hell. As for God "approving" of us laughing, I bet He's laughing too. After all, He did create us in His own likeness, didn't He? Heeeee-heeeee!!

Wow. The ones who judge truly are incredibly ignorant. Its not a surprise that people will be so wrong about this family. I just saw an episode with baby 18s arrival. one of the older girls said she is fearfully and wonderfully made. Genuinely happy.. who could fake that. i observed one of the sisters making a lot of faces.. everyone has things they don't like.. but how do people think they could compare this family to the rest of the world and say the world is better?!? my goodness.. Someone mentioned their clothes.. that is one of the most shallow and absurd comment i have read so far. Talk about closed minded and materialistic. As for brain washing.. the world needs their brains to be washed! A good deep cleansing! Very few take consideration of the love in the family. just bc its not usual does not mean its phony. Its ridiculous the amount of criticism and judgement people place on this family instead of stepping back and realizing this is really not something to get so heated up over. All the sour individuals may be many.. just as so many are unhappy like that. I know i can't understand 18 children in one family.. but oh please people. You really want to wait for those kids to turn out messed up? you're sick. As for the ppl who are right on in your thoughts.. lets pray for this Dugger family. Of course they will face adversity in this wretched world. ...remembering that even in a small family ppl fall into all kinds of stuff.. such s resentment of being the middle child. Not to forget to mention divorce and how that messes up even "successful" people. God knows all i want to say and he knows everyone's heart. i feel bad for those who mock Him.

My concern is that the Duggar children never get the love & care that a newborn receives. Before they are walking, there is another one on the way, so the previous baby gets handed to one of the siblings. I think Mr. & Mrs. Duggar need to get seperate beds or get another hobby.

If they like to reproduce so much - give them up for adoption - there are so many women out there that can not conceive that truly wants a baby. What a blessing that would be.

My concern is that the Duggar children never receive the love and attention that a new baby receives. How can they, when there is another one on the way before the previous one is even walking. I think Mr. & Mrs. Duggar need to get seperate beds or get another hobby.

it doesn't matter how many children the duggers have, it's their household not mine.I'm just curious what michelle does for morning sickness. she has to have the ultimate remedy!!!! Ok michelle hand it over because im on my last leg with the bubble gut.

You are so wrong to judge the character of people by the clothes they wear and the cut of their hair! That is nothing short of shallow, self-centered behavior. I came from a big family and true love expands to fill the need. I helped care for younger siblings and today we are all in our 60's and 70's and remain as close and loving as ever. My mother never took me to dance class and ball practice, but if I fell and skinned my knee she was the first person to extend a hand and help me up.When you meet someone new, look at the love in their handshake before you check out the bushy quality of their eyebrows. I'm just so disappointed in some of the comments I have read at this site. I think this family is a warm and loving group and I, personally would like to get to know them.

The Duggars seem to be wonderful people. WHy is everyone judging them? We all could do something in our lives better. The Duggars have never said that their life is the way you should live, so why tell them how to live? The kids seem to be very happy. Im sure if TLC had sme dirt on them they wuld show it. Look what TLC has done with Jon and Kate. They they make a killing off their family mess. So if they culd make that kind of money off of the duggars they would, but they cant because there isnt any dirt show. They trust in the Lord and I am finding that it all comes down t that. if you trust the Lord then you like the Duggars if you dont trust the Lord then you dont like the Duggars.

I just met the Duggars in person and want to say that they were gracious and kind, their children were happy and having a blast traveling together, and I witnessed lots of joy, peace and love between them. The children do NOT act brainwashed. They are the opposite--bright eyed with open and curious faces, able to interact with you (i.e. me) without fear (or robotic stares as some would expect in this discussion)in any way. In their new book they state that they have zero debt(including NO mortgage or car payments) and purchase medical/dental insurance for their family. I don't understand where the people who say they are taking welfare are getting their information from. With all the broken families and tragic stories you hear about in this world, why should anyone spend time criticizing a loving family just because they themselves can't imagine (or understand) having that many children? These kids not only receive the love of their parents, but also benefit from the close relationships and love of their siblings. The responsibility of helping a child get dressed, teeth and hair brushed, etc. in the morning does not abuse a teenager! It is my understanding that Michelle is home with all of them and right there whenever a little one needs her. How does a newborn baby put in daycare at age 6 weeks for 8+ hours a day away from his/her mother and practically raised in daycare (almost all of the child's waking hours) by strangers who are paid to do it-- somehow not cause anyone to blink an eye---while a mom having her newborns/children with her all day long surrounded by loving family members results in harsh criticism? Think about it.

Well, I watching it right now and the Michelle and Jim Bob are nowhere in sight and all the girls of the family are running around crazed training to keep the boys in line. It is even saying that you should cover the body, "Men's eyes are a door to their hearts" what utter shit! If it where true then such horrible things would never happen, It' gross how that family is such innocent beliefs makes the women of that family weak and they will not know what to do with themselves! I bet you the girls will all end up in abusive relationships with 'Holy men'. People may think that's wonderful, but it is plain as day that older girls are taking care of the boys who I'm guessing gets away with a lot more then estranged women in that household! I'm only 16 and I experienced the abuse of a so called 'Bible fearin man' if they want that many children then they should really teach'em about the real world! Not about other things that will never effect them, God wont keep'em from getting hit or protect'em when they are fooled and raped!These children are on the road of self hurt and hurt from the world, they will not keep the bible so close when they are out on their own, I'll tell you now they wont. It's a sad thing to watch...

God may have given us free will, but he also gave most of us a brain. The Bible is all about understanding what God is trying to say to us to help us all live happy, healthy, spiritual lives. Unfortunately, the Duggars have interpreted the Bible in their own way, ignoring what the rest of the Christian world believes. They are leaving a massive footprint on our planet. If every married couple decided to have a dozen or more children, what shape would our planet be in? Worse than it already is. Has the Duggar family ever thought about what they are doing in the way I just asked. Likely not. It is obvious they are Christians, but the way this family is selfishly using up our resources, is wrong. Unfortunately, the damage is done. Lets hope their children someday see what they have done, and decide NOT to have children of their own. Or, God decides for them, (since that's what they think God does)and none of them are ever able to bear children.

really why are we blasting the duggars for having these children. there are certain ethnic groups here in the USA that have lots of kids and live off the system and I didn't see anyone here blasting this group of people!!! This is a FREE country and they can have 30 kids if they want. I will bet you they will have less problems with their kids that the other group of people whose kids end up in gangs shooting each other.

If they like to reproduce so much - give them up for adoption - there are so many women out there that can not conceive that truly wants a baby. What a blessing that would be.

Jean~
That is probably one of the cruelest things i have ever seen written. do you realize the statistics on abuse of adopted children? It is very high. Adoption is a failed attempt to remedy a bad situation. I know of many adoptive families and all but one is a very bad abusive situation, my own included.

TLC is going to put the scenes that they know will attract viewers. Hence, probably why you see no individual personal time with their children. I have seen a show where Michelle took one of the younger boys out to lunch and such for his birthday. However, they're not going to constantly show you stuff like that because that would eventually become boring to some viewers. Media is all about showing you what you'd be interested in seeing. Therefore, it's best to personally get to know someone before you judge them based on what you see on television or a magazine.

What an arrogant judgmental post.

The Duggers are a joy filled, Christ loving bunch. They got $$from TLC? Good for them.

Seems you could use some of their joy!

I've never heard of the DeBolt family. Thanks! I will look them up.

As for the Duggars, they jumped the shark several babies ago.

This family is brutal. Their kids have no minds of their own, all the guys are the same all the girls are the same. Im not gunna question their faith because it is strong. Im questioning their utopean ideals basically. They live like the perfect, brain washed and sheltered kids sorta thing and its just extremely unrealistic. God asked you too follow him and do his word. Not hop on his back and ride on it through life. These people are way too extreme and one off these kids needs to get a grip and see the real world. That fake, mushy, touchy-feely bullshit they do is creepy as all of their kids favorite song is Jesus loves me and their favorite poem is batter my heart three personed God, for you. I mean one of their kids reads 5 bible chapters a day. I could barely stand reading and church and this kids is reading 5 chapters of the bible. Ithis family is messed up and hopefully one of their kids will figure it out someday.

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