The religious sect, which was founded in 1961 by Bill Gothard, is one of the major areas of focus in the Prime Video docu-series, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, which premiered on the streamer on Friday, June 2. The cultish community enforces male superiority and female obedience, Bible-led home-schooling, and forbids birth control usage. Cabbage Patch Kids are a no-no, as is television—particularly Disney—and even winking.
The IBLP describes itself as "a non-denominational Christian organization with a focus on affirming God’s Word and its principles which are vital to one’s daily walk with Christ." Jill Duggar Dillard, who appears in Shiny Happy People and grew up in the faith, has a different perspective.
"IBLP teachings aren't Christianity. They're something entirely different," she said in the documentary.
Which Duggars left IBLP?
Even if you have yet to see Shiny Happy People, you're likely aware that the belief system has caused a rift between the Duggar matriarch and patriarch and several of their children. Some have chosen to step away from the church, including:
1. Jill Duggar Dillard
Jill and her husband Ben Dillard are the only members of the immediate family, aside from cousins, to appear in the controversial Prime Video documentary. Their involvement further confirmed where Jill stands with her parents.
“There’s been some distancing there. We’re not on the best terms with some of the family," Derick said in the doc.
Over the years, Jill had become frustrated with the overly strict rules set forth by the church, referring to IBLP as having "cult-like tendencies," according to People. She began drinking alcohol, taking birth control and getting a nose ring, all of which are condemned by IBLP followers.
“I’m okay with people not being okay with it,” she told People of her choices. “Sometimes it’s a good thing.”
She alleged that when she started deviating from the belief system, her father's "toxic" and "verbally abusive" behaviors surfaced, according to E! News.
"I saw a whole new side to my dad once my husband and I started making decisions that were best for our family, but not in his best interest. Sadly, I realized he had become pretty controlling, fearful and reactionary," she said.
Additionally, Jill was frustrated with not being paid for her time on the TLC series, 19 Kids and Counting, and she felt pressured to cover up her brother Josh Duggar's horrific actions. (He molested young women, including Jill and their other siblings, and was found guilty of possessing child pornography in 2021.) All of this is likely to be covered in her forthcoming book, Counting the Cost.
2. Jinger Duggar Vuolo
Jinger Duggar Vuolo and her husband have two little girls and live in sunny California, a considerable distance from her family's Arkansas compound.
"I am just so grateful every day for just the freedom that I've found," she revealed to People.
In another conversation with the publication, she was quick to confirm that while she has stepped away from IBLP, her faith in Jesus is still strong: “I have ... rejected much of the teaching I heard for many years. My faith is still intact, but it has changed. Instead of leaving the faith entirely, I've been disentangling it."
She had grown concerned over the IBLP's limitations, damaging teachings and fear-mongering. She revealed that her daughters' upbringing will definitely look different than hers. For those going through a similar experience, she hopes her book, Becoming Free Indeed, will be the resource they need.
“I realized that some of what I had been taught was hurtful and untrue,” Jinger wrote in Becoming Free Indeed. “I knew I needed to speak publicly about this because I promoted teachings that I now believe are damaging.”
3. Jessa Duggar Seewald
It's not so much about what Jessa Duggar Seewald has said about the IBLP as much as what she's done.
She's remained quiet in comparison to her two sisters, but Jessa has stepped away from the family and is noticeably missing from various functions. Judging from her behavior on Instagram—wearing jeans, letting her children dance, etc.—it's obvious that she's not following the IBLP's hyper-strict teachings any longer, though she has yet to publicly denounce them.
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets is now streaming on Prime Video.
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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