Bill Gothard, Failure to Report Crimes, Forgiveness, Homeschool Movement, Mandatory Reporting, Mental Health and the Church, Parenting, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches

How I Would Have Responded as a Parent to the Josh Duggar Sexual Abuse Scenario


This past week has been a whirlwind with the Josh Duggar sex abuse allegations from 12 years that recently surfaced. Josh Duggar is the eldest child of Patriarchical family and model ATI (Bill Gothard’s homeschool curricula) family. Josh Duggar and his family star in the popular reality show on TLC, 19 Kids and Counting. As this story has been brought to light, I have found myself caught up in intense debates, even with very close friends, on how this case should be handled, how we as Christians should be responding to this specific case, and how we as parents should respond if our child sexually abuses another child.

I recently posted the following (slightly revised) as part of a discussion with a Christian friend on Facebook. We came from very different sides, but because my response was so radically different from hers, I thought it might be good to post for discussion. I never mind push back, so if you disagree with me, please respond. I am open to the challenge and will consider your words just as I have been challenged to rethink many of my former ways/beliefs.

At the end of the post is a highly recommended article that helps to explain the culture and teachings which shaped the Duggar family. It will help to explain why these young female victims are true victims to more than just sex abuse.


Josh Duggar, sex abuse, 19 kids and counting, Bill Gothard, ATI

I appreciate the opportunity to share my heart which is invested in the ministry to abuse victims. I probably would not have given you this same answer 10 years ago, or even 6 years ago.

I do not believe that Josh’s parents responded appropriately. I believe they did the best they knew at the time and their intentions and heart were right. However, since working the last 5 years extensively studying spiritual abuse and abuse in the church, networking with Boz Tchividjian (founder of, and many other professionals who deal with abuse in church, I am concluding that the Duggars could have done better.

Jim-Bob found out in March of 2002 and waited over a year before reporting. When police tried to interview Josh, Jim-Bob intervened and did not allow that to happen. The statute of limitations then kicked in and Josh was free from any civil repercussions.

I believe this was not a good witness to Christ. What does this tell the world – that Christians get to walk free and don’t need to go by the law? Repenting of sins does not remove someone from the consequences of the laws of the land. Scripture says that God is the one who ordained civil authorities/law. Knowingly harboring a sex offender without reporting is illegal in some states. Not only that, I believe it is circumventing what God has established for cases like this:

Romans 13:1-5:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

Because of the statute of limitations, no civil court had the opportunity to intervene, convict, give recommendations on his criminal activity. Could this public outcry against Josh and his parents be sovereignly planned as God’s judgment as implied in the above Scripture? Could Josh’s defenders be interfering with God’s judgment or the natural consequences of his sin?

You asked would I report. Yes, I absolutely would report my sons to authorities if they were sexually abusing. I would allow the civil authorities to bring justice to the offender. This would send a very strong message that sin/sex abuse has consequences and will not be tolerated. And to the survivors, it would send a message that we believe them and the abuse they incurred was worthy of strict punishment. I’ve seen the tremendous burden lifted off of victims’ shoulders when they see perpetrators punished for their crimes.

I would also promptly seek qualified professional treatment specializing in sex abuse for the offender and their victims. I know about the lasting consequences survivors face. If not dealt with timely and by trained professionals, young ladies often have difficulty choosing good spouses, have difficulty with relationships, intimacy, etc. For the offender, it may be uncovered in treatment that he was previously molested. Trained professionals can be helpful in getting to the root issues.

I’m struck at how much time is spent defending Josh, and such little time focused on his victims. It’s disturbing to even discuss whether he touched them over/under their clothes (I read the police report and it’s not clear on all of the interviews). That has no bearing on the suffering the victims face/will face.

Throughout scripture God speaks of protecting the oppressed and defenseless. How is it protecting them when we are outwardly and vocally defending a perpetrator (even if he has repented)? Our first response must be to those who have no voice. You can be sure that sex abuse survivors all over are watching this case and observing how people respond. Any time a survivor hears of another abuse, it brings them back to their own story. We must think of all victims in our responses and model Christ’s love because many times they are questioning why God allowed this to happen. We must not be a stumbling block to the weak and oppressed, but a soothing balm, sharing with them the love of the Father.

The Duggars were the key family chosen by ATI/Bill Gothard to represent Bill Gothard and his homeschool curriculum. I read that they spoke even this year at an ATI conference (they are slated to speak by video tomorrow in Nashville, and later in Twin Cities, and Sacramento ATI conferences). You can be sure they hold to his teachings and it is important to understand these teachings in order to fully comprehend what the victims have faced. I encourage you to read the following and try to grasp what the victims have faced, the ones whom God dearly loves and wants to defend and protect. Here’s how the Duggars’ patriarchal homeschool world teaches kids to shame sex abuse victims

Thank you for reading. Grace and peace! ~ja

photo credit: Hands of Daria via photopin (license)

141 thoughts on “How I Would Have Responded as a Parent to the Josh Duggar Sexual Abuse Scenario”

  1. On a related note: I have been discussing this whole farce with my dad and my brother on the phone for the past week, and I’m convinced this is far from over. I don’t know how Josh Duggar’s scandal will continue to develop, but I do know that Bill Gothard had access to teenage women until as recently as October or November of 2014. I have every reason to believe that Gothard was likely grooming and abusing some of those women as he has countless women in the past, and it is the “umbrella” and “authority” teachings that have conditioned them to stay silent.

    Please God, if they exist, let these young women step forward and press charges against Bill Gothard and send him to prison for the rest of his increasingly short natural life. There is no reason he should be allowed to live out his declining years in privilege and comfort, not when he has done such horrible damage to so many lives.

    And likewise, if Josh Duggar has continued to harm and molest and abuse, let his victims step forward as well. Only then will we see justice.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Dash, I would not be surprised to hear more Gothard victims come forward. Some will have to leave that errant teaching/environment in order to realize what was done to them was abuse. Someone said recently that the materials he produced groomed young ladies for abuse. It kept them quiet, it blamed and shamed them (by focusing on what they were wearing, unconfessed sin, etc), and it also talked about how if you fail to submit to male authority, you would be unprotected from any harm coming your way. Young ladies could automatically assume they got what they deserved rather than put any blame on the perpetrator. This is some very messed up teaching.

    BTW, Dash, I’m going to try to get your story up tomorrow.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. No worries, I’ve been reading everything you’ve posted this past week and there is a great dialogue going on here. In this article particularly, it’s very brave for you to step up and publicly state that you would do the right thing legally if one of your own children broke the law. That’s not an easy thing to say. It throws the parenting failures of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar into even sharper relief.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I hope that it does challenge some of the mindset in the Christian church and Homeschool Movement families. I know how adverse many are to government intervention of any sort. We were taught in homeschool circles to fear the government, yet this contradicts Scripture. You can’t just cherry pick verses and decide to disregard this important passage of scripture (Rom 13) when it comes to legal obligations.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are right, Julie Anne! The Law of the Land prevails, regardless of church affiliation. The Bible states so. But church’s like this purposefully ignore the scripture that states so, and they have no conscience in doing so.

    “The Church”, and I use that phrase sarcastically, has redefined what Matthew 18 was intended for. “The Church” has no authority in this matter whatsoever. He did not sin against “The Church”. “The Church” is not his victims. People in the church are his victims, and the victims seem to have no say whatsoever, except to be placed in church discipline.

    There is much wrong with the modern take on Matthew 18, all because the Catholics make “The Church” into an authority figure, when it isn’t. Calvinists maintain Catholic teachings on Matthew 18.

    Matthew 18 is intended for sins perpetrated against you, when the perpetrator refuses to admit guilt, even when confronted by “witnesses”. But, “The Church” has taken it upon themselves to put innocent people in discipline, and the guilty in protection. This is not what God intended in Matthew 18. He intended for the perp to be kicked out of the church (Assembly of Believers). Tax collector, publican, and heathen was another word for sinner, and sinners do not get to heaven. That is how the perp is to be treated. The perp is not to be protected at all. If they wish to have mercy on the perp, civil justice has nothing to do with spiritual matters, and therefore, they can minister to the perp while he is in a jail cell.

    The church is the last resort in the Matthew 18 process, not the first step. The church stays out of it. There is no Matthew 18 process here.

    The only thing is, civil action in dialing 9-1-1. I guess “The Church” doesn’t know the number to 911?

    My lesson: “The Church” vs. the church.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done. I can’t imagine how hard it would be turning myself in for committing a crime of this nature. I can’t imagine how hard it would be turning in your own child for such a crime.

    That doesn’t mean it isn’t right to do. I would expect my godly friends to hold me to this standard, because God knows the world will.

    As hard as that is, it can’t be as hard as being a victim of abuse. The right thing remains the right thing, whether we have the courage to do it or not. Playing what-if’s and would-you’s is not really helpful to the conversation.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. As you might expect the ATI parents recovery group is struggling to (again) understand how we all got sucked into this cult. I have watched a few Duggar shows and it is surreal, as watching our life on tv, although we only are a family of 7. It is absolutely true, we all agree, that women are blamed for drawing attention to their bodies and blamed for any form of sexual attention. It breaks our hearts that little girls were taught (by us!) to be ashamed and hide their bodies neck to ankles, lest we cause a brother to stumble. I remember the teachings at Knoxville yearly conferences, never give a bad report about anything, only praise. This certainly set up the system where abusers could continue their abuse, blame their victims and be assured that no “bad” reports were generated. We also were told example after example of when parents let their children interact with the “heathens” all the terrible things we were inviting into our homes.
    Can you imagine? Who could these victims report to? They are so sheltered, protected, silenced, marginalized by shame that of course the statue of limitations expires. But the fact is often, the abuser is inside the camp…another homeschooling family, relative or church member.
    I can assure you from the ATI survivor group, all we wanted was to raise Godly children, mighty in Spirit. Our motives were not to put our children in a life-long spiritual down-ward spiral. We just got sucked into the wrong group, and woke up in a cult. This is an incredibly painful time for many. I know God will hear our cries and dry out tears. Will this nightmare ever end?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I attended the Bill Gothard Seminar about 33 years ago. You might find it very interesting what I experienced. I had a major experience with God after attending and listening to Bill Gothard. I would go on to learn that the churches had fallen away after I attended his seminar. This is something very few people know about. God has taught me a lot about this falling away that Paul spoke about, that happens before the antichrist is revealed. I believe that God did use Bill Gothard, but Bill like everyone else has failed to understand that the churches have fallen away and this is where Bill went wrong. Bill required people to have letters from their pastors in order to be part of his homeschool program. My pastor would not send a letter giving his permission for my family to be a part. So I continued homeschooling my family without being part of Bill Gothard’s group. I and my children were spared from some of the errors that would creep into Bill’s ministry.

    I could explain many things to you but it is really kind of hard to put into words. Like for instance, Bill did not know that when he was requiring people to get letters from their pastors that many of these pastors were actually false. Bill was having people go to false pastors to say, yes, it’s OK to be part of the program. There are many things like this that were wrong with Bill Gothard’s principals.

    Since my pastor did not allow me to join Bill’s homeschool group, I kept getting a birthday card from Bill’s ministry and soon those stopped. After that I no longer had much to do with Bill or his ministry. My twin brother and some close friends of mine also attended Bill’s seminar but we were fortunate and saw that some things were wrong with what Bill taught. Many of his principals just didn’t make sense at times. If you followed them, often times it didn’t lead to good things.

    I just recently heard that Bill resigned from his ministry. I haven’t had any contact in years with his ministry. I think one big mistake that people have made is that they followed a man and not God. The bible tells us to not let anyone deceive us by any means. Bill Gothard was just a man and when people saw that his principals just didn’t add up, they should have not followed him any longer.

    My kids were never involved with Bill’s ministry, so they never experienced any harmful things that happened there. I was to Bill’s place in Chicago. I thought very highly of him, just like many people did. People put him high on a pedestal and felt special to be noticed by him. That’s the way we all were. I guess we all need to learn a lesson that we shouldn’t let any man do this to us. It’s God that really helped us, not Bill Gothard. I knew that about my life. It was God I desired, not Bill.

    I hate to say it but the Duggars were just sucked and it could have easily been me but for the grace of God.

    I still very much appreciate how God did use Bill in my life. I do believe the Holy Spirit was at one time involved in Bill’s ministry. Bill’s failure is so much like many ministries failures today. Bill Gothard’s ministry isn’t the only ministry that has major problems, almost all TV christian broadcasts have them too. Most churches do.

    I don’t know about the young girls who experienced abuse under his ministry, I’m sure that it wasn’t very good for them. I don’t know any personally. Abuse is everywhere now, in every church, in places you wouldn’t expect it to be because we are in the falling away.

    I still pray for Bill Gothard because God used it greatly in my life. I will pray for all victims involved.


  9. “I can assure you from the ATI survivor group, all we wanted was to raise Godly children, mighty in Spirit. Our motives were not to put our children in a life-long spiritual down-ward spiral. We just got sucked into the wrong group, and woke up in a cult.”

    I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand how this happened either. The real question I have is, how did Gothard fool so many people for so many decades? He’s always been creepy and off-putting, and yet somehow we all bought into his racket. Looking back I think sexual predation was *always* his agenda. I think it was his goal from day one to create an organization where he could use young women for his own perversions.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Deb,

    i cry with you. I keep trying to type what’s in my heart and I can’t get it out. This hits home for me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Deb, my heart goes out to you. We dabbled in a lot of the Homeschool Movement ideologies, attended the Basic and Advanced seminar, but hearing some of the rules from our ATI friends, about beards, women in dresses, etc, kept me away (only to then get caught up in a different cult – ugh). But I get that tug, that drive to be the perfect parents, to protect children from outside influences, to raise them in a godly home. So many of us had the same desires. Our heart was right and I really do believe that the Dugger’s hearts are pure, but they do not see what you and I see now.

    I’m aware that so many are being triggered now. Don’t be hard on yourself. I think as we are honest with ourselves and our families, we share our mistakes openly, our children tend to forgiving and it can mend some hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “I believe that God did use Bill Gothard”

    I don’t. I believe that Bill Gothard used God as a front for his own depravity, like so many other corrupt religious leaders who desire power over others and a self-centered cult of personality.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. When I was talking to Bill Gothard on the phone a while back, I was struck how self-serving he was. He could not stop talking about himself, his accomplishments, how God has used him for this and that, how God spoke to him in his dreams as if he had a direct line with God that was unique to only him. This is not a man serving in humility. I believe he is a false teacher who wanted his own needs met.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. One of the first things my husband said to me when we started talking about what Josh Duggar had done was, “I’m keeping my eye on the boys.” I literally felt sick. My boys are still of the mindset that all girls have cooties!

    Do I think reporting to the authorities is the correct thing to do? Absolutely! It would kill me, but what’s best for the victims AND the molester is most important.

    I hope that, as our family continues to leave the purity culture behind, that my kids won’t have such an exaggerated response around the opposite sex. I hope they will have normal friendships with either gender like I had growing up. Some of my best friends were guys.

    I also don’t believe that most boys will do what Josh did. There is something very sick about his preying on a 4-year-old. That is deviant.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. BTDT. I have no doubt that your children have and will continue to undo the purity culture. I remember when you came to Dallas to meet me where my daughter was playing at volleyball Nationals. Their volleyball outfits were certainly not what I would considered modest (tight and very short spandex shorts). You handled that so well – by not making any issue about it, just enjoying the game. That’s how it will change – by viewing people as individuals, not judging by what they wear. You are that kind of person. Your kids are going to do fine. Really!!!!


  16. OK , that’s the second time you’ve posted exactly the same story. This is what is known on the internet as “spamming” and it’s not cool.

    JA, I would request that you pick one of those two posts and delete it; the wording is nearly identical and it’s making me angry to have to read spam in this discussion.

    Furthermore, you claim the following:

    ” I can tell you that God greatly used Bill in my life. God did! There is no denying that!”

    *I* deny it, and I question your motivation in posting here. Are you a Gothard apologist? That’s how you’re coming across.

    You claim that Gothard’s teaching isn’t the problem, but the rather the problem is “I went on to learn that the churches fell away after I attended the Bill Gothard seminar.” Yeah, no, nope. That’s not the problem. The problem is that Bill Gothard is a false teacher who has damaged every single person who ever became involved with his organization, including you. There’s very clearly something wrong with your view of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. JA, you make me cry. That was a special day for my whole family. Of course, all my youngest remembers is the cotton candy daddy bought them at the concession stand. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. That’s funny, BTDT, my kids remember food on special days, too 🙂 Cotton candy – blech! haha! Your family really touched my heart. I will never forget it.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s fine. JA, did you know that Bill Gothard is a sailboating enthusiast? I don’t think that’s a complete coincidence.


  20. Speaking of parents wanting to protect the kids from bad outside influences and all that.

    Have any of you here seen the M. Night Shyamalan directed movie The Village?
    I hope you consider watching it.

    Not that it’s an all-time great movie (it was okay), but because it drives home the lesson no matter how quaint and idealistic you make your home life, no matter how much you shelter kids from the modern world, they will still sin.

    Here is IMDB’s page about the movie:
    The Village

    I think The Village has been on cable a few times, but you can buy a copy of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Gawker has a wonderful article about the Duggar situation from a secular perspective:

    The comments section is fantastic. Gawker has no filters or expectations of propriety, so people are unloading on Gothard and Josh Duggar with both barrels of invective. Some of the comments made me laugh until the tears rolled down my face.

    You want to defeat people like Gothard? Do it with ridicule. Ridicule is the one thing that Gothard simply cannot stand. To quote Martin Luther by way of C.S. Lewis and “The Screwtape Letters”:

    “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”

    Interesting how this very statement seems to apply to so many contemporary Pharisees in the patriarchal movement.


  22. Daisy, I did NOT like The Village. The parents deceived their children. I could not get past that. They lived a lie. They thought they did it for their children. They thought they did it for their best, but mankind is depraved. We need a Savior. We cannot control all the circumstances in our children’s lives. We need to teach them to trust Christ and live trusting Him, NOT fearing people and the world.


  23. Daisy, I neglected to indicate that I agreed with what you wrote about The Village. I do think it is worth watching and pondering.


  24. I was discussing this with my daughter the other day. She asked me, “Would you report one of us (meaning my kids) to the police if we did something like this?” I told her, “You bet I would!”

    There is so much wrong with the way the Duggars handled the situation. Arkansas has no statue of limitations for prosecuting sexual abuse (incest is a Class C crime and sexual assault is a Class A crime). I wonder if a prosecutor would take this case on. Right now the Duggars have so many high profile political supporters and I don’t see that happening.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Above I mentioned that there was no statue of limitations. However, I realize that everything out there at the moment says that by 2006, the statue of limitations was up for Josh. I wonder if the laws have changed since then. According the the link I posted there is no statue of limitations for sex abuse crimes.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I agree with every word you wrote JA. I believe it is the right thing to turn in your own child for any crime. I had to watch as my son was taken away by police after he and a “friend” were accused of robbery and a weapon was involved. They went into a store, tore out the phone and took what money this poor man had in his till and threatened him. He didn’t even see what he had done as a big deal. He didn’t see how their behavior sent fear into a man who had treated them well and was now completely afraid of what could happen next.

    I knew something was wrong when he brought home a pair of boots that I knew he had no money for. I continued to question him about how he got money for them. He gave answers that made no sense, but didn’t know for sure what had happened or what to do. When the police came to the house with a warrant and handcuffed him ironically I gave him the boots to put on.

    He didn’t tell me the truth until 6 months later while he was still in county jail. He spent 7 years in prison. Because of good behavior the one with the gun was out in 4. He is now serving a life sentence for 2 murders. I can’t help but think that truth in sentencing would have saved those lives. My son will never be mentally stable and seems to have little or no empathy. My mother has always enabled him and any other male in the family.

    If I would have known what they were doing or planning, I would have turned them in myself. The poor man that they robbed knew both boys. His store was right across the street from the Jr. High School they both attended and knew them well or he knew who they were at least. They were both 17 when they did this. He closed the store down immediately and it has never reopened.

    I did not lift a finger to help him out of this or during his stay in prison. He had a court appointed attorney and continued trying to make everyone believe that it wasn’t him for those first 6 months. Consequences are not only hard on the person doing the crime, they are also hard on the parent, where did I fail, how could I have changed the way I brought him up. I brought up other children and none did these things. I did visit him and it seemed each time he had been in trouble for something else while he was there. Those were very humiliating experiences along with sitting with him at parole hearings and listening to what he had done that was keeping him there. I have to wonder if other parents who don’t allow their children proper consequences are trying to protect themselves from the grief that would come.

    When he did get out he was 25 and came to live with me. By then he was so abusive that after 2 months I asked him to leave. It is hard to step back and watch as your child receives deserved consequences, but they are deserved and I had to continue to remind myself that if it were anyone else, I would want truth in sentencing to be required and that would have meant 8 more years.

    Brenda R


  27. Kay said

    Daisy, I did NOT like The Village. The parents deceived their children. I could not get past that. They lived a lie. They thought they did it for their children. They thought they did it for their best, but mankind is depraved. We need a Savior. We cannot control all the circumstances in our children’s lives. We need to teach them to trust Christ and live trusting Him, NOT fearing people and the world.

    That was sort of the point in why I suggested the film.

    The parents in the film thought if they could maintain a pure environment and shelter their kids from the outside world, they would not sin.

    That philosophy reminds me of the extreme home schoolers, the people who follow Gothard, Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, the patriarchalists, and gender complementarians.

    They all feel if they can get kids to follow a set of rules, if they can cut them off from the outside world (don’t watch secular TV, don’t listen to secular music, don’t date like how the world dates), and if they idealize the 1950s or 1850s, or still act as though it is the 1950s, their kids will not sin. But people will always sin.

    It doesn’t matter what environment you put them in, no matter how pure and quaint you make it, it doesn’t matter how much you try to separate them from the world, people will still sin.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Brenda R, What a heartbreaking experience. I don’t know if you have other children, but if you do, they definately benefited from watching your tough love. Often the troubled kid gets all the attention at the expense of their siblings. You are to be applauded for being consistent. I don’t know honestly how I would have handled it.
    As for Josh Dugger, his parents should have nipped it in the bud when he was fourteen. My question is how did the family dynamics keep the first victim from immediately going to her parents? I was raised in a family where my parents didn’t want to hear “unpleasant” things, so I never even thought to tell them about bad things. Now I still feel pain from that neglect. I believe the Dugger parents have been disconnected from their children from the start and just spoke at them not with them. All the children, including Josh will suffer from their parent’s pride and neglect. I look forward to other’s opinions.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Ann,
    I have 3 others that were much less of a handful, but didn’t feel slighted or that I gave the oldest more attention. I have reaffirmed that with them now that they are adults. I spent a lot of time in the principles office with my son from about 3rd grade, never once with the others. They have said that watching what happened with my oldest reinforced in their minds that they wanted no part of getting into trouble.

    I was raised in unpleasantness and my evil stepfather was a pedophile. We were trained not to talk lest my mom could get hurt. The Duggars seem to want everyone smiling from sun up until sunset so more than likely no one was really listening or paying attention. The picture of the clan with Bill Clinton makes me laugh though–there are several of the smaller kids with frowns on. They look far more normal that the older cheesing bunch.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. @JulieAnne:

    When I was talking to Bill Gothard on the phone a while back, I was struck how self-serving he was. He could not stop talking about himself, his accomplishments, how God has used him for this and that, how God spoke to him in his dreams as if he had a direct line with God that was unique to only him. This is not a man serving in humility. I believe he is a false teacher who wanted his own needs met.

    I’d say more like “a FOOL with Delusions of Grandeur.”

    (Or as my old college roomie would put it: “You know what the Bible calls a guy like him? A FOOL.”)

    We had a similar guy in local Fandom for many years, except he could never gain any power or influence outside of the Legend In His Own Mind. He was a laughingstock to everyone except Himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. @Dash:

    You want to defeat people like Gothard? Do it with ridicule. Ridicule is the one thing that Gothard simply cannot stand. To quote Martin Luther by way of C.S. Lewis and “The Screwtape Letters”:

    “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.”

    Don’t forget John Donne:
    “The Devil, that proud spirit, cannot stand to be mocked.”

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I appreciated your post, especially how you pursued compassion and justice. One concern I’ve had in watching all of this unfold is that people are either covering up that what happened is sin that God hates, or they are basically saying that all abusers are beyond redemption.

    I was glad that you pointed out how in reporting a child who is abusing others you are not only providing justice to the victims (which is extremely important) but getting help for the abuser so that they face the consequences of what they’ve done and receiving counseling for whatever the root causes are.


  33. In my old church in my home town, a single mom had a son and daughter. My father used to take the boy fishing sometimes, knowing that he didn’t have a dad. The assistant pastor also used to try to support their family in the same way when he had the opportunity.

    When the mother became aware that her son was molesting his sister, she called the police — because she wanted to get help for her son, but she was also terrified for her daughter and knew that she was ill equipped to help both of them. The boy did not end up in foster care but was sent out of town to live with relatives who had no children in their home. (I hear the arguments that the foster system is the only alternative, and that is not always the case.)

    She remained at the church, though not everyone there could deal very well with the pain of the experience. Even in a supportive community, not everyone is comfortable dealing with the fallout (for themselves) and they don’t know what to say. I am proud that she continued to attend there, despite all of the shame she felt and the disappointment that she expressed in herself for somehow failing her children. Despite all of the difficulties and grief and pain, she suffered it all to do what her children needed and what was in their best interest. She is still heartbroken.

    Both of her children needed help. She didn’t do what was easiest for her (as too many parents do). She did what was in the best interests of her children and did what was necessary to put their needs ahead of her own, Both her son and daughter needed counsel and understanding — and justice is a part of that. Neither Bill Gothard nor JB and Michelle Duggar had the courage to put their situations into a responsible and caring perspective in the way that this single mom did.

    People say that by bringing attention to this sad situation that it brings shame upon Christ and homeschooling and good families. Had they been honest about the matter, they could have helped the families who experience this same problem. I hope that the communities of homeschoolers will hear this bell toll and will be able to recognize that it tolls for them, not just for the Duggars. This whole situation has much to teach three generations of those within the movement about the problems they need to guard against, and hopefully they will learn the lessons that it can teach them.

    My heart aches for all of them.


  34. Julie Anne,
    Heads up. I thought you might, or your readers might be interested in giving this a listen. It’s a podcast at Pulpit and Pen entitled: “Village Church and the Survivor Blog Gals.” Now just reading that title gives a hint as to where he stands. Using that term “gals” is condescending and insulting. But I’m sure most here would *get* that immediately. 😉


  35. I just mentioned the podcast on the other thread. Lol. I don’t have time to listen to it. He’s getting mad at me for questioning him about certain quotes statements he made without listening to it. Oh well.


  36. I mentioned on Twitter that gal doesn’t bother me at all. I’m wondering if it means something negative in other areas? Also, in Twitter where there is a character limitation, it’s easier to type gals than women. But JD sure doesn’t have a problem insulting and taking jabs at any opportunity, sadly.


  37. Whereas JD Hall has repeatedly made an horse’sASS out of himself, and bought distain on all believers (those ” in covenant ” and DONES alike) be it hereby resolved that from this point on pulpit & pen should referred to as pulpit & pimp.
    He is a legend in his own mind, just like the street pimp driving the 1978 Cadillac with dice hanging from the rear view mirror. Very much the same mentality.
    Where all these extremely arrogant, hick preacherBOYs came from is beyond me.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. As a former recovering JD Hall listener, faithfully believing every word that came out of this man’s mouth, I will confess with my mouth and my electronic typing pen that I held him in higher regard, than even over Jesus and His Word. I shamefully admit that I was a idolater of him, so it was difficult to go to his website and listen to him speak on the topic of covenants. This was painful for me reliving the narcissism of this man, who is desperately in need of the Gospel as much as the rest of us.

    As I listened, I was struck by the way he valued the covenant process bringing up the fact that people who sign are held in a higher holiness position, so they should not be going around writing bad checks in the community because it is wrong/sin and a reflection of their Baptist church.

    Is badgering a teen boy over the internet concerning a picture, a godly representation of the covenant signing process? Are writing bad checks worse than badgering a teen who is experiencing problems of living, which is less the holier? Is signing a church covenant even Scriptural in the New Testament Ekklesia/Assembly?

    Please show me line and verse in the context of our Holy Scriptures where signing covenants is commanded by our LORD Jesus, the Christ, so that I may learn God’s will for my life in this area. Could this be another “What does holiness mean to you type of theology” instead of turning to the only One who is holy, Jesus.

    Once again, I just simply cried when I listened to Mr. Hall use elementary examples based on his justification, which Is exactly what false preachers do. Personally, bouncing a bad check is nearly not as evil as harassing, badgering, and verbally sledge hammering (Montana speak) a teenage boy in the public forum. Sin is sin, and true repentance is true repentance and God knows what lies in the hearts and minds of all of us for nothing is hidden from Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Please forgive me here folks, it is just that kind of day after listening to Mr. Hall, but I need an honest answer from the Body of Christ here in answering this question.

    “Will I go to hell if I do not sign a church covenant or a church contract of some sort?”


  40. Katy,

    “Will I go to hell if I do not sign a church covenant or a church contract of some sort?”

    Katy, I hear your heart and can honestly say that I have had my own idols in my life that I am not proud of. If we are honest, we have all had idols that have kept us in close relationship that we all desire and have been deceived. AND– Absolutely not!! Church covenants are not found in scripture and no one is going to hell for not signing one. No one is going to hell for not joining a church or even writing a bad check. Murderers (David comes to mind) and thieves we will be meeting in Heaven. The only thing that sends one to hell is their dismissal of and separation from God and unbelief in His Only Son, Jesus Christ.

    The Bible tells us to assemble ourselves together and where 2 or 3 are gathered together there will he be. I consider myself assembled when I meet with a friend or deliver a meal to someone in need. Katy, I have considered you my Sister for a while now, even though we have never met and may not this side of Heaven, but I know I will meet you there.
    ((((HUGS)))) Brenda


  41. @Katy

    “Will I go to hell if I do not sign a church covenant or a church contract of some sort?”

    I guess only if the church has the ability to condemn someone to hell. Which, I don’t find anywhere in the Bible where God has given that authority to the church. Thank goodness!


  42. JA: “Gals” Has no negative connotation of which I am aware in my part of the country.


  43. Re: Statues of Limitation in Arkansas, the language requiring that the offense had not been reported to law enforcement creates problems, as a report, which did not result in a formal charge might be argued as triggering the running of the statute.


  44. Yup, Keith, that’s exactly what I just read in an article. I have to wonder if JimBob knew of the timeframe involved with the statute of limitations and that is why he prevented the police from speaking with Josh.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. JA: I think the reporting requirement puts quite a burden on the minor if the child’s parents/guardians are not supportive, and discourage the investigation. I don’t know if that happened here, but i have seen it in cases.


  46. It would not surprise me if he ends up being charged. Reminds me of Jack Schaap, he thought he was in the clear because the child was over the age of 16 ( age of consent in his state) but the MANN Act got him. He is doing 12 years in Federal prison, and his wife of 35 years has divorced him. The Duggers did a lot of traveling for their stupid show. If one of these assaults took place in a state with longer or no statute of limitations he could be in big trouble. If one of the assaults took place after he literally drove the vehicle / RV with the victim across state lines , then it qualifies for Federal prosecution under the Mann Act.

    I’m betting we haven’t heard the last of this. I can just imagine his mother on the show.

    ” Well today we are loading up our $200,000 RV for the nine hour drive to visit our son Josh at the Federal Prison in Atlanta. All the children are so excited as its their first time being behind the walls of a federal prison, and it will give the girls a chance to show forgiveness and model Jesus. While we are there we hope to make hash brown casarole for all the prisoners in the child molister wing, especially Jack Schaap. Then the children are going to sing “lean on Bill Gothard ” & “what a friend we have in Mike Huckabee”. It will be a long trip but a great teaching opportunity / moment about the consequences of molisting your little sisters. We are also praying that Josh’s new husband Big Ben will let him see us after he finishes cleaning up their cell “.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. I don’t think statutes of limitation are a good idea for felonies, especially felonies against the person. Here there is no limitation on felonies, and one year on misdemeanors, with some exceptions on misdemeanors.

    Liked by 2 people

  48. I offer this article in response to the “We are all the Duggards” being posted by LIBERATE and Todd Friel.

    Derek Rishmawy works with college and young adults at Trinity Presbyterian Church. “I have to admit, as a kid this idea never set well with me, I mean, I wouldn’t deny that we’re all sinners in need of salvation, or that no one should feel better than others, or that all sin leads to judgment, but I remember very clearly arguing in Bible class that there’s definitely a distinction between beating a child and sneaking a peek on a tough answer on your quiz; it seemed to me like utter nihilism to deny any sort of distinction like that. If a human judge gave the thief 25-life along with the murderer, we’d say there’s something off with her ability to discern right from wrong, and subtle graduation of human justice.”

    Rishmawy then goes on to quote from Herman Bavinck’s ( Dutch Reformed theologian and churchman, 1854-1921) Reformed Dogmatics: Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ.

    Rishmawy: “We see both truths, that the law of God is one, and all who violate it stand condemned, but that even so, God makes distinctions between sins.”


  49. @Keith

    “Re: Statues of Limitation in Arkansas, the language requiring that the offense had not been reported to law enforcement creates problems, as a report, which did not result in a formal charge might be argued as triggering the running of the statute.”

    I’m not going to claim any understanding of Arkansas laws. I do think it’s important to approach this entire subject with an understanding of how much Gothard’s “principles” have influenced public schools, prisons, and police departments. The blogger in the following links was raised in the ATI cult, and has done an excellent job investigating the connections. I wonder if this directly affected how the Duggar situation was handled.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. @Scott:

    Where all these extremely arrogant, hick preacherBOYs came from is beyond me.

    They spawn.
    Like Uruk-Hai in the pits below Isengard.

    Liked by 2 people

  51. As soon as I can get done with some studying, I’m going to address that in the next post along with Dash’s comments regarding the Duggar issue. You seem to find your way into my head a lot, BTDT.


  52. Scott, Now that is a TV show I could watch!!!
    My heart does go out to the youngest kids who have no idea what is going on at the moment. Also the children who are hitting puberty and developing sexual feelings will have difficulty processing their own natural bodily reactions as normal. With so many children in the family how can the parents be available to spend the necessary one on one time to help their children process everything that is happening? They will be hearing all kinds of hurtful things from outside kids. (Little ears hear everything parents say and will start repeating these things to their Dugger friends). I hope the family is willing to let the children who need counseling consent to non-Gothard, actual PhD child therapists. I kind of doubt it.


  53. Well, I decided to take the plunge and comment over at Doug Wilson’s blog: Blog and Mablog. An entry entitled, “A Mound of Pink Cotton Balls”, brings up the Josh Duggar debacle near the end of the article. The comment section is quite telling. My comment is somewhere around the 85th one. I basically said that the article amounts to self-righteous whining. That is because when folks like Clinton and Woody Allen are caught, Wilson et al think they get away with their crimes. But the poor Christians like Josh Duggar et al are excoriated by the press at large and the world in general.

    Well yeah, it’s a no brainer. When you’re trumpeting a lifestyle, that of the Christian Purity Movement, and then the skeletons in the closet emerge, don’t be surprised if folks find that to be hypocritical. After all, the Gothardite, Fundamentalist, Patriarchal, Homeschooling Movement claims their system works. That it prevents the very thing that they covered up, namely child and sexual abuse. And so this saying holds true: “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Rom 2:24 Christians are held to a higher standard, and some Christians whine about that. But hey, their answer over on that blog….well, all Christians mess up. That doesn’t prove the system is bad. Yeah, I get it. Kinda like that bumper sticker. “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” So don’t expect us to be held to any standard, especially by the world. So there! Well, as the kiddies say, “Sorry doesn’t cut it.” And when Christians are selling a product that they claim actually works, that amounts to misleading the buyers. Truth is, the product – Gothardite and Vision Forum methods – are the Problem, not the solution. But they don’t want to hear that because the Sacred Cow is Patriarchy. And I’m just a Feminist that can be dismissed.


  54. Darlene, you have a strong constitution. 🙂 I can barely handle Wilson in small doses. I mean, this is the same man that defended a serial pedophile, and then officiated the wedding of said pedophile. He is one sick puppy.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Isn’t Wilson the guy starting that church based training program:

    “Raising your sons to be pedophiles, wife beaters and pastors that sue over Google reviews, GOD’s WAY”.

    I heard there is a whole chapter on storehouse tithing so you can be sure every pulpit & pimp in America will be promoting it.


  56. Scott,
    That was seriously funny. I needed to lighten up.

    The horrible part of it is that it comes so close to being reality. I’m sure that entire quote is going to be a book title in Christian book stores very soon. I had a conversation earlier today and this guy who was so excited to give the good news: the evangelical church has increased its numbers by 7%. I said that would be great, but…….and explained where the increase in numbers was probably coming from. An increase in sheep being lead astray by false shepherds.

    Liked by 2 people

  57. “Darlene, you have a strong constitution.”

    BTDT, maybe it’s because I emerged out of an abusive cult and found my voice again by the grace of God. I don’t fear folks like Wilson or any of the promoters of Patriarchy. I was under the destructive teaching of one of the most conniving men who had his own brand of Patriarchy. It took some time, but the Lord was faithful in helping me to heal and I was able to go back and confront that abusive man. So Wilson and those on his blog who defend their brand of Patriarchy are child’s play compared to what I experienced. Or perhaps it’s just that I’ve grown up and learned that I needn’t be afraid any longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. “As a former recovering JD Hall listener…..”

    Katy, that phrase right there put a smile on my face. I never got sucked in. The Virile, Chest Thumping, Misogynist Preacher types have no appeal for me. Then again, I’m not really their audience. Women are excluded in these sorts of Manly Circles by way of default. You may have been a listener, but by virtue of your sex not nearly as important as a male listener. After all, Christianity has a “Masculine Feel” to it. Women are mere by standers.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. @AnotherInvisibleDaughter

    I’m honored that you would share your story here with us. Reading your story, I again became angry at all the voices trying to downplay what the Duggars did.

    “Incest was a huge problem in our cult.” Same with my former cult. I’m so, so sorry you had to grow up this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. So, this topic came up at our homeschool mom’s night out last night. Some were saying, “Look, Paul and Moses were murders, God used them…” Yeah, and Moses’ consequence was 40 years in the desert, tending sheep (good practice for leading the Israelites, I suppose). And I believe it was several years before many people trusted Paul. And, the people knew who these guys were before and could see the change in them. I mean when Paul shows up and doesn’t throw you in jail for being a follower of The Way, you know something has changed in him.

    And I said, “But they never covered up their crimes. The Duggars did. As a church we are not handling these things the right way. And until we do, the world isn’t going to want any part of us.”

    Liked by 2 people

  61. @ BTDT

    “Apparently, Gothard gets his pseudo-science info from the same sources as WombTomb Swanson.”

    You know, that does not surprise me at all!

    Liked by 1 person

  62. AnotherInvisibleDaughter,

    Thank you for sharing your story. May God grant healing to your heart.

    By the way, I like your handle name. These daughters to become invisible in the sense that their pain is often brushed aside in the name of forgive and forget.

    This brings me to the comments section over at Blog and Mablog where the Duggars sins are minimized and the precious little girls are barely given a mention. Except for, oddly enough, an atheist who comments on that blog regularly. He was the one who stated that he hadn’t noticed in any of all the articles since the Duggar debacle unfolded that Josh Duggar expressed any sympathy for the victims. In fact, he said he noticed instead that Josh Duggar’s comments all seem to be about Josh, Josh and more Josh. It was the atheist that showed compassion toward the victims. The Christians just want to give their platitudes of: He repented and God forgave him. Who are we to judge him? (or some such thing) Well you know what? I call that Cheap Grace. Commit grievous sin and then…voila…repent and be restored in 3 months and everything is back to normal. That’s quite a bit different than how St. Paul addressed incest in the Scriptures.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. Ok, I read the whole thing! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse. I noticed that the Kevin fella never responded to your email or Fb comment re: verifiable evidence to back up his absurd statements. Nothing like, “I’m sorry, those were dumb comments to make and I retract them.”

    Liked by 3 people

  64. Darlene – Yet KSwan continues to be an influence to some Christian homeschoolers even though he speaks nonsense. It really is unbelievable.

    Liked by 1 person

  65. Yeah, KSwan is big in CO… I refuse to go to our state conference now because he is ALWAYS one of the speakers.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. The Duggar parents emboldened their son Josh’s despicable behavior. He sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services for investigating his crimes against four of his sisters and Victim No. 5? Where did he get the money for an attorney and court costs? Why didn’t Daddy and Mommy tell him “no”. This brings a reproach upon Christ. We’re all supposed to obey the civil and criminal laws according to the Bible. The Duggars apparently see themselves and sonny boy as the exception to all of the rules. Disgusting!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  67. I would love to go to one of his conferences. If he pulled some of his obnoxious rhetoric I might just stand up and loudly say, “say what?!?!? You can’t be fo realz!!!”

    Liked by 3 people

  68. “He sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services for investigating his crimes against four of his sisters and Victim No. 5? ”

    This proves Josh Duggar is not sorry for what he did, and proves Jim Bob Duggar and Josh Duggar do not think molesting (((((FIVE)))) little girls should be a crime.

    Josh Duggar is so self centric he thinks he trumps FIVE little girls. Maybe six little girls equal Josh Duggar’s worth.

    Little girls are not people to the Duggars.

    That is five little girls that do not have one out of four parents that love them, and one boy who has four parents kissing his MALE bottom, welcome to Christianity.

    Liked by 2 people

  69. “The Duggar parents emboldened their son Josh’s despicable behavior. He sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services for investigating his crimes against four of his sisters and Victim No. 5? Where did he get the money for an attorney and court costs?”

    Oo oo, this is a riddle. I like riddles. I’ll answer your riddle with a riddle of my own: “What wears a blue suit and red tie in every photograph, was also accused of molesting underage girls, and has over $80 million in assets?”

    (hint: initials are “B” and “G”)

    Liked by 1 person

  70. wouldrathernotsay,
    And I said, “But they never covered up their crimes. The Duggars did. As a church we are not handling these things the right way. And until we do, the world isn’t going to want any part of us.”

    Excellent response to the Homeschool Moms. Bravo!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  71. This situation is being exploited by those who oppose homeschooling. Apparently, the Duggars are the most well-known homeschooling family in the US. Most of the articles I have read make reference to homeschooling. Some of them seem almost gleeful, which is sad, because there are real victims here. They should be the focus.

    I think I may have mentioned it before, but it is important to bear in mind that most 14 year olds do not engage in predatory sexual acts. It is learned. Is there someone else who has these propensities who is in close contact with this family?

    Liked by 1 person

  72. “Is there someone else who has these propensities who is in close contact with this family?”

    Yes, Keith; the person you’re describing is Bill Gothard.

    Liked by 1 person

  73. “He filed the lawsuit when he was 19.”

    I guess we all know how genuine his recent apology is then, don’t we? I hope both the tabloids and the reputable news sites pursue this story like the hounds of hell. I’m so tired of this family presenting itself as a godly, upright, Christian family. They’ve shown zero concern for the victims. It’s all about their image, which is all tied up with politics and money.


  74. AnotherInvisibleDaughter,
    Thank you for speaking out. This is a tragic epidemic and one that I know is painful for you to talk about. This should never happen. It should be able to be stopped, but it won’t be. Can we speak up –of course. We read in the OT about Tamar raped by her brother. Amnon, while her father king David did nothing but protect his son and another brother Absalom told her not to take this to heart. Tamar was disgraced and became a desolate woman. This is a story thousands of years in the making. How this was handled was wrong then and it is wrong now.

    I’m sure in Tamar’s day there were no sex education books. They may not have had names for all of the body parts, I don’t know. I do know that evil is evil. Rape has nothing to do with love, it isn’t even about exploration, it is violence against another person. Not all males rape. Not all males molest their sisters. Not all males or females have had sex education and do not molest other kids. I had a brief sex education in the 5th grade and had no idea what they were talking about. It flew right over my head. Sex was not talked about in the house I grew up in as it wasn’t in the house my mother grew up in. She never told me to watch out for anyone or not be alone with them, but I learned it from the one who molested me sexually, mentally and emotionally.

    I was invisible and had no voice, but no more. I am so glad that you are finding your voice. I hope that you will be able to tell your story and not hide this secret at the back of the 90 acres any longer.



  75. BTDT,
    They’ve shown zero concern for the victims. It’s all about their image, which is all tied up with politics and money.

    I would like to second your hope for this story to get out and let truth be known. The victims need to be the first concern no matter what. They may be brainwashed into thinking they are ok, but it won’t stay hidden within forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. Ok bdtd, I’m going to have to tweet that. You don’t sue when you’ve done wrong and “repented.” Someone who is repentant understands there will be longterm consequences even after repentance.

    Liked by 1 person

  77. Julie Anne,

    On that same line, how many church protected repentant perps take their cases to trial, while, at the same time…and this is a contradiction in terms, due to the nature and purpose of a trial…force the victim to forgive, or else, put the victim in a disciplinary status because the victim refuses. I know that there have been histories of this scenario before.



  78. This entire thing just makes me want to vomit! Having had two children who were sexually abused, I’m just going to honestly say – I have never forgiven the people who did this. I have certainly moved on with my life and thank God my children were young enough that they don’t remember it. I’m a Christian also. So, the first one was abused in a preschool and we had the physical abuse to prove it. I remember sitting in the Pediatrician’s office asking again and again if there was honestly some other way that my daughters (3 yrs.old people) vaginal injury could have happened some other way. She just kept telling me no and she was so kind to me (the pediatrician) because I think she just knew I could hardly believe it. The following months were basically hell as we went through the entire legal system which completely failed us. I won’t even go there but will say I had dreams of what to do to these people. Second child was fondled by my neighbors 14 yr.old son who lured her into his house -right next to mine for 10 stinking minutes over his puppy whom she adored. I had just checked on all of them. I almost killed him when I found out. He denied every stinking bit. They are grown now. I’ve thought about what these girls must have been told by there own brother. These people who did this to my children – first one told my daughter she would kill her baby brother and the rest of us. It took months for her to tell us. Second one scared my other child so bad that when she first told me her words were He scaried me so bad mom. May they rot in hell! I’m not sure there can ever be trust between the siblings and him again.

    Liked by 1 person

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