Bill Gothard, Failure to Report Crimes

The Duggar Family Releases Statement Regarding Their Show, 19 Kids and Counting


The Duggar family released a statement regarding their TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting:

Today, TLC announced that they will not be filming new episodes of 19 Kids and Counting.

Years ago, when we were asked to film our first one hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children, we felt that it was an opportunity to share with the world that children are a blessing and a gift from God.

We are so thankful for our film crew that has shown up at our house for over a decade. They have become like family to us. They have invested their time and energy into our lives and have been so loving and patient. We love and appreciate them so much!

Over the last several years people have said to us, “We love your show!” We have always responded, “It’s not a show, it’s our lives!” Our desire in opening our home to the world is to share Bible principles that are the answers for life’s problems.

With God’s grace and help Josh, our daughters and our entire family overcame a terrible situation, found healing and a way forward. We are so pleased with the wonderful adults they have all become.

It is our prayer that the painful situation our family went through many years ago can point people toward faith in God and help others who also have lived through similar dark situations to find help, hope and healing, as well.

We appreciate the love, support, prayers and kindness extended to us by many of you. You have deeply touched our hearts and encouraged us, during this time.

God’s faithfulness and goodness to us, along with His abundant grace have given us strength and joy even in the most difficult days.

We have committed to Him that in all things—difficulties or success, good times or bad—we will purpose to bring Him honor by staying true to our faith and our family.

We look forward to working with TLC on this upcoming special documentary and hope that it is an encouragement to many.

We know Who holds the future and are confident that He will work all things together for good.

We love each of you and look forward to unfolding the future with peace and joy.

With Gratefulness,

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar family

43 thoughts on “The Duggar Family Releases Statement Regarding Their Show, 19 Kids and Counting”

  1. “We look forward to working with TLC on this upcoming special documentary and hope that it is an encouragement to many.”

    Did they skip a paragraph? I don’t see where they mention an “upcoming special documentary” or say what it will be about…?


  2. Upcoming special documentary?

    Bible principles that are the answers for life’s problems …sounds like an advertisement for ATI/IBLP/Gothard.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I thought the same thing, bendendi. I was racing off to class and didn’t have time to research it further, so I just hit publish and figured one of you would catch it. 🙂 SSB sleuths never fail.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This comes from TLC:

    TLC will work closely with two abuse advocacy groups and with the Duggar family on a one-hour documentary that will include Jill and Jessa and other survivors and families that have been affected by abuse.


  5. TLC’s statement gives a little more information about this “documentary:”

    “Over these past weeks, TLC has consulted regularly with leading victims’ rights and advocacy organizations in the U.S., including RAINN and Darkness to Light, to discuss how to use this moment to address the issue and make a positive impact. Unfortunately, child sexual abuse is not an isolated issue; it affects many children and families around the world. To that end, we are partnering with both organizations on a multi-platform campaign to raise awareness and educate parents and families about the issue. In the first phase of this initiative, TLC will work closely with both groups and with the Duggar family on a one-hour documentary that will include Jill and Jessa and other survivors and families that have been affected by abuse.”

    Sorry, but I think it’s a big mistake on TLC’s part to include the family that colluded to cover up sexual abuse in their midst along with victims’s rights organizations.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. BTDT,
    I agree that it’s a big mistake for TLC to include any of the Duggars. Wait a minute, I thought Jill had already left the country. WHEN was this “documentary” filmed?


  7. Not being part of the Gothard movement, and not particularly caring about the Duggars, I read a book of theirs–sort of an autobiography–and remember being spectactularly unimpressed with them. OK. so they lived a long time in small homes, ate food I wouldn’t feed to my dog (Mrs. Duggar’s recipes are a hoot, but revolting IMO….OK, I’m a food snob), followed lots of rules….and when things got better they built a 7000 square foot steel barn and decided to live in it. Whatever.

    And regarding what’s coming up….whatever. Hopefully those who were hurt really are getting the help they need, and if it makes clear how people need to step forward and give that help, it could be OK. But I’ll not be watching any more than I’ll be trying any of Mrs. Duggar’s Cheez Whiz recipes.


  8. I just read the “Darkness to Light” link on TLC’s statement. Here is a quote from one of the pages on who you should report suspected abuse to:

    “Know the agencies that handle reports of abuse.
    Two agencies handle most reports of child abuse: Child Protective Services (in some states this agency has a different name) and law enforcement.”

    The Duggars did not adequately report to law enforcement until Harpo Productions outed them. The Duggars also do not welcome Child Protective Services’ involvement in their affairs. In fact, Josh Duggar sued Arkansas DHS. Since the Duggars did not follow D2L’s recommendations in handling sexual abuse, how can TLC include them in this documentary unless it’s to point out what not to do?


  9. The Duggars are drop dead stupid for speaking about the matter, much less doing a documentary when civil litigation is a very good prospect. A documentary ? What a way to waive your 5th amendment right. If any of the abuse happened when they were traveling across state lines there is NO statue of limitations under federal law(MANN ACT). If he did in fact digitally penetrate a victim that would qualify for prosecution under the act. If it was just touching over the clothes, that it can’t be prosecuted in Federal Court. It’s a serious charge, Jack Schaap is in Federal prison for the next 12 years on a violation of the MANN act. The victim has till age 21 to sue. Why would they agree to a documentary.


  10. Wait, they say that JOSH has “overcome a terrible situation”?? What about the non-family victims?? Maybe I missed something, but it looks like they’re pretending it’s just a “family matter”.

    Can you imagine, if you were one of the victims, how a statement like this would feel? They are insinuating that the problem is in the past, that anyone still having difficulty is refusing God’s Mercy and Grace.


  11. This news turns my stomach in so many ways. To think that Jill and Jessa will be dragged through this documentary, probably as mouthpieces for Gothard-style forgiveness and biblical counseling, makes me want to scream. These women have not been given the proper resources to process and heal from their abuse. The Duggars are only participating to further push their lifestyle and beliefs–not because they care about abuse victims. Anything to stay in the spotlight. It’s sick beyond belief.


  12. No doubt Jim Bob has been on the phone with Bill many times, and Bill is still telling them what to do.


  13. Oh boy, that was not fun to listen to. Sometimes Christians are so caught up in gospelly talk, they make no sense. Todd Friel first of all discusses the timeline as we know it. (about 4 minute mark). He claims Josh became a Christian after being sent away. That is not what I have read elsewhere about his Christian testimony. So, there’s #1 issue for me.

    Secondly, he goes on to criticize victims about their recovery process – – that they don’t seem to be allowing forgiveness and healing. I have difficulties with people sitting on the outside – especially those who have never experienced any kind of sexual abuse (not sure about Friel, just in general), but putting a timetable on the recovery process. That is just not cool.

    Thirdly, Friel really gets into this question, “Why isn’t the world seeing it (this case) through the Gospel lens?” Well . . . why would the world see it through the Gospel lens? That seems like an odd question to me. But I wonder what Gospel they are talking about. Sure, the Gospel is about Christ dying for our sins once we repent and ask forgiveness. But it doesn’t stop there. There are consequences for sin regardless of one’s spiritual state. Christians do not get a free pass for their sins just because they received the Gospel. Good grief, this is messed up thinking.


  14. “Why isn’t the world seeing it (this case) through the Gospel lens?”

    Having a millstone hung around the neck and being drowned in the sea is a Gospel lens too. I mean, those are some of the red letter words.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I really hope that the Phillips, Gothard, and Duggars fiascoes mark the beginning of the end of Stepford/Patriarchy Christianity in America. To think that Jesus spent most of his time among the marginalized and ostracized of society: lepers, prostitutes, tax collectors, beggars, Gentiles, and etc.

    But I doubt it. Gay marriage is now the law of the land, and I think conservative Christians will dig in their heels and double down on Stepford/Patriarchy Christianity. Cuz it’s all da gays’ fault that these once pillars of Stepford Christianity have faltered.


  16. David C,
    I’m with you. However, looking around me, it looks to me that patriarchy is alive, if not well. I am still hearing it defended and touted as the biblical way to live, from the less-conservative social circle we are now in, having left our super-conservative church. It makes me sad, because all I can figure is that my days with the new friends I have somewhat cautiously made are now numbered, and one of these days I will be, once again, a social castaway.

    It makes commitment difficult, and I can’t help feeling a sense of doom. I don’t want to think badly of people, of myself. Maybe it’s better just not to have any relationships.


  17. It’s funny, refugee, those who once touted Patriarchy are now distancing themselves from the word . . . . and still practicing it (K. Swanson for one).


  18. For the longest time Ray Comfort was promoting and interviewing the Duggards. Unless I missed something his e-alerts never mentioned the issue either questioning the news reports or refuting them. Comfort and Friel used to work together but decided to part ways … It’s interesting how in cases like this certain ministries will just decide to freeze up and not associate with the people being investigated; hoping others won’t notice their sudden lack of association.


  19. Gothard piped up in the Daily Mail July 8th talking about how he was directly involved in sending Josh Duggar to be cleansed, cured and saved working on the building in Arkansas that Hobby Lobby donated to IBLP (Institute of Basic Life Principles). Gothard says Jim Bob and Michelle reached out to him for help, says Josh wasn’t a sexual predator and twists known facts from the police reports.

    Sick stuff.


  20. I gave up tv about 3 years ago and one main reason, besides it being boring is “reality” tv shows. I hate to see people put in compromising positions that could cause them harm or hurt even if they want to and are paid. I know they make money and that is always and in every single circumstance Holy and of God, but I just could not do that. I also noticed that those outside the family were not mentioned I find that troubling, I know just stamp stupid in the middle of my forehead.


  21. No one can judge the documentary until it is seen. But if it doesn’t spend more time on the victims and their struggles to become whole than on Duggars, then the entire documentary is a sham. You can spout forgiveness and healing all you want. But being a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and approaching my sixties now, I can tell you that “forgiveness and healing” isn’t just a one time event. I work out my salvation in this area nearly everyday of my life. Some days are really good. Other days, I wish I could….well, let’s just say, not as good. It is the victims who will either find support and hope through this “documentary” or they will find they are silenced and marginalized under the guise that they are not very “spiritually mature” because they struggle daily to forgive their abuser. My guess….it will be the latter. After all, nothing silences a person faster than being told they are not as spiritual because they are still hurt and angry at their abuser. What a seriously sad perversion of the gospel.


  22. One caution; just because Todd Friel is “connected” to others doesn’t mean he share aberrant theologies like those of Gothard. That is the logical fallacy of guilt by association, a variant of the genetic fallacy.

    I’m going to, regarding his statements, leave that appraisal to those involved and those who understand these things better than I. I had a one time event where my babysitter gave my brother and I an impromptu sex ed course; no touching, we mostly thought “that was weird” and moved on. If it’s affecting us badly today, that would be news to us. Others find that whatever happened does induce trauma that is clearly evident decades after the fact.

    Where the victims are in this case I have no clue, but I would tend to agree that it’s out of line for Mr. Friel to suggest it’s overblown–that’s really for the victims to decide.


  23. Yeah, refugee. I wondered the same thing. Are they talking about Gothard’s Bible principles?

    If so, I encourage them to take to heart the letter to Bill Gothard from Lane Gabriel and Bill Wood posted at Recovering Grace.

    Citing Matthew 18:17, these men, after pursing reconciliation for months, state,

    “With this command of Christ, we are severing all relationship with you until we see by the public affirmation of your confession of specific sins and true repentance”

    They sent the letter to a list of church leaders and publications. Maybe the Duggars did get a copy.


  24. I anticipate that social media and survivor advocates will be scrutinizing this planned documentary very, *very* closely. And if it does not address carefully or completely enough the systems of abuse — and abuse of civic and church systems — in the Duggar family, and among the teachers and advocates who have enabled this, I expect there will be significant push-back on TLC and substantial critique that will take them to task and complete the documentation task for them.


  25. Yup, Julie Anne, I saw you’d posted that link on Facebook and skimmed through it. I almost commented here yesterday along the same lines as I did above.

    Basically, the moment I read the official TLC notice about their plans for a documentary, I knew they would (and should) get severe push-back if what they produce is viewed at any level as a “puff piece” that downplays: (1) their own apparent lack of due diligence along the way, (2) the severity of the damage caused by Josh Duggar regardless of his age and/or intent and/or supposed “repentance” process, (3) the apparent avoidance of civic responsibilities by the Duggars et al re: reporting the situation, and/or (4) the kinds of outside organizational support for the family’s response they received from Bill Gothard/IBLP, etc.

    So, I agree with Elizabeth Esther. TLC should not use the Duggar family situation *unless* they do so responsibly as an example of how NOT to do it.


  26. Thank you for posting the link to Elizabeth Esther’s article in Time. She nails it.

    I haven’t read her blog in a long time. I used to read it regularly, and gleaned so much helpful info from it. After reading the Time article, I checked her blog to see what new posts she had. These are too good not to share here:

    “On a personal note, the past few days have been very triggering and difficult for me. It’s absolutely crushing to see how many Christians do not take abuse seriously. I haven’t felt this discouraged about the state of Christianity since I left my childhood cult.”
    (I could really relate to that statement.)

    “This is a family so entrenched in the story they’ve told themselves that even if reality differs, the Duggars would rather see themselves as victims of persecution than admit something might be wrong with the story they’re telling.”

    “This is what you need to understand about Megyn Kelly’s interview with the Duggar girls: she wasn’t speaking with Jill & Jessa themselves; she was speaking with an ideology.

    Why? Because context is EVERYTHING. A free woman? Yes, she can speak for herself. But women inside families like the Duggars’ are not free. In that environment, everything a woman speaks has been pre-approved and vetted by the men in “authority” over her.

    From infancy, they are literally TRAINED to submit themselves to the “headship” and “authority” of men—first their fathers, then their husbands—because submitting to your father/husband is the same as submitting to God.”

    I am, personally, sickened that Jill and Jessa are being used to defend their family. They are continuing to be victimized by the ideology they have been trained in. They can say the things that their parents and Josh would say, but can’t without inviting scorn.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. From the Duggar’s statement:

    Over the last several years people have said to us, “We love your show!” We have always responded, “It’s not a show, it’s our lives!”

    Um, no, it’s a show. It doesn’t display your lives, but a highly scripted version thereof. That’s the nature of “reality” programming, and you two (Jim Bob and Michelle) know it.

    We look forward to working with TLC on this upcoming special documentary and hope that it is an encouragement to many.

    So do I. But if it contains nothing more than the usual nonsense from Gothard and the “christian” patrio-centrists, it’ll be an encouragement to abusers and enablers, and no one else.

    Thanks for linking to Elizabeth Esther’s article, JA. She makes a lot of sense.


  28. The disparities in outcomes in cases like these are truly mind boggling. I tried to advocate for a young man who did exactly what Josh Duggar did, grope a 4-5 year old female relative.

    The young man was brain damaged and suffering from a terminal illness. He was never left alone with children. He did this in full view of the child’s mother and other relatives. The police were called. Despite his brain damage, he was convicted of a felony. After he got out of prison, no one could find him a placement and the terms of his release prohibited him from returning home to his family.

    I thought I had found a good placement for him, a facility with a wing set up for people suffering from his disease. Unfortunately, they could not take him because of a new law designed to prevent prisons from dumping elderly but still dangerous offenders in nursing homes. His felony conviction was the sticking point. They said they could take him if we could get the felony conviction commuted. I tried but that can only be done through demonstrating rehabilitation.

    He was finally admitted to a facility that was not set up to care for his particular medical needs and he died shortly after admission, years before his illness would have killed him.

    So many people are defending Josh Duggar but when an article about this young man appeared in the newspaper, there was no sympathy for him, no Christians rushed to his defense. Instead commentators celebrated his death. I tried to educate people but his disease didn’t matter to them.

    His victim is just fine; the incident was brief, immediately stopped and she thought that her sick relative was inappropriately roughhousing with her. She has had counseling.

    I would appreciate prayers for this grieving family.


  29. @BTDT

    Sorry, but I think it’s a big mistake on TLC’s part to include the family that colluded to cover up sexual abuse in their midst along with victims’s rights organizations.

    But they’re the family with the CELEBRITY Name Recognition!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. @WitchHazel

    Wait, they say that JOSH has “overcome a terrible situation”?? What about the non-family victims??

    They don’t matter. They’re just girls.

    Josh matters because of what he has hanging between his legs.


  31. The Duggars are drop dead stupid for speaking about the matter, much less doing a documentary when civil litigation is a very good prospect. A documentary ?

    Jim-Bob used to be a Congressman and protege of one of God’s Anointed POTUS (who never can seem to get the nomination, much less into the White House), didn’t he? Maybe he’s counting on his Influence(TM) to keep him out of any trouble.


  32. Marsha,

    Thank-you for sharing that gut wrenching story… tears here, and will humbly bow at that old rugged cross and pray for that man’s family. May God be with this mourning family and also with you, Marsha. You were/are being the church.

    Liked by 1 person

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