The Duggars and Bill Gothard. Is God Cleaning the House?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
If you're not tired yet of reading hundreds of blog posts about the Duggars, here's another one.

I have thought long and hard about posting on this controversy on my personal blog. It is not easy for me to do that, but with all the news that has come out lately about the Duggar sexual molestation scandal I felt that I had a right to weigh in on this and voice my opinions, because even though I do not know the Duggar family personally, we have many mutual friends, because the Duggars and I have a mutual personal connection, and that connection is Bill Gothard.

I have waded through dozens of blog posts and news articles with varying opinions and some have made me want to stand up and cheer and applaud, and others have left me shaking my head and burying my face in my hands for shame.

I never thought the day would come where I would be thankful for whoever it is that chooses the television programmes for New Zealand, but for whatever reason 19 Kids and Counting is relatively unknown in this country, so I don't have to see it flash across my tv screen bringing with it the triggers of my experiences with the cult that the Duggars are in, nor specifically my experiences with the man who ran the cult. If you are not familiar with my story, here is the link again. Some of us even pleaded with the Duggar family to make a public statement about Bill Gothard.

I am not a teacher or a person who is a great studier. I don't spend hours and hours looking up Bible verses and figuring out the root meanings of the words, but since the beginning of all this controversy in the christian world - from Doug Phillips to Bill Gothard to the Duggar Family, I have had a deep belief that God is cleaning house. (1 Peter 4v17).

God is cleaning house.

I have always thought that the Duggars seemed like nice people. Misguided as we all were when we were involved in ATI and IBLP. Conned by what other people have termed the 'greatest threat to modern day christianity' - Patriarchy and fundamentalism. Bill Gothard and his powerful personality and persuasion. He influenced a whole generation of christians. He sounded good, it sounded right, but it wasn't. His version of God took us far, far away from the real God.

I have been stunned at how many christians are saying that what the Duggars are going through is persecution. Persecution! You are kidding me, right? Persecution is what the christians in Iraq are going through. Or the christians in North Korea. They are persecuted because they are christians. Not because they are sexual predators.

The Duggars brand of 'persecution' is self inflicted. They invited the media into their home. They've been in bed with publicity and television cameras and newspaper headlines for years. What is more astonishing is that they knew they had this skeleton in their family closet, and they still went ahead with the reality tv programme. Either they are incredibly naive, self-serving or they were ill-informed.

Many people say that the world is being hard on them because they are christians and they stood for what is right and moral and good. But many of these people don't understand that the brand of christianity that the Duggars follow is a performance brand. I know this because I worked for Bill Gothard for many years and followed the same brand. The basis of his teaching was that if you lived a certain way - that is, kept sin out as much as humanly possible, then God will bless you, your life will be successful and you will never have to deal with hard things, like sexual abuse in your family.

See how that worked out for the Duggars.

I imagine they were left reeling in shock when this happened to their family. Nobody wants that. So the Bill Gothard way is to try harder. Make the girls less tempting by covering up their bodies as much as possible. Side hugs only. No kissing. The list goes on and on. It's why they were so rigid with their courtship/dating stance. It's why they homeschool. It's why they have so many children. It's why the girls dress the way they do. Please God. Please God. Please God and He might not let anything bad happen. He will bless you.
A different God.

My heart breaks for those sweet, beautiful Duggar girls. I even had some sympathy for their brother, because I know what they have grown up in - repression and shame. They have not been allowed to grow and develop normally. Yes, our world is full of sin and evil, and yes, children should be sheltered when they are young, but christianity is not about hiding ourselves away from the world. We can't. We are in it. We are no different to any other person walking the face of this planet. The only difference is that we found Jesus who will cover our sins with His blood when we stand before God because we acknowledged our ability to be evil and we asked him to protect us from dying eternally because of it. That's it. That's all it is.

But my husband, who has worked with criminals for over 30 years in law enforcement, and many of those criminals are sex offenders, did not have much sympathy. It is not normal for a 14 year old boy to grope his sister. It's not even normal for him to do it once to one sister. But it seems this was done over a period of time and to at least five. It is normal for boys and girls to experiment, to be curious, but it is not normal for them to do what Josh Duggar did.

And what happened - he got shipped off to one of Bill Gothard's training centers, where he teaches that sometimes the victim is the one to blame.

What can we do about the Duggars?

I think it is a time for christians to show them love. To show them the real love of God. I think it is a time when we can reach out to them and say, 'hey, we love you, we are praying for you." This has to be a dreadful time for them. It will not hurt us to show compassion.

But it is also not a time to defend them, or to cry persecution.

It's a time to look inward. To our churches, to our belief structure, to find out if the God we have been following is the real God, or a man-made one. Is the basis of our faith one of performance or one of grace?

The conversation is healthy all while being heart-wrenching.

I do believe the time has come to clean up the house.


KRHarris said...

Well said, I do believe I understand what you are saying here but as a senior citizen who enjoyed my time in a Gothard seminar and loved the picture books for training my children at home I never saw him as some kind of God revealer. I did witness folks treat him as a super hero and found it curious. I just don't take people hook line and sinker.

I hope that your readers don't interpret your writing here as a curse from God because I certainly would be included in that house cleaning.....Lord please clean my house all you want. I guess I'm hearing a little too much judgement on 'the profits' of morality and guess what ..... they failed. So glad I'm not a public spectacle because I'd be in the news sooner rather than later probably.

These folks you've mentioned need serious adjustments and I'm glad they are getting the attention they deserve. As you say, our response should be one of prayer and caring.

I am just so blown away by each of these peoples herculean efforts to make a difference in the world for Christ. Yes, they stumbled and fell badly. And God is cleaning house....just like he does in mine when I get too haughty or prideful.

KRHarris said...

Oops, profits should be prophets

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