Regret Is Better Than Not Living

CC image courtesy of Flickr, Chris Chabot.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog, Love, Joy, Feminism. It was originally published on November 17, 2015.

Over and over and over again as a girl, I was taught that marrying through a parent-guided courtship would mean I wouldn’t have any regrets. My mom used to talk about her past relationships, before she met my dad, with a great deal of regret. She wished she hadn’t done things she did and dated the people she did. She regretted it, she would tell me, and she wanted to save me from having regrets of my own. And the magic relationship secret that would save a couple from having any regrets was simple—courtship.

Check out this paragraph from the Duggar’s 7 Rules of Courtship:

The Duggars ask their daughters and their beaus to set their own boundaries on the physical side, and to share those boundaries with them. In Jessa and Ben’s case, the couple decided to give each other hugs when they are greeting or saying goodbye, or posing for a picture. “But they have committed to waiting for the first kiss till marriage,” Jim Bob says. They will also wait until they are engaged before they hold hands. “We believe it’s best for them to save the physical part for marriage,” says Michelle. “That way there’s no regrets.”

But today, I’m noticing a bit of a pattern. Last month someone posted in a homeschool alumni group I’m in about regrets she had about her courtship, and I watched, fascinating, as one after another hopped on to share their own regrets. They wished they’d just kissed and had done with it, that they had been allowed genuine privacy, that they hadn’t waited until marriage to have sex. Yes really—I’ve spoken with scads of homeschool alumni who regret waiting until marriage to have sex. Even those who don’t regret that in particular often regret other facets of their courtship experience.

It turns out that saving sex for marriage does not mean you will have no regrets. It turns out that going through a courtship process doesn’t mean you will have no regrets. It turns out that there is no perfect formula for having no regrets.

My own courtship was incomplete, in a sense, because I jumped ship and refused to follow the rules halfway through. Still, the things I regret have nothing to do with the parts where I deviated from the courtship model and everything to do with the parts where I followed the courtship model. I regret that I didn’t date before meeting my husband. I regret that I made our relationship so serious so quickly. I regret that I was so afraid of physical contact for so long. I regret that I gave my husband a hard time about having previous girlfriends. I regret that I made such a huge deal out of everything.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely glad I married my husband. I simply wish our getting-to-know-you period had been less fraught. I wish we’d simply dated. I regret courting. And you know what? That’s something that wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. Still, I’m lucky. I know others who courted and went on to divorce. They explain that courtship made things too serious too fast, that courtship prevented them from actually getting to know each other by denying them privacy, etc. Courtship became a regret they had to figure out how to undo.

For some, the regret is parental control. This, from Melissa:

Actually I can’t think of a single benefit from the parental control and pressure we had throughout our relationship. Even after we were married, it took several years for us to truly “leave and cleave”. We had never been allowed to be our own persons, and old habits died very hard. We would consult our parents and make decisions (trivial or important) based on what they told us. Eventually we progressed to where we would make our own decisions and fret about how to tell our parents what we had decided. It took four years to get to the point that we made decisions and didn’t bother to tell them at all!

For others, the regret is the overthinking. This, from Hannah Ettinger:

I missed a lot of the joy in various “firsts” because I was so busy over-thinking everything and tense and afraid of doing the wrong thing. And that’s just silly. Dating is supposed to be about learning, not getting everything right the first time.

I love Hannah’s point about dating being about learning, rather than about getting everything right the first time, because it brings me to a problem I have with the entire conversation surrounding courtship—regret is not a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, regret is an unpleasant emotion. Still, regret is how we learn.

Take parenting as an example. There are times when, as a parent, I make a mistake and regret it—but those experiences are learning experiences. I learn, over time, how to interact with my children in positive ways—how to best deescalate conflict with this one, how to best explain a change in plans with that one—but learning cannot take place without mistakes, and mistakes mean regret. Sure, I can read parenting books and child development manuals and try to get things right the first time, but my children are individuals and I am an individual and we have our own quirks. There is no failsafe way to parent without regretting something at some point.

Now yes, you say, but what about regret in big areas—areas you can’t just fix? That’s how my parents viewed premarital sex, or dating—these were regrets, they believed, that would damage your whole life. They weren’t just things you could learn from and move on. The trouble is that here, as I pointed out, regrets can go both ways. Some may regret having premarital sex, but others will regret not having premarital sex. The same is true in other areas—you may regret not buying that house you saw when it was on the market, but if you’d bought it you might have eventually come to regret buying it.

Regret is a part of life. If we spend our entire lives fleeing it, we’re not truly living. We shouldn’t center our approach to relationships around never regretting anything. There’s no failsafe way to do that, and focusing on it like a laser is stress inducing. Instead of centering decisions on avoiding regret, we would be better off focusing on healthy relationship skills, informed choices, and tools for recognizing and avoiding abusive partners and relationship patterns. And, too, we need to give our young people tools for handling regret.

Regret is better than not living to begin with.

Sex Abuse Victim Allegedly Filing Lawsuit Against Josh Duggar

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

By now, nearly everyone with access to the Internet has likely heard of the Duggar family tragedy. At least five young girls were allegedly molested by Josh Duggar, the oldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting. The family waited several years to report the crimes. When they finally did so, they only told a police officer who was a family friend, who himself was later convicted of child pornography.

A new report today by InTouch Weekly reveals that one of Josh Duggar’s alleged victims is preparing to file a lawsuit against him. The report says,

A non-Duggar family molestation victim is preparing to file a civil suit against Josh Duggar, sources tell In Touch magazine exclusively in the new issue on newsstands today.

The shocking development means that Josh and his parents Jim Bob and Michelle could be forced to give depositions and testify about Josh’s molestation scandal. The Duggars likely will have to answer every question as they will not be able to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because the criminal statute of limitations has expired.

While I would not normally feel comfortable citing from a gossip magazine, InTouch Weekly has led the investigative journalism charge on the Duggar tragedy. The information they have uncovered on this issue has thus far been credible.

For further reading:

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar Reverse Decision, Withdraw from Homeschool Conference

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

This evening, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar reversed their commitment from earlier today and withdrew from speaking at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family.

The Super Conference is a homeschool conference put on by the Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC), the largest statewide homeschool organization in Colorado (reaching over 10,000 families). Earlier in the day, the CHEC board announced that Jim Bob and Michelle would not be withdrawing from the conference despite recent revelations concerning their troubling handling of child sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by their son, Josh Duggar. The board issued a public statement that said, “Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be joining us on Friday evening of the conference. They humbly desire that the evening be focused on how the Gospel has penetrated their lives and given them hope in the trials that Christian families face.” You can view the CHEC board’s original statement here.

Tonight, however, the CHEC board revised their statement and informed conference goers that the Duggars had withdrawn due to “recent and increased attacks and pressure on the family.” You can view the new statement as an archived PDF here. An image and full text follow:

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Text is,

A Note from the CHEC Board on the Duggars

Updated statement as of Wednesday, 5/10/15 at 7:15 pm

By God’s Providence, CHEC just received word that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have decided not to come and address the 2015 Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family. This latest change comes in light of recent and increased attacks and pressure on the family.  They have graciously requested to withdraw entirely from speaking at this year’s conference and therefore will not be appearing at the Friday evening event on June 19th.

We thank you for your patience as we have interacted closely with Jim Bob the last several days.  Please be in prayer for the Duggar family during this difficult time.Thank you for your support of CHEC and the Rocky Mountain Super Conference.

The CHEC Board of Directors

About CHEC and the Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family

CHEC was founded in 1990 by Kevin Lundberg, who is currently a Republican Senator for the state and most known for his opposition to IUDs. Lundberg was replaced as CHEC director in 1999 by Kevin Swanson (now the director of CHEC’s radio program Generations Radio), whose hyperbolic rants against homeschool alumniGirl Scout cookiesTaylor Swift’s “demon songs”, and Disney’s “Frozen” are well-documented by Homeschoolers Anonymous and Right Wing Watch. CHEC organized the 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit, where Swanson, late HSLDA attorney Chris Klicka, and male supremacy advocates like Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham called for abolishing child protection services. CHEC is also known as the homeschool organization from which mass shooter Matthew Murray graduated.

According to their website, CHEC’s upcoming Super Conference on the Family “will explore ways to build stronger families, churches, and governments through SERVANT LEADERSHIP.” The conference features educational tracks on homeschooling, leadership, Christian worldview studies, relationships, and Christian discipleship. It is being held next week, June 18-20, 2015, at the Denver Mart in Denver, Colorado. In addition to the Duggars, conference speakers include R.C. Sproul, Jr. (a defrocked pastor who advocates extreme patriarchy), S.M. Davis (speaker and writer for Bill Gothard’s IBLP and ATI programs), and others.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to Speak Next Week at Homeschool Conference

UPDATE, 8 PM PACFIC: The Duggars have now withdrawn from the conference. Read more here.

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Despite recent revelations concerning their troubling handling of child sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by their son, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be speaking next week at the Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family.

The Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family is a Christian homeschool conference organized by the Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC), the largest statewide homeschool organization in Colorado (reaching over 10,000 families). CHEC was founded in 1990 by Kevin Lundberg, who is currently a Republican Senator for the state and most known for his opposition to IUDs. Lundberg was replaced as CHEC director in 1999 by Kevin Swanson (now the director of CHEC’s radio program Generations Radio), whose hyperbolic rants against homeschool alumni, Girl Scout cookies, Taylor Swift’s “demon songs”, and Disney’s “Frozen” are well-documented by Homeschoolers Anonymous and Right Wing Watch. CHEC organized the 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit, where Swanson, late HSLDA attorney Chris Klicka, and male supremacy advocates like Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham called for abolishing child protection services. CHEC is also known as the homeschool organization from which mass shooter Matthew Murray graduated.

According to their website, CHEC’s upcoming Super Conference on the Family “will explore ways to build stronger families, churches, and governments through SERVANT LEADERSHIP.” The conference features educational tracks on homeschooling, leadership, Christian worldview studies, relationships, and Christian discipleship. It is being held next week, June 18-20, 2015, at the Denver Mart in Denver, Colorado. In addition to the Duggars, conference speakers include R.C. Sproul, Jr. (a defrocked pastor who advocates extreme patriarchy), S.M. Davis (speaker and writer for Bill Gothard’s IBLP and ATI programs), and others.

Prior to the sexual abuse revelations, the Super Conference web site had highlighted the Duggars as special conference guests. Their web site said,

Friday Evening with the Duggars

Join us on Friday, June 19th, at 7:00 pm for a special evening with the Duggars . Come and hear a presentation with Jim Bob and Michelle. Entry is free with a full conference pass, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is limited. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Although this is a first-come, first-served event, please indicate on your registration how many from your party will be attending this event.

And they featured an image of Jim Bob and Michelle prominently on the web site:

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.42.21 PM

After the allegations several weeks ago that the Duggar family’s oldest son, Josh Duggar, had sexually abused five young girls when he was a teenager and Jim Bob and Michelle possibly violated state law by taking over a year to report the abuse to the authorities, many people speculated whether CHEC would withdraw its invitation to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. However, in a recent radio program, Kevin Swanson (director of CHEC’s ministry Generations With Vision) said CHEC would wait to see what Jim Bob and Michelle wanted to do. Swanson made clear CHEC would not be withdrawing their invitation.

Today, the CHEC board announced that Jim Bob and Michelle will not be withdrawing from the conference. Rather, they will be continue as the Super Conference’s special evening guests. The CHEC board statement states that, “Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be joining us on Friday evening of the conference. They humbly desire that the evening be focused on how the Gospel has penetrated their lives and given them hope in the trials that Christian families face.”

You can view the CHEC board statement as an archived PDF here. An image and full text follow:

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 12.37.16 PM

Text is,

A Note from the CHEC Board on the Duggars

We have confirmed that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be joining us on Friday evening of the conference.  They humbly desire that the evening be focused on how the Gospel has penetrated their lives and given them hope in the trials that Christian families face.  We anticipate an evening of reflecting upon the repentance, forgiveness, and healing that Jesus brings as we walk meekly before Him – even through the tough times.

Given the recent events in their lives, Jim Bob and Michelle asked that Friday evening be the only time that they speak at the 2015 conference. They also decided that it would be best for their children not to attend.

The event is included in full conference registration, and we encourage families to come hear this powerful testimony of the gospel’s work in our lives, but all attendees must be registered* for the 2015 Rocky Mountain Super Conference on the Family to attend.  (This includes grandparents and children attending with your full conference pass.)  Register online here.

Seating is limited, and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The evening session starts at 7:00 p.m.; doors open at 6:00 p.m.  We are anticipating a full house, so please plan on arriving early!

The CHEC Board of Directors

This statement by CHEC coincides today with the revelation by In Touch Weekly that the Duggar family is now under investigation by the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Police were called when the family refused to cooperate with the investigation.

11 Homeschool Celebrities Explained With GIFs

By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Homeschool celebrities.

They run our lobbying organizations, write our books, and garner all our blog views. Our parents thought they were God’s messengers and we thought we should keep our thoughts to ourselves. Now that we’re grown, our perspectives have changed a bit. So we think it’s worthwhile to look at 11 current and former homeschool celebrities — and explain them using gifs.

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1. Michael and Debi Pearl

The Pearls have a unique approach to communicating the love of Jesus to children. It goes something like this:

love

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2. Doug Phillips

Last year Doug Phillips realized his most Hazardous Journey wasn’t a vacation. It was the public backlash against revelations that he had an extramarital relationship with a woman that involved — well, we weren’t sure exactly what it involved.

When Phillips first admitted infidelity, he spun it as just some species of “emotional fornication” or something:

phillipspre

But then it came out that, no, the relationship wasn’t just “inappropriately romantic and affectionate,” as he originally stated. The “relationship” was Doug Phillips repeatedly sexually abusing a young woman. As far as his original statement went, Phillips was suddenly like:

phillips

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3. Bill Gothard

Bill Gothard, like Doug Phillips, has discovered that sexually abusing young people doesn’t make you popular. However, unlike Phillips, Gothard faces over 30 individuals accusing him of abuse. At this point his attempts to explain his situation are sounding like this:

jennifer-lawrence-gif-2

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4. James and Stacy McDonald

As the media and homeschoolers are circling the wagons around Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips, their former fans with crushes on Patriarchy are doing everything possible to now hide that fact. People like James and Stacy McDonald are pulling previously written posts and urging Patriarchy advocates to change the words they use. The McDonalds’ response here boils down to:

“No Patriarchy to see here. Move along!”

1d38007b_tumblr_lh52r8FFry1qhwx3io1_500

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5. Doug Wilson

Then of course there’s Doug Wilson. When he’s not too busy with obsessing over the latest blog post by Rachel Held Evans, Wilson is fighting the biggest threat Western Civilization has ever faced: women playing unladylike basketball.

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6. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have a TV show. The plot of that TV show can be described by staring at this gif for approximately 19 seconds… and counting…

duggar

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7. Ken Ham

No homeschool celebrity list would be complete without a shout-out to Ken Ham. If you find it somewhat difficult to believe Adam and Eve enjoyed candlelight dinners on the backs of dinosaurs while trying to avoid talking snakes, well, Ken Ham has one message for you:

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8. Kevin Swanson

Kevin Swanson is like the Drunk Uncle of Christian homeschooling. From defending child marriage, comparing child abuse to “dead little bunnies,” warning people Frozen is Satan’s attempt to indoctrinate children into “the lifestyle of sodomy,” to his actual statement that “There’s a contrast between the feces-eaters and the church,” sometimes we wonder if he rocks himself to sleep at night screaming,

swanson

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9. Mary Pride

Mary Pride found her way home in 1985. It involved outbreeding non-Christians and calling children “the new n*****s.” When it comes to people and organizations working tirelessly to protect children from abuse, Pride is all,

pride

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10. Michael Farris

In the midst of all the drama in the homeschooling world, Michael Farris stands in the foreground leading the charge against Obama, Common Core, and the not-Nazi Germans who hate homeschooling as much as he loves freedom. And Michael Farris loves his freedom:

freedom

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11. Matt Walsh

Ah yes. Finally, there’s Matt Walsh:

loud-noises

The Duggars Are Not Crazy

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Lana Hope’s blog Wide Open Ground. It was originally published on September 21, 2013.

After I heard that Jessa Duggar is now courting, I’ve struggled to find words. In a way, I’m happy for her. In a way, I’m always sad to see my peers trapped in patriarchy. But in the midst of those emotions, I don’t have anything to say to Jessa. This is her life, not a cartoon on TV.  I do, however, have something to say to all her harsh critics — all the critics who mock her family, her critics who say that the Duggars are just crazy.  I wish to say this:

People don’t necessarily go into Christian fundamentalism because they are crazy.  (Note: I’m not denying that there are mentally crazy fundamental families. I am, however, saying that there are plenty of fundamental families who are not crazy.)

Before I write more, I want to clarify that I grew up in homeschool fundamentalism. I know what it’s like to wear dresses all the time and never go to school or have any friends outside fundamentalism. And I know what it’s like to only listen to classical music and hymns and wear awkward bathing suits no one else wears. Of course, I don’t know what it’s like to stay in fundamentalism because I rebelled against it a long time ago. I also don’t know what it’s like to be on TV, or have 18 siblings. But I understand Jessa’s world a lot more than I understand the world of someone who grew up in public school. As at least a half-way insider, let me say this.

People don’t necessarily go into fundamentalism because they are crazy.

Many fundamentalists are seekers.

My parents were seekers. That’s why we attended the ATI conferences. My parents wanted freedom from their flesh patterns, they wanted to raise children who  grew up to know the Lord, and they wanted to find God’s presence. Fundamentalism not only promised these things, but also, and most importantly, fundamentalism handed them the tools to do it.

Our methods may sound crazy to an outsider, but they were tools that were coherent to us, and they were tools that appealed intellectually as well.

In other ways, we were just victims of spiritual abuse. My mom started homeschooling me for purely an academic reason. Somehow through a lot of peer pressure my parents were still members of the same homeschool group nearly 20 years later and had grown to adopt a lot conservative beliefs.

But my parents did not stay in homeschooling because they were crazy. (Also, my dad is not very controlling. We did gender roles only because that was part of the formula.)

In fact, the reason that Christian fundamentalism concerns me is that it is attractive, that it has something to offer a modernist world, that it has a place for truth seekers. Fundamentalism concerns me precisely because it offers a bunch of goods that are, actually, attractive.

  • Fundamentalism gives a wife and mom and reason to live.
  • Fundamentalism offers relief from a world full of media (no TV and gaming) in place of good books
  • Fundamentalism offers family connection via Bible studies and hospitality
  • Homeschooling offers extra time with the kids
  • Homeschooling offers family bonding and values
  • Homeschooling offers life beyond just careers, into what even secularists value most of all: family
  • Homeschooling comes with a built-in community
  • Patriarchalism releases at least one gender from the corporate box
  • Courtship is a network, a way to meet other family people

In a way, these were all values that I grew up around and just took for granted.

A few years ago one of my friends had a birthday party, and he invited all the homeschool families he knew to his party. It may seem odd to an outsider to have young children at his 20th birthday party, but it was not the least bit weird to me (parties with my family are the same way; there were as many kids under 13 at my 18th birthday party as there were teens). But after an entire evening of playing board games with people of all ages, washing dishes together, and praying for each other, one of my public school friends (the only person who had attended public school at the party) said to me, “That was so much fun. I never experienced this in my life.” She explained that she never had an evening playing board games with children of all ages. In fact, she never went to someone’s house and had them pray for her either. It was foreign to her, but she liked it.

Fundamentalism offers that kind of community. Yes, the community creates pain and breaks sometimes, but it’s still community that often attracts people to fundamentalism.  I was looking through photos of my teen years earlier this week, and every photo of me has a child in the picture. Our community valued children.

The other end of fundamentalism has been a lot of pain: a lot of guilt over purity culture, a lot of culture shock, a lot of shame from never living up to expectations. The purity culture and anti-feminist culture let me down. It didn’t keep its promise. In the end, it didn’t make us closer together as a family, and it didn’t make us better than secular families. I’m not defending fundamentalism, except to say this.

Quit saying fundies are just crazy-no-brainers while secularists are enlightened and free thinkers.

In a way my parents were free thinkers too, forging new paths different than their families. In a way they were buffalo falling off the cliff.  I see a lot of both of these characteristics in all people because we all live in the tension of trying to be our own subject (Satre) and trying to fit in. That’s a human condition. Hegel said it before we had Christian fundamentalism. Before we point too quickly and call others crazy, we need to look at the log in our own eyes.

I also recommend reading Roland Barthes’ Mythologies for the real scoop about why there is no pure social identity.

Duggars, Truman Show, and Entertainment

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Lana’s blog Wide Open Ground. It was originally published on June 16, 2013.

The Truman Show is one of my favorite movies because the whole world just sits in their tubs, in their cafes, and in their homes watching a man growing up in a bubble. Truman is owned by a corporation; he is the star of a movie show, only he has no idea. The movie set is his reality. It’s all he knows.

By working for the movie set, everyone (except the girl to leak out the truth) on the movie set betrays him, but in a sense, so has the whole world betrayed him. They sit there and watch, all at their own entertainment.

I grew up without TV, and almost no movies, and honestly, I do not feel I missed out on much. The idea of making nightly news and violent films entertainment makes my skin crawl. This does not mean my parents did not take this a bit extreme – perhaps so – but I do find American TV lacking in clear boundaries.

One of those boundaries is the show 19 Kids and CountingI met the Duggar kids the first time at an ATI homeschool conference when there were less than 10 kids – back in mid 90s. At that time, our lives were not much different. We wore jumpers. They wore jumpers. We homeschooled. They homeschooled. We did character training books. They did character training books. Our ATI conference was an exciting time because I met boys and girls from all around the US who grew up like me. It thrilled me.

Like Truman, the homeschool fundamental world was our reality. Most people in America lived radically different lives while we did natural medicine, made our food from scratch, and studied law and medicine in third grade. Our reality was so odd. It was not fake. I was there. It was real. But to the outsider, it might feel like a movie set.

The thing is – the Duggar’s TV show turned the Quiverfull lifestyle into some kind of Truman Show. You know the plot: crazy parents have 15 too many kids, make potty training into a self-control game, and believe in Young Earth Creationism. It’s entertainment. My uncle said it is a great show, my friends from college said it was a great show, and pretty much my whole town talked about the Duggar family. My college professors would tell me, “Did you hear the Duggar family is coming to our town next week?” And I would try to plug my ears and not listen.

I never laugh, and I don’t think the show is funny.

On the opposite end we have people like Doug Philips of Vision Forum who gave Michelle Duggar the “Mother of the year award” for bringing her family into the public light and sharing the joys of motherhood in front of millions. Recently the Duggars themselves echoed that the show exists to share their faith with the world. (Thanks Ahab for sharing the link.)

The Duggars got their first taste of the spotlight when Jim Bob was running for the U.S. Senate in 2002 after serving three years in the Arkansas House of Representatives. That year, the whole family went out to the polls on election night. Michelle, who homeschools the children, was using the opportunity as a lesson in civics.

Jim Bob lost the election, but a photographer snapped a photo of the family that ended up in the New York Times.A freelance writer for Parents Magazine spotted the photo, which led to a feature article in the publication. A documentary request from Discovery Health Channel followed, and later, the reality show on TLC.

Each step of the way, Jim Bob and Michelle prayed, asking God whether they should accept the publicity. They kept sensing a call to use their newfound platform to share their faith.

“We said, ‘We’ll do it as long as you don’t edit out our faith, because our faith is the core of our life,’” said Michelle Duggar.

More than ten years and 11 television seasons later, the Duggars continue to stay true to their faith, viewing their time in the spotlight as a divine appointment.

I am totally okay with free speech, and people using media to share their faith and perspectives. But I gotta say, these poor Duggar kids. They are props, and if these kids ever want to leave the Quiverfull-Christian-Patriarchy-Fundamental-Homeschool lifestyle like I did, they will do so with the whole world on their faces.

The parents were wrong. So was the TV show for coming up with the dumb idea.

But back to the Truman Show, I also put part of the blame on the American people for making spiritual abuse nightly entertainment. I grew up in the same program, remember. I memorized the same character qualities and went to the same homeschool conferences. Sure we had way more fewer kids, but I still remember what it was like. I remember what it was like when our ATI teacher told all the girls in my small group that we better never ask again to go rock climbing with the boys, or they would tell our fathers. I remember when ATI told us kids that rock music was from the devil after they had us sew a quilt in different groups (some of us with no music, some with classical, and others with beat music). (The Duggar girls would have been in the same room with me that day.) I remember when the children’s program asked us to promise to be more attentive, and I was the only person in the room who would not raise my hand and promise because I was tired of failing at the character traits.

I kind of remember a lot.

So the Duggars are not entertainment to me. Instead the show rather triggers me.

All I can see is people sititng in their bathtubs, their cafe’s and their couches —  just like the Truman Show fans – while the daughters and sons suffer from rigid rules and legalism.

I’ve been out of the country for three years, so perhaps the show is dying off at this point. Perhaps I have nothing to fear anymore. But I do find it sickening that the Duggars were ever brought to reality TV. It’s okay to study the Quiverfull faith movement and watch a few episodes to learn a bit. But I think there’s a lot more bathtub-cafe-couch watchers than we care to admit.

I recommend turning off the TV.