It is well known by now that Jinger Duggar Vuolo has written a book highlighting her differences with Bill and is on an active interview schedule promoting that at the moment. We have ordered the book and will make further comments as appropriate.
We respect Jinger – and all of the siblings – for having endured both the fame and the shame of being a public part of a famous family, standing for the Lord and His standards in a godless day. Fame and success are never without their consequences, perhaps designed so by God to keep us humble. For their part the Duggars have been on the national stage for decades, honored and followed by many, publishing books, traveling the world. They have also endured the ridicule of many, a lightening rod for the hatred our generation has to standards that remind them of God and their responsibilities toward Him. The ongoing nightmare with their oldest brother Josh is well known, culminating in his recent conviction on child porn charges and a decade long sentence in prison.
Based on all that we know it appears the Jinger has herself suffered mentally and emotionally. After she married she became convinced that her troubles were due to Bill Gothard’s teachings and now is dishonoring him in public. She stopped just short of calling IBLP a “cult”, but apparently called him a “false prophet”. We are opening the discussion here without the benefit of the book in hand expecting that facts will clarify as we go.
Let’s talk about James. The Apostle James tells us that there will always be consequences that come with becoming a “public figure” in the church of God, let alone the world:
“My brethren, be not many masters [teacher, respected public persona], knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:1-2)
Two things are clear. First of all, being revered as someone to respect and listen to turns into greater scrutiny from others. “Greater condemnation” the old English says – greater tests, greater criticism, folks jumping on every transgression in dramatic and equally public ways. Then it is also clear that because we now represent our Lord before others, even greater and quicker reactions will come from Him for our “iniquities”, things in our live where we decide we know better than He does.
The second verse tells us that we ALL sin in many ways. For ordinary folks most of those transgressions produce a small ripple, things we can manage. Not so with public figures. Every misstep becomes somebody’s excuse for savage attacks, and the body and soul begin to suffer. For Jinger a part of this negative scrutiny had a worldwide network of fan-emies spinning up an active forum called, “Free Jinger”. For decades it followed her, and the rest of the family, seeking to tear down their aura of righteousness, attacking their standards.
That was difficult, on all of them, and for some reason Jinger got special attention. Winning the lottery makes for absolutely miserable people, often destroying them and their families. How much more so living in a fishbowl with many unfriendly eyes looking for any handhold to pull them down. I am amazed that they have held up as well as they have. Respect.
The third of our J’s is Job, a righteous, rich man that had to endure the abrupt removal of his entire wealth and family, saving his wife, and then his health to boot. His wife, the only one to escape, turned on him, and his close friends came to chew him out for clearly being a fake.
We know in hindsight that it was the public display of a public man of God by the Lord to prove that his character was real, not the result of things always going well for him. It remains that part of that trial was being forced to endure severe mental suffering as only the devil can instigate, fears, terrors, nightmares, likely debilitating depression in a day where there were no meds or therapists to help. In the end it was proven the accusations were all false and God gave him back double of everything He had allowed to be taken away.
Jinger has also suffered mentally, and apparently still deals with anxiety. There are many of us that can relate. One thing Job never did was blame God or anyone else as he sought to make sense of it.
“In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:22)
Therapists often seek a point of blame to provide relief, a moral high ground shedding the burden of personal responsibility. You source all of your troubles in a scapegoat, then you kill the scapegoat, and you move on with your life. Bill Gothard has become that scapegoat for many ex-ATI students seeking to cope with the stresses of their adult lives. It isn’t fair and carries its own set of God ordained consequences.
For his part we know that Bill stands ready to work through the concerns that Jinger has with him and what he has taught her and her family. In any manner that is fair and she is comfortable with. We can count on one hand the number of aggrieved individuals in the last decade willing to do what Scripture demands and go to him directly.
And for our part we hope to speak to those same issues, most if not all of which have already received their own OP over the years. May the Lord be honored in all. We know in the end, He wins. And anyone that loves and reverences Him, wins. May this turn to good for both Jinger and Bill.