If you’re at all familiar with the Duggar family, then you’re no doubt aware that the Counting On clan is as well-known for its strict religious beliefs as for the massive size of Jim Bob and Michelle’s brood.
However, you may not be familiar with the specifics of the Duggars’ controversial belief system.
The enormity of the family and the particulars of its members’ worldview are not unrelated, of course, as the Duggars belong to a controversial non-denominational organization that encourages its followers to have as many children as physically possible.
But the bizarre and often dangerous teachings of the Quiverfull movement don’t stop there.
In the gallery below, we’ll explore the movement that informs so many of the Duggars deeply-held convictions.
Even if you count yourself among the diehard Duggar faithful, you may be surprised to learn exactly what drives reality TV’s most controversial family.
A Quiverfull of Duggars
Many of the Duggars’ beliefs derive from the teachings of Bill Gothard, a disgraced and highly controversial minister who teaches, among other things, that it is the duty of all Christians to marry young produce as many offspring as possible.
Bill Gothard: Guru of the Duggars
To say that Bill Gothard, founder of the Quiverfull movement and the affiliated Advanced Training Institute, is a controversial figure would be a massive understatement. Gothard is currently in hiding following a number of high-profile sexual assault allegations.
The IBLP: Condoning Abuse Since 1961
The first of Gothard’s many off-shoot organizations (like any conman worth his salt, Gothard knows when it’s time to abandon one shadowy venture for the next), the Institute in Basic Life Principles was founded in 1961 as a tax-exempt umbrella conglomerate for several ministries.
And Just What Does the IBLP/ATI Teach?
The Duggar children were all homeschooled using materials and curricula provided by the ATI. The recently revealed contents of said materials shocked many fans who thought they were familiar with the Duggars’ beliefs.
Biblical Life Principles
Not surprisingly, the ATI materials emphasize “biblical life principles.” This means that children are taught from a young age that whether the subject is history, math, science or language, the Bible is the only text you need.
What That Really Means
The idea of teaching a child geography from a several-thousand-year-old text written by people who weren’t aware of the existence of other continents is troubling enough, but it gets worse, as the ATI materials actually convey that it’s Gothard, not God, who serves as the ultimate authority and has the final word.