The Duggars are controversial about so much more than just that they have a whole lot of kids. They have many controversial beliefs about women, children, faith, homeschooling, and society. Oh, and pants.
Though the Duggars are famous, they're not the only members of their congregation. They're not the only believers in the Institute in Basic Life Principles.
Well one member of the Duggar family is finally speaking out against the IBLP. And she's not mincing words.
Amy Duggar, the Duggar cousin who's taken steps to escape the almost feudal culture in which she was raised, tweeted:
"I have to be honest, and true to myself by tweeting this."
That's a good mindset for tweeting.
"I do not support Bill Gothard and the Institute of Biblical [sic] Life Principles in any way, shape, or form."
That's a powerful statement.
"I find his ‘teachings’ extremely questionable."
Amy is not the only one. Not by a long shot.
Bill Gothard is the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles. For years, the now-disgraced minister instructed the Duggars in matters of faith.
Remember how Josh Duggar got his totally legit "counseling" from Bill Gothard after, infamously, Josh molested a number of young girls, including several of his own sisters?
Well, Bill Gothard stepped down from his position at the IBLP in 2014 after multiple accusations of sexual harassment.
Oh, and molestation.
It sounds like he's not the best guy to let around your kids, but also not the best guy to try to talk to Josh about Josh's own terrible crimes.
Amy Duggar then goes on to clarify what she believes.
"I am a Christian."
That shouldn't be a shocker to anyone.
"I believe in God’s good Grace and freedom to be ourselves!"
That's a huge part of what many Christians consider to believe the message of the gospel and the teachings of the New Testament.
"God gave us emotions, personalities, and He wants us to live our best life."
Finally, she adds: "Legalism is the opposite of what my Bible teaches."
Legalism, by the way, is when Christian fundamentalists place the Old Testament teachings referred to as the Law of Moses in a higher position than gospel teachings, requiring adherents to follow strict guidelines in how they live their lives.
And, specifically, legalism is the term applied to beliefs that place obedience to strict laws regarding lifestyle as seemingly more important than the usual accept-Jesus-as-your-savior method of attaining salvation described in the New Testament.
So, if her focus is on the New Testament (which, though I'm not going to tell anyone how to practice their faith, makes sense coming from a Christian), then yeah, legalism is the opposite of everything her beliefs stand for.
It ties into that Jeremy Vuolo quote about how he doesn't believe that God saves people's souls in order to make them wear skirts.
InTouch Weekly interviewed a former IBLP member, Rebecca Ishum, who describes exactly what it's like within that fringe organization.
"I was conditioned to believe anything that anyone in authority told me without question."
Scary, but standard for fringe organizations often characterized as cults.
"Because of that, I internalized all of the teachings and brought them back home with me. So, for example, there are a lot of physical requirements with IBLP."
Most religious folks would say that that spiritual requirements are the priority, but it's not so for IBLP.
"The physical requirements weren’t enforced to that degree at home (I wore shorts as a kid), but by the time I got home from my time in the training center, I was wearing skirts all of the time because I had been told that I was immodest otherwise, and I didn’t want to cause myself to be raped."
"There is a lot of victim- and women-blaming in that cult."
We're glad that Amy Duggar got out and is living her best life, especially after her rough childhood. We just wish that we could say the same for literally every other Duggar daughter trapped in this dangerous cult, most of the sons, and every other member of the IBLP.