Joy-Anna Duggar & Austin Forsyth: Ties to Child Abuse Scandal Exposed

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Another scandal is rearing its ugly head for the Duggars.

This one, while widely overlooked by the media, could have lasting and far-reaching consequences for the entire family, as well.

Joy and Austin Forsyth

Newlyweds Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth have been linked to a couple with some very extreme views regarding child-rearing.

Specifically, the use of physical discipline to raise kids.

For those who aren't aware, Austin works for his parents, the proprietors of the Fort Rock Family Camp and Retreat Center.

And it seems that the Christian-centered Arkansas facility will be hosting two highly controversial guests later this year.

According to its website, Fort Rock will feature appearances by Michael and Debi Pearl in June, and again in October.

Joy-Anna Duggar Pregnancy Photo

The couple travels the country offering seminars on child-rearing, and their vocal critics accuse them of encouraging abuse.

The Pearls advise followers to strike children as young as six months old with switches in order to foster a disciplinary environment.

Needless to say, using a switch (a strong but flexible rod of varying materials) in corporal punishment has long been controversial.

The Pearls go into great detail regarding the materials and dimensions of said switches, designed to be painful and durable.

Advising parents to discipline their offspring with a quarter-inch flexible plumbing line, they know of what they speak.

Joy Forsyth

In cases in which plumbing line is not available, the Pearls offer alternatives that are also less likely to cause visible bruising and scarring.

But their controversial teachings have yielded horrific and tragic results, according to those most critical of the methodology.

In 2011, the Pearls' controversial book To Train Up A Child was found in the homes of three separate victims who died from child abuse.

For obvious reasons, Duggar fans are not thrilled that Joy-Anna, who's currently pregnant with her first child, has been tied to the Pearls.

Even compared to Michelle Duggar's blanket training practices, this sounds like an awfully hard-line approach.


But at the same time, it doesn't look like her in-laws will be removing the Pearls from their appearance schedule anytime soon.

According to a description on the Fort Rock website lauds the authors of "books such as To Train Up a Child, Created to Be His Help-Meet, and Jumping Ship."

“Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries are nationally renowned ‘practical family-living’ teachers," the site continues.

“This dynamic couple has dedicated their lives to educating families on basic principles of cultivating Godly relationships within the family."

The self-stated goal of this educational outreach is "so that their relationships with God and others can be infinitely more fruitful.”

Joy-Anna Duggar Wedding Photo

Doesn't sound like they're trying to downplay this at all. On the contrary, in fact. They're promoting it publicly and with pride.

When Joy-Anna and Austin got married back in May of 2017, not that much was known about the family she was marrying into.

Insiders close to them claimed, however, the Forsyths were every bit as extreme in their views as the Duggars, if not more so.

That sounded like a stretch, but apparently wasn't.

Now, it looks as though that may have been a massive understatement, as their family business comes under heavy scrutiny.

In 2009, when Austin Forsyth was 15, he starred alongside his parents and sister Meagan on Season 1 of CMT’s World’s Strictest Parents.

Yes, that was actually a thing and they were on it.

Pretty much what it sounds like, World’s Strictest Parents matched troubled teens with strict parents in hopes of turning their lives around.

Whether it achieved that goal or not is unclear.

What is clear is the insight it provided into Austin’s family and their rigid belief system, which, as we said, rivals Joy's and then some.

The Forsyths strongly emphasize modesty, homeschooling and staying “pure” until marriage ... not unlike the Duggars to say the least.

Suffice it to say ... premarital sex is not allowed.

In one scene during their first brush with reality TV fame, a Sunday school lesson featured the Forsyths' learning about dating.

Specifically, the dangers of dating. The perils.

This process, according to the family, “leads to divorce.” Not even the Duggars use wording quite that strong to our knowledge.

Long story short, these are some seriously regimented folks who adhere to their controversial belief systems at any cost.

It's no wonder that Joy-Anna's courtship rules were thought to be the family's strictest ever ... or that the couple rebelled.

As always, you can sound off in the comments and watch Counting On online for more from TLC's lightning rod of a family.

They certainly give us a lot to discuss.

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