Duggar Family: Under Fire For Condoning Child Abuse

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When Joy-Anna Duggar married Austin Forsyth back in May, very little was known about Austin's family.

Duggar obsessives did some digging - as they're wont to do - and for the most part, what they found was not surprising.

Joy-Anna, Austin, Jim Bob and Michelle

As is the case with most Duggar in-laws, Austin comes from a family that's very similar to the one he married into.

Like Jim Bob and Michelle, Austin's parents are deeply religious and extremely conservative.

And the similarities don't end there.

Both families subscribe to some esoteric and highly controversial beliefs, including the conviction that it's their God-given duty to have as many children as possible - and to raise those children in an extremely strict fashion.

Over the years, the Duggars have been chastised for their support of parenting techniques that have been derided as violent and barbaric.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Kitchen Hug

Many of their more controversial practices come from a scandalous parenting guide by authors Michael and Debi Pearl, entitled To Train Up a Child.

In addition to their support for "blanket training" and other forms of harsh corporal punishment adopted by the Duggars, the Pearls advocate other techniques that many regard as abusive, including using forced "fasting" as a means of punishment:

“A little fasting is good training,” the book reads.

“If you get a child who is particularly finicky and only eats a limited diet, then feed him mainly what he doesn’t like until he likes it.”

Within a year of the book's publication, copies of To Train Up a Child were found in the homes of three different who died from child abuse.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar: NOT Divorced!

Needless to say, unlike the time Jessa Duggar put a tortilla on her son's head, this is a serious matter, and outrage from Duggar fans is fully warranted.

Perhaps that's why the Duggars distanced themselves from the Pearl's teachings - until recently.

As Counting On viewers are aware, the Forsyths own a campground in rural Arkansas that caters to families and religious groups.

Next month, the camp will host the annual Big Sandy Family Conference, a massive gathering of fundamentalist Christian families.

“Whether making new friendships with other families or rekindling relationships from previous years, the conference is an annual highlight for many,” reads an advertisement on the Forsyth's website.

Jim Bob and Michelle Today

It all sounds innocent enough, but as many fans have noticed, the conference will feature appearances by Jim Bob and Michelle - as well as the Pearls.

“The Duggars humbly share their joys and trials, desiring to minister to other families who desire God’s best, even when their lives take unexpected turns,” reads a brief write-up about the Duggars on the campground's website.

Jim Bob and Michelle’s message is still the same: trust in the Lord.”

The portion about the Pearls is even shorter and identifies them as the authors of several bestselling books.

While it seems that the Forsyths are trying to downplay both the Pearls' controversial teachings and the couple's connection to the Duggars, fans were quick to cry foul.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar Photograph

“I don’t believe in abusing children so I would never go to hear the Pearls,” one fan commented on the Duggars' Facebook post about the event.

Several others echoed the sentiment, and those who were unaware that Michelle condoned such abusive techniques as blanket training were quick to express shock.

Needless to say, the Duggars will probably soon regret re-associating with the Pearls.

Unfortunately, it's probably too late to pull out of the Forsyths big event.

Watch Counting On online for more from reality TV's most controversial family.

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