As countless viewers watched with their own eyes, Jinger Duggar grew up in a cult.
Her parents used fear to control her as part of a twisted belief system that taught her to avoid the outside world. And to never make any real choices for herself.
Jinger is leading a very different life, now. She’s not really part of the mainstream, but her kids are on a slightly different path.
They’re also largely out of the spotlight. Jinger explains why she’s not putting her kids into the public eye.
Ahead of the release of her new book, Jinger Duggar Vuolo spoke to People in an interview that you can watch below.
“One thing we have decided to do is keep our girls out of the public eye,” she confirmed.
Jinger went on to say that if Felicity or Evangeline want to one day capitalize on their potential fame, “that’s their choice.”
“I just want to give my kids the best life possible,” Jinger expressed.
“So,” she understated, “that will probably look different from what my upbringing did.”
An upbringing in an abusive, misogynistic cult is not anyone’s “best life.” And neither is growing up on reality TV against your will.
Jinger grew up in rural Arkansas. Her family subjected her to homeschooling and strictly controlled her limited social circle.
Without access to “worldly” books, music, TV, or film, that meant that Jinger’s only knowledge of the outside world came through a filter.
She did not get to interact with people with different beliefs, backgrounds, and more. They taught her to fear meeting normal people, as if that would diminish her. In reality, it would simply help her to grow as a person — a threat to any cult.
In contrast, Jinger and Jeremy are raising their daughters in California. Their kids get to meet different kinds of people, rather than hear about them in hushed whispers of warning.
“Being in a place where our girls will be able to see so many different backgrounds and perspectives on life,” Jinger noted.
She affirmed that “it’s really sweet to be here in LA.”
Jinger spelled out pretty directly that living in a major city means that she’s not sheltering her girls “from other perspectives of life.”
That goes against the beliefs of the toxic cult that defined her childhood. But not, she says, against her faith.
“That’s not what the word of God tells us to do,” Jinger then added.
Jinger also acknowledged that her family’s rules were “cult-like.”
She grew up, by her own admission, feeling “terrified of the outside world.”
Jinger noted: “The teaching I grew up under was harmful, it was damaging, and there are lasting effects. I want to share my story.”
“I personally don’t drink,” Jinger noted, “but I don’t have a problem with other Christians.”
Explaining how her views of evolved, she continued: “it’s their liberty to drink if they so choose.”
Jinger added: “And birth control, that’s something that I always thought was totally wrong and I just no longer see it as that. Yeah, I definitely have changed.”
Becoming Free Indeed comes out on January 31.
Meanwhile, some critics have argued that Jinger and Jeremy’s beliefs are still a bit more radical than she wants to let on.
In some ways, perhaps. But it’s clear that she is still a considerable distance from the toxic cult that shaped her upbringing. That is something.