The Duggar family's unusual dating (sorry, courting) rules had been well documented long before they were embroiled in scandal.
Once Josh Duggar's child molestation history - and brazen adultery - was exposed, the family has been under a microscope.
Yet, despite his hypocrisy, and the fact that their every move is under heavier scrutiny than ever, they weather every storm.
TLC axed 19 Kids & Counting, only to quickly come back with Counting On, featuring the same Duggars and their beliefs.
Well, sans the radioactive Josh.
That's a bridge too far for even the hard core believers. But when it comes to the Arkansas family's core values, they stand firm.
Their belief system certainly requires conviction in order to practice, since their list of policies for love and life is not short.
Despite Joy breaking rules, Jinger's new life in L.A. and Derick Dillard's sex on the brain (so weird), the rules are no joke.
Here are 21 of the most bizarre.
Dates Without Chaperones
The Duggar parents often accompany their kids on dates in order to maintain "accountability" and "keep things from going in the wrong direction," per Jim Bob. The girls are fine with this, as being alone with men puts them in grave "moral danger." When the parents aren't available, their older siblings will often tag along, making every date a group date and a family affair.
Even in the kids' late teens and early 20s, mom and dad are creeping on their text messages. When Ben Seewald jokingly wrote to fiancee Jessa, "Give me a ring," Jim Bob actually jumped in on the group text, writing "No ring yet." With a smiley face emoticon. Seriously, he did that. Whatever you think of him, Jim Bob needs his own Instagram so he can start posting screen shots of this stuff.
Hugs on the Chest
This moment you see here between Jill Duggar and Derick Dillard would not have been permitted until the couple was married. Side hugs are the preferred method of PDA in order to prevent any further temptation or "hanky panky," as has been well documented on 19 Kids and Counting. The Duggars love their side hugs so hard ... though not too too hard, lest they lead to full-frontal hugging. And any touching beyond that? Save it for your wedding night.
Riding in Cars Together
It’s no secret that the Duggars have strict dating rules. We've talked about some already and there are plenty more to come on this list. But one of the most bizarre was revealed only recently in an episode in which Joseph and Kendra Caldwell officially started courting. They were seen in a car, driving together ... with one of the younger Duggar sitting in between them in the front seat of a pickup truck. Shortly after the courtship "proposal," she was allowed to slide almost all the way over to Joseph. Not close enough for any inappropriate touching, obviously, but without another dude in between, which is mandatory during the “just friends” phase. Wow.
Co-Ed Hide and Seek
In the wake of the Josh Duggar molestation scandal going public years later, Jim Bob and Michelle gave in interview in which they talked about all of the things they did in its aftermath. In between blaming Josh’s indiscretions on being a curious pubescent boy, they discussed family rules that resulted from this, such as the children no longer being allowed to play co-ed hide and seek. That's right, no two children regardless of age are allowed to go off alone, even in the context of this childhood pastime. How much that really helps the situation they were responding to remains to be seen.
This is probably an obvious one if you know anything about the Duggars. The family does not smoke or drink. They do, however, enjoy the occasional sugary dessert or getting high on life and love.
Safe to say the Duggars are in the minority, having not read Fifty Shades of Grey (the movie adaptation of which they won't be seeing either, we're guessing). The Bible warns not to "think about gratifying the pleasure of the flesh," so instead the family studies Christian text and not E.L. James' erotic fiction. The Duggars' option is probably 1,000 times better-written, we will give them that much.
Modern Music and/or Dancing
Avert your eyes, Michelle Duggar! The family matriarch feels that dancing encourages "sensual" feelings, while Jessa Duggar has said that she feels modern music promotes "sex, drugs, all that type of stuff." Instead, the family chooses to play gospel music together.
Yes, seriously. There is Duggar-approved swimwear (it's conservative and not very revealing, as Jessa Duggar recently showed us) but when it comes to the beach, that's not happening. At all. Why? Blame the general public. "It's just too hard for the guys to try and keep their eyes averted," Michelle explains. As for why Ben Seewald has to keep his eyes averted when he's married to Jessa and there's only family around at the pool party pictured above, we have absolutely no idea.
1-on-1 Premarital Phone Calls
Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald brazenly broke this rule, they admit now, secretly calling one another on the phone before they were even ENGAGED. Can you even handle the scandal!?
Even if you took out the boozy parties, sexy nurses and cats looking to get freaky and frisky with anything that moves, Halloween would still be a no-go for the Duggars. Because, according to the parents, magic and witches are "part of a demonic realm God wants us to stay away from," and this holiday qualifies. To each their own.
Better hope Jill and Der were at LEAST engaged, if not officially married, at the time this transgression occurred. The touch of one's hand in another's hand can escalate from 0 to 100, REAL QUICK.
Quote-Unquote Worldly Content
Jim Bob wrote Jim Bob wrote in a recent (summer 2015) note to fathers everywhere to "start protecting your family" by "removing books, magazines, television, or internet that have worldly or sensual content." Seriously. Replace them, he urged, "with good things like wholesome music, biographies of great Christians, good old-fashioned family fun and games." Words fail us at this point, and we doubt we're alone there.
We don't actually know if there's a definitive rule against the use of birth control in the Duggar household(s), but it's clearly not something the family is thinking about, or using, ever. Just saying. Once those vows are exchanged, fornication and procreation tend to happen early and often, ensuring that the great state of Arkansas will never have a population shortage of quirky, family-first, side-hug loving human beings.
Like birth control, this ban apparently goes away after marriage. But until a Duggar is married off, they don't get their own social media accounts. Don't expect any selfies of beautiful, angelic Jana from @RealJanaDuggar anytime soon, in other words ... though the family's official pages do post them occasionally.
People may criticize a lot of things about the Duggars, but their commitment to frugality is admirable (and with 19 children, essential). Their compound is entirely paid for, and they avoid debt at all costs; Jim Bob and Michelle even teach the kids the value of earning and saving by paying them three cents (yes, pennies) for each chore completed. Side Note: Jana must have a seven-figure net worth at this point! Sorry, too soon?
Turning Down Sex (While Married of Course)
Don't even think about having sex before marriage if you're a Duggar, but once you wed, you must be available in bed ... literally any time your husband wants it, according to Michelle. The Duggar matriarch revealed that a rule revealed to her when she was a 17-year-old bride rings true to this day - make him the top item on your "to-do" list. Oh and be “joyful” in doing so. Michelle tells her own daughters that matter how busy they are, how tired they might be, or how pregnant or gross they are feeling at that moment, they must immediately and gladly fulfill the intimate needs of their spouse, a job only a wife can perform. Lovely.
Associating With Unwed Mothers (Even Family)
The Duggars' beliefs on premarital sex and physical relationships are extreme. That we know, but what many people don't realize is the way in which they will ostracize those who don't comply. They wouldn’t even allow daughter Jill, who works as a midwife, to help a family member who was pregnant out of wedlock; Anna Duggar's sister Susanna Keller got pregnant in 2012 and was blackballed immediately. Says a source close to the family, "Michelle and Jim Bob felt Jill shouldn't be exposed to an unmarried mother in that condition."
"I feel like the Lord is impressing upon me that I should be modest in what I wear [and] defining who I am as a woman by choosing to wear dresses and skirts,” Michelle Duggar has said, adding that she believes "from the neck down to the knee should be covered." While not technically in violation of that policy, Jinger Duggar rocking shorts in pictures from 2017 came as a total shock to fans, who have never seen a family member wear pants - full-length or the shorts variety.
When Josh Duggar's parents learned he was molesting his little sisters, they decided to handle the matter "in house" rather than contacting the authorities or investing in professional therapeutic or psychiatric help for the family's deeply troubled first-born. When he was outed after cheating on long-suffering wife Anna and admitted his addiction to porn, he was sent to Reformers Unanimous, a "Faith Based Recovery Program that is Christ-centered and designed to rescue, recover, and restore those in addictive behaviors." Skeptics have doubted whether Josh received any tangible help there either.
Despite Josh Duggar leading a double life as a former child molester and current adulterer and porn addict, the topic of divorce "will not even be discussed" by his maligned wife Anna, who will instead "shoulder some of the blame" for his actions, according to insiders. You're forgiven if you just got a little sick to your stomach.