Duggar Courtship Rules Reveal Dark Side of Counting On Clan

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If you're a fan of their popular TLC reality series, then you're almost certainly aware of the controversial Duggars' courtship rules.

But while you may be familiar with the family's code of conduct, you might not know from where the infamous, bizarrely stringent regulations arose.

Or, for that matter, why they're so strictly enforced.

So join us as we explore one of the strangest, least-understood and, frankly, most disturbing aspects of life inside the Duggar compound ...

1. A Quiverfull of Duggars

A Quiverfull of Duggars
The Duggars belong to the controversial Quiverfull movement, which holds that procreation is the primary purpose of life on earth, and it's the sacred duty of all women to birth as many children as physically possible.

2. The Supreme Leader

The Supreme Leader
The Quiverfull movement and its affiliated Institute for Basic Life Principles have been described as "cults" by former members. The leader of these cults--and the man most responsible for the courtship guidelines followed by the Duggars--is a man named Bill Gothard.

3. A Fallen Minister

A Fallen Minister
Gothard resigned from his post in disgrace following dozens of sexual assault and harassment allegations from former male and female employees. Though he seldom appears in public these days, it's been rumored that Gothard still exercises a tremendous amount of control over the organizations he founded.

4. Josh's Downfall

Josh's Downfall
Gothard, of course, isn't the only sexual predator with close ties to the Duggar clan. In May of 2015, the world was shocked by news that Josh Duggar had molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters.

5. A Culture of Abuse

A Culture of Abuse
The back-to-back scandals brought a new level of scrutiny to the Duggars "courtship" rules, which had previously been viewed as more humurous than harmful.

6. A Systemic Problem

A Systemic Problem
Some fans didn't like what they saw on closer inspection, and many realized that Josh and Gothard were symptoms of a much deeper issue...

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Duggar Family Quotes

When you've missed [sex] for seven days, you look forward to it even more! - Michelle Duggar

Anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls. - Michelle Duggar on saying yes (yes, and more yes) to sex