Jill Dillard (née Duggar) has claimed that father Jim Bob Duggar’s alleged initial reaction to the news of her memoir, Counting the Cost, was a seemingly threatening text message to the entire family.
In an interview with Today published on Monday, September 18, Jill, 32, claimed that when she first announced her book in May, she received a message in a family group chat from her father threatening to take away his children’s inheritance.
“My dad texted the entire family group text (since we’re still in the group thread) and he was just saying, ‘This is so sad’ and basically threatening that if anybody speaks out against him or my mom [Michelle Duggar] that they would be cut out of the inheritance,” the Counting On alum said.
Jill also claimed that Jim Bob, 58, suggested to his kids that the Duggar family “owes [their] lives” to Bill Gothard, the former leader of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), the controversial religious ministry that the Duggars have associated with for years. In Counting the Cost, Jill wrote that it was Gothard who encouraged Jim Bob and Michelle, 57, to keep having children.
Jill and her husband, Derick Dillard, first announced Jill’s memoir on May 31, just days before the couple appeared in Amazon Prime Video’s Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets docuseries. The book — which was released on September 12 — shared Jill’s perspective on the Duggar family’s TLC fame, as well as their involvement in the IBLP and eldest son Josh Duggar’s scandals, including the revelation that he molested four of his sisters. The 19 Kids and Counting alum also got candid about her relationship with Jim Bob and her attempts to break free from his alleged control.
“The challenges we have faced, including lack of respect for boundaries, greed, manipulation, and betrayal, are not that much different than what many people in our audience have faced,” Jill and Derick, 34, wrote on their blog when they announced the memoir. “However, 15+ years of reality television, undergirded by secrecy and lies, is tantamount to pouring gasoline on the fire of our struggle.”
Before Counting the Cost hit shelves, Jim Bob and Michelle shared their thoughts in a statement to People.
“We love all of our children very much. As with any family, few things are more painful than conflicts or problems among those you love. We’ve aimed to deal honorably with our children, our finances, and our other endeavors,” the couple said on September 8.
Jim Bob and Michelle’s statement continued, “While imperfect, it is our intent and desire to live a life that honors Christ. We do not believe the best way to resolve conflicts, facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation, or to communicate through difficulties is through the media or in a public forum so we will not comment. As the future unfolds, we will continue to love our family, pray for them, and enjoy every moment gifted to us to be parents and grandparents.”