Jill Duggar admitted reality TV cameras following her famous family on the hit TLC series, 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, made the Institute in Basic Life Principles values more “extreme” growing up in the Duggar household.
“We did not grow up with television in our home, so we didn’t grow up, like watching ourselves on TV,” Jill, 32, said in a conversation with “Sounds Like a Cult” podcast on Tuesday, December 5. “But I will say that, yes, I think that these rules and things that IBLP taught were emphasized more because then you have a platform and a reputation at stake.”
The Counting the Cost author spoke about “protecting” the ministry platform and how she would be “attacked” if she didn’t “live what she was preaching.”
“The pressure was already there just because of the group pressure that we were in and the way that we were raised,” Jill continued. “But you add a TV show to that and it definitely makes that more intense.”
Duggar parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar raised their family to follow the teachings of the non-denominational Christian organization, which lists strict rules about the roles of men and women.
Jill’s husband, Derick Dillard, added that cameras almost “fed that control” because if things changed on the series, it would need to be addressed. The attorney, 34, hinted at the Duggar’s conservative dress code, where Michelle made the executive decision that her girls would grow up exclusively wearing long skirts and dresses.
“The producers would want you to,” the dad of three continued. “If one of the main themes is like, we all wear this type of clothing and then someone pops up not wearing that type of clothing, that would put the pressure on her dad because you’re maintaining that theme of this is how we act and we don’t wanna be asked to address it.”
Jill opened up further about her family’s involvement with the controversial religious organization in her memoir, Counting the Cost, which was released in September. In the book, she shared her perspective on the Duggar’s family fame brought on by the TLC shows and discussed at length the “control” Jim Bob, 58, had over his children.
The TLC personality reiterated her stance on the formerly-led Bill Gothard ministry in an interview with People, calling it a “cult.”
“I think that even if you remove the person in leadership, a lot of those same values and principles are still being taught, so it doesn’t fix the problem,” she said in an interview published on September 12, referencing Gothard’s removal from the religious group after he was accused of sexual abuse and harassment. “I think that’s what some people think like, ‘Oh, we’ve removed Bill Gothard from the situation. It makes everything better.’ No, it changes and maybe adds a nice storefront to the picture, but it doesn’t change the overall principles that are still being taught and held to.”