Monday, December 6, 2021

Jim Bob Duggar Pees On Our Shoes and Tells Us It's Raining: What most people outside of Gothard's system will misunderstand about the Duggar's testimony concerning the Josh Duggar Child Porn Trial

TRIGGER WARNING concerning sex abuse.

I write this blog post in the wee hours of the morning before the second week of Josh Duggar's Child Pornography Trial ensues.

I am not that shocked by new knowledge about the rabbit hole of Josh Duggar's long history of deplorable behavior. I am sickened by the specifics. Most notably, I find myself struggling with a new feeling of anger at Jim Bob and Michelle, the parents of the Bill Gothard-following mega-family. Most of us knew that we'd never get the whole story, but it's a whole other experience to hear the details in court after listening to so many of their lies. And they think that we're all just a bunch of chumps.

As their spiritual leader Gothard taught them, the Duggars believed their own press that they were all higher versions of regular Christians -- just a bit more special than everyone else. They were also the royal elite within their own Quiverfull group, and once their TV show took off, they walked on a higher level than the other regular folks around them. They believed that God would grant them prosperity if they followed the formulas that Gothard parsed out for them. The Kingdom of God is like a Coke machine: When you put in the right amount, you get what you ordered. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."

Sadly, they taught their son that their friends in high places and their wealth could rescue him from any consequence that resulted from Josh Duggar's “bad choices” (the phrase they rehearsed to describe the molestation of his sisters and an unnamed person outside of the family). 

Gothard Training Materials

Gothard also taught them that men held much more value than women, and we can see this principle fleshed out for us in the Duggar Family's initial response in their attempt to “get out ahead” of the narrative in 2015. I've dedicated an entire blogto the manner in which Gothard's Independent Fundamental Baptist-derived system treats men differently than women, mystical protection from abuse by prayer (and through patriarchal “covering”), sexual abuse of women, sexually-abused women, sexually-abused children who also allegedly solicit the abuse, and their ideas about recovery from sex abuse. That approach is a world away from what most people consider appropriate, compassionate, and effective care for both child offender and his victims.

They reject what most people and Christians consider clinical counseling, and while claiming to the world that professional counseling was obtained for all, they rely on the informal logical fallacy of equivocation to trick people into believing that their Nothetic Biblical Counseling is identical to clinical psychological counseling that is recognized by traditional allopathic medicine. It is an alternative system set up by Evangelicals to “keep them safe” from the dangers of atheistic ideas that will corrupt them with sin, and it offers deceptive alternatives to "accreditation."

All emotional and spiritual problems owe to spiritual cause which reduces all problems to the causes of unrepentant sin, ungodly habits, or demons according to a very narrow Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian interpretation. (That's not to say that all Evangelicals embrace this narrow view.) While some elements of such a program may be very helpful for some aspects of emotional and spiritual care, the established system's approach to trauma proves harmful to most victims because they ultimately blame the victim and make the symptoms of neurophysiologic (brain-based) symptoms like post-traumatic stress much worse.  All of the cures to all problems can be found within the Bible as the application of conservative, fundamentalist Biblical principles, and they eschew all other sources of understanding and intervention. (Please review this series of posts for information about the harm that nouthetic counseling in exclusion can create for someone who has suffered trauma as a child. Religious ideas can make it far worse for children.)

The Duggars sought this alternative to secular, clinical, medically-based care for their children. They conveniently did not explain the nature of this nouthetic "Biblical" system of "accreditation" to anyone when they declared on national television that they obtained appropriate care for their family.

But right now, I find myself so angry and troubled at the hubris demonstrated by the Duggar Family in light of last week's testimony. In 2015, the Duggars claimed that their son only touched the breasts of his sisters through their clothing while they slept. They also became the first people to definitively and publicly identify two of their daughters as their brother's victims, poising them on national television on Megyn Kelly's Fox News show to diminish and downplay the abuse that they suffered. 

Subject to the limitations of Bounded Choice, the girls lacked true agency to do anything other than their parents' bidding to save their brother and their family brand. I suspect that they also endeavored to spare the targeting their other sisters who could be identified through the process of elimination. They exploited their own daughters in a second type of abuse in an effort to save their son. But this is a guiding principle within their religion. They had a house full of "strange women" per the definitions of their own experts.

During pre-trial motions, family friend Bobye Holt testified, indicating that the nature of the abuse that Jim Bob described to Megyn Kelly grossly downplayed the very nature of the abuse that Josh described to her. The Judge of the pre-trial motion hearing found Jim Bob Duggar's claims about the matter to lack credibility, and I suppose that he's lucky that the court didn't outright accuse him of purgery. Holt described Josh's confession about years of repeated digital probing of his sisters under their clothes, and she noted that the Duggar parents (her close friends) refused to discuss these specifics with her. (That is notably different from Duggar's repeating of the 2015 TV interview and his pre-trial motion hearing statement of feeling the breasts of his sisters through their clothing while they slept.)

Screen Shot from Emily D Baker YouTube video

In a few hours, I expect that Jill (Duggar) Dillard, who has been ostracized by her family for about two years, will testify in open court about these sensitive matters. I listened again and again to her interview with Megyn Kelly, and both girls claimed then that they were informed by their parents that the behavior was classified as the crime of sexual assault, and that their brother had molested them. Was this a lie?

First, please note that some Christians claim that when in times of war, and in this world of cultural war between Christians and the secular world, it can be considered permissible to lie to protect others. Some sects call it the "Rahab's Lie Doctrine” and cite the Old Testament account of the matriarch who helped Israel take dominion in their Promised Land. Knowing the doctrines of their sect which claim that sexually abused females are “strange women" (women and children who have the character of prostitutes who solicit their own abuse), it would not surprise me if the fact that Rahab was a prostitute in the city of Jericho was used to help reinforce the idea with Jill and Jessa that it was permissible to carefully script their parsing of such a difficult matter. 

(Their belief system teaches that children who are raped have the character of a prostitute which makes their abuser powerless against them, even if their abuser is an adult and they are a young child or baby.  Do you get that? Per the Duggar's religion, that baby in Josh's downloaded child porn video solicited that abuse. It was a spiritual fault and a character flaw in the infant. We see the same sense of agency applied to infants in Michael Pearl's and the IFB's system of corporal punishment.)

So I find myself awake and disturbed and compelled to pray for Jill who will testify soon which I expect will echo Bobye Holt's testimony. May God wrap her in strength and power, clothing her in might so that the truth may shine forth from her words, illuminating the previously dark places. At the time of Josh's arrest earlier this spring, Jill's husband Derick stated that the family decieved the public, and the matter was handled poorly if it could be considered to have been handled at all. 

Apart from the Bounded Choice laid before Jill and Jessa to defend their family and their brand, I suspect that the girls' admission that they did not know that Josh's behavior constituted incestuous molestation and a crime merely danced on the edge of the meaning of their words. Technically, they stated that they didn't know it could be called molestation. It might not have seemed proper to them when Josh violated them, but they may not have understood it to constitute a criminal act. 

Understood that way, they told the truth about how their father defined the problem in the Fox News interview in 2015, and that would have been the standard and loophole to which they would have been held accountable. In fact, in Gothard's system, submission to a parental authority overrides all other considerations, or God will destroy the non-compliant with any conceivable punishment including death. Such things are considered a permissible 'Rahab's Lie' to make it fit the circumstances in the midst of a war against their family.