he True Story Behind the Duggar Family Docuseries Shiny Happy People
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The Real Story Behind The Duggar Family Docuseries Bright Happi People

The Duggar Family, famous for their reality television shows that revolve around life of the family, are at the center of the latest docu-series on Amazon Prime, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, out June 2.

The show delved into the revelations about the Duggar family as well as the cult religion they embraced known as that is the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP).

The Duggars’ most famous program was the TLC’s 19 Kids and counting that was a look at the life of the married couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar with their 19 children over 10 seasons from 2008 to 2015.

The series showed a unifying family unit. However, it also featured Shiny Happy Persons that includes testimony from daughters Jill (Duggar) Dillard, her husband Derick Dillard as well as her daughter Amy (Duggar) King, and husband Derick Dillard Amy (Duggar) King, along with a few ex- IBLP members, shows that the family, as well as the larger religious community was facing claims of sex violence, children’s abuse as well as financial abuse.

“They think they’re forming the force that will aid our cause,” declares Tia Levings who used to be a member of the IBLP interview in the show.

“The Duggars’ television show is the catalyst for letting the phenomenon flourish. The bright, happy pictures is the sweetness and everyone is high on the sugar.”

Here are the main takeaways of the documentary.

The Behind-the-Scenes of 19 Kids and Counting

Jim Bob Duggar’s popularity on reality TV is a result of his political work. In 2002, following having served for four years as a Republican Arkansas the state’s representative Duggar ran for an open position in the U.S. Senate.

Although he did not get elected, he attracted the interest from Discovery Network, whose executives noticed media photos of his extended family at the events of his campaign.

“Jim Bob, and the rest of his family are located in the correct place at the perfect time,” says Kristin Kobes DuMez who is a professor of gender and history research at the University of Michigan’s Calvin University, in the documentary.

“Jim Bob is given a brand new possibility that will allow him to share his beliefs with everyone in the country, and also an chance to earn a significant amount of money.”

The TV network that included channels such as TLC began production featuring The Duggars in 2004 and later released 14 children and pregnant Again!, 17 Children and Countingand 19 Kids and Counting.

They were all successes and many viewers tuned in to find out how the family of four was able to complete everyday chores like chores, laundry or grocery shopping getting around while appearing to be well-organized and calm.

The program was an asset to the network.

“Reality television can be able to take a network that is far from being a massive force in regards to performance, and truly give it a fresh energy,” says Danielle Lindemann who is the author of True Story”What Reality TV Says about Us, in the documentary.

The shows of the Duggars were, as she says, able to give the network new life and a low-cost production that brought high viewers and returns.

The Institute of Basic Life Principles as well as its founding Member, Bill Gothard

The Duggars adhered to the doctrines of IBLP which is which is a Christian group that was called by some former members as like a cult.

IBLP has revealed estimates of around 2 million have been to their events. The founder of the organization was a an ardent fundamentalist Bill Gothard, it would be The Duggars who became their most well-known attendees.

“For scientific research, the primary source to most individuals would be Tom Cruise. In many ways, it’s what the Duggars represented in the case of Bill Gothard,” says Pastor and writer Josh Pease in the documentary.

The institution was founded by Gothard created in 1961 it was rigorous in its standards and continuously enforced gender-based norms.

The rules included modest clothes that resembled “pantaloons,” homeschooling children using the Gothard’s “Advanced Training Institute” program, teaching children through spanking and the ideals that The Duggars represented, it was to have as many children as was possible.

The rules also prohibited watching TV and was ironic in light of that the duggars’ future livelihood. Gothard frequently referred to a Bible passage from Psalm the 127th chapter “Happy is the man who has a quarrel full of these.”

The documentary highlights out, Gothard himself, in an additional ironic twist was a bachelor who had no family members, or wife.

The documentary demonstrates the way in that some of the members felt uninformed, neglected and devalued from IBLP doctrines.

“It’s an authoritarian, patriarchal society Women don’t have any rights, kids break,” says former member Levings of the IBLP group. “That’s the type of society they’re constructing.”

The year 2014 was the time Gothard was set to step down in 2014 in the wake of several harassation allegations made by former female co-workers.

“It is almost as if what was going on inside Gothard was pouring out to him, and he was testing the boundaries of how far one could take someone before they be freaked out,” says Pease.

Gothard has declined to speak with the show and previously dismissed the accusations made against him.

Daughter Jill Duggar on Abuse From Brother Josh Duggar

The eldest from the family, Josh Duggar became a famous persona apart from his immediate family. He married and had 7 kids and was active in politics. He worked for the conservative group lobbying.

In 2015 In Touch Magazine released a report basing itself on a 10 years-old police report which stated that Josh was compelled to touch at the most five girls including his twin sisters

Jill as well as Jessa duggar. The sisters were invited to an interview on Fox’s anchor Megyn Kelly in order to discuss their experiences, and predominantly spoke out in support of their brother.

“In the case of us, it’s small in comparison to what can happen to others,” Jill Duggar said during Kelly’s show.

In 2003, a decade prior to when the report of police was made known to the public, Josh Duggar privately admitted to the accusations to his parents. He was placed in an Christian programme for discipline. Duggar wasn’t charged with any crime resulting from the claims.

After eight years since eight years after the Kelly interview Jill Duggar sets the facts straight in this documentary “In retrospect, it’s not like I’d taken this Megyn Kelly things.

I felt as if I was in the place where I was buried the responsibility and weight,” she said in the documentary. “Even even if you’re volunteering you are obligated to assist.” The husband Derick Dillard counters that, “It was not voluntary,” explaining that Jill believed that the success of the documentary was placed on her shoulders and that of her sister.

19 Kids and counting was cancelled due to the scandal however, TLC continued to air multiple spin-offs focusing on women in their teens and their families, such as Jill as well as Jessa The Counting On as well as Jill’s Wedding which in the beginning was the most watched show in TLC the history of TLC. 

Jill discloses in the documentary that she and none members of her family received or any kind of compensation for their roles in the shows. Jim Bob Duggar is believed to have been paid millions of dollars, as per the documentary. “Yes We were all being cheated,” says Jill . “For seven and a half years of my adulthood, I was never paid.”

In the May of 2021, Josh Duggar was convicted on child pornography allegations. Josh Duggar is currently being held for 12 years in Federal jail in Texas.

The Future of the Duggars, IBLP, and the Joshua Generation

As part of the child porn probe conducted by the Federal government of his son Jim Bob Duggar ran for State Senate in Arkansas and was defeated.

Even though IBLP the founder Gothard is no longer with us, Jim Bob Duggar has been the leader of the group. He is in a relationship with his wife.

The couple sent a short announcement through their rep to the film makers stating that they “love every one of their kids deeply and will always strive to enjoy their God-given lives to the maximum.”

The option to enroll in IBLP’s homeschooling curriculum “Advanced Training Institute” concluded in 2021 however, the manuals that explain the lessons are available on the internet.

Alex Harris, a lawyer who was raised in the Christian homeschooling movement, and who also had IBLP friends, says that the doctrines of Gothard as well as the IBLP are the basis for an updated version of the Joshua Generation, a political Christian youth organization that echoes its fundamentalist beliefs.

“The main goal was to place the most talented and brightest in the Christian homeschooling community to take on the positions of influence and power in the political system and in the legal system,” he says in the documentary.

Former congressman Madison Cawthorn, who served only one term in North Carolina, has been associated with the group.

Due to the rise of social media as well as platform for creating content like YouTube and TikTok that do not require the assistance of a third party or even a network like TLC Duggar family members such as Jill Duggar and former members of the extremist movement are more often choosing to tell their experiences online.

“We could exercise this power for throughout the whole time over those who had been hurting our cause,” says ex-IBLP member Chad Harris. “It comes out however much they attempt to control us we ended up being the thing they were most afraid of and all we needed to do was communicate.”

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