Jim Bob and his wife Michelle Duggar are sharing their thoughts on the new Amazon Prime docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, arguing that the show depicts them in a “derogatory and sensationalized way.”
The docuseries, released earlier this month, highlights the Duggar family and the controversial teachings and misconduct from their affiliated religious organization, the Institute in Basic Life Principles.
One of Jim Bob and Michelle’s 19 kids, Jill Duggar Dillard, 32, and her husband, Derrick, were interviewed for the series alongside other former IBLP members. During the series, the interviewees recounted the abuse they experienced within the organization.
However, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have criticized how the docuseries portrayed their family.
“The recent ‘documentary’ that talks about our family is sad because in it we see the media and those with ill intentions hurting people we love,” the Duggars wrote on their website. “Like other families, ours too has experienced the joys and heartbreaks of life, just in a very public format,” they continued.
“This ‘documentary’ paints so much and so many in a derogatory and sensationalized way because, sadly, that’s the direction of entertainment these days.
“We have always believed that the best chance to repair damaged relationships, or to reconcile differences, is through love in a private setting,” they added. “We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one. Through both the triumphs and the trials, we have clung to our faith all the more and discovered that through the love and grace of Jesus, we find strength, comfort and purpose.”
Earlier this year, another of the Duggar children, Jinger Duggar Vuolo, 29, shared her experience with her religious upbringing and the controversial teachings of the IBLP in her book, Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear.
“We followed a teacher who taught things that were totally opposite of the Bible, and I would say it was cult-like in nature,” Vuolo told Relevant Magazine earlier this year. “He would teach a lot of things that were very binding. He was very comfortable placing burdens upon people that he said were Bible, but they were actually things the Bible was silent about. So, I lived under a lot of fear and superstition. His teachings were full of manipulation. So, for the past several years, I’ve been on a journey of disentangling truth from error, finding freedom in Jesus and realizing what the Bible actually says.”
The Duggar family rose to fame through the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting. The show was canceled in 2015 after it was revealed that the eldest son, Josh Duggar, had molested several of his sisters and a babysitter as a teenager. Last year, Josh was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison for possession of child pornography.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.