With the Duggar family expected to return to television in the near future, Josh Duggar due in court next month, and Anna Duggar’s choices in staying with him being widely and publicly questioned, a religious ministry the Duggar family has endorsed has re-released an article on wifely duties. Although the article was initially published in 2013, the reposting of it is timely, and could, under current circumstances, have Anna Duggar’s name stamped all over it.
No Greater Joy Ministries is as highly controversial in its own right as the Duggar family. It has been linked to a number of cases of child abuse, including several ending in death. The Seattle Times detailed three such cases in 2011. Michael and Debi Pearl, the couple behind the ministry, say these are all cases of people misinterpreting their teachings.
However, when Michelle Duggar endorsed the ministry, people familiar with it were concerned. It was, in fact, earlier in 2011 that the Duggar family promoted the Pearls’ site and store with their own book. (The Wayback Machine has an image of the Duggar family site at the time, offering discounts on purchases from No Greater Joy when purchasing Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar’s book.)
Our friends the Duggar's are participating in an Amazon Blitz! Order 'A Love that Multiplies' and you will have… http://fb.me/AUEwdBSl
— No Greater Joy (@NGJMinistries) June 29, 2011
There are other associations: the Pearls’ book recommended “discipline” using a literal rod: a piece of plastic plumbing pipe. When Josh Duggar’s alleged molestations of his sisters were investigated, the other Duggar children reported to police that their parents used a “rod.” The quote is still visible, with names redacted, in the report published by In Touch. The Duggar Family Blog also reports that Michelle uses “blanket training,” another disciplinary method associated with the Pearls.
The last time that No Greater Joy Ministries directly associated itself with the Duggar family was in a magazine article published at about the same time Josh Duggar’s adulthood round of indiscretions was revealed. The ministry commented on the matter, saying they deliberately left the material about the Duggar family in the story.
“Someone in the office suggested we quickly remove the three paragraphs about the Duggar family. I said, “Absolutely not, I stand by everything I wrote, and it will stay as I wrote it.” I find this to be a perfect opportunity to reinforce a major concern that I have for the thinness of modern Christianity. Are we nothing more than a coat of white paint? Yes, Josh has defamed the name of Christians—not Christ. Josh has made us all more suspect of hypocrisy.”
In the latest re-release, though, the Duggar name isn’t mentioned directly — only the role of a wife in fixing the flaws in her husband. However, it coincides neatly with what Anna Duggar has suggested is expected of her.
“Marriage is God’s finishing school, the opportunity to face our shortcomings and grow into the people God desires us to become.”
See Anna Duggar below explaining that she stayed with Josh because, if she’d made choices based on her feelings, she would “turn a mess into a disaster.”
In the full article, Michael Pearl explains that a wife may feel she’s dealing with too much bad behavior from her husband.
“Does it honor God for me to be walked on and emotionally abused all my life?”
It’s exactly what people suggested to Anna Duggar: that she doesn’t have to stay with her husband and expose her children to infidelity, and that even most biblical interpretations accept her leaving a marriage where her spouse was cheating.
However, Pearl disagrees with the advice the Duggar wife has been given.
“Only in books, movies and your girlhood imaginations do perfect men exist. Marriage is God’s finishing school, the opportunity to face our shortcomings and grow into the people God desires us to become.”
He goes on to explain that it is the duty of a spouse to “yield,” not to wait for the other partner to yield first. In the context of Josh Duggar, this seems to suggest Anna shouldn’t wait for him to correct his behavior, but should continue to submit as his wife, regardless of what Josh does after leaving his “rehab” program.
Most recently, Anna has released a statement on Michelle Duggar’s blog, indicating that she hasn’t changed her mind: she’s sticking with Josh Duggar and the Duggar family and continuing to submit while she waits for Josh to change.
[Image via TLC]