The Duggar family are frequently slammed for bringing a well-known supporter of the Quiverfull movement, a fundamentalist Christian ideology that, among other things, believes men and women should marry young and produce as many children as possible. But after Quiverfull founder Vaughn Ohlman advertised that he planned to host a “Get Them Married!” retreat meant to match up unwed teenage boys and girls, allegedly regardless of age, the Salvation Army shut the fundamentalists down after a large public outcry threatened to destroy its image.
The controversial theology of the Quiverfull movement was a main message of 19 Kids & Counting, the TLC show that followed the Duggar family. The show was cancelled following accusations that Josh Duggar molested several young girls when he was a teenager. In the Duggar family, girls are expected to dress modestly, marry young if they choose, and produce as many children as possible.
In a recent episode of Jill & Jessa: Counting On, Jessa Duggar explained that in addition to having as many kids as possible, she and her husband are trying to adopt. Both Duggar and her sister, Jill Dillard, also revealed that they both hope to be pregnant again with their second children soon.
Jessa Duggar Seewald and Jill Dillard both married in their early 20s, and while the Duggar family follows the Quiverfull movement, the family patriarch, Jim Bob, has not pushed his daughters to marry at a very young age. The Duggar family initially became famous because Jim Bob and his wife, Michelle Duggar, have over 20 children themselves.
But more fundamentalist members of the Quiverfull movement advocate marrying girls off when she begins developing — apparently regardless of age — since “breasts… signal her readiness for marriage.” Indeed, the Quiverfull rhetoric does not mention a specific age that they believe young girls should get married, and the church literature advises that “[u]nlike modern society Scripture sees the woman as a bearer, nurser, and raiser of children. The ‘young woman’ is the woman whose body is physically ready for these things.”
A former member of the Quiverfull movement, Vyckie Garrison, explained that for women involved in these fundamentalist marriages, “[y]our body doesn’t belong to you, and you are just required to submit to that.” Naturally, these revelations have caused an outcry, as many people are concerned that young girls forced into marriage could easily be exploited.
The “Get Them Married!” retreat was to be held in Wichita, Kansas, in November this year, and according to website Raw Story, the weekend family event was “designed to bring together like-minded families (and their unmarried young men and women) who are committed to young, fruitful marriage and to help them overcome the barriers which have kept their children unmarried.”
For $1,200, Ohlman would help unmarried teen boys and girls mingle with the hopes that they will find “suitable” partners for “young, fruitful marriages.” Ultimately, the church leader advises on his website, “our goal is to glorify God by getting our young people married.”
There’s no indication the Duggar family planned to attend, and according to the Facebook group, “Duggar Family News: Life is not all pickles and hairspray,” the Quiverfull founder, Vaughn Ohlman, claims he has no affiliation with the Duggar family in a blog post he made to his website, which has been closed for public viewing.
However, after the media picked up the story about the “Get Them Married!” retreat, it was suddenly cancelled due to immense pressure that the family event was a poorly disguised way to exploit young girls for their bodies. According to insiders, the event location belongs to the Salvation Army, who now wants no part of the “Get Them Married!” retreat.
What do you think? Is the Duggar family right to follow the Quiverfull movement? Is the church just a way to exploit girls? Leave a comment below!
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