Michelle Duggar once enthusiastically endorsed the ministry of Michael Pearl, who has been allegedly involved in scandals of his own of a different sort, but it doesn’t appear that the Pearls endorse the Duggar family. At least, not anymore. Pearl’s ministry, No Greater Joy, recently republished an article that appears to directly address the Duggar family and its series of alleged problems. In it, he hints at where Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar may have gone wrong, and offers startling advice for parents who want to prevent similar occurrences.
First, let’s quickly address the skeletons in the Pearls’ own closet.
Though Michelle Duggar has endorsed the parenting techniques in Michael and Debi Pearls’ book, No Greater Joy, these practices have been tied to cases of abuse and even death. Christianity Today covered the connection in 2011, describing three cases in which parents used “disciplinary” methods leading to the death of their children; in all three cases, the parents cited the Pearls’ book as the source of their methods.
As it happens, only a few months before this, the Duggar family and the Pearls had partnered on a book promotion.
Shortly after reports that Josh Duggar had allegedly molested several young girls, including his siblings, one being only 5-years-old at the time, Michael Pearl released this article that addressed Christians homeschoolers like the Duggar family, and discussed what “errors” in parenting allow children to follow such paths.
The ministry had several entities to blame, and the first, unsurprisingly, is porn.
“Satan has released his weapon of mass destruction. It is not measured in megatons, but in megabits.”
It’s not clear whether or not Pearl knew this at the time, but about a month later, the public would learn that Josh Duggar had also gotten into trouble as a teen for accessing porn while working for politician Jim Holt.
However, in the Duggar household, no one is allowed to access the computers without at least one accountability partner.
Next to blame, according to the Duggar-endorsed ministry, is other children.
“The pandemic spreads so quickly because children can catch the moral plague secondhand from other children who may not yet manifest outward symptoms. It is a disturbing fact that your children indirectly access Sodom through other children who live in Sodom.”
Well, viewers know the Duggar kids’ interactions with those outside the family are tightly controlled. Cousin Amy King even said that the older Duggar girls aren’t allowed to visit her for fear she will “influence” them.
No Greater Joy Ministry has one more entity to blame for kids who follow the Josh Duggar path: parents who trust.
“Of course I do not trust my children; they are flesh—sinful flesh, lustful flesh, sons of fallen Adam.”
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar clearly took that advice to heart, at least after the first incident was reported to them. People listed some of the “safeguards” put in place in the Duggar household: the kids weren’t allowed to play hide-and-seek, sit on the laps of older brothers, or be in pairs apart from the crowd.
The Duggar household even set up two, dorm-like bedrooms, one for the girls and one for the boys, at opposite ends of the home, and with limited privacy in those rooms. See a portion of the girls’ room below.
In fact, the “rules” that Pearl lays out for parents sound very much like what the Duggar family employed. No public or private schools, no media access without supervision (Josh Duggar got around that through his employment), no unapproved friends, and no privacy are permitted in the Dugger household.
There’s even this line, which fits with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s physical displays of affection in front of the children, coupled with rules against kisses and hugs before marriage.
“…dangle before them the promise of a pure love relationship one day if they keep themselves holy.”
See Josh and Anna Duggar discuss purity before marriage below.
The article was initially published as the first stirrings of the initial Duggar scandal began. However, the republishing of it now, as Josh reappears in public, perhaps hints at the Pearls’ desire to distance themselves from the family. If so, it’s ironic that the teachings they recommend in the article align so closely with everything the Duggar family says they did.
It’s not the first time that the Duggar-endorsed ministry has written about the family. In August, Pearl said he was “proud to be a fellow believer with such an amazing family.”
He later amended the statement, calling Josh a “…pornographer and adulterer, living”—as he confessed—”a hypocritical life.”
But, he still expressed pride to be associated with the rest of the Duggar family.
[Photo by April L. Brown/AP Images]