Reports of Josh Duggar being slowly introduced into the family's public life notwithstanding, it seems the Duggars remain wary of being seen with their eldest son.
The family is in Big Sandy, Texas, attending a week-long camp for Christian families adhering to a common set of beliefs. Josh Duggar is set to turn heads at the camp teeming with thousands of people. In fact, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar spoke about faith in times of crisis on Wednesday and may have broached the scandals given their impact on the family, most prominently cancellation of their popular TLC show 19 Kids & Counting. Josh has been in the news more recently in the context of a lawsuit for alleged unauthorized use of a model's image as his own on Ashley Madison. Despite all this, it was informed earlier that Josh and wife Anna Duggar are part of the family's camp in Big Sandy.
"The whole family (minus Jill and Derick) is heading to Big Sandy for their homeschool conference for the upcoming week!"Though the Duggar family and its friends posted several pictures from the camp, the couple has been carefully avoided. However, their 2-year-old daughter Meredith was spotted, indicating the parents aren't far away.
The Duggars posted Meredith's images earlier this year too, setting off rumors that the family is paving Josh's return to public life and eventually to TV. They also shared a picture of a family gathering with Josh and Anna in it but shied away from sharing any of the couple's solo images. Besides the scandals, it is likely that concerns of criticism directed at Anna may have proved a deterrent. Pregnant with her fifth child, Anna Duggar has been severely criticized for staying with the family, as evinced when her pregnancy was announced in March.
Big Sandy would not be the first time the Duggar family censored Josh and Anna. There have been multiple instances when the couple was conspicuous by its "absence." Jill and Derrick Dillard, as well as Ben and Jessa Seewald, sent their much publicized congratulatory messages to Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth when their engagement was announced. The family chipped in again to announce Joseph Duggar's courtship with Kendra Caldwell but Josh and Anna were meted out silent treatment. These occasions are expected to be featured in the next season of Counting On.
Josh Duggar returned from spiritual rehab for sex and porn addiction about a year ago, spurring rumors of his return to television with his version of things. However, the purported move to bring him onto Counting On reportedly saw TLC draw flak from advertisers. Given the sensitivity associated with his presence, an artificial flare was allegedly used to prevent Josh from being seen at Jinger Duggar's wedding last November, aired during the show's last season.
The family's efforts to keep him away from the limelight has not prevented fans and critics from sighting him. When the Duggars were away in Kentucky last month, an image of Josh surfaced with an unkempt appearance, prompting speculation of depression. Anna was also visibly pregnant in a fan captured video at the Creation Museum during the family outing.
Recent images of Meredith from Big Sandy have also raised questions about just how dependent Josh has gotten on his family; fans commenting about Jana Duggar and the child have wondered if the couple has moved into the family home.
"Are the Dugger family raising Josh and Anna's children??" one fan asked in response to the picture, while another responded saying the couple could be living close-by. Though Jim Bob, Michelle, and rest of the family claimed to have forgiven Josh, it remains to be seen if they will let him back publicly into their lives on camera without causing an upset.
[Featured Image by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images]