Josh and Anna Duggar recently announced that they are expecting their fifth child, after two years of very public troubles. As public figures close to the family wrote off the police reports detailing the molestation of young girls as old news, something in the distant past, and teenage mistakes, a new scandal arose: Josh was keeping secret accounts on websites devoted to extramarital affairs.
Now, two years later, the Duggar family has released a statement assuring the public that Josh and Anna are doing fine and that they have worked to save their marriage and rebuild their family. Meanwhile, some followers of the family’s reality show have wondered why and suggested Anna might be better off to leave Josh and start a life without him.
Shortly after Josh and Anna’s announcement, one author of a parenting book Michelle Duggar says she relied on — a controversial parenting book that has been linked to cases of child abuse, and even death by abuse — has released a new book. This one is about relationships — or rather ‘help-meets,’ a word used to refer to a wife’s role in support of her husband. The focus? The idea that women change the world when they ‘stand by’ their husbands.
TheSeattle Times reported in 2011 that three different children had reportedly died at the hand of parents who believed they were using proper discipline methods, based on the information they had taken from a book by Michael and Debi Pearl.
The Duggar family has endorsed this book, with Michelle Duggar speaking of blanket training and advertising the two families’ books together. Since Josh’s problems began to be public, the Pearls have addressed related issues, describing kids’ access to internet porn as causing the following.
“…depravity spreading from one Christian homeschool family to the next.”
The Pearls spoke of the Duggar family as being “under attack,” later amending this article to refer to Josh Duggar as a pornographer and adulterer. However, even then, forgiveness was the proposed solution, and the authors further dictated that a woman suffering abuse and mistreatment should “yield” so the relationship can heal.
“It is rare indeed to see a man being all (or most) of what he should be when his wife is stiff arming the relationship.”
Now Debi Pearl has released a new book, appearing to support the same idea: a woman like Anna Duggar has a duty to “stand by her man” and change the world by doing so. Pearl is not the sole author — she, according to the book’s description, completed it from the preachings of Denny Kenaston, after he died from brain cancer.
However, the book supports the same notions that have previously been used to explain that Anna Duggar has a God-given duty to stay with Josh, despite everything — the idea that a woman must be a ‘help-meet,’ submit, obey, and trust God to do the rest. One ad for the book compels a woman to place her husband in God’s hands, warning that only then can he be made great.
Titled The Hidden Help-Meet, Pearl’s new book warns that Satan is attacking families and that wives — help-meets — have a staggering effect in defeating the devil in these attacks.
“In a brilliantly touching way, The Hidden Help Meet recounts the experiences of women who changed the course of history by supporting their men.”
The role of women as quiet support, no matter what, has definitely been a theme in the Duggar family’s response to Josh and Anna’s trials. Anna Duggar herself spoke on the family’s reality show, saying that if she had made decisions based on what she was feeling at the time, she would
…turn a mess into a disaster.
Speaking on the No Greater Joy Facebook page, Debi Pearl appears to speak of circumstances where women felt similar to Anna Duggar’s plight as she describes it above.
I saw so clearly the tactics of the devil—deceiving wives into living for the present, seeking their own, and thereby limiting the work God could have done through their men. I hope you see them too.
The story of a ‘hidden help-meet’ seems to mirror closely what the public has been shown of Josh and Anna Duggar: a system of gender roles that places women in a position of background work, silence, subservience, and acceptance.
[Featured Image by Josh Duggar/Twitter]