Derick Dillard has been spending time on Twitter, denying reports from the past year. Specifically, in his latest missive, Dillard addresses stories that he and Jill Duggar Dillard were turned down as missionaries, maintaining that he was “commissioned and endorsed” by his church. This follows a statement about being fired by TLC. However, a close examination of Derick’s posts shows that they are very precisely worded and may not be the denials they seem on the surface.
Derick Dillard, through his connection to the Duggar family, has spent the past several years appearing on reality TV shows — first 19 Kids & Counting, and after that was canceled, on the spin-off, Counting On. However, TLC revealed in early November that Derick would no longer be featured.
The statement didn’t claim Derick had been fired. It stated the following.
“We want to let our viewers know that Derick Dillard has not participated in Counting On for months and the network has no plans to feature him in the future.”
Nothing in that statement says Dillard will never appear on the show — only that he won’t be “featured,” a term that is open to some interpretation. It also doesn’t address whether footage older than “months” will be used, or whether the rest of Derick’s family will be featured (though they’ve been appearing less often on the Duggar Family Official media pages). At this point, however, there isn’t even an official announcement that Counting On is returning for another season.
It also doesn’t directly address why Dillard hasn’t been participating in the show — though the statement goes on to disavow Derick’s social media posts about Jazz Jennings, another TLC reality star, it doesn’t explicitly connect the two, or state that the departure was initiated by the network. It certainly doesn’t say he was fired.
Neither does the Fox News article Derick tweeted over a month later, despite his added commentary suggesting that a) the article or TLC has made that claim, and b) said claim is false.
Unbelievable what’s considered newsworthy these days, but then again, this is how I first heard that I was “fired”. For the record, I was never fired. I just felt it best for my family to cut ties months ago, as we are heading in a different direction. https://t.co/XUFD3i5arj— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) December 15, 2017
“…this is how I first heard that I was “fired”. For the record, I was never fired.”
Clarifying his denial of a claim the article didn’t contain, Derick goes on to say that he cut ties with the network a month ago — tweeted on December 15, this would indicate that he left TLC after their tweet, rather than months before it.
Even if we don’t take “a month ago” too literally, Derick’s tweet still claims a timeline in which he left TLC well after the network says it ceased to film him.
Then there’s the latest claim. As social media users piled on, telling Derick that they didn’t believe his version of the split with TLC, he responded to one. A Twitter user addressed him, saying that TLC‘s paychecks were too lucrative for him to leave willingly and that those paychecks had allowed him to leave his Wal-mart job.
Think again. I only left my accounting job because I was offered a missions job with SOS. And yes, we were commissioned missionaries, endorsed by our church. Please be careful where you get your information. There’s a lot of garbage out there, that has no fiber of truth.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) December 16, 2017
Derick’s response denied this, saying that his exit from his accounting job came because he was invited to serve as a missionary. In the tweet, he also addresses another story that’s been reported about the Dillard family: that they were denied as missionaries because of lack of experience and education.
Hollywood Gossip reported in July that Derick and Jill had been turned down by the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board. This is supported by IMB’s own website, which lists requirements for serving. For most service capacities, these include a Bachelor’s degree and seminary training. Positions open to young graduates may not require the same training and experience but have other restrictions — such as having no children and being prepared to commit to a two-year term.
However, in this too, Derick’s denial doesn’t address the actual claim, instead sidestepping it to assert that he had the endorsement of his church — which is not the same as being accepted or trained by a national organization. Though Derick doesn’t name the church that commissioned him in this tweet, he did so in 2015, when he shared a photo of the service at Cross Church.
Notably, Cross Church is the church Dillard continues to be affiliated with, and through which he is currently enrolled in a School of Ministry, to gain preparation “…for life, ministry, and Gospel advancement globally.”
His latest fundraiser was suddenly cut off at just over $6k, with no explanation, though it had a goal of $10k. In lieu of an explanation, Derick updated it to thank donors for helping him reach the (unmet) goal. Of the $6k raised, almost $5k was in unverifiable “offline donations.”
That fundraiser, too, was plagued with questions and accusations, as would-be donors perused Dillard’s social media and wondered whether they were funding missions, or Christmas gifts and amusement park trips (as fan photos surfaced showing the family at Silver Dollar City).
It’s not only his missions and employment Derick has been vague-tweeting about, either — he’s also been nominally distancing himself from the Duggar family’s long affiliation with Bill Gothard’s scandal-ridden Institute of Basic Life Principles, repeatedly tweeting that his family isn’t connected to it.
Thank you, but we are not aligned with IBLP.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) November 23, 2017
I lost you somewhere... what are you talking about? I don’t follow anyone named Gothard.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) October 25, 2017
I know about him, just as you obviously do, but I do not follow him; never have. Where did you hear that I do?— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) October 25, 2017
I attended my BIL’s graduation from ALERT because I love and support my family. That does not mean that I follow Gothard, by extension.— Derick Dillard (@derickmdillard) October 25, 2017
However, while Dillard may not have attended any of the camps or training connected to Gothard himself, his involvement with them hasn’t been limited to watching his in-laws graduate. He has actively supported programs, such as the ALERT Academy, promoting them to his social media following.
Exactly where Jill and Derick Dillard’s current beliefs (and thus, missions) lie is a matter of some public debate — Jill has been spotted wearing pants, something that her upbringing strictly forbade, and that IBLP taught against. The Dillard family does seem to have left behind some of the beliefs the Duggars learned through following Gothard, but still appears to embrace others — and Derick Dillard’s persistence in tweeting vague denials without context isn’t giving any solid answers, only mixed clues.