News broke on Monday that 13 children were found chained to their beds and starving in a Southern California home. Half of the children were over the age of 18, which surprised responders, who witnessed their stunted growth and assumed many were teens or preteens. And what has disturbed many as well is that the family and the reality TV family the Duggars may be part of the same religion.
A blog on Patheos, titled No Longer Quivering, creates articles and indictments about the Quiverfull movement, which encourages Christian couples to abstain from birth control and have as many children as possible. This is the philosophy that the Duggar family subscribes to, in addition to their ties with Bill Gothard and Institute for Basic Life Principles.
The family has not been confirmed to be part of the Quiverfull movement or IBLP, but it has been substantiated that they are evangelical/conservative Christians.
The article shared some of the striking similarities between the Turpin family and the Duggar family. These include instances of familial abuse and home schooling all of their many children. The author also pointed out that all of the children in the Turpin family dressed alike in many photos, and the Duggar children often did the same when the eldest children were younger.
Fans of the Duggar family are aware that Michelle Duggar has taught her 19 children at home, while the Turpin family established their own school, known as the Sandcastle Day School, in which their father was the principal.
The author also stated that from her experience, the Turpin family must have been Quiverfull, and stated that both the Turpin family and Duggar family exhibit patriarchal control.
It is also brought up that the Duggar family normalizes restrictive conservative Christian movements that allow abuse to thrive in the home.
The Duggar family has been accused of using materials in their home school curriculum based off of the Institute for Basic Life Principles that normalize sexual abuse in the family and frame the problem as though it is the victim’s fault. In 2015, it was discovered that Josh Duggar, the eldest child, had molested four young women when he was a teen, including four of his sisters. He has not received jail time, but has been partly cut off from the show.
The author of the original article argues that homeschooling can be used as a cover-up for abuse, which is what happened in the case of the Turpin family, who was very secretive.
While the Duggar family has certainly covered up abuse within their own family (the documents about Josh’s crimes were not revealed until they were leaked to In Touch Weekly), they are certainly nowhere near as secretive as the Turpin family. In fact, some accuse them of posting far too much information about their lives and make a living sharing it with the world.
Recently, however, an anonymous source who grew up in the same sect as the Duggar family wrote an article about the humiliating physical and psychological abuse they received at a “re-education camp,” sponsored by Institute for Basic Life Principles. It is known that Jana Duggar, the eldest daughter in the family, attended an IBLP camp called Journey of the Heart after being labeled as “troubled.” She then returned to work at the camp part-time.
While there are certainly similarities between the two families, it is clear that the abuse the Turpin children suffered exceeds the Duggar children’s, but it doesn’t stop fans and critics of Counting On from being worried about them. Fans are particularly concerned about some of the younger children, especially after a video of Jordyn’s birthday surfaced in which she recoiled at her parents’ touch. They are also worried about the Duggar women and adult children who marry men they do not know very well and typically announce a pregnancy within three months of the wedding.
Anna Duggar, Josh Duggar’s wife, has been put through the ringer after his cheating and molestation scandals broke in 2015, but managed to stay with him despite his crimes and being unfaithful to her. The pair have five children and many think Anna was bullied into staying with Josh or feels she has no other options because her homeschooled religious life did not prepare her for a practical job.
Jana Duggar, the eldest daughter, is also a topic of concern. At 28, she still lives at home where she takes care of the house and her younger siblings, nieces, and nephews while she awaits her prodigal husband.
David and Louise Turpin, the perpetrators in this heinous crime, have been arrested and are being held on a $9 million bail. It is stated that some of the older children have been deprived of food for so long that they may never recover physically or psychologically.