In a TLC clip from her brother’s wedding, Joy Duggar Forsyth says that as a teenager, she struggled with her parents’ belief system. It was Joe Duggar, she says, who encouraged her to embrace the beliefs her family holds. She’s not the first of the Duggar siblings to share her doubts with the public. Her sister Jinger released a statement more than three years ago, declaring that she hadn’t been a strong believer until age 14. Now, in an emotional speech at Joe and Kendra’s wedding, Joy describes similar doubts, but says that she eventually embraced the beliefs her parents taught her.
Joe and Kendra were married on September 8, so if the clip was filmed at their wedding and not recreated, Joy had been married less than four months, and announced her pregnancy only a week before. Her husband, Austin Forsyth, stands by while Joy makes her speech, and she and her new sister-in-law, Kendra (nee Caldwell), both become emotional.
“Joe, I’m so thankful for you. You really did change my life. Just through my teen years, I think I was having a really hard time, just like, taking my parents’ faith as my own, and you really befriended me as an older brother….”
Austin Forsyth chimes in as well to say that Joe’s passion for his religious beliefs inspired a lot of the other Duggar boys, and to indicate that some of them were being less diligent in their own devotion until Joe encouraged them back into it.
Joy Duggar doesn’t specify at exactly what point in her “teen years” she settled her discomfort with the strict beliefs her parents hold, but she only left her teens a short time ago, turning 20 in October 2017. At that point she had been married nearly half a year, and would soon give birth to her first child.
Aside from Jinger’s statement about taking until age 14 to accept her parents’ beliefs, Austin’s speech seems to confirm that not only Joy, but at least some of her brothers, had periods of time in which they doubted the beliefs their parents follow. Jana Duggar, too, may have had at least a scrap of doubt — back in 2008, when the family visited the Creation Museum, Jana admitted that evolution (of mankind by natural selection) didn’t sound that unbelievable to her.
“Some things that they say in evolution make sense, but then if you read in the Bible, it lines up to where, you know, to where it’s not correct. It’s totally different.”
As Duggar siblings come of age, marry, and move out on their own, viewers wonder and scrutinize to see whether, or to what degree, each will leave behind the beliefs Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have presented on reality television for over a decade now. Of course, we’ve seen some differences, with some of the women in the family wearing pants, even jeans or shorts, after marriage, and perhaps espousing some slightly different beliefs. This latest clip of Joy Duggar Forsyth, however, suggests that several members of the family have had doubts about their religious upbringing, and have reconciled them, at least so far.