Jinger Duggar Speaks Out Against Family's 'Cult-Like' Religious Beliefs

"The teaching I grew up under was harmful, it was damaging, and there are lasting effects."

Jinger Duggar Vuolo is taking a stand against the religious beliefs she was raised under by her reality TV parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

The entire “19 Kids and Counting” family were brought up as followers of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a devout Christian organization started by Bill Gothard. Its teachings say men are superior to women, who should be subservient and devote their lives to becoming wives and mothers. Followers aren’t allowed to dance or drink alcohol and women are prohibited from wearing makeup, high heels or anything shorter than ankle-length dresses.

“[Gothard’s] teachings were so harmful, and I’m seeing more of the effects of that in the lives of my friends and people who grew up in that community with me,” Jinger said in a new interview with People, ahead of the release of her new book, “Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear.”

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“There are a lot of cult-like tendencies,” added Vuolo, who started questioning her beliefs in 2017 before walking away from IBLP. She told the publication she is still a Christian.

“Fear was a huge part of my childhood,” she continues. “I thought I had to wear only skirts and dresses to please God. Music with drums, places I went or the wrong friendships could all bring harm.”

“[Gothard’s] teachings in a nutshell are based on fear and superstition and leave you in a place where you feel like, ‘I don’t know what God expects of me,'” she added. “The fear kept me crippled with anxiety. I was terrified of the outside world.”

Though she said the principles she grew up under were “harmful, it was damaging and there are lasting effects,” she’s sharing her story now because “maybe it will help even just one person to be freed.”

Per the Amazon listing, in her latest book Duggar “recounts how she began to question the unhealthy ideology of her youth and learned to embrace true freedom in Christ.” The memoir will be released January 31.

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