The Duggars and the “Full Quiver” Movement

In September 2004 the Learning Channel ran a feature on the Duggars, a family that at the time had fourteen children. In the four years since, the Duggars have added three more children to their brood (and expect another in January 2009) and appeared on a number of other television shows, including one as far away as Italy . The family has captured the popular imagination, bringing on themselves praise, criticism, and plain interest.

First of all, who are the Duggars? The family consists of a father and mother – Jim-Bob and Michelle – and ten sons and seven daughters. The children range in age from one year to twenty and include two sets of twins. All the kids’ names begin with the letter “J:” the name of one girl, “Jinger,” is pronounced as “ginger” and does not rhyme with “singer” or “ringer.” The entire clan lives in Springdale , Arkansas , where the children are home schooled by their mother. Though on account of their family size they are often thought to be either Mormon or Catholic, the Duggars are actually Baptist. They do not attend a church in the community however but practise what is called “home churching,” with religious services held in their own house.

Michelle and Jim-Bob did not originally set out to, as one commentator put it, create their own baseball team. When they first married, Michelle took the birth control pill. They had their first child, a boy named Joshua, four years later. Afterwards Michelle went back on the pill but got pregnant anyway and miscarried. Upset, she and her husband came to believe that the pill was actually an abortifacient and had caused the loss of the fetus. They then resolved to let God decide the size of their family and stopped using contraception altogether. The rest is history: they now have a total of seventeen children, one more on the way, and two dogs.

The Duggars are part of a trend called the Quiverfull movement. Members of this movement have, like the Duggars, decided to leave their family size up to God and thus avoid contraception. They oppose induced abortion as well. They cite the Bible’s Psalm 127:3-5 in support of their choice: “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” They have sometimes been described as more Catholic than the Catholics, as the Catholic Church, while at least in theory against artificial birth control, allows so-called natural family planning, which Quiverfull adherents also reject. The only protection from pregnancy “full quiver” women would get is that afforded by breastfeeding, which is not foolproof past about six months (Michelle Duggar herself mentions in an article in Parents Magazine that she was pregnant and nursing a child at the same time). The Quiverfull, most of whom live in the United States , are not a denomination in themselves but generally belong to various Protestant fundamentalist churches.

I have read a great deal about the Duggars and watched them on television. My feelings about this family generally run on the neutral to positive side. Though I myself would not have seventeen kids, what is right for me might be wrong for somebody else and vice versa. The family seems to be very close and loving and the children extremely well-behaved without being “little robots.” Their closeness is shown by the fact that even when they moved to a larger house the girls and boys still chose to stay in a single room respectively. The Duggars are not collecting any money from the public purse (I am not against welfare per se in the case of, for instance, a mother of preschoolers who leaves an abusive husband and cannot pay for day care, but I do consider it irresponsible to deliberately have children while on social assistance). Nor despite their religious fundamentalism are the Duggars “holier than thou:” for example, in her Parents article Michelle states that her life is not for everyone.

Some things I am less comfortable with about the Duggars: their “buddy system,” whereby an older child is given responsibility for dressing, feeding and otherwise helping a younger sibling. Some believe the job of taking care of the kids should fall to the parents themselves, not a brother or sister. In theory, I agree – though the Duggar “buddies” claim not to mind this role and though such a situation could arise in a two-child family as well. I also wonder whether the parents have enough time to spend with each individual child. Of course one might state that what the children lack in parental attention they compensate in time with their siblings. Moreover, look at how many kids in small families today are starved for their parents’ attention because the latter are too busy doing other things or are spaced out on alcohol or drugs. I am not saying that the buddy system or the reduction in one-on-one time is wrong; perhaps I am just projecting what I would want for myself and my own family.

How do I see the Duggar family theologically? Within my own denomination, there is a group of Lutherans known as the Laestadians (after their founder, a man named Lars Laestadius) who eschew modern forms of birth control. Most of them live in Scandinavia, particularly Finland . They frequently have big families, sometimes over ten children. Interestingly, Laestadian children appear to be very well-adjusted. A study in the journal Acta Paediatrica found that Finnish children in 10+ families had a lower rate of psychological problems than their peers with fewer siblings. Thus a large family size per se does not seem to hurt children.

As I stated above, the Duggars and other Quiverfull followers cite Psalm 127:3-5 for their decision to shun contraception. I personally don’t believe that verse necessarily implies that all couples should choose to have as many children as they are physically capable of having. It must be remembered that in Biblical times children were prized for reasons typically not held today. More children guaranteed the survival of the nation of Israel at a time when war, famine and epidemic diseases threatened its numbers. In a largely agricultural society, kids also could contribute to the family economically by doing chores on a farm. Some pro-choice advocates point out that the Bible never mentions induced abortion directly. However, this does not mean that the Israelites condoned the procedure. Rather, abortion probably was not widely practised by Hebrew women because they had great motivation to have children. (Note: in my opinion the Bible on its own can’t really be used to justify either a pro-life or pro-choice position.)

While I myself would never follow the Duggars’ path, I respect them. I find it ironic that some people who talk about a woman’s right to have an abortion, use birth control, not have children at all, etcetera, are not always so tolerant of women who make choices like Michelle Duggar’s. From what I hear about the Duggars and read about big families in journals like Acta Paediatrica, the Quiverfull folks aren’t spawning a bunch of delinquents or psychopaths. Their children in some ways seem to enjoy more love, structure and concern than average from their families. So I think the Duggars and the Quiverfull movement as a whole are a force for good in today’s society.

202 Responses to “The Duggars and the “Full Quiver” Movement”

  1. 1 Donna Sep 13th, 2008 at 2:46 am

    I love the Duggar family. They are trophies of God’s wonderful grace. And God has set them in the public eye because they are witness’ of His abiding undefiled love. People who have been priviledged to be taken to heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought back to tell the world what they saw, felt, smelt, and experienced; these people saw whole families on a beautiful hillside full of the joy of the Lord, free from Satan and sin. I expect the Duggars will soon experience this reality of heaven because Jesus is coming back to rapture His people out of the earth very, very, soon before the tribulation of great pain and the days of desperate sorrows.

  2. 2 Emilia Liz Sep 13th, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Well, I don’t really regard the Duggars from a theological perspective; I just feel that if they want to have all the children they are capable of having and can afford it, then they shouldn’t be criticized any more than, say, a deliberately childless couple or a gay couple.

    About the rapture, did you read my essay on the end of the world? It’s also on Cynics Unlimited. We might differ in our religious views, but I’d be interested to see your comments on it.

  3. 3 mike Sep 30th, 2008 at 9:03 am

    After watching, it seems though the Michelle “gets off” on the attention that the new babies bring. I hope her uterus falls out.

  4. 4 Emilia Liz Sep 30th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Don’t worry; she’ll have undergone menopause before that happens!

  5. 5 callie Oct 17th, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    i do not agree on the buddy system that michelle and jim have for their kids, i bet if she had to do all those things for the little ones her self, she would not be so anxious to have sex as often if she does not believe in birthcontrol, another thing ok i understand not wanting to use contraceptives but my god are those people having sex every night? seems a bit disgusting to me

  6. 6 Donna Oct 23rd, 2008 at 3:13 am

    The Duggar Family are doing everything RIGHT because they are 100% commited to Jesus Christ. Jim Bob and Michelle are teaching their children priceless life lessons. The entire family works hard and the children are happy, healthy, and a pleasure to observe on their Television series. All children need to learn proper authority and all children need to learn to work. This family is a joy to watch and learn from.

    Callie don’t get so smug on the sex; afterall God created sex with boundaries. Sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman transfers demons between each person; now the devil has a foothold in those lives and Satan’s passionate driven purpose is to bring misery, sorrows, deception, unstable emotions and finally to destroy all that he can in hell for eternity. I am very impressed with the Duggars for teaching their children that pure, undefiled sex is to be saved for marriage. In all of the many sickening sexual perversions in this world praise the Lord that He has brought this precious family to the entire world to show forth His Holy standards for life in a family that belongs to Him!!!!!

  7. 7 Crystal R. Oct 23rd, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    I believe this is a calling from the Lord, just as celibacy. The Lord is raising up children for specific purposes and the Duggar kids have a calling, this is why they live the way they do. I am happy that there are people who are willing to obey the Lord’s calling and they are faithful with there task. These kids will grow up and be ready for the specific work the Lord has for them.

  8. 8 Donna Oct 23rd, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Amen Crystal R. I believe it and I believe it for my own children and grandchildren. Praise the Name of the Lord God Jesus Christ. He has determined to manifest Himself to the world and He does so through His people. Praise the Lord for the Duggars, Praise the Lord that He is not willing that anyone should perish in a devil’s Hell, but that all should come to repentance. Jesus said to the Religious crowd while He was on the earth, the publicans and the harlots believe and go first into heaven, you even saw this and still you do not believe Me. Religion will get you into hell; only Jesus Christ in your heart will get you into heaven. The Duggars are real people,loving, kind, humble, nonjudgmental, who have committed themselves to Jesus Christ and God has seen fit to manifest Himself through them to the world.

    1 Peter 2:11-12 Dearly Beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul: Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the DAY OF VISITATION!!!!

  9. 9 Emilia Liz Oct 25th, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Thank you all for your comments. To Callie, yes, I’m not 100% comfortable with the buddy system the Duggars have, but the reality is that even in a two-child family one child can end up “taking care” of a younger sibling. And the Duggar children don’t seem to mind what to others might seem like an excessive closeness; for instance, apparently even with a new house with a larger number of rooms they wanted to stay in the same room with the siblings of their own sex.

    To Donna and Crystal R, I respect the Duggars’ religious beliefs even if I don’t share all of them. As I write in a later essay, I’m probably only going to have one child. For example, I don’t interpret the verse “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord,” as meaning that every family should have as many children as they are physically capable of having. But if the Duggars interpret that verse differently, then they should follow it according to their own interpretation.

  10. 10 Jimminy Bib BOb Nov 2nd, 2008 at 12:33 am

    what the hell is wrong with you people? where the hell do you come from?

  11. 11 Donn Nov 2nd, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Hi Jimminy Bib Bob, I come from earth and I got here the same way you did. We are in the last days on earth and God is bringing His people into the public eye so they can show forth His ways as far as love, gentleness, kindness, humility, purity, holiness, etc. Jesus is not willing that anyone perish in a Devil’s hell and Jesus is your only way into heaven. You don’t have to fulfill God’s purpose in your life by having alot of children; all people are special and each person has their own calling and purpose of God on this earth. Seek the Lord with all your heart and you will find God’s purpose for your life just as the Duggars and many other people of God have. God Bless you and hold on to God’s unchanging hands because you are going to need Him in the coming days of great sorrows for the unrepentant and great glory for God’s people. Jesus is bringing in the last harvest of souls before the end of all lust, corruption, and all sins of all kind; and praise the Lord Jesus Christ, Satan and his agenda will be put to death forever. Jesus Himself will soon throw Satan and Satan’s demons into the lake of fire where they will be tormented forever and ever and ever and ever, etc. Satan is a loser and his kingdom is coming to an end; I am a Christian because I was well qualified for the salvation of Jesus Christ, Praise the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ who loves us with pure undefiled love.

  12. 12 colleen Nov 8th, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I had not heard of the quiver movement until reading this article. I live in East Tenn and have encountered families like the Duggars. I always wondered what they are. I’m African-American and they do appear to be distrustful of people who don’t look like them. I wonder if that is part of their religion and beliefs.

  13. 13 Donna Nov 8th, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Sometimes in a strick religious movement it can deteriate to legalism which can be intrepeted as distrust. Also being protective and following God’s truths can also come across as distrustful but the Duggars are not legalistic. The Duggars have a geniune pure love for all and they are great parents because they follow God’s plan for the family on earth.

  14. 14 Emilia Liz Nov 9th, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    To Donna and Colleen,

    Thank you for your responses.

    I haven’t heard anything of the Duggars being racist. In fact, they once appeared on the Montel Williams Show. Of course this doesn’t prove 100% they’re not racist, but I think if they were hardcore White Supremacists they wouldn’t go on a show hosted by a Black man.

    Again, I don’t know this 100%, but some religious movements have a distrust of what they call “the world.” An example: the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now I have not heard of the Duggars doing so, but some other quiverfull groups who belong to specific denominations may be like that.

  15. 15 Diane Dec 23rd, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Am I the only one who wonders if these people have ever heard of over population?? Earth’s population is at a critical mass! We are sucking the life out of our mother – the Earth.

    When God said “go forth & multiply,” I’m almost sure he didn’t mean indefinitely. We HAVE multiplied to the extreme.

    Also, there are millions of orphans in Africa that need homes, parents, food & love. Many also in the US.

    God didn’t send all those children to them. Sex did. If they really believe in Jesus & living a Christian life, why don’t they offer a home to some of those in desperate need.

  16. 16 Donna Dec 23rd, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Please, this talk of mother earth!! The earth is the Lord’s. Sin in the hearts of evil men and women and Satan have caused the havic being unleashed on earth. The Duggars are a family who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and are committed to Him in the ways of their lives and the lives of their children. They are not obligated to seek outside their God given convictions in order to add to their family. No doubt they pray for the nations as God commands in His Word. This family has been set forth to the public so that a fallen, sin sick world can see for themselves that God’s ways work and God’s ways of righteousness are for the good of sinfull mankind. We as a Nation are in trouble with Almighty God, but He does love us and He gave His pure sinless life’s blood so that no one perish in a Devil’s Hell. I am extremely grateful for the Duggar family because of their unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ.

  17. 17 Emilia Liz Dec 24th, 2008 at 9:39 am

    To Diane and Donna, thank you for contributing to the debate. First, with regard to the overpopulation argument, I do care about the environment, but I’m a little sceptical of overpopulation scaremongering. As I wrote in a previous essay here, “The End of the World,” there have been a number of predictions that, for example, overpopulation would cause global famines killing millions, plummeting life spans in the United States, etc. None of these prophecies materialized. All this makes me regard some of the overpopulation-related predictions in the same light as the Jehovah Witnesses’ tales of an upcoming Armageddon.

    Regarding adoption, I admire people who adopt. In fact, if I choose to expand my family, I will most likely do so through adoption rather than having another biological child. However, I wonder if some of the people who exhort the Duggars to adopt have ever adopted children themselves. I think if you are going to tell somebody to do something, you should do it yourself. It’s kind of the same logic as “darers always go first.” Here’s an example: an ex-boyfriend of mine told me that I should spend the money I used for my cats (which was not very much; I always shopped at a discount pet store) on starving children in the Third World. I told him to get back to me when he used the money he spent on cigarettes and marijuana on needy children. I told him that until he did so, he really had no moral prerogative to tell me how to spend my money.

    Nonetheless, I think I might have even greater respect for the Duggars if they did adopt. But I withhold the moral right to tell them what to do.

  18. 18 Diane Dec 24th, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Emilia liz, overpopulation is not scaremongering, it is a fact. Why do you suppose China has imposed a one child policy? I could write a book supporting this, but that is not the topic of these discussions.

    And yes, I have sponsored children in Africa & have done so for over 20 years. Since I am not a motherly type & would not adopt, this is my way of contributing. One couple bringing a giant tribe into the world is really irresponsible in my opinion.

  19. 19 Emilia Liz Dec 24th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Diane, I won’t argue with you about overpopulation because I know it’s hard to argue with true believers about any cause, whether it’s overpopulation, the notion that Armageddon is around the corner, the belief that the Earth was created 6,000 years ago, etcetera. I think I wasted too many afternoons debating with the Jehovah Witnesses on whether the world was going to end in the next ten years (this was back in 1994, so I guess I won that argument), so I won’t engage in a similar conversation.

    I still hold to the view that unless you adopt children yourself, you’re really not in any position to criticize others for not doing so. Yes, I think it’s generous of you to sponsor children in Africa. But it’s not the same as adopting a child. I’m not saying what you do is better than adopting, not as good as adopting, etcetera. It’s just not identical.

    I’ll give you another analogy. I don’t feel capable of adopting a mentally disabled or psychiatrically disturbed child (one with a purely physical handicap would be OK). So I wouldn’t, because I know myself well enough to know I couldn’t handle such a situation. On the other hand, I can’t tell any prospective adoptive parents who turn down an opportunity to adopt a child with Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, etcetera because I wouldn’t knowingly adopt such a child myself. Otherwise I would be hypocritical.

    About your feeling that “bringing a giant tribe into the world” is irresponsible, then don’t do it. It’s like the anti-abortion crowd: if they (at least the women among them) really feel the procedure is immoral, then don’t have one. But that’s your own choice, not others’.

  20. 20 Lisa Dec 28th, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Wow…interesting debating. Personally, I think the Duggars have had enough children. They should have stopped when they they needed the older children to step in and raise the new babies they keep having. My friend who was visiting her family in Arkansas this summer saw the Duggars at Silver Dollar City and said that for two hours Michelle Duggar sat down and didn’t lift a finger for any of her children, leaving that duty to her older female children. What message do you think these little children get when mommy and daddy have yet another baby….is it “why do they want another baby, aren’t I good enough”?
    As I’ve said before, someday some Psychologists are going to make a lot of money on these kids….and I hope I’m wrong.

  21. 21 Emilia Liz Dec 29th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Now as I mentioned in my essay, I am not completely with the “buddy system” the Duggars have. Still, I can think of worse ways in which parents treat their children, and I can imagine a “buddy system” even with a two-child family. I also don’t believe the kids necessarily think that their parents don’t think they’re “good enough” when they have another baby. Then again, I think psychologists can make money out of children no matter their family situation (one-child, two-child, thirteen-, etc.).

  22. 22 Cara Dec 31st, 2008 at 6:08 pm


    You are not alone. Many of us upon seeing “The Duggers” were immediately horrified by their lack of regard for the environment that sustains us all. Overpopulation is an ongoing problem. Anyone who has been to Africa as I have has seen the result of too many people trying to survive off of too few resources. And US children cause much more environmental damage than developing work children, of course.

    It appears to me that Quiverfulls are just another example of patriarchal anthropocentric right-wing fundamentalist Christianity which is surprisingly prevalent in the United States. There seems to be an underlying “race war” motive as well, which is not surprising seeing as how racism seems to be alive and well in the US. Putting “The Duggars” on television is only adding to the global perception of America as a place full of close-minded redneck consumers who’s children can’t find England on a map.

  23. 23 Donna Dec 31st, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    You are full of crap!!!!!!!!! The problem with this world is a total disregard for the commandments of Almighty God!!!!!!!! The Duggars are a wonderful example of how God bless’ those who serve and honor Him. They are a pure delight. Their children are healthy, happy, and productive citizens of the USA. You are caught up in the lies of Satan and on your way to hell. Jesus loves us all and He gave His life to save us and to restore us to righteousness and holiness. I am totally thankful for the Duggars and their God given and ordained influence on the world. Children are an heritage of the Lord; which one of them would you send back? God has planned for everyone of them and I am thankful the Duggars have obeyed the Lord in having as many as God would give them. If you have a problem with that take it up with God!!!!!!!!! Jesus is returning very, very, very, soon and this world will not be worthy of God’s people and the whole Duggar clan will be in heaven to partake of the wonders of heaven where there will be no sin or sinners. Praise the Lord God for His precious Blood that cleanses from all sin.

  24. 24 Cynapse Dec 31st, 2008 at 7:40 pm


    Does that mean that the starving Christian Denka in Southern Sudan (currently being enslaved by Islamic Arabs) are not blessed by God? How about the impoverished Orthodox Christians of Russia and Eastern Europe? How about the Christian Indians being forced to convert to Hinduism?

    Why does Jesus only like Midwestern Americans?

  25. 25 Lisa Jan 1st, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Donna, Donna…calm down. Noone here has said that they don’t believe that children are a gift from God. I think rather that we are concerned that this family is acting rather irresponsibly in having SO many children. My biggest concern is with their older children raising the younger children. They can call it a “buddy-system” all they want but the truth of the matter is that they aren’t “buddying”, they’re “parenting”.
    Your “full of crap” comment stunned me. I hope you don’t talk that way in public as you profess your Christianity. It doesn’t sound very nice. Also, when you tell someone they are “on their way to hell” as you told Cara, you might want to remember Matthew 7:1 “do not judge others lest ye be judged” and Matthew 7:2 “for in the same way you judge others you will be judged”.
    And, Cynapse….point well taken. We are ALL blessed…not just the Red States.

  26. 26 Diane Jan 1st, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Thank you Cara.

    Western civilization is currently expanding into a world culture increasingly bound to technologies that set us apart from the natural world. Despite all the wonders that this civilization has wrought, our behavior is systematically polluting our planet and dehumanizing our lives even as it prolongs them. Perhaps it is time to remember that we can survive only as long as our planet survives.

    Suffocating the Earth under an overload of humanity will undoubtedly bring about our demise.

  27. 27 Peg Jan 1st, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Donna, could I ask you a couple of questions? 1) You wrote that you, yourself, were “well-qualified” for salvation and thus for admission into heaven. What qualifications must one have (or obtain) in order to avoid the Devil’s hell? 2) I don’t understand the connection between legalism and parental distrust. Could you explain what you meant by that? Were you misunderstood in terms of the way you brought up your own kids? Thanks, in advance; I know these are personal questions.

  28. 28 Missy Jan 6th, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    The Duggars are an inspiration for all of us parents who are trying to raise their children in a Godly way. I watch the show and take pointers and encouragement, since the world is so ungodly. There really isn’t much support for those families trying to rely on God’s provision. We have had 4 children in 5 years and i have actually been scoffed at because of this. I as far as i know cannot have more due to very difficult pregnancies and 4 c-sections…but i would if i could!!!

    I also encourage their supporters to pray for them and encourage them with your notes etc…

    God Bless,
    Missy (Proud Wife and Mommy to 4 gifts from God)

  29. 29 Chris Rasster Jan 13th, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    I think the Duggars are a great family (from what we see on TV). Their kids are very well behaved and polite.

    I love their conservative values.

    I also think the buddy system is great. To have older kids help with the younger kids seems very natural. Some of these parents today do not know the first thing about child rearing and couldn’t change a child’s outfit if they wanted to.

    These kids will all make excellent parents with their vast experience of helping. None of them seem to be spoiled brats or self centered.

    I think the family is great and we have 5 ourselves and want more.

    Quiver full man.. Quiver full…. So many will live without a legacy.

  30. 30 Emilia Liz Jan 17th, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you to everyone for commenting. Just one note: I don’t think the Duggars are racist. After all, if they were, they wouldn’t have appeared on the Montel Williams Show.

    I suppose my gist is that everybody should have as many (or few) children as they want as long as they are able to handle those they have (for instance, I don’t think people on welfare should deliberately have kids until they’re no longer dependent on the taxpayers). So I don’t mind Chris and Missy having all the children I want, as long as I can have my maximum of two children (I have one daughter; I may adopt one day).

  31. 31 Vincent Jan 22nd, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    It is statistically likely that at least one or two of their children is gay.

    How much love and support will that child get when their parents find out?

  32. 32 Emilia Liz Jan 24th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I take it that the Duggar parents probably consider homosexuality a sin – but sometimes people can surprise you: they just might accept a gay child. Or maybe they’ll still disapprove of his/her lifestyle but still love him/her as a person. And sometimes so-called “liberals” aren’t as accepting as they appear. For example, liberal “saint” Katherine Hepburn apparently called homosexuality a “social evil.” And some people who might accept homosexuality in theory but still be upset at having a gay or lesbian child. So I think it remains to be seen how the Duggars react if one of their children turns out to be gay.

  33. 33 Gwen Jan 25th, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Human overpopulation is a problem. the Duggars are a problem. Whats even better is that their daughters will never get to have full lives because the quiverfull movement clings to the idea that women are subservient to men and are meant to stay in the home. They are brainwashed, horrible human beings that set too much in store in “Jesus Christ” and have brought up a great many kids who, if they in turn had even 1/2 as many kids, would overwhelm the population. If everyone believed in the quiverful beliefs, the world would end. No thats not an exaggeration, there is only so much room on the planet. The Duggars are pychopaths. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS HAVING TOO MANY CHILDREN. THERE IS SUCH A THING AS HAVING “too many flowers”(A quote from Michelle Duggar was “Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers). A garden has natural ways of thinning the numbers. The roots have chemicals in them that prevent others from existing. I can’t wait for the first kid to lose his mind due to all the psycho brainwashing and he ends up killing the whole family. These people don’t seem to understand that yes, having 17 children may seem ok for their small lives, however, if they truly belive what they do is right, then they believe everyone else should be that way if they were to live “correctly”. Don’t they understand how horrible that is? And if god exists, HE DOES CARE IF YOU DO OR DO NOT HAVE KIDS! HE DOESNT CARE IF YOU GO TO CHURCH. HE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT A SINGLE THING YOU DO.

    I bet at least one of their kids is gay. I wonder what they will do to him. Actually, no, the kid would kill himself to prevent himself from committing a sin against god. Look out duggar kids!

    Also, I bet they would freak out if a daughter married a black kid.

  34. 34 Lisa Jan 26th, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Psychopaths? Horrible human beings? Hmmmmmmmmmm You sound a little unbalanced. Although I agree with some of the things you say in your letter I do have to say that I don’t believe that these are horrible human beings. I wrote a couple of entries on this blog earlier because I also have some issues with the way the Duggars live. I was completely shocked when I was recently reunited with one of my best friends from college only to find out that she has been living like the Duggars for over 20 years. I had so many questions for her and she was so sweet to share what her life has been like all these years. So much of the “Quiverful” movement and other movements like this are centered around homeschooling. This is where so many families meet and where some marriages are (sort of) arranged. These children don’t go to college because the parents don’t want them to be exposed to a less godly life (c’mon we all remember our college days). I could go on and on but don’t have the time right now, however please feel free to ask any questions and I’ll try to answer those that I can. I will leave you with one very, very unsettling fact and that is that there is quite a bit of incest that runs through these families. I’m not saying that it does with the Duggars, just that it exists. My friend through her search for perfection as a mother and a wife has left this life along with her family. There is a lot of guilt that she feels. It will take a lot of time for her to heal. Spending this time with her made me understand this movement even more. It also makes me more frightened of it.

  35. 35 Emilia Liz Jan 26th, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Thank you both for your comments.

    I think sometimes observers of the Duggars fall into two extremes: that they’re the embodiment of holiness itself or a ticking time bomb where one of them will “explode.” I think the truth is somewhat in between.

    About the girls being brainwashed, there was a special in which many of the girls did have future career goals. One girl wanted to be a midwife, for example. And if they choose to be full-time homemakers, I think that is a respectable life course as well (though one I personally would never take).

    Regarding what would happen if one of the children turned out to be gay, I made a comment on that in my last post preceding this one. About a daughter marrying a Black man, I have no idea what her parents’ reaction would be, so I could not say. I don’t have evidence either way. Nor, I think, do you.

  36. 36 Grace Jan 26th, 2009 at 11:58 am

    The Duggar parents were at one time trying to take the correct path of dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s and following the bibilical word. It is a hard path to stay on, and make that change daily in their lives and children in today’s world.

    But truth be told they have put their lives in front of the media, where Jim Bob, a politican at heart, likes to be. They take free trips offered by the media to promote their book and way of life. They do take handouts and promotional incentives.

    They do not allow their children to watch much tv and monitor computer time.

    But they do not care if you or your children watch their TV show, and Good Morning show appearances, and buy a magazine because their on the cover. They do not care that YOUR children are then exposed to the commericalization.

    They have fallen into the greed, greed and greed world. I saw it clearly when Michelle appeared on GMA show and the host wanted to talk about motherhood and Michelle kept putting her book up in front of the cover while in NYC saying all her book signing dates, where to buy the book, Book, Book, Book. I will tell you everything if you buy the book.

    A true christian, which they are very few, Mother Teresa turned down beds for the nuns and helpers, we need food and clothes for the poor, we do not need fancy beds.

    It is extremly hard to follow the biblical ways truly. I am wondering in the big clean perfect world of the Duggars house they are willing to all let go, to help the starving families in the world. Would they be willing to sell some of there real estate, car dealerships, downsize to a smaller house like they once had and not sell their donated grand piano? My educated guess, is no. Me, Myself, and I are the Duggars, like every other person that falls for the world of Marketing and promotional incentives…. What are they truly teaching and promoting?

  37. 37 Mickbic Jan 26th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I grew up in a quiverful family and feel for the most that it was a positive experience. I think my parent’s convictions about birth control came from the late evangelist John Rice, but I am not sure.

    There can be a lot said both pro and con about large families. The main thing is to try to not get too judgmental about other people’s reproductive choices. There may well come a time when reproductive choice may become more restrictive in the uSA as it is in China. Could happen and it won’t be the end of the world.

  38. 38 Jocelyn Feb 3rd, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I have to comment on several different aspects of this particular debate.

    First off, I have to say that while I don’t share the Duggar’s beliefs 100% (I do share a lot of them), I totally respect them for having strong convictions and living according to those convictions. so many people these days espouse strong beliefs but do not live their life in accordance to those beliefs. Basically, people have a tendency to talk “big game”.

    As for the “buddy system”, I’ve seen what I consider to be a lot of overreaction to it. I have 4 children and, while I don’t have an official “buddy system”, my oldest child does end up helping out with the younger children quite a bit and as the younger ones get older, they will have to help me with my youngest daughter. That’s just the way it is in larger families. It comes a sa necessity sometimes and it doesn’t hurt the older childre to help out. It teaches responsibility and it fosters a bond between the siblings.

    I don’t see the Duggars as the “embodiment of all that is holy” but i also do not see them as horrible people making horrible choices. They are people doing what they feel is best – and they aren’t asking the taxpayers to foot the bill. They aren’t hurting anyone and the kids all seem healthy, happy and well-adjusted so why is it anyone’s place to say they’re wrong? I know if someone questioned my right to decide to have my own 4 children – which is a lot by some people’s standards – I’d be tempted to punch them right in the nose (lol).

  39. 39 Emilia Liz Feb 3rd, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Dear Jocelyn,

    I agree with much of what you have said, even though I only have one child and probably will have no more (I’m looking into adoption, but given my age, civil status and the expense of adoption it may not happen). The Duggars made their choice; I made mine.

  40. 40 Jocelyn Feb 5th, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Exactly, Emilia. Whether people choose to have no children, 1 chil or a housefull isn’t anyone’s business but their own. I wish you luck.

  41. 41 Emilia Liz Feb 5th, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I would agree with you – though I might have reservations in certain cases. For example, I don’t think people on welfare should deliberately try to conceive – if they can’t bring up children without the aid of the state, they shouldn’t have them. Also, if people have trouble handling, not necessarily financially but emotionally, the children they already have they might think twice about having more. For example, I was a member of a board, called Gentle Christian Mothers, where women who had sometimes two or more “special needs” kids – by this I don’t mean kids in a wheelchair but in many cases children with severe behavioural problems – sometimes deliberately went about conceiving more. It seems that maybe if they can’t handle the children they already, they might think twice about adding more to the mix and focus on those they already have.

  42. 42 Lisa Feb 5th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    I believe that wanting to have children is very natural and that people don’t make their decision whether or not to have them based on how fits into their financial picture. The desire to have children is emotional (or possibly an “oops” occurance). So if a struggling young couple who are doing all the right things…working, paying bills on time want to add a baby to the family but can’t quite cut it financially…should they just say “let’s wait until we are better off financially”. Maybe, but the truth is that the woman has that biological clock that ticks louder year after year and if they wait too long it will be even more difficult for them to conceive.
    The Duggars aren’t trying to fill a void (they don’t have one) and I doubt that it is an emotional yearning that they feel to keep reproducing. I understand their religious convictions but as a Christian I believe that they have taken scripture to an extreme. I think that God gave us brains and common sense. Having 18 children in one family seems very extreme. I know they don’t think they are hurting anyone but just imagine the carbon footprint that Jim-Bob and Michelle are leaving behind. It is astronomical!

  43. 43 Emilia Liz Feb 6th, 2009 at 1:26 am

    To Lisa, I’m not saying that you have to be a millionnaire to have children. I don’t have a problem with a young couple who as you say, are working and paying bills on time having children even if they’re not quite financially in the clear. Nor do I have a problem with, say, a woman with two children who is escaping an abusive husband going on welfare until she can get her life in order and find a job. I do draw the line, however, when a couple (or single person) on the public dole deliberately brings a child into the world and expects me the taxpayer to support them.

    Regarding the Duggars, I would never follow in their footsteps, and I don’t agree with everything they do, but as long as they’re footing their own bill I don’t really have a problem with them.

  44. 44 Lisa Feb 6th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Emilia Liz,
    I don’t disagree with you. I do have a problem as have others on this site with the result on this earth with too many people. My last entry is the first time I’ve even commented on the subject although I do have some strong views on this. Everyone has a carbon footprint, which is greenhouse gas emissions an individual leaves behind in his lifetime either directly or indirectly. Bringing so many children into this world is only making the problem worse because they now are responsible for 18 others’ carbon footprints. I’m on a Climate Change foundation and this is a very serious issue.

  45. 45 Emilia Liz Feb 7th, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Dear Lisa,

    Thank you for responding. I’m kind of sceptical of overpopulation hysteria: as you can see in my essay “End of the World,” a number of dire predictions have been made about overpopulation causing an impending apocalypse – and most of these predictions have failed spectacularly (in particular those of Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb). Still, I would state that if every woman (or couple; obviously Jim Bob Duggar had something to do with the Duggar family) had 18 children or even 10 children, that would be something to be concerned about in today’s world. However, it seems that now women around the world are choosing to have fewer children. In fact, in some countries the birth rate is below replacement level. Speaking as a woman who has only one child myself, and who if I do choose to expand my family will most likely do so through adoption, I can see why many women aren’t choosing to have large families nowadays. Many of us want to work outside of the home, or we feel it is better to focus on a few children individually rather than a large number of them, or we don’t want to be pregnant all the time. That’s not to mention the financial implications of a large family.

    So I don’t really think the Duggars per se are going to have a huge impact on the population in the overall scheme of things.

  46. 46 Charlotte Feb 11th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Well personally, I think 18 children is extreme and there is something to be said for the problems this creates. Granted, they SEEM to be nice people, but as a previous poster said, they are good at exploiting their lifestyle and profiting from it. What my issue is, as with all religious zealots, is the apparent imbalance and fanaticism. I also have concerns with their belief that a man has “authority” over the women in his life. Typical patriarchial thinking, keep her pregnant and barefoot, give me a break! That will be the day any male has authority over me, I am a human being and thus entitled to be my own authority. And Michelle keeps churning them out. They almost seem cult like to me, and that is scary….

  47. 47 Lori Feb 12th, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Families like the Duggars and the Gosselins leave the amount of children they have in God’s hands. But they don’t have a problem with taking the numerous handouts they get and all the attention they get with their t.v. show and website. What these people do is irresponsible. Unless one can afford to have this many children, they should not be relying on others to help them. I have no sympathy for them. They use the media to provide not God. I, personally, have a problem with religion as it is manipulated to one’s likes. But that’s just my opinion. My point is that having that many children is just wrong especially when the parent’s can’t afford them.

  48. 48 Emilia Liz Feb 14th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    To Charlotte and Lori,

    Thank you both for writing in. Sorry to be so late in getting back!

    To Charlotte first, no, I would not wish to be under the “authority” of any man. I know the idea of a woman being “submissive” to her man is anathema to most feminists. However, one benefit of living in a free and democratic society is that we can make choices in our lives which others might not approve. For instance, some people might not like the fact that I use birth control, only intend to have one biological child, etc. I don’t begrudge their opinion, but the fact is that they have to “live” with my choices, which might differ from theirs. So even though I would not want to live the life Michelle Duggar does, I concede she has a right to it.

    To Lori, the difference between the Duggars and, say, a couple or individual who deliberately has more children while in welfare is that I’m not being compelled to give money to the Duggars. If I don’t want to help support them, I don’t have to. On the other hand I’m forced to subsidize the lives of people who purposely have children while calling on the taxpayers to support them whether they want to or not.

  49. 49 Suze Feb 22nd, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    A few years ago I saw something about this huge family, not sure if it was the Duggers, but I think it was. Their oldest daughter had been kicked out of the house for ‘behavior unsavory for the younger kids’ and ‘bad choices’. She showed up at a picnic they were having and she was toting along her black child! Unsure if she had married the father, but it became instantly obvious what the ‘unsavory behavior’ and ‘bad choices’ to which they were referring. That was the only time I have seen any mention of that older daughter or the mixed race grandchild.

  50. 50 Emilia Liz Feb 22nd, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the Duggars. I had heard of this family (the one whose oldest daughter was kicked) in the context of a discussion about the Duggars, but it was clearly not their daughter.

  51. 51 Emilia Liz Feb 22nd, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Hi, Suze. I think the family you’re thinking about is the Jeub family. You can look them up on the Web.

  52. 52 Karma Feb 26th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    My parents had 3 children. Me, my sister 10 years later, and then my brother. I had to raise my sister because my mom had problems taking care of 2 children 12 months apart, so this idea that the “buddy” system is only in large families is ridiculous. However I don’t resent it, my sister and I are closer than most siblings can ever imagine, and I am grateful that I was allowed to be such a big part of her life. I only wish I had been able to be as big a part in my brother’s life as well.

  53. 53 Karma Feb 26th, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Please name on single handout the Duggars have taken that hasn’t been freely given by someone who loves them? Also, did you ever consider the possibility they are using TV to spread the good word about God and not to make money?

  54. 54 Jenny Feb 27th, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Gosh… Im so glad I live in Australia where we can have as many kids as we like ,with help from the state, and do whatever we like because there really is enough to go ’round., We have excellent free healthcare for our citizens and very strict gun laws and also hardly any of the extreme religous factions the US has….
    Incidently, We get the Duggars show here on cable and they seem alot more stable minded than most of the posters here!

  55. 55 john Feb 28th, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    they are psycho
    they watch you when you are sleeping

  56. 56 gigi Mar 6th, 2009 at 4:41 pm


    Don’t you Australian’s have any “Australian” shows that you can watch instead..being that you dislike American life so much..you Australians sure can’t stay away from American TV shows! Goes to show that you dont have anything decent enough to watch in your country.

  57. 57 Jillian Beth Apr 4th, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    You better believe they’re holier than thou. Too holy to be around non-whites, especially those of other religions. Imagine someone leaving a little black or Hispanic child on their doorstep??? Would that not be a “blessing” from God? Not for them, I’m sure.

  58. 58 Emilia Liz Apr 4th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    I don’t think there’s any proof the Duggars are racist. Of course I don’t know what goes on in their minds, but to my knowledge there’s nothing to indicate that they would be. Even if I might not agree with everything they do, I don’t have any indication they’re racist.

  59. 59 Emilia Liz Apr 5th, 2009 at 11:17 am

    To Jillian Beth, Can you give me any proof that the Duggars are racist? If you can give me something convincing, then I might consider the fact they are. But so far I’ve seen absolutely no indication the Duggars are racist.

  60. 60 Pureheart Apr 20th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I love the Duggar!!
    Ilike them because they live the way I do.
    When thy come on their children aren’t rude and disobedient like the roloff kids.
    They can go in a store and they are so well behaved.
    When you see a little brat come in the store and start cry and stuff you say the need to control their chid. The duggar on the other hand they don’t have to do that. The stqarted them from babys abou t obedience.
    I’m only 15 but soething they do i do think I whould want to but i don’t see a problem with haveing a buddy system. Ya’ll need t o stop hating on th duggars. Your just jealous because they got alot of thing going for them.

  61. 61 Nancy Aug 3rd, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Why do they buy used clothes, etc. when they are making a killing financially? I think that the only reason these kids haven’t rebelled about the “buddy system” is because they are home schooled and don’t know any better. I think any show where the parents brag that their kids watch “little or no” television should be immediately dropped due to their hypocrisy.

  62. 62 Emilia Liz Aug 3rd, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Dear Nancy,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I can see your point about hypocrisy, but on the other hand I can understand why the parents want to keep their children away from extended time in front of the TV set. I’ve seen so many kids become couch potatoes because they’re always watching TV. Obesity, alientation from friends, neglect of schoolwork, etcetera, sometimes result. I suppose a happy medium is in order!


  63. 63 Rosalie Aug 15th, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I’m sorry, but if you think there is not an overpopulation problem on this planet, you have got to be a moron. I don’t need to see any “studies”; I don’t care about “false predictions”. All you have to do is open your eyes. Go to Wal-mart or a waterpark on a Saturday. Drive home from work any weekday at 5 p.m. in a major city. I’ve been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours to and from work and school. There are people everywhere. The population has exploded ten-fold in the past half-century. Can you picture how the earth is going to be in 30 years? We are living longer than ever thanks to advanced medical technologies and because of people like the Duggars, the amount of people being born far trumps the amount of people dying, further making the population skyrocket. Litters are meant for cockroaches and rats. So yes, I do have a problem with this. There is absolutely no reason to have this many kids. These people are the epitome of selfishness. It’s SICKENING. And it’s horrifying that all of these children are being raised with this backwoods, medieval view of life. Women are not incubators! Pregnancy and children are not miracles. The definition of a miracle is the opposite of something that happens hundreds of thousands of times a day. And realistically, the majority of children being born everyday will not grow up to cure cancer; they will be AVERAGE JOES. Or drains on society. And we have enough of those! I just cannot fathom why people like the Duggars are glorified. It’s much more work to AVOID getting pregnant and do something decent and worthwhile for humankind than it is to keep getting sperminated. How about HELPING the planet instead of TAKING, TAKING, TAKING? Volunteer with Big Brother/Big Sister, donate to cancer research and child abuse prevention charities. Jesus. All I am thankful for is that I am not bringing children into a world which will be a (to quote George Carlin) “…huge smoking ball of shit” 50 years from now when we run out of resources.

  64. 64 Emilia Liz Aug 15th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    The fact is that most developed nations have birth rates under replacement level. I think the Duggars get the attention they do because they’re NOT the norm.

    If you don’t like where you’re living because of overpopulation, why don’t you move to a more isolated area? I must admit I find where I’m living in Toronto a little bit too densely packed for my taste, but rather than griping about it I’m planning to live in an area with more space.

  65. 65 Rosalie Aug 15th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    “The fact is that most developed nations have birth rates under the replacement level.”
    Yeah, that’s why the world’s population has doubled in only 40 years and by 2050 is approximated to be over 9 billion (http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idb/worldpopgraph.php).
    “If you don’t like where you’re living because of overpopulation, why don’t you move to a more isolated area?”
    That is exactly the kind of entitlement-minded mentality so prevalent in parents today. I love the city because of the entertainment, the culture, the job opportunities (which aren’t available in isolated areas), but can’t bitch about the traffic that’s caused by there being too many people? (That I’m not contributing to.) I’M supposed to move because people can’t control their fertility? Newsflash: by 2050 when there are over 9 billion people on the planet there WON’T BE too many open spaces left! And not too long after that, we won’t have room to breathe!
    I propose we round up all the Duggar-esque families and ship them off to some island where they can pollute both physically and mentally with their Quiverfull garbage.

  66. 66 Emilia Liz Aug 15th, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Well, I’m saying that if you don’t like the densely populated space you’re living in, you might consider moving rather than complaining about it. Just like if I don’t like Variety Store A because the staff is rude, I’ll just shop at Variety Store B instead rather than going on about how awful the people at A are (and in the city you have that choice). How am I being entitled?

    Also, life is about trade-offs, after all. As an example, sometimes I think it might be nice to live in the country, but of course there might be disadvantages to that I’m not willing to accept. I’m not telling you to move; I’m just suggesting if you’re so unhappy where you are you might consider making a change. That’s why I’m thinking of moving to a place where I can have more space. Rather than just hang my head and cry about how tragic my life is where I am, I take steps to change it.

    I actually feel kind of sorry for you that you seem to like “bitching” so much. Most of us, whether we have no children or twenty, have better things to do with our life than brood about the Duggars.

  67. 67 Tricia Aug 19th, 2009 at 12:16 am

    If you look back in history, the buddy system is nothing new. There were very large families and the older kids helped greatly with the younger kids. They were also given tons more responsibilities and duties than today’s kids. And what better way to learn to be a great parent when it becomes their turn.

  68. 68 Emilia Liz Aug 19th, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Dear Tricia,

    Thank you for the comment. As I mentioned in the article, I’m not 100% comfortable with the buddy system. I do hope that it’s voluntary on the buddies’ part. I will admit that personally I might resent being responsible for a younger sibling. However, I agree that in one sense it can help prepare a child for parenthood.

    With regard to chores, I have no problem with them as long as they’re not excessive.


  69. 69 Dirk Sep 1st, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I saw the recent news regarding the Duggars on Yahoo! and ended up linking to this site. The conversations in this blog have been interesting to read through and I felt compelled to add a few comments of my own.

    I share the convictions that the Duggars seek to live by and have a good understanding of what is truly at work in their hearts. Their desire to receive all of the children that God gives does not necessarily come from one specific Commandment in Scripture, but from what they believe to be an overall communication in God’s Word regarding His heart for children. There are numerous indications all throughout Scripture that God is very much in favor of families being open to any children that He would provide. The Duggars have on their website two books that I would highly recommend to any Christians who want to search this out more. One is (obviously) A Full Quiver and the other is Be Fruitful and Multiply. Both books provide leading questions and suggested verses to guide an individual in personal study through the Scriptures regarding this subject. They both are fairly comprehensive in regards to the overall Biblical point of view. I personally suggest Be Fruitful and Multiply since I feel that it does the best job of communicating God’s heart pertaining to this subject. Obviously, if you are not Christian or do not believe in the Authority of Scripture, you probably will not derive much benefit from either book.

    I know from personal knowledge that the Duggars are neither racist nor anti-gay (in the sense of harboring a personal hatred towards those who are gay). They would, however, confirm together with Scripture that homosexuality works in contrast to the natural order of God’s created design. Physically speaking, God did design man for the woman and the woman for man which is quite evident by simple observation. In the Bible, homosexuality is condemned as a sin and should be regarded as such. Again, if you are not Christian or do not believe in the Authority of Scripture, this will mean little to you.

    Finally, in regards to their ‘buddy system’. The book of Mark teaches us that even Jesus did not come to be served, but rather to serve and to give up his life as a ransom for ALL (including parents of ‘only’ one child, parents of many children, homosexuals, and especially myself). It is an appropriate method of parental instruction to have the older children help the younger children as this teaches them to follow Christ’s example in serving others. Philippians says to not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Again, the disclaimer, if you are not Christian then this will all seem like psycho-babel for you. But I do pray that my comments will help to clarify the Duggars position which flows forth from a desire to serve Christ as they understand His will for their home.

    By the way (if it is at all pertinent), my wife and I do not seek to prevent children in our union. God has given us five children and it appears that may be the conclusion of our increase. Not every family that lives according to these convictions have the same results as the Duggars (God is Sovereign).

  70. 70 Lisa Sep 1st, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I think Dirk’s remarks are very thoughtful. I too am a Christian and attended a Christian University. However, I do differ from Dirk in the belief that we should have as many children as God gives us. I don’t think that God ever intended each person to just have one baby after another. I firmly believe that it’s okay with him if we decide not to have so many children. If one doesn’t believe in birth control maybe a little self control wouldn’t be a bad idea. You must admit that Michelle’s face looked almost pained as she announced their impending arrival on the Today Show this morning. And since you are a man who has never been pregnant you cannot even imagine what happens to us (women) while we are pregnant. Michell has declared that pregnancy isn’t all that easy for her and that she experiences a great deal of morning sickness.

    Just so you know, I have spent many many hours with an old colleague of mine who was a member of the Quiverfull movement. Although she believed that she was doing the right thing at the time, after studying the bible in depth she feels that this group is very misguided and takes things out of context. She left this group years ago and feels that her children have suffered because of the many years they lived like this.

  71. 71 Emilia Liz Sep 1st, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Dear Dirk,

    Thank you so much for your response. By the way, do you know that at age 42, Michelle Duggar is expecting her 19th child? She only discovered after noticing that her youngest was fussy during breastfeeding; apparently a woman’s milk composition may change if she is pregnant.

    Regarding your comments, I am a Christian as well. I truly believe that children are a heritage of the Lord. However, my interpretation of this verse doesn’t lead me to believe that I should necessarily bear all the children I am capable of having. Yes, happy is the person whose quiver is full of them, but for me, my quiver is full with my one biological child (as I said in my essay on having an only child, I am open to adoption in the future, though it seems for the reasons I mention in that essay plus something else that’s come up now, it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to adopt). But I understand that other people, like the Duggars or you and your wife, may interpret this verse differently, and I have absolutely no problem with that. Actually, in a strange way I feel a certain kinship with the quiverfull folks: just as they’ve been criticized for having too many children, as a mother of only child I’ve been criticized for “denying my child a sibling” or being “selfish.” In short, I feel everybody should have as many or few children as he or she wants (with some caveats: for example, I believe someone who has a drug or alcohol addiction should resolve that problem before thinking of having any children at all).

    Regarding the buddy system, I don’t necessarily see anything in Scripture supporting or going against it, so I can’t really argue with you here. With respect to homosexuality, I don’t really have any strong opinion on the matter. I don’t necessarily see it as a sin. It also strikes me: all the references to homosexuality have to do with male-male relationships, so does that mean that lesbianism is acceptable? In addition, one argument is that yes, (male) homosexuality is prohibited in the Old Testament, but so is eating pork, wearing clothes containing different fibres, etc., all things that most Christians do without a thought. Again, I don’t have a strong opinion on homosexuality either way; this is just some things I wanted to point out.

    I suppose the real issue of the Duggars, in my mind, is choice. I don’t mind if they and people of similar mindsets have all the children they want to have. I feel secure enough in my choice (to have one child) to respect people who make different choices from mine.

  72. 72 Emilia Liz Sep 1st, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Hi, Lisa. You must have posted just before I did, because I was responding to Dirk’s comments as well. As I mention, I don’t believe that the verse about having one’s “quiver full” means I should necessarily have all the children I’m capable of having (which, by the way, may not be that many even if I threw my birth control to the wind; I just turned 41). You seem to have come to the same conclusion as I have. On the other hand, I have no problem with Michelle Duggar having as many children as she is capable. I believe every woman (in consultation with her husband if she is married) should have as many or few children as she wants.

  73. 73 Astonished Sep 1st, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Rosalie, I agree with everything you said. These people are completely brainwashed.

  74. 74 Dirk Sep 1st, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Emilia Liz,

    While reading the threads of comments to this subject, I was struck that the Duggars true feelings were being consistently misrepresented. My intention for responding was to try to rightly represent them since I share their convictions and can identify with them. It would be foolish for me to think that I can change other people’s hearts and that is not my goal. My desire is that people would search out God’s heart and seek to know Him and His ways. If you have studied the Scriptures and diligently prayed for God’s will in your life, then I wholeheartedly encourage you in your decision. Remember, that you started a blog which questions the Duggar’s convictions and not vice versa.

    You did mention that your ‘interpretation of this verse’ led you to feel the way you do. Again, it is not one verse that leads the Duggars, but their interpretation of the entirety of Scripture. The one thing that I would encourage anyone in this matter (and all matters of life) is to search the entirety of Scripture as we seek to know God’s heart. God wants us to search Him out. Christianity is not a list of do’s and dont’s, but rather a relationship with Him. It is a life long process of getting to know Him. Jesus calls us to follow Him and to walk with Him and to learn from Him.

    My other thought for you has to do with your understanding of God’s view on homosexuality. Again, I am not here to judge anyone, but I do have a desire to see God’s Word represented accurately. If someone wants to reject the Scriptures, that is their choice. However, you suggested that the Scriptures only address homosexuality in the Old Testament and only as it pertains to male relationships. Again, if you were to study the entire body of Scripture you would clearly see God’s purpose for relationships and His definition of marriage and sexuality. However, to make it simple, you can read Romans 1:26-27. These two verses are New Testament texts where both female and male homosexuality are condemned.

  75. 75 Emilia Liz Sep 1st, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Hi again, Dirk. Thank you so much for your contribution to this thread.

    I think I’ll leave the homosexuality question aside because, as I said before, I don’t really have any strong opinion either way on it and because I don’t think it really has much to do with the issue of the Duggars.

    My reading of the Bible is that yes, it is a very family-oriented book and the Jews and the Christians who succeeded them were very family-oriented peoples. But I don’t think the Bible necessarily sends the message that every woman should have as many children as she is physically capable of having. Now of course the Bible doesn’t say a woman should NOT have as many children as she’s able to. In my view the Bible doesn’t really lay out any clear guidelines on how many children one should have, whether one should try to limit the size of one’s family, use birth control, and so on. But, again, this is just my interpretation, and others are free to interpret the Bible the way they want.

    I will agree with you that the Duggars have been misrepresented. For example, a few people implied they were racist. I see no indication that they are (or that one of their members is; of course members of the same family may hold different views). Of course I can’t prove 100% that they’re not racist – though their appearence on the Montel Williams show would imply they’re not hardcore White Supremacists who don’t want anything to do with people of colour. How they would react if one of their daughters were to marry a Black man – I really can’t say, and neither, in my opinion, can the people who are accusing them of racism.

    Dirk, I enjoy your contribution to my essays, even if we don’t agree 100% on things. Just wondering: would you like to comment on my essay on older mothers (Older Mothers: When Is Late Too Late?)?

  76. 76 Dirk Sep 1st, 2009 at 11:29 pm


    Thank-you for your comments. My desire is to better explain the Duggar’s position and not to discredit yours. God leads all of us in different ways in accordance to His will. If we are surrendered to His purpose and continuously seeking His will, then we can have confidence that His Holy Spirit will show us the way that we should go.

    God has never been pregnant either. However, He knows everything that a woman goes through when she is pregnant. My opinion and my experiences mean very little. God’s opinion means much. Hebrews 11:6 says that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. One couple will diligently seek Him and feel that two children are His will for their family. Another couple will diligently seek Him and feel led to leave (by faith) this decision in His hands. Both of them may be right on regarding God’s will for their lives. Abraham and Sara tried for years before God opened Sara’s womb and gave them the son that they desired.

    I am sorry that your old colleague feels that we are misguided and taking things out of context. I will not judge her convictions, but leave that between her and God. I hope and pray that God will bless her in the way that she feels God is leading her. I also pray for God’s blessing on your life!

  77. 77 Lisa Sep 2nd, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Thank you for your kind comments. My whole reason for discussing how women feel when they’re pregnant is related to Michelle’s face and body language this morning on the Today Show. She looks exhausted. I have three children (twins included) and my pregnancies were anything but fun. I only gained 13 lbs with the twins….talk about morning sickness. I feel sorry for Michelle because I believe that she does not see that she has a choice…she must not practice any birth control. My Catholic friend who also believes this secretly got an IUD because her husband wanted more children. They have three but the last pregnancy was very difficult and her doctor told her she must not have any more children. So, if one doesn’t believe in birth control then what do they do? Take a chance anyway and maybe die leaving a brood of children motherless? Those are just a few questions I still have.
    Maybe you can shed some light on this.

  78. 78 Dirk Sep 2nd, 2009 at 9:43 am


    Your questions are very valid. I think you can see where the life of faith must present tremendous challenges to the Duggars (and others) as they seek to follow what they believe is God’s will for their homes!

    My personal conviction is that the desire to receive all of the children that God will give has to be continuously evaluated in regards to life’s circumstances. At some point, God may show you that it is time to pull back (difficult pregnancies, health situations, age, financial resources). This is the life of faith where we must stay current with God and allow Him to lead us by His Holy Spirit. This is my conviction — I do not know where the Duggar’s are on this. That is between them and God, but it would be interesting to hear from them some time.

    So far, none of our friends who share these convictions have died and left their brood of children motherless. By God’s sovereign will, this could happen. God does become a father to the fatherless as we learn to give ourselves to Him and to His care. I am sure that Michelle does look tired and feel exhausted. The most difficult road, however, contains the greatest blessings. I would enocourage Michelle to look to verses that encourage us to, “not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary”. Often, God has to bring us to the end of who we are so that we can learn to truly rely upon Him! The Duggars would agree that they have not yet reached perfection in their lives personally and that God is still growing them as individuals.

    I hope my attempt to answer your concerns has been helpful. Remember, I am just a guy, so I probably do not know much on these matters 😉

  79. 79 Dirk Sep 2nd, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Emilia Liz,

    You asked if I wanted to respond to your Older Mothers essay. I have not read any of your essays other than this Duggars one, but I assume by the title of the other that I probably addressed that in my response to Lisa.

    I do not believe that we have the right to decide for someone else when or how many children they should have. That is between them and God. God is faithful and He will provide direction if someone is truly willing to search His heart. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me and I will answer you and will show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”

    However, we must have faith in God and ask believing if we want to receive from Him. James 1 includes the text…

    5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

    Sadly, too many people ask from God not because they truly want to discover His purpose for their life, but because they have selfish motives. They are actually seeking to serve their own desires and not God’s. James 1:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

    Thank-you for letting me contribute!

  80. 80 angry citizen Sep 2nd, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Why don’t you FREAKS rapture yourselves alreadyand leave the rest of us the hell alone?!?!?

  81. 81 Emilia Liz Sep 2nd, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I’m not sure who’s not leaving who alone here.

  82. 82 Nancy Williams Sep 4th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    The Duggars are tragic. If they indeed believe that their large family has come from “leaving it to God”, it is because that they choose not to see that on this planet with limited resources, people with other beliefs and active gonads can and do unfortunately do the same. They do seem to run their household with machinelike efficiency, but I don’t call that living. When I ran all this by God the other night at Starbucks, He vehemently denied that raising kids on industrial sized cans of baked beans and Chef Boyardee was part of His plan. He did admit to watching the Dollywood episode, commenting “And lo, it was a spectacle like unto the plague of locusts. And when the multitudes did gather and the mother did suckle the infant aboard the mighty float, verily, I could not take my all-seeing eye off of it”.

  83. 83 Emilia Liz Sep 5th, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Well, you’ve got your line to God; Michelle Duggar’s got hers, and I’ve got mine. The Duggars’ is that they’re called to have as many kids as they’re physically capable of having because “children are a heritage of the Lord; happy are they who have their quiver full of them.” Yours is that the Duggars are doing an evil thing. Mine is that yes, children are a heritage of the Lord, but my quiver is full at one (biological) child (may adopt in future) and that God probably has more things to worry about than how many or few children his followers have.

  84. 84 Nikki Sep 9th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I find these posts very interesting, and would like to add my thoughts.

    We can all argue whether it is right or wrong; crazy or sane.
    The fact of the whole matter is, this is their choice and they are to be commended for what appears to be a very good job at raising many children in a happy, healthy home.

    Some may say that they are “brainwashed” into this lifestyle.
    But who is anyone to say that the rest of us are not “brainwashed” into believing a life where the ideals presented on modern day TV and the media are the “normal” lifestyles we are to try to attain?

    At some point in time everyone makes a choice as to the lifestyle they are going to live. Whether it be a “quillfull” family, a homosexual marriage, a life soley devoted to meditation, prayer and helping others, or a life devoted to oneself.
    It’s all a personal choice.

    I think in this day and age of acceptabilty we should embrace these choices and not look down our noses at anyone. And as long as they do not hurt us, or manipulate the weak, they are free to live as they choose.

    Michelle Duggar made the choice to live this way as an adult. Her husband is not abusing her, or manipulating her. Her decision to be in a role of submission to him is her choice and she trusts that her husband will love and take care of her. She is content with that choice.

    I find some of the comments quite rude and even angry. Why? Are you being hurt by thier choices?

    Could these angry people actually be jealous? Jealous that these people seem to have a happy loving family and the kids listen and do their best, plus it looks like they have their finances in order to boot?

    It is true- their lifestyle is surley not for everyone. It takes a lot of character and strength, patience and good old hard work to have a family like that.
    But the main frame of the whole thing is: love, respect, co-operation, harmony, happiness.
    Isn’t that what we all seek?

  85. 85 Emilia Liz Sep 9th, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Nikki, agree with you 100%. Actually, Ms. Duggar herself admitted in an article she wrote for Parent Magazine that her lifestyle is not for everyone (at that time she was both pregnant and nursing a child). Just as I, who have made a completely different choice from hers and chosen to have only one child, admit that my choice is a minority one and is not for everybody or even most people.

  86. 86 Tina Oct 13th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I would just like to know where you all get off on thinking that it is your place to say it is right or wrong to have 19 kids. That is their choice and their business.

  87. 87 Lisa Oct 13th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Everyone can have an opinion and this is a good place to discuss differing opinions. Noone is telling them they can’t have more kids. Obviously they have made their choice. I believe that everyone should have a choice and that noone should tell them what to do. It’s her body. I think it’s extreme but that’s just my opinion, and you know what?…..it’s a free country to express it.

  88. 88 Emilia Liz Oct 13th, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Hello, Tina and Lisa, thanks for joining the discussion. I suppose I might be uncomfortable with Michelle Duggar’s decision to have 19 children if I felt it was not truly a choice on her part but something forced on her by her husband, family members, church group, etcetera. But I have no impression it is. On the other hand, the mother of an ex-boyfriend of mine had 15 children, I doubt by choice (she eventually got a tubal ligation). Her husband – my boyfriend’s father – was basically a real-life version of the character Carlo Rizzi in the Godfather, yet my ex’s mother remained married to him and having child after child because her religion forbade her to use birth control and perhaps because he wanted to keep her “barefoot and pregnant.” Perhaps she did truly choose to have 15 children, but I suspect if she had had her way she would have had her tubes tied long before she actually did. But this was then; Michelle Duggar is now. I agree that whether a woman chooses to give birth to twenty children or one (as I have), it’s her own business.

  89. 89 Kristi Oct 17th, 2009 at 12:42 am

    I personally love the Duggars. And I have to say, all of their kids are better behaved then my 4.
    I admire them, their living for the Lord, homeschooling, child raising, etc…..
    Yes, their older girls do alot more around the house and with younger siblings then most teens today….but its by no means a bad thing to teach kids/teens responsiblity (and self control and respect to name a few).
    And I dont think it is anyones place to say they shouldnt have any more or shouldnt have had as many as they have. No one else is taking care of their family. Its not something for anyone else to judge.

  90. 90 Emilia Liz Oct 17th, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Dear Kristi,

    Thank you for your comments. I suppose I’m a little uncomfortable with their “buddy system” – but it seems the kids themselves don’t mind it, so I won’t judge the family for that. But I certainly don’t think it’s bad that children have chores, such as cooking (I remember that the girls take turns cooking meals for the family) or helping with building the house (as the boys do). I always make a point to have my daughter help me with “clean up,” and she herself volunteers to help me make my bed (well, sometimes she doesn’t exactly pull the sheets the right way, but I give her credit for trying!).

    Yes, I agree that they should have as many or as few children as they want, as they are not using the taxpayers’ money. I commend Ms. Duggar for making the choices she did, even if they’re not mine (I have one biological child by choice). So I think they are a good example of self-determination.

    Emilia Liz

  91. 91 jules Oct 21st, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Mrs. Duggar seems nice and unaffected from the two episodes I’ve watched; not sure about her husband who seems to have a small case of the “look at me’s.”
    But I have to know: is anyone else upset by the skirts the girls are forced to wear? I just don’t get the religious or moral need to forbid children from covering their legs completely. I mean, if it’s about modesty, surely a nice comfy pair of flannel play pants are more demure than a skirt that is OPEN at the ankles or knees to wind, chill and searching eyes. I loved dresses as a kid, but not all the time. A child ought not to have to worry about keeping a skirt down and ankles together. I mean, doesn’t a forced skirt costume make a child’s sexuality more of an issue by bringing attention to it? Kids should be kids, I think, with their little bodies dressed for comfort and fun. Why the need to encumber the females with skirts that label them as different from the boys? Of course females are different, in many wonderful ways…is a costume necessary? I’d love to know, if anyone can help me, what the religious rationale is for essentially hobbling these darling little girls?
    (…okay, also have to rant about that clogged toilet episode! When Ms. Duggar says they buy toilet repair kits by the case, I cracked up. She said that with so many kids you’re going to see toilets clogged with toys all the time. Actually, kids are pretty reasonable and most will learn quickly that it’s uncool to deliberately break such a necessary appliance. Schools with lots of kids rarely have this problem if the rules are gently outlined. Does make me question the level of guidance these kids are getting! maybe it’s just me!)

  92. 92 Emilia Liz Oct 21st, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Dear Jules,

    Thanks for responding. Regarding clothing, I have to agree that one’s religiosity shouldn’t be judged by one’s clothing (on that topic, I’ve just submitted an article on the burqa, so keep an eye out for that). And you’re right: dresses are potentially “sexier” than pants; after all, they can be pulled up! I did read once about some Christian fundamentalists in the Netherlands who forbade their daughters from wearing pants on the grounds that God created His creatures “male and female” and thus they should be distinguished from one another.

    Then again, maybe the girls actually like wearing dresses. My daughter for instance asks me to put her in dresses and then loves primping in front of the mirror when I do.

    I didn’t see the clogged toilet episode, but it sounds funny. Luckily so far I haven’t had clogged toilet problems with my daughter at home (fingers crossed it continues!).


  93. 93 Nikki Oct 22nd, 2009 at 9:43 am

    The reason the Duggars daughters are dressed in skirts and dresses is based upon a few bible verses.
    DEUTERONOMY 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which PERTAINETH unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”
    This means, slacks or pants. are mens attire and it is forbidden on women.
    In the christian fundamental movement it is considered a sin for a woman to look like, or dress like a man. And vice versa.
    Another reason is based upon 1 TIMOTHY 2:9: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in MODEST apparel.”
    Clothes must be modest- and skirts are more modest- if worn correctly- long and flowing past the knees, than pants or slacks, which conform to the shape of the buttocks and crotch area.
    Seriously- this is what they teach.
    It is also considered a “stumbling block” if women wear revealing clothes, tight skirts, any pants, low cut or sheer blouses, skirts with slits, shorts, and tank tops.
    1 CORINTHIANS 8:9 “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your’s become a STUMBLINGBLOCK to them that are weak.”
    The fundamental Christian movement believes wearing such clothing will cause men who are naturally weak to the bodies of women, to lust in their heart after them. Therefore to stop the men from sinning in their heart- the women are to cover up, and not reveal areas of their bodies that cause men to lust.

    I know this is what the Duggards believe, but they do not discuss it much because most people will not understand. They chose to live their beliefs and not necessarily preach it. Which I believe is more tolerable to the masses.

    Much discussion can be had on their choices, and the losses of freedoms the girls have by being hindered from certain activites, or being uncomfortable in the least.
    Can you ski in a skirt? Even riding a bike is difficult in a skirt. What about tobogganing? This isn’t even mentioning that these girls and boys are prohibited from what they call “mixed bathing”. Public beaches and pools are avoided, and never will these girls be seen in bikinis or bathing suits unless under a dress/skirt. The boys also avoid these places because here their eyes will wander and cause them to lust after the near nudity around them.

    The Duggar family follow strict rules they believe keep them far away from sinning and causing grief to themselves and their God.

    Again- not for everyone, and a difficult life to choose to live.
    But they deem it necessary to be good Christians.

  94. 94 Emilia Liz Oct 22nd, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Thank you, Nikki, for commenting and explaining. I just wrote an article on the burqa, the garment worn by some Muslim women. If you open the Cynics Unlimited site, it’s right up there at the top (I also wrote a few other articles about Muslim apparel; you can find them by searching under “Cynics Unlimited” and “Emilia Liz” and “hijab”). I’d be interested to get your take on that.

    Yes, one thing I admire about the Duggars is that they never claim their life is for everyone, whether it be how many children to have, what to wear, etcetera. Too many people today are determined that “their” way is the best and only way.

  95. 95 jules Oct 24th, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks, Niki and Emilia Liz, I learned a lot.
    I really enjoy how informational and civil this website continues to be. As to the differences between male and female attire due to directives from the Bible: I like what someone previously wrote about if men did follow the Bible literally, they would be in robes today, with handmade sandals…I’m sure the argument for this would be that it’s most difficult to sell cars or even farm in robes, and one would stand out too much to function easily in today’s society.
    Yes, the skirts on females don’t stand out too much in today’s society, but should one of these strapping and healthy girls choose to help out on the grounds as opposed to in the kitchen, it would definitely be uncomfortable.
    Of course they are only women, so I’m sure Dad would laugh off that request and encourage them to be more devout in their desires. Hey, on that note, wouldn’t it be great if the men could actually control their own desires enough that they didn’t need to rely on hiding the women’s physical differences? Okay, starting to rant (sorry!) but, as these children usually interact only with their own siblings, it’s kind of just the slightest bit creepy that they can’t see their siblings natural beautiful, God-made human bodies, clothed in demure privates-covering styles. I can’t imagine going through childhood in a warm climate without getting my knees scarred up by climbing trees and wrecking my bike now and then. Not to mention the feeling of the warm sun on legs stretched out over cool grass. (I really, really hope the kids are allowed to at least go barefoot!)
    Emilia Liz, I’m going to your Burqa article, right now, hoping it helps me understand.
    (I just showed my husband the first five minutes of the show, and he couldn’t get past the names all beginning with “J.” It was a little too “this is my little kingdom.” He doesn’t have a problem with the skirts at all…live and let live!)

  96. 96 allison Oct 24th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I agree with the post about the Duggars being brainwashed. This family is not too much different than a religious cult. The older children are parenting the younger ones, because there is absolutely no way on earth that one mom can parent 19 children. They are raising kids to raise kids, which is not the purpose of pro-creation. These children are sheltered. They will not know diversity, they will not get the experiences that they should in life, because they are controlled by their little commune. The women are taught to be subservient, the man is the ruler of the home. These children only know what they are being taught in their own home, which is not reality. Do these children have friends? Are they able to socialize with outsiders? Would they even know how to hold a conversation with someone who was different than them? The children have the company of their siblings, but isnt it important for children to socialize with other kids outside of the family? I feel bad for these kids because they will not know anything other than their family, and their commune. The Duggars are basically creating their own little city….I absolutely agree that they are racist also. People can sit here and say they are not racist, or prejudiced, but anyone who is this radical in their thinking is racist. Do u think Jim Bob would approve of his daughter marrying a black man? Lets be realistic here

  97. 97 allison Oct 24th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Also, does anyone know what Jim bob does for a living to be able to support 19 kids? Do they all have health insurance, and if so who do u think pays for that? Are the girls allowed to have short hair, or do they all have to look like carbon copies of one another? Very brainwashed

  98. 98 Emilia Liz Oct 24th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Hello, Allison and Jules. Thanks for your comments.

    To Allison first, as I mentioned, there are some aspects of the Duggars’ lifestyle with which I am uncomfortable. Compared to how I am raising my own family, they are much more sheltered than I would every keep my daughter. And perhaps they are isolated from individuals who don’t share their religious beliefs, lifesyle, etcetera. On the other hand, how different is that from a Jewish girl I knew in college who stated that while she had a happy childhood, because she lived in an all-Jewish neighbourhood, went to Jewish schools, her parents only socialized with other Jews, she said that it was a bit of a shock coming to university and realizing that not everybody was Jewish. She said she wished she hadn’t been so isolated from people of other religions. But all in all, her parents weren’t abusive; they exposed her to the arts, etc., so they could have been a lot worse.

    About the Duggars being racist, again, I think if they were really hard-core White Supremacists they wouldn’t have appeared on the Montel Williams Show. Whether Jim Bob would be upset if one of his daughters married a Black man, I don’t know the answer to that, and neither do you.

    To Jules, thanks again for responding. I suppose I don’t understand the need to dress a certain way in order to be a good Christian (or a good Muslim, for that matter). I mean I wouldn’t advocate going to church dressed like Britney Spears or Shakira, not because it’s morally offensive but because it’s not socially appropriately. By the same token, even though my old torn cordoroy pants are hardly revealing or sexy (they’re anything but), a church or other social event like a graduation, wedding at City Hall, etcetera isn’t the right place for them.

    About the “j” names, I always wondered why they didn’t have “m” names after “Michelle.” But it seems that the Duggars’ oldest child, Joshua, and his wife had a baby girl they named MacKenzie, so maybe the next generation of Duggars will all be “Ms!”

    If you could comment on my burqa article, that would be much appreciated – though I’m grateful for all the comments on the Duggar article as well.

  99. 99 allison Oct 24th, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Thanks for the response. I understand your comparison between the Duggars and the Jewish girl you went to school with, however, I feel the Duggars to be a more extreme case. I am married to greek orthodox man, and he was also surrounded only by Greeks growing up. His parents are from Greece, and his mother only associates with Greek people. His church was composed of all Greeks and his neighborhood as well. Fortunately my husband was able to diversify himself however, his sister tends to look down on other religions. She has barely any american friends, never dated anyone other than her greek boyfriend, and is extremely rigid in her thinking. It is hard to be around her… Imagine a whole entire commune like that….
    While you say it is not abusive and I certainly agree, It is also a limited experience of what LIFE in this country is. And for the children not to be exposed to reality, is alittle sad to me. To each his own….I agree, but my opinion is that this is just not optimal. Hopefully those kids will not grow up to be adults and feel shocked when they become part of society. My thinking is that they will not venture far from their family and probably always remain together, even as adults. I doubt very highly they will explore…As for Montel WIlliams, I think they went on the show for exposure and publicity. Even the most Christian people still like money….and fame. Maybe they thought going on the show would make them look good….who knows. My gut tells me that they may not express their racism, but it is passively there. Just as I know my greek other in law would disown my husband if he married a black girl or a hispanic girl…She outright told me……Interesting right?

  100. 100 Emilia Liz Oct 24th, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Dear Allison,

    Thank you for your clarification. I still don’t think either of us can say for sure whether Jim Bob Duggar (or anyone else in the family) is racist – if by “racist” you mean they would not approve of a family member marrying a person of another race. Your guess is as good as mine, and vice versa. Maybe they are racist and would disown a daughter for marrying a Black man; maybe they would have no problem at all with it. I think without any evidence pointing in either direction, neither of us can answer that question.

    Regarding your husband’s family (in particular, his sister), I suppose in some ways Greeks are a bit like Jews – they’re both a nationality and a religion. Now of course let me add that in the case of Greeks, there are other Orthodox groups, like Russians, Serbs, etcetera, but from what I know the Orthodox churches tend to be localized by nationality, even if, from what I understand, a Greek can take communion in a Russian Orthodox Church and vice versa. So maybe some of the more traditional Greeks still want their family members to marry within their ethnicity, just as some Jewish families urge their sons/daughters to find a “nice Jewish girl/boy.” But I believe nowadays the younger generation of Jews, Greeks and other ethnic groups – Italians, Portuguese, Chinese, whatever – are more open to intermarriage.

    As I said, I would never shelter my children the way the Duggars or even the parents of the Jewish girl I knew do. I’m of Norwegian/Irish descent, and here where I live we don’t have any Irish or Norwegian neighbourhoods equivalent to, say, a Little Italy or Chinatown. And even in the Scandinavian Lutheran church I occasionally attend so many of our members have married people of other races or nationalities that it would be impossible to cocoon myself in an all-Scandinavian environment. As for the Irish side, I think it would be even harder to find an all-Irish enclave, and I wouldn’t even try!

    As for keeping my daughter in an all-Christian environment, well, I guess in Canada the majority of people are at least nominally Christian, so that’s what most of our acquaintances are, even though they’re of different denominations (Anglican, Orthodox, Catholic, etcetera), though we do have a few Jewish friends. But I wouldn’t put my daughter in a Lutheran or even a non-denominational Christian schools because I do want her to know there are people of other religions out there.

    I guess I feel a little funny defending the Duggars because my lifestyle is so different from theirs. But just as some might criticize aspects of the decisions I’ve made regarding religion/children, etcetera, I have to accept that some people make choices different from mine.

  101. 101 Nikki Oct 26th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    The Duggars beliefs about dress code and behaviour stem from the belief that men and women are created differently, and that their differences are to be respected and honoured. Neither are “better”, they just have different purposes.
    To most people it appears the women are dominated, but to them, they are taught that the man is the head of the home, and the womens role is to be under submission to him. These are the Bible verses they reference.
    COLOSSIANS 3:18 Wives, SUBMIT yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
    In return the husband is to love and honour his wife.
    EPHESIANS 5:25 HUSBANDS, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
    They believe if both husband and wife do as God orders there will be harmony, peace and happiness in the home.
    Michelle Duggar appears happy- she has submitted herself to this role. She believs submission is her first step in obedience, which leads to happiness and contentment. They teach this to their children too.

    To answer other questions.
    Yes- the girls all have long hair- they believe girls should use their hair as a covering showing their feminity.
    Boys are required to have short hair- off the ears and collar.
    14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have LONG HAIR, it is a shame unto him?
    15 But if a woman have LONG HAIR, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
    But, yes- they are allowed to go barefoot!!!

    Even with these restrictions they still get to enjoy many of the things you enjoyed Jules, like feeling the grass on their feet, and climbing trees and skinning their knees. It’s just a lot more restricted, for the sake of modesty.

    The reason for the “J” names? Well, they are just trying to be cute.

    Are they racial?
    We will never be quite sure- however they strongly believe in the golden rule; Love one another.
    I think the Duugars want their children to marry someone with the same culture/morals/beliefs/religion. Summing it up to say simply a “would they allow their daughter to marry a “black man”- is racial in and of itself.
    However, if it were to happen that one were to marry outside their culture, or simply turn away from their culture, (which out of 19 kids is a strong possibility) they probably would not disown the child. The family would be dissapointed and offer their prayers and hopes for their return to the beliefs. They even have a Bible verse they use in these situations.PROVERBS 22:6 TRAIN up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
    But they would always love the child, even if they do not accept their childs lifestyle.

    The Duggars shelter their kids because they believe that the world outside their home does not reflect the values and beliefs they want to instill in their children. This will make them have some difficulties in the outside world. They will have a hard time closely relating to other kids not raised like them, and as adults, co-workers and clients.
    They may have issues with judging others as un-godly, and they will not accept some other lifestyle choices as healthy, valid and good.
    On the show we see them interact with the “outside world” and they seem able to be generally poliet and respectful towards those not like themselves.
    But this is still TV, we don’t know the REAL nuances and opinions, the unsaid negativity. Afterall- they are still people, they are not perfect, and they have weaknesses like anyone.

    Did you know that they also-
    Cannot drink alcohol, go to or watch certain movies and TV shows, dance, and play cards?
    They believe these are all behavours and activites that will not be honorable to God.

    By avoiding all these activities, dressing as they do, and behaving as they do, they believe this will keep them from falling into sin and dishonoring God.

    We can compare their cult-like ways to fundamental Mormons, strict Catholics, orthodox Jews and fundamental Muslims.
    How is society to handle these types of people with such strong beliefs?
    Has anyone have any personal stories about their interaction with such families? and what they have discovered?

  102. 102 Mickbic Oct 26th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I have already posted about growing up in a full quiver family. I also am acquanted with a full quiver family that knows the Duggars.

    Part of the model from this was popularized by the late John R. Rice who encouraged Protestant Christians from abstaining from worldly amusements. One of my sisters had a skirt as she played her oboe in the high school band. The rest of the girls in the band wore pants, which was the standard uniform.

    Protestants in the United States that have large families are often associated with theonomy, dominionism and Christian Reconstructionism. In my case several of us joined a religious cult as it seemed to be a continuation of the religion and structure we had at home.

    I am not sure if having large families is particularly ethical in this day and age. That goes back to the adversarial nature of much of dominionism, theonomy, and Christian Reconstructionism. Not to mention the effect on the environment and the practice of patriarchy often implicit in large families.

  103. 103 Nikki Oct 26th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks Mickbic for sharing again,
    I am very familiar with the teachings of John R. Rice and other Fundamantal Baptists. However, I have not heard of theonomy, dominionism and Christian reconstruction. I will have to research them.
    In Canada we have a small movement of Independent Baptist Churches that practice this way of living, however, Im not sure if they call it “Quiverfull”, and the ones I know have at most 10 to 14 children.

    How difficult was it for you and your siblings to intergrate into public school and society as you grew up? You say you joined a religious cult, why did you stray from the teaching and church of your childhood? Did you become discontent, or did it dissapate and you found yourself looking for something that was close to it?
    I gather that you are now no longer part of either. Do you now consider yourself to be more balanced? Have you completly turned from the teachings you once lived by?

  104. 104 Mickbic Oct 26th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Hello Nikki:

    I first heard of Christian Reconstructionism when I was delivering the Wall Street Journal quite a few years ago and they had an article about them.

    I was third of eleven and would say the defining factor for quiverful families is not how big or small they are but whether they use birth control or not.

    I joined the Children of God, which is an evangelical cult. I was directly involved in it for two years. You will find one chapter of a book length manuscript I wrote about my experiences with the group by googling the phrase “Strange Fire Mick Bysshe”. Scripture memory work was part of my childhood regimen as was my regimen in the Children of God.

    I have been attending Unitarian Universalist Churches for about 25 years and been a member for about fifteen. I have not totally forsaken my childhood faith but feel in some ways I have outgrown it. As Diderot taught it should not matter whether you believe in God or not. I am a little indifferent in areas of religion, neither believing or disbelieving.

    For the most part we went to public schools during our childhood. Some of the younger kids did some time in a Christian school. We did not have television in our home, so we might have felt a little deprived there but we occasionally would watch at the neighbor’s houses.

  105. 105 Emilia Liz Oct 28th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Dear Nikki and Mickbic,

    Hi. Thank you for responding to my article. Glad to see it’s generated quite a discussion.

    Regarding the Duggars’ religion, I believe they are Baptist. As far as I know, the Baptist Church doesn’t oppose contraception, at least not that that leads to the loss of a fertilized egg or an embryo in later stages of development (i.e. abortion). Also, I don’t think the Quiverfull movement is a religion in itself. Rather, it consists of individuals from a variety of religions (mostly Protestant fundamentalists) who have decided that artificial birth control goes against their interpretation of the Bible. Regarding the prohibition of drinking alcohol, dress codes for women, etcetera, I don’t think that’s a new thing; rather, it was Protestant fundamentalist churches that were in large part behind Prohibition in the United States. They kind of toned down later, but some denominations still forbid the consumption of alcohol.

    To Mickbic, as far as I know the Children of God are a cult. Of course it’s hard to distinguish between a cult and a religion, i.e. are the Jehovah Witnesses a cult or a religion? I even consider some completely non-religious movements “cults” in the sense that they demand a certain code of conduct and/or belief from their followers, they like to see themselves as separate from “the world,” and they tend to present their way of life as superior to all others. I remember reading an article by an Italian woman who had been in the Children of God. From what she said, women there were not supposed to use birth control (she herself managed to have three children while she was in the group; well, she might help raise Italy’s falling birth rate!) and she also said the women were not supposed to refuse men’s sexual advances. And fidelity in marriage or partnerships was not required.

    I wouldn’t call the Quiverfull movement a “cult.” For one, they tend to be tolerant of others’ lifestyle (ex. Michelle Duggar said in Parenting that her lifestyle is not for everybody). But I personally don’t think I could be a part of the movement, not only because I’ve decided to only have one child (at least biologically) and because I wouldn’t want to be in a group that mandated behaviour on things like what to wear and what to drink (of course I don’t advocate drinking to oblivion, but I don’t see a Scriptural justification for banning alcohol altogether).

  106. 106 Nikki Oct 28th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    You are correct with your research Emilia Liz, and I must say that I like the non-judgemental tone of the responses. They are factual and not degrading to anyone.
    My personal experience is why I am interested in this topic.
    Although I never labelled myself a “Quiverful” family-having never heard this term until the show came out- at one point I was definity living that lifestyle.
    When I was married at age 21, my then husband and I decided to not use birth control, due to the same issues the Duggars and others mention. We wanted to let God control the amount of children we had. However- after getting pregnant immediatly, and then again when the first child was 18 mths, I decided that this lifestyle wasn’t for me. My husband also easily agreed with my decisions. We then chose to use the rhythym method and other non medical forms of birth control.
    However, we did eventually have 2 more children, which we all named with the letter “A”- something that lots of Christians with large familys seem to do. We lived by very strict morals and standards, such as the ones I mentioned earlier. I homeschooled all my children, and we socialized mostly with others such as ourselves. My husband, being in the Independent Baptist Church ministry was always trying to convert people to our way of life. (We didn’t have many “converts” that stuck.)
    My own upbringing was very different than the way we were living- and to my parents and siblings, we were living a cult-like lifestyle. We were unrelatable to most people in society as we tried to live as far away from “the World” as possible. Everything from the way we looked and our activites set us apart. We clung to Bible verses to back up our choices, and believed we were honouring God with our lifestyle.
    I followed my husbands lead and tried to be the submissive wife. His job was to love me as Christ loved the church, and I was to be submissive to him. Just like the Duggars. I was taught to have a “sweet quiet spirit”- something that I see in Michelle Duggar. We went to conferences and retreats, listened to sermons, read books and listened to tapes to teach us more. However, often it didn’t feel natural, and I felt guilty for not being able to adapt to those traits that were expected of me.
    As the years passed, our “perfect” christian home crumbled apart.
    My husband never could get his ministry off the ground, though he tried for years, in addition we struggled financially. This took a toll on his self esteem. He began to have affairs with women he was supposedly “councilling”.
    The spirituality he lived seemed like an act. He wanted the personal glory of a sucessful minisrty, and family, but under it all, he was just seeking his own will.
    Then the time came for me to make a life on my own, I had some heavy thinking to do.
    Do I want to follow a lifestyle like the one I had been living for 20 years, or do I go back to who I was? I was afraid I’d fall badly into “sin”.
    At first there was guilt and confusion, choosing just to wear pants was difficult. But it was what I wanted. I no longer wanted to look and behave so unrelatable to most of society, for now I had to get a job outside the home. I told my children that it was time to be balanced and more relatable – we had discussions about morals and standards so they could think about it for themselves. (My children were ages 8-16 at the time.)
    Thankfully, they all adjusted to it very well. The girls were relieved that they could now wear pants, the boys liked going to the movies. They went to public school. We realized that despite all we had been taught, we did not become horrible sinners after we dropped most of our high outward standards of christian living.
    6 years later, I can say that each of my children are balanced, happy, and healthy individuals. Their morals are not based on outward appearance. Personally, I also came into being who I really am.
    Meanwhile my ex-husband continues to try and live the life of a moral high standing Christian, but has had to enter a new denomination because his infidelity banished him from his former denomination.

    When I watch the Duggars- I see a lifestyle I had- with 15 less kids perhaps, but still the same lifestyle. I wonder if Michelle ever feels fake, or has she done this so long she doesn’t know herself anymore? Or is this really her? I also wonder if JIm Bob is sincere, or he just an arrogant man who sits at the head of such a large and sucessful family. Will he one day be caught in a scandal too?

    I hope the family doesn’t run their show too long so that we eventually see the dirty laundry, that we all have buried somewhere. But then- to some peopel thats exactly what they are waiting for.

  107. 107 Lisa Oct 28th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Yours is a moving story. One of my friends has an experience similar to yours and her marriage fell apart as well….with seven children. Very sad. I wish you the best.

    Emilia Liz, I took a graduate course at a Christian University on world religions…I had to do my term paper on “cults”. So, quite simply, a cult is a group of people who follow the teachings of a worldly person. Two examples would be Joseph Smith of the Mormons, or Reverand Moon of the Moonies.

    Although people want to call some religious Christian groups “cults” they are only a “cult” if they are following the teachings of a leader of that group and not the teachings of the Bible. There are many Christian groups that cross the line when their “leader” makes proclamations that are not biblical.

    With cults there is certainly brainwashing, ritualistic behavior and secrecy….and almost always there is some phony leader calling for this behavior. They prey on the weak.

  108. 108 jules Oct 29th, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I would define a cult as an organization that shuns non-believers. I think if the Duggars would be accepting of a child who chose to go a different path while still loving his or her family, then they would not be a cult but sincere people who live what they preach. (Most important: Christianity and loving others despite theological differences)
    The problem with religions going strict paths, as I see it, is when the leader/parents lay down penalties for disobeying. For example in the Mormon church if you don’t follow your church callings and directives you are unwelcome in the Temple (from what I’ve read) and the polygamous sects of Mormonism are known for keeping women and children devout by teaching them, from birth, that they will erupt in the fires of hell the moment they stray from ‘The Path.” All very cool if in fact God or Christ was in charge of the rulings. Unfortunately they are human, human, human and not even God, in any rendering of his writing, wants one human being to be in charge of another. The gospels of Thomas show this, but of course, men who felt threatened ruled them out of conventional religions.
    Jeffers, the psycho leader of several polygamous cults can be heard telling young girls that all will be well with their souls if they “keep sweet.” Women who have left these cults have stated that “keeping sweet” means willingly following any demand of the man of the house.
    Any demand. He may send you to marry his 70-year-old friend or take your children away when you disobey. Many, many fathers in these sects molest their daughters, it’s repeated again and again.
    It’s such a shame that humans are sort of weak, time and time again, you give a man responsibility for the souls of his followers/children and he gets a God complex. Thus, so many stay into sexual escapades outside the family — they are so used to the power and being obeyed and revered that it goes to their heads. And nether regions.
    I hope Mr. Duggar is a pure as he wants to be, for the sake of all the souls he commands.

  109. 109 Emilia Liz Oct 31st, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you for everyone for their responses about the meaning of “cult.” I suppose the only qualm I have with the definition of “cult” is the notion that it requires a leader, or specific group of leaders. For example, I tend to define a cult more as a philosophy of, as you said, Jules, shunning unbelievers and, I would add, believing one has the “one truth” and that possessing that truth makes one superior and more enlightened than others, regardless of whether or not there is a leader involved.

    Would I regard the Quiverfull movement as a cult? In general, no – they don’t tend to demonize individuals who do choose to use artificial birth control, for example, and they’re not attempting to outlaw contraception (some would want to criminalize abortion, but I believe that’s a separate issue).

    Regarding sartorial requirements, there I don’t think that’s necessarily “cult-like,” but personally I’ve never looked at a person’s dress to determine their religious devotion or lack of it. For instance, to me always wearing dresses doesn’t say that a woman is a better Christian than one who only wears pants. However, I realize others may think differently so I’m willing to respect that.

  110. 110 Allison Oct 31st, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Interesting comparison made between the Duggars and cult living. I find that the marriage follows that of a servant wife and leader. Michele reports that she is happy to serve her husband and listen to him. I wonder how far she would go with that mindset. Again, in my opinion they are cult-like. I find the social situation to be very limited for the children, and way too sheltered, and restricted. Older girls playing the role of mom. You never see the older boys taking care of the younger boys. Gender identity is typical, the girls are more domesticated, and the boys are tougher/stronger. I really don’t find this type of lifestyle to be helpful for our society whatsoever.It is really fortunate that all of the kids are following the RULES, and no one is getting out of line…..

  111. 111 Lisa Nov 1st, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Emilia Liz,
    Although I agree with your above-mentioned description regarding cults I’m sorry that you have a problem with the notion that a cult requires a leader. I think that when you study cults (as I have) you will find that indeed each cult has a leader. I also agree with Jules in that they shun non-believers.

    Here is a definition of a cult:
    “A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader”.

    As I mentioned earlier I took a course on world religions in college and I was assigned to do a term paper on “cults”. This is what whet my appetite to further study the subject. I was fascinated with cults for a long time and spent years studying to further increase my knowledge in the subject. It’s very interesting and also disturbing. I guess my interest in the Duggars is that although I don’t believe they are in a cult, they certainly do possess some of the attributes that cults possess.

  112. 112 Allison Nov 1st, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I agree with you, as stated above, I said they are “cult-like”. I have never studied cults in depth, but I am a clinical social worker, and I do believe that a cult has one person who is the dominant one… people who would be attracted to the lifestyle, crave someone or something to believe in.. They want to be followers, so they are already vulnerable to the idea of a dominant figure.. Whether we want to use the word leader, or not, is irrelevant. I see similarities to the Duggars and cult. It may a bit of a drastic term to describe them, however, its probably the best word I can use to describe their lifestyle.

  113. 113 Mickbic Nov 1st, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    I use the phrase Christian cult quite a bit. Many think it is an oxymoron, but there is definitely things within Christianity that are cult like, depending on the situation. A good book about mass movements and cults, both political and religious is THE TRUE BELIEVER, by Eric Hoffer. It may be out of print, but you might be able to obtain a copy somewhere.

  114. 114 Janelle Nov 2nd, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    The Duggars are great parents who run an organized household, full of love and attention. I think they’re great examples to follow and although I wouldn’t choose to have such a large family, they do it with class and seem ever the more happier for it. I simply cannot judge a family lifestyle just because it’s different from my own, when it clearly works well for them! For those of you who are judging them, I’m curious as to why you think your way is so much more superior than theirs. Are you living debt-free? Do your children always show you respect and do their chores without you having to ask? Does your family take part in your community, helping families in need by happily building houses and cleaning up after huge storms…all the while never complaining about sharing one bathroom with 45 other folks until you can get the job done. These people are hard working, optimistic, loving, caring, giving people who don’t take anything for granted and never complain about their situations. These are true role models in my opinion.

    As far as the buddy-system with the children, I recall my grandparents telling me about taking care of younger brohters and sisters on the farm they were raised on. It’s not a new concept at all. My grandparents talk very fondly of their parents and of their respective childhoods. They brag about the work they used to accomplish and the little amount they were paid for it. This is what built our country to be great, the mentality of work hard and keep a positive attitue and never expect anything to be handed to you for free. My grandparents weren’t upset about having to dress or bathe a younger sibling, at least no more so than I may have complained about not wanting to help my mom do the dishes. Imagine the kids nowadays who have no responsibilities at all. It’s amazing how many children nowadays are given no responsibilities nor taught any self-discipline and are given all the one on one time and love and attention they’d ever want form their parents and turn out to be so spoiled and unhappy as adults. Just looking at my mother’s family shows me that the more responsibilties and expectations given to a child (so long as they know they’re loved and appreciated), the more likely the child will turn out to be well-adjusted and happy. My mother’s oldest sister is a very happy, very successful CPA living in Chicago with her own family. My mom and her younger sister are also very happy, loving women with families of their own. It seems the only child out of the 4 sisters who didn’t turn out so well was the yongest. She had no responsibilities, no other sibling to take care of, and no chores to do around the house. My mom and her three sisters all had to share bath water every night because my grandparents were too poor to afford indoor plumbing at the time. Heating a tub of well water by the wood burning stove in the kitchen was a long, hard task and couldn’t be dumped out after each individual took their bath. Sharing bathwater was the only way to get all girls clean in one night. They made their own clothes from what they learned in 4H and even made their own Prom dresses while the other kids at school had expensive store-bought clothing. Today, my mom has her own bridal store! You’d think they’d have grown up to be unhappy, pessimistic adults with what they were given in life, but quite the contrary! My youngest aunt, on the other hand had indoor plumbing by the time she was 6 because my grandparents moved to a nicer house by then. She didn’t have any younger siblings to take care of and because the two oldest were away at college, my grandmother had much more time to devote to household chores, dinner and one on one time with her. However, today she is still the ONLY sibling to show disrespect to my grandmother and talk back to her and act like a spoiled child. She got married right out of high school, and though all three of the older sisters paid their way through college and took out loans, my aunt blames my grandparents for not “wanting” her to go to college and feels she was somehow “less loved” because they didn’t pay for her. Today she is in her 3rd marriage, on anti-depressants and still resents my mother and her two other sisters…for being happy and successful. It’s so ironic that she got much more attention and had very few chores realtive to what her older sisters had.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the buddy system the Duggars have in place in their household. It’s wonderful to see the whole family pitch in as a team and help eachother out. It’s very loving and teaches wonderful attributes to the children at the same time!

    I have no doubts every one of the Duggar children will grow up to be a very happy, well-adjusted, productive member of society who will be a pro at caring for a family of their own one day. Seeing families like the Duggars makes my pessimism about the future of our society melt away. God has surely blessed them! As far as over population, I agree it’s a real problem in the world, but it’s not up to me to tell people how many children they should or shouldn’t have. I have much more concern for the ones having children who can’t care for them and take wellfare from the public to do so. The Duggars are free to have as many children as they wish and I respect their choice to continue growing as a family.

    P.S. I can’t believe some of the posters on here who wish such ill will on such a loving family and refer to them as “freaks”. It’s ironic, since we all know the Duggars would never stoop so low as name-calling. I was particularly distrubed with comment #3 by Mike who wished that Michelle’s uterus fell out before ths ecould have any more children. Mike, I suggest you look deeply into yourself and figure out what you’re so angry about. Michelle is a beautiful mother and wife and teaches patience, love, kindness and a good work ethic. I hope she continues to have as many children as she wishes as long as they’re all as well-mannered, kind and hard working as her children all are.

  115. 115 Allison Nov 2nd, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I agree with you about Mike’s post. BUt take it with a grain of salt, he is after all a man.. . I don’t think I am judging the Duggars by stating my opinion about them. I don’t have hatred toward them at all, this is a free country. Im just simply stating what my opinion is and I happen to disagree with having 19 children. I absolutely agree that kids need responsibilities to make them appreciate the things they are given. I also agree that when kids are spoiled they are unhappier as adults…. I also feel that there is a happy medium too. 19 kids is extreme. Our grandparents were raised in a different time than now. My grandmother had to wash the same rag over and over when she had her menstrual cycle, and married my grandfather so she could get out of the house. She also never worked, and was a stay at home mom, who cooked and cleaned, and was hit by her husband when she spoke up for herself…Its really hard to make comparisons to todays world and the world of the 40’s and 50s. Im sure things were a lot simpler then, however, my grandmother didnt know any better or anything other than getting married and having children. There were no other options then. The gender roles were much more specific then, things are completely different now. I really don’t know if you can say they were any more or less happy then, because they were simply following societal norms. I personally think happiness is different for everyone. THe Duggars do seem happy, but a lot of what we see is on TV. Everyone has to remember that they are on television and to some level there is exposure to those kids, just like jon and kate and all the other parents who exploit their kids life on national TV. Is everyone favoring them just because they are christian? They are still profiting from their show. And we are seeing the footage they want us to see…. Also, to reply to your question about whether or not we have kids that always do their chores, and always act respectful like the Duggars do…. Well.. ..To be quite honest with you, I would be worried if my kid didnt challenge me! Kids are always going to explore and test their boundaries….thats what kids do. They are going to disrespect, and refuse doing chores, because by nature they are testing you to see what they can and cannot get away with. So, I would expect my kid to be a kid. A child who doesn’t try to test boundaries, is a child who will just follow a straight line and never seek out new and interesting experiences…Thats just my opinion….again, the lifestyle is not for everyone..

  116. 116 Lisa Nov 2nd, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Well put, Allison. Putting this all in perspective…keep in mind that anything we see on television is edited to death. I have friends who have worked or currently work on reality shows and they tell me that what we see on TV is not always what happened. Unfortunately, there is a lot of artistic license and some filmed moments are redefined and manipulated to make it more exciting or interesting.

    We see how well behaved the Duggar children are and we think they are perfect. They’re not’ it’s not possible. However, this is what the show wants to have their audience believe. Do I think they are well behaved children? Absolutely! In fact I don’t believe that you can make that much up. I just don’t want mothers of smaller families to feel intimidated by what they see on this show because they can’t keep a house together like Michelle can. Let’s remember that she has more help than probably any of us. This is a sweet family but it makes me tired just watching all of them under one big huge roof…..having one baby at a time…every year or 9 months.

  117. 117 jules Nov 3rd, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I also agree with Allison. I think it is a disservice to children to have too many to pay enough attention to, or to financially provide for.
    As for Janelle, in answer to your question about our family’s (we who criticize — but respect — the Duggars). Of course my son has faults but all in all he’s a great boy. I only have one due to a disease, and I’d love to have had one or two more. My husband and I are CASA volunteers, helping children who are in our state foster care system. We don’t do enough good deeds, but we try, and hope to improve in the future. Hope that answers your questions. The real problem I have with the Duggars is the inequality between the boys and girls. My mother also grew up very poor on a farm where everyone had to help out a great deal. Because they had three girls and no boys, we have a wealth of photographs of my mom in overalls (pants, oh my!), smiling as she did farmwork to help her father and mother. Her two older sisters preferred indoor activities, but worked very hard for the household. My mom wonders what the family would have been like if she’d had brothers. She realizes that they would most likely have never lifted a finger indoors and probably worked fewer hours than the girls because younger boys had more free time then. She comments often that she was very very lucky to have been treated as a person by her family rather than a domesticated daughter. She grew up a feminist and taught my sister and I that all humans are equal, no matter, color, nationality, sexual preference, creed or gender. While we were not relilgious (the church in her small town terrorized the town people who didn’t conform) her most basic belief was that we should “Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” My grandmother left the church when she saw dicrimination. She was the first white woman in her town of less than 300 people to welcome the first African American family with a fresh-baked pie. Fortunately she had a golden reputation, and the church folks followed her brave example (after a lengthy hesitation) and welcomed the family. This was a small town in NorthEastern Missouri, where this could have gone very different, had not my grandmother followed her only rule of never judging others until she knew them and knew them well. She wore pants, too, and I’ve yet to meet a a more womanly, kind creature on this earth. Everything Chrisianity says to me is that
    all people, male or female, are loved alike. To restrict the dress of half your flock is to ensure that difference prevails. Surely it’s what inside that should count more. (yes, I’ve had too much coffee and can’t stop typing! sorry!)

  118. 118 donna lynn Nov 3rd, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    I,m one of 18 children myself 12 boys and 6 girls ages range from49 to 75. my mother is 97 this past oct. god bless your family. they ‘re all happy . when i was a liitle girl and my father went off to war, we could’t find a home to live in and my mother wrote artlice in the paper and ask anyone to rent us barn to live in because farm animalswere better then people of the town. your family is blessed with alot of love. I love your show and will keep watching it.

  119. 119 Emilia Liz Nov 8th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Dear Donna Lynn,

    Thank you for your comment. I suppose larger families were more common during the war. Even my mom’s family (four children) seems large by today’s standards – and like Mrs. Duggar, my grandmother had a child a year. But she stopped at four kids. “Well, they [my grandparents] must have done something,” to stop having children, my mother once said to me. But of course at that time sex education was not a household word, so my grandparents took whatever they “did” to their graves.

  120. 120 tenley Nov 11th, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    there is a such thing as too many children. there are also health issues of the mother that you have to think about after a while. especially after a certain age. i also think that these quiverfull movements of people misinterpret the bible. i don’t think that it is telling you to go and have 20 children like these people think. i grew up around a lady who said that god was telling her to have a bunch of children. waving a tambourine around a house to rid of evil spirits. its mental illness is what it is.

    Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
    and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
    As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
    so are children of the youth.
    Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
    they shall not be ashamed,
    but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate

    where does it say to reproduce 15 kids? BUT THEY SHALL SPEAK WITH THE ENEMIES IN THE GATE.

  121. 121 tenley Nov 11th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    i’m starting to think the bible was written for the times back then and for people back then. especially since it has been through so many hands and changed over the years with the archaic language and such with peoples reinterpretations. also other religions that want to control people and their lives elsewhere as well. this one is no different, christian, etc. it doesn’t say it outright but i get what the above is saying. what i get from it is that you should feel blessed if you have children not to literally take it as go and overpopulate.

  122. 122 jules Nov 11th, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I agree with Tenley, and furthermore, the scripture says “He” will be happy, probably an encouragement to younger fathers to decide to marry and reproduce. The quote says nothing about how the children will feel about sharing their parent’s time and attention.
    So, yes, I’m sure Mr. Duggar feels like a demi-God with all his adoring children who’ve been raised to praise him. But then, I see every day the influence of old-fashioned philosophies about parenting. So many uber-religious people feel that children, in respecting their elders, should be grateful to have been born. They feel they owe their children attention and respect only when the kids are acting appropriately, unlike the rule of the evolved (which includes many religious people, I know) which is that children deserve unconditional love…that bringing a life into the world is a tremendous undertaking that is about them. Not a feather in your cap or a quiver full of self-pride. In addition I have read that it isn’t healthy to nurse a baby while pregnant. According to our Manhattan doctor, one of the children will usually end up lacking nutrition. Our friends insisted on nursing while pregnant, and the dr. (our dr. also), said that just because something is “allowed” (by God or nature) to happen, doesn’t mean that it is in the best interest of the children’s health. Can it be done? Sure. Do you want to risk the health of your children? No.

  123. 123 Emilia Liz Nov 11th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    To Tenley and Jules,

    Thank you for your comments.

    For Tenley, I agree that the verse about “Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord” doesn’t tell me that I should have as many kids as my body can crank out. I also believe that, as you said, the Bible was written in a time different from today, when more children were an asset because they helped out on the farm, took care of their parents in old age (of course we hope today children will still feel that obligation, but in case they won’t or can’t, there are visiting homemakers, public health nurses to pick up the load), etcetera. Still, this is my interpretation, and if the Duggars take that verse to mean that they should have as many children as they can, I have no problem with it. Even if it’s not my interpretation.

    To Jules, I’ve never heard that the Duggars expect their kids to be “grateful” to them for being born. Maybe they do, but unless I see something where they have specifically said that, I’ll hold my judgement. About the breastfeeding, I didn’t know it was harmful to the child. I do know that it is hard on the mother’s body, basically nourishing two babies. I suppose in Michelle Duggar’s case breastfeeding doesn’t work as a natural contraceptive.

  124. 124 Allison Nov 11th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    These are all excellent points. I often wonder how on earth Michele is getting pregnant every year. I know from my own personal experiences that some women have trouble having one baby, let alone 19. Having 19 children cannot be healthy for the reproductive system of a woman. As she gets older, things do become more risky. She is lucky that she is still fertile at 40 years old, while many women who get married later to pursue their careers, are unable to have kids at all. I agree with the person who said that there is such a thing as too many kids. I whole heartedly agree with that statement and if you watched the interview with Josh and Anna in NY when they found out the sex of their baby, the interviewer asks Anna how many children her and JOsh were planning to have and she replied, ” We are not trying to break a record or anything”. I thought that was an interesting comment. At some point, you have 19 children that dont have one on one attention with their parent. Every kid needs one on one attention, and even though the kids make statements about how well they are treated individually, again, these are all things they are being coached to answer properly.

  125. 125 Lisa Nov 11th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    I agree. Women weren’t made to have one child after another and if you ask any physician, they will tell you that doing this is very hard on the mother’s body and that it can cause problems later on. In the old-testament Bible when it notes that some men had many children it also says that they had more than one wife. As far as breast feeding while you’re pregnant, it can be done but it’s not a good idea since there is a new life growing inside that needs so much nourishment….and so does the new baby that Michele is caring for.

  126. 126 jules Nov 12th, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I can certainly understand being delighted the first time one got pregnant while nursing an infant or toddler; and I can see how it would be a gift. But after a the medical industry warns of the lack of nutrition to the babies, I think a sensible mum would say “Okay, we’ll just hold off or be very careful while we’re breast feeding the next one.” Our friend who insisted that she should be pregnant if she could get pregnant while breastfeeding has had some health issues with all her children. Of course, this happens and you probably couldn’t pinpoint the cause, but like a cautious mom, she vowed not to get pregnant again while breastfeeding, or if she did, she thought she’d probably wean the older child so that the fetus got every nutritional benefit.
    And of course, the Duggar kids look very healthy and happy, so Michelle must be a lucky woman, and I’m happy for her. Still, I often read that families this large have few close friends and most do homeschool. You have to wonder if the parents, mostly Mr. Duggar, (’cause I just haven’t figured him out!) has a need to be the center of everyone around him. Create this little “town” of adoring kin and your set for life. I guess I just believe that exposing kids to other adults with different viewpoints, other children with different skintones and cultures, and then letting the kids find their way back to mum and dad’s viewpoint is a healthier way to go. To live with only two adults opinions of you could ’cause a child to fear the outside world. This might be what a lot of parents want.

  127. 127 Mickbic Nov 12th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    My suster has been a La Leche League Leader for over thirty years and has told me that if I baby’s emotional needs are met through suckling in addition to nutritional needs there is less chance of becoming pregnant. Obviously this is more than simple breastfeeding and is probably somewhat time consuming, but would undoubtedly go a long way to reducing the frequency of pregnancy.

  128. 128 Tricia Nov 12th, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Second and last comment I’ll make on here. For those of you who are Christians (I am one) why don’t you take it up with God about how many children He is blessing these people with. It’s between them and God and the kids look very happy. They are not perfect, but just take a look at their morals and values compared to most in this world. If you can’t honestly see how much more stable, godly, and healthy they are, you are blind and your heart is hardened. As far as the world being overpopulated, that is the brainwashing of the humanistic leaders and media. WAKE UP.

  129. 129 Emilia Liz Nov 15th, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Thank you to everyone for their comments.

    Now about breastfeeding being a “natural contraceptive,” I’ve heard mixed messages on that. For example, my pharmacist scoffs at it as an “old wives’ tale.” On the other hand, some studies show that breastfeeding can be efficient at preventing conception during the first six months of a baby’s birth if a.) no other food (formula, cereals, etc) is given to the child; b.) breastfeeding is practised on an “on-demand” (that is, whenever the baby wants to nurse) rather than scheduled basis, and c.) the woman’s menstrual cycle has not returned.

    In my case, my menstrual cycle didn’t return for about a year (the first half of which I breastfed my daughter exclusively and on-demand and the second of which I also nursed her but introduced solids) and when it did return it went back to its regular pattern (every 28 days). So I suppose theoretically I would have been safe from conception during my daughter’s first six months – but I didn’t want to take any chances so I got an IUD put in.

    While I chose not to depend on breastfeeding for birth control, I don’t think it can be ruled out as a contraceptive menthod for women who might have religious or moral objections to contraception, who might have difficulty tolerating contraceptives from a health perspective, or who can’t afford them.

  130. 130 Kit Nov 16th, 2009 at 9:46 am

    So long as the family is self supporting , the number of children they have is entirely their business- and as for the childrearing methods, well – I’d rather hire a person who grew up in a large family and knew how to work with and for the benefit of the entire group than one of the many spoiled rotten kids of today.

  131. 131 Emilia Liz Nov 16th, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Dear Kit,

    Thank you for your comment. I agree – how many children one has is no one’s business as long as you’re self-supporting. I just hope you don’t think only children (which my daughter will most likely be) are spoiled rotten!

  132. 132 Pedro Nov 16th, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    I don’t think overpopulation is going to be a problem. There are enough mothers out there killing (aborting) there children and more and more all the time! I’m not worried about the Duggers 18 kids busting the seams of this world. LOL

  133. 133 Allison Nov 16th, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Jules- Your last POST is exactly how I feel. Especially the part where you say that Mr Duggar craves being the center of attention with his 18 adoring children around him. That is exactly the message they are portraying to any intelligent and perceptive person that is observing this family. Its an absolute case of male is king of the castle, which is an old school mindset. Also what you said about the kids being socialized outside of the home and having difficulty with the real world- I absolutely agree 100 percent with you. I believe I stated in an earlier post that my main concern for these kids was their isolation from the outside world and having little or no exposure to other experiences besides the “family” or commune. This is detrimental to those kids….Unfortunately they will never have different experiences and a diversity in their lives which is a vital part of being an adult in this world.

  134. 134 Tina Nov 16th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    The Duggar family should be admired for their values and for raising children with character. If Michelle and Jim Bob are happy with their decision to live Biblically, then whose business is it to criticize this choice? While they admit that their lifestyle may not be for everyone, it certainly gives one an opportunity to think about what they are doing right as parents. How in the world can it be wrong to raise children with the morals that their children have displayed? And since the Duggar cousin, Amy, is such a close family member, I don’t see the children as being sheltered. She has, more than once, shown us that she is very much a part of the real world. With Josh working in the used car business and Jim Bob in real estate, I doubt seriously that this family’s experiences are restricted to a commune-like habitation. Rather than point out the negative side of not allowing their girls to dress in “Hannah Montana” attire which can be bought at the local “Sluts are Us” clothing stores, we should step back and admire how pretty the girls are in their feminine clothing. Denim skirts are comfortable as well as attractive, and the focal point of these young ladies is their face and inner beauty, much like it was several decades ago–before children started disrespecting authority and began doing “their own thing.” How on earth can being good be a bad thing? Hello?

  135. 135 Allison Nov 17th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    If any of my posts came off as hateful, I apologize because that was not my intent. Just as they choose to live their life, I am choosing to voice my own opinion about it. I do not hate the Duggars, I simply just don’t agree with the amount of children they have chosen to bring into the world, and while this may not be the way everyone feels, this is my personal opinion only. As for your statement about the girls attire, I think the Duggar girls are beautiful. I have never said otherwise. I do not agree with teenage girls dressing like sluts. I believe in classy clothing which also allows the child to portray their individual style. I would never let my teenage daughter dress like Hannah Montana, however, I would expect that my daughter would not want to look like a carbon copy of 7 of her siblings either. I agree, these kids seem happy. And honestly that is all that really matters. I do also feel that they are molded this way by their parents, and sheltered immensely. You may not agree with this, but it is a reality. JIm Bob is in real estate, and the son works as a used car dealer, and if you notice, all their customers are friends of the family. They all stay within their little network. How is this diverse? Again, we only know what the show allows us to see, so we don’t really know how on earth this man affords 18 children and a three thousand dollar grocery bill every month. I suspect there are a lot of things we do not know, and possibly that this family is making money in other ways, that has to do with their religion. This is a reality TV show. What we see is a fraction of the truth. Hello?

  136. 136 Lisa Nov 17th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    If you’re wondering how they afford the grocery bill every month you can rest assured that they are getting paid a healthy sum for their reality show. I don’t blame them but it seems as if their daily “goings on” are planned for the camera and not simply spontaneous. For example, for me the “reality” went down the drain when the son decided to keep the news of his and his wife’s pregnancy a secret until they could get the cameras rolling to capture the moment when he told everyone. It just seemed to me as part of the audience that this wasn’t what would be real for them but a moment contrived for the camera.

  137. 137 Allison Nov 17th, 2009 at 2:44 pm


  138. 138 Jules Nov 17th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks, Allison, I agree with you, especially about the money. Okay, the family had lots of kids before the show and surely they depended a bit on the Christian charity of others. And if the show is cancelled and the lucrative contracts dissolved, they may rely on donations of somekind. All well and good, but surely contributions should first be given to the sick, the families who’ve curtailed their reproduction and fallen on hard times, etc. Not sure “super-breeder” is a charity of choice.
    Also, isn’t Christianity about sharing with the less fortunate and teaching your kids to do this? I could be wrong, and maybe the Duggars do all kinds of charity work, but really, without the show they certainly couldn’t do much, as they’d need to rely on luck and providence to keep everyone fed — not much opportunity for them to share their wealth with the less fortunate. And no, going to church and looking the part does not a good Christian make.
    And, again, I really don’t think conservative dress makes a girl pure. Lot’s of talk about “slutty dressing,” which sounds awfully judgemental. Though it’s not how I choose to dress, there are lot’s of good-hearted people out there dressing in all kinds of ways, going through stages, changing and evolving. Surely the good these people do is more important than how they choose to dress. In that arena, yes, the Duggar Daughters may be delightful caring souls, but they are not being allowed to choose how to dress, a freedom their brothers are allowed. (and yes, if the boys want to wear dresses, that would be only too cool with me — it’s about freedom!) This may look darling to many, but deep down, it’s just letting the girls know what their purpose is: looking sweet and eventual reproduction. It would be a beautiful look if it were their choice.

  139. 139 allison Nov 17th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Again, Jules, I am with you 110 percent. Freedom of choice, freedom of dress, and freedom of expression. These girls are following suit, similar to that of someone who is brainwashed. They are being molded, as soon as they turn the YOUNG age of 18, they will get married and start reproduction because that is their only purpose in life. As far as I am concerned , an 18 year old has no business getting married or having children. But these girls will be safe because they have their leader to protect them and guide them. At 18 years of age, you should be exploring, growing, learning, changing, pursuing goals and career objectives, meeting PEOPLE of all ages, races and backgrounds, going to college, having fun… If one of the Duggar girls decided to stay single, date casually, and move to NYC to become a fashion designer, do you think Jim Bob would encourage that? Doubtful. This is the kind of sheltered life I refer to. And the fact that there is inequality among the girls and the boys is a conversation that Im afraid to have, because I might really blow my stack about that….. As you can see, I am not a fan of men being able to dress and do what they please because they are men, and women having to be the sweet, quiet, caretaker who listens to her king. I have learned as I get older, and wiser, that women are stronger, women can take on more tasks, women can handle a hell of a alot more stress and chores than their male counter parts. Women should have the same rights and the same opportunities to express themselves as their partners. They should also not feel stifled or intimidated by their male counterparts….

  140. 140 Don Nov 21st, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    There’s a book about the end times that’s actually true and it says nothing about overpopulation. Just another HOOPLAH like global warming that is now being proven false. There’s nothing wrong with having kids that love God and their fellow man. I hope the liberals ‘baby killing’ members of this country continue to watch the #s that they reproduce. We don’t need more of them that’s for sure. God bless those that choose to follow him and God bless America!

  141. 141 Lisa Nov 21st, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    First of all, since the world hasn’t ended quite yet, how do you know that the book is “actually true”. Remember, God said that he would come like a thief in the night. Noone knows when.

    Also, God blesses the liberals….they care for those who many forget. And you might want to read some legitimate material about global warming….it’s not hooplah.

  142. 142 Emilia Liz Nov 21st, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    You might want to read my other essay about the end of the world. It’s kind of ironic that two factions at the opposite end of the spectrum – the Quiverfull crowd on the one hand and the overpopulation commentators on the other – think the end of the world is near.

  143. 143 allison Nov 21st, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    IM not too concerned with overpopulation either. Im not gonna get into an argument about abortion and overpopulation, my main concern is the kids are being sheltered, isolated from reality, and getting a SKEWED view of life. Listen, they are not my kids, so its really not my business is it…..IM just stating my opinion. getting into a deep conversation about the end of the world is totally unnecessary here. Sometimes religion is just way too radical for me…What I would like to talk about is why the Duggars looked all pale in older episodes, but now all of a sudden the parents are tanning.!!! Comon people! Even the Duggars are falling into the reality TV thing. I think its so funny that people actually believe this family is exactly how we see them on TV. Comon people.

  144. 144 jules Nov 22nd, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Yeah, I think fame will change anyone. Really hope Jim Bob doesn’t tie the show’s ratings to the tenants in his wife’s womb. I know she may feel great now, but I’ve seen women how have had just six or seven kids (just?!) collapse when they are finished, and they’ve needed internal reconstruction surgery just to make it to the senior center without a wheel chair and diapers. Considering Jim Bob’s GIGANTIC contribution to the process, I figure he’ll be a spry old guy for years.
    BTW, Don, would love to see that “book about the end times that’s actually true.” I love a good fortune-teller.
    Oh, and that’s another vague thing I was thinking on as I drove through a local Hasidic neighborhood, where, of course, the girls are hampered with long NARROW (and I mean narrow and long, skirts you can’t take a decent good sized step in) skirts and often pants beneath them. Imagine running in that getup? Here’s the deal: IF your town gets bombed or attacked, or if even one bad dude tries to grab your kid, you want them to be able to RUN LIKE HELL. Even for simply walking near traffic, anything, the reason people ditched robes and grabbed britches is so they could move more easily. IF anything heavy comes down, all the dudes are gonna be able to race away while the poor women in skirts will be tripped up. Imagine: “Oh, Mrs. Smith, your daughter would have been able to evade Mr. Pedophile but he got a good grip on that skirt of hers when she tripped.”

  145. 145 allison Nov 22nd, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Jules, I think you and I were sisters in a previous life. That was the most profound post Ive ever read, so IM not even going to comment because I would just be repeating what you have so eloquently just posted. My favorite part-Jim Bobs gigantic contribution! hahahahahahaahhaha

  146. 146 jules Nov 23rd, 2009 at 2:08 am

    Allison, I was wondering where you were in this life! Thanks a lot for your comment…it’s always nice to know you aren’t the only chick in the room wondering why no one else is screaming about this stuff. Thanks Emilia Liz for the original article to provide us all with so much Duggar food for thought. There is a great quote in the book “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett (sp?) where an aspiring young female writer is given advice by the big city publishing woman who says something like: Find an issue that you deeply care about that doesn’t seem to upset others and you’ll have your topic. She ends up writing about how badly the African-American maids are being treated by the Mississippi families. Of course they are not all bad, lots of good families, too. Great book and a wonderful look at what life was like in the ’60s for women, both white and black.
    Okay, back to Jim Bob: in a perfect world we could watch an episode where he is forced to wear a long skirt for — let’s see, his daughters have to wear them FOREVER — so maybe for three months he could enjoy the pleasure. Sure it’d be a hoot at first, but after the third or fourth week I think his 100-watt smile might dim.

  147. 147 Emilia Liz Nov 23rd, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I also find it ironic that some religious families feel girls should only wear skirts, even though skirts are potentially “sexier” (i.e. they can pulled up) than pants.

  148. 148 Jo Dec 12th, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Being one of 13 and on the older side, I have had a lot of experience with a large family and with having younger siblings. I do not feel that it is good to have the older siblings take so much responsibility for the younger ones. It did not feel right to me as a child. Also, I have one (wonderful) child right now who I give a lot of attention to. I love the experience of being able to really foster a child’s growth in myriad ways, and it is not an easy task, even with one! I can’t imagine how it would be possible to do it with 19 (the amount of children they have today). My profession is teaching, and there is a reallly big difference between having a small class and having a large class regarding being able to have an individualized approach to teaching. This is the approach that I value and feel better benefits a child. I feel that the same concept applies to parenthood. Well, I “survived” a big family, good luck to the Duggar’s.

  149. 149 Just me Dec 13th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    The problem with promoting the Duggar family so much, is that for every one “Quiverfull” couple that can afford a large family, owns their house, doesn’t receive government handouts, etc… there are at least 20 Quiverfull families that live on welfare, can’t properly school their children (homeschooled or otherwise) and possibly have incest going on in the family. Incest is common in this type of lifestyle, as women are the “property” of the males.

    This only serves to promote a lifestyle that is not compatible with today’s society. Sexual abuse may go on unreported due to the social isolation that this group subjects its women. Watching the show is scary, when the girls talk, they sound like they are reading from a prompter. It is like watching a bunch of subdued robots talk about the greatness of their lifestyle, when in reality, they don’t know anything else they can compare to, or even allowed to educate themselves on the outside world.

  150. 150 Emilia Liz Dec 16th, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Dear Jo,

    Thank you for your response. It is always interesting how individuals base the size of their family according to the family they grew up in. For example, I know a woman who was an only child and who intends to have only one child herself (her husband, who has a brother, would like more but accepts his wife’s wishes). On the other hand, I’ve known only children who are determined to give siblings to their own children.

    I suppose the responsibility given to the older Duggar children does make me a bit uncomfortable, though the older ones say they don’t mind it. On the other hand, handing off excess responsibility to older siblings can even occur in a family of two children.

    As an aside, are you planning to have more children? I currently have one child myself, and although I’m in theory open to adoption in the future, due to a number of factors (my health, my ideas of childrearing, my age, etc.) adoption is probably not going to happen for me. I therefore like to link to parents of other “onlies!”

  151. 151 Allison Dec 17th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Its natural for people to have opinions based on their own experiences. I do not agree with the older children taking care of the younger ones. A 14 year old girl should not be caring for an infant on a daily basis. She should be enjoying her youth. Not to say that responsibility is a bad thing, but the Duggars make it so that these girls are just learning to be mothers, and thats all they seem to do. I wonder why I never see any of the older boys holding the babies, or helping them change their clothes. THis lifestyle is certainly not for me, but again everyone is entitled to their own life.

  152. 152 Emilia Liz Dec 18th, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I would agree that the Duggars’ lifestyle is not for me either – I’m a self-described “one-child-by-choicer” (though I’m theoretically open to adoption at a later time). However, I can’t say the girls only aspire to be mothers – in one interview with the family several girls had ambitions for outside careers, such as being a midwife.

  153. 153 Jessica Dec 18th, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Actually, the biggest problem I have with the Duggars is that all 19 of their children are being raised as creationists( as evidenced by their visit to the creation museum one episode). Now, I have no problem with them home-schooling their children, but to brainwash(and that’s what creationism is) children into rejecting something that has been proven by evidence(and is NOT contradictory to the Bible, despite what some fundies say) is a symptom of; if not outright mental illness, then delusional thinking on the part of the parents.

    Having a Grandfather who is a Methodist Minister, I will also tell you this: if any of those children “rebels” then they will never be able to have another conversation with a family member that doesn’t include that other person trying to “Save” them. And while that’s not outright harmful, it will make the “Rebel” feel at first inadequate, then isolated, and finally shunned because the family will want to keep them from “contaminating” the younger kids. They might not be pushing their beliefs onto “outsiders”, but you can bet that those kids have never been allowed to consider the IDEA that MAYBE the Bible could be flawed or misinterpreted. And if they HAVE had those thoughts and doubts, they won’t tell anybody because they’re afraid of the previously mentioned “shunning” scenario.

    Also, having children after the age of 40 is just begging to cause health problems both for Mother and Child, as evidenced by the 25-week delivery. I think that if they allow themselves to conceive again, they should be charged with child-endangerment. They have to realize that it’s not about THEM or the joy of having another, it’s about the health and well being of the child they medically SHOULD NOT be having. If Michelle thinks that BC causes abortions, then she should just have her tubes tied if she really loves her children(including the un-born ones).

  154. 154 Emilia Liz Dec 19th, 2009 at 12:22 am

    About creationism, let me say that my church accepts evolution and does NOT teach creationism. I also do not think that creationism should be taught as scientific fact in the public school system. And yes, I am uncomfortable with homeschooling parents (or private religious schools) teaching creationism, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t want the government to interfere with that.

    As well, I’m fairly sure if one of the Duggar children rejects creationism, the parents will try to make him or her change his or her mind. Shunning, I’m not so sure. Again, I don’t believe in creationism. However, I have to say that many times the beliefs of liberals aren’t that much more scientific. For example, it’s pretty much an article of faith in liberal circles that non-White children are psychologically damaged by being adopted into White families, even though the scientific evidence shows otherwise (i.e. it shows that transracial adoptees are just as well and perhaps even better adjusted than in-racial adoptees), yet here I wouldn’t want liberal families who teach their children this as a “fact” to be penalized for doing so.

    Now I have to say I’m 100% against mothers over 40 being charged with child endangerment. That would open up a whole batch of other issues, like how far should the state go to protect children. For example, could I be charged with child endangerment because I don’t eat red meat (and didn’t eat it) during my pregnancy?

    In short, I don’t agree with everything the Duggars do, but as far as I see it they’re not doing anything illegal.

  155. 155 Lisa Dec 19th, 2009 at 2:05 am

    What do you mean by the “25 week delivery” for women who give birth after 40 years of age?

  156. 156 jules Dec 24th, 2009 at 1:47 am

    lot of interesting points you make. Have to agree with the whole ostracizing religious choice thing…I know that Baptists are bound by their beliefs to bring up saving someone’s soul if religion is brought up in conversation and it doesn’t align with the Baptist philosophy. I know this because I have a dear aunt who can stop party conversation in an instant when she asks Catholics or Muslims if they have accepted Jesus Christ. She told my mom (an agnostic) once that she knows it’s awkward but it’s her job as a “missionary.” I think it’s rather insulting to meet a perfectly interesting and uber-kind loving person and without getting to know that person or express an interest in anything about them, start to sell them on your own “superior” religion while subtly putting down their very personal beliefs. Surely a person’s worth is not defined only by their church, and who is so certain that no one else has an interesting religious take to share? It seems like a person who does this is more interested in labeling and placing people in categories than in loving and learning about their fellow man.
    Yeah, if any of the Duggar kids stray, the Duggars will get to prove if they are true Christians…loving and honoring their children for who they are rather than how they worship.
    Which, I’m thinkin’, is what Christ would do if he dropped in nowadays. I’d go even further and say that he might completely ignore the religions “stamped” on our foreheads and he might just peek into our hearts…something the most “devout” have no time for.
    I also agree about the ego of continuing to have an excessive amount of children for their own satisfaction and pride. I know a mother’s love is endless, but we all love mom’s attention. How thin can they spread it?

  157. 157 Allison Dec 24th, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Again , agreed Jules. I have to say that anyone who is so radical in their religious beliefs, kind of annoys me…:) I have been spending some time with my christian aunt during the holidays trying to bite my tongue with some of the things she has been telling me. She works at a University, and was telling me that one of her long time colleagues had disclosed to her that he was gay, during a private conversation. My aunt proceeds to tell him that she doesnt agree with his lifestyle because GOD doesnt agree, but that she loves him anyway. She repeated this statement to me over and over and over. God doesnt approve , but I still love him. First of all, what gives her the RIGHT to even tell this man that she doesnt approve? Does he need her approval to feel good about himself or something? Does she think that this man is going to crawl up in a ball and die because my aunt doesnt approve of him? The judgmental attitude is absolutely appauling to me. And because I happen to disagree with her opinion about gays, does that mean I am not a real catholic? I dont know, but the way she was talking was so rude and mean spirited, that I wanted to tell her off.

  158. 158 Carli Jan 7th, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    The Duggars are prejudice against other races. Just look on their wikipedia page. It clearly states, “The Duggars don’t believe in interracial relationships, and believe it is best to stay within ones religion, race and age parameter”. I’m sorry but, you think that God cares about what race you are in heaven? I think not. These people are phony and don’t deserve a show. I hope more than one of their kids break out of the close-mindedness and date people of other races.

  159. 159 Emilia Liz Jan 8th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Can you give me reference to that site?

  160. 160 Emilia Liz Jan 8th, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I did see the site. However, the site does not provide any source for their quote. Again, I’m not saying that the Duggars do not believe in interracial relationships, but I’d like to see more than a Wikipedia page (unfortunately, Wikipedia does contain misinformation) before I could state that conclusively.

  161. 161 Nikki Jan 8th, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Hi again…
    I agree with Jules in that I too think Jesus would ignore the religions we belong to. He looks on the heart. Christianity is a personal belief in Jesus as the son of God- how you choose to live and worship and pray-is your own business. I personally am tired of religions telling people what the proper way to do this is.

    I would also like to mention that I do not think the Duggars are racist. I don’t think they would have a problem and disown a child if one married another race. I think by nature they are loving and understanding. What I believe they actually mean is that they feel it is best to marry a person who is of a similar faith, age and culture- so they can continue to live in the enviornment they were raised in. ( Which they obviously deem worthy) This can be misinterpreted as dissaproving of the race, but it’s really the choice of the culture.

    However, the chance their child would meet a potential spouse of another race within their choice paramenters, is very small. These types of Christians tend to be white.
    (If Im wrong- someone tell me.)

  162. 162 Emilia Liz Jan 9th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Again, I can’t say with any certainty whether the Duggars would object if one of their children married interracially. Regarding the statement on Wikipedia, I would be more inclined to be 100% sure of it if they provided a source for it (which they did for some of their other statements about the family).

    I have heard (again, I would have to be 100% sure of it, because this may be rumour) that James Dobson’s son married a Black woman, as did the daughter of one of the Promise Keepers. I know these men aren’t quiverfull per se, but it shows that Christian conservatives aren’t uniformly opposed to interracial marriage.

  163. 163 Allison Jan 10th, 2010 at 12:23 am

    whether or not it was written in Wikopedia, national enquirer or from Jim Bobs mouth is irrelevant. How would anyone dispute this obvious fact? Whether its because they want to stay within their culture, or because they are racist, doesnt make a difference, its one in the same. Most people who are very cultural and religious tend to teach their kids that “different” is no acceptable. I can assure you that NONE of those kids would ever be friends with a person of another race let alone marry them!!!! Sorry if this sounds judgmental, but I know the type very well…..

  164. 164 Emilia Liz Jan 10th, 2010 at 1:03 am

    I still feel I’d like a reliable source – not an unverified statement from Wikipedia – before I say whether or not the Duggars would object to a child marrying a person of another race. As well, some people who might disapprove of a child marrying a person of another race might still approve him or her being friends with a person of another race (especially if the friend was of the same sex as the child). I know a Greek girl whose parents were outraged that their oldest daughter was dating a Black man but had no objection to her Black (female) friends. So number one:

    1.) I don’t see any confirmed statement that the Duggars oppose interracial marriage;

    2.) Even if they do oppose interracial marriage, that doesn’t necessarily mean they would object to their children socializing with people of different races.

    By the way, I’m from a mixed family, so I’m uncomfortable with opponents of interracial marriage, but as long as they don’t try to impose their opinion on others, I’ll just have to live and let live. Also, not all opponents of interracial marriage (or interracial adoption) are religious and/or conservative.

  165. 165 Kris Jan 31st, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Interesting article, even more fascinating discussion. While it sometimes deteriorates into accusations and borders on name calling, the author has done a good job of participating in the discussion after posting the article. By moderating the discussion, it has been kept civil for the most part.

    What I personally find most interesting about the discussion is something that I have seen time and time again in discussions of this type: for the most part, people who believe very strongly typically cannot be swayed by the arguments of another person, who may feel equally as strongly but from the other end of the spectrum.

    In general, people who feel that strongly about things scare me a bit…

  166. 166 Emilia Liz Feb 1st, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Dear Kris, thank you for the comment. Yes, I’ve tried to keep the discussion civil, knowing that people will have strong opinions on this (and other) matters. What I do find almost humorously ironic is that when it comes to my own reproductive life, I’ve taken the exact opposite course as Mrs. Duggar (I’ve chosen only to have one biological child; though I’m theoretically open to adoption in future, I know realistically the chances of being able to do are fairly remote). But I still feel I can defend other people’s choices even if they differ radically from mine.

    I totally agree that people who feel strongly about certain issues can be scary. For example, I was participating in a discussion about abortion on another forum. My position was that abortion should be legal in the first three months of pregnancy, but that abortion beyond that point without a medical reason is questionable both from a legal and moral point of view. Well, I and other people, also pro-choice, who voiced similar concerns were basically shouted down by the moderator for being instruments of the pro-life movement. Sometimes therefore even self-styled liberal movements can be as intolerant and close-minded as the people they claim to hate.

  167. 167 Lo Feb 3rd, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Why are you all ignoring the fact that there are 19 children here who don’t get enough love and attention and just live among one another all the time. Also, burdening older siblings to stand in as parent is selfish. They are siblings not parents. If you can’t parent your children, don’t be a parent to that many children. I know people who come from large families and totally resent it. Why? Because mom didn’t have enough time and love to go around and they were always getting lost in the shuffle of a big brood. As for quoting the Bible, it was written ages ago, in a different time, when different things were happening, know what I’m saying? It applied to an era. I’m so, so wowed by all of this. You know I’ve heard something like 75% of people in America (have to get the exact figure but it’s high) have an IQ under 100, which makes critical thinking all the much harder.

  168. 168 fozziee Feb 12th, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Many seasons ago (prior to the new house) They had an episode about Michelle’s first child Michelle’s first child (prior to marrying Jim Bob had a baby (the first grandchild) The child is bi-racial Jim Bob basically stated that the young lady was rebellious and had to leave the house. They never discuss her or acknowledge the grandchild Does anyone know if this is due to the daughters choice or if it is a racial issue

  169. 169 Kit Feb 12th, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Oh geeez fozziee that old hoax???

    Jim is Michelle’s first and only husband and she had no children before she married him.

    This keeps popping up – but the hoaxers can’t even be consistent with the name – it’s ‘Jallah’, oh no wait it’s ‘Jemima’ or no wait it’s not a J-name at all and THAT’S why they don’t love her…
    Give it a rest.

  170. 170 Kris Feb 12th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    fozziee – you might be thinking of the Jeub family, a family on TLC’s “Kids by the Dozen” show.

    Kit – Not sure if it is an intentional “hoax” being spread around. I think a lot of people are confusing the life stories of these families, now that so many have popped up on TV due to the popularity of the Duggar family.

  171. 171 Laura Feb 12th, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    My feelings on the dugger family is that god has blessed them as a whole and that he keeps blessing them as a family whole because they are faithful to God and to others, god bless

  172. 172 Kat Feb 17th, 2010 at 5:19 am

    Ok, all of your discussions on whether the Duggars are racist were just disproved. On a new episode today, they had a family friend and his family to dinner and two of their children were BLACK (adopted from Ethiopia). One of the Duggar kids are shown hugging/wrestling with one of the kids. They even shared the same dinner table. While this doesn’t mean they’re not prejudiced, it means they’re…*gasp* accepting of others “different” from themselves.

    Also, about taking something you got off Wikipedia seriously really is laugh-out-loud funny. Doesn’t anyone know that ANYONE can post ANYTHING on wikipedia. I’m not saying that everything is fabricated on Wikipedia, but seriously, it’s a free for all for everyone that wants to post “facts” (more likely opinions). One of my projects for grad school was to write up a informative report on a painting and post it on Wikipedia. I had no problem posting my essay on Wikipedia and no one from Wikipedia has checked my facts or anything (even though I know I got some wrong).

  173. 173 College Grad Mar 25th, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    How can some of these people defend these “Whackjobs”!! Their parenting style is repressive,draconian,and misogynistic.Those kids grow up in a bubble,and are stripped of their own individuality,and autonomy!Those kids,especially the daughters will never receive a college education,or develop their “God Given” talents!Jim Bob aka Bubba J,has a very unhealthy obsession with the”Little House On The Prarie” attire,and lifestyle.Just because some of the people who defend the Duggars did not get to attend their “Senior Prom”;graduation;or attend college, because of their parents extreme “Right Wing Dominionist” religious beliefs,does not give them the right to advocate that all kids should grow up like the Duggars!Wait a few years,and those kids,especially the daughters will have serious issues in the future.Those kids can’t survive in the real world.The Quiverfull Movement is no less destructive than the FLDS,ie Mormon Polygamy Cults.
    With regard to Allison’s comments about Hannah Montana and her style of dress,Miley Cyrus is the “Lesser Of The Three Evils”,compared to Christina Agluleria,or “Lady CaCa”,or whatever moniker she goes by! Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana,has somewhat of a head on her shoulders,in other words she has brain cells between her ears!I would not have a problem with my daughter wearing a “High Hemline Skirt”,provided it is in good taste,and that is something that could be worn on a future job interview.In other words,a skirt,nice hosiery in good taste,and high heeled shoes that are reasonable.A good example is a female employee of JC Penney’s or Macys,and the attire that those women wear.I would have no problem with a skirt,heels and hosiery,and heels,wore on the job,or as a secretarial position.Remember that type of job experience looks great on a resume,and I would rather see her work that type of retail job while attending school,than flipping rotten meat patties at the “Golden Arches”,or waiting on tables at the local “Greasy Spoon”! The two key words here are “Within Reason”.If most parents remember that,we would not have so many wayward kids.Those are two words that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar do not understand,because they are blinded by the “Cult Like Beliefs” of Bill Gothard.It’s up to rational thinking people like ourselves to see this extremist movement for what it is:”Abuse in the name of the Almighty”!

  174. 174 Emilia Liz Apr 1st, 2010 at 9:53 am

    hi, College Grad. Sorry to get back to you late; I haven’t had a chance to check my mail or respond to it lately. In any case, I don’t necessarily agree with everything the Duggars do. For example, I wouldn’t force my daughter to wear skirts (ironically, she’s the one who demands to wear a dress or skirt!). And yes, the Duggars are probably more sheltered than I’d certainly let my children be. On the other hand, the fact is there will always be parents with whose actions we don’t see eye to eye 100%. As I mentioned in the commentary to my Only Child article, I hear of parents (on the Internet) who go on to have multiple children after one is diagnosed with a serious psychiatric disability. As an example, there was one woman, ironically a medical doctor, who had four children, one of whom had Asperger’s syndrome and another who had such serious learning disabilities he wasn’t talking when he was four years old. So obviously she continued to have children even after knowing one had serious problems. In my view, she might have done better to concentrate on the kids she already had, especially as special needs kids require more care and attention than usual, which might leave the others feeling deprived. In my mind that’s more questionable than how the Duggars are raising their kids. As I said before, I don’t agree with everything that Duggars do and my choices are radically different than theirs (first and foremost, I’ve chosen to have only one biological child), but I respect the fact that everyone makes their own choices.

  175. 175 Lucy from Oz Apr 24th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Is anyone here an atheist and finds the Duggar parents and their beliefs repulsive? (I AM CURIOUS, NOT TRYING TO CAUSE TROUBLE.)But seriously, this is why the rest of the world finds it hard to tolerate Americans, as such a high percentage are right-wing bible-loving bigots. My heart goes out to those kids who are missing out on one of the most important things in life: freedom of thought. For their whole meagre existence, their parents’ beliefs have been rammed down their poor, impressionable throats.

    It is the 21st century, and yet it seems that religion is still the biggest stain on the human race!

    To quote the late Douglas Adams:

    “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

    Think about it.

  176. 176 Emilia Liz Apr 24th, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I’m a Christan myself, but I don’t share many of the Duggars’ beliefs. For example, I don’t take the verse, “Happy is the man who has his quiver full of (children)” to mean that I should have as many children as my body can pump out. I’ve for one deliberately chosen to have only one biological child. But even if the Duggars believe differently from myself, if they’re not ramming their beliefs down my throat, I don’t have a problem with them following theirs.

    No, I don’t agree with everything they do in terms of raising their children – but they probably wouldn’t agree with some of the ways in which I’m raising my daughter. For example, I’m sending her to a school that teaches evolution rather than creationism in the science class. Actually, since my church doesn’t teach creationism, she might never have the opportunity to learn about it. So am I ramming my beliefs down her throat? But in the end, I’ll just have to say live and let live.

  177. 177 jules Apr 26th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Yes, Lucy:
    I agree. Spirituality can be gorgeous when it’s applied to improving yourself or opening your mind, embracing and accepting others, making the world a better place. Organized religions, on the other hand, scare the hell out of me. Anyone who wants to witness a moving journey away from literal bible teachings should check out Julia Sweeney’s “Letting Go of God,” (on HBO, I think). I do believe in a higher power, but her thoughtful and soul-searching words are right in line with my own venture from the often negative and over-translated text. The best you can do, I think, is grab a few ideals that align with your own mental governance and hold tight no matter how much other folks try to make you feel unholy.

  178. 178 Esbee May 7th, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    How about Christians that chose to have no children? Where do they fit into the grand scheme of things? Are they condemned? I always felt led to have cats and horses, and other animals instead of kids (actually found lost/strayed critters.) I teach instead and decided I could not do both well (have kids and a full time job.) Could it be possible that God does not make cookie-cutter Christians?

  179. 179 Emilia Liz May 7th, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Personally, I don’t feel that Christians are called to have a particular number of children or as many children as they possibly can. As I even mentioned my essay, in the Bible children were viewed not only in terms of personal fulfilment but of their contributions to the family farm. And since the Jews were a small tribe at the time, it was important to ensure their survival through a continual supply of new members. Obviously society has changed since then. Still, if the Duggars feel the “Happy is the man, etc.” means that Michelle Duggar should have as many kids as she possible can, that’s fine. And to be fair, they’re not trying to force others to follow their particular path. Michelle even admitted that her life isn’t for everybody. So no, I don’t believe God makes “cookie-cutter Christians.”

    I actually have looked into the “quiverfull” notion from a Jewish perspective, since the verse appears in the Old Testament. One Jewish woman said that the command “Be fruitful and multiply” isn’t binding on women, since they incur risk on bearing children. And other than particular Jewish sects that eschew all forms of birth control, most Jews today limit themselves to one or two children.

    Everyone therefore is free to interpret the quiverfull verse as they themselves choose.

  180. 180 Kani May 30th, 2010 at 1:36 am

    I am a catholic and I believe that children are send from heaven as God’s will, and being “open to life” does’t mean to have as many children as you can, but as God’s want. Nowaday, children are a posetion bacause if a couple WANT a child, they must get it no matter the cost. People uses overpopulation as an excuse to have one or two children, but what really want is to give them everything they want. The earth isnt overpopulated, but is overcrowded in certain areas like the mayor cities. Maybe the Duggar children wont have all the attention from their parents, but even an only child wont get it bacause their parents are both working full time to be able to give everything for their children, at least they have a mother present and a sibling to take care of them. I firmly believe that children are a gift from God and even if they have none or many children, God is the only one who knows whats better for us. I have 2 girls (one 31 and other 9 months old) and people often ask me if I’m going to stop having children and they look at me as if I was crazy when I say no. I know that no matter how many children I have, God will always help me raise them throug His WORD and that He will provide.

  181. 181 Emilia Liz May 31st, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Kani, I am just curious: what is your opinion if a couple cannot have biological children and try to have them through medical means (maybe I should divide these into fertility drugs like Clomid, Pergonal, etcetera, and more complex technologies like in vitro or egg donation) or adoption?

  182. 182 Kani May 31st, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    As a Catholic I believe this: any procedure which assists marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential is moral. Any procedure which substitutes or suppresses a need for marital intercourse is immoral. I believe that science can be use to help people as long it doesnt replace God, and natural reproduction.

  183. 183 allison May 31st, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    First, let me start by saying I do not mean to offend anyone and their religious or personal views. The things I say are simply my own thoughts. Its absolutely wonderful to have faith in the lord. I truly believe that there is a higher power more important than mortal human beings. That being said, I truly believe that the Duggars take it to a level that is “CULT LIKE”. I have used this word over and over again on older posts, and I will continue to use it in describing this family. Michele and Jim fit the MOLD to a tee. No freedom of thought. No freedom of choice As far as being racist , hey, its great they had dinner with two black children, but sharing a meal and marrying an african american are two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS.. AGAIN, everyone seems to forget that they are on a TV show and a lot of their episodes are for ratings. Ummm, hello, dont you think they wanted to discount the racism allegation??? Most of what we see on the show is for RATINGS! Imagine how much more cult like they are when they are not shooting.
    I also have to comment on the fertility thing. There are many many women who cannot get pregnant on their own, I am one of the unfortunate women who have needed fertility drugs to get pregnant. Michele is a very very lucky woman that she was easily able to conceive and carry 19 children. Many women DO NOT KNOW how lucky and blessed they are. Women have an innate need to bear children. If modern medicine can bring happiness and love to a family, then why on earth would anyone not take advantage of that? Religion plays absolutely NO part in a couples decision to use fertility drugs. Again, this is an individual choice and a personal decision . Its nice when people try to wrap things up in a pretty bow and say ” it will happen when you relax and pray, or it will happen when it is GODS WILL”. Usually these same people have absolutely no f-ckin idea what it is like to be infertile!

  184. 184 Emilia Liz Jun 2nd, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Thank you to both of you for your comemnts.

    To Kani, I know that the Catholic Church accepts fertility treatment to a certain extent (fertility drugs but not in vitro, for example), but I’m not sure how the Quiverfull movement would feel. On one site I heard that they should accept God’s plan for their family even if that meant no children, which seems to imply that fertility drugs or other treatments would not be acceptable but doesn’t really say much about adoption.

    My own Lutheran Church is more flexible. Because we don’t have a pope or central authority, members are sort of free to follow their own conscience on such matters. I know that some Lutheran hospitals in the US offer in vitro treatments whereas Catholic hospitals do not.

    Personally, I think if I had been unable to conceive naturally when I was younger I may have turned to fertility treatment (drugs, in vitro, etcetera). On the other hand now at 41 when it seems I might not be able to get pregnant without medical aid, it doesn’t feel right to me to pursue fertility treatments, especially as I already have a biological child. I haven’t excluded adoption, however, as a way to expand my family if I choose to do so. However, that’s my personal opinion; I don’t feel I can condemn others who believe differently.

    To Allison, I think I may have mentioned this before on this thread (I’m not sure whether in response to you but in response to somebody else), but I don’t believe there’s any hard and fast proof that the Duggars are racist. Well, maybe they are, or maybe some of them are, but I don’t see any evidence of it.

    By the way, it seems that the Duggars’ latest child, a girl named Josie, was born very prematurely and may have health problems. I must say that if I were in Michelle Duggar’s position I would probably stop having children right there and then, especially because children born as early as Josie can have not only physical problems (which in themselves wouldn’t stop me from bearing more children, if I had wanted a big family) but developmental (i.e. mental or even behavioural) ones as well. But again, I’m not the one who’s raising the family, so in the end it’s up to Michelle.

  185. 185 Kani Jun 2nd, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I have a stong opinion on having children, bacuse nowadays most people sees children as debt. I can only say that if I am REALY open to Gods will on having children, as many as He send me I know that its for a greater purpuse. Tha Catholic church doesnt say “have as many as you can, but to follow Gods will and plans”and is not a very easy thing to do and I dont think that God will condem them for that, but as I’ve bee able to se many famylies with many children, happy, because they have experience Gods love through this knowing that He provides and help them when things get rough. And I also know people that even though just have 2, 1 or no children at all, dont used any contraceptives and can’t have any children. I am not inferlile but I wasnt able to have children for the first 2 and half years of my marriege and miscarriege once, and it gave me great suffering not knowing if I was going to be able to concieve. I coulnd even see a pregnant woman bacause it would lead me to tears. I prayed a lot for strenght and I recieve it. I would love to have lots of children but only God Knows.

    I know that they only wait 40 days inabstinence after a boy is born, and 80 days if it a girl. I don believe in this bacause they take it as a law. I know that the human body (woman) is prepared for another baby a after 4 months. And if it is a c-section more time for it to heal. I only use natural methods to prevent pregnancy but dont extend it more than ten months, and yes I know that it isnt always acurate but I know that I have to give God an opening for he to do His will. Maybe this sound weird for some people, but It have worked for me. :)

  186. 186 roddma Jun 3rd, 2010 at 2:29 am

    I’m sure no one sees debt as a gift. However, if I did buy a new car ever, it owuldnt ask much of me except gas and maintainance. these studies are often one -sided. For instance you never hear about the parents mental state or the mother’s health after so many children. I agree with the poster on how folks don’t understand infertility and religion plays no part in that decision. I disagree with some If you wonderingg why infertile women dont seek fertilty treatments, they are costly and not an option for some. They are not warranted to work. These clinics are making a fortune off those who are desperate to be parents. Look at the Gosselins and Hayes. Why can’t we just accept 0, 1, 2 kids anymore? In the past, most accepted their situation and moved on. Now its arace to the neares fertility clinic.Not all have this innate need to be parents. I think we are right to criticize choices when they start effecting those around you. Each Duggar baby is more work for the poor girls.

  187. 187 Emilia Liz Jun 3rd, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Again, thank you both for your responses. It’s funny how this Duggar thread has received over 100 responses (I won’t say 186 because some of the responses are mine).

    To Kani, I thought that Jews had certain rules about abstaining after the birth of a baby, but I’m not sure what they are exactly. In my Lutheran Church we don’t have any such rules that I know of; I’m not sure of other Christian denominations. From a medical perspective, it used to be that a woman was supposed to wait six weeks (regardless of the gender of the baby), but now I think it depends less on the number of days but whether a woman (and her partner) feel “up to” having sex after giving birth, not so much due to the state of her vagina but how exhausted she might be.

    Regarding the best time to have another baby, the child development expert Burton White says that for emotional reasons it is best to have at least a three-year gap between each child. I generally don’t put a great deal of stock on psychological reasons for waiting a certain time to have another child: while some women might feel ready to take on another baby right after giving birth, I myself would want at least a seven-year gap between each child (which means that I will in all probability have only one biological child).

    Physically, though, a study out of England showed that in old age women who had had children within 18 months of one another did not live as long as other women. This was a somewhat complicated study: it also showed that mothers of five or more children had a shorter lifespan than average, but conversely women who had never had children (or to a lesser extent only one child) also had a higher mortality rate.

    To Roddma, I don’t think it’s becoming “unacceptable” to have two or fewer kids today. In fact, birth rates have dropped in almost all industrialized countries and to a lesser extent in developing ones, to the point where most European countries have a below-replacement level birthrate. I think people like to watch shows about the Duggars, the Gosselins, etcetera for the same reason they like to watch show about the Hensel twins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkKWApOAG2g) or the Aceves family (wwsw.thewolfpeople.com): they’re outside the norm.

    And while I think there’s still stigma over choosing to have an only child, that stigma is abating, in my view. Even my own mother, who at first felt it was wrong for me to have a single child, now fully accepts the fact that my existing daughter will be my only child (there’s still a small chance I’ll adopt in the future, but I’m not holding my breath).

  188. 188 Kani Jun 3rd, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Each person is a wolrd. I feel exactly like you Emilia Liz, but on the opposite side. I know that you dont like when people tell ask you if you are going to have other children, and when you answered they ask you why not. To me is the same but when I tell them that it is up to God’s plan they look at me as I was crazy because times are though and Im not goig to be able to provide them. I tell them that maybe they wont have all the newest games or tecnology (zombie makers), but they will be happy, because I grow up without AC in my room, or with new clothes all the time or 3 diferent video games, and I grow up fine.
    I entered this blog because it bugged me that their believes on having children were so a attacked, when FOR ME, and what I HAVE LIVED, is the opposite. I dont know if I said this before, but each pervon have diferent live histories, and diferent kinds of suffering.

  189. 189 Emilia Liz Jun 4th, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Just a clarification: I generally don’t mind if people ask me if I’m having other children – though I personally wouldn’t ask this of a person unless I really knew them well because, who knows, maybe they’re trying to have more children but can’t, and a question like that might rub salt in their wounds. At this point I even let criticism, such as “You’re selfish!” go over my head. After all, if I have another child, they’re not going to be the ones staying up all night with a colicky baby (NOTE: a hypothetic situation; I never had a sleepless night with my daughter, though I did pull a few all-nighters as a university student.)

    I had to laugh that while I might be criticized for having too few children, others, like yourself, get a hard time for having too many. Well, maybe if everybody had 2.1 children (replacement level) no one would be criticized for having too many or too few kids. Oh wait, they might be criticized for spacing their children too far apart or too closely together. I suppose thinking that if everybody had a set number of kids no one would be criticized for their reproductive choices is a bit like thinking that if everybody were of mixed race racism would disappear.

  190. 190 Sonneries Portable Gratuites Sep 21st, 2010 at 9:40 pm

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  191. 191 roddma Dec 17th, 2010 at 5:12 am

    This post is still getting comments after two years. Let me start by saying there were only two of us and we didnt get the latest Atari or whatever was popular. So fewer children does not mean more money in a sense. There is nothing wrong with having less than someone However there is something wrong with having more kids than you can provide for and lowering their quality of life just ebcause of some belief. In other words I am against being poor on purpose poor and holding it up as more godly than those who buy their kids decent new shoes. And I do agree there is no diversity in their social circle. The Bates are white, the Wilson are white, and the Holts are white. And where are the couples with no children or less than five? However in their book it shows them posing with a Korean family they claim as ‘friends’ but it does not mean they interact with them daily.
    Furthermore, not everyone has the innate desire to be parents.. Some peole cant stand kids or some don’t want their own. Its sad to think their poor girls are expected to marry and have kids regardless if they actually want them or not.

  192. 192 roddma Dec 17th, 2010 at 5:29 am

    and the ones who should be charged with child endangerment are the 20 something expectant mothers strung out on crack and live with abusive mates or spouses. It is really disgusting when someone calls a mother over 40 endangering her child when there are much worse.

  193. 193 monica Dec 20th, 2010 at 2:03 am

    Now that they have 19…I really think that they are hippocritical telling and teaching their kids “Self Control” when they don’t practice it themselves. Michelle could die if she gets pregnant again….or she could endanger the life of another innocent child. I really hope they use some common sense and dont’ end up pregnant again.

  194. 194 Emilia Dec 27th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    To Monica and Roddma, thank you for your comments, and Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate). Regarding the Duggars, no, it wouldn’t be my choice to have 20 kids, but I don’t think their children are suffering. Will the girls be pressured to have as many kids as they can pump out? That I can’t say. I laugh because even though I’ve chosen to have only one child, my daughter’s decided that she’s going to have three babies. I say “not too soon!” (i.e. at least be 20 years old). However, the number of kids she has is up to her. About Michelle not practising self-control… again, her decision wouldn’t be mine, but I think she has made a conscious choice to have the children she did, so I don’t think she’s lacking self-control.

  195. 195 duggar family Jan 15th, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I saw a latest video on Duggar Family of taking their kids to the Creation Museum. Is there any difference between the kids and dinosaurs?

  196. 196 Emilia Feb 21st, 2011 at 12:06 am

    To Duggar Family, are you by any chance referring to the Duggar girls’ Mother Hubbard dresses?

  197. 197 A.Roddy Mar 3rd, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Have you ever seen ‘No Longer Quivering” It is about a few who have escaped the movement. There is a dark side to everything. Parents of two children usually have to work and make a living. Not all are spaced out on drugs. It is unrealistic to compare families of five or less with the Duggars. It isn’t the # of kids but their beleifs that frighten me. I get more disturbed the more I find out about their beliefs. Many who were fans at the beginning like me have changed their tune. I mean the kids are great. The parents are another story. Another thing that gripes is the ‘one big happy family’ mantra. How do we know all are happy in big families? Noone is happy all the time regardless of how they are portrayed on TV.And 19 kids and no drama? No sibling rivalry? Where is the older Duggar kid who wants to hang out with a biker kid?

  198. 198 Emilia Mar 14th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Dear A. Roddy,

    Thank you for writing. As I’ve often said, my life couldn’t be more different than Michelle Duggar’s: I’ve chosen to have only one child (I may adopt if I decide to expand my family, but my “quiver” is full with the one biological daughter I have); I use birth control; I earn my own income; I don’t believe that women are meant to “submit” to their husbands; and I belong to a church but don’t consider myself a fundamentalist. Still, I don’t know if Michelle Duggar’s lifestyle is any worse (or better, for that matter) than mine. I don’t agree with all or even most of the Quiverfull movement’s beliefs, particularly their view of women. On the other hand, I’ve probably come across more misogyny in some sectors of the overpopulation movement, for example, than I have in the Quiverfull movement.

    Maybe the Duggars aren’t happy all the time, but are one- and two-child families happy all the time either? Also, I do think they shelter their children far more than I would ever shelter mine. With regard to one of the older Duggar kids hanging around the biker kids… I don’t know. The question many people have asked is what would the Duggars do if one of their children turned out to be gay. I don’t know, but just because they (probably) consider homosexuality a sin it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t love a gay child (on the opposite side of the spectrum, apparently the ultra-liberal Cher disinherited her daughter Chastity temporarily when Chastity admitted she was a lesbian). So it’s hard to know exactly what goes through the Duggars’ minds.

  199. 199 Josiah Apr 22nd, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Does anyone know what the Duggar kids want to be when the grow up?

  200. 200 Emilia May 14th, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Hi, Josiah. I can’t remember exactly, but one of the girls said she wanted to be a midwife and another said she wanted to be a chef. Now it seems that one of the girls, perhaps seeing the plight of the youngest baby, who was born prematurely and required special care, wants to be a nurse. Jim Bob and Michelle said that they supported her in her desire, saying that it takes a ‘special person’ to be a nurse. Let’s wish her success in her endeavour!

  201. 201 Iniezione Jan 3rd, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    The world does not need more human larvae. The Earth is way beyond a sustainable carrying capacity as it is. Soon all these humans will be warring over their lack of resources or differences in their theocracy. Get ready, it’s coming, thank you Duggars.

  202. 202 Emilia Feb 14th, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Actually, these predictions about the end of the world have been happening for a long time (ex. Jehovah Witnesses, Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb) and never have panned out. If you read my latest essay about the Duggars,you’ll note that one reason they get the attention they do is because they’re so rare. Birth rates have fallen to the point where many countries – including Canada – aren’t even at replacement level. So I have to put predictions like humans warring over lack of resources in the same vein as Harold Camping’s prophecies.

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