Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, known for their appearances on the reality show “19 Kids & Counting,” are alleged to have replaced Bill Gothard as the head of the Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP), according to former friends Jim and Bobye Holt.
The claims were made in the Amazon Prime docuseries “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets.” The Holts suggest that Jim Bob and Michelle have taken over Gothard’s role since he was removed from IBLP’s leadership in 2014 following allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.
The documentary reveals that Jim Bob and Michelle, leveraging their reality TV fame, have been instrumental in promoting IBLP and encouraging people to join the organization. The couple’s influence is seen as significant in drawing followers and even persuading individuals to relocate to Arkansas, which some perceive as a cult-like tactic.
The allegations surrounding the Duggar family’s association with IBLP have caused concern, particularly due to the parallels drawn between Gothard’s misconduct and the revelations of abuse involving the Duggar’s eldest son, Josh Duggar.
Former followers of IBLP interviewed in the docuseries emphasize the pervasive nature of abuse within the organization.
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The release of the documentary has prompted a response from Jim Bob and Michelle, who expressed their love for their family members and their disappointment with the way the media has portrayed them. They acknowledged the public scrutiny their family has faced and maintained that they rely on their faith for strength and purpose.
The allegations of Jim Bob and Michelle assuming leadership of IBLP have raised questions about the organization’s future and the ongoing impact of their involvement. The documentary has ignited conversations about accountability, abuse, and the influence of reality TV on religious organizations.