My good friend Amanda Pifer, who has some experience in and with the Quiverfull / homeschooling movement, decided she had some things to say about the ongoing Josh Duggar fiasco, who was recently back in the news for having been outed in the Ashley Madison leak. She let loose today on Facebook, and her words were so insightful, I asked if I could share them on my blog.
Here they are…




Ok guys, I think we can all agree that Josh Duggar has made some pretty bad choices in his life. No, I am not happy about it, but I am also not even slightly surprised. Bad stuff was (and is) happening, whether everybody on Facebook knew about it or not.

But here’s the thing, I’m quite sure that Josh still has more life challenges that we don’t know about. It’s not as easy as “he’s a pedophile” or “he’s a cheater,” there’s more going on there, whether we can see it or not. I’m also willing to bet all the money I have that he is not the only one of his siblings who are going to have life-shattering problems — whether public or, hopefully, private. There is still more going on than meets the eye.

And you don’t need to personally take up the responsibility of telling Josh that he is a horrible person, because he already knows it. He knew it as soon as he hit puberty and couldn’t pray his hormones away. He knew it every time he had a thought or an attraction, and realized again that he didn’t measure up to the “have no sexuality at all until you get married” holiness standard that God and his parents had set out for him. He knows deep down that he is a failure of a human being.

All he’s doing now is just trying to make up for it, so God and his parents won’t be so disappointed. He wasn’t working at the Family Research Council because he’s some diabolical villain who likes to tell everybody to be holy while he does whatever he wants, he was working there to try to fix himself. He was hoping that if he hung out with all the people who are saying all the rules, maybe they would eventually sink in, if he just tried a little harder.

I am not in any way meaning to excuse his actions, I’m just saying they are happening for a reason.

I’d love it if we spent less time calling him the scum of the earth, and more time thinking about whether his mom and dad’s parenting style really worked out the way it was supposed to. The goal of the super-Christian “Quiverfull” style of parenting is to produce little Jesus robots who are a shining example and who aren’t negatively effected by their own sinful (human) natures.

Can we all just agree that doesn’t seem to be working?

Notice how confused Jim Bob and Michelle are? That’s because they really thought it would work, and it didn’t. And they’re going to assume it’s a flaw with Josh, and I hope they don’t excommunicate him, because they’re all he’s got at this point. But I promise they will be equally as shocked when one (or 18) of their other kids has another problem (addiction, depression, mental health issues, self-harm).

Lets just all use this as a lesson for our own lives: teaching kids they shouldn’t be human makes them crazy. Just say no to fundamentalist parenting. This should be the main takeaway from this whole disaster: don’t raise your kids like this, it will f*** them up. Everybody together now: Don’t raise your kids like this, it will f*** them up!



~ for the  TL:DR crowd ~

Josh Duggar screwed up not because he’s evil, but because his parents’ heavy emphasis on repression didn’t equip him well to deal with his own sexuality.

Consequently, his other siblings might very well have similar problems.

Instead of gawking or cluck-clucking, have some compassion, and let’s agree that style of parenting sucks.]]>


  1. Chris Jenson on August 26, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Parents do what they think is right. Every person ultimately makes their own choice. Every parent–Duggars, Osbornes, etc–leads their kids in ways that will require a corrective revelation of a loving parent from God. This is not a parent problem. It isn’t a religion problem. It is a sin problem. Not a “shame on Josh” problem. It is a human problem. It is possible that he could have made the same choices with different parents… I’m sure the other 30 million Ashley Madison folks and the other convicted Pedophiles didn’t all come from families line the Duggars. In fact I am quite certain we will find a spectrum of families.

    • jelani on August 26, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      Well said.

    • Amanda on August 26, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Of course not all of the Ashley Madison cheaters are from fundamentalist Christian families, each person has their own hurt and dysfunction. The point I’m trying to make is that every kid raised in that kind of an environment is going to have major problems to deal with as they grow up and try to become functioning adults. The issues won’t all be the same as the ones Josh is dealing with, but they will all need therapy.

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