Former members of the same religious group that the Duggars belong to are coming forward to detail the abuse they and others have suffered.
The Duggar family are known followers of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), which is a non-denominational religious organization that was founded by a man named Bill Gothard, who, in 2014, was accused of sexual assault. In the years since the allegations became public, the walls around the Counting On family's church and religious upbringing have started to come down, with former IBLP members coming forward to detail the abuses suffered in the religious group.
"There really wasn't one concrete 'oh s–' moment, but the first time I remember thinking 'this is BS' was how often people would be 'sentenced' to hell for the most trivial reasons. Everything from an impure thought to cursing to sleeping in late," a woman wrote on Reddit on March 22, according to In Touch Weekly.
"So one day I was discussing future marriage with my mother as all 11-year-olds in the sect do, and the topic of what I would do if my husband potentially abused me came up (having witnessed frequent mistreatment and power play relationships by that point)," she continued.
The redditor goes on to explain the conversation she had with her mother, in which her mother insisted that divorce was "never okay," even in the case of abuse. Instead, her mother told her that "You pray for him and ask the Lord to help him see the error of his ways. The Lord can always work, and it's blasphemy to try to interfere with his plans by divorcing."
Three years ago, another former member of the religious group took to Reddit to detail horrors he faced while a member of IBLP, describing how the "cult taught a strict familial hierarchy, with the father being top dog, then mother, then children in order of birth." He also described how Bible verses were used "to justify rape, death threats, and more," and how children deemed "rebellious" for so much as questioning the religious group were sent to camps where they are "tortured, brainwashed, starved, sleep-deprived, threatened with a shotgun, punished, humiliated, interrogated, and terrorized."
This isn't the first time that former members of the religious group have come forward. In February, multiple former followers of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) came forward to speak out against the group, detailing how it encourages "a culture of abuse."