In a new book one of the 19 children who were the center of the popular Christian reality show which eventually was rebranded as "19 and Counting," recounts growing up in the highly restrictive home of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and how she has made a major move to separate herself from what she called an "unhealthy version" of Christianity.
In an interview with the New York Times to discuss her book "Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear," Jinger Vuolo describes what the Times calls the "darker side" of growing up Duggar.
According to the now 29-year-old whose family's world was rocked when brother Josh was accused of molesting his sisters and then later sent to jail for possession of child pornography, she lived in fear of doing anything outside the lines of what the family permitted in their tightly orchestrated world that was shared with their fans.
As the Times Ruth Graham wrote, "Even after the image began to crumble, the family has maintained a largely united front. No other siblings have spoken as critically about the family’s theology and values as Mrs. Vuolo. With an online following that includes 1.4 million followers on Instagram, her declaration of independence is being closely watched as a high-profile example of re-examining one’s own religious upbringing."
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Speaking with Graham, Jinger Vuolo explained, "I was just so crippled with fear, and I didn’t know why,” with the Times report adding, "She described herself as a 'serious rule-follower,' who took to heart her family’s admonitions to dress in long skirts, avoid rock music and date only under parental supervision. In Mrs. Vuolo's world, it was never a question that she would bypass college, marry a man approved by her parents and devote her life to parenting and home-schooling."
In the interview, she discussed the influence of Bill Gothard, who was later accused of sexual harassment, on her family's lifestyle, telling the Times, "That was all I ever knew. His words, in my mind, were almost the words of God.”
With that in mind, in her book, she writes that she is in the process of “disentangling,” as she separates “the truth of Christianity from the unhealthy version I heard growing up."
The report goes on to note that she claimed that "she hoped the book, and her ordinary life itself, would show her friends and family who still follow the teachings of her childhood that there’s another way."
“Even though you’re told your life is going to fall apart if you leave, it’s not. You don’t have to even lose your faith in God,” she explained.
You can read more here and watch her describe her upbringing below or at the link:
Jinger Duggar Vuolo's memoir, "Becoming Free Indeed" youtu.be