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Purity Has Its Price: We've Seen The Symptoms Of The "Duggar Syndrome" But What Were Its Causes?

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After all, "Purity" has its price.

Michelle Duggar homeschooled the children during those years using ATI (Advanced Training Institute) materials and lessons. Described by some as a "Creepy Fundamentalist Homeschool Cult", ATI was founded by Bill Gothard (a close friend of the Duggars):

ATI is a "Biblically based" homeschooling program that lets Christian families integrate their kids' daily, hours-long moral learnings with just a dash of secularism. Its various pillars include doing exactly what's expected "instantly and cheerfully," not asking questions, strict adherence to patriarchal standards, and, of course, shielding yourselves from any influence or human that might lead you off the beaten (sometimes literally!) path.

ATI stresses purity through absolute CONTROL: the kind of stifling control that Josh Duggar experienced most of his life. As far as the topic of sex is concerned, ATI stresses not only purity, but lets the blame of sexual abuse lie with the victim.

Ultimately, Gothard himself never got to any stage of purity: he resigned from the institute last year in the wake of accusations from 34 women that he sexually harassed or assaulted them, though he maintains he is innocent.

Was ATI homeschooling a kind of child abuse? The Duggars certainly exploited their offspring using the method - the Duggar children seemed "perfect" to the eyes of the world - a world they were shielded from to "protect" their purity.

The Fallout

The scandal has caused emotional and financial chaos:

A Duggar family insider spoke to People, saying; 'We're all hunkered down over here. It's just a mess, it's a whole mess. We don't even know what the truth is anymore. It's insane.'

In a desperate attempt to regain a TLC slot, TWO possible programs were proposed: one concerning Christian counseling for sex abuse victims (by the Duggars, of course) and the other a spin-off featuring the girls Jill and Jessa Duggar. It seems quite impossible for TLC to consider having anything to do with the Duggars at this point.

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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books €" Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)
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