Thursday, December 09, 2010

Defrauding Duggars--ARE the Duggars Modest?

Are the Duggar’s as modest as they mean to be? The talk a great talk. Let's see if they walk their talk.

the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
simplicity; moderation.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. (1 Tim. 2:9, KJV)

“It is not unscriptural for a woman to want to be attractive. Today, however, to what degree should women take this advice about fixing their hair and wearing gold, pearls or expensive clothes? Paul [author of the letter that is the Biblical book of Timothy] was not prohibiting these things; he was simply saying that women should not be drawing attention to themselves through these things. Modesty and decency are the key words. All women would do well to remember that beauty begin on the inside. A gentle, modest, loving character gives a light to the face that cannot be duplicated by even the best cosmetics. A carefully groomed and well-decorated exterior is artificial and cold unless inner beauty is present. The general rule for BOTH MEN AND WOMEN emphasizes that both BEHAVIOR and DRESS must express submission to and respect for Jesus Christ.” [Emphasis added.]
(source: Life Application Bible, annotation on 1Tim. 2:9-10, p. 2036, copyright 2005, Tyndale)

By now most viewers of “19 Kids and Counting” know the Duggar family values modesty. Well, modesty at least as it relates to dress. Michelle and her 9 daughters wear only skirts and dresses. Those skirts and dresses are generally well below the knee regardless of current fashion. [Admittedly, the little girls often wear shorter skirts, albeit with leggings, and a few of the older girls have occasionally worn knee length skirts.] The Duggars say in their book that they don’t “put conditions on other people or tell others what they should wear” and that their “standards of modesty are based on personal prayer and Bible study” (Duggar, 2008, p.102).
Most viewers are by now cognizant of the word “countenance.” The Duggars, and all members of Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute and Institute for Basic Life Principles [ATI/IBLP] believe clothing should be modest and should serve to draw attention to the person’s countenance — their face and positive attitude.
Ok, that covers modest dress. But are the Duggar’s “modest” in other terms. The answer appears to be “No.” Let’s use the definition of modesty given at the start of this article, from, as our guide.

1.The quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.

While the “vain” and “boastful,” like “modest” are open to as many different interpretations as there are living people, I believe the Duggars are NOT modest in this sense. Here’s why: By constantly pointing out how modestly they dress and how they only want to draw attention to the countenance, they ARE bragging about being modest!

Another way the Duggars seem to truly boast is that they “watch very little television” and they remind us of that all the time—ON THEIR TV SHOW!!! How is this “modest?” Is it back to the idea that they don’t insist others do as they do? So, it’s ok to be on a tv show as long as they don’t watch it? But they do watch their own tv show—at the home of Jim-Bob’s sister who does watch tv!!

Then there is their lifestyle. We all know well their family motto of “buy used, save the difference.” We all know they are debt free. This IS to be admired—especially in today’s economic climate. And, as they document in their book, they did diligently work and save to get where they are……but were certainly helped out by their contract with TLC. Not everyone can avoid debt. Many people do not have the skills and knowledge to put together advantageous real estate deals. Others may not be physically able to build their own home. Others may choose debt for college in order to have a more stable financial picture in the long run. Medical disasters happen. This can be very hurtful—especially to casual viewers who may not be acquainted with the Duggar’s hard-working background. [See also Debt Free Duggars Parts I and Part II]

Recently, viewers were treated to Anna Duggar driving a Hummer and lecturing about priorities. Anna, a woman who is living in her grandmother-in-law’s former rental house, tells viewers she “may be driving a Hummer, but my baby has on a cloth diaper.” This speech on smart use of money was given while she was behind the wheel of the most gas guzzling vehicle this side of a Rolls Royce. Admittedly, she does say they cannot keep the Hummer and that she had spent more for gas than she spent on the day’s shopping(“Duggar Day Out”). (It’s hard, from this example, not to wonder how much more the Senior Duggars would be worth financially if they’d used cloth diapers on all 19 of their babies!)

I truly believe they speak of their financial accomplishments not out of pride (however well deserved) but in the hope of saving people from the harsh realities of unnecessary debt. No one can help the debt that comes from being involuntarily unemployed and having a heart attack. It’s the freely chosen kind of debt and the resulting struggle to pay it off that the Duggar’s seem to be wanting to warn against. So, in terms of lifestyle I think they ARE sincere, but it’s easily open to misinterpretation.

Finally there is the most obvious “boast” of all: “And I delivered EVERY ONE OF THEM!” Michelle proudly proclaims this line at the start of every episode as her ever-growing family is introduced. To which most viewers say “but why?” Having 19 kids is the ultimate “look at me” bling of all time. In no way shape or form is this “modest” no matter what your religious beliefs may be.

2. Regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.

Speech: The Duggars do well in regard to modest speech. They use only the most “G rated” words and phrases. No bleeps needed here! Today that takes work and is very commendable.
In spite of the G rating, some of their speech DOES attract notice for being unfamiliar to most of the American viewing audience (at least BEFORE the Duggars came on the scene).Words like “fellowshipping,” “jurisdictions,” “defrauding”, “countenance,”“GENDER,” [well that one isn’t unfamiliar—just the insistence upon its use instead of “sex”], “hire it done,” their family-wide habit of confusing the word “good” with the word “well” and a host of consistently used grammatically incorrect words and phrases all guaranteed to make most people wince and wonder what they are talking about.

Dress: Sadly, in spite of their good intentions, the Duggars often truly STAND OUT in public due to their often unconventional dress at certain events or in certain locations. Examples abound on their tv show, many of which also show their way of dressing to often even be unsafe for the circumstances.

  • • Jim-Bob and the boys running a charity race in long pants
  • • The little girls wearing leggings under their skirts
  • • Horseback riding in skirts and Little House on the Prairie-style bloomers
  • • Skirts for work on the fire department
  • • Michelle roller skating in a long skirt
  • • The girls mowing and hiking in almost floor length skirts and flip-flops
  • • The girls, way-back-when, working with power tools with long, loose hair and flowing long skirts.

In addition to the girls in their long skirts and Michelle’s fruitless search for a modest wedding dress for her vow renewal (“Duggars Say Yes to the Dress”), the Duggar men and boys do not wear shorts or tank tops or go shirtless. We have seen Jim-Bob and the boys participate in a charity run in jeans, enjoy the “redneck water slide” in jeans and work outside in even hot weather in jeans or long pants.

The Duggars swim, but like other extremely conservative Christians who swim in full clothing, the Duggar girls buy Wholesome Wear Swimsuits. This style suit is more like a jumper than a swim suit. These are designed to cover and disguise the body even when wet and again, draws attention to the girl’s countenance and not to her curves. The boys swim in wetsuit-like garments that cover their upper arms and thighs.

Like the swim suits, Michelle’s “breast friend” pillow and huge breastfeeding cape draw more attention than an ordinary receiving blanket or modest nursing garments would. While her desire to cover her breast on tv is completely understandable, and even desirable both on tv and in some instances, it’s a bit much. The choice of fabric makes it even more noticeable. The cape and pillow draw the viewer’s attention not to Michelle’s countenance as she hopes, but right to the “tent” and whatever could be under it. Worse still, are the scenes from a while back of poor little Jordyn’s legs hanging out—making her look like a parasitic-twin. Definitely not modest and really not appropriate in an elementary school classroom where this scene was filmed (“Duggars School Daze”). Nor is it very modest to publicly chart your "monthly cycle" or discuss your nipples on national tv!

Even at ATI/IBLP events they stand out—this time for being “immodest” and showing the boys dressed with UNtucked shirts! And, don’t forget that we were told that some of the little boys wore “costumes” that included shorts when they were in the movie “Courageous.” Jim-Bob and the older boys ran in the movie in long pants (actual pants, not running tights)—very unusual in a race. All of this BRINGS attention as people stop, gawk and wonder about them. Just as much as they would stop, gawk and wonder at the legendary “guy with green hair” that Erin Bates mentioned (“Erin Bates Goes to College.”) It seems contradictory that the girls can wear knee length skirts, but the boys cannot wear knee length shorts.

Behavior: Another area of boasting. In a recent episode we are shown the Duggar’s tour of the Louisville Slugger baseball factory. The man giving the tour assures viewers these are the best behaved kids ever (or something like that). But in the SAME episode we are treating to Jackson shouting down Johanna, Jennifer climbing on furniture and chewing with her mouth open (ok, she is little, but…), nose picking, screaming in the hotel, etc. (“Duggars and Sluggers”) In the past in addition to gross table manners, nose picking, sewage pumping, diaper sniffing, close-up of a blocked toilet, a child vomiting, bloody extracted teeth, a few too many bloody birth scenes AND we’ve seen the kids behaving like wild hares all over the house. Granted, much of the gross stuff could have been edited out and which brings up the question of just what type of control the Duggar’s retain over what is and is not shown on “19 Kids and Counting.” The crew seems to enjoy making the Duggars look bad by not editing out a good bit [or all] of the gross stuff.

Then there is S.E.X., as in “marital relations,” not as in “gender.” While the Duggars are ok with nose picking and blocked toilets, they also seem to think it’s fine to talk about sex a lot. Or, rather, talk about NOT having sex until marriage. We’ve been forced to endure the barfy “I love you’s” and XXX-rated hand holding of the newly engaged Josh and Anna. We’ve been pompously lectured to by Josh on saving his first kiss for his wedding day but forced to watch him hand-hold with his fiancée in a way that counted as foreplay. AFTER their wedding we’ve been treated to “grabbing face and sticking tongue down throat” type kissing from Anna to Josh. Not exactly modest!

Nor is it modest for Jim-Bob and Michelle (and when featured, Josh and Anna or Gil and Kelly Bates) to have their mandatory kiss in every episode—especially after telling us how “defrauding” it is for men to see things that remind them of sex. We get it that because they are married kissing is now “ok” for them. But “p.d.a,” [public display of affection] is simply not modest! And, how comfortable would they be in our homes if one of us decided to kiss our spouse?? Not very, I imagine. Probably they’d feel a trifle embarrassed which is exactly how viewers feel when they watch (or turn away from) each episode’s kiss.

3. Simplicity; moderation.

Simplicity? Moderation? With 19 kids and 7,000 square foot house?? A tour bus? A fleet of vehicles? A grand piano [even if donated], an in-home laundry mat??? Just because you still buy some of your clothes at the thrift shop does not mean you live a simple life or do anything in moderation. I’m afraid the Duggars fail completely here, although this, too, could simply be a misinterpretation of their purpose.


PersonalFailure said...

Oh, and the fact that I know more about Michelle's menstrual cycle than my own? Not modest.

Hopewell said...

Good point!! Or her nipples!

Melissa said...

All good points. I would email it to the producers at TLC. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

What surprises me is the amount of makeup the girls wear. They look like the fundie version of the Kardashians.

roddma said...

I still think they would be in those hideous prairie dresses if it weren't for tlc . If their beliefs are so important why did the change?

Debt-free is nice in this economy but the Duggar started in a time where the cost of living was much lower. Can you imagine Jim Bob trying to start and cover the costs of several businesses today? Then we don't know how many charitable donations they received in the past. I also read Jim Bob uses every tax loophole. Sure they dont use gov assistance but I would be more impressed with debt-free if I knew they achieved their current status with no help otherwise. It does seem the debt free part is rubbed in a bit. This is no right to put others down because like the post said some debt cant be helped. Fans don realize everyone is different.

A little OT Jim Bob thinks all the sons will be able to support a large family on one income with minimal skills and their own business furnished by him of course. Maybe he plans to buy all the businesses with their TLC income. There better be a bunch of car lots in Arkansas is all I can say or they all will work for Josh. Everyone boasts about how Josh is self-sufficient but renting is huge waste of money IMO. If Josh had saved the money himself and bought the car lots outright, it would be a different story. He rents from Jim Bob so the book says so actually not too impressive.

For someone who is suppose to be modest, they fail in a few areas. Its not wrong to be proud of achievements but you have to watch how you say things and how often.

Hopewell said...

Roddma: About rent: We don't know if Josh pays rent, only that the house they live in was one of Grandma's rentals. She may just have them pay property taxes and upkeep so they can pay cash for their own house in time. Good comments!

Hopewell said...

Makeup: I believe Gothard has a beauty/cosmetology class.........

shadowspring said...

PDAs and kissing not "modest"? Sounds to me like a loveless marriage if no one ever sees PDAs, much less kissing. Not sure why that rankles you so much...weird.

Angie said...

Ha Ha! I agree about that "serious" hand holding Josh and Anna were doing. A simple kiss on the cheek or hand would have been...harmless. I honestly think Josh has put "unintentional" pressure on his siblings to follow in his romantic footsteps. Hehe.

Hopewell said...

shadow--they can do it all they like--just off camera.

Pain said...

We, Ourselves, agree, the Duggars are at best hypocritical because they will accept the welfare of the corporations [a TV salary] but not welfare of Common Men ["th' dole"].

Your site is very interesting and We will link to you together as we [ and We] wage the same battle for truth and freedom.

Qu'ul cuda praedex nihil!

Susan said...

I love your Duggar articles, even though I think I'm more "pro"-them than you are :) I do agree that it's hard to aspire to a modest lifestyle while livin' as "large" as they currently are. They're (thankfully) not as far gone as the Gosselins, but give them time ...

Hopewell said...

I like the Duggars--I'd just think Jim-Bob needs the occasional reality check!

~*~The Family~*~ said...

The thing I hate about them being debt free is that they are always asking people/businesses for a discount. Even when he went to the Weight Watchers meeting he asked for a discount. Really, you want them to take a pay cut so you can get something for less. That is being cheap, not frugal.

Anonymous said...

i find it so sad that you took so so much of your time to put down fellow believers. it is actually people like you, who give other christians bad names. all this time you put into studying the bad qualities of another christian family certainly could have been put into praying for the lost, or encouraging us in our own walks with God. sad.

Hopewell said...

Aren't you glad to live in a country where you are free to tell me that? Thank you for stopping by and taking time to comment.

DannielleSB said...

lol... I'm sooo glad I'm not the only one who doesn't like the Duggars. they rub me WRONG. Oh, you did miss one. She was at an ultrasound for Josie (and Anna and Josh were there for her check-up). And Jim-Bob (or was it Michelle) announced that they conceived the baby on Father's Day. yeah, I realllly wanted to know EXACTLY when you had sex.

And the hypocrisy! Michelle doesn't want to show her belly for ultrasounds? When did that start, I think maybe the FIRST show (14 and pregnant, or 15 and pregnant) she bore her belly for that ultrasound. So for her to all of sudden NOT want to show her belly was a bit much.

Hopewell said...

I will never, repeat N.E.V.E.R., think of Father's Day in the same way again!! You were right-I DID miss that one! lol...Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post and I don't think it is slamming the Duggars at all. You just didn't sugar coat it and expect everyone to not see the pile of road apples underneath.

One thing I think you forgot was J.O.Y. Jesus first, others before yourself. Michelle and Jimbob keep saying it over and over but I fail to see either parent or their children practice J.O.Y. Case in point of one of the younger boys grabbing all the candy he could off the table at Anna's baby shower. He was told the candy was for the shower and if any was left over he would get some. That didn't stop him from stuffing his pockets of the forbiden candy. Bad editting or has being on camera stopped the blanket training?

portia.vz said...

I just can't get over the use of the words "fruitless" and "Michelle Duggar" in the same sentence.

val said...

The Duggars seemed a bit much when I first became aquainted with them. I have noticed that their grammar is not always correct. Using good instead of well in certain circumstances. It does seem ironic that they don't watch tv but they are ON tv. Seems to be a contradiction. But the debt free way they live and the way that Jim Bob treat each other and the children they are to be admired for raising such wonderful children. They are doing something right!!

jem said...

I am surprised at your post in putting down a fellow Christian. What is someone were to write a post on their blog, considering YOUR life or mine, for that fact???

Would our lives exemplify TOTAL modesty in every area?

While you did voice some valid concerns, your post seemed full of bitterness and finger pointing, I have never sensed pride in the Duggars.

I came to your blog to find advice on the teenage adoption etc. but I will quit searching due to the prideful finger pointing that is done here. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the Duggars follow Bill Gothard ministries and quiverfull, which from the things I have been reading have done more harm than good due to their legalistic views of the bible. Where the bible says grace (God's gift of salvation) is freely given and cannot be earned Both Gothard redefinesgrace into works based religion and adds hundreds of rules that must be followed if a christian is to please God. In QF girls are to be only wives and mothers. They are discouraged from going to college or having a career. And these groups look down on those christians who do not follow them as not meeting the high standards.

Anonymous said...

one forgets that girls and women DID do pretty much every thing in LONGER dresses. meaning ones that had hemlines down to the floor. this included bike riding.
and one has to applaud the Duggar ladies for being modestly dressed in a world filled with skanky clothing. though they are a bit more modern in their looks than a Amish lady is. at least the Duggar ladies are willing to wear blouses. as well as divided skirts. you would NOT catch a Amish lady in those items.

Leina said...

I read your article on NLQ and I thought that was really funny, I then clicked this article, read it and was quite suprised for the mean and judgemental tone of it. (By the way if I'm using incorrect grammar, it's not because I want to be immodest it's because English is not my native language). I'm not debt-free, I don't plan to have many children,nor homeschool my one child, and I do wear pants, take seriously "green matters" have a master's degree, plan to return to work when my child is a bit older etc. So I'm not following the same doctrines as the Duggars, but I still like their show and their family. Why? Because I have never felt that they are judgemental people. Yes they hold different values than I do, but you hardly ever hear Michelle gossiping about other people's sins or failures or criticizing other people. I think it so easy to be mean and look down on other people on the internet (anonymously), but do you do that in real life and would you say these things to Michelle Duggar face to face? Do you criticize your friends, family members, co-workers same way you do criticize the Duggars? Because I'm guessing they are not perfect either. And I don't understand why you all keep watching their show, if you don't like them.

saraquill said...

To Anonymous 9:40

I would like to point out that floor length skirts were a luxury, those doing heavy labor wore their skirts shorter, at about ankle length, where it's harder to trip or trail their clothes into mud.

Big Sis said...

I believe you left something out about vanity: Jim Bob's obsession with his hair. His hair spray budget could be put to much better use! I agree that it seems that they are not modest in their belongings but with so many kids what other choice would they have? I have always felt that they are prideful about the number of kids they have which in being so over-the-top about God blessing them with so many kids, it's a slap in the face to others who God has NOT blessed with children at all or as many children. I've always been bothered by the "I delivered them all" comment. If they had chosen to adopt children in addition to or instead of continuing to have children they could have changed the lives of many orphans. I see that as a very important tenant to living the Christian life--taking care of others, especially orphans. Seems to me that they missed out on that as many Christians homes do. The quiver full does not have to be about biological children only! Another facet of having that many children is that the older children are raising the younger children. If I were Michelle, I would parent all the kids, not have the kids parent other kids. But it appears she can't actually do that because she is always pregnant or giving birth. Something about modest dress that always annoys me is that dress has changed throughout the ages. There were many periods in history when men wore tunics. So why should the girls wear skirts but the men can wear pants? It is very subjective to the age and culture one lives in.

Anonymous said...

As a Christian you need to reexamine the whole judge lest ye be judged. I would hate to open my doors up to someone who would criticize me for kissing my husband in my own home. Who cares if your on TV? By the way 1950 called Hopewell and it is okto talk about breastfeeding now. Yeah.. we can do it in public now. And I be the first to admit when your breasts are engorged and your newborn is screaming you really don't care if America is watching. I wish I had a cape for that. I didn't leave the house much. Oh and I would love to hook up cameras in your house and watch how well you parent, pay your bills and if you can keep from yelling or cursing. These people aren't perfect and last I checked they didn't claim to be.They make mistakes and they're human! You're just a big fat bully. Bet you won't even post this!

Anonymous said...

They wear a lot of eye make up ..

jessaging said...

Anon 146 am: waahhhhh

Bibiana said...

Let them live long and be happy, but their lifestyle is NOT for me!

pollypinks said...

The fact that MIchelle is against birth control for all people, wants legislation for that, leads me to believe what little education she has about women who suffer from diseases that disallow them to have children. Many things from the Bible have changed since it was written, such as women leaving their homes, women talking in public, women serving in church as Jesus had women doing for him, slavery, giving us the gift of modern day medicine. Yet she thinks all of us fit into her little mold. And paying for a baby every year is not debt free. Do not tell me it is.

Anonymous said...

I've also read on other forums that apparently Jim Bob gets out if paying taxes on his house as he declares it as a church. Anything to save a Buck eh? And as far as leaving it up to God how many kids they have I suspect from Johannah down the kids were rapidly conceived for TV ratings and keeping the contract going as viewers saw a fair bit of the ovulation calendar taking center stage in the kitchen.

Hopewell said...

The Duggars do not deduct their house as a Church. That's an urban myth.

Anonymous said...

what drives me nuts is the fact that the older girls seem to be the ones who look after all the little children Michelle doesn't seem to be around very much, I'm surprised they little kids don't call their sisters mommy what is Michelle going to do once all the older girls are married off and moved out and start breeding like mice, she will actually have to step up and be a mom, and why is it that the older girls all of the sudden don't know how to cook in so of the past seasons they were always cooking, if they are going to get married and be mommy's to their "50" kids I mean all the children they are blessed with they better learn to cook for them, and my daughter said Michelle's sickly sweet voice is so creepy