Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Fall 2012 Open Letter to the Duggars, Bates & TLC

source TLC

Well, it's a new tv season and there's a new TLC show--"The United Bates of America."
Gil and Kelley I DO think you put more time and thought into your children's education and I do think you love your children and you seem to do much more parenting than the Duggars, but I have to ask: 

Why do you want to be MORE like the Duggars? 

First the nice stuff: Thank you for really limiting the p.d.a. on screen. No one can stand watching Jim-Bob Duggar stick his tongue down his wife's throat twice an episode any more. Blech.....Gil thank you for being an almost 50 year old man and controlling your hormones. You make Jim-Bob look like a you-know-what addict. I'm also grateful for you letting Kelly give birth in a hospital. I'm not condemning home birth, but a mother of many and any woman of her age needs to give birth with the best medical staff possible. The Quiverfull movement does not need another martyr.Thanks, too, for occasionally wearing things like hard hats and safety goggles.

When you were first on "19 Kids and Counting" it was remarked that you guys got places on time. Today it's you joke about being "the Late Bates"--i.e. "Duggar Time" with a new name. I liked you better back when you were on time. Today I see a family who has given up trying to stay humble and poor and have sold out to TLC to pay for a family that makes a mockery of Gil's ATI/IBLP/Embassy Institute stump speech on "How to Support a Family of 19 Without a Salary."  I wonder if CPS came calling on you guys in that tiny house and that the visit necessitated the acceptance of the "generous" blessing of the new house. Probably not since your kids are fed, physically healthy, clean and clothed (and, I believe, loved). (Thank you, Gil and Kelly, too, for hugging your children like normal people! Those side hugs the Duggars use make me wonder WHY they can only give 1/2 a hug.)
source: jasonkeath.com
Over and over you say, Gil, that you don't want to be a "burden," yet you don't seem to mind running to the ER any time you have a medical problem. Sorry, buddy, but that hospital doesn't love you all that much. When you don't pay and won't accept government assistance, they dump that loss on me and the rest of their patients. You and yours ARE the reason for the health care mess we have today. I'm hoping the new show is being used to PAY BACK that very real DEBT to the hospital for thos ER visits. 

source: Americasaves.org
I also hope that the show will pay well enough that the "Bank of Lawson" can "close" as far as your bills are concerned and that poor Lawson can save his hard-earned money towards a debt free home and a future wife of his own. You see, borrowing money--even from your child-- is DEBT. I remember in the late 80s watching a broadcast of "David L.Wolpner Presents." It was his "Really Big Family" documentary--they had 18 kids and one job. But the father proudly let it be know that their kids' money was theirs to keep. One boy WAS show treating younger brothers to bowling, but his big sister was shown babysitting for money and shopping for necessary items for her soon-to-be apartment. An apartment and no husband. She was FREE to do that. With HER money. It was her parents who supported and raised those 18 kids--not the siblings themselves, although they were shown doing "normal" chores.

source: Staddonfamily.com
 Since it is really odd that you don't see the ER as a "debt," I'm glad you do acknowledged the fact that an entire 3 story house was provided for you at no cost. A miracle. More like a gift from TLC, the Duggars, Wilsons (and another family) and various merchants. Funny, I remember someone once commenting that in the original Duggar tv special "14 kids and Pregnant Again" apparently there were books on their shelves from the Fundamentalist Church of Later Day Saints (Warren Jeff's group) on their "United Effort Plan,"  hmmmmmmmmm. 

source: TLC
source: TLC

Anyway, the Duggars arranged for you to get a new house, gave you a shuttle bus and maybe even a table. I assume the nice new SUV in a recent episode was rented by the crew--or did the Duggars give THAT too?? But then if they want to give....right?

source: Tumblr
Like the Duggars, when criticism is fired at you online you CHANGE. First it was what my daughter termed your poor girls' "Clown Dresses" in "17 Kids and Counting." Ouch!  But for a group of girls from an ultra-conservative, dirt poor family who rarely even set foot inside a Wal-Mart those were attractive. And, it was a lot of time and effort to sew them. For the rest of America they were a joke. Except as "work clothes" we no longer see those. The folksy overall and calico numbers sported by some of the girls in the shows opening scene are a tad more acceptable. Generally you look like the Duggars now--especially Kelly in those vests.

source: thecrowncollege.com
Then there's the whole "guy with green hair" and college thing. I'm proud of you for defying Mr. Gothard and letting Erin go to a very, very conservative college. That's huge and I'm sure you've taken flack for it. Ignore the flack and support your daughter's education. Thank you for not limiting her to Gothard-approved "skills" and CLEP tests. But I clearly recall Michal/Michela /Michella (what is that young woman's NAME??) saying "As a rule there's always two of us." So MORE CHANGE! Is what we were shown true? Erin now goes to college ALONE and Lawson now shops ALONE?? I've often wondered if Zach, an elected County Commissioner, had to bring Warden or Ellie with him for "accountability" at Council meetings? Call me cynical but I bet these "alone" times only happen on camera. Any family with an in-house tv monitoring system isn't very trusting.

source: TLC
 I was so sad to watch the pathetic wresting episode. We were shown State Champion Gil in wresting gear, then shown a brand new wresting mat being unrolled in the living room. Gil then "taught" his sons to wrestle. I almost cried. How pathetic that those boys will never, ever experience the excitement of "going to state." How sad that they can never, ever see how they measure up to other guys their size. Just like Michelle and her cheerleading and roller skating careers, which clearly meant a lot to her, none of the kids we see on either show will ever have that same opportunity to even TRY, let alone succeed, in any form of competition other than memorizing Bible verse (I'm not picking on memorizing Bible verses--it's important). Which brings me to big question #1:

Big Question # 1: Duggars and Bates--what was so WRONG with your own childhood that you feel you must cut your own children off from nearly all of the rest of the world??

None of your children are free to make friends, pursue a personal interest, or just chill and be alone for a while. Oh yes, we know! We know! All your children are "individuals." Yes, but I'm not talking about who does or does not like pickles. How much better would Erin be as a musician if she'd prepared for annual solo contests or played with a school orchestra or even played in a mega church  orchestra or youth symphony from time-to-time? How much more successful could Josh or Zak be as politicians if they could relate to people and speak the same language rather than having to fall back on Bible verses. (Again, I'm not at all opposed to the Bible--I read it almost daily.)  What if Justin Duggar or Warden Bates were MLB quality pitchers? We'll never know. 

And, I know! I know! Your children all have "career" goals. Funny though how those all line up perfectly with what's allowed in ATI/IBLP. What if Michal/Michaela/Michaella wanted to be a CPA? Or suppose Carlin would like to be  a mechanical engineer or Nathan "purposes" to be a florist? That won't happen in this lifetime unless Michal's future husband NEEDS her to become a CPA and gives her "permission" to study that! Or ditto Carlin. Nathan  (or any of the boys) could have a shot at the flora industry if they started a flower farm or small floral business so long as all their future children worked with them in that business.  Yet all 4 of you parents had CHOICES. Real choices. These are totally absent from your children's lives. Your children each have one basic choice in life: conform or be disowned.

Oh but your kids are "happy" you say? And THEY say it too?? Well, of course they are! "Happy" is the only allowable emotion in Gothard/ATI/IBLP! They must respond to a parent or other authority figure, willingly (no attitude) and immediately. When this is ingrained from birth you don't make a fuss, do you?  Disagree and you are punished. This was sadly and beautifully illustrated by poor little Mackynzie Duggar (daughter of Josh and Anna) not being able to cope with making a "mess" dropping her flower petals in her aunt's wedding. When you've been admonished any time you've made a mess and have come to think that Mommy and Daddy only love you when you obey (even if that's not strictly true--I do believe these kids are all loved), it's simply "too much"  to change and accept that you can do it "this once" and not be in trouble. I'm sure other toddlers from non ATI homes have cried over dropping petals too. She may just have been upset by being off her daily schedule. But I DID stop to think about it with her and that should worry you.

Readers of the Bates's blog know that the Zach Bates proposal of courtship which aired on "19 Kids and Counting") failed. That really didn't surprise many viewers. The proposal itself was excruciating. The poor bride-to-be was ambushed and looked it. So, now you don't do "Courtship," any more, preferring instead something you now call "Dating with a Purpose." Gil and Kelly, I notice Jim-Bob and Michelle have not authorized any more on- screen courtships. Probably with good reason for once it's filmed it lives on forever (which is why I did not offer Zach's former intended's name). This brings me to my second big question:

Big Question # 2: What was so wrong with the way you met your spouse, or what is so wrong with your marriage,  that you have to inflict arranged marriages (or what looks suspiciously one) on your children?

Michelle, we've heard your husband speak of you as something like "damaged goods" while pridefully boasting of his own purity before marriage. You've given that speech yourself as well.  Gil and Kelley, you met in college like many, many Americans. You seem to have a good marriage. Why do you think your kids couldn't manage to do the same??

 Now that Zak HAS given away some of those infamous "pieces of his heart" (which you seem to think he hasn't because it was  "courtship" and that somehow protected him) is he now free to actually have coffee (with a sister a couple of table over taking notes, of course) with some girl he simply thinks he'd like?? He's what 23? 24? Your county thinks him mature enough to be elected to the County Council. Isn't that good enough for YOU????

 If Erin meets a "preacher boy" at College can she bring him home to dinner or does he have to endure the Tennessee Inquisition of Faith first?? [Must insert that I did really love the "home movie" in the season premier of "19 kids" on this topic.]  I really don't get it. A boy who is hot for a girl, whether she acknowledges he even exists, can go to her father, pass the test of Faith and marry her. You know as well as I do this is a lot of what goes on in the guise of "courtship." Long engagements or long courtships are not the norm. Why? Having never had to use self-control, but having always been CONTROLLED, these young people can quickly "loose control" right?  This leads me to big question # 3.

Big Question # 3: When do you "walk your talk" and let God protect your kids and let your kids lean on HIM and turn to HIM when they are tempted? When do they "solo" without you, or a sibling, to correct them?  

A family trusts Michal/Michaela/Michaella to take care of their baby. People trust Lawson to mow their yards and do other yard work, women are trusting the two Duggar sisters to do their prenatal checkups. Folks trust John David Duggar to tow their car safely. Why can't they be trusted to live according the to way they were raised?? You all spend half your life in the book of Proverbs. Isn't it time they call on that "wisdom" (another over used word in your lexicon) and navigate the pitfalls of life with only the Lord to chaperone them? If not--why?? Are you such bad parents they've not had the right examples? Are you hiding something "bad" in your marriages that might influence their "ways?" 

source: revjohnhenson.com
 I totally understand censoring what young children hear and see, but there comes a point at which they grow up and must make their own choices. The world isn't full of like minded people, but we all have to share the Earth peacefully. How will your children defend their beliefs, defend the Faith, defend THEMSELVES, if they never meet people who don't believe and live as they do.  Home church (or for the Bates nearly homechurch), homeschool, family business, only "family" friends--when is it not "the whole family (and not ATI/IBLP)?" And Daddy and Mama are so "WISE!"  When do your "children" become ADULTS and think for themselves??? Daddy knows nothing compared to our Father in heaven. Trust HIS wisdom. And why all the worship of Daddy? The adoring gaze by Kelly to Gil (I notice Michelle is long over this) is one of worship--like nuns of old gazing at the statue of the Virgin or of a Saint. We are called to worship our Father in Heaven. Not Daddy in the Living Room.

And now the Duggars.....

Jim-Bob I have noticed that TLC has set the Bates family up. They are NEVER shown being super wild, never shown picking their nose, etc. Why? Simple! All those stories you've told about how many people stop to say how well behaved your kids are. We've been shown everything awful your kids have ever done while a camera was running. The Bates never look like they want to kill each other--like you did when you set the kids up for a "family picture" then told them Michelle was expecting #20 and Josiah fled. You grabbed his arm and looked like you could kill him. That "right response training" didn't work that time. Why? He's a young man and not a child. 

Unless it was done to help two penniless missionary families, why on Earth was it necessary to torture us with David and Priscilla's wedding? Your daughter-in-law's sister's wedding is not normally THAT big of a deal. David and Priscilla were even more awkward and Junior-high-ish than Josh and Anna. David seems to totally not connect with his bride-to-be. I loved the way you referred to ATI/IBLP as "large international ministry" or as a "Christian ministry in Chicago." And, Jana was "mature" enough to mother 12 kids, get them to Florida on her own, but isn't mature enough to pick her own boy friend? Or live on her own? Or choose her own career?? Wow. Just wow.

source: Duggar family?
Why do you keep exploiting your miscarried children? While the first has never been named (except Michelle once mentioned you had considered Caleb) but he/she is trotted out regularly, along with the predictable tears, as you use this event as your justification for not using birth control. And, your second miscarried child, the one you all but sold to the Right to Life movement--when will that poor baby be allowed to rest in peace? You are free to grieve privately for as long as you need--even all the rest of your life, but pardon me if I find it fake and think it a guilty conscience that causes it. You reached a low of exploitive marketing that even Honey Boo Boo's parents can't top. I KNOW you are sad about the child--I do give you credit for that. But mostly I think you, Jim-Bob, are sad over the lost revenue of being the parents of "20 kids and Counting."  And Michelle, grieving or not, you went along with doing those voice-overs and short interviews for the footage already filmed. Maybe they WERE filmed as you went along, but that doesn't make senses given that the film has to be edited and it takes months for the finished product to air. 

source: patheos.com
 Jim-Bob you sound like the oldest horny teenager in the world when you drool and talk about how "fun" it is "trying" for another baby. I thought it was up to God if Michelle's womb was opened or closed? I also thought you wanted all the blessings God wanted to give--not all the mistakes you could make in lust. Stop. Be an honorable man like too-many-a-Catholic husband in the past. Stay away from your wife. Sleep apart and stay apart. Give her a break on the childbearing before she dies. No one, not even her worst enemies, want her to die. The backlash for you would overwhelming. Michelle find a doctor who will read the test wrong and say you MUST have a hysterectomy due to cancer. Anything, just stop having children.

source: tlc

And now TLC: It's Time To Pull The Plug

Please--do we NOT have to see more stopped toilets, boogers, open-mouthed chewing, and uncontrollable mayhem from the younger kids, do we? Just say "No" to all that. Isn't it time to pull the plug on "19 Kids and Counting?" We're seeing Kirk Cameron (again!), discussing marriage with the girls (again!) seeing Josh eat (again!) seeing packing (again!), hearing how "wise" Michelle is (again!) seeing food procurement (again!!). Enough! And, if that isn't bad enough, we get to watch the Bates family PACK! Wow! Go the DENTIST! Wow! Do laundry! Wow! Have a family closet! Wow! Oh PLEASE!!!!! Done to death and back again. Show us something totally new that is not an umpteen thousand dollar road trip. 

Try some of my ideas fast or this season will be as bad as  "Designing Women" without Suzanne or "Monarch of the Glen" without Archie.

My Episode Suggestions for "19 Kids and Counting," if it must continue:

  1. Jinger moves to the city with Alyssa Bates! But wait, there's more! They will work at ATI HQ!!!!! [Of course this will euphemistically be known as an "international Christian ministry in Chicago" since we all accept they won't be allowed to get a REAL job.] David and Priscilla will be nearby to offer them the "wisdom" that only comes once you've had physical marital relations (I don't want SPAM,ok?). And they can be so "encouraging" to Priscilla as she goes thru her first "precious" pregnancy. We'll see her in tears phoning "wise" Anna when the nausea won't abate. The girls will come over and "surprise" David with a real meal of tater tot casserole since Priscilla will be too sick to cook and he'll be so "thankful." Then we'll see Jana and Jill come for a visit and do her prenatal check ups. Then they can all be "wild" and get balloons and Wal-Mart cheese cake and make up baby names--with David's permission, of course!
  2. Here's another idea: Super Grandma and Josiah and Joy Anna move to a condo in Myrtle Beech.They go to an actual Christian School and Joy Anna makes the softball team and Josiah meets a girl with blue hair and piercings, but she's a Christian. It will only be when Jim-Bob runs out of clean undies that anyone will notice they're gone. (So won't happen--I know.) How about then letting Grandma go on vacation with her own friends? She probably doesn't even notice the cameras anymore and those cute young staffers are fun!
  3. Or this idea: Michelle goes off on a  speaking tour and refuses to return. It's too quiet. We see her flipping channels in her motel room, eating "Chunky Monkey" ice cream and talking to her cheerleader friend.(Won't happen, but how about she goes with friends to a women's retreat where she is NOT the speaker and no one is allowed to ask her any questions about her life. When she introduces herself in her small group she can only say she's a Mom and leave it at that.)
  4. John David goes to Community College for further firefighting training and decides to become a mechanic so enrolls in classes. He convinces Joseph to try it, too, and Joesph enrolls in manufacturing technology classes. Jessa/Jinger (I never remember which is which) realizes she needs to know about accounting for her wedding photography business and goes to a basic accounting class with her brothers. (This could and should happen)
  5. Jana opens a small Christian preschool so her little sisters won't be lonely. Other home church kids come and they get to actually have fun 3 days a week. (This could happen--we'd have to endure the Pineapple song again though for it to become reality.)
  6. The middle boys grow a garden and the County Extension comes to advise. The Franklin Springs Media guy and wife bring those "spunky" West ladies to to teach the big girls to can and freeze everything. The boys also grow a second equally large garden to give to food pantries and the elderly. The little children draw pictures to "encourage" the recipients of the produce.
  7. TLC, how about asking Gil to explain how a picture of Nathan Bedford Forrest is "patriotic" and how it has nothing to do with the KKK? Tough one, right?
You see? There are possibilities. It would be interesting to have hidden cameras at both the Bates'  Duggar's homes to see and hear a real dinner table conversation--not a scripted one and no close ups of gross stuff. It would be interesting to follow each of the adult "children" in their "careers" and see what they really do.

In short, if you can get more creative than what's been offered so far this season (and for "19 Kids" that's ONE episode) then

We're done. We're tired of you not investigating Gothard, not presenting the TRUTH of that little "home school group" they go to each Spring in Big Sandy. We're tired of the baby and courtship watch.  Unless the season ends with a Moonie-style group wedding of all marriage-aged Duggars, Bates, Querys, Wilsons, Kellers, etc., tying the knot then this show is going out on a major whimper. Pull the plug, too, or we may see Jim-Bob pre-planning his mother's funeral (or worse!) just to keep the money rolling in. Meanwhile, in Tennessee, the "United Bates of America" ratings are so low it would take real effort for TLC to justify another season--even if it's already been filmed. Let it just plain die. People need to learn the truth: You can't support 19 kids on a single small business--unless you are a real estate investor (Jim-Bob)or a successful financial adviser(as one Duggar friend is) or similar. Jim-Bob managed if for a long time--he's a savvy real estate investor with a knack for small businesses. In spite of what many people say, he WOULD have completed that house with or without TLC.  
source: TLC
 Gil Bates seems very hard working, but I can't help wondering if his business earns enough to replace the necessary equipment, pay for the necessary gas and insurance as well as put food on the table AND pay his sons an honest wage as real employees.  Most people frown on companies using long-term unpaid "help." Clearly the Tree Service income wasn't enough to provide adequate housing. Stop showing us a lie. Stop showing us clearly scripted "reality." Unless there are some positive changes, we're done watching. Bring the crews home and pull the plug.

I hope this is the last time I need to write you all an Open Letter. Gil and Kelly, the show is a bargain with the Devil--throw TLC out before it's too late.


Bible Believer said...

Thanks for your open letter.

I have exposed the Duggars for some time and called out their links to the Gothard cult, but I have to admit, my level of disgust and dismay on behalf of what is being done to these children and now young ADULTS is growing. I have no interest in the Bates show, just seems like a carbon copy, so all my comments will be Duggar related. I wrote this last week, and some of my thoughts match your letter.

"Strange Duggar Statements and Will Jinger or the Rest ever Be Free?"


I have to admit that it is kind of scary watching grown young adults who are so cowed and seem to not have the normal levels of intellectual curiosity or even desire for love and relationships, that have led young people to leave home and go live their lives for millenia. I asked in my article if that was a result of the blanket-training, the barriers being formed in infant-hood remaining up into adulthood. I read somewhere where someone asked, "Don't the Duggar adults realize they are no longer children?"

I mean why sit there otherwise and not make a move? Obviously a few of them are extremely UNHAPPY.

As to the answer to your question #1, obviously this cult is all about control, control to the extent, that parents are to run their children's lives forever which is delusional in that parents do not live forever. I too am sickened watching the refusal to allow any of the children, outside friends, hobbies, time alone and more. As for individuality, that is gone, I commented in my article how all the oldest girls dress EXACTLY alike.

As for the "career" goals, those seem non-existent, Jinger has wanted to be a photographer for years, one is going to be a midwife, though with no real training. They are being left uneducated and unprepared, the only one who may make it in life, is the one who has some mechanical training towing cars if he ever breaks away from his father's business concerns and control.


Bible Believer said...

To be honest, I've written this many times on my blog, the Quiverful, Vision Forum etc, formula is bound to fail, unless they form an Amish-like society and even the Amish are under severe economic pressures and encroachment of the outside world, but after these folks see their children economically FAIL and become unable to support themselves and see the long lines of old maids into their 30s-60s still living at home under their "father's authority", they will be forced to change.

Like all cults yes they force them to plaster a smile on their face, rejecting God-given emotions, even righteous anger that allows for dignity at times in life and to draw some boundaries.

As for question #2, I think the Duggar, Quiverful, Vision Forum recipe for marriage is WORSE then ARRANGED MARRIAGES, at least with arranged marriages in other cultures in the world, the father is interested in marrying daughters off and the parents actually go out and SEEK a spouse for the adult child or sometimes younger. These young women are waiting for princes who will never come or even be sought.

I watched part of the last show, and saw where Mr. Duggar spoke of his having to approve every beau, with a long list of questions. Of course the question then comes out? How are they going to meet anyone being that isolated and controlled? They simply will not. Sure they may meet a young man on a trip or something but there is no time or place for the Duggar young women to get to know outside young men they are not related to. That's going back to the Gothard/Quiverful/Vision Forum formula failing.

From what I can tell the Duggar family regarding your question #3 does follow a quasi over-sheperding of their children. Are any of them ever allowed to go anywhere alone? Even the adults?

This to be frank is the worse disfavor they have done to their children and adult young children not teaching them self reliance or depending on their own "wisdom" and relationship with God. They have NOT allowed them to grow up or develop as people. There is nothing biblical about that..


Bible Believer said...

I hope for the sake of the kids both shows do end. I wrote that I think there is a reason these families that are in the Gothard cult are being promoted with their new language and new false "sub-culture" with it's endless rules now being sold as "Christianity".

Anonymous said...

You might want to consider using spell check or having someone proofread your posts before posting something like this publicly or you end up looking as uneducated as those you criticize.

Regarding their use of the ER, Kelly has specifically stated on her blog that they make payment arrangements for their ER visits. I know quite a few people without health insurance who use the ER and then set up payment arrangements. Most hospitals are very easy to work with and will often let you pay a small amount for years, if necessary, in order to pay off your bill. Without knowing the Bates family's financial situation or what arrangements they may have made, it is very arrogant to think you somehow "know" that the Bates are not paying their ER bills.

Susan said...

I think you *have* written a book here! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and agree with much of it. I do cringe each time JB goes on about "it sure is fun trying!" in front of all his kids! I love your ideas for future episodes. How fun it would be to see even one of those!

Hopewell said...

Anonymous--thank you I will go back over it. I was writing in blogger and not in WORD so it can be challenging. My normal proof reader is away.

But, no I do not think it's arrogant to call DEBT "debt." "Making payments" is managing DEBT. The claim I am calling them on is being debt free--they clearly are not.

"Bible Believer"--well said!

Hopewell said...

Anonymous--the Blogger Spell Check (not a great product) found 3 incorrectly spelled words and all the abbreviations.

Anonymous said...

It's funny you think you know them so much from 1 or 2 episodes a week. If you do not follow the Bible then you are not going to understand why they live like they do. Christians are supposed to be set apart from the world. If they didn't seem a little weird, they would not be doing something right. I just heard Gil Bates preach a sermon on "critics" and how they will never understand. Not sure what you were trying to say with this pathetic letter that looks like it was wrote by a child with all the errors, but this will not bother them at all. Nothing they probably haven't heard 100 times. The same things I hear from most people who do not believe they have to live how the Bible says too. As far as the other stuff like cps coming to their house and that's why the Duggars had to build them a house. There seems to be a lot of speculation here. I see FJ be wrong a lot when they do that. You have no idea about that stuff. You say yourself the show is very scripted, then how can you claim to know so much about them from a short, very scripted show, on once a week? Even the Duggars have said they have to make payments on medical bills, but for everything else they are debt free. I don't think you have room to say anything about a few medical bills. Do you have a house, all your cars paid off and no credit card debt? Most likely, NO. And they have 19 kids, that's no easy task. They were also debt free BEFORE TLC started doing the show. This letter and most things I have read on FJ are just stupid, and the speculations you make are just laughable. Now go back to spending your life obsessing over large family's and how to insult them. I would hate to be in the miserable place, but if you people want to waste your life doing that, I guess you can.

Hopewell said...

I have every right to "to say anything about a few medical bills" when they hold themselves up on INTERNATIONAL TV as debt free, don't bother with health insurance and give birth on tv to cut costs. "A few medical bills" are DEBT. So is taking your son's money to pay bills. Sorry you don't see it that way. But if I took my kid to the ER and couldn't pay you'd give me a nasty look and complain about folks wasting the ER's time and not having insurance. Because the Bates have too many kids to afford insurance for they are suddenly only incurring "a few medical bills" and not DEBT????? How cheap do you think that baby's stay in the NCIU was????
Even WITH insurance such a stay can ruin a financially strong family.

The Bible does NOT contain much of what Gothard teaches. For example, when did we revert to following OT [that means "Old Testament"] laws and legalism???? Didn't Christ die on the cross for our sins?? Nowhere is there an "umbrella of authority" nor does the Bible make an idol of Daddy or a cult out of a family. Isn't it a bit odd to you that only a freak fringe of Christian interpret a "arrows in a quiver" as meaning God decides if your womb will be open or shut? Where does it say in the Bible that children are never allowed to be adults unless Mommy and Daddy say they can?

You are welcome to keep posting here even anonymously because I believe in free speech.

Anonymous said...

My comment was mostly about the Bates. The Duggars believe a lot different then them on a lot of things. The Bates believe more like I do.I am not a gotherd or whatever. Really a lot of IFB don't even know about vision form so it is stupid to assume they all believe like that. I just follow the Bible and you must not know it very well if you are claiming "legalism" I follow the New and Old testament and they both talk about dress and other moral stuff you think is legalistic. The word legalistic mean teaching you have to do works for salvation. The Bates and I believe in salvation by grace through faith. You don't even know what you are talking about. Not going to argue with you pathetic people, I posted my comment. Go on and keep living in your hatred, I have better things to do. Won't be coming back here.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has worked at a hospital, I can tell you that when people like the Bates don't pay on time and have to make arrangements, the people who have insurance and pay on time are the ones who end up picking up the slack. This is one of the main issues that causes a rise in insurance premiums.

I know that the Bates have spoken out against Obamacare, but it is not only going to help people like them, but people like me who have insurance and end up covering people who can afford it and refused to purchase it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the delightful irony, Anon #2! You call out Hopewell for her (or his?) "pathetic letter that looks like it was wrote by a child with all the errors." Did you mean "written"? "Written by a child" is the appropriate grammar. Then, you write, "The same things I hear from most people who do not believe they have to live how the Bible says too." You mean "to". Too/to/two is something that those of us who go to evil public schools learn in, oh, about second grade. Also, that was a dangling preposition. But you probably aren't aware of the different parts of speech, such as prepositions? And "family's"? You mean "families"! You really don't know the difference between a plural and a possessive? Again, that's something we public-school heathens learned at age six. If I had a dime for every sentence fragment in your moronic missive, I could buy a cupcake. My mother used to say a very pithy thing: "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Anon #2, you should refrain from insulting another person's spelling/typing/grammar ever again, because you'll just highlight your own ignorance.

Aside of your ridiculous complaints about Hopewell's writing style (but so, so entertaining!), I have to also take to task your assertion that "they have 19 kids, that's no easy task." Where I come from, we have these two concepts called "personal responsibility" and "self-control". That means people have one or two or three kids, whatever they can afford, and they don't burden other people with paying for their hospital visits because they can't limit themselves to having a reasonable number of children for whom they are actually financially and emotionally responsible.

Hopewell said...

Anynymous (IFB one)

In Timothy Paul does say women should wear modest clothing--but he does not define it as a bag over your body. I dress very modestly as is appropriate for a 50 year old woman. I do not buy or wear men's clothing and I do not wear anything low cut. I do not wear short shorts or a bikini. I do not feel wearing a long jumper or denim dress makes me "modest"--especially if it ATTRACTS the gaze of others who say "what's with her???" Nor do I find long hair to be a necessity--especially on a woman of 50! But I do not have a buzz cut--a lady cuts and styles my hair.

"Legalism" is obeying Old Testament laws and mandates such as not eating pork or mandatory physical circumcision for men. Gothard, the Bates and Duggars are all about legalism! As Christians we were freed from this by Jesus death on the cross. I don't know any IFB who'd turn down bacon! But, to paraphrase Mrs. Duggar in their 2nd book "those rules are pretty good advice." [I will happily post the page number tomorrow.]

The Bates, as card carrying members of ATI believe the exact same things as the Duggars or they would not be in the group, would not be allowed to film at ATI events or mention ATI products.

"Go on and keep living in your hatred, I have better things to do. Won't be coming back here." To quote Maggie Smith in "Downton Abbey:" DO YOU PROMISE???

In spite of you saying I "hate" (I don't--I wouldn't watch the show if I totally HATED them, instead I disagree--the Bates have allowed my posts on their blog for goodness sakes!)you are welcome back here any time. I value and listen to all opinions. I do not fear those who disagree with me. That's what makes our Country great--we can (usually) peacefully disagree.

I was saved thru Grace alone. The only way to the Father is thru the Son. Baptized by immersion. I do not hold to KJV only because the KJ version is simply the Bible in the vernacular of King James' Day--like the "Message" is today. It is all God-breathed, God-honoring Scripture and I take every word as literal truth.

Yam Erez said...

The one thing no one, critix or otherwise, mentions about the Duggars or Bates is that the older kids don't earn and are not given money of their own. This is scary to me. Even if Jinger wanted to escape, how would she do so w/o funds?

Anonymous said...

Part 1: I completely agree with this article. I am VERY concerned for the older girls, and agree that they WILL become old maids as long as they are under their father's thumb as severely as they are! They are in their early twenties, for goodness sakes, let them OUT! Yes, the Bates DO allow one of their daughters to GO to COLLEGE! That is MORE than the Duggars ARE ALLOWING! The Duggars have MORE control over their daughters than even Anna's father had over his own daughters! Heaven's sake, he allowed Priscilla to go out of STATE to Illinois to do ministry work. She did NOT come home pregnant!
I have to agree that the Duggar's follow some type of cult because of the tops that Michelle AND Anna often wear! They seem to wear them when they are pregnant a LOT and after the birth as well. I would say that Anna IS branching out a little more and NOT wearing those like she did with her first pregnancy! They looked like twins! Michelle is STILL IN UNIFORM! Of some sort, at least! She is always in black stockings and shoes, too. Something is UP there???
Why CAN'T the Duggar's ALLOW their own kids to make choices IF they want to go to college? Without Daddy Duggar and HIM bringing in the money, NONE of them can fend for themselves! In this day and age, for instance, what if one of them marries and something happens to one of their husband's? What if one of them becomes ill with a neurological disease and they can no longer work? (This happened to me!) HOW would they support a family? Mommy and Daddy Duggar say once they are married ALL FINANCIAL TIES ARE CUT! So . . . ??? The Duggar's next oldest son is VERY content with the way things are NOW. I do NOT see him in ANY rush to marry! I really believe the Duggar's are ONLY allowing the girls AND the boys to marry in order of birth! IF this IS the case, I feel sorry for ALL of them!
One thing I want to mention about Health Insurance - Jim Bob worked as a State Representative for 8 years. MOST states give you life-long medical insurance coverage for you and your dependents. I think THAT is how he has medical insurance. I say "I think". I don't know for positive, but I think it's a good bet.
NONE of these older children, except Josh, have gone out on their own or have even LOOKED for someone THEY may be interested in. They are WAITING for some 'Prince Charming' to walk through their father's door wanting to marry them. THEY HAVE NO CHOICE IN THE MATTER! It's THEIR LIFE! I SEE A HUGE PROBLEM HERE! That book they keep referring to, something about Prince Charming, it's been OUT OF PRINT for YEARS! (I have a book blog, so naturally I looked into the book! Wow! You don't want to read that one! You WILL be on a soap box then! Wow!!! I know I would be! I AM somewhat!!!) Now, only since the Duggars' girls have mentioned it on TV, (AND IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL!!! JEEZE! COME ON! HOW old were those little girls???????? Get REAL! See, they don't know what reality IS!) is it going into reprint! (PATHETIC! IF YOU ASK ME!) My opinion: Michelle looks SCARED TO DEATH when the crew mentions to her about her daughters doing what she did as a young teen! Have you ever noticed that? "I" have!!!
The Bates. I always wondered what happened to that supposed marriage proposal?? I was wondering if they were hiding that girl and the marriage?? LOL!!! "JUST" keeping the Bates in the show, like that. NO ONE ELSE!

Anonymous said...

Part 2: I wondered WHAT IN THE WORLD made them CHANGE THEIR MINDS ON DATING! I wonder WHAT EXACTLY THEIR VIEWS ON DATING ARE NOW??? What is this 'new thing' now?
NONE of those kids are married!
I happen to think the Bates have MORE of an idea as to what reality IS than the Duggars. I feel the Duggars are keeping their girls CONFINED to their household on purpose - heaven forbid they find a fireman handsome and 'might' want to marry one of them! Can you imagine that?!)
Really, after watching the Bates' TV show, I felt MORE at ease with them and the way they do things.
I mean there ARE issues there, too, but not as many 'so it seems' as the Duggars do.
The Bates are expecting AGAIN! I saw how sad Michelle was about her not being able to now. You know, she is the SAME age as I am. 45. Josie was SO premature. The 2nd pregnancy ended mid-term. There is a 'natural' time for a woman to have children and a time to STOP! Even the Bates had a small problem with their last son who was born. His lungs were not working as well as they should have been at first. HE went into the NICU for a while. She is OLDER than Michelle, too, and STILL bearing children! What is it? IF after they cannot bear children, they can't have sex anymore? What's the deal???
I can see in Michelle's eyes that she TRULY WANTS MORE BABIES! But, her body is NOT ALLOWING IT TO HAPPEN! I think we are going to see the same thing with Kelly, sadly.
Yes, I agree that I really truly think the Duggars wanted 20 kids. NOT 19. I think they ARE still working on it, and IF they ARE successful, it WILL BE KEPT SECRETIVE! As MUCH as it possibly can be! At least "I" would! They DON'T KNOW HOW IT WILL TURN OUT GIVEN MICHELLE'S AGE!

Anonymous said...

Part 3: Part 3: I read the Bible, I believe in the stories of the Bible, and that they have been handed down by WORD OF MOUTH, etc. I do NOT believe in organized religion anymore after a church we went to kicked us OUT because I am in a wheelchair! I was NOT the first! LONG story! Whew! I was taken into a room BY MYSELF! My husband was NOT ALLOWED WITH ME. I was TOLD I could NOT talk to the other woman who was also in a wheelchair, NEVER contact her on the telephone, NEVER talk to her in public, DON'T ASK QUESTIONS! I was told she was upset with some changes the church had done with their services - NONE HAD BEEN DONE! She kept to herself, NEVER talked to a single soul! Her problem was that she showed up for church EVERY Sunday! My problem - I did the same! BUT, I also wanted to participate in their Book Club, and other things that went on! I asked questions about things they did NOT like! I was innocently asking! It was not until AFTER we WERE TOLD TO LEAVE THAT CHURCH AND "NEVER" STEP FOOT IN IT AGAIN! (Even for my own son's Derby car for the Boy Scouts!!! Had NOTHING to do with that church, just they had the room to do it in, yet "I" was NOT allowed in the building!!!) Was I a liability? Their handicap accessibility was BAD! I will NEVER know???
The ONLY time people in wheelchairs or walkers were ALLOWED in their church was when it was the Holidays!! THEN YOU SAW THEM COME OUT OF THE WOODWORK!
They were in competition of getting the MOST NEW MEMBERS EVERY YEAR! They beat out ANY OTHER CHURCH IN THE STATE! What was their attrition rate? HORRIBLE! People either dropped out, or, like me, were asked to leave!!!
Organized religion is a CROCK at times!

Anonymous said...

Part 4: Part 4: We did look at other churches. The ONLY church we REALLY WERE ACCEPTED AT was the Catholic church, and we have issues with them!
OUR resolution: NOT to belong to ANY organized religion! Heck, even if we TRIED, we are NOT allowed! We are asked to leave! Being in a wheelchair has changed EVERYTHING of what I knew to be a 'loving and accepting church'!
I am left with NO friends anymore. WHO wants to LUG a wheelchair? Put the heavy thing in their trunk? LIFT it??? NO ONE! WHO wants to ALWAYS come over to YOUR house always because the car hurts me too much to ride in it, let alone be able to drive??? No, I CAN'T drive! I LONG for other female companionship at times! I will NEVER get it. I was RAISED in the church, AND RAISED TO CARE FOR THE HANDICAPPED! I NEVER saw handicapped people IN CHURCH! Well, I have since learned why! I am a LIABILITY! I am also a 'free thinker' - DANGER!!! What I was 'taught' as a child and teenager is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE! It is saddening!
So, to see these people on TV SO wrapped up in their religion, scares the heck out of me!
These are just my own thoughts about the article and some things that I have come across.
I do NOT want to start anything and have anonymous or anyone else jump all over me. I am just stating what I have thought about, wondered, and shared my own experiences with.
The church has left me with a VERY BAD experience now. What I 'thought' was THERE FOR ME, NEVER WAS AND NEVER WILL BE!
I worry about this for the Duggars AND the Bates! I worry their own kids will one day wake up and either be angry and mad at their parents, or, change their lifestyles DRASTICALLY, and for their own kids! Will they EVER be able to be FREE THINKERS? ASK QUESTIONS when things DON'T make sense? Or, TO BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY STAND UP AND ASK?

Anonymous said...

Part 5: Sorry for the length, but your article had ALL these questions in my mind! I had been thinking the VERY SAME THING!
I did NOT know the Bates did NOT have health insurance! That is a HUGE surprise, but I DID WONDER HOW they could AFFORD it!
That's all I have to say. Thanks for allowing me to vocalize it!

Anonymous said...

To the woman in the wheelchair, did you try an Episcopal church? Please look into it, and if you were in my area, my church would welcome you with open arms! My son has autism, and we were welcomed lovingly, and the priests don't seem to mind any questions at all. Good luck! And please, don't give up on your faith journey wherever it may lead you.

Anonymous said...

hi, I have been reading this letter to the Duggars. My main question is, are you jealous of them? I'm not trying to be ugly, really I am not but this is just how your letter strikes me.

Anonymous said...

Hey here's a thought CHANGE THE CHANNEL

Faithful Servant said...

perhaps if u had a life u wouldn't be so critical of these ppl who are trying to live right an raise their children. there children seem to be just fine as adults. I would rather the duggar children or the bates children any day then the trashy lil hoodlems that run most of the street in American.how dare u condemn their dress they made. there is nothing wrong with their dresses at least they are fully clothed an their bodies aren't hanging out like most ppl. they aren't tote n around babies on their hips the government is raising. address tax payers money??? are u serious???? u condemn their life style an they are raising there children to become good honest citizen who are not depending on ANYONE to support them. REALLY??? get off their backs!!!! get off the couch potato!! Thank you an have a nice day!! I hope ur an honest HARD working American.

Faithful Servant said...

get off their back!!! u live ur own life they will live theirs.

Faithful Servant said...

I just seen all comments are moderated I guess my comment wont be published since I don't have the same view point!! lol

Anonymous said...

I thought this whole site was horrible and so judgemental. You do not know the Duggars or the Bates personally and do not know their children. So how dare you say very hurtful and horrible things about someone you don't know and think you know what is best for their children.

Chris said...

I see the Duggers and Bates guru Bill Gothard, has been put on administrative leave due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Aside from that news what happens when they wake up one day and discover that Bill Gothard's teachings are heresy? I feel so sorry for those children and anyone involved in IBLP/ATI

truthjk trutho said...

The bible is a fairytale. Its child abuse to teach kids that the bible is real.

Anonymous said...

truthjk trutho~
I am sincerely sorry that your heart is in the wrong place. I hope that someday you may find the love of Christ for yourself and not criticize people for their faith, as I am a Christian. Please seek the help of a church or else when God comes for us all, I am afraid you will not be in heaven but in hell. For all the rest of you, I do necessarily think all the things the Duggar's do are right, but at least they are a loving kind family raising their children in the love of Christ and not post hatefully mean things about others. It saddens me to see this :(

Anonymous said...

truthjk trutho~
I am sincerely sorry that your heart is in the wrong place. I hope that someday you may find the love of Christ for yourself and not criticize people for their faith, as I am a Christian. Please seek the help of a church or else when God comes for us all, I am afraid you will not be in heaven but in hell. For all the rest of you, I do necessarily think all the things the Duggar's do are right, but at least they are a loving kind family raising their children in the love of Christ and not post hatefully mean things about others. It saddens me to see this :(

Jenny said...

Occasionally I will search for when my favorite shows will premiere and wrap up for the season. As a result this is the third time I have come across your post. You seem to spend a lot of time on these people's lives. I hope you will see amount of time you seem to spend writing and thinking about these families for what it is...an unhealthy obsession. This is America and we are founded on people having the right to practice their faith without persecution. Is it how I practice my Faith...No, but it is not for me ir you to judge or persecute. They are not hurting anyone and I dont think they claim to be perfect. Get a life...maybe that's it. You secretly desire the close knit family life they have.

Hopewell said...

Well, Jenny--wow. That's me told for sure. Thank you.

Sarah Razee said...

Wow.. WOW... I finally finished..
After all said and done. ..
I am blown away. This was really detailed, truthful, brash, direct, to the point without tip-toeing around.. Freshly the writing was brilliant. I am someone who has only seen the first couple episodes and had to shut it down. I couldn't ask my head around the totality of the situation. Simply it's really irresponsible to breed children like a herd of animals. How do they get all of the the love, emotional support, attention, time, and accrual physical contact that is so critical to before and children of all ages. It's impossible to be at at least 21 different places at any given time if needed. Think the parents have 19 kids, they have one another, as well as a job to go to. That's just the basic grueling day in and day out general aspect. That's not to mention all of life's curve balls it throws at ppl each day...
What's I see a lot of negative comments to the writer of this. Just add so many ppl want to tell this person they are be judgemental, well frankly so are the ppl calling it those statements. PERIOD.. The beauty of independent thinking, free thinking, freedom of speech, etc etc creates individuals who entertain is as this person did .
There were a lot of points highlighted that were so very true. The cult mentally is so evident that to me personally I find it extremely difficult to view it at sing other than a cult would only be denial. Denial would mean that the cult mentality has to effected that opinion on some form or fashion.
There's so many aspects I want to paise honestly. But being I absolutely have such a disdain for this cell phone and it's constant word changing our word errors that I refuse to normally comment it post to much