Josh Duggar
In the Shadow of the Past

by Mary Stephens
May 2015

1 Peter 1:24-25
For all flesh
is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.
The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.
And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Poor Josh.  Bad Josh.  Hypocritical Josh. Victim Josh.  Misunderstood Josh.  Wicked Josh.  Good Josh.

"What about the victims?  Josh is getting too much attention."  "The victims shouldn't be getting attention, they shouldn't be exposed."  "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."  "Forgive and forget."

It seems like there are as many opinions on Josh Duggar's past sin as there are people.  At the risk of falling into that unending pool of opinion, I'm going to write something on the subject myself.  First, though, I will frankly say that I don't really know what to think about some aspects of this case.  For one thing, we don't have enough information to really know what was going on, and since the Duggars are not truly about public reality, we more than likely never will.  We don't really know what goes on inside the Duggar world and church fellowship, we only know the image that they present for public viewing.  Consequently it's hard to make any solid conclusions.  However, some things come to mind. 

What happened

"Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends."  -- Josh Duggar

The timeline for all that happened is a little hard to follow, so I apologize in advance if I've confused anything.  I'm not confident in some of the sources who claim to have unraveled it because some include information not given in the police report with no references as to where they got their "extra" details.  I haven't read a lot of other people's

Note to the gentle reader: Josh's acknowledgement of his sin is more penitent than Dough Phillips' "resignation" was.
commentary on this subject yet, but I decided to read the police report almost in its entirety in order to know what exactly was officially reported.  A lot of things are being claimed and said and some of them are just not reflective of what actually happened.  I have added some "Editorial notes" to the basic information that I collected almost entirely from the police records. 

The story goes that in 2002-2003 when Josh was in his mid-teens he molested some five or so under-age girls (mostly his sisters) by "forcible fondling" (as per police report) at various times.  Josh was reported to his father by one of the girls early on and at some point after that he was "disciplined" for it by his parents.  According to the police report Josh was said to have admitted that he had been doing this for some time period in 2002-2003.  It appears that Josh reported himself to his parents in some of the instances.  [Due to the redacted names, this is hard to tell for sure, and the Duggars claims that he did are not as convincing as they should be since they have manipulated the facts in their favor in other ways.]

The police report from an unnamed caller says, "The callers says [sic] that the parents put _____ in some kind of rehab place for 3 months in Little Rock, but it was not a rehab for sex offenders, and then _____ came right home."  Jim Bob claimed to the police that after several offences they took the problem to their church elders.  They all agreed Josh needed treatment, however, there was concern that the typical program for such offenders might expose him to others who would teach him worse things. [Editorial thought: A legitimate concern, really.]  Therefore, they opted for a so-called treatment program in Little Rock that was run by a man name Harold Walker.  As it turns out, this was the Basic Life Principles Training Center in Little Rock.  [Editorial thought: This confirms something my sister-in-law had heard some time ago: that the Duggars were having some "trouble" with Josh and had sent him to one of the ATI (Advanced Training Institute) reprograming places to get him "straightened out".]  The Duggar parents were confident that nothing more had happened from the time of his return until the police re-opened the case in December of 2006 and interviewed the family.

At some point after Josh returned from the "treatment program" his dad and the church elders decided to report the incidents to a police officer of Jim Bob's acquaintance who lectured Josh very sternly.  The officer they reported to concluded that since Josh had already been through a "treatment program" there was nothing more to do.  [Editorial thought: A revolting development of that was that the officer himself was later sent to prison for child pornography.  If that doesn't give you pause to consider I'm not sure what will.  DISCLAIMER: other content at this site (Huffington Post).]

The story of how the information got back to the police in 2006 is rather interesting.  They claimed that a friend had written down what he knew about the situation in a letter and it had been place in a book and "forgotten".  The book was later loaned to someone who read the letter and reported it.  This story was verified by the police through other sources as true in its essentials.  [Editorial thought:  Who puts a letter about such a serious situation in a book and forgets about it?  A book that they might at some point loan out to someone to read?  It's a little hard to believe.]

Some or all of the victims were also interviewed by a police investigator.  The answers to specific questions indicated that the case was not worse than had been reported and that the girls had not been molested by anyone else.  They also indicated that things were "better" or "good" since Josh had been to the "treatment center", that their parents were "more aware" of what was going on, and that Josh was more "tame", in the words of one girl.  More than one of them said she was not scared.  [Editorial thought: I'm not sure that the moderation of the language in some instances is entirely encouraging, but it does indicate that things were improved.]  One of the girls also broke down and cried when questioned, though she said she didn't remember exactly what had happened.  She also said she still did not totally trust him, though she loved him and felt safe at home.  All the girls indicated that they felt safe at home.  In many of the cases the girls were asleep when the things happened and recollection seems to be rather low. [Editorial thought: This leaves a wide margin of "error" as to what really did happen and how many times it  happened, which could be quite stressful to the victims even now.]

At least some of the victims indicated that Josh had apologized for what he did and asked for forgiveness.  One of them said he had "turned back to God."  One person interviewed, who was not molested, also gave some details that indicated that the whole apology and forgiveness process was rather rushed in at least one instance.  Some of the things said by those interviewed indicated that in 2006 the Duggars were setting some boundaries around Josh to keep him from having opportunity to repeat his offences. 

At the end of the interviews the police detective asked Michelle Duggar "about the training center they sent ______ to.  She said it was not really a training center.  Det. Hignite asked if the guy ______ talked to was a certified Counselor.  She said no.  She said it was a guy they know in Little Rock that is remodeling a building.  Det. Hignite asked if the man was more of a mentor.  She said kind of."

Josh was not interviewed in 2006.  He refused and Jim Bob claimed to have retained an attorney for him.  However, both of the attorneys connected with the situation at that time declined to represent the Duggars, so it is unclear to whom Jim Bob was referring.  As the report ends it appears that Jim Bob stopped responding the police detective's calls, but it isn't clear.  Because the offences were all past the statute of limitations (according the Arkansas law at that time), the case was not pressed further.

The offences occurred not too long before the Duggars were featured on their first T.V. show - "14 Kids and Pregnant Again".  (This eventually evolved into the highly popular TLC program "19 Kids and Counting" with millions of followers worldwide.)  The 2006 police investigation happened after they had moved into the house where they live and have filmed their show ever since, but the actual incidents occurred in the house they were living in during that first documentary.

[Source of police records.]


1. The Duggars did make serious "mistakes" in dealing with this situation.  Most Christian parents would be shocked with a situation like this in their own family, especially if they had no point of reference to figure out where he had "learned" such things.  The Duggars are part of what I refer to as "the Purity Cult" which puts an unrealistic set of demands upon young people in staying "pure" to begin with, so a sin of this nature would probably be even more mindboggling to the parents than in a "normal" home.  Having assumed they were following all the "right steps", they would assume that something of this nature would "never happen to us."

It should be noted here that one psychologist in a news broadcast made it clear that when sex offenders are caught young enough they do not follow the same patterns as adult offenders and they can  be helped to stop this behavior more successfully.
One of their biggest mistakes after the fact was probably in sending him to the Basic Life Principles Training Center for "treatment".  This is, of course, the program started by Bill Gothard who himself was exposed as a sex offender awhile back.  Gothard has been accused of covering up child abuse cases within the ranks of his followers.  He also has a long, long record of sexually harassing young women.  The ugly stories reach back in Gothard's family to his own brother's highly inappropriate escapades in the late 1970s which caused a rather big rupture in Gothard's ministry around 1980 (if I remember my dates correctly).  The Duggars' commitment to this organization did not help the situation any due to the sometimes very odd (to put it lightly) teachings and beliefs Gothard passed on to his followers, particularly about sexual things.  (These things have been demonstrated by others, so I'll not go into detail here.  One site that deals a lot with this is Recovering Grace.)

2. Josh was not interviewed by the police in 2006.  Did anyone try to determine whether he himself had been exposed to something that inspired this behavior in him?  Did he observe this behavior in someone else?  This is something we'll probably never know since the Duggars are shrouded in a culture of smoke screens and cover-ups to save face.

Many people have friends who are doing evil covertly, as was the police officer to whom they took Josh.  As has been pointed out by others, no "group" is immune - Christian or non-Christian.  If you examine some news sources you will find that pedophilia and child pornography are an epidemic and there are few distinguishing characteristics as far as belief systems and lifestyles are concerned.  Sadly, the "Patriarchy Movement" and other groups with heavy emphasis on male dominion and female servitude have been demonstrated to be natural incubators for abuse of females, especially younger females.  (Discussed in this book: No Will of My Own.  [Not an affiliate link.])

It is true, though, that not all sin - even child molesting - is necessarily learned from others.  Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  Jesus says, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."  Mark 7:21-23  Some parents within the "Patriarchy Movement" at large seem to get the idea that if they shield their kids from all evil influences, they will never "learn those bad things".  The truth is that we are born with a sin nature.  We can think up all kinds of ugliness with little to no input from others.

Having said that, however, it is possible that Josh himself was exposed to something that did come from somewhere within the system they espouse.  Gothard himself has been guilty of similar crimes and highly suspect teachings.  When the head of a movement is defeated by a particular sin it is not uncommon for that sin to be a problem throughout the larger scope of his followers.

3. While Jim Bob and Michelle definitely made their own mistakes in this situation, parents should not be condemned for the sins of their children nor the children for their parents.  Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.  To assume the parents must be guilty of something nasty since this awful thing happened in their home is wrong thinking from God's point of view.  Remember Samuel of whom nothing bad was ever said, and yet his sons turned out badly, 1 Samuel 8:1-5.  It is possible for good parents to have bad kids.

In a large family like the Duggars' something was bound to happen sometime that would mar the perfect image they've been putting forth.  We're all sinners, including all 22 of the original Duggar cast (Grandma included).  The real issue was their tendency to say "we have our problems like any family" and then keep even small "problems" scrupulously off the show where anyone could see them.  That was not reality.  It was a false image and it couldn't last.  Romans 3:9-10 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

There is a problem however with Jim Bob's unseemly jokes and public displays of affection toward his wife.  Some of the things he says at times on the show, especially to or about his wife, are quite out of keeping with the high standard of "purity" that they claim.  The fact that he would say them on a T.V. show that is for public viewing is quite disconcerting.  If a man will say such things in that situation, what does he say when there are no cameras recording?  I've observed this strange double-mindedness before - a highly self-conscious standard of "purity" about sexual things combined with a carelessness about the same subject material in some areas.  I don't know exactly what it means, but I'm sure the explanation isn't good.  James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

4. Painting with a broad brush doesn't serve a useful purpose to anyone.  Josh has probably done this with accusations regarding child molestation that he has made.  Now that the world knows that he has been guilty of this same sin, he is labeled a hypocrite, especially by those he may have accused unjustly.  I'll repeat, this particular sin does not limit itself to a specific demographic of the population.  It is widespread.

However, painting the Duggars and those like them with a broad brush is also unjust.  Assuming that Jim Bob taught his son this by example or that somehow this was an expected outcome of this type of belief system because "they're all like that" isn't accurate either.  Yes, that environment lends itself to such abuses, but that doesn't mean that they are ALL guilty by association.  Until we have proof of guilt by association, it's wrong to imply it.  Remember that Jesus Christ was a friend of sinners.  We can't avoid having some people around us who turn out to be very wicked in secret.  Luke 7:34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! 

There is no point in covering an entire group with blame for some specific type of offence.  We are all sinners and we can all be forgiven through the miracle of God's forgiveness when we come to Him in true repentance.  Splashing around large quantities of guilt on everyone in the end doesn't help anyone, even the one wielding the broad brush.

5. If the Duggars hadn't raised themselves up in the world's eyes and posed as a shining example of super-conservative Christianity in a public environment, there would have been no or little issue over Josh's past.  He might have been knocked out of politics, but that again is seeking a public place.  Otherwise, it could have been left in the past.  If it really was dealt with in a way that led to his victory and he was seeking lifelong accountability, it would have been better for everyone in that case - victims, family, friends, Josh, and Christianity in general.  Proverbs 25:6-7 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.  Because Jim Bob and Michelle chose to allow their family to be exalted unduly, they and their children and friends are paying a high price now for Josh's past offence.

6. The fact that Jim Bob misrepresented the "treatment" that Josh allegedly received is cause for concern not only for the reality of Josh's "restoration", but also for what kind of help and alleged counseling the victims received.  It has been pointed out by others that forgiveness in these situations cannot be rushed.  This is true.  Sadly, some Christian environments make forgiveness a sort of right to the repentant and an immediate obligation of the offended.  From my own experience I know that it is possible to apologize too soon for something, and to expect immediate results for that repentance.  This would be very wounding and inappropriate in a situation where a girl has been violated sexually, especially by her own brother in a household that requires close and constant physical association.  As stated in the police report, the girls were generally not even awake when the crimes took place.  They were also quite young, so they would only come to grips with what had happened as they got older.  The healing process in such a situation could be very long - and painful.

Also, since the place Josh was sent for "treatment" is known to be highly suspect in its connections, teachings and methodology, we really don't know what to think about his alleged "cure" either.  The Duggars' blind trust of the Gothard system is not only pathetic, it is dangerous.  And, frankly, Jim Bob's description of the "treatment" Josh received does not fit with Michelle's description to the detective.  Somewhere, somehow something is wrong with the whole picture.  Colossians 3:9-10 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:  Lying is a deed of the old nature that should be "put off".

[Note: There have been accusations of other sexual immorality of an undisclosed nature relating to Josh.  The sources are not verifiable, although one witness apparently was supposed to have been present when Josh made a confession in their church assembly.  Why the Duggars would have decided to take on the whole T.V. show situation when Josh was struggling in this way is beyond understanding.  They ought to have been more focused on taking care of their own family problems.  I'll go even further and say that it would have been wise for them to stop having more children at that point (they had 13 or 14 at the time) and to focus on their existing kids.  When God brings something so serious to our attention, it's a good idea to stop other things, re-evaluate what we're doing, and deal with that issue completely before moving on.  Though they say they were content that the situation was appropriately addressed, we know they didn't stop adding more children to their already overloaded responsibility list.]

7.  It has also been mentioned that this act was a crime.  While it is commendable that the Duggars did eventually notify the

Multiple accusations are now coming to light as this case develops.  It remains to be seen how far from the straight and narrow the Duggars actually strayed.  However, it should be noted here that in and interview with In Touch, the state trooper to whom the Duggars did report Josh claims that he was misled to believe that there had only been one offence.  If this is true, the situation is far worse than it at first seemed and the lying surrounding it all may prove to be a much larger problem for the Duggars than Josh's actual acts.

It's a good idea not to jump into these things with gung-ho "biblical" defense of our "dear brothers in Christ".  Sadly, these situations have a way of turning out to be far worse than they at first appear.
authorities (many in their position never do), it is unacceptable that they waited so long to do so.  Jim Bob was a politician.  He knew at least a little about the requirements of the law regarding this crime (which is possibly one reason he felt compelled to finally report it).  Why would he wait for multiple offences before going to the authorities?  Why he handled it the way he did is unclear, other than the strong need to save face in his constituency, church fellowship and in the Gothard circles. 

God has told us that we can expect to suffer for our wrong-doings when they are crimes. Romans 13:1-5 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

The fact that the Duggars and the elders of their church did not see to it that the crime was dealt with appropriately by the powers that be is a bad sign, and it is disobedient to the word of God.  I would hate to be in their position, and yet, we are clearly told that we "MUST needs be subject...for conscience sake."

1 Peter 4:14-16 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.  It is when we suffer for our obedience to Christ that we are suffering for His glory.  Josh should have been dealt with as a criminal, albeit a child offender.  He is not suffering now as a Christian.  He is suffering for his sins.  It's a shame that so many innocent parties are also suffering with him, but that is exactly where sin will lead us.  God be merciful to us all.

Ephesians 5:3-4 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

8.  Another difficulty that arises is the "I wasn't saved at the time" issue.  In his statement on the family's Facebook page Josh says, "...I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption."  [Source.  Emphasis added.]  It seems that he is claiming to have become a Christian at that time - to have been born again.  This may be true, and the power of God to make a person a new creation is real and wonderful!  However, this is a sadly easy out for people in difficult situations in the Christian context who don't want to face the consequences of what they did. 

My grandfather was in a church situation once where the pastor's daughter was caught in a fornication situation.  She was a Sunday School teacher, or something of that nature.  She escaped the full recompense for her sin before the church, which she should have received, by claiming that she wasn't saved then but that she had repented and now she was.  There was rejoicing over her alleged new-found faith instead of concern for the sin committed.  She was very shortly reinstated to her position as a teacher.  My grandfather was highly unimpressed as it all appeared to him as a ploy to cover up sin and make everything "right" without really dealing with the depth of the problem. 

We will probably never know if that was the case in this episode of Duggar history because their lack of candidness is epidemic as they have shown in many ways through their show, speaking engagements and now in this.  (In all honesty, we all have areas where we don't want to be candid, but in the Duggars' case, they have tried to present a certain image on television under the guise of reality.  As it turns out, the image they presented seems to be pretty far from reality, which isn't surprising to many of us who have watched their too-idealistic shows.)

Other Concerns

Anna was a very naive girl when Josh married her.  She appears to have matured in many ways.  It was also a hopeful point that he did tell her about his past sin very early in their relationship.  However, in their belief system there can be a strong tendency for the man to be cavalier and the wife to just submit to it.  How have they dealt with the issue of accountability?  Did he just let her know "I don't do that any more" and that was that, or have they created safety nets so that he won't do that again?  An honest man who was truly repentant would try to create barriers that would make it hard for him to go down that path ever again.  Has Josh done that?  As a man in his position - oldest brother of a large famous family, father of children, involved with other people's children in various aspects of their ministry, etc. - he NEEDS to let the Christian community (with which he has had so much contact in a public way) know what he's doing to deal with those things. 

Anna's comment in the Duggar family's public statement that Josh is "a man who knows how to be a gentleman and treat a girl right" was disquieting to me.  In my research of some of these issues, one of the outstanding characteristics of chronic molesters and abusers is that they are gentlemen who know how to treat the girls "right".  If Anna was informed about this subject, I kind of think she would have been wary of saying such a thing.  It was not encouraging to read that part of her comments.

Update July 2015 - Another problem with how the Duggars dealt with this situation is in the message that they sent to their younger sons and possibly other males in their fellowship group.  Josh really got off easy compared to what he should have suffered at that time.  Other young men (or adults) looking at that could easily draw the conclusion that his sin was not all that serious.  If there are others among them who have similar tendencies, they might conclude that with such low stakes involved, it would be "worth the risk" to attempt something themselves.  The low esteem for the victims that Jim Bob and Michelle exhibited due to how the dealt with them and with Josh, could inspire a low view of other potential victims.  All of this tends toward an environment that may actually be more ripe for further offences, rather than less ripe.  This is horrifying.

Luke 17:1-2 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

I find it interesting that the Lord allowed this whole business to become public knowledge the way He has.  It may just be possible that, in His wisdom, He is doing what Jim Bob and Michelle and the church leaders should have done and is making sure that other young men connected with that family are thoroughly warned of the horrible things that can happen to them if they pursue the same path.  He may be doing this to deliver other potential victims, or to bring to light some hidden thing that is perhaps happening even at this time.  If so, we say, "Amen.  He doeth all things well."

The Mysterious Back Taxes

One thing that has slipped under the radar for now because of this more recent revelation is that Josh and Anna Duggar were shown to owe the state of Arkansas about $14,000 in back taxes.  There were a few articles published making this known, and perhaps it was addressed on some other mainstream news outlets (I seldom access media outlets of that sort), but except for a claim by Josh that the taxes were paid, nothing more has been said by the Duggars to my knowledge.  The thing was that as of April 6, 2015 the state office that was contacted in regard to this was said to have clearly stated that the taxes were not paid.  If they had been, certain paperwork would have been done and the lien would have been removed. [Source - DISCLAIMER on other content at this site.]  As this same site puts it, "Missing one year in taxes may be a legitimate mistake — not paying state taxes for at least four consecutive years, with monies owed totaling over $14,000, may be more of an actual decision. And lying about it, as Josh Duggar did, is certainly a surprise for a young man known for his Christian principles."

I don't know what other people may think about that, but to be honest, it doesn't give me a lot of confidence in the present claims by the Josh to know that there are outstanding taxes that are unpaid, which he claims to have paid (presuming the details were correct).  That is a lot of money to owe in back taxes, for those of you who aren't aware.  It's not pocket change for most of us in the U.S.  This potentially double dishonesty - not paying owed taxes and then lying about it - does not inspire great confidence in his overall integrity.

The Sad Case of His Victims

One of the biggest concerns, which I've already mentioned a number of times, is his victims.  As some have pointed out, these (now) women have been pushed out into public view in a context that is damaging and can cause life long anxieties even under normal circumstances.  Furthermore, as the Duggars have wrapped their daughters in a candy coating of virtue, loveliness and idealistic purity for the world's consumption, they are going to be prone to much greater distress over this public knowledge of their sad past experiences.  Victims who are ready to step out and tell their story are one thing.  Victims who have been compelled to hide their story to keep face for the family super-star image AND to preserve their own extra-squeaky clean image....I have no words.  I can't even imagine the trauma this could cause them.  Unless one of them does step forward and let her story be known, we aren't likely to know how it really is affecting them.  Even if one or more of them do tell their stories, we won't know if they are being completely honest or if they are helping with damage control.  It is incredibly sad for them. 

Update July 2015 - As things turned out, two of them did step forward to defend their brother and minimize what happened to them.  Are they for real?  Were they sincere - or just sincerely wrong?  We can't know for sure.  They come from a persuasion where image and reputation are to be salvaged at all costs.  I found their interview very sad and disappointing.

The whole problem for those who are not married yet is compounded now as well.  I don't know who all was molested and who wasn't and I don't care to know.  But, these young women already have a problem of finding a man who measures up to Jim Bob's expectations, who is willing to put his life and courtship and marriage on public display, and now, is willing to marry a woman who was molested by her own brother who was publically exposed.  Within the "Purity Cult" that may be hard to find.  Plus, the tendency to attract the wrong types is going to be even greater than before.

Speaking of their brother molesting them, one thing I haven't seen mentioned a whole lot so far (my reading has been limited to some degree due to not wanting to fill my head with many opinions), is that this was incest.  This was not a 14 year old boy getting too physical with his girlfriend or sister's friend (although one of the victims was not related to him).  This was a teenage guy who, for the most part, was groping his own sisters.  As with fathers molesting their own daughters, this has an ugliness to it that is sickening - molesting apparently quite young girls, children who believed in Jesus, who are also his own sisters.  Frankly, I am not sure that he should have even been allowed to stay in the same house with them after that, even if he was truly repentant.  In God's economy, he was worthy of death for having offended a child that believed in the Lord Jesus.  Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. 

Yes, he can be forgiven.  Yes, there can be healing and restoration for both him and his victims, but we still don't know if that was fostered by the steps that were taken.  The command to "flee also youthful lusts" (2 Timoth 2:22) and to take the way of escape from temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) might well mean that he should have been shipped out somewhere else to live - for an extended period, if not permanently for the peace of mind of the victims - and to show his brothers that this behavior was intolerable in their home.

I really wonder how those girls processed the information that their brother had been "touching them improperly" mostly while they were asleep.  Most of them said they "didn't remember" much if anything, but at least one incident happened with a number of siblings present and awake.  If he would do something in front of others, what was he really doing in the dark when they were sleeping?  Are we all to just take his word for it that it was only what he said it was?  How much more must those victims wonder what really happened to them back then?  I would think that would be highly disturbing.  I can't believe that they are all over it and that it doesn't affect their lives any more in any way.  It doesn't seem possible based on what other victims of similar situations have told.

Psalms 147:2-3 The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.


God can and does change lives.  God can take us as horrible sinners, and once we have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ He will begin the process of conforming us to the image of His Son (a job that will be completed in the day of Jesus Christ, Philippians 1:6).  Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  However, we have to choose to follow His will and leading in that, and we have to mortify the deeds of the flesh.  Romans 8:13-14 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 

One writer I read commented that none of us would want our sins from 12 years ago dragged up.  I see it a little differently than that.  This was something that happened when Josh was about 14.  Now, more realistically, how many of us did things when we were 14 that we wouldn't want brought up now?  There was a reason why David prayed, "Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD." Psalms 25:7  We all do some really dumb things when we're young.  This is one reason that we need to "put away childish things". 1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  But, then again, Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.  Proverbs 20:11  

Ultimately, there are things we do in our childhood that can come back to haunt us.  When a child does something that is a crime it may stay with him or her for life.  It may also affect the victim(s) for life.  Likely it will to some degree.  Also, if the matter wasn't dealt with as well as it should have been (and this one is suspect in that area), there may be things that still await clearing up.  God may bring those things to light someday in a way that isn't pleasant. 

It isn't "nice" that the Duggar secret had to be a big public issue.  But, after all, they put themselves in the public eye as a shining example of virtuous and pure youth when they themselves knew that there had been a serious fault among them. 

There is a very beautiful story in Luke 7:36-50 about a woman who anointed Jesus' feet when He was dining in the house of  Simon the Pharisee.  Verse 39 says, Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.  The implication is that she was a harlot or something like that.  But, Jesus the Son of God knew her heart.  He accepted her worship because He knew that she was repentant.  At the end we read,  And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.  Luke 7:48-50

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Update July 2015 - If you are a victim of such a crime, I strongly recommend that you seek out Christian council - not from those who condemn and shame the innocent victim, but from those who offer the true compassion of Christ, those who will seek to heal the broken and bind up the wounds of the wounded.  You are not a second-rate Christian.  You ARE worth much to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He wants to see you healed from your hurt.
If you are a person who has committed such sins against another, you can be forgiven and cleansed through the blood of Jesus Christ.  There is hope even for you.  But, you will have to come to Him in repentance and true worship.  He will know if you are not "for real".  I highly recommend that you also seek help and accountability from someone who loves God who is trained to deal with this type of thing specifically.

God does wash, sanctify and justify sinners through the Lord Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit.  We do ourselves and all Christians a disservice and call God a liar if we say that Josh couldn't possibly be cleansed from this sin.  Having said that, though, we do well to remember that even as saved and washed believers, when we are drawn away by our own lust (James 1:14), we tend to go back to sins we once knew and did.  It is not as common for us to initially pick up some new and totally different sin than we ever did before.  This poses some questions in this case, and should give us all pause for thought in our own lives.

Friend, there are two ways that your sin can be covered -

1. Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

2. Romans 4:5-8 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

We will probably never know this side of heaven which one describes Josh Duggar.  But, friend, which one describes you?  Are you endeavoring to cover you own sins?  Or have you confessed and forsaken them?  Are your sins forgiven and covered through the Lord Jesus Christ?

There is one other way that sins can be covered, and that is by love.  1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Not all sins can be covered humanly speaking.  As we read elsewhere in Romans 13 and 1 Peter, some things - crimes - we can expect to suffer for, and they ought not to be hidden.  But, if someone is truly repentant and they truly desire to change, they should be helped and they should receive this charity.  Regarding the man in the church at Corinth who had been having sexual relations with his own father's wife, Paul wrote, Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.  2 Corinthians 2:6-8  This doesn't mean that we forget a man's weaknesses and disregard them.  That would be foolish with others as it is with ourselves.  But, we can't neglect to do this just because the world doesn't understand how it works.  The unbelievers won't understand because they can't.  1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

By the way, almost all of the groupies out there who are rabidly defending the Duggars - they don't know either.  If you are one, you don't know.  Stop wasting your life defending people you don't really know and never will.  What you see on the show and in the magazines and books is what they want you to see.  It has only a little to do with reality.
Unless more information comes to light, we can't assume that Josh Duggar has a long standing problem such as we saw in Doug Phillips or Bill Gothard.  While there are numerous problems that appear from out where most of us are watching, the reality is that very few people really know the truth of the matter.  Those few who do are called to put this Christian principle into action if they know that Josh is truly repentant and has forsaken his sin.  For the most of us who really don't know what is going on, it really isn't going to make much difference in the big picture.  I suppose for those who hitched their wagon to the Duggar star it will pose a problem, but in that case, those folks have other issues they need to address themselves - such as idolatry.

1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Psalms 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.


1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that
we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.


Links NEW
[Disclaimer on Bible versions other than the KJV and probably some content.]

Here's Why Releasing Josh Duggar's Records was Probably not Illegal - A discussion from the Washington Post

Mayor Sprouse of Springdale, Arkansas debunks Jim Bob Duggar's accusations that Josh's files were released illegally and that the "real scandal" is the alleged misconduct of the judge and others.

In a Duggar world, the real victims take a back seat to their parents - Another Washington Post article dealing with the Duggars' "we're poor victims" spin on Josh's exposure.  "The Duggar situation becomes more personal when we consider what we would do and how we would feel if Josh Duggar touched our daughter over her clothes and beneath them. Suddenly the much-maligned word victim takes on its proper meaning..."

How I Would Have Responded as a Parent to the Josh Duggar Sexual Abuse Scenario - One person's perspective on responding to a situation like this.  Short, but to the point.



Some graphics by Mary Stephens