8 Reasons the Duggars -- TV's Christian Baby Factory -- Are A Creepy Cult
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The following story first appeared on Jezebel.com.
It's enraging how mainstream media outlets like Today and People treat the Duggars as though they're just an ordinary family with an extraordinary amount of children — and aren't they so cute! — when in fact, they are not.
Yes, they're bigots and anti-choice and weird and they subscribe to the kind of traditional gender roles that most educated people would consider "sexist." But all of those things, however detestable, are essentially personal opinions. The real problem with the Duggars is that they are a cult.
Instead of recruiting members, Michelle and Bob just created them with their own bodies. And these kids don't stand a chance of escaping and becoming their own people with their own opinions and their own identities. Because their identities have already been established for them — based on the group — from the minute they were conceived and given a J-name.
Think about it. If there are 19 (and counting!) Duggar children, then statistically speaking, two of them are gay. What are the chances that they will be able to live happy, mentally and emotionally healthy lives as out-and-proud homosexuals in a loving relationship with the acceptance of their family members?
Nine of the Duggar children are female. What are the chances that they will get to go away to college and live on a campus and explore careers in finance or architecture or law or anything other than traditional pink-collar work? (So far, Jana, 22, and Jill, 21, are "looking into" midwifery and nursing by "studying under professionals," and Jessa, 19, "has a passion for teaching," which means that she gets to homeschool the younger children.)
Yes, they are a family, but they meet all the criteria of a mind-control group. The following are the eight factors used to identify a destructive cult, outlined by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton identifies in his seminal book on mind control, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism.
1.) Milieu Control
Controlling the environment of members is key, and usually involves a form of isolation. Lifton explains: "Recruits can be physically separated from society, or they can be warned under threat of punishment to stay away from the world's educational media, especially when it might provoke critical thinking."
On the show, the Duggar girls have lamented about living "three hours out from civilization." They homeschool the children, using Christian-based texts for subjects that do not involve religion (more on that later). Despite starring in a reality show, they are not allowed to watch TV, they are restricted from reading certain books, none of the children—including the adult kids— are permitted to have Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. If the older children want to pursue an education, they must do so through correspondence courses from an online Christian university.
2.) Mystical Manipulation
As Lifton puts it: "In religious cults, God is ever-present in the workings of the organization. If a person leaves for any reason, accidents or ill-will that may befall them are always attributed to God's punishment on them."
On the season six premiere, Jinger, 18, the arty one who wants to be a photographer, said that she desperately wants to get out of her small town and live in the city. Her sister reminded her that that might not be part of God's plan.
"If you didn't get that, the Lord can be working and teaching you something in that area."
Jinger robotically responded, "Yes… I need to work on my contentment!"
3.) Demand for Purity
In a cult, everything is broken down into good and evil, black and white to make the "right" decision seem "obvious." With guilt and shame used as tactics to control members, purity can only be achieved by living according to the cult's ideology.