Jessa Seewald (née Duggar) shut down rumors that she and husband Ben Seewald are members of her family’s controversial religious organization, Institute in Basic Life Principles.
“Do you and Ben follow IBLP?” a follower of the former reality star, 30, asked during an Instagram Story Q&A on Monday, September 18. “No, we do not,” Jessa replied plainly.
While the mother of four did not expand on her denial, she joined the growing list of Duggar children to renounce the Bill Gothard founded group.
“No, we never were, you and I as a couple,” Austin, 29, told his wife. “Once we got married, we started distancing ourselves from those functions. We’d always talk about when we were dating that we weren’t gonna use their literature and stuff like that … Just kinda distanced ourselves.”
“Fear was a huge part of my childhood,” Jinger, 29, told People in an interview published on January 18, ahead of the release of her memoir, Becoming Free Indeed. “I thought I had to wear only skirts and dresses to please God. Music with drums, places I went or the wrong friendships could all bring harm.”
She continued, “[Bill’s] teachings, in a nutshell, are based on fear and superstition and leave you in a place where you feel like, ‘I don’t know what God expects of me.’ The fear kept me crippled with anxiety. I was terrified of the outside world.”
While the mother of two claims IBLP’s teachings are “harmful” and “damaging,” sister Jill, 32, equates the organization to a “cult.”
“I really do think that IBLP is a form of a cult. I think that even if you remove the person in leadership, a lot of those same values and principles are still being taught, so it doesn’t fix the problem,” Jill told People ahead of her memoir, Counting the Cost. “I think that’s what some people think like, ‘Oh, we’ve removed Bill Gothard from the situation. It makes everything better.’ No, it changes and maybe adds a nice storefront to the picture, but it doesn’t change the overall principles that are still being taught and held to.”
When asked if she was “worried” about her sister during a YouTube Q&A, Jill said, “I don’t know. I try and not meddle too much in my siblings’ lives. I don’t know where they’re all at.”
“I’ll let them tell their story or figure it out themselves,” she continued. “I think anyone that’s grown up in IBLP, it’s definitely a process, and it’s one that’s very hard to come away from and kind of sort through.”
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