Jill Dillard (née Duggar) has spoken out about older sister Jana Duggar and other siblings who may still be involved with the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), the controversial religious organization the Duggar family associates with.
In a YouTube livestream hosted by LiveSigning on September 14, Jill, 32, and husband Derick Dillard sat down for a Q&A session as they signed copies of Jill’s new memoir, Counting the Cost. At one point, a fan asked if Jill “worries” about Jana, 33, “and her lack of ability to leave from [father Jim Bob Duggar’s] hold or hold to [former IBLP leader] Bill Gothard’s teachings.”
Jill responded with, “I don’t know. I try and not meddle too much in my siblings’ lives. I don’t know where they’re all at.”
The Counting On alum added that doesn’t “want to speak about” her siblings’ stories, as they aren’t hers to tell. “I’ll let them tell their story or figure it out themselves,” Jill 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.”
Unlike many of her adult siblings, Jana, the eldest daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, is still single and living a private life at the Duggar family compound. She has remained silent regarding Amazon Prime Video’s Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets docuseries, which was released in June and features Jill and Derick, 34, as well as Jill’s September 12 memoir. It’s unclear if Jana and Jill are on good terms as of publication.
In her book, Jill shared her perspective on the Duggar family’s fame brought on by their TLC shows, 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, and the family’s involvement in the IBLP. She discussed at length the alleged control Jim Bob, 58, had over his children, including a story about Jim Bob and Michelle, 57, allowing Jana to become one of Gothard’s “girls.” Jill recalled that Gothard, 88, invited Jana to IBLP’s headquarters in Chicago.
“We were new to the inner workings of IBLP, but we knew enough already to understand why it was only Jana who was invited,” Jill claimed in Counting the Cost. “She was the only elder Duggar girl who was blond, and everybody knew that Mr. Gothard liked blond girls. We’d joke about it, calling Jana one of ‘Gothard’s Girls.’ It didn’t occur to me at all how strange, unsafe, and unwise it was.”
Jim Bob and Michelle raised their children to follow the teachings of IBLP, a non-denominational Christian organization with strict rules about the roles of men and women. In 2014, more than 30 women accused Gothard of sexual harassment. He was placed on administrative leave, although the IBLP released a statement claiming that “no criminal activity” was found after an investigation. They also stated that Gothard “acted in an inappropriate manner.” Jim Bob and Michelle allegedly later took over the IBLP, as family friends Jim and Bobye Holt claimed in Shiny Happy People.
Jill reiterated her stance on the IBLP in an interview with People published on September 12.
“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,” she said. “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.”
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