Early on in the book, which was released on Tuesday, September 12, Jill, 32, said that she used to like her family’s rule of dressing modestly. However, she recalled that she first struggled with it during a family trip to the beach in Savannah, Georgia, when she was around 8 or 9 years old.
“That trip to the beach was my first time seeing so many people wearing bathing suits in public,” the Counting On alum recalled. “Even though my parents had been careful to take us to the quietest corner of the quietest beach, I could still see people in the distance wearing what looked to me like practically nothing – a few couples, lots of families.”
She explained that she “didn’t want to get any bad thoughts into my head, so I tried not to stare.” After admitting it was “hard” to not look at the other people on the beach, Jill added that she “worried for Pops and my brothers.”
“Us girls had been told often how much harder it was for boys to keep their thoughts pure,” she wrote. “I couldn’t imagine the battles they were fighting out there on the sand.”
Later on in the book, Jill explained that she continued to struggle with her family’s strict dress code that was enforced by the IBLP (Institute in Basic Life Principles). The guidelines enforced women to dress modestly by wearing skirts that go past their knees.
In the 2014 book, Growing Up Duggar, Jill and her sisters Jinger, Jana and Jessa broke down the reason why their parents didn’t allow the girls in their family to wear pants. “We do not dress modestly because we are ashamed of the body God has given us; quite the contrary,” the former reality stars wrote at the time. “We realize that our body is a special gift from God and that He intends for it to be shared only with our future husband.”
After she spent years questioning the religious organization, Jill and her husband, Derick Dillard, started attending a church outside of IBLP. At their new church, Jill noticed women in the congregation wore pants and less conservative clothing. She was then inspired to incorporate pants into her own wardrobe and wore leggings during a park day with Derick, 33, and their sons. However, Jim Bob, 58, found out when she ran into a few of her siblings that same day.
The Duggar patriarch confronted Jill days later about her decision to wear leggings. While acknowledging that Jinger, 29, had already started wearing pants, Jim Bob noted that the Becoming Free Indeed author called him and Michelle, 56, with arguments from the Bible before she expanded her wardrobe.
Jim Bob ended the conversation by giving Jill a book that explained the importance of dressing modestly. Jill admitted she was “embarrassed” and “humiliated” by the interaction and broke into tears when she got home.
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