The Duggar family has been associated with the religious organization known as the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) since the early 2000s. TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting (2008 to 2015) and Counting On (2015 to 2020) offered a glimpse into Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s life with their 19 children as the Duggars followed the IBLP’s strict and ultra-conservative rules. However, in the years since the shows ended, a handful of Duggars have spoken out against the IBLP and left the ministry.

What Religion Is the IBLP?

As Jinger Vuolo (née Duggar) revealed in her January 2023 book, Becoming Free Indeed, the Duggars follow the IBLP, which is a non-denominational religious organization closely tied to Christianity. Minister Bill Gothard founded the IBLP in 1961. He led the organization until 2014, when more than 30 women accused Gothard of sexual harassment. He stepped down as president of the IBLP two years later.

According to the IBLP’s website, the organization focuses on “affirming God’s Word and its principles which are vital to one’s daily walk with Christ.” This religion comes with several strict rules that many Duggars have followed for years. Men are seen as the head of the household, while women must remain submissive. Other rules include dressing modestly, courting under strict supervision, and abstaining from drinking alcohol and consuming drugs.

Which Duggars Are Still in the IBLP?

Jim Bob and Michelle are still associated with the IBLP, and they are seemingly running the organization. That’s according to former Duggar family friends Jim and Bobye Holt, who claimed in Amazon Prime Video’s docuseries Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets that Jim Bob and Michelle took over the IBLP after Gothard stepped down.

“Because Mr. Gothard has been taken out of [the IBLP], from what my understanding is, is that Jim Bob and Michelle are now his replacement,” Bobye said in the docuseries, which premiered in June 2023.

Bobye added that Jim Bob and Michelle have “encouraged people to come to the IBLP” and “move to Arkansas [as well],” which she described as a “cult move.”

As for Jim Bob and Michelle’s 19 children, it’s difficult to say for certain which ones are still involved with the IBLP. John David, Joseph, and Josiah Duggar, for example, lead private lives, so it’s not clear to what extent they participate in the religion. Anna Duggar has also kept a low profile since her husband Josh Duggar’s arrest on child pornography charges.

Meanwhile, Jana Duggar has veered away from the IBLP’s clothing rules, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s left the IBLP.

Shiny Happy People executive producer Blye Faust told In Touch that “a lot of family members” are “still in the IBLP or are associated with the belief system.”

“Whether it’s Jill [Duggar] or whether it’s people who are not part of the Duggar family, it takes a very long time to often break free and to really understand what it is that you were a part of and how that affected you in your life. And it’s very brave,” Faust said.

A few members of the Duggar family, however, have made it clear they are no longer following IBLP.

Which Duggars Left the IBLP?

Jinger left IBLP in 2017 and has been vocal about her departure ever since. In Becoming Free Indeed, which was released in January 2023, the sixth Duggar child wrote that she was “rejecting” the teachings she learned from the IBLP and starting a new “spiritual journey” as a devoted Christian.

“My faith is still intact, but it has changed. Instead of leaving the faith entirely, I’ve been disentangling it,” she wrote.

While Jessa Seewald (née Duggar) herself hasn’t been too vocal about leaving the IBLP, Jinger revealed in her book that her sister and husband Ben Seewald are on their own religious journey. Ben works as a pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church.

In September 2023, Jessa confirmed in an Instagram Q&A that she and Ben “do not follow” the IBLP. Days prior, sister Joy-Anna Forsyth (née Duggar) and husband Austin Forsyth revealed that they “were never” part of the IBLP as a couple.

“Once we got married, we started distancing ourselves from those functions,” Austin said. “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.”

Jill’s husband, Derick Dillard, revealed in a 2020 interview on “Without a Crystal Ball” that they had left the IBLP and would not be following the religion’s teachings anymore. Jill and Derick spoke out against the IBLP in Shiny Happy People, as did cousin Amy King (née Duggar). Jill also released her memoir, Counting the Cost, in which she provided her perspective on the Duggar family’s fame, their involvement with the IBLP, Josh’s scandals and her relationship with Jim Bob.

Following her book release, a fan asked Jill in a YouTube Q&A if she was “worried” about Jana and other siblings who may still be involved with the IBLP. 

She responded, “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. 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.”

What Was Jim Bob, Michelle Duggar’s Response to the Documentary?

Following the release of Shiny Happy People, Jim Bob and Michelle shared a public statement of disapproval. They called the docuseries “sad” and “paints so much and so many in a derogatory and sensationalized way.”

“We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one,” the statement read. “Through both the triumphs and the trials we have clung to our faith all the more and discovered that through the love and grace of Jesus, we find strength, comfort, and purpose.”

Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at