She says her new book is “not just for me, but it’s also for the victims.”
One of Bill Gothard’s best-known followers recently became one of his most vocal critics.
Jinger Duggar Vuolo is the sixth kid in the Duggar family, made famous on TLC shows like 19 Kids and Counting. (Her name is pronounced “ginger;” all the siblings have names that begin with J.) The Duggars are known for the distinctive practices they learned through Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP): dressing modestly, courting before marriage, modeling their Christian faith, and having as many children as possible.
Last month, Vuolo released a spiritual memoir following her personal reckoning with what she considers Gothard’s false teachings and unbiblical, fear-based system. In Becoming Free Indeed, 29-year-old Vuolo “disentangles” her beliefs and joins a growing wave of Christians who say they have shifted and deepened their faith by leaving legalism.
In the book, she describes being constantly worried that God wanted to punish her disobedience—for not confessing some “secret sin,” playing broomball instead of praying, accidentally revealing her knees in a skirt, exposing herself to alcohol at the grocery store, even not eating enough fiber in her bread. In her 20s, she finally found a gracious God who made himself clear in his Word, without the need for Gothard’s rules and rhemas.
“A few years ago, it became abundantly clear to me that this man I had always looked up to as a model Christian was, in fact, no better than the false teachers Jesus and Paul described,” she wrote. “Gothard was not only teaching his own principles instead of Christ’s but reportedly harming those closest to him.”
With 1.4 million Instagram followers …