Monday, April 19, 2010

Duggar Myths and Fallacies

There are so many myths about the Duggars out there that are just not true, but have been talked about that people assume they are true.

1. The Duggars pay no property taxes because they claim their house as a church.--Actually they do pay taxes on their property, this has been proven over and over.

2. The Duggars won't let the girls go to college.--Both Duggar parents have looked into the camera and said they would let their kids go to secondary schools, they were preparing them for life in the non-secular world, but at this time none of them were going.

3. The Duggar parents will choose their daughters' husbands for them.--Jim Bob and Michelle are a love match. Josh and Anna are a love match--their parents had nothing to do with their getting together, other than discussing with them seperately when each asked for counsel (as we were told during the engagement episodes--they discussed praying about a spouse and asking their parents for guidance). Because of this, and because of what they've said, and written in their book, they want their children to find that one person they believe is out there for them--the one person G-d has meant for them. They aren't going to arrange a marriage just because THEY think they belong together, they are going to support their children and listen to them when asked for guidance.

4. The girls are not allowed to wear pants. During the "Ask the Duggars" episode Joy Anna answered that the girls were, indeed, allowed to wear pants if they wanted to. None of them seem to want to. Michelle said that she decided herself to stop wearing pants early in her marriage and that her daughters are only used to seeing her wearing dressed and skirts so therefor they probably only want to wear them. But as Joy Anna said, they are allowed to wear pants if they want to.

5. Jim Bob "gave" Josh his car business and "gave" John-David his tow business. Jim Bob sold his own car business and his own tow business years ago, therefor he didn't give those particular businesses to his boys. While he may have helped set his boys up in business by teaching them how to run them, help them with the legal issues since they were both 16 when they began, he certainly didn't "give" them a business. That would totally be against his work ethic. Why would he teach them how to build a house with their bare hands, teach them how he, himself worked at all those jobs himself to make it where he is today, show them how they "buy used and save the difference" and then when they turn 16 just give them a business of their own. Josh has said that he worked in construction after graduating homeschool enough to learn that he didn't enjoy it enough to have it as a career, so we know he earned money. However it makes sense that the boys would go into a business that they know something about. Jim Bob knows the car and towing business well and the older boys were growing up with Jim Bob working those businesses. Why wouldn't they choose a business that was part of the family heritage as well as businesses that they could work together--two businesses that would compliment each other?

6. TLC paid for their new house. This one bothers me the most. TLC showed up to film the Duggars and found out that they had already ordered the steel frame kit and had the land already grazed and ready to go. The first speacial had the house building prep in it! The house was a project before TLC ever showed up! I will consent that the decorating was a TLC project and only because it helped speed up the production dead line. The free things that were provided were not necessarily TLC but because the decorator herself had an "in" with the dealer (the kitchen appliances in the "pretty" kitechen.) And the reason the final move-in shot of the pantry was full of Sara Lee/etc brand products was because the Duggars didn't personally have enough food to fill the entire new pantry themselves. So TLC got on the phone and made sure the pantry was stocked full for the documentary shot. The Duggars don't buy name brand items. If you look closely at the shot itself, you can see their own "off" brand items mixed in with the name brand stuff. Also during the episode where Jim Bob took the boys to a thrift store to buy a used bunk bed to replace an old bunk bed he said that the old bunk bed was over 10 years old. That meant that the bunk beds in the boys room were brought from the old house, not a gift from the decorator.

These are just a few of the Duggar myths out there that people love to bandy about. I'm sure there are more, so PLEASE feel free to share your favourites and we'll debunk those as well.


  1. Amen! I get tired of hearing people make assumptions that they have no facts to back up.

    I think the Duggars developed the "buy used save the difference" to live a debt free lifestyle. Obviously, their income has increased now that they have a show. So, I'm not sure why everyone has such an issue with them buying "nicer", new or newer things now as long as they are still living debt free. It was my understanding that the debt free part of the philosphy was the key point.

    I'll go ahead and answer my own question I guess .... I think the intro to the show still states that they "buy used save the difference." Maybe that's what gets everyone all fired up. While they may not buy every single thread of clothing used now it seems that their overall philosophy is still the same, while some of the specifics of how to live within the parameters of that philosophy may have changed.

    Unfortunetly, some people aren't going to be happy until they buy used bread and dig through a dumpster for their clothes. Oh well .... personally, I think anyone who gave birth 18 times (and anyone who vaguely remembers childbirth will probably agree) and then raises 18 children without ever having the urge to eat her young like wild animals deserves a new blouse, dryer, or whatever it may be once in a while without the whole world getting all worked up about it, haha.

  2. Sometimes I wonder if the "buy used and save the difference" tends to come back and bite him in the's not as if you can buy EVERYTHING used...I've said before that I'm a follower of "The Tightwad Gazette" that came out in the early 90s--pre-internet. She was all about yard-saling (pre-ebay and craigslist.) She had 6 kids and all her kids clothing was used because she pre bought everything at yard sales by keeping an inventory and by handing things down. She also had a network of friends that passed on sales ("hey x-store has a sale on chicken want me to pick you up so many lbs while i'm there?") etc. They also had a massive garden and grew and froze/canned most of their own produce. So she too knew how to find things second hand and at a bargain--even better than Jim Bob--which makes me wonder if he's ever read her book.

    I do think they have increased their budget for items, but I do know that Jim Bob will always be Jim Bob and never let loose of the purse strings--he can't--he still has new borns in the house who are a long long way from being 18 and out of the house! I also think there are many many ways they could be getting name brand clothing that we don't know about.

    It would be nice if they would explain a little bit, or if not come out and least show us some of their new shopping experiences. How some of their new clothing is arriving. If they are receiving clothing as gifts or as things to wear for photo shoots--tell us/show us! If they are finding new ways of bargain shopping--share the news! He always lets us know his bargaining ways, what's holding him back now?

  3. I think I remember one show, when they had a photo shoot and one of them mentioned that they get to keep the clothes afterwards, but can't remember which one (apart from the clothes were blue) and I'm not going to traul through every episode to find it!
    Why shouldn't they pick up named brand clothes from the charity shops (sorry UK term - forgot the American equivilant)?
    I think some people just don't want to believe that the Duggars are the real thing - that they must be faking it somewhere - because it makes them feel better about themselves. If an item is new then they've probably got a good deal on it. Is that a betrayal of their motto - well no I don't think so because I've seen all the episodes including the early specials, looked at their website and got their book etc and I know - along with most fans - that there is more to it.
    The stuff that gets to me the most are the statements that imply that Jim Bob and Michelle won't let the kids do, think, say certain things or act in certain ways. Because I am awed at how much this family share feelings, hearts and confidences and how gently they are guided - not controled, forced or supressed.

  4. I just realized I posted this to the blog entry above the one I was trying to post to. Oh well .... these were my thoughts nonetheless, lolol.

    I should disclose to everyone reading the comments that I have ADHD and after recent heart surgery they took me off my medicine ........

  5. Chris---
    Charity shops in England, especially some areas of London were could actually make a living shopping in them and reselling on eBay! Over here I didn't do so well so I stopped. I actually dressed my daughter for free after she was born by buying not just name brand, but DESIGNER baby clothes like Burberry and Dior and Ralph Lauren off eBay letting her wear it 2 or 3 times until she outgrew it (she was a premie too --it's how they spell it over there) and then reselling it on eBay usually for more than I bought it for. When we moved back over here I was actually losing money, usually on postage so I stopped.

    There are so many ways the Duggars could be getting clothes, like I mentioned, since they have so many like-minded friends in their home church that we don't "meet" via the show, they could network for bargains--"hey, so and so has a sale!" Also Cyn mentioned that if you just ask the manager at Wal-Mart for example "hey i'm buying 10 shirts, what about a discount?" you'll usually get it. Don't think Jim Bob hasn't probably done that--afterall he's told us how to talk down the price of a tire and install and how to talk down the price of a hotel room. He also has told us how to shop auctions--I'm sure they go to estate and yard sales--there is money in Arkansas so there is good used clothing there--either at charity shops, consignment shops, or yard sales. There is probably an outlet mall as well.

    One of my favourite places to shop was The Gap in the regular mall and hit their clearance rack. I'd get t-shirts, skirts, shorts, everything for under $10. A $34.50 pair of cargo shorts went for $4.99. A famous "Gap" sweatshirt was $9.99. T-shirts were $3.99. They were practically giving stuff away and that was their REGULAR store--beating their outlet store prices by a mile! Old Navy is the same way--i LOVE their clearance rack. So it is possible that Michelle Duggar knows what a mall looks like--if she shops the clearance racks and holiday sales.

    The only thing I do wonder about is Josh. All we see him in is Aeropostle. Either he hit a sale at an outlet, an after holiday sale, got a gift card, or he's just buying things because he thinks he needs to look good for his business. Someone once said he was wearing "Our Apostle" a Christian brand, but he isn't. It could be a product placement, that wouldn't surprise me either, but he wears the same pink shirt over and over so he may just have bought, or was given as a gift one or two items and wears them A LOT!

  6. You're ok fits here too :) But if you want to cut and paste it over there as well you can! hehehe We love you!

  7. I think the girls are lucky too...frankly I've mentioned in one of the entries that I think that's why none of them are in a hurry to leave--they seem to have it pretty good. So they are doing chores? We've drifted so far away in society these days from kids doing any work in the household that people see kids working in the home to help the family and they get up in arms that the kids are doing the parent's work? Frankly I think they are jealous that they themselves have lost control of THEIR OWN kids and are just lashing out that the Duggars have taught their kids how to help around the house as well as manage a house for when they do leave. I'm the same, I was useless when I left home. I was a spoiled princess because my mom wasn't. Great for me, but useless until about the age of 36 and on marriage #3 when I was a housewife that meant something for real and I had to take it seriously. I'm still more of a Peg Bundy some days but I get the job done when I need to :) So yes, I love my mom and wouldn't trade her for anything, but it would have been nice looking back if she'd have cracked the whip a little and even though I'd have hated it then, made me carry my fair share around the house as a kid--she always talked about the value of work--but never taught it to me.

  8. Thanks MaryBeth! You pretty much covered all the myths. I thought I was the only one paying attention.

    Never had an issue with the girls and chores. I mean, what else is there for them to do? Of course they should carry their weight and help out. The show just appears to portray them as working ALL the time and taking care of kids ALL the time. Them taking care of the the only sore spot I have.

  9. If the girls ENJOY taking care of the kids, I have no problem with it--at that age, I hated babysitting, but then, I didn't have younger siblings, so you can't compare babysitting other kids to taking care of your own siblings. But Jana, for instance, in the book is quoted as saying she LOVES taking care of the babies. And Jill just seems to be a natural mommy. I think those traits rub people the wrong way because they want Michelle to be doing that. Michelle does the best she can, but with 19 kids she does have to delegate, that's a fact of life, and delegating to kids who enjoy the job is the best way to do it. There are 2 kids who enjoy having the family closet as their jurisdiction...that wouldn't be my first choice, but they seem to like it. I'd be the first to take over the pantry and cooking. At least they get to rotate and choose the things they like doing--it's not a dictatorship, it's a family.

  10. Yes, I believe Jana and Jill are sincere with taking care of the younger kids. They have said this. It just appears to be what they have been doing for almost their ENTIRE life. Does this keep their minds too busy to think of anything else? Could be. They said they LOVE the fact the younger kids look up to them. Sounds like an addiction to me. But then again it is a good feeling when others think you are great! At least JB lets them take retreats every now and then.

  11. Marybeth - People often claim that the Duggars don't "believe" in adoption. I've never heard them say such a thing. In fact, on the first mission trip to El Salvador that I can recall Jim Bob is at an orphanage and he is talking about how their mission work makes a difference in the kids lives. He says something in that episode like - who knows maybe some of our family will someday adopt some of these children. I'll try to watch that episode again later today and get you an exact quote. But, I've always wondered why people are so sure that they don't "believe" in adopting. I understand that there is some teaching by Gothard or the Quiverful movement (not sure which - or how much if any JB and Michelle follow these teachings) that has to do with not adopting. But, I haven't seen any evidence that they adhere to that belief specifically. To the contrary, his statement in El Salvador seemed to be exactly the opposite. I have a feeling if one of the 19 were unable to conceive JB and Michelle would actually encourage their children and their spouse to adopt. (I'm basing this on their belief that children are a blessing and JB's statement at the orphanage)

    I feel like I just rambled on... But what are your thoughts? Duggar Myth #7?

  12. That's true...Jim Bob looked right in the camera and said he wouldn't be surprised if in the future his family (he and Michelle) or his kids would one day adopt from "this country"...meaning El Salvador, since that's where he was at the time he was speaking. He was explaining as well that the adopting rules there are very difficult to manuever--apparently the Missionary coulple they visit and work with when they go down their are in the process of adopting and it's taking a long time.

    When I wrote the article on Jim Bob being a cult leader--I mentioned that I didn't think he was a true follower of Gothard. My feeling still is that when they first got into defining their beliefs and a couple, they borrowed some ideas and have now backed away from the actual group. Obviously they don't fit into any specific catagory--since as I seem to understand Gothard says you're supposed to do a home church and in Little Rock they are attending a "real" church. The Bates also attend a "real" church, but both families regularly attend ATI meetings. That episode that showed the Duggars going to a real church wasn't a one time thing, they've been going there since soon after they got to LR.

  13. I agree. I don't think they are following one specific denomination or movement. I think they are interpretting the Bible the best they can and living it the best they can based on their understanding. Which really is the best any of us can do (IMO).

    I just thought of another one that kind of irks me. I guess I have "Duggars on MY Mind" today, lol.

    I constantly hear people complaining that they don't grow their own food and they are draining the resources of the earth. But I am sure on an older episode that there is a man who does garden (using THEIR land) and in exchange for them letting him use the land he gives them a portion of the food that is grown. So, I'm not sure why people are so certain that the arrangement they had then is not still in place. I could be wrong - because it is a vague memory -but I am SURE there was a man growing vegetables on their land with some sort of arrangement.

  14. i always wondered that too, about growing their own food, since they had the land and manpower, and was glad to see that they started it, but sad that it took an outsider to come do it for them...but yes they did enjoy the fruits of their labour...we did discuss it in the "duggar diet" section and if i remember correctly there were some no votes on gardening....and why it isn't always cost effective...but i still think they could save money doing it, if they weren't always traveling and if they learned to can

  15. Big Myth:

    Michelle deliberately weans the babies so she can 'try' to get pregnant.


    This one truly shows people's lack of understanding of the Duggar's beliefs here. They don't 'try' to get pregnant. They just don't prevent it. (When Michelle stated the girls watch the calendar, she only meant that they all live in one house and can figure out her cycle patterns, so they can tell if she skips a month, and is therefore pregnant, in my opinion.)

    Michelle stated in the book that she has a lot of trouble nursing, but does it anyway b/c it is best for the baby. She specifically addresses those who say that 'if she'd just breastfeed, then she wouldn't get pregnant so much', and says that she is here to say it doesn't always work. She says that no matter what she does, nursing on demand, no pacifiers, no bottles, etc, she starts her cycle again 8 weeks or so after the baby is born. That she then gets pregnant again by the time the baby is 8 to 10 months old and then her milk dries up.

    My own mil nursed on demand, co slept with her babies and followed all the reccomendations from those who try to use breastfeeding as birth control, and started her cycle at 6 weeks post partum every time. MANY women do this.

    And I personally don't, which is why my children are all right at 2 yrs apart, but I do usually get pregnant around the time my babies are 14 to 16 months old, while still nursing my babies. And my milk always dries up by the tiem I'm 3 months along. So I have to wean them.

    Mrs P

  16. The whole breastfeeding thing is soooo tired. Seriously, breastfeeding as birth control? Didn't that go out with bustles? I have a relative with 4 kids (I won't be specific as to who she is) she was on the pill when she got pregnant with the 1st 2....nursing when she got pregnant with the 3rd....and the 3rd was born early and she was told there was so much uterine damage that there was no way she'd ever get pregnant again....after #4 came along she got her tubes tied.

    Jim Bob has told Michelle repeatedly that if nursing is so painful she doesn't have to do it--but as a man he just doesn't "get it." For a mother it's not just feeding--it's about being a mother and nurturing your child--no matter how painful it is, she NEEDS to do it. And she gets pregnant anyway because you're EVEN MORE FERTILE AFTER YOU GIVE BIRTH THAN YOU ARE ANY OTHER TIME!!! I was told that after I had my daughter and we hoped and prayed that we'd get pregnant again---sadly it didn't happen. In fact, that's why Britney Spears has 2 kids--that's how #2 came along so soon--she was so fertile after having #1. So there goes the myth of breastfeeding!

    As always, my take on it is that they don't try to have kids at all--they are and always have been--head over heels, puppy dog IN LOVE with each other--just look at them. They have a healthy and happy marital love life. THAT is why they have 19 kids.

  17. As a breastfeeding peer supporter we were told that your body knows by your feeding pattern (how often you feed and particularly how often you feed during the night) whether you are ready for your cycle to start again. I guess I have a simple faith that God designed the body and He does good work.
    The thing about breastfeeding as a form of birth control is still said now - I was told 5 years ago that as long as i nursed at night on demand then I wouldn't be able to conceive.
    If you believe that God has a plan for your life and you put Him in the driving seat, then presumably you believe that God knows when you/your body/your baby is ready. But you don't then purposely try to tip the balance by weaning at any time other than when you and baby are ready.
    How about the often toted the Duggars are just doing this for a, fame or b, money

  18. I have been nursing at night 3 times and gotten pregnant anyway LOL. Breastfeeding is not the most effective birth control that is for sure. Of course I didn't mind at all :)

    That myth is old and tired too, in my opinion Chris. :(

    They have stated again and again that they are only doing this b/c they feel like it is what G-d wants them to do. They truly feel like they are to be on tv as a witness for Christ, and an encouragement to other Christian families, larger families in particular. They ARE too! They have encouraged my family greatly. I know several ladies whose husbands have agreed to have more children after seeing that your home doesn't have to be chaos and unruly brats for kids from watching the Duggars. I've changed for the better after watching Michelle's sweet patient ways, her calm, peaceful spirit. She has inspired me to be a better mother, wife and most of all a better daughter to my Heavenly Father.

    Mrs P

  19. Okay, I question the debunking process here. Let's start with the first "myth" and go from there.

    I do believe, that the Duggars DO NOT pay property taxes on their home. Of course their commercial properties are not exempt from normal taxes, maybe that's where this issue became murky.

    Since it has been repeated, enough times to be the number one myth or fallacy, can someone please post their sources on how they debunked this?

    Not trying to be difficult, but when you post something as a fact, you need to back it up with some proof.

    Thank you, I look forward to being proved wrong if I am!

  20. is for you...and Cyn, yes I "borrowed" this from you--thank you for your hard work!

    From Cyn:

    "The lie "The Duggars built that big house so they could claim it as a church and not have to pay property taxes" (the variations are endless)

    Truth =
    1)Personal Property 921.04
    2)Real Estate 4,021.33
    3)Real Estate 998.22
    4)Real Estate 7,646.21
    Homestead Credit -350.00
    Timber Tax 1.05

    TOTAL for the properties ONLY in that ONE county that belong to them is $13,237.85

    This is the one that drives me the most up the wall.... before I found that web site I would just send people to the IRS site to show them why the Duggars could not qualify for a 501(3)c charity but since Kathie so nicely found the property tax site for the Duggars' area it's been much easier to dispel that myth."

    Hopefully the above will make you feel better that the Duggars are paying their taxes.

  21. Thank you for providing that information. I tried to get to the site to read the specifics, but I'm lacking the essential computer know-how that most small children have mastered. So, the link didn't work for me.

    I have no doubt that they pay property taxes, they own a lot of real estate. Since I have zero proof (except unsubstantiated rumors) I'm going to say I was wrong about this. I also appreciated the extra information regarding the IRS requirements.

    I'm going to believe they DO pay property taxes on their residence from this time forward, unless it can be PROVEN otherwise!

    I really do appreciate your taking the time to post FACTS in reply to my skeptisism. I am very sorry that I allowed an unfounded rumor to color my views of this family.

    Marybeth, this is a great blog!

  22. If Josh and John David bought those businesses themselves then where did they get the money for it? Most likely Jim bob bought the businesses and then told them they could pay him back? Truth is that neither of us know the truth so you can't say it's a myth or a truth.