Now I think way back in the beginning, Jim Bob found ATI, Gothard, and heard of Quiverfull and all of it made a little sense to him and he and Michelle began to build it into their faith. As they did their faith began to grow as their family began to grow. They attended ATI conferences on a regular basis, connected with families and went to the seminars, read the books, bought the homeschool materials, raised their kids with the values, and life was good. Jim Sammons taught them how to manage their money and they became debt free and life was even better.
Jim Bob went off to the State House and helped shape the government of the great state of Arkansas. His family continued to grow. They kept homeschooling, living by their beliefs in moral character, Christ-like qualities, and how many ATI conferences they attended while he was in office is anyone's guess as it's not documented for us anywhere--but they stayed in touch.
Jim Bob ran for a state Senate seat and lost and went back home to Springdale. Their family continued to grow, they continued to homeschool, they remained debtfree, they bought a huge chunk of land, and they decided to build themselves a house. Then TLC came knocking on their door and asked if they could do a 1 hour documentary.
It's been said that in the 1st documentary some footage was cut where Jim Bob spoke up about Gothard and Quiverfull and now that footage is no longer available. Of course there are conspiracy theories about Kennedy's assasination too, but of this we will never know unless someone posts a You Tube clip--of either. Since Jim Bob and Michelle currently don't espouse either Gothard or Quiverfull associations, my guess is this: They grew up.
Even Bible-believing Christians are allowed to come under the influence of someone, maybe even borrow a few ideas, then decide it's not really for them and leave. If I had to compare it to something I'd compare it to all those weird cults in the 70s, but on a much milder level. Kids would join all excited, then opt out, or their parents would drag them out. With this situation I'd say that Jim Bob is far too much of a personality to "follow" any person. I don't know if you've noticed or not, but politicians and carsalesmen have pretty strong personalities and don't make good cult-fodder.
I think they remain tight with ATI because it's a good experience for them as a family and their kids enjoy it. How often do they get a chance to bond with other large families with similar goals and beliefs, share homeschool information, and worship together as a large group? ATI makes perfect sense to me. I can also see why Jim Bob would promote the Jim Sammons seminar--it did make him financially sound--it's the same reason people praise Dave Ramsey when they use his program to become debt-free.
I've never truly believed they had anything officially to do with the Quiverfull movement. I think because they have the quote from the Bible on their website people assume that they do. A bible quote and a membership in a movement do not two things make. For one thing, Jim Bob is way way way too vocal, too public, and too ON TELEVISION for anything as private as a movement like that. There's a reason why the show "Secret Lives of Women" did a show on Quiverfull--they don't openly talk about their movement. Why? I have no idea. You'd have to ask the producers of "Secret Lives of Women."
But for those of you that think Jim Bob is raising his own cult--again--he's too loud, too vocal, and too public. Cult leaders don't let their kids roam around in public, roam around on a TV show, have a website, cell phones, and leave the country. Yes he's a protective father, some say over-protective. Detractors say he keeps his daughters hostage until he chooses their husbands for them. Frankly, that I don't see, especially since his and Michelle's marriage was a love match and so was Josh and Anna's. But that's another story. So just because they have orthodox religous beliefs doesn't make them a cult--are Chassidic Jews then a cult? The Amish?
I think I'd go along with a shameless self-promoter before cult leader, but that's pretty harsh language. I'm only giving it to the detractors, and because he's well, a politician and carsalesman deep down inside.
But to be honest with you, he's a businessman. From the time they got married they have opened one business after another with the goal of having a home-based business so they could be closer to family. The reason they sold the tow business was that Jim Bob would just sit down to dinner and inevitably get a call for a tow. They wanted a wholesome family life. So now they've built up a real estate 'empire' and they have the cell phone tower, and now they have their TV show. There is nothing at all "unChristian" about being a capitalist. So i think he's just using the tv show to show the world you can live your life believing your faith, living debt free, and still have the family life you've always wanted--happily.
But then of course there could have been a second shooter.