Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Duggars Stand Their Ground: How Far Would You Go to Uphold Your Beliefs?

I was reading the Duggar's book again and came across the part where they owned their mini-mart and decided to stop selling cigarettes. It was a huge part of their income, but at the same time, what was it teaching their son, who was always in his play pen behind the counter? Cutting their income and making a mockery of what a mini-mart is--and losing a partnership--they stood up for their convictions and decided not to sell cigarettes. They didn't want to be hypocrites to their child--don't smoke, but watch us sell them to people all day long. They were at the same time grateful they didn't have to sell liquor, for at the time in Arkansas, you had to go to a liquor store to buy liquor.

Soon after, they made another decision to sell their towing business, even though it was making them a very good income. Why? It was keeping Jim Bob away from their family. As soon as dinner would be ready, sure enough the beeper would go off and he'd have to go off to pick up a car. So they prayed about it and decided that even though it was supporting them, their family life was more important.

These events got me to thinking to some things that have happened to them lately. Once again, I'll remind you, I don't do investigative reporting, I only write what I remember. But when Michelle was reported to have protested the issuance of a liquor license to a mini-mart near her home soon after Josie was born, people were up in arms. However, in my estimation, history shows this to be right in true Duggar form. Michelle has 18 other children, not just Josie and she is mother to ALL of them, not just Josie. To her, having liquor sold so near their home so "easily" (in their opinion) was important to the safety of their ENTIRE family. So she exercised her rights as an American citizen and let her opinion be known before the board who issues the license.

By choosing to home school, rather than send her children to public school, they are taking a verse from the Bible about "train up your children" and using the literal translation to teach their kids at home. Being the mother of a 3 year old I am still tussling with the notion of home school. I am dreading the thought of putting her in the California school system--sorry but right now it is in the throws of economic crisis and it seems unfair to punish her for the government's inability to balance a budget and care for our children's education. I'm the product of public school, but a rather well-funded one--most years--some years we had to fight to get the bugets passed. We can't afford private school and there is no private Jewish school where we live, so a private school would have to be one that wasn't religious and offer massive scholarships. So I'm back to home schooling and again, I find that very daunting. I've made no secret to my laziness--would I make a good home school mom? Could I really pick up the torch and do this for my child if push came to shove?

By merely putting their family on camera and showing their faith to the world they are in a way, saying to nay-sayers--we get it, you don't care for our life-style, but what you have to say isn't what matters, what the Bible says and what G-d says is what matters. They have focused on their faith and set their lives in motion by following that faith. How many of us have that kind of courage to give up our lives to any faith that strong?

By watching the Duggars we can ask ourselves a lot of questions in our daily lives. Even if we don't share the same faith, the same political beliefs, the same ecological beliefs--we can still glean a lot of perspective from them. How far would you go to stand up for what you believe in, no matter what that "what" is?


  1. Ahh...the test of faith. I should say I did the EPIC FAIL when tested.

    I came back to the religion I was rasied in with two little children in tow as a teenage mother who had lived a hard life outside the religion. I soon married a man in the faith that I had known since I was 6, God was good to us and we were happy. Our second son died after his birth and we stood strong and kept the faith even when our Elders said we could not have a Memorial service for our son in the place of worship because he didn't live long enough. We weren't seat warmers but rather true lovers of God and taught our children to be God's friend. I was proud of how I had turned my life around and it seemed that all was well.

    My faith was tested when my daughter was born almost 2 years after our little boy that died. My daughter lay dying and I was asked to sign for a blood trasfusion. I stood and looked at my dying little girl just under her 1.9 pound birth wieght and begged God to not ask me for this. Our faith asked us to not celebrate holidays not even birthdays, we coudln't smoke, we must obey the laws of the land, I gave up the friends I had that were not in the faith because "bad association spoils useful habits " modest dress was asked and so was many, many hours of service to God in a week but the hardest thing, the one I couldn't do when asked was no blood. I waited many hours before I signed the form I prayed and I searched my soul. I thought of the scripture I was raised on where Jehovah said "but as for the blood it must be returned to the earth and not consumed" I thought well she isn't eating it...right? I thought of the scriptures where God asked for the sacrifice of the firstborn and then later when the parents and even their child where willing said no he wouldn't ask that of them and asked for an animal instead. Jesus came to die for my sins though I believed so sacrifice wasn't needed anymore...that means I didn't have to let my child die for my faith. My mind spun and my faith...faded. I signed the paper and stopped counting after 26 blood transfusions and soon after lost all faith in organized religion.

    So you ask "How far would you go to stand up for what you believe in, no matter what that "what" is?" I will go to 5 meetings a week and take 3 little kids and have them dressed up and sit still, I will avoid all holidays and teach my children Jehovah doesn't want a lit tree in our house and us giving it glory above him, I will give up smoking even though I love it, I will leave the world I knew and friends I loved, I will home study and pray that I can live as God wants and ask for forgiveness for my wicked past...but I will not stand and watch my child die. My faith had limits.

  2. Very thought provoking post. What am I willing to do?

    To Diane, I believe you did the right thing. I know what faith you are talking about from what you wrote. I don't agree with it, but I truly believe God would not ask you to watch your baby die when you can help her. That's my opinion. You were putting your faith in God, that He would heal your daughter through medical means. That is the right place to put your faith, not in a religion. I'm not trying to come across as downing your religion, but just trying to give you a word of encouragement that you did the right thing. :)

  3. Fortunately I never smoked.It is bad for you. I used to be against home school but it looks good compared to the condition of public schools. People home school for different reasons. I like diversity in my life Yes like Diane ( sorry about your son),we had to let go of a few bad friends in our life but it doesn't mean you cant have them from different walks of life. I'm not saying for them to be bad people but they can be from different faiths and socioeconomic backgrounds.I read an article about the areas most Christians and perhaps most Americans need to improve and diversity is one of them. I just didn't like how it was biased and lumped Christians together but it made some good points. We all could use improving lol Correct me if needed, but wasnt that liquor store in another county? Most critics were calling her out on the timing.

  4. I know it was a timing issue, and that was part of my point--Josie isn't her only child and people are forgetting that. Yes Josie is sick and in the NICU and needs lots of attention, but she has 18 other children too and she does and is allowed to mother them as well and part of mothering them is attending to their needs. Part of those needs is their safety and what she and Jim Bob consider important to their upbringing and what should or shouldn't be in their neighbourhood.

    So regardless of Josie being in the NICU, Michelle is still the mother of those other children and still can stand up for her rights as a mother to take a few moments to protest for what she believes in. Now while I did mention that I didn't research this and what I did read what speculation on everyone's part--did she show up in person, did she send a letter, did she send a video, did she call? But apparently from what I understand it is a mini-mart near their home and they don't want liquor sold there--so they protested the owner getting a license. Again, I don't know if they showed up in person. But apparently she protested in some form. Either way, she did it for ALL HER CHILDREN and she did it because she believed it to be right.

  5. Michelle said herself that in the early days there wasn't much she could do for Josie, other than pump milk, so how long was she expected to sit and watch.
    Having never had a baby in special care I have no personal experience to draw on but I wonder if staying next to your baby day and night is more for yourself than for the baby. I know that I don't let my newborn out of my sight because it is a way I stay in control.
    Michelle is a very selfless person, used to putting God first, others second and herself last. It is what they teach their children and they lead by example.
    So she doesn't choose to stay next to her preemie day and night but puts her faith in God - that he is with her - and put others needs before her own.

    Dianne - it sounds to me as if your faith grew... you put your trust in God not religion. I have no idea how I would do if I were put to the test, but I do not think I would be able to watch a child die if I could do something to prevent it.

  6. Marybeth,
    When Michelle went to the Alcohol Control Board to testify against this happening, the *store* was near their Springdale home, but the actual office of the Alcohol Control Board is in Little Rock, only a few minutes away from the hospital. I live in AR, and this is how they work things for the Alcohol Control Board. So I wouldn't even consider this taking time away from Josie. It *might* have taken an hour, tops. But of course, the anti-Duggar people can't allow Michelle any slack. No matter what she does, it will never be alright.

    Mrs P

  7. Diane - your story is touching and I weep for what you went through. My father was a Jehovah's Witness and my stepmother still is. I know my dad has had to travel toa hopspital farther away from his home to one that will respect his religious views on blood transfusions.

    Personally, I like much of what the Witnesses stand for, but the ones on blood transfusions I have to say are something person between that person and God. You saved your daughters life, and I believe it took more faith to trust in God and His word, than it did to follow the orders that the church put out. God bless you

  8. Diane

    I think you did the right thing. And I can see why you gave up on organized religion... because I have also. I would remind you that Jesus did not give up the friends (or sinners) he loved that others refused to associate with. Jesus and Paul neither one felt that an occasional drink was bad, and Jesus loved celebrations.. . I think you love God and that is all that is needed.
    And, I guess that would be my chief disagreement with the Duggars. They seem to think that they need lots and lots of religious rules about dress, and home church, and family roles, etc,.. when all they really need to do is love God.