A Word About That Dark Secrets Duggar Documentary

A new documentary is out on the Duggar family called Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets. After watching a bit of this documentary my pastoral Spidey-Senses went off. The mature can do multiple things at the same time, which this documentary requires. But not all are mature. 

This doc is designed to play evangelicals and it has a good chance of doing so. Kristen Kobes Du Mez, the author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, makes an appearance or two. And Russell Moore has already taken this documentary as an opportunity to lament that the young homeschool Christian boys are training in rhetoric and political philosophy. If they keep that up, then they may end up clerking for Supreme Court Justices or something and, well Russell wouldn’t want anything like that happening.

This documentary is also the kind that can put a damper the spirits with Cloudy, Unhappy People ensuring viewers that the Duggars were faking the Shiny, Happy People thing. The ethos is something like: Let’s just all be miserable together.

There are better things to attend to and thinking about whatever is true, honorable, right and pure comes to mind (Philippians 4:8). Nevertheless, this swampy documentary is out there and my gut says evangelicals are watching. So here are few points so that you don’t get stuck in the muck.

Gothard Problems

First, let me say right up front that the IBLP / Gothard world is a well from which you don’t want to drink. I don’t know much about the ministry. But what I have seen is enough to say that there are significant errors and problems going on there. I’ll say it again for those who are going to set their hair on fire about the point coming in the next paragraph. As the apostle wrote with big letters once, I will put it in italics: Albeit I only have a little knowledge of the Bill Gothard movement and teaching, it is nevertheless clear from that little bit that you do not want to be covered in the dust of that particular rabbi. The Duggar documentary addresses the sexual sin of Josh Duggar who was convicted of child-pornography and is currently in prison. This sexual perversion and other kinds of family structure problems, childrearing errors, and sexual mishaps are laid at the feet of the IBLP in the documentary. And this leads us to the heart of the matter.

LGBTQ+ Has No Light at All

Whatever the corruptions, anyone friendly to LGBTQ+ has nothing to say to the dark secrets of the Gothard / Duggar business. Everyone is pearl clutching about Josh Duggar’s sexual perversions while Mr. Biden just hung the sexual perversion flag on the White House, centered between two American Flags. I am not a fan of sexual corruptions wherever they are to be found. Anyone who stands against sexual perversion is welcome to state an opinion on the Gothard / Duggar situation. The microphone is open. We Reformed Christian types, you know the kind who still think Big John shouldn’t shower with your local high school girls volleyball team, are happy to take questions. 

But if you think that the sexually perverted should be in the White House, then you don’t get to decry the sexual perversions of Josh Duggar. You have the plus sign at the end of that LGBTQ. You have Open Marriages and Minor-Attracted-Persons right there alongside the Ls, Gs, and Bs. You have grown men entering the little girls dressing room and changing with them at Target. You cannot high-five Josh Duggar for what he did and be upset with him at the same time. You cannot want to get Josh Duggar out of prison and make him Chief Advisor to Mr. Biden on sexual matters in the United States and at the same time shun him and his family for his immoral sexual practices.

I mentioned that this documentary is designed to play evangelicals and has a good chance of doing so. So this second point is very much for those evangelicals. Those behind the Duggar documentary are not your friends and they are not more sexually pure and morally upright than the Duggars. It was something like four or five years ago when the liberal Lutheran lady encouraged all of the exvangelical ladies to send in their purity rings so that she could melt them down into a vagina. I recall that some Christians at that time took this as an opportunity to point out, not the problems with fashioning an idol in the form of female genitalia from purity rings, but the problems of purity culture.

The Duggar doc is round two of this kind of thing. If the producers of this documentary, and the many participants who lamented traditional family values, homeschooling, and spanking, would come out and renounce the rainbow flag+, then I will pay attention to their concerns about the sexual failings brought about by the teaching and culture of the IBLP. I will encourage evangelicals across this land to consider their take and give them a fair hearing if only they will say something simple like homosexual practice is a sin to be repented of and hospitals shouldn’t be places where men cut young women’s breast off in an attempt to make them men. Renounce PRIDE month and we will make time in the schedule. 

I’ll wait.

The Structure

The reason the Duggar family and this particular documentary catches the eye is because it touches upon both structure and spirit. These are age old principles with an age old relationship. The structure of the traditional family—the Christian family, the real family—testifies to a structured world, an ordered cosmos. 

We live in a time when there is quite a movement to burn down the ordered cosmos, which means deconstructing the divinely ordered family. Leftist revolutionaries have been after this for decades. Kate Millett, one of the leaders of second wave feminism, was gunning for this back in the 60s when she held here meetings and chanted about destroying the American Patriarch. How would she do it? By promoting prostitution, abortion, and other sexual perversions. 

That’s right, we can deconstruct the family by pimping out the women. So reasons feminism. 

The truth is that our problems are not found in the structure. They are found in our hearts. I’m not denying the existence of systemic sin. I am ousting the lie that the problem is in hierarchy, order, structure, and God’s design of male, female, and the natural family. That is the central lie of the Duggar documentary.

Modern man has lost his head so this natural order is fascinating, especially when it goes full Duggar style with all of those children. And modern man will have all sorts of flesh enjoyments when he sees failure amid this structure. Carnal man likes to see people fall while attempting to adhere to the Creator’s design. It makes him feel better about himself for all the ways he has fallen short of that standard. 

This is where hot gospel will do you better than peering into the “dark secrets” of the Duggars. 

The truth is God made them male and female. A wife is to submit to her own husband. The husband is head of the wife. Sex belongs in marriage. Children should obey their parents. Boys are boys. Girls are girls. And homosexual practice is contrary to nature. 

We have made a mess of this order. And then we have blamed it on the order. But the problem is our devious, corrupt hearts. The problems is that we are dead in our sins.

It is for this reason that Christ was born of the Virgin. That he lived a righteous life and died on a cross, taking the sins of His people to the grave. You have two options. Salve your conscience by objecting to God’s created order. Or repent of your sins, looking to Jesus Christ. The message is simple: The dark secrets you wanted to find in the Duggar home are found in your very own heart. There is one way to deal with them: You must be born again.