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‘Shiny Happy People’ Depicts Duggar Family as Part of a Fundamentalist Movement With a Culture of Abuse

Smith alleged that when she was 16, she was put in a prayer room for four days after a team leader thought that the shoes she was wearing were “sinful and distracting to the men.” 

Another former IBLP member said that she was disciplined for possessing tampons, as they were “a form of pleasure” that “robbed” her husband of the “right” to break her hymen. 

Meanwhile, the documentary portrayed Gothard as building an empire of political influence and monetary affluence, with use of his “Character First” curriculums, which allegedly emphasized absolute obedience to authority, finding its way into public schools and private prisons. 

One interviewee alleged that “world domination was the goal.” 

When Gothard’s brother, Steve, was accused of sexual abuse in the 1980s, Gothard allegedly swept it under the rug. When it later became clear that Steve would need to be removed from the organization, Bill Gothard established stricter anti-gossip guidelines, which some believed were intended to quell future accusations of misconduct against IBLP leaders. 

Such accusations would eventually come for Bill Gothard directly, who has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting young women. In 2014, Gothard was removed from leadership at IBLP. Nevertheless, his teachings still serve as the foundation of IBLP’s programs and resources.

Former friends of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar accused Jim Bob of seeking to fill the void of public leadership that resulted from Gothard’s ouster.

Episode 4: Arrows Activated

The final episode of the docuseries opened with news reports of Josh Duggar’s 2021 arrest for child pornography, going on to explore the events that led up to the revelation that Duggar had committed sex crimes and characterizing the scandal as part of a failed vision to create a multigenerational political dynasty.

After the investigation into Josh’s actions became public, Derick Dillard said that he texted Josh to ask if the allegations were true, at which point Josh denied that they were.

Derick and Jill were unconvinced of Josh’s innocence. 

“I think we were curious to just see how everything unfolded and to get the truth,” Jill said. 

Bobye Holt, a former friend of the family, said, “When it’s a friend doing things that are so vile and so wicked, that part really hurts.”

Jill later said that she was prepared to testify against Josh so that the court would allow his previous sexual assaults to be provided as evidence in the trial, but her testimony ended up not being necessary. 

Holt did testify. 

“The jury got to see that there was a pattern in Josh’s life that he began early on, and he got by with it time and time again,” Holt said. “That was a huge relief, when I was done. It was almost like we had waited all of these years just to be able to say that.” 

Josh was convicted and sentenced to a 12-year prison term.

While Josh’s trial was ongoing, Jim Bob announced that he was running for the Arkansas State Senate, running on the platform of fighting “cancel culture” and “the woke left.” He lost that race.

Lawyer Alex Harris alleged that the Duggars’ quiverfull vision for family is closely associated with a larger agenda to raise up “an elite strike force” of homeschooled children to embed themselves “in the highest levels of government.” 

RELATED: ‘There Is No Shame in Divorcing Josh,’ Says Anna Duggar’s Cousin in Open Letter

A former leader in the “Joshua Generation” movement, Harris said, “The whole purpose was really to position kind of the best and the brightest of the Christian homeschool movement to assume positions of power and influence in the government and in the law.”