Before the Kardashians or the real housewives of Beverly Hills or the wealthy real estate brokers at The Oppenheim Group gained reality TV popularity, there was the Duggar family, who became a countrywide sensation owing to their hit show on TLC entitled “19 Kids and Counting.”
The Duggar family represented the pinnacle of the Christian fundamentalist way of life. The Duggars were led by patriarch Jim Bob Duggar and matriarch Michelle Duggar. After all, the family of 22 adhered to a fundamentalist Christian organization called the Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP), which in the name of God taught obedience, discipline, and even global dominion. That sentiment was well conveyed by the Duggar family when they appeared on film. Their 19 children were always submissive and obeyed their parents without question, never raising their voices to them or disobeying their directives. Many others saw them as the model of what the perfect Christian family should look like in the United States.
It didn’t take long for that picture-perfect image to be shattered when, in 2015, the eldest son of the Duggar family, Josh Duggar, was accused of sexually abusing five younger females when he was 15 years old. Four of those girls were Josh’s sisters. Years later, in December 2021, Josh was found guilty of receiving and having child pornography, and he was sentenced to about 12 years in jail as a result of his conviction.
The members of the Duggar family and the members of the cult-like IBLP are the focus of the documentary series “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets,” which is available on Prime Video. The series examines, over the course of its four parts, how the pernicious doctrines and hush-hush scandals of the IBLP allowed for abuse to fester within the Duggar family and remain unchecked. Jill Duggar Dillard, who, for the very first time ever, goes on the record with her own tale, is one of the interviewees in this series. Other interviewees include intimate friends and family members, as well as former IBLP adherents.