Former Childhood Friend of the Duggars Answers Questions About the Family: Claims Jim Bob & Michelle Favored Josh; Disciplined Their Kids with “The Rod of Encouragement”

Bowman, refusing to keep the Duggar secrets on the down-low.

As the Duggar Family compound house of cards continues to fall, former friends, love interests and acquaintances of the prodigious and problematic family keep coming forward to spill the tea on what viewers never saw on 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On. 

One of the latest individuals to out themselves as a former Duggar pal is Bowman Fedosky, who grew up around the family. (His mother, Teresa Fedosky, assisted in the home birth of several Duggar babies, including Anna Duggar‘s infamous toilet tot.) In a Reddit AMA (“Ask Me Anything”), Bowman revealed some interesting–- and quite funny–- facts about his days spent with the Duggars, even admitting that he “used to have a crush on Jessa [Duggar Seewald]” but was “already a rebellious sinner” by the time they reached courting age. 

“Honestly, I’d choose sin over Ben if I had it to do over.”

Bowman explained on Reddit that he was asked by multiple people to do the AMA after posting a TikTok discussing a time that Josh Duggar allegedly gave the Fedosky family “a bunch of computers that had lots of deleted p0rn files on them.” Bowman, now 28, said he was between nine and 12 years old at the time and the incident resulted in him being exposed to p0rn for the first time; Josh was “around 15-16″ when this occurred.   


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(As you know, Josh was recently convicted of receiving and possessing child sex abuse materials, which happened to be found on a computer located at his now-shuttered car lot.) 

Bowman’s AMA is worth a read in its entirety (in our opinion); however, if you’re interested in the Duggar Courtship Edition (aka the short version), The Ashley has compiled the 10 most interesting responses below. 

Gather your buddies– as assigned by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar– and scrunch your hair into flowing Fundie curls and enjoy! 

1. The Fedosky family tried to sweep the whole “p0rn on the homeschool computers” incident under the rug.

A throwback photo of the Fedowsky Family posted by Teresa on Instagram…

Around the time Bowman found Josh’s leftover p0rn on the computers, Bowman said his family was spending a lot of time with the Duggars for church, homeschooling, or babysitting when his mother was unable to watch him and his siblings. Following the incident with Josh and the computers, Bowman said nothing changed between the two families. 

“Part of me wants to believe that they played it off as simply being due to a virus because I remember having this ridiculous fear of opening sketchy sites and that if I did that my computer was going to be full of p0rn lololol,” he wrote.  

The actual virus that infected Josh’s computer(s)…

Bowman recalled Josh often tinkering with computers, taking them apart and spending hours fixing them, which he believes “gave him a lot of time to say he was busy ‘working’ on something.” 

Bowman said after he reported all of the p0rno he found on the computers, his parents tried to keep the situation on the downlow.

“I told my parents [about the p0rn] and they talked to the Duggars but I never heard anything else about it,” he wrote. “It was definitely not talked about or even insinuated by anyone that it was him. At least not that I heard. Everyone was always weirdly quiet about other people’s ‘struggles’ even my parents and they seemed to just want to forget about it and move on.”

2. The Duggar girls weren’t very talkative around Josh. 

“No thanks. I’d rather have a conversation with the dirty birthing couch.”

As far as the behavior or dynamic among the Duggar siblings, Bowman recalls the Duggar girls not being very open or talkative around Josh.

“I used to think it was just cause he was older in age and not as close with them but obviously there was other stuff going on,” he continued. “There was a large difference between how they acted with him and how they acted with John-David. I regularly saw them laughing and joking and talking with John-David but did not see this a lot with Josh.” 

Bowman confirmed that Josh got along best with John-David.

“The other siblings seemed to be a bit standoffish. John David and him got on fairly well but that was about it.”

3. Josh received special treatment compared to the other Duggar siblings. 

“I will call the prison warden and tell him what a very special boy Josh is!” 

“I would say so yes [he did receive special treatment],” Bowman stated. “There was a lot that came with being the oldest sibling and that was fairly ingrained in him from a young age I think. Supposed to be a leader and what not.

“He was definitely kind of the favorite [of Jim Bob and Michelle],” Bowman said later in the AMA. “He was gone a lot when I was first around (kept getting sent away for doing things we never talked about) but they definitely treated him like he was special.”

4. Jim Bob and Michelle spanked their kids with the “rod of encouragement.”

“Let me encourage you!”

Bowman provided insight as to how discipline went down at the Duggar house.

“They never yelled but they did spank with a tiny little plastic rod called the ‘rod of encouragement,'” he said. “That’s what they called it. But it was always done behind closed doors and not in front of the rest do the family or kids.”

As for the actual ‘rod of encouragement,’ Bowman said it was “the diameter of a glue stick.”

“It was about 2 feet long. Gray, with a little knob at the end that you could hold on to. I don’t actually know what it was or it’s original purpose was.”

Bowman said the Duggars were “very open” about using the “rod of encouragement” to spank with.

“They introduced my mom to it too lol,” he wrote. “But they were very big on not publicly shaming someone. So if a kid got in trouble they would take them to the room and everyone knew they were getting spanked but they did not do it in front of people.”

5. Michelle was very focused on Jim Bob, so she used her “buddy system” for just about everything.

“Next question, please.”

“They were active [parents] but they were very dependent on their buddy system,” Bowman observed. “If a kid came up to Michelle and asked something she would say ‘well where is your buddy?’ and that’s how they managed to have so many children.”

When another Redditer asked if Michelle treated her older daughters– Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger– like “managers or supervisors,” Bowman confirmed that’s how things ran in the Duggar house.

“Yeah honestly that’s kind of how it seemed. Which I felt like at times they probably wanted to just be kids themselves,” he said.

In another part of the AMA, Bowman gave insight as to the pecking order in fundie families.

“The man comes first and that the wife’s first commitment is to her husband,” he wrote. “Which obviously I don’t agree with. If you bring a kid into this world with me I’m not going to let you leave that child to come spend time with me. I’m a grown man. It’s our child. I can’t even comprehend it.”

6. Yes, Michelle always speaks in that horrible baby voice.  

“I’m available for voice over work, pending my husband’s permission.”

“Literally always,” Bowman said. “I used to think it was fake and I waited and waited and I have never heard her crack … .” 

He also gave insight into who Michelle is as a person.

“Michelle was really sweet like she seems on the show. Almost too sweet to where you think it has to be fake,” he said. “But it’s not, she always has that voice and even to this day when she sees me she still talks like that and tells me ‘how much of a blessing’ I am and always has that same smile she always has. She was always like that… she always made me feel welcomed and loved and I never felt like I was a nuisance so I’ve always appreciated her for that.”

7. The Duggar kids didn’t disobey their parents.

“No youngin of ours is going to disobey!” 

On their show, Jim Bob and Michelle always stressed how ‘obedient’ their children were. According to Bowman, this good behavior was not just for the cameras.

“They were all very obedient,” he said of the Dugs. “Never saw a lot of rebellion from them as teens and what I saw from kids was pretty much just the younger ones being kids and maybe getting upset about something or raising their voice which they would get called out on. But I never saw any public discipline really. They would go and ‘have a talk’ and that was how things were handled.”

Bowman confirmed that the Dugs did not cuss. When asked if he ever heard one of the Duggar kids say a bad word, Bowman wrote, “Not once.”

8. Jessa Duggar once sat in pee willingly because she wasn’t allowed to change her clothes until she was dirty.

“Always dress to impress…no matter what it takes!”

Bowman shared a particular memory involving Jessa, whom he said once purposely sat in a “puddle of urine” on a couch in order to be allowed to change her fundie frock-of-the-day. 

“ … I was sitting across from this couch and Jessa comes over and sits right down in the urine and I was like ‘you know there was pee right there right?’ and she with a completely blank face goes ‘I know, we can’t change our clothes unless they get dirty and I want to wear something else,’” Bowman recalled. “I was like damn this girl is different … .” 

9. Jana Duggar is likely still living at The Compound because “that is kind of what [the Duggars] do.” 

“I, however, have had the stay-at-home order here on The Compound my entire life.”

When asked his take on why eldest non-married Duggar daughter Jana is still living at The Compound, Bowman said it’s because Jana is single and “that is kind of what they do.” 

“I don’t doubt that she feels a responsibility to help out and help raise the kids which to be honest, I haven’t kept up with them or the show but there would not be a lot of time for dating or courting if you are doing all of that so it doesn’t surprise me,” he continued. “I hope she is happy at least.” 

“Yep. Living the dream.”

Bowman stated that, even though Jana is in her thirties, she likely still has to ask her father, Jim Bob, for permission to do things.

“I imagine she makes her own money but she likely still honors the ‘my house my rules’ thing which would mean asking his permission for things.”

In another part of the AMA, Bowman said that Jana used to be quite the jokester.

“Jana was always goofy and that is sad if that has changed!” he wrote.

He stated that Jana was often too busy raising babies and whatnot to be a kid or teen herself.

“Jana was always really reserved and soft-spoken and I usually only saw her get more ‘herself’ when she and Jill were together and then she would perk up a bit,” he said. “Also her and [John-David] would joke around a lot and it was obvious they had a strong connection.”

10. People in the Duggar’s cult religion will keep trying to pull you back in if you leave.

“How could you want to leave THIS?!”

Bowman stated that he is mostly estranged from his family now, but when he first started trying to leave, other followers would try to talk him into staying.

“I had to cut myself off from everyone and just do my own thing and not care what anyone thought of me,” he said. “For a long time I was getting calls and emails and Facebook messages from people wanting to ‘grab coffee’ cause apparently my mom was email-blasting everyone saying I was going down a bad path.”

He stated that this would likely happen to any of the Duggar adult kids who want to distance themselves from the religion/their family.

“I think there could be hope [of them getting out] but it is really hard to still hold onto a lot of those ideologies while also progressing. So if they don’t let some of them go, they will have a hard time ever getting away from it,” he wrote. 

He brought up the fact that Jill has “left” and is now shunned by her family. Bowman stated that this is a common occurrence for Fundies who want to leave.

“When I started drifting away from the church scene after moving out my mom made it clear to a lot of people that “Satan had a hold on Bowman” and I slowly stopped coming around and going to places where I felt judged so I stopped hanging out with just about everyone that was still part of that group,” he said. “I’m sorry to see Jill go through it but I’m glad and think she is making the right choice for herself and her family.”

To read Bowman’s full AMA, click here!

RELATED STORY: EXCLUSIVE! Legal Analyst Emily D. Baker Answers More of Your Questions About Josh Duggar’s Appeals, Possibility of Conjugal Visits & What Prison He May Go To

(Photos: Instagram; TikTok; TLC) 


  1. Jim Boob and Michelle have used their kids to make money for themselves for DECADES. They used their daughters for free child-raising to amass the family numbers needed to land a TV show! They didn’t educate them! They didn’t protect their daughters (and maybe sons??) from pedo Josh! They beat their kids and they are PROUD of it! The list goes on and on! I pray that those kids SEE THIS for what it is and join Jill and Jinger in GETTING AWAY!

  2. Good article, The Ashley! It’s definitely giving more insight into their family dynamic. Things we suspected are confirmed (kids raising their siblings, husband priority #1 above your kids). I mean, it’s not making me feel any better knowing it’s true. But it gives me a little more hope more Duggars will do a Jill and leave the cult. I wish those girls a life where they feel and have mutual respect and love from their partner, not just submission and baby making. And for their kids to feel the love of both parents, not being raised by an older sibling who didn’t ask for that. Just the basics, right?

  3. When your “religion” advocates and demands you cut off friends and family because they think differently, it’s a CULT.

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