Jinger Vuolo Talks About How the Duggars Feel About Her New Beliefs; Looks Back On Her Family’s “Crazy” Modesty & Courtship Rules

“Don’t worry mom and dad, I’ll be sure to send you both a signed copy ASAP!”

Jinger Vuolo‘s new book, Being Free Indeed, is about to be released, and now the former Counting On star is blasting the beliefs she grew up in, stating that Bill Gothard‘s Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) is cult-like and fear-driven.

“The teaching I grew up under, it was harmful. It was damaging, and there were lasting effects…people are still stuck in this,” Jinger told People magazine in a video chat interview this week. “I want to be vulnerable to share my story and hopefully it will help even just one person to be free from this.” 

Jinger– who got her start on 19 Kids & Counting— still has family who belong to the IBLP (including her parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar), but that has not stopped her from speaking out against the religious organization.

“I grew up under some harmful teaching that really threatened me to be fearful, confused about who Jesus was, and threatened me really to leave Jesus,” she told the magazine.

Jinger said she was already starting to “come out” of the IBLP teachings around 2017. After attending an IBLP conference around that time, Jinger said her eyes were really opened to what was going on in the organization.  

How that looked…probably…

“When I went back into that setting, it really broke my heart to see people who were still there and believing all of these things, and [seeing] how damaging it was to their lives. People were leaving Christianity all together, leaving the Bible all together because they were just so confused by this teaching. And that’s really what drove me to write this book,” Jinger said.

“The [IBLP] teachings in a nutshell is based on fear, superstition and really leaving you in a place where you’re like, ‘I don’t know what God expects of me. He could be pleased with me one day and angry at me the next’…it was so confusing. The fear kept me crippled with anxiety, not sure where to turn.” 

Jinger told the magazine that she’s so much happier now than when she was stuck in Gothard’s teachings.

“I just feel every day that I’m just so grateful to not be so bogged down by fear and superstition, and thinking that God’s out to get me for no reason. It has been so freeing.”

On how her family feels about her leaving the IBLP & going against the Duggar standards:

“Skinny jeans are the Devil’s wardrobe, I tells ya!”

Most of the Jinger’s family presumably still follows Gothard’s teachings, which has made it difficult for Jinger at times. 

“We’ve just sought to talk about those things and, at times, agree to disagree,” she said of her parents and siblings who still subscribe to the IBLP standards of modesty, courtship, etc.

(On Wednesday, Jinger posted about her interview with People on her Instagram account. While her sister Jill Dillard praised her— as did her cousin Amy Duggar— in the comment section, most of the other Duggar family members did not “like” the post or comment on it. Jinger’s aunt Deanna and brother James did “like” it though, in case you care.) 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jinger Vuolo (@jingervuolo)

On her feelings on her disgraced brother Josh:

“”Deuces, Joshy! Enjoy prison!””

Jinger said that she hasn’t spoken to her oldest brother Josh (who is currently in federal prison for receiving child sex abuse materials) in more than two years.

“I don’t have any desire to talk to him,” Jinger said.

“It’s so heartbreaking to see the decisions my brother Josh has made,” she added. “My heart just really breaks for the victims and their families and all that they’ve been through. I just pray that Josh will genuinely change one day and come to know Christ for who he is and repent.”

Jinger said that she is always open to help Josh’s Anna and their seven kids.

“I just know that they’ve been through so much and I am just always here for them whenever they need help,” she said. 

On looking back on her family’s strict rules for modesty, courtship & more:

“Sorry for all the weirdness, Jer.”

Jinger said that entertaining the idea of going outside her family’s strict modesty standards, or even listening to music with drum sounds in it, made her worry that God would harm her. She was also afraid that having friends who were outside of her “bubble” and did not subscribe to Gothard’s teachings could “bring harm on me.” 

Jinger says that she now thinks the Duggars’ very strict courtship standards are ridiculous.

“I could be so consumed with [courtship], with having a chaperone, with not kissing before you’re married, and not holding hands before you’re engaged, all of these things that I had set up for myself that now I kind of laugh at, honestly,” she said. “Like, that’s so crazy that I used to believe that was the only way to have success in life.”

On her current feelings about drinking alcohol:

“Who needs alcohol? One Ovaltine and I’m loopy all night!”

The Duggars have long professed that they do not drink alcohol of any kind (although Jinger’s sister Jill Dillard now enjoys a good cocktail when she wants). Jinger stated that she realized that the Bible never actually says that it’s wrong to drink, despite what her family has always told her.

“The Bible’s very clear about drinking,” she says. “It simply says that alcohol is not a sin. Jesus made wine at a wedding! Also, it does say that drunkenness is wrong and it’s harmful to so many people, so I see that balance.”

Jinger says she still refrains from drinking, however, “I don’t have a problem with other Christians, it’s their liberty to drink if they so choose.”

On using birth control:

For years, the Duggars have preached that they let God choose how many children they will have, bucking any sort of birth control methods.

“Birth control, that’s something I always thought was totally wrong,” Jinger said. “I just no longer see it as that. So, yeah, I definitely have changed.” 

“Jimmy, bring me my smelling salts! I think I’m gonna faint!”

On why she’s choosing to keep her kids out of the public eye:

Jinger’s parents made the choice for her to become a public figure, but she says she wants to give her two daughters the ability to choose for themselves.

“One thing we have decided to do is to keep our girls out of the public eye,” she said. “I’m still in the public eye and just always have been but I want to let them make that decision one day. If they want to go into acting one day, whatever they want to do, that’s their choice. They can be in a public space.

“I just want to give my kids the best life possible, so it will probably look different than my upbringing did,” she added.

Jinger, coming in with the undercover shady comment…

Unlike her parents– who discouraged higher education for their kids— Jinger said she will encourage her daughters to go to college if they want to.

“If they want to go to college, do that. [I want to] encourage them in learning and studies and see what career they may want to do. I’m good with that. And that’s different than the setting [I] grew up in. 

To pre-order Jinger’s book using The Ashley’s Amazon Associates link, click here!

You can watch Jinger’s full interview below! 

RELATED STORY: Jinger Vuolo Calls Writing New Book the “Hardest Thing” She’s Ever Done; Her Sister Jill & Cousin Amy Applaud Her While Rest of Duggar Family Stays Silent

(Photos: TLC; YouTube; Instagram)


  1. The flip side of being taught that god will harm her if she sins is that she most likely believed that people deserved the bad things that happen to them. Those kind of teachings breed a lack of empathy and a sense of superiority. Unfortunately bad things happen sometimes and placing blame or that someone caused the bad things that happened is cruel.

  2. Good for her!! It’s so obvious on their faces how happy and free Jinger and Jill are. It’s really disturbing how those fundies live. I never read the police report from Pedo Duggar until yesterday and the fact that Jim Bob just wrote off what he was doing makes me very worried for any female in that home, and any female marrying into that disgusting family. Jim Bob and Michelle are wet garbage.

  3. Good for her. I don’t follow the Duggars, but have any of the boys stepped away from IBLP, or is it just a few of the daughters that have left? I’m guessing it suits the boys just fine since they are kings, even that POS Josh.

    These cults might have some differences, but IBLP has many of the same patterns as other cults and other extreme takes on religion. Keep the followers, especially women, uneducated and procreate as much as physically possible. Try to avoid the outside world and men are superior to women. I’ve read that one of the most effective tools for combating climate change is to educate women as educated women have fewer children as overpopulation is a big contributor. And that doesn’t necessarily mean higher education – even literacy goes a long way to empower women in certain parts of the world. I am by no means anti-religion, but the extreme fringes of any religion are concerning.

  4. It breaks my heart to think that she was taught that God would HARM HER for committing silly little “wrongs,” like wearing pants and listening to music! I was taught that God loves us above all else and wants us to be happy. The whole cult is despicable for perverting all of Christianity in this way!! I’m very proud of Jinger for taking a different path, and speaking out about it. Her parents USED all of their kids for MONEY and FAME!!

  5. Jinger, you are an inspiration to many. So proud of you!! It’ll take some time to heal, but you have a good man who loves you, and a ton of supporters. Best wishes!!

  6. Obviously the one who is the most free out of the family is Jill but I still commend Jinger for speaking out against what she was brought with. Some of her other siblings are married and still drinking the Kool-Aid. (Also the episode where she was brought to tears cuz of pants-wearing was heartbreaking…you shouldn’t have to cry cuz of frivolity like that!)

    Sadly, Anna will never leave. She prob thinks her deadass of a husband is innocent anyway. (Gross!)

    1. Jill and her husband teach people that God hates people that were born gay or trans.
      Jill’s husband feels it pleases God when he bullies a trans girl.

    1. Yes because apparently it “brainwashes” them or some stupid shiz like that. Basically they didn’t want their kids (esp daughters) to see the outside world and that their parents are spouting nonsense!

    2. Of course they discouraged it. The parents can’t have nearly as much influence or control over their adult children in an academic setting rooted in fact as they can if they keep them all homeschooling around the dining room table. Can’t risk anyone with an actual education putting the idea out there that there’s more to life than IBLP and having as many kids as possible.

  7. So refreshing to hear her truth. Happy she has seen the truth and what her parents had did to her and us not letting it happen to her young children. Best wishes to her and family.

  8. My question is did she really had to get married to leave that cult? There really wasn’t anyone on the crew of her realty show that could help her at leave once she was a legal adult. I remember she really wanted to go to college in a big city and her parents just said she didn’t mean it. Why did her husband didn’t help her get a college degree. They really could have hold off having kids, wasn’t she like 20-22 when she have her first child. I know a bunch of Christian couples who hold of 7-10 years after getting married before have kids.

    1. You don’t seem to know much about cults, indoctrination, or how to use the English language. Got it. 👌

      1. Easy there. I agree that Jena clearly lacks knowledge about the inner workings of cults and the principles of indoctrination, but please refrain from insulting someone for improper use of a language and/or grammar. Perhaps Jena’s first language is something other than English—in which case, her language skills are far superior to mine (and everyone else who only communicates in one language).

        1. It seems so simple. But when you’ve been insulated your entire life and brought up to be a wife and mother and never have a paying job, you don’t know where to start. And all your friends and family are the same. They couldn’t help you and would probably tell everyone if you asked for help.

          I’m not religious but I’m happy she wrote this and provided some alternative thinking. It’s a start. And hopefully gives some girls hope and vision.

    2. They waited like 2/3 years before having a child and that was unheard-of in that family. I think she started to open her eyes when she married Jeremy, not before, because his beliefs are a little more liberal than her family’s. Now they have several hustles, maybe that’s why she didn’t go to college

      1. It’s also hard to go to college after the “home schooling” she got from her older home schooled siblings. I’m not against home schooling, just against Michelle Duggar home schooling. She isn’t the brightest bulb in the string. Depending on what courses she wanted to take, Jinger probably had to take some catch-up classes in those subjects. And then when she had children, well, they do take over your life. I think she has reached a good place in her life. If she wants, she can take some courses when the kids get a bit older.

    3. None of those kids have the academic ability to go to college. None of them have ever graduated from high school. Michelle educated them at the kitchen table and then the teens had to educate the younger ones. The Duggar’s idea of education was mostly in vocational learning, while there is nothing wrong with that but Jim Bob wanted all the boys to do manual labor to benefit him and his empire. Too bad Josh ruined that for him.

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