The Institute in Basic Life Principles is not happy with a new documentary about the Duggar family and their connections to the group’s controversial ministry. In a statement, the Texas-based organization called Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets “misleading and untruthful.”
IBLP calls Duggar family documentary ‘sensationalized’
Shiny Happy People examines both the Duggars – the family at the center of TLC’s popular reality series 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On – and the IBLP, a ministry founded by now-disgraced leader Bill Gothard. In interviews with Jill Duggar, people raised in IBLP families, and others, the four-episode series exposes a culture of sexual harassment and abuse within the IBLP and a pattern of abuse within some IBLP families. It also unpacks Gothard’s ultra-conservative, patriarchal teachings and the embrace of Christian nationalism by many IBLP followers.
No IBLP leaders are interviewed in the documentary. But on June 2, the group posted a statement on its website. It criticized Shiny Happy People, describing the series as being “sensationalized … both for shock value and for profit.”
“We do not want to minimize perspectives that individual people have experienced or expressed,” the statement reads. However, “one-sided and manipulative ‘journalistic’ tactics offer no alternative perspectives for the viewers, and many good people are manipulated and used while others are maligned and attacked.”
The IBLP did not rebut any specific claims made in the documentary in its statement. But the group stressed that Gothard resigned in 2014 and no longer had an active role within the organization. In the statement, the IBLP also suggested that Shiny Happy People might “cause many to search out our ministry and discover the truth for themselves. For this we are grateful.”
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar say ‘Shiny Happy People’ filmmakers had ‘ill intentions’
19 Kids and Counting parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have also spoken out against Shiny Happy People. They declined to participate in the documentary but issued a statement on their website following its release.
The Arkansas couple called the documentary “sad … in it we see the media and those with ill intentions hurting people we love.”
Jim Bob and Michelle did not call out any family members by name in their statement. However, they indicated that they were disappointed their daughter Jill decided to participate in the project.
“We have always believed that the best chance to repair damaged relationships, or to reconcile differences, is through love in a private setting,” they wrote. “We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one.”
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets is now streaming on Prime Video.
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