Jinger Duggar Vuolo is getting candid about her faith journey and family life in her new book, Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear.
Co-written with Corey Williams, Jinger's book makes it clear from the outset that it is not meant to be a tell-all about her famous family, but rather an exploration of how she set about "disentangling" herself from her ultra-conservative upbringing under the teachings of disgraced pastor Bill Gothard.
Gothard is the founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, an organization which espouses a conservative Christian lifestyle, including modest dress, female subservience, homeschooling and large families. Jinger's parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, raised their children under Gothard's teachings and she writes of revering the minister in her younger years.
However, Gothard resigned from the IBLP in 2014, following over 30 claims of sexual harassment from former employees, a revelation that further tainted his reputation for Jinger as she grew away from the teachings of the organization and started to forge her own spiritual path.
But the connection between seemingly faithful men and predatory behavior unfortunately didn't end there for Jinger, now a 29-year-old mother of two. Her oldest brother, Josh, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison in May 2022 after being found guilty on two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography.
There are few mentions of Josh in Jinger's book, however, she does mention him when drawing parallels between his behavior and Gothard's, noting the "hypocrisy" of spiritual leaders using positions of power to cover up their sins in this exclusive excerpt obtained by ET.
"[Josh] used his platform, and even his job at the Family Research Council, to promote some of the same ideas Gothard taught," she writes in the book, out Jan. 31. "But while he looked the part in so many ways, the true Josh appears to be much different. He was living a lie. Even though he claimed to follow Jesus, his actions gave no evidence of a true love for the Lord, a heart changed by the gospel."
Read the full excerpt below:
One of the hardest realities in my life is that my brother Josh very publicly displayed some of the same hypocrisy as Gothard. He used his platform, and even his job at the Family Research Council, to promote some of the same ideas Gothard taught. But while he looked the part in so many ways, the true Josh appears to be much different. He was living a lie. Even though he claimed to follow Jesus, his actions gave no evidence of a true love for the Lord, a heart changed by the gospel. Watching all the pain Josh’s sin has caused not only shows me the danger of hypocrisy but also reveals that external religion, a life of performance, has nothing to do with following Jesus. Though I haven’t seen or spoken to Josh in nearly two years, I still pray for him. I ask God to show Josh his desperate need for repentance. I want my brother to be genuine and honest about his sin and reject the hypocrisy that has been part of his life for so long. Only Jesus can save him. False religion and man-made rules never will.
Gothard’s rules can’t transform anyone. They couldn’t even transform him. Only Jesus can do that. What Gothard and my brother Josh need is a new heart that only Jesus can give. That’s what I need. That’s what we all need. Without a new heart, all the outward religious behavior isn’t going to please God.
Taken from Becoming Free Indeed by Jinger Duggar Vuolo. Copyright 2023 by Jinger Vuolo. Used with permission from Thomas Nelson.
Becoming Free Indeed is out Jan. 31.