It's no secret that the Duggars live by a strict set of rules. Their beliefs are always front and center, and that's totally okay. But because they're in the public eye, they're subjected to a lot of criticism. Granted, when your eldest son molests your younger daughters, it deserves to be criticized.
But one of the biggest questions that surrounds the Duggars is what religion they practice, exactly. We know they practice it to the extreme, but what set of guidelines are they following?
There has been a lot of speculation that the family is a part of the controversial "Quiverful" movement, which says contraception is bad and advocates for having as many children as possible. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar have denied this, saying they are ""simply Bible-believing Christians who desire to follow God's Word and apply it to our lives."
It's also been reported that they're part of the Independent Funamental Baptists Church, and even as broadly recognized as "followers of the conservative patriarchal movement." The only label the family has given themselves is "conservative Christians," when Michelle Duggar spoke about miscarrying her second child after Josh was born. The family believes this was because of their use of birth control.
"As conservative Christians, we believe every life is sacred, even the life of the unborn. Due to our lack of knowledge, we destroyed the precious life of our unborn child. We prayed and studied the Bible and found a host of references that told us God considered children a gift, a blessing, and a reward," the family has explained. "Yet we had considered having another child an inconvenience during that busy time in our lives, and we had taken steps to prevent it from happening."
While their exact religion may not be known, the family has been outspoken on their belief that women should not wear pants for modesty reasons. They have even referenced the Bible for this decision.
During an interview with TLC, Michelle Duggar explained the family's choice.
"As we studied as a family, we found we could come up with our idea of what we thought modesty was, but we really wanted to see what the scriptures said about it," the Mother Duggar said. "Our interpretation was that from the neck down to the knee should be covered. By keeping those private areas covered, there's not any 'defrauding' going on. My kids are taught the definition of defrauding as stirring up desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled. We don't believe in defrauding others by the way we dress."
Fans of the show will know how strictly this rule is enforced, with trips to the beach requiring long skirts, no matter how how it was. Michelle Duggar also explained that dressing in skirts and dresses is her was of "defining who she is as a woman."
Some of the sisters agree with this family rule, as noted in their book, Growing Up Duggar.
"We do not dress modestly because we are ashamed of the body God has given us; quite the contrary," the book notes. "We realize that our body is a special gift from God and that He intends for it to be shared only with our future husband... We avoid low-cut, cleavage-showing, gaping, or bare-shouldered tops; and when needed, we wear an undershirt. We try to make it a habit to always cover the top of our shirt with our hand when we bend over. We don't want to play the peekaboo game with our neckline."
That being said, Jinger Duggar, who co-authored the book, seemed to change her mind on the subject after marrying her husband, Jeremy Vuolo. Vuolo, a pastor, has been quoted in the past saying women should not have to wear skirts.
"Jesus does not save people to make them wear skirts," he said in a sermon.
When Jinger was spotted out in pants, people thought perhaps it was her way of rebelling against the family.
Vuolo commented on Jinger's choice when people began shaming her for going against the family's rules.
"It is your liberty as to whether you dress modestly with a modest pair of pants, or with a skirt, or with a T-shirt, or with a blouse," Vuolo said. "It is not your liberty, women, to wear sensual, seductive clothing that is designed to draw the attention of your brothers."
Jinger is the only one of the Duggar sisters to stray from the family rules, but that's not to say more won't in the future!
What do you think about the Duggar rules?