Life in the Duggar Family

Let’s return to the Duggar family, the God-fearing, Velveeta-loving fundies of Arkansas.

The effects of Velveeta

I’m continuing our exploration of the Duggar family web site for three reasons:
1. It’s funny.
2. It’s scary.
3. Too often, I just take a fundie email I receive and make fun of that. Those are written by fundies with an agenda. The Duggar web site is a glimpse into how a fundie family lives (albeit extreme even by fundie standards).

We last left off looking at their page called How do you make a household of 17 people run smoothly? We got through one whole paragraph last time. Let’s look at the rest of the article today.

Our daily routine begins with personal hygiene (get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, etc…). Each older child has a younger buddy or two that they help. We eat breakfast & read Proverbs at 8:00a.m., then we ‘quick clean’ the house (older child & their buddy work together to clean their jurisdictions).

Every day the same thing! Reading Proverbs every day at breakfast sounds stifling. They should at least give the kids a break every now and then and let them read something else—like Chick Tracts!

Throughout the day we try to pickup as we go along, but naturally things tend toward disorder.

This is a perfect example of the second law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy). I’m a little surprised that the Duggars didn’t take this opportunity to attack evolution. Fundies frequently cite the second law as “proof” that evolution is impossible. They argue that evolution (increasing order) violates this law.

What their straw-grasping little brains fail to comprehend is that the second law is referring to the increase in entropy in a closed system. The fundies view the Earth as a closed system. What they overlook is that energy is entering the Earth in the form of sunlight. If you look at the Sun and Earth together as the closed system, then entropy is increasing big time. (For more about this topic, here’s one of many articles at the TalkOrigins archive.)

At 9:00a.m., the older children help their buddies with their studies in phonics, math, violin & piano (J-O-Y- Jesus first, Others second, & Yourself last!). Then the older children start their music & individual studies—math, English, spelling & typing.

Oh J-O-Y! Actually, the acronym they should use is L-O-R-D. (Looney Oppressive Religious Delusion)

We break for lunch at 12:00pm. Jill (age 13) prepares lunch & we all help cleanup.

Poor Jill! She has to make lunch for this horde all by herself? At least they don’t also stick her with the dishes.

At 1:30p.m. the little ones go down for naps (4 & under). Momma & older children are around the table at 2:00p.m. for Wisdom Booklet group studies—science, history, law, medicine.

From what I’ve been able to gather, Wisdom Booklets are booklets for fundie homeschooling. I’d love to see what passes for science in there. History probably cites the Bible for much of its content. Law is probably the thinnest pamphlet; fundies only need ten laws. Or maybe medicine is the thinnest pamphlet, consisting of only two words: “Pray hard!”

We work on one subject until we complete the study. We also review & memorize scripture, hymns & operational definitions of character qualities.

Sounds like they’ve got their own little madrasah going.

The children especially enjoy this because they make up motions to help with memorization.

One motion they might make is hands to their throats. “Help! I can’t breathe! Living here is suffocating me!”

At 4:00p.m., we break from group study to complete individual studies, otherwise this is free time.

Just don’t do anything that Jesus wouldn’t do.

We have dinner at 5:00p.m. Jana (Age 14) prepares dinner & everyone helps cleanup.

Now it’s Jana’s turn to be groomed into the perfect fundie wife. Quick! She’s running out of time! Fourteen is an old maid by Arkansas standards!

(Apologies to my Arkansas readers. Fourteen is only an old maid by Arkansas fundie standards, but that doesn’t read as well when you’re making a joke.)

We do another ‘quick clean’ of the house after dinner & then have free time.

The older boys go out to the barn for a circle jerk…

Some may still be finishing up music, seeing we have to take turns with one piano to 11 students!

I think you mean “…seeing as we have…”. I’m surprised that people who read a book that is mostly filler (“…begat… …begat… …begat… …begat… …begat… …begat…) would feel the need to chop words out of their sentences. snack time.

Grape Kool-Aid anyone?

Then we get ready for bed (baths, brush teeth, pick out clothes for next day).

What’s to pick out? They all dress alike! Maybe they get to choose whether tomorrow they will dress like an Amish or a Mennonite.

9:00p.m. is Bible time with Daddy. This is probably our favorite time of day.

I know it would be my favorite!

Daddy reads the Bible & we discuss the passage together. We talk about the day & bring out points of how to apply what we have learned. We enjoy making up skits & acting out examples of right responses & wrong responses.

Gosh! That sure sounds like fun! It sure beats watching Desperate Housewives!

Often our little ones will fall asleep as Daddy begins Bible time…

Ahh! The Kool-Aid is beginning to work!

We have a master schedule of each family member’s responsibilities displayed on our dining room wall.

Their micromanagement of their children’s lives and thoughts knows no bounds.

For each month, we also have individual daily checklists which cover schoolwork, chores, music lessons, & personal hygiene.

Jimmy’s enema is scheduled for Wednesday at 3:00. Jill’s tampon change will occur on Thursday at 5:30…

These were designed by Daddy so we could see at a glance how each child is doing. These checklists enable us to keep our children accountable & also reward them accordingly.

And punish them accordingly, I’m sure.

We have goals, but then we have reality!

No, you’re fundies. You’re about as far removed from reality as possible.

We are learning to practice flexibility—Not setting our affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others!

So what happens? God rings you up and asks you to block out three hours this afternoon?

Sometimes we have ‘Daddy Days’ when Daddy overrides the schedule and takes the children out for family time, a field trip or a service project.

I’m sure the field trips are to places like the local creationist museum.

We try to make each day fun. Everyday is an exciting adventure!

No. Your days sound like repetitive, stifling bores.

It’s a good thing I don’t believe in Hell. I’d be worried that my punishment for this snarky blog would be reincarnation into this family.

Update (August 8, 2007):

Most of you reading this are coming from various places around the web where the link to this article has been posted. I appreciate the additional traffic, and I respect the fact that many of you hold very different opinions than I do.

Many people have commented that they like the Duggars and/or don’t think I have any right to criticize them. Whether you like them is entirely your choice. I do have the right to criticize them, because they have gone public with their lifestyle.

I have written a more recent article that explains why families like this are a problem. I invite you to read it: The Duggars—Parasites of Science.

(BTW, they don’t pay any property tax on that giant house of theirs. They had it declared a church. You’re subsidizing their lifestyle.)

Update (August 8, 2008):

It has now been a year since I last updated this article, and a year-and-a-half since it was originally written. I have now closed off the comments for this article. I think most of what anybody can say about the Duggars has already been said (many times over) in the 326 comments below.

Many of you have arrived here by following a link from another site. This is not an anti-Duggar web site. The several Duggar articles here are just a tiny fraction of the 400+ articles that I’ve written about the issues of science, science education, and church/state separation. You are welcome to explore the rest of the site. And don’t forget to stop off at the home page to read the fresh stuff.

326 Responses to “Life in the Duggar Family”

  1. J.R. "Bob" Dobbs Says:

    edlsib: Which is why the other topic was closed.Not to prevent discussion, but rather because it became a place where Amy was learning about evolution and a chat forum for Amy and Sarah.

    Off topic, but any particular meaning to your name?

    l33t [email protected] i5 4 [email protected]

  2. J.R. "Bob" Dobbs Says:

    Its “Bob” and don’t you dare speak to a prophet of JHVH-1 like that!

    And while Amy gave question after question, at least I could actually enjoy a discussion with her due to her compassion and understanding.

  3. Sarah Says:

    Edilsb: Seriously, if you want yourself to be heard, don’t be so rude. Like I said in my last comment to you. Don’t pull fouls and then blow the whistle at every chance you get on us. Calling us stupid kooky liberals (while limiting all of our speech and basically censoring our opinions) is no way to talk to people in real life…so why would you do it on a blog? Sorry, but it’s getting old and really annoying.

  4. Ron Britton Says:


    >>>>You realize, we are getting off the topic of slamming the Duggars… this “thread” has 300+ comments… it’s over a year old… Ron’s gonna close this any day now.

    I doubt it.Ron,please tell us you won’t do that.Us non-fundies are having so much fun and hey,I was still talkin’ about em…

    Actually, I wanted to close all of the Duggar threads a long time ago. They don’t accurately reflect what this blog is about, they distract people from the other content, and they attract too many retards.

    I closed that one thread, because the signal was drowned out by the noise. If people are having conversations that are mostly on topic and are actually progressing (instead of going in circles and getting louder in the process), the threads will stay open. If a thread becomes unproductive, it actually can negatively affect the other threads.

    I’ve written over 400 articles. Only 5 were about the Duggars. That’s 1.25%. I don’t know how many comments there are, but over 630 are attached to the Duggar articles. Then there are the hundred or so Duggar comments that have managed to contaminate other articles, because somebody had to mention them there, too. It contaminates the whole site and drags the discussion away from more important topics.

    The Duggars represent many bad things about fundie philosophy. As symbols, they have some value. But in the grand scheme of things, they’re insignificant. You could throw a dart at this blog and almost every article you’d hit would be more important than the Duggars. My last Duggar article was 10 months ago. I’ve moved on. They were just a sideshow in the crazy carnival of fundie America.

  5. J.R. "Bob" Dobbs Says:

    edlisb” J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and don’t you forget it!

    My name still confuses my wife Connie.

  6. Ron Britton Says:


    You’ve been making a lot of unfounded claims about me. It’s dragging down the conversation in all threads. You can either stick to the topics or be banned.

  7. Ron Britton Says:


    You keep alleging that I shut down the other thread because I was losing the argument and I disliked criticism or disagreement. I explained why I shut the thread down. Nowhere have I deleted comments because somebody disagrees with me.

    If you think I unfairly delete a comment or close a thread, make your case and be done with it. Don’t misrepresent the event and try to use it as evidence that we refuse to hear what we don’t like.

    Your posts have been abrasive and don’t always contribute to the conversation. If you continue this downward trend toward noise-making without benefiting the conversation, I’ll have to end your comment privileges.

    I do want the comments to be a somewhat-pleasant place for people to hang out. A lot more people read the comments than actually bother to post here. I can’t have one person driving away a hundred others. If they leave because they disagree with your opinions, that’s their fault. If they leave because you’re a dick and make this site unpleasant, that’s your fault.

  8. Tamara Says:

    ***[Moderator’s note: I knew immediately after “Tamara” posted this comment that she is actually Edilsb’s sock puppet. The first rule of sock puppetry: Change your IP address first! Anyway, “she” wanted to know why I banned Edilsb, so I left his comment here so I could reply to him one more time. He insisted I answer, so I did. See my reply below this. —RB]***

    Where did all of edilsb’s crazy comments go?

  9. Ron Britton Says:


    Not only is edilsb mentally retarded, but he’s socially retarded as well. Even though I explained to him what behavior is expected around here, he continued to be disruptive. He has been removed from the community.

    I have to assume that he lives in some sort of institution. I can’t imagine somebody that emotionally stunted being able to take care of himself, let alone function in the real world. We extend our sympathies to his family. They must be very strong.

  10. doug Says:

    ***[Moderator’s note: I now have conclusive proof that “Doug” here is actually Edilsb’s sock puppet. Edilsb got banned from this community for being consistently abusive to other commenters on this site and being unable to maintain a coherent conversation with anybody. He made defamatory claims about me and others on this site and provided no proof or documentation of his claims. After repeated warnings, he was banned from this site and his comments were deleted. This hurt his fragile ego, so he posted the following comment under a different name and from a different computer. I should delete it as well, but resorting to sock puppetry is such pathetic behavior that I have decided to let this comment stand in honor of Mr. Edilsb, our fallen fool. —RB]***

    Hi guys… long time “watcher, first time commenter”…

    I’ve been gone for a few weeks, so imagine my suprise at reading these last couple of weeks of comments. There seems to be a hole here. Lots of people responding to “edilsb” (whatever that is), and yet, no actual comments from “edilsb”. What I found at the bottom of the comments is what’s pushed me over the brink.

    Like you all, I’d read a little of what he/she had to say, and though sometimes sarcastic and a little “revved up”, he pretty much had you pegged. Not counting edilsb, I’ve never seen a bigger group of asskissers in my life.

    “Oh Ron, you’re so brilliant!”

    “Yes, thank you. And you too, Parrotlover77. You really stuck it to those fundies!”

    “I’ve never seen a young person with as great a mind as Sarah… she is an inspiration to her generation.”

    All of you people are sure nice to each other, but when somebody comes in here and pees in your pool… watch out! You are total dicks. Also hypocritical. Also horribly lost within your asinine liberal culture… so much so that it’s apparently impossible to see how badly people like edilsb made you look. I could cite examples, but… oops… all his comments are gone.

    Apparently, ownership of cite has it’s privileges, but come on! Dr. Ron talks a big game… but when the shit hits the fan, feels it’s easier to delete than to debate. I think that says something.

    It’s obvious that Ronald felt threatened by someone being more intelligent than he. And that’s the real reason you won’t find edilsb’s comments here anymore.

    Heck, unless you’re quick, you may not even see my comment.

  11. Ron Britton Says:

    “Doug” (alias Edilsb):

    Does that sock puppet keep your hand warm?

    As I said before, merely disagreeing with me is fine. I’ve never deleted comments just because somebody disagrees with me.

    All that other stuff you wrote is just your paranoid delusions.

  12. LadyRavana Says:

    Looks like some trollish comments…*sigh*

  13. yaz Says:

    i love watching this show but i cant help to think that its totally fake, i dont beleive that none of the fight or scream or act like kids, i personally think that they dont have a proper childhood.

    its not the kids fault that the breed like rabbits so why all the responsibilities on them

    they dont have normal friends and i remember in one episode they spoke about dating and joshua said that he doesnt wan to get his heart broken so they will find a life partner for him… what he was 17 talk about brainwashed… and come on they wont make friends with the way they dress they look like they belong in a cult…

    anyway i do enjoy this show but i cant help but think they put it on for the cameras,

  14. Maybeth Says:

    I didn’t know if you knew this already but the Duggars are going to have a book out in December called 20 and counting: raising one of Americas largest families- How they do it

    I personally don’t want to know how they DO IT yuck!

  15. S. Says:

    well said,yaz,and heartbreak is just a part of life sometimes,they shouldn’t try to protect him from it.that is just making a wuss out of him.(sounds like he’s going to get a wife chosen for him?!)what is this,the dark ages??
    thanks,maybeth,they aren’t quite a family of 20 yet,that is a weird title!

  16. Hi There Says:

    I have to say that having 17 with one on the way is a bit much… Well, okay…. TOO MUCH! I know they want God to dictate their number of kids, but God created a wonderful field called “medicine” and wonderful people to work in it called “doctors.” God can use them to dictate the number of children… With surgery. I mean, c’mon, is she going to have kids till she stops being able… I can just see the future TV… “C’ming up next The Duggar 50… The Parents Tell how they [don’t] DO IT ALL!”

  17. Lu Says:

    What is up with the Duggars. I have heard people say “THEY NEVER RAISE THEIR VOICE!” I’ll tell you why… The mom is on something! She has to be to be so seemingly calm and get fucked every night!

    The show makes me sick. Jon and Kate plus 8 is much better- At least they are normal and don’t have dumb ass rules that sound like Mother Goose”NEVER RAISE A HAND TO HIT?” What the hell? Most of the kids are teens

  18. Lindsay Says:

    I had a close friend who was on a very well known reality TV show, and it is interesting how selective editing can make a person to appear a certain way. I raise my eyebrows with the Duggars…I wonder if it is in their contract to have them “appear” in a certain way. They just seem to glossy and happy and perfect. Outwardly they seem to have it together, and reasonably having well adjusted, polite and respectful children is a good thing. But with them there has always been something that was unsettling to me that I could never put my finger that goes beyond the enviromental concerns of having a few dozen children.

    However, I agree with Jon and Kate Plus 8…I get the feeling more with them that what you see is what you get.

  19. S. Says:

    they’re unsettling,I agree.From Michelle’s outdated hair-do to those weird outfits the girls have to wear,so they (all) of them can match,it’s very limiting to their freedom,the natural freedom a child should have.(I don’t mean running amok,just being a normal kid).They all,esp. the girls..look like they want to say something,but they know they’d better shut up.

    I saw a segment where Michelle was asked if she thought it was too much work on the older kids to help out w the younger ones…she said “I don’t think so,they’re mentoring the younger ones’,and so on,blah blah blah.What bothered me about that is the KIDS themselves weren’t asked that question.They have no say in how many babies mom n dad pop out,and how much help they’re expected to give.

    I would LOVE to see the kids be allowed to honestly answer (after being ASKED in the first place! that would be the kind and considerate thing to do)if they’d be willing to help out with another bro or sis BEFORE Mom n dad pop out their “We’re pregnant (again!)” line that always comes up every yr and a 1/2 or so.

  20. Meg Says:

    So after reading a few (ok quite a few) of the posts I just wanted to voice my opinion. I have to get this out…

    I agree with a lot of you…this family concerns me (over population! using resources!). How is it possible for TWO parents to give SEVENTEEN (soon to be EIGHTEEN) children equal attention? I was amazed at the fact that they had a sign up sheet for “one on one time with mommy”. I grew up in a small family (just one older brother) and we both thrived because of the attention we received. Although I don’t know the family personally I can only imagine how hard it would be to give them the attention they both need and deserve.

    Also, I’m not sure if I agree with the idea of a sibling “raising” another sibling. I believe that’s the parent’s job and the children should be allowed to enjoy their childhood while they have it! To me I think this gives the wrong message to the general public…that the parents have so many children that they have to enlist their older ones to help them out. I mean I think children should help but certainly not raise another sibling. I think it’s too much to ask of a child.

    Ok and LASTLY…does anyone know if they plan on sending their kids to college? I’m curious to know. That would be EXPENSIVE to pay tuition for all of them! Also, does anyone agree with me that announcing to the kids on the Today show about the 18th child is a little tactless? I would want to inform my kids in private before announcing it to the public. I don’t know…to me it just seems more considerate that way.

    Anyway…hope I didn’t offend anyone. But I thought I would at least put my opinion out there

  21. Barbara Says:

    The “college” of choice for the Duggar children is an unaccredited fundie online school. Not sure of the cost, but they’ve probably worked that out by giving the “college” publicity.

    The parents are media whores. Several TV specials, now a book, their website…anything to get free merchandise or money by pimping their brood.

    Meg, your post was well written and even if I did not agree with all of what you had to say, it would still be inoffensive , at least to me!

  22. Meg Says:

    Thank you Barbara :) And also thanks for the info on the college issue. interesting stuff…

  23. sacc Says:

    I just wanted to voice out the disgust i felt while reading about this family, and that not only do they help overcrowd the world but have such ridiculous beliefs. great blog by the way, and im sorry for the grammar, ‘m not a native speaker.

  24. Lindsay Says:

    The Duggar thread continues on…jeez they are like a carnival side show the whole lot of them.

    I just have a strange fascination with this bunch. Very unsettling, creeping fascination…sort of like the feeling I get when reading Stephen King’s “The Langoliers”…I’m not for sure what is going on and things don’t outwardly seem completely bad but something just isn’t right.

    The college info is interesting. Is it that one down in Louisiana? What sort of career options will the daughters have? One episode they asked the girls what they wanted to do with their lives and all of them said “be a mommy.” Really, each and every one of them Jim Bob and Michelle?

  25. Barbara Says:

    I know somewhere I read a blurb on each little Duggar and while the boys said they wanted to do things like “Lawyer” and “Construction”, the girls career choices were things like “Midwife”. Perhaps they will deliver each others’ babies.

    Looks like they’ve added some links to various “institutes” of “higher learning” on their website…Bob Jones U, and something called Telos University and the Oak Brook College of Law….see the link at

  26. spinetingler Says:

    Wow, I’ve been visiting this site for a few months now and I had somehow never stumbled into a Duggar post or comment thread!

    I know a similar family – in fact, I used to go to the neighborhood church that the father started. They have eight kids, and I have no doubt that number nine will be on the way shortly. Of course, all are homeschooled. I saw the poor mom just the other day, driving one of those big-ass 15 passenger vans out of the Sonic drive-in. She looks like she’s aged 20 years in the 8 years I’ve known them. I worry about her health.

    Much like the D’s, the oldest kids raise the younger – I’ve often wondered what people think when they see the 16-year-old girl out with an infant on one hip and a toddler on the other.

    On the plus side, they are some of the nicest and politest kids I’ve ever met.