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Jinger Duggar Vuolo on Growing Up Under ‘Cult-Like’ Religious Beliefs

Written by on January 18, 2023

Jinger Duggar Vuolo on Growing Up with 'Cult-Like' Religious Beliefs

(People) – Jinger Duggar Vuolo is opening up about the “harmful” Christian teachings she was raised to strictly follow until finding freedom in 2017.

“Fear was a huge part of my childhood,” Vuolo, 29, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue. “I thought I had to wear only skirts and dresses to please God. Music with drums, places I went or the wrong friendships could all bring harm.”

Even when her family went to play a sport called broomball, Vuolo says she felt “terrified” she might be defying God’s will. “I thought I could be killed in a car accident on the way, because I didn’t know if God wanted me to stay home and read my Bible instead.”

The former star of TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting and Counting On was raised by her parents Jim Bob, 57, and Michelle Duggar, 56. The strict Christian family were devout followers of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, an organization established by disgraced minister Bill Gothard in 1961.

The IBLP movement teaches that women should be subservient to their husbands and that followers should shun dancing, dating and much of modern popular culture. Jim Bob and Michelle have spoken at its seminars; Gothard, 88, led the church until 2014, when more than 30 women accused him of harassment and molestation.

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