Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 1.50.18 PM


Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Jill Duggar Dillard Says Father Jim Bob Treated Her ‘Worse’ Than He Did Pedophile Son

By Josh Shepherd
duggar dillard
Jill and Derick Dillard (left) are pictured with her parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. (Photos: Facebook / Instagram)

A memoir by another child of Jim Bob Duggar releases tomorrow and contains some stunning revelations about the former 19 Kids and Counting TV family. According to Jill Duggar Dillard, the fourth-eldest Duggar sibling, her parents treated her worse for exposing their verbal abuse and control than treated her brother, Josh, for his pedophilia.  

“You treat me like I’m a prodigal who’s turned her back on you,” she recounted in an excerpt released Saturday by People Magazine. “You treat me worse than you treat my pedophile brother.”

In the memoir by Jill Duggar Dillard and her husband, Derick Dillard, titled Counting the Cost, Jill describes details of her life growing up in the Duggar family. Her parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, followed strict teachings of the Institute in Basic Life Principles—a fundamentalist ministry and curriculum publisher founded by Bill Gothard. 

The large homeschooling family became cultural celebrities, especially among Christian conservatives, through their show on TLC, which premiered in 2008. The program ended its run in 2015, following news reports that eldest son, Josh Duggar, had sexually abused his sisters years prior. Last year, Josh Duggar was sentenced to 12 years in prison for downloading and possessing child pornography.

In the excerpt released Saturday, Dillard recounts a tense conversation where she and Derick met with her parents, as well as a mediator. An exact timeframe is not given for the excerpt, only that it was when “the family’s conflict (had) reached a boiling point.” 

Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “I Didn’t Survive: Emerging Whole After Deception, Persecution, and Hidden Abuse” by Naghmeh Abedini Panahi. To donate, click here.

jim bob michelle duggar
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar speak at a training event for the Institute in Basic Life Principles, founded by Bill Gothard. (Video screengrab)

The Dillards had sent a detailed letter describing their frustrations with the control Jim Bob Duggar exercised over their lives. Months after the initial TV show was canceled, the Duggar patriarch worked with TLC to produce Jill and Jessa Counting On, a sequel program, featuring Dillard and her young family in a lead role, alongside the extended Duggar family. 

As chronicled in the recent docuseries, Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, Jill and her husband were coerced into filming with TLC for 20 hours per week, including cameras being present for the birth of their children. Allegedly Jim Bob Duggar retained control and much of the program’s profits. 

In the excerpt, Michelle Duggar claimed a recent letter and text message from her daughter, Jill, was “disrespectful.” Jim Bob spoke of being “offended” and demanded an apology, standing up in the meeting as a “sign of aggression,” according to the book. 

In a statement to media, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said: “We love all of our children very much. As with any family, few things are more painful than conflicts or problems among those you love. We do not believe the best way to resolve conflicts, facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation, or to communicate through difficulties is through the media or in a public forum so we will not comment.”

Sheila Wray Gregoire (Courtesy Photo)

Marriage-advice podcast host Sheila Wray Gregoire, author of She Deserves Better, told The Roys Report (TRR) the excerpt reveals that Jim Bob Duggar and his wife betrayed their stated values. 

“Jesus is the Truth. Yet instead of pursuing truth, the Duggar parents have systematically punished their children whenever they try to speak truth,” said Gregoire. “We see how Jim Bob valued loyalty over everything—he treated the pedophile brother better than the daughter who was just trying to follow the Jesus that he claimed to believe in.” 

Gregoire said this mentality—a refusal to ask oneself, “Is this really reflecting Christ?”—is relevant to current wider movements in evangelicalism.

Court battle over ‘invasion of privacy’

In an interview with People last week, Dillard also spoke of her “anger” towards her brother Josh, who abused her and her sisters, as well as towards local government officials, who allegedly disclosed details of that abuse to the press. 

“It’s still really upsetting,” Dillard told People. “. . . This system failed us as victims and our desire for justice.” 

jill duggar dillard
‘Counting the Cost’ by Jill Duggar Dillard (Courtesy image)

In 2017, Dillard and three of her sisters filed a lawsuit against multiple male public officials in two Arkansas counties, alleging that the men released police records to media outlets that published them. 

The Duggar women were minors at the time when a police investigation was conducted into Josh Duggar’s abuse. Jill’s husband, Derick Dillard, commented: “They were told as kids, ‘This is a safe place. What you say is safe.’ And it wasn’t true.” 

An Arkansas judge dismissed the suit in February 2022, saying that Dillard and her sisters failed to provide “direct proof” that the local authorities had revealed private facts about them. 

Despite their disappointment at the court ruling, Jill Dillard said she and her husband have redirected those feelings. “People are quick to say, ‘Oh, anger is bad,’ but I’m like, ‘No, anger can be a good thing.’ Especially when it propels you to advocate for people finding their voice.” 

“We are still going to fight for victims’ rights through Derick’s line of work,” she said, referring to her husband’s position as assistant district attorney of Oklahoma.

‘I feel called to do this’

The Dillards kicked up a firestorm when they agreed to be interviewed extensively for the docuseries Shiny Happy People, which premiered worldwide in June. It quickly became the most-watched docuseries debut ever for Prime Video, the Amazon-owned streaming service.

duggar dillard shiny happy people
Promotional image for ‘Shiny Happy People’ (Courtesy image)

Some evangelical observers criticized the series as lacking nuance. Disgraced author R.C. Sproul, Jr., called the series “propaganda” that reflected “leftist discomfort over homeschooling, large families, (and) wives submitting to their husbands.” 

But Gregoire said chronicling the Duggars’ story isn’t voyeurism or just about one family. “Their story is every conservative Christian who ever heard about Bill Gothard’s umbrella of authority, who was raised to think that obedience to a flawed father meant more than following Jesus.” 

Speaking to People, Jill Duggar Dillard admitted to being “nervous” about people’s reactions to the new book. 

“I know there will be nay-sayers, but I feel called to do this,” she said. “We really wanted to tell our story for my siblings, because some of them are going to face similar challenges, if they haven’t already, to what I’ve faced.”

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his family live in the Washington, D.C. area.



Keep in touch with Julie and get updates in your inbox!

Don’t worry we won’t spam you.

More to explore

11 thoughts on “Jill Duggar Dillard Says Father Jim Bob Treated Her ‘Worse’ Than He Did Pedophile Son”

  1. It is clear that 50 years of Bill Gothard’s heretical teachings have done so much damage to individuals, families, and congregations. We will be living with the consequences of his false teaching for years to come.

  2. It appears (and my only sources are major news outlets, so this may be incorrect or incomplete) that the Duggar parents expect lifelong obedience from their offspring, even when sons and daughters are middle-aged married adults. Under Bill Gothard’s umbrella-of-authority model (not scriptural, I know), wouldn’t Mrs. Dillard’s husband replace her father as the person to whom she should submit? If Mr. Duggar confronts his daughter (age 30+) about choices inconsistent with his beliefs, does he recognize her as an independent adult with agency and autonomy? Does he respect her marriage?

    No comment here about the specifics of Gothard and his IBLP; I’m only wondering if this behavior is consistent with Gothard’s own teachings, which the Duggars promote. Comments from ex-IBLP followers welcome.

    1. It’s been a long time since I was exposed to Gothard’s teachings (and I rejected them from the first), but my understanding of his view of parental authority is that it is, in fact, lifelong, even after the son or daughter becomes and adult.

  3. Jim Bob Duggar spent years coercing his adult daughter to live her life in the fishbowl, and now he wants “privacy?”
    Sorry, buster, I think you forfeited that privilege when you dragged your adult daughter and son-in-law home from the mission field to star in yet more cinema that would enrich your own coffers. You made this bed, now lie in it.

  4. One thought here is that my perception is that Gothard is (was) firmly in the evangelical camp–a rules based conservative evangelicalism, to be sure, but not clearly in the fundamentalist camp. That’s part of why his work is so harmful–you found it everywhere, generally communicated through hallway conversations far more than IBLP conferences and the like. It has a prevalence and respectability that it would never have had if it had originated, say, at Bob Jones U. or Pensacola or the like.

    Hence it’s a gut check for fundamentalists like myself (I am a fundamentalist who isn’t keen on the rules, if you’re curious) and evangelicals alike.

  5. Of course he is. This program comes pre-installed on that operating system.

    I stood up against my childhood church and took my kids out of its schools — which my wife and I had both attended — in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal.

    News reports — and an arrest AT the school building — revealed that two male teachers had sexually abused kids. AND that the school and church knew about the allegations, and had even heard a confession by one of the men, but had hidden all of this from the congregation, from parens and from fellow teachers.

    In the aftermath, the superintendent of the school was named as having engaged in sexual grooming of a high school student, who he slept with after she graduated.

    I and a few other alumni very publicly demanded to know who knew what when, and sought accountability for the leaders who covered up the crimes.

    Guess who is considered the enemy? Not any of the rapists, child molesters or abusers. Me and those who stood up for women and kids.

    This is standard operating procedure, especially in fundamentalist evangelical circles.

  6. I only watched the show a few times. I always had a weird vibe from them and to be honest any form of this over-the-top American evangelical fundamentalism. It’s not natural way of living especially knowing that whatever you do, is potential “the devils work” mentality. And the mom basically spending 20 years of her life pregnant. It reminded me of the movie “Hawaii” where “per the American pastor” even eating certain food is sinning and had spy’s out finding who is sinning so they can be scolded from the pulpit. To me, American evangelicalism is all about condemnation vs love of Jesus. I give you JMAC as exhibit one.

  7. After reading this article, my first thought is that I wish all of the Duggars would disappear from the public eye forever and just quietly live their lives. My second thought is that I feel pretty much the same way about Sheila Gregoire and R.C. Sproul Jr.

  8. Do not believe everything Jill Duggar says about her parents. I believe what she and others have reported about Gothard and IBLP. Every child in that home has a different interpretation of some of the facts just as every child in every other home would have.

  9. Sue,
    I don’t believe that you should accuse Jill Duggar of lying. That is what you are doing when you tell Roy’s Report readers; “Do not believe everything Jill Duggar says about her parents”. You have no proof, she lived with her parents, you didn’t.
    The more I read lately the more I lose patience with Christians that make serious accusations and think they do not have to back up what they say. Could this be a result of incompetent home schooling?

Leave a Reply

The Roys Report seeks to foster thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Toward that end, the site requires that people register before they begin commenting. This means no anonymous comments will be allowed. Also, any comments with profanity, name-calling, and/or a nasty tone will be deleted.
MOST popular articles

Don't miss the stories that matter!

Sign up to receive our Daily News Digest


Hi. We see this is the third article this month you’ve found worth reading. Great! Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation to help our journalists continue to report the truth and restore the church?

Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “The Ballot and the Bible” by Kaitlyn Schiess.