Reality star Jinger Duggar Vuolo is opening up about her childhood.
In an exclusive interview with People, she said that fear was a “huge part” of her childhood.
“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,” she added.
Her parents, Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar, raised her and her 18 siblings to openly follow the teachings of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, which was an organization founded by Bill Gothard in 1961.
In 2014, Gothard resigned from the IBLP board of directors after he was accused of molesting and sexually harassing women in the organization, according to NBC News.
“My actions of holding of hands, hugs, and touching of feet or hair with young ladies crossed the boundaries of discretion and were wrong,” he said in a statement.
Vuolo said Gothard’s teachings were based on “fear and superstition.”
“[Gothard’s] teachings in a nutshell are based on fear and superstition and leave you in a place where you feel like, ‘I don’t know what God expects of me,’ the 29-year-old said. “The fear kept me crippled with anxiety. I was terrified of the outside world.”
In 2017, she began to see how “harmful” his teachings really were which caused her to walk away from the organization altogether.
“His teachings were so harmful, and I’m seeing more of the effects of that in the lives of my friends and people who grew up in that community with me. There are a lot of cult-like tendencies,” she said.
John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Vuolo is still a devout Christian and she said her intent for writing her new memoir “Becoming Free Indeed” was to help others who may still be stuck under Gothard’s teachings.
“That’s the beauty of this journey,” she said. “The teaching I grew up under was harmful, it was damaging, and there are lasting effects. But I know other people are struggling and people who are still stuck.”
She concluded, “I want to share my story, and maybe it will help even just one person to be freed.”
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