Jinger Duggar Vuolo has opened up about her awful upbringing under “harmful” teachings.
The TV personality shared in a new interview that she lived in fear throughout her childhood due to the teachings she listened to at the Institute in Basic Life Principles.
The non-denominational organization was founded by Bill Gothard, who has since been disgraced for allegedly sexually harassing multiple women.
Vuolo finally broke free through her brother-in-law and his family, who helped change her religious views. The actress has penned a memoir about her journey to freedom, hoping it will help others like her.
Keep on reading to learn more.
‘I Had To Wear Only Skirts And Dresses To Please God’
In an exclusive with People, the “19 Kids & Counting and Counting On” star detailed how she grew up under the “harmful” and “damaging” teachings of Gothard.
Vuolo’s parents, Jim Bob, 57, and Michelle Duggar, 56, were devout followers of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, which the disgraced minister ran until his sexual harassment scandal.
Having no ability to make choices of her own at the time, the reality star and author lived that phase of her life in fear.
“Fear was a huge part of my childhood,” the 29-year-old told the publication. “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 was experiencing such overwhelming fear that she worried about disobeying God’s will, even when she was out with her family.
Vuolo added, “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.”
Jinger Vuolo Says She Was ‘Terrified Of The Outside World’
In the interview, Vuolo noted the consequences of living her life in such a confined manner. “The fear kept me crippled with anxiety. I was terrified of the outside world,” she said, recalling how Gothard’s teachings deeply damaged her.
For years Vuolo remained stuck in her situation until 2017 when she began to “realize that Gothard was not a bible teacher.”
She credited her brother-in-law and his family for changing her perspective and starting her on the journey to “disentangling fear from faith.”
Ultimately, Vuolo walked away from IBLP and its cult-like teachings. However, she remained heartbroken that “friends and people who grew up in that community” with her were yet to see the light as she did.
‘I Want To Share My Story’
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Vuolo shared that her hopes of getting more people out inspired her to write her first solo book, Becoming Free Indeed, which centers on how she left behind her fears and embraced a “healthy balance” in her religious faith.
“I know other people are struggling and people who are still stuck. I want to share my story, and maybe it will help even just one person to be freed,” she said.
Describing her journey so far, Vuolo said it has been “emotionally exhausting” but “the best thing” she has ever done.
She added, “Like I feel every day, I’m just so grateful to not be so bogged down by fear and superstition and thinking that God is out to get me for no reason. It has been so freeing.”
Jinger Vuolo’s Parents Still Follow Gothard’s Teachings
While Vuolo has broken free from the shackles, it appears that some of her family members, particularly her father and mother, still believe in some of the doctrines.
At the time Gothard came under fire for sexually harassing multiple women, Jim and Michelle released a statement that revealed they were still in support of some of his teachings.
The duo said at the time, per Page Six, “We do not agree with everything taught by Dr. Bill Gothard or IBLP, but some of the life-changing Biblical principles we learned through IBLP’s ministry have helped us deepen our personal walks with God.”
They reiterated their stance during an interview with NBC News early last year, although they acknowledged that Gothard might have erred in some ways.
The pair remarked, “The public accusations against Dr. Gothard in recent years are troubling and grievous. However, our faith in God is not based on following a fallible human man… Truth is truth, even if the messenger fails.”