Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Love that Multiplies by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make it Work

In this book, both Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar take turns sharing about their lives as parents to 19 children.  This is a sequel to their book The Duggars: 20 and Counting!  I read that book a couple of years ago when it came out.  This book talks about their life in the past few years since the first book was published.  In it they tell about the premature birth of their 19th child, Josie who was born 3 and a half months early, at 12 inches long, weighing 22 ounces.  This was because Michelle had gallstones and kidney stones and pre-ecclampsia - life threatening high blood pressure which is an incredibly dangerous complication of pregnancy.

Michelle and Jim Bob say that they do their reality TV show (which I do not watch) and have written these books as a form of ministry to share their beliefs with other people. They believe that this is what the Lord wants them to do.  I don't really remember everything that was in their first book, since I read it a few years ago, but it seems to me that this book has a lot more endorsements for other programs, books, and seminars than the first one did.  I just don't remember that in the first book, but perhaps it was there.

I found some of the things that are shared in the book to be very good sounding and helpful.  I substitute teach and there are about as many students in an elementary school classroom as there are children in the Duggar family and some of the principles that they use in their family apply equally to teaching in a classroom.  For example, Michelle states that we need to be consistent in letting children know what behaviors are not acceptable.  If we ignore the little incidents, then the children will continue with more and worse misbehaviors.  If we stop them immediately at the small misbehaviors - often just by looking at them and telling them to stop, we can keep the misbehavior from escalating into something worse.

There were many things, however, in the book that sounded odd to me and a bit creepy.  As I examined them, they all seem to stem from the teachings of Bill Gothard, whom they highly endorse.  On their website they recommend Gothard's seminars and teachings and claim to receive no compensation from him, but when I looked as his website - their book is sold on his website.  It seems like Gothardism is their religion and it affects every part of their lives. Some of Gothard's teachings include that a woman should not work, but should only stay home and take care of and homeschool her children.  Children should be homeschooled and should not watch tv to protect them from the world and worldly views and they have found a way to extend this even into the college years with a homeschool college program.  Women should submit to their husbands in every way and it seems that they only want their children to marry other people who also subscribe to the Gothard viewpoints and who attend his conferences.  His teachings sound icky to me and I hope that people who admire the Duggars won't drink the Gothard kool-aid.

The Duggars seem to be a nice, well-meaning, and large family. Michelle is now pregnant with their 20th child.  Since she is 45 years old and has had such serious issues in her last pregnancy, this is a very high risk pregnancy for her.  I hope that she and the baby will be ok.


  1. Thanks for the review! I have only seen maybe bits and pieces of their show, but not a whole episode. I have never heard of this Gothard person, but he sounds very fundamentalist and conservative to the extreme.

  2. Did you read that book?? Really? B/c they specifically say they are not against women working nor are they against public school. Just that they have chosen differently for *their* specific family. The same way they stated that *they personally* do not use birth control, but do not feel they have the right to make that decision for others, that it is between them and their spouse, and the Lord.

    It's difficult to take your review seriously when you state things that are untrue to the things they state in the book.

  3. I am sorry if my last paragraph seemed unclear. I reworded the last paragraph to make it clearer that those are the teachings of Gothard, whom the Duggars endorse, not the teachings of the Duggars themselves.
    thank you