Love ’em or hate ’em there’s no denying that it’s been a pretty hellish year for the members of the Duggar family.
Obviously, their most cataclysmic event in recent months was Josh Duggar’s arrest on child pornography charges.
But that shocking occurrence turned out to be only the first domino in a long line of misfortunes for the formerly beloved Counting On clan.
Many of Jim Bob and Michelle’s offspring have decided to distance themselves from their problematic parents, but amazingly, one of their daughters has managed to find happiness while still maintaining contact with her increasingly troubled family.
Just a few weeks ago, Jessa welcomed her fourth child — a girl named Fern.
(Clearly, she decided to stick with the botanical theme she began with Fern’s older sister, Ivy.)
Little Fern celebrated the completion of her first month on earth on Wednesday, and her parents marked the occasion by posting an adorable video on Instagram.
“Fern turned 1 month old today, and over the past week, we’ve seen those adorable social skills blossoming!” Jessa captioned the post, as first reported by People magazine.
“She loves to make eye contact and smile responsively when you talk to her! It’s the sweetest thing!”
The Seewalds announced the joyous news about their new arrival in early 2021.
The news was particularly welcome, as Jessa had suffered a miscarriage just months earlier, an event that reportedly left her inconsolable and deeply depressed.
“After the heartbreaking loss of a baby last year, we’re overjoyed to share that another little Seewald is on the way,” the Seewalds wrote on Instagram at the time.
“The pregnancy is going smoothly, and both baby and Jessa are doing well. We are so grateful to God for the precious gift of a new life!” they continued.
“The kids are delighted, and we can hardly wait to welcome this little one into our arms this summer.”
Just as expected, Fern entered the world in July, brightening up what has otherwise been a very bleak summer for Jessa’s famous family.
The Josh situation led TLC to cancel Counting On, leaving both Jessa and Ben jobless and facing an uncertain financial future.
Meanwhile, at least one of Jessa’s siblings — older sister Jill Duggar — has completely cut ties with her parents, meaning that she has little contact with the rest of the family.
(Family gatherings have traditionally taken place at the appropriately-named “big house” owned by Jim Bob and Michelle. Jill and husband Derick Dillard say they’re no longer welcome there.)
But we’re sure Jessa, Ben, and their four children are making the most of these uncertain times.
While this current scandal might be one of the greatest tests she’s ever faced, Jessa is nothing if not resilient.
And no matter what happens, she’ll have her devoted husband and her children by her side.
The months ahead are sure to bring a lot of negative press and a lot of ugly rumors as Josh’s trial gets underway — but if anyone is equipped to handle the pressure, it’s the Seewalds.
One of the most heavily-scrutinized aspects of life in the Duggar clan is the courtship process by which young people find suitable spouses.
Casual dating, premarital sex, and divorce are all forbidden in the Duggars’ world, so there’s a lot riding on every courtship.
Despite all that, the process moves fast — very fast.
Often, Duggars get engaged just a few weeks after they begin courting, and they’re married a few weeks after that.
So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the family has its mate selection protocol down to a science.
Believe it or not, the process involves a written application that’s designed by Jim Bob to help weed out the losers and ensure that his grandkids are bred from only the best stock.
We sincerely wish we were joking/
As you might expect, the whole thing is intensely creepy.
Check out some of the more bizarre highlights from the list of 423 questions (!!!) that are presented to potential Duggar suitors.
It’s believed that both male and female courtship partners are forced to fill out the questionnaire, and of course, the responses are reviewed by the all-powerful shot-caller himself, James Robert Duggar.
Somehow, this family keeps getting weirder by the day.
1. Derick Spills the Tea
2. Going Back to the Archives
3. Bonding Brothers-In-Law
4. Truth or Der
5. Jim Bob In the Middle
6. Does the Fun Ever Start!
Well, it looks like this is a very big week for Jessa Duggar.
Not only did her chronically-unemployed husband, Ben Seewald, finally get a job, he chose one of the few professions that Jim Bob Duggar actually approves of!
Yes, on Monday, it was revealed that Jessa is now the wife of an ordained minister.
A Duggar fan page shared the above photo on Instagram on Monday.
The pic was captioned, “Ben has been ordained as a Pastor,” and it was reportedly taken at a celebration party following his final commitment ceremony.
No one is wearing a mask, but that’s not much of a shock
We’ve known for quite some time that most of the Duggars think the coronavirus is a hoax.
Neither Jessa nor Ben has commented on the news, so we don’t know exactly when Ben was ordained or what the process of becoming a minister entailed.
But we certainly know what religion he’s ordained in.
The Duggars are Independent Baptists, and you can be sure Jim Bob wouldn’t tolerate his son-in-law becoming ordained in any other faith.
We wish we could tell you more about what Independent Baptists believe, but they’re a secretive bunch.
The “independent” refers to their refusal to affiliate themselves with any other Baptist denomination.
And in addition to attending church services each week, the Duggars engage in weekly “private worship” sessions.
What goes on there? Nobody knows.
But it’s a safe bet that there’s a good reason that what’s discussed in these sessions remains a secret.
After all, the Duggar beliefs that we know about are appalling.
We can only imagine about the stuff they feel the need to hide from the public.
Those who are familiar with his past say that Ben’s family isn’t quite as conservative as the Duggars (is anyone?).
But Jim Bob doesn’t tolerate much in the way of dissent, so you can be sure that Ben has adopted many of the Duggars’ beliefs and customs.
In addition to being Independent Baptists, the Duggars are adherents of the Quiverfull movement, which was founded by disgraced former pastor — and Jim Bob mentor — Bob Gothard.
Before he was forced to step down amid sexual harassment allegations, Gothard — yes, that’s really his name — came up with the idea that it’s the duty of all Christians to have as many children as possible.
Clearly, Jim Bob fell in love with the idea, and the rest — as they say — is history.
Fortunately, Ben seems to be slightly more sane than Jim Bob, and at somewhat less obsessed with procreation.
And we’re guessing he’ll be a better pastor than Gothard.
Hell, he would pretty much have to be.
Anyway, our congratulations go out to the Seewalds.
We have no idea what sort of ideas he’ll be spreading, but at least Ben isn’t unemployed anymore!
The Duggar family’s unusual dating (sorry, courting) rules were well documented long before they were embroiled in scandal.
Ever since Josh Duggar’s child molestation history – and brazen adultery – was exposed, they’ve all been under a microscope.
Yet, despite his hypocrisy, and the fact that their every move is under heavier scrutiny than ever, they weather every storm.
TLC axed 19 Kids & Counting, only to quickly come back with Counting On, featuring the same Duggars and their beliefs.
Well, sans the radioactive Josh. And now Derick.
Josh was a bridge too far for even the hard core believers to stomach seeing on TV any longer, but the fan base remains.
The Duggars themselves are similarly loyal to their beliefs. When it comes to the Arkansas family’s values, they stand firm.
Their belief system certainly requires conviction in order to practice, since the list of policies for love and life is not short.
Despite Joy bailing, Jinger’s new life in L.A., Derick’s sex on the brain and Jana’s girlfriend (supposedly), the rules remain.
Here are the most bizarre things they don’t allow …