Shortly after the world learned that Josh Duggar molested five young girls when he was in his teens, the Duggars were beset by yet another scandal involving their eldest son’s sexual impropriety.
When the infidelity-facilitating website Ashley Madison was hacked in August of 2015, Josh was revealed to be its most high-profile client.
We still don’t know if Josh succeeded in his efforts to cheat on his wife, Anna, but we do know what his intentions were.
In the wake of Josh’s second scandal, the Duggars went into damage control mode.
Josh was sent to rehab to undergo a “faith-based” course of treatment for his sex addiction, and when he returned home six months later, his family basically kept him hidden from sight.
So it would appear that though he avoided jail time for his adolescent sex crimes, Josh learned a hard lesson about fidelity after getting caught cheating on his wife.
But as we’ve seen before, the Duggars are in object lesson in the many ways in which appearances can be deceiving.
Less than two years after Josh checked into rehab, everything in his life has basically returned to normal.
Josh and Anna are expecting their fifth kid; the rest of the Duggars are back on TV; and while his career as a lobbyist/reality TV star may have come to an end, Josh is reportedly making a fine living for himself as the proprietor of several used car dealerships.
Needless to say, fans are growing concerned that any lessons learned might now be forgotten.
And their worst fears seem to have been confirmed by recent comments from Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar regarding their views on infidelity.
The couple frequently speaks at marriage retreats and in a video uploaded yesterday, Colorado-based pastor Kenny Batson recalled an encounter with Jim Bob and Michelle at such an event.
Addressing his congregation, Batson recollected:
“At the marriage retreat — Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar helped us do it, and at the end of it, they were getting ready to go home, and Jim Bob caught me out in the hall and says, ‘You know what,’ he says, ‘I have to go back in here and do a little more teaching.'”
“What they talked about was this matter right here. Intimacy in marriage. And Michelle said something that I’d never thought, I mean I knew of it but I never thought like she put it.
“She said ‘Ladies, your husband can get his laundry done by other women, he can have his meal cooked by other women, he can have all kinds of things done for him by other women, but there’s only one woman who can meet that strong need he has that God put in him, and its you. Only you, lady.'”
In the past, the Duggars have been accused of blaming Anna for Josh’s infidelity, and many fans see these latest comments as Michelle’s way of doubling down on those views.
Michelle seems to be implying that Josh was simply acting on the “strong need that God put in him” and that Anna wasn’t satisfying his needs in the bedroom.
Batson puts an even finer point on it, summing up Michelle’s comments thusly:
“It is one of the greatest sins of women today, is a self-centered narcissistic view of how they are to have control of their bodies. The Bible says your body is not your own, sister. It is your husband’s.”
They may have figured out a way to present themselves to 21st century television audiences in an inoffensive fashion, but the Duggars views on marriage and a woman’s place in the world remain deeply problematic.
The Josh sex scandals briefly brought those views to the surface, and fans were justifiably outraged.
But like Jim Bob and Michelle, the Duggars’ most loyal viewers proved very eager to forget.