It's no secret that the Duggars have strong religious convictions. In fact, religion informs every aspect of their lives, from their dating rules and dress codes to the lawmakers they support and opinions they hold. But, in the past, parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have dodged questions about their religious beliefs, despite being vocal about their overall views. That has left fans asking: What religion do the Duggars practice? The stars of TLC's Counting On adhere to an ultra-conservative version of Christianity that promotes patriarchal gender roles.
In the past, Jim Bob has said that he and his family are Independent Baptists, an unofficial sect of Evangelical Protestantism based on far more fundamentalist values, according to The Hollywood Gossip. Independent Fundamentalist Baptists — or IFB — diverge from traditional Baptist beliefs, and take on a more extreme, conservative view of religion, life, and higher purpose.
Independent Baptists are the second most common group of Evangelical Baptists, following Southern Baptist Convention, according to the Pew Research Center. A 2014 religious landscape survey released by the Pew Research Center found that people who ascribe to the Independent Baptist tradition represent 2.5 percent of the United States population. Southern Baptists, on the other hand, represent over 9 percent of the population.
The Duggar family's religious beliefs influence everything including what they wear, how they grow their hair, how they go about dating, and what type of education they pursue. For example, in regard to relationships, parents Jim Bob and Michelle have said they consider courtship as a path to marriage, according to TODAY. Jim Bob said of the family's courtship rules, TODAY reported,
As for children, Jim Bob and Michelle's Independent Baptists beliefs prohibit them or their children from using birth control of any kind, according to In Touch Weekly. After welcoming oldest son Josh, Michelle became pregnant while using birth control, and later lost the baby. The couple has blamed the miscarriage on birth control, explaining, according to In Touch Weekly,
They added at the time,
Their religious views on birth control, courting, and clothing has caused many Counting On fans and critics to suspect the Duggars actually follow the Quiverfull movement, according to People. Although the Duggars label themselves "Independent Baptists," their beliefs are considered to be far more conservative and strict than the standard Independent Baptist tradition.
Cavan Concannon, assistant professor of religion at the University of Southern California, told People of the fringe fundamentalist sect,
Jim Bob has denied, repeatedly, that he and his family belong to Quiverfull movement, which is considered controversial in its own right, according to People. But whatever they believe, it's clear that strict, conservative tenets are an integral part of the Duggar identity, and it doesn't seem that would change anytime soon.