The Duggar family is famous for its strict set of rules prior to marriage. One of the restrictions has to do with social media usage; they are forbidden to be on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or any of the other platforms until they're engaged. But considering that the rest of the family appears to abide by this rule, it raises the question of why Josiah Duggar had an Instagram account well before he popped the question to his fiancée Lauren Swanson. Indeed, despite his recent engagement, the 21-year-old Duggar son has been on social media for some time now. He is on both Instagram and Twitter while even his older siblings, 27-year-old twins Jana and John-David Duggar, are still unmarried and offline. Has the family made an exception for Josiah or has he decided to break the rules?
Social media is on the list of "worldly" things banned from the Duggar lifestyle until marriage — or, at least, engagement. Along with one-on-one phone calls and hand holding, social media accounts are strictly off limits to members of the Duggar family until they or their partners put a ring on it, according to The Hollywood Gossip. While the younger siblings pop up on the family's official accounts from time to time, they don't generally make profiles of their own until they reach the engagement stage.
The one apparent exception to that rule is Josiah Duggar. He first joined Instagram back in April of 2015 when he began courting his girlfriend at the time, Marjorie Jackson, according to In Touch Weekly. His first post, which has since been deleted, was of a bumper sticker with the quote, "Evil thrives when good men do nothing," shortly followed by a photo with Jackson announcing their courtship, according to E! News. He's been on Instagram ever since.
In Duggar speak, courting and engagement are pretty close, but not quite the same. Courtship is understood by the family as "dating with a purpose," that purpose being to determine where the relationship is going, according to TODAY. The couples always have a chaperone during the courtship period and there are no conversations without parental oversight. If the two decide that they aren't compatible, there is no shame in ending a courtship. Engagements are a bit more official than that, which may explain why they come with more "perks" — like social media.
But the distinction between courting and engagement does little to explain why Josiah was permitted to join the world of social media before proposing to anyone. He and Jackson have since called it quits and he has more than moved on. As of last week, Josiah is engaged to Lauren Swanson. While Instagram is totally free game now that their commitment is official, there was no lag between relationships in his online status — which seems to suggest that engagement wasn't a prerequisite for this particular Duggar.
Josiah's sister, Jinger Duggar, waited until after her wedding with Jeremy Vuolo to join social media, but Jessa Duggar started her Instagram a few months prior to announcing her engagement with Ben Seewald, according to In Touch Weekly. Her first post to Instagram was made in May of 2014 and she wasn't engaged until that August. Technically, she too was online before getting engaged. So, perhaps there is a bit of wiggle room with the engagement-first rule?
Another possible explanation for Josiah's online presence is that he has decided to bend some of the rules. One of his Instagram posts in particular has fans questioning how committed he is to sticking to the rules. The photo appears to show him privately FaceTiming with Swanson prior to their engagement — the kind of seemingly chaperone-free communication that is definitely not allowed so early in a relationship. What's more, Instagram isn't the only platform that Josiah has joined. He is also on Twitter with the handle @SiDuggar and has been for some time. But what's one more account when you're already breaking the rules?
Why or how Josiah made his way onto social media before choosing a bride it's certainly a head-scratcher, but it's possible that since he started posting online while in a courtship that's why he got a pass with his parents' rules, though it's not clear why he could continue to do so after calling it off. It's possible that could be, because he's a son, the family's conservative views may allow men to be given some "leniency" on the whole rules thing, as In Touch Weekly speculated. Either way, a few Instagram posts and tweets don't add up to much in the grand scheme of things and perhaps he'll address all of this on Counting On one day.
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