I’ve actually long suspected that Derick is far more mainstream than many people think. He didn’t grow up IBLP or really fundie at all. He grew up in an ordinary Southern Baptist church, attended public school, and went to college. I honestly don’t think he has a problem with women having jobs or wearing pants, using birth control, vaccinating his kids, or sending them to public school. I also suspect that he is less conservative in his private life than many people would assume. We’ve seen him dancing and listening to mainstream music, and he probably enjoys a beer occasionally and even streams guilty pleasure shows on Netflix. His beliefs about abortion, gay and transgender individuals, and probably any number of other social issues are not my beliefs and I find them abhorrant. However, I don’t think his position on these issues is any different than that of millions and millions of people who attend conservative churches and even many who do not. They aren’t “extremist“ in the sense that they’re in any way unusual.
I think Derick was drawn to Jim Bob (and therefore Jill) at a relatively young age because he had lost his father and was searching for some sense of security. Beliefs like the Duggars’ appeal to people like Derick because the world seems too complicated and the hard and fast rules of IBLP make everything easier. But I think, and I will be frank, Derick was just too smart to stay IBLP for the rest of his life. Obviously something happened that put him on the outs with the Duggars, and while there’s been a lot of speculation I don’t think we know exactly what that was. But to a certain extent, I don’t think it matters, because I think Derick would’ve left that fold eventually anyway. I think their beliefs were just far too rigid and insular, and I think there was a point, probably after Izzy’s birth, when Derek woke up and thought “most of these rules don’t even make any sense — is this what I want for my kids?” Obviously it wasn’t, so they got out of there and have gone back to the beliefs that Derek grew up with and on some level probably never lost in the first place. And frankly, I think that that is a huge improvement over being raised in the Duggar compound. The boys might still grow up learning that being gay is a sin, for example, but they will also meet actual gay people and at some point get to make up their own minds. That never would’ve happened at the TTH.
The one who I think is having a really hard time here is Jill. But I think humans have a tendency to eventually reject the things that have rejected us. I imagine Jill feels rejected by Jim Bob and Michelle, and maybe that, along with pressure from Derek, made her realize that IBLP and homeschooling were not the only way to go. Or it’s possible that she just realized that she wasn’t cut out to homeschool. Not every parent makes a good homeschool teacher. I personally would totally suck at it, not because I’m stupid but because I tend to be impatient and don’t enjoy teaching. I don’t get the sense Jill really likes it either, but just does it out of the feeling of obligation. It may have been freeing to her when Derek suggested putting the boys in public school. Anyway, it’s a huge step, and one that I’m glad that they took. I think the boys will be better off for it.