Josh Duggar Blames Porn and Satan in Public Statement

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Libby Anne’s blog Love Joy Feminism. It was originally published on Patheos on August 20, 2015.

Josh Duggar has now released a public statement.

Statement from Josh Duggar:

I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.

I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.

I brought hurt and a reproach to my family, close friends and the fans of our show with my actions that happened when I was 14-15 years old, and now I have re-broken their trust.

The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, in my heart I had allowed Satan to build a fortress that no one knew about.

As I am learning the hard way, we have the freedom to choose to our actions, but we do not get to choose our consequences. I deeply regret all hurt I have caused so many by being such a bad example.

I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.

Josh Duggar

The idea that porn viewing leads to porn addiction which leads to cheating on one’s spouse is a common one in evangelical circles. It’s also false. But it’s very clearly an idea Josh is leaning on heavily. He’s positioned himself perfectly to travel the evangelical speaking circuit as anti-porn advocate with a powerful testimony.

Also, by putting the mention of his infidelity behind a double mention of porn, he made it easy to miss and effectively minimized it. I already had one person ask me whether the infidelity refers to the porn, not, you know, actual infidelity. Josh may not realize that most people don’t care that he watched porn. Seriously.

It’s the cheating on his wife thing that is an issue here.

Josh says he “allowed Satan to build a fortress.” What that means is that it was Satan who worked this evil in Josh’s life, and Josh’s only mistake was allowing it. This is most definitely a variant of “the devil made me do it.” It’s a way to shift responsibility.

Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate that Josh acknowledged that the consequences he is facing are deserved, that he stated that we have the freedom to choose our actions, and that he has admitted that he was a hypocrite. Still, I’m bothered by the way he blames both porn and Satan for what happened, and I can explain why.

First, notice what doesn’t appear in this statement: Any acknowledgment that any of Josh or his parents’ beliefs may be implicated in what happened. Now yes, lots of people cheat. But remember that Josh and his parents have portrayed their rigid beliefs about sex and relationship formation as the key to creating healthy, happy, sound marriages.

Courtship, not having sex until the altar, all of that is supposed to protect you from problems like this one. And it didn’t work.

There is nothing in Josh’s statement admitting that perhaps a highly chaperoned courtship and sexual abstinence before marriage isn’t so foolproof after all. Instead it’s all about porn and Satan. The problem, the statement suggests, is that Josh didn’t follow the rules closely enough, not that the rules themselves may be flawed.

I was raised in a home much like the Duggars’, but I am no longer religious, and my husband isn’t either. In the Duggars’ worldview, that means we have given ourselves over to Satan, because we are no longer protected from sin or temptation by the blood of Jesus. My husband and I began our relationship as a courtship, but switched to just dating when my parents’ started layering on restrictions. We had sex before the wedding. And you know what? We don’t subscribe to that whole no-porn business. And yet, somehow, neither of us has ever been anywhere near cheating.

The Duggars promote very specific sex and relationship rules, rules that are supposed to protect young adults from just this heartbreak. I’ve been saying for years that these rules are seriously flawed, and others who grew up in this environment have as well, but the Duggars have continued to promote courtship and abstinence as the foundation for sound marriages. Courtship and abstinence before marriage were supposed to give Josh and Anna the perfect relationship and a fairy tale marriage, but it didn’t. Josh’s infidelity ought to put a dent in their starry-eyed promotion of courtship, at the very least, but given the way this statement is phrased, I don’t see that happening.

The Duggar boys aren’t allowed smartphones for fear they’ll access porn. The Duggar children, including the adult children, are only allowed on the internet with someone else sitting by them watching them, to make sure they don’t access objectionable things like porn. It’s almost like they never stopped to ask themselves whether making such a huge deal about porn might backfire when their sons got out of the house and had control over their own internet.

When you obsess over sex, you shouldn’t be surprised when sex becomes an obsession.

But you know what?

I don’t think any of these questions will be asked, and I don’t think any of these conversations will be had, at least by the Duggars.

And that’s sad.

6 comments

  • Michael Foucault posited the true purpose behind ring fencing sexuality with elaborate rules and protocols is control. We do not require sex, strictly speaking, to survive, yet it is still a fundamental drive. The rules can thus be set in opposition to our instincts, without an explicitly deleterious effect on wellbeing.

    By enjoining people to expend vast amounts of energy denying, suppressing, and constraining an elemental impulse (lets remember a lot of these people don’t even like talking about sex), you make people vulnerable to authoritarian control. The thankless imperative exhausts you. So, of course you need top down, command and control system reinforced with with social pressure to prevent you from acting upon your filthy, rotten inclinations!

    – TheLemur

  • I always wondered why the Duggar parents thought their child rearing and courtship rules would work and their children would have healthy lives and marriages when they weren’t raised this way?

  • I agree that the wrong things are blamed, but would not agree that porn is as little of an issue as this article makes it.

    I do not know how much porn influenced Josh Duggar, but the overwhelming majority of Internet porn is not “man and woman enjoy sex together” but “man/ men abuse and degrade woman”. Abuse is so prevalent, if you are repulsed by women being abused you will not even be able to read past all the titles and descriptions of porn videos to look for “man and women mutually enjoy each other” videos.

    Except for pornography having a story line of women being abused, the testimony of actual ex-pornstars say the industry is abusive and coercive, the stars use drugs to cope and get PTSD at a higher rate than war veterans.

    Any man who loves porn loves cruelty towards women. Therefore, porn is a serious issue. The church is wrong when it focuses their porn teachings on lust – it should focus on “love others as yourself” since straight porn is usually about women-hating and women’s oppression. The secular world is wrong when it calls porn a minor issue. Straight porn is a secular patriarchy that say women exist for male consumption.

  • Pingback: Josh Duggar Checks Into Treatment Center After Porn Star Details “Very Traumatic” and “Terrifying” Sexual Encounter | Homeschoolers Anonymous

  • The hypocrisy is so…unshocking.

    Should adultery be legal? Check.
    Should websites that facilitate adultery be legal? Check.
    Should porn web sites be legal? Check.

    Should gay marriage be legal? HELL NO!

  • Just for the record…I have NO idea why Josh is charging me with building fortresses and whatnot. This is SLANDER as I have never done manual work. I prefer art museums and science classes to wasting my eternity with ANYONE who hails from Tontitown, Arkansas and eats tater tot casseroles while wearing pleated Dockers. ‘Nuff said.

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