The 6 Burning Questions We Hope Get Answered In Jill Duggar Dillard's Memoir

The following article contains references to child sexual abuse.

"Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets" would have been juicy enough if it had merely featured former members of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), but the Prime Video documentary featured commentary from someone quite unexpected: Jill Duggar Dillard. She and her husband, Derick Dillard, sat down with the filmmakers to discuss her experience with the controversial church, and its effect on her. Most surprising, though, was what Jill had to say about her father, Jim Bob Duggar. Calling him essentially a control freak, she explained the IBLP appealed to men like him because of its patriarchal structure. The congregation's men run the show, and women and children are expected to submit to their authority or risk being punished by God. 

Shortly after "Shiny Happy People" aired, Jill announced the tell-all book fans had been waiting for. "Counting the Cost" will drop on September 12, 2023, and it promises to uncover the secrets Jill and Derick were made to keep when she was still trying to be obedient to her father and the church. But exactly how revealing will it be? Recall that Jill's sister Jinger Duggar Vuolo also released a book this year about her upbringing, but the tea she spilled wasn't what you'd call Boston Harbor-level. What Duggar followers are really looking for is a no-holds-barred memoir that answers at least some of the most burning questions about Jill and her famous reality family.

Does Jill wish her childhood had been different?

We all have aspects of our childhood we would have changed if we could: fewer rules, more time with our parents, no sitting for photos with a creepy Easter bunny. We're curious to know what, if anything, Jill Duggar Dillard regrets about her upbringing. Does she wish her parents had let her wear "eye trap" clothes, or sport a short hairdo? Did she ever resent the Duggar family's "buddy system"? There's a big difference between occasionally babysitting your younger siblings and being their main caretaker. And while Jill has found a loving and supportive partner in Derick Dillard, does she ever wonder what might have happened if she'd been able to date more than one man?

Let's not forget the so-called education Jill and her siblings received. The IBLP homeschooling curriculum, which uses scripture passages to teach secular subjects, has been criticized for being both inadequate and inaccurate. The ministry also discourages teens from going to college, warning that "secular reasoning" leads people to "believe lies" and "make unwise and damaging decisions." Does Jill feel she was shortchanged in the learning department?

Jill's opinion on corporal punishment would also be helpful to know. Cousin Amy Duggar King recalled in "Shiny Happy People" that she used to see Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use "encouragement" — their term for hitting their children with a rod — when the kids disobeyed. Did Jill get a lot of "encouragement" growing up, and does she think it's a sound parenting strategy? 

Will Jill discuss the real dangers of the IBLP?

With her book "Becoming Free Indeed," Jinger Duggar Vuolo became the first of the Duggar children to publicly criticize the Institute in Basic Life Principles. She blasted the ministry's founder, Bill Gothard, for imposing a set of rules that had no basis in the Bible. Only after Jinger married and left her parents did she realize God wouldn't punish her if she broke the famous Duggar dress code or listened to pop music. However, she didn't address the ministry's deeper dangers, and we're hoping Jill Duggar Dillard will pick up where her sister left off. Will she speak out against the IBLP's toxic patriarchy? Will she accuse them of nurturing a culture of silence in the face of scandals, such as the one involving her brother Josh Duggar?

Jill could also delve into what ex-members claim is the IBLP's ultimate goal. By encouraging parents to have large families, the ministry is trying to create a "Joshua generation" of youth who will dominate the political system. The end game allegedly seems to be to turn America into an ultraconservative Christian nation with Bible-based laws. In this case, public education might be changed to require the teaching of creationism or other faith-based curriculum. Does Jill oppose the ministry's agenda, and is she brave enough to say so?

How much more will we learn about Jim Bob?

Jill Dillard has painted a much different picture of her father, Jim Bob Duggar, than the one viewers saw on "19 Kids & Counting." The series showed him as a loving, God-fearing, and occasionally befuddled dad, but behind the scenes, Jill claims he overlooked her feelings and sacrificed her privacy for the sake of fame and profits. In "Shiny Happy People," she and husband Derick Dillard claim Jim Bob withheld the money they earned from the show and tricked them into signing a long-term commitment to the "Counting On" spinoff. Worst of all, they say he pressured Jill to publicly downplay the harm that had been done to her by her oldest brother, Josh Duggar. Derick called it "damage control" on Jim Bob's part to keep "19 Kids" on the air, even if it meant outing Jill as an abuse survivor.

Jill was even harsher during a preliminary deposition she gave when she and three of her sisters filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit against their city and its police department for making public the report against Josh. According to the Daily Mail, the Duggar daughter called her father "pretty controlling, fearful, and reactionary," as well as "verbally abusive." Inquiring minds want to know much more detail, and whether Jill has any hope for reconciliation.

How much will she share about Josh?

In 2015, reality show fans were shaken by the revelation that Josh Duggar, the oldest of the 19 siblings, had admitted to molesting several young girls as a teen — including his own sisters. In the now-famous Megyn Kelly interview, Jill Duggar Dillard reluctantly admitted that she had been one of her brother's victims. Feeling obligated to help keep their family's show on the air, she and her sister Jessa Duggar Seewald insisted Josh had repented and they had forgiven him. Just a few years later, Josh was found guilty of possessing child sexual abuse images.

No one expects Jill to go into great detail about the trauma she experienced, but readers will certainly want to know her opinion of Josh today. Plus, will she address her parents' alleged attempts to cover up his crimes? Per Page Six, "Shiny Happy People" features an interview with the parents of a woman Josh almost married. The Holts attest they found out about the molestation only through the news; when they confronted Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, they admitted they planned to keep quiet and let Josh tell their daughter himself. The senior Duggars also supported their son during his trial, with Michelle begging the sentencing judge for leniency. How does Jill feel knowing her parents are still on Team Josh?

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

How is Jill raising her sons?

Jill Duggar Dillard's family is tiny by Duggar standards, but it's no less active. She and husband Derick Dillard have three sons: Israel, age 8; Samuel, 6, and 1-year-old Frederick ("Freddy"). Her Instagram feed shows the family enjoying such pleasures as swim lessons and park hikes. Having carved out a happy post-TV life for herself, it's likely Jill will include some details about it in "Counting the Cost." What fans really want to see, though, is how the Dillards' parenting style differs from the Duggars'. Are Israel and Samuel expected to obey mom and dad without argument? Do they get physical "encouragement" if they refuse to clean their room? Is Jill homeschooling? Israel was in public school for a couple of years, but recently there's been speculation that she's teaching the kids at home.

It may be a few years down the road, but we'd still like to know what Jill's view is on her sons dating. Will she and Derick let the boys choose their own partners and go out for pizza without a chaperone? And how would they feel if, say, Freddy fell for a woman outside their faith — or if Sam came out as LGBTQ+? 

Has Jill changed her mind on gender roles?

Finally, we're hoping Jill Duggar Dillard will include her take on the gender norms she was raised on. As members of the IBLP, the Duggar girls were taught to aspire only to marriage and motherhood, and almost all of them have done just that. (Oldest sister Jana Duggar is single and still lives on her parents' property.) Wives in the ministry are expected to let their husbands make all the major family decisions, and to be "joyfully available" whenever their man is in the mood. Divorce is out of the question, even in cases of abuse or infidelity. That's why Anna Duggar reportedly finds it unthinkable to divorce husband Josh Duggar. Besides, with seven children to support and no job skills, her options are limited at best.

Jill could simply be content to write about her childhood church and her father, and that would be fine. But if she really wants to send a positive message of empowerment, she should address the IBLP's harmful view of women and distance herself from it. It won't be long before we find out what Jill has to say on these and other subjects.