What religion do the Duggars practice?

The Duggars are mesmerizing to many viewers. The family was picture perfect until they weren't, with beautiful children and the appearance of embracing the type of family values viewers could only aspire to. Even as they were rocked by scandal, the Duggars made no secret of their strong ties to the Christian faith — on their website, the family credits God with "opening many doors for them to share that children are a blessing from the Lord." With the size of their family, one might forgive a fan for thinking the Duggars to be Mormon or Catholic, but that isn't the case. 

The Hollywood Gossip says that when asked, family patriarch Jim Bob Duggar has said that he and his family are Independent Baptists — a group with more conservative views on religion and life. They are seen to move away from more traditional Baptist beliefs, and are made up of what the site calls "a loose network of individual congregations." 

How the Duggars' religion affects their lives

According to Pew Research Center, Independent Baptists make up the second largest group of Baptists at 2.5 percent, after the Southern Baptist Convention which makes up 5.3 percent. Most Independent Baptists come from the Baby Boomer and Gen-X generations, and 75 percent say they pray at least daily.

The Duggars adherence to the more conservative type of Christianity as practiced by Independent Baptists plays out during their shows, from the way they dress to their courtships and marriages. Speaking to Today, Jim Bob and Michelle explained the seven rules of courtship which they have described as "waiting for the one God has for you and praying through the whole process." The Duggar girls keep a chaperone with them at all times, which "keeps things from going in the wrong direction." The brothers will always chaperone their sisters, because the boys are better able to assess the merits of a potential suitor. All texts sent to the girls are also sent to mom Michelle and dad Jim Bob. There is no kissing or hand-holding. All boys need to be Jim Bob-approved. And... Michelle says there is no such thing as failed courtship.

Bustle notes that the younger members of the family are not only homeschooled, but the family as a whole take part in "home church" which means meeting in "an unassuming space" to hear church elders (and that includes patriarch Jim Bob) and each other speak.

The mystery that surrounds their faith could well be a hook that brings viewers back to the Duggars time and again.