WASHINGTON, DC FEBRUARY 2012 MICHELLE AND JIM BOB DUGGARIt’s been an emotional time for the Duggar clan. First, it was revealed that, as a teenager, oldest son, Josh, had sexually molested several girls, including some of his sisters. Then, he was named as a subscriber when the Ashley Madison membership list was hacked. The site caters to married men and women looking to have extramarital affairs. Josh had two accounts and confessed to being addicted to pornography and to cheating on his wife, Anna.

Family Reaction

In the middle of the media firestorm, the following statement was posted to the Duggar family website: “We are so thankful for the outpouring of love, care and prayers for our family during this most difficult situation with Josh. As parents we are so deeply grieved by our son’s decisions and actions. His wrong choices have deeply hurt his precious wife and children and have negatively affected so many others. He has also brought great insult to the values and faith we hold dear.”

Checked into Rehab

Within a week, it was revealed that Josh was seeking help for his issues. The statement on the family site continued by saying: “Yesterday Josh checked himself into a long-term treatment center. For him it will be a long journey toward wholeness and recovery. We pray that in this he comes to complete repentance and sincere change. In the meantime, we will be offering our love, care and devoted support to Anna and our grandchildren as she also receives counsel and help for her own heart and future. During this time we continue to look to God – He is our rock and comfort. We ask for your continued prayers for our entire family.”

While it is important that Josh understand the severity of the pain he’s caused himself and his wife, it must be extremely difficult to be working through this with his family making public statements. The 27-year-old had already referred to himself as “the biggest hypocrite ever” so it’s hard to know whether anything more needed to be said. He is, afterall, an adult and, during the height of the molestation scandal, his parents, Michelle and Jim Bob, were defending him. Hopefully, they have good intentions but it’s easy to wonder if they are simply trying to save face at this point.

Sister Jessa Sides with In-Laws

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Josh’s sister, Jessa, who is currently pregnant with her first child, was one of the victims of molestation. At the time, she had tried to downplay the situation. Now that her brother’s adultery has become public knowledge, she has taken a different approach.

When her father-in-law, Michael Seewald, wrote a scathing entry on his website about Josh, rather than defend him, Jessa tweeted: “Go to Seewalds.com and read the post on the Ashley Madison scandal.” Many were shocked to see her seemingly endorsing his words.

In a post titled “Grief, Shame, And Taking The LORD’s Name In Vain,” Michael Seewald prefaces by saying that he does not “wish to add any more distress to a family still recovering from the indignity of the publication of a police report detailing Josh’s sins as a teenager” but continues to share his thoughts on the current situation.

He wrote: “Though I have never gotten to know Josh very well, I have great respect for his sorrowing parents and immense sympathy for his dear wife Anna and their four children. I myself have been mourning over the irreparable damage that has been done to many by this whole circumstance, yet the reason I feel obliged to make these remarks is an overwhelming desire to vindicate the name of God. True Christians fail often, but their lives are truly being conformed to the image of Christ. Do not look at Josh and justify your own sins by dismissing the reality of genuine faith and a holy God.”

Aftermath

It’s unclear but with their show, 19 Kids and Counting cancelled, it’s safe to say that the Duggar family has been changed forever by the events that have occurred over the last few months. It is easy to look at them and forget that these are real people, dealing with real problems, the least of which is the success of a television show. The truth is that Josh Duggar has four young children (including a newborn) and, somehow, he and his wife must find a way to provide for them. Hopefully, he will find the healing he is seeking in rehab and he will emerge ready to repair the damage that has been done.