The Institute in Basic Life Principles, or IBLP, was created by Bill Gothard. He and the organizations' teachings are basically a cult of extremist fundamental Christianity. The Duggar family are/were (some family members have broken away) big followers of the IBLP and arguably helped draw people to it with their Discovery/TLC programs. "Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets," explores just how the Duggar family and its leader, Jim Bob, created this image of a perfect family whilst carefully leaving out how the unchecked power, "Authority," emphasized by the IBLP is a perfect breeding ground for abuse. The IBLP is heavily explored as well, as this isn't just the Duggars, the producers of this four-part docuseries would tell you the rabbit hole goes dizzyingly deep.
As, "Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets," goes on, it is clear that IBLP may be an organization many of us haven't heard of but it has an alarming reach into culture, politics, and like many cults/questionable religions, relies on giving easy answers to tough questions and promises wonderful things (going to heaven, well-behaved children, a successful marriage, etc.) in exchange for blind obedience and a whole lot of money. The Duggars serve as just a single example of how cult-styled organizations can foster many forms of abuse towards basically anyone who questions those in power--the, "Man of the house," in essence. Many people interviewed who know the IBLP express they weren't shocked when the eldest Duggar child, Josh, was revealed to have sexually abused his sisters--that just happens in such a belief system. Things, of course, only get more twisty and flat-out wrong from there.
I wrote about the Duggar family on the blog before their downfall and as it began. I always imagined there were some dark secrets/twisted truths, but I didn't realize just how bad it all was. I always watched their show with a mixture of fascination and horror. This new docuseries talks with relatives, friends, and one daughter who was ready to come forward (Jill), and multiple other people who study cults or were in the IBLP are interviewed as well. This docuseries is enlightening, frightening, and hopefully will help others who are in the thrall of questionable religious/cult beliefs to do the main thing these, "Movements," don't want anyone to do: Question what they're told. Should you have Amazon Prime I'd absolutely recommend viewing this.
5 out of 5 stars.