According to the Duggar women, the best way to be a friend is to “point your friend to Jesus.” Sharing testimonies is a great to make friends and not annoy people.
Now, the girls don’t have compelling stories of their own, so they tell stories about their parents.
At 15, “Marie” was a thin and beautiful student. Everybody wanted to date her, but she was super insecure and had destructive thoughts and feelings. She never had “real” happiness. Marie became obsessed with being skinny. No more information necessary, apparently. She read the Bible and went to church. Wouldn’t you know it, the Duggars remember exact quotes from the sermon “Marie” went to decades ago, and it’s because this was a thinly veiled story about Michelle Duggar herself.
Next, the family feels compelled to tell us that they totally aren’t judgmental at all! Once, the family was going to the store in the family van when they passed a “girl” walking in a “short-short skirt” and low-cut top. One of the boys yelled “Don’t look! That girl’s not dressed right!” and added “That’s really bad.” They think this is a good story because they reminded the young boy not to judge this woman, but the fact that he thought to place value on her in the first place speaks to some underlying lessons learned in the home.
This is especially the case because they admit to using the code word “Nike” when they see somebody “dressed inappropriately” to signal the boys (and even Jim Bob himself) to drop their eyes to their shoes. This is meant to prevent “the guys’ eyes from seeing things they shouldn’t be seeing.” The claim is that they use a code to avoid being judgmental of others.
The ladies also say that once Jim Bob worked with a woman named Betty. Betty was a cashier, and everybody liked getting in her line. He had no idea why. Then he realized it was because she was friendly. This apparently inspired Jim Bob harangue people about the churches they go to when he gets on an airplane in the hopes of fostering a connection and not a punch to the face.
For some reason, all this talk about parents inspires the girls to evaluate their own friendships. Now is a good time to remind you that throughout this entire chapter, we haven’t heard a deep or compelling story about these women and their own friendships. Their idea of modern friendship, which they wish to avoid, is all about discussing a “classmate’s messy breakup” and a “celebrity’s latest romantic encounter.” Instead, they like to foster deep relationships in which recite scripture to friends. The relationships described in this book seem terribly superficial.
Somebody who knows somebody once told the girls that once a young girl went to a sleepover. The girls there wanted to use a Ouija board. You know, the board game manufactured by Hasbro. She said she didn’t want to use it because she’s given her life to Jesus. So the group decided to do something else. This is essentially a non-story.
Then, the Duggar girls get into a story where two unnamed friends had another couple over to visit. One couple wanted to play a card game, but the friend said he could not play because he was a recovering gambling addict.
At 7 years old, Jim Bob became a Christian. He once had to tell boys around him not to say curse words because they hurt God’s feelings. See, he used positive peer pressure to do what was right. I don’t know why this is immediately followed by a story where they were eating a meal in a foreign country and Jim Bob told the group they were eating barbecued dog.
Grandma gets a friendship story. This one is about how she became a Christian at 15 and her family made fun of her for going to church.
We end this chapter with the girls telling us that Michelle and Jim Bob have shared stories with them about people they know who did drugs or drank.
Up next: Chapter 5