From the moment that Jim Bob and company entered the spotlight, critics of the Duggars have been rooting for the family’s downfall.
Even before the first Josh Duggar sex scandal made headlines in 2015, millions were of the belief that Jim Bob had forced a dangerously cult-like belief system on his chldren, and in doing so, had created the sort of environment in which secrecy is paramount and abuse runs rampant.
We now know, of course, that those suspicions were 100 percent justified.
Jim Bob and Michelle had the gall to invite a television crew into their home only because they knew how successful their brainwashing efforts had been:
Even as they entered adolescence and early adulthood, the children never thought to question the strange circumstances of their upbringing because they had never encountered any other lifestyle.
By keeping his kids completely isolated, Jim Bob was able to ensure that they were unaware of the extent to which they were being deprived of anything approaching normalcy.
Yes, they would be permitted to give interviews to the TLC crew, but only under Jim Bob’s watchful eye, and only with the assurance that Jim Bob would have final say over what made it to air.
Unfortunately for this domineering patriarch, there was a flaw in his plan.
Duggar women are taught from a young age that procreation is their sole reason for being.
And so, they started the “courting” process at a very young age.
This meant that Jim Bob was forced to allow insiders into his highly insular world.
And the very first man to marry into the Duggar family immediately recognized that something was horribly amiss.
We’re talking, of course, about Derick Dillard.
Jill’s hsband was the first member of the family to publicly question Jim Bob’s wisdom.
In fact, he went much further than throwing shade at the big man.
At one point Derick suggested that Jim Bob had stolen millions from his children by pocketing their TLC earnings.
Not long after that, Jill cut ties with her parents, and she’s remained estranged ever since.
For many fans of the family who were quick to dismiss all criticism against the Duggars, this was a watershed moment.
Derick documented the feud on social media, revealing that Jim Bob went nuclear by attempting to deny Jill access to her siblings.
“Because our visitation to the Duggar house has been restricted and that is where they and their spouses hang out, we have not been able to see other family as much as we would like, so that is difficult,” Dillard tweeted at one point.
“I think [Jim Bob’s] mainly worried about the influence we might have on his children.”
It was around this time that Jill began drinking alcohol, wearing jeans, and generally disregarding the more absurd rules with which she was raised.
The change in one of the most beloved Duggar daughters — Jill was so popular that the family’s second spin-off series was originally titled Jill & Jessa: Counting On — caused many to re-examine the nation’s most famous evangelicals.
After years of rumors of internal tension, now there was a real Duggar rift — and one side was happy to share their story with anyone who would listen.
When Josh Duggar was arrested on child pornography charges in April of this year, many fans voiced suspicions that the police had been tipped off by Derick.
That didn’t turn out to be the case, but as Jim Bob and Michelle gradually attempt to rebuild their public image, you can be sure that Jill and Derick will make that much more difficult for them.
Even before Jana Duggar’s arrest on child endagerment charges became public news, former fans began to suspect that Josh wasn’t just a single bad apple.
Rather his perversity was seen as partially a product of the cultish environment in which he was raised.
Josh was sickness was seen as endemic to the Duggars’ community, the same community that had helped him hide his earlier sex crimes in order to avoid an arrest and public scandal.
And it was Jill and Derick who tried to alert the world of the horrors that were taking place behind closed doors.
So no, the Dillards weren’t the ones who brought down the Duggar empire — Josh and Jim Bob did that on their own.
But hopefully, Jill and Derick’s continued criticism will prevent these momsters fromm ever rebuilding.