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Twisted Theology Is Protecting a Man Who Enjoys the Torture of Children, Says Rachael Denhollander

By Jessica Lea -May 7, 2021

josh duggar

Editor’s note: This article about Josh Duggar contains disturbing reports of sexual violence.

The alleged crimes of Josh Duggar, who was just released on bail pending trial, are  unspeakable. But what makes his story even more appalling, says victims advocate Rachael Denhollander, is the theology that is cushioning Duggar from the cost of those crimes.

“Everyone – EVERYONE else, from Josh’s own children, to a woman afraid to have him in the home, to his own wife, are bearing the risks and costs of his behavior,” said Rachael Denhollander in a Twitter thread. “And they are being told it is godly and right to do it.”

Denhollander is known for being the first woman to speak out publicly after filing a report against USA gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, one of the most prolific sexual abusers in history. Denhollander has shared she was groomed for Nasser’s abuse by being molested as a child in an evangelical church. She is now an attorney and advocate for abuse survivors. 

Rachael Denhollander: What Pastors Need to Know About Sexual Abuse

“I don’t even know where to begin with what we need to learn from this situation with Josh Duggar,” said Denhollander. “If you haven’t paid attention to updates, you should, because it is a glaring example of the problems we have in our legal system, and especially in conservative culture.” 

Duggar was arrested on April 29 for receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each, and has pleaded not guilty. He is currently under house arrest while awaiting his trial, set to begin July 6. 

Josh Duggar Planned and Premeditated 

In November 2019, Homeland Security Investigations raided Josh Duggar’s business and confiscated three password-protected devices. On those devices were dozens of images depicting nude minors and child sex abuse materials. In a hearing Wednesday, Special Agent Gerald Faulkner testified that one of those devices contained files that were among the “top five worst I’ve ever had to examine.” Faulkner has been an agent for 11 years and worked over 1,000 child exploitation cases. 

“The images and videos Josh downloaded for his own sexual pleasure were of toddlers and babies being sexually assaulted,” said Denhollander. “18 months to 3 years old. He literally found sexual gratification in watching the sexual torture of babies and toddlers…The FBI agent who conducted the investigation said it was some of the worst material he’s ever gone through. Josh searched for it, and enjoyed it. Sit with that reality. Absorb what that means.”

Investigators found that Covenant Eyes, a porn accountability software, had been installed on one of the devices, but that Duggar allegedly bypassed it by partitioning his hard drive into two sections. Faulkner also testified that Duggar used a TOR browser to access the dark web anonymously.

“This wasn’t an accident,” said Denhollander. “This was planned, premeditated, and probably going on for a long time.” She believes it is highly unlikely that Josh Duggar’s wife, Anna, was unaware that he was looking at porn. “Out of every woman I’ve ever walked with whose husband had a porn problem,” said Denhollander, “it was NEVER a surprise…It’s pretty much guaranteed that somewhere along the way Anna knew Josh still had a porn addiction, but she was left to deal with it and fix it in silence and on her own, because that’s how we counsel couples in Christian circles. ‘Submission’ becomes a catch-phrase to protect.”

Denhollander sees Anna Duggar‘s silence about her husband’s sexual proclivities as  symptomatic of certain evangelical teachings about the proper role of wives. Denhollander referenced several concepts promoted in some conservative circles, including the complementarian teaching that wives need to respect and submit to their husbands. Some conservative Christians emphasize the idea that “God hates divorce” so much that they encourage women to stay in abusive situations. And it is not unusual for Christian women to be taught they are responsible for men’s lust. If they are married, women are encouraged to make sure to have regular sex with their husbands so that the men will not be unfaithful.

“[Anna] certainly couldn’t tell anyone, because that would not be respectful,” said Denhollander. “That’s how we counsel wives in these marriages. But she was certainly taught to have sex more to fix it. Her own mother-in-law wrote blog articles that said as much.” 

Denhollander went on to point out how Josh Duggar’s family and community, despite facing shocking and plentiful evidence that he sexually preys on children, is bending over backwards to make life easier for him. 

Josh Duggar’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, called people in his church to see if any would be custodians for his son when Josh was released on bail. “[Jim Bob] found a man willing to take [Josh] in,” said Denhollander. “Except that man’s wife teaches piano lessons to children, and she was not comfortable having Josh home with her all day, because she would be alone with him while her husband was at work. That didn’t matter to the husband, however. She has to find a new place to teach all those children because her husband wants Josh to live with them.”

The couple who have agreed to take Josh Duggar in are LaCount and Maria Reber. The Rebers have two children, including a 22-year-old daughter. The family hosts piano lessons out of their home, but have agreed to move the students to another location

Maria Reber has said that she is uncomfortable being alone with Josh Duggar and is also uncomfortable with her 22-year-old daughter being alone with him. However, at Wednesday’s hearing, Reber testified, “My husband has made the decision and I’m here to support that decision.”

“Every single family who takes piano from her, and the wife herself, has to uproot their routine, livelihood and the child’s music education, because Josh,” said Denhollander. “Everyone is expected to bear the cost, except Josh. And the wife’s own very reasonable fears about being alone all day with a man who enjoys the sexual torture of toddlers didn’t matter to the husband either. The men in the situation are the leaders making the decisions while the women are expected to ‘submit.’”

Denhollander suggested that the Christians in this situation are living out twisted teachings on manhood and womanhood. And what is even more disturbing is that these teachings are pervasive. “The cost and impact is being born by everyone but the perpetrator, and the men given free reign to be ‘leaders,’” she said. “This is abusive culture. This is toxic Christianity. This is not manhood. This is not womanhood. This is depraved. And the worst part is, I know literally hundreds of women on the receiving end of this garbage. Josh, and this situation, aren’t the anomaly. They are the norm. Because we actually don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

Denhollander concluded:

Women are taught as the cause and solution to men’s sexual perversions. Until our theology changes to actually reflect Scripture, we shouldn’t be surprised at any of this. It’s a story I see every single day. It’s wicked. It’s evil. And it’s long past time that we called it that – not just the abuse, but the twisted theology that fuels it.

AUDIO How’s Your Back?

Rev Bill Woods

EZEKIEL 3:17-19: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:
18  When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
19  Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

When I pastored in Pullman, Washington, I had a WSU student attending my church who refused to go out soul winning or even just calling to invite people to church. – He said he’d gone out once and been rejected and wouldn’t put himself through that again.

Jesus never promised people would welcome His message, but He did tell us to give it to them. – We aren’t responsible for if they listen or not, but we are responsible to warn them so they know the consequences of their choice. 

Listen again: 18  When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.
19  Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

I’ve heard people say they don’t want to witness because they’re afraid their friends would reject them–maybe even persecute them.

In fact, Jesus did promise we’d be persecuted — John 15:18-20:“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

That hardly seems like an enticing sales pitch to offer people to accept Christ! – Yet, the Eternal benefits are outstanding and the alternative is terrifying.

Again, Jesus said, Matthew 5:10-12:  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 A preacher pastored a church in a little village along the Mexican Border.
 – In one sermon, he told about Simon of Cyrene being forced to carry Christ’s   cross and asked his audience what their reaction would’ve been if they’d been there.

A 9 year old Mexican boy walked up the aisle with determination in his eyes. – The preacher stopped speaking and the congregation grew quiet.  – Everyone knew this boy, his dad was a miner, his mother was an outcast.

He said, “You asked what I’d have done if I’d been in the crowd when Jesus fell under the weight of His cross.  Sir, I’d have helped Him carry it.”
The minister answered: “Yes, and if you’d helped Him carry His cross, the Roman soldiers would’ve beaten you across your back with their whips until the blood ran down to your heels!”

He never flinched. Meeting the preacher’s look, he gritted through clenched teeth: “I don’t care. I would’ve helped Him carry it just the same.”

Two weeks later, at the close of the service, the old preacher stood at the door, greeting people as they left. When little Pedro, came by, he patted him on the back.  Pedro pulled away with a little groan.  “Please don’t do that. My back is sore.”

The preacher was astonished; he’d barely touched the boy’s shoulder. He took him to a room and removed his shirt.

– Crisscrossed from his neck to his waist were ugly, bloody welts.

“Who did that?” the preacher said angrily.
    – “My Mother did it. She whipped me because I came to church.”

Jesus said in Luke 14:27 “And whosoever doth bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

– The geek in Seattle who carried and dragged a cross across the country………                                    

    – That’s not really what Christ meant.

There are many forms of crosses in our lives.

– We all struggle from time to time with heavy loads, some heavier than others.

Paul did his share of bearing crosses. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are  perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but  not destroyed.”

Paul was amazing. – He was hit by more problems than most people see in a lifetime. – If anyone had a right to say he had a bad back, it was Paul.

He was thrown into prison, received 39 lashes on 5 different occasions, beat with rods, stoned and left for dead, and shipwrecked. – Paul wasn’t invincible but he knew a secret. He knew where his strength came from.

2 Samuel 22:33 says, “God is my strength and my power; and he makes my way perfect.”

Psalm 73:26:  My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

The difference between Paul and most Christians today is Paul was ready to bear whatever cross came his way, no matter how heavy or burdensome it was – He knew God would be with him every step of the way.

When we face problems we can find comfort and encouragement in scripture promises like Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Jesus never promised it’d be easy when we give our lives to Him. We’re promised a cross.

Our cross might not be the same as little Pedro’s but it can be just as hard to bear.

Once we recognize what we’re struggling with, we must meet it head on.

We have to be convinced that God will see us through to the end.

How’s your back?  Is it scarred and bent over from the cross you’ve been dragging?

The young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. “Lord, I can’t go on,” he said. “I have too heavy a cross to bear.”   

The Lord replied, “My son, if you can’t bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish.”

The man was filled with relief. “Thank you, Lord,” he sighed, and he did as he was told. As he entered the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops weren’t visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. “I’d like that one, Lord,” he whispered. And the Lord replied, “My son, that’s the cross you just brought in.”

When life’s problems seem overwhelming, it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself far more fortunate than you imagined.

Maybe you’ve just given up, just left your cross lying in the sand.  It’s time to grit your teeth, ask God for strength, and get a firm hold on that   cross again.

The trail to Heaven can be a long, hard struggle — many won’t make it.

Those who do reach Heaven will do it under the weight of a cross.

When it seems like you can’t go on and you just want to give up, remember  2 Corinthians 12:9-10And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We’re surrounded by a world of lost sinners on their way to Hell.

If we don’t reach them for Christ, who will?

The Times-Reporter of New Philadelphia, Ohio, reported in September 1985, on a celebration at a New Orleans Municipal Pool.  The party around the pool was held to celebrate the first summer in memory without a drowning at any New Orleans City Pools.  In honor of the occasion, 200 people gathered, including 100 certified lifeguards.

As the party was breaking up and the 4 lifeguards on duty began to clear the pool, they found a fully dressed body in the deep end.  They tried to revive Jerome Moody, 31, but it was too late.  He’d drowned surrounded by lifeguards celebrating their successful season.

I wonder how many friends, neighbors and strangers around us are drowning in loneliness, hurt, and doubt, when we could help but don’t realize it. 

Christians have reason to celebrate, but our mission is to “rescue the perishing.”    – And so often they’re right next to us.

Roger Storms, pastor of First Christian Church in Chandler, Arizona, said: “One Sunday, a car had broken down in the alley behind our church — the driver had jacked it up and crawled underneath to work on it.  Suddenly, we heard him scream.  The jack had slipped, and the car had fallen on him.”

“Someone shouted, ‘Call 9-1-1!'” a couple people ran for the phone. Several men gathered around the car and strained to lift it off the trapped man.  Nurses from our congregation were rounded up and brought to the scene.  Somehow the men eased the car’s weight off the man, and he was pulled free.  Our nurses checked him over.  He was scratched and shaken, but otherwise okay.

“When this man was in peril, people did all they could to help – risking themselves, inconveniencing themselves.  They were ready to try whatever was necessary to save him.”

We need that attitude when it comes to rescuing those in greatest peril – losing life eternally!”

Some of them are waiting for you to show them the way. 

In 1967, Charles Murray, a student at the University of Cincinnati was training as a high diver for the summer Olympics of 1968. He had a Christian friend who was concerned about his soul.

Charles was very patient with this friend as he’d speak to him for hours about Jesus and how He needed to be saved.

Charles wasn’t raised in any kind of church, so all his friend said was fascinating to him.

He began to ask questions about forgiveness of sin.

Finally the day came when his friend asked him if he realized his need of a redeemer and was he ready to accept Christ as his Savior.

His reply was ‘NO!”

For days Charles avoided his friend, until one night this friend got a phone call from Charles. He wanted to know where to look in the New Testament for some verses about salvation.

His Christian friend gave him the references to several passages and asked if he could meet with him.

Charles declined the offer and thanked him for the scripture. He was obviously greatly troubled, but his friend didn’t know where he was or how to help him.

Because he was training for the Olympic Games, Charles had special privileges at the University pool facilities. Sometime between 10:30 and11:00 that evening he decided to go swim and practice a few dives.

It was a clear night in October and the moon was big and bright.

The University pool was housed under a ceiling of glass panes so the moon shone brightly across the top of the wall in the pool area.

Charles climbed to the highest platform to take his first dive.

At that moment the Holy Spirit began to convict him of his sins.

All the scripture he’d read, all his friend’s words to him about Christ flooded his mind.

He stood on the platform backwards ready to make his dive, he spread his arms to get his balance, looked up to the wall and saw his own shadow caused by the light of the moon. His shadow was shaped like a cross.

He couldn’t handle the burden of sin any longer. His heart broke and he sat down on the platform and asked God to forgive him and save him.                  .   – He trusted Jesus Christ twenty some feet in the air.

Suddenly, the lights in the pool area came on.  – The attendant had come to check the pool.

Charles looked down from his platform and saw an empty pool which had been drained for repairs. He’d almost plummeted to his death, but the cross had stopped him from disaster. 

…As you consider the outcome of this story, I ask, How many of your friends, co-workers, family members are up on that diving board this very minute… Turn on the light for them. Share the cross. Invite them to accept Christ’s Love.

Maybe you need Christ in your life, call on Him and ask Him to forgive you and save you now.

 Allow the Lord to work through you. Will you make yourself available to Him?


VIDEO Thunderous Applause—We Can Kill Our Children And Change Our Sex

January 8, 2021  by Shane Idleman


Almost a year ago, I wrote an article with a similar title when the so-called Reproductive Health Act passed in New York with thunderous applause in the state Senate chamber. I could not believe what I was reading: People actually applauded the slaughtering of children. Was I having a dream . . . a nightmare? Was this real?

As I’m writing this, the final results of the Georgia election and the presidency are still up in the air. Regardless of your political views, we should all be heartbroken at the state of our nation today. For example, by supporting certain candidates, many are cheering that healthy 9-month-old babies can be removed limb-by-limb. You may say, “But I’m not cheering abortion.” If you support those who support it, you are—let that sink in.

You’re also cheering that children can be influenced by transgenderism and be encouraged to change their sex (which is not possible by the way). Cheering that Congress will attempt to remove all male pronouns. The list of insanity that you’re supporting is endless.

Granted, these issues have been in America for years, but there is a huge difference between a politician who encourages perversion and murder, and one who fights against it. And I’m getting very frustrated at those who say, “But the Republicans haven’t done much to stop abortion either.” The reason is that adversaries in the House and Senate have fought for abortion rights. The enemy of our soul has done a great job preventing the shutting down of abortion mills and silencing churches via silent pastors. The view that Republicans haven’t done much is really just an excuse and a straw man argument.

I’m not writing this from a political party standpoint—I’m writing this from a God-fearing standpoint. When human life is devalued, atrocities such as the Holocaust, slavery, sex-trafficking, and abortion occur. God help us when we ignore our calling to confront evil. But how did we get here and what can we do?


As I said in my recent sermon and article, both titled, The Great Reset of the Church: In the same way that Jesus warned the lukewarm church in Laodicea, He warns us today: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot . . . So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (See Revelation 3:15-17.)

I believe that the church in America resembles the Laodicean church more than at any other time in our history. Sadly, conviction is replaced with complacency, and God’s glory is often replaced with gimmicks and marketing ploys. Just look at the top sermons viewed on social media today. The preachers are motivational speakers, not voices “crying in the wilderness.” It’s about being bigger and better instead of holier and humble.

Like many today, the Laodiceans thought that they were in the center of God’s will. They were large, wealthy, and involved in the community. They looked at numbers, but Jesus looked at the heart and said that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” His strong words were meant to convict and challenge, not coddle and comfort. In order to confront the massive cultural shift mentioned above, the church must be revived: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm 85:6).


How did we get here? A deathlike, deep slumber, has overtaken the church and God has allowed the complete breakdown of society. The beacon of light has faded, the salt has lost its savor, and the message of the cross has been edited out of most sermons. We have lost our fervor for the truth. Consider the following and how they may have played a role in where we are today—applauding murder and perversion:

The media is influencing the church. The politically correct police are on high alert. You can mention God as long as you don’t mention His absolute truth. You can mention Jesus as long as He was just a good teacher. And you can embrace religion as long as it’s all-inclusive. Pastors are required to be politically correct rather than biblically correct to be accepted. The trend in churches is to be welcoming, but primarily affirming. Sermons are designed to tickle the ear but not convict the heart. God help us.

Additionally, many Christians enjoy programs about the occult, vampires, witches, zombies, illicit sex, and other perversions of the truth. A Christian should not be entertained by darkness. If we are, our heart needs spiritual resuscitation. “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

The church cannot be political . . . unless it’s “politically correct.” I’m often reminded of God’s words to Jeremiah, “I have not sent these pastors but they ran. I have not spoken to them but they spoke. But had they truly stood in My counsel, they would have turned the people from their evil ways” (paraphrasing Jeremiah 23:21). I agree with Leonard Ravenhill here: “We need more prophets in our pulpits and less puppets.” God uses true prophetic voices to confront and convict.

I make no apologies for the controversial content of this article. When we fail to confront, we confirm. When we fail to confront destructive ideas and philosophies, we are, in essence, confirming them. To state the obvious, we become part of the problem. We cannot change what we will not confront.

As I often say, This battle is for the very soul of our nation. It’s our choice—stand or fall. Watch the video on defending the faith here.

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