There's always something left to unpack when it comes to the Duggar family.
Josh Duggar, the eldest son of 19 Kids and Counting stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, is serving a 12-year prison sentence for receiving child pornography. Jill Duggar and her husband Derick Dillard had a public break with her parents after revealing she wasn't compensated for years of participation in the family's reality-TV franchise. And earlier this year, Jinger Duggar released a memoir describing the fundamentalist teachings that governed her family's entire household—and why she had to break free.
All of the above is explored in Amazon's Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets, which characterizes the seedier Duggar headlines as almost unsurprising when considered alongside the Institute in Basic Life Principles—the strict religious credo emphasizing female submission and homeschooling that Jim Bob and Michelle adopted and passed onto their children.
"I felt like if I said no, I am not obeying my parents and bad things are gonna happen to me," Jill, the only one of the 19 Duggar kids to participate, says in the four-part series. "IBLP and the teachings draw in people like my dad who want this control. It can foster this cult-like environment."
Directed by Julia Willoughby Nason and Olivia Crist, the show features testimonials from a number of former IBLP members, all of whom point the finger at church founder Bill Gothard for guiding his flock down this insular, repressive, untenable road.
Calling the series ill-intended, Jim Bob and Michelle said in a statement on their website, "This 'documentary' paints so much and so many in a derogatory and sensationalized way because sadly that's the direction of entertainment these days. We have always believed that the best chance to repair damaged relationships, or to reconcile differences, is through love in a private setting. We love every member of our family and will continue to do all we can to have a good relationship with each one."
E! News also reached out to the couple, Gothard and IBLP for comment on specific claims made in the series and has not yet heard back. The series notes that the Duggars' longtime rep, Chad Gallagher, told the production that the couple "love each of their children tremendously and always desire each live their God-designed lives to the fullest," but otherwise declined to comment. Gothard also declined to comment for the series.
But throughout, the onetime IBLP faithful marvel at how 19 Kids and Counting put the church's teachings on display and viewers bought what the Duggars were selling as entertainment.
Scroll on for the biggest bombshells from Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets:
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets is streaming on Amazon