With its hundreds of allegations of abuse alongside hyper-strict rules about marriage and dress, the Duggars' church is not your typical, wholesome house of worship.
The Duggar family belongs to the Independent Baptist Church, also known as "the Independent Fundamentalist Baptists or IFB."
The particular branch is more stringent than other Baptist churches, and many adherents tend to have more children due to their belief that using birth control is sinful.
IFBs often worship in people's homes rather than churches. Unlike many Christian denominations, Independent Baptists reject the concept of a "universal church."
Instead of following a global head or leader, the individual relies solely on the Bible to guide the course of one's life.
Grace Baptist Church notes,
"Each person is individually responsible for his decision
to accept Christ. [...] The believer is eternally secure and cannot lose salvation."
The Duggars and their church have gotten a lot of flack for certain attitudes surrounding a woman's place in that world, but this attitude is common in the Independent Baptist Church.
Harkins described her experience as a woman in a piece for Independent Baptist,
"Since the husband is to be the head of the home,
the wife's role in the home is to be in submission to her husband [...] Real peace only comes when we acknowledge the God-given role of our husband as the head and we in submission to them."
She even detailed how her husband dictates what she's permitted to take on,
"Now, I go to my husband and tell him the situation, we discuss whether I should or shouldn't agree to something, and then I can give an answer.
Either, 'Yes, my husband said I could' or 'I'm sorry, my husband said he didn't think I should be taking any more on right now.'"
While every family's situation might be unique,
Michelle Duggar wrote a blog for her wedding anniversary that revealed her and her husband's own basic understanding of married life as informed by their church.
"A man needs a wife who honors his leadership [...] A man needs a wife who will make appeals, not demands [...] A wife needs a husband who demonstrates spiritual leadership."
A man as the head is obviously the running theme here.