It doesn’t take much to stir up controversy in the Duggar family.
The Counting On Clan is so ultra-conservative that the sight of female Duggar wearing pants instead of a floor-length skirt is enough to spark a heated debate.
So you can imagine Jim Bob and Michelle’s chagrin over Derick Dillard and the extent to which Jill Duggar’s husband seems to revel in stirring up scandals.
As you probably know, Derick was fired from Counting On back in 2017 after making bigoted comments about a trans teen on social media.
Jill quit the show as a show of solidarity, and the couple has been doing some serious belt-tightening ever since.
The Duggars preach that material wealth is a sign of God’s love and approval, so they’re probably not thrilled about Derick’s decision to toss a couple of six-figure careers out the window.
But at least Jim Bob and Michelle can be glad that Jill didn’t wind up with Derick’s brother Dan.
If you follow the family closely, you may know that the Duggars had some misgivings about Jill marrying into the Dillard clan, primarily because his family is made up of relatively normal people with normal problems.
The Dillards are conservative evangelicals, just like the Duggars (otherwise, the union would not have been approved), but they’re not wealthy, and they’re not as absurdly orthodox in their religious beliefs.
The family has endured a number of hardships, including the death of Derick’s father, as well as his mother’s battle with stage four non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Now, Cathy Dillard has detailed her fight with cancer as well as some other family travails, in the dramatically-titled memoir, I Shall Not Die: My Walk Through the Valley of Death.
But thus far, the media focus on the book has had less to do with Cathy’s cancer and more to do with hints that her son Dan was briefly a non-believer with a major substance abuse problem.
“As I recall, he described how he had been running from God, and he had finally quit running and surrendered, letting Jesus come in and take over,” Cathy writes.
“He now realized that had been a decision of his head and not his heart,” she continues.
“He had grown up in church and knew all the right things to do and say, but in his words, he had ‘been living a double life.’ He never turned his life over to Jesus.”
Dan’s Facebook post seems to corroborate his mother’s account of his “misspent” youth.
The father of one revealed that he was on “a path to self-destruction” as recently as 2016.
“The past year has been an incredibly difficult journey full of struggles and pain, but one that I have not had to go through alone,” Dan wrote at the time.
“This journey is only beginning. If you are reading this, know that I am praying for you and what you are going through right now.”
While neither Dan nor his mother went into detail regarding his struggles, fans have reached some conclusions based on his involvement in the fight against opioid addiction.
“Enjoyed speaking today at our Boone County Opioid Prevention Project kickoff,” Dan recently wrote on Instagram.
“Thanks to the Criminal Justice Institute for their partnership in this initiative #DFC #CJI #Prevention #ReversingTrends.”
Whatever his struggles may have been, however, Dan seems to have arrived at a happy ending — he and wife Deena welcomed a baby boy in September.