A brand new documentary from Investigation Discovery is exposing the tradition of abuse inside a bunch of Christian church buildings related to the Duggar household. Let Us Prey: A Ministry of Scandals examines a sample of predatory conduct inside the Unbiased Elementary Baptist church buildings and the efforts of survivors to seek out justice. The four-part docuseries premieres Friday, Nov. 24.
‘Let Us Prey’ exposes IFB ‘secrets and violence’
Though the identify may not be acquainted to many viewers, the Unbiased Elementary Baptists are a strong pressure inside American Christianity. Since its founding in the Fifties, the IFB “has evolved into one of the dominant religious forces in the United States today with an estimated 8 million believers spread out over 6,000 churches across the country,” in accordance with ID. The loosely affiliated group has a “cheery and virtuous exterior.” Nevertheless, that masks the “depraved secrets and violence that have existed within their churches for decades.”
“Rituals oriented towards ‘breaking a child’s will,’ mind control, and torture are only the tip of the iceberg,” reads the community’s synopsis for the sequence from Emmy Award-winning Director Sharon Liese. “Below the surface lurks accusations of rape and physical abuse of members, including minors, at the hands of IFB figureheads … Through powerful, emotional testimonies and archival footage, Let Us Prey reveals the sexual abuse of IFB members and the insidious efforts to cover up pastors’ abuse and silence survivors.”
Let Us Prey will characteristic interviews with survivors of church abuse and IFB defectors, together with Ruthy Heiler, Kathy Durbin, and Amanda Householder, in addition to reporter Sarah Smith, who wrote about IFB abuse for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“This isn’t a normal church,” one girl says in a teaser (by way of YouTube). “This is a cult.”
Is the Duggar household half of ‘Let Us Prey’?
If some accusations in opposition to the IFB sound much like the abuse allegations described in Prime Video’s 2023 docuseries Shiny Blissful Individuals: Duggar Family Secrets and techniques, there’s cause. The Duggars are additionally Unbiased Elementary Baptists.
IFB church buildings share the same set of ultra-conservative beliefs. Let Us Prey interviewees describe residing beneath an “umbrella of authority,” which permits male pastors and fathers to regulate the lives of girls and youngsters. In her memoir, Counting the Value, Jill Duggar mentioned how her father, Jim Bob Duggar, used the identical concept of an “umbrella of authority” to regulate her and her siblings.
Unbiased Elementary Baptists consider that ladies ought to costume modestly to keep away from tempting males, that kids ought to be home-schooled, and that corporal punishment of the sort advocated by Michael and Debi Pearl is acceptable, in accordance with Patheos. Nevertheless, every church is autonomous. Not like different denominations, akin to Southern Baptists or Lutherans, there is no such thing as a governing physique whose guidelines every church should observe.
Whereas the Duggars have ties to the IFB, they don’t seem to be talked about in Let Us Prey. Nevertheless, the docuseries affords extra perception into the world of ultra-conservative Christians and their beliefs, much like how Shiny Blissful Individuals uncovered the world of Invoice Gothard and the Institute in Fundamental Life Ideas, a ministry well-liked with many IFB church buildings.
Let Us Prey: A Ministry of Scandals airs on Friday, Nov. 24, and Saturday, Nov. 25 beginning at 9 p.m. ET on ID.
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