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Jinger Duggar Vuolo talks about her eating disorder and her changing faith in new book

The former star of "19 Kids and Counting" and "Counting On" opens up about growing up Duggar.
/ Source: TODAY

Jinger Duggar Vuolo is laying it all bare in her new memoir, "Becoming Free Indeed."

The former reality star of TLC’s "19 Kids and Counting" and “Counting On” opened up about her brother, Josh Duggar, who was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison on federal charges of downloading and possessing child sex abuse images in May 2022.

“The backlash against his actions has been, correctly, severe. Even if he wasn’t a public figure, he would still be in prison for his actions," Vuolo, 29, wrote. "But because millions know who Josh is, his sin gives Christ a bad name. Those who oppose Christianity can point to Josh as evidence that anyone who claims to walk with Jesus is a phony.”

In addition to condemning her brother's actions in her latest book, Vuolo opened up about her upbringing, detailing a childhood ruled by fear.

Vuolo shares that, at one point, she feared playing a sport similar to hockey, dubbed "broomball" by her family, worried that it may be against God's will.

"I began to fear that if I did go and play and that wasn't what God wanted me to do He would punish me by causing my family to get in a car wreck on the way to the ice rink," Vuolo wrote.

The former reality television star also revealed she struggled with an eating disorder as a teen and credits her mom, Michelle Duggar, for helping her attain a healthier mindset.

"Convinced my body was an embarrassment, I ate very little," Vuolo wrote. "My weight dropped, but my body image didn't improve. It almost never does in those situations, because the weight isn't the problem."

Vuolo also acknowledged that by rejecting the belief system of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a Christian organization which she says her parents follow, she may be rejected.

"I may not be invited to events and into homes. Some may not appreciate that I’m speaking out on this topic," she wrote. "Others could assume the worst of my motives, or they will say that my husband, Jeremy, is to blame. They’ll say I should never have married an outsider, a man who, though a Christian and a pastor, didn’t believe all the same things I grew up believing. They will assume he convinced me to change my beliefs.”

Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, resigned from the organization's board of directors in 2014, amid allegations he had sexually harassed and molested women who worked for the organization. 

Despite moving away from IBLP, Vuolo refers to her journey as "disentangling" her faith — not abandoning Christianity — as she navigates raising her daughters.

"When I look at the man-made rules I put so much hope in when I was young, I see only emptiness," Vuolo wrote. "No matter what stage my girls are in, I want them to know one thing: the love I have for them will never stop. And it can hardly compare to the love God has for them."

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