With Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar having 19 children and 10 grandchildren (and counting), every other day there seems to be a new member of the Duggar family. At this rate, whether through birth or through marriage, we may all become Duggars. Okay, so maybe the brood isn’t expanding quite that quickly, but still — there’s a lot of them. So many that it can be hard to keep track of who’s who.
The latest member of the Duggar clan is Lauren Duggar, née Swanson, who entered into the family on June 30, 2018 by marrying Josiah Duggar, the eighth son of Jim Bob and Michelle. Of course, she won’t be the newest member of the family for very long. As of this writing, Josiah’s slightly older sister Jinger is expected to give birth any day.
While there’s certainly a lot of hype about the newest additions to the family, how much is known about the original 19, especially now that they’re getting older? Let’s start with exploring the untold truth of the newest member’s hubby, Josiah Duggar.
His first love
On April 15, 2015, Josiah announced his courtship with Marjorie Jackson. For those not familiar with the antiquated term, Marjorie explained courting as "dating with a purpose" and "getting to know each other better in group settings along with our families." Josiah further explained that it’s not "recreational dating." Essentially, the Duggars mate for life. However, things didn’t go exactly according to plan for Josiah and Marjorie.
On the Duggar family’s official Facebook page, Jim Bob and Michelle said while Josiah and Marjorie had "enjoyed getting to know each other," they made the decision to "end their courtship." Although the Duggar parents didn’t say the reason for the split, they explained that both their son and Marjorie were "keeping in step with what they believe the Lord’s will is."
Not marrying your first love is not uncommon outside of the Duggar world, of course. According to a survey conducted by British dating site IllicitEncounters (via Bustle), it was discovered that only one out of four of the thousand people surveyed were still married to the first person they’d fallen in love with. The odds were certainly stacked against Josiah — Duggar or not.
Courting: round two
Josiah didn’t give up on finding a partner after his first serious relationship didn’t work out. He also didn’t give "recreational dating" the old college try. Rather, he stuck with the tried-and-true Duggar method and pursued another courtship — this time with Lauren Swanson, his eventual wife.
Josiah and Lauren first confirmed their relationship status in a brief video for TLC. Lauren announced: "We’re officially courting now." Just as Josiah explained in his courtship announcement video with Marjorie back in 2015, he filled viewers in on what the word means to him. According to Josiah, it entails "learning more about each other with the goal of marriage in mind."
Proving that marriage was indeed on his mind, Josiah proposed to Lauren just six weeks after the two started their courtship. Further wasting no time, the couple tied the knot some three months after they broke the news of their engagement. Hey, if it works, it works!
He is adamantly pro-life
Asking if a baby is in the plans for Josiah and Lauren is akin to asking if the pope is catholic or if a bear… well, you get the idea. As the oodles of offspring demonstrate, the Duggars don’t use birth control.
Though, Jim Bob and Michelle weren’t always against contraception. It wasn’t until after the Duggar matriarch conceived and miscarried while on the pill that they decided to seek out the opinion of a Christian medical doctor. It was then that the couple learned that both pregnancies and miscarriages can happen while taking birth control. "They were grieved! They were Christians! They were pro-life!" they wrote on their site. They felt responsible for the loss of the pregnancy.
Like his parents, Josiah is adamantly pro-life. In 2017, he took part in a protest organized by Life Chain, an organization that invites church members from across North America to take to designated sidewalks to pray for 90 minutes — while also holding one of 10 "approved pro-life sign messages." Josiah took a break from praying during his hour-and-a-half shift to post a selfie with his sign that read: "Abortion kills children."
He was the exception to this Duggar family rule
Although the Duggars are open about some of their rules — no booze, no dancing, no premarital sex (nor kissing or front-hugging!) — other rules aren’t as explicitly spelled out. One of which is social media usage. While married and engaged Duggars have been known to use Instagram and other platforms, the single members of the Duggar family do not seem to have the same luxury. If you search for the personal social media accounts of unattached Duggars, you’ll come up short. Even 28-year-old Jana Duggar is absent from Instagram.
The Duggars haven’t confirmed nor denied this policy, but the proof may just be in the proverbial pudding. The only Duggar who seems to have been an exception to this rule is none other than Josiah, who joined Instagram just after he and Marjorie announced their courtship. When the two broke up, he was apparently allowed to keep his account — though pictures of Marjorie have since been deleted. We’re sure Lauren appreciates that!
He may be bilingual
Considering that the Duggar children have all been homeschooled, you may wonder how on earth they end up meeting their potential suitors. In Josiah’s case, he met ex-girlfriend Marjorie Jackson through her mom — for real. In an interview with E! News, Josiah explained how the then-lovebirds came to be a couple, saying, "I met Marjorie a few years ago, when I was taking Spanish lessons at her house." Marjorie’s mother, Analucia, was Josiah’s tutor.
While it obviously provided a way for those two crazy kids to get know each other better, the original purpose appears to have simply been to learn a foreign language. Josiah hasn’t said if he stuck with Analucia’s Spanish lessons after he and Marjorie made the decision to end their courtship. If he did continue, it was likely pretty awkward. Though, we can’t help but wonder if he abandoned Spanish altogether, or if he has continued to hone his second language skill to become full-fledged bilingual.
This was one of his "best experiences" ever
On Instagram in August 2017, Josiah shared a throwback photo of himself, and other young men, clad in military-looking attire. He captioned the photo, writing, in part, "Going through ALERT Unit 51 in 2014 was one of the best experiences I’ve had." ALERT, or Air Land Emergency Resource Team, is an "intensive 3-phase Christian discipleship and career training program that equips young men to serve people in need," per the organization’s website.
Unmarried young men, aged 17 and up, are encouraged to apply. Although the programs offered by ALERT are inspired by the United States Marine Corps, they are not affiliated with the military. Instead, the organization is non-denominational evangelical Christian ministry led by members of Southern Baptist, Reformed Baptist, Presbyterian (PCA), and Bible churches.
Of the trainings he received, Josiah said, "The most important lessons I learned there were how to make the most of every moment, and to be ready for whatever opportunities God places in front of me next!" Now that Josiah is married, his ALERT days are officially behind him.
Starring on reality TV isn’t his only job
If you were a fan of 19 Kids and Counting or are now hooked on Counting On, you know the Duggars lead busy lives. Josiah is no exception. While starring in a popular reality show certainly helps to pay the bills, Josiah has additional secular ambitions. In a birthday video for Josiah posted to Facebook, Jim Bob revealed Josiah’s plans at just 20 years old. "Josiah’s in the process of getting his pilot’s license and also his real estate license," he explained. Not only that, but Josiah also works for the family business, which involves buying, fixing up, and selling both cars and properties.
Jim Bob also recognized his son as a "hard worker" and a young man with "a Godly focus" and detailed some of the volunteer work in which Josiah is, or was, involved. "He’s been doing some preaching at some of the nursing homes around," said Jim Bob. It was clear his parents were especially proud of their growing son.
He’s quite the DIYer
As if striving for two licenses, volunteering at nursing homes, and working for the family business wasn’t enough, Josiah also has his fair share of hobbies. After getting his pilot’s license, Josiah started taking to the open skies. "I go fly around and dart through the skies, so everybody, watch out!" Josiah said in an interview for TLC. Josiah said he’s also been able to learn a lot about flying from his brother John, who also has a pilot’s license.
Another one of Josiah’s siblings, Joseph, also detailed some of his and Josiah’s favorite hobbies. "We actually buy cars that have been wrecked, a lot of the times, and we’ll have to replace a radiator and just different things on the car," he explained. Joseph said that’s actually what the two Duggar brothers "spend most of [their time]" doing. Idle hands are the Devil’s playthings … or something like that, right?
He apparently really likes bed sheets
Can you remember all of the things you just thought you had to have on your wedding registry? Scanning assortments of random items can be exhilarating — no doubt. However, according to Brides, many couples have started to feel guilty for adding gifts to their registry, but their advice is clear and simple: "Register without remorse." Of course, that doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be some judgmental glances when your guests start looking over the list.
When Josiah and Lauren decided to make their Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond wedding registry accessible to the public, they also opened up themselves to some criticism. International Business Times reported that their registries had products ranging from just $8 to $599. It wasn’t really the cost that caused anyone to scoff, but, as IBT pointed out, Josiah and Lauren did want an unusual amount of bed linens. The reality TV stars asked for a total of five sheet and bedding sets, with several being marked as "priority" items. Either they hope to buy a house with lots of guest bedrooms, or Josiah and Lauren Duggar plan to do a lot of… sleeping.