Jinger Duggar Vuolo Opens Up About Finding New Perspective on Alcohol, Birth Control and Courtship Rules
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Jinger Duggar Vuolo's beliefs have changed as she's grown older.
The former star of TLC's 19 Kids & Counting and Counting On told PEOPLE that she's found a new perspective on many of the childhood teachings she learned through her strict Christian family.
"I would look at people who are dating and think, 'Oh, they are setting themselves up for a life of disaster because this can't lead anywhere good,' " she said during an interview for last week's issue of PEOPLE, addressing the rules of courtship that were displayed on the family's popular reality television series.
"I've seen more people honor God — and live a very beautiful life — who have dated, and sometimes even better than courtship. I could be so consumed with that — with having a chaperone, with not kissing before you're married, and not holding hands before you're engaged. All of these things that I had set up for myself that now I kind of laugh at," she said.
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While she hopes that her new memoir Becoming Free Indeed helps others navigate their own beliefs, she added that she's found comfort in returning to the Bible to reevaluate God's perspective.
She explained: "On every topic, I have had to come back and say, 'Well, what does God's word actually say?' The Bible is very clear about drinking, and it simply says that alcohol is not a sin. Jesus made wine at a wedding."
Although Vuolo, 29, said that she does not consume alcohol, she added: "I don't have a problem with other Christians. It's there liberty to drink if they so choose."
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Vuolo was raised by parents Jim Bob, 57, and Michelle Duggar, 56, who were devout followers of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, an organization established by disgraced minister Bill Gothard in 1961.
The IBLP movement teaches that women should be subservient to their husbands and that followers should shun dancing, dating and much of modern popular culture. Jim Bob and Michelle have spoken at its seminars; Gothard, 88, led the church until 2014, when more than 30 women accused him of harassment and molestation.
After walking away from the organization in 2017, she welcomed daughters Felicity Nicole, 4, and Evangeline Jo, 2, with husband Jeremy Vuolo. She added that after becoming a mother, her views on issues regarding birth control have also changed.
"I always thought that was totally wrong," she said. "I just no longer see it as that. I definitely have changed."
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Becoming Free Indeed is scheduled to hit bookshelves on Jan. 31.