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Joy-Anna Forsyth (née Duggar) reunited with younger brother James Duggar and shared a rare photo of him on social media just days after clarifying that she and husband Austin Forsyth are not involved with the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), the controversial religious ministry the Duggars have associated with for years.
On Wednesday, September 20, Joy-Anna, 25, shared on her Instagram Stories a sweet photo of James, 22, smiling in jeans and a plaid dress shirt as he snuggled up beside Joy-Anna’s daughter, Evelyn, 3, on a picnic table bench.
“Uncle James,” Joy-Anna captioned the photo. James reposted the photo on his own Story, adding, “Love them nieces and nephews,” with a blushing smile emoji.
Joy-Anna and James’ reunion comes after Joy-Anna and Austin, 29, revealed in a YouTube Q&A on September 15 that they do not and never did follow the teachings of the IBLP, formerly led by minister Bill Gothard. Gothard’s teachings included strict rules about men and women’s roles in society and a dress code that encouraged extreme modesty.
“No, we never were, you and I as a couple,” Austin said to his wife. “Once we got married, we started distancing ourselves from those functions. We’d always talk about when we were dating that we weren’t gonna use their literature and stuff like that … Just kinda distanced ourselves.”
Joy-Anna added that they follow “Jesus alone,” while Austin concluded, “We don’t follow a man.”
It’s unclear whether or not James is currently involved with the IBLP. However, he is reportedly still living on the family compound owned by parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who allegedly took over the IBLP when Gothard stepped down as leader.
A few days prior to Joy-Anna and Austin’s comments about the IBLP, sister Jill Dillard (née Duggar) released her highly anticipated memoir, Counting the Cost, on September 12. In the book, Jill shared her perspective on the Duggar family’s reality TV fame and their involvement with the IBLP, as well as brother Josh Duggar’s scandals, including the revelation that he molested four of his sisters. She also reflected on her relationship with Jim Bob and the alleged control he had over the family.
While Joy-Anna and Austin said in their YouTube video that they would read Jill’s book, James has not publicly commented on the memoir. However, he did share a cryptic quote back in June amid the release of Amazon Prime Video’s Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets docuseries, which Jill and husband Derick Dillard starred in.
“It’s OK to lose your pride over someone you love,” he shared on Instagram hours after the series was released on June 2. “Don’t lose someone you love over your pride.”
Additionally, James praised his father and seemingly threw shade at Jill with his Father’s Day post on June 18.
“Happy Father’s Day to the man who has always been my biggest supporter. Pops, Thank you for your endless sacrifices, your belief in me, you always pointing me to Christ, and the countless memories we’ve made together,” he wrote on Instagram. “I am grateful to call you my dad, and I’m proud to be your child. Regardless of what anyone may say, your the best dad I in the world! Today, and every day, I celebrate you and the incredible father you are. Love you a Ton!”