‘Counting On’: A Church Insider Reveals That John-David Duggar and Abbie Burnett Knew Each Other for Years

John David Duggar and Abbie Burnett announced their first pregnancy just a month ago. The couple’s whirlwind romance was the featured event on the last season of Counting On. To hear the couple tell it, they fell in love quickly when their eyes met across the room. They acted as though it was love at first sight, and that kismet played a role in their eventual courtship and marriage.  A church insider, however, took to Reddit to let fans know that that might not be the whole story.

A Reddit AMA suggests John and Abbie have known each other for years

A former member of ATI took to Reddit earlier this week to discuss her life in ATI. ATI, or the Advanced Training Institute, is a homeschooling program offered through the Institute of Basic Life Principles. The IBLP is the controversial ultra-conservative Christian ministry made famous by the Duggar family.

During her session the former church member, whose name has been withheld, noted that she grew up with Abbie Burnett. In one response she alleged that Abbie and John had known each other for years and that the entire family traveled to their church yearly. She went on to suggest that the family sat together each year and that the Duggars may have even stayed with the Burnett family while they were in town.

This is not the first time the Duggar family has fibbed about a romantic meeting

While John David and Abbie are the most recent couple to tie the knot, they aren’t the first Duggar couple accused of lying about their meeting. Jessa Duggar and Ben Seewald allegedly met when Ben’s family attended church services close to the Duggar family home. Reportedly, Jim Bob Duggar introduced Ben and Jessa, and things rolled from there. The couple recently welcomed their third child together, so all is well in the Seewald home, but fans find the story a bit suspect.

In fact, Ben himself seemingly revealed the truth about their meeting. During a particularly gushy moment, Ben admitted that he had spent hours watching Jessa on TV before finally meeting her, according to In Touch. Some fans have speculated that Ben and his family traveled to the church with the specific intention of meeting the Duggar family and setting Ben up with one of the Duggar girls. Even if he didn’t have marriage in mind upon that first meeting, the fellowship between the family was far from happenstance.

A church insider also revealed that Anna and Josh Duggar were set up by the couple’s fathers, according to Radar Online. According to the explosive report, Josh was pushed to find a bride when news of his inappropriate behavior towards his siblings came to light.  The insider went on to claim that the meeting and courtship were arranged by Jim Bob and Anna’s father, Mike Keller.

Do the Duggar kids have arranged marriages?

As more people leave the IBLP, news of exactly what happens behind closed doors is slowly making its way into the public eye. Allegations of abuse, sexual misconduct, and withholding of education have all been levied against the ministry and some of the families that adhere to the ministry’s standards. Church insiders have also hinted at the fact that many marriages are strongly encouraged and that everything is set up by the parents.

Jessa and her older sister, Jill Duggar, have both admitted that their father played a significant role in their courtships. There is also a lengthy questionnaire a potential suitor must fill out before he is allowed to court a Duggar girl. It seems that Jim Bob gets the final say on whether or not his daughters are allowed to interact with a potential suitor, which in and of itself seems overbearing. News that he may strongly encourage individual unions has left some fans feeling very uneasy.