Jon & Kate Plus 8 makes spiritual impact on fans of TLC’s most-watched show
Kate Gosselin and her husband, Jon, can’t stop TLC from editing references to God out of their hit reality TV series, Jon & Kate Plus 8. But the couple still manages to share their faith with viewers.
“There are many times that we pray, and there are many times we make reference to God,” Kate Gosselin, 33, told Charisma. “It is many times edited out, which is [TLC’s] prerogative. We had a really hard time with that at first, and challenged them about it.
“But then the e-mails starting coming in where it would say, ‘We knew you were Christians when we went to your Web site, and we were right.'”
Debuting in April 2007, the Gosselins’ show chronicles their atypical life in Pennsylvania, raising sextuplets-Aaden, Joel, Leah, Alexis, Collin and Hannah-plus twin daughters-Cara and Mady-who are now 4 and 7-1/2 years old, respectively.
“We don’t have editing rights one way or another,” said Kate Gosselin, whose family attends an Assemblies of God church. “If you edited all of our faith out of it and just saw a family-who through thick and through thin is sticking together in marriage-we always say that is so much better than what you’re going to see on TV anywhere else nowadays.”
She said God has used the show to make a spiritual impact on fans, including a woman with ovarian cancer whose dying wish was to talk with Gosselin. Although she was unsure at first about calling the woman, Gosselin says she felt God telling her she needed to call. “I was able to lead her to the Lord that night,” she said. “She went to heaven less than 24 hours later.”
Gosselin stayed in touch with the woman’s mother, who took care of her grandchildren after her daughter’s death. “A few months later, the grandmother called me, and the 7-year-old found out that he was dying of cancer,” Gosselin recounted. “It’s so horribly awful, and he passed away this summer.
“I was able to lead him as well as the grandmother to the Lord. I never would have met them any other way, and that is how God chooses to use us.”
The Gosselin family are media darlings, appearing on Dr. Phil, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America. The Gosselins’ book, Multiple Blessings: Surviving to Thriving With Twins and Sextuplets, was released by Zondervan in October. Meanwhile, the Gosselins speak in churches-a ministry that has increased with the growing popularity of Jon & Kate. But having a reality show also means the Gosselins seem to live in a fishbowl.
“If you’ve seen our show, anytime that I lose my temper, I just don’t like to see it,” Kate Gosselin said. “It’s hard, but we’re being real, and that was the goal of our show. … It’s an amazing story that we have eight healthy, beautiful children, but it’s not all … happy, smiley, giggly all the time.”
Having up to eight TV crew members filming at their home for sometimes 12 hours at a time also presents spiritual challenges for the family. “The greatest challenge is putting God first all the time, our family second and not allowing work or the demands of the show to tear us apart,” said Gosselin, who has been called “the busiest mom in America.”
“I firmly believe that the enemy’s main goal is to rip us apart as a family,” she continued. “We have felt ourselves being pulled that way because critical people-Christians included-will say: ‘[The show] will tear your family apart. Why are you doing this?’
“And our answer to that is, ‘We believe this is where God wants us to be, what God wants us to do.’ It is a daily struggle, but any job would be. We assess each situation, asking God for His help in each decision. We will keep our eyes on Him, although we are not perfect.”