THE hit TLC show Welcome to Plathville returns for a new season on August 17.
The reality series follows the Plath family, and the parents — Barry and Kim Plath — raise their kids with strict religious teachings. The kids also have very limited access to technology and avoid sugar.
Who are the Plaths?
The Plaths are a family from southern Georgia featuring 9 kids.
The family is led by Barry and Kim, and the kids are Ethan, 23, Hosanna, 21, Micah, 20, Moriah, 18, Lydia, 17, Isaac, 15, Amber, 12, Cassia, 11, and Mercy, who’s 8.
Sadly, in 2008, Kim and Barry Plath lost another son, 17-month-old Joshua, in an accident.
Hosanna is married and was expecting her first child in an episode of the last season of the show, but she is not featured on the series.
Ethan is also married. He and his wife, Olivia Plath, also 23, have been at odds with his parents on the show since the beginning and he is not currently in contact with them.
While Olivia was raised in a similar lifestyle and following a similar spiritual path as the Plaths, she has clearly been determined to break free of that and live her own life, and that’s caused problems with Ethan’s parents. (Although he seems very willing to do things a different way, too!)
What religion is the Welcome to Plathville family?
The Plaths are Christian fundamentalists.
TLC is pretty familiar with working with families that follow a similar lifestyle; the Duggars are also fundamentalist Christians.
In fact, the Plaths have been linked to No Greater Joy Ministries, a controversial Christian fundamentalist organization to which the Duggars have been linked as well, YourTango reported.
The Plaths seem to travel and perform at Baptist churches, so it seems likely that their beliefs most closely align with the Southern Baptist church or with Independent Baptists.
However, Ethan has said his family went to smaller home churches instead of a large organized church when he was growing up because his parents “didn’t agree with how a regular church system functioned,” according to Woman’s Day.
But several of the Plath kids no longer follow the same religious teachings as their parents, and Ethan’s wife Olivia has been very vocal about leaving the way she was raised behind.
“Growing up in a conservative, legalistic church left a bad taste of Christianity in my mouth,” she once wrote on her Instagram Story.
“As an adult, I’ve wrestled hard with what I believe and what religion I want in my life. And here’s what I decided. I don’t want religion. I want nothing to do with religion.”
“I want a relationship,” she added. “I identify as a Christian, and I love Jesus. Jesus without all the crap and rules and hate and judgment.”
Ethan seems willing to follow her in that journey, and Micah and Moriah both no longer live at home and are figuring out their own paths too. We may see more of that journey on the newest season of the TLC series.
Welcome to Plathville premieres on August 17 at 10pm ET on TLC.