The cancellation came two months after a 2006 police report surfaced revealing that Josh Duggar had been accused at age 14 of molesting five underage girls – including two of his sisters, Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald. (He apologized and said he had "acted inexcusably" after the report became public.)
The source says the evangelical Christian family, who often discussed their religious faith on their TLC show, is "heartbroken that they've now lost that platform."
"The Duggars want to return to TV because they truly believe it was part of God's plan for them to spread the word about their faith," the source says.
"I think Jim Bob and Michelle honestly did expect people to just move on from this," the source adds. "Their thinking is, they put this behind them ages ago, so why wouldn't the rest of the world?"
Now with their show off the air, the Duggars' future in television could possibly parallel that of Kate Gosselin, whose show was also canceled in 2011 following her nasty split from ex-husband Jon Gosselin. According to a source, TLC's occasional Kate Plus 8 specials on could be used as a potential model for future Duggar series.
RELATED VIDEO: The Duggars Break Their Silence
For much more behind the scenes information on the Duggars' cancellation, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday