The Daily Beast looks at the problem of certain parents who use homeschooling as a way to hide their abuse in The Sinister Side of Homeschooling. This article does make it clear that homeschooling is usually not done as an excuse to abuse and that most homeschooling parents are not abusive. However, the author of the piece also appears to be advocating for more oversight of homeschooling. I am not sure I agree with that. More children who attend public schools are abused than homeschoolers and even so, many die. How much oversight would be necessary of homeschoolers in order to make sure that they are not abused? I do feel that it would be a slippery slope.
The homeschooling movement is taking notice of the Pearls. Secular Homeschooling is a rather large magazine and they have written an exposé of the Pearls and their teachings. She looks at all aspects of the Pearls and gives some advice on how to respond when offered the book at a homeschool gathering.
To Train Up a Child: The Greater Problem by Deborah Markus
C.L. Dyck has graciously allowed me to host her free e-book. Her summary text is as follows:
Is the child-training method of homeschool business No Greater Joy Ministries a factor in child deaths? Sean Paddock (2006) and Lydia Schatz (2010) both died at the hands of parents who allegedly followed Michael Pearl’s child training method. But what influence, if any, might Pearl’s teachings have had on the parents’ thinking?
In the wake of intense online debate and controversy in 2010, this project undertook an in-depth review of No Greater Joy Ministries’ doctrinal ideas. It was assembled with the assistance of a 10-member review team who provided theological and editorial guidance for the project.
The e-book is 76 pages, and is available as a free download for the information of the Christian homeschooling community and other interested parties.
Creative Commons License: Parenting in the Name of God by David J. Dyck and C.L. Dyck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
To download, please click here.
I was asked in the comments to my post, The Beast Look At Homeschooling, why I believe that regulation of homeschooling is a slippery slope and what would be appropriate oversight to prevent abuse.
My opinion is that parents are responsible for their children, the state is not. I do not believe that the state should take charge of children unless there is a dire circumstance such as obvious abuse. I do not believe that the state should be checking on children in order to make sure that they are not being abused. In order to simplify my thoughts, let’s consider the following. [Read more…]
Whatcom Mom had an interesting comment which I would like to highlight.
I’m hoping the readers here will have some ideas about improving adoption home study practice, based on what we have learned from the deaths of Hana Williams and Lydia Schatz and injuries to their siblings.
So you know where I’m coming from. I’m an adoptive parent of now adult daughters, one adopted as an infant from a local nonprofit agency, the other as a toddler through state foster care. I’ve been active in pre-adoptive education and post-adoption support and have had plenty of occasion to reflect on issues that arise in transracial, special needs, and international and open adoptions. I have long been concerned about adoption agencies that place especially needy and difficult children with naïve, unprepared (and maybe overconfident) families and then fail to follow up with oversight and support.
I followed the Williams trial especially closely because the family lives in my area and because I know people who have worked for, and adopted from, the agency that placed Hana and her brother Immanuel. [Read more…]
Cindy Kunsman, from Under Much Grace, looks at the Williams Trial and compares the Williams family with the Schatz family in
Awaiting the Verdicts in the Williams Trial: Another Michael Pearl/To Train Up A Child Associated Death. She also gives a brief outline of Pearl and his teachings and a lamentation for the devastation they have caused both to Christian families as well as to the lost who observe and turn away in disgust.
Maureen looks at the homeschoolings aspect of the Williams in Homeschooling, Christians, Identity, and Isolation. (Speaking of Maureen, I just added a (very triggering) link to the 2nd half of Carri’s testimony to last friday’s post.)
forgedimagination has a very interesting series about Choices and Children Being Allowed to Make Them.
Part 1 in which she shares a story from her childhood about being allowed to make choices.
Part 2 in which she tells us about how her right to make choices came to be taken away and introduces a petition for the Home School Legal Defense Association to openly acknowledge that homeschoolers can also be abusers, and to educate their members about child abuse.
Part 3 in which she explains how inherently abusive it is to raise children with the doctrine of Instance Obedience.
This blog has always tried to argue against false teachings without making those using those teachings feel condemned. That is a delicate balance and not always possible to achieve. It is not at all pleasant to find out that the choices one has prayerfully made are considered to be abuse by many people. And upon discovering that one has in fact made a terrible mistake and has fallen into an abusive lifestyle is gut wrenching. Not only does one have to come to grips with the fact that one has been deceived and spiritually abused, but one must face the fact that one has been abusing his or her own children. Often, by the time this discovery is made serious or even irreparable damage has been done to the parent/child relationship. Someone posted to my Facebook wall the following:
I just wanted to share my status update with you. Since learning the dangers of TTUAC a year ago, I have had the hardest year of my life. Right now things are getting a lot worse. I have had a response from another mother who is in the midst of the same pain right now.
TTUAC is not just abusing children. It is also abusing [Read more…]
Note: This is an edited and collated version of a series of posts that I made at Free Jinger in August 2011.
For much of my life, my encounters with U.S. fundamentalist Christianity were sporadic and bewildering. I started digging into the roots of the fundamentalist mindset when I became a homeschooler and a Sunday school teacher. As many of us have discovered, fundamentalism has become prevalent in both fields of endeavor–particularly homeschooling.
Fundamentalism, of course, is not a monolithic entity, but different fundamentalist groups share many common traits. A particularly disturbing common trait is the fundamentalist use of exegesis. In short, it stinks. This incompetence exists right at the foundation: not only in interpretation, but also in basic reading comprehension. This is a disturbing [Read more…]
Reb Bradley has a long and very informative article about mistakes he and other sheltering and controlling Christian homeschooling parents have made in Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers.
For more information about Reb Bradley’s teachings, please see the comments below as well as this post.
Wartburg Watch has posted a series on Vision Forum and Patriarchy which some of you might find interesting.
Homeschooling Hijackers mentions at Doug Phillips, Voddie Baucham and Scott Brown.
What Are Family Integrated Churches? mentions ThatMom and the family-integrated church (FIC) movement.
NCFIC, Vision Forum, and the Bottom Line discusses the history of Vision Forum as well as the business aspect.
A Quiver Full of Information has a bunch of new posts about Bill Gothard. Here are the ones I find most interesting:
Bill Gothard has negativley affected my life….
Bill Gothard has negativley affected my life part 2
David Sessions alerts his readers that Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Florida, 8th district) is involved with IBLP in House of Theocons.
More about Webster in this post from Alternet.org, Cultish Christian Leader Teaches Women Should Submit to Husbands — Victims of His “Submission Theology” Speak Out (Not a Christian site. Tagged Mainstream)
The Wartburg Watch looks at Quiverfull Then and Now. This exposé connects “the terrible tragedy that occurred in Colorado in December 2007” with IBLP curriculum.
Donna’s testimony and excellent exposé: My Stand Against IBLP (Being Real).
RC Sproul Jr. (I don’t think his father is, but Jr. definitely is and Jr. was defrocked several years ago too by his Presbytery)
Doug Wilson – Promotes the Multigenerational Faithfulness ideas
Doug Phillips (of course – he’s in charge of VF)
Geoffrey and Victoria Botkin – Very high up in VF
Elizabeth and Anna Sofia Botkin (Geoff and Victoria’s daughters)
Scott Brown – involved with the NCFIC, you can read his blog posts on their website, he was rebuked at Trinity Baptist Church in NC for abuse of spiritual authority in July of 2006
Philip Lancaster – Wrote Family Man, Family Leader which is promoted heavily on VF’s website (and was published by them as well. Also wrote The Loving Art of Spanking.
Jennie Chancey – promotes VF on her blog
Voddie Baucham – speaks at VF events and in their videos
Jasmine Baucham (Voddie’s daughter)
James and Stacy McDonald (used to own Homeschooling Today magazine)
The Duggars (affiliated with both VF and Gothard)
Bill Gothard – there are quite a few overlaps between his followers and VF followers and they get funding from the same people
Ron and Joyce Fuhrman – Worked with Bill Gothard.
Michael Farris – Founded both the HSLDA and Patrick Henry College
Charles Provan – wrote The Bible and Birth Control which is used to validate the Quiverful doctrine by VF – this is Provan’s only connection to VF as far as I know
Gary Bauer – Dominionist
Jonathan Lindvall – teaches that even a child’s thoughts and feelings should be under submission to their father
Nancy Campbell – founder of Above Rubies magazine, has her books published through VF
Peter Bradrick – used to be the executive assistant to Doug Phillips, now is the operations manager for the NCFIC (see below)
Organizations, websites, and blogs – names, NOT links:
Visionary Womanhood – blog
Ladies Against Feminism – blog
National Center for Family Integrated Churches (NCFIC) – organization founded by Doug Phillips to further his ideals of “Biblical Patriarchy” in churches
Constitution Party – political party
Patrick Henry College (given $ by the same people who give Gothard, VF, and HSLDA $)
The Homeschool Leadership Summit (2009)
Hobby Lobby – crafting store which is affiliated with Gothard (TestifyToLove found this out a couple months ago).
Institute for Creation Research – Work together and are very friendly
Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) – Started by Bill Gothard and/or his followers
ATI (Advanced Training Institute) – Started by Bill Gothard and/or his followers
Above Rubies – Promotes VF ideals such as Quiverful and women’s “true” Godly calling being that of staying at home and raising children and being a help-meet to their husbands
Stay at home Daughters – it is a sin for daughters to not be under their father or brother’s headship at all times – no college, no living on their own
Patriocentricity (they call it “Biblical Patriarchy”) – the wife and children exist to glorify God through facilitating the husband/father’s “vision” in whatever way the patriarch wants them to.
Quiverful – the use of any sort of BC to space or limit children is sinful and a sign of a lack of faith
Transfer of Authority – When ownership of a daughter passes from her father to her new husband
Covenental Homeschooling – not educating your own children at home is a sin
Isolating children from the sinful world – part of the reason for homeschooling
Dominionism – the idea that Christians should control secular government through political action
Vision Forum also pays homage to several racist folks who are no longer alive such as Robert Louis Dabney and RJ Rushdoony.
Many homeschooling conferences are affiliated with VF now – I don’t know which ones, but VF and their affiliates were instrumental in banning certain curricula from the big homeschooling conferences. Sonlight is one of the curricula that was banned from several conferences and if you google “Sonlight banned” you’ll find more information about this.
To sum up: VF has their fingers in many pies and their influence is creeping more mainstream all the time, from what I (and others) have noticed. I’ve had several friends get heavily involved in the heresies which VF promotes. It’s so important to be vigilant with this issue! None of us here are any better or smarter than those who have become heavily entrenched in these beliefs. I can tell you that my friends who got involved in this stuff were very smart people, strong believers
I’m sure there are many more people associated with VF than I know of. Be vigilant and aware! I’m not one to throw the “c” word around much, but I do, with completely certainty, believe that Vision Forum is a cult.
VF’s beliefs are extra-Biblical in origin, they call for isolation – especially of girls and young women who often receive sub-high school education as well since their purpose is to grow up and have babies and who aren’t allowed to leave the home until they are married – and people are ostracized when they reject the teachings. Fathers are given all the power and women and children are marginalized which sets up a potentially abusive environment
See comments for Readers’ addition.
I would also like to add that Day Spring Cards have quotes from Roy Lessin in them so while they might not be VF, many will want to avoid them.
Ellen from GCM shared this link to a podcast by Kevin Swanson (who advocates spanking,) called, Beating a Child to Death
this critique of the Pearls is a great message for a conservative homeschooling advocate to be putting out there. He does not explicitly name the Pearls or NGJ, but he explains the Schatz case and gives a clear denunciation of the Pearls’ teachings and methods.
When quoting from To Train Up A Child (written and published by Michael and Debi Pearl), we should be careful about paraphrasing. We are being accused of misquoting. Here are some quotes from the first edition of the book, which is found online here. I got the page numbers for the 1st edition (1994) from quotes which are in circulation (originating from stoptherod.net) but I painstakingly checked each quote in the book to make sure that I am using direct quotes. Page numbers for the 17th edition (April 2006) were provided by Robbyn Peters Bennett of StopSpanking.org.
The Pearls recommend switching infants only a few months old on their bare skin. They describe switching their own 4 month old daughter (1st edition p.9).
At four months she was too unknowing to be punished for disobedience. But for her own good, we attempted to train her not to climb the stairs by coordinating the voice command of “No” with little spats on the bare legs. The switch was a twelve-inch long, one-eighth-inch diameter sprig from a willow tree.
In the 17th edition (April 2006) the above quote is the same but the baby is a month older. Also on page 9:
At five months, she was too unknowing to be punished for disobedience. But for her own good (and our peace of mind), we attempted to train her not to climb the stairs by coordinating the voice command of “No” with little spats on her bare legs. The switch was a twelve-once long, one-eighth-inch diameter sprig from a willow tree.
On p.60 of the 1st edition they recommend switching babies who cannot sleep and are crying, and to never allow them “to get up.”
But what of the grouch who would rather complain than sleep? Get tough. Be firm with him. Never put him down and then allow him to get up. If, after putting him down, you remember he just woke up, do not reward his complaining by allowing him to get up.For the sake of consistency in training, you must follow through. He may not be able to sleep, but he can be trained to lie there quietly. He will very quickly come to know that any time he is laid down there is no alternative but to stay put. To get up is to be on the firing line and get switched back down.
This has been reworded somewhat in the 17th edition (P63)
But what about the grouchy child who would rather complain than sleep? Get tough. Be firm with him. Never put him down and then for some reason reverse your position, allowing him to get up. For your reputation with the child, you must follow through. He may not be able to sleep, but he can be trained to lie there quietly. He will very quickly come to know that any time he is laid down, there is no alternative but to stay put. To get up is to be on the firing line and get switched back down.
On p.79 they recommend switching a 7 month old for screaming.
A seven-month-old boy had, upon failing to get his way, stiffened clenched his fists, bared his toothless gums and called down damnation on the whole place. At a time like that, the angry expression on a baby’s face can resemble that of one instigating a riot. The young mother, wanting to do the right thing, stood there in helpless consternation, apologetically shrugged her shoulders and said, “What can I do?” My incredulous nine-year-old whipped back, “Switch him.” The mother responded, “I can’t, he’s too little.” With the wisdom of a veteran who had been on the little end of the switch, my daughter answered, “If he is old enough to pitch a fit, he is old enough to be spanked.”
On p.65 co-author Debi Pearl whips the bare leg of a 15 month old she is babysitting, 10 separate times, for not playing with something she tells him to play with.
After about ten acts of stubborn defiance, followed by ten switchings, he surrendered his will to one higher than himself. In rolling the wheel, he did what every accountable human being must do–he humbled himself before the “highest” and admitted that his interests are not paramount. After one begrudged roll, my wife turned to other chores.
On p.56 Debi Pearl trades blows with a 2 year old.
This time, her bottom came off the couch as she drew back to return the blow; and I heard a little karate like wheeze come from somewhere deep inside.
On p.59 (1st ed) and 62 (17th ed) they recommend spanking a 3 year old until he is “totally broken.”
She then administers about ten slow, patient licks on his bare legs. He cries in pain. If he continues to show defiance by jerking around and defending himself, or by expressing anger, then she will wait a moment and again lecture him and again spank him. When it is obvious he is totally broken, she will hand him the rag and very calmly say, “Johnny, clean up your mess.” He should very contritely wipe up the water.
On p.55 the Pearls say a mother should hit her child if he cries for her.
If a father is attempting to make a child eat his oats, and the child cries for his mother, then the mother should respond by spanking him for whining for her and for not eating his oats. He will then be glad to be dealing only with the father.
On p.46 of the 1st edition, p. 49 of the 17th, the Pearls say that if a child does obey before being spanked, spank them anyway. And “if you have to sit on him to spank him, then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher.” “Defeat him totally.”
At this point, in utter panic, he will rush to demonstrate obedience. Never reward delayed obedience by reversing the sentence. And, unless all else fails, don’t drag him to the place of cleansing. Part of his training is to come submissively. However, if you are just beginning to institute training on an already rebellious child, who runs from discipline and is too incoherent to listen, then use whatever force is necessary to bring him to bay. If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final.
On p.80 they say
On the bare legs or bottom, switch him eight or ten licks; then, while waiting for the pain to subside, speak calm words of rebuke. If the crying turns to a true, wounded, submissive whimper, you have conquered; he has submitted his will. If the crying is still defiant, protesting and other than a response to pain, spank him again.
On p.47 of the 1st ed. they give details of what to use for a spanking instrument.
Any spanking, to effectively reinforce instruction, must cause pain, but the most pain is on the surface of bare skin where the nerves are located. A surface sting will cause sufficient pain, with no injury or bruising. Select your instrument according to the child’s size. For the under one year old, a little, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative. For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.
That quote is reworded in the 17th edition and is on page 50.
It is most effective to strike a light rod against bare skin, where nerves are located at the surface…
The Pearls recommend pulling a nursing infant’s hair (p.7 both editions)
One particularly painful experience of nursing mothers is the biting baby. My wife did not waste time finding a cure. When the baby bit, she pulled hair (an alternative has to be sought for baldheaded babies).
They recommend hosing off a child outside in order to clean him if he continues to soil himself. (p. 75 17th edition)
So, my suggestion was that the father explain to the boy that, now that he was a man, he would no longer be washed in the house. He was too big and too stinky to be cleaned by the babywipes. From now on, he would be washed outside with a garden hose. The child was not to be blamed. This was to be understood as just a progressive change in methods. The next dump, the father took him out and merrily, and might I say, carelessly, washed him off. What with the autumn chill and the cold well water, I don’t remember if it took a second washing or not, but, a week later, the father told me his son was now taking himself to the pot. The child weighed the alternatives and opted to change his lifestyle. Since then, several others have been the recipients of my meddling, and it usually takes no more than three cheerful washings.
Also, here are 3 quotes which I feel show some questionable doctrine:
The guilt burdened soul cries out for the lashes and nails of justice. Your child cannot yet understand that the Creator has been lashed and nailed in his place. Only the rod of correction can preserve his soul until the day of moral dawning.
The parent holds in his hand (in the form of a little switch) the power to absolve the child of guilt, cleanse his soul, instruct his spirit, strengthen his resolve, and give him a fresh start through a confidence that all indebtedness is paid.
A child properly and timely spanked is healed in the soul and restored to wholeness of spirit. A child can be turned back from the road to hell through proper spankings. “Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Prov. 23:13, 14). (p. 44)
Note: I find it ironic that he recommends using plastic plumbing line for a rod and then objects when people say that he teaches people to whip children.
Now, here are some very disturbing quotes directly from their website. You are going to have to go read this yourself to really appreciate it and believe that I did not take quotes out of context.
This is from Question #9: “Please give examples of the kinds of things for which you used the rod, both as a training tool and as punishment, for children were under 12 months.”
We never used the rod to punish a child younger than 12 months.
For young children, especially during the first year, the rod is used very lightly as a training tool. You use something small and light to get the child’s attention and to reinforce your command.
One or two light licks on the bare legs or arms will cause a child to stop in his tracks and regard your commands.
A 12-inch piece of weed eater chord works well as a beginner rod. It will fit in your purse or pocket.
Later, a plumber’s supply line is a good spanking tool. You can get it at Wal-Mart or any hardware store. Ask for a plastic, ¼ inch, supply line. They come in different lengths and several colors; so you can have a designer rod to your own taste. They sell for less than $1.00.
A baby needs to be trained all day, everyday. It should be a cheerful, directing training, not a correction training.
When your 6-month-old baby grabs sister’s hair, while he still has a hand full of hair, swat his hand or arm and say “No, that hurts sister.” If he has already let go of her hair, then put his hand back on her hair, so as to engage his mind in the former action, and then carry on with the hand swatting and the command.
If your 10-month-old is pitching a fit because he wants to be picked up, then you must reinforce your command with a few stinging swats.
Wait one minute, and then tell the baby to stop crying. If he doesn’t, again swat him on his bare legs. You don’t need to undress him, turn him over, or make a big deal out of it. Just swat him where any skin is exposed. Continue to act as if you don’t notice the fit. Wait two minutes and repeat.
Most babies will keep it going for 3 or 4 times and then slide to a sitting position and sob it out. When this happens, it signals a surrender, so give him two minutes to get control and then swoop him up as if the fit never happen and give him a big hug, BUT don’t hold him in the manner he was demanding. Now remove yourself from the area so as to remove him from association with the past event.
Don’t ever hit a small child with your hand. You are too big and the baby is too small. The surface of the skin is where the most nerves are located and where it is easiest to cause pain without any damage to the child. The weight of your hand does little to sting the skin, but can cause bruising or serious damage internally. Babies need training but they do not need to be punished. Never react in anger or frustration. If you loose it, get your self under control before you attempt to discipline a child.
Here is another quote from the No Greater Joy website. This quote is from an article from 1998, Angry Child.
A proper spanking leaves children without breath to complain. If he should tell you that the spanking makes him madder, spank him again. If he is still mad…. He desperately needs an unswayable authority, a cold rock of justice. Keep in mind that if you are angry you are wasting your time trying to spank his anger away.
I could break his anger in two days. He would be too scared to get angry. On the third day he would draw into a quiet shell and obey. On the fourth day I would treat him with respect and he would respond in kind. On the fifth day the fear would go away and he would relax because he would have judged that as long as he responds correctly there is nothing to fear. On the sixth day he would like himself better and enjoy his new relationship to authority. On the seventh day I would fellowship with him in some activity that he enjoyed. On the eight day he would love me and would make a commitment to always please me because he valued my approval and fellowship. On the ninth day someone would comment that I had the most cheerful and obedient boy that they had ever seen. On the tenth day we would be the best of buddies.
(Note that the quote above was linked to Stockholm Syndrome in an article in Secular Homeschooling Magazine which makes some interesting points.)
In an article called, Training Roseanna’s Flesh, Pearl explains how and why one must control a child at all costs.
For example: a child tries to slide from your lap onto the floor. On most occasions that’s just a way of letting you know where he wants to go. Fine, but there are times when you do not want him to slide to the floor. If your little fourteen-month-old makes an attempt to dismount your lap, and you indicate that you do not want him to, and he makes a protest by jerking away or whining, then by no means can you allow him to intimidate you into compliance. For, by so doing you have allowed the authority to pass to him. You would be encouraging rebellion. YOU MUST ALWAYS BE PERCEIVED TO WIN ANY CONTEST. It is all determined by what the child thinks. If there is a seed of resistance in the child, it must never be allowed to grow. Don’t allow that spirit of rebellion to become profitable.
When the child whines and makes an issue of something that to you was otherwise irrelevant, you must then follow-through, causing the child to do what he did not want to do. This is soul training – character building – sanctification of the natural spirit in your child. This won’t make him a Christian, but it will give him a better character than most Christians possess.
If, during the course of a day, no contest arises naturally, you should arrange one. Seek opportunity to thwart the child’s will, to cause him to submit to your command. If you cause him to surrender his will to you twenty times during the course of a day, he will not disappoint you with disobedience in public. Tell him to stop, sit, don’t speak for five minutes, etc. Play the half-hour “quiet time game,” the half-hour “don’t wiggle and squirm game.” Refuse him a treat when he is wanting it badly. Give it to him only when he is joyously submitted to your timetable. You mustn’t give the appearance of being blindly arbitrary, but always maintain full control. Never allow the child to dictate your actions.
I have found an article on the No Greater Joy site where Mr. Pearl explains some of his different terminology (aka DoubleSpeak) in regard to when a child is Too Young To Spank. Here is a quote from that page discussing a 6 month old:
So we watch him, knowing his propensity to selfish compulsion. When he seizes his bowl with intentions of dumping it, swat the offending hand with a little instrument (light wooden spoon, rubber spatula, flexible tubing less than a quarter inch in diameter, or any instrument that will cause an unpleasant sting without leaving any marks).
Note: Comments are welcome and I try to reply where appropriate but I reserve the right to delete any and all flames at my discretion.
March 3, 2010 – Responses to Pearl’s Laughter:
Michael Pearl laughs at his critics, no apolgies for dead children from Barbara @ Mommy Life blog who also asks us to look at Cult characteristics and the Pearls. Note: This blog has been removed so I am linking to it in the Internet Archives.
The Pearls: Sadly, it has come to this… from The Cappuccino Life Note: This blog has been removed so I am linking to it in the Internet Archives.
michael pearl’s response by Thatmom Note: there are some very interesting comments in this one
I do not want to write this post from It’s Complicated
In response to the Defense of Pearl:
In defense of the Pearls…some thoughts from Roscommon Acres A response to a blog defending Pearl
Heartbroken. Angry. Again. By TulipGirl
This made me cry today… By Rebecca
Beauty for Ashes: in which I discuss the unthinkable Laurie M., who is a friend of the Schatz family, describes her heartbreak from what happened to her dear Lydia and her horror at discovering the Pearls’ teachings.
I Would Be Remiss… By Clara
Box Bashing by Karen Ehman
Parenting in the Name of God from Scita Scienda
To brainwash a parent From WORLDmag.com
Time to Speak Up, Even if it’s Hard from HomeSpun Life
On the death of Lydia Schatz, 8 from Happy As Kings
I am burning all books by the Pearls… and i encourage you to, too! by Sparrow’s Nest Academy Note: This blog has been removed so I am linking to it in the Internet Archives.
Tragedy in a homeschooling family by Rob Shearer, Director of the Francis Schaeffer Study Center
Why do you spank your child? by Miss Roxie
Cause of death from I Must Follow If I can…
And odd thankful Thursday from The Upward Call
Lydia Schatz from Joyful Breath
Tragic Death of Lydia Schatz From Rutledge6
Michael and Debi Pearls teaching linked to another child abuse death from Bene Diction Blogs On
Even a Child Can Recognize Injustice from Wanna Walk Along? Things your grandmother should have told you.
Michael and Debi Pearl – sample wisdom by Barbara Curtis @ Mommy Life
TulipGirl sent me the following letter:
I would like to pass along this important letter penned by my friend, Mrs. Karen Campbell, regarding the recent death of Lydia Schatz. Her letter is filled with much wisdom. I would encourage you to pass it on to anyone you feel might benefit.
An open letter to my brothers and sisters in Christ who serve in leadership to homeschooling families:
On February 6, 2010, Lydia Schatz, the seven year old homeschooled daughter of Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, died after having been brutally beaten for mispronouncing a word while reading out loud to her mother. Butte County, California District Attorney, Mike Ramsey, reported that evidence shows the child was severely and repeatedly whipped, most likely for several hours, with a 15” piece of ¼” plumbing supply line, the same instrument that also left her older sister with severe kidney damage and in critical condition. The other seven Schatz children are now in foster homes, their parents having been charged with torture and murder.
While it might be comforting to believe that this is one horrific, isolated case of abusive behavior, the fact is that Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were Bible-believing Christians who welcomed not only their own children into their home but three adopted ones as well. Their friends reported how shocked they were to hear this story about parents whom they called “loving” and “warm” and children who were “polite and well-behaved,” words that could describe most homeschooling families.
But Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were also devotees of the book To Train Up A Child and its authors, Michael and Debi Pearl, and they patterned their “discipline” methods after the Pearls’ instructions, down to the very instrument they used to beat their children.
This is not the first time a child has died at the hands of parents who embraced the teachings from TTUAC. In 2004, four year old Sean Paddock suffocated after his mother also beat him with ¼” plumbing supply line and then wrapped him tightly in a blanket to keep him from getting out of bed. She is now serving time in jail for first degree murder.
The killing of precious children in the name of “discipline” must stop and those of us who desire to come alongside and encourage homeschooling families must do all that we can to see that this sort of tragedy never happens again. I believe that the Pearls’ teachings on chastisement unto repentance, found in their books and magazines and on their website, is not just one among many approaches to disciplining children, but rather, is a form of child abuse and even one that is considered to be assault and battery of a child and punishable by law in many states.
As Christians, it is even more important to understand that the Pearls’ philosophy is based on the aberrant theology of “sinless perfection,” a perspective that leads to the notion that parents are able to change a child’s sinful heart and save a child’s soul. Here are some excerpts from TTUAC:
“The parent holds in his hand (in the form of a little switch) the power to absolve the child of guilt, cleanse his soul, instruct his spirit, strengthen his resolve, and give him a fresh start through a confidence that all indebtedness is paid.”
“The guilt burdened soul cries out for the lashes and nails of justice. Your child cannot yet understand that the Creator has been lashed and nailed in his place. Only the rod of correction can preserve his soul until the day of moral dawning.”
“Let the guilt come, and then, while they are yet too young to understand, absolve it by means of the rod. When their time comes, the principles of the cross will be easy to grasp.”
The Holy Word of God tells us that only by faith in the finished, atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross, an act of His mercy and grace, is a person saved. (“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”~Titus 3:5) Physical chastisement by a parent cannot truly absolve a child of guilt nor can it cleanse his soul. To teach this and to lead any parent to think otherwise is promoting false doctrine and false hope in the works of man.
To that end, I would like to ask those who serve as homeschooling support group leaders and others who seek to serve within the homeschooling community to join the growing number of voices who are expressing their outrage and horror at the death of little Lydia Schatz and I would ask you to remove any recommendation of Michael and Debi Pearl’s teachings you have on your blogs or websites. Please stand with me and publicly say “This is wrong and it must stop.”
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” ~ Proverbs 31:8-9
By His grace,
homeschooling mother and grandmother