As I posted 2 weeks ago, Michael appeared on Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers on Feb 21. I have just found that entire segment of the show on YouTube so I wanted to share it with you. I was pleased to see that one of the guests explained the results of cortisol on the brain and how it can cause damage. They also discussed that one can discipline without spanking.
Jill Monier, of FOX TV in Memphis Tennessee, brings us Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? which is an in depth look at their book, To Train Up A Child. It includes some pretty disturbing quotes. As well as interviewing the Pearls, they interviewed Barbara King, the executive director of the Exchange Club in Memphis which offers a variety of programs to help Memphis area families breaking the cycle of abuse, and Elizabeth Stewart an adult niece who was also switched by the Pearls.
Cindy of Under Much Grace takes informative and very technical looks at abusive behavior, analyzing both the victims and the abusers.
She has a new series about brainwashing. I want to make special note of part 7 in which she ties the information to the Pearls’ teachings. Here is a short summary which she wrote for me:
I think of it in terms of developmental milestones and such, and most all learning is experiential for a child for the first 36 months and is primarily all on the right side of the brain, entirely self-centered and oriented toward felt sense.
Children under the age of two only make Delta waves on EEG, the same brainwave that an adult makes while they sleep. From two to six, they make only theta waves which is what an adult generates just before falling asleep, basically. The plotting that Pearl talks about is a fast brainwave that doesn’t manifest in a child until they approach age twelve.
I would also like to draw your attention to the posts after part X which are about how the mindset of many families prime children for victimization.
I’m sure many, if not most, of you remember the hoopla about the Michael Pearl Teaching Video and his copyright claim against Everything Is Terrible. Well, I just found a blog post which contains more background info on that story which I thought my readers would find interesting.
C.L. Dyck posted an excerpt of her interview with Meg Moseley about isolationism, spiritual abuse and TTUAC at Scita Scienda awhile back. The full article is in a Kindle/Nook/PDF ezine that’s on free promo only during January 2012:
Up until now we have been linking to http://www.achristianhome.org/to_train_up_a_child.htm in order to find the entire content of the book “To Train Up A Child” by Michael and Debi Pearl. This allowed us to verify quotes and keep them in context. But now the site owner has removed the text of the book and replaced it with an explanation of why.
An article in the Los Angeles Times understood her removal to mean that she disavows the book. I don’t get that at all from what she said. It looks to me like she no longer wants to promote the book because she feels that people are misusing it and using her site in order to do so. She says in part.
…I want it to be known that I do not blanketly endorse this book) and thus have removed the content (the text of the book) from this page for this reason alone – so that no one will read excerpts of the book and think they know what the whole context is.
This, frankly confuses me. The excerpts are already out there and it was her text which provided context. Without the context, all that is left are the quotes on other pages and the useless link which provided the proof and the context.
I can totally understand why she would want to distance herself from those teachings yet, she seems to continue to defend them, claiming that people are misconstruing and misusing them. The best I can conclude is that she agreed with some of the teachings, but not all of them and she has finally realized that not everyone “simply gleaned things in it that were of value.”
Meanwhile, Dulce de Leche considers Defiance and the Thought Police in a very important post. Are you punishing your children for obeying but with a defiant attitude? Are you expecting them to obey right away with a convincing smile? If so, you are ordering them to pretend to feel something they don’t. You are ordering them to lie and be hypocrites. God does not have a problem with emotional outbursts, but He hates lying and hypocrisy. Dulce also warns,
The child is left with two options: lie convincingly or never question anything internally, not even to understand it better . . . Over years of practice, both options are exceedingly dangerous. You wind up with a compulsive people pleaser who will lie convincingly without qualm or someone who believes everything and never thinks for himself.
Cindy at Under Much Grace reminds us, “Barring some other major news event that bumps the story, Michael Pearl is slated to appear on NBC’s Today Show sometime between 8 and 11 AM tomorrow, December 7th, to discuss the controversial child abuse deaths linked to his book, To Train Up a Child.”
The Anderson Show has run in all areas of the country and I have yet to find more than clips of it. The entire show is not much more than the clips, but it would be really nice to have it all in one place and in context. If anyone recorded the show, please post it on YouTube and send me the link. I will update this request when I have more info.
I have yet to watch Michael Pearl and Elizabeth Esther on Anderson other than a few clips. I hope to someday find it online in its entirely at which time I will certainly link. By the way, it will be airing in the Los Angeles Area on FOX 11 at 1pm. Meanwhile, here are some responses from the Blogosphere.
Elizabeth Esther continues to share about her visit on the Anderson Show with Sitting on the couch with Michael Pearl. In this post she shares one clip from the show and shares the rest in the previous post. We are still hoping to find a video of the entire show which has not yet run in Los Angeles. I heard that will run in the Los Angeles area Monday, Dec 5 at 4pm on Fox 11, which begs the question, when will the Monday episode run?
updated: if you’re in Southern California, the show has been bumped to air on Monday due to Pac-12 coverage. But clips from the show will be available online at www.andersoncooper.com . Since I have to wait until Monday to watch the whole thing, I’ll be relying on all of you to email me/FB/tweet me your feedback.
An article in The Christian Post reports that ‘Marriage for Today’ Hosts, Rev. Mike Fox and his wife, Trisha, have been using the Pearls’ teachings to raise their daughter and are scheduled to appear on CNN to defend Michael Pearl.
Because Christians did not stand up and condemn the dangerous teachings of the Pearls, they ended up in the public eye. I had always had a policy of keeping them a secret from non-believers and focusing on Christians, but once the third child died, the proverbial cat was out of the bag. I do not make a habit of linking what the non-believers say about Pearl since they do not make arguments which are relevant to Christians, however, when the Washington Post reports on the Pearls I figure that is of interest as it is part of mainstream news. I see many more in smaller papers to which I do not link, but a simple Google search will find if you are interested. Some search terms to use would be, “Pearl Controversial book” or “Lydia Schatz Pearl”
Update: The ‘Marriage for Today’ Hosts have a new article on The Christian Post about their appearance on Anderson (aired Dec 2, 2011). The comments on this article are very interesting. I agree with many of the commenters that it is very unusual for a pro-spanker to quote someone from the Christian Domestic Discipline movement to give credibility to their arguments.
Also, QuicksilverQueen is still writing her detailed Book Review of To Train Up A Child and how it relates to the deaths. In this review she freely shares how being raised by these teachings affected her and what she was really feeling when her parents thought that she was joyously submissive. She has reviewed the first 3 chapters.
But, I have said many times, when a spanking is not working, stop doing it. There are times when children become so emotionally torn that they have ceased all cognitive activity. Spanking is then counterproductive.
Frankly, I don’t recall him every saying that. If he has published this sentiment, I would like to know where because this quote needs much exposure. His followers need to be aware that he says this because this could really make a difference in the life of some children and maybe even save a life. Although, it is still rather vague, it is a step in the right direction.
Edited to add: Apparently Pearl was referring to this article where he said
You should not spank beyond your fellowship with the child. If you feel that your spanking is excessive, it is because it is not working. If it is not working to produce happy, creative kids, then you are missing one of the other elements we discussed. You have probably forgotten how to relax and enjoy your children. Or perhaps you have failed to train. The bottom line is that if other things are equal, and you give a child a spanking every time he needs it, the time will soon come when he will not need to be spanked so often, and eventually not at all.
More doublespeak. In the next breath he accuses them of failing to train properly and promises that if you are consistent things will get better. He have seen him accuse people of deliberately misunderstanding his meaning, but I really feel that he is vague and expecting people to make mental leaps which not all people are able to make.
Also, if anyone knows where he got these statistics which he quotes, I’d be interested. Was it from the research study or somewhere else?
Research has shown that the properly trained, nurtured and spanked child scores higher on all positive measures both as a child and as an adult. Spanking as part — a small part — of a comprehensive nurturing process instills self control and disciplined in a child, rendering him more emotionally stable and balanced as an adult. Every child was spanked up until Dr. Spock. Now only about 75% are spanked with no malice aforethought, and another 20% are occasionally spanked or hit by angry out of control parents that profess not to believe in it…
In his interview on AC360 Mr. Pearl mentioned the same research on spanking and Anderson Cooper delves deeper into that in another segment. Before linking I want to warn you that it opens with the very upsetting video of Judge William Adams beating his daughter. After that it recaps prior interviews with Michael Pearl and then moves on to Dr. Drew Pinsky and Po Bronson talking to Anderson Cooper about the science behind physically disciplining children. In The Science of Spanking, Anderson Cooper asks Dr. Drew Pinsky and Po Bronson what they think of the Pearl method and it should come as no surprise that they did not find it healthy in any way, shape or form.
The only problem with this interview is that they make a big point of discussing how spanking in anger is even more damaging. This will probably cause Pearl and most of his followers to argue that spanking without anger will cause no damage at all. They are so very wrong. But then of course, Pearl and his followers tend to discount science except for when it supports their beliefs so it’s probably a moot point.
Samuel Martin has sent out the following request asking us to check out and respond to this article in the National Post. He gives a different link to the same story, but my link has photos and lives links.
Best wishes from Jerusalem.
I would like to ask all of my friends, especially those in Canada, to visit the link in the following article:
– if you agree that we need to give additional attention and information about the Biblical arguements against corporal punishment.
Her excellent article gives a great deal of attention to Mr. Pearl and his views. I think it appropriate that the same attention be given to alternate views based upon high levels of scholarship held by Christians like Prof. William Webb, Prof. Dawn Devries, Emeritus Prof. I. Howard Marshall, Dr. Randall Heskett and myself as well as Jewish scholars like Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen, Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe (of blessed memory)), Rabbi Moses Feinstein (of blessed memory) or others in addition to what was mentioned in the article.
If you agree with that, I would appreciate it if you’d drop the author a message.
It makes me so happy to hear from those who have given up using Pearl’s teachings. I got a very interesting email recently which I have been given permission to share with you all.
I just came across your website, and I really like it. I’m thankful for the time that you have put into it- I hope and pray it will help many a questioning parent who is or has used the Pearl’s discipline methods. I am one of them. Sort of. Heard about it, got the book, started to implement, and then something just didn’t settle right in my spirit. I continued reading and even got “Created to Be His Help Meet”. Again, I was really conflicted about accepting everything they were saying. I watched some of their videos on YouTube…and wanted to share one with you. This video is Shalom, one of the Pearl’s grown daughters, talking about an incident at her wedding that saddened and grieved me so much. I would be so sad if one of my own daughters were to grow up and found it normal to be a with a man who treated her this way. I always like to see the “end result” of different discipline methods- and this video really showed me clearly that to use the TTUAC method, aside from hurting my children, I could also very well be sending my child into an unhealthy marriage. The story Shalom tells starts at about 1:15.
The video is called Starting a Bible Study – Preparing To Be A Help Meet – Conversations and is part of the promotion for Debi Pearl’s new book for unmarried women. In case you do not want to watch the video, I will summarize the story which Shalom Pearl Brand shared. She was sharing a funny story from a wedding. She has a really good one. 😆 See, when they had been married for about 30 minutes, they were doing the thing where the bride and groom feed each other a bit of wedding cake. After she put the bite in his mouth he blew it back all over her. It got all over her face, hair and dress. The ladies all gasped and the men all roared with laughter. The bride laughed it off and cleaned herself off. The wedding dress got stained but that’s ok, after all, it was home-made and cost only about $100. Isn’t that just the funniest story? No? Hmmm… Maybe it would seem funnier if you watched her tell it herself… Or maybe it would be even sadder. 😥
Erik Eckholm of The New York Times has written a well researched and carefully balanced article about the Pearls called Preaching Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate. Unfortunately, in his effort to be balanced, he really didn’t warn against the Pearls’ teachings at all. The comments are many and one of them links to my site, for which I am grateful.
When I saw this, I postponed what I had planned to publish this month and I immediately started writing to a number of religious scholars that I know asking them to speak out on this outrageous, unacceptable and evil publication. Thankfully, my call has immediately been answered by Prof, William Webb of Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Canada. I know that I will be hearing from other religious scholars very soon and I will be sharing more testimonies and comments from them as I receive them. We need to hear these voices now.
Many of you know that I have strongly endorsed Prof. Webb’s book in this newsletter (July 2011 Newsletter). Today, I am herein once again not only endorsing this book, but I am asking you to support this book to ensure that it obtains the widest possible reading, attention and exposure. Rather than telling you what Prof. Webb told me, I am herein including a written communication from him that I received just this morning. The following is a direct quote from Prof. Webb and is used with his permission.
THE PEARL’S BEATINGS ARE NOT REALLY BIBLICAL
“Although they will tell you it is from the Bible, the Pearl’s version of child discipline is not really biblical. Not in the truest sense. Not in the deepest sense of what should shape biblical authority. Not in a way that honors the Bible’s underlying redemptive spirit. It is utterly heart breaking to watch “Christian materials” written by Michael and Debi Pearl become part of the murder investigations in three separate cases where so-called Christian parents allegedly abused their children in life-threatening and life-ending ways. I am stunned and appalled by what I have seen on CNN, King5 News, etc.
Unfortunately, Christians often get stuck in their ability to apply the Bible in today’s world. It is my hope that my recent book (Corporal Punishment in the Bible: A Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts) will inspire hope and positive dialogue that helps the Christian community move towards something better for our children. The book outlines how Marilyn (my wife) and I changed our minds about spanking. Like the Pearls we were severely deluded in thinking that the rod was God’s way. But over time we learned how to read and understand the Bible differently. We also learned a truck-load of non-corporal methods of discipline which were far more weighty and effective than the Dobson version (2 smacks max) and certainly better than the abusive Pearl prescription (many beatings with the rod). Like the slavery texts of Scripture, the answer is not simply in moving towards a better form of slavery. That only captures part of Scripture’s redemptive spirit. The Dobson approach is to be commended because they move away from the Pearl-type literalism. But, that is not where biblical application should stop. Like the slavery issue of past days, we need to move beyond a gentler, kinder form of slavery/corporal punishment. Two smacks max is good but it does not reflect an ultimate ethical application of the Bible. As with slavery, only abolitionism (of the rod) will permit Christians to fully embrace effective non-corporal methods and do the courageous, William Wilberforce action in this hour of time. I pray that contemporary followers of Jesus might be known as those who want to live out the very highest ethical application of Scripture. What the Pearls offer is nothing other than “gutter theology”; it is not really the Bible at all . . . well, not if we want to live out Scripture’s redemptive heartbeat.” Dr. William J. Webb is Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Canada. (Quotation from Prof. Webb ends here.)
Brethren, now is the time for all of us to take action to work to stop what is happening today to children at the hands of dear misguided parents/others who think they are doing God’s will.
First, I am asking you to take this newsletter and the exact comments of Prof. Webb and post them to your blogs, pass them to your networks, put them on your FACEBOOK pages and disseminate his above referenced quotation as far and as wide as you can. For more links, reviews and other information about Professor Webb and his book see: http://redemptivechristianity.com & http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/review/code=2761. Please include these in your posts.
Third, I am asking you to write positive reviews of this book in any forum that you come across including but not limited to Amazon, news sites and other book related sites and blogs.
Fourth, I am also you to join me in applauding and supporting InterVarsity Press (www.ivpress.com) for publishing such courageous and careful scholarship. They need to know that we are watching and supporting Christian publishers who stand up for what is right. Please join me in doing this by writing/emailing them or leaving comments on their site.
I would like to thank Prof. Webb for standing up and letting his voice be heard through this newsletter at this difficult time. His message is an important one. His work is really an inspiration for those of us who are looking for truth. I am reminded of a quotation from a giant of Biblical scholarship who was a friend of my late father and I think it is appropriate to reference it here. “…we must bear in mind that the cause of learning has often been promoted by scholars who are prepared to take a risk and expose their brain-waves to the pitiless criticisms of others” (F.F.Bruce, “Modern Studies on the Judean Scrolls,” CT, I (11):5).
Prof. Webb, thank you for your courage, risk taking, intellectual honesty and standing up and speaking out for the truths of the Holy Scripture. I look forward to supporting you and your work for many years to come.