Always The Woman’s Fault?

Forgedimagination responds to an article by the Pearls in Cloistered Fruit: (Not) An Open Letter To The Pearls.   This is a rather extreme example of their teaching that everything comes down to being the fault of the woman (or in this case, women.)

Death by Submission

Misty Horner passed away in 2007 from an infection she sustained in an unassisted homebirth. Her husband and the cult they followed did not allow her to seek medical intervention during the 31 days it took for her to die. Her parents filed a wrongful death suit against her husband, Caleb Horner, his brother, John Horner and their cult which teaches extreme submission. You can read about the verdict in the El Dorado Springs Sun. This story is also covered by Fox TV. This is the first time I have heard of this story which was finally brought to my attention because the Sun article mentions Michael and Debi Pearl’s book, “Created To Be His Helpmeet.”

Old excerpts from this story can be found here.

In January of 2012 Caleb filed a wrongful termination suit against the city of Lee’s Summit which let him go after the death for which no criminal charges were filed.  I cannot seem to find any news stories with an update about this suit.

Update: Feb 15, 2013 Misty Horner wrongful death lawsuit: Horners want new trial after $108M ruling. (Link removed as story is no longer online)

Is Debi Pearl to Blame?

Livinginblurredlines shares how the advice in Debi Pearl’s book, Created To Be His Help Meet negatively affected her marriage.  However she does not want to put the blame on Debi Pearl saying,

Blaming Debi Pearl’s “Created To Be His Helpmeet” book for what I am going through is like blaming a cookbook for your burned dinner.

I’m not so sure I agree with that. If the cookbook tells me to cook the dinner for 30 minutes at 350 and I cook the dinner for 3o minutes at 350 and it burns, I’m going to warn people that the cookbook has some bad information in it.  Sure, I should have kept an eye on the food and noticed if it started burning and saved my dinner.  But whether I saved my dinner or not, the cookbook has shown itself to contain unreliable information and people should be warned about it.

That said, she makes some  good points, especially that one should look to God first and foremost.  Amen.

More on Created To Be His Help Meet

Sheila Wray Gregoire discusses Debi Pearl, Wife Abuse and True Submission in Submission Doesn’t Mean Lying Over And Taking It.   The discussion in the Comments is also very interesting.  It was there that I found he following link:

Natalie at Dusty Feet has been working on a very detailed book review of Created To Be His Help Meet.

Discussing Tim Challies’ Reviews

Recovering Grace promotes Tim Challies’ review of Created To Be His Help Meet. Also, someone brings up his review of To Train Up A Child in the comments and discussion of the Pearls ensues which might be of interest to my readers.


A Complementarian’s Concerns With Created To Be His Help Meet

Complementarian Tim Challies analyses Debi Pearl’s book, Created To Be His Help Meet and points out his concerns with the teachings therein.

Part 1 looks at the harsh and critical spirit and the foolish counsel.

Part 2 looks at “poor theology, poor use of Scripture and far too little gospel.”

This is an excellent review to share with complementarians.

A Warning About Extreme Submission

Mrs. Jacks shares her testimony of How Submission Books Nearly Ruined her Marriage.

CTBHH – Dangerous Advice with Heresy

ChucklesTravels reviews Created To Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl which he deems Dangerous Advice mixed with a lot of Heresy.

How To Be A Good Wife

Aubry Grace  looks at the fallacy of trying to follow the advice in books like Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl and An Excellent Wife by Martha Peace in her post, The Gospel Driven Marriage: How To Be A Good Wife.  Excellent advice which I think every married person should read.

And in the interest of fairness, here is a good post for the unmarried to read. <3

Close Encounters of the Pearl Kind

Someone finally noticed that I have a discussion board on my Facebook Page.  So far, there is only one discussion there, so far and I found it so interesting, I thought I’d share for those who have not joined Facebook.

This is Stephanie’s story of her close encounter with Pearl’s followers:

With my second pregnancy (1st baby) I got dropped by my midwife. I searched the internet for another and there are not many where I live, I was 35 weeks I think. I met with one and I hired her because ” none of the other midwives like because she is so hands off”. Well, that what she said and that what I wanted. She hosted Centering Pregnancy and Parenting and was a La Leche League leader and also a Bradley childbirth instructor. Anyways after my Daughter was born I went the Centering Parenting group every 2 weeks or so and LLL. She also hosted a bunch of different classes and such and I became friends with some of the people who attended. I noticed that she was ultra conservative, but I don’t like to judge one’s character on political or religious bases. I like to think of myself as open minded and make friends with people from all walks of life and different interests. She said some peculiar things that I just brushed off. Example: when talking to a mother with a newborn that was having trouble nursing “just tell him no and not to do that. I think babies understand right and wrong, whats expected of them.” She asked which church we went to and she said ” I have my own church at my house”

I was becoming friends with a lady that lived down the street from me, we met at the LLL meeting. We had a lot in common, I think, and hit it off. The second time I visited her she showed me this book called Help Meet. She raved about how wonderful this book was and showed me her favorite chapter called “Mommy why am I so dumb?” Really, that’s what it’s called. She said she was starting up a club for this book and would have all her friends over and I was invited. I went. There were a lot of kids at the Help Meet club.

At this club they discussed the book and had extras to pass out. It was defiantly disturbing the things some of the women said. About how the wife is supposed to never, ever turn down sex from her husband. That if a woman is beaten by her husband then it’s her fault and quote “Too bad for her” with a very smug attitude. That it is a sin to wear pants and to ask your husband’s permission to buy anything, including toothpaste or any necessities. I left early and asked to borrow the book out of curiosity and because I didn’t want them to think I was being rude for leaving early. Just because I didn’t agree with it or like some of the women there didn’t mean I didn’t want to be friends with her.

Anyways the woman I was becoming friends with, lets call her Sarah, invited me to her baby shower. I didn’t think I would make it because it was being held at someones house about 30 miles away. But I did. I met lots of other moms and kids. You know I thought that since the women I was hanging out with were Attachment Parenters or similar, because they exclusively breastfed, used slings and the like and bedshared. Anyways halfway through the party a women handed her baby off and grabbed her son by the arm and dragged him off to the stairwell. Three rooms away I could hear WHACK, WHACK WHACK! and then the crying. He was crying so hard. and after he stopped again WHACK, WHACK WHACK! and then the crying. Three times this happened while I was there. I wanted to stop it, I wanted to do something. But everybody around me was acting like nothing was happening. Like this happened all the time. I left. And I felt horrible for leaving that little boy there to be beaten. Something inside me just snapped. I don’t know I just had to get my daughter out of there. I cried on the way home and told my daughter that I would never, ever hurt her. For about three days I dwelled on this, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t stopped it. Finally I emailed one of the ladies that was at the party about it and asked if anybody stopped it and such. The lady I emailed was one of the midwives at my birth. That day I got and call from my midwife, the head midwife the one that owned the business. She told me she was to explain what happened at the baby shower, because the other midwife didn’t know what to say. She talked down to me like How dare I even think about stopping the beating. She said it was the mothers right to her her child and that she knows how hard and how long to hit for that child. And quote she said “I have to practically beat my kid with a bat to get him to listen”. Then she tried to get me to buy her book “To train up a child” I just sat there and listened in stunned silence and finally I said I’m going now and she kept saying I love you and I hung up. I was thinking you don’t know what love is. That night I researched the book, I was horrified. I just don’t get why anyone would ever want to hurt their baby. I kept thinking this goes against very thing the Bible teaches. The phone call was on Wednesday I called CPS on friday just to talk to someone about what happened, but they didn’t want to talk they just wanted info. Apparently CPS and Metro showed up on Saturday at the midwife’s house. I don’t know what happened, nor do I want to know. I do feel horrible about CPS showing up.

As for the kids that I met. The two that struck me the hardest were two of the teenagers I met. One was the 1st born she always had this nervous anxious smile on her face and if she wasn’t doing something she was very antsy. Depressed eyes and a nervous smile. I only saw the boy once, he was sitting at the table doing school work I asked him if there were any trashbags around. Without saying a word he sighed got up and got me one. No eye contact. He definitely seemed depressed to me. Run down, broken spirit. That was my impression of those two way before I even knew what their moms did to them. The kids that I met never really seemed like they were playing like it was a fake play because their moms told them too.

I think the people the buy into these kind of teachings have a serious lack of faith. They lack the faith to believe Jesus can and has touched many lives since his time here. They don’t have enough faith to believe that God is all powerful, more powerful than the devil, so powerful that many, many people believe in him, so powerful that the devil does not rule the earth, so powerful that even I and my brother whom were both raised in the most unGodly home now and have always believed and are both saved. They lack the faith that God is forgiving and compassionate and loves ever single person unconditionally. The most powerfull phrase in the Bible in my opinion, is when Jesus was on the cross, he said “forgive them, for they know not what they do”. He forgave the Jews, the people that beat him and then murdered him. He forgave them with compassion, love and understanding. He didn’t punish them but forgave. These people teach punishment over forgiveness and understanding. God gave us free will, the pearls take it away.

If you have a story to share, please join in the discussion. If you prefer to share anonymously, you may email your story to me or register here under a pseudonym and submit it.

Mixed feelings about Created To Be His Help Meet

Elizabeth, at Virginia Is For Mothers, reviews Created To Be His Help Meet. While she got a lot of positive things out of it, she has some concerns.  I am linking to this post for 2 reasons.

1) This is a good review to share with people who got a lot out of the book and are wondering what could possibly be wrong with it.  If you share a very negative review with them, they will likely be resistant to the message therein.  This review brings up concerns from someone who, for the most part, liked the book.

2) She is interested to know what others got out of it.   I assume that she will find her way here and may be interested in the other reviews which I have collected.

By the way, she asks what we think about the allegation that Bathsheba can be blamed for enticing King David by bathing on her roof. The roof in those days was what our patios are today, it was probably enclosed and she probably did not expect anyone to be able to see her. I’m not sure if that was the usual custom or not. Also, the Bible says that it was the time when Kings go to war. I have heard many sermons teach that King David had no business in the palace at all because he was supposed to be at war leading his men. It seems to me that she thought that all the men were at war and would not be spying on her. But even if she were trying to entice him, the fault would still be his for not looking away and resisting. We can look at Joseph in his encounter with Potiphar’s wife to see how God expects a man to react to temptation.

Dolly Mama

Since yesterday’s post was about Patriocentricity and I have this link which mentions Debi Pearl, I might as well share it.  Dolly Mama writes about some parallels she sees between the FLDS movement and the patriocentric movement in Escape, FLDS, and some parallels.

To Control a Child

Cultured Mama has written some very good arguments against the manipulative and dangerous teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl in To Control a Child. She also warns against Ezzo and Babywise and gives a lot of links for further research.

An Open Letter to Debi Pearl

Another wife has tried and tested Debi Pearl’s Book, Created To Be His Help Meet and found that it nearly destroyed both her and her marriage. She tells her story in An Open Letter To Debi Pearl.

Created to be his Help Meet – A Review (sort of).

Created to be his Help Meet – A Review (sort of) is an exposé of Created To Be His Help Meet. He does a very good job of responding to the problematic parts of this book with Biblical corrections.

ThatMom Responds to Joy about Debi Pearl

I just came across an interesting post from ThatMom about Debi Pearl and her book, Created To Be His Helpmeet. She is responding to Joy, who defended Debi Pearl in a comment on a previous post back in March of 2010:

Responding to Joy about Debi Pearl

Behind Closed Doors

Glenys shares a heartbreaking and powerful blog entry about an abusive marriage and exposes how damaging the advice contained in Created To Be His Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl, is.

Kristina’s Keepsakes review of CTBHH

Kristina’s Keepsakes has started a series analyzing the Pearls’ books, starting with Created To Be His Helpmeet.
Created To Be His Helpmeet Part 1
Created To Be His Helpmeet Part 2

Zooey’s Arguments

It began with a feeling of uneasiness…..

I started to read what had been described to me as a “Christian book for women”. That seemed OK. I mean, I am a Christian woman. But I rapidly became more & more uncomfortable with what I was reading. There was a coarseness about it that jarred with my understanding of Christianity.
By the time I was only partway through, I was partly nauseous, & partly appalled that this little missive was being passed around in Christian circles. The name of the book was Created To Be His Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl….and not just the book, but Mrs Pearl was appalling me. Her husband’s contributions were even worse.

I was raised in a “ Holiness “ church. I had met all kinds of people with all kinds of convictions, many of which I found odd, but it never crossed my mind that these folks were anything other than genuine Christian people……and now I had my first encounter with the Family Pearl, and I devoutly wished I had never heard of them. Frankly, they scared me to death. And that was before I heard anything about their “child rearing” techniques. I had only one thing to go by: CTBHH. It was enough to send me back into my Bible, trying to find out in what manner these people could possibly have interpreted Scripture, in order to draw such bizarre conclusions from it.

I had been raised to be discerning, especially in the matter of Biblical interpretation. It didn’t take me long to realize that here was a strange  breed: These people were a “Bible-based cult”. I had never heard of such a thing; I had believed that cults were odd sects which clearly departed from the words of my Bible. Now, I was facing a cult that claimed to be rooted in Scripture. How could this be???
I should have remembered World History class. The fact that history was (& is) awash with the names of groups who also claimed to be “true Christians” whilst promoting another gospel—that should have been my tip-off.
It wasn’t. My tip-off was that queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I wish it had been enough. Enough to enlighten me as to how insidious the Pearls & their skewed theology could be. It would take years, & an exposure to more of their poison, before I broke free of my “different people interpret Scripture differently” mentality, long enough to smell the whiff of sulfur that signaled that the Pearls were being inspired, all right; the problem was to awaken to who & what was their inspiration.
But, one thing was clear very early on: This was not the truth. This was not of God. And this was most definitely NOT Christian teaching. This is what the pastors of my childhood would have called “carnality”.

Thus it begins.

What I want to talk about is another book by Mr & Mrs Pearl: “To Train Up A Child”– hereafter, TTUAC.
The Pearls’ teaching flows from their theology. Their theology, that is, determines how they behave. Michael Pearl states that he has been “ teaching and living” a life free of sin.
He claims, that is, to be what my elders in the faith called “sanctified wholly [holy]”. (He spends a lot of time denying this, but it is in print on his own site. He says his position is that of Baptists; I have yet to meet a Baptist who believes this. Not even my grandfather, the Baptist minister’s son, & the Free Methodist local preacher, who surely knew what each believed!!).

Let me begin with what I was afraid might take the most time to find, & turned out to be as easy as calling up my own church’s website, & doing a little minor checking of links:

I am copying & pasting here, from :

Of Sanctification
Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless.
[The following provision was adopted by the Uniting Conference (1939). This statement seeks to interpret to our churches in foreign lands Article XXIII of the Articles of Religion. It is a legislative enactment but is not a part of the Constitution. (See Judicial Council Decisions 41, 176, and Decision 6, Interim Judicial Council.)]

One of MP’s defenses, you see, is that what he believes is standard doctrine in a Christian church. He uses language which might easily lead readers to think that he is teaching the  standard Wesleyan sanctification.
Let’s examine that for a bit:

(A) “that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost”.
What does that mean? Well, first, let’s say what it does NOT mean: It does not mean that when, upon salvation through faith, by the grace of God, we become regenerate [are saved; enter into a state of grace; accept Christ as Saviour; etc]. It does NOT mean that we never sin again. It does not mean that we can never sin again. Because look at what it says: “renewal of our fallen nature”.
Now a renewal means that something is made new again; not that it has just become new, but that something occurs after that initial ‘becoming’. My grandfather—would that he were here to explain it; he would surely do better than I!– He called this ‘entire sanctification’, and he knew that it meant something apart from salvation.
I know this for a very good and sufficient reason: He talked about it, studied it, read Wesley, and then…..He decided that as a born-again Christian, he could not claim something that he did not believe.
Which was when, before a gathering of Free Methodists over an area of several states, when he was asked (as every FM pastoral candidate—like UMC candidates—is asked), “Are you expecting to be sanctified wholly in this lifetime?” as part of his proposed ordination as a deacon, he said, after a long pause: “Well, truthfully, NO “ .

It was clearly not his salvation that was in question. Without that, he would have never been a candidate. No, it was something subsequent to salvation: entire sanctification in this lifetime.

(B) “ received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin”
John Wesley did not preach  what has been called “cheap grace”. No, he preached that it is the duty of every Christian to grow, to increase in faith, and to live more and more closely to Jesus Christ so that we may be presented before Him on “That Day”, not with our sins merely “covered over”, but with them washed away, gone, that we may be as holy as we can be, that “we may not be ashamed”.
He & his younger brother Charles and their friends at university were called “The Holy Club” because of their constant striving to be as pleasing to God as was possible in this world. It was a taunt, but they accepted it, & gladly. It was, after all, what they sought to attain.
In time, they would be convinced that they were never to achieve it, and then, one night in Aldersgate Street, John Wesley wrote, “My heart was strangely warmed”, and he realized that as we are saved by the blood of Christ, so are we also:

(C)”whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power”. We are not able to make ourselves holy any more than we are able to make ourselves regenerate. It is Christ, & Christ alone Who can make us live holy lives. It is to God alone that the glory for sanctification is due. And then we :
(D) “and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless”.
And it is here is where the Pearls go terribly, terribly wrong. Here is where they lose all touch with  sound Christian doctrine. Because they teach that the “rod” which they call for using on children can cleanse from guilt. Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary can do that. Anyone who says otherwise is teaching another ‘gospel’, as the Apostle Paul warned us, and said of such a teacher, “ If we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, if anyone preaches another gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed”. (Galations 1: 8-9).
I am not a theologian. I have never pretended to be.
But when my Bible says, twice in as many verses, that anyone who preaches anything other than “Jesus Christ and him crucified”, that that teacher is a false teacher; and that such a teacher is to be accursed–
When that happens, I say, I am fearful. And I put down that book, TTUAC, and I put down Mrs Pearl, & I put down NGJ Ministries, and I stand well back from it, and from every word that comes out of the Pearls’ mouths and pens.
Because I remember also what Paul said, of himself, that he prayed “lest [he] should be a castaway”. Michael Pearl, & NGJ has claimed for a piece of wood (or perhaps even more bizarrely, for a piece of rubber hose) what the Bible claims only, ONLY for Christ Himself, & Him crucified.
This is serious business, folks. This is not a small matter. He who is not with the crucified Christ is not with us; is not of us. And there are only two positions where we can stand:
We can stand with Jesus Christ. Or we can fight against him.
When it comes to a choice between Michael  & Debi Pearl’s TTUAC (& the rest of their writings), and the One With the Nail-Scarred Hands….For me there is no choice. I will stick with the Christ who suffered & died for me.
Whose side are you on??

– Zooey

Responses to Created To Be His Helpmeet and other marital advice

Spunky’s Blog entry about Created To Be His Helpmeet

The Pearls Respond to the Blogs by Spunky

“Created to Be His Help Meet” discussion

Today, I’ll let Mr. Pearl speak for himself… by Rebecca

I feel sorry for Debi and Michael Pearl! from Emotional Abuse and Your Faith

is debi pearl’s “created to be his helpmeet” really biblical? by ThatMom

Razorbackmama’s commentary of Created To Be His Helpmeet