Refuting Pearl’s Analysis of Spanking Studies

In a recent post, I shared discussion of an addition to To Train Up A Child by Michael Pearl.  There is an exerpt from the chapter on the No Greater Joy website.  In this article, Michael Pearl refutes studies which have shown spanking children to be harmful and shares the results of some other studies which he claims show the opposite.  Of course, there are flaws in his logic.  Here is an example.  He states:

Child psychologist Elizabeth Owens, scientist at the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a study. She concluded, “If you look at the causally relevant evidence, it’s not scientifically defensible to say that spanking is always a horrible thing. I don’t think mild, occasional spankings in an otherwise supportive, loving family will do any long-term harm.”

Here is the study of which he speaks. MariJo7 from GCM has kindly given me permission to share her analysis of the study: [Read more…]

Discussing the new chapter of TTUAC

The Gentle Christian Mothers are discussing NGJ’s New Addition to “To Train Up a Child.”  It seems that for their 21st anniversary edition, No Greater Joy has added a new chapter to the book which attempts to refute studies which showing spanking to be detrimental to children.  Of course, the moms at Gentle Christian Mothers have found a few flaws in his logic.

If you like this, you might also be interested in this list I complied of Selected posts from The Gentle Christian Mothers Forum.

Hana and Pearl Are All Over The Internet

There has been a lot of attention being given lately to the Pearls and the part their book, To Train Up A Child, played in the death of Hana Aleumu “Williams.” So much attention in fact, that my blog could not handle the traffic generated by Google searches and was taken offline from the 19th until today as explained here. So, here is a rundown of the posts and articles I missed posting during that time.

It started with this article on Nov 15: Another couple found guilty of murder for parenting by “To Train Up a Child” by Alicia Bayer of the Mankato Attachment Parenting Examiner. [Read more…]

Do The Duggars Promote The Pearls’ Teachings?

I was recently told that it is unfair of us to group the lovely Duggar Family with the likes of the Pearls and the Quiverfull Movement. I always try to be fair so I have done some research.

On this page you will find Proof that the Duggars Promote the Pearls’ Teachings.  You can use CTRL F to find “nogreaterjoy” or you can scroll down past the highlighted yellow box, into the white area to find the link to the Pearls’ website,  No Greater Joy, and the Duggars’ endorsement.  On that same page they also link to the  businesses of the Pearls’ adult children, The Bulk Herb Store, Cane Creek Coffee and a book by Shoshanna Easling.

While it’s true that in their 2012 book, “A Love that Multiplies ” the Dugars deny being a part of the Quiverfull Movement, they embrace the same ideals and appear to be  friendly with those in the movement, especially with  Gothard and ATI.  Here is a list of blogs and articles which back this up.

So, while they appear to be “guilty by association,” I can see why many want to give them the benefit of the doubt.  That is all fine and good, but I cannot help but be very leery of anyone who  promotes No Greater Joy as, “some of the finest in family-friendly, value-based books, audios, videos, and articles on parenting, husband and wife relationships, ministry and more!” but maybe that’s just me.

Edited to add:  It has just come to my attention that the person who handles the Duggar Book promotions, Mel Cohen, is the same person who handles the book promotions for the Pearls.  This explains a lot and leaves it up in the air as to whether or not the Duggars actually promote the Pearls teachings.  I still believe that they should be held accountable for what is published under their name.  They must be aware by now that their name is being linked to the Pearls because of this promotion and can have it changed at any time, but they have not. If anyone feels that they are not aware of this situation, please contact them and make them aware.

I have also heard that they practice gentle parenting.  If I am not mistaken, as members of ATI, they are required to use corporal punishment.  Also, here is an old article which states that they believe that the Bible requires spanking.

Now, in an article from 2010, someone came right out and asked her if she ever spanked her children and look at her response.  As you can clearly see, she said no.  Wait…  No, not exactly…  Well, she sure didn’t say yes…  The truth is, she use over 700 words to say that they focus on the positive while evading the question entirely.

Edited to add March 13, 2015: I noticed that some of the pages to which I was linking in this post have been removed from the Dugger’s website so I am now linking to them on the Internet Archive (Way Back Machine) to prove that they used to exist.

Edited May 23, 2016 to add a new link: Duggar Endorsed Ministry: Depravity Spreading From One Christian Homeschool Family To The Next. 

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.)

Another Interesting Quote from Pearl

My friend, Rebecca Diamond, brought this quote from Michael Pearl to my attention.  It is from his website: Rodless Training from June 1999 (emphasis mine):

“There will be times when a spanking is appropriate. But you are prevented! Then use your power as the caretaker and dispenser of all privileges and responsibilities to make his actions totally counterproductive. If you can’t spank the flesh, starve it with an embargo. Stand your ground and do not let the little fellow find satisfaction in his pursuits. Stay on duty, demanding obedience until he surrenders his will to your persistence. If there is a way to deny him access to some means of indulgence that relates to the offense, then by all means as governor of the island on which he lives deny him normal privileges until he complies.”

The reason I find this quote so interesting is that the bolded reminds me so much of the Williams Tragedy. For more posts about the Williams see here.

The Pearls Remain In The News

Lisa Belkin of The Huffington Post asks, Can Adoption Lead to Child Abuse?

Elizabeth Esther explains why we should hold the Pearls accountable for their teachings in Are the Pearls to blame for child spanking deaths?

Clay Duda of the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange takes a look at the history of corporeal punishment in Spanking at Home and in the Classroom, What’s Right and Wrong?

The story has gone international as this post in the Belfast Telegraph demonstrates.

In fact, the story is so big that even Psychology Today is writing about it.

Oh, and by the way, the NY Times Article and its spawns showed us the happy congregation and their happy children.  Read Dulce De Leche’s explanation of why they look so happy.

 

Hana “Williams” Story on CNN

Gary Tuchman of CNN covers the case of Hana Alemu (legally Hana Williams as she was adopted by Larry and Carri Williams) on A360 in Ungodly Discipline. They plan to look closer at the book, To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl.

The next day they featured an interview with Michael Pearl.   Here is the transcript. The part in question is about half way down.

Also  on CNN, Dr. Drew interviews Michael Pearl about his book, To Train Up A Child, in an episode called, Preaching discipline that can kill?  This video seems to be just an excerpt.  If I find the entire show, I will replace the link.

Pearl’s Official Response to Hana’s Death

Michael Pearl  has released an official statement on the tragic death of Hannah Williams on his No Greater Joy Facebook Page.  This time he is not laughing.  He explains that he tells parents not to abuse and gives some quotes to back that up.  He didn’t even quote where he said not to use punishment on a child who has medical issues for not obeying, which I consider to be his best defense.  However, I do not agree with him that anyone can follow his advice without being abusive, as he and I do not agree on our definitions of abuse.  In fact, he never actually gives his definition of abuse, which is part of the problem.  He says not to abuse but never tells them how far to go (other than to be 100% consistent) nor what constitutes abuse.  Then, every time someone crosses the (invisible) line, he blames them for not doing it correctly.

Here is his statement for those who can’t or won’t visit Facebook:

Hanna Williams’ Death – Official Statement

by No Greater Joy Ministries on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 12:07pm

We share in the sadness over the tragic death of Hanna Williams. What her parents did is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of No Greater Joy Ministries (NGJ) and what is taught in the book, To Train Up a Child (see quotes below). We are grieved by Hanna’s death as well as the nearly 1,700 other children that die in this country every year as the result of neglect or abuse. This is part of the motivation of NGJ to provide materials that are helping parents to raise healthy and happy children.

Here are quotes from the book that actually warn against abuse.

“Train up-not beat up. Train up-not discipline up.” “A child needs more than ‘obedience training’, but without first training him, discipline is insufficient” page 4

“Disciplinary actions can easily become excessive and oppressive if you set aside the tool of training and depend on discipline alone to do the training.” Page 9

“Parent, have you trained yourself not to discipline immediately but to wait until your irritation builds into anger? If so, then you have allowed anger to become your inducement to discipline.” Page 25

“Parent, if you are having problems with your children, you can be assured that you are not alone. Your children are also having problems with you. You are going to have to make adjustments in your own life if you are going to help them with their problems.” “… the responsibility for making a significant change is completely yours.” Page 32

“There are always some who act in the extreme. These individuals are capable of using what has been said about the legitimate use of the rod to justify ongoing brutality to their children.” page 50

“The rod should never be a vent for parents’ anger. Where the supreme motivation is anything other than the child’s good, it is inevitable that such behavior by the parent will assuredly create problems.” page 51

These quotes and the rest of the book are about turning the hearts of parents to the children and the hearts of children to the parents.

If, as alleged, Hanna’s parents owned a copy of the book, it is obvious from these quotes and their actions, that they either have not read it or totally ignored its contents. The book repeated warns parents against abuse and emphasizes the parents’ responsibility to love and properly care for their children, which includes training them for success. There are thousands upon thousands of parents (the book has sold over 660,000 copies) who have and are properly applying the philosophy in the book with the joyous results of happy, productive, well-adjusted children in loving successful families.

The alleged presence of the book makes it no more responsible for Hanna’s death than the presence of a weight loss book in the home of an overweight person is responsible for their obesity. Its presence is actually recognition that there was a problem and obtaining the book was an effort to solve it. Unfortunately, if Hanna’s parents own a copy they chose to ignore (or twist) the contents of the book that could have corrected their poor parenting and prevented the abuse and her death.

It is our desire to redouble our efforts to help families and to prevent future tragedies.

Michael Pearl, President

No Greater Joy Ministries

He is wrong about the Williams obtaining the book in an effort to solve the problem.  They were using the Pearls’ materials for years before they adopted Hana and Immanuel.  I don’t know how long ago they last read the book, but I have said many times that they twisted the advice therein.  The only reason I link the Pearls to this tragedy at all is because of their Parents Must Win Every Battle At All Costs mindset which I feel could have something to do with the Williams’ need for control.  I suspect that after all those years of Perfectly Obedient Children resulting from following the Pearls’ teachings, the fact that they were unable to get results from their adopted children pushed them off the deep end.  I could be wrong, but this is how it looks to me.  I thought that back  on Sept 6 and the more I learn, the more it looks that way.

The Pearls’ Book NOT Banned in New Zealand (Working on Amazon)

New Zealand’s Censorship Compliance Unit has decided not to ban nor restrict Michael and Debi Pearl’s book, To Train Up A Child, according to this article in the Marlborough Press.  While I don’t believe in book banning, it seems to me that if a country has that policy, this book should fall into that category and I am a bit confused as to how they reached their decision.

I do believe in encouraging book sellers to stop selling offensive books and so does  Milli Hill at Peaceful Parenting who explains why Amazon should stop selling books which promote Child Abuse, especially To Train Up A Child. This piece includes a long quote from Debi Pearl in which she explains how one should use the switch on a child under one year old.

Note: The petition to which she links is the same one to which I link in my side bar. If you have not signed it, please sign it and share the link. Thank you.

Why Blame The Pearls At All?

 

Many people question why anyone could possibly blame the Pearls at all for the death of Lydia Schatz. I totally understand the question. No matter what the Pearls teach, they did not actually hit the child. And they insist that the Schatz family did not follow their instructions properly.  So, did they? Well, we can’t really know for sure. I would like to explain here how I  believe that the Schatz parents could have been following the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl to the letter and still killed Lydia Schatz.

First of all, let’s look at who Lydia Schatz was. This post explains her background. She was adopted from Liberia at the age of 4. She did not learn to obey at an early age, she learned to be stoic in an orphanage where showing weakness could be fatal. She might even have had Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).  It is important to note that all the children who have died at the hands of parents who were following the Pearls’ teachings have been adopted.

Now, let’s look at the Pearls’ teachings.  Pearl teaches that the parent must be 100% consistent. Here is a rather long quote from the book, To Train Up A Child to show this teaching in context: [Read more…]

Recovering Grace from Bill Gothard

I was not aware that there is a site devoted to Shedding Light On The Teachings of IBLP and ATI (Bill Gothard’s Teachings.)  These sites are popping up faster than I can keep track of them, Praise the Lord.  I don’t have enough categories for all these abusive teachings, just tags, so  I’m happy to have these more organized sites to which to send people and which should pop up on search engines.

Along similar lines, Libby Anne looks at the promises made by No Greater Joy and Vision Forum and analyzes her Patriarchal parents’ inability to trust God with their children, realizing that it all boils down to A Trust Problem.

New Site: “No Greater Joy?”

beatenwithplumbingline has just started a new blog called, No Greater Joy?   The first, and so far only, post shows how the Pearls’ teachings violate Matthew 18:2-6.  (Note, this site has since been deleted)  This post also states the purpose of the new blog which is.

…to warn parents, pastors, and law enforcement of the dangerous and abusive parenting methods of Michael and Debi Pearl, as presented by their webside “No Greater Joy” and espoused in their book To Train Up a Child.  

Another purpose of this website is to preserve the memory of the children who have died at the hands of parents who abused them using Michael and Debi Pearl’s methods.

The blog contains 2 links, one to a news article about the Schatz story and the other to a news article about the death of Hana Grace-Rose Williams. What does her death have to do with the Pearls’ teachings? Probably nothing, but it remains to be seen. I have heard murmurings on the internet that her parents were Pearl followers, but it is all officially hearsay at this point.

Here is another article about Hana Grace-Rose Williams which includes a News Video from KomoNews.com and here is an article from Fox News which mentions that the family homeschooled all their children.

 

Review of No Greater Joy Child-Training Doctrine

Scita>Scienda has finally released their eBook, Parenting In The Name of God

Deb’s Review of TTUAC – Part 3

Deb has posted the 3rd and final part of her review of Michael Pearl’s book, To Train Up A Child. In this post she looks at how Pearl prevented “sissies” and trained his children to always be happy. She also looks at what he teaches about the rod. She says that what Pearl teaches about persistence bothered her the most. I totally understand that. It is exactly this emphasis on persistence which I suspect killed Lydia Schatz.

For your convenience, here are Part 1 and Part 2 and here is the Intro.

Spanking to Remove Guilt?

Back in October of 2010, Michael Pearl published an article where he claimed that he had never taught that spanking absolves a child of guilt.  He does, however, teach in that same article that they need the spanking in order to absolve themselves of guilt.

It is clear in all my writing that the forgiveness of which I speak is the parent forgiving the child. The two-year-old does not feel guilt before God. When he has willfully transgressed against his parents’ rules and he hides his misdeeds in shame, he has a psychological need to be cleansed of his guilt and restored to fellowship. This the parent can do through the proper application of the rod and reproof.

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that point.  However, in his latest article of Feb 2011, he says that spanking can heal a child’s very soul. I don’t believe that anything or anyone but Jesus can heal our souls.

What a joy to possess the ability to instantly gain compliance and instill discipline in our children. However, the most mysterious, almost miraculous, fruit of the properly applied spanking is its ability to heal the child’s soul and create a sweetness of spirit.

I have here some quotes from other teachers which show this same doctrine about spanking being taught:

[Read more…]

Schatz One Year Anniversary

On February 6, 2010, Lydia Schatz died from kidney failure allegedly brought on from corporal punishment. Her parents were arrested and her siblings were questioned. The other children co-operated fully with all adults. They answered questions calmly and completely, explaining how Lydia had been having switching sessions because she would not comply. They explained how they were all chastised with plumbing supply line when they did not obey and how their parents got their parenting advice from the No Greater Joy website.    Sunday marks the first anniversary of this incident. As I do not post on Sundays, I am posting this today.

At the time of the tragedy, I was running a small site where I put all my links on the same page.  I was soon overwhelmed by the quantity of links relating to the tragedy.  On top of that, the server I was using had some problems and kept going down.  A good friend helped me move here by the grace of God.  I figured out how to organize better, but my early work was moved in large chunks.  All that to say that in order to commemorate the first anniversary of the Schatz Tragedy, I am reposting my links regarding it.  Please report any broken links by commenting or you may email me at hermanalinda@whynottrainachild.com

My first collection of news stories.

Reactions in the blogosphere.

More news stories and reactions..

CBS did an investigative report about the Schatz and other child abuse stories.

Newer stories about the Schatz story can be found under my Schatz tag.

Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were charged with murder and torture. The trial is scheduled to start on Feb 28, 2011 after a trial readiness hearing on Feb 17th.


Another Pro-Spanker speaks out against Michael Pearl

Emily shares a quote from Michael Pearl and her response to it.  Ah, but she did not share where the quote can be found.  Lest anyone insist that they do not remember Mr. Pearl ever saying such a thing, I will share the citation.  It is from an article on the No Greater Joy Website called, Angry Child and was written by Michael Pearl in August of 1998.

Edited to add:  Emily has removed her blog post so I removed the link.  Here is the quote which upset her so, “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.”

The Schatz Abuse Story and the Paradise Post

As 2010 winds to a close, I am reflecting on the changes to this website.  I moved to this blog in March during the thick of the Schatz story.  Over the months I found more and more time passing between posts and started filling that time with posts about other controlling groups such as the Patriarchy Movement as well as helpful posts about Gentle Discipline.  I am very thankful to God for how He has been using this blog.  I wish my readers many blessings in 2011.

And now, The Paradise Post has released its Top 10 news stories of 2010 and the Schatz Abuse Story was number one.   I  post an excerpt from their story here for permanence:

Schatz, Smith lead top 10 news

Posted: 12/30/2010 01:00:00 AM PST

Once again the Post staff voted on the Top 10 stories of the Year. This year, the top story is the Schatz family abuse case.

1. Parents arrested in child abuse case

The ugliness of humanity reared its head in Paradise this year when two local parents allegedly beat their adopted daughter to death for mispronouncing a word.

Lydia Schatz, 7, died in February and her parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, are accused of killing her by using controversial disciplinary methods outlined in a religious training book, “To Train Up A Child,” by Michael and Debi Pearl, founders of the No Greater Joy Ministry.

In the aforementioned book, the Pearls recommend using a rubber quarter-inch plumbing supply line for disciplining a child. Elizabeth called emergency crews on Feb. 6 to report that Lydia was not breathing.

A storm prevented the girl from being airlifted to the hospital by the LifeFlight helicopter. Lydia was being rushed by ambulance to Chico Municipal Airport, but died en route. The autopsy of Lydia shows that the girl died of Rhabdomyolysis, a rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle due to injury to muscle tissue.

Lydia’s 11-year-old sister was also discovered with injuries and sustained kidney failure. She was not originally expected to survive, but made a full recovery after treatment at Sutter Memorial Hospital.

The Schatzes have six biological children and adopted Lydia, the 11-year-old, and a 3 month-old from the Republic of Libera in Africa.

Police said all the children made statements affirming being disciplined by rubber tubing found in the Schatz home.

The parents were charged with murder and torture, each facing life in prison. Kevin and Elizabeth retained separate lawyers and pled not guilty to the crimes.

The case has not been resolved. The Schatzes are scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 28, 2011 for a jury trial.

Good and Evil

I have come across a discussion of Michael Pearl’s book, Good And Evil, which is a comic book version of The Bible.

Actually, she mainly discusses their efforts to turn this graphic novel into a feature film and the video designed to raise funds for that project.

‘Good and Evil,’ the Graphic Bible, Considered With Dismay, by Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

What Does Mr. Pearl Really Believe?

Michael Pearl has a very interesting article on his website where he responds to Pastor Raley‘s warning against his teachings in his church bulletin.  Now, in this article, Mr. Pearl says that he did not say what Pastor Raley says that he said.  I found that very interesting and so I decided to go through the articles and get to the bottom of this.

I clicked on the links where Pastor Raley cites his quotes and used CTRL F to search for them.  Here are the quotes Mr. Pearl claims that he did not write and my findings.

When a descendant of Adam reaches a level of moral understanding (sometime in his youth) he becomes fully, personally accountable to God and has sin imputed to him, resulting in the peril of eternal damnation.

When man reaches his state of moral accountability, and, by virtue of his personal transgression, becomes blameworthy, his only hope is a work of grace by God alone.”

These quotes are found in Mr. Pearl’s article, What We Believe.

If you put yourselves under my authority, you can learn the secret to getting rid of your sins.”

This was a generalization which I don’t believe that Pastor Raley meant to attribute to Mr. Pearl.

…age of accountability.”

I do not believe that this was meant to be a quote from Mr. Pearl either.  I think Pastor Raley meant these as “scare quotes.”

…a work of grace by God alone

This was found in Mr. Pearl’s article, What We Believe.

In the next 4 paragraphs are quibbling about whether or not he used certain words which he certainly did use in the article, In Defense of Biblical Chastisement.   Michael Pearl says,

The next paragraph attributed to me contains 118 words. The first 50 words are entirely false and certainly do not represent anything I have ever written or said. It contains words I have never employed and concepts I have never endorsed, like “To the child, a righteous parent is a surrogate god.”

It is especially interesting to me how he protests that he never used the words, “Eternal God,” when he certainly did. He says in the article,

I wrote “the higher powers” with “powers” in plural and in all lower case letters. If I had wanted to say “The Eternal God” I would have done so. I ask, why does my critic want me to say something different from what I said? Why did he find it necessary to change my words in order to find fault? His quote is a lie, his criticism slander. Why? To what end?

The quotes are there, exactly as Pastor Raley quoted them, in In Defense of Biblical Chastisement.  I think that Mr. Pearl owes Pastor Raley an apology for accusing him of lying and slander.

He also claims to have not used the word, “give,”  although he uses it 8 times in that same article.

Apparently there was some confusion as Mr. Pearl thought that his book were being referenced and in actually it was his website. It seems a bit odd to me that he forgot to check the website, especially as it will pop up in a Google search of the first quote, but maybe I’m missing something.

In the rest of the article, Pearl argues that what he said is not really what he meant and that he fails to see how anyone could possibly think that he could have meant what we accuse him of meaning.  He further insists that to even suggest that he means such things makes it obvious that we have evil intent.  Ok, he did not actually say those words, I am paraphrasing. Of course, I’m probably misunderstanding him, so I’d better stop putting words in his mouth and quit while I’m ahead. I have proven that did write the quotes which he claims to have not written. I’ll leave the rest of the article for someone else to answer.


Update:  On Dec 10, 2010 Michael added a retraction to the bottom of this article to explain that he did, indeed, write one of those quotes.  He still maintains that he did not write the rest, especially the one which was meant to be a paraphrase.

Back to the Schatz case

This was posted back in May 2010, but I missed it.  It is good coverage of the Schatz story from a Christian news site.  The Schatz family has been on my mind lately since their trial is scheduled for Nov 1, less than 6 weeks away.  They have their trial readiness hearing on Oct 21st.

Here is another old article which I missed back in July.  It brings up the interesting question of a Venue Change.  As far as I know, that is the most recent news.

Quotes from NJG website

This Review of the Pearls is from someone who agrees with many of the Pearls’ teachings (including the concept of training) but cannot get past some of the more outrageous quotes on their website.

Secular Homeschooling Magazine

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

Parenting In The Name of God part 9

Parenting in the Name of God, Part 9 is up. To pique your interest, here is an excerpt:

At this time, we want to review the anecdotes offered by No Greater Joy’s articles and books of newsletter reprints. If anything, the theology of conditioned morality and holiness is fully connected in the object lessons and examples offered by the Pearls. We’ll see if we can trace the doctrinal threads of:

–revision of the moral nature of man
–revamping the nature of God
–restructuring the work of the Cross
–redefining human holiness

Parenting In The Name of God Part 4

Parenting In The Name of God Part 4 is up at Scita Scienda. If you have missed any part of this series, there is a link to it in my sidebar under Anti Pearl Resources.

Link to “Pearls” of Wisdom?

Just added to In-Depth Analysis links

“Pearls” of Wisdom? by Woman Uncensored includes numerous quotes from NGJ site


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