To Break Down A Child – Stories Of Life Under Pearl’s Teachings

Last Week, I mentioned that Homeschoolers Anonymous was collecting stories and testimonies from those who were affected by Pearl’s teachings.   Well, their “Pearl-Style Discipline Week” is over, so I thought I would link to their collection of tragic stories.  This series is not for the sensitive and/or easily triggered. 

I especially want to highlight ExPearlSwine’s testimony in which a former Pearl follower  explains how she followed Pearl’s teachings to the letter  and exactly how and why those teachings are dangerous.

The Pearls’ defenders will say, “Oh, they took it to an extreme and should have known better.” If anyone knows better than to keep inflicting more severe discipline on an intractable child, they can only apply that knowledge by scuttling the Pearls’ sadistic teaching and being more reasonable.

 

Some Looks At The Williams

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.)

Williams Trial – Day 21: Cousin’s Testimony Stricken

In case anyone has noticed the change in my numbering, I thought I should explain.  I started off numbering the first day of Jury Selection as Day 1 but since noticed that all the media was referring to the day of Opening Statements as Day 1.  This causes confusion and I decided to change to reflect the common numeration.  My URLs will continue to reflect my old numbering system to avoid a bunch of redirects.

Monday, August 26, 2013.  The morning started with the last witness for the Prosecution, a pediatrician who specializes on child abuse.  He testified that Hana was not just malnourished, but was starved and explained the cycle of abuse which typically leads to such a condition.  Here is the story in the Skagit Valley Herald (which is not for the easily triggered.)

After that witness, the jury was dismissed and motions were heard.  The  lawyers for Larry tried to dismiss the charges for various reasons.  One of the reasons was problems with Hana’s biological cousin.  The problems and concerns had enough merit that the judge decided to strike his testimony which basically means that it has been deleted.  The Skagit Valley Herald explains.  You can also find the story on KiroTV.

Maureen is back in the courtroom and provides us with much insight from Monday’s court session.  Of course, the faint of heart will read at their own risk.  I applaud Maureen for her dedication, her fortitude and her excellent writing.

Also, check out this piece in the Seattle Times which brings up the teachings of Michael Pearl in “To Train Up A Child.”

Williams Trial – Day (-3): Jury Selection

If you are following along at home, you will want to read Maureen’s Update on the Williamses’ Trial: July 23 in which she describes in impressive detail the narrowing down of the jury pool from over 160 to about 80.  I found this account quite interesting, especially as the potential jurors were asked to discuss how they feel about spanking, when it becomes abuse and their definition of torture.

There is also an article in the Skagit Valley Herald about today’s court session.  I will not be linking to this newspaper much in the near future since they only allow 5 views of their articles per 30 day period and I have already used up 3 of them.  Since Maureen does such a good job of reporting, I see no reason to pay for a subscription.  In the even that Maureen cannot attend, I will get information from other newspapers.

And, in case anyone is wondering why I am covering this, Cindy from Under Much Grace ties it together.

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. 

Is Raising Children The Same As Raising Animals?

            Many Christian pro-spankers such as James Dobson and Michael Pearl equate animal training with child rearing.  Pearl claims that training children is much like training “stubborn mules.”  Dobson uses an example of whipping his tiny dog into submission to taming a toddler.  They believe that training children and animals require fear and pain with “love” in order to achieve absolute obedience.  Is this true?  Is animal training similar to child rearing?  What does God have to say about this?

            I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately due to a recent incident with our cat Patches.  Patches is a calico cat.  She has always been a very oral kitty.  She chews cardboard boxes and lightly bites us whenever she’s happy, playful, or loving.  She never bites aggressively.  Recently, my husband got up in the morning and went into his home office to turn on the computer and his ham radio equipment before getting dressed, making coffee, and feeding our two cats their breakfast.  There is a fan in his office door as the cats are not allowed in there due to all of his electronics.  It can get quite warm in there, so the fan keeps the air flowing.  As usual that morning, the cats greeted my husband in the hallway then eagerly waited for him outside his office door.

All of a sudden there were two loud bangs outside his door then the loud sound of our wooden TV dinner table crashing over.  All the noise alarmed my husband and woke me up.  My husband found Patches in our utility room on top of our water heater very freaked out.  [Read more…]

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.)

More Looks at Michael Pearl’s Teachings

Michael Pearl’s teachings are being discussed in the blogosphere again.

Rick Morton responds to Jonathan Merritt’s Analysis of Michael & Debi Pearl’s “Child Training” & The “Adoption Fever” Dialogue in this post.

Morgan Guyton discusses Why He Would Fail Michael And Debi Pearl’s Parenting Class.

Why Liz BR Does Not Spank

Liz Boltz Ranfeld explains why she and her husband Don’t Spank Their Kid in a well thought out post.  She has 5 main reasons which are fleshed out and explained.

1) Her child’s personality

2) Research

3) Occasional spanking so often turns into frequent spanking.

4) She’s not allowed to hit another adult; why should she be allowed to hit a child?

5) The scriptural support for corporal punishment is disturbing.

The Pearls in the Religion News

Jonathan Merritt has published an article about Michael and Debi Pearl on ReligionNews.com entitled, How Influential Are Michael and Debi Pearl?  And How Harmful? He only found out about them recently but has apparently done his homework very well.

Sarah Presswood’s Testimony and a Comment from Kysyra

I got a nice message on the Facebook Page from Sarah Presswood which she graciously gave me permission to share.

I am so grateful that I found your site. My parents used To Train Up A Child by the Pearls and taught/utilized Growing Kids Gods Way as their parenting guides my entire childhood and adolescence. I grew up fearing them, never trusting them, and gradually distancing myself the older I became. The emotional abuse that I was subjected to has been something that I continually struggle with. When I became pregnant with my son, I was immediately gifted with the Pearl’s book and pressured to use it exclusively. My son is now 14 months old and I announced publicly my opposition to spanking (for many reasons, but the recent study citing mental health problems was my platform). I immediately received vicious messages from family members telling me how stupid I was for believing those lies. My dad told me that not spanking my son is going against God and that my decision will have serious spiritual consequences. Google brought me to your site and I feel so validated. I never knew that their were Christians who were against spanking and this site has helped me so so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Along a similar line, I just got a comment from kysyra saying,

Thank you for this whole website. I read the book and once tried to write a comment akin to yours, but I just can’t do it.
What I think is worst about the whole thing, is that throughout the text he writes about love and respect so much and so sincerely. There is even a long section explaining how important respect towards the child and his needs are!
There are whole sections I could copy out to any AP-parents and they would sign them.
I can see how this book can make basically good people believe that complete surrender and physical pain would be necessary to raise “good” kids.
My older one is not a “good” kid in his sense at all.
But she is a sweet, empathic, social, generous kid, even when she is disobedient…
the little one, I have no idea how she will turn out yet. Except, that at 11 months she (and I with her of course) was hospitalized for a week, sharing the room with another small boy. One day he had to be alone for some hours. As his mother and I had agreed upon, I took as much care of him as I could, putting him on my bed, between my girl and me. He cried for his mother and cried and cried.
And my little, very sick, baby? she looked at him sadly, shook her head, and stroked his head and back until he was calmer…
Just imagine she had been raised believing that beatings were in order!
I like my kids the way they are, even if they are not “good” in the Pearls’ sense!

I thank God for using me and this site to help Sarah, kysyra and others like them.

But They Look So Happy

Home Educating Family Magazine has published an opinion piece about the Duggars and the teachings they follow (Gothard, S. M. Davis and Pearl) called, They Smile, but Do They Laugh?

 

A Look At The Spanking Controversy in Canada

The United Church Observer has published an article called, To Spank Or Not to Spank, by Sarah Boesveld about the spanking controversy in Canada.  While I am glad that the United Church of Canada has taken a public stand against spanking, I do not link to this as Christian arguments, but of interest as a news story.  Canadian Evangelical, C.L. Dyke of Scita Scienda, explains why in a comment  which I will reproduce here.

The greater context to this is that the UCC is a denomination which has thrown out orthodox (I use the word generically, not denominationally) Christian doctrine in favour of unbridled humanism. They actively disavow the deity of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible–scripture is a text to be interpreted by today’s shifting social customs, and filtered for generic principles common to human decency, rather than a narrative deserving of the same respect and scholarly approach as any other ancient text.

The quote in the article about supporting the oppressed lines up to this:

–Support anti-spanking

–Support homosexual advocacy and lobbying

–Support abortion (hmm, an interesting clash of principle occurs here)

–Reject the deity of Jesus Christ and His calling upon humankind to repent of sin and accept personal, substitutionary salvation based on Christ’s atonement; eject pastors who preach it.

Meanwhile, Canadian law is already very pro-child.

In writ, it is illegal to spank under the age of 2 or over the age of 12; it is illegal to leave so much as a red mark; it is illegal to spank with an implement.

In practice, spanking of any kind has the potential to incur social services intervention.

As someone who is anti-Pearl and pro-attached/gentle parenting, but not anti-spanking across the board, I feel the scales are already sufficiently balanced against the principles of individual freedom in our country’s legal system.

While the compassion expressed for Hana Williams’ horrific death is only appropriate, the UCC’s word is pretty tainted to me as a Canadian evangelical. I’m not sure how we are to see the brokenness of humanity healed without Christ.

The UCC’s solution is moral relativism and socialism. Given the (for now) fringe push on the far left to accept pedophilia under the guise of “children’s sexual rights,” that approach doesn’t avail for me as a guarantor of children’s rights and safety in this life, all eternal considerations aside.

 

K-12 News Network Speaks Out Against Harsh Discipline

The Spanking Controversy has been in the public eye quite often lately.  More and more often, it focuses on the religious aspect.  For example, Cynthia from K-12 News Network expresses concerns about Corporal Punishment in “Tiger Moms” Now Usurped by “Wolf Dads”.  Of course, this piece mainly focuses on cultural attitudes towards spanking, but she does discuss the Schatz Tragedy and the Christian Spanking Controversy so I thought that it would be of interest to  my readers.

Christian child abuse: more works-based carnality

Churchmouse has posted an extensively researched look at Spiritual and Physical Abuse in Christian child abuse: more works-based carnality.  This is a long piece and well worth the time it will take to read it.

A Psychology Professor Critiques the Pearls’ Teachings

Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas has uploaded a video from FOX News in which “SMU Psychology Professor George Holden, who specializes in child-parent relationships and positive child rearing, talks critically about Michael and Debi Pearl’s book “To Train Up A Child,” which advocates spanking.”  More information about Professor Holden here.

Fox News Continues Their Pearl Coverage

Fox 13 News Salt Lake City reports on the Pearls with a repeat of the Fox Video I shared on Feb 22, but with a new video which I will embed here.  This video features Child Psychologist, Douglas Goldsmith PH.D., who refutes the Pearls’ teachings and recommends instead that parents follow How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

Michael Pearl’s Appearance on Dr. Drew

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.

Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 1)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 2)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 3)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 4)

CNN Story on Christian Talk Radio

Jeri, the Owner of Gentle Christian Mothers, just sent me an interesting link.  This is a Talk Radio Show about the CNN coverage of the Schatz Story from Aug 18, 2011.  The half hour show is called, Issues Etc. and the host is Told Wilken.  After playing the audio of the CNN show, he accepts calls and emails from his listeners to discuss the question, “Is Spanking Required in the Bible?”.  His conclusion seems to be that it is not mandated but neither it is prohibited.   The key to him is discipline.

And in the latest news about the Pearls, they just released a new book.  I see that Amazon is not at all concerned about the Petition.

The Pearls Defend Themselves on CBS News

CBS has given the Pearls a chance to defend themselves in this news story.   (If you don’t want to watch the video, most of the tex of t is in the link.)

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.

Investigative Reports on Michael Pearl

Lauren Hensley,  Investigative Reporter for CBS TV Station WVNS West Virginia, brings us Spare the Rod Part 1: Spanking in the Name of the Lord in which she interviews Mr. Pearl.  In Spare the Rod Part 2: Local Pastors Challenge Biblical Backing she interviews local religious leaders about his teachings. Stay tuned for Part 3: The Effects of Corporal Punishment On A Child (tomorrow?).

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.

Tom Haynes, of My Fox Atlanta, brings us almost the same story in Investigators Link Book to Deaths of 3 Children.

Also, yesterday, Michael Pearl was on Dr. Drew’s show. Here is an Inside Look at that episode. Note that at the very end, Dr. Drew claims that he is still tender in the spot where Mr. Pearl spanked him.

Michael Pearl On Dr. Drew’s Show Feb 21, 2012

Dr. Drew features a debate about spanking in Is It Wrong To Spank? on his Lifechangers Show on Tuesday, February 21, 2012.   Michael Pearl joins Dr. Drew in Part 2.

By the way, you can find out where and when it will air in your area here.

Update Feb 21:  Dr. Drew has some clips from the show.  Here is Pearl spanking Dr. Drew.

Update March 1: Here is the part of the show which includes Michael Pearl on You Tube:

Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 1)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 2)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 3)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 4)

Does the Bible Tell Us To Bruise Our Children?

Cindy of Under Much Grace looks at Proverbs 20:30, “The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly” and explores What Jesus Said About the “Blueness of the Wound.”

And on a totally unrelated note, I liked what Bob Bixby said about teachers being held accountable for their teachings and not being able to hide behind Matthew 18 when someone speaks out against their teachings.  As far as I know, Michael Pearl has never mentioned Matthew 18 in this context, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone were to read what James MacDonald said and apply it to him.

New Study Puts Spanking In The News

A new study showing that spanking damages children has put spanking back into the news.  This article in the San Francisco Chronicle about this new study mentions Michael Pearl.

Two Year Anniversary of the Death of Lydia Schatz

Today marks 2 years since the death of Lydia Schatz.  Elizabeth Esther shares a video she made 2 years ago which is still very pertinent.

TulipGirl is also Remembering Lydia.

I would also like to mention that Feb 26 will mark 6 years since the death of Sean Paddock. May their deaths not be in vain.

Remnant Fellowship’s Abusive Teachings Exposed

Under Much Grace exposes the history of child abuse of Remnant Fellowship.

Column Warning About Pearl In The Daily Journal

Dorothy Dimitre has a column in The San Mateo Daily Journal about Pearl’s appearance in The Today Show and why spanking is bad for children: ‘Leave no marks!’

Everything Is Terrible and Censorship

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.

Pearl on NBC’s Today Show

Michael Pearl and The Spanking Controversy were featured on NBC’s The Today Show this morning.

If anyone is unable to see the video for whatever reason, this article is pretty much a transcript of the show.

Also see this article from NBC which contains most of the story as well as the video clip.

The Los Angeles Times also reports on this story.