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.

Responses to Pearl on Anderson

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.

Hannah of Emotional Abuse And Your Faith asks, Do we understand insensitivity?

Cindy of Under Much Grace answers the question, What is Biblical Chastisement?
as well as, Why is the Pearl Method So Insidious and Dangerous?

MamaPsalmist reacts in No More Dead Kids and its followup, And Another Thing.

More Responses to The Pearls

TulipGirl responds to Michael Pearl’s Response to the death of Hanna Williams in When Friends Defend The Pearls.

In her response she links to another response which I had missed from Free By His Grace.

The Sugar Mountain has an impassioned response to the Pearls’ teachings about the rod in Tragedy of the Rod (a deadly misinterpretation).

Also, Bible Scholar, Samuel Martin, is giving away a copy of Corporal Punishment In The Bible by William Webb and maybe YOU can win it.  Even if you don’t, you might win a copy of his book, Thy Rod And Thy Staff They Comfort MeSee how to enter here.

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.

Cybersattva on Pearl Laughing

Cybersattva responds to Michael Pearl’s comments on Facebook (from March 2010) in Stepping Outside of TTUAC.

Responses to the CNN Story

Elizabeth Esther follows up on the CNN coverage of the Pearls’ teachings by explaining how these teachings lead to the sickness of  Cognitive Dissonance which is what “happens when a teacher, pastor or person in authority advocates abusive methods while simultaneously recusing themselves from the actual, direct results of that abuse.”

She also reminds us that Even God Does Not Break Our Wills.

Wanna Walk Along says that  There are No Pearls of Wisdom in the Pearls’ Book on Child Rearing.

Libby Anne explains exactly why she blames the Pearls’ teachings and illustrates it with her own testimony of how these teachings almost killed her brother in Michael Pearl on CNN.  Check out the quotes from TTUAC from in the comments.

Created To Be His shared similar thoughts in CNN Investigates Pearls.

Abigail, from Reflections from Beit-Shalom, posts her warning For all the Living Lydias and Seans & Their Parents…

Michael Pearl: Heretic?

Becky, from Created To Be His,  shares how she changed her mind about Michael Pearl’s teachings after 10 years of following them in Michael Pearl: Heretic?

More Pearl Exposure

The Wartburg Watch apparently just found out about the Pearls and are properly shocked.  I’m so glad that more sites are speaking out.   Nothing really new here, but this is a pretty good synopsis and good to share with those who may not yet know.  They promise to do more investigating.  I’ll be watching for it.

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.”

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.

Man vs. God

Lorraine from All Are Precious In His Sight has written an impassioned blog post called Man vs. God which is a response to Michael Pearl’s advice regarding adopting and fostering children.  Apparently, he is scaring away prospective adoptive and foster families with his advice which is in no way Biblical.

Why the teaching of Michael Pearl … is grossly in error and dangerous

Why the teaching of Michael Pearl regarding child raising (and other things too) is grossly in error and dangerous by Mamame from Life on the Sound.

Counter Arguments 2

I’ve been mulling over a follow up to my Counter Arguments post for almost a month now.  Recently Crystal was kind enough to leave me a comment, letting me know her disagreement with this site.  This was very helpful because it allows me to address her concerns.

I will quote her and respond to her concerns point by point.

This is utterly ridiculous. For those of you who are jumping on the bandwagon without reading the whole book you are really missing out on what God has intended for you and the joy you and your children can have.

First of all, I should explain that this website is not a bandwagon. This is a clearing house of information. I mainly link to arguments. As I said in my reply comment, I have read the whole book To Train Up A Child and as far as I know, so have most of those who whom I link. I am a bit mystified as to how you can know that we are missing out on what God has intended for us. We have read a book and found much of the content to be problematic (to put it mildly). We studied it and wrote well thought out arguments explaining our points of view. How is that missing out on what God intended for us? I assume you mean that by refusing to follow Pearl’s advice you feel that we are missing out. I maintain that I would never want the “joy” of training my children in that way. Nor do I believe that the Bible calls me to do that. I do not study the Bible in only English, I study the Hebrew and Greek words and try to get the real meaning.

The bible clearly states, “he that spares the rod, spoils the child” If you do not spank your children then what exacltly is working for you?

Now, when you say, “rod,” what exactly do you mean? Did you use the dictionary to get the English definition or did you study the Hebrew meaning of the word? Here is a word study on the rod so that you can really understand what the Bible says.

Edited to add: It has been pointed out in a comment below that “he that spares the rod, spoils the child” is not even in the Bible. Thank you, C.L. Dyck

Now, not everyone to whom I link is arguing against spanking. Here is a list of people who do believe in spanking but still have concerns about Pearl’s teachings.

Do you have sweet children? Do they obey you the first time?

Children are people. They are sometimes sweet and sometimes not, just as are adults. I can’t speak for everyone else, but my goal is not to have sweet children who obey me the first time. My goal is to raise healthy, thinking adults who love God. And I can’t make them that way, only God can. I can certainly do my best to guide (or train up, if you will) them onto the right road. I explain and lead by example. I allow them to question me and explain themselves. I do enforce obedience, I just don’t expect them to obey me without thinking first. And lest you think that my children will turn out badly, just know that they are already 19 and 17 years old and I get many complements on their behavior.

Or do you have to count to ten and call them 10 times before exploding and yelling at them, those are the kind of people who end up “spanking” but really its abuse because they got so mad and really end up despising their children because they hate to be around them.

You are not describing non-spankers, you are describing the permissive. I do not recommend permissive parenting. I recommend gentle discipline. You can learn more about that at Arms of Love Family Fellowship and in these posts.

People who spank there children in a calm manner and who are absolutely consistant 100 % of the time will have tremendous success.

If you define success as children who are always sweet and obey the first time, yes, they will usually have success. Unless their child is a special needs child. Some children will continue to defy and refuse to submit. Now most parents will figure this out and try something else. It is very tragic when parents continue to apply the rod to children who will not submit because it has been proven that if switching goes on too much and for too long the child will die.

However you will not have success with any approach unless you yourself have true joy. Children know if you are faking it. Joy is the byproduct of thankfulness and love. Your joy radiates to your children.

Okay. So, are you saying that any approach will work if the parents have true joy or just the Pearl’s method?

Michael Pearl also recomends spending so much time with your children, they are your first and foremost responsibility, they must know that you delight in there presence, get on there level, do what they enjoy, do somthing that makes them smile every 5 minutes. But does anyone say that on this website?

Many of the arguments I have linked to have mentioned that Pearl teaches many good things. But no matter how many good things he says, even one wrong or dangerous teaching means that one has to use extreme caution in following him. A little leaven leaventh the whole lump.

Also, his doctrine is full of heresy, as explained in the Parenting in the Name of God series. If you don’t want to read through the entire series, you can look at An Examination of the Pearl Method.

There are many more things I could go on and say but those who really want to know more know where they can get the information. I would love to compare a houseful of “Michael Pearl” children who love and reverence him and are a great addition to society to the “non spanked” let them do what they want group, who is probably still working at jack in the box with numerous tattoos and peircings, pregnant at 15 and has no relationship with their parents.

Okaaay. I believe that this is what is known as a “strawman argument.” It makes no sense.

Wait. Love and reverence who? I don’t want my children to revere anyone except for God.

What is wrong with a 15 yr old working at Jack in the Box? I think that would be a good thing, as long as s/he is also still in school. I know many teenagers who were not spanked and none of them were pregnant at 15. They don’t have piercings or tattoos either, although I fail to see what that has to do with anything.

It’s funny that you should mention not having anything to do with their parents because I know many who were raised by Pearl and Gothard methods who fall into that camp and none who were not spanked. I have noted that children who were raised by attachment parenting have great relationships with their parents. That is one reason I decided to use that method.

Edited to add: C.L. Dyck left an excellent response to Crystal’s comment here.

Pearl’s more recent response

Michael Pearl’s most recent response to critics

by ThatMom