Rachel Stone of Christianity Today takes a close look at To Train Up A Child in When Child Discipline Becomes Abuse. I notice that she linked to my blog which I much appreciate. She obviously read TTUAC with a critical eye and really “gets it.”
More bloggers are analyzing the connections between the Pearls’ book, To Train Up A Child and the deaths of 3 children who were being raised by the methods therein.
Free By His Grace tells the story of Hana “Williams” in heart wrenching detail and warns against the teachings of TTUAC in Hana Williams: “Rebellion” or Reaction to Abuse?
QuicksilverQueen has started a detailed Book Review of To Train Up A Child and how it relates to the deaths. In this review she freely shares how being raised by these teachings affected her and what she was really feeling when her parents thought that she was joyously submissive.
Sadie Stein, writing for Jezebel, reports briefly on the Pearls and the deaths linked to their teachings in Another Child “Chastised” To Death.
Kathy Cassel of Cassel Crew explains her concerns with To Train Up A Child in (How Not) To Train Up a Child. Note that she does believe in spanking but more as a last resort than as a first and/or only tool.
The Disturbing World of The Pearls in which she looks at Doublespeak and Definitions as well as some examples of his abusive teachings.
and The Disturbing World of The Pearls Part 2 in which she takes a look at their heretical Theology.
Fox News has connected the dots and has implicated the book, To Train Up A Child in it’s coverage of Hana Grace’s Death in its article, Book advocating extreme discipline may be connected to deaths of adopted children. (eta: this link has been removed from the Fox News website so I am linking to the Internet Archives. To see the article, please scroll down past the video which is attempting to load.)
I would like to correct one mistake in the article, Michael Pearl is not Amish.
Now to take on this quote:
In the book, Pearl explains how to use a plumbing tool to switch children starting at age one. Pearl advocates giving cold water baths when potty training, putting children outside in cold weather and having them miss meals, all examples of abuse investigators said Hana endured.
They don’t mention that parents are instructed to use a smaller and lighter switch on children under the age of one.(see question 9)
Now, someone is bound to insist that the rest of this quote is a lie. Here are quotes from the book, To Train Up A Child which you can read online at http://www.quicksilverqueen.com/ttuacbook.html.
So, my suggestion was that the father explain to the boy that, now that he was a man, he would no longer be washed in the house. He was too big and too stinky to be cleaned by the babywipes. From now on, he would be washed outside with a garden hose. The child was not to be blamed. This was to be understood as just a progressive change in methods. The next dump, the father took him out and merrily, and might I say, carelessly, washed him off. What with the autumn chill and the cold well water, I don’t remember if it took a second washing or not, but, a week later, the father told me his son was now taking himself to the pot. The child weighed the alternatives and opted to change his lifestyle. Since then, several others have been the recipients of my meddling, and it usually takes no more than three cheerful washings.
Now, there are some flavors or textures that we just have an aversion for. Allow each child one or two dislikes, just don’t let their preferences be too limited. If a child doesn’t like what is on the table, let him do without until the next meal. A little fasting is good training. If you get a child who is particularly finicky and only eats a limited diet, then feed him mainly what he doesn’t like until he likes it.
I have said before that the Williams took these teachings way further than Pearl ever intended with their adopted children. Notice that Pearl said that washing the child outside 3 times should be enough. The Williams made it into a lifestyle. Also, I have never seen Pearl mention making the child stand outside without proper clothing as a punishment. However, they did follow the teachings correctly with their biological children. If the investigations mentioned in this article should show that the biological children were being abused, this will have serious implications for the Pearls’ teachings.
The Williams are due back in court on Oct 6.
The New Zealand Internal Affairs Department’s Censorship Compliance Unit has confirmed that it is investigating To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl after a complaint was made according to an article on Stuff called, ‘Violent’ child training book off to censor. The article says that it has already been removed from Whitcoulls‘ online store but that other leading book sites are still selling it and that, “Censorship Compliance Unit manager Stephen OBrien said the book’s content would be investigated and, if it was found to be objectionable, it could be either banned, restricted or referred to the human rights or childrens commissioners. ”
Channel 3 News covers the story in Child abuse ‘instruction manual’ could be banned.
Update: Whitcoulls’ is still selling the Spanish Version of the book. *doh*
Here is a closer look at the debate regarding the possible banning.
Brad Hirschfield posts in The Washington Post about the Schatz story and To Train Up A Child in a piece called, Beating children in the name of God. He exhorts us Christians, saying:
Tragically, this is going on, it must be stopped, and it is precisely those of us for whom the Bible is a sacred and life-centering text that must take the lead in stopping it.
As is always the case, it is those closest to a tradition that should bear the greatest responsibility for it when it is being abused. We cannot simply distance ourselves from “those crazy people”, because “those crazy people” are using the same books we hold dear to commit atrocities, so who better than those who turn to (some of) the same books, to take on the responsibility of addressing the abuses committed in their name?
Jo Ashline of The Orange County Register also reports on the Pearls’ teachings and the recent controversy in Couple Claims God Wants us to Beat our Children.
I would like to respond to this quote:
During the CNN interview, Mr. and Mrs. Pearl also maintain their innocence in the beating death of Lydia and assure viewers that their training method does not promote anger or abuse, but rather a calm, methodical and effective method of spanking a child into submission.
What the Pearls and their followers fail to understand is that Lydia refused to or was unable to submit and they calmly and methodically spanked her for 7 hours until her tissues broke down. You know how hitting meat makes it tender, right? Well, if living flesh is hit long enough, even calmly and methodically, it gets tenderized. The tissues break down and tiny particles of muscle tissue block the kidneys causing rhabdomyolosis. Please check that link for a more detailed explanation from Under Much Grace. Rhabdomyolosis was the official cause of her death, by the way.
By the way, I have updated my Quotes from TTUAC page with some quotes from the NGJ website because the quotes were so disturbing to me that I thought they needed to be shared. It is taking a lot of self control to keep myself from ranting and raving about the quotes, so I’m just going to let the quotes speak for themselves.
Under Much Grace features not only the CNN video about the Pearls but a link to the transcript on the CNN site. As the transcript contains some cut scenes, she highlights those in her post. For anyone who wants to read just the part of the transcript which contains the Pearl/Schatz story, use CTRL F (on a Windows computer) to search the page for the word, “Paradise.”
Elizabeth Esther also posted about the CNN video and got many interesting comments.
Former Pearl Follower, Becky from Created To Be His, also shared the videos and explained why she does not believe that the Schatzes lost control.
CNN has done an exposeé on the Pearls’ teachings and has implicated them in the death of Lydia Schatz. This series features a close look at the Lydia Schatz case,an interview with Michael and Debi Pearl as well as an interview with D.A. Mike Ramsey who says that he blames the Pearl’s teachings for Lydia’s death.
Here is Part 1.
Here is Part 2.
Here is Part 3
You can find transcripts here including cut scenes.
They did not really explain why the Pearls’ teachings are implicated because they did not explain what these teachings are. This goes far beyond a simple spanking debate. I link to many articles which explain this and have been meaning to put it all together in one post. I thought I had done it here, but upon taking another look at it, I see that I was waiting until after the trial to flesh it out. I’ll put that on my to do list. Meanwhile, please look at my categories for The Pearls’ Teachings above and the sub categories, especially Counter Arguments. If you have time, check out posts which dig deeper into the Pearls’ teachings with in depth analysis. I hope that you will also find my tags helpful for narrowing down the information you seek.
Note, here are some quotes from To Train Up A Child by Michael Pearl, the book which started the controversy.
CBS did an investigative report about the Schatz and other child abuse stories.
They were sentenced to prison.
All mentions of the Schatz story can be found under my Schatz tag.
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.
I just found the Wikipedia article on the Death of Lydia Schatz. It seems to be factual. Interestingly, they link to this site.
Only, they don’t link to any one post, but to page two of my blog. That doesn’t seem helpful at all, it must be an error. They also have an entry for Michael Pearl which mentions both Lydia Schatz and Sean Paddock. Interesting.
Edited to add: Libby Anne fixed the error as you can see in her comment below. 🙂
Scita>Scienda has finally released their eBook, Parenting In The Name of God.
Here is a follow up about the Schatzes prison sentence from the Paradise Post. Note the quotes from Lydia’s older sister, Zariah, as well from as Elizabeth Schatz who apparently realized too late that they were on a “foolish path.” Entire article quoted here for permanence.
Paradise couple gets prison for fatal beatingFather gets two life termsPosted: 06/10/2011 12:06:11 PM PDT
A Paradise couple convicted of whipping an adopted daughter to death and injuring two other children was sentenced Friday to upper terms in state prison.Butte County Superior Court Judge Kristen Lucena sentenced Kevin Paul Schatz, 48, to serve at least 22 years of two life terms for second-degree murder and torture. Elizabeth Hazel Schatz, 44, was sentenced to serve 13 years, four months for voluntary manslaughter and infliction of unlawful corporal punishment.
Both Schatzes were also sentenced to six months in county jail for misdemeanor cruelty to a child. They were credited for time served.
Addressing the defendants, Lucena said their punishment for whipping their children for hours with a thin, 15-inch length of plumbing supply line was inappropriate. “No civilized society would tolerate that,” Lucena said.
The sentences were largely known in advance because of a plea bargain April 8. The couple had faced charges of first-degree murder and torture and two possible life sentences. Before the sentence was handed down a surviving adopted daughter, 12, addressed the court. With a soft-spoken voice that was often punctuated with tearful sobs, she said her 7-year-old sister, Lydia, meant the world to her and Lydia’s death really hurt.
“Why did you adopt her? To kill her?” the daughter asked.
The Schatzes were arrested after they called 9-1-1 after Lydia had stopped breathing on Feb. 6, 2010. A follow-up investigation by Paradise Police to the Schatz
residence found the other daughter in the house, limping.As part of a punishment for reportedly mispronouncing words, both girls had been whipped for hours by Kevin Schatz with the supply line. Elizabeth Schatz reportedly assisted. Lydia was whipped for about seven hours on Feb. 5, while her sister was punished for similar period the night before. A 10-year-old biological son was also injured.
The repeated whipping caused a breakdown in muscle tissue that severely damaged the girls’ organs.
Lydia was taken to the hospital but later perished from her injuries. The other daughter was hospitalized for similar injuries, but eventually recovered. The older daughter said she would ultimately forgive the Shatzes, but was confused by the actions and condemned their use of corporal punishment.
“I don’t know what I did to deserve what you did to me,” she said.
As the daughter made her statement, the Schatzes sat facing forward, not looking at the girl. They did sometimes bow their heads and wiped their faces. Earlier in the hearing, Elizabeth Schatz asked for the daughter’s forgiveness. She said Feb. 6, 2010, was the saddest day of her life because their actions killed a daughter, severely injured another and tore their family apart. She said she wished that they had paused to consider the repercussions of their actions.
“We surely would’ve deviated from the foolish path we ended up taking,” Elizabeth Schatz said.
Kevin Schatz apologized for what happened.
“I accept full responsibility for the injury and death of my two daughters,” he said.
Michael Harvey, Kevin Schatz’s attorney, said most people know it’s inappropriate to shake a baby, but few had heard of the medical condition that could be caused by the Schatz’s disciplinary method.
“This is a tragic case. It’s an example of trying to do the right thing in a wrong way,” Harvey said.
Kevin Sears, Elizabeth Schatz’s attorney, said the case was a tragedy and didn’t dispute the death or injury. However, he asserted the probation report wasn’t wholly accurate. In particular, he said the hours of whipping were interrupted with periods of prayer and reflection.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey said the Schatzes have often characterized their actions as inappropriate discipline, which he said showed a lack of insight. While acknowledging the death and injuries weren’t intentional, he said their actions, including the whippings and other punishments, were over the top.
“This was beating. This was torture. This was inhuman,” he said.
Kevin Schatz is ineligible for good conduct credits due to the murder conviction, meaning he will serve 22 years before being considered for parole. He was given credit for 310 days served in county jail. Elizabeth Schatz was credited for 387 days of jail time served and could earn an additional 670 days’ credit in prison.
From the Paradise Post quoted here for permanence.
Schatz’ sentenced to prisonFather gets to life termsPosted: 06/10/2011 12:06:11 PM PDT
The Paradise couple who were arrested February 2010 in the beating death of one child and severe beating of another, were sentenced to prison this morning.Kevin Schatz was sentenced to two life terms for second-degree murder and torture and will have to serve at 22 years. Elizabeth Schatz was sentenced to 13 years, four months for voluntary manslaughter and infliction of unlawful corporal punishment. They each were given six months in county jail for misdemeanor cruelty to a child but were credited for time served.
The prison terms were part of the plea bargain with prosecutors. Before pleading guilty to amended charges on April 8, the Schatzes were charged with first-degree murder and torture and had faced two life terms in prison.
The charges stem from the Feb. 4 and 5, 2010 whippings of adopted daughters Lydia Schatz, 7, and her then 11-year-old sister. A biological son was also injured. The Schatzes were using a method of discipline that involved whipping the children for hours with a 15-inch length of plumber’s supply line.
Lydia died of her injuries. The older girl required hospitalization but recovered.
In April 2007, the Schatz’ adopted three children from Liberia. At the time of that adoption, the Schatz had six biological children.
Under Much Grace has published part 9 of her series Why Good People Make Dangerous Choices:
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?
Under Much Grace has discovered information of a case from 2002 of a boy being “disciplined” into Renal Failure. Disclaimer: this is not the case of parents disciplining their child, this is a case of 22 yr old men disciplining a young boy for way too long and ending up in jail. One later wrote a book about his jail experience and how he continued to serve the Lord in jail. The whole story is very disturbing on many levels.
She also has an article exposing the dangerous teachings of Ron Williams of Hepzibah House. He is very clear in his teachings, actually using the term, “beat,” and advocating starting in infancy. Here is a quote:
As soon as the child begins to express his own self-will (and this occurs early in life) that child needs to receive correction. My wife and I have a general goal of making sure that each of our children has his will broken by the time he reaches the age of one year. To do this, a child must receive correction when he is a small infant.
The Wartburg Watch Focuses on Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches this week. So far they have:
They will probably add 1 or 2 more posts this week so stay tuned.
Also, don’t miss miss this new post from Under Much Grace:
Redeeming Dinah: The Errors of Ron Williams, the IFB, and Gothard’s Esteem of Rabbinical Writing as Holy Writ
Warning, the first post should not be read by sensitive people:
It looks like the Schatz trial is off. There has been a plea bargain. Here is the story from KHSL-TV:
The Paradise couple accused of beating their adopted daughter to death and critically injuring another will not be going trial after reaching a last minute plea deal with prosecutors. Trial for Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz was to begin Monday, but on Friday afternoon Kevin Schatz agreed to plead guilty to all the charges against him, including first degree murder and torture, in exchange for a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter for his wife.
The agreement means the couple’s children will not have to testify in court. Both entered guilty pleas Friday afternoon. Butte County district attorney Mike Ramsey says Kevin Schatz faces two life sentences and will not be eligible for parole for 22 years. Elizabeth Schatz agreed to the maximum sentence of 13 years, four months. The couple is set to be formally sentenced June 10th. There six biological children and two surviving adopted children remain in foster care.
And here is the more in depth story from the Chico E.R. pasted here for permanence.
Couple plead guilty in fatal Paradise child beatingBy RYAN OLSON – Staff WriterPosted: 04/09/2011 12:05:58 AM PDT
OROVILLE — A trial for a Paradise couple facing murder charges for beating one adopted daughter to death and injuring another ended before it began after the pair entered unexpected guilty pleas Friday.
Elizabeth and Kevin Schatz were expected to go to trial Monday in Butte County Superior Court for the Feb. 4 and 5, 2010, beating of adopted daughters Lydia Schatz, 7, and her then 11-year-old sister.
Lydia died of her injuries; the older girl required hospitalization but recovered.
The Schatzes’ defense team and Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey had spent Friday with Judge Kristen Lucena discussing final motions before starting jury selection. As Ramsey prepared to leave the courtroom, defense attorneys Michael Harvey and Kevin Sears asked him to stay about a possible plea bargain.
Court was called back into session and Kevin Schatz pleaded guilty to one count each of second-degree murder, torture and misdemeanor cruelty to a child. He will serve at least 22 years of a 22-to-life prison sentence.
Elizabeth Schatz pleaded guilty to single counts of voluntary manslaughter, infliction of unlawful corporal punishment on a child and misdemeanor cruelty to a child. She will be sentenced to the maximum 13 years, four months in prison.
Both also face a six-month county jail sentence, and $20,000 fines each.
If the pair had been convicted on the original charges of first-degree murder and torture, they would’ve each faced maximum sentences of two life terms
Outside the courtroom, Ramsey said he was satisfied with the verdict and the resolution for the victims — who were reportedly whipped for hours with a length of plumber’s supply line. He remarked that the likely sentences mean the Schatzes would no longer be in control of their children’s lives.
“Now, at least for the children, they can get it behind them,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said he insisted that the couple plead guilty to the charges instead of pleading no contest — where defendants can stand silent while a judge convicts them based on evidence.
The murder and manslaughter charges were for Lydia Schatz’s death. The torture counts applied for her older sister’s injuries. The misdemeanor charges applied for injuries against a son who was 10 at the time.
Ramsey said the prosecution accepted a lesser manslaughter charge for Elizabeth Schatz because there was evidence she was under the control of her husband during and after the incidents. However, he required that Kevin Schatz plead to murder.
Outside of the courtroom, Sears said his client, Elizabeth Schatz, regretted what happened.
“She feels very remorseful over what happened to her children and she was very anxious to accept responsibility,” Sears said.
Had the matter gone to a jury, Sears said he didn’t believe the panel would find Elizabeth Schatz guilty of murder. He said the bargain’s terms were close to a probable jury verdict.
Harvey said his client took the bargain because it will spare his wife from serving a longer sentence. It also eliminated the need for his children to testify in court — most of the Schatzes’ six biological children and the older adopted daughter were listed as possible trial witnesses.
“He felt that was his duty as a father to his family,” Harvey said.
While there has been discussion about the Schatzes’ whippings being based on “biblical chastisements” drawn from the teachings of a fundamentalist religious organization known as No Greater Joy Ministry, Ramsey said he hadn’t planned to focus on the teachings in his prosecution.
He said he had been prepared to address it if it was raised by the defense.
Sentencing will take place on June 10. The couple remain in custody at Butte County Jail.
Staff writer Ryan Olson can be reached at 896-7763 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, the Mankato Examiner has an article about the case with the same info plus more background. This article is great for sharing.
ABC News Exposes Alleged Abuse in some IFB Churches on this News Video. The Schatz story is mentioned as well as the recent Lori Wick Child Abuse Scandal. Brian Fuller of Trinity Baptist Church condemns the abuse and insists that not all IFB churches are the same. I agree with him, as my Independent Fundamental Baptist church is nothing like that either. The very fact that they are Independent shows that they are not all the same. But I digress. This video is a tease for tonight’s episode of 20/20 which aired Friday April 8, 2011
Lucy tells us how she gently parents her teenager at Dare to Disciple.
Along similar lines, Virginia Is For Mothers has written a post about using Calm Words with our children rather than yelling and/or scolding. This is a good reminder for all of us.
Meanwhile, Under Much Grace continues with her series analyzing the Schatz Tragedy. It occurs to me that this series should probably be read by the Schatzes defense attorneys.