TodayMoms discusses the Pearls’ Teachings

I heard a couple of weeks ago that Michael Pearl was scheduled to be on the Today Show.  Well, I don’t know if this is related to that or not, but MSNBC’s Today Moms Blog is discussing his teachings in Controversy grows over pro-spanking book after abuse deaths.

Update:  Michael Pearl was on NBC’s Today Show on the morning of Dec 28, 2011.

An Incriminating Video of Pearl

While I don’t like to link to sites like this, I really feel that this needs to be shown.  I have come across a video (removed by NGJ by Copyright Claim) which was clearly designed to make Michael Pearl look bad. Someone managed to get a recording of the Q & A part of one of Michael Pearl’s teaching sessions which took place in The Church At Cane Creek and edited out everything Mr. Pearl might have said that made sense leaving small clips which appear to be the ravings of a mad man. I am sure that many will insist that the statements and actions in the video were taken out of context and put together in such a way as to make him look bad. I am therefore asking for volunteers to explain to me how these things were manipulated and what the true context really was. If they were jokes, they really do not seem to me jokes becoming for a man of God, especially the part where he grabs the “child” doll and smashes his face onto the desk a few times and chuckles. I could say the same for his apparent arrogance. Here are some other quotes I would like explained:

“If he screams too hard with the first 5… gets hysterical… Wait… You know, a little psychological terror sometime will affect even the pain.” Said while waiving a switch over the rag doll’s behind. He couldn’t possibly be advocating using psychological terror on your child, could he?

“Thumping them on the head? You’re worried about that??? [turns to wife] Give me another question.” I’m trying to figure out how this quote was used in a Biblical context and falling short. I’m sure that someone will have an answer for me.

“If your husband is an angry man, make love to him, make him happy.” This seems to be the advice given to a wife who asks how to deal with a husband who only disciplines in anger. It would seem that he is saying that his anger is his wife’s fault because she is not giving him enough sex. But I must be misunderstanding, because that does not sound Biblical to me.

[switching rag doll] “So I give them 5 more, so now get up” [makes doll sit, it’s showing a frown] “Still got a bad attitude” [whack whack whack] “Get up” [checks again, still frowning] “I’m going to say, ‘You’re still crying… I’m going to give you something to cry about.” This sounds like he’s saying to keep on switching the child until he stops crying. I’m sure he must say at some point when to stop switching because they are making it look like this could go on for a long time. And why would a man of God teach parents that they should punish a child until he pretends to be happy? For the child to force himself to smile and pretend to be happy means that the child must pretend be something he is not, the very definition of hypocrisy. Surely he is not advocating forcing a child to sin! Our Lord, Jesus Christ, reserved His harshest condemnation for hypocrites.

I am trying very hard not to judge unfairly. This video comes from a secular source and was clearly edited to cast Mr. Pearl in a negative light. My purpose here is to provide arguments to counter his teachings, not to slander him. This is clearly a hatchet job, I need to know what his arguments really are in order to counter them. For that reason I linked to the video (removed by NGJ by Copyright Claim)  so that someone can explain this to me.

Update:  The video which was linked above used to be on YouTube but was removed by NGJ for copyright infringement. I had linked to it on EverythingIsTerrible.com and they had it removed from there as well.   I’m still waiting for them to answer my questions.

Update:  The Mudracker has posted the video starting at 1:17 of his video, Michael Pearl Censors The Internet.  The intro contains some language so if that bothers you, please feel free to skip to minute 1:17.

Update:  More info about this here.

The Dangerous Mindset

Elizabeth Esther explains the mindset which causes a lot of the damage in the Pearl’s teachings in If it feels good, it’s sinful.

Cindy at Under Much Grace reminds us, “Barring some other major news event that bumps the story, Michael Pearl is slated to appear on NBC’s Today Show sometime between 8 and 11 AM tomorrow, December 7th, to discuss the controversial child abuse deaths linked to his book, To Train Up a Child.”

Cindy also discusses the question, Pearl’s Parallels to the Milgram Study.

The Anderson Show has run in all areas of the country and I have yet to find more than clips of it.  The entire show is not much more than the clips, but it would be really nice to have it all in one place and in context.  If anyone recorded the show, please post it on YouTube and send me the link.  I will update this request when I have more info.

 

An Interview with Elizabeth Esther

BlogHer Network Interviews Elizabeth Esther about her appearance with Michael Pearl on Anderson Cooper’s daytime Talk Show today (Monday for Los Angeles Viewers).

Many bloggers are promoting this episode:

Elizabeth Esther Faces Michael Pearl On Anderson by Free By His Grace

Keeping Up with Michael Pearl: Interview on Anderson (Cooper’s) Talk Show TODAY (and Pearl’s appearance on Dr. Drew And AC360 and in the NYT….) by Under Much Grace.  (I am grateful for her kind words about this site).

Also, Under Much Grace shares about another Anderson 360 episode from CNN which aired on October 25 which I seem to have missed.  Anyway, the transcript she shares has things in it I had not seen, namely an update about the Willams.

Here is CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s Interview with Michael Pearl (Part II: August 2011)

and here is Michael Pearl’s Interview with Dr. Drew on CNN October 2011 both by Under Much Grace

Speaking of Under Much Grace, she has posted an index to her Why Good People Make Dangerous Choices (Pondering Michael Pearl and Lydia Schatz) series.

Elizabeth Esther on Anderson

Elizabeth Esther will be appearing on Anderson Cooper’s new daytime talk show (on FOX) with Michael Pearl this Friday (Dec 2, 2011) and she writes about it here, My appearance on Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show airs this Friday, Dec. 2nd #NoMoreDeadKids.  She includes a link to find out where and when you can watch it in your area. And here is a promo for the show.

Here is another recent post where she explains why many people follow Pearls’ teachings: Seductive promise of perfectly happy, obedient children feeds abuse.

Michael Pearl and Anderson Cooper

Michael will appear with Anderson Cooper on Friday Dec 2, 2011.  I assume that this will be the long awaited episode of which Elizabeth Esther spoke.

Meanwhile, Alexandra Ossola has made a petition asking the American Family Association to denounce the book To Train Up a Child as it advocates legitimized abuse.

Pearl Rallies His Followers

I have heard about this letter from various sources and have decided to link to this one because she also includes her well written Amazon Review.

About Cults

The Amish are in the news again and this time not for helping to inspire Michael Pearl’s teachings.  I have mentioned before how susceptible people can be to following false teachers and cult leaders.  Well, now we find an Amish cult leader.  Updated info here.

Cindy of Under Much Grace explains more about how people fall into cult thinking in The Counter-Cult Bias Against the Anti-Cult Perspective: Hank Hanegraaff’s Re-Victimization of Teen Mania Protestors and All Those Who Overcome Spiritual Abuse.

In case you were wondering, Hank Hanegraaff was reacting to a documentary on MSNBC on Nov 6, 2011 about Cult Exit and Cult Recovery.

Speaking of cults, here is another exposure of abuse in the name of God.  When will it end?  *sigh*

 

‘Marriage for Today’ Hosts Defend Michael Pearl’s Teachings.

An article in The Christian Post reports that ‘Marriage for Today’ Hosts, Rev.  Mike Fox and his wife, Trisha, have been using the Pearls’ teachings to raise their daughter and are scheduled to appear on CNN to defend Michael Pearl.

Because Christians did not stand up and condemn the dangerous teachings of the Pearls, they ended up in the public eye.  I had always had a policy of keeping them a secret from non-believers and focusing on Christians, but once the third child died, the proverbial cat was out of the bag.  I do not make a habit of linking what the non-believers say about Pearl since they do not make arguments which are relevant to Christians, however, when the Washington Post reports on the Pearls I figure that is of interest as it is part of mainstream news.  I see many more in smaller papers to which I do not link, but a simple Google search will find if you are interested.  Some search terms to use would be, “Pearl Controversial book” or “Lydia Schatz Pearl”

Update:  The ‘Marriage for Today’ Hosts have a new article on The Christian Post about their appearance on Anderson (aired Dec 2, 2011).  The comments on this article are very interesting.  I agree with many of the commenters that it is very unusual for a pro-spanker to quote someone from the Christian Domestic Discipline movement to give credibility to their arguments.

 

Where Did Pearl Say This?

In this interview in the National Post, Pearl is quoted as saying:

But, I have said many times, when a spanking is not working, stop doing it. There are times when children become so emotionally torn that they have ceased all cognitive activity. Spanking is then counterproductive.

Frankly, I don’t recall him every saying that.  If he has published this sentiment, I would like to know where because this quote needs much exposure.  His followers need to be aware that he says this because this could really make a difference in the life of some children and maybe even save a life.  Although, it is still rather vague, it is a step in the right direction.

Edited to add:  Apparently Pearl was referring to this article where he said

You should not spank beyond your fellowship with the child. If you feel that your spanking is excessive, it is because it is not working. If it is not working to produce happy, creative kids, then you are missing one of the other elements we discussed. You have probably forgotten how to relax and enjoy your children. Or perhaps you have failed to train. The bottom line is that if other things are equal, and you give a child a spanking every time he needs it, the time will soon come when he will not need to be spanked so often, and eventually not at all.

More doublespeak.  In the next breath he accuses them of failing to train properly and promises that if you are consistent things will get better.  He have seen him accuse people of deliberately misunderstanding his meaning, but I really feel that he is vague and expecting people to make mental leaps which not all people are able to make.

Also, if anyone knows where he got these statistics which he quotes, I’d be interested.  Was it from the research study or somewhere else?

Research has shown that the properly trained, nurtured and spanked child scores higher on all positive measures both as a child and as an adult. Spanking as part — a small part — of a comprehensive nurturing process instills self control and disciplined in a child, rendering him more emotionally stable and balanced as an adult. Every child was spanked up until Dr. Spock. Now only about 75% are spanked with no malice aforethought, and another 20% are occasionally spanked or hit by angry out of control parents that profess not to believe in it…

In his interview on AC360 Mr. Pearl mentioned the same research on spanking and Anderson Cooper delves deeper into that in another segment.  Before linking I want to warn you that it opens with the very upsetting video of Judge William Adams beating his daughter.  After that it recaps prior interviews with Michael Pearl and then moves on to Dr. Drew Pinsky and Po Bronson talking to Anderson Cooper about the science behind physically disciplining children. In The Science of Spanking, Anderson Cooper asks Dr. Drew Pinsky and Po Bronson what they think of the Pearl method and it should come as no surprise that they did not find it healthy in any way, shape or form.

The only problem with this interview is that they make a big point of discussing how spanking in anger is even more damaging.  This will probably cause Pearl and most of his followers to argue that spanking without anger will cause no damage at all.  They are so very wrong.  But then of course, Pearl and his followers tend to discount science except for when it supports their beliefs so it’s probably a moot point.

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.

 

Slate Looks at the Pearls Book

J. Bryan Lowder of Slate Magazine read the Pearls’ book in order to answer the question, Did the Disturbing Philosophy of To Train Up a Child Lead to Hana Williams’ Death?

Professors and Scholars Speak Out Against Pearl

Megan Graham  of  The Daily Illini (Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Illinois) looks at To Train Up A Child and its influence as well as the issue of Free Speech in Parenting book missing childlike innocence.

Prof. William Webb (Author of the new book Corporal Punishment In The Bible) explains that The Pearls’ Teaching is “Gutter Theology.”

You might also be interested in these reviews of the above mentioned book.

A Closer Look At The Pearls’ Teachings and Adoption

Christine Minich takes a look at The Pearls’ Teachings in:

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.

Also, TulipGirl tries to shed some light on the underlying philosophy of the Pearls’ Teachings with On The Pearls And Parenting, Once Again.

The Toronto Sun has an article about the Pearls’ Teachings in Was child abused to death due to advice from book?

Missizzy posted a Recipe For Disaster on  the Websleuths.com message board which explains what happened to Lydia and Hanna.  You might be interested in the rest of the conversation, it is really quite interesting.  I hope it is ok for me to link to this.  If anyone objects, please email me at hermanalinda@whynottrainachild.com and I will remove this entire paragraph.

I also thought I’d mention this post from Civil Thoughts about Adoption Education because that is so important.

A Closer Look At TTUAC and How It Relates To The Deaths of 3 Children

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.

 

Reactions to Hana Williams story

Here are some reactions to the “Hana Williams” story from around the internet.  All of these links consider the link between To Train Up A Child and Hanna’s death.

Note: I just found out from a friend of her’s from Ethiopia that her real name is Hanna Beck. eta: word from Ethiopia is that her real name is Hana Alemu.

The Short Life of Hana Williams by chucklestravels

Did the Disturbing Philosophy of To Train Up a Child Lead to Hana Williams’ Death? by J. Bryan Lowder on Slate.com

Hana Grace Williams, 1997 – 2011 by Tulipgirl who makes a very good case as to how the Pearls’ emphasis on “defeating totally” a “rebellious” child had a lot to do with how the Williams managed to turn the Pearls’ teachings into an instrument of death.

Controversial book part of adopted girl’s murder investigation from Religion News Blog

Extreme Discipline Book Connected to Adoptees’ Deaths from Adoption Talk

Obviously, I’ve been away for awhile
by Down To Earth Woman

Another Dead Child: Hana Grace-Rose Williams, age 13. (Parents owned book “To Train Up a Child”) and Having flashbacks/Survivor’s Guilt by Elizabeth Esther

Rally has been archiving this entire story in his How Could You? Hall of Shame. This is a clear and concise timeline of sorts with many links. It also contains some details I had not heard elsewhere.

And here is a news story which, while old news, seems to contain a few details I hadn’t yet read.

Case file: Parents starved and beat girl, locked her out in the cold from KVAL.com

The Williams Arrested For The Death of Hana Grace

We have been following the story of Hana Grace Williams who was found dead outside her home last May.  The only reason this story is of interest to this blog is that the Williams were known to be following The Pearls’ teachings with their children before they adopted Hana and her brother in 2008.  Any link between this death and the Pearls’ Teachings is purely speculation and is covered in this post.  To reiterate and clarify, the Pearls’ teachings do not appear to be directly responsible for this death. Pearls’ teachings do not recommend the kind of abuse which is described in the following articles which I  will warn you now are tragic and very disturbing.

The parents, Larry and Carri Williams, have been arrested, charged with abuse leading to her to death ( as well as the abuse of her brother) and are being held on $500,000 bail. Here are links to news stories which report on this:

Couple arrested, charged with abusing child to death from Goskagit.com

Skagit County couple charged with death of adopted child from NWCN.com (which mentions To Train Up A Child and the plumbing line)

Murder charges for parents who left girl outside from The Seattle Times

Adoptive parents Carri and Larry Williams charged with Hana Williams’ death from Quipshots blog

I will remark that if you read the very disturbing sheriff’s report you will note that the Williams speak of rebellious behavior and when the child was clearly in distress they saw her as “pretending that she couldn’t stand or walk.”  The adversarial mindset which they learned from the Pearls is a dangerous one and while a tenuous link indeed, it is still of interest to myself and other readers of this blog.

I would also suggest that the abuse of Hana’s 10 yr old brother does sound very much like what the Pearls teach, except that I doubt that the Pearls would suggest one punish a child for urinary leakage when there is a known medical cause or for not hearing when he is deaf.  If you read that entire report  you will see many of the Pearls’ teachings referenced, however, even I will admit that they took these teachings were taken to extremes which the Pearls did not intend.

Edited to add:
Washington state couple charged in adopted daughter’s death from Fox WXIN

This article contains an interesting quote:

The investigation into the Williams family, including whether the biological children were abused, was continuing, she added, adding that the process can take months.

As far as I could tell, they were following the Pearls’ teachings pretty closely with the biological children so if they should determine that they were abused, this could have serious implications.

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…]

More about Hana Grace Williams

You may recall me posting about Hana Grace Williams earlier this month.  In that post I mentioned that I had heard murmurings on the internet that her parents were Pearl followers.  Well, someone has emailed me to confirm that rumor.  Well, confirm might be too strong a word for a fairly anonymous email, but I don’t see any reason not to believe her.

I don’t know what the Peals teachings have to do with this case, if anything.  Certainly the being consistent and never backing down are a concern, but I have never heard them teaching parents to make children sleep outside without a sleeping bag.  I know that they have teachings which include withholding food for certain offenses, like not eating what was served or not saying Please or Thank You.  That might explain her 30 pound weight loss, but so far we have no evidence.

Here is a News story about the Ethiopian Community’s response to this.

And here is a FB page dedicated to her as well as a FB group.

 

The “Ministry” of The Pearls

has an article in the  San Mateo Parenting Examiner about The “Ministry” of Michael and Debi Pearl.

Behaviorism at the Root of Child Training

Carissa Robinson explains that “If you observe most recommended Christian parenting practices today, you might be surprised to discover a secular influence: behavioral psychology” in Awaken Their Hearts.

Meanwhile, Greenegem explains the error in thinking that we have to DO anything more than believe in order to be saved in No Assembly Required.

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…

More Investigation from CNN

CNN continues its investigative report of abuse among fundamental Christians and how it relates to the Pearls’ teachings.  Jocelyn Zichterman, who was raised in this culture and started Freedomfromabuse.net, explains the concept of Breaking The Will and how spankings must continue until the child submits even if it takes several hours. This video seems to cut suddenly, I’m wondering if this series will continue.

Gentle Parenting In Action

Libby Anne has a very interesting blog post about how being raised by the Pearls’ teachings affects her efforts to gently parent her daughter in Parenting Is Not A Contest.

For more examples of Gentle Parenting, check out Pearl in Oyster’s (PIO’s) play by play of one whole day day:

A Day in the Life, Part 1 – Morning Routine

A Day in the Life, Part 2 – getting out the door and running a few errands.

A Day in the Life, Part 3 – Library and Lunch

A Day in the Life, Part 4-The Rest of our Day

And allow  Greenegem to show you what Guiding with a rod looks like.

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.

 

Looking Back on Being Spanked

Samuel Martin’s newest post reaches out to the Spanked and seeks ideas on how to help them convey their viewpoints to their parents.

Meanwhile, Libby Anne has shared 2 posts sharing her testimony of how her parents’ adherence to the Pearls’ teachings affected her:

Giving the Child the Rod, in which she shares about how she ruined her relationship with her siblings by wielding the rod on them and,

Casting the Pearls back to the Swine, in which she shares about how she decided not to follow those teachings with her own daughter.

Review of No Greater Joy Child-Training Doctrine

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

TTUAC and Child Abuse

Robin of Heart of Wisdom has a nice synopsis of the Dangers of the Pearls’ teachings in Pearl’s To Train Up A Child And Child Abuse. This is a good post for sharing as it contains the Action News Report as well as quotes from TTUAC and a lot of links for further study.

Pearl Theology

Scita Scienda has a new post about her take on the Schatz tragedy and the spanking controversy in Notes on a Child’s Death.


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