Patrick Morgan, who writes the Cybersattva Blog, wrote an email to No Greater Joy Ministries about his concerns with To Train Up A Child. He received a reply from the Assistant General Manager which he posts along with his commentary. Note that he adds commentary in the comments.
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.
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.
Deb has posted the 3rd and final part of her review of Michael Pearl’s book, To Train Up A Child. In this post she looks at how Pearl prevented “sissies” and trained his children to always be happy. She also looks at what he teaches about the rod. She says that what Pearl teaches about persistence bothered her the most. I totally understand that. It is exactly this emphasis on persistence which I suspect killed Lydia Schatz.
The the Wartburg Watch is finding their discussion of To Train Up A Child so interesting that they have already published part 2 of their book review. In this post she takes a quick look at Pearl’s credentials and then explains his training advice with many quotes from the book. She promises to look at his teaching about the rod tomorrow. Stay tuned.
For your convenience, part 1 is here.
Deb, from The Wartburg Watch, promised to read and review To “Train Up A Child” in Monday’s post and by Tuesday she had already purchased and read it. She has posted part one of her review, and plans to post more later this week. She is doing a great job of exposing the Pearls’ teachings.
Brenda King at Positively Feminine has posted a review of To Train Up A Child. This is an excellent review containing quotes from the book and Biblical arguments against the teachings.
Sunday, Feb 6, 2011 was the first anniversary of the death of Lydia Schatz. Here are the posts I have found in memory of her so far
In memory of Lydia Schatz by ukrainiac in which she gives a brief summary of the story and links to Tulip Girl’s post.
Remembering Lydia Schatz by Tulip Girl who gives an emotional explanation of exactly what happened and how and updates with current trial information. She also reminds us of Sean Paddock who died on Feb 26, 2006.
in memory of lydia schatz by That Mom who gives a short summary and refers us to Tulip Girl and Parenting Freedom.
When Religion Becomes Cult-Like and Deadly from Parenting Freedom which contains 4 quotes from Pearl’s teachings to illustrate the dangers therein.
Who Tells You How to Discipline Your Child? by Stephanie @ My Awful Beautiful Life
Elizabeth, at Virginia Is For Mothers, reviews To Train Up A Child. In part 1 she shares her overall reaction which is mixed, and then what she found Good and Helpful about the book. I agree that there are some good and helpful messages in that book. To say otherwise is to put up a wall between us and those who are so taken by the good that they downplay the bad or don’t see it at all. There is a lot of good and that is what makes the book so dangerous. Nobody would eat a bitter tasting poison, it needs to be mixed with honey if anyone is going to eat it. And yes, this is is a very good honey.
But Elizabeth is not fooled. She says:
Here’s what I think about To Train Up A Child: SIGH….these people are such a mixed bag of normalcy and wisdom with a whole lot of weird thrown in. It takes a lot of concentration to weed through the information and advice to find pieces that I think are reasonable and biblical. Once again, I did glean some encouragement and reminders to do what I already believe in doing. So, I’m going to start with that and later write about the (many) parts of the book that had me raising my eyebrows, cringing and picking my jaw up off the floor.
Which brings us to Part 2 in which she reminds people not to fall into the error of relying to heavily on one parenting method and then shares what she found Weird, Harsh and Downright Shocking. She includes plenty of quotes to back up her conclusions. I’m glad that she is participating in warning people about this book.
As 2010 winds to a close, I am reflecting on the changes to this website. I moved to this blog in March during the thick of the Schatz story. Over the months I found more and more time passing between posts and started filling that time with posts about other controlling groups such as the Patriarchy Movement as well as helpful posts about Gentle Discipline. I am very thankful to God for how He has been using this blog. I wish my readers many blessings in 2011.
And now, The Paradise Post has released its Top 10 news stories of 2010 and the Schatz Abuse Story was number one. I post an excerpt from their story here for permanence:
Schatz, Smith lead top 10 newsPosted: 12/30/2010 01:00:00 AM PST
Once again the Post staff voted on the Top 10 stories of the Year. This year, the top story is the Schatz family abuse case.
1. Parents arrested in child abuse case
The ugliness of humanity reared its head in Paradise this year when two local parents allegedly beat their adopted daughter to death for mispronouncing a word.
Lydia Schatz, 7, died in February and her parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz, are accused of killing her by using controversial disciplinary methods outlined in a religious training book, “To Train Up A Child,” by Michael and Debi Pearl, founders of the No Greater Joy Ministry.
In the aforementioned book, the Pearls recommend using a rubber quarter-inch plumbing supply line for disciplining a child. Elizabeth called emergency crews on Feb. 6 to report that Lydia was not breathing.
A storm prevented the girl from being airlifted to the hospital by the LifeFlight helicopter. Lydia was being rushed by ambulance to Chico Municipal Airport, but died en route. The autopsy of Lydia shows that the girl died of Rhabdomyolysis, a rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle due to injury to muscle tissue.
Lydia’s 11-year-old sister was also discovered with injuries and sustained kidney failure. She was not originally expected to survive, but made a full recovery after treatment at Sutter Memorial Hospital.
The Schatzes have six biological children and adopted Lydia, the 11-year-old, and a 3 month-old from the Republic of Libera in Africa.
Police said all the children made statements affirming being disciplined by rubber tubing found in the Schatz home.
The parents were charged with murder and torture, each facing life in prison. Kevin and Elizabeth retained separate lawyers and pled not guilty to the crimes.
The case has not been resolved. The Schatzes are scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 28, 2011 for a jury trial.
I just found out about the group known as the Assembly under the ministry of George and Betty Geftakys. I had not heard of them before this, but as they were using the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl (as well as Fugate and Ezzo,) they are of interest. Apparently, they are another cultic and spiritually abusive group. In fact, Betty Geftakys had her own pamphet about child training which almost makes the Pearl’s training methods look mild by comparison.
The post I want to highlight today is from Meg, a former member of that group, and is entitled, Does Discipline Really Produce Godly Character…?
Wondering One is telling her story, I Am So Much More Than A Maiden Of Virtue, over at No Longer Quivering. In Chapter 3 she shares how her parents discovered Michael and Debi Pearl’s book To Train up a Child. If you start at chapter 1 and then read chapter 2 and chapter 3 you will find that it is a very gripping, albeit disturbing, story about punitive parenting from the child’s point of view.
Living Creatively has posted a book review of To Train Up a Child called, To Train Up a Child OR you could call it How to Abuse a Child.
She started her research when a friend asked her about the book and was properly shocked. She gives her own thoughts and then shares another review and some good links.
This blog writer is not against spanking, she says so in the comment section of her post, so I am tagging it appropriately.
Signs of Life blog warns us about the Pearls’ teachings and offers some Parenting gems as an alternative.
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.
Perhaps the person who put this in the “awful books” category should have read the positive as well as negative reviews on Amazon…the list of things from the book were from the top negative review there. Here is one that might give you all a little clearer perspective on the other side of the spanking debate, if you’ll actually bother to read it. :^)
Ok, that is fair. And I would like to share my responses.
Read the Actual Book and Be Honest with Yourself, May 22, 2010
By BLB (Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews
This review is from: To Train Up A Child (Paperback)
The actual book does not promote child abuse. The problem is, it requires parents using it to have enough self-discipline and character to use corporal punishment consistently, calmly, in a measured way, and without reflection of their moods. It doesn’t allow for using corporal punishment exclusively, either.
It is true that Michael Pearl says in the book not to abuse your children. The problem is that he never explains how to follow his advice without abusing. Would not the very act of training an infant by “switching” him be abusive? Nor does he explain where chastisement ends and abuse starts. He never says how many licks is ok and how many would be abuse. Nor does he define abuse by how long to keep spanking. He does say that if you are not 100% consistent that you will fail. He also says that you should keep on spanking until their yelling stops and turns into a submissive whimper. He does not explain what to do if you keep spanking for hours at a time and there is still no submissive whimper.
The authors are farm people who train their own horses. They’re used to a situation where they’re dealing with a creature that can’t be effectively trained with either verbal reasoning or fear, a creature that could endanger itself or others if it is not disciplined properly. They raised their children on a traditional farm, a place full of serious physical dangers, where learning the hard way isn’t an option that a loving parent can consider.
I don’t know of any horse trainers who hit their horses. On top of that, children are not animals they are people, made in the image of God. Why would we compare them to animals?
The truth is, the Perls sound like affectionate, non-blaming people as well as unusually patient and self-controlled people. They are people who have learned to look at things from the perspective of the one they are training. For instance, they stress that there is no way to discipline a child without having a positive relationship with her. A child raised by the Perls would be eager to please them, because the relationship would not be primarily based on getting a spanking when you mess up. I would predict that there would actually be very little spanking in their home, and no yelling, verbal abuse, or emotionally damaging drama. It would be miles better than a lot of “no-spanking” houses. I wonder how many of the people decrying this book provided their children with a home that was as predictable and free from emotional abuse as I expect that the Perl household is, or if their children had the self-control that the Perl children did. Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t know that raising a child fit for polite company without a lot of emotional drama is even possible.
There is very little spanking because they have already trained the child. I object to the very act of training children in this way. This is behavior conditioning. Pearl even brags about how his grown children would drop an iced tea if he were to say, “hot.” I consider what Pearl teaches to be the crown jewel of emotional abuse. The children are switched for any emotion except for happiness until they no longer even feel any other emotion. I feel sick even thinking about it.
If you’re going to spank your child, this is a good book to read, almost a must. As you read it, though, be very honest with yourself about whether you exercise the kind of self-control and humble attitude that the Perls assume you have. If you don’t have that kind of self-control, you can read it and try to substitute other feedback for the spankings, but you’ll still need to learn the respectful, kind, patient consistency that is actually the foundation of the Perls’ method. You have to take in the entirety of the message. Look at what kind of parents the Perls are suggesting you be. Don’t even consider using corporal punishment if you can’t be that.
This book has some “pearls” in it, but readers should not fool themselves. It is not primarily about spanking. If you make it into that, you will fail.
I don’t agree that this book is a good book to read. It is true that there is some truth in it and even some good advice. But I consider the bad advice so dangerous as to be like rat poison. Rat poison is mixed with sugar to make it easy to eat, but it is no less dangerous.
Also consider that there are strong-willed children for whom corporal punishment is never going to work, because they will refuse to be motivated by anything short of abuse, and will resent that even if they eventually capitulate. You may as well try to break a zebra to harness. A parent has to realize that, and absolutely never try corporal punishment with a child like that. That would lead to spectacular failure and ruination of the relationship with the child.
Ok, this I agree with. And an adopted child is likely to fall into that category and should never be spanked.
Another negative book review of TTUAC by a pro-spanker. I’m praising God that more people are taking a stand against this book. Jenni Lenc has good insight as to some of the major problems with these teachings, although she is careful not to be too harsh in her condemnation of them. A very good piece to share with Pearl followers who are asking you to explain your concerns.
To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl from His Story In Lenc
The Awful Library Books blog would like to see To Train Up A Child removed from all libraries. So far, nobody in the comments section has approved of the book, but some feel that it should be just removed from the Parenting section and put somewhere else where those who need it for research can access it. I agree. We cannot argue against something without having access to it and we do not want to purchase it.
Anyway, I suggest you check your own public library and direct them to this post. Suggest that they remove this dangerous book from the parenting section to a research section or remove it from circulation.
The homeschooling movement is taking notice of the Pearls. Secular Homeschooling is a rather large magazine and they have written an exposé of the Pearls and their teachings. She looks at all aspects of the Pearls and gives some advice on how to respond when offered the book at a homeschool gathering.
To Train Up a Child: The Greater Problem by Deborah Markus