Colleen’s Testimony

Coleen G. was nice enough  to share her testimony here on my blog.  I’m reposting it below so it won’t be missed.

I have seen the fruits of the Pearl’s methods in my own children and at another family that we know.

My friend tried to switch her toddler son until he was crying submissively and brokenly. She was horrified at how many times this needed to be done and each event required welting, bruises because he would not be broken until he no longer could stand the agony. She never switched like that again and never used their methods again. She had been following the techniques as described including the correct “tool”.

I too tried to follow their methods but I could not bring myself to hit that hard. I did not know of my friend’s sessions with her son at the time. That story came out to me years later. I have a temper problem and very strong willed children as well(I know now that is a blessing not a sin issue). While I tried very hard to not let my temper rule me it came out when I had to go through multiple sessions over many days about the same issues with the same child. Their “rebellion” was taken personally and fed my sinful anger problem. I was not seeing results with my young children they mostly just grew out of whatever development stage and corresponding behaviors that I had been taught vis the Pearl’s was disobedience.

God got a hold of me healing the sin-anger and showing me that my parenting methods were causing me to sin against my children even when I was not angry. The switch was chaotic and it took almost two years for relational healing. Yes I was/am a sinner who had a problem but the Pearl’s methods aggravated and intensified that sin issue compounding the damage I was doing. Yes I had the book, all the connected books. I had videos and the magazine subscription so I was well steeped in their methodology.

Having now stepped away from it all and truly studied both the bible and child development I can see that much of what they teach is toxic even for mild even tempered parent of equally tempered children. While bible-y in terminology it is not Christ-like and denies what is normal development as sin that must be punished out of a child for the convenience of the parents and the child’s future salvation.

I have lived with the fruit and it is a sour hellish thing fit only for those who like the Pharisees care more for control and rules than Love and sacrificial living towards the weaker.

 

Life Sentence for Killing Child While Trying To Break his Will

Markiece Palmer has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the beating death of Roderick “RJ” Arrington. This was another case of parents abusing their child in the name of religion. The part I found intersting about this case was that the judge condemned him for his attempt to break the child’s will. Here is the quote from the story in The Las Vegas Review Journal. (Warning, upsetting story; not for the faint of heart)

“You used your faith as a basis to justify that,” District Judge David Barker said at Palmer’s sentencing hearing. “It sounds to me like you were trying to break him, this little boy, to break his spirit, to break his will.”

ETA: There was some question about the report to CPS on my Facebook wall, which led me to share this (very disturbing) news story.

Update: A settlement has been reached in the civil suit brought by the child’s father.

He Makes Pearl’s Teachings Seem Gentle

R.L. Stollar has an in depth analysis of Voddie Baucham’s teachings in The Child As Viper: How Voddie Baucham’s Theology of Children Promotes Abuse.  In it, Voddie Baucham’s teachings are compared to Michael Pearl’s teachings with this conclusion:

Baucham’s system thus ends up being more authoritarian than Pearl’s, and that is caused by the fact that Baucham not only believes in original sin (as does Pearl), but also total depravity. How Baucham applies his belief in the latter (total depravity) makes Pearl’s child training system appear gentle and weak in comparison.

This is a very long examination of Voddie Baucham’s theology followed by 3 detailed critiques:

Critique #1: Baucham’s Theology of Children is Unbiblical
Critique #2: Baucham’s Theology of Children Encourages Contempt for Children
Critique #3: Baucham’s Theology of Children Promotes Abuse

While long, it is well worth reading all the way through to the conclusion.

Book Reviews of “13:24: A Story of Faith and Obsession”

Calulu has a book review of M. Dolon Hickmon’s book 13:24. ****Triggering book**** She  gives the book high marks for being a very enjoyable and gripping mystery story.  Although The Pearls and their book are not mentioned by name in this book, Calulu finds it clear that the story directly relates to his teachings.  She also shares a little about her own encounter with followers of Pearls’ teachings:

I’ve written many a time about my first encounter with Michael Pearl’s ‘To Train Up A Child’ upon joining my old church. My youngest was 4 years old and had been in and out of the hospital with spinal meningitis and idiopathic thrombotic purpura (a bleeding disorder) and she tended to cling to me all the time. People at the new church gave me Pearl’s book and I was told I must physically discipline Laura to make her stop clinging to me. Yes, I was told to beat a child with a rare bleeding disorder to stop her from what I knew was natural behavior in a child that had been in and out of the hospital. That type of cruelty is at the heart of ’13:24′.

 

Also, don’t miss this book review from WND.

*****Warning!  Book very triggering for survivors of abuse *****

An Interview With Michael Pearl’s Nephew

Alicia Bayer has an interview with Michael Bailey who is Michael Pearl’s nephew.  He discusses his childhood, Michael Pearl and the book he is writing to refute his teachings in, Michael Pearl’s nephew speaks out on God, beatings and To Train Up a Child.

Also, today Margot Peppers has an article about the Pearls and their book, To Train Up A Child, in the Mail Online: Inside the extreme child-rearing guide that advocates whipping children with belts and branches. . . and has been linked to three deaths in seven years.

The BBC Looks At The Pearls’ Training Book

Aiden Lewis of The BBC has a well researched article about the book, To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl as well as the controversy which surrounds it.

Sparing The Rod And Parental Discipleship

This article,“Sparing the Rod: Biblical Discipline and Parental Discipleship,” by Anne Eggebroten was published in the newsletter,  The Other Side in 1987.  In this long article, she not only explains why she gave up spanking and examines the link between discipline and discipleship, but she looks at the history of attitudes towards children.

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

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

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

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

 

More Looks at Michael Pearl’s Teachings

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

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

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

Bringing Out The Best In Our Children

Sara Mae shares how spanking was affecting her 2 1/2 year old’s self esteem and why she and her husband decided to stop in How Gentleness Makes Our Children Great.

Dara Stoltzfus also has noticed the importance of  a child’s self-worth and explains how we can encourage their inner beauty in Princes and Princesses on the Inside.

 

 

Reb Bradley

Latebloomer was raised in Reb Bradley’s church, Hope Chapel, and is one of the Sheltered, Controlled Homeschoolers who “didn’t ‘turn out right,’ yet another disappointment to the former parents and leadership of Hope Chapel.”  She shares some important insights about this in “Biblical” Parenting, Introduction.  (By the way, I was surprised to see Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz mentioned in this post.)

This post is the introduction to series of posts reviewing Reb Bradley’s book “Child Training Tips”.  In this series of posts she looks at how this kind of parenting is “damaging to individuals and relationships because it sacrifices all other virtues for the sake of authority and submission.”

Each Post in her series focuses on one criticism.

Criticism #1: A Parent Who Assumes The Worst in which we see the concept of adversarial relationships taken to new levels.

Criticism #2: Parents are urged to exercise an extreme level of control of their child’s mind and body, which prevents the child from preparing for adulthood
in which we learn how his teaching grooms perfect victims for child predators by breaking the child’s will, removing their sense of bodily ownership and teaching them that they must respect and obey anyone older than themselves.

Criticism #3: A Parent Who Tries to Change Minds and Hearts through Spanking in which we learn about his teachings on spanking which take abuse to new levels as well as his “severe misunderstanding of the Bible and serious scholarly negligence.”

Criticism #4: A Parent Who Isolates In Order to Control in which we learn that he teaches parents to isolate their children from the world and the results of such isolation.

Conclusion

Sarah’s Arguments Against Spanking

Sarah explains why she does not believe in spanking in a well researched and chatty post entitled, A person’s a person no matter how small.  She also answers some common arguments for spanking with counter arguments, which many will find helpful.

Thou Shalt Not Kill The Spirit of Thy Children

Dulce de Leche continues her 10 Commandments for Parents series with Thou Shalt Not Kill. In this post she discusses how parents often kill pieces of their children’s individuality.

Also, take note of this post by Sara Mae which looks at The Nature of A Child and why we should respond to their tantrums with grace.

Do Children Distinguish Between Spanking and Hitting?

Molly reflects on how children view spanking, drawing on her own memories of Fighting Spanking.

Discipline without Harm Part 1

In this series we will be looking at how to biblically discipline our children without inflicting pain on them or harming them in any way.  Some of the discipline strategies that we will be discussing throughout this series are modeling, child-proofing, validating feelings, fulfilling the child’s physical and emotional needs, setting realistic limits and boundaries, helping children comply, giving choices, and using natural and logical consequences with children.  The Bible says that we are to encourage each other (2 Corinthians 13:11).  All of the discipline strategies in this series do exactly that with our children.  In this first piece, we will be discussing authoritative parenting versus permissive parenting.  We will also discuss how to child-proof, modeling, and introducing God to our children.

Authoritative versus Permissive Parenting—Not Spanking does NOT Mean Wild, Rebellious Children

Pro-spankers often accuse or claim that parents who do not spank or use any type of punishment with their children of having wild and rebellious children.  This simply is not the case for parents that use the authoritative parenting style.  There seems to be much confusion over the three types of parenting styles.  We discussed the authoritarian parenting style in great detail in Part 6 of my series, “The Effects of Spanking,” which you will find in my new book, “Gentle Firmness.” As we begin to focus on how to gently but firmly discipline children, we need to examine the other two parenting styles: authoritative parenting and permissive parenting. [Read more…]

Christian child abuse: more works-based carnality

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

A Psychology Professor Critiques the Pearls’ Teachings

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

It’s Not Just About Spanking Children, It’s About Breaking Children

Former Pearl follower Becky, from Created To Be His, shares a letter she wrote explaining her concerns with the Pearls and their teachings.  In this letter she also explains what these teachings have to do with the death of Lydia Schatz and includes quotes from the book.

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.

 

Testimony: Why Pearl’s Methods Are Dangerous

An anonymous writer explains how she used to follow Pearls teachings to the letter and exactly how and why they are dangerous in  Corpses Don’t Rebel: A former follower of Michael Pearl’s “To Train Up A Child” reacts to the death of Hana Williams.

Deb of The Wartburg Watch posts about exposing Pearl’s teachings as well as the Judge who was recently exposed for his child abuse 7 years ago in “Judge” Not Lest Ye Be Judged.

Note: I do not have much to say about the Hillary Adams case, as abuse is beyond the scope of this blog unless it is being justified as Biblical, (in other words, unless God is dragged into it.)  So far I have yet to see that in this case.

A Closer Look at The Biblical Rod

Dara Stoltzfus describes how and why she gave up spanking.

Here are some very interesting posts from her blog, I Was Just Thinking:

Drawing the line between “spanking” and “abuse”

The Strength of Your Child’s Will!

“The Rod” as an instrument of protection

Easy Self-Test about “the use of the Biblical rod”

Na’ar in Proverbs…what kind of child are parents to strike?

Is your child a PERSON?

Growing Humans God’s Way

On the other hand, just read all her posts about spanking.  🙂

Original Sin

Lisa Bennet (Broken Daughters), who was raised by Pearl followers, looks at the concept of Original Sin and how it corresponds to the Pearls’ Teachings. In this post, she links to a very upsetting post by Libby Anne which contains an 1831 quote from Francis Wayland which sounds very much like Michael Pearl.

You might also be interested in this post in which Lisa looks at the concept of Purity.

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.

Breaking The Will

God gave man free will so that we could choose Him. He could have made us without free will and unable to sin, but He did not want that. And yet, many parents have believe that they should break their children’s will, which Molly discusses in her post, Breaking The Will.

REAL Parenting Joy

PfamilyGal expresses her concerns about the Pearls’ teachings in REAL Parenting Joy.

Religious Child Maltreatment

Janet Heimlich has written a book,  Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light On Religious Child Maltreatment (Prometheus Books, 2011), which is due out June 1.   More information on her website.  If anyone reads this book and sends me a review of it, I will be glad to post it here.

Does God Want Us To Break Their Wills?

Elizabeth  Esther has  a post which discusses the idea that Even God Does Not Break Our Will.

Along the same lines, The Wartburg Watch has reposted a letter from Bob Dixon explaining Why He Finally Left Sovereign Grace Ministries After 30 years.

Heartbreaking Abuse

Warning, the first post should not be read by sensitive people:

The Breaking the “Diabolical Will” of Infants in the IFB – Even at Hephzibah House: Pondering Pearl and Lydia Schatz Part VII

There But For Grace: Why Good People Make Dangerous Choices (Pondering Pearl and Lydia Schatz) Part VIII


Humiliation at Hephzibah House: Restriction and Control over Restroom Breaks

Memories of a Child Raised by the Pearl Method

No Longer Quivering has started a new story by Libby Anne about her childhood in which she was raised by the Pearl Method.  In part 1 she tells about how her mother almost killed her little sister by strict adherence to the Pearl Method.

ABC News Exposes Abuse in some IFB Churches

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

More links:


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