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.


Turning Loving Parents Into Monsters Since 1994

Forgedimagination explains exactly how the Pearls’ teachings turn  loving parents into monsters in Raised To Be A Monster.

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.


Delayed or grudging obedience is disobedience?

Claire continues her Myth Busting series with Myth Busting 9: Right Away, All the Way, With a Happy Heart – or it’s Rebellion!

Part I: Delayed or grudging obedience is disobedience?

Part II: Is Disobedience to Parents Rebellion?

Larry Williams Returns to Jail

According to a report in the January 7th, 2012 edition of the Skagit County Herald (only available in print or by paying for the “e-edition”), some of Larry Williams family members delivered Christmas gifts and letters from Larry to four of the children who are fostered by their aunt and uncle. There is a court order in place: Larry and Carri Williams are both prohibited from contacting their spouse or their any of their children. In addition, the judge ordered them not to contact the foster parents.

No-contact order violations can occur if the prohibited party contacts the protected party, or asks a third party to do so on his/her behalf. Apparently Larry felt that it was okay for his mother (a third party) to deliver items to his children. Along with some Christmas gifts were letters to the children. One of them contained modified Bible verses from the book of 2 Timothy, where apparently Larry substituted his name for Apostle Paul’s and his children’s names in the place of Timothy. The prosecutors argued that Larry was “framing himself as a martyr to his children” and the judge told him he had violated the order and raised his bail back up to the original amount of $500,000.  The attorney of Carri Williams successfully argued that she had nothing to do with the gifts or letters, so she was not considered to be in violation of the order.  According to the defense attorney, Larry’s mother “over-stepped her boundaries” and the children were not supposed to know that the gifts were from their father. An inmate roster check at the Skagit County Jail shows that Larry was once again booked into custody.

I do not know the details of the no-contact orders, but in my mind there are two possible explanations for why Larry violated the law: 1) Larry lacks common sense and didn’t know any better; or 2) Larry willfully defied the judge’s orders. Let’s say that the court is okay with Larry showering his children with gifts (in spite of the no-contact order) as long as they don’t know they are from him. I’m seriously doubtful of that theory, but let’s pretend that is the case. So Larry purchases the children some very nice gifts and thinks that as long as his mother delivers them and just says they are from “Santa”, all is good.

But there is a problem. You may be able to explain the gifts away as plain ignorance, but what is the explanation for the letters to the kids where he where he substituted himself in place of Apostle Paul? I certainly don’t think that was an accident. I have not seen the letters and I do not know specifically what they contain, but I believe Larry was attempting to pointedly communicate to his children. It is possible that the verses included in these letters were those that encourage Timothy (the children) to remain “faithful” not only to God, but also to Apostle Paul (Larry) and/or contained verses in which Apostle Paul (Larry) describes that he is being punished for his innocent actions because of religious persecution. I believe that the defendant probably has a very twisted version of reality in which he sees himself as a man who was living in the way that God expected him to, yet  has been wrongfully imprisoned for it.  By substituting himself for Apostle Paul, Larry seems to be stating that he too is a righteous victim of religious persecution and pending martyrdom.

I doubt there is any mention of Hana in these letters, but if Larry’s opinion is the same as his spouse’s, then I believe that it’s fair to conclude that they both think that Hana “killed herself” because she was  “passive-aggressive” and “rebellious”.  As difficult as it is for me to comprehend, Larry and his wife both may really think that the true victim in this case (Hana) perished because she refused to be cooperative or obedient.  Either that, or possibly it is Larry and Carri’s  “cover story” or alibi about what happened to Hana and the other adopted child in their home.

In my opinion, Larry wrote those letters because he wanted his children to believe that he has been wrongly accused, and he was also trying to persuade them to refuse to testify about the abuse they saw inflicted upon Hana and her little brother. If this is the case, it is likely that the children would have felt emotionally torn between telling the truth or protecting their father.  That is an extremely manipulative and unfair thing to do to a child. Does this man think he is entitled to violate the order because mere human laws do not apply to him, because he is obeying a higher law?  Or is he just lacking the common sense to understand the orders that the judge issued to him in a court of law?

At the end of the day and regardless of the reason, Larry defied the court order. He did this by having his mother help him. I cannot say what his mother’s motives were. Perhaps she was completely unaware that her participation would be viewed as a violation and that her son would be sent back to jail. Perhaps she knew it wasn’t “completely” legal, but made a choice to do it anyways because this is her son, and she will always love him, unconditionally.  I am sure the last few months have been terrible for the entire family, and I am sure they are hoping that the accusation of homicide is just one big misunderstanding. Unfortunately, Hana Williams is dead, and her horrific suffering and tragic death make it difficult for most people to believe it was an accident. I hope this family will be able to accept the likely outcome of the trial.

Lastly, I want to applaud the aunt and uncle who refused the gifts and contacted the court to let them know that the order had been violated. They had the courage to come forward and report this to the authorities. I’m sure it was extremely painful, and I’m sure they wished that they didn’t have to do something that would put Larry (who is part of their family as well) back in jail, but they did the right thing. I am so grateful for that. Thank goodness these wonderful and brave people showed us all that there is still hope for truth, honesty and justice in the world.

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 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 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 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.

Two More New Blogs

Here are 2 blogs which I think might be of interest:

Rethinking Vision Forum looks like the place to send anyone who has questions about Vision Forum.  It is all about “Examining the Fallacies of Vision Forum’s ‘Godly’ Family Living.”   Since this blog links to the series to which I used to link in my sidebar, I have replaced that link with this one.

I also just found another blog about escaping from a controlling Christian family, The Eighth And Final Square by QuicksilverQueen. I am seeing a great many of these blogs.  I read these stories with great sadness.  So many parents so sure that they have found the secret of raising perfect children for God.  And then the “perfect” children grow up and leave.  They often consider their childhood a nightmare from which to escape.  They sometimes reject God and Christianity all together, but thankfully, not always.  Many of them (such as this link) are not sure what they believe and are still processing.  It breaks my heart to see that some of them have  become atheists.  I have linked to many such blogs in hopes  that their testimonies may convince parents to avoid the pitfalls into which their parents have fallen.

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.

Letter to a family considering ATI

Robin shares her experiences with ATI (Bill Gothard’s teachings) in this Letter She Wrote to a Family Considering ATI.


Eric M. Pazdziora writes about the Bondage of Betrothal at Quivering Daughters. This is a very good explanation of why the Courtship and Betrothal Movement is not Biblical.

In response, Sister Lisa, at Soul Liberty Faith, writes about Betrothal and the Works of The Flesh in which she discusses how her family approached the concept after leaving legalism behind.

One Mom’s Look at “Shepherding A Child’s Heart”

Thatmom has re-posted Anne Sokol’s book review of Ted Tripp’s book, Shepherding A Child’s Heart.  I’m so glad she did because I missed it the first time.

Speaking of which, here is another review of that book from MarynMunchkins on GCM.

Carolyn’s Testimony in Response to the Shatz Story

Carolyn wrote  the following comment in response to That Mom’s post about Lydia Schatz and posted on my Facebook page.

I can totally understand how this is completely attributible to the Pearls teachings. We were introduced to these teachings when my children were little, and I believed pretty much all of what they had to say. We created child-training opportunities. We would calmly switch our daughters until they submitted. We had lovely obedient children (most of the time!).

Then, our 3rd daughter showed us that this didn’t always work!! She has Aspergers Syndrome (which wasn’t diagnosed until she was 10 years old), and this method simply did not work with her.

By the time she was about 4 years old, I was starting to feel like in order to live up to the Pearls teaching of smacking until repentance, I would be stepping from Biblical discipline into abuse. She could honestly keep up the stubborness for hour after hour after hour. [Read more…]

Bethany Breaks Free

Bethany Basset, of Coffee Stained Clarity, reflects on the sadness she feels at finding out that her high school friends are following the Pearls’ teachings.

I see that Bethany was raised in the VF/Patriarchy mindset.  She posts her story in 5 parts:

The Preface: The Stuff of Brains
Part 1: The Net
Part 2: The Reality
Part 3: The Hope
Part 4: The Outcome

And she has an epilogue about parenting with grace here.  I love a happy ending.  <3

Testimonies from No Longer Quivering Moms

No Longer Quivering has a new series called Steadfast Daughters in a Quivering World.   Part 4 of this series is Acknowledgment & Apologies which could be considered testimonies of the damage done by the quiverfull mindset.  Part 5: Confessions of a Quiverfull Hero and Part 6: Soul Binding are long testimonies about how raising children in the quiverfull mindset almost destroyed them.  Heartbreaking.


Matthew Raley’s series about rebellion and the Christian continues. In this entry, he mentions how Michael Pearl’s teachings are designed to break, not soften, a child’s will and why we don’t want that.

Rebellion and Stubbornness


Pastor Matthew Raley looks at “rebellion versus God-led character formation” in The R-Word.

(A big thank you to C.L. Dyck for the link and the wording for this post.)