Anderson Cooper 360 Takes Another Look At The Pearls

Andersoon Cooper 360 has taken their old footage from the interview Gary Tuchman did with Pearls back in Oct 2011 and the stories they did about the death of Lydia Schatz and remixed it with new footage about Hana “Williams,” in this new episode of Godly Discipline. They then discuss the Pearls’ culpability or lack of it, in the deaths. You will find both parts of this show (in 2 videos) on this page. You will find the transcript here. The segment in question starts about 2/3 of the way down. The easiest way to find it would be to use the find feature and search for “To Train Up A Child.”

Note: Here is more information about the Find Feature.

In case anyone is wondering, I am not in favor of holding the Pearls legally accountable.  The parents are to blame for following man instead of God.  Yes, the Bible does say that teachers bear a greater responsibility and God’s judgement will be fair.  I do believe that the teachings are dangerous and do my best to convince parents not to follow them and bookstores not to sell them. However, I am not trying to get the book banned, nor to harm the Pearls in any way.


Fox News Continues Their Pearl Coverage

Fox 13 News Salt Lake City reports on the Pearls with a repeat of the Fox Video I shared on Feb 22, but with a new video which I will embed here.  This video features Child Psychologist, Douglas Goldsmith PH.D., who refutes the Pearls’ teachings and recommends instead that parents follow How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

Michael Pearl’s Appearance on Dr. Drew

As I posted 2 weeks ago, Michael appeared on Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers on Feb 21.  I have just found that entire segment of the show on YouTube so I wanted to share it with you.  I  was pleased to see that one of the guests explained the results of cortisol on the brain and how it can cause damage.  They also discussed that one can discipline without spanking.

Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 1)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 2)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 3)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 4)

The Pearls Defend Themselves on CBS News

CBS has given the Pearls a chance to defend themselves in this news story.   (If you don’t want to watch the video, most of the tex of t is in the link.)

Investigative Reports on Michael Pearl

Lauren Hensley,  Investigative Reporter for CBS TV Station WVNS West Virginia, brings us Spare the Rod Part 1: Spanking in the Name of the Lord in which she interviews Mr. Pearl.  In Spare the Rod Part 2: Local Pastors Challenge Biblical Backing she interviews local religious leaders about his teachings. Stay tuned for Part 3: The Effects of Corporal Punishment On A Child (tomorrow?).

Jill Monier, of FOX TV in Memphis Tennessee, brings us Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? which is an in depth look at their book, To Train Up A Child.   It includes some pretty disturbing quotes.  As well as interviewing the Pearls, they interviewed Barbara King, the executive director of the Exchange Club in Memphis which offers a variety of programs to help Memphis area families breaking the cycle of abuse, and Elizabeth Stewart an adult niece who was also switched by the Pearls.

Tom Haynes, of My Fox Atlanta, brings us almost the same story in Investigators Link Book to Deaths of 3 Children.

Also, yesterday, Michael Pearl was on Dr. Drew’s show. Here is an Inside Look at that episode. Note that at the very end, Dr. Drew claims that he is still tender in the spot where Mr. Pearl spanked him.

Michael Pearl On Dr. Drew’s Show Feb 21, 2012

Dr. Drew features a debate about spanking in Is It Wrong To Spank? on his Lifechangers Show on Tuesday, February 21, 2012.   Michael Pearl joins Dr. Drew in Part 2.

By the way, you can find out where and when it will air in your area here.

Update Feb 21:  Dr. Drew has some clips from the show.  Here is Pearl spanking Dr. Drew.

Update March 1: Here is the part of the show which includes Michael Pearl on You Tube:

Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 1)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 2)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 3)
Michael Pearl and the Spanking Debate (Part 4)

Pearl on NBC’s Today Show

Michael Pearl and The Spanking Controversy were featured on NBC’s The Today Show this morning.

If anyone is unable to see the video for whatever reason, this article is pretty much a transcript of the show.

Also see this article from NBC which contains most of the story as well as the video clip.

The Los Angeles Times also reports on this story.


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.

Pearl and Esther on Anderson – The Video

Finally the long awaited video of Michael Pearl and Elizabeth Esther on Anderson:

Part 1 in which Michael Pearl is interviewed and Elizabeth Esther arrives and explains why his teachings are wrong.

Part 2 in which Michael Pearl explains more of his teachings and the audience responds.

Part 3 in which D.A. in the Schatz case, Mike Ramsey, explains why he believes Michael Pearl’s teachings are dangerous.

Part 4 in which Mike & Trisha Fox say that they use Pearl’s teachings, (but not the rod)  and the audience responses some more.

Note:  Ignore the first few seconds of the first video.  😉

Many thanks to VHSScott for uploading these.

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.


Responses to Pearl on Anderson

I have yet to watch Michael Pearl and Elizabeth Esther on Anderson other than a few clips.  I hope to someday find it online in its entirely at which time I will certainly link.  By the way, it will be airing in the Los Angeles Area on FOX 11 at 1pm.   Meanwhile, here are some responses from the Blogosphere.

Hannah of Emotional Abuse And Your Faith asks, Do we understand insensitivity?

Cindy of Under Much Grace answers the question, What is Biblical Chastisement?
as well as, Why is the Pearl Method So Insidious and Dangerous?

MamaPsalmist reacts in No More Dead Kids and its followup, And Another Thing.

More about Elizabeth Esther and Michael Pearl

Elizabeth Esther continues to share about her visit on the Anderson Show with Sitting on the couch with Michael Pearl. In this post she shares one clip from the show and shares the rest in the previous post.  We are still hoping to find a video of the entire show which has not yet run in Los Angeles.  I heard that will run in the Los Angeles area Monday, Dec 5 at 4pm on Fox 11, which begs the question, when will the Monday episode run?



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.

Michael Pearl Interviewed on CNN

Michael Pearl was interviewed by Anderson Cooper on this videoHere is the transcript, it’s about half way down.  His double speak is very obvious here.

In case that link ever is removed, Chucklestravels has posted it

Hana “Williams” Story on CNN

Gary Tuchman of CNN covers the case of Hana Alemu (legally Hana Williams as she was adopted by Larry and Carri Williams) on A360 in Ungodly Discipline. They plan to look closer at the book, To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl.

The next day they featured an interview with Michael Pearl.   Here is the transcript. The part in question is about half way down.

Also  on CNN, Dr. Drew interviews Michael Pearl about his book, To Train Up A Child, in an episode called, Preaching discipline that can kill?  This video seems to be just an excerpt.  If I find the entire show, I will replace the link.

Hephzibah House on CNN

Under Much Grace reports all about CNN’s coverage of Hephzibah House complete with video and links to the transcript.  She highlights outtakes from the transcripts on her blog.

CNN Exposes the Pearls’ Teachings

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.

My first collection of news stories.

Reactions in the blogosphere.

More news stories and reactions..

CBS did an investigative report about the Schatz and other child abuse stories.

And then a Plea Deal Reached in Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz Murder Case.

They were sentenced to prison.

All mentions of the Schatz story can be found under my Schatz tag.




Mothersson from GCM says,

I have an idea. Will anyone join me in writing to Oprah and asking her to interview Michael Pearl / have Lisa Ling do an investigation on his teachings? Many people respect Oprah. I think that could make some head way to end the assault of children. As Oprah says, “when we know better we do better” Oprah actually asks viewers here to suggest show topics.

Here is a sample letter:

My name is ________, and I have a suggestion for your show. Recently there has been a lot of press over the tragic death of Lydia Schatz. Lydia was killed by her parents, Ken and Elizabeth Schatz. From the outside they looked like a normal healthy family, but obviously something went terribly wrong.

I believe the answer lies in a teacher who claims to teach “God’s way for raising children.” His name is Michael Pearl. His so called ministry is known as No Greater Joy, and his teaching is written in the most complete form in his book entitled “To Train Up A Child” In his written material, he promotes an extreme form of spanking that includes spanking a 3 month old child.

His writings not only tell parents that it is okay to abuse their children, but instructs them that this is God’s only way to raise Godly children. He warns that failure to follow his teachings completely will result in children who are disobedient, and menaces to society.

This is not the teaching of the entire American church. We would love to see a program exposing Michael Pearl, and his abusive teachings for what they are. It would be wonderful if there was a duel interview with a christian teacher who supports gentle discipline of children to contrast his dark, and abusive teachings.

Thank you for considering my request,

A loving gentle mama

Here is another sample letter:

Dear Oprah;

I am writing to request a show topic and person/s to interview. The facts of this practice have been virtually ignored by the major media even after the death of two known children of whose parents were followers.

Michael and Debbie Pearl run No Greater Joy Ministries, are coauthors of the Book To Train up a Child of which over 625,000 copies are currently in print and publish the magazine No Greater Joy.

In 2006 Sean Paddock died after being tightly wrapped in blankets by his mother who was a follower of the Pearls teachings. Though the Pearls never specially mentioned tight blanket wrapping, on p.46 the Pearls say that “if a child does obey being spanked, spank them anyway. And if you have to sit on him to spank him, do not hesitate. And hold him there until he has surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher. Defeat him totally”.

This year, Lydia Schatz was beaten to death and 7 year old sister nearly died from being beaten with plastic tubing that the Pearls endorse. “The rod we speak of is a plumbing supply line that can be bought at any hardware store or large department store. It is slim, flexible, plastic tubing that supplies water to sinks, and toilets. Ask for 1/4 inch supply line.” []

Following Lydia Schatz death, Michael Pearl responded to accusations with humor. “My granddaughters laugh with joy after giving their baby dolls a spanking for “being naughty” because they know their dolls will grow up to be the best mamas and daddies in the world-just like them… Even my chickens are laughing . . . well, actually it is more like cackling, because they just laid another organic egg for my breakfast and they know that it was that same piece of ¼ inch plastic supply line that trained the dogs not to eat chicken”. []

You have spoken of teaching children about unsafe touches. The huge numbers of children being raised by Pearl like methodology don’t have a voice.  A show on the Pearls’ teachings could prevent stop many parents from using those methods by learning of the risks.


For the Children’s Sake (TV)

This news story was just featured on a local (to the Schatz family) CBS station.

TulipGirl has added the video to her blog in an entry called, Investigating: Why’s Behind Child Abuse.
I believe this means that I no longer have to worry about KHSL taking it down.  Thank you, TulipGirl!

Note: you may have to click on the Part 1 tumbnail, I always do.

Pearl’s TV interview has been canceled

It looks like the interview has been shelved indefinitely.  It’s quite likely that all the calls and emails caused CBS to rethink this and/or decide to expand the story.  They will cover the story, but are saving the interview for a later time.  It looks like they want time to investigate this more.

NoGreaterJoyChildren is on their email list and always has the latest news.

Please read Spunky’s blog post on this.

Michael Pearl on TV Thurs March 18th. (Or is it the 19th?)

This Thursday, March 18, 2010 Friday, March 19, 2010, Michael Pearl will be interviewed live on CBS’s The Early Show some time between 7 and 8 AM (probably about 7:30).

More info at and update here.

No Longer Quivering has some good insights about it, as does Spunky.

Barbara Curtis at Mommy Life says, Urgent: Michael Pearl on Early Show tomorrow – contact CBS now!

If you wish to contact CBS, here is their contact info.

Emma at GCM has the following advice for those who wish to get involved:

I wonder what would happen if as many people as possible who can give an informed opinion on Michael Pearl emailed and/or phoned CBS….

I’m in the UK, so I don’t know how much clout my email will have, but I might email anyway and point out that MP has influences in other countries besides the USA.

The following might get CBS’s attention:

– The fact that MP misrepresents what the Bible teaches, and that even most pro-spanking Christians would consider his teachings abusive – “This isn’t a debate about spanking, it’s about exposing blatant, cultlike child abuse.”

– The cultlike aspects of NGJ – followers encouraged not to listen to critics. The way his followers say, “His teachings look harsh when you read them, but you have to see him in person …” quite frankly reminds me of 1930s newsreel footage of Adolf Hitler’s followers…

– The fact that he tells people to take the KJV at face value and accuses those who want to check original word meanings of scripture-twisting.

– Any examples you know of where MP takes scripture out of context even in English. This would help expose the ridiculousness of the above! It’s also a powerful way both to warn other Christians about him, and to reach Pearl followers – “exit counselors” who help rescue people from religious cults use this a lot if a person has respect for the Bible. I haven’t read MP’s stuff in detail, but if he’s anything like the RGT website it shouldn’t be hard to find examples.

– His unorthodox ideas – no original sin, possible to live a life of “sinless perfection” in this life, the idea that children can’t respond fully to the Gospel/receive God’s forgiveness under age 13 or so (or whatever age it is he says), and of course the idea that the blood of Jesus is inadequate in itself to cleanse a child’s heart from sin/guilt.

– The fact that he believes an unwhipped child can’t feel forgiven and will suffer emotional problems caused by a sense of guilt. (Say “whipped”, not “spanked” – most people’s idea of a spanking isn’t MP’s.)

– Any contradictions you know of, eg the discrepancy between MP’s folksy-fun manner and the fact that “trained” by his methods is anything but fun. Also, I’ve noticed that MP followers on forums tend to trot out the line, “You don’t need any other parenting book than the Bible,” then in the next sentence they recommend MP’s book!

– Quotes about things like sitting on children, counting slowly, stopping mid-whipping to talk about how the whipping isn’t over yet, following the child around the house laughing at his/her efforts to avoid the whipping, etc…

– The fact that he encourages older siblings to whip younger siblings.

– The fact that he says there is no upper limit to the number of “licks” a child may receive (give quotes).

– Experiences of ex-Pearlites, explaining the effect following these teachings had on your family. Also how you came to realize how anti-scriptural and wrong his teachings are.

– Links to blog articles by people who knew the Schatzes, especially pointing out that, despite the abuse they were suffering, the children seemed happy, sociable and creative – attributes MP says are a sign that a child isn’t being abused.

– The almost unbelievably insensitive statement the Pearls have issued, laughing at those who would cite his teachings as being instrumental in little Lydia’s death.

(Edited to add that if you write in bullet points it’s more likely to be read all the way through. Also, both beginning and ending on an attention-getter can be very effective.)