Child “Training” Pearl Style

“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.” Pablo Cassals

www.studentsoftheworld.info/sites/society/childabuse.php

TWW has found the Pearl’s advice so concerning, we are doing an extra post this week.

Clarification: TWW recognizes that good Christians are all over the place on the issue of spanking and we believe it is a worthy subject for discussion. Both of us have spanked our kids, albeit rarely. This series is looking at abusive punishment and treatment of children.

Michael and Debi Pearl have established quite a following in the seventeen years since To Train Up A Child was first published. Have you ever wondered what Michael Pearls’ qualifications are for doling out “child training” advice? Here are his qualifications according to the No Greater Joy website.

“No Greater Joy is the ministry of Michael and Debi Pearl under the auspices of No Greater Joy Ministries Inc. Michael has been a pastor, missionary, and evangelist for over 40 years. The Pearls’ five children were all homeschooled, and have grown up to become missionaries and church leaders. Though holding a BS from Crichton College, when Michael is asked for his credentials on child training he points to his five children.”

So there you have it straight from the horse’s mouth (to use an expression Michael Pearl might actually appreciate). Before getting into today’s topic, it might be beneficial for you to see Pearl in action answering one of many Bible questions posted on YouTube. Take a look:

Is the Method of Baptism Important?

Before digging deeper into the Pearl’s masterpiece, I believe it is worth calling attention to an interesting confession made by Michael Pearl. After the birth of their first daughter, Debi had trouble conceiving and when she finally did, she miscarried. A few years later the Pearls had their first son. Michael Pearl interjects a little humor by writing:

“Our first son! My wife was ever so possessive. By the age of one, he was so attached to her that I had to submit a request well in advance if I wanted to spend some time with her. We were in no danger of having any more children. He could not be left with a baby sitter unless she was blessed with deafness. I didn’t know much about children…” (p. 63)

Incredibly, he is now a self-professed expert!

To gain an understanding of how the Pearl children were “trained”, let’s look at some examples Pearl provides in Chapter 10 of To Train Up A Child, called “Safety Training”.

GUN SAFETY

The first example involves gun safety. Pearl points out that since they are a hunting family, they “always had guns around the house.” (p. 66) They kept the guns out of reach when the children were little; however, in case they ever came in contact with a loaded gun, they trained them for safety. Here’s how:

With our first toddler, I placed an old, unused and empty, single-shot shot-gun in the living room corner. After taking the toddler through the “No” saying, hand-switching sessions, they knew guns were always off limits.”

Pearl explains that after his children were trained (I assume one-by-one), they never touched the gun either at their home or someone else’s. “I didn’t gun-proof my house, I gun-proofed my children,” Pearl proclaims. (p. 66)

HOT STOVE

One feature in the Pearl home was a wood-burning stove that they used for cooking and heating. Knowing that toddlers can be severely burned from this kind of stove, the Pearls “trained” their children not to touch. Michael Pearl explains:

“When the heat was just right, I would open the door long enough for them to be attracted to the flames. I then move away. The child would inevitably run to the stove and touch it. Just as his hand touched the stove, I would say, “Hot!” It usually took twice, sometimes three times, but they all learned their lesson…we never even raised a blister, we never had a child get burned. It was so effective that, thereafter, if I wanted to see them do a back flip, all I had to do was say, “Hot!” They would turn loose of a glass of iced tea.” (p. 66)

SINKING FEELING

During their children’s growing up years, the Pearls had a pond close to their home. They became concerned that the little ones might fall in and drown. Michael and Debi followed their eldest daughter to the pond, and she edged close to the shiny water. Here’s how the Pearl describes what happened:

“Splash! In she went. Girl, it was cold. I restrained my anxiety long enough for her to right herself in the water and show some recognition of her inability to breathe. When panic set it (mine as well as hers – not to mention her mother’s), I pulled her out and scolded her for getting close to the pond. She didn’t swallow any water, and there was no need for resuscitation – except on my wife who took several hours to begin breathing normally. We repeated the same process with all the children. It took only one time for each of them to learn respect for the water. And it got easier on us.” (p. 67)

Surprisingly to us, all the Pearl children were swimming by the time they were four years old. After sharing this “training” method, Pearl does warn the readers: “Do not try this unless you are sure that you can maintain full control of all the circumstances.” (p. 67)

SNAP TO IT!

In this section, Pearl writes: “I am the General. My wife is my aid and adviser – the first in command when I am absent. I rule benevolently. Love and respect are my primary tools of persuasion.” (p. 68) He then proceeds to explain that he trained his children to “obey first and ask questions later”. (p. 69)

Here are some of the commands he would give them: “Sit down. Don’t speak until I tell you to”, “Stand up”, “Now come here. Go touch the door.” “Now, go to your rooms and clean them up.” (p. 69) After stating these commands, Pearl explains that if one of his children had a bad attitude, he would be spanked. “Lazy rebellion was punished by the rod,” he affirms. (p. 69)

Chapter 11 of To Train Up A Child is called “Potty Untraining”. Pearl explains that while on missionary trip to Central America, he and his wife observed that the Maya Indians did not diaper their babies and that “the infants are all potty trained”. (p. 70) According to Pearl, babies instinctively do not like go in their “nests”. He describes how the Mayans “untrain” them by forcing their babies to go in their pants. Apparently, it works…

Debi Pearl decided to try this technique on her own children while they were infants. It seems she had great success because Michael Pearl writes:

My mother-in-law was equally skeptical until the day my wife said to her, “Stop at the next station, the baby wants to go potty.” In a minute, when Deb came out with a thoroughly relieved three-month-old, my mother in law was convinced. For a while, our bathroom became the end of a pilgrimage for those seeking faith in infant potty training. Many a time our red faced infant girls looked up to see a great cloud of amazed witnesses expectantly hovering in our large bathroom.” (pp. 70-71)

One of the most appalling passages in the book (for me) was when Pearl reveals his “training” recommendation to the father of a three year old boy who had not yet been successful at potty training. He instructs the dad to tell his son he is now a man and that he will no longer be “washed” in the house. Pearl affirms: “He was too big and too stinky to be cleansed with baby-wipes. From now on, he would be washed outside with a garden hose.” (p. 71)

Michael Pearl goes on to explain that the next time this three year old boy pooped in his diaper, the father took his son outside on a chilly autumn day and “carelessly” washed him off with the garden hose. According to Pearl, the technique worked because a week later the father told him that the son was “taking himself to the pot”. (p. 71) Michael Pearl cheerfully concludes: “Since then, several others have been the recipients of my meddling, and it usually takes no more than three cheerful washings.” (p. 71)

Child Labor is the topic of Chapter 12. Pearl explains that the best time to establish lifelong habits is before the age of five. He states: “My Amish neighbors say that before seven the children are a drain on the family. Between seven and fourteen, the pay their way. After fourteen they become an asset bringing in profit. By the time a child reaches seven, he ought to be making your life easier. A house full of seven-year-olds ought to be self-sustaining.” (pp. 73-74)

As Pearl concludes this section of the book, he makes a remark about gender roles. This proponent of homeschooling shows his bias by stating:

“Gender role distinction is demeaned in modern education. Don’t let a coven of Sodomites and socialists, hiding behind the badge of professional psychologists, reprogram your natural feelings on male and female distinctiveness. A boy needs a man’s example if he is expected to grow up to be a man.” (p. 75)

Did I mention that my older daughter, who is a godly young lady, will be graduating from a public university this May with a degree in elementary education and that she plans to teach (at least initially) in the public school system? Although I believe some families benefit from homeschooling and Christian education (as both my daughters did), I find Michael Pearl’s over-generalization and condemning attitude offensive and highly unproductive.

The Pearls are extremely vocal about their belief in homeschooling, as they make extremely clear in Chapter 19 – Homeschool Makes No Fools. Remember, around the time that this book came out, I was a firm believer in homeschooling. For those who made it all the way to the end of To Train Up A Child, here’s the propaganda they read:

“Never even consider sending your children to private Christian schools, much less the public automaton factory… God didn’t make teenage boys and girls to sit together in a classroom every day using their brain while real life passes them by…Children need a mother who teaches them, not a teacher who doesn’t have the emotional energy to mother them. Young men need a father who teaches them to work, not a father too busy working to teach them.”

Toward the end of the book Michael Pearl reveals that he is forty-eight years old (in 1994). That means he is now around sixty-five. What was his great motivation for writing To Train Up A Child? I believe he explains it on page 97 with these words:

“If you want a child who will integrate into the New World Order and wait his turn in line for condoms, a government funded abortion, sexually transmitted disease treatment, psychological evaluation and a mark on the forehead, then follow the popular guidelines in education, entertainment and discipline, but if you want a son or daughter of God, you will have to do it God’s way.”

What a frightening outlook on life! The Pearls are so gripped by fear that I wonder whether they truly believe that God is in control.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what motivates Michael and Debi Pearl (as revealed in their book) and how their children were “trained”. Tomorrow we will get into the HOT BUTTON issue that has brought so much attention to the Pearls – the use of the rod.

Lydia’s Corner: Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19 Luke 10:13-37 Psalm 75:1-10 Proverbs 12:12-14

Comments

Child “Training” Pearl Style — 34 Comments

  1. Another quote from Michael Pearl
    “A proper spanking will leaves children without breath to complain.”

  2. asachild

    That is absolutely horrible. I am amazed that they got through their child rearing days without a report to certain authorities.

  3. Pearl has it backwards. He is training the perfect Nazi who obeys the command to shoot first and don’t ask questions later.

  4. Wow. What the heck. Once more into the breach.

    I agree that some of his methods are somewhat austere and harsh and I would never use many of them but I must confess I find myself agreeing with many of the things he has to say. You guys may not like the term but a large part of what parenting is, is conditioning and training. You can use the word teaching if it makes you feel better but it amounts to the same thing. It’s not being a Nazi to make your children obey Lydia. My kids (twin boys 7 and oldest boy 10) obey my wife and I with no grumbling or questions asked or allowed. When I say hop to they hop. Why you may ask. Because we have our eyes down the road. We’re not raising children so much as we are trying to raise good Godly men who will be loving husbands and fathers. I could really care less what they do for a living as long as it makes them happy. This should take us about 20 to 25 years for each of them. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Does that all mean that I don’t allow my kids to act their age. Hardly. My kids are highly intelligent stable well adjusted happy kids that all the teachers at their school fight over when they move grades because they are also obediant and well behaved. We’ve accomplished that by training (teaching if you like) our kids about right and wrong, that there are consequences for your actions and by telling and showing them that we love them.

    60 years ago Mr. Peals methods would have been more the norm than the exception. Are we better off today? Take a look at the young people walking around today and answer that one for youself. (Also see if you can get them to pull their pants up.) Too many parents today want to be friends with their kids. Balderdash!!! I don’t want or need to be friends with a 7 year old. I want to be a parent!!!

  5. “It’s not being a Nazi to make your children obey Lydia.”

    Never said it was. I was speaking to the “method” used to make them obey. My daughter is required to obey me and knows why she must. She has also heard me tell her when I have been wrong about something and why I was wrong.

    “My kids (twin boys 7 and oldest boy 10) obey my wife and I with no grumbling or questions asked or allowed”

    No questions allowed? How will they learn to think for themselves? To discern appropriate obediance from inappropriate obediance? To not follow false teachers or evil authorities?

    My goal is to help her become an independent thinker who is striving to be like Christ. Not me. That is why I allow questions about my decisions and my “no’s”. And believe me, it brings long conversations that are often inconvenient. I could say, you are not allowed to ask but that would defeat the whole “Train up a child” principle.

    Does she like the answers or explanations? of course not. That is not the point. The point is she learn to think, reason and go to the SOURCE for everything. It also breeds trust.

    This is more the method Christ used on people. And I find no irony that he used a child in Matt 18 to explain a truth to the grownups vying for position.

    Children are on loan to us. The last thing we should want is a 20 year old who dares not question any person with an “authority” title.

  6. I know many families with a no questions asked obedience policy who have raised children that are some of the best thinkers I know. The two are not mutually exclusive. I think a child’s age, maturity level and attitude would affect when and how discussions about the parent’s direction could effectively take place.

    While some of the Pearls methods may seem quite extreme, we need to also keep their lifestyle in mind. I wouldn’t personally choose to risk burning or drowning to teach my kids to stay away from the stove or pond, but I have friends who did the homesteading thing and they said at the beginning when they were getting established they had to take a much harder approach to child training to keep everybody alive.
    Of course then common sense would dictate that if you’re not homesteading or doing something equally dangerous/difficult you probably shouldn’t be following the Pearls’ advice so closely.

  7. Jenn

    I’m afraid that i have to disagree with you. Pulling the hair of a tiny baby is a sign of weirdness. There is something very wrong with this picture. They live in isolation and run their own church and their own way of doing things. Remind you of the very strange and ugly Westboro Church? I wonder how they would survive in real society surrounded by people who believe that babies are to be protected, not to have their hair pulled?

  8. So Bro. Pearl is the general and his mate can only be in charge when he is absent. Seems he is not only a master child-raiser but a but has brought his wife into line as well. As a father of 2 daughters I can remember when a lite spanking would get their attention. They are like their mother very independent and professional in their careers. I would never has entertained the idea of the hot stove or water treatment. Here is what I find disturbing and hard to understand. Why would anyone want to follow someone’s teaching when they seem to me are so absurd. I will commend Bro. Pearl on one thing, he seems to me a master rock mason. If I was seeking his advice it would be in building inaminate structutes and not in trying to build human character with such nefarious actions.

  9. Sorry, I did not mean to give the impression of complete approval of their methods based on lifestyle. I was referring to the specific examples in this post that could have serious consequences for a child who wasn’t taught to stay away from the pond, stove, guns, etc. Even a seemingly draconian insistence on obedience can be a very good thing for children in the potentially more dangerous living conditions you’ll find in the middle of nowhere (also often far away from good medical care).

    Yes, they’re a bit off the deep end, but some of their methods may be justified based on their situation. (That’s also a point against them being set up as good examples for most of the rest of us who don’t live in a similar situation.) I think their “culture” should be taken into consideration when examining their work. I agree that pulling a baby’s hair is never acceptable. But it seems like using spanking (not beatings!) to teach your kids not to touch the gun because the gun has to be out and easily available is maybe okay-ish for where they’re at.

  10. Pearl has a very weird idea of what ‘benevolently’ means! In my Thesaurus it says: “Benevolent patriarch – KIND, kindhearted, bighearted, good-natured, benign, compassionate, caring, altruistic, humanitarian, generous, magnanimous, unselfish, openhanded ……”

    The only thing ‘openhanded’ about Pearl was his hands and how he uses them with implements on defenceless children.

    If you need a gun … living in the wilds… and may need to leave it ‘out’ to be used …. I suggest that you need it ON you .. not lying about where you will take too long to get to it and where children or anyone else might get to it. Spanking the children because you decide to leave a gun out it way past ridiculous.

    Especially when there are Christian parents out here that believe that hitting a child is never right and never necessary.

    I too have a really hot wood burning fire – and when my grand daughter who is 2 comes to stay – I will use what most sensible parents do – a fireguard!

  11. My kids posted my last comment before I was finished. I’m sure the Pearls would have some great advice on how to teach my kids to keep their hands off the computer.

    Anyhow, I was also going to add that it sounds like the Pearls are so over the top that maybe it’s not really worth going into all the ins and outs of where they may not be as wacky as they seem. I often blame bad application (like beating a child to death) of books/teaching on the reader/hearers who seem to lack the ability to apply common sense and critical thinking when evaluating things, but I’m willing to entertain the notion that some people should just keep their ideas on parenting, etc to themselves.

  12. Can someone explain to me, Freedom of Speech I understand .. but surely .. you cannot have a book out there that teaches abuse? And this clearly does…. surely there have to be SOME limits ?? Or can I write a book about eating children on toast with fava beans on the side, and because of the Freedom of Speech Act… it actually gets OUT there and printed?? Because as sure as beans are beans some darn fool would try it …. What would happen then ??

  13. Like I’ve said in other threads Lydia, you seem to have a very big problem with concept of authority. You mention it all the time whether it’s the subject of conversation or not. Not all authoirty is bad. Someday you should share with us the back story there.

    My children obey what I say when I say BUT I often ask them if they understand why I’m doing it. Then I let them reason it out. “It’s because this is wrong or because you don’t want me to get hurt….etc.” So you see, they do get to think and reason and understand why. Let me put it this way. We broker no arguments from our children. You will be told once and only once. After that there will be consequences. Most often the revocation of a priviledge. They do not get to question our “authority” as their parents.

  14. TealRose-

    I think part of the problem then becomes who gets to decide what does and doesn’t get printed? Technically speaking you could argue that the Bible teaches abuse.

    In regards to guns I agree that it makes more sense to keep it out of the children’s reach, but I imagine that some homesteading situations could be akin to Little House on the Prairie or some such pioneer days writings where you need quick easy access to the shotgun in case a big dangerous animal comes along. And, you never know how responsible the neighbors are going to be with their firearms. A healthy respect for a gun could be quite useful in those situations and I can understand a parent using spanking as a means of training in that situation. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but can understand where they’d be coming from there.

  15. If guns do need to be out as you suggest Jenn… [personally I wouldn’t be living in a place that were that dangerous for children to be in, not WITH them anyhow] then yes.. teach a healthy respect. I am sure I can do that without hitting a child though. I just have this vision .. of a shotgun out where ? on the table ‘waiting for use’ as it were … and Pa running in for the shotgun, by which time the danger is past or he has already been eaten. I am sure I am being simplistic – not knowing the dangers as I live in Europe and although we have wolves and wild boars here and I live in the wilds, I still don’t possess a gun.

    As for the book, yes you could argue about the Bible, however I feel that THIS book, is so ‘modern’ that people who are ‘ignorant’ read it and believe every word of how to bring up a child – in fear and pain. I really do think that in this case, where there is obvious wording leading to abuse, it should be banned.

  16. Jenn

    I recall a certain Garden of Eden incident in which a perfectly prepared Adam and Eve ate the apple that was forbidden to them.

    Now, if the Pearl’s have perfectly obedient children then one of three things have happened. Either they have solved the problem of sin and then we should all start beating everyone tomorrow or they are dangerously naive in their assumptions or they have abused their children so badly that they can never do anything wrong because of abject fear for their lives.

    Both of your glamorous blog queens hold concealed weapons permits (striking fear into the hearts of those who disagree with us 🙂 ) and we can handle guns and we own guns. Dee is known to be a quick draw with more than just words. Deb is keeping up the glam image by contemplating a little pearl handled number that will fit in one of her designer purses.

    It is the law to lock up one’s guns when there are children around. Why? Because even well trained and obedient children can be tempted to try a gun out when Mr. Mountain Man isn’t looking.

  17. Dee,

    I didn’t get the impression that the Pearls purposely left loaded guns around just because they’d trained their kids not to touch them. It says they placed an unloaded gun within reach for training purposes just in case the children came into contact with a loaded gun. This would imply that they kept the guns out of reach, but had the good sense to know that it’s good to be prepared for the just in case scenario. I’m not saying their methodology was great, but I can still see their point. It sounds like their application of the rod may fall into abusive territory, but if it fell into the range of acceptable than I don’t see a problem with using that method to teach the kids to keep their hands off the guns that they could accidentally come into contact with.

    I guess we could step back from the gun issue and look at the principle of the thing. We need to protect our children and some people (including myself) believe that to some extent there should be less childproofing and more training of children to keep their hands off things they oughtn’t touch. To give a personal example of how we try to do this sensibly in our own home, I’ve trained my children not to open any of my kitchen cupboards and drawers, but I’m not daft enough to leave dangerous chemicals and sharp knives in the cupboards just because I’ve taught the kids not to open them. Now, they could get their hands on other kitchen implements that could theoretically be dangerous, but I feel the training and the fact that I do pay attention to what they’re up to offsets the risk factor enough to forgo putting those stupid latches on all my cabinet doors.

  18. Jenn
    I think less highly of the Pearls than do you. I think there could be something very odd going on in that home. I find them over the top, weird, and I despise their view on children. You can beat anyone hard enough so that they will not open a door. However, there is always the chance of a mistake because they are not perfect, neither are any of us. I believe in being very, very careful with the precious gift of children.

    I care for rescued pug dogs. Petunia is a sweet black dog who was beaten into submission. She would never, ever annoy you.She tries so hard to never have an accident and, if she does, she will shake for most of the day. She was beaten really hard. So, I guess anything is possible. Too bad it is abusive but you can feel fairly sure she will do her best never to cross you. The Pearls would love such an abused little dog.

    The best day in our house was the firs day she approached us for a hug and even begged for a treat. But, I guess I could have beaten her to never beg for a treat. Then she would have been the perfectly behaved little dog.

    Sorry, Jen. I believe that the Pearls are a blight on the evangelical scene and I absolutely repudiate their tactics. But, you are welcome to give them the benefit of the doubt. I have a hard time seeing it but we are all put together differently.

  19. I’ve been writing today’s post, so I apologize for not reading the comments until now.

    With regard to “Gun Safety”, I’m assuming one of two scenarios. Either:

    (1) The Pearls never had any guests over -or-

    (2) All of their children’s friends were trained in the same way NOT to touch guns

    It just seems like a foolish risk to me to leave guns out.

    I’m not opposed to guns, mind you. My husband and I got our concealed weapon permit about a year ago, so now we can “pack heat” in public.

  20. Jenn said:

    “I didn’t get the impression that the Pearls purposely left loaded guns around just because they’d trained their kids not to touch them”

    Actually, Jenn, I did get that impression because Pearl explained in the book that since they are a hunting family, they “always had guns around the house.” (p. 66)

    I included that quote at the beginning of the post. It seems pretty clear to me.

  21. Now I am really nervous. Our blog queens both “pack heat” I will be more judicious with my comments. Of course i live in Texas and our gun laws are rather liberal. This will probably end up at the “O.K.” corail. I have to think of a little humour because to be honest any abuse of a child is very depressing to me. I had rather “slap leather” than see it used on a child.

  22. Deb,

    I was basing my impressions on your own statement in regards to that passage of the book:

    “They kept the guns out of reach when the children were little; however, in case they ever came in contact with a loaded gun, they trained them for safety.”

    I was also interpreting the phrase “always had guns around the house” more as a figure of speech, as in they had guns in their home, than as an actual statment that loaded guns were left lying around for children to gain easy access to.

  23. Dee,

    I wouldn’t say I think highly of the Pearls. I really have a neutral leaning toward negative opinion of the Pearls based on the bits and pieces of their writing I’ve read here and on other sites. I am apparently more willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in some cases than you are, but like you said, we are all put together differently.

    So, were you implying that I must have beat my children to keep them from opening my cabinet doors?

  24. Pingback: Deb’s Review of TTUAC – Part 2 | Why Not Train A Child? UNITED STATES

  25. “Like I’ve said in other threads Lydia, you seem to have a very big problem with concept of authority.”

    Jerry, Ad Hominem is where people go when they do not want to discuss content.

    ” You mention it all the time whether it’s the subject of conversation or not. Not all authoirty is bad. Someday you should share with us the back story there.”

    How is “authority” not the subject on this thread?

    All spiritual abuse, parental abuse by Christians, etc., comes from wrong thinking about authority in the Body. It is a foundational problem.

    As my dad used to say, “If you are really a leader, you don’t have to tell people”.

  26. Jenn

    Nope-I was saying that the Pearls had to beat their kids to keep them away from guns as they said in the book.

    However, now that you bring that up, I do want to add that it is part of a small child’s DNA to explore their world. They learn by touching things and seeing how they are put together. I had some friends who didn’t change their decor one bit when the kids came around and were so frustrated that their kids were ruining their lovely floral arrangements.

    I tried to explain that children touch the floral arrangements, not to upset mom but to feel, to spatially understand, to learn shapes, textures, etc.

    All three of my children unrolled a toilet paper roll in the bathroom and dumped baby powder over their heads. I had a good laugh and some funny pictures. The fact that all three did the same thing means that there is something that kids at that tender age like to feel and do. All of them also grabbed my cooking pans and pounded on them, stacked toys in them and had fun with them. After a short time, I washed the pans and put them away and redirected the play of my children.

    When my daughter was 3 years old, she was diagnosed with a massive, malignant brain tumor. I remember when I ran home from the hospital to get some clothes. I glanced at her bed and noticed it was unmade. I remember crying and wondering if she would ever come home agin to mess up her bed again.I left it unmade until she came home. It’s funny, to this day, I never mind a messy bed. It reminds me of the reality that my living, breathing wonderful daughters or son are alive and well and messing up a bed.

    I remember hearing on the radio that there would be so many important “no’s” in their lives, I needed to say “yes” whenever I could. And so I did. It made for a more relaxed family life.

    The Pearls live for their no’s because they appear to be two hyperauthoritarian people who love being in control. I despise their way of viewing children and marriage. It is a good thing that they homestead. That is what many people, who are misfits in the world do. They isolate themselves to prevent the world from looking in. They form their own little churches and lead perfectly controlled lives. In this incubator they can form all the weird ideas that make up their lives and pretend it is normal and all the other weirdos find their way to them and agree with them. They self talk and think they are normal. They will “prevent trespassers” from stepping on their property to challenge them. I bet they define trespassers as those who do not agree with them.

    Think of all the weirdos who live in structured, rural compounds-white supremacy groups, militia types, and all sorts of cults. They isolate to protect themselves because they know the world will condemn them. They are wimps who hide their supposed light from the world because, I believe, deep down, they know that they might be wrong.

    They are just big bullies who think they are godly because they can whop their kids into obedience. Any animal can do such a thing. I repudiate their awful advice and pray for those children who have been harmed by naive people who follow their nonsense. In a couple of weeks,we will be following a pending trial in California. A child died and it seems that the parents may be claiming the Pearl method of discipline.

  27. Jerry

    It may be difficult for you to understand how women can feel when churches willy nilly make up rules that affect women.

    Here is an example. In a former church, I noticed that only males collected the offering. I asked the pastor if this was some sort of Baptist rule and, if so, to explain the Biblical justification for such. He said that their was no rule or Biblical reason for women not to collect the offering and that he would let them do so.

    In many churches, the only thing women can do is sing which lets all of us musically challenged women out in the cold.

    So, I waited for a couple of months and still saw no women collecting the offering. However, boys were now allowed to do so. When I asked a pastor, he said that the “men” voted that women could not collect the offering because people might get the idea that women could be (GASP) deacons and this thought, I guess, is unbiblical.

    However, I would imagine that they had no problem with people thinking that young boys could be deacons.

    This blog is not about one subject. Take a look at what we have covered. That is the way that the two of us like this. We can look at any subject that appeals to us at any given moment.

    This is also a community which is questioning and shaping thoughts and concerns. There is no limit to the “trajectory” of the discussion. It is like old friends getting together and discussing all sorts of things.

    We have named our daily Bible reading after Lydia who has consistently exhorted us to read out Bibles and to be like Bereans. In fact, if there is one thing that defines Lydia, it is her love for the Scriptures.

  28. Jerry

    Firstly, let me thank you for your service to our country. We are all in your debt and applaud your sacrifice.

    My statement about young children is this. I have watched young children grow into adulthood. It is very easy to control children when they are young. It is a simple formula. Do this, don’t do that. We can always win because we are bigger, stronger and smarter. However, experience has taught me that even the best raised kids can develop issues as they approach adulthood.

    Of course we are to do the best we can for them. However, they are individuals and sinners and no matter how hard we try, they will turn out like us-fallen sinners and who disappoint others and God.

    I know that certain ministries which place a great deal of emphasis on discipline of children (and of members for that matter) have not seen a greater degree of kids sticking with the faith. One well-known ministry appears to have more than 80% of the kids running from the faith when entering college.

    I know that you train young people for battle and that is an awesome responsibility. I know that there are many parents who do not discipline their kids for many reason-broken homes, no solid world view, poor upbringing themselves, poverty. I also know of some kids who were brought up well who have rebelled against their parents’ teaching, much to their dismay.

    I disciplined my kids growing up. I may not have hit them as much as others in the process. As I look at them as young adults, I think they have turned out well. All of them are following the Lord and finding their ministry in this world. But, even if they had walked away from the faith, would it have been my fault? Look at Adam and Eve. They were perfectly prepared for their lives and yet became disobedient rather quickly. Did God not use the rod effectively?

    I think the underlying issue here is an understanding of our own sin nature and the incredible grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who has forgiven us because we could not live the life that God had planned for us. Neither can our children. No matter how hard we try, they will be afflicted with this very nature and we must accept this.

    Does that mean we shouldn’t try? Of course not but we must never forget that we will not produce “perfect” children and that, in fact, some of kids could go down a difficult path.

    Once again, I thank you for your service to our country.

  29. Dee,

    Thanks for clarifying that one. It seemed odd that you’d brought up beating for door opening when the only reference to doors that I knew of was in relation to our own practices in our home.

    I completely agree that there should be many more yeses for children than nos, but also believe that it’s perfectly acceptable to have things or areas in the home that are off limits. In our own case the yeses outweigh the nos by far.

    I also agree that the Pearls seem to have enough wrong with their methodology to throw out any possibility of getting good from their work. It would certainly seem that they are control freaks and the isolationism is definitely a point against them. I still find myself coming back to the fact that the book is on child training and not every aspect of their lives. Although it doesn’t seem like it (especially based on the post following this one with that whole “not wanting to raise sissies” thing), their’s could be a joyful and happy home where the children have lots of opportunity for exploration, etc within the boundaries their parents have set for them. I know plenty of people who discipline their children in a way that would come across terribly if written in a book and pulled out of the context of the rest of their lives.

    Just think about everything I’ve written in my comments and the picture you’ve probably developed about what kind of parent I am. There’s a good chance that you’re way off the mark because you don’t have the full context of our lives. 🙂

  30. Jen

    I was actually not talking about your doors. I was thinking about how the Pearls keep their guns in rooms all over the house and probably stored in cupboards, etc. They also said to keep the plumbing lines stored on top of the doorways. Sorry that I mixed it up with your cabinets. Too many similar words and my brain is fried.I am still recuperating from my visit to Home Depot- waiting for the authorities to invade my house.

  31. Drat! and I thought that video would be a useful tutorial on the proper methods of still construction and the wherewithal to make good corn whiskey.

    Since I’m bound for the lake of fire anyway, I can’t see how the Almighty would begrudge me the enjoyment of some good shine before my end of days.

  32. Muff

    I call him Mountain Man. I wonder if he runs a militia.

    End of your days?! Sir ,they are just beginning!