The Senseless Death of Hana Williams

"The deaths of the three children occurred in different parts of the country — North Carolina, California and Washington — but each allegedly happened at the hands of their parents, all of whom were charged with murder.  The parents had several things in common: They adopted children, home-schooled them and lashed them with quarter-inch-diameter plastic tubes. They also used the child-rearing teachings of a Tennessee evangelist, Michael Pearl, and his wife, Debi." Seattle Times

TRIGGER ALERT! 

This post contains graphic details that may be disturbing to those who have been abused (and possibly others). 

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=37207&picture=childrens-handsChildren's Hands

Child abuse is definitely a HOT BUTTON issue here at The Wartburg Watch.  In March 2011 we wrote a series of posts on the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl, who have purportedly sold hundreds of thousands of copies of their controversial book To Train Up A Child.   Here are the posts we wrote in that series:

Are Plumbing Lines Weapons of Child Destruction?

A Review of Train Up A Child by The Pearls

Child 'Training' Pearl Style

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child and a Trip to Home Depot

The Pearls' Profit-sharing Program

A couple of months after we published those posts, a beautiful Ethiopian girl named Hana, who had been adopted by a couple (Larry and Carri Williams) in Washington state, died a horrific death.  The Seattle Times reported the tragic news with this headline – Did Hana's parents 'train' her to death?

Here is how the reporter described what happened:

Hana, 13, was adopted from Ethiopia in 2008 by Larry and Carri Williams, of Sedro-Woolley.

She was regularly spanked and locked in a closet, and was forced to sleep in a barn and take garden-hose showers outside, according to an affidavit from the Skagit County Sheriff's Office. The affidavit was based on information from the couple's six natural children, another adopted child, medical experts and other family and friends. The interviews were conducted by detectives and investigators from the state's Child Protective Services.

In 2009, Hana weighed 108 pounds, but over the past two years of her life, she lost 30 pounds, largely because her parents denied her food as punishment, the affidavit says. She was so thin she couldn't retain enough heat May 12, the night she died. She had been outside with no clothes and died of hypothermia, an autopsy found.

On the backs of her legs were marks consistent with being beaten earlier in the day, the affidavit alleges.

According to the investigators, the Williamses were familiar with the Pearls and had given a copy of their book to an acquaintance.

Larry Williams, 47, a Boeing worker, told sheriff's detectives the children were disciplined with a piece of white plastic more than a foot long. It had a round ball on the end, and he said he had picked it up at a plumbing-supply store.

Hana's parents were charged and have been standing trial in recent weeks.  KOMOnews.com posted a news story several days ago entitled: Prosecutors describe 'house of horrors' in Hana Williams Trial.  Here are the highlights [NOTE:  Hani's photo is in this article]:

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Tears filled a Skagit County courtroom Wednesday as prosecutors described a so-called "house of horrors" where young Hana Williams died. Hana's adoptive parents are accused of starving and beating her, and leaving her outside in the cold to die.

Seven weeks of testimony boiled down to nearly 2 1/2 hours of closing argument from prosecutor Rich Weyrich, who insists Larry and Carri Williams are guilty of homicide by abuse.

"They both played an integral part in this house of horrors," Weyrich told the court.

Weyrich summed up in seconds Hana's death and the alleged abuse of her deaf brother Immanuel.

"They tortured and starved her until she passed away, and they tortured and starved Immanuel Williams," Weyrich said.

Weyrich told the jury Hana weighed 76 pounds in 2008 when adopted from Ethiopia. She was up to 108 pounds in 2009, but at her death in 2011, she weighed only 78 pounds.

He showed showed jurors a tiny closet he alleges Hana was forced to live in, and reviewed Hana's autopsy photos — including pictures of scars the prosecutor said came from being hit with a plastic rod.

The state described a year and a half long pattern of alleged abuse.

"These children were denied food, beaten with a belt, glue stick, plumbing tools… locked in closet… washed down with hoses," Weyrich said.

The Defense presented closing arguments yesterday, and the jury began deliberating today.  At day's end, the jury ended its deliberations and will reconvene next week.

On October 6, 2011 Michael Pearl published a statement on Facebook regarding Hani Williams' death.  Here is a portion of that statement:

We share in the sadness over the tragic death of Hanna Williams. What her parents did is diametrically opposed to the philosophy of No Greater Joy Ministries (NGJ) and what is taught in the book, To Train Up a Child

As you might imagine, the internet is chock-full of information about Hana William's tragic death and the trial against her adoptive parents.  In case you would like to do further reading, we highly recommend two websites:

Why Not Train A Child (Hermana Linda)

Under Much Grace (Cindy Kunsman)

These bloggers have been following this situation very closely and have great insights. 

To be clear, the Pearls are NOT on trial, but we have to wonder to what extent they exerted influence on the Williams, particularly Carri, through their materials.

I purchased the first edition of To Train Up A Child and was highly disturbed by what I read.  To give you some understanding of the contents of this book, here is a portion of my post entitled Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child and a Trip to Home Depot.

*****************************************

Today we are wrapping up our review of To Train Up A Child, authored by Michael and Debi Pearl. Their approach to “child training” has drawn both applause and criticism. It is interesting that there seems to be no middle ground with regard to the Pearl’s approach to child rearing. Before we get into the Pearls’ teachings on “the rod”, we want to share another unusual way they “trained” their children.

Michael Pearl writes:

When I was yet young I determined that I would rear no sissies. When an infant fell over from a sitting position to the floor and bumped his head, we pretended to ignore it. When a toddler took a spill, we let him lie, whimper a second and then climb back up for another try. When a toddler fell out of the wagon or stumbled into the dirt, we let him deal with it. When the young ones wrecked their bicycle and skinned their knee, we paid no attention except to say something like, “You shouldn’t go so fast until you learn to ride better.” (pp. 85-86)

With an attitude like that should it surprise anyone that the Pearls heavily promote the use of “the rod” in their “child training”?

At the beginning of Chapter 5 – The Rod, Pearl explains that he observed a “miserable, constantly complaining, whining and angry” child and his mother. He writes: “The mother, made miserable by the little tyrant’s rebellious antics, was ill-tempered toward him. But she continued to plead with him…” (p. 35) Pearl explains that he said to the mother, “Why don’t you give him a spanking and make him happy?” (p. 35)

Michael Pearl introduces his discussion of the rod as follows: “Let’s talk about spankings—sometimes called “whippings.” “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (Prov. 13:24).” (p. 35) Remember, Pearl is a KJVO kinda preacher…

One thing that Pearl excels at is proof-texting. On page 44 of To Train Up A Child, he asks whether the reader comforts his children with a rod. Then he writes: “If you have not seen the rod as a comfort to your child, you have missed its purpose.” Immediately following this statement, he quotes Psalm 23:4, as follows: “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

Let’s stop right here. What does the Scripture mean by the words “rod” and “staff” in this context?

William Barclay interpreted Psalm 23 this way:

“He [the shepherd] had his rod and his staff. The staff was a long crooked stick. Always the shepherd walked with it in his hand, and, when a sheep showed signs of straying, he would stretch out and pull it back with the crook. He carried the rod at his belt. It was a stout piece of wood, perhaps three feet long, with a lump of wood the size of an orange at one end of it. With this the shepherd fought the battles of the flock, using it to drive off wild beasts and to defend the flock against the robbers who would steal the sheep.”

If the rod in Psalm 23:4 is equated with discipline, it simply does not fit the context. Does it make any sense that sheep would lie down in green pastures beside still waters only to be beaten with a rod? Absolutely not! The rod in this verse is not used to beat the sheep – instead, it is used to comfort them. The shepherd uses the rod to drive away wild animals that would hurt the sheep.

Pearl also lists 2 Samuel 7:14 “I will chasten him with a rod…” and Psalm 89:32 “Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes”, which more aptly apply to the correct interpretation of “rod”.

On page 45 the rod is called a “magic wand”. According to Pearl, it can do magic things when used on your children. Here’s what he says will happen if you don’t use the rod: “Rail to use the rod on this child (who is a bully to other kids), and you are creating a “Nazi”. Pearl concludes:

Somehow, after eight or ten licks, the poison is transformed into gushing love and contentment. The world becomes a beautiful place. A brand new child emerges. It makes an adult stare at the rod in wonder, trying to see what magic is contained therein.” (p. 45)

How is the rod applied? Here are Pearl’s instructions to parents:

“Use your own judgment as to what is effective. I found five to ten licks usually sufficient. Sometimes, with older children, usually when the licks are not forceful enough, the child may still be rebellious. If this occurs, take time to instruct and then continue spanking. A genera’ rule is to continue the disciplinary action until the child is surrendered.” (p. 46)

What is an “instrument of love”, as Pearl calls a rod? He explains that a spanking must cause pain. Then he tells the parent to “select your instrument according to the child’s size. For the under one year old, a little, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch in diameter is sufficient… For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.” (p. 47)

Let’s stop right here and see what Dr. James Dobson says about the appropriate ages to spank children. In The New Dare to Discipline Dobson explains: “There is no excuse for spanking babies or children younger than fifteen to eighteen months of age.” (p. 65)

Pearl is absolutely WRONG here. To spank a baby under the age of one is ABUSIVE.

Immediately following this section, Pearl cautions parents who would act in the extreme. To his credit he states: “The rod should not be a vent for the parent’s anger… There is no place for that selfish vindictive streak in the discipline of children.” (p. 48)

Then Pearl share his “Philosophy of the Rod”, which is: “The rod is the parents’ main tangible aid to bring the child to understand the judgment of God—and eventually the grace of God.” (p. 50)

Here’s the part of To Train Up A Child that bothered me terribly. It has to do with “Persistence”. Pearl begins this section by saying that some have asked, “But what if the child only screams louder, gets madder?” (when being spanked).

This is how he responds:

Know that if he is accustomed to getting his unrestricted way, you can expect just such a response. He will just continue to do what he has always done to get his way. It is his purpose to intimidate you and make you fell like a crud pile. Don’t be bullied. Give him more of the same. On the bare legs or bottom, switch him eight or ten licks; then, while waiting for the pain to subside, speak calm words of rebuke. If the crying turns to a true, wounded, submissive, whimper, you have conquered; he has submitted his will. If the crying is still defiant, protesting and other than a response to pain, spank him again. If this is the first time he has come up against someone tougher than he, it may take a while. He must be convinced that you have truly altered your expectations.” (p. 80)

Immediately following these instructions, Pearl writes:

There is no justification for this to be done in anger. If you are the least angry, wait until another time. Most parents are so guilt laden and paranoid that they are unable to carry this through to the end.” (p. 80)

And right after the above statement is this statement:

“If you stop before he is voluntarily submissive, you have confirmed to him the value and effectiveness of a screaming protest. The next time, it will take twice as long to convince him of your commitment to his obedience, because he has learned the ultimate triumph of endurance in this episode in which he has prevailed. Once he learns that the reward of a tantrum is a swift forceful spanking, he will NEVER throw another fit.” (p. 80)

We believe the above excerpts from To Train Up A Child demonstrate that the Pearls provide conflicting instruction to parents about the use of the rod. On the one hand they are told to spank with the rod until they “conquer” their children by having them surrender their will; yet they are to use the rod without being angry…

**********************************************

How scary to think that so many of the Pearls' books are floating around out there.  It's incredible that they advocate spanking babies under the age of one (found on page 47 of the first edition).  Let's look at the quote again:

For the under one year old, a little, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch in diameter is sufficient…

And don't forget that the plumbing lines are what the Pearls recommend as a 'rod' in their materials.

On Monday, Dee will take a closer look at babies and some of the interpretations about 'discipline' and 'salvation' found among Christian leaders.  For example, she will be discussing whether babies go to heaven or hell.  Incredibly, there are 'opinions' on both sides…

Rest assured, we will be following the Hana Williams case closely and will provide our readers with an update when the verdict is rendered. 

Please pray that justice will prevail.

Lydia's Corner:   Ezra 8:21-9:15   1 Corinthians 5:1-13   Psalm 31:1-8   Proverbs 21:1-2

Comments

The Senseless Death of Hana Williams — 107 Comments

  1. What does the Scripture mean by the words “rod” and “staff” in this context?

    And even for the other vs., beside Psalm 23 (which obviously doesn’t fit and Pearl is just grasping at straws), most of them are in Proverbs – and when was the last time we were required to take poetry/wisdom literature literally? I’m always amazed at how upset some people get when you propose that the rod could just be symbolic of discipline in general and doesn’t necessarily mandate hitting your kids. I assume these people also believe there’s a lady named Wisdom hanging out in Jerusalem, that unbelievers are venomous, and that they’d be required to slit their own throat if they ever ate with the President.

    We believe the above excerpts from To Train Up A Child demonstrate that the Pearls provide conflicting instruction to parents about the use of the rod. On the one hand they are told to spank with the rod until they “conquer” their children by having them surrender their will; yet they are to use the rod without being angry…

    Not necessarily contradictory, but the person who could do both is likely some kind of sociopath/psychopath or at least a big bully, because what it essentially adds up to is deliberately and calculatingly making someone else’s life hell until you “win” and they give you what you want. And yes, judging from what I’ve read about his behavior, I would include Michael Pearl in the “bully” group. Take a look at this. Warning: Michael talks about his honeymoon so get ready to bleach your brain when you’re done.

  2. This story is awful on so many levels.

    The Pearls know nothing about the love of God. These miserable parents knew nothing of the love of God.

    God IS love….not a child beater, child murderer. And I bet these folks proclaimed to be staunchly pro-life.

  3. @ Hester: on Monday, I am going to discuss the difference between being born with a sin nature and intentionally sinning. There are those who hold to the the sin nature as being worthy of punishment in this world, even with no conscious knowledge of sin. For the sin dwellers, this is enough to beat the living daylights out of babies.

    IMO, the Pearls are simply the Westboro Baptist of the physical punishment world.

  4. Lin wrote:

    The Pearls know nothing about the love of God.

    Here is where it gets bizarre. As you know, today there are some who are redefining love to mean to “discipline.” Whaddaya wanna bet, the Pearls do the same?

  5. dee wrote:

    Lin wrote:

    The Pearls know nothing about the love of God.

    Here is where it gets bizarre. As you know, today there are some who are redefining love to mean to “discipline.” Whaddaya wanna bet, the Pearls do the same?

    ……………………

    Undoubtedly. Everything is about control. Wonder how all these cruel creeps will make out when they call out for mercy in prison or on a sick bed? Always a different tune when the taskmasters/child/wife beaters, are in need of mercy or justice.
    As in this story of the Williams….each blaming the other and the wretched mother, blaming the child for her own death. Those corrupt excuses and their repugnant pleas for mercy, will not likely sit well with the jury.

  6. Lin:

    Sadly the Southern Baptist Convention has been all about control for several decades now. We will continue to hear of the results of the abuse of this control on untold lives.

  7. @ mot: Who better to control than the infants. They cannot talk back or defend themselves. Child abuse is a problem in the church.

  8. Dee:

    The element of control I have seen in Southern Baptist Churches disturbs me greatly. Even as an adult Sunday School classes have become anything but a place to discuss Biblical items because if you take the different view than the Southern Baptist view from the higher ups you will have problems.

  9. Michael Pearl writes:

    “When I was yet young I determined that I would rear no sissies….”

    Sounds like Hypermasculinity in play. (“ME MAN! I CAN BEAT YOU UP!”)

    Where have we heard “I would rear no sissies” before? Wasn’t there some preacher who got his 15 minutes of fame preaching about “Beat the Fag out of your kid”?

  10. Hester wrote:

    I would include Michael Pearl in the “bully” group. Take a look at this. Warning: Michael talks about his honeymoon so get ready to bleach your brain when you’re done.

    That is not a honeymoon. That’s a male nymphomaniac with sexual sin-sniffing OCD breaking in his “female creature” sex slave.

  11. @ dee:
    You will also raise generations of adults trained to submit to the “godly” authorities in their lives, because they’ve been taught to submit rather than to think critically. People trained this way will not question their minister when he tells them not to call law enforcement when their child has been molested.
    Another scripture that is popular among churches that teach child training methods, such as the Pearl’s, is, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalms 111:10 It is fear that keeps these kids in line- not love.

    I still have a copy of “To Train Up a Child” collecting dust on my bookshelf. These books are widely promoted in many churches and in the Homeschool Movement(TM). There are thousands of children today being “disciplined” the same way Hana was. Lord, please stop the abuse.

  12. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    I still have a copy of “To Train Up a Child” collecting dust on my bookshelf. These books are widely promoted in many churches and in the Homeschool Movement(TM). There are thousands of children today being “disciplined” the same way Hana was. Lord, please stop the abuse.

    Is your copy the newer version or the black and white copy with a horse and buggy (like mine)?

  13. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    You will also raise generations of adults trained to submit to the “godly” authorities in their lives, because they’ve been taught to submit rather than to think critically. People trained this way will not question their minister when he tells them not to call law enforcement when their child has been molested.

    And will be pre-conditioned for Reconstructionism — Taking Back America and Making it into a Truly Godly Republic of Gilead. Submit and Obey. God Hath Said!

    “Ich habe nur meine Befehle ausgefert.”

  14. Deb wrote:

    Is your copy the newer version or the black and white copy with a horse and buggy (like mine)?

    Mine has the black and white cover of a horse and buggy. Its copyright is 1994. It’s the fourteenth printing in 2002.

  15. Hester wrote:

    I’m always amazed at how upset some people get when you propose that the rod could just be symbolic of discipline in general and doesn’t necessarily mandate hitting your kids.

    I don’t get that either. They set the seeming method above the clear purpose and I don’t understand why.

    Hester wrote:

    Warning: Michael talks about his honeymoon so get ready to bleach your brain when you’re done.

    I read that too. The whole review series is here:

    http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/p/created-to-need-help-meet-review.html

    I’m not convinced Michael sees Debi/women as fully human and seems to think his male readers don’t either.

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Hester wrote:
    I would include Michael Pearl in the “bully” group. Take a look at this. Warning: Michael talks about his honeymoon so get ready to bleach your brain when you’re done.
    That is not a honeymoon. That’s a male nymphomaniac with sexual sin-sniffing OCD breaking in his “female creature” sex slave.

    Oh. My. Goodness. How unutterably selfish is that man? He has a terrifying lack of empathy (as well as common sense)…I suppose his , sorry , their child rearing books could only come from one so blind & his brainwashed, conditioned, ground down slave. Uck uck uck.

  17. @ HUG:

    That is not a honeymoon. That’s a male nymphomaniac with sexual sin-sniffing OCD breaking in his “female creature” sex slave.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  18. @ Deb & BTDT:

    I have a copy of the old buggy edition because I forcibly removed it from the same resource library that my Big Box came from. We didn’t know who the original owner was so I claimed it for myself. I’m contemplating fisking it once the Box is empty.

    I wonder if any not-so-flattering things have been “modified” since that original edition?

  19. mot wrote:

    f you take the different view than the Southern Baptist view from the higher ups you will have problems

    And there are now two types of Baptists who do not like each other.

  20. Did I ever mention that a Pearl devotee attended my old PCA church for a time? She whipped a tiny dowel out of her diaper bag right in front of me and one of the moms when the mom asked her how she got her children to behave in church. I asked her some rather pointed questions (which seemed to make the other mom uncomfortable but I’m waaaay past caring when it comes to the Pearls), which I suspect she thought she answered beautifully but really she just ran through the same circular logic over and over again. She was also pretty haughty when challenged – about 25yo with a 4yo, and she subtly condescended to my 50yo mom as if she didn’t know how to raise children. It was the only time in my life so far I have ever met a person I could describe as spiritually ugly. That’s still the only phrase I can think of to describe it and it’s been 2 years.

    She will learn someday…unfortunately, probably the hard way.

  21. Hester wrote:

    @
    I wonder if any not-so-flattering things have been “modified” since that original edition?

    That’s a good question. My edition says in bold, “Over 360,000 in Print.” I cringe thinking that over 360,000 families had used the Pearl’s “original edition” by 2002.

  22. @ HUG:

    And will be pre-conditioned for Reconstructionism — Taking Back America and Making it into a Truly Godly Republic of Gilead.

    Well, at least Mikey is honest about it! Once he mentions the New World Order (see below, emphasis Pearl’s), you know you’re dealing with a crazed conspiracy nut whose logical thinking switch got turned off a looooooooong time ago. Now if only he’d put it at the front of the book instead of p. 95 so we didn’t have to waste so much time before finding it.

    One judge is Nebraska said that the public educational system is preparing the children of America for the year 2000 when we will all merge into the new world order. He went on to say that the children of Christian homeschool families would not fit into that planned system.

    Never even consider sending your children to private Christian schools, much less the public automaton factory. Whether a classroom is based completely on Christian education or secular is not the issue (although, we would by far prefer the Christian). 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. The world’s system digs a pit and then creates a myriad of industries to reclaim the tragic lives that fall into it. Classroom education for the young is a pit. The psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, Planned Parenthood, policemen, social manipulators, juvenile courts, drug dealers, penal institutions, and medical doctors stand on the edge of the pit competing for the business generated by the shovels of the National Education Association. …

    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.

    Nope. God doesn’t want kids USING THEIR BRAINS. Cops, doctors, and psychiatrists are JUST AS BAD AS DRUG DEALERS. And who wants to bet that the failed prediction of the New World Order by 2000 was scrubbed from later editions?

  23. Some ten years ago, or such, my family visited a local evangelical charismatic Presbyterian church (upper middle class congregation) in our middle size universities inhabited city. The pastor preached on child training and the necessity of corporal punishment. At the door as the congregation left after the service there was a give-away of smallish dowels with which to whap one’s children.

    It was an eye-opener for me. I thought that only the most ignorant and isolated drunks and druggies acted like that with their children. Of course, I still think that, only now I think that the price of the cars in the church parking lot will not tell you who is an ignorant, isolated, drunk druggie.

  24. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    You will also raise generations of adults trained to submit to the “godly” authorities in their lives, because they’ve been taught to submit rather than to think critically.

    Great comment.

  25. @ dee: Yep – like margaret Atwood has one of her characters say in The Handmaid’s Tale,
    those who are raised in the new, abusive system will have no memory of what it’s like to live outside those constraints…

  26. At the moment it seems to me that reading tons of bible / OD-ing on the bible / consuming the words in the bible out of proportion to other mental processes and activities in life leads to weirdness and unhealth by degrees.

    Erodes common sense by degrees.

    What’s out of proportion? Moderation in all things comes to mind. Even in spiritual pursuits.

    Encountering the Bible = encountering God himself also comes to mind.

  27. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    My edition says in bold, “Over 360,000 in Print.” I cringe thinking that over 360,000 families had used the Pearl’s “original edition” by 2002.

    Maybe that just means that they printed 360,000 books and are still working on getting buyers. ;-)

  28. Wow. I sincerely hope that there are boxes of unsold/ungiven books mouldering in people’s basements across the nation. Of the books given, I’d be surprised if half of them have been read. But they’re printed!

    They ding the bell at the top of the cheezoid scale. Throwing pearls before swine (rather than not). A stye in the eye. Plop-a-slop.

    Or something.

  29. dee wrote:

    And there are now two types of Baptists who do not like each other.

    Many more than two. One, the SBC, does not get along well with most of the other Baptist conventions. Most of the others get along and cooperate on various projects. The SBC is “our way or no way” in its approach to most issues.

    The CBF, American Baptists, and others organizations seem to have friendly relationships. The Alliance of Baptists, with is the most liberal offshoot from the old SBC, is a small group, but Baptist generally in ecclesiology (church polity) and theology, but a very liberal position on gender identity issues.

  30. @ Nancy:
    I would have been tempted to approach the preacher with one and tell him I needed to test drive this disciplinary tool on his person.

  31. Thank you for the link. Excellent post! I was wondering if you really meant to link to one of my posts under the words, “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child and a Trip to Home Depot,” because I expected to find a link to your post of that name there.

  32. @ Hermana Linda:

    I checked some of the hyperlinks, but not all. Thanks for pointing out that I was linking to your current post. That hyperlink has been fixed.

    I appreciate everything you are doing to bring attention to this serious matter. What is wrong with these parents?

  33. Religious homeschoolers are always terrified that The government will increase scrutiny on them and the way they raise their kids.

    The more this kind of thing happens, the stronger the case becomes for just that kind of action.

    The religious home school movement should take note, and instead of wallowing in HSLDA conspiracy theories about how CPS is going to come steal all their kids away for having dust on a countertop start denouncing people like the Pearls and people who teach similarly.

    If they can’t bring themselves to do that, or worse, come to the defense of such people, them they deserve everything the government does to reign it in.

  34. In my Province, you have to sign a legal doc. saying you will not spank your adoptive children, or any other children residing in the house. Why does Washington state not have that? None of these parents would have passed home studies where I live, also in BC you can’t have more than 6 kids (under 18) in the home if you seek to adopt, so none of these parents would be eligible to adopt anyways. Time for Washington state to tighten up it’s adoption rules. These freaks should never have been allowed to adopt kids in the first place! We have no control over babies born to parents like these, but adoption should be near impossible for them!

  35. @ formerly anonymous:

    Ouch, my eyes hurt just reading that and my brain is about to explode! Why did Debi stay with him after that “honeymoon”? Run Debi, run!

    I guess if you are dumb enough to stay with a guy like that, you are dumb enough to parent like that.

    If you can’t find another way to discipline kids beyond endless spankings, you are pretty bone-headed – my kids got disciplined by a) having to sit in a corner (hated it) b) lost a treat when we went to the store (they give free cookies, I convinced my kids it was only for those who behaved) c) got a favourite toy/TV time removed d) now is even easier, only I know the passwords to the computers/tablets in the house :) My son would just prefer I spank him, he asked me for that rather than computer time off – I actually haven’t spanked him since he was, oh 3, so I laughed at his request. Do my kids sit quietly in church? Nope, I go to a church with a Sunday school program and just make them stand through the singing – works much better than bringing beating instruments to church. Do I care if my son goes and lies in the lobby during non-Sunday School services? No. I don’t care if some one calls me a bad Mom, the more legalistic the mom, the better a badge of honour for me :) My Pinterest Board makes fun of moms who are all worried about being perfect. I silently wonder if I should and the cirtic’s face to the board.

  36. @ Val:

    We have no control over babies born to parents like these, but adoption should be near impossible for them!

    Yes, but if you point that out, the response you will get from the kind of folks who defend Pearl materials – even the ones who say things like “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” and aren’t True Believers – is usually something like “SO YOU DON’T THINK CHRISTIANS SHOULD ADOPT?!?!?!?!” At least that’s what happened on FB last time I saw abuse of adopted kids by Christians mentioned. Immediately followed by “THE LIBRULS ARE AFTER US!!!!!!”

  37. @ Hester:
    I think we just reverse their game, they don’t call us Christians, so we won’t call them Christians,

    so next fb post: ‘You don’t think CHristians should adopt?’
    answer: ‘Only real Christians, the Pearls are fakes’
    fb reaction: ‘How do you know???’
    answer: Only real Christians can handle the rules of state, those who can’t need to read xxxx vs. about obeying the law, not circumventing it.
    fb reaction: Liberals are Satanic
    answer: Then your lack of praying caused the Liberals to be over you and God is (who you all think ordains everything) using this to correct your faithless ways, repent and obey the law, or you are worse than an unbeliever (all written in KJ old English style, if they are Pearl followers). Thou therefor be unworthy therof to adopt untilth thou can submit to the liberal overseers of thy land thou dost liveth in.

    Ha! Tell them in the meantime, those who can manage the adoption reform laws of the state will do the adopting until they see the light ;) I am so helpful, aren’t I?

  38. Hester wrote:

    At least that’s what happened on FB last time I saw abuse of adopted kids by Christians mentioned. Immediately followed by “THE LIBRULS ARE AFTER US!!!!!!”

    “HILLARY CLINTON!
    HILLARY CLINTON!
    HILLARY’S COMING
    TO DAT YOUR CHILDREN!
    AAAAAGH! AAAAAGH!”
    – afternoon drive-time radio guys speculating about GOP campaign commercials

  39. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    No, I think they should beat those parents with a plumbing thingy, starve them and leave them outside in the prison yard on the cold rainy Pacific NW nights, naked and wash them off with a cold hose. And do it often. They didn't see anything wrong with that sort of punishment, why should they be spared?

  40. Deb wrote:

    Does anyone know if the Pearls are still using this sales system? I haven’t checked into it since writing the post two years ago.

    Was that the Pearl Pyramid Scheme?

    AKA Amway except with Pearl Child-breaking Manuals instead of Soap?

  41. Patrice wrote:

    BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    My edition says in bold, “Over 360,000 in Print.” I cringe thinking that over 360,000 families had used the Pearl’s “original edition” by 2002.

    Maybe that just means that they printed 360,000 books and are still working on getting buyers. ;-)

    That explains the pyramid scheme.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW4jaol5_Yo
    (I was looking for the Dr Demento song “Top of the Pyramid” but all my searches brought up Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory videos, so here’s the Alan Parsons Project instead.)

  42. What in the world prompts people to act so completely unlike Christ while professing to be doing these things for the cause of Christ. At no time did Jesus ever conduct himself like these control freaks. It is not Christ’s way, and so for those who are truly following the way of Christ, we should desire to act the he did.

  43. If we know pastors are passing out dowels in their churches for smacking children, or that someone in the congregation has a “rod” in their diaper bag, why aren’t we as believers reporting abuse to the authorities? Most states that I am aware of allow you to report anonymously. I am considered a “mandated” reporter by my church because of my supervisory duties in our children’s department (I’m a volunteer). I have been trained to spot suspected abuse, and I legally have to report it. The last case I reported, after having one of our children show up with bruises all over him, resulted in a placement with family members while the single, stressed out mother got help. She didn’t understand appropriate discipline,and now she does. Mother and child are doing well. If we know, we need to report. Young children cannot defend themselves, and older children may not know how to look for help.

  44. Pingback: The Wartburg Watch Revisits The Pearls’ Teachings | Why Not Train A Child? UNITED STATES

  45. @ Val:
    Val, we do have to sign a statement that we won’t spank or mistreat the children we adopt. It includes, in my state at least, a list of things we won’t do, like denying food or putting them in a closet. Unfortunately, I think some parents sign it to get approved never intending to abide by it. I’m not sure how we fix that aspect of the process as it comes down to honesty. My adopted daughter will never be spanked. Firstly because I signed that paper. Secondly, because I did research into spanking before signing to understand why they wanted me to sign it.

  46. @ Lin:

    I would like to know what agency (private or state) approved the home study?

    I don’t know what the laws are in WA but not every state requires approval of the curriculum, so it may not have been approved (or even looked at) by anybody. If it was, it was probably by someone at the local school.

  47. Hester wrote:

    @ Lin:
    I would like to know what agency (private or state) approved the home study?
    I don’t know what the laws are in WA but not every state requires approval of the curriculum, so it may not have been approved (or even looked at) by anybody. If it was, it was probably by someone at the local school.

    Sorry was not clear on, “home study “, as in for adoption. These people had to have an approved (either by private or state) home study conducted by a licensed social worker. Would like to know the source of the initial approval.

  48. Hi everyone, this is my first time commenting. I have followed this with much interest for many years now. One thing I have never seen mentioned; I was homeschooled from 5th grade on. My mom used a prepared curriculum for the first few years. The year she started my younger brother in kindergarten,To Train Up A Child,was included with the materials. I had opened the box,and thought,”Oh,an Amish story!” At 14 I skimmed throuhgt

  49. Sorry,my phone is acting up, and submitted my comment before I was ready. I just wanted to mention that for my family, the Pearl’s book came into our home as part of a trusted homeschooling curriculum. I read it before my mom and promptly dropped it behind the bookcase. lol.

  50. Hester wrote:

    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.

    This is a whole new level of wow. :shock:

  51. Val wrote:

    b) lost a treat when we went to the store (they give free cookies, I convinced my kids it was only for those who behaved)

    This would have worked on me.

  52. Check out today’s post on http://oslersrazor.blogspot.it/, where he refers to and offers a link to an item about a funeral for a ten year old boy. And follow the link. This “sermon” is what hurting people need to hear. “I am with you, and I will be here for you as long as you need me. And God is with you for forever.”

  53. Hester wrote:

    @ formerly anonymous:
    Yup. Because using your brain = not real life. Maybe a confession on Michael’s part?

    Don’t you know? Everything they are learning in school is just GODLESS LIBERUL LIEZ

  54. Val wrote:

    In my Province, you have to sign a legal doc. saying you will not spank your adoptive children, or any other children residing in the house.

    The US is in the dark ages when it comes to this matter. There are still school districts that spank for discipline. Some evangelicals oppose any sort of anti spanking mandate. A large number of Christian churches, some here in the Raleigh area, place recommended books that advocated spanking children, some as young as 8 months old.

  55. Hester wrote:

    @ HUG:

    That is not a honeymoon. That’s a male nymphomaniac with sexual sin-sniffing OCD breaking in his “female creature” sex slave.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Thinking of it a little more, there’s another factor to add to the mix. Make that “a male nymphomaniac with sin-sniffing OCD and at least a decade of pent-up forbidden sexual fantasies“. Sexual fantasies that grow and elaborate and accrete in secret. And now he has his own always-submssive “female creature” to try them out on and make up for those 10+ years of lost time.

    That other commenter was right. This is very similar to the dynamic behind a serial rapist or serial sex killer. The only difference is Pearl didn’t have the trigger incident or incidents that would have pushed him onto that route.

    Another possible factor is if Pearl was raised in Christianese Purity Culture. If so, while all those sexual fantasies grew and accreted, he would have been keeping his virginity with promises of being able to indulge them ALL starting immediately on his wedding night. It’s the bribe of 24/7/365 dynamite married S*E*X that’s all too often used in Purity Culture to keep the kids “saving themselves for marriage”.

  56. anonymous wrote:

    If we know pastors are passing out dowels in their churches for smacking children, or that someone in the congregation has a “rod” in their diaper bag, why aren’t we as believers reporting abuse to the authorities?

    Tribal identity. Circling the wagons and defending others of our tribe against The Other outside that tribe.

  57. @ JustSomeGuy:

    The religious home school movement should take note, and instead of wallowing in HSLDA conspiracy theories about how CPS is going to come steal all their kids away for having dust on a countertop start denouncing people like the Pearls and people who teach similarly. If they can’t bring themselves to do that, or worse, come to the defense of such people, them they deserve everything the government does to reign it in.

    As I usually put it: you can’t help people who don’t want to be helped. Or, the Christian homeschool bubble is happily, cluelessly playing away on the railroad tracks and no matter how many times you tell them that a train will eventually come, they just keep singing LA LA LA LA LA louder and louder.

  58. Michael Pearl’s views seem to be mainstream in Baptist fundamentalism. In the ABC 20/20 documentary on Tina Anderson, they played audio of an IFB preacher advocating the spanking of month-old babies.

    Here is an IFBx preacher claiming that Michael Pearl’s teachings are not responsible for the deaths of Hannah Williams, Lydia Schatz, and Sean Paddock: http://www.wayoflife.org/index_files/friday_church_news_12_44.html

    David Cloud has the gall to write:

    “In the third case, four-year-old Sean Paddock died in 2006 of suffocation after being wrapped tightly in a blanket. He was beaten daily using a plumbing tube recommended by Pearl as a disciplinary instrument. Though we don’t agree with Pearl on some doctrinal issues, his teaching about child discipline is certainly not abusive. He emphasizes that discipline must be done in love and wisdom or it won’t work.” [End of Quote]

    How is “disciplining” a child with a plumbing tube not abusive???

  59. Nicholas wrote:

    Michael Pearl’s views seem to be mainstream in Baptist fundamentalism. In the ABC 20/20 documentary on Tina Anderson, they played audio of an IFB preacher advocating the spanking of month-old babies.

    The 20/20 documentary also played audio of an IFB preacher saying “if you’re not bruising your child, you’re not spanking you’re child enough.”

  60. dee wrote:

    @ Lori: They believe that they are obeying by beating the sin out of these little ones.

    That’s because these little creatures came out of our wombs as sinners – - – so they say.

    Nicholas wrote:

    Related: http://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/06/17/voddie-baucham-prescription-for-spanking-and-the-shy-child/

    BTW, Voddie Baucham and I got into it on Twitter and then via e-mail because of that post, Nicholas. He actually sent me his book a couple of weeks ago so I could get a better understanding of how he views spanking/parenting and not take him out of context. I’m as disturbed as ever having skimmed it. It might make for some interesting blog posts, though.

  61. Julie Anne wrote:

    dee wrote:

    @ Lori: They believe that they are obeying by beating the sin out of these little ones.

    That’s because these little creatures came out of our wombs as sinners – – – so they say.

    No, they came out of our wombs as UTTERLY DEPRAVED SINNERS(TM)!!!!!

  62. In this Youtube video, Michael Pearl denies that humanity is born with a sinful nature, and basically says that sin is the result of being infected from the outside world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pHqAG_jWm9E

    With this anthropology, Michael Pearl probably actually believes that it is possible to “beat the sin out of these little ones.”

    Though I hate to use IFBx David Cloud as a source, he quotes from Pearl’s materials showing that Pearl believes in sinless perfectionism: http://www.wayoflife.org/index_files/beware_michael_pearl.html

    The relevant quotes are:

    “WE SHOULD AND CAN SIN NO MORE! … I have been preaching AND LIVING this gospel of sanctification for many years. It is not a theory. It is practical, Scriptural reality” (“Living Parallel Lives in the Same Space” No Greater Joy, Jan.-Feb. 2005, p. 21).”

    “I preach it in the prisons, and it works on men who have lived lives of total addiction and enslavement. They come unto me all the time, bubbling over with joy, and TELL ME THAT THEY ARE NOW FREE FROM ALL SIN. … walking in complete victory over sin and self” (“Living Parallel Lives in the Same Space” No Greater Joy, Jan.-Feb. 2005, p. 21).”

    Voddie Baucham and Doug Phillips are Calvinists (the opposite side of the theological spectrum from Pearl), but Baucham’s teaching on spanking seems almost identical to Pearl’s. Baucham might justify such intensity of spanking as being necessary because of Total Depravity, but I have yet to read anything Baucham has written. I hope that Julie Anne will do some blog posts about Baucham’s book.

    Voddie Baucham is essentially a follower of Doug Phillips. Although Phillips is still considered fringy, and is an Independent Baptist, Baucham is an SBC pastor and seems to be considered mainstream in neo-cal circles like Doug Wilson is. Baucham has spoken at the SBC Founders Conference as well.

  63. @ Hester:

    That is truly disgusting and disturbing. God gave me brains to help me escape from such quagmires. I’d like to show them some “discipline”.

  64. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    n’t understand appropriate discipline,and now she does. Mother and child are doing well. If we know, we need to report. Young childr

    He does that, too. They talk about the dog training they do being the same as the kid training, setting them up to get a whipping to teach obedience.

  65. @ Nicholas:

    Yeah, I tried to sort out Pearl’s views on sinful nature a few years back and I had to stop because my brain kept tying itself in knots. His views are so bizarre that it’s obvious something has gone badly, badly wrong.

    He also, somewhere in there, claimed that the last king of Israel died when Jesus was a child, which in my view should disqualify him based on nothing more than gross incompetence. Anybody who can be off by that many centuries, in the information age (and who’s not a writer for The Onion), is not responsible enough (or maybe even smart enough) to be teaching the Bible or really, anything. It would be like claiming that Winston Churchill fought in the Battle of Hastings and then passing yourself off as a legitimate historian. And such a person is certainly not qualified to criticize the public schools for doing a bad job, when his definition of homeschooling doing “better” is apparently inclusive of his own historical whoppers.

  66. Nicholas wrote:

    In this Youtube video, Michael Pearl denies that humanity is born with a sinful nature, and basically says that sin is the result of being infected from the outside world: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pHqAG_jWm9E

    With the corollary “If you raise your child completely isolated from the outside world He WILL Grow Up Sinless.” Do I need to point out how dangerous that can get?

    With this anthropology, Michael Pearl probably actually believes that it is possible to “beat the sin out of these little ones.”

    Just beat them enough and they WILL Grow Up Sinless/Godly. Well, everything else about their spanking obsession falls right into line.

    Though I hate to use IFBx David Cloud as a source, he quotes from Pearl’s materials showing that Pearl believes in sinless perfectionism: http://www.wayoflife.org/index_files/beware_michael_pearl.html

    In my experience, Sinless Perfectionism has always been a weapon of One-Upmanship. Just like any “I’m Better than You” proof, except this rings God in as an additional weapon in the One-Upmanship Game. Isn’t there a Commandment against this? (Hint: “Taking the LORD thy God’s Name in vain” didn’t originally refer to cussing.)

  67. Hester wrote:

    And such a person is certainly not qualified to criticize the public schools for doing a bad job, when his definition of homeschooling doing “better” is apparently inclusive of his own historical whoppers.

    Hasn’t stopped that Wilson guy in Moscow, Idaho.

  68. Nicholas wrote:

    Voddie Baucham and Doug Phillips are Calvinists (the opposite side of the theological spectrum from Pearl), but Baucham’s teaching on spanking seems almost identical to Pearl’s. Baucham might justify such intensity of spanking as being necessary because of Total Depravity, but I have yet to read anything Baucham has written.

    Just from what showed up here at TWW, Baucham sounds more like “Beat Fluttershy enough and she’ll turn into Rainbow Dash” than “Beat the Sin out of your kid and he’ll grow up in Sinless Perfection.”

  69. Julie Anne wrote:

    That’s because these little creatures came out of our wombs as sinners – – – so they say.

    God showed more compassion and mercy on a lot of adult sinners (such as King David, who had a guy murdered) than some of these Christians do to babies and children.

    They remind me of…
    Bugs Bunny Vs Baby Finster

    (In Bugs Bunny’s defense, he’s only abusing the “baby” in the cartoon because he figures out later that the baby is actually a grown man who is a bank robber pretending to be a baby to elude the police)

    The entire cartoon:

    Bugs Bunny Baby cartoon

  70. We have two adopted African girls, Lydia Schatz and Hannah Williams, beaten to death by white IFB adoptive parents who followed Michael Pearl and TTUAC. I also know that there is a lot of racism in the IFB movement. Is there anyone besides me who sees another possible connection here?

  71. I used to get the Pearls’ magazine “No Greater Joy.” Someone else signed me up for it, and most issues went straight to the trash. Once I skimmed one of the issues and it was bizarre. The first article outlined in detail all of the sexual sins your CHILD might fall into (I am talking under age 12), and prescribed spanking for every single one. Including older boys trying to force sex acts on younger boys. (No mention of professional help at all). They talked about it as though it was a common happening, as though all children sin sexually and parents must be vigilant to spank it out of them. I gathered that they live in a bubble that is more sex-crazed than the world outside it. I would never visit that church with my children.

  72. Just to clarify, home schooled children or churches is NOT the issue…it’s child abuse. Which happens in the church and OUT of the church. Because of people. My mom is a public school teacher, and the amount of abuse AND bullying that occurs IN the PUBLIC schools is staggering. Abuse is a problem….but it is not exclusive to church or home schoolers. There are good and bad parents….period.

  73. Nicholas wrote:

    They should have been convicted of 1st degree murder, but our courts would probably have made that impossible.

    Of course its not possible. Unless the prosecutor can show they had intent to kill the girl ahead of when she died but direct action of them. That’s what 1st degree means. (A lawyer can clean up my thoughts but I think I’m on the right track here.)

    These people sound cruel and stupid but it doesn’t seem like they planned to kill the girl.

  74. @ LFY:

    Including older boys trying to force sex acts on younger boys. (No mention of professional help at all.) They talked about it as though it was a common happening, as though all children sin sexually and parents must be vigilant to spank it out of them.

    I hope that wasn’t a disturbingly revealing peek into Michael’s upbringing and what was considered par for the course in his family. If so, it might explain a few things, not least his obsession with informing everybody that he is a real manly masculine man.

  75. The verdict is in…

    Couple Who Followed Controversial Child-Rearing Book Convicted of Manslaughter

    A Washington couple accused of following the philosophy of a controversial book on child-rearing has been convicted of manslaughter for the death of their 13-year-old, adopted Ethiopian daughter, who died of malnutrition and hypothermia in 2011.

    Carri Williams, mother of now-deceased Hana Williams, was convicted by a jury Monday of homicide by abuse and manslaughter, while her husband, Larry Williams, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter. The jury declared a mistrial for a homicide by abuse charge for Larry.

    Both parents were also found guilty of assault stemming from their mistreatment of their 10-year-old adopted son, also from Ethiopia, who investigators argued received similar treatment to Hana Williams.

     

  76. Deb wrote:

    The verdict is in…
    Couple Who Followed Controversial Child-Rearing Book Convicted of Manslaughter
    A Washington couple accused of following the philosophy of a controversial book on child-rearing has been convicted of manslaughter for the death of their 13-year-old, adopted Ethiopian daughter, who died of malnutrition and hypothermia in 2011.
    Carri Williams, mother of now-deceased Hana Williams, was convicted by a jury Monday of homicide by abuse and manslaughter, while her husband, Larry Williams, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter. The jury declared a mistrial for a homicide by abuse charge for Larry.
    Both parents were also found guilty of assault stemming from their mistreatment of their 10-year-old adopted son, also from Ethiopia, who investigators argued received similar treatment to Hana Williams.
     

    Good. Hoping as they sit behind bars, they consider what they did to that poor child and repent.

  77. @ Nicholas:

    Isn’t S. M. Davis of Vision Forum fame connected to Hephzibah House? I heard someone say he was on the board in the past, but I’m still trying to confirm that. At this point it would just be par for the course if Doug Phillips was only two degrees away from that travesty.

  78. Ugh, S.M. Davis is very legalistic. The people in my former church listened to his stuff. Davis got many of them convinced that all anger was sinful, no matter what the reason.

  79. Davis was also over-the-top about passing on the praise in order to avoid becoming “prideful.” For example, if a couple had dinner guests and they praised the food, the wife (assumed to be the cook) was supposed to instead say something like, “Well, you should really thank my husband for earning the money to buy the food.”

    Somehow I don’t remember the husband being instructed to then “pass the praise” to his employer (or customers if self-employed).

  80. Hester wrote:

    I hope that wasn’t a disturbingly revealing peek into Michael’s upbringing and what was considered par for the course in his family. If so, it might explain a few things, not least his obsession with informing everybody that he is a real manly masculine man.

    1) Sexual abuse can and does screw up your head, BAD.

    2) Was Pearl the one who was dead-set against rear-entry “doggie style” because that’s the way gays did it?

    3) Last week someone told me that a certain A.Hitler might have worked as a male prostie while he was on the bum in turn-of-the-century Vienna and that might have been one of the causes of his known rabid hypermasculinity.

  81. Looking for You wrote:

    I gathered that they live in a bubble that is more sex-crazed than the world outside it. I would never visit that church with my children.

    Well, some commentary on a blog article where Pearl described his honeymoon sure msde it seem as though Pearl was a male nymphomaniac. (Going after “female creatures” since age 10 or so and demanding FIVE TIMES A NIGHT from his new personal “female creature”? Think of all the sexual fantasy that would have built up and aged and fermented in the intervening years, and the Purity Culture shtick where you save yourself for marriage with the promise of indulging every one of those fantasies after you say “I Do.”)

  82. I am disgusted beyond words by the teachings of this book and this ministry. Don’t tell me to read the book either, I’ve read enough of the passages to come to my own passionate conclusion.

    Let’s use a little creativity and put in some hard work when we raise our children. When people are obedient only by fear, and not a strong moral standing, it only takes an absence of that fear for them to lose control. Why do you think serial killers go rampant after their parents die? Probably because their parents beat them with a 15 inch plastic hose. Isn’t it better for your child to behave because he/she wants to? Isn’t it better that a child does something nice for Mommy and Daddy because he loves them? These children are only behaving out of fear. I’m sorry, but family pictures of smiling children will not convince me that this is the right way.

    Many medical journals have published literature regarding the effects of corporal punishment on less than stable children. The damage is irreparable. A strong willed, clear minded and deeply moralistic child could possibly respond well to corporal punishment. However, a child with a learning disability, low self-esteem, autism or any mental deficiency will only be harmed and damaged. A growing number of children have some sort of mental deficiency and require special care in their tender young years. Judging by some of the facial characteristics of Mr. Pearls’ family, he stands to have a few deficiencies in his own home.

    This is a man who gets off on having people obey him and no more than that. He is raising a flock of spiritless and fearful slaves.

  83. I was appalled by this story, and I researched the book and their website just to see if this was true. It is. All of it. I left comments on their website questioning their teaching and imploring them to search their hearts….. they MUST know this is wrong on some level, right???? I received a reply from Chuck Joyner, their Assistant General Manager, who stated I “drank the Kool-Aid” of the bad press. He went on to say much more, including “The TN state Department of Child Services has already examined the book and found that it does not advocate abuse.” I let the Tennessee State Department of Children Services know about his statement, as 1) government agencies do not typically endorse books, and 2) there’s NO WAY this agency would endorse THIS book! I’ll wait to hear back…..

    Anyway, I am fairly certain that the Pearls never intended for death to result in the application of their abusive practices. I’m pretty sure they were quite surprised that any malady would result from their teachings (even as it was excessively applied). This only underscores how frightfully irresponsible these people are.

    Unfortunately, I have sat in many “christian” parenting groups where corporal punishment was strongly advocated, so I know their teachings are embraced, employed and advocated by many evangelicals.

    Sadly, this is exactly the kind of stuff that keeps many people FAR AWAY from most churches.