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Child Abuse, Fundamentalism, Michael and Debi Pearl

Michael Pearl is no longer laughing

On March 2, 2010, Michael Pearl released a statement on No Greater Joy’s Facebook page following Lydia Schatz’s death.

Here’s what he says:

It has come to my attention that a vocal few are decrying our sensible application of the Biblical rod in training up our children. I laugh at my caustic critics, for our properly spanked and trained children grow to maturity in great peace and love. Numbered in the millions, these kids become the models of self-control and discipline, highly educated and creative-entrepreneurs that pay the taxes your children will receive in entitlements. When your children finally find an honest mechanic or a trustworthy homebuilder, it will be one of ours. When your children apply for a job it will be at a company our children founded. When they go to a doctor, it will be one of our Christian children that heals them with cutting edge innovation. When your adult kids go for therapy it will be one of our kids-become-psychologist that directs them to the couch and challenges them to release their self-loathing and embrace hope for a better tomorrow. When your children grow old and realize their mortality and seek to make peace with their Creator, it will be one of our children that shares with them the message of God’s love and forgiveness.
My five grown children are laughing at your foolish, uninformed criticism of God’s method of child training, for their kids-my 17 grandkids-are laughing . . . because that is what they do most of the time. They laugh when Daddy is coming home. They laugh  when it is time to do more homeschooling. They laugh when it is time to practice the violin and piano. They laugh when they see  their Big Papa coming (that’s me) because Big Papa is laughing and they don’t care why just as long as he laughs with them.
My granddaughters laugh with joy after giving their baby dolls a spanking for “being naughty” because they know their dolls will grow up to be the best mamas and daddies in the world-just like them.
People all around the world, in places like Russia, China, Germany, New Zealand, Guatemala, Peru, Africa, and fifty other countries are laughing with joy because after applying the Biblical principles found in our books they finally have happy and obedient children.
Even my chickens are laughing . . . well, actually it is more like cackling, because they just laid another organic egg for my breakfast and they know that it was that same piece of ¼ inch plastic supply line that trained the dogs not to eat chicken.

On October 7, 2011, No Greater Joy Ministries released a statement from Michael Pearl that was also posted on their Facebook page:

It says:

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 (see quotes below). We are grieved by Hanna’s death as well as the nearly 1,700 other children that die in this country every year as the result of neglect or abuse. This is part of the motivation of NGJ to provide materials that are helping parents to raise healthy and happy children.

Here are quotes from the book that actually warn against abuse.

“Train up-not beat up. Train up-not discipline up.” “A child needs more than ‘obedience training’, but without first training him, discipline is insufficient” page 4

“Disciplinary actions can easily become excessive and oppressive if you set aside the tool of training and depend on discipline alone to do the training.” Page 9

“Parent, have you trained yourself not to discipline immediately but to wait until your irritation builds into anger? If so, then you have allowed anger to become your inducement to discipline.” Page 25

“Parent, if you are having problems with your children, you can be assured that you are not alone. Your children are also having problems with you. You are going to have to make adjustments in your own life if you are going to help them with their problems.” “… the responsibility for making a significant change is completely yours.” Page 32

“There are always some who act in the extreme. These individuals are capable of using what has been said about the legitimate use of the rod to justify ongoing brutality to their children.” page 50

“The rod should never be a vent for parents’ anger. Where the supreme motivation is anything other than the child’s good, it is inevitable that such behavior by the parent will assuredly create problems.” page 51

These quotes and the rest of the book are about turning the hearts of parents to the children and the hearts of children to the parents.

If, as alleged, Hanna’s parents owned a copy of the book, it is obvious from these quotes and their actions, that they either have not read it or totally ignored its contents. The book repeated warns parents against abuse and emphasizes the parents’ responsibility to love and properly care for their children, which includes training them for success. There are thousands upon thousands of parents (the book has sold over 660,000 copies) who have and are properly applying the philosophy in the book with the joyous results of happy, productive, well-adjusted children in loving successful families.

The alleged presence of the book makes it no more responsible for Hanna’s death than the presence of a weight loss book in the home of an overweight person is responsible for their obesity. Its presence is actually recognition that there was a problem and obtaining the book was an effort to solve it. Unfortunately, if Hanna’s parents own a copy they chose to ignore (or twist) the contents of the book that could have corrected their poor parenting and prevented the abuse and her death.

It is our desire to redouble our efforts to help families and to prevent future tragedies.

Michael Pearl, President

No Greater Joy Ministries

It seems as though Michael Pearl is taking this recent death more seriously than he did when Lydia Schatz died. However, we cannot expect the Pearls or their supporters to understand how the methods presented in their book To Train Up a Child are abusive because in their minds they are not.

Even though the prosecutor says that “issues of faith were not a factor in the case against the couple,” news of Hana’s death and the Pearl’s book have been linked all over the media. This is the time to warn people of the Pearl’s materials and to ask book distributors not to sell the Pearl’s books. And remember, friends, cases like Hana’s, though tragic and unfortunate, will hopefully be the cases that result in more oversight so we don’t have any more parents adopting children, isolating them, and abusing them. Change is definitely needed.

Related posts:

Hana Williams: “Rebellion” or Reaction to Abuse?

Justice for Hana Williams: The Williams plead not guilty



4 thoughts on “Michael Pearl is no longer laughing

  1. Michael Pearl you are living a dillusional life. If your book has caused the death of only one child then you are to blame.
    The rubbish you spew about your children being doctors etc is nonsence as your book is. Which one of your children is at Medical School? Which one of your children runs a large comapany?

    My husband and I are both Christians and have brought up six children, five boys and one girl. My husband is a doctor and I am a Human Rights Lawyer. Our children take the path they choose and none are doctors or lawyers. Yet they are all happy in their professions. We never used anything like your methods – we do not believe in abusing our loved ones.

    Your principles are disgusting. Where in the Bible does it say to smack a 3 month old baby??? Nowhere. You quote the Old Testement. Have you forgotten The New Testement, you know the other book, about Jesus? Have you forgotten that He said to love one another? 1 Cor 13 starts with ‘Love is patient, love is kind’ Where is your patience? Clearly you are decieved in your teaching and your methods.

    The Bible says you can tell a person by the fruits they produce. You are destroying lives in the name of Jesus and we all know what happens to people like you. You burn in hell, forever. The blood of little Hanna Williams is on your hands and God sees it everyday. The characteristics you display of arrogance, pride etc are as ungodly as your methods.
    May God enlighten you and may you feel remorse and shame for writing a book that has caused the death of at least one of Gods’ children. Amen (So be it).

    Posted by Dr and Cllr Martin | November 9, 2011, 12:22 pm
  2. His facebook comments are so alarming. He is filled with pride. Pride scares me…it can lead to such horrid things.

    Posted by Kathy Mills Harter | May 8, 2012, 8:02 am


  1. Pingback: TulipGirl » Blog Archive » When Friends Defend The Pearls - October 11, 2011

  2. Pingback: More Responses to The Pearls | Why Not Train A Child? - October 11, 2011

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