A few days ago, an irate Pearl devotee asked if Chuckles had even read “To Train Up A Child.” The person went on to request page numbers to back up how we come to the conclusion, “To Train Up A Child” advocates Child abuse.
First of all, I don’t believe that Michael and Debi Pearls book only advocates child abuse. This book is a child abuse manual. In the mid-90’s, Chuckles went to a “Child Training” seminar weekend that was taking place at a local Independent Baptist Church. Michael Pearl chose to use a 9-year-old boy from the audience to demonstrate on! Unbelievably, he really whipped the little boy. Not long ago, Micheal Pearl was back in this area, advertised to speak at the same church. This time he brought a full size male doll to whip. Pearl giggled with glee as he were whipping his “dummy.”
Now for those page numbers from “To Train Up a Child:”
The Pearls recommend pulling a nursing infant’s hair (p.7)
They recommend whipping the bare skin of “every child” (p.2) for “Christians and non-Christians” (p.5) and for “every transgression” (p.1).
The Pearls recommend whipping infants only a few months old on their bare skin. They describe whipping their own 4 month old daughter (p.9). Parents who don’t whip their babies into complete submission are portrayed as indifferent, lazy, careless and neglectful (p.19) and are “creating a Nazi” (p.45).
On p.44 they say not to let the child’s crying while being hit to “cause you to lighten up on the intensity or duration of the spanking.”
On p.46 the Pearls say that if a child does obey before being whipped, whip them anyway. And “if you have to sit on him to spank him, then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher.” “Defeat him totally.”
On p.46 the Pearls say that if a child does obey before being whipped, whip them anyway.
On p.47 they recommend their various whips, including “a belt or larger tree branch” to hit children.
On p.59 they recommend whipping a 3-year-old until he is “totally broken.”
The Pearls describe tripping their non-swimming toddler so she falls into deep water (p.67).
On p.80 they recommend giving a child having a tantrum “a swift forceful spanking.” On the same page they say to whip small children on their bare skin until they stop screaming. “Don’t be bullied. Give him more of the same.” They say to continue whipping until their crying turns into a “wounded, submissive whimper.”
On page 86, The Pearls recommend ignoring an infant’s bumped head when he falls to the floor, and ignoring skinned knees.
They also say “if your child is roughed-up by peers, rejoice.” (p.81)
On page 103 the Pearls say if children lose their shoes, “let them go without until they [the children] can make the money to buy more.”
I am aware of Michael Pearls official statement on the No Greater Joy Ministries facebook group about the death of Hana Williams. As I see it, while Michael Pearl is not laughing as he did after the death of Lydia Schatz. Michael Pearl appears to be trying to have it both ways. While claiming that a parent can use his materials and not abuse their child, he doesn’t tell them how to do that. My definition of abuse and his definition of abuse differ greatly. (See quotes above) Furthermore, Michael Pearl is wrong about the Williams obtaining the book in an effort to solve the problem. They were using the Pearls’ materials for years before they adopted Hana and Immanuel.
A few more facts, there are plenty of people who took and implemented Pearls’ advice who didn’t end up on trial for murdering a child, but have lived to regret their decision to follow the Pearl’s advice. Following the Pearl’s teaching on child training, has resulted in a number of parents being investigated by Child Protective Services. Children been permanently removed from parents. In one recent case, a restraining order against a father. A babysitter was sentenced on felony child abuse charges! Those are just a few examples. Yet, when Michael Pearl hears of tragedy’s like that of Hana Williams his main defense of himself, is that the parents were not using the materials correctly. If the materials are that confusing, then the materials need to be changed. Michael Pearl should take responsibility for what he wrote, and clarify, rather that deflect from the problem.
Lastly, Michael and Debi Pearl are just people. They are not God. Their interpretation of what they claim is “godly child training” is their opinion. Neither of the Pearls have any training in child behavior, psychology or education. Neither of the Pearls have any theological training either. Their books are their opinion! For those who defend Michael Pearl because he is a “man of God,” may I please recommend you do a study on how and in what context, the phrase, “man of God,” is used in the Bible.
Micael Pearl makes the claim that if you follow their advice you will have godly children when they grow up. Having a godly home does not guarantee godly or even good grown children. The point is, no one of should be trusting a particular parenting method or philosophy to turn out godly children – we should ultimately be turning to God and giving Him the glory when our children follow Him.