Michael Pearl’s most recent response to critics

This month’s issue of Michael Pearl’s magazine No Greater Joy features an article called “Spank and Save a Child” where Pearl claims that those of us who have spoken out against his teachings about physical discipline are part of “an orchestrated purge of truth and human dignity with totalitarianism as its end.”

Boy that phrase sure jumped off the page to me. I can’t quite wrap my head around the notion that “truth and human dignity” or a lack of “totalitarianism” are found in this admonition from Pearl:

“…then use whatever force is necessary to bring him to bay. 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, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final…….Otherwise, tell him to bend over on the bed or couch; and while he is in this position give some choice admonition. You have his undivided attention. Slowly begin to spank. . . . 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. . . . A general rule is to continue the disciplinary action until the child is surrendered.” From To Train Up a Child, by Michael and Debi Pearl, Chapter 6: Applying the Rod

The rest of the article goes on to claim that he is being misquoted and intentionally misrepresented because his critics are part of an orchestrated effort to end parental rights and to usher in a one world government. Of course. When you run out of ideas or names to call, claiming your critic is part of a one world government plot is always an option. Along the way he promotes HSLDA, quotes questionable statistics, leaves out the Bible, mocks higher education, and closes with the same warning that his critics have lazy bum children who will have to work for the hardworking children of parents who employ his methods of raising children. And, saddest of all, Pearl fails to express sorrow over the death of Lydia Schatz. Quite a read.

I continue to read and compare the various child training books that are widely promoted within evangelicalism and am seeing a common thread in them that I believe is at the root of it all. It is, in fact, at the root of the entire patriocentric movement and I am thinking it will be part of the discussion as I map out the Patriarchy Two series that will begin broadcasting, Lord-willing, next month.

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  1. says

    His critics are a broader group than he realizes or admits. They are characteristically large, home schooling families with very well behaved children. Many of them are proponents of “the rod.” They are simply not proponents of using it in the manner he advocates: as the “only” tool, until repentance, with 100% consistency. This article makes me sad. Where is even an inkling of humility or sorrow? In this defense, he almost dares his reader not to speak out – lest they join a totalitarian agenda. What home school mom would want the government to take away parent rights?!? He is using fear tactics – disagree with me and you are “part of the conspiracy.” As a home schooling mother of 6, I don’t buy it!

  2. says

    Tina, you are right. And I believe that Michael Pearl, sadly, is delusional. Doesn’t he realize that the people most concerned about his teachings are conservative, homeschooling, Christian parents?

    His teachings are founded upon certain cultural assumptions (true, not the so-called mainstream American culture) — but still certain cultural assumptions which are supplanting the Bible in his teachings.

    And who is vulnerable? Parents who really do want to do right before the Lord and for their children. But when you teach cultural assumptions and not the Gospel — it causes problems.

  3. says

    I agree, Michael Pearl is truly delusional about who his critics are. He says that 1 out of 75 Americans (or maybe Christians can’t remember) know who he is. If that is true it isn’t because he is famous, rather, he is infamous for his dangerous teachings. He is getting more sales after the criticism of them since Lydia’s death? Wasn’t that a bizarre commentary?

  4. says

    Yes, it was bizarre and I think it was a message to homeschooling parents to be quiet. (“Your criticism is only helping me.”) My thinking is that he will turn away more and more of his advocates by the way he responds. Very few homeschool leaders are unaware of his association with Schatz case. I don’t think his books will be distributed as freely as they once were. I’ll be curious to see if they are on as many vendor tables next month at our state conference. (I bet not!) TulipGirl, young parents are most vulnerable, no doubt.

  5. Zooey says

    Oh, good heavens! That is the most bizarre yet from MP.
    I agree: The man is delusional. Now we are part of some great socialist plot to take over the world? Good grief! Are there no limits to his arrogance?

  6. says

    “When you run out of ideas or names to call, claiming your critic is part of a one world government plot is always an option.”

    Wow. Am I seeing that as a true statement!

    I am shocked, saddened and flabbergasted at the response of this ungodly man. This delusional man, who would dare think to tell the world that his way is right, even after the events that have happened with his named link to them? His ego is blind to anything of reason.

    I had to delete some of the comments I made here, as I am just blown away with the stupidity of some parents who embrace this man’s thinking. I wish only to be kind, but children ~ children are so innocent. They are to be protected.

    Thank you for following up on this. Thank you.

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