Friday, August 19, 2005

The Pearls Are Wrong

I discovered the To Train Up a Child series about a year ago. We were struggling with disciplining Piper and raising three children. The Pearl's appeared to have all the answers. On the surface their materials made sense. And they seemed very Christian.

I quickly realized that if I were to discipline Piper the way the Pearls recommended, the "training" would border on abuse. I found in the beginning that it worked, but the price was too great. My children didn't trust me anymore. I became a hitter. They feared me, certainly, but the respect was deteriorating. I could sense my connection with them slipping away. And the initial good results were short lived.

The Pearls talked about tying heart strings. It was really wonderful stuff, actually. But I couldn't teach them the non-violence I wanted to while continuing to accept that it was okay for me to hit simply because I was bigger, or the "authority". I am the authority, but I don't have to spank to prove that.

The more I researched the Pearls, the more far-out I found them to be. In one article in their NGJ magazine they actually referred to homosexuals as "sodomites" and used the possibility for homosexual marriage as the reason that none of their children are legally married.

Ultimately, after considering the materials, and the consequences, I had to disregard the Pearls entirely. I could never imagine Jesus telling me to hit my children. I looked into Attachment Parenting, which was my natural style, and have found it to be just what the Dr. Sears ordered. I'm still healing the rift I caused with Reagan by following the Pearls.

Now they've gone a step farther into what I believe is the endangerment of Women and Children. I'm going to put parts of the original article in italics. The original article can be found HERE.
If you or your children have been hit (other than the children being spanked) so as to leave discernable marks two hours later, and you genuinely fear that he will repeat his battering, you can take legal steps without divorcing your husband.
My mother was hit by her second husband. He knew exactly HOW to hit her and not leave marks. Hitting is a violation of the vows of marriage. It is a deal breaker.
In a moment when he is not angry, calmly inform him that the next time he physically assaults you or the kids, you are going to call the law and have him arrested... I visit prisons every week. It is a great place to mull over the consequences of one’s deeds... Think about it, lady; it is a great time for writing love letters and sharing a three-minute romantic phone call once a week. Guys who get out of prison run straight home to their ladies and treat them wonderfully—for a while anyway.
Wow, that's what a battered woman should do? Risk the wrath of the abusive husband who might snap and kill her? Time in prison that it can be a great time to work on the romance? I'm sorry, but this is not right.
If your abusing husband fully understands that you have the power of the law behind you, he will learn to keep his hands in his pockets.
No, the abusive husband has already proven he lacks control. I don't buy this, and I wonder what research the Pearls have done to back up such a statement? Everything that I have read about domestic violence says just the opposite. He has an anger problem and a control problem, and the family is not safe with him.
But if your husband has sexually molested the children, you should approach him with it. If he is willing to seek counseling and repent, then fine and good. If not, then go to the law and have him arrested.
Seek counseling? Repent? But remain in the home with the children he's molested? This is downright dangerous advice. Men sexually abusing children will say whatever it takes to remain near the children and continue the abuse. Children are too great a risk to take with someone who has already crossed that boundary.
Stick by him, but testify against him in court. Have him do about 10 to 20 years, and by the time he gets out, you will have raised the kids, and you can be waiting for him with open arms of forgiveness and restitution.
I'm sorry, but if someone, anyone, molests my children, my duty is to stand by the children, not the man who hurt them. What message does it send to the child molested that the person who did this to them is accepted back into their mother's waiting arms? Mothers don't get to decide how much time a pedophile does. Very often they get short prison sentences. And a woman who brings the man back into her home risks the children's safety and her ability to retain custody. This advice is dangerous and wrong.
God hates divorce—always, forever, regardless, without exception.
I agree that it displeases God when families break apart. But that is NOT without exception. It is clear within the Scriptures that it is permissible to divorce under some conditions. Adultery is the condition that Jesus gives as being grounds for a divorce. Sexual molestation of a child is a form of adultery, and the worst kind. It not only violates the sacred covenant between man and wife, but also the sacred covenant between parent and child. As a woman, I see no biblical command to honor that. I do, however, see a great responsibility given by God to be a steward of our children. That means protecting them from harm, even if it's from their own parent.

The Pearls state their opinion in such a way as to appear to speak the Word of God, and are leading people astray. How many women will damage their children by staying with abusers and molesters in an attempt to "glorify God"? If the answer is even one, it's one too many.

I hereby revoke any endorsement stated or implied of the Pearls and their materials regarding home, family, and child rearing.

May God have mercy on those who spread this kind of thing in His name.


  1. I am aghast at the Pearl's recommendations in regards to a man who molests his children or abuses them or his wife. Keep speaking!

  2. I am HORRIFIED that someone would write those statements from a biblical point of view. Thanks for the info!

  3. This is beyond belief. How could anyone follow this man's way of thinking. disgusting. Thank you for speaking on it.

  4. Debi Pearl also recommended the abused woman to stay with her husband, because God hates divorce and - she says - any second marriage (after divorce) is evil, eternally wrong even if successful, words to that effect anyway. These people are fundamentalists.
    If I have no medical training I cannot dispense medical advice. If I have no dietetics training I cannot give dietary advice. If these people have no child development or psychology training, they should not be allowed to publicly dispense this sort of stuff.

  5. Muse, although this post is several years old, I have to say that I cannot agree with you more. For the past 3 1/2 years, I have dedicated my life to studying the law. I have dedicated myself to the ultimate honor: joining what many call "the thin blue line". The Pearls are fools to advocate what they do. I find it incredible that they can ignore countless NCVS reports and UCR surveys that state, in no uncertain terms, that many cases involving domestic violence end with the female (or in some cases male) partner in an abusive relationship dead from homicide brought on by abuse. I find it incredible that these people are completely willing to demonstrate a total disregard for the known facts regarding domestic violence and victims of domestic violence. Regarding child molestation, I have to question what universe those two occupy. Most child molesters cannot be held in check - they can go through all of the counseling they want to, but there is little to stop a pedophile from re-offending (except for arrest by authorities if they break the conditions set upon them by parole, and even that's not a comforting fact in light of statistics regarding how often an offender convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor will commit another offense after being released from prison, or when). What the Pearls advocate is beyond wrong, and their ideals regarding "punishing" a child to bring a child closer to God strikes me as incredible. I cannot for the life of me understand how those two animals can advocate for what is essentially child abuse, especially 1. having the background I do as a victim of child abuse and 2. knowing what kind of psychological effects abuse can have on a child for the rest of the child's life (my minor is in psychology, fyi). I will happily await the day someone shuts those two heartless monsters out of the public eye - I cannot consciously endorse, or even accept, them as fellow human beings in light of their glaring ignorance and willingness to endorse ideas that fly in the face of what law enforcement, prosecutors and psychology professionals see every day with domestic abuse victims, child molestation victims and child abuse victims. I cannot accept them for the fact that they do not care one iota for the pain, suffering, fear and hurt that victims will feel for their entire lives. God help me if I ever happen to work in law enforcement in their area, and I receive a call to their residence for complaints of abuse in any form - I won't be kind.

  6. Outragious! This book by the Pearls is not of christian faith, I have been in abusive relationships and no way would I stay with them.

  7. I read this book and it is horrific!! My husband even read it and was disgusted!! I cannot believe anyone follows them and can't see right through them. I have tried time and time again though to point out how evil these people are to friends and family, only to be blown off as a "bad wife", "un-submissive", "un-Godly", etc. It is scary the amount of control these freaks have on some people.

  8. Divorce: Gift of God's Love, Callison, investigate the KJV error. Learn the difference between putting away your spouse and divorcing your spouse, or freeing spouse to NOT live an abusive situation and TO remarry. How not divorcing can actually BE abuse...


I love comments!