The Real Michael Pearl

The media has pitted me against Michael Pearl on more than one occasion. The controversial, pro-spanking, Tennessee-based Christian preacher says children should not be disciplined but “trained” by hitting them with instruments such as tree branches or quarter-inch plumbing line.

I have been vocal about my concerns that Pearl’s childrearing teachings are dangerous and have written extensively about them in Breaking Their Will and another blog post. Three children have been killed by adults who followed Pearl’s instructions on hitting children.

Pearl’s pro-spanking books have sold in the hundreds of thousands (largely to churches and homeschooling communities),  To back up his views, Pearl, who has had no training in child psychology, relies on quotes from the Old Testament, maintaining that God wants parents to spank their kids.

michael pearl no greater joyPearl’s methods include making children who are challenged with potty training take cold baths, denying food to disobedient children. Pearl sees nothing wrong with applying his techniques to infants. Experts have denounced Pearl’s techniques as interfering with child development.

But just how does Michael Pearl view “child training” done right? I am going to show you, using his own words, based on an incident when Pearl gave spanking instruction directly to a parent whose child was not behaving in a way that was pleasing to Pearl.

To view the blog post, please go to this link. And thank you for caring about the health, safety, and wellbeing of children!


  1. I have to say that I have been stunned by public response to the Pearls and to the video of the judge beating the crap out of his daughter. This is *normal* in devout conservative Christian families. What I want to ask those who are horrified is this: in the national conversation on spanking that we have been having off and on for the past three decades, exactly what did you think we were talking about this whole time? Surely you understood that the Pearl story you repeat here and the video of the judge are best-case scenarios, right?

    When you hear or read a religious person saying that spanking is just a couple of light smacks on the bottom, put that statement in the same category as “I buy Playboy for the articles.” Of course it isn’t true. It is an obvious and laughable lie. Everyone except the poor naive liberals has always known this.

    And while we are on the subject, let me let you guys in on another little secret. The chief virtues of homeschooling are: there are no mandentory reporters and your kids are never taught that law enforcement can protect children from abusive parents.

    • I don’t believe I read what you just said. Never teaching a child that there are laws to protect them from abuse is a virtue? That is so ridiculous as to be utterly stupid! bad enough that we have abusers like Pearl getting away with this behavior. But saying that children should never be taught the fact that they have protection under the law is without a doubt one of the most ignorant statements I have ever seen/heard.

      • Actually, I think she was saying that it was a virtue for the homeschooling parent who doesn’t want their child to know that law enforcement will help them. If a mandated reporter were present, as there would be if the child were in a public school, the ‘homeschooling parent’ wouldn’t have free reign to abuse their children.

        As a ‘mandated reporter’ for 30 years, I have seen what parents will do to their children in the ‘name of the lawd.

      • Elizabeth says:

        … ever heard of sarcasm? Those are ‘virtues’ of homeschooling to the abusive parent, duh.

      • Same thing Hitler told his young people . if your parents dont act right ,come tell uncle blitz . HILE HILE HIGH SCHOOL !

      • Harold, the Pearl’s website also encourages parents to hold “drills” with their children. This is to train them in how to behave and what to say if CPS ever shows up for an abuse complaint. CPS is regarded as an evil, government godless entity that interferes with parental rights and God-given rights. Look it up on the net.

        I grew up on a home like that. A spanking is really a whipping with a belt, and the child is considered old enough for the belt when it’s old enough to walk. The parents are encouraged to whip the child again if it cries “too much, or “too loud” or “too long” afterward. I can’t tell you how many times I bit my tongue or lips until they bled to stop crying out from the pain so that evil piece of filth would stop hitting me. I left home at 14.

        • Ann:
          Spanking in love and spanking in anger reside at different ends of the “spanking” spectrum. The Bible teaches “spare the rod; spoil the child”. The Bible does not teach that the rod is the answer for everything, nor does it condone abusive behavior. God’s word also teaches a parent “do not provoke your children to wrath”. The problem in your situation is that Gods word was not followed. My heart goes out to you. I wish you did not have to experience what sound like a horrible and abusive situation with your father. I spank my children, but I do it in love, never in anger, and never does it reach the threshold of “abuse” . I always explain why in a 5-10 minute conversation beforehand, and return 10-15 minutes after spanking them to re-confirm the reason and to tell them that I forgive them and that it is over. Afterwards, I never speak about it again, because I forgave them. If all parents could follow Gods word child abuse would be a thing of the past. Kind Regards

          • Hello, Ann. You might want to do a search on the Bible (via online or with a digital copy.) The words “spare the rod; spoil the child” do not appear anywhere in it. I wrote a book called ‘Breaking Their Will’ which discusses the actual origin of that expression in case you are interested. Thank you for contributing to the conversation.
            Janet Heimlich

          • Actually, what the Bible says is “He who spares the rod HATES his child.”

          • Yes, there are many, many passages in the Bible (written at a time when people understood little about child development) that advocate for the abuse and neglect of children. Those who are bent on control and power will always have a plethora of messages they can use to further their agenda. But there are also biblical passages that are compassionate and wise about children, such as Isaiah 11:6. A sign of a healthy community is one that borrows from compassionate scripture and leaves behind that which advocates harm.

    • I will have to totally disagree with part of your statement. I have been a Christian since birth, so have my patents, my grandparents and also my children & grandchildren. Never had any member of this Christian family felt the need or had to for any reason, in any way, shape or form “spank” a child. When you truly live a life filled with God’s love and God’s word, He guides you and your family thru the rightful path of His wisdom. What this so called preacher is doing is not God’s will nor is it becoming of a Christian, not to mention a descent human being. It repulses me to see people who call themselves Christian do such evil acts and advice others to do the same. God is beautiful, God is love and love doesn’t hurt, no matter what anything or how anyone tells you otherwise. Love is always sure and always capable n able to withstand anything that comes from evil because love is God & when you stand with God no evil will ever touch you or your family. What this man is doing is using the words of God & his scriptures to encourage others to convey evil actions against poor, innocent children. These are God’ children. They are sweet and innocent and should be treated with care, kindness n love and guided down a rightful path of the Lord’s word. It’s a shame people don’t see the real evil behind this man. If you’re truly a Christian, then read your Bible, the new and the old testament and see how the scriptures warn you of ‘the wolves in sheep’s clothing.’ People, please, don’t give into these kinds of acts of evil and desperation. Those children will be by God’s side to live the lives He promised us believers. And you? Where do you think you’re going to be?

      • Could you mention God again? I dont think people heard you the first dozen times

      • (g)od is the ultimate narcissistic supply.

        I was literally told by my father that he ‘would break me.’

        That he would break my will, and that god had given him authority over me, and all women, as the ‘head’ of them. He told my my purpose in life was to live with the boot of a man on my neck my entire life.

        He beat me, he burned my diary and my art work, told me that making art was ‘creating false idols’ and used the precepts of Pearl’s teachings in his every day ‘discipline’ of me, even though my abuse happened in the 1980s before Daniel Pearl published. I was controlled utterly, beaten for saying anything that contradicted the pastor, and abused for pointing out the pastor’s kids were drinking and having sex behind his back, because that was defaming the pastor’s good name.

        My father worked for NASA. He put men into space, and was college educated, but was convinced that god made the earth in six days, and that this made the planet 6,000 years old, and the fossils of dinosaurs and other life forms to be a lie propagated by Satan to lure science into leading men astray from god.

        Richard Dawkins describes religious people as being delusional, and I have to agree. A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary, and people who subscribe to an unfalsifiable deity are clearly delusional, no matter how much they may bleat to the contrary.

        I suffered for years under the fist of this man until I left home at 16, and even then, he was willing to have me incarcerated in jail for being a runaway rather than to accept I’d gone to live with my boyfriend. He insisted that I marry a man I barely knew, so that he would not have to tolerate knowing his daughter was ‘living in sin’.

        I was made a prisoner by that book and those who read its words literally, and I was beaten while shown the passages in it that proscribed that I *should be* beaten, just like Pearl says. My father was practicing everything Pearl is a proponent of more than a decade before it was published. There is nothing really new about it.

        My father lives in Tennessee, too, and to this day I wake shaking and vomiting from terrifying nightmares of the abuse he perpetrated on me while absolutely positive he was doing god’s will, and who is to say he’s not? The bible is absolutely rife with commands to injure or even kill your children when they displease you.

        gly, did you forget Exodus 21:7 that says: And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.
        Because my father didn’t. My father decried the ‘godless’ world that wouldn’t let him sell me!

        That is in the bible, your precious book.

        So now, in addition to the memories of abuse, I have to deal with people like gly, who insist my father, who prayed every single day, several times a day, who took us to church several times a week and who forced me to attend a one room christian ‘school’ where I was taught absolute drivel that was nothing less that total indoctrination, isn’t a ‘real’ christian.

        Yes. Yes he is. He totally followed the bible in every possible, literal way he could, and he reveled in the control and authority it ostensibly gave him over me. He flaunted that control, and made absolutely certain that that book was a prison from which I could not escape. Its words governed my every misery, and no amount of my prayers made it stop.

        gly, don’t you think I didn’t pray? Don’t you think I didn’t read the bible and try, TRY so HARD to pray so that god would make the abuse stop? And yet… god didn’t. (G)od let it all happen, and lets all the horrors of the world happen… (G)od let those innocent babies die from their beatings.

        Why? Because god isn’t real. (G)od doesn’t exist…

        All that does exist is the narcissism of people like my father and Daniel Pearl, who will accept no criticism of what they perpetrate on innocent kids, and the delusions of people like gly, who defend with their vociferous protests the ‘reality’ of an imaginary cop in the sky who is supposed to be made of Love and yet looks the other way while horrors of every kind are perpetrated on this earth by its followers, reading the VERY SAME BOOK…

        As gly is reading.

        Where am I going to be when I die, gly? Returned to the great pool of starstuff we all are made of, my atoms rejoining the whole of what Is… unjudged and unharmed by the likes of your fantasies, and at last at peace from the agony that my life has been made by people like you and my father.

        • canth,

          I am grateful for what you have shared. Authoritarianism has no place in society, much less in a household, but when a person such as your abusive father uses “holy scripture” to justify his actions and claims that he is acting on the orders of a frightening and authoritarian deity, it leaves a child desperate and helpless and living in a totalitarian regime. In such a regime, the dictator’s actions go unquestioned. Unquestioned by you, so vulnerable in your youth, and those around him.

          I hope you will consider being part of a closed Facebook group for survivors of religious child maltreatment. And watch this post because I am going to members about what you have written and some may comment.

          My heart goes out to you. You are not alone,


        • Canth, My father was similar to yours in his abuse and literal interpretations of the Bible. My older sister reported him to Child and Family Services, which toned down his abuse. This was lucky for me, because otherwise, my adolescence would have been much like yours. I’m sorry that no one advocated for you then. I would encourage you to join the group that Jan mentioned above. There are many others like you who talk about their experiences on the forum. ~Michelle

        • Hello Canth,

          Your words are so similar to so many of us. My parents worked hard to break us to in the name of god. The results were painful and long-lasting. You can read my open letter to a deacon of our church here:

          You really are not alone. I thought I was alone for years until I met Jan, her book filled with 11 other stories like mine, and the Child Friendly Faith Project Facebook group. You are welcome to join us. We will support you. We also work with faith leaders and members to educate them on how biblical teachings support and protect abusers. I am so proud to be working in this way. I’d always been held hostage by such violent teachings of god and the bible.

          Just know that there are many of us working to make the religious world safer for children. And, even more our sharing our stories of religious abuse and finding love and support from each other.

        • Canth, Your physical abuse and indoctrination is very similar to many of us that belong to Janet’s group. My story is very close to yours in many respects. I too left home at 16 and was married so I would no longer bring shame to my family. It was my parents way of getting rid of a problem. I did not conform to their so called Christian beliefs. It was my way of escaping unbearable abuse. Although my abuse happened years ago, some of the memories are like it was yesterday. After leaving home I told no one about how I was raised. I was ashamed of my parents and their beliefs. When I did open up I was lectured on scripture by well meaning people such as gly. After reading Janet’s book I e-mailed her and was asked to join her group. I have since learned how wide spread religious abuse is. The group is a safe forum to share experiences and gain strenth to help on your journey of healing. I had decided to speak up and expose my family’s religion for what it is. Janet, her book and her group has given me the strength to do this. Whatever you decide just remember you are not alone.

          • Linda, I’m glad you got away. I have PTSD because of what those people put me through.

          • Ann, I am very sorry for the physical and emotional abuse and torture you suffered as a child. No adult should be permitted to treat children without respect and dignity. Unfortunately, our culture accepts too much abuse as long as it’s called “discipline.” I hope you have a good support system. If you use Facebook, you would be welcome to join a closed group I started years ago called “child-friendly faith.” Many members are also survivors. Take good care, Jan Heimlich

        • Canth, I am so sorry to read the horrors you experienced from your father. I was raised Christian and not spanked once. I did witness my brother suffering from corporal punishment. I know that many Christians use that Spare the Rod verse to justify abuse, but certainly not all do! I do think that gly was coming from a loving place in his/her response. The Bible is full of contradictions, and people can choose to interpret the Jesus part of loving and being kind, not critical, etc., or they can use other parts to be total masochists. We can’t judge all people of a religion the same. They are individuals. Nevertheless, I hope you find support and comfort some how after all you have experienced.

        • Yep it’s horrible narc pharisees (that beat children) and make a big splash at church praying and singing …. blech! These maggoty wolves drive people away from Christ. The Pearl’s can go diddle themselves.

      • Sabrina says:

        You are absolutely insane, read a science book. You are living in a dream fantasy world. Glad to see that Your beliefs have been passed down from generations, now I can see where you get your ignorance from.

      • Gary Smith says:

        Christian since birth? Wow, a human being that doesn’t need a Saviour! ! I cannot believe the malacious, hateful words that you people spread from the lying devils of this world! Rest assured you WILL give account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.

        • Mr. Smith, you seem like someone with a lot of anger inside of you. I hope you come to peace with it so that you don’t bring harm to others. No, I don’t believe you will be punished by a divine or evil force after you die, but I do think you will lead a happier life if you can reach out to others with love instead of hate.

      • The God people like that worship is a mean old man who keeps a list like Santa Claus with who goes to heaven or hell.

    • No… it’s normal in devout families run by psychopaths. My devout conservative parents would liberally open fire if they saw a family “disciplining” their children that way. Granted we’re southern conservative.

    • Home schooling is not a gateway for abuse. I know more than a few late teens who were home schooled and who were NOT beaten or hurt; not abused, nor isolated. No, the school system utterly failed them in their youth and their parents made the sacrifice of mum’s job to put them into a safe, secure and productive learning environment, enriched through group activities with children of a verity of different ages, colours and creeds. The oldest two I know are two of the most well-adjusted, good natured boys I have ever known. The oldest just went to university in Sweden. Their mother is an excellent teacher and care-giver who specialises in special needs. Both sons have ADHD – and got through without medication because of their self-paced home schooling.

      It can be used as a cover for abuse – but so can a classroom.

    • Shefali says:

      I’m a Christian and I can’t imagine Christ ever spanking a child. He was strong and powerful in fighting against evil – as when he overturned the money changers’ table or stood up to the people who were going to stone the adulteress – but he was gentle with the weak and vulnerable, such as children, the old, the infirm, etc. He was respectful to women when the society around Him was not.

      The Bible does say to use a rod but it’s the same word as a shepherd’s crook – the shepherd does not beat his sheep with the crook, he guides them with it. Parents should guide their children, not abuse them.

      I have never hit a child; well, except when _I_ was a kid and I think I got into a few fights with my brother! But as an adult, I’ve never hit a child. I can’t imagine doing that! You are so much bigger and stronger, can you imagine the terror of a child when an adult hits him? I can’t even hit my pets, let alone my children! I am firm in the sense that if I say “no”, I mean “no” but there are ways to enforce rules without violence. If you hit your kid you are just breaking the trust.

      I don’t get the need for schedules, either, with young children. Once they are 7 or 8 that’s early enough. Until then they often can’t sit still for very long, and with babies, I think you should feed them when they are hungry, etc., not impose a rigid schedule. I do have set bedtimes but these are guidelines, not iron clad. As they get older, though, we become more regimented. One reason I like home-schooling is that it allows more flexibility. We can have long walks or extended play periods when the kids are fidgety and make it up later when they feel more calm.

      The other reason I like home-schooling is that the school system, unless you can afford a really good private school, is academically not that great. My kids learned to read when they were 3. It’s not that hard to teach a child to read and if you get books that interest them, they love it. I also like to get hands-on projects that help them explore the world – so they learn physics by creating and building, and then when they are older we can discuss the principles they learned. Or we turn a camping trip into an astronomy lesson, but it’s fun for them. We take a star chart and an astronomers’ flashlight and have a lot of fun.

      As far as the socialization – I’ve enrolled them in sports at the YMCA and dance lessons and they have children’s activities through church and they play with the neighborhood kids. Our neighborhood is pretty diverse, there are Muslims as well as Christians and agnostics and Hindus and we have several races represented, so the kids play with all sorts of people. Which I think is a good thing.

      Will I continue to home-school? I am thinking once they get a little older they might want to try going to school… we’ve checked out the local Montesorri as an option. I want them to feel empowered to have a voice, so if they want to try school, we’ll enroll them. We’ve also talked about them possibly studying abroad – we have good friends in England who have offered to have our daughter live with them for a semester during her high school years.

      I have a friend whose daughter was getting bullied and she home-schooled her for a couple of years, then put her back in school and that worked really well for her. While she was being home-schooled, she also got some karate lessons, not so she would beat up on other kids, but just for the added confidence it gave her. It made her feel like less of a victim. I have another friend whose child had a learning disability, so she home-schooled her through grammar school, then put her back during junior high.

      • Margo/Mom says:

        I have been following a recent case in Arkansas, that of the Stanley family. As a Christian, I agree that child abuse is not “Biblical,” nor is corporal punishment some basic tenet. It grieves me when sects organize and stir up such beliefs, as they not only harm children, but also damage Christianity as a whole by portraying the Gospel as being one of hatred and control. The Stanleys are apparently Christian home-schoolers, with some end-of-times (“prepper”) anti-government leanings. Their children were recently removed and they have been charged with abuse–although details are not public. However, the fact that court proceedings are closed and the judge has officially issued a gag order has not stopped friends of the Stanleys–and a number of other online organizations–making their case viral (there is a FB page at Bringthestanleychildrenhome) and waging a campaign of fear. What too many are unwilling to concede is that the children were not removed from their home because their family is Christian. They were not removed because their family home-schools them. They were not even removed due to their parent’s fringy beliefs about the coming end of the world. They were removed because there was probable cause to believe that the children were being abused. And their family, like every other family similarly accused, has a right to due process–which is being carried out. We need to turn the tide in the home-school movement, as well as in churches, to understand that neither religion, nor educational preference can be and excuse for the abuse of children.

  2. Thanks for posting this, and thank you for drawing your reader’s attention to the online petition The petition is spreading like wildfire on early childhood Pages on Facebook and signatures to the petition are increasing rapidly; currently 6,648 people have signed it.

    The Pearls book is appalling; it sanctions extreme physical abuse of infants and children. I find it hard to believe that anyone can think it is acceptable behaviour to whip a 6 month old baby with weed eater cord, but the Pearls advise exactly that. Despicable behaviour that would result in a lengthy jail term for anybody who did so here in Australia.

    I’ve made a commitment – I will buy nothing from Amazon until this book and others like it are removed from their catalogue, and I’ve emailed Amazon to that effect. I urge other people to do the same; nothing gets a swifter response from a company than a consumer boycott.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for bringing this to the attention of readers. I have again tweeted the petition site, as well as the fact that it has gained thousands of signatures. It would be great if the petition gained more media exposure. I will try to get more reporters interested in the story.
      Best to you,

  3. I must admit I have not read Pearl’s book myself ,but it sounds dreadful. I do however remember reading Dr. Dobsen when my kids were young . They are now 32 and 36. I don’t ever think I remember him approving of punishment of infants and certainly not switching them and I feel bad that he is always lumped in with this Pearl guy. I found him VERY helpful with my kids as teenagers. He encouraged parents to say “Yes” to everything we could possibly say yes too and no to those very few things that could be harmful and stick to it. Let your No mean no and don’t back down ,but make the no’s as few as you possibly could. This was the best advice I ever remember receiving in those difficult years.

    Dobsen is very opinionated I will certaqinly admit that, but I don’t doubt his love of children.

    • Wow- really? A well meaning Christian friend gave me one of his books when my boy was a toddler. I was appalled by the descriptions of getting a switch to punish the child. It sounded perverse and not anything like love AT ALL.

  4. Pearl sounds like a sadist who takes pleasure in inflicting pain.

    Re: Christine’s comment:

    “The chief virtues of homeschooling are: there are no mandatory reporters and your kids are never taught that law enforcement can protect children from abusive parents.”

    It is true that when kids are kept isolated and segregated from ordinary contact with the world, it becomes very difficult to investigate and prosecute child abuse that is perpetrated on these victims. It is only when these children die or hospitalized (near death) that an investigation can even take place. I strongly believe in a parents’ right to raise their children according to their own values and beliefs, but I am more concerned with a child’s right to safety and protection. Children are not property owned by parents and allowing parents to treat children as such is a gross violation of the children’s dignity as human beings and their rights to be free from oppression and physical danger.

    It is incomprehensible to me that an adult is legally entitled to beat a smaller, defenseless person just because they contributed DNA — while the same treatment to another adult would be a criminal offense. How does this make any kind of sense?

    • Natalie,

      You are so right. I have never heard of this horrible man before tonight, and I am disgusted that there are people that follow him. I believe the devil has many disguises, and Michael Pearl is proof of this. When I was reading about his so called “teachings”, I could’t help but feel that he gained enjoyment from the pain inflicted on helpless children. I don’t really believe in organized religion, but I do consider myself a spiritual person. I don’t believe for one second that God would want us to hurt our children, and I am sick to my stomach that there are actual people that follow along with this mad man!

      Christine sounds like an idiot….Does this mean she’s a devout conservative Christian? Hardly! People like this will probably go to hell for committing acts of sin against their children…..It’s just so sad to think of all the babies and children that are suffering because of these misinformed cult-like people!

  5. Nice job exposing this, Jan.

  6. 11:00 was no doubt way past the little boy’s bedtime. He was tired, cold, and ready for bed.

  7. thoughtful says:

    Thanks, Janet — keep up the good work!

    The Pearls sent out a plea, via email and Facebook, to their supporters, about a week ago. Since then, hundreds of new 5-star reviews have suddenly appeared on Amazon. Most seem to be from people who have never reviewed anything else on Amazon, and some are quite similar.

    Apparently, the Pearlites are trying to continue to portray this horror as effective, normal, loving, Christian, and what the majority does.

    Any voices of reason in the reviews, comments, and discussions would be welcome.

  8. I am not very familiar with the law in America, but what are the possibilities of suing this man for incitement to violence? Technically, isn’t this what he is doing? If you give a speech to a crowd that incites racial hatred and those in the crowd end up committing a hate crime, you can be held accountable. This sort of thing is not protected under freedom of speech. Surely this must apply here, where there are children being tortured and killed because of the bile this man is spewing?

    I got here after listening to the Ask an Atheist podcast by the way. I love what you said there and I followed your link here. Great work raising awareness on this issue. Let us know if there is anything we the public can do to help.

    • Hannah,
      Thank you for your kind comments. The same thought came to my mind as I wondered whether Mr. Pearl could be prosecuted. However, this is a very pro-spanking culture compared to most other countries. While other places in the world consider physical punishment a form of violence, many Americans do not. In fact, Mr. Pearl is one of many conservative Christians who believe themselves to be parenting experts (even though they have no training or degree in, say, child psychology) and who advocate spanking.
      I appreciate your efforts to try to educate the public about the harm that results from pro-spanking teachings. As you may note in my book, Breaking Their Will, this harm appears even more likely when the “experts” are perceived to be religious authorities.
      Best regards,

      • Sadly, circus trainers break the will of elephants, so they can perform. That is sick!! I can’t believe there are people that need to break their children so they will obey. I could never imagine doing at to my kids, and I know they would not be the same if my husband and I abused them. Maybe God will interfere with this satanist and help the children that are suffering. I’m just glad that people are paying attention to this and I hope we can all make a difference from speaking out.

      • I just want to say about the fact that America is pro-spanking. I have to agree. Also that H many other countries would never allow this treatment of children. I am an American living in Denmark. When I got my resident permit,I received a list of rules I was expected to follow now that I was allowed to live in their country. One of the rules was that, if I were to have any children, that I WA not allowed to hit them, including spanking. That is very different from the “it’s none of your business what I do to my child” mentality I have faced in America.

        Reading only the quotes and reviews about this book has brought me to tears eng burnedme with anger. I just found out that this book exists today. I hadn’t any idea that a book this extreme existed. As though child abusers need any reason to hit their kids, now they’re trying to get religious nuts who don’t know how to think for themselves to get in on the action. You know,I was in labor for 103 hours (no joke). I could never imagine, even if I believed in corporal punishment before, after struggling for so long to bring my baby into this world, to then hit him, force him to obey and to fear me. I want a wonderful, loving, lifelong relationship with my son., anyone, who even for a moment, thinks that beating your child in any way will ever achieve a close loving bond with their child, is sadly mistaken. All they will have to look back on is the empty, hollow person they raised because they

        You do realize that your daughter is supposed to touch things, right? that’s how she learns, about her environment and her place in it. when you hit your child when they touch things, t yes they stop touching, cutbut that also means they stop learning. You aren’t teaching your child in any useful way by hitting, all you’re teaching is fear. Fear that if she does something then she will be hit. She doesn’t learn impulse control, which I’d vet important. She needs that to get through life successfully. If she does anything in the future where you feel you need yo hit her again, you will be building a wall between you and her.

        I could go on for ages about why spanking or hitting a child doesn’t actuallY achieve anything in the long run even though it may seem on the surface that you have a good little obedient child. I go hope you’ll read some of the books suggested to you by the other person who replied to your comment.

        • Dear Meagan,

          I really appreciate your comment. Yes, this country’s attachment to corporal punishment must seem barbaric to someone who is from a more progressive country, at least in terms of compassionate parenting. But you are helping to let us know how you feel, and many Americans feel just as you do. I hope you do not mind I combined your comments together. One got cut off for some reason. Please feel free to join a closed Facebook group where you will find many individuals who share your feelings about physical punishment.

          With gratitude,

    • Here in America, people tend to get away with a lot. Drug dealers often do much more jail time than murderers, rapists, and child molesters. Not to say there aren’t many that face a life in prison, or death, but there seems to be a fine line when dealing with cases where a person isn’t directly linked to a crime. It’s very hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this monster caused the death of these children. I believe that Michael Pearl’s teachings are very cult-like, as many of the “christian groups” that are out there today. I wish more people could be informed. I think a lot of people are afraid to say anything against people that seem so godly, because they would be viewed as being negative. I am no saint, but I know deep in my heart that God would never want us to hurt our children. I also feel that if we do hurt our kids, it is because we are weak, and we know no other way.

  9. Michael Breen says:

    This man is a child abuser and probably a Catholic Priest in another life. Yes I was spanked occasionally for misbehaving BADLY but my parents explained things there and then and then told me that they loved me and expressed how terrible they felt doing what they did. This man is not qualified, however what does it take to become qualified in the eyes of the people who this definitely applies too.
    This is a prickly issue and it will take a lot of discussion and common sense. However all of the church’s have to be kept out of this at all costs because they are the worst offenders in this sad situation.

  10. I really hope that poor woman left her husband before the kid began to think that was normal – it is unforgivable behaviour.

    This is horrendous 🙁 I’m not from the US but I wouldn’t expect that sort of thing to be happening in a civilised country and not be acted upon once it is found out.

    He would be viewed as a dangerous cult leader who encourages child abuse here.

    Thnkyou for writing about these this – abuse especially from a religous angle gets hidden away and that is what is most damaging – getting it aired so people can see they are not on their one is one huge and helpful step.

  11. Reading this made me cry. My son is 2 1/2 and if this had happened in my car, (not that my husband would stand for it anyway) I would have told both my husband and Mr Pearl to step away from my child for fear of a little ‘training’ from myself. I live in the UK where this debate on ‘smacking’ does continue but is not as radically represented. Mr Pearl would not gain such influence here.
    I think this is partly due to most parents I know having been bought up in a culture where a( and I DO mean one) quick smack on the bottom was the norm for doing something after plenty of reprimands and as a general rule was used as a deterent more times than it was used.
    It should never leave a mark or bruise. That’s not smacking, that’s hitting, and only on the bottom.
    My toddler may get the occasional smack but only for something dangerous like running off or touching something (which he has been told and understands) is hot so he realises these are things he cannot afford to wait for a warning on. It’s always followed by a hug and a reiteration of why it mustn’t be done ( we love you, we don’t want to lose you or see you in pain) he’s a very happy, affectionate boy who is confident and very aware and always reminded he is loved.
    In another year or so, his language and understanding will grow with his ability to understand reason, negating the need to smack.
    My eldest, now 16, was brought up the exact same way and is a great student, confident, and very empathic and caring.
    There is such a thing as middle ground. If parent’s can’t control their own anger then they will always be ‘bad’ parents whether they hurt their children physically or emotionally.

  12. I have read To Train up a Child. I think to some people the concept is alluring: a simple tough-love strategy that results in children who obey out of natural habit. They see those large, well behaved. fundamentalist families and aim to raise equally cooperative kids who will then discipline themselves after the “training” period is over.

    Unfortunately the reality is that the whole theory is a kind of dog-training strategy, based on unhesitating obedience to the parents and to God. Even dog trainers argue against this kind of punishment based system. I think it’s irresponsible to indoctrinate a child to unthinking obedience. What happens when one of the bad guys, cloaked in authority, tells your kid to do something bad? A kid who knows love and mutual respect, and feels able to assert himself, will be a lot better equipped to deal with the real world, even if he sometimes whines or misbehaves. I’m not arguing for lenience, just a bit of common sense and compassion.

    One more thing: please dont lump all homeschoolers into the protective fundie category. Most of us are just like the rest of you, we just do school in different places.

  13. If God ever came near my children I would call the police, I would.

    Since when is “love” synonymous with “obedience”? That logic seems quite idiosyncratic to me.

  14. me n my husband read this book and we train our 2 years old daughter with spanking since she was 14 mos. when our daugther disobey to not touch some stuffs at home we ask her to not touch bout 3 times and if she dont listen to us we spank her in leg skin with small stick and after she listen to us offcourse she would crying n she will come to me and i give hug and kiss her leg n my husband hug her too and we try explain that mommy n daddy love you thats why you need listen to us and we are spank her not in dangerous area. thats really wonderfull coz by that spanking couple times our daughter dont need spanking anymore bcoz when she doing something wrong or disobey our comandment we just say No, please listen to mommy/daddy and she would stop n obey n no more spank 🙂 its make us happy coz when we bring her to family or friends house she try to touch everything and we just say no, listen to me she would listen its so amazing we are never stressfull coz need to yelling etc . spanking only at first but no more now coz more age she more understand that she wont get spank if she obey her parents.

    but i understand that this book can be danger for some parents bcoz some parents has different brain to cacth up the message in this book. some of them can be too serious some of them can be just like us, so we need to be carefull though to share stuffs like this to people.

  15. Very interesting. I’ve not read that particular book by Mike Pearl, but I knew him in Bible college. I graduated before him and went on into academia, now dean of a seminary. I’ve not really kept up with him, but I shall hazard several comments.

    First, he was always one on the edge, pursuing his own thing, and often making mountains out of mole hills. He was one to be rather autonomous and do his own thing. One example, which I saw on YouTube recently, is that he still holds that the King James Version of the Bible is inspired. I know of no Christian scholar who would agree, none in the world, but that would not deter Mike. In fact, we don’t hold that any translation of the Bible from its original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is infallible. Only the originals are infallible. I teach both Hebrew and Greek in seminary so this is an area of expertise for me.

    Second, yet I would say that he is a fine Christian, just one who has always taken minority views. When I knew him in Bible College, he was that way, but he also had a good heart for the Triune God and won more people to Christ than the rest of us combined. He has always had great zeal, but too often not backed up by knowledge. He is one of the finest preachers as far as delivery that I’ve ever heard to this day.

    Third, I think you who write the blog come across as very angry and superior in attitude, and accuse him of not having a Ph.D. I do (Th.D., the same in the theological world), trying to pull rank by counting degrees is not a convincing argument. We who are strongly Christian do not place a lot of value on psychology, and I’ve studied it. It is basically bankrupt and is full of ever changing ideas, built of a world view of evolution and chaos, which we reject. We Christians have been rearing children at least since Moses (3,500 years), and have been doing quite well until our compromises the last 50 years. But that is another story. I know that as soon as you hear that we deny your view of “creation”–evolution–that you will shut down. I’ve seen it many times. But I read your books, books by atheists, agnostics, and the liberals who in general hate Christians with an unholy passion (which, by the way, is what Jesus said you would do in John 15:18ff), and if you aren’t reading us perhaps you should. One such book that challenges the form of atheistic and evolutionary arguments was written by a professor who graduated from Harvard and Univ. of Chicago, Philip Johnson, Ph. D., who taught many years at the Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley. His book is “Darwin on Trial.” If you’re not too stuck in liberalism, you might also read Weikart, “From Darwin to Hitler,” who is a historian with Ph.D.

    Fourth, as for your quotes from Pearl’s book on stopping the car to whip to child, I would concur basically with your analysis. That is not the Christian position, but we hold one more of compassion. However, we do spank our children, as Holy Scripture commands, but it is not an unkind beating, not trying to “break the will” as you say Pearl says. He probably got that from a man some decades ago who was also a renegade, doing his own thing, Bill Gothard, but I don’t know that for sure. I’m not sure what Mike means by “breaking the will.” It could be no more than a spanking, but if you have truly represented him fairly with the car scene, I would argue that Scripture forbids that king of thing. Here is one verse against it: “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4 NKJ). When one divorces himself from the mainstream of Christianity over the centuries, he tends to become imbalanced, and at worst, as I see it, that is what may have happened to Mike.

    Firth, You are overly concerned. I don’t know how many books the Pearls have written, but their impact has been minuscule. I’ve been in the Christian book world for decades, and I can assure you that I almost never come across their works. I would suspect that those who follow them are like them in being loners and against the mainline Christians. I heard, but don’t know for sure, that he joined the Mennonites, about as exclusive as you can get, or at least that he lives among them and has adopted some of their ways. I was given one of Mike’s book to evaluate by an organization about 20 years ago, and it denied original sin and some aberations in it so I counseled against it. They did not order it. I don’t remember the name of it.

    Finally, I’ve used Holy Scripture to rear my own children, both of whom are married and have wonderful spouses and children. In turn, our children are are rearing their children in the Trinitarian faith (by faith, I don’t meant the absence of reason, as you liberals often think, which is a straw man and every bit as bad as you claim Pearl’s books are, but reason as based on evidence, objective, logical, and historical), and I spanked my kids, not with a piece of pipe, but with something that could get their attention, all in the context of love. We are a very close family, and the love of Christ dominates our every action. And, I NEVER had my kids in public schools, and the same is now true of our grandchildren. Public schools generally teach children how to self-destruct, how to have sex, that same sex unions are ok, thow o despise any authority but their own, how to take drugs, and so on, but you won’t accept that. If you want my book that discusses these matters in detail, order “NOT Ten Suggestions” either on Amazon or on our site: I would bet that Mike’s kids love him and his wife, are respectful to authority, do not take drugs, and love the Triune God. An imbalance in one area does not mean everything he says is wrong.

    Thank you for the review; seems rather timely.

    The Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

    • Dear Rev. Crenshaw,

      Thank you for this insightful and thoughtful comment. It is very interesting to learn about Mr. Pearl’s background. I am only sorry that what seemed to promise an enlightening glimpse into a man who has affected so many people’s lives spiraled into an emotionally charged, less than educational diatribe. Ironically, your commentary is mired in prejudicial assumptions about me as one of what you presumably call “atheists, agnostics, and the liberals who in general hate Christians with an unholy passion,” while, at the same time you criticize “us” as making hate-filled generalizations about all Christians. I would like to know just how such a viewpoint emulates the teachings of Jesus Christ. All that said, I did appreciate some of your points which appeared more open-minded.

      I would like to correct you on a number of things. You say that I accuse Mr. Pearl of “not having a Ph.D.” In actuality, my blog post notes that he “has had no training in child psychology.” Being trained in psychology does not require a doctorate, as I’m sure you are aware. But I want to speak to a larger issue you address. You acknowledge that you and others “who are strongly Christian do not place a lot of value on psychology,” which you view as basically bankrupt” and being “full of ever-changing ideas, built of a world view of evolution and chaos, which we reject.” I appreciate this admission, and I don’t intend to try to change your viewpoint, however, I think it’s a mistake to steer clear of learning anything about psychology. If you or Mr. Pearl were to study psychology, even to a small degree, you might gain something from it. It might strengthen your viewpoint. Either way, your stance has little credibility if you have so little knowledge of what you are criticizing.

      Thank you for the book suggestions. I have noted their titles and will look them up, paying special attention to what they say, or do not say, about children’s welfare.

      I am surprised and heartened that you do not subscribe to the idea of “breaking children’s wills.” But, again, I must clarify a few points of yours. You say that Christians generally “do spank our children, as Holy Scripture commands, but it is not an unkind beating, not trying to ‘break the will’ as you say Pearl says. He probably got that from a man some decades ago who was also a renegade, doing his own thing, Bill Gothard, but I don’t know that for sure. I’m not sure what Mike means by ‘breaking the will.’ It could be no more than a spanking, but if you have truly represented him fairly with the car scene, I would argue that Scripture forbids that king of thing. Here is one verse against it: ‘And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord’ (Eph 6:4 NKJ). When one divorces himself from the mainstream of Christianity over the centuries, he tends to become imbalanced, and at worst, as I see it, that is what may have happened to Mike.”

      My book, “Breaking Their Will” explains what “happened to Mike” and many other Christians who write about the perceived religious requirement to “break children’s wills,” and it goes back to Protestant teachings that existed long before Gothard. Another analysis appears in the Philip Greven’s book “Spare the Child.” I’m glad you bring up Ephesians. It is a passage I mention in my book so as to show teachings that support compassionate parenting. But I disagree with you that “the Christian position” categorically supports corporal punishment of children. Yes, it is true that the CONSERVATIVE Christian position supports spanking. However, many Christians who are more of a liberal bent oppose physical punishment and, like the proponents, draw from scriptural passages to support their position. My book details both positions, however, even though I oppose the physical punishment of children, I do not conclude that spanking or not spanking children makes someone a “true Christian.” The fact is, Christians who want to physically punish, as well as those who do not, can find justifications that support their viewpoints.

      Regarding the popularity of Mr. Pearl’s writings…You are incorrect when you say their impact has been minuscule. His website boasts about the millions of copies of “To Train Up a Child” he has sold, and I’ve spoken to many people who come from religious communities in which churches ordered that book by the truckloads. It is hugely popular within the growing conservative Christian homeschooling movement — particularly among those in the burgeoning Quiverfull movement — which might explain why you have not heard very much about it in mainstream Christian circles. I do remain concerned about Mr. Pearl’s teachings because 1) he is considered to be a religious authority and therefore, many will follow what he says, including beating children with implements which has been shown to be more dangerous than spanking with the hand, as well as other disturbing parenting techniques that aim to control children’s behavior, 2) I oppose the physical punishment of children and adults from a human rights perspective, even if the spanking does not result in severe physical abuse, and 3) as I point out in my book, many parents should not be encouraged to try to control their children’s behavior with corporal punishment. The 3 child deaths and the abuses suffered by their siblings and many other children — cases that have not made headlines — are testament to that.

      I’ve enjoyed having this conversation. I hope you will continue to relay your viewpoints and that we can learn from each other. If we are capable of that, I believe that the dialog will prove enriching to our lives and those reading our comments.

      Best regards,
      Janet Heimlich

      • Thank you for the corrections, but I made it clear on some points that I was not sure of your position, so I did not accuse you across the board. I said it appeared you were liberal, and now you admit it, but then we have no definition of liberal. I’ll give you one: a liberal is one who thinks he is final authority by reason alone in all matters of life and faith. A Christian is one who thinks Holy Scripture is final authority and uses reason to support that so that his faith is supported by both Scripture and reason. One book I would strongly urge you to read is this one, Geisler and Turek, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist”.

        If Mike Pearl is popular in the home school movement, I will find out and oppose his views. I have connections there. On rare occasion I have been asked, and I’ve steered people away from him..

        We Christians, by which I mean those who hold to the Nicene Creed, which is held by the three branches of Christendom (Easter Orthodoxy, Roman Catholic, and Protestant), and who hold to the Ten Commandments, do follow Holy Scripture regarding spanking. While I used Eph. 6:1ff to discipline in love, the Greek word for “instruction” used in Eph. 6:4 is also used in Heb. 12:5-11 for physical discipline by God of His people. Physical discipline and love are not necessarily opposites. Here is the passage:

        5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives1.” 7 If1 you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

        The Greek word for “scourge” means physical discipline, and notice that God does such “in love.” Thus, it is not necessarily the opposite of love to use physical discipline, but not the way Pearl suggested in stopping the car so many times. Notice that God says His discipline of His children would seem painful, but in the end the person who is trained by His discipline will learn righteousness. The idea is no pain, no gain. We see the same thing a number of times in the Old Testament book of Proverbs such as these:

        “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Prov. 13:24).

        “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15).

        “Do not withhold adiscipline from a child; bif you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will asave his soul from Sheol” (Pro 23:13-14 ESV)..

        A “rod” is a physical object, which could be a switch, a paddle, or something. Of course, we are not to permanently injure our children. If you disagree with those passages from the New Testament and Old Testament, you confirm my definition of a liberal and that you may be one. But I don’t mean that as a jab. I have friends who are liberal and/or atheists. We can disagree and dialogue vigorously, and we part friends. One of my best friends of the past was an atheist.

        The problem is not with the Bible but with the way people perceive those who hold to it, and it does not help to have a Mike Pearl confirm some of their fears, though I would like to read his book for myself. I’ve too often found that when liberals read our works they take the worst view possible. They hate us (I’m not saying you do) and want to make us look bad. But even if you had reviewed a book by a conservative Christian, I would still want to read it. So what do these verses mean? In the whole context of Scripture and of the books of the Bible in which they appear, they do not present an image of angrily beating children until bones are broken or their will is broken, whatever that means. Rather, the idea is that some children will not obey without corporal punishment, which is to be administered gently, not in the heat of anger, but nevertheless with firmness. As we often say, “When the board of education is administered to the seat of knowledge the mind will come to attention.”

        Children only learn vertical authority (toward God) by obedience to horizontal authority (parents). If they are allowed to do their own thing, they will naturally reject any authority above them, define their own ethics, and dare anyone to challenge them. God gave His authority to parents (“Honor your father and mother,” “Children obey your parents” Eph. 6:1). It is horrible for a parent to allow a three year old to scream profanity at them and for the parents to say, “I just can’t control him.” That is beyond ludicrous, and indicates the parent does not love the child to allow him to self-destruct. That parent needs the rod!

        My father left my mother and me when I was about three so she was the only disciplinarian. She would take the Bible, sit me down, show me what I had done wrong, then take the Bible and show me what I should do, then give me physical “encouragement” to obey. It worked very well, for me, my children, now for my grandchildren, for my mother, her mother (whom I knew real well), and for her grandmother (whom I also knew, she died when I was 9). As I said before, we have a long history of generally rearing godly children, going back at least to Moses 3,500 years ago (see Deut. 6:1ff). It is in this age of secular permissiveness that we have so much rebellion with kids having sex down to age ten, taking drugs, and killing each other in school. What has happened? I would argue that the lack of Christian influence is the problem, and the dominance of secular humanism in society. In the name of no discrimination, we want everything reduced to its lowest common denominator, which was predicted by several Christian theologians over 100 years ago when public education was first growing. (If you want to see the documentation, I can provide that.) To condemn all Christians as some kind of mean ogres who delight in beating their children and screaming at them is a straw man, and will never make an impact on us.The vast majority of us are not that way.

        I will see if I can purchase Mike’s book and read it, but my schedule is so tight with a church and a seminary to run that it may be a while.

        Thank you for the forum.

        Curtis Crenshaw

        • I am enjoying your insight, Mr. Crenshaw, but I do object to your definition of a liberal. A liberal generally knows that they don’t have all the answers, therefore argue for tolerance and diversity. Conservatives tend to be adamant about their views and not tolerate diversity. Of course, this is a generalization.

  16. Serena Walker says:

    I was raised in a family of eight children and when I was about seven or eight years old my parents decided to start reading the Michael Pearl book, “To Train Up A Child”
    I remember the cover of the book at the time, it was a picture of a horse drawn buggy with many children smiling and waving from the sides of the buggy.
    My parents followed it religiously, cold baths, excessive spankings, and full submission to their authority was expected every minute of my waking hours.
    I remember the book sitting on the shelf, and I remember a dread in seeing the cover even at a young age, because when my parents read it, the beatings got worse. They slowly broke my will, they “trained” it out of me as one would do with a horse.
    My younger brother had just been born around this time, and I remember the switch being used on his bare legs, just as I later learned the book had indicated needed done. He was not even walking at the time.
    This book ruined my childhood, and I am still being treated for anxiety and panic attacks.
    I wanted someone to know my story, I grew up feeling unloved, ugly, worthless, useless, and stupid. Michael Pearl’s teaching are evil.

    • Serena,

      Your story is tragic and far too common. Thank you for helping us understand just how damaging Michael Pearl’s book is. It is unfortunate that he is considered a religious authority by many parents, for this helps give his teachings credence in their eyes.

      Best to you,

  17. What kind of piece of worthless garbage is this man? I think someone should send him overseas to Iraq and let the Taliban deal with him and his sack of s*** wife. I wonder if it’s possible to call the child abuse hotline about this book because I’m considering it. It’s written proof that they physically abused small children. If anyone knows if it’s possible to call the abuse hotline, respond to me! Thanks!

    • Dear Angie, terrific comment! It’s puffed-up legalists like the Pearl’s who are responsible for creating many apostates. There are lots of kids brought up in brutal churchian homes, where the KJV is used as a weapon (not Scripture’s intended use) and these kids end up viewing the Lord as some monster – like the vipers they had as parents. And yeah, any mother who allows the old man to thump the kids, that mutha needs to grow a backbone.

  18. So, if a parent does this to his children this is a crime, and evokes such an outcry.

    But if a policeman or a prison guard does this to a “criminal,” as such is done every day and every hour across America, no one complains and the cops get away with it.

    We all need to remember that this is all part of the same mentality and same patriarchal institution.

    • Its actually the other way around. Most Pple n the world c it as ok to hit children but think hitting is bad when being done to adults

  19. If I could meet Micheal Pearl in the flesh I would not hesitate to grab this Fake Ass Prophet by the throat and teach him how to break a Man’s spirit. See he will only attack those who are defenseless and can not protect themselves. He is no man but a lonely low self esteemed man-child with mental issues. He will get the horrible karma that is waiting for him. He is pathetic and I can’t wait for the day I hear the news of him getting a taste of his own medicine.

  20. Michael Pearl is a murderer.

  21. This man should feel the pain of all the children he has caused to be spanked and whipped. I was severely punished for even minor things. I clearly remember my parents using the paddle on my bottom and the belt on my penis, always bare. I still have panic attacks and anxiety over this, and I can’t form attachments to people. I hope Michael Pearl burns in hell.

    • Hello, Miguel,
      Thank you for sharing some of the abuse you experienced as a child. If you are on Facebook, I wanted to let you know about a closed FB group that I believe would offer you guidance and support as you deal with the emotional scars of what you have suffered. Many in the Child-Friendly Faith group are survivors like yourself.
      Take care,
      The Facebook group can be found here: Please be sure to read the “about” description which contains rules about communication and posting.

  22. Most of these postings have not taken into account the fact that Parents hurt their children, Not the Pearls. As a matter of fact, most people can take anything out of context. Short of being led around by a leash and told what to do by an Authoritarian Big Brother, why are we not holding ourselves accountable for our Own Conduct. Just a thought here people.

    • I take what you have said to heart, Maria. We can’t solely blame Hitler for millions of Germans following his lead. Charismatic leaders will always be there, exploiting people’s vulnerabilities. I run a nonprofit that is trying to educate congregations so that this kind of thing does not continue.

  23. sarah shin says:

    Ok for you that say you cant image jesus spanking you guys are so wrong its said the is a bible story about jesus whipping those that broke the law in the church and the bible clearly statesn Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. So yeah jesus would spank your kids. If you say you are a Christian and yet say jesus doesnt spank well you guys clearly dont read the bible

    • Margo/Mom says:

      Overturning the tables in the Temple courtyard is not exactly what I would call spanking. Nor were the money-changers breaking the law of the church, because first, there was no church, it was a Temple, but second, it was a requirement of the Temple that offerings be made in a particular currency–hence the money-changing. Further, the verses regarding the use of the rod for correction come from Proverbs, which is the Old Testament, not the new–hence they are not the words of Jesus.

      But, for many of us who do study the Bible, the words in Proverbs do not necessarily advocate beating, although I believe that is the specific wording found in the King James Version (which Mr. Pearl, and some others, regard as the only inerrant and divinely inspired English translation).

      The rod of correction is understood by many to be not an instrument for beating, but rather the shepherd’s crook, used to guide sheep, drawing them back into the flock or away from danger. Consider the words of the 23rd Psalm, “thy rod and they staff, they comfort me.” Even in this Old Testament understanding, the shepherd is understood as a guide and a protector.

  24. Savannah says:

    First of all, I am a Christian and I was spanked as a child. However, I don’t really remember the events specifically so that makes me think they were not bad, and not done when I was old enough to grasp right and wrong well. However, I don’t think I will spank my future children. Not because I hate what my parents did to me or anything of the sorts. But because I genuinely believe the two Golden Rules that came up because of Jesus. To love God and love others. I believe that’s all we have to do and everything else falls into place.

    Second of all, Pearl is ridiculous for saying that KJV is the only divine English scripture. I don’t know if you’ve done much research in the different versions, but ESV seems to be the most solid choice unless you can read Greek or Hebrew. However, it is a word-for-word translation from those scriptures, and it is what I and most theologians study from what I can tell.

    Third and finally, I have signed the petition and this all needs to be put to an end.

    Thank you for reading, and for writing this article.

  25. I am an adult who experienced ‘spankings’ from my father. He justified it by spare the rod, spoil the child. I don’t recall anger in fact he kept a stoic composure. These weren’t spankings, they were beatings and I have never fully allowed myself to see what I lived through until these last few years. I am still trying to learn how to take care of myself. I am trying to have compassion in myself, to gain dignity by learning why I stayed in abusive relationships. I am by far healed but have taken the few steps necessary to protect myself. I have barely started my road to recovery. I am alone, I’ve allowed others to treat me so bad but each time I’ve gotten away sooner then before. I am alone because I’ve lost everything by being inactive in my life and what I’ve let fall behind has created an overwhelming huge mess which I have to start addressing. But I am alone and because I now know My father taught me so many untruths which regardless of the unjust treatment he bestowed upon me, I can’t even address because I’m an adult. I have to now unlearn lifelong deeply embedded destructive beliefs and teach myself what was his responsibility in God’s world. Because the spirit, I believe, of the only commandment with a promise was children obey your parents so that your life may go well was based on the parents teaching what God wanted us to learn. So when the parent fails and the child’s life goes bad, as it will, the adult child is responsible. The only way I can move forward is I am creating three teaching videos aimed at reducing domestic violence. By my pain, by my learning why I’m in this type of relationship over and over, why I stayed and the timeline showing the progression of that type of control only gets worse by the Grace of God I’m still alive, my ex attempted to kill me, I am still alive, still have a long road to get healthy barely away from last violent person And I’ve done all of this alone, I can only have ambition when I am learning and leaving by making the experience to teach our youth what their parents are not. I cannot just do this for myself, I am but a shell of a human. However, I gave my children everything I didn’t get and their father,’s control was Just under the surface but when the marriage broke, his anger focused on me and in the past four years, I have almost died three times Yet I’m here. I am alone researching some studies about the effects on adults who became consumed from childhood abuse for My project. I do know this much, I’ve been blessed with the ability to articulate my pain, My experience and do so with creative and powerful message for our youth. This teaching I’m compelled to create will be the most liberating tasks for me yet and I have faith if I can stay on this path, my pain can save I pray, many young people the hard life when we don’t learn how to love, support and protect ourselves. This declaration is my first time outside of me or my small circle of friends who’ve painfully watched me get hurt repeatedly and who’s seeing me come out if just by a small step, I’m on a different path. This pastor is a narcissistic person. He’s controlling the fathers and gaining an audience? With the technology of downloaded books and lists of customers, someone should attempt to monitor any parent purchasing a book glorifying sadistic abuse on children. He’s azmonster and I will work on my videos which will be necessary for any child who had to live under that monsters parental teaching. I just hope I don’t lose my ambition to teach our youth. I am alone, I’m so terrified of getting attacked there’s many times I cannot shower unless I have someone I trust in my room. I’m writing the former deputy of the sheriff’s department to please protect me from city police who’ve decided to believe a lying ex. In fact their neglect to investigate and blatant disregard and taunting ways repeating his lies has recently resulted in the death of someone which I saw how it was escalating and I repeatedly sent texts to two officers who were too busy to talk to me. For three days I tried and three weeks ago, someone died. I’m turning to the prior deputy who acknowledged my successful efforts in organizing a neighborhood watch program which prompted dope house to move out voluntarily within ten days. I have six different incidents which have enough support to deem creditable and will stress that our neighborhood is unsafe because of these local police are corrupt. In fact the next to last time police were called due to the yelling and fighting with my ex. That officer told me since no one saw him hit me then it’ll get dismissed. I started crying harder because it’s like No one believes me. He then was saying all this stuff which lead up to him asking me out for coffee and wrote his number on the back if his card. I never called him. To me another man? So tacky to pick up on a crying victim. The last time police were called is when my ex tried to end my life. He’s an airborne army ranger, since discovering that it was him who gave me congestive heart failure twice in the hospital with being at level 4 on both sides of chf. At my stage it’s typically 4 to 6 months and 20% make it 18 months. But back to the cop, had he done his job when I said he was choking me and even with a quick inspection he would’ve seen my neck red. I had a bruise on my chest. I progressively got worse. He should have at least attempt to evaluate my injuries. But instead smitten by no call for coffee he stood near my ex in a manner that protected him. Asking the ex, should I cuff her and take her to jail. I said do it cause I’d prefer him to actually take a side but the ex said no and acted as if he did me a favor. 18 months was February. I’m still here and I will make my nightmare be I pray, a tool for our youth to learn how to prevent this preventable life I’ve endured. Because If the child obeys a parent with false teachings, would not the promise still be but with a negative outcome. So shame on the pastor teaching falsehoods. And double shame on those parents who have to know that’s abuse in this day and age after all the exposure. Amazon clearly doesn’t seem to find safeguards to protect the public with dangerous information. Clearly they’re indifferent when a profit is present? Ok I’m done with my long response. If you read thus far, thank you and Godspeed. It is a good day to be alive. To be alone is so much better then being with a controlling ass hole. Lol

    • Dear Becky,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences, your successful and challenges that lie ahead. I admire your courage and your efforts to teach others with your project so that children will be better protected. People have so much to learn about the effects of abuse and how it can so easily be falsely justified as benefiting children. Please feel free to join the Child-Friendly Faith closed facebook group. There are many survivors there and others. It might be a helpful resource for you.

      Best to you,

      • Rebecca Bellin says:

        Thank you Janet, I will look into the group. I appreciate your kind words.

        All the best,

  26. Christians are not the only people who abuse children. I had a friend who was Japanese, her parents were Shinto, and they were the most abusive parents I’ve ever heard of. They kicked her down the stairs, pulled her hair out, etc. Another friend of mine in grade school was Muslim from Iran. Her Mom would beat her in public. Seriously. One time I saw her across the street when we were both in the 4th grade, her Mom got mad and just started hitting on her. I have had friends who have travelled to Muslim countries, they say you can see men beating on their wives, parents on their children – in public and no one cares or says anything.

    The basic message of Christ was love – God loves us and sent His son to die so we would have eternal life. God wants us to love Him and love each other. I cannot understand how beating a little baby is loving. And it makes no sense. Why do you want to have rigid rules for a baby anyway? How can a baby learn and grow if it can’t feel free to explore?

    Maybe swatting the butt of an older child might make sense, but then again, if you hit your child, what are you teaching him or her? That violence is OK? And it’s not OK to hit them once they reach the age of reason, around 7 or so.

    My husband thinks that sometimes with boys, they are rambunctious and more physical (vs. verbal) and so you might need to give them a swat to get their attention. But again, he’s talking about older boys, not a baby.

    We don’t have children so I don’t know, but I don’t want to spank. I think that should be the absolute last resort, but there has been so much work done by child psychologists and behavioral experts and it seems that there are much better ways. I have had pets, dogs and cats, and somehow I always got them to behave very well without hitting them. We trained our cat to not scratch the furniture and not jump on the kitchen counters and we never did more than yell “no!” at her. With our dogs, same basic thing – no hitting, but just a loud, firm “No!” and then also positive rewards (treats and praise) for behavior we wanted.

    So here is my thought – if you can train a dog or a cat to behave acceptably without hitting – why couldn’t you train a child? The child is smarter after all.

    • ssohara, thank you for submitting this comment and for raising your pets compassionately. I just want to respond that all faiths include doctrines that glorify children, as well as those that do not. That said, the idea of children having rights is rarely supported in scriptures of most religions. And yes, people who are not religious certainly harm kids, too. It’s still important to look at risk factors within religious communities, though, because people have a harder time recognizing maltreatment when it is justified with religious belief or doctrine, or committed by those who are considered to be pious. That is why I believe religious child maltreatment is worthy of more study.

  27. Jose Salvador Nunez Estrada says:

    Question? How many kids- and also kids turned to adults have died following the no-spanking-shycollogical philosophy? Answer: houndreds… However, Christian Biblical teaching was not given to kill the a little-not-so-little boy-girl. In fact GOOD and no angry- spanking will
    Corret wrong attitudes from its roots. If those guys killed their kids they didn’t understand what really theBible teaches about training your child. Any way… Doctors, fathers and mothers whose will not support this Bible teaching AT ALL, are killing kids in a ‘legal and brutal way’. Most parents today ARE NOT raising kids in a natural way. Most kids today are selfish, foolish, insensitive to others peoples needs, they hit their parents in their face, they don’t have RESPECT TO ANY ONE WHOSEVER, except their SELFISH PERSON. That’s sicker than your ‘article-post’.

  28. My atheist single mom beat the crap out of me many times and inserted her ANGER into it every time, making us confused and poor at judging normal behavior. My mother throttled me with her nails in the neck leaving marks once. She would let us roughhouse and play until we got too noisy and EXPECTED US TO READ HER MIND, instead of telling us early on, to cool down and calm down. SO since we disobeyed her silent MIND , when she got mad enough, she would break into a rage and we would cower in our beds and she would stand at the doorway ranting and raging for 30 minutes and escalate herself into physical abuse. She was only 5’1″ but she was terrifying.
    Asd an adult in my 50’s (never having had children as I was afraid I would do the same thing) I heard about this mean Michael Pearl and got his book. Well. It was waaay different than what my mother did and way different than what YOU liars about him say. He never advocates anger or beating till bruised or bloody. What you miss, in YOUR anger and misinterpretation, is NEVER spank in anger. It is only cause and affect. When a child can learn cause and effect, he learns it is himself that can control the outcome. It is up to HIM to behave a certain way to get the desired outcome. These people that sent their kids to the hospital are NOT following these principles. I WISH my mother had read Michael Pearl. It would have been very different from what she learned in her alcoholic family growing up. And here’s the thing, if they learn early enough, there is never a need for “whippings” (1/4″ remember, that is to sting, not damage, they speak against hand whacking on the bottom as it can cause spinal damage), past a certain age. Because in the training, they have learned to trust and obey and won’t challenge parental authority after that. YES, I wish my mother had done it that way. There would be better communication, no mind reading, (expectations without voicing them), no manipulation, no anger. It took me years of reading pop psychology books on relationships to get myself straightened out. And I was subject to abusive and damaged men as boyfriends into my early 40’s. What a waste of time that was. No I never had a healthy male role model growing up. My mother never had friends or dated. She was overprotective of us, so the intent was virtuous. She just didn’t know how to do it healthy.

  29. Jeric Lazalita says:

    Good day Pearls!
    I have a very huge problem with your Missionary Richard Batson, I don’t want to jump into a conclusion but I have a lot of issues with this Missionary. He has a of issues with the Pastors and even me as a person. I felt humiliated and down because of what he has said to my family, his conflict with the Pastors. He’s so mean and disrespectful, he wanted us to imprison because of my post(I was really hurt that time he embarrassed me) that’s why I posted something bad because of my greed and I posted it on Facebook, but I already deleted it but the pressure is still on my heart. Please talk to your .issionary Richard Batson, we don’t want him to humiliate us.

  30. Are you all a bunch of idiots? Just asking. Look, sorry to those that have had abuses, but abuses can happen anywhere, and the Biblical principle of spanking is not to cause abuses, nor would a full understanding of a Christian parent cause true abuse (I highly question the Left’s definition of abuse, as it’s highly irregular depending on whom is being talked about, or inconsistent in who is being looked at, is way too controlling, and they tend to be way too sensitive and not in touch with reality). And if you think that a leftist school forcing LGBT agendas on undeveloped and impressionable children isn’t child abuse, or that a leftist parent getting their undeveloped and impressionable child a sex change because it’s the next biggest fad isn’t child abuse, or that a homosexual couple sexually abusing their child isn’t child abuse, or that Islamic honor killings – female genital mutilation – marrying of under aged girls – and more more isn’t child abuse, or that allowing men and boys into girl’s locker rooms and bathrooms isn’t child abuse, or that encouraging fatherless households isn’t child abuse (which studies show is extremely detrimental to children), or that targeting and attacking a child and their family because of their Christian beliefs isn’t child abuse, or that separating a family based on the suspicious assessment of a morally skewed radicalized & power-hungry leftist who has no knowledge of the family history or the parent’s love for their children isn’t child abuse, then you’re severely confused, morally skewed, and a bunch of hypocrites.

    I grew up in a Christian household, and you can bet I got spanked, by my dad and my mom, with a belt and with a wooden spoon, and it did me good! I’m thankful that I got spanked! Yes, it temporarily hurt, but the biggest hurt was that it needed to be done in the first place, and I learned my lessons, good and wholesome life lessons that helped me become a better citizen. If I had been torn from my parent’s arms and forced into some substitutional program with people not my parents, maybe going from house to house, or even just with a bunch of troubled youth couped up in a building with supervisors, I believe it would have been severely detrimental to me, not to mention to my parents as well. As a mature adult, looking back, I would never have wanted some ignorant, power-hungry leftist to be calling the police on my parents to come and take me or my siblings away or put my parents in prison, so they could sit back with their friends with a cheeky grin and feel that they had done a good thing, which would have been a lie. Back in my parent’s day, some schools would have the principle or teacher spank a kid if they got out of line, my Mom told me about “Big Red” that her school had, which was a big wooden blank with holes drilled in it and painted red, lol, puts a healthy fear in you. The purpose of spanking is to teach a child to respect authority and that there are consequences for disobedience. That they need to behave right, and not hit their siblings because they don’t get their way, or throw a temper tantrum when they don’t get exactly what they want, or use fowl language, or misbehave, etc. etc. It pays to learn those lessons while you’re young, rather than never learning them, growing up to be a selfish, impatient, and undisciplined brat, and face the real-life consequences of when you act childish or worse as an adult, such as going to jail, being sued, or someone retaliating against you with violence, perhaps leading to injury or death. Ultimately, it teaches them self control, and they’re less likely to act in evil ways, such as murder, stealing, lying, fornicating, etc, which would lead them to Hell, short of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ Who has made the way possible for all to be forgiven, saved from Hell, and given eternal life, if they will turn to Him from their sins, and trust on Him as their Lord and Saviour.

    Don’t expect me to reply, because I already know this will probably get inundated with a number of attacks from ignorant haters, or people who are emotionally confused on the issue because maybe they were truly abused. I’ve got things I need to do, and my replies generally take a long time, which is time consuming and frustrating, and you probably wouldn’t like what I have to say in response – like the above – anyways.

    Stop destroying families, stop destroying America, stop resisting the truth. There’s nothing wrong with spanking in of itself, yes it can be abused (but it itself is not abusive), but so can many other things, including things that you probably have no problem with, and many of you probably find things perfectly acceptable (or are silent on the issue) which I would call child abuse. Spanking, when done right, is meant for a child’s long-term benefit, and it works, it is not for a parent to be vengeful or to vent anger and frustration.


  1. […] Does this mean that conservative Christians are more likely to abuse their children than other parents? No. However, a vast majority of child abuse is delivered in the midst of adults using corporal punishment. And children are more likely to be injured when parents use corporal punishment frequently or use implements to spank children.[1] Then there is the dangerous potential that exists in some households in which parents are ardent followers of Christian leaders who promote spanking. Tragically, three children have died at the hands of adoptive parents who followed the advice of controversial pro-spanking, Tennessee preacher Michael Pearl. […]

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