Michael Pearl a Christian fundamentalist pastor, missionary, and evangelist. His day job is to run the No Greater Joy organization, but he is most famous for his, shall we say, controversial book To Train Up A Child written with his wife Debi. The Pearls claim to have sold 670,000 copies of that one, though the Nielsen BookScan records only 9,579 sales since 2001. Given the contents of the book one would hope the Nielsen numbers are more accurate.
To Train Up A Child is, simply put, a handbook in child abuse in which the Pearls book advises parents to use objects like a quarter-inch plumbing tube to spank children and “break their will,” as well as to subject them to other forms of torture (such as putting children under a cold garden hose and advice that “a little fasting is good training”) to ensure that they succumb to Jesus. The book has been linked to at least three child deaths, but according to the Pearls it is apparently a good way of teaching children arithmentics: “I have told a child I was going to give him 10 licks. I count out loud as I go … Pretending to forget the count, I would again stop at about eight and ask him the number. Have him subtract eight from ten, (a little homeschooling) and continue with the final two licks.”
The book claims to espouse “simple, Biblical principles.” In their own words: “If you are just beginning to attempt to control an already rebellious child who runs from discipline and is too incoherent to listen, then use whatever force is necessary to bring him to bay. If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring, and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final.” It’s really an epic battle of the wills, like Jesus against Satan. Carri Williams, home-schooling mother of one of the children who died, claimed that her daughter rebelled herself to death.
At least the Pearls have some empathy for parents who don’t follow their ways, comparing such parents to Holocaust victims on the way to the concentration camp, and the toddlers their deranged concentration camp abusers, or something (the medical and civil authorities, on the other hand, are consistently referred to as “the Gestapo”)
Part of the purpose is to keep the child away from the New World Order: “If you want a child who will integrate into the New World Order and wait his turn in line for condoms, a government funded abortion, sexually transmitted disease treatment, psychological evaluation and a mark on the forehead, then follow the popular guidelines in education, entertainment and discipline, but if you want a son or daughter of God, you will have to do it my God’s way.”
The Pearls are not alone. Similar books for parents are Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp; and Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman.
Diagnosis: You’ll hardly find much more repugnant people in the US.