Debi Pearl is not very nice

My regular readers will know that I am not a fan of the Pearls. Michael and Debi Pearl run No Greater Joy ministries and are best known for their child rearing manual, To Train Up A Child, but have also written numerous other books including extremely patriarchal marriage advice literature. One thing that has struck me more and more lately is how very not nice Debi Pearl is in so much of her writing. Here is an excerpt, for example, from an article she wrote recently called Rats:

I went down into the hole in which they live, breed, fight, exist. I had been there before, not to this particular hole but holes so similar they all run together in my mind. A quick check told me the child would be born before morning. The business of the moment caught and held my attention until I could see the head crowning. For an instant time stood still and I was forcefully reminded of eternity. A sob rushed over me before I could get control; another soul was breaking forth into eternity. Another living being to spend eternity honoring the God of all or suffering in a burning hell.

As the impact hit me, my soul cried within, a cry that has echoed down through time as Job, Jeremiah, and Matthew proclaimed, each in his own way, “It had been good for that man if he had not been born.” What chance had he of knowing eternal things when all around the rats that call themselves humanity breed, fight and die? The fog of despair began to dissipate as the baby moved down the birth canal. As my hands reached forth I felt a stir of pure longing as prayer poured forth from my soul. “Oh God, take this child for thine own. Cause this child to know you, to honor you, cause his life to show your mercy and grace.” And as I wrapped the baby and put him to the breast of the young girl that was now a mother, God spoke to me, “Your job has only just begun. Pray, seek to minister, hold them until they know you care, then tell them I care.” I took peace in knowing there was hope. But there are so many . . .

Perhaps it is my age that causes me to ponder and then rejoice or weep. When someone comes rejoicing with the news the so and so family just had their tenth child I can only pretend I don’t see a sad future. My mind registers the oldest rebellious daughter who is destined for the hole. I wonder if I will be helping her with her first welfare baby. The second child is a son, overweight and moody. What kind of dad will he make? What kind of sons will he raise? The third, who knows which way she will go, she hasn’t reached the age of decision yet. The three small children are untrained and are sadly lacking self-discipline, just like their older counterparts. How many families are right where this family is, right now? More than I care to acknowledge. Daddy is always gone, trying to make a living, Mom is always sick or tired, so the children are left to themselves. Do they think the Proverbs didn’t have the truth when it says, “. . . but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame”? It takes more than the birth to make a Saint. It takes a new birth.

“The rats that call themselves humanity”? Really?

“The hole”? Is that her way of referring to someone’s house, or what?

“First welfare baby”? So if a daughter is “rebellious” we can automatically assume she’ll end up on welfare?

Also, what is with pointing out that the second child is “overweight”?

So much of what Debi Pearl writes drips with condescension.

And to be perfectly honest, if you’re an ordinary family trying to follow Debi’s advice in Created To Be His Helpmeet, it’s almost impossible for daddy not to be gone trying to make a living, or for mom not to be always sick or tired, or for the children to not be “left to themselves” raising each other. After all, following Debi’s advice means raising a family on one income and trusting God to time the pregnancies. Debi should show more understanding for those in the very situations her beliefs help set up. But then, that would require her to be nice.

Part of Parenting Is Letting Go (School Edition)
Child Development, Jumping Frogs, and Evading Dinosaurs
An Atheist Parent, an Evangelical Grandmother, and a Six-Year-Old Girl
Talking to Kids about the News
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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