To Train Up A Child: Michael Pearl's Dangerous Child Training Advice and Renal Failure

Pearl Method Problems and Kidney Disease Detection: How Many More Zariahs Will Go Undiagnosed, Untreated, or Unreported?

The autopsy report of Lydia Schatz indicated that she died from a condition called rhabdomyolosis, the rapid release of excessive amounts of broken muscle fragments into the bloodstream. Because the body cannot process such large amounts of these fragments, they end up lodging in the kidney, blocking the fine network of microscopic tubules that filter dissolved waste products from the blood and turn it urine. When medical treatments fail to open up these blockages within the kidney created by the muscle fibers fragments, the tiny tubules die and do not regenerate.

Due to the severity of the spankings with [Michael Pearl's recommended] plumbing line, both Zariah and Lydia Schatz suffered renal failure because of rhabdomyolysis. Had Lydia survived, we may never have learned anything about the extensive injuries in both girls, and they may never have been diagnosed and treated. Other children who develop rhabdomyolosis may sustain kidney damage that is not severe enough to cause full renal failure symptoms. If extensive and chronic, this damage can develop into “insufficiency” of the kidney which does not produce immediate symptoms and can be detected through laboratory testing. We only know the details about both children because of the publicity surrounding Lydia’s death, a matter of public record, but disease in children like Zariah will likely be missed because there may be no obvious, immediate symptoms.

Jocelyn Andersen reported on Blog Talk Radio on April 2, 2011 that she had been informed about another case of renal failure in a five year old girl within the Mennonite Community related to child abuse and the Pearl Method. Because individual States in the U.S. maintain their own Child Protective Service Agencies, prescribe different laws concerning child abuse, and limit the amount of information concerning child abuse cases because of privacy concerns, we may never learn the details about new cases of Pearl-related kidney disease unless it is reported by the families of the survivors.
[Read more...]

I Am So Much More Than a Maiden of Virtue! Part 4 ~ Little Things

by WanderingOne

I am a nail-biter. I don’t bite them because I’m nervous or scared or anything like that. I just…chew. My nails are ugly and jagged; short and stumpy. I hate the way they look.

Growing up my parents tried to discipline me out of the habit. It showed a lack of self-control, an inadequate ability for self-restraint. I tried to stop. I hated disappointing them. I was afraid of punishment. And yet, I never could shake the habit. I bit and chewed—perhaps it was a form of unconscious resistance: this small imperfection, this awful habit, was a small way of ensuring that my parents’ authority was not absolute. Maybe it was just a bad habit I could never kick.

In any case, my parents’ authority no longer absolute, I decided that this year was it. 2011 was going to be the year that I would quit biting my nails. Towards this end, a friend suggested that I try painting my nails. Perhaps, if they were pretty, I would be less inclined to put my hands in my mouth. It seemed like a good suggestion. I had never painted my nails before—despite having been “out” for around two years, maybe closer to two and a half, depending on how I dated it. I danced, drank alcohol, wore pants and shorts and all matter of immodest clothing, but never in my life had I painted my nails.

I opened an internet browser, and googled “how to paint your nails,” at myself for doing so. Equipped with information from the ever-reliable internet, I went to target and bought a pale shade of pink; something that would not be too noticeable, but hopefully “there” enough to keep me from biting. I returned home, put on some music by an artist whose name I would never even have known a few years ago and began the task of painting my nails.

After I finished, I looked down at my hands to scrutinize the result. Something I never expected would happen, happened. I, the girl who could dance and drink and cut her hair, stared down at my hands to find myself feeling guilty. “Who paints their nails? What sort of person have I become? Jezebel. Slut. Vain, foolish, woman. What am I doing? Jezebel. How could I do this? Why would I ever do this? I’m becoming an awful person.” My brain could not stop. I could not turn off the guilt. I tried to reason with myself “Lots of normal people who are not sluts or whores or Jezebels paint their nails. I did nothing wrong. Anyway, you’ve done way worse than painting your nails. This is a silly, stupid thing to feel guilty over.”

It didn’t work. After talking with an ex-fundamentalist friend, I decided to sleep on it and hope I felt better in the morning.
[Read more...]

Steadfast Daughters in a Quivering World ~ Part 6: Soul-Binding

[Note: this series is dedicated to Quivering Daughtersby the former-Quiverfull moms at No Longer Quivering.]
by Daisy

My name is Daisy.

I am a good person…but I was a bad parent.

Tragically, by choosing QF/patriarchal fundamentalist methodology as the pattern for my home, believing that it would provide the very best insurance against messing up with parenthood, I messed up. I messed up badly. I hurt my kids and, worse, I silenced them when they tried to tell me about it. Criticizing your parents is, of course, disrespectful and therefore opening a dangerous door that may lead a child ultimately to rebelling against God – and as I believed that put my child in danger of hellfire, of course, I conscientiously nipped dissent in the bud at every opportunity.

As it happens, my eyes were just opening to the dreadful truth that QF had sold me a bill of goods when my oldest child found her voice. I was on the way out of QF teaching, patriarchal Christianity and my marriage when that beautiful daughter tried to describe her pain to me by starving herself almost to death. Shortly after she began her lengthy treatment for anorexia, another of my children found a way to tell me that her soul was in agony. A razor blade and a veritable hill of pills were her loud-hailer.

If you, like me, raised your children in QF until at least their early teens, you may have already had to endure the sorrow of watching your children rise up and call you Monster, or at least, Failure. If you haven’t yet, it is my opinion that, you probably will. And, believe it or not, this is a good, good thing. I do hope your child does not need to resort to the dramatic acts my oldest two did in order to gain your attention, in fact, I would plead with you to listen to them well before that becomes necessary. But I want to encourage you with this:

As parents we should not be afraid of the volume or power or ugliness of the moment – or indeed the many moments – when our child finds her young adult voice. What we really should be afraid of is her silence. That compliant 25-year-old looks and sounds like an adult, but she has a 12-year-old soul. Like the tiny feet of Chinese girls crushed and tightly bound in rags by well-intentioned parents to prevent their healthy growth, that child may be the victim of a sort of a ‘soul-binding’. This disastrous mistake may have doomed her to endure both a crippling emotional agony and an ongoing rage that her mother could dare to insist that such a violent and abusive act was perpetrated because of love.
[Read more...]

Steadfast Daughters in a Quivering World ~ Part 5: Confessions of a Quiverfull Hero

[Note: this series is dedicated to Quivering Daughters by the former-Quiverfull moms at No Longer Quivering.]
by Daisy

I was only 19 when I arrived at Christianity’s door, bruised and highly impressionable and, because of my family situation, determined to do a better job of sorting out my life than my parents had done. Victims of abuse in their own homes, my parents had learned very early to dissociate from their emotions. Our home was an emotionally sterile one and, although I know now that this is not true, as as child I believed my parents did not love me. I decided that when *I* had kids, if they grew up knowing nothing else, they would know for sure that I loved them more than breathing.

I became the kind of Christian mother other Christian mothers looked up to in awe. My numerous children were admired wherever they went: smart, lively, godly and absolutely obedient. Women used to call on me and ask advice, yearning to be able to produce the kind of wonderful ‘fruit’ I was enjoying in abundance in my children. I would explain the difference between violent abuse and the loving application of ‘the rod’ which turned children’s little hearts away from sin and toward God. I would explain that I spanked sparingly and always in the context of a warm, loving expansive relationship, as part of a ritual that included healthy confession, repentance, and loving forgiveness. Anyone who knew my kids could see that following these biblical parenting principles was paying off big time.

As committed as I was to following the principles I’d come to believe would help me to raise wonderful and godly children, and as invested as I was in the outcome, I was blind to the true state of my children’s hearts. Forbidding certain, and indeed numerous, beliefs and practices which I now see were absolutely benign didn’t make my children lose their taste for them as I thought it would – it just drove them underground. In order to indulge perfectly normal, harmless preferences and cling to some semblance of separate identity, my children were forced to construct a secret inner life to which I had no access and which, of course, added considerably to their guilt burden.

Despite many, many lessons about the love and forgiveness of a generous heavenly Father, I realize now that my children were not able to reconcile the horrors of personal guilt and the fear of punishment against abstract concepts such as Christian integrity and the grace of God. In an effort to explain the kindness and extent of a grace so great it could save even sinners like us, I inadvertently buried my older children in the shallow grave of shame, self-loathing, and later, deep, deep rage. They came to be appalled at the lurking sin monster that evidently resided in their hearts, and endured an abiding self-disgust that their natural bents seemed often to be precisely what God deemed evil.

My older girls were damaged in particularly sad ways. QF standards of modesty caused them to wonder just what was so disgusting or dangerous about their bodies that they needed to keep them so carefully under wraps. Witnessing my unreasonably energetic efforts to submit to their father, my girls learned that even when a man is stupid, petty and a bully, God wants Christian women and their children to bear it with a smile and a prayer. I taught them that heroic hypocrisy was more important than honest misery. Their determination not to repeat my marital nightmare ultimately caused them to question their sexual orientation. Frustrated in the belief that the whole world was conspiring to strip them of their sense of self and squeeze them into a mold for which they were not fitted, my daughters generated lakefuls of underground anger which eventually exploded into terrifying geysers of self-destructive energy.

But I was oblivious to this at the time. I adored my children, poured my life out for them, and simply could not imagine that my best and most sincere efforts at applying what was, after all, God’s methodology might be harming them in anyway.

But it was.
[Read more...]

Steadfast Daughters in a Quivering World ~ Part 4: Acknowledgement & Apologies

[Note: this series is dedicated to Quivering Daughters by the former-Quiverfull moms at No Longer Quivering.]
In this part of our series, the ex-QF moms of NLQ are speaking directly to our own Quivering Daughters ~ though we’ve already said our apologies in person, we want to acknowledge the abuse we inflicted on our children publicly for their sake, though we’re doing it anonymously out of respect for their privacy.

Trigger warning: As painful it has been for us to write these confessions down ~ it may be even tougher for the Quivering Daughters who were on the receiving end of our neglect and abuse to read.


My children were everything to me. I remember the feelings I had when I gave birth to my first child, emotions that surprised me with their ferocity. I’d spent my entire life focusing on me, more than anyone else, and yet now, after a few hours of the most horrible pain I’d ever experienced in my entire life (so much for the pain-free birthing books I’d read and committed to memory), this bloody squalling thing suddenly became the Most Important Thing On Earth.

I looked in shock at my husband, holding that baby that, up until then, I’d never even seen with my physical eyes, and, my gaze wide with amazement at the power of the raw protective urge coursing through my body, said, “I’d do anything for her. I don’t care if it is a Mack Truck on the highway—I’d willingly let it run over me if it would save her life.”

I was absolutely, totally and emphatically in love.

So when a woman from church gave me an innocent looking white book with an Amish-style family on the front cover, telling me it was the best book on raising children she’d ever read, I was interested. Two pages into it, I was hooked. Here was a man telling me that there was a sure-fire way that I could raise my child and guarantee that she would grow up to love and serve the Lord. As a devout evangelical conservative Christian, there was nothing more important to me than that. As bad as a Mack Truck accident might be, there was no “accident” or situation worse than the thought of my child not growing up to follow Christ—because that would mean an entire eternity of Hell. A Mack Truck can’t begin to compare.

So with my mother-love highly aroused and my fears fully engaged, I read, page by page, all about the way to ensure that your children are properly trained so that they will grow up to love and serve God.

If I could sum up the message that this book spoke to a young mother who deeply loved her baby, it was this:

“Momma, your baby is a sinner. He/she will try to manipulate you. Things like a child not liking a diaper change and squirming to be free are an example of a sinful will attempting to dominate you. You may think this is a little thing, but it’s huge. Why? Because if you let the child dominate you, the child will win. If the child wins, the child will learn that rebellion pays. The child will then grow up to probably reject God and go to Hell, because a rebellious heart will not want to follow God. So, Momma, never ever let your child win. Your child’s exertion of will [which includes anything you deem unacceptable---grumpiness, for example] is an act of war, and parenting is about the parent winning any and all battles of wills.”

I loved my baby. How grateful, absolutely grateful I felt, that someone was there to show me the way. Now, at last, there was hope! My baby would get the joy of growing up in a home where things were done right. She wouldn’t have to go through the things I went through! No, she was going to have a godly home where she would be trained properly, and she would grow up happy and obedient and full of love towards God. It was so exciting.

So exciting that I bought ten of those books and passed them out to my friends so that they could all join in the delight of knowing we could raise our children in a way that would ensure both their happiness now and their eternal future in Heaven.

I didn’t know. If I could go back now and re-do the way I parented that little baby, I would. Out of all the things in my life that I deeply regret, that is the most painful, the most difficult, the most horrific set of memories to revisit. Because the thing is, I love my children no less now than I did then. It’s still a ferocious mother-bear kind of love. It’s still so powerful it is palpable.

But seeing your children as enemies in a war creates a fundamental crack in the parent-child relationship. Even if there is the most powerful love in the universe on the other side of the crack, the divide is still there…including the distortion of communication it causes. I entered into a performance-based parenting model out of love for my child. But that model does not feed love, or nurture love, or engage love.
[Read more...]