Quoting Quiverfull: “To Train Up A Child” Harmful?

Quoting Quiverfull: “To Train Up A Child” Harmful? November 29, 2013

by Michael Pearl from No Greater Love

“The alleged presence of the book makes it no more responsible for Hanna’s death than the presence of a weight loss book in the home of an overweight person is responsible for their obesity.”

Posted by CNN on their front page yesterday.

“To Train Up a Child” linked to deaths

Please sign the petitions to get Amazon to stop selling the book

Refuse to carry books which advocate the physical abuse of children

Amazon.com: Ban “To Train Up a Child”

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nea

    Ah, divide and conquer. This is just a coincidence! Like the last time he was cited in a child death! And the time before that! Every single one a mere coincidence that the book and weapon of choice in the book just somehow happened to be party to a child’s murder and never, ever to be linked into a pattern.

    I suppose that it’s at least a minor help that he’s now defensive, considering that his reaction to the first death was mockery.

  • quietglow

    It’s only alleged! You can’t even prove the book was there! If it was there you can’t prove anyone read it!

  • Saraquill

    I see no reason to take his word seriously when he can’t even be bothered to properly spell her name.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Uh. He mixed his metaphors a bit. A weight loss book would never be the cause of obesity. Perhaps he should have said “than the presence of several pounds of Godiva chocolate in the home of an overweight person is responsible for their obesity.” Or than “the presence of a weight loss book in the home of an overweight person is responsible for their anorexia.” All kidding aside, he’s just trying to tell us, “Move along, move along, there’s nothing here to see.” Which is baloney.

    BTW, there’s a petition circulating to remove this book from Amazon.


  • Trollface McGee

    Um, no – it’s more analogous to a pro-ana site assisting someone with an eating disorder.

  • $190147

    “The alleged presence of the book makes it no more responsible for Hanna’s death than the presence of a weight loss book in the home of an overweight person is responsible for their obesity.”

    Predictable. You can always depend on these guys to embrace an analogy. They love analogies (the uncharitable reason I assign for this is that they don’t love calling things by their nonanalogical names).

    In my view, though, it’s the wrong analogy. Here’s what he should have said if he wanted to be consistent: ““The alleged presence of the book makes it no more responsible for Hanna’s death than the presence of a weight loss book in the home of a chronic anorectic is responsible for her death.”

  • newcomer

    Guys, I think his choice of analogy is his feeble attempt to flip things around entirely, not a mistake. He’s not just claiming that the things taught in his book were taken too far, he’s saying ‘How could anyone ever think MY book had any responsibility in this when it advocates the EXACT OPPOSITE of what these people did? I said that they should beat and starve their children in a COMPLETELY different way (except that they should hit them with the same implements for the same reasons).’

    It isn’t that his analogy is off, it’s that he’s being incredibly brazen in his attempts to deny even the similarities between his ‘teachings’ and the details of this tragedy.

  • houstonschic

    I think the book is deplorable, the Pearls’ despicable, and their teachings are demonic. However, I won’t vote to have the book taken down from Amazon. “Banning books” simply makes them more attractive in many ways. Heck, our local library has a “banned books week,” where they *encourage* you to read somethig that some eeeeeeeeeeeeevil person wanted to keep out of your capable hands and away from your discerning minds. (gag) What if the Pearls’ teachings were mainstream, and people could vote to have our voices silenced? I would rather the Pearls have a voice, and have enough people *refute them* then deny them the right to speak.

  • Edie Moore McGee

    I understand what you’re saying. This isn’t really banning books because we’re not calling, for example, for the government to forbid the book from being sold. People can still buy the book. Pearl will continue to sell his own book. Probably Vision Forum will sell it, certain churches and Christian bookstores, etc. will sell it, too. All we’re saying here is, “Amazon, you can do better. Make a different marketing choice.” Booksellers make marketing choices all the time.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    >> Probably Vision Forum will sell it

    I think you have, perhaps, misunderstood the huge doctrinal gulf between VF and Michael Pearl. They are rather dramatically opposed to each other.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    >>“The alleged presence of the book makes it no more responsible for Hanna’s death than the presence of a weight loss book in the home of a chronic anorectic is responsible for her death.”

    I think that is a very good analogy.

  • $190147

    Did I mention that I do not trust analogies? Did I mention that I think they’re the ever-present refuge of people who are unwilling to say what they mean in real language? Meaning that getting good at them is not a prospect I adore?

    Besides, Trollface McGee came up with it first.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    What you don’t like analogies? I think they are the spice of life!

  • $190147

    Of course you do. They amuse you and sometimes you can jerk people around with them, especially people who mistake them for serious argumentation. The good thing about analogies — though I still don’t like them — is that they rarely convince people who haven’t already bought into the argument they’re brought in to support, because that’s “the price of admission” or what you need to get them to work for you. Usually if you haven’t bought into the position (whatever it is) beforehand you’re just left saying “but this makes no sense” and that’s that. But analogies — and this is why I really don’t like them — can be used to mess up the heads of people who genuinely haven’t made up their minds. Analogies can be, and often are, used as a bait-and-switch technique, although, like I said, the positive side to that is that usually they don’t work. When they do work the program goes something like this: the analogizer presents his or her intended target with some apothegm concerning the goodness of kittens or puppies or what have you, and the next thing the target know he (or she) is being made to agree that puppies love fracking (for instance) and sicken without it and that that’s why anybody who opposes fracking can’t really care much about their dog. (Excuse the example, which was pulled out of a hat.)

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Actually I love analogies because I love language and love word play. Analogies, Metaphors, double entenres, puns, I love them all.

  • $190147

    OK. But you wanted to know what I don’t like about analogies and I hope I was suitably forthcoming.

    I know, and I expect you know, that word-play is not always “play” in the sense that it’s all done gratis. Some of it’s intended to do stuff. Some of it is intended to have an effect, which may or may not be equally to everyone’s taste. Another example, this one from the real world: a few years ago a mass-market department store (an old one, not one of the newer big box outlets) put together a publicity campaign (which was not very sophisticated) for its juniors’ clothing line. The publicity campaign was called “a new approach” (IIRC none of the words in the slogan were capitalized). The photographs which accompanied the slogan were those of uncharacteristically bony girls — for that department store — wearing unusually loose clothes. The point was one that I imagine most girls of the target age would get, because if you take the three first letters in the slogan “a new approach” and put them together you get “ana” which is webspeak for “anorexic”. Again, that’s slang which most girls of the target age would know. The message, then, would be a like a short note passed from the firm to the girls they hope will buy their stuff: “We may be based in Texas, folks, but we’re still cool; we want you to know that we sell high-end clothes for skinny girls too and not just overalls for chubsters.” There you have a thoroughly noxious message* transmitted, successfully or otherwise, and how? By means of word-play. I like word-play more than I don’t like it but I don’t trust all of it because it can provide cover for scoundrels. Some play is meaner than other play; not all of it’s homage to that which is cute and good.


  • Vaughn Ohlman

    >>I know, and I hope you know that word-play is not always “play” and that some of it’s intended to do stuff.

    Oh, my, but of course!! All great literature is full of word play, and truly great literature is all intended to ‘do stuff’: ie to change minds: sometimes subtly, some times blatantly. When the message is both subtle and dishonest (ie you are trying to get someone to do something by your subtle word play that you would deny trying to do in overt words, then it is dishonest.

  • $190147

    What we’re left with is the disparity between words and what words are there to describe; the disparity is what word-play exploits. Word-play is the disparity taken to another level. In itself the disparity not honest or dishonest; it’s there.

    The woods are good for hunters to hunt in and the woods are also good for bandits to hide in, so what you think is a legitimate use of the woods is going to depend on your life circumstances and on your own priorities. The woods are always a good place to be careful in, though; I think that rule holds true pretty much no matter what.

    That’s why I don’t believe in the effective inerrancy of the Bible. The Bible can be as inerrant as it wants to be but I don’t know of any interpreters who can say the same thing.