Quoting Quiverfull: Book Burning, Godwin’s Law?

Quoting Quiverfull: Book Burning, Godwin’s Law? March 29, 2014

by Michael Pearl from No Greater Joy Magazine speaking about the possibility of his book “To Train Up A Child” being possibly banned in the UK – Resume Enhancement

Last week I received a call from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Radio) concerning the recent push in the House of Commons to have my 20-year-old book, To Train Up a Child, banned from sale in Britain. On live radio the host asked for my response to the effort to ban my book. I responded, “The British defended Britain against the Nazis with planes and tanks; they now defend the homeland against ideas with censorship. That is beneath the dignity of the English people.” He then read some of the statements made in the House concerning me and my book. I informed him that the statements were the result of quote mining and cherry picking, leaving an impression that is entirely untrue, and that the woman who made them had not read my book, but had surfed the Web to get her information.

Later that day, I got a second call from another BBC affiliate. He seemed to be a little higher caliber. Again, the same questions and the same answers. The next day I got another call from a BBC affiliate. He probed and said things like, “You believe in hitting children as young as four months…” After I answered his absurd characterizations of my teaching, he asked, “And so how will you feel if they ban your book in Britain?” I laughed and said, “Well, I would be delighted. It will be a résumé enhancement. I will put it on the front page of my website, ‘Warning, this book is banned in the U.K.,’ and I will sell an additional 100,000 copies to people in Britain by direct mailing through No Greater Joy.” My mama would be proud.

The Nazis were burning books while the English were bombing them.

A book written 20 years ago, having gone through more than 20 printings, selling nearly 700,000 copies in the U.S. alone, and untold more in 12 other languages, plus printings and distribution in English in several foreign countries, and only now is it a danger to children everywhere? The message is not new. It is traditional, universal, historical, commonsense, biblical, psychologically sound, and has produced nothing but sweet fruit. So why are the progressives so upset now? The message has not changed but the world has. They are failing with their children and they know that if they “hit” their kids (something they feel like doing) it would be prompted by anger. So they practice transferal, assuming that any parent that employs physical chastisement must be angry and violent as they would be if they “struck” their “little brats.”

They have never experienced the Christ-centered family of love and goodwill. They cannot conceive of its existence. Their families are typified on TV and in movies—hostility, bitterness, impatience, anger, and resentment. Our peaceful lives and happy children seem like fairy tales to them. Their world is going to hell, while ours is going to heaven on a sunbeam of joy and celebration.

I was disappointed that they did not call back. I was looking forward to mentioning that the Nazis were burning books while the English were bombing them. So where have all the Nazis gone? Gone to England every one; when will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

— Michael

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 and Spiritual Abuse 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

 

"I always knew they were never really in love; in particular, she seems to have ..."

Complimentarian Marriage and the Lies They ..."
"We can choose to wink at abuse or we can choose to leave abusers. Now, ..."

Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity ..."
"Agreeing with your sentiment. (Fine point... It's Debi today, not Lori.)"

Create a Better Brain Through Neuroplasticity ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • KarenH

    To paraphrase from the old Ezzo debates: “What’s good in [TTUAC] is not unique to [TTUAC]; what’s unique in [TTUAC] is not good.”

  • Trollface McGee

    Oh well as long as we’re Godwinning…
    “A book written 20 years ago, having gone through more than 20 printings, selling nearly 700,000 copies in the U.S. alone, and untold more in 12 other languages, plus printings and distribution in English in several foreign countries, and only now is it a danger to children everywhere?”
    Mein Kampf was published almost 100 years ago. Since it’s first printing, it has sold over 10 million copies in pretty much any language available and sells about 15,000 copies a year in the U.S. alone and now it’s considered bad???
    “The message is not new. It is traditional, universal, historical, commonsense, biblical, psychologically sound, and has produced nothing but sweet fruit. ”
    Yep, anti-semitism and racism are traditional, wide-spread (I’d argue both TTUAC and Mein Kampf aren’t psychologically sound, common-sense and produce awful results).
    It doesn’t take great scholarship to understand the toxicity behind both books. I’m not in favour of censorship or book bans – they are undemocratic and have a potential to backfire especially in fundie communities that will see the ban as a badge of honour – I’d much rather see the Pearls either criminally or civilly held responsible for the death and abuse of children due to people following their wonderful abuse manuals.

  • Allison the Great

    I read up to quote mining and cherry picking. Mr. Pearl does that shit with the bible so that he has justification for being a child beating sociopath. He has NO right to get pissed off when someone quote mines and cherry picks his violent shit fest book

  • Astrin Ymris

    I notice he didn’t say that the part about him telling parents to hit babies as young as four months old isn’t true; just that he “answered” that “absurd characterization of his teachings”.

    Something I’ve noticed in debating religious extremists– if you take their bizarre doctrine out of its soothing phrasing and state it baldly, they complain that you’re misrepresenting what they believe. When you ask them what was misrepresented, they parrot back the original soothing phrasing, rather than making any real corrections. It’s like they really think “saying it pretty” makes cruel or absurd dogma somehow acceptable. Or maybe they can’t face the reality that they really DO believe something so loopy.

    I’m not pro-bookbanning either (well, except for that ‘How to molest kids and not get caught’ self-published book which was selling on Amazon for awhile). I would like to have all of its contents dragged into the light of day and refuted by actual developmental research. I would also like all the child abuse cases which involve punishment exactly like TTUAC recommends be brought out as well.

  • JeanPing

    Much as i dislike him, he’s right. Banning it would be wrong, and would increase sales too. Sorry, but banning books is wrong. And just think, we’d have to start featuring it in Banned Books Week every year and telling people to read it!

  • JeanPing

    (By ‘we’ I mean librarians and others who do that for a living. I organize BBW at my workplace.)

  • Joy

    Lol, I knew exactly what you meant and assumed you must work in a library.

  • Nea

    if you take their bizarre doctrine out of its soothing phrasing and state it baldly, they complain that you’re misrepresenting what they believe. When you ask them what was misrepresented, they parrot back the original soothing phrasing, rather than making any real corrections

    Well, yes. Michael does indeed not advocate “hitting” 4-month-olds. He advocates “giving them a little spat” with a ruler or tree branch. TOTALLY different to the baby and therefore wrong to accuse him of abuse! /sarcasm

  • Edie Moore McGee

    Completely agree. I am not in favor of banning books. I AM in favor of holding the authors responsible when people actually do what they espouse and get horrible results.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Just seeing the photo of the book burning with the little boy on the cover makes me queasy…book banning/burning is wrong and you know he would milk that forever.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Ah, I see; if you call it “giving a little spat” instead of “spanking” or “hitting”, that makes everything totally different!

    Of course, since Pearl prescribes upping the intensity of the “spats” until they get the desired results, one wonders how they could be characterized as “little”. Oh,well– it’s the baby’s own fault for being so defiant, isn’t it? /sarc

    It makes me physically ill to think of parents subjecting their babies to such abuse. 🙁

  • Saraquill

    This is one of those instances where I would like it to be legal to kick the man in the groin with steel toed boots.

  • bekabot

    See, this why Mr. Pearl is so dumb for a smart man. There are things he doesn’t get — and if he does get them he refuses to acknowledge that he gets them, the way Ken Hamm refuses to admit that the world is over 6000 years old. I wouldn’t say Mr. Pearl’s religion is what stands in the way, but I would say that maybe his religion is what makes the task of denial easier — sanctifies it, so to speak.

    First — the fact that you, as a society, find it provident to censor certain things, doesn’t mean that you’re a bunch of Nazis teetering on the verge of the Third Reich. Great Britain has a long and healthy tradition of censorship, which is predicated on the circumstance that they don’t have a first amendment. (They don’t even have a written constitution.) In Great Britain it’s perfectly OK and legal to censor whatever most of the society decides is out of bounds, as long as a given level of consensus exists. The British have, to a limited extent, been living under censorship for hundreds and hundreds of years and they haven’t turned into Nazis thus far. That the British are now part of the EU (more or less) puts strictures on what they can censor but there are so many exceptions to the EU guidelines that they leave out more than they put in. So that “but this could so totally hurt somebody’s feelings” is a perfectly valid reason for banning something in Britain. You just have to get enough people to agree. (That’s what many Americans never understood about the commotion over The Satanic Verses.)

    (See: Israel, which also doesn’t have an official constitution and which also has no problem banning books, plays, ideas and works which it judges contrary to its national interest, and modern-day Germany, which does have an official constitution but which has no first amendment nor anything equivalent to it. The Germans also think it’s smart to ban certain kinds of expression and they do ban them, and among the things they ban are Nazi symbols and slogans.)

    Second, and this is the more salient point — the first amendment, which ensures freedom of expression and also forbids the institution of any official, national religion, is an oddity. Most nations, whether they’ve got written constitutions or not, don’t have anything like it. (In Great Britain, for example, not only is censorship allowable but there’s a national church.) It’s an articulation of a really radical 18th-century idea, an offshoot of Enlightenment thought in its utmost degree. The idea behind the first amendment, put in its short form, goes something like this: truth is the product of experience and as such, it’s connected to time and chance. It isn’t something which stands outside all epiphenomena and which has to be climbed like a mountain under the guidance of a priestly sherpa. That means that you can be wrong, even rather drastically wrong, and still contribute, ultimately, to the discovery of the truth. The way to the truth may be terrible and hairy but it doesn’t stand outside the embrace of error, and that’s why errors have to be permitted. (Ergo: even a guy who advocates starting to switch infants when they’re about four months old has his place in the search for the truth.) When Blake wrote “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” he was saying something similar, and was speaking out of the same revolutionary sensibility.

    The funny thing is that this is exactly the revolutionary sensibility that Michael Pearl can’t stand, and would put a stop to if he could. He’s one of those people who thinks that truth does stand outside experience and that it may contradict experience (and who also sees it as a material possession like a cache of old silver or a stockpile of supplies). That’s why it’s so important to him to inculcate the truth in people or to indoctrinate them in it. Not only (in his view) does he “have” the truth (whereas most people “don’t”) but the truth is something most people can’t get to on their own, since they’re traveling in the wrong direction. They’re following the wrong roadmap (they’re following, in part, the roadmap derived from the Enlightenment, of which Mr. Pearl is not a fan) and their GPS is all screwed up. So it’s Mr. Pearl’s job to step in with his own roadmap, or program, which he guarantees has been 100% scoured of bugs. For Mr. Pearl, an error isn’t something you stumble over on the way to the truth, nor can it be a means for discerning the truth. For Mr. Pearl, an error is the total opposite of truth; truth and error can’t occupy the same ground. They can’t be spoken of in the same sentence. That’s why, so far as he’s concerned, it’s actually charitable to spank all the mistakenness out of a kid while the kid is still young — that way the kid won’t continue to be alienated from the truth.

    The problem here is that this whole way of looking at things is removed about as totally as it can be from the rationale which informs the first amendment. The understanding of what truth is which is contained in the first amendment has very, very little in common with this view of it. So that the statute Mr. Pearl depends upon to protect him (“Hey!! You can’t ban me!! That makes you into a Nazi!!”) not only doesn’t exist in Great Britain but is utterly, completely adverse to his own reading of the world. Michael Pearl’s view of the world has no room in it for an ordinance which says that you can’t ban a book nor does it have any room for the collection of customs and habits of thought connected with that ordinance. He’s a man who thinks that everything which is in error should be prohibited, and therefore he has no moral right to object when others seek to prohibit his work because they think it is in error. He and they are working from similar premises; only the sound bytes differ, and they don’t differ much.

  • Independent Thinker

    The little boy on the cover is Jeremiah Pearl, Shoshanna’s son. He is the grand child of Michael and Debi Pearl.

  • Nea

    if you call it “giving a little spat” instead of “spanking” or “hitting”, that makes everything totally different!

    Terrifyingly, in Michael’s mind, it does. Just as upping the intensity during “training” doesn’t cross any line into “beating.” Just as sentencing his son to 10 strikes a day for a week is, apparently, NOT the same as sentencing him to 70 lashes.

  • Nea

    Nicely argued!

    He’s a man who thinks that everything which is in error should be
    prohibited, and therefore he has no moral right to object when others
    seek to prohibit his work because they think it is in error

    Ah, yes, but Michael Pearl by definition is never in error, because… reasons.

  • Saraquill

    Poor kid.

  • Astrin Ymris

    *shudders*

    Aside from the inhumanity, isn’t that against the central tenet of the pro-spanking crowd– that punishment should be immediate, not deferred? “Spreading” a corporal punishment over several days separates it from the offense which instigated it? All it teaches a kid is that his father is a sadistic, irrational tyrant.

    Which seems to be the point; Michael Pearl wants to inflict upon his kids a deep-seated terror of incurring their father’s wrath that lasts for a lifetime. It’s “Patriarchy”, after all.

  • Nea

    All it teaches a kid is that his father is a sadistic, irrational tyrant

    So, in this case, he is teaching the truth.

    As I recall the story, the kid had lied about something for a week before coming clean, so the punishment was extended over an entire week in retaliation. AND the kid had to go pick a switch – a new one – every day. Michael chortles to himself about how it really made the boy focus on the extended punishment. Of course, in Michael’s mind, this is justice and taught the kid not to lie. In everyone else’s, it’s a sadistic display of sheer power and cruelty.

    If we saw a headline saying ‘Saudi boy sentenced to 70 lashes for offending Islamic parent’ this country would be up in arms. But when Michael tells the story it’s a humorous lesson in raising Christian kids “right.”

    Oh, and Michael never, EVER mentions the number 70. He talks about 10. Over a week. But rather than let anyone actually do the simple multiplication, he repeats “10” over and over and over as if to hypnotize people into thinking that he only hit the kid 10 times. At a time. Over a week.

  • ToninaMDC

    Michael Pearl actually did that to one of his children? He hit a child 10 times each day for an entire week? I think I’m going to be sick. And this guy is a popular author who makes his living telling people how to (mis)treat their spouses and children. Ugh.

    As an aside, I wish I had a better idea of what Michael Pearl considers a “switch”. I know in general that “switching” a child usually involves a somewhat flexible small-diameter branch, but that’s all I know about the process.

  • Nea

    Pearl *BRAGS* about it.

    He considers 1/4″ plumbing supply line a “switch” and advocates for its use.

  • ToninaMDC

    I knew about the plumbing line thing before now, *shudders* but the actual branch of a tree, no. When I was a kid, my babysitter used to threaten to have us cut a willow switch for her to use on my sister and me when we misbehaved, but I’ve never actually experienced/seen a tree branch being used for that sort of thing. Given that Michael Pearl’s willing to use plumbing line on his children, I don’t even want to think about the size of branch he’d use to beat them. I truly don’t understand why he hasn’t been investigated and arrested by law enforcement. Isn’t using anything but your hand to spank your child illegal in most of the U.S.?

  • BaronessBlack

    interestingly, it is against the law in Scotland (part of the UK) to use an implement to smack a child http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2003/10/18406/28339
    and in England and Wales under current laws, mild smacking is allowed but any which causes visible bruising, grazes, scratches, swellings or cuts is not. Again, using an implement is unlawful. So, TTUAC is technically promoting illegal behaviour.
    So, I agree that it should not be banned, but it should have a sticker on it that states “The techniques in this book are illegal in many countries and states. The publishers/distributors/etc. will not be responsible for any actions etc. etc.”