Quoting Quiverfull: Without Perfect Adherence to Michael Pearl’s Principles Homeschooling Will Fail?

Quoting Quiverfull: Without Perfect Adherence to Michael Pearl’s Principles Homeschooling Will Fail? April 24, 2014

by Michael Pearl at No Greater Joy – Homeschooling: Success and Failure

Not every homeschool experience will be a great success. Some will be total failures; others will be good but not altogether good. In some cases, out of six children a family may lose one or two to the world, but they will have two or three that are exceptional human beings. The Devil is after us. The flesh is still weak. The world has not lost its luster. So there will be casualties. We are saddened by every failure, but we are not daunted or discouraged. The large number of beautiful successes keeps us charging ahead with confidence.

It has been our ministry to help parents raise godly children from birth to grandkids. We have addressed every conceivable subject several times from different angles, written over twenty books and thousands of articles, read your letters and answered many of them. We have heard your stories and sought to understand problem areas and the things that make for consistent success. So one more time, I will address the reasons for the few who fail.

How many times have you heard me say, “More is caught than taught,” or, “Your attitude speaks louder than your words”? I have often said, “Children are rooted in the soil of their parents,” and, “You must model what you want your children to become.”

It is not enough to teach morals, good character, the Constitution, Creationism, and modesty. Goodness without God is humanism at its finest. Right living without worship is the arrogance of Cain, unacceptable for its lack of faith. Satan can tolerate us being good as long as God does not receive the praise and worship. The world can appreciate and even praise our morals (it makes for good citizenship), but they despise us giving glory to the God of creation, who is the judge of all men.

Good kids without God are just bait for the sharks of this world. Sometimes the bait in its naïveté wants to be eaten. We can control the family and our environment so as to protect our children from the world—until they get old enough to seek it out, and then the only protection they have is that which is within. If God is not within, they are empty vessels waiting to be filled with folly and fornication. Those who fall from the highest moral standards fall further and land harder, doing more damage.

If your family is not part of a Bible-believing congregation of saints, your children are being deprived of God’s method of sanctification and ministry.

I have observed that most of the failures come from families who did not raise their children in a community of believers. Few families are completely balanced, able to supply all the needs of their kids. But in a church of like-minded saints there is balance. The church of Jesus Christ is God’s supply line of ministry to the family. If your family is not part of a Bible-believing congregation of saints, your children are being deprived of God’s method of sanctification and ministry. If there is no church or community of believers within comfortable driving distance, then move to where you can hear the preaching of the word and participate in ministry, and your kids can socialize with other godly youth.

But when everything else is right, if the husband and wife relationship is not a thing to be envied by the children, you can be sure that you are going to lose some if not all of your children to the world. The last you will hear of them as they look back over their shoulder is, “Hypocrite.” I have heard many say, “If that is what a Christian is, I don’t want anything to do with it.”

You need to have a family Proverbs time. You need to “go to church.” You need to involve your family in ministering to others. You need to teach morals, character, and the Bible stories; but most of all, you need to look at your children and smile with delight, and they need to see you looking at your spouse and smiling with appreciation and thanksgiving. It is the difference between success and failure. Read again Created to Be His Help Meet and Created to Need a Help Meet.

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


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  • Allison the Great

    I don’t think that Michael Pearl is the person to tell others how to raise children who are not failures. The man is a sociopath who thinks it’s cool to beat children into submission and break their will. If he raises a child who thinks like he does, then that child is a failure. If a person is only going to use the bible as justification for abuse then maybe that person should put the bible away. The bible is clearly not for them.

    It’s interesting how he talks about being good but not having God in you. Coming from someone like Pearl, it’s almost laughable. I’d rather be good and not have God in me than be an evil, vindictive sociopath like Pearl and have God in me. I don’t think there is anything of God in Michael Pearl at all (or Debi Pearl or their kids) . The only thing that’s there is Michael’s psychotic ego that he thinks is God.

  • Christie

    If this was all Micheal Pearl talked about, it might be benign mostly. If all he talked about was modeling Christian behavior and going to church, there would be little problem.

    It’s not and I find his particular philosophy on parenting to be void of common sense, and void of the historical and literary nature of the book of proverbs. It’s practice is terrible and so very very damaging. It lacks the grace, mercy and love advocated by Jesus.

    I read in scripture of Jesus blessing the children, and loving them, knowing that they were sinners. I do not read of him beating the children for being children.

  • Nea

    Shorter Michael: I’m a saint, just like in the Bible, so buy my crap*.”

    *In oh, so many senses of that phrase…

  • Nea

    If he raises a child who thinks like he does, then that child is a failure.

    That child is certainly going to be a failure at 1) dealing with the secular world 2) any job that requires an education or ability to deal with people who don’t march in lockstep, and 3) being able to avoid being fleeced by any con person who knows the right words to say.

  • Trollface McGee

    He talks about “losing” one or two kids like it’s no big deal – of course you’ll have those other exceptional children so you won’t miss the others. Do people really think like that? It’s horrifying – even more so if you consider that in that belief system, those “lost” kids are going to be tortured for eternity.
    I notice that it’s an article on homeschooling that doesn’t seem to mention anything about actual education – community, bible, family – that’s all good, but homeschooling should have some… I don’t know… schooling in it?
    And while modelling healthy relationships is a good thing – Debi and Michael’s marriage is so toxic it shouldn’t be modelled to anyone, much less impressionable children.
    And the “few who fail” line really irks me. It’s like the AA slogan that those that don’t succeed aren’t doing it right – it puts the blame on the person instead of having any examination of the system – and there is so much wrong with the Pearls’ system that we have several series across blogs devoted to them.
    And he ends it with a nice little book plug.

  • Nightshade

    ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’ If a child does depart, then clearly the parents failed to train him up right. That’s the only way these people can make sense of children leaving their way of life, even if the parents have done everything possible that they can think of. Your kids went out ‘into the world’? Has to be the parents, couldn’t possibly be that their god didn’t keep his promise, or that the children themselves are human beings capable of *gasp* rational thought.

  • Independent Thinker

    The secular world has female bosses and we all know what the bible says about women in charge. Who cares about pay, benefits, vacation time, spending accounts, holiday pay, wellness programs, free lunches, clothing allowances, retirement plans, holiday parties, or company discounts if you have to submit to a woman. It’s a man’s job to be in charge. Even if being in charge means taking a massive pay and benefit cut to avoid submitting to a woman.

  • Independent Thinker

    “It is not enough to teach morals, good character, the Constitution, Creationism, and modesty.” It is quite obvious how Michael defines a good education. The rest of the world tends to value math, science, history, cultural studies, language arts, medicine, and technology a bit more than worrying about a single historical document and hemlines.

  • SAO

    “In some cases, out of six children a family may lose one or two to the world, but they will have two or three that are exceptional human beings.”

    So, he’s saying if you follow his advice, you’ll have two absolute failures, two successes, and two mediocre results, as judged by his metrics. I’d say that’s quite a condemnation of his system. I’d say, even if your vision of your family is the quiet, obedient Pearl vision, choose some other method to get there.

  • Astrin Ymris

    But don’t you know that all those failures are caused by people not following the Pearls’ system in the RIGHT way? Same as those parents who abuse their kids to death. The Pearls’ way is the Truth, so all problems encountered MUST be caused by people not following them correctly. /sarc

  • Christie

    Proverbs is a wisdom book. That means it is a book of wise sayings. It is neither a promise nor a command. It is simply like Ben Franklin’s wise sayings, but from 1000-750 BC.

  • Christie

    His metrics kind of stink don’t they? Thanks I think I’ll keep my own advice, love on my kids and hope all turn out to be decent human being.

  • Nightshade

    I agree, but at one time I wouldn’t have, and too many people I know still take it as absolute truth. My ex feels like he’s a failure because none of our children are following ‘the way.’ Since it was supposed to be our life’s mission to bring the kids to God he believes we have failed completely.

  • Allison the Great

    It’s no wonder the women in Quiverful don’t get to choose who they marry. None of them would ever choose such a man who is such a fucking baby that he can’t go to work because his boss is a woman. That is the lamest fucking excuse I’ve ever heard. It would be hard for me not to yell at him and tell him to get off his ass. It would be hard for me to submissive to a man who won’t let me work but has such limited skills that he can’t really be too choosey about taking a job over something as trivial as working for a woman.

  • Christie

    Each of us, including our children, have to work out our own relationship with God. You do what you can, and then it is out of your hands. Our children eventually make their own decisions, and parents then must respect those boundaries. What he can do is pray, much more profitable than worrying.

  • bekabot

    Michael Pearl rope-a-dope:

    1) “This is an utterly foolproof, Godly recipe, and it works every time. Just add baptismal water, heat and stir. You can’t go wrong.”

    2) “Well, okay, you can go wrong — but I can’t go wrong.”

    3) “Well, okay, it turns out I can go wrong after all, but that’s only ‘Cuz Devil. If ya wanna complain, complain to him.”

    4) “Did I mention that if The Procedure goes south, the last thing you’ll hear from your kids is that they don’t want anything more to do with you, ever again? I didn’t? Well, I’m mentioning it now. So hunker all the way down, folks, and wait for ’em to flee — that’s how you’re gonna know you brought ’em up the right way.”

    5) “See how it works? See how beautifully everything’s arranged? Losing your kids isn’t the proof of failure, folks, it’s a test of success. That’s why we recommend you have so many of them — it’s because you’re almost certain to lose a few — if you do as we say. If you follow directions. If you never give in. If you stick with the plan.”

  • One of my husband’s childhood friend is QF. He went from job to job (with 5+ kids to support) for YEARS because he couldn’t handle having a woman for a boss.

  • I guess the trick is to keep popping out kids to increase the number of Godly children you produce.

  • Nea

    If the man leads the family over the cliff, it’s God’s Perfect Plan ™ for the family to follow like lemmings!