Quoting Quiverfull: Winning Souls More Important Than Sexual Abuse?

Quoting Quiverfull: Winning Souls More Important Than Sexual Abuse? May 4, 2014

by Debi Pearl from No Greater Joy – Debi Pearl Weighs in on the IBLP Situation

What I am saying is that God raised up a man, a fallen sinful man, and used that man to pull together thousands of believers for a greater good. What I am saying is that someday soon we will all stand before the throne of God to give an answer. All of us. The man. The folks on the website that rejoiced in the fall. Me.

I would much rather be the man who put his whole life into doing a work for God than on the side of those listed on the website that choose to rejoice over the man’s downfall and the destruction of his ministry that God used so effectively to eliminate bitterness in the lives of so many—the same bitterness that now pervades his critics so completely.

Read the rest at No Greater Joy

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.

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

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  • Well, of course she would. Given her views of male-female relations, who wouldn’t rather be the man, any man?

  • You know, it is so nice when what they’re spouting is nonsense both in and out of the context of religion. I can think of about five bible verses that will refute every line of that. Without really thinking that hard. First thing that immediately comes to mind is that bit about “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me.” IDK about everyone else, but I was raised to believe that everything you do to someone else, you’re doing that to Jesus.

    Under that interpretation, the Pearls and their devotees have basically “blanket trained” the Lord God of Hosts, over and over and over and over again.

    Also: You don’t change anyone else’s mind. You can affect their thinking but ultimately, their choices are theirs and theirs alone. You bear responsability for how your words and actions affect others, but the only person whose behavior you can truly control is your own. Which, IMHO, means “Saving Souls” as a goal only counts for your own. You do not get credit for anyone else’s conversions. A ministry only counts as a ministry if migitating the harm and damage done to an individual is the primary goal–that means feeding the people who don’t have enough to eat, providing a safe place for people who have nowhere else to go, and providing information to the people who would not have access to that info if you did not speak (IE telling abused people how to safely exit an abusive relationship.) If bible stuff gets to be included in that info, great. If not, it doesn’t matter. The health, safety, and well-being of others matters more. You cannot change their mind for them. Making sure someone is healthy in mind and body, well cared for, and informed enough to make good choices is all that you can do.

    Saying “But we saved all these souls” to justify a ministry that does exactly jack shit for actually caring for people is passing the buck. Repeating bible stories is easy. Finding ways to help people in a meaningful way is dirty, ugly and hard. IMHO, that’s taking responsability for the ONE thing you cannot take responsability for–someone else’s choice in belief systems–while denying all the things that even Christ specifically said ARE your responsabilities: meeting the needs of people who, for whatever reason, cannot provide for those needs on their own. And using “saving souls” to justify a ministry that advocates unhealthy relationships and BEATING CHILDREN is probably the most wrong-headed, sick, inhuman thing a person can do.

    Now, please excuse me. I have to go be angry somewhere else.

  • Saraquill

    A ministry that advocates beatings non-consent is far more likely to turn away souls than to save them, I believe.

  • “his ministry that God used so effectively to eliminate bitterness in the lives of so many”
    Really? I know Gothard’s “ministry” placed a wrong emphasis on bitterness, but that is not the topic now. I will rather ask how she knows this. Can she look into anyone’s heart to see how bitter or non-bitter they are?

  • Jennny

    Never thought I’d say this, but maybe I see where Debi is coming from. Her whole life is made up of unwanted sexual advances at times when she doesn’t want sex. She’s learned to accept groping, inappropriate touching etc that she’s powerless to resist from her husband. The rest of enjoy consensual sex routinely and haven’t lost the sense of horror at those who abuse women. She’s abused pretty well 24/7 I would suggest. It’s the only model of marriage and manhood she has.

  • I think the best quote came near the end, actually:

    Millions of souls are left hanging untold, unreached, undone. God calls those to cry out in the wilderness to give them the light. So now, another voice has been quieted. And in its place I hear the rejoicing from foolish ones thinking they have done well. Yes, I tremble for them.

    Yup. It’s just way too bad that voice was quieted…

  • bekabot

    I would much rather be the man who put his whole life into doing a work for God than on the side of those listed on the website that choose to rejoice over the man’s downfall and the destruction of his ministry that God used so effectively to eliminate bitterness in the lives of so many—the same bitterness that now pervades his critics so completely.

    The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. The Lord giveth bitterness unto those whom Bill Gothard paws and meddles with with but taketh away bitterness from Bill Gothard himself. The Lord giveth His World bitterness in the form of Bill Gothard, but taketh away bitterness from the congregation Bill Gothard woos. The Lord giveth bitterness unto the people who can’t stand Bill Gothard, but He taketh that bitterness away when Bill Gothard brings himself down. (At which point the Lord apportioneth some bitterness unto Bill Gothard as well.) The Lord taketh bitterness away from Debi Pearl when she’s doing her mean-girl thing, but then the Lord giveth Debi’s bitterness right back to her when she finds out that sometimes mean folks get their comeuppance. Blessed and inscrutable are the ways of the Lord.

    {end of impromptu sermon}

  • I think one of the worst things she has done is relabel righteous anger as “bitterness”. I can imagine her going up to Jesus in the Temple where he just overturned the money changers’ tables and saying, “Now, now, you’re just being bitter.”

  • Well, if she can’t, Michael has certainly made it clear that he can tell a person’s soul (and type!) just by looking.

  • Allison the Great

    The whole time I was among the fundies, I never really believed exactly as they did, and I suppose this helped me see what they were really saying whenever they wanted to “go into the world and save souls” or go on mission trips. I never saw anything wrong with buddhism or hinduism. It was a different faith from a different part of the world. Not evil, just unfamiliar. What I would hear when they said they wanted to “save their souls” was “these people don’t believe tike us, we have to change that because their lack of belief makes me uncomfortable”. I’ve even had people sense that I didn’t believe like they did, and they’d try to do the same thing to me. I’d never say anything, I’d just tune them out as they talked at me instead of to me. They don’t have the right to change the minds, opinions, religions, ideas or beliefs of other people just so they can “save a soul” we all know that what they’re doing is not helping the person they want to save. They’re being selfish, and that’s it.

    With these so-called “Godly” ministries and organizations, we all know that they’re anything but, especially if you have someone like Debi Pearl defending them. The only purpose of these ministries is to get more people to believe like they do, and they do so in some pretty fucked up ways, through fear, mostly. That’s not “godly”. Valuing one gender over the other (while the other is blamed for just about anything and everything that’s wrong with the world) is certainly not fucking “godly”. Shit, most of their practices are not “godly”. They just want to control people. That’s it.

    I’ve always felt that God, should he exist, should be treated with more mystery than certainty. I’ve always felt the bible to be the word of man, not the Word of God. That’s always been obvious to me (no offense to anyone who believes). I’ve always believed that God was too big and too incredible to really care about all the petty things that these assholes tell you that he’ll send you to hell for. They make him seem more like the obnoxious jerk that I’ve deleted off of Facebook than an all-powerful deity who created the universe. I guess it’s for this reason that I get kind of pissed off when evil bitches like Debi Pearl say that God is working through so many institutions that are extremely corrupt, whose aims are not to help people, but to oppress them. I think the god that Debi serves is not the same thing that created the universe. That’s just a hunch.

  • Independent Thinker

    or jealously that seems to be another popular excuse

  • Nea

    Soooo…. the response of the woman who wrote Yell And Tell is “STFU! How dare you tell!”?

  • Nea

    “Don’t come here. There’s no room for a regret girl in this ministry.” Debi’s exact words to an abused young woman.

  • Astrin Ymris

    To be perfectly fair, I think Debi is ranting about former victims who are celebrating the fact that Gothard has finally been exposed as a sexual predator, and his toxic theology has suffered a vast loss of money and moral authority as a result.

    Not having read ‘Yell and Tell’, I’m wondering if all or most of the child molesters referenced are portrayed as being “secular” people outside the child’s family and congregation. The Amazon reviews don’t clear that up, but some DO comment on the disconnect between the Pearls’ demand for children to obey adult commands without question and the message that kids should “Yell and Tell” about child molestation.

    Per Amazon, the book is aimed at kids as young as four year olds, and it’s “…written in a musical rhyme and rhythm that children love…” *barfs*

  • Nea

    How dare they think they’ve done well by exposing an abuser!

  • Nea

    That children love… or else!

    I think we have adequate proof, victims rejoicing or not, that Debi would indeed punish a kid who told on an authority figure. We know certainly know from Debi’s other writing that she thinks anyone (but her) will molest a child in their charge, religious or not.

  • I know, right? Logic and compassion for the abused, you so silly.

  • JeanPing

    A “regret girl”? What on earth is that supposed to mean?

  • JeanPing

    Excellent points.

  • Nea

    Not a clue. Debi seemed to think it meant “designs on my husband.”

  • Nea

    Logic is a road the Pearls aren’t qualified to head down, and compassion is one they daren’t try, for fear of looking at their own actions too hard.

  • Independent Thinker

    Debi Pearl has a tends to stereotype people and then label her stereotypes. No lie, she refers to an entire group of women as “servant girls” just because they have helpful characteristics in their personalities. I am sure a “regret girl” is some sort of Debi Pearl branded stereotype.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “…We know certainly know from Debi’s other writing that she thinks anyone
    (but her) will molest a child in their charge, religious or not…”


    Maybe Debi’s victimization didn’t start with her marriage to Michael Pearl. That’s just such a strange belief to have.

    Wait… does “anyone else” include MICHAEL?

  • Edie Moore McGee

    I’d rrather stand before God as a person who brought down a false teacher who abused his authority and the trust of his followers than as a person who acquiesced to evil. Debi is certifiable, and this post proves it.

  • Nea

    Over on Love, Joy, Feminism there’s a critique of Created To Be His Doormat. One chapter talked about how if you left your kids with anyone else for an instant, they’d be abused. But several books talk about how the Pearls babysit.

  • Hannah

    Oh My God. I had no idea she thought that, now I’m terrified for her children. Sadly if she was abused before marrying Michael, she never even had a chance.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Ah, so it’s just more propaganda to scare CPM mothers away from paid employment. Whew!

  • Jewel


  • Brennan

    The context for that quote actually makes it even more despicable. The Cliff Notes version: A couple came to an event at the Pearl’s church and brought along a twenty-something woman whom they were “sheltering.” They came to realize that (1) the girl was fleeing an abusive home situation, (2) the husband in the couple that took her in had decidedly creepy intentions towards her, and (3) the man’s wife was feeling shut out of her marriage. Debi decided to “minister” to this young woman basically by cornering her and chewing her out for coming between the man and his wife. She demanded that the woman leave the couple’s home and move in with a young woman from their church/organization/whatever-it-was. The girl said that she didn’t feel that way about the husband and (shockingly) refused to move out based on the ultimatum of this woman she’d just met. Debi went on a tirade, promising her that she would one day regret her decision and that when she did, she couldn’t look to the Pearls for help because, having “sinned” with this man, she wasn’t deserving of it and she “wouldn’t trust a regret girl around this ministry.”

    Here’s the whole thing in the Pearls’ own words. Warning for creepy dynamics, victim-blaming, and general assholery on Debi’s part.

  • Just how many souls has this ‘godly’ man saved? Amazing how Debi thinks Bill Gothard is more important in the salvation process than Christ. Makes you wonder about Michael!

  • guest

    So Debi would rather be on the side of the “great man” who caused
    humble, innocent young women to stumble. Not what Jesus taught. He said -in the only Bible Mrs.Pearl will read-

    “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
    2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he
    cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” (Luke 17).

  • This is nothing more than a silencing technique. In fact, it’s the first one on my list: Saying that there are more important things than the issue being raised, and therefore the issue shouldn’t be raised. The purpose is to distract and cover up the real issue with the purported greater importance of something else.


  • gimpi1

    “I’ve always felt that God, should he exist, should be treated with more mystery than certainty.”


    Also, “Life among the Fundies” sounds like a good title for a tell-all book.

  • Allison the Great

    It’s like living life among the Puritans who are mad because they can’t burn witches and homosexuals anymore.

  • gimpi1

    Yes, that’s it. And – worse – for a few of them, when they say they’re “taking back their country,” what they mean is they want to go back to a time when they could burn heretics, witches and gay folks, mandate church attendance and stone fornicators.
    See Christian Reconstructionism.

  • Allison the Great

    Holy shit, I read Rushdooney’s idea for what he would think of as a utopia, and that’s some scary shit right there. Religious fundamentalism makes society deteriorate into violent every man for himself type of thinking. They’re always trying to make the sins of other people look worse to save their own necks. It takes the unity out of communities and it causes people to lose empathy for one another. Since coming to this site, I’ve learned that funds lack empathy. They don’t give rat’s ass about other people as long as they appear to be more holy than everyone else and other people are just things (not people) that deserve judgement and hell.

    Look what fundamentalism has done in other countries

  • Allison the Great

    Once again she blamed the woman for the husband in this marriage being a fucking creep.

    It’s interesting that the concept of grace completely disappears in this subculture.

  • gimpi1

    I regard Rushdooney as the father of one of the most dangerous belief-system out there. I think it’s all the more dangerous because its influence is much more powerful than the actual number of adherents would indicate. Patriarchy, home-schooling, the U.S. as a “Christian country,” Old-Testament punishments for ‘thought-crimes’ such as blasphemy and victimless ‘crimes’ such as homosexuality or “female unchastity before marriage,” it’s all there – and it’s moved into more mainstream conservative Christianity. They often don’t know the source, but Rushdooney is the epicenter.

    The link you cite is both frightening and deeply sad. Here’s hoping we can keep this particular genie in the bottle.

  • Nightshade

    And Debi was dead set that she alone knew what was best. Why should the young woman take the advice of someone she had just met and move into another stranger’s home just because Debi said she had to? The Jesus I read about in the Gospels wouldn’t tell the young lady ‘repent now or don’t come to me later.’

  • Allison the Great

    It’s amazing to me how the Pearls see themselves as God in a way. “Do as I say, or so help me…” they are both the personification of what they think God is which is spiteful, wrathful, angry, and the judge. This only furthers my belief that their version of God isn’t actually God, but rather an extension of themselves. He’s just a part of their ego, if that makes sense.