by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
In the two previous posts on Debi and Michael Pearl’s ‘love’ story, Debi discusses how God told her she was going to marry Michael when she was 13 and he was 21. She spends from when she was about 16 to 20 being Michael’s ministry flunky and finally gets his attention by showing up with a pretend fiance. He’s pissed because he doesn’t want to lose his flunky to another man.
Sounds like a match made in heaven, alright. Let’s dive into the last bit.
“So, [Michael] still didn’t give me the time of day…but I knew he was different. I often caught him looking at me like he was contemplating. When I looked back at him he just continued to stare as if trying to read my soul. “
Does that sound creepy to anyone besides me? Plus, he could talk to her……
“Several weeks after my trick, he called me at work and asked if I would go with him that evening to a gospel meeting. (…) He needed to have a female helper because he had always been very careful not to allow himself to be in a compromising or tempting position with females. He always avoided any one-on-one counseling with the opposite sex, even to give the gospel. He has maintained this rule all his life. (…) Michael was well-known for not touching ladies (even old ladies who wanted to shake his hand after a church service.)”
Oh, scrupulosity. I had thought you were a Catholic creation; alas, no. Here’s my simple definition of scrupulosity – trying to control uncomfortable feelings through excess religious compulsions. Michael’s fear of touching women to avoid sexual feeling is something I’ve seen first-hand at my parish before. When I was in college, a seminarian was placed at our chapel for an internship. When introduced to our family before Mass, he shook hands and made eye contact with my dad, my mom, and my younger brother. I got a vacant, deer-in-the-headlights stare over my left shoulder. Pretty soon, he’d be skittering around the small entryway of the church building trying not to look at me or any females under the age of about 40. He’d jump about 20 feet when I said “Good morning!” on my way into church and nearly run to get out of the same room as I was in. The guy left the seminary not long after that which was a good choice. Celibacy is not a cure for fear of sexual feelings….neither is marriage as I think the Pearls found out.
“[Michael] even told me where to meet him. He’d always made a point to never give me the courtesy of going to my house to pick me up like a man would his date. “
Picking someone up is polite especially when you are using them as free grunt labor for your ‘ministry’. “Never giving a courtesy” means you’re a jackass.
Debi spends a page and a half describing how much better Christians converted others back in the good ol’ days. I’ll spare you the drivel and take you to the point when a bunch of ‘hippies’ are starting the whole salvation process.
“I was still on my knees with my hands laid on the chair in front of me when I felt someone slip in besides me, and then a large hand grasp mine. I opened my eyes, startled. It was Michael. He stared into my eyes, then dropped his head in prayer. I confess, at that moment I ceased praying. Michael was well known for not touching ladies (even the old ladies that wanted to shake his hand after a church service.) Now he held my hand while he prayed!”
To abuse Shakespeare: Some relationships are born great, some relationships achieve greatness, and some relationships have the first touch grabbed in the middle of a prayer service without advance notice to the woman.
“He never spoke on that long hour trip home. We even stopped and had something to eat, and yet he remained embarrassingly silent. I was so rattled I talked non-stop.”
This sounds like a comically bad first date. Oh, wait. It’s not a date because Michael didn’t pick her up from her house. Since he picked her up from the church, it’s a total non-date. How silly of me to compare it to a date. Mike did hold her hand, though. So many mixed messages….so little time.
“When we pulled into the church parking lot I moved to get out and he reached out and grabbed my hand again, yet he remained totally silent. It was late. I was exhausted. (…) My emotions were spent. I wasn’t even keyed up, I was so tired. I sat now silent and unmoving, then my tired tongue softly spoke my thoughts. I reminded him of the young boy he had baptized the previous Sunday evening. I talked about how the boy kept jumping up in the water so he could see his parents.”
Debi’s description of the baptism moves me. She does a nice job of describing a sweet scene of childhood joy and familial love.“Then I said the unthinkable: “You know, someday I would love to give you a son.”
To my memory I had never ever thought such a thing, but what’s said is said. Michael reacted like a rocket. Out of the car he shot and into the dark; around the building he ran. “
When I read that bit to my husband, he said in that situation he’d run. He’d run as far and as fast as he could to get away from a woman who declared she wanted to have his baby on their first date/non-date ministry outing.
“He came running straight to me, then grabbed me around my waist and threw me in the air while shouting, “Let’s get married.” And we did, just eight days later on a Sunday evening.”
Wow. Eight days from a hand-clasp to married. In my church, we have a mandatory 6 month waiting period before you can marry. I strongly recommend the wait time. Perhaps six months would have given Debi – and her family – some time to consider what life with Michael Pearl would be like.
Aletha at Yllom Mormon has covered Michael Pearl’s book Created to Need a Help Meet. In the first installment, she reviews Michael’s remembrances of his understanding of his sexual desires from childhood onward and Debi and Michael’s honeymoon. Read with care: Michael’s treatment of Debi during the honeymoon is brutal and abusive.
The next few posts are more theological in nature as Debi decides use a bunch of randomly strung together Bible quotes to prove that Debi’s God is both incredibly petty and incapable of doing anything without human prayers. It’s a hoot and less triggering than the last few posts.
>When love is found
And hope comes home,
Sing and be glad that two are one!
When love explodes and fills the sky,
Praise God and share our Maker’s joy!
Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide