Teenagers Are Evil? Churches Filled With Depravity?

Teenagers Are Evil? Churches Filled With Depravity? August 2, 2019

Recently I was poking around at Michael and Debi Pearl’s website No Greater Joy website looking around at Michael Pearl’s speaking schedule and what scanty information there is there about his supposed stem cell therapy. I ran across this,  a screed on the evils of teenagers and how to protect your teens against depravity.

The reason I was looking for Michael’s stem cell treatments is that recently I’ve had tests run to determine if I have something different going on with my health. One of my friends with the same ailment added me to a stem cell treatment list, and I have to say that flying to another country to get a treatment that may or may not work that the AMA does not recognize does not appeal to me. Sorry to side track…Be very careful to research any medical treatment someone tries to recommend. So much woo out there.

But I found this instead. First the question.

Question: “What conversations can we have with our 9-year-old daughter and our 11-year-old son to inoculate them from the sexual perversions they will come across in the church, etc.?”

Wait, what? I know there are pastors and youth group leaders found to molest kids, but the way the question is worded makes it sound like a certainty instead of the bad luck of the draw?

Not my first worry with my kids when they were that age. Sure, teach them to have bodily autonomy and healthy boundaries. But sexual perversions in church is sort of a stretch to immediately go there before anything else.

So does Mikey have a good solutions? Well, let’s see. He starts babbling about some teens being evil and dark-sided. First he orders parents to be it all and provide it all. Nice way to create the ultimate in no win situations, Mikey so you don’t have to actually come up wtih real solutions.

Read and reread the following statement: You must meet all the social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of your children before they are tempted.

No, no, NO! This thinking that one or two people can meet all of the needs of children is so wrong I cannot even completely break it down here. Community is needed for that to happen. His ‘advice’ is a handy-dandy blame the parents for when it inevitably goes all wrong.

You cannot let a vacuum of companionship and approval develop in your children’s lives. If you do, they will be willing at the first opportunity to lower their standards to gain the approval and acceptance necessary to be part of a social order. Further, if they don’t have good friends who are good, they will make good friends of the bad boys and girls that enter their circle of acquaintances. I have noticed in our own church, when visitors come with their young teenage kids, the discontent and rebellious among them will always locate one particular teenager among our own who is equally unhappy. A kid exuding darkness will walk into a room, survey it, and immediately be drawn to like spirits. It will happen every time. In five minutes you will see them standing off on their own, talking quietly. Either kid would be angry if you tried to monitor his social life, for they can only find kinship in unapproved darkness.

Michael does not understand that part of learning to be a fully functional human is learning to deal on your own with different types of people. When you purposely isolate your children you rob them of  opportunity to learn that skill.

After a verbal introduction into the intoxicating experience of sexual experimentation has stirred their curiosity and lust, they will then seek a time and place to journey down the dark path of personal experience. It may be the path to the upstairs bedroom, or the kids’ “play house” in the back yard. It may be in the garage of a friend or in the woods or empty lots, but be sure, when kids want to skulk away to a dark corner to drink from the devil’s cup, they will find opportunities where you are sure none exist. If they are determined, there is no such thing as protecting them. You cannot build enough fences without; you must build fences within.

Michael sees porn and perversion behind every tree, yet never mentions the most likely scenario – where a child is abused by a clergy member, or leader. That is the real problem with not teaching your children at much younger than 9 years old that they have the right to say no to someone else attempting to use their body. Teach good boundaries and body image from as early as you can. Don’t wait to do it with “Yell and Tell”


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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.
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TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • xulon

    The other day, my wife’s physical therapist suggested knee
    replacement surgery. My wife replied that her one knee had been treated with
    stem cells and she hoped to get the other knee done the same way. “Someday,
    replacement surgery will be seen the same way we now see bloodletting,
    barbaric.”

    AMA might not be the best gauge, as they have been forbidden
    by federal law to participate in stem cell therapy for decades. They also have
    many members who are surgeons. For good or ill, anecdotal evidence indicates
    great success using stem cell therapy. Your situation sounds more complicated
    than just knee replacement but last year there was a report from Europe where
    they treated MS, an auto-immune disorder, by destroying the immune system then
    using stem cells to regrow an immune system. The study showed great results.

    It is your health and your decision. Please do research. All
    I’m saying is that in my experience stem cell therapy has resulted in regrown cartilage
    in my wife’s knee, a step-son who lives pain-free after 15 years of suffering from a
    high school sport injury and a son-in-law who can play softball again after
    having therapy in both knees.

    Good Luck.

  • Raging Bee

    …yet never mentions the most likely scenario – where a child is abused by a clergy member, or leader.

    Or another kid in their age-range who can get away with it because he’s the better student, the more obviously upright Christian, the pastor’s son, the one who shows he knows the Bible most, etc.

  • Nea

    Shorter Mikey: you must isolate your children at all times lest they find a peer to talk to. Now let me fantasize about sex. A LOT.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I’m just not that sick and see it pushed for too many things I know it does not work on. Good that it works for your wife.

  • Dave Maier

    But sexual perversions in church is sort of a stretch to immediately go there before anything else.

    Wait, you never had The Sermon in your church? The one where the pastor brings in a whole bunch of vibrators and other s*x t*ys, and tells us that Jesus gave us our tingly bits for a reason, and then calls on volunteers from the congregation to try them out for us while we all sing “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful”? We usually had ours during the Advent season (our pastor was kind of a character).

  • I always felt like fundies hate teenagers, period, and just want to control teens’ behavior. Or maybe that was just my church.

  • Aloha 2

    His idea about something happening with another child in a tree house … That would be sexual exploration, not sexual abuse. I guess if the other kid is a little older, then it might be coercive. But Mikey’s scenario could also emcompass masturbation.

    These aren’t on my radar as a horrific problem. Every kid comes ready-made with things like penises, vaginas, and bottoms. Sexual exploration is bound to happen, and trying to prevent it could backfire. Accidentally you could end up with a child full of shame about their body, afraid to stand up for themselves, and afraid to mention anything to their parents.

  • Aloha 2

    I figured the letter-writing parent was mostly concerned about meeting a sexually-mature child, a wild child, or someone with gay tendencies. Those things are also the impending Armageddon for fundies.

  • Aloha 2

    His idea about something happening with another child in a tree house … That would be sexual exploration, not sexual abuse. I guess if the other kid is a little older, then it might be coercive. But Mikey’s scenario could also emcompass masti-bation.

    These aren’t on my radar as a horrific problem. Every kid comes ready-made with things like penises, vaginas, and bottoms. Sexual exploration is bound to happen, and trying to prevent it could backfire. Accidentally you could end up with a child full of shame about their body, afraid to stand up for themselves, and afraid to mention anything to their parents.

  • Tawreos

    It would be nice if christians would just acknowledge that the hormones they think their god put into them was responsible and not the devil. Of course, to do this they would have to give up their desire to control the sex lives of people and they do not give up control of anything willingly.

  • Tawreos

    I see disqus is having one of its tantrums. Posts show up twice, try to comment on one with the comment below and it tells me that post is no longer active. Try to put it on the active comment and it tells me I have already made the comment. Between disqus and the nanny filter it won’t take long for no communication to happen around here.

    It is almost like willingly exploring sexuality with another willing human being is abuse to them while being forced into sex by a priest or pastor is a good and natural thing. They are really screwed up sometimes.

  • Aloha 2

    What a hassle! This was my response to your response on my post … which has now disappeared:

    Sorry, I edited the comment (I added the masti-bation part) and boom! Into moderation.

    Sexual exploration by kids is more of a taboo that I think it should be. It was a few years ago that the neighbor girl asked my daughter to lick her X. I told the other mother, just for her info, as a good moment to discuss boundaries. And the first thing the mom did was whip the girl. I also remember getting in trouble as a child, when me and a friend were caught playing in the closet naked.

    Is there any country or culture that might have a better example of how to deal with childhood sexual exploration? I couldn’t find many positive ideas the day I went to research it.

  • Tawreos

    They don’t hate them, but the rebelliousness that occurs during the teen years makes them harder to control and they don’t like any threats to their control.

  • Aloha 2

    What a hassle! This was my response to your response on my post … which has now disappeared:

    Sorry, I edited the comment (I added the masti-bation part) and boom! Into moderation.

    Sexual exploration by kids is more of a taboo that I think it should be. It was a few years ago that the neighbor girl asked my daughter to lick her X. I told the other mother, just for her info, as a good moment to discuss boundaries. And the first thing the mom did was whip the girl. I also remember getting in trouble as a child, when me and a friend were caught playing in the closet nekkid.

    Is there any country or culture that might have a better example of how to deal with childhood sexual exploration? I couldn’t find many positive ideas the day I went to research it.

  • Nea

    There is nothing accidental about how Mike-Mike wants to warp the kids. This is a guy who designed his house to keep his kids from masturbating. I’m not kidding. All the bedroom doors opened where he could look in, and he’d jump into his own daughter’s bedrooms if they closed their doors for “more than a few minutes” to get dressed.

    Debi has a long screed of advice in how to lull the kids into thinking you aren’t angry at them if you catch them touching their no-no place, for the specific purpose of determining the correct number o flashes to give them.

    Your last sentence is their exact goal and we know how messed up their kids are.

  • Friend

    In five minutes you will see them standing off on their own, talking quietly.

    When I entered a room as a teen, I steered clear of the happy-looking kids, because they were the popular clique and not my friends. I was an unhappy teen, but also a rule follower and “good kid.” Yes, I found “kinship in unapproved darkness,” over in the corner with people who accepted me. We talked about memorizing Beethoven sonatas, pre-med programs, irregular Latin verbs, and other things that Mikey probably thinks are just as bad as pr0n.

  • Nea

    I always love it when we get moderated for using words from the post. Thanks, nannybot.

  • Dave Maier

    Right, what if she meets someone who touches her own tingly bits on purpose? A wild child indeed! (Seriously, though, good point about the parent’s actual worry.)

  • Friend

    Commiserating. My poor brain is always filtering out pure intentions, so I don’t even remember to scan quotations from the OP.

  • That’s true, teens are harder to control, and authoritarian religion is about control.

  • Friend

    Many young kids look like proof of concept that the parents are doing everything right. Around the tween years, kids start developing independent ideas. The parents don’t want to lose their credibility. If they are empathetic, they will agonize that their children will be rejected, and/or that they are “falling away.”

    This potential exp0sure happens everywhere—neighborhood, school, supermarket, etc.—but it stings a little more at church.

  • Raging Bee

    I suspect they’re just repeating and passing on all the hateful treatment they got when they were teenagers.

  • Raging Bee

    Anyone who tried any forbidden activities, and DIDN’T suffer any horrific consequences for it, is a threat to their ability to keep their own kids terrified of ess-ee-ex. Once their kids start listening to them, all their threats and lies start losing credibility, and fast.

  • Delta

    Given that Mike claims little babies are filled with evil willfulness to manipulate (yes, he used that word) their good Christian parents, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to think he would hate teenagers who haven’t been indoctrinated & abused since birth in his preferred manner.

  • Delta

    Of course Mikey hates teenagers. They’re just starting to develop their own ideas, and fundamentalists can’t be having that!

    Edit: Churches too. They might be led by some foolish academic who usurps the authority of the father by disagreeing with him about something.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Nope. We had the kid that yelled “Masturbate69” He stood up and yelled out about his porn69 addiction and masturyouknowhat habits at 14 years old. Everyone was cringing. I was cringing because I wanted to stand up and yell “Kid that is perfectly normal at your age!”

  • SAO

    The promise of stem cells is that they can turn into any kind of cell — say cartilage — and therefore should be able to fix any problem cause by damage to a body part.

    The problem is that scientists don’t know how to turn them into the right kind of cell. So, they might turn into the right kind of cell and repair damage, or they might turn into something else. We tend to call cell growth in the wrong place tumors.

    The only clinics that offer therapy that isn’t approved for general use are ones run by people who skirt the rules for profit. They get away with it by saying they are running clinical trials.

  • SAO
  • …suddenly, I understand why my mother acted the way she did when I was in high school. I think I need a minute.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Thanks for that link. It just confirmed everything I was thinking about HSCT.

  • RainbowPhoenix

    And if all else fails, just beat them. That’s Mikey’s solution to everything.

  • Saraquill

    And about minors no less.

  • persephone

    Absolutely. Mikey doesn’t want kids using their brains to think for themselves, at all. All that’s supposed to fill them are Bible verses and giant warning signs about beatings if they don’t toe the line.

  • Saraquill

    Ever since I was little, I’ve enjoyed small spaces. A couple of my playmates had a bedroom with closets and other gaps which could serve as caves, lakes and other adventure locations.

    Their mother would go ballistic. She never asked us what we were up to, just assumed we were doing R-rated things and belted her kids. She never directly spoke to me about these games either. Just asked other people to talk to me. While I was in the same room.

  • Saraquill

    I doubt he’d enjoy verses which contradict his worldview.

  • Hmm, considering Mikey’s “69perversions” likely include an anti-LGBTQ dogwhistle, could beating them be considered a hate crime?

  • Re: paragraph 2

    Just wow! I wonder how hard trust is for survivors of that and what they find triggering.

    I know a guy who got 69spanked for 69masturbation, bc the lust supposedly had to leave.

  • This makes me think of Libby’s famous boxes from Love, Joy, Feminism. I suspect that Mikey’s “69perversions” are basically “things that make Baby Jesus cry fundies don’t like”. I am sure there is an anti-LGBTQ dogwhistle in there.

  • I wish I was told that it was normal.

    Instead, I was told it was 69lust, and some folks from church even called to ask me how I was doing on stopping. They even recommended fasting.

    I also heard that 69self-pleasure could lead to 69homosexuality (homophobic, much?), or even to being a serial killer. My mom thinks that 69masturbation causes problems in relationships. (I wonder if those problem are from partners being insecure and judgmental, not from 69masturbation.)

    Also, a friend told me he got 69spanked for 69masturbation.

  • B.E. Miller

    Isn’t that why he dropped out of Bible college? Because he couldn’t handle the different translations?

  • AFo

    His obsession with masturbat10n is disturbing. I really don’t get how a kid exploring his or her body affects him in any way, or why it’s handed down from Satan and must be stopped at all costs.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    B-b-but that means you were *thinking*, rather than glarofying the Lard!!!…which makes Mikey sad in his pan ts.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Fundies use sex as a control mechanism, so it MUST be condemned as shameful before the kids can argue back.

  • Nea

    Dude broke into his own minor daughter’s bedrooms. His wife calls 30 seconds of normal tv viewing “pr0n36” plus wrote books about stranger danger (while making their woman employees think she’ll burst into bathroom with them every time they use it.)

    Those two are completely bananacrackers on the subject of sex.

  • Nea

    Stuck in mod. Basically, both he and his wife are unhinged on the whole subject. Deeply unhinged, and I’m in mod for detailing some of the points why.

  • Nea

    Yup. Went KJV-only to escape the cognitive dissonance and to soothe his itch to just earn clobber verses. He’s got an essay on No Greater Babybeatin’ about it.

  • Friend

    They even recommended fasting.

    As opposed to slowing? ;^)

    ETA: Sorry to make light of the topic, but those were some crazy people calling you…

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Testing, testing…

    ‮nroP‬
    Sex
    ‮noitabrutsaM‬
    ‮noisrevreP‬
    Pants
    ‮enoB‬
    ‮malsI‬
    Hell

    If you can read this, the site at the following link works.

    https://gopherproxy.meulie.net/sdfeu.org/h/users/arcseconds/propathyltic.html

    Death to the nannybot!

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Cleverkins! Found a way around the nannybot!

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Not me, someone else found it on another Patheos blog. I’d love to credit them but I can’t remember who it was.

  • GeckoShamelessRaceMixer

    Good grief. First off, sex is not of the devil. Secondly, kids should have a fairly good grasp of basic reproductive anatomy and the act of sexual intercourse by the age of 7 or 8 at the latest. Not least so they understand if someone is grooming them for abuse. But also so they will make informed choices when they are older, and consenting. It’s often not ideal for young teens to have sex, for reasons of emotional immaturity and not knowing their own needs and boundaries very well yet. But some are going to proceed, and no amount of preaching about the devil’s perversion1 will do more than delay it slightly while giving them a serious psychological complex. At least make sure they understand the risks and where to get and how to use protection.

    But of course that’s the point of legislating abstinence only and shutting down the birth control clinics. Better the kids are infected and getting each other pregnant than… No, I really can’t actually explain this fundamentalist “logic.”

  • GeckoShamelessRaceMixer

    Or heaven forbid, teaching a theology of freedom and grace, and the free will to embrace the teaching or go make up their own minds.

  • GeckoShamelessRaceMixer

    Yes, it’s natural. You just have to try to guard against it in the context of bullying, pressure (especially when there’s an age difference), and kids who know fully what they are doing targeting kids who don’t understand it yet. But equal age peers looking and trading touches is pretty normal. And a very good opportunity to teach consent and boundaries.

  • Delta

    Oh, now that would be the ultimate disagreement! A theology that’s NOT about obedience and fear-in-the-modern-sense?

  • Sassafras

    You sound very similar to me when I was in middle and high school.

  • GeckoShamelessRaceMixer

    Good Lord. What an excellent way to give a girl a serious psychological complex that will affect her negatively for years if not decades.

  • GeckoShamelessRaceMixer

    And they don’t seem to understand that’s probably how the Duggars ran into problems. Suppress sex, refuse to ever talk about it except in warning kids to avoid it all costs until marriage, and then never let the kids interact with anyone but their siblings. I’m not trying to let whichever Duggar boy off the hook, but maybe it wouldn’t have happened in a psychologically healthier family setting.

  • GeckoShamelessRaceMixer

    The quality control is just not there yet in these random overseas clinics. Be careful. But yes, I think this is where we are heading! 🙂

  • GeckoShamelessRaceMixer

    Yes! And one you could leave freely if you just don’t believe it.

  • Nea

    And all you need to do is look at the Pearl daughters for proof.