Summary provided by: thoughtful
Michael and Debi Pearl run a ministry called No Greater Joy. Their beliefs seem to be their own brand of Christianity, and their life is one of rigid gender roles and extreme suspicion of The World (basically, anyone outside of their own group). They are KJV only. Women and girls wear skirts, but do not cover their heads.
The faÃ§ade they present is that of down-home country folk, valuing the disappearing arts of living off the land. However, they make extensive use of the Internet, including Youtube videos and a website: NoGreaterJoy.com.
No Greater Joy (NJG) turns out new materials several times a year, lists over 300 products on the website, and is estimated to bring in 1.5-1.7 million dollars yearly, in contributions and sales. NGJ is registered as a 501©(3) non-profit organization, and the Pearls claim that all money goes back into the ministry.
They urge men to stay at home, as well as women, fully approving only of home businesses. The Pearls warn that "authority figures" (government, media, mainstream churches, medicine, education) are to be rejected and reviled, then set themselves up as the experts to be believed on any subject. As part of this paranoia, they seem to want children to think that pedophiles lurk around every corner.
They decry pornography, but Michael's writing often comes off as salacious, including his descriptions of children being whipped, observations of his own daughter's weddings, and his glee at reminding everyone around him that he and Debi are still sexually active.
They are perhaps best-known for their book To Train Up a Child (TTUAC), which appears to have been mostly written by Michael, with a few sections credited to Debi.
TTUAC encourages parents to apply pain in "training" children, starting in infancy, using various objects. It was found in the homes of Sean Paddock, Lydia Schatz, and Hana Williams, children who died due to abuse from their parents that critics feel could easily have resulted from following Pearl's advice to the letter.
The Pearls adamantly deny that they are advising hitting â€“ for some reason, "hitting" is a horrible word, while spanking, whipping, belting, switching and chastisement are all Pearl-approved. They insist that their way is the only path to keep children from the fires of Hell.
These whippings are to be administered with a calm, cool manner, and much of their advice involves baiting children into making mistakes that will give parents an excuse to whip them.
The Pearls feel that only home-schooling is appropriate, and that the same parents who are tricking children into getting whipped should be warm, loving and totally involved with them before and after. In other words, for a child in the Pearls' world, the only source of shelter, love, comfort, food, entertainment and education is also an unpredictable source of pain.
The entire text of To Train Up a Child can be read here for free (this is maintained by someone who is not a Pearl supporter, so please don't send her hate mail!):
In more detail
Michael and Debi Pearl were both raised in Memphis, Tennessee. The Pearls have been married since 1971, and have 5 children and 19 grandchildren.
Michael graduated from Mid-South Bible College in Memphis (now Victory University). He worked with Union Mission in Memphis for 25 years. They moved to rural Tennessee where they held Bible studies in local homes, and in prison.
Their children are:
Rebekah Anast â€“ her partner is Gabe Anast, a web designer who decided to stop working altogether, and just run a now-defunct website, 7XSunday.. They have six children, Joseph Courage, Ryshoni Joy, Hannah Sunshine, Elijah Music, Chaiyah Eve and Alitsia Rin, and live, generally in abject poverty, in New Mexico.
They were sued by the Zuni Tribe, Navajo Nation, over water rights.
Rebekah had a blog, Dreaming Awake, on which she detailed bizarre and paranoid dreams that she felt were prophetic. She has written a book called The DaVinci Road. It is unclear what Gabe Anast is doing with his time.
Gabriel Pearl â€“ his partner is Lori, and they are the parents of Jocelyn, Laife and Joshua Gabriel. The NGJ site describes him as a builder, and someone who employs and teaches many men, but is not clear about what he actually does. He does appear to own a business called "That BBQ Man."
Nathan Pearl â€“ his partner is Zephyr, and they have four children. They own Cane Creek Coffee, but appear to be taking a break from that business, when last checked. He seems to be working for his parents a great deal: nogreaterjoy.org/author/nathan-pearl/
Shalom Brand â€“ her partner is Justin Brand, who is described on NGJ as an auto mechanic and metal artist â€“ they also appear to do a lot of work for the Pearls. In fact, when Justin had a sudden urge to pack up and move, the Pearls were miraculously moved to offer him and Shalom more work, so he would at least be wandering for them:
Their children are Gracie, Laila Truth, Parker Ford and Roland.
Shoshanna Easling ~ her partner is James Easling, who is described on NGJ as an inventor and builder. They are the owners of The Bulk Herb Store, Shoshanna Gardens, and Well Tell Me. Their children are Jeremiah James and Penelope Jane.
NGJ Youtube channel:
Bekah and Gabe's Youtube channel:
Debi's best-known work is Created to Be His Helpmeet â€“ an excerpt can be read here:
Debi's works also include books intended to teach children about "stranger danger" â€“
Don't miss the coloring pages!
Mike may have been the illustrator for these, going by this video:
Michael is a champion knife-thrower â€“ apparently, there is no dress code for the sport:
Amazon reviews of TTUAC -- whenever the controversy flares up, Mike sends followers there to write positive reviews â€“ many of the positive reviewers have no other review history on Amazon, and are very vague about what they like within the book â€“ only detractors seem compelled to post actual excerpts. Feel free to add your thoughts, if you've read the book:
Wikipedia on Michael Pearl:
Full list of products from NGJ:
Sites critical of the Pearls:
Anderson Cooper videos:
The Pearls on various subjects that have been discussed on FJ:
The NGJ article in which Michael recommends using flexible plumbing supply line to whip children:
Sitting still in church:
The Pearls advise others that social security numbers are not needed (pg. 12, after lots of discipline and herb talk):
NGJ post in which Pearl says adopted children from Liberia were "well-versed in all the dark arts of eroticism and ghastly perversion":
Pearl claiming his children will be successful, and the bosses of those who are not raised by his methods:
Why their children are not legally married, and a creep-tastic description of one of their weddings:
The Angry Child:
Michael Pearl is as nasty about animals as he is about children:
The â€œFruit of Child Trainingâ€ Webinar that the Pearls did:
A book of Debi's, that was illustrated by Michael â€“ the cover may give some insight into why he changed his major from art to religion:
A search of Shoshanna's Well Tell Me forum for references to TTUAC, that includes a post from Rebekah Anast about the Pearls having no particular opinion about birth control:
And, just because, a pic of the Pearls as a young couple, in matching bathing suits:
Other snarkees who recommend or defend the Pearls:
tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2013/11/weekend-links-winners-cool-stuff/ (Lori went to bat for the Pearls in the comments â€“ Ken joins in, too!)
Duggars recommending Pearl materials:
The Rodrigues family (this link has some pictures of the NGJ warehouse and large house Michael has been building):
David and Tim Bayly:
Sarah at Hearts Desire:
Tabby, of plaintorahkeeper â€“ she took her blog post down, but here is the FJ thread about it:
Tait and Lauren Zimmerman:
Brenda at The Family Revised:
The Pearls on other snarkees:
Michael on patriarchy, Vision Form and Bill Gothard:
Debi on the Bill Gothard scandal:
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1 hour ago, Shocked said:
That's something I just don't understand-why the haste to move onto the property? Why not set up FIRST, then move like we did when my dad decided to move out to the woods. Insulation really isn't that expensive, I've done insulation and drywall myself, it really wasn't that expensive.
Did they have a shed before? When they first moved onto that property? It disappeared and that was when the stick home emerged? Correct? Why? Why not build before getting rid of the first shed? I think we all suspect what happened-it was repoed? Why else would you be so desperate to live in sticks. I don't believe for a second that they "choose" and "wanted" to live like that. No one in their right mind would want that. It had to have been awful cold!
As I recall, they were evicted from their last home, though tried to frame is as a move by choice.
They did have another shed, but it got repossessed for non-payment, which is when they built the stick-shack. CPS required something more than sticks shoved into mud, and so they bought the new shed.0
What an interesting essay, and what a great man for continuing to speak out against injustice! (I know the article is from years ago but he still has continued his work for positive change in the world.) This sentence in particular seems very relevant to FJ topics:Quote
The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.0
3 minutes ago, Carol said:
Brigham Jung University?
Possibly worse. Bob Jones University.0
Now he's claiming the backlash is due to his support of Trump. It's certainly not related to what he said ...0
Warts. Don't forget the warts.
One of my parents' best friends had had polio as a baby, and was very disabled as a result. I adored her as a kid, and she was one of my favourite people when i grew up - I miss her enormously now she's died.
She taught nursery-school (kindergarten?) and had NO problems connecting with toddler-types. The idea that it's amazing that someone with a disability couldn't connect to kids makes me stabby.
Re Plexus curing everything... I know that Jill suffered from SOTDRT, so her science know-how is along the lines of "magnets, how do they work?", but I wonder HOW she thinks it can cure such diverse conditions as diabetes (both types!), skin conditions, autism, warts, AND cause weight loss unless you're also a healthy weight? A moment's thinking would show that these are all very different conditions, so 1 thing won't cure them all.... I don't get it at all.9 minutes ago, frugaldreams said:
For all the fussing I doubt any fundie would be able to tell. It's not the 1970s any more. The place where I work has an awesome program and folks are transitioning earlier now, which make a big difference hormone-wise. I'm pretty sure the only person who would be aware of the situation would be the customer.
Oh, not always true, in early stages. A friend of mine is exploring their gender identity, and there are specific big shops in the UK that will help transwomen, or people who think they may want to experiment, with their make up. Boots, the big chain, for example, is awesome at this.
I do agree that people who start the transition process early are much less visible in general, but there are still a ton of transwomen/people who might be on a trans spectrum who only work it out in their 30s/40s/later... and while some transwomen are blessed with the bonestructure for passing easily, others are more obvious (eg in debates about shaving as a Cis woman, I know I'm super-lucky, with sparse, blonde hair on my legs, arms, face, etc, but friends with black hair have a totally different experience to me)
ETA I looked up the blog in the autism post, and "this blog has been removed"... which begs the questions - what did it say? It's typical Jill that she's just sharing a visual, and no link, because the link could just as easily be about "for the love of all things holy, please don't take Plexus if you're autistic, as the amphetamine-effects really mess you up" as a pro message. For someone with so much hustle, she's really lazy about checking her sources. "A friend told me..." trumps everything else.Edited by Lurky
and another thing...3