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Michael Pearl against Patriarchy?


Verin Sedai

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[this is my first new topic - I hope I don't break any taboos!]

The date on this article is 2008, so I don't know if the board has seen it before, but it came up in my FB newsfeed today (posted by a former homeschooler/SAHD):

nogreaterjoy.org/articles/cloistered-homeschool-syndrome/

On one hand, I liked the criticism of patriarchy, of permanent SAHDs, of the fathers who cling to this idea of being in charge when in reality they shouldn't be in charge of a herd of sheep...

But on the other hand it's Michael Pearl saying this. :wtf: Blew my mind a little bit. I am fairly new to the Pearls (was raised homeschooling fundie lite but my parents were always "screwing up" by the Fundie Playbook Standards so I never heard or knew a lot of this crazy) so maybe this is a well known stance of his? Seems awfully ironic.

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Yeah, I did a double take the first time I read that article. It sounds so sensible (at least by fundie standards), yet at the same time it's coming from Michael freakin' Pearl! There are other articles at that site that touch on this same subject. Awhile back, some of us were wondering if perhaps Michael Pearl was specifically thinking of the Maxwells when he wrote those pieces? It sure sounds like them!

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I had to print the article in order to read it, only the first page would come up in my browser.

Wow, I was very surprised. Michael Pearl believes adult children should have autonomy and be free to make their own choices. He was definitely thinking of the Maxwells as well as some other families who keep their adult kids home. He compares these stay at home adult children as indentured servants. I'd love to send the printout to Steve Maxwell.

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Michael and Debi Pearl are very aware of sexuality, to the extent of paranoia about sexual predators. Debi is very straightforward in her marital advice - it is the helpmeet's job to please her headship sexually, full stop. As long as the act is the desire of the headship and confined to the partners in the marriage (that excludes porn too), it is her duty to do it joyfully.

I think they were pretty hung up on getting their kids married before they fell into sexual sin, and see the homeschooling parents who don't direct their children into an early marriage to give them a legitimate sexual outlet as failing them and allowing them to be tempted by the world.

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Everything he says can be applied to the Duggars too. Although I doubt he would watch their show or know them personally?

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They must be just about the only fundies who BOTH have their natural hair 'glory'. Were they bible hippies once upon a time? Because they look like they were, with the waist length hennaed hair & the bushranger beard.

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Huh. Yes he might as well have just calle dout Steve Maxwell by name, it was so clearly directed at him As the most visible proponent of fundie cloistering. Very sensible advice coming from a specific viewpoint but it's still Michael Pearl so take it all with a grain of salt because there are other, sinister motives behind it.

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We have had pics of the Pearls before they were saved and they were, indeed hippies. That partially colors their worldview a little bit differently. I do think that they make a point of marrying the kids off young to avoid a lot of the issues that some of the other families we snark upon have with adult children under their roof. Finally, I think that the Pearls know that there is a certain spotlight on them because of their child rearing and discipline advice. Michael is a very cleve man and he certainly sees the benefit of making quotable statements that the mainstream will approve.

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Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

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Im suprised at this.

Unless its a way to blame the parents whos children dont just magically grow up from cowering in a corner afraid to do anything from being beaten to an adult capable of making their own decisions, for not letting them have enough independance.

Beating and emotionally abusing children does not make for happy, self confident adults, and they are likely to be afraid of everything and not know how to make decisions, because every decision they have ever made or attempt at gaining independance has resulted in getting beaten with plumbing line. By giving this advice, hes making it sound like having an 18 year old who is like this is a failure on the parents part, not a natural side effect of being so abused and broken.

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He isn't really against patriarchy per se. They still teach that the husband/father is the king of the castle, that wives should be submissive, that children should be hit with plumbing line to ensure they learn first-time obedience. They still advocate homeschooling to avoid evil public schools.

Rather, Michael has issues with Patriarchy as defined by Gothard and Maxwell. Part of it may stem from the fact that Michael Pearl is pretty independent and isn't the type to follow anyone (he prefers to do the dictating). His problem is specifically with keeping adult offspring as perpetual children, instead of having them go lead their own families and missions.

Keep in mind that the independence of the Pearl children is relative. They want to see their kids married off early. They've groomed the girls to be submissive to their husbands, no matter what. They've done enough in the first 18 years to ensure that their kids follow their rigid views. They sure don't seem to mind using the kids at No Greater Joy, managing websites, writing articles, etc. They also used their kids to make a video defending their parenting when the heat was on them for condoning child abuse. Could a Pearl child come out of the closet, or say that they renounce corporal punishment, or even join a liberal church and send their kids to public school? I somehow doubt those decisions would be respected.

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Most fundies worship the father. The Pearls worship the husband. That might seem like a minor detail but it does lead to the potential for adult children to have a tiny bit more freedom. The oldest daughter went to a bible college and was a missionary before meeting her husband. However, the Pearls squash their children's independence at an early age. There is a story in their book, To Train Up A Child which is very telling. The Pearls would play a game with their kids. They would give random orders such as touch the knob, sit down, stand up etc. If the child did not instantly obey with a smile, the parent lashed them with a switch. It sounds like a way to induce Stockholm syndrome. The Pearls call this training, not spanking

Note-a switch is a limber, often green stick, that wraps around the child's limb when he or she is struck

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Most fundies worship the father. The Pearls worship the husband. That might seem like a minor detail but it does lead to the potential for adult children to have a tiny bit more freedom. The oldest daughter went to a bible college and was a missionary before meeting her husband. However, the Pearls squash their children's independence at an early age. There is a story in their book, To Train Up A Child which is very telling. The Pearls would play a game with their kids. They would give random orders such as touch the knob, sit down, stand up etc. If the child did not instantly obey with a smile, the parent lashed them with a switch. It sounds like a way to induce Stockholm syndrome. The Pearls call this training, not spanking

Note-a switch is a limber, often green stick, that wraps around the child's limb when he or she is struck

Good point. IIRC, they oppose parts of the courtship model, because they don't think that the potential son-in-law should essentially be dating the dad. Debi Pearl also says that a wife should use NFP if her headship doesn't want more kids (her own views don't matter). They also seem to promote a sort of rugged physical toughness/independence - the kids get to learn to avoid the pond by falling (or being pushed) into the water, the women are expected to learn how to give birth unassisted and use herbs to treat themselves, the men are supposed to be able to fix anything, and they brag about once surviving the winter with nothing more than corn meant for animal feed. It's a different vision than the precious neo-Victorian princess and adult son who still obeys daddy and FIL model.

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People who are new to the Pearls might be surprised that not everything that they teach is awful and some things are actually positive. The concept of involving your child in your day to day activities is wonderful. Sometimes we all need to realize that letting your children make a mess might be annoying now but having them help you helps strengthen your relationship later. However, not only is the good they teach outweighed by the bad but I think that the moments when their parents are good and kind will make it harder for the adult child to leave or see the abuse for what it is

/nogreaterjoy.org/articles/the-will-to-dominate/?topic_slug=girls-and-boys

The link is a counter to everything positive the Pearls have taught. It breaks my heart to read it.

This is about a three year old child

Spank your child. Then tell her to dry it up. And with no show of emotion, tell her to get back to what she was suppose to be doing to begin with. It is all over in thirty seconds. No trips to the bedroom—no special, emotional sessions. When they do something lovely, then you can love them.

and

When Sue was just weeks old, because her parents rushed to meet her every need, she developed a conviction that the world owed her constant pleasure, and that her parents were there to serve her.

and

Sue’s addiction to dominance is as strong as any addiction to heroin, alcohol, pornography, or gambling. Lust seeks opportunity. The possibility of opportunity keeps lust simmering on the front burner.

Remember Sue is three. I will put more quotes from the article in another post

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Dear Mother, as we said, you cannot depend on spanking Sue into compliance. Do not fail to spank, but don’t expect it to work until you have made some other adjustments. And when you do spank, make sure that it is forceful enough to get her undivided attention. If she can scream “huggie†while you are spanking her, you are probably not spanking hard enough.

and

Do not drag her to the bed. It is important that she exercise her own will to obey. If she throws a screaming fit, give her several moderate licks every few minutes and wait beside her until she is so tired she obeys. Do this all night long, every night, until she readily complies.

and

If she puts her shoes on backwards, do not threaten or complain, just commence giving her licks right on her feet or ankles until she gets her shoes on the right feet. If she takes her shoes off in the yard, do not warn her, just go out in the yard and spank her feet until she finds her shoes and puts them back on.
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The other thing you've got to understand is that people like the Maxwells and Pearls use their "ministries" to support their families. They have to be a little different from what is already out there, or appeal to a slightly different crowd--otherwise they would all be saying the same thing, and there would be no reason to purchase the Pearls' products instead of the Maxwells'. Competitive advantage--they've got to cook up a new flavor. :stir-pot:

Gothardism seems to be the base from which everyone has started, but some have gone on to adapt or specialize to their own liking. I believe even the Harris family of Joshua Harris "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" has roots in Gothardism.

Steve Maxwell or Michael Pearl sincerely believe they "have come to a more perfect understanding" of Gothard's teaching (or a version thereof). Steve went the more conservative route, in some ways, Michael is a bit more liberal. I wonder if they imagine their customers having both of their matierals on their shelves--both seem egotistical enough and so entrenched in the own ways that I can see them both a.)believing that between their own works, and the bible, families need nothing else and b.)unable to imagine that people use both, because the details they differ over *so* important to themselves, that surely they are that important to others.

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If she puts her shoes on backwards, do not threaten or complain, just commence giving her licks right on her feet or ankles until she gets her shoes on the right feet. If she takes her shoes off in the yard, do not warn her, just go out in the yard and spank her feet until she finds her shoes and puts them back on.

I can only read so much of the Swine's Pearls of Wisdom before anger clouds my vision, but this has to be one of the very worst examples of their methods. Do they ever, EVER attempt to actually teach their children, to treat them as human beings who are fully capable of learning? Children are NOT born evil. Their every cry, action or thought is NOT meant to be an act of defiance or manipulation. There's clearly no difference between the way the Swines treat their children and and the way they treat their animals--they taunt, torture and beat both into submission. Neither child nor animal learns anything except fear. Their blind obedience is simply an act of self-preservation in the face of continued abuse. "If I do whatever I'm told, right or wrong, maybe Daddy won't hurt me." Gah! I hate these freaks with the heat of a thousand burning suns. Just die already. Seriously.

Yeah, I went there and I don't fucking care.

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and

and

That is disgusting :(

No wonder parents have killed their kids from reading this awful book if it advises hitting the child so hard they cant even scream.

I am convinced that Michael Pearl is a sociopath who gets off by torturing babies. He creeps me out, he has evil eyes.

How could anyone ignore their parental instincts and love for their child to beat them like this?

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Yes, this article is one of the slightly less execrable pieces of Michael Pearl's writing but it certainly does not go against his & Debi's overall patriarchal, husband/man-centered notion of domestic relationships.

It also illustrates the overall danger of these assholes because the engaging writing style and occasionally rational statements can mask the overall evil of the Pearls' ideas for many readers.

When people talk about adopting the "good" in the Pearls writings while ignoring the "bad" I figure they would also probably be OK with eating a batch of brownies with a teaspoon of feces mixed into it.

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Yes, this article is one of the slightly less execrable pieces of Michael Pearl's writing but it certainly does not go against his & Debi's overall patriarchal, husband/man-centered notion of domestic relationships.

It also illustrates the overall danger of these assholes because the engaging writing style and occasionally rational statements can mask the overall evil of the Pearls' ideas for many readers.

When people talk about adopting the "good" in the Pearls writings while ignoring the "bad" I figure they would also probably be OK with eating a batch of brownies with a teaspoon of feces mixed into it.[/quote]

I think you may have gotten it round the wrong way. It's like eating feces and searching for the little bits of brownies they've thrown in. This stuff makes me feel physically ill. Michael Pearl supports Patriarchy but really he supports Pearlarchy.

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You know, every time I see a Pearl quote it always is a NEW quote. People never seem to quote the same passages twice (something which, incidentally, gives the lie to statements about how the quotes are taken out of context, as though any context could explain them!). And yet, every new quote I see horrifies me anew. Learning to put your shoes on the right feet is hard, and wrong footed shoes can be pretty uncomfortable! If your kid puts them on wrong, you help them, you don't hit them for what is undoubtedly an honest mistake. :o

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If she puts her shoes on backwards, do not threaten or complain, just commence giving her licks right on her feet or ankles until she gets her shoes on the right feet. If she takes her shoes off in the yard, do not warn her, just go out in the yard and spank her feet until she finds her shoes and puts them back on.

How are you supposed to find your shoes and put them back on if your parents are holding you down to hit your feet?

It's not just cruel, it's nonsensical.

ETA second sentence.

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You know, every time I see a Pearl quote it always is a NEW quote. People never seem to quote the same passages twice (something which, incidentally, gives the lie to statements about how the quotes are taken out of context, as though any context could explain them!). And yet, every new quote I see horrifies me anew. Learning to put your shoes on the right feet is hard, and wrong footed shoes can be pretty uncomfortable! If your kid puts them on wrong, you help them, you don't hit them for what is undoubtedly an honest mistake. :o

One of my children announced that he would wear his shoes on the wrong feet just because. I told him as long as he wore them correctly at school, he could wear them however he wanted. By the end of the day, he decided that it was better to wear his shoes on the correct feet. I didn't have to punish him and he learned the lesson on his own.

Another of my children decided that she wanted to wear her snow boots in the middle of the summer. When we went out, I shoved her shoes in my purse and let her walk around in her boots. I assumed that eventually, she'd want to switch to regular shoes but she continued to wear the same pink snow boots all summer.

The Pearls turn everything into a contest of wills between parent and child.

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When my 3 yr old put her shoes on the wrong feet and refused my help, I delivered her to nursery school and wrote the following Mitzvah (good deed) Note:

"E. got up this morning, picked out her own clothes, got dressed all by herself and even put on her own shoes without any help at all from mommy. What a big independent girl!"

The teachers figured out that I wasn't a moron, my girl was happy that her independence was praised, and she eventually figured out how to wear clothes that didn't clash and put shoes on the right feet. It wasn't a behavior issue, it was a stage that she naturally outgrew.

At 3, her older sister still wanted to sleep with us every night. Again, a small child wanting to be close to her parents is not a major behavioral issue or something that affects character. It's a stage. She's 13 now, sleeping on her own bed all night, loving sleep like any teen.

Stages change. What stays the same is that my kids know that I'll value their independence, or their desire for comfort and closeness, and respect their feelings. They aren't worried about me hurting them. They've been exposed to a fairly peaceful home and consider it to be normal. It would never occur to them that hitting a small child could be okay. THAT, in my opinion, IS a lifelong moral issue.

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"E. got up this morning, picked out her own clothes, got dressed all by herself and even put on her own shoes without any help at all from mommy. What a big independent girl!"

They sell pre-made stickers and buttons that say "I dressed myself today!" for slapping on your preschooler's shirt as they traipse off to school. Very helpful!

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