The way these parents interacted with their children was chilling and unnatural. It turns out that they were all following Mike and Debi Pearl's parenting advice. To Train Up a Child was featured prominently on the book table, with no other parenting book in sight. ("It figures!" I said to my husband as soon as I spotted the book.) I later found out that the mothers would gather to study this book and that the cult pressured all parents to follow its practices.
That seemed tragic enough to me, but all of that pales in comparison to the horribly sickening news article that I just read. The headline reads, "Dead child's mom sought discipline tips: Lynn Paddock ordered books by a minister and his wife that recommended using pipe to spank kids"
A few years ago, Lynn Paddock sought Christian advice on how to discipline her growing brood of adopted children.Read the rest of the article here.
Paddock -- a Johnston County mother accused of murdering Sean, her 4-year-old adopted son, and beating two other adopted children -- surfed the Internet, said her attorney, Michael Reece. She found literature by an evangelical minister and his wife who recommended using plumbing supply lines to spank misbehaving children.
Paddock ordered Michael and Debi Pearl's books and started spanking her adopted children as suggested. After Sean, the youngest of Paddock's six adopted children, died last month, his older sister and brother told investigators about Paddock's spankings.
Sean's 9-year-old brother was beaten so badly he limped, a prosecutor said. Bruises marred Sean's backside, too, doctors found.
Sean died after being wrapped so tightly in blankets he suffocated. That, too, was a form of punishment, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.
The Pearls' advice from their Web site: A swift whack with the plastic tubing would sting but not bruise. Give 10 licks at a time, more if the child resists. Be careful about using it in front of others -- even at church; nosy neighbors might call social workers. Save hands for nurturing, not disciplining. Heed the warning, taken from Proverbs in the Old Testament, that sparing the rod will spoil the child.
Now, I'm sure I'm going to get angry emails and/or comments from Pearl followers insisting that the Pearls do not teach parents to murder their children. This is very true. However, they do teach harsh "training" methods that run the gamut from spanking with plumbing supplies, to pushing young nonswimming children into ponds, to pulling tiny babies' hair, to hitting children with toys, to blasting children with cold water from the hose in the middle of winter for potty training accidents, to ... well, you get the picture.
There is no defense for this sort of teaching.
Millstones. That's what comes to mind. Millstones. If causing a child to sin carries should carry such a harsh penalty, according to Jesus, what would He think of abusing a child and --- even worse --- claiming to do it in His Name?