Michael and Debi Pearl have been getting a lot of attention lately, what with multiple children now dead (and their deaths, at least indirectly, related to discipline methods prescribed in TTUAC) and with the recent coverage from CNN. Since beginning the blog last year, I've been asked quite a few times for my opinion of the Pearls and their teachings. The photo above is as far as I'll go in relation to TTUAC. I haven't read it, and as a result I don't feel qualified to give any semblence of a "review" of it. I've seen enough and heard enough to know it's pretty poisonous teaching, from the twisted scriptures to the misguided ideas on matters of psychology from people who generally reject that Great Satan "modern psychology".
My friend over at The Eighth and Final Square is currently doing a series, taking a hard and thorough look at TTUAC, and for some excellent insight and commentary on TTUAC I'd suggest you look there. Here's what she has so far...
Chapter 1 Part 1
Chapter 1 Part 2
She's doing a great job - and she's a young lady I'm very proud of.
Now, to my general thoughts on the Pearls...
I'd never heard of the Pearls until a couple of years ago when, in trying to understand the insanity I'd dealt with in my former future in-laws, I came across Micheal Pearl's "Patriarchal Dysfunctional Families" article on his No Greater Joy website. There was some good stuff in it, but also a generous dose of weirdness which left me feeling a bit like I'd just read an article by one religious kook about some other religious kooks. Sort of a "Well, he's a little strange, but maybe not as goofy as the crowd I've been dealing with" vibe, and after perusing his other materials, I didn't see anything else that jumped out at me explicitly about patriarchy, so I never really examined much of what he had to say. I thought no more of the Pearls. I knew nothing of their books, and had no interest in them.
Once I began writing here, emails gradually began to stream in asking me my opinion about certain teachings of the Pearls, their books, certain articles, et cetera. As I looked into things a little more, it wasn't hard to see the reasons for the concerns of so many of you who read here. Red flags galore. In a recent exchange about the Pearls with a person who knows them personally, I was informed that my view was pretty accurate, with the caveat that the Pearls were, at heart, trying to be decent people and live decent lives. I don't doubt that in the slightest. I really don't. What's that old saying about the "road to Hell" and good intentions? (and no, I'm not saying the Pearls are "going to Hell")
The view I had shared with this person was something like this...
It amazes me how "discerning" Christian people so easily fall for buzzwords and turn to a bunch of socially ignorant and religiously arrogant isolationist fundamentalist hillbillies for advice and counsel on matters of marriage, family, and parenting.
Seriously. It blows my mind.
Nothing personal toward hillbillies. I live in Appalachia and have more than my fair share of country bumpkin in me. It's the religious arrogance, religious addiction, hyper-fundamentalism, and isolationism that go along with the hillbillyism that creates the toxic concoction for me where the Pearls are concerned.
But, but Lew! You can't judge a book by its cover!
Well, that's not entirely true (if you believe it's true in all cases, I'd love to play Poker with you), but even so, I'm not judging a book (TTUAC for example - or really any Pearl teaching) by its cover. I'm judging by its author.
How many copies of TTUAC would've sold if THIS had been its cover?...
I'll pass on what he has to offer, and coming to that conclusion ain't exactly rocket surgery.