Her name was Lydia. She was seven years old. She’s dead because her parents took Michael and Debi Pearl’s No Greater Joy Ministries teachings too far Lydia was disciplined to death. She had deep bruising and scars from beatings on her back, buttocks and legs, injuries which cause organ failure. That is no surprise to anyone who has read and followed Michael and Debi Pearl. Lydia was ‘trained’ for hours for mispronouncing a word during a home-school reading lesson.
Her 11 year old sister Zariah was in intensive care week and was released into foster last week .
The other Schatz children interviewed and have reportedly made statements to investigators about the disciplinary philosophy to which their parents adhered. Lydia and Zariah were one of three children adopted from Liberia three years ago. The Schatz have five other children.
The other children told investigators the same instrument was used on all of them, but Ramsey said it was not to the extent of the two girls and except for the Schatz’ bruised 10-year-old son, none of the other children showed signs of abuse.
The Schatz’s have been charged with murder, torture and misdemeanor cruelty.
Police in Paradise California say they found the pipe in the home and have tied it in with other evidence leading to No Greater Joy Ministries run by Michael and Debi Peal in Tennessee. One of the other children taken into care was also injured.
He violently disagrees he teaches religiously motivated child abuse, he says he teaches parents to train their children “which sometimes requires the limited and controlled application of a spanking instrument.” To Debi and Michael Pearl it’s just a biblical principle. 2 foot length of PVC pipe for children over 1 years of age. Children under one year of age get ‘trained’ with a branch, paddle or ruler.
And yes, Michael Pearl is quick to blame Lydia and Zariah and parents with predisposition to abusive habits.
Likewise Ramsey, the prosecutor in the Schatz case, is quick to point out that “No Greater Joy” does not advocate spanking to the point of serious injury. If indeed these parents were abusive, and that has not yet been proven by the courts, it is regretful that our teachings were not able to turn them from their predisposition to abusive habits.
After all his lucrative ‘ministry’ is under scrutiny again. Lydia is not the first child to die at the hands of parents who actually think the Pearls give wisdom. 4 year old Sean was killed by his mother in 2006 after she swallowed the Pearls teaching.
Michael and Debi Pearl whose book do acknowledge that discipline turns to abuse when the “child is broken in spirit, cowed and subdued …”
Debi Pearl has bragged about hitting other peoples children. Control, power, inappropriate boundaries, biblical justification. They bear moral responsibility, I doubt the law can touch No Greater Joy Ministries or shut down the profits from this pathology.
Allthings2all has taken a look at Michael and Debi Pearls theology. There isn’t much biblical about what the Pearls spout. You can’t also read about ‘training’ that the Pearls advocate at Talk2Action.
The law will deal with the Schatz’s. No law will bring Lydia back, heal her sister, or their siblings or shut the Pearls operation down.
And wives, if your husband beats you the Pearls tell you you can’t leave. You have to submit.
The teachings go against every state and provincial law and they run a million dollar operation.
The Pearls materials are popular among fundamentalist home schoolers.
The Schatz’s home schooled and rarely left their home.
Disciplining to Death from No Longer Quivering
Since Sean’s death To Train a Child has been pulled from Barnes and Noble.
Religion News Blog has information on the Pearl compound, church, earnings and employees.
I’ve written about the Michael and Debi Pearl previously.
Update: Hana Williams death and the trial of her parents, Larry and Carri Williams is getting a lot of attention in the US. CNN’s Anderson Cooper covers the Pearls.