, 80 tweets, 24 min read Read on Twitter
TW. Abuse, child abuse, ableism, 'discipline'

This is the last (part 6) of my live-tweet threads about To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl, also talking openly about my own experience.

Mute if appropriate.
At the end of my last thread, I said a few things that I want to clarify first up.

I said that I never wanted the family to be separated as if staying together is the goal. That was quite a selfish way of speaking.
Biology is not everything, and some children SHOULD be removed from their biological parents if they are being abused. Some grown up children may want to block their parents for their own mental health.

Being separated from family, if family is abusive, can be best.
I always wanted our family to deal with stuff and come together, but that might not happen or it might. One or other of us may find they don't WANT to be around others, I'll totally get that. It's important (children especially) be safe, more important than 'presenting' 'family'.
There's a lot to unpick.
There are two things I want to talk about in this last section:
One is a throwback to the thing I've been avoiding from Thread 1,
The other is the last couple of chapters and the Pearls teaching on gender roles, and how Authoritarianism is threatened by change
So, I've spoken about Colin the Cane (still grim), smacking babies (what the fuck) and explosive outbursts of public spanking (movie on pause, everyone eyes down, sound of whacking), but really key to this story of To Train Up a Child, and my story, is the SYSTEMATIC ABUSE.
Not the stressed, the calculated.
Not the parental, the authoritarian.
Not just representing human will, but supposedly imposing God's will through physical punishment.

What was THAT like? I'll tell you.
So, you're going through a normal day, going kid things, messing about, arguing with your siblings, maybe get into a bit of a squabble (this is just an example, it could be about anything, maybe you've not done your chores, maybe you answered back, broke an unwritten 'rule')
Maybe you get a warning, maybe you don't. It could go either way. Also, you could do something one day and not get a punishment, but another day, boom, "Go to my office."
Pearl says: "Don't drag him to the place of cleansing. Part of his training is to come submissively."

So, you must go to Dad's office, knowing what is going to happen. If you don't go quick enough they start adding on more when you do get there. Sometimes you wait there for ages
SOMETIMES you have to, "Get me my cane and go to my office" - - to you be to go yourself and find the stick you'll be hit with (maybe it's fallen down the side of the sofa), then go to the office with it in your hand and wait.

Ssoommeettiimmeess a different child is sent to get the cane. So you have to go and find the stick that you know is going to switch your sister or brother's bottom. You better find it quick or you'll be next in line. But now you are part of the discipline, you hand dad the cane.
(sidenote: I'm gunna have to disappear in a minute and finish this thread tomorrow, so, I'm sorry I'll leave you with a horror story on pause)
The office has shelves of books (Fox's Book of Martyrs, Bible Commentaries, ACE training guides, Christian Science Magazine, a book by Ken Ham or Ray Comfort maybe). You stare at them, waiting. Maybe you're snivelling, maybe you're calm, maybe you're angry.
Whatever your feeling, in ten minutes time you're going to be crying.

Now, The Pearl's, would think that this time would be spent in repentance, contrition or 'inner transformation'.

Its not.

It's just 💯% pure bodily fear.

Dad (sometimes mom instead, let's not let her off the hook here) comes up, is calm (?), this is not an emotional reaction from them it's a decided process action. They might get out a Bible and put it on the desk, they might not.
Remember this is no longer 'dad' this is 'God', and dad has no choice. He might remind us, "The wages of sin is death." We know the verses, we get it, he has authority to hand out God's punishments on earth, its not him, it'll hurt him more than us, blah blah bla
A quick reminder, 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♂️
You might hear this: '"He that spareth the rod, hates his son." I don't hate you, so I am going to have to cane you.'

Victim blaming 101, and we're KIDS. 'I'm going to hurt you, but I don't want to....' Nice set up for a lifetime of believing no one will hurt you intentionly
Nice set up for believing that you've brought abuse on yourself, that it's hurting them as much as you.

Dad looks at you. You're looking at the floor. He might say, "Look at me when I'm talking to you." He expects you to keep eyecontact even though your eyes are full of tiny tears.

You're seven. You're five. Maybe younger.
Dad says, "Tell me what you did wrong." You have to say it out loud as an admission of sin, whether you truely believe you have 'sinned' or not. If you can't answer, or don't know exactly what answer he wants, he might give you a starter switch to get you talking.
If you are sobbing too much to speak he will DEFINITELY give you a pre-spank spank to 'calm you down'

The Pearl's book says: "Do not let their crying cause you to lighten up on the intensity or duration of the spanking."

You eventually blub out, "I stole my brother's toy and wouldn't give it back."

The fact that I can't think of many specific examples of why we might be caned goes to show it was likely never for anything serious/dangeous. Often unjust, too. In a fight, only one would get spanked
*not that there is a legit or 'just' reason to leave red stripes on your child's skin with a stick, but ya know. 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♀️
"I'm going to give you two canes, and if you scream, I'll give you more," dad says.

I mean, Michael Pearl would say this is not enough, but, hey, one to three as an average, lucky us I guess?
Michael Pearl says, "Tell him to bend over the bed or the couch."

'Bend over,' dad says

If you've ever played chicken with an electric fence, you know the feeling of trying to force your body to accept pain.

I once put a book down my pants to try and absorb the smack, but dad obvs knew and I had to remove it and the switch was twice as hard.

This gif is hilarious, if only I could have 😂😂 fffuuckkk.... I gotta laugh...

I'm crying.
If you've never played chicken with an electric fence, maybe you don't know, but the body don't like you putting it into a position to receive pain. It stiffens, it resists, it requires considerable inner strength to bend over the bed, clench the sheets in your hands, and wait


Swallow the cry out.

If you make too much noise, more to follow.

Imagine how hard your human heart would have to be to continue to hit a crying child. How do you recover from that? How do you pedel back from that? Oh dad, oh mom....

Michael Pearl, in To Train Up a Child, says: "A general rule is to continue the disciplinary action until the child has surrendered."


Remember, this is a description of the 'normal', day-to-day, runofthemill spanking. This isn't exceptional, it was the 'ordinary'. It could be over quickly if you don't sob too much, say sorry, say 'Thank you,' for being caned, and give dad a hug. <<<--- this is a weird sentence
Michael Pearl: "It is important that he funds solace in the one that did the spanking."


#ExposeChristianDiscipline #PearlsPromoteChildAbuse
I can't go too deep into a conversation about domestic abuse in relationships here and now, because there is a level of complexity that I don't want to only half address, but if you read a little about it, there's a pattern of abuse/(false)comfort/abuse/comfort/abuse/comfort
Following the #metoo movement, and the #churchtoo stories as well as #ExposeChristianAbuse will bring up numerous stories that begin with abuse in the family, and move to abusive relationships.
Imagine instilling into a young child (or an infant!) that a person who does harm to you is also the person who comforts you?

Thank you.
The Pearl's use their understanding of The Bible to justify the person who causes pain being the one who comforts, they say: "When God chastens us, it is to draw us to himself, not to cause us to turn to another.

Pearls add: "David, who experienced the rod of God's correction and was chastened for transgression, found comfort in the Divine discipline. He was comforted by the rod. It assured him of God's control, concern, love and commitment."
So, um, I don't, uuugh.... No.

Children from Christian families often struggle, after growing up, to relate to God the Father AT ALL because of this shockingly abusive theology. I wholeheartedly understand folk walking away from church never to return.
The level of disassociation that is required as a human to go to God for comfort believing that being has caused endless pain to their lives personally and world corporately.

Laying your head metaphorically on the spiritual shoulder of the Lord while he holds a bloody sword. No.
Again, I am not going to go too far into my personal theology because I don't want to distract from the Specific discussion about To Train Up a Child, and Extremist Christian Discipline.
What makes me sad is, how many parents desperate to show their kids God, drove them utterly and completely away from them?

Every child deserves better than to be taught that your abuser is your comforter. Never, ever, ever, ever is that okay. Ever. Ever ever.
No child should EVER be taught their abuser is to be their comforter.

Discipline session over with, you go back to the rest of the family and, don't talk about it. We never shared details. We just made room in the game to welcome them back.

I'm sorry that we older ones didn't do more to process/protect the younger. Always sorry.
Not to completely switch subjects, but I am now having an absolutely DELICIOUS curry and rice - - who knew you could put mango in curry? I am into it. Take care of yourselves!!!

Back in a minute to talk about how so-called Traditional Gender Roles play into this abuse.
"A boy needs a man's example if he is expected to grow up to be a man." (this sentence underlined for importance in To Train Up a Child by the Pearls)

By a MAN do you mean an adult who hits children with canes, Michael?

No gif, not funny.

"The wife should always keep in mind day she is molding a future wife and mother." (Quote from The Pearl's, not underlined, because, obvs, women's roles not considered quite so important, here) 🤷‍♀️

#ExposeChristianDiscipline #complimentarianism #patriachy
"If you leave your sons for the women to rear, don't be surprised if at sixteen they act more like daughters," Michael goes on to SAY.

Now, then, let's have a quick chat. Why is Complimentarianism and Gender Roles specifically showing up in a book on 'Discipline'?
"When a working father leaves his boys with a flock of girls, they often lack masculinity," he says. Now what could he mean by that 🤓🤨🧐 First clue, throughout, he's talked about the "emotionally weak mother", or a mother with "consuming passion" also called "naive".
Not Debi Pearl, by the way, though he's disparaging towards her here: "My wife was very so possessive (of her baby son). I had to submit a request well in advance if I wanted to spend some time with her. We were in no danger of having any more children" (aka, wasn't getting sex)
When a friend eventually takes the baby forcefully off the wife and away for a few hours, "To my wife it was the opposite of giving birth. She was being weaned. After a couple of hours the 'trainer' (friend) came back, we had a little boy larger than his mother's arms."
"Ha! And I had my wife back! The next boy was soon in the way (wink), and did not come to be an extension of his mother's self-image." *wink added by me
Michael Pearl, on women, also says, "All children's dolls should be BABY dolls not Barbie dolls. The fantasy arising from playing with baby dolls causes the child to role-play mother. The fantasy arising from Barbie dolls causes a child to role-play a sex goddess."
I mean, we got from chapter 1 that he doesn't really like children if they don't confirm to his specific image, and now we can add women to that list too. He likes to have sex with them, and them to be "mother" but God forbid they should have autonomy or - - -
"Avoid the girl like the plague who would persue her own career outside the home. A wife is to be your" Help-meet." - - - Sorry, Michael Pearl, you said 'help meet' but I heard Personal Servant, can you speak up.

#ExposeChristianDiscipline #complimentarianism #sexism
"Never marry a girl who is enamored with her own looks. Better to marry a homely girl who is content to love and be loved than one who is going to SPEND HER YEAR'S MAINTAINING HER FADING BEAUTY," says Michael Pearl.

i FELL off my chair.
Note: Debi Pearl, in her letter to the girls about marriage makes no mention of a man's looks, or what kind of job he has, she says to look for a man who follows God. That's it.

Michael actively disparages, Debi does not here.
*Debi hits other people's children with toy trucks, so I'm no fan of hers, but NOTE the difference in how they speak about men and women, it's important

#Complimentarianism (as its known to its followers, #Patriachy, as its known to many) follows a thinking that supposedly men and women are 'equal' but 'not the same', thus, you have, men's roles and women's roles.
Within this dynamic, 'women' are seen as emotional, given to passion, not strong. Debi explicitly states, "Remember to be a 'hidden woman'. Stand behind your man..."

Men are not so specifically described. But illustrations are of wood-chopping, displaying anger, "less sentimental", just, forceful ("The child plays the mother's emotions against the father's 'justice'")
Remember this umbrella ☔? THIS is where the Pearl's opinion on men and women comes in to play, women are shown as 'emotional', men as 'justice'.
And so it goes, that the Man rules the family and the Woman serves the family. "If you show disregard, disapproval, anger, irritation or dishonour towards your husband, it will open the door for (your children) to do the same."
"Treat your wife like a delicate little flower, and she will have the energy to be a more giving mother."

I..... *eye roll*
"I expected my wife to be a super woman. I soon learned that if she was going to last through several more child births, and that in good spirits, she was going to need a lot of SUPPORT."

Never mind treating her well for her own sake. Treat her well for BREEDING MACHINE. 😨🤢🤮
Anyway, THIS, is important because in order for this family dynamic Mother comes to Father comes to God to last, they absolutely have to ensure that women stay weak, stay home, stay 'hidden', stay under.

And this ties in to the kind of conversations being had by #exvangelicals and #faithfullyLGBT folk too, because if you introduce the concept of Same Sex Marriage, you take away 'man's god-like grip over' woman'.
If you stand next to each other as two women or two men, holding the umbrella (or do away with the umbrella system altogether, and embrace being Family under God/in the universe together) then you undermine a system of Masculine Control.
If a person exists (and they do) who is born intersex or transgender or genderfluid, this undermines the concept of 'weak' women and 'strong' men, because suddenly, you have to see them as human people with strengths and weaknesses.

#faithfullyLGBT #ExposeChristianAbuse
Michael Pearl includes this gem: "Don't let a coven of Sodomites and socialists reprogram your natural feelings on male and female distinctiveness."
But seriously, it's not me (oh, I'm a socialist and seeing as without huge, massive, incredible amounts of government benefits to keep our family afloat, we'd likely have starved and been homeless at times, the rest of my family should be too, lol they are not.)
But seriously, once again, their fear of losing there Structures in which abuse (physical abuse, danger of sexual abuse, spiritual abuse) can go unchecked, sets the LGBT+ community up as one of their main enemies.
And I'll put my hand up to that.


We in the LGBT+ community will not and do not accept physical, sexual or spiritual abuse, especially of children, especially of those in need.

We will not stand for it and we WILL speak up against it.

And I know absolutely incredible women and men and nonbinary folk who will continue to say this:

It happened,
It was real,
It was wrong,
You deserved better

Finally, a word for anyone reading who IS abusing children in the ways that have been described above:

Repent (which means, change, not just say sorry).
Get help.
Make amends.
Put it right.
It's on you.

#ExposeChristianDiscipline #totrainupachild #PearlsPromoteChuldAbuse
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Mulan is on the rampage.
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