"Have No Fellowship With the Unfruitful Works of Darkness, But Rather EXPOSE Them!" ~ GOD, Ephesians 5:11

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April 10, 2006

Are Michael and Debi Pearl “Guilty as Charged"?

The following is a letter by Rebekah Pearl Anast. Judge for yourselves whether Michael and Debi Pearl are barbaric child abusers, or loving, successful parents. These are Rebekah's own words:

Are Michael and Debi Pearl “Guilty as Charged?”

My name is Rebekah Anast, I am the firstborn daughter of Michael and Debi Pearl, the authors of the best-selling book To Train Up a Child.

A handful of angry people have begun an outcry against Michael and Debi Pearl for the child-training principles in this book. These naysayers have also struck out against The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for refusing to reject the paid advertisement of the No Greater Joy Ministry materials, and for refusing to make a public statement of dissosociation.

Along with quoting out of context, verbalized anger, and false assumptions, they have attacked those associated with the Pearl family, and threatened to shake the fragile platform of homeschooling in the UK by going to the media with the sensational story that certain UK homeschool groups are hosting the infamous "extreme ritualistic child abuse advocators, Michael and Debi Pearl."

In every society there are “movers and shakers,” those people who call the media, make the stories (or the stink, as the case may be) and bring about changes that effect the thousands of ambivalent and, often clueless, masses. Some of these movers and shakers have the good of the masses in mind, others are simply angry, irrational people that need attention and like to make a scene.

Unfortunately, the media thrives on these sensation-makers, and is quick to poison the waters of truth if the poison is offered on the silver platter of a “hot story.”

How do we combat the irrational and unfounded sensationalism that would poison the waters of our communities? With truth. If the media wants a story, give them the truth. Let them know that we are very aware of the lies and sensation being spread, but that we’re not afraid of it, because we know the truth.

These sensational story-tellers say that Michael and Debi Pearl teach child abuse, the subjection of women, and general injustice.

I would know (I am their daughter) whether their techniques are violent and unjust, or loving and temperate. I would know if the result is an emotionally damaged and fearful child, or a creative, successful, happy adult. I would know, yes, better than any one of these angry people, whether Michael and Debi Pearl are barbaric child abusers, or loving, successful parents.

Every type of abuse leaves evidence to prove its occurrence, whether it be a mark on the spirit or the body. Let me give you the evidence that is me:

I am 32 years old, married and the mother of three children. I am the happiest person I know, and my life is full of fruit; my own three very happy, balanced children who are completely sound in body and mind.

I have written articles, books, screenplays, and traveled the world for 4 years, meeting new people, eating new food, ministering to those in need, and loving life. I always returned to my favorite place and my favorite people... my family.

I married a wonderful man who is worth every moment of reverence and honor I give him; he is my best friend and only lover.

I have very few bad memories of childhood, all of which I can recall clearly; my dog dying, my hand getting cut on a fresh pine board, my brother being stung by bees, and my father’s grief over a friend’s suffering. That’s all that I can recall.

I remember only one spanking. I remember it because I laughed all the way through it, and so did my Dad. I had played a prank that was dangerous, but funny, and fully deserved a spanking for it, but my parents were unable to spank me without laughing. That is the only spanking I clearly remember. The others were so well-deserved my conscience was able to write off the memory once the deed was paid for.

I was never injured in body or spirit by the training I received. I was never “struck” in anger. I did receive non-injurous spankings on my fully clothed backside with a willow switch when I had clearly transgressed a known “law” of the house. These spankings did not leave bruises or abrasions, or emotional distress.

I learned by the gentlest way possible that foolishness has consequences and wise choices make life comfortable. This training has literally saved my life and I am eternally grateful to both my parents for using a literal rod to train my flesh to make wise choices.

My brothers and sisters were my best friends growing up. We did everything together; swimming, playing, working. We usually got in trouble together too, and when spankings were due, they were due all around. However, trouble was hard to find, as either Mom or Dad was almost always with us, joining in the fun, the projects, and the learning. From dancing in the rain, to building forts, to learning to ride a bike; they were there, so much a part of my life.

A person is innocent until proven guilty. I have proof that Michael and Debi Pearl are wise and loving parents: I am the proof, and every one of my siblings would agree with me.

Almost everything we (my parents) have ever written is available online for FREE on nogreaterjoy.org; and everything else is as inexpensive as possible while still allowing No Greater Joy to operate as a non-profit organization, geared toward helping thousands of parents and children.

A lot of information about the Pearls on the internet is simply taken out of context or completely misquoted. Look up the quotes on nogreaterjoy.org for yourself and make sure your source isn’t lying or misconstruing the truth.

It’s important to the homeschool movement that we be accountable for our views, instead of blindly following the loudest sensationalist, or giving them credibility of any kind.

Rebekah (Pearl) Anast

I give full permission to reprint or repost this article in it’s entirety in any format.




  1. I am a Christian. I think that homeschooling has value. I think there's a place for 'spanking' also. AND I do think that much of what the Pearls have written is dangerous, cruel and insensible. I would not recommend this book or any of their other ones to anyone (and I've spent hours and hours listening and reading several of their materials/publications).

    Here's an excerpt from their Child Training book: "There is much satisfaction in training up a child. It is easy and challenging. When my children were able to crawl (in the case of one, roll) around the room, I set up training sessions.

    "Try it yourself. Place an appealing object where they can reach it, maybe in a "No-no" corner or on an apple juice table (That's where the coffee table once sat). When they spy it and make a dive for it, in a calm voice say, "No, don't touch it." They will already be familiar with the "No," so they will pause, look at you in wonder and then turn around and grab it. Switch their hand once and simultaneously say, "No." "

    Are our children animals? First, you tempt them by putting them near something appealing and then you swat them. Ouch. This is very cruel.

    Here's another one about training their children to understand that they might drown in the pond by allowing them to nearly drown: "We did have trouble with one of them. She is the one who became mobile early, crawling at four months and walking at seven. She always had marvelous coordination. She just wouldn't fall in. I got weary taking walks to the pond. So, to bring the class to graduation, I pushed. Oh, she didn't know it. As she was balanced over the water, I just nudged her with my foot. "

    He pushed her in the water. I am aghast and absolutely appalled that a father would push his child into the water -- and then write about it as an example for others to follow. This is DISTURBING.

    From what I've read, the only thing that the the children would learn is how to FEAR their parents. The kind of love that has fear drenching all over it is not the kind of love that God would want us to experience. There's another word for this kind of love-fear relationship that they are advocating. It is called OPPRESSION.

    I know about fear. I spent most of my childhood and even some of my adulthood being AFRAID of my father. I grew up in a house where there was a hierarchy like the ones the Pearls suggest is God's pattern for all families. I absolutely loved my father (because we, as God's creation, are made to want to love our parents) but I always felt like I was dying for him to love me back, because in the midst of our family hierarchical structure, there was only FEAR, not love. I don't want my children to have to grow up feeling this way -- to always be afraid that if they spill a drink, trip, fall, don't jump when I tell them to, then I will 'switch' them and scold them. That's not the way I think God would want any of us to have to live our lives.

    I am very saddened by what I have read from the Pearls and especially for those who agree with their writings. My husband and I pray for those who are being misled by the Pearls and are missing Jesus' way to abundant life.


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