Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Exposing the IFB: Micheal and Debi Pearl

I haven't spoken lately about the cult known as the Independent Fundamental Baptist denomination. A group that my sister was once a part of, and I had some exposure to first hand as a child. I attended a private school from Kindergarten to 5th grade that was part of this origination. My personal contact with this group thankfully was limited,(and I actually can't remember much of it) but there are many people, especially women and children still trapped in this abusive group.

Within the Independent Fundamental Baptist denomination are a pair of authors, a husband and wife, Micheal and Debi Pearl. Though the two may look like a happy family, the devastation the books they have written, and the affects of people who followed their atrocious advice is incredible.

Their books are considered the how to manuals for everything related to domestic life by many in the Independent Fundamental Baptist cult. Their book "To Train Up a Child" has sold over 670,000 copies, and is even available for sale on Amazon.com.

Their advice on raising children, especially on their ideas of disciplining children are abusive and cruel.
Here's just a small sample of their horrendous advice (which by the way has lead to the murder of least 4 children by their followers):

On punishing children:
Never reward delayed obedience by reversing the sentence. And, unless all else fails, don’t drag him to the place of cleansing. Part of his training is to come submissively. However, if you are just beginning to institute training on an already rebellious child, who runs from discipline and is too incoherent to listen, then use whatever force is necessary to bring him to bay. If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final.
 Their advice to women about marriage is no better:
“Has your husband reviled you and threatened you? You are exhorted to respond as Jesus did. When he was reviled and threatened, he suffered by committing himself to a higher judge who is righteous. You must commit yourself to the one who placed you under your husband’s command. Your husband will answer to God, and you must answer to God for how you respond to your husband, even when he causes you to suffer

.Just as we are to obey government in every ordinance, and servants are to obey their masters, even the ones who are abusive and surly, ‘likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands’…You can freely call your husband ‘lord’ when you know that you are addressing the one who put him in charge and asked you to suffer at your husband’s hands just as our Lord suffered at the hands of unjust authorities…When you endure evil and railing without returning it, you receive a blessing, not just as a martyr, but as one who worships God.” 
 Anderson Cooper, the day time talk show host, and CNN newscaster has done reports on the Pearls, and consequences of their advice, this two part series is on the murder of a California girl, Lydia Schaatz, at the hands of her adopted parents, followers of the Pearls, their books were found in the home during the course of the investigation into her death by local police, and the county prosecutor. Lydia's beating was so severe that her injuries were nearly identical to people who had been killed in explosions.

For more information about Micheal and Debi Pearl, check out these sources:

No Longer Quivering Blog on Patheos (all posts related to the Pearl family)

Why Not Train a Child? (A blog dedicated to exposing their teachings)

The Independent Fundamentalist Baptist  organization is not something I enjoy talking about, believe, but it's necessary to do so. Their abuse of children, treatment of women as second class citizens, and their extreme isolation from the outside world needs to be exposed to the world.

For more information about the Independent Fundamental Baptist organization read my past posts on them:

Bob Jones University

Jack Hyles and First Baptist Hammond (part 1)

First Baptist Hammond (part 2)

 The Horrors of Hezbipah House (part 1)

The Horrors of Hezpibah House (part 2)


  1. This stuff makes me too angry. I have no place to put that anger. Augh.

    1. I understand, all we can do is spread the word, and out them to the rest of the world.

  2. It was unfortunate that the D.A. was unable to prosecute the Pearls in the Schatz case. He spoke in the strongest terms about how sick they were, but it's that damn freedom of speech and freedom of religion crap that let's them print whatever crap they want to. And people buy it, because neither homeschooling nor spanking are illegal.

    1. This is one of those times where people's boundaries of freedom of speech are really tested. Their views are sickening.

      The Pearls are the kind of people that make me wish that there actually is a hell and a just god out there, because then they would finally get what they deserve....

      I have nothing against home schooling in itself, btw, but the way fundamentalists often put it into practice is abusive.

    2. It is amazing and ironic how USA has produced and is producing so many remarkable scientists and at the same time it also has so many people like the above mentioned sadist author couple. I am not American so maybe it astounds me even more.

    3. I could quote from news articles from Middle Eastern and African nations where more madness goes on that is more common than what happened to these young girls.

      In one country an Azeri girl fell in love with a Muslim boy, and the Azeri menfolk demanded that the Imam protecting her release her to her family. Or else.

      So the imam did so, whilst urging the men not to harm her. She ended up stoned to death, merely for falling in love with a Muslim boy.

      I'm stopping here because two people falling in love and the girl getting punished for it appears to be "traditions" which astound me.

    4. Saad and Radha: I agree, even as crazy as US fundamentalists are, the Middle East is even worse.

      In my past posts on the IFB, I've thought before that groups like them really are a Christian/Westernized version of Islamic fundamentalists.

  3. I was going to do a post about this couple and this horrendous book which I heard about before when a child was actually beaten to death in the US. I didn't realize they were IFB because I didn't really know what IFB was - they are under my radar... maybe that's the case for many?

    I know it's tough for you to post about this but... Excellent post, Sheldon, I will share this.

    1. It could be, the IFB is a very loosely organized group, hence the "independent" in the name. The beliefs of the individual churches are identical, but they have no official national or regional councils to govern them.

      However, that's in name only, they tend to organize in clusters around a flagship church or institution, such as a college within their networks. That institution unofficially serves as their inspiration in beliefs/rhetoric, and often as their main meeting place, where conferences are often held.

      The Pearls have many fans within the IFB, they make up their core group of followers.

  4. The abuse given in those examples reminds me of the abuse Scientology dispenses to their "slaves" i.e. the members who aren't rich and are consistently mistreated by their more privileged "masters".

    1. I've heard some bizarre and shocking things about Scientology, especially their strange and downright abusive tactics in trying to help drug addicts....

  5. I agree with you on the Pearls and Fundamental Baptists.

    1. Good to know. If you can share this on social media, it would be much appreciated, not for my sake (to increase blog numbers), but more people need to know about this group.

  6. Incredible what I have read, why do you critize so hard to the fundamental baptist movement?, what you wrote about the children and women is not true, I am Fundamental Baptist and I soooo thankful to be, my husband is a great man, lovely, honest, hard working and the most important he fears the Lord and he always tries to make the best for his family, for us, there is nothing more important in this world that our two beautiful daughters, in our churches the men are encouraged to love and to be sweet with their wives and the women to respect their husbands, because that´s what the Bible says and we have a wonderful family just by following what God´s word says, hope God fogive you for judging something that you do not really know.

  7. I was a Fundamental Baptist pastor, and never in my ministry did I, or anyone in my churches, advocate child abuse, spousal abuse, or anything similar to it. Most of the pastors I knew felt the same way I did.

    Having said that, I know of other F Baptists who thought they were Pope of their congregations, and I heard horror stories about their wives and families being terrorised by them.

    What I am getting at is this... the majority of Fundamental Baptists are good people, and very few of them are rotten apples. Only a small fraction of Catholic priests are pedophiles. Only a small percentage of Mormons believe in polygomy. Not ALL television preachers are fleecing the congregation financially, just as not all lawyers are leeches.

    While the small percentage get a lot of press, the vast majority are good people. To say that all gun owners are mass murders, or that all right-to-lifers are terrorists is as big a stretch as you condemning all Fundamental Baptists as abusers.


  8. Hi, I am soooooo angry with the Pearls!! They teach a lot of unbiblical stuff and I thinkt that they are more Amish/Mennonite then IFBaptists, I think they have lived in Amish communities for too long!! I never read their books as I have friends who have and they have thrown them in the trash.

    Now, I am an Independent Fundamental Baptist young lady who's father has been a Pastor for almost 20 years and not once has he tried to 'lord over' his congregation and has been loved by members of his churches and also the unsaved because he has such a Christlike attitude about everything. He has never, ever abused my mother or me, or any of my six siblings. He is a totally wonderful godly man and a terrific example of a Christian! I want to be like him!

    I have never, ever meet a IFBaptist who was abusive, though I have meet one who was a 'ruler' of his church - but then his church liked it that way. - and I have meet HEAPS of IFBaptists here in Australia (yes, there are a LOT of IFB's here! with true Aussie 'You'll be right, Mate,' spirit!Thanks to Pastor Randy Pike and Pastor Sidney Hunter who both came here in the 1950;s and did some church planting)

    I totally agree with Stephen, above, and do not think that all IBF's should be judged by the likes of the Pearls or other 'bad's' - we, as a family, would never have anything to do with either one of those men - we are INDEPENDENT which means that we are not a part of a network of churches and should be judged the same as each other!

    Please, please do not judge all IFB's byu the Pearls or any other 'bad' people as we are not at all like them!!


No spam, proselytizing, or personal attacks, such comments will never see the light of day around here.

Disagreeing with me is fine (I encourage it), but have some decency when writing your comment