Spare the Rod Part 1: Spanking in the Name of the Lord

WVNS CBS News-TV, West Virginia/February 21, 2012

Spanking in the name of the Lord, a parenting book telling parents to use wooden spoons, spatulas and plumbing tube to train their child.

"Train Up a Child," a controversial book claims to have the answer. But after the deaths of three children many wonder, do the methods go too far?

Demonstrating the power of corporal punishment, Michael Pearl took a spatula to his hand.

Slap! Slap! "Ouch I won't do it again," Pearl said showing the typical reaction of a child who is swatted with a rod.

Spare the rod and spoil the child, spanking in the name of the Lord. For founder of No Greater Joys Ministry Michael Pearl, using the rod is the Christian way.

"It is something that is rooted in the nature of every human being," Pearl said. "We see it across the animal kingdom all animals discipline their young they have to if the animals are going to survive. So it stands to reason that if it is wise, good and according to nature, God is going to agree with it because he's pretty smart too," Pearl continued"

Pearl's book, "To Train Up a Child" provides a blueprint for parents to administer the switch to "train" children in God's way. Pearl compares wooden spoons, spatulas and plumbing tube to a magic wand. One whack with one of these instantly changes your child's behavior.

"That's another rod it is flexible and it won't tear the skin and it won't bruise and it is very light so that would work," Pearl said.

The plumbing tube Pearl held in his hand can be found at any home improvement store. Pearl said it is convenient for parents because they can roll it up and slip it into their pocket. He said this makes "child training" on the go very easy.

Pearl continued that one of his followers took several pieces of plumbing tube and attached them together in the forum of a necklace. Pearl said this mother wore the tubing around her neck as a constant reminder to her children to not misbehave.

These so called "magic wands" are causing conservatory especially the tubing. Plumbing tube was found in the home of 3 children across the United States who were violently abused and tortured to death and in all 3 cases the parents face murder charges. All 3 children were adopted and all 3 were spanked on the day they died. All 3 died from different disciplinary procedures outlined in Pearl's book.

Pearl defends his book saying these parents took his book out of context and simply misread the message.

"Neither one of these cases springs from our book," Pearl exclaimed. "How could a book that teaches love and grace and kindness cause that….It couldn't! That would be like blaming Bayer aspirin when an angry mother gives her child an entire bottle of aspirin and drain-o and kills the child. Someone would say she misread the label, she didn't read the label," Pearl said.

No Greater Joy's teachings are followed by 3 and a half million people. Pearl said one out of every 17 homes owns a copy of "To Train Up a Child." This book is invading Evangelist Churches and his teachings can be found here in the Mountain State.

The author is nicknamed Big Papa by his 5 children and 19 grandchildren all have all been trained-up in the way of the rod.

"My greatest accomplishment is having 5 children all get married well and all have children-- 19 of them now, Pearl said. "And all are obedient, sweet-spirited, happy, talented, well educated. If people could experience what we do in our relationships to our children they wouldn't get enough of it."

What began as a simple manuscript to answer friends' parenting questions turned into a one-hundred page book with a nationwide reach. Local Pastors are questioning Biblical Backing of the book and coming up on Wednesday, February 22; Lauren Hensley will ask local religious leaders if this is truly God's way.

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