“Child Training Murder” – Spanked to Death in the Name of Jesus

Shatz MugshotApril 11, 2011 - “spank him until it’s obvious he’s totally broken.” Chilling words from page fifty-nine of Michael Pearl’s controversial parenting guide, ‘To Train Up A Child’.  The book was discovered at the home of Kevin and Elizabeth Shatz, along with the battered body of their adopted daughter, Lydia, who died as result of months of abuse.  An older daughter required hospitalization for abuse related injuries, but survived.

According to testimony, the Shatz’s were following the written instructions of Tennessee pastor Michael Pearl, when they beat their daughters with a fifteen-inch length of plumbing supply line. Lydia died from a severe beating instigated by her failure to properly pronounce a word. The case marked the second time that Pearl’s book had been linked to a child abuse death in a matter of a few years. A third child was ‘trained’ to death by followers of Michael Pearl a few years later. An online petition to remove the book from Amazon.com currently has tens of thousands of signatures.

Both parents were sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to a litany of child abuse charges.

Explore Full Coverage of the Shatz case at Homeschooling’s Invisible Children

Darkness Beckons

Darkness Beckons

“Can I say that I was rooting for our killer all the way through this book?

“This is M. Dolon Hickmon’s first novel, and that is somewhat surprising, an incredibly well written and researched book.

There is absolutely no reference in this book to the book penned by Michael and Debi Pearl,’To Train Up a Child’, but it does not take a genius to see the correlations. The Pearl book advocates beating children into submission, beating children until you break their will, and then perhaps beating them some more to be certain. It states that you can pull your baby’s hair as a disciplinary measure and even advocates that you start beating your child from the age of 4 months old. There are people who have used the Pearl book as their child-rearing bible, a few of these people have beaten their children to death.”

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“entices you to read ‘just one more chapter’”

I F*cking Hate Facebook

“…the gravity of Josh and Chris’ situation comes into view in perfectly small chunks that entices you to read ‘just one more chapter’

“The story centers mostly around two child abuse victims: Josh and Chris. Josh, the singer of the band Reboham, of which Chris is a huge fan of, was the sort of test subject that helped his famous evangelical father write a book on child discipline. This particular book, for anyone familiar with the religious child discipline community, is very reminiscent of the book “To Train Up a Child” by Micheal Pearl, which advocates things like beating a child until it’s submissive, as well as carrying around 1/4 thick piece of rubber tubing to strike the child with…

- Read the entire review of 13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M. Dolon Hickmon

“Disciplined” to Death – Did Pastor’s Advice Influence Child Murderer?

Michael Pearl TTUACSmithfield, NC - In 2008, adoptive mother Lynn Paddock was convicted of torture and murder, in death of her four-year-old son adopted son Sean.  Six surviving children testified at trial that they had been beaten  almost daily with flexible plastic rods, wooden spoons and other devices. A forensic pediatrician described the abuse as “ritualistic torture”, while Assistant Johnston County District Attorney Paul Jackson showed jurors the “whipping stick” Paddock used on the children, as well as photos of bruises on their bodies.

“This was soul murder,” Jackson said.

Testifying at trial, Lynn Paddock  said she and her husband decided to use discipline techniques they learned from the evangelical Rev. Michael Pearl,  who publishes books and articles on how to raise obedient  children.

“We liked Michael Pearl’s (system) because it was quick (and) it didn’t demean the child and bring their self-esteem down,” she said. As of 2014, the death of Sean Paddock is one of three confirmed deaths circumstantially linked to Pearl’s parenting guide, To Train Up A Child. An online petition to remove the book from Amazon.com now has tens of thousands of signatures.

Read Lynn Paddock’s Statement to Investigators (Courtesy of WRAL)