A Duggar daughter’s in-laws are hosting a couple at their church who urge parents to physically discipline babies and children with plastic tubes and other items.
Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries are the authors of several parenting books that have been linked to child deaths, and they will preach at a family camp in Arkansas, reported Radar Online.
Fort Rock Family Camp and Retreat Center is operated by the parents of Austin Forsyth, who’s married to former reality TV star Joy-Anna Duggar.
The Duggar family starred on the popular TLC show “19 Kids and Counting,” which focused on their religious “Quiverfull” beliefs.
The Pearls have self-published several books, including Created to Be His Help-Meet, that promote a patriarchal, conservative brand of evangelical Christianity that encourages parents to beat children as young as six months old with plastic tubes to ensure obedience.
“It’s a good spanking instrument,” Michael Pearl said. “It’s too light to cause damage to the muscle or the bone.”
Their teachings have been linked to the abuse deaths of at least three children whose adoptive parents were convicted of murder.
The children suffered beatings, malnutrition and other abuse, and prosecutors say their adoptive parents practiced extreme variations on the Pearls’ teachings.
The Pearls were not charged, and they insisted their teachings warn parents against punishing children in anger or causing injuries.
“If you find a 12-step book in an alcoholic’s house, you wouldn’t blame the book,” Michael Pearl said.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar used a rod to discipline their own children, according to a police report created during the 2006 investigation of their eldest son’s molestation of his sisters.