Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Got Rebekah's Form Letter.

A few years back there was an outcry in the British Homeschooling community over the possibility that the Pearls' might visit the U.K. and spread their abusive parenting practices. In response, Rebekah Pearl Anast wrote a form letter that she sent out to many bloggers saying how great her childhood was. This morning I started to moderate my blog and discovered I had been sent that same form letter.

I have several thoughts about this letter. One of the reasons that I feel comfortable in writing about Rebekah, who I believe was horribly abused as a child, is that she has put herself out as the defender of her parents. Here is a woman who has had options in life. At one point, she did get away from her family's control. So, I don't believe for an instance that she is unaware of how abusive her family is.

I will admit also that there are parts of her letter that strikes me as odd. She points out that Gabe Anast is her only lover. There is no reason for her to make such a statement in the letter. Nor does it add anything of value to her point. To be honest, I do not care how many sexual partners another person has had and unless, we are having a conversation about it, I don't want to know. That seems like very intimate information to give out to strangers.

Also, Rebekah claims to be the happiest person that she knows. Unless she is psychic there is no way that she can know who is happy or not. There is also the fact that as a child, she has been told to always be cheerful. How can we trust what she claims to feel when we know that she was whipped for not showing joy?(see To Train Up A Child) Her claims to be the happiest person that she knows is so extreme that I wonder if the opposite isn't true and she is trying desperately to cover up her unhappiness.

Another odd point in the letter is how Rebekah clearly contradicts herself. In one paragraph she writes that she was never spanked, but then she continues to describe her thankfulness that the rod was used against her. I was never injured in body or spirit by the training I received. I was never “struck” in anger. I did receive non-injurious 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. Notice the plural use of the word spanking. So, she did receive more then one spanking. Either she is a horrible liar or Rebekah has some weird definition of corporal punishment that the rest of us do not share.

Because of my childhood, I feel empathy for Rebekah. My own mother was mentally and emotionally abusive but she combined her cruelty with moments of kindness and generosity. I am certain that lots of abused children have a very confusing relationship with their parents. Parental cruelty is often sporadic and twisted in with claims of love and even attempts by the abusing parent to win their child's affections. Its not always easy admitting that you were an abused child. I know. I have been there.

But when my mother turned her abuse toward my children, I had to cut contact with her. Protecting my children was more important then my denials about my mother's actions. I include my own story to make a point. Rebekah Pearl Anast's childhood sounds like the religious version of my own. She probably has some of the same scars that I do.

On the slight chance that she ever reads this blog I would like to talk directly to her. Rebekah, your parents' advice is responsible for creating a adversarial relationship between parent and child that can lead to abuse. By defending them you are as culpable for their actions as they are. When innocent children are hurt, you need to stand up and admit that the myth that your family has tried to create is not true.

Rebekah, it doesn't matter what your parents tell you, or Gabe. You have to live with your own conscious. Every time a child is whipped or their spirit is broken, you are partially responsible because you have not spoken out but have tried to hide the truth. Anyone reading the first part of this series can tell that you had a rotten childhood. A woman as obviously intelligent as you can not be unaware that she had an abusive childhood. I had to stand up to my mother to protect innocent children, now you need to do the same thing. Grow a set of ovaries and be a woman.


Kathy said...

I have been linking your posts on Rebekah to Ravelry (a knitting/crochet/spinning forum) where we have been discussing the Pearls. I so appreciate the research you've done and your insights into this insidious mindset of child abuse by religion.

Unknown said...

I find myself wondering if the form letter is truly from Rebekah, or if it is from her husband, who, as it has been pointed out, speaks for her in matters of religion. That may not be the only area where he speaks for her, or at least tells her what to think and say. He was, after all, hand picked by her parents to be her husband. Sad all around.

deb said...

Kathy, thank you! I knit and crochet a little. Well, wash cloths, nothing is impressive.

MamaB, it is possible that her husband wrote the letter for her.

Kathy said...

Deb, you should come over. We are a huge group from all over the world but mostly we talk about just stuff. The link is In the Discussions about Religion group we have been discussing the Pearls.

Alicia said...

I've seen the form letter too, and it saddens me too. The fact that this woman has horrifying nightmares about death and abuse so often certainly says something to me about how happy she is.

I suspect that she feels a constant push to appear happy no matter what and be a good wife/daughter/etc. and she doesn't even let herself acknowledge the abuse or her own helplessness and pain.

What haunts me is wondering whether she and her husband are bringing their children up in the same manner that she was brought up, though.

Of course they all smile and laugh and tell us how happy they are. It was literally beaten into them.

deb said...

Kathy, I will come over. You can never have too many online friends.

Alicia, I agree and I worry about the Pearl grandchildren also.

Meigh said...

Nitpicky thing here, but she's not contradicting herself. What she clearly means is that she only specifically remembers one particular spanking. I believe that. I was spanked as a child, as a rule, and I can't recall them clearly. One I do particularly remember because it was with a switch and it stung terribly; most of my spankings were more like swats that probably didn't really hurt. I know for a fact there were others, but I don't recall the reasons for them, how they felt, where I was, etc. I also don't remember specific instances of being sent to my room or being grounded, and I know that happened too.

Lest you think I'm in favor of how I was treated, I absolutely am not. I parent VERY differently. When I was pregnant my dad gave me a paint stirrer to use as a spanking instrument on my yet-to-be-born child, as he had on me. I told him I never planned to spank, and he told me I would change my mind, or I would raise spoiled brats. My kids are now 7 and 4, we do not spank or punish at all, and my dad recently told me they are the best behaved kids he knows.

So, basically, I'm just taking issue with your interpretation of her letter, which I find to be faulty.

deb said...

Hello Meigh.
If you don't remember many then I fully believe you. :) But Rebekah's parents have written how they started spanking her at four months old. They talk about using a quarter inch plumbing supply line on children and sitting on kids and hitting them until the child's spirit breaks. So I find it hard to believe that something so traumatic would be wiped from Rebekah's memory.

Also, if you read through my articles on the Pearls you will see that they use a lot of double speak. Parents don't spank, they train but training involves whacking kids with plumbing line!!

IF you have never heard of the Pearls it can be a bit unreal to read about this family. They sell child raising manuals for fundamentalists that are really a mixture of behavioral science and child abuse.

Meigh said...

I also don't recall anything that happened to me at 4 months of age!

I fully believe that she doesn't remember BECAUSE it happened so early and often.

When I look back on my childhood, I remember the things that stick out, not the things that happened like clockwork. I don't remember brushing my teeth as a child, and I'm sure that started early and often. When I concentrate, I can remember only a couple specific meals that I ate, and I'm sure I had three squares a day. I know I loved Total breakfast cereal, but can I recall a specific instance where I sat down and ate it? No.

What is missing from this analysis is, who cares? Just because she doesn't remember every spanking (or ANY spanking) doesn't mean that each one wasn't harmful!

Anyway, we don't really disagree on any important point. I completely agree with your take on the Pearls and am fascinated to read your entries on their daughter.

deb said...

I understand what you are trying to say Meigh.

Rebekah fascinates me because she could have turned out so different.

Mamabear said...

I am really happy to be following your blog.

I too only remember being hit once with a switch, but I know there were many more times. There were also slaps in the face for back talk, swats, etc. I don't remember anything specific.

My mom told me that when I was about 6 or 7 she slapped my mouth and her wedding ring was turned around, so it gave me a fat lip. I wonder why I don't remember it?

Sometimes when people have traumas they block them out. My mom was sexually abused and remembered nothing until she was 32.

I wonder if Rebekah has blocked those memories?

Unfortunately people also defend their abusers. I think she has been so abused, traumatised and brainwashed that she thinks that was done to her was good. I think that if she realized how much emotional pain she has buried it would break her.

Anonymous said...

I love reading all the research you've done on this incredibly disturbing family. It's both terrifying and fascinating.

Alice said...

When she said she was never "injured" in mind or body, she means that she carried no injury from being spanked, whether physical or mental. I understand that perfectly, because I could say the same, though I remember several well-deserved spankings.

I'm not a bit terrified by her letter, her parents, or their little plumbing line. Sounds like my own loving and careful parents, and what I'm doing with my own dear children. Come over and see what joy looks like!

Anonymous said...

you do that to your children? you are breaking the law. i hope you're arrested.

deb said...

Alice, I noticed that your profile stated that you were from, Pleasant view, Tenn. Do you know the Pearls personally?

Anonymous said...

i think we'll all pass on the eroticization of child abuse, or what you call "joy."

Anonymous said...

Alice, you're sick. Really, really sick. Joy, huh?

Alice said...

huh? sick? Why are my kids so happy and successful? hm.

I don't know the Pearls personally. They are not from Pleasant View.

I'm sorry you have such baggage that makes you think spanking is child abuse. It certainly is not against the law. Anyone who took us to court would probably end up apologizing. Recent comments on our kids include, "delightful," "amazing," and "I wish I'd had daughters so they could marry your sons!"

They don't have any abuse in their lives. I think people who are anti-spanking think spankers have to spank every day for years. We barely have to spank at all!

If it doesn't work for you because of a past trauma, by all means DON'T spank! You will probably damage your children!

roddma said...

No nothing wrong with correcting a child but there is a difference between spanking and beating. Vision Forums had a segment on " How to Avoid trouble with Social Services and Spanking laws.' That tells me maybe some do more than just spank. Spanking has gotten a bad name because of those like the Pearls.

Anonymous said...

Thats right Alice! Good job! To the rest of you, your minds are sick rotten and over run with sexual sins...