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Parents Beat Child to Death in "Christian Discipline."

Larry and Carri Williams were given the maximum time in prison after they were found guilty of starving and beating Hana, their adoptive daughter, to death. Larry Williams received 28 years and his wife, Carri, 37.

The scheme and tactics they utilized in “disciplining” their daughter were promoted in a dubious “Christian” book, “To Train Up A Child,” penned by Richard Pearl and his wife.

In May 2013, Hana was found nude, lying face down and emaciated in the backyard. Her death was induced by hypothermia and malnutrition according to law enforcement authorities.

The sheriff’s report said the parents had denied Hana food and ordered her to sleep in a cold outbuilding and shower outdoors with a hose. They frequently lashed her and left marks on the child’s legs. The mother praised the Pearls’ book and given copies to friends. Hana had been beaten the day she died with a 15-inch plastic tube recommended by Mr. Pearl.

The discipline techniques taught by the Pearls include:

  • Beat children with plastic plumbing
  • Force the child to wear plastic tubing around their neck as a reminder to obey
  • “Swat” children, as young as six months, with a wood spoon
  • “Blanket train” babies by hitting them if they try to crawl off a blanket placed on the floor
  • Beat older children with rulers, paddles, and belts
  • Hose off children who have toilet training accidents

The Williams are the third set of parents found guilty of killing their children as followers of the Pearls. The books, given free to military families, is also routinely handed out in some churches.

Michael Pearl, who was born in 1945, graduated from Mid-South Bible College and has worked with Union Mission in Memphis for almost 30-years.

The Pearls’ non-profit, “No Greater Joy” brings in $1.6 million annually through product sales and donations according to do Erik Ekholm, author of “Preaching Virtue of Spanking” published in the New York Times. The Pearls claim they don’t receive royalties and the profits are used for the ministry. The Pearls assert their book has sold over 675,000 copies. Nielsen BookScan    shows only 9,500 sales since 2001.

Paul Mathers, a family friend of another of Pearls’ supporters, told Salon, “I want to see the people rise and say to the Pears, “No more. This won’t stand.”

The Pearls told the Toronto Sun in October 2011, “The book warns parents against abuse and emphasizes their responsibility to properly care for their children — which includes training them.”

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