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Author Topic: Spanking  (Read 124242 times)
Rebekah
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« on: January 07, 2010, 09:26:28 pm »

I left GC before I had a child, and oh wow, am I thankful for that! I still have close connections to the people in the churches, and one connection recently gave me some "encouraging" materials about spanking. I was shocked and appalled.

I had always known that GC people spanked and had been in homes when parents would spank their kids. I was spanked as a child, so I didn't think it was too weird.

But reading these materials, originally from the '70s and '80s, I couldn't believe the level of obedience they expected and the intensity of the spankings. If your daughter doesn't put her shoes on when you tell her to, spank her. If your son cries too long after a spanking, spank him again. It's really unbelievable. And these aren't little swats, they're bare-bottomed beatings with a flexible twig or belt for the "greatest amount of pain."

I know they got in trouble back in the '70s for accusations of child abuse from some of McCotter's parenting seminars. I, naively, assumed it wasn't as bad as it used to be, but now I'm not so sure. I was truly surprised that these old materials would still be passed around and recommended.

The irony is that I had expected to occasionally spank my son, but now, after reading this stuff, I never will.

So, what's your take on parenting in GC? Should we worry about our GC friends' kids?
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Linda
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2010, 01:05:19 pm »

This is really sad.

I remember about 5 years before we left, one of our founding pastors made a reference to his pastor in Ames years earlier. Obviously, he meant McCotter, but the name never was spoken. He told of how an expose was written in the Des Moines Register Sunday edition about this man that was very untimely for the pastor (it came out the weekend he was going to ask his wife's parents for permission to marry). I remember at the time thinking, "I wonder who this man was, what was said about him, and whether or not it was true."

But, I was in "unquestioning" mode and just took this pastor's words at face value. (Lesson learned: Never surrender your critical thinking skills. It's always legitimate to ask questions and expect truthful answers.)

A few weeks before we left our church, I was able to get a date for that edition of the Register, went to our local library, and ordered the microfiche of it from the Des Moines library. When it arrived, I saw immediately what troubled those parents. We were just sick when we saw the articles and knew that things had been misrepresented to us by people we trusted. The articles are now on the gcx web library site, but when we left it took some sleuthing to come up with this information. Obviously, those in leadership who knew weren't saying anything. Those in leadership who didn't know were kept in the dark about the past, I'm sure.

Something that was most disturbing was the distorted teaching on spanking.

Quote from: Des Moines Register article
McCotter's sermons often are tape recorded and sold at the THEOS owned bookstore. The theories in one tape dealing with child rearing practices drew criticism from ISU child development professor Sedahlia Crase.

Crase says, "A student asked me to invite McCotter to speak to the class because she felt I wasn't presenting the Christian perspective on child-rearing. The student said McCotter was a nationally known authority on children, but I had never heard of him. That's when I learned of the tape. I was shocked when I heard it. He actually advocates bruising children."

Part of the taped sermon was based on Proverbs 20:30, which McCotter translates as, "Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts."

On the tape, McCotter says, "When you discipline, this verse indicates, as others do, that you want to do it so it wounds. Now, when you say 'wounds,' it doesn't mean that you have a bloody mess on your hands necessarily. It doesn't mean that you have a child 'wounding' like he has a broken leg."

McCotter added in his taped sermon that this means you have been severe enough that the child's attitude at that point has been reversed.

"And he may, and often will be, black and blue," McCotter continued. "My children have been many times. And it cleans evil from them."

Excuse me, IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU HAVE A BLOODY MESS ON YOUR HANDS NECESSARILY!?

Rebekah, I'm just curious, was this literature you were given "old" or do you think they are reprinting the old McCotter stuff. Was this GC literature?

« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 01:07:11 pm by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2010, 02:08:34 pm »

There's numerous additional references to GC's spanking teachings in old newspaper articles on the movement. Here's what I found after a quick search:

From "Jean’s story: Why she joined GCI, how she was deprogrammed":
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According to ex-members reached by The Sentinel, discipline classes were held for married couples with children. Taught by the elders’ wives, the disciplining of children was to be consistent and thorough. Parents were to spank their children until the child’s spirit was broken.

“They have husbands’ meetings and wives’ meetings on how they are to raise their children. Discipline. Very harsh. It’s almost to the point of beating them. You spank them until they break. That means they stop crying,” said Liverman.

From "Divine Deception":
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An ex-member of a GCI church in Townson, Maryland, reported, “the elders’ wives would tell us to keep spanking the child, even if you left black and blue marks, until you break the spirit. Crying is called rebellion. The idea is that if the child is crying, you beat him, discipline him until he stops crying.”

From GC's published newspaper "The Joy of Justice" (Jim McCotter's wife writing):
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The word “sparing” means “to use frugally.” It’s interesting that God not only wants us to spank, but He says that using the rod frugally is hating our son. Only God’s grace can help us obey this verse! If we don’t have the verse in mind, it is easy to think of a reason not to spank.

From "The KANE Report":
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Former members have reported that GCI members are taught to inculcate obedience early, disciplining their children by striking them with wooden spoons until the children gasp. This technique, which is illustrative of GCI’s notions of authority and obedience, is overtly intended to break the spirit and inhibit independent thinking.
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wastedyearsthere
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2010, 03:14:21 pm »

I have posted this before but spanking has always been overused in my opinion at GCI.  It seems it is really the only means of discipline.  I have a friend who was following the church's stance on spanking and overdid it (bruised the infant) and resulted in a child abuse investigation.  The infant was crying and he was told to spank until the infant stopped.  I remember being told to spank an infant (less than a year old) if they turned over while changing their diaper!  I was told when I was in the GCI church -- to close windows when spanking.  If I bruised the toddler -- I shouldn't take them to the doctor that day!

I think a Biblical method such as spanking can be over-used.  I believe this is the case in GCI.  God intends it to be one method along with many other methods of child discipline. 
 
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2010, 08:25:46 pm »

I believe the faulty lessons on spanking have hurt my relationship with my child.  I was told that spanking a child 100 times a day was "sometimes what it takes".  I NEVER followed that example!  But I did spank when looking back there were real problems (severe ADHD and attachment issues) that I wrote off as behavior problems.  Of course, I'm sick over it now, and so so so so thankful that we got out before we did anything worse.  I feel that I spanked for childhood curiousity because children weren't displaying "first time obedience".  There used to be a little diddy people would say.... You must obey Quickly, Quietly (I think this one was in there, it's been a long time!!), Cheerfully, Completely or it isn't really obeying at all. 


Now, I am so amazed when I meet people with well behaved children who've never spanked or maybe spanked one or two times ever.  I had no idea that was possible.  Really.  The GC lessons on spanking and parenting are fear-based parenting.  They are alarmist, dangerous, and wrong.  It's not something they would publish anymore, but it IS something that goes on. 

Also, I know of toddlers who were spanked for not being able to sit through church.  In fact, it was so common that when I saw someone leave with a toddler I assumed they were getting spanked.  Now, 5-6 years after the fact in my NEW life (really it feels brand new), I can't even fathom that people do that.  In the church I am now, the position of the church is to use little to no corporal punishment at all and to parent in gentleness and humility always, realizing that we are all sinners.  I think that the people I attend church with would faint if they knew people advocated spanking toddlers.
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wastedyearsthere
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2010, 08:07:40 am »

I agree with Agatha.  My grown child still has bad memories of how we over spanked her.  I feel badly about how we used spanking too often and too much.  Fortunately, we got out of the church when my 2nd daughter was a baby. 

Anytime there were problems with your children -- the pastors advice was about spanking.  I knew of a family whose child was wayward from the Lord and they were blamed because they didn't spank them! 

My advice to anyone reading these posts and are still in GCI is to find other methods of disciplining their children.  There are many good Christian books on raising children that don't all involve spanking!

Looking back -- I now think GCI is abusive on how they use spanking.  I was told that if one child misbehaves and are playing with their sibling -- they will spank both of them.  Since the other sibling could have helped the other child misbehave!  How wrong is that??
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Rebekah
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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2010, 09:40:48 pm »

Wastedyearsthere and Agatha,
Thanks for your honesty, and I'm so glad you were able to leave and change your relationships with your kids.

No, the materials weren't from GC people, though they were old:

One was a book, Spanking: Why, When, How? by Roy Lessin. Here's the link: http://www.ntmu.net/lovingcommand.htm

The other was a printout from a website "Under Loving Command" by Al and Pat Fabrizio: http://www.amazon.com/Spanking-Why-When-Roy-Lessin/dp/0871234947.

I can understand how parents could get caught up in a spanking culture and do things they regret. What I have a harder time understanding is how parents of adult kids are oblivious to how dangerous these practices are and pass it on!
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Immortal_Raven
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2010, 11:53:37 am »

Hello all,
I haven't been around much due to having my own child.  Something wasted said really struck me though.  Spank an infant if they turn over while changing their diaper.  That horrifies me.  Infants don't have the mental capacity to equate a spanking as a punishment for anything particular.  Also, if an infant is in pain, they will keep crying, so spanking until it stops won't work either.  To me, some of these methods are reprehensible and are no better than the mentality of the Spanish Inquisition.  That sounds harsh, but the mentality of "the ends justifies the means" does not sit well with me.

I'm not totally anti-spanking.  I believe in the punishment fitting the crime.  If the child does pick up their toys, they lose the toys for a week.  If they don't do their chores, they don't get to go over to a friends house, etc...  I don't believe in the spanking stick or whatever they call it because it is fear-based parenting.  Another brain-washing, spirit stifling tool.

-Immortal_Raven
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2010, 02:50:58 pm »

Immortal Raven, that practice of spanking an infant for rolling over while having a diaper changed is common, common, common!  Ezzo supports this.  The Pearls support this.  GC, when we attended supported this (at least leaders in the church used it in their own families).  Ezzo and the Pearls ARE NOT GC, but their materials are used commonly by GC attendees as well as many "mainstreamish fundamentalist" evangelicals.

If you pulled the curtain back, I think many people would be horrified by what is there.

It's amazing with an infant or toddler how much can be accomplished with a "Good job on lying still!"  Tickle tickle, hug hug... "You silly monkey!"  Why the need for spanking in this situation?  I think of all the lost bonding opportunities.  The loss of trust.  The loss of affection and freedom.  And for what?  Wiggly babies are happy, healthy babies.  That's good!
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2010, 02:52:19 pm »

Quote
Wiggly babies are happy, healthy babies. 

Yeah, if they want to WIGGLE THEIR WAY INTO HELL.
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Linda
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2010, 03:24:46 pm »

 Cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2010, 07:19:41 pm »

Puff, I know, right?    Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2010, 12:06:16 pm »

On a more serious note, I think what we have in GC is the occurrence of something described in Marching To Zion. Larry is analyzing GC and discussing the development of heresy in part three of the book. He writes:
Quote
  I believe something Francis Schaeffer has written is pertinent at this point. In his booklet The New Super-Spirituality he describes how heresies get started.[51] He begins by saying that the complete body of Christian doctrine is necessary for the fulfillment of the needs of man as God made him and as man now is since the Fall. But somewhere along the line the church may begin to fail to preach, or to preach inadequately, certain points of doctrine. In this unbiblical situation the lack begins to be felt until finally someone discovers what is missing, but then starts to over-emphasize these points, riding them as his personal ego-indulging hobby-horse. Moved out and away from the whole doctrinal system these doctrines become distorted. The resulting new heresy becomes successful because there is a longing and genuine need in the human heart and mind for the whole of Christian teaching. If some points are missing people will go where they are stressed. One group will overemphasize those points out of relationship to the whole; another, in reaction, will under-emphasize them even more. We can see this process clearly in the area of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit today, and in earlier generations, in the areas of prophecy and social concern. Schaeffer says, “Satan fishes equally on both sides and he wins on both sides.” The proper Christian response is not to avoid the doctrine or to stress it at the expense of other truths, but to see it, and teach it, in the proper biblical framework. Balance must be restored.

I think in American society there has developed a real taboo on any sort of physical punishment of children, with moderate spanking being equated to severe physical abuse. GC counters this by pointing out that some verses in the bible advocate the benefits of physical punishment, but from there doubles down on this teaching to the point of over-exaggerating how often you should use psychical discipline, how severe it should be, and diminishing other forms of discipline that might work just as well or better in certain situations. Exactly as described in the above paragraph, a hunger for the whole truth of God had led to a distortion on both sides. AGE APPROPRIATE spanking SHOULD be considered biblical, but spanking babies until they stop crying? That's ridiculous! GC has a point that spanking should be in a parent's toolbox, but that should not be the only tool in it.
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2010, 02:25:08 pm »

If wiggling sends a baby to hell, my son is at the head of the line.

Agatha, It doesn't surprise me that other entities besides GC advocate spanking of infants, but I still don't agree with it.  The methods you described are much better in my opinion.  I would rather earn a child's respect through admiration than earn it through fear.  Besides, I love a good challenge.  Keeping a baby on a changing table for an entire diaper change qualifies.

-Immortal_Raven
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« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2010, 09:25:33 pm »

Disclaimer: I’m going to swear in this post so if the F-word offends you, please skip. I am using it occasionally because I don’t think any other word can accurately express the truth.

Growing up, I was spanked in the GCx system, and it was awful. If anyone here is currently using GCx’s methods or thinking of doing so, I urge you to reconsider.

First of all, GCx reduces parenting to programming a VCR. Kids are treated like little machines that exist to do their parents bidding. Unfortunately, kids are always malfunctioning and need to be trained to function “correctly.”By spanking their kids, GCx parents literally program their children to such obedience that they resemble robots.  Feelings, emotions, curiosities, and desires are literally beating out of the child. 

GCx never considers that kids are complex human beings, who are sensitive, intelligent, and possess remarkable intuition and understanding. GCx has no interest in understanding how kids think, develop, or experience the world. All points of child rearing are taken from the parent’s perspective. So, when a GCx parent beats their child they really have no f***ing clue what they are doing. To the parent, the discipline is simple and effective. “I spank my kid, and he behaves. I spank my child and she obeys me.”  Since obedience is the goal, spanking solves nearly all parenting problems. To the parents it seems like the kid “accepts” or even “embraces” their discipline and learns to behave and obey; in reality, the kid is just scared shitless of their parents. Thus, kids do what they’re told even if it some crazy rule the parent wants to enforce.  The most important (and sometimes only) principle behind the rule is obedience. Kids know to obey or they get their butts whooped.

The ramifications are terrible for the kid (and I am guessing the parent too). My own relationship with my parents is pretty awful. Every time I got a spanking it separated me emotionally from them. Every spanking was another brick in a wall that was slowly being built between us. I learned nothing from spanking except that upsetting, disobeying, or angering my parents was extremely humiliating and painful. I feared them constantly and kept to myself as much as possible.  I loved them at some level, but I was always glad when they left the house and always paranoid when they returned. In short, I wanted as little to do with them as possible.

I also learned that being myself was dangerous around them. I quickly learned what was expected of me and always had a canned response or attitude ready at a moment’s notice. I created a virtual ME, which functioned in the high pressure, high anxiety GCx world. This virtual me went to church, read the Bible, memorized verses, and did what I was told without complaining or arguing. It was a vital mask that allowed me to survive, but it wasn’t me. 

Who I was really, what I thought, what I was interested in, what I was scared of, what made me laugh, what made me happy, what made me tick, was all secret. Happily accepting that their son was the virtual GCx kid, my parents never got to know me and still don’t even today.

The GCx teachings on spanking and obedience that my parents embraced raised two kids, (1.) a virtual reality GCx drone, and (2.) a frightened, sensitive little kid whose stomach tightened whenever they came in the room. One the outside, things looked great; I was obedient and hardly ever made a fuss. In reality our relationship was fucked.

One of the great tragedies of GCx’s emphasis on obedience is how unprepared kids are for life. Kids learn to obey their parents…the end.  For me, anything hard, complicated, frustrating, freighting or confusing that I encountered had to be hidden away. I had learned from an early age that expressing what I felt often resulted in a spanking. Not trying hard enough (even if I was frustrated or confused by a task or school assignment) got me a spanking, not doing the “right thing” (even when I honestly had no idea what the right thing was) got me a spanking. Disobedience (even when I was frightened or confused by what I was being asked to do) got me a spanking. Essentially, I had to constantly pretend that everything was fine and jolly, even if it wasn’t. Any complicated or troublesome situation I encountered was immediately hidden. Whether I was being teased by bullies, or learning swears words from older kids, I was scared to tell my parents about the situation for fear I had somehow done something wrong and would receive another spanking.

As I grew older things only got worse, I couldn’t talk to my parents about girls, about school, about anything because I was scared. Spanking had seared my psyche to such an extent that I was fearful to upset them at all, even if I knew I wasn’t going to get spanked. Spanking had blossomed into a massive and irrational cloud of fear which hovered over our relationship and obscured all honest forms of communication. If I had a problem, a question, a concern, a fear, an anything, they were the last people I wanted to talk to. I had to internalize the confusion of growing up and figure it out alone.

Today, I am still scared of my parents. I can’t talk to them about anything more serious than the weather or sports. It’s a very shallow relationship that lacks honesty and sincerity. I am too frightened to tell them what spanking did to me, and what growing up GCx did to me. Thankfully, I have a brilliant wife, wonderful in-laws, and lots of close friends who have helped and continue to help me process my childhood. Sadly, my parents are still in the dark about all this and may never really know their son.
 
For any parent reading this, I again urge you to reject GCx’s teaching on spanking and obedience. Otherwise, you may raise a son who is so scared of you that he has to post his feelings anonymously in a chat room.
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2010, 09:43:15 pm »

I'm very sorry.  I hope more parents read this.  It's hard to own up to mistakes as a parent; I should know.  But this past year has shown me that avoidance of conflict shows that the relationship isn't healthy, whether it's mindless obedience to GC or fear of a well meaning but inadvertantly abusive parent. This really hit the point home, Gene.  Thank you.  More (((((hugs))))) coming your way.
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« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2010, 09:49:09 pm »

I am so sorry Gene. God bless you.
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Rebekah
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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2010, 09:58:22 pm »

OMG. What a horrible experience. I'm so sorry. It's beyond words really.

Being a kid is so confusing and powerless as it is and then to have this kind of trauma inflicted... Ugh. It makes me sick.

You can see the kind of adults they want in their "movement" by how they treat the kids they hope will someday fill the ranks: scared, obedient sheep (see Pat Sokoll's main session Faithwalkers message).
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2010, 10:07:29 pm »

Grrrrrr.  That actually makes me really mad, Rebekah, when you point that out.  Why can't they see that?  The Great Commission Churches motto should be "Don't think.  Obey.  Everyone's doing it."
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2010, 07:52:43 am »

That is their unspoken motto.  That's why so much emphasis is placed on authority.  Their whole, " Yours is to obey, mine is to give an account." line is such a fallacy.  Again I don't know the exact reference, but the Bible does speak of everyone having to give an account.  Couple that with a passage out of Romans, "We must obey God rather than men." and you can poke a gigantic hole in their mentality. 

I am truly sorry to hear about your experience G_Prince, I don't know how you came out as articulate as you did.  But it looks like your life is turning out well, and for that I thank God.  He truly does work in mysterious ways.

-Immortal_Raven
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