No Greater Joy Ministries "Biblical" Parenting Couple Beats Child to Death

We received the following letter at peaceful parenting recently and found it important enough to share with other readers (author's name kept intact with his permission). Please be wise when electing to follow any given parenting 'method' that goes against natural, normal, gentle, instinctual, primal parenting of your little ones. Anything or anyone who advocates for the use of force, violence, harshness, or to ignore, hit, chastise, or not meet the needs of your babies or older children - even if they are lacing their advice with Bible verses - is likely steering parents in a very unhealthy and harmful direction.


Feb 5, 2010

Dear peaceful parenting,

My wife and I read your blog daily - we are both abuse survivors, and I am a recovering abuser. We are practicing attachment parenting with our toddler and I am working to mend the scars I caused with my two older children from my previous marriage. It has been a long and difficult road but we are all doing our best to stay committed to breaking the cycle of hurt.

Recently a really terrible thing happened close to our town. A couple who was following some fundamentalist "Biblical parenting" approach from a website beat one of their adopted children to death and left the second one in critical condition. The article that appeared in our local paper is below.

The "Biblical parenting" website this couple was referring to is No Greater Joy Ministries. We read some of the articles there and were appalled at how extreme and cruel their "parenting" advice was. My wife and I both were raised in conservative Christian families, and my family members were fundamental Baptists. However, even we were still both shocked to discover that such deliberately cruel and self-righteously abusive people even exist in the world -- let alone have the influence to indirectly cause the torture and murder of children.

The testimonies that fill the pages of the No Greater Joy site are tragic and extremely upsetting. They unapologetically support breaking the spirit and will of children from birth. They advocate for infant toilet training. They recommend spanking with objects such as a belt, stick, or piece of hose (which was used in the murder near our town), etc. It's truly unbelievable.

They have a huge "ministry" and are apparently influential amongst fundamentalist parents. I do not know what can be done, other than spreading the word about the fact that this abuse is being promoted as "Biblical," and we thought that the peaceful parenting site might be a good place to send the message out.

Thank you for being such a positive inspiration and source of hope. You are appreciated more than you know.


David Boone
Chico, CA

The following is the local news story printed in The Enterprise Record.

DA links fundamentalist "training" to Paradise girl's death
by Terry Vau Dell

A fundamentalist religious philosophy that espouses corporal punishment to "train" children to be more obedient to their parents and God is now being investigated in connection with the death of a young Paradise girl and serious injuries to her sister.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey confirmed Thursday that other children in the home who have been interviewed told investigators "this philosophy was espoused by their parents."

Ramsey said he is also exploring a possible connection to a Web site that endorses "biblical discipline" using the same rubber or plastic tube alleged to have been used to whip the two young ridge girls by their adoptive parents.

In court Thursday, a judge granted a two-week postponement before the children's parents, Kevin Schatz, 46, and Elizabeth Schatz, 42, enter a plea to murder and torture charges that could carry two life terms in prison.

The delay will allow the mother to retain legal counsel as her husband did earlier.

The father's attorney, Michael Harvey, declined to comment regarding the specific allegations against the couple until he has a chance to review the evidence.

"All I can say is the family is shocked; they are grieving the loss of their daughter and (ask) that people of faith will pray for everybody involved," the defense attorney stated outside of court Thursday.

The Schatzes were arrested Saturday morning after their adopted daughter, Lydia, age 7, stopped breathing. She was subsequently pronounced dead.

Her 11-year-old sister, Zariah Schatz, remains in critical condition at a Sacramento children's hospital, though she is showing some signs of recovery. The two were adopted at the same time with an infant girl, now 3, from the same African orphanage about three years ago,

Prosecutors allege the two victims were subjected to "hours" of corporal punishment by their parents on successive days last Thursday and Friday with a quarter-inch-wide length of rubber or plastic tubing, which police reportedly recovered from the parents' bedroom.

Police allege that the younger girl was being disciplined for mis-pronouncing a word during a home-school reading lesson the day before she died.

The two young girls reportedly sustained deep bruising and multiple "whip-like" marks on their back, buttocks and legs, which authorities believe resulted in significant muscle tissue breakdown that impaired their kidneys and possibly other vital organs, said Ramsey.

He said investigators are researching a possible connection to an Internet Web site set up by "fundamentalist Christian people" that recommends use of the same whip-like implement "as an appropriate tool for biblical chastisement ... to train a child from infancy to make them a happier child and more obedient to God because they are obedient to the will of their parents," said Ramsey.

The district attorney said some of the Schatzes' six biological children, who were removed from the family home for their protection following the parents' arrest, have made statements suggesting the ridge couple shared this philosophy.

The other children in the home said the same rubber or plastic tube was used on all of them "as a standard method of discipline, but certainly not to the extent of these two girls," Ramsey added.

He said it's not clear at this point whether the Schatzes ever visited the Web site in question, which Ramsey stressed "does not endorse hurting or beating a child," nor is connected to any specific church.

From the research he has done, the district attorney pointed out that "even within the fundamentalist Christian community," parental use of corporal punishment "is subject to a great deal of debate."

The ridge couple remain held on $2 million bail pending entry of plea in two weeks to the murder and torture charges.


Two other writers' takes on No Greater Joy Ministries here:

Bring Back the Boycott!

Disciplining to Death

Related peaceful parenting Articles:

How Spanking Changed My Life

Dr. Sears on "Growing Kids God's Way"

Sleep Training and Cry-It-Out Research

Gentle Christian Mothers Site

Gentle Christian Mothers [Facebook] 


Perfectly Intact! Birth Certificate

A friend (and fabulous birth advocate and doula in the Hampton Roads area) spotted this card at Target today. It would be nice if each newborn birth certificate reminded us that our little one does indeed come into this world as AMAZING! and PERFECTLY INTACT! ~ No alterations necessary.

While the card makers were likely going for something completely age related, it can easily be double-read as an intactivist message. I may just have to go pick up a couple...

15% Off Fun Onesies/T-shirts

Just wanted to let you know that the fabulous company, Spreadshirt, that makes these t-shirts, onesies, etc. for men, women, kids and babies, has a 15% off St. Patrick's Day sale from now through March 12th on any order of $35. It's a great deal and they are wonderful items - good quality, look great, and stand up nicely to many washes. We've ordered oodles of these items for ourselves and gifts and have always been pleased.

The women's sizes tend to run just a tad smaller than 'average' - so if you typically wear a size large (and are ordering an adult shirt) you may want an XL. The men's sizes seem to be typical. For toddlers, you may want to go up 1 size as well. The onesies are about average in size, and are listed with measurements on the page.
Items on this site are just a sampling of what you'll find. There are several categories to browse (Breastfeeding, Birth, Attachment Parenting, Cloth Diapering, Intactivism, CoSleeping, Babywearing, Un/Homeschool, etc., or you can 'search all categories' at once.)

If you need a color/phrase/style you don't see, let us know and we'll will pass along the word. We do not make, sell, or ship these items, but do help to organize those that are related to natural family living so they are more easily found. Email: with suggestions or requests.

SALE CODES FOR 15% OFF (Through March 12th) ARE:

Put in the code at checkout.

And send us a picture when you get a chance. We love to see all of you in action!

Never Too Old

By Danelle Frisbie © 2010

Grandma Frisbie, age 96, by MommaBaby Love

My own grandmother, at 96 years of age, has quite the stories to tell about birthin' babies and raising kids in 'her day.' She has filled my quest for knowledge with stories of what it was like to mother little ones in times past. Her tales of parenting are enticing, and continuously prompt me to pose further questions... Never is there enough time during our conversations to cover all ground. And there is so, so much we can learn from the generations before us -- both from their successes, and from their mistakes.

At the age of 95, my grandmother read up on the prepuce and circumcision (there are some things that cannot remain un-discussed when you have me as a granddaughter). You may think intactivist issues would be an area a 95-year-old-woman couldn't care less about -- after all, she's not going to be birthing more babes or influencing anyone in this matter. But still, she read, and highlighted, and underlined, and made notes - devouring the information and knowledge that was never provided to her in the 1940s and 50s when she was having children.

She had a change of heart about the matter, indeed. Said that she 'never knew all of this' and that doctors surely should have provided such information to parents at that time... "We were told it was just a small tip of skin and that it did not hurt. They said it had to be done." She continued spreading the articles and books before her on the kitchen table, "I would think this would be something everyone should know about." Ah, yes.

And so, with that, a wise 95 year old woman - mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, became an intactivist in her own way for the first time in her life -- proving to the world that you are never too young, never too old, to become informed and have a change of heart.


This tender video below highlights another older couple - also in their 90s. Fran and Marlo Cowan have been married almost 63 years now, and they, too, have a number of stories under their belt to tell. This video was taken when the couple entered the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and found a piano in the lobby just begging to be played. In an impromptu show, Fran and Marlo entertained others at Mayo that day with their fun rendition of "Old Grey Bonnet."

If nothing else, it will bring a smile to your face.


Parenting in Peace

By Daisy L. Hall
Contact Hall at:

I urge you to be at peace with your children. Many parents are at 'war' with their children - constantly fighting over homework, chores, curfew, etc. Such households are characterized by frustrated, yelling parents; and fearful, crying, unhappy children. If you find a need to chastise or punish your children on a daily basis, there is a need for change. Isn't it time to end the conflict? Make a commitment to peaceful parenting and a peaceful household by embracing the concepts outlined here.

To parent in peace:

1. Give some thought to your childhood. Think about what you liked and did not like about your growing up experience. Think about your childhood relationship with your parents.

Why is this important? Because parents will inevitably relive their childhoods through their children. And, whatever unresolved issues you have from childhood, will show up, one way or another, in your relationship with your children - often in very unhealthy ways.

What issues have you carried into adulthood? Do you have unresolved issues with your parents? Do you have issues around control, sexuality, school performance, anger , trust or intimacy? If so, think about how these issues may be affecting your ability to be a good parent. See my article, Do Your Own Therapy.

2. Think about the problems you are having with your children. For each problem, ask yourself, is this really important? Why does this bother me so much? If the child does not change this behavior, will there be serious consequences? Sometimes a problem becomes a power struggle that the parent is unnecessarily determined to win. But, what value is winning if you destroy your relationship with your child? Ongoing conflict carries with it the risk of seriously damaging the parent-child relationship. And with ongoing conflict, there can be no peace.

3. Accept your child as a separate, unique individual, who at times may think and behave very differently from you. Too often parents are threatened by, or uncomfortable with, differences. Conflicts arise when the parent tries to change the way a child thinks or behaves. Ask yourself, "Is this really a problem I should be concerned about?" Or, is it simply the child expressing his or her unique personality?

For example, you feel your child is much too outgoing and constantly warn him to be more cautious about people, not to be so friendly. After you have adequately expressed your concerns, it may be time to let go and accept the child for who he is. Recognizing that we all learn by experience.

4. Think about the expectations you have of your children. Are they realistic? Are they fair? Children are often held to higher expectations than adults - i.e. "You must always tell the truth," when lying by adults is often excepted or overlooked. Children are often punished for breaking a glass, spilling the milk, or losing his jacket; when adults are not. Children are frequently punished for getting a bad grade, but adults are not punished for getting a bad performance evaluation. In regards to school work, the issue should be, whether or not the child did the best he or she could.

5. Respect your children. Just as adults want and need respect, so do children. Respect your children by listening to them, accepting their individuality, accepting that they are not perfect, allowing them to make mistakes, and allowing them to make decisions and have input about things that affect them (as age appropriate). And remember, if you must demand a child's respect, you don't really have it.

6. Contemplate your concept of a "good child." Is a good child one that always does what he or she is told? Never disobeys? Always does the right thing? Always pleases his parents? Think about it. Would you really want a child like that? And how prepared would such a child be to function in our society? Sometimes "disobedience" can be a sign or strength or independence. If parenting was a simple as telling a child once, parents would not be needed. A child needs to be taught, and teaching and training takes time and repetition. If you have to correct your child many times for the same misbehavior, this does not necessarily mean the child is bad or disrespectful. A child is a work in progress, who will need support and guidance for many years.

And remember, there are no perfect children, as there are no perfect parents. You must forgive yourself for the mistakes you make as a parent, and you must forgive your children. A parent will often be required to forgive a child for not being born at the right time, for not being the child you wanted, for not living up to your expectations, for not fulfilling your dreams, and for making mistakes.

7. Have fun together, as a family. Create your own family traditions. Such as, pizza night or movie night once a week. Make cookies, popcorn, or other treats. Work a puzzle, play a board game, read stories together. Sit down with the children and come up with fun things you can do on your "fun night." Children need to have fun and so do you. I recognize that this can be difficult with our busy lives, however, investing time in your children reaps great rewards.

8. Be a loving parent and do the very best you can. This is the best advice anyone can give a parent. If you are doing the very best you can, there is never any reason for guilt. Most parents "love" their children, but "loving" is about how you treat your children. Be loving with your children. Praise them specifically, give them attention when they're doing things right, show them respect as human beings, and tell them you love them - often.

And, if you are getting it right, you will know. Within your household, there will be smiles, there will be laughter, and there will be peace.

As Nature Intended

A friend and colleague in the field of human health and development runs the most excellent organization, As Nature Intended. She recently made this great gear for a birth-and-babies conference that is available for others as well. Check it out here.

As Nature Intended can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. There are few websites that I can whole heartedly recommend, but this is certainly one of them.

Christians: Baptism, Not Circumcision

A colleague recently designed and ordered several products with this slogan. She created the item because, as a Christian woman, she is tired of hearing the (uninformed) excuse from some Christian parents around her that "circumcision is in the Bible, so we should do it."

With this item, she is essentially saying, "IF you are going to be a 'Christ-follower' then Jesus is the 'new covenant' - represented by baptism (and really, by salvation - grace through faith). Circumcision is not only meaningless in the Christian faith, it is also completely contradictory to Christian faith because it is as though one is saying, "Christ is not good enough for me, so I am going to abide by 'old covenant' ways just in case." It is denying one's grace through faith - salvation in Christ.

Circumcision has absolutely NO place in Christianity.

Of course, Jesus' close followers and the early church clearly understood this. Circumcision was entirely forbidden in the newly formed church, and it remained this way for all of Christian history, until some uninformed parents in the U.S. started cutting their boys in the 20th century (at the urging of Kellogg and Graham to 'cleanse' and 'purify' boys and men). Genital cutting was such a grave offense, in fact, that if someone did cut their baby, they would be ex-communicated from the church. At some points and places in Christian history, if a mother did not protect her infant boy from genital harm, she was deemed guilty on several accounts (against her child and against the church) and was subject to stoning.

We thought many of the responses this tshirt brought about were interesting, so are sharing here as an opportunity for further exploration of the topic.

To obtain ample information regarding the place of genital cutting (or lack thereof) in religious practices throughout history, these books are a great place to start:

Marked in Your Flesh: Circumcision from Ancient Judea to Modern America

Circumcision: A History of the World's Most Controversial Surgery

Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective

Covenant of Blood: Circumcision and Gender in Rabbinic Judaism

Circumcision Exposed: Rethinking a Medical and Cultural Tradition

Circumcision: The Painful Dilemma

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision

Circumcision: What Every Parent Should Know

A Surgical Temptation: The Demonization of the Foreskin and the Rise of Circumcision in Britain

For additional reading pertaining specifically to Christianity and Circumcision see this page of resources.

Additional resources regarding circumcision (books, articles, online sites) can be found here.

Castor Oil Pack Therapy

By Danelle Frisbie © 2010

I've recently received a number of inquiries from mothers with concerns related to breastfeeding or c-section healing who may benefit from Castor oil pack therapy. I have used Castor oil pack therapy myself to aid in healing from surgery and when, after 7 months of exclusive breastfeeding and during a time of high stress, I developed a deep and throbbing pain in one breast which lasted for several days. After starting with Castor oil packs, the pain was alleviated quickly and did not return.

Castor oil pack therapy has been used by humans for as long as we have recorded human history. It was seen as the most healing of agents in antiquity. So much, in fact, that ancient Romans came to call the Castor seed plant the Palma Christi, or "the hand of Christ." Castor oil was viewed as the all-healing agent -- almost divine in nature. Whether or not you are one to practice homeopathic or other natural remedies in the 21st century, the results obtained from Castor oil pack therapy typically speak for themselves - even among critics.

Castor oil is extracted from the seed of the Castor oil plant, whose botanical name is ricinus communis. And while it was Edgar Cayce who made Castor oil well known throughout the U.S. in the 20th century, it has a long history of use as a healing agent around the world. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine published findings that Castor bean seeds, believed to be 4,000 years old, were found in many Egyptian tombs. Historical documents reveal the medicinal use of Castor oil in India, Africa, Greece, Rome, Egypt (for eye infections), China (for induction of childbirth and expulsion of the placenta), Persia (for epilepsy), Southern Europe, and the Americas.

Today Castor oil pack therapy remains an effective source of relief for a number of maladies. It is used for everything: general aches and pains, colds, flu, sciatica, eye infections, c-section healing, mastitis, arthritis, ulcers, and to decrease soreness/irritation/inflammation of almost any body organ - breasts, nipples, fingers, throats, abdomen, uterine cramping, etc. Castor oil pack therapy has been used to increase milk production among lactating women, and it is occasionally used to quickly and effectively heal the umbilicus of newborns, and is regularly used to stop hormone-related hair loss.

Castor oil pack therapy has also been used in the clinical setting for liver and gallbladder complications, abscesses, headaches, appendicitis, epilepsy, hemorrhoids, constipation, intestinal obstructions, hyperactivity, as well as in cases where pregnant women are at high risk of miscarriage.

Women have benefited from Castor oil pack therapy when used to avert breastfeeding issues (such as mastitis, clogged ducts, and general soreness/inflammation), and also to heal from birth (especially beneficial in cases of cesarean section or other healing from surgery). Castor oil has been used to treat ovarian cysts, fibroids, and heavy menstrual cycles.

Dr. Harold J. Reilly (2008) worked with Castor oil pack therapy for 45 years and told of one of his patients who'd been dealing with especially heavy menstrual cycles for 13 years. By the time this woman came to see Reilly, her problem was threatening her career as an opera singer, and had already impacted her home life as a mother and wife. Four leading gynecologists who reviewed her case all recommended surgery - ranging from D&C to total hysterectomy. Instead of surgery, Dr. Reilly put her on a regimen which included castor oil packs four days a week. This woman soon reported, "After the first two nights of the Castor oil packs, the spotting stopped, and this was remarkable, because it was just after my menstrual period, and usually that went on and on. By the end of the week, I sang in a concert and felt fine."

Directions for Use

1) Always use a high-quality, cold-pressed Castor oil, available in health food stores.

2) Use a cotton or wool flannel cloth that is folded to the correct size (for the location you are using the pack on) and is several layers thick when folded.

3) Pour Castor oil into a pan and soak the cloth in the oil.

4) Wring out the cloth so that it remains wet, but not dripping.

5) Apply the cloth to the area which needs treatment.

6) Cover with plastic (saran wrap or even plastic bags cut open work great) and then apply heat if desired (a hot cloth, heat pack, etc.) to increase penetration of Castor oil. Do not use heat if there is already open infection at the site.

7) If you are resting on a bed or couch, towels can be put down to protect the surface you are relaxing on.

8) After the pack is in place, you can wrap a large towel around the body (if using on the abdomen or breast) or a smaller towel (if using on the throat/head). An ace bandage can be used to hold the pack in place on the arm or leg.

9) The pack should remain in place for 60-90 minutes. So r-e-l-a-x. Breath deep. Listen to soothing music. Meditate. Pray. Watch a feel-good movie. Read a book. Whatever helps you stay calm and just let go of your worries for the hour.

10) After 60-90 minutes, the skin should be cleansed with a baking soda solution: 1 teaspoon baking soda to 1 pint water. You can wipe this over the area you treated in the shower (if desired) and shower off.

11) The flannel pack can be re-used several times. Do NOT throw it away. Put it into a ziplock baggie for future uses. It does not need to be rinsed or cleaned. The Castor oil soaked into it is fine to leave as is. Next time, soak again before starting.

12) Repeat these steps daily, or for 4 consecutive days per week (4 days on, 3 days off), until results are obtained.


The Oil That Heals (1994) by William McGarey

The Edgar Cayce Handbook for Health Through Drugless Therapy (2008) by Harold J. Reilley and Ruth Hagy

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years (1985) by Susun S. Weed

This is a slightly older video (with explanation and demonstration). Castor oil pack therapy need not be this cumbersome (you don't need safety pins, plastic sheets, etc.) but the video will give you another take on the whole process.



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