Thursday, January 30, 2014

Samuel Martin's Former COG Babysitter Says: "...we were empowered to use the paddle if necessary because we were helping to instil character into little kids. Horse Feathers!!! We were bullies."

Samuel Martin, son of the late Earnest Martin of COG fame, actively works to stop the age old practice of corporal punishment on children.

Martin writes:

I post a fair number of testimonies of my FB page from people who have written me letters. I don't normally put names or places, but in this case, I am going to modify my normal procedure because the person whose testimony I am going to post is not only a former member of the World Wide Church Of God (the denomination that I grew up in until age 9), but Margaret Halford is my former baby sitter in real life when I was growing up in England, where I was born and where Margaret still lives.
Margaret's story:  Spanking Never Felt Right
"Spanking never felt right. It felt like bullying and I think it was. I know for my own part that when I spanked a child it was because I was at the end of my rope and wanted to exert my power!!!

Gosh that sound horrible doesn’t it … but I think it is true. I have taken care of children for about 12 years now professionally and I would never spank someone else’s child and I have seen how much more results I can get by being firm and by following through on consequences for actions.

As babysitters in the WCG [this is the abbreviation for the World Wide Church of God] we were empowerd to use the paddle if necessary because we were helping to instil character into little kids. Horse Feathers!!! We were bullies. I remember reading once that hurt people hurt people and if you hit a child what is to stop them from thinking that hitting is not a way to get a desired result. It worked on them didn’t it? . Just look at the emotional state of so many ex WCG kids now grown. At Imperial [the Church School] in England we were subjected to what amounted to daily paddlings for some. It made me very nervous to go to school. My parents didn’t actually believe much in spanking and my very first experience with it was at Imperial a Math teacher decided I needed to be punished me for erasing something on my page. I was 17. I was so embarrassed and after that, quite honestly afraid to express myself for fear of further punishment. My point is…I didn’t “learn a lesson” I just shut down so I wouldn’t be hurt again."
You can read Samuel Martin's book here on spanking in the Christian community: "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy"

Samuel's Blog is here:  The New Foundation for Biblical Research


Byker Bob said...

OH! In Armstrongism, consistent spanking virtually defined "good" or Godly parenting. The problem is that many of the parents, including ministerial examples, knew no moderation, and their version of the Holy Spirit was not permitted to transform parents' hearts towards more Christlike skills or finesse, because zero tolerance legalism was always applied not only to the children, but also to the parents. Oddly enough, this was called Philadelphian behavior.


Anonymous said...

Many COG members to this day deny that there was child abuse in the church brought about by corporal punishment. Just talk to anyone who was a student in Imperial schools and you will quickly learn who the sick teachers were.

Head Usher said...

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

Either one more bit of god's wisdom that has been proven by painful experience to be wrong or one more bit that was entirely lost in translation. Either way, this verse has been responsible for a lot of divinely sanctioned child abuse. I know my behind sure wasn't left behind.

Anonymous said...

The paddle is good if used properly.

Retired Prof said...

Anonymous at 4:14 PM said...

"The paddle is good if used properly."

Amen, Anon. I use one to propel my canoe.

Anonymous said...

Seems weird to paddle a 17 year old. My sister told me they paddled her when she went to SEP summer camp in England because she went to lost and found to look for a sock. She was 16 at the time, and said if she had known what would happen she wouldn't have tried to claim the sock. And who did the paddling -- a male minister who must have been in his late 20's. Now isn't that a bit kinky for a man to be paddling teenage girls? Why were we so naive?

Byker Bob said...

Glad the graphic accurately reflected the realities of corporal punishment in WCG. The holes in the paddle were allegedly to allow for less air resistance as the paddle traveled from wind up to butt. The terminal velocity of the paddle would therefore be greater, increasing the efficiency of imparting pain.

There is nothing like hearing one's parent be totally exhausted and out of breath because administering a spanking is the most challenging form of exercise they ever get. Running, or working a speed bag would have been a much better way to deal with anxiety or aggression.


Anonymous said...

For anyone from the ACOGs visiting here, if you still believe in and practice zero tolerance corporal punishment, consider this: Victims (whether you see your severely spanked kids as this or not), in many cases lose their ability to empathize with others, and often become predators. From your example, your son, in his free time, may view the inflicting of pain as being a solution to his problems. He may end up having to fight explosive temper disorder much of his life. He may hit his peers with a baseball bat or tire chain. Of course you never know, that might have ended up getting them excused from military service, or it could also have turned them into the baddest ass Marines with life long anger and violence problems themselves. Better that it never happened, and by defying your church's bad doctrine today, you might just prevent a sickening cycle of events from ever starting.

Head Usher said...

Actually, I'm not sure if problems with violence and temper are as a result of nurture or nature. Although I wouldn't in any case argue that the broad takeaways from corporal punishment cannot possibly leave children with exemplary lessons in civilizing behavior. The opposite, to be sure.

Personally, I can't see corporal punishment as effective because the adult has made no attempt to deal with the ideas that produced the noncompliant behavior in the child (assuming that his noncompliance would be judged to be uncivil to an unbiased third party). Intellectually, the argument inherent to corporal punishment is "because I said so!" but that will not, nor should it be, sufficient reason to comply for any intelligent child. It makes no attempt to mount any reasoning about the behavior as being contrary to the child's best interests to continue pursuing in the future. It does nothing to show how the behavior has brought ill effects upon the child or anyone else, except, of course, for the corporal punishment at your hands. In short, it is a lesson in employing the logical fallacy of an appeal to authoritarianism and how it is that might makes right. Is that really what we should be teaching our children?

I think a much better strategy would be to explain to a child how certain behaviors are "wrong" based upon how they have the potential to cause harmful results. Hitting a child doesn't try to do that at all.

Samuel Martin said...

I'd be keen to ask some men who attended the WWCG or other similar groups to read my book and give me some feedback. So few men give me comments. Thanks so much. Sam Martin