Monday, August 12, 2013

Created to Need A Helpmeet-Introduction, Acknowledgements, and Michael the Manly Man

  Ok. I'm just going to jump right in. "Created to Need a Help Meet" by Michael Pearl. The companion marriage-help book to his wife, Debi's, "Created to Be a Help Meet".  Passages from the book will be in purple, just to make things simpler.
   The first thing in the book are 2 scripture passages.  Ecc 4:9-11 "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is not alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?"  The second is Proverbs 18:22 "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtains favour in the LORD."  I, personally, hate the phrase "find a wife".  It sounds a bit too much like luck or providence.  You find pennies on the ground.  You can find a good hairstylist.  But finding a wife should involve a bit more effort, shouldn't it?
   Moving on to the acknowledgements section.  I dedicate this book to the hundreds of thousands of ladies who read Created to Be His Help Meet and unilaterally decided to assume the full burden of making your marriage heavenly.  You allowed your husbands to dump on you while you developed a Christ-like spirit.  Many of you stood alone and forgave wrongs and carried the burden for two.  You are my heroines and my inspiration.  This is very much what CTBHHM teaches.  That women can, by themselves, make their marriage heavenly by simply submitting to whatever the man does.  By obeying their husband, they are obeying God.  In everything from hairstyles to dinner preferences to sex on demand. So it was kind of nice of Michael to give them a shout out.  As I read the thousands of letters and heard the glowing testimonies, you made me ashamed that you stood alone while men sucked up the befit of an obedient help meet. Wow.  I totally agree with Michael here.  Men should be ashamed of that behaviour!  Then when I asked for suggestions for the content of a book addressed to men, you wrote almost more than I could read.  But the letters did get read and they formed the basis of my developing ideas.  So I acknowledge you as my coworkers in this long overdue project that I trust will lighten your load and make you the recipients of great blessings.  I'm almost kind of impressed with how nice he sounds.  "Ladies, you did good.  Let me try to make life easier by talking to your husbands."
   Next paragraph.  I would acknowledge my wife, but that would be like acknowledging myself.  We are so one that when either of us does something, it's the product of both.  Eh, what?  I understand the concept of two becoming one, but really?  Isn't that a bit much?  Do Debi and Michael have no autonomy in their marriage?  I think it's interesting because in Debi's book, Michael placed his stamp that "he approved every word", but in this book, acknowledging his wife is just another pat on the back for himself. I hope this isn't the tone for the whole book.  Her wisdom is extraordinary and her judgement most holy.  I lean on her wisdom heavily.  OK. That sounds nice. Just reading the acknowledgements, I'm cautiously optimistic for this book.  So far he's thanked the ladies, acknowledge their struggles, and admits his wife has wisdom and that he depends on her.  Of course, it sounds like depending on her is like depending on himself because they are so unified, so I don't know how much that means...
   One final section for today: the Introduction.  When I first decided to write Created to NEED a Help Meet, I asked my happy wife what one thing I had done correctly and should pass along to other husbands.  Side note...read her book and see if she sounds happy.  Or just read some reviews of it.  But, I suppose, part of being a submissive wife is never letting your feelings show, so maybe in his view, she really IS happy because that's all he sees.  Her answer was immediate and straight to the point: "You let me be your help meet.  You pulled me alongside you in everything you did.  You stretched me.  Participation made me grow as a person--made my life rich and rewarding and caused me to be a better mama."  Wow.  When asked what he did right in his marriage, his wife's answer was 'you let me be submissive.'  Says a lot about both husband and wife, doesn't it? 
   You say "What is your qualification to teach us to be good husbands?"  I've made one of the most happiest, most cheerful, thankful, joyful ladies on the earth who thinks I'm the greatest thing in all the world.  That gives me the confidence to believe I have something to offer.  O.o  He MADE her?  That sentence is typed exactly how it's written.  He made her into a joyful and thankful wife who thinks he's great.  And that's why he's confident he can help other men.  Because he made his wife cheerful.  Oh dear.
   The next few paragraphs are basically how Michael has studied the Word of God for the past 54 years, several hours every day.  He's received tons of letters and helped counsel countless couples.  It can almost be viewed as science: the laws of sowing and reaping are extremely reliable.  A marriage grows till it soars or it deteriorates till it's damned.  My, how people like to throw around the word "Science" like it's magic. Why does this sound familiar?  Oh yeah.  Debi did it, too, in her book.  My conclusions can be said to be scientifically correct. That is, the “evidence” that leads to my conclusion is reproducible: Anyone can test it and get the same results. The Creator knows best, and His way does work. His Word is meant to be taken at face value. And, when any woman does as I have done, the blessings are incredible!  There we go.  Science and evidence proving to us that the Pearls are correct.
   This post has gone far too long already,and I'm sorry, but I want to finish this up.  Marriage is God's laboratory for the perfecting of the human race.  It is a recapitulation of the entire human experience, distilling the conflict and triumph of the ages down to a very personal, individualized experience-a test of all that makes us human...Marriage is both the mount of temptation-where we have the opportunity to feed our self-centered natures-and the pinnacle of paradise restored, where we become heirs together of the grace of life and develop the nature of a savior and priest.  Marriage is heaven's bootcamp, the terminal of our future destiny, the place where we grow small and inward or become large with mercy and sacrifice.  Holy cow, can this guy wax poetic about marriage.  Bootcamp!  Pinnacle of paradise!  Somehow these don't really seem to be the same thing...
   And finally, like his wife does in her book, Michael ends with a letter. But is it a letter from a man who has done as Michael said and become a great husband?  Pffft. Don't be silly.
   Mr Pearl, 
   A funny thing happened on my way to send you my comments about my husband for your new book!I woke up in the middle of the night and could not sleep, so I got up to take the opportunity to write all I had to say.  This was my big moment!
   As I sat down and began writing every complaint that came to mind about my husband and men in general, the conviction of the Holy Spirit came upon me and the Lord turned the whole thing around.  I began sobbing and wailing before the Lord as I was brought into repentance and He had me write 30 specific items I needed to repent to my husband for.  I  was transformed, literally, from a woman looking forward to unloading a truckload of scathing comments about my husband, to a sinner broken and contrite before my God.
   This was humbling, painful, cleansing, and refreshing at the same time!  I wrote the whole letter of repentance to my husband, getting up a new creature in Christ and going back to bed.  I gave my husband the letter the next morning and we have never been the same since.
   It was the start of a brand new marriage with a brand new life!  I am now becoming the help meet I was created to be and my husband is changing, too!  After repenting and having to take such a long, hard look at my own sin, I no longer look at my husband the way I used to.  I see him as another child of God who is "working out his own salvation with fear and trembling," rather than the lazy bum who won't get off the couch and do anything (he's not like that, but that's how I viewed him!)
   Just wanted you to know how the Lord used your plans for a new book to change our lives!
-A Happy Wife

   Slow the ponies-this is a book from a man to men, and yet his first letter is from a wife?  I'm a bit confused.  Perhaps the point was see how amazing Michael's book is?  The mere thought of it caused a woman to change her ways and beg her husband for repentance!  This slouch got a new wife, a help meet, all because of this book!  This and more can be yours for the small fee of $12...but wait, there's more!  Act now and you can get all this, plus a brand new marriage, at NO EXTRA CHARGE!  Don't wait-call now!

In (finally) conclusion, Michael gives us something to look forward to in the rest of the book.   In contrast to my introduction, this book is not philosophical.  It is so practical you will squirm with embarrassment and hope your wife doesn't read that line.  My approach is much more masculine and in your face [than his wife's book].  You will discover that by nature you come to marriage, as well as life, with certain strengths and weaknesses.  You will come to know yourself, and you will learn to temper your natural excesses and strengthen your natural weaknesses.  Most of all, you will learn the part your wife plays in this maturing process.  You will learn how to make her your most suitable helper.
   And there we have it!  The real point of the book (at least how it seems to me).  How to make your wife into what you want, because you, my good sir, deserve it.  I can't wait to read how he plans to accomplish this.

                       

3 comments:

  1. Well, it looks like this book is going to be a conga-line of abusive behaviors.
    I feel like I shouldn't be surprised, but it's still depressing. And Disgusting.

    I look forward to the next installment.

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  2. Aletha, reading through this book, you're going to be spending a lot of time reading a particular interpretation of Genesis used to establish men. I don't know how long you've been reading LJF, but back in March Libby asked several of her Jewish readers to talk about our understanding of Genesis. I thought I'd link it over here for you, just to have a chance to look at Genesis through the eyes of Jewish feminists, and take a break from the Pearls.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/03/judaism-101-creation-stories.html

    Also, this post talks about sin and references the Genesis creation story:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/06/judaism-101-humans-nature-and-sin.html

    I'm posting this to share with you just to give you a little different perspective. You mentioned that you are done with the God of the bible, and I totally respect that. Just . . . for comparison's sake, there are other ways to look at those texts then through Christian eyes, Mormon eyes, or Michael Pearl's eyes. You might find this interesting as a benchmark for comparison.

    Hilary, from LJF

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    Replies
    1. Fascinating reading. Thanks! This may be just me, but everything reads so much less guilt-inducing than Christianity.

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