The David and Louise Turpin Family Homeschool Cult

David and Louise Turpin, Homeschool, Cult, Abuse, Torture

David and Louise Turpin, homeschool, cult, abuse, torture, chain, padlock, quiverfull full-quiver, Christian


Most likely you have heard the news about the large homeschooling family, the Turpins, from California. The parents, David, 57, and Louise, 49, Turpin who were arrested for torture and child endangerment, with bail set at $9 million each. Here are some of the key facts:

  • David and Louise Turpin are the biological parents of 13 children ranging in age of 2 years to 29 years old.
  • They live in Perris, California, not too far from Los Angeles.
  • Their 17-yr old daughter escaped from her home early Sunday morning by climbing out of a window, and used a deactivated cell phone to contact authorities. She showed the police photos of the living conditions of the home which convinced authorities to do a welfare check at the house.
  • When authorities arrived, they found several children shackled to beds or furniture by chain and padlocks.
  • The children were found pale and extremely emaciated.
  • It was reported that the 17-yr old looked to be approximately 10 years old. The other adults, too, looked very young for their age.
  • David and Louise Anna Turpin were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment.
  • The minor children were taken to one hospital, and the adult children were taken to another. All were given food and drink, and admitted for treatment.
  • “US reports say Louise’s parents had tried to visit their daughter and son-in-law in the past, and had to turn back at the airport when the Turpins refused to provide their street address.” Source
  • They were known to be hoarders, and the home was dark and had a foul odor.
  • The children were rarely seen outside. Neighbors had no clue there were 13 children (and adult children) living in the home.
  • They were deeply religious, and were forced to memorize chapters of the Bible
  • David Turpin registered his homeschool under the name, Sandcastle Day School in 2011.


Turpin’s Religious Beliefs/Practices

They said their son and daughter-in-law, whom they have not seen for several years, are religious and kept having children because “God called on them.”

The grandparents said that the children are home-schooled, made to memorize long scriptures in the Bible. Some of the children, the grandparents told ABC News, have tried to memorize the entire book. The Washington Post


What could cause parents to do something so awful? An expert gives his opinion.

As a forensic psychologist, this is why I think David and Louise Turpin may have held their children captive

In this article, David Canter, “an emeritus professor of investigative psychology at the University of Liverpool” discussed the way the children addressed. For example, in the photos of three different wedding vow renewals, the girls all wore matching plaid dresses, and the boys, matching suits. Here is what he had to say about that:

Here is evidence of the children being treated as decorations for the parents’ rituals. They also show that the Turpins were more than happy to display their anonymous brood, apparently unaware of the social implications of showing them off in such a strangely formulaic way.

Canter noted that sometimes children held captive can indicate the possibility of sexual abuse, but didn’t see any clues to that in this case. However, he speculated about psychological reasons why parents might want to keep children locked away and away from public.

One possibility is that the parents wanted to keep their children away from the authorities for religious or other ideological reasons, or because they did not trust those outside the family. These situations have all the qualities of a cult in which the father usually acts as a patriarch who browbeats his wife and children into subservience. The Facebook photographs we’ve seen certainly have the look of a cult about them. Even their picture in Disneyland shows the children identically dressed.


Financial Problems

I’ve lost track of how many articles I’ve read, but clearly finances was an issue for this couple. At least one house went through foreclosure in Texas. There was at least one bankruptcy in California. Could these financial difficulties, compounded with the demands of a large family contribute to the abuse? Maybe so. Here is more from David Canter:

Large families do tend either to be chaotic or to develop formal, often ritualistic, processes to manage day to day activities. Is it possible that, as the Turpins’ finances cycled ever more out of control, they became increasingly coercive in their attempts to handle the situation they had created for themselves?



This video interviews a neighbor from when they lived in Texas. Also, we can see the condition their house was in after they left Texas to move to California.


Some thoughts on homeschool laws, quiver-full ideology, and cult-like religion and beliefs:

Someone posted this story in a private Facebook group when it first broke. This Facebook group deals with homeschooled kids who are abused. We all read the report and knew in our guts this was a homeschool family. We highly suspected it was a Christian family as well. We were all right. We’ve seen this pattern again and again.

I am tired of seeing abuse in families who homeschool their children. This family was able to register their homeschool in California, and then go off the radar, with little-to-no interaction with people who might have been able to notice there was a problem.

The case raises questions about whether the state may be too lenient in its approach to home schooling and whether it should have been monitoring Mr. Turpin more closely. In California, almost anyone can open a private school by filing an affidavit with the state. California is one of 14 states that ask parents only to register to create a home school, and in 11 other states, including Texas, parents are not required to submit any documentation at all.

The California Department of Education said it was sickened by the tragedy and was investigating what had occurred. The department registers private schools, but “does not approve, monitor, inspect, or oversee” them, said Bill Ainsworth, a department spokesman. ~New York Times

As a former homeschooling mom of 23 years with 7 children, I understand the amount of pressure involved. I saw families larger than mine and I often wondered about them. Were the children being isolated? Were their children really getting a good education at home? I had suspicions about children not getting as good of an education as possible, but what about abuse? How many cases of abuse were being hidden?

“The state has a responsibility to make sure there is at least an annual inspection,” she said. “If we’re not going to uphold educational standards, then for the love of God the least we can do is uphold health and safety standards. We need to do everything we can for vulnerable minors before it becomes anything this tragic.” Assemblywoman Susan Eggman

Every state has their own homeschooling laws, some are more strict than others. But it really bothers me that abusive parents like these can keep even adult children up to the age of 29 locked up. What if the 17-yr old didn’t escape? How long would this abuse have continued?

I was in the homeschool movement when fear was taught from the key leaders. I didn’t let my children play outside during school hours for fear that a neighbor might turn us in (never mind the fact that even elementary school children get to go on recess). I had a paper taped to the inside of my kitchen cupboard that listed what to do if child protective services or the police came to our front door.

Yes, there was a culture of paranoia and fear in the homeschool movement. This family sounds like they were caught up in fear, too. Eventually, I realized that I was hearing all of the horror stories from HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association). They needed to scare us so that we would buy their homeschool insurance and provide legal assistance to us if we needed it. After that “discovery,” I stopped paying for HSLDA and never bought into that fear again. But what kept this family in so much fear? There is not the same fearful climate now for homeschoolers as there was two decades ago.


This family didn’t believe in birth control, they were full-quiver. This means don’t interfere with a woman’s body by using artificial birth control, just trust God to give you the amount of babies He wants you to have. The Turpins had 13 children, her last child was born when she was 45 yrs old. God was in control of Louise’s womb. All children are a blessing from the Lord. That is the quiver-full mantra.


I posted the quote from the grandparents that the children were to memorize big chunks of the Bible. That in and of itself is not abusive, but it would be interesting to look at all of their education to see what quality of education they received. The dad was registered as principal. Did he do all of the teaching and hold a full-time job?

A man named Mike reported to the New York Post that he thought the family was like a cult.

“They would march back and forth on the second story at night. The light would be on the whole the time, and they would be marching the kids back and forth,” said Mike, who wouldn’t give his last name.

Mike works in a hospital and says he’d often see the Turpin siblings being marched through the upstairs rooms between midnight and 3 a.m.

I wonder if the Turpins followed any specific religious teachings. Did they follow Bill Gothard’s teachings? Maybe not, the girls were seen wearing pants. It doesn’t seem like they went to church, or the neighbors would have seen them leaving and returning to their house over the years. It’s highly likely they were influenced by patriarchal teachings, but was it anyone in particular? Doug Wilson? The former Doug Phillips? Or was David Turpin just doing his own thing?

Sometimes in patriarchy, wives are abused. Was Louise abused in her home? How about the children – – did they experience any physical abuse (not sexual)?

I have a lot of questions. A whole lot of anger. And I just want to weep for those precious kids who will likely have to spend many, many years getting help recovering from their nightmare. Imagine – – the people who should have cared for them and loved them the most, neglected and harmed them. What a tragedy. Lord have mercy!



201 comments on “The David and Louise Turpin Family Homeschool Cult

  1. David Turpin was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear, or duress.


  2. You don’t need periodic meetings with a state social worker to verify home schooled kids aren’t being abused. All you need is a real private, charter, or even normal public school to supervise the home schooling family–in other words, an “umbrella” school. It’s what I had growing up. My parents paid our church’s private school to do yearly standard testing, and my mom met multiple times per year to go over curriculum, show samples of my work to prove I had earned the grades, and get further guidance. I must say as an adult who successfully home schooled through high school, and now has a bachelor’s and master’s in computer science from my local state university, I was shocked to find out that many home schooling families don’t use umbrella schools. Why wouldn’t they? Home schooling is hard enough without guidance. It is not for everyone, and having guidance helps ensure that it really is for you and that you’re not screwing up your kids’ education. Golly, they even have co-op classes for the kids and will even let you pay for classes for subjects you feel you can’t handle on your own. Don’t want to dissect frogs at home? Easy! Send them to your umbrella school’s biology class and just pay for that one. You can do the other subjects at home.

    I suppose those not using umbrella school home school programs are either paranoid, cheap, abusive control freaks, or lazy. If you’re not going to do it right, don’t do it at all. I hate to say this, but given some of the horror stories, like this one, maybe we need some laws passed to ensure that home schooling families use an umbrella school. Even county public schools have home school programs these days. There is no excuse for this negligence! And neither church nor neighbourhood communities should ever make excuses for it. Until laws are passed, we need to call it out for what it is when you see these lone ranger families–gross negligence. Shame them until they conform.

    And on another note, it makes me very mad when bad parents give home schooling such a bad name. They’re going to get it entirely outlawed for the rest of us who do it right. In the meantime, I hope these psychotic parents never see another child again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry. Just read BeenThereDoneThat’s comment reporting what I did above. Anyway, I live in Riverside, the county seat of the city of Perris where the tragedy occurred, and all private schools are subjected to a yearly fire inspection.

    I read that reporters were told by a County clerk that there were no records of any fire inspections performed on Sandcastle Day School, over which David Turpin presided as principal. Also, the Fire Marshall did not return repeated telephone calls seeking comment.

    If the mandatory annual fire inspection had been performed, authorities would have been alerted to the foul and squalid conditions in the interior of the home (enough to warrant an intervention from CPS in itself). Plus, how can you escape a fire if you’re chained to a bed?

    I don’t know how it is in the rest of the country, but, unfortunately, Riverside County seems to be strapped for funds and its employees overworked (I used to work for the County and can personally attest to the “cut corners”).

    One of the posts I held for the County was at DPSS, and I know that there are special food stamp programs for large families. So not having enough money is no excuse for the Turpins starving their children.

    One more thing: The Turpins had previously resided in Rio Vista, Texas, where they lost a home to foreclosure. One of the neighbors, out of curiosity, inspected the property after they abandoned it and found carcasses of dead cats and dogs in addition to 2 live Chihuahuas who had survived by eating poopy diapers. That is animal cruelty, a crime. He also encountered “waist-high” excrement in a makeshift school classroom.

    Here in SoCal, there was a case recently where someone moved out and just left a dog in a yard. A neighbor called the police, and the dog’s owners were tracked down and prosecuted for cruelty to animals.

    Plus, leaving a neighborhood house in such filth should also be a crime. The feces can attract vermin, which negatively impacts surrounding properties. Aren’t there certain basic health standards that must be followed in a municipality?

    Where I live, you cannot elect to forgo trash pickup. No, you have to pay for the city to come and collect your garbage. Following that line of reasoning, I don’t think people (who are in foreclosure or otherwise) should be legally allowed to allow human excrement to pile up (I also read that in Texas the Turpins left behind a Ford vehicle FULL of soiled diapers).

    The Turpins weren’t just hoarders. They seemed to never take out the trash. From what I read, their house in Texas became so full of garbage that they had to buy a trailer to live in instead. In time, that, too, became garbage infested. Then they left. And started to repeat the cycle in Perris.

    This points to depravity, and it is child abuse just forcing your children to live in those conditions. But nobody reported them in Texas, even though there was evidence of animal cruelty and a squalid domestic environment (albeit, after they moved out).

    Still, these kind of people need to be tracked down and charged, so they can be STOPPED once and for all. Think about it: who lets trash pile up like that? Who would leave behind dogs to fend for themselves? Why is there so much human excrement in the house? This behavior points to twisted minds and reveals deranged, abnormal character.

    In my house there is no poop laying around, much less “waist deep” levels.


  4. Sorry. Someone else had already commented on this blog about David Turpin being charged with a lewd act on a child.

    It also bears mentioning that the 29 year-old eldest Turpin child weighed just 82 pounds; a 12 year-old had the weight of an average 7 year-old; and the 17 year-old who escaped appeared to be aged 10 to police.

    At the public schools in my area, there is a free breakfast and lunch program for students who qualify because educators realize that without proper nourishment, kids can’t concentrate very well on assignments.

    So much for the Sandcastle Day School run by Principal David Turpin.


  5. By the way, the Sandcastle Day School was required to receive annual fire inspections. The Fire Marshall has not appeared to respond to repeated telephone calls seeking answers, and it has been reported by a Riverside County clerk that there are no records of a fire inspection having ever been performed on the Sandcastle Day School.

    Actually, “Night” school, since it has been said that the children were forced to sleep in the day and be awake at night.

    Also, it is pretty hard to escape a fire if you’re chained to a bed or have to dodge all the piles of accumulated feces.

    Is it even possible that David Turpin has a degree in engineering???????

    They can afford personalized license plates, multiple Las Vegas wedding vow renewals, Disneyland trips, but no food for their kids?

    Riverside County (where I reside) operates a food stamp program for large families, so there’s no excuse for the Turpins.

    It’s reported that the children were prohibited from washing their hands above the wrists. Doing so constituted “playing in the water.” The Turpins really had a thing for filth, eh? The squalor is no accident!

    From what I’ve read, it appears that Mrs. Turpin (who is unemployed) never seemed to get around to throwing out the trash.


  6. All you need is a real private, charter, or even normal public school to supervise the home schooling family–in other words, an “umbrella” school. It’s what I had growing up.

    Thank you! I agree with your entire post.


  7. Clockwork Angel,

    A lot of homeschooling parents believe that those who aren’t believers are agents of Satan who hate all children and are incapable of doing anything ‘good’.

    They would imagine that any oversight or ‘umbrella’ school/program would have a devious agenda to remove the rights of parents in Home educating.

    I’ve been around people who think and believe this.

    I know parents who don’t register their kids as homeschooled, and because they don’t receive government support they essentially fly under the radar from the local authorities. Authorities who would otherwise notice their kids aren’t in public school and would do something about it.

    The fear in the homeschool movement is insane.

    And many of the homeschooling families I know have adult children who move to the opposite side of the country to get away from their parents.

    The enemy is more often in the home than not.

    Parents who do the right thing should not fear accountability by the government. Especially considering scripture makes clear it’s purpose is to punish evil doers.

    The government isn’t always the enemy.


  8. “It just keeps getting Weirder and Weirder.”
    — Johnny Bravo

    Latest development from local morning drive-time radio is that Louise Turpin was a SERIOUS “John & Kate + Eight” fangirl. Search of the home found a LOT of J&K+8 DVDs (the entire run?) and all the Turpin kids’ names began with “J” (“J”ust like the Duggars). The story was she was obsessed(?) with becoming a Reality Show Star and a lot of the family weirdness was to make them Reality Show material and get them on TV. (A lot like the 1930s/40s shtick of becoming a Movie Star by dressing up and hanging out at a soda fountain hoping that a Hollywood talent scout would Discover(TM) You.) The radio commentary even described the Elvis-Impersonator Vegas re-weddings in matching outfits and haircuts as “like something out of The Brady Bunch“.

    Aside: Was deliberately stunting the kids’ growth through starvation an attempt to keep them photogenic children for the Reality Show cameras?

    <I.>”I’m Gonna Be,
    I’m Gonna Be,
    I’m Gonna Be FAMOUS!”
    — Total Drama Island opening theme

    Aside: J&K+8 itself had a CHRISTIAN(TM) tie-in; one blogger remembers seeing a J&K+8 Celebrity Study Bible (with J&K+8’s Christian Testimonies) hitting the Jesus Junk store shelves just before the sex/divorce scandal broke. (And even after John left and divorced her in that sex scandal, Kate stayed a Reality Show Star for a couple more seasons of “Kate + Eight”.)


  9. @Stephanie:

    They can afford personalized license plates, multiple Las Vegas wedding vow renewals, Disneyland trips, but no food for their kids?

    It all depends on What’s REALLY Important.


  10. @Salty:

    A lot of homeschooling parents believe that those who aren’t believers are agents of Satan who hate all children and are incapable of doing anything ‘good’.

    They would imagine that any oversight or ‘umbrella’ school/program would have a devious agenda to remove the rights of parents in Home educating.

    I’ve been around people who think and believe this.

    It’s all part of a completely closed system called Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory.

    The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.


  11. @Mark:

    Mid-way through, I realized that the rhetoric teacher was also the art teacher, so rhetoric was not about using logic, speech organization and good structure to form a coherent and well-reasoned argument, but it was an art form about cleverly badgering your audience with falsehoods, but in a sophisticated and smooth way to make them assume that your arguments are well-researched and well-reasoned.

    As I said above, “There Is No Right, There Is No Wrong, There Is Only WINNING The Debate. All Semantics, My Dear Wormwood.”


  12. Perhaps, but try not giving your license and registration to the police officer the next time you’re stopped 🙂

    Perhaps ask a police officer what happens when they make stops without clear evidence of probable cause, Mark. They rightly catch Hell for it, since state surveillance requires probable cause, period. Just ask any police officer with a pattern of DWB (driving while black) actions detected by outsiders.

    And really, I don’t know why you would want to look at everybody when the news coming out is that friends, family, and neighbors all knew that something was wrong, but didn’t report it. Just like the Larry Nassar case. Just like the hundreds of cases of sexual assault by school teachers each year. There is no need to gut the 4th Amendment to deal with these things–we just need to find ways to get people off their rear ends so that the bad actors can be dealt with.


  13. cleverly badgering your audience with falsehoods

    Mark, I think there are a number of people who think badgering is a good debating strategy, and that if they shut someone up they have won. When what has actually happened, is the other person has rejected you as not worth arguing with and moved on. This happens in comment sections too 🙂

    As I said above, “There Is No Right, There Is No Wrong, There Is Only WINNING The Debate.

    Ha. You know HUG, one of the very interesting things that debate did teach me is that if you don’t understand both sides of an argument you do not understand the topic. If they had learned that lesson rather than yours, it would be a very good thing.


  14. The media is now reporting that this couple was involved with swinging, wife swapping and had an open marriage where both spouses were supportive of each other’s meet ups.

    I’m now more convinced that this is NOT the crazy Christian couple that some are claiming but rather moral degenerates that grew in their perversion. Apparently they had this obcession with the Jim Bob’s family of 19 and counting and wanted their own show.

    Imagine that, we only allow our kids a shower once a year. Normal moms are making young kids take a bath regularly. Whatever mistakes your parents made, pretty hard to imagine anyone topping this pervy couple. Very bizarre case. Sometimes you wonder how these crazies stay hidden. Like the Olympic coach, how are we as a society allowing this to occur for so long ? More important how can we stop it from happening again. There is just way too much of this for there not to be a bigger problem here than the pornification of America.

    Come quickly Lord Jesus


  15. @Scott1253:

    The media is now reporting that this couple was involved with swinging, wife swapping and had an open marriage where both spouses were supportive of each other’s meet ups.

    As Johnny Bravo said above, “It Just Keeps Getting Weirder and Weirder”.

    Come quickly Lord Jesus.

    Wrong thing to say to a survivor of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay and Christians For Nuclear War, Scott. If nothing else, an overused Christianese sound bite.

    And on a deeper level, like the congregation in Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer”, do you know what comes in the package? The prophets called The End “That Great and TERRIBLE Day of God”, not a spectator sport for the Saved; if all these glib Rapture Ready types could see a vision of what That Great and TERRIBLE Day entails, they’d be staring silent with their hands over their mouth like Job’s Counselors.


  16. Having an occasional monthly or quarterly visit from a social worker or educator is not the same as having your house sporadically overrun by Gestapo style soldiers who smash things and terrorize the kids. If you do right and have nothing to hide the social worker will have nothing to report. When my parents adopted my sister we didn’t mind them investigating us. They didn’t know us and wanted to make sure we weren’t the Gogans from Pete’s Dragon.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I think parents who homeschool should be required to be mandatory reporters just as other instructors are. They should suffer legal consequences if they fail to act accordingly.

    OK, the prime suspects in child abuse must testify against themselves? Ever heard of the 5th Amendment guarantee against self-incrimination?

    OK, I see this forum has dispensed with the need for the 4th and 5th Amendments, so I guess we’re going to start quartering troops in private homes now. (3rd Amendment) Maybe we can dispense with the 8th (cruel and unusual punishment), too.

    Seriously, there are countries out there who have indeed dispensed with protections like these, and it has always worked out very badly for everyone involved. Millions have learned, lethally, that just because you have nothing to hide does not mean you have nothing to fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. OK, I see this forum has dispensed with the need for the 4th and 5th Amendments, so I guess we’re going to start quartering troops in private homes now. (3rd Amendment)

    If kids were working through a co-op or school program like Clockwork Angel described then officials would not be coming to anyone’s home and children would still be being seen. And their education would probably be improved in many cases. All good. Let’s not be hyperbolic.


  19. BB, “Perhaps ask a police officer what happens when they make stops without clear evidence of probable cause, Mark.”

    That’s why there exist all sort of laws like the “fuzzy dice” law – where having something hanging from your mirror is a primary (i.e. can be pulled over for) offense. I was stopped (probably not) because my license plate holder partially covered over the state name.

    But, if you research these sorts of cases, you’ll find that the truth is much worse than the Constitutional fairyland you believe in.

    Sobriety Checkpoints: The courts have upheld the practice of police setting up a roadblock and checking each driver for signs of drunkenness.
    “Hot Pursuit” – related cases. In many cases, the courts have upheld police officers breaking in and searching based on some apparent (whether mistaken or not) urgent need. In one case, IIRC, the police were chasing a man in an apartment building, lost sight of him, but then heard loud voices, so they broke in and shot the wrong person.
    “Lying/Threatening” – related cases. The courts have upheld times when police have lied or threatened to gain otherwise unlawful entry to a house. For example, a social worker and a police officer told a mom that they were authorized to break in and take her kids away to foster care if she didn’t co-operate. When she let them in, I believe they found evidence of some other crime and prosecuted her. The judge upheld the evidence because she “let them in”.

    There’s a situation in Aurora, CO that I’m surprised hasn’t gone to the courts. The police received a tip that a bank robber(?) was headed towards a certain intersection. The police blocked the intersection, removed everyone from their cars, handcuffed them, and then proceeded to search all of the cars. The police DID find the suspect, which probably is enough to make the courts happy.

    I doubt that a mandatory reporter law is going to raise many eyebrows in terms of the courts, since there are already quite similar laws on the books that require positive action from parents (e.g. truancy).


  20. From what I’ve read, it appears that a foreclosed property abandoned by the Turpins in Rio Vista, Texas, was left in atrocious conditions, with waist-high human excrement and carcasses of cats and dogs strewn about.

    A neighbor reported finding 2 live Chihuahuas inside that had survived by eating feces infested diapers. This is animal cruelty and sheds light on the character of the Turpins.

    Perhaps leaving a residence in such squalid conditions should at least be considered a misdemeanor. I mean “waist-high” human excrement (including a Ford vehicle on the Texas property filled to the brim with soiled diapers) is unsanitary for the whole neighborhood. Those filthy conditions can breed vermin and represents a public nuisance.

    Perhaps the companies that repossess such properties should be required to report these filthy offenders so that the police can also verify if there were children living in the home at the time. Such household conditions, by themselves, represent child abuse.

    Maybe neighbors could be permitted to sue the filthy offenders, also, and recoup their extermination and pest control bills.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. OK, I see this forum has dispensed with the need for the 4th and 5th Amendments, so I guess we’re going to start quartering troops in private homes now. (3rd Amendment) Maybe we can dispense with the 8th (cruel and unusual punishment), too.

    Sounds like a Guns & Ammo editorial from the Seventies, i.e.
    “Registration by 1977, Confiscation by 1978, COMMUNISM by 1979”.


  22. @Carmen:

    “Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

    And just how in the HELL is that supposed to help the Turpin offspring?? 😦

    Just Christianese buzzword bingo, that’s all.

    Doublepluswarmfeelies (and confirmed Godliness) for the mp3 player uttering the Spiritual Buzzword phrase. Shows how much more Righteous he is than all the rest of us.


  23. And the latest morning drive-time developments re Cirque de Turpin:

    Oldest son (not the oldest child) was attending a local community college with a 3.8 GPA. (Speculation as how to Mommy was keeping control; accompanying him to classes?) Besides wondering about the contrast between this and the home conditions, every coverage mentioned that one of the classes he got a straight A in was Public Speaking. (My first thought on hearing that was “Debate”. My second was if twirling pencils was involved.)

    And the Turpins were within a week of “moving to Oklahoma” at the time they got busted. No further details, but speculation as to whether the upcoming bugout was the final trigger for the 17-year-old to bug out and blow the whistle.


  24. HUG, have been enjoying your ‘local updates’.

    Oldest son (not the oldest child)

    Do you know how old the son was? Interesting that the daughter was the one who escaped and saved the crew. Interesting that the son was controlled enough to be let out. Did he buy into whatever motivated them? Was he treated as poorly as the others? I think they were all, excepting the baby, malnourished.

    (My second was if twirling pencils was involved.)

    LOL! That has stuck with me since high school. I wonder if it’s still a ‘thing’.


  25. And the Turpins were within a week of “moving to Oklahoma” at the time they got busted. No further details, but speculation as to whether the upcoming bugout was the final trigger for the 17-year-old to bug out and blow the whistle.

    Maybe they moved when the neighbors had time to get suspicious.


  26. @Lea:

    Oldest son (not the oldest child)

    Do you know how old the son was?

    Early- to Mid-twenties is my best guess.

    Here’s the latest headlines & blurbs that show up on Bing Search when I enter “turpins”:

    1) “The ‘Happy Family’ at Centre of Torture Allegations” (BBC headline)

    2) Louise Turpin’s sister, Teresa, is revealing how truly bizarre the marriage between her sister and David Turpin was. She says that David Turpin once drove his wife 700 miles for a romantic tryst with a total stranger. “She said that her and David had met a man online and they were going to Huntsville, Alabama to meet him and she said she was going to sleep with him,” she told Inside Edition. “David waited in the parking lot on her.” (Inside Edition video)


  27. On a lighter note, here’s a blast from the past about another Reality Show Wannabe.
    Remember “Balloon Boy”s dad?


  28. She says that David Turpin once drove his wife 700 miles for a romantic tryst with a total stranger.

    I wonder if this wasn’t some extreme exercise of control on David’s part. It’s very strange.


  29. “and investigating when lines are crossed at school, absolutely.”

    This is the problem. That means we are always reactive. We need to understand what the warning signs are that lead up to the lines being crossed and try to prevent those. We don’t look at a factory and say, “hey, it’s perfectly safe, no one has died here”. We look around and try to figure out areas where there is the potential for something to happen. We start investigating “close calls”. We start putting policies and procedures in place that prevent dangerous situations from occurring in the first place.

    We don’t say, well, only 13 kids here were harmed. For example, look at the aviation industry. It’s the safest form of transportation, yet when there is an accident, there is a no-expenses-spared investigation into that accident to understand the cause. The root cause typically leads to changes in the design of airplanes, the design of air traffic safety protocols and more that leads to a reduction in injury.

    Having an attitude towards these children of, “nothing to see here, move on” really does not grasp that we as a society are failing our children in fundamental ways, and I believe much of that is the attitude that the parent/child relationship is somehow uniquely unobservable. We don’t want children to become wards of the state with constant encroachment and fear, but neither do we want children to go off the radar for years without any contact with those concerned about their wellbeing.


  30. Mark, you appear to be responding to me, but I’m confused as I’m not sure you’ve understood my point, which was specifically in relation to school. These kids weren’t in school. I was NOT in any way expressing a nothing to see here attitude towards them.

    Schools have ‘policies and procedures’, which is why we can tell when lines have been crossed and react.


  31. Cirque de Turpin seems to have calmed down a bit; not much news the past day. Just the court forbidding the Turpins (defendants) to have any contact with their children (witnesses) without attorneys present. This is normal to prevent witness intimidation/tampering, but there was some morning drive-time commentary about why the judge didn’t do this at initial arraignment time.

    Afternoon drive-time zingers:
    1) “Defense? What ‘Defense’? They should call it ‘stacking and manipulating the jury to get the guilty off.”
    2) Regarding Louise Turpin’s trying to use the family to get on her own Reality Show: “It’s over. There’s no hope. I’m going to stand in front of a train or something. EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE THE NEXT KARDASHIANS!!!!!!”


  32. Mark– I appreciate your story and your perspective on emotional needs that parents need to attend to. Would you be willing to tell us your age? In the past everyone had to do a lot of work to keep things going– should they have been restricted from having children? Do you consider it trauma to not have had all your emotional needs met?


  33. Lea, “Schools have ‘policies and procedures’, which is why we can tell when lines have been crossed and react.”

    I don’t believe that really addresses the problem. I’ll give you an example. My school district has a “10 minute per grade” homework policy. So, in 5th grade, students should expect a maximum of 50 minutes of homework. So, my daughter had a class where the teacher assigned about twice her allotment.

    So, here’s the conundrum. The administration refuses to enforce the policy. We documented about six weeks where she was working well past that and the response was basically to blame our daughter and do nothing.

    So, the policy is nothing without the enforcement, and generally, the enforcement fails because the actors within the system have an us vs. them mentality (i.e. blame the student).


  34. As someone who went to homeschool, I believe the state should check in on homeschooled children. My father being the manly man he was decided we would go to homeschool; he would not pay for our school books every year, we skipped grades, did not go to ninth grade, we never graduated. It is an embarrassing secret we keep from our friends and cousins.

    I consider the conservative homeschooling parents I grew up with to be selfish, sadistic, heartless, dumb, know-nothing, liars.Though these selfish liars pretend they know so much. I have been suicidal since I was eleven; my cousin who also went to a conservative homeschool committed suicide two years ago. It is a cesspool of selfish misognisitc fathers and trapped unloved misogynistic mothers.


  35. I mean, I’m sorry they’re not strict with the homework policy at your school, Mark, but I ask what is your point here related to this?

    Of course, enforcement is needed?


  36. Irene, not sure why my age means much, but let me answer your other questions.

    I’m not sure how the word “trauma” applies to emotional neglect. There was also emotional abuse, which I would call trauma. But, let’s take it back a step and say that there are typical cause and effect relationships.

    For example, if you see a dog that urinates on the floor or lowers its head and backs into a corner when the owner opens the door, you would probably think to yourself that the dog is abused.

    In the same way, there are behavioral patterns. Abused children tend to do poorly in school. Abused children tend to be afraid to make eye contact. These may be based on parental actions – beating a child for childish forgetfulness or unwritten rules.

    But, there are also behavioral patterns due to neglect. For example, there are symptoms related to insecure attachment. For example, avoidant children act as if they are okay when they really aren’t. They are afraid to communicate their needs or ask for help because they were generally neglected, and their expression of need was negatively reinforced. Resistant children are another facet of insecure attachment. In this case, they are comfortable around the parent, but highly distressed when they leave.

    So, I can see in myself patterns of behavior that stem from specific patterns of care in my parents.

    “In the past everyone had to do a lot of work to keep things going– should they have been restricted from having children?”

    I think our knee-jerk reaction is to find one thing and focus on that. Instead, we have to look at the system. There were a ton of factors. For one, I think my parents were encouraged to have lots of kids by the fundagelical church. I think it was socially acceptable for my dad to work long hours and avoid dealing with the children. I think there was an overall behavioral (i.e. cold and non-emotional) approach to parenting that replaced love and care with a bunch of parental do’s and don’ts, most of which were about withdrawing love when children disobeyed or displayed needs. I think there was a lot of fear in the fundagelical church about not having the “picture perfect” family, so much so that parents who were struggling were unable to reach out for help or encouragement.

    I don’t think focusing on one area (i.e. forced sterilization based on number of children) is going to solve the system of problems. My parents were highly sensitive and easily overwhelmed by a few kids. My wife and I are similar. I know families that are much larger and louder and the parents seem to be doing just fine. But, I think each couple needs to be able to assess their situation without all the crappy platitudes (children are a blessing!!!) and outside pressures and decide what they can handle. The flip-side of that is that we don’t need out-of-touch grandparent-types in churches trying to guilt manipulate couples (you’re not trusting God to give you strength?!) into over-extending themselves.


  37. Lea, let me approach this from a different perspective:
    How many children should be sexually assaulted by their teachers per year? Zero, right?
    So, most states have laws on the books defining teacher rape as a criminal offense. It reduced the incidence, yes, but is it 0?
    Most school districts have policies and procedures designed to prevent students from being sexually assaulted by their teachers. Is it 0 yet?

    So, if we really, truly want to get this to zero, we need to change the culture from a reactive culture to a proactive culture. We could give teachers the death penalty for assaulting children and the number still wouldn’t be 0.

    So, this levels the discussion. Yes, children are safer in schools because there are more reactive safety measures in schools, and a lot more eyes, but we aren’t going to solve these sorts of problems without starting to understand behavioral patterns that lead up to these incidents.

    What would that look like? How do you create a safe culture at a school? In the same way, how do you create a safe public culture? Like the Nasser case, it’s not about victim blaming and revictimization!


  38. @Christianity Hurts,

    Yeah, in my small world, it’s about 30/60/10. That is about 30% got a horrible education, skipped grades, checked the graduated box without really fulfilling standard requirements. About 60% had an experience that I would say is on par with public school, and about 10% were able to excel.


  39. Yes, children are safer in schools because there are more reactive safety measures in schools, and a lot more eyes, but we aren’t going to solve these sorts of problems without starting to understand behavioral patterns that lead up to these incidents.

    Mark, that all sounds great. I just didn’t understand why you seemed to be arguing with me, about something I don’t actually believe. Proactive as I see it includes policies and procedures, oversight, etc. I’m not a teacher so I don’t know what training they get on this, although I’m sure they get at least some on professional ethics in dealing with students.

    Although, I think no matter what measures we put into place, the number will never be zero sadly.


  40. What? 30-60-10. And you think the odds are better in public school? More than 10 percent excel? Including dropout rates, fewer than 30 percent don’t do well in the public school? I am a product of the mediocre public school system, where I personally worked hard at getting an education and wouldn’t have thought to complain about homework even the times it required an all-nighter. I homeschooled both of my kids and they both got a far better education than they would have in public school. If you can do better than the teachers—do it!


  41. Mark–
    Modern standards are that parents need to attend to every emotional need. I don’t think that was recognized 40 years ago– reason for the age question. Also, i don’t know that it was always possible in the midst of so much work to survive to attend to every emotional need. When we label things trauma- –especially things that are not sexual or physical abuse– do we have compassion for those who were just doing the best they could?


  42. Irene, “If you can do better than the teachers—do it!”

    This is a much more involved and convoluted thing. We went in with the “we are going to homeschool” mentality. After four years of homeschooling, my wife and daughter’s relationship was pretty trashed because the caring mother and school taskmaster were incredibly hard to differentiate. There are some unique things here and I think it was really essential, in her case, that the person who was assigning the work not be the person encouraging her to get it done and comforting her when the consequences of not getting it done became apparent.

    While I have the academic credentials to teach at a college level, I think it best not to take that on with my children. My parents provided no support for my education. I excelled because I had the giftedness and personal drive to excel. Unfortunately (or fortunately), my children are “normal” in the sense that they are age-appropriately motivated. I get really really frustrated when they don’t absorb what I have to say and ask for more. Instead, I tend to overwhelm them and then get frustrated and shut down.

    So, I think that my role is more to find opportunities and open paths for them to navigate, as well as understand when I might need to intervene.


  43. Irene, “I don’t think that was recognized 40 years ago– reason for the age question.”

    Hmmm. I think you are wrong here, in a sense. John B Watson was the father of behaviorism (~1913), which became the dominant philosophy for education and upbringing in general. To that the point that Dr. Spock was a considered a revolutionary for suggesting in 1946 that children should be treated like individual humans. My parents spoke pretty regularly against Dr. Spock and his wicked coddling of children.

    So, yes, perhaps behaviorism was the predominant evangelical baby-raising theory when I was raised, but there were contradictory theories well in place at that time that my parents knowingly chose to reject.

    While I expect all parents did so to the “best of their ability”, I believe that there is an underlying behaviorist lie that the cold, harsh, strict treatment was “for our own goods”, so my parents may admit that they were sinners in parenting, when it comes down to actually admitting specific things they were wrong about, I got nothing. That tells me that they really, removing the veil of false humility and self-effacement, believed they did a great job of raising us.


  44. And, fifteenish years ago, that teaching was still in place in the fundagelical church. We saw Ezzo videos, got handed James Dobson books and sermons from the pulpit about family were very patriarchal.


  45. Lea, just trying to argue that there are fundamental issues on both sides. On the one side there are parents who are abusive using homeschooling as a way to hide their abuse. On the other side, you have guys like Nasser who operated in a public school setting, in front of parents, and victims were silenced and ignored, despite the schools theoretically having all these policies and procedures in place to protect the students.

    The fundamental question here is how do we provide children the power and the hearing they deserve while also protecting normal parents from governmental overreach.


  46. Cirque de Turpin seems to have fallen off the radar of morning/afternoon drive-time, replaced by other headlines. Probably not going to hear much more until it actually goes to court and more comes out. Still lotsa questions as to details.


  47. Parents do report curriculum choices and grades. It’s required by all states or so I thought. That would not alert anyone to abuse.
    Unfortunately all the thousands of Christian homeschooling families that have healthy, happy productive children that do interact with the real world may now be under bias and scrutiny due to the extreme and deranged behaviors of this family. My son’s girlfriend was part of a large homeschooling group in our city and will be graduating this May from a Christian college at the top of her class and already has job offers. She’s outgoing, intelligent and frankly represents the majority of homeschoolers, not the minority.

    I think it’s important for people to realize that evil people will use whatever means they can to abuse and torture and that religion or homeschooling is not the issue. It’s using these things as a tool, twisting then and using them as a means to force the victims to do their will. We need to be sure the blame is solely on the criminal, in this case, the parents.


  48. “Parents do report curriculum choices and grades. It’s required by all states or so I thought.”

    No, this is not accurate. I homeschooled my kids in 3 different states and never reported curricula or grades.

    Homeschooling itself is really not the issue. The issue is that kids can become lost (literally) in the system, and it gives a green light to any kind of deviant behavior when there is absolutely no oversight.


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