Malarkey: The Boy Who [Did Not Come] Back From Heaven

contentTyndale House, a major Christian publisher, has announced that it will stop selling “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” by Alex Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey. It turns out that the book is a bunch of . . . well . . . malarkey. Published in 2010, the book is an account of how Alex fell into a coma when he was six years old that lasted for two months. Alex said that during the coma he went to heaven and encountered the angelic aftermath awaiting the faithful. Alex however has now recanted the book and said that none of the heavenly account is true. Tyndale House has announced that it will no longer print the book.

The book is part of a genre described as “heavenly tourism” and promises an account of “Miracles, Angels, and Life beyond This World.” This month, Alex wrote a letter to Christian bookstores saying “I did not die. I did not go to Heaven.”

The aftermath of the accident was anything but divine for Alex. His spinal column was severed at the neck in the crash on the way home from church. He was left paralyzed and requires constant care. He apologizes for making up the trip to heaven and admitted “I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.”

In the meantime, Alex’s mother, Beth Malarkey denounced the book and said that “it is both puzzling and painful to watch the book ‘The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven’ not only continue to sell, but to continue, for the most part, to not be questioned.” What is curious is that she accused those behind the book of ignoring her son’s prior objections and says he “has not received monies from the book nor have a majority of his needs been funded by it.” It is unclear why Alex did not receive any monies on a book that he is listed as co-author with the father. That seems a much more interesting story.

Beth has , issued a statement in which she also noted:

I also want to correct one glaring error that has appeared in countless news articles over the past few days: I have not divorced my husband and I am not planning to pursue a divorce. Kevin and I are still married. My hope is that all of this can be resolved in a way that exalts Christ by honoring the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:14). That, likewise, has been Alex’s only aim in all his attempts to set the record straight.

In a separate statement, Alex says “People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.” But who got the profits? This was a best seller by the Christian book publisher. One site notes that the publisher refused to pull the book even after being told that it was a hoax: “The publisher refused to pull or alter the book. Alex’s father, thrilled with the book’s best-seller status, stood with the publisher. Even a pastor from whom Alex sought counsel said he thought the book was “blessing” people. He advised Alex to be quiet and let it ride.”

That still leaves the question of the money, which presumably the father received from the book. Critics charged that it was the father who wrote the book and “embellished” on the account of his son — and holds the copyright. There is also the question of a religiously oriented publication that allegedly refuses to listen to objections from the boy that it is publishing a false account and some pastor who tells a boy that it is better to lie about God than tell people the truth. Again, that is all far more interesting than the original tale.

220px-Life_of_Pi_2012_PosterI am less critical of Alex. The boy was recovering from a horrific accident. Indeed, he will never fully recover. He created a story that gave his suffering meaning. It reminds me of the Story of Pi where the boy is faced with a horrific story of the death of this family and struggle in a life book or a fantastic story of his bond with a tiger:

Adult Pi Patel: I’ve told you two stories about what happened out on the ocean. Neither explains what caused the sinking of the ship, and no one can prove which story is true and which is not. In both stories, the ship sinks, my family dies, and I suffer.
Writer: True.
Adult Pi Patel: So which story do you prefer?
[the writer pauses for a moment]
Writer: The one with the tiger. That’s the better story.
Adult Pi Patel: Thank you. And so it goes with God.

37 thoughts on “Malarkey: The Boy Who [Did Not Come] Back From Heaven”

  1. Cherry-picking a random ancient religious text for those parts that make us feel as though we’ve figured it all out. Been there. Done that. Including gender/sex/interdenominational diversity does not transform a fairy tale-based belief into reality. But it is indicative of evolution (i.e., progression towards reality).

    1. Charlie – you don’t know where I have been. When my Mother passed away when I was 19 suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage I renounced God and became an atheist. You are not listening to me. I grew up reading fairy tales and I enjoy them. Do you really think the Greco-Roman people believed in their Pantheon of Gods? I am sure the more intelligent ones believed in an intelligent design. It is not very smart to think that things just fell together. Most Scientists that study Quantum Physics will tell you that before there was the Big Bang which was the second law of thermodynamics there was entropy. Then there was the big bang and we have moved on from there. It is an intelligent design. I don’t care what you call it. It is intelligent. I don’t claim to understand it. so I call it God and I sing praises to it with harmonics that are mathematically precise.

      If you have been here before. Good for you. You should come back.


      1. happypappies wrote: “It is not very smart to think that things just fell together.”

        So true, but they FEEL so smart when they tell you that’s what happened. It is irrational not to believe in a Creator.

      2. happypappies – the Romans were a very religious people who would not go out of the house in the morning without praying to the household gods. But they were open to everyone’s gods. The Greeks are actually city-states and their religiliousity is by city, some more than others. Athens did build and dedicate the Parthenon to Athena, their patron goddess.

        1. Schulte if there is one thing I do know it’s my Hellenic and Hellenistic Humanities and History. Note I dropped your first name lol. They also had a temple that was Platonic, to – dare I say it? Agnostos Theos, The Unknowable Known or Unknown God.

  2. That’s an assertion made throughout the ages by billions of humans across all cultures, yet for which there is still not a single shred of verifiable evidence.

    But I support the right to believe in fairy tales. I just wish everyone could understand the deep truths of the universe, as they are revealed to me and other followers of the Great Rainbow-colored Unicorn (aka, GRU).

    Bless us all, almighty GRU, and forgive those who deny you. But, in your wisdom, if you cannot forgive them, maybe you should cast them into an eternal hellfire where they can burn forever. That’ll teach those fools. Oh, and BTW GRU, thanks for giving us texting shortcuts and teaching us that the Earth revolves around the Sun (not like those ancient false gods would have us believe).

    1. Charlie – I don’t believe in a fairy tale – you don’t know me. You are spouting what you think I believe. I am an existentialist. I know I am going to die some day and my ashes will be dust in the wind. But, here is the thing. There is a Creative Force – Call it what you will, Universal Mind – Whatever – but there is a creative design here. The Childhood prodigy’s are always Mathematicians or Musicians and they are interrelated. These things seem to hold the keys to the Universe.

      I chose to be a Christian because Jesus Christ is my Savior. Is he the Son of God. I don’t know, probably not, but what I do know is his way and philosophy works for me. Why, Because, he said, “You have to lose yourself in order to find yourself. Well, guess what? I gave up the ghost and now I have no fears and I can live fully. That’s the promise of Life Everlasting is that you will live fully if you give up your ghosts and fears. No one understands it and makes a bloody incantation out of it all.

      There are all kinds of metaphorical passages in the Bible telling us to take care of the Earth and if we do that our who through Jesus Christ – now – this is the thing – before this guy came – only Jews felt any worth unless you were an Atheist and kept your mouth shut. Jesus told everyone else they were sons of God also. Of course this got twisted around. But it’s there.

      You have to realize how many other Gods and Demons were running around and all of the conquests of the people back then. It was confusing. Bloody and ugly and people are too weak now days to cut through the crap and realize it. (Not that any of these gods were real but you get my drift)

      Anyway. Many people need the comfort of a fairy tale but the thing is then they are going to be taken and they have actually been warned of that.

      All of the weird stories at the end of the Bible are Apocalyptic literature of the time which means a grand type of story telling to get your point across.

      I am fortunate I found a small Church were we worship and all are on our on trip and love Music and the Pastor is a woman and she teaches what is more realistic than Bible Banging.Meaning what went on when this stuff was written and who probably actually wrote it.

      We just got done with Handel’s Winter portion of the Messiah and I am fortunate because in my town 15 churches get together and do this and have been now for 6 years and it is an awesome sound if you like baroque chamber music. Nothing like it.


    2. Charlie wrote: “But I support the right to believe in fairy tales.”

      I support the LEGAL right for people to be free to frame whatever opinions they want, but I do not support the idea that people should believe fairy tales or other fictions. Supporting the idea that it is a good thing for people to believe lies will lead society to ruin.

  3. “…some pastor who tells a boy that it is better to lie about God than tell people the truth.”

    What else would you expect? Pastors only make money by perpetuating the god lie.

    1. God is not a LIe. Creation is misunderstood and mistaken by charlatans and fools throughout the ages either for comfort or gain. But God the Creator is real, make no mistake.

  4. Well, being that there is a great gulf between the living and the dead, as described in the Bible, this is no surprise.

  5. Al O’Heem, The Bible was only penned by men, not written by them. It is inspired by the breath of God.
    I know it’s hard for people like you to believe, but God believing people do.

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