A little boy who penned a best-selling book claiming that he ascended to heaven and met Jesus during a near death experience in 2004 is recanting his story, claiming that he made it up in an effort to seek attention.
The startling admission from Alex Malarkey, whose story was told in the 2010 book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven,” written by both him and his father, Kevin Malarkey, has led publisher Tyndale House to pull the text from print, NPR reported.
The revelation emerged this week after Malarkey reportedly sent a letter to the Pen and Pulpit blog in which he pointedly admitted that the story was concocted.
“I did not die. I did not go to Heaven. 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,” he wrote. “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.”
Malarkey went on in the statement to share his belief in Jesus and the central Christian doctrine that Christ died for humanity’s sins, calling for those marketing the materials “to repent and hold the Bible as enough.”
“The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” recounted Malarkey’s experience after surviving a car accident when he was just 6 years old back in 2004. He fell into a coma, was paralyzed and claimed in the book that he visited heaven, according to the Washington Post.
“Alex awoke from a coma with an incredible story to share. Of events at the accident scene and in the hospital while he was unconscious. Of the angels who took him through the gates of heaven itself,” reads a description of the book. “Of the unearthly music that sounded just terrible to a six-year-old. And most amazing of all . . . of meeting and talking to Jesus.”
With these details now in dispute by the book’s young author, Tyndale House issued a statement to the Washington Post on Thursday claiming that it plans to “take the book and related ancillary products out of print.” Others like LifeWay plan to also stop selling the book.
Critics have long decried so-called “heavenly tourism books” — texts that purport to recount trips to heaven during near-death experiences, claiming that the details do not align with the Bible and are contradictory. This situation obviously adds fuel to the fire.
Here’s the trailer that the publisher used to promote the book:
This apparently isn’t the first time Malarkey’s story has been questioned, as a blog attributed to his mother, Beth Malarkey, has warned for quite some time that the details in “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” are not accurate.
Here’s a portion from a blog post published under her name April 2014:
It is both puzzling and painful to watch the book The Boy who Came Back from Heaven to not only continue to sell, but to continue, for the most part, to not be questioned. I could post facts and try to dispel many of the things contained within the pages of that book(have done a bit of that), I could continue to try to point out how Biblically off the book is(a few strategically placed scriptures does not make a book Biblically sound) and how it leads people away from the bible not to it (have done that as have others including John Macarthur and Phil Johnson), I could talk about how much it has hurt my son tremendously and even make financial statements public that would prove that he has not received monies from the book nor have a majority of his needs been funded by it (a fund that was set aside by a friend a few years ago has actually been paying for most things in the past few years but that fund is dwindling), I could…..but it seems like many people want to believe what they are given despite the wrong that it may be doing or the wrong that was done in the making of it.
Beth and Kevin Malarkey are now divorced and their children live with their mother.
It is important to note that “Heaven Is For Real,” another book that falls under the “heavenly tourism” umbrella, is about a different child and incident and is not connected to Malarkey.