Meet Alex Malarkey (Yes, we know. Hold that thought about his last name.)
When he was six years old, Alex was in a horrific car crash that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Before discovering his fate, Alex was rushed to the hospital where he went through many hours of surgery and spent two months in a coma. Alex later claimed that he “went to heaven” and came back during that time.
Today, Alex is 17 years old and co-author of the New York Times best-selling book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven (2010). Yesterday, however, he admitted that the book and its tales of celestial navigation were complete…you guessed it…malarkey.
This boy has been through more grief than many of us will ever know, and now, he has some more to deal with thanks to some investigation by The Washington Post and a confession to the blog Pulpit & Pen.
First, the confession:
Apparently, Alex has been battling with guilt for a while. He “[posted] a comment relaying this information on the Alex Malarkey fan page on Facebook, after which the comment was deleted by moderators and he was blocked from the group.”
Please forgive the brevity, but because of my limitations I have to keep this short. 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. 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.
Now, the investigation:
Evidently, Alex and his mother, Beth, have been trying to make this right. According to the story:
Alex’s mother, Beth Malarkey, posted a statement on her own blog decrying the memoir and its promotion: “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.”
She goes on to say that the book is not “Biblically sound” and that her son’s objections to it were ignored and repressed. She also notes that Alex “has not received monies from the book nor have a majority of his needs been funded by it.”
Upon hearing the news, Todd Starowitz, public relations director of Tyndale House, told the Post: “Tyndale has decided to take the book and related ancillary products out of print.”
Overall, many ardent Christ followers are confused because, somewhere in-between the book’s publication date and Alex’s 14th birthday, the truth came out. Since then, Beth has been asking retailers to stop selling the book — and Lifeway Book Stores has finally agreed to do so, according to its PR Director Martin King.
If it weren’t for the direct contact from Alex and that post going viral, it seems Beth would have been left yelling into the air because no one was interested in her son’s mea culpa or her struggle to correct those actions.
Whatever the back story is on this — and I’m certain at least half of it has yet to be told — this story is awful on so many levels. Before you leave this post upset and possibly feel like painting everyone in a church with the same PRFail brush, take another look at Alex.
No excuse for what he did, but perhaps we can all understand at least a little.