Nearly five years ago The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven was the center of attention. Alex Malarkey’s story of visiting angels and Heaven after being severely injured in an accident was a lie. The boy, who was six-years-old at the time, said he made the story up. Tyndale House Publishing has confirmed that it is pulling the bestseller and all relative products.
The book was promoted by the publisher as a supernatural encounter that will give new insights on angels, Heaven and hearing God’s voice. The decision to remove the book comes after Malarkey penned an open letter to retailers who sell religious books and materials. In the letter published on the Pulpit and Pen website the teen stated:
I did not die nor go to Heaven. I said I went to Heaven because of the attention I would gain. When I made such claims, I had never read the Bible. People have, and continue to profit from lies. They should read the Bible which is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible. Anyone who markets these materials must hold the Bible as enough and repent.
LifeWay Christian Bookstore has sold the book for many years now, but the teen has not profited from any of its profits. The book was promoted as part of the “Heavenly tourism” books along with Heaven Is For Real and 90 Minutes in Heaven. Alex is listed as co-author with his father, Kevin Malarkey. His parents are now divorced; his mother, Beth, has previously spoken out against the book centered on her son.
The description of the book states, in 2004 Alex and his father Kevin were in a horrible car accident which left the six-year-old paralyzed and in a coma. It was unlikely Alex would survive due to his injuries. Two months after the accident the young boy awoke from his coma with an incredible story about the events at the scene of the accident, the hospital stay and the angels which led him through the gates of Heaven; all while he was in a comatose state.
The story was very descriptive and even included the “unearthly” music he heard and of meeting with and having a conversation with Jesus. The book was promoted as a true story of an ordinary boy’s journey through Heaven. The description ended with the following promise:
As you see Heaven and earth through Alex’s eyes, you will come away with new insights on life beyond this world, miracles and the power of a father’s love.
Last April, Beth posted a statement contesting the memoir on a blog. She explained how painful and puzzling it is to watch the book continue to sell without being questioned. Beth added, “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” is not Biblically sound. According to the child’s mother, Alex’s objections were repressed and ignored.
The blog was written a week after the movie based off the book came out. Beth said she strongly opposed the movie, Heaven is for Real” for many reasons. When speaking of her son’s difficult journey navigating life since the accident Beth stated:
What I have walked through with Alex over the past nine years has nearly broken me personally and spiritually.
The ones who are profiting from the book are not the ones who spend nights awake worrying about and comforting Alex. The boy tried to tell a pastor how the book needed to stop being sold and how wrong it is because it is not true. He was told to trust the man because the book was blessing people. Beth said her son has endured a horrific set of injuries which should not be capitalized on.
Alex’s struggles are not a part of his past; he struggles daily to manage the circumstances surrounding his health. At the time he made up the story about going to Heaven, he had just awakened from a two-month coma after suffering severe brain damage. Alex Malarkey has publicly recanted his original story which was captured in the The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven and is asking for the book to be removed from stores.
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Main Image Courtesy of opphotos – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Angela Marie Henriette – Creativecommons Flickr License