Alex Malarkey Says ‘Heaven’ Book Is A Ruse, He Never Died, Saw Jesus

Alex Malarkey wants to set the record straight about a bestselling novel in which he is the main character: it’s a ruse, an elaborate hoax.

The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven chronicles the events of a young child who died during surgery, had an out-of-body spiritual encounter with Jesus in the afterlife, and returned to his body. The novel sold scores of copies and a movie soon followed. There’s only one problem: none of it never happened. The events were all concocted, this according to Malarkey, in an open letter to the publisher.

The year was 2004. Alex and his father, Kevin Malarkey, were driving along a country road when they were suddenly involved in a very serious vehicle accident. The boy’s father fared well with minor to moderate injuries. However, the boy, 6-years-old at the time, was thrust into a fight for his life.

He was taken to a nearby hospital center, where doctors performed surgery to repair the boy’s crumpled body. During the operation, according to the Boy Who Came Back from Heaven’s account, a miracle took place; the boy “died” and took part in a journey that allowed him to meet angels and Jesus Christ, while listening to “unearthly” music.

Locals — and soon the world — learned about Malarkey’s supernatural encounter with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the media frenzy, a book was published, which quickly earned bestselling status. And just last year, a movie based on the “true story,” as claimed on the cover of book, hit theaters.

Thursday, Alex Malarkey shook up the theological tarmac by addressing a document to Christian booksellers titled, “An Open Letter to Lifeway and Other Sellers, Buyers, and Marketers of Heaven Tourism, by the Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven.”

On the same day, the publisher, Tyndale House, announced to media sources that it was pulling “the book and all ancillary products out of print,” according to an NPR report.

The Pulpit and Pen website, which has been very supportive of Malarkey’s demands for truth and ethics about Christianity, with the Bible as the fulcrum, published the boy’s testimony about the Heaven book.

“Please forgive the brevity, but because of my limitations I have to keep this short… 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.

“Those who market these materials must be called to repent and hold the Bible as enough.”

At the center of the controversy is the genre “Heavenly Tourism” that Lifeway and other Christian book depots market to patrons. It includes Kevin and Alex Malarkey’s book and other related titles. Orthodox Christians say it is an irresponsible depiction and exploitation of scripture.

Just last year, Alex’s mom, Beth Malarkey, blasted the publisher and retailers over the book and film. She said that not only are the contents of the book not based on fact, but the profits have not been going to her son, as she claims in a blog post.

“Alex’s name and identity are being used against his wishes (I have spoken before and posted about it that Alex has tried to publicly speak out against the book), on something that he is opposed to and knows to be in error according to the Bible.

“I am fully aware of what it feels like to be pulled in. There are many who are scamming and using the Word of God to do it. They are good, especially if you are not digging into your Bible and truly studying it. They study their audience and even read ‘success’ books to try to build better and bigger… ‘ministries/businesses.'”

It’s unknown what Alex’s father’s role is in the controversy. In the movie, he was depicted as the driving force behind spreading the word about his son’s spiritual odyssey. Apparently, he and his wife are divorced. Meanwhile, Alex Malarkey and his siblings are in their mother’s care.

[Image via: Salon]

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