A top-selling Christian book is being pulled from the shelves this week after its 10 year-old co-author admitted that the story was entirely made up.
The book was the supposed true-life account of then 6 year-old Alex Malarkey, who claimed to have died and gone to heaven. But in a statement published on a Christian website recently, Malarkey admitted that he made up the story for “attention.”
“I did not die. I did not go to Heaven,” Malarkey said. “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.”
Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey, wrote The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, which was published in 2010. According to Publishers Weekly, 112,386 hardcover copies of the book were sold the first year it was published.
From The Washington Post:
The best-selling book, first published in 2010, describes what Alex experienced while he lay in a coma after a car accident when he was 6 years old. The coma lasted two months, and his injuries left him paralyzed, but the subsequent spiritual memoir — with its assuring description of “Miracles, Angels, and Life beyond This World” — became part of a popular genre of “heavenly tourism,” which has been controversial among orthodox Christians.
In April, Alex’s mother, Beth Malarkey, slammed the book on her blog, saying that her son was essentially being taken advantage of.
“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 went on to say that her son’s objections to it were ignored and silenced, adding that Alex “has not received monies from the book nor have a majority of his needs been funded by it.”
“Alex’s name and identity are being used against his wishes…. How can this be going on??? Great question…. How did it get this far?… another great question.”
Todd Starowitz, public relations director of Tyndale House, told The Washington Post that “Tyndale has decided to take the book and related ancillary products out of print.”