Heaven

No Proof of Heaven After All: Boy Recants Story

"I did not die. I did not go to Heaven," admits Alex Malarkey.

|

Boy Heaven
Tyndale Press

Accounts of heavenly tourism have been popular at least since Dante's Paradiso. In recent years, supposedly real life accounts of visits to heaven have sold in the millions. The usual format is that someone has a near death experience and when they wake up they report on their trip to the divine realms. Now the boy behind The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Alex Malarkey, has issued an open letter recanting his heavenly drop-by, according to NPR.

At age 6, Malarkey was severely injured in an automobile accident in 2004. After being in coma for two months, he woke up and told his parents about visiting Jesus and the angels while he was unconscious here on the earth. His father, Kevin Malarkey, a Christian therapist in Ohio, wrote up Alex's account and it was published by Tyndale Press. Now Alex Malarkey says he made it all up.

Alex Malarkey's open letter

Alex Malarkey

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.

It is only through repentance of your sins and a belief in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for your sins (even though he committed none of his own) so that you can be forgiven may you learn of Heaven outside of what is written in the Bible…not by reading a work of man. I want the whole world to know that the Bible is sufficient. Those who market these materials must be called to repent and hold the Bible as enough.

In Christ,

Alex Malarkey

In response to the open letter, the publisher says that it is taking "the book and all ancillary products out of print."

Evidently motivated by his faith, Alex Malarkey decided to tell the truth. Good for him. Here's hoping that some miracle of biomedical science will enable him to walk free from his wheel chair and breathing apparatus someday soon.

I am a bad person. I can't resist noting: Malarkey, really?

NEXT: Ben Carson's Comparison of ISIS to the Founding Fathers: Bad Politics, But Worse Thinking

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “I can’t resist noting: Malarkey, really?”

    He’s also a World War II Hero!

    And he’s married to Morgan Fairchild! That’s the ticket.

    1. heh, david shwimmer’s character even says his name means bullshit

  2. I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention.

    Attention-whores: Because the public must be kept in equal parts clamorous for hope and fearful of the unknown.

    1. He was 6 and just became disabled, I think we can excuse him.

  3. His last name is “Malarkey”? Are you effing kidding us? Did anyone else notice this?

    1. BH: See my end note in the blogpost.

  4. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.

    Uh…

    1. just came here to make sure this was covered.

    2. I know double negatives can get a little tricky, but it makes sense…

      1. only siths deal in absolutes.

        1. Do I have to point out the contradiction in that comment?

          1. no. it’s bad writing- i’m simply quoting.

        2. There is no try…

      2. I think that the double negative part makes sense. The part that doesn’t make sense is the entire statement. It suggests that the bible wasn’t written by man. If someone wants to believe that the writers had heavenly influence… sure. But, it was certainly written by man.

        1. In many cases the books of the bible bear the the names of the men who were supposed to have written them.

        2. Far more people than mainstream Christianity likes to admit believe the Bible to be the literal word of God.

          1. In my Methodist Sunday School class we’re studying about how most of the Pauline letters are forgeries. I love that class.

            1. Get them to talk about The Jefferson Bible. It became a quick read after he got done with it.

            2. Then you are being taught pure nonsense that’s about 150 years behind current scholarship. Even most the fervid spittle-flecked atheist would laugh in your face if you made that argument to him. Talk about gullible. Classic libertarian self-concept fail. “I’m a libertarian–so slick and cyncial. Not so slick as to not getting taken in by complete nonsense but trust me I’m super cool. And get laid all the time. I only subscribe to six porn sites ironically. You know like woldnt it be funny if i needed all that porn.”

              1. I do wish I got laid all the time. Instead, I’m married.
                Thanks. I’ll be here all week!

              2. lolwut

  5. “The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.”

    Hahahaha. Someone actually wrote that.

    I hope he recovers from his physical and mental infirmities.

    1. “Yes, the Bible is the real good news.”

      1. This always reminds me of the look on Tony Soprano’s face when his sister’s narcoleptic boyfriend randomly pipes up during dinner, “have you heard the good news? He is risen.”

    2. Who write the Bible? Water sprites?

      1. The Bible is Divinely inspired. It says so in the Bible. This is what some people actually argue.

        1. It’s ok DW, let the standard Reasonite get his hits in on the Christians to prove he can still be friendly with the Left.

          1. Pointing out the hypocrisy of christianity is not a left/right issue, is it? It is one of reason and rationality regardless of place on a false political spectrum.

            1. I don’t see evidence of hypocrisy here. Just an opportunity for RB to say, “see, I told you there’s no heaven!” in the same way Christians might use the initial account to say the opposite.

              And I didn’t say the issue was on the political spectrum, just that libertarians seem to be willing to sell their souls (or at least their capacity to see more than one side of an argument) when certain Leftist chic topics (stupids Christfags!) are involved.

            2. What hypocrisy? Do you even know what that word means or like black blood said are you just mouthing the platitudes spewed by the left.

              1. Holy shit! Someone’s on my side in an article that contains the word “Christian”!!

            3. Pointing out the hypocrisy of christianity is not a left/right issue, is it?

              Yes, it is in the minds of the religious. Any criticism of them is teh persecution, and anyone who criticizes them hates them and has an agenda. QED.

              The usual suspects: leftists, atheists, homos.

              1. Or just the illogical. Or the people who don’t know what hypocrisy is. Or the status-deprived like you who desperately need an underclass to look down on.

                1. Hypocrisy… hmmm… let’s see… love thy neighbor, do not judge lest ye be judged, it’s easier for the camel to pass through the eye of the needle than a rich man to enter heaven, one should pray quietly and in their own home than on the street corner loudly for all to see… what else did Jesus say that one can find his followers not practicing without even having to research?
                  Also, isn’t there stuff about not lying about dying and going to heaven in order to sell a lot of books and get attention? not in so many words.
                  come on, son.

            4. I don’t know that Christianity is inherently hypocritical, but there are certainly a lot of hypocritical Christians.

              And it is most certainly not a left/right issue. There are plenty of left wing Christians in the world.

          2. You seem to have missed that Doctor Whom was also taking a dig at beliefs about the inspiration for the Bible.

            I’d have thought that you would have noticed by now that there are a good number of religious Reasonites, as well as atheists and whatever is in between. Is it really so hard to believe that some people sincerely see religion as irrational and it isn’t in fact all social signaling and cocktail parties?

    3. Aha! Taking the word “wrote” literally to make fun of a child who is doing something exceptionally brave! What a big man you are BigT!

      1. is it brave to come clean? I mean, no one really believed him anyway… but…

        1. I think it’s very brave for a child to retract a statement that he made when he was just 6 that has made him famous. It would have been super easy to just keep up the charade.

          1. yes, but do we say it’s brave for a fraud to admit he is a fraud?

            It’s easy to come clean with millions in the bank.

            I mean, the film rights alone…

          2. sorry, confusing him with the other kid who claimed he went to heaven…

          3. Brave? Maybe he just didn’t give a spit anymore. Maybe he was crawling the walls over how stupid his readers were.

          4. bb: FWIW, I entirely agree with you on Alex’s bravery.

            1. Last spring, Beth Malarkey wrote a blog post stating, “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 get the feeling the act of bravery isn’t obeying a nagging conscience but facing down a greedy, obstructive, parasitic father. Just a feeling.

  6. A Million Little Pieces White Lights

      1. Don’t praise the machine.

        1. Don’t be bitter, Hugh. I’m just becoming your stepdad, I know I can’t replace your real dad. Wherever he is. If he’s still alive.

          1. That’s great Epi, but you’re forgetting the small fact that people aren’t interested in the autobiographies of towels.

            1. You’re a beaner towel!

  7. Alex Malarkey, has issued an open letter recanting his heavenly drop-by

    That right there should have been a dead giveaway.

    1. Ah, damn you all!

  8. That’s the most on-the-nose name since General Betray-us, amirite?

  9. If I didn’t have a conscience, I’d be tempted to try my hand at religion. What could be better than a client base with a demonstrated desire to be swindled?

    1. +1 Hubbard

    2. A client base of sexually frustrated people bitter at their dads with no girlfriends to waste money on. John Stossel has made a good living spewing forth to Libertarians maybe you could try that.

      1. Welcome back, we missed you. Smooches.

      2. I’m just always geeked that Libertarians seem to be so anti-religious. One of the main supports for my libertarianism is my religion and the free will it affords me.

        1. You are free to believe as you will. Others are free to disagree and argue. None are free to compel.

          The beauty of libertarianism.

          1. Well you know I’m with you on that.

        2. I’m just always geeked that Libertarians seem to be so anti-religious.

          I don’t find that to be the case. There are loads of regular commenters here who are pretty serious Christians, and practitioners of other religions. I’d say it’s a pretty even divide. Not sure about libertarians in general.

    3. It’s not exactly foreign to the history of Christianity, anyways. There was a Roman play from back in the days of the pagan empire satirizing the Christian community’s ability to get swindled out of their goods by charismatic charlatans pretending to have a come-to-Jesus moment, and the community’s tendency to place those people in leadership roles. Don’t know how prevalent that was (we are, after all, using an intentionally hyperbolic play as evidence for a phenomena), but given my experiences of modern Christianity it doesn’t exactly seem surprising.

      1. There were quite a few Messiah wannabes over the centuries.

        1. Hey now, no need to engage in Sage Shaming. The narrative is the important thing.

        2. Judas of Galilee (6 CE), Judas led a violent resistance to the census imposed for Roman tax purposes by Quirinius in Iudaea Province around 6 CE. The revolt was crushed brutally by the Romans.[9]

          Huh. So this guy would have been hanging around the same general geographic area as Jesus at about the same time, no? I wonder whether they/their followers interacted at any point, and what came of it.

          1. On second thought, if his rebellion *started* around 6 AD, Jesus (assuming he existed etc.) would have been just a little kid. Still, I find it an interesting historical coincidence.

            1. Not really that interesting. Palestine at around Jesus’ time was swimming with self-proclaimed Jewish messiahs; the Bar Kochba revolt was not long after Jesus’ death and a large faction within Judaism (the Zealots) expected the Messiah to arrive within their lifetimes to create an independent Jewish religious empire.

              No one particularly expected a Jesus-style Messiah, which is ironic considering that He is the only one of the Jewish messiahs who withstood the test of time and created anything that would even slightly match up to the grandiose claims in the Old Testament’s books of prophecy about Messiah.

              1. Don’t forget Brian.

      2. The lonely beta boy demo that makes up 90 percent of libertarians is notorious for never being fleeced out of their money by girls.

  10. Captain Sobel: Malarky is another name for bullshit, isn’t it?

    I loved Band of Brothers. Good stuff.

  11. Ron, thank you for linking to the definition of malarkey so that we all know what you really think of your average reader’s intellect 😉

  12. well, I’ve always been tempted to move that into fiction at my library anyway… looks like I might have to do that…

  13. It should be noted that most of the phenomenon reported in near death experiences are also regularly reported among pilots during centrifuge training despite being quite objectively not dead. NDE is apparently just what subjective expereince of insufficient blood flow to the brain feels like.

    1. Somebody should ask shriek about it.

    2. yes. it’s actually a very calming experience… or it was for me. however, even during it I rationally knew what it was. People would pay a lot of money for a drug to provide that experience, I bet.

      1. mine was from traumatic brain injury after a motorcycle (ok, scooter- Honda Elite 80) accident.

        1. I think i found your problem right here! (scooter)

      2. Is that the explanation for PBP? Lots and lots of centrifuge training? That would do it.

        1. isn’t pbp where you’ve got to pee a lot and dribble a bit now and then into your y fronts?

  14. Out of curiosity, do you think anyone’s opinion was actually changed by this book or is it just a way for people who already believed to go “told you so!”

    1. of course. The majority of the preachers preach to the choir- because not choir members don’t travel to a building without TVs on sundays during football season.

      1. Oh yea the aggressive atheist segment is just overflowing with football fans. Not blue balled magna fans and aging hippies.

        1. need one be an aggressive atheist to be an agnostic or nonbeliever? Nah. talk about stereotyping…

          That’s why we can’t have nice things.

    2. That part of the human psyche that really needs to believe in something like a heaven with soft light and angels with wings and Jesus in a bedsheet. I just don’t think I have that brain part.

  15. Is this the “heaven is for real” guy? Or was that a different hoax?

    1. Different child with greedy parents.

      1. damn. got them mixed up- was hoping it was the other one.

        1. Colton Burpo was only four as opposed to six as Malarkey was.

      2. Greg Kinnear can rest easy that he hasn’t lost any credibility.

  16. Not surprising. Christians are gullible and children are easy to coach into saying any manner of things. Props to the kid for spilling the beans and directing people towards the truth; the confession seems heartfelt and honest in a way that this calculated genre of Christian literature so often does not. Very unfortunate that some people in Christianity do not have enough sense to avoid giving this type of religious commentary credibility, coming as it does from a child who they do not know or whose parents they do not know.

    1. “Christians are gullible…”

      And no one else is.

      1. I’m a Christian, and I think Christians have proven themselves exceptionally gullible over the years. I would rather it not be the case, but I won’t pretend that it isn’t simply to soothe my ego.

        That is not to say that other groups have not been horribly gullible, as well. IMO secularists are far more thoughtless than either atheists or Christians, and are more gullible as well (see any “secular” progressive cause for details).

      2. Exactly. I’d be a hell of a lot more embarrassed to have spent the past decadde shilling for Ron Paul than having bought this book.

        1. Why, exactly, are you here?

          1. To be a troll, nothing more. Hateful 11-year-old is his brand.

          2. For the same reason that he’s been here for years under his dozens of handles, which is that it gets lonely in the group home.

          3. Why, exactly, are you here?

            Lack of parental affection in his formative years?

            (and just to be clear–not referring to you, Tonio!) =p

          4. Because its fun to demonstrate just how quickly the free speech loving libertarians turn into papers please/justify your bona fides authoritarians. Plus it’s fun to make atheists mad. Mission accomplished.

            1. LOL WUT

            2. You are a funny guy.

      3. And no one else is.

        Who said that? It’s kind of funny that dickhead Haysom thinks the atheists are the ones getting upset here.

  17. It’s practically a genre:

    Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife
    My Descent Into Death
    90 Minutes in Heaven

    And, as a twist:

    23 Minutes in Hell

    The authors all make good money on the speaking circuit.

    1. 90 Minutes in Heaven

      High school makeout games have considerably raised the stakes since I was there, apparently.

    2. I played 90 Minutes in Heaven once in jr high. The friction burn was so bad I could barely button my pants for a month afterwards.

      1. I call bullshit, no way a Jr High students lasts 90 seconds forget 90 minutes

    3. If hell wasnt depicted and a frozen wasteland then it is wrong. Hell as fire is a middle age/victorian thing.

  18. When I kid back there in a suburban Philadelphia Roman Catholic high school we were required to read On Death and Dying

    http://www.amazon.com/On-Death…..1476775540

    as part of the 3-times/week religion class. Everyone loved religion class- no homework and you always got at least a B. According to Dr. Kubler-Ross (there’s an umlaut in there, and umlaut on umlaut, but I digress) your entire life rapidly replays in your mind as you die. She came to this conclusion by interviewing people who were declared dead but then revived. So they weren’t really dead. Interviewing the dead turns out to be a tricky scientific exploration.

  19. He was telling the truth back then but now a demon/satan is making him lie

  20. Oh, good, the kid decided to grow up and…

    The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.

    Sigh. Here’s some Slayer.

  21. I’m just giddy with delight to see the purported champions of freedom champing at the bit to paint with broad brushstrokes the entirety of Christendom. I can actually hear the minds slamming shut.

    1. What’s it like being a dumb cunt? Does it hurt? Does coming here to be a whiny asshole make it better for a little while?

      Not being a dumb cunt like you, I have no idea. Please, enlighten us.

    2. As a Christian, it’s my easily offended, panty-knotted brethren that make me giddy!

      1. I’m not at all religious, so I could be off here, but it seems to me that someone secure in their faith shouldn’t give a crap what anyone else thinks about it.

    3. Surely it is not difficult to understand that religious beliefs look a little silly to people who don’t share those beliefs. Yeah, some people are unnecessarily dickish about religion. But most of the Christians around here seem to be able to handle it with good grace and not spend all day whining about it.

  22. I see our favorite racist moron troll showed up.

  23. This story highlights one thing many social conservatives and progressives(and probably the vast majority of humanity) share, which is a blind faith toward anyone with a story that confirms their biases. One way they differ though, is that you’ll never hear a progressive figure of veneration retract their lie.

    1. Kind of like Ron Paul is a senile old anti-Semite that’s just the newsletters editors fault. Wait errrrmm look over there stupid gullible Christians.

  24. Oh well. Back to sinnin’

  25. This reminds me of one of the greatest web sites of all time. Years ago there was a site that claimed there were offering death telegrams.

    Basically you would pay them and give them a message to your dear departed loved one and they would give that message to a terminally ill patient. The idea being that they would deliver the message once they were dead.

    They even had an awesome disclaimer about how this was a “best effort” service and they weren’t guaranteeing anything.

    Sadly, the site died and I don’t have time to go back and find it in the wayback machine.

    1. That’s right up there with the take care of your dog after the rapture service. Not sure if that one is still running.

  26. RB: “I am a bad person.”

    Me: “Je suis Ronald Bailey, aussi.”

  27. There has never been any need for proof.
    At least all the legal fighting over abortion will soon be over.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.