Boy who ‘came back from Heaven’ admits story was lie, pulls book

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A boy who said he went to heaven and came back to earth now admits he made up the entire story.

Alex Malarkey, the boy who inspired the best-selling book, “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven,” admitted in a recent letter to the book’s publisher he lied about going to heaven and visiting with angels.

Alex was in a coma for two months after a serious car crash in 2004. When Alex woke up, he gave detailed descriptions of meeting Jesus and the devil.

The best-selling Christian book was co-written by Malarkey, 6, and his dad, Kevin, who is a Christian therapist near Columbus. The book was published by Tyndale House in 2010.

But now, Alex, who is a quadriplegic, said none of it happened. Pulpit and Pen released the letter Alex sent to the book’s publisher:

“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.”

Lifeway issued a statement saying stores will be pulling the remaining copies of the book from stores.

“LifeWay was informed this week that Alex Malarkey has retracted his testimony about visiting heaven as told in the book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.” Therefore, we are returning to the publisher the few copies we have in our stores.”

As of January 16, the book was still available on Amazon.

Last April, Alex’s mother, Beth Malarkey, posted a statement on her blog critizing the book.

“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.”

Beth Malarkey also said the book is not “Biblically sound” and her son’s objections were often ignored.


  • Amber

    This boy, is a boy, a child….children do crazy things. However, even though he was wrong by lying, at least he had enough guts to tell the truth. Many of us adults cannot tell the truth if it is going to make us look bad. Also, there is no need for name calling. The poor child was in a coma, experienced a horrific accident and is now paralyzed. Also, he should be 10 now, my question is, what 10 year old talks like the above statement suggests?

    • Amber

      I guess he was 6 in 2004, which would make him 17, therefore, a statement written above is feasible for a 17 year old. Still there is no need to call him names or make fun of his last name rather. God loves us all, even through our faults. He did the right thing by telling the truth.

  • Julianne Nielsen

    A good story is always great to read. Why pull the book off shelves? Just put a disclaimer in the front.

  • Katie

    I’m actually impressed that he was willing to admit to what many people already knew… This is a very impressive move on his part worthy of respect from Christians, and non-Christians alike. From a Christian perspective, he should be treated with a level of respect that their own God preaches, which is to be honest. From a non-Christian perspective, he should be respected for having the pressure of a religion imposed upon him at an age young children do not quite understand, and follow blindly because of their parents guidance. This is something grown, older adults cannot do in many cases – which is to *tell the truth*. Good for him.

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