Last week, Alex Malarkey, the subject of the book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven,” made headlines for admitting he had not been to Heaven following a devastating car crash at age six. Malarkey said he had made the story up, desiring attention.
Malarkey, now 16, wrote a letter with the truth to Pulpit and Pen for publishing. “People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth,” he wrote.
Vocativ reports Malarkey’s statement may put an end to the Christian literature genre of “Heaven tourism.”
The genre began most notably in 2004 with the publishing of 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Life and Death by Don Piper, a Baptist pastor in Texas. Piper wrote the story of seeing loved one and singing with a heavenly choir during the 90 minutes he was pronounced dead at the scene of an accident; the book sold 6 million copies.
Other books in the “Heaven tourism” genre include Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander.
Critics of Heaven tourism books have existed from the start of the genre.
Pastor Justin Peters, one such critic of the genre, said, “It exploits people, it is injurious to their spiritual growth but ultimately it’s blasphemes God. It’s idolatry.”
Publication date: January 22, 2015