It’s impossible, in this space, to do justice to the breadth and depth of religious insanity that writer Jeff Tietz chronicles in this riveting 9,300-word Rolling Stone story. But in a nutshell, the piece is about the suicide — perhaps the murder — of a 27-year-old writer and nurse named Bethany Deaton, who had been married just a couple of months when her body was found in October of 2012. She had been suffocated by a white plastic bag tied under her chin.
Tietz’s article, from which I’ll quote below to give you a flavor, explores the disturbing social dynamic in a group (make that a cult) of about 20-25 young people, mostly college students, associated with the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri. The group’s leader was Tyler Deaton (pictured below) — “tall, handsome, haughty and effeminate” — who’d married Bethany despite the strong same-sex attractions he’d felt all his life.