American Horror Story: ‘Ex-gay’ evangelical formed murderous cult, police say

The headline in The Kansas City Star seems innocent: “Secrets of Tyler Deaton’s prayer group emerge.”

But those “secrets” refer to allegations of prolonged cruelty, manipulation, assault, abuse and murder. Some may want to avoid reading more of this story, which reads like one of those horrifying texts of terror from Genesis or the book of Judges. It ends the same way those stories do, with an innocent woman tormented and left for dead.

The Star’s Joe Robertson and Donald Bradley report:

Tyler Deaton gathered his followers one more time to his wife’s Kansas City funeral.

It was Nov. 6, and they wept for Bethany Deaton, dead at 27. … While Deaton spoke in calm and assuring tones, at least one of his closest inner circle apparently was starting to come undone.

Three days later, investigators say, 23-year-old Micah Moore would go to police and uncork the terrible secrets that allegedly occurred over several months at a Grandview home where Deaton and other members of his religious group lived.

Witnesses told of a clan of young adults making sex part of their religious experience, of men in the group sexually assaulting Bethany over months, and of Deaton’s role as their “spiritual leader.”

But Moore’s darkest admission, according to court records, was that Deaton feared Bethany was about to reveal the group’s secrets.

Moore confessed that he had murdered Bethany and tried to make it look like suicide, and, according to court documents, he said Deaton told him to do it.

Robertson and Bradley paint a portrait of Tyler Deaton as a charismatic, dogmatic and driven young man. He gathered a core of followers while attending Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and led them to Kansas City, to study at the International House of Prayer (Wayne Besen provides some background on IHOP at Truth Wins out):

“He believed God could fix things,” a student said.

That included, Deaton told people, fixing himself.

One of his group’s stark positions on Scripture was that homosexuality was wrong. Deaton’s stance against it weighed heavily because members said he had “struggled with being gay.”

“He struggled with it, but he overcame it,” a member of his group at Southwestern said. “It was a victory.”

Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin notes that this idea of “victory” or “deliverance” from being gay is part of IHOP’s religious teaching. And here’s IHOP leader Mike Bickle sharing his view that homosexuality “opens the door to the demonic” and to “flaming missiles of the Evil One.”

I suppose Bickle and the folks at IHOP would say that is what happened to Tyler Deaton, and thus, as a result of his “opening the door to the demonic”:

Bethany was sexually assaulted over a period of months while drugged with someone else’s prescription anti-psychotic, witnesses in the house told authorities. This was happening, the witnesses alleged, in a period of time that male members in the house were involved in sexual relationships with Deaton, one saying it was part of a “religious experience.”

An alternative possibility is that Deaton was stressed past his breaking point by a delusional “therapy” that promised miracles it could never deliver.

Take someone under that sort of strain, then teach him to embrace the duplicity and dishonesty of such delusions, and then train him to view the world as a Manichaean struggle between good and evil. That’s a powerful recipe, but not for anything good.

A friend of many of the people who went to Kansas City is haunted now, remembering the close friendship and like-mindedness she saw in Moore and Bethany.

“They were both introspective, quiet-mystical people,” she said.

She watched them go from Southwestern, the same as so many others year after year, to join the evangelical adventure.

“It’s like they believed they were going into a storybook,” she said. “They were going to be equipped for the end times. For them it was heroic.”

Here’s the local KCTV 5 news report (via Joe Jervis). And here’s IHOP’s “Statement Regarding Tyler Deaton.”

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    I consider your response to be a bit disingenuous implying that I would
    have no science to back up suppositions because of an inherent lack of 
    scientific rigor on my part or even a desire to hide some data.

    Thanks for sharing. You are, of course, free to infer whatever you wish about what I’m implying about your motives or level of rigor.

    It remains true that I’m trying to clarify what your claim actually is, evidence notwithstanding, as I said before.

    As I understand it, your claim is that if we combine promiscuity with lack of access to opposite-sex partners, we can convert heterosexuals into bisexuals. Do I correctly understand your claim?

    Do you also claim that we can convert homosexuals to bisexuals this way?

  • 1Catolives1

     I do not claim anything. I do suggest that this has happened to some degree in prisons and armies down through history. There is certainly enough anecdotal information for one to ponder.
    Sparta placed eleven year old males in mentoring military relationships which it is believed by some authorities to have included homosexual relations. These men for the most part were heterosexual later but it could be claimed that the personal history now would be one of bisexuality.

  • EllieMurasaki

    tw: rape

    If a person was raped but in a gentle manner which lead to the person being raped having an orgasm I would suggest that a few at least might begin to need a rape situation of fantasy to have an orgasm.

    In my experience of talking to actual rape survivors? The experience does not change their sexual fantasies, not the least little bit. What does often change is their appreciation for trigger warnings, in particular the one that tells them here be dragons rape, and if they think reading about rape will set off a flashback or other nasty negative reaction then they can observe the warning and stay the fuck away.

    Why am I even still talking to you, you’re clearly too ignorant to live…

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    I do not claim anything.

    (blink)
    Um. OK, then.
    I’m glad we cleared that up. 

     

    There is certainly enough anecdotal information for one to ponder. 

    (nods) By all means, ponder anecdotes and hypothetical accounts of people being converted to bisexuality through classical conditioning, if that interests or gratifies you. Your kink is not my kink, but your kink is OK.

    That said, it might be better to do so in private.

     

    These men for the most part were heterosexual later but it could be
    claimed that the personal history now would be one of bisexuality.

    Sure, that could be claimed. If someone were inclined to claim it, I might discuss such a claim with them. The question of how personal history relates to identity can be an interesting one.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     So, a bisexual world? You can test this by talking to bisexuals.

    And risk COOTIES?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Actually, now that I think about it… you say, here:

    I do not claim anything.

    You said, earlier:

    If someone becomes promiscuous the need for greater titillation will eventually bring one into a need for further experimentation with the same sex. Hence some homosexuality is chosen in this manner.

    So, I’m confused.
    Do you claim that some homosexuality is chosen as a consequence of promiscuous heterosexuals experimenting with the same sex due to their need for greater titillation?
    Or do you not claim this?

  • 1Catolives1

    The point has been made. Thee is no science which has enough numbers for a prospective double blind crossover study and there will probably never be.

  • VMink

    <If a person was raped but in a gentle manner–

    For the love of God just stop.  There’s no such thing as a “gentle rape.”  It’s RAPE.  That’s the only word that matters in that sentence and “gentle” doesn’t go with it!  How in blazes can the words “raped but in a gentle manner” even form in a Christian’s brain, let alone come out of their mouth?  Can you explain this?  Because rape, no matter how “gentle” is violent, no matter how much Barry White you play during it.  It is rape and there is no possible way for there to be anything “gentle” about it.

    Recant and retract your statement immediately.

  • 1Catolives1

     You are self deluded.
    Your perception of what is politically correct has caused you to discount that there are degrees of violence which vary in all crimes. Some robbers kill everyone and some are gentle even though a gun was leveled at the robbed. Hence the distinction between gentle robbery and violent robbery. Because a gun was used the law might make a distinction and call it violent. A psychologist however would need to make other distinctions. Just because you have an idea that all rape is horrendous (and it is) does not preclude the likelihood in the history of the world that even in rape there are degrees of violence.
    Depending on the overall structure of the event and the variability of the robbed the person might even identify with the robbers. In a war torn world sometimes the robbed might become violent robbers. I suspect those abused and raped as children are more likely to rape and abuse.  In war the whole process might be accelerated with a total breakdown of moral codes. Those violently abused might turn on others and abuse. We may be seeing such a case in the Afghanistan killing where the marine is accused of attacking civilians. You sound like an enraged feminist rather than a thoughtful observer of the darker sides of human nature and behavior.That is the approximate stage of current teaching anyway
    It is I think called the Stockholm complex when applied to some situations.

  • 1Catolives1

    Is that a veiled threat? I thought I was talking to someone who desired to exchange ideas not threats. It is amazing. For a site that might claim to be enlightened it features swearing ,personal attacks and veiled threats. If you had said the same to B Obama you might be getting a visit from the Secret service.

  • Lunch Meat

    You sound like an enraged feminist rather than a thoughtful observer of the darker sides of human nature and behavior.

    Yes, because the thing to do is “thoughtfully observe” atrocities from a distance, and discuss absurd, offensive and irrelevant hypotheticals about them, and then criticize people for getting so emotional about things that directly affect them. Obviously the thing to do is not to try to stop atrocities, or try to empathize with the victims. It’s not like rape victims, or gay people, are real people with real feelings.

  • 1Catolives1

     Most sexual research on this issue is anecdotal information which some attempt to organize. Science is very difficult to bring to these issues.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What the fuck. What the fuck.

    The amount of force involved in a rape may–may–make a difference when it comes time to sentence the rapist. It probably makes a difference when it comes to the amount of physical trauma the survivor endures. It does not make any difference when it comes to the amount of psychological trauma the survivor endures, and it is the psychological trauma that makes us consider rape worse than nonsexual assault.

    Shut the fuck up about rape, because you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about and there are rape survivors on this board.

  • EllieMurasaki

    General question to everyone but Cat: the fuck is Cat talking about when ze asks if I’m threatening zir?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    The point has been made. Thee is no science which has enough numbers for a prospective double blind crossover study and there will probably never be.

    Even supposing this is true, I don’t understand the relevance.

    I mean, I agree 100% with you that there’s no proper double-blind  study with data that demonstrates that, to quote you, “If someone becomes promiscuous the need for greater titillation will eventually bring one into a need for further experimentation with the same sex. Hence some homosexuality is chosen in this manner.”

    So, OK, we’re agreed that the data to demonstrate this assertion isn’t available. What ought we do in consequence, on your view?

    For example:
    Ought we believe that this assertion is true?
    Ought we believe that it’s false?
    Ought we not have a belief either way?
    Ought we assert it confidently in public, whether we believe it or not?

  • 1Catolives1

     I read with horror and disgust and sadness the book ” The Rape of Nanking”
    Just because I am willing to hypothesize variables in human behavior does not make me guilty of others crimes. I am also unable to alter my discussion under the assumption i am speaking to anyone with personal experience in  any area of which we speak. I have been robbed “gently’ by a man who aimed his gun at me. It had the possibility of extreme violence buy that did not happen.

  • VMink

    Ah, you’ve outed yourself, troll.  Well done, but not well enough. =)

    Back to your bridge.  You’ve wasted enough peoples’ time here.  Go find another thing to occupy your time.

  • Lunch Meat

    Did I say you were guilty? No, I just said you’re a jerk who refuses to empathize, try to understand, or behave with sensitivity. Which you just admitted.

  • 1Catolives1

    Exactly. These are discussions of understanding of ideas. I have seen no one produce “science” yet.
    I am less and less willing to accept the dictates of everyone claiming  “science” however. A past president of the American Psychological Association says the very organization has been hijacked by Gay ideologues who no longer function by science.

  • 1Catolives1

     A former head of the historical section of the APA also states that homosexuality was not removed as a disease because they were sure it was not a disease but rather at the time in 1970′s there was no effective treatment. He pointed out that it was a dangerous assumption given that there exist other widely accepted diseases which have no effective treatment and we still call them a disease.  They however have no lobby asking that the particular cancer be removed from the list of diseases.

  • Lunch Meat

    The science is there, you’re just pretending it’s not so you don’t have to take it into account.

    Here’s a scientific report examining scientific studies explaining why the APA rejects reparative therapy. Read it and respond to it. Don’t just claim that it’s biased and therefore obviously bad science.

    Here’s a story about what they actually do in reparative therapy and what it does to real people (not hypothetical gay people who you hypothetically would like if they just weren’t so gross). Is this science?

    Here’s another fact sheet from the APA. Again, “it’s biased” is not a valid response. Tell me what’s wrong with the science.

    In fact, one of the few studies that claimed to show reparative therapy working has been recanted by the author, saying it was poorly conducted.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    is Cat talking about when ze asks if I’m threatening zir?

    (shrug) They might be treating your reference to them as “too ignorant to live” as a death threat, for example. I’m not sure it really matters.

  • 1Catolives1

     1) The recant occurred after years of harassment similar to the harassment which occurred at APA meetings in the 1970′s. Chanting etc.invading the meetings with demonstrators.
    2) The problem with the California and APA positions is that they are biased and in the process of shutting off research in the area. Many Universities have been shown recently to have extreme bias which is preventing publishing and hiring of people who would look into areas politically incorrect. I have dealt with such bias in another area of science. I know whereof I speak on that issue. I will not detail here.
    I will read these articles but will not be accepting them as the end of research. I have a book on call from the library addressing the stifling of research that is possiblygoing on.  It is by another high ranking past leader of the APA. I will read that as well and then be able to make better comments about the articles as I know they are referenced in the book.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Most sexual research on this issue is anecdotal information which some
    attempt to organize. Science is very difficult to bring to these issues.

    I repeat my earlier question: supposing this is true, what follows?

    For example, supposing that there’s no scientific evidence demonstrating that, to quote you, “If someone
    becomes promiscuous the need for greater titillation will eventually
    bring one into a need for further experimentation with the same sex.
    Hence some homosexuality is chosen in this manner,” what ought we do in consequence, on your view?

    For example:Ought we believe that this assertion is true?Ought we believe that it’s false?Ought we not have a belief either way?Ought we assert it confidently in public, whether we believe it or not?

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    Warning, and I usually don’t do this, but this is probably trigger-riffic: rape.

     I read with horror and disgust and sadness the book ” The Rape of Nanking”
    Just
    because I am willing to hypothesize variables in human behavior does
    not make me guilty of others crimes. I am also unable to alter my
    discussion under the assumption i am speaking to anyone with personal
    experience in  any area of which we speak. I have been robbed “gently’
    by a man who aimed his gun at me. It had the possibility of extreme
    violence buy that did not happen.

    So…um, let me get this straight: you think that you reading a book about a historical event that happened more than seventy years ago and happened to have the word “rape” attached to it as a descriptor is the moral equivalent of you attempting to talk to people about the theoretical pleasures of a “gentle rape” and expound, in your infinite wisdom, about how that might cause someone to suddenly start having rape fantasies as part of their overall sexual experience?

    And you want to do this all to dismiss the arguments of someone telling you to shut the fuck up about rape because you know something less than nothing about the subject of which you pretend to speak because of your utter brilliant speculation WHILE READING A BOOK ABOUT A HISTORICAL EVENT THAT HAS THE WORD RAPE IN THE TITLE?

    You also would like to have a scientific experiment done on the prevalence of bisexuality in people who have been exposed to homosexual sex.  As such, I believe I can propose a scientifically rigorous solution:

    How about you get a friend or family member or acquaintance to go hire someone of your own gender to “gently rape you.”  Make sure to tell them not to tell you who your “gentle rapist” will be.  And make sure to tell them not to tell you when or where to expect your appointment.

    Then, once that’s happened, report back to us about how it has impacted your sexual fantasies.  I’m sure it will be enlightening for everyone and you will have done society a great service.

  • Lunch Meat

    Here, I’ll just summarize your comments about the articles for you, so you don’t have to come back and we don’t have to read them later:

    1. They’re all biased.
    2. These famous high-ranking people agree with me that they’re biased.
    3. I would have science to back it up but everyone’s stifling it because they’re meanie-heads.

    See how easy that was?

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     1Catolives1: I have been robbed “gently’ by a man who aimed his gun at me. It had the
    possibility of extreme violence buy that did not happen.

    And, somehow, in all my my horror at the first part of the assertion in, re: reading a book about The Rape of Nanking being somehow morally equivalent to talking in the abstract about rape as a thing that causes sexual fantasies I missed the significance of this bit.

    Really, Trolly McTrollerston?  Having your wallet stolen “gently” at gunpoint is exactly the same thing as being physically and sexually violated “gently?”  Let me let you in on a little secret: it’s actually fairly easy to steal someone’s possessions with nothing but the threat of physical violence and with no actual physical violation, since your wallet and the money contained therein is just inanimate stuff.

    Rape is, by definition and (if it can be said to have such a thing) an act of physical violence and violation.  It is possible to rob someone without touching them.  It is impossible to rape someone without touching them in an intimate and violating fashion.  That’s why we have the term.  That’s also why it’s a different term than, say, “rob” or “physically assault.”  The act, by its very nature, has components of theft and assault.  It also has something different, extra, and worse.  That’s why it gets a different word.  Words mean things, after all.

    I can assure you that if your gun-wielding thief had taken your wallet gently (and that assumes you’re telling the truth and not just making shit up to defend your indefensible point) and then said, “Now turn around, pull your pants down, and bend over, we ain’t done yet,” you would not be saying the same thing about the experience.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    They’re a fucking idiot, and they’re the type of person who revels in it, so trying to make sense of their thoughts is about as fruitful as trying to figure out why the cat suddenly tears off across the house. And it’s far less entertaining. 

  • J-

    Cults are just unpopular religions.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Are you saying that all religions strongly discourage their members from interacting with people outside the religion (among many other symptoms of cultness), or are you simply misunderstanding the word ‘cult’?

  • PatBannon

    We need more troll chatlogs around here.

  • Nick Gotts

    If you’re ever really tempted, I recommend Bare-Faced Messiah by Russell Miller, a biography of L. Ron Hubbard available free online. Hubbard appears to have done exactly that, got caught up in his own lies, and ended his life an angry, paranoid, friendless man, hiding from the world.

  • Shutes

    Can I just say thank you, all of you. Hilarious.


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