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.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes but it does not follow that there should not be an attempt to find a cure,treatment or therapy,process or method. Choose you own word.

    If we were talking about a disease or an injury, perhaps even a disability, then yes, we absolutely do want to be looking for a way to deal with it.
    Being gay, or bi, or ace, or trans, or genderqueer, or indeed anything other than heterosexual-and-cisgender, is NOT A DISEASE. Nor is it an injury or a disability or in fact a problem at all.

    Trying to ‘cure’ someone who isn’t heterosexual by forcing them into the heterosexual mold is wrongheaded, fuckwitted, offensive, and above all hurtful.

  • 1Catolives1

     California passing anti gay therapy legislation is no better than the countries that might pass laws against blaspheming Mohamed.
    It is not as though California knows the future of science and can say all future therapy will fail.
    They should consult the Vatican which wanted to outlaw Galileo etc.
    California will some day be mocked for this move into regulating scientific investigation. It will take a very long time however because most people do not give a crap what happens to gay people. Nevertheless someday when a little pill,
    magnetic ray or even a behavioral plan “cures” homosexuality California will look to be no better than a state which claimed treating homosexuality was witchcraft.

  • 1Catolives1

     IHOP has become trendy. Most who are involved are probably far better adjusted than those smoking marihuana. People are always at risk for absurdity. This was a sex crime and not a religious crime primarily. If proven true the leader obviously never loved his spouse.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

      California passing anti gay therapy legislation is no better than the
    countries that might pass laws against blaspheming Mohamed.

    Nnnno, not really.  It’s more like countries passing anti-medical-quackery laws.

  • 1Catolives1

     Proof in point .. a lot of intelligent people voted for Obama.  (and yet it was probably the stupidest thing possible for the country). The Democratic party has become a cult for the people who wish to borrow money …and expect the government to forgive the loans. The democratic party is home to those who come to the country illegally and expect the government to forgive the crime and honor them on the day they stand for the citizen ceremony. The Democratic party has become a cult leading many to accept killing their own babies!

  • 1Catolives1

    Setting up a straw man are you? No one approved of the murder or rape.
    And yes Homosexuality is nonproductive,insufficient ,deficient pointless friction. It should not even be graced with the term sex.

  • EllieMurasaki

    a lot of intelligent people voted for Obama. (and yet it was probably the stupidest thing possible for the country).

    Only if one equates ‘what’s best for the country’ with ‘what’s best for rich heterocis white men’ and ignores all the ways in which the interests of people who are rich and/or heterocis and/or white and/or male conflict with the interests of everybody else.

    The Democratic party has become a cult leading many to accept killing their own babies!

    The rate of infanticide isn’t actually rising.

  • Lunch Meat

    If it’s possible to use a pill, magnetic ray, or behavioral plan to “cure” homosexuality, it is almost certainly possible to use one of the above to “cure” heterosexuality, Christianity, conservativism, or an affinity for broccoli or country music. Still cool with pursuing that in the name of scientific advancement?

    If you think you should be allowed to try to fix others, be prepared for them to try to fix you.

  • 1Catolives1

     The people involved in the sex wanted it. Except for the poor women apparently. And yet when the whole tale is told we may find she started out in some manner compliant and then became resistant requiring drugging etc..

  • Lunch Meat

    The Democratic party has become a cult for the people who wish to borrow
    money …and expect the government to forgive the loans. The democratic
    party is home to those who come to the country illegally and expect the
    government to forgive the crime and honor them on the day they stand
    for the citizen ceremony. The Democratic party has become a cult leading
    many to accept killing their own babies!

    Setting up a straw man are you?

    Projecting much?

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

     Hey Ronald Reagan was president of the United States. I suspect if the
    quote was attributed to Obama you would be less critical. As an example
    who gives a hoot what Obama thinks about gay marriage. I consider Obama
    to be my intellectual inferior. Regardless you could care less what I
    say as well. Remember the quote was from a president of the American
    Psychological Association.
    I think it more likely you simply pick and choose to please your own bias.

    Aaaaaand we’ve officially pulled weapons-grade projection right out of the Trolling 101 curriculum.  I mean, seriously, that’s brilliant.  Can I use it when I teach my course on “How to Be An Internet Asshole” down at the learning annex?

    Believe it or not, there are those of us who don’t actually see everything as a partisan political issue.  If someone walked up to me and said, “I think people are capable of flying using only the power of their minds because, as President Obama said, ‘Yes we can,’” I would tell that person’s friends to try to keep him from visiting the Grand Canyon because he’d probably throw himself off the edge.

    Because, you see, someone claiming to be offering a scientific observation but citing a former president who was not, in any way, shape or form a scientist or psychologist or anything else and taking a general platitude out of context is not offering a serious scientific assessment.  That person is, in fact, talking out of their ass.  And they’re also invoking an authoritarian fallacy by pretending that because Reagan was a president that meant his words carry weight across disciplines.

    Also, I like that you just assume that President Obama is your intellectual inferior.  You got one of those Ivy League educations to back that up or are you just saying that because you’re too fucking dumb to properly assess another person’s intellectual heft?

  • EllieMurasaki

    And yes Homosexuality is nonproductive,insufficient ,deficient pointless sex.

    I don’t know about that. I find lesbian sex quite fun, and anything that’s fun is by definition not pointless. Perhaps not the best way to spend one’s time, but there’s lots and lots of things that are perhaps not the best way to spend one’s time, and het sex is prominent on that list.

  • Lunch Meat

    And yet when the whole tale is told we may find she started out in some manner compliant and then became resistant requiring drugging etc..

    Victim blaming! That’s bingo on my troll card.

  • 1Catolives1

     It can happen with political parties and military as well. Rape and pillage was the order of the day for war and continues. WWII had a lot of rape. People are always at risk for following evil. Everyone is at risk. However I hold those who get deeply involved as guilty as well because joining in is simply weakness which could be avoided. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    He looks like some actor I’ve seen before. I can’t place him though.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The people involved in the sex wanted it. Except for the poor women apparently. And yet when the whole tale is told we may find she started out in some manner compliant and then became resistant requiring drugging etc…

    FYI, since your sex ed teacher apparently never told you this: If you are engaged in a sex act with someone and they say stop (or the preagreed word or signal that means stop when the preagreement includes that the word ‘stop’ doesn’t actually mean stop) or otherwise express reluctance to continue? YOU FUCKING STOP. Continuing the sex act at that point is SEXUAL ASSAULT, or, depending on the sex act in question, RAPE.

    ESPECIALLY if there are restraints or pharmaceuticals involved such that the other party is unable to remove themselves from the situation.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • 1Catolives1

     99.99 % pray and after a few months pass on possibly better and no worse for the wear.
    Somewhere out there is a similar group into drugs and sex without any attempt to seek something potentially higher. God knows the heart and a few of the 99.99% please God and the rest are simply no worse off than if they were back home wasting time on the beach.

  • 1Catolives1

    Gays suicide rate has always been high and not all due to their sense of social ostracism. People who know they are dysfunctional are at greater risk all of the time. It is like saying people who are depressed commit suicide while in treatment. The therapy is not usually to blame.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Gays suicide rate has always been high and not all due to their sense of social ostracism.

    [citation needed]

    Unless you’re talking about bullying, which isn’t quite the same thing as social ostracism. I have enough cites re the teen suicide rate among people who are bullied for being [perceived to be] queer, where by ‘cites’ I mean ‘obituaries for such teens in my state’; there’s a distressingly high number of them this year. But if you’re suggesting that queer people who accept themselves and are accepted by everyone around them still have a higher suicide rate than heterocis people in all-else-equal circumstances, you need to cite the hell out of that.

  • 1Catolives1

    My educational records are open to all when I get a job. (Unlike Barry’s Sotero’s)
    Obama excels me only in his ability to lie.

  • Lunch Meat

    So how is it dysfunctional to love someone who happens to be the same sex as you?

    Also, you clearly have no idea what goes on during reparative therapy.

  • 1Catolives1

    I suppose heterosexuality may be able to be “cured.”
    I suggest in a world without the opposite sex all would eventually happily make do with the same sex.

     The question is which is more likely to be the disease ?

  • EllieMurasaki

    The question is which is more likely to be the disease ?

    None of the above, fuckwit.

  • Lunch Meat

    The question is not “which is more likely to be the disease”, because there’s no evidence that either is a disease. The question is, did Jesus mean it when he said “do unto others” or not? And if he did, and you believe that, then are you okay with being “cured” through bullying, intimidation, harmful therapy, and threats of hell?

  • 1Catolives1

    Personally I wish all gays the best. However heterosexuality makes sense. Homo “sexuality” does not
     Example :
    If a world existed of only heterosexuals visited for the first time by aliens scientific studies evaluating heterosexual behavior would eventual be understood because they  would see that children are produced. It would be friction with pleasure and a purpose.
    If a world existed where only homosexuality existed and all remembrance of heterosexuality had been lost those studying the behavior would never be able to determine a purpose beyond friction and pleasure.
    Homosexuality in a sense does not even exist without heterosexuality to define it.
    Homo”sex”uality is simply friction for pleasure. It is not sex.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Pleasure is an entirely valid purpose.

  • Lunch Meat

    Neither homosexuality or heterosexuality are “sex” because they are orientations not behaviors. You’re just displaying more ignorance about sexuality the more you post.

    Also, if we evaluate the “sense” of things based on whether aliens could understand their purpose immediately (I can’t even believe I’m engaging with this idea as if it has merit), then we’d have to get rid of a lot of things.

    You people who act like sex has to lead to children for it to be worthwhile because pleasure is “just” pleasure disgust me, you know that? Whatever happened to making love? Becoming one flesh? Intimacy? You’re the one dishonoring God’s greatest gift to couples with your legalism and shaming. Congratulations, you’ve taken a profound and awesome mystery and turned it into a flowchart.

  • Mark Z.

    And yet when the whole tale is told we may find she started out in some manner compliant and then became resistant requiring drugging etc..

    Wow. Yeah, I see how that would change everything.

    They were required to drug her, see. They had no choice. In a way, aren’t they the real victims? They wouldn’t have become rapists if she’d just consented!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Apropos of nothing: I don’t have the link on this computer, but somebody linked me to a flowchart. Purpose of the flowchart, to determine whether a toy is appropriate for boys or girls. Question box: ‘Is the toy operated with one’s genitals?’ Yes arrow points to: ‘It’s not for children.’ No arrow points to: ‘It’s appropriate for either boys or girls.’ And that’s the whole flowchart.

  • Karkat Vantas

    – carcinoGeneticist [CG] has begun trolling godBotherer [GB]

    CG: OH MY GOD.
    CG: FIRST OF ALL, LET ME JUST MAKE IT CLEAR THAT MY VISCERAL DISGUST AT HUMAN REPRODUCTION ALMOST OVERSHADOWS MY MORE GENERALIZED LOATHING FOR YOUR IDIOTIC SPECIES, ESPECIALLY YOU AT THIS PARTICULAR MOMENT.

    CG: SECONDLY, WHEN YOU SAY IDIOTIC THINGS LIKE THIS:

    GB: If a world existed where only homosexuality existed and all remembrance
    of heterosexuality had been lost those studying the behavior would never
    be able to determine a purpose beyond friction and pleasure.

    CG: I’D LIKE TO SEE YOU EXPLAIN THE ‘PURPOSE’ OF DISPLAYS OF CONCUSCIPIENT EMOTIONS, SUCH AS HUGGING AND KISSING.
    CG: SINCE BY YOUR ALLEGED LOGIC, THEY DON’T DIRECTLY LEAD TO SOMEONE HAVING TO INCUBATE A GRUB INSIDE THEIR TORSO, THEY MUST BE PURPOSELESS, RIGHT?

    GB: Homosexuality in a sense does not even exist without heterosexuality to define it.

    CG: I’M SURE THIS MUST HAVE SOUNDED TREMENDOUSLY PROFOUND TO YOU WHEN YOU WROTE IT, BUT THE ONLY MEANING I’M ABLE TO GLEAN FROM IT IS SEVERAL VARIATIONS OF ‘NO DUH’.
    CG: HOMOSEXUALITY WOULDN’T ‘EXIST’ WITHOUT TWO OR MORE DIFFERENT GENDERS TO DEFINE IT, AND A CULTURE THAT COLLECTIVELY LOSES ITS SHIT  WHEN SOMEONE ADMITS TO HAVING PREFERENCES IN MATESPRITS NOT APPROVED OF BY YOUR ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITIES.
    CG: STUDYING AS MUCH OF HUMAN HISTORY AS I COULD MANAGE WITHOUT REJECTING MY BREAKFAST AT YOUR COLLECTIVE STUPIDITY, IT SEEMS LIKE THERE WERE VAST SWATHS OF CULTURE THAT DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE ‘HOMOSEXUALITY’ AS WORTHY OF COMMENT.
    CG: EXCEPT FOR REGARDING WHOEVER WAS ACCEPTING THE OVIPOSITOR AS ‘DEGRADED’, IN KEEPING WITH THE WAY YOU GENERALLY TREAT THE GESTATOR CASTE.

    GB: Homo”sex”uality is simply friction for pleasure. It is not sex.

    CG: WHAT PART OF THAT DOES NOT ALSO APPLY TO RECREATIONAL COUPLING?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    They should consult the Vatican which wanted to outlaw Galileo etc.
    California
    will some day be mocked for this move into regulating scientific
    investigation. It will take a very long time however because most people
    do not give a crap what happens to gayblack people. Nevertheless someday
    when a little pill,
    magnetic ray or even a behavioral plan “cures”
    homosexuality
    turns black people white California will look to be no better than a state which
    claimed treating homosexualityde-africanization was witchcraft.

    This is what you sound like to someone who isn’t a bigot. Just saying.

  • Lunch Meat

    Okay, normally I think shouting on the internet and walls of text are bad form, but this? Is awesome. I bow to your superior powers of snark.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Only if one equates ‘what’s best for the country’ with ‘what’s best
    for rich heterocis white men’ and ignores all the ways in which the
    interests of people who are rich and/or heterocis and/or white and/or
    male conflict with the interests of everybody else.

    Not even them. The evidence is pretty strong that Romney’s policies would have made thigns worse. Destroyed the economy, destroyed the environment. Everyone would lose, rich white hetero cis men included. Their privilege would shield them from theworst of the hurting, but when the ship sinks, everyone gets wet.

    Remember that. They would rather hurt themselves so long as they ensure that the Other gets hurt more.  They’d destroy the world, themselves included, ratherthan be brought down to the level of everyone else.

  • Lunch Meat

    Ha, someone just shared that on my Facebook. Nice.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Good point…but it’d take time to get that bad, and in the short term, a Romney presidency woulda had rich white heterocis men sitting pretty.

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

     My educational records are open to all when I get a job. (Unlike Barry’s Sotero’s)
    Obama excels me only in his ability to lie.

    Mind if I take a wild, flailing guess in the dark?  You’re white, aren’t you?

    Oh, and, um, what this has to do with why quoting Ronald Reagan while also claiming to be making a scientifically rigorous argument outside of your own single-minded brilliance is completely beyond me.  But, of course, all you’re doing is derailing.  I mean, you’re the one who brought President Obama into a conversation as the single dumbest and misguided attempt at an ad hominem attack I’ve seen since at least Monday.

    So, again, what reason do I have to believe that ex-gay therapy works when you’re giving me a single quote from a guy who’s only citation is a random quote of a platitude that he attributed to Ronald Reagan?  I ask that especially since the person in question’s claim seems to be limited to, “It works every once in a great, great while, so it’s worth trying, I guess…”

    This is not exactly a ringing endorsement of gay reparative therapies.  Oh, and I have a follow-up quesion: Why the fuck would you think that your original quote was such a great start to your trolling?  Please, tell me Mr Smartypants.  I’m all ears.

  • EllieMurasaki

    “It works every once in a great, great while, so it’s worth trying, I guess…”

    If the thing that it works on is something undesirable and there’s no more effective way to deal with it and this thing won’t do any harm, then trying it makes sense even with a low success rate. Pray-the-gay-away and its cousins are trying to solve a nonproblem and they hurt people in the process; either alone would mean that trying it doesn’t make sense.

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

    (shrug) Sure, if someone wants to look for such a thing, they’re welcome to do so. And if someone wants to make use of it, if and when it becomes available, I’m fine with that. This is just as true of being gay as of being male or being white or being bipedal.

    But it’s not especially important.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The problem here isn’t gay people wanting to be straight. The problem is gay people having it pounded into their heads that being gay is abhorrent wrong nasty evil (and as a consequence wanting to be straight, because clearly no straight person has ever done anything wrong ever), with a side of parents forcing their teens into programs that purport to turn gay people straight, and bonus hurtfulness and ineffectiveness.

  • Lawrence

    Those statements about what goes on at IHOP are pretty ridiculous. I’ve been there and it’s like a normal worship service. What is it supposed to look like when people pray? 

  • Daughter

    Really? I am unaware of jobs outside of academia that want to see your transcripts. Every job I’ve ever applied for just want to know where I attended school and what degree I received. And FYI – we know that about President Obama.

  • Daughter

    Re: aliens observing earth. I saw a cartoon as a kid that had the alien observers concluding that earth’s dominant life form have four round, rotating legs (although some of the bigger of the species have more legs); have eyes in the front and  back of their bodies  that glow at night; and consume a liquid diet that’s pumped into the sides of their bodies. Two-legged parasites live in the bodies of this life form, and usually jump out when the life form stops to rest.

  • 1Catolives1

     Are you gay?

  • 1Catolives1

     Black is a nice color and a genetic variation.

    Homosexuality is a choice and is disgusting.

    Your comparison fails.

  • 1Catolives1

     Let me guess you are unemployed and gay.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, yes, I’m bisexual, I can choose whether to enjoy lesbian sex or het sex…what’s wrong with me having lesbian sex, and how does this apply to someone who, though capable of having het sex, does not actually have the option of enjoying het sex?

  • 1Catolives1

     Well it is abhorrent, wrong, nasty and evil.
    You left out insufficient,deficient,nonproductive,fruitless,deviant,abnormal,aberrant ,pathogenic,boring and dull.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Which only emphasizes my point that the problem is applying those adjectives to queer people and queer sex, not with queer people or queer sex themselves. Because I assure you that not one of those words is true.

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

    I agree that gay people being abused as you describe is a problem, and that when anti-gay “therapies” are pressed into service as a tool of abuse (as they typically are) they become an expression of that problem, just as when attendance at religious services or the wearing of special symbols become a tool of abuse (as they sometimes do) they become an expression of that problem.

    That said, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with queer folk choosing to wear special symbols or attend religious services. The problem is the context of abuse. Similarly, if someone is given a real choice and chooses to be straight, that’s fine. But that requires a world where such a free choice is possible, which means first putting an end to differential abuse of queer folk.

    Similarly, if someone born female chooses to be male, that’s fine, but if they are doing so because they live in a world where women are treated worse than men and they want to protect themselves from poor treatment, that’s problematic.


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