[Correction]The Boy Who Didn’t Go to Heaven

[Correction]The Boy Who Didn’t Go to Heaven January 18, 2015

Five years ago a young boy was in a horrible car accident and, when he came out of a coma, said he had visited heaven. The book about it was a huge bestseller and it was made into a movie last year. Now that boy has come out and said that he made the whole thing up to get attention:

Nearly five years after it hit best-seller lists, a book that purported to be a 6-year-old boy’s story of visiting angels and heaven after being injured in a bad car crash is being pulled from shelves. The young man at the center of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story was all made up.

The book’s publisher, Tyndale House, had promoted it as “a supernatural encounter that will give you new insights on Heaven, angels, and hearing the voice of God.”

But Thursday, Tyndale House confirmed to NPR that it is taking “the book and all ancillary products out of print.”

The decision to pull the book comes after Alex Malarkey wrote an open letter to retailer LifeWay and others who sell Christian books and religious materials. It was published this week on the Pulpit and Pen website.

“I did not die. I did not go to Heaven,” Alex wrote. He continued, “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.”

I don’t think he actually wrote that, do you? That’s not how a preteen writes. But he is now recanting it, which isn’t at all surprising. But there are so many of these books out there now — Christians eat that kind of thing up with a spoon — that it won’t make a dent. And that’s not to say that everyone else is making it up. I don’t doubt that some of the people who report such experiences while undergoing medical trauma really do believe that what they recall happening actually did happen, I just think there are better explanations for it and the evidence does not support their claims.

Correction: This revelation is about a different book and different movie than the one I thought. My apologies for the error.

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