Since 2010, Tyndale House Publishers has been the publisher of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven—the story of Alex Malarkey, a six-year-old boy who was in a horrific auto accident that left him in a coma for two months. When he awoke from the coma, he related to his parents that angels had taken him to the gates of heaven. Tyndale has been saddened to hear that Alex is now saying that he made up the story of dying and going to heaven. This was the first time Tyndale had been told that Alex fabricated the story. We were alerted to his public statement on January 14, 2015, and have since confirmed Alex’s retraction with his father, Kevin Malarkey.
Tyndale immediately put the book and all ancillary products into out-of-print status. (In 2010, Alex, his father, and his mother appeared in a Tyndale Entertainment-produced video of the same name.) Links to the book and associated products were removed from Tyndale’s corporate sites. Tyndale’s distribution outlets were immediately notified of our decision and told that they could return their remaining inventory if they chose to do so.
Tyndale issued the following statement to several media outlets on Friday, Jan. 16: “Earlier this week Tyndale learned that Alex Malarkey, co-author of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, was retracting the story he had told his father and that he recounted in the book they co-authored for publication in 2010. It is because of this new information that we are taking the book out of print. For the past couple of years we have known that Beth Malarkey, Kevin’s wife and Alex’s mother, was unhappy with the book and believed it contained inaccuracies. On more than one occasion we asked for a meeting with Kevin, Beth, Alex and their agent to discuss and correct any inaccuracies, but Beth would not agree to such a meeting.”
While it was only this past week that Alex Malarkey retracted his story, leading to Tyndale’s immediatedecision to take the book out of print, our editors had tried on multiple occasions to meet with the family to correct any perceived inaccuracies. On several occasions in 2012, Tyndale reached out to Beth Malarkey to schedule a meeting to respond to a list of alleged inaccuracies in the book. After originally agreeing to a meeting, Mrs. Malarkey sent us an email on May 22, 2012, saying that, out of concern for her son, she no longer wished to meet.
During the past week, numerous blogs and articles have implied that Tyndale House never paid royalties on this book. The fact is that Tyndale House has paid every penny that is due under the terms of the author contract.
As a faith-based publisher rooted in the evangelical Christian tradition, Tyndale House publishes a wide range of authors, many of whom have varying theological positions. Tyndale goes through an extensive vetting process and exercises discernment to ensure that the books we publish are consistent with biblical principles. At the same time, we recognize that there are many different perspectives as to what does or does not conform to biblical truth.
Tyndale’s stated corporate purpose is to “minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles.” The vast majority of Tyndale’s profits goes to the nonprofit Tyndale House Foundation (http://www.tyndale.com/50_Company/foundation.php), which makes grants to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world.