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Love and Death In the House of Prayer
June 19, 2014 4:57 AM   Subscribe

A former member of a tight-knit college prayer group describes his community's disintegration — and how one of its members ended up dead.
posted by SkylitDrawl (68 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn.

.
posted by magstheaxe at 5:36 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


He heard the evangelical leader Lou Engle share a dream he’d had, in which college students were cutting off the heads of their professors, suggesting the end of the “spirit of intellectualism” that gripped academia.

Evangelical Christains have a big stiffy for fundamentalist Muslims.
posted by telstar at 5:37 AM on June 19 [20 favorites]


It's always curious to see individuals get sucked into cults without realizing that they are now in a cult. This is some Lifetime movie guff right here.
posted by Ridiculous Dolphin at 5:53 AM on June 19


It's always curious to see individuals get sucked into cults without realizing that they are now in a cult.

I dunno; in general, we have a powerful desire to belong. We often make compromises to maintain that belonging, and cults (like other abusive personal relations) are really good at getting members to associate only with people in the cult, which means "getting out" comes at the cost of all your social belonging. And that's really hard.

When I look back at my life, I can see a couple of long periods where I associated predominantly with maybe a dozen people, joined together by one interest or another. If in any of those cases, that interest had been a religion, yeah, I think I could have found myself in a cult. I like to imagine that I would have noticed earlier than this woman, but I may be fooling myself. Critical thinking is remarkably easy to short circuit, especially if your social identity is on the line....
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:59 AM on June 19 [20 favorites]


The story as a whole is suitably appalling, but one detail jumped out at me - in the introduction of the Rolling Stone article it mentioned that Bethany's body was found with a trash bag pulled over her head and knotted. I understand the Heaven's Gate members killed themselves in this fashion, but other than them is this a method that anyone actually employs to commit suicide? I suppose that's just one strange detail in an ocean of them.
posted by Kikujiro's Summer at 6:02 AM on June 19


Have just started reading, but seriously, if you have to append "no relation to the restaurant" to the name of your group every time you say it, maybe that's another sign something isn't quite right.
posted by Naberius at 6:11 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


I think the book Final Exit recommended the bag on the head in conjunction with a downer OD as an assisted suicide technique. I guess the idea is that you try to do the job with drugs but the bag is a backstop that someone else helps you with after you are unconscious. I wouldn't think you would want to do it to yourself.
posted by bgribble at 6:23 AM on June 19


What an appalling story.
posted by Slothrup at 6:27 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Not to derail, but someone I went to school with committed suicide with a plastic bag. It is a real thing that happens.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:28 AM on June 19


I began having ominous dreams in which the school was flooded and taken over by monsters.

Given that she's the author and chose to place her dream in her own context (as opposed to Engle's dream, where we don't have his context, only hers), her unconscious was pretty clear that her previously-healthy education was being overtaken by something monstrous. No judgment meant, btw. Only sorrow at the pain and hurt, and awe at how poignant the unconscious' metaphors can be. The author seems to get that too, putting the dream where she did, in the midst of recognizing how monstrous her behavior to others had become and how "flooding" Tyler's intense revelations were.

I had graphic, terriyfing dreams as a child: of my childhood home burning and being ransacked by murderous thieves. Parents were members of an evangelical church that believed the same things as this prayer group. In these nightmares, I was the only one to escape. Everyone else kept telling me, in the dream, there was no fire and "these nice people won't hurt us." Thirty years and a real-life escape later, I no longer have nightmares. Nor do I have a family.

Fantastic, impossible, wild beliefs – pretty good metaphorical fit with monsters.
posted by fraula at 6:31 AM on June 19 [21 favorites]


Just as a note, although it may or may not matter: I am fairly sure that the author of the Atlantic article is male.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 6:37 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Hey, IHOP!!!!

These are the same assholes that train up teenagers to go spread homophobia in Uganda and other African countries! Go check out 'God Loves Uganda'; it's a fantastic film.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:42 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Must be nice, having a belief system that explains even the excesses of your own belief system as consistent with the belief system.
posted by radicalawyer at 6:46 AM on June 19


One night in early November, a few of the group members tried to “heal” a girl with cerebral palsy, even pulling her out of her wheelchair and dragging her around the chapel.

Full stop. Disassociate.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:55 AM on June 19 [10 favorites]


" a few of the group members tried to “heal” a girl with cerebral palsy, even pulling her out of her wheelchair and dragging her around the chapel. Word quickly spread around campus that the girl had been miraculously healed, but I told Bethany I wasn’t convinced that anything really unusual had happened."

Why was this not a red flag for the author? SO MUCH RAGE.
posted by warm_planet at 6:57 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


"He heard the evangelical leader Lou Engle share a dream he’d had, in which college students were cutting off the heads of their professors, suggesting the end of the “spirit of intellectualism” that gripped academia."

...because yeah, academics should have nothing to do with intellect.

I read this kind of thing (the article) and wonder how people end up in that worldview, the idea that everything in society is wrong and that the entire world is out to get them. The personal persecution. The world is awash in demons hungry for their soul. The world is always on the verge of ending, no matter how many times it hasn't ended on schedule before. It's a special and sad sort of narcissism, I guess, feeling that you are so important that evil spirits are drawn to rise against you personally.

People can draw a lot of strength and love from religion, but when it goes bad, it really goes all out. I wish the clarity of realization that dawns on some at the end could come sooner, before too many got hurt.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:02 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Also, this? "He reminded the students that Judas had spent three years in the company of Jesus and his disciples without anyone suspecting the wickedness he was capable of." I feel like Judas got a raw deal here. Without betrayal, there's no miracle of sacrifice and resurrection. The disciple is vilified by history but in a greater sense, without his actions there's no salvation, is there. Maybe the religion needs to rethink the guy's standing, because more and more I get the feeling he was retconned into being a traitor.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:11 AM on June 19 [9 favorites]


I think the book Final Exit recommended the bag on the head in conjunction with a downer OD as an assisted suicide technique. I guess the idea is that you try to do the job with drugs but the bag is a backstop that someone else helps you with after you are unconscious. I wouldn't think you would want to do it to yourself.

Yes, this is a Thing that happens. Someone in my extended family chose this option at the end of a long and difficult medical issue; even though assisted suicide was not legal and they did not hide what happened, there were no legal consequences. I don't believe that there was even an investigation of any kind beyond the death certificate.

I read the Rolling Stone article when it came out, and just read this one. Maybe my need to belong is below average, but I have a lot of trouble fully understanding the appeal of being in a cult. Being close to people is nice; it's the giving up of control to the charismatic leader that leaves me cold.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:12 AM on June 19


but other than them is this a method that anyone actually employs to commit suicide?

Turns out a google search for DIY suicide (only a little tautologous) takes you to the wikipedia page for "suicide bag."
posted by The White Hat at 7:12 AM on June 19


[derail]I have bypassed this article at the Atlantic now several times because, well, unlike SkylitDrawl's summation, The Atlantic's headline sounded like this was a shallow piece. The sort of brief article that reaches really hard to find some universal truth or point of connection we can all feel, but in the end is a barely observant bit of trivia or snark or glurge. So thanks for the framing and related article, SLD[/derail]
posted by crush-onastick at 7:14 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


And then they interrogated Micah, the person who had been charged with guarding me during one of my periods of isolation from the group. During questioning, he broke down and confessed that he had suffocated Bethany. He later said Tyler had told him to commit the murder, saying he “had it in him to do it.” The next day—the day of Bethany’s funeral in Arlington, Texas—he drove to the police station and turned himself in. There, he told a lurid tale: He and other men in the group had sexual relationships with Tyler, and together, they had ritually assaulted Bethany. She had been killed, Micah said, because they were afraid she would tell her therapist about the assaults.
Fucking hell.
posted by zarq at 7:20 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


When Christ returns, he will slaughter by sword in a single day the unsaved, and his warriors will rule heaven and Earth forevermore

Jesus ruefully looks at the sword that he had beaten into a plowshare eons before. Sad trombone plays.
posted by dr_dank at 7:31 AM on June 19 [12 favorites]


Am I the only one who suspects that Tyler Deaton may have schitzophrenia? It develops in young adulthood, and it certainly manifests as delusions, he certainly seems to have NO empathy for others. I'm not trying to be an armchair clinician or anything, but gosh, there's such a thin line between being a prophet and being mentally ill.

You may wonder how it is that all of these bright young-people could be sucked into something like this. The brain is so maleable at that age and the amygdala predominates decision-making and the drive to belong and be accepted is so strong.

It may be that kids from very religious backgrounds are easily brought into 'prayer groups' and churches to find a comfort in a transitional time. If they find friends and acceptance and fun in that group...I can see how that would be attractive. If you come in at a certain age and time in your life, and don't leave, you may never develop the critical thinking skills to discern that you're in a cult, or that the idology is unbalanced in your life.

I often wonder if, 'there, but for the grace of God, go I,' when I read these kinds of accounts, because sometimes, it's a simple matter of having decided to go to that prayer group instead of the ΑΔΦ party. Seriously.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:43 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


Man, they'd all been much better off if they'd just gotten high and played Dungeons & Dragons like normal kids.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:44 AM on June 19 [14 favorites]


I read the Rolling Stone article when it came out, and just read this one. Maybe my need to belong is below average, but I have a lot of trouble fully understanding the appeal of being in a cult. Being close to people is nice; it's the giving up of control to the charismatic leader that leaves me cold.

I'm going to phrase this carefully for obvious reasons.

There are millions and millions of people out there who surrender themselves willingly and completely to the beliefs that (a) Life as a concept was created by an Unspecified Superior Being Who Works In Mysterious Ways, (b) USBWWIMW wants humanity to act and live their lives according to very specific rules, and (c) [a book, a preacher, a man in Rome in a funny hat, a man on TV in a funnier hat, insert your Duly Designated Representative of an Organized Religion here] is an unerring conduit to USBWWIMW and to be obeyed in all things because He Knows Better.

What is the difference between unswerving devotion to a 'legitimate' religion and unswerving devotion to a 'cult'? Scale. Mix in a cup of Lack of Self-Esteem and a dash of Everyone Else Around Here Believes Him And They Don't Like Heretics Much and stir well.

This is not to paint all religious believers as kooks or cultists. Far from it. It is merely to state that any religious structure that places mysteriousness, ritual and blind obedience over reasoning and debate has a major design flaw.
posted by delfin at 7:45 AM on June 19 [13 favorites]


Am I the only one who suspects that Tyler Deaton may have schitzophrenia?

That was my first thought as well.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:49 AM on June 19


I own a copy of The Final Quest. I know someone who used to be connected to IHOP, etc. I'd just like to point out that folks without context and background with this stuff might have a problem understanding it , again out of context.


That said, I personally feel pretty uncomfortable with Mike Bickle's theology these days. But I am also no fan of Harry Potter.

( Rick Joyner, the author of The Final Quest, is connected with Morningstar in NC and not with IHOP.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:52 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Yeah I think the sheepish following is actually often the same-- the difference is who the leader is and how harmful the messages their spreading are.

There are plenty of people who would follow cultish leaders into horrific behavior if they were in the right place at the right time, subjected to the right pressures, but if they happen to be really devoted to following a mainstream christian religion that doesn't happen to advocate really harmful and deranged practices-- they don't get seen the same way as those who get involved in cults.

Many of them are the exact same people, but yeah happen to be following less creepy leaders purely by luck. Removal of critical thinking and checks and balances on leadership is always dangerous, humans are kind of creepy creatures, many of us have some bizarre weird ideas that really never need to see the light of day let alone be spread to others who are less creative but perfectly capable of acting on bizarre shit.

I feel like putting better education in schools about critical thinking, cognitive bias, group behavior, and the use of logic and examining thoughts-- with an emphasis on a view of ethics that includes the necessity of having accurate facts lest people be harmed by a false understanding of reality (the wrong medicine could cost lives, houses built with bad math and crumple on people, caring for human beings with bad information about reality can have terrible consequences) and that in assuming there are beings in this reality who could be harmed by religious ideologies that deny the reality and needs of the self or other living human beings need to be actively challenged.

There are plenty of religions that teach some weird shit like that reality doesn't even exist to begin with, and get very ascetic to the point of self harm, and spread these harmful practices onto followers. This should be looked at as a form of oppression, or even a social disease-- a spread of ideas that cause harm to human beings.
posted by xarnop at 7:55 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Often when it comes to individuals we think of their thought patterns as being false or unhealthy and I think social thinking patterns and sets of behaviors can themselves be diseased- False or misleading thoughts that lead to harmful behavior and poor health outcomes.
posted by xarnop at 7:56 AM on June 19


Wow, IHOP seems like a truly terrible organization:

Talking to members of the IHOP community, I get the impression that they want to forget what happened. If only they had read their Bibles more, I hear them saying. If only they had paid more attention to Bickle’s teachings. If only they hadn’t been led astray by their secular college environment. If only... I believe the movement's leaders have encouraged the perception that we were not “real, born-again Christians”—Tyler was not dangerous because of his grandiose delusions, they say, but because of his “evil homosexual agenda.”


A cult nested within a cult, it seems.
posted by codacorolla at 8:05 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I don't know what to make of it, but here is something of a response to the Rolling Stone article (not necessarily disagreeing with it, from what I can tell) from someone at IHOP. There's a lot of passive voice.

I'd just like to point out that folks without context and background with this stuff might have a problem understanding it , again out of context.

With enough "context and background" you can make anything seem reasonable.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:06 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


I just found out my job is a cult.
posted by weston at 8:10 AM on June 19 [7 favorites]


Also on the console were two hundred-count bottles of acetaminophen PM, one unopened, the other empty. A photo ID for "Bethany (RN, Menorah Medical Center)" lay on the floorboard.

I have a really hard time believing that an RN -- an RN, for crying out loud! -- would choose to commit suicide with Tylenol, of all things. Everyone I know with any medical background at all is fully aware of what a horrifying way out that is. (Also, why wouldn't the difference between Tylenol and Seroquel show up on an autopsy? Or did they just not to a full autopsy?)

That poor woman.
posted by pie ninja at 8:26 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


New Apostolic Reformation, previously on MetaFilter
posted by hippybear at 8:34 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


Yeah, seriously. Anyone with medical training knows that all an OD of Tylenol will do is kill your liver. You likely won't die, but you'll wish you had while you're waiting desperately for a liver transplant.

I'm not sure about the half-life of Seroquel in the bloodstream; I've taken it (and it was awful; the side effects are nasty and terrible), but it seems like the effects wear off relatively quickly which prompts me (without any medical training beyond CPR) to believe it may not necessarily show up in the blood, and is probably not something tested for with a standard drug screen panel. What I mean is, I think it's one of those drugs you actually have to know you're looking for, and look for it specifically.

.

for Bethany

(NB: I haven't RTFA, it's too early in the morning to read that much pain.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:35 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I read this kind of thing (the article) and wonder how people end up in that worldview, the idea that everything in society is wrong and that the entire world is out to get them.

Read any online comments forum and you'll be more inclined to wonder how it is that some people escape from such a view. "Everything in society is wrong and the entire world is out to get me" is pretty much most people's default starting position. It doesn't surprise me at all that people who have explanations for Why Everything is Wrong and can offer some kind of program for How To Make Everything Better easily find followers.
posted by yoink at 8:40 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


That was well-written and not sensationalistic, even though it's a sensational story. I hope the author succeeds in his aim to work as a writer.
posted by subdee at 8:43 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


One former group member, thinking about the events of the past fall and the manner of Bethany's death, recently said, "I just don't get it. Why couldn't Tyler be gay? Why couldn't he just go find a guy and be happy?"
Why indeed.
posted by hippybear at 8:45 AM on June 19 [17 favorites]


The caption accompanying his senior portrait from Calallen High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, read, "Be intolerant, because some things are just stupid."

Well, I guess we have one belief in common.
posted by malocchio at 8:48 AM on June 19


That particular bit of cognitive dissonance is just... I don't even have the words, hippybear. "Why couldn't a hyper-fundamentalist Christian who believes gay people are evil and sinful not just go get a boyfriend?"

I mean seriously, dafuq was going on in that person's head?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:50 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


codacorolla: "Wow, IHOP seems like a truly terrible organization:
...
A cult nested within a cult, it seems.
"

I knew those pancakes came with an ulterior motive!
posted by pwnguin at 8:51 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to point out that folks without context and background with this stuff might have a problem understanding it , again out of context.

Nope, I understand it just fine. The strong preying on the weak, nothing more.
posted by disconnect at 8:53 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Yeah, a group that sponsors hateful homophobic legislation in other countries is perfectly easy to understand without any context necessary. They are evil.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:59 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Well, NAR is basically a Dominionist belief system attempting to take over society through a sophisticated program of infiltration at all levels. If they manage to achieve actual power, they will be more than happy to use any and all of the NSA's abilities to spy on and control the population to shape the world to their own ends.

Basically, they scare the fuck out of me.
posted by hippybear at 9:06 AM on June 19 [8 favorites]


I just found out my job is a cult.

This seems like just snark, but...A shocking lot of jobs kind of are cults, particularly if you work in a field where low compensation is supposedly balanced out by "purpose," a "mission," or "doing good." The fact that you probably need the money to live is what gets you in there, but they have lots of ways of making you stay.
posted by like_a_friend at 9:08 AM on June 19 [9 favorites]


A cult nested within a cult, it seems.

It's a cult stacked on top of a cult, actually. Then covered with ecstatic prophecies, topped with hysteria, and served with a side of twisted eschatology. Yours now at IHOP for .... the price of your soul ...
posted by octobersurprise at 9:09 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one who suspects that Tyler Deaton may have schitzophrenia? It develops in young adulthood, and it certainly manifests as delusions, he certainly seems to have NO empathy for others.

Schizophrenics are able to feel empathy for others.

The level of irrational thinking in that whole group was pretty high though. Of all of them, Micah seems like he was in the worst mental shape, which would explain why he would be so easy to manipulate.
posted by maggiemaggie at 9:33 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Yeah, from the outside, a lot of religions look like this, it's just a matter of degree, and it all seems like it can change at any time from mild to craziest.
posted by maxwelton at 9:42 AM on June 19


" ... This is IHOP's most alluring tenet: God needs IHOPers to effect the Tribulation and bring Christ back to Earth. "The church causes the Great Tribulation," Bickle has preached. Before founding IHOP, he argued that "God intends us to be like gods. God has conceived in his heart of a plan to make a race of men that would live like gods on Earth." Bickle sometimes affects to know God as he would a peer. "I heard what I call the internal audible voice of the Lord," he has said. He claims that he visited heaven one night at 2:16 a.m., and the Lord charged him with preparing for an End Times ministry and seated him in a golden chariot that lifted off into the empyrean. At IHOP, where prophetic experiences are endemic, the mortal and divine commingle liberally.

The vanguard of God's End Times army, according to Bickle, will be made up of young people, or "forerunners," seers specially attuned to the will of the Lord, "the best of all the generations that have ever been seen on the face of the Earth." For seven years of Tribulation, they will battle the Antichrist. When Christ returns, he will slaughter by sword in a single day the unsaved, and his warriors will rule heaven and Earth forevermore."
So, dude's writing Christian fanfic which is half Manichaeism and half first-person shooter? And getting rich and powerful off it? Sigh. It's enough to make a guy miss the Inquisition.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:08 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Tyler Deaton appears more narcissistic than anything, perhaps to the level of personality disorder. Delusional thinking is pretty common in NPD, as is a lack of empathy. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder and is not marked by lack of empathy nor the type of delusions he seemed to harbor, which may be designed to compensate for his self-loathing. People living with schizophrenia tend to become paranoid, detached and withdrawn due to untreated symptoms, not charismatic religious leaders.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:09 AM on June 19 [8 favorites]


[derail]I have bypassed this article at the Atlantic now several times because, well, unlike SkylitDrawl's summation, The Atlantic's headline sounded like this was a shallow piece. The sort of brief article that reaches really hard to find some universal truth or point of connection we can all feel, but in the end is a barely observant bit of trivia or snark or glurge. So thanks for the framing and related article, SLD[/derail]

The only reason I came upon these two articles is that one of my friends from high school who works full time for IHOP posted them both on Facebook. Let's just say she wasn't a big fan of these pieces, but I thought they were both strong enough for Metafilter.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 10:15 AM on June 19


he argued that "God intends us to be like gods. God has conceived in his heart of a plan to make a race of men that would live like gods on Earth."

90% sure that pretty much every Christian denomination on the planet would regard that as rank heresy.

Also, thank you krinklyfig. I was trying to figure out a way to say that which wouldn't come out as grar, because I saw red when I saw the conflation of schizophrenia and lack of empathy. One of the schizophrenic people I know is brimming with empathy--the first to listen when someone has a problem (as long as he doesn't get distracted), the first to give a hug where needed and wanted. Etc.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:17 AM on June 19 [4 favorites]


Kadin2048: "I don't know what to make of it, but here is something of a response to the Rolling Stone article (not necessarily disagreeing with it, from what I can tell) from someone at IHOP. There's a lot of passive voice."

That response is worth reading, so I want to point to it again. Anyone who read the two articles linked in the main post above should read this response by Kendall Beachey, who says he was there and knew a lot of the people involved. It gives much-needed context to the events, I think, and does some connecting of the dots in thinking through some of the details. It accurately frames itself as "add to Tietz’s insights my own recollection, deviating from Tietz’s conclusions when I feel necessary, adding what I can." It does indeed mostly agree with Tietz's account, but it departs markedly in several key parts.

It's sort of archly written, so it can be hard to get through parts of it, but I think it's worth going over. It makes a couple of essential points that need to be made, I think:

1) IHOP has attempted to eschew all responsibility for what happened with this group. It's fair to say that leadership weren't condoning what happened, but as this response makes clear, it is not fair to say that they were unaware of it. Moreover, a lot of the things being reported as outlandish or strange about Tyler Deaton's little group are actually pretty common things in IHOP groups and in NAR culture in general. We need to take a hard look at it, for that reason, and we can't just say "well, this was an aberration." Kendall Beachey does us the great service of naming and discussing carefully the IHOP officials and instructors who were involved with the group, engaged in counseling them, and working to help them before, during, and after Bethany's death; the other articles haven't really gone into the IHOP side of the drama.

Beachey also makes what I think is a fantastic point when he notes that the vehemence with which IHOP has condemned Tyler Deaton and his little group seems to have a hell of a lot to do with the fact that there are homosexual overtones. He says he can't imagine that kind of vehemence if there had been heterosexual impropriety. I agree with him.

2) He notes that it's still very hard to know how Bethany actually died. One essential detail on which he disagrees with Tietz – and this seems like a big one – is the circumstance of Moore's "confession." Apparently this "confession" was not merely unsolicited; it happened during and after Moore had a long interview with a highly-ranked (and apparently highly charismatic and persuasive) IHOP official, Shelley Hundley, who had apparently been instructed by the "prophet" Mike Bickle himself to "go for it" and "get the truth." A lot of people in this thread have speculated about Tyler Deaton's mental problems, but we know for sure that Micah Moore had psychological disorders that had driven him from being able to participate in school and that kept him from joining the group in KC for years. The group seems to have been profoundly unhealthy for Micah Moore, and he seems to have suffered a lot of delusions and been very suggestive.

In short, generally people have assumed that Micah's suggestibility led to Tyler Deaton convincing him to kill Bethany. Kendall points out that it also seems entirely possible that Micah's suggestibility led to him "confessing" to a murder he didn't commit in order to please a charismatic official demanding to know the awful truth about the disgraced prayer group.

One other thing to note about this response by Kendall is that there is a comment at the bottom under the heading "Could Help" which Kendall apparently believes was written by Tyler Deaton himself.
posted by koeselitz at 10:41 AM on June 19 [5 favorites]


Here's a direct link to the comment that Kendall assumes is from Tyler Deaton.
posted by koeselitz at 10:43 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


koeselitz, the followup by the same commenter is pretty manipulative in the it way casts aspersions on Herrington.
posted by Hutch at 11:02 AM on June 19 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the original comment wasn't very positive on Herrington, either. Whatever did happen, I think it's safe to say that Deaton doesn't like Herrington much.
posted by koeselitz at 11:14 AM on June 19


Read any online comments forum and you'll be more inclined to wonder how it is that some people escape from such a view. "Everything in society is wrong and the entire world is out to get me" is pretty much most people's default starting position.

I see. That explains a lot. If only, though, if only someone would come along and be incredibly condescending about stuff, maybe we'd all straighten up and fly right.
posted by hap_hazard at 11:28 AM on June 19


Kendall points out that it also seems entirely possible that Micah's suggestibility led to him "confessing" to a murder he didn't commit in order to please a charismatic official demanding to know the awful truth about the disgraced prayer group.

I was thinking this as well, though either one is plausible given poor Micah's apparent suggestibility.

Herrington should thank his lucky stars that Deaton didn't like him!
posted by maggiemaggie at 11:48 AM on June 19 [2 favorites]


.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:17 PM on June 19


I live very close to IHOP, pass it on the side of the highway every day on the way to work, and actually got in a Facebook argument about it several years ago with someone who I didn't previously know was THAT religious. Over time I completely forgot what the original article I was mad about was, and IHOP basically looks like a strip mall with a big "IHOP 24 Hour Prayer" painted on the side of it, so I had kind of wandered over to "so it's just a place where people can go and pray whenever they need to? that's not so bad."

And then I read these and welp now I remember why I would have been so upset about it, and am probably moreso now than I was then.
posted by agress at 12:49 PM on June 19 [1 favorite]


It's a cult stacked on top of a cult, actually. Then covered with ecstatic prophecies, topped with hysteria, and served with a side of twisted eschatology. Yours now at IHOP for .... the price of your soul ...

Now I'm REALLY glad I didn't go out for that Rooty Tooty Fresh & Fruity Breakfast last weekend.
posted by delfin at 1:17 PM on June 19 [2 favorites]


[supposed faith healing of Cerebral Palsy]

Why was this not a red flag for the author? SO MUCH RAGE.


Faith healing goes right back to the Man himself. If you believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible, you believe in faith healing.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:56 PM on June 19


I always wonder how people in a signs and omens rich environment negotiate their competing prognostications. It sounds like the leader was weighing in on everything in this case.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:00 PM on June 19


Well, the Lord works in Mysterious Ways[tm].

If things go well, obviously the cult leader is completely right and should continue to be obeyed. If things go poorly, obviously SOMEONE in the group has Displeased God in some way and the cult leader is the only one qualified to deduce proper restitution... or who's to blame.
posted by delfin at 4:39 PM on June 19


Ah, a project post-mortem meaning then.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:04 PM on June 19


Rick Joyner, the author of The Final Quest, is connected with Morningstar in NC and not with IHOP

Morningstar? As, in ... Lucifer the Morning Star?

Humh ... awkward choice of name there for a Christian ministry.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:12 PM on June 19


Jesus is also called "the Morning Star." For instance, in Revelation 22:16.
posted by koeselitz at 6:17 PM on June 19


The Bible is sometimes a bit of a confusing mishmash, isn't it?
posted by hippybear at 12:10 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


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