The Bethany Deaton Case: A Blogging and News Roundup

leadThis week I’m very excited to announce that one of my articles is being featured in The Atlantic online.


“Seven Signs You’re in a Cult” gives an overview of my time in Tyler Deaton’s prayer group, beginning in 2005 when I met him and Bethany Leidlein and concluding with Bethany’s death in Kansas City in 2012. It was an extremely difficult piece to write, because reliving the emotions associated with that period in my life, and losing her especially, is never easy. There were times when I thought it would never be finished, but I’m pleased with the response it’s been getting.


Here’s a short exerpt:


Though some of the group’s former members remained part of the prophetic movement, I mentally checked out after Bethany’s death. I joined a church in a liturgical tradition and formed a new circle of friends, many of whom had also left IHOP. I began to rethink my views on homosexuality and other marginalized groups. I also underwent counseling with IHOP leaders. During this process, I tried to renounce what I saw as harmful beliefs, including the conviction that our group had been messengers called to battle the forces of the anti-Christ. To my surprise and dismay, they told me, “No, Tyler was right about that. You need to pray out loud for God to show you your calling.”


In other words, our group’s biggest crime wasn’t an excess of zeal—it was not being zealous enough. It seems to me that our community was not exceptional, given the high-intensity spiritual environment we were part of. Tyler was not an isolated individual, but the product of a phenomenally twisted system.


Read the whole thing here.

Since I’ve had so many new visitors to my site this week, I thought I would collect some of the most important news articles and blog posts written about the Bethany Deaton case. Several of these posts were written by close friends of mine and lay out the complexities of the religious environment we were a part of, better than I ever could. I’ll also include a few of my own posts for easier reference, and will continue to update this post as more information becomes available.


Rolling Stone: Love and Death in the House of Prayer,” by Jeff Tietz

This long and hard-hitting journalistic expose from January gives a crime reporter’s perspective on the development of the prayer group, the personalities of Bethany, Tyler, and Micah, and the “twisted system” of a particular strain of American religion.

Some of Bethany’s roommates in the women’s house noticed a change in her as soon as she got back from her honeymoon. She was “confused” and “uneasy.” She’d moved into Deaton’s basement room in the men’s house, but within two weeks began spending one or more nights a week at the women’s house. Sometimes she stayed several nights in a row. “I just need a little space,” she’d say, or, “I just feel too controlled.” But she wouldn’t elaborate. No one had ever seen her so listless and depressed. She could not be consoled.

Deaton, and therefore the group, considered Bethany’s distress to be her own problem. She was exhibiting inappropriate “resistance” to her new husband. She was restless at night, a former roommate says, which bruised his prophetic sensibility and cost him sleep. Since Bethany couldn’t bring herself to blame him, she instead blamed some amorphous sinfulness in herself. Worried that she might be inclined toward repression and avoidance, Deaton instructed her to meet with Moore in the mornings so that Moore could ensure she was facing her problems.

The Cosmic Cathedral: What Rolling Stone Didn’t Tell You About Tyler Deaton

Blogger Kendall Beachey, who spent four years with Tyler at IHOP University and became one of his good friends, takes a fresh look at the case and assesses the available evidence to try and determine who was ultimately responsible. Most importantly, he raises the question, “Who created Tyler?”

The idea of getting ready, physically and emotionally, was not a stretch for Deaton or his group. Their environment conditioned it, and if other Bible studies merely went through Bickle’s Seven Commitments of a Forerunner again, while Deaton’s sweltered in the Missouri summer sun, his group did not seem odd in the larger context, just more devoted to the belief we had all been told to embrace.

2014-01-22-01-12-20-pmAlso be sure and read his post, The Tyler I Thought I Knew.


The Cosmic Cathedral:Babel, Pentecost, and The House of Prayer: My Time at IHOPKC

In response to the above, blogger Gary Wallin tells the story of two years living in what he considered a high-pressure religious environment, in which students were chastised for wanting to become architects and stories of angelic visitations were used to shut down discussions.

See also, You Are Bound to This.” And for a more scholarly assessment of Tyler’s basic theological framework, read this article by Matt Hartke: “Montanism Revisited: A New Controlling Narrative.


Sketches by Boze:The Night We Were Persecuted

In this essay from February I look back at a night at Southwestern in fall 2008 when Tyler Deaton gathered all of his followers in a single room and told us we were facing persecution and demonic attack.


Sketches by Boze:The Scariest Thing About My Abuser

Building on Kendall and Gary’s earlier posts, here I recount the story of undergoing exit counseling after Bethany’s death with a Charismatic ministry and being rebuked for trying to renounce the lie that I was called to battle the Antichrist. “If Tyler had had a large enough ministry, people wouldn’t recognize his abuses even if they were all written down.”

And finally, check out this response to my piece in The Atlantic by John Hawthorne, a professor of sociology at Spring Arbor University: Boze Herrington’s Heartbreaking Piece in the Atlantic.”


6 thoughts on “The Bethany Deaton Case: A Blogging and News Roundup

  1. I’m a student at Southwestern and all of this happened during my first semester there and the lasting effect that it has had on me is the reason I’m doing my Capstone this fall on Spiritual Abuse. Thank you so much for sharing your story and lighting the way for others.

  2. Pingback: Buffy, Rwanda, and the Kingdom of Elsia | Sketches By Boze

  3. Boze Herrington: If, you go to: the Tyler I thought I knew, and What Rolling Stone didn’t tell you about Tyler Deaton and Babel, Pentecost and the House of Prayer: my time at IHOP-KC. By Gary Wallin and Kendall Beachey. There is great definition of a cult and all the items mentioned; Bickle has been on a hardcore correction list since 2000 and before in 1998. Few of us knew something like this was going to happen, especially with what happened to Baby Jeremiah; we went to Media and Gov’t officials and heads of church leadership. Charisma has a lot to account for, sell-outs; compromising for what, NOT doing their job? Oh, but then someone calls them “satan’s soap opera magazine and or Peyton place”. You can see the comprising of when Trinity Foundation, Dallas Texas,, and Bill/Jackie Alnor exposing corruption along with L.A. Times writer William Lobdell and others have tried to expose evil and truth and charisma still backs up the used religious leaders selling their dead religion. Listed on the blog in comments under articles mentioned.

    Many people have corrected to NO AVAIL. Which is a definition of a cult, “complete and utter disdain for correction”. Pretty bad when the town is having meetings over false church, that should be changing their city for God. Cult is also one that goes after the youth. A friend and I were talking about how much abuse do people put up with until exit and takes years to recover. I come out of an AG (assassins of god), very evil and people tithe, attend and keep it going, go figure! It destroyed, so many families. The pastor more of a warlock than a true shepherd, most of us don’t know what that looks like (false, is giving you their god, their jesus and their unholy spirit).

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that abuse, that verse in Corinthians that what you go through basically helps others, you research it. Believe a comment was made to you, about Bickle got the word or vision, meaning he is greater=NOT SCRIPTURAL. What gives all these false ministries away is their lifestyle, no one says it better than the Bible=Jesus lifestyle and written works of Leonard Ravenhill and Arthur Katz. Amazing how people are so brainwashed and can’t think for themselves until physically or metaphorically speaking someone gets “violently killed in the church”*.

    Be grateful you got out and alive. I wish I could send you all the letters/articles of correction that went to over 350 heads of church leadership 2000 and ongoing (have book offers). Believe just saw a two hour special on Mormon Church, Dateline? They still exist after many people coming forward and exposing and parents letting their children be molested (also, Detail Magazine did an excellent expose, sent copies to church leadership). A lot of charismatic/Pentecostal movements, won’t consider them churches operate like Mormonism, a lot of perversion; which religion will breed (molestation, homosexuality and death). Book: Called, “Don’t Call Me Brother” by Austin Miles depicts how much of the majority of the false church operates, IF we want to see and hear and NOT be deaf, dumb, blind, stupid (rose colored glasses). Been there, done that.

    We want to think and believe the best of people. When you know the truth, the truth will set you free. We need spiritual wisdom/revelation, etc, sons and daughters are led, Matthew 12:50, Mark 3:35, Acts 5:29. I think of that verse, “Kingdom of Heaven, Suffereth Violence and the Violent take it by Force”. We need that generation to go after false, corrupt church, false, wolves, hirelings leadership, money changers, all the snake oil salesman selling their dead religion; who are actually murderous. I’m thinking of someone getting saved and where we going to take them to get discipled and grounded in the Bible? You can’t take them to the false church in its present condition they will bleed them and suck them dry like the spiritual vampires and spiritual cannibals that they are. Look at book: Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” by Johnson/Van Vonderan and “Christian Brainwashing” by Sutphen much of false church. Maybe you will do what rickross is doing, or write a book: like “Pagan Christianity” (green cover) by Viola or Katz’s “Apostolic Foundations”. Numbers 6: 24-26.

    P.S. Have read over fifty hours of abuses by many different people regarding IHOPer’s. Stories ongoing. *Jill Austin gave me a correct prophetic word about being violently killed in the church taken and sawn asunder=2.5 minute word that was a major paradigm shift word for me; very pivotal at time in life in 4/1998 “Gatekeepers of his Glory. Never met the woman, it was totally correct word about my life. It would be gracelets that would get me through the next decade of my life. June 2007′ David Wilkerson would get me through the next phase in “Troublemakers in the Church”; he should have called it the world (can he write that about you?; if so, take it and run with it).
    Carmen the singer has a song: “Destination is there” that he sings, prophetic song.
    By the way Robin Mark’s: Revival in Belfast, other CD’s by him very anointed and very healing. Fulfill your call and destiny and be obedient; don’t compromise and sellout like the majority have!
    Psalms 27:4

  4. We are not seeing LOVE in church or it’s people, not at all. It’s in the remnant, do that research, spoken of the number of few who make it=sobering!

    I can’t throw stones, I’m dirt refuse and scum but as my true shepherd says by his love, grace, mercy and forgiveness, no kidding. Great to find true, one who prays and not preys on the people.

  5. Pingback: Durden, Deaton, and Driscoll (and toxic theologies) | A Real Rattlesnake Meets His Maker

  6. God bless this family! In no way shape or firm did this sweet woman of God kill herself! Her husband is involved workout a doubt! He is a gay man that manipulated her and others to his benefit . God does not hate gays! He hates our sins. As a Christian and a therapist I believe that Bethany love. And believed that he could change . Sadly he was so wrapped up in his own web of lies and sins that his wife was his target . She knew all and he feared exposure.
    He had sex with men from the congregation but would not consummate his marriage with wife??? Then she ends up dead ??? Sorry . Coos get him and he will answer to The Lord !!

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