Bethany Deaton cult murder parallels crime novel

There has been yet another bizarre twist in the story of Bethany Deaton’s murder.

  • Earlier this month Micah Moore, a member of a small religious cult, confessed to police that he murdered Bethany Deaton — a woman whose death had previously been ruled a suicide.
  • The man claims the woman’s husband, Tyler Deaton, encouraged him to do so.
  • Court documents say the woman was killed to prevent her from telling her therapist about months of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of various men in the group.
  • Moore and the Deatons were involved with the International House of Prayer (IHOP-KC), a controversial Christian movement in Kansas City, Missouri, that has since tried to distance itself from Tyler Deaton.
  • Now readers of “House of Lies,” a novel based in Kansas City, tell author Susan Claridge that one of the murders in her book bears eerie similarities to the murder of Bethany Deaton.
  • Released last October, House of Lies is a fictional story about a woman who tries to save her estranged sister from a religious cult, only to find murder and a political agenda.
  • FOX 4 in Kansas City says some of its viewers have noticed these similarities:
    1. the location (Kansas City)
    2. a woman murdered in an attempt to keep her quiet
    3. the woman was drugged (though with a different drug)
    4. the involvement of a religious cult.

    In addition, Claridge’s sister is the director at St. Louis’ Gateway House of Prayer, an off-shoot of IHOP.

  • On her blog, the author says

    In light of the similarities between my latest release, House of Lies, and the tragic death of Bethany Deaton, I have come under attack by some people in the IHOP organization. This is because they perceive the novel to be written about them. 

    It is not. 

    House of Lies is a fictional story based on many years of research of many cult-type groups and leaders, both past and present.  It is not a book about one organization nor one leader. In fact, I conducted an in-depth study of five groups in order to create the fictional cult in my book.

    It is not a true story and any likeness to real people, both living and dead, and to real events, past, present and future, are purely coincidental.

    I have received hate mail from IHOP supporters and they are now trying to destroy my reputation as an author by placing negative reviews of House of Lies on Amazon and other websites.  It is doubtful they have even read the entire novel.

    There are additional posts about IHOP on the author’s blog, such as this one: Another Broken Family in IHOP’s Wake

  • Meanwhile, to date the only person charged in the murder of Bethany Deaton is Micah Moore.
  • Incidentally, the Kansas City Star’s public editor wrote that some people were bothered by one detail in the paper’s coverage of the murder.

    “Please, please stop referring to the International House of Prayer as IHOP. International House of Pancakes is a company of long standing with a public persona that in no way equals the status of the International House of Prayer. I find your usage of IHOP in conjunction with the International House of Prayer to be offensive. IHOP means pancakes, pure and simple.”

    I think her point speaks for itself. There’s no question that the International House of Pancakes’ use of the abbreviation both predates and is far better known than the religious group’s.

    The solutions? The Star could simply spell out International House of Prayer instead of abbreviating it. Or it could also use the abbreviation most common on the group’s own website: IHOP-KC. I think either would be a good policy change to avoid confusion in news coverage.

  • And in case you wondered why the church used IHOP in the first place: Paul Cain — a heretical minister who considers himself to be a prophet — used the IHOP initials as an acrostic for the vision of the ministry, which was Intercession, Holiness, Offerings and Prophecy. [See also: New apostles and prophets pose a serious treat to the Church
  • See also:
    IHOP (the pancake-maker) sues IHOP (the prayer center) over trademark
    IHOP pancake chain drops suit against IHOP church

Read the Probable Cause statement, State of Missouri vs. Micah Moore PDF file
Online memorial for Bethany Leidlein Deaton

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday November 27, 2012.
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