Friday, November 30, 2012

Eerie Similarities Link Novel and Kansas City Cult Group

By Michael Doran

Grandview, MO  -  The case surrounding the death of 27-year old Bethany Deaton takes as many twists as the plot of a novel by S.R.Claridge called ‘House of Lies’. 

Claridge met with Fox 4 news and described the similarities as “scary,” but maintains the book, released in early October, prior to the death of Deaton, is a work of fiction.

The book, about a woman who tries to save her sister from a Kansas City cult group, was allegedly based on Claridge’s research of five cult groups, the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City being one of them. 

“The book isn’t written about one cult group or one cult leader,” Claridge told Fox 4.  But, ex-IHOP members say the book depicts this cult with accuracy.

What are the similarities?  In both the book and reality, a young woman is drugged, murdered and found by a lake in Kansas City, and leaders of the cult try to make her death look like a suicide. 

Bethany Deaton was a nurse at Menorah Medical in Overland Park, Kansas and the young woman in the book, named Ema, is drugged and taken to Menorah Medical. 

Cult leaders in the book have armed guards.  IHOP has armed security guards. 

The cult group in the novel is led by a man who claims to have built his empire on the basis of a prophetic document he professes to have come from God but has altered three times.  IHOP is led by founder, Mike Bickle, who says he was given the Blueprint Prophesy directly from God, but has changed the document three times.

Ironically, a neon flashing sign of similarity is the fact that Claridge admits she has a sister and other family members involved in IHOP.  “My relationship with my sister inspired the story, but House of Lies isn’t a story about my sister or about me.  It’s about the dangers of becoming involved in any cult group,” Claridge said.

So far, this work of fiction is splashing truth in the faces of IHOP leaders and members and that’s only the first few chapters.  If the rest of the novel plays out in real life, IHOP has a rude awakening ahead of them.

IHOP leaders didn’t return our phone calls to comment.


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