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Death of Christian sex-cult member exposes rapes, mind control and madness of IHOP offshoot

IHOP cult leader Mike Bickle
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By Andrew W. Griffin

Red Dirt Report, editor

Posted: November 15, 2012


OKLAHOMA CITY – This week, the headlines in The Kansas City Star have been disturbing, with its reporting of a bizarre death that is likely connected to sex abuse, and ritual-based mind control.

Woman was murdered to cover sexual assaults, authorities allege.” “Murder suspect says victim’s husband put him up to it.” “Authorities seek more witnesses in Deaton investigation.”

And when you learn these stories link an alleged fringe Christian sex-cult with an almost equally bizarre evangelical Christian “mission” and “college” called the International House of Prayer (aka IHOP), based in south Kansas City, Missouri, many, many questions arise. Just note The Star's new column: "A dark side to International House of Prayer's allure."

A young woman ends up dead. But why? Tales of rape, threats and religious and ritual-based mind control are all over this story. Tyler Deaton, witnesses said, had been “angry and frustrated” lately and had told a witness that recently he had had a“dream that he had killed his wife by suffocating her.”

As The Star reported Wednesday: “Micah Moore, a member of (Tyler Deaton’s sex-crazed “religious sect”), has admitted he killed Bethany Deaton, but said he did do at the command of Tyler Deaton, who has been described as the charismatic and domineering spiritual leader.”

Details are still emerging from this shocking story, which went public a week or so ago after 27-year-old Bethany Ann Deaton’s body was found in an abandoned van in Jackson County, Missouri. She was found with a bag over her head. She had been suffocated. And it looks like Tyler Deaton instructed this underling, 23-year-old Micah Moore, to do the dastardly deed because, as a witness said, “he had it in him to do it.”

And now, The Star is reporting potential witnesses are afraid of coming forward to talk about the Christian sex cult led by cultist Tyler Deaton. Police there are begging witnesses to come forward and those that have, the paper notes, have many shocking stories to share.

The Deaton cult house was often swarming with men driving up in cars with Texas plates. Neighbors said they assumed the Deaton’s were holding “Bible study.” Little did they know ...

The Deatons had come to Kansas City to be at IHOP in the mid-2000’s, after leaving Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. IHOP lures lots of young people. Many are from Texas. IHOP staffers constantly push members to bring in new recruits. The Deatons are just some of thousands who have shown up since the 1990's.

Notes The Star: “Rumors also have led investigators to look into talks of drug-induced rapes and sexual assaults at the Deaton house in Grandview where several (cult) members lived.” This echoes countless of other religious cults and mind-control “groups” that have come and gone over the decades. Consider the Jim Jones-led People’s Temple or the Children of God. The recent allegations coming out of the Church of Scientology also come to mind.

The Deaton-led Christian sex cult grew out of their attraction to the fringe IHOP organization, led by Mike Bickle, who, in a profile on IHOP in The New York Times in 2011, was described as promoting “unorthodox theology” in a “cultish atmosphere.”

Naturally, Bickle has rejected these claims, despite former students tell the Times that “they had been expelled for questioning (IHOP’s) fascination with mystical healings, prophesies, angels and demons.”

And now that IHOP is being linked to the offshoot Deaton cult, IHOP is doing everything to distance themselves from this hugely damaging scandal, saying that while the Deaton’s attended IHOP, the offshoot “religious community” Deaton led was “veiled in secrecy.”

But Bickle and IHOP have a lot to answer for. Did their mind-control methods lead the Deaton-led cult to take things too far?

And former IHOP members are speaking out. In 2009, one former IHOP staffer wrote in a blog post titled “Why I Believe IHOP is a cult,” that after five years of involvement with the group, she deemed it a “dangerous place” and that people family, personal and marital relationships have been destroyed after becoming drawn into the religious madness of IHOP.

Some examples the blogger – Gospel Masquerade – gives, includes sleep deprivation, are required to be obedient at all times, led by an “authoritarian power structure”

Writes the blogger: “Everyone was kept on short leash." You could only leave the premises of IHOP if given permission. Your activities were constantly monitored. Not exactly a place to be spiritually free and commune with God in a loving environment. 

IHOP members were forced to share personal “struggles, thoughts, fears, and walks with God” with the group. They also had to write down “dreams, visions, or whatever else that happened to us spiritually.” These journal entries were then given to higher-ranking IHOP leaders, who would then “prophetically pray” over these individuals, implying that they spiritually knew what the “struggles” were.

The blogger also notes that IHOP staffers do not have critical thinking skills and that Mike Bickle is “put on a pedestal” and that he has a “Messianic-like devoted following of people who would do anything if he told them to without a moment of questioning or hesitation.” We should note that Bickle is very influential in right-wing political circles (note last year's Rick Perry-led "Response" in Houston) and even called Oprah Winfrey a part of the Harlot Babylon movement, leading to the Antichrist. Bickle and demon-obsessed co-leader Lou Engle are also virulently anti-gay

Continuing, she writes: “From my observations and experiences on staff, IHOP members do not think for themselves or question Mike’s interpretation of scripture or the slant in the way he teaches it.”

Sadly, it may take this young woman’s death to get the local authorities to start taking a hard look at IHOP and it’s associated organizations. The Gospel Masquerade blogger says IHOP Is a destructive cult that preys on young people. She noted that certain phrases are repeated over and over within the confines of IHOP, including: “You were made for this place. IHOP is an incubator for people like you.”

Another blogger, writing at, wrote this past March that she was involved with IHOP for three years and that Bickle “is powerful and he has followers that will do anything he says.” It sounds to me that Tyler Deaton was merely following in Mike Bickle’s footsteps, from what we have researched.

The Truthspeaker blogger continues: “They are dividing the body of Christ on purpose. They’ve threatened people emotionally, spiritually, even physically. The scariest thing of all is that they’re growing so fast that they don’t care if a few people here and there leave, Bickle is after the masses of young people and he’s demonizing them, all of them. In the 3 years I was there Bickle never once preached about Jesus being the savior.”

And this site notes “The Dangers of the International House of Prayer (IHOP).” Another YouTube video reveals that IHOP is obsessed with demonic possession and sends questioners of their practices to re-education camp in Toronto. What happens there, we don't know.

Of course, Mike Bickle dismisses the suggestion that IHOP is a cult. Watch this interview and make up your own mind. However, his guilty face says it all.

Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report

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About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from John Brown University in... read more

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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