*Disclaimer: This post was previously titled “The Acquittal of Micah Moore: Two Years Too Late.” I had been corrected by people involved for my usage of the word “Acquittal,” because he was not acquitted of charges which happen in a trial, rather his confession was ruled inadmissible due to a lack of corroborating evidence. This is a technicality I had dragged my feet on changing, partly because I liked the title and partly because I was overwhelmed at its readership that I wanted to let the piece stay in its original form. For that I greatly and sincerely apologize. I did not mean to mislead or misdirect concerning the nature of this situation or the case in detail. Jonathan Barclay 3/11/2015
Imagine you are in your early twenties. You love Jesus. You have given your life to follow God and obey his word. In your search for God and authentic Christianity, you discover a leader who experiences God in ways you could barely dream of. He has encounters and convictions which stir your soul with passion to love Jesus. You become enamored by his power and the new world of spirituality he has opened up. His wisdom is unlike any you had ever heard. You join his group and become swept away in the experiences, and, in this environment, years of depression and emotional turmoil seem to have been met by the love of God. Things in the group begin to become slightly questionable, but you are young and insecure in your faith, so you trust the person who has an abundance of seemingly real, though subjective, experiences. You engage, hoping, that if you loved God as much as this leader did, you too could have these experiences and know Christ in an authentic way.
Your leader eventually announces the discovery of a spiritual utopia to your group. He has found a place of likeminded believers with an absorbingly rich prophetic history and unparalleled revelation concerning the word of God. You and your close friends sojourn up to join this community out of zeal and honest sincerity to pray, worship, and know and love God in a deeper intimate way. This is a place filled with prophetic fervor which you find exhilarating. Your groups remains slightly isolated from the larger ministry, but you hold on because you honestly believe the man you followed. Out of your love for Jesus, you follow this man as he follows Christ.
Things continue to worsen within your small group. The leader begins doing ministry in highly questionable ways. Rumors circulate that you are part of a cult. However, your leader is graduating from the ministry’s Bible school and is, in your mind, clearly being validated by God. You continue to believe what he says because he has studied the Bible far more in depth than you have. He has encountered God in ways which you have not, and despite his behavior which may make you uncomfortable or on the outside seems wrong, he continues to hear from God, meaning that you must be missing something. The leader ends up marrying a close friend and your community celebrates the union. However, the leader’s behavior begins to turn sexually abusive and contradictory to all you had known. But God speaks to him and he knows the Bible. To question him is to question Jesus, and out of your sincerity of faith and now longstanding history of psychological and emotional abuse, you follow along and continue to swear loyalty to this man you have followed.
Then, out of nowhere, all hell breaks loose. Your group is informed that your leader’s wife, and your dear friend of many years, has been found dead. Compounding on this devastating emotional trauma, you then are awakened to the reality that the man you had followed was not the prophet you had believed him to be, that what was going on in your group was in fact abuse, and despite your sincere belief that your group wholeheartedly loved God, you were actually part of a cult. The movement you sought to join has now labeled you and your loved ones as dangerous, deceived, and demonized.
Already in a state of extreme emotional duress, you and your close friends find yourself in a room in front of leaders who you respect and admire who are not only breaking this horrifying news to you, but are also telling you that you are demonized and need deliverance. One of the leaders before you is respected as a prophet in the greater community. They are a headliner at prophetic conferences, at one point were president of the ministry’s Bible school, the face of the organization’s prophetic ministry, and have regularly addressed the congregation from stage as a revered prophetic authority. Terror strikes, knowing that not only have you failed your friend, but you have failed God. What you once thought were years of passionate devotion to Christ, were apparently, according to this unquestionable spiritual authority, were years you had been fooled and lied to, years spent becoming demonized. Everything in you fills with shame. Guilt washes over you and confusion exponentially erupts as you try and make sense of the years, the death, and the fear and guilt of your friend’s death. Add to that, your entire identity and eternity have been shattered. As people scream and shake around you as demons are being loudly addressed and you are being shouted at to confess sins, you confess bits and pieces of what your confused mind is thinking and processing, overwhelmed by the situation and desperately wanting to find peace and reconciliation with God. In this frenetic environment, a confession comes out; a traumatized man’s confused processing of horrific events in a desperate plea to make things right with Jesus. Overtaken by the terror of this tragedy, you take responsibility for the death and confess to sexual misconduct as you are reeling from the realization of the abuse which you had undergone. With a true prophet standing over you, unlike the false one who had up until that day been following, you desperately seek peace and absolution with Christ.
From this place, you are led to a police station where you repeat the confession, and are promptly taken into custody. After a little bit of sleep, as well as time to clear your head, you realize what you had confessed to and are horrified. As you wake up from a nightmare, you realize that you are waking up to an even worse one. Your statement has already been taken and you are now in jail. A few miles away, your close friends have been scattered. Many friends and acquaintances believe that you murdered and sexually abused one of your closest friends. The organization you left everything to join has completely distanced themselves from you as they warn their members about how heinous your cult was. The prophet who got the confession out of you has quietly disappeared while rumors about them being placed in protective custody circulate as people, many of whom you knew, believe that your groups of people who just wanted to love Jesus were violent and out for blood. The narrative which becomes established in the Christian community you loved, is far from the truth, because sometimes it is easier to believe that someone was murdered than believing that a Christian in their community could ever be depressed to the point of committing suicide. Terrified in your cell, nearby, a congregation which prides itself in compassion and being a voice for the voiceless concerning social justice, releases a collective sigh of relief knowing of your incarceration. Alone and isolated, with your world destroyed, you fight not trying to think about the things which you know happen to people accused of sexual assault and murder in prisons. This is your life, because all you really wanted to do was love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
This week Micah Moore’s testimony concerning his involvement in the death of Bethany Deaton was dismissed by the state of Missouri. He did eventually make bail, but it is only now that his name is fully cleared.
The lead detective and the coroner ruled her death a suicide two years ago and there was no evidence tying him to the scene of the crime.
Despite Bethany’s autopsy showing no signs of sexual trauma and that she died most likely a virgin, the narrative of sexual assault and abuse still persists, even though there were no other witnesses or testimonies corroborating the evidence.
Shelley Hundley, a revered prophetic leader at the International House of Prayer – Kansas City, disappeared from IHOP community soon after receiving the confession from Micah and taking him to the police. It is believed by many in the IHOP-KC community that she is in protective custody, perpetuating the idea that the cult was violent despite there being no history of physical violence. She was brought on stage by leadership and celebrated as a lone voice who was able to discern that there was something wrong and showed great courage by bringing a murderer to justice. She then disappeared from the ministry and even social media, and there has been no explanation to why, and there had been little done to correct the misinformation dissemination.
Despite there being no announcement from the stage, these rumors concerning the abuse by Micah and history of physical violence have been allowed to persist, and nothing has been done to correct them.
Within the last year, there have been several individuals who have been asking questions concerning the events of Bethany’s death, Micah’s innocence, IHOP-KC’s handling of the case, as well as questions and concerns regarding other cases and situations where there may have been incidents of spiritual and pastoral misconduct at IHOP-KC. The overwhelming reaction from staff members and those involved has been one of dismissal and demonization of the individuals who bring up complaints. The common answer from many is a prompt dismissal of these claims because they are statements made out of pain and bitterness concerning subjective experiences, often citing spiritual leader’s own subjective spiritual experiences in their defense.
After two years of a community openly believing that Micah Moore was a murderer who had sexually abused a dear friend of his, the truth is finally out. The false narrative concerning Bethany’s death still persists, and to many, Micah is still a monster. I never knew the man, but I have many friends who did. Our hearts need to break for the horror he went through. Micah has suffered a grave injustice, and many were happy and content to unquestionably believe that he was a monster. Far from being a monster, this tragedy happened to an individual who sincerely just wanted to love Christ. All of the other evidence aside, Micah’s strongest alibi was IHOP-KC’s webstream. At the time of Bethany’s death, Micah was in the prayer room, doing his best to love Jesus.
Sources and Other Material:
The Defense’s Motion to Dismiss Micah’s Confession