Monday, November 09, 2015


Ben Carson has acknowledged that he didn't get the facts straight when he told us about that Yale exam he took a second time, but he blamed the co-author of his memoir Gifted Hands:
Carson himself appeared to concede that some details in the "hoax" exam story were embellished during an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

“You know, when you write a book with a co-writer and you say that there was a class, a lot of time they’ll put a number or something just to give it more meat,” Carson said on ABC's "This Week." “You know, obviously, decades later, I’m not going to remember the course number.”

An assistant to Carson’s “Gifted Hands” co-author Cecil Murphey, Twila Belk, told TPM on Monday morning that Murphey was declining all interviews about Carson.
How trustworthy is Cecil Murphey, Carson's collaborator? Opinions will differ, but I just want to point out that Murphey has one other collaboration under his belt that's been even more successful than the Carson memoir: 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life,. written with Don Piper.
As he is driving home from a minister's conference, Baptist minister Don Piper collides with a semi-truck that crosses into his lane. He is pronounced dead at the scene. For the next 90 minutes, Piper experiences heaven where he is greeted by those who had influenced him spiritually. He hears beautiful music and feels true peace. Back on earth, a passing minister who had also been at the conference is led to pray for Don even though he knows the man is dead. Piper miraculously comes back to life and the bliss of heaven is replaced by a long and painful recovery. For years Piper kept his heavenly experience to himself. Finally, however, friends and family convinced him to share his remarkable story.
More, from the website of Don Piper Ministries:
Don Piper returned from the gates of Heaven to endure 13 excruciating months of hospitalization, 34 major surgeries, including some never before attempted in the United States, and years of painful therapy and rehabilitation. He now shares his incredible lessons of answered prayer, miracles, overcoming tragedy, pain and loss, and the reality of Heaven. Indeed, each time Don rises to speak, people are astounded that he can even walk onto the platform. But he does and those in attendance are simply not the same after he concludes his presentation.

Around the world Don Piper has shared the story of hope and healing. He's appeared on NBC's Today Show, Dateline NBC, ABC's Nightline, FOX Network's Sean Hannity's America, and The O'Reilly Factor. A frequent guest on Trinity Broadcasting's Praise the Lord and Christian Broadcasting Network's 700 Club, Don has also appeared on D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Hour, and Life Today with James Robison, among many others programs. He's also been interviewed by literally hundreds of radio stations, newspapers, and magazines all over the world....

Don Piper is known around the world as, "The Minister of Hope." He founded Don Piper Ministries, a 501-c3 entity, in 2007, to channel revenues from book sales and speaking income to help over 40 ministries here and abroad.
Yeah, I imagine there's a lot of channeling going on.

Piper's book has come in from its share of criticism, even from devout Christians:
Piper’s description of heaven left me cold. I was dismayed to find that his heaven seems largely man-centered.... Piper did not see Jesus, nor did he see God, though, to be fair, he saw only the “outskirts” and did not pass through the pearlescent gates.... For ninety minutes he walked through heaven, greeted by those he knew in this life, all of whom were (quite conveniently), the same age they were when he had last known them.

... Piper is able to describe it in some detail, but what he presents is surely far too human to be heaven.
I'm not a believer, but even a lot of believers are a tad skeptical when confronted with books in what's come to be known as the "heaven tourism" genre. Earlier this year, LifeWay Christian Stores removed all such books from its shelves after Alex Malarkey, the subject of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, wrote an open letter telling booksellers that his story was made up. ("I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention," Malarkey wrote.)

Cecil Murphey, however, is undeterred by the criticism of the genre. He's written several books with Piper -- not only 90 Minutes in Heaven (now available in a 10th-anniversary edition) but Daily Devotions Inspired by 90 Minutes in Heaven, the 90 Minutes in Heaven Member Workbook, Heaven Is Real: Lessons on Earthly Joy -- from the Man Who Spent 90 Minutes in Heaven, and Getting to Heaven: Departing Instructions for Your Life Now.

In addition, Murphy and his assistant, Twila Belk, have written a faith-healing book called I Believe in Healing: Real Stories from the Bible, History and Today:
When a loved one is injured or ill, what do Christians do? They pray, expecting God to intervene with a miracle of healing. They pray not only because the Bible says to do so, but also because God has shown Himself faithful to heal throughout history and even today. I Believe in Healing is a one-of-a-kind collection of true stories that demonstrate God's healing power. Readers will find dozens of biblical, historical, and present-day accounts of physical and emotional healings, written in Cecil Murphey's heartwarming, uplifting style that made 90 Minutes in Heaven a New York Times bestseller. Anyone who needs a touch from God for themselves or a loved one will find encouragement and inspiration in these pages.
Should you trust a book written by this guy? Should you trust the biographical account of a presidential candidate who'd collaborate with a guy like this? I leave that to your judgment.


Nefer said...

"when you write a book with a co-writer and you say that there was a class, a lot of time they’ll put a number or something just to give it more meat"
Seriously? "a lot of the time"? It has happened so many times that it is considered routine?

Every. single. time. he tries to explain himself, he makes it worse.

Also I am getting tired of him complaining that these events happened decades ago, so how can he be expected to details at this late date. He completely ignores the fact that the books themselves were written long ago (Gifted hands 25 damn years ago).

Glennis said...

Your ghostwriter shouldn't be expected to fact-check? Puh-lease.

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

This Don Piper may share a name with the famous murderer in the 2000/2001 "Trial of the Century" but it's got to help his credibility at least a teency bit that his name's not "Malarkey".

Feud Turgidson said...

Every time Steve M. or Drum or Corn or anyone really who takes a different slant or a new measure on Carson, the higher the pile of evidence that he's a grifter. Does is really matter how 'pure' his grifting is, when he's been grifting so hard or so long? I expect also some folks will have trouble reconciling his neurosurgical success with his grifting and imagine something 'happened' to Carson that moved him mostly off the former and mostly only to the latter. That's actually not so, nor do we even know that it explains 'typical' cases of any Carson 'type', because there just aren't enought individuals in that type to allow for drawing reliable conclusions.

The one I often raise to make this point is a world-class theoretical physicist up in a university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Don Page. Page is a self-styled 'devout, practicing, orthodox' fundamental Christian, yet he's come up and keeps coming up with these cutting edge breakthroughs in quantum dynamics even the hot ones, like amplification of naturally recurring geometric complexities. Sean Carroll, a cosmologist at CalTech who's a way more typically liberal and atheist or agnostic, has written a lot about Page's terrific work in high energy physics theory, but also he Carroll lent his blog to Page to discuss this apparent conflict:
which is great and all, very impressive, except I STILL get, I'm sure unreasonably, that the actual nature of Page's fundamentalism is pretty much all social - family, routine, friends, intellectual challenges offered by constantly being called on to reconcile the conflict - and so, in effect, Page isn't really being honest with us, if only because he's not being honest with himself.

But here's the problem: I'm not a believer. I was raised in the orthodoxy of Christian beliefs, but walked away from it when I got old enough to trust my own views more (Which doesn't make me the least exceptional; it happens a lot, in some, mostly girls, as young as 7 or 8; it hit me around 11, which is probably still within the biggest part the curve, at least in a largely liberal secularist environment.).

IOW Carson, like I'm sure is the case with Murphey and probably with Piper as well, is at least as likely to totally socially enured to the huge presence of griftownium in his belief system.

CWolf said...

Were there any tweety-birds in this walk through heaven?

Professor Chaos said...

90 minutes in Heaven sounds like the special at the. Bunny Ranch!