‘Selfie With God’ author admits book is fiction
NEW YORK — The publisher of the best-selling 2012 Christian book, “I Took a Selfie With God,” has decided to recall the title after its author confessed on Friday that he did not actually take a selfie with God.
Publisher Sharper Hillovich said in a news release on Monday that Benny S. Sooth, 11, admitted that his story of running into God in heaven after an accident left him comatose four years ago “was simply a figment of an active imagination.”
|Pictured: The controversial book.|
The book had been marketed both as nonfiction and as an autobiography. Some bookstores had set up special “Absolute Truth, Light and Way” shelves to particularly emphasize the volume’s basis in fact.
In the book, Sooth, now 11, chronicles a trip to the afterlife he took following an ATV accident in 2011, when he was 7 years old. He wrote of “Flowing robes, grand trumpets, every loved one you could ever imagine and, of course, God Himself. And lots and lots of Legos.” Sooth also spoke of arriving at heaven via “a bright white light in the center of darkness, guided by voices urging me to to follow said light.” He also recalls feeling “happy.”
In perhaps the most-quoted chapter, Sooth bumps into God in a hallway, and asks if he wouldn’t mind posing for a selfie. “And God said, ‘Why sure, my son. Haveth you your cellphone?’ ”
Though the photo does not appear in the book, it is widely alluded to, and is represented as a drawing on the book’s cover. In the book, it is explained that the photo is not shown because it is too personal.
“It all seemed so real to us,” said contrite literary agent Dewey Collins, who was instrumental in getting the book published. “Benny was giving us a picture of heaven that couldn’t have been conceived of without firsthand knowledge. I mean, before he came along, who knew that the walls of the Pearly Gates were lined with Hot Wheels racetracks?”
Fans of the book expressed similar disappointment.
“When little Benny spoke of the devil making a visit, and he looked exactly like the cartoon on a box of Red Hots, I took that as a sign,” said Evelyn Carter, a devout Baptist in Chattanooga, Tenn. “Sooth’s story spoke to me in ways that no missive ever had before.”
Danielle Belcher of Harrison, Ark., said the book had become a foundation of her faith.
“I’ve spent the last two years volunteering my time to care for the sick and elderly,” she said, “And all because of Benny. So why am I going to do it now?”
Still others claim they continue to believe the story.
“This alleged hoodwinking is clearly a test of faith by God,” said Earl Willis of Billings, Mont. “What matters is not what the world thinks, but what God thinks. And if God allowed this book to be published, well then, it must be true.
“Not like all the other pablum that only tells people what they want to hear,” Willis added. “This really reinforced my faith.”
Sharper Hillovich also confirmed Monday that The Glenn Beck Bible remains slated for an April release.
Blogger backs off of new food-porn policy
SAN FRANCISCO — Amid public outcry over what many critics deemed censorship, the popular blogging service Blogger reversed its new policy against food porn, the company announced Friday.
|Pictured: An example of food porn.|
Instead, a company spokesman said, the platform will revert to its previous policy of allowing food porn if a blog is labeled appropriately, such as with a URL and/or a title.
“We realized the fallacy of our new policy and will instead focus on the removal of illegally posted commercial food porn,” the spokesman said in a statement. “That is, if a food producer objects to their product being promoted for free, or if a reader complains about seeing the picture. We have no record of either of these yet happening.”