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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

There's a reason it was a Secret.

It's a Bonus Day here in my hometown of Eldersburg. A little clipper system made it over the mountains and began dumping a nice feathery layer of powdery snow on the area. And so, my school system called out, giving me and my kids the day off. Bonus.

So now, I have time to play with the kids, time to write, time to blog.

I was checking through the bestseller list on Amazon and I saw that #1 on the list was this cool looking book called

The Secret.

The cover looks like an old parchment with a red wax seal. I thought, "Mannnn…this has got to be a fantasy." But I'd never heard of the author.

So I read the synopsis and then the reviews…and, guess what? It is a fantasy. The problem is, the author doesn't seem to know that. Rhonda Byrne presents The Secret as if it's nonfiction, self help. And apparently people are being fooled…in droves.

Let me be blunt: This book is absolute rubbish. It's dangerous. It will give itching ears what they want to hear, promise the moon, and deliver anguish.

Now, I haven't read it, so some might say I'm being unfair. Look, I've read what the publisher says about it. I've read what the author says about it. And I've read dozens of reviews. Here are some of the claims this book makes:

• There's a secret that existed from the dawn of time, a secret that all the great religions and philosophies have had a part of. This secret will allow you to change your life.

• If you learn the secret "You'll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that's within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life."

• "The law of attraction is a law of nature. It is impersonal and it does not see good things or bad things. It is receiving your thoughts and reflecting back to you those thoughts as your life experience. The law of attraction simply gives you whatever it is you are thinking about."

• "This is really fun. It's like having the Universe as your catalogue. You flip through it and say, `I'd like to have this experience and I'd like to have that product and I'd like to have a person like that.' It is You placing your order with the Universe. It's really that easy."

• The author claims that folks who are overweight can be made thin by the secret.

• The author claims that people can ward off disease or cure disease with the secret.

• The author even makes the claim that natural disasters could be averted if people could all align themselves with the secret.

• The author claims that if you see a lady/man you want as your mate, just think it into happening.

Is your blood boiling yet?

Mine is. This is a new age panacea, snake oil guaranteed to cure all your ills. It is hellish fraud. My heart aches for the sick or infirm who might read The Secret. When it doesn't work, how will they feel? Guilt, blame, despair.

In one sense, The Secret proposes to make gods out of ourselves. We control the universe, we pray to ourselves, we heal ourselves, and decide our own future.

In another sense, it reduces people to rudimentary organisms, stimulus response-reflex driven zombies. All we need to do is press the right buttons and the little food pellet plops at our feet.

People are not gods. Nor are they single-cell drones. We are precious, sentient beings made in the image of the one true God. He loves us and waits for us to pray to Him.

Disease, disaster, unmet needs, longings for relationship, horrible tragedy, and all the evil in our society are a result of living in a fallen world. Sin, our sin, broke the world and continues to make it worse. We will never be rid of all this until we reach Heaven. God made a way for people to know this. He made His incredible love known to us. He made a way for us to endure the hardships of this life. He offers us contentment through adversity, NOT the elimination of adversity. And this is NOT a SECRET. This is the message we need to give away through our love and through our words--every day of our lives.

What I want to know is how does a book like this get to #1 on the bestseller list? I suppose, a publisher recognizes the $$$ potential. After all, the public showed its interest in supernatural secrets--and its gullibility--with the DaVinci Code. But it just galls me to see it succeed.

Please read what the publisher has to say about The Secret:

"The Secret is truly the most outstanding book to date that we have published. I am so pleased that Rhonda Byrne was able to bring together this life-changing information so masterfully. This book gives hope for what many have been waiting for-- a shift in the way the world thinks. Its a very exciting time that we are living in, and I as well as everyone at Beyond Words and Atria Books are grateful to be a part of it." --Cynthia Black, President, Beyond Words Publishing


I wonder if the publisher will feel so self-satisfied when the first lawsuits roll in. Can you imagine? The parents of a child who committed suicide over a failed attempt to use the secret. Families whose marriages have collapsed through "secret" infidelities. Clinically overweight or depressed people who throw away their medication in favor of the secret. I truly hope that people will not be duped and experience this kind of tragedy. But I fear they might.


Brett said...

I honestly don't know what to say. GREAT MOONRASCALS!!!
You put it well, Mr. Batson. Totally agree with you.

WayneThomasBatson said...

Yeah, Brett…I only wish I had Mallik's hammer to deal with this garbage. lol

Galactic Overlord-In-Chief said...

I read the info you gave about this book. Frankly, I'm nonplussed. This is no "secret." I've heard one version or another of it for years and years, except this book sounds even more narcissistic and devoid of morality than what I've heard before.

Besides, hasn't this writer ever heard the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for?" Somehow I get the image of someone wishing for a million dollars, and a big sack of money drops down on his head and squishes him flat. Be careful when you treat the universe like a drive-thru!

- Jason

WayneThomasBatson said...

Not to mention that most of what you get from a "Drive Thru" is void of any nutritional value. ;-)

Brett said...

HA! Someone should put that in the book. lol.
Did anyone see the trailer? Quite creepy.
But...can I say I like the music during it near the end? But supporting the soundtrack wouldn't be good either. :-(

WayneThomasBatson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Lu said...

Ooops...that was supposed to be posted under my name.

Brett said...

I was gonna say....who's married? LOL

Becky said...

I checked out the publisher and this is what they said under mission and values: INSPIRE TO INTEGRITY

Our declared values:

• We give to all of life as life has given us.

• We honor all relationships.

• Trust and stewardship are integral to fulfilling dreams.

• Collaboration is essential to create miracles.

• Creativity and aesthetics nourish the soul.

• Unlimited thinking is fundamental.

• Living your passion is vital.

Yep, just slightly the moon side of New Age.

And on the home page, this: We invite you to explore our body, mind and spirit books as well as our young adult and children’s titles. We also have some interesting wellness products and will be adding to that category in time, bringing you the best of what’s available in related products to some our books.

Most disturbing there is the YA and children target audience. YIKES! And this in a time when few CBA houses are doing much youth publication at all.

Echoing Brett's sigh!


amy said...

The saddest part is that there are so many broken people looking for answers and turning to the wrong book. The one they need is one they've probably heard mentioned thousands of times, yet they fail to realize that all the answers they need are contained in the pages of an unassuming book you can read for free at most cheap motels. But the lost souls continue to seek fulfillment from people who publish "self-help" books and "success" books for a profit.

I suppose all we can do is pray for their salvation and that someone in their life may actually show them the real book they need.

everlastingscribe said...

Yup, we got the information on this one too, I nearly mentioned it last week but then got too busy to blog it, I'm glad that you did Lord Batson. People are coming into the store I work at (And it's a Christian one) asking for it by name. It really is new-age (which is older than dirt really, under new wrappings) and sadly just as you said, alot of hurting people, hurting Christians even, are looking for what this book promises.

I suppose what I have been musing on is why in the world hurting people would rather turn to this than to the body of Christ for help. Frankly, I don't like the answers I'm coming up with.

:-D Though, m'lord it's nice to see that you have your hot topics too. I'm not the only one that rants.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a friend of Amy's who's been browsing the site and just had to comment. I know someone who is totally taken in by The Secret, and who on his blog promotes it as if it's the most wonderful thing ever. I don't want to start a debate with him over something he's so charged about, but after checking the book out (like you, not reading it but only what the publisher, reviews say), all I see is another diet pill, another fad, that preys on people's insecurities. You could also say it's just another way of promoting "the power of positive thinking." Some can't see how the latter is misleading; sure, be an optimist, be a positive thinker, but don't fall into that trap of believing that just by thinking you can have that job, that man or woman, that child, doesn't mean it's just a matter of time. People fall into this trap and don't prepare themselves for being let down, which is just a part of life, optimist or not.

Sorry to rant, but I feel as strongly as you do about the greed and carelessness behind a ruse like this. The Da Vinci Code was an interesting read, fun if you like that sort of thing, but there are too many people out there who take everything at face value. And that saddens me.

P.S. Love what you're doing here, maybe I'll one day have the guts to join in :)

amy said...

Yay Sara!

I'm so glad to see you came by. Please definitely consider entering the Suspense Techniques Contest. You can enter up to twice and it's an awesome environment to start out in. Trust me - these people ROCK!

BTW - I definitely agree about this "ruse" of instant fixes. It's so sad that so many great numbers of people buy into it.

Brett said...

Not as much as Amy rocks :)

amy said...


Thanks Brett! I do truly mean it - everyone here has helped to create an environment I'm not only comfortable in, but honored to be a part of. WTB planted the seed - but the rest of you have watered it and been the sunshine to help it to grow.

So thank you one and all from the bottom of my heart!

Brett said...

Does anyone notice that BTW is the opposite of our dearest WTB?

everlastingscribe said...

Oh ho, now that is an evil thing to point out brett.


*mind churns with plots*

Raraavis said...

Did you know that there is actually a dvd that explains "the secret?" One of my non-Christian family members put it in once and a few minutes into it, my mom and I became so troubled in spirit that we both left the room at the exact same time...It was soooooo freaky!

Anonymous said...

I've developed a passion for those caught in the New Age, and am feeling called to witness to them. When I first heard about it, I didn't actually realize how big it is in this world. Now that I have my eyes open, almost everywhere I turn is something about it.
I must say, I don't think I've heard of "The Secret". But hearing about it just pulls my heart strings even harder to get out there and do something!
I pray, with all my heart, that God will give each of us the strength to pick up our swords and fight this evil plot put forward by the evil one. I know I'm ready! Whose with me?!?!?! *raises sword*