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Law of Attraction or Law of Distraction?

By Bob Waldrep

Though it is a teaching first popularized in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the "Law of Attraction" has continued to have its promoters and adherents throughout the decades. Of course, not all are successful, but occasionally a teacher will come along and breathe fresh life into it and raise its popularity to a new level. Rhonda Byrne proved to be just such a teacher with the publication of her bestseller The Secret, in 2007.

The popularity of the book and its companion DVD has led to several other books by Byrne and a number of copycats. How popular was the book? Within three months of its release, publisher, Simon & Schuster announced a second run of 2 million copies of The Secret making it the largest reprinting of a book in the history of the company. 1

Due to Byrne's influence the law of attraction, which she smartly marketed under a new name - "the secret" - still has quite the following today and has created flourishing careers for many other "secret-teachers". Byrne's original offering provides an understanding of what the Law of Attraction is, what it offers and why it remains popular.


When asked by Oprah why she called it The Secret, Byrne replied, "We really needed to contain the knowledge in a couple of words. And 'The Secret' is the law of attraction." 2

Apparently, calling the book what she claims it to be, "Law of Attraction" was too long of a title. We are led to believe that "Secret" conveys the idea of "law of attraction" better than the words themselves. Of course they don't, it's all about marketing. As Donavin Bennes, a buyer who specializes in metaphysics for Borders Book, points out, "It was an incredibly savvy move to call it 'The Secret'. We all want to be in on a secret. But to present it as the secret, that was brilliant." 3

By definition a secret is supposed to be kept to oneself, to not be revealed. However, there are two facts about secrets that most people can probably agree are true: as Bennes noted, everyone loves to hear, or be in on, a secret, but, once heard, a secret is also difficult not to share with someone else. The marketing machine behind Byrne's DVD and book clearly understand this.

There is a game in which a group of people sit in a circle and someone whispers a secret in the ear of the person seated next to him or her. That person then shares it with the next person, who shares it with the next, and so on until all have heard it. The last person then shares what he or she. Very rarely is the final result even close to the original secret that was given.

If playing that game, Byrne would not claim to be the originator of The Secret, but a secret-sharer. How close is the message she delivers to the message that was first given? To answer this we must determine who the players are and which, if any, of them is the secret-starter. Only then can we compare her message with the original one.


Byrne has consistently credited The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles with initiating the search that would lead to her understanding of The Secret. Thus, any examination of The Secret must include...

Continue reading CrossingCurrents Vol 10, Issue 2 


NOW AVAILABLE in the Crosswinds E-Store:


Spiritual BuffetSPIRITUAL BUFFET by Bob Waldrep and Ron Carter

This book is a compilation of articles published in the Alabama Baptist Newspaper that were written by Crosswinds' staff members, Bob Waldrep and Ron Carter. Topics include: Atheism and Agnostics, Universalists and Unitarians, Occultism, Wicca (Witchcraft), New Age, Word-Faith Movement, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses...and more. $10 (includes S&H)



Theology Made SimpleCHRISTIAN THEOLOGY MADE SIMPLE by Dr. Sterling Edwards

In this book, Crosswinds' Vice President, Sterling Edwards, provides simple answers to tough question about the Bible and Christian theology. Brief and to the point, the author draws upon his experience as a pastor to explain the subjects he tackles in a humorous and simplistic style. Topics include: Scripture, Creation, Sin, the Atonement, Faith, Prayer, and much more. $15 (includes S&H)



Pet SeminaryPET SEMINARY by Jeff Sutherland

Though it includes touching and often humorous stories of the author and his pets, this book really isn't about dogs or their owners. It is about you and your relationship with God. Crosswinds contributor, Jeff Sutherland effectively illustrates how God wants to teach you, mold you, train you. And, in doing so, He will use your children, your pets, your family, your friends, your problems, your sin, your sickness, your situations every day to learn and grow. All you have to do is listen. $20 (includes S&H) 

Complete EvangelismTHE COMPLETE EVANGELISM GUIDEBOOK - Scott Dawson, Editor

A very thorough and practical collection of essays addressing all aspects and nuances of the evangelism issue, from fine-tuning your testimony to what to do when you don't have the answers, Over 50 evangelists, including Crosswinds' President, Bob Waldrep, share their expertise regarding the transmission of the faith, and in so doing they attempt to alleviate the fear that we feel before learning effective witnessing methods. From atheists to non-believing church-members, from the homeless to members of the entertainment industries, from strangers to our own children, almost everyone is covered by this anthology, making it simple for you to break down the invisible barriers between the unsaved and the Savior. $20 (includes S&H) 


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About Our Leadership and Staff
Bob Waldrep has been engaged in cultural apologetics, with an emphasis on new religious movements, since 1993. Through the years, he has observed and addressed cultural trends that have altered various elements of our society; especially, as pertains to matters of faith and spirituality. More...

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The Crosswinds Foundation was established to assist those who are interested in engaging the cultural shifts that are occurring in our world. Our mission can be expressed in three words: Inform, Instruct, and Influence. More...

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