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Apr 30, 2023

“The Secret” or “The Law of Attraction” is such a simple and vague philosophy that almost every contemporary motivational speaker invokes it, but it can be directly traced to the publishing of a famous 2006 self-help/New Age spirituality book called THE SECRET by Rhonda Byrne. Basically, the book posits that the things we focus on in our minds can become reality, and this can affect us in both positive and negative ways. Your thoughts can literally make you an overnight millionaire, or cure your own cancer — but too much negative projection can directly lead to sabotaging your own life. Although the idea of positive affirmation is harmless, living your life believing your thoughts can literally bend reality has the potential to create toxic, unhealthy, obsessive thought loops, which are easily preyed upon by scammers. But a relatively benign (and bizarre) artifact of THE SECRET universe is the film we focus on this week — THE SECRET: DARE TO DREAM, starring Katie Holmes as a worrywart mom struggling to take care of her kids on a meager salary, and Josh Lucas as a radiantly positive (and hot) single man who enters her life with a secret of his own that could change everything for her. To analyze this weird,New Age-y romcom, we’re joined by our friend Ember Knight, a comedian, musician and filmmaker who started performing at a very young age as a choir soloist at the Agape International Spiritual Center under the direction of Rickie Byers (who later left the congregation) and Dr. Rev. Michael Beckwith, who would go on to be a featured speaker in the influential THE SECRET documentary from 2006. Ember has a fascinating insight into being a part of a New Age congregation that was foundational in forming the philosophy that would later be called The Law of Attraction, and Ember’s current spiritual identity as a Christian is influenced by both the beautiful and dark sides of growing up within this style of worship.

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