DVD Release Date:  March 11, 2008
Rating:  Unrated
Genre:  Teaching/Evangelism
Run Time:  87 min.
Director:  Jay Silverman

Since it was first published in 2006, The Secret has flown off of bookshelves.  Written by Australian television producer Rhonda Byrne, this nonfiction book teaches that our thoughts determine our lives, and that we and we alone have the ability to determine our destiny.  Positive thoughts are powerful magnets, Byrne says, which attract wealth, happiness and health.  Likewise, negative thoughts repel those things—and even a fleeting one is enough to bring on a natural disaster or terminal illness.

Think no one would buy this?  Think again.  The book has been at the top of all the bestseller lists for nearly 18 months and has birthed numerous spin-offs—everything from teaching tapes and workbooks to seminars and speaking engagements.  At the time of this review, it was ranked No. 10 on Amazon.com. 

Respected Christian psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud has taken on Byrne with his book, The Secret Things of God.  This DVD is a visual summary of his response, which is as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove.

There is indeed a law of attraction, Cloud says, but it’s not one big “secret” which guides the world.  Instead, Cloud believes that there are proven laws which God has put into place which establish the outcome of our lives in various areas.  These laws are universal truths which apply to everyone, no matter what their background or beliefs.  If we discover what these laws are, they will bring us great happiness.  The best news?  They’re no secret at all.  They’re available to anyone who wants to know them.

Shot in seminar format, Cloud speaks without the tired stage-and-podium background we’re used to seeing in teaching videos. He stands in front of a deck, with sunlight streaming in.  It’s a soundstage, but the lighting is so realistic and the backdrop so convincing that I spent too much time staring at the mountains and lake behind him, looking for ripples.  The rest of the production values are equally as good, and definitely worthy of the 20th Century Fox label.

Cloud begins with his testimony—the story of how he came to believe in God, as a young college student.  He then looks at the four key areas which define our lives: happiness, relationships, our purpose and our spirituality.  Essentially, he’s sharing the good news about Jesus.  However, he does so in a way that parallels the book. 

Cloud recognizes the many inherent truths embedded in Byrne’s teaching.  He encourages us to focus on the positive, for example, and explains why this is important.  And yet, he also teaches that confronting our negative emotions is what will ultimately make us happy.  That’s why God put our tear ducts on our faces, he says—so that our pain could be shared.  Quoting Galatians 5, he says that “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.”  He then addresses some of the things that rob us of freedom, like codependency and denial.

Another issue Cloud addresses is relationships.  You attract the relationships that fit you, he says.  The Secret insists that our relationships are based on our thoughts, but what psychologists have learned is that thoughts aren’t a supernatural magnet.  We all have patterns of personalities that fit—and only fit with—other very specific kinds of personalities.  Daughters of alcoholics, for example, describe being instantly attracted to addicts, again and again, without even realizing that they are addicts.  It’s the same with most of us, even if less dramatic.