QUOTE(tynsle @ Oct 28 2008, 03:10 PM)
has anyone else heard of this &/or has anyone seen the film?
it's very interesting. just wondering other peoples' views http://www.whatisthesecret.tv/ http://www.lightparty.com/Spirituality/100...sTheSecret.html
Rhonda is an asshole producer from Australia who treats her employees like shit. She started seeing the success of all the self-help books here and decided to try to cash in.
She enlisted Esther Hicks who is known for the "law of attraction" which means you attract good or bad things to yourself. Her husband sold Amway for years.
When Rhonda realized she could make serious $$$$$ off this she did a "secret" offshore deal to cut everyone out.
Several people sued her.
The Hicks who started the "law of attraction" lost millions, so if they can't get their own principle to work????
Rhonda still produces low budget reality TV in Australia, but she's much richer now.
Esther and Jerry Hicks claim they can make you rich and successful beyond
your wildest dreams. And they've certainly been raking it in since helping
to inspire the international bestseller 'The Secret'. Ahead of their UK
tour, the former circus acrobat and secretary-turned-spirit-channeller
reveal their controversial techniques.
Interview by Robert Chalmers
Sunday, 8 July 2007
Sitting alone in the Crazy Elk Diner, the café at a trailer resort in
northern Colorado, I try to gauge my mood, using the scale of 22 emotions
provided in Esther and Jerry Hicks's best-selling book, Ask And It Is Given.
Having spent two hours driving across the state, I arrived here at the Elk
Meadow Lodge Resort 50 minutes early for my appointment with the book's
authors, but five minutes too late for the "All You Can Eat Pancake
Breakfast", with the result that just now, working down the Hicks's karmic
league table, I can't find anything to relate to until I reach #12:
"Disappointment." From then on, with half an eye on the staff clearing the
buffet area, I begin to score more consistently, as we come to 15: "Blame,"
16: "Discouragement," 17: "Anger" and 18: "Revenge." After a while I'm
joined by a group of Baptists who begin singing: "I've got a home in glory
land that outshines the sun," further relegating me to condition 21:
My interviewees, relaxing in a motor home 200 yards away, are a former
secretary and a one-time circus acrobat who have long been strangers to any
ranking below 1: "Joy/Knowledge/Empowerment/Freedom/Love and Appreciation."
In the US, Esther and Jerry Hicks, with the help of commendations from Oprah
Winfrey, have sold almost 1.5m copies of their last three books. In March,
their most recent work, The Law of Attraction, reached number two on the New
York Times bestseller list. The Hicks travel the country advertising the
benefits of the Law of Attraction: a philosophy which, simply stated, argues
that, if you attune your desires accurately enough to the vibrational
frequencies of the universe, whatever you wish for will be granted. Next
spring they're coming to Britain, seeking to replicate their success in
North America, where citizens have handed over millions of dollars in the
hope of securing not just money, lovers and mansions, but luxury automobiles
and better luck at finding spaces in public car parks.
Just one glance at the vehicle that occupies Elk Meadow's bay B31 removes
any doubt as to how well the Law of Attraction has worked for the Hicks.
Dwarfing the camper vans and Winnebagos that surround it, is a luxury coach
of the kind owned by only the wealthiest rock stars.
Welcoming me on board, Esther Hicks tells me that the bus - using that noun
in relation to this vehicle is rather like describing Buckingham Palace as a
multi-tenanted inner-city property - cost $1.4m. She asks me to remove my
shoes, then shows me the immaculate interior: the beige leather seats; the
dishwasher mounted on shock absorbers; the double bed at the rear. Her
husband Jerry demonstrates the operation of the toilet, which has a convex
electrical door similar to the kind installed on Virgin Trains, except that
this one works. (omega)
Esther and her husband are welcoming, if visibly on edge. As Jerry explains,
they very rarely give interviews.
"We turned down The Larry King Show," he says. "We turned down all those
"That," Esther confirms, "isn't the way we work."
Their personal life, it would be fair to say, is not an open book. Neither
of the Hicks will volunteer their date of birth, because "astrologers feel
so inspired to give feedback that it is oppressive." According to one
normally reliable website, which trawls census records, Esther is 59 and
Jerry 80: figures that, if correct, bear witness to the physical benefits of
the moderate lives they say they have lived.
For the past 21 years the pair have been touring the US, hosting weekly
workshops; people now come in their hundreds and are charged $195 for the
day. Every session is filmed, and the keenest of their 10,000 subscribers
can pay up to $50 a month for these and other recordings. The couple also
organise regular cruises: there are still places available on next year's
10-day Mediterranean expedition, priced at between $2,000 and $6,000 per
berth. Their headquarters, at San Antonio, Texas, is set in 40 acres of
land. Admirers come to learn more about improving their lives by asking
questions about the Law of Attraction; the replies, they believe, are given
to them directly from Abraham, a group of spirit entities whose thoughts
Esther Hicks translates into English, once she has entered into a meditative
"When I started receiving," says Esther, who dislikes the term spirit
channelling, "I thought of Abraham as some dead guy who was really smart.
The more they spoke, the more I began thinking they were infinite
intelligence that we are tapping in to."
In the beginning, Jerry says, "I wanted people to be able to help
themselves, financially. People thought - well, if you have enough money,
you can buy health. A rich man can always find a woman. If you have enough
money you can buy almost anything."
Somewhat belatedly, after two decades spent preaching that you make your own
luck, Esther and Jerry Hicks hit their major jackpot in March 2006, with the
extraordinary success of a DVD called The Secret, a peculiar collage of
mystical instruction assembled by the Australian producer Rhonda Byrne. The
film has sold almost two million copies in the US, and turned out to be the
most influential new age project in the past 20 years. In February of this
year, Byrne's book, also called The Secret, written in less than a month,
went to number one on the New York Times list of advice and miscellaneous
The original version of the DVD features many lifestyle gurus, including
Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, but Esther Hicks was a
central source of the film's inspiration, as well as its narrator and star.
The main thrust of The Secret was the Law of Attraction, which Mrs Hicks had
described in some detail to Byrne, on camera, during an Abraham cruise in
After sensing grave vibrational imbalances between themselves and Rhonda
Byrne, mainly in the areas of money and intellectual property rights, the
Hicks demanded to be removed from the film. The Secret, which had already
earned the American couple $500,000, representing their 10 per-cent-cut of
DVD sales, was reissued last October, with Esther edited out. The second
version is even more disjointed than the first; watching it is a bit like
sitting through 90 minutes of Channel 4 daytime advertising. Esther and
Jerry, meanwhile, have released their own highly successful DVD, The Secret
Behind The Secret, starred on a special three-part edition of Oprah
Winfrey's radio show, and seen a huge increase in the popularity of their
The couple now see celebrities for private consultations.
"Have any come to your shows?"
"Eddie Izzard," says Jerry. [Izzard, through his agent, says he has never
heard of the Hicks.] "And Minnie Driver. She came to a workshop and asked a
question." [At the time of going to press, I was awaiting a response from
"You know how an icebreaker is a clumsy vessel designed to break ice?" Jerry
tells me. "I see The Secret as the icebreaker for the Law of Attraction,
which we've been teaching for 20 years. We're cruising behind in our yacht,
"It's hard to calculate," says Esther, "how much we have benefited from The
"Millions," Jerry interrupts. "Millions." These days, he says, "I can't
imagine money not just pouring in."
Esther and Jerry Hicks met in Fresno, California, in 1976; they married four
years later. She was a book-keeper; Jerry, by his own account, had made a
fortune by reaching the top echelons of Amway, a controversial multi-level
marketing corporation whose product lines include cosmetics, jewellery and
insurance. Critics claim the organisation has employed quasi-religious
motivational techniques; certainly Amway [now called Quixar in America] has,
like Abraham, generated substantial traffic on cult-watch websites. Jerry
Hicks ascribes his business success to Napoleon Hill's seminal 1937 book,
Think And Grow Rich.
Before Esther met Jerry, she says she'd had no unusual spiritual
"So how was it," I ask her, "that you first came to transmit messages from
It started in the mid-1980s, she tells me, when the couple were living in
"Jerry had been reading the Seth books [channelled messages from a spirit
guide, written by the late Jane Roberts]. I was afraid. Seth spooked me. But
I warmed to it. I'd lay on the sofa and Jerry would tickle my feet, and we'd
read Seth for hours every day."
"Why did he have to tickle your feet?"
"Because," she replies, "I like having my feet tickled."
Friends in Phoenix, Esther says, introduced them to a woman named Sheila who
channelled a spirit called Theo.
"They told me the name of my guide would be given to me in a clairaudient
experience. Theo asked us to meditate; to sit in a room and focus on our
When they got home, Esther recalls, she and Jerry changed into their
bathrobes and sat together, in wing-backed chairs.
"We put an étagère between us, because it felt so strange. Almost
immediately I was numb. I couldn't tell my foot from my nose. Something
breathed me. That's how I describe it. It was my first contact with Abraham.
I was convulsing in ecstasy, making noises ..."
"What do you mean, noises?"
"Ecstatic sounds," says Jerry.
"You mean like sex?" I ask her.
"Yes. The energy was so strong that my teeth were buzzing - zzzzz. Abraham
were moving my head. Later I realised that I was spelling letters in the air
with my nose."
By Christmas 1985 she was receiving verbally transmittable messages about
the Law of Attraction. The following year, the pair began holding private
consultations; three years later they were hiring conference rooms at
Courtyard Marriott Hotels.
"We weren't in it for the money," says Esther - this is a point regularly
emphasised - "but for the expansion of the message."
The previous day I'd attended an Abraham "Art Of Allowing" workshop at The
Hilton in Fort Collins, Colorado, where I was one of around 200 delegates,
80 per cent of them women. Considering that we'd gathered to listen to
spirit entities transmitting advice on how to attract more of certain things
- notably dollars - the atmosphere was surprisingly convivial. Very few of
those present had that worryingly distant look in their eye, and I saw no
evidence of coercion or mind control.
Esther takes the stage in bare feet, wearing black stockings, black trousers
of a cut that could almost qualify as Oxford bags, and a black
three-quarter-length jacket which, combined with the exposed lapels of her
white blouse, makes her look very like a preacher. Soon she's possessed by
the spirit of Abraham: the transition is signalled by deep breathing, a
nodding of the head, a half smile and a couple of low sighs.
Once transformed, she still sounds, to be frank, very like (omega) Esther,
except that Abraham has a slightly robotic voice and is seriously
over-attached to the present continuous tense - afflictions that, you may
have noticed, also trouble extraterrestrial characters in 1950s
science-fiction films. So Abraham will ask: "You are knowing what you are
wanting?" or declare that: "We are appreciating your presence," and refers
to Esther and Jerry in the third person.
Would-be speakers raise their hands and are called to "the hot seat", a
chair facing the stage. Esther, or rather Abraham, points to an area of the
audience and calls out: "Stand up if you think it's you" - a phrase that
recalls the kind of vaudeville mantras employed in game shows like Who Wants
To Be A Millionaire? The hot seat has been gaffer-taped to the floor,
presumably to guard against problems with air traffic control.
A considerable number of questions relate to finance. One man wants "a big
house", but reports that: "The worrying thing is that it's taking too long
"When life calls money to you," Esther says, "it comes if you let it. The
universe lines it up for you."
While his wife is communing with the spirit world, Jerry is taking notes at
the side of the stage, earnestly attentive like a legal stenographer.
The image of a river, and the terms "upstream" and "downstream" recur
constantly. Moving "upstream", against the flow of the universe, represents
bad living. Go "downstream" and nature will give you whatever you request,
however impossible it seems.
"It is as easy to create a castle as a button," Esther observes, in a casual
aside that suggests more familiarity with the thimble than the hod. "All you
need do is keep going."
A big-boned man consults Abraham about his weight.
"I get up and go to the gym at 5am," he says. "The next thing I know, I'm in
the Chinese." Another supplicant says that she's already had her question
answered by Mike, Esther's genial cameraman. A third observes that: "Animals
are always trying to get me to save them. I'm kind of tired of that... are
they on a suicide mission?"
"That," Abraham replies, "is not how they see it."
One of the things that distinguishes Esther Hicks from other practitioners
in her field is her quick wit, and genuine gift for irony. Towards the end
of the session, a middle-aged woman takes the chair and announces: "With
every ounce of my being, I need your insight. I do not feel who I really am
in this physical body."
Esther pauses, then, with a sense of timing that would do credit to Julie
Walters, turns to her cameraman and asks: "You wanna take this? It sounds
like a hard one."
You can't help but be impressed by her stage presence, and the single-minded
preoccupation with material gain, reflected both in the questions, and the
piles of merchandise shifting past tills installed in the lobby. At one
point, somebody asks Abraham about tithing - the regular donation of a
percentage of your income. Tithing should be undertaken, Abraham says, "by
inspiration, not obligation". The practice was not recommended.
"You must have taken a lot of money yesterday," I suggest to Esther, on the
bus in the RV park.
"We're on the road darn near 365 days a year," Esther says. "We work 18
hours a day. It is dedicational. We give back everywhere we go," she adds,
"to people who have had meaningful experiences."
At this point, instead of the words I'd been meaning to say ("I have had
meaningful experiences") I find myself asking: "So your followers don't
"We ask them not to," she replies.
"But some do?"
"Do you refuse tithing?"
"No," says Jerry.
Considering the reverence with which the couple are treated by their
supporters, there is little on the record about their lives before Abraham.
Esther has described herself simply as having grown up in "a little town in
the Rocky Mountains".
"Where was that?"
"Park City," she says. It's just outside Salt Lake City, Utah.
"So that community was Mormon?"
"My family was Mormon; my dad was not."
One of her two sisters, Jeannie, was working the till at the Hilton.
Esther's father, Henry, was in the lumber trade.
"My parents are gone now," she says. "It was a wonderful, nurturing
environment. But when I was a teenager, my mother Ruth had a severe heart
attack. She was more or less an invalid after that."
When Esther was 20, she says, "I met someone and married."
"When you say 'someone'... "
"Someone I am no longer married to."
"So you were married once before you met Jerry?"
"It doesn't sound like a blissful experience."
"No. Knowing about Law of Attraction now, I suppose my insecurity caused me
to marry an authority figure. He was very difficult to live with."
Both Jerry and Esther were still married when they met at one of his Amway
"Are you Jerry's first wife?"
"I'm the fifth, that I know of."
When the conversation turns to their own past, the exuberance that propels
their dialogue on the Law of Attraction wanes a little.
"The reason you never heard about these things," Esther says, "is that I
don't ever talk about them. Or like to."
"It's not relevant," Jerry says.
"It's utterly irrelevant," Esther agrees.
"Jerry, I heard you were put into an orphanage for two years as an infant,
is that right?"
"Daddy was in the navy. He and mother fought constantly, if they were there.
My aunt told me: 'When you were a kid, your daddy was overseas and your
mother just couldn't take it any more, so she put you in the orphanage'."
"Were you an only child?"
"No, but I was the first. I have a brother and sister."
"Do you think your mother gave you away out of depression, or poverty?"
"I get the sense," Esther intervenes, "that she was almost animal-like in
that her selfish interests dominated her so powerfully. She was...
unconformable, is that a word?"
"Did she take you back, after the orphanage?" I ask Jerry.
"My brother-in-law Joe," he replies, "told all of us children: 'You should
be proud of your mother.' I said: 'What?' He said: 'Think of her
"Please don't tell this," says Esther.
"Joe," Jerry continues, undaunted, "said, 'You gotta remember that - one of
her sisters - her husband cut up in little pieces, and put her in a well.
Another of her sisters was a prostitute. Another was impaled on a fence and
killed. One of her brothers was in and out of prison all of his life, then
disappeared. Another brother got so drunk that he lost all his fingers and
"That," says Esther, "is why I said don't tell this story."
"Joe told me how my mother came back, and came through that to raise us
three children. My brother has a PhD. My sister was a nurse."
Details of their biography tend to be exposed momentarily, rather than
volunteered. So far as I can work out, Jerry was raised in San Diego and
Arkansas, mainly by his mother, before attending high school in New Orleans.
"As a child," he says, "I had coccidian mycosis. [A respiratory condition
caused by spore inhalation.] Years later my lungs were so scarred that they
wouldn't let me join the navy. When I was a young boy, the doctor said:
'There's nothing I can do. He probably won't live.' "
"You heard him say that?"
"Twice. We were living in chicken houses. I had one to myself because they
thought I had TB. My sister, brother and mother lived in another chicken
Jerry says he was employed for two years as an acrobat (omega) at a circus
in Cuba, where he performed on aerial bars, and then, beginning in 1948,
spent 20 years touring the US as Jerry Hickson - musician, MC and comedian.
He has "lost track of" the number of his marriages, though he has two
children with his second wife. (Esther has two children from her first
marriage; her daughter Tracy works with the Hicks.)
"I believe you've said that, as a young man, you had a fist fight every week
and used to kick cars."
"Because of drink?"
"You were sober? That's worse. You must have been pretty angry about
"I wanted justice. If I saw somebody mistreating somebody I went after them.
I never hit anyone that didn't think they were stronger than me. And I have
never killed anybody, whether I got paid for it or not."
"Any jail time at all?"
When I ask Jerry to tell me about people he met in show business, he
mentions a dancer, Nichelle Nichols, who would become Lieutenant Uhura in
Star Trek (Nichols did not respond to my attempts to contact her); he also
worked with the veteran comedian Rip Taylor. "I have no memory of him,"
Taylor later told me. "And I remember everybody."
Jerry says he came across Napoleon Hill's Think And Grow Rich by chance, in
a motel, and now realises that many of the principles described by the
former journalist were consistent with the Law of Attraction.
This suggestion isn't so absurd as it might sound. Similar theories to those
voiced by the Hicks can be found in generations of American self-help books,
dating back to William Walker's 1906 Thought Vibration, or The Law of
Attraction in the Thought World. The idea of alchemic generation of wealth
is a little older than that, of course, and Rhonda Byrne's DVD suggests -
without troubling to offer any evidence - that it helps explain the success
of Plato and Shakespeare.
Jerry hands me a 1980 edition of Think And Grow Rich: a reprint of Hill's
original manuscript, before it was altered by earlier publishers. Hicks has
highlighted every change. References to spirit, and vibration, are
"All of this was sort of dead," Esther says. "Then Abraham, through me,
began reviving it."
"Can I ask Abraham a couple of questions?"
"Sure." Esther takes off her earrings.
"I have to remove my jewellery," she says. "Or they do it for me."
She nods gently; her breathing deepens.
"We are here," she says, her eyes closed. "Nice to have an opportunity to
"You spoke yesterday about the way in which desire can make something
happen, and that nothing is impossible. Isn't it important to realise that
some things will never come to you? However much I still want to wear the
number seven shirt for Manchester United, occupied [at the time of writing]
by Cristiano Ronaldo, I've accepted that this isn't going to happen."
"In cases like this, where there is not sincere desire..."
"Trust me, there is."
"Well, if there is sincere desire, and you bring your belief into alignment
with it, it can be. People say: could I grow back an arm that has been
amputated... is this really possible? We say yes."
"Could the following of Abraham become as widespread as Catholicism, or
"We are at the heart of the majority of religions you would know."
"So other people are doing the same work?"
"That which Jesus Christ was, Esther is now. Not Esther alone. That which
Buddha was, Esther is now. That which Mohammed was, Esther is now."
"When you suggested, in Fort Collins yesterday, that if you think about a
thing it will come to you whether you want it or not, and that a person
draws their destiny to them; when I heard that, the words that came into my
mind were: Auschwitz, Bialystock and Dachau. Are you saying that six million
Jews invited extermination upon themselves?"
"We would never say they invited it wantingly or knowingly. But we
unequivocally say that nothing happens to anyone without a predominant
vibration that matches it." Just before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans,
she says, "the people who did not want inconvenience left right away. People
who are not accustomed to managing their life well, stayed."
"The poor people stayed."
"They are poor in vibration before they are poor in manifestation."
"Are you Jewish?" Jerry asks me, immediately Abraham has gone, and Esther is
He tells a story about how he defended a Jewish schoolfriend against a
woodwork teacher, Mr Mendoza, who then smashed Jerry's term project, a
birdhouse, and gave him zero out of 10.
"I told my daddy: 'I have decided to kill Mr Mendoza.' Daddy said: 'You
shouldn't kill a man without letting him know why he is going to die.' So I
told Mr Mendoza: 'I am planning to kill you. You failed me on woodworking. I
build chicken houses. You can't flunk me on a birdhouse. That had to do with
your prejudice against Jewish people.' I would give a nickel to know," Jerry
adds, "was it just the Christians that were after the Jews? Were the Muslims
prejudiced against them so much?"
"I think you could trace that enmity through many centuries."
"So what did they [the Jews] do to bring that on themselves, do you
suppose?" asks Jerry.
"I don't believe the Jews did bring that on themselves."
"Abraham," Esther says, "told us early on that the person receiving
prejudice is the one who has the vibration that is attracting it. If I ever
find myself feeling like a victim, things like that start happening to me."
"You say 'things like that' - the Holocaust?"
"Well, no - that's big big big big big big big. I mean, it's ... huge.
Probably the most victimised I have felt was over The Secret; but every part
of it that happened, I acknowledge that there was a vibrational component of
it within me."
"What about the infants who were murdered in concentration camps. What had
they done wrong?"
"It's not a matter of having done wrong," says Jerry.
"The behaviour of the children is like the behaviour of their parents,"
Esther says. "We learn our vibrations early on. That's what tribal wars are
"Most people would have a few problems with that philosophy."
"We argued with Abraham for several years: what about the babies? We die. I
believe that death is often the downstream option. It's certainly downstream
from starvation. We had chickens for a few years. We had this one chicken,
Renegade, who wouldn't stay in the yard. She went to the neighbours', where
there were dogs. And sure enough the neighbour's dog..."
"Snuggles," says Jerry.
"Snuggles got her. Jerry saw that. Didn't you shoot a gun..."
"That startled the chicken, which regained consciousness and came home.
Abraham said, she's getting ready to be dead. From experiences like that, I
don't think that death is a bad thing."
How we got quite so quickly from Auschwitz to Snuggles, I'm still not sure.
What's certain is that the mark of an orthodox charlatan is that they repeat
whatever the listener wishes to hear. On the basis of these last exchanges,
you can hardly accuse Esther and Jerry Hicks of cynically courting
popularity. Which would suggest that they are motivated, to some degree at
least, by what their followers would call belief, and their critics would
There are certain aspects of her world view, I explain to Esther, that I
"We know," she replies. From choice, she says, she would never do another
interview. "I'm sitting here and I am uncomfortable because people don't
like Mormons, people don't like Amway, people don't like channellers."
"You talked to Oprah."
"Just the radio show. Oprah ... I love her.
If you download the three Oprah Winfrey Abraham shows from XM radio, you'll
discover that the affection sounds generally mutual. "I can't get enough of
her," Winfrey says of Esther at one point - though the presenter does add
that: "I am not talking to you on television because too many people would
be weirded out."
She had Rhonda Byrne on her TV show twice.
"Oprah doesn't think her television audience is ready for something so
leading edge as Abraham," says Esther. "I want people who are ready for us
to find us."
"What do you do with all this money? Are you funding a major famine-relief
programme for orphans in Ethiopia?"
"What we are teaching," Jerry says, "is that you don't attract through need,
but through desire. Like, we were in a little restaurant in San Francisco a
while back and the waitress was just so wonderful. We gave her this
envelope, with all the cash from that day's workshop. She yelled: 'Oh my
God, you can't believe what you have done for me. I was going to lose my
apartment.' We said: 'If you'd told us that, we wouldn't have given you the
money. We did it because you were wonderful.' "
She's far from the only waitress, Jerry assures me, to have benefited in
"And this guy that changed our tyre," he recalls. "We gave him a huge amount
of money. I said, 'You told me you wanted to go into business.' He was so
bright. We don't do charities."
Some very large donations, the couple point out, have been returned. Where
contributions are accepted, Esther explains, "we send a letter that says we
are not a religion, so this is not tax deductible, and we put it in the bank
and..." She pauses. "There is a lot of money in that bank account. We'll do
something with it, some day."