Daniel R. Landis, Master's Thesis

PROSPERITY

IS IT POSSIBLE?

By

REV. DANIEL RAY LANDIS

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment

of the requirements for the degree of

MASTER OF METAPHYSICAL SCIENCE, M.Msc.

On behalf of

the Department of Graduate Studies of

the University of Metaphysics

..........

Introduction
 
I grew up in a Mennonite family in Lancaster, PA.  My father was the Bishop of the largest Mennonite conference.  Most of my relatives were Mennonite dairy farmers.  Mennonites at that time worked hard to be separate from society.  I had begun to read about people that believed you could affect your destiny and increase your prosperity by the use of the mind.  This Thesis will investigate these teachings that have been available for centuries that helped people create prosperity out of thin air.  It will demonstrate what has worked coming from the Bible and was integrated into the teachings of New Thought authors that had proven to be effective for creating prosperity.
 
These teachings were radical to me as I came from a religion that required women to have their hair covered at all times and the men and women to sit on opposite sides of the church.  The church was the central focus of the Mennonite culture and I was taught that blessings or curses happened because of an arbitrary God that decided whether I was good or bad.  The idea of conscious prosperity was intriguing and exciting to my young inquisitive mind.
 
Around the age of thirteen, I began to question everything that was taught in the church.  Most of it didn’t make sense to me.  Their belief in an anthropomorphic God just didn’t seem right to me.  I would ask, “How can a good God want to punish His greatest creation?”  There were never acceptable answers for me.  The church taught that we all came from Adam and Eve.   When I found out they had only three sons, I asked, “How did that work?”  My questioning and other reading led me to becoming more and more disillusioned and I began to reject all teachings of God and Jesus Christ.
 
As a Mennonite at that time, it was sin to own a TV as it was viewed as a “tool of the Devil.”  Growing up without a TV, I always felt weird when the other kids were talking about the last night’s episode of some show.  The hidden benefit of not having a TV was I became an avid reader and would check out many books from the Lancaster library that came to my small town of Landisville every two weeks in the Lancaster County Book Mobile.
I was mesmerized when I began to read Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich.  So much so, that I read it three times during the summer I was fifteen.  I took to heart his precept that if I became single-minded focused on a Definiteness of Purpose, I could truly create my future.  This was complete heresy from my Mennonite upbringing belief that only God had the power to control my future.  I was also taught that only good would come to me if I followed all the rules and behaved myself.  I was told that if and only if I was good, would I be blessed by God in the future.
 
I sat down and wrote my goal – “To become a vice-president of a large corporation by the time I was 40.”  I would write this goal every day and would visualize a dark oak door with a golden plaque that said, “Dan Landis, Vice-President.”  At 39 ½ years old, I was promoted to Vice President, General Manager for Simon & Schuster in New York.  That success and many others like it has been the reason I have utilized the Law of Attraction many times in my life.
 
Seven years ago, I became a Certified Life Coach, and my practice developed into working with severely abused women.  I was successful working with many of them as we learned to reverse their attraction of continuing negative experiences.  We practiced implementing the processes of prosperity to bring more good into their lives.  I remember reading many years ago that supposedly Carl Jung said late in his life that in his career, he never saw anyone over 35 years old make a permanent positive change in their life without having some form of spiritual experience.
 
Four years ago, I began ministerial training with Unity Urban Ministerial School in Detroit, MI.  I have always been attracted to Unity because of their beliefs around prosperity and abundance.  I graduated and am now a Licensed Unity Minister and have been serving the last 3 years as Spiritual Leader of Unity in the Pioneer Valley in Greenfield, MA.  I continue to utilize the Laws of Prosperity in my Sunday Talks.  These processes continue to be an integral part of my Spiritual Coaching sessions.
 
I am intrigued why I have seen the Law of Attraction work many times in my life.  But, then it seems to disappear and not be effective.  I have also witnessed it appear not to work some times in my clients' or congregants' lives.  To me a Law is absolute and will work every time.  So, is it that the Law doesn’t work correctly or is it mine or others human error?  
 
In 1996 Rhonda Byrne released a DVD called The Secret.  She followed the movie with a book also titled The Secret.   Rhonda was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and according to Wikipedia, “the DVD and book exceeded $300 million in world-wide sales and was translated into 46 languages.”  The combination was a smashing financial success for Rhonda Byrne and her publisher.  The premise of The Secret was the existence of a natural law, like gravity, that works if one thinks the right thoughts.
 
While The Secret was a smashing financial success for Rhonda Byrne, she has come under much criticism from fundamental Christians to Quantum Physicists.  According to Wikipedia, “the creative spark for Byrne was Wallace Wattles' 1910 book, The Science of Getting Rich.  Byrne had received Wattles' book in 2004 from her daughter while she was experiencing a low point in her life.”  This led her to studying other “New Thought” authors who enhanced her understanding, and eventually she developed her own process.
 
The Secret identified the Law of Attraction as the key to personal prosperity.  Law of Attraction cites the basis of its authority from, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7).  Psychologists later called the Law of Attraction by the name of Law of Cause and Effect in which personal thoughts are the cause and prosperity or lack being the result.  In eastern religion, this process is referred to as Karma.  
 
On the internet, there are many people adamant that the Law of Attraction doesn’t work and can even be dangerous to some people’s mental health.  Fundamental Christian ministers seem to be very hostile and quick to call out all kinds of negative ideas saying that it is in complete opposition to their belief of what the Bible teaches.  There are many attacks from Quantum Scientists and Psychologists who say that it doesn’t meet scientific or measurable criteria.  Therefore it cannot be named the Law of Attraction.
 
I was left wondering why The Secret and other conversations about prosperity and the Law of Attraction elicit such venom from religious and scientific people.  It’s as if they must yell so loud in order to subdue their concerns and feelings that they have missed something important in their lives.  I set my research to use the Bible and a wide selection of authors to answer this burning question I had, “If the Law of Attraction is a law, should it not be absolute and work every time, just like gravity?”  This question was the energy behind my research for this thesis.  I wanted to know what processes work, why they may not work, and is there a process to use that always produces prosperity.