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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Soulmate, Myself:
The Perfect Mate

Elizabeth and Ben




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Wikipedia: Though None Go with Me is a 2006 American made-for-television drama film that premiered on Hallmark Channel. It is directed by Armand Mastroianni, and stars Cheryl Ladd. The film is based on the best-selling book by Jerry B. Jenkins.

Plot: Elizabeth Leroy is a young woman growing up during the 1950s in the United States. She has devoted her life to serving God but through many hardships and heartbreaks over the years, her faith is tested. She begins to question the purpose of her life.

Elizabeth lives with her widowed father who is a doctor. Her mother died of cancer when she was young. She just finished school and wants to see the world, so has no intention of settling down with childhood friend and neighbor Will Bishop when he asks her to marry him.

One day she is asked to pick up the new assistant pastor, Ben Phillips, at the train station and show him around town. Expecting to meet an older gentleman, she is surprised to find him to be young and handsome. They fall in love and get engaged. She is heartbroken when he leaves to serve as chaplain during the Korean War. He explains that he believes God called him to serve, and that he promised God to follow Him no matter what. He also promises to marry her when he returns. At the train station he gives her a Bible with the inscription in the front, "Though none go with me, yet will I follow. No turning back, no turning back."

They write letters and she keeps herself busy helping other people. When her father passes away, she discovers that he has left her no money, plus the house is heavily mortgaged, leaving the bank to take possession of it. She moves in with her neighbor Will who also offers her a secretarial job in his auto insurance company. One day, an army officer stops by their door to tell her that Ben has died when the army hospital took a direct hit. She is crushed and faints.

As time passes she begins to fall in love with Will, especially when he starts dating someone else. When she decides it's time to move out of his house, he declares his love for her and they get married.

When they return from their honeymoon, Elizabeth receives a letter from Ben who writes that he wasn't killed but has been a prisoner-of-war and will soon be home. She tells Will who is heartbroken and asks her whether she will stay with him out of loyalty or does he have her heart? She declares her love for Will and does not intend to leave him. When Ben comes home, they embrace and she tells him that she was told he was dead and that she married Will. He is crushed, but asks her to write him to tell her what's happening in her life. Will and Elizabeth have many happy years together and are blessed with a son. He and his wife are killed in a car accident on the way home from a Christmas party, leaving their daughter to be raised by her grandparents.

At this point, Elizabeth becomes angry at God, asking Him why He keeps taking away everyone that she loves - her parents, her first love, and now her son. Will eventually dies of brain disease after 40+ years of marriage. Not long after that, her best friend Fran hosts a party to thank her for 50 years of service to the community. Many people tell stories of how she impacted their lives and she is deeply touched. One of the attendees at the party is Ben...



Kairissi. The author asked us to evaluate “None Go With Me.” It’s a Christian-based story, and we haven’t had many of these to review here.

Elenchus. First impressions?

K. Well, just a general comment on the plot – it is rather melodramatic. Too many tragedies. No one can be that unlucky. And this engenders an aura of unrealism. But, this is not what I want to talk about.

E. Many things could be said about this film, but just relax and tell me what’s really getting to you right now.

K. I feel conflicted. There’s much that’s noble and good about the story of Elizabeth and Ben; and yet, it’s mixed up with some very dysfunctional ways of thinking.

E. Ben’s a fine man. He’s a young minister and has a heart for serving his church. He helps everyone, old and young, in his congregation.

K. And that’s very commendable. He reminds me of the author in his youth, working as a “Nice Young Man.”

E. Right; and so, he would understand, in a way that many could not, the difficulties Ben encountered. And what do you think of Elizabeth?

K. She’s a really good girl. She wants to live a praiseworthy life, and so she decides to become active in the church and the community with various service projects.

E. Tell me, Kriss, what's bothering you.

K. I think what’s bothering me about this movie is that pretty much everyone is trying really hard, straining and groaning, to do the right thing. Everyone is sincere and operating with good will. And yet, in the midst of all this positive-spiritedness, they labor under a cloud of “I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy.”

E. It is very strange. What we're really looking at is the effect of draconian religious doctrines, going all the way back to the 300s AD.

K. Let’s give everyone an example of what we’re talking about. There’s a scene where Elizabeth and Ben are out walking one evening. The conversation turns to the subject of what they believe. It went something like this:

Elizabeth. “Do you ever question your faith?”

Ben. “All the time.”

Elizabeth. “How do you prove that our lives have meaning, that truth even exists?”

Ben. “We can’t prove those things, but we have to hold on to our beliefs.”

K. With the word “beliefs,” he had a slight tone in his voice, reflecting not only a measure of doubt but a kind of appeal, as if to say, “Surely, this must be the right thing to do.”

Elizabeth. “How do you believe in something that may or may not be true?”

Ben. That’s the definition of faith, and my faith has always been validated by what God has done through me and for me.”

K. This kind squishy thinking is what gives religion a bad name. Ben’s tortured defense of the faith is DOA. He's trying to claim that the good works in his life are the result of his religion. But every religion makes this assertion, and atheists, too, do good works and are also good people. But let’s perform the autopsy on Ben's reasoning.

E. And allow me speak as advocate for Elizabeth - she was asking all the right questions. She was uncomfortable because his thinking didn't make sense. When you find “the truth” it will be intellectually satisfying and you won't have to swallow hard to accept it. But his answers were disturbing.

K. We sense that not even he believed what he was saying.

E. However, despite Elizabeth's honest questioning, at the end she let him get away with it: “He must know what he’s talking about because he’s a minister.”

K. She slipped up with “mere appeal to authority,” a broken rule of “clear thinking.”

E. I winced when he flatly stated “All the time” to her query of “Do you ever question your faith?” It jolted me because he said it with an air of “This is very normal.”

K. Effectively, he was announcing, “Nobody has authentic and lasting inner conviction, nobody has a real experience with God, we're all just 'playing church'.”

E. And this is why, throughout the film, they kept on pounding the theme of “commitment.” There's a right way and a wrong way of affirming one's intentions. If "commitment" is just one more expression of gritting your teeth, of trying very hard to do the right thing, then there's something wrong. It's an indication that your heart is not in it. The true "commitment" is not a choice, as such, and not glorification of iron will. If one's actions are in accord with inner soul-energies, then "commitment" will rise naturally from one's being. This is the only kind of "commitment" that has lasting value.

K. Thank you, this is beautiful concept. And it's very much in line with what we've said about marriage vows and "promise keepers." People who are authentically bound together in love have no need for formalisms such as vows. This is not to say that they might not want a wedding ceremony, but, when they do, they understand that external aids to commitment are purely ornamental to the process.

E. It strikes me that even the title of the movie “Though None Go With Me” is meant to pedestal a virtue of tenacity, loyalty under severe trial, and fortitude. A spirit of "trying very hard" is everywhere in this movie.

K. I would like to ask Ben a question, “Is Christianity meant to be a celebration of will-power?” Orthodoxy would say, “no, we can do nothing on our own steam but must rely on God to work through us.” And yet – do we begin to see the contradiction? – there is so much emphasis on “blood and guts,” on doing the extra push-ups and walking the extra mile, there's so much heavy-lifting going on, even in the midst of talk such as "God must do it through me." It's very disconcerting and one feels burned out just listening to it. It reminds me of the dysfunctional people on the other side who say similar things.

E. We'll be criticized for making these statements, and so we should add that we always have our part to do, and there's always some effort required of us, but the effort spoken of within Christian fundamentalism is something different.

K. How does all this "huffing and puffing" square with Jesus’ teaching of “My burden is light, my yoke is easy, I came to give you rest,” meaning, “rest from oppressive rule and regulation.”

E.And yet everyone in Ben’s church is suffering, to near burn-out level, the effects of, “I have to try very hard because I’m not worthy, I’m not good enough, God doesn’t really love me.” 

K. And that's why there’s so much talk about “grace,” which is a code word for “God’s favor, which I desperately need because I’m so worthless.”

E. But let’s get back to Elizabeth and Ben’s dialogue. She asks the excellent question, “How do you prove that life has meaning and that there’s even such a thing as truth?”

K. Ben doesn't know, and so he punts with, “We can’t prove these things,” which is a way of declaring, “We cannot make God real in our lives. God is just a legal fiction we pay lip service to. We spend our time – “all the time,” he said -- fretting over our lack of faith, but that’s just how the Christian life is." I find this very unsatisfying.

E. And what he said next was also very disconcerting: “But, even so, we have to hold on to our beliefs.” Really? You have no substantial basis for your claims but you have to hold on to these beliefs anyway? Wouldn’t the better option be, “I should spend time going deeper, I need to investigate more, I need to search farther afield, because, one thing is clear, right now, I don’t know what I’m talking about.”

K. That would be a better response, and more in line with Jesus' instruction to "love God with all our minds." And I loved Elizabeth's further question, “How do you do that, how do you know that what you're saying is even the truth?”

E. Well, she’s getting far too logical now. Many ministers at this point might get a little ruffled

K. He feels the pressure and so he doubles down now on his inadequate reasoning, and tries to tell her that believing in something that might be a fairy-tale is the very definition of faith! Wow! This is getting really bad, and it reminds me of Alice being lectured by the Queen of Hearts: 



"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

                                                Lewis Carroll



Channeled testimony via the mediumship of William W. Aber; presented in the book “The Dawn Of Another Life” by William Denton:

A spirit-entity on the other side discusses worldly belief:

“There can be no faith without freedom. It is not faith to attempt or pretend to believe the things which you are told you must believe. Even to seek to comply is to prove your fear rather than your faith, your apprehension of some dreaded consequence attendant on failure to conform.

“To say, ‘I believe,’ lest a catastrophe attend the honest denial of such belief, is to play the liar and the coward.”



K. Elenchus, we could go on all day here listing the elements of flabby thinking and empty belief. These are good-hearted people in this small-town church, from the kids to the clergy, but they're victims of pathological indoctrination going all the way back to Constantine the butcher, 1700 years ago. The “infallible” doctrines ensuing from this emperor's worldly and gangster influence were crafted as a means of crowd management, of power and control over people. The unspoken agenda of these "infallible" doctrines is this: if you can convince people that they’re no good, that they're worthless sinners, and that you’re their ticket to God’s good graces, then you’ll enjoy the "pomp and revenue" of the guilt-ridden masses who will "pay, pray, and obey."

E. It's the fear of death making them sing and dance.

K. There is a reason why the author is no longer a “Nice Young Man,” though he dearly loved serving and teaching the people. Anyone wishing to break out of Orthodoxy's cultish mindset, is encouraged to read, in a hundred Word Gems articles and ten thousand pages, a discourse on how these things really work, in this world and the next.


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E. Kriss, I know it’s a big subject, but let’s say a few words to answer Elizabeth’s big question, and to offer response to Ben’s party-line speech. Why don't you do it.

K. (sighing) Well, the shortest, but maybe the best, answer to Elizabeth’s request for certainty and proof is this: If you learn how to access the energies of your own soul, that “made in the image” treasure-house of joy and love, then, you yourself will become the proof; and when you do, never, ever again will you doubt the existence of a Higher Power. When we learn to access God within, we'll find our sense of certainty; as the great spiritual teachers say, those who know have no need for belief.

E. Carl Jung explained the process of coming to authentic experience of God.

K. And I want to say one more thing – and I want to say it to Elizabeth directly: You should have waited for Ben, dear. You knew you really didn’t love Will. Yes, I know, you were seduced by the “white picket fence,” the images of the warm family life, and you thought Ben was gone. But, as you confided to your girlfriend, you still thought of Ben when you looked at Will. You should have waited for Ben, because, one way or another, he was coming back. If you had been connected to your "true self," a sense of eternity would have guided you to the right decision, instead of being led by ordinary female instinct. And if you love Jesus as much as you testify, then you should have abided by his instruction in Mathew 19; that is, if you know, in your heart of hearts, that someone is your true forever-love, then you have no business marrying anyone else, no matter how long the wait. Dear sister, this is the real "None Go With Me" spirit, the real opportunity for fortitude, regarding how we must live life - because eternity starts today, and that absent one has not forgotten you.

E. (silence)




Editor's last word:

Bishop John Shelby Spong has stated that the churches emphasize too much being “born again”; that is, viewing oneself as a helpless child before God, and not enough teaching about becoming a maturing son or daughter of God. See a full discussion on this in one of the sub-articles of the “Jesus” article.

Bishop Spong points out that pastors, especially those who wish to keep their attendees dependent and servile, quote the “born again” verse but tend not to mention the “become ye perfect” verse; herein, buried in the Greek, we find Jesus’ directive to “grow up” and “become mature.” The Greek word for “perfect” is teleos, found in the theological term “teleology,” referring to “final” or “end” times doctrine; teleos means “reaching a goal.” When Jesus said, “become ye perfect, as your Father in heaven,” he was saying, “Grow up, become who you were meant to be, allow your virtues to manifest like God’s! Let the tiny acorn become the tall oak! Allow your spiritual DNA to reveal itself in the full blossom of a maturing son or daughter of God.”

To reiterate Bishop Spong’s contention, there is far too much talk in the church about maintaining the psychological profile of an immature child. Yes, Jesus also said “become as little children,” but he meant “remain humble and teachable all of your lives,” not child-like to the extent of “living in your mother’s basement, playing video games, not getting a job, forever emulating Peter Pan, never growing up, and refusing to take your place in society as a mature, well-adjusted son or daughter of God.”

I think you see the point. Some pastors are well meaning when they too often speak of “born again.” But despotic cultish church leadership, intent upon keeping believers docile, fearful, and guilt-ridden, do this by design. The apostle Paul in Galatians spoke of this kind of dysfunctional religion as a “prison,” a “nursery,” and the barest “ABCs” of what we need to learn.

From the church members’ point of view, however, having been immersed in and inculcated by heavy doses of “you’re worthless, you’re no good, you were born in sin, God could never love you enough” but for the superintending services of the Blackrobe elites, it all seems reasonable and proper.

Why does it seem ok? Again, you'll want to read, in the “Jesus” article, what the great psychologists have to say about this group mind-think of co-dependency. They call it “transference”; that is, the “little child within” seeks for a strong father-figure in order to find protection and safety from this hostile and uncertain world.

And those living under the comforting mantle of a “strong leader,” who's so certain and dogmatic about everything, do feel and experience, at times, a measure of calm and protectedness – just as any little child feels safe and looked after when parents do a good job of nurturing. This is all well and good when you’re 3 or 8 or 11, but it’s not so good when you’re 23 or 45 or 84.

Those who sing Amazing Grace, with its wonderful music, do feel a surge of comfort with the lyric “who saved a wretch like me.” The problem is, however, it’s all quite dysfunctional and utterly errant: you’re not a wretch, you don’t need saving – not the way they say it – all you need is to open your eyes to God's gift of the “made in the image” soul.

This is a large subject and you’ll want to look at the entire discussion in the “Jesus” writing.