I’m a fan of many of the Hay House authors, so seeing that publishing house associated with a new book induces me to try an author I might not have read otherwise. In most cases, I’m pleased with the selections I read from Hay House. This was not one of those cases.
In Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased, Jamie Turndorf, Ph.D., explores her newfound connection to the spirit world after the death of her husband, former Jesuit priest Emile Jean Pin. As a former atheist, this new world of spirituality is an adventure for Turndorf, one she approaches with the blind enthusiasm of a young child after she conquers her initial misgivings. After her husband’s unexpected death from a reaction to a bee string, Turndorf is surprised to discover her connection to her beloved Jean continues through their deep spiritual love for each other. She writes that together they have a ministry to help others in processing death and connecting to those in the afterlife so that all involved may continue to grow and heal.
Love Never Dies does have a few good qualities. It is simply written making it accessible to the popular masses. The book also has the potential to comfort many in the first and last sections where Turndorf describes her experiences and the experiences of her clients as they reconnect with their deceased love ones. The book brings up an incredibly large number of questions for a book group to discuss around life, love, healing and death.
From there, however, the book simply falls apart. It’s repetitive and poorly edited starting with the weak rhyming poetry at the beginning of each chapter. Turndorf proudly declares that she hadn’t checked out the “competition” before writing her book making it an all original work. While there are merits to an untainted narrative, those merits are outweighed by the negatives in this book. Turndorf’s lack of vocabulary to discuss concepts such as synchronicity weakens her arguments and presentation immensely. The result is a book that feels like an amateur falsely pretending to be a professional.
Turndorf also is blinded by her own narrow experiences regarding the metaphysical world. She only sees what she wants to see and doesn’t consider that there are possibilities beyond the definitive answers she purports to reach. For example, Turndorf declares that demons or negative spirit entities might exist though she’s doubtful about it. She thinks that if negative spiritual beings do exist, Jean protects her from them always. Any experienced psychic, intuitive or medium who has worked extensively with the metaphysical will cringe at this naïve view: In his Hay House publication Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life, John Edward speaks extensively on the importance of spiritual protection when one is working with the other side. Turndorf’s inexperience becomes dangerous as she guides readers into murky waters without life jackets.
Furthermore, Turndorf blindly believes that all the departed are willing to work on their faults and help their living loved ones heal. This, too, is a declaration of an inexperienced practitioner who is, in my words, blinded by the white light. Other gifted mediums such as me are able to encounter spirits in all their essence, seeing their soul level faults which do not miraculously heal upon entry to the afterlife. Many souls choose not to work on their own healing in the afterlife, no differently than their course here on earth. In those cases, Turndorf’s advice risks connecting hurting individuals with souls who will continue to emotionally and spiritual abuse them from the other side. This is not only ignorant, but it’s dangerous and is the last thing a psychologist should want for clients.
Even on a much simpler and less dangerous level, Turndoff offers bad advice to those wanting to begin meditation as a means to connecting with departed souls. Setting up beginners with the task of meditating for many hours is going to defeat many people before they even get out of the starting gate. It’s far better for beginners to slowly introduce themselves to meditation to reduce the risk of perceived failure and to encourage successful future experiences which may eventually be longer.
Turndorf’s faulty logic is so convoluted at times that it is difficult to follow. Throughout Love Never Dies, she contradicts herself on larger philosophical issues. Turndorf presents the concept that things that happen more than three times are a scientifically valid result. Unfortunately, she fails to recognize that even if something occurs three times, it’s still possible to misinterpret information about those results. Throughout the book, I feel she often misinterprets her experiences because of her lack of experience and narrow-minded views. For example, Turndorf declares many times that we avoid loving fully because losing a loved one is so painful. However, there are other possibilities for why we might restrain our love that she never even considers. It’s possible that we don’t love fully because we don’t know how to. It’s also possible that we don’t love fully because we don’t believe we deserve love.
This narrow perspective continues as Turndorf obsesses over her theories that she is metaphysically gifted because of her premature birth and three month NICU stay away from her mother. She writes about high fevers and illness predisposing people to being able to being open to spiritual contact, yet she fails to examine the role of her own experiences with Lyme Disease in regards to her metaphysical experiences. As a practitioner who has had Lyme and who works with many others who have Lyme, I would argue that the vast majority of people who deal with chronic or late disseminated Lyme Disease are those who are metaphysically gifted. A little research outside of her own bubble would help Turndorf to see these other possibilities.
As the book progresses, I found Turndorf’s words to her clients and to her readers to be cruel and potentially damaging. I cringed as Turndorf relates how she said to a newly bereaved parent that “she could view this recent loss as a gift from the spirit.” While this lesson is true on some levels, the way she phrased this to a parent who has recently lost a baby is heartless at best.
Furthermore, comparing our pain to others’ is not beneficial. Telling ourselves “it could be worse” demeans the pain we are experiencing. Turndorf writes, “When we see someone in pain, we’re being invited to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and give thanks for the problems we have that pale in comparison. Another person’s difficulty reminds us that we could have it so much worse.” What she fails to contemplate is that some of her readers (including me in my not so distant past) will fall into that category of having things “so much worse.” Having been told many times by others that they could look at my life and realize how good they actually have it, I can speak from experience that such an attitude does not help the person undergoing the trials. The heartless response simply makes their pain increase.
If all of these issues aren’t enough, I found Turndorf’s basic psychological advice to be weak at best. After 30 years’ experience in practice, she is not a novice. She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from California Coast University in 1994. She is a nationally known psychologist using the pseudonym “Dr. Love.” However, her personal relationship with Jean raised many flags for me as a reader and life coach, beginning with the fact that she was 21 and he was 58 when it began. Turndorf claims that she and Jean had a perfect spiritual love, yet the aspects of their relationship she shares demonstrate a couple that struggled to love each other in their earthly forms. She asserts that Jean was “one of the world’s true mystics” but he didn’t know he could be so close to her in spirit form. This doesn’t build his credibility or hers. Even Googling her late husband (who died in 2006, after the advent of the internet) does not turn up the abundance of hits one would expect from a man whom she claims was a one of the 50 most holy people to have lived in the eyes of the Dalai Lama. As she describes their relationship after he “left his body,” Turndorf sees her late husband’s love as fulfilling her and becoming her own love. Almost all psychologists would argue that seeking to use another’s love as a replacement for self-love is not a healthy approach in the long term.
Finally, in one of the experiences at the end of the book, she details of a client named “Mo.” Turndorf uses guilt to trick Mo into working with her deceased husband. This woman clearly has spent a lifetime being manipulated by others who prey on her overactive sense of guilt. A healthier treatment option might have been to work with Mo to recognize her issues around guilt until she regained the self-esteem necessary to work on herself out of self-love. The ends did not justify the means in this treatment.
Turndorf seems to think grieving is the only reason people need to connect to Spirit and those on the other side. As she presents the issues in Love Never Dies, she fails to see how other tragedies can be more devastating and more impactful that grief. Her narrow-minded and uneducated views result in a book that will help facilitate discussion about important topics but which ultimately may give some very bad advice to vulnerable readers.
(Attached below is a PDF of questions that could be used for book group discussions. Feel free to alter or edit these questions for your own personal use in a group discussion or journaling.)
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC