Mari Haugen, a Bahá’í from Trondheim, Norway, who reads in English and Danish but writes in Norwegian, found herself at the end of the summer 2017 course The Kitáb-i-Íqán: An Introduction (faculty, Christopher Buck, Necati Alkan) with a pile of notes untranslated from Norwegian. But she has already used the information she learned in the course with abandon and creativity. Here are some of her activities:
- Mari made “a lot of notes” that she will use in teaching in her senior high school classes.
- She “gathered up all” her “courage and contacted a publisher” who liked the idea of making the information into a small booklet for teaching a portion of religious studies to junior and senior high-school students. She has an appointment for presenting a manuscript in January 2018.
- She signed up for the Wilmette Institute’s Gifts of the Spirit: The Spiritual Practice of Creative Writing course for the “inspiration” to make sure she meets the January deadline.
- She worked “on a manuscript for a public speech about the Qayyúmu’l-Asma’ that she presented at the Human Rights House in Trondheim on the evening of October 20, 2017, to guests from the Bahá’í community, leaders and members of the Trondheim Interfaith Council, and a group from Young Dialogue. Members of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths first presented how they understand their history. Then Mari talked about the Báb’s proof of His station and afterward Bahá’u’lláh’s claim to be the true Joseph. She added that “it is new for me to talk to such a big audience about a subject like this, but, because of the promise of extra help during these days, I try.”)
- During the course the Kitáb-i-Íqán, she gave two fifteen- to twenty-minute presentations on the Bahá’í concept of progressive revelation to audiences of some thirty from other religions. She talked from notes rather than a manuscript, which was what she called a “much strengthened skill.”
Mari says she will continue studying material from the course on the Kitáb-i-Íqán and plans to invite some of her Bahá’í friends to tell them about what she learned in the course and to encourage them to take advantage of Wilmette Institute courses for their own study.
Mari says that she has “gained greater courage to talk freely without a manuscript” when she remembers, “I can try this because it seems pretty self-evident what to include in a talk,” good advice for any speaker. As a result, she is “no longer so terribly overwhelmed by the subject”—and she also has “a stronger urge to teach.”