Newsletter

Learning about discourse through the Bahá’í Writings

Mar 1, 2021

Course: Exploring Bahá’u’lláh’s Last Major Work: Epistle to the Son of the Wolf (2020)
Faculty Mentor: Christopher Buck

I think I have achieved most of the goals I set for myself in the course. I have prepared a keynote presentation on trustworthiness with some questions but will have to translate it into Swedish. If I have time, I will investigate how the Ruhi books have used material from Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

I didn’t think it would be possible to fully grasp the content of this whole book because it was not divided into chapters or subjects. However, after reading the book and making sense of the paragraphs, the overall concepts began to take shape, themes were emerging, and I recognized passages from Bahá’u’lláh’s Writings. It was interesting to see how other students had tried to find a structure to assist understanding. The extra reading materials were very helpful. 

After the first couple of weeks, I realized that I had to identify topics of the paragraphs for reference. The course discussion questions help me identify various themes, with some explaining social teachings and others addressing spiritual subjects. I hadn’t thought of the Bahá’í Writings in terms of discourses before, just as explanations of subjects. I suppose we don’t get to see the questions that were asked of Bahá’u’lláh, but we can try to understand them from how the discourse evolves. I have also learnt a lot from the responses of the other students, who submitted very thoughtful and well-considered responses.

Not being very good at discourses, I have made an effort to engage in these since starting the course. I have been on several Zoom meetings with people of various backgrounds and also met up with people and have made efforts to listen better and think how to organize my responses. I have also learnt that it is possible to read and understand what seems initially to be a difficult book. 

The strongest impression I have had from the book was the courteous, forgiving, calm and, at the same time, powerful language that Bahá’u’lláh used toward those who had inflicted such harm on the believers, the Báb, and Himself. It is such a model of dignified behavior, and the language is so powerful that it is hard to understand how anyone could fail to be affected by it.

My understanding of the difference between the revelations of the Báb and the Bahá’í Faith has increased. I see now how the Báb provided a bridge from Islam to the next great Manifestation and that that Revelation was different. 

I plan to share ideas from the book with Bahá’í friends and interested people. Hopefully the book will come out in Swedish before too long. I will continue to look for ways to practice discourses. I am now booked into a meeting this week with the interreligious council in Sweden to discuss what we can do during coronavirus times. I attend the council as a member of the interfaith group in Uppsala.  

Contributors

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Elisabet Mitchell

I am a retired physical therapist/lecturer. I moved back to Sweden from the UK with my Scottish husband 9 years ago. We live in a rural community beside a lake. I am a member of the Uppsala Bahá’i community.

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