Course: Pearls of Bounty (New Course, 2021)
Faculty Mentor: Richard Hollinger
Editor’s Note: Sara Platz has quietly taken on average about one Wilmette Institute course per year since 2015. She has just started her second course for 2021 (The Kitáb-i-Íqán: An Introduction). We are very pleased that Pearls of Bounty seems to have inspired her to deeper studies of the Bahá’í Writings! What follows are comments taken from Sara’s post-course Learning Self-Assessment.
This course has deepened my understanding of the role of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá and his interactions with the early believers. The course has broadened my understanding of many of the prayers and teachings. I plan to use this knowledge to organize a devotional centered around these writings. I have already done one on the role of women and plan to do more. I also plan to integrate what I have learned into discussions and consultations, when appropriate. I am very glad I took this course as it has greatly increased my knowledge of the teachings and the role of the Master (a term used by many Bahá’ís when referring to ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá) in the early days of the Faith and into today’s world.
This group of writings, along with some other books, was published to commemorate the 100th date of the passing of the Master. I am sure that they were also intended to encourage the friends to accomplish the remaining goals outlined in the One Year Plan. The Bahá’í world, along with the rest of the world, has struggled with the pandemic. Similar feelings of despair and panic would have been around during the Spanish Flu epidemic and World War I. This group of prayers and writings will help inspire us to push ahead despite any world circumstances.
This volume has deepened my understanding of Bahá’í teachings in several ways. First was his explanation of the role of women: They write the most letters, so they get the most answers. Short, succinct, and to the point. I am still reflecting on his tablet about farming, which mentions progressive taxation. Finally, the beautiful prayers, though written mainly for children, inspired my heart and soul.
These writings have deepened my connection with the Master. Two years ago, I was privileged to visit parts of New Hampshire and Vermont and visited some places where he had been. The pictures of the Master with the early believers touched my heart. These writings have deepened that connection. I visualize him in his rooms at Green Acre or the Dublin Inn, composing many of the prayers for the children I see in those photos. It touches my heart in ways I cannot adequately describe.