Monday, March 17, 2008

On an Interview with Shoghi Effendi: All we insist on is the acceptance of the status of Baha'u'llah and of his infallible teachings in their entirety

Mention of this article came wafting through the ether from a correspondent who came across it undoubtedly during a time of meditation, study, and self-reflection in keeping with the fast. The interviewer is a Christian, the interviewee the beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi. The time, 1935. -gw

"Do you ask your members to submit to any initiatory rite before you accept them?"
"No ceremony is necessary for recognition of membership, nor do we observe any one day as peculiarly sacred. All that we insist on is the acceptance of the status of Baha'u'llah and of his infallible teachings in their entirety."

On this last point he was adamant and explicit. He reverted to it time and again."

"Is Baha'u'llah in your thought a divine being and as such to be worshipped?"
"We do not think of him as God, though he is divine. He is God in the sense that the mirror reflects the sun. We know that the sun is not in the mirror, but we know also that it is. Similarly Baha'u'llah said he was God, and as such we worship him."

"You mean you pray to him?"
"Yes. Our prayers are to him, for by him as our Mediator we come to God"

By A. E. Suthers, Ohio Wesleyan University, Moslem World, Volume 25, January 1935

[This polemical article, published in what was originally a missionary-oriented journal, is sufficiently preconceived and dismissive that it scarcely warrants an explanatory note. However, it is useful in that includes a fairly extended glimpse of Shoghi Effendi through the eyes of a non-Baha'i—and hostile—observer. - Jonah Winters.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder what AE Suthers would say about the Baha'i faith if he were alive today? I wonder if he would better comprehend the unity of religions, and the profound love and devotion that Baha'is of formerly non-Christian backgrounds feel for "his" Jesus Christ. I wonder if he would be as dismissive of the "waste" of our "passion." I wonder if he would reconsider his views of Shoghi Effendi and appreciate him for the giant builder, leader, theologian, servant, and brother that he was, and would better comprehend the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah. I feel sorry for Suthers. He is an object lesson for others like him who live today.