Studying Epistle to the Son of the Wolf Brings Many Rewards
Rebecca Deerwater of Fort Bragg, California, learned how to read the Baha’i writings, to think critically about them, and to share them with others and also gained enthusiasm and confidence by studying Epistle to the Son of the Wolf.
I learned that there is a certain amount of detachment required in order to do research. I have a tendency to fall into the imagery of the writings, get lost in the awe of them, and skip over things I do not understand. For example, the description of the sun setting on the mountain tops provided a very clear picture for me but did not provide any understanding as to what was being communicated. Without the help of the faculty this very important statement would have been lost to me.
I can’t describe the eagerness with which I approached my computer hoping to hear from others and the joy I felt upon an explanation, contact, kindness; as I write this, I start to cry from gratitude. It is very hard to be out here [in a very small, isolated Baha’i community]. I realized I have read very little of Shoghi Effendi and didn’t appreciate the depth of how interlocked we are to the Muslim faith. . . . I fleshed out my understanding of this work, turning it from the simple line drawing I understand now, to the complete work of art it is, with all its color, texture, depth and form. . . . With the help of the teachers, this work took on a much deeper and fuller view of the concepts, thoughts, and admonitions of Baha’u’llah. The notes that went with the course were very helpful in fleshing out much of it. . . .
This was the second time I read Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. The first time was during the Baha’i Fast just before the course. I always had trouble getting past the first few pages because it reminded me so much of hell, fire, and brimstone. I did not realize that this was such a treasure trove of Baha’u’llah’s revelation. I did not know that this was his last work. It has the feeling of a meal. Everything from soup to nuts. With the teachers’ help, I learned some of the allusions made by Baha’u’llah and realized this alone could be a life study. Again my understanding of the magnitude of this revelation has deepened. I become overwhelmed.
While on a walk with my husband (a Harvard graduate with a Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Chicago) I was explaining to him how difficult it was to change the way I think and approach things but that I was having some success. He gave me a big smile, put his arm around me, and said “No sweetheart, you are not what would be called a critical thinker.” He was happy to watch me try on this new set of clothes. Skills acquired? Improved? I got one arm through the shirt sleeve!
I still hope to be able to produce twelve topics for [fireside] discussion to be used once a month. Any learning adds to my confidence that I will be able to share accurately the Baha’i Faith. As a side note, since starting this course we have had Feast held four months in a row. Unheard of in this community. I asked the friends to come to dinner last Feast, and after dinner, while sitting around the table, the discussion led only to things of a spiritual nature, easily and naturally. I can’t help but wonder what influence this course has had.