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The Light of Divine Guidance (Volume 2)

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Germany (Bahá’í-Verlag), 1985 edition
  • Pages:
  • 133
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Pages 18-19

Letter of 10 September 19311

10 September 1931
In regard to your father’s spiritual testament, which betrays on the part of the author an inadequate knowledge of the Bahá’í Faith, the Guardian feels that you should make it clear to all the inquirers that the late Dr. Forel, as many other persons who have embraced the Cause, did not have a complete understanding of the fundamentals of the Bahá’í religion. He was particularly interested in the social aspect of the Movement and owing to some psychological reasons he did not lay much emphasis on its doctrinal side. This can be explained by the fact that our lamented doctor being advanced in age at the time of his acquaintance with the Bahá’í teachings was not able to devote all his time to a deep study of the tenets of the Faith.
Shoghi Effendi, however, in his letter addressed personally to your father explained to him that the Bahá’ís should firmly believe in the existence of God and in the immortality of the soul and in many other fundamental teachings which the Bahá’ís share with the adherents of many other religions. Our lamented doctor may have most probably considered it unwise to declare openly that he had rejected all his previous conceptions in regard to the existence of God and such similar ideas and preferred to express in an indirect way the many changes which the knowledge of the Faith had brought in his mind by declaring that he had become a Bahá’í.
At any rate there is no doubt whatever that the well-known Tablet revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for him had brought a tremendous 19 change in his monistic theories and induced him to accept the Message openly.
However great the contradictions in Dr. Forel’s testament in regard to his attitude towards the Cause we cannot fail but to recognize him as a Bahá’í who had but a partial glimpse of the Bahá’í Revelation. No one can claim that his knowledge of this Revelation is adequate, especially at this time when the Bahá’í Faith is still in the embryonic stage of its development. Dr. Forel was sincere in his convictions but like every human being his comprehension was limited and this was not in his power to change.
These are the ideas which came to Shoghi Effendi’s mind when he read a ‘résumé of Dr. Forel’s testament in one of the well-known Swiss journals and he wishes you to share them with all those who are interested to know of the Doctor’s attitude towards this Movement….
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-worker:
The passing of your distinguished father has indeed grieved me profoundly and I wish to assure you of my heartfelt sympathy in your irreparable loss. I would deeply appreciate a written account of his eventful life and of the meritorious services he rendered humanity, either from your pen or any other friend in Germany, for publication in the next issue of the Bahá’í World. I feel that his reference to the Cause in the codicil of this testament indicates the perceptible change in his mental outlook since he penned the earlier passages of his will, for he must have known from the Tablet he received as well as from the letters I wrote him and from many other Bahá’í publications the fundamental and distinguishing features of the Cause. That is why I feel that with your consent and approval, the publication of his references to the Cause in his testament could very well be published in the Bahá’í World. With my best wishes and deepest sympathy,
1. to Mrs. Marta Brauns-Forel   [ Back To Reference]