> VoicesDivine founder Interviewed on ‘A Baha’i Perspective’
VoicesDivine founder Interviewed on ‘A Baha’i Perspective’
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Hans Peterson – A Bahá’í Perspective
From WXOJ-LP Northampton, 103.3 FM, your valley free radio station, welcome! I’m Warren Odess-Gillette and this is a Baha’i Perspective.
A Bahá’í Perspective is a radio program of biographical interviews of people who have either chosen the Bahá’í Faith as a way of life or who have a relationship with the Bahá’í Faith.
Today I’m playing a telephone interview with Hans Peterson. Hans got involved in film making when a good friend of his got the Bahá’ís in Budapest involved in creating a film called “The Ortega Job”. The collaborators created a second production called “Mocha Frapuchino” which Hans directed. You can see the trailer for that film at www.mochafrapuchino.com. Hans also has a project ongoing to create Bahá’í audio books. The website for this endeavor is www.voicesdivine.com.
I started the interview by asking Hans where he grew up and what was it like growing up there.
Well, I grew up in Pasadena, California. It’s about 10 miles northeast of Los Angeles. It’s that part of Los Angeles that Hollywood likes to use for all the beautiful house fronts in movies and TV shows. Well, I lived there for about 11 years in my childhood from about ’75 until ’86.
That was kind of an interesting time I think, to be growing up in that part of the city because I remember that when I first moved there, there were issues of segregation, or desegregation where they were forcing us to go from one part of town to another school by bus. I didn’t understand what that meant at the time but it was later that I realized that that was something special that was happening in California that wasn’t happening in other states other than in the south. You know, obviously Los Angeles is a very multicultural place. A lot of my friends were either black or Hispanic and basically all kinds of colors and religions. I think that left a big impression on me throughout my life.
I think I had a pretty good childhood. My parents were very liberal in how they raised me and my sister in the sense that they gave us a lot of opportunities to experience other cultures and gave us a clear idea that there’s not just one right way of doing things. Being in California, for example, was their idea of showing us the world is a bigger place, whereas they grew up in the Midwest I think their idea of having us growing up in Los Angeles was that we would see more of the world than what they had seen when they were growing up.
And what was religious life like growing up?
The first religious experiences I can remember were going to my parent’s Presbyterian church in Pasadena. Then later I remember switching from the Presbyterian Church to a Lutheran church which I think was something little bit more comfortable for both of my parents. My father grew up in a Presbyterian home, so I think that’s why we started off with the Presbyterian Church, and my mother’s family was basically Lutheran. Somehow I think together they decided that the Lutheran atmosphere was something more to their liking. I’m not sure exactly why.
I remember that the the church that we ended up going to was Messiah Lutheran Church in Pasadena. It was a very family oriented church. Or, I guess what I mean is that my parents and the parents of a couple of other kids my age had some seminary experience. My father studied at a seminary and the father of another girl my age and studied at seminary and became a Lutheran minister so our parents were really active in our religious education. So, for example when we had our First Communion classes and the confirmation preparation classes, actually our parents were the ones who were teaching us for those classes as a small group, so that we would get together – the three families with the parents and the children – and they would work through whatever books or material that we were using to teach us the concepts of the Lutheran faith as they do when go through these First Communion and Confirmation.
So I remember going, for example, to Baja California or to the California desert, the three families together for weekend retreats to meditate and to talk about the spiritual aspects of growing up and becoming an adult. I remember that very fondly, those experiences of having family, having my parents and the parents of my friends teach us, as opposed to having some kind of religious teacher, like the pastor of the church or somebody. And I think that gave us, I think, also a more open view because although they had gone to seminary they weren’t very dogmatic about anything.
I remember at one point, earlier before the confirmation that the pastor of our church had mentioned that the Catholics believed that the Virgin Mary was somehow holier than other human beings, and he said “That’s wrong, we don’t believe that.” And that kind of surprised me because that was really such a strict kind of point of view that wasn’t part of what my parents had been teaching us. When we went through these confirmation courses just with the parents it was really open and more based on spirituality rather than the dogma of the church – although there was some idea that yeah we’re learning about what the Lutheran teachings are and we were clear about that, but it was quite an open experience.
Hans, what were your interest growing up?
I’ve always had a great many interests, growing up and even to now. I remember when I was very young science was always a big love for me. I had all kinds of books about astronomy or the dinosaurs or physics and in that sense Pasadena was a great place to grow up because later, as I went into junior high and high school, I was able to go down to the California Institute of Technology where they offered special classes for high school and junior high school students in science. That was sort of something that I really valued.
Well I did some musical endeavors. I played the flute and the oboe in an elementary school and high school. I was also in the Pasadena Boy’s Choir for three or four years. Later when, actually when we moved from California in 1986 to move to Minnesota I continued with the choir but then also got involved with speech competitions, speech team – less involved with the team sports. I had been a swimmer and a water polo player my freshman year of high school but somehow Minnesota didn’t have water polo so I didn’t get re-involved in sports at that time. Later I did rock climbing. When I first went to Europe rock climbing was my big love. As I got into my later years of high school and into college, religion started to become more and more interesting to the point where I was looking into Buddhism and I actually went to a Catholic university. So I was really happy I could take courses on, for example a course on science and religion or the Old Testament theology and things like that.
What was your study in college?
I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and German literature.
And you, at that time you were also pursuing a spiritual education?
Well, not formally exactly, but the university that I went to was St. John’s University and it was started by Benedictine monks in central Minnesota, so part of their core curriculum of their idea of liberal arts is that students should have some education on religious issues. I really valued that. I actually had a tossup of universities. It was either going to be the Catholic school – which was a little closer to where my parents lived – or a Lutheran school – which was down in southern Minnesota. I went to, as I often do, I went for the more adventurous choice and picked the Catholic school simply because I wanted to know more about that particular part of religion which had been, up until then, a black hole for me. I didn’t know much about the Catholic faith at that point. So I thought that would be good if I could go and learn something about that, too.
The Fountains of Paradise – Arthur C. Clarke
But actually my interest in religion started, or really what I began exploring other religions other than what I’d just been taught in Sunday school and in these confirmation courses was somewhere when I was around 17, 16. I was reading science fiction books by Arthur C. Clarke. He writes a lot about the Buddhist influence in his life. I guess he lived in Sri Lanka. And, a lot of his books have a theme that relates in some way to Buddhism. That really touched me because Buddhism for me was a religion that didn’t have all that dogma, was open in the kind of way that my parents had taught me about being open, and pluralistic in religious ideas, and yet had that acceptance of the ideas of science. So there isn’t really anything that you can speak of to say that Buddhism conflicts with science in any way, as has been the history and the Christian religions.
I guess that’s the point where I started to say, if somebody asked me, that I felt more Buddhist than I did Christian, really. And that sort of lasted until basically, more or less until I became a Bahá’í shortly after I graduated from college.
And what did you do after you graduated from college?
I had spent about half of my college studies in Salzburg, Austria. So I had started in my sophomore year, going to Salzburg, and in the end it ended up that I was doing one semester in Salzburg in one semester in the United States. At the end of all that I had met a Hungarian girl who was living in Salzburg and was studying music – piano – and decided to ask her to marry me and we ended up getting married just after I graduated and getting started with our life in Salzburg. So I was, actually was teaching English and finishing up some courses that I needed to to complete my full degree in Salzburg just after the official graduation.
What were the circumstances that you ran into the Bahá’í faith?
Well I guess it was in Salzburg – is it’s hard for me to remember now – that I remember that at some point before I remember the concrete time when I sat down at the computer and I was looking through scriptures of different religions. And I was just curious to see what religions had what scriptures. I think I had some kind of idea that I was going to compile a digital database of the scriptures of all the religions and I came across the Bahá’í Faith at that point. A few years back, and I don’t remember exactly when that was, I had had some contact with somebody who was a Bahá’í or somebody who knew about the Bahá’í Faith and they told me or I got the impression that the Bahá’í Faith was very eclectic, that it was accepting of all the religions. That was a positive bit of information. It didn’t inspire me to go deeper into it at that point. But when I finally, over the Internet, ran into some websites that were talking about the Bahá’í faith that’s when I really started to read the writings of Bahá’u'lláh and especially ‘Abdu’l-Bahá quite intensively.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá being the son of Bahá’u'lláh and I guess Bahá’u'lláh had said that after he passes that everyone should turn to his son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. So ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had written a lot of writings that expounded on the teachings of Bahá’u'lláh.
Some Answerered Questions
You know, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá always wrote in such a such a clear way and in some of his writings had really directed the message towards Christians. And I’m thinking of the one book that made the most sense to me, or really influenced me the most, and that was the book called “Some Answered Questions” which covered a lot of Christian topics in way that was really refreshing. I think it was exactly at that point when I started reading ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s explanations of Christian dogma from a different point of view that I started to really gain a new perspective on the Christian faith which I kind of distance myself from ever since I had run into Buddhism. And now I felt, when I started reading about how the Bahá’í Faith looks at Christian issues and Christian theology, I felt like I was growing closer again to the Christian faith. That felt good because it was always a conflict in me that I’d been raised Christian but I had kind of move away from it in favor of something that was really quite different. I felt like that can’t be right, exactly, that everything that I learned as a child can’t be all wrong, but somehow so much of it was – didn’t really fit in with my scientific worldview that I just couldn’t balance the two out. So I was basically stuck with Buddhism until I started reading about how ‘Abdu’l-Bahá describes the holy Trinity and other Christian issues. That was really really nice to find out that everything that my parents had brought me up with was still valid in a way that didn’t really contradict anything in the Bible, that was still in harmony with what the scientific side of my mind was looking for.
Are you able to describe for us what ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said about the Trinity?
Yeah, well as a Christian I learned that it was a mystery, that you have the three Persons who are in and of Themselves each an integral part of the Godhead. That you have God the Father as God, you Jesus Christ as the Son and then the Holy Spirit, which is somehow that aspect of God which influences us directly through our souls. And that idea that it’s supposed to be mysterious was the most difficult part for me that how can Jesus be really an incarnate version of God incarnate person of God and yet God is in heaven and on Earth at the same time and it was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s explanation that God is like the sun in the sky that it can never come down to Earth and yet the rays of the sun which are like the Holy Spirit are what brings the heat and the light of the sun to Earth to humanity and the mirror which reflects that light perfectly is analogous to Jesus Christ or any of the other manifestations of God such as the Bahá’u'lláh or Mohammed or Moses. That finally was a description of the Holy Trinity which made absolute sense. In a way it’s mysterious but it’s not that kind of mystery that challenges your perception of what’s logical. It’s still a beautiful metaphor. When you look at somebody like Jesus Christ and hear Him say “I am God” it’s like looking at a mirror and saying yes that’s the sun and pointing to the reflection of the sun in the mirror in that Jesus reflected all of the attributes of God perfectly and for Him to ever say that He was God was absolutely true, but at the same time He was simply a mirror reflecting the pure light of the Sun which was traveling to Him and through Him through the power of the Holy Spirit as the rays of the sun.
You said you started your search and you were reading deeply including this book called “Some Answered Questions”, so what happened in your journey in this regard?
When I was in Salzburg I had visited an English-language international church a number of times and was good friends with the pastor of the church. But it was a relatively fundamentalist church, so very biblical and in the interpretation of the Bible. It was a really nice community and I enjoyed spending time with them, but I picked up some ideas about the second coming of Christ that was a little bit challenging, that Jesus said there will be many false prophets and that we should beware of them and that idea kept going through my mind again and again as I investigated the Bahá’í Faith, and to thinking “Is this what we’re supposed me to beware of?” Because, as far as I was concerned, everything that I was learning about the Bahá’í Faith was almost too good to be true. I mean here is a religion that is in harmony with science and talks concretely about equality between men and women and all the races and unity and human society that would be unified in a way that growing up in the Cold War times for me was just incomprehensible. So I was really concerned about this not being the right thing, not being true. And I spent a lot of time reading more and more and trying to get the other side of the story and even I went to a church here in Budapest where I asked the pastor what he thought about the Bahá’í Faith and finally I just hunted down the Bahá’ís here I sent an e-mail, I think, to some Bahá’í in England who had a website he happened to know somebody here in Budapest who eventually contacted me. He and a friend of his met with me in a Burger King in downtown Budapest and that friendship became the seed of me becoming a more deepened Bahá’í, essentially.
I remember thinking that everything that I learned, as I learned more and more about the Faith, that absolutely none of it was in conflict with what I had been raised with. With this idea that we are all equal, that everybody can be saved, this idea that Jesus came to redeem us and that eventually we will all find God and come closer to knowing God. And that kind of teaching, as I came across it again through the Bahá’í Faith reminded me that – and I told my mother this later, a little bit facetiously, but that although my mother was Christian, Lutheran and actually still is, that she had raised me as a Bahá’í. That’s why eventually becoming a Bahá’í 11 and a half years ago was something that wasn’t a huge step for me, because it was just acknowledging something that I thought was already true based on how I’d been brought up.
Hans, what were you doing at the time occupation wise when you ran into the Bahá’í Faith and became a Bahá’í?
I was teaching English actually, here in Budapest. I had started teaching English at the Berlitz language schools almost as soon as I came to Budapest. Pretty much that’s what I was doing when I became a Bahá’í. The first five years in Budapest was spent teaching English in the language school.
Either just after or during the time when I was getting ready to declare, which was about the same time that I left the language school,0 and started working in a Persian restaurant with a friend of mine who wasn’t Bahá’í – a Muslim friend of mine who I had met even before I had found out anything about the Bahá’í Faith. That kind of gave me a cultural perspective on the Bahá’í Faith as something from Iran, something from Persia. So I learned what the Iranian friends, who I had, who were not Bahá’ís, had been taught about the Bahá’í Faith when they were kids and growing up, to see the contrast between what it really was and what my Iranian friends thought it was. And I remember when I came back to the restaurant one day after having just declared that I told my Iranian friends “I’ve become a Bahá’í.” They were open about that. They knew that what they had learned was probably not exactly true. So they greeted me as “Hey brother!” as if the Bahá’í Faith was just another sect of Islam like the Sunni or the Shiite. Then they asked me some questions about how often I pray and other details and realized that, oh, maybe they were a little bit premature in greeting me as a [Muslim] brother, but still they accepted me as a Bahá’í and they were open about that.
To find out from them how they had been indoctrinated with the idea that the Bahá’í Faith isn’t a religion, but a political movement or something was fascinating and something I really value now to have had right at the beginning of becoming a Bahá’í because now I can see what the root cause is for what’s happening in Iran right now where so many persecutions against Bahá’ís are taking place.
How does that inform your take on that?
Well it gives me a perspective that I see that a lot of good people in Iran are just so misinformed about what the Bahá’í Faith is that it’s hard to blame them for their opposition to it because essentially they’re ignorant of what the situation really is about. You know, they’re taught that the Bahá’í Faith is a political movement that was that was invented, I think, by the British or by the Russians, and now it’s being supported by Israel and the United States. From my point of view I can see how ridiculous that is but when that’s all you’re ever taught from a very young age, I can also see how that can have such a big influence on their decisions to be opposed to it later in life.
And you said you were going through an occupational transition at this point?
At that time I had, kind of burnt out of teaching. I had been teaching for five years, and I had a management position the school as a teacher supervisor. I was getting bored of that so I jumped at the opportunity to to manage this Persian restaurant with my Iranian friend and completely left the school and devoted the next 6, 7 months of my life to 12 to 16 hour days at the restaurant which was a great opportunity actually to, not only get myself away from the stress and boredom of language teaching, at the time, and start doing something as exciting as running a restaurant and actually finally learning Hungarian. Although I had been here for five years I never had to speak Hungarian in the school and my wife spoke perfect English and German so there was no need for me to speak Hungarian. But, at that point, moving into the restaurant, that was that was an excellent opportunity to finally learn the language that I should have learned a lot earlier.
And when was it that you started getting into film, Hans?
I guess that’s just something recent, if we speak strictly about film.
Why don’t you describe for us the transition from managing an Iranian restaurant to where you are today, then?
Well, that gets complicated, actually. I was in the restaurant for six months and then it started to bother me the fact that we were selling alcohol and making quite a large profit off of it. That was something I felt I had to take care of, so I left the restaurant and went back to teaching for a little while. Then I got a job as a human resource consultant and did some recruiting and headhunting. Then later I worked for the Hungarian Press Agency as a consultant also for some human resource and strategy issues. Then later I started working for an engineering company, basically working on marketing and writing English presentations and setting up the website and things like that. So, professionally film making has never really been there but back when I was in college I did make a very amateur film with my classmates for one of my courses on German fairy-tales.
This community of Bahá’ís that we have in Budapest, you have to know, is really active and really a dynamic community, especially with youth activities like making short films or musically active – we have quite a few musicians in the Bahá’í community here in Budapest. So, there’s an artistic feeling to the Budapest Bahá’í community that is really special. A good friend of mine actually had been making these amateur films about various topics unrelated to the Bahá’í faith but still using most of the Bahá’í community of Budapest as actors or to take part in the films. The most recent one that was done, that was finished a few years ago called the “Ortega Job” I actually acted in and helped out with and then he started producing this new film called Mocha Frapuchino. I think it was about two years ago that it really got started, got off the ground. He asked me, his name is Arjang – He, Ajang, asked me if I would play one of the characters in the movie and help with the writing and if I knew anybody who or anyway that we could get a good digital camera. I had one.
I was very keen to have a bigger role in this movie than in the previous ones, so we got started. As we started filming more and more scenes we started to have more and more concrete roles. Eventually, after a few weeks, we realized that he was going to be the producer of this movie and I would be the director and a third friend of ours, Nadji would be the cameraman and the editor, sort of the director cinematography, if you will. It just started getting bigger and bigger. So, the story itself was quite set at the beginning but it became now to the point we have oh, I’d say more than 100 characters or a hundred actors in the film including some famous Hungarians that are taking part, with quite big-name sponsors like the Marriott Hotel here in Budapest, or Red Bull or the largest cinema in Budapest has agreed to let us use their largest theater for our premiere in the spring of 2010.
It’s kind of all been a chaotic, but in some way well directed and growing process in making this project what is now, which is more or less I think there are two or three concrete goals that we are really intent on making real in this film. The one that we feel most right now is the fact that by doing this film ourselves and working with the friends in our community and actually bringing friends also from Austria and Slovakia – today we were just filming with a girl from Serbia – really people from all over the world have come to Budapest to be in our film or have come to Budapest and ended up in our film – that we’ve made a really good community building project out of this. We come together, we film together, we take lots of pictures, we put them on Facebook. We have a lot of fun and that’s a really positive experience that goes home with the people who are taking part as something that bonds us together. So that’s the one thing that that has come out as a benefit of the project.
The other thing is that it’s a charity project. So, nobody’s getting paid to do this. All of our sponsors are very willing to help us out by providing us with presidential hotel suites, or in this case were filming a spoof of the 24 TV show. We have some anti-terrorist activities going on in the movie so we’ve had to borrow guns and uniforms from another one of our sponsors. In the end when we have our big premiere night we’re selling tickets and raising money which we are going to give to the International Women’s Club of Budapest who sponsors a number of orphanages around around hungry to feed the kids at those orphanages. The last movie raised about $5000 in exactly the same way and this one is even bigger so we’re looking forward to raising a lot more this time.
And the third thing actually is that we’ve incorporated some ideas of the Bahá’í Faith into the movie. The title of the movie is Mocha Frapuchino, and the subtitle for that is “because milk and coffee have no prejudice”. The idea here is that a couple of the characters in the film are gypsies and a couple of the other characters are a little bit prejudiced against gypsies our main character who is actually a Gypsy has to fight with that prejudice. Eventually he finds a way to overcome it. Actually the study circle books that that we use in the Bahá’í Faith – that we use to teach each other about spiritual principles – comes up in the movie as one of those elements that helps overcome the prejudicial tendencies of the characters who who have those prejudices. So we have a message of anti-prejudice and a little bit of a message also of the fact that we are that we’re more spiritual than we sometimes feel – that there’s more to life than just the material existence.
So those are the three big reasons that you were doing this.
And you have a website that’s promoting the movie.
That right…it’s a bit difficult to find because of the many variations on spelling for Mocha Frapuchino.
You said that the project started with about three people, one ended up being the producer, one ended up being the, I guess, the camera man, and you end up being the actor…
The director, okay. So now it has evolved to where it is today, and I guess you’re going to have your premiere this spring. When did you start the project with just the three of you?
It was about two years ago. It wasn’t, no it wasn’t too long ago, but it feels now like it’s been long, because basically we do filming on Sundays whenever we can get the required people together – some of whom are from Austria or other countries as I mentioned. So sometimes there is a good passage of time between two film shoots and it probably has taken longer than if we had just done it all in consecutive days, but in this way it really draws out and becomes quite a long project.
I’m kind of curious why the sponsors are so attracted to supporting this project.
I think it helps just to ask nicely and tell them that the money that we are going to raise with this is going for a good cause. Some of them like the fact that we always offer to let them act in the movie in some smaller or greater role. I don’t know…I think maybe it’s just divine blessings that somebody up there wants this movie to be made and no matter who we ask for help with this they always say yes, or least if they’ve said no I don’t remember. We’ve just been really fortunate.
So your premiere is this spring. So, are you wrapping up production?
Yeah, today was the second to last production day. We did some filming of some scenes that are just filler scenes, basically. Then next Sunday we have to redo some scenes that, through evaluation and looking back at the tapes that we already recorded that we had to redo a couple of things. So, we have a big day of action filming next Sunday, as well. And then I think we’re pretty much done for the actual filming. Following that it’ll just be a few months of editing and then marketing where we’re going to put out a new trailer and start sending e-mails to all of our friends that they should prepare for – I think we set a date with this theater in Budapest that were going to show the film on May 8the here in Budapest 2010. So we’ve got a bit time to edit, but it’s coming up soon.
So are any ideas for new films bubbling up in your head while you’re wrapping this one up?
I’ve had some ideas, yeah. I think, though, what what we’re looking at probably in the future is instead of doing such a long and drawnout project, to focus more on some short films something that can be filmed over one or two days in weekend – really try and get more quality message into our films rather than spend two years on a big production with action and lots of actors, to focus on shorter messages that we can really do in a much shorter time and maybe get more stuff out a little sooner, a lot sooner.
Now I’ve been hoping to return to Los Angeles and move back to to my homeland and I’ve been putting that off now until we make the premiere, so I don’t know what’s going to happen with our filmmaking projects after May when this is all done and potentially I might be going back to, hopefully to Los Angeles.
And was calling you back to Los Angeles?
Well, the fact that I haven’t lived close to my family for 15 years now. I miss that. In the last couple of years I’ve taken a couple of business trips back to California and I started to get homesick. Budapest is an exciting and fun place to live and I certainly have great friends and we have a great community here, but at the same time when I got off the plane in Los Angeles and smelled the air and those memories from my childhood came rushing back it was really tempting to just stay there. But responsibilities called me back home, but I decided that it was pretty close to time that I should head back and at least spend a few more years in California before heading off somewhere else exotic.
What you think you want to do when you’re back home?
That’s a good question. I’m not exactly sure yet. I’ve spent the last 15 years as an English teacher and a restaurant manager and such a wide variety of things that it really could be anything. It’s hard to pin down the kind of job that is going to be waiting for me when I get off the plane in LA. I think recently I’ve been really interested in business. The last five years as a marketing manager and product manager for this company he in Hungary was a lot of fun and showed me that although I studied psychology and had some hopes one day long ago of becoming a clinical psychologist that that’s not really for me but rather something more along the lines of some kind of business career.
I don’t know if you knew about this before the interview but I’ve also got a small private little project of my own to record Bahá’í books as audio books and put those online. That’s something I’ve been thinking about doing. Actually I have a website that is set up for that. I hope to have it up and running within a few weeks or months. That’s something that might be the bridge that takes me back to America, as well, at the same time.
Now, how would that work? Would you be doing all the recording of the books?
Um, probably not me alone. I think the nice thing about the Bahá’í faith is the variety of people that we have in the communities and it would be a shame if it was only my voice reading from the writings. Essentially my my dream would be to have a Bahá’í audio book publishing trust, to bring really good voice actors together and record the writings of Bahá’u'lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Báb and make them available as really high-quality audio books online for download, with my voice in the beginning but then hopefully it would become popular enough that there would be demand to hear other books and materials recorded by other voices. I have a friend in Phoenix, Arizona who is just finishing up her first audio book of one of the Bahá’í writings and I think that’s a really good thing. I’d like to see more of that happening. One of the really great ways to learn anything nowadays is to download or buy books on CD or audio books on the Internet and listen to them when you’re driving to work or something on your MP3 player or when you’re at the fitness center, or whatever. I think that the fact that we don’t have the Bahá’í books really in that format yet is something that we can work towards.
And where are you at the moment in the project?
Well I’ve got – the website is all set up and at the moments there are a number of podcasts from the Bahá’í World News Service which I’ve recorded and a couple of which have been recorded by this friend of mine in Arizona named Leanne. It took a while to set up this nice website where we’ve got some nice graphics and a good format for presenting the writings and the news reports of the Bahá’í World Center in in a nice way, and it’s at www.voicesdivine.com. I think right now I’m waiting for – to have less to do in the way of the filmmaking or my other obligations at the moment and some time to sit down on a weekend with a director and record the second half of my first book. I’d like to do “The Hidden Words” as the first one and then “Some Answered Questions” as if the follow-up.
So, you’ve mentioned “The Hidden Words”. For those who aren’t familiar with Bahá’í literature, what is “The Hidden Words”?
The Hidden Words
Well, “The Hidden Words” is a very short compilation of short - well, short in comparison to the longer pieces of scripture in any of the major religions – but it’s a very short little compilation of verses that was written by Bahá’u'lláh and is really the essence of the message of God to humanity, with advice about how to behave or - I don’t want to put in too basic a way, but just really beautiful statements of essentially God speaking directly to to us altogether it’s about, from an audio book perspective I think it’s less than an hour with – I don’t know exactly how many versus – do you happen to know that?
I don’t, but I was wondering maybe if you had the book handy you could share one of the versus so people can get a sense of what you’re talking about.
O Son of Being! With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else, for My work is perfect and My command is binding. Question it not, nor have a doubt thereof.
Well, Hans thank you so much for sharing your story!
Thank you very much it’s been a pleasure.
I hope you enjoyed that interview with Hans Peterson, a Bahá’í currently residing in Budapest, who directed the film Mocha Frapuchino and has started a Bahá’í audio books project. You can see the trailer for Mocha Frapuchino at www.mochafrapuchino.com. And you can see his audio book project at www.voicesdivine.com.
For a copy of this and other programs you can go to the website www.aBahaiPerspective.com.
For information specifically on the Bahá’í Faith, you can go to the website www.bahai.org or you can call the toll-free number 1-800-22-UNITE.