Letter from Johanne Agerskov to Pastor Wemmelund
Dear Pastor Wemmelund,
My most cordial appreciation of your kind letter which I received the other day.
You ask whether my husband and I could not have been given a hint about our mistake,1 and thereby have avoided it. It may seem quite natural to ask that way but — my dear Pastor Wemmelund — you should remember that my husband and I did not, and still do not, have any human privileges. We had — like so many others — our particular mission in life on Earth, and in that respect we have received all necessary help. How far a guardian spirit is permitted to extend his or her help that I do not know, but I should imagine that a limit has been set. As we know, it is the task of the guardian spirit to protect and give warning, for instance, in cases of imminent danger, or the like; just as it is his or her task to act as our "conscience". I do not believe,however, that my husband's error in filling in the form can be classified under any of those categories. But I should imagine that my friends in the spiritual world knew that I should experience no material need, for since the day when I was informed that the annuity had been forfeited I was told time and again — whenever I concerned thought (EDITOR: was concerned about. . .?) about the future — do not worry, everything will be all right! I related this to my sister, Mrs. Mathiesen, and my daughter prior to being informed of the increase in pension.2 It is therefore nothing thought up in hindsight. I was perfectly confident that in one way or another, I would receive compensation, and I was proved right. If we as human beings make a blunder, either because we are no wiser, or because we — as in this case — are not entirely familiar with the way in which a life insurance form should be filled in, I am nevertheless convinced that "the guardian spirit" somehow — without any direct intervention — will be able to compensate for our blunders, according to the instructions of God, should this prove necessary.
I have no news of the accounts pertaining to the sale of "Toward the Light” over the past year. Architect Bronnum has received no information yet. But sales will presumably not exceed the customary 50 copies. And if we are still to operate with this low number, it will be approximately another 20 years before this edition is sold out. So you see, it will in all likelihood be a long time before a less costly popular edition, like the one you suggest, becomes feasible. The publishing house has sustained losses on this work, and they are therefore probably not going to consent to publishing a paperback edition, unless the remaining stock is sold rather quickly; and that is not very likely to happen! "The Association for the Advancement of Toward the Light" can in no way afford the cost of publishing such a new and expensive edition, and "Toward the Light” has no patron who might shoulder the financial burden of printing a new edition. I suppose we must take comfort in the thought of Bjornson,3 whom you quote in your letter, that a truth grows slowly. And "Toward the Light” has probably a long and arduous road ahead of it before it has become the "common property" of which we are all dreaming. Perhaps the American-English translation will contribute to making the work better known in this country. But even if the people working on the translation in New York are well underway, it will probably be a few years before the work has been completed. The problem will then be to find a publishing house that is willing to accept the work for publication, for the Prior's themselves are unable to defray the expenses of a printing like we were at the time — with the help of a couple of friends, of course.
Kind regards to both of you from my daughter and
Johanne Agerskov nee Malling-Hansen
1) Due to a misunderstanding on the part of my husband our joint annuity was — for my part — forfeited at the death of my husband.
2) My pension was augmented with precisely the sum I was to have received through the forfeited annuity. I did not apply for this increase.
3) Bjornstjerne Bjornson (1832-1910). Norwegian author. Translator's note.
Letter from Johanne Agerskov to Pastor F, written in 1920
Sept. 21. 1920
Answer to Pastor F.
The messages that are given in "Toward the Light" concerning the primal cosmos, i.e., Darkness, Light, Thought and Will, are absolute truths. But it is understandable that many people will be unable to incorporate these truths into their conscious mental life, and it will be especially hard for those who have visualized God as a "Personal Being for all eternity".
That which has been given in "Toward the Light" are not human thoughts or human theories of the divine but realities which human beings must eventually grow to understand spiritually. A few will understand them immediately, others will take a long time to comprehend them, but only through many progressive incarnations will most human beings begin to fathom them. An understanding of God's Primordial Being as Thought and Will must for that reason be subjective. But the truths which the mind of the individual human being is unable to hold or to grasp should not be forced upon anyone, and nowhere in "Toward the Light" are human beings asked "to take the intellect prisoner under the blind obedience of faith" the way the Christian religion in its present form demands it with regard to "The Mystery of the Cross". God does not demand that human beings must have faith in something which their thought cannot grasp. But it is unimportant in itself whether human beings are able to comprehend God's Being as Thought and Will, since this period lies so inconceivably far back in time, so far that only God has the full knowledge of this period's point in time as well as its duration. What is important is this: for everyone eventually to achieve an understanding of God as a Personal Being, as the Father to whom everyone can turn. It is self-evident that this would greatly strengthen the relationship of trust. You have in this respect the advantage over many of your fellow human beings who can only conceive of God as something impersonal. Therefore, since you are able to conceive of God as a Personal Being you should not ponder that which is less important, namely His Impersonal Being. Maybe later, when you have devoted more time to several other issues in the book, will you arrive at a clearer perception of this question; or maybe the text below can help you achieve an understanding.
The laws of nature. You are thinking that if God for a time had been impersonal in a development, He must have been subject to the laws of nature. However, these laws all spring from God; but in order to ordain them He must personally come to know everything that was in the Darkness before He could give the laws that would govern this Darkness, and only through His own experience could this be achieved. While God was "Thought" and "Will", i.e., as long as Thought and Will had not become united and formed an indissoluble whole, He was not the absolute ruler of Darkness, and therefore He could not emerge as a Personal Being, as the Omnipotence who by the power of Thought and Will had overcome the evil that was in the Darkness. Thus, the existence of the Personal Being God as Thought and Will is the development that the divine male and female primal principle had to undergo in order for these principles to emerge as a unified, balanced and consummate Divine Being. The laws of nature are therefore a product of the Divinity's struggle out of Darkness, a struggle whose ultimate result became the "personal God", a Being of universal knowledge and universal power. - But every human spirit springs from God, it is created from His divine Being, created by the power of His Thought and Will, and all human spirits are subject to a development that slowly brings them forward to ever greater spiritual maturity, a development that gives Thought greater power to run away evil and Will greater strength to overcome the temptations of Darkness in actions. - Since the human spirit was created through an emanation from God’s own Being every human spirit has Thought and Will after the like of God, but human thought and will are but a "reflection" of those of God and the development to which every spirit must be subjected is therefore only a faint reflection of His development. But the human spirit carries within itself a reflection of the laws after which its development takes place. These laws, "natural laws", which have been given by God, but which did not exist while He strove to victory, ease the way for the human spirit in its struggle out of Darkness. (See "Toward the Light", page 271:5 to page 272:5 on the similarity of natural and human life to God's struggle out of Darkness).
Human beings are highly different in nature, and the difference between them is due to the longer or shorter development which their spiritual selves have undergone through the ages. There are people rich in thought and emotions whose will is weak and ineffective. There are others where the reverse is true, so that the will has become the predominant characteristic of the personality, while the thought and emotions have been developed to only a limited extent. And between these two extremes are a great many variations in degree of strength and differences of manifestations of the human thought and will. Only very rarely do we have before us a human being about whom it can truly be said that his or her intellectual and emotional life is completely balanced with the will. Such a human being will — in earthly terms — by the power of will master the thought to perfection; and the thought of such a human being holds not only that which specifically pertains to the joys and sorrows, the spiritual and bodily sufferings of the Self, but the thought of such a person also holds the sufferings of other beings; for only through its own struggle, through its own victory will a human being become capable of understanding fellow human beings and of bringing the help that is needed with a loving heart. - But if we have understood that only through self-recognition, through personal experience can the individual human being attain understanding and perfection, then we will also be able to understand that the Highest of all beings — the Divinity from where the human spirit sprang — must have personal knowledge of all that the human spirit has to endure. We must understand that He, who knows all, must himself have struggled through Darkness toward the Light, He must have striven toward the complete union of Thought and Will in order to emerge as the perfect Victor, as the All-knowing, the Almighty. And we must understand that through His struggle out of Darkness God has gained knowledge of the sorrows, the sufferings and the temptations which human beings encounter in life on Earth and that He has gained knowledge of the sins and transgressions to which human beings succumb, so that He from His absolute knowledge can meet every human supplication for help with the most profound understanding, compassion and love; and that He — by sending the struggling human being a small portion of His divine strength can sustain and strengthen where the person may feel that thought and will are unable to collaborate to perfection.
Thus, God had gained such knowledge of all the various manifestations of Darkness when He emerged as a personal Being through the struggle of Divine Thought and Will out of Darkness that — apart from being the sovereign Ruler — He can fully be the loving, understanding and compassionate Father, a Father who out of His loving Thought and through His strong Will is in every way able to help all His children to gain victory in the long and bitter struggle out of Darkness.
On the approaching Reformation of the Christian teachings we can only say this: that it is the wish of God that the initiative be taken by the prelates; many among the clergy have before their incarnation taken a vow to advance this cause. But one thing is to take a pledge, another is to remember this in life on Earth. We understand only too well that many of the chosen ones will prefer to take the "human road" by retiring or by ignoring it. But that is not the same as redeeming one's pledge, and these people must accept a heavy responsibility by acting the way they do. In order for everything to comply with God's wish the Reformation1 should start from the top, with the clergy and not with the congregations. But if the clergy1 fails the other road must be taken. (The Reformation will then be initiated by the prominent, spiritually developed members of the congregations.) You are of the opinion that it will be difficult to get the congregations to follow if the ministers "change their course". But you must remember that which is stated in the second Speech of Christ in "The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road": ". . .for wheresoever the shepherd walk, there the flock will follow!" It will create the least strife if the shepherds, that is the ministers, lead the way that thing is certain. - Concerning the preaching of the Gospels for Christmas and Easter as well as the articles of faith only that should be considered which is based upon the truth; the same applies to baptism and the Eucharist — ceremonies that are of a strictly heathen origin.
Concerning your pronouncements about Grundtvig - the spiritual intelligences do not wish to comment on them; they only stated that you should remember that Grundtvig lived at a time when Ardor was still "The Servant of Darkness" and that even the greatest of spirits during life on Earth could be blinded by his lies.
9/21 - 1920
1) In page 123 in this book is the copy of a letter to Pastor W. It treats the same subject as the one above, namely the position of the clergy in the forthcoming Reformation. That letter was written approximately three years after the above, and at that time the opportunity for leadership by the clergy had been lost. The wording of the letter to Pastor W. is therefore different from the wording of the above letter.
Letter from Johanne Agerskov to Pastor Kierkegaard, written in 1922
20 Nov. 1922
Dear Pastor Kierkegaard,
Before we meet in our home we would like to inform you of our views on your attitude to "Toward the Light". We feel the time has come for us — you and your wife, my husband and I — to clarify matters, so that we know where we stand, and I do not know that for my part that is more easily done in writing than through an oral exposition1.
Therefore, kindly allow me to say that my husband and I are deeply disappointed at the stand that you took when "Toward the Light" was first published. It is one thing to inform oneself fully about a matter and then to say: based on my innermost feelings and based on my convictions, I cannot accept that which is stated in, dsu (?), "Toward the Light" as eternal truths. I have not the courage to accept the responsibility before God and before my congregation for any further dissemination of these "truths". But another is to do what you have done in this case, namely to justify a dismissal of the matter on the grounds that you lack the time for a thorough study of the material in question. Had you acted in accordance with the former statement, we would have understood and respected your views — and no further comment would have been called for.
But you have for a long time chosen to avoid any direct acquaintance with the thoughts in "Toward the Light", as if they were no concern of yours. It is our opinion that had you truly wanted to acquaint yourself with these thoughts — these truths — through private study, then you would have found the time, and by applying your will you would have given your invisible helpers an opportunity to smooth the path for you.
A situation has now developed where someone from outside has requested that you familiarize yourself with "Toward the Light". It is therefore our feeling that the time has come when we, without anticipating events in any way, can and should inform you candidly of our views. The request has now been put to you. But we must add: until you yourself possess the full will to read and to ponder thoroughly the thoughts within the book it will be of little use to undertake a study of them. Time and opportunity will in no way improve for you until the request for knowledge comes from your inner self. "Toward the Light" is a question of "Either-Or", in no respect can you arrange a compromise. But should you, through a thorough study, come unto the knowledge that the truths of the book are also truths for you, in that case the time has come when you in spirit and in truth can speak to your congregation about that which we have been given from the transcendental world, for it is of no use and it shall profit no one that your sermons are merely tinged with the thoughts of "Toward the Light". Not until you can honestly say: "I stand firmly and securely on the ground which has been given in the book. I know that I can take the responsibility that will ensue. I know that with the help of our Father I will be able to expound these thoughts, these truths before my congregation" — not until that moment can you truly be an advocate of "Toward the Light". So inexpressibly much is demanded in order to do this! And above all, the core of the message to us — the forgiveness of Ardor — should not be forgotten. You must remember that the first thing you must tell your congregation is this: that Ardor created the human body, that God is the Creator and Father of our spirit. But so long as you are unable or unwilling to inform your congregation of this fact you are only a Unitarian minister and not the advocate and expounder of "Toward the Light".
There is another aspect of the matter which we would ask you to consider carefully, namely the following: If you had been able to overcome your aversion to studying "Toward the Light" earlier on, you might right now have been able to come forward as an advocate of the truths which we have been given. Have you ever considered how much may have been wasted due to your procrastination? The possibility does exist that a few or several members of your congregation, during the time that has elapsed, may have been "called home" and therefore would not have been faced with the question of forgiveness of Ardor through you. Try to imagine the possibility that these people, when you meet them in the beyond some day, will have every right to reproach you for not having spoken to them about this question while there was still time. Try to understand how much, how infinitely much it means for every human being to be able to say from the bottom of one's heart: I forgive Ardor! Try to understand what that means: to be freed from the bonds of sin, of Darkness, and of curses that bind everyone to Ardor, bonds that weigh heavily, that degrade and impede human beings in their journeying toward the Light and toward God — and I feel certain that if only you had understood this, then you would bitterly regret that you have not made yourself acquainted with the thoughts and truths of the book any sooner through private study, and you would understand that those from among your congregation who have passed away, or who may pass away in the near future, can later rightfully reproach you for your silence.
And you may rest assured of one thing: that were you but able, in your ministry among mankind, to bring a single human being to forgive Ardor and to walk the way of the Light, the you would have achieved far more than you are achieving now by offering maybe thousands of human beings half-truths to live on, for you must remember that it is but half the truth which you teach your congregation.
The moment we felt that now was the time to state our opinion we have done so, but we should add that we will always be willing to assist you now and in the future, and that we do wish with all our heart that you may reach full clarity in this matter, that you may be able to take a firm stand — in one direction or the other — toward "Toward the Light". But you must be able to understand that we could not possibly consider you a spokesman of "Toward the Light" as long as your knowledge of the thoughts of this work is as meagre as in fact it is, even though your sermons are coloured by the eternal truths which "Toward the Light" implies.
With our best wishes for your future work, my husband and I are sending both of you our kindest regards.
1) I know from personal experience how easy it is — even with the best of intentions — to stray from the original topic during a conversation. Moreover, it is easier to ascertain and to verify later which words and opinions have in fact been exchanged in a discussion where the parties differ. Our memories may fail us if we only have the oral statements.
2) Some members of Pastor Kierkegaard's congregation had at the time called upon him to study "Toward the Light" in order to speak on the thoughts of the work. This request, addressed to Pastor K., had emerged without any suggestions having been made, or influence exerted on our part. We did not know these members, but were informed about the matter through Mrs. K.
Letter to Pastor Kierkegaard, written in 1922.
22 Nov., 1922
Dear Pastor Kierkegaard,
In your reply to my letter there are a few points which I would like to clarify before we meet in person to discuss the matter.
1) I must maintain that had you wanted to study "Toward the Light", you would have been able to do so. In this I speak from personal experience. Had I not wanted to receive "Toward the Light" when my spiritual guide was ready to give it to me, it would not have come into being. Time and again my daily work accumulated to what seemed insurmountable obstacles. Time and again I would say to myself: "I can't go on!" I felt that surely I must break down, spiritually as well as bodily, because of all that I had been given to carry. But I wanted to come through, and the strength and the courage returned — and the work was concluded. I did manage to transcend both the mountains of "Toward the Light" and those of my household chores. I know it is a question of will; the will combined with trust in and prayers to "Our Father". Based on this knowledge I can say with absolute certainty: "Deep in your heart you have not been willing to acquaint yourself with the thoughts of the book, even though you are not aware of this yourself." I am not passing judgment, I am imparting knowledge. And I do know from my spiritual leaders that the ministers who received the book have been given two years (and later an additional six months) to study the work. It is for this reason, for your sake, that my husband and I are so truly sorry that you have not long since taken a stand to "Toward the Light" through private study. Had you been unable to schedule the necessary time for these studies in any other way, it would seem to me that you could well have published a notice in the newsletter to your congregation, saying that on such and such days at such and such hours you would be unable to receive telephone calls or visits, except in an emergency. I am sure your congregation would have respected such a request.
2) I am not saying: "You have no knowledge" of the thoughts of this work, as you claim. I wrote: "your knowledge of the thoughts of this work is as meagre". But what my husband and I do reproach you for is this: that it can be acceptable to you at all to take some of the thoughts and expound them to others before you have acquainted yourself with all of them through private study and have taken your stand. Your wife has on several occasions emphasized before my husband and myself that through your sermons "breathe the spirit of 'Toward the Light' ". In a recent telephone conversation, your wife once again stressed this point. It would seem that things were drawing toward the point where you wished to become the spokesman of the book. And in that case it should be not only our duty, but also our right, to inform you of all that is demanded of someone desiring to be the expounder and advocate of this work. Rest assured that we are in no rush to find a public spokesman for "Toward the Light." And should we be informed that your sermons are coloured by the thoughts of the book, we must be in a position to say to whoever brings out such a statement: Pastor Kierkegaard is not the spokesman of "Toward the Light", he has not read the book and therefore cannot be regarded as such. This is our stand. We admit that it would make us very happy if indeed you were, or would become, one; but we are exerting no pressure on you in that respect, we only wish to state our opinion and inform you of that which to us is right.
3) You are saying that there are a number of points where you believe I haven't achieved full clarification. Since you don't mention these points I am unable to comment on them, but I can say that: what has been stated in "Toward the Light" is the truth, but there are of course truths that haven't yet been imparted to humanity, truths which will be revealed at a later time by God's emissaries, the Youngest. Furthermore, I would like to say that we have spoken to so many people about the book and have heard so many different opinions about it, and many have had one, maybe several points which they didn't agree upon. Quite often one would say: such and such I don't agree with; and another would answer: Well, I happen to agree very much with that, but this I just can't believe is true! — and so on . If we were to take note of all these opinions and assume that I was the one who had misinterpreted the spiritual messages, and we thenceforth proceeded to change "Toward the Light", so that it gradually took on the form which the various people wanted, what would be left of it? It reminds me too much of the fable about The Man, the Boy and the Ass.
One you have read and given full consideration to the thoughts of the book we will be willing to clarify the points which you doubt.
4) You write that it is stated in the book: (in the Second Speech of Christ, i.e., in "The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road") that we should all speak gently about the truths which we have been given. Quite so, but this situation does not yet obtain. You cannot rightfully be referring to this speech, since you are not yet the spokesman of "Toward the Light", for which reason there are no grounds for admonitions, much less is there are any occasion for you to speak gently to your congregation, since you don't speak in the spirit of the book. Not until the truths of the book have become the truth for you does this case present itself, and I see no reason for us to be discussing it until the need for such admonitions arises. I am nevertheless convinced that should the time come when you in spirit and in truth became the advocate of the book, then you would know how to speak gently, whenever this was called for.
5) You write: ". . .that I place a grave responsibility on you". I wrote inquiringly, whether you had considered what might have been lost due to your procrastination. Do bear in mind that I know every one of us carries a great responsibility toward God and toward humanity. I know that you have not made proper use of the time which the clergy was given by the transcendental world to study the book. That is why I asked you to consider that you may later be reproached by deceased members of your congregation.1
I want to ask you, dear Pastor Kierkegaard, to understand that whatever I wrote I did write in order to help you, not to hurt you or to exert any pressure on you. My husband and I abide by the words of "Toward the Light": "God compels no one to do that which is right" — and "none shall compel his neighbour”.
You and your wife will be welcome, once you feel that you are able to discuss this matter without any anger or bitterness.
Kind regards to you and your wife from my husband and
FOOTNOTE 1) When Pastor K meets them in the beyond. J.A.
I would like to say a few words about the above letter:
When my husband published the mediumistic collection of poetry, "Greetings to Denmark", in the year 1915, Pastor Kierkegaard came to see us, because he wanted to make our acquaintance. At the time he he had not yet been appointed minister at "The Free Religious Community" (The Unitarian Community), but was studying theology. He evinced great interest in said collection of poetry, and he took an interest in transcendental matters and phenomena as well. Over the years he and his wife established an apparently close friendship with us. They were, it appeared, both interested in the work, "Toward the Light", which was far from being complete in 1915. However, we often discussed the various questions it contained, just as the "Speech of Christ" and "Speech of God's Servant" was read to them in extenso.
But the moment "Toward the Light" was published, Pastor K treated the work very coldly, and when we asked him about his views regarding same, or how the thoughts of the book had influenced him and his understanding of the divine he would invariably evade the question by saying that he hadn't yet had the time to familiarize himself with the work. He was now a minister of "The Free Religious Community". His wife, on the other hand, had rather quickly managed to study the work, and I presume that partly her conversations with her husband, partly the conversations which both of them had formerly had with us, must somehow have coloured his sermons to the extent that certain members of the congregation were given the impression that he spoke on "Toward the Light". This resulted in a request addressed to Pastor K. for a more detailed explication of the work.
However, as my husband and I knew of the coolness, which Pastor K. had demonstrated toward "Toward the Light" ever since the book had been published, we took action. We felt that it would not be in the interest of "Toward the Light" to have Pastor K. referred to as the spokesman of the work, when he had not even studied it thoroughly. Our opinion has always been, and it still is, that only those who are truly moved by the truths of "Toward the Light", who fully know and understand these truths through private study, can and should be advocates of the work. Every clear and true stand — for or against — will always compel our respect, and that is the reason why that for which we reproached Pastor K. was precisely his "half-heartedness" toward the work, which was neither one nor the other.
Following a brief exchange of letters — my letters having been copied from the drafts of the originals — we did have a conversation that did not clarify matters any further. Through a later correspondence, which has not been included here because it involved several other persons, and because it was of a more personal nature, we were given the impression that Pastor K's hesitation partly was due to the public attacks which the book had endured, partly the fact that one of the influential members of "The Free Religious Community" was decidedly opposed to the work. Pastor K. therefore felt an obligation to follow the path already established by the Community. After this exchange of letters, Pastor K. and his wife withdrew from us — a fact which we can only regret.
Letter from Michael Agerskov to Pastor Kierkegaard, written in 1924.
April 3, 1924
Dear Pastor Kierkegaard,
May I offer you my best thanks for your thorough review of "The Church and Christianity". It was very lucid and the quotations were well chosen; it will probably contribute to the book's being read and discussed.
Kindly allow me to take this opportunity as well to say that I find it is a good and useful piece of work that you are performing. But since I am a courageous man, as you say, then let me be "courageous" also in this case and state that no matter how good and proper your work of many different kinds may be, not much is expected of you all the same; it is not the work of paramount importance to which you have been destined by God. You understand what I mean. Rest assured that the day when trusting and confident you stand upon the fertile and blessed ground of the new revelation you will cause no one any greater joy than
Very truly yours, Michael Agerskov
"Toward the Light"FOOTNOTE 1
An answer to Mr. I.C. Sondergaard.
If a person wishes to criticize a work like "Toward the Light", he must be equal to the task, that is, not only must he be thoroughly acquainted with this work in every detail, but he must also — spiritually speaking — be head and shoulders above the people! None of the above distinguishes your article. I see the reason for this very clearly while you, Mr. Sondergaard, would hardly understand it. I shall, however, attempt to explain it to you.
Through the many lives on Earth — incarnations — the human spirit develops to greater clarity and maturity. Life on Earth is therefore a prolonged "schooling". Each earthly life is intended to enable the human spirit to proceed into a higher grade, however, many become "repeaters" until they progress and are granted their remove. But during the school attendance the spirit is enriched with new experiences, new knowledge, mew impressions, new skills, and so on, which contribute to the development and maturity of the spiritual "Self" in the same way in which the human child develops through schooling and studies. Since students vary from seven to eighteen years of age their spiritual standing and development must necessarily vary greatly. But a similar relationship exists — although on a larger scale — with regard to the schooling of the human spirits, and as a result there are great variations in the spiritual maturity of the individual human being. Therefore, that which one person — by virtue of a prolonged spiritual development — recognizes as being an expression of truth, divine love, clarity and logic will by somebody else — with a shorter development — often be perceived in an imperfect manner, which means that human beings whose spiritual "Selves" are at different stages of development will never be able to reach an agreement in a discussion of the "eternal" truths.
How do you, Mr. Sondergaard, think that a child in a preparatory class would respond to, for instance, a textbook in algebra? Do you seriously believe that a child of seven or eight years of age would be able to understand the text, the explanations, that are given in such a textbook used by the graduating classes? And even if the child would vehemently protest against the truth and the logic of algebra, such a protest would be of no consequence to adults, just as such a protest wouldn't change algebra into an expression of falsehood and wooly nonsense. But you may rest assured that the pupil, once he reaches the graduating class, will be able to thoroughly master "the mysteries" of algebra, or at least achieve a partial understanding of same.
You see, Mr. Sondergaard, "Toward the Light" is a touchstone of the spiritual maturity and development of the individual human being. Unfortunately you have stumbled over this stone. Your "Critical Remarks concerning 'Toward the Light' " in "Spiritualist Journal" (No. 7) demonstrate very clearly that you have understood nothing of the said work. But your lack of understanding in no way diminishes the work; it will continue to radiate Truth, Logic and Divine Love. You may therefore in good conscience leave it to more spiritually mature people to fathom that which to you seems nothing but nebulous ideas and sheer nonsense. But some day when your spiritual "Self" through new earthly lives has reached a far greater spiritual maturity, the also you will be able to understand the work that you are now denouncing.
And may I in closing remind you of the old saying: "If the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch". . .
1) The answer was not accepted by "Spiritualist Journal". J.A.
Letter to Lars Hansen, written by Johanne Agerskov in 1931
5 May 1931
Mr. Lars Hansen,
Thank you kindly for your letter which I received the other day. My husband and I are always happy to hear from people who are interested in religious and spiritual matters. Although you don’t say so, I presume that you have read Mr. Eric Prior’s article on the ethical-religious and scientific work “Toward the Light” in “The Danish Pioneer” saying ? (original wording indistinct) That it probably is the book you wish to own. But as it is a large and heavy book and as in places it may be a bit difficult to understand, we thought that we would send you a smaller book to begin with; it is called “The Truth About Death.” It is written by architect Knud Bronnum and is based on “Toward the Light.” If you find it informative and feel that you would like to acquaint yourself with “Toward the Light”, architect K. Bronnum — who is president of “The Association for the Advancement of “Toward the Light” — has promised me that the association will forward a copy of the book to you. I hope that once you have read “The Truth About Death” you will send my husband and myself a few words about your decision with regard to the large volume of “Toward the Light”, and we will forward it to you as a gift from “The Association.”
Dear Mr. Hansen, do not believe that the poor cannot serve God: Even if we are unable to attend services in Church we can always serve God by being kind, by acting in accordance with our conscience and by helping our fellow human beings to live in peace with one another. God does not consider to which religion, or to which sect we belong. He only considers one thing: whether we strive to be kind from the bottom of our heart, and whether we strive to teach our fellow human beings the same thing.
We do hope that reading the small book, which we are sending you under separate cover, will bring you joy; you will hopefully receive it together with the letter. “The Association” does not publish a newsletter; funds are much too limited for that. But it is our hope that with time the assets may accrue so that “The Association” will be in a position to afford the publication of a periodical.
With best wishes from my husband and
5 May 1931
Although Mr. L. Hansen’s letters were all rather confused, giving us the distinct impression of a somewhat cantankerous person, we nevertheless decided to send him “Toward the Light”, especially since he on several occasions had stressed that he was poor but unable to afford it. But I don’t believe that he gained any understanding from it. I have not copied the remaining letters — which were replies to his — as they are quite immaterial to others. —J.A.
After a number of articles by Mr. Eric Prior, U.S.A., were published, in “The Danish Pioneer”, the following notice was sent to the editor of the paper in question. In an accompanying letter, I emphasized that due to the great distance between Germany and the United States my wish was not to engage in a public debate but merely to have my article published. Several Danish-Americans had countered the articles of Mr. Prior in quite a foolish way without having acquired any further knowledge of “Toward the Light” than what Mr. Prior had imparted to them through his articles.
My article was accepted for publication. —J.A.
“TOWARD THE LIGHT”
In his discussion of “Toward the Light”, Mr. . Jensen, Lake Majeau, Alberta, Canada, refers to the book “The Smile of God” by Mr. Julius Magnessen (?) The mention of this book in connection with the above work demonstrates that Mr. A. Jensen has neither read nor thought out that against which he is carrying on a controversy. However, normally one does not judge, much less does one denounce, anything with which one is not thoroughly acquainted. If one did in fact wish to compare “The Smile of God” with “Toward the Light”, it would be the same as comparing the small Danish island — Apple Island — with the Andes. In other words: a totally absurd comparison!
The message which “Toward the Light” brings humanity is not in harmony with today’s thinking, as Mr. A. Jensen seems to feel. Its thoughts and messages are far ahead of its time. But the message will at some time in the future become the valid guide which everyone will follow during life on Earth. It is, however, quite impossible in a newspaper article to give an exhaustive treatment of the contents of this ethical-religious and scientific work; all who wish to familiarize themselves with it must therefore study it personally, must acquire it personally. But I can truthfully say that such studies will enrich the reader, will bring those who seek peace of mind much joy, and an understanding of the purpose of our life on Earth. It would afford my husband and myself great pleasure if Mr. Eric Prior’s mentioning the work could bring it into numerous of our compatriots’ homes.
We are sending our best regards to all who read this.
20 April, 1933
The article by Mr. Eric Prior and the above article by myself resulted in my receiving a number of letters from Various Danish-Americans. But as the majority only desired information as to where and how they might purchase the work, “Toward the Light”, I did not copy these answers. I have copied but a single letter because the letter writer, r. Lars Hansen, asked questions over and above the information in question. —J.A.