Saturday, 19 January 2013

Q54: Doukhobors and Hereditary Leadership?

From: Larry Ewashen, Words of Wisdom.

Did Doukhobors once believe in hereditary leadership?


The principle of hereditary leadership is problematic to the Doukhobors today on at least two counts:
  1. It is contrary to the basic egalitarian principle of Spirit Wrestlers of the 'God Within each'. Just consider how repugnant are the following arrogant sectarian concepts that are cited: the concept of the 'righteous ones', the 'true people', whose 'intellect is well above' other people. Also, there are said to be 'prophets' and 'Christs' who professed the truth to people. These concepts, in my opinion, are narrow self-serving and are an excuse for power and control. They have no universal appeal of common humanity.
  2. It is stated that the highest form of wisdom 'among the true people, among the Doukhobors, was always transmitted and still is in a hereditary way from leader-father to leader-son.' That statement is a classic aristocratic case of the primogeniture principle that historically has supported kings, queens, tsars and popes. This is NOT a Doukhobor principle and is contrary to its very essence. Primogeniture is largely colonial thinking and is anti-democratic in spirit.
We have to acknowledge that there are those people who support the 'hereditary' principle of leadership, but they are misled in believing that this is part of the Doukhobor movement (since 1895). A record of oral tradition was published in 1909 (p. 234) by Vladimir Bonch-Bruevich in Zhivotnaya Kniga Dukhobortsev [Doukhobor Book of Life] as purportedly supporting the hereditary line. The sample appears to be skewed in favour of the believers of leaders who do not question the basis of their beliefs, rather their views relate to old outlived customs, which in the present day judgement do not form the central core of Doukhobor values and philosophy. History, as I understand it, needs to be interpreted in the light of new information.

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1 comment:

  1. The keyword is TODAY.
    I presented some historical writing from the LIVING BOOK collected in 1901.
    A lot has changed since then, especially the fact that the Doukhobors are no longer a cohesive unit as they were then.
    Even a casual observation of their history prior to the splintering of the group in 1908 when a striving for economic gain overcame the previous concept of communal existence and sharing of all wealth. indicates their success united under strong leadership.