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Its present and pressing needs in the virgin territories of Eire, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland must be met with concentrated attention, continuous, systematic effort and the utmost self-sacrifice. The goals to be achieved in the capitals and chief cities of these newly opened territories must be relentlessly pursued, no matter how hard and stony the path that must be trodden. The prizes already won in other towns in those islands must at all costs be preserved and subsequently further enriched by fresh spiritual conquests in neighbouring counties and farther afield. Indeed the steps preliminary to the formation of a Bahá'í administrative centre in every county throughout the British Isles, must sooner or later be taken, as an essential prelude to the effective proclamation of the Faith to the masses. That the English Bahá'ís, aided and reinforced gradually by fresh recruits from among their Irish, Welsh and Scottish countrymen, may hasten the advent of such a glorious day in British Bahá'í history is the dearest wish of my heart and the object of my constant supplication at the Threshold of Bahá'u'lláh.Shoghi
DEEPLY TOUCHED ASSEMBLY'S SOLICITUDE ALL SAFE HEARTFELT APPRECIATION.SHOGHI
FERVENTLY PRAYING SIGNAL SUCCESS TEACHING CONFERENCE URGE CONCENTRATED UNRELAXING EFFORT ENSURE GLORIOUS TERMINATION INITIAL PHASE HISTORIC PLAN DELIGHTED SETTLEMENT CARDIFF DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
CHEERED HEARTENED MAGNIFICENT SUCCESS TEACHING CONFERENCE. GREATLY WELCOME VALUABLE ASSISTANCE EXTENDEDPage 210
DISTINGUISHED TEACHER DOROTHY BAKER. INITIAL PHASE PLAN DRAWING TRIUMPHANT CLOSE. SIGNAL SERVICES RENDERED SOUND BLESSED FIRMLY KNIT WIDE AWAKE BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY EVOKING ADMIRATION SISTER COMMUNITIES EAST WEST SETTING STIRRING EXAMPLE RISING GENERATION CONFERRING INESTIMABLE BLESSINGS POSTERITY MERITING APPLAUSE CONCOURSE ON HIGH AUGMENTING MY DEBT GRATITUDE. PRAYING ARDENTLY SUCCESS NEWLY LAUNCHED CO-ORDINATED TEACHING PLAN SUPPLICATING RICHEST BLESSINGS NEWLY ARISEN PIONEERS DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
DEPLORE LOSS VALIANT SOUL JOHN MARSHALL+ PRAYING FOR HIM. PRAYING CONTINUALLY EVER INCREASING SUCCESS GREATLY ADMIRED DEEPLY LOVED HIGH SPIRITED BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY.SHOGHI
INCREASINGLY ADMIRE DEEPLY THANKFUL PROGRESS HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENTS BLESSED COMMUNITY DELIGHTED RESPONSE EDINBURGH ASSURE OLGA MILLS+ ALFRED SUGAR+ LUCY+ BEST WISHES LOVING APPRECIATION PRAYING REMOVAL DIFFICULTIES.SHOGHI
KINDLY AIR MAIL AFTER APRIL ELECTIONS SEPARATE UP TO DATE ALPHABETICAL LISTS ASSEMBLIES GROUPS ISOLATED BELIEVERS BRITISH ISLES.SHOGHI
ASSURE DEARLY LOVED ALFRED SUGAR FERVENT PRAYERS RECOVERY HEARTILY WELCOME NEW BELIEVERS EDINBURGH DUBLIN GREATLY APPRECIATE SUPPORT NEW PIONEERS ADDRESS LAST MINUTE APPEAL VALIANT BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY INTENSIFY EFFORT FILL REMAINING GAPS ENSURE TOTAL VICTORY INITIAL PHASE MOMENTOUS PLAN ARDENTLY PRAYING FULFILMENT DEAREST HOPES.SHOGHI
ACCLAIM TRIUMPHANT CONCLUSION INITIAL STAGE EPOCH MAKING PLAN INITIATED Bahá'í COMMUNITY BRITISH ISLES OPENING YEAR SECOND Bahá'í CENTURY SUSTAINED PRODIGIOUS EFFORT CULMINATING LAYING STRUCTURAL BASIS RISING ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER LEADING CITIES EIRE SCOTLAND WALES UNPRECEDENTED BRITISH Bahá'í HISTORY CONSTITUTES LANDMARK ANNALS WORLD Bahá'í COMMUNITY SIGNALISES COMMENCEMENT SIGNIFICANT PHASE SPIRITUAL HISTORY IRISH SCOTTISH WELSH PEOPLES POTENT SEEDS SOWN `Abdu'l-Bahá'í TWICE REPEATED VISITS UNITED KINGDOM LONG LAST GERMINATING CONCOURSE ON HIGH APPLAUDS BRILLIANT FEAT UNITEDLY ACHIEVED BRITISH FOLLOWERS FAITH Bahá'u'lláh SISTER COMMUNITIES EAST WEST MARVEL VICTORY WON SUCH MAGNITUDE SO SHORT PERIOD BY COMMUNITY SO SORELY AFFLICTED SO SMALL NUMERICALLY SO CIRCUMSCRIBED IN RESOURCES YET SO ALIVE SO SOUND SO RESOLUTE PLEAD URGE VALIANT PROMOTERS SO MOMENTOUS PLAN GUARD AGAINST DISSIPATION RESOURCES RELAXATION EFFORT DISTRACTION ATTENTION FORFEITURE HARDWON PRIZES APPEAL FURTHER SACRIFICES NOBLER DEDICATION GREATER INTENSIFICATION LABOURS UNTIL LAST ACT FINAL PHASE DIVINELY SUSTAINED PLAN GLORIOUSLY CONSUMMATED.SHOGHI
+F1. Pioneers referred to were Charles Dunning+ who had arrived in Belfast, and Evelyn Baxter, Ata'o'llah Khochbine, Claire Gung+, Lizzie Hainsworth+, and Margaret Sullivan+, for whom projects were completed.Page 212
Your letters to our beloved Guardian, written on behalf of the British N.S.A., and dated as follows: Oct 20th, 22nd, 24th and 29th, Nov. 10th and 17th, Dec. 1st and 15th of 1947, and Jan. 13th, Feb. 8th, 9th, 13th, and 27th, and March 1st and 4th of 1948 and April 5th, 1948, together with various enclosures, have been received, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
A number of matters referred to in them have been answered by cable, so I will not go into them again.
He was specially pleased to receive the copies of the Tablet of the Master to Andrew Carnegie, as this is yet another authentic and interesting Bahá'í document.
He was, likewise, very pleased to receive the statement of Sir A. Ramaswami Mudaliar testifying to his appreciation of the Faith, and he will use it in the appropriate section of "Bahá'í World" in the forthcoming edition.
The instruction he gave to the effect that committees should elect their own officers, he feels, is universal in scope and should, therefore, apply to Great Britain as well....
Regarding the matter of the budget of the N.S.A. he feels that both wisdom and courage is required in this matter. You should not fix a budget which is too heavy for the community to meet, even with sacrifice. Both the pressing needs of the Cause and your Plan, as well as the foreseeable possibilities of your income should guide you.
He has no objection to extracts from his letters to ... being published. He feels that in the future it is not necessary to ask his permission to publish such extracts. As long as the person who has received a letter, such as he would wish to share with others, from the Guardian, has no objection to its publication, he has no objection either. Anything confidential he always specifies as being such.
He feels that the question of Mrs. Hofman giving up the secretaryship of the National Teaching Committee, and who is to be chairman of it, etc. is something to be decided there by those responsible for the work.
In one of your letters you mentioned some ... who havePage 213
visited the London Centre and their attitude: great patience must be used in dealing with the child-like members of some of these primitive races. They are innocent in heart and have certainly had a very bad example, in many Christians, of a purely mercenary approach to religion, but if their hearts and minds once become illumined with the Faith they could make very fine believers.
Regarding the matter of believers who have been deprived of their voting rights: just as no one should ever be deprived of his voting right lightly, it should likewise be realised that to be deprived of it is a grave matter, and involves heavy penalties spiritually. People who have been so deprived should not be permitted to attend any meetings involving the administration of the Cause, such as an election or a 19 Day Feast. They can attend the 9 Holy Days, however; they should not be married by Bahá'í law, no money should be accepted from them, they should not be given credentials (which imply a member of the community in good standing) nor should they be used officially as teachers or speakers.
He has no objection to your getting out a book on Bahá'í Procedure similar to the synopsis you enclosed for his information. He wishes you, however, to stick to essentials and, as far as possible, avoid--not only in the book but in your Assembly's decisions--binding the friends by a lot of procedure on minor matters which he always urges should be, as much as possible, dealt with according to each case that comes up. He wishes to keep the administration of the Cause as flexible as possible and not impede the work by a codified set of rules.
As to the attitude of the Bahá'ís in the British Isles towards the World Government Movement: he thinks that as this Movement, so far, seems to be working for what we believe in, and not for anything we do not subscribe to, the Bahá'ís should by all means support it, vote for the representatives to be sent to its constituent Assembly in 1950, and stand for election if they wish to. However, he feels your Assembly should keep a careful watch on this Movement, and if it becomes in any way imperialistic, anti-Russian, or in any other field starts sponsoring attitudes partizan or political in nature, the believers should be advised to withdraw their support and help. He does not think your Assembly should take any initiative in this MovementPage 214
outside of its jurisdiction, such as in the Middle East, through asking the friends to send in non-Bahá'í names, etc.
He does not advise you to try and create more than one Assembly, i.e. the present one, in the London area.
The work being accomplished in the British Isles is not only a source of pride to him, but is increasingly being recognised and admired by the Bahá'í communities throughout the World, and is greatly encouraging them in their own struggles. For people are prone to thinking that the American Bahá'ís accomplish so much solely because of the great advantages they enjoy in their very fortunate country, whereas now the friends, knowing full well how much England suffered during the war, and is still suffering, are forced to acknowledge that it is spirit, determination, faith and devotion which bring victories into being, one after another, in Britain, and not luxury and leisure. Your achievements are heartening the friends in many places where their numbers are few, and the obstacles to be overcome great! In fact the American Bahá'ís who have visited England feel there is much to be copied at home in your spirit and methods.
He, therefore, urges you all to persevere courageously, knowing what you are accomplishing is infinitely precious and great. You are witnessing with your own eyes the fruition of your plans, the nearing of the moment when your hopes will be fully realised.
He assures you all of his very loving prayers on your behalf, and for the speedy progress of your work.[From the Guardian:]
The successful conclusion of the Initial Phase of the first collective enterprise launched by the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in the British Isles during the first year of the second Bahá'í century constitutes a milestone of the utmost significance on the road leading the British Bahá'í community to the glorious destiny ordained for them by Divine Providence. The efforts exerted, the magnitude of the success which has been achieved, the spirit of consecration that has been demonstrated, the solidarity, determination and perseverance evinced by individuals, groups and assemblies during the opening years of this century are indeed unprecedented in British Bahá'í history, and may be regarded next to 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í twice repeated visit to the British Isles, as the most potent period in the annals of the British Bahá'í community.Page 215
The establishment of the structural basis of the Administrative Order of the Faith in Scotland, Wales and Eire--an accomplishment of tremendous spiritual significance in itself--has greatly enhanced the momentous character of this period, and will lend a mighty impetus to the evolution of the Faith in the days to come.
The Final Phase of the Plan must now be carried forward with still greater energy, with still nobler self-sacrifice, with a clearer vision of the historic import of the work which is to be accomplished, with a mightier determination to bring it to a successful conclusion. The resources at the disposal of the community must, as a result of its expansion, be continually augmented and carefully extended. The prizes so painstakingly won must, at all costs, be safeguarded and consolidated. The newly enrolled believers must be constantly encouraged to assume an increasing share of the responsibilities and of the administrative functions devolving upon the members of the community. The pioneer activities undertaken by its members must, however great the sacrifices involved, be increasingly developed, systematised and accelerated. The needs of the Faith in the newly opened territories in the west, in the north, and in the south, must, while the specific goals of the Plan are being pursued, be given special attention, in order to enrich the life of the entire community, to increase the diversity of its constituent elements, to demonstrate the welding and assimilative power of the Faith, and to stimulate the processes now set in motion for the spiritual regeneration of all the ethnic elements within the British Isles.
In token of my gratitude for the work already accomplished, as a recognition of the status achieved by the British Bahá'í community in the Western Hemisphere, in anticipation of the tasks that still remain to be undertaken, I feel moved to initiate, as soon as the situation here permits, measures that will enable me, through the institution of a Palestine Branch of the British Bahá'í National Assembly, to register in the name of the body of the elected representatives of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the British Isles, a portion of Bahá'í international endowments dedicated to the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel. May this step, associating it with its sister national assemblies in the United States and India in the possession of so sacred a trust, lend its share to the consolidation and distinction of the central institution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the British Isles.Shoghi
HAPPILY TRANSMIT REJOICING NEWS BELOVED GUARDIAN'S SAFETY HAIFA.BAHABUREAU
GREATLY WELCOME DEEPLY APPRECIATE CONVENTION'S RESPONSE SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION INITIAL PHASE PLAN ENCOURAGES ME INITIATE AS SOON AS CIRCUMSTANCES PERMIT MEASURES ESTABLISH HOLY LAND PALESTINE BRANCH BRITISH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ENABLE IT LEGALLY OWN PORTION Bahá'í INTERNATIONAL ENDOWMENTS MT. CARMEL TOKEN MY ABIDING GRATITUDE SHINING ACHIEVEMENTS.SHOGHI
KINDLY CABLE NUMBER ASSEMBLIES GROUPS ISOLATED BELIEVERS BRITISH ISLES.SHOGHI
LOULIE MATHEWS PROCEEDING SOUTH AFRICA THIS SUMMER ADVISE SEND HER CARE HORACE HOLLEY ADDRESSES CONTACTS AFRICA ALSO INTRODUCTION FROM BARBE BAKER PRAYING ARDENTLY SUCCESS NEWLY ELECTED NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TEACHING COMMITTEE.SHOGHI
ASSURE GRACE CHALLIS ARDENT PRAYERS DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION SERVICES ALSO PRAYING ... SUCCESS HOFMAN'S VISIT DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
PRAYING REMOVAL DIFFICULTIES URGE STEADFASTNESS INCREASING SELFSACRIFICE ALSO WISDOM EXPENDITURE PRIZES PAINSTAKINGLY WON MUST AT ALL COSTS BE SAFEGUARDED WORK INITIATED GOAL TOWNS ENERGETICALLY PURSUED DEEPEST LOVE APPRECIATION.SHOGHI
ASSURE ATTENDANTS SUMMER SCHOOL LOVING FERVENT PRAYERS SUCCESS SESSIONS DEEPER UNDERSTANDING DISTINGUISHING FEATURES FAITH CLOSER ASSOCIATION MEMBERS VICTORIOUSLY ADVANCING STEADILY CONSOLIDATING COMMUNITY.SHOGHI
ASSURE THREE NEW SETTLERS FERVENT PRAYERS DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION DELIGHTED WELSH PUBLICATION EAGERLY AWAITING COPIES SUPPLICATING ALMIGHTY'S BLESSING FORTHCOMING REGIONAL MEETINGS. CABLE WHETHER FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS ARRANGE BE SENT YOU FROM TIHRAN REACHED YOU.SHOGHI RABBANI
DR. YUNIS AFRUKHTEH STAUNCH DISTINGUISHED SERVANT FAITH PROCEEDING ENGLAND MEDICAL TREATMENT EXTEND ASSISTANCE ADVISED HIM HELP TEACHING WORK BRITAIN.SHOGHI RABBANI
+F1. Walter Wilkins, Cyril Jenkerson+, and Zara Warman had settled in Norwich, Blackpool, and Brighton, respectively.Page 218
ASSURE MILLS BACKWELL+ LOVING APPRECIATION GRIEVE PASSING CHALLIS PRAYING PROGRESS SOUL SERVICES FAITH GRATEFULLY REMEMBERED.SHOGHI RABBANI
APPROVE TOWNSHEND'S ADMIRABLE STATEMENT CONVEY CONGRATULATIONS PRAYING SIGNAL SUCCESS APPROVE APPEAL FUNDS OVERSEAS.SHOGHI RABBANI
Your letters to our beloved Guardian, dated July 14th and of July 20th, August 6th and 30th and September 11th and October 8th, have been received, as well as various enclosures forwarded, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
...There are always bound to be some human complications cropping up in the work, but with love and patience these can usually be smoothed out, and he feels your assembly invariably shows these qualities in helping the friends to overcome their problems.
He believes that people such as ... have no real idea of what the New History Society stands for, and can therefore be taught the Faith, and converted to it, by the right handling. All the friends must do in such cases is to make quite sure that the person in question is sincere and grasps the Will and Testament. There are, of course, some individuals in whom the subversive spirit of Sohrab has taken root, and these should be carefully guarded against, but they are more the exception than the rule.
He feels that the local Assemblies should be encouraged to realise that the National Committees are constituted to serve their needs, not to dictate arbitrarily to them, and to unify the work of the Cause which is now spreading so rapidly in thePage 219
British Isles. The committees in question should be very tactful in dealing with a young assembly which is beginning to "feel its oats", as this spirit of independence, if properly handled, can lead it to be strong and independent rather than weak and always relying on other bodies to carry it forward. Assemblies, however, should certainly co-operate with National Committees and not refuse their assistance.
Dr. Yunis Khan Afrukhteh is planning to go to England for medical treatment, and the Guardian would appreciate your Assembly's giving him every assistance possible. He has been ill for some time, and Shoghi Effendi hopes he will recover his health, as he is a wonderful believer, full of wisdom and devotion, and his services are much needed in the Cause. He has advised him to assist you in your teaching work as soon as his health permits this exertion.
He also hopes dear Dr. Lotfullah Hakim will be of valuable assistance in your teaching work.
He has recently asked Mr. Varqa, his representative, to transfer to your Assembly five hundred pounds to assist you in your manifold activities connected with your Six Year Plan. Unfortunately it is not possible to send any money out of Palestine at present, even from Persia it is difficult to transfer funds, but he trusts this sum will be of assistance to you.
The Guardian feels that the assemblies of Cardiff, Dublin and Edinburgh must receive sustained support, as they are the three most important assemblies formed under the Plan, and must be built into strong and flourishing communities, free from any danger of relapse.
He is very happy about the general progress of the work in the British Isles, and the remarkable, sustained, and self-sacrificing work the believers are doing, guided and assisted by the devoted efforts of your Assembly.
You may be sure you are all remembered in his prayers in the Holy Shrines, and he eagerly awaits news of fresh victories in the teaching field.[From the Guardian:]
The opening of the Final Phase of the First Collective Enterprise undertaken in the history of the British Bahá'í community marks the closing of a stage of tremendous historic significance in the evolutionPage 220
of that community and, indeed, in the spiritual history of the British Isles. Well nigh fifty years after the inception of that community, almost a quarter of a century after the birth of the Administrative Order, and on the morrow of the world-wide celebrations of the centenary of the Faith, a Plan, ambitious in its scope and endowed with vast potentialities, was nobly and spontaneously conceived by the small band of its devoted adherents in those islands. An effort, extending over a period of no less than four years, nation-wide in its range, sustained, systematic, prodigious has been exerted. A victory unparalleled in British Bahá'í annals has been achieved. Towards its consummation newly won recruits to the ranks of this growing community, representative of the English, the Scottish, the Irish and Welsh races have notably contributed. The seeds sown, with such lavish hands by the Founder of that community in the course of two successive visits to the United Kingdom, have at last germinated. The machinery of the Administrative Order, slowly and laboriously taking shape, on the morrow of His ascension, has, as destined by Him who delineated its features in His Will and Testament, been put to the service of this newly conceived Plan, and is now yielding its first fruits. Born at the turn of the last century, its nucleus formed in the heart and nerve centre of a far-flung Empire, gestating for over a decade whilst confined to the narrow limits of the English territory whence it first sprang, energised, after having lain dormant for no less than ten years, through the twice repeated journeys of the Centre of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant to both the English and Scottish capitals, shaped and trained through the processes of a divinely conceived, slowly evolving Administrative Order, propelled along the broad highroad of its destiny in direct consequence of the initial operation of the First Plan set in operation for its further unfoldment, emerging as a truly representative and firmly-knit community, at the conclusion of the Initial Phase of that Plan through the spread of its ramifications among the peoples of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the organised band of the followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the British Isles, within sight of the conclusion of the Final Phase of the Six Year Plan, stands on the threshold of a door which when opened will disclose to the eyes of its members a vista of vast dimensions, of majestic beauty, of infinite promise.
Theirs is the unrivalled opportunity, should they bestir themselves, to carry forward to a triumphant conclusion this first corporate effort to which they have consecrated themselves and their nascentPage 221
institutions, to embark, in the course of subsequent Plans, on enterprises destined to safeguard and consolidate, in all parts of the motherland, the achievements so hardly won, to proclaim, unequivocally, systematically and effectively, to the masses throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles the verities enshrined in their Faith, to initiate the establishment of a befitting National Hazíratu'l-Quds in either the capital of the United Kingdom or further north in the very heart of the British Isles, to inaugurate national and local endowments, to incorporate the newly constituted assemblies, to undertake the preliminary measures for the erection of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in the British Empire, and to launch crusades designed to implant the banner of the Faith and lay the structural basis of its Administrative Order throughout the diversified, the numerous and widely scattered colonies of the British Crown.
Not theirs, however, while the present tasks remain as yet unaccomplished, to dwell upon, or even visualise, however dimly, the course which the progress of their subsequent labours must assume in a world whose stability is so lamentably shaken, and whose immediate future is so dark. Theirs is the duty to derive from this fleeting glimpse of the glories which their future destiny holds in store for them fresh inspiration and added stimulus for a befitting performance of the work that lies immediately ahead.
Two brief years separate them from the hour destined to witness the total triumph of their first organised, nation-wide collective enterprise. Every minute of this interval is infinitely precious. The gloom overhanging the entire planet is deepening ominously every day. The American followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, through the ever-swelling army of their pioneers and settlers, on the northern, the western and southern fringes of the European Continent, as well as the newly resuscitated German and Austrian Bahá'í communities labouring in its very heart, have nobly arisen, and are doing their part in paving the way for the spiritual awakening and the ultimate redemption of the teeming millions of its war-torn, discordant, fear-stricken and spiritually famished inhabitants.
They who man the North-Western outpost of the Faith in Europe must, whilst pursuing their chartered course, play a distinctive part in this threefold crusade launched, almost simultaneously, from three directions, in conformity with specifically laid out plans, at so critical an hour, in so vast a field, amidst such diversified and conflicting races and nations of what may well be regarded as the cradle of a civilisation,Page 222
and the mother of a Faith, whose fate now hangs so perilously in the balance.
That the valiant community of the British followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh may assume an ever-increasing share in this gloriously unfolding, this herculean, this Divinely propelled enterprise is the dearest wish of my heart and the object of my constant prayers.Shoghi
ASSURE ADA WILLIAMS+ ... DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION DELIGHTED ENROLMENT NEW BELIEVERS PRAYING REMOVAL DIFFICULTIES NOTTINGHAM DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI RABBANI
ASSURE HOFMANS BOB CHEEK LOVING ARDENT PRAYERS SUCCESS MERITORIOUS EFFORTS SUPPLICATING SATISFACTORY SOLUTION SECRETARIAT PROBLEM DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION ASSEMBLY'S NOBLE EXERTIONS.SHOGHI RABBANI
APPEAL BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY FOCUS ATTENTION CRITICAL STAGE PIONEER ACTIVITY SO ESSENTIAL STEADY UNFOLDMENT PLAN ATTAINMENT GOALS. PLEAD PARTICULARLY NUMERICALLY LARGER COMMUNITIES ARISE PLAY DECISIVE ROLE VITAL URGENT TASK SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE NUMBER ACTIVE PIONEERS DEDICATED MERITORIOUS LABOUR AIMED SAFEGUARDING MULTIPLICATION PRIZES WON SO LABORIOUSLY OVER SO SHORT PERIOD DESPITE FORMIDABLE OBSTACLES BY MEMBERS SO VALIANT RESOLUTE HIGH SPIRITED COMMUNITY URGE APPROACHING CONFERENCE DELIBERATE VITAL ISSUE ROUSE PIONEER SPIRIT INDISPENSABLE SUCCESSPage 223
PLAN INVOKING ALMIGHTY'S BLESSINGS ANXIOUSLY AWAITING BEFITTING RESPONSE.SHOGHI RABBANI
DELIGHTED IMMEDIATE ACTION INITIAL RESPONSE PIONEERS ARDENTLY PRAYING TEACHING CONFERENCE MAY LEND POWERFUL DECISIVE IMPETUS PARAMOUNT VITAL URGENT PIONEER UNDERTAKING CONSTITUTING SUPREME CHALLENGE CONFRONTING STEADILY CONSOLIDATING IRRESISTIBLY ADVANCING BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY.SHOGHI RABBANI
APPEAL ALL MEMBERS COMMUNITY RESOLUTELY ARISE ATTAIN GREATER HEIGHTS HEROISM THROUGH DEMONSTRATION FURTHER MEASURE SELF-SACRIFICE IN SUPPORT PIONEER FUND URGE NEWLY ENROLLED BELIEVERS PARTICULARLY AS SIGN GRATITUDE INESTIMABLE BENEFITS NEWLY CONFERRED Bahá'í MEMBERSHIP AND EVIDENCE SOLIDARITY RAPIDLY EXPANDING COMMUNITY EXTEND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FULLEST MEASURE POSSIBLE PIONEER ACTIVITIES ON WHICH HINGE FORTUNES PLAN SUPPLICATING DIVINE OUTPOURINGS MUCH NEEDED MERITORIOUS ENDEAVOURS.SHOGHI RABBANI
APPROVE DRASTIC MEASURES PRAYING ARDENTLY SUCCESS.SHOGHI RABBANI
+F1. This was in reply to a cable from the N.S.A. which ended "ASSEMBLY READY CONTINUE PLAN INTENSIVE TEACHING OTHER COMMUNITIES DESIGNED RELEASE KNOWN WILLING PIONEERS. INVOLVES DRASTIC REDUCTION ADMINISTRATIVE WORK FREE CAPABLE TEACHERS. SUSPEND UNTIL CONVENTION A.D.C., YOUTH, PUBLISHING TRUST, REDUCE SUMMER SCHOOL, TOWNSHEND COMMITTEES, DELAY NUMERICAL INCREASE VIRGIN TERRITORIES NEW ASSEMBLIES. READY OPERATE DESPERATE MEASURES IMMEDIATELY RECEIPT YOUR APPROVAL. BEGS PRAYERS GUIDANCE."Page 224
ASSURE NEWLY DECLARED BELIEVERS WELCOME PRAYERS. CONVEY NEW PIONEERS DEEPEST LOVING ADMIRATION PRAYING RICHEST BLESSINGS ASSEMBLY'S STRENUOUS ENDEAVOURS. APPEAL FURTHER SACRIFICE CONTINUED RESPONSE CALL PIONEERS... DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI RABBANI
Your letters to our beloved Guardian, with their various enclosures, and dated October 4, 20; November 2, 7, 17, 18, 27; December 19, 22, 25, 28; of 1948, and January 4, 19; February 3, 17; and March 1, 1949, have been received, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf....
Please assure Mr. Walter Wilkins that the Guardian was aware of his pioneer labours through various reports forwarded to him, and that he deeply appreciates them and is praying for his success.
He considers that Final Phase day must be April 21st, and not in July.
He feels that, although precedence must be given to the new goal assemblies, this does not mean the older assemblies like Bournemouth can afford to be neglected. They must be maintained, but the first call on pioneers must be from the critical goal assemblies who--at least theoretically--need help more urgently! He has just cabled you about this.
He sees no objection to your printing excerpts from his "Dispensation" and "God Passes By" in your compilation on the Covenant. Although he strongly feels that the Master's writings, the revealed Word of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb, and his own writings should, out of respect for the difference in their relative stations, be published whenever possible in separate volumes,____________________
+F1. Louise Charlot, Constance Langdon-Davies+, and Cyril Jenkerson were pioneering to Oxford.Page 225
this must not be fanatically adhered to where an educative compilation on a certain subject is conceived.
A vacancy can be recognised, under the circumstances you outlined in your letter of December 22, 1948, and a new assembly member be elected. But of course this in no way implies the retiring member of the Assembly is not a full voting believer, and a member of the community in good standing.
He deeply sympathises with the struggles of the British Bahá'ís at present to perform their task, now reaching the crucial stage, in spite of financial difficulties and shortage of pioneers. It would seem as if all our tasks, all over the world, including here at the World Centre, are becoming increasingly more of a challenge to us. As the time approaches for the ending of the various Plans, Six Year ones, Seven Year, Five Year, etc., the obstacles seem to become greater, and the friends are made to realise that very real, hard, often back-breaking effort and sacrifice is involved! The The American Bahá'ís here-to-fore so relatively easily victorious(!), are now feeling a very real squeeze on their resources and determination. The same is true of India, Persia, and the other countries with goals to accomplish within a fixed and rapidly diminishing period! He himself, having undertaken at such a disturbed time to raise at least the first story or arcade of the new part of the Báb's Shrine, finds himself beset with worries, problems and complications which have not only doubled his work, but exhaust and harass him all the time. So at least, let the British friends know that when they struggle and feel hard beset, they are not struggling and worrying alone! Far from it!!
We must expect these things: It is becoming evident that the world is not yet through with its labour, the New Age not yet fully born, real Peace not yet right around the corner. We must have no illusions about how much depends on us and our success or failure. All humanity is disturbed and suffering and confused; we cannot expect to not be disturbed and not to suffer--but we don't have to be confused. On the contrary, confidence and assurance, hope and optimism are our prerogative. The successful carrying out of our various Plans is the greatest sign we can give of our faith and inner assurance, and the best way we can help our fellow-men out of their confusion and difficulties.
He assures you he feels that the British Bahá'ís have got whatPage 226
it takes (to be a trifle slangy) to be successful and accomplish their goals. Let them therefore demonstrate it to the rest of the Bahá'í World....
P.S.--Your letter of April 4th has just been received. The Guardian is too busy to undertake at present the revision of Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to the Christians, but he has no objection to a committee doing it.[From the Guardian:]
The British Bahá'í community, now embarked on the final phase of the first historic collective enterprise undertaken in British Bahá'í history, stands at the parting of the ways. Only a brief interval separates it from the fateful date when its first experiment in a collective nation-wide effort to achieve a definite goal in the path of service to its beloved Faith will have ended. Five years of stupendous effort, of magnificent self-sacrifice, of marvellous dedication and of splendid cooperation have marked the progressive evolution of the Plan to its present stage. What has been achieved during this short span of years, despite the smallness of numbers, the paucity of resources and the exhaustion resulting from a prolonged and severely devastating conflict, has, beyond the shadow of a doubt, eclipsed the brightest achievements recorded in the course of more than half a century in the annals of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in that country.
The Bahá'í world, in its entirety, is struck with amazement at the quality of the work performed, at the extent and number of the victories achieved by this community. Its sister-community in the great Republic of the West, already laden with many and splendid trophies gathered in distant fields and over a long period of time cannot regard this resurgence of the Bahá'í spirit, this manifestation of Bahá'í solidarity, these ennobling evidences of Bahá'í achievement, amidst so conservative a people, within so short a time, under such trying circumstances, and by so small a band of workers, except with feelings compounded of envy, of admiration and respect. Its sister-communities throughout the East, venerable by reason of their age, and the sacrifices they have made, and fully aware of the long period of incubation this community has undergone, recall, with feelings of delight, 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í prediction, forecasting the germination, at their appointed time, of the potent seeds His loving hands have sown in the course of His twice-repeated visit to that Island, and marvel at the rapidity with which its soil is now manifesting the potentialities with which it hasPage 227
been endowed. He Who blessed it with His footsteps, Who called into being, and fostered the growth of, the community labouring in that Island, hails, from His station on high, the exploits which immortalise the small band of His present-day consecrated and resolute followers, who are carrying on the torch which He Himself had entrusted to their immediate predecessors. Bahá'u'lláh Himself lauds the conspicuous victories being won in His Name, in the dawning years of the Second Bahá'í Century, at the very heart and centre of the greatest Empire the world has ever seen, whose Sovereign Monarch He Himself had addressed and whose deeds He, with His Own pen, had commended.
The one remaining year, ere the present Plan of this blessed, this radiant and spiritually potent community, is scheduled to draw to a close, cannot, must not, be allowed to jeopardise the prizes so painstakingly won during five memorable years of British Bahá'í history. The newly-enrolled believers, on whom the mantle of the first generation of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í British disciples has now fallen, and are now summoned to participate in a Plan, whose scope and potency their predecessors could have never visualised and whose initial success must thrill and rejoice their souls in the Abhá Kingdom, have a distinct, a sacred, a peculiar and urgent responsibility to discharge in ensuring the consummation of this mighty enterprise. Through active and constant participation with their veteran co-workers, in filling swiftly the still remaining gaps in the pattern of the Plan, now in its concluding stage; in displaying systematic and sustained activity in the pioneer field now stretching before them; in sacrificing, in as great a measure as possible, their resources, to facilitate the attainment of all its goals, they can best discharge their immense debt of gratitude to the Cause of the Most Great Name, Who has singled them out, at so critical an hour, and from among such a vast multitude of their slumbering countrymen, to serve and glorify His Faith.
I entreat them, and plead as well with their older brethren who have set so momentous a Plan in motion, to arise as one soul, to exert one more superhuman effort, to fix steadily their gaze on the pinnacle they are visibly approaching and to disencumber themselves of any burden impeding their arduous climb, in a last and determined attempt to scale and conquer the summit, from which alone they can catch a glimpse of the future glory of their destiny.Shoghi
Bahá'í Public Relations, Mr. Richard Backwell, sec.Dear Bahá'í Brother:
Our Guardian thanks you very kindly for the excellent piece of publicity you forwarded to him with your letter of March 31. It should bring the Cause to the attention of many, and is sober, and very encouraging, in tone.
He hopes your committee will have many more triumphs along this line!...
P.S. Please convey to Mr. George Marshall+ a cordial welcome into the service of our beloved Faith from our Guardian.[From the Guardian:]
Assuring you of my loving prayers for the success of your constant and meritorious efforts in the service of our beloved Faith, and for the realisation of your heart's desire in its service,Your true and grateful brother,
BE NOT DISTRESSED REDOUBLE EXERTIONS PERSEVERANCE WILL ENABLE PROSECUTORS PLAN ATTAIN GOAL ARRANGING CONTRIBUTION TERMINATION PLAN APRIL ASSEMBLIES MAY BE FORMED DURING YEAR ARDENTLY PRAYING REALISATION DEAREST HOPES.SHOGHI
ACCLAIM HISTORIC OCCASION PARTICIPATION DOUBLE NUMBER DELEGATES BRITISH Bahá'í CONVENTION TESTIFYING RAPID UNPRECEDENTEDPage 229
HIGHLY PROMISING EXPANSION DEARLY BELOVED COMMUNITY FOLLOWERS FAITH Bahá'u'lláh BRITISH ISLES THOUGH IMMEDIATE GOALS UNATTAINED AMOUNT WORK ACHIEVED STANDARD EFFORT EXERTED RANGE TASK PERFORMED QUALITY SPIRIT DEMONSTRATED SINCE INCEPTION PLAN HAVE CONTRIBUTED RAISING STATURE ENTIRE COMMUNITY ENHANCING ITS PRESTIGE PROCLAIMING ITS FAME DEMONSTRATING ITS VIRILITY ESTABLISHING BEYOND SHADOW DOUBT ITS RIGHT OCCUPY FRONT RANK ONWARD MARCHING ARMY FAITH Bahá'u'lláh APPEAL ASSEMBLED DELEGATES AROUSE ENTIRE COMMUNITY EXERT REMAINING TWELVE MONTHS EFFORT SURPASSING NOBLEST ENDEAVOURS AS YET MADE SERVICE PLAN VICTORY WITHIN SIGHT INTERVENING PERIOD RAPIDLY SHRINKING RESPONSIBILITY EVERY SINGLE MEMBER COMMUNITY GROWING GRAVER HOURLY MY PRAYERS LONGING TOTAL SUCCESS LIKEWISE INCREASING INTENSITY Bahá'u'lláh'S SUSTAINING UNFAILING GRACE MORE EFFICACIOUS READIER BLESS LAST ATTEMPTS MADE SAVE FORTUNES PLAN SO INEXTRICABLY INTERWOVEN DESTINY BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY.SHOGHI
HIGHLY APPROVE ASSEMBLY'S PROGRAMME ACTION DELIGHTED ENERGETIC HOPEFUL MEASURES AS CONCLUDING YEAR FINAL PHASE SIX YEAR PLAN RAPIDLY EBBS AWAY ATTENTION ALL MEMBERS BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY ALREADY FULLY AROUSED ACTION HIGHLY CONSCIOUS GLORIOUS OPPORTUNITY UNFLINCHINGLY DETERMINED ATTAIN GOAL SHOULD BE UNWAVERINGLY FOCUSSED ENERGIES MUSTERED ALL AVAILABLE RESOURCES MOBILISED ONE LAST FORWARD CHARGE ENABLING THEM ERE FINAL HOUR STRIKES SEIZE LAURELS VICTORY HANGING WITHIN THEIR REACH CONCERTED EFFORT SUSTAINED CONSECRATED NATION WIDE SCOPE TRANSCENDING INTENSITY MIGHTY EFFORTS ALREADY EXERTED PAST FIVE YEARS BY COMMUNITY WILL UNFAILINGLY ENSURE WORTHY CONSUMMATION INITIAL MEMORABLE STAGE FIRST HISTORIC CRUSADE LAUNCHED BY Bahá'u'lláh'S SPIRITUAL BATTALIONS LENGTH BREADTH BRITISH ISLES PLEAD AFRESH DIRECTING PARTICULAR APPEAL FEW REMAINING INACTIVE PARTICIPANTS WHO THROUGH INEXPERIENCE TIMIDITY OR OVER-BURDENINGPage 230
CIRCUMSTANCES STILL HESITATE FLING THEMSELVES ARENA WHEREIN STRUGGLING COMMUNITY BEING CALLED UPON THIS FATEFUL HOUR DISPLAY BEFORE EYES Bahá'í WORLD ITS PROWESS DEMONSTRATE THE INTRINSIC WORTH ITS STEWARDSHIP FAITH Bahá'u'lláh IMPELLED IN RECOGNITION BRILLIANT RECORD PAST SERVICES AND TOKEN CONFIDENCE INSPIRED LATEST EXPLOITS FIELD SERVICE PLEDGE THOUSAND POUNDS FURTHERANCE SACRED TASK NOW MOST ACUTE PHASE STEADILY APPROACHING CULMINATION INTENSE PRAYERS ASCENDING FROM LONGING HEART THRONE LORD HOSTS SUPPLICATING VICTORY WHICH WILL BEFITTINGLY CROWN STRENUOUS EXERTIONS WHOLLY UNPARALLELED ANNALS FAITH Bahá'u'lláh BRITISH ISLES.SHOGHI
CENTENARY MARTYRDOM SHOULD HAVE NO PUBLIC COMMEMORATION NON-Bahá'ís MAY PARTICIPATE PUBLICITY PRESS PERMISSIBLE.SHOGHI
ADVISE SHOW UTMOST CONSIDERATION TUDOR-POLE INVITE HIM SUMMER SCHOOL PARTICIPATION OTHER ACTIVITIES.SHOGHI
DELIGHTED NEWS OXFORD ASSURE JENKERSON FAMILY LOVING PRAYERS.SHOGHI
Your letters dated April 8, 22, 27; May 13, 17, 24; June 7, 10,Page 231
23 (two of this date), 25, 28; July 19, 22, and 30: and August 10th, together with various enclosures, have been received by our beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer them on his behalf.
He has already informed you by cable of his views regarding.... He realises that, of course, it is very difficult for him to renounce his plan of educating his son ... in England, and the Guardian hopes that the boy can find a way, either through doing agricultural work or gaining a scholarship, or through the help his father might himself obtain from Persia for him, to go on with his studies. But it is obviously out of the question for your Assembly to shoulder this financial burden.
He already cabled you about the appropriate manner for commemorating the Centenary of the Báb's martyrdom, so I will not go into the subject again here.
The fine spirit of co-operation shown by ... pleased him immensely. He has since received from her a letter full of joy and devotion to the Cause, which pleased him greatly....
Now that the Cause is spreading so rapidly throughout the world, the National Assemblies must be vigilant, and do all they can to protect and assert its independent status, and to give assistance to isolated or repressed Assemblies, when they are turned to for help or advice.
He has recently received enthusiastic letters from Mrs. Preston+ in Kenya and informed her that when she needs advice or assistance she should turn to your Assembly, while, of course, keeping in close contact with him as well.
He realises that your Assembly, and all the British Bahá'ís, are facing the most difficult and critical months of your Plan. The friends must be made to realise that the urgency of the task during these few months which lie ahead, is not only acute but temporary. Once they make this final effort, and clamber to the top of their goal, they can rest. The opportunity for achievement is absolutely unique, for this is their first Plan, and consequently the most historic one of the many they will, no doubt, carry out in future decades. To fail, so near to victory, would indeed be sad, and he cannot but suppose, would be a severe blow to that stubborn British pride which is so famous for its tenacity of purpose! However he himself is not thinking in terms of their failure, but rather believes they can, by one last determinedPage 232
drive, be successful, even if they feel some exhaustion at the end of their race against time. They must, likewise, at this crucial hour, remember that failure or success are never confined to the immediate community concerned, but have wide repercussions. Their success will not only greatly enhance their prestige in the Bahá'í World, but will inspire the often flagging efforts of the believers in the East, who have so many obstacles to overcome, and are by nature and experience more prone to become disheartened in the execution of fixed tasks.
It was the success of America's first Seven Year Plan which so stimulated the British community that it, in its turn, was determined to have a Plan and a victory of its own. Now it really cannot lose; it has gone too far, laboured too brilliantly, shown too much courage and high sacrifice, to let, at the last minute, the prize fall from its grasp!
His prayers and thoughts are with you all, constantly, and with all the believers, toiling so devotedly all over the British Isles....[From the Guardian:]
As the Plan, to which the entire British community has pledged its support, approaches its end, my heart turns with increasing longing and expectation, towards those who so spontaneously initiated it, so enthusiastically set it in motion, so valiantly overthrew the barriers that confronted them in the initial stage of its unfoldment, who so unitedly consecrated their efforts to its subsequent development, and who are now within sight of its final consummation. I cannot believe that a community which, motivated by so noble an impulse, capable of such prodigious efforts, dedicated so whole-heartedly to so gigantic a task, blessed by so many evidences of Divine assistance and guidance, enriched by the first fruits garnered in the course of the execution of a splendidly conceived enterprise, will allow, at the very moment when final victory is, at long last, within sight, through a momentary relaxation of effort, the magnificent prize of total success, to slip from its grasp, and the fortunes of such a potentially powerful undertaking to be marred by any feelings of impotence or exhaustion which might well, at the eleventh hour, assail those who have for so long and in such a great measure, expended their energies for the prosecution of so weighty and far-reaching a Plan.Page 233
The required number of pioneers who must arise, while there is yet time, and stop the dangerous breaches which a fate-laden Plan, now in the last stages of its development, reveals to the eyes of its prosecutors must, however costly the sacrifice, be instantly found, and rushed without delay to the scene of action. The funds, which must enable these last minute pioneers to adjust their affairs and settle down wherever most needed, must, under no circumstances, and particularly on the part of the well-to-do, be withheld, as the present critical situation moves towards its climax.
Great and overpowering as these sacrifices may now appear, they will, when viewed in their proper perspective, be adjudged as inconsiderable, and pale into insignificance when balanced against the inestimable advantages which must accrue to a community that has achieved total and complete victory for a Plan so epoch-making in character, and so charged with undreamt of potentialities. The sacrifices which this fateful hour calls for, are by their very nature, individual; the loss or inconvenience they entail are at most transitory in their effect, and might well be fully compensated for in the days ahead, whereas the blessings that must irresistibly flow out, as the result of the integral success of a nation-wide, historically unprecedented Plan, will enrich and ennoble the life of an entire community, exert an abiding influence on its fortunes, and empower it to launch still mightier crusades in the course of subsequent stages in its organic spiritual development. How bountiful, moreover, will be the rewards which He who watches from on high the varying fortunes of the Plan and presides over its destinies, must either in this world or in the next-- and it may well be in both--choose to confer upon those, who, at the hour of the Plan's greatest need, will fly to its succour, exhibit the rarest evidences of courage and heroism, and choose to subordinate their personal interests to the immediate needs and future glory of the community to which they belong.
The interval during which a decision so momentous, so rich in promise, must be taken is steadily and inexorably shrinking. The golden opportunity which such a decision offers will never again recur. The issues hinging on such a decision can neither be over-estimated nor visualised while the fate of the First Plan embarked upon by the British Bahá'í community still hangs in the balance. The invisible hosts of the Kingdom are ready and eager to rush forth to the assistance of such as will have the courage to weigh the issues involved and to take the decision commensurate with these issues. To such as take it,Page 234
while there is yet time, the present generation as well as those who will succeed it will be eternally grateful, for theirs will have been the privilege of sealing on the one hand, the fate of the First Historic Plan in British Bahá'í annals, and on the other of paving the way for the initiation of the successive enterprises that must follow in its wake.
To reach such a decision, to face willingly and cheerfully its consequences, will, above all, earn the good-pleasure and commendation of the One Who, well nigh a hundred years ago, so gloriously made the supreme sacrifice of laying down His life that the Cause for which the present prosecutors of the Plan have so wholly dedicated themselves might live, prosper and bear, in the fullness of time, its fairest fruit in both the East and the West.
Dear friends! As the tale of the woes and trials He endured is called to mind, during the months preceding the centenary of His martyrdom, and destined to witness the conclusion of the Six Year Plan sponsored by the British Bahá'í community, a resolution, born of the love and admiration which the memory of His heroic life and tragic death must evoke in every Bahá'í heart, should seize, and galvanise into action, the little band of His lovers and followers, who, of their own accord, and at the dawn of the second Bahá'í century, have risen to launch the first collective enterprise in British Bahá'í history, and chosen to associate its consummation with the centenary of the death of the martyr Prophet and co-founder of their Faith. The centenary of the inception of His Mission has witnessed the initiation of so praiseworthy, so vast and potent an enterprise, extending its ramifications over the entire territory of the British Isles. The observances, commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the last act of His life, must, as pledged by its initiators, synchronise with the successful termination and glorious triumph of that same enterprise throughout the length and breadth of that same territory.Your true brother,
DEARLY BELOVED DISTINGUISHED CO-WORKER AMELIA COLLINS ARRIVING LONDON EN ROUTE POLAND SHOW GREAT CONSIDERATION PRAYING UTMOST BENEFIT VISIT.SHOGHI
OVERJOYED SUCCESS SUMMER SCHOOL ASSURE NEWLY ENROLLED NEWCASTLE LIVERPOOL LOVING WELCOME PRAYERS SURROUNDING ENTIRE COMMUNITY ACCELERATION MOMENTUM CARRYING IT ATTAINMENT GOALS APPOINTED TIME.SHOGHI
Your letter of October 9 was received, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was very glad to hear the School was such a success this year, and that--a very important factor--it placed no extra burden on the National Fund at this critical juncture.
Next year your School will be held after the end of your Plan, he hopes the victorious end! It would be suitable to hold some kind of review of how the goals were won and to remember the many sacrifices that have been made, for they have been very real and taxed to the uttermost the strength of the servants of Bahá'u'lláh in the British Isles.
Also he feels it would be good to have some course on the Covenant, the force that binds and strengthens the Bahá'í community and holds it together, when so many man-made institutions are disintegrating and going on the rocks of discord and lack of faith.
Likewise, discussion of the future needs of the community should be held. By next Summer you will know better what these are, and can formulate your points to be taken up and considered.
He will pray that a suitable place may be found for the friends to gather.
Every year your school is more representative and successful than the year before, and he feels sure this will continue to be so until that happy day comes when Summer School develops at last into a seat of Bahá'í learning....[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty bless your meritorious efforts, guide and sustain you in your activities, enable you to extend continually their range,Page 236
and contribute to the consolidation of the newly-born institutions of the Faith.Your true and grateful brother,
DELIGHTED VICTORY OXFORD ASSURE PIONEERS DEEPEST APPRECIATION MERITORIOUS ACTION.SHOGHI
National Youth Committee of the Bahá'ís of the British IslesDear Bahá'í Friends,
The Guardian approves of the policy your committee is pursuing, as outlined in your letter to him of October 27th, of devoting all the energies of the British Youth, active in the Cause, to assisting in the achievement of the goals of the Plan.
He was very happy to hear your part of the programme at Summer School was more successful than ever before, and that the Bulletin is being maintained and at the same time costing less.
Your determination, and the work you are doing, are admirable, and he is very pleased with you all....[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty bless continually your high endeavours, aid you to extend the range of your meritorious labours, and win great and memorable victories in this vital sphere of Bahá'í activity in that promising country.Your true brother,
KINDLY MAIL FIFTY COPIES "GLAD TIDINGS Bahá'u'lláh" WISDOM EAST SERIES. PRAYING FERVENTLY SUCCESS FORTHCOMING CONFERENCE.SHOGHI
DELIVER SIXTY POUNDS HAINSWORTH FROM NATIONAL FUND FOR PUBLICATION SWAHILI CHINYANZA LANGUAGES.SHOGHI
FEEL MOVED ADDRESS THIS ELEVENTH HOUR MY LAST FERVENT APPEAL ASSEMBLED REPRESENTATIVES BRITISH COMMUNITY SEIZE OPPORTUNITY TEACHING CONFERENCE AROUSE ENTIRE BODY FOLLOWERS FAITH Bahá'u'lláh BRITISH ISLES SAVE FORTUNES PLAN NOW HANGING BALANCE ENTREAT ONCE AGAIN ALL BELIEVERS ENGLAND WALES SCOTLAND IRELAND WHETHER YOUNG OLD MEN WOMEN NATIVE-BORN VISITORS OVERSEAS NEWLY-ENROLLED VETERANS BRACE THEMSELVES AS HOUR CENTENARY Báb'S NOBLEST ACT SACRIFICE APPROACHES ONE LAST SUPREME SACRIFICIAL SUSTAINED EFFORT DESIGNED ENSURE TOTAL VICTORY NOW WITHIN REACH CONSTITUTING BEFITTING CULMINATION FINAL PHASE SIX YEARS HEROIC ENDEAVOUR AND WORTHY TRIBUTE COLLECTIVELY PAID BY BRITISH UPHOLDERS CAUSE Bahá'u'lláh IMMORTAL MEMORY DEARLY BELOVED MARTYR PROPHET THEIR FAITH ARRANGING TRANSMISSION 500 FURTHER CONTRIBUTION____________________
+F1. Substitution of Stockport for St. Ives as goal of Plan.Page 238
CONSUMMATION ENTERPRISE UNPRECEDENTED IN SCOPE SPIRITUAL POTENTIALITIES HALF CENTURY BRITISH Bahá'í HISTORY.SHOGHI
GREATLY HEARTENED NEWS CONFERENCE PRAYERS CONTINUALLY ASCENDING THRONE Bahá'u'lláh TOTAL SUCCESS PLAN.SHOGHI
GREATLY HEARTENED ASSURE PIONEERS FERVENT LOVING PRAYERS ACCOMPANYING THEM. PARVINE HEARTFELT SYMPATHY LOVING PRAYERS CONTINUALLY OFFERED HER BEHALF.SHOGHI
ADVISE DISREGARD PROCEDURE SUGGESTED LETTER JANUARY TWENTIETH....SHOGHI
ASSURE PIONEERS HEARTFELT APPRECIATION CONVEY CONGRATULATIONS STOCKPORT NEWCASTLE PRAYING SOLUTION DIFFICULTIES CENTRE LONDON ENTREAT ENTIRE COMMUNITY SEIZE FIRMLY PRIZE FINGERTIPS CROWN EVERLASTING GLORY MIGHTIEST TASK UNDERTAKEN BRITISH FOLLOWERS Bahá'u'lláh.SHOGHI
+F1. Refers to a suggested new procedure for the recognition of Local Assemblies.Page 239
PRAYING FERVENTLY SUCCESS FORTHCOMING WEEKEND SCHOOL. DEEPLY APPRECIATE UNCEASING EFFORTS. RENEW THROUGH YOU IMPASSIONED PLEA ENTIRE COMMUNITY EXERT FLEETING FATEFUL DAYS AHEAD CONCERTED STRENUOUS UNRELAXING EFFORTS ENSURE NEEDED NUMBER PIONEERS FILL REMAINING GAPS IN NOBLY CONCEIVED LABORIOUSLY PROSECUTED HISTORICALLY UNIQUE SPIRITUALLY MOMENTOUS PLAN.SHOGHI
Your letter of January 12th, written by Mr. Hainsworth, was received, as well as the material enclosed, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was glad to learn the Manchester Conference was such a success, and appreciated the very generous offer of Mr. Leach+. If the believers all over the world were animated by such a spirit, there would scarcely be any necessity for "Plans".
These days, as Ridvan approaches, his anxious thoughts are with not only the British community, but other Bahá'í communities in different parts of the world. He longs to see them fully achieve their goals; for to do something for God 100 per cent has an attractive power, and brings future Divine confirmations.
His ardent prayers are with you all, you may be sure....[From the Guardian:]
May the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh sustain and guide you in your historic labours, aid you to extend the range of your splendid achievements, consolidate the victories you have won, and lend a still greater impetus to the progress and expansion of your unforgettable accomplishments.Your true and grateful brother,
DEEPLY APPRECIATE PARTICIPATION JOHN ROBARTS SPLENDID ACTION SCOTT+ AND OTHER PIONEERS APPEAL FURTHER SACRIFICE GREATER HEROISM FIRMER RESOLVE NOBLER CONSECRATION ENSURE TOTAL SUCCESS PLAN NOW HANGING BALANCE FOR MY PART UTMOST CAN DO IS STRETCH PERIOD PLAN TO JULY NINTH DATE COMMEMORATION MARTYRDOM LAST REMAINING CHANCE OFFERED HARDLY PRESSED YET GLORIOUSLY STRIVING COMMUNITY SHOULD BE INSTANTLY SEIZED ERE IT IS IRRETRIEVABLY LOST.SHOGHI
DELIGHTED NEWS PRAYING ADDED FERVOUR TOTAL SUCCESS DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION.SHOGHI
REJOICE EVIDENCES APPROACHING VICTORY PRAYING INCREASING FERVOUR.SHOGHI
OVERJOYED DEEPLY GRATEFUL IMMENSELY PROUD SIGNAL VICTORY ACHIEVED Bahá'í COMMUNITY BRITISH ISLES SHEDDING LUSTRE OPENING YEARS SECOND Bahá'í CENTURY AIRMAIL LIST ASSEMBLIES GROUPS ISOLATED BELIEVERS ALSO MAP BRITISH ISLES SHOWING SAME.SHOGHI
+F1. In answer to cable of 10 April from N.S.A. "JOYFULLY TRANSMIT TEACHING COMMITTEE REPORT ARRANGEMENTS MADE COMPLETE PLAN BY Ridvan EARNESTLY ENTREAT PRAYERS Bahá'u'lláh SEAL VICTORY."
+F2. In answer to cable of 17 April from National Assembly. "TOTAL VICTORY ASSURED LOVING GRATITUDE BOUNTIES BELOVED GUARDIAN ASSISTANCE WHOLE Bahá'í WORLD."Page 241
SHARE JOY RECIPROCATE NOBLE SENTIMENTS HEARTILY CONGRATULATE NATIONAL ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES TRIUMPHANT COMMUNITY INDEFATIGABLE NATIONAL TEACHING COMMITTEE ALL SUBSIDIARY AGENCIES PARTICULARLY SELF-SACRIFICING PIONEERS WHO SO OUTSTANDINGLY CONTRIBUTED SIGNAL VICTORY REVERBERATING Bahá'í WORLD.SHOGHI
+F1. In answer to cable of 19 April from National Assembly. "JOYOUS Ridvan GREETINGS BELOVED GUARDIAN FROM NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND TWENTY-FOUR LOCAL ASSEMBLIES BRITISH ISLES."Page 242
HEART FLOODED JOY STRIKING EVIDENCE BOUNTIFUL GRACE Bahá'u'lláh ENABLING VALOROUS DEARLY LOVED Bahá'í COMMUNITY BRITISH ISLES TRIUMPHANTLY CONCLUDE FIRST HISTORIC PLAN HALF CENTURY BRITISH Bahá'í HISTORY. HERALD AUTHOR FAITH CENTRE COVENANT CONCOURSE ON HIGH ACCLAIM SUPERB COLLECTIVE ACHIEVEMENT IMMORTALISING OPENING DECADE SECOND Bahá'í CENTURY UNPRECEDENTED HISTORY FAITH BRITISH ISLES UNRIVALLED ANNALS ANY Bahá'í COMMUNITY EUROPEAN CONTINENT UNPARALLELED PERCENTAGE MEMBERS COMMUNITY RESPONDING PIONEER CALL THROUGHOUT Bahá'í WORLD SINCE TERMINATION APOSTOLIC AGE Bahá'í DISPENSATION. HISTORIC PLEDGE BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY NOBLY REDEEMED. TRIBUTE MEMORY MARTYR PROPHET FAITH WORTHILY PAID. SPIRITUAL POTENTIALITIES PROSECUTE SUBSEQUENT STAGE UNFOLDING MISSION FULLY ACQUIRED. TRIUMPHANT COMMUNITY NOW STANDING THRESHOLD CATCHING FIRST GLIMPSE STILL DIMLY OUTLINED FUTURE ENTERPRISES OVERSEAS. HOUR PROPITIOUS GALVANISED FIRMLY KNIT BODY BELIEVERS BRACE ITSELF EMBARK AFTER ONE YEAR RESPITE YET ANOTHER HISTORIC UNDERTAKING MARKING FORMAL INAUGURATION TWO YEAR PLAN CONSTITUTING PRELUDE INITIATION SYSTEMATIC CAMPAIGN DESIGNED CARRY TORCH FAITH TERRITORIES DARK CONTINENT WHOSE NORTHERN SOUTHERN FRINGES WERE SUCCESSIVELY ILLUMINATED COURSE MINISTRIES Bahá'u'lláh `Abdu'l-Bahá. HOUR STRUCK UNDERTAKE PRELIMINARY STEPS IMPLANT BANNER FAITH AMIDST AFRICAN TRIBES MENTIONED TABLET CENTRE COVENANT SIGNALISING ASSOCIATION VICTORIOUS BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY WITH SISTER COMMUNITIES UNITED STATES EGYPT DESIGNED LAY STRUCTURAL BASIS Bahá'í ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER SCALE COMPARABLE FOUNDATION ALREADY ESTABLISHED NORTH SOUTH AMERICAN EUROPEAN AUSTRALIAN CONTINENTS. PROJECTED PLAN ITSELF PRELUDE DOUBLE TASK TO BE UNDERTAKEN COURSE FUTURE PLANS DESTINED SIMULTANEOUSLY BROADEN BASE OPERATIONS HOME FRONT AND PROSECUTE SYSTEMATIC CAMPAIGN DEPENDENCIES BRITISH ISLES. FIRST OBJECTIVE TWO YEAR PLAN CONSOLIDATION NINETEEN ASSEMBLIES PAINSTAKINGLY ESTABLISHED ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES NORTH IRELAND EIRE. SECOND OBJECTIVE FORMATION NUCLEI THREE DEPENDENCIES BRITISH CROWN EITHER EAST WESTPage 246
AFRICA. THIRD OBJECTIVE TRANSLATION PUBLICATION DISSEMINATION Bahá'í LITERATURE THROUGH PUBLISHING TRUST THREE AFRICAN LANGUAGES ADDITION THREE ALREADY UNDERTAKEN COURSE FIRST PLAN. SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTION CONTEMPLATED PLAN WILL PAVE WAY LARGE SCALE OPERATIONS CALCULATED LAY FOUNDATION PROMISED KINGDOM EARTH THROUGH ESTABLISHMENT ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER INFINITELY MORE GLORIOUS EMPIRE BUILT RULERS BRITISH ISLES THROUGHOUT THAT CONTINENT AND WILL ENABLE BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY SHARE HONOUR SISTER COMMUNITY ACROSS ATLANTIC PROSECUTING SUCCESSFULLY TWO SUCCESSIVE PLANS REGISTERING DOUBLE VICTORY LAYING TWICE REPEATED SACRIFICE ALTAR FAITH ANTICIPATION APPROACHING CELEBRATIONS COMMEMORATING CENTENARY BIRTH Bahá'u'lláh'S PROPHETIC MISSION. CONTRIBUTING ONE THOUSAND POUNDS FIRST CONTRIBUTION FURTHERANCE NOBLE PURPOSE.SHOGHI
GRIEVE PASSING DEAR DISTINGUISHED PROMOTER FAITH+F1 HER SERVICES UNFORGETTABLE PRAYING PROGRESS SOUL Abhá Kingdom.SHOGHI
DELIGHTED SUCCESS SESSIONS PRAYING MIGHTY VICTORIES.SHOGHI
At the instruction of our beloved Guardian I am forwarding you the enclosed material for possible use in connection with the centenary of the Báb's martyrdom.____________________
In America they are going to get out a pamphlet with this and other material, more complete, which the Guardian has asked them to forward you copies of as soon as printed.
He regrets the delay in answering your Assembly's letters. My father has been desperately ill for over 8 weeks and the worry involved and doctors, nurses etc. has been so distressing to us all that it has been temporarily impossible to attend to his mail. However, now he is improving, the Guardian hopes to shortly be able to get his letters answered....15 June 1950
Your many communications dated August 20, 26; September 30; October 6, 7, 10, 26; November 7, 9, 14, 23, 25; December 8, 18, 22, 23 (two of this date), 24, all of 1949, and January 4, 20, 30; February 2, 22; March 1, 6, 18, 29 (two of this date); April 7, 18, 19 (two of this date), 24, 27; and May 2, 4, 8, 16 (three of this date) of 1950, have been received as well as their enclosures and other material, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He regrets very much the long delay in not only answering your Assembly's letters but those of other N.S.A.s' as well. The past winter, owing to the fact that large excavations had to be carried out behind the Shrine in order to permit construction to continue, was a particularly busy gruelling one for him. On top of this, at the beginning of April, Mr. Maxwell became dangerously ill and the constant worry and preoccupation of us all with doctors, nurses, etc., forced the Guardian to put aside his letters entirely for the time being. Thanks to the mercy of God Mr. Maxwell is now recovering slowly; but the past months were very difficult ones for everyone.
To now take up the various matters referred to in your letters.
The Guardian does not feel that a quorum of delegates is necessary in any sense for the convention. Under unusual circumstances National bodies can be elected by mailed votes of all the delegates; the primary function of the delegates is to electPage 248
the N.S.A. Suggestions from the Convention floor can be made by a majority of those present.
The Guardian is very pleased to see that Peter Esslemont is growing closer to the Faith. A friendly contact with him should always be maintained.
Regarding his cable concerning Hussein: he has been very surprised to note that the terms "low-born Christian girl" and "disgraceful alliance" should arouse any question: it seems to him that the friends should realise it is not befitting for the Guardian's own brother, the grandchild of the Master, an Afnan and Aghsan mentioned in the Will and Testament of the Master, and of whom so much was expected because of his relation to the Family of the Prophet, to marry an unknown girl, according to goodness knows what rite, who is not a believer at all. Surely, every Bahá'í must realise that the terms low-born and Christian are definitions of a situation and in no way imply any condemnation of a person's birth or the religion they belong to as such. We have no snobbery and no religious prejudice in our Faith. But the members of the Master's family have contracted marriages which cannot be considered in any other light than disgraceful, in view of what 'Abdu'l-Bahá wished for them.
Recently the Court of First Instance, in Karkuk, Iraq, has accepted to register a Bahá'í marriage certificate. This is the first time in the East (except for the British Mandate authorities and the Israeli Government), that a Bahá'í marriage has been recognised as being legal. The Guardian feels that this can form a very important precedent for the other Oriental countries, and he suggests you inform the Egyptian N.S.A. of his view and urge them to press for due recognition in Egypt, using this precedent as a lever.
There is nothing in our teachings about Freud and his method. Psychiatric treatment in general is no doubt an important contribution to medicine, but we must believe it is still a growing rather than a perfected science. As Bahá'u'lláh has urged us to avail ourselves of the help of good physicians Bahá'ís are certainly not only free to turn to psychiatry for assistance but should, when available, do so. This does not mean psychiatrists are always wise or always right, it means we are free to avail ourselves of the best medicine has to offer us.
The Guardian thanks you and the friends for your eagernessPage 249
to contribute to the cost of the Shrine through the special edition of "Prescription for Living"; also he thanks the friends at Convention for the copy they sent him.
I need not tell you how immensely relieved, proud and gratified the beloved Guardian was when he knew the British community had achieved their Plan so successfully. During the last year he was often anxious as he shared with your Assembly and the National Teaching Committee the news of how acute the position was, and how great the obstacles still remaining to be overcome.
From the beginning, however, he felt confident that this dedicated and courageous community could and would drive through to victory, and his joy was very great when it did. He firmly believes this will exert a great influence on the future of the Bahá'í community there, and indirectly on the history of that country in the days to come. It is not possible, at close range, to understand the implications of what we do; but when we see things in historical perspective, we realise that what seemed small at the time was really a turning point in destiny.
The Guardian was delighted to receive the Welsh pamphlet, also the map you sent him. He is planning to have the map published in the next edition of "Bahá'í World", and he placed the pamphlet in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh.
He approves of the Investment Scheme of the Publishing Trust, and he trusts that the members of the community will respond and thus enable your Assembly to expand its publishing activities. He leaves the question of approaching Bahá'ís overseas, should the Trust be in need of further capital, to your Assembly's discretion.
The Guardian does not approve of your placing a condition upon recognition of local assemblies (mentioned in your letter of January 20); and he wishes in this connection to emphasise the fact that every possible care should be taken not to add to existing rules and regulations in the form of statements or otherwise. He has already advised the American and other National Assemblies to beware of adding more rules and regulations.
The death of Mrs. Hall, such a faithful and devoted servant of the Faith, is a great loss to the British community. The Guardian appreciated receiving a copy of her Will, which mirrors herPage 250
solicitude for the interests of the Cause in England. He trusts that a Bahá'í Ceremony could take place at the graveside, which certainly would have been her own wish.
Regarding ..., if the financial response of the friends to the needs of the Faith there is not sufficient for your Assembly to continue to defray his expenses as a teacher and pioneer, then it seems inevitable that he will have to make some other plans. His services have been of real value, and his intimate knowledge of the teachings and steadfastness in the Covenant have enabled him to contribute much to the understanding of the friends.
The Guardian approves your resolution to keep Mr. Ferraby+ as paid secretary of the Assembly. He deeply appreciates Mr. Ferraby's devoted services.
The Guardian wishes to assure you, one and all, of his prayers for the success of the new work your Assembly will be undertaking, and for the consolidation of all the recent goals achieved.
P.S. Also just received are a receipt for the Guardian's contribution, dated May 15th and your letter, with enclosure, of May 28th and May 24th. A photo of the Shrine will be mailed you very soon.
P.P.S. The Guardian will certainly pray for the progress and happiness of the soul of Mr. Manton. No doubt the selfless services his son has rendered the Cause of God, in an hour of great need, will be accepted and enable him to influence the state of his father through his own prayers.[From the Guardian:]
On the occasion of the victorious consummation of the first historic Plan undertaken by the British Bahá'í community, I feel moved to reaffirm my feelings of exultation, joy and gratitude for the superb triumph that marks such a great turning point in British Bahá'í history. No single event, in the course of its half-a-century existence, with the exception of the twice repeated visit of the Centre of the Covenant to the British Isles, has proved as significant and momentous as this unique collective achievement, which may, in a sense, be regarded as the first and long-awaited fruit of that intimate and personal contact, established both in private and in public, by 'Abdu'l-Bahá with its members as well as with various representatives of the country to which it belongs.Page 251
So magnificent an achievement has, no doubt, endowed the entire community, now representative of the peoples of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, with tremendous potentialities, empowering it to launch on the first stage of its historic overseas mission destined to bring that community into closer and more concrete association with its sister communities in North America and Egypt, for the purpose of promoting the Faith in the vast virgin territories where its banner is still unraised and which constitute an integral part of the territories of the British Crown beyond the confines of that community's homeland.
To the races and tribes inhabiting these territories throughout the vast African Continent 'Abdu'l-Bahá when His life was in imminent danger, specifically referred in a Tablet, addressed by Him to the cousin of the Báb and chief builder of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of the Bahá'í world, in which He predicts, in moving terms, the awakening of the peoples of that dark continent and the ultimate triumph of His Father's Faith among its backward peoples as well as among the great masses inhabiting China and India.
To the accomplishment of the initial stages of this colossal task, envisaged by our beloved Master, the Bahá'í community of the British Isles, now greatly reinforced, resting on a far broader foundation, galvanised into action, qualified through its initial signal victory in its homeland--the base of its future operations overseas, is now summoned to direct its attention and its energies.
While, in the current and two succeeding years which separate us from the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's prophetic mission, close and sustained attention should be directed by the elected representatives, as well as by the rank and file, of that community towards the safeguarding of the prizes won throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles, and the consolidation of the newly born institutions, the preliminary steps, constituting the prelude to this prodigious systemic labour and soul-thrilling enterprise, destined to extend its ramifications, in the years that lie ahead, to the fringe and within the very heart of a vast continent, must be carefully and prayerfully taken.
Though the members of this community are still restricted in number, though its resources are as yet meagre, though its recent victories are as yet unconsolidated, though it has hardly recuperated from its recent labours, undertaken during a period of great national exhaustion and severe austerity, the mere act of launching upon so glorious, so fateful an enterprise, will, of necessity, create at thisPage 252
propitious hour the receptivity which will enable a swiftly marching, stout-hearted, virile community, now standing on the threshold of its mission beyond the seas, to attract a fresh measure of celestial potency adequate to its growing needs and its ever expanding responsibilities. The miracle its members have performed over so vast a territory, in so short a time, and under such adverse circumstances, cannot but augur well for the initial success of an enterprise infinitely more meritorious, of far greater promise, and endowed with vastly superior spiritual potentialities.
How great the honour with which the Bahá'í pioneers of the present generation of the subjects of the British Crown will be invested in the eyes of posterity within their island home and abroad! How great the debt of gratitude of those who will labour after them and garner the fruit of their present day assiduous exertions to those whose privilege is to blaze the trail and break the soil in the virgin territories destined, as prophesied by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, to acclaim the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and establish the institutions of His embryonic World Order!
This community, laden with the trophies of so recent and splendid a victory, and summoned to brace itself for another exertion, so fate-laden in its consequences, stands too near the structure which its hands are now rearing to visualise the dimensions of its task, appraise its value, and appreciate its future glory. Alive to its inherent capacity, conscious of its high responsibility, aware of the sacredness of its mission, emboldened by its recent exploits, trusting fully in that reinforcing Power that guided and sustained it unfailingly in the past, this community can do no better than to gird up afresh its loins, turn its back upon the clamour of the age, its fears, confusion and strife, step resolutely forward on its chosen path, unshakably confident that with every step it takes, should it remain undeflected in its purpose and undimmed in its vision, a fresh outpouring of Divine grace will reinforce and guide its march on the highroad of its destiny.Your true brother,
Your letters dated June 6th and two of June 13th have just reached the Guardian, with their enclosures, and he wishes youPage 253
to please regard this as a sort of postscript to the detailed letter to your Assembly which was mailed a short time ago. He thanks you for the copies of correspondence with the Official Solicitor, and trusts this matter is now satisfactorily settled.
He approves of the advice your Assembly has given.... However, he does not approve of ... going to Canada or South America. He has been forced, owing to the very unfortunate influence of certain so-called Bahá'ís from Persia, to lay down a general rule that no Persians for the present proceed to North or South America. As many sincere souls have, through obedience to his instructions, given up trips to those territories, he feels he cannot permit any exceptions to be made, not even for so important a purpose as pioneering. This would be a manifest injustice to those who have obeyed him with an exemplary spirit. He feels sure ... will understand and accept this. There are a great many places where they can serve the Faith in the East, in Europe, or in Africa.
Whatever form of co-operation will get the best results your Assembly is free to decide upon in regard to the Egyptian and American N.S.A.s' extension teaching in Africa. He feels, however, that simultaneous activity is more practicable at present.
There are no specific tribes listed in the Master's Tablets; the pioneering should be directed at present towards the most feasible possibilities.
The Guardian feels that Kenya, as it already has a Bahá'í, should be excluded from your Plan. Uganda and Tanganyika would be much more suitable in conjunction with any other territory, but not Nigeria, which already has some Bahá'ís. However, it must not necessarily be these two.
Entirely aside from any additional literature it might be possible to get out in Hausa and Swahili he feels your objective must be to print at least a pamphlet in three languages other than those Philip Hainsworth has tackled. It must be borne in mind that printing in new languages kills two birds with one stone-- not only does it enable the Faith to reach new elements, but it also enriches our literature and is excellent as a means of calling the attention of the public to the universality of our Cause and the extent of our world-wide activities!
He will be delighted to receive the reports regarding the progress of the British Bahá'ís' first overseas mission.Page 254
P.S. Regarding expenditures: the Guardian feels that the greatest effort should be made to curtail everything that is not essential; this is the primary responsibility of the N.S.A. The Guardian will be very pleased to receive copies of the reports of the Africa and Consolidation Committees and was pleased to read the first two reports.24 July 1950
GOLD COAST ELIGIBLE DELIGHTED GRATEFUL PUBLICITY OCCASION CENTENARY.SHOGHI
DELIGHTED SUCCESS WELCOME NOBLE RESOLVE ASSURANCE LOYALTY BELIEVERS URGE CONCENTRATION PERSEVERANCE COMPLETE DEDICATION NEWLY ASSIGNED EPOCH MAKING TASKS MARKING OPENING NEW CHAPTER WORLD WIDE EXPANSION FAITH SUPPLICATING BOUNTIFUL BLESSING PRIVILEGED PARTICIPANTS GLORIOUS ENTERPRISE URGING AMERICAN PERSIAN COMMUNITIES ARISE LEND ASSISTANCE ITS PROSECUTION DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
WARN BELIEVERS AVOID PERDU OWING HIS CONTACT SOHRAB.SHOGHI
Under separate cover the Guardian is mailing two enlargements of the Shrine. He would like these to be shown as widely as possible to the friends and then hung in the London Bahá'í Centre.Page 255
He has sent to America the negative of one of these enlargements with instructions that the friends can order copies for themselves. This applies to the British friends too, and if copies are desired you can enquire from the American N.S.A. what they cost etc.
He feels sure all the believers will be happy to see how beautiful the finished arcade is....
P.S. Please cable when you receive these two photos.15 September 1950
APPROVE SENDING PIONEERS AFRICA IMMEDIATELY ALSO SEEK ASSISTANCE PERSIA AMERICA.SHOGHI
Some time ago I wrote you on behalf of the Guardian giving you the following information, but as I have heard a letter to Mr. Holley posted at the same time has not been received, I fear yours too may have been lost.
The beloved Guardian has sent each of the National Assemblies under separate cover, a couple of enlarged photos of the finished arcade of the Báb's Shrine. These are a little gift from him. He would like as many of the believers as possible to see them, and for them to then be hung wherever they would then be seen most, in some countries this would be the National Hazíra.
He has sent two negatives to the American N.S.A., and instructed prints be made available for sale to the friends desiring copies. You can no doubt order some if desired.
Please cable the Guardian acknowledging receipt of these photos as soon as they reach you....14 November 1950
KINDLY ARRANGE DEPARTURE LUTFU'LLAH HAKIM HAIFA FOR NECESSARY SERVICE.SHOGHI
GRIEVE PASSING DISTINGUISHED INDEFATIGABLE PROMOTER FAITH+F1 ARDENTLY SUPPLICATING PROGRESS SOUL Abhá Kingdom HER NOTABLE MERITORIOUS SERVICES UNFORGETTABLE.SHOGHI
URGE UTMOST ECONOMY APPEAL ENTIRE COMMUNITY ENDEAVOUR REDUCE DEFICIT FUND CONTRIBUTING FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS.SHOGHI
ASSURE CLAIRE GUNG FERVENT LOVING PRAYERS SURROUNDING HER MERITORIOUS HISTORIC JOURNEY SUPPLICATING BLESSINGS FORTHCOMING CONFERENCE DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION.SHOGHI
ASSURE ATTENDANTS SUPPLICATING ALMIGHTY BLESSINGS DELIBERATIONS MAY CONFERENCE LEND TREMENDOUS IMPETUS PROCESS CONSOLIDATION HOMELAND INITIATION PIONEER ACTIVITIES AFRICAN CONTINENT.SHOGHI
(Copy of a cable from the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States dated 16 January 1951, sent also to the British National Spiritual Assembly.)
ASSISTANCE AFRICA PROJECT THROUGH FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION PARTICIPATION PIONEERS WHITE COLOURED CLOSE CONSULTATION____________________
CO-OPERATION BRITISH ASSEMBLY NECESSARY INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN NOT INTENDED FERVENTLY PRAYING PARTICIPATION BRITISH AMERICAN PERSIAN EGYPTIAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES UNIQUE EPOCHMAKING ENTERPRISE AFRICAN CONTINENT MAY PROVE PRELUDE CONVOCATION FIRST AFRICAN TEACHING CONFERENCE LEADING EVENTUALLY INITIATION UNDERTAKINGS INVOLVING COLLABORATION ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES Bahá'í WORLD THEREBY PAVING WAY ULTIMATE ORGANIC UNION THESE ASSEMBLIES THROUGH FORMATION INTERNATIONAL HOUSE JUSTICE DESTINED LAUNCH ENTERPRISES EMBRACING WHOLE Bahá'í WORLD ACCLAIM SIMULTANEOUS INAUGURATION CRUSADE LINKING ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY FOUR NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EAST WEST WITHIN FOUR CONTINENTS AND BIRTH FIRST INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL WORLD CENTRE FAITH TWIN COMPELLING EVIDENCES RESISTLESS UNFOLDMENT EMBRYONIC DIVINELY APPOINTED WORLD ORDER Bahá'u'lláh.SHOGHI
INFORM MUSA BANANI+ HIGHLY APPROVE PIONEERING AFRICA WITH NAKHJAVANI+ FERVENTLY PRAYING FOR HIS SUCCESS AND ENTIRE FAMILY.SHOGHI
Your letters of June 19th, June 22nd, July 18th, July 21st, July 26th, August 17th, August 29th, August 30th, September 6th, September 8th, September 27th (2 letters), October 3rd (2____________________
+F1. Reply to cable sent on the occasion of the appointment of the International Bahá'í Council.Page 258
letters), October 5th, October 17th, October 26th, October 30th (2 letters), October 31st, November 13th, November 24th (2 letters), December 10th, December 22nd, 1950, and January 2nd, January 25th and February 2nd, 20th, 1951, together with enclosures as well as photographs, have been received, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf. (A postscript dated March 18th adds: "Your letters (two) dated March 8th have also been received with enclosures.")
He regrets that, due to pressure of work, he is not able to write more frequently, but feels that the cable communications between himself and your assembly attend to the essential work in between letters....
Regarding your question about the communication with the King, as mentioned in Minutes 292 and 344, he feels that both contemplated approaches should be dropped for the present. By undertaking such action we call attention to ourselves in a very conspicuous manner, and investigation of who the senders are of such petitions would only expose the weakness of our numbers and detract from the prestige which the Cause is slowly beginning to acquire in the eyes of the world.
He thanks you very much for the map, showing the British Bahá'í community at the end of the Six Year Plan. He has placed it on a wall of the Mansion of Bahji, where visitors and believers can enjoy it. It certainly marks the scene of one of the most historic victories of the Faith.
In regard to the question of the African campaign, the Guardian is immensely pleased with the way your assembly and the special committee you have appointed, have seized this project and are vigorously prosecuting it. He admires the evidences of careful planning and staunch determination which all the data regarding this important campaign, which you have forwarded to him, bear witness to.
He was very happy to receive the Chinyanza pamphlets which you sent to him, and also likes very much the "Africa News" which the committee is getting out and which is so alive with plans and news.
He is also delighted to see that the Persian National Assembly is vigorously co-operating with your Assembly and facilitating settlement of some devoted Persian pioneer there who no doubt will be of great help to the work....Page 259
He feels that, although it is preferable that the three pioneers to each virgin country should be in one town or at least as near each other as possible, it should not be considered the essential point at this juncture.
The most important thing of all is to get the pioneers out there and established if possible in some self-supporting work. Once this has been done, the work within the country itself can be gradually organised and plans made to consolidate it in a more practical manner.
He used the word "tribes" loosely to mean the peoples of Africa and not necessarily individuals still living under tribal system.
The Guardian does not feel that it is necessary to specify any particular prayer to be said for the Africa work. The main thing is that the Bahá'ís should pray for its success.
He approves of your getting out the edition of the "New Era" which you now have in the press; but feels very strongly that any future editions should strictly conform to the 1937 American edition, in order to preserve uniformity in this very important Bahá'í publication.
Regarding your question about military service, the Guardian sees no reason why the Bahá'í in question should not bring a test case, and press the matter. It is now, since he has become a follower of Bahá'u'lláh, against his conscience to kill his fellow-men; and he should have the right to explain his position and ask to be exempted from combatant service. During the hearing of such cases the Bahá'ís should make it absolutely clear that we do not fear being placed in danger, and are not asking to be given a safe berth in hours of national crisis--quite the contrary--any dangerous service the Bahá'ís can render their fellow-men during the agonies of war, they should be anxious to accept.
The work that the British Bahá'ís are accomplishing is very dear to his heart; and he wishes your Assembly to constantly encourage the friends (as of course they are doing) to go on with all phases of their Bahá'í work and maintain the tempo they achieved during the past few years. They have distinguished themselves so much that now their fellow Bahá'ís in other lands expect them to lead the way in new fields, and to continue being the pace setters for at least the British Empire, if not other countries as well! Success brings burdens; and the British Bahá'ísPage 260
who were so miraculously successful at the last moment of their Six Year Plan, now find themselves in the sometimes difficult position of being a cynosure for all eyes.
He assures you, one and all, of his loving prayers for the work you are so faithfully carrying out on behalf of the believers in the British Isles....
P.S.--I wish to call your attention to certain things in "Principles of Bahá'í Administration" which has just reached the Guardian; although the material is good, he feels that the complete lack of quotation marks is very misleading. His own words, the words of his various secretaries, even the Words of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, are all lumped together as one text. This is not only not reverent in the case of Bahá'u'lláh's Words, but misleading. Although the secretaries of the Guardian convey his thoughts and instructions and these messages are authoritative, their words are in no sense the same as his, their style certainly not the same, and their authority less, for they use their own terms and not his exact words in conveying his messages. He feels that in any future edition this fault should be remedied, any quotations from Bahá'u'lláh or the Master plainly attributed to them, and the words of the Guardian clearly differentiated from those of his secretaries.[From the Guardian:]
The magnificent spirit of devotion and the initiative and resourcefulness demonstrated in recent months by a triumphant community, in its eagerness to launch, ahead of the appointed time, the enterprise destined to carry the fame of its members and establish its outposts as far afield as the African Continent, merit the highest praise. By their organising ability, by their zeal in enlisting the collaboration of their sister communities in the African, the American and Asiatic continents for the effective prosecution of this epoch-making enterprise; by the tenacity, sagacity and fidelity which they have displayed in the course of its opening phase; by their utter consecration and their complete reliance on the One Who watches over their destiny, they have set an example worthy of emulation by the members of Bahá'í communities in both the East and the West.
The despatch of the first pioneer to Tanganyika, signalising the inauguration of the African campaign, following so closely upon the successful termination of the Six Year Plan, will be recognised byPage 261
posterity as the initial move in an undertaking designed to supplement and enrich the record of signal collective services rendered by the members of this community within the confines and throughout the length and breadth of its homeland. On it, however great the support it will receive from its sister communities in the days to come, will devolve the chief responsibility of guiding the destinies, of supplying the motive power, and of contributing to the resources of a crusade which, for the first time in Bahá'í history, involves the collaboration, and affects the fortunes, of no less than four National Assemblies, in both Hemispheres and within four continents of the globe.
On the success of this enterprise, unprecedented in its scope, unique in its character and immense in its spiritual potentialities, must depend the initiation, at a later period in the Formative Age of the Faith, of undertakings embracing within their range all National Assemblies functioning throughout the Bahá'í World, undertakings constituting in themselves a prelude to the launching of world-wide enterprises destined to be embarked upon, in future epochs of that same Age, by the Universal House of Justice, that will symbolise the unity and coordinate and unify the activities of these National Assemblies.
Indeed the birth of this African enterprise, in the opening decade of the second Bahá'í century, coinciding as it does with the formation of the International Bahá'í Council, should be acclaimed as an event of peculiar significance in the evolution of our beloved Faith. Both events will, no doubt, be hailed by posterity as simultaneous and compelling evidences of the irresistible unfoldment of a divinely appointed Administrative Order and of the development, on an international scale, of its subsidiary agencies, heralding the establishment of the Supreme Legislative Body designed to crown the Administrative Edifice now being laboriously erected by the privileged builders of a Divine Order, whose features have been delineated by the Centre of the Covenant in His Will and Testament, whose fundamental laws have been revealed by the Founder of our Faith in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and Whose advent has been foreshadowed by the Herald of the Bahá'í Dispensation in the Bayan, His most weighty Book.
To be singled out as the chief agency in the prosecution of a task of such dimensions, such significance, and the harbinger of events so glorious, is indeed at once an inestimable blessing and a staggering responsibility with which the British Bahá'í community, emerging triumphantly and in rapid succession from the ordeal of a world war and the struggles involved in the prosecution of an historic Plan, hasPage 262
been honoured at so critical and challenging an hour in the fortunes of mankind.
To labour assiduously for the despatch, in the coming year marking the official opening of the Two Year Plan, of pioneers to the chosen Territories of the African Continent; to ensure that its three sister National Assemblies will steadily reinforce its work through financial assistance as well as through the increase in the number of pioneers; to expedite the translation, publication and dissemination of Bahá'í literature in the three selected languages throughout these Territories; to enlarge the scope of the contacts established with representatives of the African peoples and with institutions designed to foster their interests; to cultivate cordial relations with, and secure the goodwill and support of, the civil authorities in the goal countries where the pioneers will reside; to maintain steady correspondence with, fan the zeal, seek the counsel and secure the assistance of the budding and scattered communities in the North, the South and the Heart of that vast, that promising and slowly awakening continent; to prepare for the eventual convocation, under its own auspices and following the example set, and the procedure adopted, by its sister American Assembly on the European Continent, of the First African Teaching Conference, representative of both the white and black races, constituting an epoch-making landmark in the evolution of the Faith among the African races and possibly synchronising with the centenary celebrations of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Mission, and adding another victor's crown to the laurels already won by the British followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in their own homeland--these stand out as the paramount and inescapable duties confronting the British National Spiritual Assembly as it stands on the threshold of a new and glorious epoch in British Bahá'í history.
Though the prospect of this new venture is indeed enthralling, though it demands careful planning, the allocation of substantial sums for its prosecution, and the exertion of strenuous efforts for its systematic development, the prizes so laboriously won at home must under no circumstances be jeopardised. The twofold obligation of preserving the status of the newly-fledged Assemblies in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and of propagating the Faith among the people dwelling in the British Isles through active teaching and the wide circulation of Bahá'í literature must be faithfully discharged. The necessary foundation for the proclamation of the Faith, at a later stage in the development of the British Bahá'í community, amidst thePage 263
British people and in the very heart of the British Empire must be carefully laid. Whatever measures will facilitate the future recognition of the Faith by the civil authorities in the localities where its followers reside, and eventually by the central government in Westminster, must, within the means at their disposal, and however tentatively, be adopted.
Then and only then will this community, carrying out faithfully the twofold duty incumbent upon it, both at home and abroad, be vouchsafed by Bahá'u'lláh the full measure of His grace which will enable it to traverse, speedily and successfully, the present stage in its evolution, and acquire still greater potentialities for the revelation of a still brighter aspect of its mission designed to illuminate with the light of Divine Guidance and in the course of the Formative and Golden Ages of the Faith all the Dependencies of the British Crown, and erect the administrative structure within these Territories, of an Order, incomparably mightier and more enduring than any which that Crown has ever established.Shoghi
DEEPEST APPRECIATION GREETINGS LOVING REMEMBRANCE SHRINES DELIGHTED SUCCESS.SHOGHI
REJOICE THANKFUL PROUD STERLING QUALITIES FIDELITY TENACITY INTREPIDITY BRITISH FOLLOWERS FAITH Bahá'u'lláh CONSPICUOUSLY DEMONSTRATED COURSE INTERVAL SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION SIX YEAR FORMAL INAUGURATION TWO YEAR PLAN. HEARTILY CONGRATULATE DELEGATES ASSEMBLED OCCASION HISTORIC NUMERICALLY ENLARGED EPOCH MAKING CONVENTION. ONE YEAR RESPITE REGARDED BREATHING SPELL DESIGNED ENABLE TOILING TRIUMPHANT VALOROUS HIGH MINDED COMMUNITY RECRUIT FORCES WITNESSED UNEXPECTED DISPLAY VIGOROUS ACTIVITY RESULTING FIRST VICTORIES AFRICAN FIELD PRESERVATION LABORIOUSLY ESTABLISHED ASSEMBLIES LENGTH BREADTH BRITISHPage 264
ISLES. TWO YEAR PLAN NOW OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED DEMANDS CONTINUOUS UNSTINTED SYSTEMATIC SUPPORT NATIONAL ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES ALL LOCAL ASSEMBLIES RANK FILE ENTIRE COMMUNITY. AUSPICIOUS RAYS GOD'S DAWNING REVELATION WHICH FIRST STRUCK CORNER VAST DARK SPIRITUALLY DECADENT CONTINENT COURSE Bahá'u'lláh'S MINISTRY WHICH WARMED ILLUMINATED ITS NORTHERN SOUTHERN FRINGES CONCLUDING YEARS HEROIC AGE FAITH MUST NOW PENETRATE ITS HEART BRIGHTEN ITS JUNGLE FASTNESSES ENVELOP IT WITH SPLENDOUR THEIR RADIANCE COURSE PRESENT SUCCEEDING EPOCHS FORMATIVE AGE Bahá'í DISPENSATION. CONFIDENT BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY WILL ARISE BEFITTINGLY MEET CHALLENGE NOW CONFRONTING IT ACHIEVE THREEFOLD PURPOSE PLAN. PRAYING ENERGETIC COLLABORATION PROSECUTORS `Abdu'l-Bahá'í DIVINE PLAN WITH COMMUNITY BELIEVERS BELONGING NATION WHOSE DESTINY BEEN LINKED FORTUNES WORLD'S BACKWARD RACES REINFORCED ASSISTANCE SISTER COMMUNITY CRADLE FAITH NATIONAL ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES LEADING COMMUNITY AFRICAN CONTINENT MAY ENSURE SUCCESS CRUSADE CONSTITUTING SPIRITUAL LANDMARK PROCESS AWAKENING AFRICAN PEOPLES MARKING OPENING GLORIOUS CHAPTER EVOLUTION WORLD FAITH Bahá'u'lláh SIGNALISING INITIAL PHASE UNFOLDMENT MISSION COMMUNITY HIS FOLLOWERS BRITISH ISLES MIDST DOMINIONS COLONIES PROTECTORATES BRITISH CROWN. MAY PROJECTED CENTENARY BIRTH PROPHETIC MISSION Bahá'u'lláh BEFITTINGLY CELEBRATED CONVOCATION FIRST ALL AFRICAN TEACHING CONFERENCE REPRESENTATIVE BLACK WHITE RACES EMBRACING SEVENTEEN AFRICAN TERRITORIES NOW INCLUDED PALE FAITH. ARRANGING TRANSMISSION ONE THOUSAND POUNDS CONTRIBUTION FURTHERANCE GLORIOUS OBJECTIVE.SHOGHI
DEEPLY APPRECIATE GREETINGS HIGH RESOLVE ATTENDANTS CONVENTION DELIGHTED SUCCESS SESSIONS PRAYING SIGNAL VICTORIES.SHOGHI
OWING RECENT INSTRUCTIONS PERSIAN EGYPTIAN ASSEMBLIES TO DESPATCH PIONEERS FIVE ADDITIONAL AFRICAN TERRITORIES ADVISE UNDERTAKE TRANSLATION SMALL PAMPHLETS INTO ACOLI ADANWE EWE FANTA MENDE YORUBA.SHOGHI
NEWLY LAUNCHED HIGHLY MOMENTOUS AFRICAN CAMPAIGN CHIEF AUXILIARY MANIFOLD AGENCIES OPERATING FURTHERANCE `Abdu'l-Bahá'í PLAN AMERICAN EUROPEAN CONTINENTS IRRESISTIBLY UNFOLDING GATHERING MOMENTUM THROUGH ADDED PARTICIPATION INDIAN Bahá'í COMMUNITY ASSIGNMENT SPECIFIC SUPPLEMENTARY FUNCTIONS PERSIAN EGYPTIAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES CONTEMPLATED TRANSLATION Bahá'í LITERATURE ADDITIONAL AFRICAN LANGUAGES MULTIPLICATION TERRITORIES NORTHERN EASTERN WESTERN FRINGES VAST AWAKENING CONTINENT. BRIEF SPAN TWO YEARS DESTINED WITNESS FIRST FRUITS HISTORIC CONTINENT-WIDE CRUSADE WILL ERELONG TERMINATE. VALOROUS BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY CENTRAL PIVOT MACHINERY NOW SET MOTION CHIEF AGENCY PROSECUTION MIGHTY DIVINELY PROPELLED ENTERPRISE MUST AWARE URGENCY TASK ACT SPEEDILY RESOLUTELY DESPATCH WITHOUT DELAY VOLUNTEERS, SETTLE PIONEERS DISSEMINATE LITERATURE INITIATE TEACHING ACTIVITIES ESTABLISH FRUITFUL CONTACTS ENSURE STEADY ENROLMENT FRESH RECRUITS AMONGST TRIBES RACES FARFLUNG VIRGIN TERRITORIES. TRANSMITTING ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTION THOUSAND POUNDS ENSURE VIGOROUS PROSECUTION COLOSSAL SACRED TASK ENABLING WELL TRIED FOLLOWERS FAITH Bahá'u'lláh BRITISH ISLES WRITE WORTHILY FIRST PAGE HISTORY MEMORABLE UNDERTAKING CONSTITUTING OPENING PHASE THEIR GLORIOUS SPIRITUAL MISSION OVERSEAS.SHOGHI
ASSURE DEPARTED PIONEERS FERVENT LOVING PRAYERS SURROUNDING THEM.SHOGHI
WORK NEWLY ASSIGNED EGYPT INDIA PERSIA SUPPLEMENTARY ANY ASSISTANCE EXTENDED THEM YOUR ASSEMBLY DEEPLY APPRECIATED. TWO FUNDS ESTABLISHED WORLD CENTRE SETTLEMENT BANANI NAKHJAVANI LEFT DISCRETION YOUR ASSEMBLY.SHOGHI
ASSURE SABRIS+ LOVING FERVENT PRAYERS ACCOMPANYING THEM. GRIEVE PASSING PRESTON ASSURE WIFE LOVING PRAYERS APPROVE REINFORCE KENYA.SHOGHI
+F1. Musa and Samiyyih Banani, Ali and Violette Nakhjavani, and Philip Hainsworth.
+F2. On receiving news of the first Declaration of the Africa project, in Tanganyika (Tanzania).Page 267
CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS Ridvan. TEACHING CONFERENCE MAY BE HELD ANY TIME BETWEEN JANUARY AND MARCH 1953 SUBSTITUTE ANOTHER LANGUAGE FOR SOMALI.SHOGHI
ASSURE ATTENDANTS SCHOOL ABIDING APPRECIATION NOBLE RESOLVE FERVENT PRAYERS.SHOGHI
Your letter of August 27th has been received, and the beloved Guardian is sending you herein his receipt for the contribution of the British Bahá'ís to the Shrine. He noted with interest and appreciation that the Bank raised no objections to the transfer of this sum for such a purpose, and feels this indicates the slowly growing recognition of the Faith's nature and importance. Your own ever devoted services to the Cause are greatly appreciated by him, you may be sure....[From the Guardian:]
I gratefully acknowledge the receipt of the sum of three hundred pounds from the Bahá'ís of the British Isles, to be expended for the construction of the Shrine of the Báb on Mt. Carmel.Shoghi
Your letters dated March 26th (two); April 4th (three), 11th, 17th, 8th, 7th and 24th; May 1st, 4th, 12th and 24th; June 1st,____________________
+F1. To the Treasurer for this special fund--Arthur Norton+.Page 268
4th, 19th (two), 12th, 23rd and 27th; July 4th, 6th, 21st (two), 25th and 31st; August 8th, 9th and 15th; September 15th, 18th and 19th; have all been received, as well as their enclosures, and the photographs sent and material under separate cover, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
It will no doubt make you happy to hear that the Guardian has really had a little rest this summer, much needed after the tremendous strain of last year's worries and burdens. He can now turn to his important N.S.A. letters somewhat refreshed.
To take up certain matters raised in your letters:
There are two Funds, that of the Shrine of the Báb and the International Fund; but at present it is more important for the friends to concentrate on completing the work in progress on the Shrine, which, thanks to the response of the believers from all over the world, is going forward uninterruptedly, in spite of the very difficult situation in the Holy Land which makes all kinds of building work frightfully complicated.
The Guardian would very much like to receive five copies of every publication brought out in England for the Bahá'í libraries in Haifa and at Bahji and in Acre. He thanks you for the diaries you sent....
For your information the Guardian does not want any believers to migrate at present to this country. It will not meet with his approval under any circumstances. The local problems, with a small group of Covenant-Breakers more or less active in stirring up trouble; the efforts, at present successful, which he is making to establish the most cordial relations with the Government; the upbuilding of the international institutions of the Faith; the consolidation of the International Bahá'í Council-- all require that no complications arise and no further strain be added to the burden of work at the World Centre of the Faith.
Now we come to the part of your activities nearest to his heart at present--Africa Campaign. By all means any translation at present into Somali should be given up, as the advice of experts prove it both unnecessary and very expensive.
The Guardian feels that, in view of the fact that funds for sending out pioneers are limited, and that a good number of pioneers are available, it is better to choose those most qualified and not, for the time being at least, accept every offer, however devoted the spirit behind it.Page 269
He fully appreciates the fact that Somaliland is going to be somewhat difficult. In view of its peculiar status your Assembly should bear in mind the possibility of sending there a British subject, if this should prove feasible, and pending a time when the Persians can go there and make arrangements for someone to represent them.
The Guardian considers that your Assembly is the consultative body for all African territories, and that the other National Assemblies should keep in close touch with you. This does not mean, however, that the initiative for the places allotted to them by the Guardian does not lie in their own hands. Likewise, the planning of the African Conference should be handled by you, in close co-operation with the other N.S.A.s. He does not feel it is feasible for the other N.S.A.s to pool their finances for the African work and put it in your Fund.
The unfortunate crisis in Persia may hold up, for a time, their services in Africa, and he hopes you will do all you can to offset this most unfortunate setback to their work. The Persian believers, have, for over a hundred years, borne the brunt of persecution and are still doing so, being the unhappy victims of their country and their race. They merit the ardent sympathy of their fellow Bahá'ís the world over.
The Guardian is very anxious to know how the work is going in the British Isles: he feels that the Africa Campaign has been launched in a way far exceeding his hopes, is being visibly blessed from on high, and, with the same amount of perseverance shown so far, is assured of great and speedy victories. But the goals, so hard won and at such cost of sacrifice at home, must not be lost. He urges all the friends to not allow the dazzling prospect overseas to take their attention away from the steady work of consolidation still required at home! The work abroad rests on the foundation laid so well and so painfully at home; if one suffers, so will the other.
The British Bahá'ís have distinguished themselves in recent years to a degree which has given them great prominence in the entire Bahá'í World and inspired others to follow their example. They cannot and must not lose this hard-won prominence, but, on the contrary, must demonstrate that it was not a spurt of speed but the evidence of deep and hardy roots bearing their first fruits, after years of quiet growth.Page 270
He remembers all the members of your Assembly in his prayers, and prays that the community of believers you serve so devotedly may go on rising to ever greater heights and shoulder all their tasks with increasing vigour, faith and devotion....
P.S. Regarding the forthcoming Centenary celebrations: the Guardian feels both national and local celebrations should be held very much as were those of the 1944 Centenary, but on a larger scale, with more publicity, if possible.[From the Guardian:]
The auspicious launching of the first teaching Crusade undertaken by the British Bahá'í community beyond the borders of its homeland, marks yet another stage in the evolution of the Bahá'í Administrative Order in the British Isles, and signalises the opening of an epoch of the utmost significance in the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation. Though the operation of the Plan is of short duration, yet it constitutes a prelude to a series of successive campaigns which a firmly knit, vigorously functioning, clear visioned, intensely alive national community is destined to initiate, direct and control from its newly consolidated administrative headquarters in the heart of the British Isles, not only throughout the Dependencies of the British Crown within the African Continent, but eventually in the widely scattered Territories of an Empire whose ramifications extend into every continent of the globe.
A little over half-a-century ago, this community, now invested with a mandate of the utmost significance both at home and overseas, was called into being in the course of the opening years of the third and last epoch of the Heroic Age of the Faith. A decade later, the Appointed Centre of a Covenant, through the creative and potent energies of which so important a member of a steadily rising world community was conceived and nurtured, chose to infuse into that infant community through the impact of His personality in the course of a twice repeated visit to the heart and centre of that Empire, a measure of His own mysterious power, which, as He Himself prophesied, was destined to unfold its potentialities in the course of a later age. On the morrow of His passing, the earliest evidences of the unfailing promise He had made revealed themselves through the first stirrings of an Administrative Order--the Child of the Covenant, the Shield of that community and the divinely appointed Agency for the execution of the mandate with which that community was to be invested in the second epoch ofPage 271
the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation. A little over two decades later, that community, armed and equipped with the mighty, divinely conceived agencies of a laboriously erected, unassailably established Administrative Order, embarked upon a six-year enterprise that culminated in the erection of the institutions of that Order in the very heart and capital cities of its island home--the essential prerequisite for the inauguration of yet another stage in its unfoldment. On the morrow of the triumphant termination of the first collective enterprise launched by that community in British Bahá'í history, its jubilant members braced themselves, during a one-year interval, for the initial onslaught, which they were preparing to launch, unitedly and determinedly, far beyond the shores of their homeland amid alien, widely diversified, politically restless, economically backward, spiritually famished tribes and peoples, and in the course of one of the most critical periods in human history. On the morrow of the centenary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Herald of its Faith, this same community had already formulated its plans, initiated its programme of publications in various African languages, despatched its first pioneer to the heart of that continent, forged the necessary links with its allied sister communities participating in various enterprises in that same continent, and established its first essential contact with divers government agencies capable of giving their advice and assistance in the prosecution of its historic and arduous task.
This community, so young in experience, so richly endowed by the love and care of a departed all-powerful Master, so firmly entrenched in the stronghold of its Administrative Order, already so rich in prizes won in the course of the first collective enterprise undertaken in its history, so promising in the vigour, the zeal and devotion which it is now displaying, is faced, at the present hour, with a grave, a sacred and inescapable responsibility--a responsibility that will increase as the brief eighteen-month interval separating it from the termination of its Two Year Plan speeds to a close.
Upon the discharge of this weighty responsibility now resting upon it must depend the inauguration of yet another Plan, of longer duration, of greater scope, of a still more challenging character, and of greater consequence in the effect it must have on that community's destiny.
Time is running short. The present hour in the fortunes of mankind is critical. The centenary of the birth of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh is fast approaching. The British Bahá'í community must gird up itsPage 272
loins, redouble its exertions, undertake further sacrifices, demonstrate greater solidarity and rise to still greater heights of consecrated devotion.
The flow of pioneers to the African Continent must be noticeably accelerated. The provision of Bahá'í literature in all the selected African languages must be speeded up. The ties binding the community with its cooperating sister communities must be steadily reinforced. The prizes already garnered as a result of the operation of the Six-Year Plan in England, Wales, Scotland, Eire and Northern Ireland, must, at all costs, be safeguarded. The preparations for the forthcoming first African Teaching Conference must be carefully planned and meticulously carried out. Above all, the zeal kindled in the breasts of administrators, pioneers, teachers and supporters, jointly contributing to the success of this meritorious enterprise, must burn ever more brightly and be reflected in still more remarkable exploits.
Then, and only then, will this community be enabled to contribute its share of tribute to the memory of the Founder of its Faith, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of His Prophetic Mission, in as befitting a manner as the share it already contributed, through the consummation of its first historic Plan, to the world-wide celebrations which commemorated the hundredth anniversary of the founding of its Faith. Then, and only then, will it be qualified to embark upon yet another Crusade, whose scope will transcend the limits of the vast African Continent, and the culmination of which might well coincide with the Most Great Jubilee that will commemorate the centenary of the formal assumption by Bahá'u'lláh of His prophetic office, a jubilee envisaged by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Tablets, and prophesied more than two thousand years ago, by Daniel in His Book.
So glorious a vision, now unfolded before the eyes of the British followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, cannot but galvanise them into action, at once swift, resolute and unrelaxing, and fire their souls with a spirit so consuming as to melt every obstacle that may intervene between them and the achievement of their present goal.
May they, one and all, prove themselves, in the crucial months immediately ahead, worthy of the blessings vouchsafed to them in the past, and of the high destiny which it lies in their power to achieve in the future.Shoghi
ASSURE STEPHENS LOVING FERVENT PRAYERS ACCOMPANYING HER.SHOGHI
As I just recently sent you a long letter on behalf of the beloved Guardian to which he appended at some length, he wishes you to consider this reply to your letters of October 17th (three in number) as a postscript to the other.As regards the questions you raised:
The ideal thing would be to have at least one Bahá'í from every territory in Africa attend the African Conference. This is the goal to be worked for, and attained if possible, as it will greatly stimulate the work and especially the inexperienced and isolated believers.
The solar calendar should, by all means, be adhered to in Africa.
He feels that your Assembly is responsible for the time being for the work in territories not under the charge of other N.S.A.s (Tunis, Sudan and Ethiopia are under Egyptian care).
You are not directly responsible for any work done in territories which have been allotted to other N.S.A.s. But you should correspond with them, and give them any help and advice you can, both the N.S.A.s and their African Committees. In the case of Eric Manton+, though he will be under Persia's jurisdiction you can keep him informed of your work, so as to cheer him up.
Only the five participating National Assemblies are responsible directly for financing the African work. No invitations should be extended to other bodies or individuals to contribute. Naturally if any one wants to, they no doubt will, but it would be, he feels, very inappropriate to broadcast any appeal. The Africa work is not an international undertaking but an interassembly one, confined to five national Bodies.____________________
He is very pleased over the way the work is progressing, and sends you all his loving greetings....
P.S. He thanks you for the Quarterly Report enclosed. He reads with great interest everything related to the African work.23 November 1951+F1
Your letters of November 5th and 22nd (enclosures were also received) have been received, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was pleased to hear that Sir Ronald Storrs keeps up a friendly interest in the Faith.
Regarding ... it is obvious that people like this, who have had in some cases a smattering of Bahá'í teaching are not fully aware of the implications of the Faith. However, this does not mean that we should not help them and hold on to them, in the hope of being able, as time and circumstances permit, to deepen them and produce from them really fine believers. This has happened on many occasions in the past, and the Guardian hopes that, through correspondence with him, your committee--and perhaps the Groups in Africa--will be able to accomplish this.
In response to his requests for money, you should point out to him that as we finance entirely our own activities as our gift to mankind, we have to harbour our resources and concentrate on the most important expenditures. You will know what these are; and they certainly don't include a headquarters in Nigeria. You might also encourage him to make an effort to attend the Africa Conference.____________________
+F1. Regarding the first Intercontinental Conference.Page 275
The Guardian also hopes that you will give ... every encouragement. She is a fine soul, and no doubt, if she had time devoted to her, would soon develop into an assured and active believer. You should encourage her also to make every effort to be present at the Africa Conference, and in the meantime to correspond with believers abroad, and do her best to teach the Cause there in spite of her handicaps.
The Guardian feels that the next step in Bahá'í literature might well be the publication of a more comprehensive work in Luganda and Swahili. However, he would like the Africa Committee to undertake pamphlets in other languages as well; let him know what languages the committee proposes.
He attaches, as you know, the greatest importance to the work of your committee and is tremendously impressed by the progress being made in Africa, and by the capacity, tenacity and enthusiasm the British Africa Committee is showing in handling its share of this extremely important campaign. His prayers are frequently offered on your behalf.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty whose Cause you serve with such devotion, ability and faithfulness, reward you abundantly for your labours, guide you and sustain you and assist you to enrich continually the record of your meritorious service.Your true brother,
DELIGHTED ASSURE THEM FERVENT PRAYERS HEARTY WELCOME Bahá'í FOLD.SHOGHI
+F1. On 18 December 1951 the National Assembly reported to the beloved Guardian the acceptance of two African believers in Kampala.Page 276
ASSURE ATTENDANTS TEACHING CONFERENCE DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION ASSURANCE LOYALTY. APPEAL FERVENTLY ARISE DETERMINEDLY STIMULATE PIONEER ACTIVITY SAFEGUARD HARD-WON PRIZES CONSOLIDATE HOME FRONT REINFORCE AGENCIES ADMINISTRATIVE BASE ON WHICH SUCCESS AFRICAN CAMPAIGN INAUGURATION FUTURE PLANS EMBRACING BRITISH TERRITORIES OTHER CONTINENTS ULTIMATELY DEPEND SUPPLICATING ABUNDANT BLESSING.SHOGHI
DELIGHTED APPROVE TALKS HANDS LOVING APPRECIATION.SHOGHI
Our beloved Guardian has instructed me to write you the following:
He wishes the British National Assembly to please do all they can to watch over the two young sons of our dear friends, Mr. and Mrs. ..., in view of the fact that the youngest boy is little more than a child, he needs particularly to have his spiritual welfare safeguarded through as much contact as possible with believers.
The wonderful services this devoted and self-sacrificing father and mother are rendering the Faith have forced them to be separated from their children, and hence the Guardian requests your Assembly to please take special care of the boys.
We are all very happy to have ... here, and they have brought most heartening reports of the progress of the work in Africa with them....____________________
+F1. Reply to National Assembly's enquiry whether Hands of the Cause could be invited to give talks at the Africa Conference.Page 277
GRIEVE TRAGIC LOSS PRAYING FERVENTLY BEHALF DEPARTED.SHOGHI
...ADVISE BUILD UP KENYA. URGE FORMATION ASSEMBLIES KAMPALA DAR-ES-SALAAM. APPROVE SPECIAL SESSIONS FOR NATIONAL ASSEMBLY REPRESENTATIVES OUTSIDE CONFERENCE.SHOGHI
Africa Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly.Dear Bahá'í Friends:
Your letter of the 18th of February, with enclosures, has reached the beloved Guardian; and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He is very pleased over the progress being made, particularly in Uganda; and the recent pilgrimage of the dear Bananis, he feels sure, will add a great impetus to the work there.
Regarding the matters of policy you raised in your letter, he sees no objection to the Persian Bahá'ís,--as long as there are so many of them, and it is unwise to concentrate too many applicants on one country at one time as you point out,--going to countries under the jurisdiction of other National Spiritual Assemblies, such as Egypt and India.
He considers that it is of the greatest importance that pioneers should have upright characters, as well as some considerable knowledge of the Teachings. We cannot expect that every pioneer will be a person of importance; but we must hope that each one will be a person of worth, in his own character. This should be pointed out to the Indian friends.____________________
+F1. Death of Marguerite Preston and eldest child killed in air crash returning to Kenya.Page 278
India should likewise make an effort to send pioneers primarily to the territories embraced in its own part of the Plan; but if they can make available to your committee for British territory, some qualified Indian Bahá'ís, who for some reason cannot go to one of the Indian National Assembly's assignments, then there is no objection.
The Guardian thinks that it is wise not to influence ... by sending him material which he does not at present wish to receive. He is, judging from his letter, a sincere but immature believer....
P.S. Your National Assembly is not responsible for Eritrea but you may encourage any believers there.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty bless your high endeavours, guide and sustain you continually, and aid you to win great victories in the service of His Faith.Your true brother,
APPROVE SHOMAIS DEPARTURE AFRICA. ABBAS RETURN PERSIA APPRECIATE DEEPLY SELF-SACRIFICE.SHOGHI
OWING RAPID PROGRESS AFRICAN CAMPAIGN ADVISE CONCENTRATION CONSOLIDATION HOME FRONT APPEAL UNITED RENEWED VIGOROUS EFFORT PRAYING FERVENTLY SUCCESS.SHOGHI
DEEPLY TOUCHED PLEDGE BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY CONGRATULATE VALIANT MEMBERS MARVELLOUS PROGRESS AFRICAN CAMPAIGN CONSOLIDATION HOME FRONT OWING ATTAINMENT OBJECTIVES ADVISE CONCENTRATE NAIROBI AIMING ESTABLISHMENT ASSEMBLY LEADING PROMISING CENTRE BRITISH TERRITORIES HEART EAST AFRICAN CONTINENT FERVENTLY PRAYING STILL GREATER VICTORIES LOVING GRATITUDE.SHOGHI
Your letter of April 9, 1952, has been received, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was most happy to see that so many of the Bahá'í youth and their friends had gathered together for the Youth Conference; and trusts that, from this consultation, a greater activity amongst the Bahá'í youth of the British Isles will result.
All over the Bahá'í world, we see that not an inconsiderable proportion of the most active and devoted pioneers are young____________________
+F1. The National Assembly cabled the Guardian on 14 April 1952: "KAMPALA DAR-ES-SALAAM NOW NINE ASSEMBLIES ASSURED. BELIEVE MAINTENANCE ASSURED ALL ASSEMBLIES EXCEPT BLACKPOOL WHERE TWO GAPS REMAIN. BEG SPECIAL PRAYERS".+F2. On news of maintenance of all Assemblies.
people. This is only right and proper, because they are freer, usually, to migrate to distant lands, embark on new projects, and withstand the trials and hardships, than older people, who have built up family ties and professional ties.
He will pray for all of you, for your success and the deepening of your capacities in the service of Bahá'u'lláh.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty bless and sustain you in your meritorious activities and aid you to achieve great victories in the service of His Faith,Your true brother,
I gratefully acknowledge receipt of the sum of 200 Sterling from my dear Bahá'í co-workers, British Bahá'í community to be expended for the promotion of the international interests of the Bahá'í Faith.Shoghi
I gratefully acknowledge receipt of the sum of 300 Sterling from my dear Bahá'í co-workers, British Bahá'í community to be expended for the construction of the Shrine of the Báb.Shoghi
Your letter of May 16th has been received, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He has read with great interest the reports which your committee sends him regularly, because as you know the work in Africa is to him one of the most important activities going on in the Bahá'í world, and very close to his heart.Page 281
He was very sorry to hear from the recent cable sent him that there is a question about the Kampala Conference, and whether arrangements can be made for it to be held there. Undoubtedly there is an increasingly negative attitude toward our work growing up amongst the officials, probably due to the lack of racial discrimination they are coming to realise is one of our fundamental teachings, a teaching carried into action, and not merely a pious hope.... He wishes you to keep him informed about this and the progress being made.
Your suggested souvenir booklet sounds interesting, and he urges you to consider the wisdom of including a photograph of Mr. Gregory, First Negro Hand of the Cause, in addition to the others.
As regards the latest progress photo of the Shrine Mr. Ted Cardell+ took a great many pictures here, which the Guardian told him he could share with the Bahá'ís anywhere in the world; and it seems as if, exclusive of the work on the drum, which will begin showing distinctly in about two months' time, the best possible photograph you can obtain of the Shrine at present would be one of Ted's. You should therefore apply to him for one.
The Guardian is very anxious that, during the coming months, the Africa Committee and the Bahá'ís should concentrate their efforts on establishing an Assembly in Kenya, and hopes that you will be able to direct pioneers to Nairobi as soon as possible.
The Guardian considers that it is premature at this time to answer your question about consultation at the Africa Conference, between people from territories which will come under the jurisdiction of the East and Central Africa National Spiritual Assembly. He is so overworked and tired at the moment that he has not been able to go into the entire question of the Inter-Continental Conferences, the countries which will come under the jurisdiction of various future national bodies, etc. He hopes that he will be able, during the coming months, to do this, and if he feels it wise, will advise you by cable concerning a consultation such as you suggest, at the Conference.
He assures all the members of your committee of his deep appreciation of the work they are doing, and of his loving prayers for their success....
P.S. Your personal letter of May 17th was received, and hePage 282
assures you not only of how deeply he admires the spirit you and your husband have, and the work you accomplish, but of his loving prayers that you may be given strength to carry out this work.
Mr. ... evidently is very immature and has no real concept of the Faith; this does not mean, however, that we should abandon him as a contact or let him become the prey of the New History Society. We should keep in friendly touch until someone can see him.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty Whose Cause you and your co-workers are serving with such an exemplary spirit of devotion, fidelity and perseverance, reward you for your meritorious labours, remove all obstacles from your path and enable you to win great victories in the days to come,Your true and grateful brother,
The beloved Guardian has received your letters of October 3, October 27 (4), November 5, 9, 22 (2), 24 and 29, December 6, 19 (4) and 21, 1951, and January 1, 2, 7, 11, 16, 17, 20 and 29 (3), February 1, 16, 20 (3), 27 (2) and February 29, March 5 and 14, April 3, 15 and 24, May 5, 13, 19 (2), 27 and 31, and June 6th, 10th and June 12, 1952, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf. He also has received the various enclosures which you sent with these letters....
The book you sent from the friends in Bahrein was received, and pleased the beloved Guardian very much, as the lines are written in the handwriting of Bahá'u'lláh at the beginning of the book. (This answers your question in your letter of June 6th.)
It brought great joy to his heart to see that you were able to maintain all assemblies in spite of the heavy odds against you. It demonstrates to him once more the tenacity and devotion of the British Bahá'ís, which is rapidly becoming one of the great assets of the Faith in its process of international expansion....
The wonderful spirit shown by Dr. Afnan and his wife isPage 283
certainly an example to all pioneers. He hopes that Mrs. Afnan will settle herself successfully in Africa, and soon be able to have her husband join her.
He was very happy to hear that the Teaching Conference has been so successful. Undoubtedly the dedication of the friends to their tasks at that time facilitated the achievement of their goals in April....
The Guardian would like to assure your Assembly of his loving prayers for dear Mr. Sam Scott, who pioneered at such a ripe age, and who is surely receiving his reward in the Abhá Kingdom.+F1
He considers it advisable that all believers living in Africa, even those who did so before the beginning of the Plan, should have some form of credentials....
Your suggestion of inaugurating the Holy Year next Ridvan and continuing on until October, 1953, with celebrations, meets with his approval.
As regards the Africa campaign: this enterprise, so enthusiastically carried on, has been throughout this past year the greatest source of joy to the heart of the beloved Guardian. The visits of the dear Bananis and Ted Cardell, the news they brought and the general progress of the work, have made Africa seem right next door to Haifa! The formation of the Dar-es-Salaam and Kampala Assemblies was also a great satisfaction to him.
He urges you to now concentrate on an Assembly for Nairobi by next April. This should not be too difficult of achievement in view of the devoted efforts of Mr. Cardell and the pioneers eager to go there.
As regards your question about Somaliland: any one of the three Somalilands may be chosen as a goal territory.
In this connection, he feels that Persian pioneers should be accepted for any and all territories; they are arising in large numbers to offer their services, and it is a great pity that these dedicated and eager friends are so restricted as regards settlement. Your Assembly should do all in its power to facilitate placing them.
The Guardian feels that although the Conference planned for Kampala is primarily a Conference and in no sense a Convention____________________
+F1. From Leeds to Norwich at age 84 and died at age 86.Page 284
(having no delegates), there is no objection to the representatives of various N.S.A.s who may attend meeting in separate sessions for more special and concentrated consultation. Any Hands of the Cause attending could also be included in this private discussion.
He feels that now more than ever the British friends have every reason to feel proud of their accomplishments and happy over the very evident bestowals from the Throne on High. They have found, after half a century of development, scope for their abilities, and a field large enough to distinguish themselves in, and they are certainly taking advantage of it, much to the delight of the Guardian and their fellow-Bahá'ís.
You may be sure that he remembers you all in his prayers, and also the body of the faithful believers you serve to such good purpose.
He would like you to please thank, on his behalf, the friends who so devotedly contribute to the construction of the Holy Shrine....
P.S. As regards Bahá'í divorce as mentioned in your letters of June 12th: Bahá'ís (whether one party or both are believers) should follow the Bahá'í law of divorce, i.e. one year of waiting, and not neglect this divinely given law. Whether they were Bahá'ís when they married or not has nothing to do with it.
In connection with the budget, mentioned in your letter of June 10th, he feels, in the future, you should not set a budget which the resources of the community are unable to meet; however, owing to the crucial Africa work and the forthcoming Conference, he realises you had at this time no other choice. He is going to arrange for one thousand pounds to be sent to your Assembly in order to meet the needs of the Conference and the literature in African languages still to be published. The remaining translations should be pressed forward in order to be ready for the Conference next year.[From the Guardian:]
The Two Year Plan on which the British Bahá'í community has embarked bids fair, as it approaches its conclusion, to eclipse, however short its duration, the exploits of that community throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles, in the course of the prosecution of the first collective enterprise undertaken in British Bahá'í history.Page 285
This second historic undertaking marks the inauguration of the Mission entrusted to this community for the purpose of diffusing the Message of Bahá'u'lláh and of implanting its banner through successive stages, and in collaboration with its sister communities, not only in the territories of the British Crown in the African Continent, but throughout the dependencies of a widely scattered Empire in the remaining continents of the globe. It may well be regarded as a befitting prelude to the official participation of this community in the Ten Year, world-encircling Crusade, designed to signalise the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Mission, involving the systematic co-operation of no less than twelve National Assemblies throughout the Bahá'í world, and destined to culminate in the Most Great Jubilee that will, God willing, witness the introduction of the Faith into all the Sovereign States, the Chief Dependencies and Islands of the entire planet.
In the conduct of this world-encompassing task, so vast in scope, so thrilling in its possibilities, so formidable in its potentialities, the British Bahá'í community will be called upon to play a preponderating role, in conjunction with the American Bahá'í community, acting as the Chief Custodians of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í Master Plan, and seconded by its sister communities in the British Dominions in both hemispheres, in awakening the peoples, races and nations comprising the British Commonwealth and Empire to the redemptive Message of Bahá'u'lláh, and in establishing, on an unassailable foundation, the structural basis of His World Order.
The diversity of functions which the assumption of this task will involve; the privileges and bounties it will, of a certainty, confer on its prosecutors; the degree of dedication, the amount of preparation it will require for its proper discharge; the severe strain it must necessarily impose on all those who will shoulder its burdens; the gravity of the manifold problems it will raise; the severe challenge with which they who will arise to carry it out will be confronted--as witnessed by the delicate and complicated situation that has already arisen in the initial stage of this historic Mission in the heart of Africa, in connection with the holding of the projected inter-continental conference--all these must be carefully pondered in preparation for the launching, at its appointed time, of an undertaking that will constitute, not only a milestone of the utmost significance in the history of the Faith in the British Isles, but will also be hailed by posterity as a landmark of peculiar significance in British history.Page 286
Whilst the small band of wholly dedicated, patiently labouring, much admired, greatly promising followers and supporters of the Faith, in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, contemplate, from their respective homelands, the grandeur of their future task, dwell on its sacred character, and meditate on the wide range of its problems, possibilities, perils and glories, let them devote particular and sustained attention to the imperative needs, the urgent requirements of their no less important and vital mission at home, in their boroughs and counties, amidst their own people, and strain every nerve to reinforce, through a rapid increase in their numbers, through a steady multiplication of their administrative institutions, through a systematic consolidation of the structure of the edifice they are raising within the borders of their native land, their respective communities, which must be regarded as the base for the future operations that will be conducted by the members of these communities, under the guidance of their elected representatives, for the spiritual conquest and the ultimate redemption of the nations, tribes and races owing allegiance to the British Crown.
With every forward step taken by this stalwart community in the path of service to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, with every signal victory achieved for the promulgation of His Faith, a new revelation of the glorious Mission which this community is privileged to undertake is unfolded before the eyes of its members and a wider vista of the future range of its operations, both at home and overseas, opens before it. With every complication that arises in the course of its unfolding Mission, with even every seeming reverse it meets with, as its destiny unfolds, a clearer understanding of the character of its stewardship to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is vouchsafed to its members, a greater measure of His sustaining grace is poured forth from on high, a more compelling evidence of His all-conquering power is evinced, and a more majestic assertion of His mysterious purpose is demonstrated.
The potent seeds a loving and vigilant Master sowed with His Own hands, in the course of a twice repeated visit to the homeland of this community, are now, after having lain dormant for almost a quarter of a century, at long last, sprouting throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles, and are even revealing the potency of their regenerative power, through the instrumentality of those valiant pioneers, who, faithful to His Call and dedicated to His service, are leaving the shores of those islands to settle in the territories of a far-away and backward continent. Amidst their arduous labours, in theirPage 287
contact with the heterogeneous tribes and races dwelling in that continent, in their dealings with the civil authorities of divers countries and states within whose jurisdiction they will labour, in their struggle with an inhospitable climate, in the hazards to which they will be inevitably exposed, in the adventures they may experience, in the reverses they may temporarily suffer, in the opposition they will meet with, in the tests and trials they will undergo, His unfailing guidance will be vouchsafed to them in direct proportion to the degree of their consecration to their task, and the perseverance, the courage and fidelity they will display as they discharge their duties.
The remarkable success that has attended their high endeavours since the initiation of their first collective enterprise within the confines of their native land, the still more notable evidence of God's sustaining grace that has accompanied the opening of the first stage of their Mission overseas, are sufficient proof of the tremendous potency of the forces at work for the purpose of ensuring the unrestricted expansion of their future activities within and beyond the frontiers of their island home, and the ultimate consummation of their magnificent enterprise.
In the months immediately ahead, the strongholds of the Faith erected, in the form of local assemblies, and already established in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, must be maintained at all costs in their present strength; the groups and isolated centres already brought into being must, under no circumstances, be allowed to decrease in number or be lost to the Faith; the translation and publication of pamphlets in the languages already selected must be vigorously pushed forward and completed; the centre in the capital of Kenya must be assiduously expanded; the preparations for the projected inter-continental Conference must be carefully carried out; the effective participation of the representatives of the British Bahá'í community in the Stockholm inter-continental Conference must be ensured; and all the preparatory steps, required for the effectual collaboration of the members of this community in the global crusade, destined to be launched on the morrow of the world-wide celebrations of the approaching Holy Year, should, to whatever extent possible, be undertaken.
There is no time to lose. The issues at stake call for immediate action, demand unrelaxing vigilance, undivided attention, and a consecration unexampled in the annals of the Faith in the British Isles. Though the number of those summoned to shoulder so immense a task be dishearteningly small, though the resources at their disposalPage 288
be meagre, though the cares and preoccupations of the peoples amidst whom they live are such as to often blind them to the Faith and its healing message, yet the position they occupy and the responsibilities devolving upon them in the heart and centre of a world-wide empire, the manifold tokens of esteem and loving-kindness showered upon them during the infancy of this community by the Centre of God's Covenant; the inherent qualities of tenacity of purpose, of exemplary fidelity, of perspicacity that distinguishes the race to which they belong, must inspire hope and confidence in their future, and fully entitles them to play a leading role in the future proclamation of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to the multitudes that live beneath the shadow of the British Crown.
That they may become increasingly conscious of the sublimity of their task; that they may address themselves to it with their characteristic zeal, ability, intelligence and fervour; that they may speedily acquire the spiritual potentialities for the initiation of a still more momentous stage in the unfoldment of their historic Mission; that they may earn increasingly, through their superb feats, the unqualified admiration of their brethren in every continent of the globe and prove themselves worthy of the bounties already received and those which, we may well believe, are held in store for them, is my cherished hope and constant prayer.Shoghi
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to write you in his behalf, to request that information relating to the British Isles and their activities, contained in the booklet "The Bahá'í Faith"____________________
+F1. On 9 January 1951 the Guardian announced the formation of the first International Bahá'í Council, hailing it as "the greatest event shedding lustre upon second epoch of Formative Age..." and on 8 March 1952 he enlarged it and named its eight members. Hand of the Cause Leroy Ioas was appointed Secretary General and as such wrote frequently to the British National Spiritual Assembly. He wrote more frequently, however, conveying messages from the Guardian, requesting information, sharing news, etc., signing his letters "Assistant Secretary". This was the first letter of this kind. His letters are now included wherever he indicates that he is writing on behalf of the Guardian.Page 289
`Information Statistical and Comparative' be brought up to date as of May 1 1952, and sent to him here by the first possible air mail post.
One of the features of the Holy Year will be the re-issuance of this important book; inasmuch as the Holy Year is fast approaching the Guardian wishes the information as quickly as possible.
Briefly, the information which your N.S.A. is to provide, brought up to date of May 1, 1952, is as follows:
Incorporated local spiritual assemblies in the British Isles.
Bahá'í Centres in the British Isles, showing, if possible, the division between local spiritual assemblies, Groups and Isolated Believers.
Any information not immediately available should be handled by telegraph, but such information as is available should not be delayed for any one or two delinquents. You can appreciate that if the booklet is to be published early in the Holy Year, the information should reach the Guardian at a very early date.
The Guardian sends his loving greetings to the National Assembly and its devoted members....29 August 1952+F1
DEEPLY TOUCHED PROFOUNDLY APPRECIATE NOBLE SENTIMENTS PRAYING FULFILMENT HIGH DESTINY DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
PROFOUNDLY APPRECIATE MESSAGE ARDENTLY PRAYING BRITISH COMMUNITY MAY ARISE BEFITTINGLY DISCHARGE GREAT TASKS AHEAD.SHOGHI
+F2. Reply to greetings of N.S.A. at beginning of Holy Year.Page 290
MAINTENANCE GROUPS ISOLATED CENTRES ADVISABLE THOUGH NOT ESSENTIAL PART PLAN.SHOGHI
REJOICE SHARE Bahá'í COMMUNITIES EAST WEST THRILLING REPORTS FEATS ACHIEVED HEROIC BAND Bahá'í PIONEERS LABOURING DIVERS WIDELY-SCATTERED AFRICAN TERRITORIES PARTICULARLY UGANDA HEART CONTINENT REMINISCENT ALIKE EPISODES RELATED BOOK ACTS RAPID DRAMATIC PROPAGATION FAITH INSTRUMENTALITY DAWN-BREAKERS HEROIC AGE Bahá'í DISPENSATION MARVELLOUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS SIGNALISING RISE ESTABLISHMENT ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER FAITH LATIN AMERICA ECLIPSED EXPLOITS IMMORTALISING RECENTLY LAUNCHED CRUSADE EUROPEAN CONTINENT SURPASSED GOAL SEVEN-MONTH PLAN INITIATED KAMPALA ASSEMBLY AIMING DOUBLING TWELVE ENROLLED BELIEVERS OUT-STRIPPED NUMBER AFRICANS CONVERTED COURSE LAST FIFTEEN MONTHS RESIDING KAMPALA OUTLYING DISTRICTS PROTESTANT CATHOLIC PAGAN BACKGROUNDS LETTERED UNLETTERED BOTH SEXES REPRESENTATIVE NO LESS SIXTEEN TRIBES PASSED TWO HUNDRED MARK.
EFFULGENT RAYS GOD'S TRIUMPHANT CAUSE RADIATING FOCAL CENTRE FAST AWAKENING CONTINENT PENETRATING ACCELERATING RATE ISOLATED REGIONS UNFREQUENTED WHITE MEN ENVELOPING THEIR RADIANCE SOULS HITHERTO INDIFFERENT PERSISTENT HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES CHRISTIAN MISSIONS CIVILISING INFLUENCE CIVIL AUTHORITIES NO LESS NINE LOCALITIES QUALIFIED____________________
+F1. On completion of nine African Pamphlets, a goal of the Two Year Plan.Page 291
ATTAIN COMING Ridvan ASSEMBLY STATUS WITHIN SINGLE TERRITORY LONG-SLUMBERING CONTINENT.
ZANZIBAR MADAGASCAR FRENCH MOROCCO SOUTH RHODESIA ITALIAN SOMALILAND ALREADY OR SOON BE OPENED FAITH.
DESIRE PAY SPECIAL TRIBUTE STRENUOUS EFFORTS EXERTED ALI NAKHJAVANI SETTING EXAMPLE DEDICATION FREEDOM PREJUDICE FELLOW PIONEERS LABOURING INHOSPITABLE SURROUNDINGS CONFRONTED MANIFOLD FORMIDABLE OBSTACLES.
PLANNING ENTRUST SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE DELEGATED ATTEND APPROACHING KAMPALA CONFERENCE PORTRAIT HOLY Báb REPLICA ONE DEPOSITED BENEATH DOME Mashriqu'l-Adhkár WILMETTE TO BE EXHIBITED ASSEMBLED ATTENDANTS HISTORIC OCCASION CONFIDENT UNVEILING MAY DRAW NEWLY RECRUITED VANGUARD EVER-SWELLING HOST Bahá'u'lláh AS WELL AS ALL PARTICIPATING VISITORS ITINERANT TEACHERS SETTLERS CLOSER SPIRIT MARTYR-PROPHET FAITH BESTOW EVERLASTING BENEDICTION ALL GATHERED MEMORABLE SESSIONS EPOCH-MAKING INTER-CONTINENTAL CONFERENCE DEDICATED PROSECUTION LATEST MOST GLORIOUS CRUSADE LAUNCHED COURSE ELEVEN DECADES Bahá'í HISTORY.SHOGHI
MOVED PLACE RECORD EXPRESSION ABIDING APPRECIATION NOTABLE CONTRIBUTION BRITISH Bahá'í PIONEERS MAGNIFICENT SUCCESS HISTORIC ENTERPRISE LAUNCHED AFRICAN CONTINENT COURSE TWO YEAR PLAN FORMULATED BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY. GOALS FIRST EPOCH-MAKING STAGE GLORIOUS OVERSEAS MISSION FOLLOWERS Bahá'u'lláh BRITISH ISLES NOBLY ACHIEVED. APPEAL ATTENDANTS CONFERENCE FOCUS ATTENTION FLEETING MONTHS AHEAD CONSOLIDATION HOMEFRONT CONSTITUTING NO LESS VITAL PHASE SECOND COLLECTIVE ENTERPRISE BRITISH Bahá'í HISTORY. URGE PARTICIPANTS RESOLVE UPON RETURN RESPECTIVE COMMUNITIES EXERT UTMOST FAN FLAME PIONEERING SPIRIT UTILISE EVERY AVAILABLE MEANS ENSURE ALL ASPECTS TRIUMPHANT CONSUMMATION PLAN. TOTAL SUCCESS INTERNAL EXTERNAL PHASES PRESENT UNDERTAKING WILL CONSTITUTE BEFITTING CONTRIBUTION STEADFASTLY LABOURING HIGHLY ESTEEMED TENACIOUSLYPage 292
LOYAL BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY WORLD WIDE CELEBRATIONS HOLY YEAR PAVE WAY EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION ITS MEMBERS IMPENDING TEN YEAR CRUSADE MARKING OPENING THIRD COLLECTIVE ENTERPRISE INAUGURATED SINCE INCEPTION FAITH BRITISH ISLES SIGNALISING SECOND MEMORABLE STAGE THEIR UNFOLDING MISSION FOREIGN FIELDS DESTINED EMBRACE TERRITORIES BRITISH CROWN BOTH AFRICAN EUROPEAN CONTINENTS. PRAYING FERVENTLY ATTAINMENT OBJECTIVES ULTIMATE ACHIEVEMENT DISTANT GOALS.SHOGHI
DEEPLY TOUCHED MESSAGE APPRECIATE REDEDICATION PRAYING GLORIOUS SUCCESS.SHOGHI
ADVISE MODIFY LIST LANGUAGES. KINDLY AIRMAIL IMMEDIATELY EXPLANATION AMERICAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR MODIFICATION THEIR MANUSCRIPT.SHOGHI
ADVISE ASSEMBLY'S REPRESENTATIVES ATTENDING KAMPALA CONFERENCE ENSURE NO ONE PHOTOGRAPHS Báb'S PORTRAIT DURING DISPLAY. SENDING COLOUR FILM SHRINES ARRANGE PROVIDE PROJECTOR SIXTEEN MILLIMETRES.SHOGHI
YOUR ASSEMBLY HENCEFORTH CONSULTATIVE BODY ONLY FOR BRITISH TERRITORIES IN AFRICA.SHOGHI
Enclosed please find the Guardian's Convention Message.
As there are a great many African languages enumerated, and the spelling is very involved, the Guardian has decided to Air Mail you this message, rather than have it cabled, which was his original intention.
Please cable immediately you receive this letter, acknowledging it, so that the Guardian will know his Convention Message is in your hands. Otherwise he will of course have to cable it from here.
He is eagerly awaiting the report of the African Conference, which he has not received to date....
P.S. Your letter regarding a rug supposedly owned by Bahá'u'lláh coming up for sale, has just been received, and the Guardian feels that he cannot possibly authenticate this rug as having belonged at any time to Bahá'u'lláh. It may of course be quite true that it did. He leaves it to the discretion of your Assembly to decide whether you wish to purchase it or not.8 April 1953
APPEAL ENTIRE COMMUNITY EXERT SUPREME EFFORT ELEVENTH HOUR SEAL SUCCESS PLAN ASSURE LOVING FERVENT PRAYERS.SHOGHI
WARMLY CONGRATULATE ASSEMBLED DELEGATES Bahá'í COMMUNITY BRITISH ISLES CELEBRATING MOST GREAT FESTIVAL HOLY YEAR ON MAGNIFICENT VICTORIES ACHIEVED AFRICAN CONTINENT EXCEEDING HIGHEST HOPES PLAN FORMULATED TWO YEARS AGO ORIGINALLY CONCEIVED MERE PRELUDE AFRICAN CAMPAIGN ASSUMED SUCH PROPORTIONS YIELDED SUCH FRUIT DESERVE BE REGARDED DISTINCT STAGE CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY BEYOND BORDERS HOMELAND SIX YEAR PLAN FIRST COLLECTIVE UNDERTAKING BRITISH Bahá'í HISTORY LAID BROADENED FOUNDATIONS ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS DESTINED DIRECT OPERATION FUTURE OVERSEAS ENTERPRISES BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY TWO YEAR PLAN INAUGURATED WITHIN AFRICAN CONTINENT GLORIOUS MISSION SAME COMMUNITY CALLED UPON ACCOMPLISH THROUGHOUT BRITISH DEPENDENCIES EASTERN WESTERN HEMISPHERES HOUR PROPITIOUS TRIUMPHANT RICHLY BLESSED BRITISH NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY PARTICIPATE ELEVEN SISTER NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EAST WEST IMPENDING WORLD SPIRITUAL CRUSADE THROUGH LAUNCHING TEN YEAR PLAN EMBRACING THREE CONTINENTS GLOBE CALCULATED CARRY STAGE FURTHER THEIR OWN PARTICULAR CRUSADE THROUGHOUT NUMEROUS WIDELY SCATTERED HIGHLY DIVERSIFIED COLONIES PROTECTORATES BRITISH EMPIRE HASTEN DAY BE ABLE ASSUME PREPONDERATING SHARE SUCH VAST HIGHLY MERITORIOUS PIONEERING ENTERPRISE.
MOMENTOUS PLAN WHICH COURSE COMING DECADE SEPARATING THEM MOST GREAT JUBILEE WILL DEMAND COMPLETE SUSTAINED CONSECRATION TWOFOLD TASK CONSOLIDATION FAITH ENGLAND SCOTLAND WALES IRELAND ITS PROPAGATION BEYOND ISLAND HOME INVOLVES
FIRST OPENING FOLLOWING VIRGIN TERRITORIES: SEVEN EUROPE--CHANNEL ISLANDS, CYPRUS, FAROE ISLANDS, HEBRIDES ISLANDS, MALTA, ORKNEY ISLANDS, SHETLAND ISLANDS; FOUR AFRICA--BRITISH CAMEROONS, BRITISH TOGOLAND, MADEIRA, SOUTH WEST AFRICA. SECOND CONSOLIDATION FAITH FOLLOWING TERRITORIES: NINE AFRICA--ANGOLA, BELGIAN CONGO, GOLDPage 298
COAST, KENYA, NIGERIA, SIERRA LEONE, TANGANYIKA, UGANDA, ZULULAND; EUROPE--EIRE; ASIA-- HONG-KONG. THIRD ESTABLISHMENT NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY Bahá'ís CENTRAL EAST AFRICA. FOURTH PURCHASE LAND ANTICIPATION CONSTRUCTION Mashriqu'l-Adhkár KAMPALA. FIFTH ESTABLISHMENT NATIONAL HazíraTU'L-QUDS LONDON. SIXTH CONVERSION INTO NATIONAL INSTITUTION LOCAL HazíraTU'L-QUDS KAMPALA. SEVENTH INCORPORATION NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY Bahá'ís CENTRAL EAST AFRICA. EIGHTH ESTABLISHMENT NATIONAL ENDOWMENTS BRITISH ISLES. NINTH ESTABLISHMENT NATIONAL ENDOWMENTS BY NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY Bahá'ís CENTRAL EAST AFRICA. TENTH TRANSLATION Bahá'í LITERATURE THIRTY-ONE AFRICAN LANGUAGES: ACCRA, AFRIKAANS, ALADIAN, ASHANTI, BANU, BEMBA, BUA, CHUANA, GIO, GU, JIENG, JOLOF, KUANYAMA, KRONGO, KROO, LIUMBI, MALAGASY, NUBIAN, PEDI, POPO, RONGA, SENA, SHILHA, SHONA, SOBO, SUTO, WONGO, XOSA, YALUNKA, YAO, ZULU. ELEVENTH DOUBLING NUMBER SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES LOCALITIES BRITISH ISLES. TWELFTH INCORPORATION NINETEEN ASSEMBLIES ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES, IRELAND. THIRTEENTH ESTABLISHMENT ISRAEL BRANCH NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY BRITISH ISLES. FOURTEENTH FORMATION EUROPEAN, ASIAN TEACHING COMMITTEES, DESIGNED STIMULATE, CO-ORDINATE TEACHING ACTIVITIES PLAN. ARDENTLY PRAYING DECADE LONG CRUSADE CULMINATING HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY DECLARATION FAITH Bahá'u'lláh MAY WITNESS BOTH ADMINISTRATIVE TEACHING FIELDS HOME FRONT AS WELL AS BEYOND CONFINES BRITISH ISLES FRUITION SEEDS HAND CENTRE COVENANT SO LOVINGLY PATIENTLY SOWED COURSE TWICE REPEATED VISIT HEART BRITISH EMPIRE. MAY IT LIKEWISE CARRYPage 299
TRIUMPHANT CONCLUSION INITIAL EPOCH UNFOLDMENT WORLD-WIDE MISSION ENTRUSTED BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY AMIDST PEOPLES RACES DWELLING DEPENDENCIES BRITISH CROWN SCATTERED THROUGHOUT FIVE CONTINENTS GLOBE.SHOGHI
GREATLY VALUE NOBLE SENTIMENTS HAND CAUSE DELEGATES FRIENDS FERVENTLY PRAYING SHRINES VALIANT BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY PLAY MEMORABLE PART WORLD CRUSADE FULFIL HISTORIC MISSION. DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
URGE FULL FLEDGED Bahá'í ASSEMBLIES BRITISH TERRITORIES UGANDA TANGANYIKA KENYA NOW REGARDED MOST POWERFUL PILLARS SWIFTLY EMERGING STEADILY CONSOLIDATING HIGHLY PROMISING AFRICAN Bahá'í COMMUNITY SET GLORIOUS EXAMPLE THROUGH PROMPT MEASURES INITIATION EXTENSION WORK THROUGH DESPATCH SURPLUS MEMBERS LOCAL COMMUNITIES INCLUDING AFRICANS NEIGHBOURING TERRITORIES FRENCH SOMALILAND RUANDA URUNDI MADAGASCAR FRENCH BELGIAN CONGO COMORO ISLANDS EVEN ALGERIA MOROCCO ACCELERATING THEREBY PROCESS FORMATION LOCAL ASSEMBLIES ESTABLISHMENT NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CENTRAL EAST AFRICA ADDING FRESH LAURELS CROWN ALREADY WON PIONEERING FIELD AFRICAN CONTINENT.SHOGHI
URGE IMMEDIATE STEPS PUBLICATION PAMPHLETS AFRICAN LANGUAGES. APPROVE APPROACH NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. MYSELF CONTRIBUTING THOUSAND POUNDS MERITORIOUS PURPOSE.SHOGHI
Your letters of June 27, August 4, August 18, September 19, October 9 and November 27, 1952, with enclosures, have been received, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
Your letter of May 25th has also been received. He of course meant French Equatorial Africa, but condensed it for the sake of the cable. The Belgian Congo is naturally separate.
As many of your questions and reports dealt with pre-Conference complications, which, thanks to the grace of Bahá'u'lláh, were all satisfactorily removed, I will not touch upon them in this letter.
The Guardian was immensely pleased and relieved when it became clear that the Bahá'ís had obtained visas for Uganda, and were attending in large numbers, and that hotel accommodation was available.
From the report he has received from Mr. Ioas and pilgrims, the Conference was undoubtedly a tremendous success, and befittingly inaugurated the round of celebrations during this Holy Year.
It is a great pity that there should have been so much unfavourable publicity connected with the public meeting associated with the Conference, and its attendance. One cannot, however, help but feel that such an attitude was inevitable sooner or later, because there is no doubt that the missionaries are beginning to feel the keenest resentment and a certain degree of alarm, due to the success of our teaching methods in Africa.Page 301
Your committee will no doubt face, in the days to come, many grave problems; but the Guardian feels sure that, whatever happens, and whatever attacks are made upon the Faith and its pioneers, the net result cannot but be good for us in the long run, and can only serve to hasten the spread of the Cause.
He feels that your committee has every right to feel immensely proud, and grateful to God, for the success of your unremitting labours over such a long period of time.
He was most happy to hear that Mr. Dudley Smith Kutendele is planning to go and teach the Faith in Nyasaland, and will pray that his efforts may meet with success in the end.
Your understanding of the treatment of polygamist converts to the Faith is quite correct, but of course if anyone who is a Bahá'í wishes to marry more than one wife, he cannot do so. If they should disobey this law, then the cases must be handled in the same way as the Persians do, which is that these persons who become polygamists, break the laws of marriage.
As regards your question about the proper designation for the huts which will be used by the believers in villages, as Bahá'í Centres, he thinks that, for the time being, until a more dignified structure can be erected, they should be called "Bahá'í Centre", and not Hazíratu'l-Quds--the correct name is Hazíratu'l-Quds and not Hazíra.
He was immensely pleased over the example shown by Enos Epyeru, in withdrawing from political affiliation, and feels that some of the African friends are showing a most exemplary spirit of devotion and loyalty. He feels that a great potential strength lies in these new African believers.
No doubt your committee will be faced with problems, due to the inexperience of some of these people in administrative matters, but, through loving guidance, and the wisdom of those who are associated with them on the spot, these minor things can be satisfactorily taken care of, and the main thing, the establishment of assemblies and groups, be carried out successfully.
The Guardian was indeed delighted over Ali Nakhjavani's trip to the Teso district. The purity of his spirit, the intensity of his devotion, and the longing in his heart to bring the Faith to his African brothers, all of which he so clearly showed forth in his actions, were no doubt the great factors which enkindled thePage 302
first fires in the hearts of the believers in that land, and which have spread so swiftly and have been the cause of such joy to our beloved Guardian.
The Guardian considers that the settling of all the virgin territories all over the world is the most important of the goals given to any of the National Assemblies, and that it should be given precedence. Indeed, he is hoping that the one hundred and thirty territories still unopened may all be settled by pioneers this year, if possible.
It is not necessary for a National Assembly to confine itself to the placing of pioneers from its own community in its goal areas--it may draw on other Bahá'í communities for pioneers for its goal territories, as well, and vice versa. In other words, pioneers from the British Isles may be sent to territories under the administrative jurisdiction of other National Bodies than the British National Assembly, and pioneers may be accepted for British posts who are not members of the British community. The important thing is to achieve the goals.
The Guardian is urging the bodies associated with the work in Africa to disperse their forces, and not endeavour to build up large communities. Otherwise, there will be a large number of pioneers in one place, while other goal countries may be left entirely without a pioneer.
As regards the translations for Africa, he has urged the American National Spiritual Assembly, in connection with the printing of Bahá'í literature in the languages allotted to that continent, to give you any help it can.
The Guardian feels confident that, by proper concentration of effort and exchange of information between the committees responsible for getting the pioneers out to Africa, the ways and means will be forthcoming to achieve our objectives this year.
You may rest assured that his prayers will continue to be offered for the work you are performing, and that he most deeply appreciates the conscientious and tireless devotion of all the members of your committee, a devotion which has enabled the Conference to take place with such success.With loving Bahá'í greetings....
P.S. In reading over this letter, I see that I have not done justice to the deep feeling of appreciation our beloved GuardianPage 303
has for the wonderful spirit shown by Mr. Banani and his wife, as well as by Philip Hainsworth and Mr. and Mrs. Collison. The services of all of those friends cannot be overestimated, nor those of the devoted pioneers in Kenya and Tanganyika.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty bless, sustain and guide you in your highly meritorious endeavours, remove all obstacles from your path, and enable you to lend a great impetus to the historic work being achieved in the African Continent.Your true and grateful brother,
Our Beloved Guardian has been greatly encouraged by reports reaching him from all parts of the Bahá'í World, of victories, already gained, and plans being laid for the prosecution of the Ten Year Crusade. He was particularly pleased to learn that some 150 people have offered to pioneer in virgin overseas areas at the American Convention.
These reports have evoked his awe-inspiring and soul-stirring cablegram of May 28th+F1, calling for the immediate settlement of all the 131 virgin areas of the Plan, just as quickly as possible. He is convinced the Friends will arise and translate their enthusiasm into Action, because the Keynote of the Crusade, must be Action, Action, Action.
The Beloved Guardian has directed me to write your Assembly to amplify some of the aspects of his dynamic message.
The settlement of these virgin areas is of such an emergency nature, that he feels pioneering in one of them takes precedence over every other type of Bahá'í service--whether it be in the teaching or administrative fields of the Faith. So important is it that the National Assembly may delay initiation of steps to fulfil other phases of the Plan, until all these areas are conquered for the Faith. Nothing, absolutely nothing, must be allowed to interfere with the placing of pioneers in each of the 131 goal countries.____________________
+F1. Announcing "Roll of Honour" for "Knights of Bahá'u'lláh" published in "Messages to the Bahá'í World, 1950-1957", p. 48.Page 304
There are some general observations which the Guardian shares with you, and then some specific suggestions which are enumerated below:
1. Every individual who has offered to pioneer, must be encouraged in every way by the National Assembly.
2. The National Assembly should assist each pioneer, so they may be placed in their post just as quickly as possible.
3. The handling of each application for pioneering service must be expedited, and not allowed to be bogged down for any reason, or in the hands of committees.
4. The National Assembly should make it their first order of business to follow up actively this most important task. They must make it the first order of business at each Assembly meeting to see that each application is being progressed rapidly. This does not mean the special committees should not handle the details, but it does mean the Assembly itself must review each application at each meeting and see that the pioneer gets into the field as soon as possible.
5. A large number of pioneers should not be sent to any one country. One, or even two, will be sufficient for the time being. Later on, if supplementary assistance is needed, that of course can be taken care of. The all important thing now is to get at least one pioneer in each of the 131 virgin areas.
6. The National Assembly may exercise its prerogatives and suggest to applicants where their services are most needed. This, of course, applies particularly to pioneers who might wish to settle in one area.
7. Because there have been so many applicants in America, the Guardian has written them that they may place their pioneers in any virgin area in the world. His objective now is to fill these lands yet unconquered by the Hosts of Heaven and he feels the initial impact must be made now. Thus, from whatever sources they come, they should be placed in the field at the earliest possible moment. Furthermore, as the Chief Executors of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan, He expects the Americans to bear the brunt of the load everywhere. He has instructed the American N.S.A. to communicate with your Assembly with regard to pioneers to be settled in territories coming under your assignment, as well as territories not under your assignment, but where your Assembly can aid them in settling, particularly inPage 305
areas of the Commonwealth which are not under your assignment.The specific suggestions of the Guardian are:
(a) Areas close at hand and easy of settlement should be filled first. Then the areas more difficult, and finally those which will be quite difficult.
(b) Whenever a pioneer enters a new territory, a cable should be sent at once to the Guardian, giving the name, place, and any pertinent information.
(c) A monthly report of progress is to be sent by your Assembly to the Secretary-General of the International Bahá'í Council. Special matters of report nature, for the Guardian, in connection with the plan should be sent to the Secretary-General of the Council also.
This does not mean that any administrative matters in connection with the settlement of pioneers, etc., should be handled with the Council. Such matters should continue to be handled with the Guardian direct. The Council is simply to co-ordinate reports, consolidate them, keep maps up to date, etc., for the Guardian, and your reports will enable them to do this.
(d) The Guardian feels the following areas are not difficult to settle, and he thinks you should arrange for their settlement at once; and he will appreciate cable advice of each settlement as they take place.Channel Islands
(e) The Guardian has cabled you, and at his direction I have written the Friends in Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika of the importance of their spreading out, and if possible sending pioneers into the surrounding areas in Africa, such as Belgian Congo, Ruanda Urundi, Somaliland, and even South West Africa. He wishes you to follow up this matter closely. The Guardian attached great importance to the Ashanti Protectorate, and if any of the Friends can go there, particularly any Persians you may be assisting in getting located, he will appreciate it.
As the Guardian's dramatic cable indicates, an illuminatedPage 306
"Roll of Honour" on which will be inscribed the names of the "Knights of Bahá'u'lláh" who first enter these 131 virgin areas, will be placed inside the entrance door of the Inner Sanctuary of the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh. From time to time, the Guardian will announce to the Bahá'í World the names of those Holy Souls who arise under the conditions outlined in his message, and settle these areas and conquer them for Bahá'u'lláh.
Now is the Hour for the Friends everywhere to demonstrate the spiritual vitality of the Faith, and of their devotion. There is no time after this moment, to settle the unconquered areas. The Guardian is sure the Friends throughout the world, and particularly the staunch Bahá'ís in the British Isles, will arise as one soul in many bodies, and surging ahead, cover the face of the Earth with the Glory of the Lord.
The Guardian will pray fervently for the Bahá'ís of the British Isles for the success of their efforts.
The Guardian will pray for the members of your Assembly, whose sacrificial efforts he greatly values....8 June 1953
The beloved Guardian has asked me to write to you following my letter of June 5th in connection with the great importance of settling one hundred and thirty-one virgin areas, during the next few months.
Naturally it will be difficult for the Faith to be established in the new territories or amongst the new tribes if they do not have at least a pamphlet for distribution to the new contacts.
He therefore feels that along with the sending of pioneers into the virgin areas, the translation of literature into the languages assigned to the British National Assembly should take place. He has cabled you direct concerning this very important matter, and has informed you in his cable that he is arranging for a gift of 1,000 Pounds to assist you in this most important work.
The Guardian feels that one of the existing pamphlets would be satisfactory, or a new one, which you may feel it desirable to prepare. At this time, it is not necessary to enter into the question of translation of Bahá'í books, simply a pamphlet, which can be used for teaching purposes.Page 307
The Guardian wishes you to budget the necessary funds to cover this work and to see that it is actively pursued, so that the literature will be available at an early date.
He wishes you to send current reports of activities in connection with this matter to the Secretary-General of the International Bahá'í Council, so that the data may be assembled with all the necessary information in connection with the Ten Year Crusade, for the Guardian.He sends his loving greetings to you.
Your letters of July 8, 12 and 16, August 5 and 13, September 16, 20 and 26, October 13, 14 and 26, December 12 (3) and 17, 1952, and January 4, 6, 13, 15, 20, 27 (2) and 29, February 3 and 6, March 12, 17, 22, 23 and 26, April 1, 17, 20, 24 and 29, May 5, 11, 14, 15 (2), 28 and 30, 1953, with their enclosures, have been received by the beloved Guardian, as well as material sent under separate cover, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
As you are all aware, the pressure of work is constantly increasing all over the Bahá'í world, and of course the heaviest load falls upon the Guardian. That is why he is finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with his letters, not only to individuals, but also to national bodies, important as they are. He regrets this delay, but sees no remedy for it.
It was a source of great pride to him that the British Bahá'ís succeeded with their Plan, in spite of the fact that it was a long, hard struggle, and in some instances the odds seemed very much against them. He feels sure that their qualities of tenacity of purpose, fidelity and initiative will carry them on to even greater distinction during the coming ten years, as they execute their portion of the Global Crusade, an important portion.
It was very nice to have dear Dr. Mitchell+ here; the Guardian hopes that gradually more British Bahá'ís will be able to make the pilgrimage.
He was very relieved to hear that dear Mr. Townshend has recovered his health to such an extent that he will be attendingPage 308
the Stockholm Conference, where his presence will be welcomed by all the other Hands attending, and the believers as well....
The letters which your Assembly wrote at the request of the ... Bahá'ís to certain officials there, he thought were excellent. What he did not think was excellent was the almost insulting reply you received as regards ... from the authorities in London and signed by.... The letter was a mass of contradictions, and the excuses transparent, to say the least. It shows that there is no doubt going to be a stiffening opposition from certain colonial governments, as the Bahá'í work progresses.
Your Assembly will undoubtedly continue to press the matter as best you can with the authorities, without causing too much opposition....
The question of impressing upon the Africans who are seeking enrolment the necessity of not drinking is a delicate one. When enrolling new believers, we must be wise and gentle, and not place so many obstacles in their way that they feel it impossible to accept the Faith. On the other hand, once accorded membership in the community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh, it must be brought home to them that they are expected to live up to His teachings, and to show forth the signs of a noble character in conformity with His laws. This can often be done gradually, after the new believer is enrolled.
Now that the African work has entered upon an entirely new phase, indeed the work all over the world, the position your Assembly held as the more or less co-ordinating body for the work in Africa has been changed. However, the closest co-operation will be necessary between all the National Assemblies concerned with the Africa teaching work, if the Plan is to go ahead swiftly; and exchange of information, especially as regards pioneer possibilities and posts, is essential, in order to get the believers out to the goal countries during this year, which is the Guardian's ardent hope, and to which he attaches the greatest possible importance. There is no objection to British pioneers going into the territories of other Assemblies, or believers under other jurisdiction being used by your Assembly. The most important thing is to open up the virgin countries; and of course whoever works in a country under the jurisdiction of a specific Assembly, no matter where their origin may have been, would be under the orders of that Assembly.Page 309
As he has cabled, he considers that, at this stage in the development of the Faith in Africa, it is not necessary for so many people to congregate in one centre, such as Kampala, when there is such a tremendous need in neighbouring territories for pioneers, whether native or European.
He considers that the formation of a school at this time is premature. It would involve us in heavy responsibilities which for the sake of public opinion would have to be discharged efficiently and in an exemplary manner, and he does not consider that we have the resources or the facilities at present to embark on such a project. There is no reason why the subject cannot be reconsidered at a future date.
He considers that the attitude of your Assembly regarding police service which might be required of the Bahá'ís in Kenya at this time is correct, and that it is not war, so far. As it seems that ... situation with his employer, for the present at least, prevented him from having to do police duty, the subject does not arise for the moment. He does not think that any general rule can be laid down in such matters. Events must be watched, and, when situations such as these arise, fresh consultation with him will be necessary....
As he has already informed you, and the National Spiritual Assembly of America as well, there is no objection to your receiving co-operation from them and financial assistance which they might be able to give you in publishing some of the literature in the African languages.
He thinks your Assembly's decision regarding spiritual healing being demonstrated at a Bahá'í meeting was quite sound. We should try not to have the Faith identified with such things in the eyes of the public, officially. What the believers do privately, which in no way contravenes the Teachings, is their own affair.
As regards the Obligatory Prayers, the friends in the West should continue to use them exactly as they have been doing, and as is set forth in the remarks in parentheses which accompany the prayers in the book "Prayers and Meditations". The Guardian himself will, whenever he sees fit, and considers the time is ripe, inform the friends in such matters in greater detail.
Of all the work being undertaken by the believers, East and West, at the present time, undoubtedly the most urgent is that of getting the pioneers out to the goal countries during this year, ifPage 310
possible. Not only will spiritual strength accrue from this settlement of so many new lands, but the prestige it gives us in the eyes of the non-Bahá'ís is great. He fully realises heavy burdens have been placed upon the shoulders of all the Bahá'ís, and particularly upon the members of the twelve N.S.A.s directing this great crusade. But who else except the believers can do the work of Bahá'u'lláh? And short of accomplishing His work, where else lies hope for this confused and sorely-tried world?
In spite of your many problems, he feels confident that you will find amongst the valiant members of the British Bahá'í community sufficient volunteers to enable you to fill your virgin territories and islands with at least one pioneer per place. As he has already pointed out, there can be exchange; in other words, one Assembly can make use of volunteers for its goals from amongst believers under the jurisdiction of another N.S.A. if such are available.
In spite of your financial position and the work that lies ahead, the Guardian has felt it wise and necessary for you to take steps to purchase a national headquarters. When we remember that England is one of the oldest Bahá'í countries, so to speak, in the West, and that in spite of her distinction she is still without a suitable seat for her national Bahá'í administration, we see how important it is for her, on the eve of this great period of expansion, to have a National Centre. France, without any N.S.A. as yet, now has one, and it is high time England had one too. You will receive aid from others in this undertaking, as well as from the Guardian. He was pleased that Mr. Joseph took the first step in enabling you to fulfil this objective.
His loving thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you, as you face your great responsibilities and rise to meet your priceless opportunities....
P.S. The Guardian wishes your Assembly to express to Mr. Albert Joseph his deep appreciation of the assistance he is giving you in connection with the purchase of a National Headquarters.[From the Guardian:]
The successive victories won, in recent years, by the British Bahá'í community, proclaiming, on the one hand, the triumphant conclusion of the first collective enterprise undertaken in British Bahá'í history onPage 311
the morrow of the centenary celebrations of the Founding of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and on the other, the successful termination of the Two Year Plan, marking the inauguration of the community's historic Mission beyond the confines of its homeland, have immensely enhanced its prestige throughout the entire Bahá'í world, have won for it the abiding gratitude and profound admiration of all who labour for our beloved Faith, and entitled it to assume a prominent share in the conduct of the world spiritual Crusade launched amidst the festivities signalising the climax of the celebrations of this Holy Year commemorating the centenary of the birth of the Mission of the Author of the Bahá'í Dispensation.
Much has been achieved in the course of the past nine years, both within the borders of this community's island home, and throughout the widely scattered Dependencies of the British Crown, on the shores as well as within the heart of the vast and far-off African Continent, to merit the pride that fills the hearts of its staunch and stalwart members, to deserve the applause of the Concourse on High, to evoke the fondest hopes for the steady unfoldment and ultimate consummation of the historic Mission entrusted to the care of the British followers of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, and to befittingly usher in a new Era in British Bahá'í history--an Era that will for ever remain associated with the systematic introduction of God's triumphant Faith, through the concerted efforts of the heroic band of Bahá'í pioneers, dwelling within the British Isles, into the Chief Dependencies of the British Crown scattered throughout the European and Asiatic continents and the islands and archipelagos of the Seven Seas.
The entire community, now firmly entrenched within the Administrative strongholds, recently and so laboriously established in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, must rise as one man to the occasion that now presents itself. With hearts brimming with the love of Bahá'u'lláh, with souls entirely dedicated to His Cause, with minds attuned to the laws and precepts underlying His teachings, steeled with an inflexible determination to utilise, to the fullest extent, the administrative agencies which their hands have fashioned since the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and deriving fresh hope and sustenance from the rapid and remarkable victories won in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í activity, both at home and abroad, the members of this high-minded, tenacious and spiritually alive community must gird up their loins, intensify their efforts a hundredfold and, through their combined and sustained efforts, write yet anotherPage 312
chapter in British Bahá'í history that will illuminate the annals of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and eclipse the splendour of the feats already accomplished in the past fifty years by the adherents of His Cause in their native land.
The twofold process, already set in motion, which has been attended by such conspicuous success, must, in the course of the coming decade, be not only fully maintained but steadily accelerated. While the structure of the Administrative Order of the Faith within the British Isles is being steadily reinforced and enlarged, through the multiplication of the administrative institutions of the Faith in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland and the consolidation of the newly-fledged assemblies already established, an effort, unprecedented in scope and intensity, must be continually and determinedly exerted to lay the administrative basis of this Order not only in the islands bordering the British Isles, but in the Dependencies of the British Crown in the Mediterranean, and in the African and Asiatic Continents.
This vital aspect of the Mission committed to the care of the British Bahá'í community, must, in the course of the Crusade upon which it has embarked, receive a tremendous impetus, and gather such momentum as to justify the trust 'Abdu'l-Bahá so confidently placed in this community and the distinctive functions with which its members have been invested since His passing. The development of the institutions of the Faith on the home front must be supplemented by, and afford a constant stimulus to, the rise of similar institutions, first in the limited number of territories and islands assigned to the elected representatives of this community, and eventually throughout the colonies and protectorates comprising the British Empire.
The opening phase of the Ten Year Plan so auspiciously inaugurated on the morrow of the memorable victories already achieved, covering a period of no less than two years, must be distinguished by the opening, in rapid succession, of the eleven virgin territories in Europe and Africa and the laying of a firm foundation for the future erection of a rapidly rising Administrative Order whose ramifications are destined to encircle within the coming ten years the entire planet.
The exertions required to consummate the first stage of this Ten Year Plan are admittedly arduous, and demand the utmost attentiveness, and a degree of sacrifice and consecration unequalled in the entire course of British Bahá'í history. In spite of the smallness of their numbers, and the limited resources at their disposal, the membersPage 313
of the community living in the British Isles, including administrators and teachers, as well as the band of self-sacrificing pioneers who have already forsaken their homes and are labouring in distant fields in the African Continent, must, at whatever cost, disperse more widely and direct their footsteps to the virgin territories and islands assigned to their National Assembly, contributing thereby, directly and effectively, to the speedy and successful termination of the initial phase of a Crusade on which the immediate destinies of the entire community so largely depend.
While this supreme effort is being exerted special and immediate attention must, likewise, be directed to two other objectives which constitute a vital part of the work now confronting the members of this community. The selection of the site of the Hazíratu'l-Quds in the city of London, the heart of the British Empire, and the national administrative seat of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles, and the adoption of effective measures for its immediate purchase, as well as the preparation of a suitable pamphlet and its prompt translation and publication in the thirty-one languages assigned to the British Bahá'í National Assembly, are matters of such urgency as to be given precedence, during the coming two years, over all the other objectives of the Ten Year Plan.
The Plan on which the British Bahá'í community has embarked, unique in its significance, unprecedented in its scope, so vast in its potentialities, so meritorious in its objectives, so challenging in its features, will, if consummated, at the appointed time, open a further vista, before the eyes of its victorious prosecutors, of such transcendent glory as none of them can as yet even dimly imagine. The path leading to the discovery of this brilliant yet at present distant goal, at which a triumphant community will be enabled to catch a glimpse of its ultimate destiny, revealed in the plenitude of its splendour, is long, steep and thorny. The prizes to be won by those who must tread this path, in the years immediately ahead, are not to be easily secured. The challenge will be prolonged and severe. The opportunities they now have to scale loftier heights of heroism, and achieve still mightier victories during the interval separating the Great and Most Great Jubilees, will if missed never again recur.
He Who, in His infinite love and mercy, called into being this community, more than fifty years ago, at the time of the inception of His Father's Faith in the West, Who tenderly and vigilantly nursed it and guided its footsteps in the early years of its infancy, Who twicePage 314
conferred upon it the inestimable blessings of personal contact with its members, Who sustained, from His station on high, its development in the course of no less than two decades, within the framework of a rising Administrative Order, Who enabled it to expand and consolidate itself within its island home, Who launched it, subsequently, on its mission overseas, will, if its members prove themselves worthy of His trust, continue to shower His manifold blessings upon them, at this hour of their greatest need, and will enable them to traverse, speedily and successfully, the second and momentous stage in the progressive unfoldment of that same Mission.
That they may, guided and assisted by the vigilance, the wisdom and devotion of their elected national representatives, forge ahead with undiminished vigour, with exemplary fidelity, and with inflexible determination, along the path of their high destiny, overcome every obstacle that stands in their way, achieve signal success in the course of the opening phase of this world-girdling Crusade, and crown eventually their Ten Year Plan with a victory unexampled in the annals of the Faith in the British Isles, is my cherished hope for them and my fervent and constant prayer.Shoghi
ADVISE PROMPT MEASURES OUTRIGHT PURCHASE Hazíra LONDON CONTRIBUTING TWO THOUSAND POUNDS ENCOURAGING NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.SHOGHI
GUARDIAN URGES PROMPT HANDLING VOLUNTEERS KAMPALA NAIROBI DAR-ES-SALAAM FOR IMMEDIATE SETTLEMENT....IOAS
+F1. Refers to purchase of Hazíratu'l-Quds, London.Page 315
To the Hands of the Cause, the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies, the pioneers, the resident believers and visitors attending the European Intercontinental Teaching Conference in Stockholm, Sweden (July 21/26, 1953).Well-beloved Friends,
With a glad and grateful heart I welcome the convocation, in the capital city of Sweden, of the third of a series of Intercontinental Teaching Conferences associated with the world-wide festivities commemorating the Centenary of the Mission of Bahá'u'lláh and destined to exert a profound and lasting influence on the immediate fortunes of His Faith in all continents of the globe.
I look back with feelings of wonder, thankfulness and joy upon the chain of memorable circumstances which, a little over a century ago, accompanied the introduction of the Faith into, and marked the inception of its nascent institutions within a continent which, in the course of the last two thousand years, has exercised on the destiny of the human race a pervasive influence unequalled by that of any other continent of the globe.
I feel impelled on this historic occasion, when the members of the American, the British, the German and the newly formed Italo-Swiss National Spiritual Assemblies, as well as representatives of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom, of Eire, of Germany, of Austria, of the Scandinavian and Benelux countries, of the Iberian Peninsula, of Italy, of Switzerland, of France and of Finland are assembled, to pay a warm tribute to the valiant labours of the early British and French Bahá'í pioneers, who at the very dawn of the Faith in Europe, strove with such diligence, consecration and resolution to fan into flame that holy Fire which the hand of the appointed Centre of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant had kindled in the north-west extremity of that continent____________________
+F1. Refers to purchase of Hazíratu'l-Quds, London.Page 316
on the morrow of His Father's ascension. I recall the slow eastward spread of that infant Light which led to the gradual emergence of the German and Austrian Bahá'í communities, during the darkest period of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í incarceration in the prison-fortress of 'Akká. I am reminded of His subsequent epoch-making visit, soon after His providential release from His forty-year confinement in the Most Great Prison, to these newly-fledged struggling communities, of His patient seed-sowing destined to yield at a later age its first fruits, and constituting a landmark of the utmost significance in the rise and establishment of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in that continent.
I, moreover, call to mind, on this occasion, the successive episodes which, on the morrow of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í ascension, in the course of the initial Epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, signalised the emergence of those administrative institutions, both local and national, which proclaimed the germination of those potent seeds which had lain dormant for more than a decade in these newly-opened European territories, and which culminated in the construction of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and the erection of the first two pillars destined to sustain in that continent the weight of the final unit of that Order.
Nor can I fail to acclaim, as a further milestone in the irresistible evolution of that Faith, the launching, following the creation of the administrative agencies designed to provide the effectual instruments for its propagation, of the Six Year Plan of the British Bahá'í community followed successively by the European Teaching Campaign, inaugurated in accordance with the provisions of the second Seven Year Plan of the American Bahá'í community, the Five Year Plan conceived by the German and Austrian Bahá'í communities and the Two Year Plan later initiated by the British Bahá'í community-- Plans which, within less than a decade, succeeded in laying the structural basis of the Administrative Order of the Faith in Wales, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland and in Eire, in multiplying and consolidating Bahá'í institutions throughout the British Isles, in broadening and strengthening the foundations of that same Order in Germany and Austria, in erecting the National Administrative Headquarters of the Faith in the city of Frankfurt, in establishing Spiritual Assemblies in the capital cities of no less than ten sovereign states in Europe, in reinforcing the administrative foundations of that Faith in those territories, in providing the means for the convocation of four European, and a series of regional, Teaching Conferences, andPage 317
above all, in the convocation of the historic Convention in Florence, culminating in the emergence of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy and Switzerland, the third in a series of institutions destined to play their part in the eventual establishment of the Supreme Legislative Body of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.
The hour is now ripe for these communities, whether new or old, local or national, already functioning on the northern, the western and the southern fringes of that continent, as well as those situated in its very heart, to initiate befittingly and prosecute energetically the European Campaign of a global Crusade which will not only contribute, to an unprecedented degree, to the broadening and the consolidation of the foundations of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh on the continent of Europe, but will also diffuse its light over the neighbouring islands, and will, God willing, carry its radiance to the eastern territories of that continent, and beyond them as far as the heart of Asia.
The privileged prosecutors of so revolutionising, so gigantic, so sacred and beneficent a campaign are, on the morrow of its launching, and at such a crucial hour in the destinies of the European continent, summoned to undertake: First, the formation, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, of one National Spiritual Assembly in each of the Scandinavian and Benelux countries, and those of the Iberian Peninsula, and one in Finland, as well as the establishment, in collaboration with the Paris Spiritual Assembly, of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of France, the establishment under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Germany and Austria, of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Austria, and the establishment, under the aegis of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, and in association with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy and Switzerland, of independent National Spiritual Assemblies in Italy and Switzerland. Second, the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkár of Europe in the city of Frankfurt, the heart of Germany, which occupies such a central position in the continent of Europe. Third, the purchase of land for the future construction of two Mashriqu'l-Adhkars, one in the north in the city of Stockholm, and one in the south in the city of Rome, the seat and stronghold of the most powerful Church in Christendom. Fourth, the opening of the following thirty virgin territories and islands:Page 318
Albania, Crete, Estonia, Finno-Karelia, Frisian Islands, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Rumania, White Russia, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Germany and Austria; Channel Islands, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Hebrides Islands, Malta, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles; Andorra, Azores, Balearic Islands, Lofoten Islands, Spitzbergen, Ukraine, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America; Liechtenstein, Monaco, Rhodes, San Marino, Sardinia, Sicily, assigned to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy and Switzerland. Fifth, the translation and publication of Bahá'í literature in the following ten languages to be undertaken by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America, through its European Teaching Committee: Basque, Estonian, Flemish, Lapp, Maltese, Piedmontese, Romani, Romansch, Yiddish, Ziryen. Sixth, the consolidation of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America; of Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Russian S.F.S., Yugoslavia, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Germany and Austria; of Eire, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles; of Iceland, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada; and of Corsica, allocated to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy and Switzerland. Seventh, the incorporation of the thirteen above-mentioned National Spiritual Assemblies. Eighth, the establishment by these same National Spiritual Assemblies of national Bahá'í endowments. Ninth, the establishment of a national Hazíratu'l-Quds in the capital city of each of the countries where the National Spiritual Assemblies are to be established, as well as one in London and one in Paris. Tenth, the formation of a National Bahá'í Publishing Trust in Frankfurt, Germany. Eleventh, the formation of Israel Branches of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles and of Germany and Austria, authorised to hold, on behalf of their parent institutions, property dedicated to the Holy Shrines at the World Centre of the Faith in the State of Israel. Twelfth, the conversion to the Faith of representatives of the Basque and Gypsy races. Thirteenth, the appointment during Ridvan 1954, by the Hands of the Cause in Europe, of an auxiliary board of ninePage 319
members who will, in conjunction with the four National Spiritual Assemblies participating in the European campaign, assist, through periodic and systematic visits to Bahá'í centres, in the efficient and prompt execution of the Plans formulated for the prosecution of the teaching campaign in the European continent.
A continent occupying such a central and strategic position on the entire planet; so rich and eventful in its history; so diversified in its culture; from whose soil sprang both the Hellenic and Roman civilisations; the mainspring of a civilisation to some of whose features Bahá'u'lláh Himself paid tribute; on whose southern shores Christendom first established its home; along whose eastern marches the mighty forces of the Cross and the Crescent so frequently clashed; on whose south-western extremity a fast evolving Islámic culture yielded its fairest fruit; in whose heart the light of the Reformation shone so brightly, shedding its rays as far as the outlying regions of the globe; the well-spring of American culture; whose northern and western fringes were first warmed and illuminated, less than a century ago, by the dawning light of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh; in whose heart a community, so rich in promise, was subsequently established; whose soil was later sanctified by the twice-repeated visit of the appointed Centre of His Covenant; which witnessed, in consequence of the rise and establishment of the Administrative Order of His Faith, the erection of two of the foremost pillars of the future Universal House of Justice; which, in recent years, sustained the dynamic impact of a series of national Plans preparatory to the launching of a world spiritual crusade--such a continent has at last at this critical hour, this great turning-point in its fortunes, entered upon what may well be regarded as the opening phase of a great spiritual revival that bids fair to eclipse any period in its spiritual history.
May the elected representatives of the National Bahá'í communities entrusted with the conduct of this momentous undertaking launched on the soil of this continent, aided by the Hands of the Cause and their auxiliary boards, reinforced by the local communities, the groups and isolated believers sharing in this massive and collective enterprise, and supported by the subsidiary agencies to be appointed for its efficient prosecution, be graciously assisted by the Lord of Hosts to contribute, in the years immediately ahead, through their concerted efforts and collective achievements, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í activity, to the success of this glorious Crusade, and lend a tremendous impetus to the conversion, the reconciliation and thePage 320
ultimate unification of the divers and conflicting peoples, races and classes dwelling within the borders of a travailing, a sorely-agitated and spiritually-famished continent.
May all the privileged participators, enlisting under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh for the promotion of so pre-eminent and meritorious a Cause, be they from the Eastern or Western hemisphere, of either sex, white or coloured, young or old, neophyte or veteran, whether serving in their capacity as expounders of the teachings, or administrators, of His Faith, as settlers or itinerant teachers, distinguish themselves by such deeds of heroism as will rival, nay outshine, the feats accomplished nineteen hundred years ago by that little band of God-intoxicated disciples who, fearlessly preaching the Gospel of a newly-arisen Messiah, contributed so decisively to the illumination, the regeneration and the advancement of the entire European continent.Shoghi
APPROVE SUBSTITUTION LINGALA LUBA MBUNDO TONGA FOR BUA WONGO LUIMBI SENA RESPECTIVELY.SHOGHI
ASSURE VAKIL PRAYERS APPRECIATION. (Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Cyprus.)SHOGHI
Your letter of 5th August has been received by the belovedPage 321
Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
The contributions made by the British Bahá'í community to the Shrine of the Báb Fund and to the Bahá'í International Fund are greatly appreciated. Receipts are enclosed herewith.+F1
The beloved Guardian deeply values the unique and outstanding services of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles. Through their devotion and sacrifice, they are setting an example for posterity.
He wishes me to assure you that he prays fervently for the spiritual confirmation of all of the friends of the British Isles; for their material and spiritual welfare, and that every obstacle may be removed from their paths of service, particularly during the Global Crusade.
The Shrine of the Báb is rapidly nearing completion. Its beauty and splendour are difficult to portray. Certainly the Guardian very aptly described the octagon, the drum and the dome as the triple crowns on the Shrine of the Báb. Now that the glory and splendour of the golden dome is revealed by the removal of all of the scaffolding, it is truly a golden crown for the Shrine, and each time one looks at it, one becomes more and more impressed that it is a symbol of the manner in which the Bahá'ís of the world, led by the beloved Guardian, are crowning the Bahá'í activities of the past one hundred years by spreading the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord throughout the world.
The Guardian sends his loving greetings to you all....31 August 1953
APPROVE RETAIN YAZDIS BENNETT+ GUNG. FIVE THOUSAND WORD PAMPHLET ADVISABLE INFORM AMERICA.SHOGHI
ASSURE LJUNGBERG DEEPEST APPRECIATION PRAYERS. (Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Faroe Islands.)SHOGHI
ASSURE ASGHARZADIH LOVING APPRECIATION FERVENT PRAYERS. (Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Channel Islands.)SHOGHI
ASSURE BAXTER LOVING APPRECIATION. (Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Channel Islands.)SHOGHI
ASSURE DUNNING DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION. (Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Orkney Islands.)SHOGHI
ASSURE HASSELBLATT DEEPEST LOVING APPRECIATION. (Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Shetland Islands.)SHOGHI
ADVISE TAKE NO RISK OWING POSSIBILITY HIGHER OUTLAY. URGE SEARCH OTHER PLACES AS NEAR AS POSSIBLE.+F1 APPROVE HAINSWORTH SIX MONTHS LEAVE.SHOGHI
ASSURE UNA LOVING PRAYERS. (Una Townshend, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Malta.)SHOGHI
+F1. Refers to purchase of National Hazíratu'l-Quds, London.Page 323
ASSURE CRANEY LOVING APPRECIATION. (Knight of Bahá'u'lláh to Hebrides.)SHOGHI
ADVISE ASSIST EGYPT BY PIONEER BRITISH SOMALILAND.SHOGHI
In your recent News Letter the beloved Guardian noted some quotations from the pilgrims notes of ..., and he wishes me to tell you that he feels it is wiser, in such official organs as our News Letters, not to publish such notes as, unfortunately, they often contain errors. He has recently had occasion to call the American N.S.A.'s attention to this too....
His loving thoughts and prayers are often with you all.21 November 1953
APPROVE SUBSTITUTION LANGUAGES REFERRED LETTER DATED NOVEMBER THIRTEEN SENDING SECOND PIONEER HAS NO GREATERPage 324
PRIORITY. REGRET OWING INCREASING EXPENSES UNABLE EXTEND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE EXERCISE STRICT ECONOMY.SHOGHI
DISAPPROVE CIRCULATION STATEMENT MARRIAGE OWING GENERAL PRINCIPLE ALREADY ESTABLISHED.SHOGHI
TRANSMITTING FIVE HUNDRED NATIONAL FUND SENT THROUGH LANGDON-DAVIES RUG FROM Bahá'u'lláh'S SHRINE AND PHOTOS FOR NATIONAL Hazíra LOVE.SHOGHI
DEEPLY APPRECIATE NOBLE SENTIMENTS DEDICATION ATTENDANTS CONFERENCE. ARDENTLY SUPPLICATING FULFILMENT HOPES ACHIEVEMENT UNPRECEDENTED VICTORIES. DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
CABLE NAMES LANGUAGES ALREADY TRANSLATED UNDER TEN YEAR PLAN SPECIFY ALSO WHICH LANGUAGES PROCESS TRANSLATION.SHOGHI
ADVISE SEND PIONEERS PROMPTLY BRITISH TOGOLAND FRENCH TOGOLAND FRENCH CAMEROONS. ORME SQUARE TOO EXPENSIVE. ADVISE TOWNSHENDS ABANDON PLAN MALTA. EXPENDITUREPage 325
HUNDRED POUNDS SOMALILAND INADVISABLE. PURCHASE SITE INSIDE KAMPALA OR WITHIN THREE MILES.SHOGHI
FOLLOW LAWYER'S ADVICE REGARDING TEMPLE LAND OUTSIDE KAMPALA.SHOGHI
At the instruction of our beloved Guardian, I am forwarding you herewith his Convention Message.
He wishes you to have it read aloud to the assembled delegates, and then published and circulated among the believers....20 April 1954+F2
I am forwarding you herewith a copy of the Guardian's____________________
+F1. Joint Convention Message to all National Assemblies. Published "Bahá'í Journal" No. 114 and "Messages to the Bahá'í World 1950-1957", p. 60.
+F2. On report that all overseas territories opened and all home Assemblies assured.Page 326
Convention Message which was mailed you a short time ago. As there is a pilgrim leaving, he is taking the precaution of having this mailed in Europe.
I hope it reaches you in time for the Convention....24 April 1954
The beloved Guardian has directed me to write you concerning the Island of Malta. He attaches great importance to this Island, and wishes your Assembly to see that the teaching work there progresses as rapidly and efficiently as possible.
At the present time, it has again become virgin, according to our records. Do you know if Miss Townshend intends to return? If not, your Assembly should undertake to fill the post just as quickly as possible, with someone else.
As you have become aware through the Guardian's Convention Message, he is very happy with the result of the first year of the Ten-Year Crusade. He is hoping that the second year will witness even more glorious victories, and this time on the home front, as well as in foreign fields.
He would appreciate a report of the plans for Malta, as soon as possible. In order to save him work, it is suggested it be sent to me. (Mr. L. Ioas)The Guardian sends you his loving greetings....
ASSURE ASSEMBLED DELEGATES ARDENT PRAYERS ABUNDANT BLESSINGS DELIBERATIONS PROUD RECENT ACHIEVEMENTS BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY CHERISH GREAT HOPES FUTURE HISTORIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
WELCOME PLEDGE DELEGATES PRAYING SUCCESS ATTAINMENT GOALS.SHOGHI
Your letter of the 9th of Nur, 110, was received by the beloved Guardian.
As he has been tremendously busy during this Holy Year-- and indeed his work is increasing all the time--and there was nothing urgent that required an immediate reply--he has delayed in answering you until he had more time.
He hopes that your committee will be able to gradually assist in the work allotted to the British National Spiritual Assembly during the Plan.
The most important thing of course is to get the believers out into wholly virgin areas, and keep them there. So far, England has done nobly, and he is proud of their efforts.
The Pacific area is also of great importance. If there is any possibility of British subjects going out to territories that are under the jurisdiction of other National Bodies, but difficult to get into, he feels that they should be referred to the committees concerned, or the National Spiritual Assemblies concerned, because of the importance of achieving all the goals of the Plan, regardless of which Assembly has certain goals under its immediate jurisdiction.
He assures you he will pray for the success of your devoted labours, in the Holy Shrine.[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty bless your meritorious activities, guide and sustain you always, and enable you to lend a great impetus to the splendid work now being accomplished in Europe and in Asia.Your true brother,
Your loving letter of April 30th has just come to hand, calling attention to the fact that Olga Mills, one of the pioneers in Malta,Page 328
is serving there very actively. The beloved Guardian had been informed by someone that she had left.
However, the intent of the letter of April 24th still remains-- that no pioneer should leave their goal unless for very urgent reasons. In the case of Malta, this is a country which can only be settled by English Bahá'ís, and therefore the Guardian feels it of great importance that any pioneer who goes there should remain. It is hoped that it may be possible for Una Townshend to return in due course, to carry on her work there.
The Guardian asks that you convey to Olga Mills his loving appreciation of her devoted services, and assure her of his prayers in her behalf.
If Una Townshend finds it impossible to return to Malta, then the Guardian hopes you can send some other pioneer to that important post....16 May 1954
I am enclosing, at the instruction of our beloved Guardian, the original title-deed of one-quarter of an acre of land recently purchased near the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf on Mount Carmel; and registered in the name of the Israel Branch of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles.
The cost of this property was six thousand dollars.
He feels sure that the British Bahá'ís will rejoice to know that they now have a part of the International Bahá'í Endowments in the name of their own special Israel Branch....4 June 1954
The various letters of your committee dated June 8 and 25, July 6, August 13, September 23, October 8, November 25 and December 31, 1953, and January 27 (3), March 6 and 30 and April 20, 1954, with their enclosures, have been received by thePage 329
beloved Guardian and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf. As he has been in constant cable communication with you during the past year, I will not go into many of the matters which have already been attended to.
Of all the places in the world where the Bahá'í Faith exists and is spreading, the Guardian is definitely most pleased with Africa, and most proud of Uganda. He feels that the spirit shown by white and negro pioneers alike in that continent, presents a challenge to the Bahá'ís everywhere in the world, and that old and staid communities may well learn from, and emulate the example of, the believers of Africa, many of them scarcely a year old in the Cause of God!
He feels that your committee and the British N.S.A. have every reason to be proud of the work you have accomplished, and grateful for the blessings you have received from on High.
It has particularly rejoiced his heart to see the way almost every goal was attained at the last minute, before the end of the first year of the Ten Year Crusade, many of these goals through the immediate whole-hearted response of some of these new African Bahá'ís, themselves the spiritual children of other African Bahá'ís--young in the Faith, but old in their understanding of it.
The main task, now that the back of the pioneer settlement work has been broken, so to speak, is the consolidation of these territories and the maintaining of the pioneers at their posts. He is constantly urging all National Assemblies to impress upon those who have gone forth to settle virgin territories, the importance of staying there, and of only abandoning their posts if they are forced to do so by the Government in question, and not for some other reason. The friends have had such difficulty in gaining access to some of these countries,--visas, housing, expenses have all been such a problem--that once they get there, they should really move heaven and earth to remain.
He is very happy that two of the Temple sites on the African continent have been purchased, and feels that this will release a tremendous spiritual impetus. He hopes that the Egyptian Bahá'ís will soon decide on a site, and that will complete the chain for the time being.
Concerning the various questions you have raised regarding literature and translations, he thinks that it is perhaps better to have a proper introductory pamphlet on the Faith translated intoPage 330
... and not give any wide publicity for the time being, than to spend money translating a lopsided presentation of the Teachings. However, he believes that, with sufficient effort and good judgment, a pamphlet could be gotten out that would neither stress too strongly the racial teachings, nor minimise them too much, and could discreetly be used for teaching purposes in...
He has spoken very strongly to some of the pilgrims here about the teaching work in that country, and impressed upon them that the whole object of the pioneers in going forth to Africa, is to teach the coloured people, and not the white people. This does not mean that they must refuse to teach the white people, which would be a foolish attitude. It does, however, mean that they should constantly bear in mind that it is to the native African that they are now carrying the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, in his own country, and not to people from abroad who have migrated there permanently or temporarily and are a minority, and many of them, judging by their acts, a very unsavoury minority.
He hopes that every effort will be made to get out a pamphlet in each of the languages chosen, or those that you have substituted for a chosen language. He fully realises that, in many cases, the people who speak the language are illiterate, and, strictly speaking, do not require a printed pamphlet in their own tongue. He considers however the psychological values of having something translated into their own language, the compliment implicit in it, so to speak, of great importance, sufficient to offset the time, effort and expense involved.
He would like your committee to convey to all the pioneers, most particularly the negro ones, the expression of his deep admiration of the wonderful spirit that animates them, his feeling of affection for them, and the assurance of his ardent prayers for their success.
Africa is truly awakening and finding herself, and she undoubtedly has a great message to give, and a great contribution to make to the advancement of world civilisation. To the degree to which her peoples accept Bahá'u'lláh, will they be blessed, strengthened and protected.
He hopes that, whilst concentrating on the consolidation of the work under your jurisdiction, you will give every assistance within your power to the other National Assemblies who havePage 331
difficult places to settle. The Portuguese and Spanish territories seem to be the hardest of all to gain access to. Any help your committee can give along this line would certainly be rendering a great service to the Cause.
He deeply appreciates the work you have done, and your committee achievements, during the past year, and assures each and all of you of his loving prayers on your behalf....[From the Guardian:]
Assuring you of my loving and constant prayers for the success of the efforts you are so devotedly exerting for the promotion of our beloved Faith and its institutions,Your true brother,
The beloved Guardian has been greatly pleased with the reports he has received of the progress of the teaching work in Oxford. He feels the friends in that city have undertaken their responsibility diligently and successfully.
It is his feeling that the Faith should be firmly established in Cambridge, which is also one of the great centres of learning in the British Isles. He understands that Cambridge is a goal city of the Crusade, and he feels that the time has now arrived for the opening of that city and the expansion of the teaching work there.
He would appreciate a report from you as to the progress of the Faith in that important city. This report should be addressed to me, and I will inform him of its contents....11 June 1954
The beloved Guardian has directed me to write you in connection with the purchase of the Hazíratu'l-Quds for the city of London. The Guardian is very hopeful that your Assembly will be able to complete this important matter in the near future.
In connection with the purchase of Hazíratu'l-Quds, under thePage 332
Ten Year Crusade there are a total of 49 to be procured. 4 of them were procured during the first year of the Crusade.
At the Guardian's direction, I have written the National Assemblies involved, calling for the purchase of 17 Hazíratu'l-Quds of the 45, during this year. One of these 17 Hazíratu'l-Quds is the one in London.
The Guardian attaches the greatest importance to the fulfilment of this aspect of the Ten Year Crusade; and sincerely hopes your Assembly will concentrate on the purchase of the Hazíratu'l-Quds for London, so that it may be consummated as soon as possible....17 June 1954
Your Assembly's letters dated June 10 (2), 17, 22 and 26, July 3, 7, 8, 9 (2), 16 and 24, August 17, 19 (2) and 24, September 17, 21, 24 and 25, October 1, 8, 12, 22 and 28, November 13 (4) and 18 (2), December 10 (2), 12 and 23, 1953, and January 7, 20 (2), 21 and 22, February 17 (3), 19 (3), 21, 23 (2) and 25, March 1, 23, 24 and 25 (3), April 13 and 28, May 12, 21 and 25, June 1 (4) and 15, 1954, with enclosures, have been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He regrets very much the long delays in answering the National Spiritual Assemblies, but is finding it increasingly difficult to keep abreast of his work. He feels sometimes that he will soon be forced to give up correspondence with individuals, although he is reluctant to do so, because so many of the new believers brought in during the present teaching activities in Africa and other far goals are writing to him. However, he has attended to a great many of your questions by cable, and the visits of a number of English pilgrims have enabled him to send you messages and to keep the British community in contact with the work in the Holy Land.
He greatly appreciated the desire of John and Dorothy Ferraby to go out as pioneers, but considered that it would weaken the work of the National Assembly altogether too much. Important as the pioneer field is, if all the most able workers go out, thePage 333
campaigns carried on from different national bases will become absolutely unwieldy for lack of adequate able management.
The expression of condolences which your Assembly conveyed to him at the time of the passing of Fred Schopflocher and Dorothy Baker, two dear and trusted Hands of the Cause who could ill be spared from their work at this time, touched him very much. Others must now arise, and through their services seek to fill the gaps which such valuable workers have left in the vanguard of the Bahá'í host.
He would like you to express to the British pioneers on the home front, whose names you forwarded to him, his sincere thanks. Their arising to protect the goals which have been won by other pioneers at a cost of such sacrifice and effort was noble and highly meritorious.
Speaking of pioneers, he was very pleased to hear recently that Mrs. Shomais Afnan had succeeded in gaining entry into Ethiopia. Her perseverance in the face of a great deal of opposition is certainly exemplary.
As he already cabled you, he did not approve of the statements you had prepared for circulation amongst the Assemblies regarding Bahá'í marriage. Some of the remarks were incorrect in the first place, and in the second place he is strongly against Statements! He wishes the friends to keep as elastic as possible in administering the affairs of the Faith, while at the same time adhering to fundamentals. He knows that at times this inconveniences the National Bodies and makes their work more detailed, but believes it to be the lesser, so to speak, of two evils.
He was very sorry to learn that dear Mr. Townshend's health is in such a precarious state, and necessitated the return of his daughter from Malta. His devotion is so single-hearted and touching, and his determination to carry on at all costs is exemplary, and should inspire the young people to follow in his footsteps.
When compiling the list of African languages into which the Bahá'í Message should be translated, the Guardian realised that certain changes would probably be necessary--naturally the fewer the better. In this connection, if you feel it advisable and not otherwise, he would like you to convey to Dr. Berry, of the African Department of the School of Oriental and African studies, his personal thanks for the valuable advice he has givenPage 334
your Assembly, and his friendly co-operation. You might also, at your discretion, extend his thanks to any other members of the Staff who have assisted you.
He is very pleased that the Temple land has been bought in Kampala. Mr. and Mrs. Elston are visiting here at the present time; and he has told them he feels that at present the Temple land should merely be held in trust, and all meetings continue in the Hazíratu'l-Quds building. Should this eventually prove too small, enlarging one of the rooms to accommodate more of the people at the meetings might be considered as a possibility; but any work carried out must be of a very economical nature, and he does not think it is pressing at present, anyway.
I need not tell you that the work in Africa, and more particularly in Uganda, is very dear to his heart. The progress made there during the last year has borne him up and encouraged him greatly when he was often weighed down with work. He feels that this country and its peoples, in the very heart of Africa, are a most precious trust. Their receptivity to the Teachings, their great desire to serve their new Faith, the number of them who have arisen to go out as pioneers, mark them as a people apart in the Bahá'í world, at least for the time being. May many others in neighbouring countries prove as worthy, and follow their example.
In dealing with people who are still backward in relation to our civilised standards, and in many cases guided by a tribal system which has strong orders of its own, he feels that you should be both tactful and forbearing. There is no specific minimum age mentioned in the Bahá'í teachings at which girls may marry. In the future, this and other questions unspecified will be dealt with by the International House of Justice. In the meantime, we must not be too strict in enforcing our opinions on peoples still living in primitive social orders.
The difficulty of getting a Bahá'í into ... has now been temporarily solved. The Guardian does not see why Bahá'ís should have to state to any Government that the reason for their visit to a country is for the purposes of teaching the Bahá'í Faith. Most of the time, though not perhaps invariably, this is calculated to arouse suspicion and opposition. One has to deal with cases as they arise. A blanket rule could never apply over so wide a field as that in which Bahá'í pioneers are working.Page 335
Although the children of Bahá'í parents are considered to be Bahá'ís, there is no objection at the present time, for purposes of keeping a correct census, and also ascertaining whether the young people are, sincerely, believers, and willing to do their share in service to the Faith, to asking them to make a declaration of their intention at the age of fifteen or so. Originally, the Guardian understands, this was adopted in America to enable young Bahá'í men to make certain arrangements in connection with their application for non-combatant status upon their attaining the age of military service. There is really nothing about it in the Teachings or in the Administration. Your Assembly is free to do as it pleases in this matter.
Regarding the publication of a pamphlet on the Bahá'í Teachings on Monarchy, funds and circumstances permitting, the Guardian sees no objection to this whatsoever. It might appeal to a certain type of British mind very much, though he fears there are other minds to which it may not appeal! However, considering Bahá'u'lláh has taught these things, there is no reason why we should not share them with those interested in the subject.
He is very sorry that it has not been possible to purchase the National Hazíratu'l-Quds yet. In spite of the fact that he attaches great importance to this, he does not think that the cost should become exorbitant merely in order to accomplish a goal before a certain date. The Bahá'ís, not only in England, but all over the world, have embarked upon a Plan which will involve over a period of years a very heavy expenditure. Undoubtedly they will have to help each other; but they will scarcely have the financial strength to help each other to the tune of extremely expensive buildings, Temple sites, etc., in different parts of the world. He has given instructions to Canada, Germany, Rome, etc., to cut down on the proposals they made to him, because the price of these things in different parts of the world, when added up, would be well beyond the means of the Faith to meet at present. He feels sure that, however painful and toilsome the process may be, you will eventually find a suitable spot in London, and one that your Assembly, with the help of the British believers and other possible contributions from outside as well, can afford.
The remarkable achievements in the pioneer field, a field inPage 336
which your own Assembly has been far from backward, are a source of great encouragement to all the believers as well as to him. The addition of one hundred countries during one year is certainly history-making.
Now that the back of the foreign pioneering work has been broken, so to speak, a greater measure of attention must be paid to the home fronts. The consolidation work, though far less spectacular, constitutes a very weighty task, and will require a constant measure of sacrificial effort if the goals are to be fulfilled. He thinks that during the coming year greater attention should be paid to the home front, while at the same time maintaining the pioneer posts at their present standard, at least.
The principle is, and it should be impressed on the minds of all pioneers, to hold their territory at any cost. Just because they have left their homes, and gone out and carried the Faith to one of these virgin areas, does not mean that the task is accomplished. On the contrary, nothing could be sadder than that these newly-won territories should be lost after a few months' effort. He hopes that in your correspondence with the pioneers you will impress this fact upon them and make them realise that to be a "Knight of Bahá'u'lláh" is not only a very high and pleasant position, but involves a truly tremendous responsibility. To remain at one's post, to undergo sacrifice and hardship, loneliness and, if necessary, persecution, in order to hold aloft the torch of Bahá'u'lláh, is the true function of every pioneer.
Let them remember Marion Jack, who for over twenty years, in a country the language of which she never mastered; during war and bombardment; evacuation and poverty; and at length, serious illness, stuck to her post, and has now blessed the soil of the land she had chosen to serve at such cost with her precious remains, every atom of which was dedicated to Bahá'u'lláh. Perhaps the friends are not aware that the Guardian, himself, during the war on more more than one occasion urged her to seek safety in Switzerland rather than remain behind enemy lines and be entirely cut off. Lovingly she pleaded that he would not require her to leave her post, and he acquiesced to her request. Surely the standard of Marion Jack should be borne in mind by every pioneer!
Regarding your question about including the Tablet of the Virgin in a compilation of "Bahá'í Scriptures" which you wishPage 337
to publish--the old translation is very poor and has many inaccuracies. However, the Guardian has no time at all to retranslate it or correct it himself.
He leaves it to the discretion of your Assembly as to whether you wish to include it in a compilation or not.
I am returning to you the list you sent with suggested corrections in relation to the pamphlet your Assembly published last year--"The Bahá'í Faith 1844-1952, Information Statistical and Comparative". The righthand column marked "Suggested", he considers quite acceptable. The places where you have put question marks are correct, with very few exceptions which the Guardian has corrected, in the column marked "As Listed", with the exception of the transliteration of the name Shu'a'u'llah, (Number 12) which the Guardian has corrected.
Assuring you of the Guardian's loving prayers for the success of your devoted labours....
P.S. July 28th. Your letter of July 7th has likewise been received.[From the Guardian:]
The achievements of the members of the tenacious, the valiant and wide-awake British Bahá'í community, within the borders of their homeland and beyond its confines, in the course of the opening year of the Bahá'í World Crusade, deserve the highest commendation and have considerably heightened its prestige and deepened my own admiration for it as well as that of its sister communities in both Hemispheres.
Called into being through the dispensations of a watchful Providence, in the middle of the memorable decade that witnessed the introduction of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh into the Western world; sharing with its sister community across the Channel the distinction of being the first to be quickened by the life-giving influences generated by the newly-established Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh in the Holy Land; the recipient of untold blessings showered upon it by the Centre of the Covenant in the days of its infancy; singled out among the newly-fledged communities in both Europe and the North American Continent through the twice repeated visits of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to the shores of its homeland; fully equipped with the agencies of a divinely conceived Administrative Order, patiently and laboriously erected by its stalwart members in the years immediately following the setting ofPage 338
the Orb of that same Covenant; enriched by the experience derived from the successful prosecution of two successive nationwide Plans formulated by its national elected representatives, this community finds itself, on the morrow of the termination of the opening year of the afore-mentioned Crusade, simultaneously firmly rooted within the soil of its homeland and vigorously branching out on the first stage of its mission in foreign fields, and exhibiting, both at home and abroad, evidences of a development that bids fair to eclipse any of its collective achievements in the past five decades since its inception.
In both the teaching and administrative spheres of its ever-expanding, swiftly unfolding activities, whether in the heart and capital city of the Empire to which it belongs, or in the chief cities recently opened by its pioneering members in the territories comprising its island home, or in the diversified and far-flung dependencies of the British Crown in the African Continent, this virile, forward marching, securely established community has amply demonstrated its capacity to be regarded as one of the chief strongholds of a divinely conceived Faith and one of the principal bastions sustaining the fabric of Bahá'u'lláh's world-encompassing Order.
Standing as it does on the threshold of the second phase of a Crusade with which its immediate destinies are inseparably linked, and to which it has voluntarily and enthusiastically pledged its combined resources, the tasks now confronting it demand a degree of concentration, dedication, co-ordination, resourcefulness and perseverance hitherto unequalled in any period of its career.
The prizes won in recent months, since the launching of the Ten Year Plan to which it stands committed, through the strenuous exertions and the shining example of its pioneers in the islands situated to the North, the West and the South of its homeland, as well as in the far away territories lying in the heart of the African Continent and situated on both its eastern and western shores, must, however great the sacrifices involved, be preserved. The acquisition of the national Hazíratu'l-Quds in a centrally located area in a city that ranks as the chief metropolis of a vast Empire is yet another task of the utmost urgency and of the highest significance, the consummation of which should be considered as the chief objective and pre-eminent duty of this community's elected national representatives, and one which is bound to exert, in the days immediately ahead, a far-reaching and pervasive influence on the growth and unfoldment of the Faith which it is their privilege to serve and promote.Page 339
Of no less importance is the responsibility to reinforce the structure of the Administrative Order throughout the British Isles, and particularly in the newly opened territories of Scotland, Wales, Eire and Northern Ireland, through a rapid and unprecedented increase in the number of the avowed supporters of the Faith, and a multiplication of isolated centres, groups and assemblies that constitute the warp and woof of the fabric of its evolving Order.
A no less urgent task, which will directly reinforce this fabric, and heighten the prestige of the Faith itself, and pave the way for the establishment of Bahá'í local endowments, is the prompt incorporation of firmly established local assemblies, a process which, as soon as it is initiated, must gather steady momentum throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles, and be ultimately reinforced by the incorporation of all local assemblies destined to be established in the virgin territories recently opened in the neighbourhood of the British Isles and in the African territories allotted to your Assembly under the provisions of the Ten Year Plan.
Special attention should, moreover, be paid to the no less vital duty of completing the translation, the publication and the dissemination of Bahá'í literature in the languages assigned to your Assembly, in accordance with that same Plan, an achievement which will greatly stimulate the work to be undertaken in the course of the future phases of this world spiritual Crusade as it unfolds itself in the African Continent.
Whilst these highly meritorious enterprises are being assiduously carried on, the inescapable and sacred duty of consolidating the nine African territories and the two additional ones in Europe and Asia must be adequately discharged, in order to enable the British Bahá'í community to bring to full fruition the noble mission entrusted so confidently to its care.
The tasks facing this community in the course of this second and future phases of a world-encircling Crusade are admittedly vast, complex and challenging. The resources at the disposal of its doggedly persevering, wholly dedicated members are, alas, circumscribed and inadequate. The Mission, however, to which its Founder is calling it, is unspeakably glorious. Many and divers will, no doubt, be the tests, the setbacks and trials which teachers and administrators alike within the ranks of its members, must necessarily experience. The times, during which the opening phase of its Mission overseas is to yield its fairest fruit, are fraught with great peril. Both at home and in distantPage 340
outposts of the Empire, the opposition which those responsible for its development and consolidation will encounter from those in authority, whether civil or ecclesiastic, will progressively hamper their efforts. The competition from its own sister communities, in various regions of the globe and in the course of the systematic prosecution of the same world-embracing task will, in the meantime, grow keener.
Every ounce of energy its members can muster must unhesitatingly be expended to further the supreme end for which so sacred, so formidable and so momentous a Plan has been devised. With every sacrifice that is made, with every forward step that is taken along the toilsome and long road they are destined to tread, with every victory dearly and laboriously won by the champions, the representatives, the vanguard, the spokesmen, as well as the rank and file of this community, a measure of blessing from on high will undoubtedly be vouchsafed, in order to reinforce the exertions, cheer the hearts, and stimulate the march of all those enlisted in the service of so glorious a Cause.
The hour is propitious for a concerted effort which in its scope and intensity will surpass any united action of which the British followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have proved themselves capable in the past.
That they may ascend from height to height, go forward from victory to victory, is the fervent prayer of one who has invariably followed the course of their exploits with undiminished confidence and admiration, who has cherished the brightest hopes for the ultimate attainment of their Mission, and whose love and esteem for them has correspondingly increased with every revelation of the capacities and energies with which they have discharged, and are constantly discharging, their Mission.Your true brother,
APPROVE ASGHARZADEH AND OTHER PIONEERS ISLANDS ATTEND SUMMER SCHOOL....SHOGHI
Thank you for your letter of June 15th, with regard to Dar-es-Salaam.
The Guardian attaches very great importance to the "incorporation" and "exemption" of any Assembly; likewise the acquirement of any endowments.
Therefore, if you have not already sent directly to the Guardian a photostatic copy of the Exemption granted the Dar-es-Salaam Assembly, I would like to suggest that one be sent to him through me.
Likewise if anything constructive develops with regard to the burial ground at Dar-es-Salaam, please let me know as soon as possible....22 July 1954
...The Guardian has instructed me to write your Assembly, calling attention to the manner in which questions of teaching activities in new areas and consolidation areas assigned to any Assembly, are carried out.
The National Spiritual Assembly is the Body which is charged with the administrative responsibility of the tasks of the Ten Year Crusade. Neither the Hands of the Cause nor their Boards have administrative responsibilities in connection with this work.
The members of the Boards are to report to the Hands of the Cause in the area regarding all situations, and of course in detail concerning any problem, so that the National Assembly may take appropriate action.
The Hands of the Cause themselves will correspond with the National Spiritual Assembly involved, calling their attention to the problem, so that the National Assembly may take appropriate action.
The Guardian has instructed that the Hands of the Cause are not to correspond with the committees of the National SpiritualPage 342
Assemblies, but directly with the National Spiritual Assemblies themselves.
The beloved Guardian greatly values the outstanding work which your Assembly is doing. He will pray for your continued success. He sends you his loving greetings....29 July 1954 (Summer School Committee)
DELIGHTED ASSURE ATTENDANTS LOVING FERVENT PRAYERS.SHOGHI
SUBSTITUTE FON FOR POPO COMMITTEES SHOULD NOT CORRESPOND HANDS WITHOUT EXCEPTION.SHOGHI
FOLLOW AMERICAN POLICY REGARDING ASSEMBLY STATUS. USE PROCEEDS SALE HOUSE FOR Hazíra.SHOGHI
The content of your letter of October 15th was given to the beloved Guardian.____________________
+F1. On signing of contract for Hazíratu'l-Quds, London.
+F2. See letter 5 August 1955 for references to status of Assemblies with fewer than nine members, use of bequests and Freemasonry.Page 343
He sincerely hopes the problems surrounding Mr. ... have now been solved, as you seemed to think they have.
He advises that Bahá'í pioneers should not become public charges under any circumstances; and the Assemblies concerned should see that this does not occur in the case of Mr. ....
The beloved Guardian assures all the members of the National Assembly of his appreciation of their devoted services. He assures them of his prayers in their behalf, and sends them his loving greetings....11 November 1954+F1
GRIEVE PASSING STAUNCH CONSECRATED PROMOTER FAITH LANGDON-DAVIES HER SERVICES UNFORGETTABLE REWARD GREAT Abhá Kingdom.SHOGHI
PUBLISHING TRUST SHOULD NOT HAVE SEPARATE LEGAL STATUS. ANY Bahá'í DETERMINED RETAIN MEMBERSHIP FREEMASONRY LOSES VOTING RIGHTS.SHOGHI
SHARE JOY FRIENDS SUPPLICATING UNPRECEDENTED BLESSINGS.SHOGHI
+F1. See letter 5 August 1955 for references to status of Assemblies with fewer than nine members, use of bequests and Freemasonry.
+F2. This was sent in reply to a cable from a meeting at 27 Rutland Gate, London, S.W.7, jointly to dedicate the new Hazíratu'l-Quds and to hold Teaching Conference.Page 344
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to inquire of your Assembly what the situation is surrounding the translation and publication of Bahá'í literature into the following languages:Erso
These are not languages of the Ten Year Crusade, but languages which have been translated prior to the opening of the Ten Year Crusade. He is very anxious to know what the status is of these translations and publications. If no work has been done on them, he would urge that you have the work undertaken at an early date....8 March 1955
The beloved Guardian is very anxious to secure as quickly as possible data concerning the Hazíratu'l-Quds which have been acquired in connection with the goals of the Ten Year Crusade. To this end, he would very greatly appreciate your sending me by return air mail the information concerning the Hazíratu'l-Quds in London.
He would like to know the area of land involved, the size of the building, so far as number of rooms is concerned, the original purchase price of the Hazíratu'l-Quds, the expenses of the transaction, and then the total cost.
The Guardian asks that this be sent to me by return airmail....29 March 1955
On April 21st we will enter the last year of the second phase of the Ten Year Crusade. As you know, one of the objectives of this second phase was the rapid multiplication of Assemblies, Groups and Centres throughout the world.Page 345
During the past year, a great deal has been accomplished by the friends in their efforts to disperse from the large centres of population in order to build up the goal cities and establish new centres. However, we have not accomplished a great deal in the way of increasing the number of Bahá'ís, nor the number of Spiritual Assemblies.
The beloved Guardian sincerely hopes you will make it a point of major study and consideration on the part of your Assembly, so that the entire community may lend itself to the accomplishment of this great goal during the coming year. Foundations must be laid for many more Assemblies. The friends must disperse from the large centres of population. Our teaching work must become so sanctified and penetrating that many, many souls will be confirmed. The friends should go forward on this great task in a very determined manner in order to establish as many new Assemblies during the coming year as are possible.
In letters which have come to the beloved Guardian, he has noted the friends feel there is no need to establish new Assemblies until 1963.
The Ten Year Crusade ends in 1963; but as many of the goals should be won as quickly as possible. It should certainly be clear to all of the friends that we cannot hold off on winning the various goals of our tasks until the last year of the Crusade. They should be won just as quickly as possible. Furthermore, there are many tasks of the Crusade which the Guardian is not launching until preliminary goals have been won. For instance, it would be impossible to establish National Assemblies in all of the areas proposed until there are more Bahá'ís, more Groups and more Assemblies in those countries. On the home front, further tasks are dependent upon the winning of victories now. The Guardian hopes the keynote of the teaching work on the home front during the current year will be the dispersion of the friends on an unprecedented scale, and the winning of as many Assemblies as is possible....9 April 1955
URGENTLY APPEAL HIGH MINDED DEVOTED BELIEVERS BRITISH ISLES EXERT SUPREME EFFORT FILL GAPS ASSEMBLIES DEMONSTRATEPage 346
ABILITY MAINTAIN STANDARD HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENTS FERVENTLY PRAYING SUCCESS.SHOGHI
In order not to keep the Assembly waiting for an answer, the beloved Guardian has instructed me to write you this letter in reply to yours of April 15th.
The principle is wherever the Bahá'í laws at the present time conflict with the civil law of the country, the believers living in it must obey the civil law.
The Bahá'ís in England, as regards divorce will consequently have to follow British law, and in conjunction with this, as far as possible, uphold the Bahá'í law of divorce as well. The way the details of this are to be worked out is left entirely to the discretion of your National Assembly....21 April 1955+F1
DELIGHTED LOVING APPRECIATION. REGRET FORMATION NICOSIA ASSEMBLY IMPOSSIBLE.SHOGHI
The beloved Guardian has been greatly enthused the last few days with the reports that have been received of new Assemblies established in virgin areas. Of great importance and significance is the word that Spiritual Assemblies have been established in Mogadiscio, in Italian Somaliland and Djibouti in French____________________
+F1. On report that all Assemblies maintained; Nicosia had eight with ninth member en route to arrive 7 May.Page 347
Somaliland. This leaves the only Somaliland without an Assembly as British Somaliland. The beloved Guardian would appreciate your Assembly giving consideration to this matter, to see if there is any way that a pioneer could go from England to British Somaliland, to firmly establish the Faith there. He understands fully the problems involved.
A copy of this letter is being sent to Mr. Banani, Hand of the Cause, so that he might give consideration to the possibility of having some native Bahá'ís from Uganda move to British Somaliland, and either teach or settle there.
The beloved Guardian assures your Assembly of his prayers on your behalf. He sends you his loving greetings....25 April 1955 (Convention)
DEEPLY APPRECIATE CONVENTION MESSAGE. APPEAL DELEGATES URGE ALL COMMUNITIES BRITISH ISLES CONCENTRATE ATTENTION ENERGIES INTENSIFICATION TEACHING ACTIVITIES MULTIPLICATION CENTRES STRENGTHENING ALLOTTED NEWLY-OPENED TERRITORIES INCORPORATION ASSEMBLIES ESTABLISHMENT NATIONAL ENDOWMENT PRAYING FERVENTLY ATTAINMENT OBJECTIVES COURSE SECOND LAST YEAR SECOND PHASE TEN YEAR PLAN.SHOGHI
REJOICE SPLENDID INITIATIVE ASSEMBLED REPRESENTATIVES VALIANT BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY ARDENTLY PRAYING FULFILMENT FONDEST HOPES.SHOGHI
APPROVE PUBLICISING WORLD PROTEST DO NOT ATTACK GOVERNMENT APPROVE APPEAL AFRICAN COMMUNITIES.SHOGHI
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to inform you that he feels the time has come for the British N.S.A. to follow the procedure laid down by him as a general rule, namely that Spiritual Assemblies should adhere to the civil limits of their respective towns. All other National Assemblies are following this procedure and he feels yours should too.
The events in Persia have, naturally, distressed him greatly, particularly anxiety for the safety of the Holy House in Shíráz. However, the publicity will do the Faith a great deal of good....26 July 1955
Just a line to inform you, and naturally through you the National Assembly, that the Beloved Guardian has instructed Varga to send you five hundred pounds for your National Fund, to be expended as the Assembly thinks best.
Regarding ... legacy he wishes your Assembly to hold this sum in trust for him until he gives directions for its use.
The beloved Guardian is most anxious that the representations to be made to UNO regarding the bitter and cruel persecutions in Persia at present should meet with success. I do hope all goes well....5 August 1955
Your letters of July 7, 13 and 15, August 19, 20 (three) and 31, September 17 (two) and 27, October 13, 16 (two) and 26, November 4, 15, 16 and 20, and December 8 (four) and 18,Page 349
1954, and January 6 (two), 10 and 25, February 7, 11, 14, 21 and 28, March 11 (two), 16 and 23, April 4, 7, 15, 19, 22 and 27, May 9, 12 and 27, June 8 and 9, July 5 (four), 11 and 14, 1955, with enclosures, also the material sent separately, have been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
The matters taken up by cable I will not go into again here in detail.
It has been a great source of satisfaction to him to receive here last winter two members of the National Body, Mr. and Mrs. John Ferraby, as well as more than one believer from England. The contact with the British Bahá'ís always pleases him greatly. As you know, he admires many of the staunch British qualities very much, and is proud of the accomplishments of this community during recent years.
He has been pleased over the progress made in the teaching field abroad and at home; in the publication of Bahá'í literature in African languages; and, above all, by the purchase of the National Headquarters in London, and the formal dedication of the building, recently held. He feels sure that, now that the National Assembly has a befitting seat for its national affairs--a building which at the same time will solve the problem of the London Spiritual Assembly, through giving them a meeting-place-- the work in both London and throughout the country will receive a new impetus. With every important step forward there is a new release of spiritual energy; and the founding of the National Hazíratu'l-Quds is certainly a most important milestone in the progress of the Cause in the British Isles.
As regards various questions raised in your correspondence with him, he sees no reason why the Publishing Trust should have a separate legal status, as long as it is not essential for it to do so.
He approves of returning to Ronga as one of the languages into which Bahá'í literature should be translated, according to the provisions of the Ten Year Plan, and giving up Shangaan.
He would like very much to receive photostats of the actual Certificates of Incorporation issued to the London and Manchester and Liverpool Assemblies, to be placed in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh.
He does not think your Assembly need take any action aboutPage 350
removing archives or other material from London. If, at a future date, the world situation reaches the point where it is obvious that things in London are in great danger, then your Assembly should consider the matter. Fortunately, that is not the case at present.
Any monies received from the sale of the property bequeathed by Mrs. B ... can be used by your Assembly as it sees fit.
As he already pointed out to the Secretary, when he was in Haifa, a National Endowment is at the present time to be considered more in the nature of a token endowment. It need not be in the capital, and can represent a very small investment; indeed as little as one thousand dollars, if a suitable piece of property for that price should be found, would be acceptable.
He was very sorry to hear of the tragic death of Mrs. Langdon-Davies. She was a capable, staunch and devoted member of the community and of the National Assembly as well; and her services will be missed by her co-workers, and particularly the friends in Oxford. He prays for the progress of her soul in the Abhá Kingdom, and that she may be rewarded for her labours in this world, performed with so much zeal and steadfastness.
He hopes that Mr. John Mitchell's condition has improved. He was very sorry indeed to hear that he had been forced to leave Malta. Please assure him of the Guardian's loving and fervent prayers on his behalf.
As regards the question of Bahá'ís belonging to churches, synagogues, Freemasonry, etc., the friends must realise that now that the Faith is over a hundred years old, and its own institutions arising, so to speak, rapidly above-ground, the distinctions are becoming ever sharper, and the necessity for them to support whole-heartedly their own institutions and cut themselves off entirely from those of the past, is now clearer than ever before. The eyes of the people of the world are beginning to be focussed on us; and, as humanity's plight goes from bad to worse, we will be watched ever more intently by non-Bahá'ís, to see whether we do uphold our own institutions whole-heartedly; whether we are the people of the new creation or not; whether we live up to our beliefs, principles and laws in deed as well as word. We cannot be too careful. We cannot be too exemplary.
There is another aspect to this question which the friends should seriously ponder, and that is that, whereas organisationsPage 351
such as Freemasonry may have been in the past entirely free from any political taint, in the state of flux the world is in at present, and the extraordinary way in which things become corrupted and tainted by political thought and influences, there is no guarantee that such an association might not gradually or suddenly become a political instrument. The less Bahá'ís have to do, therefore, with such things, the better.
He wishes you to thank ... on his behalf for the spirit of devotion to the Faith which he has shown in connection with this matter. He feels sure that he will see the necessity to sever himself from his previous association with Freemasonry. The older Bahá'ís, through their example in such matters, form rallying points around which the younger Bahá'ís, not so steady yet on their spiritual legs, so to speak, can cluster.
If you send him five copies of everything published in the British Isles, it will be sufficient for the libraries here at the World Centre....
The Africa Committee should carefully consider such problems as that of the Negro pioneers being too long apart from their wives; and, if no other solution is feasible, the pioneer will have to return to his family. In the case of some of the very distinguished servants of the Faith who have arisen and gone forth from Uganda to pioneer, this would indeed be a loss to the work. If their wives could go and join them, it would naturally be preferable. This is a matter for the committee in consultation with your Assembly and the Hand of the Cause, Musa Banani, to decide.
Undoubtedly the most important task facing the British community at the present time, is to increase its membership. It has performed miracles during the past ten years, through shifting around devoted volunteers from one centre to another, in order to maintain or to create Spiritual Assemblies; but, efficacious as this has been in the past, it is certainly not a permanent solution to the problem. The only solution is to bring in more Bahá'ís. This requires patient, prayerful, ceaseless efforts on the part of, not only the Bahá'í teachers and pioneers, but every single member of the community. The British people are traditionally slow to move. Fortunately, once they do move, it's almost impossible to stop them; but to overcome the inertia requires great effort. In bringing new people into the Faith, thePage 352
friends always come up against this problem. He urges all the Bahá'ís, however, not to become discouraged, but to persevere and redouble their efforts, knowing that they can and must succeed in the end. He, on his part, will reinforce their efforts with his prayers in the Holy Shrines....
As regards your question about depleted Assemblies, as there is nothing in the constitution of the National Spiritual Assembly covering these matters, every National Body is free to make its own decision as to what the status of an Assembly is from one annual election to the next, if they fall below nine for any reason.
As regards certain matters raised in your recent letters:
Your Assembly is free to choose the place for the endowment for the East and Central N.S.A. if you feel Uganda inadvisable.
The delegates reaching the Conventions in Africa is a matter for each N.S.A., from whose area of jurisdiction they are elected, to arrange and provide financial help if needed.
A prisoner, showing sincere faith in the Cause, may be accepted as a Bahá'í on the same basis of investigating his qualifications as to belief as any other individual outside prison. Each case should be carefully considered on its own merits. Naturally, a person in confinement cannot be active in any community and administrative work. When he gets out, he becomes part of the community in which he resides. No new ruling is required in this matter. All other details in relation to prisoners can be decided by the N.S.A. concerned as they arise.
The Guardian feels that, though it is naturally preferable, it is not essential for consolidation territories to have a group by Ridvan, 1956....[From the Guardian:]
The contribution made, since the inception of the world-wide Bahá'í Crusade, severally as well as collectively, by the assiduously striving, clear-visioned, inflexibly resolved, and unswervingly faithful members of the British Bahá'í community to the progress and development of the Ten Year Plan, inaugurated on the morrow of the centenary celebration of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Mission, has been such as to excite the heartfelt admiration of their fellow-workers in every continent of the globe. The prestige of this valiant community has soared rapidly, its annals have been notably enriched, the foundations on which its fortunes now rest have been considerably reinforced,Page 353
whilst the variety and solidity of its administrative achievements have won the unstinted praise of its sister communities in both the East and the West. My own feelings of unqualified admiration for the tenacity of the faith of its members, for their unrelaxing vigilance, their unfailing sense of responsibility and their willingness to sacrifice in order to meet any challenges that confront them, have deepened with every advance they have made, and every victory they have won along the path leading them towards the fulfilment of their destiny.
The historic triumph achieved as a result of the successful prosecution of the Six Year Plan, spontaneously embarked upon by this numerically small yet richly endowed, spiritually resourceful community, on the morrow of the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, followed immediately by the initiation of a Two Year Plan which marked the inauguration of this community's Mission beyond the confines of its homeland, culminated in the formal association of its members with their brethren in every continent of the globe for the launching and prosecution of a decade-long world-embracing crusade, destined to carry that same community through yet another stage, of the utmost significance, in the fulfilment of its world-wide and glorious mission among the widely scattered territories of the British Crown in no less than three continents of the globe.
The extension and consolidation, in the course of more than a decade, of the administrative base established so painstakingly for the prosecution of this community's far-flung mission, through the formation and multiplication of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies throughout the length and breadth of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire; the opening of the virgin islands lying in the neighbourhood of these territories and forming a part of the British Isles, constituting a most welcome and much needed reinforcement of the Administrative Structure raised so valiantly and patiently by its members in their island home; the magnificent success surpassing, in its quality and scope, the fondest expectations of the elected representatives of this community, which attended the spiritual conquest of a number of African territories, situated along the Western and Eastern shores of that continent and its very heart; the settlement of pioneers in two Mediterranean islands; the selection and purchase of a befitting national administrative headquarters situated close to the heart of the capital city of the British Empire; the acquisition of a plot in the outskirts of the capital city of Uganda, situated in the heart of the African continent, to serve as the site for a future Bahá'í House ofPage 354
Worship; the rapid advancement in the translation and publication of Bahá'í literature in the thirty-one African languages, allotted, under the Ten Year Plan to the elected national representatives of this same community; the steady progress made more recently in the incorporation of firmly established local assemblies; the formation of the Israel Branch of the British National Assembly at the world centre of the Faith in Israel--these stand out as the most prominent and significant evidences of the uninterrupted development of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh under the wise leadership, and through the assiduous and incessant exertions, of the elected national representatives of this virile community.
The year that has recently opened, constituting the second and last year of the second phase of a Ten-Year global crusade, must witness a development and consolidation of the activities already initiated, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá'í endeavour, as swift and as notable as the progress already achieved in recent years. Time is indeed short. The responsibilities shouldered by the members of this community are manifold, pressing, sacred and inescapable. The eyes of the entire Bahá'í world are upon them, eager and expectant to witness feats as superb as those that have marked the birth and establishment of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the British Isles, and exploits as meritorious and significant as those that have accompanied the inception and progress of the mission entrusted to His British followers, on the morrow of the emergence of that Administrative Order in their homeland.
The process aiming at the rapid increase in the number of the avowed and active supporters of the Faith must continue unabated in the months immediately ahead. A simultaneous multiplication in the number of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies must be ensured in order to reinforce the agencies on which the rising administrative structure of the Faith must ultimately rest. The process of incorporation must likewise be strenuously stimulated for the purpose of strengthening legally, and enhancing the prestige of, these rising institutions. The newly opened territories forming part of the British Isles, situated in the Mediterranean, in the Atlantic Ocean, along the western and eastern coasts of Africa, and in its very heart, must be continually reinforced, and the prizes won in those distant fields safeguarded, however great the sacrifice involved. The establishment of national Bahá'í endowments in the British Isles is yet another task which, ere the termination of the current year, must be accomplished, as a preludePage 355
to the establishment of a similar endowment in the continent of Africa following the emergence of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Central and East Africa.
Above all, the most careful consideration should be given to the measures required to ensure the emergence of the afore-mentioned National Assembly in the heart of the African continent, marking the culmination of the efforts so diligently exerted, and the fruition of the enterprises so painstakingly inaugurated, since the formation of the Two Year Plan by the British Bahá'í community.
The emergence of this institution, signalising the erection of yet another pillar of the Universal House of Justice in the African continent, and constituting the first fruit, yielded on foreign soil, of the Mission entrusted to the British followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and which may be hailed as a worthy counterpart of the central Administrative Institution established, on the morrow of 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í Passing, in the heart of the British Isles, will be acclaimed by posterity as a milestone of far-reaching significance in British Bahá'í history. It will proclaim to the entire Bahá'í world the maturity of the swiftly rising, highly promising, steadily consolidating British Bahá'í community. Every British follower of the Faith, whether in his home islands or overseas, must feel proud and deeply grateful for the impending consummation of so superb and momentous a victory. Every energy must be lent to ensure a befitting celebration of such an enduring and magnificent achievement.
The efforts of the members of this community must indeed be redoubled, nay trebled, as they view with afflicted hearts the tragic trend of events transpiring with such dramatic and sudden swiftness in Bahá'u'lláh's native land. The tribulations suffered, over so wide a field, by so many of their co-religionists, under circumstances so appalling and harrowing in their nature, at the hands of redoubtable, pitiless, barbarous adversaries, should spur them on to still greater endeavours in a land blessed with freedom of religion and tolerance, and occupying so conspicuous a position among its sister nations.
Theirs is an opportunity which they must instantly grasp. Theirs is a responsibility which they cannot escape. Theirs is the duty to offset, by the quality of their achievements, the dire losses which are now being sustained in the cradle of the Faith. That they may in every field and at all times discharge their heavy responsibilities is my constant prayer and dearest hope.Shoghi
I am writing you this at the instruction of the beloved Guardian.
As you will have no doubt seen by his recent cable, he has come to the historic decision to build a Temple in Africa, in Kampala. He has been in communication with Mr. Banani about this, and from reports received it appears there will be no objections. The land must be surveyed (this is being done), and design of the building submitted so as to meet health and building requirements.
The Guardian wishes your Assembly to please get busy at once and have a design, or designs, made for the building; it is not necessary to try in any way to copy the Wilmette Temple: the things that are essential are the following:1. A nine-sided building.
3. A seating capacity between 300 and 500; you could count
floor space at 300 or 400 and provide a balcony around theauditorium for expansion in seating capacity.
4. No "chapels" or small rooms should be added; this was amisapprehension held in the old days.
As to materials your Assembly and architect can go into that, but brick or cement would be all right. Stone would seem to be out of the question.
It should not be too expensive or pretentious, but dignified and worthy.
There is no reason why the architect should be a Bahá'í--in fact your use of someone there would get it done faster, probably. The imperative thing is to send preliminary drawings to the Guardian within two months, if possible.
The terrible situation in Persia makes him most anxious to have this project go forward speedily. He feels funds will not be too much of a problem if great costs are not involved.
He sends you and all N.S.A. members his loving greetings....Page 357
The beloved Guardian has received the clippings from English newspapers and read them with keen interest; he attached much importance to such publicity in journals of such high standing....Regarding your questions--
It is permissible to use selections from the "Promulgation of Universal Peace" in compilations.Better omit the prayer of the Báb you mentioned.
The Guardian does not feel the present status of London, regarding its assembly, should be changed. Other cities should have their assemblies based, as usual, and already adopted in other countries, on the civil limits of the city in question....6 September 1955
KINDLY EXPEDITE PREPARATION PLANS KAMPALA TEMPLE IMPORTANT.SHOGHI
DELIGHTED GREAT SUCCESS. DEEPLY APPRECIATE RESOLVE LOVING PRAYERS.SHOGHI
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to write and inform your Assembly of the following:
The National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa should be elected by 76 delegates, which is four times nineteen. This number should be apportioned amongst the spiritual assemblies within the countries the future N.S.A. will represent.Page 358
He leaves an equitable distribution of the number of delegates to the Assemblies, to your Assembly to decide.
The British N.S.A. certainly has its work cut out for it in the near future, what with this historic convention in the offing and a Temple to be built!...4 October 1955
LEAVE MATTERS REGARDING ASSEMBLIES LETTER SEPTEMBER 23 DISCRETION YOUR ASSEMBLY.SHOGHI
APPROVE APPROACH JANNER EMPHASISE OCCUPATION TIHRAN Hazíra BY MILITARY.SHOGHI
The drawings for the Temple in Kampala have reached the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf regarding their suitability.
Frankly, he was very discouraged by these drawings, as he feels that such an ultra-modern style is wholly unsuitable for aPage 359
Bahá'í Temple.... It seems to him that the modern influence is now so strong and widespread that it is out of the question to get a discreet and dignified building designed for our purposes.
...He is sorry to disappoint your Assembly, and regrets the time, trouble and expense which has been involved in finding a design.
As he cabled your Assembly he also feels that to seek a new Temple site is unwise; from descriptions received at the time of its purchase it seems satisfactory, and there is enough land around it for possible expansion in the future....
He feels therefore that until your hear from him you (had) better take no further steps as regards a design for Kampala.8 December 1955+F1
CABLE NUMBER LOCALITIES BRITISH ISLES WHERE Bahá'ís RESIDE AIRMAIL LIST.SHOGHI
This is just a note on behalf of the beloved Guardian to answer the point raised in one of your recent letters.
You say that in Irish, the word " Báb" is not appropriate to be used; and as the word "Gate" is not as nice in translation in any language, he suggests that in place of the word " Báb", you use "Herald"....
P.S. The Guardian approves your sending "Advice to Bahá'ís in British Colonies" to other N.S.A.'s, but feels it is not necessary to send a copy to the Colonial Office itself. He feels teaching work in Uganda should now be concentrated on consolidation, primarily.
The Guardian's decision regard Mr. ... design is final; it is too extreme for any modification to render it possible as a temple....____________________
Your loving letter of December 1st has been received.
The Guardian attaches the utmost importance to the development of the Faith in the Pacific Islands. Wherever an opportunity opens for expansion of the work in one of the Islands, he feels that opportunity should be seized and exploited to the fullest extent. Thus, if it is possible for anyone to proceed to the Solomon Islands to assist the Blums there, it would be very, very helpful.
As the Guardian understands the situation, the Blums have not left the Solomon Islands, but are expanding their business and service. Thus the work which Mr. Blum previously engaged in, of driving a taxi, is now open to someone else; and therefore the pioneer to go to the Solomons would find a position waiting for him.
The Guardian understands that the Blums are very well thought of and respected throughout the Solomon Islands.
I am sending a copy of this correspondence to the Persian N.S.A., and encouraging them to send pioneers to the Solomon Islands. You may wish to also correspond with them....15 December 1955
The beloved Guardian has directed me to write you in connection with the translation of Bahá'í literature into languages as called for by the Ten Year Crusade.
31 languages have been assigned to your Assembly; and of these, 24 translations have been made or are under way. The Guardian feels this is a very fine record, and one of which you may be proud.
At the same time he feels special effort should be made to complete the translations. He has no record of translations of 7 languages. Will you please send me a letter for him, indicating what the status of each of these languages is....Page 361
The beloved Guardian has directed me to write you in connection with the purchase of an endowment for East Africa.
As you know, a contribution has been made by the Hand of the Cause, Mrs. Amelia E. Collins, of One Thousand Dollars for the purchase of the endowment for Kampala. The Guardian feels a small piece of property which can be bought for this One Thousand Dollars should be procured at once, so that this goal of the Ten Year Crusade can be concluded. He feels that you should at once buy a small plot of land in Uganda, at a cost of approximately One Thousand Dollars. The American N.S.A. will remit the funds as you direct.
Will you please let me know just what can be done in connection with this project?
The Guardian sends the members of the National Assembly his loving greetings, and assures them of his prayers in their behalf....1 January 1956+F1
GRIEVED NEWS ASSURE JOHN DEAREST LOVE FERVENT PRAYERS.SHOGHI
DISREGARD PERSIAN STATEMENT REGARDING DIVORCE. ASSEMBLY'S UNDERSTANDING REGARDING STRIKES CORRECT.SHOGHI
DEEPLY APPRECIATE MESSAGE CONFERENCE WELCOME NEW DETERMINATION BEFITTINGLY RESPOND FRESH CHALLENGE PRAYING MIGHTY VICTORIES.SHOGHI
APPEAL HIGHMINDED VIGILANT STAUNCH UPHOLDERS FAITH Bahá'u'lláh SCATTERED HUNDRED CENTRES BRITISH ISLES ARISE THIS CRUCIAL HOUR EXERT SUPREME EFFORT CONCLUDING MONTH SECOND PHASE WORLD CRUSADE MEET URGENT NEEDS HOMEFRONT VALIANTLY DEFEND HARD WON PRIZES ENSURE PRESERVATION PIVOTAL CENTRE. CONFIDENT HIS DEARLY BELOVED HIGHLY ADMIRED BRITISH FOLLOWERS WILL REFUSE ALLOW ANY SETBACK CONSOLIDATION WORK THEIR HOMELAND TARNISH SPLENDID RECORD PIONEER SERVICES ACHIEVED TERRITORIES AFRICAN CONTINENT PRAYING WHOLE HEARTED UNIVERSAL IMMEDIATE RESPONSE PLEDGING FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS MERITORIOUS PURPOSE.SHOGHI
Attached is a copy of a dispatch issued by Reuters in December, giving the conclusions of the persecutions in Persia.
The Guardian considers this a very fine statement, and urges you to have it given as widespread publicity as possible.
Dorothy Wigington+ will have a copy, and she should be given the opportunity to read this at the British National Convention.
The Guardian would appreciate your sending copies of any publicity received on this important statement....6 April 1956
Enclosed please find the Guardian's long message to all the Conventions, to be shared with the friends and delegates at the National Convention soon to be held.
He hopes that it will be stimulating to the pioneer work at home and abroad....Page 363
BALYUZI'S PRESENCE ESSENTIAL+F1 UTMOST EFFORT NECESSARY IF ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE SUBSTITUTE JOHN.SHOGHI
GRIEVED PASSING CONSECRATED PIONEER FAITH LONG RECORD SERVICES HIGHLY MERITORIOUS UNFORGETTABLE PRAYING PROGRESS SOUL Abhá Kingdom.SHOGHI
ASSURE FERVENT PRAYERS HEARTFELT CONGRATULATIONS GREAT VICTORIES AFRICA URGE REDOUBLE EFFORTS HOME FRONT DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
WELCOME RESOLVE MEET CHALLENGES LOVING FERVENT PRAYERS OFFERED SUCCESS DEARLY LOVED VALIANT COMMUNITY.SHOGHI
SUGGESTED DISPENSATION LETTER MAY FOURTH NOT POSSIBLE.+F3SHOGHI
+F3. For allocation of delegates to Assemblies lapsing after civic limits rule imposed.Page 364
As a number of questions raised in your communications addressed to the beloved Guardian have been answered by cable or through the Assistant Secretary, I will not go into these matters here, but merely acknowledge on his behalf receipt of the letters from your National Body, together with their enclosures and material sent under separate cover which were dated as follows: July 22, August 8, 9, 11 (two), 12 (two), and 18, September 7, 9, 10, 23 (three), 26 and 28, October 7 (two), 13 (two), 25, 26, 28 (two), and 29, November 3, 4, 9, 21 (two), 24 and 30, December 1, 2, 9 (three), 19 and 29 (two), 1955, and January 6, 10, 17, 23, 27, and 30 (two), February 10, 16, and 27, March 8, 9, 19, and 29, April 2, 10, 13, 16, 17, and 26, May 4, 14, 16, 31, and June 13, 19, 22, and 29, 1956.
He appreciated receiving copies of the Diary which your Assembly forwarded to him, and which is invariably gotten out efficiently and in a pleasing manner. He thinks the five copies you sent will be sufficient.
The generous spirit in which the British Bahá'ís, hard-pressed as they are to meet the requirements of the work in Great Britain, responded to the needs of their persecuted brethren in Persia, deeply touched him. These evidences of Bahá'í sacrifice and solidarity cannot but nourish the very roots of the Faith and strengthen its institutions.
As he advised you by cable, he felt it unwise to seek to clarify the relationship of the Bahá'ís to the advertised holding of Ahmad Sohrab's conference in Jerusalem. Having a very shrewd eye to his own advantage, it has become obvious that one of the means by which he hopes to promote interest in his conference is to arouse active opposition from the Bahá'ís and create a source of discussion in the press. In view of this, the Guardian has been very careful to have the friends avoid rising to this bait. They should, in their personal contacts with people, and in a quietPage 365
manner, point out when occasion arises that the Caravan activities have nothing whatsoever to do with the Bahá'í Faith and are indeed unfriendly to it. Whatever he does cannot but end in failure, because he has cut himself off entirely from the living tree of the Faith and is wholly insincere in his motives.
In spite of the fact that Mr. ... has been expelled from Gilbert and Ellice Islands, the remarkable progress of the Faith there has been a source of great satisfaction. It shows that a spiritual receptivity, a purity of heart and uprightness of character exists potentially amongst many of the peoples of the Pacific Isles to an extent equal to that of the tribesmen of Africa. It is indeed an encouraging and awe-inspiring sight to witness the spread of our beloved Faith amongst those whom civilised nations misguidedly term "savages", "primitive peoples" and "uncivilised nations". He hopes that your Assembly will do all in its power to ensure that Mrs. ... remains in the Islands. Although for some period at least this may entail separation from her husband, he believes that these two dedicated and exemplary pioneers will be willing to accept this sacrifice in view of the extraordinary work they have accomplished and are accomplishing. The community there must not be abandoned, particularly by its "mother", so to speak. It must be well and profoundly grounded in the Faith before such a risky step can be taken. He hopes that you will deal most wisely and co-operatively with the Colonial Office officials in this matter and any others that may arise. Their esteem, their good-will, and their co-operation are practically indispensable for the future work in many islands throughout the Pacific area, and nothing but the frustration of our objectives can be gained through alienating them in any way. This should be impressed upon the pioneers and the local Bahá'ís as well.
The beloved Guardian regrets very much the entire situation in which the dear Hand of the Cause, Mr. Townshend, finds himself. He is much loved, and his services have been of a unique nature in providing the Faith with so many excellent books, the latest of which the Guardian hopes will soon be ready for publication....
The persecution of the Faith last year in Persia, although no doubt a great trial to the Persian believers, can be regarded in no other light than as a triumph. The designs of the traditional enemies of the Faith, the mullahs, have been entirely frustrated.Page 366
The Government has been forced to take action for the first time in its history to officially protect the Bahá'ís and their institutions and the Cause of God has received a publicity all over the world--entirely free of charge--which an expenditure of many thousands of pounds could not have secured for it.
In spite of the great anxiety and pain which the crisis of last summer caused the Guardian, he could not help being highly gratified that, for practically the first time, publicity of a weighty nature was given to the Faith in such papers as the "Spectator", the "Observer", "The Times" and the "Manchester Guardian", and that the voices of two such distinguished scholars as Professor Gilbert Murray and Professor Arnold Toynbee were raised in defence of the believers of Bahá'u'lláh and His Faith. This has opened the door on a new phase of the unfoldment of the Faith in the British Isles. However slow the process may seem, the first inklings of its emergence as a public force can now be discerned....
The loss of some of the Spiritual Assemblies in England this year need not be viewed as an unduly horrible experience. It was inevitable that the British Bahá'í community would have to get itself, once and for all, grounded on the same basis as all other Bahá'í communities, namely, that of having Spiritual Assemblies function within defined civil limits. Although this seems to have dealt a set-back to the work, it is purely temporary. The localities have perforce been increased, which is a step in the right direction, and which cannot but widen the foundation of the Administrative Order. In those islands more members of the community will be given the opportunity to serve on local Assemblies and their committees; and above all, the new crisis which developed because of this change-over once more demonstrated the truly extraordinary and exemplary steadfastness of the British Bahá'ís which had led them, over and over again, at great cost to themselves, to throw themselves into the breach. Although this is a well-known national characteristic, it provides nevertheless a great example to their fellow-Bahá'ís all over the world. The Guardian knows of no community, east or west, which so valiantly and so consistently, one might almost say ferociously, has arisen to defend its Home Front. He has the greatest admiration for the spirit which animates them and for their achievements.Page 367
He was sorry to refuse the request of the National Assembly to, under certain circumstances, permit the localities that would achieve Assembly status by next Ridvan, to have a delegate at the National Convention. He feels that, although this would no doubt have provided a great stimulus to the friends, it was an unjustifiable breach of the general administrative procedure. If there are too many exceptions, the rule has a tendency to lose its clearly defined character, not to mention encouraging other communities to want to be exceptions too, under various circumstances!
The Guardian hopes that during the coming year there will be more Assemblies incorporated, as he attaches great importance to this process.
He was delighted that the Irish translation had been completed, and also very happy to hear that the National Endowment for the British National Spiritual Assembly had been purchased. All these signs of life and vitality are greatly to be admired, and prove the intense virility and youthfulness of the British Bahá'í community.
He was sorry to have to disappoint Mr. ... who was so enthusiastic about his own design for the Temple. However, there was no possible question of accepting something as extreme as this. The Guardian feels very strongly that, regardless of what the opinion of the latest school of architecture may be on the subject, the styles represented at present all over the world in architecture are not only very ugly, but completely lack the dignity and grace which must be at least partially present in a Bahá'í House of Worship. One must always bear in mind that the vast majority of human beings are neither very modern nor very extreme in their tastes, and that what the advanced school may think is marvellous is often very distasteful indeed to just plain, simple people.
The Hand of the Cause, Mr. Remey, has now completed a design for the Kampala Temple which meets with the Guardian's approval. It will shortly be ready to be forwarded to the Central and East Africa National Assembly.
It was a great pleasure for Shoghi Effendi to have a number of pilgrims from the British Isles as his guests this winter. They brought with them the spirit of perseverance and devotion so clearly evinced by the British believers; and he feels sure that,Page 368
upon their return, they carried back much of inspiration and encouragement to the friends at home.
Not the least of the landmarks reached on the international Bahá'í scene this year has been the formation of the three new National Bodies in Africa. Your Assembly and the community you represent have every reason to look with pride and affection upon the development of the Cause in the African continent, and upon the many spiritual children and grandchildren, and perhaps great-grandchildren you have over there. The record has been truly astonishing, and such as to gladden the heart of 'Abdu'l-Bahá Who so ardently longed, Himself, to go forth "on foot" and carry the Message to yet another of the far corners of the world.
No doubt although the Central and East Africa Assembly is a strong one, it will still welcome and need at least a large measure of moral support from its parent; and he feels sure that you will always be ready and willing to help in any way you can with advice and suggestions, and perhaps teachers and pioneers and other support as opportunity affords. (As he informed you when you were here, he does not feel the British National Spiritual Assembly can support financially its Central and East Africa one. However, a token contribution would be a kind and appropriate gesture.) In any case, you should keep in close touch with the work there, a work dear, not only to the Guardian's heart, but to all of yours as well.
As regards certain questions raised in your letters: There is no objection for the time being in going on including in Prayer Books the Prayer of the Báb: "In the Name of God, the Victor of the Most Victorious", etc.
As regards the question raised in Africa about divorce connected with adultery, these are matters for the future. No action of any new kind should be taken at present.
As regards strikes, the Guardian feels that your own understanding of the matter as expressed in your letter is quite correct, and he does not see the necessity of adding anything to it. We should avoid becoming rigid and laying down any more rules and regulations of conduct.
Regarding taking oaths, there is nothing in the Teachings on this subject. As a Bahá'í is enjoined by Bahá'u'lláh to be truthful, he would express his truthfulness, no matter what the formality of the law in any local place required of him. There can be noPage 369
objection to Bahá'ís conforming to the requirements of the law court whatever they may be in such matters, as in no case would they constitute in any way a denial of their own beliefs as Bahá'ís.
Concerning the short obligatory Prayer: the Guardian does not wish to define these things at present; the time will come for it in future. The friends need not be too strict about it at present. The Greatest Name is Allah-u-Abhá.
He remembers you and all the N.S.A. members in his prayers most lovingly, and supplicates for your success and that strength may be given you to discharge your many important duties.[From the Guardian:]
The emergence of the Regional Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Central and East Africa, under such auspicious circumstances, and after the lapse of such a short period of time since the inception of the Ten Year Plan, marks a milestone of far-reaching significance in the unfoldment of the great historic Mission entrusted to the British Bahá'í community in the vast and far-flung territories beyond the confines of its motherland. It is, moreover, a striking evidence of the exemplary and whole-hearted devotion of its members to that Mission, and of the vigour, the vigilance, the resourcefulness, the tenacity and the courage with which they have conducted this vast and magnificent enterprise launched in the heart of that continent, in the face of various obstacles and with such limited resources at their disposal. The entire community, now standing on the threshold of still greater and nobler enterprises in other parts of the world, and particularly its national elected representatives, who have so splendidly discharged their responsibilities overseas, and assumed with characteristic resolution, fearlessness and consecration the direction of the manifold activities of so dynamic an enterprise, must be heartily congratulated on so conspicuous a victory, won in such a distant field, within so brief an interval, at the cost of so much sacrifice, by so limited a number of pioneers, labouring amidst a people so divergent in language, customs and manners.
Its sister communities in both the East and the West, and particularly its daughter communities, now blossoming into new life, and marching forth, unitedly and resolutely, along the path traced for them in the Ten Year Plan, cannot but feel proud of the tremendous work first initiated in the heart of Africa by British Bahá'í pioneers, and of the organising ability, the sound judgement, the unquestioningPage 370
fidelity, and the dogged determination that have characterised every stage in the rise, the development and fruition of the first collective enterprise embarked upon beyond the confines of the British Isles by the British adherents of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.
Though much of the responsibility hitherto discharged by your Assembly, in both the heart of the continent and the territories situated on its Eastern and Western shores, will now devolve on the newly established Regional Spiritual Assemblies, the particular Mission you have been called upon, through the dispensation of Providence to fulfil, is by no means concluded. Every assistance within your power, particularly in matters requiring the aid, support and intervention of the authorities at the Colonial Office, and in connection with the translation of Bahá'í literature into African languages, their publication and dissemination, as well as with any publicity that can be given in the British press to the marvellous achievements of the numerous Bahá'í communities recently raised up in Africa, and now energetically discharging their manifold and sacred duties all over that continent--such assistance should be constantly and unstintingly extended to these newly fledged communities which the power of the Most Great Name has called into being at so crucial a period in human history, and at so auspicious a stage in the mysterious unfoldment of God's Plan for all mankind.
While this beneficent, slowly maturing, irresistibly advancing enterprise develops and gains momentum, through the concerted and tireless efforts of its original organisers in the British Isles and those in charge of its immediate destinies in Africa itself, a corresponding endeavour, no less consecrated, persistent and enthusiastic, should be exerted in the Islands of the Mediterranean and the Far East, where similar exploits must needs be achieved by those who have performed such unforgettable feats among the Negroes of the African continent.
Parallel with this highly vital and urgently needed exertion in foreign fields, a further intensification of effort is required on the homefront, and particularly throughout the newly opened islands bordering the homeland itself, now standing in such dire need of a flow of pioneers and a concentration of material resources unexampled in British Bahá'í history. There is no reason to doubt that the phenomenal progress achieved within the span of a few years, amidst an alien people, and in such distant and backward territories, will be duplicated, nay surpassed, among people of the same race, speaking the same language, of the same background, and living in such close proximityPage 371
to the Administrative Centre in the British Isles, provided that a determination no less unyielding, and a dedication no less whole-hearted and complete, will be displayed by those who have already won such memorable victories in such far-off and inhospitable regions of the globe. He Who in recent years infallibly guided from His realms above the steps of the little band of pioneers and administrators under such difficult and challenging circumstances, Who galvanised their souls, blessed their handiwork, raised their status, and noised abroad their fame, can well enable them, if they but arise to the occasion now presenting itself, to conquer with no less rapidity and even greater effectiveness, the citadels of men's hearts, to tear down the barriers which now confront them, and ignite a fire in the hearts of their own countrymen as consuming as the one that has set ablaze, in so conspicuous a fashion, the souls of the African races over the length and breadth of an entire continent.
The rapid increase in the number of the avowed supporters of the Faith, the multiplication of groups, isolated centres and assemblies within the limits of the homeland and its neighbouring islands, must be accompanied by a marked acceleration in the process of internal consolidation, such as the incorporation of firmly established local Assemblies, expansion in the publication and dissemination of Bahá'í literature, and the adoption of carefully considered measures aimed at giving a still wider publicity, among circles hitherto unapproached, or as yet inadequately informed of the tenets, the aims and purposes, as well as the world-wide achievements of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in both the teaching and administrative spheres of its activities.
The highly gratifying and truly praiseworthy success which has attended, so unexpectedly, the energetic efforts exerted by your Assembly in connection with the campaign of publicity initiated for the purpose of safeguarding the rights of our oppressed brethren in Persia must be regarded as a most encouraging sign, and should constitute a prelude and a stepping-stone to a still wider undertaking, aimed at a more systematic presentation of the ideals animating our beloved Cause and of its fundamental verities, and an adequate proclamation of its God-given mission to this distracted, sadly erring, and increasingly tormented generation.
The annals of the British Bahá'í community, small in numbers, yet unconquerable in spirit, tenacious in belief, undeviating in purpose, alert and vigilant in the discharge of its manifold duties and responsibilities, have in consequence of its epoch-making achievementsPage 372
been vastly enriched. The process set in motion and greatly accelerated through the successive formulation of the Six Year Plan, the Two Year Plan and the Ten Year Plan, must continue unabated and unimpaired. Nay with every passing day it must gather momentum. Every individual believer must, henceforth, encouraged and inspired by all that has already been achieved, contribute to its future and speedy unfoldment. That the entire community may befittingly respond to the call of the present hour and bring to a final consummation the Mission with which it has been entrusted is the deepest yearning of my heart and the object of my unceasing prayers.Shoghi
Your letter of 16 Mashiyyat 113, with enclosures, has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He is most hopeful that the second week-end school will prove as successful and fruitful as the one held in February apparently was.
The Guardian is delighted over the progress being made in Northern Ireland. He greatly admires the tenacity and spirit of dedication of the believers living in the British Isles, and is confident the friends in your region will unitedly bend all their energies toward the fulfilment of the goals they have set their hearts on attaining by next Ridvan.
Rest assured of his loving prayers for you all....[From the Guardian:]
May the Beloved bless your efforts and those of your dear co-workers, and aid you to extend the range of your valued activities, and enable you to win memorable victories in the service of His Faith,Your true brother,
REGARDING CHILDREN FOLLOW AMERICAN PROCEDURE. APPROVE SUGGESTED METHOD INCORPORATION MAURITIUS.SHOGHI
The Beloved Guardian has directed me to write to your Assembly, with regard to the Tristan da Cunha Island.
Earlier in the Ten Year Crusade, one of the English Bahá'ís offered to settle in this Island, in order to establish the Faith there. At that time, the Guardian felt we must concentrate on the goals of the Crusade only. Now, however, the Friends have won so many victories, and the goals of the Crusade are being gained currently, early in the Crusade, he feels supplementary areas may be settled--and for that matter, supplementary activities engaged in.
Thus, if this friend still wishes to settle in the Island of Tristan da Cunha, he would welcome it being done.
If only the home front would surge ahead, then the Crusade would surely be moving ahead of the schedule. Let us pray those at home will arise with the same dedication, and consecration as the valiant pioneers, causing a new life to be manifest on all home fronts.
The Guardian sends the members of your Assembly his loving greetings....27 December 1956
AS NATIONAL AND FEW LOCAL HazíraS NOT YET RETURNED LETTER THANKS INADVISABLE.+F1SHOGHI
+F1. Proposed letter of thanks to a Head of State.Page 374
Your loving letters concerning contributions to the Shrine of the Báb Fund, and the International Fund, have been received by the Beloved Guardian, and he has directed me to acknowledge them on his behalf. These contributions from the Friends in England, and the Friends in the Seychelles, are greatly appreciated by the Guardian. Receipt is enclosed. Will you please, on behalf of the Guardian express his appreciation to Mr. Mrs. ... and the devoted friends in the Seychelles.
The Guardian has been deeply touched by the continuing victories being won by the friends in the Seychelles.
The Beloved Guardian also wishes the dear Friends in England to know of his deep appreciation of their consecration, and their sacrifices for the Faith. This noble spirit cannot do other than attract the blessings of the Holy Spirit, which will assure victory. He assures you of his prayers in your behalf, and for the success of your many labours.He sends you his loving Greetings....
To the Bahá'ís who were present at the Birmingham Teaching Conference, January 5th 1957.Dear Bahá'í Friends,
The beloved Guardian has received your letter of greeting, and was very happy to hear that the Birmingham Teaching Conference had been such an outstanding success.
Undoubtedly the Faith in the British Isles is making steady and sound progress, and he hopes that during the coming months many of the Spiritual Assemblies which have been placed in jeopardy will be consolidated in time for the elections. He feels sure that the British Bahá'ís, who have done more pioneering per capita than any other Bahá'í community in the world, will do all in their power to safeguard the precious goals they have won at the cost of so much sacrifice and valiant endeavour.Page 375
He assures you one and all of his loving prayers for your success, and that he will remember you in his visits to the Holy Shrines....[From the Guardian:]
May the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh sustain you in your highly meritorious labours, guide every step you take in the path of service to His Faith, and enable you to lend a great impetus, in the days to come, to the onward march of our beloved Cause throughout the British Isles and to the consolidation of its divinely appointed institutions,Your true brother,
The Beloved Guardian has directed me to write your Assembly with regard to showing interior views of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in slides.
The Guardian read in some minutes, or in a report of one of the Summer Schools, that slides were shown of the Holy Land, and among them one of the interior of the Shrine. He would like to know whether this is the interior Garden, or the Inner Shrine itself, and whose slides they are.
He feels that the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb are so sacred, it is improper for any slides to be shown of the Interiors. Thus, the slide which was shown at the Summer School should be destroyed, and if it forms a part of any sets of views of the Holy Land, this slide be removed from the set.He sends you his loving Greetings....
GREATLY DEPLORE LOSS MUCH LOVED JOHN MITCHELL STAUNCH CONSECRATED PROMOTER FAITH. REWARD HIS ADMINISTRATIVE PIONEER SERVICES GREAT Abhá Kingdom FERVENTLY SUPPLICATING PROGRESS HIS SOUL.SHOGHI
Your loving letter of March 4th, with regard to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, interior view, slide; which was shown or to be shown at your Summer School.
The Guardian wishes me to see that all these slides are destroyed, and all informed that they should not be used. Therefore, can you send me the name of the person in America who sent the slide to the Bahá'í in England.
This will permit me to stop the exodus of these slides at the source....14 March 1957
APPEAL VALIANT BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY FOCUS ATTENTION URGENT NEEDS PIVOTAL CENTRES STRENUOUS IMMEDIATE CONCERTED EFFORTS IMPERATIVE SAFEGUARD OUTSTANDING PRIZES LABORIOUSLY WON FERVENTLY PRAYING SUCCESS DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
The Beloved Guardian has been greatly impressed by the number of Teaching Conferences held during the past year, especially in the virgin areas of the Ten Year Crusade.
My records are not complete concerning the Teaching Conference of the Northern Islands. Will you please cable me on receipt of this where this Conference was held, and the dates....23 March 1957
Your loving letter of February 20th was duly received by the Beloved Guardian, and on March 20th, the contributions referred to therein.Page 377
The Guardian has directed me to acknowledge your letter and the contributions on his behalf. Receipt is enclosed.
Will you please write the Bahá'ís of ... on behalf of the Guardian, and thank them for their contribution for the construction of the International Archives Building. Their sacrifices in that difficult area, at this time, shows their depth of spiritual consciousness. The Guardian will pray for them, and for the success of their work.
The Guardian also wishes to assure the Bahá'ís of the British Isles, of his appreciation of their sacrifice and devotion to the Cause of God. He is praying for them, for the success of their historic work, and for the rapid expansion of the Faith. He is sure the Blessings of the Beloved Master will rest on each and every one.
Please send the Friends in Kuwait the enclosed photo, showing the present stage of construction of the Archives Building.He sends his loving Greetings...
DEEPLY MOURN PASSING DEARLY LOVED MUCH ADMIRED GREATLY GIFTED OUTSTANDING HAND CAUSE GEORGE TOWNSHEND. HIS DEATH MORROW PUBLICATION HIS CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT ROBS BRITISH FOLLOWERS Bahá'u'lláh THEIR MOST DISTINGUISHED COLLABORATOR AND FAITH ITSELF ONE ITS STOUTEST DEFENDERS. HIS STERLING QUALITIES HIS SCHOLARSHIP HIS CHALLENGING WRITINGS HIS HIGH ECCLESIASTICAL POSITION UNRIVALLED ANY Bahá'í WESTERN WORLD ENTITLE HIM RANK WITH THOMAS BREAKWELL DR. ESSLEMONT ONE OF THREE LUMINARIES SHEDDING BRILLIANT LUSTRE ANNALS IRISH ENGLISH SCOTTISH Bahá'í COMMUNITIES. HIS FEARLESS CHAMPIONSHIP CAUSE HE LOVED SO DEARLY SERVED SO VALIANTLY CONSTITUTES SIGNIFICANT LANDMARK BRITISH Bahá'í HISTORY. SO ENVIABLE POSITION CALLS FOR NATIONAL TRIBUTE HIS MEMORY BY ASSEMBLED DELEGATES VISITORS FORTHCOMING BRITISH Bahá'í CONVENTION. ASSURE RELATIVES DEEPEST LOVING SYMPATHY GRIEVOUS LOSS. CONFIDENT HIS REWARD INESTIMABLE Abhá Kingdom.SHOGHI
The Beloved Guardian has directed me to write you concerning a list which he desires, showing the languages into which the scriptures, or parts of them have been translated.
He has the book entitled "The Gospel in Many Tongues" issued by the British and Foreign Bible Society, The Bible House, 146 Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C.4, (in 1948). This shows specimens of 770 languages in which this Society has published or circulated some portion of the Gospel.
In the preface, they state "If those versions published by other agents are included, there are now well over a thousand forms of speech represented in the Library at Bible House".
The Guardian would like to secure a list of the additional some 300 languages into which the Gospel has been translated, referred to in this quotation. Could you secure it for him, from The Bible Society, at The Bible House.
Is it fair to assume this would then be all the languages, from any source, into which The Bible or parts have been translated? Your early advice will be appreciated.
For your information, in the list of languages into which Bahá'í literature has been translated, there are some 20, not included in the published book of the 770 languages into which Christian Scripture has been published, as covered by the Book.
The question is, are these 20 included in the supplementary list, which makes the 1,000 or more into which Christian Scripture has been translated. Your sending the list will enable us to make the check here.
If you could secure this list and send it promptly, it might enable the Guardian to include this interesting point in his Convention message....12 April 1957
Enclosed please find the beloved Guardian's Message to the annual convention; it should be delivered to the Chairman to be read to and shared with the assembled friends....Page 379
P.S. In order to gain time this is being mailed through a pilgrim from Rome.
P.S. No.2. Will you please acknowledge receipt of this letter by cable to the Guardian.19 April 1957
The Beloved Guardian has been very deeply impressed with the latest book of our dear departed co-worker, Hand of the Cause, George Townshend.
He feels that this Book should be used as the basis of a very active campaign of teaching and publicity throughout the British Isles.
Publicity regarding the book should be arranged, book reviews secured, if possible. Religious leaders should be sent copies, even the highest Ecclesiastical leaders. Many copies should be mailed to the important leaders of the Church of England, and other religious denominations of the British Isles.
This book very finely presents the relationship between Christ and Bahá'u'lláh, and outlines the manner in which the Bahá'í Faith is setting up the Kingdom of God, which the Christians are praying for.
The Guardian feels that very beneficial results will be achieved by this active public programme, with this book, "Christ and Bahá'u'lláh" even if it stirs up opposition and criticism for the time being.
He will pray for your Assembly, and for the success of your many labours in the Cause of God....30 April 1957
DEEPLY APPRECIATE CONVENTION MESSAGE REJOICE RECENT VICTORIES GREATLY VALUE SPIRIT ANIMATING ENTIRE BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY CHERISH BRIGHTEST HOPES FERVENTLY SUPPLICATING RAPID CONSOLIDATION HOME FRONT ESSENTIAL PRELUDE UNPRECEDENTED EXPANSION GLORIOUS MISSION BRITISH FOLLOWERS FAITH Bahá'u'lláh FOREIGN FIELDS DEEPEST LOVE.SHOGHI
The beloved Guardian has instructed me to write about the ... situation raised in one of your recent letters....
It is inconceivable and wholly inadmissible that any Bahá'ís in a community should be permitted to hold a Feast in their home and refuse admission to another believer; and your Assembly should write accordingly in very strong terms to the ... Assembly, pointing out that the Guardian is not only surprised to learn of this situation, but disapproves of it in the strongest terms.
Any Bahá'í may attend a Feast, a local Bahá'í, a Bahá'í from out of town, certainly an isolated Bahá'í from the neighbourhood.
It is the duty of the ... Assembly to take strong measures to remedy this situation, and to ensure that the Feasts are held in a place and in a manner that conforms to the Bahá'í spirit....7 June 1957 (Shetland Summer School)
DELIGHTED HISTORIC GATHERING ASSURE FERVENT PRAYERS UNPRECEDENTED EXPANSION ACTIVITIES.SHOGHI
Your communications with their enclosures and material sent under separate cover have all arrived safely, and the belovedPage 381
Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf and to acknowledge receipt of your letters dated: July 24, 27 and 31, August 24, 27, and 30, September 7, 26, 27, and 28, October 5, 13 (signed by all members), and 15, November 5 (signed by Dorothy Ferraby), and 28 (three), and December 14, 18, 27, and 28, 1956, and January 8, 16, 20 (one undated), and 22nd, February 4, 6, 8, 11, 19, 21, 23, and 27, March 7, 8, 13, and 18 (two), May 6, 9, 21, (two), June 3, 11, 14, 19 and 25, July 12, 16, (two), 19, 21, 26, and August 2, and 5 signed by Ernest Gregory+.
As a number of questions raised in your letters have been answered by cable or through the National Assembly Secretary, I will not go into those again here.
He was interested to see the Tablets which Dr. Moayad located in Cambridge, and appreciated having copies of them.
It has been a great pleasure to have had so many members of the British Bahá'í community here last winter and spring as pilgrims.
He is immensely proud of the work which has been accomplished during the last year, of the remarkable spirit of dedication which animates the entire community, and which invariably produces, at an hour of crisis, a strong and healthy reaction on the part of the community to rush reinforcements to its weak Assemblies, when they are in danger of dissolution.
He realises that the enforcement of the general rule that an Assembly must function within civic limits has caused considerable havoc in Britain, as well as other countries. However, it enables the friends, through splitting up into smaller communities, to have before their eyes the appetising prospect of forming yet another Spiritual Assembly, all on their own, so to speak. It gives more believers the opportunity to serve on these Administrative Bodies, challenges the teaching activities of them all, and stimulates them to fresh efforts in the hope of early victory.
The news of the success of your Convention this year; the fact that the community was able to manoeuvre its finances into a position of equilibrium, a position, incidentally, which it should make every effort to maintain; the large number of friends who attended the beautiful memorial meeting held for the dear Hand of the Cause, George Townshend, also pleased and encouraged our beloved Guardian.Page 382
He was pleased to hear from Rhodesia of the incorporation of the Salisbury Assembly, which seems to be in the nature of a foundation for the future incorporation of all Spiritual Assemblies throughout the Rhodesias. This is yet another valuable service which your Assembly has been instrumental in rendering the Faith in Africa.
He thanks your Assembly for the coloured photographs of the Hazíratu'l-Quds and also for the film of the Summer School which you sent him. He was very pleased also to receive copies of the Irish pamphlets, and hopes the Gaelic translation will soon be out.
As regards your question about printing in books the approval of the National Assembly, he thinks that, if in certain circumstances this seems inadvisable, there is no objection to omitting it. The approval of the National Body should be sought for all Bahá'í publications, so as to protect the Faith from unofficially disseminating information which may in some respects be false or inaccurate. Once this has been done, it is not so essential for the fact to appear in the book, if it will mitigate the effects of the book and decrease its sales....
The death of the Hand of the Cause, George Townshend, is a great loss to the British community as it not only deprives them of their most distinguished member, their unique Hand, but also of a most inspiring and faithful co-worker and a distinguished Bahá'í author. His latest book has been read with great interest by the Guardian, and he hopes your Assembly is ensuring its wide distribution to various religious leaders in Britain. If opposition to the Faith can be aroused through this book, it will be the greatest service that dear George Townshend has ever rendered. It was always his hope that, through his pen, sparks would fly and begin the conflagration in whose light the Faith would shine forth in all its splendour. Let us hope that this last service of his will indeed prove to be the vital spark setting off this process of opposition which will inevitably lead to a wide recognition and acceptance of the Faith.
The Guardian hopes that during the present year the home Assemblies will not only be maintained and groups prepared for assembly status next Ridvan, but that it will be possible to reinforce the work in the islands off the shores of the British Isles. The sooner a nucleus of local people is established in these goalPage 383
places the sooner will the pioneers be able to move on to new fields and to lend their assistance to the teaching work either on the Home Front or in the Pacific area.
Please assure the dear pioneers that he greatly admires their steadfastness of purpose, their self-sacrifice and their exemplary spirit, and that he particularly prays for them in the Holy Shrines.
As regards the future work in the Pacific: It is entirely premature at this time for your Assembly to think about the work there. The Home Front and the work in the neighbouring islands around Great Britain, as well as those allotted under the Ten Year Plan to your Assembly in the Mediterranean, must receive the concentrated attention of your Body, its Committees and the believers. When the time comes to become active in the Pacific area, you may be sure he will let you know!
He feels that the urgent need now is to get out "Some Answered Questions", which is one of the most important books for a proper study of the Faith. When this has been printed, the next publication of the Master's Works can be considered....
As to your question about the words used in the marriage ceremony; the two versions mean practically the same thing, and either may be used.+F1
It is most regrettable that the Caravan should have gotten hold of ...; if this situation is stirred up too much it will only enable Ahmad Sohrab to make a big fuss and get more publicity. In view of this the Guardian feels your Assembly should be watchful and seek out, if possible, a suitable person and a suitable opportunity to call to her attention the facts that the Bahá'í Faith, so widely spread and acknowledged, has nothing to do with the Caravan which is a purely opportunist organisation and so loosely knit together as to have almost no power of influencing people one way or another. To do the wrong thing in a situation such as this would be worse than to do nothing.
He assures you one and all of his loving prayers for your success in all you do for the Faith.[From the Guardian:]
The year that has just elapsed, following upon the swift and____________________
+F1. The two versions are: "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God", and "Verily we are content with the Will of God".Page 384
spectacular success achieved by the firmly grounded, the progressive and alert British Bahá'í community in the heart of the African Continent--a success attested by the triumphant emergence of the Regional Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Central and East Africa--has witnessed a progress throughout the length and breadth of the Homefront, as well as in the northern islands in the neighbourhood of the British Isles, which, though not spectacular, nevertheless testifies to the earnestness, the devotion and the exemplary tenacity with which the members of this community are conducting, in all its aspects, the noble Mission entrusted to their care, and are grappling with the manifold problems involved in its prosecution.
This present and crucial year must be signalised in the annals of British Bahá'í history by a substantial measure of internal administrative consolidation and a noticeable expansion in the all-important teaching field, which will enable the members of this community, now standing on the threshold of a new and brilliant phase in the unfoldment of their Mission in foreign fields, to reinforce and broaden the base of their future operations beyond the confines of their native land.
The splendid work achieved, in such a short space of time, in a field so distant, and amongst a race so alien in its background, outlook and customs, must, if the significance of that Mission is to be properly assessed, be regarded as only a prelude to the series of future campaigns which the privileged members of the British Bahá'í community, residing and firmly rooted in the heart of a far-flung Commonwealth and Empire, will, if faithful to such a Mission, launch, in the years ahead, in the islands of the North Sea and of the Mediterranean, as well as in the remote territories situated in the Pacific area--campaigns which, in their range and significance, must throw into shade the feats performed in the African Continent.
To be enabled to rise to this occasion, to ensure the energetic, the systematic and uninterrupted conduct of so vast and diversified an enterprise, amidst peoples and races fully as promising, and even more remotedly situated, and presenting them with a challenge more severe than any which has faced them in the past, the small band of the ardent, the high minded, the resolute followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, charged by Destiny and by virtue of the enviable position they occupy, with so glorious a responsibility for the future awakening of the great masses, living under the shadow of, or whose governments are directly associated with, the British Crown, must needs in thePage 385
years immediately ahead, acquire greater coherence, increase more rapidly in numbers, definitely emerge from obscurity, plumb greater depths of consecration, enrich its store of administrative experience, become definitely self-supporting, and associate itself more closely, through the body of its elected representatives and its future Hands, with the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies on the European mainland and in all the other continents of the globe, and particularly with the Hands already appointed in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
The sooner these prime requisites, so essential for a further unfoldment of the mighty potentialities inherent in so splendid a Mission, are fulfilled, the sooner will the call be raised for the opening of a new chapter in the history of British Bahá'í achievements overseas.
The rapid multiplication of isolated centres, groups and local assemblies, particularly in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Eire; the incorporation of firmly grounded local spiritual assemblies; a greater measure of publicity; a wider dissemination of Bahá'í literature; a quick and substantial rehabilitation of the vitally important national Fund; a firmer grasp of the essential verities of the Faith; a more profound study of its history and a deeper understanding of the genesis, the significance, the workings, and the present status and achievements of its embryonic World Order and of the Covenant to which it owes its birth and vitality--these remain the rock-bottom requirements which alone can guarantee the opening and hasten the advent, of that blissful era which every British Bahá'í heart so eagerly anticipates, and the glories of which can, at present, be but dimly discerned.
Now, of a certainty, is not the time for the members of this gallant band, so thinly spread over the length and breadth of its island home, and reaching out, so laboriously yet so determinedly to the inhospitable islands fringing its northern and western coasts, to dwell, however tentatively, on the nature of the tantalising task awaiting them in the not distant future, or to seek to probe into its mysterious, divinely guided operation. Theirs is the duty to plod on, however tedious the nature of the work demanding their immediate attention, however formidable the obstacles involved in its proper execution, however prolonged the effort which its success necessitates, until the signs of its ultimate consummation, heralding the launching of what is sure to be the most spectacular phase of their Mission, are clearly discerned.
A responsibility, at once colossal, sacred and highly challenging,Page 386
faces not only the body of the elected representatives of this community, but each and every one of its members. As the world spiritual Crusade, to the successful prosecution of which the British followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have, singly and collectively, so markedly contributed, approaches its mid-point, the evidences of this indispensable quickening of the tempo of Bahá'í activity all over the British Isles and the islands situated in their neighbourhood and far beyond their confines, must become more manifest and rapidly multiply. The admiration and esteem in which a community, relatively small in numbers, strictly limited in resources, yet capable of such solid and enduring achievements, is held by its sister and daughter communities in every continent of the globe, far from declining must be further enhanced. The historic process originated as far back as the year which witnessed the formulation of the Six Year Plan on the occasion of the Centenary of the Declaration of the Báb in Shíráz, which gathered momentum, as a result of the inauguration of the Two Year Plan which followed the Centenary of the Báb's Martyrdom in Tabriz, which received a tremendous impetus, in consequence of the launching of the Ten Year Crusade, commemorating the centenary celebrations of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Mission in Tihrán--such a process must, as the centenary celebrations designed to commemorate the Declaration of that same Mission in Baghdád approaches, be so markedly accelerated, and yield such a harvest, as will astonish the entire Bahá'í world, and give the signal for the inauguration, by those who have so spontaneously set this process in motion, more than a decade ago, of a blissful era designed to carry the chief builders of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Order, throughout the unnumbered, the diversified and widely scattered Dependencies of the British Crown, to still greater heights of achievements in the service and for the glory of His Faith.
May they, as they forge ahead along the high road leading to ultimate, total and complete victory, receive as their daily sustenance, a still fuller measure of the abounding grace, promised to the believers of an earlier generation by the Centre of the Covenant, the Author of the Divine Plan, Himself, on the occasion of His twice-repeated visit to their shores, and which has been unfailingly vouchsafed to themselves, in the course of over three decades, since the birth of the Formative Age of the Faith and the rise of its Administrative Order in their homeland.Shoghi
On behalf of our beloved Guardian I acknowledge with thanks the receipt of your letter of 17th August enclosing the minutes of the meeting of the British N.S.A. held at the Summer School on August 8th....14 September 1957
WELCOME DETERMINATION ASSEMBLED FRIENDS SUMMER SCHOOL PRAYING FERVENTLY FRIENDS ATTAIN GOALS SCALE NOBLER HEIGHTS PATH SERVICE CAUSE Bahá'u'lláh.SHOGHI
In "The Voice of Youth" for July, page ten, there is an article by David Solomon in which he quotes some very significant passages from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Guardian would like to have the exact source of these passages, and the quotations in the paragraphs in which they occur, written out in full....11 October 1957+F1
CONFIDENT BRITISH COMMUNITY RICHLY DESERVES NEW HONOUR.SHOGHI
+F1. Sent in reply to a cable expressing gratitude for the appointment of two British Hands of the Cause of God.Page 388
The Assemblies are listed in alphabetical order but their letters are chronologically arranged.Belfast
To the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of BelfastDear Bahá'í Friends,
Your letter of April 12th, conveying such heartening news, was received by our beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He feels your Assembly, a hard-won prize, and occupying an important position as representative of the Faith in Northern Ireland, is one of the key assemblies in the British Isles, and he is immensely proud of your achievement in at last forming it.
You may be sure he will pray for your protection and success in the Holy Shrines, and that your numbers may increase in Belfast and your ship weather every storm triumphantly!With loving greetings,
May the Almighty bless sustain and guide you in your meritorious activities, remove every obstacle from your path and enable you to win still greater victories in the service of His glorious Faith.Your true and grateful brother,
Your message of Oct. 21st reached our beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer it on his behalf.
Now that you are six there (judging by your signatures), a mere three is required to enable you to reach your Goal and have your Assembly next April.
You may be sure that he will supplicate in the Holy Shrines that these three may be speedily found and the Assembly safely established in accordance with the present Plan.Page 392
He assures you that your devotion and services are very deeply appreciated.With loving greetings,
May the Almighty bless your high endeavours, reward you abundantly for your historic accomplishments, guide your steps, and aid you to extend continually the range of your highly valued activities.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter of April 21st reached our beloved Guardian after a long delay, and he has instructed me to answer it on his behalf.
The formation of your Assembly, in the face of so many difficulties, was indeed a noble achievement, and serves to prove that our struggles as individuals, often handicapped by the sense of our own inadequacy, are reinforced by the grace of Bahá'u'lláh, Who enables us to achieve the seemingly impossible!
He urges you all to persevere in maintaining your Assembly, which forms one of the vital links in the Bahá'í chain, which will soon gird the British Isles, never to lose heart, and to redouble your teaching labours so as to ensure a broader foundation next year for your Assembly's election and thus guarantee its permanency.
His prayers will be offered for you, one and all, for your success and guidance.With Bahá'í Love,
I was so pleased and grateful to receive your message, and I wish to assure you all of my loving and fervent prayers for the progress of your historic work, the extension of your activities and the realisation of every hope you cherish for the promotion of our beloved Faith. May the Almighty watch over you, sustain you in your valued endeavours,Page 393
and aid you to render memorable services to His Faith and its institutions.Your true and grateful brother,
Your welcome letter to our beloved Guardian dated Oct. 16th, has been received, and he has instructed me to answer it on his behalf.
He is well aware of the very real sacrifices you have made, and are making to establish the Cause in Wales, and he wants you to know he admires your courage and determination, and most deeply values the dedicated spirit which animates you.
The news of your first public meeting was good news indeed, and he feels sure your perseverance and the strong backing which you are receiving from the N.S.A. and the Teaching Committee, will crown your efforts with the success you so richly deserve.
His loving prayers will be offered for the speedy realisation of your hopes, and he urges you to persevere, conscious of the historical importance of what you are doing, and of how important your work is to the progress of the Plan in the British Isles.With warmest greetings to you all,
I wish to add a few words in person and assure every one of you of my deep admiration of the spirit you manifest, the services you render, and the determination with which you are initiating the great historic teaching enterprise in Wales.
You are, I assure you, often in my thoughts and prayers, and I will supplicate the Beloved to bless continually your high and meritorious endeavours.Your true and grateful brother,
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Cardiff, WalesDear Bahá'í Friends,
Your letter to our beloved Guardian of April 21st was received, after a long delay, and he was most happy to hear of the formation of your Assembly.
With an Assembly in Cardiff, in Edinburgh, and Dublin, the representative character of the Faith in the British Isles is fully established and the National body greatly re-inforced.
He fully realises the difficulties which have attended your work there, and which makes your victory all the more praiseworthy and precious. He urges you to now courageously persevere in your work and ensure that Cardiff has, by next April, a stable membership from which to call on for the Spiritual Assembly's maintenance.
You may be sure that he will assist you with his prayers, and pray that each and every one of you may be protected and assisted in your devoted services to the Faith.With warm greetings,
The formation of the first Bahá'í Spiritual Assembly in Wales is an event of great historical significance. I congratulate you on this splendid achievement which, I trust, will be a prelude to still greater victories in the service of our glorious Faith. I will supplicate on your behalf, the blessings of Bahá'u'lláh, that your work may prosper, your plans bear abundant fruit, and your hopes realised for the propagation of the Faith and the establishment of its nascent institutions.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter of January 20th has been received, and our beloved Guardian was simply delighted to get the Welsh pamphlet, he
Page 395 wants twenty-five copies of it sent to him for distribution amongst various Bahá'í libraries here, and for our surplus stock. This booklet in their own language will do much to convince sincere Welsh truth-seekers of the respect and consideration with which we Bahá'ís approach all minorities, also of our devout desire to share with such a talented race the glory of Bahá'u'lláh's message.
He hopes there will be many new Welsh believers in the coming years, and he assures you all of his loving prayers for the success of your devoted efforts.With Bahá'í love,
I was so pleased and grateful to receive your welcome letter, and the first fruit of your services and high endeavours for the promotion of our beloved Faith.
I feel proud of the spirit that animates you, and will supplicate the Beloved to bless, and sustain and guide you, and enable you to extend continually the range of your achievements. Persevere, and rest assured.Your true brother,
Your letter of July 18th with enclosure has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He is delighted with the way the work is progressing in Cardiff, and that there are now nine believers living there.
He particularly values the instant decision made during the Convention, and consequent action taken, by Dr. Miller+ in leaving an excellent medical practice in Liverpool, to settle in Cardiff, with all it entailed of sacrifice in being separated from his wife, and in being obliged to accept a junior post in a hospital at Cardiff. It is qualities such as these, which the pioneer carriesPage 396
to his new post, which attract a reinforcing power from on High, and enable him to create in the hearts of those who meet him a longing to have what he possesses, and ignite in these new hearts the flame of the love of Bahá'u'lláh.
The Guardian feels sure his non-Bahá'í wife will likewise receive a blessing for her part in this sacrifice, which helped to make this move possible.
He is deeply appreciative of the Welsh translation; and is confident it will prove to be of great assistance in the promotion of the Teachings in Wales.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
May the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh guide you and your fellow-members, and enable you, in the days to come, to reinforce the foundation that has been laid, and to extend the range of your highly meritorious exertions and accomplishments,Your true brother,
Your letter of December 29th was received, and the beloved Guardian was very happy indeed to hear that the week-end school had been a success.
He is delighted to see that the Faith is progressing in Wales, and he feels sure that the Welsh people will not only respond to the Message if given opportunity, but contribute to the Faith a distinctive share of their own, when they arise in its service.
He hopes that there will indeed be Welsh Summer Schools in the future.Assuring you of his loving prayers,
May the Almighty bless, guide, and sustain you and your dear co-workers in your constant and highly meritorious activities, removePage 397
every obstacle from your path, and enable you to enrich the record of your deeply appreciated services to His Faith and its institutions.Your true brother,
To the believers who were present in Dublin at the 19 Day Feast of KamalDear Bahá'í Friends,
Our beloved Guardian was very happy to receive your message and to see that the Cause is now gaining a firm footing in Eire.
He is particularly happy to welcome Mrs. Coleman into the Faith as the first new Bahá'í in Dublin, and he hopes that ere long you will be able to establish the first historic spiritual Assembly in that city.
The Irish are tenacious in their religious beliefs, and once convinced of the truth and significance of our glorious Faith should make ardent and devoted Bahá'ís.
He assures you all of his loving prayers for the success of your devoted labours.With warmest greetings,
Your joint message rejoiced my heart. I cherish great hopes for the future of the work so splendidly initiated in that historic island. I will pray from the depths of my heart for the extension and consolidation of your meritorious activities to which I attach the utmost importance. Persevere in your glorious task, and rest assured that the Beloved, Who is watching over you, will bless your high endeavours and fulfil your dearest hopes.Your true and grateful brother,
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Dublin, EireDear Bahá'í Friends,
Our beloved Guardian was very delighted to receive your communication of April 21st, written to him from your newly elected body.
He was particularly pleased to read the signatures of three members of the Townshend family, as Mr. Townshend and his wife have truly sacrificed in order to stand forward as declared and active Bahá'ís and assist in the formation of this historic Assembly.
The task facing you is great, but very exhilarating. Eire lies before you, your territory, of which you are the Mother Assembly, and however difficult your conquest may be, it is a challenging and wonderful service you are called upon to render.
The Irish people, with their deep religious instinct, although they may be at first difficult to convert, once convinced of the truth, will make staunch believers and will, he hopes, convey this Faith, with all its promise and healing power, to other countries in the course of time.
He assures you his prayers are with you, for your progress and your success in every field of Bahá'í service.With loving greetings,
P.S. The delay in answering your letter was due to the long time it took to reach Haifa.[From the Guardian:]
The work achieved in Dublin during the last few months, culminating in the formation of the first Spiritual Assembly in Ireland, is indeed highly praiseworthy. Such a consummation is an event that will adorn the annals of the Faith, and is in itself a prelude to still greater victories in the days to come. I truly feel proud of the British and Irish believers who have collaborated so devotedly and strenuously, and won so conspicuous a victory. I will fervently supplicate on their behalf, and will await eagerly the news of the progress of their historic achievements.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter of January 2nd was received, through the kindness of Mr. Gregory, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf. He will certainly pray in the Holy Shrines that you may succeed in attaining your objective; but, even should you fail to establish a spiritual assembly by April, you must not feel discouraged, because it is much more important to have a solid foundation in the beginning than to meet a date line--welcome as the assembly would be!
He admires very much the spirit animating you, and hopes that a flourishing community will develop there.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
May the Beloved bless your efforts, guide your steps, aid you to extend the scope of your activities, and win great victories in the service of His glorious Faith,Your true brother,
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of EdinburghDear Bahá'í Friends,
Our beloved Guardian was very happy indeed to receive your letter to him dated April 21st--which has taken a long time to reach him, as you can see--and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
The formation of the first Assembly of the Faith in Scotland is a great and promising achievement. He has a profound admiration for the characteristics of the Scots; their deep religious feelings, their frank, open and friendly nature, their tenacity and abilities will enable them to greatly enrich the FaithPage 400
in the British Isles, and, he hopes, later in the pioneer fields abroad.
He trusts that your Assembly, and especially those members of it who are natives of Scotland, will soon succeed in attracting many more serious minded truth-seekers to the Faith there. Now Edinburgh has become the mother Assembly of Scotland, and must, by its example, set the pace, and assist in the development of all future Scottish Bahá'í Assemblies.
He assures you all he will pray for your success, for your unity, and that Bahá'u'lláh may guide you all in administering the affairs of His Cause in that city.
He was particularly interested to hear that one of the new believers had met 'Abdu'l-Bahá on His visit to Edinburgh many years ago.With loving greetings,
Your welcome message brought deep joy to my heart and filled me with gratitude for this latest evidence of the all-conquering power of Bahá'u'lláh, as well as for the magnificent efforts exerted by British believers in that historic and ancient city. I will, I assure you, pray from the depths of my heart for your success, the increase of your numbers, the multiplication of your activities, and the consolidation of your achievements. Persevere in your meritorious endeavours, and rest assured that the Beloved will watch over you and crown your high endeavours with signal success.Your true and grateful brother,
The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of EdinburghDear Bahá'í Friends:
As our beloved Guardian is at present very pressed for time in connection with the tremendous amount of work the building of the Shrine entails at this juncture, I am answering your loving Naw-Ruz Message very briefly on his behalf.
You may be sure the work in Edinburgh is very dear to hisPage 401
heart and he will continue to pray for its advancement, and for each and every one of you, in the Holy Shrines.With warmest greetings,
May the Almighty bless, continually and abundantly, your high endeavours, aid you to add to your numbers, deepen your understanding of the essentials of His Faith, extend the range of your activities, consolidate your achievements, and win great and memorable victories for its institutions,Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter dated 5.7.50 has been received, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer it on his behalf.
The progress being made in spreading the Faith in Scotland pleases him immensely, and he feels the Cause will find many exemplary and wonderful servants among the Scotch people. They may be slow to be convinced, but once they embrace a thing they do so with full conviction and great determination to serve their belief.
He will pray that your assembly may confirm many new souls, and thus gradually free the devoted pioneers, who went there to teach, for services in new and maybe distant fields.
You may be sure he deeply appreciates all you have done.With loving greetings,
I was so pleased and grateful to receive your most welcome message, and I profoundly appreciate the noble sentiments you have expressed. I wish to assure you that I will pray for your success from the depths of my heart, that the Beloved may guide your steps, bless your high endeavours, and enable you to lend a tremendous impetus to the spread of the Faith in Scotland.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter of February 20th has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
The Guardian was very happy to learn of your coming County Teaching Conference. He has been very happy over the large number of pioneers who have arisen in the British Isles and have gone to new territories, both in the British Isles and in foreign lands, and he considers this a fine record.
He hopes your deliberations will produce a still greater effort on the part of all the friends to implant more deeply and scatter more widely the seeds of the Faith, which are so greatly needed everywhere.
The Guardian assures you of his loving prayers for the abundant success of your endeavours.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
May the Beloved bless, guide and sustain you, and enable you to promote the vital interests of His Faith,Your true brother,
Your letter dated May 7 was received, and our beloved Guardian rejoiced over the news of the formation of your Assembly. He would have answered you sooner had he not been so overpowered with not only the work connected with the arcade of the Shrine's completion, but also anxiety caused by the long and serious illness of Mr. Maxwell, its architect.
He trusts your Assembly will enlarge its community during this year, and thus strengthen its foundations and ensure its future activities.Page 403
The victory won in the British Isles filled his heart with pride, and encourages him to believe a brilliant future lies ahead of the community there.With warmest greetings,
Your most welcome message cheered my heart, and I wish to assure you in person of my sincere and profound admiration for the spirit that animates you in your activities, as well as of my ardent prayers for you, that the Beloved may guide and sustain you always, and enable you to win great and memorable victories for His Faith and its infant institutions.Your true brother,
To the believers who were present at the Feast of Sultan in London Centre, January 1952Dear Bahá'í Friends:
The beloved Guardian was very happy to see that so many of you had gathered together and united in sending your love to him, with the first believer to come from England since the door of pilgrimage has been open.
He will remember you all in his loving prayers in the Shrines, and urges you to devote as much of your time individually as possible to the promotion of the goals of your present Plan.With warmest Bahá'í greetings,
May the Almighty guide and sustain you in your high endeavours, bless and protect you always, aid you to extend the range of your valued activities, and win memorable victories in the service of His glorious Faith,Your true brother,
I am directed by our Guardian to thank you for your welcome letter of January 11th.
He has been very pleased to learn of the more rapid progress of the Cause in Manchester and of a greater measure of unity among the friends. He is glad that Mr. Hall is taking this initiative and he sincerely trusts that you will all persevere in your endeavours, will keep dear the necessity for harmony and unity and thus make your group a progressive, enthusiastic and worthy Bahá'í centre in England. He appreciated your efforts and that of all friends in Manchester. He wishes you please to convey to them an expression of his heartfelt love and good wishes.With best regards,
I am delighted with the news you give me. The friends in Manchester occupy a warm and abiding place in my heart. The fragrant memory of my visit to them is still fresh and vivid in my mind. I will continue to supplicate at the Beloved's Shrine for each one of them the Almighty's richest blessings, that they may be guided and strengthened to render in the days to come inestimable services to the sacred Threshold.With my best wishes to your dear relatives,
Shoghi Effendi was greatly pleased to receive your kind letter of June 24th, 1932, and he has requested me to address you thesePage 405
few lines expressing his heartfelt appreciation of the precious and most valuable steps taken by our Manchester friends towards a greater extension and consolidation of the Cause.
The Guardian was specially glad to hear that you have established a new Bahá'í Centre and he fervently hopes that as a result of this new move the interests of the Faith will be promoted and its teachings will succeed in confirming some new souls.
The precious efforts so continuously exerted by our Manchester Bahá'ís and particularly by our beloved Mr. Hall and Mr. Sugar will undoubtedly yield their fruits in a not very distant future. But the friends should persevere in their task and not let any obstacle, however great, hinder their onward march. In these days of sufferings and hardships, patience and hope are indispensable for the success of any idea or plan.
In closing may I assure you of our Guardian's best wishes and ask you to extend to all our Manchester Bahá'ís the expression of his heartfelt thanks and appreciation.Yours in His Service,
May the Beloved bless your high and unsparing efforts, enable you to extend the scope of your activities, and consolidate the foundations of the Faith in that great city.Your true brother,
Your letter has been received, dated June 6th, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He feels that the questions of ... could be answered by a better understanding of the teachings--however, for the sake of his sincere services to the Faith, he will answer them here:
(1) Christ received the kiss of Judas, in fact He said one of His disciples would betray Him. It is not a question of these HolyPage 406
Souls seeing the future, but of what, in Their wisdom, They deem it necessary to accept in the Path of sacrifice. If we are going to question the wisdom of the Prophets we can question God's Wisdom too, and the advisability of the whole system we live in.
(2) Nabil's suicide was not insanity but love. He loved Bahá'u'lláh too much to go on in a world that no longer held Him.
(3) The "sacrifice" of goats has nothing to do with the Faith. Bahá'u'lláh was surrounded by Muslim admirers and friends, and they merely followed the custom of their people on such an occasion, when many hundreds gathered to console His bereaved family.
(4) We cannot, not knowing the factors Bahá'u'lláh weighed in His own mind, judge of the wisdom of His withdrawal to Kurdistan. But, studying His life and teachings, we should see in it an act of wisdom, and not superficially measure Him by our standards.
(5) Love is certainly the attribute we associate par excellence with our Maker. But has He no justice and does not justice fall on the back of the evil doer as a scourge?
(6) This question seems to imply a lack of understanding of love. There is very little Divine love in the world to-day, but a great deal of intellectual reasoning, which is an entirely different thing, and springs from the mind and not the heart. The Martyrs--most of them died because of their love for the Báb, for Bahá'u'lláh, and through Them for God. The veil between the inner and outer world was very thin, and to tear it, and be free to be near the Beloved, was very sweet. But it takes love, not reason to understand these things. We must also remember the Martyrs were called upon to deny their faith or die, as men of principle they preferred to die.
(7) Bahá'u'lláh's claims are much greater because humanity is more mature and can afford to hear them. But He draws on the same Source that was accessible to all the Prophets, it is we who can now receive more.
(8) The Guardian feels ... should study more deeply the teachings, and meditate on what he studies. We liken God to the Sun, which gives us all our life. So the Spirit of God reaches us through the Souls of the Manifestations. We must learn toPage 407
commune with Their Souls, and this is what the Martyrs seemed to have done, and what brought them such ecstacy of joy that life became nothing. This is the true mysticism, and the secret, inner meaning of life which humanity has at present, drifted so far from.
The Guardian will pray that this dear friend may deepen his understanding and arise and become a wonderful teacher of the Faith.
He will also pray for the progress of the work in Manchester and the success of your devoted labours.With Bahá'í love,
May the Almighty bless your efforts, guide and sustain you in your activities, and enable you to promote effectively the best interests of His Faith.Your true brother,
Our beloved Guardian thanks you not only for the good news you conveyed to him in your letter of January 6th, but for the spirit which prompted you to share it with him.
He admires greatly the services of your community and the unity amongst you, which no doubt is largely responsible for your success.
He will join his prayers to yours for the success of the labours of your two latest pioneering members.With Bahá'í love,
I feel truly proud of your notable services, and I wish to assure you of my profound appreciation of your labours, of my loving prayers for the progress of your meritorious activities, and the realisation of everyPage 408
hope you cherish in the service of our beloved Faith and of its nascent institutions.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter of August 2nd has been received and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was very pleased to see that you are girding up your loins to do your utmost for the Plan in the critical months that lie ahead.
Nothing will further your ends more quickly than the greatest love, unity and co-operation amongst yourselves. These are the very soul of the order Bahá'u'lláh has come to establish in the world and when the people see these qualities and characteristics actively demonstrated in our midst, those who are receptive will hasten to join our ranks. Likewise when they see the lack of these virtues they will hesitate to embrace the Faith however much they may admire its teachings.
He will certainly pray that your Assembly may be maintained, your numbers increase, and your devotion be rewarded.With Bahá'í love,
I was pleased to hear from you and receive the assurance of your love, your devotion to the interests of our beloved Faith and your determination to serve its best interests.
I will pray from the depths of my heart on your behalf, that the Almighty may bless and sustain you and enable you to win memorable victories for His Faith.Your true brother,
Your letter of July 29th with enclosures has been received, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was most happy to receive the July Jarrold Magazine and to see the article on the Faith; and also to learn from the copy of your News Letter of the activities of the believers in that locality.
The Guardian greatly appreciates the spirit animating the friends there in the service of the Cause. He sends you all his loving greetings, and assures you of his prayers for the success of your devoted labours.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
Assuring you of my abiding admiration of your devoted and constant endeavours for the promotion of our beloved Faith, and of my fervent prayers for the realisation of every hope you cherish for its promotion,Your true brother,
Your letter, dated February 16th, was received and read by our beloved Guardian with great joy, and he has instructed me to answer it on his behalf.
The news of your group having reached Assembly status was a source of deep satisfaction to him, and demonstrates what the friends can do, once they put their shoulder to the wheel!
You have every reason to feel proud of your achievement, and he hopes you will, through your correspondence and contacts with your fellow believers, encourage them to follow your example and forge ahead, in spite of every obstacle, with determination, confident that once we do our part, God is never failing in His.Page 410
He hopes your numbers will steadily increase and that many young people will be attracted to the Faith, as the part they have to play is very great and, also, their need of the Faith very great.
You may be sure his loving prayers will be offered for you, and for the success of your labours, in the Holy Shrines.With Bahá'í love,
May the Beloved bless your efforts in the service of our beloved Faith, and you to deepen your knowledge of the essentials of His World Order, to increase your numbers, to extend the scope of your activities, and to fulfil every desire you cherish for its promotion and consolidation.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter to our beloved Guardian, dated May 4, has been received, and he deeply appreciates your message of devotion and affection.
His burden is indeed a heavy one, and after so many years of continuous responsibility he often feels very tired. But when he sees the loyalty of the friends and their steadfast perseverance in their tasks his heart is lightened and he feels greatly encouraged.
It is much easier to work when you see results being obtained under your very eyes, and, although in many ways his service to the Faith has been lonelier and more complicated than that of the beloved Master, yet he has had the great blessing of seeing the Cause spread out all over the world and greatly expand in many countries--such as England, India, the United State, etc.--as it never did in the days of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who worked so unremittingly towards this end, and Who planted what we now reap.
He feels the British believers can and will--indeed must-- succeed in their Plan, and his thoughts and prayers are with them very often.With Bahá'í love,
Your message cheered my heart, and I wish to assure you that I greatly value your noble sentiments, and will supplicate the Beloved to bless your efforts, guide every step you take in the path of service, enable you to extend continually the range of your activities, and consolidate the work you have so splendidly inaugurated, and are so devotedly prosecuting in the service of this glorious Faith,Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter of September 14 with enclosure was received, and the beloved Guardian thanks you for it.
He was pleased to see the enterprising spirit shown by Mr. Semple+, and hopes his classes will produce many new contacts.
The progress made in Oxford is heartening, and he trusts still greater progress lies ahead.With loving Bahá'í greetings,
May the Almighty abundantly reward you for your patient and splendid labours, sustain and guide you at all times and under all circumstances, enable you to extend the range of your meritorious activities, and aid you to consolidate your notable and indeed historic achievements,Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter of December 14th has been received; and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.Page 412
He was very pleased to hear of the progress being made; and that it has been possible to give the Message to some of the "undergrads". It is most important that the Faith should be conveyed with a sense of dignity at so important a university as Oxford; and better that the work should go forward slowly than that any mistakes should be made.
He assures you all that he deeply appreciates your devoted labours; and he hopes that you will fulfill your objective of increasing the number of believers there.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
May the Beloved, whose Cause you are serving with such fidelity, ability and devotion, reward you abundantly for your meritorious labours, guide every step you take, and enable you to lay a firm and unassailable foundation for the future institutions of His Faith in that historic and promising City.Your true and grateful brother,
Your letter of December 10th has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was very happy to see that you have held another meeting in Manchester College, and hopes that the attracted ones who attended may become real students of the Faith, and eventually join its ranks.
The poem by Miss Masefield was much appreciated by the Guardian. Please assure Miss Masefield that he liked it very much, and will consider using it for a future volume of "Bahá'í World". The only thing that he saw that seemed to need correction was that the word "Abhá", was spelled "Abba" instead of "Abhá".
He hopes that Miss Masefield, through the friendship andPage 413
wise association of the members of your Group with her, will feel moved to declare herself an active member of the Faith. He will pray that this may come about.
The Guardian will also pray for the success of the devoted labours of the believers in Oxford.With warm Bahá'í love,
May the Almighty guide and sustain you always, remove all obstacles from your path, and enable you to win great and memorable victories in the service of His Faith,Your true brother,
Your letter of January 16th with enclosure has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He thanks you very much for the expression of your sympathy, and for the newspaper clipping you enclosed.
It has indeed been a great loss to the work of the Faith, to lose such a valiant, constant and distinguished Hand as dear Dorothy Baker. It will leave a gap in the pioneer field, as well. No doubt her noble spirit will be able to assist and inspire from on high, and this must be the consolation of all her friends and admirers.
He trusts the work in Oxford is progressing steadily; and he assures you all of his loving prayers in your behalf.With warmest Bahá'í greetings,
May the Almighty bless your meritorious efforts, guide and sustain you in your activities, and enable you to win great victories in the service of His Faith,Your true brother,
Your letter of April 9th has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
Mrs. Winsten invited the Guardian if possible to view in person her portrait of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Needless to say, he thanked her for her kind invitation, but informed her this would be quite out of the question.
He is very pleased to hear that she has consented to forwarding a photograph through acquaintances of hers, and he will be very interested to see it. He will let you know if he considers the likeness sufficiently good to warrant any of the Bahá'ís purchasing it. It is a pity to own portraits of 'Abdu'l-Bahá which do not in any way resemble Him.
Some time ago you asked him to send you a copy of the description which Miss Campbell+ brought to Haifa of how the artist made this drawing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Unfortunately this has been mislaid, and it is not possible for the Guardian to send you a copy. However, the original you may be sure is safe in his papers.
He is very happy to hear of the progress of the Cause in Oxford, such a very important centre from every standpoint. He assures you all of his loving prayers for the progress of your activities, and for each and all of you.With warmest Bahá'í greetings,
Assuring you of my loving prayers for you all, and for the success of your efforts for the promotion of our beloved Faith,Your true brother,
Your letter of November 30th with enclosure has beenPage 415
received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
The news of the opening of the Oxford Bahá'ís' first Centre rejoiced his heart. He was particularly happy to know that this project was consummated and the Centre furnished and made ready for use almost entirely through the united efforts and devotion of the believers themselves.
As you know, the Guardian attaches great importance to Oxford. Now that the friends have a Centre, which in itself will be a means of attracting seeking souls to them to learn of the Faith; and also the Bahá'ís have made for themselves a teaching plan, he feels confident that the work will go forward there with great strides, and that your community will grow in numbers and in strength.
He will remember you all in his loving prayers in the Holy Shrines.With loving Bahá'í greetings,
May the Almighty bless continually your highly meritorious efforts, and enable you to win great and memorable victories in the service of His Faith,Your true brother,
Your letter of February 13th with enclosures has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He is hoping that the fact that the believers now have their own Centre in Oxford will greatly stimulate the work there, and cause the more rapid expansion of the Faith in this difficult town.
The work done among the University students should be steadily pursued. Perhaps before long some among their number may determine to accept the Faith and arise whole-heartedly to serve it.Page 416
The Guardian assures you all of his loving prayers, and sends his greetings.
With warm Bahá'í love, P.S. It is not necessary to send a detailed account of the funeral of Mrs. Langdon-Davies. A short biographical account of her life should be sent by the N.S.A. for "Bahá'í World".[From the Guardian:]
May the Almighty bless, guide and sustain you, and enable you to achieve memorable victories in the service of our beloved Faith,Your true brother,
Your letter of February 27th with enclosure has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He appreciates your thoughtfulness in sending to him the photostatic copy of Canon Cheyne's letter to John Craven+, in which he declared himself a Bahá'í, and is happy to have it.
He wishes you all a very happy New Year, and great success in your teaching activities during the coming year.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
Assuring you of my loving, my continued and fervent prayers for your success in the service of our beloved Faith and of its nascent institutions,Your true brother,
HEARTFELT CONGRATULATIONS HISTORIC VICTORY ARDENT LOVING PRAYERS SURROUNDING YOUR NOBLE MISSION.SHOGHI
APPRECIATE MESSAGE LOVING REMEMBRANCE SHRINES SUPPLICATING MANIFOLD BLESSINGS.SHOGHI
OVERJOYED NOTABLE INITIAL VICTORY INTRODUCTION FAITH UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATE CIRCLES ASSURE YOUNGEST PROMISING BELIEVER ARDENT PRAYERS CONCENTRATE CONSOLIDATION ACHIEVEMENT.SHOGHI
Your letter of August 23rd has been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was happy to learn of the spirit of active service which animates the friends in that city, and of the practical way you are approaching the teaching work.
Through love and unity among the believers, and the wise and persistent efforts of all the Bahá'ís, great results should be forthcoming.
He will certainly pray for the progress of the Faith there, and for the enrollment of a number of newly-declared believers by next Ridvan.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
May the Beloved of our hearts, guide, bless and sustain you, remove every obstacle from your path, and graciously assist you to extend the range of your highly valued activities and consolidate your historic achievements,Your true brother,
Your letter of May 8th has been received, and the beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
He was delighted to receive the news of your activities, and feels that Reading can be cited as a truly exemplary community in every way. He hopes you will maintain this enviable position as the years go by.
He will certainly pray that your teaching efforts may be richly blessed, and that you may not only continue to make Bahá'ís, but to export them, as you have done in the case of Edinburgh.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
May the Almighty bless your highly valued activities, guide every step you take, remove every obstacle from your path, and graciously assist you to win great victories in the service of His Faith in the days to come,Your true brother,
Over three hundred letters to individuals residing in the British Isles have been studied and passages selected which are of permanent value.
These excerpts were taken from the letters of no more than twenty believers of whom only seven corresponded regularly with the Guardian.
They have been arranged chronologically; for details of the subject matter the reader must turn to the Index.
Almost all these passages are answers given by the Guardian to questions asked in personal letters to him. It is possible therefore to catch a glimpse of the changing problems facing the Bahá'í community and these frequently reflected conditions in the country as a whole. This is particularly significant in the years immediately following the Second World War for as the Guardian, in a letter written on his behalf by his secretary, wrote of the British believers,
"... he feels the greatest sympathy for them, and considers
that when their present achievements are assessed in the future,
people will give them a double measure of praise for havingdone so much when they were least fit to do it."
...I wish you, my dearest friend, to make once again a supreme effort to come to a full understanding with the friends outside.... Extend to them your generous and helping hand, approach them with a spirit of selflessness and cordiality and the result, I am confident will be indeed marvellous. My heart rejoices at the news of the growth of harmony among the friends and I feel paralysed in my work when I hear to the contrary. I am impressing on the friends in ... the absolute necessity of cultivating understanding and friendliness and consolidating the foundation of the National Assembly. For upon these National Assemblies will the Edifice of the Universal House of Justice be raised.28 October 1925
Shoghi Effendi is much interested to hear of your literary work. He fully agrees with you that different people must be approached in different ways and that valuable work for the Bahá'í Cause can be done within the Christian Churches by promoting the "Christianity of Christ". 'Abdu'l-Bahá said that when people become true Christians, they will find themselves Bahá'ís. One or two of the best Bahá'ís I know were very earnest, sincere, devoted Christians and accepted the Bahá'í teachings with very little difficulty and without any intervening period of religious scepticism, as an amplification and fulfilment of the teachings and prophesyings of Christ and the prophets.28 December 1925
He is very sorry that such undesirable things are every now and then cropping up in ... and discouraging you in your work, keeping you from devoting all your spare time in teaching the Cause and spreading its principles. He does not wish you, however, to lose heart from such things. As the Cause grows its difficulties will increase and its problems will become more numerous. The friends, especially the older ones, should therefore try and stand unmoved by them. In fact the more their difficultiesPage 422
will increase the more they have to take courage and try to solve them. The Master has often said that sorrows are like furrows, the deeper they go the more productive the land becomes. If this problem of ... should be settled other problems will arise. Are the friends to become discouraged or are they to follow the footsteps of the Master and consider them more as chances to show their tenacity of belief and spirit of sacrifice? In short, Shoghi Effendi wishes you to keep on teaching the principles of the Cause no matter what problems may arise.[From the Guardian:]
...Let not anxieties and disappointments overwhelm you or oppress your generous and sensitive heart. Turn to Him in prayer and remember that I am joining you in your supplications for guidance and strength. Be patient in tribulation and never relax in your efforts to promote the Divine Teachings.28 March 1926
It must have been very distasteful to you to read some of the off-hand and ungrammatical translations that more out of necessity than choice won circulation and were even published. Furthermore, it was always the expressed wish and desire of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to have proper and adequate translations that would not only convey the true spirit of the original but also possess some literary merit. And for this he emphasised the necessity of a board of translators. Such a board it has unfortunately been impossible to form as yet.
Meanwhile Shoghi Effendi, realising the urgent necessity of the translation of some of the important writings, has translated some of the passages.16 October 1926
We should, however, be careful, as you mention in your letter, not to make this system develop into a hard and fast creed or form. The Cause is pure and free from such things and it ought to be the task of the friends to keep it broad and progressive. Man is always apt to fall into the habit of doing aPage 423
thing in a certain way, and thereby become captive to prescribed forms. It should therefore be the duty of the assemblies everywhere to see that, though certain temporary measures are taken to further the Cause, they do not crystallise into hard and fast creeds.6 April 1928
I feel that regarding such interpretations (of verses from the Scriptures) no one has the right to impose his view or opinion and require his listeners to believe in his particular interpretation of the sacred and prophetic writings. I have no objection to your interpretations and inferences so long as they are represented as your own personal observations and reflections. It would be unnecessary and confusing to state authoritatively and officially a dogmatic Bahá'í interpretation to be universally accepted and taught by believers. Such matters I feel should be left to the personal judgement and insight of individual teachers....12 December 1929
Ever since its inception (the "Bahá'í World") Shoghi Effendi has cherished the hope of making it a work that would prove interesting and illuminating to the reader. Destined mainly for the non-Bahá'ís, he has tried to attract through its pages the attention of educated and enlightened people and especially leaders in every country, with a view to acquaint them with the broad and fundamental principles of the Faith and to win their consideration of the Movement as a growing force for good and for peace throughout the entire world. It is therefore with lively satisfaction that he has seen the publication grow yearly in importance and this feeling has been lately enhanced very much by the words of interest or appreciation which he has received from many quarters and leading men, among which was a remarkably encouraging letter from Sir Herbert Samuel. Indeed Shoghi Effendi has made it a point to send copies to as many leading men as possible and copies of last year's issue were presented to the Emperor of Japan, the Sháh of Persia and Queen Marie of Rumania.Page 424
The subject you had raised with regard to the date of the publication of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh is interesting as it is important. If I remember correctly the same issue was raised as an open challenge in India by some spokesman of the Ahmadiyya sect. The earliest published writings of Bahá'u'lláh date from the nineties of the last century. Over forty years ago the Aqdas, a volume of general Tablets including Tarazat, Ishraqat, and others were published in Ishqabad (Russia) and Bombay respectively and copies of these though rare are still procurable. Simultaneously with these, if not earlier, some of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh were published by the Oriental Department of the Imperial Russian University at St. Petersburgh under the supervision of its director Baron Rosen (and more particulars about these could be found in the books of E. G. Browne) and these of course are not undated like some of those published in Bombay.
The main bulk of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh however are to be found in manuscript form written by noted scribes after the fashion of orientals. These scribes did not leave all their manuscripts undated and Jinabi Zain, a very noted Bahá'í scribe, always dated his copies of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh at the end of the volume in what E. G. Browne calls `colophenes' and the description of some of these colophenes could be found in the works of the Cambridge Professor.
The son of the above-mentioned scribe is still living in Haifa and does very much the same work as his father. He claims that as early as 1868 his father used to write copies of the Iqan for the Bahá'ís in Persia as a source of livelihood, and that after 1885 when he went to 'Akká to join Bahá'u'lláh's party his entire work and time was devoted to copying the sacred writings for sale among Bahá'ís. These copies are to be found all throughout the East and are almost invariably dated.9 June 1930
Concerning the accounts of visits to Haifa, published by the friends during the Master's life-time, Shoghi Effendi is veryPage 425
reluctant to attribute to them much authority. Most of these are personal impressions and are to be valued only as such. Bahá'u'lláh definitely states that only His actual writings are to be relied upon. Such reports may be interesting but not authoritative, no matter who the reporter may be...22 October 1930
...If those heroic deeds have made such an impression upon you, would not the reading of the narrative arouse the friends to greater sacrifices and stimulate them to more intensive service? It was not mere physical torture that the friends in Persia had to endure but also moral persecution for they were cursed and vilified by all the people, especially when they ceased to defend themselves ... the Master used to say sometimes that the western friends will be severely persecuted but theirs will be primarily moral....30 November 1930
He (the Guardian) is enclosing extracts from Lord Curzon's "Persia and the Persian Question" giving a detailed and faithful description of the state of Persia in the middle of the 19th century. He thinks that references to the extracts ... will be of great value in showing to the reader the contrast between the decadent state of the government and the people at that time and the heroism and nobility of character displayed by the early disciples of the Báb... Shoghi Effendi is also sending you ... the Master's words concerning the situation which led to the defensive action which the early disciples of the Báb were compelled to take in Mazindaran, Nayriz and Zanjan. From these words it is evident that a systematic campaign of plunder and massacre had been initiated by the central government. Bahá'u'lláh, Who Himself was an active figure in those days and was regarded one of the leading exponents of the Faith of the Báb, states clearly His views in the Iqan that His conception of the sovereignty of the Promised Qá'im was purely a spiritualPage 426
one, and not a material or political one... His view of the sovereignty of the Qá'im confirms the various evidences given in the text of the narrative itself of the views held by those who actually participated in these events such as Hujjat, Quddús, Mullá Husayn. The very fact that these disciples were ready and willing to emerge from the fort and return to their homes after receiving the assurance that they would be no more molested is itself an evidence that they were not contemplating any action against the authorities.
Shoghi Effendi is also sending you an account of the doctrines of Shi'ah Islám from which the Movement originally sprang. It will help you to connect the origin of the Movement with the tenets and beliefs held by the Shi'ahs of Persia. The Báb declared Himself at the beginning of His mission to be the " Báb" by which He meant to be the gate or forerunner of "Him Whom God will make manifest", that is to say Bahá'u'lláh, Whose advent the Shi'ahs also expected in the person of "the return of Imám Husayn". The Sunnis also believe in a similar twofold manifestation, the first they call "the Mihdi", the second "the Return of Christ". By the term Báb, the Báb meant to be the forerunner of the second manifestation rather than, as some have maintained, the gate of the Qá'im. When He declared Himself to be the Báb, the people understood by the term that He was an intermediary between the absent Qá'im and His followers, though He Himself never meant to be such a person. All He claimed to be was that He was the Qá'im Himself and in addition to this station, that of the Báb, namely the gate or forerunner of "Him Whom God will make manifest".
There are many authorised traditions from Muhammad stating clearly (as explained in the Iqan) that the promised Qá'im would bring a new Book and new Laws. In other words abrogating the law of Islám.
Shoghi Effendi feels that the Unity of the Bahá'í revelation as one complete whole embracing the Faith of the Báb should be emphasised... The Faith of the Báb should not be divorced from that of Bahá'u'lláh. Though the teachings of the Bayan have been abrogated and superseded by the laws of Aqdas, yet due to the fact that the Báb considered Himself as the forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh we should regard His dispensation together with that of Bahá'u'lláh as forming one entity, the former being anPage 427
introductory to the advent of the latter. Just as the advent of John the Baptist--who according to various authorities was Himself the originator of laws which abrogated the teachings current among the Jews--forms part of the Christian revelation, the advent of the Báb likewise forms an integral part of the Bahá'í Faith. That is why Shoghi Effendi feels justified to call Nabil's narrative a narrative of the early days of the Bahá'í revelation.
Shoghi Effendi feels that it should be explained that forbidding self defence by Bahá'u'lláh should not be taken too literally. To put it as bluntly as this, he fears that the question might be misunderstood. Bahá'u'lláh could surely have not meant that a Bahá'í should not attempt to defend his life against any irresponsible assailant who might attack him for any purpose whatever, whether religious or not. Every reasonable person would feel under such circumstances justified in protecting his life....
Regarding Nabil: He was born on the 18th day of the month of Safar of the year 1247 A. H. in the village of Zarand in Persia. He was thirteen years old when the Báb declared Himself. Though still young he himself was preparing to leave for Shaykh Tabarsi and join the companions of Mullá Husayn when the news of the treachery and massacre of the besieged companions reached him. He met Bahá'u'lláh in KirmanSháh and Tihrán before the latter's banishment to Iraq. He was a close companion of the Báb's amanuensis Mirza Ahmad. He subsequently met Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdád, Adrianople and 'Akká and was commissioned by Bahá'u'lláh to journey several times to Persia in order to promote the Cause and encourage the scattered and persecuted believers. He was present in 'Akká when Bahá'u'lláh passed away in 1892 and soon after was so overcome with grief that he drowned himself in the sea. His body was found along the shore and was buried in the cemetery of 'Akká. 'Abdu'l-Bahá is reported to have been struck with deep sorrow at the manner of his death. He states in his narration that he met the maternal uncle of the Báb, Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali who had visited his nephew in the Castle of Chihriq and had recently returned to Tihrán. He started writing his narrative in 1305 A.H. four years before the passing of Bahá'u'lláh. It took him about a year and half to write it. His chief informants were Mirza Ahmad the amanuensis of the Báb and Mirza Musa the brother of Bahá'u'lláh.Page 428
Parts of his narrative were read in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and approved by Him. 'Abdu'l-Bahá also went over sections of his narrative....
Shoghi Effendi has found in the papers of 'Abdu'l-Bahá a complete set of the Báb's Tablets to the 18 Letters of the Living, all written in His own hand-writing and bearing His seal. In addition to these there are two other Tablets both written by Himself in exquisite hand-writing, the one addressed to the 19th Letter who was Himself and the other to "Him whom God will make manifest", i.e. Bahá'u'lláh. This last one has three seals and is written on blue paper....
Regarding the question raised in your letter.... The Bahá'ís in Persia avoid political posts and positions, abstain from any interference in matters pertaining to the policy of the state, but fill the more important administrative posts that have no political character. They feel that in this manner they can best serve the interest of their country and prove by their action their integrity and attachment to Persia....
Shoghi Effendi is enclosing an extremely interesting account given by a certain Dr. Cormick, an English physician long resident in Tabriz of his meeting with the Báb. He is apparently the only Westerner who has met the Báb and recorded his impressions... Shoghi Effendi thinks of adding it to his notes.30 April 1931
...You could also in a quiet way speak to persons whom you think are ready for such a message and would appreciate the light when they see it. Try to form around you a group of Bahá'ís who are well versed in the teachings and who are ready to assist you in serving the Cause. In short try to form an assembly of pure and competent souls. Meanwhile you could write, for the Cause is in great need of first class literature and you are gifted along that line.
The Cause surely needs sacrifices, in fact it is only through sacrifice that it can progress, but such determined activity should be coupled with wisdom and caution if it is not going to be a temporary flare. Intimate talk and personal contact has proven the surest and quietest way for establishing a group....Page 429
The present social and economic problems that are facing the British people are surely occupying their whole attention, but they should also operate as a reminder and draw them closer to spiritual matters. The people have to be made conscious of the fact that without a complete change in our outlook and a total reform of the guiding principles of our life, such as the Cause advocates, our social and economic problems cannot be solved nor our conditions ameliorated. Nothing short of the full message of Bahá'u'lláh can end the sufferings that are befalling humanity.2 January 1932
It is strange how much suffering man has to put up with while on this earth. Our consolation should be however that it is part of a divine plan whose worth we cannot yet fathom....
...Shoghi Effendi wishes ... to encourage those who are talented to give expression to the wonderful spirit that animates them. We need poets and writers for the Cause.... Some of the poems are written by very youthful persons yet they ring so true and give expression to such thoughts that one should halt and admire. In Persia the Cause has given birth to poets that even non-Bahá'ís consider them as great. We hope before long we will have similar persons arise in the West.10 January 1932
In Persia the Cause gave birth to many poets of national standing. Let us hope that the west will follow suit and produce similar talents.23 February 1932
The exact date in which the Hidden Words was written you can find on the opening page of Mrs. J. E. Stannard's translation published in Cairo. She gives a line in the Master's own handwriting giving the date as 1274 A.H. (1857-8 A.D.). It isPage 430
generally believed that the Hidden Words was dictated by Bahá'u'lláh to His secretary as He strolled on the banks of the river in Baghdád--in sections rather than all at one time.
As to the date of the Iqan, I think it can be calculated from the actual text and I have it in my papers as 1278 A.H., i.e. 1861 A.D. You will find that in the text itself. It was written in answer to questions put by a distinguished Bábi.16 May 1932
Even though outwardly the number of the friends has not been increasing so rapidly, yet the spirit has not remained idle. The leaven of spirituality has been working, and when the time will come it will manifest itself in a sudden awakening. All that we need is a little more courage, perseverance and patience. There are many important men that are attentively watching the progress of the Faith but are reluctant to come forward and extend a helping hand. In time they will, and then we shall see the Cause of God spread by leaps and bounds....10 August 1932
Your touching words of condolence and sympathy in connection with the sudden removal of the Greatest Holy Leaf from our midst have greatly comforted (the Guardian's) aching heart and relieved the burden of sorrow that lies so heavily upon him.
In this great calamity which has seized the entire body of the followers of the Faith in both East and West our Guardian's loss is the greatest and the most cruel. His sole comfort, at this terrible hour, is to see the friends united and working together for the realisation of our departed Khanum's dearest wishes.15 March 1933
He deeply appreciates your sincere, well-expressed reference to the Tribute he has written to the dearly beloved Greatest Holy Leaf.Page 431
You cannot imagine to what an extent our dear Guardian has, in this loss, been deprived for ever of the sustaining influence and kindness that this Most Exalted Leaf used to shower daily upon him. In this beautiful Tribute we can trace the life of this beautiful soul, witness with anguish all the sufferings and deprivations that she has endured. Now we should, all of us, try in turn to follow her saintly path and direct all our energy to serve the Cause which has been so dear to her.6 May 1933
What the Faith needs, even more than teachers, is books that expound the true significance of its principles in the light of modern thought and social problems.29 May 1933
He was deeply touched by the strong attachment of the friends to one who, besides being the beloved daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, exemplified perhaps more than any one the true spirit that animates His Teachings. His (the Guardian's) sincere hope is that your love for our departed Greatest Holy Leaf will attain such depth and intensity as to enable you to follow in her footsteps and to carry out with increasing devotion and vigour all that she cherished so much during the entire course of her earthly life. The memory of her saintly life will undoubtedly sustain and feed your energies and will provide you with that spiritual potency of which we are all in such a great need.17 October 1933
How much the Faith is in need of able and devoted souls like you who are ready to suffer every possible deprivation for its sake. If every believer was ready to contribute his share, however humble and small, and through any means, whether intellectualPage 432
or material, the Faith would have undoubtedly made a tremendous progress in the world....12 November 1933
You use the expression "till time ends". This is misleading, for there is no end to time. The Guardian suggests that you should either use the term used in the Iqan "till the end that has no end", or express it in such a manner that would give the idea that time has no end....
Jehovah is a title of God, whereas Bahá'u'lláh is the title of the Manifestation of God.
... you count the period of the Christian Dispensation as having lasted for 1844 years. As in the Bahá'í teachings Muhammad is considered as an independent prophet of God, you have to consider His Dispensation as having begun in 622 A.D. The Christian Dispensation must, therefore, end in 622 A.D. and from that date till 1844 is the era of Muhammad. 1260 is the calculation based on the lunar system. In other words, it is the Hegira year or A.H. You should either specify this fact, or base your calculation on the solar year, in which case it will be less than 1260, as there is a difference of one year in every 33 years.
... you should point out that, only so far as it is recorded in the Gospel, Jesus gave two material ordinances only. Our knowledge of Jesus' life and teachings is rather fragmentary and so it would be more correct if you specify that these ordinances are only those recorded in the Gospel, and they may not be the only ones. There may be other teachings and ordinances too, of which no record is left.
...Muhammadanism is not only the last of the world religions, but a fuller Revelation than any one preceding it. The Quran is not only more authoritative than any previous religious gospel, but it contains also much more; ordinances, teachings and precepts, which taken together constitute a fuller Revelation of God's purpose and law to mankind than Christianity, Judaism or any other previous Dispensation. This view is in complete accord with the Bahá'í philosophy of progressive revelation, and should be thoroughly accepted and taught by every loyal ... Bahá'í.Page 433
One more European is reported to have seen Bahá'u'lláh from a distance, but Professor Browne was the only Westerner who actually met Him.4 June 1934
You should, nevertheless, persevere in your efforts until your immediate objective has been fully attained. God cannot, indeed, withdraw from so devoted and so capable a Bahá'í like you all the guidance and assistance you need for the effective discharge of your responsibilities and obligations to the Cause. Be, therefore, confident in Bahá'u'lláh's help. His Spirit will lead you, and will feed your soul with that spiritual sustenance whereby you will be able to overcome the obstacles which seem to so hopelessly beset your path.10 November 1934
When you quote the Báb, or anyone of His disciples you should make it clear that the words attributed to them are by no means their exact words. They constitute the substance of their message, and thus are not as definite as the quoted words of Bahá'u'lláh or the Master. So, the Guardian suggests that you should either omit the quotation marks, or to specify that the passages quoted are not the exact words used by the Báb and His disciples. In the future edition of Nabil's Narrative a similar explanation will have to be inserted in the "Dawn Breakers".
You state that the Christian Dispensation "was six hundred and twenty-two years old at the time of the Hegira". The Guardian suggests that the words "at the time of the Hegira" be omitted as they may give the impression that the Revelation of Christ extended beyond the date of the Hegira.8 February 1935
Religious conservatism, particularly in England, constitutes indeed a serious obstacle which the friends have to meet whenPage 434
spreading the Message, and not until such an obstacle has been completely removed can the Cause effectively spread and establish itself in the West. This religious conservatism is in many respects far more dangerous and more difficult to wipe out than the religious apathy which is so rapidly invading all classes of society.
In view of that, it is, at least for the present, more advantageous to teach the Message in an indirect way, so as to gradually attract and confirm those who have the spiritual capacity of appreciating the Cause in its fullness.29 May 1935
As to your question concerning the meaning of physical suffering and its relation to mental and spiritual healing. Physical pain is a necessary accompaniment of all human existence, and as such is unavoidable. As long as there will be life on earth, there will be also suffering, in various forms and degrees. But suffering, although an inescapable reality, can nevertheless be utilised as a means for the attainment of happiness. This is the interpretation given to it by all the prophets and saints who, in the midst of severe tests and trials, felt happy and joyous and experienced what is best and holiest in life. Suffering is both a reminder and a guide. It stimulates us better to adapt ourselves to our environmental conditions, and thus leads the way to self improvement. In every suffering one can find a meaning and a wisdom. But it is not always easy to find the secret of that wisdom. It is sometimes only when all our suffering has passed that we become aware of its usefulness. What man considers to be evil turns often to be a cause of infinite blessings. And this is due to his desire to know more than he can. God's wisdom is, indeed, inscrutable to us all, and it is no use pushing too far trying to discover that which shall always remain a mystery to our mind.
In connection with your question relative to the Bahá'í solution of sex problems. On the question of sex the Bahá'ís are, in most of their fundamental views, in full agreement with the upholders of traditional morality. Bahá'u'lláh, like all the other Prophets and Messengers of God, preaches abstinence, andPage 435
condemns, in vehement language, all forms of sexual laxity, unbridled licence and lust. The Bahá'í standard of sex morality is thus very high, but it is by no means unreasonably rigid. While free love is condemned, yet marriage is considered as a holy act which every human being should be encouraged, though not forced, to perform. Sex instinct, like all other human instincts, is not necessarily evil. It is a power which, if properly directed, can bring joy and satisfaction to the individual. If misused or abused it brings, of course, incalculable harm not only to the individual but also to the society in which he lives. While the Bahá'ís condemn asceticism and all extreme forms of self-mortification they at the same time view with disfavour the current theories of sex ethics which cannot but bring ruin to human society. In the Bahá'í Cause marriage has been encouraged, but made somewhat difficult, conditioned as it is upon the consent of the four parents. Divorce, on the other hand, has been made relatively easy, and the sociologists are just beginning to realise the importance of this law....6 April 1936
He (the Guardian) is of the opinion, however, that while the secondary aspects of Bahá'í Administration should be left out, a comprehensive statement as to its origin and significance in the Bahá'í Dispensation is of vital importance in any work of the Cause, especially if it is written by a believer. The main thing is to properly present the subject so that the reader may be able to grasp it.21 November 1936
With reference to the absolute pacifists, or conscientious objectors to war; their attitude, judged from the Bahá'í standpoint, is quite anti-social and due to its exaltation of the individual conscience leads inevitably to disorder and chaos in society. Extreme pacifists are thus very close to the anarchists, in the sense that both these groups lay an undue emphasis on the rights and merits of the individual. The Bahá'í conception ofPage 436
social life is essentially based on the principle of the subordination of the individual will to that of society. It neither suppresses the individual nor does it exalt him to the point of making him an anti-social creature, a menace to society. As in everything it follows the `golden mean'. The only way that society can function is for the minority to follow the will of the majority.
The other main objection to the conscientious objectors is that their method of establishing peace is too negative. Non-co-operation is too passive a philosophy to become an effective way for social reconstruction. Their refusal to bear arms can never establish peace. There should be first a spiritual revitalisation which nothing, except the Cause of God, can effectively bring to every man's heart.3 February 1937
Do not feel discouraged if your labours do not always yield an abundant fruitage. For a quick and rapidly-won success is not always the best and the most lasting. The harder you strive to attain your goal, the greater will be the confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh, and the more certain you can feel to attain success. Be cheerful, therefore, and exert yourself with full faith and confidence. For Bahá'u'lláh has promised His Divine assistance to every one who arises with a pure and detached heart to spread His Holy Word, even though he may be bereft of every human knowledge and capacity, and notwithstanding the forces of darkness and of opposition which may be arrayed against him. The goal is clear, the path safe and certain, and the assurances of Bahá'u'lláh as to the eventual success of our efforts quite emphatic. Let us keep firm, and whole-heartedly carry on the great work which He has entrusted into our hands.31 March 1938
With reference to your question as to whether individuals can help each other by accepting to suffer for each other's sake. Surely such sacrifice for our fellow humans can have helpfulPage 437
results. This law of sacrifice operates in our own lives, as well as in the lives of the Divine Manifestations.18 April 1940
In these stormy days his thoughts are often with you and our dear English believers, and his prayers continue to be offered on your behalf, that you may all be protected and remain safe, so that when this great ordeal of war which is threatening to engulf the whole world will have passed, you may all be able to continue serving our beloved Cause, and this time through more effective means and on a larger scale than ever before.
The immediate future, as clearly predicted by the Master, must necessarily be very dark for the Cause as well as for the whole world, but the promises He has repeatedly given us of a glorious future for the Faith and for mankind as a whole are of such character as should assuredly sustain and strengthen us amidst the trials and tribulations of the days ahead.2 June 1941
There can be no doubt that after the present suffering of humanity many souls, who at present show only a mild interest in the Faith, will turn to it as the sole road which can lead them out of the valley of blindness and misery to the "green pastures" promised by their Lord....1 August 1941
Wherever the Cause is being spread, as it grows in strength, people increasingly will take sides both for and against it. Therefore he (the Guardian) is not surprised to learn that you are finding yourself in the position, sometimes being upheld and sometimes being attacked! It is a great bounty from God that you have had a training in this world which so admirably suits you for a champion of His Faith and an exponent of His doctrines....Page 438
The English Bahá'ís are being tested in both faith and character very severely, and the Guardian is deeply gratified to see the manner in which they are responding, a manner that proclaims to all who witness it that these souls are true Bahá'ís.
The Master longed so to see the believers perfect their faith in living. Now is the supreme hour of test applied, not only to the whole world, but to the Bahá'ís too; how they act, to the degree they adhere to the spirit and the letter of their Faith, will point the way to watching humanity and demonstrate the worth of being a follower of Bahá'u'lláh ... the good news you convey of the spirit and devotion of the English friends greatly pleases Shoghi Effendi.
His hope and prayer is that during these times of danger, stress, and misery, the Bahá'ís will seek out amidst their fellow-countrymen those jewel-like souls that belong to Bahá'u'lláh and bring them the blessing and comfort of His Faith.30 October 1941
He (the Guardian) feels that the great point is to confirm people of true capacity and ability--from whatever social stratum they may be, because the Cause needs now, and will ever increasingly need, souls of great ability who can bring it before the public at large, administer its ever-growing affairs, and contribute to its advancement in every field.
As the Guardian's thoughts are very often with the English friends, and he feels deeply conscious of both their trials and the wonderful Bahá'í spirit in which they are meeting them, he feels they have almost a special right to call on him, and he welcomes their letters and any news of them he receives. So you must feel free to turn to him whenever you feel the necessity of doing so....14 March 1942
He also approves of the idea of advertising the name "Bahá'í" as widely as possible, as we can never tell at what future date thePage 439
remembrance of that word may aid some soul to seek and find the Faith.
At present people are too engulfed in hopes, events, desires, and various partizanships, to realise that there is no way out for humanity except to accept the Divine Plan for this Day, and put its healing principles and laws into practice. But gradually their eyes will be opened, and it is for this time that the friends must labour to bring the knowledge of the Cause before as wide a public as possible.September 1942
He (the Guardian) fully realises how much strain you are subjected to, but he also feels that in so far as is compatible with your health you should persevere in all your Bahá'í activities, as your services could ill be spared in any field at this time.25 September 1942
There is an answer in the teachings for everything; unfortunately the majority of the Bahá'ís, however intensely devoted and sincere they may be, lack for the most part the necessary scholarship and wisdom to reply to and refute the claims and attacks of people with some education and standing....
It is hard to foresee at present the way in which humanity is going to become spiritualised. At present it seems, the increased sufferings yet to be borne, combined with a far wider diffusion of the Divine Message, will bring about unbelievable changes in the days to come....5 May 1943
Unless and until the believers really come to realise they are one spiritual family, knit together by a bond more lasting than mere physical ties can ever be, they will not be able to create that warm community atmosphere which alone can attract the hearts of humanity, frozen for lack of real love and feeling.Page 440
If, however, you find your health affected by keeping the Fast the Guardian would advise you to consult a physician, and if he tells you you are unable to fast then of course, you should abstain from doing so.26 May 1943
He (the Guardian) feels that Bahá'í children like you have a lot of wonderful work to do for others in the future. But you don't even have to wait until you grow up, you can help your dear Mother teach the Cause to others right now, and also tell your playmates about it. The Guardian is going to pray that you may grow up to be a shining light in the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.6 August 1943
The Master reflects the qualities of the Manifestations as if He were a mirror. He reflects not only those of Bahá'u'lláh but also of Christ as He is the exemplar of the spirit of the Prophet....
...These matters are left to the discretion of the N.S.A. The principle the Guardian has stated ... the addition of further regulations and rulings to those already laid down in the bye-laws he strongly discourages; he feels it is better, as far as possible, to settle problems as they arise rather than create too much red tape and hem in the spirit of the Cause into a rigid form.17 October 1944
There is a difference between character and faith; it is often very hard to accept this fact and put up with it, but the fact remains that a person may believe in and love the Cause--even to being ready to die for it--and yet not have a good personal character, or possess traits at variance with the teachings. We should try to change, to let the Power of God help recreate us and make us true Bahá'ís in deed as well as in belief. But sometimes the process is slow, sometimes it never happens because the individual does not try hard enough. But these thingsPage 441
cause us suffering and are a test to us in our fellow-believers, most especially if we love them and have been their teacher!
The Guardian would advise you to leave your friend to himself, to associate with him, his wife and sister-in-law with love and forbearance in every way possible, but not to agonise over the past or let it cloud your Bahá'í life. You have given him the greatest gift in the world: the Faith. Now he must be responsible for his own soul. Your prayers and example can no doubt reach and help him.
It is true the Bahá'ís should try and live a normal healthy life. But we cannot for a moment overlook the abnormal state of the world. If there had not been believers ready to give their health, comfort, pleasure--everything, for the Cause in these dark days, the work would not have gone on. What are these sacrifices compared to keeping a beacon of the Light of Bahá'u'lláh burning in dark London all these war years?
The Guardian is very glad to hear you are so active, both in teaching and administrative work, and he will pray that Bahá'u'lláh may bless and guide you and enable you to serve the Cause in an ever increasing measure. He will also pray for your personal happiness....27 November 1944
The work in England has, indeed, progressed slowly from the standpoint of enlarging the Faith's membership and establishing new centres and assemblies. On the other hand, however, the British Bahá'ís have consolidated the administration and thus prepared the way for intensified teaching activities when conditions make life easier for the people in that country. They have also built up a very helpful institution in the Publishing Trust, one calculated to impress the public and aid greatly in their own and other countries' teaching programmes. The Faith there needs more active, devoted, young believers like yourself.27 January 1945
He was very happy to hear of the marked progress the Cause has made in ... and that you have not only a number of newPage 442
believers but also are actively conducting fireside classes and hold public meetings. All these are evidences of progress, and you should feel happy and encouraged about them.
The believers, as we all know, should endeavour to set such an example in their personal lives and conduct that others will feel impelled to embrace a Faith which reforms human character. However, unfortunately, not everyone achieves easily and rapidly the victory over self. What every believer, new or old, should realise is that the Cause has the spiritual power to re-create us if we make the effort to let that power influence us, and the greatest help in this respect is prayer. We must supplicate Bahá'u'lláh to assist us to overcome the failings in our own characters, and also exert our own will-power in mastering ourselves.
He will certainly pray for the work of the beloved Cause there and especially that new souls may be attracted and embrace the Faith. He will also pray that the believers may, for the sake of God, draw close to each other and not permit each other's short-comings to be a source of disunity and consequently a means of depriving thirsty souls of this life-giving Message! The world is full of evil and dark forces and the friends must not permit these forces to get hold of them by thinking and feeling negatively towards each other....Undated
His (the Guardian's) burden is truly so heavy--no doubt in the future people will see his life in its proper perspective and be able to appreciate what he has done, to all intents and purposes entirely alone, for the Cause.10 May 1945
Many of the most valuable, enkindled and erudite teachers the Cause has possessed were formerly members of the clergy, Islámic or Christian.Page 443
What England needs is a higher percentage of people able to meet and attract the public on a large scale, and he hopes you will, in the course of giving the Message to every soul that yearns for it, make a special effort to confirm people who in their turn will be able to arise and broadcast the teachings.
The efforts of the friends are, of course, needed to accomplish the objectives of the Six Year Teaching Plan, and they should be encouraged to do their part, even though they may imagine themselves incapable of discharging such duties!
The Tablet of Visitation is a compilation of words of Bahá'u'lláh, revealed at different times for those who were far from Him, made by Nabil, at the Master's instruction, after the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh....3 March 1946
A city like London needs a really impressive, central and suitable room which will, on its own merits, create a favourable impression, and he hopes the friends will bear this in mind, and at the earliest possible date get quarters that are not in a basement.
As to attracting the youth; there must be a great number of serious-minded people coming back to civilian life. Of course youth attracts youth, and if once an active nucleus of young Bahá'ís could be formed, and conduct their own meetings no doubt they would soon get others interested.4 March 1946
He (the Guardian) was very sorry to hear that ... has left the Cause, and suggests that you point out to her, and to any other of the friends who are confused and upset over this matter, that the Manifestation of God only gives us teachings and instructions designed for our good and protection, and that if each person reserves the right to obey his own conscience, the logical conclusion is we don't need any spiritual authority to guide and protect us, the authority of our own consciences is sufficient!Page 444
What 'Abdu'l-Bahá always pointed out in this matter is that these psychic powers were not to be used in this world, and that, indeed, it was dangerous to cultivate them here. They should be left dormant, and not exploited, even when we do so with the sincere belief we are helping others. We do not understand their nature and have no way of being sure of what is true and what is false in such matters.
If children are inclined to be psychic they should not be blamed for it too harshly, they should not be encouraged to strengthen their powers in this direction.
People who do not feel they can obey or accept the Teachings on a subject cannot be considered Bahá'ís, voting or otherwise. If a time comes when they feel ready to surrender their opinions to One we believe divinely guided, they should be joyously welcomed back into the Faith.
P.S. These friends you mention are being upset over this question should realise that if they reserve the right to disregard the Teachings on one subject, they must give the same right to other Bahá'ís, and obviously there can be no unity or strength in a Faith composed of individuals who only believe in part and not all of it. We must never prefer our wills to the Will of God.19 March 1946
The Bahá'ís should refrain from signing petitions designed to bring pressure on the Government which may have any political character whatsoever. There are so many other people who can carry on progressive types of activity, but only the Bahá'ís can do the work of Bahá'u'lláh....21 May 1946
Keeping the Fast is enjoined upon all Bahá'ís, regardless of nationality; it has a very salutary effect both physically and spiritually, and the friends should realise Bahá'u'lláh never would have instituted it if it were detrimental to the health. The Master referred to the Fast in talks to pilgrims, and some Tablets, but most material on this subject is not yet translated.Page 445
The Master unceasingly emphasised the importance of unity among the friends, and, if anything, it is of even greater importance in this present chaotic state of the world than it was in His days. The people are longing for an example--proof that harmony and love can actually exist in a community--and it is one of the primary duties of the Bahá'ís to demonstrate these great principles in their relations with each other.15 February 1947
Philosophy, as you will study it and later teach it, is certainly not one of the sciences that begins and ends in words. Fruitless excursions into metaphysical hair-splitting is meant, not a sound branch of learning like philosophy.
We have no historical proof of the truth of the Master's statement regarding the Greek philosophers visiting the Holy Land, etc. but such proof may come to light through research in the future.
As regards your own studies: he would advise you not to devote too much of your time to the abstract side of philosophy, but rather to approach it from a more historical angle. As to correlating philosophy with the Bahá'í teachings; this is a tremendous work which scholars in the future can undertake. We must remember that not only are all the teachings not yet translated into English, but they are not even all collected yet. Many important Tablets may still come to light which are at present owned privately.18 February 1947
He (the Guardian) wishes he more often got such glad news in one letter! It seems that at last the Cause in England is really getting into its stride, and that the British community of believers are beginning to show forth the fruits of the many blessings showered on them--for England was one of the firstPage 446
countries of the West to hear the Divine Message, and was blessed by two visits from the Centre of the Covenant! Surely the older Bahá'ís must be astonished to see new centres springing up in a matter of months after years of an almost static condition! It shows that wherever and whenever the friends arise to serve, the mysterious power latent in this Divine Cause rushes in to bless and reinforce their labours far beyond their fondest hopes.
He is very happy to hear you are established as a pioneer, with a business of your own, and you may be sure he will pray for your material as well as spiritual success in this goal town....27 September 1947
There is no objection to children who are as yet unable to memorise a whole prayer learning certain sentences only.
He (the Guardian) does not feel that the friends should make a practice of saying grace or of teaching it to children. This is not part of the Bahá'í Faith, but a Christian practice, and as the Cause embraces members of all religions we should be careful not to introduce into it the customs of our previous beliefs. Bahá'u'lláh has given us the obligatory prayers, also prayers before sleeping, for travellers, etc., we should not introduce a new set of prayers He has not specified, when He has given us already so many for so many occasions....27 September 1947
He (the Guardian) does not feel you should permit your speech impediment to give you a sense of inferiority. Moses stammered! And what you are and what you believe as a Bahá'í give you a tremendous advantage over others. This does not mean that you should not make every effort to overcome it, and go to doctors for advice and assistance. He also assures you he will pray that you may overcome this difficulty entirely, also that wherever you are the way will open for you to teach and serve the Faith.Page 447
Regarding your own condition: he (the Guardian) strongly urges you not to dwell on yourself. Each one of us, if we look into our failures, is sure to feel unworthy and despondent, and this feeling only frustrates our constructive efforts and wastes time. The thing for us to focus on is the glory of the Cause and the Power of Bahá'u'lláh which can make of a mere drop a surging sea! You certainly have no right to feel negative; you have embraced this glorious Faith and arisen with devotion to serve it, and your labours are greatly appreciated by both the Guardian and your fellow-Bahá'ís. With something as positive as the Faith and all it teaches behind you, you should be a veritable lion of confidence, and he will pray that you may become so.
There is, unfortunately, no way that one can force his own good upon a man. The element of free will is there and all we believers--and even the Manifestation of God Himself--can do is to offer the truth to mankind. If the people of the world persist, as they seem to be doing, in their blind materialism, they must bear the consequences in a prolongation of their present condition, and even a worsening of it. Our duty as Bahá'ís is to build up such a love and unity within our own ranks that the people will be attracted by this example to the Cause. We also must teach all we can and strengthen the Bahá'í community in the Administration. But more we cannot do to avert the great sufferings which seemingly still lie ahead of the world in its present evil state.14 October 1947
Summer School is, indeed, a wonderful experience, for at the present time it is the only institution that affords the Bahá'ís of England an opportunity of all living together, for however short a time, as a community, and this and the spirit it engenders, has a very inspiring affect.19 October 1947
He (the Guardian) does not feel that it is desirable to lay down any conditions for giving to the Bahá'í Fund. This is an entirelyPage 448
personal matter, and each believer must act according to his own judgment and the needs of the Faith. In times of crisis, whether in the affairs of the Cause or in one's own family, people naturally behave differently from under normal circumstances. But decisions in these matters must rest with each individual Bahá'í.
Generally speaking the secretary of an assembly must be careful to convey exactly what the majority decision or advice of the body was. There can surely be no objection to his putting it in proper terms and clarifying the matter according to the decision or instruction of the assembly. But he should of course not introduce his personal views unless endorsed by the assembly.
The nature of assembly minutes is a matter for the body itself to decide. Naturally all important subjects brought up and notes must be recorded, but how detailed the record must be is for the members themselves to decide.
'Abdu'l-Bahá said we must sacrifice the important for the most important. The most important thing now for the English Bahá'ís is to accomplish their Plan. The sacrifice of other activities, cultural or otherwise, is not of very much importance compared to their goal. They can always return, when they have more time, to such pursuits. To serve any great Cause or purpose requires sacrifice....
Bahá'u'lláh is not the intermediary between other Manifestations and God. Each has His own relation to the Primal Source. But in the sense that Bahá'u'lláh is the greatest Manifestation to yet appear, the One who consummates the Revelation of Moses, He was the One Moses conversed with in the Burning Bush. In other words, Bahá'u'lláh identifies the glory of the God-Head on that occasion with Himself. No distinction can be made amongst the Prophets in the sense that They all proceed from one Source, and are of one essence. But Their stations and functions in this world are different.4 March 1948
It is not surprising, in view of the gloom overhanging the entire world, and in conjunction with their run-down, exhausted state due to war conditions and present circumstances of life in England, that the British Bahá'ís should sometimes reflect thePage 449
state of their countrymen! It is a pity, and they should certainly try, as believers, to be cheerful and radiant; but he (the Guardian) feels the greatest sympathy for them, and considers that when their present achievements are assessed in future, people will give them a double measure of praise for having done so much when they were least fit to do it. The spirit of determination, and their perseverance, are truly outstanding.
Just because some people have lost their vision of the Cause, or never had a proper grasp of its implications before entering it, and leave the fold, should not cause undue discouragement. There are bound to be such cases, and although every moral support should be given them, if they still wish to withdraw, they fall off--as you said--like withered leaves from the Tree of the Faith, and do it no real harm.
He likes to be provided with facts by the friends, when they ask his advice, for although his decisions are guided by God, he is not, like the Prophet, omniscient at will, in spite of the fact that he often senses a situation or condition without having any detailed knowledge of it....26 March 1948
One of the greatest problems in the Cause is the relation of the believers to each other; for their immaturity (shared with the rest of humanity) and imperfections retard the work, create complications, and discourage each other. And yet we must put up with these things and try and combat them through love, patience and forgiveness individually, and proper administrative action collectively.8 April 1948
We Bahá'ís firmly believe that it is possible, if we have the right spirit, to make our stumbling blocks stepping-stones to progress. You have already, through at last facing yourself and acknowledging that you have both failed and erred in managing your life so far, set your feet on the right path. But now this new and spiritual condition in you is going to be proved--and thePage 450
proving, the testing, will surely consist of the way you determine to take your punishment.
Life is based on laws: physical, man-made, and spiritual. As you have broken the laws of the society in which you live, you will have to stand up like a man and take your punishment. The spirit in which you do this is the most important thing, and constitutes a great opportunity for you. He (the Guardian) advises you to turn your face towards the future, to realise that when you are set free you have loving and helpful friends to go to, an upright job awaiting you, and you can also become active in serving our glorious Faith. So really everything lies before you. But at present, until your sentence is up, you must live within yourself in a way not to spoil the new future awaiting you. You must not become bitter--for after all you are only reaping what you planted. Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, through no crime of their own, spent the better part of their lives in exile and imprisoned, but they never became embittered although they were the victims of injustice. You, on the other hand, are the victim of injustice which you have inflicted on yourself-- therefore you certainly have no right to be bitter towards the world.
He urges you to grasp firmly the teachings of our Faith, the love of your family and many Bahá'í friends, to put the past behind entirely, realising that it can do you no more harm; on the contrary, through changing you and making you spiritually aware, this very past can be a means of enriching your life in the future! He will certainly ardently pray for your happiness, your victory over yourself, and that you may become an exemplary and active Bahá'í.9 June 1948
"Reciting" the Greatest Name means to repeat it over and over, silently or out loud....
The chairman of the local assembly is, if present, the logical and appropriate person to take charge of the consultation period between the assembly and the community members at the Nineteen Day Feast.Page 451
He (the Guardian) encouraged him to face manfully the future, accept the legitimate sanction of society as punishment for his admittedly anti-social conduct, and realise that his very suffering, humiliation and punishment can--if he will let it--be the means of freeing him from many of his past weaknesses and mistakes, and making him a worthy member of society. He should look to the future, for there is in his power, with Bahá'u'lláh's help, to shape into a worthy and constructive way of life....
The English Bahá'ís did gloriously succeed after all! Hitching one's wagon to a star, however impractical it may seem, does bring results, for man, with God to help him, does possess strengths far beyond the mere materialist's ken!
As regards your question about p. 41, Kitáb-i-Iqan; to say that, after 622 A.D., Christendom was Islám in disguise is a little misleading. The Sun of Truth, after the advent of Muhammad, no longer shone from the Christian horizon. Islám was, from then until the Báb's advent, the Path of Truth.
We should never insist on teaching those who are not really ready for the Cause. If a man is not hungry, you cannot make him eat. Among the Theosophists there are, no doubt, many receptive souls, but those who are satisfied should be just associated with in a friendly way, but let alone. Once a seeker comes to accept the concept of progressive religion, and accepts Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation for this day, the reincarnation concept will fade away in the light of truth; we should try and avoid controversial issues in the beginning if possible.
Mirza Abu'l-Fadl was a very excellent and erudite Bahá'í teacher. Although he did err sometimes, yet in identifying Abraham with Zoroaster, he is not confusing the Prophet Abraham with the Prophet Zoroaster, as the name of Zoroaster was supposed to have been "Abram".20 September 1948
He (the Guardian) is very happy indeed to see the change in your attitude and to hear that you are now not only a recognised member of our Faith, but a prospective Bahá'í pioneer!Page 452
It is quite natural for anyone, observing the present state of the world, to feel very depressed and apprehensive of the future. Any intelligent person must be wondering what you are wondering. It is indeed hard to see what lies ahead of us in the near future--but we, as Bahá'ís, unlike most people, have absolute assurance that the distant future is serene and bright. We do not know if there will be another Great War; what we do know is this: that unless people become spiritually awakened in time, great suffering, maybe in the form of war, will come upon them, for humanity must be unified, must be redeemed. If men refuse absolutely to take the easier road of faith, of seeking out God's Manifestation for this age and accepting Him, then they will bring upon themselves a fresh crisis in human affairs and very great affliction. What we, as Bahá'ís, must do is our duty; we cannot do other people's duty for them, alas, but we can fulfil our own sacred responsibilities by serving our fellow-men, living a Bahá'í life, teaching the Faith, and strengthening its budding world order.
He urges you, just as you have surmounted the crisis in your own life, through faith and courage, to now go out and serve the Cause with that same faith and courage. We must leave to God the final reckoning with His creatures today--but meantime we must give them His Message.17 October 1948
The Cause in England seems, in spite of financial handicaps, to be going forward in Seven League boots. He (the Guardian) is truly proud of the British believers, and this is more than he could say in the past, when the work for years seemed to be stagnating! Those days are now passed forever, he feels sure.23 December 1948
He (the Guardian) is very glad to see you are now living the life of an active Bahá'í and keeping in close touch with dear ... who is a fine friend to have, with his devotion to the Cause and his optimism.Page 453
The Guardian urges you not to be discouraged by any setbacks you may have. Life is a process of trials and testings, and these are--contrary to what we are prone to thinking--good for us, and give us stamina, and teach us to rely on God. Knowing He will help us, we can help ourselves more.
He does not know how, in the present very chaotic state of the world, you could find just the kind of job you want of driving abroad. Positions are difficult to obtain and travel so complicated. Unless you can migrate out to Africa or Australia, in some regular government scheme, he would urge you to persevere in Great Britain and do the best you can. He urges you, in the next job you have, to pray whenever you feel the conditions at work are too much for you. You will find you are helped and strengthened and once you get established in some position you may work yourself up, or go on with good references to a better employment later on....8 January 1949
The only people who are truly free of the "dross of self" are the Prophets, for to be free of one's ego is a hall-mark of perfection. We humans are never going to become perfect, for perfection belongs to a realm we are not destined to enter. However, we must constantly mount higher, seek to be more perfect.
The ego is the animal in us, the heritage of the flesh which is full of selfish desires. By obeying the laws of God, seeking to live the life laid down in our teachings, and prayer and struggle, we can subdue our egos. We call people "saints" who have achieved the highest degree of mastery over their egos.
There is no contradiction between Gleanings p. 66 and p. 262. In one place He says the mirror will never be free from dross, in the other place He says it will be "so cleared as to be able" etc. It is a relative thing; perfection will never be reached, but great and ever greater, progress can be made.
The word "Guardian" in the Seven Valleys has no connection with the Bahá'í Guardianship.
The Quran should be to some extent studied by the Bahá'ís but they certainly need not seek to acquire a mastery over it,Page 454
which would take years, unless they really want to. All Divine Revelation seems to have been thrown out in flashes. The Prophets never composed treatises. That is why in the Quran and our own Writings different subjects are so often included in one Tablet. It pulsates, so to speak. That is why it is "Revelation".
Life is a constant struggle, not only against forces around us, but above all against our own ego. We can never afford to rest on our own oars, for if we do, we soon see ourselves carried down stream again. Many of those who drift away from the Cause do so for the reason that they had ceased to go on developing. They became complacent or indifferent, and consequently ceased to draw the spiritual strength and vitality from the Cause which they should have. Sometimes, of course, people fail because of a test they just do not meet, and often our severest tests come from each other. Certainly the believer should try to avert such things, and if they happen, remedy them through love. Generally speaking nine-tenths of the friends' troubles are because they don't do the Bahá'í thing, in relation to each other, to the administrative bodies or in their personal lives.
No doubt to the degree we Bahá'ís the world over strive to spread the Cause and live up to its teachings, there will be some mitigation of the suffering of the peoples of the world. But it seems apparent that the great failure to respond to Bahá'u'lláh's instructions, appeals and warnings issued in the 19th century, has now sent the world along a path, or released forces, which must culminate in a still more violent upheaval and agony. The thing is out of hand, so to speak, and it is too late to avert catastrophic trials.
You should never be too depressed about your dissatisfaction concerning not finding a job you like, a place in the world that fits you. If you analyse it this general sense of mis-fit is one of the curses of your generation, one of the products of the world's disequilibrium and chaos. It is not confined to your life, it is pretty general.20 March 1949
He (the Guardian) fully realises that some decisions are very hard to take in life, and he urges you in this case to do twoPage 455
things: in the first place, are you quite sure two years voice-training will really carry you where you hope it will? In other words, he presumes that your teacher's opinion has been backed up by the opinion of other professionals? It would be a great pity to, in any way, sacrifice your service to the Cause for a career which in the end might not prove a substantial one. And in the second place he advises you to remain in ... and continue your studies (once you are quite assured about the outcome), providing the Plan does not reach such a critical point that it is imperative for you to go as a pioneer in order to really help save the situation. If this need arises in such urgency, he certainly feels you should temporarily give up your singing lessons, for, of course, no sacrifice is too great for the Cause. What we put into serving it we know serves a useful and worthy purpose, whereas the outcome of our struggles in life is never assured completely, and is certainly insignificant compared to the Faith's importance.22 July 1949
The work on the Shrine--now beginning to rise visibly at the corners--and the spread of the Faith which brings many communications from new places, and many problems too, keeps us all busy as never before, especially the Guardian. But to see the course going ahead so fast fills our hearts with gratitude and the work involved seems a small contribution to make to such a Holy Cause.
As regards to the question you asked me to put to the Guardian about the Aqdas and the House of Justice elections: as most of the laws of the Aqdas cannot at present be enforced anywhere he has not deemed it necessary or wise to translate and promulgate them. You can orally translate them for any of the believers anxious to know exactly what they are. The National Assemblies (or Houses of Justice) will elect directly the International House of Justice, but just what form this election will take must be decided in the future when the proper time comes. Neither the Master nor the Guardian have made any pronouncements about punishments stipulated in the Aqdas.Page 456
There are no quotations from the Quran to support the Master's statement that European thinkers acknowledge the influence of Islám in shaping the thought of Europe. In the "Gleanings", page 95 (third printing Jan. 1943) Bahá'u'lláh says:--"Of old it has been revealed: Love of one's country is an element of the Faith of God!" Here Bahá'u'lláh is quoting not the Quran but an Islámic tradition, and it is this statement which the Guardian has used as the basis of his argument in the "Promised Day" that nationhood grew out of the direct influence of Muhammad's teachings, and was one of the great contributions to mankind's evolution of Islám. The building up of nations came after Muhammad, and was a step forward in the direction of a unified world which the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh has provided for.22 October 1949
We must not only be patient with others, infinitely patient!, but also with our own poor selves, remembering that even the Prophets of God sometimes got tired and cried out in despair!
The end of the Plan is in view, and a long last push will, he sincerely hopes and believes, bring success and a breathing space.
Regarding your questions: it is not the City State, but the National State which Muhammad's teachings fostered. Christ had nothing to do with the City State concept in any direct manner.
The 100 years respite is only the phrase used by the Guardian to convey the idea that for a 100 years or so the Cause had not been recognised. It draws no parallel between this century and the last one, nor does it imply a repetition of events.
The Hidden Words have no sequence. They are jewel-like thoughts sent out of the mind of the Manifestation of God to admonish and counsel men. Unfortunately Bahá'u'lláh was never asked, and never, as far as we know, stated, what the force was mentioned by Him in the "Epistle". There is nothing in the "Mysterious Forces of Civilization" implying that these great conquerors were not blood thirsty.Page 457
A healthy social life and Bahá'í work can go hand in hand, but not always in times of crisis, such as these days the Cause is passing through--and the world--when great sacrifice can alone meet the demands of the situation.
He urges you to persevere and add up your accomplishments, rather than to dwell on the dark side of things. Everyone's life has both a dark and bright side. The Master said: turn your back to the darkness and your face to Me.18 February 1950
He (the Guardian) feels that if you consider it too much of a strain to keep the Fast you should not do so. Bahá'u'lláh has exempted people who are travellers at the time; if you could keep it the days you are not travelling, and thus partake of its bounty, it would be advisable, but it is not essential.28 March 1950
The beloved Guardian, having been in touch with you by cable, and being more over-worked this year than ever, delayed answering. You know, from what you saw here, how inefficient--to under-state the matter--his servants are. The work at the Shrine has vastly increased and of necessity, for as the first part of the building will soon be finished, the grounds around it have been entirely remodelled to fit it better and show it off. All this he has been forced to superintend and plan personally. The attacks and status of the enemies you know about. So that in all he is very tired.4 October 1950
We must never take one sentence in the Teachings and isolate it from the rest: it does not mean we must not love, but we must reach a spiritual plane where God comes first and great human passions are unable to turn us away from Him. All the time we see people who either through the force of hate or the passionatePage 458
attachment they have to another person, sacrifice principle or bar themselves from the Path of God.
We know absence of light is darkness, but no one would assert darkness was not a fact. It exists even though it is only the absence of something else. So evil exists too, and we cannot close our eyes to it, even though it is a negative existence. We must seek to supplant it by good, and if we see an evil person is not influenceable by us, then we should shun his company for it is unhealthy.
We must love God, and in this state a general love for all men becomes possible. We cannot love each human being for himself, but our feeling towards humanity should be motivated by our love for the Father who created all men.
The Bahá'í Faith teaches man was always potentially man, even when passing through lower stages of evolution. Because he has more powers, and subtler powers than the animal, when he turns towards evil he becomes more vicious than an animal because of these very powers.
Many Theosophists accept Bahá'u'lláh as a Prophet, but we have no special relation to theosophy. It would seem that the Master had some special reason for not mentioning Bahá'u'lláh specifically in His talk to the Theosophists in Budapest. What it was we do not know, but we can assume His great tact and wisdom impelled Him not to on that occasion.20 October 1950
He (the Guardian) feels that in as far as possible the African pioneers should seek to get a job which will take them to one of the countries chosen and ensure employment for them there. It does not seem wise or necessary for a Bahá'í to stress the fact he or she is going to teach. A person's religion is their own business, and they can talk about it privately as much as they like without neglecting their employer's work.
Also, he feels no rules can be laid down about how to teach. Usually one teaches those receptive souls one finds. The same should apply to the beginning of the work in Africa. Any direct teaching work with the more primitive tribes would have to be done after finding out the best and most tactful way of doing it.Page 459
The first step is to get to Africa, and, in view of the cost involved, and the state of the Fund, the pioneers should make every effort to get sent out there or at least get employment after arriving, thus relieving the Bahá'í Fund as much as possible. If this fails, then of course all the expense will have to be paid by the Fund.11 January 1951
You have voiced the same suffering, the sign of the same mystery, as has been voiced by almost all those who have been called upon to serve God. Even the Prophets of God, we know, suffered agony when the Spirit of God descended on Them and commanded Them to arise and preach. Look at Moses saying, "I am a stutterer!". Look at Muhammad rolled in His rug in agony! The Guardian himself suffered terribly when he learned he was the one who had been made the Guardian.
So you see your sense of inadequacy, your realisation of your own unworthiness is not unique at all. Many, from the Highest to the humblest have had it. Now the wisdom of it is this: it is such seemingly weak instruments that demonstrate that God is the Power achieving the victories and not men. If you were a wealthy, prominent, strong individual who knew all about Africa and looked upon going out there as fun, any service you render, and victories you have, would be laid to your personality, not to the Cause of God! But because the reverse is true, your services will be a witness to the Power of Bahá'u'lláh and Truth of His Faith.
Rest assured, dear sister, you will ever-increasingly be sustained, and you will find joy and strength given to you, and God will reward you. You will pass through these dark hours triumphant. The first Bahá'í going on such an historic mission could not but suffer--but the compensation will be great....10 February 1951
Whenever you see tremendous personal problems in your private lives, such as those the parents of ... have been calledPage 460
upon to face, you must remember that these afflictions are part of human life; and, according to our teachings one of their wisdoms is to teach us the impermanence of this world and the permanence of the spiritual bonds that we establish with God, His Prophet, and those who are alive in the faith of God. You must always remember that the Manifestations of God, Themselves, were not immune to suffering of the most human nature; and that from the hands of their relatives, they drank the bitterest potions, Bahá'u'lláh even being proffered poison by His half-brother, Mirza Yahya. Beside their afflictions, our afflictions, however terrible for us, must seem small in comparison.
Regarding your personal affairs, the Guardian will pray that your cherished hopes may be fulfilled; and that the way may open, if you both desire it, for you to serve together the Faith you are so deeply attached to. Never lose heart, and always remember that the power in this Cause is of a nature not understood or accessible to those who have not our faith in Bahá'u'lláh.30 August 1951
The progress being made in Africa is truly miraculous, as if a special benediction from on High is being extended to this work... He (the Guardian) feels sure that the work in Uganda will now go forward rapidly. The news from Dar is wonderful too... The racial question all over Africa is very acute, but, while being wise and tactful, believers must realise that their standard is far from that of the white colonials. They have not gone there to uphold the white man's supremacy, but to give the Cause of God to, primarily, the black man whose home is Africa.11 November 1951
Many times the young Bahá'ís these days seem to be living the lives of soldiers, and in a way the pioneers are the soldiers of Bahá'u'lláh, going out to plant the banner of His dominion in far corners of the earth!Page 461
What the Master meant in the words you quoted is simply that joy gives one more freedom to create; if the Prophets, the Master Himself, and the Guardian, had less problems and worries, They could give forth a great deal more creatively to the Cause. When He said that "grow to be as a fruitful tree" he meant that, by lifting burdens from the Guardian and trying as much as possible to do our share of the work of the Faith, we would help Shoghi Effendi to develop his full powers as Guardian and, through the Covenant, the Cause would spread its shadow over all men. This we have seen happen in the last 30 years, but that does not mean we must not try to our utmost to help him by our lives and our services.
Teaching is an individual matter; one has to sense when it is right to go further in revealing the Source of our Message; no rules exist, really, for such things.3 March 1955
As we almost never attain any spiritual goal without seeing the next goal we must attain still beyond our reach, he urges you, who have come so far already on the path of spirituality, not to fret about the distance you still have to cover! It is an indefinite journey, and, no doubt in the next world the soul is privileged to draw closer to God than is possible when bound on this physical plane.6 March 1955
As regards the questions you have asked, as Bahá'u'lláh says categorically that God commanded Abraham to offer up Isma'il, as far as we are concerned, it is Isma'il who was the intended sacrifice.
In view of the great antiquity of Genesis, it is quite possible that at some period the names were changed, and the error was propagated.Page 462
Whatever happened, we Bahá'ís must follow the words in our own Scriptures as being the most authentic.
In the Tablet of the Holy Mariner, the Youth means Bahá'u'lláh, Himself.12 January 1957
In the Bahá'í Teachings it is made quite clear that when one is ill, one should seek the best available medical advice. This naturally leaves a person free to choose what they consider good in medical opinion. If you and ... feel that she is improving under the care of your own doctor, and ... is willing to wait and be patient and see if she goes on making progress, there can surely be no objection to her doing this. There are a great many as you know mental diseases and troubles at present, and the one thing Bahá'ís must not do is take a defeatist attitude toward them. The power in the Faith is such that it can sustain us on a much higher level in spite of whatever our ailments might be than other people who are denied it. This however does not mean that we should ignore medical opinion and treatment. On the contrary, we should do our best to procure the opinion of specialists and competent doctors.15 August 1957
You should not allow the remarks made by the Bahá'ís to hurt or depress you, but should forget the personalities, and arise to do all you can, yourself, to teach the Faith.
Bahá'u'lláh enjoins work on all. No one need ever be ashamed of his job.Page 463
In his last message to the British Bahá'í community as a whole the Guardian wrote:
May they, as they forge ahead along the high road leading to ultimate, total and complete victory, receive as their daily sustenance, a still fuller measure of the abounding grace, promised to the believers of an earlier generation by the Centre of the Covenant, the Author of the Divine Plan, Himself, on the occasion of His twice-repeated visit to their shores, and which has been unfailingly vouchsafed to themselves, in the course of over three decades, since the birth of the Formative Age of the Faith and the rise of its Administrative Order in their homeland.Shoghi
These biographies appear strictly in the order the names first appear in the text of the book. Where a fuller report is published elsewhere, a summary only is given together with a reference to the other material.
NAME PAGE NAME PAGE Dr. John E. Esslemont 9 John L. Marshall 210 Edward T. Hall 9 Mrs. M. Olga K. Mills 210 Mrs. Thornburgh-Cropper 9 Alfred and Lucy Sugar 210George P. Simpson 9 Charles N. Dunning 211 Miss Ethel J. Rosenberg 11 Miss Claire Gung 211 Dia'u'llah Asgharzadih 24 Mrs. Lizzie F. Hainsworth 211 Lady Blomfield 30Miss Margaret Sullivan 211 Rev. George Townshend 55 Cyril and Margaret Mrs. Isobel Slade 61 Jenkerson 217 Mrs. Louise Ginman 63 Richard H. Backwell 218 Miss Florence Pinchon 72 Miss Ada Williams 222 Mrs. Claudia Coles 88 Mrs. Constance Langdon-Davies 224 Sister Grace Challis 88 George K. Marshall 228 David Hofman 108 Mrs. Marguerite Preston 231 Mrs. Lilian Stevens 116 Bernard Leach, CH, OBE 239 Miss Evelyn Baxter 117 Samuel Scott 240 Hasan M. Balyuzi 122 John Ferraby 250 Frank Hurst126 Mrs. Florence "Mother" Mrs. Mary Basil-Hall 127 George 256 Albert and Jeff Joseph 146 Musa Banani 257 Dr. R. St. Barbe Baker 163 Ali Nakhjavani 257 Miss Jessica Young 172 Hassan and Isobel Sabri 266 Lady Kathleen Hornell 172 Arthur Norton 267 Mrs. Ursula Samandari 172 Eric Manton 273 Mrs. Marion Hofman 179 Dr. Abbas and Shomais Miss Una Townshend 181 Afnan 278 Joseph Lee 181 Edmund Cardell 281 Mrs. Dorothy Ferraby 184 Dr. John G. Mitchell 307 Philip Hainsworth 187 Miss Irene Bennett 321 Walter Wilkins 191 Miss Dorothy Wigington 362 Mrs. Alma C. Gregory 191 Ernest W. Gregory 381 Robert Cheek 191 Dr. Ernest S. Miller 395 Mrs. Joan Giddings194 Ian Semple 411 Hugh and Violet McKinley 194 Miss Jean Campbell 414 Dr. Lutfullah Hakim 195 John Craven 416 Fred Stahler 202 Mrs. Prudence George 202Page 467
DR. JOHN E. ESSLEMONT Hand of the Cause of God page 9
Born in 1874 and accepted the Faith in early 1915, Dr. Esslemont was elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause of God after his passing on 22 November 1925 and linked by the Guardian with George Townshend and Thomas Breakwell, on the passing of George Townshend, as "One of three luminaries shedding brilliant lustre annals Irish, English, Scottish Bahá'í communities". He was "Vice-President" of the first National Assembly from October 1923 until November 1924. For fuller details of his life and works read "Dr. J. E. Esslemont" by Dr. Moojan Momen. (Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1975-B130.)EDWARD THEODORE HALL page 9
First heard of the Faith in 1910 in the Salford, Lancashire area and with his wife Rebecca, her brother John Charles and his wife Hester Ann Craven, made contact with Sarah Ann Ridgway, one of the earliest British Bahá'ís, and later established the second Bahá'í Group in the British Isles. In 1912 Mr. Hall and Mr. Craven went to Liverpool and met 'Abdu'l-Bahá at the boat. Five Tablets from the Master were received. In 1922 the first Spiritual Assembly was formed in Manchester with E. T. Hall as Secretary. He also "represented" Manchester on the first National Spiritual Council in 1922, and was a member of the National Assembly until 1928. He was entrusted by Shoghi Effendi with part of his early diaries and later maintained a close correspondence with the Guardian for many years. His book, "The Bahá'í Dawn; Manchester" paints a vivid picture of the early days of the Faith in Lancashire. Through Mr. Hall's correspondence with the Editor of the `John O'Groats Journal' (Mr. R. J. G. Millar) frequent reviews and letters were published for nineteen years until the Editor's retirement. He passed away on 5 December 1962 aged 82.MRS. THORNBURGH-CROPPER page 9
One of the first Bahá'ís of the West and possibly the first Bahá'í resident in England. Her early Bahá'í life is described in "The Chosen Highway" and in "The Bahá'í World", Vol. VIII, pp. 649-51. She was a member of the National SpiritualPage 468
Assembly for its first two years and it was in her house in Westminster that the first meeting of the "All-England Bahá'í Council" was held on 6 June 1922. She passed away on 15 March 1938.GEORGE PALGRAVE SIMPSON page 9
Was associated with the Administration of the Faith in the British Isles from its earliest days. Elected as Chairman of the first "Spiritual Council" and President of the "National Spiritual Assembly" in 1923. He also served as the Assistant Secretary and the Treasurer for some years. All the early letters from the Guardian were addressed to him and the file copies of his letters to the Holy Land, some to the Guardian and others to the various secretaries, as well as the Minutes in his handwriting, give us our closest insight into the conditions obtaining in the 1920's. At one stage he felt obliged to resign from the National Assembly but was still called upon to remain as its Treasurer and attend the meetings! He served the Cause with great distinction until his death on 31 August 1934. (See letter 30 September 1934.)MISS ETHEL JENNER ROSENBERG page 11
"One of the pioneers of the Bahá'í Cause in the Western World". Having first embraced the Faith in 1899 she soon afterwards went to 'Akká, subsequently visiting many times both 'Akká and Haifa for months at a time, learning from and assisting the Master in translating and transcribing the Teachings. Beloved by all the members of the Holy Family, her passing in November 1930 at the age of 72 evoked a cabled tribute from Shoghi Effendi, who knew her well in England and welcomed her in Haifa after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. She was the one entrusted to bring the robe of Bahá'u'lláh to England, and was a member of the National Assembly from 1923-1927. ("Bahá'í World", Vol. IV, p. 263.)
DIA'U'LLAH ASGHARZADIH, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh page 24
Born in 1880 into a Bahá'í family which emigrated to Ishqabad when he was fifteen years old, Dia'u'llah was throughout his life an active Bahá'í. His first pilgrimage was in 1903, his second wasPage 469
seventeen years later, after which he settled in London, and his third was at the time of the passing of the Master when Shoghi Effendi gave him the task of making copies of the Master's Will from the original. He was a member of the National Assembly for various periods between 1925 and 1941 and settled in Jersey as a Knight of Bahá'u'lláh in 1953 at the age of 73. He passed away in Jersey in April 1956. ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XIII, p. 881.)SARA, LADY BLOMFIELD (SITARIH KHANUM) page 30
For fuller details of her devoted services to the Cause it is necessary to refer to "The Chosen Highway" and "The Bahá'í World", Vol. VIII, pp. 651-6. Born in Ireland of a fearless Protestant mother and a strong Roman Catholic father, she understood from an early age the tragedy of religious intolerance which led her to search for Truth until she found the Bahá'í Revelation. She was held in high esteem in the London society of the late "nineties" but she herself was always looking for the Promised One. She was a great friend and admirer of Basil Wilberforce, Archdeacon of Westminster. Not only did she place her home in Cadogan Gardens at the disposal of the Master during His London visits but she accompanied Him to Paris. While He was in America she went to Mount Pelerin, in Switzerland, to edit the rough notes of "Paris Talks", had them sent to Him for correction and had the book published in time for His second visit when He signed and gave away many copies. She accompanied Shoghi Effendi when he returned to Haifa after the passing of the Master and wrote the letter which was later published as "The Passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá". She was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly for eight of its first eleven years. She passed away on the last day of 1939 and a remarkably fine obituary in the magazine "The World's Children" of March 1940 was headed "Lady Blomfield--Apostle of World Unity".GEORGE TOWNSHEND Hand of the Cause of God page 55
First corresponded with 'Abdu'l-Bahá about 1918. The Master wrote to him "It is my hope that thy church will come under the heavenly Jerusalem". For very many years he tried to bring to the clergy of the Church of Ireland and particularly the seniorPage 470
ones, the realisation of Bahá'u'lláh as Christ returned in the Glory of the Father. In spite of his important books, "The Heart of the Gospel" and "The Promise of All Ages", no one in the church responded and in 1947 the Guardian called upon him to resign from the church. He complied immediately and moved with his wife and two children to a small bungalow in Dundrum near Dublin. He was one of the founder members of the first Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Dublin and in 1951 was elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause. For many years he gave distinguished services to the Guardian, not least of which was the writing of the introduction to "God Passes By" and his presentation on behalf of the Guardian of his paper "Bahá'u'lláh's Ground Plan for World Fellowship" to the inaugural meeting of the World Congress of Faiths in 1936. The pamphlet he wrote to all Christians under the title "The Old Churches and the New World Faith" was sent out to 10,000 so-called "responsible people" in the British Isles on the occasion of his resignation from the church, and his last book "Christ and Bahá'u'lláh" was described by the Guardian as "his crowning achievement". He participated in the Inter-Continental Conference, Stockholm, Sweden in July 1953 and passed away in March 1957 at the age of 81. ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XIII, p. 841.)MRS. ISOBEL SLADE page 61
It has not been possible to trace exactly when Mrs. Slade became a Bahá'í but she did tell the story of how she heard of the Faith from a visiting American believer and wished to go on pilgrimage to see the Master. Before her plans were made she heard of His passing and she went in the early 1920s. In the year 1926 there is a record of her being a "substitute" member of the National Assembly elected to "represent" the London community. From the following year the delegates elected the National Assembly from the national electorate and Mrs. Slade served as a member for fourteen of the following nineteen years. She was, in different years, Chairman, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Assistant Secretary. She was a "last ditch" pioneer to Edinburgh to form the first Assembly there in 1948. To the end of her long life she would delight her visitors with fascinating stories of her experiences in the early days of the Faith in the British Isles and she passed away in September 1972 at the age ofPage 471
98. The Universal House of Justice cabled: "PASSING ISOBEL SLADE SEVERS ONE FEW REMAINING LINKS EARLY CAUSE BRITISH ISLES DEPRIVES COMMUNITY OUTSTANDING BELIEVER STOP HER UNFLAGGING SUPPORT CAUSE GOD MORE THAN HALF CENTURY COMPRISING MEMBERSHIP NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY PIONEER VISITING TEACHER SIX YEAR PLAN CONSTANT DEVOTION DUTY HIGH MORAL STATURE RENDER HER SHINING EXAMPLE FUTURE GENERATIONS STOP EXPRESS RELATIVES FRIENDS LOVING SYMPATHY ASSURE PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD AMPLE REWARD PROGRESS SOUL Abhá Kingdom."MRS. LOUISE GINMAN page 63
Also referred to later as "Louise Charlot". Became a Bahá'í in Burlingame, California about 1910, and came to England late in 1919. She served on the London Spiritual Assembly for a period; pioneered to Oxford, and then to Bristol where she died in February 1963 at the age of 92.MISS FLORENCE E. PINCHON page 72
Little is known about Miss Pinchon's early life but she was mentioned as being active in the Faith with Dr. Esslemont and Major Tudor Pole during the First World War (See "Bahá'í World" Vol. XIV, pp. 370-2). "Floy" had a most lucid pen and in addition to contributing to Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í magazines, wrote "The Coming of the Glory", and "Life after Death". She travelled as a Bahá'í teacher before the Second World War but suffered from indifferent health for many years before her death in Bournemouth in March 1966.MISS CLAUDIA STUART COLES page 88
Having accepted the Bahá'í teachings in Washington, D.C. was one of its most loyal and enthusiastic adherents. Moved to London, England in 1920 and was for eleven years a member of the community, serving for a period as secretary of the National Assembly. She died in London on 25 May 1931. ("Bahá'í World", Vol. IV, pp. 263-4.)SISTER GRACE CHALLIS page 88
Sister Challis was a Quaker when she heard of the Faith from Dr. Esslemont and she accepted it at the gathering of thePage 472
Bournemouth Bahá'ís called to hear of the passing of the Master. Always an active teacher of the Faith, she also served on the National Assembly for fifteen of its first eighteen years, mainly as its Chairman. She passed away in Bournemouth in October 1948.DAVID HOFMAN page 108
A member of the Universal House of Justice since its formation in 1963, he became a Bahá'í in the Maxwell home in Montreal in 1933, when he began corresponding with the Guardian. Returning to England in 1936, he was elected to the British National Spiritual Assembly and was the Secretary during some of its most crucial years. He was the first Manager of its Publishing Trust and played a vital role on the National Teaching and Africa Committees of the Six and Two Year Plans. He served almost continuously on the National Assembly until his election to the Universal House of Justice. David and Marion Hofman pioneered during the Six Year Plan in Northampton, Birmingham and Oxford and during the Ten Year Crusade in Cardiff and Watford. Throughout his years of devoted service to the British community he was always in demand as a most accomplished speaker and convincing teacher.MRS. LILIAN STEVENS page 116
Was a founder member of the first Torquay Spiritual Assembly in 1938; was for many years its secretary and in spite of prolonged illness remained a great servant of the Faith. She passed away on 1 January 1958.
MISS EVELYN BAXTER, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh page 117
Born around 1883 of missionary parents, accepted the Faith in 1923 and served with absolute devotion throughout the remainder of her life. She was for many years a member of the London Spiritual Assembly and served for six years on the National Assembly. Throughout her Bahá'í life she corresponded frequently with the Guardian and responded to his overseas pioneer call when she became a Knight of Bahá'u'lláh for the Channel Isles in September 1953. She had already pioneered in the Six Year Plan to Birmingham, Nottingham, Hove, OxfordPage 473
and Cardiff. She died on 21 August 1969 and the Universal House of Justice cabled: "DEEPLY GRIEVED PASSING KNIGHT OF Bahá'u'lláh EVELYN BAXTER. AMONG FIRST PIONEERS SIX YEAR PLAN HER LONG FAITHFUL SERVICE BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY PROVIDES EXAMPLE DEVOTION FORTITUDE". ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XV, pp. 456-7)
HASAN M. BALYUZI, Hand of the Cause of God page 122
He was first elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles in 1933 and served continuously until 1960, when he retired in order to devote his whole time to the work of the Hands of the Cause. He served at the World Centre, and travelled to South America and throughout Canada in 1961. Mr. Balyuzi was Secretary of the first Summer School Committee in 1936, on the National Teaching Committee in 1940 and Chairman of the National Assembly almost every year from 1942 until his retirement. He was elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause in 1957, and has made invaluable contributions to the literature of the Faith with his trilogy, "Bahá'u'lláh", "'Abdu'l-Bahá" and "The Báb"; his "Edward Granville Browne and the Bahá'í Faith", his pamphlet on "Bahá'í Administration", and "Muhammad and the Course of Islám".(See page 490)
An early worker in the Trade Union Movement in Britain, Frank was an outspoken sympathiser of the Faith for over twenty years before actually accepting it in Bradford in 1939. He died in Leeds in 1949.MRS. MARY BASIL-HALL (PARVINE) page 127
Daughter of Lady Blomfield, she was active in the Faith from her youth, particularly during the visit to Britain of the Master Whom she served with such devotion, and Who bestowed upon her the name "Parvine" on His first visit in 1911. She served for five years on the National Spiritual Assembly and for a short time on the National Teaching Committee of the Six Year Plan. At her passing the National Assembly cabled the Guardian, "PARVINE GLORIED IN SUCCESS PLAN PASSED TO Abhá Kingdom MORNING 28TH" (April 1950).Page 474
Associated with the Faith from the very beginnings of the Administration in the British Isles, the Joseph brothers gave long and outstanding service to the Cause. Jacob (later "Jeff") was Chairman and Albert (then Ibrahim) a member of the first "Spiritual Council" of the Bahá'ís of Manchester. Jacob was a member of the first "All-England Bahá'í Council" in 1922 and of the first National Spiritual Assembly in 1923. Both were mentioned in and received some Tablets from the Master and both were warmly regarded by the Guardian for their services to the Faith. Jeff died in August 1969 in Manchester and Albert in August 1978.
RICHARD ST. BARBE BAKER, O.B.E., LL.D., FOR.D.I.P. (CAMBRIDGE) page 163
On his return from Kenya in 1924 where he had served as Assistant Conservator of Forests since 1920, R. St. Barbe Baker was asked to speak on the faiths of the Kikuyu under the title: "Some African Beliefs" at the `Conference of Living Religions within the Empire', and was approached afterwards by Claudia Stewart-Coles who exclaimed "You are a Bahá'í". He subsequently accepted the Faith and has introduced it to many thousands of people in all walks of life in many lands, for more than half a century. The Guardian became the first Life Member of the Men of the Trees in Palestine in 1929. Later, for twelve consecutive years, he sent an official message to St. Barbe's World Forestry Charter Gatherings attended by Ambassadors from up to sixty-two countries each year. St. Barbe took an active part on the Committee celebrating the Centenary of the Declaration of the Báb in 1944. After his first Sahara University Expedition carrying out an ecological survey of 9,000 miles in 1953, and in response to the Guardian's desire, St. Barbe attended the First African Conference in Kampala. In 1975 St. Barbe was called upon to advise on tree planting of the site of the Tihrán House of Worship in consultation with Quinlan Terry, architect. Afterwards, in collaboration with architect Hossein Amanat, he recorded his observations for the Universal House of Justice for the landscaping of their site on Mt. Carmel and for tree-scaping at Bahji. St. Barbe attended the Intercontinental Conference Nairobi, in October 1976 and still (1979) at almost 90 isPage 475
introducing or teaching the Faith in many lands and would be content to "lay down his bones in service to the Faith" in his beloved Africa.MISS JESSICA YOUNG
Historically was the first British pioneer to arise when she went for a short time to Bristol.KATHLEEN BROWN (LADY HORNELL) page 172
Was elected to the National Assembly in 1936 and served until 1945. She pioneered to Nottingham in 1946 where she later married Sir William Hornell. Her next pioneer post was in Belfast in 1952, then to Venice (1960-1965) and later to Sardinia (1965-1968). She returned to London to live at the home of her son-in-law, Hand of the Cause, H. M. Balyuzi. She passed away in September 1977 and the Universal House of Justice cabled: "PASSING LADY HORNELL ROBS BRITISH COMMUNITY ONE OF FEW REMAINING LINKS EARLY DAYS FAITH. HER UNWAVERING FAITH CONSTANT DEDICATED SERVICES PIONEER TEACHING ADMINISTRATIVE FIELDS OVER SO MANY YEARS ASSURE HER HIGH STATION ANNALS CAUSE PROVIDE SHINING EXAMPLE PRESENT FUTURE GENERATIONS. ADVISE HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL MEETING. ASSURE ARDENT PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD PROGRESS HER LOVING SOUL Abhá Kingdom."
URSULA SAMANDARI (nee NEWMAN), Knight of Bahá'u'lláh page 172
First served on the British National Assembly in 1945 and pioneered to St. Ives in the same year. Ursula became pioneer member of the first Dublin Assembly in 1948 and pioneered again, a year later, to Belfast. In Belfast she became member of the first Local Assembly and worked with pioneer Dr. Mehdi Samandari, whom she married. They subsequently pioneered to Nairobi in 1953 and later to Somalia, where she was a Knight of Bahá'u'lláh and became a member of the first Spiritual Assembly of Mogadiscio, on which she served from 1954 until 1971. In addition to these experiences, she served on the National Assembly for North East Africa (1961-1970) and on the National Assembly of Cameroon since 1972, where she still serves (1979).Page 476
Came to Britain in 1945 to be married to David Hofman, after having served the Faith in America with great distinction as a teacher, writer and administrator. With her husband she pioneered during the Six Year Plan in Northampton, Birmingham and Oxford, and during the Ten Year Crusade in Cardiff and Watford. She served on the National Spiritual Assembly and National Teaching Committee and as an Auxiliary Board member. Since David's election to the Universal House of Justice, Marion was solely responsible for the family publishing business of George Ronald.MISS UNA TOWNSHEND Knight of Bahá'u'lláh page 181
Was the first of Hand of the Cause George Townshend's family to embrace the Faith which her father had espoused many years previously. She was an active Bahá'í youth and on 16 September 1946 became the first pioneer in Ireland where she opened the `pivotal centre' of Dublin and was on its first Spiritual Assembly in 1948. She pioneered to Malta and was the first Knight of Bahá'u'lláh in that island in October 1953.JOSEPH LEE page 181
Accepted the Faith in Manchester in 1932 and was active on committees and in the teaching work for over thirty years. He served on the National Spiritual Assembly from 1933 to 1940 and pioneered to Brighton, Torquay and Exeter, sacrificing material prosperity over many years in the interests of teaching and pioneering. He passed away in May 1966 at the age of 55 years.MRS DOROTHY FERRABY (nee Cansdale) page 184
Became a Bahá'í and was active in the London Youth group in the early 1930's. She was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly in 1941 and served continuously as either Secretary, Treasurer or Recording Secretary for the next twenty years. She retired when her husband, Hand of the Cause John Ferraby, left to serve at the World Centre. That the small and scatteredPage 477
British Bahá'í community was held together in the 1940's is generally recognised to have been due to the dedicated work of Dorothy as Secretary of the National Assembly working indefatigably in war-torn London. She became an Auxiliary Board Member in 1954 and was appointed to the European Board of Counsellors in 1968.PHILIP HAINSWORTH page 187
Accepted the Faith in Bradford in 1938, and at the outbreak of War was the first British believer to register as a Bahá'í in the Armed Forces. He had to appeal in Court when seeking exemption from being involved in the taking of life and, being released from combatant service, was drafted into the Royal Army Medical Corps. Prior to his release from military service in 1946, he spent five weeks in Haifa and in the same year pioneered to Nottingham. He was appointed Chairman of the National Youth Committee and Secretary of the National Teaching Committee and was elected to the National Assembly in 1947. He subsequently pioneered to Oxford and Blackburn. In June 1951 he was one of the party of five pioneers who first went to Dar-es-Salaam and then on to Kampala, Uganda, where he became Secretary of the first local Spiritual Assembly in 1952 and of the Regional National Assembly in Central and East Africa in 1956. He returned to pioneer in the Leeds area in 1966, was elected to the National Assembly in 1967 and is still (1979) a member.WALTER WILKINS page 191
Born in 1883 Walter embraced the Faith when he was about 40 years old. He was a keen Esperantist through which he learned of the Faith. He served for many years on the London Spiritual Assembly and was on the National Assembly for a year in 1934. Responding to the pioneer call of the Six Year Plan he moved to Birmingham in 1946, to Blackburn in 1947, to Norwich in 1948, and in 1961 at the age of 78 he pioneered to Canterbury. At the age of 82 he took a small flat in an old people's home where for the first time in his life he was able to entertain the friends and hold Feasts and even an assembly meeting. He passed away after an accident on 19 March 1973.Page 478
Although she remembers her mother, Louise Ginman, going from town to town in the United States trying to find the Master, but reaching the place shortly after He had left, and speaks with feeling of personal involvement as a Bahá'í youth, of many early meetings in London at the homes of Lady Blomfield, Claudia Coles, Ethel Rosenberg, "Mother" George and many others of that day, she did not formally register as a Bahá'í in the British Isles until 1942. She pioneered to Northampton in August 1946 and helped to form its first Assembly, leaving for Liverpool in 1949 for the same purpose. She subsequently pioneered to Bristol, Exeter and Stornoway; was the Secretary of the National Youth Committee when it launched its "Bahá'í Youth Bulletin" from 1946 to 1948; was Secretary of the Assembly Development Committee for some years and was a member of the National Assembly for seven years between 1948 and 1956.ROBERT CHEEK page 191
Became a Bahá'í in London on Naw-Ruz 1945, pioneered to Bournemouth in September 1946, to Bristol in 1947 to help form the first Assembly there, and to Norwich in 1948 where he has lived since except for a short special pioneer project in Blackburn in 1950-1.MRS JOAN GIDDINGS (nee BROWNE) page 194
Accepted the Faith in Bradford in 1938. She pioneered first to Cardiff and later to York and Canterbury, and was active on Assemblies and on National Committees throughout her Bahá'í life. She passed away in Canterbury in 1978. (See also note about developments in Bradford under "Cyril and Margaret Jenkerson".)HUGH AND VIOLET MCKINLEY page 194
Hugh McKinley and his mother, Violet McKinley, pioneered from Torquay to Cardiff in 1947, serving on the first local Spiritual Assembly when formed there in 1948. Together they pioneered to Nicosia, Cyprus in 1953, moving to Famagusta in 1958. Violet passed away there in August 1959. In 1966 Hugh pioneered to Syros in the Cyclades Islands (Greece) and returnedPage 479
to the United Kingdom in October 1977. ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XVI, p. 512.)DR. LUTFU'LLAH HAKIM page 195
Was born into a family of distinguished Jewish medical doctors in 1888. His grandfather was the first Jew to embrace the Cause and Bahá'u'lláh revealed a Tablet in his honour. Lutfu'llah came to study physiotherapy in England in 1910 and he was in constant attendance on the Master during His visit in 1911. He went to serve in the Holy Land and returned to England in 1920 when he accompanied Shoghi Effendi. He later served with distinction in Persia and returned, at the request of the Guardian, to Britain in October 1948, where he taught and travelled extensively until called to Haifa by the Guardian on 14 November 1950. He was appointed to the first International Bahá'í Council. He was elected to the first Universal House of Justice in 1963 but because of failing health and advanced age regretfully his resignation was accepted in October 1967 though he consented to serve until the 1968 election. He passed away in August 1968 and the House cabled the Bahá'í world: "GRIEVE ANNOUNCE PASSING LUTFU'LLAH HAKIM DEDICATED SERVANT CAUSE GOD. SPECIAL MISSIONS ENTRUSTED HIM, FULL CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM BY MASTER AND GUARDIAN, HIS CLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH EARLY DISTINGUISHED BELIEVERS EAST WEST INCLUDING HIS COLLABORATION ESSLEMONT, HIS SERVICES PERSIA BRITISH ISLES HOLY LAND, HIS MEMBERSHIP APPOINTED AND ELECTED INTERNATIONAL Bahá'í COUNCIL, HIS ELECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED IMMORTAL ANNALS FAITH Bahá'u'lláh." ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XV, pp. 430-4.)FRED STAHLER page 202
Arose to pioneer shortly after accepting the Faith in Manchester in 1947. He pioneered first to Cardiff, then to Bristol, moved for varying periods to seven other cities and finally settled in Derby in 1965.MRS. PRUDENCE GEORGE page 202
Born in England in 1896 she moved to Canada in 1928 where she accepted the Faith in 1941. She first pioneered from St. Lambert to Moncton and then from Canada to England withPage 480
her young daughter in 1946 to settle in Blackburn, Lancs. From there to Norwich and Bournemouth in the Six Year Plan and then to Edinburgh and Portsmouth. In 1959 she pioneered to Luxembourg and then in the Nine Year Plan, to Guernsey, to Chelmsford, Essex and again overseas to the Canary Islands. In 1969 she returned to England to pioneer in Hereford and St. Austell and then back again to the Canaries where she was on the first Spiritual Assembly of Arucas. For over thirty years she served the Cause with utter consecration; carrying out at least sixteen pioneer projects in three continents. She passed away in Birmingham, England on 12 July 1974. ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XVI, p. 534.)JOHN LUDLOW MARSHALL page 210
"Johnny" was a Scot, born in 1876, went to work as a tinsmith at the age of eleven and later, after marriage, settled in Birmingham to pursue his trade. He was confirmed in the Faith by the Master, Whom he met in 1911 and 1913, when he was, for many years, the only Bahá'í in Birmingham. Johnny kept excellent records of visits and lectures by some of the early visitors to Birmingham, including Martha Root, Dr. Esslemont, Mountford Mills and Helen Bishop. At the age of 71 he retired from work and pioneered to Edinburgh where he died as a result of an accident in January 1948, only three months before the first Spiritual Assembly was formed there.
MARY OLGA KATHERINE MILLS, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh page 210
Born in Germany in 1882 with a German father and English mother she grew up with an insatiable love for travel. In the United States she married an Englishman. It is not certain when she accepted the Faith but she was on pilgrimage in 1930 and stayed for a month as companion to Effie Baker. She was later a great help to the friends in Berlin and Leipzig and gave much support to Adam Benke who pioneered to Sofia. After suffering many privations during the war in Germany she wrote to the Guardian in 1947 and he encouraged her suggestion to pioneer to England. She arrived in early 1948 and settled in her first pioneer post in Nottingham. Within nine months she was again on the move in response to pioneer calls. Belfast, Edinburgh, St.Page 481
Ives, Brighton, and Bournemouth, making six moves in just over two years by a lady in her late sixties. In 1953 she responded immediately and was enrolled as a Knight of Bahá'u'lláh for Malta where, after numerous vicissitudes and a small but painful accident which affected her for many months, she was able, some twenty years later, to witness the formation of the first Spiritual Assembly in Malta. She passed away, after twenty-seven years of dedicated pioneering which covered four territories, in May 1974, when the Universal House of Justice cabled: "PASSING NOBLE SOUL OLGA MILLS GRIEVOUS LOSS BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY. HER LONG STEADFAST DEVOTION Bahá'u'lláh SHEDS LUSTRE ANNALS FAITH THAT COMMUNITY. ISLAND MALTA HISTORICALLY FAMOUS CLASSICAL CHRISTIAN ISLAMIC ERAS RECIPIENT NEW SPIRITUAL POTENTIALITIES THROUGH HEROIC SERVICE KNIGHT Bahá'u'lláh DEDICATED BAND PIONEERS. EXPRESS FRIENDS RELATIVES LOVING SYMPATHY ASSURE ARDENT PRAYERS PROGRESS SOUL." ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XVI, p. 531.)ALFRED AND EDITH LUCY SUGAR page 210
After hearing of the Faith from her brother, E. T. Hall, Lucy Sugar accepted the Faith on 28 November 1921, but Alfred remained agnostic until about 1925. He became well known for his depth of knowledge of the Faith and for his cogent argument. He was a teacher of the highest order and was largely responsible for the development of the Faith around Lancashire and over the Pennines into Bradford and Leeds. Lucy was a member of the National Assembly in 1929 and Alfred was a member during eight of the following thirteen years.
Alfred died in December 1961 at the age of 92 (or 93) and was followed in March 1966 by Lucy aged 90.
CHARLES WILLIAM DUNNING, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh page 211
Born in or near Leeds, March 1885. Met and embraced the Faith in 1948 and within a fortnight offered to pioneer to Belfast. After serious illness and a period of recuperation in Cardiff, he served in Sheffield until 1953. "Charlie" answered the Guardian's call to settle in unopened territories in the Ten Year Crusade and he arrived in Kirkwall, Orkney in September 1953, opening the way, "essentially ... alone" for the founding of Kirkwall SpiritualPage 482
Assembly. After four years, broken by ill health and persecution, he was, for his own safety, sent back to Cardiff. After a bad fall in 1967 from which he never fully recovered, he passed away quietly in his sleep on Christmas Day, 1967 in Cardiff. ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XIV, pp. 305-8.)MISS CLAIRE GUNG page 211
Born in Germany, became a Bahá'í in Torquay and later joined the small Bahá'í group in Cheltenham in 1940. She moved to Manchester and later pioneered to Northampton in November 1946 to become member of the first Spiritual Assembly there. In 1948 she again pioneered to help form the first Spiritual Assembly in the "Pivotal Centre" of Cardiff. In 1950, during the "Year of Respite", Claire became the first pioneer actually to move from the British community to settle in Africa. Hailed by the Guardian as the "Mother of Africa" she worked for some years in Tanganyika and then moved to Uganda where she established a multi-racial kindergarten; she is still at her pioneer post at the time of writing (1979).MRS. LIZZIE FOWLER HAINSWORTH page 211
Became a Bahá'í in Bradford in 1946 after replying to her younger son Philip that she had not become a Bahá'í during his absence in the Armed Forces because "Nobody had asked me to". She pioneered to Nottingham in 1946, to Oxford in 1949 and, at the age of 72, was the first believer in the British Isles to offer to pioneer in the Two Year Plan to Africa. (Convention 1950.) She died in Bradford in September 1951 before she could join her son Philip in Uganda. The Guardian wrote of her through his secretary, "She has truly shown an exemplary Bahá'í spirit in every way.... He wishes more of the Bahá'ís would arise to such heights of devotion and sacrifice."
MISS MARGARET SULLIVAN (later MRS. MARGARET NELSON) page 211
Pioneered to Dublin and was on the first Local Assembly there in 1948. She was Caretaker of the National Hazi'ratu'l-Quds, London from December 1970 to August 1976, and then became a founder member of the Tameside Assembly, Lancashire.Page 483
Became Bahá'ís in Bradford in 1940 and pioneered to Oxford to be members of the first Assembly there in 1949. (It is of interest to note that in 1938 there were only three Spiritual Assemblies in the British Isles--in London, Manchester and Bournemouth, and a total of about eighty registered Bahá'ís, yet in Bradford there were, during the course of about two years, so many new registrations that the first Assembly was elected there in 1939 and by 1949 that Community had sent out ten pioneers from its first twenty-five believers.) The Jenkersons pioneered to Cyprus in 1978 and are still there (1979).RICHARD H. BACKWELL page 218
Became a Bahá'í in Ceylon in 1944 where he was an officer in the Royal Air Force. Returning to Britain in 1946, he pioneered in Nottingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leeds; was a member of the National Spiritual Assembly from 1947 until January 1955 when he pioneered to British Guiana, now Guyana. He was for a time part-time manager of the Bahá'í Publishing Trust and Editor of the Bahá'í Journal. After his return from Guiana, he settled with his family in Northern Ireland in 1963 and again served on the National Assembly until 1968 when he was appointed an Auxiliary Board Member. His valuable contributions to Bahá'í literature include the compilations with which he was associated--"Pattern of Bahá'í Life", "Principles of Bahá'í Administration", "The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh", "Guidance for Today and Tomorrow", "A Faith for Everyman", and his unique approach to the Christians, "The Christianity of Jesus". He passed away on 4 October 1972 at the age of 58 when the Universal House of Justice included in their cable: "GRIEF PASSING EARLY AGE RICHARD BACKWELL GREATLY ASSUAGED TERMINATION HIS SUFFERING CONTEMPLATION DISTINGUISHED RECORD SERVICE SOUTH AMERICA BRITISH ISLES SPIRITUAL RADIANCE EVENING EARTHLY LIFE..." ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XV, pp. 525-27.)MISS ADA WILLIAMS page 222
Pioneered to Motherwell in 1948 and then to Blackpool in 1965. She has travelled widely to teach the Faith at home and overseas, visiting Malta, South Africa and Canada where her great spirit was most inspiring; she is still travelling (1979).Page 484
Was one of the early believers in Torquay where she associated with Mark Tobey, Bernard Leach and other artists and writers at Dartington Hall. She accepted the Faith in December 1936 and served on the National Assembly for fifteen of the years from 1938 until her unexpected death in Oxford in December 1954. She had pioneered to help form the first Assembly there 1949.GEORGE K. MARSHALL page 228
Became a Bahá'í in 1949 although he had lived most of his life with his father, one of the early British believers, in Birmingham. (See "John L. Marshall".) George pioneered for a short while to Belfast and then in 1950 to Glasgow where he lived for seven years, except for a short pioneering project to maintain the Assembly in Edinburgh. He died at an early age on 30 March 1958.MRS MARGUERITE PRESTON (nee Wellby) page 231
Became a Bahá'í in 1936, was a member of the National Assembly for three and a half years during the period 1939 to 1945. She married Terence Preston, a Kenya tea grower, in August 1945 and settled in Kenya where she was the only Bahá'í until the pioneers began to settle under the Two Year Plan. Her husband died unexpectedly in July 1951 leaving her with three young children and she and her eldest child were killed in an aeroplane crash when she was returning to Kenya after a short holiday in England, in February 1952.BERNARD LEACH, C.H., C.B.E. page 239
It was through Mark Tobey that world famous potter and author Bernard Leach became a Bahá'í in the early 1930's. He has through his works, his books, his press, radio and television interviews introduced the Faith with love, dedication and dignity to people in many spheres of society in Britain, Japan and America. He was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen and made a Companion of Honour. Even at ninety years of age, though blind, he was serving the Cause with distinction through his writings and interviews. In March 1977, he opened, with much favourable publicity, an exhibition of his works at thePage 485
Victoria and Albert Museum London. In 1919, when Bernard was about to leave Japan, the late Soetsu Yangi, the well-known Japanese art critic and philosopher and Bernard's friend for over fifty years, paid tribute: "When he leaves us we shall have lost the one man who knows Japan on its spiritual side... I consider his position in Japan, and also his mission in his own country to be pregnant with the deepest meaning. He is trying to knit the East and West together by art, and it seems likely that he will be remembered as the first to accomplish as an artist, what for so long mankind has been dreaming of bringing about...." He passed away in May 1979 and to the National Assembly the Universal House of Justice cabled: "KINDLY EXTEND LOVING SYMPATHY RELATIVES FRIENDS PASSING DISTINGUISHED VETERAN UPHOLDER FAITH Bahá'u'lláh BERNARD LEACH. HONOURS CONFERRED UPON HIM RECOGNITION HIS WORLD-WIDE FAME CRAFTSMAN POTTER PROMOTER CONCORD EAST AND WEST ADD LUSTRE ANNALS BRITISH Bahá'í HISTORY AND HIS EAGER WILLINGNESS USE HIS RENOWN FOR SERVICE FAITH EARN ETERNAL GRATITUDE FELLOW BELIEVERS. ASSURE ARDENT PRAYERS PROGRESS HIS SOUL."SAMUEL SCOTT
Became a Bahá'í when he was 76 years old and pioneered to Norwich at the age of 84. He passed away on 31 December 1951, at the age of 86.JOHN FERRABY, Hand of the Cause of God. page 250
Accepted the Faith in 1941 and was elected to the National Assembly almost immediately. He was Secretary from 1946 until December 1960 when he took up duties at the World Centre. He was also for a number of years manager of the Bahá'í Publishing Trust. On his passing in September 1973 the Universal House of Justice called for memorial meetings "ALL COMMUNITIES Bahá'í WORLD" and referred to his "VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION Bahá'í LITERATURE THROUGH HIS BOOK `ALL THINGS MADE NEW'". ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XVI, p. 511.)MRS FLORENCE "MOTHER" GEORGE page 256
Always proud of the designation "Mother" given to her by 'Abdu'l-Bahá when she was one of the early pilgrims to the HolyPage 486
Land, it was Mother George who introduced the Faith to Dr. John Esslemont. For very many years she conducted Sunday afternoon meetings in her Chelsea home in London and she passed away on 4 November 1950 at the age of 91. ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XII, p. 697.)MUSA BANANI, Hand of the Cause of God. page 257
Pioneered with his wife Samihih to Uganda in 1951 and was elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause in February 1952. The beloved Guardian also described him as the "spiritual conqueror of Africa". In spite of failing health he visited most African territories, served for some five years as the sole Hand of the African Continent, and finally, after many years of constant suffering, passed away at his pioneering post in Kampala, Uganda, on 4 September 1971. The Universal House of Justice cabled: "PROFOUNDLY MOURN PASSING DEARLY LOVED HAND CAUSE MUSA BANANI RECALL WITH DEEP AFFECTION HIS SELFLESS UNASSUMING PROLONGED SERVICES CRADLE FAITH HIS EXEMPLARY PIONEERING UGANDA CULMINATING HIS APPOINTMENT AS HAND CAUSE AFRICA AND PRAISE BELOVED GUARDIAN AS SPIRITUAL CONQUEROR THAT CONTINENT. INTERMENT HIS REMAINS AFRICAN SOIL UNDER SHADOW MOTHER TEMPLE ENHANCES SPIRITUAL LUSTRE THAT BLESSED SPOT. FERVENTLY PRAYING SHRINES PROGRESS HIS NOBLE SOUL. MAY AFRICA NOW ROBBED STAUNCH VENERABLE PROMOTER DEFENDER FAITH FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE CHEER HIS HEART Abhá Kingdom. CONVEY FAMILY MOST TENDER SYMPATHIES ADVISE HOLD MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL COMMUNITIES Bahá'í WORLD BEFITTING GATHERINGS MOTHER TEMPLES". ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XV, pp. 421-3.)ALI NAKHJAVANI page 257
Left Persia in early 1951, after service for the Faith in youth and teaching activities and as a member of the National Assembly, to join his wife, Violette and her parents, Musa and Samihih Banani, in the British Isles, preparatory to their pioneering to Africa. His teaching activities in Africa took him to remote African villages, and, later, as assistant to Mr. Banani when he was appointed Hand of the Cause, to many countries on the African continent. Elected Chairman of the first Regional National Assembly of Central and East Africa, then as member of the first electedPage 487
International Council and finally as member of the Universal House of Justice in 1963.HASSAN AND ISOBEL SABRI page 266
Hassan, a young Egyptian Bahá'í studying in England in 1945 met Isobel Locke, an American pioneer to England, and they both served with distinction in the Six Year Plan, Hassan on the National Youth and National Teaching Committees and the Nottingham, Birmingham, Belfast, Liverpool, Cardiff and Bristol Spiritual Assemblies, and Isobel on the Assemblies in Edinburgh, Blackpool, Sheffield and Bristol, as well as on the National Teaching Committee. They married in 1951 and pioneered to Tanganyika and Uganda, where Hassan was on the first National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa. Isobel became a Counsellor and Hassan Secretary of the Continental Pioneer Committee for Africa. They subsequently pioneered to Kenya where they still serve (1979).ARTHUR NORTON page 267
Was the Treasurer of the special fund for the Shrine of the Báb when he received some letters and receipts. He and his wife Marion were founder members of the Bradford Bahá'í community as well as being the first pioneers to Sheffield during the Six Year Plan. He served on the National Assembly for seven and a half years during the period 1938-1946, when he was obliged to retire due to ill-health in December 1946.ERIC MANTON page 273
Became a Bahá'í in Northampton in 1946 where he was a member of the first Spiritual Assembly. He later pioneered to Edinburgh where he was also on the first Scottish Assembly and to the virgin territory of Northern Rhodesia in 1951. He was Chairman of the first National Spiritual Assembly of South Central Africa in 1964 and of the National Assembly of Zambia for nine years from its formation in 1967. He has remained at his post and became a Zambian citizen in 1973.DR. ABBAS AND SHOMAIS AFNÁN, page 278
Abbas Afnán was a student in Paris and came to England as a pioneer to Africa for the Two Year Plan. Shomais 'Alá'í was thePage 488
second Persian Bahá'í student to come to Northampton to train as a nurse and arrived in 1948. They married at Summer School, Cottingham, Yorkshire in 1951 and pioneered soon afterwards-- Shomais to Ethiopia and Abbas to Persia. Abbas joined Shomais in Africa in 1953. They returned to England in 1958 and opened the town of Burnley where an Assembly was formed in 1961. In 1975 Abbas pioneered to Newfoundland and Shomais joined him in July 1976. Abbas was a member of the National Assembly from 1964 until his pioneer move, and Shomais was active in United Nations' affairs. Shomais toured Persia in 1971 at the request of the Universal House of Justice, was one of the representatives of the Bahá'í International Community at the International Women's Year Convention in Mexico in 1975 and travelled extensively in the British Isles in 1978-1979.
EDMUND (TED) CARDELL, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh page 281
Became a Bahá'í in Canada in 1948 and returned to his father's farm in England some time later. He pioneered to Kenya in October 1951 where he was a founder member of the first local Assembly in Nairobi. He became Knight of Bahá'u'lláh for South West Africa in 1953 and returned to England in 1963. He was elected to the National Assembly in 1973 and is still a member (1979).
DR. JOHN GEORGE MITCHELL, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh page 307
Became a Bahá'í in 1950, was member of the National Assembly from 1952 to 1954 from which he pioneered as a Knight of Bahá'u'lláh for Malta. He had pioneered for a short while in Blackpool. He passed away on 19 February 1957 at the age of 50. ("Bahá'í World", Vol. XIII, p. 901.)MISS IRENE BENNETT page 321
Became a Bahá'í in Kenya in 1953 and has been in pioneering posts since that time. She has served in Portugal, Switzerland, Scotland, Kenya, Uganda (where she was an Auxiliary Board Member), Nigeria, and is presently (1980) in the Central African Republic.Page 489
Became a Bahá'í at Summer School, Exeter in July 1954 and has been a staunch member of the Oxford Assembly from January 1955.ERNEST WILLIAM GREGORY page 381
Responded to an experimental postal card advertisement in Sheffield and accepted the Faith there in March 1951. He was elected to the National Assembly in 1954 when John Mitchell pioneered to Malta. He served until 1963 when he became an Auxiliary Board Member. He left in April 1974 to serve at the World Centre and passed away there in April 1978. The Universal House of Justice cabled: "ANNOUNCE PASSING TO Abhá Kingdom MORNING OF FIRST DAY Ridvan DISTINGUISHED SERVANT Bahá'u'lláh ERNEST GREGORY. HIS OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION GROWTH BRITISH Bahá'í COMMUNITY AS MEMBER MANY YEARS NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY AND LATER MEMBER AUXILIARY BOARD ENSURE HIM HIGH PLACE THAT COMMUNITY'S ANNALS. HIS STIRLING QUALITIES ENDEARED HIM TO ALL AT WORLD CENTRE FAITH WHERE HIS LOSS KEENLY FELT. ADVISE BRITISH COMMUNITY JOIN PRAYERS THANKSGIVING HIS LIFE PROGRESS HIS SOUL."DR. ERNEST SPENCER MILLER page 395
Became a Bahá'í in September 1951 in Liverpool and at great sacrifice left his medical practice to pioneer to Cardiff in 1955. For some years prior to his death in October 1976, he lived partly in Liverpool and partly in Anglesey, North Wales. The Universal House of Justice cabled: "GRIEVED LOSS DEVOTED BELIEVER ERNEST MILLER WHO RENDERED DISTINGUISHED SERVICES BRITISH HOME FRONT ENDEARED HIMSELF FELLOW BELIEVERS. EXTEND SYMPATHY FRIENDS ASSURE ARDENT PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD PROGRESS HIS SOUL Abhá Kingdom."IAN SEMPLE page 411
Heard of the Faith at the first public meeting organised by the Oxford Spiritual Assembly in 1949 and accepted it shortly afterwards. He was elected to the National Assembly in January 1955 and was a member until Ridvan 1961, serving as Secretary from January 1960 to January 1961. In 1956 he pioneered to Edinburgh for two and a half years, and was appointed to thePage 490
Auxiliary Board for the Propagation of the Faith in November 1957. He was elected to the International Bahá'í Council at Ridvan 1961, and to the Universal House of Justice in 1963.MISS JEAN M. CAMPBELL page 414
Jean Campbell accepted the Faith in Oxford in 1949 in time to be on the first Spiritual Assembly there. She served as the Assembly secretary for some years, pioneered to Aberdeen in 1959 and then to Malta in February 1964 where she is still at her pioneer post (1979).JOHN CHARLES CRAVEN page 416
Was associated closely with E. T. Hall and Rebecca Hall from the earliest days of the Faith in Manchester, and remained a dedicated worker until his death, aged 80 in 1958. "Uncle John" kept up a wide correspondence with many of the early believers, and it was in a letter to him that Dr. T. K. Cheyne D.D. made his "Declaration" of belief in Bahá'u'lláh. He received three Tablets from the Master and was on the National Assembly for six of the first eight years. His teaching of the Faith was mostly in the Altrincham area and among his workmates.ADDENDUM FOR H. M. BALYUZI page 473
His crowning work, "Bahá'u'lláh--the King of Glory" was still at the binders when he passed away at his home in London on 12 February 1980. The Universal House of Justice cabled the Bahá'í world, "WITH BROKEN HEARTS ANNOUNCE PASSING DEARLY LOVED HAND CAUSE HASAN BALYUZI. ENTIRE Bahá'í WORLD ROBBED ONE OF ITS MOST POWERFUL DEFENDERS MOST RESOURCEFUL HISTORIANS. HIS ILLUSTRIOUS LINEAGE HIS DEVOTED LABOURS DIVINE VINEYARD HIS OUTSTANDING LITERARY WORKS COMBINED IN IMMORTALISING HIS HONOURED NAME IN ANNALS BELOVED FAITH. CALL ON FRIENDS EVERYWHERE HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS. PRAYING SHRINES HIS EXEMPLARY ACHIEVEMENTS STEADFASTNESS PATIENCE HUMILITY HIS OUTSTANDING SCHOLARLY PURSUITS WILL INSPIRE MANY DEVOTED WORKERS AMONG RISING GENERATIONS FOLLOW HIS GLORIOUS FOOTSTEPS."