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To the Hands of the Cause of God and the National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the Bahá'í WorldMay 28, 1960
Two weeks ago we shared with you messages received up to that time from twenty-four National Spiritual Assemblies repudiating the preposterous claim of Mr. Remey and pledging undeviating loyalty to the Institution of the Hands of the Cause. Since then similar messages have been received in Haifa from all of the remaining national and regional bodies with the exception of the National Assembly of France. The full texts of these communications are attached.
In spite of this world-wide demonstration of solidarity and steadfastness in the Covenant, a group of five members of the French National Assembly accepted Mr. Remey as the Guardian of the Faith, and the National Assembly informed the believers of France of the advent of a new Guardian.
Acting immediately to protect the Faith, the Hands in the Holy Land sent the Hand of the Cause Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, to France as their representative, with specific instructions to dissolve the National Assembly and call for a new election if the five members persisted in their dangerous and disloyal course of action. These misguided believers remained adamant in their views, refused to cooperate with the Hands, resigned as members of the National Assembly, and are now actively opposing the efforts of the Hands to protect the Faith.
The vast majority of the French believers have remained firm, and coinciding with the Commemoration of the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, a new election will be held, and a reconstituted National Assembly will come into existence. The thirty-one national and regional bodies will then form an impregnable and closely-knit World Community, dedicated toPage 205
the fulfilment of the divinely-guided Plan of our beloved Guardian, and triumphant over any forces seeking to disrupt its basic unity.
The cables and other messages received from the various National and Regional Assemblies, as well as numerous communications sent to the Hands from individual believers in various parts of the world, reflect general acceptance and understanding of the reasons why Mr. Remey's regrettable claim, and his so-called proclamation announcing it, are insupportable and contrary, not only to the Sacred Texts of our Faith, but also to specific instructions and messages of our beloved Guardian.
For the information of the friends everywhere we bring to their attention some of the points which refute this unfortunate and baseless claim. (1) The quality or station of infallibility, we are told by `Abdu'l-Bahá, is of two kinds, one the Most Great Infallibility, which is the one possessed inherently by the Manifestations of God, and the other the conferred infallibility, such as that given to the Master, to the Guardian of the Cause of God, and to the Universal House of Justice. In the Bahá'í Dispensation, only the authorized interpretations of the. Holy Word by the Master and the Guardian, and legislation by the Universal House of Justice have been given this conferred infallibility. There is nothing in the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, nor in the messages or instructions of our beloved Guardian, which gives Mr. Remey any basis whatsoever for claiming to be the infallible Guardian. Indeed no one can claim such a station; it can only be conferred by an infallible source, in this Dispensation in accordance with explicit, divinely-revealed Texts.
(2) Mr. Remey makes the preposterous claim that since the International Bahá'í Council was referred to by our beloved Guardian as the forerunner of the supreme administrative institution of the Universal House of Justice, his appointment or designation by Shoghi Effendi as President of this appointed body meant that he would: automatically become the head of the Universal House of Justice when it is elected, and therefore is now to be considered as the Guardian of the Faith. This ridiculous and insupportable contention completely overlooks the fact that the beloved Guardian created the International Council as an appointed body, to serve for a temporary period, with functions clearly defined by him, and that he announced it would be transformed into a "duly elected body". Thus the membership and officers of the elected body would be created only by election, not appointment. There is not the slightest indication in any text or message of the beloved Guardian that Mr. Remey's designation as President of the appointed International Council was any more permanent than that of any of the other appointed members or officers.
(3) Mr. Remey himself signed the Proclamation of the Hands of thePage 206
Cause in November, 1957 which contained the definite statement that "no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him". This document also clearly stated that "The entire body of the Hands assembled by the nine Hands of the World Centre will decide when and how the International Bahá'í Council is to evolve through the successive stages outlined by the Guardian, culminating in the call to election of the Universal House of Justice by the membership of all National Spiritual Assemblies." This pledge is being fulfilled by the plans announced in the message of the Hands to the Bahá'í world following their last Conclave.
It is clear that Mr. Remey's claim to be the infallible Guardian must be dismissed as completely without foundation, since there is no written authority in the Sacred Texts to support it. We can only repeat the hope expressed in our letter of May 10 that the profound emotional disturbance which undoubtedly prompted his regrettable action will prove to be temporary in character.
We are confident that the friends will now direct all their thoughts and efforts toward the attainment of final victory in the Holy Crusade entrusted to us by our beloved Guardian, and be ever mindful of these words addressed to us by `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament:
O ye beloved of the Lord! The greatest of all things is the protection
of the True Faith of God, the preservation of His Law, the safe guardingof His Cause and service unto His Word.
The following are the messages received at the World Centre from
the remaining National Assemblies of the Bahá'í world (except France)
which had not been heard from at the time our communication of May
10 was sent. These messages from the remaining six national or
regional bodies, all contain repudiations of the Remey claim and
express loyalty to the Institution of the Hands. The text of the
official action of the International Bahá'í Council on the Remeyclaim is also included.
At a meeting of the International Bahá'í Council held on April 27, 1960, the following Motion was passed by unanimous vote:
"That the members present wish to record in these Minutes their complete and final rejection of Mr. Remey's unsupportable claim to be Guardian of the Faith, a claim which has no foundation in thePage 207
Sacred Texts of our Faith, including the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, the Centre of the Covenant, nor in the instructions or actions of the beloved Guardian.===================================
(The message from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Iberian Peninsula was received in garbled form but is quoted below exactly as it was received in Haifa):
FRIENDS OF IBERIAN PENINSULA ASSERT AND RENEW OUR ADHESION JOIN HANDS HOLY LAND.===================================
NSA CONVENED 19TH FIRMLY REPUDIATE REMEY LATELY RECEIVED REGRETTABLE CLAIM STOP PLEDGE BEHALF BELIEVERS IRAQ AND JURISDICTION UNSHAKEABLE FAITH RENEWED UNWAVERING LOYALTY LOVE WRITING.===================================
ASSEMBLY REAFFIRMS UNSWERVING ALLEGIANCE INSTITUTION HANDS STOP PRAYERS FOR SPEEDY REMOVAL ALL DIFFICULTIES.===================================
PLEASE ASSURE HANDS FAITH OUR REPUDIATION REMEY CLAIM OUR LOYALTY
UNCONDITIONAL ATTACHMENT CHIEF STEWARDS STOP ACTION TAKEN ALL NSASHAVE ALSO WRITTEN HANDS UNQUOTE BANANI.
DEEPLY GRIEVE SERIOUS EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCE HAND CAUSE MASON REMEY STOP JOIN HANDS HOLYLAND COMPLETE REPUDIATION CLAIM STOP ASKING PRAYERS REGION COMPLETE HEALING MENTALLY DISTRACTED SOUL.===================================
(Following is a translation of the message received from the National Assembly of Turkey, which was written in Persian):
Your telegram dated April 28th, 1960 was received and its contents carefully noted. In accordance with your instructions, all the Local Spiritual Assemblies, Bahá'í centres and individual believers immediately received the translation of the telegram, as well as a complete explanation of its contents. This Assembly, with profound humility, clings to the threshold of the Almighty and, by turning for guidance towards your exalted and divinely appointed body, expresses as everPage 208
before, unswerving servitude and attachment to God's Holy Covenant. We humbly supplicate the Divine Threshold to guide us to whatsoever is His Will and His Pleasure.===================================
You will be pleased to hear that the new French National Assembly has been elected and is now functioning. It seems that only about fifteen believers throughout the world have accepted Mason Remey's claim, of whom about ten are in France and five in the United States. Those in the United States have never been leading figures in the Cause there and are unlikely to attract sympathizers.
Support on this scale will not permit even the enemies of the Faith to say there has been a rift in the Cause, but in view of Mason Remey's position in the Bahá'í World Community during the lifetime of the beloved Guardian, we feel it would be advisable to have on record written statements from all the Hands that they reject his claim.
We will therefore appreciate it if you will let us have such a statement for permanent record.In the service of the beloved Guardian,
P.S. Since the above was typed we have received a visit from the head of the Bahá'í Department of the Ministry of Religions in Israel, who told us that Mason Remey had written to the President of Israel, the Minister of Religions, and the head of the Bahá'í Department announcing that Shoghi Effendi in his lifetime appointed him Guardian of the Faith. The Israel Government appears to appreciate the true situation, but this action makes it even more important to have on record your rejection of the claim. We are watching the situation closely.
A letter has been sent to the Ministry of Religions repudiating Mason Remey's claim and enclosing copies of the cables of repudiation from all the thirty-one National Assemblies. This will be brought to the attention of the President.Postscript to (Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum.
[1 This postscript also written to Mrs. Collins, Mr. Faizi, and Mr. Ioas]
We feel that the above action is all that is needed at present. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.Page 209
We have already sent you an account of the reaction of the Bahá'í world to Mason Remey's claim. It is now clear that a mere handful of believers supported it, but that these have been working actively to get others to join them.
It must be obvious to the friends everywhere that acceptance of this baseless claim, and particularly activity in support of it designed to influence others, constitutes a betrayal of the Sacred Texts upholding the structure of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. This has been unanimously attested by all the National Assemblies in their repudiation of Mr. Remey's action.
In discharging their responsibility to safeguard the Bahá'í Community, the Hands of the Cause at an early stage instructed that the friends in France should refrain from associating with the former members of the National Assembly there who were active in their support of Mr. Remey. The Hands in the Holy Land feel that the time has now come to extend this policy to all individuals who openly support this false claim. The believers everywhere should immediately cease associating, either by direct contact or by correspondence, with anyone who supports Mason Remey's claim to be the Guardian of the Faith, because the actions of these misguided people, whatever their intent, can only lead to discord and division within the Cause of God. We may indeed rejoice that this latest attempt to create division has, like all others before it, failed utterly to destroy the basic unity of the Faith.
The response of the friends in all parts of the world reflects how faithfully they have heeded the injunction of `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament: "Guard ye the Cause of God, protect His law and have the utmost fear of discord."
By unity such as the believers have shown, all attempts to create division can be foiled, and the waverers saved from becoming subject to that most terrible of all punishments described by the Master in His Will when He wrote: "Should any, within or without the company of the Hands of the Cause of God disobey and seek division, the wrath of God and His vengeance will be upon him, for he will have caused a breach in the true Faith of God."With warm Bahá'í love,
To the Hands of the Cause of God throughout the WorldJuly 7, 1960
In accordance with our principles of procedure, the Hands in the Holy Land have the duty and responsibility of calling the Annual Meeting of the entire body of the Hands. After consideration of all factors, we have chosen the period October 18-27 as the dates for this year's Conclave, with the understanding that the time will be extended if necessary. Before this meeting we will as usual send to each Hand a tentative or suggested agenda for consideration.
It has been recommended that this year a special effort be made by all the Continental Hands to arrange for visits to as many Bahá'í centres as possible on their way to or from the Conclave. We feel that such visits at this time will have great influence in unifying the friends and deepening them in their understanding of the Covenant. We urge each Hand to work out as extensive an itinerary as possible.
You have been kept informed of the main developments to date in the Remey matter through our various communications, but we feel the time has now come to refer to the entire body of our fellow-Hands the information, views and recommendations received from various individual Hands calling for further action.
As most of you undoubtedly know, Mason has followed up his original proclamation with other documents including one entitled "The Question of the Guardianship", and another document which he calls his first "Encyclical" to the Bahá'í world. In the latter document he definitely classifies all of the Hands as violators, calls upon the believers to abandon their activities in support of the plans announced by the Hands for the remainder of the beloved Guardian's Crusade, to withdraw their financial support of these activities, and directs them to turn to him alone for guidance and instructions. He is distributing these documents widely, and his leading supporters are writing to the believers, urging them to investigate the Remey claim and accept his station as the second Guardian of the Faith. We are enclosing for your information a copy of another communication which we have just sent to all National Assemblies, calling upon the friends to refrain from any association with those who support Mason's claim.
In France, the reconstituted National Assembly has taken action depriving the five disloyal former members of that Assembly of their voting right and membership in the Community.
We wish to report that our representative, Mr. Faizi, recommendedPage 211
expulsion of the disloyal individuals in France, who in his view are suffering from a real spiritual illness. He was joined in this recommendation by Dr. Giachery, but the other two European Hands, Mr. Balyuzi and Dr. Muhlschlegel, did not concur; therefore the European Hands as a body did not recommend expulsion. The attached excerpts from communications received in Haifa will give you their views and recommendations, and those of Mr. Faizi.
All of you will recall that at our first Conclave a formal action was recorded, giving the Hands in the Holy Land the responsibility for expelling people from the Faith, but only on recommendation of the Continental Hands concerned, after investigation by them. Thus in the case of the disloyal members in France, the Hands in the Holy Land were bound by the action of the majority of the European Hands in not recommending expulsion at this time.
With regard to Mason himself, since we had no instructions covering defection by one of the Hands of the Cause, we have felt that any action in his case beyond the steps already taken, should be by the body of the Hands itself. In view of the increasingly insistent recommendations received from the Hands now in the Western Hemisphere calling for Mason's immediate expulsion, we believe this question must now be referred to the body of the Hands for advice and decision. Attached are copies of their views and recommendations.
To these we wish to add our own view that Mason's claim and activities in opposition to the decisions and Plans of our beloved Guardian, constitute a basis for expulsion from the Faith, because they are in fact a protest against the decision of Shoghi Effendi in not appointing a successor to him as the Guardian of the Faith. Our Beloved did not make such an appointment because to do so in the circumstances with which he was faced would have been a violation of the Sacred Texts; thus his nonappointment of a successor upheld the Text of the written Covenant of God. This was explicitly stated in the Proclamation issued from our first Conclave in which we said that "no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him". This Proclamation was signed by Mason, who now states in one of his documents that he has known for the past twelve years that he was to be the second Guardian of the Faith, and the successor to Shoghi Effendi in that station!
We believe that Mason's claim and activities fall within the warning and injunction contained in these words of the sacred Will and Testament of the Master: "It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsan, the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. HePage 212
that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His Word and will become a manifestation of the Centre of Sedition. Beware, beware, lest the days after the Ascension (of Bahá'u'lláh) be repeated when the Centre of Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others. No doubt every vain-glorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, will he seize upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the gathering of the people of Baha) My object is to show that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Baha) and in no wise accept any excuse from him. How often hath grievous error been disguised in the garb of truth, that it might sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts of men!"
As you know, there are many other passages in the Will and Testament more strongly condemning Covenant-breakers, in which it is said they should be cut off from the Community of the believers, shunned and avoided entirely.
The questions now referred to you, our fellow-Hands, for decision are:
(1) Whether you wish to support the recommendations for immediate expulsion of Mason and announcement of this to the believers, or
(2) Whether you wish action on this whole question to be deferred until the Conclave in October.
We request you to study this letter and the attached recommendations carefully and prayerfully, and then send us your reply immediately by cable.
We send you our warmest greetings and loving prayers.In the service of the beloved Guardian,
Excerpts from Communications Received from Various Hands Containing Comments and Recommendations on Mason Remey's Status (and that of his chief supporters).===================================
DARAKHSHAN MARANGELLA FILLON, DANGEROUSLY SPIRITUALLY DIS EASED INFECTING OTHERS SOGHOMONIAN HARVEY GIVEN CHANCE RE PENTANCE TEN TONIGHT WILL SEND FULL REPORT EXECUTION DECISIONS PLEASE PRAY.FAIZI;
FIVE NSA MEMBERS UNCHANGEABLE SAKE GOD PROTECTION CAUSE EXPEL IMMEDIATELY MARANGELLA DARAKHSHAN FILLON, STOP DO NOT BE TAKEN BY PITY STOP ANNOUNCE THEIR EXPULSION Bahá'í WORLD STOP THEIR DEVIOUS CONTAGION SPREADS IF NOT STOPPED TO OTHERS SOGHOMONIAN HARVEY ADVISE LATER.FAIZI.
NEFARIOUS MEMBERS ABSENT CONTAMINATED ATMOSPHERE PURIFIED RESULTS
EXCELLENT DETAILED REPORTS FOLLOW EXPULSION THREE IMPERATIVEBECAUSE INFECT BELIEVERS EUROPE AMERICA.
WHY DELAY EXPULSION PLEASE EXPEL MARANGELLA DARAKHSHAN FILLON, AT ONCE.FAIZI.
FULLY SUPPORT FAIZIS PROPOSAL CUSTODIANS EXPEL MARANGELLA DARAKHSHAN FILLON, PREVENT SPREAD INFECTIOUS DISEASE STOP WOULD URGE YOU REQUEST MUHLSCHLEGEL NOW OSLO RETURN IMMEDIATELY GERMANY MEET NSA FORESTALL OTHER DEFECTIONS.Giachery
(Dr. Muhlschlegel, was requested to proceed immediately to Germany, which he did, and found that the German National Spiritual Assembly and believers were loyal.)===================================
STRONGLY DISAPPROVE BEG NO ACTION UNTIL RECEIVE MY LETTER.BALYUZI
Mason's claim is laughable, preposterous, abominable. It shows that his mind has deteriorated.... The action of those who uphold this ridiculous claim is indeed abominable. But I cannot bring myself to accept the thesis that the Hands have the authority to expel anyone for this reason. Where do the Hands obtain their authority to expel anyone from the Community? From the Will and the Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá These are the exact words of the Master, which I have read and read, and which I quote: "My object is to show that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyonePage 214
beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Baha) and in no wise accept any excuse from him. How often hath grievous error been disguised in the garb of truth, that it might sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts of men!" Perhaps I'm mistaken, but nowhere else have I found the express authority given to the Hands of the Cause to expel people for any reason other than opposition to the Guardian. The Hands can and must expel anyone who associates with Covenant-breakers, old and new. They can and must expel anyone who disregards a definite injunction of the beloved Guardian. Such acts constitute opposition to Shoghi Effendi But I'm convinced (and perfectly ready and willing at the same time to believe otherwise, if conclusive proofs are shown to me) that the Hands have no authority to expel anyone for any other reason, albeit they are exercising their indubitable right to protect the Faith. By so doing, the Hands will be setting up a new category of Covenant-breakers, for which they have no authority, as far as I can see it. Now if the majority of the Hands agree in a Conclave that they are knowingly taking upon themselves powers, not given them by the Sacred Text, because it is forced upon them through circumstances beyond their control, I will have to submit to the majority decision, although under protest, and then I shall know where I stand. But at the present time unless you convince me to the contrary, I cannot accept this thesis as resting upon the sanction of the Sacred Text.Hasan M. Balyuzi
LOVING GREETINGS COMPLETION MOST SUCCESSFUL CONFERENCE STOP REQUEST MR FAIZI; REMAIN LONGER EUROPE STOP FULLY AGREE DEPRIVE VOTING RIGHTS RING LEADERS FRANCE ALLOWING TIME LIMIT OTHERS DEEPEST LOVE.EUROPEAN HANDS
At the Brussels conference, as you have been informed, presumably, Faizi, reported the situation in France. Joel Marangella has been removed as Board member, the French National Spiritual Assembly got the suggestion from the Hands to deprive the five disloyal members of the former National Spiritual Assembly of their administrative rights, but the Hands did not recommend to the Hands in the Holy Land the expulsion of these five, at present.Page 215
GREATLY DISTRESSED FRANCE STOP OFFER FOLLOWING (1) AGREE FAIZI; IMMEDIATE EXPULSION THREE URGENT NECESSARY PROTECTION FAITH FRANCE EUROPE (2) IF NOT ALREADY DONE IMMEDIATE REMOVAL MARANGELLA BOARD (3) OTHER TWO GIVEN TIME LIMIT RECANT OR EXPELLED (4) TIME LIMIT GIVEN REMEY WITHDRAW CLAIM OR EXPELLED STOP ILLOGICAL EXPEL SATELLITES AND NOT PRINCIPAL.LEROY
MASON ISSUED FIRST SERIES ENCYCLICALS Bahá'í WORLD FURTHERANCE FALLACIOUS CLAIM BRANDING ALL HANDS COVENANT BREAKERS AND INSTRUCTING FRIENDS CEASE ASSOCIATION HANDS STOP SUGGEST (1) EXCOMMUNICATION REMEY (2) EXCOMMUNICATION THREE FRANCE RECOMMENDED BY Faizi; (3) CABLE ADVICE THESE ACTIONS ALL NATIONALS (4) ABSENCE SUCH ACTION AND ADVICE CAUSING CONFUSION.LEROY
It is a sad turn of events that a man of Mr. Charles Mason Remey's stature in the Faith -- with such a remarkably long period of service under the loving guidance of `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi -- should now transgress the laws of the Faith -- and its institutions -- and even more particularly, the confidence the Centres of the Faith reposed in him -- by now proclaiming himself the second Guardian of the Faith.... This ridiculous claim, of course, I reject and strongly condemn.
With his continuing destructive activities I do not see how we can dismiss them -- by simply asking the Friends not to associate with him. As I have cabled previously, he must be put out of the Faith entirely as a Covenant-breaker -- and the same action must be taken with regard to those who uphold his blasphemous claims.
The question of Covenant-breaking is not one of votes -- it is a case of disobedience -- and Mr. Remey and his associates have disobeyed the teachings of the Faith -- have stirred up difficulties -- are centres of hate of the progress of the Faith -- and the sacrificial services of the Friends.... This matter should not drift as is being allowed.Leroy Ioas
DEEPLY REGRET MASON'S BESOTIED ATTITUDE AND ACTION AGAINST COVENANT AND REPUDIATION WILL TESTAMENT THUS DEPRIVING HIMSELF MERCY BOUNTY BLESSED BEAUTY THIS WORLD AND WORLDS TO COME.HANDS ASIA ALAI VARQA KHADEM
You will have received by now Mason's second letter, and the other correspondence from the United States National Spiritual Assembly. I did not send it, as I have been in Wilmette since this letter came out working closely with them as things develop. I have also been in touch with (Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum, and with Leroy. I have kept Hermann informed and am awaiting his reply. It is my personal feeling now that we see the result of this act of Mason's that we should delay no longer in putting him out of the Faith if he does not repudiate. This would also be the action, I feel, which should be taken against those who support him, and who after proper warning, persist in their support. Several of them are waging campaigns with their friends to get them to support Mason. So far it is minor, scattered and sporadic; but it has a growing potential if we do not take firm action. The friends will feel there must be something more to Mason's claim unless there is some strong, firm, clear-cut reaction on the part of the Hands.... It is a growing thing. It needs action. He must either repudiate at once or be removed. There can be no more delay in this action, in my opinion. We are losing valuable ground that will be hard to reclaim.William Sears
UNITED VIEW HANDS WEST UNLESS REMEY REPUDIATES IMMEDIATELY SHOULD BE EXPELLED.SEARS
REMEY WRITTEN UDO SCHAEFER 10 PAGE LETTER PRAISING HIS DOCUMENT GUARDIANSHIP HISTORIC ORDERING HUNDRED COPIES FOR CIRCULATION INFECTION SPREADING ALARMINGLY HERE WITHOUT RESTRAINT MARANGELLA INFLUENCE CONSTANT CORRESPONDENCE SPREADING WIDELY INSIDIOUSLY THREE QUESTIONABLE BELIEVERS ASKED SOUVENIR MASTER IF REMEY CLAIM BASELESS WHY NO ACTION BY HANDS WAS IT FROM FEAR OR WERE THEY DISUNITED IMPERATIVE DEFINITE ACTION BE TAKEN REMEY AND ALL WHO SUPPORT HIM INDECISIVENESS HANDS WEAKENING POSITION INSTITUTIONS ENCOURAGING BOLDNESS ENEMIES URGE CABLE ALL HANDS CALLING FOR EXPULSION REMEY AND ALL WHO SUPPORT HIM SCHAEFER APPARENTLY FAITHFUL.SEARS
I have read Mason's 10-page letter which attacks the Hands, saying that we have agreed, but not announced it to the friends, that the Guardianship is ended and are working to make this a reality around the world. Mason says in the letter that he is sending 100 copies of Udo Schaefer's document to selected contacts. His letter is to Schaefer,Page 217
scolding him for abandoning his stand on the Guardianship, and supporting the Hands. This letter has been duplicated and has been sent to friends in Connecticut.... My own opinion is that there is no deep-seated problem, and that if definite action is taken on the matter so they (the believers) feel comforted by this show of strength and unity, it will abate. However, if they feel free to discuss it at Feasts, write each other about it, exchange Joel Marangella's letter (etc.) with no warning of the consequences, it can grow to proportions far out of line with its importance. In other words, it is not so important what Mason is doing now, but what we do. Hence the appeal for united action.
I completely agree that all the Hands should unite in this action, as they (the entire body) are the ones who must accept this responsibility as "Chief Stewards". However, to await a meeting this Fall would be to delay it too long, I feel. Surely if all the Hands repudiate Mason and call for his expulsion if he does not repudiate, it is sufficient.
The Master gave the Hands the power to "cast out" anyone who "opposed" the Guardian or caused a "division". Mason has "opposed" the beloved Guardian for two years, insisting, as you well know, that we the Hands should choose a Guardian. He called us "violators" at the last meeting because we wouldn't choose a Guardian, in spite of the beloved Guardian's written words that the Hands could not choose a Guardian, and against the sacred Will and Testament that only the Guardian could choose his successor. Mason has truly caused a "division" however small by appointing himself, declaring himself infallible, circulating the National Spiritual Assemblies and the Bahá'ís sending out his encyclical letter, and now approaching the Government of Israel. He has "opposed" the Guardian and caused a "division" and under our sacred right as Hands, we should "cast him out" and "accept no excuse whatsoever" from him.
So far there has been no publicity, but if he and his cohorts are free to go on unchecked until October it could become serious just through neglect. My heart tells me that we should be more vigilant and forceful as a warning to other usurpers -- as it is not only our duty, but our sacred right as conferred in the Will and Testament.William Sears
GRIEVED ANNOUNCE PASSING HAIFA MUCH-LOVED DISTINGUISHED HAND CAUSE GOD HORACE HOLLEY OUTSTANDING CHAMPION FAITH SINCE DAYSPage 218
MASTER PRAISED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN FOR UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER STOP HIS INDEFATIGABLE SERVICES PROTECTION TEACHING ADMINISTRATIVE FIELDS CULMINATING SERVICE HOLY LAND INSPIRING EXAMPLE PRESENT FUTURE GENERATIONS Bahá'ís STOP SHARE ABOVE MESSAGE HANDS ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES STOP URGE HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS TEMPLE LOCAL COMMUNITIES UNITED STATES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
Enclosed is the second letter issued from the Holy Land containing the news of the progress of the Faith received at the World Centre since our Ridvan Message was prepared.
These letters are not being issued on a regular schedule, but are sent out when we have sufficient interesting and stimulating news to put together a communication which will be a source of encouragement and inspiration to the friends.
As in the case of the first News Letter. issued earlier this year, we are asking the National Assemblies to share this Bulletin with the believers in their area through their own News Letters.With warm Bahá'í love,
Land, giving the heartening news of the progress of the Faith which
has come to the World Centre since our Ridvan Message was prepared.
This is the second of a series of such letters which we have informed you that we plan to issue from time to time. We hope this letter will prove to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to the friends.
Please share this Bulletin with the believers in your area through your News Letter.With warm Bahá'í love,
Since our first News Letter of February last, our Ridvan message has brought you news of the progress of the Faith all over the world, and now we send you news of more recent events.
At the World Centre, the flow of visitors to the Shrines and Gardens has continued. Among those who came were many distinguished foreign visitors, including Ambassadors and Cabinet Ministers. The House of 'Abbud, in which Bahá'u'lláh lived for nearly seven years during His incarceration in 'Akka, and in which the Kitáb-i-Aqdas was revealed, has been extensively renovated and restored. The palace of Mazra'ih, where Bahá'u'lláh lived in the period between His leaving 'Akka, and taking up residence in Bahji has also been extensively renovated. The pilgrim season, that began after the Conclave of the Hands in Bahji ended with the commemoration of the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, during the season pilgrims from every continent passed their allotted nine days of pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Outstanding among the missions carried out by the Hands of the Cause in recent months has been the visit of (Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum, to North America, where she found a wonderful spirit of determination among the friends. In both the United States and Canada she met with the believers at key centres and addressed many large public meetings. Her visit brought a great deal of favourable publicity for the Faith. She spent some time with the Indians, from whom the Master confidently expected so much; John Robarts, also visited a number of Indian groups in the course of his mission in Canada. William Sears has travelled very extensively in Latin America, including Central America, the Greater Antilles and the northern countries of South America. The friends there are jubilant at the victories achieved last Ridvan. Hermann Grossmann, in the course of his tour of South America, recently visited the friends in the disaster area of Chile. Mr. Samandari, spent some time in Turkey on his way from the Holy Land to his post, and Dr. Muhajir, is now visiting the countries of South East Asia. Collis Featherstone journeyed to New Zealand, attended the Convention there, and visited the Maoris, the indigenous people who have shown great receptivity to the Faith.
Reports from the various National Spiritual Assemblies during the Ridvan period brought much joyful and encouraging news. Firstly there was the achievement of all the Local Assembly goals, and more, in Latin America. Venezuela, for instance, formed four new Local Assemblies,Page 220
three over the goal. As a result of these great victories the new National Spiritual Assemblies can be established next Ridvan, based on an adequate number of Local Assemblies. In the United States forty new Assemblies were elected, more than in any year since the beginning of the Crusade. In the whole Western Hemisphere nearly eighty new Assemblies were formed, and the number of new believers during the year was almost 2,000. An interesting feature has been the continued spread of the Faith amongst Indians in various parts of the Western Hemisphere, from the Far North where the Yukon's first Indian believer has been accepted, through Mexico, which has its first Indian believer, to Bolivia, where hundreds of the Indians in the Andes have embraced the Faith. A start has been made in teaching the Carib Indians of the West Indies in Dominica.
As usual, Africa has led the Bahá'í world in growth and numbers. In the one year since Ridvan 1959 the number of Local Assemblies in Central and East Africa has grown from 240 to 400. In number of centres the United States still leads with 1,560, but Africa with 1,140, has now moved up to second place. The area of Central and East Africa, the scene of so many historic events in the Faith, has recently witnessed great success in the Eastern Belgian Congo, where hitherto little progress had been made. The energetic teaching activity of some of the believers from Usurnbura, in neighbouring Ruanda-Urundi, has in a few months set on fire over 500 new believers, and thirteen new Local Assemblies have been elected. This is one of the most spectacular teaching developments in the history of the Faith in Africa, or indeed anywhere, and is the first real growth in any of the French-speaking territories in that part of Africa. To quote the Central and East African National Spiritual Assembly: "The Faith in this Region is like a giant river overflowing its banks, flooding out across the countryside, carrying the Word of God wherever the receptivity of the people takes it."
The Region of North West Africa, which at the formation of its National Assembly in 1956 had 920 believers, now has approximately 3,000, of which 1,800 are in the British Cameroons. The number of Local Assemblies has grown from 38 to 113. There are 18 properties owned by the Faith in this Region, including the National Haziratu'l-Quds in Tunis and five other Haziratu'l-Quds, the Temple land in Tunis, two burial grounds, two endowments, and six Bahá'í centres in the British Cameroons. Dahomey, a part of the French Union, has its first believers. Truly Africa, the Dark Continent, is now, as foretold by the beloved Guardian, a beacon of light in the Bahá'í world!
The third area of outstanding growth in recent years has been South East Asia. Here there are more than eleven times as many centres as in 1957 when the Regional Assembly was formed; there are ten times morePage 221
Local Assemblies, and the number of believers has grown from 1,500 to 7,500. In one island in Indonesia half of the population of 10,000 are Bahá'ís; there are 16 Local Assemblies and at least 10 Bahá'í schools. Among the most exciting developments in the Region has been the growth of the Faith in Java, which at the time of the beloved Guardian's passing had less than 20 believers; now there are almost 1,300, mainly young people. Java is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and offers unlimited opportunities for the expansion of the Faith.
In other parts of the world too, there has been progress, even if on a smaller scale. In Europe, where eleven National Assemblies are scheduled to be formed in 1962, there is still a challenging distance to be covered before all goals are achieved, but Belgium now has the number of Assemblies needed, Scandinavia had four new ones last Ridvan Portugal two, and Italy four. India established 11 new Local Assemblies, more than in any recent year.
In other ways too, progress is being made toward the achievement of Crusade goals. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in the course of building near Kampala, Uganda, is well on the way to completion. The tiling of the dome in four shades of colour, has been finished, various fittings chosen and ordered, and it is now hoped to dedicate it in January, 1961. Equally good progress is being made on the Temple at Sydney, Australia. History was made and much publicity was attracted when, for the first time in Australia, a helicopter was used to lift into position the fleche on the top of the dome. Newspapers all over Australia mentioned this and three Sydney television stations reported it in detail. It is expected that the dedication will take place during Ridvan 1961. In Germany, where the third Temple of the Crusade is to be built, serious obstacles have been encountered; fortunately these now seem to be almost at an end, and there is a good prospect that building may begin soon.
As we pursue our goals of the Ten Year Crusade, events not directly connected with these goals also demonstrate the progress of the Cause.
World Religion Day was happily and successfully celebrated in many places, but in Vientiane, capital of Laos, it became an outstanding event. A distinguished gathering of about 300, including members of the King's Council, Consular and United Nations officials, and representatives of various sects of six religions, took part and heard a message from H.M. the King of Laos, brought to the meeting by H.R.H. Prince Chantharangai.
As a non-governmental organization accepted by United Nations, the Bahá'í International Community was invited to send representatives to a Round Table Conference organized by the World Federalists in Paris, on the subject of a permanent force for United Nations. The Bahá'í point of view much impressed those present.Page 222
As the Faith has proved many times in its history, difficulties ultimately bring it victory. An American pioneer in El Salvador was ordered to leave because of false accusations made against him. Subsequently he was cleared of all suspicion and allowed to return. The National Spiritual Assembly of Central America then sought an interview with high officials of the Salvador Government, which resulted in an assurance that Bahá'ís are completely free to follow their Faith and to teach it in that country.
In the past months there has been news of natural disasters in various parts of the world. In March the islands of Mauritius and Madagascar were swept by cyclones. In both places some of the friends lost their homes, but they were undeterred, continuing to keep the Fast and to hold their meetings, often in the open air. One community in Madagascar held a Nineteen Day Feast during a cyclone, with only three absentees. Earthquakes have occurred in widely separated parts of the world, in Persia, in Morocco, and in Chile, bringing death and destruction to many. In all these calamities we were deeply thankful to hear from the respective National Assemblies that, though some had their homes damaged, there had been no loss of life amongst the Bahá'ís The Regional Spiritual Assembly has sent a representative to the disaster area of Chile to ascertain what help the friends there need, and the Hands at the World Centre have sent a sum of money for their relief.
The Crusade progresses on the way to its goals but the time grows ever shorter. Bahá'u'lláh Himself has left us in no doubt of our duty, and is specific in promises of the divine help on which we can draw.
Teach ye the Cause of God, O people of Baha, for God hath prescribed
unto every one the duty of proclaiming His Message, and regardethit as the most meritorious of all deeds.
And when he determineth to leave his home, for the sake of the Cause
of his Lord, let him put his whole trust in God, as the best provision
for his journey, and array himself with the robe of virtue. . . .
If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he forgoeth all created
things, the words he uttereth shall set on fire them that hear him.
Whoso openeth his lips in this Day and maketh mention of the name
of his Lord, the hosts of Divine inspiration shall descend upon
him from the heaven of My name, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.In the service of the beloved Guardian,
To All National Spiritual Assemblies, C/O Bahá'í WILMETTEJULY 26, 1960
ENTIRE BODY HANDS OBEDIENT PROVISIONS WILL TESTAMENT CENTRE COVENANT COMMUNICATIONS BELOVED GUARDIAN ENJOINING THEM PROTECT HOLY CAUSE ATTACKS ENEMIES WITHIN WITHOUT ANNOUNCE Bahá'í WORLD MASON REMEY COVENANT BREAKER EXPELLED FAITH STOP ACTION FOLLOWS LONG PERIOD PATIENCE FORBEARANCE OPPORTUNITY GIVEN HIM WITHDRAW SHAMEFUL PRETENSION SACRED STATION GUARDIANSHIP CONSTITUTING HERETICAL CLAIM CONTRARY EXPLICIT PROVISIONS WILL MASTER STOP DESPITE UNIVERSAL REPUDIATION DENUNCIATION BY ALL HANDS INTERNATIONAL Bahá'í COUNCIL ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES REMEY CONTINUING AGITATE UNFOUNDED CLAIM ACTIVELY SEEKING CREATE DIVISION RANKS FAITHFUL SOW SEEDS DOUBT HEARTS BELIEVERS UNDERMINE ACTIVITIES INSTITUTION HANDS CHIEF STEWARDS DEDICATED FULFILMENT BELOVED GUARDIAN'S TEN YEAR PLAN STOP ACCORDANCE INJUNCTION WILL TESTAMENT `Abdu'l-Bahá, CALL UPON FRIENDS EVERYWHERE SHUN REMEY AND ANYONE ASSOCIATING WITH HIM OR ACTIVELY SUPPORTING HIS CLAIMS STOP CONFIDENT COMMUNITY MOST GREAT NAME UNITED WHOLEHEARTED CONDEMNATION THIS LATEST ILL-FATED ATTEMPT DISRUPT GOD'S HOLY CAUSE WILL EMERGE TRIUMPHANT STRENGTHENED GALVANIZED ISSUE FORTH WIN REMAINING GOALS GLORIOUS WORLD ENCIRCLING CRUSADE STOP CABLE MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
TO ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES, C/O Bahá'í WILMETTEAUGUST 3,1960
BELOVED GUARDIAN'S GLORIOUS EPISTLE GOD PASSES BY CLEARLY STATES HOLY CAUSE CONSTANTLY SUBJECT CRISES GIVING RISE GREATER VICTORIES STOP HISTORY DEFECTION DISTINGUISHED BELIEVERS FOLLOWING ASCENSION FORERUNNER FAITH SUPREME MANIFESTATION CENTRE COVENANT NOW REPEATED AFTER ASCENSION PRECIOUS SHOGHI EFFENDI THROUGH MASON REMEY'S DEFECTION HIS PREPOSTEROUS UTTERLY UNFOUNDED CLAIMS STOP PROTECTION BELIEVERS FROM ACTIVITIES MISGUIDED MISCHIEF MAKERS GIVEN EVERY OPPORTUNITY REPENT NOW REQUIRES EXPULSION FAITH REMEY'S HENCHMEN JOHN CARRE BERNARD FILLON, MONEER. DARAKHSHAN JOEL MARANGELLA JACQUES SOGHOMONIAN DONALD HARVEY JOHN BYERS IN FRANCE AND MARY WILKIN UNITED STATES STOP HENCEFORTH ANYONE ASSOCIATING THESE PEOPLE OR SUPPORTING REMEY CLAIM LIKEWISE CONSIDERED COVENANT BREAKER STOP CONFIDENT FAITHFUL DEVOTED BODYPage 224
BELIEVERS MINDFUL INFINITE BOUNTIES PRAISES SHOWERED BELOVED GUARDIAN WILL DEMONSTRATE THROUGH UNITED ACTION IMPREGNABLE SOLIDARITY ARISE ACHIEVE GLORIOUS GOALS GOD-INSPIRED CRUSADE STOP CABLE MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
We know that you are anxious to receive news of the situation which has developed as a result of the tragic defection of Mason Remey and his preposterous claim to be the one chosen to fill the place of our beloved Guardian who was the divinely appointed scion of God on earth.
It seems that his agitation, far from ceasing and far from being -- as we at first hoped and believed -- the evidence of great emotional disturbance and unbalance -- is a persistent and well-thought-out campaign. Not only does he personally continue to send out communications asserting his claim and adding ridiculous arguments to support it, but his attacks on the Hands and all who support them are becoming more violent and insidious all the time, and his chief supporters in France, Joel Marangella, Don Harvey and others, have now been joined by Mary Magdalene Wilkin in the United States. These henchmen are circularizing the Bahá'í world widely with violent attacks on the Hands, their decisions and their right to carry on the beloved Guardian's Crusade while at the same time deducing so-called "proofs" of the authenticity of Mason's claims and position.
In view of this critical situation and the urgent need to close this door through which spiritual pollution was pouring unhindered into the Bahá'í world, following receipt of your replies to our July 7th, letter we expelled both him and his supporters from the Faith. We felt we could not take the risk of deferring this drastic action until the time when we all meet together -- even if the date of the meeting had been advanced to early September (we could not have gotten the Annual Meeting ready before then).
We thank you for the prompt expressions of opinion we received here from all of you in response to our letter which enabled us to take this action for the protection of the Faith on behalf of the entire body of the Hands. We therefore sent the two following cables to all National Spiritual Assemblies:JULY 26, 1960
ENTIRE BODY HANDS OBEDIENT PROVISIONS WILL TESTAMENT CENTREPage 225
COVENANT COMMUNICATIONS BELOVED GUARDIAN ENJOINING THEM PROTECT HOLY CAUSE ATTACKS ENEMIES WITHIN WITHOUT ANNOUNCE Bahá'í WORLD MASON REMEY COVENANT BREAKER EXPELLED FAITH STOP ACTION FOLLOWS LONG PERIOD PATIENCE FORBEARANCE OPPORTUNITY GIVEN HIM WITHDRAW SHAMEFUL PRETENSION SACRED STATION GUARDIANSHIP CONSTITUTING HERETICAL CLAIM CONTRARY EXPLICIT PROVISIONS WILL MASTER STOP DESPITE UNIVERSAL REPUDIATION DENUNCIATION BY ALL HANDS INTERNATIONAL Bahá'í COUNCIL ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES REMEY CONTINUING AGITATE UNFOUNDED CLAIM ACTIVELY SEEKING CREATE DIVISION RANKS FAITHFUL SOW SEEDS DOUBT HEARTS BELIEVERS UNDERMINE ACTIVITIES INSTITUTION HANDS CHIEF STEWARDS DEDICATED FULFILMENT BELOVED GUARDIAN'S TEN YEAR PLAN STOP ACCORDANCE INJUNCTION WILL TESTAMENT `Abdu'l-Bahá, CALL UPON FRIENDS EVERYWHERE SHUN REMEY AND ANYONE ASSOCIATING WITH HIM OR ACTIVELY SUPPORTING HIS CLAIMS STOP CONFIDENT COMMUNITY MOST GREAT NAME UNITED WHOLEHEARTED CONDEMNATION THIS LATEST ILL-FATED ATTEMPT DISRUPT GOD'S HOLY CAUSE WILL EMERGE TRIUMPHANT STRENGTHENED GALVANIZED ISSUE FORTH WIN REMAINING GOALS GLORIOUS WORLD ENCIRCLING CRUSADE STOP CABLE MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.HANDSFAITH
BELOVED GUARDIAN'S GLORIOUS EPISTLE GOD PASSES BY CLEARLY STATES HOLY CAUSE CONSTANTLY SUBJECT CRISES GIVING RISE GREATER VICTORIES STOP HISTORY DEFECTION DISTINGUISHED BELIEVERS FOLLOWING ASCENSION FORERUNNER FAITH SUPREME MANIFESTATION CENTRE COVENANT NOW REPEATED AFTER ASCENSION PRECIOUS SHOGHI EFFENDI THROUGH MASON REMEY'S DEFECTION HIS PREPOSTEROUS UTTERLY UNFOUNDED CLAIMS STOP PROTECTION BELIEVERS FROM ACTIVITIES MISGUIDED MISCHIEF MAKERS GIVEN EVERY OPPORTUNITY REPENT NOW REQUIRES EXPULSION FAITH REMEY'S HENCHMEN JOHN CARRE BERNARD FILLON, MONEER DARAKHSHAN JOEL MARANGELLA JACQUES SOGHOMONIAN DONALD HARVEY JOHN BYERS IN FRANCE AND MARY WILKIN UNITED STATES STOP HENCEFORTH ANYONE ASSOCIATING THESE PEOPLE OR SUPPORTING REMEY CLAIM LIKEWISE CONSIDERED COVENANT BREAKER STOP CONFIDENT FAITHFUL DEVOTED BODY BELIEVERS MINDFUL INFINITE BOUNTIES PRAISES SHOWERED BELOVED GUARDIAN WILL DEMONSTRATE THROUGH UNITED ACTION IMPREGNABLE SOLIDARITY ARISE ACHIEVE GLORIOUS GOALS GODINSPIRED CRUSADE STOP CABLE MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.HANDSFAITH
Replies expressing gratitude for and approval of this action are now beginning to come in from the National Spiritual Assemblies.
Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum, cut short a much-needed rest after her exhaustive tour of the United States and Canada when we informed her of the sudden death of our dear co-worker Horace Holley, and flew back from Canada as soon as she could arrange her travelling plans. Bill Sears, who had planned to visit some of the European centres prior to our Bahji meeting, hastened his arrival after being informed of Horace's death, and got here three days before Ruhiyyih Khanum. Faizi, (whose return entry visa held him up) arrived a few days later. Their report made it clear that responsible believers were considerably puzzled and distressed by the lack of action from the World Centre in expelling what had obviously become a most active and threatening group of Covenant-breakers. In addition to this, the American National Spiritual Assembly, in whose area this poisonous material was being most widely circulated, cabled us as follows:JULY 18, 1960
CONSIDERED JUDGEMENT OUR ASSEMBLY ACTIONS TAKEN THUS FAR BY HANDS HOLY LAND INADEQUATE DEAL DECISIVELY SATISFACTORILY NUMEROUS BELIEVERS ATTRACTED REMEY CLAIM STOP SITUATION FRAUGHT CONFUSION DOUBT DANGER STOP RESPECTFULLY URGE DEFINITE DRASTIC IMMEDIATE ACTION HANDS DECLARING REMEY VIOLATOR SAME FATE ALL THOSE CONTINUING SUPPORT HIM DEVOTED LOVE.WOLCOTT [SECRETARY]
We all knew after the passing of our beloved Guardian false claims would surely be made; but we never dreamed they would come from one of ourselves, from a Hand honoured by both `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi History has repeated itself once again, and from the text of that glorious epistle God Passes By we are assured that any crisis this may momentarily precipitate in Bahá'í affairs will inevitably be succeeded by a resounding victory and a great forward surge in the work of this holy Faith.
We need not tell you how difficult has been this whole series of events for those serving here at the World Centre! You can well imagine. In the midst of this crisis, with four Custodians absent -- Milly Collins and Leroy Ioas for reasons of health and Ruhiyyih Khanum, and Faizi, on specific missions -- our very dear co-worker Horace Holley, suddenly died. As you know his heart was in a state where this could have happened at any moment during the past years. For a few days he had felt too weak to getPage 227
up and be about, but his condition did not lead us, or his physician, to believe his death was imminent. On the evening of the 12th of July he collapsed on leaving the bathroom and died immediately. A very beautiful and moving service was held in the hall of the Master's Home; and less than twenty-four hours after his passing we laid him to rest in the Bahá'í Cemetery, right near the graves of Dr. Esslemont and the Afnan who built the 'Ishqabad Temple. We are deeply grateful to Bahá'u'lláh that we had the valued, mature and wise advice of dear Horace during the most difficult period of this whole Remey affair and that he was able, through his example and counsels, to render at the end of his life yet another great service to the Faith he had worked for so constantly, with such outstanding distinction and devotion, and for so many years -- a Faith whose Guardian had heaped upon him so many honours. May God in His mercy give each one of us an end as blessed as his!
All this has made us feel very keenly, and we know the same feeling is in your hearts too, that we must draw ever closer to each other -- we who were chosen by our beloved Guardian, poor and unworthy though we are, to carry on his work, to serve as Hands of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and help crown with victory this latest stage in the unfoldment of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan. Our essential unity, the love we have for Shoghi Effendi and in his love for each other, must grow daily stronger, so that we can fulfil our primary function of protecting and propagating the Cause of God. We feel our forthcoming Annual Meeting will inevitably, after this serious onslaught on the Faith and the Institution of the Hands, be productive of great results for the forthcoming year, and that we will be assisted to make truly inspiring plans for the tremendous work that lies ahead of the entire Bahá'í world during the closing years of the Crusade.
We are eagerly looking forward to your arrival here. As soon as possible we will send you the agenda for the meeting. Now that this defection of Mason and the handful of his supporters (about 15 people in all, some of them wives of the chief dissidents) has been put in its proper light before the Bahá'í world, we can go on to other matters for which there has been no time during the past critical three months when we were investigating the situation, studying Faizi's detailed reports on the condition in France and answering a tremendous amount of correspondence pouring in in connection with winning the Crusade goals, Mason's claims, and so on.
We ask you to pray for all of us, but particularly for the health of Ugo and Bill; the former is slowly recovering from a very grave infection contracted during his tour of Central America, the latter has just left for a sanatorium in Europe to care for a disturbing liver condition seriously impairing his health. Our dear fellow-Hand Musa Banani; has suffered aPage 228
stroke and is at present in a hospital in Frankfurt receiving medical care for his paralyzed right side. We ask your ardent supplications on his behalf. Please also pray for the improvement in health of Milly, Leroy and Enoch.
In the holy Shrines we always supplicate for all of the Hands, as you know, and beseech Bahá'u'lláh's confirmations, protection and grace.With deepest love,
For your information and for the protection of the Cause, we wish to inform you of the recent steps taken by the Egyptian Government against the Faith, and to indicate what course of action should be followed by the National Assemblies of the Bahá'í world.
According to press dispatches, the Government of the United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria) has issued a decree which closes all Bahá'í centres forbids any Bahá'í activity in Egypt or Syria, and gives the Government the right to confiscate Bahá'í property. Substantial penalties (fine, imprisonment, or both) are imposed for any disobedience of this law.
We now have confirmation of these actions and a request that all Assemblies and individual believers refrain from any correspondence with the friends in Egypt or Syria. It is essential that this instruction be followed without any exceptions, in order to avoid further restrictions on the Bahá'ís in those countries. Furthermore, no steps should be taken by any National Assembly to protest against or publicize the action of the Government of the United Arab Republic.
We are requesting the representatives of the Bahá'í International Community in the United States to take the matter up with the appropriate agencies of the United Nations, stressing the non-political character of the Faith, and that the basic right of freedom of religion has been violated. This is the only official action which we feel is wise at this time, but if any inquiries are received, the answer can be given that appropriate steps are being taken through the United Nations.
All of us can, however, pray for the protection of the friends and the removal of these unfortunate restrictions.With warm Bahá'í love,
To the Hands of the Cause of God throughout the WorldAugust 31, 1960
As you know, this year's Conclave of the Hands is to take place during the period October 18-27. In accordance with our usual practice we are sending to each Hand the following suggestions for the agenda of the meeting.AGENDA - 1960 CONCLAVE
Formation of National Spiritual Assemblies and Local Spiritual AssembliesEuropean Temple
We are looking forward eagerly to welcoming you in Haifa and to the opportunity of praying and consulting together on the vital work which lies ahead for us all.With our warmest and deepest love,
They that have forsaken their country for the purpose of
teaching Our Cause -- these shall the Faithful Spirit strengthenthrough its
prince of all goodly deeds, and the ornament of every goodly act.
Should anyone arise for the triumph of Our Cause, him will
God render victorious though tens of thousands of enemies beleagued against him.
In the past months, since the Annual Conventions were held, many events have taken place which have caused the friends to rejoice anew over the truly unassailable foundation upon which our glorious Faith has been laid. The individual believers in every part of the world have arisen with renewed consecration and redoubled zeal to devote themselves to winning the goals of our beloved Guardian's holy Crusade.
The news of the progress being made in winning these goals has been truly inspiring; a steady flow of pioneers from North America and Persia is going out to support the work in those crucial places where new National Assemblies must be formed either next April or in Ridvan 1962. In addition to this, local pioneers in Latin America and Europe are reinforcing the work, and through their familiarity with the languages and customs of the people are proving of invaluable assistance in building up new Assemblies and strengthening existing ones.
We clearly see that the words of our beloved Guardian resound with thrilling fulfilment around the Bahá'í world: "From the record of its tumultuous history, almost every page of which portrays a fresh crisis . . . recounts the tale of a base betrayal ... there emerges, clear and incontrovertible, the supreme truth that with every fresh outbreak of hostility to the Faith, whether from within or from without, a corresponding measure of outpouring grace, sustaining its defenders and confounding its adversaries, has been providentially released, communicating a fresh impulse to the onward march of the Faith . . ."
What bounties we share, what privileges we have been given, what blessings have been showered upon us! Is it any wonder that `Abdu'l-Bahá asked us over and over, "Do you know in what day you are living?"
Where such manifold blessings are given, an equally deep responsibility and challenge confronts us. This is the hour for every single believer to arise as never before and rededicate himself to the unfinished tasks of the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Plan, so that the rising tide of victories which made the past year unprecedented in the Faith, may sweep us on to greater triumphs and even more brilliant accomplishments on every front.
The eyes of the Bahá'í world are particularly directed to the goal cities of Europe where we still have twenty-seven Local Spiritual Assemblies to establish in nine countries. The most urgent need is for heroic pioneers toPage 231
arise, determined to overcome every obstacle that stands in their path and volunteer their services through their own National Spiritual Assembly. At the start of this great Global Crusade, the beloved Guardian said that pioneering was the single most important service in the Bahá'í world in that hour. That service remains unique and priceless.
Time is getting terrifyingly short; we must all hasten on our individual and collective paths of service in order to win all the goals of our beloved Guardian. We ask each one of you to reconsider how you may be of greater help, as a pioneer, as a teacher, through greater support of the Fund, in any and every way possible, so that these coming months may see a great upsurge of activity and the kindling of a mighty flame of devotion which will sweep like wildfire throughout the Bahá'í world and carry us all to victory.
At the Annual Meeting of the Hands of the Cause, starting on October the 18th, momentous decisions will have to be made, and exhaustive plans formulated. We ask the believers everywhere in the world to join us on the evening of October 19th, in saying the "Tablet of Ahmad or another prayer, supplicating that all difficulties may be removed, all obstacles overcome, in the vital months that lie ahead-months which must witness the election of twenty-one new National Assemblies in the Latin American area and the creation of twenty-seven new Local Assemblies in the goal countries of Europe, Assemblies which are to be the foundation of the new European National Assemblies to be elected in Ridvan 1962. We felt that this day, October 19th, would carry a special blessing, as it is the anniversary, according to the solar calendar, of the birthday of the precious Báb. The Hands will, after sunset on that day, be praying at Bahji, in the holy Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh. Please join us then in thought, spirit and prayer.
Confident of final victory, and resolved to show forth, in the words of the beloved Guardian, "a dazzling display of the qualities which must distinguish a worthy stewardship of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh", let the friends everywhere arise with one accord, and conclude triumphantly those tasks which the Will of the Most High has ordained it should be their privilege to perform.In the service of the beloved Guardian,
In view of the proclamation issued by Mason Remey in which hePage 232
claims to be the second guardian of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and the present circulation of what he calls encyclical letters, as well as various letters being written by his misguided supporters, the Hands of the Cause feel it imperative to place before the believers certain facts and passages from the Sacred Writings of our Faith in refutation of these spurious and highly misleading statements.
Mason Remey has had the temerity to assert that the beloved Guardian of the Cause appointed him during his own lifetime as his successor. He builds up his claim by saying that because he was appointed President of the first International Bahá'í Council, he becomes automatically the President of the elected International Bahá'í Council, and later, on its election, Chairman of the Universal House of Justice. To quote his own argument:
He who is President of the Universal House of Justice is the
Guardian of the Faith for he who is the Guardian of the Faith
is President of the Universal House of Justice. These two
offices are one and the same. Therefore, when the beloved Guardian
Shoghi Effendi appointed me President of the Bahá'í International
Council, that, he explained, was the forerunner of the Universal
House of Justice that was the Embrionic [sic] Universal House of
Justice that would eventually develop into the Universal House o
f Justice. I or one of my successors in Guardianship would be
President of this divinely instituted infallible body, the Universal
House of Justice; therefore the Guardianship of the Bahá'í Faith and
the Presidency of the Universal House of Justice are one and thesame position in the Faith.
This contention requires a careful study of the Words of `Abdu'l-Bahá in the Will and Testament, because this sacred document sets forth the conditions requisite for Guardianship in no uncertain terms. We must never forget for a moment that it was the Master Who established the Station of the Guardianship; and in fact appointed the successor of Shoghi Effendi as between Shoghi Effendi's first born, or another branch (Ghosn).In the Will He clearly states:
He is the expounder of the Words of God and after him
will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants....
It is incumbent upon the Guardian of the Cause of God to appoint
in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that
differences may not arise after his passing. He that is appointed
must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things, mustbe the
essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of
God, knowledge, wisdom and learning. Thus, should the first-born
of the Guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the
truth of the words: "The child is the secret essence of its sire",
that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the
Guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched
with a goodly character, then must he (the Guardian of the Causeof God), choose an other branch to succeed him.
It has become clear during the past months that lack of knowledge of the meaning of the word "branch" as used in the Master's Will and Testament has led to great confusion in certain quarters in the West.
The word "Ghosn" (plural Aghsan is an Arabic word, meaning "branch".
Bahá'u'lláh used this word specifically to designate his own male descendants. It does not apply to any other category of people. He gave the title to `Abdu'l-Bahá of "the Most Great Branch". His second son, Muhammad 'Ali was known as "the Greater Branch"; His third son, Midhi, "the Purest Branch", etc. The Guardian himself is designated in the Master's Will as "the Chosen Branch".
All the male relatives of The Báb. are invariably referred to as "Afnan", which means "twigs".These two designations are not interchangeable.
Over and over in Bahá'u'lláh's Tablets these terms Aghsan and "Afnan" are specifically used in this sense.
For instance, in the Tablet of the Branch, the original word is "Ghosn" (i.e. branch), referring to `Abdu'l-Bahá.
The ordinary English usage of the word "branch" has caused a great deal of confusion, whereas there is not a shadow of ambiguity in the Persian and Arabic texts.
Because of ignorance of the Arabic and Persian languages and the use of these two terms in our Sacred Texts, spurious arguments have been put forth by those making the false claim that Shoghi Effendi could have appointed a successor other than a blood descendant of Bahá'u'lláh.
It should likewise be pointed out that neither in Persian nor Arabic are there ever any capital letters, so that it is impossible to deduce any arguments from a capitalization or lack of capitalization in the English texts.
We direct attention to the first Proclamation issued by all the Hands of the Bahá'í world from Bahji, November 25, 1957 (including Mason Remey).
The same Hands (one of whom was Mason Remey), rejoining the other Hands assembled in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh at BahjiPage 234
certified that Shoghi Effendi had left no Will and Testament. It was likewise certified that the beloved Guardian had left no heir. The Afghan (branches) one and all are either dead, or have been declared violators of the Covenant by the Guardian for their faithlessness to the Master's Will and Testament and their hostility to him named first Guardian in that sacred document.
...the realization that no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have beenappointed by him ...
Thus it is clear that no one but a blood descendant of Bahá'u'lláh could possibly have been appointed by Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Faith.
Bahá'u'lláh, in writing, in unambiguous terms established the Master as the Centre of His Covenant. `Abdu'l-Bahá in His turn, in His Own handwriting created the beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi as the Centre of His Covenant and specified the conditions of future Guardianship.
Without one written word from the Guardian, Mason Remey claims that because he was the President of the International Bahá'í Council, and because this body is the embryonic international institution, it automatically makes him the President of that future body, and hence, Guardian of the Faith.
If the President of the International Bahá'í Council is ipso facto the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, then the beloved Guardian, himself, Shoghi Effendi would have had to be the President of this first International Bahá'í Council.
If the presidency of the first International Bahá'í Council, which was not an elected body but appointed by Shoghi Effendi was a permanent thing, why did the beloved Guardian himself call for an elected International Bahá'í Council in the future as part of the evolution of this institution and its eventual efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice?
We have not even an intimation in any writing of Shoghi Effendi that the officers of the first appointed International Bahá'í Council would be carried forward into the elected International Bahá'í Council.
There is nothing to indicate anywhere in the Teachings that the officers of the elected International Bahá'í Council would not be elected according to the pattern of election of every other Bahá'í elected body.
The manner of the election of the Universal House of Justice has been laid down by `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself. There is no possible reason for concluding that Mason Remey or any other Council member would automatically be carried forward into membership in that body. If the presidency of either an appointed or an elected InternationalPage 235
Bahá'í Council were synonymous with the presidency of the Universal House of Justice, then it follows the beloved Guardian himself would have assumed this position.
Mason Remey signed the first communication sent out by 26 Hands of the Faith, from Bahji in November, 1957, in which it was stated that as the beloved Guardian had left no Will and no successor, the Hands of the Faith, designated by Shoghi Effendi as the Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth, would carry on the work of the Crusade until the formation of that infallible Body, the Universal House of Justice.
Although Mason Remey, himself a Hand of the Cause, acted as one of the nine Hands in the Holy Land until the end of October, 1959, he never intimated his claim to be the second Guardian to any individual Hand, to the group of Hands serving at the World Centre, or to the body of the Hands gathered in Bahji at their Conclaves.
The first intimation any of us received of this astounding claim was when he mailed us a copy of his proclamation, at a time when it was already in the mail to National Assemblies and individuals.
How can Mason Remey reconcile his assertion that he was appointed by Shoghi Effendi as his successor during his lifetime with the provisions in the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá that during the lifetime of the Guardian, nine of the Hands of the Cause of God must be elected by their fellow-Hands, and give their assent to the choice made by him of his successor? If the Guardian appointed Mason Remey, why did he go against the provisions of the Will in this important respect? Such an implication is a flagrant attack on Shoghi Effendi himself.
The terrible dangers of accepting so manifestly false a claim as that which Mason Remey has made are thus clear for all to see.
In addition to having set aside the provisions of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Will in making this claim, in addition to not having one single written word in evidence that the beloved Guardian intended to make him his successor, Mason Remey has written that he will appoint his own successor to the Guardianship.
Every believer, into whose mind has crept for even a second, a shadow of doubt as regards the personal status of Mason Remey may see for himself to what a degree he has entirely brushed aside every single foundation laid by `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will for the Guardianship.
The glorious Báb. forbade association with Covenant-breakers. Bahá'u'lláh strictly forbade association with the Covenant-breakers, and even warned the friends against entering if possible a city where Covenant-breakers resided, as their poison polluted the entire area. `Abdu'l-Bahá'í teaching with regard to shunning and having no contact whatsoever withPage 236
the Covenant-breakers is contained in hundreds of Tablets. The beloved Guardian forbade all association with Covenant-breakers and warned that their poison was so deadly, that it was not permissible to have even their literature in one's possession.
The Chief Stewards of the Faith, mindful of their paramount responsibility to protect the believers, have taken action to expel from the Faith Mason Remey and his supporters because of their Covenant-breaking activities, and to forbid all association with them.
The beloved Master, in His Will and Testament, issued this clear warning to all the friends:
Beware, beware, lest the days after the Ascension (of Bahá'u'lláh)
be repeated when the Centre of Sedition waxed haughty and
rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse deprivedhimself and perturbed and poisoned others.
O God, my God! I call Thee, Thy Prophets and Thy Messengers,
Thy Saints and Thy Holy Ones, to witness that I have declared
conclusively Thy Proofs unto Thy loved ones and set forth clearly
all things unto them, that they may watch over Thy Faith, guard
Thy Straight Path and protect Thy Resplendent Law. Thou art,verily, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise!
SHARE JOYOUS NEWS BELIEVERS OBSTACLES ATTAINMENT ONE BELOVED GUARDIAN'S MAJOR CRUSADE GOALS ERECTION MOTHER TEMPLE EUROPE NOW OVERCOME STOP EXCAVATION FOUNDATIONS ALREADY COMMENCED STOP HAND CAUSE AMELIA COLLINS REPRESENTATIVE GUARDIAN FRANKFURT CONFERENCE WILL ATTEND HISTORIC CEREMONY LAYING CORNER STONE NOVEMBER TWENTIETH AND PLACE SACRED DUST MOST HOLY SHRINE PREVIOUSLY ENTRUSTED GERMAN ASSEMBLY THIS PURPOSE STOP FOLLOWING SEVEN YEARS' DELAY ALL HEARTS UPLIFTED THANKSGIVING Bahá'u'lláh, GREAT VICTORY STOP SHARE MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
We enclose a copy of the Message to the Bahá'ís of East and West from the Hands of the Cause assembled for the fourth time at Bahji.
The tasks outlined in this communication, and the enumeration of the victories won in the beloved Guardian's World Crusade, are of such vital significance to the believers that we ask you to share it with them immediately through your News Letter, or otherwise.
We look forward to hearing in due course of further great victories won for the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh through the dedicated consecrated efforts of the Bahá'ís in every land united in determination to overcome whatever obstacles lie between them and the fulfilment of the Ten Year Crusade.With warm Bahá'í love,
From the Hands of the Cause to the Bahá'ís of East and WestMansion of Bahá'u'lláh Bahji 'Akka, Israel
Fully aware of the fact that the destinies of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh for decades to come hinge upon the actions which must be taken during the coming twelve months, the Hands of the Cause of God, meeting in Bahji in the precincts of the Most Holy Shrine, at their fourth Annual Gathering held since the passing of our beloved Guardian, have considered those measures necessary to enable us to attain the goals of this divinely inspired, globe-encircling Crusade. After joining the Bahá'ís of the entire world in supplication for the victory of the Ten Year Plan, after sixteen days of profound and exhaustive consultation, we are now in a position to share with our fellow-believers the nature of the tasks facing us and the plans formulated to ensure their achievement.
The unprecedented global victories which thrilled and uplifted the hearts of the believers everywhere last Ridvan are gathering momentum as this holy Crusade approaches its end. The world-wide Bahá'í Community,Page 238
faced by yet another severe test during the past year, has risen to new heights of accomplishment. The evidences of the watchful protection of the Twin Founders of our Faith and the assistance of the Supreme Concourse, promised to all those who arise to promote it, are to be seen on every side. We now stand on the threshold of one of the most significant and critical moments in our history, fraught with golden opportunities, demanding tremendous self-sacrifice.
Our beloved Guardian led us year after year, along the most arduous paths, to victories which, to the people of the world, must have appeared impossible of achievement. Yet victory was ours at every step of the way. Before we muster our strength for the tasks that lie immediately ahead, let us for a moment contemplate what has already been accomplished by the followers of Bahá'u'lláh since the inception of the Ten Year Plan: The banner of the Faith has been unfurled in the astounding number of two hundred and fifty-six countries of the globe; the Mother Temples of both Africa and Australia are to all intents and purposes completed; at long last the soil has been turned on the site of the Mother Temple of the European continent and its corner-stone will be laid this month-just three years after the passing of our most beloved Guardian, an event which culminates seven years of heart-breaking effort to secure a property where permission to build could finally be obtained, and which marks another great victory of the Cause of God over the consistent opposition of certain ecclesiastical elements. Well nigh three thousand pioneers have left their homes since 1953 and scattered over the face of the planet, to the barren lands of the world, to regions within the Arctic Circle, to distant deserts and lonely islands, to populous cities and jungle villages. Heroes and martyrs, individuals drawn from every stratum of society, old people and young children, representatives of not only the Asiatic and European civilizations, but Africans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and Eskimos, have swelled the ranks of pioneers, each in his own way and in his own part of the world, contributing to this glorious testimonial of belief in the Manifestation of God in this day. The initial evidences of that great wave of mass conversion which must sweep the planet have been seen through the enrolment, since the inception of the Crusade, amongst the Africans, the people of Indonesia, and the Indians of South America, of over 30,000 believers, almost 20,000 of whom have embraced the Faith since the passing of the beloved of our hearts; the centres where believers reside have been more than doubled since 1953; hundreds of new Spiritual Assemblies have been formed; schools opened and run by Bahá'ís have been multiplied, not only in the Pacific area and in Africa, but more recently in India and in Latin America; the first dependency of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Wilmette-harbinger of the great cultural andPage 239
humanitarian centres that will cluster about Bahá'í Houses of Worship in the future-has been completed. And last but not least, the Spiritual Assemblies specified by the beloved Guardian for Latin America have been elected and upon this firm foundation can now be erected next Ridvan the twenty-one new pillars of the Universal House of Justice. All these are but a part of the tremendous victories won for the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh by His small band of devoted, heroic followers in less than eight years.
The Crusade has reached the point where the Hands of the Cause can no longer operate on a regional basis alone, but must render their services on a global scale. This indeed seems the next step in the "development", as the beloved Guardian wrote, "of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause" which he, in his great wisdom, made an objective of the Ten Year Plan and which he elaborated upon increasingly during the last years of his life, particularly stressing it in his message of June 4, 1957 and in the very last communication he sent to the Bahá'í world on the eve of his passing. So great and so crushing are the responsibilities which have fallen upon the Hands since his passing, so increasingly vast the field in which they are called upon to serve, that it is no longer possible to confine their activities to a specific region. The answer to this problem seems to be more travelling on their part, and the concentration of their forces on those places where the need is greatest.
The passing of our very dear co-worker Horace Holley has left us without a ninth member of the body of Hands serving in the Holy Land. In order to fill this vacancy, far-reaching changes have been made in the disposition of the Hands in such a way as to not only protect the World Centre, but also serve the best interests of the continental work in various parts of the globe. William Sears has been chosen to replace Horace Holley at the World Centre; John Robarts, is returning to the Western Hemisphere, his original home, in order to ensure that the vital work in the Americas receives adequate support at this time. Rahmatu'llah Muhajir is being transferred to Africa, with the understanding he will spend some months of each year travelling and teaching in his former area.
The Auxiliary Board members, mindful of the words of the Guardian concerning their functions as "deputies, assistants and advisers of the Hands", and remembering the conspicuous part they have already played in winning the resounding victories of the Crusade, henceforth should concentrate their forces, as we approach the pinnacle of achievement, on the specific tasks given them, namely, teaching and protecting the Faith.
The significance and the vital importance of the proper relationship between the Institution of the Hands, with its Boards, and the National Spiritual Assemblies with their committees, was set forth in most pregnantPage 240
terms by Shoghi Effendi in one of his last messages: "Call upon Hands and National Assemblies, each continent separately, to establish henceforth direct contact and deliberate, whenever feasible, as frequently as possible, to exchange reports to be submitted by their respective Auxiliary Boards and national committees, to exercise unrelaxing vigilance and carry out unflinchingly their sacred, inescapable duties. The security of our precious Faith, the preservation of the spiritual health of the Bahá'í communities, the vitality of the faith of its individual members, the proper functioning of its laboriously erected institutions, the fruition of its worldwide enterprises, the fulfilment of its ultimate destiny, all are directly dependent upon the befitting discharge of the weighty responsibilities now resting upon the members of these two institutions . . ."
Our strength has always lain in obedience to the commands of the Centre of the Covenant; if the Hands and their Boards, the National Assemblies and their committees, each functioning in the field delineated for it by the Guardian, will cooperate to the full extent implied in his above words, great spiritual powers will be released and a tremendous new impetus be given to the work of the Crusade in all its aspects.
The opportunities that call us to swift and sustained action in the teaching field are unique, infinitely precious, immeasurably glorious. In these fast-fleeting months which lie ahead of us we have to match the magnitude and the challenge of our beloved Guardian's command with an effort unequalled in Bahá'í history, for this, the fourth and last phase of his world-encircling Crusade, he has told us "must be immortalized ... by an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society. . ."
The Manifestation of God Himself has said: "Teach ye the Cause of God, 0 people of Baha) for God hath prescribed unto every one the duty of proclaiming His Message, and regardeth it as the most meritorious of all deeds." No one can afford to ignore this command. "Of all the gifts of God", wrote the beloved Master in His Will and Testament, "the greatest is the gift of Teaching. It draweth unto us the Grace of God and is our first obligation. Of such a gift how can we deprive ourselves? Nay, our lives, our goods, our comforts, our rest, we offer them all as a sacrifice for the Abha Beauty and teach the Cause of God." Bahá'u'lláh Himself indicated the path every believer must follow when He revealed these words: "Whoso is worthy of so high a calling, let him arise and promote it. Whoso is unable, it is his duty to appoint him who will, in his stead, proclaim this Revelation, whose power hath caused the foundations of the mightiest structures to quake, every mountain to be crushed into dust, and every soul to be dumbfounded." The urgent need of the present hourPage 241
necessitates not only an immediate upsurge of individual action, but also the re-orientation of all the administrative agencies of our Faith towards the supreme obligation of spreading the Message of Bahá'u'lláh and the exertion on their part of a maximum effort in the teaching field. As the travels and movements of teachers engaged in awakening the masses increase and multiply, blessings will correspondingly flow. To this the Master Himself bore witness. Time is short and herculean the task, but the promise of the Blessed Perfection rings in our hearts and fortifies our resolve: "Whoso openeth his lips in this Day and maketh mention of the name of his Lord, the hosts of Divine inspiration shall descend upon him from the heaven of My Name, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. On him shall also descend the Concourse on High, each bearing aloft a chalice of pure light."
In connection with the tremendous task of forming twenty-one new National Spiritual Assemblies, assisting the teaching work in those countries where many goals of the home front still remain to be won, and furthering the process of mass conversion so dear to the Guardian's heart, the Hands of the Faith have planned extensive travels during the coming months in order to aid and stimulate the world-wide activities of the Faith to the greatest possible extent.
Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih KHANUM will attend the dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar at Kampala, the Mother Temple of Africa, in January and visit various areas in that continent where mass conversion is taking place; she likewise plans to be present at the dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Sydney, the Mother Temple of the Antipodes, which will be held next September, meeting the friends in Australia and New Zealand, as well as certain centres in South East Asia. Amelia Collins will lay the corner-stone of the Mother Temple of Europe, during this present month, in Frankfurt; Tarazu'llah Samandari, will shortly leave for a prolonged tour of Pakistan, India, Burma and Ceylon to assist the work in those countries. Leroy Ioas, will visit centres in Europe during the summer months.
On the occasion of the formation next Ridvan of the largest number of National Assemblies to be elected at one time during any period of Bahá'í history, eleven Hands of the Cause, pursuant to the policy of the beloved Guardian, will attend the sessions of the different Conventions as follows: Hermann Grossmann in Argentina and Chile; Rahmatu'llah Muh6jir in Paraguay and Bolivia; Hasan Balyuzi in Peru and Ecuador; Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i in Venezuela and Colombia; Ugo Giachery, in the Dominican Republic and Haiti; Enoch Olinga, in Jamaica and Cuba; Dhikru'llah Khadem in Panama and Costa Rica; John Robarts, in Nicaragua and Honduras; William Sears in El Salvador and Guatemala; PaulPage 242
Haney in Mexico and also in Wilmette; 'Ali-Akbar Furutan; in Brazil and Uruguay.
These Hands of the Cause, in addition to spending some time in each of the twenty-one countries where these historic gatherings are being held will, as the occasion permits, make a point of visiting not only the goal countries of Europe, but also the home fronts in Britain and Germany, the United States and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Alaska and certain islands of the Pacific. Enoch Olinga, will travel for four months in the Greater Antilles and Central America. Rahmatu'llah Muhajir will travel across Africa, and later make a prolonged tour among the Bolivian Indians.
One of the most significant events during this coming Ridvan period will take place when the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í world elect the International Bahá'í Council. We shall witness for the first time in the history of the Faith an election on a global scale, and the hearts of the believers will echo the words of the beloved Guardian at the time when he appointed the first International Bahá'í Council: "Hail with thankful, joyous heart" this historic moment. This Council, which the beloved Guardian characterized as the "most significant milestone" in the evolution of the Administrative Order since the Master's passing, will now undergo, in his own words, its "transformation into a duly elected body"; it will be international in character, and have its headquarters at the World Centre of the Faith. In addition to those functions which were announced last year, it will be given certain administrative duties to discharge in facilitating the work at the World Centre in relation to National Assemblies abroad. It would be well for the believers, pondering at this time the importance of the step that is being taken through this election, to bear in mind that however significant this first universally elected body may be, it must never be compared with that Supreme Body upon which we are promised the Twin Manifestations of God will confer infallibility in the discharge of those duties ordained for it in the Holy Text.
In considering the immediate needs of this Faith so infinitely dear to all our hearts, it has become evident that from now until the end of the Crusade in Ridvan 1963, not only a tremendous united effort on all fronts is going to be required, but above all a great self-sacrificing outpouring of our material substance. The cost of erecting the Mother Temple of Europe, enshrined in the heart of that continent which is the cradle of western civilization, has increased, since the beloved Guardian approved its design, between 30 and 40 percent, owing to steadily rising prices in Germany. Because of this it has become imperative, in order to prevent a still greater increase in cost, to purchase all the raw materials at thePage 243
present time and to ensure that neither delay in commencing building operations nor any interruption in the construction of the superstructure takes place. This means that in a period of one year the funds of the Faith are being called upon to provide the major expense involved in its erection. The Hands of the Cause, mindful that Shoghi Effendi pledged a third of the estimated sum of one million dollars for the three historic Temples to be forever associated with the world-wide labours of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh during the Ten Year Plan, will provide the remainder of his pledge still to be paid for this purpose. In addition to the urgent demands being made upon the resources of the Faith in this connection, it must be borne in mind that the vanguard of valiant pioneers who in many places form the backbone of the existing Local Assemblies in Latin America and the nucleus of those which must be formed this year in eleven European countries, must at all costs be enabled to remain at their posts. To withdraw any of these forces at this time from strategic areas would be disastrous and might place in jeopardy those National Assemblies so soon to act as pillars of the Universal House of Justice. The International Bahá'í Council, fulfilling yet another stage in its evolution and efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice, must be elected and means be provided for at least a quorum of its members to function in Haifa. In addition to this, the World Centre, the heart and nerve centre of the Faith, its holy Shrines and institutions, its multiple properties and magnificent gardens must be maintained and preserved for posterity.
To not present this picture of our obligations and needs, our responsibilities and the mighty challenge confronting us, to our fellow believers, would, we feel, be neither fair nor realistic. However great the burden resting on our shoulders as Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth, it does not rest on us alone; each and every believer has his or her own responsibility towards the Cause of God, each one of us, in differing degrees but in universal measure, is called upon to bring a personal sacrifice to the altar of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh at this time. We know that it is indeed spiritually far more important for each believer to give a token offering than for those more blessed with material means to carry the brunt of the burden alone. It is our ardent hope that our Bahá'í brothers and sisters in Africa and the Pacific area, in the Andes, in the jungles and the deserts, on the Indian reservations of North America, in distant wastelands, and the regions of the Arctic Circle will, as a symbol of our great brotherhood and our unity under the banner of the Blessed Perfection, likewise contribute regularly, if only one penny, to further the achievement of the remaining goals of our beloved Guardian's Crusade and to enable us to win a victory in 1963 such as has never been recorded in the annals of any religion in thePage 244
memory of man. We call upon all the friends to join in a year of austerity and self-sacrifice. The opportunity to render unique service has been offered to this generation at this time. It will never come again in this Dispensation. The final and crowning service of our Guardian's life was this Holy Crusade he left to us as a priceless legacy. To win it is our infinite privilege, our greatest blessing in this world and in the world to come.
In ever greater measure the promises of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá are being fulfilled. The specific goals set by our Guardian are being realized one by one with unbelievable rapidity. The assurance given us in our teachings that every test releases forces latent with new victories is being demonstrated before our very eyes. This world-girdling Crusade, the essential object of which is no less than the spiritualization of the entire planet, is now gathering the final momentum necessary to carry it forward in one stupendous surge to a resounding victory on all fronts.
If ever a year of glorious enterprise has faced the Community of the Most Great Name, it is this year. We can look back in pride upon a steadily mounting, uninterrupted tide of victories unequalled since the days of the Heroic Age of our Faith. We can look forward with hope and confidence to the tremendous achievements that lie ahead of us during the coming twelve months. These recent victories, these future achievements are the fruit of the labours of our dearly beloved Guardian. His was the hand that sowed the seeds, and in his name the harvest will be gathered in.
Let us remember the promise Shoghi Effendi himself gave us: "The all-conquering potency of the grace of God, vouchsafed through the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, will, undoubtedly, mysteriously and surprisingly, enable whosoever arises to champion His Cause to win complete and total victory."In the service of the beloved Guardian,
[Musa Banani, signed in Agnes B. Alexander English on his behalf]Sh. Alai
To the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í WorldNovember 13,1960
In accordance with the decisions of the body of the Hands of the Cause of God regarding the election of the International Bahá'í Council, we are sending to the Secretary of each National or Regional Spiritual Assembly nine ballot papers, one for each member. These ballot papers carry all the necessary instructions.
They should be collected by the Secretaries of the Assemblies in envelopes that are specially provided with the ballots. The envelopes must be sealed. Should any one or some of the members fail to send in their votes, the Secretary ought not to delay the dispatch of the ballots received. These should be mailed together to the World Centre in ample time to reach here before April 21st; 1961.
The results will be announced during the Ridvan period.With loving greetings,
GRIEVE ANNOUNCE PASSING HAND CAUSE CLARA DUNN DISTINGUISHED MEMBER AMERICAN Bahá'í COMMUNITY WHO WITH HYDE DUNN SPIRITUAL CONQUEROR AUSTRALIA RESPONDED MASTERS APPEAL DIVINE PLAN AROSE CARRIED FAITH ANTIPODES RENDERED UNIQUE UNFORGETTABLE PIONEER SERVICE OVER FORTY YEAR PERIOD STOP ADVISE HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERING TEMPLE STOP SHARE MESSAGE HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
OVERJOYED GLORIOUS VICTORY LAYING CORNERSTONE MOTHER TEMPLE EUROPE ASSURE PRAYERS SHRINES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í WorldJanuary 1, 1961
In a communication dated November 13, 1960, we informed all National and Regional Assemblies that we were sending them nine ballot papers for the election of the International Bahá'í Council, one for each Assembly member.
In order to ensure that all existing National Assemblies participate fully in this supremely important election, we request that the Secretary of each Assembly inform us immediately whether these ballots have been received and distributed to the individual members. As indicated previously, the Secretaries are responsible for collecting the sealed ballots and mailing them in ample time to reach the World Centre before April 21, 1961.With warm Bahá'í love,
On the occasion of the historic dedication for Bahá'í and public worship of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the African continent, we suggest that you either write or cable the National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa, congratulating them on the completion at so early a date of this Mother House of Worship, so dear to our beloved Guardian's heart.
We feel sure your messages will encourage and inspire the African believers throughout the continent, and bring to them a sense of the great solidarity of the believers all over the world and the degree to which they share each others' joys and victories.We send you all our loving greetings,
ANNOUNCE JOYOUS NEWS CORNERSTONE MOTHER TEMPLE EUROPE LAIDPage 250
IMPRESSIVE CEREMONY ATTENDED NEARLY ONE THOUSAND Bahá'í GUESTS SACRED DUST SHRINE Bahá'u'lláh, PLACED FOUNDATION BY BELOVED HAND AMELIA COLLINS STOP EXCAVATIONS FOUNDATIONS WALLS BEING RAPIDLY COMPLETED PLANS LAID EARLY CONSTRUCTION SUPERSTRUCTURE BUT ACTUAL BEGINNING THIS WORK DEPENDENT AVAILABILITY SUFFICIENT FUNDS STOP HEAVY INCREASE BUILDING COSTS DURING UNAVOIDABLE SEVEN YEAR DELAY OVERCOMING SERIOUS OBSTACLES NOW REQUIRES STEADY UNINTERRUPTED FLOW CONTRIBUTIONS STOP COMPLETION THIS HISTORIC STRUCTURE DURING CRUSADE NOW NECESSITATES FULFILMENT BELOVED GUARDIAN'S STIRRING CALL FOR GREAT OUTPOURING TREASURE BY BELIEVERS THROUGHOUT WORLD STOP REQUEST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES IMMEDIATELY INAUGURATE SPECIAL FUND CONSTRUCTION MOTHER TEMPLE EUROPE URGE ALL FRIENDS SUPPORT THIS FUND LIBERALLY CONTINUOUSLY STOP ATTAINMENT THIS VITAL GOAL TEN YEAR PLAN WILL RELEASE UNTOLD SPIRITUAL POWER ADD PRESTIGE FAITH DEMONSTRATE VITALITY EVER VICTORIOUS WORLD Bahá'í COMMUNITY ATTRACT DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS BLESSINGS PROMISED BY `Abdu'l-Bahá, TO ALL THOSE WHO SACRIFICE FOR HOUSE OF THE LORD STOP AIRMAIL MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To the Hands of the Cause, Auxiliary Board Members, Members of National Assemblies, and believers attending the Dedication of the Mother Temple of Africa and the Africa Teaching Conference.Beloved Friends:
On the historic occasion of the opening for public worship of the Mother Temple of Africa and the gathering together for the third time in a period of seven years, of so many African believers and Bahá'í guests from other countries, our hearts turn in thanksgiving to our beloved Guardian who made this great victory possible.
At the inception of the Ten Year Plan, coincident with the Centenary celebration of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation, it was Africa which was chosen by Shoghi Effendi as the scene of the first of the four mighty Intercontinental Conferences which constituted part of the inauguration of that long-anticipated intercontinental stage in the administrative evolutionPage 251
of the Faith. On the occasion of that Conference he gave to Africa no less than 77 specific goals, almost all of which have already been achieved, and some far exceeded.
It was Africa which was once again given the honour of holding the first of the second series of Intercontinental Conferences called by Shoghi Effendi in celebration of the midway point of the World Crusade. It was Africa whose Temple was first ready to have its comer-stone laid, and receive the Sacred Dust from the holy Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh as his last loving gift.
As the Bahá'í Dispensation unfolds, the deep spiritual significance of this African Temple, the first Temple to be completed during the World Crusade, will be increasingly revealed. We should ponder the fact that the people of Africa have attracted the grace of Bahá'u'lláh to such a marked degree that after the construction in Asia -- the continent which has been the Cradle of the Manifestations of God -- of the first Bahá'í Temple to be erected, and the completion in America, the Cradle of the Administrative Order, of the second Bahá'í House of Worship, it was Africa which was singled out for the unique honour of completing the third Mother Temple to be raised in the name and to the glory of the Supreme Manifestation of God for this Day.
All the friends, particularly those who have come from Persia to attend the dedication of this blessed Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, should recall that in addition to its significance as the Mother Temple of Africa and the third of the Bahá'í world, it has a special, precious and most tender association with the long-suffering followers of Bahá'u'lláh in His native land. Our beloved Guardian, at a time when what he characterized as the worst crisis since the inception of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, was sweeping Persia, particularly stated that this Temple was to constitute a "supreme consolation" to our oppressed and valiant brethren in the Cradle of the Faith. How befitting that the majority of Bahá'ís present on this occasion should be of African and Persian extraction. How mysterious the link binding these two important branches of the Bahá'í family to each other -- on the one hand, the Community that gave over 20,000 martyrs to this glorious Cause, on the other the representatives of those spiritually fertile peoples, over 15,000 of whom have, in the brief space of nine years, flocked to the Standard of Bahá'u'lláh, arisen to teach His Faith in their own countries, and gone forth as pioneers in His Name throughout their vast continent.
In conjunction with the opening of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar to public worship, a teaching conference affording unique opportunities for consultation between (Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum, representing the Hands at the World Centre, the African Hands of the Cause, Board members, Regional Assembly members, pioneers, teachers and believers, is beingPage 252
held. We feel particular attention should be given to the supreme task of mass conversion, and ways and means of extending this work, so dear to our Guardian's heart, as well as better methods of consolidating the communities being so rapidly formed, and deepening the new believers in knowledge and understanding of the teachings.
Shoghi Effendi's vision, his determination, his overwhelming confidence in the wonderful qualities of the African people have brought us to the present hour of consummation. Who can doubt that this fulfilment of his fondest hope, this fruition of his cherished plan for Africa -- the completion of this Mother Temple -- will now cast over the entire continent a mighty blessing, and release a new and powerful wave of spiritual vitality. To the great "silent teacher" in the heart of the American continent, as `Abdu'l-Bahá called the first Temple of the Western World, standing on the shores of Lake Michigan and attracting more notice to the Faith each year, has now been added a sister edifice in the heart of Africa. Her message of Oneness will increasingly flow out over that continent and affect its people, consciously and unconsciously.
The African believers, as well as those pioneers from abroad who have settled among them and been so largely instrumental in propagating the Faith there, must seize upon this opportunity, when they are together in the shadow of this newly-completed House of Worship, and discuss their problems and plans exhaustively. They must ponder the spirit as well as the letter of the many precious instructions and words of encouragement they received from Shoghi Effendi and devise ways of carrying out the great tasks that lie ahead of them. They must remember this is only the beginning of the work in Africa; surveying what has been accomplished in seven years. With what joy and enthusiasm must they look forward to the future, with its new victories, its fresh conquests of men's hearts, which will widen the bases on which many independent African national bodies must rest -- national bodies to be established in the course of plans which must be undertaken during the years following the termination of the Ten Year Crusade. These future, glorious campaigns, will form a part, in the words of our beloved Guardian, of that "laborious and tremendously long process of establishing in the course of subsequent crusades in all the newly opened sovereign states, dependencies and islands of the planet, as well as in all the remaining territories of the globe, the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith, with all its attendant agencies, and of eventually erecting in these territories still more pillars to share in sustaining the weight and in broadening the foundation of the Universal House of Justice."
How vast the scope for service which lies before the African believers, labouring in a continent comprising over fifty nations and territories, howPage 253
great the part they must play in ushering in that blissful consummation described by him as "the long-awaited advent of the Christ-promised Kingdom of God on earth -- the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh -- mirroring however faintly upon this humble handful of dust the glories of the Abhá Kingdom."HANDS OF THE CAUSE IN THE HOLY LAND
JOYOUSLY SHARE Bahá'í WORLD NEWS COMPLETION DEDICATION MOTHER TEMPLE AFRICA MARKING SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTIONS FAITH THAT RICHLY BLESSED CONTINENT STOP MEMORABLE DEDICATION CEREMONY ATTENDED AMATU'l-Bahá RUHIYYIH KHANUM AND NEARLY FIVE HUNDRED BELIEVERS REPRESENTING NINETEEN COUNTRIES STOP PRESENCE MORE THAN THOUSAND VISITORS INAUGURAL SERVICE PUBLIC WORSHIP WIDE PUBLICITY PRESS RADIO ATTEST GROWING RECOGNITION IMPORTANCE AFRICAN Bahá'í COMMUNITY STOP URGE FRIENDS EVERYWHERE JOIN PRAYERS THANKSGIVING ATTAINMENT THIS CHERISHED GOAL BELOVED GUARDIAN'S PLAN AIRMAIL MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL AS SEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
The Hands of the Faith, from their Conclave in Bahji last October, made the joyous announcement to the Bahá'í world that the many obstacles in the way of actual construction work on the Mother Temple of Europe, in Frankfurt, Germany, had been overcome, and the seven-yearlong delay at last ended.
On November 20, 1960 the corner-stone was laid at an impressive ceremony, attended by nearly one thousand Bahá'ís and their guests, at which the Sacred Dust from the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, entrusted to the German National Assembly for this purpose by Shoghi Effendi himself, was placed in the foundation by the beloved Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins.
Since that day, work at the site has gone forward on the foundations, and weather permitting, this phase will soon be completed. Contracts have been signed for the erection of the superstructure, work on which is toPage 254
start in early Spring, with completion scheduled in the late Fall of 1961.
The problem now is one of a steady and uninterrupted flow of funds. The beloved Guardian stated that the attainment of this goal will require "a great outpouring of treasure" on the part of the world-wide Bahá'í Community. The friends everywhere should realize that while this Temple is being constructed in Frankfurt, it is not a German Temple; and while it is the Mother Temple of Europe, its construction is the responsibility of the entire Bahá'í world, as it was given as one of the major goals of the Ten Year Crusade.
The Hands of the Faith are fully aware of the degree to which the friends everywhere are already sacrificing for the attainment of the goals of the Ten Year Plan. However, all of us are now called upon for a far greater degree of sacrifice than heretofore throughout the fast-fleeting twenty-seven months remaining for the successful completion of the World's Greatest Spiritual Crusade.
Funds are needed, and amply, at once, for the continuance of the work on the Temple in Frankfurt.
We call on the friends to contribute freely and liberally to this noble undertaking, from which such great spiritual bounties are promised, not only for the Bahá'ís but for all the peoples of the world.
To a continent twice baptized in the fire of the world's most terrible wars, this Temple will be the dawning place of the praises of God, and a focal point for the radiation of the spirit of peace and unity.
As the friends contribute to the fund you have established for the Mother Temple of Europe, we request that you send each month to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany, all monies received.
A steady flow of funds is essential to ensure that the work will go forward without interruption. Owing to the heavy concentration of payments involved in the contract for the erection of the superstructure, a minimum of $300,000 is needed in the calendar year 1961. An additional $125,000 will be needed in 1962.
As we contemplate the unprecedented sacrifices which must still be made before the divinely-conceived Plan of our beloved Guardian can be crowned with total victory in 1963; and as we arise to participate in that "great outpouring" called for by our Beloved, which alone will make possible the completion of this blessed edifice in the heart of the European continent, let us bear in mind the stirring promises of `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself, describing the spiritual blessings which these Temples, "Dawning-places of the praises of God", release to the world.
Temples are the symbols of the divine uniting force ... This is the
spiritual foundation, for that reason it is the mostPage 255
of all foundations; from that spiritual foundation will come forth all
manner of advancement and progress in the world of humanity.... Not only
does the building of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar have an effect upon those who
build it, but upon the whole world. ... The friends of God must endeavour
with all their hearts and souls that this structure may be raised andcompleted.
As you know, one of the great victories of the Ten Year Plan of our beloved Guardian will be achieved this coming Ridvan with the simultaneous formation of 21 new National Spiritual Assemblies in Latin America. This historic event offers an unparalleled opportunity for publicity and effective proclamation activities, based on the news value of what is taking place in 21 countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Not only should it be possible to obtain publicity in the press, but doubtless in some countries and cities opportunities can be developed for radio and possibly television coverage, in connection with general Baha'i-sponsored programs.
We are asking the National Assembly of the United States to undertake the task of furnishing the other National and Regional Assemblies with factual publicity material, which can then be adapted by each Assembly for appropriate use within its own territory. Obviously there will be certain countries and regions, such as Arabia, 'Iraq and Iran, where it will not be possible to give any publicity to these events. Each National Assembly will of course know what is possible and appropriate in its own territory.
It has been the practice in the past for each existing national body to send a message of greeting to new National Assemblies at the time of their formation. These messages give the newly-established Assembly and the friends present at the Conventions during which they are elected, a feeling of oneness with their sister National Assemblies as an integral part of the world-wide Bahá'í Community. We suggest that you send such messages of greeting to the new Assembly of each of the 21 countries. They should be sent immediately in each case in care of the appropriatePage 256
present Regional Assembly. In the event that you do not have the necessary information, the attached sheet indicates the address of the four existing Regional Assemblies, and the countries where the National Assemblies are to be formed under their sponsorship.
We send you loving greetings and the assurance of our ardent prayers for the success of your efforts to proclaim this important milestone in the unfoldment of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.In the service of the beloved Guardian,
WITH HUMBLE HEARTS TURN Bahá'u'lláh IN THANKSGIVING BOUNTIFUL BLESSINGS BESTOWED HIS FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS THROUGHOUT WORLD DURING PAST YEAR ENABLING THEM WIN UNPRECEDENTED VICTORIES ALL FRONTS STOP MOTHER TEMPLE AFRICA BEFITTINGLY DEDICATED MOTHER TEMPLE AUSTRALIA NEARING COMPLETION CONSTRUCTION WORK MOTHER TEMPLE EUROPE RAPIDLY PROGRESSING STOP MASS CONVERSION SO ARDENTLY CALLED FOR BY BELOVED GUARDIAN CONTINUING AFRICAN CONTINENT EXPANDING SOUTH AMERICA INDONESIA MALAYA NOW BEGINNINGPage 257
INDIA STOP IN SENDING LOVING NAWRUZ GREETINGS URGE FRIENDS JOIN IN FERVENT PRAYERS Bahá'u'lláh SUPPLICATE FURTHER OUTPOURING HIS BOUNTIES ASSURING IN COMING YEAR EVEN GREATER VICTORIES RAISING HIGHER BANNER HIS GLORIOUS FAITH IN EVERY LAND AS BEACON AND SOLE HOPE PEACE UNITY DISTRACTED WORLD STOP AIRMAIL MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
GRIEVED LOSS DISTINGUISHED DISCIPLE `Abdu'l-Bahá, HAND CAUSE CORINNE TRUE HER LONG ASSOCIATION EARLY HISTORY FAITH AMERICA RAISING MOTHER TEMPLE WEST STAUNCH UNFAILING CHAMPIONSHIP COVENANT STEADFAST SUPPORT BELOVED GUARDIAN EVERY STAGE UNFOLDMENT WORLD ORDER UNFORGETTABLE ENRICH ANNALS FAITH WESTERN WORLD STOP URGE HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL GATHERING MASHRIQU'LADHKAR. [CABLE) HANDSFAITH Bahá'í WILMETTE APRIL 6,1961 OUR CABLE PASSING MOTHER TRUE ADD FOLLOWING QUOTE AIRMAIL MESSAGE HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES UNQUOTE ...[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To the Representatives of the Sponsoring Regional Assemblies at each Convention of Latin AmericaApril 10, 1961
Enclosed is the Ridvan Message of the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land to the Annual Conventions of the Bahá'í world. The special message to the Latin American Conventions has already been sent to you. Both of these messages should be presented by the Hand of the Cause attending each Convention, though not necessarily read by him because of the language problem.Page 258
We wish to inform the Conventions and the new National Assemblies that the Hands of the Cause are making a contribution of one thousand dollars to each of these twenty-one new administrative bodies, to inaugurate their National Funds. The announcement of this gift should be made by the Hand present at the Convention.
The Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins also wishes to inform the new Assemblies that she is making a separate contribution of one thousand dollars to each of the new National Funds, in loving appreciation of the great spiritual victory which has been won.
To facilitate transfer of these gifts, and in order to establish contact with the World Centre as quickly as possible, we request each new National Assembly to forward to Haifa the name and postal address of its Secretary and Treasurer, as well as the cable address of its National Office.With warm Bahá'í love,
"Every nation in the Western Hemisphere is Illumined by the rays and woven into the fabric of Bahá'u'lláh's triumphant Administrative Order." Such, in the beloved Guardian's own words, is the nature of the unique victory the entire Bahá'í world is celebrating during this blessed Ridvan period, when twenty-one new and independent National Spiritual Assemblies are being elected throughout the length and breadth of Latin America. An enterprise officially inaugurated twenty-four years ago, through the launching of the first Seven Year Plan, has been gloriously consummated. The "onward marching legions of the army of Bahá'u'lláh" pause in wonder and survey with grateful hearts their majestic conquests. "That pioneer movement for which" Shoghi Effendi stated "the entire machinery" of the Administrative Order had "been primarily designed and erected" has yielded a mighty harvest. No less than twenty-four independent National Spiritual Assemblies now comprise the links in the mighty chain of Bahá'í solidarity, stretching from the Arctic Circle to the Strait of Magallanes. Humbly, and with infinite gratitude, the followers of the Blessed Beauty lay before His throne this blazing crown in thePage 259
name and in the memory of their Guardian, for it is essentially his victory, the witness of his faithful and superhuman efforts to implement that Divine Plan for the spiritual conquest of the entire planet which `Abdu'l-Bahá entrusted to his care, to him who was the Sign of God on earth.
An occasion for such rejoicing cannot be allowed to pass without reviewing the antecedents of this overwhelming victory in the Western Hemisphere, which comprises half of the globe, which embraces the entire New World, and which the Guardian said was "the first region in the Western World to be warmed and Illumined by the rays of God's infant Faith." He stated that in a sense the original impetus of the world teaching plan of the Master was given when The Báb. in the opening years of the first Bahá'í century, directed the " 'peoples of the West' to issue forth from your cities and aid His Cause.'" Many times he pointed out that ever since "the momentous and stiffing summons" was "issued by the Author of the Revelation in His Most Holy Book, addressed to the rulers of all the Republics of the Western Hemisphere," the uninterrupted blessings of God had been poured upon the American continent. Bahá'u'lláh Himself testified that "In the East the Light of His Revelation hath broken; in the West the signs of His dominion have appeared", whilst `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1917, in one of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, made the extraordinary pronouncement that "the continent of America is, in the eyes of the one True God, the land wherein the splendours of His light shall be revealed, where the mysteries of His Faith shall be unveiled. . . " "The American continent", He affirmed, "gives signs and evidences of very great advancement. Its future is even more promising. . . It will lead all nations spiritually."
Within the northern confines of a continent upon which had already been conferred such a remarkable station, the American Bahá'í Community was singled out for unique honours; it was "a community", Shoghi Effendi wrote, "invested with spiritual primacy by the Author of the immortal Tablets constituting the Charter of the Master Plan of the appointed Centre of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant." In majestic and ringing words the Guardian himself gave the rank and titles of this favoured community, whose mission is so unbelievably great, whose responsibilities are so staggering. Its members were, he said: "the spiritual descendants of the Dawn-breakers of the Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Faith, the chief repository of the immortal Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan, the foremost executors of the Mandate issued by the Centre of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, the champion-builders of a divinely conceived Administrative Order, the standard-bearers of the all-conquering army of the Lord of Hosts, the torchbearers of a future divinely inspired world civilization . . ."Page 260
A community, called by `Abdu'l-Bahá "Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh" and specifically instructed by Him in the Tablets of the Divine Plan to carry the Message of His Father to all the Republics of Latin America and the islands fringing them in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, was launched officially in 1937 on its mission of spiritual conquest when the Guardian set in motion the first Seven Year Plan. The precursor of this historic event was a letter from him written in May, 1936, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada in which he said a "systematic, carefully conceived . . . plan should be devised" whose "supreme ... objective should be the permanent establishment of at least one centre in every State of the American Republic and in every Republic of the American continent. . . " The significance of this first Plan was increasingly revealed to the Bahá'í world. When two years had elapsed Shoghi Effendi wrote: "The five remaining years should essentially be consecrated to the imperative, the spiritual needs of the remaining Republics of both Central and South America, for whose entry into the fellowship of Bahá'u'lláh the Plan was primarily formulated." As the "carrying of the sacred Fire to all the Republics of the Western Hemisphere" went forward, the tone of jubilation in the Guardian's Messages mounted. "From Alaska to Chile," he wrote in 1942, "the Americas are astir with the leavening influences of the rising Order of the new-born Revelation." He said the "first fruits of the Divine Plan" had been garnered there in abundance and that the first Seven Year Plan, commenced on the eve of the greatest war the human race had ever experienced, had, "despite six years of chaos and tribulation, been crowned with a success far exceeding the most sanguine hopes of its ardent promoters. Within so short a period, during such troublous years, such exploits were achieved as will forever illuminate the pages of Bahá'í history." On the eve of the holding of the first All-America Convention in 1944, celebrating the Centenary of the "first, most shining century of the Bahá'í Era", in that "great turning point in the history of our Faith" when "a spiritual front extending the entire length of the Western Hemisphere" had been established, when "the crowning act of an entire century" had been accomplished, when the administrative structure of the Faith was already "raising its triumphant head in the Central and South American Republics", when his heart was "filled with joy, love, pride and gratitude", when "the greatest collective enterprise ever launched in the course of the history of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh" had been successfully concluded, Shoghi Effendi wrote: "A victory of undying fame has marked the culmination of the fifty-year-long labours of the American Bahá'í community in the service of Bahá'u'lláh and has shed imperishable lustre on the immortal records of His Faith during the first hundredPage 261
years of its existence." In words such as these he sang the praises of the Community of the Most Great Name in the North American continent and indicated to the Bahá'í world the nature of the victories won during the first Seven Year Plan, not the least of which were the brilliant achievements in the southern part of the Western Hemisphere.
Two years later the American Bahá'í community was called upon to launch the second Seven Year Plan -- a plan which the Guardian said surpassed every enterprise undertaken during the first Bahá'í century. `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan was steadily gathering momentum. Whereas at the end of the first Seven Year Plan fourteen of the Latin American republics had established Local Assemblies, the remainder possessing groups only, whilst the total number of localities had risen to a little over fifty, by June 1947 there were thirty-seven Spiritual Assemblies and believers were to be found in over a hundred localities. To this extraordinary progress the beloved Guardian at that time paid a unique tribute: "No community", he wrote, "since the inception of the hundred-year-old Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, not even the community of the Most Great Name in the North American continent, can boast of an evolution as rapid, a consolidation as sound, a multiplication of centres as swift, as those that have marked the birth and rise of the community of His followers in Latin America" whose motherlands had "been chosen as the scene of the earliest victories won by the prosecutors of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan". He called upon them to "bestir themselves for the collective, the historic and gigantic tasks that await them". He said the constitution of their National Spiritual Assemblies for the northern and southern zones was "one of the most vital objectives of the Second Seven Year Plan". He said these two National Assemblies were the "precursors of the institutions which must participate in the election, and contribute to the support, of the Universal House of Justice", and that they must lead, "gradually and uninterruptedly.... to the constitution in each of the republics of Central and South America, of a properly elected, fully representative National Assembly, constituting thereby the last stage in the administrative evolution" of the Faith in Latin America.
Slowly the magnitude of Latin America's destiny unfolded. Upon the occasion of the formation in 1951 of the two first Regional Assemblies in that part of the world, he wrote them that "these communities may be said to have been invested with rights and duties which no community in any continent of the Eastern Hemisphere can claim to possess." He pointed out that these "newly-fledged, spiritually alert communities in Central and South America ... are expected by their brethren, in both the East and the West, to worthily play their part as associates of the chief executors of the Plan bequeathed by `Abdu'l-Bahá, With the launching of thePage 262
World Crusade in 1953 new honours and responsibilities fell to the lot of these communities and the national bodies that represented them; in addition to the truly staggering plans made for them in their homelands, no less than nineteen new and previously opened territories were apportioned them as their share in this new globe-encircling phase of the Divine Plan -- territories so far afield that some of them were situated in the very heart of the Pacific Ocean. Yet after the lapse of eight years nearly every major task at home and abroad set for them by their beloved Guardian has been fully and nobly achieved and the few remaining tasks required to perfect their labours are now well within their reach. Such, briefly, is the history leading up to the formation of these twenty-one supreme administrative bodies. The mysterious impetus imparted by The Báb. in the Qayyumu'l-Asma, the singular, significant and dynamic statements of Bahá'u'lláh, the innumerable references of the beloved Master culminating in His Plan for the spiritual conquest of the entire globe, the detailed, brilliant and inspiring strategy worked out by Shoghi Effendi during his thirty-six-years Guardianship, the "daring exploits" of so many valiant Bahá'í pioneers, teachers and administrators all have contributed to bring the Bahá'í world to this magnificent consummation, this unique event.
Though this is the end of a long journey, it is only the beginning of a glorious future for these new national bodies, and the communities they represent. They must remember that they share with the North American Bahá'í Community, as its appointed "associates", a special responsibility in the prosecution of every phase in the successive unfoldment of the plans which form stages in the evolution of what the Guardian called the "Grand Design delineated in `Abdu'l-Bahá'í immortal Tablets"; the members of these new communities share in what Shoghi Effendi characterized as "the phenomenal destiny which the followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the New World are to fulfil." They are, now, he wrote, "launched on their crusade for the spiritual conquest of the whole planet".
Before passing on to survey the victories won in other fields during the past year, we should recognize that aside from the fact that twenty nations and one dependency are electing their supreme Bahá'í administrative bodies, an additional event of far-reaching significance is taking place. "The islands of the West Indies", `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, ". . . have great importance; especially the two black republics, Haiti and Santo Domingo . . ." It is these republics which are now rearing up two of those autonomous pillars so soon to bear the weight of the Universal House of Justice. Who can doubt that these two new national communities, seconded by their sister community in Jamaica, and representative of that race which Bahá'u'lláh Himself likenedPage 263
to the "pupil of the eye" through which He claimed "the light of the spirit shineth forth", will greatly enrich the supra-national world-wide fellowship of His Faith and herald the day when innumerable other black nations of the continent of Africa elect their own independent National Assemblies.
The remarkable record of victories achieved since last Ridvan in the prosecution of the World Crusade of our beloved Guardian -- the completion of which he indicated would mark the end of the first epoch in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan of `Abdu'l-Bahá -- bears eloquent testimony to the devotion and sacrifice with which the friends in every part of the globe have striven to fulfil his cherished hopes and high expectations. As the eighth year of the Ten Year Plan draws to a close, the believers everywhere may gain fresh inspiration and encouragement from the imposing list of achievements recorded during the past year.
The light of the Faith, now radiating from two hundred and fifty-seven countries, islands and dependencies, now covers the face of the globe, bringing to fulfilment the many prophecies foreshadowing the worldwide spread of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh ere the close of the first century following the declaration of His Mission, referred to by `Abdu'l-Bahá as "the dawn of the Sun of Truth".
In his last Ridvan Message the beloved Guardian called upon the friends in all continents to exert strenuous efforts to assure the "early attainment of the goal of five thousand Bahá'í centres in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres." By Ridvan two years later, less than eighteen months after his passing, this goal was not only attained but exceeded, when the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside reached a total of over five thousand two hundred. This Ridvan, as a result of the continuing dispersion of pioneers and the winning of fresh recruits to the ranks of the Faith, the total has risen to the truly impressive level of nearly six thousand five hundred, a gain of no less than four thousand centres since the inception of the World Crusade in 1953.
This rapid process of multiplication of centres has brought the number of localities in Germany and Austria to a hundred and fifty; in the British Isles to a hundred and fifty-three; in Australasia to nearly a hundred and sixty; in Canada to a hundred and seventy-one; in the goal countries of Europe to nearly a hundred and seventy-five; in the fast-awakening Indian sub-continent to nearly two hundred and thirty; in Latin America to nearly three hundred and sixty; in the entire Pacific area to nearly six hundred; in Persia to more than one thousand and eighty; in the rapidly developing African continent to over fifteen hundred; and in the United States of America to nearly one thousand six hundred.
Particularly noteworthy is the rate of increase which has occurred inPage 264
the four widely dispersed areas of the Indian sub-continent, Latin America, the Pacific area, and the continent of Africa. Since the announcement made by the Guardian in his Ridvan Message of 1957, the number of centres in the Indian sub-continent has almost doubled. In Latin America, the gain has been even more striking, from approximately a hundred and thirty to almost three hundred and sixty, a truly remarkable achievement in so short a space of time, and one contributing significantly to the fulfilment of the goal of a National Assembly in every republic of Central and South America. Throughout the Pacific region there has been an increase of more than three hundred centres in a four-year period, testifying to those spiritual potentialities mentioned in Shoghi Effendi's frequent references to the establishment and spread of the Faith in the countries of the Asiatic mainland and the islands of the Pacific. The total of more than fifteen hundred centres in Africa reflects the addition of nearly one thousand localities since 1957 when he so proudly announced in his last Ridvan Message that the total had reached a level of more than five hundred and fifty.
After the formation during the current Ridvan period of twenty-one National Spiritual Assemblies in Latin America, a total of forty-eight National and Regional Assemblies will be functioning throughout the Bahá'í world as the supreme, divinely-ordained administrative institutions of their respective countries and areas.
The total number of Local Spiritual Assemblies, the foundation upon which the entire Bahá'í administrative structure rests, is now nearly one thousand eight hundred and fifty, an increase of three hundred and eighty-five over the number reported in last year's Convention Message, and a further substantial increase will occur this year, as the fruit of the stupendous efforts exerted in all the continents of the globe to fulfil both the original and the supplementary goals of the Ten Year Plan. Two hundred and sixty-five of these local bodies are now incorporated, an objective to which the beloved Guardian attached great importance. Nearly twenty new registrations were secured during the past year, chiefly in the Western Hemisphere, in regions as widespread as Alaska, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Peru, and Chile. The incorporation of the four Brazilian Assemblies of Curitiba, Sdo Caetano, Campinas and Niteroi in one year, bringing the total in that country to eight, as well as the registration of the Local Assembly of Chiclayo, Peru, represent particularly significant victories, as both Brazil and Peru now have the unique distinction of being the first sovereign countries in the Bahá'í world to attain the goal of incorporation of every one of the Local Spiritual Assemblies within their borders. Another notable achievement of the past year was the incorporation of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Victoria,Page 265
British Cameroons, the first in this region of West Africa, and one which undoubtedly will open the way for legal recognition of the Faith in other countries and dependencies of that important area.
The goal of translating the literature of the Faith into the indigenous languages of the territories included in the Ten Year Plan has, in most cases, been accomplished, and the supplemental achievements in this important field have exceeded all expectations. Since the inauguration of the Crusade translations have been completed in no less than one hundred and eighty-four different languages, eighty-one of which represent original or revised objectives, and the remaining one hundred and three supplementary achievements. All of the goals for translation have been fulfilled in the languages specified for Europe and the Americas, and nearly all of those for Africa; only ten in Asia remain to be completed. Including those already in existence before the opening of the Crusade, Bahá'í literature has now been translated into two hundred and seventy-three different languages, one hundred and twenty-five of these since the passing of the beloved Guardian.
The Ten Year Plan called for the acquisition of eleven sites for future Bahá'í Houses of Worship. Most of these were purchased in the early years of the Crusade, the last one having been added in 1958. Acquisition of Temple sites was also an objective of many of the supplementary plans given to various National and Regional Assemblies. Including the original eleven, no less than forty such sites have now been acquired, among these plots in all but two of the twenty republics of Latin America, foreshadowing the day when peoples in all the continents and major areas of the world can assemble for worship under the dome of future Mashriqu'l-Adkars.
Recognition of the independent character of the Faith by civil authorities, an objective constantly urged upon the friends by the beloved Guardian, has been further advanced during the past year through the action of school officials in twelve additional cities of the United States giving recognition to the Bahá'í Holy Days. Over ninety jurisdictions throughout the world now grant the Faith this form of recognition. During the past year the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate has been legalized in Louisiana in the United States, bringing to twenty-nine the number of states and federal districts in that country which recognize the right of Bahá'í Assemblies to conduct legal marriage ceremonies.
The extraordinary increase in the number of Bahá'í summer schools, winter schools, week-end schools, teaching conferences and congresses throughout the Bahá'í world, in both the East and the West, precludes detailed enumeration at this time, but bears witness to the greatly increased community activity of the believers and the range of that phase ofPage 266
their teaching efforts, aimed at deepening the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in their knowledge and understanding of His Faith. Also of significance has been the increase of endowments, a number of which have been contributed by devoted, newly-enrolled African believers who have, out of their meagre holdings, insisted on donating land for local Haziratu'l-Quds and schools.
In reviewing the extraordinary progress which has been made in achieving so many objectives of the Ten Year Plan, sufficient tribute could never be paid to the services rendered by the followers of the Faith in Bahá'u'lláh's native land. This oldest community in the Bahá'í world, from whose ranks its early saints, heroes and martyrs were drawn, has poured forth its substance, and an army of pioneers, in a steadily mounting stream for the support of every undertaking embarked upon in every continent of the globe.
The eighth year of the world-embracing Crusade now drawing to a close has witnessed an unprecedented movement of pioneers from both Persia and America into the goal cities of Europe, paralleling and indeed surpassing that which occurred in Latin America in the months preceding the great victory won in that region last Ridvan. This stupendous effort, the first of its kind to join the two foremost communities of the Bahá'í world in an international undertaking of such transcendent importance has, through the operation of the Joint Deputization Fund and the settlement of pioneers, assured the formation of the requisite number of Local Assemblies specified by the beloved Guardian as objectives of the home-front campaigns in the goal countries of the European continent, aimed at quadrupling the number of Local Assemblies existing at the beginning of the Crusade -- the highest objective set by him for any home front in the Bahá'í World Community.
This glorious victory represents a significant milestone in that "fate laden" process set in motion by the beloved Guardian in 1946 when he made "the initiation of systematic teaching activity in war-torn, spiritually famished European continent" a primary objective of the second Seven Year Plan launched in that year, and which constituted the second stage in the unfoldment of the world mission given by `Abdu'l-Bahá to the American believers. In calling for a vanguard of pioneers to inaugurate the "spiritual conquest of the old world", he looked forward to the time when, "in the years to come", a host of Bahá'u'lláh's standard-bearers would "spiritually raise up the sorely ravaged continent of Europe." This confident hope of our beloved Guardian will become a reality this Ridvan when, as the fruit of the labours of this host of pioneers, the foundations for eleven future pillars of the Universal House of Justice will be laid, paving the way for the establishment of these divinely ordained institutions in the Ridvan period of 1962.Page 267
The evolution of the World Centre of the Faith so often alluded to by the beloved Guardian in his references to the rise and development of the institutions functioning in the Holy Land, will enter another stage this Ridvan when the International Bahá'í Council, the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice, will be transformed into a duly elected body. This highly significant event, the first international election in Bahá'í history, has placed upon the members of the National and Regional Assemblies formed last Ridvan the obligation of participating in the election of a body to whose membership believers in every part of the world are eligible.
The process of erecting a Bahá'í House of Worship in each of the five continents of the globe, a task of far-reaching spiritual significance and one to which the beloved Guardian attached immense importance, may be said to have entered its final stage with the opening in Kampala, Uganda, of the completed Mother Temple of Africa last January, the contemplated dedication of the Mother Temple of the Antipodes in Sydney, Australia next September, and the laying of the corner-stone of the Mother Temple of Europe in Frankfurt, Germany last November. No one could have foreseen, when the vast panorama of the World Crusade was spread before our eyes in 1953, that in the eighth year of its prosecution Africa would snatch the palm of victory in yet another field.
The beautiful and dignified African Temple, enthroned like a queen on Kikaya Hill, overlooking the City of Kampala and the rolling green countryside, seems to emanate a warm and personal welcome to all who behold it, and is already demonstrating the truth of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í words that these Temples are great silent teachers of the Faith. On the day of its dedication the words of Bahá'u'lláh, recited in Persian, Arabic, many African languages and English, flowed over the assembled believers from East Africa, Abyssinia, Eritrea, Rhodesia, Ruanda-Urundi, South Africa, the Sudan, Arabia, Persia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the United States and other places, in mighty waves of benediction, lifting all hearts in praise of Him, and filling the souls of the friends with awe at the contemplation of the bounties of God poured forth in this Day of Days in such supreme abundance. On the day following this profound experience of Bahá'í fellowship, the Temple was formally opened to the public for worship; the crowds, representative of not only tile African peoples, but of European, Indian, Sikh, and other elements in the population, filled the Temple to its open doors and overflowed onto its surrounding terrace, an attentive, colourful and reverent throng united, for perhaps the first time, in a service of worship dedicated to the oneness of mankind, to the establishment of world peace and the creation of a society founded on the brotherhood of all men and the fatherhood of their common Creator.Page 268
The blessings which this Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is now releasing in the heart of what once was termed the "dark continent" but which now may be truly said to have become the "bright continent" are indeed incalculable. Already similar blessings are beginning to flow out from the first Bahá'í House of Worship to be erected in the Southern Hemisphere, where thousands of people, in, anticipation of its forthcoming dedication, are visiting the Sydney Temple, receiving literature, asking questions and broadcasting news of the progress of Bahá'í activities throughout Australia.
There remains the construction, in the centre of that continent which is the cradle of western civilization, amongst peoples highly gifted but sorely disillusioned, often hopeless and cynical through direct experience of two cataclysmic wars, of the third great House of Worship which Shoghi Effendi called upon us to erect during this period of unparalleled expansion in all fields of Bahá'í activity. We have witnessed how far-reaching has been the effect of the completion in the heart of America of that most holy Temple dedicated by the Centre of the Covenant Himself; we now see before our eyes the new and powerful teaching influence which the African and Australian Temples are releasing. We cannot for a moment contemplate depriving the European continent and its spiritually famished multitudes of a similar blessing. A supreme effort is required, however, if we are to accomplish this purpose. The fanatical and calculated opposition of certain ecclesiastical elements in Germany has delayed, until the eighth year of the World Crusade, purchase of a site for and permission to build a Bahá'í House of Worship there. At long last the work has commenced, and there are bright prospects for the speedy erection of this building, whose design was approved by the beloved Guardian himself and for the support of which he urged the entire Bahá'í world to rally its forces. Unfortunately, the steady rise in prices in Europe, and particularly in Germany, since the passing of the Guardian, will now entail a tremendous increase in cost. This, as well as the maintenance abroad of that precious corps of pioneers in Latin America and Europe, whose steadfast and devoted services are the buttress of the newly elected Local Assemblies upon which the future pillars of the Universal House of Justice must rest, as well as the support of the various activities which are the mainstay of the mass conversion beginning at long last to take place will, if we are to meet our obligations and achieve our goals, require on the part of every single believer, whatever his or her personal circumstances, whether in the East or the West, a tremendous and unprecedented degree of self-sacrifice in the support of the various funds, the bedrock upon which all Bahá'í activity inevitably rests. Face to face with the gravity of our present obligations, we must never for a moment lose heart. We have never failed. Our record is unblemished. Miraculously, at thePage 269
last hour, battles greater and more critical in the fortunes of our Faith have been won.
That the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, the "priceless gem of Divine Revelation enshrining", as the Guardian wrote, "the Spirit of God and incarnating His Purpose for mankind in this age", "feeds itself upon . . . hidden springs of celestial strength" and "propagates itself by ways mysterious and utterly at variance with the standards accepted by the generality of mankind" is, in every field of Bahá'í activity, being constantly demonstrated, but perhaps in no field as clearly as that of the teaching work. The vast process of mass conversion, in fulfilment of Shoghi Effendi's expressed wish that during this fourth phase of the Ten Year Plan "an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, should take place, is beginning to yield its first fruits.
Little wonder that these fruits are, for the most part, being garnered in lands and amongst peoples who have retained, he said, their "primitive simplicity and remained uncontaminated by the evils of a gross, a rampant and cancerous materialism undermining the fabric of human society alike in the East and in the West, eating into the vitals of the conflicting peoples and races inhabiting the American, the European and the Asiatic continents, and alas threatening to engulf in one common catastrophic convulsion the generality of mankind."
In a little over a decade the ranks of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in the African continent -- now representing no less than two hundred and eighty-six tribes -- have swelled to twenty thousand, ten thousand alone having been added since the passing of the beloved Guardian in 1957. "The pure-hearted and the spiritually receptive Negro race" which, he testified, was "so dearly loved by `Abdu'l-Bahá, for whose conversion to His Father's Faith He so deeply yearned", is now beginning to take its rightful place in the Bahá'í world; already seven national and regional bodies are representative of areas where the majority of the electorate belong to this distinguished race. The possibilities for an unprecedented enrolment of new believers in these areas are practically limitless, particularly in the African continent, and may be said to be solely dependent on a wider dispersal of Bahá'í pioneers and teachers and the provision of the necessary financial assistance in support of plans that are already formulated and only held in abeyance through lack of sufficient man-power and means.
Concomitant with the remarkable advances made in Africa, the Pacific region, upon which the Guardian lavished so much praise and encouragement during the last years of his life, and of whose newly-won victories he was so immensely proud, is witnessing a comparable expansionPage 270
amongst the many peoples scattered throughout its islands and peninsulas who are as yet unspoiled by the blighting winds of Western materialism. In the Island of Mentawai alone there are now over five thousand Bahá'ís whilst in the entire Southeast Asian area the number of the adherents of the Faith has swelled to well over eight thousand. Throughout the islands of the Pacific Ocean the far-flung Bahá'í communities are rapidly expanding and steadily increasing numbers of their varied races are being enrolled under the banner of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. In the Indian subcontinent, one of the earliest regions to receive His Message during His Own lifetime, a wave of conversion is spreading amongst some of its more primitive people in the Madhya Pradesh area, over five hundred of whom have embraced the Cause during the last few months.
In conjunction with the extraordinary progress which has taken place in the spread and consolidation of the Faith throughout the Western Hemisphere during the last few years, a less conspicuous but equally important advance can be seen in a field to which both the Master and the Guardian attached the highest significance. Almost half a century ago `Abdu'l-Bahá instructed the believers in the United States and Canada to "attach great importance to the . . . original inhabitants of America", promising that the Indians, like the original inhabitants of Arabia who accepted and supported Muhammad would, when educated and guided, "become so enlightened that the whole earth will be Illumined The nineteenth objective of that portion of the World Crusade entrusted in 1953 to the American Bahá'í Community by its Guardian was the "conversion to the Faith of members of the leading Indian tribes." At a steadily accelerating pace this immensely significant process of conversion has gone on until at the present time we are witnesses of an event of extraordinary historic importance, the election in Bolivia of a National Bahá'í Assembly representative of a community the vast majority of whom belong to the Aymara race. No less than thirteen hundred of these Indians, in over one hundred localities have, with enthusiasm and conviction, embraced the Faith and are responsible for the formation during this present Ridvan of over twenty Local Assemblies, thus directly fulfilling the expressed wish of the Guardian that the Indians be elected to the councils of the Faith and lend their support to its administrative activities.
The establishment of Indian Assemblies in Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico -- areas which were the scene of such mighty pre-Colombian civilizations as those of the Incas, the Mayas, and the Aztecs; the formation of no less than four Assemblies representative of Canadian Indians in the Yukon, Alberta and Saskatchewan; the fact that there are now over forty Indian and Eskimo tribes represented in the Bahá'í Community throughout the Western Hemisphere -- more than double the number inPage 271
1957 -- all testify that the devoted followers of Bahá'u'lláh, in both the East and the West, are mindful of the tremendously significant words of their beloved Guardian at the inception of the World Crusade, and are devoting special attention to the teaching work in these infinitely fertile fields.
At the moment when such great victories have been won, when such significant events are taking place, when the Ten Year Plan, the detailed, unique and precious Plan of Shoghi Effendi embodying his fondest hopes, and setting forth so clearly those tasks the accomplishment of which in their entirety must constitute the rock foundation of the work to come for generations, is drawing to a close -- at such a moment we should pause and weigh once again the implications of those words he addressed to the first Intercontinental Teaching Conference held in Africa at the opening of the World Crusade: "I welcome", he said, "with open arms the unexpectedly large number of the representatives of the pure-hearted and the spiritually receptive Negro race ... I acclaim the preponderance of the members of this same race at so significant a Conference ... auguring well for a corresponding multiplication in the number of the representatives of the yellow, the red and brown races of mankind dwelling respectively in the Far East, in the Far West and in the islands of the South Pacific Ocean, a multiplication designed ultimately to bring to a proper equipoise the divers ethnic elements comprised within the highly diversified world-embracing Bahá'í fellowship."
There can be no doubt that one of the deepest sources of satisfaction to the heart of our beloved Guardian during the closing years of his life was the remarkable progress being made in carrying the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh to the members of these races. Their enrolment as Bahá'ís however, was far from being his ultimate goal. He desired their "active participation in the administration of the affairs of Bahá'í communities." This desire of his is now being rapidly fulfilled all over the world.
Significant as these other plans and considerations may be, there was a dream of the future in Shoghi Effendi's mind, a vision of things to come. This Crusade, he pointed out at its very inception, has been launched "for the systematic propagation of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh over the surface of the entire planet. . . ." "It must, as it approaches its climax, carry the torch of the Faith to regions so remote, so backward, so inhospitable that neither the light of Christianity or Islam has, after the revolution of centuries, as yet penetrated." Already in Africa, in the Pacific, and in the Americas, the first attacks on these remote outposts of paganism have been made and members of tribes as yet unconverted to any of the great living religions of the world have accepted, with steadfast and Illumined hearts, the regenerating truths enshrined in the Revelation of God for thisPage 272
Day. But beyond all this there were still heights and depths of service not yet attained, shining prizes within our reach, which Shoghi Effendi longed for us to seize, to which his eyes travelled with yearning and hope as he gazed upon the vision of our future. To all his "dearly loved ... onward marching legions of the army of Bahá'u'lláh -- whether they laboured beyond the Arctic Circle, in the torrid zones of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, on the borders or in the heart of the jungles of Burma, Malaya, India or the Amazon, on the fringes of the African and Arabian deserts, in the lonely islands dotting the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans or the North Sea, whether they scaled the mountains of Tibet, penetrated the interior of China, Mongolia and Japan, sat with the leper, consorted with the outcast, traversed the steppes of Russia or the wastes of Siberia -- "I direct", he wrote, "my impassioned appeal to obey, as befits His warriors, the summons of the Lord of Hosts, and prepare for that Day of Days when His victorious battalions will, to the accompaniment of hosannas from the invisible angels in the Abhá Kingdom, celebrate the hour of final victory."
The brilliant plans, the daring campaigns, initiated by the Guardian during the thirty-six years of his ministry to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have borne fruit, during the eighth year of his World Crusade, in a manner and to a degree the staunchest believer would never have dreamed possible during that dark and fateful period associated with his passing. Great, however, as our present victories are, we must never for a moment lose sight of the fact that the crown of so much labour, and sacrifice will elude our grasp if the remaining objectives of the Ten Year Plan are not achieved and the prizes already won are not safeguarded during the two years that lie ahead of us.
The consolidation of the various home fronts, a task of such fundamental importance that `Abdu'l-Bahá, Himself repeatedly stressed it as early as 1916 in His Tablets of the Divine Plan, must receive the special attention of all national bodies, whether presently or previously formed, throughout the entire Bahá'í world, for the home fronts, and primarily the formation of the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies specified by the Guardian himself for each one of them, are the bedrock upon which rest those pillars which must, at the end of the Crusade, sustain the weight of the Universal House of Justice itself. The Crusade "must," he wrote, "as it approaches its conclusion, pave the way for the laying, on an unassailable foundation, of the structural basis of an Administrative Order whose fabric must, in the course of successive Crusades, be laboriously erected throughout the entire globe. . ."
The process of carrying the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to all the peoples of the world must be accelerated, for He Himself ordained teaching asPage 273
one of the primary duties of every single one of His followers. When broken in strength and advanced in years `Abdu'l-Bahá, in those Tablets which constitute the Charter of teaching activities for centuries to come, recalled in most touching terms His own labours to spread the Faith of His Father and warned the believers against the vanity of all other preoccupations. "You have observed, He wrote, "that while `Abdu'l-Bahá was in the utmost bodily weakness and feebleness, while He was indisposed, and had not the power to move ... He travelled through many countries . . ." "What result", He asked, "is forthcoming from material rest, tranquillity, luxury and attachment to this corporeal world! It is evident that the man who pursues these things will in the end become afflicted with regret and loss."
Shoghi Effendi pointed out to us, at the very inception of the Crusade, that the prosecution of all the other vital tasks he had enumerated as objectives of his world-embracing Plan, would "fail to achieve their supreme purpose if not supplemented by the equally vital task ... of winning to the Faith fresh recruits to the slowly yet steadily advancing army of the Lord of Hosts, Whose reinforcing strength is so essential to the safeguarding of the victories which the band of heroic Bahá'í conquerors are winning in the course of their several campaigns in all continents of the globe."
No words could better direct the attention of the friends to the significance of the immediate three-fold task that confronts the entire Bahá'í world -- the consolidation of the home fronts, the process of mass conversion and the rearing of the Mother Temple of Europe -- than these written by our beloved Guardian himself long ago, on another occasion, but in words so pregnant with meaning for this hour in which we find ourselves that they seem to have been written yesterday: "Ours is the duty to fix our gaze with undeviating attention on the duties and responsibilities confronting us at this present hour, to concentrate our resources, both material and spiritual, on the tasks that lie immediately ahead, to ensure that no time is wasted, that no opportunity is missed, that no obligation is evaded, that no task is half-heartedly performed, that no decision is procrastinated. The task summoning us to a challenge, unprecedented in its gravity and force, is too vast and sacred, the time too short, the hour too perilous, the workers too few, the call too insistent, the resources too inadequate, for us to allow these precious and fleeting hours to slip from our grasp, and to suffer the prizes within our reach to be endangered or forfeited. So much depends upon us, so pregnant with possibilities is the present stage in the evolution of the Plan, that great and small, individuals, groups and Assemblies, white and coloured, young and old, neophytes and veterans, settlers, pioneers, itinerant teachers and administrators, as isolated believers, as organizers of groups, and as contributors to the formation of Local or National Assemblies, as builders of the Temple ...Page 274
all, without exception and in every sphere of activity, however modest, restricted, or inconspicuous, must participate and labour, assiduously and continually, until every ounce of our energy is spent, until, tired but blissful, our promised harvest is brought in, and our pledge to our Beloved fully redeemed."HANDS OF THE CAUSE IN THE HOLY LAND
ELECTION OF THE 21 INDEPENDENT LATIN AMERICAN NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES Ridvan 1961
To the Hands of the Cause, Auxiliary Board Members, Representatives of National Assemblies, Delegates and Believers Gathered During Ridvan 118, at the Historic Conventions for the Election of Independent National Spiritual Assemblies in the Following Countries:Argentina
On the glorious and historic occasion of the formation of no less than 21 independent National Spiritual Assemblies throughout Latin America let us lift up our hearts in praise to Bahá'u'lláh for the blessings He has poured forth so abundantly on the labours of His servants and for the fruition of yet another cherished plan of our beloved Guardian.
It is now almost ninety years since Bahá'u'lláh in the Mother Book of His Revelation, raised His "clarion call", addressed collectively to the rulers of the Republics of the Western Hemisphere, and summoned them to take "advantage of the Day of God". From the moment when the Supreme Manifestation poured forth His bounties upon the Western Hemisphere until this auspicious day when no less than 24 independent national Bahá'í bodies, stretching from Alaska to Chile, have been constituted, the New World has received a never-ending stream of blessings from on High.
Before we look to the future of the work in Latin America we would do well to cast a glance over the past and remember the exploits that havePage 275
led up to this present hour of consummation. `Abdu'l-Bahá, in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, planted the seed of victory when He called upon the believers to make every effort "so that those Republics may become so Illumined with the splendours and the effulgences of the Sun of Reality that they may become the objects of the praise and commendation of all other countries". Already, during His Own lifetime, a few consecrated souls, among them she whom the Guardian characterized as "that star servant of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, the incomparable Martha Root" had visited some of the Latin American republics and begun to teach there. However, it was not until the inauguration by the beloved Guardian in 1937 of the first "Seven Year Plan", the object of which, as he wrote, was "the establishment of a minimum of one Bahá'í centre in each of the Republics of Middle and South America". . . "for whose entry into the fellowship of Bahá'u'lláh the Plan was primarily formulated", that the few isolated Bahá'ís scattered throughout that vast area were reinforced in their labours by an official and systematic campaign conducted by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada under the direct guidance of Shoghi Effendi himself. In 1938 he called upon the friends to "launch an offensive against the powers of darkness, of corruption, and of ignorance, an offensive that must extend to the uttermost end of the Southern continent, and embrace within its scope each of the twenty nations that compose it". By 1944, the end of the first Seven Year Plan, which coincided with the glorious first centenary of the inception of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, the devoted band of North American pioneers now reinforced by many new native Bahá'ís had succeeded in establishing no less than fifteen Spiritual Assemblies in the Republics of Central and South America, and in forming groups in the remaining five.
These early victories so stiffed the heart of the beloved Guardian that he said the opening of Latin America would "come to be regarded as one of the most glorious chapters in the international history of their Faith". By 1947, soon after the second Seven Year Plan was launched at his instruction, the Centres in Latin America had grown to over a hundred and the Assemblies had reached thirty-seven, an increase of twenty-two in a three-year period. One of the most "vital objectives", to use his own words, of this second Seven Year Plan, was the formation of two Latin American National Assemblies, one to be representative of the believers of Central and the other of South America. Fourteen years ago the beloved Guardian heralded those two bodies as "precursors of the institutions which must participate in the election, and contribute to the support, of the Universal House of Justice", and stated their function was to lead to the constitution of a "properly elected, fully representative NationalPage 276
Assembly" in each republic of Central and South America. This, he said, would constitute the last stage in the administrative evolution of the Faith in Latin America.
The victories achieved during the first Seven Year Plan, the remarkable progress made during the interim before the second Seven Year Plan was launched, so rejoiced the heart of the beloved Guardian that he lifted up his voice and testified -- in words that must forever be a crown upon the heads of the Bahá'ís of all Latin America -- to the greatness of their achievements. "No Community", he wrote, "since the inception of the hundred-year-old Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, not even the community of the Most Great Name in the North American continent, can boast of an evolution as rapid, a consolidation as sound, a multiplication of centres as swift, as those that have marked the birth and rise of the community of His followers in Latin America", a Community he called "this privileged, this youngest, this dynamic and highly promising member of the organic Bahá'í World Community". His love flowed out to them in a mighty wave, in glowing words he welcomed that Community into full partnership in the affairs of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and asserted that ". . . the eager, the warm-hearted, the spiritually minded and staunch members of these Latin American Bahá'í communities . . ." were now "launched on their crusade for the spiritual conquest of the whole planet. . ."
With the release of the stupendous program of the World Crusade in Ridvan 1953, the destiny of the Latin American Republics became clear. Magnificent, staggering -- a youthful Community gazed in awe at the tasks allotted it! Fourteen virgin territories became its responsibility to open to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in a ten-year period, territories most of the Bahá'ís of the world had never heard of and whose location was a mystery to them! Twenty national Bahá'í headquarters were to be established in the twenty capital cities of Latin America and two sites for future Bahá'í Temples were to be purchased. The two recently formed National Assemblies responsible for the work in these twenty countries must have asked themselves how such feats could ever be accomplished by the new Assemblies, the struggling groups, the scattered isolated believers under their jurisdiction. Other projects were added to these, either in the original Crusade Plan or at a later date. The worthiness of the new Latin American Community, which had now taken its rightful place in the Bahá'í world, was soon demonstrated. With the never-failing help of its devoted and loving Mother Community in North America, it shouldered its sacred burdens, clung tenaciously to the precious work entrusted to it by its Guardian, and forged ahead from victory to victory. He had called upon it in 1947 to "rise to the heights of the glorious opportunity which destiny is unfolding before its members". It arose, and so nobly did the Latin AmericanPage 277
Bahá'ís fulfil their trust that in 1955 the Guardian announced to the Bahá'í world that in 1957 he would increase the number of National Assemblies responsible for the work throughout that area to four, dividing Central and South America, respectively, into two Regions, thus facilitating the administration of the rapidly expanding work in each area. Fresh bounties and new evidences of the high regard in which the Guardian held these believers in the Latin countries of the New World were steadily forthcoming up until the very end of his life. He urged them, as supplementary goals, to secure a Bahá'í endowment in each Republic and a Bahá'í Temple site in the eighteen countries without one. He indicated that Jamaica would form a National Assembly of its own by including her in the roll call of delegates to one of the last Conventions held before his passing. In numerous Messages to the Bahá'í world, to Assemblies and individuals, he praised the devotion of the believers, extolled their services, listed their victories, and painted a glowing picture of their future.
In less than a quarter of a century the seeds so widely sown have yielded the harvest being reaped today in the name of Shoghi Effendi according to the provisions of the Divine Plan of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and through the mighty spiritual impetus imparted by Bahá'u'lláh. The event the entire Bahá'í world, in this blessed Ridvan period, is celebrating, is of a nature unequalled in the annals of our Faith. Twenty-one countries are at one and the same time reaching the last stage of their administrative evolution through the election of their independent National Assemblies. That vast area, "an area", as Shoghi Effendi was wont to say, "extending from the southern confines of the Great Republic of the West to the extremity of Chile", has now come of age in the conduct of its affairs. The pillars which must assist in bearing the weight of the Universal House of Justice so soon to be constituted, have been safely erected.
At this breath-taking moment of fulfilment, before plunging into the great work that lies ahead of them, it is essential that these Communities, and above all the members of their newly-elected National Assemblies, take stock of their present position and survey the tasks still to be accomplished, tasks clearly set forth by the Guardian himself. As these new national Bahá'í communities face the future they should, we feel, above all else, remember, cherish and foster the unity of purpose and spirit which has consistently characterized their growth and which was so carefully inculcated in them by Shoghi Effendi himself. We cannot urge upon the believers too strongly the necessity of maintaining this supranational quality of Bahá'í life regardless of the new-found independence of their national communities. The close and loving cooperation which has existed between different Latin American Communities in the field of teaching and publications should continue in order to consolidate the work alreadyPage 278
initiated and economize the very limited funds of the Faith available for Bahá'í literature, as well as to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and ensure a uniform and high standard in the matter of translations.
Our beloved Guardian, on various occasions, set many specific goals for Latin America, particularly in the subsidiary Six Year Plans given to the four Regional Assemblies formed in 1957. The believers and their newly elected national representatives must now keep these goals constantly before them, and exert the utmost effort to assure their accomplishment.
The Local Spiritual Assemblies, groups and isolated centres which have, at the cost of so much self-sacrifice and devotion on the part of both native and foreign pioneers, been raised to, and in some cases have even surpassed, the number specified by the beloved Guardian, must be safeguarded at any price during the coming years and, indeed, multiplied. The consolidation of the home fronts, and the preservation of the precious goals so laboriously won, must be regarded as a paramount duty at this critical period which inevitably follows the birth of any new national community. Each National Assembly must bear in mind that the foundation of Local Assemblies upon which it rests constitutes, however indirectly, the foundation of the Universal House of Justice itself, and that the pillars of this mighty institution must under no circumstances be weakened at the very moment when the dome is about to be placed upon them.
The separate incorporation of each new National Assembly, as well as all firmly grounded Local Assemblies, is likewise an important phase of the work to be undertaken in each of the Republics, and in Jamaica, and constitutes one of the most fundamental ways of consolidating the tasks already carried forward during twenty-four years in such a remarkable manner. Likewise, every effort should be made to win recognition for the Bahá'í Holy Days on which work is suspended and to secure permission to perform Bahá'í marriages legally.
The beloved Guardian, in a momentous communication addressed jointly to the National Assemblies of Central and South America in 1951, listed "the consolidation of the recently inaugurated national and local Funds" as one of the foremost responsibilities of these newly-formed regional administrative bodies. During the remaining months of the World Crusade when the financial requirements for attaining total victory are so great, the friends must be made aware of the need for a steady and continuous flow of contributions to their National Funds, an outpouring which the beloved Guardian characterized as "the life-blood of those nascent institutions" The spiritual significance and blessing of voluntary giving in support of Bahá'í activities should be strongly emphasized by the new National Assemblies as they acquaint the members of their communities with the obligations which they must now discharge.Page 279
The emphasis placed by Shoghi Effendi on the importance of ensuring the wide dissemination of properly translated books on the Faith, as well as on the holding of an increasing number of regular summer schools and regional conferences, must never be forgotten and every effort should be made to implement his instructions given as long ago as 1947. "Other agencies," he wrote, "such as publicity and advertising in the press, the multiplication of accurate and improved radio scripts, the extension of teaching projects through regional teaching committees, visual education and the organization of public meetings, should be fully utilized to capture the attention, win the sympathy, and secure the active and unreserved support of a steadily increasing proportion of the population of the various Latin American republics".
Of the precious new territories given at the beginning of the Ten Year Plan to the two National Spiritual Assemblies of Central and South America, two of which were subdivided by the Guardian himself at a later date, those still assigned to the Latin American regional bodies, as well as the consolidation areas allotted to these same Assemblies, must continue to be the responsibility of the believers and their elected representatives, at least until the globe-encircling Crusade ends in 1963. After carefully considering the geographical relationship of these territories, now numbering twenty, as well as other factors, we have reapportioned them among the new national bodies as follows:
To Chile, the three goals of chiloe, Juan Fernandez, and Easter Islands; to Brazil, the six goals of British and French Guiana, Surinam, and the Islands of Trinidad, Barbados and Grenada; whilst Venezuela has been allocated the two goals of Curacao and Margarita. Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have each been apportioned one goal, respectively, as follows: Tuamotu Archipelago, British Honduras, Galapagos, Martinique, and the Virgin Islands. Jamaica, the only territory outside the twenty Latin American countries to achieve the status of an independent national community at this time, will be responsible for the four goals of the Bahamas, Bermuda, Antigua and St. Lucia.
Last but not least of the great responsibilities now laid squarely upon the shoulders of not only the elected representatives of these new national Bahá'í communities but upon the rank and file of the believers of all twenty-one countries, is the teaching work in that area, where as the Guardian wrote, "the first fruits of the Divine Plan ... have already been garnered in such abundance", and which he characterized as "the vital process of individual conversion". Bahá'u'lláh has, in numerous Tablets, made teaching the paramount spiritual obligation of every single believer. The whole purpose of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan is to teach the Faith of His Father to all the peoples of the world. As long ago as the time whenPage 280
the first Seven Year Plan was given to the Bahá'ís of North America by the beloved Guardian, he pointed out to them that the purpose for which they had so laboriously erected the administrative machinery of their Faith was to teach, and that now they must arise and use this instrument for this supreme purpose -- the propagation of their Faith. On the occasion of the half-way point of the World Crusade, in the last Message the Bahá'í world was ever to receive from him, he associated the coming five years with mass conversion.
Now is the auspicious moment for the members of these new national communities "whose motherlands have been chosen", as Shoghi Effendi wrote, "as the scene of the earliest victories won by the prosecutors of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan" -- to arise and teach as never before. Let them recall the wonderful appeal the Guardian addressed to them: "Theirs is the opportunity, if they but seize it, to adorn the opening pages of the annals of the second Bahá'í century with a tale of deeds approaching in valour those with which their Persian brethren have illuminated the opening years of the first, and comparable with the exploits more recently achieved by their North American fellow-believers, and which have shed such lustre on the closing decade of that same century." These communities have now entered the period of "strenuous and organized labours" the Guardian spoke of, "by which future generations of believers in the Latin countries must distinguish themselves" in that period when, as he said, 66 native Latin American travelling teachers" will arise "who, as the mighty task progresses, must increasingly bear the brunt of responsibility for the propagation of the Faith in their homelands."
A bright picture stretches before the eyes of the believers in the New World and the harvest, in many places, stands ready for the garner's hand. The greatest possibilities for mass conversion at the present time are undoubtedly amongst the Indian tribes. As long ago as 1947 the Guardian wrote that particular attention should be directed to the "various Indian tribes, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Latin republics, whom the Author of the Tablets of the Divine Plan has compared to the 'ancient inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula"'. He then quoted the wonderful words of `Abdu'l-Bahá regarding them: "Attach great importance to the indigenous population of America. For these souls may be likened unto the ancient inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula, who, prior to the Mission of Muhammad, were like unto savages. When the light of Muhammad shone forth in their midst, however, they became so radiant as to illumine the world. Likewise, these Indians, should they be educated and guided, there can be no doubt that they will become so Illumined as to enlighten the whole world."
How grateful all those believers must be who were in any way responsiblePage 281
for the beginning of this process of mass conversion among the Indians, which had already started during the lifetime of the beloved Guardian. What joy it brought him, with what enthusiasm he hailed the formation of the first all-Indian Local Assembly, how dear to his heart was the first Indian Institute at Chichicastenango, how frequently he spoke to pilgrims from East and West of the importance of this work and the progress it was making, and how carefully he noted in his records the names of the tribes enrolled in the Faith and the native languages into which Bahá'í literature had been translated. In his own words he clearly indicated for the believers of Latin America the manner in which he wished them to proceed in this all-important teaching field and clearly set forth the role he wished the new Indian Bahá'ís to play in both the administrative and teaching work of the Faith. "A special effort should be exerted to secure the unqualified adherence of members of some of these tribes to the Faith, their subsequent election to its councils, and their unreserved support of the organized attempts that will have to be made in the future by the projected National Assemblies for the large-scale conversion of Indian races to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.
The duties devolving upon the newly elected National Assemblies and the communities they represent are manifold and arduous. The possibilities which lie before them are infinitely promising. Within this area, which has now come of age in the administration of its own affairs, there are black republics and white republics. Within at least one of these the majority of the believers are descended from the original inhabitants of the Americas. What a glorious demonstration of the oneness of mankind! What an opportunity these favoured new national communities have of exemplifying the reality of that brotherhood of man Bahá'u'lláh has asserted as the cardinal principle of His Faith!
No words could breathe more hope and confidence into the hearts of the believers in that favoured portion of the globe than those addressed to them by the beloved Guardian himself during the last year of his life: "May these communities, now standing on the threshold of unprecedented achievements, which have already, through their collective endeavours, ennobled the record of Bahá'í accomplishments during the last twenty years of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, who are so notably contributing, through their divers national characteristics, to the enrichment of the life of the International Bahá'í Community, be vouchsafed a still fuller measure of celestial strength, that will enable them to fulfil their high destiny in the years to come, and play their part in hastening the world-wide triumph of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and the firm establishment of its embryonic World Order."HANDS OF THE CAUSE IN THE HOLY LAND
[Various dates, following receipt of ballots, 1961]Dear Bahá'í Friends:
This will inform you that the nine sealed ballots for the election of the International Bahá'í Council, forwarded to Haifa by the Secretary of your Assembly, have been received.
These ballots will be opened and tabulated on the first day of Ridvan and the result of the election announced to the Bahá'í world during the Ridvan period.With warm Bahá'í love,
DEEPEST GRATITUDE Bahá'u'lláh'S UNFAILING BLESSINGS ENABLING Bahá'í WORLD EIGHTH YEAR CRUSADE ELECT INTERNATIONAL Bahá'í COUNCIL SUCCEEDING FIRST HISTORIC BODY APPOINTED BY GUARDIAN JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE MEMBERSHIP JESSIE REVELL ALI NAKHJAVANI LOTFULLAH HAKIM ETHEL REVELL CHARLES WOLCOTT SYLVIA Ioas, MILDRED MOTTAHEDEH IAN SEMPLE BORRAH KAVELIN STOP INVITE BELIEVERS JOIN US ARDENT PRAYERS HISTORIC STEP MAY RELEASE SPIRITUAL IMPETUS ASSIST ATTAINMENT GOALS SACRED PLAN SO DEAR HEART BELOVED GUARDIAN. [CABLE] HANDSFAITH Bahá'í WILMETTE APRIL 26,1961 SHARE MESSAGE COUNCIL ELECTION ALL HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.(CABLE] HANDSFAITH
DEEPLY TOUCHED DETERMINATION AMERICAN BELIEVERS LOYALLY PROSECUTE BELOVED GUARDIAN'S CRUSADE ALL FIELDS UNTIL EVERY GOALPage 283
WON HIS NAME SUPPLICATING HOLY SHRINES STILL GREATER VICTORIES HOMEFRONT OVERSEAS MAY VINDICATE TRUST LOVE HONOUR HE SHOW ERED UPON MUCH LOVED COMMUNITY[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of...
[Sent to newly elected National Spiritual Assemblies]May 23, 1961
With the passing of the beloved Guardian and the assumption of the direction of the affairs of the Cause by the Hands as Chief Stewards of the Faith, the bonds of unity amongst the friends and particularly the institutions of the Faith were greatly strengthened by action taken by the National Assemblies throughout the world in accepting the action of the Chief Stewards, and particularly their appointment of the body of nine Hands in the Holy Land, known legally as the "Custodians" of the Faith.
Resolutions were passed by all National Spiritual Assemblies expressing their approval of this action, their recognition of the Custodians as the supreme body of the Bahá'í world, and pledging full support to the Custodians. All National Assemblies formed since that time have passed similar resolutions, and sent us signed copies.
We attach herewith a copy of a Resolution made by one of the National Assemblies which is a good example. Will you kindly arrange for the passing of such a resolution by your body, sending us a copy for our records signed in a form that makes it legally valid in your own country.With warm Bahá'í love,
Whereas this National Spiritual Assembly was duly elected and constituted as instructed by the Guardian of the Bahá'í World Faith, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, and in accordance with the administrative principles thereof, on the ( )day of ( ) of ( ),
and Whereas by these same principles this National Spiritual Assembly constitutes the supreme administrative body of the Bahá'í of ( and in consequence thereof is empowered to act for and on behalf of all of the Bahá'ís of ( ), andPage 284
Whereas all nine of the duly elected members of this National Spiritual Assembly have been consulted and their approval of that which is set forth herein below obtained, thereforeBE IT KNOWN BY ALL MEN PRESENT
That the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of does hereby approve and endorse the election by the Hands of the Cause of nine of their members to constitute the body of the Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith, and that
We recognize this body of the Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith to be the supreme body in the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, and that
We pledge our full support, faith and allegiance to the body of the Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith elected by the Hands of the Cause.===================================
IMPELLED SHARE RECENT EVIDENCE VITALITY RAPID EXPANSION CONSOLIDATION BELOVED FAITH STOP TWENTY-ONE LATIN AMERICAN NATIONAL BODIES SUCCESSFULLY FORMED RAISING TOTAL NUMBER FORTY-EIGHT THROUGHOUT Bahá'í WORLD STOP FORMATION ALL EUROPEAN GOAL ASSEMBLIES INCLUDING ONE EXTRA HOLLAND DENMARK SPAIN EIGHT NEW ASSEMBLIES CEYLON NOW CONSTITUTES FIRM FOUNDATION ELECTION NEXT Ridvan TWELVE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL BODIES FUTURE PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE STOP MASS CONVERSION STIPULATED LAST MESSAGE BELOVED GUARDIAN ESSENTIAL FEATURE SECOND HALF CRUSADE STEADILY GAINING MOMENTUM AFRICA INDIA SOUTH AMERICA STOP CENTRAL EAST AFRICA MEMBERSHIP INCREASED THREE THOUSAND SINCE MARCH STOP PAST FOUR MONTHS SEVENTEEN HUNDRED NEW BELIEVERS ENROLLED UJAIN DISTRICT INDIA STOP BOLIVIAN COMMUNITY NOW BOASTS FIFTEEN HUNDRED INDIAN Bahá'ís TWENTY-FIVE LOCAL ASSEMBLIES LARGELY INDIAN MEMBERSHIP STOP CHAD RECENTLY OPENED FAITH RAISING COUNTRIES Illumined REVELATION Bahá'u'lláh, TWO HUNDRED FIFTY-EIGHT STOP CONSTANT EVIDENCES GRACE BLESSED PERFECTION REALIZATION DIVINE PLAN CENTRE COVENANT SUSTAINING INSPIRATION BELOVED GUARDIAN UPLIFT ALL HEARTS INSPIRE EVERY BELIEVER RENEWED EFFORT DETERMINATION WIN ALL GOALS STOP INVITE FRIENDS JOIN PRAYERS THANKSGIVING SUPPLICATION STILL GREATER VICTORIES STOP AIRMAIL COPY HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To the Members of the International Bahá'í CouncilJune 25, 1961
We extend to you a most loving welcome on the auspicious occasion of your entering upon your historic services to the Cause of God at the World Centre of the Faith. We hope it will be richly rewarding to you and a source of joy to our beloved Guardian.
The evolution of the appointed International Council into one elected by the members of the National Assemblies of the Bahá'í world marks yet another step in the efflorescence of the Council into the Universal House of Justice. That you have been chosen by the friends at large to shoulder this responsibility of great importance makes your task indeed a grave one. We will be happy to assist you in every way in our power in the prosecution of your arduous duties.
Preliminary plans for our joint gatherings, and the meetings of your body have been arranged, as outlined in the attached memorandum.With deepest love,
Hands and Council Members will meet in the Home of `Abdu'l-Bahá.Proceed to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh for prayers.
Proceed to the Shrine of The Báb and `Abdu'l-Bahá for prayers.Page 286
The Council will convene in the sitting room placed at their disposal for this purpose at No. 10 Persian Street. (This room was the one in which the beloved Guardian had his meals with the pilgrims, and the members of the appointed International Bahá'í Council.)
Meetings of the International Council will be held in the sitting room of No. 10 Persian Street.
The office of the International Bahá'í Council adjoins this room.
Further joint meetings of the Hands and International Bahá'í Council can be arranged as desired.===================================
1. Forge link with authorities of newly emerged State.
2. Conduct negotiations related to matters of personalstatus with civil authorities.
3. Legal protection of the international endowments of
the Faith at the World Centre and completion, circumstances
permitting, of plans made by the beloved Guardian for theirextension.
4. Supervision of income-producing properties at the WorldCentre.
5. Assist the Hands in preparing for the World Congress tobe held in Baghdad in 1963.
6. Assist the Hands in arrangements for the election of theUniversal House of Justice.
7. Issue News Letter from the World Centre of the Faith.
8. Financial responsibility for work at the World Centre exclusiveof affairs of the Hands of the Faith.
REJOICE ANNOUNCE FIRST MOMENTOUS MEETING HANDS HOLY LAND ALL MEMBERS NEWLY ELECTED INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL HELD PRECINCTS HOLYPage 287
SHRINE Bahá'u'lláh, CONSULTED MEASURES NECESSARY DISCHARGE HISTORIC DUTIES DESTINED FULFIL HIGH HOPES BELOVED GUARDIAN PAVE WAY ELECTION SUPREME HOUSE JUSTICE OCCASION MOST GREAT JUBILEE STOP SHARE MESSAGE HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
Present: Miss Jessie Revell, Mr.'Ali Nakhjavani, Dr. Lutfu'llah Hakim, Miss Ethel Revell, Mr.
Charles Wolcott, Mrs. Sylvia Ioas Mrs. Mildred Mottahedeh, Mr. Ian Semple,Mr. Borrah Kavelin.
1. The Council assembled in the House of `Abdu'l-Bahá at 10 a.m. and drove
with the Hands of the Cause of God to Bahji where a joint meeting was held
following prayers in the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh. The Hands explained the
functions to be assigned to the Council and expressed their wish for all
members of the Council to reside in Haifa. The problems this raised for
members of the Council were discussed at some length, and details of the
Terms of Reference were discussed. After prayers in the Room of Bahá'u'lláh
the entire company returned to Haifa at about 6 p.m.
3. In the evening the Council met in the room assigned to it on the lower
floor of the Western Pilgrim House. Jessie Revell was asked to act as
temporary chairman and Ethel Revell as temporary secretary. The personal
situation of each of the members not at present resident in Haifa wasdiscussed and the following points were decided:
a) Ian Semple can remain in Haifa without more ado.
b) 'Ali Nakhjavani can come to reside in Haifa at a time subject to the
solution of problems concerning the work of the African Hands and hisown family.
c) Charles Wolcott can come to reside in Haifa at a time dependent upon
the handing over of the work of the United States National Spiritual
Assembly secretariat, and the working out of his own removal.
d) Mildred Mottahedeh can reside for alternating periods of two monthsin Haifa and two elsewhere.
e) H. B. Kavelin cannot come to Haifa again during this Gregorian year but
would come for 30 days early in 1962 and could then say what further time
would be possible. He is eager to help with any work of the Council whichcan be assigned to him in the U.S.A.
f) Charles Wolcott, 'Ali Nakhjavani and Ian Semple would all require financial
support if resident in Haifa. g) Mr. Kavelin's offer to resign if this would
help the work of the Council was not accepted, and it was resolved that nomember of the Council should resign at this time.
h) It was decided to convey the gist of the above points to the Hands of theCause for their comment and decision.
4. The Council assembled at the Master's House at 9 a.m. and proceeded in company
with the Hands to the Shrines of The Báb and `Abdu'l-Bahá for prayers. A joint
meeting was then held in the Master's House for the elucidation of a number of
the points conveyed to the Hands from the previous night's meeting.
5. The Council then adjourned to its meeting room in the Western Pilgrim House
and had a preliminary discussion of the Terms of Reference given to them by theHands, which are as follows:
1) Forge links with authorities of newly emerged State.
2) Conduct negotiations related to matters of personal status with civilauthorities.
3) Legal protection of the international endowments of the Faith at the World
Centre and completion, circumstances permitting, of plans made by the belovedGuardian for their extension.
4) Supervision of income-producing properties at the World Centre.
5) Assist the Hands in preparing for the World Congress to be held in Baghdadin 1963.
6) Assist the Hands in arrangements for the election of the Universal House ofJustice.
7) Issue News Letter from the World Centre of the Faith.
8) Financial responsibility for work at the World Centre exclusive of affairsof the Hands of the Faith.
6. The following daily timetable of meetings was accepted: 9 a.m. - 12 noon, 4 - 7 p.m.,8:30 - 10:30 p.m.
7. Just before lunch the Council was called again to the Master's House to be
informed by the Hands of their acceptance of the Council's recommendations onthe service of their members in the
that the officers of the Council should be elected from among the members resident
in the Holy Land, and that the Council was free to designate one of its members"Member at Large".
9. Upon assembling for its afternoon session the Council elected its officers,who are:
10. Mr. H. B. Kavelin was designated Member at Large.
11. The Council then considered further the Terms of Reference and asked:
a) The Treasurer and Mr. Kavelin to prepare an estimated budget for theoperating expenses of the Council.
b) The President, Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary to prepare
an agenda on the basis of the Terms of Reference and the suggestionsproposed during the preliminary consultations.
12. In place of the evening session the Council dined in the Master's
House in the company of the Hands and other friends at the invitationof Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum.
13. The Council, with the exception of Dr. Lutfu'llah Hakim, spent the morningviewing the income-producing properties.
15. The Secretariat was instructed to acknowledge the messages of greetingreceived by the Council.
16. The Council considered the steps to be taken to acquaint the Israeli
Authorities and the world at large with the election and officers of the
new Council, and the following steps were recommended:
a) That we send messages of greeting to the President and Prime Minister
of Israel and the Minister of Religions; these messages to be drafted bythe Secretary-General and Mr. Kavelin.
b) That we seek audience with the President and/or the Minister of Religions
to present two of the above messages. We shall ask the Hands if all the
members of the Council should go, or only representatives.
c) It was noted that the above messages must be delivered before any publicityis released.
d) We shall suggest to the Hands that they call a Press Conference during thecurrent meeting of the Council to announce its
We would prepare a press release to be handed out at this conference.
e) Mr. Kavelin was asked to convey these recommendations to the Hands.
17. The Council also decided to ask the Hands through Mr. Kavelin if they would
request certain of their number to consult with us on matters affecting approaches
to the Authorities, matters of personal status, protection of endowments andcare of properties.
33. The Council considered the problems raised by the question of including the
World Congress, the election of the Universal House of Justice and the election
of National Spiritual Assemblies all within the twelve days of Ridvan, 1963. It
was decided to recommend to the Hands that, in accordance with the precedent set
by the beloved Guardian in 1944, the elections of the National Spiritual Assemblies
in 1963 be held on 23rd May, or some suitable subsequent date, leaving to the decision
of each National Spiritual Assembly whether this election should be by postal ballotor at a Convention.
34. For the World Congress itself the Council decided to make the followingrecommendations to the Hands:
a) In his cablegram of 24th December 1951 the beloved Guardian spoke of "summoning
assemblage representative communities all sovereign states, chief dependencies,
islands, entire planet." In view of this the Council recommends that the attendance
of at least one representative from each territory and ethnic group be ensured at
the Congress, and that funds be made available to cover the expenses of any such
representative who may be unable to afford to come.
b) The Council feels that about six days at the end of the Ridvan period would bea suitable duration for the Congress.
c) It is felt that there should be an actual moment of thanksgiving for the
Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh, and that this could appropriately fall on the ninth
day of Ridvan, which would come about half-way through the Congress. This could
also be a suitable day for the election of the Universal House of Justice.
d) The Council considered the pro's and con's of holding a public meeting during
or at the end of the Congress, and concluded that it would be valuable from a
prestige and publicity point of view; it was therefore decided to recommend to
the Hands that they consider the desirability of holding such a public meeting.Page 291
e) For the general publicity of the Congress it is recommended that
the use of Bahá'í experts in this field be considered, both to
prepare the way and to promote the publicity itself.
37. In preparation for the election of the Universal House of Justice the Council
decided to recommend to the Hands that they send a letter to all the believers
explaining and stressing the importance of these elections; also that they
circulate to National Spiritual Assembly members a compilation of quotations
from the Scriptures and the writings of Shoghi Effendi on the functions of theUniversal House of Justice.
HEARTS GREATLY ENCOURAGED BY ENTHUSIASM ENERGY DETERMINATION ELECTED INTERNATIONAL Bahá'í COUNCIL DISCHARGE VITAL EVER INCREASING RESPONSIBILITIES STOP DELIGHTED SHARE NEWS ELECTION FOLLOWING OFFICERS ALI NAKHJAVANI SYLVIA IOAS CHARLES WOLCOTT IAN SEMPLE JESSIE REVELL PRESIDENT VICE PRESIDENT SECRETARY GENERAL ASSISTANT SECRETARY TREASURER RESPECTIVELY STOP OTHER MEMBERS ETHEL REVELL LOTFULLAH HAKIM MILDRED MOTTAHEDEH AND BORRAH KAVELIN MEMBER AT LARGE STOP SHARE MESSAGE HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To the 21 National Spiritual Assemblies in Latin AmericaJuly 7, 1961
Over two months have passed since that historic day when 21 new pillars of the Universal House of Justice were brought into being in your important and productive part of the Bahá'í world. The time remaining before us until the completion of our beloved Guardian's Ten Year Plan is vanishing with alarming rapidity. These precious days must be utilized to the fullest extent in assuring an overwhelming triumph in every land.
The vigour and enthusiasm with which each of your new National Assemblies has faced its work has pleased us very much, and together we may win many new victories in the year ahead.
One of the most important things for all of us to keep before us is the need for the most rigid economy in all that we do. With the astonishing and deeply rewarding progress of the Faith in all parts of the planet, with the formation of 21 new Assemblies this past year, and 12 more to bePage 292
formed next Ridvan, the limited resources of the Faith must be carefully husbanded and used in the manner that will assure winning the most important goals. Therefore, we urge your body to practice the most strict economy possible, and to encourage the dear friends to make every sacrifice both individually and collectively of their time and resources so that this fourth phase of the World Crusade truly may be characterized by the great increase in believers envisioned by our beloved Guardian for these days. Only the most vital purchases needed to carry on your day-to-day work should be made. The great bulk of your resources should go directly into the teaching work. The efforts of the entire country must be focused more and more on this all-important task. This cardinal responsibility of each National Assembly cannot be over-emphasized. Our beloved Guardian wrote less than three months before his passing: "The purpose of the new National Assemblies ... and the purpose of any administrative body, is to carry the Message to the people and enlist the sincere under the banner of this Faith. Your Assembly must never lose sight of this for a moment, and must go on courageously expanding the membership of the communities under your jurisdiction. . ."
In his last Message to the Bahá'í world, he urged us to realize that "The fourth phase (of the World Crusade) ... must be immortalized ... by an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society, coupled with a corresponding increase in the number of Bahá'í centres . . ." This is the very charter of our teaching work for this fourth and final phase of his glorious global Crusade. Its success depends upon each individual believer in the country arising to become a teacher, and under the loving, inspiring leadership of the National Assembly, to launch a concentrated teaching plan of such intensity and determination that it will, in the words of our beloved Guardian in his last loving Message to us all, cause "an upsurge of enthusiasm and consecration, before which every single as well as collective exploit, associated with any of the three previous phases, will pale."
We are confident that this spirit of sacrifice and dedication, coupled with the energetic and courageous actions you have already taken, will bring about a year of just such "unprecedented victories" as would rejoice the heart of our beloved Guardian and bring great numbers under the shadow of the Blessed Beauty.
We shall pray at the holy Shrines that your every effort will be blessed and will bring productive fruit.With warm Bahá'í love,
Now that the thrilling days of Ridvan have passed, we would like to share with you the news of some of the victories won for our beloved Guardian, victories which the blessings of Bahá'u'lláh alone have made possible.
As you know, all 21 Latin American National Assemblies were successfully elected, including Ecuador and Cuba. Shortly before the Convention was held in Ecuador, we received very disturbing news indicating a number of the friends had been influenced by Mason Remey; immediate action was taken through the Western Hemisphere Hands, their Board members and the Regional Assembly for that area, and we were fortunate enough to avert the impending defection of these people. The National Assembly was elected, and we are watching the situation carefully to be sure the attitude of these believers is now sincere. In Cuba, in spite of the revolution there, the difficulty of travel and absence of communication, dear Enoch was able to attend the Convention and assist the friends to successfully elect their new National Spiritual Assembly.
All Local Assembly goals were won in Europe, assuring the foundation for the election next year of 11 independent pillars of the Universal House of Justice. To our surprise and joy, 8 new Assemblies were established in Ceylon, thus laying a firm foundation for the election next Ridvan of the National Assembly.
The process of mass conversion-so longed for by our beloved Guardian -- is moving forward at an ever-accelerated pace: Approximately 2,000 new believers in India during the last few months; the first steps of mass conversion have begun also in Ceylon; 3,000 new believers in Central and East Africa, which now has over 17,000 Bahá'ís, 1,140 centres and 470 Local Assemblies. Many of the now believers in this area came from the trouble and strife-torn Congo border. In Bolivia, they now have over 1,500 Indian Bahá'ís in over 153 centres with 25 Local Assemblies. For the first time in the history of North America, Indians in Canada are beginning to enter the Faith; 3 Spiritual Assemblies were formed on Indian reserves there, and the chairmen of two of these Assemblies attended the Canadian Convention and fired the friends with enthusiasm for bringing the Message to their people.
Liechtenstein and Loyalty Islands have been reopened. There are now 10 islands in the Gilbert and Ellice group having Bahá'ís, a new one recently having been added. A new Local Assembly has been created in American Samoa. Morocco had 3 new Assemblies this year, and thePage 294
Yemen, one new one. In the heart of the Anglican stronghold in England, the Cathedral city of Canterbury, a Local Assembly has been established.
How many times our beloved Guardian assured us the Supreme Concourse was waiting to assist us. We see ever increasingly the fulfilment of this promise. The Hands must, we feel strongly, seize this great opportunity, when there is such an upsurge of enthusiasm on the part of the believers, and labour as never before, in close collaboration with their Board members, to promote the mass teaching work now opening up before us.
We know you are eager to have news of what is going on in the Holy Land, and what your co-workers are doing here and elsewhere: Ruhiyyih Khanum will be going to dedicate the Australian Temple in September, and hopes to be able to visit some of the Centres en route. Our dear Milly was obliged to return in May to the United States in order to take care of her health, which had been poor of late. She is doing everything in her power to return to her home here well before the beginning of the Conclave. Paul, after attending the Mexican and American Conventions and making an extended visit to different Centres in the United States, to encourage the friends, has returned with many valuable suggestions, which will help us to assist the American National Spiritual Assembly to win the goals on the home front. Furutan and Bill have recently arrived from Latin America, bringing us most encouraging reports of the spirit of the believers and the success of the Conventions they attended. Bill will now remain with us as one of the Hands in the Holy Land, sharing with us the experience he has gained in the Western Hemisphere. Leroy leaves in a few days for Europe, where he plans to attend a number of summer schools, visiting the friends in as many places as possible, including a month's stay in Great Britain. JaW will be leaving in August for India, to visit the new areas of mass conversion there and discuss with the Indian National Assembly some of the problems facing it in connection with this great work. He will also visit as many Indian Centres as possible.
Enoch has recently returned to Africa after a very successful tour in Central America and the Greater Antilles. Muhajir is on his way to the Philippines to assist them in intensive teaching work in those islands, following a period of great activity amongst the Indians in Bolivia and the Central American area. Collis, after attending two Latin American Conventions, has visited Hawaii and the South Sea Islands on his way home to Australia; Ugo has returned to Europe after rendering similar services in Haiti, Venezuela and Central America; 'Ala'i, after attending the Colombia and Jamaica Conventions, has been visiting France and other countries in Europe; Hasan made an extensive tour of Canada on his return from the two Latin American Conventions he attended. Hermann isPage 295
still actively travelling throughout South America, visiting each country and new National Assembly and keeping a watchful eye upon possible activities of Remey's supporters. His knowledge of the language and the people is of inestimable help to the Faith in that part of the world. Dhikru'llah is now back in the United States after attending the Latin American Conventions allotted to him, and we have recently heard he was able to visit the believers in Alaska and attend their summer school. Dear Agnes, Adelbert and Varqa have been continuing their services in their respective spheres, services which have been so vitally needed, while other Hands were away travelling for so many months in the Western Hemisphere. Banani and John (Robarts) have suffered setbacks in their health this year, but in spite of their difficulties, they have been carrying on with the work in Africa.
It will interest you to know that five of the supporters of Mason Remey in Pakistan have returned to the Faith. This of course does not mean that his efforts and those of his supporters have ceased to be active. We must all be very vigilant and encourage the friends as much as possible.
We spent ten wonderful days with the International Bahá'í Council. You have already received the news of the election of their officers, and we were delighted with the energetic enthusiasm and plans of this body.
It is evident to us, and perhaps even more so to you, what a great influence the Hands can exert in the teaching field. We know you will be happy to share with the friends the news of these victories. Surely this is the hour for all of them to arise as never before and lend a new momentum to the work during these precious remaining months of our beloved Guardian's Crusade. Total victory is now within our grasp. His words written toward the end of the first Seven Year Plan might well be our watchword now: "One final surge of that indomitable spirit", he told us, . is all that is required ... to release the flow of those blessings . .."With warmest Bahá'í love to you all,
As you know, the beloved Guardian for a number of years before his ascension permitted the various National Assemblies to apply the extreme punishment of deprivation of voting rights in cases where believers continued to disobey an important decision of a National Assembly, or in cases where the conduct of an individual continuously and flagrantlyPage 296
violated Bahá'í standards to a point where the good name of the Faith was placed in jeopardy.
At various times the beloved Guardian sent communications to National Assemblies instructing them and guiding them in the application of this authority, which he felt should be invoked only as a last resort, and after repeated warnings to the individual concerned.
In the belief that they will be helpful to all National Assemblies in carrying out the spirit as well as the letter of the beloved Guardian's instructions on this important subject, and because they contain such a clear exposition of the status of Bahá'ís deprived of their voting rights, we are sharing with you the following paragraphs from a communication sent by him to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States on May 18, 1948:
The Guardian considers there are three conditions, so to speak, in regard
to Bahá'í status or lack of it: a member of the Bahá'í Faith, in good
standing, possessed of all his administrative rights; a member of the
Faith who is being severely punished -- either because of flagrant
disobedience of some very important injunction of the National Assembly,
or because of conduct extremely detrimental to the good name of the Faith,
which he has not rectified -- through having his voting and administrative
rights suspended; and a person who is excommunicated by the Guardian because
of disloyalty and enmity to the Faith. "Deprivation of voting rights" and
"deprivation of membership in the Bahá'í Community" are really the same thing.
No contribution should be accepted from a person deprived of his voting
rights. He is not eligible for election to Bahá'í bodies, cannot attend the
administrative gatherings such as elections or Nineteen Day Feasts. However
he can attend Bahá'í meetings as he is not excommunicated.
In connection with the above two paragraphs the Guardian does not want them
published in Bahá'í News or any statement whatsoever issued in connection
with this matter. Your Assembly can take action as occasion demands.
As he has already stated, he considers that National Assemblies must strongly
guard against this marked tendency of laying down new rules and regulations
all the time, which he considers unnecessary and injurious. In the end it will
dampen the zeal and quench the spontaneity of the believers, and give the
impression that the Bahá'í Faith is crystallizing into set forms. Principles
there must be, but they must be applied with wisdom to each case that arises,
not every case covered, before it arises, by a codified set of rules. This
is the whole spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's system: rigid conformity to great
essential laws, elasticity, and even a certain necessary element of diversity,in secondary matters.
The deprivation of a person's voting rights should only be resorted to when
absolutely necessary, and a National Spiritual Assembly should always feel
reluctant to impose this very heavy sanction which is a severe punishment.
Of course sometimes, to protect the Cause, it must be done, but he feels
that if the believer so deprived makes an effort to mend his ways, rectifies
his mistake, or sincerely seeks forgiveness, every effort should be made to
help him and enable him to re-establish himself in the Community as a memberin good standing.
Please note carefully the Guardian's words indicating that he did not wish to have this material published in Bahá'í News, and his further instruction that no statement whatsoever should be made by the National Assembly in connection with this question. In other words, his wish was that each case be considered individually in the light of the general principles which he gave to the National Assembly for its guidance.With warm Bahá'í love,
In accordance with the responsibility placed upon the Hands in the Holy Land of calling and setting the dates for the annual Conclave, and pursuant to the suggestions made at our last meeting in Bahji, we are scheduling this year's gathering for a nineteen-day period beginning Sunday, October 15, 1961.
A somewhat longer period than usual has been set aside for this forth-coming meeting in order to carry out the suggestion that the Conclave might wish to hold a recess once or twice during the period, and also in view of the fact that we have such a heavy agenda.
We have drawn up the attached tentative list of subjects, and are sending it to you for study and for your suggestions well in advance of the meeting. If you have any thoughts as to any other major items which you think should be included in this outline, please let us have your suggestions as soon as possible.With warmest and deepest love,
National Assemblies to be Formed and Status of Existing National AssembliesHome Front Goals
Attendance at Formation of National Spiritual Assemblies in 1962
Attendance at World Congress and Convention for Election of House of JusticeAuxiliary Boards
This is the first News Letter from the Holy Land issued by the recently elected International Bahá'í Council. The issuance of the News LetterPage 299
from the World Centre is one of the functions assigned to the Council, which plans to send such a letter to the National Assemblies approximately every two months.
We are confident that this publication will be a source of inspiration to the friends, giving them news of the progress of the Faith, and bringing them close to the Holy Land, referred to by our beloved Guardian as "the heart and the nerve centre" of the Bahá'í World Community.
Please share this bulletin with the believers in your area through your own News Letter, or in any other way you deem advisable.With warm Bahá'í love,
To All 21 Latin American National Spiritual AssembliesAugust 3, 1961
We have been delighted to hear the news of the increasing success of the work among the dear Indian believers in so many parts of Latin America, and in other areas where beginning efforts are being made toward mass conversion.
This fourth and final phase of our beloved Guardian's great global Crusade should indeed be "immortalized . . . by an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society, coupled with a corresponding increase in the number of Bahá'í centres . . ." These are the words of our beloved Guardian in his last Message to the Bahá'í world. This final phase of the Crusade, he told us, must "witness . . . an upsurge of enthusiasm and consecration, before which every single as well as collective exploit, associated with any of the three previous phases, will pale."
This concentrated teaching effort should be the focus of every National Spiritual Assembly. However, with the election of the Universal House of Justice less than two years away, we feel confident that your National Assembly will recognize the vital and absolute need for maintaining the existing Local Spiritual Assemblies with a strong nucleus, and not jeopardize these prizes which have been won at such cost by removing the pioneers who were sent there to assure the winning of these goals, even to conquer the new Indian areas or other areas of mass conversion.Page 300
Expansion and consolidation go hand in hand, and the preservation of strong, vigorously functioning Local Assemblies is one of our most vital obligations at this time; for upon this solid foundation, firm national pillars must rest -- those pillars which will support that Supreme Administrative Body of the Bahá'í world, the Universal House of Justice.
In a letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa on August 8th, 1957, our beloved Guardian wrote: "The purpose of the new National Assemblies in Africa, and the purpose of any administrative body, is to carry the Message to the people and enlist the sincere under the banner of this Faith. Your Assembly must never lose sight of this for a moment, and must go on courageously expanding the membership of the communities under your jurisdiction, and gradually educating the friends in both the Teachings and the Administration. Nothing could be more tragic than if the establishment of these great administrative bodies should stifle or bog down the teaching work." The beloved Guardian, in that same letter in which he urged the dear friends on to greater effort in mass conversion, also wrote: "Nor must the pressing obligation to consolidate the firmly grounded local institutions of the Faith through their incorporation be, for a moment, neglected. The historic work, so laboriously initiated in the newly opened territories, and particularly in those where the Faith has not yet driven deep its roots, must, likewise, be rapidly and systematically reinforced."
Our beloved Guardian's Convention Message of that same year said: "The pre-eminent task of teaching the Faith to the multitudes who consciously or unconsciously thirst after the healing Word of God in this day ... must, in the course of this year, be accorded priority over every other Bahá'í activity." In that same Message, our beloved Guardian also said: "Simultaneous with the acceleration in the process of individual conversion, the equally pressing need of safeguarding Local Spiritual Assemblies from dissolution and of increasing rapidly their number, must continually be borne in mind, as the most effectual means for the strengthening of the structural basis of the Administrative Order of the Faith."
Thus the twin processes of rapidly expanding and firmly consolidating go hand in hand. With this basic principle in mind, and with the spirit of enthusiasm and devotion which are reflected in your letters, we feel confident that you will maintain vital, strong Local Assemblies and still continue the wonderful work that has been launched, and will be launched, in the areas of mass conversion.
We shall pray at the holy Shrines for your success in the field of mass teaching, so highly prized by our beloved Guardian, a task which he said challenged every single individual believer, a task which was "so dear toPage 301
the heart of `Abdu'l-Bahá", a task which was "so sacred, so fundamental, and so urgent".With warmest Bahá'í love,
You have received a communication from the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia (dated May 19, 1961) announcing that the dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adkar in Sydney will take place during the period September 14-17, this year.
In view of the great spiritual significance of this event, constituting one of the most important victories of the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Plan, we suggest that each National and Regional Assembly send an appropriate greeting to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia on this historic occasion. These messages should be sent to the address of the National Secretariat, 2 Lang Road, Paddington, New South Wales, Australia, in time to reach the Secretary if possible not later than the tenth of next month.
With warm Bahá'í greetings and the assurance of our ardent prayers for the attainment of all your goals.In the service of the beloved Guardian,
This is another letter to keep you abreast of events that are taking place as this year approaches the half-way mark. We have had the sad news of the illness of dear Mr. Samandari who is in Teheran where he has been in the hospital. His reply to our cable indicates that his health is now improving and we hope that we shall have the joy of seeing him here with us at the Annual Gathering. His services throughout the year have been a great example to us all, as he has travelled constantly, visiting the friends and encouraging them to greater efforts. The news of his improved health is a great blessing for which we are all deeply grateful.Page 302
Milly is still feeling far from well herself, but her work continues, and she has recently helped to make possible the purchase of a future Haziratu'l-Quds in Jamaica and the launching of a greater teaching effort m South Africa.
Hasan has arrived from London to serve for a time as one of the Hands in the Holy Land. He is helping Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum with the work of the Archives, as are many of the other friends here. We have every hope that the new Archives building, with all of the precious relics and treasures, may be ready for the pilgrims who come to visit this coming year.
Soon additional members of the International Council will be coming to make their residence in the Holy Land. 'Ali Nakhjavani, the President of the Council, is expected in a few weeks, and the Secretary-General, Charles Wolcott, arrives on the 21st of September. In addition to the elected members who have resided here in the past, Ian Semple, the Assistant Secretary, has already transferred his residence to Haifa and has remained here since the first meeting.
Because of their activities which were undermining the Faith, the following have been declared Covenant-breakers: (1) Guillermo Soto -- mayor of Quito, Ecuador, who visited Cuba and attacked the Institutions of the Faith; (2) Eduardo Gonzalez of Guayaquil, Ecuador, who has been in close touch with Mason Remey and supports his baseless claim; (3) Mr. and Mrs. Chester Davison of Monrovia, California, who have accepted Mason Remey; and (4) Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Davison of Monterrey, Mexico, who likewise have supported this false claim.
We have heard that Mason Remey is in Italy, but this has not as yet been verified.
However, the general news that reaches us from the various parts of the world is most encouraging. The letters of the new National Spiritual Assemblies show their eagerness and determination to win unprecedented victories for our beloved Guardian.
One of the Peruvian friends plans to carry the Faith to the primitive people of Peru in the jungle area beyond the Andes.
The National Spiritual Assembly of Nicaragua has informed us of the acceptance of the Faith by three villages in the Indian area of that country. We are awaiting more details.
Bolivia reports 350 new believers since Ridvan, bringing their total to 2,000.
India sends a further report of their growing teaching activities, saying that there are now 3,200 new believers in the primitive areas where they have been working so devotedly. Classes are being held to train teachers to carry the work forward on an even increased scale. The beginningPage 303
stages of mass conversion (or mass teaching as they ask that we refer to it in all letters to India) are apparent in several areas, and we must do everything we can to hasten the process.
It is now only two months until we shall be meeting for the Annual Gathering, and once again we urge you all to take every step necessary to assure your being present at this all-important meeting. The problems that lie before us, and the golden opportunities that depend upon their resolution, require the presence of every single Hand of the Cause. If there are any obstacles in your way which we might help remove, please call upon us for any help you may need.With warmest and deepest Bahá'í love,
The enclosed message was sent to the Hands of the Cause and the Regional Spiritual Assemblies in Europe. We felt that it could be of use to you, and therefore we are sending you a copy.With warmest loving greetings,
To the Hands of the Cause in Europe and the Regional National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and Switzerland, the Benelux Countries, Scandinavia and Finland.August 22, 1961
By the unfailing grace of Bahá'u'lláh, this year the necessary foundation was laid in the goal countries of Europe for the erection of independent National Assemblies, and the requisite number of Local Spiritual Assemblies were formed. A dedicated army of pioneers came forth to occupy their posts. The services of these valiant souls are truly unforgettable and historic. The debt that we owe them is great.
The beloved Guardian encouraged the pioneers whenever possible to throw down deep roots into the soil of the country of their adoption. HePage 304
told them to learn the language of the people amongst whom they laboured to propagate the Cause of God. They were to stay at their posts, persevere at all costs, and not consider their work completed until there were a sufficient number of avowed supporters of the Faith drawn from the peoples of these countries themselves to take up the torch and carry on the task. He, the beloved Guardian, stressed the supreme importance of teaching in the goal countries, and underlined the fact that the end is not the maintenance of Assemblies chiefly composed of pioneers, but the emergence of Assemblies formed in the main or in totality by native believers.
We feel that it is essential that the pioneers who gave us such a resounding victory last Ridvan should at this juncture be lovingly and kindly reminded of the standard set by our beloved Guardian. We ask you to bring these matters to their notice in the way you consider best, and impress upon them that unless there is a great influx of native believers before next Ridvan, their task will not be completed with the formation of independent National Assemblies, and that they should stay at their posts even beyond Ridvan, 1963.
Assuring you of our ardent prayers on your behalf at the sacred Thresholds, and with warmest loving greetings,In the service of the beloved Guardian,
In just a few weeks we shall be together for our Annual Gathering, and once again we shall share the news of the victories of our Faith in person. Therefore, this will be our last general letter until after this all-important event.
Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum is now in Australia to attend the epoch-making dedication of the Mother Temple of the Antipodes, having already visited the friends in Bangkok, Rangoon and Singapore. She will also visit many centres in Australia and New Zealand prior to her return.
Dear Milly has suffered from an accident in which she injured her arm, but is progressing well and hopes to be with us soon. Dear TarAzu'llAh Samandari, although greatly improved, has not yet quite recovered from his recent illness. We know you will remember these wonderful servants of Bahá'u'lláh in your prayers.Page 305
Dear Agnes has just completed an exciting and fruitful teaching trip to Korea. There in Seoul, the capital-city, on July 9th, the Anniversary of the Martyrdom of The Báb (according to the solar calendar), she addressed a meeting. Her translator was Mr. Oh San Sun, the same faithful soul who translated for her when she made her historic first pioneering visit to Korea's capital in 1921.
News of soul-stirring victories continues to pour in as the valiant army of Bahá'u'lláh forges ahead on all fronts, and assiduously builds upon the wide and the firm foundation which our beloved Guardian has laid down over the entire planet. One hundred Pygmies have entered the fellowship of our Faith in Bukavu in the Congo region. The first native believers have been enrolled in the Mare Island of the Loyalty group, a husband and wife who accepted the Faith in Noumea, New Caledonia, but whose home is in Mare Island. South-East Asia continues to "vie" with Africa as urged by our beloved Guardian, and the Regional Spiritual Assembly reports that there are now 9,000 believers in Indonesia including Mentawai, and over 11,000 in the National Assembly region. Twenty souls from the Carib tribe have embraced the Faith in Honduras.
Ecuador has risen above the threat of the enemies of the Faith and presents a "new face" of victory. The National Assembly reports loving, dedicated meetings of their body directed to the primary task of the spiritual conquest of the country. In Carabuela we have four new Indian believers. This is the third Indian village with new believers, and the second village to be conquered for our Faith since the Convention. Already they have surpassed the total number who accepted the Faith in Ecuador during the whole of the past year.
Kenya increased its Local Assemblies by 23 this year, to 134, and now has approximately 4,000 believers. The Honolulu Community in the Pacific Ocean has doubled its numbers in a single year. Cuba not only held a triumphant National Convention and raised up a dedicated National Assembly, but has now organized its first historic summer school.
A notable event in Canada, in addition to the remarkable increase in the number of her believers, has been the acceptance of the Faith by a minister of the United Church, Mr. Ronald Parsons. This courageous soul has written an eloquent and moving testimony of his faith addressed to the church from the ministry of which he has resigned. In that letter he says: "To many of my brethren it may seem that I am turning away from Jesus by such an action, whereas for me it comes as the only way in which I can maintain my obedience to Him. Because I believe Bahá'u'lláh to be what He claims to be, the Return of Christ, the Promised Spirit of Truth, not to become His follower would be a betrayal of Jesus's teaching and a denial of God's Will in this Age".Page 306
The Bahá'ís of the British Isles are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved Master's momentous visit to their country, when He chose London as the scene of His first appearance before a Western audience. Apart from special meetings held in all the centres on September 4th, the actual day of the Master's arrival at the shores of Britain, a large, well-advertised public meeting is arranged for September 8th in London. Leroy and Hasan are to be present at this meeting and speak from the platform. Lutfu'llah Hakim has gone to London for a vacation, but primarily to fulfil his long-desired wish to visit the resting-place of our beloved Guardian. His journey to London happily coincides with the celebrations, and is particularly thrilling for the believers in Britain, because Lutfu'llah was there when the Master arrived in London fifty years ago. He will be the only Bahá'í present at the celebrations who has witnessed that great day in the history of the West.
There is still more news to gladden every faithful heart. Mass conversion continues in India, goes steadily on in Africa, leaps forward in Bolivia, and each day brings fresh numbers of North and South American Indians into the advancing ranks of our blessed Faith.
It is the cherished hope of each one of us, we know, that in the wake of this vital Annual Gathering of ours which has far-reaching implications and consequences, there will come flooding into every corner of the planet, over continents and islands of the seas, a magnetic, all-sufficing power that shall bring into the realm of fulfilment the highest and brightest hopes of our most beloved Guardian for reaching in numbers ever-increasing the masses "who consciously or unconsciously thirst" for the healing water of our Faith.
We eagerly await your arrival. With warmest and deepest love to each one of you,In the service of the beloved Guardian,
To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Germany, Italy and SwitzerlandSeptember 14, 1961
As you know, for the last two years the Faith has been under attack in Turkey, starting with the arrest of a number of believers in Ankara during Naw-Ruz of 1959, when the police imprisoned members of the Local Spiritual Assembly. This incident received wide publicity in the press. Subsequently the friends were released from prison, but a court case wasPage 307
brought against the Bahá'ís by the public prosecutor, who claimed that the Faith was a "Tarighat", one of those sects of Islam whose rituals, practices and forms of worship are forbidden by the law of the country.
Since then this matter has been the subject of lengthy litigation, with the Bahá'ís endeavouring to prove and establish the status of the Faith as an independent world religion, and the prosecuting authorities endeavouring to classify it as a forbidden sect of Islam.
The case is now to go to the high court on appeal, and the National Spiritual Assembly of Turkey has informed us that they believe that representations to the Turkish Ambassador in your respective countries would be helpful, as these diplomatic representatives will then inform their government of these visits and the proofs which representatives of your Assembly will present showing the completely independent character of the Faith, as well as its world-wide acceptance as a universal religion completely dissociated from Islam or any other revealed religion.
[1 It is specifically requested that in the case of the Italo-Swiss National Assembly, that contact be made with the Turkish Ambassador in Switzerland. We do not believe that a visit to the Ambassador in Italy would be advisable at this time.]
In order that you may thoroughly understand the background of this situation, we share with you the following summary of the development of the case against the Faith in Turkey.
Following the Turkish revolution in the 1920's, church and state were separated, but the major world religions, including the four recognized schools of thought of Sunni Islam -- Malaki, Hanbali, Shafei and Hanafi -- were left free to follow their beliefs and practices. However, according to Article 163 of the Turkish Criminal Code, the practice of every form of "Tarighat" was forbidden, and those who indulged in the forbidden rituals and practices of these Muslim sects were subject to severe punishment. Among these "Tarighat" are included the Naghsh-bandi, Molvai, Jalali and Refai sects. The Government of modern Turkey felt that the rituals and practices of these sects of Islam were out of place in modern life and harmful to the people; therefore they were forbidden.
It is clear that identification of the Faith with these forbidden sects would be a very bad blow for the Cause and conversely, if a high court of appeal in a Muslim country were to recognize the independent character of the Faith, it would be a very significant victory for the Cause, not only in Turkey, but throughout the East.
The original arrest of the members of the Local Spiritual Assembly in Ankara and the court case which followed resulted in wide publicity for the Cause, and most of the leading newspapers in the country opposed thePage 308
action of the public prosecutor, and declared that the Faith was an independent religion. At that time many documents were sent to Turkey from the World Centre and from various National Assemblies to establish and prove the independent character of the Cause. The court requested three experts in comparative religion to study the matter and give their opinion. Two of the three experts appointed expressed the view that the Bahá'í Faith was an independent religion, and one claimed that it was a sect of Islam. After receiving this report, the court then appointed three outstanding religious scholars to review all aspects of the question and advise the court of their views. All three of these scholars agreed in a finding that the Faith was an independent religion, and sent a documented statement containing authenticated proofs to the court on January 17, 1961. In this historic document the panel of experts proved that the Cause has nothing to do with "Tarighat" or forbidden sects of Islam, and that it is an independent religion comparable to Islam and Christianity.
After this document was submitted to the court, everyone was certain that the Court would issue its decree in accordance with the findings of these experts. However, the judges chose to disregard these findings entirely, and suddenly on July 15, 1961, declared that the Bahá'í Faith was a "Tarighat". Following this unexpected decision, the Bahá'ís of Ankara were forgiven, on the grounds that their gathering constituted a criminal case and under the general amnesty provisions of the law they could be released, that is, the case against them dropped. The court did say, however, that its decision could be appealed.
The National Spiritual Assembly of Turkey has decided to make a strong appeal to the higher court, and as indicated previously, this National Assembly believes that proper representations by your bodies to the Turkish Ambassadors in your respective countries will be helpful.
Therefore we request that you appoint without delay a well-qualified delegation composed of Western friends (the effect will be greater if the delegations do not include any of the Persian believers who may be residing in your respective countries) to call upon the Turkish Ambassador, explain your position as national representatives of the Bahá'í Community in your respective countries, indicate your great interest in a proper and just outcome of the pending case in Turkey, and give explanations and appropriate proofs of the independent character of the Faith and its world-wide scope as a separate revealed religion. In view of the highly nationalistic feelings of the Turkish people, particularly Turkish officials, we suggest that the representations to be made by your representatives do not in any way take the form of a protest. In other words, the approach should be a mild and friendly one, emphasizing the great interest which the Bahá'ís in your countries have in this matter.Page 309
We shall be very much interested in receiving in due course a report on the steps taken to carry out this request from the National Assembly of Turkey. We shall offer ardent prayers in the holy Shrines that all of these efforts will be divinely guided and assisted and that another great victory for the Faith may be won.With warm Bahá'í love,
To the Hands of the Cause, Members of the National Assemblies, Auxiliary Board Members, and believers attending the Teaching Conference on the historic occasion of the Dedication of the Mother Temple of the Antipodes.Beloved Friends:
On this unique occasion in the life of the Antipodes, this joyous, soul-stirring occasion, the crowning glory of four decades of devoted labour in that great area of the globe, when the doors of the Mother Temple will open to pour in abundance the light of God's nascent Faith upon the expanse of the Pacific, our thoughts and our hearts turn to the architect of our world-redeeming victories. We turn to him, our most beloved Guardian, in humble gratitude, in wonderment, in eager anticipation of yet mightier things to come.
The harvest is mounting high. Goal after goal of the Beloved's Plan is reached all the world over. What faithful Bahá'í heart can fail to be thrilled and to rejoice at this latest evidence of Bahá'u'lláh's all-pervading power and sustaining grace. And the more will the faithful rejoice when the goal attained is the completion and the dedication of the Mother Temple of the Antipodes. But even yet more shall the faithful heart rejoice when the import of the majestic utterance of Bahá'u'lláh is seen in its full glory. He, the Supreme Manifestation of God, wrote that should He be eclipsed on the land, His light would break upon the world from the midmost heart of the ocean.
Our edifice of light was denied to our brethren in the Cradle of our Faith. The beloved redressed the wrong and decreed the erection of the Mother Temples of Africa and the Antipodes. The voice of our Faith wasPage 310
muted in the land of its birth. Its silent teacher arose clad in splendour in the heart of Africa and in the midst of the Pacific Ocean.
From the World Centre of our Faith, we greet you one and all in utmost joy on this wonderful day. And our prayers offered at the sacred Thresholds are with you.
To each one of you comes also the deepest love of the Hands of the Faith who wish to express their profound and grateful thanks to every believer who has helped to win the victories which during the past years have fulfilled so many of the cherished hopes of our beloved Guardian.
The holding of the Teaching Conference in conjunction with the dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar affords a timely opportunity for consultation between Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum, representing the Hands at the World Centre, the Hand of the Cause in Australia, members of Auxiliary Boards and National Spiritual Assemblies, pioneers, teachers and believers in the Antipodes.
The words which we wish to share with you during this vital teaching session upon which such a bright future depends, are the words of our beloved Guardian. If his blessed instructions become our watchword, every obstacle will be overcome, and every goal will be accomplished.
This challenge of teaching, he told us, "so severe and insistent, and yet so glorious, faces ... primarily the individual believer, on whom, in the last resort, depends the fate of the entire community. . . . Without his support, at once whole-hearted, continuous and generous, every measure adopted, and every plan formulated ... is foredoomed to failure.... The unseen legions, standing rank upon rank, and eager to pour forth from the Kingdom on High the full measure of their celestial strength on the individual participants of this incomparably glorious Crusade, are powerless unless and until each potential crusader decides for himself ... to rush into the arena of service ready to sacrifice his all for the Cause he is called upon to champion."
The beloved Guardian wrote in that same year, emphasizing the vital importance of the home fronts to the destiny of the entire Crusade. He said, "The Ten Year Plan, if the friends will study it, comprises not only glamourous goals far afield, but extremely important ones near at hand. If these (home-front goals) are not achieved, the Plan will have failed."
Upon the success of the home-front campaigns, he warned us, would depend the mildness or the fierceness of the "contest that must be waged, sooner or later.... between the rising institutions of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic divinely appointed Order, and the exponents of obsolescent doctrines and the defenders, both secular and religious, of a corrupt and fast-declining society."Page 311
The words in his final, loving, fate-laden Message to America, are surely directed to each one of the vital home fronts: "Once again and this time more fervently than ever before -- I direct my plea to every single member of this strenuously labouring, clear-visioned, stout-hearted, spiritually endowed community, every man and woman, on whose individual efforts, resolutions, self-sacrifice and perseverance the immediate destinies of the Faith of God . . . primarily depend, not to allow, through apathy, timidity or complacency, this one remaining opportunity to be irretrievably lost. I would rather entreat each and every one of them to immortalize this approaching, fateful hour in the evolution of a World Spiritual Crusade, by a fresh consecration to their God-given mission, coupled with an instantaneous plan of action, at once so dynamic and decisive, as to wipe out ... with one stroke, the deficiencies which have ... bogged down the operations of the Crusade on the home front. . This, he assured them, was "the need of the present hour".
`Abdu'l-Bahá in His Tablets of the Divine Plan appealed to us: "Let your exertions henceforth increase a thousandfold." Then He promised us: "The wider its range, the more striking will be the evidence of Divine assistance." "Exert yourselves;" He called to us, "your mission is unspeakably glorious."
"No reader of these words, so vibrant with promises", our beloved Guardian assured us, will be content to "rest upon" his "laurels". It would, he said, "be tantamount to a betrayal of the trust placed" upon the followers of Bahá'u'lláh. "To cut short the chain of victories that must lead it on to that supreme triumph when 'the whole earth may be stirred and shaken' by the results of its achievements would shatter His (the Master's) hopes.
Therefore, beloved friends, we urge each one of you to follow our beloved Guardian's counsel and "act, and act promptly and decisively". From this very moment on, let each individual believer arise, and, with a measure of devotion and sacrifice never before attained, volunteer to pioneer to the goal cities established by your National Assembly. Those who are unable to go themselves, let them, as Bahá'u'lláh Himself suggested, deputize with their resources another to go in their place. Those who are unable to pioneer, let them arise and volunteer through the proper administrative body to become travelling teachers for a week-end, a week, a month, six months or whatever time they have available from now until the end of the Crusade. Those who cannot travel and teach, let them open their homes so that every single believer in this richly blessed land may become a teacher. Lot no Bahá'í month pass without the bare minimum of at least one fireside devoted to reaching the multitudes. This was our beloved Guardian's own instruction. Let every single believer,Page 312
however humble his circumstances, pour out his resources on an unprecedented scale of sacrifice so that the means to properly sustain and courageously expand the work on the Australian home front may be provided for, and the efforts of the National Assembly vigorously increased. Let every isolated believer strive to become a group. 1,et every group concentrate on becoming an Assembly. Let every Assembly consolidate its strength and numbers so that it can become legally incorporated; then let all of the believers over the number of fifteen, in these strong communities, who can possibly do so, disperse and open new centres, thus setting in motion that process so highly prized by our beloved Guardian, by which every isolated believer becomes a group, every group an Assembly, every Assembly a thriving Community, which again in turn disperses until we have generated a momentum which will lead to that mass conversion everywhere, and the land is filled with movement like the tributaries of a mighty river carrying the water of life to every comer of Australia.
Such a plan of action is clearly envisioned by our beloved Guardian in his final Message to the Bahá'í world. The fourth phase of this glorious Crusade, he said, "must be immortalized ... by an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society, coupled with a corresponding increase in the number of Bahá'í centres . . ." This final phase of the Crusade, he told us, must "witness ... an upsurge of enthusiasm and consecration, before which every single as well as collective exploit, associated with any of the three previous phases, will pale."
We have less than two years remaining of the beloved Guardian's Crusade. During every one of the hours remaining, let us keep before us, as our guide, these words of the one who sacrificed his life that we might have such "golden" victories:
The opportunity that presents itself at this crucial hour is precious
beyond expression. The blessings destined to flow from a victory so near
at hand are rich beyond example. One final surge of that indomitable
spirit ... is all that is required ... to release the flow of those blessings.
May Bahá'u'lláh watch over us, sustain us, guide us and make us worthy of so priceless and so great a privilege.With warmest Bahá'í love,
SHARE JOYOUS NEWS DEDICATION MOTHER TEMPLE ANTIPODES PRESENCE AMATU'L-Bahá RUHIYYIH KHANUM REPRESENTATIVES TWENTY COUNTRIES Bahá'í WORLD COMMUNITY STOP HISTORIC OCCASION MARKS ATTAINMENT SECOND STAGE BELOVED GUARDIAN'S THREEFOLD ENTERPRISE DESIGNED ESTABLISH FIRST SACRED HOUSES WORSHIP AFRICAN CONTINENT AUSTRALASIA EUROPE STOP CALL UPON FRIENDS EVERYWHERE JOIN PRAYERS PRAISE THANKSGIVING Bahá'u'lláh HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT VICTORY STOP AIRMAIL MESSAGE HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
Enclosed is a copy of the Message to the Bahá'ís of East and West issued by the Hands of the Cause following their fifth Annual Gathering in the Holy Land.
We ask that you place this communication in the hands of the friends as quickly as possible, through your News Letter, or by some other means.
We send you loving best wishes and our ardent prayers for the success of your devoted efforts to carry forward the Holy Crusade of our beloved Guardian to complete and final victory in the coming eighteen months.With warm Bahá'í love,
From the Hands of the Cause to the Bahá'ís of East and WestMansion of Bahá'u'lláh Bahji, 'Akka, Israel
The Community of the Most Great Name, East and West, North and South, can look back over the remarkable achievements of the past twelve months with profound thankfulness and from them draw freshPage 314
courage and determination to arise unitedly for one last supreme effort which will enable us to crown with victory the mighty Global Plan to be consummated in Ridvan, 1963 by the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee of our Faith -- the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh. The hearts and thoughts of all His followers now turn to the last eighteen months of our dearly beloved Guardian's World Crusade. What treasures will we proudly lay at his feet on that occasion. What rejoicing will be ours when we can say to him: See, we were faithful to our trust, as much as lay within our power, this did we perform according to the sacred Plan you gave us!
After the passage of the most fruitful and stirring decade the Formative Age of our Faith has as yet witnessed, the International Bahá'í Council has passed into the final stage of its evolution and efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice through its election by all the members of the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í world; the Council is now regularly meeting in the Holy Land and discharging those duties laid down for it by Shoghi Effendi himself. The vast process of mass conversion, specified by him as one of the major objectives of the second half of the World Crusade, is beginning to take place on a large scale in Asia, South America, and the Pacific area, and is rapidly increasing in momentum in Africa. Last Ridvan, on the number of Local Assemblies specified by him as Crusade goals, no less than twenty-one independent National Spiritual Assemblies were successfully founded, an historic act which will be followed next Ridvan by the establishment on an equally firm foundation of eleven European national bodies and the first National Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ceylon. The Mother Temples of both Africa and the Antipodes have been formally opened for public worship and are already redounding to the fame of the Cause of God throughout the entire world. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Europe is slowly rising in the heart of that continent so sorely in need of the regenerating grace of Bahá'u'lláh. The divine assistance, so repeatedly promised to us in the teachings, has been vouchsafed to us in a truly miraculous manner, plain for all to see, since the Bahá'í world was shaken by the loss of its beloved Guardian.
It is therefore with hopeful hearts that the Hands of the Cause can point out to their fellow-believers those remaining milestones we must race to pass ere our great and unique opportunity for service in the Guardian's own Crusade is lost to us forever. In the course of our lengthy consultations during this fifth gathering of the Hands of the Cause held in Bahji, in the shadow of the Shrine of the Supreme Manifestation of God Himself, it has been abundantly clear what our major duties still are, where we must, one and all, concentrate our efforts and resources, which are the battle frontsPage 315
we must deploy our forces upon, if victory is to be won -- that victory must and shall be ours no loyal Bahá'í heart can doubt for a single instant.
Though multifarious tasks still remain to be accomplished in various fields of Bahá'í activity, three supremely important duties face us during the last eighteen months of the World Crusade, duties which, should we fail in any one of them, may well have repercussions on the evolution of not only the present national Bahá'í communities, but indeed the spiritual and material welfare of mankind itself for generations to come.
The first of these is to bring the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh to the waiting masses at this critical time, this unique juncture in human history, when the hearts of so many of the less privileged peoples of the world are ready to receive His Message, and to be enrolled under His banner "in troops" as foretold by `Abdu'l-Bahá. The second is to win the remaining home-front goals in five of those original twelve stalwart, long-established, much-loved national communities which, at the inception of the Ten Year Plan, received the unique and priceless honour of having the spiritual conquest of no less than an entire planet entrusted to their care. Wherever the army of Bahá was free to march, in their totality, and with the greatest distinction, these global goals have been won. It is inconceivable that the home-front goals, given to them at the same time and forming an integral part of the World Crusade, should not also be triumphantly achieved. The third is undoubtedly the pivotal one at this point of the Crusade and comprises the heavy, pressing, inescapable duty of every single believer to assist in providing an uninterrupted and greatly amplified flow of that "life blood" of material resources without which construction of the Mother Temple of Europe and other vast undertakings now gaining momentum all over the world, in old and new Bahá'í communities alike, will either cease to go forward, come to a standstill or, in important areas of mass conversion, stand in danger of losing the precious ground won through so much heroic effort and sacrifice. There can be no doubt that the discharge of these three paramount duties at this time can alone provide a suitably strong and unshakeable foundation for the future activities of that glorious and august Institution, so soon to be elected, Bahá'u'lláh's long-anticipated Universal House of Justice.
Last year the Hands of the Faith called upon the believers to observe a year of austerity in order to concentrate the resources of the followers of this infant but infinitely strong and dynamic Faith upon attaining the remaining objectives of the Ten Year Plan. It has become apparent that a far greater effort must be made during the next eighteen months, and that the austerity and self-sacrifice we voluntarily imposed upon ourselves must continue and be intensified until every goal is won, every prizePage 316
protected, every achievement maintained. In the words of the beloved Guardian, "a pouring out of substance, not only by those of limited means, but by the richest and wealthiest, in a degree involving the truest sacrifice," is needed.
The financial requirements of the. Cause at this critical hour call, not only for the offering of a greater proportion of the income of every loyal believer, but also for the sacrifice of capital in such a manner that no Bahá'í will have cause for regret that he or she failed to respond to the Guardian's plea "unhesitatingly, to place, each according to his circumstances, his share on the altar of Bahá'í sacrifice, lest, on a sudden, unforeseen calamities rob them of a considerable portion of the earthly things they have amassed."
The attention of the friends should be called at this time to the words of Shoghi Effendi concerning the purpose and significance of the International Fund, direct contributions to which he indicated were a spiritual obligation of every Local and National Assembly and every believer. Participation of individuals through "contributions directly transmitted to the Holy Land" was, he said, "imperative and beyond the scope of the jurisdiction of National and Local Assemblies." Bearing in mind the increasing scale of the world-wide activities which must be sustained from the International Fund, we ask the friends to ponder these words and each, in his own way, respond to this plea. Undoubtedly one penny, freely and lovingly laid on the altar of sacrifice now, for the successful conclusion of this divinely-conceived Plan, will be equal to thousands in the future.
The paramount task of the present hour is to teach the Cause of God. "In these days," wrote the incomparable Master in His Will and Testament, "the most important of all things is the guidance of the nations and peoples of the world. Teaching the Cause is of utmost importance for it is the head corner-stone of the foundation itself." "O, that I could travel," He wrote, "even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of Ya Baha'u'l-Abha' in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it."
The wings of time are beating at our door as one of the most momentous epochs in the entire range of Bahá'í history swiftly moves to its close. The impelling call of our beloved Guardian, resounding in the very last message of his life, is but partially answered. "An unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society" is the goal inscribed by his unerring pen.Page 317
The effort now required of us is imperative and inescapable, and must indeed be prodigious. Nothing less than complete, total dedication will suffice. In this mighty, life-offering task every Baha'i, no matter who he is or where he dwells, has a share and a worthy part to play. Now is the moment for all the administrative agencies of our Faith to order their work in such fashion as to put teaching at the forefront of all their activities, and to exclude any plan which is not relevant to the purposes of our Crusade.
If the world situation has so far prevented us from planting the banner of Bahá'u'lláh in certain virgin territories, there can be no possible excuse for failure on such vital home fronts as those of the United States, Canada, Australia, Britain and Germany. These five tried and tested national communities, each to a greater or lesser degree, are still faced by the urgent necessity of increasing the number of their Assemblies to that total set for them by Shoghi Effendi, himself. Let every single believer, in those countries where at present the status of these internal goals is a cause of grave concern to the entire Bahá'í world, recall the words of the Guardian in one of his last letters to the American Bahá'ís, dated September 21, 1957, words applicable not only to them but to all other Bahá'ís whose home fronts constitute a threat to the total success of the Crusade: "The fourth phase of the Ten Year Plan", he wrote, ". . . must witness ... on every home front, and particularly within the confines of the American homeland, this same spiritual re-invigoration, administrative expansion, and material replenishment, constituting the triple facets of a task which can brook no further delay . . ." He urged the friends to rescue "while there is yet time, their home front from the precarious position in which it now finds itself ... not to allow, through apathy, timidity or complacency, this one remaining opportunity to be irretrievably lost." He said, "I would rather entreat each and every one of them" through fresh consecration and "dynamic and decisive" action "to wipe out.... with one stroke, the deficiencies which have, to no small extent, bogged down the operations of the Crusade on the home front. . ." In that same message he warned that the Plan was suffering from these vital deficiencies "which, if not speedily and fundamentally remedied, will not only mutilate the Plan itself, but jeopardize the prizes won so laboriously since its inauguration."
There can be no doubt that if each individual believer in these national communities, where the goals are not yet won, will place his whole trust in God, if he will deeply search his heart and question whether he may not be the one privileged, indeed needed, to make the sacrifice of moving to one of those centres where a Local Assembly must be established, if he will call to mind the admonition of Bahá'u'lláh to deputize one in his stead if he is not himself able to go forth and teach, if he will rise toPage 318
higher levels of sacrifice in this hour of great need on the home fronts, the victory will be assured.
Not alone in the arena of teaching, but also in the pioneering field, the opportunities and high rewards that now beckon every Bahá'í are indeed priceless. They who have gone forth in His Name to the goal towns on the home fronts, or to distant lands where the banner of Bahá'u'lláh had to be implanted or to be kept waving, have given such victories to the Cause of God which down the corridors of time will reverberate to His glory, and which succeeding generations shall remember with pride and gratitude. They are now painstakingly and diligently buttressing the pillars on which shall soon be laid the splendrous dome of God's Universal House of Justice.
No consideration of needs in the teaching field at the present time can leave out that majestic theme of mass conversion which the Guardian introduced into his Global Crusade upon the eve of his departure from this world, and which he stated must immortalize the second half of this Plan, which itself is but a stage in the unfoldment of that Divine Plan which he characterized as `Abdu'l-Bahá'í "Mandate", His "world-encircling Plan", "the Master Plan of the appointed Centre of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant."
The pre-eminent task of teaching the Faith to the multitudes is "a task", the Guardian wrote, "so dear to the heart of `Abdu'l-Bahá; at once so sacred, so fundamental, and so urgent; primarily involving and challenging every single individual"; it is, he said, "the bedrock on which the solidity and the stability of the multiplying institutions of a rising Order must rest."
In the last months of Shoghi Effendi's precious life he encouraged the National Assemblies, and all those engaged in the teaching work, to make a far greater effort to bring about this portentous process of converting the masses. He urged them to simplify their methods of teaching and enrolling new believers, to remove obstacles from the path of those hungering for the Word of God. He said the fundamental thing was to plant in the heart of the seeker the knowledge that the Promised One had come, that Bahá'u'lláh was God's Divine Messenger for this Day, and to encourage him to accept His station and embrace His Faith. "The essential thing", he wrote, "is that the candidate for enrolment should believe in his heart in the truth of Bahá'u'lláh. Whether he is literate or illiterate, informed of all the Teachings or not, is beside the point entirely. When the spark of faith exists the essential Message is there, and gradually everything else can be added unto it." He pointed out that "those responsible for accepting new enrolments must just be sure of one thing -- that the heart of the applicant has been touched with the spirit of the Faith. Everything else can be built on this foundation gradually."Page 319
He promised us that once this spirit of mass conversion is released in the world, its momentum will increase mysteriously in every part of the planet. "As the Cause spreads all over the world", he assured us, "its rate of acceleration increases too, and new centres in Africa, in some mysterious way, have spiritual repercussions which aid in forming new centres everywhere." May not Africa have ignited Indonesia which fired Bolivia which in turn set ablaze India? That the beloved Guardian's words have already found fulfilment is evident in the astounding flood of teaching victories achieved this year, particularly in India, where more than eight thousand have entered the tabernacle of Bahá'u'lláh in the past eight months.
If every National Assembly, every Local Assembly and every individual believer will arise at this hour, and seize with both hands this God-given opportunity, we can hasten that joyous day foretold in the words of our beloved Guardian when he launched this glorious Global Crusade, a day when "the light of God's triumphant Faith, shining in all its power and glory, will have suffused and enveloped the entire planet."
"The purpose of the new National Assemblies in Africa, and the purpose of any administrative body," he wrote to one of these African Assemblies on August 8, 1957, "is to carry the Message to the people and enlist the sincere under the banner of this Faith. Your Assembly must never lose sight of this for a moment, and must go on courageously expanding the membership of the communities under your jurisdiction, and gradually educating the friends in both the Teachings and the Administration. Nothing could be more tragic than if the establishment of these great administrative bodies should stifle or bog down the teaching work. The early believers in both the East and the West, we must always remember, knew practically nothing compared to what the average Bahá'í knows about his Faith nowadays, yet they were the ones who shed their blood, the ones who arose and said: 'I believe', requiring no proof, and often never having read a single word of the Teachings."
Shoghi Effendi made it unmistakably clear that his words did not apply to Africa alone, for in another letter, written at his behest by an assistant secretary, we find it clearly stated that "What has been achieved in Africa sets an example to be followed by Bahá'ís everywhere.... The Guardian sees no reason why similar victories should not be achieved in all parts of the world." As early as 1938, in a letter to the American National Assembly, in which he stressed the "high privilege of Local Assemblies" in facilitating the admission of new believers, he wrote: "To them I wish particularly to appeal ... to desist from insisting too rigidly on the minor observances and beliefs, which might prove a stumbling-block in the way of any sincere applicant, whose eager desire is to enlist under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh." He was still making this same appeal towards the end ofPage 320
his life: the friends should be very careful not to place hindrances in the way of those who wish to accept the Faith. If we make the requirements too rigorous, we will cool off the initial enthusiasm, rebuff the hearts and cease to expand rapidly."
Keenly aware of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í words that: "The Hands of the Cause of God must spend all their time in teaching. Erelong will the assistance of the Heavenly Kingdom be manifest beyond all expectations and the words 'you will see people enter the Religion of God troop upon troop' be realized', we have decided that all the Hands, including those resident in the Holy Land, will devote as much of their time as possible to accelerating the process of mass conversion on the one hand, and on the other, in fulfilment of the Guardian's instructions, to meeting frequently with various National Assemblies in order to deliberate with them on ways and means of winning the goals of the Crusade.
The tasks facing the institution of the Hands and the members of its Teaching and Protection Boards grow in weight as the Ten Year Plan advances. Once again we appeal to the members of these Boards to be more mindful of the duties given them by their beloved Guardian and to devote their hearts, their energies and their time to the work he outlined for them. To the degree to which each Hand and each Board member concentrates on his own specific task will the work of our glorious Faith speedily attain those victories which alone can bring the World Crusade to a triumphal end.
On the occasion of the election of the eleven new European National Spiritual Assemblies next Ridvan six of the Hands of the Faith will be present as follows: Italy and Switzerland, Ugo Giachery; Belgium and Luxembourg, Dr. 'Ali-Muhammad Varqa; Holland and Denmark, Hasan Balyuzi; Sweden and Finland, Adelbert Muhlschlegel; Spain and Portugal, Paul Haney; Norway, John Ferraby, who will also attend the British Bahá'í Convention. The election of the new National Spiritual Assembly of Ceylon will be attended by Shu'u'llah 'Ala'i.
In addition to these activities, and after careful consideration of the over-all needs of the teaching work at this time in various continents, it has been decided that in view of the delicate state of health of Masd Bandni which prevents him from moving about, John Robarts will remain a Hand of the Cause in Africa. William Sears will devote as much time as possible to the work in the Western Hemisphere, to which he will proceed in the near future. Rahmatu'llah Muhajir, in view of the presence of both John Robarts and Enoch Olinga in Africa, will devote his time to the Asian and Pacific teaching fields, proceeding shortly on a lengthy tour which will take him as far as the islands of the South Pacific, later returning to the South East Asian field which is now being swept by aPage 321
mighty wave of enthusiasm for the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh and where the indigenous peoples are entering the Faith in great numbers.
Abu'l-Qasim Faizi will leave next spring to spend several months in the most promising mass conversion areas of Latin America, whilst Jalal Khazeh plans shortly a prolonged and extensive trip to the new centres in India where the people are truly entering the Faith in troops. 'Ali-Akbar Furutan and Leroy Ioas will both spend time assisting the European home fronts, the former in the near future, the latter during the summer months. All the Continental Hands have pledged themselves to travel as extensively as possible to promote the teaching and consolidation work in their areas.
With the erection in 1962 of twelve more future pillars of that supreme legislative Body of the Bahá'í world, a firm foundation will have been laid for the election of "that Universal House of Justice which," Shoghi Effendi stated, "as its title implies, is to be the exponent and guardian of that Divine Justice which can alone ensure the security of, and establish the reign of law and order in, a strangely disordered world."
We are now able to envisage the steps that must still be taken before that "Ark" referred to in Bahá'u'lláh's prophetic Tablet of Carmel shall come into being, an ark whose dwellers, the Guardian told us, "are the men of the Supreme House of Justice, which, in conformity with the exact provisions of the Will and Testament of the Centre of the Mighty Covenant, is the Body which should legislate on laws not explicitly revealed in the Text. In this Dispensation, these laws are destined to flow from this Holy Mountain, even as in the Mosaic Dispensation the law of God was promulgated from Zion."
The Chief Stewards of the Faith are therefore calling a Convention in the Holy Land for the election of the Universal House of Justice on the first, second and third days of Ridvan, 1963. The members of all National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies elected by the Bahá'ís in Ridvan, 1962 will, in conformity with the teachings, constitute the electoral body empowered to vote for this crowning unit of the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, upon whose deliberations the unique bounty of receiving divine inspiration has been bestowed, and whose decisions are infallibly guided by both The Báb and Bahá'u'lláh.
After long and conscientious consideration of the needs of the present hour and the writings of our dearly-loved Guardian, the following decision has been reached: All male voting members throughout the Bahá'í world are eligible for election to the Universal House of Justice. The Hands of the Cause do not limit the freedom of the electors. However, as they have been given the explicit duties of guarding over the security and ensuring the propagation of the Faith, they ask the electors to leave them free at this time to discharge their duties. When that supreme and infalliblePage 322
Body has been elected it will decide on all matters concerning its own membership.
At a later date, and in ample time for each qualified elector of the Universal House of Justice to cast his or her vote, a detailed election call, as well as ballots for those unable to attend the International Convention in the Holy Land will be issued from the World Centre.
Owing to conditions affecting the Cause which still prevail in the Middle East, it has become evident that it is not possible to hold the World Congress in BaZhddd in 1963, on the occasion of the world-wide celebrations of the "Most Great Jubilee", the Centenary of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh in the Garden of Ridvan. Prolonged investigations have shown us that to make plans at this time for it to take place there is out of the question. We have therefore decided that this first World Congress, the last of the great gatherings of the Bahá'ís to be summoned by Shoghi Effendi, which constitutes the joyous consummation of ten years of unprecedented work and achievement, shall be held in London, the city which enshrines his infinitely precious remains, on the 28th, 29th and 30th of April and the lst and 2nd of May, 1963, a period which includes the 9th and 12th days of Ridvan. In taking this decision we have been comforted by the knowledge that he himself, in view of the situation in this part of the world, expressed towards the end of his life, serious doubts as to whether it would be possible to hold the Congress in Baghdad. It must be a consolation to every believer who plans to be present on this unique occasion to know that he will be able to visit the grave of Shoghi Effendi and offer his prayers there as the last, majestic, glorious, globe-conquering Plan of his Guardian draws to its close.
Because of the dates set for the election of the Universal House of Justice and the World Congress -- both events of unique historic importance in this century, and which must perforce take place during the Ridvan period -- it has been decided to hold the elections of all National Spiritual Assemblies for the Bahá'í year 120 on the week-end beginning May 23rd, 1963. In making this decision we have been guided by the fact that the beloved Guardian himself permitted, in special rare circumstances, the Annual Conventions to be held outside the Ridvan period.
The challenge confronting the standard-bearers of Bahá'u'lláh in every continent of the globe, in every field of Bahá'í activity, in these swiftly passing hours is unprecedented; the opportunities lying within their reach are of such magnitude that only future generations can comprehend their glory and their significance in the majestic unfoldment of Bahá'u'lláh's World-Redeeming Order.
Not many years have passed since the beloved Guardian addressed to the Bahá'í world the following pregnant words, full of hope, full ofPage 323
longing, full of love and full of warning. We do well to recall them now when we face our last possible chance to consummate his Plan and to consolidate the foundations of the Universal House of Justice: "I appeal, as I close this review of the superb feats already accomplished, in the course of so many campaigns, by the heroic band of the warriors of Bahá'u'lláh, battling in His Name and by His aid for the purification, the unification and the spiritualization of a morally and spiritually bankrupt society, now hovering on the brink of self-destruction, for a renewed dedication, at this critical hour in the fortunes of mankind, on the part of the entire company of my spiritual brethren in every continent of the globe, to the high ideals of the Cause they have espoused, as well as to the immediate accomplishment of the goals of the Crusade on which they have embarked, be they in active service or not, of either sex, young as well as old, rich or poor, whether veteran or newly enrolled. . . "
He who was the Sign of God on earth has assured us that "The invisible hosts of the Abhá Kingdom are arrayed and ready to rush forth and ensure the triumph of every stout-hearted and persevering herald of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh", and that "God's Own Plan has been set in motion. It is gathering momentum with every passing day. The powers of heaven and earth mysteriously assist in its execution. Such an opportunity is irreplaceable. Let the doubter arise and himself verify the truth of such assertions. To try, to persevere, is to ensure ultimate and complete victory."In the service of the beloved Guardian,
MINDFUL BELOVED GUARDIAN'S EMPHASIS PREEMINENT SACRED TASK TEACHING FAITH MULTITUDES AND RECENT EVIDENCE MOUNTING WORLDWIDEPage 324
FLOOD ENROLMENTS URGE BELIEVERS OCCASION FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY ASCENSION MASTER JOIN US ARDENT PRAYERS ACCELERATION PROCESS MASS CONVERSION RESOLVE DEDICATE INDIVIDUAL EFFORTS ASSURE RESOUNDING VICTORIES REMAINING MONTHS HOLY CRUSADE AIRMAIL MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
The season of pilgrimage to the holy Shrines at the World Centre is once again under way, and believers from many parts of the Bahá'í world are being welcomed for the usual nine days of pilgrimage.
We have noted that some of the friends were not aware of the policy of the beloved Guardian with respect to visits to other Holy Places and points of interest in Israel. Shoghi Effendi permitted such visits after completion of the nine-day pilgrimage to the holiest Shrines of our Faith. The friends can remain in the Holy Land for several days after their pilgrimage for this purpose.
Although no general announcement should be made, and no quotation from this letter should be published in your News Letters, we feel that each National and Regional Assembly should have this information in order to answer any inquiries which may be made by the friends who contemplate making the pilgrimage.With warm Bahá'í love,
You have been informed, through the Message from the recent Annual Gathering of the Hands of the Cause, that the World Congress called by our beloved Guardian is to be held in the city of London, beginning April 28, 1963. We now wish to inform all the National and Regional Assemblies of the action which has been taken to coordinate the tremendous task of planning for this unique and historic event.Page 325
A Congress Arrangements Committee has been appointed to handle the detailed arrangements for the Congress. The members and officers are: Mildred Mottahedeh, Chairman; John Long, Vice-Chairman; Dorothy Ferraby, Secretary; John Wade, Assistant Secretary; David Hofman; Habib Nahai; and Edna True. This Committee will function from London. The work of this Committee will be under the general supervision of the Hands in the Holy Land, but the Committee will report directly to the International Bahá'í Council. Correspondence with National Assemblies concerning policy matters connected with the Congress will be carried on by the Council from the Holy Land, but correspondence about detailed arrangements will be with the Congress Arrangements Committee. The Council will shortly be in touch with the National and Regional Assemblies and will inform you of the procedures to be followed and the information needed.
In these fast-fleeting final months of the World Crusade every believer, and particularly the members of the National and Regional Assemblies who carry such heavy burdens of responsibility, surely will exert a supreme effort to ensure that the Most Great Jubilee can be befittingly celebrated by the attainment of all of the remaining goals of the beloved Guardian's Plan.With warm Bahá'í love,
The establishment of 21 National Assemblies in Latin America, the greater number having jurisdiction over people speaking Spanish, has raised problems regarding the publication of Bahá'í literature in that language. These problems provide the National Assemblies concerned with an opportunity to demonstrate that they are worthy of the status ordained for them in the Tablets of the Divine Plan by developing a system of inter-Assembly cooperation in publications in Spanish that will act as an example and an inspiration to National Assemblies faced with similar problems regarding publications in other languages.
The beloved Guardian has indicated the proper basis for such co-operation by calling for the formation in Buenos Aires of a Bahá'í Publishing Trust, which works under the auspices of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Argentina. Although each National AssemblyPage 326
is free to publish minor literature (including vernacular literature) for its own use, the bulk of the publishing in Spanish, and particularly the publishing of important books, must be by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of Buenos Aires. The National Assemblies of Latin America using Spanish literature should regard it as part of their responsibility under the Divine Plan to ensure the successful development of this Publishing Trust by facilitating the concentration in it of the publishing of Bahá'í literature in Spanish.
Any cooperative publishing ventures undertaken by interested National Assemblies should be executed through this Publishing Trust. Since the Argentinian National Assembly and its Publishing Trust must act as the pivot for such cooperation, other National Assemblies should refrain for the present from circulating each other about matters relating to publishing in Spanish. The Argentinian National Assembly, on the other hand, should pay due regard itself, and see that the Publishing Trust pays due regard, to the facilities available in other countries and do its utmost to ensure that publications fulfil the need of the other countries both in regard to content and production.
The adoption of the above scheme can be a milestone in the development of proper relations between National Assemblies in Latin America, and not only provide an instrument of great importance for the spread of the Faith in that area, but demonstrate to the whole world the force for unity that lies within the Bahá'í Administrative Order. We appeal to the National Assemblies concerned to exert every effort to make publishing of Bahá'í literature in Spanish a cooperative venture that will redound to the credit of the Cause.With warm Bahá'í love,
We feel moved to bring to your attention something which is not of major importance but nevertheless should be mentioned.
In correspondence received here in the Holy Land, we notice that the Hands are being increasingly referred to as the "Revered" Hands. We know that it is the love of the Bahá'ís and their respect for the members of this august institution that leads the friends to so designate us. However, as our beloved Guardian in referring to the Hands never used the adjectivePage 327
"revered", we would like the friends to please not use it. Whatever he called us is more than sufficient honour and bounty. He only mentioned us as Hands of the Cause of God. We feel that it is highly inappropriate that any adjective should be used in the way that "revered" is now being commonly used in referring to the Hands, and ask you to please share this request with the believers.With loving greetings,
Seven weeks have passed since the time we were all together at Bahji. Here in this first general letter since our Annual Gathering we share with you recent news of the Faith. Dear Milly's health is still the cause of much concern. She is confined to her room in the Master's house, has day and night nurses, and has not been able to attend any of our meetings. That is why her signature does not appear on any letter. Tarazu'llah Samandari is in the Holy Land, engaged with the valuable work on original Tablets which he began two years ago. Bill left for the United States early in November, Khadem is back there after a short visit to Persia, and Hermann plans to leave for South America early in February. JOE is now in India. Before proceeding there he travelled in the northern parts of Persia and met the believers in many centres. Muhajir, after a visit to Pakistan where he travelled in the interior of the country, is now also in India. He and JOE will be present at the large teaching conference planned for the end of December in the mass conversion area. Collis visited many Assemblies and centres en route to Australia, was present at the inauguration of the Teaching Institute in Madhya Pradesh in India, and also at the re-institution of the Colombo Spiritual Assembly in Ceylon. Agnes visited Hong Kong and the Philippines where she reported a remarkable expansion in teaching activity and many declarations. It is obvious that this area is now at the portals of mass conversion. Furutan left for Italy at the beginning of December, visited Cyprus en route, and is now in Switzerland. Hasan has been in the Holy Land working with Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum on the Archives, but is leaving this week for London. He will be back here in the weeks immediately preceding Ridvan. John Robarts has been visiting communities in North Africa, and is attending a conference in Nairobi toward the end of December. WePage 328
have had our dear Masd BanW much in mind, as the state of his health is still precluding him from actual participation in the affairs of the Cause. Both Ugo and Adelbert have suffered from ill health, but in spite of that they have been travelling in various parts of Europe.
The response to the financial appeal in our message has been very encouraging. Donations by individuals and Assemblies have increased, and the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States reports that substantial contributions intended for the International Fund have reached it. A Local Assembly in Panama (Canal Zone) has sent a contribution of five hundred dollars, which is remarkable in relation to the size and the circumstances of that community. However the need remains urgent to constantly encourage the believers to keep up a continuous and generous flow of funds, in the way envisaged by the beloved Guardian.
Recently in Panama City nine declarations were accepted at the same time, an event unprecedented there. The National Spiritual Assembly of Panama reports further exciting victories. It writes: "Due to the efforts of Alan and Ruth Pringle we now have eighty adult Bahá'ís on the Island of Ustupo. This does not even count the youth and children. The first Cuna has arisen to go to another island to give the Message. His name is Henrique Alfare. The Indian believers are now erecting a local Haziratu'l-Quds on the land donated by one Bahá'í on Ustupo."
France has celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Master's visit, has held a very successful, well-attended Teaching Conference in Lyons at which Ugo was present, and reports good press and radio publicity, and general improvement in both teaching and consolidation. A Conference of the European Hands, Board members and National Spiritual Assemblies will be held in Paris in mid-January.
In the British Isles goal towns are being steadily filled, mostly by new declarations. A report by Marion Hofman reads as follows: "We have just returned from a week-end School in South Wales, fully arranged by the new Pontypridd Spiritual Assembly. Nearly fifty attended, and they were predominantly Welsh -- real Welsh -- both Bahá'ís and contacts. One couple who only heard of the Faith last March, and declared in time to make the Assembly, already have one spiritual child, and the second should declare any moment. The Mayor of Pontypridd opened the School, wearing his official chain of office, read two Bahá'í prayers and stayed for two lectures and high tea. He had intended rushing off after fifteen minutes. Another councillor from Pontypridd and his wife attended the whole school."
Governors of four States of the United States issued proclamations to make Sunday, September 17th, 1961 "World Peace Day", because of the fact that Bahá'ís were observing the occasion.Page 329
Ecuador reports a very successful teaching conference with the participation of newly-declared Indian believers. Numbers have steadily increased there. In Canada the acceleration in teaching which began last year encouragingly continues. Centres and groups have been established on more Indian reservations. The National Spiritual Assembly of Canada writes that Bahá'í marriage is now recognized by the Province of Ontario. It further writes that, "Our new enrolments now number 192 on the home front and thirty-five in the Yukon. Many of these are Indians coming mainly from Alberta and Saskatchewan."
The Muslim Sharf'ah Court in Kuwait has officially recognized and endorsed a Bahá'í marriage performed in Qatar by its Local Spiritual Assembly. This is indeed a remarkable triumph for the Faith.
The South-East Asian Regional Assembly reports that the military government in Indonesia has issued instructions to local authorities to ban all Bahá'í activity and confiscate all Bahá'í property. No developments are as yet reported.
Because of the increasing use on the part of the believers of the adjective "Revered" whilst referring to the Hands of the Cause, we have asked the National Assemblies to request the friends to refrain from its use.
The season of pilgrimage is with us now. This year not many of the Persian friends whose turn is reached can come due to travel restrictions enforced in Iran. The presence of Tarazu'llah Samandari here during the pilgrimage season is a great boon and tremendously appreciated. His experiences in the Faith which he shares with the pilgrims are truly inspiring.
We have appointed the following Committee to take over the arrangements in London for the World Congress: Mildred Mottahedeh (Chairman), John Long (Vice-Chairman), Dorothy Ferraby (Secretary), John Wade (Assistant Secretary), David Hofman, Habib Nahai, Edna True. This Committee will explore possibilities for contracts with air lines, attend to hotel reservations, and carry out the policies decided here at the World Centre. The International Council is in correspondence with National Spiritual Assemblies to obtain all the information required.With deepest love,
WITH DEEPEST REGRET SHARE NEWS Bahá'í WORLD PASSING DEARLY LOVED HAND CAUSE OUTSTANDING BENEFACTRESS FAITH AMELIA COLLINS STOP UNFAILING SUPPORT LOVE DEVOTION BELOVED GUARDIAN DARKEST PERIOD HIS LIFE BROUGHT HER UNIQUE BOUNTY HIS DEEP AFFECTION ESTEEM CONFIDENCE AND HONOUR DIRECT ASSOCIATION WORK WORLD CENTRE STOP SIGNAL SERVICES EVERY FIELD Bahá'í ACTIVITY UNFORGETTABLE STOP PURCHASE SITE FUTURE MASHRIQU'L-ADHKAR MOUNT CARMEL GENEROUS GIFTS HASTENING CONSTRUCTION MOTHER TEMPLES FOUR CONTINENTS ACQUISITION NATIONAL HAZIRATU'L-QUDS ENDOWMENTS CONSTANT SUPPORT HOMEFRONTS WORLDWIDE TEACHING ENTERPRISES AMONG HER MUNIFICENT DONATIONS STOP URGE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS PARTICULARLY TEMPLES COMMEMORATE HER SHINING EXAMPLE CEASELESS SERVICES MAINTAINED UNTIL LAST BREATH STOP AIRMAIL MESSAGE HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To All Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual AssembliesFebruary 22, 1962
We feel that the friends would like to know who is eligible to attend the International Convention for the election of the Universal House of Justice to be held in Haifa on April 21-23, 1963. Only the Hands as Conveners of the Convention and the delegates, that is, the members of the National Assemblies, will be permitted to visit the Holy Land at this time. It should be particularly noted that members of National Assemblies will not be entitled to bring their wives and families to the Convention.
Pilgrimages will be suspended from March 15, 1963 for the rest of the pilgrim season to enable those residing at the World Centre to make the necessary preparations for the World Congress and the International Convention. The list of pilgrims who can be accommodated before that date is almost complete; those applying for pilgrimage after completion of the list will be put on a waiting list and notified later when they may come.
We are confident that the friends everywhere will appreciate that the pressure of work upon those resident in the Holy Land makes these limitations necessary.With warm Bahá'í love,
As you know, each National and Regional Assembly is responsible for providing semi-annual reports to the World Centre on the progress of the Ten Year Plan in their respective territories. These reports must reach the Holy Land not later than March 15 and September 15. The facts you provide each year in the March 15 report are of vital importance in preparing our Annual Ridvan Message.
In this crucial year preceding the great Jubilee, it is essential that the Bahá'ís of the world know exactly what remains to be accomplished to bring the World Crusade of our beloved Guardian to a triumphant conclusion in 1963. Our Message to the Annual Conventions this year will give the friends this information. We therefore urge you to mail your reports in time to reach Haifa not later than March 15.
As a general guide to assist you in preparing these reports, we attach an outline of the basic facts needed. If some of the details are not immediately available, please do not, h,old up the mailing of the report. Any such additional statistical information can be sent later, perhaps by cable. We would appreciate it if you would also include in your report any particularly noteworthy or interesting achievements during the past year, even though they may not be related directly to specific Crusade objectives or the goals of supplementary Plans. This category would include, for example, a listing of the Teaching Conferences and Week-end Schools held throughout your area.
We send you our deepest love and the assurance of our ardent prayers for the success of your devoted labours.In the service of the beloved Guardian,
To the Representatives of the Sponsoring Regional Assemblies at each Convention of the Goal Countries of EuropeApril 12, 1962
Enclosed is the Ridvan Message of the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land to the Annual Conventions of the Bahá'í world [see p. 340]. The special message to the Conventions of the European goal countries [see p. 3521 has already been sent to you. Both of these messages should bePage 335
presented by the Hand of the Cause attending each Convention, though not necessarily read by him because of the language problem.
We wish to inform the Conventions and the new National Assemblies that the Hands of the Cause are making a contribution of one thousand dollars to each of these eleven new Administrative Bodies, to inaugurate their National Funds. The announcement of this gift should be made by the Hand present at the Convention.
The late beloved Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins, before her death, arranged to make a separate contribution of one thousand dollars to each of the new National Funds, in loving appreciation of the great spiritual victory which has been won.
To facilitate transfer of these gifts, and in order to establish contact with the World Centre as quickly as possible, we request each new National Assembly to forward to Haifa the name and postal address of its Secretary and Treasurer, as well as the cable address of its National Office.With warm Bahá'í love,
Election of the Independent National Spiritual Assembly of Ceylon Ridvan 1962
To the Representative of the National Spiritual Assembly of India at the first Annual Convention of CeylonApril 13, 1962
Enclosed is the Ridvan Message of the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land to the Annual Conventions of the Bahá'í world. The special message to your Convention is also enclosed. Both of these messages should be presented by the Hand of the Cause attending the Convention, though not necessarily read by him because of the language problem.
We wish to inform the Convention and the new National Assembly that the Hands of the Cause are making a contribution of one thousand dollars to inaugurate the National Fund. The announcement of this gift should be made by the Hand present at the Convention.
A gift of one thousand dollars is being made also, on behalf of the late beloved Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins, who had such keen interest in the development of the Faith in Ceylon.
To facilitate transfer of these gifts, and in order to establish contact with the World Centre as quickly as possible, we request your new NationalPage 336
Assembly to forward to Haifa the name and postal address of its Secretary and Treasurer, as well as the cable address of its National Office as soon as possible.With warm Bahá'í love,
To the Hands of the Cause, Auxiliary Board Members, Representatives of National Assemblies, Delegates and Believers Gathered at the First Annual Convention of the Bahá'ís of Ceylon.Beloved Friends:
With hearts filled with gratitude and joy the Bahá'ís of both East and West contemplate the great victories won by our glorious Faith in the island of Ceylon, and congratulate the Community of the followers of the Most Great Name on the occasion of the election of their first National Spiritual Assembly, an event which consummates the formation of no less than forty-four of these important administrative institutions in the nine years of the World Crusade which have passed since its inauguration by our beloved Guardian in 1953, and which raises the number of the sustaining pillars of the Universal House of Justice to fifty-six.
The immensely fruitful period of world-wide expansion which has taken place between the twin Centenaries of the Cause of God has witnessed not only the rise of its Administrative Order in Ceylon but the beginning of that rapid expansion in the field of teaching which our beloved Guardian so ardently hoped would characterize the latter half of his world-encircling Ten Year Plan. From the moment when travelling teachers and dedicated pioneers, in response to the appeal of Shoghi Effendi, travelled to that distant island in the Indian Ocean, the progress of the Faith in that country has been constant and assured. Gradually the hearts of the people were won over, the first Assembly established, what was to become the future National Haziratu'l-Quds purchased, new groups and Local Assemblies formed and the roots of the community strengthened. That the Hand of the Almighty is overshadowing this promising community and blessing its endeavours is evident through the development, in recent months, of a powerful movement towards mass conversion, a movement which, in less than a year, has witnessed a fivefold increase in the number of those enlisted in the ranks of the Faith. Such extraordinary progress in a field which we have every reason to believe is that in which our greatest victories must be won in the months and years that lie immediately ahead, cannot but uplift the hearts of thePage 337
Ceylonese Bahá'ís, whether veterans or those recently enrolled, and fire them with determination to compete in this arena with their brethren on the Indian mainland, who, in the course of a single year, have welcomed into the world-wide community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh no less than thirteen thousand new souls.
The responsibility of the new National Assembly, now taking its place as an independent national body beside such venerable Oriental Assemblies as those of Persia, 'Iraq and India, and joining the ranks of the thirty-one other great administrative institutions raised up throughout the Eastern Hemisphere of the globe, is very great. At this auspicious moment we do well to recall the words of our beloved Guardian, addressed to other administrative bodies on other occasions, but providing for all that illumination in the conduct of Bahá'í affairs so essential if success is to be achieved in all fields, and the rapid expansion of the Faith assured.
The election of a national body, he stated in one of his letters to a newly formed Assembly, constitutes a "memorable milestone in the evolution of the institutions of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic Order." It is a "great turning-point in the rising fortunes of the institutions of this irresistibly advancing Order." It opens a "new phase in the unfoldment" of our beloved Faith. It must be "signalized by an upsurge of activity, a demonstration of Bahá'í solidarity, of devotion and of self-sacrifice unparalleled in the annals of the Faith in those regions ... ... The efforts, so nobly exerted in the past by the band of pioneers, resident believers and itinerant teachers ... must, in consequence of the auspicious opening of a new phase in the establishment of this Divine Order, be multiplied a hundred-fold, and the standard of consecration and of service to His Cause must be raised to still greater heights. No obstacle, however formidable, no test or trial, however severe, should deflect them for a moment from the task they have pledged themselves to fulfil." In weighty words he pointed out to us the great truth that "the administration of the Cause is to be conceived as an instrument and not a substitute for the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh ... it should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation."
The truly phenomenal victories being won in the area of Southern Asia at the present time must challenge the new National Assembly of Ceylon, and the body of the faithful whom it represents and serves, to arise and accomplish feats, during the remaining year of our beloved Guardian's Crusade, such as will astound the entire Bahá'í world. That long-awaited movement which has now commenced and which marks the entry of the people into the Cause of God by troops, must be accelerated and the great opportunities it offers be exploited to the full; the new national body must aid and assist the rapidly expanding Bahá'í community of Ceylon toPage 338
consolidate the existing Local Assemblies, to transform existing groups into Assemblies in anticipation of next Ridvan, and to increase the number of centres throughout the island; it must seek to obtain its own national incorporation, as well as that of all firmly grounded Local Assemblies, and endeavour to register the National Headquarters in the name of the new national body; it must encourage the holding of a summer school, teaching conferences, and deepening classes for the believers. Not a moment must be lost, during the twelve remaining precious months of our dearly-loved Guardian's Crusade, in furthering the advancement of the Cause of God in that country and in winning over, in the heart of this Buddhist stronghold, an ever-increasing number of its adherents to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.
As the Ceylonese believers labour to fulfil the high hopes their Guardian cherished for them, to accomplish his wishes and shed lustre on his glorious World Crusade during its closing year, they cannot do better than hold before them the lofty truths embodied in these words of his: "Not by the force of numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of teaching -- no matter how world-wide and elaborate in its character -- not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and sceptical age the supreme claim of the Abha Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely, the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh."HANDS OF THE CAUSE IN THE HOLY LAND
OCCASION WONDERFUL VICTORY EUROPE FULFILMENT BELOVED GUARDIANS HOPES CONGRATULATE COMMITTEE SIXTEEN YEAR LONG HISTORIC SERVICES MEMORA13LE CHAPTER ANNALS FAITH AMERICAN BELIEVERS.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
By the time this reaches you, you will have seen the Ridvan MessagePage 339
with all the wonderful news it contains of the phenomenal progress our beloved Guardian's Plan has made during the past year. Truly stiffing days are ahead, days of great challenge to every single one of us to further this wave of teaching which is now sweeping over so many countries, and which seems little short of a miraculous response to the wish expressed by Shoghi Effendi during the last months of his life.
You will note that we have informed the Bahá'í world that Local Assemblies can be constituted any time between this Ridvan and next. We felt that this action was imperative in order to assist the home fronts, and we urge the Hands travelling everywhere to do all they can to encourage the believers to take advantage of this opportunity and redouble their efforts to increase the Assemblies, particularly of course on the home fronts, but everywhere else as well.
We have been very short-handed here in Haifa, many times having only a quorum, due to the trips being made by different Hands of the Faith in the Holy Land. At the present moment Paul and John are away attending the European Conventions; Furutan returned some time ago from his fruitful trip to various centres in Europe, and MAI has just come back and brought us wonderful first-hand news of the extraordinary wave of mass conversion in India. Dear Samandari has just left for Turkey to visit and encourage the friends. He has been working steadily on the Tablets ever since our meeting in Bahji....
Our thoughts are with you all at the time of this great Ridvan Feast. We pray for you and ask you to pray for us who find ourselves with so much work at the World Centre, and less strength to carry it on than before.In the service of the beloved Guardian,
PRAYING SHRINES CONTINUOUS DIVINE OUTPOURINGS MAY ENABLE MUCH LOVED AMERICAN COMMUNITY VANGUARD HOST Bahá'u'lláhS EVER ADVANCING ARMY LAST YEAR BELOVED GUARDIANS CRUSADE ADD NEW VICTORIES BEFITTINGLY CROWN HISTORIC UNIQUE LABOURS STOP APPEAL ALL FRIENDS ARISE ENSURE PRECIOUS HARD WON GOALS HOMEFRONT ABROAD MAINTAINED POUR FORTH SUBSTANCE ASSIST MASS TEACHING ERECTION EUROPEAN TEMPLE FINAL YEAR GLOBE ENCIRCLING CRUSADE.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
As we stand on the threshold of that year which must culminate in the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh, the termination of the mightiest Spiritual Crusade in the history of mankind, the election of the Supreme Legislative Body of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, and the convocation of the first World Congress to be held by the followers of the Most Great Name, it behoves us, while there is yet time, to not only take stock of our precious and numerous victories but also to correctly assess the work still to be accomplished if we are to prove faithful to the priceless trust left in our hands by our beloved Guardian. The sands of time are swiftly running out; days and weeks will soon have slipped from our grasp forever; days in which we might have added one more victory to those already adorning the pages of the nine most momentous years in the Formative Age of our glorious Faith. Before the last lap of our race against time is run we may well pause for a moment of prayerful consideration, each one questioning himself as to where his duty lies, communing in his heart with the spirit of Shoghi Effendi, asking "Is there some special thing I can do?" before it is too late and the opportunity of a lifetime passes by forever.
The initial stage of that great victory, characterized by Shoghi Effendi as the "Spiritual Conquest of the Old World under a divinely conceived Plan", is taking place through the election this Ridvan of national bodies in the ten original goal countries of the second Seven Year Plan, as well as in Finland, which was added to their number, at the opening of the World Crusade, by the Guardian himself. The little short of miraculous achievement last year, on the part of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh throughout Latin America, which enabled them to erect no less than twenty-one independent pillars of the Universal House of Justice on the firm foundation of the number of Local Assemblies Shoghi Effendi specified as necessary prerequisites for the accomplishment, of that historic act, has been duplicated one year later by their brethren in Europe, where the steadfast and unremitting labours of the European Bahá'ís, coupled with the self-sacrificing and consecrated activity of a host of pioneers from both the Cradle of the Administrative Order and the land of Bahá'u'lláh's birth, have yielded an infinitely rich and promising harvest. The lamps of these great administrative institutions, which are destined in the course of time to become secondary Houses of Justices, are being lighted by thePage 341
power released through the operation of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan, in land after land. In the Indian Ocean the latest of these mighty beacons is now being kindled through the formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ceylon, swelling the ranks of those regional and national bodies girdling the entire world to no less than fifty-six, twenty-four in the Western Hemisphere and thirty-two in the Eastern Hemisphere. When we remember that in Ridvan, 1953 the tally of National Assemblies was twelve, and contemplate the fact that in exactly nine years forty-four of these autonomous institutions have been added, we are staggered by the magnitude of the task accomplished by the little band of BahAVIIAh's followers. How well we know who led us and who inspired us to such deeds! How well we know whose promises and whose praises rallied our often failing strength, kept our feet in the path of service, strengthened our hearts and fanned our faith until we lay in homage at his beloved feet such a victory as this!
Upon the foundations laid by Shoghi Effendi, the Sign of God on earth "that shadoweth all mankind", the divine Animus that poured its force into the embryonic institutions existing at the time of the Ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá -- He Who was the architect of Bahá'u'lláh's world-encircling Order -- have now been reared those initial pillars which must sustain the weight of an Institution which has been promised, for the first time in the history of this planet, unerring guidance in the discharge of its specially ordained tasks. From Chile to Alaska, from Britain to Japan, in the heart of the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, rising like a forest from the mainland of Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa, the pillars of the Universal House of Justice now stand, waiting to receive, next Ridvan, on the occasion of the first Jubilee Celebration of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh's prophetic mission, their mighty Crown.
In view of the supreme importance of consolidating the foundations of the National and Regional Assemblies at so momentous a juncture in Bahá'í history, the Hands of the Faith have decided to permit the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies any time between Ridvan, 1962 and Ridvan, 1963, following the example of the beloved Guardian who introduced this measure during the crucial year preceding the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the inception of the Bahá'í Cycle in 1944. We feel sure this will greatly assist and encourage those hard-pressed national communities which, in such countries as Germany, England, the United States, Canada and Australia, have not yet won the all-important home-front goal of forming the number of Local Assemblies he specified as an essential part of the tasks entrusted to their care under the provisions of his Crusade. It will also be eagerly seized upon by other communities throughout the world as an opportunity to add to thePage 342
trophies they themselves have already piled so high in the course of this Crusade and to vie with each other in an effort to achieve added distinction when the roll call of local victories is held at that joyous time when the entire Bahá'í world celebrates the Jubilee Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh.
Special consideration should be given at this time, by the believers everywhere, as well as their elected national representatives, to the World Bahá'í Congress, called by the beloved Guardian himself, which will be held in London, during the Ridvan period of 1963, from April 28 to May 2, the first of its kind in the history of the Cause, and constituting one of the objectives of the Ten Year Plan at the World Centre of the Faith. It is hoped that on this unique occasion when, in every continent of the globe, in every hamlet and city where Bahá'ís reside, the friends will be celebrating the holiest festival of the Bahá'í calendar, commemorating the anniversary of the "formal assumption by Bahá'u'lláh of His Prophetic Office", which ushered in the "king of days", the "Day of God Himself ", believers from all parts of the world will gather together and voice their thanksgiving and praise for the guidance given this age by the Supreme Manifestation of God, for the Divine Mandate the Centre of His Covenant devised for the spiritual conquest of this planet, for the Mighty Crusade fashioned by the Guardian to implement the terms of that Mandate, and for the innumerable, glorious and immortal victories won during the last decade. On that momentous occasion, to which all are invited and which it is hoped as many as possible will attend, particularly representatives of the diversified ethnic groups now included in the pale of the Faith, the friends will have the solemn privilege of visiting the resting-place of their dearly-loved Guardian, there to place in the homage of their hearts the offering of ten years of unsurpassed service in the annals of religious history, there to rededicate themselves to the work that lies ahead as the Divine Plan of `Abdu'l-Bahá enters a new phase in its unfoldment.
Already the extraordinary progress the Faith has made during the past twelve months in fulfilling the goals of the Plan conceived by Shoghi Effendi and entrusted to our care cannot but fill our hearts with astonishment at the magnitude of the victories won in so many fields in so short a time. These triumphs bear eloquent tribute to the spiritual power released by him who, speaking with the Voice of Divine Authority, conferred upon the faithful followers of Bahá'u'lláh a capacity for accomplishment far beyond the understanding of those unaware of the Almighty Power of the Manifestation which flowed through him, and which has safely brought us to this glorious hour.
The standard of Bahá'u'lláh has now been raised in no less than two hundred and fifty-seven countries, islands and dependencies, including all of the virgin territories specified by Shoghi Effendi at the beginning ofPage 343
the Crusade with the exception of the ten lying within the Soviet orbit which up to the present time have proven inaccessible.
On the eve of the inauguration of the final year of this Crusade, the number of localities throughout the world where Bahá'ís reside is well over seven thousand five hundred, an increase of five thousand centres since the inception of the Plan in 1953. More than one thousand of these have been added during the past year, bringing the total in Australasia to one hundred and sixty-two, in the British Isles to one hundred and sixty-three, in Germany and Austria to one hundred and seventy, in the Goal Countries of Europe to nearly one hundred and eighty, in the Dominion of Canada to one hundred and eighty-four, in Latin America to five hundred and thirty-nine, in the Indian sub-continent to six hundred and seventy-one, in the entire Pacific area to nearly seven hundred, in Persia to more than one thousand one hundred, in the United States of America to nearly sixteen hundred, and in Africa to more than eighteen hundred and fifty. In the period since last Ridvan, Africa has overtaken both the "Cradle of the Faith" and the "Cradle of the Administrative Order", and now stands out as the area where "the warming and healing light of an all-conquering Revelation" radiates from more centres than any other continent of the globe.
The ninth year of the world-encircling Plan of the beloved Guardian has witnessed further striking progress in such widely dispersed regions as India, Latin America, the Pacific area, and Africa. The significant victories, achieved by the intrepid followers of Bahá'u'lláh in these lands, undoubtedly reflect the operation of those spiritual forces which both the Master and Shoghi Effendi promised would in the not distant future bring about a wave of new enrolments such as has not occurred since the early days of the Faith.
India, one of the first countries in the world to receive the light of a newly-born Revelation has, during the past year, witnessed a tide of mass conversion not only wholly unprecedented in that country but without parallel anywhere in the entire world during the last one hundred years of Bahá'í history. Since Ridvan, 1961 well over thirteen thousand new believers have come into the Faith as a result of the mass teaching campaign carried out in the villages of India by the members of what was previously a relatively small national community.
In Latin America ' , the area where such an outstanding victory was achieved last year by the formation of no less than twenty-one new pillars of the Universal House of Justice, the work of the Faith is progressing in all fields, under the aegis of these new national bodies, and rapid progress is being made in consolidating the communities within its borders and in carrying the Faith to the Indians, "the original inhabitants of America"Page 344
mentioned by `Abdu'l-Bahá in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, who are entering the Cause in great numbers. No less than sixty-two different Indian tribes are now represented in the Bahá'í communities of North, Central and South America, nearly four times the number mentioned by Shoghi Effendi five years ago in his Ridvan Message of 1957.
The Bolivian community, which a year ago had already fired the imagination of the Bahá'í world by the extraordinary progress made in attracting new adherents from the ranks of the Indian population, now has nearly four thousand believers, a gain of more than twenty-five hundred since last Ridvan. Latest reports indicate that as many as sixty Local Assemblies may be formed this year. Already these original inhabitants of Bolivia are arising to carry the flame of the Faith to neighbouring republics; recently, as a result of the devoted efforts of these pioneers, the rising tide of new enrolments amongst the descendants of an ancient American civilization has been extended to Peru and also to Chile where, during the last two months, nearly two hundred Indians have entered the Faith, representing the first conversions on such a scale in that country.
In Panama, where nearly three hundred Indian believers have been enrolled in recent months, the number of Assemblies will be doubled this year. In Mexico and Costa Rica, the past year has witnessed in the former a doubling of the number of believers comprising the national community, while the latter, as a result of a new wave of teaching activity on the part of its native believers, anticipates tripling this Ridvan the number of Local Assemblies existing a year ago.
Throughout the Pacific region the Cause continues to gain adherents at an ever accelerating pace. In South East Asia the number of believers has more than doubled in the past two years and now stands at the impressive total of fifteen thousand five hundred, nearly seven thousand of whom have been enrolled during the last six months. In the entire Pacific area the diverse races and peoples comprising the Bahá'í communities in that part of the globe have established the Faith in over one hundred new localities during the past twelve months, including, for the first time, the northern island of the Mentawai group, one of the most important links in that chain of islands which was the first territory in the Pacific to witness a mass movement into the Faith, a development which brought such great joy to the beloved Guardian in the closing years of his life.
The steady consolidation and rapid expansion taking place in Africa has brought the number of followers of Bahá'u'lláh in that continent to nearly thirty thousand, a gain of almost ten thousand believers since Ridvan a year ago. The most spectacular increases have occurred in the region of Central and East Africa, but substantial gains have also been recorded in the areas under the jurisdiction of the three other RegionalPage 345
National Assemblies; more than six hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies are now established throughout the length and breadth of that continent and its neighbouring islands, a total far exceeding that of any other major area in the Bahá'í world; three hundred and twenty-seven African tribes are now represented in the Bahá'í Community, more than forty having been added during the past year. Africa has indeed fulfilled the high hopes and confident expectations of the Guardian when, in his Message to the first Intercontinental Conference in Kampala, he alluded to the expansion even then beginning to take place there as "a multiplication designed ultimately to bring to a proper equipoise the divers ethnic elements comprised within the highly diversified world-embracing Bahá'í fellowship."
The steady gain which has taken place in recent years in the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies, comprising what Shoghi Effendi termed "the broad and indestructible foundation of a rising Order", has brought the total of these divinely-ordained institutions to well over two thousand, double the number which he so proudly announced in his last Message to the Bahá'í world. The total of incorporated Assemblies, both Local and National, now exceeds three hundred. Twenty-one of the fifty-six National and Regional Assemblies which will be established and functioning at the end of the Crusade have secured their incorporation; attainment of the remaining thirty-five registrations constitutes one of the major unfinished tasks of the Ten Year Plan, and must, during the final year of the Crusade engage the earnest efforts of those national bodies, both old and new, which have not yet achieved this important objective.
As the Cause steadily expands, recognition of its independent character by governmental authorities becomes increasingly important. This objective has been furthered during the past year by official acceptance of the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate throughout the Commonwealth of New Zealand, in the Province of Ontario in the Dominion of Canada, and in the States of Colorado and South Carolina in the United States of America. Nearly fifty sovereign states and governmental subdivisions have accorded legal recognition to the Bahá'í marriage ceremony. Bahá'í Holy Days are now officially recognized by school authorities in one hundred and five different countries, states and cities, including in the United States, seventy-seven school districts in twenty-seven States, as well as the District of Columbia.
The literature of the Faith has now been translated into no less than two hundred and ninety-six different languages, over two hundred of which have been completed since the beginning of the Ten Year Plan. Virtually all of the ninety-one originally specified by Shoghi Effendi as Crusade goals, or those subsequently approved by him as substitutions,Page 346
have been completed, with the exception of a few used in territories or countries within the Soviet orbit.
The completion and dedication of the Mother Temple of the Antipodes in Sydney, Australia, the second Mashriqu'l-Adhkar to be completed since the inception of the Crusade, constitutes still another milestone in the development of the institutions of the Faith during the past year. The nation-wide publicity attending this event, and the public interest which it aroused, foreshadow the fulfilment of the destiny of this sacred Structure as one of those great "Silent Teachers" of the Cause. In addition to the Temples already completed or under construction in four continents, sites for future Mashriqu'l-Adhkars have been acquired in nearly forty-five other localities, many of these representing goals of supplementary plans given by the Guardian himself to National or Regional Assemblies established since the beginning of the Crusade. Recent acquisitions include such properties in Rangoon, Burma; Istanbul, Turkey; Montevideo, Uruguay; as well as the site for the Mother Temple of Venezuela, now in the final stages of legal transfer to Bahá'í ownership.
Uninterrupted construction of the third great House of Worship called for by Shoghi Effendi, the Mother Temple of Europe, now rising in the heart of that continent, will require a continuous and sacrificial flow of funds, not only from the European believers, but from the friends in all parts of the globe who, mindful of the stirring promises of `Abdu'l-Bahá, will wish to share in this noble undertaking and hasten the day when still another continent will receive the blessings which flow from an Edifice dedicated solely to the mention of God and His praise.
During the remaining months of the World Crusade, when the financial requirements for attaining total victory are so tremendous, the friends everywhere must become aware, as never before, of the paramount need for a steady and continuous flow of contributions in support of their National Funds, an outpouring which the beloved Guardian characterized as "the life-blood" of the National and Regional Assemblies now called upon to complete their allotted goals in the few remaining months of his Plan. The spiritual significance and blessing of voluntary giving should be emphasized anew by each National Assembly as it presents to the members of its community the obligations which must still be discharged. The friends must be assisted to grasp the significance of these words of the beloved Guardian, calling upon each and every believer to place his or her share on the altar of Bahá'í sacrifice: "The institution of the National Fund, so vital and essential for the uninterrupted progress of these activities must, in particular, be assured of the whole-hearted, the ever-increasing and universal support of the mass of believers... All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. Upon the degree of self-sacrificePage 347
involved in these individual contributions will directly depend the efficacy and the spiritual influence which these nascent administrative institutions, called into being through the power of Bahá'u'lláh, and by virtue of the Design conceived by the Centre of His Covenant, will exert."
The body of the Bahá'ís throughout the world, the instruments through whom this latest phase in the Master Plan of `Abdu'l-Bahá alone can be accomplished, have opportunities now, in the remaining months of the World Crusade, which can never be theirs again, which no group of people will ever have in future decades and centuries. That they will permit a single objective of the Plan to fail owing to lack of the necessary material means to ensure its accomplishment is inconceivable.
A special appeal must be made, at this crucial point in the spread of our Faith, to all pioneers to remain steadfastly at their posts. The prizes won at such a cost of sacrifice and devotion on the part of not only those souls who abandoned their own countries or their own homes in order to assist in establishing the Cause in other lands or other centres, but on the part of many dedicated souls who poured their substance into the Joint Deputization Fund and various national funds, must be safeguarded and strengthened at all costs.
In particular those pioneers and believers, struggling in less promising parts of the globe, and lavishing on seemingly barren soil their labour of love for Bahá'u'lláh, should not lose heart; far from feeling discouraged over the lack of results in their territory they should receive fresh stimulation from the remarkable evidences of the progress of the work in other regions. Let them remember that the harvest now beginning to be reaped in India took many years to yield its first fruits, that the present rapid advances being made in Latin America represent the effort of decades, that the victories won in both Africa and the Pacific area are, as our Guardian himself pointed out, due in no small measure to the remarkable spiritual receptivity of the people in those parts of the world. Let them recall the innumerable promises enshrined in our Teachings which assure us that all nations and peoples will be quickened by this Faith and enter beneath its shadow, and, deriving fresh courage from these prophetic words, have confidence in the ultimate triumph of their labours and persevere in their dedicated service to the Cause of God. The friends, whether in lands now witnessing the first waves of mass conversion or striving in more difficult territories, must determine to compensate through their steadfast and unflagging toil for the disabilities still being suffered by the long-oppressed and valiant body of the faithful in Bahá'u'lláh's native land, as well as by their brethren in other countries where the traditional enemies of the Faith are seeking to put out its light and subvert its standard.Page 348
Indeed, not only must the host of Bahá'u'lláh's army stay at its post and guard its conquests, redressing the balance a thousandfold for those believers who live in lands where the institutions of the Faith have been officially banned, its properties confiscated, its Assemblies dissolved and its members threatened, but it must, on the eve of the last year of Shoghi Effendi's Crusade, recall his emphatic words that "the newly-opened territories of the globe must, under no circumstances, be allowed to relapse into the state of spiritual deprivation from which they have so recently and laboriously been rescued." While there is yet time it behoves those National Assemblies to which these precious virgin territories were originally entrusted, and some of which are at present without a single believer, to make one last supreme effort to heed the words of their Guardian and to comply with his explicit wish.
In reviewing the wonderful achievements of nine years' unremitting labour and the heavy responsibilities now resting upon the believers in every part of the world, the realization is forced upon every thinking Bahá'í that the Cause has entered an entirely new stage in its evolution. The response to the appeal of the Guardian in his last Message to the entire body of the faithful throughout the world for ". . . an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society, coupled with a corresponding increase in the number of Bahá'í centres . , ." has been truly stupendous. Already his ardent wish has been partially fulfilled. Forces over which we have no control are now sweeping us into an era of expansion breathtaking in its possibilities. The sudden enlistment, in a single country, of over thirteen thousand new believers in one year, the news which is pouring in to the World Centre of the Faith of the opening up of new areas where the possibility of mass enrolment is equally great and may, at any time, take place on an equally large scale, is awe-inspiring, nay almost frightening in the vista it exposes to our dazzled eyes. The handful of teachers and administrators, labouring in Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Pacific suddenly find themselves called upon, for the first time in the history of this Cause, to receive and welcome not a few hundred souls eager to enlist in the Army of Bahá'u'lláh but many thousands, and perhaps, in the near future, many hundreds of thousands. Such a sudden turn in the fortunes of a Faith which the Bahá'ís, with considerable complacency, have conceived of as being still in the slowly-growing, gradually maturing, laboriously evolving stage of its development, calls for a complete re-orientation of thought, a profound evaluation of motives, a careful study of those texts which can throw light on the needs of the present hour.Page 349
It was "troops" which `Abdu'l-Bahá so ardently desired should enter beneath the shadow of His Father's Cause. Troops are now entering. The entire purpose of His glorious Tablets of the Divine Plan was to initiate teaching on a world scale. "I fervently hope that in the nearfuture", He wrote in those Tablets, "the whole earth may be stirred and shaken by the results of your achievements."
Suddenly, like a thief in the night, we find that our sacrifices, our labours, great and small, during a period of one hundred and nineteen years, our pioneer efforts, especially those conducted during recent years, our laborious erection of various national and regional bodies in all parts of the globe, our silent prayers, our tears and patience and loyalty, have borne their miraculous fruit, and the first ripples of an awakening consciousness of the meaning and glory of Bahá'u'lláh's Message are passing over the sleeping giant of humanity.
This is not a religion destined for any one race or any one people. It is the property of the entire human race. Bahá'u'lláh has come to that soul who believes in Him. What concern is it of ours if, at this particular moment in history, it is those people of the world as yet uncorrupted by a materialistic civilization who are ready to accept Him? Is not this perhaps their unique and golden opportunity to receive the education of His teachings ere it is too late and the corrosive aspects of that civilization have educated them in ways that lead away from God rather than towards Him? May not, in the mysterious workings of God's Plan, so far above the capacity of our finite minds to grasp, this process of conversion on a large scale of the peoples of the Pacific Islands, the heart of India, the African continent and the descendants of the Aboriginal population of the Americas now taking place, release forces which will have wide repercussions in those venerable strongholds of both Eastern and Western culture whose people, overcome by spiritual lassitude, disillusioned and cynical, find themselves indifferent for the most part to the redemptive Message of Bahá'u'lláh?
Let us ponder these words of the Guardian and seek out, in the light of present events, their implication: "As the Plan bequeathed by `Abdu'l-Bahá unfolds, through successive decades of the present century, its measureless potentialities, and gathers within the field of its operations nation after nation in successive continents of the globe, it will be increasingly recognized not only as the most potent agency for the development of the World Administrative System, but also as a primary factor in the birth and efflorescence of the World Order itself in both the East and the West."
Nation after nation has been swept into the orbit of the Faith since 1921. The believers, acting for thirty-six years under the direct guidancePage 350
of the Interpreter of the Teachings of the Bahá'í Revelation, have been laying the foundation and erecting the framework of the administrative institutions of this Faith. How can we fail to perceive that the tabernacle having been raised, the people are now seeking its shelter?
Fifty-six great administrative institutions now exist in the Bahá'í world. Were such wonderful institutions as these fashioned to administer the affairs, for the most part, of a handful of believers? Or are they to be regarded as mighty doors flung wide to the world and designed to enable its spiritually hungry multitudes to enter into the stronghold of Almighty God? "The fundamental purpose of the Bahá'í Administration at the present time is to teach the Faith. Administering it is only to coordinate its activities and to safeguard it", wrote Shoghi Effendi, four months before he passed away, to one of the new European Regional Assemblies. He informed the Bahá'í world, that same year, that "the pre-eminent task of teaching the Faith to the multitudes" was "the bed-rock on which the solidity and the stability of the multiplying institutions of a rising Order must rest." In other words, these institutions, as they grow and consolidate, must be outgoing and not ingrowing in their action. "Nothing could be more tragic", he wrote, "than if the establishment of these great administrative bodies should stifle ... the teaching work." "The purpose of the new National Assemblies ... and the purpose of any administrative body, is to carry the Message to the people and enlist the sincere under the banner of the Faith." In a letter written as late as July, 1957, to one of the Regional Assemblies, he said: ". . . the friends should be very careful not to place hindrances in the way of those who wish to accept the Faith. . . . The essential thing is that the candidate for enrolment should believe in his heart in the truth of Bahá'u'lláh. Whether he is literate or illiterate, informed of all the Teachings or not, is beside the point entirely. . . ." In another of his letters he said: "The early believers in both the East and the West, we must always remember, knew practically nothing compared to what the average Bahá'í knows about his Faith nowadays, yet they were the ones who shed their blood, the ones who arose and said: 'I believe', requiring no proof, and often never having read a single word of the Teachings. Therefore, those responsible for accepting new enrolments must just be sure of one thing -- that the heart of the applicant has been touched with the spirit of the Faith. Everything else can be built on this foundation gradually."
In the world today "a two-fold process", the Guardian wrote, can be distinguished, each tending, in its own way and with an accelerated momentum, to bring to a climax the forces that are transforming the face of our planet. The first is essentially an integrating process, while the second is fundamentally disruptive. The former, as it steadily evolves,Page 351
unfolds a System which may well serve as a pattern for that world polity towards which a strangely-disordered world is continually advancing; while the latter, as its disintegrating influence deepens, tends to tear down, with increasing violence, the antiquated barriers that seek to block humanity's progress towards its destined goal. The constructive process stands associated with the nascent Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and is the harbinger of the New World Order that Faith must erelong establish. The destructive forces that characterize the other should be identified with a civilization that has refused to answer to the expectation of a now age, and is consequently falling into chaos and decline."
Concomitant with the forces of integration working inside the Faith and those of disintegration working outside it is another process which he many times called to our attention: the chain reaction of victories and crises. Who can doubt for a moment that as the institutions of our Faith in land after land, gathering strength and being epitomized through the election of independent national bodies, responsible, in conjunction with the present Regional Assemblies, for the election one year from now of the Supreme House of Justice, are raised, forces will be released of such spiritual power as to galvanize the body of the Faith throughout the world with a new life and enable the Cause to sweep forward on its course and enter a new era in the process of its propagation to the masses of East and West, as well as its recognition and official acceptance as an independent World Religion. Who also can doubt for a moment that this very process of consolidation taking place during this last year of the Crusade, when the goals of the beloved Guardian, susceptible of accomplishment within the present framework of world affairs, are for the most part either won or within our reach, must inevitably unleash fresh trials and tests, challenging the devotion and tenacity of the friends and driving the roots of both the new believers and the national communities deeper into the soil of faith, as well as sifting out the weak and raising up the strong in that constant purification of the ranks of the faithful which takes place in the course of the growth of this World Community.
Whatever the immediate future may hold in store, either for us or for our fellow-men, the path of action we must tread lies clearly before us. "Ours", Shoghi Effendi pointed out, "is the duty to fix our gaze with undeviating attention on the duties and responsibilities confronting us at this present hour, to concentrate our resources, both material and spiritual, on the tasks that lie immediately ahead, to ensure that no time is wasted, that no opportunity is missed, that no obligation is evaded, that no task is half-heartedly performed, that no decision is procrastinated."
"The Kingdom of God", the beloved Master assured us, "is possessed of limitless potency. Audacious must be the army of life if the confirmingPage 352
aid of that Kingdom is to be repeatedly vouchsafed unto it.... Now is the time to reveal the force of one's strength, the stoutness of one's heart and the might of one's soul."
On the occasion of another Centenary, over eighteen years ago, the Guardian, in never-to-be-forgotten words, called upon us to arise and fulfil the work entrusted to our keeping. These words are as applicable, as deeply moving and passionate in their appeal, as if he had meant them for this present fate-laden hour. Let us open our hearts to their message of love and of the longing they convey: ". . . to all, without distinction of race, nation, class, colour, age or sex, I feel moved, as the fateful hour of a memorable centenary approaches, to address my plea, with all the fervour that my soul can command and all the love that my heart contains, to rededicate themselves, collectively and individually, to the task that lies ahead of them.... I direct my impassioned appeal to obey, as befits His warriors, the summons of the Lord of Hosts, and prepare for that Day of Days when His victorious battalions will, to the accompaniment of hosannas from the invisible angels in the Abhá Kingdom, celebrate the hour of final victory."HANDS OF THE CAUSE IN THE HOLY LAND
ELECTION OF THE 11 INDEPENDENT EUROPEAN NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES Ridvan 1962
To the Hands of the Cause, Auxiliary Board Members, Representatives of National Assemblies, Delegates and Believers Gathered during Ridvan, 119, at the Historic Conventions for the Election of Independent National Spiritual Assemblies in the Following Countries:Belgium Italy
On the occasion of the Ridvan Festival of the one hundred and nine-teenth year since the birth of this infinitely glorious Faith, the Bahá'ís the world over join with the Community of European believers in rejoicing over the great victories which have been won in the Name of Bahá'u'lláh, and which represent the consummation of the labour of sixteen years in the prosecution of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan in the continent of Europe.Page 353
From the moment when, at the dawn of this mightiest of Dispensations, The Báb addressed the "peoples of the West" in His Qayyumu'l-Asma', calling upon them to "issue forth from your cities" and aid His Cause, the process of the spiritual conquest of the Western World was set in motion. Who can estimate the magnitude of the forces released when no less a Being than the Author of the Faith Himself set foot, as the Guardian wrote, "on the fringes of the continent of Europe" and revealed there not only some of His most significant words addressed to the rulers of the world, but also "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh", His Surih of Kings. The Supreme Manifestation of God, led by the mysterious dispensations of Providence, sojourned on the soil of that continent for a period of almost five years; the Centre of His Covenant blessed that continent with His presence in the course of two official and freely undertaken visits which carried him to no less than eight of its countries. The Guardian of the Faith himself, during his thirty-six-year ministry, visited practically every country in the western part of that same continent, and finally passed away in the capital city of a nation whose impact on the fortunes of mankind, in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, has been wider and more far-reaching than that of any other western power.
It was during the first year of peace, following upon the greatest war in the history of mankind, that Shoghi Effendi inaugurated the second stage in the unfoldment of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan by calling upon the believers of North America to carry that Plan "a stage further across the ocean to the shores of the Old World, and to communicate, through the operation of its regenerative power, its healing influence to the peoples of the most afflicted, impoverished and agitated continent of the globe." With characteristic valour and determination they poured forth their resources and their pioneers in a steady, redemptive flow, neither slackening their pace nor failing in their responsibility until such time as the work entrusted to their care should yield its promised fruit. The crown of the consecrated labours which have carried them through the second Seven Year Plan and the mighty World Crusade which succeeded it, is now being placed upon the edifice their hands have largely been instrumental in rearing, through the election, this Ridvan, of no less than eleven independent National Spiritual Assemblies, in Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, raising thereby the number of pillars of the Universal House of Justice to fifteen in that continent which is the cradle of Western civilization.
That "host which", Shoghi Effendi wrote as early as 1946, "must, in the years to come, spiritually raise up the sorely ravaged continent of Europe" went forth to conquer and conquered on all fronts, in all fields, toPage 354
a most miraculous degree. Following in the footsteps of those early founders of the Faith who, at the turn of the century established the Cause of God in Paris and London, an ever-swelling number of believers, called by him "ambassadors of Bahá'u'lláh's New World Order", streamed forth from the New World to the Old. In more recent years these have been richly reinforced by a great flow of consecrated believers from the Cradle of the Faith. Unitedly these Bahá'ís from the West and the East have hastened to fill the goals and achieve the objectives set forth by their Guardian in the provisions of both his second Seven Year Plan and his Ten Year Crusade, until now, on the eve of the election of the Universal House of Justice, the eleven new national bodies, supplanting those he characterized as "interim regional institutions", find themselves proudly and securely founded on the requisite number of Local Assemblies specified by him and are in a position to go forward with courage, confidence and optimism, into the new life awaiting them and the national communities they represent.
The words of Shoghi Effendi himself best describe such pioneers as Europe has received into her bosom: "Of such men and women it may be truly said that to them 'every foreign land is a fatherland, and every fatherland a foreign land.' For their citizenship, it must be remembered, is in the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh." The full significance of these pregnant words of the beloved Master is now being partially unveiled before our eyes: "From the beginning of time until the present day the light of Divine Revelation hath arisen in the East and shed its radiance upon the West. The illumination thus shed hath, however, acquired in the West an extraordinary brilliancy." "The day is approaching when ye shall witness how, through the splendour of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, the West will have replaced the East, radiating the light of Divine Guidance."
These new national communities, poised on the threshold of their independent existence, may well pause and count their blessings, and in counting them find strength for the work that lies ahead and discern the shape of those tasks they must now set themselves to achieve. Not only have the original ten goal countries been increased, through the addition of Finland, to eleven autonomous areas, but the chain of islands encircling the European continent in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic and the Baltic Seas, as well as the Atlantic Ocean, have been illumined with the light of the Faith, received their quota of dedicated pioneers and, in a number of instances, been able to establish flourishing groups and Assemblies. The difficult goal of Spitzbergen, an outpost of the North where the Guardian so longed to see the banner of the Faith upraised, has been conquered since his passing; National Haziratu'l-Quds have been purchased in all eleven capital cities of the sovereign states which have nowPage 355
come of age in the world-encircling Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh; a number of national endowments have been acquired, as well as four of the five sites for future Bahá'í Temples which he specifically mentioned, the most sacred and important of these being that in the capital city of a land to which the beloved Guardian's heart was deeply attached and which was his own personal gift to the Swiss believers; the first European Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, the Mother Temple of the entire continent, has at long last begun to raise its walls in preparation for that joyous day when the followers of the Most Great Name can meet beneath its dome and befittingly praise Him Who is the begetter of their spiritual life, the Law-Giver of the entire planet and the loadstone of the hearts of all His lovers. On the occasion of the formation of the new national bodies it behoves their newly-elected members to orient themselves, from the outset of their activities, to the desires, hopes, and instructions of their departed Guardian whose loving guidance brought them into existence and obedience to whose slightest wish must be at once their greatest protection and the source of their strength and inspiration. The words which he addressed to the European Regional Assemblies in his first communications to them must now be passed on to their component parts which have attained, in pursuance of the provisions of his Crusade, their independent existence. In 1957 he wrote: "The efforts, so nobly exerted in the past by the band of pioneers, resident believers and itinerant teachers in each of these states, must, in consequence of the auspicious opening of a new phase in the establishment of this Divine Order, be multiplied a hundredfold, and the standard of consecration and of service to His Cause must be raised to still greater heights." "A concerted effort, systematic, strenuous and prolonged, must be exerted to increase, to an unprecedented extent, the number of the avowed supporters of the Faith in each of these countries. Simultaneously, a fresh impetus must be lent to the multiplication of isolated centres, groups and Local Assemblies, constituting the foundations of the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh in those regions."
"The primary duty laid upon all Bahá'ís by Bahá'u'lláh, Himself," he pointed out in those same letters, "is to teach the Cause of God. It is their greatest privilege and bounty ... .. The believers must be encouraged to teach individually in their own homes ... .. We have no priests, therefore the service once rendered by priests to their religions is the service every single Bahá'í is expected to render individually to his religion. He must be the one who enlightens new souls, confirms them, heals the wounded and the weary upon the road of life, and gives them to quaff from the chalice of everlasting life the knowledge of the Manifestation of God in His Day."
The emphasis which Shoghi Effendi placed on teaching, on the onePage 356
hand, found its counterpart, on the other, in an equal stress placed upon the importance of not introducing rigidity and uniformity in secondary matters, into the administration of the affairs of the communities. In those same historic letters to some of the European Regional Assemblies elected in 1957 he likewise stated:
"The fundamental purpose of the Bahá'í Administration at the present time is to teach the Faith. Administering it is only to coordinate its activities and to safeguard it. The friends must bear this clearly in mind; and he feels that he should point out to your Assembly, just embarking on its historic tasks, what he has many times pointed out to the old and tried national bodies, and that is that you should strenuously avoid introducing rules and regulations which will complicate the smooth working of the Faith in your region, handicap the Bahá'ís unnecessarily and confuse them." "When problems arise, the National Assembly can deal with them one by one in a loving and understanding manner, applying the Bahá'í Teachings both in the spirit and in the letter to their solution ... The fact that the affairs of the believers in these European communities are going to be administered on the spot, and for the most part by native Europeans, who understand both the problems and the psychology of the people, is a tremendous advantage. . ."
Every obstacle should be removed from the path of those seeking to embrace the Faith. We are not called upon to insist on a wide degree of knowledge of its teachings before enrolling new believers; our purpose must be to awaken in the hearts of those whom we seek to enlist in the ranks of Bahá'u'lláh's followers the belief in Him as the Manifestation of God, The Báb as His Forerunner, the Master as the Centre of His Covenant, and win their acceptance of the Administrative Order. We may well ask ourselves if perhaps one of the fundamental reasons why the people are not entering in "troops" in the strongholds of western civilization is this very tendency to seek to educate the mind in the teachings of the Faith rather than to light in the heart the fire of the love of God and belief in His Chosen One for this Day.
Strongly as our beloved Guardian urged the Assemblies not to raise obstacles in the path of those seeking to enrol, he nevertheless laid great emphasis on the importance of educating the Bahá'ís themselves in the teachings. One of the objectives given by him to the new Regional Assemblies of Europe was to "extend the scope and increase the number of existing summer schools". No doubt the new national communities will now develop, as time goes by, separate institutions of this nature for the instruction of the believers and visitors in their area and as adjuncts and instruments of that important process of deepening the knowledge and understanding of those already enrolled.Page 357
Every effort should likewise be made to incorporate as soon as possible the new national bodies, as well as all Local Assemblies existing on a firm foundation; to which should be added the further duty, alike specified by the Guardian himself, of seeking to have Bahá'í Holy Days and the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate recognized by the civil authorities. Although extraordinary progress has been made in the course of more than a decade, in the vital task of translating and printing Bahá'í literature, it must continue to receive special attention, and the instructions of Shoghi Effendi to those European nations using French as either their national tongue or one of their official languages, to cooperate and consult with each other and "avoid all duplication of effort, which is a waste of time and money" must be conscientiously borne in mind.
The importance of enrolling in the Cause representatives of various European racial minorities must not be forgotten for a moment, and the duty placed upon the Scandinavian and Finnish communities of introducing the Faith into the three Baltic States must be seriously considered by the new independent National Assemblies of that region and sedulously pursued.
At this crucial moment in Bahá'í history when that Supreme Administrative Body, the Universal House of Justice, which Shoghi Effendi likened to the dome which must rest upon the pillars of the national bodies and the foundation of the local bodies, is about to be elected one short year from now, the security of the foundations of these new National Assemblies is of paramount importance. It behoves them to recall the words of their Guardian, written at an earlier turning-point in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan, but equally applicable to the days we are about to pass through: "The spirit that has inflamed the pioneers who have set the seal of triumph ... must ... be constantly watched, kept alive and nourished." To no small degree the Assemblies of Europe owe their present existence to pioneers, largely drawn from the ranks of the American and Persian believers; their devotion, their self-sacrifice, the deep love for the Guardian of their Faith which led them to leave their own countries and rush to the assistance of young communities struggling to fulfil the present objectives of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Plan, must be acknowledged and receive the homage it deserves. Although problems may arise through the difference in background, language and customs, to meet these and overcome them, with deep Bahá'í love and the firm determination to understand and cooperate, is the obligation not only of every pioneer, but also those native Europeans who are called upon to accept their help and work with them in creating those purely indigenous communities which the Guardian repeatedly pointed out are the only safe foundation for the national and local institutions of the Cause to rest upon.
The responsibility for various territories which the Guardian himselfPage 358
allotted to some of the European Regional Assemblies as their special province, will, until the termination of the Crusade, be allocated as follows: the Balearic Islands to the National Spiritual Assembly of Spain; Sardinia, Sicily, Rhodes, San Marino and Monaco to the National Spiritual Assembly of Italy; Corsica and Liechtenstein to the National Spiritual Assembly of Switzerland.
A special appeal should be made to all the friends, whether residents of these European goal countries or pioneers, to adequately support their National Fund. However humble the offering, the friends must come to realize that contributing to this National Fund on a systematic basis, will enable the National Assembly to carry forward the glorious work of which its members are at once the servants and spiritual trustees. The privilege of supporting the institutions of our Faith cannot be overestimated. Largely due to the sacrifice and generosity of believers in other countries the Regional Assemblies have been able to carry on their work. Had it been possible for them to receive more they would have accomplished more. Now the time has come when the hitherto nascent communities have emerged into adult existence. They must learn to stand on their own feet, receiving the strength and blessings from on High which such an act brings.
The demands of the European Temple upon the limited resources of the Bahá'ís of that continent are not only extremely heavy during this last year of the Crusade, in order to complete the superstructure in time for the Centenary celebration of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Prophetic Mission, but must inevitably continue to be. so during the years immediately following this world-wide Jubilee. The bounties which will flow from this Mother Temple are, we know, incalculable; as it rises, its shadow will cast far and wide the fame of the Cause of God; it will be another of the great "Silent Teachers" shedding a lustre on the Faith which the accomplishment of no other single enterprise ever can. We therefore appeal to the new National Assemblies and the communities they represent to inaugurate, at the time their National Funds are established, a special European Temple Fund, to which all may contribute, in great or small measure, mindful that the act of everyone giving has a spiritual significance far surpassing the size of the gift and releases, beneficent forces which react on the life of both the individual and the community in a mysterious and highly potent manner.
What cause for rejoicing the European believers have as they stand on the threshold of a new epoch in the history of the Faith in their continent! North, South and West the long tally of victories nears completion as the last year of the Crusade opens. Before them lies Eastern Europe, where many of their brethren still hold aloft the torch of Bahá'u'lláh underPage 359
conditions requiring the greatest fortitude and persistence, waiting for the day when the remaining goals of our beloved Guardian's Crusade can be fulfilled. This arm of Bahá'u'lláh's followers, outstretched over Western Europe and pointing and stretching its fingers towards the East, is already ornamented by more than one priceless jewel, for in Bulgaria are laid to rest George Adam Benke, whom the Guardian called the first European martyr, as well as that "immortal heroine", Marion Jack, she whom he eulogized as the "shining example to pioneers of present and future generations of East and West". Dotted over many other countries are precious graves where other teachers and pioneers and "first to believe" of their countrymen lie buried, blessing the soil in which they rest, whilst in the azure waters of the Mediterranean lie the remains of Dorothy Baker, Hand of the Cause, and distinguished servant of the Faith.
No words can better convey the vastness of the opportunities that lie ahead, the sacredness of the responsibilities being presently assumed by so many new national communities, the glorious challenge facing each individual Bahá'í at this time, than those the beloved Guardian himself addressed to the first European Intercontinental Teaching Conference on the occasion of the inauguration of the European Campaign of his global Crusade. In never-to-be-forgotten words he painted the picture of the greatness of Europe's past, recounted the blessings she had received throughout her distinguished history, and expressed his hope that the believers toiling upon her soil, in the Name of Bahá'u'lláh, would out-shine in deeds the acts of the disciples of Jesus Christ:
"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 civilizations; the mainspring of a civilization 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 southwestern extremity a fast evolving Islamic 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; ... 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.Page 360
"May the elected representatives of the national Bahá'í communities aided by the Hands of the Cause. and their Auxiliary Board, reinforced by the local communities, the groups and isolated believers . . . be graciously assisted by the Lord of Hosts . . . and lend a tremendous impetus to the conversion, the reconciliation and the ultimate unification of the divers and conflicting peoples, races and classes dwelling" within that 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."HANDS OF THE CAUSE IN THE HOLY LAND
REJOICE LONG ANTICIPATED VICTORY HOMEFRONT FULFILLING BELOVED GUARDIANS PLAN VINDICATING HIS HOPES JUSTIFYING HIS CONFIDENCE REAFFIRMING SPIRITUAL VITALITY STRENGTH CHAMPION BUILDERS Bahá'u'lláh'S WORLD ORDER STOP HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENTS EUROPEAN LATIN AMERICAN FIELDS ESTABLISHMENT AEGIS AMERICAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SUCCESSIVE Ridvan 118 AND 119 THIRTYTWO INDEPENDENT NATIONAL BODIES REPRESENTING HARVEST THREE SUCCESSIVE STAGES UNFOLDMENT `Abdu'l-Bahá'í DIVINE PLAN UNFORGETTABLE STOP CONFIDENT LAST YEAR CRUSADE WILL WITNESS PART THIS GREATLY BLESSED DISTINGUISHED COMMUNITY MIGHTY WAVE ACTIVITY ENSURE PRESERVATION PRECIOUS GOALS ADD FURTHER DISTINCTION UNIQUE SERVICES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
JOYFULLY SHARE NEWS RECEIVED Ridvan PERIOD OUTSTANDING ADDITIONALPage 361
VICTORIES WON THROUGHOUT Bahá'í WORLD EVIDENCE DEVOTION CONSECRATION DETERMINATION BELIEVERS EAST WEST CROWN BELOVED GUARDIANS CRUSADE UNFADING GLORY STOP VITAL HOMEFRONT GOALS UNITED STATES CANADA BRITISH ISLES ATTAINED OR EXCEEDED THROUGH FORMATION MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES AMERICAN Bahá'í COMMUNITY SIXTYONE DOMINION OF CANADA AND FORTYEIGHT BRITISH ISLES STOP SINGLE ADDITIONAL ASSEMBLY NEEDED FULFIL GOAL HOMEFRONT GERMANY STOP ASSEMBLIES NOW ESTABLISHED CAPITAL CITIES ALL AUSTRALIAN STATES STOP RAPIDLY SPREADING CONFLAGRATION MASS CONVERSION REFLECTED FORMATION ONE HUNDRED TEN NEW LOCAL ASSEMBLIES INDIA TOTAL NOW FIVE TIMES NUMBER REQUIRED MEET CRUSADE GOAL STOP UNPRECEDENTED INCREASES REPORTED SOUTH-EAST ASIA AFRICA LATIN AMERICA STOP TWENTYFOUR NEW ASSEMBLIES PHILIPPINES WHERE TOTAL BELIEVERS NOW EXCEED ONE THOUSAND STOP SIXTEEN NEW ASSEMBLIES FORMED VIETNAM BRINGING TOTAL FORTY STOP CENTRAL EAST AFRICA REPORTS SIX HUNDRED SIXTY LOCAL ASSEMBLIES TWENTYSIX THOUSAND Bahá'ís INCLUDING OVER SIX THOUSAND CONGO WHICH SENT TWELVE DELEGATES CONVENTION INCLUDING FIRST PYGMY DELEGATE Bahá'í HISTORY STOP SIXTYTWO LOCAL ASSEMBLIES FORMED BOLIVIA FOCAL POINT MASS CONVERSION LATIN AMERICA STOP TWO HUNDRED NEW INDIAN BELIEVERS RECENTLY ENROLLED CHILE STOP NICARAGUA PANAMA RESPECTIVELY REPORT TRIPLING QUADRUPLING BELIEVERS LAST YEAR WITH INDIAN ENROLMENTS NUMBERING SEVERAL HUNDRED STOP URGE ALL NATIONAL BODIES SEIZE OPPORTUNITY FORM ADDITIONAL LOCAL ASSEMBLIES ANY TIME PRESENT YEAR ENSURE STILL GREATER INCREASE AVOWED SUPPORTERS GROUPS ASSEMBLIES ERE TERMINATION SACRED GLOBAL PLAN ENTRUSTED BELOVED GUARDIAN COMMUNITY MOST GREAT NAME STOP AIRMAIL MESSAGE HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
It is now six months since the passing of dear Milly Collins, and it has become evident that a ninth Custodian must be appointed for legal purposes, since we are liable to be asked in legal matters to give the names of the nine Custodians.
In accordance with the authority given the Hands in the Holy Land at the first Conclave, we have therefore appointed Hasan Balyuzi to act asPage 362
Custodian temporarily until the Hands meet. Hasan has for some time not been well, but we have urged him to come to Haifa as soon as his health permits.With loving Bahá'í greetings,
BASIS RECOMMENDATION OVERWHELMING MAJORITY HANDS CONCLAVE POSTPONED APRIL LOVE.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Goal Countries of EuropeJuly 27, 1962
As you know, the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Plan called for quadrupling the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies and tripling the number of localities which existed in each of the Goal Countries of Europe at the beginning of the Crusade. The first of these objectives was attained during the Ridvan period last year, a victory which gave inspiration and encouragement to the entire Bahá'í world.
In these closing months of the Crusade we request each National Assembly to compare the total number of localities where Bahá'ís reside within their respective countries with the number existing at the beginning of the Crusade, in order to ensure that this particular objective has been attained in every case. Naturally the maintenance of all existing Assemblies must not be jeopardized in any way in an effort to triple the total number of localities where Bahá'ís reside. We are confident that this is a Crusade objective which can and will be achieved in all the Goal Countries, if it has not already been attained.
The other remaining unfinished tasks of the beloved Guardian's Plan in the Goal Countries are the securing of the incorporation of National Assemblies and the incorporation of Local Assemblies in leading cities of these countries. These are objectives which should be pursued vigorously by each National Assembly to ensure their accomplishment before next Ridvan. In countries where it may not be possible to secure the incorporation of the National Assembly as a religious body at this time, it may bePage 363
possible to incorporate as a non-profit company of some nature, and this alternative should be carefully investigated if incorporation as a religious body appears doubtful.
Although some of the Goal Countries have succeeded in incorporating the Local Spiritual Assemblies in the capital city of those countries, others have no incorporated Local Assemblies, and the National Assemblies of these countries should urgently pursue this objective along with that of having the national body itself incorporated in some manner. Also additional local incorporations may be possible in those countries which have succeeded in registering the Local Assembly in the capital city.
We are confident that the National Assemblies of the European Goal Countries, an area where such victories have been won, will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to ensure that every objective of the beloved Guardian's Plan will, without exception, be accomplished by Ridvan, 1963.With warm Bahá'í love,
'The Ten Year Crusade is drawing to a close and the signs of its glorious fulfilment are everywhere apparent. In many ways the successes achieved have more than fulfilled the beloved Guardian's fondest hopes when he initiated it.
The greatest care must be taken, however, that the triumphal conclusion of the various national Plans in April, 1963 is not succeeded by an anticlimax in which pioneers leave their posts, Assemblies are lost and the work and sacrifices of the last ten years are marred by setbacks to the progress of the Cause.
Pioneers who have performed such noble services by leaving their homes to open territories, establish Assemblies, or consolidate what has been achieved at home and abroad should make every effort to remain at their posts after Ridvan, 1963 until their services can be dispensed with, remembering the appeal of the Guardian in one of his last messages that they should "remain at their posts", and bearing in mind that at the glorious yet critical juncture of the formation of the International House of Justice, any weakening of the administrative structure and depletion ofPage 364
the ranks of the vanguard of the faithful holding distant and difficult outposts of the Faith, would place in jeopardy the fruits of the World Crusade we have achieved so gloriously and in no small measure through the labours of the host of valiant pioneers.
The work of consolidation is scarcely less important than that of establishing and maintaining Assemblies, and sacrifices will be needed for these purposes after the completion of the Crusade as they have been needed during the ten years of its achievement.
We ask you to circulate this letter widely, in your newsletter or otherwise, so that all may see clearly where their duty to Bahá'u'lláh lies and may lay a firm foundation upon which the Cause can march from strength to strength in the years succeeding the Most Great Jubilee of 1963.With Bahá'í love,
You have received our cable of July 19 requesting all of you to send us your recommendation on the holding of the next Conclave.
We have now received replies from nearly all of the Hands, and the vote of the overwhelming majority is to hold the Conclave next April, beginning on the date mentioned in our cable, April 9, 1963. This vitally important gathering can be extended beyond the suggested nine-day period if it appears necessary or desirable to do so.
It has been suggested that all of the Hands, in making their arrangements for attending the Conclave, the Convention for the election of the House of Justice, and the World Congress, should plan on leaving open at least a week or two following the Congress for whatever initial consultations the members of the House of Justice may wish to hold with the Hands of the Cause.
We have just completed a detailed review of the few remaining unfinished goals of the beloved Guardian's Crusade, and have written the National Assemblies concerned, urging them to exert every effort to complete these vital tasks. Aside from those which our Beloved himself felt were doubtful of accomplishment, such as establishment of the Bahá'í courts in Islamic countries, the chief ones still to be won are the Australian home front and the incorporation of those National Assemblies which have not yet secured their registrations.Page 365
Recently we have approved a plan for carrying forward the work on the European Temple which will, unless unexpected delays occur, permit services of commemoration to be held in this sacred Edifice during Ridvan, 1963.
With warmest greetings and deepest love to you all,In the service of the beloved Guardian,
To All National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í WorldAugust 16,1962
This letter is to inform you that the Annual Gathering of the Hands of the Cause will be held beginning April 9, 1963, preceding the election of the Universal House of Justice.
The wonderful and thrilling victories throughout the Bahá'í world during the past year have made it possible for the Hands of the Faith to postpone their Annual Meeting and to concentrate their efforts on the all-important teaching work so that the "vast increase" of new believers envisioned by the beloved Guardian for this fourth and final phase of the Crusade may become a reality.
Holding the Annual Gathering in April will not only free the Hands of the Faith for this essential task, but will also help conserve the precious Funds of the Faith by eliminating the necessity of the Hands' assembling twice in the Holy Land this present Bahá'í year. The news from around the world brings frequent and thrilling accounts of fresh triumphs for our blessed Cause as it moves from victory to victory.
We urge each National Spiritual Assembly, as well as every individual Baha'i, to join the Hands of the Cause in every continent in taking advantage of this rising tide, so that every single believer may make a supreme and unprecedented effort to assure that "vast increase" in new believers envisioned by our beloved Guardian for this fourth phase of his glorious global Crusade.
Upon our success in discharging this responsibility together as "one soul in many bodies" will depend, in a large measure, the joy and happiness we will all share upon the occasion of the great Jubilee celebration of the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh to His Throne of Glory.
We shall pray earnestly at the sacred Threshold of the Blessed Beauty that each individual believer, each Local Assembly, and each National Assembly will arise during these closing hours of a Crusade, the equal ofPage 366
which mortal eyes will never see again, and enrich their record of services with a sacrifice, selflessness, and dedication unmatched by anything they have done in the past, individually or collectively.With warmest Bahá'í love,
To the Hands of the Cause of God throughout the WorldAugust 22, 1962
Reports of new teaching victories continue to reach the Holy Land from all parts of the world. Since Ridvan, mass conversion has begun in Brunei, and during the past two months alone the number of believers in Brunei has increased from 2,300 to 3,500. In Central and East Africa, nine African village Local Assemblies in Uganda have been legally incorporated, marking an historic step toward assuring the future progress and consolidation of these village communities. The number of believers now reported in the Indian subcontinent is well over 26,000. Mass conversion is still taking place in the Congo, in Panama, in Mexico and in the Philippine Islands. There are signs in many other areas of that "rapid increase" in new believers envisioned by our beloved Guardian.
Work is progressing satisfactorily on the European Temple in accordance with contracts which have been approved calling for the expenditure of approximately $120,000, and which will complete the exterior finish and, it is hoped, enough of the interior, including painting and plastering, to permit the holding of gatherings in the House of Worship on the occasion of the Most Great Jubilee.
Sir Barnet Janner, a Member of the British Parliament and Chairman of the Jewish Board of Guardians in Britain, visited the Shrine by invitation yesterday and met the Hands and the International Council. He is very friendly to the Faith and expressed his wish for further contact with the Bahá'ís in Britain.
Mingled with the news of these joyous victories comes the sad note of the passing of that faithful caretaker of the Mansion of Mazra'ih, 'Abdu'l-Rahman Jarrah. He passed away suddenly in Athens, Greece, while on holiday. His devoted services to the Faith have now been specially blessed by his being the first Bahá'í to be buried in the country of Greece.
Steps are being taken through the diplomatic missions to the United Nations to assist persecuted Berber believers who have been imprisoned in Morocco.Page 367
Plans for the World Convention for the election of the Universal House of Justice, and for the Most Great Jubilee, are receiving increasing attention as the historic hour for these two unprecedented events approaches.
With less than eight months remaining in which to fulfil every cherished aim of our beloved Guardian for his great global Crusade, we may well remind ourselves of our united conviction expressed at our last Annual Gathering. We all saw the urgency for the Hands in every continental area to work even more closely and energetically with the various National Assemblies through personal consultation when possible, or through frequent correspondence when not, so that the wonderful promises given by our beloved Guardian in his Message to the Hands and National Assemblies on June 4, 1957, may be fully realized, and that together we may "carry out unflinchingly" what our beloved Guardian has called our "sacred, inescapable duties".
"Upon the befitting discharge of the weighty responsibilities now resting upon the members of these two institutions", he tells us, will depend "the security of our precious Faith, the preservation of the spiritual health of the Bahá'í communities, the vitality of the faith of its individual members", as well as "the proper functioning of its laboriously erected institutions, the fruition of its world-wide enterprises" and "the fulfilment of its ultimate destiny".
The following is for your information only. Mr. Jean Donat, a believer from Reunion Island strongly suspected of contact with the Covenant-breakers, has recently been in England speaking against the institutions of the Faith. His case is now being investigated. A Covenant-breaker from Pakistan was recently in Britain and France. Tony Fillon, Covenant-breaker from South America, is reported to have gone to France from Ecuador. This may have no particular significance, but knowing France to be such a strong centre of sedition, it should put us on our guard.
Now, as never before, during the remaining eight months of our Chief-Stewardship, at a time when our enemies, both from within and without the Faith, may well make a supreme effort to hinder in every way they can, the successful culmination of our beloved Guardian's glorious Crusade, and the election of the Universal House of Justice, the Institution of the Hands of the Cause working, as directed by Shoghi Effendi himself, closely and constantly with the National Spiritual Assemblies, should be more vigilant than ever against what the beloved Guardian described as "evidences of increasing hostility without" and "persistent machinations within" the Cause. In this way, we can best protect the Faith against any attacks, but above all at this time, we can prevent anything from dampening the zeal and ardour of these National Spiritual Assemblies which must give such inspiring leadership to their communities during these finalPage 368
months of the Crusade when the great emphasis is upon reaching the masses in unprecedented numbers.
You are always in our thoughts and prayers when we visit the sacred Shrines. We know that during these fast-fleeting crucial days of this unparalleled Crusade, our hearts are united even more closely than ever, and that each one of us is determined to sacrifice his time, his energy, his very life so that we may offer the. full measure of our devotion in serving our beloved Guardian and the Cause for which he sacrificed his precious life.With warmest Bahá'í love,
To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of AmericaAugust 22, 1962
You have no doubt by this time heard of the imprisonment of fourteen of the Bahá'ís in Morocco and the strong steps taken against the Faith by the authorities in that country....
In view of the fanatical and prejudiced religious and political environment, great wisdom and caution must be exercised to avoid still greater and more intensified persecutions. We do not feel that it is wise to mobilize our forces for publicity and for action through the United Nations as was done in 1955 in the case of the Persian persecutions.
It has, however, been suggested that representations made to the diplomatic missions of Morocco in Washington and at the United Nations might be helpful from the standpoint of indicating that the world-wide Bahá'í community is aware of and is surprised and gravely concerned about the imprisonment of innocent Bahá'ís in Morocco, a country which has recently joined the family of independent nations.
We request that your Assembly make such a contact or contacts in the same way as was done a few months ago in the case of the Turkish diplomatic representatives in connection with the court case in that country. The non-political character of the Faith should of course be stressed, as well as its establishment in nearly 260 countries, islands and dependencies of the world.
We hope that a contact of this kind can be made in the very near future, so that it will effectively reinforce the steps already taken in Morocco itself to alleviate the situation. In the interviews with the MoroccanPage 369
representatives, the proper framework of approach would be to imply that undoubtedly the measures against the Bahá'ís were taken as a result of a misunderstanding based on incorrect information given the government regarding the Faith.
We shall be most interested in receiving a report on the results of your efforts to assist the dear friends in Morocco, who have shown great courage, wisdom and above all steadfastness in the face of these grievous difficulties.With warm Bahá'í love,
IF CONTACTED BY PRESS REGARDING STORY IMPRISONMENT FRIENDS MOROCCO ANY STATEMENT SHOULD EMPHASIZE ONLY PRINCIPLES OBEDIENCE GOVERNMENTS UNITY RELIGIONS STOP ESSENTIAL AVOID CONTROVERSY OR IMPLIED CRITICISM ACTION MOROCCAN GOVERNMENT.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
On August 28th this same message was cabled to the National Spiritual Assembly of France.===================================
WITH LESS THAN EIGHT MONTHS REMAINING BELOVED GUARDIANS GLORIOUS CRUSADE APPEAL EACH EVERY BELIEVER DEVOTED AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY ARISE NEW HEIGHT DEDICATION SACRIFICE CONQUER SHORTEST TIME POSSIBLE VIRTUALLY LAST REMAINING UNFULFILLED HOMEFRONT GOAL TEN YEAR PLAN ENTREAT EACH INDIVIDUAL BAHXI PRAYERFULLY RE-EXAMINE LIVES LIGHT THIS CRITICAL HOUR AUSTRALIAS SPIRITUAL DESTINY MAKE HEROIC EFFORTS PIONEER GOAL CITIES HOMEFRONT WITHOUT DELAY URGE EVERY Bahá'í TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE THIS SACRED PRECIOUS LAST OPPORTUNITY CONSECRATE TIME ENERGIES RESOURCES ON UNPARALLELED TEACHING EFFORT STOP PRAYING HOLYSHRINES ENTIRE COMMUNITY AUSTRALIA WILL ARISE ONE SOUL MANY BODIES MEET THIS GLORIOUS CHALLENGE FULFIL FONDEST HOPES BELOVED GUARDIAN.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
You have by this time received our communication of August 16 informing you that the Annual Gathering of the Hands of the Cause will be held next April, rather than in October or November as heretofore.
As you know, we have always requested each National Assembly to transmit its semi-annual reports on the progress of the Ten Year Plan in time to reach the Holy Land not later than March 15 and September 15. The facts provided in the March reports are shared with the Bahá'í world in our Annual Ridvan Message, and those in the September reports have been considered by the Hands in their Annual Meeting and used in preparing the message to the friends from that gathering.
Although the Annual Meeting will not take place at the usual time this year, the Hands will send a general message to the believers throughout the world, and it is essential that we have the information provided in the September semi-annual reports for inclusion in this message. We therefore request that you mail your reports in time to reach Haifa not later than September 30.
For the guidance of all National and Regional Assemblies we attach an outline of the basic statistical and other information needed. (Some of these headings, such as translations, may not apply in the case of all National Assemblies.)
Since Local Assemblies can be formed at any time during this final year of the World Crusade, we request that any Local Spiritual Assemblies formed since Ridvan be listed separately, in addition to including them in the total. We also ask that in the remaining months of the Ten Year Plan you inform the World Centre whenever additional new Assemblies are established or former ones restored.
In addition to the specific information called for, we would appreciate your including in your semi-annual report any other interesting or striking developments in your area which represent victories for the Faith. These should also be reported from time to time as they occur throughout the year.
We are confident that the rising tide of victories under the beloved Guardian's Plan, already evident in so many countries, will spread throughout the Bahá'í world in these glorious months preceding the Most Great Jubilee.With warm Bahá'í love,
Since our last letter to you, news has reached us of the activities of the supporters of Mason Remey in Latin America. A cablegram was received from the National Spiritual Assembly of Chile informing us that Fabienne Guillon, long-time member of the Chilean and Regional Assembly, and the other members of the Local Assembly of Loncoche, Chile, had accepted the claims of Remey.
Mas'ud Khamsf, Auxiliary Board member for Protection and a former member of the Regional Assembly which included Chile, was sent immediately to the spot by the Hands in the Western Hemisphere, following an exchange of cables with the World Centre. The National Assembly of Chile was cabled to have all the friends refrain from association with Guillon and other affected persons until a full investigation can be made. We are following the agreed steps of meeting and trying to save these people before expelling them from the Faith, in case all, or some, of them because of their inexperience, lack of sufficient knowledge of Covenant-breaking or Covenant-breakers, may have been unduly influenced and will renounce such baseless claims once the situation is clear to them.
This new flare-up has come apparently as a result of Bernardo Fillon returning to South America from France. The National Spiritual Assembly of Chile wrote us a letter which arrived after their cable about Loncoche telling us that Fillon was there trying to influence the friends. It now seems fairly apparent that following a meeting in France, some of the key conspirators of Mason Remey have gone out to renew their efforts to damage the Cause and undermine the faith of the friends.
Therefore, the things we shared with you in our recent letter concerning the application of the beloved Guardian's cable of June 4, 1957 to all the Continental Hands and National Spiritual Assemblies becomes even more urgent and vital. We must all redouble our vigilance and intensify our efforts to combat the spread of their evil influence wherever we find it.
We are preparing a letter to all National Spiritual Assemblies on this subject, and the significance of that June 4, 1957 cable of Shoghi Effendi. We are sending a special letter to Latin America including the above, but also giving them some background to share with the friends on the significance of Covenant-breaking so they will be better able to resist their insidious efforts.
We have asked dear Varqa to go to France to help strengthen that Community and to consult with the National Spiritual Assembly. He is there now and will remain for fifteen days. Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih KhanumPage 372
arrives in the World Centre Sunday from Europe. Faizi reports thrilling victories and wonderful news of his visit, to Bolivia, and also comments strongly on the grave general weakness of many Latin American areas. Leroy goes to America on personal business, after his trip to Europe where he has visited the. summer schools and made valuable visits to National Spiritual Assemblies of the Scandinavian countries and Germany. Muhajir is here at present, and is lending his valuable help to our consultations.
There has also been a wonderful flow of good news from the Bahá'í world. The Prime Minister of Uganda and his Personal Secretary, accompanied by the Director of Public Relations from the Israel Foreign Office with the possible future Israeli Ambassador to Uganda visited the Shrine of The Báb. The Prime Minister, Apollo Milton Obote was our guest of honour at a luncheon in the House of the Master. This is for your information as it will appear later in the News Letter from the International Council.
News of additional victories in the Philippines has reached us. They have increased their number to 2,000 believers. Since Ridvan they have doubled their centres to nearly 200. Among the new believers are members from four different tribes.
The teaching victories continue also in the Indian sub-continent, Africa and Bolivia. Dear Enoch, accompanied by Auxiliary Board member Max Kenyerezi, has arrived this week in the Congo and we are confident that ever-greater victories will be forthcoming from that fruitful area, following the success of his trips to Tanganyika, Kenya and Uganda.
We would be grateful for any news that you may have which might indicate increased activities by the enemies in your area, so that we may anticipate and minimize them.
We are all visiting the Shrine of the Blessed Beauty this afternoon, and will remember you in our prayers, and shall supplicate alt. that sacred Threshold that even greater victories may flood the earth during these precious, rapidly passing hours of our beloved Guardian's glorious Crusade.With warmest Bahá'í love,
We have noticed in the minutes of several National Assemblies thatPage 373
they are urging the members of their community to use the Long Obligatory Prayer. We consider this is neither part of the function of a National Assembly nor in accordance with the spirit of the teachings of the Faith, for the reasons given in the following letter sent to the New Zealand National Assembly:
We have noticed in your minutes of 26-27 May that you decided to encouragethe friends to use the Long Obligatory Prayer.
In taking this action, we feel that your National Assembly has exceeded
the powers given to it in the Administrative Order, insofar as Bahá'u'lláh
left the believers entirely free to choose between the three obligatory
prayers. Further He said: "To chant but one verse with joy and gladness
is better for you than reading all the Revelations of the OmnipotentGod with carelessness."
No pressure should be put upon the believers to say one of the three
prayers rather than another. If a believer feels inclined to say the
long prayer he should say it, and if for some reason he prefers one ofthe others he is quite free to say this instead.
We feel the Hands should use their influence to prevent such pressures, that are not in accordance with the law of Bahá'u'lláh, being put upon the believers.With Bahá'í love,
To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United StatesSeptember 23, 1962
As you know, fifteen of the believers are imprisoned in Morocco. We now have two lawyers working on their case, but nothing anyone has been able to do so far has permitted them to have. a speedy hearing or be let out on bail or be released. Needless to say, it is a very delicate problem because of the intense Muslim fanaticism which has led to their imprisonment....
We have been informed that the personal representative of the King of Morocco . . . is now heading that country's delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
We would like your National Assembly to consider seeking an interviewPage 374
with him, at which Bahá'í representatives would call to his attention the entirely non-political character of the Faith, our obedience to our governments, and that our beliefs are not in any way subversive towards any religion or any country. It might be possible also to enter a plea that this man would intervene with his King, the real power in the country, on behalf of these innocent Bahá'ís who are simple and relatively insignificant people, whose only sin seems to be their religious belief....With warmest loving greetings,
Plan speeds to an end, news of additional victories continues to brighten the closing months.
Plans for the World Convention and World Congress are progressing at an increased pace. The Hands of the Faith and the members of the International Bahá'í Council are working more closely than ever during these golden days still remaining of our beloved Guardian's World-Conquering Crusade.
India reports 34,000 believers, over 20,000 since Ridvan; Central and East Africa over 42,000. Borneo Island now has over 6,000 new believers since Ridvan, 3,000 in the past two months. There were 115 new believers among the San Blas Indians in Panama during the past month. One entire island of the San Blas group, named Islapino, has been conquered for the Faith, and four new Indian areas have been opened up there. The first Indian community in Argentina has been enrolled in the Faith across the border from Bolivia. The first all-Indian Local Assembly of Brazil was established in Logoa Grande. In England they have enrolled over 120 new believers since June, nearly as many as during the entire last year, which was a record year. This greatly increased effort is supported by no less than 100 fireside meetings each week.
Such victories have brought in their wake, as expected, increased attacks and opposition from the enemies. Two members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Chile, residing in Loncoche, Fabienne. Guillon and Sr. Pall6s, have become Covenant-breakers, supporting the false claims of Mason Remey. Both have been expelled. Mr. and Mrs. James Barrett of Panama, daughter and son-in-law of Fabienne Guillon, have also been expelled from the Faith for similar reasons. It has been reported that thePage 375
Local Spiritual Assembly of Loncoche is following Guillon and Pall6s. Faizi and Board member Mas'ud Khamsi are in Loncoche, Chile now to make an investigation. We are awaiting their report, and shall keep you informed.
The Remey supporters are sending out a flood of correspondence, repeating the same things over and over; this material includes a printed 52-page booklet by Remey which is a duplicate of all the things he said in 1960 and has been parroting since.
This brings you up to date on the activities of these Covenant-breakers. If you have any additional items to report, or have evidence of any increased activity, or the presence or movement of any of these enemies, we would appreciate immediate and regular reports.
Both the National Spiritual Assembly of Colombia and of Belgium have received official status from their respective governments during the past months.
The reports from the summer schools around the world all speak of the new spirit of enthusiasm and dedication, and many speak of the astonishing number of enrolments which took place during the sessions.
We shall remember you in our prayers at the sacred Shrines.With warmest Bahá'í love,
This letter is to share with you the very encouraging news that as many as 300 of the National Spiritual Assembly members may be attending in person the World Convention in the Holy Land. With reports from 37 National Assemblies, 253 have already stated definitely that they plan to attend. There are 19 National Assemblies still to send their final figures.
Because of his continued efforts to support the views of Mason Remey, both verbally and in writing, we have been obliged to expel Jean Donat of Reunion Island (in the South West African U.S.A. Region) from the Faith.
We have received the satisfying news that while Fabienne Guillon, National Spiritual Assembly member of Chile, has not renounced Remey, seven members of the Loncoche Community who wrote a letter to the Chilean National Spiritual Assembly supporting Mason, have now renouncedPage 376
him, This seven includes the other National Spiritual Assembly member, Jorgo Pallos. After meeting with Faizi, National Spiritual Assembly Secretary Alexander Reid and Board members Mas'ud Khamsi and Seymour Malkin, they have declared their complete loyalty to the Faith. Faizi has rendered a wonderful service to the Cause through his patience, love and wisdom, and has been most capably assisted by the National Spiritual Assembly of Chile and the, above mentioned Board members. It is indeed a great victory for the Cause and a blow to the enemies. It demonstrates again that the friends are misled by misinformation and deception, but when logical explanations based on the Teachings are offered to them, if they are sincere, they respond.
Our dear fellow-Hands have, of course, all been busy serving the Faith in different parts of the world; some of them have not been well. Hasan had an operation on his shoulder (nothing dangerous we understand) but he has not yet been able to come to Haifa as planned; we hope for his early arrival. Ugo has just completed an exhausting supervision, in the heat of the Rome summer, of the publication of our beloved Guardian's Mid-Way Point of the Crusade map. It is very beautiful, and will be a joy to the believers everywhere when it is placed on sale next Ridvan. Ugo is very run down and has left for some weeks' rest. Adelbert has visited every European Summer School except one; he also is in frail health. We hope when you pray for all of us you will particularly say healing prayers for these three Hands. Hermann, after his arduous tour of Latin America, has returned to Germany for a much-needed rest; Collis is embarking on a comprehensive tour of some of the Pacific Islands as well as centres in Australia and New Zealand. Enoch is now engaged in a tour of the Bahá'í Centres in the Congo; we have not yet received a report from him but are sure his visit will produce resounding victories in this fertile field. Samandarf, whose perseverance is a shining example to us all, is after several months in Turkey, visiting a series of Bahá'í communities throughout the Indian sub-continent and neighbourhood; his presence will no doubt greatly encourage new and old believers alike in serving the Faith. 'Ald'i, Varqa, Agnes, Khddern and John [Robarts] are all at their posts and carrying on their devoted services.
The Hands in the Holy Land aided by Muhajir, who is remaining here for some time after practically two years of uninterrupted travel, are as well as can be expected, and very busy.
Reports of the astonishing progress of our blessed Cause continue to reach the World Centre almost daily. In the last five months, 6,000 have accepted the Faith in Borneo, These victories are among the people of the Dayak tribe. Nearly 60 Local Assemblies have been established. There are 56 villages where the inhabitants are all Bahá'ís.Page 377
In the Philippines there are now 2,000 believers, 24 Local Spiritual Assemblies and 200 localities. Members from four different tribes have embraced the Faith.
In Vietnam 275 new believers have been enrolled, and 5 new Local Assemblies formed.
There is also wonderful news of great teaching and administrative strides in Costa Rica. They have progressed from 3 Local Spiritual Assemblies at the start of the Crusade to 8 in 1961, and in the past year they tripled this number to 24 Local Spiritual Assemblies, 8 of which Local Assemblies are in the fertile Indian regions.
Equally as thrilling, in view of the long years during which this project was unsuccessful in taking hold, is the news from the United States that there are now 66 Navajo Indians in one area who have accepted the Faith; 51 of them have enrolled during the past three months.
We shall continue to keep you closely informed of all events as they happen, and as we approach the glorious consummation of our beloved Guardian's World Crusade.With warmest Bahá'í love,
We are planning to issue, in time for sale at the World Congress to be held in London, a pamphlet similar to the one our beloved Guardian published in 1952 at the beginning of the World Crusade, bringing as far as possible the statistics and comparative information up to date.
We therefore request your Assembly to please not duplicate this effort; there are so many demands made upon National Funds at this time in order to win their goals, maintain those already won, keep pioneers in the field, publicize the Faith etc. that we feel the resources of the Faith must be carefully harboured for the most important tasks.
In the near future we shall be sending you suggestions regarding the national celebrations of the Most Great Jubilee, publicity in connection with it, etc.
Assuring you of our prayers for the success of your work when we visit the holy Shrines, and with warmest loving greetings,In the service of the beloved Guardian,
WITH THANKFUL HEARTS UNFAILING PROTECTION BELOVED GUARDIANS OWN HISTORY MAKING CRUSADE SHARE GLAD TIDINGS JUST RECEIVED CENTRAL EAST AFRICAN ASSEMBLY STOP OVER FIFFYONE THOUSAND BELIEVERS THIS AREA 763 ASSEMBLIES 665 GROUPS 587 CENTRES TOTALLING OVER 2,000 LOCALITIES STOP CONGO NOW LEADS AFRICAN CONTINENT WITH OVER THIRTY THOUSAND Bahá'ís STOP GREAT VICTORIES CHALLENGE BODY FAITHFUL EAST WEST ARISE CROWN OWN ENDEAVOURS MANNER BEFITTING CONSUMMATION CRUSADE CELEBRATION MOST GREAT JUBILEE NEXT Ridvan STOP SHARE MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
The enclosed Message should reach all the believers at the earliest possible date; wherever translation is necessary will you kindly see this is done at once and that it is circulated amongst the community immediately, thus enabling each and every Bahá'í to search his heart and ask himself what service he can personally render before these challenging last days of the beloved Guardian's glorious Crusade pass us by forever.With warmest loving greetings,
Upon the horizon of the Bahá'í world the splendorous light of the Most Great Jubilee is daily brightening. Six months stand between us and that occasion our beloved Guardian informed us would witness "the world-wide celebrations of the 'Most Great Festival', the 'King of Festivals', the 'Festival of God' Himself -- the Festival associated with the accession of Him Who is the Lord of the Kingdom to the throne of everlasting glory, and with the formal assumption by Him of His Prophetic Office ... that greatest of all Jubilees, related to the year 1335, mentioned by DanielPage 379
in the last Chapter of His Book, and associated by `Abdu'l-Bahá with tile world triumph of His Father's Faith." That time at which, the Master assured us "a century will have elapsed from the dawn of the Sun of Truth, then will the teachings of God be firmly established upon the earth, and the Divine Light shall flood the world from the East even unto the West. Then, on this day, will the faithful rejoice!"
It behoves us, standing on the threshold of so mighty an event, to pause and contemplate its magnitude and to renew in our hearts the image of that "adorable and ever-blessed Beauty", the Supreme Manifestation of God. His Own words, alone, can adequately reveal the glory of His Station and the significance of this Day:
"The Pen of Holiness ... hath writ upon A1y snow-white brow and in characters of effulgent glory these glowing, these musk-scented and holy words: 'Behold ye that dwell on earth, and ye denizens of heaven, bear witness, He in truth is your Well-Beloved. He it is Whose like the world of creation hath not seen, He Whose ravishing beauty hath delighted the eye of God, the Ordainer, the All-Powerful, the Incomparable! ' " ". . . the Tongue of Grandeur is now proclaiming: 'Lo, the sacred Pledge hath been fulfilled, for He, the Promised One, is come!'" "The Eternal Truth is now come. He hath lifted up the ensign of power, and is now shedding upon the world the unclouded splendour of His Revelation." "Tell the priest to ring the bells no longer. By God, the True One! The Most Mighty Bell hath appeared in the form of Him Who is the Most Great Name, and the fingers of the will of Thy Lord, the Most Exalted, the Most High, toll it out in the heaven o Immortality, in His Name, the All-Glorious. Naught is seen in My temple but the Temple of God, and in My beauty but His Beauty, and in My being but His Being, and in My self but His Self, and in My movement but His Movement, and in My acquiescence but His Acquiescence, and in My pen but His Pen, the Mighty, the All-Praised. There hath not been in My soul but the Truth, and in Myself naught could be seen but God."
"This is the King of Days, the Day that hath seen the coming of the Best-Beloved, Him Who through all eternity hath been acclaimed the Desire of the world." "This is the Day whereon naught can be seen except the splendours of the Light that shineth from the face of Thy Lord, the Gracious, the Most Bountiful.... This is the Day whereon the unseen world crieth out: 'Great is thy blessedness, 0 earth, for thou hast been made the foot-stool of thy God, and been chosen as the seat of His mighty throne.' " "The Scriptures of past Dispensations celebrate the great Jubilee that must needs greet this most great Day of God. Well is it with him that hath lived to see this Day and hath recognized its station." "In this most mighty Revelation all the Dispensations of the past have attainedPage 380
their highest, their final consummation." 'That which hath been made manifest in this pre-eminent, this most exalted Revelation, stands unparalleled in the annals of the past, nor will future ages witness its like."
Let us fix our gaze in adoration upon that figure, so inimitably delineated by the Guardian: "the incomparable. figure of Bahá'u'lláh, transcendent in His majesty, serene, awe-inspiring, unapproachably glorious." He Whom, He Himself testifies, the Prophets and Messengers addressed, on the eve of His Declaration, as "O Most Great Mystery, O Tabernacle of Immortality!" He, but for Whom, in His Own words, "no Divine Messenger would have been invested with the Robe of Prophethood, nor would any of the sacred Scriptures have been revealed." Let us call to mind, in His Own words, the period of His declaration in Baghdad, the Centenary of which is so close upon us: "'Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He Who is the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridvan and entered it. Guide, then, the people unto the Garden of Delight which God hath made the Throne of His Paradise . . ." "Rejoice, with exceeding gladness, 0 people of Baha! as ye call to remembrance the Day of supreme felicity, the Day whereon the Tongue of the Ancient of Days hath spoken, as He departed from His House proceeding to the Spot from which He shed upon the whole of creation the splendours of His Name, the All-Merciful."
"The mere contemplation", `Abdu'l-Bahá testified, "of the Dispensation inaugurated by the Blessed Beauty would have sufficed to overwhelm the saints of bygone ages -- saints who longed to partake. for one moment of its great glory." "How thankful must we be for having been made in this Day the recipients of so overwhelming a favour! Would that we had ten thousand lives that we might lay them down in thanksgiving for so rare a privilege, so high an attainment, so priceless a bounty!" "The holy ones of past ages and centuries have, each and all, yearned with tearful eyes to live, though for one moment, in the Day of God. Their longings unsatisfied, they repaired to the Great Beyond. How great, therefore, is the bounty of the Abh4 Beauty Who, notwithstanding our utter unworthiness, hath through His grace and mercy breathed into us in this divinely-illumined century the spirit of life, hath gathered us beneath the standard of the Beloved of the world, and chosen to confer upon us a bounty for which the mighty ones of bygone ages had craved in vain."
It was in November, 1951, that the beloved Guardian disclosed to our eyes the significance of the event we shall so shortly be celebrating throughout the Bahá'í world when he cabled that the first four Intercontinental Conferences scheduled to be held during the Holy Year were a "prelude to Most Great Jubilee which will alike commemorate Centenary formal assumption by Author of Bahá'í Revelation of His Prophetic OfficePage 381
and mark God willing world-wide establishment Faith forecast by Centre of Covenant in His Tablets and prophesied by Daniel in His Book thus paving way for advent of Golden Age destined witness world recognition universal proclamation ultimate triumph of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh." He said those Conferences marked the "inauguration beyond limits of World Centre of the Faith of intercontinental stage of Bahá'í activity . . .", and pointed out to us in glowing words that the "earthly symbols of Bahá'u'lláh's unearthly Sovereignty must needs, ere the decade separating the two memorable Jubilees draws to a close, be raised as far north as Franklin beyond the Arctic Circle and as far south as the Falkland Islands, marking the southern extremity of the Western Hemisphere, amidst the remote, lonely, inhospitable islands and archipelagos of the South Pacific, the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, the mountain fastnesses of Tibet, the jungles of Africa, the deserts of Arabia, the steppes of Russia, the Indian Reservations of North America, the wastelands of Siberia and Mongolia, amongst the Eskimos of Greenland and Alaska, the Negroes of Africa, the Buddhist strongholds in the heart of Asia, amongst Lapps of Finland, the Polynesians of the South Sea Islands, Negritos of the archipelagos of the South Pacific Ocean."
The celebration of the Most Great Jubilee marks the end of a century -- the greatest century this planet has ever seen, or will see, for a period of five hundred thousand years; a century in which the Promised One of all ages ascended the throne of Prophethood and shed the light of His Revelation from the Day of His Declaration upon mankind for twenty-nine years; a century which witnessed the ministry of that unique Being, the Centre of the Covenant, the Mystery of God, the perfect Man, Who served the Cause of His glorious Father for no less than twenty-nine years; a century during which His beloved eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Faith, laboured to establish that Cause over the face of the entire planet during the thirty-six years of his office; a century that encompassed fifty-eight years of the Heroic Age of the Faith; that was laved in its opening years by the precious blood of countless martyrs; that gave birth to the Formative Age of the Cause of God; that beheld the hoisting of the banner of Bahá'u'lláh in over two hundred and fifty states, dependencies, chief islands and territories of the globe; a century whose inauguration -- ushered in by the Declarations of the Twin Manifestations of God -- was so significant that it marked the end of a six-thousand-year-old religious cycle.
The mysterious workings of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, presided over by His divinely inspired Guardian, have enabled the followers of the Most Great Name to approach the coming Jubilee laden with the spoils of untold victories. Already in 1957, when almost half of the Ten Year PlanPage 382
had run its course, he himself testified to the extraordinary character of those victories: "The phenomenal advances made since the inception of this globe-girdling Crusade, in the brief space of less than five years, eclipses -- if we pause to ponder the scope and significance of recent developments -- in both the number and quality of the feats achieved by its prosecutors, any previous collective enterprise undertaken by the followers of the Faith, at any time and in any part of the world, since the close of the initial and most turbulent epoch of the Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation."
Who can doubt for a moment that the hopes he expressed at that time have been abundantly fulfilled? "May this Crusade," he wrote, "on which the privileged heirs and present successors of the heroes of the Primitive Age of our Faith have so auspiciously embarked, yield ... such a harvest as will amaze its prosecutors, astonish the world at large, and draw forth from the Source on High a measure of celestial strength adequate to ensure its triumphant consummation."
Every single territory of the globe named by him as a goal to be opened to the Faith, and apportioned amongst the original twelve national and regional bodies to whom the Plan was given, has been made the recipient of the light of Bahá'u'lláh, with the single exception of ten within the Soviet orbit, comprising a part of that group which at the inception of the Crusade Shoghi Effendi himself indicated might prove inaccessible. In addition, those numerous supplementary goals, added by him at a later date, have, with one or two exceptions, likewise been opened to the Faith. The phase of the Crusade, which he told us at that time was about to open, has witnessed the fulfilment of his express desire and been truly "immortalized ... by an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith". By thousands and tens of thousands they have trooped into the Cause of God; behind them already can be seen the shadowy outlines of the hundreds of thousands and millions who are approaching it, tramping nearer day by day. When we remember that the appeal of the Guardian to teach the masses was practically the last words we received from him before his passing, and see that every week brings in a new record of enrolments in Africa, the sub-continent of India, the Pacific area and Latin America, our hearts are uplifted and comforted. We do not come empty-handed to our Most Great Jubilee. We have, by the grace of Bahá'u'lláh, witnessed the realization of those pregnant words of Shoghi Effendi, when he wrote at the inception of the Crusade, that it was "destined ... to diffuse the radiance of His Faith over the face of the entire planet."
The second aspect of the phase of the Ten Year Plan which, our beloved Guardian said, would open with the midway-point of the Crusade,Page 383
has likewise been fulfilled. The three great Temples he called upon the Bahá'ís of the world to rear during this period, now stand, in all their distinction and sanctity, in the heart of Africa, Australasia, and Europe, vibrating forth their spiritual power, joining as great "Silent Teachers", the beloved first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar raised in the heart of Asia and the Mother Temple of the West, built in the midmost heart of America. The roll call of languages in which our literature has been printed, the tribal and ethnic groups enlisted in the ranks of Bahá'u'lláh's followers, the Assemblies, groups and isolated centres throughout the world where Bahá'ís are labouring to establish the Kingdom of God upon earth, far surpasses the number originally given by Shoghi Effendi in his majestic outline of the tasks to be accomplished during the unique decade separating the two great Jubilees -- the celebration of the Centenary of the Year Nine, and the celebration of the Revelation of Baha'iu'llah's station in the plenitude of its splendour in Baghdad, which took place one hundred years ago.
So great an occasion calls for celebrations not only on an international scale, through the holding of the World Congress to take place in London during the Ridvan period, but nationally and locally, in every city, hamlet and village where Bahá'ís are to be found throughout the entire world. The fifty-six National and Regional Assemblies should immediately set plans in motion to befittingly commemorate this inestimably glorious event, to celebrate the praises of Bahá'u'lláh, to review the victories won during the Ton Year Crusade, to entertain friends and truth-seekers on special occasions, that they too may partake of our joy and receive that hospitality at our hands which is so highly prized in our teachings.
Mindful of their Guardian's instruction that the "avowed, the primary aim of this Spiritual Crusade is none other than the conquest of the citadels of men's hearts", they must seize this unique opportunity and "befittingly consummate" this great Centenary celebration. We are fortunate in having his own explicit instructions as to the manner in which the believers should celebrate an historic occasion of this nature: "An unprecedented, a carefully conceived, efficiently coordinated, nation-wide campaign, aiming at the proclamation of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, through speeches, articles in the press, and radio broadcasts, should be promptly initiated and vigorously prosecuted. The universality of the Faith, its aims and purposes, episodes in its dramatic history, testimonials to its transforming power, and the character and distinguishing features of its World Order should be emphasized and explained to the general public, and particularly to eminent friends and leaders sympathetic to its cause, who should be approached and invited to participate in the celebrations. Lectures, conferences, banquets, special publications should, toPage 384
whatever extent is practicable and according to the resources at the disposal of the believers, proclaim the character of this joyous Festival."
This infinitely precious Faith has, through the mercy of Bahá'u'lláh, now enveloped, as the Guardian hoped it would do, "the whole planet with the radiance of its splendour." We stand at the crossways; the unfoldment of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan, under the aegis of His divinely appointed successor, has passed through successive stages in its evolution and reached the point of victory to which the minor plans concerned with its prosecution, and devised and impelled forward by the tremendous drive and vision of Shoghi Effendi himself, have brought it. Many plans, as he himself forecast, will be needed to carry forward the world-redeeming Message of the Supreme Manifestation of God until such time as His Spirit covers the earth as the waters cover the sea, but none of them will be from our beloved Guardian's own pen. This is our last chance to pay him the tribute of our love, to lay before his memory, at the end of his Crusade, tenderly, sorrowfully, proudly, victory upon victory. We have seen, in the most miraculous manner, these past five years the repeated evidences of God's sustaining grace poured out upon us. Which one of us can doubt that it ties within our power to rise to still greater heights, to surge forward, in every part of the globe, and seize, in the last moments of our Guardian's Plan, still further glowing prizes to be heaped at his feet, in his name, as a token of his sacrifice for the glory of Bahá'u'lláh, at that moment when the world over we render Him thanks for His Revelation and pour out paeans of praise to His celestial Might and Beauty?
This is alike a time for great rejoicing and a time for deep soul-searching. Every believer has some particular service he or she can render in these last days of the Crusade; whether it be that long-delayed moment he arises and goes forth to strengthen one of the distant territories where pioneers are still urgently needed, including resettlement of one of the very few which, though previously opened, is at present lacking a resident pioneer, or to fill a home-front need, or to enter into some field of active teaching work, or to aid individually in the rapidly growing enlistment of the masses in the ranks of the Faith, or to give of his substance in supporting its meagre and overburdened Funds, of to attract new souls through opening his home, however humble, to the people of his town or village and inviting them to receive the loving gift of Bahá'í hospitality. No one need be deprived of the bounty of a last worthy service in the closing months of the Guardian's Crusade.
Who can doubt that the essence of true religion is love; the love of the Creator for His creature, the love of that shadowy creature for his Eternal Beloved, the love of men for all mankind? What greater moment during our lives will ever come than this moment to shower the love Bahá'u'lláhPage 385
has brought to this world on each other and on our fellow-men, bewildered, fearful, misled, ignorant, cold in a world of hatred, tension, misunderstanding, prejudice and bigotry? He Himself testified that "a spark of the fire of Thy love is enough to set ablaze a whole world." Let us pour out from our hearts, now overflowing in gratitude to Him and thanksgiving for His appearance in our midst, a measure of love upon our fellow-men which will quicken their souls and draw them to the shores of this Most Great Ocean to drink their fill and quench the fire of their separation and longing. Each one of us can do this, this lies within the power of each of us.
Now irrevocably associated with the termination of our beloved Guardian's Crusade comes another event of singular historic importance -- the election of the Universal House of Justice. On the first day of the "greatest Bahá'í Festival", in the shadow of the Shrine of The Báb, the election will take place of that august Body Shoghi Effendi said would be regarded by posterity as "the last refuge of a tottering civilization". The profound significance of this event, the sacred character of the setting in which it will take place, the nature of this unique Administrative Body, cannot be overestimated: "In a land", Shoghi Effendi wrote, "already revered and held sacred alle by the adherents of three of the world's outstanding religious systems", a land which "geographically, spiritually and administratively constitutes", he stated, "the heart of the entire planet", and is likewise "the heart and nerve-centre" of Bahá'u'lláh's 49 world-encompassing" Administrative Order and the "world seat" of that system -- in such a land the delegates for the election of the Universal House of Justice have been invited to foregather. In a spot overshadowed by Mt. Carmel, "the Hill of God and His Vineyard", the "Mountain of the Lord", to which "all nations shall flow"; faced by the plain of 'Akka, which Muhammad called the "Banquet-Hall of God" and that city it whose whiteness", He said, "is pleasing unto God", that city of which Bahá'u'lláh wrote: "Upon Our arrival We were welcomed with banners of light, whereupon the Voice of the Spirit cried out saying: 'Soon will all that dwell on earth be enlisted under these banners' "; in the neighbourhood of not only the Shrine of The Báb, which Shoghi Effendi associated with the words of Bahá'u'lláh in the Tablet of Carmel when He described "the celestial Kaaba round which have circled in adoration the favoured of God, the pure in heart, and the company of the most exalted angels", but of those three sanctified resting-places which our Guardian informed us were the "spot designed constitute focal centre Bahá'í Administrative Institutions at Faith's World Centre" -- in such a peerless setting as this will the first International Bahá'í Convention be convened.Page 386
That House which Shoghi Effendi called "the Supreme Legislative Body of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh"; which he identified with those majestic words of the Manifestation of God Himself in His Tablet of Carmel: "Erelong will God sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the people of Bahá who have been mentioned in the Book of Names"; which derives its being from no less a source than the Aqdas itself, designated by Shoghi Effendi "the Mother Book" of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation and the "Repository of His Laws"; which Bahá'u'lláh called the "Book of God" and is, He asserted, "My weightiest testimony unto all people"; and of which `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament states: "Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this Body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose of God Himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant" -- such a House as this, constituting, Shoghi Effendi tells us, "the last unit crowning the structure of the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh", will be elected next Ridvan.
At such a turning-point in the history of our Faith we are indeed blessed through having received, from both the Centre of the Covenant and His appointed Guardian, many indications as to both the function and method of election of this glorious Institution. "To the trustees of the House of Justice", Shoghi Effendi wrote, "He (Bahá'u'lláh) assigns the duty of legislating on matters not expressly provided in His Writings, and promises that God will 'inspire them with whatsoever He willeth.'" In His Will and Testament `Abdu'l-Bahá states: "And now, concerning the House of Justice which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error, it must be elected by universal suffrage, that is, by the believers. Its members must be manifestations of the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and understanding, must be steadfast in God's faith and the well-wishers of all mankind. By this House is meant the Universal House of Justice, that is, in all countries a secondary House of Justice must be instituted, and these secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of the Universal one. Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text." "It is incumbent upon these members (of the Universal House of Justice)", `Abdu'l-Bahá writes, "to gather in a certain place and deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book. Whatsoever they decide has the same effect as the Text itself."Page 387
The independence of this Supreme Body from its electorate is clearly set forth by the Guardian himself in his analysis of the provisions of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Will and Testament: "The powers and prerogatives of the Universal House of Justice, possessing the exclusive right to legislate on matters not explicitly revealed in the Most Holy Book; the ordinance exempting its members from any responsibility to those whom they represent, and from the obligation to conform to their views, convictions or sentiments; the specific provisions requiring the free and democratic election by the mass of the faithful of the Body that constitutes the sole legislative organ in the world-wide Bahá'í community -- these are among the features which combine to set apart the Order identified with the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh from any of the existing systems of human government." The members of that Body "are to follow," Shoghi Effendi says, "in a prayerful attitude, the dictates and promptings of their conscience. They may, indeed they must, acquaint themselves with the conditions prevailing among the community, must weigh dispassionately in their minds the merits of any case presented for their consideration, but must reserve for themselves the right of an unfettered decision. 'God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth', is Bahá'u'lláh's incontrovertible assurance. They, and not the body of those who either directly or indirectly elect them, have thus been made the recipients of the divine guidance which is at once the life-blood and ultimate safeguard of this Revelation." The Guardian has made abundantly clear that the enactments of the Universal House of Justice are "authoritative and binding" and that its "exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on such laws and ordinances as Bahá'u'lláh has not expressly revealed"; and that it is "the body designed to supplement and apply His (Bahá'u'lláh's) legislative ordinances".
Laboriously, painstakingly, over a period of thirty-six years, the Guardian implemented the instructions revealed in the Holy Text of Bahá'u'lláh's Writings and elaborated by `Abdu'l-Bahá. Over the face of the globe he ensured that those Local Spiritual Assemblies, which he characterized as "the chief sinews of Bahá'í society, as well as the ultimate foundation of its administrative structure", should be elected on a firm foundation; he said they were presently "designated as 'Spiritual Assemblies' -- an appellation that must in the course of time be replaced by their permanent and more descriptive title of 'Houses of Justice' . . ."; he informed us the National Assemblies, which the Master Himself had designated as "secondary Houses of Justice", would constitute "the electoral bodies in the formation of the International House of Justice"; he assured us that `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself had "established beyond any doubt the identity of the present Bahá'í Spiritual Assemblies with the Houses ofPage 388
Justice referred to by Bahá'u'lláh", and explained that "it has been found advisable to bestow upon the elected representatives of Bahá'í communities throughout the world the temporary appellation of Spiritual Assemblies, a term which, as the position and aims of the Bahá'í Faith are better understood and more fully recognized, will gradually be superseded by the permanent and more appropriate designation of House of Justice"; he stated that: "Upon the National Houses of Justice of the East and the West devolves the task, in conformity with the explicit provisions of the Will (of `Abdu'l-Bahá), of electing directly the members of the International House of Justice."
`Abdu'l-Bahá, in one of His Tablets, expounding upon the words of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, has made it clear that only men are eligible for election to the Universal House of Justice: "The House of Justice, however, according to the positive commandments of the Doctrine of God, has been specialized to the men, for a (specific) reason or exercise of wisdom on the part of God, and this reason will presently appear, even as the sun at midday." When specifically asked why women were not to be elected to this Supreme Body, Shoghi Effendi, through his secretary, gave the following explanation: "Regarding your question, the Master said the wisdom of having no women on the International House of Justice would become manifest in the future. We have no other indication than this.... when the International House of Justice is elected, there will only be men on it, as this is the law of the Aqdas."
With the closing of the first epoch in the unfoldment of `Abdu'l-Bahá'í Divine Plan we are now entering a new phase in the Formative Age of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. Who can doubt that with the election of this Supreme Legislative Body tremendous forces will be released? Already, as early as 1951, Shoghi Effendi told us the 1953 celebrations would signalize the "inauguration long-anticipated intercontinental stage in administrative evolution of Faith." He pointed out to us that the Crusade and its unfoldment would be "acclaimed by posterity as counterpart to consolidation Faith at its World Centre through recent formation International Bahá'í Council in Holy Land". We now stand on the threshold of what, no devout Bahá'í can question, is an event of incalculable spiritual significance. We are entering what Shoghi Effendi termed the "tenth part" of that majestic process which was "set in motion at the dawn of the Adamic cycle", the part which must witness: "the penetration of that light, in the course of numerous crusades and of successive epochs of both the Formative and Golden Ages of the Faith, into all the remaining territories of the globe through the erection of the entire machinery of Bahá'u'lláh's Administrative Order in all territories, both East and West, the stage at which the light of God's triumphant Faith shining in all itsPage 389
power and glory will have suffused and enveloped the entire planet." We have been assured by our Guardian that the history of this Faith "if read aright, may be said to resolve itself into a series of pulsations, of alternating crises and triumphs, leading it ever nearer to its divinely appointed destiny." The victorious termination of his Crusade, followed immediately by the erection of that Institution which he informs us is "the exponent and guardian of that Divine Justice which can alone ensure the security of, and establish the reign of law and order in, a strangely disordered world . . ." cannot but set in motion, once again, this process of crisis and triumph. With awe, with joy, with courage, with renewed dedication, we are ready to take the next step, comforted and encouraged by his assurance that in spite of the fact that "the tribulations attending the progressive unfoldment of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have indeed been such as to exceed in gravity those from which the religions of the past have suffered ... these tribulations have failed utterly to impair its unity, or to create, even temporarily, a breach in the ranks of its adherents. It has not only survived these ordeals, but has emerged, purified and inviolate, endowed with greater capacity to face and surmount any crisis which its resistless march may engender in the future."
"As the administrative processes expand," he explained, "as their operation steadily improves, as their necessity is more fully and strikingly demonstrated, and their beneficent influence correspondingly grows more apparent and evident, so will the blessings, the strength and guidance bestowed by Him Who animates and directs these processes be more abundantly vouchsafed to those who have been called upon to utilize them, in this age, for the execution of God's Purpose and for the ultimate redemption of a sore-stricken travailing humanity. Many will be the set-backs, the shocks and the disturbances, which the commotions of a convulsive age must produce; yet no force, however violent and world-wide in its range and catastrophic in its immediate consequences, can either halt these processes or deflect their appointed course. How great, then, the privilege, and how staggering the responsibility, of those who are destined to guard over them and to bring them eventually to full fruition. Nothing short of utter, of continuous consecration to His Will and Purpose can enable them to fulfil their high destiny."
Our invincible Faith "has gone", he wrote, "from strength to strength, has preserved its unity and integrity, has diffused its light over five continents, reared the institutions of its Administrative Order and spread its ramifications to the four corners of the earth, and launched its systematic campaigns in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. For such benefits, for such an arresting and majestic vindication of the undefeatable powers inherent in our precious Faith, we can but bow our heads inPage 390
humility, awe and thanksgiving, renew our pledge of fealty to it, and, each covenanting in his own heart, resolve to prove faithful to that pledge, and persevere to the very end, until our earthly share of servitude to so transcendent and priceless a Cause has been totally and completely fulfilled."HANDS OF THE CAUSE IN THE HOLY LAND
To All National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í WorldNovember 4, 1962
In accordance with the decision of the body of the Hands of the Cause of God regarding the election of the Universal House of Justice, we are enclosing nine ballot-papers and nine envelopes to contain these ballots, and nine copies of this covering letter, one for each member of your Assembly. These ballot-papers carry all the necessary instructions for voting.
The following information should be carefully read, and if there is anything which is not entirely clear, your questions should be sent immediately to the World Centre for clarification.
1. It is the members individually, and not the body of the National Assembly collectively, which makes up the electorate of the Universal House of Justice.
2. Because of the sacred nature of this historic occasion, and in order that those voting by mail may also partake of the spiritual atmosphere which surrounds this unique and unprecedented election, we urge each National and Regional Spiritual Assembly to make every effort to meet together in a body on this occasion; not as a part of a National Assembly session, but as a separate and distinct electoral session for the purpose of casting their ballots for the Universal House of Justice. If this proves unfeasible, the delegates may vote alone, and send their ballots to their National Secretary.
3. This covering letter of instructions should be read at that time. The attached selections concerning the nature of Bahá'í elections should also be shared with the delegates, and this should be followed by a period of prayer. Then, in that spiritual atmosphere, only those who are not able to attend the World Convention in person, should cast their ballots for the election of the Universal House of Justice.
4. Each ballot-paper should be placed in the ballot-envelope and sealed, and neither ballot-paper nor envelope should be signed. This envelope containing the ballot-paper should be placed inside a secondPage 391
envelope and sealed, and the name and address of the delegate written plainly upon it for identification purposes.
5. These envelopes should be given to the Secretary of the National Assembly, who will immediately send them by Registered Air Mail Post to the Hands of the Faith in the World Centre.
6. If any delegate has any doubt about his ability to be present at the World Convention in the Holy Land, he or she should vote by mail at this time. Then, if it is possible to attend in person, the ballot can be returned to the delegate after arrival in the Holy Land, so that the delegate may vote during the Convention itself.
7. Those who are planning to attend the World Convention should not vote at this time, but should bring their ballot-paper and envelope with them.
8. If, at the last minute, a delegate is unable to attend in person as planned, he should himself follow the steps outlined in this letter and send his properly enclosed ballot-paper by Registered Air Mail Post to the World Centre.
9. It is left to the judgement of each National and Regional Spiritual Assembly to set the date for such a meeting as mentioned above in Point No. 2. The important thing to remember, is to make certain that sufficient time is allowed so that these ballots will be received at the World Centre not later than April 10, 1963.
10. This letter and the enclosed ballot forms should be sent by the Secretary to each individual member of the National or Regional Assembly without delay. If translations are necessary, these can be sent later to the member needing them. However, only the original printed ballot will be valid for the election.
We are confident that each single delegate is keenly aware of the grave responsibility and blessed, sacred privilege which he or she has been given in participating in this unequalled event which will cast its holy and protective shadow down through the ages.
We shall pray ardently at the sacred Shrines that each one of you will be sustained, inspired, and guided by the Blessed Beauty, Bahá'u'lláh, in bringing into reality this august and glorious Institution which His Infallible Pen created, which the Master, `Abdu'l-Bahá, defined and exalted, and the foundations of which our beloved Guardian laboriously laid during thirty-six years of unremitting toil in perfecting the administrative institutions of the Faith and calling into being those National Assemblies which are the sustaining pillars of this Supreme Administrative Body whose members you are now called upon to elect.With warmest Bahá'í love,
The electors "must approach their task with absolute detachment" and
with "that purity of spirit that can alone obtain our Beloved's mostcherished desire."
The elector "is called upon to vote for none but those whom prayer andreflection have inspired him to uphold."
The elector has a "God-given right . . . to vote only in favour of those
who he is conscientiously convinced are the most worthy candidates."Shoghi Effendi
"Hence it is incumbent upon the chosen delegates to consider without the
least trace of passion and prejudice, and irrespective of any material
consideration, the names of only those who can best combine the necessary
qualities of unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained
mind, of recognized ability and mature experience."Shoghi Effendi
BALLOT FOR THE ELECTION OF THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE Ridvan, 1963
1. Our beloved Guardian has said that electors in a Bahá'í election should 41 consider without the least trace of passion and prejudice, and irrespective of any material consideration, the names of only those who can best combine the necessary qualities of unquestioned loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of recognized ability and mature experience."
2. He has also stated that "when the International House of Justice is elected, there will only be men on it, as this is the Law of the Aqdas."
3. The Hands of the Cause in their message of November 4, 1961, referred to the election of the Universal House of Justice in these terms: "That all male voting members throughout the Bahá'í world are eligible for election to the Universal House of Justice. The Hands do not limit the freedom of the electors. However, as they have been given the explicit duties of guarding over the security and ensuring the propagation of the Faith, they ask the electors of the House of JusticePage 393
to leave them free at this time to discharge their duties. When that Supreme and Infallible Body has been elected, it will decide on all matters concerning its own membership."NOTES:
The following instructions are for those who will be voting by mail:
(1) This ballot when completed should be given to the Secretary of your
Assembly in the envelope provided with it, and the envelope should besealed.
(2) All ballots should be mailed by the Secretaries of National and Regional
Spiritual Assemblies to reach the World Centre before Ridvan, 1963.
(3) Neither ballot paper nor envelope should be signed.
(4) Each of the nine names on the ballot should be written in block capitalletters and not written in long-hand.
(5) After each name, the name of the country should be written in block
capital letters, so that it is absolutely clear for whom the vote is cast,
in case of identical names in various parts of the world.
(6) Great care should be taken not to repeat any name.
(7) Votes must be cast for nine people. To vote for more than nine or lessthan nine will invalidate the ballot.
OVERJOYED SHARE BELIEVERS NOW RACING LAST LAP BELOVED GUARDIAN'S HISTORY MAKING CRUSADE THRILLING NEWS LATEST ACHIEVEMENTS MASS CONVERSION INDIAN SUBCONTINENT WHERE ALMOST THIRTY THOUSAND HAVE ENTERED FOLD FAITH SINCE Ridvan RAISING TOTAL ABOVEPage 394
FORTYTWO THOUSAND STOP 528 LOCAL ASSEMBLIES NOW ESTABLISHED 705 GROUPS 294 CENTRES TOTALLING 1527 LOCALITIES THROUGHOUT COUNTRY STOP GLORIOUS VICTORIES RECENTLY WON COMMUNITIES MOST GREAT NAME INDIA AFRICA CHALLENGE ENTIRE Bahá'í WORLD ONE LAST MIGHTY EFFORT ACHIEVE DISTINCTION ALL IMPORTANT TEACHING FIELD ERE PRECIOUS UNIQUE GLOBE GIRDLING PLAN DRAWS CLOSE STOP AIRMAIL MESSAGE HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
Among the many glorious victories being won during these closing months of the beloved Guardian's World Crusade is the establishment of a very large number of new Local Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world, in accordance with the action of the Hands of the Faith permitting Local Spiritual Assemblies to be formed at any time during the year preceding the great Jubilee in Ridvan, 1963.
The establishment of so many new Local Assemblies raises certain practical questions in connection with the assignment of delegates for the National Conventions which are to be held after the World Congress next year. In many cases it will be necessary to raise the number of delegates comprising the National Conventions in order to include newly-formed Assemblies in the apportionment of delegates. However, it is also necessary to establish a cut-off date so that each National Assembly will have ample time to make the apportionment of delegates and to carry out the other necessary steps in arranging for election of the delegates.
In order that the necessary actions may be taken by the World Centre and by the various Regional and National Assemblies, we are designating January 1, 1963 as the deadline for the establishment of Local Assemblies which are to be represented by delegates at the various National Conventions. In other words, only those Local Assemblies formed before January I of next year will be included in the apportionment of delegates for the National Conventions. We wish to emphasize that in accordance with the announcement made in our last Ridvan Message, Local Assemblies can continue to be formed up to April 21, 1963, but only those formed prior to January 1 can be represented by delegates at the National Conventions to be held in May, 1963.
In order that any necessary changes in the number of delegates due to an increase in number of Local Assemblies may be made, we request allPage 395
National and Regional Assemblies to inform the Hands in the Holy Land immediately after January 1, 1963 the number of Local Assemblies existing in their areas at that time; also, if any National Assemblies have not already done so, they should inform us as to the number of delegates comprising the last Annual Convention, held during the Ridvan period of 1962. This information should reach us in Haifa not later than January 15, 1963. As soon as possible thereafter, we shall inform each National Assembly the number of delegates approved for its National Convention.
As we approach the end of the World Crusade and the historic time of the Most Great Jubilee, it becomes increasingly evident that an ever greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit is taking place, assisting the devoted believers everywhere in their efforts to crown the beloved Guardian's Plan with unprecedented victories in its final months.With warm Bahá'í love,
As we draw closer to the historic festivities and activities which will take place next Ridvan, it becomes imperative for the National Assemblies to have a uniform policy in handling such important matters as publicity given to the election of the Universal House of Justice in the Holy Land next April. This would include both publicity at the time of the event, as well as from now on. We have devoted considerable thought to this matter, and in view of the policies of our beloved Guardian and his repeated emphasis on the importance of protecting the World Centre, the heart and nerve centre of the Faith, we wish to share with you our views and instructions in this matter.
As you are well aware, opposition to the Faith in Islamic countries is acute; there is a strong resentment against the Bahá'ís, not only on religious grounds, but also at the present time because our World Centre is situated in the State of Israel. This position, which has been brought about through the political situation in the world, only adds to our responsibility and the necessity for us to be wise and cautious in order to protect both the World Centre and our brethren who are living -- in large numbers -- in Muslim countries.
We feel that the great emphasis in publicity connected with the Jubilee next Ridvan should be on the Jubilee itself; in other words that thePage 396
Bahá'ís are celebrating the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh. The aims and purposes of the Faith can be stressed, its remarkable spread during the last ten years, and emphasis placed on the World Congress to be held in London, at which time representatives from all over the Bahá'í world will give thanks for the progress made, on the occasion of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh.
In focusing the attention of the press on the above lines of publicity, we will be able to reach many people with the name "BahaT', and acquaint them with the purposes and aims of our Faith.
Any reference to the holding of an international election in the Holy Land should cover the following points: That the various national Bahá'í communities are voting for the election of the Supreme Administrative Body of the Bahá'í Faith; that the World Centre of the Bahá'ís is situated in Israel because in 1868 the Founder of the Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, at that time a prisoner of the Turks, was exiled to 'Akka and passed away in that country; that as His tomb and that of His Forerunner, The Báb, are places of visitation for the Bahá'ís throughout the world, the World Centre was located in the vicinity of their resting-places; that it is the Spiritual and Administrative Centre of the Bahá'í Faith, and that its world-wide affairs are administered from this Centre.
We would like to call your attention to the fact that the beloved Guardian himself used more than one term in referring to the Universal House of Justice, especially the phrase "International House of Justice". In view of this we feel that, as in the eyes of the general public the term "Universal House of Justice" could be easily misconstrued, it would be better to use this other term, or to use it in conjunction with "Universal House of Justice". The use of the word "Infallible" in the press would also be in this category, since although it is clear to the Bahá'ís, it may be misunderstood and misrepresented by the public. We must always remember that when we publicize the Faith, our aim is not to make it seem something strange to the public, but rather to express its purposes and functions in ways that are easily understood and will not create prejudice or opposition.
We feel very strongly that at a time when tensions between the Arab States and other Muslim countries and Israel are acute, we must be exceedingly wise and not focus too much attention on the Convention to be held here. The greatness of this occasion in the eyes of the Bahá'ís could never be properly assessed; but there is no reason why we should tell the whole world this in the press if it is going to have the exact opposite effect and create more complications with which the Universal House of Justice will have to deal when it assumes its supremely important functions.Page 397
We ask that you do not circulate this letter in any way, but that where appropriate you summarize its contents in a confidential letter to the Local Assemblies throughout your area and any national committees which may be involved, emphasizing the importance of these instructions and the necessity for wise handling of what undoubtedly will prove to be an unprecedented opportunity for publicizing the Faith in the proper way.With warm Bahá'í love,
FROM MOROCCO NAVIDI INFORMS PRISONERS CONDEMNED RELIGIOUS GROUNDS RADIO HERE AND REUTERS NEWS DISPATCH STATES THREE CONDEMNED DEATH OTHERS LONG IMPRISONMENT HARD LABOUR STOP Bahá'í INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD IMMEDIATELY RELEASE OFFICIAL Bahá'í STATEMENT PRESS DEPLORING MOROCCAN RELIGIOUS PERSECUtion INJUSTICE FLOUTING ADHERENCE UN CHARTER ALSO RESOLUTION CONDEMNING RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE JUST ADOPTED UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY STOP STRESS USUAL POINTS Bahá'í POSITION OBEDIENCE GOVERNMENT STOP... KEEP US INFORMED DEVELOPMENTS PRAYING SUCCESS. [CABLE] HANDSFAITH Bahá'í LONDON DECEMBER 23,1962 RELAY BY CABLE AT OUR EXPENSE FOLLOWING ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES EUROPE ALSO NORTHWEST AFRICA QUOTE YOUR ASSEMBLY REQUESTED IMMEDIATELY CABLE U THANT SECRETARY GENERAL UNITED NATIONS NEW YORK REQUESTING HIS INTERVENTION BEHALF MOROCCAN Bahá'ís UNJUSTLY SENTENCED DEATH AND LIFE IMPRISONMENT RELIGIOUS GROUNDS IN DEFIANCE UN CHARTER STOP USE OWN WORDING STOP ALSO CONTACT UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION YOUR COUNTRY URGING SIMILAR APPEAL UTHANT UNQUOTE.[CABLE) HANDSFAITH
RELAY BY CABLE AT OUR EXPENSE FOLLOWING ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUALPage 398
ASSEMBLIES WESTERN HEMISPHERE QUOTE YOUR ASSEMBLY REQUESTED IMMEDIATELY CABLE U THANT SECRETARY GENERAL UNITED NATIONS NEW YORK REQUESTING HIS INTERVENTION BEHALF MOROCCAN Bahá'ís UNJUSTLY SENTENCED DEATH AND LIFE IMPRISONMENT RELIGIOUS GROUNDS IN DEFIANCE UN CHARTER STOP USE OWN WORDING STOP ALSO CONTACT UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION YOUR COUNTRY URGING SIMILAR APPEAL U THANT UNQUOTE.[CABLE) HANDSFAITH
On December 26th this same message was cabled to the National Spiritual Assemblies of:Australia
RELIABLE SOURCES ASSURE APPEAL FILED TRIAL SCHEDULED END JANUARY.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH.
To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of ...December 27, 1962
Further consideration of the way our support of the Moroccan Bahá'í prisoners is shaping up has led us to the conclusion that it is advisable for your National Assembly and all Local Assemblies to write letters direct to the Moroccan Ambassador in your country.
Obviously it should not be a form letter, but the points to be embodied should be the same as those we asked you to use in our recent letter regarding obtaining publicity. Stress should be laid on the fact that obedience to government is a fundamental part of the Bahá'í teachings and that far from discrediting Islam, all Bahá'ís, no matter what background they come from, believe Muhammad was the Prophet of God, the Quran a Holy Book, and love and respect Him and His teachings. No attack should be made either on the Moroccan government or the Moroccan court. The plea should be for justice and religious freedom.
We feel that following the wave of international publicity the case hasPage 399
received, and the actions being taken through the United Nations and other non-Bahá'í societies, this wave of letters reaching the Moroccan representative in different countries will keep the matter before that government and add pressure at the right time.With warm Bahá'í love,
To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of...January 27, 1963
The Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land have surveyed the number of delegates allocated to the various national communities for their National Convention, and have increased the number of delegates allocated to some of the communities.
The number of delegates allocated to your community for this year's National Convention is ...With warm Bahá'í love,
We are sending you the attached suggested Agenda for the Annual Gathering beginning April 9th in the Holy Land. You will see that wePage 404
have provided for any additional suggestions from the Hands of the Cause under the first item on the proposed Agenda: "Subjects Presented by the Hands". Any suggestions you may wish to add to the Agenda can be presented at this time at the outset of the Annual Gathering. If there are any other thoughts you may wish to express, please send them on to us after you have received and studied the attached suggested Agenda.
The news of additional teaching victories is received almost daily from various parts of the world, assuring a glorious conclusion to our beloved Guardian's Holy Crusade.
We are eagerly looking forward to your arrival in the Holy Land, the prelude to this unique and historic Ridvan Festival.With warmest and deepest Bahá'í love,
7. RELATIONSHIP OF THE HANDS AND THE HOUSE OF JUSTICE8. THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
Would you kindly convey to the Congress Arrangements Committee in London the following information:
Realizing that there may be problems which arise unexpectedly at the Congress, and are of a nature which the Congress Arrangements Committee may feel are not within its province, we have appointed three of the Hands residing in the Holy Land to be responsible for consulting with the Congress Arrangements Committee in case this should become necessary. They are: Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum, Mr. 'Ali-Akbar Furutan and Mr. Leroy Ioas.With loving greetings,
Enclosed is a preliminary draft of the program of the World Congress with names of speakers and chairmen of different sessions, but without the quotations which will appear on the printed program. Since some changes may still be necessary, we ask that you keep the contents confidential.
It has been exceedingly difficult to formulate this program, as you can well imagine. It has been our hope and aim throughout to produce a program which would be in keeping with the greatness of the occasion, and to have it as representative as possible, including the wonderful richness of races and ethnic groups now in the Faith. We also felt that the Hands, the conveners of the Congress, should not unduly monopolize the program. Our great difficulty has been in finding Bahá'ís, known to us, who will be present at the Congress, and who can address in English, an audience of over six thousand people.
We have a problem which we want to share with you before you come here for our Annual Gathering, as by then it may be too late to take action. We have decided that it would be both unwise and unbefitting the sacredness of the World Centre to have it seriously understaffed during the Congress. Two Hands, we feel, must be present here all the time. In order not to deprive anyone of the privilege of attending at least part ofPage 406
the beloved Guardian's Congress, we are arranging for four Hands residing in the Holy Land (who have volunteered to be here) to alternate during the first and second halves of the Congress. However, we find this will not cover all of the days some of them must be in London because of the plane schedules.
We would like to know if any of the other Hands would volunteer to make this sacrifice to ensure the protection of the World Centre; one who would be willing to stay the first part (up until Tuesday, April 30) and then go to the Congress, and one who would be willing to leave London on Tuesday, April 30, and come to Haifa. We can then adjust our program and the movements of the Hands here in a satisfactory manner, and at the same time never leave the World Centre unprotected.
Please let us know if any of you find this possible, so that we can make plans.
Needless to say, as the time draws nigh for so many wonderful events to take place, the work at the World Centre becomes increasingly heavy. It is a comfort to know that we will so soon be with you all again and able to consult together in our Conclave.With our warmest and deepest love,
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS 25TH MARCH 1963
(The members of National Spiritual Assemblies constitute the . Electoral College of the Universal House of Justice)
Note: The letter "c" indicates that the member is attending the International Convention in the Holy Land.ALASKA ARABIA
c Mr. Howard J. Brown Mr. Zabih'u'llah Goulmohamadic Mr. Robin C. Fowler Mr. Khosroo Khosravi
c Mrs. Lois Katherine Lee Mr. Masih'u'llah Rouhanic Mr. Robert E. Moul Dr. Manouchehr Salmanpour
c Mr. Badiollah Nosratpour c Miss Thelma Isobel PerksMr. Shapour Saeed c Mr. David Podger
Mr. Estanislao Alvarez Dr. M.deVasconcellos D. Cavalcante
c Mr. Athos Costas Miss Dinah de Almeida C. FrancaMrs. Costas Mr. Ernani Mentz
Mrs. Yolanda de Lopes c Mrs. Muriel Auble MiesslerMr. Sabino Ortega Mr. Vivaldo Ramos
c Mr. Andres Jachakollo Ticonac Mrs. Marguerite WorleyBRITISH ISLES BURMA
c Mr. Rowland Estall c Mr. Oloro Karen Sepiria EpyeruMr. Glen Eyford c Mr. Philip Hainsworth
c Mr. Lloyd G. Gardner c Mr. Sosipateri Malinga Isimai
c Mr. Frederick Graham c Mr. Israel Kanyerezi-Mukasa
c Mr. J. Douglas Martin c Mr. Kolonario Oule Omoyenc Mrs. Peggy Ross c Mrs. Isobel Alice Locke Sabri
c Mrs. Audrey Westheuser c Mr. Hassan Abdel Fattah SabriCEYLON CHILE
Mr. A. M. Eshbaghian Mr. S. Guillermo Aparicio Caro
Mrs. Heshmat Eshbaghian Miss Ema Luisa Cabezas GarciaMr. A.C.M. Fassy c Dr. Alexander Reid Ovendale
Mr. A.B.D. de Silva Mrs .L. M. G. Fuentes de Smithson
Mr. K. Sivappirakasam Mr. Carlos C. Martinez VicenteCOLOMBIA COSTA RICA
Mrs. Marta Pimentel c Mrs. Lisbeth Andersen NygardMr. Rafael Pimentel c Mr. Fereydoon Vahman
c Mrs. Frieda van Houten de Gomez c Mrs. Patricia CongerMr. Felix Ramon Gomez Mr. Alberto Carbo Medina
Mr. Benito Alejandro Perez Mr. Bolfvar Plaza Newell
c Mrs. Sheila Ricc-Wray c Mr. Guillermo Raul Pavon MejiaMr. Wilfred Rowland c Mrs. Gayle Woolson
c Mr. Quentin Hamilton Farrand c Mr. Godratollah Bidardel
Mrs. Jeanne Welsh Farrand c Mrs. Greta Sofia Jankko-BadeauMr. Rafael Garcia c Miss Aminda Josephine Kruka
Mrs. Elsa Maria Cubilla de Garcia c Mr. Mozaffar Namdar
Mr. Marco Antonio Martinez S. c Miss Gudrun Ofstegaard
Mrs. Marcia Isabel Matamoros c Miss Maija-Liisa Ravola
Mr. Mauricio Hernandez Munoz c Miss Sirkka Inkeri Salmi
c Mr. Josd Marfa Padilla c Miss Mailis Kaarino TalvenheimoMr. Gabriel Torres S. c Mr. Habibu'llah Zabihian
c Mr. Lucien McComb c Dr. Abouzarjomehr Bozorg Hemmatic Miss Lucienne Migette Mr. Ruprecht G. Krdger
Professor Mario Fiorentini Mr. Wm. Arthur Wellesley Mitchellc Mr. Manoutchchr Madjzoub Mr. Alfred Senior
Murray c Miss Virginia Orbison c Mrs.Valeria Lamb Nichols
c Mrs. Betty Broome Thompson c Dr. (Mrs.) Edris Rice-WrayPage 411
c Mrs. Elizabeth Charlotte Tobias Mrs. Margaret Harnishc Mrs. Gerrit van der Garde c Miss Linda flight
c Mr. Jacobus Eduard (Bob)van Lith Mr. Percy Leadleyc Mr. Arnold van Ogtrop Mrs. Phyllis Milne
Mrs. Leticia de Escalante c Dr. Heshmat FarhournandMr. Salomon Escalante E. c Dr. Leo Niederreiter
Mrs. Blanca Lydia Sequeira c Mr. Jamchid Monajim TehraniNORTH EAST ASIA NORTH WEST AFRICA
Mrs. Aud Jervell Pettersen c Mrs. Tove Lillian Alice DeleuranMr. Bruce Johnson Mr. Siyyid Mehfooz-ul-Haq Ilmi
c Miss Lecile Webster c Mr. FaridoonU. Jamshed YazamaidiPage 412
c Mrs. RachelleJean E de Constante Mrs. Kayhanoush Aazampanahc Mr. James Vassal Facey c Mr. David P. Baral
c Mr. William Alan H. Pringle Mrs. Angelica. Doldan
c Mrs. Ruth E. Yancey Pringle c Mr. Gilbert Grassellyc Mr. Donald Ross Witzel c Miss Margaret Mills
Mr. Guillermo Aguilar Mr. Angelo da Silva CarneiroMr. Fidel Flores c Mr. Mansour Masrour
c Miss Irene Jackson c Mr. Antonio Jimenez Gutierrezc Mr. Lisiate Maka Mr. Francisco Salas Heras
c Mr. Rouhollah Golmohammadi c Mrs. Martha Miillerc Mr. Sven Mards c Dr. Heinrich Walter Ott
Mrs. Lotus Grace Nielsen c Mr. Daniel-Robert SchaubacherMr. Hans Odemyr c Mr. Fritz Semle
Mr. Edward Brownley Belcher Mrs. Maria Ines de CaroMrs. Elena Ade Caraballo Mrs. Maria de Dutto
c Mrs. Helen Hathorn Hauck Mr. Anschno, Torres MoralesMr. Aminullah Mandegari Miss Mireya Munoz
c Mrs. Daisy Lapsley Powell Mrs. Chana Mejia de Voss===================================
DEEPLY APPRECIATE LOVING MESSAGE STOP EVE MOST GREAT JUBILEE WISH EXPRESS PROFOUND ADMIRATION GRATITUDE OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION CHIEF EXECUTORS DIVINE PLAN ACHIEVEMENT GOALS BELOVED GUARDIAN'S CRUSADE EVERY CONTINENT GLOBE FULFILLING HIGH DESTINY FORETOLD `Abdu'l-Bahá.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To National Spiritual Assemblies of the United States and EuropeApril 4, 1963
We are sending you the attached statement of information and quotations concerning the television interview of King Hassan and the Moroccan case in general. You are free to use it, if you choose. We are hopeful that it may be of value for Local Assemblies and groups in counteracting the unfavourable publicity caused by King Hassan's television interview and subsequent newspaper publicity. It can be used locally and nationally as your Assembly sees fit, in order to secure as widespread publicity as possible.
We feel strongly that King Hassan should not be allowed to make such damaging remarks, and then think that by saying he will grant a royal pardon, that it will remove the damage. As you know, from the beginning of the Morocco case, we have agreed that clemency or even a pardon is not enough. The prisoners must be entirely exonerated. They cannot be pardoned for a crime they did not commit, and we must keep this truth before the eyes of the public.
With the appeal coming up soon, we must do everything in our power to secure a favourable decision from the Supreme Court. If they uphold the condemnation, it is a defeat for the Cause whether the King pardons the prisoners or not. We are all anxious, of course, to keep the story of this injustice alive and before the court of world opinion, just as all of you are exerting every effort to do.
We are confident that this recent outburst of King Hassan will prove providential, and afford the opportunity for a fresh wave of counteracting publicity which will attract even more attention, and proclaim our beloved Faith on an even wider scale.With warm Bahá'í greetings,
"The recent death sentence on three Bahá'ís by a provincial courtshocked Moroccan as well as foreign opinion."
"During the trial which began last December 10, the only evidencewas that they practised their Faith."
"Ironically, the trial began,last December 10, which is the U.N.
Human Rights Day, and was finished December 14, the day when a
new Moroccan constitution was promulgated guaranteeing to allfree practice of their Faith."
March 31, 1963: King Hassan H of Morocco, in a television interview before a nation-wide audience in the United States, declared that the Bahá'í Faith was not a religion. It was, he said, "against good order and also morals."FALSE INFORMATION BROADCAST TO MILLIONS
This interview, carried to an audience of millions, was subsequently reported in the world press. Members of the Bahá'í Community in over 250 countries, as well as their sympathizers throughout the world, were stunned and shocked to hear such words spoken by the head of a sovereign state. That he should be so misinformed as to make such a statement in a country where Bahá'ís reside in over 1700 cities, where their National Assembly is a legally incorporated body, where they have the right to perform marriages and other privileges, and where the International Bahá'í Community is accredited to the United Nations as one of the Non-Governmental Organizations, seems incredible.
SAME FALSE CHARGES LED TO SENTENCE OF DEATH IN MOROCCO
The misinformation given during this interview, was the same as that which led to the arrest, conviction and sentence of death being pronounced against the Bahá'ís in Morocco. Three were sentenced to death, five to life imprisonment, one to ten years' imprisonment. They were accused of rebellion, disorder and other crimes against the state, but the simple truth was: They were Bahá'ís.UNITED NATIONS APPEAL LABELS CHARGES FALSE
United Nations, N.Y., January 31, 1963 Roger Baldwin, Chairman of the International League for the Rights of Man, appearing before the U.N. sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of MinoritiesPage 416
declared: "One charge ... the one from which the others stemmed ... was of injuring the Islamic faith."
"During the trial, which began last December 10, the only evidence was that they practised their faith and ignored the faith of Islam."
"So far as we know, this is the only case in recent history in any country where members of a religion have been condemned to death solely for holding and expressing religious views regarded as heretical."Bahá'ís CONFIDENT KING WOULD WISH WRONG CORRECTED
Since millions of people either heard or read the statement of King Hassan, it is only proper that the true facts of the case be placed before the public, in the interests of justice, and to protect the good name of the Bahá'í Faith, which is widely respected throughout the world. The Bahá'ís assume that His Majesty, King Hassan made his erroneous statement because of misinformation supplied to him about the Bahá'í Faith. It is this error alone they wish to correct.
KING TELLS PRESS HE DISAGREES WITH JUDGEMENT, WILL GRANT PARDON
The good-will of His Majesty has already been demonstrated by his statement in a Reuters dispatch dated April 2, New York, in which he promised a royal pardon for those condemned to death if the Supreme Court upholds the decision. Le Monde, April 3, 1963 quotes the King: "I am not personally in agreement with the condemnation to death of the Bahá'ís in Morocco." "If there is an appeal," he is quoted as saying, "if I am asked to pardon them, I shall do so."
Public opinion demands that since the men were arrested without due cause, imprisoned several months without trial, and condemned solely because of their religion, it is not in the interests of justice that they be given clemency or even a royal pardon. Men cannot be pardoned for a crime they did not commit. They should be completely exonerated. Furthermore, pardon for the prisoners cannot remove the damaging effect caused by the widespread misinformation made during the King's ill-advised television interview. It is for this reason that we are issuing this statement.
WORLD PRESS COMMENTS ON IMPRISONMENT AND DEATH SENTENCES FOR RELIGIOUS BELIEFONE DAY'S IMPRISONMENT TOO MUCH SAYS U. N. APPEAL
United Nations, Geneva: J. Duncan Wood, writing on behalf of The Friends World Committee for Consultation, submitted a statement to the Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva, stating: "In our view aPage 417
sentence of even one day's imprisonment for religious belief is a clear form of religious discrimination." Wood also called attention to another astonishing breach of the human rights of the Bahá'ís in Morocco, a fact which had not been covered in earlier press releases. "Two Bahá'ís", he said, "have been detained in prison in that state for almost a year without ever having been brought to trial. Such an act of arbitrary arrest constitutes a further breach of human rights to which we call your attention. Because of the pressure of world opinion they have recently been interrogated in camera and, instead of being liberated, have been returned to prison."
FAMOUS FRENCH NEWSPAPER QUOTES EDITORIAL FROM LEADING MOROCCAN PAPER
Le Monde, December 26, 1962 (Rabat) -- "Apparently, it would seem that the defendants might have been sentenced, and to what punishment ... without the 'cases and forms' having been expressly mentioned by law. For what written law, in Morocco, mentions attacks on religious faith and punishes such by a death sentence?" (From: Les Phares)
MOROCCAN PAPER APPEALS TO CONSCIENCE OF ALL MOROCCAN CITIZENS
Les Phares, Rabat, Morocco, December 29, 1962 -- "Yes, we wrote that the sentence of Nador seems to us redoubtable and stems from a severity which is outdated in this period of change. We wrote it and we repeat it and we once again appeal, because the judgement has not yet been made effective, to the conscience of all citizens."
MOROCCAN PRESS HIGHLIGHTS FREEDOMS GUARANTEED IN NEW CONSTITUTION
"ARTICLE 6: Islam shall be the official religion while the State shall guarantee the freedom of worship for all."
"ARTICLE 9: The Constitution shall guarantee to all citizens: the freedom of movement through, and of settlement in, all parts of the kingdom, the freedom of speech in all its forms."
LEADING BRITISH JOURNAL SAYS: INCONCEIVABLE SENTENCES WILL BE CARRIED OUT
The Guardian, Manchester, Friday, December 21, 1963 -- "Now three men who profess Bahá'í have been condemned to death by a regional court at Nador, in Morocco, and five others sentenced to life imprisonment ... simply, so far as one can see, because of their religion. It is astonishing enough that the Courts should still be condemning men toPage 418
death for their religion anywhere in the world; that this happens in Morocco is, as Le Monde put it, a matter for stupefaction. The people of that country just voted themselves a bright new constitution which 'guarantees freedom of worship to all.' The condemned men are appealing, and it seems inconceivable that the sentence will be carried out in a country of Morocco's standing."MOROCCAN PAPER LABELS VERDICT MEDIEVAL BARBARITY
The Economist, January 5, 1963 (Quotes leading Moroccan Journal) -- "Significantly, the newspaper attacked the verdict as a medieval barbarity, unworthy of modern Morocco. And many educated Moroccans have been shocked by what seems a reflection of their good name for religious tolerance ... a tolerance enshrined in their new constitution."===================================
WHY DID THE LOWER COURT CONDEMN THE PRISONERS OF NADOR?THE CHARGES:
2. The Bahá'í Faith attacks public security. (False)
3. The Bahá'í Faith is an association of criminals. (False)
4. The Bahá'í Faith advocates the overthrow of all governments. (False)
5. The Bahá'í Faith attacks other religions. (False)
6. The prisoners studied Bahá'í books and were members of the Bahá'í Religion. (True)
We recommend to His Majesty, King Hassan 11, and to the Supreme Court of Appeals, to weigh another type of testimony regarding the Bahá'í Faith, the Bahá'ís, and what they stand for.===================================
IMPRESSIVE TRIBUTES TO THE Bahá'í FAITH FROM WORLD LEADERS WHICH DEMONSTRATES THE FALSE NATURE OF THE ACCUSATIONS
Historian Arnold Toynbee: Bahá'ísm is undoubtedly a religion. Bahá'ísm is an independent religion, on a par with Islam, Christianity, and other recognized world religions. Bahá'ísm is not a sect of some other religion;Page 419
it is a separate religion, and it has the same status as other recognized religions.
Viscount Herbert Samuel, G.C.B., stated in August, 1959, that he had found the members of the Bahá'í Faith under his jurisdiction as a High Commissioner, to be "a valuable element in the population, intelligent, orderly, well-educated, and above all trustworthy. In government service and in commercial employment they were much esteemed as being free from corruptibility." The Bahá'í Faith, Samuel added, "command's the respect and goodwill of its neighbours."
Professor Benjamin Jowett, Oxford University, Master of Balliol described the Bahá'í Faith as "the greatest light that has come into the world since the time of Jesus Christ."
Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, K.C.S.L, President, Economic and Social Council of United Nations: "The Bahá'í Faith gives us the great and precious message of unity in religion. How much the world needs such a spirit today."
Leo Tolstoy: "Bahá'u'lláh's teachings . . . now present us with the highest and purest form of religious teaching."
U. S. Supreme Court Justice, William 0. Douglas: "They (the Bahá'ís) enjoy a fine reputation as merchants. The reason is that they maintain high ethical standards in all their dealings ... and as a result, they gain in prestige."
Eduard Bene.,former President of Czechoslovakia: "The Bahá'í Faith is one of the great moral and social forces in all the world today."
Senator Kenneth B. Keating, N.Y. (in U. S. Senate, February 18, 1963): "Proclaiming the oneness of all the great world religions, the Bahá'í Faith accepts all their major prophets as equally inspired. It believes in the unity of all mankind. . . How far religious freedom under the Moroccan Constitution really applies, will be revealed in the coming weeks when the appeal before the Supreme Court (of Morocco) is heard."===================================
It is the hope of men of goodwill everywhere that the Moroccan Supreme Court of Appeal will correct the grave injustice inflicted by its Lower Court, and completely exonerate all the Bahá'í prisoners who have suffered for more than a year a flagrant violation of religious freedom and human rights.Page 420
"We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations . . . These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family."Bahá'u'lláh,
KINDLY CABLE FOLLOWING ALL NSAS EXCEPT PERSIA IRAQ ARABIA EUROPE QUOTE HANDS CAUSE GATHERED PRECINCTS MOST HOLY SHRINE URGE ALL BELIEVERS WORLD Bahá'í COMMUNITY EITHER INDIVIDUALLY OR IN GROUPS UNITE HEARTS ARDENT PRAYERS BEGINNING SUNDOWN APRIL TWENTIETH FIRST DAY Ridvan BESEECH BLESSED BEAUTY INSPIRE GUIDE DELEGATES RAISE UP LONG AWAITED AUGUST INSTITUTION FULFILLING GLORIOUS PROMISES SACRED WRITINGS STOP REQUEST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES INFORM FRIENDS HANDSFAITH UNQUOTE CHARGE COST VARGHA FUND.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
HANDS CAUSE GATHERED PRECINCTS MOST HOLY SHRINE URGE ALL BELIEVers WORLD Bahá'í COMMUNITY EITHER INDIVIDUALLY OR IN GROUPS UNITE HEARTS ARDENT PRAYERS BEGINNING SUNDOWN APRIL TWENTIETH FIRST DAY Ridvan BESEECH BLESSED BEAUTY INSPIRE GUIDE DELEGATES RAISE UP LONG AWAITED AUGUST INSTITUTION FULFILLING GLORIOUS PROMISES SACRED WRITINGS STOP REQUEST INFORM FRIENDS. [CABLE] HANDSFAITH Bahá'í LONDON APRIL 9, 1963 KINDLY CABLE FOLLOWING ALL NSAS EUROPE QUOTE HANDS CAUSE GATHERED PRECINCTS MOST HOLY SHRINE URGE ALL BELIEVERS WORLD Bahá'í COMMUNITY EITHER INDIVIDUALLY OR IN GROUPS UNITE HEARTS ARDENT PRAYERS BEGINNING SUNDOWN APRIL TWENTIETH FIRST DAY Ridvan BESEECH BLESSED BEAUTY INSPIRE GUIDE DELEGATES RAISE UPPage 421
LONG AWAITED AUGUST INSTITUTION FULFILLING GLORIOUS PROMISES SACRED WRITINGS STOP REQUEST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES INFORM FRIENDS HANDSFAITH UNQUOTE CHARGE COST OUR ACCOUNT[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
All the Hands present at our meeting in Bahji wish to express to the members of the International Bahá'í Council their deep appreciation of the services they have rendered the Cause of God since they assumed their duties after their election in 1961. Collectively and severally they have greatly contributed to strengthening the World Centre of the Faith and to carrying out those duties specified for that body by our dearly-beloved Guardian.
The Hands in the Holy Land wish, on their own behalf, to assure the Council members of their appreciation of the valuable assistance they have given them locally in so many ways, and to assure them our association has been not only a fruitful and pleasant one, but a source of comfort and strength to us.
There are two matters in connection with the Congress which we would like you to immediately convey to the Congress Arrangements Committee:
During the first session, all Hands of the Cause and the members of the Universal House of Justice will sit on the platform. During the remaining sessions the Hands, their wives and the companion of Amatu'l-Bahá Ruhiyyih Khanum, will occupy front row centre seats facing the platform; if space in the centre is insufficient, then two or more rows can be reserved for their use. Although we neither know if all the members of the Universal House of Justice will be present or where they would wish to be seated, we feel extra seats should be included in this block for them and for their wives, in case they desire to use them.
The Hands will arrange the devotional readings and readers for the opening session of the Congress on Sunday afternoon, the entire program of the Feast of Ridvan, and the readings at the closing devotional session on May 2nd in the afternoon. However, the prayers for all other sessions, and those who are selected to read them, are left to the discretion of either your Committee or a sub-committee which you may wish to appoint.
We have laid down our policy for these prayers which we request bePage 422
strictly adhered to: Prayers will be read at the opening and closing of every session. No prayers will be read at the time of the fifteen minute interval. The total time allotted for these readings is fifteen to twenty minutes. All sessions are carefully arranged as regards time allowed, chairman and speakers. It is therefore very important that the readers' prayers are approved beforehand by the Committee in order to be sure each person will read only a short prayer. If it is left to the individual's judgement, some very long prayer in a foreign language may be read and spoil the presentation of the different subjects the speakers have been asked to address the Congress on. There can be as many as three readers if so desired in each session.
It is our desire to have as many of the different ethnic groups present at the Congress read these prayers as possible. No Persian or Arabic prayers or readers should be arranged for these sessions, as they have already been amply provided for in the other sessions of the program. The major emphasis in choosing readers should be among those who belong to the tribes and races enrolled during the World Crusade rather than those ethnic groups of Europe. We give you below a sample program just by way of information. We leave the last choice of readers and languages and order on the program to you.Monday Morning
Opening Prayer in African language read by an AfricanPrayer in Finnish
Opening Prayer in Korean (Bill Smits' wife is Korean)Prayer in English read by some other race
Closing Prayer in Malayan, or some other South East Asian languageThursday Morning
In our letter to you of October 8, 1962, we conveyed to you our decision that the Hands of the Faith would not put themselves forward in any way at the time before the election of the House of Justice. The Hands of the Faith support this decision. They will, in any case, be in session up until the end of Ridvan. We feel, however, that the ladies who are doing the guiding and receiving of the delegates must be extremely discreet in their remarks, and under no circumstances say the Hands are keeping out of sight on purpose. If anyone asks where the Hands -- all or one -- are, the answer should be: In session. They have no time at the moment for anything else but their own work, and hope after the first of Ridvan to have time to enjoy meeting with their friends and all the delegates. They should, under no circumstances, become involved in discussions with the delegates, should they be asked by them on the subject of whether the Hands should or should not be on the Universal House of Justice.With warmest Bahá'í love,
KINDLY CONVEY IN PROPER MANNER FOLLOWING MESSAGE PRISONERS MOROCCO QUOTE ENTIRE BODY HANDS CAUSE MEETING PRECINCTS MOST HOLY SHRINE GREET YOU ONE AND ALL WITH DEEPEST LOVE AFFECTION STOP HAIL WITH PRIDE GRATITUDE YOUR HEROISM EXEMPLARY STEADFASTNESS RECALLING IMMORTAL FEATS SPIRITUAL FORBEARS SHEDDING EVERLASTING LUSTRE ANNALS CLOSING MONTHS BELOVED GUARDIAN'S MIGHTY CRUSADE BRINGING ABOUT UNPRECEDENTED SPREAD KNOWLEDGE FAITH ENHANCING ITS PRESTIGE DISTINCTION THROUGHOUT WORLD STOP PRAYING FERVENTLY SACRED THRESHOLD DIVINE PROTECTION VINDICATION.[CABLE) HANDSFAITH
DEEPLY APPRECIATE Ridvan MESSAGE JOIN YOU ARDENT PRAYERS DIVINE INSPIRATION GUIDANCE STOP EVE MOST GREAT JUBILEE WISH EXPRESS PROFOUND ADMIRATION GRATITUDE CONSECRATED HISTORIC SERVICES FRIENDS CRADLE FAITH STOP THEIR GENEROUS SUPPORT MATERIAL RESOURCES PIONEERING SERVICES EVERY CONTINENT CONTRIBUTING SUCH LARGE MEASURE ATTAINMENT VICTORY BELOVED GUARDIAN's HOLY CRUSADE ADDS YET ANOTHER BRILLIANT CHAPTER INVERISHABLE RECORD SERVICES SACRED THRESHOLD.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
ANDS GATHERED HOLY LAND REQUEST YOU APPOINT SUITABLE PERSON DELIVER FOLLOWING MESSAGE KAMIL ABBAS IN PERSON IMMEDIATELY QUOTE OCCASION MEMORABLE Ridvan TERMINATION BELOVED's PLAN COINCIDING MOST GREAT JUBILEE ALL FRIENDS IRAQ LOVINGLY REMEMBERED HOLY SHRINES STOP URGE JOIN US THANKSGIVING ASTOUNDING VICTORIES WON STOP YOUR ARDENT PRAYERS VISIT GREAT HOUSE GARDEN Ridvan WILL CONNECT MADINATU'LLAH WITH WORLD CONGRESS CONVENED ACCORDANCE DIVINELY GUIDED PLAN FORMULATED BELOVED GUARDIAN STOP URGE FRIENDS SEND MESSAGE GREETING REACH WORLD CONGRESS OBSERVANCE NINTH Ridvan DEEPEST LOVE.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
9:30 a.m. Election of the Universal House of Justice
4:00 p.m. Ridvan Feast Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of theDeclaration of Bahá'u'lláh
Establishment of Administration and its Proper UseThe Nineteen Day Feast
8:30 p.m. Intensification of the Spirit of Teaching throughout the WorldClosing of the Convention
Note: The election of the Universal House of Justice on Sunday morning, April 21, will be held at the home of `Abdu'l-Bahá, 7 Haparsim Street, Haifa. The Ridvan Feast on Sunday afternoon will be held at Bahji, in the garden surrounding the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh. The Convention sessions on Monday and Tuesday, April 22 and April 23, will be held at Beth Harofe Auditorium, 2 Wingate Avenue, Haifa.===================================
OCCASION WORLDWIDE CELEBRATIONS MOST GREAT JUBILEE COMMEMORATING CENTENARY ASCENSION Bahá'u'lláh THRONE HIS SOVEREIGNTY WITH HEARTS OVERFLOWING GRATITUDE HIS UNFAILING PROTECTION OVERFLOWING BOUNTIES JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE FRIENDS EAST WEST ELECTIONPage 426
SUPREME LEGISLATIVE BODY ORDAINED BY HIM IN HIS MOST HOLY BOOK PROMISED BY HIM RECEIVE HIS INFALLIBLE GUIDANCE STOP MEMBERS FIRST HISTORIC HOUSE JUSTICE DULY ELECTED BY DELEGATES COMPRISING MEMBERS FIFTYSIX NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES ARE CHARLES WOLCOTT ALI NAKHJAVANI BORRAH KAVELIN IAN SEMPLE LOTFULLAH HAKIM DAVID HOFMAN HUGH CHANCE AMOZ GIBSON HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM STOP TO JUBILATION ENTIRE Bahá'í WORLD VICTORIOUS COMPLETION BELOVED GUARDIAN'S UNIQUE CRUSADE NOW ADDED HUMBLE GRATITUDE PROFOUND THANKSGIVING FOLLOWERS Bahá'u'lláh FOR ERECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE AUGUST BODY TO WHOM ALL BELIEVERS MUST TURN WHOSE DESTINY IS TO GUIDE UNFOLDMENT HIS EMBRYONIC WORLD ORDER THROUGH ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS PRESCRIBED BY Bahá'u'lláh ELABORATED BY `Abdu'l-Bahá LABORIOUSLY ERECTED BY SHOGHI EFFENDI AND ENSURE EARLY DAWN GOLDEN AGE FAITH WHEN THE WORD OF THE LORD WILL COVER THE EARTH AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA STOP CABLE ABOVE MESSAGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EXCEPT IRAQ ARGENTINA AIRMAIL LATTER STOP SEND CANADA'S CARE HARPER PETTYPIECE STOP CHARGE COST VARGHA FUND.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
The following principles shall apply to the relations between the body of the Hands and the Hands Residing in the Holy Land and to the activities of the Hands in the Holy Land:
1. Five of the Hands of the Cause are assigned to the Holy Land. They will be responsible for coordinating the international work of the institution of the Hands, in relation to the Continental Hands and to the Universal House of Justice.
2. The quorum of the Hands in the Holy Land will be three, two of which must be from the original five elected to serve in the Holy Land. If necessary in order to maintain a quorum, the Hands in the Holy Land are authorized, after consultation with the Continental Hands, to request one of these Hands to serve temporarily in the Holy Land.
3. In the event of any vacancy occurring in the composition of the Hands in the Holy Land, the body of the Hands will fill such vacancy by election.
4. Meetings of the body of the Hands are to be called by the Hands in the Holy Land, after consultation with the body of the Hands.
5. The Hands in the Holy Land, acting on behalf of the body of the Hands, will allocate whatever international funds are available for thePage 427
work of the Hands, in accordance with the general instructions of the body of the Hands.[Signed as follows]
HANDS CAUSE WISH EXPRESS LOVING APPRECIATION HEROIC DEDICATED EFFORTS FRIENDS EVERYWHERE ASSURING TRIUMPHANT CONCLUSION BELOVED GUARDIAN'S MIGHTY CRUSADE STOP ENTIRE BODY HANDS DESIROUS DEVOTE ALL THEIR EFFORTS PROTECTION PROPAGATION FAITH ACCORDING FUNCTIONS LAID DOWN HOLY TEXTS AND SUSTAINED UPLIFTED ESTABLISHment SUPREME EDIFICE UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE INTEND CONCENTRATE ACTIVITIES ALL IMPORTANT TEACHING WORK THIS GLORIOUS PERIOD EXPANSION FAITH STOP OUR BELOVED GUARDIAN ASSOCIATED FIVE HANDS WITH WORK HOLY LAND HIS LIFETIME STOP FOLLOWING THIS PATTERN FIVE HANDS NOW ASSIGNED HOLY LAND THUS ENSURING AT ALL TIMES PRESENCE HANDS WORLD CENTRE FACILITATE INTERNATIONAL WORK INSTITUtion HANDS ASSIST HOUSE JUSTICE ANY WAY DEEMED ADVISABLE THAT EXALTED BODY STOP FIVE CHOSEN SERVE HOLY LAND ARE AMATU'L-Bahá RUHIYYIH KHANUM LEROY IOAS ALI AKBAR FURUTAN PAUL HANEY ABU'L Qasim FAIZI STOP CHANGES ASSIGNMENT HANDS CONTINENTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SHORTLY STOP CONFIDENT SPIRIT RELEASED MOST GREAT JUBILEE WILL INSPIRE FRIENDS ARISE ENSURE CONTINUATION UNPRECEDENTED TIDE VICTORIES TEACHING FIELD.[CABLE] HANDSFAITH
To the Hands of the Cause of God Residing in the Holy LandMay 26,1963
We have been most grateful for the consultations we were able to have with you over the past two days, and look forward to others in the coming weeks as the process of our taking over the administrative work of the Cause progresses.
As we explained on Friday, there is one decision made by the House of Justice in London which we feel we should communicate to you without delay: our decision to adopt 10 Haparsim Street as the offices of the Universal House of Justice and to terminate the other uses of the building....
Our members will be arriving in the Holy Land during the course of the next few weeks and by 1st September eight of the members will be here. As it will take a little time to prepare the premises for use as offices we would therefore be grateful if we could have them as soon as possible.
The alternative accommodation for the western pilgrims has not yet been finally decided, but we are investigating the possibility of housing them in the Eastern Pilgrim House and the two houses adjoining....With loving greetings,
We hasten to send you the enclosed copy of our message to the Annual Conventions. You will note that it incorporates the points approved at our meeting in London.
Very heartwarming acknowledgements have been received by cable from a large number of the National Assemblies and Conventions, containing expressions of appreciation of the services of the Hands in bringing the beloved Guardian's Crusade to a successful conclusion. When the file is complete, we plan to share these messages with you.
We shall be writing you again shortly in connection with various actions approved at our recent meeting.With warmest loving greetings,
For the records of your august Body, we wish to provide you with the following statement concerning the First International Bahá'í Convention held in Haifa, Israel, on April 21-22-23, 1963.
This Convention was called by the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land, acting on behalf of the entire body of the Hands of the Cause, the Chief Stewards of the Faith.
The delegates to this Convention were the members of the fifty-six existing National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í world. In accordance with the Bahá'í Sacred Writings these delegates or electors cast their ballots for the election of the first Universal House of Justice, All fifty-six National Assemblies participated in the election, either through having their members present in person at the Convention in Haifa, where they cast their ballots individually, or through the casting of absentee ballots sent by mail by those members of the various National Assemblies unable to be present in person in Haifa at the Convention.
The Convention itself was under the supervision of the Hands of the Cause, who appointed the eighteen tellers responsible for tabulating the ballots and announcing the result of the election of the Universal House of Justice. These tellers were in all cases themselves members of National Spiritual Assemblies, and therefore delegates to the Convention. A list of the names of the eighteen tellers is attached.
The casting of ballots for the members of the Universal House of Justice took place on the morning of April 21, 1963 at the Home of `Abdu'l-Bahá, Number 7 Persian Street, Haifa. The results of the election were announced by the tellers at the Convention session held on Tuesday morning' April 22, 1963 at Beth Harofe Auditorium, Number 2 Wingate Avenue, Haifa. The tellers' report indicated that the following nine Bahá'ís received the highest number of votes, and comprise the membership of the Universal House of Justice:Charles Wolcott
On motion made and duly seconded the Convention approved and adopted the report of the tellers.
After the presentation and approval by the Convention of the tellers'Page 430
report, the nine members of the first Universal House of Justice were presented as a group and individually to the Convention.With loving greetings,
(To CHOOSE THEIR OWN CHAIRMAN TO MAKE REPORT TO THE CONVENTION)Ernest Gregory
To the Hands of the Cause of God Residing in the Holy LandJune 7, 1963
Pursuant to the several discussions which we have had with you relevant to the transfer of the "functions, rights and powers" vested in the Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith by virtue of the Declaration of the Hands of the Cause of God made at Bahji on November 25th, 1957, please be advised that the Universal House of Justice has decided that the office of Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith ceases to exist upon your receipt of this communication.With loving greetings,
The attached copy of a legal document which we have executed onPage 431
your behalf under the general authority approved at our recent meeting in London, is self-explanatory. It was worked out in consultation with the Universal House of Justice and with Dr. Weinshall, our attorney in Haifa.
Thus action has been taken to terminate the legal entity of the Custodians, in accordance with the language of the original document executed by the Hands of the Cause on November 25, 1957, which provided that the body of the Custodians would continue to exercise their functions, subject to such directions and decisions as might be given by the entire body of the Hands, "until such time as the Universal House of Justice, upon being duly established and elected in conformity with the Sacred Writings and the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá may otherwise determine." The actual date of termination of the Custodianship was June 7, 1963. From that date the Hands in the Holy Land will function under the terms of the document approved in London.
In the course of other meetings and conferences during the last three weeks documents have been executed designating the members of the Universal House of Justice as the members and managers of the eleven Israel or Palestine branches of the various National Spiritual Assemblies, in successorship to the Hands in the Holy Land.
We shall be writing you again shortly concerning other matters growing out of our recent meetings, but we feel we should share with you immediately certain facts which have just come to our attention. The National Assembly of the United States has sent us clippings from newspapers published in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and in Florida, in the United States, describing the recent annual convention of the "Bahá'ís of the United States Under the Guardianship", which was held in Santa Fe. At this convention, "a National Assembly of the United States" was established, and one of the newspaper articles stated that in addition to the "National Assembly" of the United States, two other national assemblies under the guardianship were elected this year, one in Pakistan and one in India. The news item published in Santa Fe stated that eventually the Universal House of Justice would be elected by these national assemblies under the hereditary guardianship, with the guardian as its head, in accordance with the Bahá'í sacred writings.
Appropriate steps are of course being taken to alert the National Assemblies of India and Pakistan, and we shall report to you any further significant developments which may occur.
We would also like to inform you that representatives of the Universal House of Justice and of the Hands in the Holy Land met with the head of the Bahá'í Department of the Ministry of Religions in Jerusalem on May 30th. At that meeting they were shown the originals of a number of communications sent in April and May of this year by Mason Remey toPage 432
various officials of the Government of Israel, including the President. In these communications Remey reiterated his claims, and in the one to the Ministry of Religions, asked them to advise him as to how he could gain recognition by the Government of Israel as the second Guardian of the Faith in successorship to Shoghi Effendi.
The above developments emphasize the need for exercise of the utmost vigilance here at the World Centre in connection with any possible further moves by Remey or his supporters. Steps have been taken to formally notify the proper officials of the Government of Israel, including the Prime Minister, of the establishment of the Universal House of Justice, and that Body is taking steps to strengthen its position with the Government.
Our beloved fellow-Hand Enoch Olinga has reported that a former believer in the Cameroons, Mr. Joseph Pamo, has joined the Remey group, and is attempting to undermine the House of Justice and the Institution of the Hands. He has been sending communications to the Local Assemblies, groups and isolated believers in the Cameroons, urging them to get in touch with Mason's group in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and to accept Mason Remey as the second Guardian and the, proper head of the Universal House of Justice.
On the basis of this information furnished by Enoch we have expelled this individual, and have taken steps to warn the believers in the Cameroons that all association with him is forbidden. Needless to say, we immediately met with the Universal House of Justice and informed them of these developments.
As you know, our dear fellow-Hand Collis Featherstone planned his return journey to Australia in such a way as to visit a number of centres in Africa. He has cabled us from Mauritius that there is an individual there, a Mr. Seechum, who does not accept the Universal House of Justice and questions the integrity of the Hands. He states that he is openly attempting to cause division amongst several communities in Mauritius. Collis met with the believers in these communities to combat his poisonous attacks, and we are awaiting further information before taking final action.
It is of course essential that we prevent the spread of the poison of Covenant-breaking in the African continent and surrounding islands which, with the exception of Reunion, have so far been relatively free from this disease.
Our thoughts are with you all, and our prayers, and we ask you to pray for us constantly and to keep in close touch with us, so that we will be informed of the progress of the work in all continents, and of your own activities, and thus be in a position to pass on this news to all the Hands.With warmest and deepest love to you all,
RELEASING ALL THEIR FUNCTIONS, RIGHTS AND POWERS CONFERRED UPON THEM BY THE DECLARATION OF THE HANDS, NOVEMBER 25, 1957, TO THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICEHaifa, Israel
WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, DULY NOMINATED AND APPOINTED AS CUSTODIANS OF THE Bahá'í WORLD FAITH BY THE DECLARATION OF THE HANDS OF THE CAUSE OF GOD MADE AT BAHJI ON NOVEMBER 25TH, 1957 "to exercise -- subject to such directions and decisions as may be given from time to time by us as the Chief Stewards of the Bahá'í World Faith -- all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, His Eminence the late Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, as are necessary to serve the interests of the Bahá'í World Faith, and this until such time as the Universal House of Justice, upon being duly established and elected in conformity with the Sacred Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may otherwise determine", do now declare that the Universal House of Justice was so established and elected by action of the International Bahá'í Convention held at Haifa on April 21st, 22nd and 23rd, 1963 and we hereby release all the said functions, rights and powers which were conferred upon us under the said Declaration of November 25th, 1957 as determined by the Universal House of Justice in its communication of June 7th, 1963, and we declare that all the said functions, rights and powers now devolve rightfully and in full accordance with the Sacred Writings of the Bahá'í Faith upon the Universal House of Justice. We make this statement for the full body of the Hands of the Cause of God in accordance with the powers conferred upon us by the Declaration of November 25th, 1957, and the office of Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith has thus ceased to exist.HANDS OF THE CAUSE RESIDING IN THE HOLY LAND
This book opened with the tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God from the Universal House of Justice. Let it close with a tribute to them from the National Spiritual Assembly of a small community:
Your dedication, love and example to the Bahá'í world from the time
of the passing of our beloved Guardian until the culmination of his
Ten Year Crusade with the establishment of the Universal House ofJustice will forever be in our memory and hearts.
Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1988.
Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1990. London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1978.
Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987. London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1978.
Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1978.FROM THE WRITINGS AND UTTERANCES OF 'ABDU'L BAHA
`Abdu'l-Bahá on Divine Philosophy. Boston: Tudor Press, 1918.
Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era. Oakham: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 4th rev. edn., 1976.
The Promulgation of Universal Peace. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982.
Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1978.
Tablets of `Abdu'l-Bahá, vol. 1. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, three vols. 1909-1916.
Tablets of the Divine Plan. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1977.
Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1991.FROM THE WRITINGS OF THE GUARDIAN, SHOGHI EFFENDI
The Advent of Divine Justice. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984.
Bahá'í Administration. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1960. Citadel of Faith: Messages to America, 1947-1957. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980.Page 438
Directives from the Guardian. New Delhi, India: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1973.
God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1974.
Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand, 1923-1957. Sydney, Australia: The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia Incorporated, 1970.
Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams Addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America, 1932-1946. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1947.
Messages to the Bahá'í World 1950-1957. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1971.
The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980.
A few of the quotations in the messages of the Hands of the Cause are from unpublished letters of the Guardian to individual National Spiritual Assemblies.