1. PDF version
Because this PDF is large — 1.5MB — it is not automatically displayed on this webpage.
Click here to download it: christian_meaning_temple.pdf.
2. Text (missing first page; see images, below)
The purpose of a House of Worship is to bring men and women together in unity. "For
thousands of years the human race has been at war. It is enough. For thousands
of years the nations have denied each other, considering each other as infidel
and inferior. It is sufficient. We must now realize that we are the servants
of one God, that we turn to one beneficent Father, live under one divine law,
seek one reality and have one desire. Thus may we live in the utmost friendship
and love, and in return the favors and bounties of God shall surround us, the
world of humanity will be reformed, mankind enjoy a new life"
The auditorium of the Temple is open to all people for prayer and meditation.
No race or religion is barred. Services here are not elaborate. There is no
ritualism or set form. Bahá'ís have no professional clergy to
preside. Sermons or lectures are not permitted in the auditorium. Services
are for prayer, meditation, and the reading of selections from the Sacred Scriptures
of the Bahá'í Faith and the other great Faiths of the world.
The only music is by soloists and a cappella choir.
The curtains at the windows in the auditorium insure the privacy of the worshipper.
The quotations from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh which appear
in the alcoves attest to the unity of religion and its power to transform human
character. The seats in the central part of the auditorium face the Holy Land.
Above the heads of the worshippers, in the apex of the dome, is the symbol
of the Greatest Name. This is an invocation to God in Arabic script which may
be translated as "O Glory of the All-Glorious."
But Bahá'í worship means more than prayer and meditation. Bahá'u'lláh
said that any work done in a spirit of service is a form of prayer. The educational,
humanitarian, and scientific institutions to be built around the Temple will
complete the dedication of the individual to God. To the Bahá'í there
is no rigid division between the spiritual and practical parts of life.
Bahá'ís do not solicit funds from the public for any of their
activities. From all over the world the Bahá'ís have contributed
to the erection of this building. Funds have come from Persia, India - in fact,
from all the five continents. This Temple is both a gift from Bahá'ís
and a demonstration of their Faith. Here is a building where men and women
of all races and religions are welcome to come for prayer. Here no creed stigmatizes
the follower of any great faith as infidel or pagan. Here all men may turn
their hearts to God and know that they are brothers.
Nine Inscriptions Carved Above the Entrances of the Temple:
"The earth is but one country; and mankind its citizens."
- "The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice; turn not away
therefrom if thou desirest Me."
- "My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure."
"Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner."
"Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent."
"I have made death a messenger of joy to thee; wherefore dost thou grieve?"
"Make mention of Me on My earth that in My heaven I may remember thee."
"O rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My
"The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His glory."
Nine Inscriptions Appearing In the Temple Alcoves:
The Faith of Bahá'ís
"All the prophets of God proclaim the same faith."
"Religion is a radiant light and an impregnable stronghold."
"Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch."
"So powerful is unity's light that it can illumine the whole earth."
"Consort with the followers of all religions with friendliness."
"O Son of Being! Thou art My lamp and My light is in thee."
"O Son of Being! Walk in My statutes for love of Me."
"Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home reunion with Me."
"The light of a good character surpasseth the light of the sun."
THE PEOPLE who built this House of Worship are Bahá'ís. They
bear this name as members of a World Faith. The word "Bahá'í" comes
from the name of the Founder of the Faith - Bahá'u'lláh ("the
Glory of God"). Bahá'í simply means "a follower of
The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is called a world religion. There are
three reasons for this.
First, Bahá'ís live in more than two hundred fifty countries
of the world. Bahá'ís are people who formerly had different and
conflicting religious backgrounds. They had been Buddhists, Jews, Muslims,
Zoroastrians, Hindus, Christians, or else people who had no religion at all.
They have found in the Bahá'í Faith a basis of unity that makes
the competition of sects and denominations seem unimportant to them. Bahá'ís
are people of different economic and social classes.
Through a common devotion, rich and poor mingle as equals and work together
to establish a world order for all men and women. They are people of different
national and racial backgrounds. But the Bahá'í teachings have
given them a higher loyalty - the loyalty to humanity. Bahá'ís
have no "color line" or racial segregation. In this Faith, people
of all races find equality with each other because they are equal before God.
Second, the Bahá'í Faith develops world-mindedness. Read these
well-known Bahá'í quotations:."Let your vision be
world-embracing, rather than confined to your own selves."."That
one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire
Third, the Bahá'í Faith offers a clear pattern of world order.
It does not have any secret mystic doctrines; it does not have any priesthood
or professional clergy. People find this a practical, spiritual religion with
the mission of uniting the world in one common faith and one order. Bahá'u'lláh
declared that in our time religion must unite people or else it has no social
value. He declared that religion must show men how to build a just world. He
emphasized that justice is the greatest good in the sight of God. To show men
how to achieve this, He outlined a pattern of world order.
Bahá'u'lláh's vision of a united world begins with each man and
woman. Individuals must have high moral standards and a new basis of belief
if they are to become citizens of one world.
Bahá'ís believe in one God, even though men have called Him by
different names. God has revealed His Word in each period of history through
a chosen Individual Whom Bahá'ís call "the Manifestation
of God." He restates in every age God's purpose and will. His teachings
are a revelation from God. Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ,
and Muhammad were Manifestations of God. Each gave men divine teachings to
live by. Bahá'ís believe that true religion is the real basis
of civilized life.
Since there is one God, these Manifestations of God have each taught the same
religious faith. They have developed and adapted it to meet the needs of the
people in each period of history. This unfoldment of religion from age to age
is called "progressive revelation." Bahá'u'lláh, the
Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, is the Manifestation of God for
This is the basis of Bahá'í belief: one God has given men one
Faith through progressive revelations of His Will in each age of history, and
Bahá'u'lláh reveals the Will of God for men and women of the
present age. This basic belief enables Bahá'ís to unite and work
together in spite of different religious backgrounds.
The Oneness of Mankind is like a pivot around which all the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh
revolve. This means that men and women of all races are equal in the sight
of God and equal in the Bahá'í community. People of different
races must have equal educational and economic opportunity, equal access to
decent living conditions - and equal responsibilities. In the Bahá'í view,
there is no superior race or superior nation.
Bahá'u'lláh declared that a House of justice must be established
in each community. This body, elected by the people, is to be composed of men
and women so qualified that they may be "trustees of the Merciful among
men." Each nation will have a secondary or National House of justice whose
members are the electors. of the international or Universal House of Justice.
Bahá'u'lláh emphasized certain principles to help bind people
together in a united world:
Men must seek for truth in spite of custom, prejudice, and tradition.
Men and women must have equal opportunities, rights, and privileges.
The nations must choose an international language to be used along with the
All children must receive a basic education.
Men must make a systematic effort to wipe out all those prejudices which divide
Men must recognize that religion should go hand-in-hand with science.
Men must work to abolish extreme wealth and extreme poverty.
This Faith and these challenging ideas originated in Persia (Iran) in 1844.
In that year a young Man Who called Himself the Báb (or "Gate")
began to teach that God would soon "make manifest" a World Teacher
to unite men and women and usher in an age of peace. The Bib attracted so many
followers that the Persian government and the Islamic clergy united to kill
And they massacred more than twenty thousand of His followers.
In 1863 Bahá'u'lláh announced to the few remaining followers
of the Báb that He was the chosen Manifestation of God for this age.
He called upon people to unite; He said that only in one common faith and one
order could the world find an enduring peace. He declared that terrible wars
would sweep the face of the earth and destroy the institutions and ideas that
keep men from their rightful unity.
The teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are a ringing call to action. They
offer hope, courage, and vision. The books of Bahá'u'lláh in
English are: The Hidden Words, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys,
The Book of Certitude, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. Prayers and Meditations,
and Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh. A selection
of His writings is in the anthology called Bahá'í World Faith.
But Bahá'u'lláh was not greeted with enthusiasm by the religious
leaders of Islam. As they saw His Faith spread, their hatred grew. They forced
Him into exile - first to Baghdad, then to Constantinople, to Adrianople, and
finally to 'Akka, Palestine. There He died, still an exile and prisoner, in
Bahá'u'lláh appointed 'Abdu'l-Bahá, His eldest son, as
the Interpreter of His teachings and the Exemplar of the Faith. Under the leadership
of 'Abdu'l-Bahá the Faith was introduced to Europe and America. After
He was freed from prison in 1908, 'Abdu'l-Bahá made several missionary
journeys. In 1912 He was in America for eight months during which time He laid
the cornerstone of this Temple.
In 1921 'Abdu'l-Bahá died and left a will naming His eldest grandson,
Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith and the interpreter of the teachings.
Under Shoghi Effendi's direction the Bahá'ís throughout the world
have adopted an administrative order that is an application of Bahá'u'lláh's
teachings for a world order. Thus Bahá'ís have begun to practice
in their own affairs the social teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.
Local and National Bahá'í Spiritual Assemblies are the pattern
for the Houses of justice of tomorrow. Bahá'ís know from increasing
experience that differences of nation, race, class, and religion can be removed
by the uniting power of Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'ís know
from increasing experience that this Faith can save men and women from the
hatreds, the pessimism, the corruption, and the materialism of our age. They
know this because they have seen it and experienced it. They invite you to
investigate this Faith and share in this spiritual adventure.
Total cost of construction: $2,613,012
Area of Temple property: 6.97 acres
Seating capacity of auditorium: 1,200
Chief dimensions of structure:
Height from floor of basement to pinnacle of dome ribs:
Architect - Louis J. Bourgeois
Height of structure from main floor to pinnacle of dome ribs:
Height of auditorium from main floor to inside apex of dome:
Depth of caissons: 120 feet
Diameter of basement floor: 204 feet
Diameter of circular platform at top of outside steps:
Height of first gallery above main floor: 36 feet
Height of main story pylons: 45 feet
Height from first gallery to second gallery: 45 feet
Clerestory height to base of dome:19 feet
Height of dome: 49 feet
Outside diameter of dome: 90 feet
Inside diameter of dome: 72 feet
Landscape Architect - Hilbert E. Dahl