Bahá'í Chronology: 1926-12-26
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|1926 26 Dec
||Howard MacNutt, Disciple of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (b. 13 July, 1858 in Philadelphia) passed away in Florida after being struck by a motorcycle while walking to a meeting in a "Coloured" area. He had lost is beloved wife Mary about one month earlier. He had been a student of Ibrahim George Kheiralla in New York and became a Bahá'í in 1898. He had learned both Persian and Arabic to better understand the Writings. Howard MacNutt was elected to the Bahá’í Board of Counsel for New York when it was established on December 7, 1900 and served on the body for many years. [SEBW42]
In 1905 Howard and his wife went on pilgrimage and attended a Nineteen Day Feast held by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Who encouraged him to establish the practice in America. MacNutt consulted with the New York Board of Counsel after returning and a Feast was held in New York on May 23, 1905.
Howard wrote a booklet consisting of what he learnt while on Pilgrimage titled Unity Through Love.
MacNutt also edited Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl's Bahá'í Proofs before it was first published in 1902 and revised Ali Kuli Khan's manuscript translation of the Kitáb-i-Íqán for publication in 1904.
He held a belief that `Abdu'l-Bahá had no extraordinary spiritual station and he did not regard Him as being different in Spirit from other men, that through works and service and overcoming all He attained to His station. This opinion resulted in MacNutt failing to appreciate the Bahá'í teaching that Covenant-breaking is a spiritual disease. When `Abdu'l-Bahá came to the United States in 1912 He assigned to MacNutt the task of meeting with a group of potential Covenant-breakers in Chicago and warning them. He also ordered MacNutt to break all communication with Ibrahim Kheiralla and other Covenant-breakers. When MacNutt failed to do as directed, `Abdu'l-Bahá advised him that he had violated the Covenant himself and commanded him to repent before a group of New York Bahá'ís, which he did on 18 November 1912. The matter was not resolved; `Abdu'l-Bahá cabled Ali Kuli Khan on 16 April 1913, "MACNUTT REPENTED FROM VIOLATION OF COVENANT BUT WAS NOT AWAKENED." After several months of correspondence between MacNutt and `Abdu'l-Bahá via Ali Kuli Khan, MacNutt satisfied `Abdu'l-Bahá that he had come to understand and had repented for his earlier errors. Even though `Abdu'l-Bahá recognized MacNutt as a Bahá'í his reputation in the Bahá'í community remained tarnished. To redeem himself he took on the task of compiling `Abdu'l-Bahá's talks in the United States and Canada and editing them. It was published as The Promulgation of Universal Peace, the name chosen by 'Abdu'l-Bahá himself, in 1922. MacNutt's preface contains a long and important statement about `Abdu'l-Bahá's station. His redemption was complete. [PUPxx]
For further details of his life and his brush with Covenant-breaking see SEBW35–42. Also see "In Memoriam: Arthur Pillsbury Dodge, 1849-1915", SoW, Vol. 6, No. 19 (2 March 1916) p165 as well as BFA1p125, 168-17, DJT369-372, AOY111-133 and FMH35.
See BW2p218 for a photo.
See AY321-323 for an account of his accidental death and his funeral.
||Dade City; Pasco County; Florida; United States
||Howard MacNutt; Disciples of Abdul-Baha; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; Promulgation of Universal Peace (book)
||first Nineteen Day Feast in America