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Notes:
These notes are not specifically dated except for the year. But they are very similar to the Clara Edge notes of May 1954, and so it is likely they were taken at the same time, perhaps from stenographical notes taken by the Guardian's secretaries. Some errors from original (including "Sara" spelled as "Sarah") retained. Comments in [straight brackets] have been added.

See obit. Sara M. Kenny, Knight of Bahá'u'lláh, 1900-1968, Bahá'í World, Volume XV, p. 441.

This is a "Pilgrim's note," an individual's recollection of statements and actions of the Central figures. They are subjective and not authoritative. See an overview of Pilgrim's Notes.


Notes on 1954 Pilgrimage

by Sara M. Kenny

1954

In America, the power is in the hands of the masses, and they follow what they see in the press. Much better that there be a three-way election as in the Faith.

National Civilization will improve as soon as emphasis is placed on spiritual instead of material values. To bring about a spiritual civilization there must be period of suffering. There will be great destruction. Encourage the friends to move to the villages and get out of the big cities. As well as American cities, London was also mentioned. The Guardian, referring to the enthusiasm of the friends aft? (sic) Conventions, said that afterwards they forget and do not carry through. The question was asked what nation was the most stable and carries through most, and the Guardian said, the British. He said the Latin, Oriental and Turkish were not good, very immature, like children and do not carry through.

The Guardian asked L. Richards who was a pilgrim to Turkey, about the Jews in Turkey. The Guardian said the Jews would have great sense of reality when they came into the Cause, and the Catholics would have a great devotion.

It is always most important to teach the native people wherever one is. While Ankara is the capital, Istanbul is where the future Hezira would be. There were three believers in Ankara who should move to Istanbul; one of them has a good position but he should give it up. The friends always move where business is most convenient and their lives at the moment are safe. They shold move where the Faith needs them.

Material Civilization is doomed and will be destroyed. Mankind cannot be cleansed and purified without its going.

The Lesser Peace will be established in the 20th century.

Question: Will it be established by Bahá'í youth? He said the youth must study deeply to bring about the Most Great Peace, but the time of it is a mystery.

Will the global crusade help establish world civilization? He said, it would establish the Bahá'í Faith but would not have direct influences upon world civilization.

Question: Would the pioneers be asked to return to America to help with the reconstruction? He said: "Reconstruct what?"

2nd Night

He reminded them of the statistics of believers in certain countries, making comparisons with the last year and now (1954)

Growth in Kampala is phenomenal. France (1954) has only 3 or 4 communities and they are very apathetic. Dr. Giachery said (April News) there were only two, and only one strong one.

Bahá'í burial: Should bodies be embalmed? They should not be embalmed, but we must obey the laws, and at many places, particularly in the U.S., embalming and also placing in some kind of cement vault is obligatory. However, the time would come when you can go half way across a continent in an hour and then the believers could be taken where it was not required.

Question: About Bahá'u'lláh referring to Himself as "this Youth". The Guardian said He was only 27 years old when He was a Babi, and 35 when He declared Himself.

He spoke of the many changes in Palestine, once a land of Kings. The Jews have suffered so long, 2,000 years for 3 years' persecution of Christ. The Moslems persecuted Bahá'u'lláh for 50 years; they will have far greater punishment than the Jews endured.

Bahá'u'lláh came as the Father, Christ as the Son.

Mary and Allen Ellston were there from Africa. The Guardian said to them: "I have extended your stay another day and shall give you a treasure to take back to Kampala." The next day he told them it was one of Bahá'u'lláh's coats.

The Guardian was very tired but spoke with great emphasis. He was discouraged with the American believers (he lashed out at them). He said: "I can urge them but I cannot create the spirit." He was speaking of the lack of response to go out and pioneer. "It is unhappiness for me and danger for them. That is the result." "Those who have the means should pack and go. No one has the right to prevent them. The Cause will triumph in spite of the inaction of a large number of its supporters."

There are 700 believers in one year in Africa. If America does not respond they will suffer materially and spiritually. The Cause will not suffer but the believers will. In 50 years only 500 negro believers in America but 700 in Africa. Those who do not respond will lose everything; those who go will gain everything.

Large cities are the centers of materialism. Those believers who remain there will be caught in a trap. 'Abdu'l-Bahá warned the people in 1912 about the dangers of the race problems, but they did nothing. The situation is very grave.

The Bahá'í believers calculate, --there is not enough detachment, self-sacrifice and trust in God. While they are calculating they themselves will evaporate, they go up in smoke, yes, they will evaporate and go up in smoke were the Guardian's own words.

The American Continent will suffer, particularly North America.

To Mary Ellston: "Did you ever dream of such results in Africa?

The Guardian said, the Cause is stagnating in America. America is a stagnant pool. Everything is declining, manners, art, music, and even the money is depreciating. There is terrible corruption. There are all the signs of collapse.

The friends should be less intellectual and more spiritual, less materialistic and more spiritual. There is so much Godlessness and it is increasing.

Someone said so many people were going to church now in America. He said they go in fear. An ordeal will shake them.

He said the homefront is an absolute failure. There is too much organization but no spirit.

The friends read superficially. People say, "I have read the Iqan!" like some tourists who say "I have done Paris, or I have done London!" They have too many preoccupations. They read many magazines which are full of nothing. They should throw them in the waste paper basket. There is great danger in them.

To Mary Ellston: "You should be very grateful about Africa. After 50 years there are only 4 tribes represented in the American believers (Indians). 'Abdu'l-Bahá told the American believers of the wonderful results if these people were brought into the Faith.

Africa has a representation of 70 tribes who entered in two years.

Those with independent means should take their passports, pack and go. They do not have to ask the NSA, they can go anywhere. They must have the urge, the spirit of consecration. I cannot create the spirit. All I can do is to use the material given me. I am the person who will direct those who arise. When I receive no response I become unhappy, paralyzed. I cannot do anything. This created unhappiness for me and danger for the Bahá'í believers.

The Americans feel they must have cars, radios, refrigerators and the latest TV, and in some mysterious way the Cause will triumph.

The Summer Schools bring in American standards of education instead of driving them out.

America is stagnate and the believers reflect it. They must vitalize it by getting out.

There were 495 volunteers at the American Conference; 200 left! 3000 should have left.

The Bahá'ís must promote the Bahá'í standards and drive non-Bahá'í standards out.

'Abdu'l-Bahá told certain things when He was there in 1912, then He gave them the Divine Plan. He told them that when the Indians of North America accepted the Faith, it would sweep America.

When we teach we must be so dedicated and consecrated that we inculcate in the new Bahá'í believer not only the acceptance of the three central figures but a knowledge of the will and testament which is the Charter of the New World order and the Administrative Order.

The Guardian reiterated: "Those who stay in the big cities will be trapped. They will evaporate. They will lose everything materially and spiritually." He said they should pioneer or go to the villages.

The American people calculate too much, they say: "If I stay a little longer I will have just so much more, "but they will lose everything. They must not get just a little way out of the city where they can still enjoy the city. They must really get out. The destruction will be so great that the cities will be hopeless. There could be earthquakes and the people of America and Persia will be the worst sufferers. But out of it all will emerge a new people.

We cannot point to one word in the Bible which Christ wrote and left for posterity: but Bahá'u'lláh left volumes.

Someone asked the Guardian if the Bible Prophecy which said that one third only of the population would be left were true. He did not answer outright but said it was quite possible.

America has big standards of living: "they must be lowered, and many other countries must have theirs lifted, such as Israel. Americans must alter their standard of living. They ride in cars, they have more leisure to do non-essential things. They should go to Africa and lead a strenuous life."

What is sacrifice? We must go at any cost.

Africa and the islands of the sea will have a great future.

If one country fails another will take up for it.

If the friends do not go and if they delay they will lose everything.

There are 195 centers in Africa, 700 colored, 70 tribes and 30 languages. (1954)

Last Night

The Guardian had in his hand a letter from a young man who wanted to pioneer. He said the man was very spiritual. He said that if the [missing text] had independent means he should go anywhere he wished and the NSA should assist him when he arrives at his destination. He did not need the O.K. of the NSA or a Committee if he had the means.

Ultimately it is the spirit that counts. This is a spiritual crisis.

The Bahá'í NSA and committees are occupied with details which are dry and empty. He said; "I can visualize these things. Time is occupied with trivial matters. They are immersed in material affairs."

In big cities people become preoccupied with things. Large cities have a very bad effect on morality and spiritually (sic). It has become positively dangerous to live in cities; even non-Bahá'ís know this. We must get to a simpler life. Today it is literally like Rome, Babylon and Pompeii.

'Abdu'l-Bahá warned about the racial problem. There have been two wars and it had not ended.

'Abdu'l-Bahá said that in Central Asia there are cities which had been destroyed leaving no sign of how they were destroyed.

For 50 years the fortunes of men have been declining. There are two reasons. 1. Mankind did not heed the Master. 2. Materialism.

The last war was only the beginning. The next war may give the non-whites a chance to contribute their share. Cities are doomed. The white people have done great harm and they will suffer for it. America will become the storm center. The situation is very grave. Anything can happen.

America is the most disturbed nation on earth. This is reflected in the Bahá'ís of the west and their activities. They are living in a fools paradise. Their excesses have raised up enemies. It has induced hatred. Who would think that the day would come when America would have such fear? Anything can happen at any time, quickly.

The Tower of Babel was not a building.

A new race of men will appear after the cataclysm. We must have a totally new mode of life, simpler, with new cities.

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Question from Shoghi Effendi, given by Mr. Samandari at the African Conference 1958.

Tempestuous winds of tests and trials will assail the Cause of God, and the friends shall not waver, be fearful or be doubtful if such tests should come, whether from within or from without the Faith of God. Let them be sure that at the climax of world convulsions and revolutions, attacks on the Faith, rebellions, the rebellion of the government and the people and the tribes of the world, the greatness of the Cause of God shall be made manifest through ways and means mysterious, unexpected, strange and sudden, it's victory and conquering value shall reveal itself in full glory, its unity and firmness of foundation and the Glory of its Name will be revealed to all the people of the world. The Blessed Beauty is the defender of Justice. He is the protector of the friends and He is the destroyer of the foundations of injustice and enmity.

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