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Controversial both during her lifetime and after, Lippitt was a trained engineer who applied her rigorous intellect to the study of metaphysics and epistemology, and is best known for developing an education philosophy titled "The Science of Reality."
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Marian Crist Lippitt:
Short Biographical Monograph

by Peter Terry

Marian Crist was born on the 30th of June in the year 1897, apparently in Washington, D.C. We know this from her own autobiographical notes — she does not go into more detail. Her father was named Gene and her mother is referred to always as Mrs. Gene Crist in the available documents. This was a Methodist home, and there were prayers before meals, prayers at night before bed. Her mother taught her these prayers, and how to draw and paint, how to crochet and embroider, how to cook and care for children. Indeed, she was expected to put these skills to work in looking after her younger brothers and sisters. She recalled that at the age of three she rebelled against family prayers, and that her parents insisted that she pray, regardless of her personal wishes. After her marriage, Marian was addressed formally as Mrs. Marian C. Lippitt, but to her family, friends and associates she was always Marian. We will refer to our friend as Marian throughout this monograph.

In 1907 Marian began writing in order to relieve her frustration and express her thoughts. During her teenage years she visited many of the churches in the capitol city — she later recalled that she was not attracted to Judaism or to Christian Science, that the Catholic Church doctrine and liturgy made her angry, and apparently the Methodist Church was not to her liking either. She felt most at home in the Unitarian Church. During those years she was drawn to the poetry and other writings of Kahlil Gibran and Rabindranath Tagore, two authors who had intimate contact with 'Abdu'l- Baha and with many Bahá'ís. In 1914 Marian graduated from high school, having diligently prepared for an academic scholarship to Goucher College by taking four years of Latin and three years of mathematics. To supplement her high school studies she attended the Corcoran Art Gallery School of Art, completing their four-year curriculum in three and a half years. When Marian graduated from these two schools, she refused the Goucher scholarship...she had other aspirations. In 1915-1916 she took courses in philosophy and interior decorating at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. In 1916-1917 Marian returned to Washington to study at George Washington University, completing two years at the College of Architecture in one year of study. At that time, at nineteen years of age she joined the Unitarian Church because it had no set doctrines and the sermons of the presiding minister were an inspiration to her.

In April 1917 Marian enlisted in the Naval Reserve as a yeoman, first class. She was assigned as an engineering draftsman to the Navy Department in Washington, and later promoted to Chief Petty Officer. She served in the Navy for three years, leaving in 1920 to take a position as an apprentice in mechanical engineering at the Republic Boiler and Radiator Company, in Baltimore, Maryland. For two years she was the only employee to assist the designing engineer, preparing all working drawings for the machinery built by this company. However, she was not just an glorified secretary — she participated in the design of machinery, she managed the company office, and she served as the assistant superintendent for one year after the production of machinery started. During those years, from 1920 to 1924, Marian also prepared a prospectus for sale of company stock, and wrote articles for a trade periodical, "Iron Age," describing the innovative machinery and production methods of this company.

Marian's employment at the Republic Boiler and Radiator Company came to an end in 1924 when she married Edward C. Lippitt (8/17/1895-12/3/1982). Teddy Jr. was born in 1926 and Ray in 1928. In 1930 the family moved to Charleston, West Virginia. Two years later Marian seems to have had a nervous breakdown, provoked, she later thought, by reading Clarence Darrow's article which purported to disprove the existence of the soul. As a result of this breakdown, Marian left her home, took her two sons and returned for what was to be a brief interval to her parents' home in Washington. There she took treatments from a psychotherapist at the Life Adjustment Center. Her father was going through a personal spiritual transformation at that time, and he had founded a Truth Seekers Foundation in Washington, whose objective was to unite Jews, Catholics and Protestants through the acceptance of the spiritual truth revealed in the Word of God. He wrote many articles for newspaper syndication on this theme, and Marian edited some of these during her visit. But what really turned her around were two books which her father insisted that she read: "Health via Food," by Dr. William Howard Hay, and "Lessons in Truth," by Emilie Cady of the Unity School (a Christian community with very broad-minded and liberal ideas with regard to spirituality). Marian was so impressed with Hay's ideas that she followed them religiously and later credited this book with the good health of her family for the next twenty years. Her revised diet changed her life, and she began to read every day. Cady's book reignited Marian's attraction spiritual principles, and she became convinced that such principles are the true key to happiness.

In 1933, with her boys both in school, Marian went back to work, first for a year as an office manager and perspective draftsman for Meanor and Handlosen, a firm in Charleston, West Virginia. From 1934 until 1941 Marian was employed in the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department, servicing the Public Works Program Administration in Charleston. She began as an executive secretary to the administrator, and was then promoted to office manager and finally to the rank of legal clerk, where she handled the claims of W.P.A. workers. In 1941, with the concentration of tax revenues on the war effort and the closure of the W.P.A., Marian lost her job at the Treasury Department. She was very unhappy being unemployed, and when she prayed for guidance she discovered an answer — she could start her own business. From 1941 to 1943 she ran an office service bureau, providing part-time secretarial work, advertising, mimeographing and other services for businesses and individuals who did not need full-time office help.

But she was not happy. One night in November 1942 she determined to end her life if she did not receive an answer to her prayer for spiritual guidance. On the very next day Miss Garnette Whitefield, a friend in Charleston invited Marian to a meeting. Marian readily accepted the invitation, and, accompanied by her husband Ted she attended a fireside given in a hotel room by Miss Virginia Camelon. Marian was sufficiently impressed with what Miss Camelon said at that first fireside that she invited her to speak to her circle of friends on the following Saturday. At one of these early meetings, after Marian had had her first heart to heart talk with Miss Camelon, the Bahá'í teacher gave her a copy of the Bahá'í compilation of prayers entitled "Communion with God" and instructed her to pray. This fireside at Marian's home was repeated every Saturday until, by January 1943, Miss Whitefield, Marian and Ted all three longed to become Bahá'ís. Marian later recalled that these were the first firesides given in West Virginia. The three aspirants studied with Miss Camelon, with Mrs. Anna Kunz (mother of Annamarie Honnold and Margaret Honnold Ruhe), and with Mrs. Jeanette Bolles (aunt of Mary Maxwell, later Ruhiyyih Khanum). Together they read "Gleanings," "Kitab-i-Iqan," "Prayers and Meditations," "Hidden Words," "Seven Valleys," "Four Valleys" and later "Bahá'í Administration" and the "Will and Testament" of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. This intensive and systematic study of the Bahá'í Revelation continued throughout the winter of 1943 and on into the spring. In April 1943, Marian, her husband Ted and their friend Garnette were enrolled as believers and immediately became founding members of the first Local Spiritual Assembly in the state of West Virginia.

Marian had developed a large fibroid tumor. She did not trust the mainstream medical establishment, and she was terrified of the prospect of surgery. She had been investigating the prospect of bloodless surgery, and she heard of a physician who performed this operation through the "Health Culture Magazine" for which she was writing a series of articles on the therapeutic value of spiritual development. In June 1943 Miss Camelon, aware of Marian's malady, introduced her to Dr. William T. Bidwell, a chiropractor and naturopath with a small private hospital in Greenville, South Carolina. Dr. Bidwell was a Bahá'í as well as a physician. Marian discovered to her delight that Dr. Bidwell had studied bloodless surgery with the physician she had come to hear about through "Health Culture Magazine" and that he would not charge her a fortune to effect a cure. She was under his care for five weeks, and the tumor dutifully disappeared. Marian remained under Dr. Bidwell's care until 1972, when he passed away at the age of 93. It was during that hospital visit that she got more than she had bargained for — in the adjoining room in Dr. Bidwell's hospital was Mrs. H. Emogene Hoagg, the author of "Three Worlds" and "Conditions of Existence: Servitude, Prophethood, Deity." Emogene, Marian later recalled, had learned about the conditions of existence from 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself, not merely from reading those of His writings and utterances which had been translated into English and published in Great Britain and the United States, but also from listening to His talks during her long visits to the Holy Land. When Marian arrived she was introduced to Emogene, who was sitting up in bed surrounded by many books. At that time Emogene was in the process of completing her massive compilation with the full texts of those passages in the Bahá'í Writings and other Scriptures which referred to the three conditions of existence and the sub- categories which Emogene had likewise derived from the Bahá'í teachings.

Emogene introduced this "God's-eye" view of reality from the top down, beginning with the condition of Deity; and then proceeding to the Greater World, comprising the Cause or Purpose, the Spirit or Power, the Will, the Word and the Manifestation of God; and finally the Lesser World, including the kingdom of human souls and the material, human and spiritual worlds. Emogene also explained the variations which appear from human perception itself, which are vain imaginations, illusions rather than objective realities. Marian was given a copy of "Conditions of Existence," Emogene's published outline for the study of the ontological and cosmological teachings of the Faith, which she brought home with her. While Marian's introduction to Emogene's approach may have made an immediate impact upon her, she made no attempt to communicate with Emogene when she returned to Charleston.

Nor did Marian report having made any effort to discover the whereabouts of Emogene's magnum opus, her fully-texted compilation on the "Conditions of Existence," after her passing in 1945. Only in the 1970s, after Mrs. Agnes De Mille had begun to work with the NRLC, did Marian discover that Agnes typed this manuscript and sent it to the National Bahá'í Center in Wilmette. The memory of Emogene's instruction bore a different kind of fruit.

During 1943-1944 Marian worked as an engineering draftsman and mechanic repairing machinery in the Ordnance Armor Plant in Charleston. In 1943 her son Teddy Jr. was drafted to serve in the armed forces, and he became the youngest pilot in all of Army Aviation, flying nineteen missions in Europe and returning uninjured. In 1944 Marian began making a concordance to "Gleanings," and in this year, Ted, ever the accommodating and supportive husband, took over the entire responsibility of financial support so that Marian could devote herself full-time to her study of the Bahá'í teachings. Every morning she would to the Bahá'í center in Charleston and spend six or seven hours reading the Writings...this continued for almost ten years. Her son Ray enlisted in the Navy in 1945, but as the war had ended by that time, he did not see active service but was sent to college and educated as an engineer. Both of her sons were now entirely self-supporting.

At this point we know very little about Marian's activities during the 1940s, other than her estimate that she spent virtually every day reading the Writings from 1944 onward. At some time she was appointed to serve on the Regional Teaching Committee, and in a letter dated 24 April 1951 she specifically asked the National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) to relieve her of this obligation so that she could attend to her other responsibilities. On the 14th of May 1951 Marian received a letter from the NSA appointing the National Reference Library Committee (NRLC) — Marian was on the list. Mr. Lawrence (known as Larry) Hautz, a member of the NSA was appointed to convene the Committee for the first time. Initially the NSA appointed Miss Fanny Jupnik, Miss Flora Hottes, Mrs. May Stebbins and Mrs. Carol Hautz as well as Mrs. Marion C. Lippitt to the NRLC, but Mrs. Hautz seems to have resigned early on, and on 29 October 1951 the NSA appointed Miss Elizabeth Hopper in her place. Although Mrs. Dorothy Peterson, Mr. Hautz's business secretary was not appointed to the NRLC in this letter, she apparently worked on Committee projects from the onset. In its second letter to the NRLC the NSA charged this Committee with assembling a compilation on the Universal House of Justice for the use of the NSA. Marian was asked to direct the preparation of Concordances of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

There are no reports for 1952-1953, other than correspondence which indicates that Mrs. Gene Crist was appointed to head up a team charged with preparing two indexes to the Bible and Bahá'í Writings, one organized by subject, and the other by Biblical verse. Due to illness, Mrs. Crist was not able to continue as director of this project, so Marian took over for her and temporarily abandoned her Concordance program. These indexes were completed in 1955, and an incomplete version of the verse index was typed, duplicated and found its way into various Bahá'í libraries and the Western pilgrim house in Haifa. Both indexes were entered into a data base in 1995-1996 and are now being updated and corrected by volunteers. [See one online: Biblical References in Bahá'í Writings. -J.W., 2016]

In 1954 Mr. Hautz was reappointed to the NRLC, but soon thereafter he pioneered to Africa. Mrs. Crist was appointed Chairman in his place, and Marian was made Secretary, and her business associate in Charleston was also made a member — there were now three members of the NRLC located in Charleston, and this facilitated the accomplishment of the tasks assigned the Committee. Mrs. Dorothy Peterson resigned from the Committee in 1955, the year after her business associate Mr. Hautz left the NRLC. Mrs. Mariam Haney was a member of the Committee in 1954. Most of the professionally-trained librarians who were serving on the Committee resigned by 1955, with the exception of Mrs. May Stebbins, who stayed on until 1958 as the indexer of "Bahá'í News." The librarians apparently agreed that the Dewey Decimal System, then in use generally in the field of library science, was entirely unsuited to the categorization of the Bahá'í Revelation. They knew of no other system which was able to accomplish this aim.

In 1954 Marian wrote to the NSA, of which Horace Holley was Secretary, asking if the classification system developed by Emogene Hoagg could be adapted for use in compiling a Master Index to the Bahá'í Revelation. Horace Holley seems to have expressed interest but urged Marian to make a careful study of this subject and submit a detailed report to the NSA when ready. Marian was appointed convenor of the Committee in a letter from the NSA dated 16 June 1955, in which Mrs. Dorothy Peterson, Mrs. May Stebbins, Mrs. Mariam Haney, Miss Garnet Crawford, Mrs. Gene Crist, Mrs. Juliet A. Cole, Mrs. Kathleen Javid, Mrs. Sarah M. Russell, Miss Pearl Pohl and Mr. Hillard P. Hatch are also appointed for the year 1956-1957). Marian seems to have been largely if not entirely responsible for studying and describing the classification system which was to serve as the matrix for the Master Index. On the 20th of July 1956 she submitted the plan to the NSA, as Secretary of the NRLC; on the 6th of September 1956 the NRLC received a letter which stated:

"The National Spiritual Assembly examined with sincere interest at its recent meeting the material which you submitted to explain the plan you have adopted for listing and indexing all the ideas and verities expressed in the Sacred Writings and the works of the Guardian. It seems to us that you have devised a very practical system, but as you say, you may find it necessary to make minor changes as the work progresses. The National Spiritual Assembly
approve the plan as you have outlined it and we wish you every success
your efforts. Undoubtedly a great many friends will volunteer to assist
members of the National Spiritual Assembly feel that when this work is completed it will be of very great value in many, many ways to the friends."

During the next two years, Marian (and her fellow Committee members?) collected some 1500 references to the Bahá'í Writings and organized them according to the classification which Marian had developed from the study of Emogene's "Conditions of Existence" and her own investigation of the Writings. The resulting "Worlds of God" compilation was completed in 1958 or 1959. In 1959 Marian began the process of trying to recruit and train volunteer indexers to assemble the Master Index. However, whereas the NSA had been entirely supportive of her work in 1956, the membership of the NSA changed during the late 1950s, and by 1959 this Institution had a very different attitude towards the NRLC. The NSA appointed the Secretary of the National Teaching Committee to "watch over" the NRLC in 1959. Marian prepared a long and detailed course (60 page) to prepare indexers based on the "Worlds of God" compilation. This course was duplicated (100 copies were made) and sent out to Committee members, and they were each asked to start their own classes to attract volunteer indexers for compiling the Master Index.

On the 26th of January 1960 the NSA wrote a letter to the NRLC calling into question the value of the long course which had been distributed to Committee members. This course was characterized as difficult to understand, as distracting from the teaching effort then regarded as of primary importance, and perhaps as most suitable for the personal teaching initiatives of Marian herself. On the 11th of April the NSA wrote a letter ostensibly to Marian personally, encouraging her in the personal use of the "Worlds of God" and asking the NRLC to prepare instructions for believers which would enable them to compile their own personal indexes to the Bahá'í teachings. Marian immediately drew up a set of instructions and mailed it to the NSA on the 19th of April. It was regarded as too long and too difficult. Marian realized that her entire approach to indexing was being called into question. On the 1st of June she wrote to the NSA advocating the "over-all" perspective found in the "Worlds of God" as of signal importance to all aspects of Bahá'í life, and including testimonials written by various of the believers who had benefitted from this approach. On the 12th of July the NSA responded to her letter by stating that her material was premature for the American Bahá'í community at large. The use of the long course was discontinued at this point. Immediately after sending this letter, Marian received a telephone call from the National Center asking for subject indexes for popular use.

Marian but rallied on the 21st of November to ask the NSA if it would permit the "Worlds of God" compilation to be typed and used by Committee members. On 14 December the NSA responded, agreeing to both requests, and encouraging Marian to organize her material into two books, one for consideration by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust and another for commercial publication. At the same time, the NSA assigned the NRLC to prepare subject indexes for individual books based on the "Worlds of God" classification system. It also authorized the continuation of the Master Index. The subject indexes were being prepared as a test run — they were not approved by the NSA.

These subject indexes were supposed to present condensed indexes of individual books, and to be for popular use. Two small indexes were prepared, and in 1961 they were sent to the NSA. On 20 April 1961 the NSA postponed evaluating the subject indexes they were sent, and stated that they would make a determination after receiving the subject index for two books, "Bahá'í World Faith" and "Gleanings." The long course for training indexers was not permitted, and, as Marian had no other way to train indexers, she had to do all of the indexing herself.

In 1962 Marian began to prepare a shorter course based on the "Worlds of God" compilation for use in her personal teaching. Her husband Ted was her chief partner in this enterprise. On April 6th and 13th 1963 this new course was used in firesides which Marian gave in Charleston and Montgomery County, West Virginia. In 1964 Marian telephoned Dr. David Ruhe, then Secretary of the NSA, and offered to teach a short course at the Green Acre Bahá'í Summer School. This course was to consist of five lectures with 30 charts and diagrams, and the presenters were to be Marian and Ted. The director of the Summer School in 1964 was Mr. Samuel McClellan, and he agreed to their presentation of the course. However, when they arrived at Green Acre they found that no classes were planned for that summer as the School was badly in need of repairs. Ted had been asked to take over the management of the physical plant, and Marian was assigned the library. Also, when she described the course in more detail, the original enthusiasm changed to opposition and disapproval. Nevertheless, in summer 1965, Marian gave her short course for the first time. She was alotted one hour a day for five days. The NSA met at Green Acre immediately after the summer session, and Dr. Daniel Jordan, a close associate and friend of the Lippitts, was elected Vice- Chairman. He spoke on behalf of Marian's work, and the "Worlds of God" compilation was approved by the NSA in September 1965 to be used in its mimeographed form, in personal teaching and in the compilation of the Master Index.

Marian and Ted were called back to Green Acre in 1966, and, once more they were able to present the much abbreviated course. In its Ridvan 1967 message to the American believers, the Universal House of Justice called the attention of the American Bahá'í community to the great importance of "deepening" their knowledge and understanding of the Bahá'í Revelation. In that same year, Dr. Jordan was elected Chairman of the NSA. For the first time in many years, a small budget was alotted for the development of a deepening program. The long course developed by Marian for the training of indexers was tested on a group of students at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan. The course met weekly, and was lead by Mr. Roy Earl, a gifted teacher. It began with fifteen students and ended with thirty-five 13 months later. However, the window of opportunity did not remain open. Marian later wrote that the NSA turned its attention to human relations in 1968, and to youth teaching campaigns in 1969, and in 1970 the Ann Arbor course was banned altogether.

In 1970 the NSA turned its focus to what was then called mass teaching. In a letter sent to the National Reference Library Committee in April of that year, the Secretary of that Institution wrote that the Ann Arbor course was to be discontinued, because the NSA: 1) had found the text of the "Worlds of God" compilation (the basis for the course) "misleading"; and 2) in its judgment it was beyond the resources of the American Bahá'í community at that time to revise the compilation. Hence, the NSA decided that the Publishing Trust would not publish the "Worlds of God" compilation. On the other hand, that Institution permitted the NRLC to continue printing and distributing copies of the compilation. Marian was greatly disturbed by the positive disapproval of her work, and she wrote the Universal House of Justice on 15 June 1970, with various enclosures documenting and describing her work on the Master Index, the "Worlds of God" compilation, and her various course offerings through Bahá'í summer schools. She sent copies of that letter to the NSA, Dr. Daniel Jordan, and members of the NRLC.

On 6 October 1970, the Universal House of Justice replied to Marian's letter. It wrote that "Any comprehensive indexing of the Writings and Teachings, of course, would be of great interest to our Research Department, since it has been assigned the task of classifying the texts for study, and, as called for, for application by the House of Justice of these texts to the many needs of the Faith...We appreciate very deeply the devotion manifest in your decades of labor for the Cause, a labor of love which indeed has had its own rewards as you indicate, for you have been able to undertake a thorough study of the Words of the Prophet of God for this day...Please be assured of our prayers at the Holy Shrines for your guidance and continued service." A copy of this letter was sent to the NSA of the United States, and, supplementary to this, the Universal House of Justice assured Marian that "we are communicating with your National Assembly to ascertain whether the work cannot be pursued in some forth or another" and "We shall write to the National Assembly expressing our views."

In 1971 Marian and Ted moved from Charleston, West Virginia to York, Maine, a short automobile drive to the Green Acre Summer School which was the principal cite of their course offerings. In December of 1971 Marian and her long-time friend Dr. Mary Tomanio, chiropractor and Bahá'í, made their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There she met with two Hands of the Cause of God and two members of the Universal House of Justice, all of whom were very supportive of her work and encouraged her to continue to assemble the Master Index and to teach courses on the spiritual teachings of the Faith. Dr. Daniel Jordan asked her to hand-deliver to Dr. David Ruhe, member of the Universal House of Justice, the proposal for a comprehensive deepening program developed by the NSA, the National Education Committee, and Dr. Jordan himself as a member of both. She carried out this mission with humility and reverence. The pilgrimage had an enormous impact on Marian, making her feel that all of her years of devotion to this project were approved of by the Supreme Institution, and therefore acceptable to God.

The following year, 1972, saw the demise of her beloved physician and friend, Dr. William T. Bidwell, at the age of 93 years. It was also in this year that Ed Fox developed a plan for the computerization of the Master Index as the subject of his Master of Science thesis project in computer science for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During the early 1970s there seems to have been little interest in Marian's work, except among the small group of persons who had been touched in earlier years.

She forged very close relationships with her fellow NRLC members and other collaborators, including Mrs. Agnes De Mille, Mrs. Dawn Gregoire, Miss Lisel Lowen, Mrs. Constance Nenni, Mrs. Emma Rice, Mrs. Lura Rousi, Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas, Mrs. Kay Zinky and Mr. Richard Snyder. She trained Mr. Snyder and Mrs. Lee Errington as indexers, but later wrote that only Mrs. Errington shared the burden of indexing with her. She spent some time every morning at this activity, for twenty years or more. Mrs. Janis Jacobs and Mrs. Marguerite Robinson were among the volunteers who assisted the NRLC by typing index cards for placement in the Master Index.

But the most exciting venue for her approach came to her by way of Dr. Leonard Hippchen, a professor of criminology at various institutions, in 1975 at Glassboro State College in New Jersey. In a letter dated 26 April 1975 Marian announced the completion of a course designed for the moral re-education (rehabilitation) of juvenile delinquents. The course, called Successful Self-Direction (SSD), had been commissioned by the Juvenile Treatment Center in Glassboro, New Jersey, under the supervision and sponsorship of the Department of Law and Justice Studies, Glassboro State College; the course was initially funded by the state and county government and was slated to begin on the first of July 1975. Suddenly, abruptly, the funding for this initiative was cancelled. From 1976 through 1978 Dr. Hippchen called repeatedly on the NRLC for references, in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on International Criminal Justice, and Director of planning for an International Conference for a World Criminology, as well as Head of the Department of the Administration of Justice and Public Safety at Virginia Commonwealth University.

In September of 1976 Marian was contacted by the administrator of the Louis Gregory Bahá'í Institute (LGBI), inviting her to consult with members of the staff for a period of sixteen days in October. At the end of that consultation Marian was invited to give a week-long course based on the "Worlds of God" compilation for 25-30 July 1977. During the same time, two persons who had taken the long course on the "Worlds of God" were appointed to the Green Acre Council. In addition to her presentation at the LGBI, Marian gave a course on "Developing the Science of Reality" from the 13th through the 16th of May, a week-long course on "God's purpose for man" from the 18th to the 24th of July, a weekend institute on "The Reality of the Soul" on the 13th and 14th of August, a series of weekly two-hour sessions on "Spiritual Psychology" from the 7th of November through the 19th of December, and winter session from 25 to 30 December on "Spiritual Psychology," all of these classes at Green Acre. The winter session a Green Acre was attended by almost 50 students in their twenties and thirties. Also, in 1977 Marian received permission from the Green Acre administration to house the Master Index in its library.

Marian did not have an altogether easy year in 1977. She felt her energy slip away, and, for the first time in decades, she wanted to die. With Dr. Bidwell no longer around, she turned to Dr. Shirley S. Snow, another naturopath, and over the course of the next two and a half years, her health improved, and was entirely restored. Notwithstanding these troubles with her health, the response in the Bahá'í community to Marian's approach to the Bahá'í teachings was nothing short of a tide change. The responses of her students, in letters written to the National Education Committee of the NSA resulted in an open offer to present her courses at all three of the Bahá'í summer and winter schools. She answered this offer with a letter of her own, declining. She indicated that her husband's health was too delicate for her to travel far and for more than a day or two at a time. To some of her friends she wrote that she declined this offer because it had come "too late" — that she had given up on the Bahá'í community embracing her work, and was concentrating her efforts on developing applications of this approach to secular American society, such as her course commissioned by Dr. Hippchen (SSD). Nevertheless, Marian continued to offer her material to classes at Green Acre, with weekend institutes on "Spiritual Solutions to Everyday Problems," on the 15th-16th of April and the 20th-21st of May; she regarded these as teacher-training institutes based on the "Worlds of God" compilation. Also, for a two and a half day institute at Prince William State Park, given for the Bahá'ís of northern Virginia, Marian gave a course on the "Worlds of God."

There are gaps in the chronological record of Marian's life. A systematic study of all of her correspondence, and the retrieval of her long autobiography — currently unavailable — will undoubtedly fill in these gaps. In April of 1980 she spent nine days (the 10th through the 19th) presenting a course on the "Worlds of God" at the Southern California Bahá'í School, held that year in San Diego, at the instigation of Dr. Jordan and his wife Mrs. Nancy Jordan. In 1980 Marian prepared a monograph which was presented at a conference of educators called by the Association for a World University for June of that year [online at]. This conference had been organized by Dr. Hippchen, and was sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University. Over 4000 educators were invited from all over the world, and only 75 attended. Dr. Daniel Jordan and Dr. Dwight Allen (both of whom were both educators and Bahá'ís) attended this conference, as did Marian, and Dr. Jordan presented Marian's monograph entitled "An Introduction to the Science of Reality" to the small group of assembled educators. Subsequent to this, Marian was asked to present a proposal for a core curriculum for the proposed World University, and she did so, calling this curriculum "The Science of Reality." In April of 1981 the Association for a World University wrote Dr. Jordan indicating that Marian's proposal had been accepted. Dr. Jordan was on his way to a meeting with the Association when he was murdered. Sometime after his murder, Dr. Hippchen committed suicide. The Association for a World University lapsed into non-existence.

Meanwhile, in 1981 Successful Self-Direction (SSD) was revived by Mr. Douglas and Mrs. Lee McAdam, a couple then residing in Nebraska. In July of 1981 Miss Norma Gimlin called Marian and offered to move to York to help her with her work. She arrived in September or October and in October or November, Marian, her husband Ted and Norma founded the Science of Reality Foundation. It seems that a lawyer was never contacted to draw up papers for the Foundation's incorporation. Apparently sometime in 1982, Doug and Lee McAdam were made members of the Foundation. Also, Dr. Phyllis Gudger-Porter became active in the work of the Foundation. Norma told Marian about Columbia Pacific University (CPU), and urged Marian to earn academic credit for her work in the past. Marian contacted CPU and in short order was granted a B.S. based on her work as an engineer in the 1940s and 1950s. Later that year, Norma moved to New Jersey to work for Univision, Inc. Marian and Nancy Jordan taught over two hundred students at the Southern California Winter School in January 1982, presenting a three-day institute on the "Worlds of God." During this year, Marian created an Advisory Board for the Science of Reality Foundation, including as members her two sons, Ted Jr. and Ray, and her Bahá'í grand-daughter. On May 28 the NSA wrote the NRLC recommending that Mr. Ed Fox, Mr. Lee Nelson and G.A. Collier be approached regarding the computerization of the Master Index. On the 14th of July, Marian wrote to her friends and associates, reporting that the Science of Reality Foundation was offering a series of courses based upon the model developed for Dr. Hippchen, "Successful Self-Direction" (SSD). On the third of December 1982, Edward C. Lippitt, her beloved husband and the financial mainstay of her thirty years of service to the Bahá'í Faith, passed into the next world. The three persons Marian contacted were ultimately unable to computerize the Master Index. The series of courses was never given, either by Marian or by anyone else. Nancy Jordan replaced Ted on the Science of Reality Foundation, but nobody could replace Ted in Marian's life.

Marian continued to develop a series of courses — she planned six altogether, of which SSD was to be the first. She remained in frequent contact with Lisel Lowen, Doug McAdam and Norma Gimlin, among others, writing long and detailed letters, mostly related to her ongoing development of secular courses related to the "science of reality". On 22 February 1983 Marian submitted an independent study project to CPU entitled "New Indexing Systems Based on the Compilation Entitled 'The Worlds of God', "and shortly thereafter Marian was awarded a M.A. in Liberal Arts in recognition of her original work in this field. Towards the close of this year, on the 19th of November, Marian wrote to Doug McAdam, describing her plan for the revision of the "Worlds of God" compilation. Her letters indicated that she was more than ever convinced that her work needed to be translated into terms which could be understood by members of secular society, that her "mission" was to introduce "non-believers" to the "science of reality." As far as she was concerned, she tried to reach the Bahá'í community for over two decades, and the rest of her years she would devote to reaching mankind. She had become convinced that her major obstacle to recognition was having no doctoral degree. Hence, she continued, in 1984 to work towards receiving a Ph.D. from CPU.

Towards this end she revised her unpublished manuscript — the book she had been encouraged to write for commercial publication by the NSA in 1960 — "An Introduction to the Science of Reality," and this was to be her doctoral dissertation. She was in the process of editing this manuscript when she passed away, on the 5th of February 1985. CPU refused to award her Ph.D. posthumously — this was against their established policy.

With the passing of Marian, the Science of Reality Foundation seems to have disappeared, leaving only a few traces. Marian's papers were scattered, and are still being collected from various sources twelve years later. The National Reference Library Committee, which was largely defunct after the demise of Ted Lippitt in 1982, lapsed after her death, and has not been reappointed since. About seven years after she died, a group of Bahá'ís living in Eliot, Maine discovered the Master Index and other files related to the work of the NRLC and Marian Lippitt on Green Acre property. The Green Acre Bahá'í School was not interested in serving as custodian of this collection, and so this group petitioned the NSA for permission to assume stewardship of the former properties of Marian Lippitt and the NRLC. This group received a letter from the NSA on 27 January 1992, commending them for taking this initiative, and encouraging them to computerize the Master Index. This group formed the "Foundation for the Science of Reality" (FSR), incorporated as a non-profit educational organization on 30 June 1993. FSR received tax-exempt status on 20 October 1994. The Foundation was renamed Foundation for the Investigation of Reality in 1998.


    Harris, June, Letters to Marian Lippitt

    Hippchen, Leonard, Letters to Marian Lippitt

    Jordan, Dr. Daniel, Letters to Marian Lippitt

    Lippitt, Marian Crist, Autobiographical Notes

    Ibid., My Life Experiences

    Ibid., Introduction to the Science of Reality

    Ibid., Successful Self-Direction

    Ibid., compiler, The Worlds of God (compilation)

    Ibid., compiler, Knowledge and Faith

    Ibid., compiler, Health and Healing

    Ibid., compiler, Rosicrucian Order

    Ibid., compiler, Prayer and Meditation

    Ibid., Letters to Amine De Mille

    Ibid., Letters to the Association for a World University

    Ibid., Letters to Bible Index compilers

    Ibid., Letters to June Harris

    Ibid., Letters to Dr. Leonard Hippchen

    Ibid., Letters to Dr. Daniel Jordan

    Ibid., Letters to Lisel Lowen

    Ibid., Letters to National Education Committee

    Ibid., Letters to National Reference Library Committee members

    Ibid., Letterst to National Spiritual Assembly

    Ibid., Letters to Dr. David Ruhe

    Ibid., Letter to the Universal House of Justice

    Ibid., Letters to Kay Zinky

    Lowen, Lisel, Letters to Marian Lippitt

    Nakhjavani, 'Ali, Letter to Marian Lippitt

    National Education Committee, National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America, Letters to Marian Lippitt

    National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America, Letters to the National Reference Library Committee

    Ruhe, Dr. David, Letters to Marian Lippitt

    Universal House of Justice, Letters to Marian Lippitt

    Zinky, Kay, Letters to Marian Lippitt

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