Bahá'í Library Online
. . . .
.
>>   Documents from the Universal House of Justice
TAGS: A Cry from the Heart (book); Abdul-Baha, Passing of; Abdul-Baha, Station of; Abdul-Baha, Voice recording of; Abdul-Hamid Ishraq-Khavari; Abul-Qasim Faizi; Adelbert Muhlschlegel; Age of maturity; Ages; Agnes Alexander; Amoz Gibson; Architects; Auxiliary Board Members and assistants; Baghdad; Bahai International Community (general); Bahai institutes; Bahai meetings; Bahai radio stations; Bahai schools; Bahai writings; Bahaullah, Birth of; Bahaullah, Shrine of; Bahiyyih Khanum (Greatest Holy Leaf); Bahji; Behavior of Children; Births and deaths; Bolivia; Calamities and catastrophs; Charles Mason Remey; Chastity; Chicago; Children; Compilations; Conferences, Bahai; Conferences, Teaching; Conferences, Youth; Confidentiality; Consolidation; Constitutions; Consultation; Conventions; Conversion; Counsellors; Covenant (general); Criticism and apologetics; Deepening; Difficult decisions; Divorce; ECOSOC; Education; Elections; Elucidation; Enoch Olinga; Epochs; Equality; Ether; Ethics; Excellence; Exemption; Fire Tablet; Five Year Plan (1974-1979); Five steps of prayer; Formative Age; Foundation stones; Frankfurt; Funds; Gardens; Gender; Germany; Glenford Mitchell; Gradual implementation; Growth; Guardianship; Hands of the Cause; Hasan Balyuzi; Haziratul-Quds; Holy Days; Holy places; House of Abdullah Pasha; House of Bahaullah (Takur); House of the Bab (Shiraz); Human rights; Huququllah; In Memoriam; India; Infallibility; Inspiring the Heart (compilation); International Teaching Center; International conventions; Interpretation; Iran; Iraq; Ishqabad; Jessie Revell; John Ferraby; Kampala; Kashmir; Khurasan; Kitab-i-Aqdas (Most Holy Book); Language; Laura Clifford-Barney; Laws; Laws; Leonora Armstrong; Leroy Ioas; Lesser Peace; Life (general); Local Spiritual Assemblies; Long Healing Prayer; Love (general); Love for God and Bahaullah; Lutfullah Hakim; Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa; Marriage; Martin Luther King Jr; Martyrs; Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Mass teaching; Materialism; Mazraih; Meditation; Membership (general); Mirza Mihdi (Purest Branch); Mirza Muhammad-Quli; Morality; Morocco; Musa Banani; Music; National Spiritual Assemblies; Naw-Ruz messages; New Delhi; Newsletters (general); Nine Year Plan; Nineteen Day Feast; Obelisk; Opposition; Panama; Participation; Paul Haney; Peace; Persecution; Philippines; Pioneering; Plans; Politics; Power of Divine Assistance (compilation); Prayer; Prayer texts; Prejudice; Promise of World Peace (statement); Proselytizing; Public Information Office; Publishing; Purpose of the Bahai Faith; Rahmatullah Muhajir; Ranks and stations; Retirement; Ridvan messages; Scholarship; Science; Self-defense; Seven Year Plan (1979-1986); Seven martyrs of Yazd; Shoghi Effendi, Writings of; Shuaullah Alai; Singing; Social and economic development; Social change; Soul; Spiritual growth; Suffering; Supreme Tribunal; Suriy-i-Muluk (Surih to the Kings); Tabriz; Tarazullah Samandari; Teaching; Tests; Travel teaching; Uganda; United Nations; United States; Universal House of Justice, Letters and messages; Universal House of Justice, Members of; Universal House of Justice, Membership of; Universal House of Justice, Seat; Violence; Virtues; Weapons; Western Samoa; Women; Words of God (compilation); World Centre; Worship (general); Youth
> add/edit tags

Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-86

by Universal House of Justice

compiled on behalf of Geoffry W. Marks.
previous chapter chapter 2 start page single page chapter 4 next chapter

Chapter 3

+29

1964-1973 The Nine Year Plan


+30

THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY BLANK


+31

14 Launching of the Nine Year Plan APRIL 1964

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

The divinely propelled process, described in such awe-inspiring words by our beloved Guardian, which began six thousand years ago at the dawn of the Adamic cycle and which is destined to culminate in "the stage at which the light of God's triumphant Faith shining in all its power and glory will have suffused and enveloped the entire planet," is now entering its tenth and last part., The Ten Year Crusade, so recently consummated in a blaze of victory and 14.2 rejoicing, constituted the entire ninth part of this process. It saw the Cause of God leap

forward in one mighty decade-long effort to the point at which the foundations of its Administrative Order were laid throughout the world, thus preparing the way for that awakening of the masses which must characterize the future progress of the Faith. From the beginning of this Dispensation the most urgent summons of the

14.3 Word of God, voiced successively by the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh, has been to teach the Cause. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in His own words, 11 spent His days and nights in promoting the Cause and urging the peoples to service. "2 Shoghi Effendi, discharging the sacred mission laid upon him, raised the Administrative Order of the Faith, already enshrined within the Sacred Writings, and forged it into a teaching instrument to accomplish through a succession of plans, national, international, and global, the entire Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and he clearly foresaw in the "tremendously long" tenth part of the process already referred to, a series of plans to be launched by the Universal House of justice, extending over 'successive epochs of both the Formative and Golden Ages of the Faith."3

14-1. MBW, P. 155. The Bahá'í teachings assert that Adam was a Prophet of God and that He inaugurated the Adamic, or prophetic, cycle that ended with the advent of the Bab and that is followed by the cycle of fulfillment Bahá'u'lláh inaugurated. Shoghi Effendi explains that "The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh should indeed be regarded, if we wish to be faithful to the tremendous implications of its message, as the culmination of a cycle, the final stage in a series of successive, of preliminary and progressive revelations. These, beginning with Adam and ending with the Bab, have paved the way and anticipated with an ever-increasing emphasis the advent of that Day of Days in which He Who is the Promise of All Ages should be made manifest" (WOB, p. i03). For a full description of the ten-part, divinely propelled process and for a discussion of the nature of cycles, see entries on Ten-Part Process and Cycles in the glossary. 14-2. WT, P. 10. 14-3. MBW, pp. 153, 155.


+32

14.4 The first of these plans is now before us. Opening at Ridvan 1964, while the memories of the glorious jubilee of 1963 still surge within our hearts, it must, during its nine-year course, witness a huge expansion of the Cause of God and universal participation by all believers in the life of that Cause.

World Center Goals

14.5 At the World Center of the Faith the tasks of the Plan include publication of a synopsis and codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book; formulation of the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice; development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, in consultation with the body of the Hands of the Cause, with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation; continued collation and classification of the Bahá'í Sacred Scriptures as well as of the writings of Shoghi Effendi; continued efforts directed towards the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy and its recognition as an independent religion; the preparation of a plan for the befitting development and beautification of the entire area of Bahá'í property surrounding the Holy Shrines; extension of the existing gardens on Mount Carmel; development of the relationship between the Bahá'í Community and the United Nations; the holding of Oceanic and Intercontinental Conferences; the coordination of worldwide plans to commemorate, in 1967168, the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's Proclamation to the kings and rulers which centered round His revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk in Adrianople.4 International Goals

74.6 In the world community the Plan involves the opening of seventy virgin territories and the resettlement of twenty-four; the raising of the number of National Spiritual Assemblies, the pillars sustaining the Universal House of Justice, to one hundred and eight, nine times the number which embarked on the first historic World Crusade in 1953; increasing the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies to over thirteen thousand seven hundred, scattered throughout the territories and islands of the world, at least one thousand seven hundred of them to be incorporated; the raising of the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside to over fifty-four thousand; the building of two more Mashriqu'l-Adhkar one in Asia and one in Latin America;5 the acquisition

14-4. Tablet to the Kings, referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh" (GPB, p. 170. For passages of the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English, see P13, pp. 7-Iz, 47-54, and 102-03. For details on the celebration of the centenary, see messages dated October 1963, Ridvan 1965, 17 March 1967, and October 1967 (nos. 6, 24, 41, and 46). 14-5. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Asia was to be located in Tehran, Iran. Antagonism toward the Bahá'í Faith caused the plans for its construction to be held in abeyance.

14.7 The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Latin America is in Panama and was dedicated in 1972.


+33

of thirty-two Teaching Institutes, fifty-two national Haziratu'l-Quds, fifty-four national Endowments, and sites for sixty-two future Temples; wide extension of recognition by civil authorities of the Bahá'í Holy Days and Bahá'í Marriage Certificates; the translation of literature into one hundred and thirty-three more languages, and its enrichment in major languages into which translations have already been made; the establishment of four new Bahá'í Publishing Trusts, and a vast increase in the financial resources of the Faith.

The Role of the Individual The healthy development of the Cause requires that this great expansion be accompanied by the dedicated effort of every believer in teaching, in living the Bahá'í life, in contributing to the Fund, and particularly in the persistent effort to understand more and more the significance of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. In the words of our beloved Guardian, "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 splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh.116

Twin Objectives of the Plan Expansion and universal participation are the twin objectives of this initial 14.8 phase of the second epoch of the Divine Plan, and all the goals assigned to the sixty-nine National Communities are contributory to them. The process of cooperation between National Spiritual Assemblies, already initiated by the beloved Guardian, will, during the course of this Plan, apply to over two hundred specific projects and will further strengthen this process which may well assume great importance in future stages of the Formative Age. Once more, dear friends, we enter the battle but with an incomparably 14.9 greater array than that which embarked upon the World Crusade in 1953. To that small force of twelve national communities, now veteran campaigners, have been added fifty-seven new legions, each under the generalship of a National Spiritual Assembly, each destined to become a veteran of this and future campaigns. That Crusade began with slightly more than six hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies, the greater part of which were situated in Persia, North America and Europe; the home fronts now comprise nearly four thousand six hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies scattered throughout the continents and islands of the world. We begin this Plan with a tremendous momentum, exemplified by the addition, since last Ridv6n, of over four thousand new centers and thirteen National Spiritual Assemblies, and by the beginning, in several countries, of that entry by troops into the Cause of God prophesied by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and so eagerly anticipated by Him.

14-6. BA, p. 66.


+34

Standard-Bearers of the Plan

14.10 The Standard-Bearers of this Nine Year Plan are those same divinely appointed, tried and victorious souls who bore the standard of the World Crusade, the Hands of the Cause of God, whose advice and consultation have been invaluable in the working out of this Nine Year Plan. Supported by their 11 DEPUTIES, ASSISTANTS [and] ADVISERS ' '17 the members of the Auxiliary Boards, they will inspire and protect the army of God, lead through every breach to the limit of available resources and sustain those communities struggling over intractable or stony ground, so that by 1973 the celebrations befitting the centenary of the Revelation of the Most Holy Book may be undertaken by a victorious, firmly established, organically united world community, dedicated to the service of God and the final triumph of His Cause.

14.11 Therefore let each of the sixty-nine communities seize its tasks, at once consider how best to accomplish them within the allotted span, raise its band of pioneers, consecrate itself to unremitting labor and set out on its mission. Now is the golden opportunity. For whatever convulsions the waywardness of a godless and materialistic age may yet precipitate in the world, however grievous may be the effects of the rolling up of the present order on the plans and efforts of the Community of the Most Great Name, we must seize the opportunities of the hour and go forward confident that all things are within His mighty grasp and that, if we but play our part, total and unconditional victory will inevitably be ours.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Is Convention Greetings 1964 19 APRIL 1964

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States OCCASION RIDVAN FESTIVAL EXTEND LOVING GREETINGS HANDS DELEGATES FRIENDS PRESENT HISTORIC CONVENTIONS LAUNCHING FIRST ENTERPRISE

SECOND EPOCH UNFOLDMENT ABDU'L-BAHA'S DIVINE PLAN. HAIL FORMATION THIRTEEN ADDITIONAL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TESTIFYING RESISTLESS DEVELOPMENT WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH. CONVEY ALL FRIENDS JOYFUL NEWS DEDICATION MOTHER TEMPLE EUROPE JULY FOURTH. ASSURE ARDENT PRAYERS VICTORIES BOUNTIFUL FAVORS COURSE PLAN NOW LAUNCHED. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

14-7. Shoghi Effendi, MBW, P. 59 34


+35

16 Guidelines for the Nine Year Plan 14 MAY 1964

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Friends,

16.1 We have been receiving with deep joy and gratification, reports of the Conventions held throughout the Bahá'í world during the Ridvan period just concluded and the national and regional elections resulting in the formation of sixty-nine National Spiritual Assemblies. The announcement of the goals of the Nine Year Plan has received universally a warm response. Individuals, Conventions and Assemblies have pledged loyalty and given assurance of the execution of the assigned goals with determination and dedication. In two cases a goal has already been declared accomplished. If your Assembly has been given what appears to be a heavy task, particularly in terms of homefront goals, you should consider how this can be phased so that your teaching program is conducted systematically. When you do work out such an internal plan we would appreciate receiving a copy. We feet that at this time certain guidelines could be given to the National

16.4 Spiritual Assemblies to assist them in the understanding and attainment of the goals assigned to them. New and Unsettled Territories: this aspect of the Plan is of vital importance.

16.5 It involves the establishment of points of light in new territories, the further diffusion of the radiance of the Faith of God and is directly linked with the prestige and international status of the Faith. It is essential that the enthusiasm generated at the Conventions be capitalized upon and the pioneers who have offered their services are directed wisely and energetically to the posts to be opened and resettled.

16.6 Acquisition of Properties: as prices generally are soaring everywhere it is important that properties called for in the Plan be purchased as soon as funds are made available. Your National Assembly is no doubt conscious of the fact that wherever a Haziratu'l-Quds has been allocated it should be a modest structure, acquired in a dignified location within the civil limits of the town or city named in the Plan. However, a Temple site could be near the city, as it is not essential that it be located within the civil limits of the city. National Endowments: the object here is not to buy an extensive property.

16.7 A token piece of land, possibly donated by a believer, is all that is required for the moment.


+36

16.8 Teaching Institute: this is essentially an activity aimed at deepening the knowledge of the friends to prepare them for active participation in the teaching work. In some countries it may continue to be an activity conducted either in local Bahá'í Centers or possibly housed in hired quarters, like most Summer Schools. However, in other countries, and particularly in mass teaching areas, it may have to be a modest structure acquired or erected in the rural areas where the majority of the believers reside rather than in capital cities, to obviate transportation expenses for those attending. Recognition of the Faith: such goals as national and local incorporations, as well as applications to obtain recognition of the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate and Bahá'í Holy Days, should be embarked upon only when circumstances are propitious and there is reasonable assurance that the goal can be attained. 1610 New Languages: the translation of Bahá'í literature into new languages should be carefully coordinated with the settlement of pioneers in areas using such languages. Therefore, this is a goal which must be pursued vigorously and without delay so that the teaching work may proceed effectively in these areas.

16.11 If in the pursuit of any of the above or other goals your Assembly should experience any difficulty or need any clarification, you are welcome to write to us at once.

16.12 We assure you of our constant prayers at the Holy Shrines for the befitting discharge of your responsibilities under the Nine Year Plan.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+37

17 Dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe, Langenhain, Germany July 1964

To the beloved of God gathered in the European Teaching Conference called on the occasion of the dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe

17.1

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We have just witnessed the dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe -- a project of untold significance and tremendous potential for the spread of the light of God's Faith in that Continent. One of the major achievements called for by our beloved Guardian at the outset of the Ten Year Crusade, this Mashriqu'l-Adhkar was triumphantly raised during its closing years as the fruit of long and arduous labors in the face of determined opposition and upon the sacrificial gifts of believers from all parts of the world. Now dedicated in the opening months of the Nine Year Plan; it forms a striking link between these two great crusades, demonstrating afresh the organic progress of the Cause whereby the efforts exerted in one period bear fruit in the next, which in turn endow the Bahá'í Community with new and greater capacities for the winning of still greater victories.

17.2 You are now gathered in this Conference to deliberate on ways and means of accomplishing the goals which are set before you. Let every believer, as he considers in detail these various goals, bear in mind four supreme objectives: to carry the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to every stratum of society, not only in the towns and cities but also in the villages and country districts where the virus of materialism has had much less effect on the lives of men; to take urgent, wise and well-considered steps to spread the Faith to those countries of Eastern Europe in which it has not yet become established; to reinforce strongly the heroic band of pioneers in the islands of the Mediterranean and the North Sea-islands which are to play such an important role in the awakening of the entire continent -- as well as to prosecute energetically the goals you are called upon to achieve in other continents and oceans; and to foster the cooperation between National Communities and between National Spiritual Assemblies and the Hands of the Cause of God which has contributed so markedly to the work of the Faith on that Continent and is so essential for its future development.

17.3 Above all let every European Bahá'í have ever-present in his mind that these are the five years during which Bahá'u'lláh sojourned on the soil of that Continent


+38

a century ago., Let him resolve so to deepen his knowledge of the Faith and so to increase his standards of self-sacrifice and dedication to the Cause as to play his part in building a Community which will be worthy of this supreme bounty and which will be a beacon light to the peoples of this fear-wracked world.

17.4 In 1953 Shoghi Effendi wrote that the Continent of Europe had "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. "2 Those who have been privileged to witness the extraordinary strengthening and consolidation of the Cause in Europe during the course of the last eleven years are well aware of the reservoir of spiritual potential that has been building up and the transformation of the life of the European Bahá'í Community that has ensued. May the completion and dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar be the signal for the unleashing of this potential, bringing about on the European mainland and in the islands around its shores a quickening of the process of individual conversion comparable to those events which have transpired with such astonishing suddenness in other continents of the globe.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

18 Teaching the Masses 13 JULY 1964

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

18.1 When the masses of mankind are awakened and enter the Faith of God, a new process is set in motion and the growth of a new civilization begins. Witness the emergence of Christianity and of Islam. These masses are the rank and file, steeped in traditions of their own, but receptive to the new Word of God, by which, when they truly respond to it, they become so influenced as to transform those who come in contact with them.

18.2 God's standards are different from those of men. According to men's standards, the acceptance of any cause by people of distinction, of recognized fame and status, determines the value and greatness of that cause. But, in the words

17-1. Bahá'u'lláh was exiled from Constantinople (now Istanbul) to Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey), where He remained from 12 December 1863 through 12 August 1868. Edirne lies West of the Bosphorus, near Turkeys border with Greece. 17-2. MBW, p. 161.


+39

of Bahá'u'lláh: "The summons and the message which We gave were never intended to reach or to benefit one land or one people only. Mankind in its entirety must firmly adhere to whatsoever hath been revealed and vouchsafed unto it." Or again, "He hath endowed every soul with the capacity to recognize the signs of God. How could He, otherwise, have fulfilled His testimony unto men, if ye be of them that ponder His Cause in their hearts.", In countries where teaching the masses has succeeded, the Bahá'ís have poured out their time and effort in village areas to the same extent as they had formerly done in cities and towns. The results indicate how unwise it is to solely concentrate on one section of the population. Each National Assembly therefore should so balance its resources and harmonize its efforts that the Faith of God is taught not only to those who are readily accessible but to all sections of society, however remote they may be. The unsophisticated people of the world -- and they form the large majority of its population -- have the same right to know of the Cause of God as others. When the friends are teaching the Word of God they should be careful to give the Message in the same simplicity as it is enunciated in our Teachings. In their contacts they must show genuine and divine love. The heart of an unlettered soul is extremely sensitive; any trace of prejudice on the part of the pioneer or teacher is immediately sensed.

18.4 I When teaching among the masses, the friends should be careful not to emphasize the charitable and humanitarian aspects of the Faith as a means to Win recruits. Experience has shown that when facilities such as schools, dispensaries, hospitals, or even clothes and food are offered to the people being taught, many complications arise. The prime motive should always be the response of man to God's message, and the recognition of His Messenger. Those who declare themselves as Bahá'ís should become enchanted with the beauty of the Teachings; and touched by the love of Bahá'u'lláh.1 The declarants need not know all the proofs, history, laws, and principles of the Faith, but in the process of declaring themselves they must, in addition to catching the spark of faith, become basically informed about the Central Figures of the Faith, as well as the existence of laws they must follow and an administration they must obey, After declaration, the new believers must not be left to their own devices.

Through correspondence and dispatch of visitors, through conferences and training courses, these friends must be patiently strengthened and lovingly helped to develop into full Bahá'í maturity. The beloved Guardian referring to the duties of Bahá'í Assemblies in assisting the newly declared believer has written: ". . . the members of each and every Assembly should endeavor, by their patience, their love, their tact and wisdom, to nurse, subsequent to his

18-1. GWB, pp. 96, i05-06.


+40

admission, the newcomer into Bahá'í maturity, and win him over gradually to the unreserved acceptance of whatever has been ordained in the teachings."2

Expansion and Consolidation -- Simultaneous Processes

18.6 Expansion and consolidation are twin processes that must go hand in hand. The friends must not stop expansion in the name of consolidation. Deepening the newly enrolled believers generates tremendous stimulus which results in further expansion. The enrollment of new believers, on the other hand, creates a new spirit in the community and provides additional potential manpower that will reinforce the consolidation work.

18.7 We would like to share with you some of the methods used by National Assemblies in various continents that have proved useful in teaching the masses, and attach a list. Certain of these may be valuable in your area, in addition to any methods you may yourself devise.

18.8 We are fervently praying that all National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, supported by the individual believers, will achieve outstanding success in the fulfillment of this glorious objective.

18.9 Please share this communication with all the friends.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Teaching the Masses Annex

Materials are sent at once to the new believers. In some places this material is in the form of printed cards, mainly in color, portraying a Bahá'í theme or principle. This helps the new believer to know that his declaration has been accepted and to feel that he now belongs to the new Faith.

Training courses of about 2 weeks duration are held. To facilitate attendance and reduce cost, a number of villages are grouped together as one zone in which the course is held. The students to the courses are usually selected, so that the more capable participate, and teaching is facilitated. Transportation expenses, feeding and accommodation are provided, if it is found that the participants are unable to cover such expenses themselves. The material to be taught is prepared ahead of time, presented in simple language, and translated into the vernacular. After the course, the more promising students are picked out, and with their consent, are requested to undertake teaching projects for a limited period. It is sometimes found that long-term projects are also useful. These projects generally are carefully planned as to their duration, places to be visited, and material to be taught. If the traveling teachers are not able to cover their expenses, traveling

18-2.

18.12 MA, p. 11.


+41

18.13 and living expenses are provided by the Fund for the execution of a given and temporary teaching project. 3. Shorter training courses in the form of conferences over a long weekend are held. 4. These activities -- training courses and conferences -- are repeated as frequently as possible and are not dependent upon the acquisition of Teaching Institutes. In the absence of such Institutes, these courses and conferences are normally held in Bahá'í homes or hired quarters, such as schools, etc. In order to facilitate the physical catering and accommodation of the participants they are sometimes asked to come to the course with their eating utensils and bedding. 5. In the visits made to the villages, the visiting teacher meets with the Local

18.14 Communities to give them basic Bahá'í knowledge, such as living the Bahá'í life, the importance of teaching, prayer, fasting, Nineteen Day Feasts, Bahá'í elections, and contributions to the Fund. The question of contributions to the Fund is of utmost importance, so that the new believers may quickly feel themselves to be responsible members of the Community.

18.15 Each National Assembly must find ways and means to stimulate the offering of contributions, in cash or kind, to make it easy for the friends to contribute and to give proper receipts to the donors.

These are but suggestions based on experience which may help you in your efforts to teach and deepen the spiritually starved multitudes in your area.

18.16 In the course of carrying out such a tremendous spiritual campaign among the masses, disappointments will well be encountered. We tabulate a few instances that have been brought to our notice:

a) Visiting pioneers or teachers may find in some places newly enrolled believers not so enthusiastic about their religion as expected, or not adjusting to standards of Bahá'í life, or they may find them thinking of material benefits they may hope to derive from their new membership.

18.17 We should always remember that the process of nursing the believer into full spiritual maturity is slow, and needs loving education and patience. b) Some teaching committees, in their eagerness to obtain results, place undue emphasis on obtaining a great number of declarations to the detriment of the quality of teaching. c) Some traveling teachers, in their desire to show the result of their services, may not scrupulously teach their contacts, and in some rare cases, if, God forbid, they are insincere, may even give false reports.

Such irregularities have happened and can be repeated, but must not be a source of discouragement. By sending a team of teachers to an area, or by sending at intervals other teachers to those areas, and through correspondence and reports, such situations can be detected and immediately adjusted. The


+42

administration of the Faith must at all times keep in close touch with the teaching work.

18.18 To sum up:

I. Teaching the waiting masses is a reality facing each National Assembly. z. The friends must teach with conviction, determination, genuine love, lack of prejudice, and in a simple language addressed to the heart. 3.Teaching must be followed up by training courses, conferences, and regular visits to deepen the believers in their knowledge of the Teachings. 4. The close touch of the National Office or Teaching Committees with the work is most essential, so that through reports and correspondence not only is information obtained and verified, but stimulation and encouragement is given. 5. Expansion and consolidation go hand in hand.

19 Universal Participation SEPTEMBER 1964

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

19.1 In our message to you of April, 1964, announcing the Nine Year Plan, we called

attention to two major themes of that Plan, namely "a huge expansion of the Cause of God and universal participation by all believers in the life of that Cause."

19.2 The enthusiastic vigor with which the believers throughout the world, under the devoted guidance of their National Spiritual Assemblies, have, arisen to meet the challenge of the Plan, augurs well for the huge expansion called for. We now ask you to bend your efforts and thoughts, with equal enthusiasm, to the requirements of universal participation.

19.3 In that same message we indicated the meaning of universal participation: 11 the dedicated effort of every believer in teaching, in living the Bahá'í life, in contributing to the Fund, and particularly in the persistent effort to understand more and more the significance of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. In the words of our beloved Guardian, '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 splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh.-, 19.4 "Regard the world as the human body," wrote Bahá'u'lláh to Queen Victoria.2 19-1. BA, p. 66.


+43

We can surely regard the Bahá'í world, the army of God, in the same way. In the human body, every cell, every organ, every nerve has its part to play. When all do so the body is healthy, vigorous, radiant, ready for every call made upon it. No cell, however humble, lives apart from the body, whether in serving it or receiving from it. This is true of the body of mankind in which God "hast endowed each and all with talents and facultieS,"3 and is supremely true of the body of the Bahá'í World Community, for this body is already an organism, united in its aspirations, unified in its methods, seeking assistance and confirmation from the same Source, and illumined with the conscious knowledge of its unity. Therefore, in this organic, divinely guided, blessed and illumined body the participation of every believer is of the utmost importance, and is a source of power and vitality as yet unknown to us. For extensive and deep as has been the sharing in the glorious work of the Cause, who would claim that every single believer has succeeded in finding his or her fullest satisfaction in the life of the Cause? The Bahá'í World Community, growing like a healthy new body, develops new cells, new organs, new functions and powers as it presses on to its maturity, when every soul, living for the Cause of God, will receive from that Cause, health, assurance and the overflowing bounties of Bahá'u'lláh which are diffused through His divinely ordained order. In addition to teaching every believer can pray.

19.5 Every believer can strive to make his "own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh."4 Every believer can contribute to the Fund. Not all believers can give public talks, not all are called upon to serve on administrative institutions. But all can pray, fight their own spiritual battles, and contribute to the Fund. If every believer will carry out these sacred duties, we shall be astonished at the accession of power which will result to the whole body, and which in its turn will give rise to further growth and the showering of greater blessings on all of us.

19.6 The real secret of universal participation lies in the Master's oft expressed wish that the friends should love each other, constantly encourage each other, work together, be as one soul in one body, and in so doing become a true, organic, healthy body animated and illumined by the spirit. In such a body all will receive spiritual health and vitality from the organism itself, and the most perfect flowers and fruits will be brought forth. Our prayers for the happiness and success of the friends everywhere are 19.7 constantly offered at the Holy Shrines.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

19-2. ESW, p. 62. 19-3. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in BP, P. 103. 19-4. BA, p. 66.


+44

20 Development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God NOVEMBER 1964

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Beloved Friends,

20.1 Once again the World Center of our Faith has been the scene of historic events, affecting profoundly the immediate prosecution of the Nine Year Plan and the future development of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. The occasion was the gathering in the Holy Land, for a period of fourteen days, of the Hands of the Cause of God to discuss their vital responsibilities, and particularly as Standard-Bearers of the Nine Year Plan.

20.2 The Universal House of Justice took advantage of this opportunity not only to receive the advice, opinions and views of the Hands on the progress of the Nine Year Plan but to consult them on the highly important goal announced at Ridvan 1964 under World Center Goals as "Development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, in consultation with the body of the Hands of the Cause, with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation."

20.3 It was apparent that the elucidation of this vital goal, affecting as it does the relationship of the Hands of the Cause of God to all other institutions of the Cause, was imperative to the prosecution of the all-important teaching work and the development of the Bahá'í World Order.

20.4 Accordingly, the Universal House of Justice gave its full attention to this matter and, after study of the sacred texts and hearing the views of the Hands of the Cause themselves, has arrived at the following decisions:

20.4a There is no way to appoint, or to legislate to make it possible to appoint, Hands of the Cause of God.

20.4b Responsibility for decisions on matters of general policy affecting the Institution of the Hands of the Cause, which was formerly exercised by the beloved Guardian, now devolves upon the Universal House of Justice as the supreme and central institution of the Faith to which all must turn.

20.5 It is with great joy that we are able to share with you the initial steps now taken to attain the goal. Continental Zones

20.6 The assignment of the Hands to various continents remains unchanged but, in order to expedite the work, the continents of Asia and the Western Hemisphere will each be divided into zones for the day-to-day work of the


+45

Hands, one or more Hands being responsible for each zone. Asia will consist of two zones: the Middle East comprising the countries from and including Pakistan westwards and also Asiatic U.S.S.R.; and South and East Asia comprising the remainder of the continent. The Western Hemisphere will consist of three zones: North America, Central America (including Mexico) and the Antilles, and South America. The Hawaiian Islands will be in the Australasian continental area, as listed in the recently issued statistical summary.

Increases in Membership of Auxiliary Boards The number of members of the Auxiliary Boards for the propagation Of 20.7 the Faith will be increased in every continent, raising the total number of Auxiliary Board members in Africa from eighteen to twenty-seven; in Asia from fourteen to thirty-six; in Australasia from four to nine; in Europe from eighteen to twenty-seven; and in the Western Hemisphere from eighteen to thirty-six.

20.9 The Hands of the Cause in each continent are called upon to appoint one 20.8 or more members of their Auxiliary Boards to act in an executive capacity on behalf of and in the name of each Hand, thereby assisting him in carrying out his work.

Freeing Hands of the Cause from Elected or Appointed Positions The exalted rank and specific functions of the Hands of the Cause of God make it inappropriate for them to be elected or appointed to administrative institutions, or to be elected as delegates to national conventions. Furthermore, it is their desire and the desire of the House of Justice that they be free to devote their entire energies to the vitally important duties conferred upon them in the Holy Writings. The importance of close collaboration between the Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies cannot be overstressed, and a separate communication is being addressed to National Assemblies on this subject, supplementing guidance given in earlier letters. We anticipate announcing at Ridvan 1965 plans for Oceanic and Intercontinental Conferences, an overall plan for worldwide proclamation of the Faith during 1967-68, the centenary year of the revelation of the Suriy-Muluk,2 involving cooperation of National and Local Assemblies throughout the world, and conditions of entry for a competition for the design of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama. Teaching the masses is the greatest challenge now facing the followers Of

20.11 Bahá'u'lláh. No work is more important than that of carrying His Message with utmost speed to the bewildered and thirsting peoples of a spiritually

20-1. See messages dated October 1963 (no. 6) and 19 November 1963 (no. 10). See also the message dated November x964 that follows. 20-2. The Suriy-i-Muluk is Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to the Kings, portions of which are published in Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102- 03.


+46

parched world. Now, as the Hands return to their various continents, reinforced by a wider and more efficient organization of their work, we are confident that the whole Bahá'í world will, with rising enthusiasm and ever-increasing success, press forward with the teaching work, greatly increase the flow of pioneers, more widely participate in the financial support of the work of the Cause and add rapidly to the list of goals already accomplished.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

21 Relationship of Hands of the Cause of God and the National Spiritual Assemblies NOVEMBER 1964

To National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

21.1 The gathering in the Holy Land of the Hands of the Cause of God has been an occasion of vital significance to the Faith. Please share the enclosed general message, as soon as possible, with all believers under your jurisdiction.,

21.2 We now wish to elaborate the recent decisions as they affect the relationship between the Institution of the Hands of the Cause and yourselves, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world.

21.3 It is of the utmost importance that the Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies be fully informed of the situation of the Cause in the areas for which they are responsible. We ask you therefore to work out with the Hands in your continent more efficient and easier methods of communication. The sharing of National Assembly minutes with the Hands of the Cause is entirely a matter for each National Spiritual Assembly to decide, but it is vitally important for you to regularly provide the Hands of the Cause with all information which is necessary to their work, including copies of pertinent committee reports.

21.4 The Hands of the Cause are preparing a schedule of proposed meetings with National Assemblies and will also be inviting members of National Assemblies to meet them in conferences with their Board members from time to time, a form of consultation which has been found most effective wherever it has been practiced.

21.5 Members of Auxiliary Boards should be freed from administrative responsibilities including serving on Committees and as delegates to conventions. In

ZI-1. See message no. 20.


+47

the event of any member of a National Assembly accepting appointment to a Board, the National Assembly should accept this as valid reason for that members resignation from the Assembly; should a Board member be elected to a National Assembly, he must choose on which body he will serve. We ask each National Assembly to extend a warm and cordial invitation 21.6 to the Hands of its continent to attend its national convention. All Hands of the Cause present should be given the freedom of the convention. If no continental Hands can attend a convention they may appoint one or two Board members to act as special deputies for that convention, who will, of course, be warmly welcomed and given the courtesy of taking part in convention as deputies of the Hands.

21.7 The increase in the numbers of Board members will inevitably be reflected in an increase in the needs of the Continental Funds. This is a matter for discussion with the Hands in your continent, and we feel sure that you will do your utmost to meet the new requirements, bearing in mind the importance which the beloved Guardian attached to direct contributions to these Funds by National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, as well as by individual believers.

21.8 The fostering of this important relationship between the exalted body of the Hands of the Cause and the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í world will inevitably strengthen the foundation and functioning of the Cause of God and enable its embryonic world order to grow as a healthy tree under whose shade all mankind will eventually find security and peace.



With loving Bahá'í greetings,

THE Universal HOUSE OF JUSTICE

22 Appointment of Five Continental Pioneer Committees 8 FEBRUARY 1965

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of Australia, the British Isles, Germany, Persia and the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

To intensify the prosecution of the Nine Year Plan we call upon your

22.1 Assemblies to appoint Pioneer Committees respectively for Australasia, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas for raising up and deploying the huge army of pioneers necessary to win the goals of the Plan. The importance of this step is emphasized by the need, during the coming

22.2 Bahá'í year, to settle no less than four hundred and two pioneers in teaching and consolidation areas-twenty-eight for Australasia, seventy-one for Africa,


+48

sixty-seven for Europe, one hundred and sixty-eight for Asia, and sixty-eight for the Americas.

22.3 These Pioneer Committees, to be appointed by and be responsible to your respective National Assemblies, will have functions set forth in the enclosed outline., Since they are essentially service committees, a membership of three will suffice. The secretary should be a competent and knowledgeable Bahá'í having time, ability and facilities for carrying on a volume of correspondence. All members of the committee should have organizing ability as well as an aptitude for dealing with problems in a warm and loving Bahá'í way.

22.4 The Pioneer Committees will in no way infringe upon or substitute for existing committees which your Assemblies may have already appointed to deal with the teaching and pioneer requirements of either internal or external goals assigned to your Assembly. Rather they will supplement the work of existing committees of all National Assemblies in the respective continental areas, provide an effective means of exchange of vital information, and assist in the processing of pioneer applications and the transfer of pioneers to goal areas.

22.5 The Pioneer Committees should be appointed immediately, and, as soon as acceptances have been received and the committees organized, you should send us the names of the committee members and the address of the committee for inclusion in a dossier to be sent to all National Assemblies as an addendum to the Ridvan message.

22.6 The Pioneer Committees should be prepared to assume their full responsibilities and functions at Ridvan so that no time will be lost in the rapid transfer of pioneers to their posts, thus avoiding any possible dampening of their spirits.

22.7 In the meantime, we will be forwarding additional information and instructions which will enable the committees to swing into action at Convention time. Since announcement of the appointment of these committees will be a part of the Ridvan message, your Assembly should wait until the Convention to inform the friends of these plans.

22.8 Time is of the essence. It is imperative that we have the names of Pioneer Committee members and the address of the committee within thirty days of your receipt of these instructions.

22.9 Assuring you of prayers at the Holy Shrines.

Deepest love,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

22-1. The Universal House of Justice later assumed responsibility for appointing the members of Continental Pioneer Committees and transferred responsibility for directing their work to the International Teaching Center (see message dated 19 May 1983, no. 361). For other letters on the evolving duties of Continental Pioneer Committees, see messages dated Ridvan 1965, 18 March 1966, Ridvan 1966, and 22 July 1974 (nos. 24, 31, 34, and 148)


+49

Pioneer Committees

Responsibilities and Functions

1. To assist National Spiritual

Assemblies and their relevant committees in the 22.10 following respects:



a. Information on availability and qualifications of pioneers.

b. Act as a clearing house for information both continentally and intercontinentally.

c. Determine travel and subsistence budgets needed.

d. Supply information on needs for pioneers in various localities within their respective continental areas, this information to be furnished initially by the Universal House of justice, and any later needs to be cleared through the Universal House of Justice.

e. Supply information on the types of pioneering service needed in specific localities, such as: for teaching in mass conversion areas, or for deepening in administration; also special qualifications for pioneers to specific localities (e.g., language, ethnic background, work opportunities, etc.), and useful information about the territory itself (e.g., climate, geography, living conditions, visas and governmental regulations).

II. To assist prospective pioneers in the following respects:

22.11 a. Place them in contact with the National Assemblies and/or national committees responsible for settling or consolidating specific localities in which pioneers would like to serve or are qualified to serve.

b. Furnish useful information (such as that set forth in items 1. d and e above) which will enable the prospective pioneers to determine where, when and how they can best volunteer their services.

c. Work out, in consultation with the relevant National Assembly and the prospective pioneer, such assistance budgets as may be necessary.

The Committee will obtain the information called for above from the various National Assemblies (or their committees) in their continental areas, and there should be an exchange of vital information between the five Pioneer Committees.

22.13 Pioneer Committees will in no case assume direct responsibility for filling goals. Their function is in the nature of secondary assistance to the responsible or assisting National Assembly (or national committee). If a National Assembly can fill a goal without assistance, it need not consult a Pioneer Committee, but should keep the relevant Pioneer Committee informed as to the status of pioneer goals. Pioneer Committees will clear with the prospective pioneer's own National

22.14 Assembly before offering his services.


+50

22.15 Foremost is the Pioneer Committee's responsibility to expedite

and facilitate the transfer of pioneers from the place where they are to the goal areas where they will serve. Only such procedures as will be useful to this purpose should be adopted.

23 Election and Infallibility of the Universal House of Justice 9 MARCH 1965 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Netherlands

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

23.1 We are glad that you have brought to our attention the questions perplexing some of the believers. It is much better for these questions to be put freely and openly than to have them, unexpressed, burdening the hearts of devoted believers. Once one grasps certain basic principles of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh such uncertainties are easily dispelled. This is not to say that the Cause of God contains no mysteries. Mysteries there are indeed, but they are not of a kind to shake one's faith once the essential tenets of the Cause and the indisputable facts of any situation are clearly understood.

23.2 The questions put by the various believers fall into three groups. The first group centers upon the following queries: Why were steps taken to elect a Universal House of Justice with the foreknowledge that there would be no Guardian? Was the time ripe for such an action? Could not the International Bahá'í Council have carried on the work? The Election of the Universal House of Justice

23.3 Alt the time of our beloved Shoghi Effendi's death it was evident, from the circumstances and from the explicit requirements of the Holy Texts, that it had been impossible for him to appoint a successor in accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. This situation, in which the Guardian died without being able to appoint a successor, presented an obscure question not covered by the explicit Holy Text, and had to be referred to the Universal House of Justice. The friends should clearly understand that before the election of the Universal House of Justice there was no knowledge that there would be no Guardian. There could not have been any such foreknowledge, whatever opinions individual believers may have held. Neither the Hands of the Cause of God, nor the International Bahá'í Council, nor any


+51

other existing body could make a decision upon this all-important matter.' Only the House of Justice had authority to pronounce upon it.

23.4 This was one urgent reason for calling the election of the Universal House of Justice as soon as possible. ' Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi the international administration of the Faith was carried on by the Hands of the Cause of God with the complete agreement and loyalty of the National Spiritual Assemblies and the body of the believers. This was in accordance with the Guardian's designation of the Hands as the "Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth."2 From the very outset of their custodianship of the Cause of God the Hands 23.5 realized that since they had no certainty of divine guidance such as is incontrovertibly assured to the Guardian and to the Universal House of Justice, their one safe course was to follow with undeviating firmness the instructions and policies of Shoghi Effendi. The entire history of religion shows no comparable record of such strict self-discipline, such absolute loyalty and such complete self-abnegation by the leaders of a religion finding themselves suddenly deprived of their divinely inspired guide. The debt of gratitude which mankind for generations, nay, ages to come, owes to this handful of grief-stricken, steadfast, heroic souls is beyond estimation. The Guardian had given the Bahá'í world explicit and detailed plans Covering the period until Ridvan 1963, the end of the Ten Year Crusade. From that point onward, unless the Faith were to be endangered, further divine guidance was essential. This was the second pressing reason for the calling of the election of the Universal House of Justice. The rightness of the time was further confirmed by references in Shoghi Effendi's letters to the Ten Year Crusade's being followed by other plans under the direction of the Universal House of Justice. One such reference is the following passage from a letter addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles on 25th February 1951, concerning its Two Year Plan which immediately preceded the Ten Year Crusade:

On the success of this enterprise, unprecedented in its scope, unique 23.6a in its character and immense in its spiritual potentialities, must depend the initiation, at a later period in the Formative Age of the Faith, of undertakings embracing within their range all National Assemblies functioning throughout the Bahá'í world-undertakings constituting in 23-1. The International Bahá'í Council, first appointed by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 and, after his passing, elected in 1961 by members of National Spiritual Assemblies, was a precursor of the Universal House of Justice. It ceased to exist upon the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. 23-2. MBW, p. 127.


+52

themselves a prelude to the launching of worldwide enterprises destined to be embarked upon, in future epochs of that same Age, by the Universal House of Justice, that will symbolize the unity and coordinate and unify the activities of these National Assemblies.3

23.7 Having been in charge of the Cause of God for six years, the Hands, with absolute faith in the Holy Writings, called upon the believers to elect the Universal House of Justice, and even went so far as to ask that they themselves be not voted for. The sole, sad instance of anyone succumbing to the allurements of power was the pitiful attempt of Charles Mason Remey to usurp the Guardianship.4 Principles Governing the Election of the House of Justice

23.8 The following excerpts from a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Bahá state clearly and emphatically the principles with which the friends are already familiar from the Will and Testament of the Master and the various letters of Shoghi Effendi, and explain the basis for the election of the Universal House of Justice. This Tablet was sent to Persia by the beloved Guardian himself, in the early years of his ministry, for circulation among the believers. 23.9 . . . for 'Abdu'l-Bahá is in a tempest of dangers and infinitely abhors differences of opinion . . . Praise be to God, there are no grounds for differences.

23.10 The Bab, the Exalted One, is the Morn of Truth, the splendor of Whose light shineth through all regions. He is also the Harbinger of the Most Great Light, the Abha Luminary. The Blessed Beauty is the One promised by the sacred books of the past, the revelation of the Source of light that shone upon Mount Sinai, Whose fire glowed in the midst of the Burning Bush. We are, one and all, servants of Their threshold, and stand each as a lowly keeper at Their door.

23.11 My purpose is this, that ere the expiration of a thousand years, no one has the right to utter a single word, even to claim the station of Guardianship. The Most Holy Book is the Book to which all peoples shall refer, and in it the Laws of God have been revealed. Laws not mentioned

___ 23-3. UD, P. 261. 23-4. Charles Mason Remey, a prominent early American believer who was much loved by Abdu'l-Bahá, traveled widely in service to the Faith. In January 1951 he was appointed by Shoghi Effendi to be President of the International Bahá'í Council and, the following year, was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God to serve in the Holy Land. After the passing of Shoghi Effendi on 4 November 1957, Charles Mason Remey served as one of the nine Custodian Hands designated by the body of the Hands of the Cause to administer the Faith from Haifa. In April 1960 he proclaimed himself to be the Second Guardian of the Cause (see BW 13:353 n). This attempt to usurp the Guardianship resulted in his expulsion from the Faith as a Covenant-breaker. For the announcement of his passing, see the message dated 5 April 1974 (no. 144).


+53

in the Book should be referred to the decision of the Universal House of Justice. There will be no grounds for difference . . . Beware, beware lest anyone create a rift or stir up sedition. Should there be differences of opinion, the Supreme House of Justice would immediately resolve the problems. Whatever will be its decision, by majority vote, shall be the real truth, inasmuch as that House is under the protection, unerring guidance and care of the one true Lord. He shall guard it from error and will protect it under the wing of His sanctity and infallibility. He who opposes it is cast out and will eventually be of the defeated. The Supreme House of Justice should be elected according to the 23.12 system followed in the election of the parliaments of Europe. And when the countries would be guided, the Houses of justice of the various countries would elect the Supreme House of Justice.

23.13 At whatever time all the beloved of God in each country appoint their delegates, and these in turn elect their representatives, and these representatives elect a body, that body shall be regarded as the Supreme House of Justice. The establishment of that House is not dependent upon the conversion of all the nations of the world. For example, if conditions were favorable and no disturbances would be caused, the friends in Persia would elect their representatives, and likewise the friends in America, in India, and other areas would also elect their representatives, and these would elect a House of Justice. That House of justice would be the Supreme House of Justice.

23.15 That is all.

(Makdtib-i-Abdu'1-Baha, Vol. 111, pp. 500-500

The friends should realize that there is nothing in the Texts to indicate that the election of the Universal House of Justice could be called only by the Guardian. On the contrary, 'Abdu'l-Bahá envisaged the calling of its election in His own lifetime. At a time described by the Guardian as "the darkest moments of His [the Master's] life, under Abdu'l-Hamid's regime, when He stood ready to be deported to the most inhospitable regions of Northern Africa," and when even His life was threatened, 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote to Haji Mirza Taqi Afnan, the cousin of the Bab and chief builder of the 'Ishqabad Temple, commanding him to arrange for the election of the Universal House of Justice should the threats against the Master materialize.5 The second part of the Master's Will is also relevant to such a situation and should be studied by the friends.

23-5. WT, P. 20; WOB, P. 17


+54

The Authority of the Universal House of Justice

23.16 The second series of problems vexing some of the friends centers on the question of the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice and its ability to function without the presence of the Guardian. Particular difficulty has been experienced in understanding the implications of the following statement by the beloved Guardian:

23.16a Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God. "In all the Divine Dispensations," He states, in a Tablet addressed to a follower of the Faith in Persia, "the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright." Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperiled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking, and the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn. ("The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh," The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 148)

23.17 Let the friends who wish for a clearer understanding of this passage at the present time consider it in the light of the many other texts which deal with the same subject, for example the following passages gleaned from the letters of Shoghi Effendi:

23.17a They have also, in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the Faith to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the incorruptible inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have bequeathed to the world. (Letter dated 21 March 1930, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 20)

23.17b It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the institution of Guardianship does not under any circumstances abrogate, or even in the slightest degree detract from, the powers granted to the Universal House of Justice by Bahá'u'lláh in the "Kitabu'l-Aqdas," and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will. It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to the Will and Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, nor does it nullify any of His revealed instructions. It


+55

enhances the prestige of that exalted assembly, stabilizes its supreme position, safeguards its unity, assures the continuity of its labors, without presuming in the slightest to infringe upon the inviolability of its clearly defined sphere of jurisdiction. We stand indeed too close to so monumental a document to claim for ourselves a complete understanding of all its implications, or to presume to have grasped the manifold mysteries it undoubtedly contains.... (Letter dated 27 February 1929, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 8)

From these statements it is made indubitably clear and evident that

23.1 7C the Guardian. of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Bahá'u'lláh has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested. ("The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh," The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 11 49-50) Each exercises, within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its 23.17d authority, its rights and prerogatives. These are neither contradictory, nor detract in the slightest degree from the position which each of these institutions occupies. ("The Dispensation of BaMV16h," The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 148) Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent 23.17e head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow-members ("The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh," The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 150)

Above all, let the hearts of the friends be assured by these words of

23.18 Bahá'u'lláh:

The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an 23.18a unassailable, an enduring foundation. Storms of human strife are powerless to, undermine its basis, nor will men's fanciful theories succeed in damaging its structure. (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 109)


+56

and these of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

23.18b Verily, God effecteth that which He pleaseth; naught can annul His Covenant; naught can obstruct His favor nor oppose His Cause! He doeth with His will that which pleaseth Him and He is powerful over all things! (Tablets of Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas, Vol. III, P. 598)

23.19 It should be understood by the friends that before legislating upon any matter the Universal House of Justice studies carefully and exhaustively both the Sacred Texts and the Writings of Shoghi Effendi on the subject. The interpretations written by the beloved Guardian cover a vast range of subjects and are equally as binding as the Text itself. Interpretations of the Guardian and Elucidations of the Universal House of Justice

23.20 There is a profound difference between the interpretations of the Guardian and the elucidations of the House of Justice in exercise of its function to "deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book." The Guardian reveals what the Scripture means; his interpretation is a statement of truth which cannot be varied. Upon the Universal House of Justice, in the words of the Guardian, "has been conferred the exclusive right of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the Bahá'í writings.116 Its pronouncements, which are susceptible of amendment or abrogation by the House of Justice itself, serve to supplement and apply the Law of God. Although not invested with the function of interpretation, the House of Justice is in a position to do everything necessary to establish the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh on this earth. Unity of doctrine is maintained by the existence of the authentic texts of Scripture and the voluminous interpretations of Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi together with the absolute prohibition against anyone propounding "authoritative" or "inspired" interpretations or usurping the function of Guardian. Unity of administration is assured by the authority of the Universal House of justice. 23.21 'such," in the words of Shoghi Effendi, "is the immutability of His revealed Word. Such is the elasticity which characterizes the functions of His appointed ministers. The first preserves the identity of His Faith, and guards the integrity of His law. The second enables it, even as a living organism, to expand and adapt itself to the needs and requirements of an ever-changing

society." (Letter dated 21 March 1930, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 23)

23-6. WOB, P. 153.


+57

Every true believer, if he is to deepen in his understanding of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh must needs combine profound faith in the unfailing efficacy of His Message and His Covenant, with the humility of recognizing that no one of this generation can claim to have embraced the vastness of His Cause nor to have comprehended the manifold mysteries and potentialities it contains. The words of Shoghi Effendi bear ample testimony to this fact:

How vast is the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh! How great the magnitude of 23.22. His blessings showered upon humanity in this day! And yet, how poor, how inadequate our conception of their significance and glory! This generation stands too close to so colossal a Revelation to appreciate, in their full measure, the infinite possibilities of His Faith, the unprecedented character of His Cause, and the mysterious dispensations of His Providence. (Letter dated 21 March 1930, The World Order Bahá'u'lláh, p. 24) We are called upon by our beloved Master in His Will and Testament 23.22b not only to adopt it [Bahá'u'lláh's new world order] unreservedly, but to unveil its merit to all the world. To attempt to estimate its full value, and grasp its exact significance after so short a time since its inception would be premature and presumptuous on our part. We must trust to time, and the guidance of God's Universal House of Justice, to obtain a clearer and fuller understanding of its provisions and implications (Letter dated 23 February 1924, published in Bahá'í Administration, p. 62) As to the order and the management of the spiritual affairs of the 23.22c friends, that which is very important now is the consolidation of the Spiritual Assemblies in every center, because on these fortified and unshakable foundations, God's Supreme House of justice shall be erected and firmly established in the days to come. When this most great Edifice shall be reared on such an immovable foundation, Gods purpose, wisdom, universal truths, mysteries and realities of the Kingdom, which the mystic revelation of Bahá'u'lláh has deposited within the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, shall gradually be revealed and made manifest. (Letter dated 19 December 1923-translated from the Persian)

Statements such as these indicate that the full meaning of the Will and

23.23 Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as well as an understanding of the implications of the World Order ushered in by that remarkable document can be revealed only gradually to men's eyes, and after the Universal House of Justice has come into being. The friends are called upon to trust to time and to await the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, which, as circumstances require, will make pronouncements that will resolve and clarify obscure matters.


+58

The Authority to Expel Members of the House of Justice

23.24 The third group of queries raised by the friends concerns details of functioning of the Universal House of Justice in the absence of the Guardian, particularly the matter of expulsion of members of the House of Justice. Such questions will be clarified in the Constitution of the House of Justice, the formulation of which is a goal of the Nine Year Plan. Meanwhile the friends are informed that any member committing a 'sin injurious to the common weal," may be expelled from membership of the House of Justice by a majority vote of the House itself.7 Should any member, God forbid, be guilty of breaking the Covenant, the matter would be investigated by the Hands of the Cause of God, and the Covenant-breaker would be expelled by decision of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land, subject to the approval of the House of Justice, as in the case of any other believer. The decision of the Hands in such a case would be announced to the Bahá'í world by the Universal House of Justice.

23.25 We are certain that when you share this letter with the friends and they have these quotations from the Scriptures and the Writings of the Guardian drawn to their attention, their doubts and misgivings will be dispelled and they will be able to devote their every effort to spreading the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, serenely confident in the power of His Covenant to overcome whatever tests an inscrutable Providence may shower upon it, thus demonstrating its ability to redeem a travailing world and to upraise the Standard of the Kingdom of God on earth.

With loving greetings,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

23-7- WT, P. 14. See also CUHJ, p. 12.


+59

24 Ridvan Message 1965 RIDVAN 1965

The Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

24.1 The tide of victory which carried the Bahá'í World community to the celebrations of the Most Great Jubilee is still rising. A ceaseless shower of divine confirmation rains upon our efforts, its evidences apparent in the many noteworthy achievements of the few brief months since the launching of the Nine Year Plan. The most spectacular of these is the increase in the number of centers where Bahá'ís reside from fifteen thousand one hundred and sixty-eight at Ridvan 1964 to twenty-one thousand and six at the present time, an increase of nearly six thousand in one year. No less remarkable is the progress of the teaching work in India where the number of believers now exceeds a hundred and forty thousand, an increase of more than thirty thousand since Ridvan 1964. Pioneers are moving to those few remaining territories of the earth as yet unillumined by the light of God's new Revelation; 11 the vast increase" in the size of the Cause, called for at the launching of the Plan, appears to be developing, while in country after country the institutions and endowments of the Faith are being steadily and firmly established.

24.2 World Center Goals During the past twelve months the goals assigned to the World Center have been actively pursued. Basic decisions and actions to implement the goal of "Development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, with a view to extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation," have already been conveyed to the friends. Following their meeting in the Holy Land last October, the members of this august body, the Standard-Bearers of this Nine Year Plan as well as of the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, already laden with honors and services, have arisen with renewed and matchless vigor to rouse the spirits of the friends to meet the supreme teaching challenge., to lend their counsel and assistance to the administrative bodies, and to diffuse the divine fragrances and love of God through all the world. The increase in the numbers of Board members and the new executive arrangements will, it is confidently anticipated, enable the beloved Hands to discharge their important duties with even greater effectiveness and give them more time to travel and teach.

24.3 A preliminary survey of the conditions affecting the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Latin America, one of the two edifices to be erected during the Plan, has already been undertaken, and we now invite Bahá'í and


+60

non-Bahá'í architects to submit designs for the Panama Temple., The terms and conditions of the submission, and the specifications of the structure, may be obtained from the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama, whose choice of design will be subject to the ultimate approval of the Universal House of Justice. It is our hope that the construction of this sacred House of Worship, in a location accorded such special significance by both the Master and the Guardian, will be speedily accomplished, so that its beacon of spiritual light may radiate to all the Americas. Worldwide Achievements

24.4 During the past twelve months the following new territories have been opened to the Faith: in the continent of Africa, Gabon, Ifni, Mah, Mauritania, Rodrigues Island and Upper Volta; in the continent of America, Aruba Island, Cozumel Island, Guadeloupe, Las Mujeres Island, Prince of Wales Island and St. Vincent; in the continent of Asia, the Ryukyu Islands; in the continent of Australasia, the Line Islands; in the continent of Europe, the Isle of Wight, the East and West Frisian Islands. The following territories have been reopened: in the continent of Africa, Mafia Island; in the continent of America,

Antigua, French Guiana and Martinique; West Irian in the continent of Asia; and Admiralty Islands in Australasia. National Haziratu'l-Quds have been acquired in nine places, the seats of National Spiritual Assemblies, and land has been acquired in two others on which to build this institution. Six National Spiritual Assemblies have become incorporated and the Faith has been recognized in Cambodia, a country destined to have its own National Spiritual Assembly during the Nine Year Plan. National Endowments have been acquired in eight countries; six Teaching Institutes have been established, and land has been acquired for six others; a Bahá'í Publishing Trust for the provision of literature in the French language has been established in Brussels; Bahá'í Holy Days have been recognized in three territories; Bahá'í literature has been published in the following eleven new languages: Ibibio-Efik in the continent of Africa, Aguacateca, Athabascan, Carifia and Motilon Yukpa in the continent of America, Kenyah, Melanau and Temiar in the continent of Asia, and Gharil Marshallese and Motua in Australasia. The progress of the Cause in Borneo makes possible the achievement of a goal supplementary to the Plan, namely the establishment at Ridvan 1966 of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Brunei. Two Conditions of the Bahá'í World Community

24.5 The passage of the first year of the Plan discloses two conditions in the Bahá'í World community. The first, within the Faith itself, is its capacity to 24-1. The other edifice that was to be erected during the Nine Year Plan was the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar planned for Tehran, Iran. Due to antagonism toward the Bahá'í Faith in that country, plans for its construction were held in abeyance.


+61

accomplish all and any definitive goals assigned to it, goals such as the purchasing of Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple Sites, Endowments, or the incorporation of Spiritual Assemblies; such objective and highly important goals as these, by which the Cause is established physically, legally and socially in the world, are now taken in its stride by the Administrative Order. It should be noted, moreover, that the accomplishment of many goals of this type, involves inter-Assembly cooperation, an international activity vital to the development of world order. The second condition apparent after the passage of the first year of the

24.6 Plan, involves the relationship of the Cause to humanity. Almost universally there is a sense of an impending breakthrough in large-scale conversion. Reports of the Hands of the Cause and of Board members constantly mention it; many National Spiritual Assemblies believe that they have reached the shores of this ocean. And, indeed, entry into the Cause by troops has been a fact in some areas for a number of years. But greater things are ahead. The teaching of the Faith must enkindle a world-encircling fire in whose light the Cause and the world-protagonists of the greatest drama in human history are clearly illumined. Destiny is carrying us to this climax; we must gird ourselves for heroism.

Four Immediate Tasks Four challenging and immediate tasks present themselves.

24.7 The first is to raise and dispatch, during the coming year, no less than four hundred and sixty pioneers who will open the fifty-four remaining virgin territories of the Plan, resettle the eighteen unoccupied ones, reinforce areas where the numbers and cohesion of the Bahá'í communities are at present inadequate to launch effective teaching plans, and support and extend the work in the areas of mass teaching.

24.8 Let every believer consider this challenge, be he, in the words of the beloved Guardian, "in active service or not, of either sex, young as well as old, rich or poor, whether veteran or newly enrolled . . ." To assist the pioneer efforts of the friends and their transfer to their Posts during the next twelve months we announce the formation of five Continental Pioneer Committees, namely: Pioneer Committee for Africa appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles; Pioneer Committee for the Americas appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States; Pioneer Committee for Asia appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Persia; Pioneer Committee for Australasia appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Australia; Pioneer Committee for Europe appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Germany. These Committees will in no way infringe the responsibilities of other pioneer Committees, or of National Spiritual Assemblies, who are in charge of the teaching work, and under whose jurisdiction they will function. They are


+62

established to facilitate and assist the work of these national

bodies by providing effective exchange of vital information, both continentally and intercontinentally, by assisting in the routing of pioneer offers and in the transfer of pioneers to their posts.

24.10 A careful estimate has been made of the pioneer needs of every area during the next twelve months and the result, including those for the seventy-two areas mentioned above, is a call for four hundred and sixty-one pioneers; eighty-six for Africa, ninety-six for the Americas, one hundred and ninety-one for Asia, twenty-nine for Australasia, and fifty-nine for Europe. Each National Spiritual Assembly has been consulted as to its pioneer needs and these have been made known to all National Spiritual Assemblies as well as to the five Continental Pioneer Committees, who will be kept currently informed of progress by the National Spiritual Assemblies. The friends, therefore, are urged to consult their National Spiritual Assemblies for information about pioneer needs and responsibilities both of their own communities and in general.

24.11 For the first time in Bahá'í history, an International Deputization Fund has been established at the World Center under the administration of the Universal House of Justice. From it supplementary support will be given to specific pioneering projects when other funds are not available. All friends, and particularly those who are unable to respond to the pioneer call are invited to support this Fund, mindful of the injunction of Bahá'u'lláh, "Center your energies in the

propagation of the Faith of God. 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.",

24.12 The second challenge facing us is to raise the intensity of teaching to a pitch never before attained, in order to realize that "vast increase" called for in the Plan. Universal participation and constant action will win this goal. Every believer has a part to play, and is capable of playing it, for every soul meets others, and, as promised by Bahá'u'lláh, "Whosoever ariseth to aid Our Cause God will render him victorious . . ."3 The confusion of the world is not diminishing, rather does it increase with each passing day, and men and women are losing faith in human remedies. Realization is at last dawning that "There is no place to flee to" save God.4 Now is the golden opportunity; people are willing, in many places eager, to listen to the divine remedy.

24.13 The third challenge is to acquire as rapidly as possible all the remaining National Haziratu'l-Quds', Temple Sites, National Endowments and Teaching Institutes called for in the Plan. The speedy conclusion of these projects will

24-2. GWB, pp. 196-9724-3. Quoted in MBW, p. 101. 24-4. GWB, P. 703.


+63

save tremendous expense later and endow the Faith with increasingly valuable properties. These basic possessions are the embryos of mighty institutions of the future, but it is this generation, which, for its own protection and as its gift to posterity, must acquire them. We call upon the National Spiritual Assemblies charged with responsibility in this field to accord it high priority. A further, but equally important consideration, is, that the achievement of this goal in the early years of the Plan will liberate the energies and resources of the growing world community for a concentrated, resolute and relentless pursuit in its later stages of great victories whose foundations are now being laid.

The Centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's Proclamation to the Kings The fourth challenge is to prepare national and local plans for the befitting celebration of the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's proclamation of His Message in September/October, 1867, to the kings and rulers of the world, celebrations to be followed during the remainder of the Nine Year Plan by a sustained and well-planned program of proclamation of that same Message to the generality of mankind. A review of the historic proclamation by Bahá'u'lláh, as described by Shoghi

24.15 Effendi in God Passes By, reveals that its "opening notes" were 'sounded during the latter part of Bahá'u'lláh's banishment to Adrianople," and that, six years later, it "closed during the early years of His incarceration in the prison-fortress of 'Akka." These "opening notes" were the mighty and awe-inspiring words addressed by Him to the kings and rulers collectively in the Suriy-i-Muluk, 11 the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh." It was penned some time during the months of September and October, 1867, and was followed by "Tablets unnumbered ... in which the implications of His newly-asserted claims were fully expounded." "Kings and emperors, severally and collectively; the chief magistrates of the Republics of the American continent; ministers and ambassadors; the Sovereign Pontiff himself; the Vicar of the Prophet of Islam; the royal Trustee of the Kingdom of the Hidden Imam; the monarchs of Christendom, its patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, priests and monks; the recognized leaders of both the Sunni and Shi'ah sacerdotal orders; the high priests of the Zoroastrian religion; the philosophers, the ecclesiastical leaders, the wise men and the inhabitants of Constantinople-that proud seat of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate; the entire company of the professed adherents of the Zoroastrian, the Jewish, the Christian and Muslim Faiths; the people of the Bayan; the wise men of the world, its men of letters, its poets, its mystics, its tradesmen, the elected representatives of its peoples; His own countrymen'; all were "brought directly within the purview of the exhortations, the warnings, the appeals, the declarations and the prophecies which constitute the theme of His momentous summons to the leaders of mankind . . ." "Unique and stupendous as was this proclamation, it proved


+64

to be but a prelude to a still mightier revelation of the creative power of its Author, and to what may well rank as the most signal act of His ministry the promulgation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas."5 In this, the Most Holy Book, revealed in 1873, Bahá'u'lláh not only once more announces to the kings of the earth collectively that "He Who is the King of Kings hath appeared" but addresses reigning sovereigns distinctively by name and proclaims to the "Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein" that "the Promised One hath appeared. 116 Such was the proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh to mankind. As He Himself testified, "Never since the beginning of the world hath the Message been so openly proclaimed."7

24.16 The celebration of this fate-laden centenary period will open with a visit, in September x967, on the Feast of Mashiyyat, by a few appointed representatives of the Bahá'í World to the site of the house in Adrianople, where the historic Suriy-i-Muluk was revealed. Six Intercontinental Conferences

24.17 Immediately following this joyful and pious act, six Intercontinental Conferences will be simultaneously held during the month of October in Panama City, Wilmette, Sydney, Kampala, Frankfurt, and New Delhi. The host and convener of each Conference will be the National Spiritual Assembly in whose area it takes place. The following Hands of the Cause of God will represent the Universal House of Justice at these Conferences: Panama City - Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, who will, on that occasion, lay the foundation stone of the Temple; Wilmette-Leroy Ioas; Sydney-Ugo Giachery; Kampala Ali-Akbar Furutan; Frankfurt-Paul Haney; New Delhi-Abu'l-Qasim Faizi.

24.18 All National Spiritual Assemblies are called upon to arrange befitting observances, on a national and local scale, of the opening of the centenary period during September/October, 1967, and between the above Conferences and Ridvan 1968, at which time the second International Convention for the election of the Universal House of Justice will be held at the World Center.

24.19 The successful carrying out of all these plans will constitute a befitting commemoration, commensurate with the resources of the Bahá'í World community, of the sacred event they recall. A Period of Proclamation

24.20 These six Conferences, like the epoch-making event whose centenary they commemorate, will sound the "opening notes" of a period of proclamation of the Cause of God extending through the remaining years of the Nine Year Plan to the centenary, in 1973, of the Revelation of the Kit6b-i-Aqdas, an

24-5. See GPB, Pp. 212, 171, 212, 213. 24-6. GWB, P. 211; PB, p. 63; KA T88. 24-7. Quoted in GPB, P. 212,


+65

activity which calls for the ardent and imaginative study of all National and Local Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world.

24.21 The international scene will witness the holding of Oceanic Conferences forecast by Shoghi Effendi. The first one will be held during August 1968 on an island in the Mediterranean Sea to commemorate Bahá'u'lláh's voyage upon that sea, a hundred years before, from Gallipoli in Turkey to the Most Great Prison in 'Akka.

24.22 In the subsequent years of the Nine Year Plan, others will be held in the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. In calling upon all National Spiritual Assemblies to consider now the appointment of National Proclamation Committees charged with laying feasible and effective plans for the proclamation of the Faith throughout the entire centenary period, we can do no better than call attention to the following passage from a letter written by our beloved Guardian in connection with the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of the Bahá'í Era:

An unprecedented, a carefully conceived, efficiently co-ordinated, 24.22. 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.

24.23 Lectures, conferences, banquets, special publications should, to whatever extent is practicable and according to the resources at the disposal of the believers, proclaim the character of this joyous Festival.' Gathering Momentum of the Process Launched in 1953 The majestic process launched by our beloved Guardian in 1953, when he called the widely scattered, obscure Bahá'í World community to embark upon that first, glorious, world-encompassing crusade, is gathering momentum, and posterity may well gaze with awe upon the development, by so small a fraction of the human race and in a world entangled in opposition, enmity and disruption, of the very pattern and sinews of world order. This divinely propelled and long-promised development must continue its historic course until its final consummation in the glories and splendors of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, the Kingdom of God on earth.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

24-8. NIA, p. 62.


+66

25 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Leroy Ioas 22 JULY 1965 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

25.1 GRIEVE ANNOUNCE PASSING OUTSTANDING HAND CAUSE LEROY IOAS. HIS LONG SERVICE BAHA'I COMMUNITY UNITED STATES CROWNED ELEVATION RANK HAND FAITH PAVING WAY HISTORIC DISTINGUISHED SERVICES HOLY LAND. APPOINTMENT FIRST SECRETARY GENERAL INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE GUARDIAN FAITH TWO INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES ASSOCIATION HIS NAME BY BELOVED GUARDIAN OCTAGON DOOR BAB'S SHRINE TRIBUTE SUPERVISORY WORK DRUM DOME THAT HOLY SEPULCHER NOTABLE PART ERECTION INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING ALL ENSURE HIS NAME IMMORTAL ANNALS FAITH. LAID TO REST Bahá'í CEMETERY CLOSE FELLOW HANDS ADVISE HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL SERVICES. . . .'

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

26 Purification of the Most Holy Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, the Qiblih of the Bahá'í World ii NOVEMBER 1965

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

26.1 ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD REMOVAL FROM IMMEDIATE PRECINCTS HOLY

SHRINE BAHA'U'LLAH REMAINS MIRZA DIYA'U'LLAH YOUNGER BROTHER MIRZA MUHAMMAD ALI HIS ACCOMPLICE IN EFFORTS SUBVERT FOUNDATIONS COVENANT GOD SOON AFTER ASCENSION BAHA'U'LLAH. THIS FINAL STEP IN PROCESS PURIFICATION SACRED INTERNATIONAL ENDOWMENTS FAITH IN BAHJI FROM PAST CONTAMINATION WAS PROVIDENTIALLY UNDERTAKEN UPON REQUEST FAMILY OLD COVENANT BREAKERS A PROCESS WHOSE INITIAL STAGE WAS FULFILLED BY ABDU'L-BAHA WHICH GATHERED MOMENTUM EARLY YEARS BELOVED GUARDIAN'S MINISTRY THROUGH EVACUATION MANSION ATTAINED CLIMAX THROUGH PURIFICATION HARAM-I-AQDAS AND NOW CONSUMMATED THROUGH CLEANSING INNER SANCTUARY MOST HALLOWED SHRINE QIBLIH Bahá'í WORLD PRESAGING EVENTUAL CONSTRUCTION BEFITTING MAUSOLEUM AS ANTICIPATED BELOVED SIGN GOD ON EARTH.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

25-1. For an account of the life and services of Leroy Ioas, see BW 14:291-300. For an explanation of the International Bahá'í Council, see the glossary.


+67

27 Reasons for Delay in Translating and Publishing the Kitab-i-Aqdas 6 DECEMBER 1965

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We have received a number of inquiries as to the translation and publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas from friends who are unable to read it in its original form. We feel the following extract from a letter written on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary dated December 27, 1941, addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma clarifies this question:

The reason it [the Kitab-i-Aqdas] is not circulated amongst all the

27.1a Bahá'ís is, first, because the Cause is not yet ready or sufficiently matured to put all the provisions of the Aqdas into effect and, second, because it is a book which requires to be supplemented by detailed explanations and to be translated into other languages by a competent body of experts.

27.2 The provisions of the Aqdas are gradually, according to the progress of the Cause, being put into effect already, both in the East and the West

As is well known, the beloved Guardian has already given in God Passes By, pp. 24-15, a summary of the contents of this Most Holy Book, and included the codification of all the laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas as one of the objectives of the Ten Year Crusade. It is the intention of the Universal House of Justice to achieve this objective by publishing a synopsis and codification of these laws during the current Nine Year Plan. Much of the Kitab-i-Aqdas has already been translated by the beloved

27.3 Guardian and has been given to the friends in the West, although not designated, in every case, as coming from the Most Holy Book., We give you below a list of such references for your guidance:

Gleanings from the Writings Sections XXXVII, LVI, LXX, of Bahá'u'lláh =I, XCVIII, CV, CIV, CLIX, and CLXV The Promised Day Is Come pp. 26 (1st para.), 36-37 (until the end Of 2nd para.), 40 (2nd para.), and 84-85 (until the end of 1st para.)

27-I. In 1973, the last year of the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice published A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. The volume includes all of the extracts in the list of references that follows. The Bahá'í World Center published a copiously annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and related texts in 1992.


+68

The Challenging Requirements pp. 16-17 of the Present Hour 2 (until the end of 1st para.) Bahá'í Administration p. 21 (1st para.) The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh P. 134 (2nd para.) The Bahá'í Community (1963 edition) P. 4 (2nd & 3rd paras) Star of the West, Vol. XIV Pp. 112-14

27.4 The two reasons given by the Guardian in the extract of the letter quoted above need further amplification:

27.4a I. As regards the first reason, regarding the timeliness of putting into effect all the provisions of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, it must be borne in mind that the beloved Guardian further stated:

... the Laws revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in the Aqdas are, whenever practicable and not in direct conflict with the Civil Law of the land, absolutely binding on every believer or Bahá'í institution whether in the East or in the West. Certain laws, such as fasting, obligatory prayers, the consent of the parents before marriage, avoidance of alcoholic drinks, monogamy, should be regarded by all believers as universally and vitally applicable at the present time. Others have been formulated in anticipation of a state of society destined to emerge from the chaotic conditions that prevail today. When the Aqdas is published this matter will be further explained and elucidated. What has not been formulated in the Aqdas, in addition to matters of detail and of secondary importance arising out of the application of the Laws already formulated by Bahá'u'lláh, will have to be enacted by the Universal House of Justice.... (Bahá'í News, October 1935)

The Guardian has further written:

It should be noted in this connection that this Administrative Order is fundamentally different from anything that any Prophet has previously established, inasmuch as Bahá'u'lláh has Himself revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances. Therein lies the secret of its strength, its fundamental distinction, and the guarantee against disintegration and schism. . . . (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 145)

27-2. This message of Shoghi Effendi was later published in CF, pp. 4-38; the passage from the Kit6b-i-Aqdas appears on pp. 18-19 (see also PB, p. 63).


+69

2. As to the second reason given by the beloved Guardian in the extract referred to above, it must be noted that the supplementary material to go with the publication of the laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas may well include the following items, all of which require careful research and translation:

a. The Annex to the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Questions and Answers. (God Passes By, p. 219)

b. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh in "elaboration and elucidation of some of the laws He [Bahá'u'lláh] had already laid down." (God Passes By, p. 216)

c. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh establishing 'subsidiary ordinances designed to supplement the provisions of His Most Holy Book." (God Passes By, p. 216)

d. The Letters and Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi in interpretation of the laws and ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

e. Other explanations and footnotes that may be required in elucidation of the provisions of that Book.

We hope the foregoing will clarify the matter for the friends 27.5

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

28 Call for Pioneers 10 DECEMBER 1965

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

ANNOUNCE ALL BELIEVERS REJOICE RESPONSE Bahá'í WORLD PIONEER CALL RAISED

28.1 RIDVAN MESSAGE REQUIRING 460 PIONEERS COURSE CURRENT YEAR_ THUS FAR 93 SETTLED POSTS INCLUDING 15 VIRGIN TERRITORIES ST. ANDRES ISLAND PROVIDENCIA ISLAND MARMARA ISLAND CHAD NIGER CAYMAN ISLANDS TURKS AND CAICOS ISCHIA GOTLAND ALASKA PENINSULA BARBUDA ST. KITTS-NEVIS INNER HEBRIDES BORNHOLM CAPRI 35 ADDITIONAL SETTLED SAME GOALS 167 MORE ARISEN AND IN PROCESS SETTLING TOTALING 295 SOULS RESPONDED CALL. FURTHER 200 BELIEVERS NEEDED NEXT FOUR SWIFTLY PASSING MONTHS FILL REMAINING GOALS. FATE PIONEER PLAN HANGING BALANCE PRAYING FERVENTLY HOLY SHRINES REQUIRED NUMBER HEROIC SOULS PROMPTLY ARISE MEET CHALLENGE CRITICAL HOUR URGE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES NEEDING FUNDS EXECUTE ASSIGNMENTS APPLY IMMEDIATELY INTERNATIONAL DEPUTIZATION FUND.

IMPERATIVE SETTLE ALL TERRITORIES ANNOUNCED RIDVAN EXCEPT THOSE

DEPENDENT FAVORABLE CIRCUMSTANCES. VIRGIN AND RESETTLEMENT TERRITORIES PRIORITY CONFIDENT SPIRIT DEVOTION FRIENDS GLORIOUS FAITH ENSURE BRILLIANT VICTORY THIS PRIMARY OBJECTIVE SO VITAL NINE YEAR PLAN.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+70

20 Observance of Holy Days 28 JANUARY 1966

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

29.1 From time to time questions have arisen about the application of the law of the Kitab-i-Aqdas on the observance of Bahá'í Holy Days. As you know, the recognition of Bahá'í Holy Days in at least ninety-five countries of the world is an important and highly significant objective of the Nine Year Plan, and is directly linked with the recognition of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh by the civil authorities as an independent religion enjoying its own rights and privileges.

29.2 The attainment of this objective will be facilitated and enhanced if the friends, motivated by their own realization of the importance of the laws of Bahá'u'lláh, are obedient to them. For the guidance of believers we repeat the instructions of the beloved Guardian:

29.2a He wishes also to stress the fact that, according to our Bahá'í laws, work is forbidden on our nine Holy Days. Believers who have independent businesses or shops should refrain from working on these days. Those who are in government employ should, on religious grounds, make an effort to be excused from work; all believers, whoever their employers, should do likewise. If the government, or other employers, refuse to grant them these days off, they are not required to forfeit their employment, but they should make every effort to have the independent status of their Faith recognized and their right to hold their own religious Holy Days acknowledged. (From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the American National Spiritual Assembly, dated 7 July 1947-Bahá'í News, No. 198, page 3)

29.2b This distinction between institutions that are under full or partial Bahá'í control is of a fundamental importance. Institutions that are entirely managed by Bahá'ís are, for reasons that are only too obvious, under the obligation of enforcing all the laws and ordinances of the Faith, especially those whose observance constitutes a matter of conscience. There is no reason, no justification whatever, that they should act otherwise . . . The point which should be always remembered is that the issue in question is essentially a matter of conscience, and as such is of a binding effect upon all believers. . . . (From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the American National Spiritual Assembly, dated 2 October 1935-Bahá'í News, No. 97, page 9)


+71

In addition, steps should be taken to have Bahá'í children excused, on religious grounds, from attending school on Bahá'í Holy Days wherever possible. The Guardian has said:

Regarding children: at fifteen a Bahá'í is of age as far as keeping the 29.3. laws of the Aqdas is concerned-prayer, fasting, etc.

30.1 But children under fifteen should certainly observe the Bahá'í Holy Days, and not go to school, if this can be arranged, on these nine days. (From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the American National Spiritual Assembly, dated 25 October 1947)

National Assemblies should give this subject their careful consideration, 29.4 and should provide ways and means for bringing this matter to the attention of the believers under their jurisdiction so that, as a matter of conscience, the mass of believers will uphold these laws and observe them.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

30 Further Thoughts about Mass Teaching 2 FEBRUARY 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Engaged in Mass Teaching Work

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Since writing to the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world regarding the importance of teaching the masses, we have received reports from all over the world indicating the steady increase in the number of believers, the

concentration of the friends on the more receptive areas, however remote these may have been, and the opening up of new and challenging fields for expansion and service. In this letter we wish once again to stress the importance of this subject, share with you our thoughts regarding the supreme need to preserve the victories you have already won and the necessity to pursue the vital work in which you are engaged and to which the eyes of your sister communities in East and West are turned with admiration. It has been due to the splendid victories in large-scale conversion that the

30.2 Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has entered a new phase in its development and establishment throughout the world. It is imperative, therefore, that the process of teaching the masses be not only maintained but accelerated. The teaching committee structure that each National Assembly may adopt to ensure best results in the extension of its teaching work is a matter left entirely to its discretion,


+72

but an efficient teaching structure there must be, so that the tasks are carried out with dispatch and in accordance with the administrative principles of our Faith. From among the believers native to each country, competent traveling teachers must be selected and teaching projects worked out. In the words of our beloved Guardian, commenting upon the teaching work in Latin America: 'strong and sustained support should be given to the vitally needed and highly meritorious activities started by the native . . . traveling teachers. . . . who, as the mighty task progresses, must increasingly bear the brunt of responsibility for the propagation of the Faith in their homelands.",

30.3 While this vital teaching work is progressing each National Assembly must ever bear in mind that expansion and consolidation are inseparable processes that must go hand in hand. The interdependence of these processes is best elucidated in the following passage from the writings of the beloved Guardian: "Every outward thrust into new fields, every multiplication of Bahá'í institutions, must be paralleled by a deeper thrust of the roots which sustain the spiritual life of the community and ensure its sound development. From this vital, this ever-present need attention must, at no time, be diverted; nor must it be, under any circumstances, neglected, or subordinated to the no less vital and urgent task of ensuring the outer expansion of Bahá'í administrative institutions. That this community . . . may maintain a proper balance between these two essential aspects of its development . . . is the ardent hope of my heart.", To ensure that the spiritual life of the individual believer is continuously enriched, that local communities are becoming increasingly conscious of their collective duties, and that the institutions of an evolving administration are operating efficiently, is, therefore, as important as expanding into new fields and bringing in the multitudes under the shadow of the Cause.

30.4 These objectives can only be attained when each National Spiritual Assembly makes proper arrangements for all the friends to be deepened in the knowledge of the Faith. The National Spiritual Assemblies in consultation with the Hands of the Cause, who are the Standard-Bearers of the Nine Year Plan, should avail themselves of the assistance of Auxiliary Board members, who, together with the traveling teachers selected by the Assembly or its Teaching Committees, should be continuously encouraged to conduct deepening courses at Teaching Institutes and to make regular visits to Local Spiritual Assemblies. The visitors, whether Board members or traveling teachers should meet on such occasions not only with the Local Assembly but, of course, with the local community members, collectively at general meetings and even, if necessary, individually in their homes.

30-1. CF, p. 15. 30_2.

30.5 LFG, P. 76.


+73

The subjects to be discussed at such meetings with the Local Assembly and the friends should include among others the following points:

I. the extent of the spread and stature of the Faith today;

2. the importance of the daily obligatory prayers (at least the short prayer);

3.the need to educate Bahá'í children in the Teachings of the Faith and encourage them to memorize some of the prayers;

4. the stimulation of youth to participate in community life by giving talks, etc. and having their own activities, if possible;

5.the necessity to abide by the laws of marriage, namely, the need to have a Bahá'í ceremony, to obtain the consent of parents, to observe monogamy; faithfulness after marriage; likewise the importance of abstinence from all intoxicating drinks and drugs;

6. the local Fund and the need for the friends to understand that the voluntary act of contributing to the Fund is both a privilege and a spiritual obligation. There should also be discussion of various methods that could be followed by the friends to facilitate their contributions and the ways open to the Local Assembly to utilize its local Fund to serve the interests of its community and the Cause;

7. the importance of the Nineteen Day Feast and the fact that it should be a joyful occasion and rallying point of the entire community;

8. the manner of election with as many workshops as required, including teaching of simple methods of balloting for illiterates, such as having one central home as the place for balloting and arranging for one literate person, if only a child, to be present at that home during the whole day, if necessary;

9. last but not least, the all-important teaching work, both in the locality and its neighboring centers, as well as the need to continuously deepen the friends in the essentials of the Faith.

30.6 The friends should be made to realize that in teaching the Faith to others they should not only aim at assisting the seeking soul to join the Faith, but also at making him a teacher of the Faith and its active supporter.

All the above points should, of course, be stressed within the framework of the importance of the Local Spiritual Assembly, which should be encouraged to vigorously direct its attention to these vital functions and become the very heart of the community life of its own locality, even if its meetings should become burdened with the problems of the community. The local friends should understand the importance of the law of consultation and realize that


+74

it is to the Local Spiritual Assembly that they should turn, abide by its decisions, support its projects, cooperate wholeheartedly with it in its task to promote the interests of the Cause, and seek its advice and guidance in the solution of personal problems and the adjudication of disputes, should any arise amongst the members of the community.

30.7 As the Universal House of Justice intends to have on file a full record of the progress of the teaching work in large-scale conversion areas, we request you to send us any published material, such as forms, cards, pamphlets, pictures, audiovisual aids, deepening booklets, etc. that you are currently using, with adequate explanations by your Assembly as to how they are being used, and any comments you may wish to make about their usefulness. Your National Assembly should also feel free to share with us your problems and needs as well as any recommendations you may have. We are looking forward to receiving a prompt reply to this letter, as we feel that an early evaluation of the methods used in various fields of teaching is vital and essential at this time.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

31 Call for Pioneers and Traveling Teachers 18 MARCH 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

311 The message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá'í world this Ridvan will raise a call for volunteers to engage in traveling teaching in all parts of the world and for whatever periods of time are possible. The purpose is to develop a band of international teachers who will, by the very fact of being visitors from other countries, stimulate interest on the various homefronts which they visit.

31.2 The Continental Pioneer Committees for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia and Europe have been given the additional function of assisting National Assemblies to make the most efficient use of any who may volunteer to travel and teach in countries other than their own., The procedures to be followed are attached to this letter. As you will note we are extending the use of the International Deputization Fund to deserving international teaching projects which cannot otherwise be financed.

p.1.

31.3 See message no. 22.


+75

This advanced information is given to National Assemblies so that they may be prepared to accept and utilize the offers of traveling teachers as soon as they arise.

31.4 It is requested that the subject of traveling teachers be placed on the Agenda for consultation at the National Convention, and that the friends be given every encouragement to respond to this call. Since the announcement of this plan is a part of the Ridvan message, your

31.5 Assembly should wait until the Convention before announcing it to the friends.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

P.S. The locale of the Pioneer Committee for Africa is being changed to

31.6 Uganda effective at Ridvan. For the time being please contact the Committee in care of that National Assembly.

32 Fiftieth Anniversary of the Revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan 22 MARCH 1966

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United

States

JOYOUSLY HAIL FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY REVELATION FIRST OF TABLETS DIVINE

32.1 PLAN CHARTER PROPAGATION FAITH THROUGHOUT WORLD.' PRAYING

SHRINES OBSERVANCE OCCASION MAY BE SOURCE RENEWED ENTHUSIASM DEDICATION FRIENDS ACCOMPLISH GOALS WIN FRESH LAURELS SHARE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES CANADA ALASKA HAWAII.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

32-1. The Tablets of the Divine Plan are fourteen Tablets 'Abdu'l-Bahá revealed in 1916 and 1917 to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada. In them He conveys His mandate for the transmission of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the world.


+76

33 Passing of Jessie Revell, Member of the International Bahá'í Council 15 APRIL 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

33.1 WITH PROFOUND GRIEF ANNOUNCE PASSING JESSIE REVELL HER TIRELESS STEADFAST DEVOTION FAITH SINCE BEFORE MASTER'S VISIT AMERICAN CONTINENT EARNED LOVE TRUST ADMIRATION SHOGHI EFFENDI CROWNED BY APPOINTMENT INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL DISTINGUISHED BY SERVICE TREASURER BOTH APPOINTED ELECTED COUNCILS.' URGE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS TRIBUTE UNFORGETTABLE EXEMPLARY SERVICES FAITH....

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

34 Ridvan Message 1966 RIDVAN 1966

The Bahá'ís of the World Dearly loved Friends,

34.1 The Fiftieth Anniversary of the revelation by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in March and April 1916, of the first Tablets of the Divine Plan, has witnessed the conclusion of a feat of pioneering unparalleled in the annals of the Cause. A year ago the call was raised for four-hundred-and-sixty-one pioneers to leave their homes within twelve months and scatter throughout the planet to broaden and strengthen the foundations of the world community of Bahá'u'lláh. There is every hope that with the exception of thirty-four posts whose settlement is dependent upon favorable circumstances all the pioneer goals will be filled by Ridvan or their settlement will be assured by firm commitments. The gratitude and admiration of the entire Bahá'í world go out to this noble band of dedicated believers who have so gloriously responded to the call. These pioneers, who have arisen for the specified goals, have been reinforced by a further forty-five believers who have settled in the goal territories, while sixty-nine more have left their homes to reside in twenty-six other countries already opened to the Faith. All told, in the course of the year, five-hundred-and-five Bahá'ís have arisen to pioneer beyond their homelands, the largest number ever to do so in any one year in the entire history of the Cause.

33-1. For an account of the life and services of Jessie Revell, see BW 14:300-03.

34.2 For an explanation of the International Bahá'í Council, see the glossary.


+77

This is a resounding victory, and in the light of the Master's

statement in the first of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, "It has often happened that one blessed soul has become the cause of the guidance of a nation," of wonderful portent for the future., Its immediate results are the opening of twenty-four new territories to the Faith, the resettlement of four others, and the consolidation of ninety-three more. The newly opened territories are: Chad and Niger in Africa; Alaskan Peninsula, Barbuda, Cayman Islands, Chilo Island, Providencia Island, Quintana Roo Territory, Saba, St. Andr6s Island, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lawrence Island, Tierra del Fuego, and Turks and Caicos Islands in the Americas; Laccadive Islands and Marmara Island in Asia; Niue Island in Australasia; and Bornholm, Capri, Elba, Gotland, Inner Hebrides, and Ischia in Europe.

34.3 The resettled territories are: Corisco Island and Spanish Guinea in Africa and Maldive Islands and Nicobar Islands in Asia.

34.4 As announced last Ridvan, the first Convention of the Bahá'ís of Brunei will be held this year, during the second weekend of the Ridvan period, when the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Brunei will be elected. Hand of the Cause Collis Featherstone will represent the World Center of the Faith on this historic occasion.

34.5 Formation of Nine National Assemblies at Ridvan 1967 A further result of the confirmations which have rewarded the tremendous teaching effort of the past two years is the call now made by the House of justice for the formation at Ridvan 1967 of the following nine National Spiritual Assemblies: in Africa-the National Spiritual Assembly of Algeria and Tunisia with its seat in Algiers; the National Spiritual Assembly of Cameroon Republic with its seat in Victoria and with Spanish Guinea, Fernando Po, Corisco and Sao Tome and Principe Islands assigned to it; the National Spiritual Assembly of Swaziland, Mozambique and Basutoland with its seat in Mbabane; the National Spiritual Assembly of Zambia with its seat in Lusaka. In the Americas-the National Spiritual Assembly of the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands with its seat in Charlotte Amalie. In Asia-the National Spiritual Assembly of Cambodia with its seat in Phnom Penh; the National Spiritual Assembly of Eastern and Southern Arabia with its seat in Bahrayn;, the National Spiritual Assembly of Taiwan with its seat in Taipei. In Australasia-the National Spiritual Assembly of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands with its seat in Tarawa. These nine new National Spiritual Assemblies constituting, together with the new National Spiritual Assembly of Brunei, ten additional pillars of the Universal House of Justice, will bring to seventy-nine the number which will take part during Ridvan 1968 in the second International Convention for the election of that Institution.

34-1. TDP 10- 3.


+78

Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God

34.6 This momentous year cannot be allowed to pass without mention of the tireless and dedicated services of the beloved Hands of the Cause, the Standard-Bearers of the Nine Year Plan, and the able support rendered them by their Auxiliary Boards. The special missions which they have discharged on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, the teaching tours they have undertaken, the conferences they have organized, their constant work at the World Center, and above all their never-ending encouragement of the friends and watchfulness over the welfare of the Cause of God, have given distinction and effective leadership to the work of the entire community. The grievous loss which they sustained in the passing of Hand of the Cause Leroy Ioas is shared by the whole Bahá'í world. Threefold Purpose of the Intercontinental Conferences

34.7 The splendid achievements in the pioneering and teaching fields, together with the enthusiastic attention given to the preparation of plans for the befitting celebration of the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's proclamation of His Message to the kings and rulers of the world, have sealed with success the first, and opened the way for the second phase of the Nine Year Plan, a phase in which the Bahá'í world must prepare and arm itself for the third phase, beginning in October 1967 when the six intercontinental conferences will sound the 11 opening notes" of a period of proclamation of the Cause of God extending through the remaining years of the Nine Year Plan to the centenary, in 1973, of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.2 The threefold purpose of these conferences is to commemorate the centenary of the opening of Bahá'u'lláh's Own proclamation of His Mission, to proclaim the Divine Message, and to deliberate upon the tasks of the remaining years of the Nine Year Plan. Five Tasks of the Second Phase of the Nine Year Plan

34.8 Five specific tasks face the Bahá'í world as it enters this second phase of the Plan: The first is to complete the settlement of the pioneers, and the dispatch of others wherever needed. The second is intensive preparation for the third phase of the Plan through development of new teaching measures and expansion of the various Bahá'í funds at international, national and local levels. The third is acceleration of the provision of Bahá'í literature, particularly its translation and publication in those languages in which, as yet, none has been published or the supply is inadequate. 34-2. GPB, P. 212.


+79

The fourth is the acquisition of the remaining national Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites, national endowments and teaching institutes called for in the Plan, before the developing inflation now affecting nearly the whole world adds too greatly to the financial burden of acquiring these properties.

The fifth is development of the Panama Temple Fund. The Universal House of Justice is initiating this Fund with a contribution of $25,000, and now calls upon the believers and Bahá'í communities to contribute liberally and continuously until the funds for the completion of this historic structure are assured. Such contributions should be sent directly to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama. More than fifty designs have been received, and the House of Justice is now considering the recommendations of the National Assembly. The choice will be announced and the friends will be kept fully informed of the progress of this highly significant and inspiring project. Our Challenge-To Raise the Intensity of Teaching Every individual follower of Bahá'u'lláh, as well as the institutions of the

34.9 Faith, at local, national, continental and world levels, must now meet the challenge to raise the intensity of teaching to a pitch never before attained, in order to realize that vast increase called for in the Plan. For those believers living in countries where they have freedom to teach their Faith, this challenge is the more sharply pointed by the oppressive measures imposed on the Faith elsewhere. In Persia the believers are denied their elementary rights and the Faith is still largely proscribed. In Iraq the national and one local Haziratu'l-Quds have been seized and the activities of the friends severely restricted. In Egypt Bahá'í properties are still confiscated and recently several believers were imprisoned for a period, and are now awaiting trial. New oppression has broken out in Indonesia where the national Haziratu'l-Quds has been seized and organized activities of the believers have been forbidden. In yet other countries the believers are subject to restrictions and surveillance. The friends in all cases are steadfast and confident, looking forward to their emancipation and the eventual triumph of the Cause. The challenge to the local and national administrative institutions of the

34.10 Faith is to organize and promote the teaching work through systematic plans, involving not only the regular fireside meetings in the homes of the believers, the public meetings, receptions and conferences, the weekend, summer and winter schools, the youth conferences and activities, all of which are so vigorously upheld at present, but in addition through a constant stream of visiting teachers to every locality. The forces released by this latter process have been extolled by Bahá'u'lláh in these words:


+80

34.10a The movement itself from place to place, when undertaken for the sake of God, hath always exerted, and can now exert, its influence in the world. In the Books of old the station of them that have voyaged far and near in order to guide the servants of God hath been set forth and written down.3 while Abdu'l-Bahá in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, says:

34.10b Teachers must continually travel to all parts of the continent, nay, rather, to all parts of the world ... 4

34.11 Such plans must be initiated and developed now, during this period of preparation, so that they may be fully operative by the beginning of the proclamation period from which time they must be relentlessly pursued until the end of the Plan.

34.12 The Universal House of Justice attaches such importance to this principle of traveling teaching that it has decided to develop it internationally, and now calls for volunteers to offer their services in this field. By their visits to lands other than their own, these friends will lend a tremendous stimulus to the proclamation and teaching of the Cause in all continents. It is hoped that such projects will be self-supporting, since the International Deputization Fund will still be needed for pioneering. However, when a proposal which is considered to be of special benefit to the Faith cannot be financed by the individual or the receiving National Assemblies, the House of justice will consider a request for assistance from the Deputization Fund. Offers, which may be for any period, should be made to one's own National Spiritual Assembly or to the Continental Pioneer Committees, which have been given the additional task of assisting National Assemblies to implement and coordinate this new enterprise. Let those who arise recall the Master's injunction to "travel like 'Abdu'l-Bahá ... sanctified and free from every attachment and in the utmost severance."5 Consolidation-Coequal with Expansion 34.13

Simultaneous and coequal with this vast, ordered and ever-growing teaching effort, the work of consolidation must go hand in hand. In fact these two processes must be regarded as inseparable parts of the expansion of the Faith. While the work of teaching inevitably goes first, to pursue it alone without consolidation would leave the community unprepared to receive the masses who must sooner or later respond to the life-giving message of the Cause. The guidance of our beloved Guardian in this vital matter is, as ever, clear and

34-3. Quoted in ADJ, p. 84. 34-4. TDP 8.11. 34-5. TDP 8.11.


+81

unambiguous: "Every outward thrust into new fields, every multiplication of Bahá'í institutions, must be paralleled by a deeper thrust of the roots which sustain the spiritual life of the community and ensure its sound development. From this vital, this ever-present need attention must, at no time, be diverted; nor must it be, under any circumstances, neglected, or subordinated to the no less vital and urgent task of ensuring the outer expansion of Bahá'í administrative institutions." 6 A proper balance between these two essential aspects of its development must, from now on, as we enter the era of large-scale conversion, be maintained by the Bahá'í Community. Consolidation must comprise not only the establishment of Bahá'í administrative institutions, but a true deepening in the fundamental verities of the Cause and in its spiritual principles, understanding of its prime purpose in the establishment of the unity of mankind, instruction in its standards of behavior in all aspects of private and public life, in the particular practice of Bahá'í life in such things as daily prayer, education of children, observance of the laws of Bahá'í marriage, abstention from politics, the obligation to contribute to the Fund, the importance of the Nineteen Day Feast and opportunity to acquire a sound knowledge of the present-day practice of Bahá'í administration.

The Urgent Need for an Increased Flow of Funds The onward march of the Faith requires, and is indeed dependent upon, 34.14 a very great increase in contributions to the various funds. All the goals assigned to the World Center of the Faith, and particularly those dealing with the development and beautification of the properties surrounding the Holy Shrines and the extension of the gardens on Mount Carmel entail heavy expenditures. The building of the two Temples called for in the Plan will require further large SUMS,7 and the worldwide process of teaching and consolidation now to be intensified must be sustained by a greatly increased and uninterrupted flow of funds. The International Deputization Fund must be maintained and expanded, not only for further pioneering needs, but in order to assist and develop the traveling teacher program now called for. Since only those who have openly proclaimed their recognition of BAYOU are permitted to contribute financially to the establishment of His World Order, it is apparent that more, much more is required from the few now so privileged. Our responsibilities in this field are very great, commensurate indeed with the bounty of being the bearers of the Name of God in this day.

34- 6. LFG, p. 76. 34-7. The two Temples referred to are the Houses of Worship that were to be built in Asia and Latin America. Plans for the construction of a Temple in Asia, to be located in Iran, had to be held in abeyance, due to antagonism toward the Faith in that country. The Temple for Latin America, completed in 1986, is in Panama.


+82

The Individual's Challenge

34.15 The challenge to the individual Bahá'í in every field of service, but above all in teaching the Cause of God is never-ending. With every fresh affliction visited upon mankind our inescapable duty becomes more apparent, nor should we ever forget that if we neglect this duty, "others" in the words of Shoghi Effendi, "will be called upon to take up our task as ministers to the crying needs of this afflicted world."' Now, it seems, we may well be entering an era of the longed-for expansion of our beloved Faith. Mankind's growing hunger for spiritual truth is our opportunity. While reaching forth to grasp it we would do well to ponder the following words of Bahá'u'lláh:

34.15a Your behavior towards your neighbor should be such as to manifest clearly the signs of the one true God, for ye are the first among men to be recreated by His Spirit, the first to adore and bow the knee before Him, the first to circle round His throne of glory.9

34.16 As humanity plunges deeper into that condition of which Bahá'u'lláh wrote, "to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly," so must the believers increasingly stand out as assured, orientated and fundamentally happy beings, conforming to a standard which, in direct contrast to the ignoble and amoral attitudes of modern society, is the source of their honor, strength and maturity.10 It is this marked contrast between the vigor, unity and discipline of the Bahá'í community on the one hand, and the increasing confusion, despair and feverish tempo of a doomed society on the other, which, during the turbulent years ahead will draw the eyes of humanity to the sanctuary of Bahá'u'lláh's world-redeeming Faith.

34.17 The constant progress of the Cause of God is a source of joy to us all and a stimulus to further action. But not ordinary action. Heroic deeds are now called for such as are performed only by divinely sustained and detached souls. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Commander of the hosts of the Lord, in one of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, uttered this cry: "O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty to these regions and, raising the call of 'Ya Baha-El Abha' in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it." And He concluded with this heart-shaking appeal, "Please God, ye may achieve it.""

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

34-8. BA, p. 66. 34_9. GPB, P. 316-734-10. GWB, p. 118. 34-11. TDP 7-8


+83

35 The Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice 27 MAY 1966

To an individual Bahá'í 1

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

35.1 ... You query the timing of the election of the Universal House Of Justice in view of the Guardian's statement: ". . . given favorable circumstances, under which the Bahá'ís of Persia and of the adjoining countries under Soviet rule, may be enabled to elect their national representatives ... the only remaining obstacle in the way of the definite formation of the International House of Justice will have been removed.", On 19th April 1947 the Guardian, in a letter written on his behalf by his secretary, replied to the inquiry of an individual believer about this passage: "At the time he referred to Russia there were Bahá'ís there, now the Community has practically ceased to exist; therefore the formation of the International House of Justice cannot depend on a Russian National Spiritual Assembly. But other strong National Spiritual Assemblies will have to be built up before it can be established."

35.2 The Provisions of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will You suggest the possibility that, for the good of the Cause, certain information concerning the succession to Shoghi Effendi is being withheld from the believers. We assure you that nothing whatsoever is being withheld from the friends for whatever reason. There is no doubt at all that in the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Bahá Shoghi Effendi was the authority designated to appoint his successor, but he had no children and all the surviving Aghsan had broken the Covenant.3 Thus, as the Hands of the Cause stated in 1957, it is clear that there was no one he could have appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Will. To have made an appointment outside the clear and specific provisions of the Master's Will and Testament would obviously have been an impossible and unthinkable course of action for the Guardian, the divinely appointed upholder and defender of the Covenant. Moreover, that same Will had provided a clear means for the confirmation of the

___ 35-1. Passages from a letter written by the Universal House of justice on 27 May 1966 in response to questions asked by an individual believer on the relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. 35-2. WOB, P. 735-3. Aghsan (Branches) are the sons and male descendants of Bahá'u'lláh. In His Will and Testament 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote, 'should the firstborn 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 Cause of God) choose another branch [Aghsan] to succeed him" (WT, p. 12).


+84

Guardian's appointment of his successor, as you are aware. The nine Hands to be elected by the body of the Hands were to give their assent by secret ballot to the Guardian's choice. In 1957 the entire body of the Hands, after fully investigating the matter, announced that Shoghi Effendi had appointed no successor and left no will. This is documented and established. A Sign of Infallible Guidance

35.3 The fact that Shoghi Effendi did not leave a will cannot be adduced as evidence of his failure to obey Bahá'u'lláh -- rather should we acknowledge that in his very silence there is a wisdom and a sign of his infallible guidance. We should ponder deeply the writings that we have, and seek to understand the multitudinous significances that they contain. Do not forget that Shoghi Effendi said two things were necessary for a growing understanding of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: the passage of time and the guidance of the Universal House of Justice. The Infallibility of the Universal House of Justice

35.4 The infallibility of the Universal House of Justice, operating within its ordained sphere, has not been made dependent upon the presence in its membership of the Guardian of the Cause. Although in the realm of interpretation the Guardian's pronouncements are always binding, in the area of the Guardian's participation in legislation it is always the decision of the House itself which must prevail. This is supported by the words of the Guardian: "The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Bahá'u'lláh has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested. 35.5 "Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's revealed utterances."4

35.6 However, quite apart from his function as a member and sacred head for life of the Universal House of Justice, the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, had the right and duty "to define the sphere of the legislative action" of the Universal House of JUStiCe.5 In other words, he had the authority

___ 35-4- WOB, p. 150 35-5. WOB, P. 148.


+85

to state whether a matter was or was not already covered by the Sacred Texts and therefore whether it was within the authority of the Universal House of Justice to legislate upon it. No other person, apart from the Guardian, has the right or authority to make such definitions. The question therefore arises: In the absence of the Guardian, is the Universal House of Justice in danger of straying outside its proper sphere and thus falling into error? Here we must remember three things: First, Shoghi Effendi, during the thirty-six years of his Guardianship, has already made innumerable such definitions, supplementing those made by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and by Bahá'u'lláh Himself As already announced to the friends, a careful study of the Writings and interpretations on any subject on which the House of Justice proposes to legislate always precedes its act of legislation.

35.7 Second, the Universal House of Justice, itself assured of divine guidance, is well aware of the absence of the Guardian and will approach all matters of legislation only when certain of its sphere of jurisdiction, a sphere which the Guardian has confidently described as "clearly defined." Third, we must not forget the Guardian's written statement about these two Institutions: "Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other.'16 As regards the need to have deductions made from the Writings to help in the formulation of the enactments of the House of Justice, there is the following text from the pen of `Abdu'l-Bahá:

Those matters of major importance which constitute the foundation 35.7a of the Law of God are explicitly recorded in the Text, but subsidiary laws are left to the House of Justice. The wisdom of this is that the times never remain the same, for change is a necessary quality and an essential attribute of this world, and of time and place. Therefore the House of Justice will take action accordingly. Let it not be imagined that the House of Justice will take any decision according to its own concepts and opinions. God forbid! The Supreme House of Justice will take decisions and establish laws through the inspiration and confirmation of the Holy Spirit, because it is in the safekeeping and under the shelter and protection of the Ancient Beauty, and obedience to its decisions is a bounden and essential duty and an absolute obligation, and there is no escape for anyone. Say, O people: Verily the Supreme House of Justice is under the wings 35.7c of your Lord, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful, 'that is, under His protection, His care, and His shelter; for He has commanded the firm believers to obey that blessed, sanctified and all-subduing body, whose sovereignty is divinely ordained and of the Kingdom of Heaven and whose laws are inspired and spiritual.

35-6. WOB, P. 148, 150.


+86

35.7d Briefly, this is the wisdom of referring the laws of society to the House of Justice. In the religion of Islam, similarly, not every ordinance was explicitly revealed; nay not a tenth part of a tenth part was included in the Text; although all matters of major importance were specifically referred to, there were undoubtedly thousands of laws which were unspecified. These were devised by the divines of a later age according to the laws of Islamic jurisprudence, and individual divines made conflicting deductions from the original revealed ordinances. All these were enforced. Today this process of deduction is the right of the body of the House of Justice, and the deductions and conclusions of individual learned men have no authority unless they are endorsed by the House of Justice. The difference is precisely this, that from the conclusions and endorsements of the body of the House of Justice whose members are elected by and known to the worldwide Bahá'í community, no differences will arise; whereas the conclusions of individual divines and scholars would definitely lead to differences, and result in schism, division, and dispersion. The oneness of the Word would be destroyed, the unity of the Faith would disappear, and the edifice of the Faith of God would be shaken.7 The Continuity of Authority

35.8 In the Order of Bahá'u'lláh there are certain functions which are reserved to certain institutions, and others which are shared in common, even though they may be more in the special province of one or the other.' For example, although the Hands of the Cause of God have the specific functions of protection and propagation, and are specialized for these functions, it is also the duty of the Universal House of Justice and the Spiritual Assemblies to protect and teach the Cause-indeed teaching is a sacred obligation placed upon every believer by Bahá'u'lláh. Similarly, although after the Master authoritative interpretation was exclusively vested in the Guardian, and although legislation is exclusively the function of the Universal House of Justice, these two Institutions are, in Shoghi Effendi's words, "complementary in their aim and purpose." "Their common, their fundamental object is to ensure the continuity of that divinely appointed authority which flows from the Source of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings."' Whereas the Universal House of Justice cannot undertake any function which exclusively appertained to the Guardian, it must continue to pursue the object which it shares in common with the Guardianship.

35-7. Rahiq-i-Mqkht11m 1:302-04; BN, no-426 (Sept. x966): 2. 35-8.

35.9 WOB, p. 148.


+87

The Principle of Inseparability

As you point out with many quotations, Shoghi Effendi repeatedly stressed the inseparability of these two institutions. Whereas he obviously envisaged their functioning together, it cannot logically be deduced from this that one is unable to function in the absence of the other. During the whole thirty-six years of his Guardianship Shoghi Effendi functioned without the Universal House of Justice. Now the Universal House of Justice must function without the Guardian, but the principle of inseparability remains. The Guardianship does not lose its significance nor position in the Order of Bahá'u'lláh merely because there is no living Guardian.

35.10 We must guard against two extremes: one is to argue that because there is no Guardian all that was written about the Guardianship and its position in the Bahá'í World Order is a dead letter and was unimportant; the other is to be so overwhelmed by the significance of the Guardianship as to underestimate the strength of the Covenant, or to be tempted to compromise with the clear texts in order to find somehow, in some way, a Guardian."

Our Part -- Fidelity, Integrity, and Faith

Service to the Cause of God requires absolute fidelity and integrity and unwavering faith in Him. No good but only evil can come from taking the responsibility for the future of God's Cause into our own hands and trying to force it into ways that we wish it to go regardless of the clear texts and our own limitations. It ' is His Cause. He has promised that its light will not fail. Our part is to cling tenaciously to the revealed Word and to the Institutions that He has created to preserve His Covenant.

35.11 It is precisely in this connection that the believers must recognize the importance of intellectual honesty and humility. In past dispensations many errors arose because the believers in God's Revelation were overanxious to encompass the Divine Message within the framework of their limited understanding, to define doctrines where definition was beyond their power, to explain mysteries which only the wisdom and experience of a later age would make comprehensible, to argue that something was true because it appeared desirable and necessary. Such compromises with essential truth, such intellectual pride, we must scrupulously avoid.

35.12 If some of the statements of the Universal House of Justice are not detailed the friends should realize that the cause of this is not secretiveness, but rather the determination of this body to refrain from interpreting the teachings and to preserve the truth of the Guardian's statement that "Leaders of religion, exponents of political theories, governors of human institutions . . . need have no doubt or anxiety regarding the nature, the origin, or validity of the institutions which the adherents of the Faith are building up throughout the world. For these lie embedded in the teachings themselves, unadulterated and


+88

unobscured by unwarrantable inferences, or unauthorized interpretations of His Word."9 Authoritative Interpretation and Individual Understanding

35.13 A clear distinction is made in our Faith between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding that each individual arrives at for himself from his study of its teachings. While the former is confined to the Guardian, the latter, according to the guidance given to us by the Guardian himself, should by no means be suppressed. In fact such individual interpretation is considered the fruit of mar's rational power and conducive to a better understanding of the teachings, provided that no disputes or arguments arise among the friends and the individual himself understands and makes it clear that his views are merely his own. Individual interpretations continually change as one grows in comprehension of the teachings. As Shoghi Effendi explained: "To deepen in the Cause means to read the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and the Master so thoroughly as to be able to give it to others in its pure form. There are many who have some superficial idea of what the Cause stands for. They, therefore, present it together with all sorts of ideas that are their own. As the Cause is still in its early days we must be most careful lest we fall under this error and injure the Movement we so much adore. There is no limit to the study of the Cause. The more we read the Writings, the more truths we can find in them and the more we will see that our previous notions were erroneous."10 So, although individual insights can be enlightening and helpful, they can also be misleading. The friends must therefore learn to listen to the views of others without being overawed or allowing their faith to be shaken, and to express their own views without pressing them on their fellow Bahá'ís. The Covenant -- The Cord to which All Must Cling

35.14 The Cause of God is organic, growing and developing like a living being. Time and again it has faced crises which have perplexed the believers, but each time the Cause, impelled by the immutable purpose of God, overcame the crisis and went on to greater heights.

35.15 However great may be our inability to understand the mystery and the implications of the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the strong cord to which all must cling with assurance is the Covenant. The emphatic and vigorous language of Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament is at this time, as at the time of His own passing, the safeguard of the Cause:

35-9. WOB, p. 24. 35-10. Written by the Guardian's secretary on his behalf to an individual believer, on 25 August 1926.


+89

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. Whose, doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant And again: ". . . All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice.

35.17 And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.

The Universal House of Justice: Recipient of Divine Guidance The Universal House of Justice, which the Guardian said would be regarded by posterity as "the last refuge of a tottering civilization," is now, in the absence of the Guardian, the sole infallibly guided institution in the world to which all must turn, and on it rests the responsibility for ensuring the unity and progress of the Cause of God in accordance with the revealed Word. There are statements from the Master and the Guardian indicating that the Universal House of Justice, in addition to being the Highest Legislative Body of the Faith, is also the body to which all must turn, and is the "apex" of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, as well as the 'supreme organ of the Bahá'í Commonwealth."13 The Guardian has in his writings specified for the House of Justice such fundamental functions as the formulation of future worldwide teaching plans, the conduct of the administrative affairs of the Faith, and the guidance, organization and unification of the affairs of the Cause throughout the world. Furthermore in God Passes By the Guardian makes the following statement: "the Kitab-i-Aqdas ... not only preserves for posterity the basic laws and ordinances on which the fabric of His future World Order must rest, but ordains, in addition to the function of interpretation which it confers upon His Successor, the necessary institutions through which the integrity and unity of His Faith can alone be safeguarded."14 He has also, in "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh," written that the members of the Universal House of Justice "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 lifeblood and ultimate safeguard of this Revelation. 1115 As the Universal House of Justice has already announced, it cannot legislate to make possible the appointment of a successor to Shoghi Effendi, nor can it legislate to make possible the appointment of any more Hands of the Cause, but it must do everything within its power to ensure the performance 35-11 WT, pp. 19-20, 26. 35-12. WOB, p. 89. 35-13. GPB, p-332; WOB, p. 735-14. GPB, Pp. 213-14. 35-15. WOB, P. 153.


+90

of all those functions which it shares with these two mighty Institutions. It must make provision for the proper discharge in future of the functions of protection and propagation, which the administrative bodies share with the Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause; it must, in the absence of the Guardian, receive and disburse the Huququ'llah, in accordance with the following statement of Abdu'l-Bahá: "Disposition of the Huquq, wholly or partly, is permissible, but this should be done by permission of the authority in the Cause to whom all must turn";,6 it must make provision in its Constitution for the removal of any of its members who commits a sin "injurious to the common Weal."17 Above all, it must, with perfect faith in Bahá'u'lláh, proclaim His Cause and enforce His Law so that the Most Great Peace shall be firmly established in this world and the foundation of the Kingdom of God on earth shall be accomplished.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

36 Pioneering and a Program of Consolidation 5 JUNE 1966 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

36.1 The historic and dazzling accomplishment last year of a feat in pioneering unparalleled in the annals of our Faith should not blind us either to the need of filling the remaining gaps which are still open, or to the ever-present necessity of reinforcing the settled territories with a well-conceived program of consolidation.

36.2 The tasks that lie ahead of us in this particular field of Bahá'í activity are as follows: I. As pointed out in the Ridvan Message, the settlement of the minimum number of pioneers called for under last year's goals should be completed. A recent letter has been sent to all National Assemblies responsible for supplying manpower, calling on them to find and dispatch as soon as possible the pioneers to the few remaining territories for which no offers have as yet been received and to expedite the completion of those projects which are in process.

35-16. See CC 1:512. For information on Huqdqu'llah, see the glossary. 35-7. WT, P. 14. See also CUHJ, p. 12.


+91

2. The pioneers who have already settled or are settling in their posts, particularly in virgin and unoccupied territories must be reminded that their movement to their goals is far from being a short stay designed to class a particular territory or island as opened, or label it as having received one or more pioneers, even if, in some cases, new believers native to the land have been enrolled. It is basically and clearly intended to establish the Faith of God securely and firmly in the hearts of people of the area and to ensure that its divinely ordained institutions are understood, adopted and operated by them. The perseverance of the pioneers in their posts, however great the sacrifices involved, is an act of devoted service, which, as attested by our teachings, will have an assured reward in both worlds. The admonitions of the Guardian on this subject are too numerous to cite and amply demonstrate the vital nature of this clear policy.

3.The pioneers and settlers, as well as the National Assemblies

responsible for the administration of the Faith in areas assigned to them, should ever bear in mind that in the initial stages of the establishment of the Faith in any territory, the obscurity surrounding the work of the pioneer or the local Bahá'ís is in itself a protection to the Faith. Patience, tact and wisdom should be exercised. Public attention should not be attracted to the Faith until such time as the believers see the Faith touch more and more of the hearts of receptive souls responding to its Divine Call.

4. As the numbers fixed last year for settlers in goal areas were minimum figures, each National Assembly should carefully assess the needs of the territories assigned to its jurisdiction. If more pioneers are needed for any of these territories, a full report should at once be sent to the House of Justice, including recommendations as to numbers required and preferred nationalities of the prospective pioneers.

5.The practical aspects of these pioneering projects are of vital importance. The financial responsibilities assigned under last year's goals do not end because the pioneer has arrived at his post. These responsibilities continue until the objectives are permanently and securely attained.

36.3 In any case where the National Assembly assigned the responsibility is unable to meet its obligation, application to fill the ascertained need should at once be made to the House of justice for assistance from the Deputization Fund.

We assure you of our prayers at the Holy Shrines that the friends in every land may rise above their local and personal problems, realize the needs of the


+92

Cause of God at this juncture of its inexorable onward development, and offer on the altar of sacrifice their measure of service and assistance with complete self-abnegation and wholehearted devotion to His infinitely precious Cause.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

37 Message to Youth-Three Fields of Service 10 JUNE 1966

To the Bahá'í Youth in every Land

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

37.1 In country after country the achievements of Bahá'í youth are increasingly advancing the work of the Nine Year Plan and arousing the admiration of their fellow believers. From the very beginning of the Bahá'í Era, youth have played a vital part in the promulgation of God's Revelation. The Bab Himself was but twenty-five years old when He declared His Mission, while many of the Letters of the Living were even younger. The Master, as a very young man, was called upon to shoulder heavy responsibilities in the service of His Father in Iraq and Turkey, and His brother, the Purest Branch, yielded up his life to God in the Most Great Prison at the age of twenty-two that the servants of God might "be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united.", Shoghi Effendi was a student at Oxford when called to the throne of his guardianship, and many of the Knights of Bahá'u'lláh, who won imperishable fame during the Ten Year Crusade, were young people. Let it, therefore, never be imagined that youth must await their years of maturity before they can render invaluable services to the Cause of God. A Time of Decision

37.2 For any person, whether Bahá'í or not, his youthful years are those in which he will make many decisions which will set the course of his life. In these years he is most likely to choose his life's work, complete his education, begin to earn his own living, marry and start to raise his own family. Most important of all, it is during this period that the mind is most questing and that the spiritual values that will guide the person's future behavior are adopted. These factors present Bahá'í youth with their greatest opportunities, their greatest challenges, and their greatest tests opportunities to truly apprehend

37-1. GPB, p. 188. See also NIA, P. 34. 37-2. At the time of Abdu'l-Bahá's passing in 1921, Shoghi Effendi was twenty-four years old.


+93

the Teachings of their Faith and to give them to their contemporaries, challenges to overcome the pressures of the world and to provide leadership for their and succeeding generations, and tests enabling them to exemplify in their lives the high moral standards set forth in the Bahá'í Writings. Indeed the Guardian wrote of the Bahá'í youth that it is they "who can contribute so decisively to the virility, the purity, and the driving force of the life of the Bahá'í community, and upon whom must depend the future orientation of its destiny, and the complete unfoldment of the potentialities with which God has endowed it."3

An Opportunity Unique in Human History Those who now are in their teens and twenties are faced with a special 37.3 challenge and can seize an opportunity that is unique in human history. During the Ten Year Crusade-the ninth part of that majestic process described so vividly by our beloved Guardian-the Community of the Most Great name spread with the speed of lightning over the major territories and islands of the globe, increased manifoldly its manpower and resources, saw the beginning of the entry of the peoples by troops into the Cause of God, and completed the structure of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Now, firmly established in the world, the Cause, in the opening years of the tenth part of that same process, is perceptibly emerging from the obscurity that has, for the most part, shrouded it since its inception, and is arising to challenge the outworn concepts of a corrupt society and proclaim the solution for the agonizing problems of a disordered humanity.

37.4 During the lifetime of those who are now young the condition of the world, and the place of the Bahá'í Cause in it, will change immeasurably, for we are entering a highly critical phase in this era of transition.

Three Fields of Service Three great fields of service lie open before young Bahá'ís, in which they will simultaneously be remaking the character of human society and preparing themselves for the work that they can undertake later in their lives.

37.5 First, the foundation of all their other accomplishments is their study Of the teachings, the spiritualization of their lives and the forming of their characters in accordance with the standards of Bahá'u'lláh. As the moral standards, of the people around us collapse and decay, whether of the centuries-old civilizations of the East, the more recent cultures of Christendom and Islam; or of the rapidly changing tribal societies of the world, the Bahá'ís must increasingly stand out as pillars of righteousness and forbearance. The life of a Bahá'í

37-3. ADJ, p. 22. 37-4. For Shoghi Effendi's description of the vast and "majestic" ten-part process that began at the dawn of the Adamic Cycle and will continue into the Golden Age of the Faith, see the entry on Ten Part Process in the glossary.


+94

will be characterized by truthfulness and decency; he will walk

uprightly among his fellowmen, dependent upon none save God, yet linked by bonds of love and brotherhood with all mankind; he will be entirely detached from the loose standards, the decadent theories, the frenetic experimentation, the desperation of present-day society, will look upon his neighbors with a bright and friendly face and be a beacon light and a haven for all those who would emulate his strength of character and assurance of soul.

37.6 The second field of service, which is linked intimately with the first, is teaching the Faith, particularly to their fellow-youth, among whom are some of the most open and seeking minds in the world. Not yet having acquired all the responsibilities of a family or a long-established home and job, youth can the more easily choose where they will live and study or work. In the world at large young people travel hither and thither seeking amusement, education and experiences. Bahá'í youth, bearing the incomparable treasure of the Word of God for this Day, can harness this mobility into service for mankind and can choose their places of residence, their areas of travel and their types of work with the goal in mind of how they can best serve the Faith.

37.7 The third field of service is the preparation by youth for their later years. It is the obligation of a Bahá'í to educate his children; likewise it is the duty of the children to acquire knowledge of the arts and sciences and to learn a trade or a profession whereby they, in turn, can earn their living and support their families. This, for a Bahá'í youth, is in itself a service to God, a service, moreover, which can be combined with teaching the Faith and often with pioneering. The Bahá'í community will need men and women of many skills and qualifications; for, as it grows in size the sphere of its activities in the life of society will increase and diversify. Let Bahá'í youth, therefore, consider the best ways in which they can use and develop their native abilities for the service of mankind and the Cause of God, whether this be as farmers, teachers, doctors, artisans, musicians or any one of the multitude of livelihoods that are open to them.

37.8 When studying at school or university Bahá'í youth will often find themselves in the unusual and slightly embarrassing position of having a more profound insight into a subject than their instructors. The Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh throw light on so many aspects of human life and knowledge that a Bahá'í must learn, earlier than most, to weigh the information that is given to him rather than to accept it blindly.

37.9 A Bahá'í has the advantage of the divine Revelation for this Age, which shines like a searchlight on so many problems that baffle modern thinkers; he must therefore develop the ability to learn everything from those around him, showing proper humility before his teachers, but always relating what he hears to the Bahá'í teachings, for they will enable him to sort out the gold from the dross of human error.


+95

Bahá'í Consultation

Tracing New Paths of Human Corporate Action

Paralleling the growth of his inner life through prayer, meditation, service and study of the teachings, Bahá'í youth have the opportunity to learn in practice the very functioning of the Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Through taking part in conferences and summer schools as well as Nineteen Day Feasts, and in service on committees, they can develop the wonderful skill of Bahá'í consultation, thus tracing new paths of human corporate action.

Consultation is no easy skill to learn, requiring as it does the subjugation of all egotism and unruly passions, the cultivation of frankness and freedom of thought as well as courtesy, openness of mind and wholehearted acquiescence in a majority decision. In this field Bahá'í youth may demonstrate the efficiency, the vigor, the access of unity which arise from true consultation and, by contrast, demonstrate the futility of partisanship, lobbying, debate, secret diplomacy and unilateral action which characterize modern affairs. Youth also take part in the life of the Bahá'í community as a whole and promote a society in which all generations-elderly, middle-aged, youth, children-are fully integrated and make up an organic whole. By refusing to carry over the antagonisms and mistrust between the generations which perplex and bedevil modern society they will again demonstrate the heating and life-giving nature of their religion. The Nine Year Plan has just entered its third year. The youth have already played a vital part in winning its goals. We now call upon them, with great love and highest hopes and the assurance of our fervent prayers, to consider, individually and in consultation, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances, those steps which they should take now to deepen themselves in their knowledge of the divine message, to develop their characters after the pattern of the Master, to acquire those skills, trades and professions in which they can best serve God and man, to intensify their service to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh and to radiate its message to the seekers among their contemporaries.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+96

38 Formation of Three More National Spiritual Assemblies at Ridvan 1967 1 SEPTEMBER 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

38.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE FORMATION AT RIDVAN 1967 ADDITIONAL NEW NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES BELIZE SEAT BELIZE, LAOS SEAT VIENTIANE, SIKKIM SEAT GANGTOK, CALLING UPON NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES GUATEMALA, THAILAND, INDIA RESPECTIVELY CALL FIRST CONVENTIONS ELECTION NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES. SIKKIM ASSEMBLY SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT NINE YEAR PLAN. CHANGED SITUATION CAMBODIA REQUIRES POSTPONEMENT FORMATION NATIONAL ASSEMBLY THAT COUNTRY. ADDITION ABOVE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES RAISES TOTAL THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TO EIGHTY-ONE WHOSE MEMBERS WILL PARTICIPATE SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION. OFFERING PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE BAHA'U'LLAH SUPPLICATING DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS EXPANSION CONSOLIDATION THESE TERRITORIES ASSURING SOLID FOUNDATION FUTURE PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE.,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

39 Incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Italy 22 DECEMBER 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

39.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE INCORPORATION ITALIAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE PROCESS RECOGNITION FAITH HEART CHRISTENDOM.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

38-1. The pillars referred to are the National Spiritual Assemblies.


+97

40 Development of the Bahá'í World Center and the Needs of the Bahá'í International Fund 7 MARCH 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved Friends, The time has now come in the progress of the Nine Year Plan when the

40.1 Bahá'í world must devote a greater effort towards the development of the Faith at its World Center. Nearly all the accessible unsettled territories of the Plan have now been Settled, bases have been established throughout the world for the future expansion of the Faith; a program of progressive consolidation is being pursued hand-in-hand with continued expansion; plans for the construction of the Panama Temple are well advanced; the Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and endowments called for in the Plan are being steadily acquired; by the end of the next Ridvan period 81 out of the i08 National Spiritual Assemblies called for by 1973 will have been established; and the opening of the period of the proclamation of the Faith is fast approaching.

40.3 Since the Universal House of Justice came into being in 1963, its primary concern at the World Center of the Faith has been with the basic, minimum essentials of undertaking repairs to the Holy Places; establishing its administrative offices; reorganizing the accommodation of pilgrims; gathering its staff, developing a suitable housing program for the Hands of the Cause and their families, the members of the House of justice and their families, and all other believers serving at the World Center; formulating plans for the expansion of the Gardens and taking the first steps in their initiation; collating the Sacred Texts and the letters of Shoghi Effendi and indexing them; and fostering relations with the Government of the State of Israel and with the United Nations. The increased burden which these essential steps have imposed upon the

40.4 International Fund we have endeavored to keep at a minimum so that, in the early stages of the Plan, the maximum resources could be utilized in the teaching work throughout the world.

40.5 However, we must now embark upon certain major undertakings vital to the future progress of the Cause. Extensive beautification of the sacred endowments surrounding the Holy Shrines in Bahji and Haifa, as well as at the site of the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar on Mount Carmel must be undertaken, both for its own sake and for the protection of these lands which are situated within the boundaries of rapidly expanding cities; the work of classifying and codifying the Holy Texts must be urgently prosecuted; the arrangements for pilgrimage


+98

may have to be greatly expanded to provide for the ever-increasing number of applications from East and West; the Intercontinental Conferences and the International Convention must be held and paid for; and the auxiliary institutions of the Universal House of Justice must begin to unfold so that the ever-growing and increasingly complex work of the World Center of the Faith may continue to be efficiently discharged. Moreover, the vital assistance given by the International Fund to the work of the Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies must be maintained.

40.6 The minimum budget requirements of the International Fund have nearly doubled since 1963, and if in addition we are to be enabled to undertake these developments, a much greater flow of funds will be needed than is now available.

40.7 We call upon every National Spiritual Assembly to consider now the amount that it can allocate as a contribution to the International Fund in its budget for the coming year. In some cases this may mean that contributions made hitherto will be doubled, trebled, or even more greatly increased. Please write as soon as your decision has been made, and not later than 21st April, telling us the estimated amount of your allocation.

40.8 This is a vitally important matter, and we shall pray in the Holy Shrines that the friends throughout the world will respond wholeheartedly to this call.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

41 Commemoration of the Revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk 17 MARCH 1967 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

41.1 In the 1965 Ridvan Message from the Universal House of Justice we announced that in September 1967, on the Feast of Mashiyyat, a few appointed representatives of the Bahá'í world would visit the site of the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Adrianople where the Suriy-i-Muluk was revealed. We have decided that the six Hands of the Cause of God who will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Intercontinental Conferences in October are the ones to make this visit. Immediately following this historic act they will proceed to their respective Conferences.,

41-1.

42.1 The Hands of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Ugo Giachery, Tarazu'llah Samandari, Ali-Akbar Furutan, Paul Haney, and Abul-Qasim Faizi visited Adrianople


+99

For the protection of the Faith it is essential that no one, except the Hands, 41.2 travel to Turkey on this occasion. National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to make this announcement at 41.3 the National Convention this year, and to repeat it in their newsletters and at other times and places as may be appropriate.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

42 Ridvan Message 1967 Ridvan 1967

The Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends, At the conclusion of the third year of the Nine Year Plan we acknowledge with thankful hearts the evidences of Divine favor with which Bahá'u'lláh unfailingly sustains and confirms the dedicated efforts of His servants everywhere, and we unhesitatingly affirm our confidence that the community of the Most Great Name can and will, by its determination and sacrificial efforts, achieve complete victory.

Worldwide Achievements Last year the call was raised for the formation, in 1967, of eleven new

42.2 National Spiritual Assemblies. All will be elected during the Ridvan period. We welcome with great joy the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of Algeria and Tunisia with its seat in Algiers; Cameroon Republic with its seat in Victoria; Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique with its seat in Mbabane; Zambia with its seat in Lusaka; Belize with its seat in Belize; the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands with its seat in Charlotte Amalie; Eastern and Southern Arabia with its seat in Bahrayn; Laos with its seat in Vientiane; Sikkim with its seat in Gangtok; Taiwan with its seat in Taipei; the Gilbert and Ellice Islands with its seat in Tarawa. The World Center of the Faith will be represented at each National Convention by a Hand of the Cause of God, who will present a message from the Universal House of Justice welcoming the new national community and assigning it its share of the goals of the Nine Year Plan.

on 27 September 1967 (the Feast of Will) to mark Bahá'u'lláh's revelation of His Tablet to the Kings (Suriy-i-Muluk), referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh" (GPB, P. 171). See PB, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03, for passages from the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English.


+100

42.3 At this Ridvan eighty-one of the i08 National Spiritual Assemblies, and more than six thousand of the 13,737 Local Spiritual Assemblies called for by 1973 will have been established; of a required 54,102. localities where Bahá'ís reside, 28,27 are reported; fifteen of the sixty-five National Incorporations called for have been achieved; seventeen of fifty-two National Haziratu'l-Quds, seven of sixty-two Temple sites, thirteen of fifty-four National Endowments, fourteen of thirty-two Teaching Institutes, have been acquired; of the 973 Local Incorporations called for in the Plan, 123 have been completed; Local Haziratu'l-Quds acquired are, twenty-four in India, seventeen in Kenya, nine in Uganda, two in South Africa, two in Turkey and a number in Congo (Kinshasa), while land for eight others has been acquired in Kenya, for four in Cameroon, for two in Pakistan and for one in Mauritius; in eight countries Local Endowments supplementary to those called for in the Plan have been acquired.

42.4 Iceland, Korea, Liberia, Luxembourg and Rhodesia now recognize the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate; the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Hawaii, Iceland, Italy, Kenya and Luxembourg recognize Bahá'í Holy Days. A Summer School has been established in Liberia, and one, beyond the requirements of the Plan, in Canada, while land for others has been acquired in Argentina, Ethiopia and Samoa. Twenty-five new languages have been added to the list of those in which Bahá'í literature is available, bringing the total number to 397. The number of territories now opened to the Faith has reached 311, including the recently settled virgin areas of Chil Archipelago, Bonaire, Phoenix Islands and St. Martin, and two territories in addition to those called for in the Plan, namely Melville Island in Australasia and Montserrat in the Windward Islands.

42.5 After protracted frustration the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia has finally gained possession of the historic fortress of Chihriq, that bleak and lonely citadel which was the last earthly residence of the blessed Bab, and from which He was led forth to His martyrdom in Tabriz., Realization of the long-sought recognition of the Faith in Italy is a wonderful victory, resulting not only in the incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly, but also of all Local Spiritual Assemblies in Italy and the ability to establish that National Spiritual Assembly's Publishing Trust. In Iceland the Faith has been recognized as one of the island's religions. This provides not only for incorporation of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Reykjavik but authorizes the chairman of that Assembly to perform Bahá'í marriages and Bahá'í burials, exempts the Faith from certain taxes, permits the observance of Bahá'í Holy Days and paves the

42-1. Chihriq, designated the "Grievous Mountain' by the Bab, is the remote fortress to which He was transferred on to April 1848. Tabriz is the town in northwestern Iran where the Bab was martyred 9 July 1850.


+101

way for incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of that country when it will be formed. The full number of Local Spiritual Assemblies, Groups and Localities called for in the Plan has been established in fifty-three territories and islands under the direction of twenty-six National Spiritual Assemblies; five territories have formed the required number of Local Spiritual

Assemblies and seven have reached the specified number of Localities. Since the call was raised a year ago, international traveling-teaching, ranging over the five continents and affecting nearly all national communities, has been undertaken.

Seventy-eight projects have been completed in Europe, forty-three in America, twenty-seven in Asia, twenty-five in Australasia which, with those in Africa brings the total number to about two hundred. It is greatly hoped that this stimulating activity, so dear to the beloved Master's heart, will be constantly expanded.

42.7 Sustaining all these visible achievements is a constant activity throughout the world of teaching and administration-a perpetual movement, like the ceaseless surge of the sea, within the Bahá'í community, which is the real cause of its growth. National and Local Spiritual Assemblies facing difficult problems, devising new plans, shouldering responsibility for a community growing in numbers and consciousness, Committees striving to accomplish objectives, Bahá'í Youth in eager and dedicated activity, individual Bahá'ís and families making efforts for the Cause, to give the Message, or hold a fireside, these constant services attract the confirmation of Bahá'u'lláh, and the more they are supported by prayers and intense dedication and the more extensive they become, the more they release into the world a spiritual charge which no force on earth can resist, and which must eventually bring about the complete triumph of the Cause.

42.8 It is this organic vitality of the Faith, so readily felt at the World Center, whose exhilaration we wish every believer to share.

Work at the World Center At the World Center of the Faith codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and collation of other important Texts has continued. Work on the highly important task of formulating the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice is well advanced. Development and extension of the gardens surrounding the sacred Shrines in both Haifa and Bahji is continuing. Publication of The Bahá'í World, Volume 13 has been undertaken; this book covers nine years, from 1954 to 1963, almost the entire period of the Ten Year Crusade, and includes a comprehensive article on the beloved Guardian by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum. A planned development of relationships with the United Nations is being actively pursued. An important supplementary achievement is the establishment of an International Bahá'í Audio-Visual Center whose function is to provide teaching and deepening aids to all National Spiritual Assemblies, as well as to store and index audiovisual records.


+102

Service of the Hands of the Cause of God

42.9 Throughout the year the services of the beloved Hands of the Cause have shone with an unfailing light. Their constant encouragement of National Spiritual Assemblies and of believers everywhere to pursue the goals of the Plan and to obtain a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation is contributing in no small measure to the progress of that Plan and must exercise a lasting effect on the development of the Bahá'í community. These few gallant and dedicated believers, whose place in history is forever assured by virtue of their appointment to their high office, are indeed a precious legacy left to us by our beloved Guardian, and as the years go by there is increasingly added to the honor and respect which is their due by reason of their exalted rank, the love and admiration of the friends evoked by their constant services.

42.10 In response to special needs two changes have been made in the disposition of the Hands during the year, Hand of the Cause John Robarts returning to the Western Hemisphere with a special assignment to his native Canada, and Hand of the Cause William Sears returning to Africa. In addition we are delighted to announce that Hand of the Cause Tarazu'llah Samandari, whose eyes were blessed by beholding Bahá'u'lláh, will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Intercontinental Conference in Chicago, replacing the late Hand of the Cause Leroy Ioas. The Panama Temple

42.11 In the international sphere the great project of raising the Panama Temple has begun with choice of a design submitted by Mr. Peter Tillotson, an English architect. Mr. Robert McLaughlin, sometime member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Dean Emeritus of the School of Architecture of Princeton University, who served as a member of the Technical Advisory Board for the construction of the interior of the Mother Temple of the West in Wilmette, has been appointed Architectural Consultant to the Universal House of Justice for the building of the Temple. He and Mr. Tillotson have visited the site together, and are working in close cooperation. Pictures and drawings of the new Temple will be published shortly, and the friends will be kept informed of the progress of construction of this House of Worship 'situated between the two great oceans," a location which 'Abdu'l-Bahá indicated would become very important in the future and whence the Teachings, once established, "will unite the East and the West, the North and the South."2

42-2. TDP 14.8.

42.12 For the message announcing the laying of the foundation stone of the Panama Temple, see letter no. 50; for the message sent on the occasion of its dedication, see letter no. i08.


+103

Pioneer Goals The brilliant pioneering feat of the second year of the Plan is beginning to reveal its beneficent effects, but pioneers are still urgently needed and will continue to be needed in all parts of the world for consolidation and development of the Faith in the newly won territories as well as for those resettled during the opening years of the Plan. The immediate requirement is for 209 pioneers to settle in eighty-seven territories named on the attached list, and the call is now raised for the speedy achievement of this task.3 Service in this highly meritorious field is open to every believer and all those who are moved to respond to this particular call are asked to consult the list of territories and to make their offers to their own National Spiritual Assembly. Full details of the requirements in each territory have been sent to the National Spiritual Assemblies concerned and to the Pioneer Committees.

The Homefronts-Solid Bases for Expansion The constant need for

pioneers no less than the approaching worldwide 42.13 proclamation render it imperative to pay special attention, in every continent, to the homefronts, for they are the sources of manpower and of administrative experience, the solid bases from which all expansion begins, both at home and abroad. The largest increases in numbers of Local Spiritual Assemblies, of Groups, and of believers, are called for on the homefronts, and these tasks must be vigorously pursued. Some National Spiritual Assemblies have phased these important goals, assigning a specified number for achievement each year, thus ensuring a planned and flexible approach to the total requirements.

42.14 Such a systematic and determined prosecution of the homefront goals is highly recommended.

The Fund-Our Honor and Challenge The pressing and ever-growing needs of the Bahá'í Fund are called to the attention of all believers. There are great projects already under way or lying ahead which require very large amounts of money for their realization. The Panama Temple-the first only of the two called for in the Nine Year Plan the beautification and development of the World Center itself, involving a necessary and inevitable increase in facilities to serve the growing needs of the Faith; support of the vital teaching program in many parts of the world; establishment and development of new National Spiritual Assemblies-all these urgently require the support of the friends everywhere through sustained and sacrificial contributions. As inflation spreads around the world, the consequent increase in the cost of living is balanced, at least in the more affluent countries, by a corresponding increase in personal incomes. The expenses of the Bahá'í Fund are inevitably and seriously affected by this inflationary condition

42-3. The list is too lengthy to include.


+104

which can only be relieved by contributions, both of larger amounts and from a larger number of contributors. The House of justice believes that the financial needs of the Cause should be met by universal participation in giving and urges National and Local Spiritual Assemblies to pursue this goal with vigor and imagination, recalling to the friends the plea of the beloved Guardian to every believer "unhesitatingly, to place, each according to his circumstances, his share on the altar of Bahá'í sacrifice."4 The fact that only we, the Bahá'ís, can contribute financially to the Cause is both our honor and our challenge. Centenary of Bahá'u'lláh Summons to the Kings

42.15 As we approach the third phase of the Nine Year Plan there opens before us a prospect of enthralling opportunities such as to thrill the heart of every ardent follower of Bahá'u'lláh. For more than a century we have toiled to teach the Cause; heroic sacrifices, dedicated services, prodigious efforts have been made in order to establish the outposts of the Faith in the chief countries, territories and islands of the earth and to raise the framework of the Administrative Order around the planet. But the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh remains, as yet, unknown to the generality of men. Now at last, at long last, the worldwide community of the Most Great Name is called upon to launch, on a global scale and to every stratum of human society, an enduring and intensive proclamation of the healing message that the Promised One has come and that the unity and well-being of the human race is the purpose of His Revelation. This long-to-be-sustained campaign, commencing next October in commemoration of the centenary of the sounding of the "opening notes" of Bahá'u'lláh's own proclamation,5 and gathering momentum throughout the remainder of the Nine Year Plan, may well become the spearhead of other plans to be launched continually until humanity has recognized and gratefully acclaimed its Redeemer and its Lord.

42.16 A hundred years ago Bahá'u'lláh Himself addressed the kings, rulers, religious leaders and peoples of the world. The Universal House of Justice feels it its bounden duty to bring that Message to the attention of the world's leaders today. It is therefore presenting to them, in the form of a book, the essence of Bahá'u'lláh's announcement. Entitled The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh, a special edition will be presented to Heads of State during the opening of the proclamation period and a general edition will be available to the friends in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. '

42.17 The Hands of the Cause of God, Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Ugo Giachery, Tarazu'llah Samandari, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, Paul Haney, Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, who will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Inter 42-4. CF, P. 131. 42-5- GPB, P. M.


+105

continental Conferences in October to be held in Panama, Sydney, Chicago, Kampala, Frankfurt and New Delhi respectively, will gather at the World Center in September, a few days before the Feast of Mashiyyat. The members of the House of Justice will join these Hands in supplication at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahji and will meet with them for consultation in the Mansion. From that Holy Spot these Hands of the Cause will make a special pilgrimage on behalf of the entire Bahá'í world to Adrianople where the Suriy-Muluk was revealed.6 One hundred years after the historic event which it is their purpose to commemorate, they will, on September 27th gather in the House of Bahá'u'lláh for prayer and meditation, while the members of the Universal House of Justice will, in the Most Holy Shrine at Bahji, share in the same commemoration and pray for the success of the Conferences and of the Proclamation program. The entire Bahá'í world will, between the Conferences and Ridvan 1968, commemorate the centenary of the opening of that wonderful period in human history when the clouds of Divine bounty showered in lavish profusion their treasures upon men and the portals of the Kingdom were thrown open, disclosing to all who had eyes to see, a new heaven and a new earth, and the new Jerusalem coming down from God.

42.18 Immediately after the Feast of Mashiyyat the Hands of the Cause will travel from Adrianople to their Conferences, each bearing the precious trust of a photograph of the Blessed Beauty, which it will be the privilege of those attending the Conferences to view. These distinguished Hands will, on their own behalf, each address the Conference which they attend, and will bear a message to each Conference from the Universal House of Justice whom they represent.

42.19 These six Conferences, convened to commemorate the opening of Bahá'u'lláh's own Proclamation and to inaugurate a period of proclamation of His message by the entire company of His followers, will doubtless demonstrate yet again the spirit of joy which pervades such gatherings of the friends and will reinforce them in their determination to seize whatever means and opportunities they may find to raise the Divine call. Honored by the presence of Hands of the Cause, these Conferences, focal points of the love and prayers

42-6. The occasion marked the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation of His Suriy-i-Muluk (Tablet to the Kings), which Shoghi Effendi describes as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh ... in which He, for the first time, directs His words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West, and in which the Sultan of Turkey, and his ministers, the kings of Christendom, the French and Persian Ambassadors accredited to the Sublime Porte, the Muslim ecclesiastical leaders in Constantinople, its wise men and inhabitants, the people of Persia and the philosophers of the world are separately addressed . . . ... (GPB, pp. IT-72). For a brief account of the proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh to the kings and rulers of the world, see BW 14:195-204. For a full and detailed account and for a depiction of the fate of the recipients in the wake of their neglect of Bahá'u'lláh's summons, see Shoghi Effendi, Promised Day Is Come.


+106

of the friends everywhere, magnets to attract the spiritual powers which alone can confirm their work, will, it is confidently hoped, be potent sources of unity spiritual enthusiasm and realistic planning. National Spiritual Assemblies are called upon to ensure that they are represented at the Conference held in their continent so that they may share their plans for proclamation with other National Spiritual Assemblies as well as discuss with them the

remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan.

42.20 To all those friends in so many countries, suffering in varying degrees from restrictions and oppression which will either prevent altogether, or greatly inhibit their public commemoration and subsequent proclamation programs, we send a special message of love and assurance. To them we convey the love and admiration of their fellow believers, who, in gratitude for their greater freedom, are determined to blaze abroad such a proclamation of the Divine Message as may well pave the way for the eventual emancipation of the entire body of the Faith. Proclamation, Expansion, and Consolidation-interrelated Processes

42.21 Worldwide proclamation, the unknown sea on which we must soon sail, will add another dimension to our work, a dimension which will, as it develops, complement and reinforce the twin processes of expansion and consolidation. This pattern of teaching, emerging so soon after the completion of the framework of the Administrative Order, may well be the means of advancing the vital work of consolidation and of rendering more effective the teaching wisdom which has been gained in a hundred years, and more particularly since the beloved Guardian called us to systematic and planned activity. Therefore, in those countries where we are free to publicize our religion, this activity must become part of our regular work, included in budgets, assigned to National and Local Committees for study and implementation and above all for coordination with the programs operating to achieve the goals of the Nine Year Plan. Every effort of proclamation must be sustained by teaching, particularly locally where public announcements should be related to such efforts. This coordination is essential, for nothing will be more disheartening than for thousands to hear of the Faith and have nowhere to turn for further information. The Nature of Deepening

42.22 The beloved Guardian wrote, "To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Bahá'u'lláh's stupendous Revelation must, it is my unalterable conviction, remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavor of each one of its loyal adherents," a statement which places the obligation of deepening in the Cause firmly on every believer.7 It is therefore ___ 42-7- WOB, p.100.


+107

upon the nature of deepening, rather than upon the desirability

of pursuing it, that we wish to comment. A detailed and exact knowledge of the present structure of Bahá'í Administration - 42-23 or of the By-laws of National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, or of the many and varied applications of Bahá'í law under the diverse conditions prevailing around the world, while valuable in itself, cannot be regarded as the sort of knowledge primarily intended by deepening. Rather is suggested a clearer apprehension of the purpose of God for man, and particularly of His immediate purpose as revealed and directed by Bahá'u'lláh, a purpose as far removed from current concepts of human well-being and happiness as is possible. We should constantly be on our guard lest the glitter and tinsel of an affluent society should lead us to think that such superficial adjustments to the modern world as are envisioned by humanitarian movements or are publicly proclaimed as the policy of enlightened statesmanship-such as an extension to all members of the human race of the benefits of a high standard of living, of education, medical care, technical knowledge-will of themselves fulfill the glorious mission of Bahá'u'lláh. Far otherwise. These are the things which shall be added unto us once we seek the Kingdom of God, and are not themselves the objectives for which the Bab gave His life, Bahá'u'lláh endured such sufferings as none before Him had ever endured, the Master and after Him the Guardian bore their trials and afflictions with such superhuman fortitude. Far deeper and more fundamental was their vision, penetrating to the very purpose of human life. We cannot do better, in this respect, than call to the attention of the friends certain themes pursued by Shoghi Effendi in his trenchant statement "The Goal of a New World Order." "The principle of the Oneness of Mankind" he writes, "implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced." Referring to the "epoch-making changes that constitute the greatest landmarks in the history of human civilization," he states that ". . . they cannot but appear, when viewed in their proper perspective, except as subsidiary adjustments precluding that transformation of unparalleled majesty and scope which humanity is in this age bound to undergo."' In a later document he refers to the civilization to be established by Bahá'u'lláh as one "with a fullness of life such as the world has never seen nor can as yet conceive."9 Dearly loved Friends, this is the theme we must pursue in our efforts to 42.24 deepen in the Cause. What is Bahá'u'lláh's purpose for the human race? For what ends did He submit to the appalling cruelties and indignities heaped upon Him? What does He mean by "a new race of men'? What are the profound changes which He will bring about? The answers are to be found in

___ 42-8. WOB, pp. 42-43, 45, 46. 42-9. PDIC, 302


+108

the Sacred Writings of our Faith and in their interpretation by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and our beloved Guardian. Let the friends immerse

themselves in this ocean, let them organize regular study classes for its constant consideration, and as reinforcement to their effort, let them remember conscientiously the requirements of daily prayer and reading of the Word of God enjoined upon all Bahá'ís by Bahá'u'lláh.

42.25 Such dedicated striving on the part of all the friends to deepen in the Cause becomes imperative with the approach of the proclamation program. As this becomes effective more and more attention will be directed to the claims of Bahá'u'lláh and opposition must be expected. "HOW GREAT, HOW VERY GREAT IS THE CAUSE!" wrote the Master; "HOW VERY FIERCE THE ONSLAUGHT OF ALL THE PEOPLES AND KINDREDS OF THE EARTH! ERELONG SHALL THE CLAMOR OF THE MULTITUDE THROUGHOUT AFRICA, THROUGHOUT AMERICA, THE CRY OF THE EUROPEAN AND OF THE TURK, THE GROANING OF INDIA AND CHINA BE HEARD FROM FAR AND NEAR. ONE AND ALL THEY SHALL ARISE WITH ALL THEIR POWER TO RESIST HIS CAUSE. THEN SHALL THE KNIGHTS OF THE LORD, ASSISTED BY HIS GRACE FROM ON HIGH, STRENGTHENED BY FAITH, AIDED BY THE POWER OF UNDERSTANDING AND REINFORCED BY THE LEGIONS OF THE COVENANT, ARISE AND MAKE MANIFEST THE TRUTH OF THE VERSE: 'BEHOLD THE CONFUSION THAT HATH BEFALLEN THE TRIBES OF THE DEFEATED -10

42.26 Mindful of the countless expressions of Divine love found in our Scriptures and aware of the extraordinary nature of the crisis facing humanity, we call the friends to a new realization of the very great things which are expected from us in this Day. We recall that the Blessed Beauty, Bahá'u'lláh, as well as His "Best-Beloved", before Him and Abdu'l-Bahá after Him bore Their sufferings in this world in order that mankind might be freed from material fetters and "attain unto true liberty," "Might prosper and flourish," "attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness,", and we pray that the endeavors of the friends may be the means by which this glory and felicity will speedily come to pass.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

___ 42-10. WOB, p. 17. 42-11. The Bab. 42-12.

43.1 GWB, pp. 99, 100, 99.


+109

43 Release of a Compilation on Teaching the Masses 11 MAY 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We have recently made a compilation from the writings of the Guardian and from letters written on his behalf regarding the importance and nature of the teaching work among the masses. Attached is a copy of this compilation, which we sincerely recommend to you for your earnest study., The extracts have been arranged chronologically. It is our hope and belief that this compilation will guide and assist you in 43.2 better appreciating the manner of the presentation of the teachings of the Faith; the attitude that must govern those responsible for enrolling new believers; the need to educate the newly enrolled Bahá'ís, to deepen them in the teachings and to wean them gradually away from their old allegiances; the necessity of keeping a proper balance between expansion and consolidation; the significance of the participation of the native believers of each country in the teaching work and in the administration of the affairs of the community; the formulation of budgets within the financial capabilities of the community; the importance of fostering the spirit of self-sacrifice in the hearts of the friends; the worthy goal for each national community to become self-supporting; the perdurability of individuality of expression to absolute uniformity, within the framework of the Administrative Order; and the lasting value of dedication and devotion when engaged in the teaching work.

43.3 We are confident that the implementation of these principles as set forth in the writings of the Guardian will aid you in your teaching work.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

43-1. See CC 2:61- 71.


+110

44 Sesquicentennial of the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh 25 JUNE 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

44.1 November 12, 1967, will mark the 150th anniversary of Bahá'u'lláh's birth. We call the entire Bahá'í world to joyful celebration, befitting an event so momentous to the fortunes of humanity.

44.2 The Universal House of Justice feels that the coincidence of this great occasion with the opening of the proclamation period provides a splendid opportunity for bringing to public attention both the spiritual and social import of the Cause. Not only its message, but the historical fact of a new Revelation, with all its implications of a new and worldwide civilization, should be made clear.

44.3 Let the friends not hesitate to welcome to their observances, even to those of a devotional character, the non-Bahá'í public, many of whom may well be attracted by the prayers and expressions of gratitude of the believers, no less than by the exalted tone of passages from Bahá'í writings.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

45 The Nature and Purpose of Proclamation 2 JULY 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

45.1 In just over three months the period of the worldwide proclamation of the Faith will be opened at the six Intercontinental Conferences called to celebrate the centenary of the revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk., Those conferences will provide an opportunity for representatives of the National Spiritual Assemblies to exchange ideas and coordinate plans for the proclamation which will continue throughout the remaining four and a half years of the Plan.

45.2 The stimulating effect of this interchange of ideas will produce greatly increased momentum throughout the world, but inasmuch as many projects

45-1. The Suriy-i-Muluk is Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet to the Kings. For further information about its significance, see messages no. 24, 41, and 42. See also PB, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03 for the passages of the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English.


+111

must be worked out before that date, we feel a few additional comments on the nature and purpose of proclamation will be helpful now.

45.3 Proclamation comprises a number of activities, of which publicity is only one. The Universal House of Justice itself will be conveying the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to the heads of all states, but, in addition to this, one of the most important duties of each National Spiritual Assembly is to acquaint leaders of thought and prominent men and women in its country with the fundamental aims, the history and the present status and achievements of the Cause. Such an activity must be carried out with the utmost wisdom, discretion and dignity.

45.4 Publicity connected with such approaches must be weighed very carefully, as it may be unwise or discourteous. This is, of course, a long-range program, for such things cannot be rushed, but it must be given constant attention. Another aspect of proclamation is a series of teaching programs designed to reach every stratum of human society-programs that should be pursued diligently and wisely, using every available resource. Publicity itself should be well-conceived, dignified and reverent. A flamboyant approach which may succeed in drawing much initial attention to the Cause, may ultimately prove to have produced a revulsion which would require great effort to overcome. The standard of dignity and reverence set by the beloved Guardian should always be upheld, particularly in musical and dramatic items; and photographs of the Master should not be used indiscriminately. This does not mean that activities of the youth, for example, should be stultified; one can be exuberant without being irreverent or undermining the dignity of the Cause.

45.6 Every land has its own conditions, thus the kind of proclamation activity to be followed in each country should be decided by its National Spiritual Assembly. National Spiritual Assemblies need not follow or copy programs initiated in other countries. In all proclamation activities, follow-up is of supreme importance. Proclamation, expansion and consolidation are mutually helpful activities which must be carefully interrelated. In some places it is desirable to open a teaching campaign with publicity-in others it is wiser to establish first a solid local community before publicizing the Faith or encouraging contacts with prominent people. Here, again, wisdom is needed.

45.8 We have been elated by the enthusiasm with which the Bahá'í community is preparing for the challenging months and years ahead, and we eagerly await those days but a few short months away which will open a period of such promise for the diffusion of God's Word.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+112

46 Message to the Six Intercontinental Conferences OCTOBER 1967 To the Six Intercontinental Conferences,

Dearly loved Friends,

46.1 On this, the hundredth anniversary of the sounding in Adrianople of the opening notes of Bahá'u'lláh's proclamation to the rulers, leaders and peoples of the world, we recall with profound emotion the circumstances surrounding the Faith of God at that time. In a land termed by Him the "Land of Mystery," the Bearer of God's Revelation had arisen to carry that Faith a stage further in its divinely ordained destiny.2

46.2 Internally, the infant Cause of God was convulsed by a crisis from whose shadows emerged the majestic figure of Bahá'u'lláh, the visible Center and Head of a newly established Faith.3 The first pilgrimages were made to His Residence, a further stage in the transfer of the remains of the Bab was achieved, and above all the first intimations were given of the future station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the Center of the Covenant and of the revelation of the new laws for the New Day. Externally, the full significance of the new Revelation

___ 46-1. For an account of the six conferences, see BW 14:223-28. 46-2. Bahá'u'lláh was exiled to Adrianople in December 1863, some eight months after pro claiming His mission to His followers, friends, and companions in the Garden of Ridvan out side of Baghdad, Iraq. Shoghi Effendi explains that toward the latter part of His stay in Adrianople "a period of prodigious activity ensued. . . ." 'such are the outpourings ... from the clouds of Divine Bounty," Bahá'u'lláh

Himself wrote, "that within the space of an hour the equivalent of a thousand verses hath been revealed." "I swear by God! In those days the equivalent of all that hath been sent down aforetime unto the Prophets hath been revealed" (GPB, pp. 170-70. Among the Tablets revealed during this period is the Suriy-i-Muluk (Tablet to the Kings), "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh in which He, for the first time, directs his words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West. . . ." (GPB, p. 171). For further information on the Suriy-i-Muluk, see messages no. 24, 41, and 42. 46-3. The crisis was caused by Mirza Yahya, Bahá'u'lláh's half-brother, whose covetousness and jealousy of Bahá'u'lláh prompted him to openly challenge Bahá'u'lláh's authority and to issue his own claim to be the Promised One. Mirza Yahya went so far as to attempt to murder Bahá'u'lláh by serving Him tea in a cup smeared with poison while Bahá'u'lláh was a guest in his home. The poison induced an illness that lasted over a month and was accompanied by severe pains and a high fever and left Bahá'u'lláh with a shaking hand for the rest of His life. This incident and other actions of Mirza Yahya's led to his separation from Bahá'u'lláh's family and companions. "This supreme crisis," Shoghi Effendi wrote, was designated by Bahá'u'lláh as the "Days of Stress," "during which 'the most grievous veil' was torn asunder, and the 'most great separation was irrevocably effected. It immensely gratified and emboldened its [the Bahá'í Faith's] external enemies, both civil and ecclesiastical, played into their hands, and evoked their unconcealed derision. It perplexed and confused the friends and supporters of Bahá'u'lláh, and seriously damaged the prestige of the Faith in the eyes of its western admirers.... It brought incalculable sorrow to Bahá'u'lláh, visibly aged Him, and inflicted, through its repercussions, the heaviest blow ever sustained by Him in His lifetime" (GPB, pp. 163- 64).


+113

was proclaimed by no one less than its Divine Bearer, His followers began openly to identify themselves with the Most Great Name, the independent character of the Faith became established and its fearless exponents took up their pens in defense of its fair name.4 Now, a hundred years later, the friends gathered in the six Intercontinental Conferences to commemorate the events of the past, privileged to gaze upon the portrait of their Beloved, must consider the urgent needs of the Cause today. As the Bahá'í world enters the third phase of the Nine Year Plan we are called upon to proclaim once again that Divine Message to the leaders and masses of the world, to aid the Faith of God to emerge from obscurity into the arena of public attention, to demonstrate through steadfast adherence to its laws the independent character of its mission and to brace ourselves in preparation for the attacks that are bound to be directed against its victorious onward march. Upon our efforts depends in very large measure the fate of humanity. The hundred years' respite having ended, the struggle between the forces of darkness-man's lower nature-and the rising sun of the Divine teachings which draw him on to his true station, intensifies day by day. The Centenary campaign has been opened by the Universal House Of Justice presenting to IV Heads of State a compilation of Bahá'u'lláh's Own proclamation. The friends must now take the Message to the rest of humanity. The time is ripe and the opportunities illimitable. We are not alone nor helpless. Sustained by our love for each other and given power through the Administrative Order - so laboriously erected by our beloved Guardian-the Army of Light can achieve such victories as will astonish posterity.

46.5 We pray at the Holy Shrines that these Intercontinental Conferences Will be centers of spiritual illumination inspiring the friends to redouble their efforts in further expanding and consolidating the Faith of God, to arise to

46-4. GPB, pp. 176-77. The first pilgrimages were made to the House of Amru'llah (the House of God's Command) and foreshadowed later pilgrimages made by Bahá'ís from the East and the West to 'Akka. The remains of the Bab were moved secretly at Bahá'u'lláh's instruction by two Bahá'ís from Tehran from the Shrine of the Imam-Zadih Mds6m to some other place of safety, an act that proved providential when the shrine later underwent reconstruction. Concerning the station of Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Tablet of the Branch in which 'Abdu'l-Bahá is extolled as the "Branch of Holiness, the "Limb of the Law of God," and the "Trust of God, I'll sent down in the form of a human temple" (quoted in WOB, pp. 134-35). The new laws Bahá'u'lláh revealed were those of pilgrimage and fasting, later set forth in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. With respect to external developments, during the days in Adrianople Bahá'u'lláh revealed Tablets to the kings and rulers of the world; the terms "Bab" and "the people of the Bayan gave way to "Bahá'u'lláh and "the people of Baha"; the greeting "Allah-u-Abha" (God is Most Glorious) replaced 'Allah-u-Akbar" (God is Most Great); and certain disciples of Bahá'u'lláh arose to defend the Faith by refuting "in numerous and detailed apologies" the arguments of its opponents and "to expose their odious deeds." See GPB, pp. 176-77, and Hasan Balyuzi, Bahá'u'lláh: The King of Glory, P. 250.


+114

fill the remaining pioneer goals, to undertake traveling teaching projects, and to offer generously of their substance to the various funds, particularly to the vital project of erecting the Panama Temple, the foundation stone of which is being laid by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum during the course of these Conferences.

46.6 As humanity enters the dark heart of this age of transition our course is clear-the achievement of the assigned goals and the proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh's healing Message. It is our ardent hope that from these Conferences valiant souls may arise with noble resolve and in loving service to ensure the successful and early accomplishment of the sacred tasks that lie ahead.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

47 Inauguration of the Third Phase of the Nine Year Plan 15 OCTOBER 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

47.1 The following cable has just been sent to the United States National Spiritual Assembly for publication in Bahá'í News. Please share it with all friends in your jurisdiction.

47.2 HEARTS FILLED PROFOUND GRATITUDE REJOICE ANNOUNCE INAUGURATION THIRD PHASE NINE YEAR PLAN THROUGH SUCCESSFUL CONSUMMATION SIX INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES ATTENDED BY 9,200 BELIEVERS INCLUDING NEARLY ALL HANDS CAUSE LARGE NUMBER BOARD MEMBERS REPRESENTATIVES ALMOST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES BAHA'I WORLD OVER 140 TERRITORIES AND HOST OF ASIAN AFRICAN AMERINDIAN TRIBES. INESTIMABLE PRIVILEGE CONFERRED PARTICIPANTS

THROUGH VIEWING PORTRAIT ABHA BEAUTY! SPIRIT HOLY LAND AND ADRIANOPLE CONVEYED SIX DISTINGUISHED REPRESE11TTATIVES HOUSE JUSTICE. FIRST PRESENTATIONS BEHALF HOUSE JUSTICE PROCLAMATION BOOK HEADS OF STATE MADE BEFORE AND DURING CONFERENCE. FRUITFUL DELIBERATIONS HELD PROCLAMATION EXECUTION REMAINING GOALS PLAN. SOLIDARITY BAHA'I WORLD FURTHER EVINCED THROUGH INGENIOUS SCHEME TELEPHONIC EXCHANGE GREETINGS ALL SIX CONFERENCES. SPIRITUAL POTENCIES THIS NEW PHASE REINFORCED THROUGH FORMAL LAYING BY AMATUL-BAHA OF CORNERSTONE MOTHER TEMPLE LATIN AMERICA. OVER 230 OFFERS MADE AT CONFERENCES JOIN RANKS VALIANT PIONEERS CAUSE. RAISE

47-1. Bahá'u'lláh.


+115

SUPPLIANT HANDS BAHA'U'LLAH ENDOW FRIENDS EVERY LAND FRESH MEASURE CELESTIAL STRENGTH ENABLE THEM PURSUE WITH INCREASED VISION UNABATED RESOLVE GLORIOUS GOALS AHEAD UNTIL THIS NEW PERIOD PROCLAMATION YIELDS ITS SHARE IN DIVINELY PROPELLED PROCESS ESTABLISHMENT KINGDOM GOD HEARTS MEN.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

48 Announcement of the Resignation of Dr. Lutfu'llah Hakim from the Universal House of Justice 15 OCTOBER 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

After a lifetime of devoted and self-sacrificing service to the Cause of God

48.1 Dr. Lutfu'llah Hakim has asked the Universal House of Justice to accept his resignation from that Institution because his health and advancing age make it increasingly difficult for him to participate as effectively as he would wish in its work. The Universal House of Justice has regretfully accepted Dr. Hakim's resignation, but in view of the imminence of the next election, has asked him to continue to serve as a member until that time, and Dr. Hakim has kindly consented to do so. Having served the Master Himself in the Holy Land, as well as accompanying Him during His historic visits in England and Scotland, and been intimately associated with Shoghi Effendi in his youth, Dr. Hakim was called again to the World Center by the beloved Guardian in 1950 for important service at the World Center and was later appointed to the first International Bahá'í Council, of which he was the Eastern Assistant Secretary., He continued to serve on that body and then on the Universal House of Justice with undiminished devotion but with increasing difficulty during the subsequent sixteen years, earning the love and admiration of his co-workers. Please share this announcement with the friends in your area. 48.4

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

48-1. For an explanation of the International Bahá'í Council, see the glossary.


+116

49 Assumption by the Universal House of Justice of Representation of the Bahá'í International Community at the United Nations 17 OCTOBER 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

49.1 MORROW SIX INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES INAUGURATING PROCLAMATION PERIOD ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD SIGNIFICANT STEP DEVELOPMENT RELATIONS UNITED NATIONS THROUGH ASSUMPTION BY UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE FUNCTION REPRESENTATION BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CAPACITY NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION AT UNITED NATIONS. TAKE THIS OCCASION EXPRESS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY UNITED STATES AND MILDRED MOTTAHEDEH GRATEFUL LOVING APPRECIATION MANY YEARS DEVOTED TIRELESS SUCCESSFUL SERVICES AS REPRESENTATIVE AND OBSERVER RESPECTIVELY'

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

so Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Panama Temple 23 OCTOBER 1967

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

50.1 We are happy to share with you the joyous news that the Foundation Stone of the Mother Temple of Latin America has been laid by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum on behalf of the Universal House of Justice.

49-1. In 1947 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada was accredited to the United Nations as a national nongovernmental organization qualified to be represented at United Nations Conferences through a designated observer. One year later the eight existing National Spiritual Assemblies were recognized collectively as an international nongovernmental organization under the title "The Bahá'í International Community." Each National Spiritual Assembly designated the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States as its representative at the United Nations. Mrs. Mildred Mottahedeh, who also served as a member of the International Bahá'í Council from 1961 to 1963, was the observer for the Bahá'í International Community for nearly twenty years. The Bahá'í International Community, which now includes at least five million believers, 165 National Spiritual Assemblies, and approximately twenty thousand Local Spiritual Assemblies, maintains offices in New York and Geneva that are responsible for relations between the Bahá'í International Community and the United Nations.

50.2 For more information about the development of the relationship between the Bahá'í International Community and the United Nations during the years x963-73, see BW 15:364-73.


+117

This inaugurates the next phase in the planning and construction of this important edifice which will culminate in the commencement of the erection of the Temple itself in January, 1969. During the current phase the final working plans and specifications will be drafted, bids will be obtained and contracts for construction will be placed. All this will call for funds in ever-increasing amounts. We therefore call upon all National Spiritual Assemblies to: 50.3

1. Inform the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama of the amount of your budget allocation for the Panama temple during this year and when they may expect contributions to be received.

2. Transmit as soon as possible all available funds, either accumulated or earmarked, directly to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama.

3.Encourage all Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals to contribute to this project.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

51 Selection of Traveling Teachers 26 OCTOBER 1967

To National Spiritual Assemblies Engaged in Mass Teaching Dear Bahá'í Friends, We have been watching with keen interest the development of the teaching work among the masses, and from time to time have offered suggestions to guide and assist the efforts of National Spiritual Assemblies engaged in this highly meritorious activity. Many National Spiritual Assemblies in carrying out their plans for expansion and consolidation have found it necessary to select a number of believers for service as traveling teachers. While we appreciate the valuable services these traveling teachers have already rendered we are nevertheless deeply conscious of the problems facing your National Assemblies in your desire to carry out your teaching programs with as much dispatch as possible. The purpose of this letter is to draw your attention to the fact that these problems could well be minimized if the selection of such teachers were done with great care and discretion. It must be realized that people who are mostly illiterate cannot have the 51.3 benefit of reading for themselves the written word and of deriving directly from it the spiritual sustenance they need for the enrichment of their Bahá'í lives. They become dependent, therefore, to a large extent on their contacts


+118

with visiting teachers. The spiritual caliber or moral quality of these teachers assumes, therefore, great importance. The National Spiritual Assembly or the Teaching Committees responsible for the selection of these teachers should bear in mind that their choice must depend, not only on the knowledge or grasp of the teachings on the part of the teachers, but primarily upon their pure spirit and their true love for the Cause, and their capacity to convey that spirit and love to others.

51.4 We are enclosing some extracts from the writings which will no doubt assist you in your deliberations on this vital subject.' What wonderful results will soon be witnessed in the areas under your jurisdiction if you devise ways and means to ensure, as far as circumstances permit, that the traveling teachers you are encouraging to circulate among the friends will all be of the standard called for in these quotations-pure and sanctified souls, with nothing but true devotion and self-sacrifice motivating them in their services to God's Holy Cause. We also suggest that the study of quotations such as these should form part of the courses offered at your Teaching Institutes for the deepening of the friends.

51.5 We wish to assure you once again of our fervent prayers at the Holy Shrines for the solution of your problems and the removal of all obstacles from the path you are so valiantly pursuing.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

52 Extracts on Teaching the Masses 31 OCTOBER 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

52.1 We have recently sent to those National Spiritual Assemblies which are engaged in mass teaching the enclosed extracts from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá and from the letters of Shoghi Effendi. We feel that they will also be of great assistance to all other National Spiritual Assemblies.

52.2 The paramount goal of the teaching work at the present time is to carry the message of Bahá'u'lláh to every stratum of human society and every walk of life. An eager response to the teachings will often be found in the most unexpected quarters, and any such response should be quickly followed up,

51-1. The same extracts were also included in the Universal House of Justice's letter dated P October 1967 (message no. 52).


+119

for success in a fertile area awakens a response in those who were at first uninterested.

52.3 The same presentation of the teachings will not appeal to everybody; the method of expression and the approach must be varied in accordance with the outlook and interests of the hearer. An approach which is designed to appeal to everybody will usually result in attracting the middle section, leaving both extremes untouched. No effort must be spared to ensure that the healing Word of God reaches the rich and the poor, the learned and the illiterate, the old and the young, the devout and the atheist, the dweller in the remote hills and islands, the inhabitant of the teeming cities, the suburban businessman, the laborer in the slums, the nomadic tribesman, the farmer, the university student; all must be brought consciously within the teaching plans of the Bahá'í Community.

52.6 Whereas plans must be carefully made, and every useful means adopted in 52.4 the furtherance of this work, your Assemblies must never let such plans eclipse the shining truth expounded in the enclosed quotations: that it is the purity of heart, detachment, uprightness, devotion and love of the teacher that attracts the divine confirmations and enables him, however ignorant he be in this world's learning, to win the hearts of his fellowmen to the Cause of God.

With loving greetings,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Teaching the Masses Annex

Whoso ariseth, in this Day, to aid Our Cause, and summoneth to his assistance the hosts of a praiseworthy character and upright conduct, the influence flowing from such an action will, most certainly, be diffused throughout the whole world. (Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, Rev. ed. [Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 19831, sec. 131, P. 287)

Whoso ariseth to teach Our Cause must needs detach himself from all earthly things, and regard, at all times, the triumph of Our Faith as his supreme objective.... 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....

52.8 If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he forgoeth all created things, 52.7 the words he uttereth shall set on fire them that hear him.... (Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, sec. 157, pp. 334-35) 1 swear by Him Who is the Most Great Ocean! Within the very breath of such souls as are pure and sanctified far-reaching potentialities are hidden.


+120

So great are these potentialities that they exercise their influence upon all created things. (Bahá'u'lláh, cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice [Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 19841, P. 23)

52.9He is the true servant of God, who, in this day, were he to pass through cities of silver and gold, would not deign to look upon them, and whose heart would remain pure and undefiled from whatever things can be seen in this world, be they its goods or its treasures. I swear by the Sun of Truth! The breath of such a man is endowed with potency, and his words with attraction. (Bahá'u'lláh, cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, P. 23)

52.10 The most vital duty, in this day, is to purify your characters, to correct your manners, and improve your conduct. The beloved of the Merciful must show forth such character and conduct among His creatures, that the fragrance of their holiness may be shed upon the whole world, and may quicken the dead, inasmuch as the purpose of the Manifestation of God and the dawning of the limitless lights of the Invisible is to educate the souls of men, and refine the character of every living man . . . (Abdu'l-Bahá, cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 26)

52.11 Whensoever ye behold a person whose entire attention is directed toward the Cause of God; whose only aim is this, to make the Word of God to take effect; who, day and night, with pure intent, is rendering service to the Cause; from whose behavior not the slightest trace of egotism or private motives is discerned-who, rather, wandereth distracted in the wilderness of the love of God, and drinketh only from the cup of the knowledge of God, and is utterly engrossed in spreading the sweet savours of God, and is enamored of the holy verses of the Kingdom of God-know ye for a certainty that this individual will be supported and reinforced by heaven; that like unto the morning star, he will forever gleam brightly out of the skies of eternal grace. But if he show the slightest taint of selfish desires and self love, his efforts will lead to nothing and he will be destroyed and left hopeless at the last. (Abdu'l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, [Rev. ed.] [Haifa: Bahá'í World Center, 19821, pp. 71-72)

52.12 The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch. Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not perfected, how can he efface the


+121

defects of others.

52.14 Unless he is detached from aught else save God, how can he teach severance to others! ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan: Revealed by Abdu'l-Bahá to the North American Bahá'ís, Rev. ed. [Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980], p. 51)

One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted 52.13 triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh. (Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated 24 September 1924 to the Bahá'ís of America, published in Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages, IR22--TR32 [Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980], p. 66)

having attained sufficiently that individual regeneration - the essential requisite of teaching-let us arise to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction, understanding and vigor.

52.15 Let this be the paramount and most urgent duty of every Bahá'í. . . . (Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated 24 November 1924 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published in Bahá'í Administration, p. 67)

The first and most important qualification of a Bahá'í teacher is, indeed, unqualified loyalty and attachment to the Cause. Knowledge is, of course, essential, but compared to devotion it is secondary in importance.

52.18 What the Cause now requires is not so much a group of highly cultured 52.16 and intellectual people who can adequately present its Teachings, but a number of devoted, sincere and loyal supporters who, in utter disregard of their own weaknesses and limitations, and with hearts afire with the love of God, forsake their all for the sake of spreading and establishing His Faith.... (From a letter dated 14 November 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Teaching Committee of the United States and Canada, published in Bahá'í News, No. i02 [August 19361, P. 2)

They must remember the glorious history of the Cause, which ... was established by dedicated souls who, for the most part, were neither rich, famous, nor well educated, but whose devotion, zeal and self-sacrifice overcame every obstacle and won miraculous victories for the Faith of God.... (From a letter dated 29 June 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma, published in Dawn of a New Day [New Delhi: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, n.d. (1970)], p. 89)

. . . what raised aloft the banner of Bahá'u'lláh was the love, sacrifice, and devotion of His humble followers and the change that His teachings wrought in their hearts and lives. (From a letter dated 20 June 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles, published in Unfolding Destiny, [London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 19811, P. 152)


+122

52.19 It is the quality of devotion and self-sacrifice that brings rewards in the service of this Faith rather than means, ability or financial backing. (From a letter dated ii May 1948 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand)

52.20 One wise and dedicated soul can so often give life to an inactive community, bring in new people and inspire to greater

sacrifice. He hopes that whatever else you are able to ' do during the coming months, you will be able to keep in circulation a few really good Bahá'í teachers. (From a letter dated 30 June 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central America)

53 Plans for Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh at the First Oceanic Conference, Palermo, Sicily 12 NOVEMBER 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

53.1 OCCASION HUNDRED FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY BIRTH BLESSED BEAUTY WE CONTEMPLATE WITH HEARTS OVERFLOWING GRATITUDE INESTIMABLE BOUNTIES CONFERRED BY GOD THROUGH HIS SUPREME MANIFESTATION ENSURING FULFILLMENT GLORIOUS LONG PROMISED KINGDOM NOW EVOLVING WOMB TRAVAILING AGE DESTINED CONFER PEACE UNDREAMT FELICITY MANKIND., ANNOUNCE CONVOCATION TWENTY-THIRD TO TWENTY-FIFTH AUGUST 1968 FIRST OCEANIC CONFERENCE Bahá'í WORLD PALERMO SICILY HEART SEA TRAVERSED GOD'S MANIFESTATION CENTURY AGO PROCEEDING INCARCERATION MOST GREAT PRISON.2 TWOFOLD PURPOSE CONFERENCE CONSIDER MOMENTOUS FULFILLMENT AGE-OLD PROPHECIES Bahá'u'lláh GOD'S MESSENGER OVER EVERY GRIEVOUS CALAMITY AND CONSULT PLANS PROPAGATION CAUSE ISLANDS LANDS BORDERING MEDITERRANEAN SEA. PARTICIPANTS INVITED HOLY LAND IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING CONFERENCE ATTEND COMMEMORATION ARRIVAL LORD HOSTS THESE SACRED SHORES RECONSECRATE THEMSELVES THRESHOLD HIS SHRINE PROSECUTION GLORIOUS TASKS AHEAD.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

___ 53-1. The Blessed Beauty, Bahá'u'lláh, was born on 12. November 1817.

53-2. On 12, August 1868 Bahá'u'lláh left Adrianople and journeyed four days to Gallipoli, a city in Turkey on the north side of the Dardenelles at the mouth of the Sea of Marmara. After a few days in Gallipoli, Bahá'u'lláh sailed in an Austrian steamer for Alexandria, where He was transferred to another ship. He arrived in Akka on 31 August 1868. For a fuller account of the journey, see GPB, pp. 178-82, and H.

54.2 M. Balyuzi, Bahá'u'lláh: The King of Glory, pp. 255-79.


+123

54 Safeguarding the Letters of Shoghi Effendi DECEMBER 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

As the friends are already aware, one of the goals of the Nine Year Plan is 54.1 continued collation and classification of the Bahá'í Sacred Scriptures, as well as the writings of Shoghi Effendi.' We have already pointed out to the friends on several occasions that the application of Bahá'í laws, the elucidation and extension of basic administrative principles, and the all-important function of legislating on matters not explicitly recorded in our teachings are dependent upon a careful study by the Universal House of Justice of the revealed and pertinent words of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as well as the illuminating interpretations and directions of Shoghi Effendi. Through the labors of the beloved Guardian himself, and the collaboration of the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia, great strides have already been taken to collate the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Even up to the present time, a special National Committee in Persia is assiduously and regularly engaged in classifying the Holy Texts of the Founder of our Faith, and the Center of the Covenant in fulfillment of the goal of the Nine Year Plan referred to above. The writings of the Guardian, however, apart from his general communications already published, which consist to a large extent of letters written by him or on his behalf to various National Spiritual Assemblies, Local Spiritual Assemblies, groups of believers and individual Bahá'ís, have only been partly collated. Although many National Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers have already sent the originals or copies of their letters from the Guardian to the Holy Land, and quite a number of these have been published at different times in Bahá'í News and other news bulletins, it is our confirmed opinion that there are many such letters that have still not been shared with us which may contain a new application of a principle, an already enunciated guideline rephrased to apply in a new situation, a further elucidation of a Bahá'í law, a fresh light thrown on a many-sided issue or some wise counsel in a personal problem.

54.4 Your National Spiritual Assembly is requested, therefore, to check carefully first in its own archives or files of correspondence with the Guardian, for any letters addressed to its body or to its subsidiary institutions, written by Shoghi Effendi or on his behalf, and not yet forwarded to the Holy Land. At the end 54-1. For additional letters on the topic, see messages no. 161 and 40g.


+124

of this letter we indicate the number and description of Shoghi Effendi's letters falling into this category and pertaining to your area, which we have in our archival files, so that you need to take action in sending us only the text of letters not included in this listing.

54.5 You are also requested to appeal to the friends under your jurisdiction, calling on those who were privileged to have received letters from the Guardian but have not as yet sent their texts to the Holy Land to take immediate steps to do so. In assisting the friends and your National Spiritual Assembly in carrying out this important project we offer the following points for your consideration: 54.5aI. Recipients of letters from the Guardian have the inherent right of deciding to keep the letters themselves, or to have them preserved for the future in their families. To assist the Universal House of Justice, how ever, in its efforts to study and compile the letters of the Guardian, the friends are urged to provide, for dispatch to the Holy Land, photostatic copies of their communications from the Guardian if they wish to keep the originals themselves. 54.5b2. If they are not in a position to provide such copies, they should kindly allow National Spiritual Assemblies to undertake this project on our behalf 54.5c3. If facilities for obtaining clear photostatic or Xerox copies are not avail able in any area, National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to make carefully typed or handwritten copies of such letters, with a certification on behalf of the National Spiritual Assembly concerned that the copies are true and exact. 54.5d4. Should any believer possess letters so personal and confidential that he does not wish to disclose their contents to any institution other than the Universal House of Justice, he is invited to send either the originals or copies of such letters, marked confidential, directly to the Universal House of Justice, by registered mail, with any instructions he wishes to be followed. 54.6We hope these guidelines will help you in promoting a project directly linked with the vital functions of the Universal House of Justice.

55.1 You are free to quote from this letter as you wish, in any appeal you address to the believers.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+125

55 Relationship of Bahá'í's to Politics 8 DECEMBER 1967

To an individual Believer,

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

... we will gladly attempt to clarify some of the points which bewilder YOU in the relationship of Bahá'ís to politics.

55.3 This is a matter of very great importance, particularly in these days when the world situation is so confused; an unwise act or statement by a Bahá'í in one country could result in a grave setback for the Faith there or elsewhere-and even loss of the lives of fellow believers.

Viewing the World's Problems in the Light of God's Purpose for Man The whole conduct of a Bahá'í in relation to the problems, sufferings and 55.2 bewilderment of his fellowmen should be viewed in the light of God's purpose for mankind in this age and the processes He has set in motion for its achievement. When Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed His Message to the world in the nineteenth century He made it abundantly clear that the first step essential for the peace and progress of mankind was its unification. As He says, "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established." (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, P. 203) To this day, however, you will find most people take the opposite point of view: they look upon unity as an ultimate almost unattainable goal and concentrate first on remedying all the other ills of mankind. If they did but know it, these other ills are but various symptoms and side effects of the basic disease-disunity.

55.4 Bahá'u'lláh has, furthermore, stated that the revivification of mankind and the curing of all its ills can be achieved only through the instrumentality of His Faith. "The vitality of men's belief in God is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it. The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent Revelation can cleanse and revive it?" (Gleanings, XCIX) "That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved

55-1. The Universal House of Justice permitted publication of portions of this letter to an individual who asked about the relationship of Bahá'ís to the social and political forces presently operating in the world, as it felt the explanation had general

application in many parts of the world.


+126

except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician. This, verily, is the truth, and all else naught but error." (Gleanings, CXX) In similar vein, the beloved Guardian wrote:

55.4a Humanity, whether viewed in the light of man's individual

conduct or in the existing relationships between organized communities and nations, has, alas, strayed too far and suffered too great a decline to be redeemed through the unaided efforts of the best among its recognized rulers and statesmen-however disinterested their motives, however concerted their action, however unsparing in their zeal and devotion to its cause. No scheme which the calculations of the highest statesmanship may yet devise, no doctrine which the most distinguished exponents of economic theory may hope to advance, no principle which the most ardent of moralists may strive to inculcate, can provide, in the last resort, adequate foundations upon which the future of a distracted world can be built. No appeal for mutual tolerance which the worldly-wise might raise, however compelling and insistent, can calm its passions or help restore its vigor. Nor would any general scheme of mere organized international cooperation, in whatever sphere of human activity, however ingenious in conception or extensive in scope, succeed in removing the root cause of the evil that has so rudely upset the equilibrium of present-day society. Not even, I venture to assert, would the very act of devising the machinery required for the political and economic unification of the world-a principle that has been increasingly advocated in recent times-provide in itself the antidote against the poison that is steadily undermining the vigor of organized peoples and nations. What else, might we not confidently affirm, but the unreserved acceptance of the Divine Program enunciated, with such simplicity and force as far back as sixty years ago, by Balli'll'11A, embodying in its essentials God's divinely appointed scheme for the unification of mankind in this age, coupled with an indomitable conviction in the unfailing efficacy of each and all of its provisions, is eventually capable of withstanding the forces of internal disintegration which, if unchecked, must needs continue to eat into the vitals of a despairing society. (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 33-34) Two Processes at Work

55.5 We are told by Shoghi Effendi that two great processes are at work in title world: the great Plan of God, tumultuous in its progress, working through mankind as a whole, tearing down barriers to world unity and forging humankind into a unified body in the fires of suffering and experience. This process will produce in God's due time, the Lesser Peace, the political unification


+127

of the world., Mankind at that time can be likened to a body that is unified but without life.

55.6 The second process, the task of breathing life into this unified body-of creating true unity and spirituality culminating in the Most Great Peace-is that of the Bahá'ís, who are laboring consciously, with detailed instructions and continuing divine guidance, to erect the fabric of the Kingdom of God on earth, into which they call their fellowmen, thus conferring upon them eternal life.3 The working out of God's Major Plan proceeds mysteriously in ways directed by Him alone, but the Minor Plan that He has given us to execute, as our part in His grand design for the redemption of mankind, is clearly delineated.4 It is to this work that we must devote all our energies, for there is no one else to do it. So vital is this function of the Bahá'ís that Bahá'u'lláh has written: "O friends! Be not careless of the virtues with which ye have been endowed, neither be neglectful of your high destiny. Suffer not your labors to be wasted through the vain imaginations which certain hearts have devised. Ye are the stars of the heaven of understanding, the breeze that stirreth at the break of day, the soft-flowing waters upon which must depend the very life of all men, the letters inscribed upon His sacred scroll.

55.7 With the utmost unity and in a spirit of perfect fellowship, exert yourselves, that ye may be enabled to achieve that which beseemeth this Day of God." (Gleanings, XCVI) Because love for our fellowmen and anguish at their plight are essential parts of a true Bahá'í's life, we are continually drawn to do what we can to help them. It is vitally important that we do so whenever the occasion presents itself, for our actions must say the same thing as our words-but this compassion for our fellows must not be allowed to divert our energies into channels which are ultimately doomed to failure, causing us to neglect the most important and fundamental work of all. There are hundreds of thousands of well-wishers of mankind who devote their lives to works of relief and charity, but a pitiful few to do the work which God Himself most wants done: the spiritual awakening and regeneration of mankind.

Our Task- Building Up the Bahá'í System It is often through our misguided feeling that we can somehow aid our fellows better by some activity outside the Faith, that Bahá'ís are led to indulge 55-2. For an explanation of the Lesser Peace, see the glossary. 55-3. For an explanation of the Most Great Peace, see the glossary. 55-4. The Major Plan is God's plan for humanity that Bahá'ís believe He Himself operates, which is tumultuous in its progress, which works through humanity as a whole, and which forges mankind into a unified body through the fires of suffering and tribulation. Its ultimate object is the Kingdom of God on earth. The Minor Plan is that part of God's plan which the Bahá'ís are called upon to carry out. It is clear and orderly and operates in the world through the plans,

instructions, and guidance given by Abdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi, and now by the Universal House of Justice.


+128

in politics. This is a dangerous delusion. As Shoghi Effendi's

secretary wrote on his behalf. "What we Bahá'ís must face is the fact that society is rapidly disintegrating-so rapidly that moral issues which were clear a half century ago are now hopelessly confused, and what is more, thoroughly mixed up with battling political interests. That is why the Bahá'ís must turn all their forces into the channel of building up the Bahá'í Cause and its administration. They can neither change nor help the world in any other way at present. If they become involved in the issues the governments of the world are struggling over, they will be lost. But if they build up the Bahá'í pattern they can offer it as a remedy when all else has failed." (Bahá'í News, No. 241, p. 14) "We must build up our Bahá'í system, and leave the faulty systems of the world to go their own way. We cannot change them through becoming involved in them; on the contrary they will destroy us." (Bahá'í News, No. 215, p.1)

55.9 Other instructions from the Guardian, covering the same theme in more detail, can be found on pages 24 and 29 to 32 of Principles of Bahá'í Administration (1963 edition); you are no doubt already familiar with these.5

55.10 The key to a true understanding of these principles seems to be in these words of Bahá'u'lláh: "O people of God! Do not busy yourselves in your own concerns; let your thoughts be fixed upon that which will rehabilitate the fortunes of mankind and sanctify the hearts and souls of men. This can best be achieved through pure and holy deeds, through a virtuous life and a goodly behavior. Valiant acts will ensure the triumph of this Cause, and a saintly character will reinforce its power. Cleave unto righteousness, O people of Baha! This' verily, is the commandment which this wronged One hath given unto you, and the first choice of His unrestrained Will for every one of you." (Gleanings, XLIII).

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

55-5. In the 1982 edition see pp. 24, 29-33.


+129

56 Election of the Universal House of Justice -- Ridvan 1968 22 APRIL 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE AMOZ GIBSON ALI NAKHJAVANI HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM IAN SEMPLE CHARLES WOLCOTT DAVID HOFMAN H. BORRAH KAVELIN HUGH CHANCE DAVID RUHE.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

57 Message to National Conventions-1968 9 MAY 1968

To all National Bahá'í Conventions

WITH JOYFUL MEMORY OF DEDICATED SPIRIT MATURE DELIBERATIONS SECOND

57.1 INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION HAIL GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY NATIONAL CONVENTIONS AS CRUCIAL MIDWAY POINT NINE YEAR PLAN APPROACHES GALVANIZE BELIEVERS DIRECT ALL EFFORTS ACHIEVEMENT EVERY REMAINING GOAL AND SIMULTANEOUSLY EXTEND ACCELERATE UNIVERSAL PROCLAMATION DIVINE MESSAGE. WITH UTMOST LOVE CALL UPON ALL BAHA'IS FOR SACRIFICIAL OUTPOURING ENERGIES RESOURCES ADVANCEMENT REDEEMING ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH SOLE REFUGE MISDIRECTED HEEDLESS MILLIONS. WORLD CENTER FAITH SCENE PROLONGED PRAYERFUL CONSULTATION WITH ASSEMBLED HANDS CAUSE GOALS PLAN INCLUDING FUNDAMENTAL OBJECTIVE DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTION HANDS VIEW EXTENSION FUTURE GOD-GIVEN DUTIES PROTECTION PROPAGATION. SUPPLICATING CONTINUALLY HOLY SHRINES LORD HOSTS BOUNTIFULLY REWARD DEDICATED ARDENT LOVERS COMPLETE GLORIOUS VICTORY.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+130

58 Announcement of Decision to Establish Eleven Continental Boards of Counselors 21 JUNE 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

58.1 REJOICE ANNOUNCE MOMENTOUS DECISION ESTABLISH ELEVEN CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELORS PROTECTION PROPAGATION FAITH THREE EACH FOR AFRICA AMERICAS ASIA ONE EACH FOR AUSTRALASIA EUROPE. ADOPTION THIS SIGNIFICANT STEP FOLLOWING CONSULTATION WITH HANDS CAUSE GOD ENSURES EXTENSION FUTURE APPOINTED FUNCTIONS THEIR INSTITUTION. CONTINENTAL BOARDS ENTRUSTED IN CLOSE COLLABORATION HANDS CAUSE WITH RESPONSIBILITY DIRECTION AUXILIARY BOARDS AND CONSULTATION NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES. HANDS CAUSE GOD WILL HENCEFORTH INCREASE INTERCONTINENTAL SERVICES ASSUMING WORLDWIDE ROLE PROTECTION PROPAGATION FAITH. MEMBERS AUXILIARY BOARDS WILL REPORT BE RESPONSIBLE TO CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELORS. HANDS CAUSE RESIDING HOLY LAND IN ADDITION SERVING Bahá'u'lláh BETWEEN UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE AND CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELORS WILL ASSIST FUTURE ESTABLISHMENT INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER HOLY LAND FORESHADOWED WRITINGS BELOVED GUARDIAN. DETAILS NEW DEVELOPMENTS BEING CONVEYED BY LETTER. FERVENTLY SUPPLICATING HOLY THRESHOLD DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS FURTHER STEP IRRESISTIBLE UNFOLDMENT MIGHTY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

S9 Establishment of Continental Boards of Counselors 24 JUNE 1968 To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

59.1 The majestic unfoldment of Bahá'u'lláh's world-redeeming administrative system has been marked by the successive establishment of the various institutions and agencies which constitute the framework of that divinely created Order. Thus, more than a quarter of a century after the emergence of the first National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í world the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God was formally established, with the appointment by the beloved Guardian, in conformity with the provisions of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament, of the first contingent of these high-ranking officers of the


+131

Faith. Following the passing of the Guardian of the Cause of God, it fell to the House of Justice to devise a way, within the Administrative Order, of developing "the Institution of the Hands of the Cause with a view to extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation," and this was made a goal of the Nine Year Plan., Much thought and study has been given to the question over the past four years, and the texts have been collected and reviewed. During the last two months, this goal, as announced in our cable to the National Conventions, has been the object of prolonged and prayerful consultation between the Universal House of Justice and the Hands of the Cause of God. All this made evident the framework within which this goal was to be achieved, namely:

The Universal House of Justice sees no way in which additional Hands 59.1. of the Cause of God can be appointed.

59.1 The absence of the

Guardian of the Faith brought about an entirely new b relationship between the Universal House of Justice and the Hands of the Cause and called for the progressive unfoldment by the Universal House of Justice of the manner in which the Hands of the Cause would carry out their divinely conferred functions of protection and propagation. Whatever new development or institution is initiated should come into 59.1c operation as soon as possible in order to reinforce and supplement the work of the Hands of the Cause while at the same time taking full advantage of the opportunity of having the Hands themselves assist in launching and guiding the new procedures.

59.2 Any such institution must grow and operate in harmony with the principles governing the functioning of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God.

In the light of these considerations the Universal House of Justice decided, as announced in its recent cable, to establish Continental Boards of Counselors for the protection and propagation of the Faith. Their duties will include directing the Auxiliary Boards in their respective areas, consulting and collaborating with National Spiritual Assemblies, and keeping the Hands of the Cause and the Universal House of Justice informed concerning the conditions of the Cause in their areas.

59.3 Initially eleven Boards of Counselors have been appointed, one for each Of the following areas: Northwestern Africa, Central and East Africa, Southern Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Western Asia, Southeastern Asia, Northeastern Asia, Australasia and Europe.

59-1. See message no. 14.


+132

59.4 The members of these Boards of Counselors will serve for a term, or terms, the length of which will be determined and announced at a later date, and while serving in this capacity, will not be eligible for membership on national or local administrative bodies. One member of each Continental Board of Counselors has been designated as Trustee of the Continental Fund for its area.

59.5 The Auxiliary Boards for Protection and Propagation will henceforth report to the Continental Boards of Counselors who will appoint or replace members of the Auxiliary Boards as circumstances may require. Such appointments and replacements as may be necessary in the initial stages will take place after consultation with the Hand or Hands previously assigned to the continent or zone.

59.6 The Hands of the Cause of God have the prerogative and obligation to consult with the Continental Boards of Counselors and National Spiritual Assemblies on any subject which, in their view, affects the interests of the Cause. The Hands residing in the Holy Land will act as liaison between the Universal House of Justice and the Continental Boards of Counselors, and will also assist the Universal House of Justice in setting up, at a propitious time, an international teaching center in the Holy Land, as anticipated in the Guardian's writings.

59.7 The Hands of the Cause of God are one of the most precious assets the Bahá'í world possesses. Released from administration of the Auxiliary Boards, they will be able to concentrate their energies on the more primary responsibilities of general protection and propagation, PRESERVATION [of the] SPIRITUAL HEALTH [of the] BAHA'I COMMUNITIES" and the "VITALITY [of the] FAITH" of the Bahá'ís throughout the world.2 The House of Justice will call upon them to undertake special missions on its behalf, to represent it on both Bahá'í and other occasions and to keep it informed of the welfare of the Cause. While the Hands of the Cause will, naturally, have special concern for the affairs of the Cause in the areas in which they reside, they will operate increasingly on an intercontinental level, a factor which will lend tremendous impetus to the diffusion throughout the Bahá'í world of the spiritual inspiration channeled through them-the Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth.

59.8 With joyful hearts we proclaim this further unfoldment of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh and join our prayers to those of the friends throughout the East and the West that Bahá'u'lláh may continue to shower His confirmations upon the efforts of His servants in the safeguarding and promotion of His Faith.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

59-2. MBW, p. 123


+133

60 First Appointments to Continental Boards of Counselors 24 JUNE 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We list below the names of those who have been appointed to the first

60.1 Continental Boards of Counselors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith:

Northwestern Africa Husayn Ardikani (Trustee, Continental Fund), Muhammad Kebdani, William Maxwell.

Central and East Africa Oloro, Epyeru, Kolonario Oule, Isobel Sabri, Mihdi Samandari, Aziz Yazdi (Trustee, Continental Fund).

Southern Africa Seewoosumbur-Jeehoba Appa, Shidan Fat'he-Azam (Trustee, Continental Fund), Bahiyyih Ford.

North America Lloyd Gardner, Florence Mayberry, Edna True (Trustee, Continental Fund).

Central America Carmen de Burafato, Artemus Lamb, Alfred Osborne (Trustee, Continental Fund).

South America Athos Costas, Hooper Dunbar (Trustee, Continental

Fund), Donald Witzel.

Western Asia Masih Farhangi, Mas'ud Khamsi, Hadi Rahmani (Trustee, Continental Fund), Manuchihr Salanpur, Sankaran-Nair Vasudevan.

Southeast Asia Yan Kee Leong, Khudarahm Payman (Trustee, Continental Fund), Chellie Sundram. Northeast Asia Ruhu'llah Mumtazi (Trustee, Continental Fund), Vicente Samaniego.


+134

Australasia Suhayl 'Ali'i, Howard Harwood, Thelma Perks (Trustee, Continental Fund).

Europe Erik Blumenthal, Dorothy Ferraby (Trustee, Continental Fund), Louis Henuzet.

60.2 Please share this list with the friends.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

61 Message to First National Youth Conference in the United States 26 JUNE 1968

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United

States

61.1 WARMLY ACKNOWLEDGE CONFIDENT JOYOUS MESSAGE FROM BAHA'I YOUTH GATHERED PRECINCTS MOTHER TEMPLE WEST. MOVED THEIR DETERMINATION SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES SERVE BELOVED FAITH CALL ON THEM BOLDLY C14ALLENGE INVITE CONFUSED CONTEMPORARIES ENTRAPPED MORASS MATERIALISM TO EXAMINE PARTAKE LIFEGIVING POWER CAUSE JOIN ARMY

BAHA'U'LLAH CONFRONT NEGATIVE FORCES OF A SOCIETY SADLY LACKING

SPIRITUAL VALUES. ASSURE YOUTH ARDENT PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES GUIDANCE CONFIRMATION THEIR COURAGEOUS EFFORTS.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+135

62 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Hermann Grossmann 9 JULY 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

62.1 DEEPLY REGRET ANNOUNCE PASSING HAND CAUSE HERMANN GROSSMANN.1 GREATLY ADMIRED BELOVED GUARDIAN HIS GRIEVOUS LOSS DEPRIVES COMPANY HANDS CAUSE OUTSTANDING COLLABORATOR AND BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY STAUNCH DEFENDER PROMOTER FAITH. HIS COURAGEOUS LOYALTY DURING

CHALLENGING YEARS TESTS PERSECUTIONS GERMANY OUTSTANDING SERVICES SOUTH AMERICA IMMORTALIZED ANNALS FAITH. INVITE ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS BEFITTING HIS EXALTED RANK EXEMPLARY SERVICES.

63.1 REQUEST THOSE RESPONSIBLE MOTHER TEMPLES ARRANGE SERVICES AUDITORIUM.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

63 Message to the First Oceanic Conference, Palermo, Sicily AUGUST 1968

To the Hands of the Cause of God and the Bahá'í Friends assembled in, Palermo, Sicily, at the First Bahá'í Oceanic Conference Dearly loved Friends, The event which we commemorate at this first Bahá'í Oceanic Conference is unique. Neither the migration of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees to the region of Aleppo, nor the journey of Moses towards the Promised Land, nor the flight into Egypt of Mary and Joseph with the infant Jesus, nor yet the Hegira of Muhammad can compare with the voyage made by God's Supreme Manifestation one hundred years ago from Gallipoli to the Most Great Prison., Bahá'u'lláh's voyage was forced upon Him by the two despots who were His chief

62-1. For an account of the life and services of Hermann Grossmann, see BW 15:416-21. 63-1. Shoghi Effendi explains that during the stay in Gallipoli, which lasted three nights, "no one knew what Bahá'u'lláh's destination would be. Some believed that He and His brothers would be banished to one place, and the remainder dispersed, and sent into exile. Others thought that His companions would be sent back to Persia, while still others expected their immediate extermination. . . ." 'so grievous were the dangers and trials confronting Bahá'u'lláh at the hour of His departure from Gallipoli that He warned His companions that 'this journey will be unlike any of the previous journeys,' and that whoever did not feel himself 'man enough to face the future' had


+136

adversaries in a determined attempt to extirpate once and for all His Cause, and the decree of His fourth banishment came when the tide of His prophetic utterance was in full flood.2 The proclamation of His Message to mankind had begun; the sun of His majesty had reached its zenith and, as attested by the devotion of His followers, the respect of the population and the esteem of officials and the representatives of foreign powers, His ascendancy had become manifest. At such a time He was confronted with the decree of final exile to a remote, obscure and pestilential outpost of the decrepit Turkish empire.

63.2 Bahá'u'lláh knew, better than His royal persecutors, the magnitude of the crisis, with all its potentiality for disaster, which confronted Him. Consigned to a prison cell, debarred from access to those to whom His Message must be addressed, cut off from His followers save for the handful who were to accompany Him, and deprived even of association with them, it was apparent that by all earthly standards the ship of His Cause must founder, His mission wither and die.

63.3 But it was the Lord of Hosts with Whom they were dealing. Knowing the sufferings which faced Him His one thought was to instill confidence and fortitude into His followers, to whom He immediately dispatched sublime Tablets asserting the power of His Cause to overcome all opposition. 'should they attempt to conceal its light on the continent," is one of His powerful utterances on this theme, "it will assuredly rear its head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and, raising its voice, proclaim 'I am the lifegiver of the world!3 All the afflictions which men could heap upon Him were thrown back from the rock of His adamantine will like spray from the ocean. His patient submission to the affronts of men, His fortitude, His divine genius transformed the somber notes of disaster into the diapason of triumph. At the nadir of His worldly fortunes He raised His standard of victory above the Prison City and poured forth upon mankind the healing balm of His laws and ordinances revealed in His Most Holy Book.4 "Until our time," comments Abdu'l-Bahá, "no such thing has ever occurred."5

best depart to whatever place he pleaseth, and be preserved from tests, for hereafter he will find himself unable to leave -- a warning which His companions unanimously chose to disregard" (GPB, pp.

181-82). For a fuller account of Bahá'u'lláh's journey from Adrianople to the Most Great Prison in AW, see GPB, pp. 178-82, and H. M. Balyuzi, Bahá'u'lláh: The King of Glory, pp. 255-6863-2. Bahá'u'lláh's chief adversaries were Sultan 'Abdu'l-Aziz of Turkey and Nasiri'd-Din Shah of Persia. Bahá'u'lláh's banishments were to Baghdad, Iraq, January 1853-April 1863; to Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey, August-December 1863; to Adrianople (now Edirne), Turkey, December 1863-August 1868; and to 'Akka, Palestine, August 1868. The "full flood" of Bahá'u'lláh's utterances refers to, among other things, His letters to the kings and rulers of the world. 63-3. GPB, P. 253. 63_4. Bahá'u'lláh revealed the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the chief repository of His laws and the Mother Book of His Revelation, in Akka circa 1873. 63-5.

63.4 GPB, p. 196.


+137

Our Part-Building Bahá'u'lláh's Order

Contemplating this awe-inspiring, supernal episode, we may obtain a clearer understanding of our own times, a more confident view of their outcome and a deeper apprehension of the part we are called upon to play. That the violent disruption which has seized the entire planet is beyond the ability of men to assuage, unaided by God's revelation, is a truth repeatedly and forcibly set forth in our Writings. The old order cannot be repaired; it is being rolled up before our eyes. The moral decay and disorder convulsing human society must run their course; we can neither arrest nor divert them. Our task is to build the Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Undeflected by the desperate expedients of those who seek to subdue the storm convulsing human life by political, economic, social or educational programs, let us, with single-minded devotion and concentrating all our efforts on our objective, raise His Divine System and sheltered within its impregnable stronghold, safe from the darts of doubtfulness, demonstrate the Bahá'í way of life. Wherever a Bahá'í community exists, whether large or small, let it be distinguished for its abiding sense of security and faith, its high standard of rectitude, its complete freedom from all forms of prejudice, the spirit of love among its members and for the closely knit fabric of its social life.

63.6 The acute distinction between this and present-day society will inevitably arouse the interest of the more enlightened, and as the world's gloom deepens the light of Bahá'í life will shine brighter and brighter until its brilliance must eventually attract the disillusioned masses and cause them to enter the haven of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, Who alone can bring them peace and justice and an ordered life.

The Mediterranean-Past History and Spiritual Potential The great sea, on one of whose chief islands you are now gathered, within whose hinterland and islands have flourished the Jewish, the Christian and Islamic civilizations is a befitting scene for the first Oceanic Bahá'í Conference. Two millenniums ago, in this arena, the disciples of Christ performed such deeds of heroism and self-sacrifice as are remembered to this day and are forever enshrined in the annals of His Cause.

63.7 A thousand years later the lands, bordering the southern and western shores of this sea witnessed the glory of Islam's Golden Age.6 In the day of the Promised One this same sea achieved eternal fame through its association with the Heroic and Formative Ages of His Cause. It bore upon its bosom the King of kings Himself, the Center of His Covenant crossed and recrossed it in the course of His epoch-making journeys to the West, during which He left the indelible imprint of His presence upon European and African lands; the Sign of God on earth frequently journeyed upon it.7 It

63-6. The classical age of Islamic civilization, the eighth through thirteenth centuries. 63-7. Bahá'u'lláh sailed upon the Mediterranean Sea in 1868 during His journey from Gallipoli to AW. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, accompanied Bahá'u'lláh on


+138

enshrines within its depths the mortal remains of the Hand of the Cause of God Dorothy Baker and around its shores lies the dust of apostles, martyrs and pioneers. Forty-six Knights of Bahá'u'lláh are identified with seven of its islands and five of its territories. Through such and many other episodes, Mediterranean lands-ancient home of civilizations-have been endowed with spiritual potentiality to dissolve the encrustations of those once glorious but now moribund social orders and to radiate once again the light of Divine guidance.

63.8 Through dedicated, heroic and sacrificial deeds during the course of the beloved Guardian's ministry, the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh was established in this area. Eight pillars of the Universal House of Justice were raised, the first of an even larger number to be established now and during the course of future plans, to include, as envisioned by Shoghi Effendi, National Spiritual Assemblies in major islands of that historic sea.

The Need for a Dramatic Upsurge in Effective Teaching

63.9 The timing of such exciting developments is dependent upon the outcome of the Nine Year Plan. At this midway point of that Plan, although great strides have been made, more than half the goals are still to be won. The greatest deficiencies are in the opening of new centers where Bahá'ís reside and the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies, which inevitably affects the ability to establish National Spiritual Assemblies. A dramatic upsurge of teaching-effective teaching-is necessary to make up the leeway;

pioneers are needed, teachers must travel, funds must be provided. It is our hope that there will be engendered at this Conference, through your enthusiasm, prayers and spirit of devotion, a great spiritual dynamic to reinforce that grand momentum which, mounting steadily during the next four years, must carry the community of the Most Great Name to overwhelming victory in 1973.

63.10 Dear friends, within a few short days the observance of the Centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's arrival in the Holy Land will take place. The hearts and minds of the entire Bahá'í world will be focused on the Most Holy Shrine, where those privileged to attend this commemoration will circumambulate that Holy Spot and raise their prayers to the Lord of the Age.' Let them remember their fellow-believers at home and supplicate from the depths of their souls for such bounties and favors to descend upon the friends of God everywhere that journey and later sailed upon the Mediterranean in the course of His travels to Egypt, Europe, and North America, 1910-13. Shoghi Effendi, the Sign of God on earth, traversed the Mediterranean in his travels to England to study at Oxford University and in the course of later visits to Europe. 63-8. The Centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's arrival in the Holy Land was observed at the Bahá'í World Center 26-31 August 1968. About 1,500 Bahá'ís who attended the First Oceanic Conference in Palermo, Sicily, 23-25 August 1968, went to Israel to participate in the commemoration. For an account of the commemoration, see BW 15:81-86.


+139

as to cause them to rise as one man to demonstrate their love for Him Who suffered for them, by such deeds of sacrifice and devotion as shall outshine the deeds of the past and sweep away every obstacle from, the onward march of the Cause of God.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

64 Passing of Dr. Lotfullah Hakim, Member of the Universal House of Justice 12 AUGUST 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We share with you the following cable which we have just sent to the

64.1 National Spiritual Assembly of Persia: i

GRIEVE ANNOUNCE PASSING LUTFU'LLAH HAKIM DEDICATED SERVANT CAUSE GOD SPECIAL MISSIONS ENTRUSTED HIM FULL CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM BY MASTER AND GUARDIAN HIS CLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH EARLY DISTINGUISHED BELIEVERS EAST WEST INCLUDING HIS COLLABORATION ESSLEMONT HIS SERVICES PERSIA BRITISH ISLES HOLY LAND HIS MEMBERSHIP APPOINTED AND ELECTED INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL HIS ELECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED IMMORTAL ANNALS FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH. INFORM BELIEVERS HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL CENTERS. CONVEY ALL MEMBERS HIS FAMILY EXPRESSIONS LOVING SYMPATHY ASSURANCE PRAYERS PROGRESS HIS RADIANT SOUL ABHA KINGDOM.

In view of Dr.

64.2 Hakim's long and devoted record of services to the Faith other National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to hold memorial gatherings. Special commemorative services should also be held in the four Mother Temples of the Bahá'í World.2

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

64-1. For an account of the life and services of Lotfullah Hakim, see BW 15:430-34. See also message no. 48. 64-2. Wilmette, near Chicago, U.S.A.; Ingleside, near Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


+140

65 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Tarazu'llah Samandari 4 SEPTEMBER 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

65.1 WITH SORROWFUL HEARTS ANNOUNCE PASSING HAND CAUSE GOD SHIELD HIS FAITH DEARLY LOVED TARAZU'LLAH SAMANDARI NINETY-THIRD YEAR HIS LIFE ON MORROW COMMEMORATION CENTENARY BAHA'U'LLAH'S ARRIVAL HOLY LAND.1 FAITHFUL TO LAST BREATH INSTRUCTIONS HIS LORD HIS MASTER HIS GUARDIAN HE CONTINUED SELFLESS DEVOTED SERVICE UNABATED UNTIL FALLING ILL DURING RECENT TEACHING MISSION. UNMINDFUL ILLNESS HE PROCEEDED HOLY LAND PARTICIPATE CENTENARY. EVER REMEMBERED HEARTS BELIEVERS FAST WEST TO WHOSE LANDS HE TRAVELED BEARING MESSAGE HIS LORD WHOSE COMMUNITIES HE FAITHFULLY SERVED THIS PRECIOUS REMNANT HEROIC AGE WHO ATTAINED PRESENCE BLESSED BEAUTY YEAR HIS ASCENSION NOW LAID REST FOOT MOUNTAIN GOD AMIDST THRONG BELIEVERS ASSEMBLED VICINITY VERY SPOT BAHA'U'LLAH FIRST TROD THESE SACRED SHORES. REQUEST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL SERVICES INCLUDING FOUR MOTHER TEMPLES BAHA'I WORLD BEFITTING LONG LIFE DEDICATED EXEMPLARY SERVICE LORD HOSTS BY ONE ASSURED CENTER COVENANT LOVING WELCOME PRESENCE BAHA'U'LLAH ABHA KINGDOM.2 EXTEND LOVING SYMPATHY ASSURANCE PRAYERS MEMBERS DISTINGUISHED FAMILY. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

66 Results of the Palermo Conference 8 SEPTEMBER 1968

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

66.1 The glorious Conference in Palermo concluded with a burst of eager enthusiasm of determined and dedicated believers who have pledged to do their part in winning the remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan. More than 125 offered to pioneer and more than 100 volunteered to do travel teaching. In addition, there was a generous outpouring of material resources to finance

65-1. For an account of the life and services of Tarazu'llah Samandari, see BW 15:4io-i6. 65-2. Memorial services were held in the Houses of Worship in Wilmette, near Chicago, U.S.A.; Ingleside, near Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; and Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


+141

teaching projects. Had the entire Bahá'í world been able to participate in the Mediterranean Conference we have no doubt that all the goals would be quickly won.

66.2 With this in mind we wish to impress upon the friends who could not attend the Conference, and who will surely-through reports and personal contact with those who did-sense the enthusiasm generated there, that all believers have the privilege to share in the pioneering work, in the travel teaching program and in contributing to the Fund. We announced at the Conference that the International Deputization

66.3 Fund, so far used to aid pioneering and travel teaching on an international level, will henceforth be available to assist such projects on the national level in those areas where support is vitally important to the

winning of the goals of the Nine Year Plan. We are concerned that, although we are now approaching the midway point of the Plan we must yet form an additional 6,997 Local Spiritual Assemblies (76% of the goal), and take the Faith to over 22,800 new localities (59% of the goal). Obviously, hundreds of pioneers and traveling teachers will be required, many of whom will serve in their own countries. Those who cannot pioneer or do travel teaching will want to participate 66.4 by contributing to the International Deputization Fund. Let them remember Bahá'u'lláh's injunction: "Center your energies in the propagation of the Faith of God. 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 . . .", Let the Bahá'ís of the world join in the true spirit of universal participation and win all the victories while there is yet time. Let each assume his full measure of responsibility that all may share the laurels of accomplishment at the end of the Plan. Our fervent prayer is that this one-hundredth anniversary of the final banishment of Bahá'u'lláh will mark a significant turning-point in the fortunes of the Nine Year Plan.2



With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE Universal HOUSE OF JUSTICE

66-1. GWB, pp. 196-9766-2. See the August 1968 message to the First Oceanic Conference-Palermo, Sicily, (no. 63) for an explanation of the final banishment of Bahá'u'lláh and its significance.


+142

67 Letter to Youth-Pioneering and Education 9 OCTOBER 1968 To the Bahá'í Youth in Every Land

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

67.1 In the two years since we last addressed the youth of the Bahá'í world many remarkable advances have been made in the fortunes of the Faith. Not the least of these is the enrollment under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh of a growing army of young men and women eager to serve His Cause. The zeal, the enthusiasm, the steadfastness and the devotion of the youth in every land has brought great joy and assurance to our hearts. 67.2During the last days of August and the first days of September, when nearly two thousand believers from all over the world gathered in the Holy Land to commemorate the Centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's arrival on these sacred shores, we had an opportunity to observe at first hand those qualities of good character, selfless service and determined effort exemplified in the youth who served as volunteer helpers, and we wish to express our gratitude for their loving assistance and for their example. 67.3Many of them offered to pioneer, but one perplexing question recurred: Shall I continue my education, or should I pioneer, now? Undoubtedly this same question is in the mind of every young Bahá'í wishing to dedicate his life to the advancement of the Faith. There is no stock answer which applies to all situations; the beloved Guardian gave different answers to different individuals on this question. Obviously circumstances vary with each individual case. Each individual must decide how he can best serve the Cause. In making this decision, it will be helpful to weigh the following factors: 67.3aUpon becoming a Bahá'í ones whole life is, or should become devoted to the progress of the Cause of God, and every talent or faculty he possesses is ultimately committed to this overriding life objective. Within this framework he must consider, among other things, whether by continuing his education now he can be a more effective pioneer later, or alternatively whether the urgent need for pioneers, while possibilities for teaching are still open, outweighs an anticipated increase in effectiveness. This is not an easy decision, since oftentimes the spirit which prompts the pioneering offer is more important than one's academic attainments.

67.3b One's liability for military service may be a factor in timing the offer of pioneer service.


+143

One may have outstanding obligations to others, including those who 67.3c may be dependent on him for support.

It may be possible to combine a pioneer project with a continuing educational program. Consideration may also be given to the possibility that a pioneering experience, even though it interrupts the formal educational program, may prove beneficial in the long run in that studies would later be resumed with a more mature outlook.

- The urgency of a particular goal which one is especially qualified to fill 67.3e and for which there are no other offers.

- The fact that the need for pioneers will undoubtedly be with us for 67.3f many generations to come, and that therefore there will be many calls in future for pioneering service.

- The principle of consultation also applies. One may have the

obligation 67.3g to consult others, such as one's parents, one's Local and National Assemblies, and the pioneering committees.

- Finally, bearing in mind the principle of sacrificial service and the unfailing promises Bahá'u'lláh ordained for those who arise to serve His Cause, one should pray and meditate on what his course of action will be.

67.4 Indeed, it often happens that the answer will be found in no other way.

We assure the youth that we are mindful of the many important decisions they must make as they tread the path of service to Bahá'u'lláh. We will offer our ardent supplications at the Holy Threshold that all will be divinely guided and that they will attract the blessings of the All-Merciful.

Deepest Bahá'í love, THE Universal HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+144

68 Ridvan Message 1969 RIDVAN 126 [1969 A.D.]

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

68.1 The continued progress of the Cause of God stands in vivid contrast to the chronic unrest afflicting human society, a contrast which the events of the past year, both within and without the Faith, have only served to intensify. Amidst the disintegration of the old order the Cause of God has pursued its majestic course, extending the range of its activities and influence and accomplishing a further development of its administrative system. A Year of Remarkable Activity

68.2 Opening with the convening, in the Holy Land, of the Second International Convention for the election of the Universal House of Justice, the year has witnessed a remarkable activity in the Cause. The most significant and far-reaching development was undoubtedly the appointment of the eleven Continental Boards of Counselors, which fulfilled the goal of the Nine Year Plan calling for the development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation. This step, taken after full consultation with the Hands of the Cause, has, at one and the same time, strongly reinforced the activities of that Institution and made it possible for the Hands themselves to extend the range of their individual set-vices beyond the continental sphere, thereby making universally available to the friends the love, the wisdom and the spirit of dedication animating the Guardian's appointees. We wish to pay tribute at this time to the exemplary manner in which the Counselors, under the guidance of the Hands, have embarked upon their high duties. The Palermo Conference

68.3 In August, the first Oceanic Bahá'í Conference, held in Palermo, commemorated Bahá'u'lláh's voyage on the Mediterranean Sea on His way to the Most Great Prison. Attendants at this Conference came immediately afterwards to the Qiblih of their Faith to pay homage at the Shrine of its Founder, and to commemorate with deep awareness of its spiritual import the long prophesied arrival of the Lord of Hosts on the shores of the Holy Land. This gathering of more than two thousand believers presented an inexpressibly poignant contrast to the actual arrival of Bahá'u'lláh one hundred years before,

68-1. The Qiblih (point of adoration) is the place toward which the faithful turn in prayer. The Qiblih for Bahá'ís is the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji, outside of Akka.


+145

rejected by the rulers of this earth and derided by the local populace. Such is the conquering power of His Message, such is the undefeatable might of the King of Kings. That same message is now being proclaimed by His followers from end to 68.4 end of the world. Already one hundred and twenty-two Heads of State have been presented with the special edition of The Proclamation Bahá'u'lláh, and copies have been received by thousands more officials and leaders., Taking full advantage of the designation of 1968 as Human Rights Year by 68.5 the United Nations, Bahá'í communities throughout the world have not only strengthened the ties between the Bahá'í International

Community and the United Nations, but have at the same time proclaimed the Faith and its healing message. In country after

country the Cause has been featured for the first time in modern mass communications media. The volume of this call to the peoples of the world is increasing day by day and must so continue, penetrating every stratum of society, until the conclusion of the Plan and beyond.

Eight Oceanic and Continental Conferences As a stimulus and aid to this vital work as well as to the promotion of all 68.6 the goals of the Plan, we announce the holding between August 1970 and September 1971 of a series of eight Oceanic and Continental Conferences, as follows: La Paz, Bolivia, and Rose Hill, Mauritius, in August 1970; Monrovia, Liberia, and Djakarta, Indonesia, in January 1971; Suva, Fiji, and Kingston, Jamaica, in May 1971; Sapporo, Japan, and Reykjavik, Iceland, in September 1971.

Areas of Progress in the Nine Year Plan A review of the progress of the Nine Year Plan discloses that great strides 68.7 have been made in the acquisition of Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and Teaching Institutes, in translation of Bahá'í literature into more languages and in the incorporation of Local and National Spiritual Assemblies. The site of the Panama Temple has been prepared for construction which will begin as soon as final plans and specifications and the placing of the contract have been approved.

Formation of Twelve National Spiritual Assemblies As a result of the accelerated pace of expansion and consolidation which 68.8 has been initiated, and which, if fostered and fed, will become a full tide of victorious achievement, we joyfully announce the formation of twelve more National Spiritual Assemblies, two during Ridvan 1969: the National Spiritual

68-2. The Bahá'í World Center published Bahá'u'lláh's messages to the kings, rulers, religious leaders, and peoples; of the world under the title The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh; a special edition. It was presented to heads of state. See the Ridvan 1967 message (no. 42) for more details. For an account of the delivery of The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh to heads of state and to humanity in general, see BW 14:204-20.


+146

Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Burundi and Rwanda with its seat in Bujumbura and the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Papua and New Guinea with its seat in Lae, and ten during Ridvan 1970: six in Africa, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of the Congo Republic (Kinshasa); Ghana; Dahomey, Togo and Niger; Malawi; Botswana; and Gambia, Senegal, Portuguese Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands; one in the Americas, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Guianas; one in Asia, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Near East; and two in Australasia, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of Tonga and the Cook Islands; and Samoa. Thus at Ridvan 1970 the number of National Spiritual Assemblies will be raised to ninety-three. Opening the Door of Pilgrimage

68.9 In harmony with the worldwide growth of the Cause the World Center of the Faith is also developing rapidly. The pilgrims, the beloved Guardian has said, are the lifeblood of this World Center and it has long been our cherished hope and desire to be able to grant the bounty of pilgrimage to the Holy Land to all who can avail themselves of it. It is therefore with great joy that we now find it possible to open the door of pilgrimage to a much greater number of believers. Beginning in October of this year the size of each group of friends to be invited will be quadrupled and the number of groups each year will be increased so that nearly six times the present number of pilgrims will have the opportunity each year to pray in the Shrines of the Central Figures of their Faith, to visit the places hallowed by the footsteps, sufferings and triumphs of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and to meditate in the tranquillity of these sacred precincts, beautified with so much loving care by our beloved Guardian.

68.10 This increased flow of pilgrims will greatly augment the spiritual development of the Bahá'í World Community which now, after five years of strenuous labor and bearing the laurels of outstanding victories, is entering the fourth phase of the Nine Year Plan. The Great Need for More Believers, Localities, Assemblies

68.11 The great, the most pressing need, at this stage of the Plan, is a rapid increase in the number of believers, and a major advance in the opening of the additional localities as well as in the formation of the well-grounded Local Spiritual Assemblies called for in the Plan. This worldwide activity, the hallmark of the fourth phase of the Plan, answering the tremendous opportunities offered by the present condition of mankind, will be strongly reinforced by the continuance of proclamation, is the essential foundation for the erection of the remaining National Spiritual Assemblies, and will increasingly witness to the benefits of international traveling teaching and inter-Assembly cooperation. Above all, it requires a sacrificial outpouring by the friends of


+147

contributions in support of the Funds of the Faith, and the raising up of a mighty host of pioneers. During the second year of the Plan the Bahá'í world achieved its greatest 68.12 feat of organized pioneering when a total of five hundred and five believers arose to settle in the unopened and weakly held territories of the earth.3 This magnificent achievement must now be surpassed. The call is raised for seven hundred and thirty-three believers to leave their homes and settle in territories of the globe in dire need of pioneer support or as yet unopened to the Faith. These devoted believers, who should arise without delay, are needed to settle, during the fourth phase of the Plan, in 184 specified territories of the globe: 48 in Africa, 40 in the Americas, 40 in Asia, 18 in Australasia and 38 in Europe. Although primary responsibility has been assigned to those national Bahá'í communities most able to provide pioneers, all should ponder in their hearts whether they too cannot respond to this call, either by going themselves or by deputizing, in response to Bahá'u'lláh's injunction, those who can go in their stead.

68.13 Detailed information is being sent to National Spiritual Assemblies to ensure that this vital mobilization of Bahá'í warriors is accomplished as quickly as possible.

Our Commitment to Complete Victory Beloved Friends, the Nine Year Plan is well advanced, our work is blessed by the never-ceasing confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh, and the entire Bahá'í World Community is committed to complete victory. That happy consummation, now faintly discernible on the far horizon, will be reached through hard work, realistic planning, sacrificial deeds, intensification of the teaching work and, above all, through constant endeavor on the part of every single Bahá'í to conform his inner life to that glorious ideal set for mankind by Bahá'u'lláh and exemplified by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. In contemplating the Master's divine example we may well reflect that His life and deeds were not acted to a pattern of expediency, but were the inevitable and spontaneous expression of His inner self. We, likewise, shall act according to His example only as our inward spirits, growing and maturing through the disciplines of prayer and practice of the Teachings, become the wellsprings of all our attitudes and actions. This will promote the accomplishment of God's purpose; this will ensure the triumph of His Faith and enable us to build up the present motion of the Cause into a grand momentum whose force will carry the community of the Most Great Name to glorious victory in 1973 and onwards to the as yet unapprehended vistas of the Most Great Peace.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

68-3. April 1965-April 1966.


+148

69 Guidance on Self-Defense 26 MAY 1969

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

69.1 We have reviewed your letter of April 11th, asking about the teachings of the Faith on self-defense and any guidance on individual conduct in the face of increasing civil disorder in North American cities.

69.2 From the texts you already have available it is clear that BAYOU has stated that it is preferable to be killed in the path of God's good pleasure than to kill, and that organized religious attack against Bahá'ís should never turn into any kind of warfare, as this is strictly prohibited in our Writings.

69.3 A hitherto untranslated Tablet from Abdu'l-Bahá, however, points out that in the case of attack by robbers and highwaymen, a Bahá'í should not surrender himself, but should try, as far as circumstances permit, to defend himself, and later on lodge a complaint with the government authorities. In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, he also indicates that in an emergency when there is no legal force at hand to appeal to, a Bahá'í is justified in defending his life. In another letter the Guardian has further pointed out that the assault of an irresponsible assailant upon a Bahá'í should be resisted by the Bahá'í, who would be justified, under such circumstances, in protecting his life.

69.4 The House of Justice does not wish at the present time to go beyond the guidelines given in the above-mentioned statements. The question is basically a matter of conscience, and in each case the Bahá'í involved must use his judgment in determining when to stop in self-defense lest his action deteriorate into retaliation.

69.5 Of course the above principles apply also in cases when a Bahá'í finds himself involved in situations of civil disorder.

70.1 We have, however, advised the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States that under the present circumstances in that country it is preferable that Bahá'ís do not buy nor own arms for their protection or the protection of their families.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+149

70 New Appointments to Continental Boards of Counselors 10 JULY 1969

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

With great joy we announce that we have decided to increase the total number of members of the Continental Boards of Counselors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith to thirty-eight by adding John McHenry III to the Continental Board of Counselors in North East Asia and Mas'ud Khamsi to the Continental Board of Counselors in South America, raising the number of Counselors on each Board to three and four, respectively. We also rejoice to announce the appointment of Mrs. Shirin Boman to the

70.2 Continental Board of Counselors of Western Asia to fill a vacancy on that Board. The devoted efforts of all eleven Continental Boards of Counselors during 70.3 the first year of their service to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have been most exemplary and praiseworthy. We are deeply grateful for the loyalty, steadfastness and devotion which have characterized the activities of all members in reinforcing the vitally important work of the Hands of the Cause of God.

71.1 Please share these glad tidings with the friends. 70.4

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

71 Formation of an Additional National Spiritual Assembly during Ridvan 1970 ii AUGUST 1969

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

In the brief space of time following the announcement of the formation of six new National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa next Ridvan, the succession of victories, resulting from the prodigious efforts exerted by the devoted friends, impels us to announce that a seventh National Spiritual Assembly will be formed in Africa at Ridvan, 1970. The new National Spiritual Assembly including Congo (Brazzaville), Chad, Central African Republic and Gabon,


+150

will have its seat in Bangui. This will leave Uganda with its own separate National Spiritual Assembly.

71.2 Please share this joyous news with the believers. We know the friends throughout the world join us in our supplications for the continued, uninterrupted prosecution and speedy fulfillment of the goals, terminating in the ultimate triumph of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

72 Work of Continental Boards of Counselors and Their Auxiliary Board Members I OCTOBER 1969 To the Continental Boards of Counselors and National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

72.1 A number of questions have been raised concerning the work of the Counselors and Auxiliary Board members, and it has been suggested that Auxiliary Board members be permitted to work regularly with National Spiritual Assemblies and national committees. We have carefully considered again the various factors involved and have decided that we must uphold the principle that such direct consultations should be exceptional rather than the rule. Spiritual Assemblies and Auxiliary Board Members: A Clarification of Roles

72.2 It is the responsibility of Spiritual Assemblies, assisted by their committees, to organize and direct the teaching work, and in doing so they must, naturally, also do all they can to stimulate and inspire the friends. It is, however, inevitable that the Assemblies and committees, being burdened with the administration of the teaching work as well as with all other aspects of Bahá'í community life, will be unable to spend as much time as they would wish on stimulating the believers.

72.3 Authority and direction flow from the Assemblies, whereas the power to accomplish the tasks resides primarily in the entire body of the believers. It is the principal task of the Auxiliary Boards to assist in arousing and releasing this power. This is a vital activity, and if they are to be able to perform it adequately they must avoid becoming involved in the work of administration. For example, when Auxiliary Board members arouse believers to pioneer, any believer who expresses his desire to do so should be referred to the appropriate committee which will then organize the project. Counselors and Auxiliary


+151

Board members should not, themselves, organize pioneering or travel teaching projects. Thus it is seen that the Auxiliary Boards should work closely with the grass roots of the community: the individual believers, groups and Local Spiritual Assemblies, advising, stimulating and assisting them. The Counselors are responsible for stimulating, counseling and assisting National Spiritual Assemblies, and also work with individuals, groups and Local Assemblies.

72.4 It is always possible, of course, for Counselors to depute an Auxiliary Board member to meet with a National Spiritual Assembly for a particular purpose, but this should not become a regular practice. Similarly, if the National Spiritual Assembly agrees, it may be advisable for an Auxiliary Board member to meet occasionally with a national committee to clarify the situation in the area and share information and ideas thoroughly. But this also should not become regular. Were it to do so there would be grave danger of inhibiting the proper working of these two institutions, vitiating and undermining the collaboration that must essentially exist between the Continental Boards of Counselors and National Spiritual Assemblies. It would diffuse the energies and time of the Auxiliary Board members through their becoming involved in the administration of teaching.

72.5 It could lead to the Auxiliary Board member's gradually taking over the direction of the national committee, usurping the function of the National Assembly, or to his becoming merely a traveling teacher sent hither and thither at the direction of the committee or National Assembly.

Sharing Information, Reports, and Recommendations It is, of course vital that information be shared fully and promptly, as has been explained in the compilation on the work of Auxiliary Board members that was circulated on March 25, 1969. The ways of ensuring this should be worked out by the Counselors and National Spiritual Assemblies and methods may vary from area to area. Reports and recommendations for action, however, are quite different. Auxiliary Board members should send theirs to the Counselors and not, to National Assemblies or national committees directly. It is possible that the Counselors may reject or modify the recommendation; or, if they accept it and pass it on to the National Spiritual Assembly, the National Assembly may decide to refuse it.

72.7 For an Auxiliary Board member to make recommendations directly to a national committee would lose the benefit of knowledge and experience in a wider field than that of which the Auxiliary Board member is aware, and would short-circuit and undermine the authority of both the Counselors and the National Assembly.

Advice-The Province of Counselors and Auxiliary Board Similarly, although an Auxiliary Board member can and should receive information from the National Assemblies and national committees, his primary source of information about the community should be his own direct


+152

contacts with Local Spiritual Assemblies, groups and individual believers. In this way the Counselors as well as the National Spiritual Assemblies have the benefit of two independent sources of information about the community: through the Auxiliary Board members on the one hand, and through the national committees on the other.

72.8 Assemblies sometimes misunderstand what is meant by the statement that Counselors and Auxiliary Board members are concerned with the teaching work and not with administration. It is taken to mean that they may not give advice on administrative matters. This is quite wrong. One of the things that Counselors and Auxiliary Board members should watch and report on is the proper working of administrative institutions. The statement that they do not have anything to do with administration means, simply, that they do not administer. They do not direct or organize the teaching work nor do they adjudicate in matters of personal conflict or personal problems. All these activities fall within the sphere of responsibility of the Spiritual Assemblies. But if an Auxiliary Board member finds a Local Spiritual Assembly functioning incorrectly he should call its attention to the appropriate Texts; likewise if, in his work with the community, an Auxiliary Board member finds that the teaching work is being held up by inefficiency of national committees, he should report this in detail to the Counselors who will then decide whether to refer it to the National Spiritual Assembly concerned. Similarly, if the Counselors find that a National Spiritual Assembly is not functioning properly, they should not hesitate to consult with the National Spiritual Assembly about this in a frank and loving way.

72.9 It is the Spiritual Assemblies who plan and direct the work, but these plans should be well known to the Counselors and Auxiliary Board members, because one of the ways in which they can assist the Assemblies is by urging the believers continually to support the plans of the Assemblies. If a National Spiritual Assembly has adopted one goal as preeminent in a year, the Auxiliary Board members should bear this in mind in all their contacts with the believers and should direct their attention to the plans of the National Assembly, and stimulate them to enthusiastically support them.

72.10 The Counselors in each continental zone have wide latitude in the carrying out of their work. Likewise they should give to each Auxiliary Board member considerable freedom of action within his own allocated area. Although the Counselors should regularly direct the work of the Auxiliary Board members, the latter should realize that they need not wait for direction; the nature of their work is such that they should be continually engaged in it according to their own best judgment, even if they are given no specific tasks to perform. Above all the Auxiliary Board members should build up a warm and loving relationship between themselves and the believers in their


+153

area so that the Local Spiritual Assemblies will spontaneously turn to them for advice and assistance. We assure you all of our fervent prayers in the Holy Shrines for the blessings of Bahá'u'lláh upon the strenuous and highly meritorious services that you are performing with such devotion in His path.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

73 Appeal to Increase Teaching Efforts amidst Catastrophic Events of the Day 16 NOVEMBER 1969

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dear Friends,

In the worsening world situation, fraught with pain of war, violence and the sudden uprooting of long-established institutions, can be seen the fulfillment of the prophecies of Bahá'u'lláh and the oft-repeated warnings of the Master and the beloved Guardian about the inevitable fate of a lamentably defective social system, an unenlightened leadership and a rebellious and unbelieving humanity., Governments and peoples of both the developed and developing nations, and other human institutions, secular and religious, finding themselves helpless to reverse the trend of the catastrophic events of the day, stand bewildered and overpowered by the magnitude and complexity of the problems facing them. At this fateful hour in human history many, unfortunately, seem content to stand aside and wring their hands in despair or else join in the babel of shouting and protestation which loudly objects, but offers no solution to the woes and afflictions plaguing our age. Nevertheless a greater and greater number of thoughtful and fair-minded 73.2 men and women are recognizing in the clamor of contention, grief and

73-1. The years 1968 and 1969 were racked with war, violence, terrorism, and civil unrest around the world. Wars raged in Vietnam and Nigeria; Soviet and Chinese troops skirmished in a continuing border dispute; Soviet troops entered Czechoslovakia to quell a movement toward liberalization; and El Salvador invaded Honduras. Coups de tat toppled governments in Iraq, Syria, Sierra Leone, Dahomey, the Congo, Mali, the Sudan, Libya, the Netherlands Antilles, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia; states of emergency were declared in Spain, Malaysia, and Chile; violent unrest occurred in West Germany, Spain, Bombay, Pakistan, Argentina, Kenya, and the United States; and student protests erupted in Paris, Mexico City, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, and the United States. United States and Israeli airliners were hijacked, and two Israeli airliners were attacked by terrorists. Moreover, a number of leaders were assassinated, including Somalian president Abdirascid Ali Scermarche; U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.; U.S. presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy; U.S. ambassador to Guatemala John Gordon Mein; and Mozambique Liberation Front leader Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane.


+154

destruction, now reaching such horrendous proportions, the evidences of Divine chastisement, and turning their faces towards God are becoming increasingly receptive to His Word. Doubtless the present circumstances, though tragic and awful in their immediate consequences, are serving to sharpen the focus on the indispensability of the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh to the needs of the present age, and will provide many opportunities to reach countless waiting souls, hungry and thirsty for Divine guidance.

73.3 It is these opportunities which we must seize before it is too late. What is needed now is the awakening of all believers to the immediacy of the challenge so that each may assume his share of the responsibility for taking the Teachings to all humanity. Universal participation, a salient objective of the Nine Year Plan, must be pressed toward attainment in every continent, country and island of the globe. Every Bahá'í, however humble or inarticulate, must become intent on fulfilling his role as a bearer of the Divine Message. Indeed, how can a true believer remain silent while around us men cry out in anguish for truth, love and unity to descend upon this world?

73.4 We all know how often the Master and the beloved Guardian called upon the friends to consciously strive to be more loving, more united, more dedicated and prayerful than ever before in order to overcome the atmosphere of present-day society which is unloving, disunited, careless of right and wrong and heedless of God. ". . . when we see the increasing darkness in the world today," the Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf, "we can fully realize that unless the Message of Bahá'u'lláh reaches into the hearts of men and transforms them, there can be no peace and no spiritual progress in the future."2 The Necessity of individual Teaching Goals

73.5 The Nine Year Plan is the current stage in the achievement of that sublime objective. It is now imperative for every Bahá'í to set for himself individual teaching goals. The admonition of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to lead at least one new soul to the Faith each year and the exhortation of Shoghi Effendi to hold a Bahá'í fireside in one's home every Bahá'í month are examples of individual goals. Many have capacities to do even more, but this alone will assure final and complete victory for the Plan.

73.6 We call upon the friends to join with us in prayer during the Feast of Sultan that we will all become so imbued with zeal, courage and enthusiasm that from this day to the end of the Nine Year Plan

nothing will be able to stay the victorious onward march of the followers of the Most Great Name.3 May our efforts be worthy of the blessings and confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

73-2. From a letter that was later published in the compilation

"Living the Life." 73-3. The Feast of Sultan is the Feast of Sovereignty, 19 January.


+155

74 Acquisition of Property Adjacent to Bahji 18 NOVEMBER 1969

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Enclosed please find our letter of 16 November 1969 addressed to the

74.1 Bahá'ís of the World.' Please share this letter with all believers in your

jurisdiction as soon as possible. After several years of protracted negotiations with agencies of the Israel

74.2 Government both in Jerusalem and Haifa, an important property adjacent to Bahji and embracing the Master's tea house has been acquired. On 17 November we cabled the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States as follows:

WITH GRATEFUL HEARTS ANNOUNCE SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION FORMAL NEGOTIATIONS INITIATED NEARLY TWO DECADES AGO BY BELOVED GUARDIAN WITH AUTHORITIES STATE ISRAEL RESULTING OWNERSHIP VITALLY NEEDED PROPERTY SURROUNDING Abdu'l-Bahá's TEAHOUSE IMMEDIATE NEIGHBORHOOD MOST HOLY TOMB FOUNDER FAITH. ACQUISITION MUCH DESIRED LAND EXTENDING GARDENS BAHJI FACILITATED THROUGH EXCHANGE PROPERTY DEDICATED SOME THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO TO HOLY TOMB BAHA'U'LLAH BY DEVOTED SERVANT CAUSE HAJI ALI YAZDI. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

The successful conclusion of these negotiations initiated during the lifetime of the beloved Guardian was made possible through the

acceptance by the Government, as even exchange, of an endowment

property given to the Faith in 1933 by the late Haji Ali Yazdi. The significance of the specific piece of land donated by this venerable soul becomes apparent when reading the following quotation from the IN MEMORIAM article about him in The Bahá'í World, Volume 9 [624-251:

He will forever be remembered, amongst other things, as the establisher 74.3a of Bahá'í endowments in the vicinity of Akka

through his gift of a tract of land dedicated to Bahá'u'lláh's Holy Tomb in Bahji

It is a glowing tribute to the memory of this devoted servant of the Blessed

74.4 Beauty that his gift should play such an important part in securing this valuable additional safeguard for the Most Holy Tomb. Please also convey the news of this victory to the friends. 74.5

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

74-1. See message no. 73.


+156

75 Comments on the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice 7 DECEMBER 1969

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

75.1 Your recent letter, in which you share with us the questions that have occurred to some of the youth in studying "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh," has been carefully considered, and we feel that we should comment both on the particular passage you mention and on a related passage in the same work, because both bear on the relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice.

75.2 The first passage concerns the Guardian's duty to insist upon a reconsideration by his fellow members in the Universal House of Justice of any enactment which he believes conflicts with the meaning and departs from the spirit of the Sacred Writings.

75.4 The second passage concerns the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice without the Guardian, namely Shoghi Effendi's statement that "Without such an institution [the Guardianship] ... the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn.",

75.3 Some of the youth, you indicate, were puzzled as to how to reconcile the former of these two passages with such statements as that in the Will of Abdu'l-Bahá which affirms that the Universal House of Justice is "freed from all error."2 Seeking the Writings' Unity of Meaning just as the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahi does not in any way contradict the Kitab-i-Aqdas but, in the Guardian's words, "confirms, supplements, and correlates the provisions of the Aqdas," so the writings of the Guardian contradict neither the revealed Word nor the interpretations of the Master.3 In attempting to understand the Writings, therefore, one must first realize that there is and can be no real contradiction in them, and in the light of this we can confidently seek the unity of meaning which they contain.

75.5 The Guardian and the Universal House of Justice have certain duties and functions in common; each also operates within a separate and distinct sphere. As Shoghi Effendi explained, ". . . it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word 75-1 WOB, p. 14875-2. WT, p. 14. 75-3. WOB, p. 19.


+157

and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Bahá'u'lláh has not expressly revealed." He goes on to affirm, "Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested." It is impossible to conceive that two centers of authority, which the Master has stated "are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One, could conflict with one another, because both are vehicles of the same Divine Guidance.4 The Universal House of Justice, beyond its function as the enactor of legislation, has been invested with the more general functions of protecting and administering the Cause, solving obscure questions and deciding upon matters that have caused difference. Nowhere is it stated that the infallibility of the

Universal House of Justice is by virtue of the Guardian's membership or presence on that body. Indeed, 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Shoghi Effendi in his "Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh have both explicitly stated that the elected members of the Universal House of Justice in consultation are recipients of unfailing Divine Guidance. Furthermore the Guardian himself in The World Order Bahá'u'lláh asserted that "It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the institution of Guardianship does not under any circumstances abrogate, or even in the slightest degree detract from, the powers granted to the Universal House of Justice by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitabu'l-Aqdas, and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will.

75.7 It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to the Will and Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, nor does it nullify any of His revealed instructions."5 While the specific responsibility of the Guardian is the interpretation Of the Word, he is also invested with all the powers and prerogatives necessary to discharge his function as Guardian of the Cause, its Head and supreme protector. He is, furthermore, made the irremovable head and member for life of the supreme legislative body of the Faith. It is as the head of the Universal House of Justice, and as a member of that body, that the Guardian takes part in the process of legislation. If the following passage, which gave rise to your query, is considered as referring to this last relationship, you will see that there is no contradiction between it and the other texts: "Though the

75-4. WOB, pp. 149-50; WT p. ii. 75-5. WOB, p. 8.


+158

Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh revealed utterances.116

75.8 Although the Guardian, in relation to his fellow members within the Universal House of Justice, cannot override the decision of the majority, it is inconceivable that the other members would ignore any objection he raised in the course of consultation or pass legislation contrary to what he expressed as being in harmony with the spirit of the Cause. It is, after all, the final act of judgment delivered by the Universal House of Justice that is vouchsafed infallibility, not any views expressed in the course of the process of enactment.

75.9 It can be seen, therefore, that there is no conflict between the Master's statements concerning the unfailing divine guidance conferred upon the Universal House of justice and the above passage from "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh." The Process of Legislation

75.10 It may help the friends to understand this relationship if they are aware of some of the processes that the Universal House of Justice follows when legislating. First, of course, it observes the greatest tare in studying the Sacred Texts and the interpretations of the Guardian as well as considering the views of all the members. After long consultation the process of drafting a pronouncement is put into effect. During this process the whole matter may well be reconsidered. As a result of such reconsideration the final judgment may be significantly different from the conclusion earlier favored, or possibly it may be decided not to legislate at all on that subject at that time. One can understand how great would be the attention paid to the views of the Guardian during the above process were he alive. The Universal House of Justice in the Absence of the Guardian

75.11 In considering the second passage we must once more hold fast to the principle that the teachings do not contradict themselves.

75.12 Future Guardians are clearly envisaged and referred to in the Writings, but there is nowhere any promise or guarantee that the line of Guardians would endure forever; on the contrary there are clear indications that the line could be broken. Yet, in spite of this, there is a repeated insistence in the Writings on the indestructibility of the Covenant and the immutability of God's

Purpose for this Day.

75-6.

75.13 WOB, P. 150.


+159

One of the most striking passages which envisage the possibility of such a break in the line of Guardians is in the Kitab-i-Aqdas itself:

The endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer of Signs. No one has the right to lay hold on them without leave from the Dawning-Place of Revelation.7 After Him the decision rests with the Aghsan [Branches] and after them with the House of Justice-should it be established in the world by then-so that they may use these endowments for the benefit of the Sites exalted in this Cause, and for that which they have been commanded by God, the Almighty, the All-Powerful. Otherwise the endowments should be referred to the people of Baha, who speak not without His leave and who pass no judgment but in accordance with that which God has ordained in this Tablet, they who are the champions of victory betwixt heaven and earth, so that they may spend them on that which has been decreed in the Holy Book by God, the Mighty, the Bountiful.9

The passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 precipitated the very situation provided for in this passage, in that the line of Aghsan ended before the House of Justice had been elected. Although, as is seen, the ending of the line of Aghsan at some stage was provided for, we must never underestimate the grievous loss that the Faith has suffered. God's purpose for mankind remains unchanged, however, and the mighty Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh remains impregnable. Has not Bahá'u'lláh stated categorically, "The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an unassailable, an enduring foundation."10 While 'Abdu'l-Bahá confirms: "Verily, God effecteth that which He pleaseth; naught can annul His Covenant; naught can obstruct His favor nor oppose His Cause!" "Everything is subject to corruption; but the Covenant of thy Lord shall continue to pervade all regions." "The tests of every dispensation are in direct proportion to the greatness of the Cause, and as heretofore such a manifest Covenant, written by the Supreme Pen, hath not been entered upon, the tests are proportionately severe .... These agitations of the violators are no more than the foam of the ocean .... This foam of the ocean shall not endure and shall soon disperse and vanish, while the ocean of the Covenant shall eternally surge and roar.", And Shoghi Effendi has clearly stated: "The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God's immutable Purpose for mankind in this day." ". . . this priceless gem of Divine

75-7. "The Dawning-Place of Revelation' is a reference to the Manifestation of God; here, a specific reference to Bahá'u'lláh. 75-8. Aghsan (Branches) denotes the sons and male descendants of Bahá'u'lláh. 75-9. See KA T42. 75-10. WOB, p. 109. 75-Il. TABA 2:598; Star of the West, vol. 4, no. 10, P. 170; SWAB, pp. 210-11.


+160

Revelation, now still in its embryonic state, shall evolve within the shell of His law, and shall forge ahead, undivided and unimpaired, till it embraces the whole of mankind."12 Two Authoritative Centers

75.15 In the Bahá'í Faith there are two authoritative centers appointed to which the believers must turn, for in reality the Interpreter of the Word is an extension of that center which is the Word itself. The Book is the record of the utterance of Bahá'u'lláh, while the divinely inspired Interpreter is the living Mouth of that Book-it is he and he alone who can authoritatively state what the Book means. Thus one center is the Book with its Interpreter, and the other is the Universal House of Justice guided by God to decide on whatever is not explicitly revealed in the Book. This pattern of centers and their relationships is apparent at every stage in the unfoldment of the Cause. In the Kitab-i-Aqdas Bahá'u'lláh tells the believers to refer after His passing to the Book, and to "Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root."13 In the Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Book of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant), He makes it clear that this reference is to 'Abdu'l-Bahá.14 In the Aqdas Bahá'u'lláh also ordains the institution of the Universal House of Justice, and confers upon it the powers necessary for it to discharge its ordained functions. The Master in His Will and Testament explicitly institutes the Guardianship, which Shoghi Effendi states was clearly anticipated in the verses of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, reaffirms and elucidates the authority of the Universal House of Justice, and refers the believers once again to the Book: "Unto the Most Holy Book everyone must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice," and at the very end of the Will He says: "All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error."15

75.16 As the sphere of jurisdiction of the Universal House of Justice in matters of legislation extends to whatever is not explicitly revealed in the Sacred Text, it is clear that the Book itself is the highest authority and delimits the sphere of action of the House of Justice. Likewise, the Interpreter of the Book must also have the authority to define the sphere of the legislative action of the elected representatives of the Cause. The writings of the Guardian and the advice given by him over the thirty-six years of his Guardianship show the way in which he exercised this function in relation to the Universal House of Justice as well as to National and Local Spiritual Assemblies.

75-12- WOB, p. 156, 23. 75-13. KA Ji2i. 75-14. TB, Pp. 217-23. 75-15.

75.17 WT, Pp. 19, 26.


+161

The fact that the Guardian has the authority to define the sphere of the legislative action of the Universal House of Justice does not carry with it the corollary that without such guidance the Universal House of Justice might stray beyond the limits of its proper authority; such a deduction would conflict with all the other texts referring to its infallibility, and specifically with the Guardian's own clear assertion that the Universal House of Justice never can or will infringe on the sacred and prescribed domain of the Guardianship. It should be remembered, however, that although National and Local Spiritual Assemblies can receive divine guidance if they consult in the manner and spirit described by Abdu'l-Bahá, they do not share in the explicit guarantees of infallibility conferred upon the Universal House of Justice. Any careful student of the Cause can see with what care the Guardian, after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, guided these elected representatives of the believers in the painstaking erection. of the Administrative Order and in the formulation of Local and National Bahá'í Constitutions.

75.18 We hope that these elucidations will assist the friends in understanding these relationships more clearly, but we must all remember, that we stand too close to the beginnings of the System ordained by Bahá'u'lláh to be able fully to understand its potentialities or the interrelationships of its component parts. As Shoghi Effendi's secretary wrote on his behalf to an individual

believer on 25 March 1930, "The contents of the Will of the Master are far too much for the present generation to comprehend. It needs at least a century of actual working before the treasures of wisdom hidden in it can be revealed.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+162

76 Release of a Compilation on Bahá'í Funds 1 JANUARY 1970

National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'ís of the World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,



76.1 In order to assist the friends everywhere in the proper appreciation of the importance and meaning of contributing to Bahá'í Funds, and to remind them as well as all Assemblies of the underlying principles that must govern the offering and administration of these funds, we have made a compilation of extracts from the Guardian's letters on this subject which we are now sharing with you.'

76.2 You may use these extracts in any manner you deem advisable, at conferences, in summer schools, in deepening classes, and in your newsletters and circular letters.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

77 Noninterference in Political Affairs 8 FEBRUARY 1970

To National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

77.1 For long centuries the African Continent, or rather that great part of it which lies south of the Sahara, remained relatively isolated from the rest of the world, untroubled and scarcely touched by the surging conflicts of the nations to the north and east. Now, rapidly emerging into the main stream of international interest, the African peoples, who were compared by Bahá'u'lláh to the black pupil of the eye through which "the light of the spirit shineth forth,", are being swept by the heady enthusiasms of new-found independence, torn by the conflicting forces of divergent political interests, their vision obscured by the haze of materialism and the dust of nationalistic passions and age-old tribal rivalries.

77.2 In the midst of the storm and stress of the battles of selfish interests being waged about them, stand the followers of the Most Great Name, their sight attracted to the rising Sun of God's Holy Cause, their hearts welded together

76-1. See CC 1:529-50. 77-1. ADJ, P. 37. |bUHJ_MSGS_1965-1986


+163

in a bond of true unity with all the children of men, and their voices raised in a universal song of praise to the Glory of God and the oneness of mankind, calling on their fellowmen to forget and forgo their differences and join them in obedience and service to God's Holy Command in this Day.

77.3 The Army of the Cause, advancing at the bidding of the Lord, to conquer the hearts of men, can never be defeated, but its rate of advance can be slowed down by acts of unwisdom and ignorance on the part of its supporters. We are writing you this letter to help in clarifying some of the issues that have, in the past, blurred the vision of some of the believers, and caused them to commit errors of judgment which have retarded the progress of the Faith in their countries.

The Principle of Noninterference in Political Affairs One of these issues, and by far the most important, is a lack of appreciation of the implications of the Bahá'í principle of noninterference in political affairs. We find that 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi have given us clear and convincing reasons why we must uphold this principle. These reasons are summarized below for the study and deepening of the friends. It is our hope that these observations will not only help the friends to intelligently and radiantly follow the holy teachings on this matter, but will help them to explain the Bahá'í attitude to those who may question its wisdom and usefulness:

I The Faith of God is the sole source of salvation for mankind today.

77.4a The true cause of the ills of humanity is its disunity. No matter how perfect may be the machinery devised by the leaders of men for the political unity of the world, it will still not provide the antidote to the poison sapping the vigor of present-day society. These ills can be cured only through the instrumentality of God's Faith. There are many well-wishers of mankind who devote their efforts to relief work and charity and to the material well-being of man, but only Bahá'ís can do the work which God most wants done. When we devote ourselves to the work of the Faith we are doing a work which is the greatest aid and only refuge for a needy and divided world. The Bahá'í Community is a worldwide organization seeking to establish true and universal peace on earth. If a Bahá'í works for one political party to overcome another it is a negation of the very spirit of the Faith. Membership in any political party, therefore, necessarily entails repudiation of some or all of the principles of peace and unity proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh. As 'Abdu'l-Bahá stated: "Our party is God's party-we don't belong to any party.",

77-2. Quoted in Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 15 July 1955 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Central America.


+164

77.4c If a Bahá'í were to insist on his right to support a certain political party, he could not deny the same degree of freedom to other believers. This would mean that within the ranks of the Faith, whose primary mission is to unite all men as one great family under God, there would be Bahá'ís opposed to each other. Where, then, would be the example of unity and harmony which the world is seeking?

77.4d If the institutions of the Faith, God forbid, became involved in politics, the Bahá'ís would find themselves arousing antagonism instead of love. If they took one stand in one country, they would be bound to change the views of the people in another country about the aims and purposes of the Faith. By becoming involved in political disputes, the Bahá'ís instead of changing the world or helping it, would themselves be lost and destroyed. The world situation is so confused and moral issues which were once clear have become so mixed up with selfish and battling factions, that the best way Bahá'ís can serve the highest interests of their country and the cause of true salvation for the world, is to sacrifice their political pursuits and affiliations and wholeheartedly and fully support the divine system of Bahá'u'lláh.

77.4e The Faith is not opposed to the true interests of any nation, nor is it against any party or faction. It holds aloof from all controversies and transcends them all, while enjoining upon its followers loyalty to government and a sane patriotism. This love for their country the Bahá'ís show by serving its well-being in their daily activity, or by working in the administrative channels of the government instead of through party politics or in diplomatic or political posts. The Bahá'ís may, indeed are encouraged to, mix with all strata of society, with the highest authorities and with leading personalities as well as with the mass of the people, and should bring the knowledge of the Faith to them; but in so doing they should strictly avoid becoming identified, or identifying the Faith, with political pursuits and party programs.

77.5 So vital is this principle of noninterference in political matters, which must govern the acts and words of Bahá'ís in every land, that Shoghi Effendi has written that "Neither the charges which the uninformed and the

malicious may be led to bring against them, nor the allurements of honors and rewards" would ever induce the true believers to deviate from this path, and that their words and conduct must proclaim that the followers of Bahá'u'lláh "are actuated by no selfish ambition, that they neither thirst for power, nor mind any wave of unpopularity, of distrust or criticism, which a strict adherence to their standards might provoke."3

77-3.

77.6 WOB, pp. 66-67


+165

"Difficult and delicate though be our task," he continues, 11 the sustaining power of Bahá'u'lláh and of His Divine guidance will assuredly assist us if we follow steadfastly in His way, and strive to uphold the integrity of His laws.

77.7 The light of His redeeming grace, which no earthly power can obscure, will if we persevere, illuminate our path, as we steer our course amid the snares and pitfalls of a troubled age, and will enable us to discharge our duties in a manner that would redound to the glory and the honor of His blessed Name."4

The Problem of Tribalism The second issue which causes difficulties for the African friends in these days is the matter of tribalism. As Bahá'ís they are convinced that mankind is one and must be viewed as one entity, yet, as members of their respective tribes, they find themselves expected by their non-Bahá'í brothers to give their first loyalty to, and even aggressively pursue the interests of their tribe. They live, moreover, in an atmosphere which is only too often one of mistrust, fear and even hatred against the members of other tribes. The Bahá'í attitude in such a situation is clearly set forth in the Writings.

77.8 As Bahá'ís we are attached to our tribes and clans, just as we are to our families and, on a larger scale, to our nations, but we do not allow this attachment to conflict with our wider loyalty to humanity. The followers of the Faith, the Guardian has clearly stated, will not hesitate to subordinate every particular interest, be it personal, regional or national, to the overriding interests of the generality of mankind, knowing full well that in a world of interdependent peoples and nations the advantage of the part is best to be reached by the

advantage of the whole, and that no lasting result can be achieved by any of the component parts if the general interests of the entity itself are neglected."5 In further elucidating this theme he has written: "Let there be no Misgivings as to the animating purpose of the worldwide Law of Bahá'u'lláh.... It does not ignore nor does it attempt to suppress the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity ... 116

77-4. WOB, p. 67. 77-5- PDIC, v. 77-6. WOB, pp. 41-42


+166

The Example of a Unified Community

77.10 In these days when tribal tensions are increasing in Africa the friends should be vigilant lest any trace of prejudice or hatred, God forbid, may enter their midst. On the contrary, they should endeavor to bring into the Faith an ever larger representation of the various tribes in each country, and through complete lack of prejudice as well as through the love that Bahá'ís have for each other and for their non-Bahá'í neighbors, demonstrate to their countrymen what the Word of God can do. They will thus provide, for the scrutiny of the leaders and rulers of their countries, a shining example of a unified community, working together in full concord and harmony, demonstrating a hope that is attainable, and a pattern worthy to be emulated.

77.11 To discriminate against any tribes because they are in a minority is a violation of the spirit that animates the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. As followers of God's Holy Faith it is our obligation to protect the just interests of any minority element within the Bahá'í community. In fact in the administration of our Bahá'í affairs, representatives of minority groups are not only enabled to enjoy equal rights and privileges, but they are even favored and accorded priority. Bahá'ís should be careful never to deviate from this noble standard, even if the course of events or public opinion should bring pressure to bear upon them.

77.12 The principles in the Writings are clear, but

usually it is when these principles are applied that questions arise. In all cases where the correct course of action is not clear believers should consult their National Spiritual Assembly who will exercise their judgment in advising the friends on the best course to follow.

77.13 It is the hope and prayer of the Universal House of justice that National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa will, in full collaboration with the Continental Boards of Counselors and Auxiliary Boards in their areas, act as loving shepherds to the divine flock in that mighty Continent, protect the friends from the evil influences surrounding them, guide them in the true and right path, and assist them to attain a continuously deeper understanding, a firmer conviction and a more consuming love' for the Cause they are so devotedly seeking to promote and serve.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+167

78 Attainment of Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council 18 FEBRUARY 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD ATTAINMENT CONSULTATIVE STATUS UNITED

78.1 NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL THEREBY FULFILLING LONG CHERISHED HOPE BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WORLD CENTER GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN.1 SUSTAINED PERSISTENT EFFORTS MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS ACCREDITED REPRESENTATIVES BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY UNITED NATIONS DEVOTED SUPPORT BAHA'I COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT WORLD FINALLY REWARDED. SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT ADDS PRESTIGE INFLUENCE RECOGNITION EVER ADVANCING FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH. OFFERING PRAYERS GRATITUDE HOLY SHRINES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

79 The Spirit of Bahá'í Consultation 6 MARCH 1970

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada Dear Bahá'í Friends, We have your letter Of 14 January 1970 asking questions about the decision-making process of Spiritual Assemblies. It is important to realize that the spirit of Bahá'í consultation is very different from that current in the decision-making processes of non-Bahá'í bodies. The ideal of Bahá'í consultation is to arrive at a unanimous decision. When 79.3 this is not possible a vote must be taken. In the words of the beloved Guardian: ". . . when they are called upon to arrive at a certain decision, they should, after dispassionate, anxious, and cordial consultation, turn to God in prayer, and with earnestness and conviction and courage record their vote and abide by the voice of the majority, which we are told by our Master to be the voice of truth, never to be challenged, and always to be wholeheartedly enforced.",

78-1. In a meeting on 12 February 1970 the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, the functional committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) responsible for its relationship with nongovernmental organizations, had unanimously recommended that the Bahá'í International Community's application for consultative status be approved. ECOSOC formally accepted that recommendation on 27 May 1970. 79-1. BA, p. 64.


+168

79.4 As soon as a decision is reached it becomes the decision of the whole Assembly, not merely of those members who happened to be among the majority.

79.5 When it is proposed to put a matter to the vote, a member of the Assembly may feel that there are additional facts or views which must be sought before he can make up his mind and intelligently vote on the proposition. He should express this feeling to the Assembly, and it is for the Assembly to decide whether or not further consultation is needed before voting.

79.6 Whenever it is decided to vote on a proposition all that is required is to ascertain how many of the members are in favor of it; if this is a majority of those present, the motion is carried; if it is a minority, the motion

is defeated. Thus the whole question of "abstaining" does not arise in Bahá'í voting. A member who does not vote in favor of a proposition is, in effect, voting against it, even if at that moment he himself feels that he has been unable to make up his mind on the matter.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

80 Commemoration of the Centenary of the Martyrdom of Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch 25 MARCH 1970 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

80.1 In commemoration of the centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, which falls on June 23, 1970, we call upon the Bahá'ís of the world to unite in prayer for "the regeneration of the world and the unification of its peoples.",

80.2 During those days one hundred years ago Bahá'u'lláh was enduring His imprisonment in the Barracks of 'Akka. Upon the tribulations which weighed Him down was heaped the fatal accident which befell His young son, His companion and amanuensis, Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, whose dying supplication to his Father was to accept his life "as a ransom for those of His loved ones who yearned for, but were unable to attain, His presence. "2 In a Tablet revealed in that grievous hour Bahá'u'lláh sorrows that "This is the day whereon he that was created of the light of Baha has suffered martyrdom, at

80-i. GPB, P, 348. For an account of the commemoration of the passing of the Purest Branch, see BW 15:163. 80-2. NIA, P. 31.


+169

a time when he lay imprisoned at the hands of his enemies." Yet He makes clear that the youth's passing has a far profounder meaning than His acceptance of the simple request, declaring that "Thou art, verily, the trust of God and His treasure in this' land. Erelong will God reveal through thee that which He hath desired." In a prayer revealed for His son He proclaims the purpose underlying the tragedy: "I have, 0 my Lord, offered up that which Thou hast given Me, that Thy servants may be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united."3 Thus upon a youth of consummate devotion who demonstrated such beauty of spirit and total dedication was conferred a unique station in the Cause of God.

80.3 In your recalling the bereavement of Bahá'u'lláh upon the loss of His loved son, and honoring a highly significant event in the Faith, we leave it to the discretion of the Assemblies whether they choose to hold special gatherings of prayer. In the Holy Land at the World Center on Mount Carmel there will be an observance at the grave of Mirza Mihdi, at which time his pure example and sacrifice for all mankind will be remembered through the words of his glorious Father.



With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE Universal HOUSE OF JUSTICE

For your background and appreciation of the nature of the martyrdom of the

80.4 Purest Branch, we refer you to God Passes By, pp. 188-89, and to Bahá'í Holy Places at the World Center, pp. 60, and 70-74, from which the several quotations above are derived.

81 Ridvan Message 1970 Ridvan 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY ENTERING SEVENTH YEAR NINE YEAR PLAN HAS AMPLY

81.1 DEMONSTRATED ABILITY SCALE HEIGHTS DEVOTION SACRIFICE WIN ASTONISHING VICTORIES WORLD-REDEEMING WORLD-HEALING WORLD-UNITING FAITH. AT THIS RIDVAN EXTEND LOVING

WELCOME ELEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES NOW FORMING SEVEN IN AFRICA ONE IN AMERICAS ONE IN ASIA TWO IN AUSTRALASIA RAISING TO NINETY-FOUR NUMBER SUPPORTING PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. MOVED PAY LOVING TRIBUTE HANDS CAUSE GOD THEIR BRILLIANT SERVICES BLAZING TEACHING TRAILS SURFACE PLANET UPLIFTING ADVISING ASSEMBLIES FRIENDS ALL CONTINENTS. IN VIEW EFFECTIVE REINFORCEMENT THIS

80-3- MA, pp. 33, 34.


+170

NOBLE WORK BY ABLE DEDICATED CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELORS THEIR AUXILIARY BOARDS TOGETHER WITH GROWING NEED AND EXPANSION WORLD COMMUNITY ANNOUNCE AUGMENTATION VITAL INSTITUTION THROUGH APPOINTMENT THREE ADDITIONAL COUNSELORS IRAJ AYMAN WESTERN ASIA ANNELIESE BOPP BETTY REED EUROPE AND AUTHORIZATION APPOINTMENT FORTY-FIVE ADDITIONAL AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS NINE AFRICA SIXTEEN ASIA TWO AUSTRALASIA EIGHTEEN WESTERN HEMISPHERE. CALLING FORMATION FOUR NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES RIDVAN 1971 LESOTHO SEAT MASERU IVORY COAST MALI AND UPPER VOLTA SEAT ABIDJAN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO SEAT PORT OF SPAIN SOLOMON ISLANDS SEAT HONIARA. NINE YEAR PLAN ALREADY MARKED GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS PIONEERING PROCLAMATION RECOGNITION FAITH UPSURGE YOUTH ACQUISITION PROPERTIES COMMENCEMENT CONSTRUCTION PANAMA TEMPLE DEVELOPMENTS WORLD CENTER URGENT IMMEDIATE VITAL NEED CONCENTRATE ATTENTION INCREASE NUMBER LOCALITIES LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES BELIEVERS FILL REMAINING PIONEER POSTS. LAST RIDVAN CALL RAISED SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE PIONEERS MINIMUM REQUIREMENT. FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-NINE SPECIFIC POSTS STILL UNFILLED. TOTAL VICTORY REQUIRES MORE PIONEERS MORE FUNDS MORE NEW BELIEVERS. HANDS CAUSE COUNSELORS BOARD MEMBERS NATIONAL LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES EVERY SINGLE FOLLOWER BAHA'U'LLAH SUMMONED UTMOST EFFORT REMAINING YEARS NINE YEAR PLAN. ACHIEVEMENT THIS STEP MASTER'S DIVINE PLAN WILL ENDOW COMMUNITY CAPACITY ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES UNDERTAKE NEXT STAGE IMPLEMENTATION SUPREME PURPOSE BAHA'U'LLAH'S REVELATION UNIFICATION MANKIND ESTABLISHMENT LONG PROMISED KINGDOM GOD THIS EARTH. ASSURE ARDENT LOVING PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

82 Message to Bolivia and Mauritius Conferences-August 1970 AUGUST 1970

To the Continental Conference in La Paz, Bolivia, and the Oceanic Conference in Rose-Hill, Mauritius Beloved Friends,

82.1 Our hearts turn with eager expectancy to the twin Conferences now in session in the southern hemisphere. Their convocation so shortly after the worldwide commemoration of the Centenary of the Martyrdom of the Purest Branch, calls to mind that the promotion and establishment of the Faith of


+171

God have always been through sacrifice and dedicated service.,

Indeed, these very Conferences testify to the creative power, the fruitfulness, the invocation of Divine confirmations which result from sacrificial service to the Cause of God. Although both Bolivia and Mauritius are mentioned specifically in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, the Cause, even thirty-five years ago, was virtually unknown in those areas; today we witness the holding of these historic Conferences .2 Little wonder that South America, whose rulers and presidents were 82.2 addressed by Bahá'u'lláh in His Kitab-i-Aqdas, of whose indigenous believers the Master, in those Tablets already referred to, wrote 'should they be educated and guided, there can be no doubt that they will become so illumined as to enlighten the whole world,"3 should have exerted a magnetic attraction upon a number of ardent souls in the northern continent, eager to serve in so promising a field.4 A band of heroic pioneers, bearing the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, gradually penetrated its wide territories, its jungles and mountains. They were followed by others under systematic crusades of two Seven Year Plans and the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Plan and together they became the spiritual conquerors of that

continent.5 The Latin American communities which arose as a result of their pioneer efforts were described by the beloved Guardian as "associates in the execution" of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan .6 May Maxwell, one of the great heroines of the Faith, attained her longed-for crown of martyrdom in Buenos Aires; Panama became the site of the sixth Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Bahá'í world, and La Paz,

Bolivia, is now the scene of this Continental Conference.

82.3 The Indian Ocean, whose furthermost waves lap the shores of the Cradle of our Faith, upon whose waters the Divine Bab traveled in the course of His pilgrimage to Mecca, the heart of Islam, where He openly announced His Mission; whose mighty subcontinent from which it derives its name was the home and assigned province of the ninth Letter of the Living; whose major islands were severally mentioned by Abdu'l-Bahá in the seventh of His Tablets of the Divine Plan, lay, for most of a century, fallow to the Word of God, a 82-1. The Purest Branch is Mirza Mihdi, youngest son of Bahá'u'lláh. See message no. go regarding the 23 June 1970 commemoration of the centenary of his martyrdom. 52-2. See TDP 6.11, 7-11, 14-7. 82-3. TDP 6.8. 82-4. TDP 6.8. 82-5. One of the goals of the first Seven Year Plan (1937-44) was to establish a center in each republic in Latin America and the Caribbean; an objective of the second Seven Year Plan (1946-53) was the consolidation and expansion of the Faith throughout the Americas. The two plans were pursued by the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada under Shoghi Effendi's direction. At the beginning of the Ten Year Crusade (1953-63) regional National Spiritual Assemblies had formed in both Central America and South America. 82-6. MBW, P. 146.


+172

challenge to the promotion of His Faith.7 This challenge was answered by half a hundred Knights of Bahá'u'lláh who, in response to the beloved Guardian's call left their homes and wholeheartedly gave themselves to the establishment of the Cause in those parts. They implanted the banner of Bahá'u'lláh upon its atolls, its great islands and bordering territories. Now, in the midmost heart of that huge expanse of sea, Mauritius, an island whose name was enshrined in Bahá'í history during the Heroic Age of our Faith as the source, two years before 'Abdu'l-Bahá's arrival in America, of a contribution to the purchase of the site of the Mother Temple of the West, has been chosen as the venue of this oceanic Conference.

82.4 Not only have the institutions of the Faith been established in this ocean and this continent, but the spirit of the New Day, brilliant even at this early dawn with the light of Bahá'u'lláh's gifts to man, is apparent in the diversity of the attendants, in the brotherhood of erstwhile strangers-even enemies and above all in the noble purposes for which you have gathered.

82.5 Your aim is the redemption of mankind from its godlessness, its ignorance, its confusion and conflict. You will succeed, as those before you succeeded, by sacrifice to the Cause of God. The deeds and services required of you now, will shine in the future, even as those of your spiritual predecessors shine today and will forever shine in the annals of the Cause.

82.6 We share with you the spiritual delight of these occasions and assure you of our constant and ardent prayers that your deliberations upon the objectives of the Cause in your areas and the spiritual fellowship which you will enjoy will result in immediate and determined plans to complete the tasks assigned to you ere the rapidly approaching end of the Nine Year Plan. This Plan is the current stage of the Master's Divine Plan and its success must precede those greater triumphs when, as the result of your labors, the divine outpourings will raise up a vast concourse of radiant and devoted servants of Bahá'u'lláh who will establish His Kingdom in this world.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

82-7. TDP 7-10


+173

83 Call for Pioneers 2 AUGUST 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends, All National Spiritual Assemblies have been aware of the urgency of our

83.1 Ridvan 1969 message to the Bahá'ís of the world when the call was raised for pioneers to settle in territories in need of pioneer support or as yet unopened to the Faith, and have been cognizant of the emphasis which was placed on the need for the believers to arise quickly to ensure the success of the Nine Year Plan in the pioneer field.

83.2 Since that call was raised, no less than 330 of the pioneer posts in the 184 specified territories in the globe have been filled, and in a few of those territories additional pioneers have arrived to supplement the ranks of Bahá'u'lláh's followers at those posts. As you will note from the attached list I showing the current status of pioneer goals, some 417 pioneers must yet arise and settle in the posts previously assigned. After a recent review of pioneer needs we find it is necessary to call upon the valiant, constantly swelling community of believers throughout all continents to fill yet another 204 pioneer posts where manpower is desperately needed, in some territories in order to win the minimum number of Assemblies or localities called for in the Plan, and in others where vast new mass teaching areas have been opened to the Faith, thus necessitating additional reinforcements who must arrive soon if the precious gains are to be retained.

83.4 These 204 new pioneer goals have been assigned to specific National Spiritual Assemblies. Despite the magnitude of this undertaking and the grave challenge which your communities face in ensuring the homefront goals, we are compelled to point out that each of those goals assigned must be considered as a minimum requirement. Pioneers unable to go to the goals assigned by their own National Spiritual Assembly should be encouraged to fill goals assigned to other National Assemblies. Of course a self-supporting believer is free to settle as a pioneer in any

country he chooses. We call upon the friends to act promptly and decisively in this vital international undertaking in which the followers of Bahá'u'lláh are, in all continents of the globe, summoned to participate. The time is short and the effort required is truly formidable.

83-1. The list is too lengthy to include in this volume.


+174

83.6 We shall offer ardent prayers at the Holy Shrines, supplicating

that the waves of pioneers required to complete this urgent task of the present hour shall arise and quickly rush forth into the arena of service.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

84 Release of a Compilation on the Local Spiritual Assembly ii AUGUST 1970 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

84.1 As the Bahá'í Administrative Order rapidly expands throughout the world it behooves everyone associated with it to familiarize himself with its principles, to understand its import and to put its precepts into practice. Only as individual members of Local Spiritual Assemblies deepen themselves in the fundamental verities of the Faith and in the proper application of the principles governing the operation of the Assembly will this institution grow and develop toward its full potential.

84.2 It is because the principles of Bahá'í Administration are new to so many who are now being called upon to serve as members of Local Spiritual Assemblies that we felt the need to make available in brief form some of the texts and instructions which apply., No attempt has been made to put together a complete compilation of all texts from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, but it is hoped that the enclosed extracts will suffice as an introduction to a more profound study of the subject, and lead to a more efficient functioning of Local

Spiritual Assemblies everywhere.

84.3 We call upon you to consider ways and means of sharing this material with the friends, and especially members of Local Spiritual Assemblies, as quickly as possible. In many instances, of course, the material will need to be translated; in other instances many of the quotations included in the compilation may already be available to the friends in their own language.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

84-1. See CC 2:39- 60.


+175

85 Formation of Seven National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1971 1-2 AUGUST 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The following cable has just been sent to Hands of the Cause Ruhiyyih

85.1 Khanum and William Sears representing the Universal House of Justice at Conferences in Bolivia and Mauritius:

PLEASE ANNOUNCE TO PARTICIPANTS CONFERENCE JOYOUS NEWS DECISION CALL THREE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL CONVENTIONS NEXT RIDVAN NAMELY SUDAN CHAD AND CONGO BRAZZAVILLE GABON BRINGING TO SEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES BEING FORMED AT CLOSE OF SEVENTH YEAR NINE YEAR PLAN. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES BEHALF NATIONAL COMMUNITIES BAHA'I WORLD REACHING ONE HUNDRED ONE BY NEXT RIDVAN SUPPLICATING REINFORCEMENT TIES UNITING THEM GREATER CONSECRATION CHALLENGING TASKS STILL AHEAD WIDER PARTICIPATION ALL RANKS FAITHFUL.

86.1 COMMUNICATING TEXT CABLE ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES.

Please share this news with the friends. 85.2

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

86 Message to Pioneers 29 NOVEMBER 1970

To all Pioneers

Dearly loved Friends, The spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion that has animated so large a number of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh to leave their homes, move to posts far and near, to foreign lands and on the homefronts, to hoist the banner of the Faith and promote the divine teachings in well-nigh every populated area of the globe, uplifts our hearts and evokes our profound pride and admiration. We are now entering the most challenging and crucial closing period of the Nine Year Plan, that will culminate in the joyous celebration of the hundredth

86-1. This letter was sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies on 29 November 1970 for distribution to "all pioneers both on homefronts and overseas."


+176

anniversary of the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh's Most Holy Book, the Kitab-i-Aqdas. What greater gift can we lay at the feet of our Beloved, at that historic moment, than the proclamation of Victory in His Name!

86.2 Our deep appreciation of the vital role which the pioneers play in the onward march of the Army of Light towards victory arouses in us the desire to comfort their hearts, upraise their spirits, and strengthen their loins by calling to their minds the stirring appeal which flowed from the Pen of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

86.2a O that I could travel, 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.,

and the following words of guidance from our beloved Guardian:

86.2b Theirs, at this present hour, unpropitious and unpromising though the immediate prospects may appear, is the duty to plod on, confident and unsparing in their daily efforts, undimmed in their vision, alert and conscious of the sublimity of their calling and of the future glory of their Mission, undistracted by the petty pursuits and temptations of the environment in which they live, exerting their utmost, and playing, each independently, as well as through their concerted efforts, their part in hastening the advent of the day when their dearly beloved Faith will, at long last, have revealed the full measure of its potentialities, and soared, as destined by Providence, to new heights of power, of eminence and glory.3 It is hard for the friends to appreciate, when they are isolated in one of these goal territories, and see that they are making no progress in teaching others, are living in inhospitable climes for the most part, and are lonesome for Bahá'í companionship and activity, that they represent a force for good, that they are like a lighthouse of Bahá'u'lláh shining at a strategic point and casting its beam out into the darkness. This is why he [Shoghi Effendi] so consistently urges these pioneers not to abandon their poStS.4 However gigantic the task may be, no matter how insuperable the obstacles standing in the way of its accomplishment may appear, and however restricted the means, capacity, and numbers of those called upon

86-2. TDP 7-886-3. Letter dated 12 August 1957 to Italy and Switzerland. 86-4. MC, p. 68.


+177

to ensure its fulfillment, it surely cannot, by virtue of the divine potency with which it is charged, but be successfully achieved in due time. God's redemptive grace, flowing through the small yet infinitely resourceful band of His faithful servants will, as in the days past, gradually permeate the world, and infuse into the consciousness of peoples and nations alike the realization that nothing short of the divine panacea He Himself has prescribed can cure the ills now so sadly afflicting the whole of mankind. What a higher privilege therefore than to be the instrument, the channel for the transmission of such divine grace. Let us then take courage, and faithfully pursue our mission, and rest ever assured that the promised day of victory, foretold by Bahá'u'lláh as marking the golden age of His Cause, will dawn upon us and upon a world as yet unconscious of the divine potency of His Message.5

And finally from the Pen of Glory Itself: 86.2c

They that have forsaken their country for the purpose of teaching Our Cause-these shall the Faithful Spirit strengthen through its power. A company of Our chosen angels shall go forth with them, as bidden by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Wise. How great the blessedness that awaiteth him that hath attained the honor of serving the Almighty! By My life! No act, however great, can compare with it, except such deeds as have been ordained by God, the All-Powerful, the Most Mighty. Such a service is, indeed, the prince of all goodly deeds, and the ornament of every goodly act.

86.3 Thus hath it been ordained by Him Who is the Sovereign Ruler, the Ancient of Days.6 To each and every one of you we send our love and assurance of our prayers on your behalf in the Holy Shrines.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

86-5. Letter dated 21 October 1939 to an individual. 86-6. GWB, P. 334.


+178

87 Grave Crisis in Bahá'í International Fund 29 DECEMBER 1970

To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh in every land

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

87.1 We have reached a critical point in the progress of the Nine Year Plan. In many lands multitudes are thirsty and eager to embrace the Message of Bahá'u'lláh. In others, materially advanced but spiritually backward, a great effort is needed to awaken the people to the light of this New Day. The recently established National Spiritual Assemblies in many lands are occupied in acquiring the Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple Sites, National Endowments and Teaching Institutes essential for the proper development of the Administrative Order and the deepening of the Bahá'í knowledge of their believers, while in the heart of the Western Hemisphere, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama requires several hundred thousand dollars for its completion. To accomplish these many essential tasks the resources of the Cause are being stretched to their uttermost.

87.2 At this crucial moment, when the activities of the believers and the expenditure of funds should be increased to seize the opportunities which lie before us, the Bahá'í International Fund finds itself plunged into a grave crisis by a steep reduction in contributions. Undoubtedly worldwide economic difficulties are one of the causes of this, but we are confident that the believers throughout the world will respond to this challenge and will make every sacrifice to ensure that the work of the Cause of God goes forward unimpeded. Demands on the International Fund

87.3 Since 1963 when there were 56 National Spiritual Assemblies, to the present time when there are 94 (soon to be 101), the work of the Cause has expanded so rapidly, both in the teaching field and at the World Center, that the Universal House of Justice has had to increase more than fourfold the annual international budget of the Cause. This year fifty-eight percent of the International Fund is being expended outside the Holy Land on projects such as assistance to National Spiritual Assemblies (56 of which receive a large part, if not all, of their budgets from the World Center), contributions to the work of the Hands of the Cause and the Continental Boards of Counselors, defense of the Cause in lands where it is facing persecution, and our expanded activities at the United Nations.

87.4 In order to meet the present situation the Universal House of Justice must drastically reduce the expenditure of the Bahá'í International Fund until the flow of contributions is restored. While the work on the International Archives Building

necessary to protect the precious Tablets and relics from the high humidity and increasingly polluted atmosphere of Haifa city has been


+179

completed, the projects of further developing the Gardens in Bahji and of starting upon an extension of the Terraces below the Shrine of the Bab, as well as additional developments to the office facilities of the World Center, must now be postponed. In addition we are

reluctantly compelled to reduce by ten percent the next two quarterly remittances of assistance to National Spiritual Assemblies, and we call upon these Assemblies now to reduce their own expenditure to take account of this. These, however, can but be temporary measures designed to minimize the 87.5 present emergency. The real answer lies, not in restricting the activities of the friends at this time when mankind stands in such dire need of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, but in the universal participation of every believer in the work of the Cause.

Backbone of the Fund: Universal Participation The poor believers vastly outnumber the wealthy ones, and this majority 87.6 will grow rapidly as mass teaching spreads. Thus, although the work in mass teaching areas will continue to be assisted by the contributions of the friends, in prosperous lands, and these believers must for the immediate future continue to be the main support of the International Fund, it becomes ever more urgent for the friends in mass teaching areas to finance their own activities to an ever greater degree. The backbone of the Fund must be the regular contributions of every

believer. Even though such contributions may be small because of the poverty of the donors, large numbers of small sums combine into a mighty river that can carry along the work of the Cause. Moreover the unity of the friends in sacrifice draws upon them the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty. The universal participation of the believers in every aspect of the Faith in contributing to the Fund, in teaching, deepening, living the Bahá'í life, administering the affairs of the community, and, above all, in the life of prayer and devotion to God-will endow the Bahá'í community with such strength that it can overcome the forces of spiritual disintegration which are engulfing the non-Bahá'í world, and can become an ocean of oneness that will cover the face of the planet.

87.8 We ask every one of you to ponder these matters deeply, and to join us in fervent prayer that this momentary crisis will prove to have been a providential test that will spur the community of the Greatest Name to new heights of dedication and triumphant achievement.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+180

88 Message to the Monrovia Conference -- January 1971 JANUARY 1971

To the Friends of God assembled in the Conference in Monrovia, Liberia

Dearly loved Friends,

88.1 The emergence on the African Continent of a widely spread, numerous, diversified and united Bahá'í community, so swiftly after the initiation of organized teaching plans there, is of the utmost significance and a signal evidence of the bounties which God has destined for its peoples in this day.

88.2 The great victories in Africa, which brought such joy to the Guardians heart in the last years of his life, resulted from the self-sacrificing devotion of a handful of pioneers, gradually assisted by the first few native believers, all laboring under the loving shadow of the Hand of the Cause Musa Banani. From their efforts there has been raised up an increasing army of African,

teachers, administrators, pioneers and valiant promoters of the Divine Cause, whose main task is to bring to all Africa the bounties conferred by the Word of God, bounties of enlightenment, zeal,

devotion and eventually the true civilization of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order.

88.3 Many of the gravest ills now afflicting the human race appear in acute form on the African Continent. Racial, tribal and religious prejudice, disunity of nations, the scourge of political factionalism, poverty and lack of education are obvious examples. Bahá'ís have a great part to play-greater than they may realize-in the heating of these sicknesses and the abatement of their worst effects. By their radiant unity, by their "bright and shining', faces, their self-discipline in zealously following all the requirements of Bahá'í law, their abstention from politics, their constant study and proclamation of the Great Message, they will hasten the advent of that glorious day when all mankind will know its true brotherhood and will bask in the sunshine of God's love and blessing.

88.4 That the African believers are fully capable of taking their full share in building the Kingdom of God on earth, their

natural abilities and present deeds have fully demonstrated. An African Hand of the Cause of God, even now in the course of a brilliant, triumphal teaching tour of the planet, African Counselors, Board members, national and local administrators and an ever-increasing army of believers testify to the vigor and immense capacity of this highly blessed continent to serve its Lord in the great day of His appearance.'

88-1. See ABL, p. A, or PT, p. 61. 88-2. The African Hand of the Cause of God referred to is Enoch Olinga. For an account of his life and services, see BW 18:618-35.

88.5 For the message about his death, see no. 237.


+181

That the African believers, so beloved by the Guardian of the Faith, will rise to the challenge facing them and earn the gratitude and goodwill of all mankind by their deeds of dedication and self-sacrifice is the longing of our hearts. May this Conference become a sun from which will stream forth to all parts of the vast continent rays of spiritual energy and inspiration, galvanizing the friends to action in the fields of teaching and pioneering in such manner that they will rapidly achieve all the tasks assigned to them under the Nine Year Plan. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. 88.6

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

89 Message to the Oceanic Conference of the South China Seas, Singapore-January 1971 JANUARY197I

To the Friends of God assembled in the Oceanic Conference in Singapore, Malaysia

Dearly loved Friends, The wonderful progress made by the Bahá'í

communities of South East

89.1 Asia towards achievement of the tasks assigned to them under the Nine Year Plan fills our hearts with

thankfulness to God and arouses our keenest admiration for the

capacities and dedicated services of the friends in all those vast and varied territories. Indeed, so bountiful have been the divine confirmations rewarding their efforts that we are confident of their ability to far exceed the stated objectives and to initiate the opening phase of the next stage of their development, a massive

increase in the establishment of the Cause of God among the teeming millions of the islands and ocean-bordering countries of so huge an area of the earth.

89.2 South East Asia, whose gifted and industrious peoples have embraced four of the world's major religions, have produced in all ages civilizations and cultures representative of the highest accomplishments of the human race, now experiencing with the rest of the world the disruptive, revolutionizing, "vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order ... the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed," lies open and receptive to the Word of God, ready once more to nourish in its fertile soil that potent seed and to bring forth, in its own characteristic manner and as an integral part of the


+182

world civilization, the institutions, the fabric, the brilliant

edifice of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order.,

89.3 We now summon the believers of this highly promising area, flushed with the tide of approaching victory, to launch a three-pronged campaign, the main feature of which is to achieve an immediate expansion of the Faith, exceeding the aims of the Nine Year Plan. In addition you are called upon to raise a corps of traveling teachers, whose main objective will be to visit all the communities and groups in the area for the purpose of deepening and consolidating their Bahá'í life, thus preserving the victories won and reinforcing the base for future development. Simultaneously a number of Chinese-speaking believers must arise who, as pioneers and traveling teachers in all the countries of South East Asia, will attract large numbers of the talented Chinese race to embrace and serve the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.

89.4 Recognizing your current achievements and fully confident in your determination and ability to continue to attract the divine confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh, we are happy to announce as a supplementary goal of the Nine Year Plan, the establishment, at Ridvan, 1972, Of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Singapore, an additional supporting pillar of the Universal House of justice and a new bastion of the Faith in so vital a cross-roads of human activity.

89.5 We pray that your deliberations will engender a new wave of enthusiasm, cement ever more firmly the bonds of love between the many and various national communities of your area and result in practical plans for the implementation of the above tasks. 89.6

We send you all our most loving greetings and look forward eagerly to the report of your conference. THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

90 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Agnes Alexander 4 JANUARY 1971 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

gm PROFOUNDLY GRIEVE PASSING ILLUMINED SOUL HAND CAUSE AGNES ALEXANDER LONG-STANDING PILLAR CAUSE FAR EAST FIRST BRING FAITH HAWAIIAN ISLANDS.' HER LONG DEDICATED EXEMPLARY LIFE SERVICE DEVOTION CAUSE GOD ANTICIPATED BY CENTER COVENANT SELECTING HER SHARE MAY MAXWELL IMPERISHABLE ___ 89-1. GWB, P. 136. 90-1. For an account of the life and services of Agnes Alexander, see BW 15-423-30.


+183

HONOR MENTION TABLETS DIVINE PLAN. HER UNRESTRAINED UNCEASING PURSUIT TEACHING OBEDIENCE COMMAND BAHA'U'LLAH EXHORTATIONS MASTER GUIDANCE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHINING EXAMPLE ALL FOLLOWERS FAITH. HER PASSING SEVERS ONE MORE LINK HEROIC AGE. ASSURE FAMILY FRIENDS ARDENT PRAYERS HOLIEST SHRINE PROGRESS RADIANT SOUL REQUEST ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL MEETINGS AND THOSE RESPONSIBLE HOLD SERVICES MOTHER TEMPLES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

91 Participation of the Hands of the Cause of God in First National Conventions I FEBRUARY 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

HAPPY ANNOUNCE FOLLOWING HANDS CAUSE WILL REPRESENT UNIVERSAL HOUSE gi.1 OF JUSTICE FIRST NATIONAL CONVENTIONS COMING RIDVAN

AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM IVORY COAST UPPER VOLTA MALI ZIKRULLAH KHADEM TRINIDAD TOBAGO ADELBERT MUHLSCHLEGEL LESOTHO ALI-MUHAMMAD VARQA CONGO BRAZZAVILLE GABON ENOCH OLINGA BOTH SUDAN CHAD COLLIS FEATHERSTONE BOTH SOLOMON ISLANDS SOUTHWEST PACIFIC OCEAN. CONFIDENT PRESENCE PARTICIPATION THESE STANDARD-BEARERS NINE YEAR PLAN HISTORIC FIRST CONVENTIONS WILL ATTRACT DIVINE BLESSINGS ASSIST NEW NATIONAL COMMUNITIES BEFITTINGLY ASSUME SACRED RESPONSIBILITIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

92 Formation of Nine Additional National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1971 ii FEBRUARY 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

REJOICE ANNOUNCE ALL FRIENDS FORMATION DURING RIDVAN 1972 NINE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES RAISING TOTAL NUMBER PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE TO ONE HUNDRED AND TEN. THREE IN AFRICA MALAGASY REPUBLIC RIWNION SEYCHELLES THREE IN ASIA EAST PAKISTAN NEPAL SINGAPORE ONE IN AUSTRALASIA NORTHWEST PACIFIC OCEAN COMPRISING GUAM CAROLINES MARIANAS MARS14ALLS TWO IN EUROPE ICELAND AND REPUBLIC IRELAND.


+184

FOUR OF THESE SEYCHELLES EAST PAKISTAN SINGAPORE NORTHWEST PACIFIC CONSTITUTE SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENTS NINE YEAR PLAN. URGE PIONEERS SCHEDULED ALL THESE AREAS SETTLE POSTS WITHOUT DELAY. CALL UPON RESPECTIVE COMMUNITIES BRACE THEMSELVES EXERT SUPREME EFFORT FAST FLEETING WEEKS BEFORE COMING RIDVAN ESTABLISH AS MANY ASSEMBLIES AS POSSIBLE THEREBY BROADENING STRENGTHENING FOUNDATIONS PROJECTED

NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES FOLLOWERS MOST GREAT NAME MAY SEIZE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES PRESENT HOUR AND SPARE NO EFFORT UNTIL GOALS PLAN ARE FULLY ACCOMPLISHED THEREBY ATTRACTING TO THEMSELVES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES INESTIMABLE BLESSINGS ANCIENT BEAUTY.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

93 Warning against the Misuse of Recordings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Voice 23 FEBRUARY 1971 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

93.1 The advent and liberal supply of tape and cassette recorders in the markets of the world have opened new doors and placed in almost every land at the disposal of the friends new

methods for the dissemination of Bahá'í material. It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that the recording of Bahá'í talks, and other audio features, and their wide use among Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís alike, will prove to be a powerful new instrument in the teaching and deepening work everywhere. There is one area, however, where great care must be exercised, and this is in the use of the record of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's voice.

93.2 The Guardian, when referring to this record, requested the friends "to exercise restraint and caution." "In my view," he added, "it should be used only on special occasions and be listened to with the utmost reverence. The dignity of the Cause, I am sure, would suffer from too wide and indiscriminate use of one of the most precious relics of our departed Master.",

93.3 We request you to share the contents of this letter, in any manner you deem advisable, with the friends residing under your jurisdiction. We are confident ___ 93-1. BA, p. 55.


+185

that all the friends will strictly observe the Guardian's exhortation and will not overstep the bounds of courtesy and moderation in the use of a precious relic so lovingly left to us by the Center of God's Covenant.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

94 Principles of Bahá'í Publishing 28 MARCH 1971

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Recognizing the need for a great increase in the provision of Bahá'í literature in all languages, we have reviewed the whole process of Bahá'í publishing including such matters as reviewing, standards of production, sales and distribution, relationships between National Spiritual Assemblies, the international needs of the teaching work and the position of Bahá'í authors. We are both to stimulate the supply of new works and to liberate the channels of publication and distribution. We wish to encourage Bahá'í authors as well as to promote production of the basic texts of the Faith.

94.2 We therefore ask you to study the attached memorandum yourselves, pass it on to your Publishing Trusts and/or other agencies concerned, and make it available generally to the friends in whatever way you may find practicable.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

I Memorandum on Bahá'í Publishing-Ridvan 1971 The following principles and observations are called to the attention Of 94.3

National Spiritual Assemblies and all those concerned with the

production of Bahá'í publications:

Reviewing Obligatory At this early stage of the Cause all works by Bahá'ís which deal with the 94.3. Faith, whether in the form of books, pamphlets, translations, poems, songs, radio and television scripts, films, recordings, etc. must be approved before submission for publication, whether to a Bahá'í or non-Bahá'í publisher. In


+186

the case of material for purely local consumption the competent

authority is the Local Spiritual Assembly, otherwise the National Spiritual Assembly (through its Reviewing Committee) is the approving authority. A Temporary Measure

94.3b That this measure is both obligatory and temporary is borne out by the following statements of the Guardian: They must supervise in these days when the Cause is still in its infancy all Bahá'í publications and translations, and provide in general for a dignified and accurate presentation of all Bahá'í literature and its distribution to the general public. (Principles of Bahá'í Administration, pp. 38-39)

the administration of the Cause ... should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation .... ... the present restrictions imposed on the publication of Bahá'í literature will be definitely abolished; (The World Order Bahá'u'lláh, p. 9) Purpose of Review

94.3c The purpose of review is to protect the Faith from misrepresentation and to ensure dignity and accuracy in its presentation. In general the function of a Reviewing Committee is to say whether the work submitted gives an acceptable presentation of the Cause or not.

Reviewers may win the gratitude and good will of authors by calling attention to such things as occasional grammatical or spelling errors, but approval should not be refused on such grounds; all such details are editorial matters for agreement between author and

publisher. Translations

94.3d As regards English, the beloved Guardian's translations are obviously the most authentic and should be used. If, for some particular reason, a Bahá'í author when quoting a passage of the Sacred Text which has been rendered into English by the Guardian, wishes to use a translation other than that made by the beloved Guardian, his request may be referred to the Universal House of Justice. Passages from the Sacred Text not translated by Shoghi Effendi, but already in English and published with approval, may be used. If an author wishes to make his own translation of a passage not already translated by Shoghi Effendi, the new translation may be submitted to the Universal House of Justice for approval.


+187

With the exception of certain oriental languages such as Turkish, Arabic 94.3e and Urdu, which are related to the original Persian or Arabic, new translations of the Sacred Text into languages other than English must be made from the Guardian's English translation where it exists. When there is no translation into English by Shoghi Effendi of a particular passage, the National Spiritual Assembly concerned should seek the advice of the Universal House of Justice. When translations already exist, which are not made from the Guardian's English text, but have been published and approved, they may be used.

Reviewing Committees It is recommended that Reviewing Committees be small, composed of two 94.3f or three believers with adequate education and knowledge of the Cause. It is essential that works submitted be dealt with promptly. The standards to be upheld by reviewers are the following: (a) conformity with the Teachings, (b) accuracy, (c) dignity in presentation. The Spiritual Assembly, on the basis of its Reviewing Committee's report, gives or withholds approval of the work.

Approval of Works Already Reviewed Elsewhere While a National Spiritual Assembly intending to publish Bahá'í literature 94.39 is encouraged to accept the review of another National Spiritual Assembly, it is not required to do so and has the right to review any work prior to authorizing its publication or republication by its own Publishing Trust or publisher in its area of jurisdiction. This does not apply to works by Hands of the Cause, which are reviewed in the Holy Land. A National Spiritual Assembly which

receives for approval a manuscript 94.3h from outside its area of jurisdiction should inquire whether it has already been submitted for review elsewhere, and in the case of its having been refused approval, the reasons for such refusal.

Bahá'í Publishers Bahá'í publishers may not publish any work about the Faith until it has 94.3i been approved by the National Spiritual Assembly of the country where it is to be published. Approval of a work imposes no obligation upon any Bahá'í publisher to 94.3j publish it. Whatever "house styles" Publishing Trusts and other Bahá'í

publishers may 94.3k adopt, transliteration of oriental terms into languages using the Roman alphabet must at present be according to the system chosen by the Guardian and described in volumes of The Bahá'í World.


+188

Cables

94.31 Cables in English should be printed exactly as received, without interpolation., Editing

94.3m Bahá'í publishers, when accepting a work for publication, will make their own arrangements with the author on all such matters as accuracy of quotations, documentation, grammar and spelling, dates and even the rewriting of passages which the publisher may consider need improving, or he may ask the author to write additional material or to delete part of the original manuscript. Although such matters are entirely between the author and publisher, any addition, deletion or changes which affect the meaning must be submitted for review with the relative context. Approval Notice

94.3n Although no Bahá'í work may be published without approval, it is not mandatory to print an approval notice in any publication.

Bahá'í Authors

94.30 Bahá'í authors should welcome review of their works, and can greatly assist promptness in review by supplying a sufficient number of copies of the manuscript for each member of the Reviewing Committee to have one.

94.3p Bahá'í authors may submit their works for review to any National Spiritual Assembly, and may send their works, once approved, to any publisher they like, Bahá'í or non-Bahá'í, at home or abroad. It should be remembered, however, that the approval should be given by the National Spiritual Assembly of the country where the work is to be first published. And in the case of a non-Bahá'í publisher the author should insist on use of the system of transliteration at present used by the Faith for languages employing the Roman alphabet.

94.3q It is hoped that Bahá'í authors will provide a constant stream of new works. Introductory books, commentaries, dissertations on various aspects of the Revelation, text books, histories, reviews, audiovisual material are all needed to stimulate study of the Faith and to promote the vital teaching work.

94-1. The Universal House of Justice, in messages dated 16 July 1974 and 18 March 1981, has explained what editing is permissible when publishing its cables: (i) the word 'stop," when used to indicate the end of a sentence, may be replaced with a period; (z) transliteration of Persian and Arabic words may be added; (3) apostrophes may be added to possessive case nouns; (4) spelling mistakes made in transmission may be corrected; (5) capitalization may follow house style; (6) when both a cable and its letter of transmission are in hand, the date of the cable should be used, and only the text of the cable itself should be printed, unless the letter contains other pertinent information.


+189

Sale and Distribution of Bahá'í Literature .Bahá'í publications reviewed and published in one country may be sold or 94.3, offered for sale anywhere in the world. This includes the right of the publisher or the author to promote the sale of the publication in any legitimate manner including the right to advise the Bahá'ís in any country of its contents, price and availability. It does not include the right to insist that National Assemblies, their Publishing Trusts or Publishing Committees stock, promote or advertise the publication or offer it for sale. If any National Spiritual Assembly feels that a book would be damaging to the Faith in its country, it may represent this fact to the publisher and author and ask them not to promote it in that particular country. It is hoped that there will be great cooperation among those publishing Bahá'í literature, and Publishing Trusts are encouraged to supply to believers, the book trade and libraries, all Bahá'í publications from any country. 2. Believers should not be prevented from purchasing Bahá'í books reviewed and published in other countries. 3.

95.1 National Spiritual Assemblies are not obliged to furnish mailing lists of believers to publishers, but publishers may compile their own mailing lists and use them for the announcement and promotion of sale of their Bahá'í books and literature. 4. Five copies of every new book and every new edition (not reprints) should be sent to the World Center.,

95 Call for Deepening on the Significance of the Formative Age 15 APRIL 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Our Ridvan message this year, called attention to the impending fiftieth anniversary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, 11 an event which signalized at once the end of the Heroic Age of our Faith, the

opening of the Formative Age and the birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh." 94-2. For current instructions, consult the Bahá'í World Center

Library. 95-1. See the following message (no. 96).


+190

95.2 We now call upon all National Spiritual Assemblies to formulate

and implement plans designed to educate the friends everywhere in their understanding of the significance of the Formative Age of our Faith. As an aid to this program we attach extracts from the writings of the beloved Guardian on this general theme, and we suggest that these and similar excerpts from the writings be studied and expounded at the forthcoming Summer Schools, at special sessions of Teaching Institutes, at conferences of the friends, and indeed on any occasions which you may deem suitable.

95.3 We leave it to you to use the wonderful material bequeathed to us by the beloved Guardian on this theme in whatever manner you deem best for your own communities. The study and understanding of this subject will immensely strengthen the faith of the believers as well as their ability to present the message to a waiting world.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Extracts from the Writings of Shoghi Effendi on the Significance of the Formative Age of Our Faith APRIL 1971

95.4 The passing of Abdu'l-Bahá, so sudden in the circumstances which caused it, so dramatic in its consequences, could neither impede the operation of such a dynamic force nor obscure its purpose. Those fervid appeals, embodied in the Will and Testament of a departed Master, could not but confirm its aim, define its character and reinforce the promise of its ultimate success.

95.5 Out of the pangs of anguish which His bereaved followers have suffered, amid the heat and dust which the attacks launched by a sleepless enemy had precipitated, the Administration of Bahá'u'lláh's invincible Faith was born. The potent energies released through the ascension of the Center of His Covenant crystallized into this supreme, this infallible Organ for the accomplishment of a Divine Purpose. The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá unveiled its character, reaffirmed its basis, supplemented its principles, asserted its indispensability, and enumerated its chief institutions "America and the Most Great Peace"-21 April 1933, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh Selected Letters, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982), P. 89.

95.6 With 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension, and more particularly with the passing of His well-beloved and illustrious sister the Most Exalted Leaf2_the last survivor of a glorious and heroic age-there draws to a close the first and most 95-2. Bahiyyih Khanum, also known as the Greatest Holy Leaf, the daughter of Bahá'u'lláh and the sister of Abdu'l-Bahá.


+191

moving chapter of Bahá'í history, marking the conclusion of the Primitive, the Apostolic Age of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.3 It was Abdu'l-Bahá Who, through the provisions of His weighty Will and Testament, has forged the vital link which must for ever connect the age that has just expired with the one we now live in-the Transitional and Formative period of the Faith-a stage that must in the fullness of time reach its blossom and yield its fruit in the exploits and triumphs that are to herald the Golden Age of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Dearly beloved friends! The onrushing forces so miraculously released 95.7 through the agency of two independent and swiftly successive Manifestations are now under our very eyes and through the care of the chosen stewards of a far-flung Faith being gradually mustered and disciplined. They are slowly

crystallizing into institutions that will come to be regarded as the hallmark and glory of the age we are called upon to establish and by our deeds immortalize. For upon our present-day efforts, and above all upon the extent to which we strive to remodel our lives after the pattern of sublime heroism associated with those gone before us, must depend the efficacy of the instruments we now fashion instruments that must erect the structure of that blissful Commonwealth which must signalize the Golden Age of our Faith.4 "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh 8 February 1934, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 98. 95.8 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who incarnates an institution for which we can find no parallel whatsoever in any of the world's recognized religious systems, may be said to have closed the Age to which He Himself belonged and opened the one in which we are now laboring. His Will and Testament should thus be regarded as the perpetual, the indissoluble link which the mind of Him Who is the Mystery of God has conceived in order to insure the continuity of the three ageS5 that constitute the component parts of the Bahá'í Dispensation. The period in which the seed of the Faith had been slowly germinating is thus intertwined both with the one which must witness its efflorescence and the subsequent age in which that seed will have finally yielded its golden fruit. The creative energies released by the Law of Bahá'u'lláh, permeating and 9s.9 evolving within the mind of 'Abdu'l-Bahá have, by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of 95-3. The Apostolic Age of the Bahá'í Faith, also referred to as the Heroic Age, began in 1844 and concluded in 1921 with the passing of Abdu'l-Bahá. For more details, see the entry on Ages in the glossary. 95-4. The "blissful Commonwealth is the future worldwide community of Bahá'í nations, states, and localities that will give birth to a Bahá'í civilization. 95-5. The three Ages of the Bahá'í Dispensation are the Heroic, Formative, and Golden Ages. For more information, see the entries for Ages and Dispensation in the glossary.


+192

this most great Dispensation. The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant-the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God-the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it. Bahá'u'lláh's inscrutable purpose, we must ever bear in mind, has been so thoroughly infused into the conduct of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and their motives have been so closely wedded together, that the mere attempt to dissociate the teachings of the former from any system which the ideal Exemplar of those same teachings has established would amount to a repudiation of one of the most sacred and basic truths of the Faith.

95.10 The Administrative Order, which ever since Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension has evolved and is taking shape under our very eyes in no fewer than forty countries of the world, may be considered as the framework of the Will itself, the inviolable stronghold wherein this newborn child is being nurtured and developed. This Administrative Order, as it expands and consolidates itself, will no doubt manifest the potentialities and reveal the full implications of this momentous Document-this most remarkable expression of the Will of One of the most remarkable Figures of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. It will, as its component parts, its organic institutions, begin to function with efficiency and vigor, assert its claim and demonstrate its capacity to be regarded not only as the nucleus but the very pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace in the fullness of time the whole of mankind. "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh's February 1934, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 143-44.

95.11 Dearly beloved friends: Though the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh has been delivered, the World Order which such a Revelation must needs beget is as yet unborn. Though the Heroic Age of His Faith is passed, the creative energies which that Age has released have not as yet crystallized into that world society which, in the fullness of time, is to mirror forth the brightness of His glory. Though the framework of His Administrative Order has been erected, and the Formative Period of the Bahá'í Era has begun, yet the promised Kingdom into which the seed of His institutions must ripen remains as yet uninaugurated 95.12 "The heights," Bahá'u'lláh Himself testifies, "which, through the most gracious favor of God, mortal man can attain in this Day are as yet unrevealed to his sight. The world of being hath never had, nor doth it yet possess, the capacity for such a revelation. The day, however, is approaching when the potentialities of so great a favor will, by virtue of His behest, be manifested unto men."


+193

For the revelation of so great a favor a period of intense turmoil and widespread suffering would seem to be indispensable. Resplendent as has been the Age that has witnessed the inception of the Mission with which Bahá'u'lláh has been entrusted, the interval which must elapse ere that Age yields its choicest fruit must, it is becoming increasingly apparent, be overshadowed by such moral and social gloom as can alone prepare an unrepentant humanity for the prize she is destined to inherit.... As we view the world around us, we are compelled to observe the manifold evidences of that universal fermentation which, in every continent of the globe and in every department of human life, be it religious, social, economic or political, is purging and reshaping humanity in anticipation of the Day when the wholeness of the human race will have been recognized and its unity established. A twofold process, however, 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, 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 new age, and is consequently falling into chaos and decline. A titanic, a spiritual struggle, unparalleled in its magnitude yet unspeakably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is being waged as a result of these opposing tendencies, in this age of transition through which the organized community of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh and mankind as a whole are passing. . . ., ' It is not my purpose to call to mind, much less to attempt a detailed analysis Of, the spiritual struggles that have ensued, or to note the victories that have redounded to the glory of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh since the day of its foundation. My chief concern is not with the happenings that have distinguished the First, the Apostolic Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, but rather with the outstanding events that are transpiring in, and the tendencies which characterize, the formative period of its development, this Age of Transition, whose tribulations are the precursors of that Era of blissful felicity which is to incarnate God's ultimate purpose for all mankind. "The Unfoldment of World Civilization - 11 March 1936, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 168-71.


+194

95.17 The moment had now arrived for that undying, that world-vitalizing Spirit that was born in Shiraz, that had been

rekindled in Tihran, that had been fanned into flame in Baghdad and Adrianople, that had been carried to the West, and was now illuminating the fringes of five continents, to incarnate itself in institutions designed to canalize its outspreading energies and stimulate its growth. The Age that had witnessed the birth and rise of the Faith had now closed. The Heroic, the Apostolic Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, that primitive period in which its Founders had lived, in which its life had been generated, in which its greatest heroes had struggled and quaffed the cup of martyrdom, and its pristine foundations been established-a period whose splendors no victories in this or any future age, however brilliant, can rival-had now terminated with the passing of One Whose mission may be regarded as the link binding the Age in which the seed of the newborn Message had been incubating and those which are destined to witness its efflorescence and ultimate fruition.

95.18 The Formative Period, the Iron Age, of that Dispensation was now beginning, the Age in which the institutions, local, national and international, of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh were to take shape, develop and become fully consolidated, in anticipation of the third, the last, the Golden Age destined to witness the emergence of a world-embracing Order enshrining the ultimate fruit of God's latest Revelation to mankind, a fruit whose maturity must signalize the establishment of a world civilization and the formal inauguration of the Kingdom of the Father upon earth as promised by Jesus Christ Himself

95.19 The last twenty-three years of the first Bahá'í century may thus be regarded as the initial stage of the Formative Period of the Faith, an Age of Transition to be identified with the rise and establishment of the Administrative Order, upon which the institutions of the future Bahá'í World Commonwealth must needs be ultimately erected in the Golden Age that must witness the consummation of the Bahá'í

Dispensation. The Charter which called into being, outlined the features and set in motion the processes of, this Administrative Order is none other than the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Bahá, His greatest legacy to posterity, the brightest emanation of His mind and the mightiest instrument forged to insure the continuity of the three ages which constitute the component parts of His Father's Dispensation

95.20 The Administrative Order which this historic

Document has established, it should be noted, is, by virtue of its origin and character, unique in the annals of the world's religious systems

95.21 The Document establishing that Order, the Charter of a future world civilization, which may be regarded in some of its features as supplementary to no less weighty a Book than the Kitab-i-Aqdas; God Passes By, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987), pp. 324-28.


+195

The first seventy-seven years of the preceding century, constituting the

95.22 Apostolic and Heroic Age of our Faith, fell into three distinct epochs, of nine, of thirty-nine and of twenty-nine years' duration, associated respectively with the 136bi Dispensation and the ministries of Bahá'u'lláh and of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.6 This Primitive Age of the Bahá'í Era, unapproached in spiritual fecundity by any period associated with the mission of the Founder of any previous Dispensation, was impregnated, from its inception to its termination, with the creative energies generated through the advent of two independent Manifestations and the establishment of a Covenant unique in the spiritual annals of mankind.

95.23 The last twenty-three years of that same century coincided with the first epoch of the second, the Iron and Formative, Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh -- the first of a series of epochs which must precede the inception of the last and Golden Age of that Dispensation -- a Dispensation which, as the Author of the Faith has Himself categorically asserted, must extend over a period of no less than one thousand years, and which will constitute the first stage in a series of Dispensations, to be established by future Manifestations, all deriving their inspiration from the Author of the Bahá'í Revelation, and destined to last, in their aggregate, no less than five thousand centuries....

95.24 During this Formative Age of the Faith, and in the course of present and succeeding epochs, the last and crowning stage in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh -- the election of the Universal House of Justice -- will have been completed, the Kit6b-i-Aqdas, the Mother-Book of His Revelation, will have been codified and its laws promulgated, the Lesser Peace will have been established, the unity of mankind will have been achieved and its maturity attained, the Plan conceived by 'Abdu'l-Bahá will have been executed, the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will have been effected, and its independent religious status will have been universally recognized, whilst in the course of the Golden Age, destined to consummate the Dispensation itself, the banner of the Most Great Peace, promised by its Author, will have been unfurled, the World Bahá'í Commonwealth will have emerged in the plenitude of its power and splendor, and the birth and efflorescence of a world civilization, the child of that Peace, will have conferred its inestimable blessings upon all mankind. "The Challenging Requirements of the Present Houe'-5 June 1947, Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957 (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 4-6.

95-6. The ministry of the Bab lasted from 1844 to 1853; the ministry of Bahá'u'lláh, 1853 to 1892; and the ministry of Abdu'l-Bahá, 1892 to 1921. 95-7. 1921-44.


+196

96 Ridvan Message 1971 RIDVAN 1971

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

96.1 On November 28th 1971 the Bahá'í World will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Center of the Covenant, the Ensign of the Oneness of Mankind, the Mystery of God, an event which signalized at once the end of the Heroic Age of our Faith, the

opening of the Formative Age and the birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, As we contemplate the fruits of the Master's Ministry harvested during the first fifty years of the Formative Age, a period dominated by the dynamic and beloved figure of Shoghi Effendi, whose life was dedicated to the systematic implementation of the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and of the Tablets of the Divine Plan-the two charters provided by the Master for the administration and the teaching of the Cause of God-we may well experience a sense of awe at the prospect of the next fifty years. That first half-century of the Formative Age has seen the Bahá'í Community grow from a few hundred centers in 35 countries in 1921, to over 46,000 centers in 135 independent states and 182 significant territories and islands at the present day, has been marked by the raising throughout the world of the framework of the Administrative Order, which in its turn has brought recognition of the Faith by many governments and civil authorities and accreditation in consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and has witnessed the spread to many parts of the world of that "entry by troops"

promised by the Master and so long and so eagerly anticipated by the friends.,

96.2 A new horizon, bright with intimations of thrilling developments in the unfolding life of the Cause of God, is now discernible. The approach to it is complete victory in the Nine Year Plan. For we should never forget that the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, the current Nine Year Plan, other plans to follow throughout successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, are all phases in the implementation of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, set out in fourteen of His Tablets to North America.

96-1. The Heroic Age (1844-1921) spanned the ministries of the Bab, Bahá'u'lláh, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

96.3 For a fuller explanation of the Heroic and the Formative Ages, see the entry on Ages in the glossary For information on the Administrative Order and the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, see the glossary. 96-2. CF, P. 117.


+197

Review of Significant Achievements

The Nine Year Plan is well advanced, and this Ridvan will witness the establishment of seven more National Spiritual Assemblies, five in Africa, one in South America and one in the Pacific, bringing the total number of these exalted bodies to 101. Next Ridvan the nine already announced will be formed, together with 4 more, one each in Afghanistan, Arabia, the Windward Islands and Puerto Rico, bringing the total to 114, six more than called for in the Nine Year Plan. The members of all National Spiritual Assemblies which will be elected at Ridvan 1972 Will take part in the election of the Universal House of Justice at Ridvan 1973, when an international convention will be held at the World Center.

96.4 The Mother Temple of Latin America, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama, is scheduled to be completed by December 1971 and its dedication will take place at the following Ridvan.3 The wonderful spirit released at the four Oceanic and Intercontinental

96.5 Conferences, together with the practical

benefits which accrued to the Cause from them, reinforce our high hopes that the four Conferences to be held this year will be resounding successes and result in more pioneers, more traveling teachers, greater proclamation of the Message and a raising of the spirits and devotion of the friends. Our appeal to the friends in December 1970 for support of the Bahá'í International Fund,4 which had reached a serious condition due to various unforeseen circumstances, has had a magnificent response from many quarters of the worldwide Bahá'í Community, and we are heartened to believe that this manifestation of devotion and sacrifice, as it continues and becomes more widespread, will resolve the condition that had threatened to adversely affect the attainment of cherished goals of the Nine Year Plan.

Services of the Hands of the Cause of God The travels and other

services of the Hands of the Cause of God continually evoke our thankfulness and delight, even wonder and astonishment. Their deeds are such as to eclipse the acts of the apostles of old and to confer eternal splendor on this period of the Formative Age. On behalf of all the friends everywhere, we offer them our reverent love and gratitude. It is fitting to record here the passing, after seventy years' exemplary service to the Faith, of the Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander, whose early services in Hawaii were said by the Master to be greater than if she had founded an empire.5

96-3. The Bahá'í House of Worship in Panama was dedicated 29-30 April 1972. See message no. i08. 96-4. See message no. 8796-5. See message no. go on Agnes Alexander's passing.


+198

96.8 Restrictive measures, directed against the Faith, and varying in severity from outright oppression to imposition of disabilities make virtually impossible the achievement of the goals of the Nine Year Plan in a number of countries, particularly in the Middle East, in North West Africa, along the fringes of East Africa and certain areas in South East Asia. It is hoped that those Bahá'í communities which enjoy freedom to teach their Faith will so far surpass their own goals as to amply compensate for the disabilities suffered by their less fortunate brothers. The army of traveling teachers must be reinforced and the friends, particularly Bahá'í youth, are called to seriously consider how much time they can offer to the Faith

during the remaining two years of the Nine Year Plan. Teaching visits of brief or long duration, deputization of others, the undertaking of such tasks as would free other friends for teaching work, are all means of building up, in unison, that final surge which will carry the Plan to victory. Two Objectives-Forming Assemblies and Opening Localities

96.9 Two major objectives of the Plan are the formation of new Local Spiritual Assemblies and the opening of new localities. 14,966 Local Spiritual Assemblies are called for; I0,36c, are now in existence. 54,503 localities must claim a Bahá'í resident; 46,334 do so now. The goal is in sight, the time short. However, the growth reflected in the above statistics has not taken place at all levels and in all areas. For while a number of national communities have already achieved, or even surpassed the goals assigned to them, many face extreme difficulties in attaining theirs. With mutual help and an increase in the momentum already generated there is no doubt that the community of the Most Great Name is capable of sweeping on to total victory, thereby gaining a view of those enthralling vistas at present beyond the horizon. Immediate and Future Tasks

96.10 The twin processes so clearly described by the beloved Guardian in his essay "The Unfoldment of World Civilization" -- the steady progress and consolidation of the Cause of God on the one hand and the progressive disintegration of a moribund world on the other-will undoubtedly impose upon us new tasks, the obligation of devising new approaches to teaching, of demonstrating more clearly to a disillusioned world the Bahá'í way of life and making more effective the administrative institutions of the Faith.6 The authority and influence of National and Local Spiritual Assemblies will have to be strengthened in order to deal with larger Bahá'í communities; the international character of the Cause will need to be developed, while the international teaching agency at the World Center, already

referred to in previous general letters, will be established.

96-6.

96.11 WOB, pp. 16I- 206.


+199

However fascinating such considerations, which are likely to be forced upon our attention in the near future, may be, they must not deflect our energies and will from the immediate task-the goals of the Nine Year Plan. Their achievement is the best preparation for the future and the means of developing new powers and capacities in the Bahá'í Community.

97.1 We are confident that the Army of Light, growing in strength and unity will, by 1973, the centenary year of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, have scaled the heights of yet another peak in the path leading ultimately to the broad uplands of the Most Great Peace.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

97 Message to the Caribbean Conference-May 1971 MAY 1971

To the Friends of God gathered in the Caribbean Conference Warmest greetings! How propitious that on its mountaintop between the two greatest oceans and the two American continents the Mother Temple of Latin America is rising now in Panama, a land blessed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá's prophecy that "in the future it will gain most great importance.", How splendid that the vision projected in the Divine Plan for the Americas has sprung into such vibrant life in this Caribbean basin, in country after country upon its verdant shores, in island after island across its expanse, all named by the Master in His Tablets. What shall we not witness erelong in these places so charged with destiny through the Master's utterances! The Nine Year Plan, the current stage in the unfoldment of the Divine

97.2 Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, is approaching its triumphant end. This Conference is an occasion to sum up what has been won, to determine to achieve the remaining goals for expansion in these blessed lands, and to consolidate the old and new communities of the Most Great Name. Indeed, the winning of our grand Bahá'í objectives began just yesterday when, in the early years of the Formative Age, a few travelers crossed the Caribbean. Yet it was not until the successive Plans of the beloved Guardian, culminating in the Ten Year Crusade, when 27 Knights of Bahá'u'lláh settled throughout this vast area, that the Cause took firm root. By 1963 the countries and islands of the Caribbean claimed less than 400 localities and only 147 Local Spiritual Assemblies. Now

97-1. TDP 6.9.


+200

Bahá'ís are to be found in over 2500 localities, more than 500 Local Assemblies and 16 National Spiritual Assemblies have been formed, and there have been hundreds of concrete achievements which have brought about our recognition as an independent Faith.

97.3 The Americas have been a melting pot and a meeting place for the races of men, and the need is acute for the fulfillment of Gods promises of the realization of the oneness of mankind. Particularly do the Master and the Guardian point to the Afro-Americans and the Amerindians, two great ethnic groups whose spiritual powers will be released through their response to the Creative Word. But our Teachings must touch all, must include all peoples. And, in this hour of your tireless activity, what special rewards shall come to those who will arise, summoned by 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Words: "Now is the time for you to divest yourselves of the garment of attachment to this world that perisheth, to be wholly severed from the physical world, become heavenly angels, and travel to these countries. "2

97.4 The time is short, the needs many. No effort can be foregone, no opportunity wasted. Praised be God that you have gathered in this Conference to consult upon the vital requirements of this highly significant moment. Our prayers ascend at the Holy Threshold that every session of this historic meeting will attract Divine Blessings, and that each soul, armed with the love of God and imbued with His purpose for a struggling mankind, will arise to activate, beyond all present hopes, the vast spiritual potentialities of the Americas. 97.5

To each of you we send our deepest love. THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

98 Message to the South Pacific Oceanic Conference-May 1971 MAY 1971 To the Friends of God assembled in the Conference of the South

Pacific Ocean Dearly loved Friends,

98.1 We send our warmest greetings and deepest love on the occasion of the first Conference in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Praise be to God that you have gathered to consult on the vital needs of the hour!

98.2 Recalling the promise of Bahá'u'lláh 'should they attempt to conceal His light on the continent, He will assuredly rear His head in the midmost heart

97-2. TDP 6-13


+201

of the ocean and, raising His voice, proclaim: 'I am the lifegiver of the world!"' I we now witness its fulfillment in the vast area of the Pacific Ocean, in island after island mentioned by the Master in the Tablets of the Divine Plan .2 How great is the potential for the Faith in localities blessed by these references! At the inception of the Formative Age,3 the Cause was little known here.

98.3 Agnes Alexander had brought the Teachings to the Hawaiian Islands. Father and Mother Dunn had only recently arrived in Australia. Later the name of Martha Root was to be emblazoned across the Pacific.4 Still later, at the beginning of the Ten Year Crusade, a vanguard of twenty-one Knights of Bahá'u'lláh raised His call as they settled in the islands of this great Ocean. The names of these valiant souls, together with the names of the army of pioneers and teachers who followed, will be forever enshrined in the annals of the Faith.

98.4 Their mighty endeavors brought about the enrollment of thousands of the peoples of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia under the banner of the Most Great Name, the opening in Australasia of more than 800 centers and the establishment of ten pillars of the Universal House of Justice.5 We can but marvel at such triumphs attained despite great difficulties imposed by the vast expanse of ocean separating the island communities, especially when it is recalled that in many of these islands even the Christian Gospel was unknown as late as the 1830s.

98-1. WOB, p. j08. 98-2. TDP 6.13. 98-3. The second Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, also called the Age of Transition or the Iron Age, the Formative Age began in 1921. For details, see the entry on Ages in the glossary. 98-4. Agnes Alexander became a Bahá'í in Rome in 1900 and on 26 December 1901 returned to her home in the Hawaiian Islands. After receiving a Tablet from Abdu'l-Bahá encouraging her to travel to Japan to teach the Faith, she went there in 1914 and remained for twenty-three years. John Henry Hyde Dunn and his wife, Clara Dunn, also arose spontaneously after reading 'Abdu'l-Bahá's statement in Tablets of the Divine Plan (7.8), "O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of 'Ya Baha El 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." ML Dunn resigned his position, and the Dunns left their home in San Francisco for Australia, arriving on 18 April 1920. Mr. Dunn was sixty-two; Mrs. Dunn was fifty. They remained in Australia until their deaths in 1941 and 1960, respectively. Martha Root arose in 1919 in response to Abdu'l-Bahá's call and embarked upon the first of many journeys to which she dedicated herself throughout the remaining twenty years of her life. All four were elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause of God, Miss Root being called by Shoghi Effendi the "foremost Hand which 'Abdu'l-Bahá's will has raised up first Bahá'í century." For accounts of their lives and services, see: Agnes Alexander BW 15:423-30; Hyde Dunn-BW 9:593-97; Clara Dunn - BW 13:859-62; and Martha Root BW 13:643-48, and Mabel Garis, Martha Root. See also O.Z. Whitehead, "Father and Mother Dunn," in Some Bahá'ís to Remember, pp. 153-75. For the Universal House of Justice's message about Miss Alexander's passing, see no. go. 98-5. The "ten pillars" referred to are the National Spiritual Assemblies of Australia, Fiji Islands, Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, North West Pacific Ocean, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South West Pacific Ocean, and Tonga and the Cook Islands.


+202

98.5 How great is the responsibility to continue spreading the Word of God throughout the Pacific. It was in the Tablets of the Divine Plan that 'Abdu'l-Bahá called for teachers 'speaking their languages, severed, holy, sanctified and filled with the love of God," to "turn their faces to and travel through the three great Island groups of the Pacific Ocean-Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia . . . With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God" to "deliver the Glad Tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people.116

98.6 The Nine Year Plan, the current phase of the unfoldment of the Divine Plan, is now approaching its final stages. It is incumbent on the friends to assess what has been accomplished and to anticipate and plan for such rapid acceleration of the teaching and consolidation work as is necessary to win all goals by 1973. Time is short; the needs critical. No effort must be spared; no opportunity overlooked.

98.7 Our prayers ascend at the Holy Threshold that every session of this historic meeting will attract Divine blessings, and that the friends will go forth, armed with the love of God and enthusiasm born of the Spirit, fully prepared to scale the heights of victory!

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

99 Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá' 12 JULY 1971 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends, 99,1 We have noted with deep satisfaction that some National Spiritual Assemblies have already initiated plans to befittingly commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the inception of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation.'

99.2 We feel it would be highly fitting for the three days, November 26 to 28, during which the Day of the Covenant and the Anniversary of the Ascension

98-6. TDP 7.5. 99-1. For an account of the commemoration in the Holy Land and throughout the world of the fiftieth anniversary of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing, see BW 15:125-29. For an abridged version of the account by Shoghi Effendi and Lady Blomfield of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, see BW 15:113-24.


+203

of 'Abdu'l-Bahá occur, to be set aside this year by all National Spiritual Assemblies for specially arranged gatherings and conferences, convened either nationally or locally or both, on the three following main themes: The Bahá'í Covenant, The Formative Age, and The Life of Abdu'l-Bahá.

99.3 We hope that these gatherings will serve to intensify the consecration of the workers in the Divine Vineyard in every land, and provide them with the opportunity, especially in the watches of the night of that Ascension, when they will be commemorating the passing hour of our Beloved Master, to renew their pledge to Bahá'u'lláh and to rededicate themselves to the accomplishment of the as yet unfulfilled goals of the Nine Year Plan. The Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land, the members of the Universal House of Justice, and all resident and visiting believers at the World Center will, on that memory-laden night, visit the Shrine of that Mystery of God on behalf of the entire Community of the Blessed Beauty and will supplicate for the stalwart champions of the Faith laboring in the forefront of so many fields of service and winning fresh triumphs in His Name, for the self-sacrificing believers without whose support and sustained assistance most of these victories could not be achieved, and for those who will be inspired to join the ranks of the active and dedicated promoters of His glorious Cause at this crucial stage in the development of the Plan, that we may all meet our obligations and discharge our sacred trust, thus making it possible in the latter months of the Plan for our entire resources to be devoted to an even greater expansion of the Faith in its onward march towards the spiritual conquest of the planet.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

100 Message to the North Pacific Oceanic Conference September 1971 SEPTEMBER 1971

To the Friends of God assembled in the Conference of the North

Pacific Ocean Dearly loved Friends, On the eve of the Fiftieth

Anniversary of the opening of the Formative

100.1 Age of our Faith we call to mind the high hopes often expressed by the beloved Master for the spread of the Cause in this region, His mention in the

Tablets of the Divine Plan of many of the territories represented in this Conference,


+204

and the faithful and devoted services of that maidservant of Bahá'u'lláh, the Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander, who brought the Teachings to these shores in the early years of this century.'

100.2 In these days we are witnessing an unprecedented acceleration of the teaching work in almost every part of the globe. In the North Pacific Ocean area great strides have been made in the advancement of the Cause since that historic Asia Regional Teaching Conference in Nikko just sixteen years ago. The next two years witnessed the formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska and of the Regional National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia. To the Convention in Tokyo at Ridvan 1957 the Guardian addressed these prophetic words:

100.2a This auspicious event, which posterity will regard as the culmination of a process initiated, half a century ago, in the capital city of Japan, ... marks the opening of the second chapter in the history of the evolution of His Faith in the North Pacific area. Such a consummation cannot fail to lend a tremendous impetus to its onward march in the entire Pacific Ocean ...

100.3 Since that time National Spiritual Assemblies have also been firmly established in Korea and Taiwan.

100.4 Hokkaido, the site of this Conference, first heard of the Teachings less than fifteen years ago, and the first aboriginal peoples of this land accepted Bahá'u'lláh just over a decade ago. Now you are the witnesses to the beginnings of a rapid increase in the number of believers. Peoples in other islands and lands of the North Pacific, including the Ryukyus, Guam, the Trust Territories, the western shores of Canada and Alaska and the Aleutians are also enrolling under the banner of the Most Great Name, and next Ridvan yet another pillar of the

Universal House of Justice is to be raised in Micronesia. We are heartened at the prospect that from the indigenous peoples of this vast oceanic area the Ainu, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Koreans, the Okinawans, the Micronesians, the American Indians, the Eskimos, and the Aleuts-vast numbers will soon enter the Faith.

100.5 The final hours of the Nine Year Plan are fast fleeting. Praise be to God that you have gathered to consult on ways and means of assuring

complete victory so that from these outposts the Teachings may spread to those nearby lands where teeming millions have not as yet heard of the advent of this Most Great Dispensation.

100-1. Agnes Alexander traveled to Japan at Abdu'l-Bahá's encouragement and remained there for twenty-three years (1914-37). For an account of her life and services, see BW 15:423-30. For the Universal House of Justice's message upon her passing, see no. 90; see also the May 1971 message to the South Pacific Oceanic Conference, (no. 98).

[Note by Agnes Alexander's Biographer Duane Troxel: It is inaccurate to say that Agnes Alexander remained in Japan for 23 years. Altogether she spent 32 years in Japan.

After her intial arrival in Kobe, Japan on 1 November 1914, she returned to the US mainland and Hawaii for visits from 1917- 1919; 1924-28; 1933-35 and 1937-1950.

After her Pilgrimage in 1937 she remained out of Japan from 1937 to 1950 due to World War II and the occupation of Japan by Allied forces.

100.6 In 1950 she returned to Japan where she remained until 1967 when she came back to Hawaii to spend her last four years in the Arcadia retirement residence.

See three-part series on the biography of Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander in Bahá'í News: Oct-Dec, 1983.]


+205

The sweet perfume of victory is in the air, and we must hasten to achieve it while there is yet time. Vital goals, particularly on the homefronts of Taiwan and Japan, remain to be won, and everywhere the roots of the faith of the believers must sink deeper and deeper into the firm earth of the Teachings lest tempests and trials as yet unforeseen shake or uproot the tender plants so lovingly raised in the islands of this great Ocean and the lands surrounding it. As you and the friends in the sister Conference in Reykjavik bring this 100.7 series of eight Oceanic and Continental Conferences to a triumphant close, our prayers for the success of your deliberations ascend at the Holy Threshold. May God grant you the resources, the strength, and the determination to attain your highest hopes, and enable you to open a new and glorious chapter in the evolution of His Faith in the North Pacific area.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

101 Message to the North Atlantic Conference- September 1971 SEPTEMBER 1971

To the Friends assembled in the North Atlantic Conference in Reykjavik Dearly loved Friends, To each and every one of you in this historic Conference we send our most i0i.1 cordial and loving greetings. The famous island in which you are now gathered, so strategically placed between the two great continents flanking the vast oceanic area which surrounds it, to which the Teachings of Christ were brought a millennium ago, and which, in this Dispensation, was mentioned by the Center of the Covenant in His Tablets of the Divine Plan, first heard the Name of Bahá'u'lláh in 1924 when the Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins stopped briefly in Reykjavik and made the acquaintance of Holmfriour Arnadottir who subsequently became the first Bahá'í of Iceland. Eleven years later the beloved Martha Root spent a month in this land which she loved so well. On that occasion, with the help of H61mfri6ur, the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh was widely proclaimed in the press, on the radio and from the lecture platform. 101-1. TDP 7-15 I


+206

101.2 The great Ocean extending from the equator to the Pole and from Europe to North America, which has been both the barrier and the link between the Old and the New Worlds, has played a highly significant part in the later history of mankind. Long before Columbus arrived in the West Indies the Vikings, forebears of Icelanders of today, were plying its northern waters. In later centuries wave upon wave of Europeans sailed from east to west, engaging in one of the most significant migrations in human history. In the twentieth century 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself sailed across it and back, a voyage unique in the religious history of mankind and creating a remarkable parallel with the Light of the Cause itself, beaming from the East across the great Ocean to the heart of the North American Continent, being reflected back again, firing new beacon lights in Europe and in later years diffusing its radiance throughout the world. The great Republic2 whose eastern shore forms part of the boundary of this Ocean has become the Cradle of the Administrative Order and at this present time the banner of the Most Great Name is being raised in island after island of this Ocean, two of which-Iceland and Ireland-will raise, next Ridvan, new pillars of the Universal House of Justice.

101.3 The Faith of God is flourishing in the lands around the North Atlantic; a new wind is blowing, promoting an upsurge of proclamation and teaching. In Europe the youth are afire with enthusiasm and vigor. In Canada and the United States a ground swell of unknown proportions is carrying Bahá'í communities to heights of unprecedented achievement.

101.4 You are gathered in this Conference to consult on ways and means of winning, in the few fleeting months ahead, the remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan. In Europe particularly there is much to be done, but we have full faith that the friends, galvanized by their love for Bahá'u'lláh and fortified by His promises of Divine assistance, will, with, the enthusiasm which they already display, commit their resources to the tasks ahead and will surely attain the victory.

101.5 The beloved Master prayed that holy souls would arise from the Northern Territories of the West and become signs of God's guidance and standards of the Supreme Concourse. In one of the Tablets of the Divine Plan He refers to an inhospitable island of that area saying:

101.5a Should the fire of the love of God be kindled in Greenland, all the ice of that country will be melted, and its cold weather become temperate-that is, if the hearts be touched with the heat of the love of God, that territory will become a divine rose garden and a heavenly paradise, and the souls, even as fruitful trees, will acquire the utmost freshness and beauty. Effort, the utmost effort is required .... 3

101-2. The United States of America. 101-3.

101.6 TDP 5.2.


+207

As the friends gathered in Reykjavik and Sapporo bring this worldwide series of Oceanic and Continental Conferences to a triumphant close our thoughts are with you and our prayers on your behalf rise from the Sacred Threshold. May untold blessings and confirmations be showered upon you as you go forth to labor for the advancement of the Cause of God and may your brows be crowned with victory.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

102 Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Musa Banani 5 SEPTEMBER 1971

To the Hands of the Cause of God, the Continental Boards of Counselors, the National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Hand of the Cause Musa Banani passed to the Abha Kingdom at noon on Saturday, September 4th. The following cable was sent by the

Universal House of Justice:

PROFOUNDLY MOURN PASSING DEARLY LOVED HAND CAUSE MUSA BANANI RECALL WITH DEEP AFFECTION HIS SELFLESS UNASSUMING PROLONGED SERVICES CRADLE FAITH HIS EXEMPLARY PIONEERING UGANDA CULMINATING HIS APPOINTMENT AS HAND CAUSE AFRICA AND PRAISE BELOVED GUARDIAN AS SPIRITUAL CONQUEROR THAT CONTINENT' INTERMENT HIS REMAINS AFRICAN SOIL UNDER SHADOW MOTHER TEMPLE ENHANCES SPIRITUAL LUSTER THAT BLESSED SPOT. FERVENTLY PRAYING SHRINES PROGRESS HIS NOBLE SOUL. MAY AFRICA NOW ROBBED STAUNCH VENERABLE PROMOTER DEFENDER FAITH FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE CHEER HIS HEART ABHA KINGDOM. CONVEY FAMILY MOST TENDER SYMPATHIES ADVISE HOLD MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL COMMUNITIES Bahá'í WORLD BEFITTING GATHERINGS MOTHER TEMPLES.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

102-1. For an account of the life and services of Musa Banani, see BW 15:421-23.


+208

103 Spiritual Character of Bahá'í' Elections 11 NOVEMBER 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

103.1 A compilation has been made from the writings of the beloved Guardian about the spiritual character of Bahá'í elections., We are sharing these extracts with you to bring to the attention of the friends under your jurisdiction in any manner you deem advisable.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

104 Formation of Thirteen New National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1972 7 DECEMBER 197;

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

104.1 HAPPY ANNOUNCE DECISION ADD RWANDA LIST NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TO BE FORMED NEXT RIDVAN. REPRESENTATIVES HOUSE JUSTICE FIRST CONVENTIONS AS FOLLOWS HANDS CAUSE AMATUL-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM WINDWARD ISLANDS UGO GIACHERY PUERTO RICO ALI-AKBAR FURUTAN NEPAL SHUA'U'LLAH 'ALA'I EAST PAKISTAN ADELBERT MUHLSCHLEGEL RWANDA SEYCHELLES JALAL KHAZEH SINGAPORE ENOCH OLINGA ICELAND WILLIAM SEARS IRELAND COLLIS FEATHERSTONE NORTHWEST PACIFIC Rahmatu'llah MUHAJIR MALAGASY REPUBLIC RIWNION COUNSELOR HADI Rahmani AFGHANISTAN. PRAYING SHRINES OUTSTANDING SUCCESS THESE HISTORIC GATHERINGS ELECTING MEMBERS NEW PILLARS HOUSE JUSTICE FOCAL CENTERS SPIRITUAL INVIGORATION ILLUMINATION NEWLY EMERGING NATIONAL COMMUNITIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

103-1. See CC 1:315-18 for a revised version provided by the Universal House of Justice in 1989.


+209

105 World Center Developments -- Erection of Obelisk and Extension of Gardens 13 DECEMBER 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS WORLD CENTER. AFTER MANY l

05.1 YEARS DIFFICULT NEGOTIATIONS ERECTION OBELISK MARKING SITE FUTURE Mashriqu'l-Adhkar MOUNT CARMEL COMPLETED THUS FULFILLING PROJECT INITIATED BELOVED GUARDIAN EARLY YEARS CRUSADE. GARDENS BAHJI HAIFA EXTENDED BY DEVELOPMENT QUADRANT SOUTHEAST MANSION BAHA'U'LLAH AND ESTABLISHMENT FORMAL GARDEN SOUTHWEST CORNER PROPERTY SURROUNDING SHRINE BAB.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

106 Surpassing the Nine Year Plan Goal for the Number of Bahá'í

Localities 14 FEBRUARY 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

OVERJOYED ANNOUNCE FRIENDS EVERY LAND NUMBER LOCALITIES NOW 56645

106.1 EXCEEDING BY OVER 2500 ORIGINAL GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN. OFFERING PRAYERS THANKSGIVING SACRED THRESHOLD FOR DIVINE BOUNTIES SURROUNDING SACRIFICIAL EFFORTS LOVE-Intoxicated SUPPORTERS HIS BLESSED NAME. URGE BELIEVERS THOSE AREAS WHOSE TEACHING GOALS ARE STILL OUTSTANDING EXERT UTMOST EFFORT COURSE SWIFTLY PASSING REMAINING MONTHS PLAN WIN THEIR GOALS ENABLING THEM JOIN RANKS THEIR VICTORIOUS BRETHREN WHO ARE URGED CONTINUE THEIR VIGOROUS BRILLIANT EXPLOITS IN SERVICE GOD'S INFINITELY GLORIOUS CAUSE. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


+210

107 Release of a Compilation on Music and Singing I MARCH 1972 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

107.1 In these days when music and singing are playing such an important and effective part in the teaching work, we feel it appropriate and timely to share with you the enclosed compilation of extracts from the writings of our Faith on the subject.,

107.2 We leave it to your discretion to decide in which manner and to what extent to share the attached extracts with the friends and communities under your jurisdiction.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

108 Dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America, Panama City, Panama 19 MARCH 1972 To the Beloved of God gathered in the Conference called on the occasion of the Dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

108.1 With praise and gratitude to God the whole Bahá'í world acclaims the dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America, an edifice which glorifies the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh at that point where, the beloved Master asserted, "the Occident and the Orient find each other united through the Panama Canal," where "The teachings, once established ..., will unite the East and the West, the North and the South."

108.2 This historic project, in a hemisphere of infinite spiritual potentiality, fulfills one of the most important goals of the Nine Year Plan, and brings untold joy to the hearts of the friends in every land. Privileged are they who share in the raising of this glorious Silent Teacher with deeds of loving generosity and sacrifice. A crown to the labors of all those who have striven to establish the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in Latin America, this Mashriqu'l-Adhkar the rallying ___ 107-1. See CC 2:73-82. 109-1. TDP 14.8.


+211

point for the Bahá'ís of those lands, whether they are of the blessed Indian peoples or represent the other races whose diversity enriches the nations of that hemisphere, will be a fountainhead of spiritual confirmations, and this mighty achievement will endow the Bahá'í Community with new and greater capacities, enabling the friends in Latin America, and particularly in this privileged land of Panama, to win victories that will eclipse all their past achievements.

108.3 The threefold task to which your attention is now directed comprises the proclamation, expansion and consolidation of the Faith. We urge you to concentrate your deliberations not only on the exchange of ideas for the prosecution of this task, but on ways and means for fostering collaboration among the Bahá'í Communities of Central and South America so that the most fruitful harvest may be gathered in all three aspects of the teaching work and enable you to achieve your remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan.

109.2 Our loving, ardent prayers will be offered at the Sacred Threshold, that the

108.4 Almighty may inspire your discussions in this historic Conference and crown all your efforts with victory.2

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Release of a Compilation on Bahá'í Schools and Institutes 10 APRIL 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

In view of the increasing importance of Bahá'í summer schools, a number 109.1 of excerpts from the writings of the beloved Guardian have been compiled which set forth objectives to be attained by and principles underlying the operation of this institution., Many of these objectives and principles apply to Teaching Institutes, and a section of quotations from the Universal House of Justice on these Institutes is included. We share these extracts with the friends in the hope that they will be assisted and guided in the development of these vital institutions of the Faith.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

i08-2. The International Teaching Conference held in conjunction with the dedication of the House of Worship was held in Panama City, 28 April-2 May 1972. 109-1. See CC x:25-44.


+212

110 Ridvan Message 1972 RIDVAN 1972

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

110.1 The opening of the final year of the Nine Year Plan sees the Bahá'í world community poised for overwhelming victory. With grateful hearts we acknowledge the continuing confirmations which have attended its efforts and the Divine bounties which have never ceased to rain down upon this blessed, this ever-developing embryonic world order.

Review of Significant Achievements

110.2 The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama, the Mother Temple of Latin America, will be dedicated this Ridvan. Three beloved Hands of the Cause, Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum representing the Universal House of justice, Ugo Giachery and Zikrullah Khadem will attend this historic ceremony. The imaginative and inspiring concept of the architect, Peter Tillotson, has been wonderfully realized and we extend to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama on behalf of the entire Bahá'í world, loving congratulations on their achievement.

110.3 Although the dissolution of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iraq has, unhappily, resulted from the persecution of the Faith in that land, the thirteen new National Spiritual Assemblies which will come into being this Ridvan will bring the total number of these pillars of the Universal House of Justice to 113.

110.4 The goals requiring acquisition of properties and establishment of Teaching Institutes are well in hand and, in those countries where legal circumstances permit, incorporation of Assemblies and recognition of Bahá'í marriage and Holy Days are making good progress. Teaching Goals

110.5 It is the teaching goals which must engage our attention and effort. Although more than 260 territories have achieved their assigned goals of localities where Bahá'ís reside, and in some cases have exceeded them, enabling the Bahá'í world community to rejoice in having outstripped on a world scale the total number of localities envisaged in the Plan, there are still some 60 territories where this goal is yet to be won and where its attainment must be given absolute priority between now and Ridvan 1973. It is expected that a large number of new Local Spiritual Assemblies will be established at Ridvan and immediately after the position of this goal is ascertained a detailed listing of all territories throughout the world which have not yet won their goals


+213

for localities and Local Spiritual Assemblies will be sent to every National Spiritual Assembly for urgent release to the friends. International Cooperation It is hoped that during this last year of the Plan the principle of collaboration between National Spiritual Assemblies will be extended far beyond the special tasks set in the Nine Year Plan. Those communities which have already attained their goals or are in clear sight of them should consider the world picture as disclosed by the listing mentioned above and do everything they can, without jeopardizing their own success, to assist their fellow communities with pioneers and traveling teachers, or in any other way possible. Such a process will greatly consolidate the unity and brotherhood of the Bahá'í world community.

110.7 Pioneering Goals In the meantime we call on all believers everywhere to prayerfully consider their personal circumstances, and to arise while there is yet time, to fill the international pioneer goals of the Plan. There are 267 pioneer needs still to be answered-75 in Africa, 57 in the Americas, 40 in Asia, 30 in Australasia and 65 in Europe. New Requirements of the ever-growing World Order The extraordinary advances made since that Ridvan of 1964 when the Nine

110.8 Year Plan was begun, continuing the organized and purposeful process of teaching on a world scale instituted by our beloved Guardian when he launched the Ten Year Crusade, force upon our attention new requirements of this ever-growing world order both for its own organic life and in relation to the disintegrating world society in which it is set. The divergence between the ways of the world and of the Cause of God becomes ever wider. And yet the two must come together. The Bahá'í community must demonstrate in ever-increasing measure its ability to redeem the disorderliness, the lack of cohesion, the permissiveness, the godlessness of modern society; the laws, the religious obligations, the observances of Bahá'í life, Bahá'í moral principles and standards of dignity, decency and reverence, must become deeply implanted in Bahá'í consciousness and increasingly inform and characterize this community. Such a process will require a great development in the maturity and effectiveness of Local Spiritual Assemblies. The purposes and standards of the Cause must be more and more understood and courageously upheld. The influence of the Continental Boards of Counselors and the work of their Auxiliary Boards must develop and spread through the entire fabric of the Bahá'í community. A vast systematic program for the production of Bahá'í literature must be promoted.


+214

Our Task-Achieving Every Attainable Goal of the Plan

110.9 Our immediate and inescapable task, however, is to ensure that every attainable goal of the Nine Year Plan is achieved. This must be done at all costs. No sacrifice, no deferment of cherished plans must be refused in order to discharge this "Most important" of the many "important" duties facing us. Who can doubt that one last supreme effort will be crowned with success? Even now the national community to bear the laurels of first achieving every task assigned to it, Fiji, leads the procession of rejoicing and victorious communities within the Army of Light. We may well emulate Bahá'í youth whose recent surge forward into the van of proclamation and teaching is one of the most encouraging and significant trends in the Faith, and who storm the gates of heaven for support in their enterprises by long-sustained, precedent and continuing prayer. We are all able to call upon Bahá'u'lláh for His Divine, all-powerful aid, and He will surely help us. For He is the Hearer of prayers, the Answerer.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

111 Elucidation of the Nature of the Continental Boards of Counselors 24 APRIL 1972 To the Continental Boards of Counselors and National Spiritual Assemblies Beloved Friends,

111.1 Recently we have received queries from several sources about the nature of the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counselors and its relationship to the Institution of the Hands of the Cause, and we feel it is timely for us to give further elucidation.

111.2 As with so many aspects of the Administrative Order, understanding of this subject will develop and clarify with the passage of time as that Order grows organically in response to the power and guidance of Almighty God and in accordance with the needs of a rapidly developing worldwide community. However, certain aspects are already so clear as to require a proper understanding by the friends. The Rulers and the Learned

111.3 In the Kitab-i-Ahd (the Book of His Covenant) Bahá'u'lláh wrote "Blessed are the rulers and the learned among the people of Baha,", and referring to this very passage the beloved Guardian wrote on 4 November 1931: III-I. TB, P. 221.


+215

In this holy cycle the "learned" are, on the one hand, the Hands of 111.3. the Cause of God, and, on the other, the teachers and diffusers of His teachings who do not rank as Hands, but who have attained an eminent position in the teaching work. As to the "rulers" they refer to the members of the Local, National and International Houses of justice. The duties of each of these souls will be determined in the future. (Translated from the Persian) The Learned The Hands of the Cause of God, the Counselors and the members of the

111.4 Auxiliary Boards fall within the definition of the "learned" given by the beloved Guardian. Thus they are all intimately interrelated and it is not incorrect to refer to the three ranks collectively as one institution. However, each is also a separate institution in itself. The Institution of the

111.5 Hands of the Cause of God was brought into existence in the time of Bahá'u'lláh and when the Administrative Order was proclaimed and formally established by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will, it became an auxiliary institution of the Guardianship. The Auxiliary Boards, in their turn, were brought into being by Shoghi Effendi as an auxiliary institution of the Hands of the Cause. When, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the Universal House of

111.6 Justice decided that it could not legislate to make possible the appointment of further Hands of the Cause, it became necessary for it to create a new institution, appointed by itself, to extend into the future the functions of protection and propagation vested in the Hands of the Cause and, with that in view, so to develop the Institution of the Hands that it could nurture the new institution and function in close collaboration with it as long as possible. It was also vital so to arrange matters as to make the most effective use of the unique services of the Hands themselves. The first step in this development was taken in November 1964 when the

111.7 Universal House of Justice formally related the Institution of the Hands to itself by stating that "Responsibility for decisions on matters: of general policy affecting the institution of the Hands of the Cause, which was formerly exercised by the beloved Guardian, now devolves upon the Universal House of Justice as the supreme and central institution of the Faith to which all must turn." At that time the number of members of the Auxiliary Boards was increased from72 to 135, and the Hands of the Cause in each continent were called upon to appoint one or more members of their Auxiliary Boards to act in an executive capacity on behalf of and in the name of each Hand, thereby assisting him in carrying out his work. In June 1968 the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counselors was brought into being, fulfilling the goal of extending the aforementioned functions of the Hands into the future, and this momentous decision was accompanied by the next step in the development of the Institution of the Hands


+216

of the Cause: the continental Hands were to serve henceforth on a worldwide basis and operate individually in direct relationship to the Universal House of Justice; the Hands ceased to be responsible for the direction of the Auxiliary Boards, which became an auxiliary institution of the Continental Boards of Counselors; the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land were given the task of acting as liaison between the Universal House of Justice and the Boards of Counselors; and the working interrelationships between the Hands and the Boards of Counselors were established. Reference was also made to the future establishment by the Universal House of Justice, with the assistance of the Hands residing in the Holy Land, of an international teaching center in the Holy Land.2

111.9 In July 1969 and at Ridvan 1970

further increases in the numbers of Counselors and Auxiliary Board members were made.

111.10 Other developments in the Institution of the Hands of the Cause and the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counselors will no doubt take place in future as the international teaching center comes into being and as the work of the Counselors expands. Distinctions between the Rulers and the Learned

111.11 We have noted that the Hands, the Counselors and the Auxiliary Boards are sometimes referred to by the friends as the "appointive arm" of the Administrative Order in contradistinction to the Universal House of justice and the National and Local Assemblies which constitute the "elective arm." While there is truth in this description as it applies to the method used in the creation of these institutions, the friends should understand that it is not only the fact of appointment that particularly distinguishes the institutions of the Hands, Counselors and Auxiliary Boards. There are, for instance, many more believers appointed to committees in the "elective area' than are serving in the so-called "appointive arm." A more striking distinction is that whereas the "rulers" in the Cause function as corporate bodies, the "learned" operate primarily as individuals. Exclusion of Past Evils and Retention of Beneficial Elements

111.12 In a letter written on 14 March 1927 to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Istanbul, the Guardian's Secretary explained, on his behalf, the principle in the Cause of action by majority vote. He pointed out how, in the past, it was certain individuals who "accounted themselves as superior in knowledge and elevated in position" who caused division, and that it was those "who pretended to be the most distinguished of all" who "always proved themselves to be the source of contention." "But praise be to God," he continued, "that the Pen of Glory has done away with the unyielding and dictatorial views of the 111-2. For messages about the establishment and duties of the International Teaching Center, see nos. 131, 132, and 361.


+217

learned and the wise, dismissed the assertions of individuals as an authoritative criterion, even though they were recognized as the most accomplished and learned among men and ordained that all matters be referred to authorized centers and specified Assemblies. Even so, no Assembly has been invested with the absolute authority to deal with such general matters as affect the interests of nations. Nay rather, He has brought all the assemblies together under the shadow of one House of Justice, one divinely appointed Center, so that there would be only one Center and all the rest integrated into a single body, revolving around one expressly designated Pivot, thus making them all proof against schism and division." (Translated from the Persian.) Having permanently excluded the evils admittedly inherent in the institutions of the "learned" in past dispensations, Bahá'u'lláh has nevertheless embodied in His Administrative Order the beneficent elements which exist in such institutions, elements which are of fundamental value for the progress of the Cause, as can be gauged from even a cursory reading of the Guardian's message Of 4 June 1957.

111.14 The existence of institutions of such exalted rank,

comprising individuals who play such a vital role, who yet have no legislative, administrative or judicial authority and are entirely devoid of priestly functions or the right to make authoritative interpretations, is a feature of Bahá'í administration unparalleled in the religions of the past.

112.1 The newness and uniqueness, of this concept make it difficult to grasp; only as the Bahá'í Community grows and the believers are increasingly able to contemplate its administrative structure uninfluenced by concepts from past ages, will the vital interdependence of the "rulers" and "learned" in the Faith be properly understood, and the inestimable value of their interaction be fully recognized.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

112 Message to Bahá'í Unity Conference, Ganado, Arizona 18 MAY 1972 Bahá'í Unity Conference Ganado, Arizona Beloved Friends, Praise be to the Almighty that you have gathered in that beautiful spot in a spirit of love and harmony for the purpose of strengthening the bonds of unity between yourselves and among all men.


+218



112.2 The All-Wise Creator of earth and heaven has from the beginning which has no beginning sent to His peoples Divine Messengers to guide them to the Straight Path. These Wise Ones have come to establish the unity of the Kingdom in human hearts. This great evolutionary process of building the organic unity of the human race has entered a new stage with this mighty message of Bahá'u'lláh. His voice is the voice of the Great Spirit. His love for humankind is the force of the New Age.

112.3 He who sends the rain, who causes the sun and the stars to shine, the rivers to flow, the winds to blow and the earth to give forth her bounties has in this Great Day sent to all mankind Bahá'u'lláh. It is this Great One who has opened the door of divine knowledge to every soul. It is His teachings that will establish world unity and bring about universal peace.

112.4 The people of the world are the tools in His hand. They must strive to understand His message and to walk in the path of His divine guidance. Every human being is responsible in this day to seek the truth for himself and thereafter to live according to that wise counsel. The old ones have all longed for this sweet message. Praise God that you have found it.

112.5 Now awakened to new wisdom, now guided to the straight path, now illumined with this mighty message, strive you day and night to guide and assist the thirsty ones in all lands to the ever-flowing fountain, the wandering ones to this fortress of certainty, the ignorant ones to this source of knowledge and the seekers to that One for whom their hearts long.

112.6 May your consultation reach so high a level of endeavor and purpose that the Great One will open before your faces the doors of the paradise of wisdom and love and cause the light of the Abha Beauty to shine in your midst.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

113 Establishment of Local Spiritual Assemblies during the Final Year of the Nine Year Plan 28 MAY 1972 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

113.1 In order to stimulate the teaching work in every land and encourage the friends during this last year of the Nine Year Plan we have decided that as soon as the number of adult believers in any locality reaches or exceeds nine they are permitted to form their Local Spiritual Assembly immediately, rather than wait until 21 April 1973.


+219

We hope moreover that, especially in the areas where the people are entering the Cause in troops, the implementation of this decision will increase the number of those communities which will, without the need for outside assistance, reelect their Assemblies on the first day of Ridvan in 1973 and in succeeding years.

113.3 It is our prayer at the Sacred Threshold that during the months ahead the steadily mounting number of these divine institutions will tremendously reinforce the labors of the valiant servants of the Blessed Beauty in every clime.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

114 Release of a Compilation on the National Spiritual Assembly 4 JUNE 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We have just made a compilation of extracts from letters written by Shoghi

114.1 Effendi or by his secretaries on his behalf about the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly., We have not attempted a complete compilation of all the available texts on the subject, but it is hoped that the enclosed material will be of assistance to members of National Spiritual Assemblies and the friends generally in their appreciation of this vital institution of the Faith.

114.2 We leave it to your discretion to determine in what manner you may wish to share the material with the friends under your jurisdiction.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE n4-i. See CC 2:83-136.


+220

115 Announcement of the Decision to Build the Seat of the Universal House of Justice 7 JUNE 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

115.1 JOYFULLY INFORM BAHA'I WORLD RANGE AND ACCELERATION GROWTH CAUSE BARA,U'LLAH LOCAL NATIONAL LEVELS AND RESULTANT EXPANSION ACTIVITIES WORLD CENTER IMPEL US NOW ANNOUNCE ERE COMPLETION NINE YEAR PLAN DECISION INITIATE PROCEDURE SELECT ARCHITECT DESIGN BUILDING FOR SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE ENVISAGED BELOVED GUARDIAN ON FAR FLUNG ARC HEART MOUNT CARMEL CENTERING SPOT CONSECRATED RESTING PLACES SISTER BROTHER MOTHER BELOVED MASTER.' CONSTRUCTION THIS CENTER LEGISLATION GOD'S WORLD-REDEEMING ORDER WILL CONSTITUTE FIRST MAJOR STEP DEVELOPMENT AREA SURROUNDING HOLY SHRINE SINCE COMPLETION INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING. MOVED PAY TRIBUTE EXPRESS HEARTFELT GRATITUDE OUTSTANDING SERVICES ROBERT MCLAUGHLIN IN PREPARATION FOR THIS HISTORIC UNDERTAKING. FERVENTLY PRAYING PROJECT NOW INITIATED MAY DURING YEARS IMMEDIATELY AHEAD PROGRESS UNINTERRUPTEDLY SPEEDILY ATTAIN MAJESTIC CONSUMMATION.2 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 116 Plans for Commemorating the Centenary of the Revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas 30 JUNE 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

116.1 At Ridvan 1973 we shall, God willing, witness the successful conclusion of the nine-year-long, world-encircling enterprise which inaugurated the second epoch of Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan. The victorious culmination of this initial stage of the tenth part of the majestic process set in motion over six thousand years ago will prepare the way for the next stage in the series of crusades

Bahiyyih Khanum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, is Abdu'l-Bahá's sister; Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, His brother; and Asiyih Khanum, the Most Exalted Leaf, His mother. 115-2. For an explanation of the significance of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, see message no. 164. For information about steps in the process of its erection and occupation, see messages no. 136, 140, 165, 186, and 354. n6-i. The second epoch of the Divine Plan began in 1963 at the commencement of the Nine Year Plan. See the entries on Divine Plan and Epochs in the glossary.


+221

destined to achieve the penetration of the Light of God's Faith into the remaining territories of the planet and the erection of the entire machinery of Bahá'u'lláh's Administrative Order throughout the world.2 On the Twelfth Day of Ridvan, the members of the National Spiritual

116.2 Assemblies gathered in the Holy Land for the Third International Convention will participate in the commemoration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.3 To enable all believers throughout the world to share in the observance of this highly significant centenary, national and local celebrations for Bahá'ís only should be held on that day.

116.3 We call upon each community to undertake, during the period between the First Day of the Most Great Festival and the commemoration of the Declaration of the Blessed Bab,4 a widespread proclamation campaign which would include publicity on the completion of the Nine Year Plan and the holding of the third International Convention at the Bahá'í World Center in the Holy Land.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

117 Exhortation to Blot Out Every Last Trace of Prejudice 13 JULY 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

117.1 The blessings of the Ancient Beauty are being showered upon the followers of the Greatest Name. Our efforts to serve Him and humanity are being crowned with victories throughout the world. As we give thanks for these splendid achievements, as the Cause of God spreads in every land, as our institutions For Shoghi Effendi's description (see MBW, pp. 153-55) of that "vast," "majestic" tenpart process that began "at the dawn of the Adamic cycle" and will continue into the Golden Age of the Faith, see the entry on Ten Part Process in the glossary. 116-3. The Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Book) was referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the Mother Book' of Bahá'u'lláh's Dispensation and "the Charter of His New World Order." The publication of a copiously annotated English translation was a goal of the Six Year Plan (see message no. 456). In its Ridvan iq92 letter the Universal House of Justice announced the forthcoming publication of the annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas during the Holy Year 1992-93. For background on the translation and publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see message no. 27. For the announcement of the completion of A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see message no. 125. 116-4. 21 April (the First Day of Ridvan)-23 May (the Declaration of the Bab). The Third International Convention was held 26 April-2 May 1973, on the sixth through twelfth days of the Ridvan Festival.


+222

become more perfected, as the number of believers increases over the face of the planet, our individual lives must increasingly mirror forth each day the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh and we must so live our lives that all will see in us a different people. The acts we perform, the attitudes we manifest, the very words we speak should be an attraction, a magnet, drawing the sincere to the Divine Teachings.

117.2 Bahá'u'lláh tells us that prejudice in its various forms destroys the edifice of humanity. We are adjured by the Divine Messenger to eliminate all forms of prejudice from our lives. Our outer lives must show forth our beliefs. The world must see that, regardless of each passing whim or current fashion of the generality of mankind, the Bahá'í lives his life according to the tenets of his Faith. We must not allow the fear of rejection by our friends and neighbors to deter us from our goal: to live the Bahá'í life. Let us strive to blot out from our lives every last trace of prejudice racial, religious, political, economic, national, tribal, class, cultural, and that which is based on differences of education or age. We shall be distinguished from our non-Bahá'í associates if our lives are adorned with this principle.

117.3 If we allow prejudice of any kind to manifest itself in us, we shall be guilty before God of causing a setback to the progress and real growth of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. It is incumbent upon every believer to endeavor with a fierce determination to eliminate this defect from his thoughts and acts. It is the duty of the institutions of the Faith to inculcate this principle in the hearts of the friends through every means at their disposal including summer schools, conferences, institutes and study classes.

117.4 The fundamental purpose of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is the realization of the organic unity of the entire human race. Bearing this glorious destiny in mind, and with entire reliance on the promises of the Blessed Beauty, we should follow His exhortation:

117.4a We love to see you at all times consorting in amity and concord within the paradise of My good-pleasure, and to inhale from your acts the fragrance of friendliness and unity, of loving-kindness and fellowship....

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 117-1. GWB, p. 315.


+223

118 Embryonic Nature of Local Spiritual Assemblies 30 JULY 1972

118.1 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Bolivia

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

In reply to your letter Of July 4th asking guidance as to what is a functioning Local Spiritual Assembly, we offer you the following comments: Local Spiritual Assemblies are at the present newly born institutions, struggling for the most part to establish themselves both in the Bahá'í community and in the world. They are as yet only embryos of the majestic institutions ordained by Bahá'u'lláh in His Writings. This is also true of National Spiritual Assemblies. In the following passage written by the Secretary of the Guardian on his behalf this point is elucidated: The Bahá'í Administration is only the first shaping of what in future 11 8.2a will come to be the social life and laws of community living. As yet the believers are only just beginning to grasp and practice it properly. So we must have patience if at times it seems a little self-conscious and rigid in its workings. It is because we are learning something very difficult but very wonderful-how to live together as a community of Bahá'ís, according to the glorious teachings. (From letter dated 14 October 1941 to two believers) What we find expounded in the writings of our Faith is the lofty station

118.3 Local Spiritual Assemblies must attain in their gradual and at times painful development. In encouraging these Assemblies to attain this aim, there is no harm in the National Spiritual Assembly mentioning certain minimum requirements from time to time, provided it is clear that nonattainment of such standards, which by their very nature must be continuously revised with changing conditions, do not justify the withdrawal of recognition from any weak Assemblies. It would not be profitable therefore for the Universal House of Justice to lay down universal minimum standards for properly functioning Local Spiritual Assemblies, as these must necessarily differ from country to country, and even from district to district within the same country, in the process of the evolution of these Assemblies into Houses of justice, as envisaged by Bahá'u'lláh. Salient Objectives of the Local Spiritual Assembly Among the more salient objectives to be attained by the Local Spiritual

118.4 Assembly in its process of development to full maturity are to act as a loving shepherd to the Bahá'í flock, promote unity and concord among the friends, direct the teaching work, protect the Cause of God, arrange for Feasts,


+224

anniversaries and regular meetings of the community, familiarize the Bahá'ís with its plans, invite the community to offer its recommendations, promote the welfare of youth and children, and participate, as circumstances permit, in humanitarian activities. In its relationship to the individual believer, the Assembly should continuously invite and encourage him to study the Faith, to deliver its glorious message, to live in accordance with its teachings, to contribute freely and regularly to the Fund, to participate in community activities, and to seek refuge in the Assembly for advice and help, when needed.

118.5 In its own meetings it must endeavor to develop skill in the difficult but highly rewarding art of Bahá'í consultation, a process which will require great self-discipline on the part of all members and complete reliance on the power of Bahá'u'lláh. It should hold regular meetings and ensure that all its members are currently informed of the activities of the Assembly, that its secretary carries out his duties, and its treasurer holds and disburses the funds of the Faith to its satisfaction, keeping proper accounts and issuing receipts for all contributions. Many Assemblies find that some of their activities such as teaching, observance of Feasts and anniversaries, solution of personal problems, and other duties are best dealt with by committees appointed by the Assembly and responsible to it.

The Bahá'í Quality of Leadership

118.6 In all cases submitted for its consideration the Assembly must uphold the standard of justice in delivering its

verdict, and in all its dealings with the community and the outside world it must strive to evince the qualities of leadership. The following quotation from a letter of the Guardian summarizes in simple terms the immediate goal every Assembly should set for itself in its efforts to pursue the exalted standard of perfection inculcated in our writings:

118.6a The first quality for leadership, both among individuals and Assemblies is the capacity to use the energy and competence that exists in the rank and file of its followers. Otherwise the more competent members of the group will go at a tangent and try to find elsewhere a field of work where they could use their energy.

118.6b Shoghi Effendi hopes that the Assemblies will do their utmost in planning such teaching activities and that every single soul will be kept busy. (From letter dated 30 August 1930 written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

118.7 In the compilation of texts we sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies in August 1970, and in the by-laws of a Local Spiritual Assembly, you will find all the objectives Local Spiritual Assemblies must aim at achieving in their


+225

process of growth and development., We recommend that you restudy these documents carefully and discuss this highly important problem with the Counselors of your zone, who will be only too glad to help you encourage the development of Local Spiritual Assemblies in your country.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

119 Passing of Ishraq-Khavari, Preeminent Bahá'í Scholar 6 AUGUST 1972

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Iran

119.1 GRIEVED LOSS PREEMINENT SCHOLAR VALUED PROMOTER FAITH ISHRAQ-KHAVARI.1 HIS PRECIOUS INDEFATIGABLE SERVICES OVER SEVERAL DECADES WON HIM APPRECIATION BELOVED GUARDIAN. HIS SCHOLARLY CONTRIBUTIONS IMMORTALIZED THROUGH NUMEROUS USEFUL COMPILATIONS TREATISES BEARING ELOQUENT TRIBUTE HIS DEVOTION DEDICATION CAUSE GOD. URGE HOLD APPROPRIATE MEMORIAL GATHERINGS ASSURE RELATIVES FRIENDS FERVENT PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES.

120.1 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

120 Release of a Compilation on Newsletters 24 AUGUST 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

It is clear from the writings of our beloved Guardian that the initiation, regular publication and distribution of a Bahá'í newsletter by each National Spiritual Assembly is one of its vital functions and a means of promoting understanding and unity among the friends, of stimulating their interest and deepening their knowledge of the teachings, and of coordinating the activities of the Faith. ___ 118-1. The compilation accompanied a letter dated 11 August 1970 (no. 84). For the compilation, See CC 2:39-60. The by4aws of a local spiritual assembly can be found in The Bahá'í World, beginning with volume 3. 119-1. For an account of the life and services of Ishraq-Khavari, see BW 15:518-20.


+226

120.2 In order to assist National Spiritual Assemblies to properly assess the importance of this activity and take effective steps to ensure that such a newsletter is issued and widely distributed among the friends, we attach a compilation of extracts on this subject from the letters written by the Guardian or on his behalf., We urge you to study these extracts carefully and consider, as called for, ways and means of improving the standard, ensuring the regular release and facilitating the circulation of your news bulletin. We realize, of course, that in some countries it is necessary to issue the bulletin in more than one language.

120.3 A section of the attached extracts also deals with local newsletters. In some countries it may be feasible and desirable to encourage the issue of such bulletins by responsible Local Spiritual Assemblies.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

121 Martyrdom of Three Iranian Bahá'í Students in the Philippine Islands 19 SEPTEMBER 1972 To the Bahá'ís of the World

121.1 With feelings of deep sorrow we relate to the Bahá'í world the distressing circumstances surrounding the murder of three Iranian Bahá'í students, pioneers to the Philippine Islands.

121.2 Parviz Sadiqi, Faramarz Vujdani and Parviz Furughi were among a number of Iranian Bahá'í youth who answered the call for pioneers. With eleven others they registered at the Universities in Mindanao with the intention of completing their studies and proclaiming the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. These three had conceived the plan of making teaching trips to a rural area inhabited by Muslims. When on July 31st the authorities of Mindanao State University were notified that they had left the campus the previous day and had not yet returned, search parties were immediately formed and the assistance of the police and local authorities obtained. After inquiries and search, led entirely by President Tamano of Mindanao State University, the bodies of the three young men were found in a shallow grave. They had been shot, grievously mutilated and two had been decapitated. The bodies were removed and given Bahá'í burial in a beautiful plot donated for the purpose. 120-1. The compilation is too lengthy to include in this volume.


+227

immediately upon receipt of the tragic news, Vicente Samaniego, Counselor in Northeast Asia, in close cooperation with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Philippines, acted vigorously on behalf of the Bahá'ís and was given the utmost cooperation and sympathy by the authorities, police, military and civil. A convocation was called, attended by more than 900 students, faculty members and University officials. Prayers were said in English, Arabic and Persian. The President of the University gave a talk in which he said that the murdered Iranian students are not ordinary students, for with them is the Message of Bahá'u'lláh which is the way to unity. The Council of the Student Body asked that their new Social Hall be renamed Iranian Student Memorial Hall. Three thousand people marched in the funeral procession and six hundred went to the burial site to attend the interment. A dignified burial was conducted by the Bahá'ís in the presence of University authorities and friends.

121.5 The relatives and friends of these three young men, who gave their lives in the service - of the Blessed Beauty, are assured of the loving sympathy and prayers of their fellow believers. The sacrifice made by these youth adds a crown of glory to the wonderful services now being performed by Bahá'í youth throughout the world. Bahá'u'lláh Himself testifies: They that have forsaken their country in the path of God and subsequently ascended unto His presence, such souls shall be blessed by the Concourse on High and their names recorded by the Pen of Glory among such as have laid down their lives as martyrs in the path of God, the Help in peril, the Self-Subsistent.,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

122 Release of a Compilation on Bahá'í Life 24 NOVEMBER 1972 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We are asking the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom to 122-1 send you by surface mail one copy of their compilation The Pattern of Bahá'í Life, and attached we are sending you an addendum consisting of quotations from the letters and writings of the beloved Guardian.1

___ 121-1. From an unpublished Tablet. 122-I. See CC 2:1-27. The Pattern of Bahá'í Life is a compilation from the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, Abdu'l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi that was published by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the British Isles in 1948.


+228

122.2 These extracts are shared with you with the thought that you may be able to use them in assisting the believers to attain a fuller understanding of what it means to be a Bahá'í and to guide and aid them to pattern their personal lives in accordance with the Teachings.

122.3 You are free to use this material in whatever way is appropriate and best suited to the needs of your community. For example, you may wish to purchase copies of The Pattern of Bahá'í Life and use them with printed or mimeographed copies of the attached compilation, or you may prefer to issue a compilation of your own. The important thing is that the moral and spiritual admonitions contained in our writings be widely disseminated, properly understood, and the friends encouraged to follow them. Shoghi Effendi has pointed out:

122.3a Humanity, through suffering and turmoil, is swiftly moving on towards its destiny; if we be loiterers, if we fail to play our part surely others will be called upon to take up our task as ministers to the crying needs of this afflicted world.

122.3b Not by the force of our numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of reaching-no matter how worldwide 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 skeptical 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 splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh.,

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

122-2.

123.1 BA, p. 66.


+229

123 Adoption of the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice 26 NOVEMBER 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The following cable has just been sent to the United States Bahá'í News for publication. WITH GRATEFUL JOYOUS HEARTS ANNOUNCE ENTIRE Bahá'í WORLD ADOPTION 123,2 PROFOUNDLY SIGNIFICANT STEP IN UNFOLDMENT MISSION SUPREME ORGAN Bahá'í WORLD COMMONWEALTH THROUGH FORMULATION CONSTITUTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. AFTER OFFERING HUMBLE PRAYERS GRATITUDE ON DAY COVENANT AT THREE SACRED THRESHOLDS BAHJI HAIFA MEMBERS GATHERED COUNCIL CHAMBER PRECINCTS HOUSE BLESSED MASTER APPENDED THEIR SIGNATURES FIXED SEAL ON INSTRUMENT ENVISAGED WRITINGS BELOVED

GUARDIAN HAILED BY HIM AS MOST GREAT LAW FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH.' FULLY ASSURED MEASURE JUST TAKEN WILL FURTHER REINFORCE TIES BINDING WORLD CENTER TO NATIONAL LOCAL COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT WORLD RELEASE FRESH ENERGIES INCREASE ENTHUSIASM CONFIDENCE Valiant WORKERS HIS DIVINE VINEYARD LABORING ASSIDUOUSLY BRING MANKIND UNDER SHELTER HIS ALL-GLORIOUS COVENANT Please share this joyous news with the friends. It is anticipated that the

123.3 Constitution will be published at Ridvan.2

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

123-L On the Day of the Covenant, 26 November, prayers were offered at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji, outside 'Akka, and at the Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel in Haifa, where 'Abdu'l-Bahá is also buried. 123-2. See The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice, published by the Bahá'í World Center (1972).


+230

124 Activities for the Year Preceding the Global Plan to be Launched Ridvan 1974 14 JANUARY 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

124.1 As the Bahá'í world approaches the triumphant conclusion of the Nine Year Plan it gives us the utmost gratification to see that a few National Spiritual Assemblies have already formulated plans for activity during the coming Bahá'í year.

124.2 The next global plan will be launched at Ridvan 1974 and you will therefore have twelve months to prepare for it. We call upon you all to take the greatest possible advantage of that year to:

124.2a Strengthen the foundations of your achievements through developing and enriching Bahá'í community life, fostering youth activity and through all means suited to your circumstances; and

124.2b Continue expansion of the Faith, trying new openings and possibilities not fully explored when you were under the pressure of other priorities.

124.3 Obviously conditions differ in the various areas under the jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assemblies, and the goals which each Assembly adopts must be suited to its particular circumstances and possibilities, but, as the beloved Guardian once pointed out, "The broader the basis" of such a campaign, and "the deeper its roots, the finer the flower into which it shall eventually blossom.",

124.4 We ask you to make your plans now and to send us your report of them to reach us as soon as possible and not later than ist April 1973 so that we may present a consolidated summary to the International Convention. We feel that such a summary will be an inspiration and a source of new ideas to the delegates when they are consulting upon the challenges that lie before the Bahá'í community in the years ahead and which must be faced during the next global plan. Moreover, the achievements of the coming year, added to the great victories of the Nine Year Plan, will enable the worldwide Bahá'í community to enter with even greater assurance upon the next stage of its ever-unfolding destiny. ___ 124-1. MA, p. 29.


+231



124.5 We pray at the Holy Shrines that the blessings of Bahá'u'lláh may guide and assist you with a fresh measure of His divine grace in the few months separating us from the glorious festivities of next Ridvan.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 125 Announcement of the Completion of the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas 19 JANUARY 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMPLETION SYNOPSIS CODIFICATION KITAB-I-AQDAS FOR

125.1 PUBLICATION RIDVAN SYNCHRONIZING CELEBRATION HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY REVELATION MOST HOLY BOOK FULFILLING WORLD CENTER GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN.

126.1 CONFIDENT RELEASE THIS PUBLICATION ENVISAGED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WHOSE MAIN FEATURES HE OUTLINED WILL CONSTITUTE ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT STEP PATH LEADING Bahá'í COMMUNITY FULL MATURITY ESTABLISHMENT WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

126 Obeying the Law of God in One's Personal Life 6 FEBRUARY 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The following is an excerpt from a letter written recently in response to questions from an individual believer. As it is of general interest we are sending it to you so that you may share it with the friends within your jurisdiction in whatever manner you judge wise and necessary. just as there are laws governing our physical. lives, requiring that we must supply our bodies with certain foods, maintain them within a certain range of temperatures, and so forth, if we wish to avoid physical disabilities, so also there are laws governing our spiritual lives. These 125-1. For the letter calling for worldwide observances of the centenary of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see message no. 116. A copiously annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and related texts was published in 1992.


+232

laws are revealed to mankind in each age by the Manifestation of God, and obedience to them is of vital importance if each human being, and mankind in general, is to develop properly and harmoniously. Moreover, these various aspects are interdependent. If an individual violates the spiritual laws for his own development he will cause injury not only to himself but to the society in which he lives. Similarly, the condition of society has a direct effect on the individuals who must live within it.

126.3 As you point out, it is particularly difficult to follow the laws of Bahá'u'lláh in present-day society whose accepted practice is so at variance with the standards of the Faith. However, there are certain laws that are so fundamental to the healthy functioning of human society that they must be upheld whatever the circumstances. Realizing the degree of human frailty, Bahá'u'lláh has provided that other laws are to be applied only gradually, but these ' too, once they are applied, must be followed, or else society will not be reformed but will sink into an ever worsening condition. It is the challenging task of the Bahá'ís to obey the law of God in their own lives, and gradually to win the rest of mankind to its acceptance. The Effect of obedience to the Laws of Bahá'u'lláh on One's Life

126.4 In considering the effect of obedience to the laws on individual lives, one must remember that the purpose of this life is to prepare the soul for the next. Here one must learn to control and direct one's animal impulses, not to be a slave to them. Life in this world is a succession of tests and achievements, of falling short and of making new spiritual advances. Sometimes the course may seem very hard, but one can witness, again and again, that the soul who steadfastly obeys the law of Bahá'u'lláh however hard it may seem, grows spiritually, while the one who compromises with the law for the sake of his own apparent happiness is seen to have been following a chimera: he does not attain the happiness he sought, he retards his spiritual advance and often brings new problems upon himself.

126.5 To give one very obvious example: the Bahá'í law requiring consent of parents to marriage. All too often nowadays such consent is withheld by non-Bahá'í parents for reasons of bigotry or racial

prejudice; yet we have seen again and again the profound effect on those very parents of the firmness of the children in the Bahá'í law, to the extent that not only is the consent ultimately given in many cases, but the character of the parents can be affected and their relationship with their child greatly strengthened.

126.6 Thus, by upholding Bahá'í law in the face of all difficulties we not only strengthen our own characters but influence those around us.


+233 The Bahá'í Teachings on Sexual Intercourse The Bahá'í teaching on sexual intercourse is very clear. It is permissible only between a man and the woman who is his wife. In this connection we share with you extracts from four letters written on behalf of the Guardian which throw light on various aspects of the matter. One of them contains the paragraph that you quote in your letter. With reference to the question you have asked concerning the

126.7a Bahá'í attitude towards the problem of sex and its relation to marriage: The Bahá'í Teachings on this matter, which is of such vital concern and about which there is such a wide divergency of views, are very clear and emphatic. Briefly stated the Bahá'í conception of sex is based on the belief that chastity should be strictly practiced by both sexes, not only because it is in itself highly commendable ethically, but also due to its being the only way to a happy and successful marital life. Sex relationships of any form, outside marriage, are not permissible therefore, and whoso violates this rule will not only be responsible to God, but will incur the necessary punishment from society. The Bahá'í Faith recognizes the value of the sex impulse, but condemns its illegitimate and improper expression such as free love, companionate marriage and others, all of which it considers positively harmful to man and to the society in which he lives. The proper use of the sex instinct is the natural right of every individual, and it is precisely for this very purpose that the institution of marriage has been established. The Bahá'ís do not believe in the suppression of the sex impulse but in its regulation and control. (From a letter dated 5 September 1938, to an individual believer) The question you raise as to the place in one's life that a deep bond of love with someone we meet other than our husband or wife can have is easily defined in view of the teachings. Chastity implies both before and after marriage an unsullied, chaste sex life. Before marriage absolutely chaste, after marriage absolutely faithful to one's chosen companion. Faithful in all sexual acts, faithful in word and in deed. The world today is submerged, amongst other things, in an overexaggeration of the importance of physical love, and a dearth of spiritual values. In as far as possible the believers should try to realize this and rise above the level of their fellowmen who are, typical of all decadent periods in history, placing so much overemphasis on the purely physical side of mating. Outside of their normal, legitimate married life they should seek to establish bonds of comradeship


+234

and love which are eternal and founded on the spiritual life of man, not on his physical life. This is one of the many fields in which it is incumbent on the Bahá'í's to set the example and lead the way to a true human standard of life, when the soul of man is exalted and his body but the tool for his enlightened spirit. Needless to say this does not preclude the living of a perfectly normal sex life in its legitimate channel of marriage. (From a letter dated 28 September 1941, to an individual believer)

126.7c Concerning your question whether there are any legitimate forms of expression of the sex instinct outside of marriage: according to the Bahá'í Teachings no sexual act can be considered lawful unless performed between lawfully married persons. Outside of marital life there can be no lawful or healthy use of the sex impulse. The Bahá'í youth should, on the one hand, be taught the lesson of self-control which, when exercised, undoubtedly has a salutary effect on the development, of character and of personality in general, and on the other should be advised, nay even encouraged, to contract marriage while still young and in full possession of their physical vigor. Economic factors, no doubt, are often a serious hindrance to early marriage, but in most cases are only an excuse, and as such should not be overstressed. (From a letter dated 13 December 1940, to an individual believer)

126.7d As regards your question whether it would be advisable and useful for you to marry again: he feels unable to give you any definite answer on that point, as this is essentially a private affair about which you, and the friends around you or your Local Assembly, are in a much better position to judge. Of course, under normal circumstances, every person should consider it his moral duty to marry. And this is what Bahá'u'lláh has encouraged the believers to do. But marriage is by no means an obligation. In the last resort it is for the individual to decide whether he wishes to lead a family life or live in a state of celibacy. (From a letter dated 3 May 1936, to an individual

believer)

126.8 You express surprise at the Guardian's reference to "the necessary punishment from society." In the Kitab-i-Aqdas Bahá'u'lláh prohibits sexual immorality and in the Annex to that Book states that the various degrees of sexual offenses and the punishments for them are to be decided by the Universal House of Justice.

126.9 In this connection it should be realized that there is a distinction drawn in the Faith between the attitudes which should characterize individuals in their relationship to other people, namely, loving forgiveness, forbearance, and concern with one's own


+235

sins, not the sins of others, and those attitudes which should be shown by the Spiritual Assemblies, whose duty is to administer the law of God with justice. A number of sexual problems, such as homosexuality and transsexuality can well have medical aspects, and in such cases recourse should certainly be had to the best medical assistance. But it is clear from the teaching of Bahá'u'lláh that homosexuality is not a condition to which a person should be reconciled, but is a distortion of his or her nature which should be controlled and overcome. This may require a hard struggle, but so also can be the struggle of a heterosexual person to control his or her desires. The exercise of self-control in this, as in so very many other aspects of life, has a beneficial effect on the progress of the soul. It should, moreover, be borne in mind that although to be married is highly desirable, and Bahá'u'lláh has strongly recommended it, it is not the central

purpose of life. If a person has to wait a considerable period before finding a spouse, or if ultimately, he or she must remain single, it does not mean that he or she is thereby unable to fulfill his or her life's purpose. One's Attitude toward the Laws of Bahá'u'lláh In all this we have been speaking about the attitude that Bahá'ís should have towards the law of Bahá'u'lláh. You, however, as a doctor working mainly as a counselor in family and sexual problems, will mostly be concerned with advising non-Bahá'ís, who do not accept, and see no reason to follow, the laws of Bahá'u'lláh. You are already a qualified practitioner in your field, and no doubt you give advice on the basis of what you have learned from study and experience-a whole fabric of concepts about the human mind, its growth, development and proper functioning, which you have learned and evolved, without reference to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Now, as a Bahá'í, you know that what Bahá'u'lláh teaches about the purpose of human life, the nature of the human being and the proper conduct of human lives, is divinely revealed and therefore true. However, it will inevitably take time for you not only to study the Bahá'í teachings so that you clearly understand them, but also to work out how they modify your professional concepts. This is, of course, not an unusual predicament for a scientist. How often in the course of research is a factor discovered which requires a revolution in thinking over a wide field of human endeavor. You must be guided in each case by your own professional knowledge and judgment as illuminated by your growing knowledge of the Bahá'í teachings; undoubtedly you will find that your own understanding of the human problems dealt with in your work will change and develop and you will see new and improved ways of helping the people who come to you.


+236

Psychology is still a very young and inexact science, and as the years go by Bahá'í psychologists, who know from the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh the true pattern of human life, will be able to make great strides in the development of this science, and will help profoundly in the alleviation of human suffering.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

127 Purchase of Mazra'ih Mansion 15 MARCH 1973 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

127.1 OCCASION NAW-RUZ 130, JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE Bahá'í WORLD ACQUISITION BY PURCHASE MANSION

MAZRA'IH RESULT SEVERAL YEARS PATIENT PERSISTENT DETERMINED NEGOTIATIONS THEREBY ADDING TO Bahá'í ENDOWMENTS HOLY LAND FIRST RESIDENCE BAHA'U'LLAH AFTER NINE YEARS SPENT WALLED PRISON CITY AKKA. CONTROL THIS HOLY SITE REACQUIRED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AFTER LAPSE MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS WHEN HE SECURED LEASE MANSION 1950 EXTENDED TO PRESENT TIME. PURCHASE INCLUDES LAND AREA APPROXIMATING TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND SQUARE METERS HIGHLY SUITABLE EXTENSION GARDENS CULTIVATION. OFFERING PRAYER THANKSGIVING SACRED THRESHOLD THIS GREATLY CHERISHED BOUNTY.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 128 Ridvan Message 1973 RIDVAN 1973 To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

128.1 We announce with joyful and thankful hearts the completion in overwhelming victory of the world-encircling Nine Year Plan. The Army of Light has won its second global campaign; it has surpassed the goals set for expansion and has achieved a truly impressive degree of universal participation, the twin objectives of the Plan. With gratitude and love we testify to the unceasing confirmations which Bahá'u'lláh has showered upon His servants, enabling 127-1. 21 March 1973.


+237

each and every one of us to offer Him some part of the labor, the devotion, the sacrifice, the supplication which He has so bountifully rewarded.

128.2 At this Centenary of the Revelation of the Most Holy Book, the Community of the Most Great Name lays its tribute of victory at His feet, acknowledging that it is He Who has bestowed it., Victories of the Nine Year Plan The Cause of God at the end of the Nine Year Plan is immensely more widespread, more firmly founded, and its own international relations more closely knit than in 1964 when the Plan was launched. Ninety-five new territories have been opened to the Faith; the 69 National Spiritual Assemblies which shouldered the world community's task have become 113, 5 more than called for. These embryonic secondary Houses of Justice are supported by more than 17,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies, 3,000 in excess of the goal and 12,000 more than at the beginning of the Plan. Bahá'ís reside in 69,500 localities, 15,000 more than called for, and 54,000 more than in 1964. Bahá'í literature has been translated into 225 more languages bringing the total number to 571; 63 Temple sites, 56 National Haziratu'l-Quds, and 62 National Endowments have been

acquired bringing the total numbers of these properties to 98, 112 and 104 respectively; 50 Teaching Institutes and Summer and Winter Schools are playing their part in Bahá'í education and 15 Publishing Trusts produce Bahá'í literature in major languages of the world. The Mother Temple of Latin America has been built and dedicated. Among those goals whose achievement is dependent on favorable circumstances outside our control are the incorporation of Assemblies and recognition of Bahá'í Holy Days. It is gratifying to record that go National Spiritual Assemblies and 1,556 Local Spiritual Assemblies- 181 more than the total number called for are incorporated, while Bahá'í Holy Days are recognized in 64 countries and Bahá'í certification of marriage in 40. This great expansion of the Faith required an army of international Pioneers. Two major calls were raised, for 461 and 733, which together with others for particular posts made an overall total Of 1,344. The Community of the Most Great Name responded with 3,553 who actually left their homes, 2,265 of whom are still at their posts. Developments at the World Center At the World Center of the Faith the collation and classification of the

128.4 Bahá'í Sacred Scriptures and of the writings of Shoghi Effendi have been

128-1 The Most Holy Book is the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the chief repository of Bahá'u'lláh's laws and the Mother Book of His revelation. It was revealed in 1873. For messages pertaining to its translation and publication, see no. 27; to the commemoration of its revelation, see no. 116; to the announcement of the completion of A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see no. i25.


+238

carried forward in ever increasing volume, a task supported and enriched by the labors of a special committee appointed by the Persian National Spiritual Assembly. The material at the World Center, includes some 2,609 original Tablets by Bahá'u'lláh, 6,000 by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and 2,300 letters of Shoghi Effendi. There are in addition some 18,000 authenticated copies of other such Tablets and letters. All these have been studied, important passages from them excerpted and classified, and the subject matter indexed under 400 general headings.

128.5 A Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas - completing the considerable progress made by the beloved Guardian in this task-is being published on the Centenary of the Revelation of the Most Holy Book, which, as already announced, is to be celebrated both in the Holy Land and throughout the Bahá'í world during this Ridvan.

128.6 The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice, hailed by Shoghi Effendi as the Most Great Law of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, has been formulated and published.

128.7 The gardens in Bahji and on Mount Carmel have been significantly extended and plans have been approved for the befitting development and beautification of the entire area of Bahá'í property surrounding the Holy Shrines in Bahji and Haifa. Worldwide Proclamation

128.8 The worldwide proclamation of the Faith, an intensive and long-to-be-sustained process initiated during the third phase of the Plan, opened in October 1967 with the commemoration of the Centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's Proclamation to the kings and rulers which had centered around His revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk in Adrianople.2 This historic event was commemorated at six Intercontinental Conferences held simultaneously around the planet. A further nine Oceanic and Continental Conferences held during the Plan gave great impetus to this proclamation program.3 The fifteen Conferences were attended by nearly 17,000 believers and attracted great publicity by press and radio and were made the occasion of acquainting dignitaries and notabilities with the Divine Message. The presentation, on behalf of the Universal House Of Justice, to 142 Heads of State, of a specially produced book containing the translation into English of the Tablets and passages of Scripture in which 12.8-2. For information about the significance of the Suriy-i-Muluk, see the Ridvan messages of 1965 and 1967 (nos. 24 and 4-2). 128-3. For the message to the six intercontinental conferences, see message no. 46, for the messages to other conferences, see First Oceanic Conference-Palermo, Sicily, August 1968 (no. 63); Bolivia and Mauritius-August 1970 (no. 82); Monrovia, Liberia-January 1971 (no. 88); South China Seas, Singapore-January 1971 (no. 89); Caribbean Sea, Kingston, Jamaica-May 1971 (no. 97); South Pacific Ocean, Suva, Fiji-May 1971 (no. 98); North Pacific Oceanic Conference, Sapporo, Japan-September 1971 (no. 100); and North Atlantic Ocean, Reykjavik, Iceland-September 1971 (no. 101).


+239

Bahá'u'lláh, some hundred years before, had issued His mighty Proclamation to mankind, initiated this campaign, which will continue long beyond the end of the Nine Year Plan.4 The outstanding development in the relationship of the Bahá'í International Community to the United Nations was the accreditation of that Community as a nongovernmental organization with consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

128.10 The Bahá'í International Community now has a permanent representative at the United Nations and maintains an office in New York.5 Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God The loved and revered Hands of the Cause have rendered sacrificial and distinguished service throughout the Nine Year Plan. They have, in all parts of the world, inspired the friends, assisted National Spiritual Assemblies, promoted the teaching work and played a vital part in the success of the Plan. The lagging fortunes of more than one national community have been

revolutionized by a visit of a Hand of the Cause; swift and energetic action, inspired by the Hand, has been followed by astonishing

results, completely reversing that community's prospects.

128.11 They have added distinguished works to the literature of the Faith. The goal of the Plan to develop "The institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, in consultation with the body of the Hands of the Cause, with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation," was accomplished in stages, leading to the establishment of eleven Continental Boards of Counselors, whose members were appointed by the Universal House of Justice and who assumed responsibility for the Auxiliary Boards for protection and propagation. The beloved Hands no longer remained individually identified with any particular continent-except insofar as their residence was concerned-but extended their sphere of action to the whole planet. The Continental Boards of Counselors, advised and guided by the Hands of the Cause of God and working in close collaboration with them, have already, in their brief period of office, performed outstanding and distinguished services.6 Three Portentous Developments Three highly portentous developments have taken place during the Nine

128.12 Year Plan, namely, the advance of youth to the forefront of the teaching work, a great increase in the financial resources of the Faith, and an astonishing proliferation of inter-National Assembly assistance projects. 128-4. The book was published by the Bahá'í World Center under the title The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh to the kings and leaders of the world (1967). 128-5. For the message announcing the attainment of this goal, see no. 78. 128-6. For messages about the role and function of the Continental Boards of Counselors, see nos. 60, 72, 111, 132, 206, and 267.


+240

The Advance of Youth

128.13 The first, the heartwarming upsurge of Bahá'í youth, has changed the face of the teaching work; impenetrable barriers have been broken or overpassed by eager teams of young Bahá'ís, dedicated and prayerful, presenting the Divine Message in ways acceptable to their own generation from which it has spread and is spreading throughout the social structure. The entire Bahá'í world has been thrilled by this development. Having rejected the values and standards of the old world, Bahá'í youth are eager to learn and adapt themselves to the standards of Bahá'u'lláh and so to offer the Divine Program to fill the gap left by the abandonment of the old order. An Increase in Financial Resources

128.14 The vast increase in the financial resources of the Faith called for under the Plan has evoked a heartwarming response from the entire Bahá'í community. Not only the Bahá'í International Fund but the local, national and continental Funds of the Faith have been sacrificially supported. This practical proof of the love which the friends bear for the Faith has enabled all the work to go forward-the support of pioneers and traveling teachers, the raising of Mashriqu'l-Adhkar and acquisition of Bahá'í properties, the purchase of Holy Places in the Cradle of the Faith and at the World Center, the development of educational institutions and all the multifarious activities of a vigorous, onward-marching, constructive world community. It is of interest that sixty percent of the international funds of the Faith is used to assist the work of National Spiritual Assemblies, to promote the teaching work and to defend the Cause against attacks in many parts of the world. Without such help from the Bahá'í world community many National

Assemblies would be paralyzed in their efforts of expansion and deepening. The administration of Huquq'u'llah as been strengthened in preparation for its extension to other parts of the World.7 An International Deputization Fund was established at the World Center to assist pioneers and traveling teachers who were ready to serve but unable to provide their own expenses, and this Fund was later extended to the support of projects on national homefronts. Contribution to the Fund is a service which will never cease to be open to all believers; the growth of the Faith and the rise of its Administrative Order require an ever-increasing outpouring of our substance, commensurate in however small a measure with the bounty and liberality of the outpouring confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh. international Collaboration

128.15 When the Plan was launched 219 assistance projects were specified whereby national communities would render financial, pioneering or teaching aid to others, generally remote from them geographically. The intention was to 128-7. For information on Huququ'llah, see the glossary


+241

strengthen the bonds of unity between distant parts of the Bahá'í world with different social, cultural and historical backgrounds. At the end of the Plan more than 600 such projects had been carried out.' Intercommunity cooperation has been further developed in the field of publishing Bahá'í literature, notably in Spanish and French and the languages of Africa. A vast field of fruitful endeavor lies open in this respect.

128.16 In some countries due to lack of freedom, 'to actual repression in others, to legal and physical obstacles in yet others, certain particular goals-mainly those requiring incorporation or recognition-could not be won.

Foreseeing this, the Universal House of Justice called upon national communities in lands where there is freedom to practice and promote the Faith, to exceed their own goals and thus ensure that the overall goals would be won.

128.20 It has proved still impossible to begin work on the erection of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Tehran, but contracts have been signed for the preparation of detailed drawings, geological surveys are being made, and everything made ready for immediate action whenever the situation in Persia becomes propitious. Additional Developments at the World Center During the period of the Nine Year Plan a number of important and interesting events, not directly associated with it, have taken place. First and foremost was the commemoration, in the precincts of the Qiblih of the Bahá'í world, of the centenary of the arrival at the prison city of 'Akka, as foretold in former Scriptures, of the Promised One of all ages.9 The Mansion of Mazra'ih, often referred to by the beloved Guardian as 128.18 one of the "twin mansions" in which the Blessed Beauty resided after nine years within the walled prison city of 'Akka, and dear to the hearts of the believers by reason of its associations with their Lord, has at last been purchased together with 24,000 square meters of land extending into the plain on its eastward side.10 The raising of the obelisk, marking the site of the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar 128.19 on Mount Carmel, completes a project initiated by the beloved Guardian.11 The decision has been made and announced to the Bahá'í world, and the initial steps have been taken for the erection on Mount Carmel, at a site on the Arc as purposed by Shoghi Effendi, of the building which shall serve as the Seat of the Universal House of Justice. 12

128-8. For a list of the projects, see the Universal House of Justice, 1964-1973 Analysis of the Nine Year International Teaching Plan, (1964 [sic), pp. 18-4. 128-9. The commemoration took place 26-31 August 1968. 128-10. The other Mansion is that at Bahji, outside of Akka. 128-11. For the message announcing the erection of the obelisk, see no. 105. 128-12. For an explanation of the significance of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, see the letter dated 5 June 1975 (no. 164); for messages about steps in the process of its erection and occupation, see nos. 136, 140, 186, 165, and 354.


+242

Raising God's Kingdom on Earth

128.21 The progress of the Cause of God gathers increasing momentum and we may with confidence look forward to the day when this Community, in God's good time, shall have traversed the stages predicated for it by its Guardian, and shall have raised on this tormented planet the fair mansions of God's Own Kingdom wherein humanity may find surcease from its self-induced confusion and chaos and ruin, and the hatreds and violence of this time shall be transmuted into an abiding sense of world brotherhood and peace. All this shall be accomplished within the Covenant of the everlasting Father, the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

129 Election of the Universal House of Justice -- Ridvan 1973 3 MAY 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

129.1 NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE ALI NAKHJAVANI HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM AMOZ GIBSON IAN SEMPLE DAVID HOFMAN CHARLES WOLCOTT BORRAH KAVELIN DAVID RUHE HUGH CHANCE.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
previous chapter chapter 2 start page single page chapter 4 next chapter
Back to:   Documents from the Universal House of Justice
Home Site Map Forum Links Copyright About Contact
.
. .