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Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-86

by Universal House of Justice

compiled on behalf of Geoffry W. Marks.
previous chapter chapter 4 start page single page chapter 6 next chapter

Chapter 5

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259 1974-1979 The Five Year Plan


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THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY BLANK.


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141 Launching of the Five Year Plan -- Naw-Ruz 1974 NAW-RUZ 1974

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dearly loved Friends,

141.1 A span of eighteen years separates us from the centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's Ascension and the unveiling of His Almighty Covenant., The fortunes of humanity in that period no man can foretell. We can, however, confidently predict that the Cause of God, impelled by the mighty forces of life within it, must go on from strength to strength, increasing in size and developing greater and greater powers for the accomplishment of God's purpose on earth.

141.2 The abundant evidences of Divine confirmation which have rewarded the strenuous and dedicated efforts of the Bahá'í community during the past decade are apparent throughout the earth and give incontrovertible assurance of its capacity to win the good pleasure of Bahá'u'lláh and answer every call made upon it in His service. The Five Year Plan to which this community is now summoned is the 141.3 opening campaign of these critical years. It is the third global plan embarked upon by the Army of Light in its implementation of 'AM0-Baha's Divine Plan, that world-encompassing program disclosed in His perspicuous Tablets and described by the Guardian of the Cause of God as the Charter for the propagation of the Faith throughout the world.2 It was the Guardian himself, the beloved 'sign of God,"3 who, through his exposition and interpretation of the Revelation, through his discipline and education of the Bahá'í community and through a series of national plans assigned to the various units of that community forged the Administrative Order of the Faith and made it an instrument for the carrying out of this great Charter, and he himself designed and launched the first global plan, the unique, brilliant and spiritually glorious Ten Year Crusade. The victories of that crusade implanted the banner of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the planet and the following Nine Year Plan reinforced and extended the bastions of the Faith and raised the number of National Spiritual Assemblies-the supporting pillars of the Universal House of Justice-to one hundred and thirteen, a number increased to one hundred and fifteen by the

formation at this Ridvan of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Hong Kong and South East Arabia. W-1. The centenary of both Bahá'u'lláh's Ascension and the unveiling of His Covenant were celebrated in 1992 with a World Congress in New York City, the City of the Covenant, so named by Abdu'l-Bahá on 19 June 1912 when He declared His station as the Center of the Covenant. 141-2. See Tablets of the Divine Plan (1993). 141-3. WT, p. ii.


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Major Objectives of the Plan

141.4 This Five Year Plan has three major objectives: preservation and consolidation of the victories won; a vast and widespread expansion of the Bahá'í community; development of the distinctive character of Bahá'í life particularly in the local communities. The achievement of these overall aims requires the accomplishment of particular tasks at the World Center of the Faith, and by national and local communities. World Center Goals

141.5 At the World Center work will continue on the collation and classification of the Sacred Texts; authorized translations of three compilations of Scripture will be made and published, namely, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, prayers and extracts from the Writings of the Bab, greatly augmenting the fragments of His Utterance now available in the West, and of the Master's works comprising a wide selection from the vast range of subjects illumined by His Divine wisdom; construction will begin on the building on Mount Carmel to serve as the seat of the Universal House of Justice and it is hoped to complete it during the Five Year Plan; further extension and beautification of the gardens and lands surrounding the Holy Places will take place; strengthening of the relationship between the Bahá'í International Community and the United Nations will continue; and efforts will be constantly made to protect the Faith from persecution and to free it from the restraints imposed by religious orthodoXy.4 International Conferences

141.6 In the international sphere the erection of two Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in India and one in Samoa-will be initiated; eight International Teaching Conferences will be held during the middle part of the Five Year Plan; two for the Arctic, one in Anchorage and one in Helsinki during July 1976, one in Paris in August 1976, one in Nairobi in October 1976, one in Hong Kong in November 1976, one in Auckland and one in Bahá'í, Brazil in January 1977 and one in M6rida, Mexico in February 1977. National Goals

141.7 Sixteen new National Spiritual Assemblies will be formed, namely the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahamas, Burundi, Cyprus, the French Antilles, Greece, Jordan, Mali, Mauritania, the New Hebrides, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Surinam and French Guiana, Togo, and Upper Volta; their national Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and endowments must be acquired; the dissemination of news and messages, so vital to the knowledge, 141-4. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh was published in 1978; Selections from the Writings of the Bab, in 1976; and Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Bahá, in 1978. The Seat of the Universal House of Justice was completed in 1983. 262 1974-1979 - THE FIVE YEAR PLAN


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encouragement and unity of the Bahá'í community, must be made efficient and rapid, and in anticipation of a vast expansion in the number of believers, of Local Spiritual Assemblies and of localities where Bahá'ís reside a coordinated program of translating and publishing Bahá'í literature with the eventual aim of providing the Sacred Text and the teachings of the Faith to all mankind is to be developed-a program which will include the founding of six Bahá'í Publishing Trusts and the continued subvention of Bahá'í literature, 409 inter-Assembly assistance projects are scheduled and, at the outset of the Plan, 557 pioneers are called for.

141.8 Financial self-sufficiency One of the distinguishing features of the Cause of God is its principle of nonacceptance of financial contributions for 'its own purposes from non-Bahá'ís; support of the Bahá'í Fund is a bounty reserved by Bahá'u'lláh to His declared followers. This bounty imposes full

responsibility for financial support of the Faith on the believers alone, every one of whom is called upon to do his utmost to ensure that the constant and liberal outpouring of means is maintained and increased to meet the growing needs of the Cause. Many Bahá'í communities are at present dependent on outside help, and for them the aim must be to become self-supporting, confident that the Generous Lord will, as their efforts increase, eventually enable them to offer for the progress of His Faith material wealth as well as their devotion, their energy and love. Proclamation The proclamation of the Faith, following established plans and aiming to 141.9 use on an increasing scale the facilities of mass communication must be vigorously pursued. It should be remembered that the purpose of proclamation is to make known to all mankind the fact and general aim of the new Revelation, while teaching programs should be planned to confirm individuals from every stratum of society.

141.10 Youth The vast reservoir of spiritual energy, zeal and idealism resident in Bahá'í youth, which so effectively contributed to the success of the Nine Year Plan, must be directed and lavishly spent for the proclamation, teaching, and consolidation of the Cause. Spiritual Assemblies are urged to provide consultation and the offer of guidance to Bahá'í youth who seek to plan their lives in such a way as to be of utmost service to the Cause of God. Education of Children The education of children in the teachings of the Faith must be regarded 141,11 as an essential obligation of every Bahá'í parent, every local and national community and it must become a firmly

established Bahá'í activity during the


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course of the Plan. It should include moral instruction by word and example and active participation by children in Bahá'í community life. Distinctive Bahá'í Characteristics

141.12 This Five Year Plan must witness the development in the worldwide Bahá'í community of distinctive Bahá'í characteristics implanted in it by Bahá'u'lláh Himself. Unity of mankind is the pivotal principle of His Revelation; Bahá'í communities must therefore become renowned for their demonstration of this unity. In a world becoming daily more divided by factionalism and group interests, the Bahá'í community must be distinguished by the concord and harmony of its relationships. The coming of age of the human race must be foreshadowed by the mature, responsible understanding of human problems and the wise administration of their affairs by these same Bahá'í communities. The practice and development of such Bahá'í characteristics are the responsibility alike of individual Bahá'ís and administrative institutions, although the greatest opportunity to foster their growth rests with the Local Spiritual Assemblies. Development of Local Spiritual Assemblies

141.13 The divinely ordained institution of the Local Spiritual

Assembly operates at the first levels of human society and is the basic administrative unit of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order. It is concerned with individuals and families whom it must constantly encourage to unite in a distinctive Bahá'í society, vitalized and guarded by the laws, ordinances and principles of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation. It protects the Cause of God; it acts as the loving shepherd of the Bahá'í flock.

141.14 Strengthening and development of Local Spiritual Assemblies is a vital objective of the Five Year Plan. Success in this one goal will greatly enrich the quality of Bahá'í life, will heighten the capacity of the Faith to deal with entry by troops which is even now taking place and, above all, will demonstrate the solidarity and ever-growing distinctiveness of the Bahá'í community, thereby attracting more and more thoughtful souls to the Faith and offering a refuge to the leaderless and hapless millions of the spiritually bankrupt, moribund present order.

141.15 "These Spiritual Assemblies," wrote 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "are aided by the Spirit of God. Their defender is `Abdu'l-Bahá. Over them He spreadeth His Wings. What bounty is there greater than this?" Likewise, "These Spiritual Assemblies are shining lamps and heavenly gardens, from which the fragrances of holiness are diffused over all regions, and the lights of knowledge are shed abroad over all created things. From them the spirit of life streameth in every direction. They, indeed, are the potent sources of the progress of man, at all times and under all conditions."5 141-5.

141.16 Quoted in GPB, P. 332.


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During the Five Year Plan Local Spiritual Assemblies which are being formed for the first time are to be formed whenever there are nine or more adult believers in the relevant area; thereafter they must be elected or declared at RidvAn.6 National Spiritual Assemblies are called upon to assign, and encourage the Local Spiritual Assemblies to adopt, goals within the overall framework of the Five Year Plan, to consult with them and to assist them to make great efforts to gradually assume their proper function and responsibilities in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. The friends are called upon to give their wholehearted support and

cooperation to the Local Spiritual Assembly, first by voting for the membership and then by energetically pursuing its plans and programs, by turning to it in time of trouble or difficulty, by praying for its success and taking delight in its rise to influence and honor. This great prize, this gift of God within each community must be cherished, nurtured, loved, assisted, obeyed and prayed for.

141.17 Such a firmly founded, busy and happy community life as is envisioned when Local Spiritual Assemblies are truly effective, will provide a firm home foundation from which the friends may derive courage and strength and loving support in bearing the Divine Message to their fellowmen and conforming their lives to its benevolent rule.

141.18 The Hands of the Cause of God and the International Teaching Center The deeds and programs, all these multifarious worldwide activities to which you are summoned have but one aim-the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth. At every stage of this process and at all levels of Bahá'í responsibility, whether individual, local or national, you will be encouraged, advised and assisted by the divinely ordained institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, an institution powerfully reinforced by the successful establishment of the International Teaching Center. Through the emergence of this Center the seal has been set on the accomplishment of the goal, announced nearly ten years ago, of ensuring the extension into the future of the specific functions of protection and propagation conferred upon the Hands of the Cause in the Sacred Text. Through the work of the International Teaching Center, which supervises and coordinates the work of the Boards of Counselors around the world, the love, the guidance, the assistance of the Hands, through the Boards of Counselors, their Auxiliary Board members and their assistants, permeates the entire structure of Bahá'í society.

141.19 The Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic world commonwealth have indeed assured to that growing community, the care for its welfare, for the development of its character, for its spiritual encouragement which are among the duties of their high office. 141-6. For further guidance on the formation of Local Spiritual

Assemblies, see messages no. 189, 199, and 219.


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Our Opportunities

141.20 As the old order gives way to the new, the changes which must take place in human affairs are such as to stagger the imagination. This is the opportunity for the hosts of the Lord. Undismayed and undeterred by the wreckage of "long-cherished ideals and time-honored institutions," now being 'swept away and relegated to the limbo of obsolescent and forgotten doctrines," the world community of Bahá'ís must surge forward eagerly, and with ever-increasing energy, to build those new, God-given institutions from which will be diffused the light of the holy principles and teachings sent down by God in this day for the salvation of all mankind.7

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

142 Elucidation of Five Year Plan Goals Naw-Ruz 1974 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

142.1 To supplement the message which is being addressed to each of your Communities giving its specific goals under the Five Year Plan, we now share with you a number of elucidations. Certain of the paragraphs which follow may apply to goals which have not been allotted to your community, but it will no doubt be of interest to you to read them in relation to the worldwide scope of the Plan. Opening Localities

142.2 When choosing localities to be opened to the Faith and when deciding which localities should have Local Spiritual Assemblies, you should bear in mind the need to have the Bahá'í community represented broadly across the area under your jurisdiction. It is likely that some areas will show themselves particularly receptive and numerous Bahá'í

communities will speedily arise there, but while fostering such

growth you should not neglect those areas in which the Faith is as yet unrepresented. The Development of Local Spiritual Assemblies

142.3 The institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly is of primary importance in the firm establishment of the Faith, and we hope that you will give particular attention to ensuring that as many as possible, and in increasing numbers, 141-7- WOB, P. 42.


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are, in the words of the beloved Guardian, "broad-based, securely grounded" and "efficiently functioning.", The time has come, we believe, when increasing numbers of Local Spiritual Assemblies should assume responsibility for helping the teaching work of groups, isolated believers, and other Spiritual Assemblies in their neighborhood. Such extension teaching goals should be assigned by the National Spiritual Assembly or one of its teaching committees, or can be spontaneously adopted by Local Spiritual Assemblies, and should be carried out within the framework of the overall teaching plans of the country. It should also be made clear that by being given such goals a Spiritual Assembly is not being given any jurisdiction over believers outside its area, still less over other Local Spiritual Assemblies, but is being called upon to collaborate with them in their work. The Recognition of Bahá'í Marriage and Holy Days The Five Year Plan does not include specific goals for the recognition of

142.5 Bahá'í

marriage certificates or of Bahá'í Holy Days because, in most countries where these goals are not already won, achievement depends upon circumstances beyond our control. Nevertheless, National Spiritual Assemblies should bear in mind the need to increase recognition of the Faith and should be alert to possibilities of winning these goals where they are as yet unattained. National Incorporation Goals There are a number of national incorporation goals of the Nine Year Plan 142.6 towards the attainment of which considerable progress has already been made. These have not been included as goals of the Five Year Plan although they are still pending, but of course they should be pursued to completion.

142.7 Property Acquisitions If acquisition of a National Haziratu'l-Quds is a responsibility assigned to you under the Five Year Plan, you should treat it as an urgent matter in view of the worldwide condition of inflation and rising property costs. Such a building, which must be suitable to serve as the seat of the National Spiritual Assembly, should be purchased as economically as possible. Preferably it should be a freehold detached building, although if such is not obtainable, a semidetached house or an apartment may be considered, or even a property on a long-term lease. A site for a future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar can be as small as 8,000 square meters 142.8 in area if a larger property would be too expensive. It should, if possible, be situated within the city designated or, if this is not feasible, within 25 kilometers from the city 142-1. CF, P. 22.


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142.9 A national endowment should be regarded as an investment in real estate owned by the National Spiritual Assembly. It may be anywhere in the country and can be a small, inexpensive piece of land donated by one of the friends, or else acquired out of the resources of the National Fund.

142.10 Where we have given a goal to acquire a Haziratu'l-Quds which is to serve the entire community in a certain country, it is to be a local Haziratu'l-Quds at the present time but should be of a size and quality to serve as an administrative center and focal point for the whole community. We envisage that some of such Haziratu'l-Quds may, at a later date, be converted into National Haziratu'l-Quds, and this fact should be borne in mind when acquiring them.

142.11 In the goal for local Haziratu'l-Quds given to some communities we state that a certain number should be large enough to accommodate activities of a number of communities in the surrounding district. While not being at all in the same category as the Haziratu'l-Quds described in the last paragraph above, these particular buildings are intended to be rather more substantial structures than the average local Haziratu'l-Quds, and should be located in areas which form easily accessible, central gathering places for districts in which large numbers of Bahá'ís are living. In addition to serving as a local Haziratu'l-Quds for its own town or village, such a building can be used for district gatherings, for the holding of teaching institutes, conferences, deepening classes, etc., for the larger area, and could possibly accommodate the office of the district teaching committee. 14212 In general we intend that the local Haziratu'l-Quds called for in the Plan should be very simple structures to serve as focal points and meeting places for the local communities. It is hoped that land for them can be provided by local believers and that they can be built, for the most part, by the local friends. In certain instances the National Spiritual Assembly may feel justified in giving a small amount of assistance from the National Fund.

142.13 The acquisition of local endowments, which is given as a specific goal to some national communities, is intended to assist in the consolidation of local communities and to foster the spirit of unity and collaboration among the believers. A local endowment can be quite a small piece of land; it can be purchased by the Local Spiritual Assembly or is more usually the gift of one or more of the believers. If the Local

Spiritual Assembly is incorporated, the endowment should be registered in its name, but if it is not, the endowment can be held by one or more of the believers on behalf of the community. For example, if one of the believers gives a small piece of land he can continue to hold it in his name, but it will be known that he does so on behalf of the Local Spiritual Assembly and that the land will in time be transferred legally to the Assembly when that is possible. In some countries land is owned by the state or the tribe and only the use of the land can be assigned; in such places the goal can be considered achieved if the Local Spiritual Assembly can


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obtain the use of a plot of land in its own name. In some countries, even if the land can be purchased, government regulations require that within a specific time a building must be erected on land held by religious institutions. This problem can be met in several ways: it may be possible for the Spiritual Assembly to obtain the use Of, or acquire, a plot of land for agricultural purposes, thus avoiding the need to erect a building; or if the most practical course is to erect on the land a Bahá'í institution such as a local Haziratu'l-Quds, the Assembly could, in its own records, demarcate a portion of the land to be the endowment, distinct from the portion on which the Haziratu'l-Quds stands.

142.14 Dawn Prayers One of the characteristics of Bahá'í society will be the gathering of the believers each day during the hours between dawn and two hours after sunrise to listen to the reading and chanting of the Holy Word. In many communities at the present time, especially in rural ones, such: gatherings would fit naturally into the pattern of the friends' daily life, and where this is the case it would do much to foster the unity of the local community and deepen the friends' knowledge of the Teachings if such gatherings could be organized by the Local Spiritual Assembly on a regular basis. Attendance at these gatherings is not to be obligatory, but we hope that the friends will more and more be drawn to take part in them. This is a goal which can be attained gradually.

142.15 National Teaching Conferences The holding of regular national teaching conferences has proved to be a valuable stimulus to the work in a number of countries, as well as a means for forging more strongly the bonds of unity among the believers. Beyond this, many national communities are presented with a special opportunity to hold a highly effective teaching conference at the time of the eight Intercontinental Conferences which are being called at the midway point of the Plan. Believers traveling to and from these

Intercontinental Conferences are likely to be eager to assist the work in the countries through which they pass. Therefore, if you hold a national conference shortly after the Intercontinental Conference which is nearest to you, it may well be attended by believers from other lands who will bring with them the spirit of that Conference, and, by augmenting the numbers attending your national conference will greatly assist its effectiveness as a means of proclaiming the Faith and enthusing those believers who will have been unable to attend the Intercontinental Conferences.

142.16 Youth-Specific Periods of Service Bahá'í youth should be encouraged to think of their studies and of their training for a trade or profession as part of their service to the Cause of God


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and in the context of a lifetime that will be devoted to advancing the interests of the Faith. At the same time, during their years of study, youth are often able to offer specific periods of weeks or months, or even of a year or more, during which they can devote themselves to travel teaching or to serving the Bahá'í community in other ways, such as conducting children's classes in remote villages. They should be encouraged to offer such service, which will in itself be admirable experience for the future, and the National Assembly should instruct an appropriate committee to receive such offers and to organize their implementation so as to derive the greatest possible advantage from them. External Affairs Work

142.17 A very important activity which has been pursued effectively in all too few countries, is the undertaking by the National Spiritual Assembly of a sustained, planned effort to foster cordial relations with prominent people and responsible government officials and to familiarize them personally with the basic tenets and the teachings of the Faith. Such an activity must be carried out with wisdom and discretion, and requires the constant attention of a responsible committee as well as periodic review by the National Spiritual Assembly itself. Where successful it can effectively forestall opposition to the Faith and smooth the way for many essential aspects of the development of the Bahá'í community. Pioneer Goals

142.18 Enclosed with this letter you will receive a list of pioneer assistance initially called for at the opening of the Plan .2 Any National Spiritual Assembly which has pioneers abroad from previous plans is still responsible for helping them to remain at their posts, or for replacing them, if the services they have been rendering are still needed. However, if you have any still unfilled pioneer goals from the Nine Year Plan or from the current year, you may consider them canceled, because such unfilled goals have been taken into consideration in assigning the goals of the Five Year Plan. Best results can be obtained when pioneer projects are arranged in consultation between the sending and receiving National Spiritual Assemblies or their appropriate committees.

143.1 With loving Bahá'í

greetings,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

142-2. The list is too lengthy to include in this volume.


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143 Call for Architects for Houses of Worship in India and Western Samoa 1 APRIL 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice will soon be considering the selection of architects for the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar to be erected in India and Samoa.

143.2 Those wishing to be considered as architects for either of these Temples are invited to submit statements of their qualifications. Such submissions may include examples of work previously designed and/or executed and, if desired, any thoughts or concepts of proposed designs for the Temples may be expressed in whatever way the applicant chooses.

143.3 The design of each Temple will be developed by the architect selected in relation to the climate, environment and culture of the area where it is to be built. The initiation of construction of these Temples is a goal of the current Five

143.4 Year Plan, and consequently those interested should for-ward their submissions at an early date to the Universal House of Justice, Bahá'í World Center, PO. Box 155, Haifa 31-000, Israel. Please convey the above message to the friends assembled at your Convention and thereafter to the community at large in whatever way you see fit.

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

144 Passing of Covenant-Breaker Charles Mason Remey 5 APRIL 1974 To all National Spiritual Assemblies CHARLES MASON REMEY WHOSE ARROGANT ATTEMPT USURP GUARDIANSHIP AFTER

144.1 PASSING SHOGHI EFFENDI LED TO HIS EXPULSION FROM RANKS FAITHFUL HAS DIED IN FLORENCE ITALY IN HUNDREDTH YEAR OF HIS LIFE BURIED WITHOUT RELIGIOUS RITES ABANDONED BY ERSTWHILE FOLLOWERS. HISTORY THIS PITIABLE DEFECTION BY ONE WHO HAD RECEIVED GREAT HONORS FROM BOTH MASTER AND GUARDIAN CONSTITUTES YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE FUTILITY ALL ATTEMPTS UNDERMINE IMPREGNABLE COVENANT CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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145 Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas Concerning Men and Women 28 APRIL 1974

To an individual Believer

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

145.1 The various questions you set forth in your letter of 18 February were noted, and we offer you the following comments.

145.2 The Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and indeed all the Teachings of the Faith, form a coherent whole; therefore in order to understand their implications they must be considered in their own context. For example, in the case of intestacy, as you have noted, the eldest son receives preferential treatment in certain respects but, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá has explained in one of His Tablets, he should take into consideration the needs of the other heirs.

145.3 Furthermore it should be remembered that, as Shoghi Effendi has explained (see The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, page 148), Bahá'u'lláh has deliberately left gaps in the body of His legislative ordinances, to be filled in due course by the Universal House of Justice.

145.4 You should, therefore, when studying the Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, bear these factors in mind, and always remember Bahá'u'lláh's exhortation to "Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring balance established amongst men. In this most perfect balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it."'

145.5 The equality of men and women, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá has often explained, is a fundamental principle of Bahá'u'lláh; therefore the Laws of the Aqdas should be studied in the light of this. Equality between men and women does not, indeed physiologically it cannot, mean identity of function. In some things women excel men, in others men are better than women, while in very many things the difference in sex is of no effect at all. The differences are most apparent in family life. The capacity for motherhood has many far-reaching effects. For example, because of this, daughters receive preference in education over sons. Again, for physiological reasons, women are granted exemptions from fasting that are not applied to men.

145.6 It is apparent from the Guardian's writings that where Bahá'u'lláh has expressed a law as between a man and a woman it applies, mutatis mutandis 145-1. SC, p. 22,; see also KA T99.


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2 between a woman and a man unless the context should make this

impossible. For example, the text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas forbids a man to marry his father's wife (i.e., his stepmother), and the Guardian has indicated that likewise a woman is forbidden to marry her stepfather. In the case you cite, however, that of a wife who is found by her husband not to have been a virgin, the dissolution of the marriage can be demanded only "If the marriage has been conditioned on virginity';3 presumably, therefore, if the wife wishes to exercise such a right in respect to the husband, she would have to include a condition as to his virginity in the marriage contract, and this would seem to be one of those matters on which the Universal House of Justice will have to legislate in due course.

145.7 Although the Universal House of Justice has to apply and supplement the laws of the Aqdas, it has no right at all to change any law that Bahá'u'lláh has specifically revealed.

146.1 As clearly stated by the Guardian, the provisions of the Kitab-1-Aqdas "remain inviolate" during the entire Dispensation . . . . 4

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

146 Memorandum on Establishing and Operating a Bahá'í Publishing Trust 13 MAY 1974 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The goal of the Five Year Plan to establish six new Publishing Trusts is by now known to you; these new publishing agencies are to be established in Australia, the Fiji Islands, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia. We have just sent to these six National Spiritual Assemblies the attached

146.2 Memorandum on Establishing and Operating a Bahá'í Publishing Trust, together with our Memorandum of March 28, 1971. We now enclose both these memoranda solely for your information. It is possible that some of the six National Spiritual Assemblies charged with this goal may apply to any one of you for information about the structure and operation of your own publishing agency and we feel sure you will answer any questions they may ask.

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

145-2. A Latin term meaning "with due alteration of details." 145-3. KA Q47, pp. 151-52. 145-4. GPB, P. 213.


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Memorandum on Establishing and Operating a Bahá'í Publishing Trust MAY 1974 146.3 1.The name "Bahá'í Publishing Trust" does not require the establishment of a Trust in the legal sense, and, in fact, more than one Bahá'í publishing agency is not called a Trust. 146.4 2.By whatever name it is called the objective is to establish a publishing agency, under the complete control and direction of the National Spiritual Assembly. 146.5 3.The difference between a Bahá'í Publishing Trust and any other Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly lies chiefly in the fact that the publishing agency does not operate on a budget from the National Spiritual Assembly but is established as a business with its own capital (whose sources are listed at 6 below), trading in the publishing and sale of Bahá'í literature and allied items, and the results of this trading remain within its own financial structure. It is a business, owned by the National Spiritual Assembly, to carry out its publishing requirements. 146.6 4. While it may first be set up as a Committee the aim should be to form some association, legally established, by which the National Spiritual Assembly may act as a publisher. This may be achieved either through the National Spiritual Assembly's own incorporation or by the establishment of a separate legal entity with the National Spiritual Assembly having full control. But in any case legal advice must be sought. 146.7 5.The Company or Trust must be a non-profit-making organization, that is to say all proceeds from its transactions must be used for such things as paying salaries and other operational expenses, royalties and interests on loans and augmenting its own capital. It is not operated for individual profit. Capitalization 146.8 6. Since the agency is to be operated solely for Bahá'í purposes, capital funds may not be received from non-Bahá'ís, although of course the aim is to sell books to the largest possible public. Capital may be obtained from: a) Grants from the National Spiritual Assembly b) Gifts from individual Bahá'ís or from Spiritual Assemblies c) Profit from trading


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d) Loans from Bahá'ís or Bahá'í institutions. Such loans may be interest free or interest bearing but for every loan there must be a written contract setting out the terms of the loan, its duration, condition of repayment and all details. e) Taking over any publishing assets (stock, outstanding accounts, etc.) which your National Spiritual Assembly or one of your Committees may at present have. Production 7- Publishing is not the same as printing or manufacturing books. The publisher engages manufacturing firms to produce his books according to his-the publisher's-design and specifications. The actual production and distribution of books need not be confined to the country in which the Publishing Trust operates. The printing and binding may be done anywhere it is deemed most feasible economically, and from the point of view of control, quality, economy and financial arrangements. Publishing Program 8.Bahá'í literature comprises in general the Sacred Text (works of Bahá'u'lláh, the Bab, 'Abdu'l-Bahá); the Guardian's writings; letters and publications of the Universal House of Justice; introductory and explanatory works; historical works; teaching

pamphlets and other teaching literature. The purpose of establishing Bahá'í publishing agencies throughout the world is to make a wide range of such material available to everybody. The specific program you must devise will therefore take into consideration the following factors: a) What are the prevailing languages in your area of jurisdiction. b) Will other National Spiritual Assemblies be interested in your publications. c) What are your immediate needs for teaching and study of the Faith. d) What literature useful to you already exists. e) Reviewing. Under a) You will need to consider a program of translation and we refer you to our Memorandum of 28 March 1971. 146-1. See message no. 94.


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b) If the answer is yes, you will need to consult any such National Spiritual Assembly with a view to establishing priorities and enlisting their help in translating. c) Together with b) and d) should enable you to establish a publishing program by priority of need. d) If you can, with reasonable ease, obtain needed literature from other Bahá'í Publishing Trusts you should obviously do so and use your own resources for publishing items not available elsewhere. Your own publishing agency should buy such material at wholesale prices and re-sell it to Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals. e) Everything published must be approved; see our Memorandum of 28 March 1971 Financial Program 146.12 9. An appeal may be made to all the believers under your jurisdiction, as well as to any National Spiritual Assemblies under 8 b) above, to support the new publishing agency. In addition to such an appeal a general invitation to the friends may be issued to take up loans, see 6 d) above.

146.13 Proper accounts must be kept and a Profit and Loss Account and a Balance Sheet drawn up and audited every year.

146.14 Pricing of publications. Two objectives have to be balanced against each other, namely, to make Bahá'í literature available at as low a price as possible and to build up a sound business. Retail prices will have to cover a) production costs b) operating expenses (see 5) c) discounts allowed d) a small profit to repay loans and build up capital.

146.15 Postage on books. Cost of postage or freight may either be charged directly to the customer or included in the selling price.

146.16 If the National Spiritual Assembly wishes to sell a book at less than the commercial retail price, it should subsidize its Publishing Trust so that the Trust itself will incur no loss. Management 146.17 10. The Publishing Trust should be managed by a Committee, appointed by your National Spiritual Assembly and directly responsible to you. Ideally it should have in its

membership one believer capable of acting as general


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manager and conducting the business of the Trust on behalf of the Committee. At the outset it may not be possible to make this a full-time position or to offer a salary to the manager, but this point should be borne in mind as the business of the Trust increases and its volume of sales justifies such an expense. Perhaps it may be possible to find some competent believer who, for the present, would make the management of the Publishing Trust his or her Bahá'í service. The above are not hard and fast rules but guidelines for consideration. The 146-18 important thing is to tackle at once the problem of supplying literature to support the all-important work of teaching and study of the Cause. The Sacred Text, the Guardian's writings, expository and historical works are all essential to the propagation and promotion of the Faith. 147 Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas Not Binding in the West 9 JUNE 1974 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Iceland

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Thank you for your letter Of 4 March 1974 enclosing the inquiry from the

147.1 Bahá'í Group of Isafjorour. It has become apparent from a number of questions we have received that many believers are not clear which are those laws already binding upon the Bahá'ís in the West. We therefore feel it is timely to clarify the situation, and the simplest way is to state those laws listed in the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas which are not at present binding upon the friends in the western world. For ease of reference we give the numbers of the sections listed. IVA. (4) (c)The law regarding the exemption from obligatory prayer granted 147.2 to women in their courses.

147.3 IVA.(10)The law concerning ablutions, with the exception of the ablutions required for the Medium Obligatory Prayer which are described in Section CLXXKII of Prayers and Meditations and are required for the recitation of that prayer. IV.A.(i2)The law concerning actions to be taken in place of an Obligatory

147.4 Prayer missed on account of insecure conditions. IV. B. (5) (a) The definition of travelers for the purpose of exemption from fasting. Instead of these definitions the believers in the West should observe the following guidance given by the beloved Guardian's


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secretary on his behalf: "travelers are exempt from fasting, but if they want to fast while they are traveling, they are free to do so. You are exempt the whole period of your travel, not just the hours you are in a train or car, etc. . . .",

147.6 IV.B.(5)(f)The law regarding the exemption from fasting granted to women in their courses.

147.7 IV.C.(1)(i) The laws governing betrothal.

147.8 IV.C.(i)(j)The law concerning the payment of a dowry by the groom to the bride on marriage.

147.9 N.C.(i)(1)and (in) The laws concerning the traveling of a husband away from his wife.

147.10 IV.C.(i)(n) and (o) The laws relating to the virginity of the wife.

147.11 IV.C(2)(b) That part of the divorce law relating to fines payable to the House of justice.

147.12 IV.C.(3)The law of inheritance. This is normally covered by civil laws of intestacy at the present time. 147.13

IVD.(i)(a) The law of pilgrimage.

147.14 N.D.W(b) The law of Huququ'llah is not yet applied to the western friends.,-147.15

IV.D.(i)(d) The law of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is gradually being put into effect.

147.16 IV.D.(i)(f) The Bahá'í Festivals are being celebrated by the western friends on their anniversaries in the Gregorian calendar until such time as the Universal House of Justice deems it desirable to pass supplementary legislation necessary for the full implementation of the Badi' calendar.

147.17 IV.D.(i)(j)The age of maturity applies only to Bahá'í religious duties as yet.3 On other matters it is subject to the civil law of each country. The age of administrative maturity in the Bahá'í community has, for the time being, been fixed at 21. 147-1. LG, P. 234. 147-2. See message dated 6 August 1984 on the introduction of Huqdq011h to the West (no. 404), and message dated 4 July 1985 introducing a compilation on Huququ'llah (no. 430). For the compilation, see CC 1:489-527. 147-3.

147.18 For more information on the responsibilities of youth at the age of maturity, see message no. 426.


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IVD.(i)(k) For the burial of the dead the only requirements now binding in the West are to bury the body (not to cremate it), not to carry it more than a distance of one hour's journey from the place of death, and to say the Prayer for the Dead if the deceased is a believer over the age Of 15. IV. D. (I) (p) The law of tithes.

147.19 IV D. (I) (q) The law concerning the repetition of the Greatest Name 95 times 147.20 a day. IV. D. (I) (r) The law concerning the hunting of animals. 147,21 IV.

147.22 D. (I) (t), (u), (v) and (w) The laws relating to the finding of lost property, the disposition of treasure trove, the disposal of objects held in trust and compensation for manslaughter are all designed for a future state of society. These matters are usually covered by the civil law of each country. IV.

147.23 D. (I) (y) (xiv),(xv),(xvi) and (xvii) Arson, adultery, murder and theft are all forbidden to Bahá'ís but the punishments prescribed for them in the Kit6b-i-Aqdas are designed for a future state of society. Such matters are usually covered by the civil laws of each country. IV. D. (I) (y) (xxv), (xxx), (xxxi) and (xxxii) The laws prohibiting the use of the 147.24 type of pools which used to be found in Persian baths, the plunging of one's hand in food, the shaving of one's head and the growth of men's hair below the lobe of the car.

147.25 All the exhortations, listed in section IVD.W, a-re applicable universally at the present time insofar as it is possible for the friends to implement them; for example, the exhortation to teach one's children to chant the Holy Verses in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar can be literally carried out only on a limited scale at the present time, but the friends should, vertheless, teach their children the Holy Writings as far as possible.

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


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148 Revision of the Functions of Continental Pioneer Committees 22 JULY 1974 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

148.1 In view of the ever-increasing number of pioneers and traveling teachers now arising from various countries to serve the Cause of God in widely scattered lands throughout all continents the Universal House of Justice has considered ways of deriving maximum benefit from the services of these devoted believers, coordinating their efforts and anticipating the needs of the future.

148.2 The Continental Boards of Counselors will soon be approaching you about the need for pioneers and traveling teachers for the period ending Ridvan 1976.

148.3 The functions of the Continental Pioneer Committees have been reviewed and developed in a way that will enable them to operate in closer collaboration with the Continental Boards of Counselors and the National Spiritual Assemblies of their areas. A copy of the statement outlining the functions of the Continental Pioneer Committees as now revised is attached for your information. As you will note, the members of these Committees will henceforth be appointed by the Universal House of Justice.

149.1 Nothing in the functions now assigned to the Continental Pioneer Committees in any way detracts from the primary responsibility of National Spiritual

Assemblies to foster and promote pioneering and traveling teaching.

148.4 It is our hope and prayer that as the Five Year Plan unfolds evidences of closer ties of cooperation ong the various institutions of the Faith will be increasingly witnessed in every land.

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


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149 The Lesser Peace and "the Calamity' 29 JULY 1974 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We have received your letter of 19 June 1974 describing the preoccupation of some American believers with the date of the Lesser Peace, and with their feeling that "the calamity," as a prelude to that peace, is imminent.

149.2 It is true that 'Abdu'l-Bahá made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: "The fifth candle is the unity of nations a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland.", And, in The Promised Day Is Come, following a similar statement quoted from Some Answered Questions, Shoghi Effendi makes this comment: "This is the stage which the world is now approaching, the stage of world unity, which, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá assures us, will, in this century, be securely established. "2 There is also this statement from a letter written in 1946 to an individual 149.3 believer on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary: All we know is that the Lesser and the Most Great Peace will come their exact dates we do not know. The same is true as regards the possibility of a future war; we cannot state dogmatically it will or will not take place-all we know is that mankind must suffer and be punished sufficiently to make it turn to God.

149.4 It is apparent that the disintegration of the old order is accelerating, but the friends should not permit this inevitable process to deter them from giving their undivided attention to the tasks lying immediately before them. Let them take heart from the reassuring words of Shoghi Effendi contained in the closing paragraphs of his momentous ssage of June 5, 1947, and concentrate on the challenging tasks of this hour.3

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

___ 149-1. SWAB, p. 32 149-2. PDIC 298; see also SAQ p. 65. 149-3. CF, pp. 37-38.


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149 Passing of Laura Dreyfus-Barney, Compiler of Some Answered Questions 22 AUGUST 1974

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

150.1 ASCENSION DISTINGUISHED MAIDSERVANT LAURA DREYFUS-BARNEY FURTHER DEPLETES SMALL BAND PROMOTERS FAITH HEROIC AGE. MEMBER FIRST HISTORIC GROUP PARIS TAUGHT BY MAY MAXWELL SHE ACHIEVED IMMORTAL FAME THROUGH COMPILATION SOME ANSWERED QUESTIONS UNIQUE ENTIRE FIELD RELIGIOUS HISTORY. OFFERING ARDENT PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD PROGRESS HER SOUL ABHA KINGDOM URGE ALL COMMUNITIES FRANCE HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS GRATITUDE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

151 Comments on the Bahá'í Attitude toward Material Suffering 19 NOVEMBER 1974 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

151.1 In your letter of ii September you say that the questions of how to help the Third World or the poor who are suffering under calamities are much discussed in your community and you wish to know whether to create a special fund for such needs, to ask for special ' contributions from time to time, or whether there are other ways in which you could help.

151.2 It is understandable that Bahá'ís who witness the miserable conditions under which so many human beings have to live, or who hear of a sudden disaster that has struck a certain area of the world, are moved to do something practical to ameliorate those conditions and to help their suffering fellow-mortals. 150-1. Laura Clifford Dreyfus-Barney was born in the United States in 1879 into a family of scholars and artists. She learned about the Bahá'í Faith from May Bolles Maxwell in Paris, circa 1900, during the Heroic Age of the Faith (1844-1921). Some Answered Questions, first published in London in 1908 and issued five times since by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the United States, consists of Abdu'l-Bahá's responses to questions put to Him at table by Miss Barney between 1904 and 1906. In 1911 she married the distinguished Hippolyte Dreyfus, the first French Bahá'í. She died in Paris on 18 August 1974. For an account of her life and services, see BW 16:535-38.


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There are many ways in which help can be rendered.

151.3 Every Bahá'í has the duty to acquire a trade or profession through which he will earn that wherewith he can support himself and his family; in the choice of such work he can seek those activities which are of benefit to his fellowmen and not merely those which promote his personal interests, still less those whose effects are actually harmful. There are also the situations in which an individual Bahá'í or a Spiritual

151.4 Assembly is confronted with an urgent need which neither justice nor compassion could allow to go unheeded and unhelped. How many are the stories told of Abdu'l-Bahá in such situations, when He would even take off a garment He was wearing and give it to a shivering man in rags.

151.5 But in our concern for such immediate obvious calls upon our succor we must not allow ourselves to forget the continuing, appalling burden of suffering under which millions of human beings are always groaning-a burden which they have borne for century upon century and which it is the mission of Bahá'u'lláh to lift at last. The principal cause of this suffering, which one can witness wherever one turns, is the corruption of human morals and the prevalence of prejudice, suspicion, hatred, untrustworthiness, selfishness and tyranny among men. It is not merely material well-being that people need. What they desperately need is to know how to live their lives-they need to know who they are, to what purpose they exist, and how they should act towards one another; and, once they know the answers to these questions they need to be helped to gradually apply these answers to everyday behavior. It is to the solution of this basic problem of mankind that the greater part of all our energy and resources should be directed. There are mighty agencies in this world, governments, foundations, institutions of many kinds with tremendous financial resources which are working to improve the material lot of human beings. Anything we Bahá'ís could add to such resources in the way of special funds or contributions would be a negligible drop in the ocean. However, alone among men we have the divinely given remedy for the real ills of mankind; no one else is doing or can do this most important work, and if we divert our energy and our funds into fields in which others are already doing more than we can hope to do, we shall be delaying the diffusion of the Divine Message which is the most important task of all.

151.6 Because of such an attitude, and also because of our refusal to become involved in politics, Bahá'ís are often accused of holding aloof from the "real problems" of their fellowmen. But when we hear this accusation let us not forget that those who make it are usually idealistic materialists to whom material good is the only "real" good, whereas we know that the working of the material world is merely a reflection of spiritual conditions and until the spiritual conditions can be changed there can be no lasting change for the better in material affairs.


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151.7 We should also remember that most people have no clear concept of the sort of world they wish to build, nor how to go about building it. Even those who are concerned to improve conditions are therefore reduced to combating every apparent evil that takes their attention. Willingness to fight against evils, whether in the form of conditions or embodied in evil men, has thus become for most people the touchstone by which they judge a person's moral worth. Bahá'ís, on the other hand, know the goal they are working towards and know what they must do, step by step, to attain it. Their whole energy is directed towards the building of the good, a good which has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils-which are in essence negative will fade away and be no more, To enter into the quixotic tournament of demolishing one by one the evils in the world is, to a Bahá'í, a vain waste of time and effort. His whole life is directed towards proclaiming the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, reviving the spiritual life of his fellowmen, uniting them in a divinely created World Order, and then, as the Order grows in strength and influence, he will see the power of that Message transforming the whole human society and progressively solving the problems and removing the injustices which have so long bedeviled the world.

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

152 Release of a Compilation on Opposition 26 NOVEMBER 1974 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

152.1 Five months before he passed away, the beloved Guardian in his cable to the Bahá'í world, dated 4 June 1957, drew our attention to the fact that from both without and within the Faith evidences of "INCREASING HOSTILITY" and "PERSISTENT MACHINATIONS" were apparent, and that they foreshadowed the "DIRE CONTEST" predicted by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, which was destined to "RANGE [the] ARMY [of] LIGHT [against the] FORCES [of] DARKNESS, BOTH SECULAR [and] RELIGIOUS."'

152.2 The marvelous victories won in the name of Bahá'u'lláh, since those words were written; and the triumphs increasingly being achieved by His dedicated and ardent lovers in every land, will no doubt serve to rouse the internal and external enemies of the Faith to fresh attempts to attack the Faith and dampen 152-1. MBW, P. 123


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the enthusiasm of its supporters, as evidenced by the book attacking Shoghi Effendi recently published in Germany by Hermann Zimmer, a Covenant-breaker, and the new book misrepresenting the Faith written by William Miller, a longtime enemy of the Faith who used to be a missionary in Persia.

152.3 We felt, therefore, that we could contribute to your devoted and incessant efforts to protect our precious Cause by placing in your hands a compilation from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, of Abdu'l-Bahá and of Shoghi Effendi clearly outlining 'the principle that the progressive unfoldment and onward march of the Faith of God are bound to raise up adversaries, indubitably foreshadowing the worldwide opposition which is to come, and unequivocally giving the assurance of ultimate victory.

152.4 This compilation is far from complete and exhaustive, but provides a basis for the study of this all-important subject.' We leave it to your discretion, in consultation with a Hand or Hands of the Cause who may be available, as well as with the Counselors, to decide in what manner, and how much of this material should be shared with the friends.

152.5 In some areas it may be best for National Spiritual Assemblies to publish these extracts in Bahá'í newsletters gradually, in others the circulation or even publication of the entire compilation, with other pertinent texts, if called for, may be desirable; in yet other areas it may be enough to draw the attention of the friends to this important subject, through courses and lectures based on these texts and given in conferences and summer schools. We feel strongly that, whatever method is chosen to inform the friends, the time has come for them to clearly grasp the inevitability of the critical contests which lie ahead, give you their full, support in repelling with confidence and determination "the darts" which will be leveled against them by 11 their present enemies, as well as those whom Providence will, through His mysterious dispensations, raise up, from within or from without," and aid and enable the Faith of God to scale loftier heights, win more signal triumphs, and traverse more vital stages in its predestined course to complete victory and worldwide ascendanCy.3

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

152-2. See CC 2:137-50. For further information on the subject of opposition to the Faith, see the compilation prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice in 1987 on crisis and victory in CC 1:131-85. 152-3. MBW, P. 39.


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153 Formation of Five New National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1975 and Readjustment of the Zones of African Continental Boards of Counselors 6 JANUARY 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

153.1 We are glad to announce that preparations are being made for next Ridvan by the friends in several countries in West Africa and one in the Near East to form, in accordance with the provisions of the Five Year Plan, their new National Spiritual Assemblies. In Western Africa, the National Spiritual Assembly of Dahomey, Togo and Niger will divide into three separate national communities for each of the three countries which presently compose the region, with their seats in Cotonou Lom6 and Niamey respectively, while the National Spiritual Assemblies of West Africa and of Upper West Africa will each split into two units, the former into Liberia and Guinea, with its seat in Monrovia, and Sierra Leone, with its seat in Freetown, and the latter into the Gambia, with its seat in Banjul, and a new National Spiritual Assembly with the name of Upper West Africa comprising S6n6gal, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands, with its seat in Dakar. In the Near East the National Spiritual Assembly of Jordan will be formed, with its seat in Amman. These developments on the national level will result in a net increase next Ridvan of five National Spiritual Assemblies, but in view of the inability of the friends in Indonesia to maintain national administrative activities, the total number of National Spiritual Assemblies will thus be raised throughout the world to 119.

153.2 Of the five new National Spiritual Assemblies, four will have their seats in Western Africa. Three more National Spiritual Assemblies are scheduled to be formed in this area in the course of the Plan. The mighty potentialities for growth and expansion in the western regions of Africa are such as to justify a corresponding development of the institution of the Continental Boards of Counselors in that vast and promising area. The decision has been taken, therefore, after consultation with the International Teaching Center, to break the present zone of Northwestern Africa into two separate zones of Northern and Western Africa, to each of which will be transferred parts of the Central and East African zone. The zone of Northern Africa will comprise Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Spanish Sahara. The zone of Western Africa will consist of Mauritania, S6n6gal, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, the Cape Verde

Islands, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta Niger, Ghana, Togo, Dahomey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.


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Because of the creation of a new Board for Northern Africa, the Counselors in this and the one for Western Africa must be regrouped, new appointments made to the

Northern Board, and the number of Auxiliary Board members increased. We decided, therefore, that the Board for Northern Africa will

consist of Mr. Muhammad Kebdani, already serving as a Counselor, Mr. Muhammad Mustafa, and Mr. 'Iman Sabiran. The Board for Western Africa will consist of Mr. Husayn Ardikani (Trustee), Mr. Friday Ekpe, Mr. Zekrullah Kazemi, and Dr. Mihdi Samandari (transferred from the Central and East African Board). 153.4a [OUTLINE MAP OF AFRICA SHOWING BOARD ZONES OCCUPIES LOWER 3/4THS OF PAGE]


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153.5 We are also increasing the number of Auxiliary Board members in Africa, adding 9 members to the Board for Protection, and 9 to that for Propagation, bringing the totals for that continent to 27 and 45 respectively, allocated according to the following schedule: Auxiliary Board members Auxiliary Board members for Protection for Propagation

Central and East Africa 13 19 Southern Africa 4 10 Northern Africa 5 5 Western Africa 5 11 27 45

153.6 We pray at the Holy Shrines that these decisions, which reflect the growth of our beloved Faith in Africa, will pave the way for speedier progress, wider expansion and greater consolidation, as the iends of that mighty continent forge ahead in their efforts to promote and protect the precious Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.

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

154 Acquisition of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha in 'Akka 9 JANUARY 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

154.1 JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION LENGTHY DELICATE NEGOTIATIONS RESULTING ACQUISITION BY PURCHASE HOLY HOUSE CENTER COVENANT ABDU'L-BAHA BIRTHPLACE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHOGHI EFFENDI. HISTORIC

PROPERTY ADJACENT BARRACKS MOST GREAT PRISON COMPRISES LAND AREA APPROXIMATING SEVEN THOUSAND SQUARE METERS INCLUDES OTHER STRUCTURES WITHIN COMPLEX ASSURING PERMANENT PROTECTION HOUSE VISITED BY MANY PILGRIMS TURN CENTURY SCENE HISTORIC VISIT FIRST GROUP WESTERN PILGRIMS.' PLANS BEING PREPARED RESTORATION HOLY HOUSE BEAUTIFICATION GROUNDS AS ADDITIONAL PLACE PILGRIMAGE WORLD CENTER WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES FUNDS PERMIT. OFFER HUMBLE THANKSGIVING BAHA'U'LLAH THIS GREAT BLESSING. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 154-1. For information on the first group of Western pilgrims, see the entry on Pilgrimage in the glossary. For an account of the significance of the House of Abdu'llah Pasha, see message no. 157.


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155 Call for Pioneers 13 JANUARY 1975

To the Bahá'ís of the World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The striking progress made during the first eight months of the Five Year

155.1 Plan and the urgent needs of the work as disclosed in a survey made by the International Teaching Center impel us to raise anew the call for pioneers made at Ridvan' increasing the number from 557 to 933. The details of the allocations are now being sent to your National Spiritual Assemblies for immediate action. The eager response of the friends to the

initial call has already resulted in 155.2 279 pioneers settled or in process of becoming so. The remainder are urged to arise as quickly as possible before the confusion and chaos which are engulfing the old order disrupt transportation and communications and cause doors which are now open to be closed in our faces. It is our ardent hope that most, if not all, of the 933 posts will be filled by the midway point of the Five Year Plan, which coincides with the Anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, on 20th October 1

976.1 We renew our plea to individual believers, as well as to National and Local

155.3 Spiritual Assemblies, to give generous support to the International Deputization Fund, which will not only be an essential factor in the speedy settlement of this urgently needed army of pioneers, but will also stimulate and assist the flow of traveling teachers, whose labors will provide strong reinforcement to the work of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in all parts of the world. Our

prayers for your guidance and confirmation are offered at the Sacred

155.4 Threshold. May Bahá'u'lláh inspire those who arise and guide their feet in the path of His service.

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

155-1. See cable of 21 October 1976 (message no. 179) reporting that the majority of the pioneer goals had indeed been achieved by the midpoint of the Five Year Plan.


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156 Acquisition of Land Adjacent to the Guardian's Resting-Place in London 4 FEBRUARY 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

156.1 ANNOUNCE PURCHASE STRIP LAND GREAT NORTHERN LONDON CEMETERY FACING BELOVED GUARDIAN'S RESTING PLACE ENSURING PROTECTION SACRED PLOT. PRAYERS GRATITUDE OFFERED DIVINE THRESHOLD. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 157 The Significance of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha' 4 MARCH 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

157.1 Immediately after sending the cable announcing the joyful news of the acquisition of this property [the house of 'Abdu'llah Pasha], the Universal House of Justice had the enclosed article prepared at the World Center, and it is sent for you to disseminate as you see fit.' With loving

Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

The House of Abdu'llah Pasha

Some of the most poignant, dramatic and historically significant events of the Heroic Age of our Faith are associated with this house, which derives its name from the Governor of Akka who built it and used it as his official residence during his term of Office, from 1820 to 1832. It stands just inside the northwestern corner of the sea wall of Ak4 in the close neighborhood of the citadel where Bahá'u'lláh was confined. The main building is L-shaped, facing south and cast on its outer prospects. The structure, though chiefly on two stories, is irregular and on the inside angle has balconies, uncovered stairways, a bathhouse and a well. The entire property comprises large courtyards and is bounded on the west, or seaward, side by a wall, which turns due east at its southern angle and continues towards the heart of 'Akka, forming after 157-1. For the announcement of the acquisition of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, see message dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154).


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a few yards, the wall of a narrow street; at the eastern terminus of this wall, and within the property, is an imposing house which was occupied by that Governor of 'Akka whose incumbency coincided with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's residence in the main building, and whose northern windows permitted him to maintain a constant surveillance of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's activities. Beyond this house is a small mosque. The eastern boundary of the property is a row of houses giving directly, on its western aspect, to the courtyard and offering many additional vantage points for observing the Master. A similar row of houses extends from the northeastern corner along the northern boundary until they terminate at the longitudinal wing of the main building which, at this point, projects northwards into several conjoined buildings, making a large irregular outcrop on the northern boundary. The western end of the northern boundary is a short stretch of wall completing the enclosure at the northwestern corner of the west wall. Large stables, coach houses and storerooms line the southern boundary.

157.3 In this house, fifty lunar years after the Bab's martyrdom, in January, 1899, the casket containing His sacred and precious remains was received by 'Abdu'l- Baha, Who successfully concealed it until it was possible to inter it, with all honors, in its permanent resting-place in the bosom of Carmel.2 In this house 'Abdu'l-Bahá was confined during the period of His renewed incarceration.3 Shoghi Effendi, in God Passes By, testifies to the conditions of His life at that time: Even His numerous friends and admirers refrained, during the most turbulent days of this period, from calling upon Him, for fear of being implicated and of incurring the suspicion of the authorities. On certain days and nights, when the outlook was at its darkest, the house in which He was living, and which had for many years been a focus of activity, was completely deserted. Spies, secretly and openly, kept watch around it, observing His every movement and restricting the freedom of His family.4 Yet during these troublous times, and from this house, He directed the construction of the Bab's sepulcher on Mount Carmel, erected under its shadow His own house in Haifa and later the Pilgrim House,5 issued instructions for the restoration of the Bab's holy House in Shiraz and for the erection of the 157-2. Abdu'l-Bahá interred the remains of the Bab on Mount Carmel on 21 March 1909. For an account of this event, see GPB, p. 276. 157-3. In August 1901 the restrictions on Abdu'l-Bahá that had gradually been relaxed were reimposed so that He was incarcerated in Akka until September 1908. 157-4. GPB, p. 267. 157-5. Abdu'l-Bahá's house is located at 7 Haparsim Street in Haifa. The Western Pilgrim House, later the Seat of the Universal House of Justice and later still the Seat of the International Teaching Center, is located across the street at 10 Haparsim Street.


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first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the world in the city of 'Ishqabad.6 Again the Guardian is our reference for the Master's ceaseless activity at that time:

157.3c Eyewitnesses have testified that, during that agitated and perilous period of His life, they had known Him to pen, with His own hand, no less than ninety Tablets in a single day, and to pass many a night, from dusk to dawn, alone in His bedchamber engaged in a correspondence which the pressure of His manifold responsibilities had prevented Him from attending to in the daytime.7

157.4 It was in this house that His celebrated table talks were given and compiled, to be published later under the title Some Answered Questions.' In this house and in the darkest hours of a period which the beloved Guardian describes as "the most dramatic period of His ministry," "in the heyday of His life and in the full tide of His power" He penned the first part of His Will and Testament, which delineates the features and lays the foundations of the Administrative Order to arise after His passing.9 In this house He revealed the highly significant Tablet addressed to the Bab's cousin and chief builder of the 'Ishqabad Temple, a Tablet whose import can be appreciated and grasped only as future events unfold before our eyes, and in which, as testified by Shoghi Effendi, 'Abdu'l-Bahá "in stirring terms proclaimed the immeasurable greatness of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, sounded the warnings foreshadowing the turmoil which its enemies, both far and near, would let loose upon the world, and prophesied, in moving language, the ascendancy which the torch-bearers of the Covenant would ultimately achieve over them."10

157.5 During the twelve years of His residence in this house, Abdu'l-Bahá demonstrated the true nobility of His divine

nature; overcame hatred with love; pursued without rest, against ever-mounting opposition, the direction of His Father's Cause; maintained in the face of fanaticism, jealousy and bitterness His unceasing care of the poor and sick; and overcame, with unruffled equanimity, the severest crisis of His life. The Guardian's words testify to these things:

157.5a At His table, in those days, whenever there was a lull in the storm raging about Him, there would gather pilgrims, friends and inquirers from most of the aforementioned countries [Persia, the United States, 157-6. For the announcement of the demolition of the House of Worship in 'Ishqabad, see letter dated 25 August 1963 (message no. 4). 157-7. GPB, p. 267. 157-8. Abdu'l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, collected and trans. Laura Clifford Barney (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984). The book was first published in London in 1908 by Keegan, Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. 157-9. GPB, pp. 267-68. 157-10. GPB, p. 268.


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Canada, France, England, Germany, Egypt, Iraq, Russia, India, Burma, Japan, and the Pacific Islands], representative of the Christian, the Muslim, the Jewish, the Zoroastrian, the Hindu and Buddhist Faiths.

157.6 To the needy thronging His doors and filling the courtyard of His house every Friday morning, in spite of the perils that environed Him, He would distribute alms with His own hands, with a regularity and generosity that won Him the title of "Father of the Poor." Nothing in those tempestuous days could shake His confidence, nothing would be allowed to interfere with His ministrations to the destitute, the orphan, the sick, and the downtrodden, nothing could prevent Him from calling in person upon those who were either incapacitated, or ashamed to solicit His aid So imperturbable was 'Abdu'l-Bahá's equanimity that, while rumors 157.5b were being bruited about that He might be cast into the sea, or exiled to Fizan in Tripolitania, or hanged on the gallows, He, to the amazement of His friends and the amusement of His enemies, was to be seen planting trees and vines in the garden of His house, whose fruits when the storm had blown over, He would bid His faithful gardener, Isma'il Aqa, pluck and present to those same friends and enemies on the occasion of their visits to Him., In this house was born the child ordained to hold the destiny of the Faith in his hands for thirty-six years and to become its -"beloved Guardian," the child named 'Shoghi" by his Grandfather, who grew up under His loving and solicitous care and became the recipient of His Tablets.

157.7 When Bahá'u'lláh ascended, in 1892, the Mansion at Bahji remained in the occupancy of the arch-breaker of the Covenant, the Master's half-brother Muhammad-Ali, and members of that branch of Bahá'u'lláh's family. Abdu'l-Bahá and the members of His family, including His illustrious sister the Greatest Holy Leaf, remained in the House of Abbud, which continued to be Abdu'l-Bahá's official residence .12 In the course of the fifth year after Bahá'u'lláh's passing, the marriage of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's two eldest daughters took place, and it quickly became apparent that the portion of the House of Abbud available for occupation was woefully inadequate to the enlarged family. With characteristic vigor Abdu'l-Bahá took action and in the months preceding the birth of Shoghi Effendi arranged to rent the main building, and subsequently the 157-11. GPB, P. 269. 157-1,2. The building now known as the House of Abbud comprises two houses: the House of Udi-Khammar, in which the Holy Family was confined initially, and the House of Abbud itself, which they were later able to rent and to join to the former. The House of Abdu'llah Pasha is some distance away on the same

street, which follows the wall of the city of AW next to the sea.


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subsidiary wings, of Abdu'llah Pasha's house, and He established it as His official residence. Thus it came about that, in 1897, Shoghi Effendi was born in the same house (in an upper room of the wing facing south) that witnessed events of such vital importance to the Faith and the future of mankind.

157.8 The Guardian's childhood and upbringing in that house are referred to by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum in The Priceless Pearl

157.8a It may sound disrespectful to say the Guardian was a mischievous child, but he himself told me he was the acknowledged ringleader of all the other children. Bubbling with high spirits, enthusiasm and daring, full of laughter and wit, the small boy led the way in many pranks; whenever something was afoot, behind it would be found Shoghi Effendi! This boundless energy was often a source of anxiety as he would rush madly up and down the long flight of high steps to the upper story of the house, to the consternation of the pilgrims below, waiting to meet the Master. His exuberance was irrepressible and was in the child the same force that was to make the man such an untiring and unflinching commander-in-chief of the forces of Bahá'u'lláh, leading them to victory after victory, indeed, to the spiritual conquest of the entire globe. We have a very reliable witness to this characteristic of the Guardian, 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself, Who wrote on a used envelope a short sentence to please His little grandson: 'Shoghi Effendi is a wise man-but he runs about very much!"

157.8b In those days of Shoghi Effendi's childhood it was the custom to rise about dawn and spend the first hour of the day in the Master's room, where prayers were said and the family all had breakfast with Him. The children sat on the floor, their legs folded under them, their arms folded across their breasts, in great respect; when asked they would chant for 'Abdu'l-Bahá; there was no shouting or unseemly conduct. Breakfast consisted of tea, brewed on the bubbling Russian brass samovar and served in little crystal glasses, very hot and very sweet, pure wheat bread and goats' milk cheese .... 13

157.9 It was to this house that that historic first group of pilgrims from the West came to see the Master in the winter of 1898-99, and in which many more from both East and West sought His presence.14 Some of them have left memorable descriptions of their experiences with 'Abdu'l-Bahá and His household in that home. Ella Goodall Cooper, one of the very earliest American believers, records the following: 157-13- PP, pp. 7-8157-14. For information on the first group of Western pilgrims, see the entry on Pilgrimage in the glossary.


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One day I had joined the ladies of the Family in the room of 157.9" the Greatest Holy Leaf for early morning tea, the beloved Master was sitting in His favourite corner of the divan where, through the window on His right, He could took over the ramparts and see the blue Mediterranean

beyond. He was busy writing Tablets, and the quiet peace of the room was broken only by the bubble of the samovar, where one of the young maidservants, sitting on the floor before it, was brewing the tea.15 Thornton Chase, the first American believer, records in his memoir,

157.10 In Galilee: We did not know we had reached our destination until we saw a Persian gentleman, and then another and another, step out at the entrance and smile at us. We alighted and they conducted us through the arched, red brick entrance to an open court, across it to a long flight of stone steps, broken and ancient, leading to the highest story and into a small walled court open to the sky, where was the upper chamber assigned to us, which adjoined the room of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The buildings are all of stone, whitewashed and plastered, and it bears the aspect of a prison. Our windows looked out over the garden and tent of Abdu'l-Bahá 157.10b on the sea side of the house. That garden is bounded on one side by the house of the Governor, which overlooks it, and on another by the inner wall of fortification. A few feet beyond that is the outer wall upon the sea, and between these two are the guns and soldiers constantly on guard. A sentry house stands at one corner of the wall and garden, from which the sentry can see the grounds and the tent where Abdu'l-Bahá meets transient visitors and the officials who often call on him. Thus all his acts outside of the house itself are visible to the Governor from his windows and to the men on guard. Perhaps that is one reason why the officials so often become his friends. No one, with humanity, justice, or mercy in his heart, could watch 'Abdu'l-Bahá long without admiring and loving him for the beautiful qualities constantly displayed. 16 Mary Hanford Ford

published an account of her pilgrimage to this house 157.11 in Star of the West, vol. MV: The little room in which I stayed and in which the significant conversations with 'Abdu'l-Bahá took place, was of the simplest description. The floor was covered with matting, the narrow iron bed and the iron

___ 157-15. Quoted in PP, p. 5. 157-16. See Thornton Chase, "In Galilee," in Thornton Chase and Arthur S. Agnew, In Galilee and In Wonderland, (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1985), pp. 22-24.


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washstand with larger and smaller holes for bowl and pitcher were of that vermin proof description with which I had become familiar. Everything was scrupulously clean, and there was an abundant supply of sparkling water for bathing and drinking. A wide window looked over the huge town wall upon the blue Mediterranean and before this stretched a divan upon which 'Abdu'l-Bahá sat when He came to see Me.17

157.12 The palpable victory which 'Abdu'l-Bahá had wrested from the persecution, intrigue, hatred, vilification even, directed against Him during His twelve years in the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, was signally apparent when, upon His release from incarceration in 1908, He moved to His new residence in Haifa. At that time the future

Guardian was a boy of eleven, but his appointment, although a carefully guarded secret, had already been made by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the part of His Will and Testament revealed in that house.,8

157.13 As we contemplate the extraordinary focusing of powerful forces and events upon this house, we eagerly anticipate the day when it will be restored and made ready for pilgrims, who may inhale from its atmosphere, its grounds and sacred walls, the fragrances of a glorious past.19 158 A Plan for International Collaboration in Traveling Teaching 25 MARCH 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

158.1 As we approach the threshold of the second year of the Five Year Plan, it is evident that the need for traveling teachers as indicated in the message launching that Plan is acquiring greater urgency and importance.

158.2 During the past year steps have been taken to revise the functions, broaden the base and strengthen the work of the Continental Pioneer Committees and to bring them into much closer collaboration with the Continental Boards of 157-17. Mary Hanford Ford, "An Interview With 'Abdu'l-Bahá," Star of the West 24, no. 4 (July 1933): 105. 157-18. See VIT, Part i, pp. 3-15.

157-19. The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha was restored under the direction of the Hand of the Cause of God 'Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum. and opened to pilgrims in 1983. For the announcement of the appointment of the architect to help restore the House, see message dated 14 October 1977 (no. 198).


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Counselors. Already, with their assistance an army of pioneers has moved and is moving towards its objectives, and a general readiness has been evinced by the friends, particularly the youth, to serve as itinerant teachers.

158.3 The strenuous efforts being made to fill the pioneer goals by the midway point of the Plan must now be paralleled by well-considered and determined efforts to swell to a mighty river the stream of those friends who will travel to foreign lands to reinforce the efforts of those who are laboring so valiantly to expand and consolidate the widely scattered Bahá'í communities and to proclaim the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to every stratum of society.

158.4 At our request the International Teaching Center has evolved a plan, which we have warmly approved, comprising specific goals of international collaboration in the field of traveling teaching. This plan is now being sent to the Continental Boards of Counselors who will, in turn, present it to the National Spiritual Assemblies, whose task it will be to implement it. In consultation with the Counselors each National Spiritual Assembly is to work out specific proposals which it should then present to the other National Assemblies with whom it is to collaborate, so that, as soon as possible, actual projects can be worked out and set in motion, thus inaugurating a process which should rapidly gather momentum and be prosecuted with undiminished vigor in the years ahead.

158.5 The Continental Pioneer Committees should be kept closely informed of all projects so that they may know how best to reinforce the flow with those many volunteers who will undoubtedly arise outside the framework of the specific projects now to be conceived. It is our hope that, as far as possible, travel teaching projects will be self-supporting or can be assisted by the National Funds involved, but where necessary, the International Deputization Fund is available to assist. Whenever assistance from the Deputization Fund is required, the request should be made to the Continental Pioneer Committee, giving details of the project. If the sum required is small the Committee may be able to help immediately; otherwise it will pass the request, together with its recommendation, to the Universal House of Justice for consideration.

158.6 We sincerely hope that in the forefront of the volunteers, the Bahá'í youth will arise for the sake of God and, through their driving force, their ability to endure inhospitable and arduous conditions, and their contentment with the bare necessities of life, they will offer an inspiring example to the peoples and communities they set out to serve, will exert an abiding influence on their personal lives, and will promote with distinction the vital interests of God's Cause at this crucial stage in the fortunes of the Plan.

158.7 We shall offer our ardent prayers at the Holy rines for the confirmation of the efforts of all those who will heroically respond to this call.

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


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159 Ridvan Message 1975 4 APRIL 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

159.1 OCCASION MOST GREAT FESTIVAL WE CONTEMPLATE WITH THANKFUL HEARTS ACHIEVEMENTS FIRST YEAR FIVE YEAR PLAN ELECTION THIS RIDVAN FIVE NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES FOUR IN AFRICA ONE IN ASIA. DESPITE WORSENING PLIGHT MORIBUND CIVILIZATION EVIDENCES GATHERING CLOUDS WIDESPREAD OPPOSITION DIVINE MESSAGE

BELIEVERS THROUGHOUT WORLD FORGING AHEAD ACCOMPLISHMENT GOALS. THREE HUNDRED EIGHTY-SIX PIONEERS ALREADY SETTLED ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-TWO PREPARING PROCEED POSTS. NEW WORLDWIDE TRAVEL TEACHING PROGRAM DESIGNED BY INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER NOW BEING LAUNCHED BY NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES IN CONSULTATION COUNSELORS. BELOVED HANDS CAUSE ADVANCING VANGUARD ARMY LIGHT LENDING CONSTANT LOVING GUIDANCE ENCOURAGEMENT PROTECTION FRIENDS LABORING DIVINE VINEYARD. WORLD CENTER FAITH RICHLY BLESSED THROUGH ACQUISITION HOLY HOUSE MASTER BIRTHPLACE SHOGHI EFFENDI WITHIN WALLS wKKA1 WILL EARLY WITNESS ON CONSECRATED SOIL SLOPES MOUNT CARMEL INITIATION EXCAVATION FOUNDATIONS PERMANENT SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE AND IN ITALY

SIGNATURE CONTRACT MARBLE REQUIRED MAJESTIC EDIFICE.2 AT THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE HUMAN HISTORY THREE MAJOR OBJECTIVES PLAN AND ITS SPECIFIC GOALS PRESENT DISTINCT INSISTENT CHALLENGE TO EACH INDIVIDUAL BAHA'I ADULT YOUTH CHILD TO EACH Bahá'í FAMILY TO EACH LOCAL COMMUNITY AND ABOVE ALL TO EACH LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY WHOSE DEVELOPMENT IS VITAL SUCCESS FIVE YEAR PLAN AND PROGRESSIVE UNFOLDMENT DIVINELY ORDAINED BAHA'I SOCIETY MAY REMAINING THREE

HUNDRED NINETY-FIVE PIONEERS SPEEDILY ARISE AND ARMY VOLUNTEERS

RESPOND NEWLY LAUNCHED TRAVEL TEACHING PROGRAM. NATIONAL LOCAL

ASSEMBLIES INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS URGED CONTRIBUTE UNSTINTINGLY TIME EFFORT OUTPOURING MATERIAL RESOURCES SUPPORT EVERY PHASE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN COMING YEAR. APPEAL BELIEVERS EVERY LAND JOIN US PRAYERS SUPPLICATION BLESSED BEAUTY GUIDE SUSTAIN PROTECT HIS DEVOTED FOLLOWERS IN THEIR DEDICATED EFFORTS PURIFY THEIR SOULS RAISE HIS BANNER SERVE HIS CAUSE. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 159-1. See message dated 9 January 1975 about the acquisition of the house of 'Abdu'llah Pasha (no. 154). For the announcement of the completion of the restoration of the upper floor of the house and its opening to visitors, see message dated Ridvan 140 B.E. (no. 358). For the announcement of the completion of restoration and opening to visitors of the southern wing of the house, see message dated Ridvan 1986 (no. 456). 159-2. For further information on the significance of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, see message dated 5 June 1975 (no. 164); on the announcement of the decision to build, see message dated 7 June 1972 (no. 115); on the appointment of the architect, see message dated 17 September 1973 (no. 136); on the acceptance of the design, see message dated 7 February 1974 (no. 140); on the excavation of the site, see message dated 17 June 1975 (no. 165); and on the occupation of the Seat, see message dated 2 February 1983 (no. 354).


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160 Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States 24 APRIL 1975

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

States PORTENTOUS OCCASION FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY FORMAL ESTABLISHMENT

160.1 NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY BAHA'IS UNITED STATES RECALL WITH PRIDE ADMIRATION PREEMINENT STATION CONFERRED AMERICAN BAHA'I COMMUNITY CENTER COVENANT PREPONDERATING ROLE ALREADY ASSUMED WORLDWIDE PROMOTION FAITH GLORIOUS ACHIEVEMENTS UNMATCHED RANGE

MAGNITUDE ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD PAST HALF CENTURY. CALL UPON THIS

HIGHLY BLESSED DISTINGUISHED COMMUNITY CONTEMPLATE ITS UNDOUBTED DUTIES PRIVILEGES PURGE ITS SOUL ALL WORLDLY ENTANGLEMENTS REDEDICATE ITS ENERGIES RESOURCES IMMEDIATE TASKS ARISE SINGLE-MINDEDLY PERFORM HISTORIC MISSION RENDER SUCH SERVICES ATTAIN SUCH SACRIFICIAL HEIGHTS WORTHY BRILLIANT FOREBEARS HEROIC AGE FAITH.

161.2 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 161 Safeguarding the Letters of Shoghi Effendi 14 MAY 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í' Friends, In December 1967 the Universal House of Justice wrote to all National

161.1 Spiritual Assemblies expressing the need of the World Center for letters written by the Guardian to them, or to their subsidiary institutions, as well as to the friends under their jurisdiction., The response to this request was encouraging, but it is obvious that there are many letters which have not yet been received.

161.3 The Universal House of Justice requests you, therefore, to check again in your archives or files of correspondence with the Guardian for any further letters which have not yet been forwarded to the World Center and to appeal to the believers under your jurisdiction, calling upon those who were privileged to have received letters from the Guardian to send the text of such letters to the World Center. 161-1. For the December 1967 letter, see message no. 54. See also the 26 August 1984 letter (no. 409), in which the need is reiterated.


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161.4 To assist your National Spiritual Assembly and the friends to carry out this urgent project the following points from the letter of December 1967 from the Universal House of Justice are here repeated for your

consideration. I .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, however, 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.2. 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. 3.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.

161.5 Will you please give this matter your early attention. The Universal House of Justice thanks you warmly for your assistance.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

162

Comments on the Progress of the Five Year Plan 25 MAY 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

162.1 A fifth of the span allotted to the Five Year Plan has run its course and we have passed a major milestone in the destinies of that Plan. It is appropriate for every National Spiritual Assembly to pause in order to appraise its position, and that of the community which it represents and serves, and to determine its progress in relation to the goals with which it stands identified. 1622 To help each National Spiritual Assembly in this appraisal we send you the following statement which, under various headings, outlines the impressions we have gathered and comments we are prompted to make on the prosecution of certain goals of the Plan. Although some of the items may not be


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directly applicable to you, you may find them of interest. Each National Spiritual Assembly should determine, in the light of the goals

assigned to it, to what extent each of our observations is applicable to its work. Teaching-Expansion and Consolidation Teaching the Faith embraces many diverse activities, all of which are vital 1623 to success, and each of which reinforces the other. Time and again the beloved Guardian emphasized that expansion and consolidation are twin and inseparable aspects of teaching that must proceed simultaneously, yet one still hears believers discussing the virtues of one as against the other. The purpose of teaching is not complete when a person declares that he has accepted Bahá'u'lláh as the

Manifestation of God for this age; the purpose of teaching is to attract human beings to the divine Message and so imbue them with its spirit that they will dedicate themselves to its service, and this world will become another world and its people another people. Viewed in this light a declaration of faith is merely a milestone along the way-albeit a very important one. Teaching may also be likened to kindling a fire, the fire of faith, in the hearts of men. If a fire burns only so long as the match is held to it, it cannot truly be said to have been kindled; to be kindled it must continue to burn of its own accord. Thereafter more fuel can be added and the flame can be fanned, but even if left alone for a period, a truly kindled fire will not be extinguished by the first breath of wind.

162.4 The aim,

therefore, of all Bahá'í institutions and Bahá'í teachers is to advance continually to new areas and strata of society, with such thoroughness that, as the spark of faith kindles the hearts of the hearers, the teaching of the believers continues until, and even after, they shoulder their responsibilities as Bahá'ís and participate in both the teaching and administrative work of the Faith. There are now many areas in the world where thousands of people have 162.5 accepted the Faith so quickly that it has been beyond the capacity of the existing Bahá'í communities to consolidate adequately these advances. The people in these areas must be progressively deepened in their understanding of the Faith, in accordance with well-laid plans, so that their communities may, as soon as possible, become sources of great strength to the work of the Faith and begin to manifest the pattern of Bahá'í life. Reaching Remote Areas-an Immediate Challenge At the same time there is a challenge of great urgency facing the worldwide Bahá'í community. When launching the Ten Year Crusade, Shoghi Effendi urged the believers to "carry the torch of the Faith to regions so remote, so backward, so inhospitable that neither the light of Christianity or Islam has, after the revolution of centuries, as yet penetrated.", A number of 162-i. CF, p. 114


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such regions still exist in places like New Guinea, the heart of Africa and the Amazon Basin in South America. As the influence of civilization spreads, the age-old ways of life of the inhabitants of these regions will inevitably perish, and they will rapidly be infected with the materialistic ideas of a decadent civilization. It is our pressing duty to carry the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to such people while they are still preheated and receptive, and through it to prepare them for the changed world which will come upon them. Teaching Tribal Peoples and Minorities

162.7 In addition to the tribes in these remote regions of the world, there are tribes and minorities who still live in their traditional ways in the midst of other cultures. All too often such peoples are despised and ignored by the nations among whom they dwell, but we should seek them out, teach them the Cause of God, and enrich through their membership the Bahá'í communities of the lands in which they live. So important is this goal that each National Spiritual Assembly should study the requirements for teaching each of the different tribes and groups within its area, appoint a committee for this purpose-even a special committee for each tribe or minority where this is feasible and desirable-and launch a series of well-conceived, far-reaching campaigns to bring about the enrollment of these peoples within the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, and the establishment among them of the Bahá'í Administrative Order. Pioneering

162.8 Great challenges and opportunities for teaching often occur far from large well-established Bahá'í communities; this is especially true in respect of many of the tribal peoples. Pioneering and travel teaching are therefore of the greatest importance for the accomplishment of teaching plans. It is not always difficult to see what the ideal solution for any particular teaching problem may be; however, ideal solutions are seldom available, and the Assemblies which achieve the most outstanding results are those which have developed the skill of using to their best advantage whatever means they have at their

command and whatever assistance can be given to them. Pioneers, for example, all have different capacities, different skills, different problems and different responsibilities. A National Assembly may see that its most urgent need is for a financially independent married couple who can live in a remote village area to conduct regular classes for the believers there; but what it actually receives are two single middle-aged ladies who need to work to support themselves and can only get jobs in one of the large towns. Instead of despairing, a resourceful Assembly will immediately see whether the presence of either or both of these ladies in such a town would enable one or more native believers to pioneer to the village area. Even if this does not work out, it will nevertheless do all it can to assist the two pioneers to settle down and will make the utmost


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use of whatever services they can render, services which may well, in the long run, be of inestimable benefit to that national community.

162.9 There are several ways of pioneering, and all are entirely valid and are of great help to the teaching work. There is, first of all, the pioneer who goes to a particular country, devotes the remainder of his life to the service of the Faith in that land and finally lays his bones to rest in its soil. Secondly, there is the pioneer who goes to a post, serves valiantly there until the native Bahá'í community is strongly established, and then moves on to new fields of service. Thirdly, there are those, for example youth between the completion of their schooling and the starting of their chosen profession, who go pioneering for a specific limited period. Ideally, of course, a pioneer should be, or become as soon as possible, financially independent of the Fund in his chosen post, not only to husband the financial resources of the Faith but because it is a Bahá'í principle that everyone should work and support himself and his family whenever possible, and there is no such profession as pioneer or teacher in the Bahá'í Faith as there are professional missionaries and clergymen in other religions. Nevertheless it must be recognized that in some posts where pioneers are desperately needed there is no possibility for them to get work. Either there is no work available in the area or else the pioneer is refused a work permit because he is a foreigner. In such cases it is essential for the Assemblies to provide financial assistance to support the pioneer for as long as is necessary.

162.11 There are a number of methods of financing pioneers in areas where work is unobtainable. Believers can be found who have independent means and are willing to pioneer to the area and live on whatever income they have, however slender. There are those who, in accordance with Bahá'u'lláh's injunction, have been deputized by friends who are unable to go themselves. Believers may be found who are willing to go to such an area for a specific period supported by the meager budget that the Fund can afford, with the clear understanding that at the end of that period they will return from the pioneer post and become self-supporting again; in such a way an area can be serviced with a succession of pioneers. Then there are those believers who are

willing to serve in a remote and inhospitable area, but whose age or situation makes it clear from the outset that they will not be able to become self-supporting again; when the need is great and cannot be met in any other way, an Assembly would be fully justified in supporting them, but it should realize from the outset the extent of the responsibility it is incurring for an indefinite period into the future.

162.12 Naturally these ways of financing pioneering are not mutually exclusive. A person, for example, can be partially self-supporting and assisted to only a limited degree; or a pioneer may go to an area with the intention of finding work but is unable to do so and the Assembly repeatedly extends the period


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of financial support until the time comes when he is no longer able to become self-supporting anywhere. In such a case the Assembly needs to watch the process very carefully so that, on the one hand, it does not incur a permanent responsibility it had not intended, and on the other, does not commit the injustice of terminating the Financial support extended to a pioneer at a time when he has become unemployable, and is unable to obtain any other means of support. Traveling Teaching

162.13 While pioneers provide a very valuable long-term reinforcement of a community and are often the only feasible means for opening new areas-and here we are speaking not only of pioneers from foreign lands but of homefront pioneers as well, the use of whom must be greatly developed in most countries-a second vital reinforcement of the work is provided by traveling teachers. As mentioned in the message sent to 0 believers at Ridvan, a new international travel teaching program Js now being launched. National Assemblies and their committees, therefore, need to develop a threefold integrated program for travel teaching. Firstly, there should be within each national community regular circuits of local traveling teachers, that is to say of believers who are members of that national community, whether native or Pioneers, who are able and willing to devote time to this activity. Secondly, and integrated within these circuits, provision should be made for planned visits of traveling teachers from abroad. Thirdly, each National Assembly should establish an agency and a procedure for taking advantage of the unheralded arrival of visitors from abroad, or of sudden offers from believers on the homefront, who would be able (to give valuable help in the fields of travel teaching or proclamation if properly organized. Such an agency would, of course, be responsible for evaluating the capacity of those who offer services because while an unexpected offer can often provide a very valuable teaching opportunity, it is also true to say that some Bahá'í communities have been exhausted and their work hindered by the arrival of a succession of traveling Bahá'ís who were not really suited, for lack of a language or for other reasons, to assist with teaching in the area concerned. Friends who travel spontaneously in this way can do valuable teaching themselves but should not expect the assistance of local administrative institutions if they have not arranged the trip in advance. Correspondence Courses

162.14 Only a few National Spiritual Assemblies have been given the specific goal of developing and conducting correspondence courses; however, those National

Assemblies who have the goal of training selected believers to assist in consolidating local communities would find it worthwhile to consider how the use of correspondence courses could help in the fulfillment of this goal. For example, once the selection of trainees has been made, the first stage in


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their training could well be a correspondence deepening course

which would ascertain the degree of interest and capacity of each trainee and also prepare him to attend a series of lectures or classes which would follow as a second stage. The entire training process could consist of several stages interspersed in this way. This combination of two methods has the advantage of helping the Assembly to ascertain at the outset which trainees have the capacity and desire to continue with the course, thus leading to a better selection and helping to ensure that the costs of holding classes and bringing trainees to them are incurred only in respect of those whose interest and capacity have been established. Economy can be exercised by holding the deepening classes in smaller gatherings by grouping several neighboring local communities together and sending one or more teachers to the area. This might prove more economical than inviting the selected trainees to, say, the capital, and having to accommodate and feed them during the period of the course. Teaching Conferences Teaching Conferences can have a great value for the advance of the Faith.

162.16 Their aim is to strengthen the bonds of unity and fellowship among the friends, to increase their involvement in the teaching work and their interest in its progress, and to serve as magnets to attract divine confirmations.

162.17 They are also rallying points for the believers, evidences of the vitality of their love for Bahá'u'lláh, and potent instruments for generating enthusiasm and spiritual drive for advancing the interests of the Faith. Certain National Spiritual Assemblies, which are not among the majority who are already doing so, have been assigned the goal of holding at least one National Teaching Conference during each year. The purpose of this is to provide a national event of major importance in addition to the annual National Convention to stimulate the interest and reorientate the efforts of the friends, focusing their attention upon the current urgent needs of the Plan. These National Teaching Conferences should, therefore, be held some months away from Ridvan, or they will lose a great part of the intended effect. As the eight International Conferences will soon be upon us, it is important for National Assemblies to decide as soon as Possible, in consultation with the Counselors, whether it would be feasible and helpful to hold a national conference soon after, or possibly immediately before, the International Conference nearest to their area.

162.19 The sooner this study is made and decisions taken and announced, the greater will be the participation of the friends, locally and from abroad. Newsletters Although during the past year a marked improvement has been noticed in certain countries in the standard and regularity of the Bahá'í newsletters, the development of this organ of Bahá'í communication still needs great attention


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in most national communities. A special committee should be appointed, on which members of the National Spiritual Assembly could well serve, with the task of making the national newsletter a powerful instrument of direct and regular contact with the friends, which will disseminate news among them, stimulate and maintain their interest in the growth of the Faith in the world and throughout the area of national jurisdiction, share with them the National Spiritual Assembly's plans, hopes and aspirations, convey to them its comments on Bahá'í developments of special significance, and cause the believers to anticipate the future with feelings of excitement and confidence. The doors of communication between the friends, the Local Spiritual Assemblies and the National Spiritual Assembly should

always be open. The one means which will contribute most to the promotion of this open-door policy is the regular issue of an interesting and heartwarming newsletter. In certain countries, we are glad to see, there are in addition to the national newsletter, news bulletins issued on regional or district levels. The importance of these secondary organs of Bahá'í communication acquires added weight in areas where differences of language make the issue of bulletins in a local language of each area highly desirable, if not essential. Literature

162.20 When each National Spiritual Assembly carefully compares the demands of the waiting public and the needs of the believers for Bahá'í literature with the current supply, it will realize how urgent is the need for it to multiply its efforts to ensure that a comprehensive range of our literature is made constantly available. The basic literature of the Faith must be translated into languages that are most suitable and in demand for the spread and development of the Faith in accordance with the goals of the Plan. In each national area the agencies for obtaining and disseminating Bahá'í literature should be greatly strengthened so that they will efficiently ensure an uninterrupted supply of the literature which is available from the various Publishing Trusts and organize its distribution throughout the area, through Local Assemblies and groups, by sale at conferences and summer schools, and directly to individuals. At the same time these agencies should ensure that the monies received from the sale of literature are kept separate from other funds of the Faith and are used for the replenishment of stocks of books and the widening of the range of literature available. National Assemblies must also give consideration to the need to cover the cost of certain literature out of the National Fund, so that it can be supplied free or sold at a price within the reach of those who urgently require it. Radio and Television

162.21 A compilation has recently been made from the letters written on behalf of the Guardian and a copy is attached for your information. This brief


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compilation shows the importance that Shoghi Effendi attached to the use of radio as a means of teaching and proclaiming the Faith in countries where such activity is possible.

162.22 The Universal House of Justice has initiated a pilot project in Ecuador for the purchase and operation of a Bahá'í radio station, and at the present time this is the only one for which sufficient funds are available.2 However, the actual owning of a radio station is not the only way of making use of this medium. National Spiritual Assemblies responsible for countries where Bahá'í radio programs would raise no objection from the civil authorities, should regard it as their bounden duty to explore, if they have not already done so, whatever options are open to them to utilize radio to sow the seeds of the Faith as widely as they can and to broadcast its divine teachings, as well as to assist in the consolidation of the local Bahá'í communities.

162.23 Where the use of television broadcasts is open to Bahá'í communities they should also take the utmost advantage of this opportunity.

162.24 Contact with the Authorities The events of the past year have demonstrated clearly that the enemies of the Faith are intensifying their attacks on the precious Cause of God. The Five Year Plan calls for a planned and sustained effort, under the close supervision of each National Spiritual Assembly, to foster cordial relations with responsible government officials and prominent people. In every country where the doors of contact with those in authority are open to the friends, the National Spiritual Assembly should, as indicated in our letter of Naw-Ruz 131, appoint a special committee to be given the task of finding effective ways of informing the authorities about the Faith, of dispelling any misgivings and of removing any misapprehensions which may be deceitfully created by those who are striving to extinguish the fire of God's Faith.3 We cannot overemphasize the necessity of this activity and the need to use utmost tact and wisdom in pursuing it, for, not only will it facilitate the further proclamation and recognition of the Faith, but, as opposition to and misconceptions about the aims and purposes of the Bahá'ís increase, when a moment of crisis arrives the institutions of the Faith may know where to turn, whose advice and assistance to seek and how to minimize the effects of opposition.

162.25 Closely linked with the above undertaking, in countries where the Faith is not yet recognized, is the need to apply for such recognition if the laws of the country permit and if the Universal House of Justice has approved that 162-2. For announcements of the inauguration of Bahá'í radio stations, see messages dated 15 December 1977, Naw-Ruz 1978, and 28 August 1978 (messages no. 201, 205, and 213); 13 December 1982 (no. 348); 2 April 1984 (no. 391); and 31 January 1986 (no. 450). For the message to the Hemispheric Bahá'í Radio-Television Conference, see telex dated 15 December 1977 (no. 201). 162-3. See "Elucidation of Five Year Plan Goals," Naw-Ruz 1974 (message no. 142).


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an approach be made to the authorities on the subject. In other

countries where some measure of recognition, such as the incorporation of Assemblies, has been obtained, National Spiritual Assemblies should be alert to the possibilities which are open to them to widen the scope and broaden the base of the recognition obtained for Bahá'í institutions, the Bahá'í marriage certificate and Bahá'í Holy Days. These measures will not only secure for the Faith a higher degree of legal protection, but will enhance its stature in the eyes of the authorities and the general public. Wisdom in the Use of Bahá'í Funds

162.26 The Five Year Plan emphasizes the obligation of the friends, in view of the growing needs of the Faith to ensure that a generous outpouring of contributions is offered in support of Bahá'í Funds, and encourages Bahá'í communities at present dependent on outside help to aim at becoming self-supporting. While all National Spiritual Assemblies have the obligation to administer Bahá'í funds wisely and judiciously, those National Spiritual Assemblies which depend to a large extent on budgetary assistance from the World Center have an even greater responsibility, so to speak, to carefully supervise expenditures. The more rigorous the exercise of economy on the part of National Spiritual Assemblies, the sooner will the body of the friends be encouraged to feel financial responsibility toward the progress of the Faith in their areas, to place greater reliance upon the wise administration of the National Spiritual Assembly, and to offer their resources, however modest they may be, for the furthering of its plans and activities.

162.27 National Spiritual Assemblies must uphold economy not only because the funds at their disposal are limited but, as experience has repeatedly shown, because lack of proper control and supervision in the expenditure of these funds is both an unfair temptation to the untrustworthy and a test to the body of the believers, causing them to become disenchanted with Bahá'í administration and weakening their resolve to fulfill their sacred obligation of contributing to the Fund.

162.28 In the attitudes seen at the National Office, in the appropriations made to committees and other agencies of the National Assembly, in any budgetary assistance given to pioneers and traveling teachers, in the holding of conferences and deepening courses, and in all aspects of the work of the Cause for which the National Assembly is responsible, supervision, careful planning and lack of extravagance should be observed and be seen to be upheld. Local Spiritual Assemblies

162.29 It is becoming increasingly understood by the friends why the Five Year Plan places such great emphasis upon the firmness of the foundation and the efficiency of the operation of the Local Spiritual Assemblies. This is very heartening, for upon the degree to which the members of these Assemblies grasp


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the true significance of the divine institution on which they serve, arise selflessly to fulfill their prescribed and sacred duties, and persevere in their endeavors, depends to a large extent the healthy growth of the worldwide community of the Most Great Name, the force of its outward thrust, and the strength of its supporting roots. We long to see every Local Spiritual Assembly either spontaneously adopt 162-30 its own goals or warmly welcome those it has been or will be given by its National Spiritual Assembly, swell the number of the adherents who compose its local community and, guided by the general policy outlined by its National Spiritual Assembly, proclaim the Faith more effectively, energetically pursue its extension teaching and consolidation goals, arrange the observances of the Holy Days, regularly hold its Nineteen Day Feasts and its sessions for deepening, initiate and maintain community projects, and encourage the participation of every member of its community in giving to the Fund and undertaking teaching activities and administrative services, so as to make each locality a stronghold of the Faith and a torchbearer of the Covenant.

162.31 We are confident that the institution of the Boards of Counselors will tend its vital support and, through the Counselors' own contacts with the friends, through their Auxiliary Boards and their assistants, will nourish the roots of each local community, enrich and cultivate the soil of knowledge of the teachings and irrigate it with the living waters of love for Bahá'u'lláh.

162.32 Thus will the saplings grow into mighty trees, and the trees bear their golden fruit. Women 'Abdu'l-Bahá has pointed out that "Among the miracles which distinguish this sacred dispensation is this, that women have evinced a greater boldness than men when enlisted in the ranks of the Faith." Shoghi Effendi has further stated that this "boldness" must, in the course of time, "be more convincingly demonstrated, and win for the beloved Cause victories more stirring than any it has as yet achieved."4 Although obviously the entire Bahá'í world is committed to encouraging and stimulating the vital role of women in the Bahá'í community as well as in society at large, the Five Year Plan calls specifically on eighty National Spiritual Assemblies to organize Bahá'í activities for women. In the course of the current year which has been designated "International Women's Year" as a worldwide

activity of the United Nations, the Bahá'ís, particularly in these eighty national communities, should initiate and implement programs which will stimulate and promote the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of Bahá'í community life, so that through their accomplishments the friends will demonstrate the distinction of the Cause of God in this field of human endeavor. 162-4. ADJ, p. 69.


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Youth

162.33 It is our hope that in the international travel teaching program now being launched the youth will assume a major role by devoting time during their vacations, and particularly during the long vacation at the end of the academic year, to the promotion of the teaching work in all its aspects, not only within their own national communities but farther afield. Some youth may have financial resources of their own, others may be able and willing to work and save the funds necessary for such projects, still others may have the financial backing of their parents, relatives or friends. In other cases the Bahá'í funds may be able to supplement whatever resources the prospective traveling teacher may be able to supply.

162.34 The endurance of youth under arduous conditions, their vitality and vigor, and their ability to adapt themselves to local situations, to meet new challenges, and to impart their warmth and enthusiasm to those they visit, combined with the standard of conduct upheld by Bahá'í youth, make them potent instruments for the execution of the contemplated projects. Indeed, through these distinctive qualities they can become the spearhead of any enterprise and the driving force of any undertaking in which they participate, whether local or national. Our expectant eyes are fixed on Bahá'í youth! Children

162.35 How often have well-organized Bahá'í children's classes given parents, even those who are not Bahá'ís, the incentive to learn more and study more deeply the Teachings of the Faith! How often have the children, through their songs and recitation of prayers during Feasts and at other gatherings of the friends, added luster and inspiration to the program and created a true sense of belonging to the community in the hearts of those

present! How many are the children who have grown into active and enkindled youth, and later into wholly dedicated adults, energetically supporting the work of the Cause and advancing its vital interests!

162.36 Certain National Spiritual Assemblies have been given the specific goal of organizing children's activities, and many of these Assemblies have been assigned assistance in the form of at least one helper who will have received some training in the education of Bahá'í children. The National Assemblies to receive such helpers, however, should not await their arrival before initiating activities.

162.37 Through the services of a committee chosen from among those interested in this area of service, simple lessons could be improvised, suitable extracts from the Writings and Prayers chosen for the children to study and memorize, and local talent called upon to carry out this vital activity which will assuredly exert a far-reaching influence on the well-being and strength of each community.


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Dawn Prayers We have been watching with profound interest the manner in which the goal of encouraging the friends to meet for dawn prayers is being carried out. In some rural areas this has become already an established practice of the friends and indeed a source of blessing and benefit to them as they pursue their activities during the day, as well as increasing the consciousness of community solidarity. In other areas, the friends have found that, because of the distances involved, better results are obtained by meeting for prayer in smaller groups. In yet other areas, as a first step, plans have been made to meet for dawn prayers once a week.

162.38 May the Blessed Beauty sustain you bountifully as you prepare yourselves to discharge the commitments and surmount the challenges of the year which has just begun.

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

Use of Radio and Television in Teaching (Extracts from letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi) In regard to your wish of broadcasting the Message, Shoghi Effendi would 162.39 advise you to consult with the Spiritual Assembly as to whether such an action meets their approval, and if so to ask their assistance and help for finding the best means through which to carry out your plan.

162.40 The idea of a wireless station is rather ambitious and requires much financial expenditure. If, however, you find it feasible and within your

financial capacity you should not hesitate to do so, inasmuch as this will enable you to spread the Cause in a much easier and more efficient manner. (13 August 1933 to an individual believer) Your suggestion regarding the installation of a radio station in the Temple is truly splendid. But it remains to be seen whether the National Spiritual Assembly finds it financially feasible to undertake such a project, which is, beyond doubt, a very costly enterprise. Whatever the expenditure involved in this project, there is no reason why the believers should not start now considering

seriously the possibility of such a plan, which, when carried out and perfected, can lend an unprecedented impetus to the expansion of the teaching work throughout America. It is for the National Spiritual Assembly, however, to take the final decision in this

matter, and to determine whether the national fund of the Cause is at present sufficiently strong to permit them to install a radio station in the Temple.


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162.42 The Guardian feels, nevertheless, confident that this plan will receive the careful consideration of the National Spiritual Assembly members, and hopes that, if feasible, they will take some definite action in this matter. 1 (31 January 1937 to an individual believer)

162.43 He read with interest the various suggestions you made to the National Spiritual Assembly, and feels they are fundamentally sound, especially the wider use of the radio. Unfortunately at the present time anything that would make a fresh demand on the financial resources of the Cause in America such as a Bahá'í-owned broadcasting station-is out of the question, as the friends are finding it difficult to meet the great needs of the teaching and Temple Funds. However the idea should, he feels, be kept in mind for future realization. (14 October 1942 to an individual believer)

162.44 In connection with the radio work . . . he would suggest that the main consideration is to bring to the attention of the public the fact that the Faith exists, and its teachings. Every kind of broadcast, whether of passages from the Writings, or on topical subjects, or lectures, should be used. The people need to hear the word "Bahá'í" so that they can, if receptive, respond and seek the Cause out. The primary duty of the friends

everywhere in the world is to let the people know such a Revelation is in existence; their next duty is to teach it. (24 July 1943 to an individual believer)

162.45 He feels it would be excellent if the Cause could be introduced more to the people through the medium of radio, as it reaches the masses, especially those who do not take an interest in lectures or attend any type of meeting. (7 March 1945 to an individual believer)

162.46 The matter of obtaining free time on the radio is one which the Radio Committee and the National Spiritual Assembly must decide upon: but the principle is that every effort should be made to present the teachings over the air as often as possible as long as the manner in which it is done is compatible with the dignity of our beloved Faith. (15 August 1945 to an individual believer)

162.47 He was sorry to learn through your cable that the project for a Bahá'í radio station can not be carried out at present; he considers that such a station would be a very great asset to the Cause, not only as a teaching medium and a wonderful form of publicity, but also as an enhancement of its prestige.

162.49 He feels your Assembly should not drop the matter, but go on investigating ways to make such a project materialize as soon as possible. (20 March 1946 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)


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He hopes that a Bahá'í radio station will prove feasible during the coming 162.48 years, as he considers it of great importance. (4 May 1946 to the Radio Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada) The Bahá'ís should not always be the last to take up new and obviously excellent methods, but rather the first, as this agrees with the dynamic nature of the Faith which is not only progressive, but holds within itself the seeds of an entirely new culture and civilization. (5 May 1946 to an individual believer) The Guardian approves in principle of a radio station, and sees no objection to its being in the Temple; but he considers the cost you quote too much of a burden at the present time for the Fund to bear, in view of the multiple expenses of the new Seven Year Plan.5 If there is any way it can be done for a price you feel the Fund could pay, and which would be more reasonable, he approves of your doing it.

162.51 In any case the National Spiritual Assembly should strongly press for recognition as a Religious Body, and claim full rights to be represented on the air on an equal footing with other established Churches. (20 July 1946 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada) He approves of your desire to teach the principles of the Faith through radio. But he urges you to do all you can to always, however small the reference you are able to make to it may be, clearly identify or associate what you are giving out with Bahá'u'lláh. The time is too short now for us Bahá'ís to be able to first educate humanity and then tell it that the Source is this new World Faith. For their own spiritual protection people must hear of the name Bahá'í-then, if they turn blindly away, they cannot excuse themselves by saying they never even knew it existed! For dark days seem still ahead of the world, and outside of this Divine Refuge the people will not, we firmly believe, find inner conviction, peace and security. So they have a right to at least hear of the Cause as such! (24 April 1949 to an individual believer) 162-5.

164.1 The second Seven Year Plan, 1946-53.


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163 Representation of the Universal House of Justice by Hands of the Cause of God at International Conferences 27 MAY 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

International Teaching Conferences 1976-1977

163.1 We joyfully

announce that the following Hands of the Cause of God have been named as our representatives to the International Conferences: Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum Paris, France 3-6 August 1976 Ugo

Giachery Helsinki, Finland6-8 July 1976 Ali-Akbar Furutan Hong Kong 5-8 November 1976 Paul Haney Merida, Mexico 4-6 February 1977 Enoch Olinga Bahá'í, Brazil 28-30 January 1977 William Sears Nairobi, Kenya 15-17 October 1976 Collis Featherstone chorage, Alaska 23-25 July 1976 Abu'l-Qasim Faizi Auckland, New Zealandig-22 January 1977

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


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164 Significance of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice 5 JUNE 1975

To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

As the Five Year Plan gathers momentum in all parts of the world, with the followers of the Blessed Perfection firmly embarked on the course that will lead to victory, the time has come for us to contemplate, in preparation for its imminent initiation, the project which will rank as the greatest single undertaking of that Plan, the construction of a befitting seat for the Universal House of Justice in the heart of God's Holy Mountain.' Nearly thirty-six years ago, after overcoming a multitude of difficulties, the 164.2 beloved Guardian succeeded in transferring to Mount Carmel the sacred remains of the Purest Branch and Navvab, interring them in the immediate neighborhood of the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf, and alluded, in these words, to the "capital institutional significance" that these events constituted in the unfoldment of the World Center of the Faith:2 For it must be clearly understood, nor can it be sufficiently emphasized, that the conjunction of the

resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf with those of her brother and mother incalculably reinforces the spiritual potencies of that consecrated Spot which, under the wings of the Mb's overshadowing Sepulcher, and in the vicinity of the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar which will be reared on its flank, is destined to 164-1. In a message dated 31 August 1987 to the Bahá'ís of the world, the Universal House of justice outlined plans for completing the "world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative institutions" that Shoghi Effendi (MA, P. 32) envisioned on Mount Carmel, God's Holy Mountain. The buildings to be constructed include the International Bahá'í Library and the seats of the International Teaching Center and the Center for the Study of the Texts. Additional projects include constructing an extension to the International Archives Building to accommodate the ever-growing World Center archives and constructing eighteen monumental terraces from the foot of Mount Carmel to its crest, nine leading to the terrace on which the Shrine of the Bab stands and nine rising above it. 164-2. The Purest Branch is Mirza Mihdi, Bahá'u'lláh's youngest son; Navvab is Asiyih Khanum, titled the Most Exalted Leaf, wife of Bahá'u'lláh and mother of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Mirza Mihdi, and Bahiyyih Khanum; the Greatest Holy Leaf is Bahiyyih Khanum, daughter of Bahá'u'lláh. See MA, P. 31. 164-3. A Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is to be raised on a site Shoghi Effendi described as "the head of the Mountain of God, in close proximity to the Spot hallowed by the footsteps of Bahá'u'lláh, near the time-honored Cave of Elijah, and associated with the revelation of the Tablet of Carmel" (MBW, p. 63). The Universal House of Justice announced the erection of an obelisk marking the site of the future House of Worship in its cable Of 13 December 1971 (message no. 105).


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evolve into the focal center of those world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative institutions, ordained by Bahá'u'lláh and anticipated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and which are to function in consonance with the principles that govern the twin institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. Then, and then only, will this

momentous prophecy which illuminates the concluding passages of the Tablet of Carmel be fulfilled: Erelong will God sail His Ark upon thee (Carmel), and will manifest the people of Baha who have been mentioned in the Book of Names."4 I

164.2b To attempt to visualize, even in its barest outline, the glory that must envelop these institutions, to essay even a tentative and partial description of their character or the manner of their operation, or to trace however inadequately the course of events leading to their rise and eventual establishment is far beyond my own capacity and power. Suffice it to say that at this troubled stage in world history the association of these three incomparably precious souls who, next to the three

Central Figures of our Faith, tower in rank above the vast multitude of the heroes, Letters, martyrs, hands, teachers and administrators of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, in such a potentially powerful spiritual and administrative Center, is in itself an event which will release forces that are bound to hasten the emergence in a land which, geographically, spiritually and administratively, constitutes the heart of the entire planet, of some of the brightest gems of that World Order now shaping in the womb of this, travailing age.5

164.3 The first of the majestic edifices constituting this 1mghty Center, was the building for the International Archives of the Faith which was completed in the summer of 1957 as one of the last major achievements of Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship and which set the style for the remaining structures which, as described by him, were to be raised in the course of time in the form of a far-flung arc on the slope of Mount Carmel. In the eighteen years since that achievement, the community of the Most Great Name has grown rapidly in size and influence: from twenty-six National Spiritual Assemblies to one hundred and nineteen, from some one thousand to seventeen thousand Local Spiritual Assemblies, and from four thousand five hundred localities to over seventy thousand, accompanied by a corresponding increase in the volume of the work carried on at the World Center of the Faith and in the complexity of 164-4. For the Tablet of Carmel, which Shoghi Effendi called "the Charter of the World Spiritual and Administrative Centers of the Faith" (MBW, p. 63), see GPB, pp. 14-7, Or TB, pp. 3-5. The Ark in this context is a reference to the World Administrative Center of the Faith on Mount Carmel. 164-5. MA, pp. 32-33.


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its institutions.

164.4 It is, now both necessary and possible to initiate construction of a building that will not only serve the practical needs of a steadily consolidating administrative center but will, for centuries to come, stand as a visible expression of the majesty of the divinely ordained institutions of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Faced, like the Archives Building, with stone from Italy, and surrounded by a stately colonnade of sixty Corinthian columns,6 the seat for the Universal House of Justice will contain, in addition to the council chamber of the House of Justice, a library, a concourse for the reception of pilgrims and dignitaries, storage vaults with air purification for the preservation of original Tablets and other precious documents' accommodation for the secretariat and the many ancillary services that will be required. Conceived in a style of enduring beauty and majesty, and faced with stone that will - weather the centuries, the building in its interior arrangements will be very simple and capable of adaptation in the generations ahead to whatever technological advances will be made by the rapid growth of human knowledge.

164.5 The erection of this building which, comprising five and a half stories, far surpasses in size and complexity any building at present in existence at the World Center presents a major challenge to the Bahá'í community, whose resources are already all too meager in relation to the great tasks that lie before it. But the spirit of sacrifice has been the hallmark of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh of every race and clime and as they unite to raise

this second of the great edifices of the Administrative Center of their Faith they will rejoice at having the inestimable privilege of taking part in a "vast and irresistible process" which Shoghi Effendi stated is "unexampled in the spiritual history of mankind," a process "which will synchronize with two no less significant developments-the establishment of the Lesser Peace and the evolution of Bahá'í national and local institutions-the one outside and the other within the Bahá'í world-will attain its final consummation, in the Golden Age of the Faith, through the raising of the standard of the Most Great Peace, and the emergence, in the plenitude of its power and glory, of the focal Center of the agencies constituting the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh."

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

164-6. The building, as finally completed, has fifty-eight columns.


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165 Excavation of the Site of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice 17 JUNE 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

165.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMMENCEMENT EXCAVATION SITE UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE BUILDING ARC MOUNT CARMEL CONTRACT ENTAILS REMOVAL FORTY THOUSAND CUBIC METERS ROCK AND EARTH AT COST APPROXIMATELY TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. INVITE ALL BELIEVERS CONTRIBUTE UNSTINTINGLY BUILDING FUND ENSURE UNINTERRUPTED PROGRESS HISTORIC UNDERTAKING. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 166 Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas Concerning Men and Women; Membership on the Universal House of Justice 24 JULY 1975

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

166.1 Your letter of 16 March 1975 has been received and we have studied the various questions arising from your study of the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas

166.2 Concerning your questions about the equality of men and women, this, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá has often explained, is a fundamental principle of Bahá'u'lláh; therefore the Laws of the Aqdas should be studied in the light of it. Equality between men and women does not, indeed physiologically it cannot, mean identity of functions. In some things women excel men, for others men are better fitted than women, while in very many things the difference of sex is of no effect at all. The differences of function are most apparent in family life. The capacity for motherhood has many far-reaching implications which are recognized in Bahá'í Law. For example, when it is not possible to educate all one's children, daughters receive preference over sons, as mothers are the first educators of the next generation. Again, for physiological reasons, women are granted certain exemptions from fasting that are not applicable to men. 166.3

You mention the provision in the Mt6b-i-Aqdas regarding inheritance, in which the eldest son receives preferential treatment. As you no doubt know, the duty of making a will is enjoined upon all Bahá'ís, and in such a will a believer is free to bequeath his or her property in whatever way he or she


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wishes (see note 25 on page 60 of the Synopsis and Codification). Every system of law, however, needs to make provision for the disposal of a person's property if he or she dies without having made a will, and it is in cases of intestacy that the specific provisions stated in the Kitab-i-Aqdas are applied. These provisions give

expression to the law of primogeniture, which, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá has stated, has invariably been upheld by the Law of God. In a Tablet to a follower of the Faith in Persia He wrote: "In all the Divine

Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright.", With the distinctions given to the eldest son, however, go concomitant duties. For example, with respect to the law of inheritance 'Abdu'l-Bahá has explained in one of His Tablets that the eldest son has the responsibility to take into consideration the needs of the other heirs. Similar considerations no doubt apply to the provisions that, in intestacy, limit the shares due to half-brothers and half-sisters of the deceased on his or her mother's side; they will, of course, be due to receive inheritance from their own father's estate.

166.4 Your statement that "Gifts to a wife are included in the man's property to be given away after his death" is incorrect. It is clear from the passage in the Kitab-i-Aqdas that certain things that a husband buys for his wife are intended to be for the general household and certain are intended to be the wife's personal property.

166.5 These latter, that is to say the wife's used clothing and gifts which have been made to her, are not included in the husband's property. The husband's duty to send his wife home if differences arise between them while traveling is a part of the law of divorce, and relates to the husband's obligation to support his wife during the year of waiting. The Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas reads as follows (at section (g) on pages 42 and 43): Should differences arise between husband and wife while traveling, 166.5a he is required to send her home, or entrust her to a dependable person, who will escort her there, paying her journey and her full year's expenses. You have also asked for an explanation of why, in view of the Bahá'í principle of equality of men and women, women are not allowed to serve on the Universal House of Justice. We share with you the following passages about this subject, taken from letters written on behalf of the beloved Guardian to a National Spiritual Assembly and to an individual believer. As regards the membership of the International House of Justice, 766.6a 'Abdu'l-Bahá states in a Tablet that it is confined to men, and that the wisdom of it will be revealed as manifest as the sun in the future. In 166-1. Quoted in WOB, P. 148.


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any case the believers should know that, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself has explicitly stated that sexes are equal except in some cases, the exclusion of women from the International House of Justice should not be surprising. From the fact that there is no equality of functions between the sexes one should not, however, infer that either sex is inherently superior or inferior to the other, or that they are

unequal in their rights.14 December 19402

166.6b Regarding your question, the Master said the wisdom of having no women on the International House of Justice would become manifest in the future. We have no other indication than this.-17 September 1952

166.7 We must always remember Bahá'u'lláh's exhortation, which is quoted on page 22 of the Synopsis and Codification: "Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring balance established amongst men. In this most perfect balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it."

166.8 It is hoped that the foregoing will be helpful to your own understanding of the matters about which you have asked.

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

167 Release of a Compilation of Prayers and Tablets for Children and Youth 25 SEPTEMBER 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

167.1 We are very happy to send you the enclosed selection of prayers revealed by Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá for children, together with some Tablets of the Master intended for children and youth, translated into English.,

167.2 You may use this translation as you wish, adding from it to the prayer books you have already published, using it as a basis of prayer books or other 166-2. See DND, p. 86. 167-1. The compilation was published under the title Let Thy breeze refresh them ... by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the United Kingdom 4976) and under the title Bahá'í Prayers and Tablets for the Young by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the United States (1978).


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literature published specially for children, or sharing these precious words with the friends in any other manner you deem

wise and useful. You are, of course, at liberty to translate these prayers and Tablets into other languages, and we hope that this will be done.

168.2 The raising of children in the Faith of God and the spiritualization of their 167.3 lives from their earliest years is of prime importance in the life of the Bahá'í community, and the firm establishment of activities to promote these aims is one of the vital goals of the Five Year Plan.

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

168 Release of a Compilation on Bahá'í Meetings and the Nineteen Day Feast 30 NOVEMBER 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Research Department has recently prepared two compilations from the

168.1 Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá and the letters of Shoghi Effendi on the subject of "Bahá'í Meetings" and "The Nineteen Day Feast," and copies are sent to you herewith., The Universal House of Justice leaves it to your discretion to decide in which manner these texts may be shared with the friends under your jurisdiction.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

168-1. The compilation was published under the title Bahá'í Meetings The Nineteen Day Feast by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the United States (1976). See also CC 1:419-58 for another compilation from the Universal House of Justice on the Nineteen Day Feast.


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169 Naw-Ruz Message 1976 18 MARCH 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

169.1 ANNOUNCE DELEGATES ASSEMBLED NATIONAL CONVENTIONS GLAD TIDINGS COMPLETION EXCAVATION MOUNT CARMEL PREPARATORY RAISING MAJESTIC CENTER LEGISLATION GOD'S FAITH THAT SACRED SPOT, SIGNATURE ITALY FIVE AND HALF MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT FOR SUPPLYING OVER TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED CUBIC METERS PENTELIKON MARBLE FROM GREECE AND FASHIONING THEREFROM THE COLUMNS FACINGS ORNAMENTATION BEFITTING MONUMENTAL BUILDING. DEEPLY MOVED ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE BELIEVERS ALL PARTS WORLD THIS CHALLENGING GLORIOUS TASK.' DEVELOPMENTS WORLD

CENTER PARALLELED FURTHER UNFOLDMENT ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE CONTINENTAL NATIONAL LEVELS THROUGH RAISING NUMBER CONTINENTAL

COUNSELORS TO SIXTY-ONE BY APPOINTMENT THELMA KHELGHATI WESTERN

AFRICA, WILLIAM MASEHLA SOUTHERN AFRICA, BURHANI'D-DIN AFSHIN SOUTH CENTRAL ASIA, HIDEYA SUZUKI NORTHEASTERN ASIA, OWEN BATTRICK AUSTRALASIA AND ADIB TAHERZADEH EUROPE, AUTHORIZATION BOARDS COUNSELORS APPOINT NINETY MORE MEMBERS AUXILIARY BOARDS, AND CALL FOR ELECTION AT RIDVAN 1977 OF SEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES: TWO IN AFRICA, MALI WITH ITS SEAT IN BAMAKO AND UPPER VOLTA WITH ITS SEAT IN OUAGADOUGOU, TWO IN THE AMERICAS, THE FRENCH ANTILLES WITH ITS SEAT IN POINT-A-PITRE AND SURINAM AND FRENCH GUIANA WITH ITS SEAT IN PARAMARIBO, ONE IN EUROPE, GREECE WITH ITS SEAT IN ATHENS, AND TWO IN THE PACIFIC, THE NEW HEBRIDES WITH ITS SEAT IN PORT VILA AND THE MARSHALL ISLANDS WITH ITS SEAT IN MAJURO, THE LATTER BEING SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT OF PLAN. NUMBER NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES THUS RAISED ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR FOLLOWING DISSOLUTION ACCOUNT LOCAL RESTRICTIONS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EQUATORIAL GUINEA NEPAL. OF NINE HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE PIONEERS CALLED FOR SPECIFIC POSTS FOUR HUNDRED NINETY-TWO ALREADY SETTLED. ALSO FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-SEVEN OTHER PIONEERS PROCEEDED GOAL COUNTRIES. GREAT OUTFLOW INTERNATIONAL TRAVELING TEACHERS RECORDED. MOVED PAY TRIBUTE INDEFATIGABLE SERVICES HANDS CAUSE GOD PAST YEAR IN PROMOTING ABOVE SUCCESSES AND IN FIELDS TEACHING PROTECTION PRESERVATION PROCLAMATION AND LITERATURE FAITH AS WELL AS SIGNAL SERVICES INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER CONSTITUTING GREAT ACCESSION STRENGTH WORLD CENTER RELIEF BURDENS RESTING UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. MIDDLE YEAR FIVE YEAR PLAN NOW OPENING WILL WITNESS GATHERING FOLLOWERS BAHA'U'LLAH EIGHT INTERNATIONAL

i6g-i. For the announcement of the decision to build the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, see message no. 115; for the explanation of its significance, see message no. 164; for the announcement of its occupation, see message no. 354.


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TEACHING CONFERENCES DESIGNED GENERATE TREMENDOUS IMPETUS PROGRESS PLAN ACCOMPLISHMENT WHOSE GOALS NOW LAGGING SERIOUSLY BEHIND. MOST PRESSING NEED FAITH THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE ITS MISSION REDEEM MANKIND IS FOR EVERY BELIEVER ALL ASSEMBLIES NATIONAL LOCAL CONCENTRATE ATTAINMENT GOALS PLACED BEFORE BAHA'I WORLD, PROMOTE PROCESS ENTRY BY TROOPS, ACHIEVE VAST INCREASE SIZE COMMUNITY INCREASE NUMBER STEADFAST SELF-SACRIFICING BELIEVERS DEDICATED CONFORM EVERY ASPECT THEIR LIVES HIGH STANDARDS SET SACRED TEXTS. THE FIELD IS VAST THE TIME SHORT THE LABORERS LAMENTABLY FEW BUT ON THE EFFORTS WE FOLLOWERS OF THE BLESSED BEAUTY NOW EXERT, ON THE DEGREE TO WHICH WE SUCCESSFULLY AND SPEEDILY PROCLAIM AND TEACH HIS MESSAGE TO OUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS, DEPENDS IN GREAT MEASURE THE COURSE OF HUMAN HISTORY IN THE DECADES IMMEDIATELY AHEAD.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

170 Appointments to Continental Boards of Counselors and Auxiliary Boards 24 MARCH 1976 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

As you will have seen in the Convention message, the Universal House of

170.1 Justice has appointed six new Counselors and has authorized the appointment of ninety more Auxiliary Board members. On the instruction of the House of Justice we now enclose for your information a complete list of the members of the Continental Boards of Counselors following the above appointments, and a list of the Auxiliary Boards showing the increases.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT


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170.3 Membership of the Continental Boards of Counselors March 1976 AFRICA Northern Africa Muhammad Kebdani, Muhammad Mustafa, 'Iman Siberian Western Africa Husayn Ardikani, Friday Ekpe, Zekrullah Kazemi, Thelma Khelghati, Mihdi Samandari Central & East Africa Hushang Ahdieh, Oloro Epyeru, Kolonario Oule, Isobel Sabri, Peter Vuyiya. Southern Africa Seewoosumbur-Jeehoba Appa, Shidan Fat'he-Azam, William Masehla, Bahiyyih Winckler WESTERN HEMISPHERE North America Lloyd Gardner, Sarah Pereira, Velma Sherrill, Edna True Central America Carmen de Burafato, Rowland Estall, Artemus Lamb, Paul Lucas, Alfred Osborne South America Leonora Armstrong, Athos Costas, Mas'úd Khamsi, Peter McLaren, Raul Pavon, Donald Witzel ASIA Western Asia Iraj Ayman, Masih Farhangi, Ijidi Rahmani, Manuchihr Salmanpur South Central Asia Burhini'd-Din Afshin, Shirin Boman, Salisa Kermani, Dipchand Khianra, Zena Sorabjee Northeastern Asia Richard Benson, Elena Marsella, Ruhu'llah Mumtazi, Hideya Suzuki Southeastern Asia Yan Kee Leong, Firaydún Mithaqiyan, Khudarahm Paymán Vicente Samaniego, Chellie Sundram AUSTRALASIA Suhayl Owen Battrick, Howard Harwood, Violet Hoehnke, Thelma Perks EUROPE Erik Blumenthal, Anneliese Bopp, Dorothy Ferraby, Louis Hénuzet, Betty Reed, Adib Taherzadeh


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Auxiliary Boards-Ridvan 1976

170.4 Former Present Number Increase New Total Africa Protection: Northern 5 - 5 Western 5 6 11 Central and East 13 -13 Southern 4 3 7 27 36 Propagation: Northern 5 - 5 Western 11 3 14 Central and East 19 -19 Southern 10 6 16 45 54 Western Hemisphere Protection: North America 9 - 9 Central America 9 2 11 South America 9 7 16 27 36 Propagation: North America 18 -is Central America 9 7 16 South America 27 11 38 54 72 Asia Protection: Western 9 - 9 South Central 3 3 6 Northeastern 3 - 3 Southeastern 3 6 9 is 27 Propagation: Western 18 -18 South Central 15 15 30 Northeastern 15 15 Southeastern 15 12 27 63 go Australasia Protection: 9 - 9 Propagation: 9 9is Europe Protection: 9 - 9 Propagation: 27 27 TOTAL 288 g0378 Total Protection go 27117 Total Propagation 198 63 261


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171 Message to the International Teaching Conference, Helsinki, Finland-July 1976 JULY1976 To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Helsinki Dearly loved Friends,

171.1 With eager hearts we hail the convocation of this first of the twin Arctic Conferences inaugurating the series of eight International Bahá'í Conferences to be held during the middle part of the Five Year Plan. The northern regions of the world were alluded to by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Mother Book of this Revelation. Their names were recorded in the Tablets of the Divine Plan by the pen of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who, in one of His other Tablets, supplicated God to "raise up sanctified, pure and spiritual souls in the countries of the West and the territories of the North, and make them signs of His guidance, ensigns of the Concourse on High and angels of the Abha Kingdom.", These lands received the constant attention of Shoghi Effendi, who repeatedly urged the friends to carry the Faith to their uttermost inhabited areas, and who joyfully announced every advance of the Bahá'ís that established a center closer to the North Pole.

171.2 Already touched by the morning light of God's Cause by the nineteen twenties, the lands of the North were blessed by visits from the indomitable Martha Root, whose love warmed and encouraged the hearts of the handful of believers then laboring in a few scattered centers in Scandinavia and illumined the soul of Holmfriour Arnadottir, Iceland's first Bahá'í.2 Bursting into blossom under the impact of the rays of the second Seven Year Plan, these communities received a major impetus from the Ten Year Crusade, of which the European campaign was launched at the never-to-be-forgotten conference in Stockholm in 1953, and which established centers as far north as Thule in Greenland and Sassen in the islands of Spitzbergen. Yet another stage of growth was reached with the Nine Year Plan and the convocation of the North Atlantic Conference in Reykjavik, which marked the opening 171-1. From an unpublished Tablet. 171-2- In a cable dated 3 October 1939 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Shoghi Effendi designated Martha Root a Hand of the Cause of God, describing her as the "foremost Hand which Abdu'l-Bahá's Will has raised up first Bahá'í century." See BW 13:643-48 and Mabel Garis, Martha Root. For an account of Holmfriour Arnadottir's life and services, see BW 13:943.


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of a new phase in the collaboration between the northern communities on both sides of that ocean.3 Only thirty-eight years have passed since Vaino Rissanen, the first Bahá'í 171.3 in Finland, accepted with radiant heart the life-giving message brought to him by Josephine Kruka, the "Mother of Finland," in July 193 8,4 and now the city of Helsinki, the seat of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Finland, is the scene of an International Bahá'í' Conference whose deliberations are focused on the diffusion of the light of God's Faith throughout the entire arctic and subarctic regions of the world.

171.4 The followers of the Blessed Perfection gathered in Helsinki must direct their attention to the urgent tasks of the second half of the Five Year Plan: to the reopening of Spitzbergen; the winning of the 34 Local Spiritual Assemblies still to be formed in Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland; the acceleration of the translation and publication of Bahá'í literature; the forging of still closer links of collaboration with the Bahá'í communities of Alaska, Canada and in the continent of Europe; the enlistment under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh of increasing numbers of the Eskimo, Lapp and Gypsy

peoples; and the pursuit of the vital and challenging objectives of the Plan beyond the frontiers of their homelands. It is our fervent prayer at the Threshold of Bahá'u'lláh that this Conference will produce an upsurge of Bahá'í activity throughout the northern lands and in the islands of the North Sea and the Baltic that will outshine every achievement made in those promising regions, and be an inspiration to your fellow-believers in every country of the world.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

171-3. The second Seven Year Plan included the years 1946-53; the Ten Year Crusade, 1953-63; and the Nine Year Plan, 1964-73. The North Atlantic Conference was held in September 1971. 171-4. For an account of Josephine Kruka's life and services, see BW 15:493-96.


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172 Message to the International Teaching Conference) Anchorage, Alaska-July 1976 JULY1976 To the Friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Anchorage Dearly loved Friends,

172.1 Sixty years ago 'Abdu'l-Bahá summoned the valiant North American believers to open the remote and inhospitable regions which form the climatic frontiers of the Arctic and the sub-Arctic. The full implementation of His wish had to be postponed for some years, until, under the leadership of His beloved grandson, well-grounded administrative bases were established from which Bahá'í crusaders could set out in conquest of these prized and virgin lands.

172.2 As early as 1915, however, we see a first wave of itinerant teachers and short time settlers directing their steps towards Alaska in an attempt to open it to the light of Bahá'u'lláh. This was followed by a second wave of determined pioneers and spiritual conquerors who, ever since the first Seven Year Plan, demonstrated their exemplary enthusiasm and caused "the breezes ... of the love of God" to "Perfume the nostrils of the inhabitants" of that "vast country.", In Canada, in response to the Master's call, a succession of homefront pioneers settled and opened the length and breadth of their land, so rich in promise "whether from a material or a spiritual standpoint," and whose destiny is to "become the object of the glance of Providence. " 2 To the fringes of Greenland North American and European pioneers brought the light of God's Faith, and provided the means for the fire of His love to be kindled in that land, in anticipation of the day when it will become "a divine rose garden and a heavenly paradise." Iceland, specifically mentioned by Abdu'l-Bahá in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, was opened and consolidated, and has, through the warm response of its inhabitants to the Call of God, undoubtedly become one of the shining beacons of the "lights of the Most Great Guidance" in the North.3

172.3 As a result of these movements and organized activities, the call of the Kingdom reached "the ears of the Eskimos," and the divine spark was struck in their lands.4 Praise be to God, today there are many who justly belong to the rank of heroes from among that noble race, and whose hearts are burning with His love. Upon the zeal and endurance of these enkindled believers 172-1. TDP 6.15. The first Seven Year Plan included the years 1937-44. 172-2. TDP 13.6, 13.2, 172-3. TDP 5.2, 6.5. 172-4. TDP 5.2.


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will depend the early fulfillment of the Master's glowing promises. The teaching work among the Indians of the northern lands of the Western Hemisphere has likewise borne rich fruit, as tribe upon tribe has been enlisted under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh. Whether in Alaska's southeastern islands and rugged mountains, or in Canada's huge Indian reserves from the west to the east, many Amerindian believers have arisen to serve the Cause, and through their joint efforts, their sacrificial endeavors and distinctive talents they bid fair to accelerate the dawn of the day when they will be so "illumined as to enlighten the whole world."5 Many are the goals which now challenge the peoples of the North under 172.4 the Five Year Plan: encouraging and educating the children and stimulating and guiding the youth; a wider participation of women in Bahá'í services; a greater assumption by the indigenous inhabitants of these regions of responsibilities in the leadership and administration of the community; a bolder proclamation of the Faith by radio and television; and a more far-flung and intensified campaign of teaching, audaciously conceived by National Spiritual Assemblies and their agencies and vigorously executed by Local Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers, aiming at a vast increase in the number of adherents to the Faith from every segment of society, a multiplication of Bahá'í administrative institutions, and a richer and more diverse range of publications in all media. What will set the seat on the success of the Plan and pave the way for the long-awaited and divinely promised glories of the future, is a mightier effort by every supporter of the Most Great Name in those climes to increasingly deepen themselves in the teachings, to pour forth their substance in the path of His love, to resolve to conform their personal lives to the high standards set in His teachings, and to undertake more daring tasks however great the sacrifice, and more extensive travels however arduous the voyage. In this wise will they draw nearer to the Spirit of Bahá'u'lláh and become true and radiant signs of His Most Great Guidance.

172.5 These are the tasks! This is the work! We pray at the Sacred Threshold that the Bahá'ís of the North may in the not-too-distant future transform the Arctic into that spiritual rose garden and heavenly paradise longed and yearned for by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and that its peoples may be bountifully blessed and lovingly guided in their selfless services to promote the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

172-5. TDP 6.8.


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173 Comments on the Subject of Politics 7 JULY 1976

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

173.1 The Universal House of Justice received your letter of May 15 conveying your thoughts on the need for Bahá'ís to become involved as may be necessary in political affairs and to participate in activities aimed at the eradication of injustice. The sincerity which prompted you to write such a letter and to candidly express your sentiments deeply touched the Universal House of Justice. We have been asked to convey its comments to you. The Divine Physician's Remedy

173.2 You ask if silence on the part of Bahá'ís will not allow chaos and human humiliation to be a permanent feature on earth, and state that shunning of politics by the Bahá'ís can but weaken the freedom fighters of the world. When viewing the conditions of our society we see a world beset by ills and groaning under the burden of suffering. This suffering, Bahá'u'lláh has Himself testified, is because the "body' of the world, "though created whole and perfect, has been afflicted, through divers causes, with grave ills and maladies," and "its sickness waxed more severe, as it fell under the treatment of unskilled physicians who have spurred on the steed of their worldly desires and have erred grievously." Bahá'u'lláh's statement in this passage concludes with the assertion that the 'sovereign remedy' lies in turning and submitting to the 'skilled," the "all-powerful," and "inspired Physician. This, verily, is the truth, and all else naught but error.",

173.3 This Divine Physician has assured us in His writings that God is All-Seeing and All-Knowing and has willed to establish in this Day and among men His everlasting Kingdom. "The whole earth," Bahá'u'lláh has stated, "is now in a state of pregnancy. The day is approaching when it will have yielded its noblest fruits, when from it will have sprung forth the loftiest trees, the most enchanting blossoms, the most heavenly blessings."2 In order to achieve this purpose God sent us the spirit and message of the New Day through two successive

Manifestations,3 both of Whom the generality of mankind have rejected, and have, alas, preferred to continue in their own blindness and perversity. Commenting on such a world spectacle,

Bahá'u'lláh wrote: 'soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead." "After a time," 173-1. WOB, pp. 39-40; GWB, pp. 254-55. 173_2. WOB, p. x6g. 173_3. Bahá'u'lláh and the Bab.


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He further wrote, "all the governments on earth will change. Oppression will envelop the world. And following a universal convulsion, the sun of justice will rise from the horizon of the unseen realm."4 When we turn to His other writings to learn more of His warning that 1714 this

"present-day order" is to be "rolled up," we read statements and predictions such as these: "The time for the destruction of the world and its people hath arrived." "The hour is approaching when the most great convulsion will have appeared." "The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged above your heads, and beneath your feet, saying: 'Taste ye what your hands have wrought!"' 'soon shall the blasts of His chastisement beat upon you and the dust of hell enshroud you." "And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake." "The day is approaching when its [civilization's] flame will devour the cities, when the Tongue of Grandeur will proclaim: 'The Kingdom is God's, the Almighty, the All-Praised!"' "The day is approaching when the wrathful anger of the Almighty will have taken hold of them. He, verily, is the Omnipotent, the All-Subduing, the Most Powerful.

173.5 He shall cleanse the earth from the defilement of their corruption, and shall give it for an heritage unto such of His servants as are nigh unto Him."5 The Hand of Providence at Work From the above it becomes clear that the Hand of Providence is at work, and is engaged in fulfilling God's purpose for mankind in this Age. "God's purpose," Shoghi Effendi assures us, "is none other than to usher in, in ways He alone can bring about, and the full significance of which He alone can fathom, the Great, the Golden Age of a long-divided, a long-afflicted humanity.

173.6 Its present state, indeed even its immediate future, is dark, distressingly dark. Its distant future, however, is radiant, gloriously radiant-so radiant that no eye can visualize it.116 Let us consider the First World War, which Shoghi Effendi has described in his writings as "the first stage in a titanic convulsion long predicted by Bahá'u'lláh."7 Although it ended outwardly in a Treaty of Peace, Abdu'l-Bahá remarked: Peace, Peace, the lips of potentates and peoples unceasingly proclaim, whereas the fire of unquenched hatreds still smolders in their hearts. And then in 1920, He wrote: "The ills from which the world now suffers will multiply; the gloom which envelops it will deepen." And again: 11 another war, fiercer than the last, will assuredly break out."' After this Second World War broke out in 1939, Shoghi Effendi called it a "tempest, unprecedented in its 173-4. Quoted in PDIC 1287. 173-5- Quoted in PDIC T3. 173-6. PDIC 1286. 173-7.

173.7 GPB, p. 305. 173-8. Quoted in WOB, pp. 29-30, 46.


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violence," and the "great and mighty wind of God invading the remotest and fairest regions of the earth." After the termination of this War and the creation of the United Nations, the Guardian wrote in 1948,

anticipating 'still more violent convulsions" and referred to the "wings of yet another conflict" destined to "darken the international horizon."9 And finally in his last Ridvan Message of April 1957, he left for posterity the following analysis of world conditions in the light of the prophecies and predictions recorded in the writings of the Faith:

173.6a Indeed, as we gaze in retrospect beyond the immediate past, and survey, in however cursory a manner, the vicissitudes afflicting an increasingly tormented society, and recall the strains and stresses to which the fabric of a dying Order has been increasingly subjected, we cannot but marvel at the sharp contrast presented, on the one hand, by the accumulated evidences of the orderly unfoldment, and the uninterrupted multiplication of the agencies, of an Administrative Order designed to be the harbinger of a world civilization, and, on the other, by the ominous manifestations of acute political conflict, of social unrest, of racial animosity, of class antagonism, of immorality and of irreligion, proclaiming, in no uncertain terms, the corruption and obsolescence of the institutions of a bankrupt Order.

173.6b Against the background of these afflictive disturbances-the turmoil and tribulations of a travailing age-we may well ponder the portentous prophecies uttered well-nigh four score years ago, by the Author of our Faith, as well as the dire predictions made by Him )Who is the unerring Interpreter of His teachings, all foreshadowing a universal commotion, of a scope and intensity unparalleled in the annals of mankind.

173.6c The violent derangement of the world's equilibrium; the trembling that will seize the limbs of mankind; the radical transformation of human society; the rolling up of the present-day Order; the fundamental changes affecting the structure of government; the weakening of the pillars of religion; the rise of dictatorships; the spread of tyranny; the fall of monarchies; the decline of ecclesiastical institutions; the increase of anarchy and chaos; the extension and consolidation of the Movement of the Left; the fanning into flame of the smoldering fire of racial strife; the development of infernal engines of war; the burning of cities; the contamination of the atmosphere of the earth-these stand out as the signs and portents that must either herald or accompany the retributive calamity which, as decreed by Him Who is the judge and Redeemer of mankind, must, sooner or later, afflict a society which, for the most part, and for over a century, has turned a deaf 173-9- PDIC 2; CF, P. 58.


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ear to the Voice of God's Messenger in this day-a calamity which must purge the human race of the dross of its age-long corruptions, and weld its component parts into a firmly knit world-embracing Fellowship . . . 10 Thus we see how the Divine Physician is both the "Judge" of mankind and its "Redeemer.", Noninterference in Political Affairs This same Physician, addressing His followers, "the beloved of the one true

173.8 God," wrote: "Forbear ye from concerning yourselves with the affairs of this world and all that pertaineth unto it, or from meddling with the activities of those who are its outward leaders. The one true God, exalted be His glory, hath bestowed the government of the earth upon the kings.

173.9 To none is given the right to act in any manner that would run counter to the considered views of them who are in authority."12 In another Tablet He laid on His followers the obligation to "behave towards the government of the country in which they reside with loyalty, honesty and truthfulness."13 'Abdu'l-Bahá reaffirmed the same principles. When in America He explained: "The essence of the Bahá'í spirit is that, in order to establish a better social order and economic

condition, there must be allegiance to the laws and principles of government." And in a Tablet He referred to the "irrefutable command that the Blessed Perfection hath given" in His Tablets, namely, "that the believers must obey the kings with the utmost sincerity and fidelity, and He hath forbidden them [the believers] to interfere at all with political problems.

173.11 He hath even prohibited the believers from discussing political affairs."14 And finally in His last Will and Testament He wrote: "We must obey and 173.10 be the well-wishers of the government of the land The Role of Bahá'ís in Today's World We have also been asked to share with you at this juncture the following two extracts from letters written by the Universal House of Justice, and it is hoped these will help you in appreciating the significant and vital role Bahá'ís can and must play in the world today: We are told by Shoghi Effendi that two great processes are at work 173.11 a in the world: the great Plan of God, tumultuous in its progress, working 173-10. MBW, pp. 102-03. 173-11. PDIC T6. 173-iz. GWB, P. 241. 173-13. GPB, p, 219. 173-14. PUP, P. 238; TABA 3:498. 173-15- WT p. 8.


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

173.11b 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. It is to this work that we must

devote all our energies, for there is no one else to do it. .,6 173.11c ... Bahá'ís are often accused of holding aloof from the "real problems" of their fellowmen. But when we hear this accusation let us not forget that those who make it are usually idealistic

materialists to whom material good is the only "real" good, whereas we know that the working of the material world is merely a reflection of spiritual conditions and until the spiritual conditions can be changed there can be no lasting change for the better in material affairs. 173.iid We should also remember that most people have no clear concept of the sort of world they wish to build, nor how to go about building it. Even those who are concerned to improve conditions are therefore reduced to combating every apparent evil that takes their attention. Willingness to fight against evils, whether in the form of conditions or embodied in evil men, has thus become for most people the touchstone by which they judge a person's moral worth. Bahá'ís, on the other hand, know the goal they are working towards and know what they must do, step by step, to attain it. Their whole

energy is directed towards the building of the good, a good which has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils-which are in essence negative-will fade away and be no more. To enter into the quixotic tournament of demolishing one by one the evils in the world is, to a Bahá'í, a vain waste of time and effort. His whole life is directed towards proclaiming the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, reviving the spiritual life of his fellowmen, uniting them in a divinely-created World 173-16. Letter dated 8 December 1967 to an individual.

173.12 See message no. 55.


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Order, and then, as the Order grows in strength and influence,

he will see the power of that Message transforming the whole human society and progressively solving the problems and removing the injustices which have so long bedeviled the world.17 You have asked whether it is possible to have a World Federation when not all countries have attained their independence. The answer is in the negative. Both 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi likened the emergence of the American Republic and the unification of the "diversified and loosely related elements" of its "divided' community into one national entity, to the unity of the world and the incorporation of its federated units into "one coherent system.",' just as the American Constitution does not allow one state to be more autonomous than another, so must the nations of the world enjoy equal status in any form of World Federation.

173.13 Indeed one of the "candles" of unity anticipated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá is "unity in freedom."19 Yet another question is whether it is morally right to remain silent when equality is being abused.

173.15 The beloved Guardian has given us the following guidelines in letters written on his behalf "Much as the friends must guard against in any way ever seeming to identify themselves or the Cause with any political parry, they must also guard against the other extreme of never taking part with other progressive groups, in conferences or committees designed to promote some activity in entire accord with our teachings-such as, for instance, better race relations." The Universal House of Justice hopes that you and your Bahá'í coworkers 173.14 in that land will steep yourselves in the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, endeavor to follow in your personal lives the noble standards set by Him, attract the multitudes to the radiance of His glorious Faith, and enable them to warm their hearts and ignite their souls with the flames of that undying Fire which "blazeth and rageth in the world of creation.""' We have been asked by the Universal House of Justice to assure you of its prayers on your behalf in the Holy Shrines.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

173-7. Letter dated 19 November 1974 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Italy. See message no. 151.

173-18. WOB, p. 165. 173-19. WOB, p. 165. 173-20. Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 21 November 1948 to an individual. 173-21. Bahá'u'lláh, in BP, p. 53, or PM, P. 76.


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174 Message to the International Teaching Conference, Paris, France-August 1976 AUGUST 1976 To the Friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Paris Dearly loved Friends,

174.1 The brilliance of Paris in the story of European civilization bids fair to be renewed with even greater splendor during the Day of the Lord of Hosts and the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth., The annals of Paris in this Day have already acquired eternal luster from events of mightier import, of greater universal significance and more sacred character than any which its past history has witnessed. The visits of Abdu'l-Bahá, the Center of God's inviolable Covenant, alone outshine in historical importance anything in the long history of France, and are immortalized in the greatly loved collection of His discourses given in that capital city.2 Beyond this, we recall with awe and pride that it was at 'Abdu'l-Bahá's instruction that the illustrious May Maxwell succeeded in establishing in Paris the first Bahá'í center on the European Continent, a continent described by Shoghi Effendi as "the cradle of a civilization to some of whose beneficent features the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh has paid significant tribute; on whose soil both the Greek and Roman civilizations were born and flourished; which has contributed so richly to the unfoldment of American civilization; the fountainhead of American culture; the mother of Christendom, and the scene of the greatest exploits of the followers of Jesus Christ," and experiencing "the first stirrings of that spiritual revolution' which must culminate in the permanent establishment throughout its diversified lands of the divinely ordained Order of Bahá'u'lláh.3 This first center was rapidly reinforced by the conversion of the first English believer and of the first Frenchman to accept the Faith-the distinguished Hippolyte Dreyfus, whose "Preeminent role" it was to kindle "the torch which is destined to shed eternal illumination upon his native land and its people" and by Laura Barney, whose "imperishable service" was to transmit to posterity Some Answered Questions.4 The steadfastness and devotion of the Paris Bahá'í Community during the dark and somber days of the Second World War earned great praise from the beloved Guardian of the Faith, while the 174-L "The Day of the Lord of Hosts" is a reference to the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. 174-2. See Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, (1969). Abdu'l-Bahá visited Paris three times. The first visit lasted nine weeks, 3 October through z December 1911; the second was 21 January through 30 March 1913; the third was early May through 12 June 1913. 174-3. CF, pp. 26-27. 174-4. UD, P. 84; GPB, P. 260.


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recent signs of widespread and effective teaching work throughout France lend wings to the hope that this veteran, sorely tested and steadfast community is about to gather the harvest of those potent seeds sown and nourished so lovingly by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It is highly propitious that this city, thrice blessed by the presence of the

174.2 Master, should be the scene of the first

International Bahá'í Conference in France and one of the eight

International Conferences to be held around the world during the Five Year Plan. You are gathered in this historic spot to deliberate on the fortunes of that Plan, to derive inspiration from the deeds performed there in the Heroic Age of our Faith and from your association together, to rededicate yourselves to the service of Bahá'u'lláh and to determine, each and every one, how best you can promote the victory of the Five Year Plan. We call to your attention 'Abdu'l-Bahá's words: The call of Ya Baha'u'l-Abha can be heard far and wide. It is my hope 174.2a that this soul-stirring melody of the Abha Kingdom may also be raised high in Paris, for Paris is tumultuous in all things. I pray the Almighty that the music and singing of the beloved of God will be so loud that the vibrations thereof may cause the limbs of Paris to quake. I await very joyful tidings from the friends in Paris. Unquestionably the divine melody will in the future be raised in that city, but I long that this may happen in these days of the Covenant, and that you will be the enchanting songsters and the sweet-singing nightingales of that

land.5 Our hopes are high and we pray at the Sacred Threshold that from this

174.3 Conference will surge throughout Europe a wave of such sacrificial teaching as will impel large numbers of its diverse and highly talented peoples to embrace the Faith of God and dedicate themselves to the redemption of mankind under the glorious banner of the Prince of Peace.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

174-5. From an unpublished Tablet.


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175 Release of a Compilation on Bahá'í Education 31 AUGUST 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

175.1 Among the goals of the Five Year Plan given to certain National

Spiritual Assemblies is that of the promotion of the Bahá'í education of children. But this subject is of profound interest to Bahá'ís in every land, not only in those where, as the Plan indicates, specific goals must be attained.

175.2 At our request the Research Department at the World Center has prepared this compilation of Bahá'í teachings on the subject of Bahá'í education for the friends everywhere to study and to begin to apply as their circumstances permit., In the main part of the compilation all extracts are from Tablets or other authenticated writings. In addition there is a supplement of extracts from talks of 'Abdu'l-Bahá recorded in Star of the West and The Promulgation of Universal Peace. It is hoped that in future it will be possible to have such well-known addresses verified against authenticated transcripts of the talks in the original language, but until that time the friends may use them in their present form for their reference and study. You are free to share this compilation, in whole or in part, with the believers under your jurisdiction in whatever way you judge best.

175.3 A letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer on 7 June 1939 explained: 175.3a ... the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá do not present a definite and detailed educational system, but simply offer certain basic principles and set forth a number of teaching ideals that should guide future Bahá'í educationalists in their efforts to formulate an adequate teaching curriculum which would be in full harmony with the spirit of the Bahá'í Teachings, and would thus meet the requirements and needs of the modern age.

175.3b These basic principles are available in the sacred writings of the Cause, and should be carefully studied, and gradually incorporated in various college and university programs. But the task of formulating a system of education which would be officially recognized by the Cause, and enforced as such throughout the Bahá'í world, is one which the present-day generation of believers cannot obviously undertake, and which has to be gradually accomplished by Bahá'í scholars and educationalists of the future. 175-1.

175.4 See CC 1:245-313.


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In reacting the compilation the friends should bear the above explanation in mind and not interpret as a universal instruction what may, in fact, be simply an example of the sort of course that could advantageously be followed. For example, the quotations from the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the letters of Shoghi Effendi written in the early years of his Guardianship were addressed to the Bahá'ís in Persia when that

community, although oppressed, was already large in numbers, and was living in a society where schooling was rudimentary and scarce. At the present time in most countries, compulsory education and state school systems are widespread and meet the general need for material education, so the resources of the Faith in that field have to be concentrated on the spiritual and moral education of our children and on providing primary and tutorial schools in mass-teaching areas where illiteracy is still the rule. Also, the various extracts must be read in the context of the whole.

175.5 The proper education of children is of vital importance to the progress of mankind, and the heart and essential foundation of all education is spiritual and moral training. When we teach our fellowmen the truths and way of life of the Bahá'í Faith we have to struggle against barriers of indifference, materialism, superstition and a multitude of erroneous preconceptions; but in our newborn children we are presented with pure souls, untarnished by the world. As they grow they will face countless tests and difficulties.

175.6 From their earliest moments we have the duty to train them, both spiritually and materially, in the way that God has shown, and thus, as they come to adulthood, they can become champions of His Cause and spiritual and moral giants among mankind, equipped to meet all tests, and will be, indeed, 'stars of the heaven of understanding," 'soft-flowing waters upon which must depend the very life of all men.", It is our prayer at the Sacred Threshold that the provision of the gems of divine guidance contained in this compilation will be a stimulus and a source of inspiration for Bahá'í parents, teachers and Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world, and a blessing for the rising generations.

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

175-2. GwB, p. 196.


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176 Message to the International Teaching Conference3 Nairobi,

Kenya-September 1976 26 SEPTEMBER 1976 To the Friends gathered at the International Conference in Nairobi Beloved Friends,

176.1 The flames of enthusiasm which ignited the hearts of the followers and lovers of the Most Great Name in Helsinki, in Anchorage and in Paris are now being kindled in a city which occupies a central and envied position at the very crossroads of the vast African mainland and are destined to illumine its horizons. This Conference marking the imminent

approach of the midway point of the Five Year Plan which coincides with the anniversary of the birth of the Blessed Bab, will no doubt go down in Bahá'í history as a further landmark in the irresistible march of events which have characterized the impact of the Faith of God upon that continent.

176.2 We recall that in addition to Quddus the only other companion of the Bab on His pilgrimage to Mecca was an Ethiopian, and that he and his wife were intimately associated with Him and His household in Shiraz.2 During the Ministry of Bahá'u'lláh a few of His stalwart disciples reached the northeastern shores of Africa, and under His direct guidance, announced the glad tidings of the New Day to the people of the Nile, thus opening to the Faith two countries of the African mainland. Soon afterwards, His blessed person approached those shores in the course of His exile to the Holy Land. Still later He voiced His significant utterance in which He compared the colored people to "the black pupil of the eye," through which "the light of the spirit shineth forth."3 Just over six years after His ascension, the first member of the black race to embrace His Cause in the West, who was destined to become a disciple of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, a herald of the Kingdom, and the door through which numberless members of his race were to enter that Kingdom, came on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the first group of Western friends who arrived in 'Akka to visit the Center of the Covenant.4 This was followed by a steady extension of the teaching work among the black people of North America, and the opening to the Faith, by the end of the Heroic Age, of two more 176-1. 20 October. 176-2. The Ethiopian was Haji Mubarak; Quddus was the eighteenth Letter of the Living, the title given to the first eighteen people to recognize the Bab's prophetic station. Quddus was distinguished for his serenity and sagacity and was elevated by Bahá'u'lláh to a rank

second only to that of the Bab. 176-3. Quoted in ADJ, P. 37. 176-4.

176.3 Robert Turner was among the first group of Western pilgrims to arrive in Akka on 10 December 1898, some six years after Bahá'u'lláh's ascension on 29 May 1892.


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countries in Africa, under the watchful care of the Master, Whose three visits to Egypt have blessed the soil of that Continent.5 Prior to the conclusion of the first Bahá'í century the number of countries opened to the Faith had been raised to seven, and the teaching work among the black race in North America had entered a new phase of development through the continuous guidance flowing from the pen of Shoghi Effendi, who himself traversed the African continent twice from south to north, and who, in the course of his ministry, elevated two members of the black race to the rank of Hand of the Cause,

appointed three more believers residing in Africa to that high

office, and there raised up four National Spiritual Assemblies.6 At the beginning of the Ten Year Crusade the number of countries opened to the Faith had reached twenty-four, including those opened under the aegis of the Two Year African Campaign coordinated by the British National Spiritual Assembly. The Ten Year Plan opened the rest of Africa to the light of God's Faith, and today we see with joy and pride in that vast continent and its neighboring islands the establishment of four Boards of Counselors, thirty-four National Spiritual Assemblies-firm pillars of God's Administrative Order-and over 2800 Local Spiritual Assemblies, nuclei of a growing Bahá'í society.

176.4 Africa, a privileged continent with a past rich in cherished associations, has reached its present stage of growth through countless feats of heroism and dedication. Before us unfolds the vision of the future. "Africa," the beloved Guardian assures us in one of the letters written on his behalf, "is truly awakening and finding herself, and she undoubtedly has a great message to give, and a great contribution to make to the advancement of world civilization.

176.5 To the degree to which her peoples accept Bahá'u'lláh will they be blessed, strengthened and protected."7 The realization of this glorious destiny requires that the immediate tasks be worthily discharged, and the pressing challenges and urgent requirements of the Five Year Plan be wholeheartedly and effectively met and satisfied. As the forces of darkness in that part of the world wax fiercer, and the problems facing its peoples and tribes become more critical, the believers in that continent

176-5. 'Abdu'l-Bahá visited Egypt circa August/September 1910 through 11 August 1911, circa December 1911 through 25 March 1912, and 17 June 1913 through 2 December 1913. 176-6. By 1944, the seven African countries opened to the Faith were Abyssinia (Ethiopia), Belgian Congo, Egypt, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Sudan, and Tunisia. Shoghi Effendi traveled in Africa circa September-October 1929 and in 1940. The two black Hands of the Cause of God were Louis Gregory of the United States, appointed posthumously in August 1951, and Enoch Olinga of Uganda, appointed in October 1957. The additional three Hands appointed while living in Africa were Musa Banani (29 February 1952, Kampala, Uganda), and William Sears and John Robarts (October 1957, South Africa). The four National Spiritual Assemblies Shoghi Effendi raised up are those of Central and East Africa, North East Africa, North West Africa, and South and West Africa. 176-7. UD, P. 330.


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must evince greater cohesion, scale loftier heights of heroism and self-sacrifice and demonstrate higher standards of concerted effort and harmonious development.

176.6 During the brief thirty months separating us from the end of the Plan, Africa must once again distinguish itself among its sister continents through a vast increase in the number of its believers, its Local Spiritual Assemblies and its localities opened to the Faith, and by accelerating the process of entry by troops throughout its length and breadth. The deepening of the faith, of the understanding and of the spiritual life of its individual believers must gather greater momentum; the foundations of its

existing Local Spiritual Assemblies must be more speedily consolidated; the number of local Haziratu'l-Quds and of local

endowments called for in the Plan must be soon acquired; the Bahá'í activities of women and of youth must be systematically stimulated; the Bahá'í education of the children of the believers must continuously be encouraged; the basis of the recognition that the institutions of the Faith have succeeded in obtaining from the authorities must steadily be broadened; mass communication facilities must be used far more frequently to teach and proclaim the Faith; and the publication and dissemination of the essential literature of the Faith must be given much greater importance. Above all it is imperative that in ever greater measure each individual believer should realize the vital need to subordinate his personal advantages to the overall welfare of the Cause, to awaken and reinforce his sense of responsibility before God to promote and protect its vital interests at all costs, and to renew his total consecration and dedication to His glorious Faith, so that, himself enkindled with the flames of its holy fire, he may, in concert with his fellow-believers, ignite the light of faith and certitude in the hearts of his family, his tribe, his countrymen and all the peoples of that mighty continent, in preparation for the day when Africa's major contribution to world civilization will become fully consummated.

176.7 We fervently pray at the Holy Shrines that these hopes and aspirations may soon come true, and that the "pure-hearted" and 'spiritually receptive" people of Africa may draw ever nearer to the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh, and may become shining examples of self-abnegation, of courage and of love to the supporters of the Most Great Name in every land.'

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

176-8. MBW, P. 135.


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177 Visit of His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili 11 to the Resting-Place of Shoghi Effendi 5 OCTOBERI976 To all National Spiritual Assemblies'''

177.1 WITH FEELINGS IMMENSE ELATION ANNOUNCE BAHA'I COMMUNITIES ALL CONTINENTS JOYFUL NEWS FIRST VISIT BY. BAHA'I REIGNING MONARCH TO RESTING PLACE BELOVED SHOGHI EFFENDI WELL NIGH NINETEEN YEARS FOLLOWING HIS PASSING.' HIS HIGHNESS MALIETOA TANUMATILI II OF WESTERN SAMOA COURSE HIS RECENT VISIT LONDON ATTAINED THIS INESTIMABLE BOUNTY. HIS HIGHNESS ACCOMPANIED BY SMALL DELEGATION FRIENDS HEADED BY HAND CAUSE GIACHERY INCLUDING HANDS CAUSE KHADEM VARQA AND FIVE MEMBERS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY UNITED KINGDOM PROCEEDED CEMETERY PARTICIPATED DEEPLY MOVING HIGHLY DIGNIFIED VISITATION RESTING PLACE SIGN GOD ON EARTH WHOSE LIFELONG HEROIC LABORS ACHIEVED WORLDWIDE SPREAD GLORIOUS CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH.2 FOLLOWING PRAYERS DEVOTIONS AND EXPRESSIONSAPPRECIATION GRATITUDE BY HIS HIGHNESS HE METWITH RADIANT SPIRIT LARGE GATHERING BELIEVERS ASSEMBLED PRECINCTS GRAVE TO WELCOME HIM AND TO WHOM HE CONVEYED GREETINGS HIS FELLOW SAMOAN BAHA'IS AND HIS HOPE GROWTH FAITH FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH ALL OVER WORLD. IN HOLY LAND SYNCHRONIZING WITH THESE EVENTS HANDS CAUSE OTHER MEMBERS, INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER JOINED MEMBERS HOUSE JUSTICE SPECIAL VISIT BAHJI WHERE FERVENT PRAYERS WERE OFFERED SACRED THRESHOLD MOST HOLY SHRINE IN THANKSGIVING HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT WHICH REPRESENTS PRELUDE TO FULFILLMENT LONG CHERISHED DESIRE ABDU'L-BAHA AND SHOGHI EFFENDI WITNESS PILGRIM KINGS PAY THEIR HUMBLE TRIBUTE AT HOLY SHRINES FOUNDERS OUR FAITH IN SPIRITUAL HEART PLANET. FERVENTLY PRAYING THIS JOYOUS NEWS WILL STRENGTHEN RESOLVE SUPPORTERS MOST GREAT NAME EVERY LAND REDOUBLE THEIR EFFORTS TO FORGE AHEAD HOWEVER ARDUOUS THE TASKS HOWEVER SEEMINGLY INSURMOUNTABLE THE OBSTACLES UNTIL EVERY GOAL WORLDWIDE PLAN IS SPEEDILY AND FULLY CONSUMMATED.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

177-1. For the announcement of His Highness's acceptance of the Bahá'í Faith, see message no. 130. 177-2. Later information confirms that six members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom were present. The visit took place on 12 September 1976.


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178 Outstanding Achievements in Khurasan, Iran' 15 OCTOBER 1976 To the Friends gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Nairobi, Kenya

178.1 REJOICE SHARE WITH FRIENDS AT NAIROBI CONFERENCE JOYOUS TIDINGS RECEIVED FROM CRADLE FAITH FRIENDS PROVINCE KHURASAN WHERE MIGHTY EVENTS TOOK PLACE EARLY YEARS HEROIC AGE HAVE WON UNIQUE DISTINCTION. EVERY LOCAL

SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY EVEN EVERY GROUP THAT PROVINCE HAS FORMULATED ITS LOCAL GOALS AND EVERY INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER HAS ADOPTED PERSONAL

TEACHING GOALS. OBJECTIVE ENVISAGED FIVE YEAR PLAN BRILLIANTLY

OUTSTRIPPED. FERVENTLY PRAYING SHRINES SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES GROUPS INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS EVERY LAND WILL BE INSPIRED FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 179 Achievement of the Majority of Pioneer Goals at Midpoint of Five Year Plan 21 OCTOBER 1976 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

179.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE REALIZATION HOPE EXPRESSED IN JANUARY 1975 THAT BY MIDWAY POINT FIVE YEAR PLAN MOST PIONEER POSTS BE SETTLED! OUT OF THESE 962 POSTS 612 ALREADY FILLED THROUGH SETTLEMENT 1374 PIONEERS. 350 POSTS STILL REMAIN UNFILLED BUT 227 VOLUNTEERS HAVE ARISEN AND ARE BEING PROCESSED FOR SETTLEMENT THESE GOALS. CALL WITH URGENT INSISTENCE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES WITH UNFILLED PIONEER GOALS EXPEDITE FULFILLMENT ASSIGNMENTS COUNTRIES STILL NEEDING URGENT SUPPORT. PRAYING HOLY SHRINES BOUNTIFUL BLESSINGS ALL WHO HAVE ARISEN PIONEER FIELDS VARIOUS LANDS AND WHO WILL ARISE DURING FAST FLEETING MONTHS BEFORE RIDVAN 1977 WIN OUTSTANDING PIONEER GOALS FIVE YEAR PLAN. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 178-1. This message was cabled to Hand of the Cause of God William Sears, representative of the Universal House of justice at the International Teaching Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. 179-1. See message no. 155.


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180 Additional Appointments to Continental Boards of Counselors 31 OCTOBER 1976 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends, The Universal House of Justice announces with pleasure that it has appointed three new Counselors as follows: Dr. Peter Khan-to the Continental Board of Counselors in Australasia Dr.

Hidiyatu'llah Ahmadiyyih-to the Continental Board of Counselors in Central America Mr.

181.1 Angus Cowan-to the Continental Board of Counselors in North America.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

181 Message to the International Teaching Conference, Hong Kong-November 1976 NOVEMBER 1976 To the Friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Hong Kong Dearly loved Friends, With grateful and joyous hearts we extend our warmest greetings and express our highest hopes to the followers of Bahá'u'lláh gathered, at this critical point of the Five Year Plan, in this Conference on Asia's eastern shore. This great continent has nourished mighty civilizations; above its horizons the suns of ma)or Revelations of God have risen; on its soil many of the heroes of this New Age have shed their blood and offered their lives in token of their love for Him Who is the Beloved of the World and the Desire of the Nations.

181.2 What an imperishable glory has been bestowed upon the people of Asia, the first to be illumined by the rays of God's Faith, the first recipients of His Call and the first promoters of His Cause. Their spiritual capacity is extolled and the great role they are destined to play in the strengthening of the foundation of the New World Order of Bahá'u'lláh unhesitatingly affirmed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Tablets of the Divine Plan., 181-1. See TDP 7.5, 7-10, 8-2L


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181.3 This great continent contains within its boundaries the heart of the Faith and its Cradle, the lands wherein its Founders toiled and suffered, and not only the great majority of the human race but the great majority of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh. The potentiality of such a situation cannot be underestimated, nor must the great force latent within so large a proportion of the Army of Light be neglected. They must be mobilized to accelerate the expansion of the beloved Cause, to consolidate its victories, to enhance its prestige and to augment its influence. We appeal to every participant in this historic Conference to become conscious of these tremendous but hidden potentialities which, if properly tapped and directed, can hasten the process of the spiritualization of the nations of Asia, the influence of which will extend far beyond the confines of that continent-even to the entire planet.

181.4 We eagerly await news that from this Conference will surge throughout Asia a wave of vigorous activity devoted to the execution on the, individual, local and national levels, of systematic plans designed to attract the great masses of that continent to the life-giving, all-embracing Message of Bahá'u'lláh. Such plans must provide opportunities for those thousands who in recent years have swelled the rank and file, as well as for those veterans who have, for so many years, striven in the path of service to the Cause.

181.5 It is through active participation of more and more new believers in both teaching and administration that the consolidation of the Bahá'í community can best be achieved. in a continent so richly endowed, so greatly blessed, new generations of Bahá'ís must continually -be raised up, trained from childhood in the school of the love of God, and nurtured under the shadow of His Cause. Bahá'ís in every country must be constantly urged and, wherever necessary, assisted to pass on to their children as their most cherished legacy, the precious Faith they themselves have embraced. Those new generations of Bahá'ís will have a vital role in consolidating the Cause of God on a firm foundation.,

181.6 The establishment of Local Assemblies as the basic administrative unit of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh and as rallying points for the Bahá'ís of every community should, in accordance with the objectives of the Five Year Plan, be multiplied no matter at what cost of effort and endurance. The

process of invigorating the Local Assemblies requires, during the Five Year Plan, the consultation of all the institutions of the Cause.

181.7 Publication of literature in many languages as part of a determined campaign to win thousands upon thousands of diverse peoples in all spheres of life must be vigorously pursued.

181.8 Participation of all believers in supporting the Bahá'í Funds, the lifeblood of the Cause, must be given adequate attention, and the blessings which reward the act of voluntary giving for the promotion of the Faith, no matter how small the amount may be, must be lovingly and wisely explained.


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May this Conference become a landmark in the process of attracting vast numbers of the great Chinese race scattered throughout the world. May it be a prelude to the unprecedented expansion of the Faith in all the countries of Asia. May it become a source of strength to the supporters of the Most Great Name so that despite the rising tide of trials and upheavals afflicting the world, and whatever forces of opposition may be mounted against the Cause of God itself, the believers will not waver or become diverted from their course, but be ever more confirmed in their determination to raise the edifice of the Faith of God as the last bastion of hope to a lost and wayward humanity.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

182 Grappling with the Challenge of Consolidation 2 DECEMBER 1976 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

Your letter of 12 October 1976 proposing the establishment of an International Human Development Center has caused us concern

for a number of reasons., It is true that in our letter Of 23 December 1975 we stated: "We feel that it is for your Assembly to decide what methods should be employed to bring about the desired result," but your present proposals are a great enlargement and development of the concepts outlined in your letter Of 5 December 1975 and involve the establishment of an institution with international ramifications requiring financial assistance from

beyond the confines of your own community. We are acutely aware of the varied problems of community and character development that the American Bahá'í community faces. They are problems that in varying ways and to different degrees face every Bahá'í community in the world. In many countries they are further complicated by grinding poverty, widespread illiteracy, religious persecution or compulsory political indoctrination. 182-1. After Davison Bahá'í School in Davison, Michigan, dosed in 1974, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States made plans to use the property for an International Human Development Center that was to include, among other things, a demonstration school and formal study in education at the postgraduate level. In response to guidance from the Universal House of Justice, a more modest facility, the Louhelen Bahá'í School, was opened in 1982. It was designed to serve as a Bahá'í conference center and as a site for summer and winter school programs.


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182.3 As you quite correctly observe, Bahá'í Administration should make use of whatever expertise or appropriate instruments are available, whether Bahá'í' or non-Bahá'í, for the attainment of its objectives. But this is not the same as establishing a quasi-Bahá'í institution under Bahá'í auspices based on one particular theory. It is far too early in the development of the Faith and of the social sciences for -the Administrative Order thus to promote one particular system or theory of education. A similar situation exists in the field of psychology. As you are well aware, many people come into the Faith needing

psychiatric treatment, and it is often very difficult for them to find a psychiatrist who will not urge them to some course of behavior which is contrary to the teachings of the Faith. There are a number of Bahá'í psychologists and psychiatrists who are endeavoring to develop their skills in the light of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, and use can certainly be made of their services where available-but it would be premature to consider establishing a Bahá'í School of Psychology. . . . The Gradual Unfoldment of Bahá'í Education

182.4 The grave problems faced by Bahá'í parents and children, when the children must attend schools that are strongly influenced by the degradation of present-day society, are fully appreciated. However, the only ways to completely overcome these dangers would seem to be either to effect a reform of the entire non-Bahá'í educational system or to provide a worldwide network of Bahá'í schools. Both ways are very long-term projects beyond the capacity of the Bahá'í community at this time. Already, of course, Bahá'í communities are establishing primary or tutorial schools in many parts of the world, but these are small and few in number and are located where there are such conditions as general illiteracy among the believers or where no other schools are available to them. Undoubtedly, in time, this process will gain momentum, and Bahá'í schools of ever higher quality and scope will be established in country after country, as has

already occurred in India, but necessarily, this must now be a gradual process related, among other things, to the resources of the community, the number of Bahá'í children needing education, and the availability of other suitable schools. Perhaps in certain parts of the United States there are sufficiently large concentrations of Bahá'í children to make the running of a private Bahá'í school feasible-such a proposal has, indeed, been made by a number of individual believers in Alaska, principally teachers, but we stressed in that instance that, if implemented, it should be conducted as a private venture and that the people concerned should give very

careful consideration to all the factors involved before initiating it; furthermore we pointed out to them their opportunities for improving the schools in which they themselves worked.

182.5 Failing a nationwide system of Bahá'í schools, the establishment of which is clearly out of the question at this stage of the growth of the Cause in the


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United States, Bahá'í parents will continue to be faced with the problems caused by the exposure of their children to irreligious and immoral attitudes, behavior, and even instruction, from their fellow pupils and their teachers. This is a great challenge to Bahá'í parents, to the Bahá'í children themselves, and to the Spiritual Assemblies. It was to assist in meeting such challenges that we recently issued the compilation of Bahá'í prayers for children and that on Bahá'í education .2 Your Assembly is correct in its view that a major effort will have to be exerted to raise the number and quality of Bahá'í children's classes, and to assist Bahá'í parents to bring up their children as firm Bahá'ís able to withstand the moral and spiritual poisons and temptations of the society around them. . . . The Spiritual Nature of Personal Transformation In addition to the

specific problems of child education, you instance the 182.6 difficulties of local communities which are faced with the task of reorienting and integrating into the Cause new believers who enter with all sorts of immoral and even criminal tendencies from their former life. This is indeed difficult, but this is the very stuff of the work of the Cause. The Bahá'í Faith not only provides teachings in accordance with which the behavior of human beings can be reformed, but also makes available a spiritual power which reinforces the devoted efforts of every believer, whether veteran or neophyte. Arising to serve the Cause has, itself, a transforming effect upon believers, as the beloved Guardian wrote with respect to service upon Spiritual Assemblies: "If we but turn our gaze to the high qualifications of the members of Bahá'í Assemblies, as enumerated in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablets, we are filled with feelings of unworthiness and dismay, and would feel truly disheartened but for the comforting thought that if we arise to play nobly our part every deficiency in our lives will be more than compensated by the all-conquering spirit of His grace and power."3 Thus, what is most imperative for the promotion of the spiritual life of local Bahá'í communities is the stimulation of the believers to increase their devotion to Bahá'u'lláh, their absolute reliance upon Him and upon His love, and their determination to apply His teachings in every aspect of their lives. This stimulation can be conveyed from heart to heart and mind to mind by devoted Bahá'ís without the need of formal training.... The Auxiliary Board: A Potent Aid to Consultation As we pointed out previously, you have already initiated excellent programs; we continually receive evidence of the enthusiasm with which they have been received by local communities in the United States. You should persevere with these programs, expanding and supplementing them as

___ 182-2. Bahá'í Prayers and Tablets for the Young and Bahá'í Education. 182-3. BA, p. 88.


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necessary with others that you may judge desirable for the work of the Cause in the conditions of each of the widely diverse areas of your vast national territory. One of the most potent aids to the consolidation of local communities and Assemblies and the deepening of the faith of the believers, is the services of the Auxiliary Board members and their assistants. Here is an institution of the Faith, reaching into every locality, composed of firm believers who know the area they have to serve and are familiar with its problems and potentialities -- an institution expressly designed to encourage and reinforce the work of the Spiritual Assemblies, to enthuse the believers, to stimulate them to study the Teachings and apply them in their lives-a body of Bahá'ís whose

efforts and services will complement and support the work being done by your committees and by the Local Assemblies themselves in every sphere of Bahá'í endeavor. . . .

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

183 Call for a Vigorous Traveling Teaching Program 19 DECEMBER 1976 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

183.1 Now that we have passed the midway point of the Five Year Plan and through the grace of the Blessed Beauty the processes which it has set in motion in every continent are gaining momentum, we observe almost daily with awe and admiration how abundant are the blessings which surround the efforts of the devoted believers who are delivering His divine Message with dedication, enthusiasm and perseverance, and how infinitely vast and challenging are the possibilities for the future.

183.2 One of the activities which must be given greater attention, both nationally and internationally, is travel teaching to localities which are in need of consolidation and stimulation. While teaching projects of short duration, in terms of days and one or two weeks, are useful, the time has come for long-term teaching projects of three to six months and possibly more, as envisaged in the Five Year Plan, to be more vigorously prosecuted in every continent, so that more lasting

results may accrue from these teaching trips and the rich harvest anticipated at the outset of the Plan may become a reality, imparting its inestimable benefits to the devoted laborers in His divine

Vineyard.

183.3 It is hoped that those who will arise will be mostly self-supporting or supported by private deputization, and that the funds of the Faith, nationally for


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projects on the homefront, and internationally for projects in foreign fields, will be requested only when the individual concerned is regarded as well qualified and there is no other source of funds available to him. We hope that National Assemblies whose assignments include international 183.4 travel teaching projects will make a special appeal to the friends under their jurisdiction calling on them to meet this new challenge. If this urgent call, which is directed to all believers in every land, is answered with promptness and enthusiasm by those whose personal circumstances permit, great advances will be made towards fulfilling the hitherto sorely neglected teaching goals of the Plan. While the youth can through their creative resourcefulness and energetic labors effectively support the work ahead, believers from the older age groups can be a valuable asset in the achievement of the goals through their experience, knowledge and wisdom. Our prayers are offered frequently at the Holy Shrines for the infinite blessings of the Abha Beauty to reinforce every step u take in strengthening and broadening the foundations of the Faith in the areas entrusted to your care.

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

184 Message to the International Teaching Conference, Auckland, New Zealand-January 1977 JANUARY1977 To the Friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Auckland Dearly loved Friends, With hearts full of love and admiration for the

followers of the Most Great

184.1 Name in Australasia we send our warmest greetings to all assembled in this historic gathering in the heart of the Antipodes. How great is your place in Bahá'í history! How bright are the prospects 184.2 for the future of the Cause so lovingly nurtured for more than half a century by hundreds of stalwart steadfast believers, spiritual heirs of Hyde and Clara Dunn, who in direct response to the Tablets of the Divine Plan forsook their home and went to pioneer in Australia, and whose names, Shoghi Effendi wrote, were 11 graven in letters of gold" upon his heart., In March 1951, when 184-1. Mr. and Mrs. Dunn left their home in San Francisco and sailed to Sydney, arriving on 18 April 1920. They

remained in Australia until their deaths in 1941 and 1960, respectively. Shoghi Effendi appointed Mrs. Dunn a Hand of the Cause of God on 29 February 1952; Mr. Dunn was named a Hand of the Cause of God posthumously. For an account of the life and services of Mr. Dunn, see BW 9:593-97; for Mrs. Dunn, see BW 13:859-62.


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in the entire Pacific area there was but one National Spiritual Assembly, the beloved Guardian predicted that "The prizes destined for the heroic warriors, battling for the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the Southern Hemisphere, and particularly Australasia, are glorious beyond compare. The assistance to be vouchsafed to them from on high in their struggle for its establishment, its recognition and triumph is ready to be poured forth in astonishing abundance. "2

184.3 Now, twenty-five years later, the achievements are truly astounding. Beginning with the establishment of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of New Zealand at Ridvan 1957, the number of National Assemblies has increased eleven fold; the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Antipodes has been erected near Sydney; His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa has become the first reigning monarch to embrace the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh;3 the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies now stands at over 360; and the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside in this vast oceanic area covering well-nigh one-eighth of the earth's surface is more than 1,800. These accomplishments doubtless have been a source of great joy to the immortal soul of Shoghi Effendi, whose esteem and affection for the followers of Bahá'u'lláh laboring for His Cause in the Antipodes was frequently expressed in glowing terms in his letters to the Assemblies and friends in Australasia.

184.4 Dear friends, we have now passed the midpoint of the Five Year Plan. You are met in the beautiful city of Auckland to take stock and to make plans for attaining the victories which will surely be yours.

184.5 The National Spiritual Assemblies of the New Hebrides and of the Marshall Islands are to be raised up next Ridvan; plans for the soon-to-be-erected Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Samoa are in process; but although the goal of establishing Bahá'í centers totaling 2,188 is within easy reach, the Local Assembly goals assigned to each national community, totaling 613, need prompt and decisive attention. The divine assistance spoken of by the beloved Guardian in 1951 has ever been available, and is still "ready to be poured forth in astonishing abundance."4 It is within your power during the coming year to win all assigned teaching goals, leaving the final year of the Plan for consolidation and the winning of supplementary victories.

184.6 This will be achieved, not by resting on laurels, but by manifesting those qualities of faith, judgment, vision, loyalty, courage and self-sacrifice which 184-2. LFG, p. 94. 184-3. For the announcement of His Highness acceptance of the Bahá'í Faith, see message dated 7 May 1973 (no. 130); for his visit to the resting-place of Shoghi Effendi, see message dated 5 October 1976 (no. 177). 184-4. LFG, p. 96. For reports on the appointment of the architect for the House of Worship in Samoa, see message dated j5 May 1978 (no. 210); on the excavation of the construction site, see message dated 6 December 1979 (no. 242); for the dedication, see message dated August x984 (no. 403).


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earned the Guardian's praise so frequently in past decades. Let the valiant Australasian Bahá'í communities vie once more with their sister communities throughout the world for the palm of victory and maintain their position in the vanguard of the Army of Light.

184.7 Pioneers,

traveling teachers and a fresh outpouring of funds are essential ingredients to the onward march of the Cause throughout Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the South Pacific. Let those who can offer their valued services to the teaching work arise without delay; let those who cannot travel or pioneer deputize those who can go in their stead.

184.8 We cherish the highest hopes for the success of your endeavors and it is our constant prayer that Bahá'u'lláh will shower His richest blessings and confirmations upon you.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

185 Message to the International Teaching Conference, Bahia, Brazil-January 1977 JANUARY1977 To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Bahia, Brazil Dearly loved Friends, With joyous hearts we hail the convocation of this first of the twin Latin

185.1 American Conferences closing the series of eight International Bahá'í Conferences held during the midway period of the Five Year Plan. The ringing call of Bahá'u'lláh in His Most Holy Book to the Rulers of

185.2 America and the Presidents of the Republics therein was followed after an interval of more than four decades by the revelation of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablets of the Divine Plan in which the beloved Master stressed the importance of the Republics of the South American Continent., The first believer to respond to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's divine call was that star-servant of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, valiant, indomitable Martha Root, who in 1919 visited many important cities in South America.:, Two years later Leonora Holsapple Armstrong, mother of the Bahá'ís of Brazil, settled in Bahia. 3 The 185-1. See PB, p. 63; see also CF, pp. 18-ig, and TDP 6.11, 14-7. 185-2. Upon her passing in 1939 Martha Root was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi Effendi. See Mabel Garis, Martha Root, pp. 87-112. 185-3. Leonora Armstrong, a member of the Continental Board of Counselors from 1973 through 1980, died in Bahia, Brazil, on 17 October 1980. For an account of her life and service to the Faith, see BW 18:733-38.


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teaching work in the continent progressed steadily to the point where, in 1937, the beloved Guardian launched his first Seven Year Plan paving the way for the raising in subsequent Plans of the institution of Bahá'u'lláh Administrative Order in every one of its republics and in its islands. It was in the course of that first Seven Year Plan that Abdu'l-Bahá's beloved

handmaid, May Maxwell, in 1940 won a martyr's crown when she laid down her life in Argentina, thereby adding further luster to the spiritual history of South America.4

185.4 How truly fitting, then, that this auspicious Conference have its venue in the city of Bahia, singled out for special mention by AW0-Baha in His Tablets of the Divine Plan.5 And how timely it is at this crucial point in the Five Year Plan that the friends gathered in Bahá'í from many lands prayerfully consider, and arise to prosecute expeditiously all

measures aimed at achieving glorious victory in all goals of the Plan.

185.5 Noteworthy progress has been achieved in many fields of service throughout the South American Bahá'í community, particularly in attracting to the Cause large numbers of its indigenous peoples. But myriads of pure-hearted souls have not yet heard the clarion call of Bahá'u'lláh and hungrily await the spiritual nourishment that only His followers can give them.

185.6 Steps must be taken to attract members of every stratum of society to the divine circle of the Faith through effective proclamation and teaching. Greater utilization of radio broadcasts is necessary, not only to reach all levels of society but also to deepen the believers themselves. The valuable and dynamic services of Bahá'í youth must be multiplied in the fields of pioneering and travel teaching. A far wider dissemination of Bahá'í literature must be accompanied by a continuous program of translation of the Sacred Text into the major indigenous languages of the continent.

185.7 The continental goals for South America of 8,670 centers and 2,293 Local Spiritual Assemblies must be won, and may even be surpassed, for every country must achieve the goals assigned to it. This calls for the dedicated effort of every National Spiritual Assembly, every Local Spiritual Assembly and indeed every believer. All the divinely ordained instruments of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh must now unite in executing a symphony of victory in all the unfinished goals of the Five Year Plan, winning thereby the good pleasure of the Blessed Beauty.

185.8 Beloved friends, go forward with complete assurance that a continent so rich in spiritual promise, so diverse in its peoples and races, so fertile for the 185-4. In 1940 at the age of seventy, after a life of dedicated service, May Maxwell arose to pioneer and died shortly after her arrival in Buenos Aires.

185.9 For an account of her life and service to the Faith, see BW 18:631-42. 185-5. See TDP 6.11, 14-7.


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planting of the seeds of Bahá'u'lláh's Faith will yield a brilliant harvest for all who labor in that Divine Vineyard. It is our fervent loving prayer at the Sacred Threshold that Bahá'u'lláh's bountiful confirmations and richest blessings may be showered upon you.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

186 Signature of Contract for Erection of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice 10 JANUARY 1977 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE SIGNATURE AGREEMENT GENERAL CONTRACTOR FOR ERECTION SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE AT COST JUST OVER TWO MILLION DOLLARS! FIRST SHIPMENT FINISHED MARBLE DELIVERED SITE. LOVING GREETINGS.

187.1 UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 187 Message to the International Teaching Conference, Merida, Mexico-February 1977 FEBRUARY1977 To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Merida, Mexico Dearly loved Friends, With joyous hearts and eager anticipation we send warmest greetings to you the participants in the last of the eight great International Teaching Conferences marking the halfway point of the Five Year Plan. The convening of this Conference in the Republic of Mexico, in the capital city of a state that was once an important part of a great Indian empire, provides a unique opportunity to initiate what may well become the widespread reawakening of a people whose ancestors more than 1,200 years ago developed one of the most brilliant pre-Columbian civilizations known to modern man. These present-day descendants, many of whom have already embraced the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and who consider the Yucatan Peninsula 186-1. This general contract related to the initial phase of construction and totaled $2,250,000.


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and the seacoast lowlands and rugged spine of mountains joining North and South America to be their homeland, are among the very people mentioned by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Tablets of the Divine Plan as having a great destiny once they have accepted His Father's Cause., Here, too, and throughout Middle America, are those whose forefathers came from the Iberian Peninsula, Africa, and the Far East linking the Old with the New World.

187.3 Conscious of Abdu'l-Bahá's impassioned plea to promulgate the oneness of mankind to a spiritually impoverished humanity, a handful of itinerant Bahá'í' teachers set forth four decades ago, traversed the land bridge connecting the two continents of the Western Hemisphere and carried the healing Message of Bahá'u'lláh to the Spanish-American Republics. Their dedicated efforts were rewarded when, in 1938, the first Local Spiritual Assembly in Latin America was formed in Mexico City. This initial triumph at the inception of the first of the teaching plans formulated by Shoghi Effendi spearheaded other victories leading to the formation of two, then of four Regional Spiritual Assemblies and ultimately to the establishment of National Spiritual Assemblies in each of the republics of Latin America and in the islands of the Caribbean.

187.4 Praiseworthy indeed were these achievements but the Bahá'í communities of Central America and the West Indies must not be content to rest on these laurels. The beloved Guardian during the last months of his precious life continually urged the friends of Latin America to pursue what he described as "the paramount task," the teaching work., How much more does that injunction apply today! In less than thirty months, approximately goo groups and isolated centers and over 400 Local Spiritual Assemblies must be added to those already existing in the mainland and island nations of Middle America!

187.5 To accomplish this challenging task, intensive effort to attract new believers, be they black, brown, red or white, from all strata of society must be exerted. Hand in hand with this endeavor, particularly in local communities, goes the development of the distinctive character of Bahá'í life. Prompt attention must also be given to the acquisition of local Haziratu'l-Quds and endowments; and the translation and publication of Bahá'í literature, especially in indigenous languages, must be accelerated.

187.6 Dear friends, if at the close of the Five Year Plan we are to witness the ensigns of victory lifted high, the wholehearted support of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh must be enlisted now and their energies systematically channeled into areas most in need. We cherish the hope that at this final Conference the friends will arise with enthusiasm and determination not only to win the remaining goals of the Plan but to carry out Shoghi Effendi's injunction to win the allegiance of members of the various tribes of American Indians to 187-1. See TDP 6.8. 187-2. From an unpublished letter.


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the Cause, thereby hastening the period prophesied by the Master when the Indian peoples of America would become a source of spiritual illumination to the world.

187.7 Our hearts, our hopes and our prayers will be with you during all the days of your deliberations. May Bahá'u'lláh inspire each and every one of you.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

188 Release of a Compilation on the Individual and Teaching 3 MARCH 1977 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The cornerstone of the foundation of all Bahá'í activity is teaching the

188.1 Cause. As 'Abdu'l-Bahá has categorically proclaimed in His Will and Testament, "the guidance of the nations and peoples of the world" is "the most important of all things," and "Of all the gifts of God the greatest is the gift of Teaching.", The friends likewise are in varying degrees aware of the repeated exhortations found in the writings of our Faith that divine confirmations are dependent upon the active pursuit of the teaching work. In the words of the beloved Master, 11 confirmations from the unseen world are encompassing all those who deliver the divine Message." He further states, 'should the work of teaching lapse, these confirmations would be entirely cut off, since it is impossible for the loved ones of God to receive assistance unless they teach."2 While the friends are generally conscious of the vital importance of teaching, yet, because of their frailties, many for the most part lack confidence, and feel they do not know what course of action to follow, or how to bring their efforts to a conclusion. Since guidance on such fundamental issues comes from the writings of the Faith, we asked the Research Department to prepare a compilation of texts on the subject. This is now ready and a copy is enclosed.3 A study of the compilation will provide the friends with stimulating information on general guidelines to be followed by them when engaged in the teaching work. While many will be inspired, after reading the compilation, to cast aside their fears and misgivings and their sense of inadequacy, and will 188-I.)WT Pp. 10, 25. 188-2. A translation from TABA 2:390 has been replaced by one from SWAB, sec. 20g, pp. 264-65. 188-3. See CC 2:293-326.


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arise to speak forth announcing the glad-tidings of the Kingdom to their fellowmen, many more will still be in need of loving education and more detailed guidance on the part of the institutions of the Faith, and patient and wise prodding before they are aroused to action. And since the primary purpose for which Local Spiritual Assemblies are established is to promote the teaching work, it is clear that every National Spiritual Assembly must give careful consideration to ways and means to encourage each Local Assembly under its jurisdiction to fulfill its principal obligation. For instance, Local Assemblies could be urged to organize special meetings when texts, such as those included in the compilation, would be studied. Furthermore, it is important that Local Assemblies share with the local friends stories of successes achieved by some of them, descriptions of effective presentations found useful by them, examples of various ways that a Bahá'í subject could be introduced to inquirers, or illustrations of methods which would enable the believer to relate the needs of society to our teachings. Such

information and suggestions could be offered to the friends at Nineteen Day Feasts, through a local newsletter, or by any other means open to each Local Assembly. In all these contacts with the believers, each Local Spiritual Assembly should impress upon the friends the unique and irreplaceable role the individual plays in the prosecution of any Bahá'í undertaking. Quotations from the writings on this point, such as the following passage from one of the letters of Shoghi Effendi, should be repeatedly presented and explained to the friends:

188.4a He [the individual believer] it is who constitutes the warp and woof on which the quality and pattern of the whole fabric must depend. He it is who acts as one of the countless links in the mighty chain that now girdles the globe. He it is who serves as one of the multitude of bricks which support the structure and insure the stability of the administrative edifice now being raised in every part of the world. Without his support, at once wholehearted, continuous and generous, every measure adopted, and every plan formulated, by the body which acts as the national representative of the community to which he belongs is foredoomed to failure. The World Center of the Faith itself is paralyzed if such a support on the part of the rank and file of the community is denied it. The Author of the Divine Plan Himself`4 is impeded in His purpose if the proper instruments for the execution of His design are lacking. The sustaining strength of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, the Founder of the Faith, will be withheld from every and each individual who fails in the long run to arise and play his part.5 188-4. 'Abdu'l-Bahá. 188-5. CF, pp. 130-3L


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When the friends realize that the hosts of the Kingdom are waiting to rush 188,5 forth and assist them, that others from their own ranks have arisen and have been successful, that everyone can find some effective method of teaching according to his own particular capacities and talents, they will then no doubt arise with greater confidence to take the first step, and this, we know, will be aided and guided from on high, for the very act of striving to respond to God's call will bring in its wake countless divine blessings. It is the hope and prayer of the Universal House of justice that each

188.6 National Spiritual Assembly will do its utmost to constantly encourage the friends to participate in what Shoghi Effendi calls "the most essential, the most urgent of all our obligations," and what must be "the dominating passion of our life," and follow the example of the Apostles of Christ who, as testified by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "forgot themselves and all earthly things, forsook all their cares and belongings, purged themselves of self and passion . . . till at last they made the world another world, illumined the surface of the earth and even to their last hour proved self-sacrificing in the pathway of that beloved One of God....

189.1 Let them that are men of action follow in their footStepS!116

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

189 Consolidation of Local Spiritual Assemblies; Formation at Any Time during Ridvan 6 MARCH 1977

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The establishment and strong growth of Local Spiritual Assemblies is one of the most fundamental requirements for the spread of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, the

development of Bahá'í community life and the emergence of a transformed society. This theme has been made one of the central goals of the Five Year Plan, and National Spiritual Assemblies, aided by their committees, have been making strenuous efforts to establish new Local Spiritual Assemblies and to consolidate those which have lapsed or are in need of strengthening.

189.2 Already a number of specific steps have been taken by the Universal House of justice to assist National Spiritual Assemblies towards the attainment of these objectives. The most far-reaching of these steps is the authority given to members of the Auxiliary Boards to appoint assistants whose primary aim is 188-6. BA, p. 42, 68; WT pp. 10-11.


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to stimulate and assist the believers to bring into being and to consolidate Local Spiritual Assemblies in all localities where nine or more Bahá'ís reside, and to advise and assist these Assemblies in the performance of their God-given duties. The effects of the appointment of assistants by Auxiliary Board members are beginning to appear and will undoubtedly bear more and more fruit as the months pass.

189.3 Nevertheless, it is of concern to the Universal House of Justice that, in spite of the efforts of the National Spiritual Assemblies and the Auxiliary Boards and of all the believers who are laboring in the field, there are many areas in which there are communities of nine or more believers who are left, for year after year, without the blessing of the divine institution of a Local Spiritual Assembly. This is a phenomenon of the present stage of the spread of the Faith where there has been a rapid acceptance of the Message of Bahá'u'lláh by people who, because of factors such as illiteracy, unfamiliarity with the concepts of Bahá'í administration, or an attitude to the calendar and the passage of time that is different from that of city-dwellers, fail to reelect their Spiritual Assemblies on the First Day of Ridvan. National Assemblies are striving to send pioneers and traveling teachers to deepen such believers in their understanding of the teachings and administrative principles of the Faith, but often the localities in which they dwell are remote from the other friends or difficult to reach, and there are, in any case, too few well-grounded believers who can be sent on such projects.,

189.4 Not wishing such communities to be deprived of the bounty and experience of having Local Spiritual Assemblies, we have decided that, in such cases, when the local

friends fail to elect their Spiritual Assembly on the First Day of Ridvan, they should do so on any subsequent day of the Ridvan Festival.' This is not a general permission to all Local Spiritual Assemblies; it is intended only for those which are affected by factors such as those mentioned above, and it is for your Assembly to decide the areas or Assemblies in your country to which it will apply. The aim is still to so consolidate all communities that they will elect their Assemblies regularly on the First Day of Ridvan.

189.5 It is hoped that this decision will do much to help you consolidate the communities throughout your area of jurisdiction. It does not change the permission given at the beginning of the Five Year Plan for new Assemblies, being formed for the first time, to be formed at any time during the year., 189-1. Referring to the provision for forming Local Spiritual Assemblies in certain localities anytime during the Ridvan Festival, the Universal House of Justice, in a letter dated 18 February 1979 to all National Spiritual Assemblies (no. 219), explained that, "until further

notice, it is permissible to follow this procedure every Ridvan where it is called for." This ruling remained in effect until Ridvan 1997. 189-2. See message no. 141.


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We shall supplicate the Blessed Perfection to reinforce with the Hosts of

189.6 Heaven every effort you make towards this vital objective.

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

190 Ridvan Message 1977 24 MARCH 1977 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

REJOICE OUTSTANDING EVENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS MARKING MID YEAR FIVE

190.1 YEAR PLAN: PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH SELECTION WRITINGS BLESSED BAB OPENING TO EYES WESTERN FOLLOWERS FAITH A PRICELESS TREASURY HIS IMMORTAL UTTERANCES, A BOUNTY WHICH CANNOT FAIL DRAW HEARTS EVER NEARER YOUTHFUL MARTYR-PROPHET,' SUCCESSFUL HOLDING EIGHT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES, BLAZONING NAME CAUSE GOD BEFORE A RECEPTIVE PUBLIC, KNITTING MORE CLOSELY TIES LINKING FRIENDS ALL LANDS, RESULTING UPSURGE INTENSE ACTIVITY TEACHING PIONEERING, CONFERRING AWARENESS URGENT CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY GOALS PLAN THIS CRITICAL PERIOD ;2 PROFOUNDLY SIGNIFICANT VISIT TO RESTING-PLACE BELOVED GUARDIAN BY FIRST REIGNING MONARCH TO ACCEPT FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH;3 DEPARTURE FORMER TENANTS HOUSE ABDU,LLAH PASHA ENABLING FAITH OBTAIN POSSESSION RECENTLY PURCHASED HOLY PLACE INITIATE PROCESS RESTORATION PREPARATION EVENTUAL OPENING TO VISITS BY PILGRIMS;4 ARRIVAL HAIFA FIRST FOUR CONSIGNMENTS MARBLE AND INITIATION ACTUAL CONSTRUCTION SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE MOUNT CARMEL; APPOINTMENT THREE ADDITIONAL COUNSELORS NORTH CENTRAL AMERICA AUSTRALASIA; ATTAINMENT GOAL SETTLEMENT MIDWAY POINT PLAN MAJORITY PIONEERS CALLED FOR DURING FIRST PHASE ACCOMPANIED GREAT OUTFLOW INTERNATIONAL TRAVELING TEACHERS; DRAMATIC RESURGENCE TEACHING WORK CRADLE FAITH BY INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS UNDER LOCAL PLANS; FINALLY, ELECTION THIS RIDVAN SIX NEW PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE, NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES OF UPPER VOLTA IN AFRICA, OF THE FRENCH ANTILLES IN THE CARIBBEAN, OF SURINAM AND FRENCH GUIANA IN SOUTH AMERICA, OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS AND OF THE NEW 190-1. See Selections from the Writings of the Bab (1976). 190-2. The eight conferences were held between July 1976 and February 1977 in Helsinki, Finland; Anchorage, Alaska; Paris, France; Nairobi, Kenya; Hong Kong; Auckland, New Zealand; Bahia, Brazil; and M6rida, Mexico. 190-3. For the announcement of the visit of His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili 11 of Western Samoa to Shoghi Effendi's resting-place, see message dated 5 October 1976 (no. 177). 190-4. See message dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154) regarding the acquisition of the House of Abdu'llah Pasha. For an account of the significance of the House of Abdu'llah Pasha, see message no. 157.


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HEBRIDES IN PACIFIC OCEAN, AND OF GREECE IN EUROPE, RAISING TOTAL NUMBER NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TO 123 TO TAKE PART IN FOURTH ELECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE IN HOLY I-AND DURING RIDVAN 1978.

190.2 NATIONAL CONVENTIONS IN 1978 WILL BE ON WEEKEND PRECEDING OR FOLLOWING 23 MAY FEAST DECLARATION BAB. CALL FOR FORMATION AT THAT TIME SIX MORE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES: BURUNDI AND MAURITANIA IN AFRICA, THE BAHAMAS IN AMERICA, OMAN AND QATAR IN ASIA, AND THE MARIANA ISLANDS IN THE PACIFIC.

190.3 PRESENT RATE GROWTH COMMUNITY PROSPECT ACCELERATION PROCESS ENTRY BY TROOPS ITS SPREAD NEW AREAS IMPEL US STRENGTHEN STILL FURTHER THE AUXILIARY BOARDS WHOSE SERVICES SO VITAL SOUND DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY ANNOUNCE AUTHORIZATION INCREASE MEMBERSHIP BOARDS BY 297 RAISING TOTAL TO 675 OF WHICH 279 ARE AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS FOR PROTECTION AND 396 FOR PROPAGATION OF FAITH.

190.4 IN EARLY DAYS OF JUNE 1877 BAHA'U'LLAH LEFT CITY AKKA AND TOOK UP RESIDENCE IN MAZRA'IH. TO MARK CENTENARY THIS TERMINATION CONFINEMENT ANCIENT BEAUTY WITHIN WALLS PRISON CITY WE CALL UPON HIS FOLLOWERS ALL LANDS DEVOTE NINETEEN DAY FEAST OF NOR5 COMMEMORATION HISTORIC EVENT, REDEDICATING THEMSELVES URGENT TASKS BEFORE THEM, SO THAT PENTUP ENERGIES HIS PRECIOUS FAITH MAY BE RELEASED TO REACH EVER GREATER NUMBER SEEKING SOULS IN EVER WIDER CIRCLE THEIR FELLOWMEN.

190.5 GREATEST CHALLENGE FACING FOLLOWERS BAHA'U'LLAH LAST TWO YEARS PLAN IS IN FIELDS EXPANSION CONSOLIDATION. TREMENDOUS UPSURGE NEEDED IN SERVICES INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS ON WHOSE DEEDS ULTIMATELY ALL PROGRESS DEPENDS. MOMENTUM GENERATED BY INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES MUST BE ACCELERATED WITHOUT DELAY AND SPIRIT RELEASED MUST PERMEATE ALL COMMUNITIES. GREAT INCREASE MUST TAKE PLACE IN ENTHUSIASTIC TEACHING CARRIED OUT WITH CONFIDENCE, IMAGINATION AND PERSEVERANCE BY YOUNG AND OLD, RICH AND POOR, LEARNED AND ILLITERATE, WHETHER AT HOME OR TRAVELING. PARTICULARLY CALL UPON Bahá'í WOMEN, WHOSE CAPACITIES IN MANY LANDS STILL LARGELY UNUSED, AND WHOSE POTENTIAL FOR SERVICE CAUSE SO GREAT, TO ARISE AND DEMONSTRATE IMPORTANCE PART THEY ARE TO PLAY IN ALL FIELDS SERVICE FAITH.

190.6 BOUNTIES IN ABUNDANCE WAITING DESCEND FROM SUPREME CONCOURSE. THAT THE FRIENDS OF GOD WILL NOW SURGE AHEAD WITH RESOLUTE RADIANT SPIRITS IN EVERY CONTINENT ISLANDS OF THE SEAS, TO BRING MESSAGE OF BAHA'U'LLAH TO WAITING SOULS WIN THEIR ALLEGIANCE HIS CAUSE, ENSURING OVERWHELMING VICTORY PLAN TO WHICH THEY ARE NOW COMMITTED, IS OUR HIGH HOPE AND ARDENT PRAYER AT SACRED THRESHOLD.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

190-5. The Feast of Light, 5 June 1977.


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Auxiliary Boards-Ridvan 1977

190.7 Former Present Number Increase New Total Africa Protection: Northern 5 - 5 Western 11 13 24 Central and East 13 2336 Southern 7 9 16 36 81 Propagation: Northern 5 - 5 Western 14 19 33 Central and East 19 1736 Southern 16 9 25 54 99 Western Hemisphere Protection: North America 9 918 Central America11 7 is South America 16 2 18 36 54 Propagation: North America 18 927 Central America16 11 27 South America 38 25 63 72 117 Asia Protection: Western 9 918 South Central 6 30 36 Northeastern 3 15 18 Southeastern 9 18 27 27 99 Propagation: Western 18 1836 South Central 30 6 36 Northeastern 15 3 18 Southeastern 27 - 27 go 117 Australasia Protection: 9 9 M Propagation: 18 927 Europe Protection: 9 is27 Propagation: 27 936 TOTAL 378 297675 Total Protection 117 162279 Total Propagation 2611 135 396


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191 Call for Pioneers 26 MAY 1977 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

191.1 We are gratified that so many pioneers have settled in the territories scheduled under the two pioneer calls of the Five Year Plan.

191.2 We have just completed a review of the current status of the Plan in consultation with the International Teaching Center, and it became obvious that a new pioneer call is needed. A new list of pioneer assignments is enclosed, from which you will see that 462 pioneers must arise to settle in specified territories. These pioneers should proceed to their posts as soon as possible to lend their support to the vital local teaching work, in time to participate in winning the remaining goals and in consolidating the work prior to the conclusion of the Plan.

191.3 In view of the difficulties that nationals of certain countries are experiencing in settling in the goal countries assigned to their national community, some adjustments, and in certain cases deletions, have been made in the few unfilled goals. Therefore this pioneer call includes all outstanding goals. Any National Assembly finding that its prior unfilled assignments have not been carried forward should realize that alternative solutions have been found. However, if at the time National Assemblies receive this list some of their prospective pioneers are well advanced in their preparations to proceed to their posts, nothing should be done to prevent their going forward with their plans. We hope that the pioneers already in the field will remain at their posts and that the National Spiritual Assemblies will encourage them, and if necessary provide the means required to enable them to continue their worthy labors in their respective fields of service.

191.4 It is our fervent hope and prayer that this new outflow of pioneers will provide a stimulus to the teaching work throughout the world. We realize the heavy commitments that many National Spiritual Assemblies called upon to provide

pioneer manpower have in respect to their homefront goals, but in view of the worldwide needs of the Plan, we trust that every effort will be made to respond to this call, and not only pave the way for a triumphal conclusion of the Plan in 1979, but reinforce the efforts now being exerted to lay firm foundations for the spread and development of the precious Faith of God in every land.

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


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192 Commemoration of the Centenary of the Termination of Bahá'u'lláh's Confinement in Akka JUNE 1977

IN EARLY DAYS OF JUNE 1877 BAHA'U'LLAH LEFT CITY AKKA AND TOOK UP

192.1 RESIDENCE IN MAZRA'IH. TO MARK CENTENARY THIS TERMINATION CONFINEMENT ANCIENT BEAUTY WITHIN WALLS PRISON CITY WE CALL UPON HIS FOLLOWERS ALL LANDS DEVOTE NINETEEN DAY FEAST OF NOR, COMMEMORATION HISTORIC EVENT, REDEDICATING THEMSELVES URGENT TASKS BEFORE THEM, SO THAT PENT-UP ENERGIES HIS PRECIOUS FAITH MAY BE RELEASED TO REACH EVER GREATER NUMBER SEEKING SOULS IN EVER WIDER CIRCLE THEIR FELLOWMEN. The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 1977 In the early afternoon of Saturday, ii June 1977, the pilgrims and the friends 192.2 serving at the World Center made their way to Mazra'ih to visit the Mansion which 'Abdu'l-Bahá had rented a century ago for the use of Bahá'u'lláh, His first residence after leaving the prison city of 'Akka .2 While there, each was privileged to visit and offer prayers in the very room occupied by the Blessed Beauty; later they repaired to the gardens at Bahji. Meanwhile the Hands of the Cause present in the Holy Land, the members of the Universal House of Justice and the Counselor members of the International Teaching Center were

paying their respects to the memory of Bahá'u'lláh at the House of 'Abbud in 'Akka and at the Garden of Ridvan. The rooms Bahá'u'lláh had occupied were visited and prayers of thanksgiving for His release from confinement were offered in these Holy Places. They then journeyed north to Mazra'ih for prayers at that Holy Spot, and

afterwards joined the other friends in the Haram-i-Aqdas at Bahji for the formal program of the Commemoration of this great event in the history of the Heroic Age of the Cause.3 Prayers were recited; 'Abdu'l-Bahá's account of the end of Bahá'u'lláh's confinement and Shoghi Effendi's narrative from God Passes By were read; and finally, just as the sun was casting its last light over the Mediterranean, the friends made their way in the utmost reverence to the Most Holy Shrine for the chanting of the Tablet of Visitation. ig2-i. The Feast of Light, 5 June 1977. 192-2. For an account of the commemoration at the Bahá'í World Center of the centenary of the termination of Bahá'u'lláh's confinement in Akka, see BW 17:64. 192-3. Haram-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Court) is a designation Shoghi Effendi gave to the northwestern quadrant of the garden surrounding the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahji. |bUHJ_MSGS_1965-1986


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192.5 The remembrance of God and His praise, and the glory of God and His splendor, rest upon Thee, O Thou Who art His Beauty! I bear witness that the eye of creation hath never gazed upon one wronged like Thee. Thou wast immersed all the days of Thy life beneath an ocean of tribulations. At one time Thou wast in chains and fetters; at another Thou wast threatened by the sword of Thine

enemies. Yet, despite all this, Thou didst enjoin upon all men to observe what had been prescribed unto Thee by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Bahá'u'lláh 193 Murder of an Iranian Homefront Pioneer 14 JUNE 1977 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

193.1 The Universal House of Justice has asked us to send you the enclosed article for the Bahá'í News concerning a recent martyrdom in Persia. A photograph of Mr. Ruhu'llah Taymuri is also enclosed.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

193.2 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Iran has reported that a 37 year old man, Mr. Ruhu'llah Taymuri-Muqaddam, a steadfast pioneer for some twenty years in Fadilabad in the Province of Gurgin, has been martyred at the hands of misguided people of that village. Some members of a fanatical element of the area had been plotting against the Faith and had collected money to finance a large-scale attack on the Bahá'ís. In starting the campaign they went to the house of Taymuri and attacked him and his sister. The blows of a knife and other weapons caused the death of Mr. Taymuri and serious injury to his younger sister, Miss Parvin Taymuri.

193.3 Fortunately the

authorities in Iran have arrested the assassins and they now await trial. At present the area is calm and the Government has the situation under control.

193.4 The National Spiritual Assembly

reports that it is confident that this persecution in the cradle of the Faith will attract divine confirmations and will bring new

victories to the steadfast and devoted believers in the land of Bahá'u'lláh. 192-4.

194.1 BP, P. 232.


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194 Collaboration between Auxiliary Board Members and National and Regional Teaching Committees 6 JULY 1977 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

It has become apparent that in some areas the progress of the teaching work requires closer collaboration between Auxiliary Board members and National or Regional Teaching Committees than heretofore. Following consultation with the International Teaching Center on the matter, we have concluded that the possibilities provided by the present policy are adequate and that where a lack of collaboration has been felt it has arisen from an insufficiently full and frequent exchange of information between the institutions.

194.2 While the members of the

Auxiliary Boards and their assistants should never attempt to direct the work of committees or become involved in the administrative work associated with the committees' functions, it is absolutely vital that they be kept fully informed of the committees' activities and plans and their hopes for the work in the area. Only then can the members of the Auxiliary Boards be confident that the services to which they are exhorting the believers and the projects in which they are encouraging them are in harmony with the overall plans and objectives of the National Spiritual Assembly and its committees. The existing policy and the reasons for it were conveyed to the Continental Boards of Counselors and all National Spiritual Assemblies in our letter of i October 1969, a copy of which is attached., It should be noted that under this policy it is permissible and highly desirable to have a direct and regular exchange of information between the committees and the Auxiliary Board members. Moreover, at the outset of the work of the year or at times during the year when new plans are being evolved, it is often helpful to arrange for consultations to be held between the Auxiliary Board members and the National or Regional Teaching Committees before such plans are finalized. We are confident that a greater awareness of the importance of close collaboration between the two arms of the Administrative Order and of the ways available to achieve this will lead to a much-needed intensification of the teaching work in every land.

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

194-1. See message no. 69.


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195 Reconstruction of Society 21 AUGUST 1977

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice has studied your long letter of 19 May 1977. With many of your observations it thoroughly agrees; others, it believes are founded on erroneous information, on an inaccurate assessment of the current status of the Bahá'í community, or on misconceptions about the objectives towards which it is working. The House of Justice does not have the time which would be required to formulate a detailed reply to all the various points in your letter. It reaffirms, however, the decisions conveyed to your National Spiritual Assembly in its letter of 2 December 1976, and has instructed us to add the following comments.

195.2 Mankind's response to the Message of Bahá'u'lláh has been dangerously, one might say disastrously, slow. From the earliest days it has been brought to the notice of leaders and scholars, but few of these, very few, have rallied to its support. The most profound and most widespread response has been from the middle classes and indeed from the poor, the unlettered, the deprived and the suffering. But, as the Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf on -20 June 1942,

195.2a That is perhaps what is most glorious about our present activities all over the world, that we, a band not large in numbers, not possessing financial backing or the prestige of great names, should, in the name of our beloved Faith, be forging ahead at such a pace, and demonstrating to future and present generations that it is the God-given qualities of our religion that are raising it up and not the transient support of worldly fame and power. All that will come later, when it has been made clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that 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.

195.3 Already the

situation is changing, and larger numbers of believers are occupying positions of eminence and distinction in the world, but, in comparison with the overwhelming majority of the Bahá'ís, they are still a small handful. The process of changing the hearts and lives is also a gradual one, but while we should strive to hasten it, we should not let the problems dismay us. On 5 July 1947 the Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf to an individual believer: I


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The primary reason for anyone becoming a Bahá'í must of course be 195.3a because he has come to believe the doctrines, the teachings and the Order of Bahá'u'lláh are the correct thing for this stage in the world's evolution. The

Bahá'ís themselves as a body have one great advantage: they are sincerely convinced Bahá'u'lláh is right; they have a plan, and they are trying to follow" it. But to pretend they are perfect, that the Bahá'ís of the future will not be a hundred times more mature, better balanced, more exemplary in their conduct, would be foolish.

195.4 The Universal House of Justice is aware of the magnitude of the problems that the Bahá'í communities face, but as the response to the Message of Bahá'u'lláh increases and as the Bahá'í community throughout the world shows its ability to overcome these problems, the attention of men and women of every stratum of society will increasingly be drawn to the Faith. The most urgent need now-so late is the hour-is for the Bahá'ís to spread the Message, while they are still able to do so, to the largest possible number of their fellow human beings, simultaneously expanding and consolidating the Bahá'í community as quickly as they can with the resources at their disposal. As mankind passes through the darkest phase of its history, the Bahá'í community will have to face not only entry by troops, which it is now experiencing, but, before too long, mass conversion. The first step in the reconstruction of human society is for individuals to 195-s accept Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God for this age and to begin to strive, as well as they can, to follow His Teachings in their individual and in their communal lives. Conversion is but the first step, yet it is the essential one.

Without it no amount of expertise or scientifically based knowledge will have a lasting effect, because the fundamental motivating and sustaining power will be lacking. As the Bahá'í community grows it will acquire experts in numerous fields both by Bahá'ís becoming experts and by experts becoming Bahá'ís. As these experts bring their knowledge and skill to the service of the community and, even more, as they transform their various disciplines by bringing to bear upon them the light of the Divine Teachings, problem after problem now disrupting society will be answered. In such developments they should strive to make the utmost use of non-Bahá'í resources and should collaborate fully with non-Bahá'ís who are working in the same fields. Such collaboration will, in the long run, be of far more benefit than any attempt now to treat such scientific endeavors as specifically Bahá'í projects operating under Bahá'í institutions and financed by investment of Bahá'í funds.

195.7 Paralleling this process, Bahá'í institutional life will also be developing, and as it does so the Assemblies will draw increasingly upon scientific and expert


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knowledge-whether of Bahá'ís or of non-Bahá'ís-to assist in solving the problems of their communities.

195.8 In time great Bahá'í institutions of learning, great international and national projects for the betterment of human life will be inaugurated and flourish.,

195.9 The Bahá'í work for the reconstruction of human society can thus be seen to comprise three streams: the most fundamental is the spreading of the Word of God, the winning of the allegiance of ever-greater numbers of men and women to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh and the establishment of the Bahá'í Administrative Order; concurrent with this is the contribution to human advancement and to the progress of the Bahá'í community made by individual Bahá'ís in the pursuit of their daily work; and then there are the projects and institutions for human advancement launched and operated by Bahá'í Spiritual Assemblies as their resources grow and the range of their activities expands. It is for the Universal House of Justice to direct the energies of the believers in these various channels and to make known what activities are timely and have priority. It considers that the establishment of an International Human Development Center now as a Bahá'í-affiliated institution would be untimely and ill-advised.

195.10 The House of Justice assures you of its prayers for the confirmation of your endeavors on behalf of the Faith and in your professional work.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

195-1. For the call to the Bahá'í world to initiate activities intended to foster social and economic development, see message dated 20 October 1983 (no. 379).


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196 Ceremony for Laying the Foundation Stone of the Mother Temple of the Indian Subcontinent 10 OCTOBER 1977 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India OVERJOYED REMOVAL OBSTACLES USE TEMPLE SITE.' WELCOME PRESENCE AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM IN YOUR MIDST OCCASION WOMEN'S CONFERENCE ENABLING YOU HOLD BEFITTING CEREMONY MARKING INITIATION PROJECT CONSTRUCTION MOTHER TEMPLE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT.2 CALLING ON AMATUL-BAHA REPRESENT HOUSE JUSTICE MOMENTOUS OCCASION LAY FOUNDATION STONE HISTORIC EDIFICE. FERVENTLY PRAYING NOBLE INSTITUTION SOON TO BE REARED YOUR SOIL WILL ATTRACT ADDED DIVINE BLESSINGS UPON COMMUNITY WHOSE TEACHING SUCCESS STANDS UNEQUALED ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 197 Message to Women's Conference, New Delhi 13 OCTOBER 1977 To the Bahá'í Women's Conference in New Delhi, India WITH UTMOST JOY HAIL Bahá'í WOMEN'S CONFERENCE GRACED PRESENCE

197.1 AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM AS ANOTHER MAJOR STEP IN ASIA LEADING TO FULL RECOGNITION NOBLE STATION FULFILLMENT THEIR GREAT POTENTIALITIES THEIR SIGNIFICANT ROLE PROMOTION CAUSE IMMENSE RESPONSIBILITIES THEY ARE CALLED UPON TO DISCHARGE IN COOPERATION WITH THEIR BRETHREN IN BUILDING NEW CIVILIZATION SHELTERING ALL MANKIND. ARDENTLY PRAYING SACRED THRESHOLD THIS GATHERING MAY BECOME LANDMARK PROGRESS FAITH ASIA STRENGTHEN WING HUMANITY SO TENDERLY ENCOURAGED BY BLESSED BEAUTY ENABLE COMMUNITIES CONTINENT SOAR HEIGHTS GLORIOUS VICTORIES. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 196-1. During the Ten Year World Crusade, twenty-two acres of land in New Delhi were acquired as a site for a House of Worship. In the process of demarcating the boundaries, it was discovered that the land was part of an ancient village named Bahapur, meaning "the Abode of Baha." In Hindustani, a dialect of Hindi, Baha means "a channel" or "a water course." By a happy coincidence, Baha is Arabic for "light," 'splendor," or "glory?' and is a form of Bahá'u'lláh name. Later the government requisitioned the property for use as a greenbelt area. After several years of constant negotiation by the National Spiritual Assembly of India, and upon viewing the beautiful design for the Temple, the government agreed to release the entire twenty-two acres. 196-2. See message Of 13 October 1977 (no. 177).


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198 Appointment of Architects for Mother Temple of the Indian Subcontinent and the Restoration of the House of Abdu'llah Pasha' 14 OCTOBER 1977 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

198.1 HAVE MUCH JOY IN ANNOUNCING APPOINTMENT TWO DISTINGUISHED Bahá'í ARCHITECTS FROM CRADLE FAITH: FARIBURZ SAHBA AS ARCHITECT Mashriqu'l-Adhkar INDIA, AND RIDVANUTLAH ASHRAF AS ARCHITECT FOR RESTORATION SACRED RESIDENCE BELOVED MASTER KNOWN AS HOUSE OF ABDU'LLAH PASHA.' SUPPLICATING DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS THESE TWO HISTORIC ENTERPRISES. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 199 Formation of New and Lapsed Assemblies throughout the Year 20 NOVEMBER 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

199.1 The Universal House of Justice has decided that during the last year of the Five Year Plan, i.e., from April 21, 1978 until April 2.o, 1979 inclusive, Local Spiritual Assemblies being established for the first time, as well as lapsed Assemblies which achieve adequate strength to regain their Assembly status, may be formed at any time during that year., This means that Local Assemblies

198-1. For the announcement of the acquisition of the House of Abdu'llah Pasha, see message dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154); for an account of its significance, see message dated 4 March 1975 (no. 157). 199-1. It had long been the practice to permit, during the final year of a teaching plan, the formation or re-formation of any Local Spiritual Assembly at any time during that year. This practice is confirmed by this letter for the Five Year Plan. With respect to Spiritual Assemblies that are being formed for the first time, the Universal House of Justice gave a more general permission in its letter dated Naw-Ruz 1974 launching the Five Year Plan (no. 141) saying that such Local Spiritual Assemblies "are to be formed whenever there are nine or more adult believers in the relevant area; thereafter they must be elected or declared at Ridvan." In a message dated 19 February 1979 (no. 219), the Universal House of Justice informed all National Spiritual Assemblies that this provision would continue to apply after the completion of the Five Year Plan. This ruling remained in effect until Ridvan 1997.

199.2 Special permission for the formation of certain Local Spiritual Assemblies at any time during the twelve days of Ridvan was given in a message dated 6 March 1977 (no. 189) and extended in the message dated 19 February 1979 (no. 219).


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formed at Ridvan 1979 will not be counted towards the fulfillment of the goals of the Five Year Plan. it is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that this information will enable you to plan your teaching activities intelligently and realistically over the period of time separating us from the end of the Plan, and to intensify your efforts in order to achieve maximum results.

200.1 The Universal House of Justice will offer prayers at the Holy Shrines that 199.3 the process of forming firmly grounded Local Spiritual Assemblies, which is one of the vital goals of the Five Year Plan, will be pursued with outstanding success

through the dedicated efforts of the friends in every land.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

200 A Appointment of New Counselor in Southeastern Asia 25 NOVEMBER 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice announces with pleasure that it has appointed a new Counselor in the zone of Southeastern Asia, Mr. Inparaju Chinniah of Malaysia. Mr. Chinniah replaces Mr. Firaydan Mithaqiyan, who ceased to be a Counselor upon leaving the zone and pioneering to Korea, where he is continuing his devoted services to the Cause of God.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

201 Announcement of Initiation of Broadcasting by First Bahá'í Radio Station 15 DECEMBER 1977 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

REJOICE ANNOUNCE INITIATION FULL TIME BROADCASTING FIRST RADIO STATION

201.1 Bahá'í WORLD DECEMBER 12 IN OTAVALO, ECUADOR. HAIL VISION LABORS ASSEMBLY COMMUNITY ECUADOR IN ACHIEVING THIS

MILESTONE BAHA'I PROCLAMATION TEACHING DEEPENING. OFFERING PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD BAHA'I RADIO ECUADOR WILL FULFILL ITS PROMISE AS LANDMARK CAUSE AND SERVICE PROGRESS PEOPLES LATIN AMERICA. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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202 Message of Greetings to Hemispheric Bahá'í Radio-Television Conference 15 DECEMBER 1977 To the Hemispheric Radio-Television Conference 202.1

EXTEND WARM GREETINGS ATTENDANTS HEMISPHERIC RADIO TELEVISION CONFERENCE. GREAT OPPORTUNITIES AFFORDED THOSE BAHA'IS TRAINED USE POWERS RADIO TELEVISION REACH HEARTS MINDS NUMBERLESS PERSONS AWAITING COMING KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH. MAY VOICE CAUSE BE RAISED BEFORE MILLIONS PROCLAIMING MESSAGE BAHA'U'LLAH THROUGHOUT HEMISPHERE. SHARING OF TALENTS RESOURCES ZFAL WILL ASSUREDLY BRING GREAT CONFIRMATIONS. ASSURE LOVING PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES SUCCESS YOUR IMPORTANT DELIBERATIONS. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 203 Comments on First International Bahá'í Women's Conference in South America 3 JANUARY 1978 To the First International Bahá'í Women's Conference in South America

203.1 DELIGHTED GREAT SUCCESS WIDESPREAD ATTENDANCE EXCELLENT PUBLICITY PROCLAMATION FIRST INTERNATIONAL Bahá'í WOMEN'S CONFERENCE SOUTH AMERICA WILL OFFER PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD DETERMINATION WIN GOALS PLAN WILL BE CONFIRMED. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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204 Release of a Compilation on Bahá'í Consultation 1 FEBRUARY 1978

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends, Recently the Research Department made a compilation on Bahá'í Consultation, and we have been asked by the Universal House of Justice to send you herewith a copy., You may share the contents of this compilation with the friends in whatever manner you consider advisable.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

20S Inauguration of Radio Bahá'í Ecuador NAw-R62 1978 To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ecuador WITH JOYOUS HEARTS WE HALL THE OFFICIAL INAUGURATION IN ECUADOR OF

205.1 THE FIRST RADIO STATION IN THE Bahá'í WORLD, AUSPICIOUS MAJOR STEP FULFILLMENT GOAL OF THE FIVE YEAR PLAN OF INCREASING THE USE OF MASS COMMUNICATION IN PROCLAIMING AND TEACHING THE FAITH OF BAHA'U'LLAH.' MAY THIS HAPPY EVENT BE THE FORERUNNER AND THE INSPIRATION FOR THE

205.2 EARLY ESTABLISHMENT OF RADIO STATIONS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD AS A NOTABLE SERVICE NOT ONLY TO THE FOLLOWERS OF THE BAHA'I FAITH BUT TO ALL PEOPLES. WE WILL SUPPLICATE BAHA'U'LLAH IN THE HOLY SHRINES THAT HIS BLESSINGS

205.3 AND CONFIRMATIONS WILL DESCEND UPON ALL WHO LABOR FOR THE SUCCESS OF THIS WORTHY UNDERTAKING.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

204-1. See CC 1:93-110. 205-1. The initial broadcast took place on 12 December 1977. This message was prepared for a formal Naw-Ruz inauguration of the station, but the ceremony was delayed until 28 August 1978 (see message no. 213).


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206 Elucidation of Bahá'í Teachings on Ranks and Stations 27 MARCH 1978 To all National Spiritual

Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

206.1 One of the believers wrote recently to the Universal House of Justice requesting an elucidation of a statement made by it in one of its letters about the relationship between the Boards of Counselors and National Spiritual Assemblies. The House of Justice instructed us to send the following reply, which is now being shared with all National Assemblies as it will undoubtedly be of interest to the believers in general.

206.2 The statement that the Boards of Counselors outrank the National Institutions of the Faith has a number of implications. A Board of Counselors has the particular responsibility of caring for the protection and propagation of the Faith throughout a continental zone which contains a number of national Bahá'í communities. In performing these tasks it neither directs nor instructs the Spiritual Assemblies or individual believers, but it has the necessary rank to enable it to ensure that it is kept properly informed and that the Spiritual Assemblies give due consideration to its advice and recommendations. However, the essence of the relationships between Bahá'í institutions is loving consultation and a common desire to serve the Cause of God rather than a matter of rank or station.

206.3 It is dear from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, as well as from those of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the interpretations of the Guardian, that the proper functioning of human society requires the preservation of ranks and classes within its membership. The friends should recognize this without envy or jealousy, and those who occupy ranks should never exploit their

position or regard themselves as being superior to others. About this Bahá'u'lláh has written:

206.3a And amongst the realms of unity is the unity of rank and station. It redoundeth to the exaltation of the Cause, glorifying it among all peoples. Ever since the seeking of preference and distinction came into play, the world hath been laid waste. It hath become desolate. Those who have quaffed from the ocean of divine utterance and fixed their gaze upon the Realm of Glory should regard themselves as being on the same level as the others and in the same station. Were this matter to be definitely established and conclusively demonstrated through the power and might of God, the world would become as the Abha Paradise.

206.3b Indeed, man is noble, inasmuch as each one is a repository of the sign of God. Nevertheless, to regard oneself as superior in knowledge, learning or virtue, or to exalt oneself or seek preference, is a grievous


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transgression. Great is the blessedness of those who are adorned with the ornament of this unity and have been graciously confirmed by God., In similar vein, Shoghi Effendi gave this warning to those who are elected to serve on National Spiritual Assemblies: They should never be led to suppose that they are the central ornaments 206.3c of the body of the Cause, intrinsically superior to others in capacity or merit, and sole promoters of its teachings and principles. They should approach their task with extreme humility, and endeavor by their open-mindedness, their high sense of justice and duty, their candor, their modesty, their entire devotion to the welfare and interests of the friends, the Cause, and humanity, to win not only the confidence and the genuine support and respect of those whom they should serve, but also their esteem and real affection ....

206.4 I Courtesy, reverence, dignity, respect for the rank and achievements Of others are virtues which contribute to the harmony and well-being of every community, but pride and self-aggrandizement are among the most

deadly of sins. The House of Justice hopes that all the friends will remember that the Ultimate aim in life of every soul should be to attain spiritual excellence-to win the good pleasure of God. The true spiritual station of any soul is known only to God. It is quite a different thing from the ranks and stations that men and women occupy in the various sectors of society. Whoever has his eyes fixed on the goal of attaining the good pleasure of God will accept with joy and radiant acquiescence whatever work or station is assigned to him in the Cause of God, and will rejoice to serve Him under all conditions. There are many passages on this theme in the Holy Writings, and the Universal House of Justice hopes that these remarks will help the friends to turn to them and understand their purport.



With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

206-1. From an unpublished Tablet. 206-2. BA, p. 64.


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207 Message to the International Convention Ridvan 1978

RIDVAN 1978

To the International Bahá'í Convention Dearly Loved Friends,

207.1 The Universal House of Justice takes great pleasure in addressing the members of National Spiritual Assemblies gathered in the Holy Land, in the presence of Hands of the Cause of God and Counselors from all continents, at this fourth International Convention, pausing with you to review the course and needs of the Five Year Plan as we cross the threshold of its final year. Review of the Progress of the Five Year Plan

207.2 The opening of the Plan witnessed the eager response of the friends, careful study made by the national institutions of the Faith of its implications and requirements, the establishment of machinery and the setting up of projects to achieve its goals, and the often arduous struggle to fulfill the first of its three major objectives-the safeguarding and consolidation of all prizes won in earlier campaigns. This phase extended in many countries over a period of several months, and in others continued as far as the midway point of the Plan.

207.3 The middle year of the Plan saw the holding of the International Conferences and those many regional and national conferences which were held concurrently and diffused far and wide the inspiration flowing from these eight major assemblages of the believers. These gatherings motivated a great acceleration of the work and helped the believers throughout the world to arrive at a new realization of the responsibility entrusted to the followers of the Most Great Name for the spiritual regeneration of their fellowmen.

207.4 We are now in the last stage of the Plan, and this Convention provides us with a welcome and auspicious hour in which to assess our progress and to direct our thoughts to the complete achievement of the goals.

207.5 Of the 130 National Spiritual Assemblies which will be operating during the last year of the Plan, 5c, have either achieved or nearly achieved their teaching goals. Of the remaining 80 National Spiritual Assemblies, some 40 are confidently forging ahead and are assured of victory if the present tempo in their teaching work is maintained. Nine National Assemblies are restricted by conditions which make the fulfillment of their homefront goals dependent upon circumstances beyond their control. The remaining 30 national communities are, alas, seriously lagging behind, and only strenuous and sacrificial effort will enable them to win their goals. Review of the Second Objective: Vast and Widespread Expansion

207.6 The second of the three major objectives of the Plan-a vast and widespread expansion of the Bahá'í community-has seen great but geographically


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uneven progress. There are now more than 19,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies and the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside is over 83,000. This expansion has been accompanied by an intensification of proclamation efforts and by increased use of mass media such as radio and television. There have been notable advances in the process of gaining wider recognition for the Cause of God and in fostering cordial relations with civil authorities, a matter of vital importance in these days when there is a growth of opposition to the Faith from those who, misconstruing its true nature and aims, take alarm at its progress.

207.8 Review of the Third Objective: Developing the Distinctive Character of Bahá'í Life Some of the most significant achievements of the Plan have been towards its third major objective-the development of the distinctive character of Bahá'í life-and in the consolidation and strengthening of the structure of the Bahá'í community. The beloved Hands of the Cause of God, who have been in the forefront of so many aspects of the work of the Faith, have rendered far-reaching services in this field.

207.9 The Local Spiritual Assemblies, focal centers for the teaching of the Faith and the consolidation of the community, are growing in experience, maturity and wisdom, are proving to be potent instruments for nurturing the Bahá'í life and are, in increasing numbers, carrying out plans for the establishment of the Faith in areas

outside their own range of jurisdiction, under the overall guidance of their National Spiritual Assemblies, and with the encouragement and help of the Auxiliary Boards and their assistants. The work of developing Local Spiritual Assemblies is a task without end in the foreseeable future. As the Bahá'í community, which is still very thinly spread around the world, moves continually and with increasing rapidity into new areas, new Assemblies will come into being and will need patient help and training in their sacred duties. The devotion and self-sacrifice of the friends, which have drawn to them 207.10 the confirmations of Bahá'u'lláh, have resulted in the very great advances made so far. Evidences of this striving are apparent in the growing number of national communities which, under the wise stewardship and challenging leadership of their National Spiritual Assemblies, are becoming financially self-supporting; in the fact that ever more individual believers are adopting for themselves specific goals and plans of service for the advancement of the Faith; in the settlement of more than 2,000 pioneers during the course of the Plan; in the upsurge of travel teaching individually and in teams; in a greater awareness of the power of prayer; and in many other ways. Three vital aspects of Bahá'í community life which have seen marked progress during the past four years are the development of the services of women and of youth, and the Bahá'í education of children. The youth have long been in the forefront of


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the teaching work, and now our hearts rejoice to see the women, in so many lands where previously their capacities were largely left unused, devoting their capable services to the life of the Bahá'í community. The education of Bahá'í children is also receiving much attention, which bodes well for the future generations of Bahá'í's. The Continental Boards of Counselors

207.11 Experience has shown that active and loving collaboration between the Continental Boards of Counselors and National Spiritual Assemblies has been a particularly invigorating and strengthening factor in the progress of the Cause in all aspects of the work. Reflecting the growth of the community the number of Continental Counselors has been raised to 64 during the Plan, and the number of Auxiliary Boards to 675. Under the authorization given to them, the members of the Auxiliary Boards have till now appointed 3,358 assistants, who are already playing a significant role in the formation and consolidation of Local Spiritual Assemblies and the fostering of the Bahá'í way of life in local communities. Coordinating and directing the work of these Continental Boards from the Holy Land, the International Teaching Center is now well established in the conduct of its responsibilities, foreshadowing the mighty role that it is destined to play in the functioning of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Seizing Opportunities to Steer the Course of History

207.12 The Faith is passing through a time of tremendous opportunity and development, as well as of increasing opposition and of growing complexity in the problems confronting it. These opportunities must be seized and these problems overcome, for so crucial are these times that the future course of human history is daily in the balance. During this year the Universal House of Justice will be consulting on the nature, duration and goals of the next stage in the implementation of the Divine Plan. The firm base of the achievement of the Five Year Plan goals, both those of quality and those of quantity, is therefore the burning necessity of the months now before us. Let us go forward in a spirit of optimism, with confidence,

determination, courage and unity. The greater the love and unity among the friends, the more speedily will the work advance.

207.13 May the Almighty bless the endeavors of His servants and inspire their hearts to arise in His Cause with that degree of radiant faith and self-sacrifice which will draw to their aid the conquering hosts of the Supreme Concourse.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


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208 Message to the National Conventions- Ridvan 1978 RIDVAN 1978 To the Friends gathered at National Bahá'í Conventions Beloved Friends, We joyfully hail the formation of seven more National Spiritual Assemblies, those of Burundi, Mauritania, the Bahamas, Oman, Qatar, the Mariana Islands and Cyprus; two in Africa, one in the Americas, two in Asia, one in the Pacific and one in Europe, raising to one hundred and thirty the number of pillars of the Universal House of Justice.

208.2 Your National Spiritual Assemblies will be sharing with you the message addressed to the International Bahá'í Convention and the news of the progress of the Five Year Plan that was released on that occasion., As you will see, many national communities have already completed, or virtually completed, their Five Year Plan goals. These communities must now ensure that the pace of expansion and consolidation which brought them victory is maintained so that they will advance strongly into the next plan. They can also, by pioneering and travel teaching, rally to the assistance of their sister communities which still have months of intensive work before them in order to win their goals. It is to these latter communities that we now address our call to redoubled, united and sacrificial effort. We are fervently supplicating at the Sacred Threshold that the followers of the

Blessed Beauty will arise with enthusiasm, confidence and consecration to ensure that every goal is attained.

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

209 Election of the Universal House of Justice-Ridvan 1978 1 MAY 1978 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

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

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

208-i. See message no. 207.


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210 Appointment of Architect for House of Worship in Western Samoa 15 MAY 1978 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

210.1 ANNOUNCE APPOINTMENT HUSAYN AMANAT ARCHITECT FOR Mashriqu'l-Adhkar SAMOA. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 211 Love for God and Bahá'u'lláh 25 MAY 1978

To an individual Bahá'í

Dear Bahá'í Friend,

211.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of March 2.1, 1978 in which you express concern that you do not yet feel in your heart the degree of love for God and for Bahá'u'lláh that you wish to have and which you witness in others, and is touched by the depth of your longing and effort. We have been requested to convey the following.

211.2 One source of true joy and happiness which you would do well to concentrate upon is that you have been able to recognize and accept God's supreme Manifestation in the Day of His appearance. There is no greater bounty than this and the souls of all Bahá'ís should be filled with gratitude for this supreme gift.

211.3 The House of Justice encourages you to continue your reading of the Words of Bahá'u'lláh and the Master and adds that spiritual growth has been likened to organic growth. Everything

living must change. Growth and change can be imperceptible or dramatic and rapid. It is stated in a letter dated 6 October 1954 written on behalf of the beloved Guardian to an individual believer:

211.3a When a person becomes a Bahá'í, actually what takes place is that the seed of the spirit starts to grow in the human soul. This seed must be watered by the outpourings of the Holy Spirit.

211.4 These gifts of the spirit are received through prayer, meditation, study of the Holy Utterances and service to the Cause of God.


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We have been directed to assure you of the prayers of the House of Justice for your spiritual advancement and that you may be so strengthened in your faith that you will be enabled to devotedly serve the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

212 Inclusion of Mother Temple of the West in National Register of Historic Places 22 JUNE 1978 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States DELIGHTED ACTION BY FEDERAL AUTHORITIES TO INCLUDE MOTHER TEMPLE OF

212.1 THE WEST IN NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES. FRUITION YOUR EFFORTS ON 134TH ANNIVERSARY OF DECLARATION HIS MISSION BY BLESSED BAB OBTAIN THIS SIGNIFICANT

RECOGNITION DESERVES WARM COMMENDATIONS AND IS AN OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 213 Inauguration of Radio Bahá'í Ecuador 28 AUGUST 1978 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Ecuador DELIGHTED YOUR CABLE MAY FORMAL INAUGURATION STATION RADIO BAHA'I

213.1 BRING WIDESPREAD REALIZATION NOBLE AIMS PURPOSES FAITH SERVE PEOPLES LOCAL AREA BRING ADVANCEMENT ECUADOR., DELIGHTED PROGRESS TOWARD GOALS PLAN AIDED BY HAPPY EVENTS OTAVALO PRAYING SUCCESSES CONFIRMATIONS BEYOND EXPECTATION. Loving greetings, UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 213-1. See also messages dated 15 December 1977 (no. 20i) and Naw-Ruz 1978 (no. 205).


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214 Directing the Course of One's Life II OCTOBER 1978 To an individual Bahá'í Dear Bahá'í Friend,

214.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your moving appeal for guidance in your letter Of 5 September 1978, and has instructed us to convey to you the following advice.

214.2 Each individual is unique and has a unique path to tread in his lifetime. In espousing the Bahá'í Faith you have defined the direction of that path, for your recognition of God's Manifestation for this Day and your devotion to His Message provide the spiritual and ethical basis for all aspects of your life of service to mankind, while the continuing guidance that He has provided for the community of His followers enables you to know the directions in which the most effort is required at the present time.

214.3 While, during the early years of the development of the Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi sometimes gave specific instructions to individual believers on how they should serve the Cause, the Universal House of Justice seldom does this. It is, indeed, the precious privilege of the individual human being to direct the course of his own life. Through exercising this privilege while striving always to conform his

conduct to the divine Teachings and devote his talents in the best possible way to the service of the Cause and mankind, a soul deepens his understanding of God and His will.

214.4 This does not mean that you are left to make your decisions without guidance. This you will find from several sources. Firstly, in general, you will find it in the Writings. Secondly, and more specifically, in the teaching plans issued by the Universal House of Justice. Thirdly, in the plans and projects of your own National Spiritual Assembly. All these, it would seem from your letter, you have been striving to follow. Fourthly, with regard to your own personal goals and actions, is the guidance you can receive through consultation-with your wife, with friends of your choice whose opinions you value, with your Local Spiritual

Assembly, with such committees of your National Assembly as are concerned with the fields of activity towards which your inclinations lie. Fifthly, there is prayer and meditation.

214.5 You mention that the answers to your prayers never seem to have come through clearly. Mrs. Ruth Moffett has published her recollection of five steps of prayer for guidance that she was told by the beloved Guardian. When asked about these notes, Shoghi Effendi replied, in letters written by his secretary on his behalf, that the notes should be regarded as "Personal suggestions," that he considered them to be "quite sound," but that the friends need not adopt


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them 'strictly and universally."' The House of Justice feels that they may be helpful to you and, indeed, you may already be familiar with them. They are as follows: ... use these five steps if we have a problem of any kind for which we desire a solution, or wish help. Pray and meditate about it. Use the prayers of the Manifestations, as they have the greatest power. Learn to remain in the silence of contemplation for a few moments. During this deepest communion take the next step. Arrive at a decision and hold to this. This decision is usually born in a flash at the close or during the contemplation. It may seem almost impossible of accomplishment, but if it seems to be an answer to prayer or a way of solving the problem, then immediately take the next step. Have determination to carry the decision through. Many fail here. The decision, budding into determination, is blighted and instead becomes a wish or a vague longing. When determination is born, immediately take the next step. Have faith and confidence, that the Power of the Holy Spirit will flow through you, the right way will appear, the door will open, the right message, the right principle or the right book will be given to you. Have confidence, and the right thing will come to meet your need. Then as you rise from prayer take immediately the fifth step. Act as though it had all been answered. Then act with tireless, ceaseless energy. And, as you act, you yourself will become a magnet which will attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for the Divine Power to flow through yoU.2 Also the Guardian's secretary wrote to an individual believer on his behalf.- 214.6 "The Master said guidance was when the doors opened after we tried.

214.7 We can pray, ask to do God's will only, try hard, and then if we find our plan is not working out, assume it is not the right one, at least for the moment."3 The Universal House of Justice deeply appreciates your candor and Spirit of devotion, and assures you of its prayers in the Holy Shrines on your behalf.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

214-1. Letter dated 30 June 1938 to Wilfrid Barton, in BN, no. 134 (March 1940): 2; letter dated 29 October 1952 to an individual, quoted in Moffett, Doa, P. 27n. 214-2. Moffett, Doa, pp. 27-7.8. 214-3. Letter dated 29 October 1952 to an individual, quoted in Moffett, Du4 P. 27n.


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215 The Grave Peril Facing Bahá'í's and Holy Places in Iran 15 DECEMBER 1978 To National Spiritual Assemblies

215.1 FRIENDS IRAN AND MOST HOLY PLACES IN SHIRAZ AND TEHRAN IN GRAVE PERIL. BAHA'IS HAVE BEEN THREATENED OVER SEVERAL WEEKS MOST PARTS IRAN WITH IMMINENT DANGERS. THIS THREAT IS NOW MATERIALIZING IN FORMS OF LOOTING, BURNING BAHA'I HOUSES AND FURTHER THREATS OF ASSASSINATION. IN NAYRIZ 25 BAHA'I HOMES BURNED, IN SHIRAZ 60 HOMES LOOTED. SIMILAR ATTACKS REPORTED IN OTHER PROVINCES. IN SARVISTAN Bahá'ís TAKEN TO MOSQUES AND FORCIBLY REQUIRED TO RECANT THEIR FAITH.... URGE FRIENDS JOIN US PRAYERS

PROTECTION FRIENDS HOLY PLACES CRADLE FAITH. UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 216 Announcement of Decision to Launch a Seven Year Plan 26 DECEMBER 1978 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

216.1 ANNOUNCE WITH UTMOST JOY DECISION TO LAUNCH DURING FORTHCOMING RIDVAN FESTIVITIES A SEVEN YEAR GLOBAL PLAN CONSTITUTING NEXT STAGE MASTER'S STEADILY UNFOLDING DIVINE PLAN. CONFIDENT MOMENTOUS DECISION TAKEN IN MIDST SEVERE CRISIS SHAKING CRADLE FAITH AND WHILE EFFORTS BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY ARE STRENUOUSLY BENT UPON FULFILLMENT GOALS FIVE YEAR PLAN WILL RELEASE OUTPOURING SPIRITUAL ENERGY ACCELERATE DESTINED PROGRESS Bahá'í WORLD COMMUNITY NOW GRADUALLY APPEARING IN SHARPER RELIEF BEFORE EYES OF A BEWILDERED HUMANITY FLOUNDERING IN DEPTHS OF CONFLICT AND MORAL DEGRADATION.

216.2 DETAILS PLANS NATIONAL COMMUNITIES FOR INITIAL TWO YEAR PHASE NEW PLAN NOW BEING EVOLVED IN CONSULTATION WITH INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER WILL SHORTLY BE ANNOUNCED TO EACH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. THIS INITIAL PHASE WILL CALL FOR GREATER PROCLAMATION, CONTINUED CONSOLIDATION AND WIDER EXPANSION. NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES ARE THEREFORE URGED ENSURE THAT TEACHING ACTIVITIES ARE PURSUED WITH CONTINUING VIGOR INTO OPENING YEARS NEW PLAN, THAT PIONEERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO REMAIN AT THEIR POSTS, THAT PROCESS DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY LIFE IS UNINTERRUPTEDLY SUSTAINED, AND THAT MOMENTUM NOW IMPELLING Bahá'í COMMUNITY FORWARD IS MAINTAINED.


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URGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES SHARE THIS MESSAGE IMMEDIATELY WITH

216.3 FRIENDS UNDER THEIR JURISDICTION INVITING THEM MAKE SPECIAL EFFORT ATTEND NATIONAL CONVENTIONS NEXT RIDVAN CELEBRATE VICTORIOUS CONCLUSION FIVE YEAR PLAN SIMULTANEOUSLY INAUGURATE SEVEN YEAR PLAN. OWING IMPORTANCE NEXT CONVENTION REQUEST NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES CONSIDER EXTENDING WHEREVER PRACTICABLE ITS DURATION BY ONE OR TWO DAYS. WE ARE CALLING ON COUNSELORS IN ADDITION TO THEIR OWN PARTICIPATION TO ENCOURAGE AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS TO ATTEND THESE PORTENTOUS CONVENTIONS. AS THE TURMOIL OF AN AGITATED WORLD SURGES ABOUT THEM THE

216.5 SUPPORTERS OF BAHA'U'LLAH'S MAJESTICALLY RISING FAITH MUST, AS THE BELOVED GUARDIAN SO CLEARLY INDICATED, SCALE

NOBLER HEIGHTS OF HEROISM, SERENELY CONFIDENT THAT THE HOUR OF THEIR MIGHTIEST EXERTIONS MUST COINCIDE WITH THE LOWEST EBB OF MANKIND'S FAST DECLINING FORTUNES.

217.1 FERVENTLY SUPPLICATING BAHA'U'LLAH BOUNTIFULLY BLESS STRENUOUS

216.6 EFFORTS HIS DEVOTED SERVANTS EVERY LAND WIN GOAL FIVE YEAR PLAN ENSURE FIRM FOUNDATION NEXT STAGE WORLDWIDE DEVELOPMENT GOD'S HOLY CAUSE.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

217 Bahá'í Scholarship 3 JANUARY 1979 To the Participants in the Bahá'í Studies Seminar held in Cambridge on 30 September and I October 1978

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has read with great interest the report Of your seminar. It regards Bahá'í scholarship as of great potential importance for the development and consolidation of the Bahá'í community as it emerges from obscurity. It noted that there are a number of problems with which you have been grappling, and while it feels that it should, in general, leave the working out of solutions to Bahá'í scholars

themselves, the House of Justice has the impression that it would be helpful to provide you, at this relatively early stage of the development of Bahá'í scholarship, with a few thoughts on matters raised during your seminar. Reports of your seminar were therefore referred to the Research Department, and the Universal House of justice commends to your study the enclosed memorandum which that Department has prepared., 217-1. The memorandum was revised for general application and published at the request of the Universal House of Justice in BN, no. 579 June 1979): 2-3. The memorandum was also published in BW 17:195-96 under the title "The Challenge and Promise of Bahá'í Scholarship."


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217.2 The House of Justice also urges you not to feel constrained in any way in consulting it about problems, whether theoretical or practical, that you meet in your work. It has noted, for example, the difficulties presented by the current temporary requirement for the review of publications, and in this connection it asks us to inform you that it has already established the policy that doctoral theses do not have to be reviewed unless there is a proposal to publish them in larger quantities than is required by the examining body.

217.3 You are still in the early stages of a very challenging and promising development in the life of the Bahá'í community, and the Universal House of Justice is eager to foster and assist your work in whatever ways it can. We are to assure you of its prayers in the Sacred Shrines on behalf of you all and of the progress of Bahá'í scholarship.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

The Bahá'í Studies Seminar on Ethics and Methodology Held in Cambridge on 30 September and i October 1978 Comments by the Research Department at the World Center

217.4 This seminar seems to have provided a very valuable forum for the discussion of a number of aspects of Bahá'í scholarship, and the airing of certain problems which have been worrying some of the friends in relationship to their work and to their fellow believers. We believe that many of the problems arise from an attempt by some Bahá'í scholars to make use of methodologies devised by non-Bahá'ís without thinking through the implications of such a course and without working out a methodology which would be in consonance with the spirit of the Faith. The seminar itself may well prove to be an initial step in such a working out. The following remarks are intended merely to draw attention to certain aspects which we believe can help to advance this process. The Harmony of Science and Religion

217.5 It has become customary in the West to think of science and religion as occupying two distinct-and even opposed-areas of human thought and activity. This dichotomy can be characterized in the pairs of antitheses: faith and reason; value and fact. It is a dichotomy which is foreign to Bahá'í thought and should, we feel, be regarded with suspicion by Bahá'í scholars in every field. The

principle of the harmony of science and religion means not only that religious teachings should be studied with the light of reason and evidence as well as of faith and inspiration, but also that

everything in this creation, all aspects of human life and knowledge, should be studied in the light of revelation as well as in that of purely rational investigation. In other words,


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a Bahá'í scholar, when studying a subject, should not lock out of his mind any aspect of truth that is known to him. It has, for example, become commonplace to regard religion as the product of human striving after truth, as the outcome of certain climates of thought and conditions of society This has been taken, by many non-Bahá'í thinkers, to the extreme of denying altogether the reality or even the possibility of a specific revelation of the Will of God to mankind through a human Mouthpiece. A Bahá'í who has

studied the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, who has accepted His claim to be the Manifestation of God for this Age, and who has seen His

Teachings at work in his daily life, knows as the result of rational investigation, confirmed by actual experience, that true religion, far from being the product solely of human striving after truth, is the fruit of the creative Word of God which, with divine power,

transforms human thought and action.

217.7 The Distinction between Divine Revelation and What People Know and Do about It A Bahá'í, through this faith in, this "conscious knowledge's of, the reality of divine Revelation, can distinguish, for instance, between Christianity, which is the divine message given by Jesus of Nazareth, and the development of Christendom, which is the history of what men did with that message in subsequent centuries, a distinction which has become blurred if not entirely obscured in current Christian theology. A Bahá'í scholar conscious of this distinction will not make the mistake of regarding the sayings and beliefs of certain Bahá'ís at any one time as being the Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'í Faith is the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh: His Own Words as interpreted by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian. It is a revelation of such staggering magnitude that no Bahá'í at this early stage in Bahá'í history can rightly claim to have more than a partial and imperfect understanding of it. Thus, Bahá'í historians would see the overcoming of early misconceptions held by the Bahá'í community, or by parts of the Bahá'í community, not as "developments of the Bahá'í Faith7-as a non-Bahá'í historian might well regard them-but as growth of that community's understanding of the Bahá'í Revelation.3 A Unity of Faith and Reason It has been suggested that the words of Bahá'u'lláh that a true seeker should 217,5 'so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from 27-2. See TABA 3:549. 217-3. In a message dated 27 May 1966 (no. 35) the Universal House of Justice explains the clear distinction the Bahá'í Faith makes between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding of individuals. The Bahá'í Faith has two sources of authoritative interpretation: 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Whose authority is derived from His appointment in the Kitab-i-Aqdas and the Kitab-i-'Ahd (Book of the Covenant) as the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, and the Guardian, whose authority is derived from 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament.


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the truth," support the viewpoint of methodological agnosticism. But we believe that on deeper reflection it will be recognized that love and hate are emotional attachments or repulsions that can irrationally influence the seeker; they are not aspects of the truth itself. Moreover, the whole passage concerns taking "the step of search in the path leading to the knowledge of the Ancient of Days" and is summarized by Bahá'u'lláh in the words: "Our purpose in revealing these convincing and weighty utterances is to impress upon the seeker that he should regard all else beside God as transient, and count all things save Him, Who is the Object of all adoration, as utter nothingness." It is in this context that He says, near the beginning of the passage, that the seeker must, "before all else, cleanse and purify his heart . . . from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy."4 It is similar, we think, to Bahá'u'lláh's injunction to look upon the Manifestation with His Own eyes.5 In scientific investigation when searching after the facts of any matter a Bahá'í must, of course, be entirely open-minded, but in his interpretation of the facts and his evaluation of evidence we do not see by what logic he can ignore the truth of the Bahá'í Revelation which he has already accepted; to do so would, we feel, be both hypocritical and unscholarly.

217.9 Undoubtedly the fact that Bahá'í scholars of the history and teachings of the Faith believe in the Faith that they are studying will be a grave flaw in the eyes of many non-Bahá'í academics, whose own dogmatic materialism passes without comment because it is fashionable; but this difficulty is one that Bahá'í scholars share with their fellow believers in many fields of human endeavor.

217.10 If Bahá'í scholars will try to avoid this snare of allowing a divorce between their faith and their reason, we are sure that they will also avoid many of the occasions for tension arising between themselves and their fellow believers. The Spiritual Qualities of Bahá'í Scholars

217.11 The sundering of science and religion is but one example of the tendency of the human mind (which is necessarily limited in its capacity) to concentrate on one virtue, one aspect of truth, one goal, to the exclusion of others. This

leads, in extreme cases, to fanaticism and the utter distortion of truth, and in all cases to some degree of imbalance and inaccuracy. A scholar who is imbued with an understanding of the broad teachings of the Faith will always remember that being a scholar does not exempt him from the primal duties and purposes for which all human beings are created. All men, not scholars alone, are exhorted to seek out and uphold the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. But they are also exhorted to be wise in their utterance, 217-4. K1, pp. 192, 195, 192. 217-5. See GWB, pp. 90-91, 272.


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to be tolerant of the views of others, to be courteous in their behavior and speech, not to sow the seeds of doubt in faithful hearts, to look at the good rather than at the bad, to avoid conflict and contention, to be reverent, to be faithful to the Covenant of God, to promote His Faith and safeguard its honor, and to educate their fellowmen, giving milk to babes and meat to those who are stronger.

217.12 Scholarship has a high station in the Bahá'í teachings, and Bahá'í scholars have a great responsibility We believe that they would do well to concentrate upon the ascertainment of truth-of a fuller understanding of the subject of their Scholarship, whatever its field-not upon exposing and attacking the errors of others, whether they be of non-Bahá'í or of their

fellow believers. Inevitably the demonstration of truth exposes the falsity of error, but the emphasis and motive are important. We refer to these words of Bahá'u'lláh: Consort with all men, O people of Baha, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and goodwill. If it be accepted, if it fulfill its purpose, your object is attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding.... (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh CXXXII)

and again:

Should any one among you be incapable of grasping a certain truth, or be striving to comprehend it, show forth, when conversing with him, a spirit of extreme kindliness and goodwill. Help him to see and recognize the truth, without esteeming yourself to be, in the least, superior to him, or to be possessed of greater endowments. . (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh.) In our view there are two particular dangers to which Bahá'í scholars are 217-13 exposed, and which they share with those believers who rise to eminent positions in the administration of the Cause. One danger is faced by only a few: those whose work requires them to read the writings of Covenant-breakers. They have to remember that they are by no means immune to the spiritual poison that such works distill, and that they must approach this aspect of their work with great caution, alert to the danger that it presents. The second danger, which may well be as insidious, is that of spiritual pride and arrogance. Bahá'í scholars, especially those who are scholars in the teachings and history of the Faith itself, would be well advised to remember that scholars have often been most wrong when they have been most certain that they were


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right. The virtues of moderation, humility and humor in regard to one's own work and ideas are a potent protection against this danger.

217.14 We feel that by following such avenues of approach as those described in this memorandum Bahá'í scholars will find that many of the "fears, doubts and anxieties" which were aired at the seminar will be dispelled. 218 Persecution of the Bahá'ís of Iran 12 JANUARY 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

218.1 From reports in the news media you have no doubt learned of the disturbances in Iran. The followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh have in the land of its birth once again been subjected to severe persecution and active repression.

218.2 The National Spiritual Assembly compiled during the month of October 1978 a list Of 93 cases dealing with personal injuries inflicted upon individual believers and of damages to houses, shops, crops and livestock, as well as to local Haziratu'l-Quds. During the month of December organized mobs attacked Bahá'ís and their properties in Shiraz and its environs. As a result of these attacks over 300 homes were either burned or destroyed, and some 200 looted. In these events 15 believers were beaten or wounded, and two were killed., Fortunately the intention of the attackers to destroy the Holy House of the Bab was not carried out,2 but the spirit of aggressive animosity towards the Bahá'ís spread to several centers throughout the province of Fars, including the town of Marvdasht, where 31 Bahá'í homes were looted and the imposing structure of the local Haziratu'l-Quds reared by that community was razed to the ground.

218.3 Following these events, the wave of persecution spread to the north of the country. In several towns and villages of Adhirbayjan, and particularly in Miyan-Duab, the onslaught was severe. In the latter town the first target was the local Haziratu'l-Quds, which was totally destroyed, and this was followed by the burning or tooting of 80 homes and the brutal murder of two believers, a father and his son, whose bodies were then dragged through the streets, cut in pieces, and consigned to the flarnes.3 218-1. The two Bahá'ís killed were Mr. Hatan Ruzbihi and Mr. Jan-Ali Ruzbihi, both from Shiraz. 218-2. For information about attacks on the House of the Bab and about its eventual destruction, see messages dated to May 1979 (no. 225), 9 September 1979 (no. 235), and 26 May 1981 (no. 282)., n8-3. The father and son were Mr. Parviz Afnani and Mr. Khusraw Afnani.


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The organized and violent assaults on Bahá'í lives and properties have emboldened and incited hooligans all over the country, and the oppressed Bahá'ís are constantly under threat of mass aggression and assault. These acts of hostility against the Bahá'ís have so far cost four lives, Millions of dollars in loss of property, and the displacement of some 700 individuals who have become homeless. The spirit of the Bahá'ís, however, is very high, and acts of heroism and magnanimity have been reported, which historians will record for posterity. The National Spiritual Assembly of Iran has instituted a special fund for the relief of the needy and suffering from among the believers in that country. The House of Justice has already contributed a sum Of $135,000_00 to this fund, and it calls upon all friends in every land to offer of their substance, at this hour of need, to help their tormented brethren in the Cradle of the Faith. All contributions should preferably be sent to the Universal House of Justice, which will ensure that the contributions are transmitted safely to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran. The House of justice further calls on the friends the world over to join it in fervent prayers for the protection of the Faith and the Holy

Places and for the relief and deliverance of the beloved and steadfast friends in Iran. It particularly invites the friends to pray daily during the period of the Fast,4 Supplicating Bahá'u'lláh that the distressing plight of the Persian Community may be mitigated and that their sorrows and privations may be transmuted into comfort and joy through His grace and bounty.

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

219 Extension of Permission to Form Local Spiritual Assemblies under Certain Conditions during Ridvan 19 FEBRUARY 1979

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

219.1 We have been asked by the Universal House of Justice to draw your attention to its letter sent to you and other selected National Spiritual Assemblies of the world on March 6, 1977.' In that letter, a copy of which is enclosed for your ease of reference, permission was given to hold the election of Local 218-4. 2-20 March. 219-1. See message no. x8g.


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Spiritual Assemblies during the twelve days of Ridvan if certain conditions existed in some localities. This is to inform you that, until further notice, it is permissible to follow this procedure every Ridvan where it is called for.

219.2 Furthermore, in view of the conditions of the Faith at this stage in its development, the House of Justice has decided that the provision set forth under the Five Year Plan permitting the establishment of Local Spiritual Assemblies which are being formed for the first time, whenever there are nine or more adult believers residing in a locality, will continue to apply after the completion of the Five Year Plan .2

With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

220 Refutation of False Accusations against Iranian Bahá'ís 26 FEBRUARY 1979 To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

220.1 Recent events in Iran have focused the attention of the world's news media on that country, and the Bahá'ís and the Bahá'í Faith have been mentioned frequently. Our enemies have spread many misleading statements and calumnies through the media.

220.2 Already in the United States the prompt reaction of Local Spiritual Assemblies and the National Spiritual Assembly to an attack on the Faith made during a national television program has resulted in the greatest publicity for the Cause for many years.,

220.3 The friends are urged through their National and Local Assemblies, and individually, and without in any way criticizing or confronting editors and program directors, to offer articles, letters to editors, statements to radio and television producers and to take occasional advertisements. All these should be linked to any mention of the Faith, particularly though not necessarily a 219-2. The Universal House of Justice announced in a letter dated 26 December 1995 to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counselors that, beginning at Ridvan 1997, the practice of electing A Local Spiritual Assemblies on the First Day of Ridvan would be reinstituted. 220-1. On 8 February 1979 Mansur Farhang of Sacramento State University appeared on the public television networks nationally syndicated "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" and put forth the usual false accusations against the Iranian Bahá'í community to justify the oppressive measures instigated against it. Local Spiritual Assemblies and

individuals wrote letters defending the Iranian Bahá'ís to the

program's producers. As a result, the Secretary of the National

Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'í's of the United States, Glenford E. Mitchell, was invited to respond to the allegations on a later

edition of the show.


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misleading one, and should be solely concerned with repudiating falsehoods and giving the truth about the Faith, not indulging in argument or complaint. The Universal House of Justice is aware of a pattern in the false statements 220.4 being circulated about the Faith and sends the following information to enable the friends everywhere to take action whenever the opportunity arises.

220.5 The allegations against us are mainly that in Iran the Bahá'ís have been political supporters of the previous regime, that one of the Prime Ministers and some Ministers have been Bahá'ís, and that even the head of SAVAK (the Iranian Secret Police) and other of its high-ranking officers have been members of the Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'ís are also accused of being against Islam and of supporting causes which are hostile to Muslim nations. It is obvious that these allegations are entirely unfounded.

220.6 The established nonpolitical nature of the Faith, as well as the principle that whoever among the friends participates in partisan politics or becomes a member of a political party is expelled from the Bahá'í community, support this. These false accusations by the enemies of the Cause are being deliberately spread for two main reasons: one, to discredit their political opponents who have been or are in power by associating them with the Faith; and two, to incite further hatred of the fanatical sections of the population against the Bahá'ís.

220.7 During the previous regime, when a one-party system, Rastakhiz, was in force in Iran and the people were induced and often compelled to become members of it, the Bahá'ís of Iran were perhaps the only community who, on the grounds of their religious beliefs, firmly refused to join this party. They declared that although, as an act of faith, they are loyal to the government of the country in which they reside, they cannot accept membership in any political party. Threats of the consequences of such refusal did not deter the Bahá'ís from standing firm in their conviction. Regarding the false allegation that Mr. Abbas Hoveida, the ex-Prime Minister of Iran, was a Bahá'í, the facts are that his grandfather was a Bahá'í at the time of Bahá'u'lláh and his father was also a member of the Faith for some time. However, because the latter accepted a political assignment in the foreign ministry of Iran, he was expelled from the Bahá'í community. Mr. Hoveida himself never became a Bahá'í, and asserted that he was a Muslim. In fact, during his term of office, he created many difficulties for the Bahá'í community in order to counter the accusations of his alleged affiliation with the Faith. It was during his regime that many Bahá'ís were dismissed from their administrative posts in the government because of their Faith, and an anti-Bahá'í bias was fostered in respect of employment.

220.9 There was another Minister, Mansour Rouhani, whose father was a Bahá'í and mother a Muslim, but he was not, nor had ever been a Bahá'í. Further, some years ago, a Bahá'í accepted a cabinet post just for a brief time, and he was promptly expelled from the Bahá'í community.


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220.10 It should be categorically denied and refuted that General Nasiri, the late head of SAVAK, as well as his assistants, were ever Bahá'ís, and it can be stated that their organization was responsible for the dismissal of many of the friends from government offices in Iran.

220.11 It is true that Bahá'ís must show loyalty to their respective governments, and it is also true that a number of the friends in Iran, while demonstrating this principle, as well as rectitude of conduct and trustworthiness, became known for these qualities and obtained high-ranking, nonpolitical, financial, and administrative positions in the government. However, loyalty and obedience to the government has never meant that the Bahá'ís agreed with or promoted political principles and policies.

220.12 Another principle of the Faith may be cited, namely, that Bahá'ís are forbidden to deny their Faith, even if their very lives are at stake. It is an historical fact that thousands of martyrs, given the choice to deny their faith so that their lives would be spared, refused to do so and proclaimed their faith openly, suffering the consequences. Therefore the public should know that whoever denies that he is a Bahá'í cannot be a member of the Bahá'í community.

220.13 In Iran the officially recognized religious minorities are the adherents of the Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian Faiths, although the Bahá'ís outnumber them all. The enemies of the Cause in Iran consider the Bahá'ís as heretical, a 'sect," "cult," or similar group. This is because the Muslims, unlike Bahá'ís who believe in progressive and continuous divine revelation, believe that no prophet will appear after Muhammad. Therefore, whenever Bahá'ís are referred to as a sect or group, the friends should try to remove this misunderstanding and proclaim the independent nature of the Faith to the non-Bahá'í public.

220.14 The Bahá'ís are also accused of being against Islam, whereas it is easy to explain to the public that we believe that all religions of the past, including Islam, are divine in origin and are revered and respected by the followers of Bahá'u'lláh Indeed, the Author of this Revelation Himself states this fact time and time again in His Writings.

220.15 One of the excuses given by Muslims for hostility to the Faith is the location of our world administrative center in Israel; in the conflict between some Islamic nations and Israel, the Bahá'ís have been accused of being Zionists. It should be made clear that Bahá'ís, who believe in the oneness of humanity and who do not show enmity to any nation, people or creed, cannot take sides in any political controversy. As promoters of genuine love and proclaimers of the unity of mankind, taking sides in such disputes would be diametrically opposed to their religious beliefs. It can be explained, whenever necessary, that Bahá'u'lláh was sent, in 1868, as a Prisoner to the Holy Land by the Ottoman Emperor. For the remainder of His life He was a Prisoner and


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Exile, and He subsequently passed away near 'Akka in 1892. The holiest Shrines of the Bahá'í Faith, around which its world administrative center has been established, are situated in the Holy Land because of events which occurred more than half a century before the establishment of Israel and other countries in this part of the world as independent nations. Holy Shrines of the Muslims, Christians and Jews are also located in the Holy Land. Therefore, it is simple enmity to attack the Bahá'í Faith on the basis of the geographical location of its World Center.

221.1 The Universal House of Justice has requested us to bring these facts to your 220.116 attention so that you may use them whenever necessary in refuting falsehoods and in answering questions and writing articles and letters to the press.



With loving Bahá'í greetings,

DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT


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