Cited in Youth in the Vanguard, Marion Yazdi, pp148-50, USBNC archives
c/o Shoghi Effendi,
3rd May, 1925
To Miss Marion Carpenter
1209 Stanford University
Dear Bahà'i Sister,
Shoghi Effendi was greatly interested and pleased by your letter of March 31st—so much so that he had it translated into Persian and read at a meeting of the friends. We are delighted to hear that you have managed to establish a regular weekly Bahà'i meeting in the Club House in the campus and we pray that it may become permanent and grow in numbers and influence, and that soon you may have a Local Spiritual Assembly in the University.
I was greatly interested lately in reading a book called "The Life Changers", by Harold Bigbie, describing a movement among University Students for a consecrated Christian life, initiated by a man called Frank Buckmann [Buchman], which has already become international and seems to have achieved really remarkable results in many cases. Mr. Buckmann [sic] and a party of his friends called on Shoghi Effendi a few months ago. I hope this start you have made at Leland Stanford University may be the beginning of a work among University undergraduates that will spread to other Universities and become something much bigger even than that of Mr. Buckmann [sic] and his group of "Life-changers." If, as we believe, Bahà’u’llàh is the prophet of the new age in which we live, then in the light of His teachings and in the strength of the new spiritual outpouring through Him, we ought to achieve even greater things than are possible to those who walk in the light of the "old dispensation" and have not yet become fully aware of the value of the New Revelation.
We hope that soon you may find opportunities of carrying the message to the undergraduates of other universities, or of linking up with Bahà'i students at other Universities and encouraging them to start Bahà'i meetings also. Then inter-university meetings of Bahà'i groups could be arranged, exchange of speakers and so on, and from this germ you have started an organization might grow that would have very powerful and far-reaching effects. A "summer school" or Bahà'i Camp for undergraduates in Vacation time might prove very valuable.
We are very glad to hear that the lectures given by Mr. Remy [Remey], Mrs. Cooper, Jináb-i-Fádil and others were so successful and that your friend . . . has already become a devoted and active Bahà'i.
Entire and selfless devotion is what is most needful. The brighter our torch bums, the more light will it give and the more readily will it impart its blaze to others. It is fine too that you have the cooperation of your brother Howard, and of friends on the staff of the college paper.
The blessings of Bahà’u’llàh and the Beloved Master will assuredly be with you in this work and Shoghi Effendi and the friends here will offer heartfelt prayers that you may be richly confirmed in your service to the Kingdom.
Shoghi Effendi does not think it necessary for you to come to Haifa at present. His correspondence and other duties leave him very little time for translation work, and the Girls School on Mt. Carmel cannot be started until there is a good deal more money in hand for it. Conditions in Persia are at present too unsettled to make it advisable for you to go there. So it seems as if, for the near future, it would be better for you to work in America, where there is certainly ample opportunity. We pray that you will be clearly guided to whatever God would have you do, and we hope you will keep us informed of your activities, from time to time, so that we may keep in as close touch as possible with you and your group of coworkers.Shoghi Effendi was very pleased to see the articles by your brother, Barbara Probasco and yourself in the March Star and hopes that you will all three be enabled to do great service to the Cause both by tongue and pen.
With kindest regards and best wishes in which Shoghi Effendi and all the friends here join.
Your brother in the service of the Beloved,
J. E. Esslemont
My precious fellow-worker:
Your letter with its refreshing news rejoiced my heart. Surely the seeds which our Beloved has so abundantly sown in the fertile soil of that great University are germinating under your loving care and I trust great results will be speedily achieved. I would be delighted to learn of the formation of a regular, elected, Spiritual Assembly in the heart of that far-famed seat of learning and assure you of my keen desire to help it grow in power and influence in any way I can. As to your future career, I feel that for the present, until the conditions in Persia are stabilized you should concentrate your energies and efforts on publicity work, through the spoken as well as the written word. I will not fail to pray for you from the bottom of my heart and assure you of my deep appreciation of your much-valued efforts.
[to Marion Carpenter Yazdi]
[Frank Buchman was the head of the evangelical Christian “Oxford Group”, later to be organized as Moral Re-armament.]
[The articles by Barbara Probasco, Howard and Marion were in the March 1925 SOTW Vol 15, #12, pp369-372 under the section titled, The Larger Vision: How Three University Students See The Needs.]