1931-04-02 To USNSA
USBN #55 September 1931 pp1 & 5
T o T H E M E M B E R S O F T H E N A T I O N AL
S P I R I T U A L ASSEMBLY, A P R I L 2, 1931
Read at the Annual Convention
Chicago, A/ay. 1931.
Dear Mr. Lunt:
Shoghi Effendi wishes me to acknowledge in his behalf the letters that you have written him on behalf of the National Spiritual Assembly dated September 27th, December 10th, February 18th, January 20th and March 3rd. all of which he read with the deepest interest, but was unable to answer in view of the pressure of work due to his translation of Nabil’s history.
Concerning individual teaching, Shoghi Effendi would urge every Baha'i who feels the urge to exercise his right of teaching unofficially the Cause, to keep in close touch with the Local Spiritual Assembly of the locality in which he is working. The Local Spiritual Assembly while reserving for itself the right to control such activities on the part of individual Baha'is, should do its utmost to encourage such teachers and to put at their disposal whatever facilities they would need in such circumstances. Should any differences arise, the National Spiritual Assembly would naturally have to intervene and adjust matters.
Shoghi Effendi feels that in any locality where the number of adult believers reaches nine, A Local Assembly should be established. He fed* this to be an obligation rather than a purely voluntary act. Only in exceptional cases has the National Spiritual Assembly the right to postpone the formation of an Assembly if it feels that the situation does not warrant such a formation. This right, however, should be exercised if the situation absolutely demands it. As to the principle according to which the area of the jurisdiction of a Local Assembly is to be determined, he feels this to be the function of the National Spiritual Assembly; whatever principle they uphold should be fairly applied to all localities without any distinction whatever.
As to the character of the meetings in the Auditorium of the Temple, he feels that they should be purely devotional in character, Baha'i addresses and lectures should be strictly excluded. For the present, he feels that there would be no objection to having Baha'i meetings including addresses and the business sessions of the Convention held in the Foundation Hall. Shoghi Effendi would urge that choir singing by men, women and children be encouraged in the Auditorium and that rigidity in the Baha'i service be scrupulously avoided. The more universal and informal the character of Baha'i worship in the Temple the better. Images and pictures, with the exception of the Greatest Name, should be strictly excluded. Prayers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh and the Master as well as the sacred writings of the Prophets should be read or chanted as well as hymns based upon Baha'i or non-Baha'i sacred writings.
Shoghi Effendi would wish you to get in touch with the Egyptian authorities and press for Baha'i recognition in that land. The petition that you have prepared should be forwarded and the National Spiritual Assembly in Egypt should be pressed to take whatever measure is necessary to insure its success.
The letter you have received from Constantinople is by no means representative of the actual conditions there, and Shoghi Effendi is urging the friends in that city to re-establish their Assembly and resume their relationships with the Baha'i world.
Concerning the qualifications required for voting, Shoghi Effendi has laid down the essential conditions already in his letters, no further restrictions should be added to them. It is for the Local Assembly to decide in this matter. They should exercise this right with extreme tact and caution and avoid rigidity and formalism. There is no distinction in this respect between new and old believers, nor should contributions to the national or local funds be made a condition for voting.
Shoghi Effendi feels deeply the delicacy and complexity of these problems with which you are constantly being faced, and he will pray for you all that you may be guided in your efforts to extend the scope and consolidate the foundations of God's Holy Faith.
Yours ever sincerely.
My dear co-workers:
I wish to add a few words in person and assure you of my deep sense of appreciation of the wisdom, the energy and the determination With which you are facing and handling the many issues involved in the extension of the Cause, I feel that the Baha'i world is greatly indebted to you for the splendid manner in which you have arisen to propagate the Faith and to consolidate its basis May the Almighty sustain you in your high endeavors.
Your true brother,
S H O G H I .