EXTRACTS PROM SHOGHI EFFENDI'S LETTERS
TO RUTH J. MOFFETT AND ROBERT LEE MOFFETT
November 15, 1935, Haifa.
"... Regarding the holding of a Baha'i Forum with outside speakers speaking on Baha'i subjects and a Baha'i chairman, Shoghi Effendi approves of the idea, but leaves it entirely to the N.S.A. to decide whether the holding of such a meeting is suitable at present or not.
With reference to your question regarding the qualifications of the members of the Spiritual Assembly: There is a distinction of fundamental importance which should be always remembered in this connection, and this is between the spiritual assembly as an institution and the persons who compose it. These are by no means supposed to be perfect, nor can they be considered as being inherently superior to the rest of their fellow-believers. It is precisely because they are subject to the same human limitations that characterize the other members of the community that they have to be selected each year. The existence of elections is a sufficient indication that assembly members, though forming part of an institution that is divine and perfect, are nevertheless themselves imperfect. But this does not necessarily imply that their judgment is imperfect or defective.
For as Abdu'l Baha has repeatedly emphasized, Baha'i assemblies are under the guidance and protection of God. The elections, especially when annual, give the community a good opportunity to remedy any defect or imperfection from which the assembly may suffer as the result of the action of its members. Thus a safe method has been established whereby the quality of the membership in Baha'i assemblies can be continually raised and improved. But, as already stated, the institution of the spiritual assemblies should under no circumstances be identified with or be estimated merely through, the personal qualifications of the members that compose it.
The meaning of the references to “Paran" and “Zaman" in the passage No. 71 of the Persian Hidden Words has been explained by Abdu’l-Baha, and you can find it in the appendix on page 60 of the old edition of Hidden Words, translated by Mdm. J. Stannard and published in Cairo in 1921.
As to the passage No. 13 of the Arabic Hidden Words; that which Baha'u'llah declares we can find abiding within us is the power of the Divine Spirit, the reflection of the light of His Revelation. This reflection of the Divine Spirit, however, can in no way be compared to the Revelation which God discloses to His Prophets and Messengers. The similarity in the terminology should not confuse this distinction which is most fundamental.
In connection with your teaching work; what the Guardian wishes you to particularly emphasize in all your talks is the supreme necessity for all individuals and nations in this day to adopt in its entirety the social program given by Baha’u’llah for the reconstruction of the religious, economic and political life of mankind. Ho wishes you to explain and analyze the elements that help in raising this Divine World Order in the light of the present-day events and conditions in the world. Special stress, he feels, should be laid on the impending necessity of establishing a Super-national and Sovereign World State,as the one described by Baha'u'llah, With the world becoming increasingly subject to tumults and convulsions never experienced before, the realisation of such a necessity is entering into the consciousness of not only the wise and learned but of the common people as well. The believers should, therefore, seize this opportunity to mako a supreme effort to present, in convincing and eloquent language, those social and humanitarian teachings of the Faith which we believe to constitute the sole panacea for the innumerable ills afflicting our present-day world.
Concerning the essential qualifications of a Baha'i teacher; these have been repeatedly stated by the Guardian in both his general and private communications to the friends. Besides many others, there are two most essential qualifications; first is unqualified devotion and loyalty to everything the Cause stands for; next is thorough knowledge and comprehension of the Teachings.
In prayer the believers can turn their consciousness toward the Shrine of Baha'u'llah, provided that in so doing they have a clear and correct understanding of His Station as a Manifestation of God."
Your true brother,