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USBN #133 February 1940, pp2-3

Dear Baha'i brother:

On behalf of the Guardian I gratefully acknowledge the receipt of your communications written at the direction of the N. S. A. and dated July 3, 11, 17, 18, August 3, 3, 11, 21 , September 20 and November 16 (two letters ), together with their enclosures, and of various other materials sent under separate cover, all of which reached him safely, and for which he wishes me to heartily thank your Assembly.

Illness, and his pressing duties and preoccupations, have unfortunately delayed his acknowledgment of your welcome communications. The multitudinous duties that have pressed upon him have become so complex, urgent and vital that he finds it difficult, at times, to cope with his correspondence with the believers and the Assemblies.

He wishes me to specially convey to you and your fellow-members his deep sense of appreciation and gratitude for the message you had, in response to the suggestion made by the local Assembly of New York, been prompted to convey to him, expressing the earnest hope of the American believers that he would undertake a visit to the United States. He is profoundly touched at this fresh evidence of the close ties of loyalty and devotion that so inseparably unite the American Baha'i community with him, and will pray that the passing of years may further strengthen this bond and increasingly deepen in the hearts of our dear American friends their sense of responsibility for the well-being and protection of the Faith at its world center in the Holy Land.

The Guardian particularly welcomes the appointment by your Assembly of a new Race Amity Committee, and fervently hopes that this will enable the friends to make the fullest possible response to his vital call for interracial amity and understanding, and specially to his instruction regarding the treatment of colored minorities within the Community.

It was also a matter of deep gratification to him to know that the number of recognized local Spiritual Assemblies throughout the United States and Canada had reached eighty-eight on the 21st of April of last year, and would urge that special effort be exerted by your Assembly to increase that number to one hundred by the next meeting of the Annual Convention.

With reference to the permission granted by the Marriage License Bureau of the City of Chicago to the Chicago Assembly to perform Baha'i marriages, the Guardian considers this indeed as an historic achievement, and trusts that it will open the way for the accordance of a similar recognition to other local Baha'i Assemblies throughout the States. He would certainly approve that all incorporated local Assemblies make similar representations to their respective civil Marriage Bureaus for the legal recognition of Baha'i marriage ceremonies. In the performance of a Baha'i marriage, the chairman and secretary of the local Assembly should act as its representatives. The ceremony itself must be very simple. The marriage certificate, copies of which in Arabic and Persian are published in the Baha'i World, and which bears the signatures of both parties and of their parents, should be translated and adopted by the American friends. This is indeed a tremendous step forward in the ultimate adoption and enforcement of the laws of Baha'u'llah in the West.

With regard to Munirih Khanum's account of her life, concerning which certain questions have been raised by one of the believers ; what has been written by Munirih Khanum herself in that account, and also the references to the subject made by Nabil in his Narrative should be taken as the accurate standard and not what has been reported in Dr. Esslemont's book.

Regarding the time for the holding of the Nineteen Day Feasts and elections; the Guardian would advise your Assembly to urge the friends to hold such gatherings on the prescribed day before sunset. If impossible, then it is permissible to hold them on the preceding day. In connection with the nine holy days, however, the friends should consider it obligatory to celebrate them on the prescribed day before sunset.

The Guardian wishes your Assembly to abandon the practice of appointing associate members to some of the committees, as reported in the July news letter. Such a practice, he feels, tends to create confusion and misunderstanding. Those already associate members, however, may at the discretion of the N.S.A. be added to the full membership of the committees.

In connection with the request received by your Assembly from a Chicago believer for permission to be married in the Temple, Shoghi Effendi wishes your Assembly to abide by his directions on the subject as contained in his letter of January 29, 1939.

The news of the donation of two hundred copies of the last issue of the Baha'i World made by our very clear Mr. Schopflocher to various national and local Assemblies outside of the United States was received with deepest appreciation by the Guardian, who feels confident that this action will create widespread enthusiasm throughout the Baha'i world, and will also considerably help in giving due publicity to this invaluable international record of the Faith.

He also wishes me to express his deepfelt appreciation of the increase recently made by the N.S.A. in its monthly contribution to the International Fund. He will pray that your Assembly may be richly rewarded for this truly generous assistance you are extending towards the promotion and safeguarding of the interests of the Cause at its world-center in the Holy Land.

Regarding the construction of a memorial dedicated to the late Miss Martha Root at the cemetery in Honolulu : Shoghi Effendi highly approves of your Assembly's proposal, and hopes that the contribution of one hundred pounds he has already cabled through Mr. Wilhelm for that purpose will serve to stimulate the friends to send in further donations that would enable the N.S.A. to erect a befitting monument in honor of our departed sister. He wishes you to impress upon the friends the necessity of their acting promptly and generously in this matter. He is eagerly awaiting for a copy of the design of the proposed monument. As to the design itself he prefers to leave it to the discretion of the N.S.A.

With reference to the matter of the consent of the parents to a Baha'i marriage: as this is a vital binding obligation, it is the duty of the Assemblies to ascertain, before giving their sanction, that the consent obtained has been given freely by the parents themselves.

The Guardian approves of the recommendation made by the editors of World Order to publish in that magazine hitherto unpublished material from the Tablets of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, and hopes that in response to your request he will also be able to send you, from time to time, any such material he can gather from the Sacred Writings.

December 24, 1939.

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