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USBN #228 February 1950 p4

"Regarding your various questions: We must avoid giving the impression of being all tied up with peculiar religious theories; on the other hand, the 9 sides of the Temple, and the 9-pointed star require an explanation, and he feels the best one is this:

"Nine is the highest digit, hence symbolizes comprehensiveness, culmination; also, the reason it is used in the Temple's form is because 9 has the exact numerical value of "Bahá" (in the numerology connected with the Arabic alphabet) and "Bahá" is the name of the Revealer of our Faith, Baha'u'llah. The 9-pointed star is not a part of the teachings of our Faith, but only used as an emblem representing "9". In telling people of the 9 religions of the world, that is, existing religions, we should not give this as the reason the Temple has 9 sides. This may have been an idea of the architect, and a very pleasing idea, which can be mentioned in passing, but the Temple has 9 sides because of the association of 9 with perfection, unity and "Bahá."

"The Guardian feels that with intellectuals and students of religion the question of exactly which are the 9 existing religions is controversial, and it would be better to avoid it. He does not want the friends to be rigid in these matters, but use their judgment and tact, sometimes one statement is exactly the right thing for one type of mind and the wrong thing for another.

"Strictly speaking the 5-pointed star is the symbol of our Faith, as used by the Báb and explained by Him. But the Guardian does not feel it is wise or necessary to complicate our explanations of the Temple by adding this.

"Shoghi Effendi himself uses the King James version of the Bible, both because it is an authoritative one and in beautiful English.

"The statement in 'Seven Days of Creation' certainly cannot be considered authoritative or correct. The Ark and the Flood we believe are symbolical.

"He feels that it is not necessary to present, prematurely, to every new Baha'i the teachings regarding the use of the Greatest Name. Some souls need and are ready for this: others are not. Judgment must be used in such matters. It is more essential to stress the importance of prayer and to urge the use of one of the obligatory prayers."

to Nina Matthisen, dated October 28, 1949)

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