USBN #283 September 1954 p1-2
He was very pleased to note that a Certificate of Excellence was awarded to the Publishing Committee. There is no doubt that we cannot make our publications too attractive, especially as they are being so much more widely circulated than before. He placed the Certificate in the mansion in Bahji.
The Pioneer Record
The phenomenal progress which has been made throughout the Baha'i world in settling the virgin countries during the first year of the Ten Year Crusade has been a source of great joy and comfort to the Guardian. Over-worked and often tired out as he is , the news of the arrival of pioneers in over one hundred posts has , one might almost say, kept him going. He is very proud of their achievements - the American pioneers and all their co-workers who have arisen to answer this mighty call. However, this is only the beginning. The next step is to keep these virgin areas open and settled with at least one pioneer, and preferably, of course, two or three; and to get pioneers into the few remaining countries outside the Soviet zone of influence.
He thinks that, in spite of a few lapses from duty, so to speak, the record is remarkable, and that your Assembly and your Committees handling the pioneers in different continents have every reason to feel proud and gratified over your success. The pioneers themselves must realize that not only are they fulfilling the wishes of Baha'u'llah, and doing that which the Master Himself said He longed to do; namely, to go, if necessary on foot, and carry His Father's Message to all the regions of the earth; but they are enhancing the prestige of the Faith to a remarkable degree in the eyes of the public, and especially in the eyes of officials. There is no doubt that the rapid forward march of the Faith recently has attracted a far greater measure of attention on the part of thoughtful people, and people of position in society and in educational fields, than has been the case for almost one hundred years. Therefore, each pioneer must feel his responsibility very heavily, and understand that his calling is far above the average service; and his duty to remain at his post a very pressing one indeed.
The Auxiliary Board
The Guardian feels sure that the Auxiliary Boards recently appointed by the Hands of the Cause will stimulate and help the teaching work, which of course includes pioneer work, and be a prop and mainstay to the often over-worked and overburdened National Spiritual Assemblies, as well as to the Hands of the Cause who are carrying, usually, heavy administrative loads in addition to their exalted position as Hands.
The general principle is that the National Spiritual Assembly to which a country has been allotted, is responsible for the progress of the Faith there , and the unfoldment of its administrative activities , regardless of whether the territory in question is the possession of a nation other than that which the National Assembly in question represents.
In other words, your Assembly might be carrying out teaching work in British, Portuguese, Spanish or French territories , and the British, Portuguese, Spanish or French Assemblies would have nothing to do with the matter.
Concern over the Home Front
He is very concerned over the work on the homefront. The American Baha'is have, with devotion, enthusiasm and confidence, gone out to answer the pioneer call all over the world, but he does not feel that they have made an adequate response to the needs of the work in the United States.
He has been told that some of the friends are disturbed over reports brought back by the pilgrims concerning the dangers facing America in the future whenever another world conflagration breaks out.
He does not feel that the Baha'is should waste time dwelling on the dark side of things. Any intelligent person can understand from the experiences of the last world war, and keeping abreast of what modern science has developed in the way of weapons for any future war, that big cities all over the world are going to be in tremendous danger. This is what the Guardian has said to the pilgrims.
Entirely aside from this, he has urged the Baha'is , for the sake of serving the Faith, to go out from these centers of intense materialism, where life nowadays is so hurried and grinding and, dispersing to towns and villages, carry the Message far and wide through the cities of the American Union. He strongly believes that the field outside the big cities is more fertile, that the Baha'is in the end will be happier for having made this move, and that, in case of an outbreak of war, it stands to reason they will be safer, just the way any other person living in the country, or away from the big industrial areas, is safer.
It is remarks such as these that the pilgrims have carried back in their notes. He sees no cause for alarm, but he certainly believes that the Baha'is should weigh these thoughts, and take action for the sake of spreading the Faith of Baha'u'llah, and for their own ultimate happiness as well. Indeed the two things go together.
Increase in Local Assemblies
He hopes that during the present year there will be a great surge forward on the home front , that the number of Assemblies will be markedly multiplied , and that also there will be more incorporations of Spiritual Assemblies. The Ten Year Plan, if the friends will study it, comprises not only glamorous goals far afield , but extremely important ones near at hand. If these are not achieved , the Plan will have failed.
He knows from his past experience,
and his long association with the American Baha'is in the service of the Faith, that they are capable of arising and meeting the requirements of the hour, and he feels sure that, at this period in their Baha'i history, they are going to demonstrate their sterling qualities just as they always have in the past.
As he has already informed your Assembly. he feels that the first Baha'i institution to be built in the neighborhood of the Temple at Wilmette should be a Home for the Aged. There arc a number of reasons for this. First of all, it need not be a very expensive undertaking in the beginning. or require a tremendous outlay of capital. Second, he believes that it is now time for the Baha'is to show the people of the world that our aim of rendering service to humanity is a concrete thing, and not confined to words . Until now. the Baha'is have not been in any position to create philanthropic institutions, and they have often been criticized for this . He feels therefore that in a small way they can now begin. through the founding of this first institution in the neighborhood of the Temple.
Baha'i Symbol on Tombstones
In regard to your question regarding the use of the Greatest Name on tombstones of Baha'is , the Guardian considers this too sacred to be placed in such a position in general use , and the friends should not use it on their tombstones. They can use quotations from the Teachings, if they wish to. but not the Greatest Name. Naturally, if anyone has already used it, it does not matter.
Marriage to a Non-Baha'i
The general principle in regard to the marriage of a Baha'i to a non-Baha'i is as follows: If a Baha'i marries a non-Baha'i who wishes to have ........_ the religious ceremony of his own sect carried out, it must be quite clear that, first , the Baha'i partner is understood to be a Baha'i by religion, and not to accept the religion of the other party to the marriage through having his or her religious ceremony ; and second, the ceremony must be of a nature which does not commit the Baha'i to any declaration of faith in a religion other than his own.
Under these circumstances, the Baha'i can partake of the religious ceremony of his non-Baha'i partner. The Baha'i should insist on having the Baha'i ceremony carried out before or after the non-Baha'i one, on the same day.
- R . R ABBANI, Secretary
June 20, 1954