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TAGS: Amatul-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum; Children; Consultation; Elections; Youth
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Short personal letter relating answers from Shoghi Effendi to various questions of Cornell, on voting age, the election of the House, the "Source of all knowledge," etc.
In his brief autobiography, Dr. Cornell states that he "enrolled as a Bahá'í youth in 1938 when 15," perhaps why Khanum refers to "people of 15," below.

Submitted by Cornell in 1999 for posting online here.

Letter to John B. Cornell

by Ruhiyyih (Mary Maxwell) Khanum

May 25th 1943

Dear Mr. Cornell:

I was very glad to hear from you and am sorry not to have answered your letter before, but I have been too busy the last few months to attend to my own mail.

It always thrills me to hear of more young people joining the Faith because I believe the Cause has more to offer them, as a group, (and more incidentally to require of them) than to older people. Our generation are the ones who are not only doing the dying these days but will be alive to carry forward the work of reconstructing the world in the years to come. So we really need these teachings more than anyone else, and we must learn them thoroughly in order to be of real help in the future.

I asked Shoghi Effendi to answer the questions — which I gave him — and he says to tell you that of course everyone who is a believer in the Faith is a Baha’i, even when they are under voting age; as to how much part they can take in administrative matters, that is for the N.S.A. to decide at present. There is no reason why they should not voice an opinion in a 19 day Feast as long as the N.S.A. has said nothing to the contrary. The election of the House of Justice will not be the opening of the Golden Age of the Faith, but takes place in the Formative Period. When Baha’u’llah says the “Source of all knowledge is the knowledge of God” He means that as God is the Creator and all knowledge and all truths have been created by Him, naturally they all lead us to Him and to a better understanding of His nature and purpose. If we know the Sun, we will understand the rays, whereas we may see the rays without yet associating them with the Sun; so scientists possess many forms of knowledge without realizing their source. Naturally, this does not exhaust the subject.

I think it is wonderful the way Indians are beginning to accept the Cause. I am sure it will be a great blessing to their people and a great blessing to us to have them amongst us.

Shoghi Effendi is so modest and so anxious to have the believers devoted to the Central Figures of our Faith, that he never features his own personality! But as you truly remark, his works and his acts have revealed him and endeared him to the Baha’is.

With warm Baha’i greetings, Ruhiyyih

P.S. I wish people would stop being so age-conscious. After all it is the personality that counts. Why shouldn’t people of 15 have just as good ideas as people of 50? But perhaps a little less mature and showing less experience of life.

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