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Search for tag "Chicago Reading Room Affair"

  1. from the Chronology
  2. from the Chronology Canada
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from the chronology

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1917 (in the year) A Bahá'í Reading Room was established in Chicago by Luella Kirchner in 1917 or perhaps earlier and became the scene of an incident that exemplified a stage of evolution in the North American Bahá'í community. Because communications with 'Abdu'l-Bahá had been severed due to the war, the community was free to develop as it might. The Reading Room had become host to the "Harmonite Bahá'ís" - those who subscribed to the metaphysical interpretations of the Bahá'í Writings by W. W. Harmon.
      The situation came to a head when both the House of Spirituality and the Reading Room sent delegates to the Boston convention in April 1917. In November, during an event to commemorate the Centenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh in Chicago, the national community took up the affair and appointed an investigative committee consisting of Mason Remey (chair) as well as Emogene Hoagg, George Latimer and Louis Gregory. Their report tabled on the 9th of December found that the Reading Room (now calling themselves the Chicago Bahá'í Assembly), had been in violation for "minling human ideas with the Word of God".
      The victory over the "dissenters" was not complete however. In addition to those who were attracted by Harmon's interpretations there were those leading Bahá'ís like Agnes Parsons and Joseph Hannen who objected to the way the committee had conducted it's investigation. However, at the April 1918 convention the report was unanimously approved by the delegates albeit with several absent delegates. Thus the balance between liberalism and authoritarianism was shifted to the latter with firm ideas about what constituted the Bahá'í belief. As a result in 1918 there was a proposal to establish a review procedure for Bahá'í publications, both old and new as well as measures to ensure doctrinal control at Green Acre. [SBBH1p189-194]
Chicago; United States Chicago Reading Room Affair

from the chronology of Canada

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