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Ministry of the Custodians:
An Account of the Stewardship of the Hands of the Cause 1957-1963

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice and Ruhiyyih (Mary Maxwell) Khanum

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Chapter 2






JANUARY 1, 1958


To All Who have left their homeland to pioneer
January 5, 1958

Dear Bahá'í Friends,
Though afflicted by profound sorrow at the sudden removal of the beloved Guardian, our thoughts are always with those who forsook their homes, relatives and friends to cry Ya Baha'u'l-Abha in distant lands and raise the banner of the Faith in the far corners of the earth. Our hearts are with you, dear friends, for your treading of this glorious path has earned the approval of the beloved of us all, Shoghi Effendi now watching so lovingly from his lofty station on High and dispensing to all his guidance and protection.
We are confident that you will remain at your posts in the same wonderful spirit of love you have already displayed and with greater steadfastness than ever before. The Guardian held the pioneers in such esteem that even to the night before the night of his passing he worked on a map on which he recorded their achievements with his own hands. We feel certain that the Knights of Bahá'u'lláh and those who joined them later will hold their ground firmly and that before long we shall hear the glorious news of the attainment of all the goals the beloved named throughout the entire planet. The pioneers are like lamps of guidance, and when mankind is awakened from its spiritual lethargy, members of a bewildered humanity will see only by the light of the pioneers the right path to the tabernacle of love and justice where it will find shelter.
The pioneers the Guardian loved so dearly are particularly dear to our hearts too and we pray for each and every one of them. We hope they will


send reports of wonderful activities to their National Assemblies, who in turn will gladden our hearts with news of these developments.
With Bahá'í love,

The Intercontinental Conference, Kampala, Uganda
January 23-28, 1958

To the Hands of the Cause, members of their Auxiliary Boards, members of Regional and National Spiritual Assemblies, pioneers, resident believers, and visitors attending the Intercontinental Conference in Kampala, January, 1958.

Beloved Friends:
In the shadow of the unexpected and soul-shattering sorrow which has so recently stricken the followers of Bahá'u'lláh through the passing of our much-loved Guardian Shoghi Effendi comes the opening of the first of the momentous Conferences planned by him to take place in the five continents of the globe.
With what joy our hearts looked forward to this day when we should be gathered together to render thanks to Bahá'u'lláh for His blessings during the last five years-years which have witnessed the most phenomenal progress in the expansion of His Faith since the Declaration of the Bab. to exalt His station and to praise the manifold evidences of His mysterious power. How our hearts hastened ahead of us to this spot where we knew the first of these mighty Conferences would be convened and with what anticipation we looked forward to receiving the message which we knew our beloved Guardian would send to us on this occasion.
It is with sadness and deep humility that the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land address to you these words. The ways of God have never been the ways of men. One thing we know however with profound assurance, and that is that no calamity has ever befallen this Faith that has not presaged a mighty victory. They martyred the Bab. Bahá'u'lláh was raised up. They persecuted and exiled Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá carried the banner of His Faith to the very heart of the Western World, to which He journeyed in His old age, and to which He gave some of the fairest fruits of His mind. After the Ascension of the beloved Master, the believers, bereft of their Father and their Refuge, found in Shoghi Effendi a mighty tree beneath whose boughs they took refuge, and which protected them for thirty-six years.
At this turning-point in history, which the beloved Guardian repeatedly


pointed out to us would be fraught with calamity, we have received a blow the nature of which we never anticipated. We have every right to believe however that even such a blow as this will be the signal for a far greater expansion of our glorious Faith, and that the sacrifice of his precious life has endowed the Cause of God with a new strength to face the future, to surmount all tests, to lay more quickly and firmly than ever before the foundations of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, that Kingdom prophesied since the days of Adam, and promised to men by their Heavenly Father.
Who can doubt that Shoghi Effendi will be viewed by posterity as the true conqueror of Africa? Whoever arose to serve that continent, whatever sign of action he beheld on the part of individual, Assembly or community, attracted his glance and received a burning intensity of interest, an outpouring of encouragement and assistance characteristic of the brilliant mind and wonderful nature with which Bahá'u'lláh had endowed him. With what intense pride he viewed the achievements of the past seven years, beginning with the African work inaugurated by the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles and continued, in collaboration with the American, Persian, Indian and 'Iraqi National Assemblies, who were allotted specific tasks in this vast continent and who worked for its spiritual conquest in cooperation with the National Spiritual Assembly of Egypt and Sudan, the first national body established on this continent in 1924 and representing territories opened to the Faith during the lifetime of Bahá'u'lláh Himself. With what love he watched over its spiritual progress, blessing it even before the inception of the World Crusade through the appointment of a Hand of the Cause, an institution he recently reinforced by raising three other African pioneers to this high rank, one of whom has the distinction of being the second Negro Hand in Bahá'í history. With what eagerness he followed the movement of the devoted and self-sacrificing pioneers, whether of African, American, Asian or European origin, as they spread out-torch-bearers of the New Day-into every territory of a continent so long stigmatized as the "dark continent", and brought the illumination of this glorious Faith to its peoples. With what joy he announced to the Bahá'í world on various occasions the progress on the African front, the formation of four new Regional National Assemblies, one of which was the successor to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Egypt and the Sudan, and of no less than one hundred and fifty Spiritual Assemblies; the introduction of the Faith into more than two hundred tribes, the translation of its literature into more than seventy languages, the purchase of numerous Haziratu'l-Quds and endowments both national and local; the swelling of the number of believers to over four thousand, three-fourths of whom are Africans; and


the increase in the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside to over six hundred.
The holding of this historic Conference signalizes the opening of the fourth phase of the World Crusade, a phase which the beloved Guardian himself stated must be characterized by an unprecedented expansion in the vital process of individual conversion and by the construction of three Mother Temples, one in Africa, one in Europe and one in Australia. From the beginning of the Ten Year Crusade-indeed it would be more correct to say from the very beginning of his ministry-the Guardian repeatedly emphasized to the believers of East and West the paramount importance of the teaching work and pointed out to us that the purpose for which we have so laboriously erected our administrative institutions was primarily to enable us to carry the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to the peoples of the world and redeem their hearts through His grace.
In Shoghi Effendi's own messages written last year to the African Regional Assemblies he strongly emphasized that their primary function and duty was to enrol in ever greater numbers the African peoples under the banner of Bahá'u'lláh. Such was the importance he attached to the teaching work that in his last Message to the Bahá'í world he stated that although the additional Auxiliary Boards' specific duty was to watch over the security of the Faith, the old Auxiliary Boards must be exclusively concerned in assisting in the prosecution of the Ten Year Plan. He urged the Regional Assemblies in Africa to economize in matters concerning the Administration, in order that their limited resources as much as possible could be expended on ways and means of converting the African peoples, so dear to his heart, to the Faith. He pointed out to them that once they had made sure the individual had accepted the station of Bahá'u'lláh as that of the Manifestation of God for this Day, with the implications that this implies, petty obstacles should not be placed in his path or details insisted upon, but rather through a process of loving education after acceptance the new believer should be deepened in his knowledge and understanding of the Teachings. It was his dearest hope that through the concerted efforts of the Hands of the Faith, the Regional Assemblies, the Auxiliary Boards, the pioneers and all the Bahá'ís an immense flow of new recruits would swell the ranks of the believers and, rising like a torrent, pour itself out in the channels of now Assemblies and communities throughout the territories of this vast continent.
So encouraged was the beloved Guardian by the spectacular victories won in so short a time, and the evidences of the indomitable enthusiasm of the believers labouring in this fallow field that he urged them to surpass the specific tasks of the Ten Year Plan by adding supplementary ones, such as local Haziratu'l-Quds and endowments, other languages


spoken on this continent, and further undertakings which would redound to the glory of the Faith. He was also anxious that the prizes won at the cost of so much effort should be maintained, and laid particular emphasis on the need for strengthening the work in the newly formed State of Ghana and of consolidating the work in Liberia, the Belgian Congo, Rwanda Urundi, French Equatorial Africa and Comoro; he strongly emphasized the necessity of reopening Rio de Oro and the Spanish Sahara; he made strong appeals for more African teachers to circulate amongst the various nations of Africa and carry the Message to their own people, and repeatedly called attention to the need for pioneers to go out into new districts within the territories already opened to the Faith.
It was the beloved Guardian's own arrangement that the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar to be erected in Kampala should coincide with this first inaugural Conference of the halfway point of the Bahá'í World Crusade, and it is he who has specially and eternally blessed this Mother Temple of the African continent by having in its foundations the Sacred Dust from the innermost Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh and a fragment of plaster from the room of the Bab. in the fortress of Mah-Ku where He was imprisoned. He repeatedly emphasized the tremendous spiritual importance of this Temple, which will be a mighty silent teacher of the Faith and a haven of refuge spiritually to the believers. To the friends attending this Conference the Guardian has given in his last message the privilege of not only lending a powerful impetus to the completion of this glorious enterprise but also to that of the Mother Temples to be built in the European and Australian continents.
To these many soul-stirring bounties must be added that of viewing the portrait of Bahá'u'lláh and a lock of His precious hair, sent at the express wish of our beloved Guardian to grace this Conference, both of which will be entrusted for safe-keeping to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Central and East Africa.
Now is the time for the believers to demonstrate the firmness of their faith and the ardour that will carry them through every test to the victories beyond. A great outpouring of spirit has been foreshadowed in the beloved Guardian's Message calling these Conferences, and it is for each and every one of us to receive from that outpouring his own allotted portion. Should we all arise with selfless, united, and consecrated effort, should we fix our gaze unwaveringly on the goals the Guardian set us, and resolve to demonstrate the quality of our faith in heroic acts comparable to those of the Dawn-breakers, the unfailing mercy of the Blessed Beauty will undoubtedly sustain and support us and enable us to perform such deeds as will cause all men to wonder and bow down in awe and admiration before the Name of Bahá'u'lláh. Then will the friends in Africa


be enabled to attain the bounties promised to them and contribute their share to the erection of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh about which the Guardian wrote in one of his last messages to an African National Assembly:
"Whatever may tend to accelerate the onward march, the expansion and consolidation of the institutions of this Order must be eagerly seized upon, and utilized to the utmost, for the attainment of this noble purpose. Whether or not constituting a specific objective of the Ten Year or Seven Year Plan, any measure or enterprise designed to reinforce the foundations of these institutions or to noise abroad their fame, or to extend the sphere of their beneficent influence, must be adopted and fearlessly embarked upon, however great the material sacrifices involved, however prolonged and arduous the effort required.
"The splendid exertions of the past must, in the face of the challenge now confronting these communities, be redoubled. The self-same consecration distinguishing the rank and file of the believers, as well as those so ably representing them-nay a still nobler standard of whole-hearted dedication to the pressing and manifold requirements of God's infant Faith, now struggling to emerge from obscurity and vindicate its purpose-must be evinced, if the tasks ahead are to be adequately fulfilled. All must participate in this meritorious and collective endeavour, whatever their age, of either sex, and however difficult the circumstances with which they are surrounded.
"They cannot but feel confident, that, if they persevere along the path they have chosen to tread, the Author of the Divine Plan, Whose mandate they are executing, will guide and succour them in their historic enterprise, and the Concourse on High will acclaim their victories and sustain their labours and the Founder of the Faith Himself will graciously assist them and abundantly reward them both in this world and in the next."





To the Hands of the Cause of God in the Holy Land
February 4, 1958

Dear Friends:
In accordance with your urgent request, steps are being taken to delete from our statement "A Now Bahá'í Era" the reference to the door being closed to any hope for a future second Guardian, and the passage attributing to your body the authority to expel Covenant-breakers from the Faith.
Since your cablegram arrived in between meetings of the National Assembly, this letter is only an acknowledgement of your cable and any further communications will be based on consultation of the Hands and National Assembly members.
Since you saw only excerpts from our statement, a copy of the complete statement is enclosed.
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States
By: Horace Holley, Secretary
To the Members of the National and Regional Bahá'í Assemblies East and West
February 13, 1958

Dearly beloved Friends and Co-workers:
This letter from the Custodians is long overdue; our thoughts have been with all the Assembly members constantly during this great period of trial and sorrow and we have realized how heavy were your loads and how great the responsibility resting on you at this time, Our own problems, however, and the crushing sense of obligation to our beloved Guardian to carry on his work, have made it impossible to send a more detailed and intimate communication to you before this.
Three months have passed since our best-beloved Guardian so suddenly left us-months of longing and heartbreak for all Bahá'ís After the


meeting of the Hands of the Faith in Bahji a period of suffering and heart-searching so intense that not one of them could ever endure to pass through it again, the work we had agreed to shoulder began. In our sorrow, our humility before the greatness of our task, we began to see the repeated evidences of the mercy of Bahá'u'lláh; in a truly miraculous way the endowments, properties and funds registered in the name of our beloved Guardian have been protected and safely transferred to either the Custodians or other Bahá'í bodies.
The first of the mighty Intercontinental Conferences planned by the beloved Guardian himself was held in Kampala with great success; over 900 believers were present, well over half being African Bahá'ís the sum of a hundred thousand pounds was raised for the purpose specified by the Guardian himself, thus ensuring a far swifter advance in the work throughout the African continent; a most wonderful spirit of determination, rededication, consecration and zeal was generated and spread to all the friends-whether African, Asian, European or American. We cannot but marvel at the forethought of the Guardian in calling for these five great Conferences to be held in the months after his passing. What a stimulation they will provide to the work and what an infinite consolation, and inspiration to the believers everywhere! The sense of nearness to him, to his wishes and his work was very strong at Kampala and we feel sure will be as strong or even stronger at the other Conferences.
It is a great pity that the immense distances separating the Hands here at the World Centre and the heavy expense of travel prevent us from meeting with the various National Assemblies or members of them; the Hands of the Faith themselves, as you know, were only able to foresee, for the time being, an annual meeting of all of them. Of course should an emergency arise they would gather at once, but barring this they felt the teaching work and other aspects of the World Crusade should take precedence over everything else in order to carry out the expressed wishes of our beloved Guardian and hasten the day when the work all over the world will have been so firmly laid that the supreme administrative Body, the infinite blessing of Bahá'u'lláh, the Supreme House of Justice, can be erected.
In view of this we particularly wish to call to your attention certain things that are, we feel, of supreme importance; our beloved Guardian gave thirty-six years of his life to the work of erecting Bahá'u'lláh's World Administrative Order; had he not felt such an urgency in carrying out this work he might be alive now; he alone saw the entire Plan, the world plan of the work as a mighty unit; how often he pointed out to us that the "heart" and "nerve centre" of the Faith was Haifa; that Bahá'u'lláh Himself had made it clear that here in the Holy Land would forever be united the Spiritual and the Administrative World Centre; he guarded this


Centre (as had 'Abdu'l-Bahá before Him) with the greatest care, well knowing that a blow to the heart is felt in the remotest part of the body and that good circulation from the heart will keep the smallest member of the body vital and in good health. We, daily occupied with the cares and worries of this World Centre, are now greatly concerned lest any inadvertent act on our part or the part of the present National and Regional Assemblies which form the bedrock of the future International House of Justice should interrupt this smooth flow of spiritual circulation built up so wisely and painstakingly by our beloved Shoghi Effendi
We do not know what the future holds in store; by this we mean that the world situation is so precarious that, as the Guardian so repeatedly pointed out, wars and disturbances of an unforeseen nature may break out and perhaps cut the World Centre off from all or a part of the other Bahá'í centres temporarily; meantime we have this mighty Plan, the last five years of it, to vigorously prosecute; it can only be coordinated and directed from the World Centre. To the degree to which we receive news and reports, Minutes of your meetings, suggestions etc. from all of you, as well as from other sources in the Bahá'í world, to just that same degree will we be able to protect and promote the work of the Plan and safeguard the World Centre. The blood must go on pumping in and out of this heart of our Faith.
Your responsibility is therefore very great at this time, not only towards the believers whom you represent, but towards us who are seeking to firmly grasp and protect the world affairs of the Faith which are one of the most unique creations of the Guardian. It was his hand at the helm that preserved uniformity in essentials whilst encouraging diversity in nonessentials. This is perhaps the greatest work that must now be carried on by us from this World Centre. We cannot do it without your constant help! The recognition of the friends everywhere of the nature and function of the World Centre and the support its institutions must receive will surely hasten the day when the Universal House of Justice can be formed and lighten its tasks.
We therefore appeal to you to continue, in every way, uninterruptedly and as before the Beloved's passing, your communications with your World Centre; send us your Minutes (from which the Guardian gleaned much of his statistical information), your reports and your questions, so that we can help preserve the uniform character of the Faith now established in over 250 territories. You and we must always bear in mind that what inspires and unites the World Bahá'í Community is the pulsating stream to and from one universal point. With the World Centre also lies the obligation of keeping up the statistics of the Faith and the maps and charts so dear to our beloved Guardian's heart and which were always


such a source of joy and inspiration to the believers everywhere. The Guardian himself spoke in his last message to all National Conventions of "the Holy Land-the Qiblih of a world community, the heart from which the energizing influences of a vivifying Faith continually stream, and the seat and centre around which the diversified activities of a divinely appointed Administrative Order revolve. . ."
In closing we ask you one and all to remember the Custodians in your prayers and supplications that we may be given the strength and inspiration necessary to preserve the work for which our so dearly-loved Guardian sacrificed his entire life and which in the end cost him his life.
We in turn will pray for you all in the holy Shrines here.
With warmest Bahá'í love,

FEBRUARY 16,1958

To the Hands of the Faith and the Members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States
February 17, 1958

Beloved Co-workers:
The letter from the Hand of the Cause Horace Holley dated February 4th with copy of the statement you issued entitled "A New Bahá'í Era" was received, and after studying it very carefully we wish to share our views with you regarding it, and explain to you the reasons which prompted our recent cable requesting that certain points be deleted from it.
We never received any copy whatsoever of this statement in Haifa and are most anxious to know if one was ever mailed to the Custodians? If it was sent to the Hand of the Cause Leroy Ioas, he unfortunately had to go to a sanatorium in Switzerland to take care of his heart, which had not been in a good condition for some time and was becoming seriously impaired through work and strain after the passing of the beloved Guardian and the shock he received at that time.


We heard of this statement of yours through excerpts forwarded here by some of the Hands of the Cause in Europe who were very distressed over the repercussions it might have, and indeed was already having, on the believers there.
Dear friends, the nine Hands of the Faith serving here at the World Centre have been very distressed that a statement of this magnitude, interpreting as it does the Proclamation made by the twenty-seven Hands of the Faith when they gathered in Bahji after the ascension of the beloved Guardian, who are according to his own words "the Chief Stewards of the embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh" should have been issued without consultation with either the Custodians or the body of the Hands of the Cause who are dispersed all over the world.
Please do not misunderstand us; we fully appreciate that your motive was to protect the Faith, that you must have been asked many questions which prompted this response, and that you acted after full consultation amongst yourselves. This does not change the fact that the only way the work of our beloved Guardian for which he was immolated for thirty-six years and which cost him his life in the end, can be protected, is by preserving the world character of the Cause of God, and this can obviously only be done from the International Centre of the Faith, the Centre which he said so many times was the heart or nerve centre, and the permanent Spiritual and Administrative Centre.
If there is at this time of crisis a continental interpretation of events, and a continental answer to questions being raised by the believers, the dangers to the Cause of God are obviously immense. There are in our World Community eastern and western believers. Their backgrounds are different, their approach to a test of this nature different-the answer however must be uniform the world over; otherwise grave differences may arise and the marvellous accomplishment of our beloved Guardian in unifying this diversified Community be lost temporarily and its efficacy impaired.
We feel sure that you will see the wisdom of this, and that in future you will assist us, veteran and much-loved Community by our beloved Guardian that you are, to protect the work from the World Centre and to ensure its smooth functioning in all continents of the globe.
We have just cabled you, asking you, without making any undue fuss or attracting attention to the fact that you are doing so, to quietly divert attention, so to speak, from this statement which has been recently issued. If no further emphasis is given to it and the believers are encouraged to concentrate their full forces on making the forthcoming Intercontinental Conference in Chicago a tremendous success, which will be in itself a worthy American memorial to our dearly beloved Shoghi Effendi we feel that no serious harm will have been done.


The spirit of the believers all over the world is truly remarkable, and their faith, although in many cases having received a severe test, is unimpaired, and their devotion boundless. They must now be led, as you yourselves are wisely seeking to do, into the path of greater service, and the grief in their hearts converted into a dynamo of energy with which to carry on the teaching work and fulfil the Guardian's cherished plans.
We send you all our Bahá'í love, and ask you to remember us in your prayers as we remember you in ours.
Yours in the service of the beloved Guardian,

To All National Spiritual Assemblies
March 4, 1958

Dear Bahá'í Friends:
We would appreciate receiving by return air mail information as to the number of Assemblies, groups and isolated centres there are under the jurisdiction of your Assembly, so that we can prepare the statistical information which our beloved Guardian gave every year from the World Centre to the believers on the occasion of the holding of Bahá'í Conventions during Ridvan.
We are sure that particularly at this time when the friends feel deeply the loss of the one who guided and watched over them with such constant and loving care, that it would cheer their hearts to receive the good news of the progress of the Faith for which he so completely sacrificed himself.
If you have any other achievements to report, such as the opening of one of the countries listed as a goal of the Ten Year Crusade, or any new publication or translation etc., please include it in your letter.
We send you all our loving greetings for the Bahá'í New Year which will so soon be upon us, a year which we hope in spite of our sorrows will witness great victories won in the Cause of God.
Yours in the service of the beloved Guardian,

To the Hand of the Cause, Mr. Horace Holley
March 10, 1958

Revered Bahá'í Brother:
The Hands in the Holy Land are sending a detailed answer to the


questions raised in the letter of February 24, 1958 addressed to us by the American Hands and the National Spiritual Assembly.
We believe that the points covered in our letter also meet the request made in your separate communication of February 25 to your fellow Hands in Haifa.
Here, as you know, we receive letters from all parts of the world which reflect the approach of the believers of diverse backgrounds to the problems created by the beloved Guardian's passing. As a result, the Custodians have been made very conscious of the necessity to strive for unity in the approach to fundamental matters affecting the structure and future development of the Cause. The Custodians from East and West are aware of the wisdom of avoiding statements or points of view on basic issues which cannot be accepted equally by East and West, and indeed by all of the Bahá'í world, especially in this period, so soon after the ascension of the beloved Guardian, when we are still unable to grasp the full implications of the present situation.
It would have been a great help if you yourself could have served here in these early and critical months, and given us the benefit of your experience and clarity of thought on the many pressing issues with which we have had to cope.
You will now, we feel sure, understand our delicate position and the reasons why we felt it necessary to urge that the statement "A New Bahá'í Era" be withdrawn from circulation. Your fellow-Hands serving here are confident you will place this whole question and its world-wide implications before the members of your National Assembly in such a way that they will fully understand the reasons underlying the actions taken here.
No doubt when the entire body of the Hands gather at our next meeting later this year we will have many things to discuss, and each one win have a greater contribution to make in view of this tragic year's experiences.
We all send you our devoted love and assure you that you are often remembered in our prayers.
Yours in the service of the beloved Guardian,

To the Hands of the Cause of God throughout the World
March 21, 1958

Beloved Fellow-Hands:
Daily our thoughts and our prayers have been with you since we


separated from each other after our great ordeal at Bahji We know your thoughts and loving prayers have surrounded us as we struggle to meet the problems here at the World Centre and to find our way in service at so critical and heart-rending a time in the history of our beloved Faith.
It is being increasingly borne in upon us from news received here as well as the reports of those of us who have been out in the Bahá'í world to serve and returned again, such as Ruhiyyih Khanum, Jalal Khazeh, Paul Haney and Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i that the only possible way the work of this holy Faith, which our beloved Guardian inspired, organized and brought to such a high level, can be maintained and further consolidated, is by focusing both the consciousness of the believers and the work of the Cause of God upon its World Spiritual and Administrative Centre. The strength of a wheel and its power to roll forward are entirely dependent upon the hub, and the solidity of the spokes united in the hub. We have come to see that the supreme work of the Hands-all twenty-seven of them-is to maintain this focal Centre of Unity in the Holy Land at this dangerous time the Faith is passing through. There exists no other instrument for this purpose except ourselves.
As you can well imagine it has been a very trying time. The work is so sacred, the burden of responsibility so heavy on each Hand everywhere in the world-how much more here on the nine Custodians seeking to shoulder on behalf of all the Hands some of those tasks our dearly loved Guardian carried out to such perfection! Slowly we have been able to get our work organized and daily a stronger pattern is emerging. We feel that to have nine here has not only a spiritual significance in itself but that it also greatly helps in making decisions as we get the benefit of the considered opinions of more of the Hands. There is also the influence on the morale of the believers all over the world which is exerted by their knowing that nine of us are constantly engaged in protecting and serving the interests of the Faith at its Heart. Unfortunately thus far it has not been possible to maintain this number at all times.
Of the permanent Custodians six are now here-Ruhiyyih Khanum, Amelia Collins, Jalal Khazeh 'Ali-Akbar Furutan Paul Haney and Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, as well as the alternate Custodian Ugo Giachery, Mason Remey has just left for Sydney. Hasan Balyuzi has not yet been able to arrange his business and family affairs (he hopes to do this within a few months), and Leroy Ioas has had to go to a sanatorium in Switzerland to treat a heart condition which has been developing for some time. He is better now and we hope to have him with us about the beginning of May. John Ferraby and Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i have been acting as substitutes, but as one is the British National Spiritual Assembly Secretary and the other the Chairman of the Persian National Spiritual Assembly, they


have been forced to return to their posts where they were urgently needed. In a few weeks Ugo Giachery, will have to return to Europe en route to the Chicago Conference. We find that during the summer months we might even be reduced to six temporarily, in spite of the fact that 'Ali Muhammad Varqa will be coming to act as a substitute for some months. We feel you should know this because it has a direct bearing on the work all of us are doing and on our future plans.
Daily we are more convinced of the need for the Hands to not only be strongly represented here by nine resident Hands as much of the time as possible, but that increasingly during the coming years until the Universal House of Justice can be formed, the other Hands must be made free to travel and circulate amongst the believers, so that they can not only watch over and protect the Faith better, but ensure that an uninterrupted flow of spiritual life continues to pour out from the World Centre. The beloved Guardian was in his person the very heart of our Faith; we are but his most humble and inadequate servants, but the supreme function of the heart as the key organ of the whole must go on, and it is our duty at this time and ours alone to see that it does. There are many obstacles in the way of our accomplishing this, the two greatest being financial means and health. Some of the Hands are too frail to carry on heavy duties or travel. The funds of the Faith, already heavily committed, are not at the present in a position to support extensive travelling on the part of the Hands. We share these thoughts with you so that you can better understand our problems and the way the Custodians you have appointed see at least some of the urgent needs of the Faith.
From a recently issued statement of the American Hands and National Spiritual Assembly, from letters received regarding remarks made by some of the Asiatic and European Hands, it is becoming obvious that in a perfectly natural course of human events, and with no awareness of its perils, there has been a tendency for different interpretations of our present situation and different prognostications of the future to be made. At times such as this in history, when a firmly integrated organism is suddenly deprived of its pivot, there is a strong centrifugal force released, and we believe that the urgent and most sacred duty of the Hands now is to offset this process at all costs. We feel very strongly that unless we hear from you all about conditions in your areas in more detail and more frequently, we will not be able to discharge the heavy responsibilities you have given us.
The first step must surely be to think, to catch the vision of the Bahá'í world and its work as the Guardian himself saw it. Even those of us serving here at the World Centre-some of us privileged to have been guided by the Guardian himself-realize only now that he is no longer


here, and we are forced to assume responsibility, how vast is the field and how tremendous the work required to preserve what has been won and carry on what has not yet been finished, thus ensuring that our beloved Guardian did not lay down his life in vain, and that his work is accomplished.
We feel a great adjustment in our thinking is required on the part of the Hands here and abroad; we must think deeply and quickly. The time is flying, and the need for action on a world scale constantly before us. The minds of National Spiritual Assembly members are focused on carrying on the work within the area of their own jurisdiction. Very much the same thing is true of the Hands, as during the beloved Guardian's lifetime they were called upon to discharge continental duties. Now with the sudden irreparable loss of our beloved Guardian the Hands are compelled to see the Bahá'í world as a whole, as he always did, to forget regional consciousness (although of course they will continue to watch over the work in their respective areas), and to think on behalf of Shoghi Effendi of the world needs, world protection, world consolidation of this mighty Faith. God forbid that we should fall short of our duty. How will we ever account to him who appointed us if we do?
We feel that as you associate with the various National Spiritual Assemblies in the discharge of your duties, you should constantly remind them of these things and help them to bear in mind that if they are a national body, say in Latin America, the spiritual health and entire future of what they love most in this world-the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh-depends not only on their own condition but on that of their counterparts in Europe, Asia or Africa, and that the tie binding them to those sister bodies passes straight through the heart of the Faith, through Haifa, its World Centre. To the degree to which the Bahá'í world begins to think this way, to just this degree will we Hands be able to protect it and hold it together until the House of Justice comes into being.
We feel that from now on the Hands of the Faith should consider arranging their personal affairs so that they may to as great a degree as possible be free to serve at the World Centre or throughout the Bahá'í world, travelling and inspiring the believers, and keeping before their eyes what we must first ourselves firmly grasp-the world picture of the Faith and its present needs. The question of finances must naturally be considered but we believe that support will not fail if the believers behold in the Hands those spiritual qualities commensurate with the high station conferred upon them as stewards of the Faith.
We believe that there would be a great advantage gained in having Hands from one continent visit another continent. We all know the impetus a local community receives through outside visitors. The effect is infinitely greater if the visitor is a Hand of the Faith. Let us therefore


ponder these things, reorient our thinking, and reorient it quickly.
After the ascension of the Guardian, we are still in a state of shock. Neither our enemies nor any doubters there may be in our midst have yet rallied their forces. The love of the friends for their beloved Guardian has welled up a mighty flow of devotion and determination to carry on his plans. The iron is hot, and if we do not strike now, we Hands may never as long as we live have another opportunity like this.
We believe this is a formative moment in both Bahá'í and world history. The five Intercontinental Conferences offer the unique opportunity to inspire and set afire the believers. This was one of the purposes of the Guardian in calling for them, and we must utilize them to the full, to raise up a new spirit of consecration which in turn will stimulate an increasing flow of pioneers and larger sums to carry on the work before us. We hope you will do all you can to encourage the friends to attend them and that those of you who are present yourselves will do your best to keep the discussion on a high spiritual plane and focus on the work to be done during die next five years. It seems to us that what has happened historically-the passing of the Guardian and his leaving no Will-has placed the Bahá'ís in a position which no mere intellectual approach can either mitigate or solve. Spiritual forces alone, resignation to the will of God, prayer, consecration, self-sacrifice, devotion, can carry us forward through this period.
We want you to know that in a most remarkable way the problems connected with protecting various properties at the World Centre and in the Cradle of the Faith have been overcome. It is not wise as yet to write in detail as it might jeopardize what is being done, but we will report to you in full in November when we meet at Bahji The preservation of this Centre and those functions it can and must still fulfil in the absence of him who was the interpreter of the Word of God is, we believe, not only our supreme duty, but that of each one of you equally.
None of us can ever be the same after last November 4th. We must then ask ourselves what are we going to be from now on? What are the opportunities that lie before us? Not having our Guardian now in this physical world, we must cling the more tightly to each other, we the Hands he raised up for the protection of his work. Would that we were more adequate to meet the needs of this tragic hour!
To you, the closest kindred of our hearts, we send our love, and we pray for you all every time we visit the Holy Shrines, and daily as well.
Yours in the service of the beloved Guardian,

P.S. May we remind you that the text of this communication is addressed to the Hands alone.


The Intercontinental Conference, Sydney, Australia
March 21-24,1958

To the Hands of the Cause, members of their Auxiliary Boards, members of Regional and National Spiritual Assemblies, pioneers, resident believers, and visitors attending the Intercontinental Conference in Sydney, March, 1958.

Beloved Friends:
Although but five months have elapsed since the passing of our beloved Guardian shook the Bahá'í world and caused turmoil in the hearts of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh, the power of this supreme Faith to survive so grievous a blow is now clearly manifest. A new spirit of determination, dedication and resolve can be seen throughout the entire World Bahá'í Community. Deprived of him who was our Guardian, our guide and our true brother, we nevertheless feel his presence constantly in the smooth workings of the mighty Order he erected, according to the design of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and in the writings, messages and letters he left us, and, above all, in the unfoldment of the Ten Year Crusade he so carefully planned, so untiringly promulgated and so energetically prosecuted through the intermediary of not only the Hands of the Cause and the Regional and National Assemblies, as well as the Auxiliary Boards and Local Assemblies, but above all, through the vast and consecrated army of believers the world over. Our grief at the passing of the beloved Guardian remains fresh in our hearts, but with it is mixed a joy for his sake that he no longer has to suffer the travails and sorrows inseparable from the promulgation of the Word of God to a humanity that is rapidly losing touch with spiritual reality and being drained of the vital force of faith, and that he no longer must bear the weight of work which rested so crushingly on him for over a third of a century.
As we now survey the vast field of his accomplishments in the light of our great loss, we begin to realize what this one being, inspired by God, driven by forces beyond our understanding, accomplished in so brief a time. A staggering task now faces us. The Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land, however, have been amazed at the strong evidence of a new maturity amongst the believers and their firm and irrevocable determination to carry on to complete fulfilment the work of their dearly-loved Shoghi Effendi There is no doubt in our minds or in the minds of any of the Chief Stewards of the embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh, that this can be done as long as we all work together in a closely coordinated pattern following the design he set for us, keeping the life blood


flowing into Haifa, the great Heart and permanent Spiritual and Administrative Centre of the Faith as he designated it, and out of it again on a world scale in the form of news, statistics and advice.
In the great work that lies before us, the Bahá'ís in the Antipodes have a very important part to play. The significance of this role has been strongly emphasized by the fact that whereas at the opening of the World Crusade in 1953, the beloved Guardian called for four Intercontinental Conferences to be held in Africa, America, Europe and Asia, this time at the Crusade's hAli-way point, he has added a fifth Intercontinental Conference to serve the rapidly growing needs of Australasia. The progress which has been achieved in this region has been truly phenomenal, and has kept pace with Shoghi Effendi's own thirty-six years of ministry of the Faith. From the days after the beloved Master's Ascension, when the first Centre was firmly established in Sydney, until last April, when the Guardian called for the election of the first historic National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand, the unfoldment has been steady; the loyalty, devotion, obedience and enthusiasm of the Australian and New Zealand believers were a constant source of pride to him, and attracted an ever increasing measure of encouragement and attention on his part. His love and good-pleasure were poured upon them in many ways, the most impressive evidence being his plan to erect one of the three Mashriqu'l-Adhkars to be constructed during the World Crusade, in Sydney. This project was particularly dear to his heart, knowing as he did that it will constitute a mighty silent teacher of the Faith, and be an haven of refuge spiritually to all the believers in that area. This Mother Temple, not only of the Antipodes, but of the entire Pacific region, will, by his express instructions, be specially and eternally blessed through having in its foundations some of the Sacred Dust from the innermost Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, and a fragment of plaster from the room of the Bab. in the fortress of Mah-Ku where He was imprisoned. The Guardian in his last Message to the Bahá'í world particularly encouraged the believers attending these five historic Conferences, to rally to the support of the Temples now being erected and thus ensure their speedy completion.
In Shoghi Effendi's last message to the Australian National Spiritual Assembly he unfolded before their eyes, in his own inimitable way, a vast panorama of future development in the entire Pacific area: he pointed out that Australia and Japan constitute the northern and southern poles of a mighty spiritual axis running through the Pacific region and that through this axis the current of a close collaboration in the execution of the Divine Plan throughout that entire region must flow. He emphasized that within this area embraced by New Zealand and Australia in the south and Japan in the north, "an area endowed" as he wrote "with unimaginable potentialities,


and which, owing to its strategic position, is bound to feel the impact of world-shaking forces, and to shape to a marked degree through the experience gained by its peoples in the school of adversity, the destinies of mankind." A tremendous responsibility inevitably rested on the two oldest and strongest communities represented by the Australian National Spiritual Assembly and the Regional National Spiritual Assembly of North-East Asia, to not only carry forward the teaching work in the islands scattered over the face of the sea, but in their homelands as well. We cannot do better than recall his own weighty words on this subject: "A responsibility, at once weighty and inescapable, must rest on the communities which occupy so privileged a position in so vast and turbulent an area of the globe. However great the distance that separates them; however much they differ in race, language, custom and religion; however active the political forces which tend to keep them apart and foster racial and political antagonisms, the close and continued association of these communities in their common, their peculiar and paramount task of raising up and of consolidating the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh in those regions of the globe, is a matter of vital and urgent importance, which should receive on the part of the elected representatives of their communities, a most earnest and prayerful consideration."
He reminded the Australian believers that theirs was a two-fold task: on the one hand, to consolidate, multiply and expand the institutions of the Faith at home and in the many islands beyond its confines, and on the other, to forge fresh links with its sister communities, particularly those in the north Pacific, in anticipation of the mission these communities are destined to collectively discharge.
He reminded both the Australian and New Zealand Communities of their immediate duties, affectionately naming New Zealand-whose recently elected National Spiritual Assembly will constitute a pillar of the future International House of Justice-that "far-away and promising Dominion"; he called upon its National Assembly to formulate a Six Year Plan aimed at multiplying the Spiritual Assemblies, groups and isolated centres at incorporating both the National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, at obtaining recognition of both Bahá'í Holy Days and the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate, and at purchasing a site for a future House of Worship. He also strongly emphasized the need to concentrate on teaching the Maoris, to whom he attached great importance, and to increase the centres in the South Island. To the Australian National Spiritual Assembly he particularly recommended the needs of the far-flung teaching work in the Islands. He was immensely pleased and proud of the work accomplished and being carried on by the pioneers, and urged that at all costs their labours be fully supported and re-inforced, that more literature in


island tongues be added to the translations already so successfully undertaken, that the native believers be strengthened and increased, and that particular attention be given to the Bahá'í School in the New Hebrides, a school of which he was immensely proud and to which he attached great importance.
There can be no doubt that the Australian and New Zealand friends gathered here, as well as those who have come in from the islands for this historic occasion, see before them a glowing vista of future achievements painted in the words of our beloved Guardian. They must however bear in mind that the road will not be a smooth one. How repeatedly he warned us all that before the first mighty fruits of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh would appear must come a period of unparalleled trial and struggle for mankind; that tests and dangers would beset the believers from both within and without. We see now, the heaviest blow, his own passing, having already struck us, how difficult may be our path, how heavy our burdens. In his Convention Message last April he wrote: "Parallel with this process of progressive deterioration in human affairs, now visibly gathering momentum outside the pale of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and recalling the convulsions which, on a far more restricted scale, seized a declining empire in the opening centuries of the Christian era, far less spectacular in its manifestation, has been the process of integration, as demonstrated by the increasing cohesion, the multiplication, and the reinforcement of the foundations, of the institutions of the embryonic Bahá'í World Order, which, now, under the impact of the forces released by a World Spiritual Crusade, deriving its authority from the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and launched for the express purpose of executing the Divine Plan bequeathed by Him to His followers in the evening of His life, is contributing, unnoticed by a generation forgetful of its God, and already in the shadow of His Visitation, to the building up, slowly but irresistibly, of that Ark of human salvation, ordained as the ultimate haven of a society destined, for the most part, to be submerged by the tidal wave of the abuses and evils which its own perversity has engendered."
Whatever may befall us, before this Ark of human salvation is safely launched as the only refuge mankind can know, we are assured that the ultimate victory will be ours, ours the glory of having served and sacrificed for this Most Holy Faith, ours the crown of having remained steadfast in the path laid down for us by our well-beloved Guardian, ours the reward of his radiant smile when we meet him face to face in a better world, ours the joy of hearing him say: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."



APRIL 19,1958



To Annual Bahá'í Conventions

Dearly beloved Friends:
Ridvan is the most joyful period of the Bahá'í year. It is not only the Spring period of the world, but commemorates that Divine Springtide when ninety-five years ago the Supreme Manifestation of God revealed Himself in Baghdad and gave the promise of that Message which is destined to unite all peoples in universal peace and to enable them to live an existence ordered by Divine Law. It was particularly at this time every year that the thoughts and hearts of the believers turned to Haifa in loving anticipation of the beloved Guardian's Convention Message, of the news of the progress of the Faith the world over which he would send to them, and the inspiration, encouragement and guidance his words would bring them. How great is the shadow of his absence upon our hearts now! It would be hard to say whether you, gathered in so many far corners of the planet feel it more keenly or we, the handful of his servants at the World Centre, where every tree and pebble and flower reminds us that he has ascended to the Paradise of Bahá'u'lláh and been gathered to the glory of his Divine Forebears.
Many times during the last few years the beloved Guardian stated that while the Bahá'ís the world over were carrying out the provisions of the Divine Plan revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the activities of the present World Crusade, the Supreme Plan of God Himself was also being worked out, and that a point might come when these two Plans met and that perhaps the Plan of God would intervene in the events of the Lesser Plan. May not his sudden passing be seen as the fulfilment of his words?


Bahá'u'lláh's Own hand has been stretched forth, the Designer has altered the design but the pattern remains in its strength and glory. Every single believer must, during the past six months, have been aware of how mighty is the stronghold of our Faith, how impregnable the walls our Guardian raised about it during the last thirty-six years in the form of the tightly-woven, divinely-ordained Administrative Order which has suffered no rupture because of the sudden cataclysm of his passing and which remains not only our fortress, built by the Word of God, but the refuge for all mankind in the days to come. The Hands of the Faith at the World Centre, however, have been in a position to witness to a unique degree how true this is. Greater than any praise which can ever be laid at our Guardian's door or any monument that will ever be built in his honour, is this testimony to his achievements as reflected in the spirit shown by the Bahá'ís in East and West, whether old or new, their faithfulness to his wishes, their universal whole-hearted determination to carry out his plans, his hopes, his aims. A mighty wave of poignant love has swept all hearts, drawing the believers closer, uniting them in purpose, spurring them on to far greater dedication, sacrifice and service in the path of God-that crimson-stained path in which the Bab. Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá were immolated, in which twenty thousand souls laid down their lives and which has now received a deeper hue through the last great sacrifice, Shoghi Effendi's own precious life.
During the Conventions presently being held, the delegates, the outgoing and incoming National Spiritual Assemblies, and all the believers have a unique opportunity to concentrate their attention on the objectives of the Ten Year Plan, as they affect their area of the globe, to contemplate the as yet unfulfilled goals, to deliberate and make suggestions on ways and means of speedily attaining them, to both pledge and raise the sums of money required for the important, urgent and arduous tasks of the coming year, to give their hearts anew to the work of God-hearts freshly purged of the dross of self through their universal grief-to arise and fulfil the soul-stiffing plea of the Master, so often quoted by Shoghi Effendi "O, that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and raising the call of Ya Baha'u'l-Abha in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it." Lot them remember that, as our Guardian said, heroic souls have already, since the beginning of this Crusade, "either quaffed the cup of martyrdom, or laid down their lives, or been subjected to divers ordeals while combating for its Cause", and let them determine to do likewise, while there is yet time, and win the crown of immortal glory promised to all those who arise in the name of Bahá'u'lláh, to spread His Faith.


After the sudden and soul-shattering news of the passing of our dearly loved Guardian, hearts stood still all over the world-what did the future hold? Then came the realization on the part of the friends that in his very last message, published on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Holy Year, the Guardian had left an instrument and given instructions by which his work could be carried on, the Crusade safety prosecuted to the end, the Cause of God protected and the Design of Bahá'u'lláh, as embodied in His Most Holy Book, executed. The details of the World Crusade, like a precious golden talisman, lie in our palm. The instrument for carrying the Faith through this difficult period-perhaps to be the darkest in its history-has been re-inforced, and its functions amplified through the references made to the Hands of the Faith as the "Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth", through the appointment of eight more Hands scattered all over the globe, and through the addition of new Auxiliary Boards whose sole function is to protect the Cause of God.
Twenty-six of the twenty-seven Hands of the Faith gathered in Bahá'u'lláh's Mansion at Bahji and for one week, alone, in exhaustive hours of prayer, soul-searching and consultation, sought guidance for the immediate future. The conclusions unanimously born as a result of this agony and purging of heart were embodied in the Proclamation issued by the Hands. This document did not attempt to answer "why?". Who can answer that question until another Manifestation of God appears? It did answer "how?". It created a method which, with the cooperation of the believers, will ensure that the next stage in the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá as amplified and outlined by our Guardian in the provisions of the World Crusade, is carried out fully and successfully, paving the way for the election of that supreme Universal House of Justice whose deliberations, 'Abdu'l-Bahá states in His Will and Testament, are under the infallible guidance of God.
Realizing that the administrative and spiritual heart of our Faith is forever fixed in the Holy Land according to the explicit text of our Teachings, the Hands felt the most urgent need was to protect this perfectly functioning heart, which the Guardian had for so many years and at such great cost to himself, built up and consolidated, and which is the centre from which the world-wide administrative functions of the Cause of God must be coordinated and maintained, and into which the reports, news and statistics of the Faith must be poured, if its international character is to be preserved. They therefore unanimously appointed nine of their members to serve in Haifa. These nine were given, as a purely legal measure in order to protect the Faith, the title of "Custodians".
The friends can imagine, remembering their own state of grief and the


sudden feeling of immense moral responsibility to their Faith which swept over them on hearing of the passing of their Guardian, what a burden has fallen on those Hands who serve here at the World Centre. But, even as the sun rises after the darkest night, so have emerged the clear evidences of the unfailing protection of Bahá'u'lláh vouchsafed to His broken-hearted servants. A great wave of sincere, shocked and deep-felt sympathy poured out to the Bahá'í Community from die officials of the State of Israel and its peoples; from the President, Prime Minister and cabinet members down to the simplest citizens, tributes and condolences poured in; at every point the Government of this State has responded to our requests, and cooperated with us in protecting the interests of the Faith at the International Centre. In different parts of the world, including the Cradle of the Faith, victory after victory has been won, raising hope and confidence in our crushed hearts, assuring us that our Guardian has not abandoned us or his own glorious work even though physically he is removed from our presence.
Like an athlete trained to meet the supreme test, the administrative institutions of the Faith, raised up and consolidated by the Guardian, responded to the appeal of the Hands, and with strength and assurance rallied to the support of the Administrative and Spiritual Heart of the Cause in its hour of danger by placing in the hands of the Custodians those documents needed to protect the institutions, properties and privileges possessed by the Bahá'í World Community at its World Centre. So strong has been the demonstration of unity on the part of the believers and their national representatives that no challenge to the actions taken or the decisions reached by the Hands has been made by the Covenant-breakers or other enemies of the Faith.
We now share with you the very encouraging and indeed thrilling news of the unfoldment of the World Crusade, on which, in the words of our Guardian, "the army of the Lord of Hosts has so joyously and confidently embarked". The friends should realize that the main portion of the statistics in this message come from him, as he had assiduously kept the record of the progress being made in various fields up until two days before his passing. It was with the help of exhaustive lists he kept that we were able to assemble and add to the facts, brought up to date by him until the beginning of November, and thus give the believers the truly heartening picture of the steady, irresistible advance of our Faith all over the world. Many supplementary achievements of an outstanding nature have been added since his spirit was freed from the heavy bondage of his earthly life, eloquent witness of the immense love of the believers for that unique and priceless being the beloved Master left in their midst for thirty-six years.


The news of the World Centre, most of which is gleaned from notes prepared by Shoghi Effendi himself for his Annual Convention Message, is most inspiring. After more than sixty-five years of uninterrupted tenure of buildings adjacent to the Holy Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh, the Haram-i-Aqdas was at last purged of the remaining handful of Covenant-breakers in August, 1957, following the expropriation of their properties by the Israel Government. In accordance with the wishes of the beloved Guardian, these buildings were razed, and by the end of December no trace was left. The beautiful white Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh stood forth at last in all its symmetry, unsullied-the very building seemed to shine and breathe in a new peace. The gardens, as planned by the Guardian himself, have been and are still being enlarged in the area left open by the destruction of these buildings, and a third terrace, as planned by him, has been raised towards the east so that a magnificent view is obtained of the Holy Shrine, the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh, and the great arc of gardens created by him during the last few years. Moreover, the title deeds to all the Bahji property expropriated by the Israel Government have been safely registered in the name of the Faith. Negotiations are being completed for extra plots of land towards the north and south of the present area of Bahji owned by the Bahá'ís in order to protect the approaches to the Most Holy Tomb and the entrance to the building used by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the days after the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh.
In Haifa, the International Archives building is now entirely completed inside as well as out; the tall, stained glass window in its western wall, the smaller windows and the ornamental balustrade of its balconies, were built before the passing of the beloved Guardian; the green tiles and six crystal chandeliers he ordered have since been placed in position; and the municipal authorities have granted tax exemption to this first of the international institutions of the Faith to be erected on Mt. Carmel in accordance with the promise of Bahá'u'lláh: 'Erelong will God sail His Ark upon thee". The gate which the beloved Guardian had ordered for the entrance to the "arc" around which the administrative institutions of the World Order are to cluster in the future, and which leads to the International Archives building, is now nearing completion. Since last Ridvan three additional Israel Branches of various National Spiritual Assemblies have been added to those previously registered here and entitled to hold property, namely, those of Pakistan, Alaska and New Zealand. During the past year an unprecedented number of visitors have been received on the Bahá'í properties open to the public, and during the recent Passover Holiday, nearly eight thousand persons visited the Shrine of the Bab. more than eighteen hundred in one day.
The glad tidings of the progress our world-redeeming Faith has made


during the past year in all parts of the globe is truly impressive, and comprises not only victories won before the passing of our most beloved Guardian and under his direct supervision, but others, equally impressive, won since his departure from our midst and bearing eloquent testimony to the inspiration of his spirit, to his watchful guidance from on High, and to the fact that his loving spirit is leading us on to do his work as he would wish it done.
Two of the great rallying points provided for by the Guardian in his last message to the Bahá'í world-namely, the five Intercontinental Conferences-have been held with outstanding success, and a great outpouring of spiritual bounty has undoubtedly been vouchsafed to all the believers, not only those who attended them, but also those who felt the impact of their spirit. The African Conference, at which were present more than four hundred and fifty African believers and an equal number of Persian believers and other visitors from abroad, witnessed the extraordinary feat of the raising of almost a third of a million dollars for the work in that continent, so loved by our Guardian, whilst the Australian Conference, which was attended by believers representing eighteen countries, witnessed an outpouring of more than thirty thousand Australian pounds for the Mother Temple of that continent.
Still another pillar of the Universal House of Justice is being reared in the current Ridvan period in France, the first European country to receive the Message of Bahá'u'lláh, bringing the total number of National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies to thrice nine, and fulfilling one of the most cherished plans of the Guardian.
The number of territories included within the world community of the Most Great Name has now been raised to two hundred and fifty-four. Of all the one hundred and thirty-one new territories listed by our beloved Guardian in the Ten Year Plan, only Spitzbergen and eleven areas included in the Soviet orbit remain unopened, as a result of the settlement, during the past year, of the Chagos Archipelago by the Knight of Bahá'u'lláh Pouva Murday, and the opening of Nicobar Island by the Knights of Bahá'u'lláh Mrs. Bates and her daughter Jeanne Frankel.
The constant multiplication of localities where Bahá'ís reside in all parts of the globe has raised the total number of such centres to over forty-five hundred, an increase of thirteen hundred in the last three years. Of these localities-termed by our Guardian foci of the warming and healing light of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh-nearly one hundred and twenty are now established in the Goal Countries of Europe, nearly one hundred and thirty in the British Isles, over one hundred and thirty-five in Germany and Austria, one hundred and forty in Australasia, one hundred and forty-five in the Dominion of Canada, one hundred and sixty in the


Indian subcontinent, one hundred and ninety in Latin America, nearly two hundred and eighty in the entire Pacific area, over seven hundred in the African continent, over ten hundred and fifty in Persia, and over fourteen hundred and sixty in the United States.
The number of Local Spiritual Assemblies established in all parts of the globe, constituting in the beloved Guardian's own words "the broad and indestructible foundation of the edifice of a rising Order", is now almost eleven hundred, an increase of nearly a hundred in one year. The total number of incorporated Spiritual Assemblies, both local and national, is now two hundred and sixteen, an increase of more than twenty during the past year, including several of the thirteen National Assemblies newly established in the Ridvan period of 1957.
The literature of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has now been translated into two hundred and forty-four languages, of which one hundred and fifty-five have been completed since the beginning of the Crusade. No less than seventy-eight of these represent supplementary achievements above those called for in the Ten Year Plan.
Of the forty-nine National Haziratu'l-Quds enumerated as Crusade objectives, forty-eight have been acquired, leaving only the headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela still to be established. Of the fifty-one national Bahá'í endowments to be purchased during the Ten Year Crusade, fifty have now been established, leaving only one more to be acquired.
The number of countries and states, as well as cities in the United States, where the educational authorities have recognized the Bahá'í Holy Days is now nearly sixty, an increase of more than ten in the past year, including the entire country of Uganda.
The number of sovereign states and dependencies as well as territories, federal districts and states of the United States of America, where the Bahá'í Marriage Certificate is recognized is now forty, special legislation having been passed by the Legislature of Texas in the United States, permitting Bahá'í marriages to be legally performed in that State, and more recently, and of great significance in hastening the day when the independence of our beloved Faith will have been fully vindicated, is the pronouncement by a religious judge in the Sudan that as the Bahá'í Faith is an independent religion, two Bahá'ís of Islamic extraction should not be registered as Muslims but married as Bahá'ís and the historic registration in the Republic of San Marino of the first Bahá'í marriage ever performed there, an event without precedence in the European continent.
Of the utmost significance, not only in the Ten Year Plan, but for future decades and centuries of the Bahá'í Era, is the striking progress made in acquiring the sites for future Mashriqu'l-Adhkars. The execution, in March of this year, of the contract for purchase of the Temple site


in Stockholm completes the list of eleven such sites originally enumerated by the beloved Guardian as Crusade objectives. To this imposing list have been added no less than nine other sites acquired in such widely scattered areas of the globe as Alaska, Indonesia, Libya, Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Liberia, the British Isles, and Switzerland, that of Switzerland having the unique distinction of being the only Temple site ever purchased by the Guardian of the Faith himself, in the particular situation in Bern which he himself prescribed, overlooking the Alps. Many of these sites represent victories achieved in the subsidiary Six Year Plans given by our Guardian to the various new National and Regional Assemblies formed in the Ridvan period a year ago.
In the African continent, where the unparalleled progress of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in recent years brought such joy to the beloved Guardian, the number of believers is now well over the five thousand mark, an increase of nearly two thousand in the past year, the vast majority of which are of the Negro race. The number of Local Spiritual Assemblies in that flourishing area is now approaching the two hundred mark and may well reach or exceed this level in the current Ridvan period. A total of two hundred and three African tribes are now represented in the Bahá'í world community, an increase of one hundred and ninety-three since the inception of the Crusade. Land for a Bahá'í school in Uganda has been offered by one of the African members of the Regional Spiritual Assembly of that area, a contribution to the Faith which made the Guardian particularly happy.
In the Pacific area, that vast territory where the rapid spread of the Faith and the development of its institutions is, in the words of our Guardian, "competing for the palm of victory with the African continent itself', the evidences of new victories won continue to multiply. The number of believers has now passed the three thousand mark, the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside has reached the imposing total of two hundred and eighty, and the number of indigenous languages into which Bahá'í literature has been translated is now well over fifty. Other significant evidences of the progressive increase of Bahá'í institutions in that area are the establishment of twenty-seven incorporated Spiritual Assemblies, the establishment of independent Bahá'í burial grounds in Indonesia and Malaya, and the founding of three additional Bahá'í schools, doubling the number already existing, as well as the pending completion of construction of still another.
In the far-flung reaches of the Western Hemisphere, the total number of localities within the Community of the Most Great Name is now nearly eighteen hundred. The area is now served by seven National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies, and over three hundred Local Assemblies, of which over one hundred and thirty are incorporated. The number of


American Indian tribes with which contact has been established now exceeds fifty, nearly twenty-five of which are now represented in the Faith. The first all-Indian Local Spiritual Assembly in South America has been formed in Huanuni, Bolivia. The many notable victories recorded during the past year in widely scattered areas of this vast hemisphere are far too numerous to summarize here, but the following may be mentioned to illustrate the range and diversity of these accomplishments: The formation of a group in the Arctic Village of Barrow; the granting to the Canadian National Assembly of tax exemption for the Maxwell House in Montreal as a result of a finding by the Superior Court that the Faith is an independent religion entitled to such exemption; the beginning of construction of the Home for the Aged, the first Dependency of the Mother Temple of the West, and the action by the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Wilmette Village Trustees in effect upholding the firm Bahá'í position on the oneness of mankind taken by the elected national representatives of the American Bahá'í Community responsible for this important project; the holding of the first Bahá'í Summer School of Central America; and the establishment of a Bahá'í Publishing Trust in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Although no doubt incomplete, we cannot refrain from sharing with the friends the list of teaching conferences and congresses which our beloved Guardian had so patiently, and meticulously, and at so much cost of effort to his precious self, assembled in preparation for his Convention Message. First and foremost must be mentioned the conferences held by the Hands of the Faith and their Auxiliary Board members at Bex les Bains, and in Bern, Switzerland, and those called since the passing of the Guardian and held in over forty places in the United States of America. The Teaching Conferences held in Bex les Bains, Switzerland; Sanary sur Mer, France; Darby Hall, England; Belgium India; Rome, Italy; Panama, Canal Zone; that of the Maritimes, held in St. John, New Brunswick; and of Lower Burma, held in Rangoon; as well as the Teaching Conferences of Pakistan; of Benelux, held in Luxembourg Ville, Luxembourg; those of Alaska, held in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Ketchikan; the Regional Teaching Conferences held in areas so widely separated as Sydney, New South Wales; Queensland, Victoria; Adelaide, South Australia; and Tasmania; Northern Bavaria, convened in Nuremberg; and that of Regina, Saskatchewan; the National Teaching Conferences held in Frankfurt, Germany, St. Croix and Lucerne, Switzerland; the Bi-Area Teaching Conference held in Green Acre, Eliot, Maine; the Summer Conference held in Banff, Alberta for Western Canada; the Regional Teaching Congresses held in Curitiba, Brazil; Asuncion, Paraguay; and in Panama, representative also of other Central American Republics; the historic All-Greece


Teaching Conference held after the passing of the Guardian, and the Inter-Community Conference series held in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As the world-encircling Crusade passes its crucial midway point, the significance of which was outlined in such inspiring terms by the beloved Guardian himself in his last message to the Bahá'í world, and which has been thrown into such brilliant relief by the white glare of his ascension, we must all assess the tasks that lie ahead of us with clear minds and with courage and determination in our hearts. He himself pointed out to us that until this midway point was reached we had traversed three phases of our Ten Year Plan. The first phase, from 1953 to 1954, witnessed the unique feat of the addition of over one hundred countries to the roll of those opened to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh; the second phase, 1954 to 1956, was signalized by the purchase of the vast majority of the forty-nine National Haziratu'l-Quds, and the fifty-one national endowments constituting goals of the World Crusade; the third phase, 1956 to 1958, was distinguished by the addition of almost 1,000 centres and sixteen new National and Regional Assemblies. The fourth phase, as our beloved Guardian pointed out in his October message to the Bahá'í world, "must be immortalized, on the one hand, by an unprecedented increase in the number of the avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society, coupled with a corresponding increase in the number of Bahá'í centres and, on the other, by a swift progress in the erection of the Mother Temples of Africa, and Australia, as well as by the initiation of the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Europe."
Already, at the two great Intercontinental Conferences held in Kampala and Sydney, substantial contributions to these three Temples have been made, but the needs of these infinitely precious and spiritually significant Houses of Worship-Temples whose designs were either chosen or approved by the Guardian himself, and to which he made the gift of Sacred Dust from the inmost Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh-are far from being met, and a sustained and self-sacrificing effort will be required on the part of the World Bahá'í Community to complete them.
In checking over the outline which the Guardian himself had been preparing in anticipation of his 1958 Ridvan Message to the Bahá'í world it was found that in addition to the above-quoted tasks which constitute in his own words the fourth phase of the crusade -- a phase which must now carry it to its consummation-he had noted that three new National Spiritual Assemblies were to be formed in Ridvan 1959, namely, those of Burma, Turkey and Austria, and one regional one, that of the South Pacific. We cannot refrain from complimenting the believers in these areas on the progress they have made and the spirit they have shown


which attracted to them, just before his passing, the loving good-pleasure of their Guardian and presented them with such a unique opportunity to distinguish themselves in the service of the Faith.
Whilst we cannot but view with feelings of awe, pride and profound thanksgiving the extraordinary victories won during the last five years, it is certainly incumbent upon us at this time to bear in mind that only half of the Crusade has run its course, that our way through the world is harder and stonier than before, and that tremendous tasks still lie ahead. Let us recall the words of the beloved Guardian himself:
"The newly opened territories of the globe must, under no circumstances, be allowed to relapse into the state of spiritual deprivation from which they have so recently and laboriously been rescued. Nay, the highly edifying evidences proclaiming the expansion and the consolidation of the superb historic work achieved in so many of these territories must be rapidly multiplied. The Local Assemblies that have been so diligently and patiently established must under no circumstances be allowed to dissolve, or their foundations be in any way endangered. The mighty and steady process involving the increase in the number of the avowed supporters of the Faith, and the multiplication of isolated centres groups and Local Assemblies must, throughout this newly opened phase of the Plan, be markedly accelerated."
And, finally, we ask each and every believer to ponder in his heart the solemn charge laid upon us by our Beloved when he was preparing us to shoulder the tasks of the Holy Crusade: ". . . I adjure them, by the precious blood that flowed in such great profusion, by the lives of the unnumbered saints and heroes who were immolated, by the supreme, the glorious sacrifice of the Prophet-Herald of our Faith, by the tribulations which its Founder, Himself, willingly underwent, so that His Cause might live, His Order might redeem a shattered world and its glory might suffuse the entire planet -- I adjure them, as this solemn hour draws nigh, to resolve never to flinch, never to hesitate, never to relax, until each and every objective ... has been fully consummated."


Election of the Independent National Spiritual Assembly of France
Ridvan 1958

To the First All-France Convention

Dearly beloved Friends:
On the historic occasion of the convening of the first all-France Bahá'í


Convention and the election of the National Spiritual Assembly of this famous land, long one of the chief pillars of European civilization and a fountain-head of freedom and liberalism, our minds naturally turn to our beloved Guardian, whose ceaseless encouragement, tireless efforts and unfailing determination made possible this event of such great spiritual significance. In spite of the fact that France had the unique and enviable position of being the first nation on the European continent to receive the warming and illuminating rays of the sun of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation, the friends gathered here, more particularly those of French extraction, are well aware of how difficult it has been to bring the work of our glorious Faith to this point of consummation.
Since the light of this New Revelation was first brought to France almost sixty years ago, this country has been blessed by many and varied events of profound spiritual significance. We may well, at this moment of victory, recall some of these which are of outstanding historic interest.
From France the very first party of Western pilgrims proceeded to the Turkish penal colony of 'Akka, to visit 'Abdu'l-Bahá. In 1899, upon the return of that handful of souls, now afire with the Glad Tidings of this New Revelation, May Bolles, with the approval and under the loving guidance of the Master Himself, began to teach the Faith in Paris. Before long a flourishing, enkindled and wholly dedicated group of souls was gathered there, including believers of such distinction as Hippolyte Dreyfus, the first native French believer, Thomas Breakwell, the first British believer, the Hand of the Cause Charles Mason Remey, and many others. 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself sent the greatest Bahá'í teacher of the East, Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, to deepen the Faith of that early group. In those early years, Laura Barney, who later became the wife of Hippolyte Dreyfus, journeyed to 'Akka, and during a long sojourn in the Holy Land, compiled that book of inestimable value Some Answered Questions.
In 1911 and 1912, Paris was blessed by the presence of the beloved Master Himself, Who remained there for considerable periods of time. Many Orientalists, scholars and men famous for their erudition throughout Europe sought His presence. It was there that He gave His famous Paris talks, lamenting the depths to which Europe had sunk in her pursuit of materialistic ideologies, and exhorting the people to awaken spiritually, in words which were the very breath of the Holy Spirit.
It was during one of His visits that the Master uttered these prophetic words: "Try to propagate the Teachings of God.... Now in Europe, it is the beginning of a new day. It is dawn. 'Erelong the Divine Light shall penetrate everywhere . . ." On another occasion He said: "Though you find Paris dormant now, eventually it will become revivified, because I have spent many a sleepless night here, during which I supplicated the


Almighty to shower His confirmations upon the people. I had no rest, no sleep -- I was constantly supplicating."
It was not until after World War II, with the inauguration of the Second Seven Year Plan given by the beloved Guardian to the American Bahá'í Community, one phase of which was aimed at the spiritual conquest of ten European "Goal" countries, that the work in France itself began to fulfil the prophecies of the Master. Though naturally herself not one of these goal countries, the vitalizing effects of the systematic prosecution of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan were felt throughout the length and breadth of France; the faithful and persistent groups of believers already established in such cities as Marseilles and Lyon, as well as the Paris community, began to be stimulated, not only by the general atmosphere of intense activity which was pervading adjacent countries, but also through direct help from travelling Bahá'í teachers and pioneers, and from the European Teaching Committee of the National Assembly of the United States.
The number of French Bahá'ís -- the firm bedrock on which all activity in that country must ultimately rest-was increasing; the loyalty and devotion of these native friends greatly encouraged and pleased the Guardian, who saw in them the promise of the future and realized that the day when France would be able to have her own National Spiritual Assembly was fast approaching. From that time on he fixed his attention on France, showered his encouragement on the work of its believers, urged many American friends to pioneer there, and watched over the progress being made with both pride and interest, a pride and interest which culminated with his announcement that the first election of its independent National Assembly would take place in Ridvan 1958.
The believers of French extraction gathered in this Convention, as well as their loving and devoted co-workers from other countries who have pioneered in France, without whose unsparing and dedicated efforts this victory could not have been won so soon, are aware that they are now electing the first National, as distinguished from Regional, Spiritual Assembly of the European continent, an Assembly which constitutes yet another pillar of the Universal House of Justice. This is a great distinction, a great honour and imposes a great responsibility, more particularly at this time when the Cause of God has received such a grievous blow through the sudden passing of its beloved Guardian, its guide and its shield. There is no doubt, however, that his love and his spirit are with you on this historic occasion, and that he will continue to watch over the advancement of this community which he so tenderly encouraged for so many years, and whose present coming of age was so eagerly anticipated by him.
Our beloved Guardian doubtless would have called upon the National Assembly elected at this historic first French Annual Convention to formulate


its own Five Year Plan for the remainder of the World Crusade, as he did in the case of the newly-formed national bodies in Africa in 1956. Perhaps he would have specified the objectives himself, as he did for the subsidiary Six Year Plans given to each of the thirteen National and Regional Assemblies formed in the Ridvan period of 1957. We may be sure, however, that his hopes for the future development of the Faith in France would, following his earlier pattern, encompass: (1) the devising of ways and means of ensuring the rapid spread of the Cause throughout that land; (2) the consolidation and multiplication of its Assemblies, groups and isolated centres (3) the planting of the banner of the Faith in all the various Departments of the country, especially those which have as yet had no sustained teaching activity within their borders; (4) the incorporation of the new national body, as well as the Local Spiritual Assemblies; (5) the establishment of a site for a future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar; (6) the holding of summer schools to deepen the knowledge and understanding of the believers; and (7) above all the spreading of the light of this Divine Revelation far and wide amongst the people of that country, in order that the promises of the beloved Master may be speedily fulfilled, and the French nation receive the redeeming grace of Bahá'u'lláh in this dark age through which it and the whole world is now passing.
As the assembled friends consult earnestly and prayerfully upon the unfinished tasks before them, they may well turn for inspiration and assurance to the words of the beloved Guardian, addressed to the National Conventions two years ago a message in which he referred specifically to the formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of France.
"Before the eyes of the warriors enlisting under its banner stretch fields of exploration and consolidation of such vastness as might well dazzle the eyes and strike awe into the heart of any soul less robust than those who have arisen to identify themselves with its Cause. The heights its champions must scale are indeed formidable. The pitfalls that bestrew their path are still numerous. The road leading to ultimate and total victory is tortuous, stony and narrow. Theirs, however, is the emphatic assurance, revealed by the Pen of the Most High-the Prime Mover of the forces unleashed by this world-girdling Crusade--that 'Whosoever ariseth to aid our Cause God will render him victorious over ten times ten thousand souls, and, should he wax in his love for Me, him will We cause to triumph over all that is in heaven and all that is on earth."'

After its election on April 26, 1958 the National Spiritual Assembly of France sent the following pledge of loyalty to the Hands of the Cause and the Custodians:


Dearly Beloved Hands of the Cause,
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of France in recognition of the proclamation made by the Hands of the Cause of God, the Chief Stewards of the Bahá'í World Faith, assembled at the Bahá'í World Centre on 25th November 1957, in which they have appointed nine members from their number to act on their behalf as "Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith", has adopted the following resolution:
We pledge our full support, faith and allegiance to the body of the Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith, elected by the Hands of the Cause.
With warm Bahá'í love,
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of France
APRIL 27,1958


The Intercontinental Conference, Chicago, U.S.A.
May 2-4,1958

To the Hands of the Cause, members of their Auxiliary Boards, members of Regional and National Spiritual Assemblies, pioneers, resident believers, and visitors attending the Intercontinental Conference in Chicago, May, 1958.

Beloved Friends:
Upon the occasion of the convening of this second Intercontinental Conference in Chicago, our hearts and our thoughts inevitably go back to the first great conference which was held here in 1953 during the opening of the World Crusade under the direct aegis of our beloved Guardian. His


Messages, his cables, his words of loving reassurance, the news he sent us from Haifa at that time, the sense of his overpowering presence-all are fresh today in our memories, and our hearts overflow with love for him and with longing for his physical presence in this world. None of us, however, can doubt that during the six months since his sudden passing the evidences of the Divine protection promised to this Holy Faith of God have been overpowering. The structure Shoghi Effendi built, on the firm foundations laid in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, has withstood the earthquake of his passing and its attendant circumstances; the seamless robe of this greatest of all Revelations has not been torn; the administrative institutions so carefully reared by him, nascent though they still are, have rallied to the support of the World Centre, the heart and hub of the Faith, and have demonstrated, not only to the believers but to the observant and curious public, as well as to our enemies, that this Cause is firmly knit together, universal in its operations, united in one purpose and one great loyalty which nothing can destroy. We see in all this the living, breathing spirit of Shoghi Effendi his protection and his love, which will never leave us.
The five mighty Intercontinental Conferences announced in the last message to the Bahá'í world from our beloved Guardian, we see now as providential rallying-points during this difficult year of sorrow and separation. The midway point of this mighty Crusade the Guardian conceived and set in motion has been characterized not only by extraordinary victories won, but by the falling of a wholly unexpected blow, brought about through the mysterious operations of the Divine Will, which no man dare question and no human mind can comprehend, a blow which may well prove to be the signal for the beginning of that period of turmoil and suffering Shoghi Effendi so often told us the world must pass through before its parts are forged into a single whole, ready for, and capable of putting into operation, the Plan of God for this Day.
Let us, at this solemn moment in our destinies, turn back to the words of our Guardian when he sounded the call for this greatest of all enterprises ever undertaken by the followers of any Faith since the dawn of history.
"Let there be no mistake. The avowed, the primary aim of this Spiritual Crusade is none other than the conquest of the citadels of men's hearts. The theatre of its operations is the entire planet. Its duration a whole decade. Its commencement synchronizes with the Centenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Mission. Its culmination will coincide with the Centenary of the Declaration of that same Mission. The agencies assisting in its conduct are the nascent administrative institutions of a steadily evolving, divinely appointed Order. Its driving force is the energizing influence generated by the Revelation heralded by the Bab and proclaimed


by Bahá'u'lláh. Its Marshal is none other than the Author of the Divine Plan. Its standard-bearers are the Hands of the Cause of God appointed in every continent of the globe. Its generals are the twelve National Spiritual Assemblies participating in the execution of its design. Its vanguard is the chief executors of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Master Plan, their allies and associates. Its legions are the rank and file of believers standing behind these same twelve National Assemblies and sharing in the global task embracing the American, the European, the African, the Asiatic and Australian fronts. The charter directing its course is the immortal Tablets that have flowed from the Pen of the Centre of the Covenant Himself. The armour with which its onrushing hosts have been invested is the glad tidings of God's Own Message in this Day, the principles underlying the Order proclaimed by His Messenger, and the laws and ordinances governing His Dispensation. The battle cry animating its heroes and heroines is the cry of Ya Baha'u'l-Abha, Ya 'Aliyyu'l-A'la.
"So vast, so momentous and challenging a crusade that will, God willing, illuminate the annals of the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, and immortalize the second decade of the second Bahá'í century, and the termination of which will mark the closing of the first epoch in the evolution of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan, will, in itself, pave the way for, and constitute the prelude to, the initiation of the laborious and tremendously long process of establishing in the course of subsequent crusades in all the newly opened sovereign states, dependencies and islands of the planet, as well as in all the remaining territories of the globe, the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith, with all its attendant agencies, and of eventually erecting in these territories still more pillars to share in sustaining the weight and in broadening the foundation of the Universal House of Justice."
Before we turn our thoughts to the purpose of this Conference as it affects the Bahá'ís of the Western Hemisphere, let us recall the stages through which this globe-encircling Crusade has already passed: Much to the joy and comfort of our overworked and most beloved Guardian, who had already sacrificed over thirty years of his life to the unremitting service of the Cause of God, the first phase of the Ten Year Plan, which lasted from 1953 to 1954, witnessed the planting of the banner of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation in no less than one hundred additional countries, territories and islands of the globe, raising thereby the. total number at that time to two hundred and twenty-eight; the distinguishing feature of the second phase of this Plan, which lasted from 1954 to 1956, was the extraordinary multiplication of National Haziratu'l-Quds and endowments, the purchase of the majority of which was to all intents and purposes completed during this period, involving an outpouring of funds which many of the friends had believed could not possibly


take place in so short a time; the third phase, which comprised the period from 1956 to 1958, was distinguished by a marked multiplication not only of Bahá'í centres all over the world, but by the establishment in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, of no less than thirteen Regional and four National Assemblies.
The phenomenal progress made and the extraordinary victories won during the last five years, have demonstrated to us all, not only the immense power of the Cause of God -- a power which the Master said was mysterious and far above the understanding of men and of angels-but have shown us that through the canalization of this force by the Guardian into the mighty blueprint of the Divine Plan conceived by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, an immensely potent instrument has been devised in the form of this World Crusade which constitutes a step in the spiritual conquest of the entire planet. The pattern has been clearly defined, the design of God we see distinctly emerging before our eyes. Every act of obedience to the instructions of the Guardian, every fulfilment of a goal set by him, every execution of a phase of his plan, brings victory, breeds strength, creates new spiritual life. He himself was immensely heartened and pleased over the victories won during the first half of this Holy Crusade, and characterized this five year period as one of marvellous progress achieved in so vast a field in so short a time by a small band of heroic souls.
We know that the Western World, the Western Hemisphere, particularly the "Great Republic of the West", have been singled out by the Bab. Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá as regions of the globe whose peoples are endowed with special capacities in this Day with which to serve the Cause of God and through it their fellow-men. The attendants at this particular Conference must feel the weight of a very great responsibility resting on them at this midway point of the World Crusade, not only because of the mission conferred upon them by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, but because of the greatness of this affliction which has filled all hearts with grief and longing at this time, and in spite of which-nay, perhaps because of which-they must now arise, wiser, more mature, more consecrated than ever before, to carry out their preponderating share in the prosecution of the remainder of the Ten Year Plan.
There can be no escape from duty for any believer, least of all an American believer, at this critical juncture in the fortunes of our beloved Faith. We recall to your minds the stirring words of Shoghi Effendi addressed to the Annual Convention of the United States which preceded the first Intercontinental Conference held in 1953:
"May this Community-the spiritual descendants of die Dawn-breakers of the Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Faith, the chief repository of the immortal Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan, the foremost executors of the


Mandate issued by the Centre of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant, the champion builders of a divinely conceived Administrative Order, the standard-bearers of the all-conquering army of the Lord of Hosts, the torch-bearers of a future divinely inspired world civilization-arise, in the course of the momentous decade separating the, Great from the Most Great Jubilee, to secure, as befits its rank, the lion's share in the prosecution of a global crusade designed to diffuse the light of God's Revelation over the surface of the entire planet."
As the friends gathered at this supremely important Conference consider their future work and discuss ways and means of accomplishing it, the believers of the United States should, in particular, ponder the very critical position of the home front in their country and, in the Guardian's own words, "maintain their enviable position, as the vanguard of the army of Bahá'u'lláh's crusaders, in rescuing, while there is yet time, their home front from the precarious position in which it now finds itself . . ."
Let them remember that as he himself so clearly stated: "It is primarily a task that concerns the individual believer, wherever he may be, and whatever his calling, his resources, his race, or his age. Neither the local nor national representatives of the community, no matter how elaborate their plans, or persistent their appeals, or sagacious their counsels, nor even the Guardian himself, however much he may yearn for this consummation, can decide where the duty of the individual lies, or supplant him in the discharge of that task. The individual alone must assess its character, consult his conscience, prayerfully consider all its aspects, manfully struggle against the natural inertia that weighs him down in his effort to arise, shed, heroically and irrevocably, the trivial and superfluous attachments which hold him back, empty himself of every thought that may tend to obstruct his path. . ."
The weight resting on each one of us today is truly crushing and inescapable, the reward which each one of us can win for himself is equally great and of an everlasting nature. In the words of the Qur'an: "Whoso maketh efforts for the faith, maketh them for his own good only. Verily God is rich enough to dispense with all creatures."
In his last letter to the American National Spiritual Assembly the Guardian made an appeal, couched in more poignant terms than any he had ever used previously in addressing the members of that privileged Community who are the "Champion-builders of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh":
"Once again and this time more fervently than ever beforehand direct my plea to every single member of this strenuously labouring, clear visioned, stout-hearted, spiritually endowed community, every man and woman, on whose individual efforts, resolution, self-sacrifice and perseverance


the immediate destinies of the Faith of God, now traversing so crucial a stage in its rise and establishment, primarily depends, not to allow, through apathy, timidity or complacency, this one remaining opportunity to be irretrievably lost. I would rather entreat each and every one of them to immortalize this approaching, fateful hour in the evolution of a World Spiritual Crusade, by a fresh consecration to their God-given mission, coupled with an instantaneous plan of action, at once so dynamic and decisive, as to wipe out.... with one stroke, the deficiencies which have, to no small extent, bogged down the operations of the Crusade on the home front. . . "
Before turning to the global objectives still remaining, and which must be accomplished during the fourth phase of the Ten Year Plan, let us review the specific tasks given by our Guardian to the American Bahá'í Community, her chief ally, and her daughter communities in the Western Hemisphere:
The opening of Spitzbergen the one remaining virgin territory other than those within the Soviet orbit, and the resettlement or consolidation of those goals now vacant or in need of supporting efforts by pioneers and visiting teachers; the speedy attainment of the objectives of the subsidiary Six Year Plans given by our Guardian to the new National and Regional Assemblies formed during the Ridvan period of 1957 under the sponsorship of the National Assembly of the United States, the fulfilment of which is an indispensable prerequisite to the formation, on a firm footing, of the future pillars of the Universal House of Justice which are to be established in each and every Republic of Latin America and in each goal country of Europe by 1963-victories which can be assured only by a continuous flow of pioneers, as our Guardian repeatedly emphasized; the immediate construction of the first dependency of the Mother Temple of the West, designed to convincingly demonstrate to the public the spirit of service to humanity which underlies the Divinely-ordained institutions surrounding the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar; the establishment, during the Ridvan period of 1959, of the Regional Spiritual Assembly of the South Pacific Islands, under the sponsorship of the American National Assembly, a task assigned to that Assembly by our Guardian in his message to the 1953 Annual Convention; a marked acceleration in the process of enlisting in the ranks of the Faith an ever greater number of Indians, the original inhabitants of the Americas, of Eskimos in the far North, and of representatives of the Basque and Gypsy races in those areas assigned to the United States Bahá'í Community; a carefully planned and vigorously prosecuted campaign aimed at enlisting in the army of Bahá'u'lláh, large numbers of the Negro race-so much loved and admired by Shoghi Effendi-thereby fulfilling one of his frequently expressed and most ardent hopes; the


incorporation of Local and National Assemblies, which must be accomplished as rapidly as possible in all areas of the Western Hemisphere in order to strengthen the structure of the Administrative Order, and the foundations upon which the edifice of the Universal House of Justice will rest; the proclamation of the Faith to the masses, so desperately in need of spiritual enlightenment and guidance, so sunk in the materialism of a world heedless of its God and oblivious of the Divine Message for this Day; and finally, the paramount task so constantly stressed by the Guardian, so dear to his heart, and which constitutes the supreme duty of every true believer-the propagation of the Faith, and the conversion of individual receptive souls to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.
We have now entered, as Shoghi Effendi himself stated, the fourth phase of the World crusaded phase which must carry us through to victory, to the accomplishment of all the goals attainable, goals which he so carefully outlined for us with so much wisdom and so much love for this mighty Faith on whose altar he, like the Bab. Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá before him, was utterly sacrificed. This fourth and final phase of the Ten Year Plan comprises two outstanding tasks: To raise the necessary funds for and to build the Mother Temples of Europe and of Australasia-that of Africa, as he himself said, having to all intents and purposes been assured-and to vastly increase the number of the avowed supporters of the Faith all over the world, in newly opened lands as well as in those countries blessed from its earliest dawn by the light of Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation.
We Bahá'ís have witnessed many miracles in the course of the one hundred and fifteen years which have elapsed since the inception of this supreme Dispensation. As the spread of the Cause of God gathered momentum the ever-increasing protection vouchsafed it from on High has been unfailing; over and over again its enemies have been laid low, their plans completely frustrated, their lives and their hopes snuffed out at the very instant when they had anticipated victory-the latest demonstration of this invariable spiritual law being the death a few days ago of Ahmad Sohrab at a moment when he must have felt his machinations held some promise of fruition. Over and over again the doors to service, to the accomplishment of a set task, to the overcoming of a specific obstacle, have, at the last moment, been flung open before the faces of the loyal, the persevering, the consecrated and obedient followers of Bahá'u'lláh. Every major crisis in our Faith, as the Guardian repeatedly pointed out to us, has invariably been followed by a great outpouring of Divine Mercy, and this in turn has led to victory. We have every right to believe that because God has visited us with such a mighty calamity this year, He will, in His unfailing Mercy, compensate for this suffering, this dire deprivation


that has fallen upon us, and make the supreme sacrifice of Shoghi Effendi's life a leaven which will generate the force required to carry us through to victory and enable us thereby to gladden the heart of our beloved Guardian in the Abha Kingdom-something which we did not always do while he was in our midst.
Beloved Friends! At the outset of this Most Holy, decade-long Crusade, our beloved Guardian raised this challenging call addressed directly to the members of the Communities of North and South America:
"It is incumbent upon the members of the American Bahá'í Community, the chief executors of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan, the members of the Canadian Bahá'í Community acting as their allies, and the members of the Latin American Bahá'í Communities in their capacity as associates in the execution of this Plan, to brace themselves and initiate, in addition to the responsibilities they have assumed, and will assume, in other continents of the globe, an intercontinental campaign designed to carry a stage further the glorious work already inaugurated throughout the Western Hemisphere."
"Standing on the threshold of a ten-year long, world-embracing Spiritual Crusade these Communities are now called upon, by virtue of the weighty pronouncement recorded in the Most Holy Book, and in direct consequence of the revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, to play a preponderating role in the systematic propagation of the Faith, in the course of the coming decade, which will, God willing, culminate in the spiritual conquest of the entire planet."
With this vision before them, let each and every one of them arise, joyously and wholeheartedly, with fresh dedication and determination, and respond to these soul-stirring words of their Guardian:
"I direct my impassioned appeal to obey, as befits His warriors, the summons of the Lord of Hosts, and prepare for that Day of Days when His victorious battalions will, to the accompaniment of hosannas from the invisible angels in the Abha Kingdom, celebrate the hour of final victory."
Let them remember how often he said the immediate future was dark, but the distant future infinitely bright. No words could better describe the glory of the Order we are called upon to build than his own:
"How pressing and sacred the responsibility that now weighs upon those who are already acquainted with these teachings! How glorious the task of those who are called upon to vindicate their truth, and demonstrate their practicability to an unbelieving world! Nothing short of an immovable conviction in their divine origin, and their uniqueness in the annals of religion; nothing short of an unwavering purpose to execute and apply them to the administrative machinery of the Cause, can be sufficient to establish their reality, and ensure their success. How vast is the Revelation


of Bahá'u'lláh! How great the magnitude of His blessings showered upon humanity in this day! And yet, how poor, how inadequate our conception of their significance and glory! This generation stands too close to so colossal a Revelation to appreciate, in their full measure, the infinite possibilities of His Faith, the unprecedented character of His Cause, and the mysterious dispensations of His Providence."

To the Hands of the Cause of God throughout the World
June 12,1958

Beloved Fellow-Hands:
The response evoked by the message we were able, by the grace of Bahá'u'lláh and thanks to the copious notes made by our beloved Guardian in anticipation of his annual Ridvan communication, to send out to the twenty-seven Conventions was most heartening, and we feel sure the enclosed copies of cables received in reply from the Annual Conventions will bring you great joy also. They have shown us how complete is the protection and help being vouchsafed by our Beloved, whose spirit is surely reinforcing our efforts to discharge befittingly the sacred trust laid upon us by him.
Since our last letter to you of March 21, the tasks and problems engaging the attention of the Hands here have been many and varied. Generally speaking all the news has been good news, with the exception of one question which has weighed very heavily on our minds and hearts and which we wish to share with you.
You will remember we pointed out that from communications and reports received here it was becoming obvious that there was a tendency for different interpretations of our present situation and prognostications of the future to be made.
As most of you no doubt are aware, the American Hands issued, in conjunction with the American National Spiritual Assembly, a statement entitled "A New Bahá'í Era" in order to meet the many questions being raised by the believers and to assist them in focusing their attention on the future work of the Crusade. We feel you should know that this statement was read at forty conferences in the United States, and that copies were mailed to all National Spiritual Assemblies who were daughter Assemblies or allies of the American National Spiritual Assembly under the work of successive phases of the Divine Plan. This meant copies were received in Africa, Latin America and Europe. The Custodians had no foreknowledge of this statement, and felt it touched on points of such far


reaching importance that it should have come, if a statement of this nature were to be issued at all, from the World Centre and not have been issued on a regional basis. We also felt a number of things should never have been said that were included, though by and large, the whole statement is very sound. We therefore cabled requesting that it be withdrawn from circulation and not appear in Bahá'í News". The American Hands and National Spiritual Assembly immediately complied with this request and have since, in a most loving and understanding manner, expressed their agreement with us. Unfortunately, however, the statement has been widely published in Latin America. We have received letters, because of this statement, and because of the nature of the questions it attempted to answer, from the United States, the Canadian, the Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela and the Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay National Spiritual Assemblies, asking the Custodians to state something clearly for the friends on the question so much discussed, namely, the future of the Guardianship.
We have also received a number of reports from Europe, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere indicating that some of our dear fellow-Hands-no doubt under the pressure of emotion, and taken unawares by sudden questions asked of them-have made conflicting statements about the future of the Guardianship, at total variance with the thoughts published above the signature of the American Hands, and exceeding our own statements in the Proclamation, which we agreed to adhere to unitedly. We need not point out to you, who share with us the terrible and sacred responsibility of maintaining intact this unified Faith the Guardian left behind him, the great dangers involved in any expression of diversified opinions amongst ourselves on so important a subject.
Believing, ourselves, that as we decided in Bahji the less said on this subject the better, we have until now strictly refrained from going into the subject at all in any communications to Assemblies or individuals sent from Haifa. However, there is, as you will see from the enclosed excerpts from a letter from our fellow-Hand, William Sears, just received here a few days ago (he has been recently in the United States, Africa and Europe), a real danger of two schools of thought crystallizing on this all important matter. We therefore feel we can and must once again direct the friends' attention to the words of the Proclamation we issued, in order that these questions may be put aside by the friends and their full energies concentrated upon fulfilling the goals of the Ten Year Plan.
In meeting this problem, the body of the Hands of the Cause must exercise the greatest care to avoid the very pitfall against which we must warn the friends-that of interpretation of the Sacred Writings. What we can, and must, do is to direct the attention of the friends to the Sacred Text


of the Master's Will itself, and remind them once again, and in even stronger terms than before, of the basic facts mentioned in the Proclamation.
Therefore, in view of this situation which has now arisen, and the fact that the prestige of the body of the Hands as such and the Custodians who serve on their behalf at the World Centre may be seriously weakened by our taking no action at this time and ignoring the pressing requests of various National Spiritual Assemblies for something which they can circulate among the believers, we have prepared the enclosed brief message in reply to the National Spiritual Assemblies who have written to us. We are not sending this message to all National Spiritual Assemblies, as this may be unnecessary, but leave it to your discretion, as Hands responsible for the work in different continents, to share this same message with the various National Spiritual Assemblies in your area if the need arises, or if you think it desirable to do so in any case.
The shelter to which the sorrow-stricken followers of Bahá'u'lláh turn in these days of anguish is the Hands of the Cause. It therefore behoves each one of us to guide the friends in the path laid out by our Beloved. Let us not give them our own deductions, but endeavour to pour into their hearts his spirit and his love, and strive to give them the necessary spiritual strength to carry the World Crusade to a victorious conclusion. We, the chosen Hands of our Guardian, must convey a warm and loving spirit of oneness to the friends, and constantly urge them to achieve ever greater heights of consecrated service.
Whenever we visit the Holy Shrines, we supplicate for the help and guidance which alone will enable all of us to discharge our sacred responsibilities, and we ask you to all please pray for us daily as on your behalf and in your name we carry very heavy burdens here.
In the service of the beloved Guardian,


Statement regarding the Guardianship
June 12, 1958

Dearly beloved Friends:
It has come to our attention that there is amongst the believers discussion regarding the Guardianship which exceeds the statement made by the united body of the Chief Stewards of the Faith, the Hands of the Cause, which they issued from Bahji last November after nine days of deep and heart-searching consultation following hours of supplication in the Holy Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh.
We therefore, acting on behalf of the Hands of the Faith, wish once


again to call the attention of all the friends to the words in that Proclamation: "It was likewise certified that the beloved Guardian had left no heir. The Aghsan (branches) one and all are either dead or have been declared violators of the Covenant by the Guardian for their faithlessness to the Master's Will and Testament and their hostility to him named first Guardian in that Sacred Document. The -first effect of the realization that no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him was to plunge the Hands of the Cause into the very abyss of despair."
The American Hands of the Faith have expressed this same thought very clearly in a message prepared for a series of teaching conferences held in the United States earlier this year.
"Shoghi Effendi appointed no successor in his own lifetime because he himself had no natural heir and because no member of the Holy Family qualified. The Master's Testament is the sole authority controlling the appointment of successive Guardians, and its specific provisions were scrupulously upheld by the Guardian in his non-appointment of a second Guardian. Since a successor could only be chosen and designated by Shoghi Effendi in his own lifetime, the friends must dismiss all hopeful expectation that a will appointing a second Guardian may later be found."
We call upon all the believers, for the sake of preserving the unity of our beloved Faith for which the Bab. was martyred, Bahá'u'lláh and the Master imprisoned, and for which the beloved Guardian so completely sacrificed himself, to concentrate on the thoughts expressed in the Proclamation, and to desist from all further speculation on the future development of the institutions of the Faith-speculation which can only give rise to those very differences of interpretation forbidden by Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and against which they repeatedly warned us.
Bahá'u'lláh has left the Divine System He conceived, the Master elaborated and the Guardian clarified, but the Divinely-guided scion of His house, Shoghi Effendi has, for reasons none of us can fathom, been lifted from the pattern. What he has left us is more than sufficient for us, the Community of the Most Great Name, to establish the first stages of that world-redeeming Order Bahá'u'lláh has given to mankind. Our sacred obligation is to fulfil our Guardian's wishes, his plans, and his most cherished hopes, leaving the over-all scheme of God to unfold as He sees fit, in His mysterious ways, in the days to come. Let us be confident that if we do our part He will never fail in His, and with this assurance go forward unitedly, courageously and with complete consecration.
Let us also rejoice with grateful hearts over the truly remarkable measure of Divine protection vouchsafed to us since the passing of our beloved Guardian, an unfailing sign that Shoghi Effendi's spirit is with us, guiding


and inspiring the believers everywhere, and assisting us to achieve total victory in the Holy Crusade bequeathed to us by him.

The Intercontinental Conference, Frankfurt, Germany
July 25-29, 1958

To the Hands of the Cause, members of their Auxiliary Boards, members of Regional and National Spiritual Assemblies, pioneers, resident believers, and visitors attending the Intercontinental Conference in Frankfurt, July, 1958.

Beloved Friends:
More than nine months have passed since that heart-breaking day when, according to the inscrutable decrees of God, our most beloved and precious Guardian, Shoghi Effendi passed to the realms on High. Though our sorrow is still fresh in our hearts we cannot but marvel, as we witness the vast number of friends gathered at the opening of this fourth great Intercontinental Conference being held in the very heart of the European continent, at the protection vouchsafed this holy Faith by the Almighty; at the tender wisdom which inspired our Guardian to provide us, during this first year of cruel and bitter separation, with these five great rallying points; at his forethought when he urged the believers to make every effort to attend them; and at the vigilance which moved him, so shortly before his passing and in his last great message to the Bahá'í world, to reinforce the institution of the Hands of the Faith through the appointment of eight more of these "Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth". This designation, never before applied to them by him, appears to have been calculated to enable them, with the loving support of the National Assemblies and the believers, to carry the Cause of God forward through this exceedingly difficult and stormy strait in the history of mankind to the calmer waters which lie ahead as the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh begins to take shape and the administrative bodies of the Faith multiply and gain in stature and experience.
We, in spite of the load of grief we still bear in our hearts -- a grief which has bowed our heads and humbled our spirits-can nevertheless lift up our voices in thanksgiving to Bahá'u'lláh. We thank Him now not only, as was the Guardian's expressed wish, for the bounties bestowed during the first five years of this World Crusade, but for the measure of sure protection, of merciful grace, poured upon us since the beloved Guardian's passing. The Bahá'ís have everywhere stood firm in the Covenant of God; tested, tried, bereft and filled with longing for their so


deeply loved guide and leader, they have demonstrated how great has been the effect of his life and its works by their steadfastness, by the renewed dedication they have shown to the plans he laid down for them, by an unprecedented degree of unity amongst themselves, by a deeper determination to gladden Shoghi Effendi's heart than when he was with them physically in this world. They have arisen, East and West, to go forth and pioneer on both the home fronts and in the newly opened territories; they have supported the Bahá'í Funds from hearts that were loyal and overflowed with tenderness for their religion in its hour of need; they have rallied round the Hands of the Faith, the Custodians at the World Centre, and the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies; they have gathered in large numbers at these great Intercontinental Conferences; they have comforted each other in their loneliness; and they have arisen to spread the Word of God abroad with new zeal and dedication. Can there be any doubt that all this is the result of Shoghi Effendi's sacrifice-the over a-third-of-a-century-long sacrifice of his life, the sudden end, when his spirit in one breath freed itself from his tired and overladen heart? You all are gathered here today because of Shoghi Effendi according to Shoghi Effendi's wish, Shoghi Effendi's Plan, Shoghi Effendi's hope!
Before turning our thoughts to what he desired should be considered at these great Conferences, let us recall the purpose of this vast globe encircling Crusade. It is a step in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan laid down for us by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and whose execution He entrusted primarily to the people of the "Great Republic of the West", the most promising child of European civilization. It has already in five short years, carried us well on the way towards the accomplishment of our primary objective, which the Guardian said is no less than the spiritual conquest of the entire planet. Led by our beloved Commander-in-Chief, we have opened nearly all the independent sovereign states, the chief dependencies, the most important islands and territories of the world to our glorious Faith; even the wintry island of Spitzbergen has been settled, leaving only a few states inside the Soviet Union or within its orbit, still unopened. Of the forty-nine National Haziratu'l-Quds to be purchased as part of the Ten Year Plan, forty-eight have been acquired; of the fifty-one national endowments, all have been acquired; of the eleven Temple sites specifically mentioned by our beloved Guardian, all eleven have been acquired; the mighty task of translating and publishing the literature of the Faith, as called for in the provisions of the Ten Year Plan, is now nearing completion; the Bahá'í Publishing Trusts, except for those in Islamic countries where the believers are still oppressed, ignored and proscribed, have all been founded; and the task of incorporating National and Local Spiritual


Assemblies is well on its way to fulfilment. Even the home fronts-die most challenging perhaps of all the tasks allotted to us by the beloved Guardian under the terms of this World Crusade-are, in many countries, meeting, nay surpassing, his expectations. Two of the three mighty Mother Temples are already being constructed, namely, those of Africa and the Antipodes. It was this overall pattern of marked success, of surging spiritual vitality which characterizes the activities of the World Bahá'í Community, that undoubtedly caused our Guardian to unite us in these five Intercontinental Conferences, not only to humbly thank Bahá'u'lláh for mercies received, not only to deliberate on ways and means of accomplishing the next five years' work, but as a reward for having served faithfully, with enthusiasm and consecration, this blessed Cause of God, and, as we now see, as a mercy in the hour of separation, a tender enfolding of us, his "dearly beloved co-workers" in the arms of that one who, in his modesty and purity of heart, called himself only 46 your true brother".
The work of Bahá'u'lláh lies before us to be completed. No one generation will do this; a thousand years at least are required to carry out and mature the specific provisions of His Dispensation. But to each man his opportunity, to each generation its tasks. Shoghi Effendi has laid down for us in clear and unmistakable terms our next five years' work. To the degree to which we scrupulously adhere to his plan, obey his words, comprehend the implications of his perfect design, to that degree only will our affairs prosper, our work attract the blessings from on High, and the foundation of the World Order be solidly and lastingly laid.
The beloved Guardian in his last message to us all, made clear that the fourth phase of our Ten Year Plan which we have, with the holding of these great Conferences all over the world, now embarked upon, "must be immortalized, on the one hand, by an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society, coupled with a corresponding increase in the number of Bahá'í centres and, on the other, by a swift progress in the erection of the Mother Temples of Africa and Australia, as well as by the initiation of the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Europe."
The commencement of work on the Temple to be erected in Germany is long over-due. We know from the Words of the Master that these Houses of Worship are the greatest silent teachers of the Faith. How infinitely precious is any building erected in the love of God and for the mention of His Name. How much more so these first continental "Mother Temples", being raised to the glory of Bahá'u'lláh. How infinitely so the Temples for whose construction the Guardian himself is responsible,


whose location he has specified, whose design he himself has approved. It was one of his most cherished desires to have these Temples built. He himself pledged he would supply one-third of their estimated cost. We must now carry on his work, see that the budget, now being expended monthly for the construction of the Sydney Temple is met, and that at least the major part of the sum required for the European Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is raised, in anticipation of the early commencement of actual building operations. Time is flying. We do not know what the future world situation will be. What we do know is our immediate duty to the work specified for us by our Guardian.
The other half of the main task confronting us is the "unprecedented increase" in the number of believers throughout the world. Pioneers are needed everywhere, in all continents, in all the islands opened to the Faith, on the home fronts, and in the goal territories. Two things are required to get a pioneer to his post, an enkindled, consecrated soul, willing and ready to go out in the teaching field and, if he cannot supply them himself, the material means necessary to get him to his post and often to enable him to remain at it. This type of service to the Faith offers a wonderful opportunity for partnership between those who have some worldly means at their disposal, but feel for some reason unable to go forth themselves, and those who yearn to respond to the call for pioneering, but are prevented from fulfilling their heart's desire because of lack of material resources.
Let us recall our Guardian's words, at the opening of the World Crusade, to the entire body of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh. "I direct my appeal to arise and, in the course of these fast-fleeting years, in every phase of the campaigns that are to be fought in all the continents of the globe, prove their worth as gallant warriors battling for the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. Indeed, from this very hour until the eve of the Most Great Jubilee, each and every one of those enrolled in the Army of Light must seek no rest, must take no thought of self, must sacrifice to the uttermost, must allow nothing whatsoever to deflect him or her from meeting the pressing, the manifold, the paramount needs of this pre-eminent Crusade.
"'Light as the spirit', 'pure as air', 'blazing as fire', 'unrestrained as the wind'-for such is Bahá'u'lláh's Own admonition to His loved ones in His Tablets, and directed not to a select few but to the entire congregation of the faithful-let them scatter far and wide, proclaim the glory of God's Revelation in this Day, quicken the souls of men and ignite in their hearts the love of the One Who alone is their omnipotent and divinely appointed Redeemer."
At this time surely nothing is impossible to us. We have passed through nine months of fire since our beloved Guardian left us, but we


have burned together. We have seen, and felt deeply in our hearts, our unity as a world community, as followers of the Most Great Name. We have neither been separated nor paralyzed through this great shock and grief. The World Centre of the Faith which he so assiduously built up and consolidated, the heart of the Bahá'í World Community, has not ceased to beat. The communion between the hearts of the friends and the great heart enshrining the Qiblih of the Bahá'í world, continues to gather strength. This has been a shining evidence to us all that Bahá'u'lláh's mercies have not ceased to be showered upon us; that what the Guardian built endures and will endure, a living organism, throughout the stages in the evolution of our Faith which lie ahead.
After this ordeal by fire which we have passed through, can we doubt that, with this fresh sense of oneness, with our purified hearts, we will not receive, if we arise now to serve as we should, an extraordinary measure of the bounty of Almighty God? Great moments in history require great deeds; great men are not necessarily those best qualified to be great, but rather those who see their chance and seize it, with love and courage, when it offers itself. The records of our Faith show that its heroes and heroines, its saints and martyrs, sprang mostly from the rank and file, but what they possessed, which raised them to the summits of fame and glory, were vision and faith. Let the friends now follow the path of Shoghi Effendi let them arise to complete his work as set forth in the Ten Year Plan, let them labour, as he did, steadily, patiently, consecratedly, day after day, week after week, year after year, until his tasks are completed. The world now marvels at what this one man did in thirty-six years. Let his lovers arise and put their shoulder to the wheel and move this blessed Faith forward on the path of its destiny until, God willing, their hearts stop as did his, from the excess of their labours in the path of God.

To All National Spiritual Assemblies
August 8, 1958

Dear Bahá'í Friends:
The following letter is addressed to each and every believer. We request that you share it with the friends in your area through your News Letter, or in any way you see fit.


Dearly beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Path of Bahá'u'lláh:
It is nine months since our world was shaken and hearts broken by the passing of our beloved Guardian. Those poignant words which he wrote


after the Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, now echo in our cars with a personal meaning to our generation: ". . . the shock has been too terrible and sudden for us all to recover from in so short a time, but whenever we recall His Sayings and read His Writings, hope springs in our hearts and gives us the peace that no other material comfort can give." Although the official period of mourning has now ended, we know that inwardly each Bahá'í will always grieve deeply for the loss of that priceless embodiment of loving-kindness and divine wisdom.
The spontaneous declarations of love for our beloved Guardian and loyalty to the Hands of the Cause raised up by his sacred pen to be the "Chief Stewards of the embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh", which have been received from all parts of the world, many of them voiced in terms of surpassing beauty, have been a source of great comfort and strength to us.
The Hands of the Cause serving in the Holy Land, as well as the members of the International Bahá'í Council, have felt particularly the terrible physical absence of our beloved Guardian in this place most closely associated with him, where every object our eyes fall on recalls to us his labour, his perseverance, his final sacrifice. The great waves of prayer and of loving confidence which have come pouring in to us from the National Spiritual Assemblies and the believers all over the world have reassured and sustained us, and have given us strength and courage as we labour, to protect the World Centre and maintain it as the unifying hub of the great wheel of the Cause our Guardian so carefully built up and set in motion. This has given us assurance that our Guardian himself is aiding us to aid him. We thank all the friends for the support and assistance they have given, for the wonderful spirit of steadfastness they have shown and the many deeds they have performed in the beloved Guardian's name since his passing. This united action which has resulted in so many victories, is reflected in the words of his secretary, written at the instruction of the beloved Guardian himself: "an added proof to the world that there is a mighty spirit that animates the friends, that there is nothing impossible to them."
The Custodians, the group of Hands serving at the World Centre on behalf of the Hands of the Cause throughout the world, have had to meet and surmount many problems. Some of the permanently appointed Custodians, because of attendance at various conferences to which they were sent by the beloved Guardian, and for reasons of health, have been unable to be in residence at Haifa at all times. We have been fortunate however in having their places filled temporarily by the following Hands, who have acted as substitute Custodians: Ugo Giachery, John Ferraby, Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i Adelbert Muhlschlegel `Ali Muhammad Varqa, and


William Sears. This arrangement has been most fortuitous as it has brought us first-hand reports of the status of the Faith in various areas and enabled these temporary Custodians to better sense the over-all needs of the Faith as seen from the World Centre.
Beloved friends, we are now, together, embarked upon the most important work which human beings have ever done in the history of our planet. Ours is the priceless privilege and the grave, inescapable responsibility of raising up that sacred Institution, the Universal House of Justice. This can be done only after the complete triumph of his Ten Year Plan, which is designed to lay the necessary foundation for that weighty and supreme Edifice of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh.
The measure of divine protection already accorded our Precious Cause at the World Centre, in the Cradle of the Faith, and throughout the world, since the beloved Guardian's passing, has been truly miraculous. Surely this is that same divine protection spoken of by the Master in His letter to the entire Bahá'í world following the passing of Bahá'u'lláh. His words today bring us not only solace in our bereavement, but a firm and undying resolve to fulfil our high destiny."
O ye beloved of the Lord! ... Today is the day for steadfastness and constancy. Blessed are they that stand firm and immovable as the rock and brave the storm and stress of this tempestuous hour ... they, verily, shall receive His divine assistance, and shall be truly victorious.... In His Most Holy Book He calleth the firm and steadfast of His friends. '0 people of the world! Should the radiance of My Beauty be veiled, and the temple of My body be hidden, feel not perturbed, nay arise and bestir yourselves, that My Cause may triumph, and My Word be heard by all mankind.'"
With warm Bahá'í love,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

To the Hands of the Cause of God throughout the World
August 11, 1958

Dearly beloved Fellow-Hands:
The Annual Meeting of the Hands of the Cause called for in our memorandum of agreement will convene November 21st for a period of one week. All the Hands are invited to attend, but if any of you are unable to come for reasons of health or because of any other insurmountable circumstance, please let us know. Likewise, we would appreciate notification from all who do plan to attend.


You are welcome to arrive beginning November 19th, Please make your own arrangements for proceeding from the airport to Haifa, as it is not possible to meet the friends.
After careful thought and prayerful consideration, the Hands here feel it would be disloyal to the wishes of our beloved Guardian for us, or for the friends throughout the world, to gather on November 4th and officially commemorate his passing. His words given in The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh make this very clear: ". . . to commemorate any event associated with his life would be tantamount to a departure from those established truths that are enshrined within our beloved Faith."
Therefore, in obedience to the beloved Guardian's wishes, we are informing the friends throughout the world that such official commemoration should not be held. However, each individual believer may, indeed we feel should, remember this unforgettable day with prayers and meditation, and seek to rededicate himself to the service of the Faith and to ponder ways and means by which he can aid in achieving the goals set by the beloved Guardian.
For this reason, our meeting will be held on the 21st; rather than on the 4th of November. The dates of the meeting will make it possible for all Hands to attend the commemoration of the Ascension of the Master at 1:00 a.m. on November 28th.
With warm Bahá'í love,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

To All National Spiritual Assemblies
August 11, 1958

Dear Bahá'í Friends:
After careful thought and prayerful consideration, the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land feel that it would be disloyal to the wishes of our beloved Guardian for us, or for the friends throughout the world, to gather on November fourth and officially commemorate his passing. His words given in The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh make this very clear: ". . . to commemorate any event associated with his life would be tantamount to a departure from those established truths that are enshrined within our beloved Faith."
Therefore, in obedience to the beloved Guardian's wishes, we are asking you to communicate to the friends this decision, informing them that such official commemoration should not be held. However, each individual believer may, indeed we feel should, remember this unforgettable day


with prayers and meditation, and seek to rededicate himself to the service of the Faith and to ponder ways and means by which he can aid in achieving the goals set by the beloved Guardian.
With warm Bahá'í love,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

AUGUST 24,1958


To the National Spiritual Assemblies of Europe
August 31, 1958

Dear Bahá'í Friends:
It has been a source of great happiness to us to receive reports of the wonderful success of the Intercontinental Conference recently held in Frankfurt, and to know that the fondest hopes of our dearly beloved Guardian were fulfilled. The great attendance, the largest of any conference so far held during this period, the raising of DM 1,000,000 for the work of the Cause in Europe and the Mother Temples, the pioneers who arose and volunteered their services, the spirit of consecration and unity which pervaded the gatherings-all testify to the greatness of the Faith and the divine protection vouchsafed it unfailingly from on High.
We wish to inform you that aside from any ear-marked sums given for special purposes, the moneys contributed at the Frankfurt Conference will be divided amongst the European National and Regional Assemblies in order to assist them to prosecute the Ten Year Plan within their own areas. Pursuant to the beloved Guardian's own instructions in his Message calling for these five great Conferences to be held, the money specifically contributed for the Temples will be divided between the Mother Temple of Europe and the Mother Temple of Australia presently being constructed, and which will be completed by next March if all goes well. The needs of the African Temple have already been met. It will take some time for the pledges made by so many generous and loving believers at


the Conference to be honoured and collected. However we felt that it would encourage your Assembly to know that as soon as possible you will be receiving a share of the contributions poured in at the Frankfurt Conference with so much faith and love by the believers from so many countries.
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

The Intercontinental Conference, Singapore
September 21-29, 1958

To the Hands of the Cause, members of their Auxiliary Boards, members of Regional and National Spiritual Assemblies, pioneers, resident believers, and visitors attending the Intercontinental Conference in Singapore, September, 1958.
[This Conference was originally called for Djakarta but due to unforeseeable complications was changed to Singapore.]

Beloved Friends:
As the last historic Conference marking the midway point of the Crusade opens, our thoughts and our hearts turn with a great wave of mingled emotions to our beloved Guardian-and beyond and above him to Bahá'u'lláh, the Supreme Manifestation, the Glory of the Father, the Eternal Beauty of God revealed in all its splendour to men in this age.
It is nearly a year since the historic "October Message" of 1957 was released to the Bahá'í world by our Guardian. We cannot but look back upon this year with feelings of awe and wonder; in spite of the great calamity which overtook us, our hearts are moved in profound thanksgiving to Bahá'u'lláh. Swiftly following upon the plans for the celebration of the hAli-way point of the Ten Year Plan came the paralyzing shock of the sudden passing of our beloved Shoghi Effendi our guide and leader, our appointed protector and Guardian. Added to our grief and consternation, was a sense of bafflement at the ways of God-but only for a short time. East and West the followers of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh demonstrated how deep was their belief in Him, and how well His Guardian had built the foundations of His Divine Order in the hearts of His servants. Chastened through their great sorrow, purified through their great love, the believers arose, as one man, to support unitedly the institution of the Hands carefully erected by the Guardian during the last decade of his life and strongly reinforced by him just


before his passing. This profound unity manifest amongst the Hands of the Cause themselves and amongst all the widely scattered Bahá'í communities throughout the world immediately attracted the protection and blessings of Bahá'u'lláh.
The first of these five historic Conferences held in Africa less than three months after the passing of the Guardian, witnessed a great release of spiritual power in that continent so dear to his heart. This was swiftly followed by the equally successful Australian, American and European Conferences. An unprecedented number of believers gathered on these occasions, and large numbers of pioneers volunteered for service with a dedication reminiscent of that great wave of enthusiasm and consecration which in 1953 carried the pioneers to all comers of the earth, and in one brief year opened nearly all the virgin territories-a feat which was the source of immense pride to the beloved Guardian.
The Conferences held to date this year have also witnessed, pursuant to the expressed hope of the beloved Guardian, the raising of nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for the construction of the three Mother Temples of Africa, Europe and Australia, and the attainment of the other goals of the Ten Year Plan.
Had not Bahá'u'lláh overshadowed the followers of His Cause with His infinite love and bounty, at this time of grief and profound test, had not Shoghi Effendi's own spirit remained with us, guiding and protecting us, we would not be able in this last historic Conference called for during this year by the Guardian, to look back over the past eleven months of victory and say, Praise be to Thee, 0 God, for the outpourings of Thy Mercy and Bounty and Thine infinite protection.
The overflowing measure of Divine grace we have witnessed has ensured that the Plan of Shoghi Effendi for these great Conferences has been successfully fulfilled, the spirit he hoped would be generated by them has been generated, the pioneers he hoped would arise, have arisen, the funds he hoped would be raised have been forthcoming, and the ways and means for the furtherance of the work of the Crusade, which he urged should be discussed have been deliberated upon and are bearing fruit already in different parts of the Bahá'í world.
The beloved Guardian often said that whenever he suffered the work of the Cause went forward. We may ask ourselves if this unworthy world did not require the supreme sacrifice of the life of its Guardian to release those forces, at this critical juncture in human history, which are necessary to carry it forward into that Golden Age of spiritual civilization which the Bahá'í Dispensation must give rise to. Whatever interpretation we place upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi an event which in its very essence is one of the mysteries of God, one thing must be evident to all


the sacrifice of this infinitely precious life must not for an instant, to the slightest degree, be in vain. We must be the ransom that pays for that sacred blood.
We, all the Bahá'ís everywhere, East and West, young and old, new in the Faith or veterans, must arise with complete unity, a more mature consecration, a deeper love for Bahá'u'lláh, and ensure that the vital objectives of the Ten Year Crusade are completed, and in many fields added to and markedly surpassed. We have had a soul-shattering shock; deepest grief, longing for our beloved Guardian so suddenly removed from our midst, has moved us to the depths of our being and made our hearts restless with desire to do many things for him now which we neglected to do when he was alive. The Bahá'ís have rallied to his Conferences, helped in the protection of the Faith to which he gave his all in service, and have supported the appointed Hands of the Cause and the elected representatives of the believers. This, however, is only the first step. Before us lie almost five years of hard work, years we may well believe of turmoil in the world, years when, in the face of a steady process of deterioration in human affairs, our institutions must be painstakingly erected and consolidated, the foundations for the future Universal House of Justice securely built, in order that this Supreme Edifice when it comes into being may be in a position to fulfil its Divinely appointed functions, the spirit of the Faith made to burn brighter, its teachings disseminated far and wide and that process of mass conversion so often referred to by the Guardian, set in motion and given increasing momentum.
These will be hard years for us all, but love has matured us, grief steeled us. At these five Conferences we have gathered strength from the outpourings the Guardian promised us these gatherings would attract from on High, and from our association with each other. We must now go forth like good soldiers, a conquering army, each to his own post, to do his own battle, to keep his own tryst on the home or the pioneer front. This is not going to be easy. Every formation of something new involves a certain degree of death of the old self. The old order is dying and we see how harsh are its death pangs. Something of our protected past may well be said to have died with the closing of this Conference. For over one hundred and fifteen years we Bahá'ís have been nursed and personally watched over. Now we are required to stand on our own feet and, in the path of service to this Holy Faith, we ourselves must watch over and assist our fellow-men to turn to the Supreme Manifestation of God for this Day, and seek their salvation through Bahá'u'lláh. That patience and fair-mindedness, that loving forgiveness and wise tolerance Shoghi Effendi invariably showered on us individually, we must emulate and show to each other as well as to the world. That justice he


so impartially administered must be emulated by all elected Bahá'í bodies, that unflinching, adamant adherence to principle which won him the respect of government and layman alike, the believers, as individuals and when functioning as Assemblies, must show forth at all times. In other words, dear friends, the spirit of Shoghi Effendi must go with us from this Conference, not only with the attendants gathered here, but with the believers all over the world, who surely, inwardly if not outwardly, have participated in these five majestic, stirring, creative, commemorative Conferences. His spirit we must keep alive in our hearts, his love we must foster through loving him more, his radiant nature, which the Master so well knew, must always be remembered by us so that we may, as individuals, strive to acquire a little of that selfless radiance ourselves.
Purity of heart, honesty of mind, sincerity of motive were characteristics deeply prized by Shoghi Effendi These characteristics he felt were strongly represented in the so-called primitive peoples; they drew him to them and increased his conviction that the Cause of God has a tremendous future amongst the dark-skinned peoples of the world and that they have great racial gifts of mind and heart to bring to the service of this Faith. It is significant to ponder that the first, the opening Conference of this hAli-way point of the World Crusade was chosen by him for the heart of Africa, and that the last, the closing Conference, was set midway in the Pacific-Asian region. He did not thus honour the old world and the new. No, he chose the black people and the brown people for this distinction. He visualized the African and the Pacific peoples vying with each other in the spread of the Faith. Each marked increase in membership in one region was relayed by him to the other, with the hope of stimulating a fresh burst of enthusiastic teaching efforts. Much of his joy, during the last years of his life, came from the news of the remarkable progress the Faith was making in these two areas.
The African Conference released a great spiritual power among the Negro believers, who returned from it to their tribal homes to teach with new enthusiasm and understanding, and to convince their own peoples of the truth of Bahá'u'lláh's Message. We feel confident that the representatives of many of the peoples of the Pacific region attending this Conference will do likewise, and that this will mark the beginning of a vast process of conversion of the inhabitants of the islands of this immense Ocean to the Cause of God.
Who knows, perhaps it is the immediate destiny of our great Faith to be raised on the two wings of the black and brown races through a great wave of mass conversion which will have repercussions all over the


world, and, releasing spiritual powers as yet untapped, enable the leaven of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh to penetrate into the lives of the peoples of the older yellow and white civilizations, so materialistic, so disillusioned, so morally corrupt and spiritually bankrupt.
The first evidences of this mighty process envisaged by our beloved Guardian have already become manifest in the extraordinary, the truly heartening conversion of such a large number of people in the Mentawai Islands and die Gilbert and Ellice Islands to this new religion. Those who have had the privilege of carrying the Message of Bahá'u'lláh to them can testify how deep is the faith with which they have embraced it, how steadfast their intent to serve it and uphold its laws, how ripe their hearts to enfold its truth and make it a part of their lives.
Another evidence of the unfoldment of this process has been the formation of Bahá'í schools in the New Hebrides, in Mentawai and in the Gilbert and Ellice Archipelago-schools of which Shoghi Effendi was immensely proud. How many pilgrims watched enthralled as the strong, forceful and fascinating hand of the Guardian pointed to the spots on the map of the world he had filled in, and tapped the circle which marked one of these precious schools. How bright the light that lit up his blessed face as he stated this was no mere summer school, but a real school, opened and maintained by Bahá'ís in which the children of the indigenous people were being educated in both a normal curriculum and in the Bahá'í standards! It was his ardent hope that these schools should be maintained, reinforced, and similar ones established on a sound and permanent basis in other areas. He repeatedly made it clear that in these unspoiled regions of the world lay a great hope for the future. He constantly encouraged pioneers to move into them, and in these fertile fields of service, busy themselves with the teaching work where it promised the greatest success.
This culminating Conference of the five held during this sad but fruitful year must yield, for all believers present, as well as for those throughout the Bahá'í world, a special harvest. Our hearts, still bleeding in separation from our dearly beloved Guardian, we must anneal in the fire of self-sacrifice to this infinitely precious Faith. The need of our fellowmen to hear the Glad-Tidings of Bahá'u'lláh is greater than ever. The doors to pioneering, to the construction of the Mother Temples called for in the Ten Year Plan, to the founding of Bahá'í schools, to the dissemination of our literature, to the erection of our administrative institutions, still stand open. Before some world catastrophe closes them devastatingly, albeit temporarily, in our faces, let us not waste one precious moment!
Shoghi Effendi's love is burning in our hearts, his appeals still fresh in


our ears. The vision he gave us of our present task is clear and perfect; let us keep it forever before our eyes.
"Let there be no mistake. The avowed, the primary aim of this Spiritual Crusade is none other than the conquest of the citadels of men's hearts. The theatre of its operations is the entire planet. Its duration a whole decade. Its commencement synchronizes with the Centenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's Mission. Its culmination will coincide with the Centenary of the Declaration of that same Mission. The agencies assisting in its conduct are the nascent administrative institutions of a steadily evolving, divinely appointed Order. Its driving force is the energizing influence generated by the Revelation heralded by the Bab. and proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh. Its Marshal is none other than the Author of the Divine Plan. Its standard-bearers are the Hands of the Cause of God appointed in every continent of the globe. Its generals are the ... National Spiritual Assemblies participating in the execution of its design. Its vanguard is the chief executors of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Master Plan, their allies and associates. Its legions are the rank and file of believers standing behind these same. . . National Assemblies and sharing in the global task embracing the American, the European, the African, the Asiatic and Australian fronts. The charter directing its course is the immortal Tablets that have flowed from the Pen of the Centre of the Covenant Himself. The armour with which its onrushing hosts have been invested is the glad tidings of God's Own Message in this Day, the principles underlying the Order proclaimed by His Messenger, and the laws and ordinances governing His Dispensation. The battle cry animating its heroes and heroines is the cry of Ya Baha'u'l-Abha, Ya 'Aliyyu'l-A'la.

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of...
[To various National Spiritual Assemblies]
October 17, 1958

Dear Bahá'í Friends:
You will be very happy to know that the work on the sacred monument of our beloved Guardian has begun, and it is hoped that it will be completed in November.
The entire Bahá'í world has spontaneously responded with the greatest devotion to make this precious and holy undertaking a united expression of the immeasurable love which our beloved Guardian awakened in all of our hearts.
Now that the erection of this blessed memorial is under way, we would


appreciate having your Assembly send whatever funds you may be holding for this purpose to the United States. It should be sent to the Treasurer's office of the National Spiritual Assembly, 112 Linden Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois. If there are any exchange problems involved in this transaction, please let us know.
We shall offer prayers in the holy Shrines that this same spirit of consecration and oneness may inspire each of us to work as never before, so that every hope of the beloved Guardian for the fulfilment of the goals of the Ten Year Crusade may be speedily accomplished.
With warm Bahá'í love,
In the service of the beloved Guardian,

NOVEMBER 1, 1958


To All National Spiritual Assemblies
December 6, 1958

Beloved Friends:
On behalf of the entire body of the Hands of the Cause of God we send you this copy of the Message to the Bahá'ís of East and West, issued by the Hands at the conclusion of their second historic meeting in the Holy Land.
We ask that you bring this vitally important communication to the attention of all the believers in your area as quickly as possible, through your News Letter, or otherwise.


Our loving thoughts and prayers are with you as you press forward to discharge the momentous tasks of this crucial year.
In the service of the beloved Guardian,


From the Hands of the Cause to the Bahá'ís of East and West
Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh
Bahji 'Akka, Israel,
November 30, 1958

Beloved Friends:
Twenty-five of the twenty-seven Hands of the Cause of God have once again met in the blessed Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh near the holiest spot on this planet, and prayerfully considered the grave problems now facing the Bahá'ís of the world. Though no longer plunged in the agony of grief that afflicted our hearts last November, we are nevertheless profoundly concerned over the success of the tasks entrusted to the believers of the East and West by our beloved Guardian in the provisions of his mighty globe encircling Crusade.
With feelings of deepest gratitude we realize that Bahá'u'lláh has vouchsafed to us during this past year-dark and overshadowed though it was by the passing of our beloved Guardian-many evidences of His unfailing grace and protection. The unity of the Cause of God has been maintained, and out of the fire of this mighty test, the believers have emerged with chastened and consecrated hearts, mature in spirit, with a deeper sense of oneness than ever before, eager to assist in winning every goal set for them by their beloved Guardian. God has indeed opened the doors of His mercy to us.
A befitting and magnificent monument to the beloved Guardian's precious memory has been raised up above the sacred earth in London which enshrines his blessed remains, a memorial to the erection of which the believers from every corner of the earth had the privilege of contributing.
The five mighty Conferences called by Shoghi Effendi and whose purposes he outlined in his Message marking the midway point of the Crusade, were held with outstanding success, almost five thousand believers being privileged to attend them. The roll-call from among the followers of the black race in Africa and the brown race in the Pacific has more than doubled during the past year, a triumph which alone would have brought infinite joy to his blessed heart. Two of the three Mother


Temples which he specified should be built, will be completed well within two years of his passing. The funds for these Temples, and for the teaching work to which he attached such supreme importance, have poured in abundantly from all parts of the world, a loving and loyal testimony to the determination of the Bahá'ís everywhere to carry out his every wish. Spitzbergen the last and one of the most difficult of all the virgin territories to be opened during the Crusade, received its first pioneer less than six months after he left this world.
In spite of such heartening progress, we must face the fact that this year ahead may well prove to be the crucial turning-point of the entire Crusade, and upon which its completion critically hangs. Many of the most important goals still remain to be achieved: Work on the Mother Temple of Europe has not yet commenced, although it must rise in all its splendour to shed its spiritual blessings upon that continent before 1963. The Local Spiritual Assemblies still to be formed as part of the original plan number no less than 394. The number of National and Regional Assemblies which must be elected before the end of the Crusade, in the alarmingly short time of four and a half years, are no less than thirty-eight, four of which are to be formed as planned by the beloved Guardian this coming Ridvan.
We are now embarked upon the fourth and final phase of this historic Crusade. Our beloved Guardian's own words tell us that this phase must be characterized by "a powerful impetus, the world over, to the vital process of individual conversion-the pre-eminent purpose underlying the Plan in all its ramifications" and "must be immortalized, on the one hand, by an unprecedented increase in the number of avowed supporters of the Faith, in all the continents of the globe, of every race, clime, creed and colour, and from every stratum of present-day society, coupled with a corresponding increase in the number of Bahá'í centres . . ."
The fateful years of the beloved Guardian's glorious Crusade are swiftly passing. "How staggering", he told us, is "the responsibility that must weigh upon the present generation." His stirring appeal for an "upsurge of enthusiasm and consecration, before which every single as well as collective exploit, associated with any of the three previous phases (of the Crusade), will pale" is directed to every believer on the planet, but especially "to their elected representatives, whether local, regional, or national, who, in their capacity as the custodians and members of the nascent institutions of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh" must shoulder "the chief responsibility in laying an unassailable foundation for that Universal House of Justice which, as its title implies, is to be the exponent and guardian of that Divine Justice which can alone ensure the security of, and establish the reign of law and order in, a strangely disordered world."


This House of Justice, he tells us, "posterity will regard as the last refuge of a tottering civilization."
Upon these National and Regional Assemblies which we must now raise up, has been conferred the sacred privilege of electing the members of this Universal House of Justice. The guidance of the Bab. and Bahá'u'lláh will flow into the World Order established in the Bahá'í Dispensation through this Supreme Body, whose infallibility is assured by the Pen of Bahá'u'lláh Himself. 'Abdu'l-Bahá declared in His Will and Testament that the members of the Universal House of Justice must "deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book. Whatsoever they decide has the same effect as the Text itself." "That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose of God Himself." Guided by the precious storehouse of Sacred and inviolable Texts given to us by Bahá'u'lláh and elaborated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi pouring our forces into the execution of the Divine Plan of the Master, now in the twenty-second year of its unfoldment within the successive Plans laid down by our beloved Guardian, supported by the unfailing aid of the Supreme Concourse promised in our Writings, with our beloved Guardian's spirit watching over the work he so dearly loved and served so unsparingly for thirty-six years, we cannot fail.
The Hands of the Faith, solemnly mindful of the primary function conferred upon them in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to protect the Cause of God and promulgate its Teachings, and deeply conscious of their present great responsibility as Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth, have already arranged for a number of the Hands to travel extensively during the coming year in order to carry the spirit of the beloved Guardian and the World Centre of our Faith to the believers and their elected representatives, particularly in those areas where so many of the future pillars of the International House of Justice must be erected, namely, Latin America and the goal countries of Europe.
The Hands of the Faith have also planned to give every aid within their power to the National Spiritual Assemblies in supporting and stimulating the work on the home fronts of such old and tried communities as those of Persia, the United States, Canada, India, Australia, Great Britain, and Germany. In rededicating themselves to their share of the heavy burden now resting upon each and every follower of Bahá'u'lláh, the Hands appeal to the National and Regional Assemblies to assist them in the mighty tasks that lie ahead through a closer and swifter cooperation with the Hands serving at the World Centre, who of necessity are called upon to coordinate the international work so laboriously


built up, at such a great cost to himself, by our most beloved Guardian. Prompt consultation on teaching problems, reports concerning the progress being made and the present status of the work undertaken by each National or Regional Assembly, as well as appeals for advice and aid, should pour continually into the Holy Land in order that good news may be shared for the encouragement of all and any crises which arise in the Bahá'í world may be swiftly dealt with, and not a moment of our infinitely precious time between now and the completion of the Crusade-just fifty-two short months away-be lost.
Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and the beloved Guardian have repeatedly warned us that the time is short, that these fast-fleeting hours in which we live will come to us no more, and we shall never again have a similar opportunity. The beloved Guardian has in no uncertain terms stated that the "pre-eminent task ... in this day" is "a task ... so urgent" as to be "accorded priority over every other Bahá'í activity." Let us each one take to heart his passionate appeal.
"However arduous the task; however formidable the exertions demanded of them; . . . however afflictive the darts which their present enemies, as well as those whom Providence will, through His mysterious dispensation raise up from within or from without, may rain upon them; however grievous the ordeal of temporary separation from the heart and nerve-centre of their Faith which future unforeseeable disturbances may impose upon them, I adjure them, by the precious blood that flowed in such great profusion, by the lives of the unnumbered saints and heroes who were immolated, by the supreme, the glorious sacrifice of the Prophet-Herald of our Faith, by the tribulations which its Founder, Himself, willingly underwent, so that His Cause might live, His Order might redeem a shattered world and its glory might suffuse the entire planet - I adjure them . . . to resolve never to flinch, never to hesitate, never to relax, until each and every objective ... has been fully consummated."
Upon the immediate and continued response in each individual heart to this ringing call depends the victory of his precious and holy Crusade, the last world-encompassing Plan which his divinely-guided pen bequeathed to the believers. Never before in the history of the world have human beings been faced with such a staggering responsibility and such a blessed privilege. Now more than ever before the heroic pioneers must cling courageously to their vital outposts; a swift stream of new pioneers must flow out spontaneously, without a moment's delay, to reinforce them; travelling teachers must dedicate themselves to the work both in far-off lands and on the critical home fronts; ample resources must be poured forth with unprecedented generosity from hearts consecrated to nothing less than an overwhelming victory on every front. The success of


the Crusade depends upon the individual believer arising to teach. For, as the beloved Guardian himself has told us, "The unseen legions, standing rank upon rank, and eager to pour forth from the Kingdom on High the full measure of their celestial strength on the individual participants of this incomparably glorious Crusade, are powerless unless and until each potential crusader decides for himself, and perseveres in his determination, to rush into the arena of service ready to sacrifice his all for the Cause he is called upon to champion."
"This challenge, so severe and insistent, and yet so glorious, faces no doubt primarily the individual believer on whom, in the last resort, depends the fate of the entire community ... He it is who serves as one of the multitude of bricks which support the structure and ensure the stability of the administrative edifice now being raised in every part of the world. Without his support, at once whole-hearted, continuous and generous, every measure adopted, and every plan formulated, by the body which acts as the national representative of the community to which he belongs, is foredoomed to failure. The World Centre of the Faith itself is paralyzed if such a support on the part of the rank and file of the community is denied it. The Author of the Divine Plan Himself is impeded in His purpose if the proper instruments for the execution of His design are lacking." The beloved Guardian ends with this stem warning, "The sustaining strength of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, the Founder of the Faith, will be withheld from every and each individual who fails in the long run to arise and play his part."
We feel confident that the friends in every comer of the Bahá'í world, fully aware of the gravity of the crisis facing them, and unified as never before by the sacrifice of the life of our beloved Guardian, will arise as one soul in many bodies in a mighty forward surge to complete as an immortal monument to his memory the triumph of his holy Crusade.
The Hands of the Faith eagerly and confidently anticipate that upon the unassailable foundation of this united victory brought about by the consecrated devotion of the friends, there will be raised up the crowning glory of all, the Universal House of Justice, and once again a precious source of divine infallibility will return to the earth with the establishment of that Supreme Body on the occasion of the Most Great Jubilee in 1963-the World Congress called by our beloved Guardian himself, a glorious and befitting fulfilment of his life of complete sacrifice.
Of this Most Great Jubilee, the Guardian has written: "The Lord of Hosts, the King of Kings, has pledged unfailing aid to every crusader battling for His Cause. Invisible battalions are mustered, rank upon rank, ready to pour forth reinforcements from on High. Bahá'u'lláh's army of light is standing on the threshold of the Holy Year. Let them, as they enter


it, vow with one voice, one heart, one soul, never to turn back in the entire course of the fateful decade ahead until each and every one will have contributed his share in laying on a world-wide scale an unassailable administrative foundation for Bahá'u'lláh's Christ-promised Kingdom on earth, swelling thereby the chorus of universal jubilation wherein earth and heaven will join, as prophesied by Daniel, echoed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, 'on that day will the faithful rejoice with exceeding gladness."'
With grateful hearts for the love that has bound us all so closely together, with undeviating confidence and hope, the Hands of the Faith invoke the divine promise of the Revealer of our Faith: "Unloose your tongues, and proclaim unceasingly His Cause. This shall be better for you than all the treasures of the past and of the future, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth." "I swear by Him Who is the Truth! 'Erelong will God adorn the beginning of the Book of Existence with the mention of His loved ones who have suffered tribulation in His path, and journeyed through the countries in His Name and for His praise. Whoso hath attained their presence will glory in their meeting, and all that dwell in every land will be Illumined by their memory." "Vie ye with each other in the service of God and of His Cause. This is indeed what profiteth you in this world, and in that which is to come."
In the service of the beloved Guardian,
[Signed as follows]
RuhiyyihLeroy Ioas
Amelia CollinsTarazu'llah Samandari
Horace HolleyMason Remey
Ugo GiacheryZikrullah Khadem
H. Collis FeatherstoneJalal Khazeh
Dr. A. VarghaHermann Grossmann
A. FurutanAdelbert Muhlschlegel
M.B. [Musa Banani]Enoch Olinga
Hasan M. BalyuziJohn Ferraby
Sh. AlaiPaul Haney
John RobartsA. Q. Faizi
MohajerAgnes B. Alexander
William Sears
To the Hands of the Faith
December 26, 1958

Beloved Friends:
In the month since we parted from you all after our meeting in Bahji,


we have been concentrating our efforts on arranging to give from Haifa a swift and dynamic impulse to the teaching work all over the world, as agreed upon by all of us, and also on catching up with the work which inevitably accumulated during the time when the Custodians were not able to work on their usual day-to-day tasks.
After the Conference of the European Hands at the end of December, Hermann Grossmann, Ugo Giachery, and Adelbert Muhlschlegel, will start on their important journeys to South and Central America and Scandinavia, respectively. In January (after a month's absence) Hasan Balyuzi will return to the Holy Land. Shortly Enoch Olinga, will commence a tour of some of the West Africa countries. Tarazu'llah Samandari, has proceeded to Persia where, in conjunction with Dhikru'llah Khadem and Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i he will visit many of the important centres and encourage the friends to arise and work intensively to achieve their home-front goal of 110 Spiritual Assemblies. They will divide the places to be visited between them so as to avoid duplication of effort. In a short time, as you know, William Sears will leave for the United States. In January, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan will proceed to Turkey for a visit of two months or so in order to assist the believers there in their preparations for the formation of their National Assembly in Ridvan.
This means that nine of the Hands will be devoting all of their time and energy for some months to come to travelling amongst the believers and directly stimulating them to arise and accomplish the all-important task of teaching the Faith and creating new Assemblies, particularly in those places where so many national bodies must be formed before the end of the Plan.
We feel that, in addition to the constant services to the Faith being carried on by the Hands who will be left here, and those serving in their respective continents, these plans for extensive travel present, for the first time since the beloved Guardian's passing, a most heartening picture of the services of his Hands, in whom he placed such great trust and to whom he left such crushing responsibility.
The pilgrims who have so far come and gone have all left in a happy spirit, more conscious than ever before of the greatness of their beloved Guardian's accomplishments and more determined to help in prosecuting his Plan. This encourages us greatly.
We do feel, however, that each and every one of the Hands (including ourselves) cannot be too careful during this present year not to elaborate on the Message sent by us this November from Bahji Let us adhere strictly to our united statement regarding the future Universal House of Justice-and say neither more nor less on this subject, assuring the friends who may ask us questions that what was signed by all the Hands,


after careful and prayerful consultation, is what they should turn to.
We appeal once again to all of you to let us have at frequent intervals your reports, your suggestions and your ideas. We must remember that serving all the time here has the advantage of being able to grasp the whole picture of the progress and needs of the Faith the world over-but the detailed needs-so vital in themselves-we may never see clearly if we do not receive your help, as it is you who are constantly in touch with the believers and the National and Regional Assemblies, and can better feel the pulse of local situations. Please give us your full cooperation in this respect, so that we may feel the beloved Guardian's Hands are indeed one soul in many bodies.
In the service of the beloved Guardian,



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