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The Remarkable Story of Henderson Business College, a Baha”I Enterprise  


Louts G. 




the autumn of 1915, Prof. George V. Henderson, then in charge of the Business Department of Roger 

‘Williams University, Nashville, Tenn., for the first time heard of the Bahá’i Faith. One of his friends had assured a 

visiting worker that he was keenly interested in the true values of life and would assuredly give a ready response. This 

expectation was realized. He was one of those rare souls who seemed just awaiting the message and so became aflame 

with its truth instantly. He made arrangements for a Bahá’i lecture at his college and afterwards declared that during its 

delivery the veils and clouds over all nations seemed for him to disappear. He arranged for other contacts and soon 

became both a teacher and exemplar of the great message with its ideals and principles of the New Day. As may be 

easily fancied, his enthusiasm because of his new discovery brought him many tests and trials, domestic, economic and 

social. But nothing daunted by these, he resigned his position at the close of the school year and selected another city, 

the metropolis of the state, Memphis, for pioneer work, and proceeded there on the strength of his faith. His aim was to 

found a college of his own where he would be entirely free, not only to earn a living, but to teach the Religion he loved.  

If his faith was abundant his capital was small, consisting of but $2.20 in cash and two second-hand typewriters. His 

love and sincerity soon awakened others and in an incredibly short time he had gathered around him many of the 

brightest youth of that city and had also won the cooperation of their elders. Yet the dual nature of his enterprise, not 

only to teach business efficiency and methods, but also to train young and old in the Bahá’I Religion, aroused no little 

opposition. Business rivals and sectarian leaders of the old order did not leave 


him unscathed. But through many afflictions he adhered steadfastly to his aim.  

During the sixth year of the school’s life, on a memorable evening, the entire faculty and student body united in a letter 

to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in Haifa, Palestine. That Holy One very graciously and happily answered, and in another letter, to the 

friend who had given them the message, He thus wrote about Prof. Henderson:  

“Thy letter that thou hast written in the beginning of December, 1920, has been received. Its contents contained very 

good news, indicating that his honor, Prof. George 


Henderson, has establised a Bahá’i College in one of the cities 

of the South; that now that college has developed, and the students are studying the Divine Teachings and also the 

necessary sciences and arts.  

“That revered professor has been and will always be favored. The meetings which are formed at that college are 

bestowed with an emanation from the meetings of the Supreme Concourse. Such are also the meetings for teaching the 

children. These meetings are spreading eternal graces and are supported by the breathings of the Holy Spirit. His honor, 

Prof. Henderson, has in reality arisen in the service of the Kingdom. The fruits of this service are eternal bounty and 

everlasting life. Through the graces of God do I cherish this hope, that he at every moment will receive a new 


(Signed) ‘ABDU’L BAHA-ARnA5.  

These noble Words have been indeed found creative and prophetic in the evolution of the college. It was a new sign of 

confirmation when, about a decade later, these friends again united in a letter, this time to the Guardian of the Bahã’i 

Faith, Shoghi Effendi, who in reply showered his love and encouragement upon them. What was an infant project 

twenty-four years ago has obviously grown during the passing 








years. After a few years of struggle it was able to change its rented quarters for a ten-room structure of its own, whence, through its 

unusual services to the city, state and nation, its influence and fame spread, and as a special sign of favor the city fathers, although it 

was a private enterprise, made it tax exempt. Within the past year it has made its greatest step forward. The United States Government, 

in connection with one of its welfare projects, found it necessary to exercise its right of eminent domain by taking over, in connection 

with one of its welfare undertakings, a considerable section of the city, included in which were two colleges, this being one of them. 

While this plan was pending, the other college, in view of the withdrawal of so many of its students, who felt the uncertainty and 

upsetting conditions unfavorable to planning and work, found it necessary to close its doors. On the other hand, Henderson Business 

College maintained its morale and discipline through it all, and through the prayers and guidance which have shaped its ends, has 

gained a new plant and location in every way better than the old. It is now beautifully housed in two commodious buildings and a 

large campus in the very heart of the best residential section of the city, a site which in that city a colored school could not occupy 

without the consent of its white neighbors. The chapel of the college, devoted to Bahá’i service, is adorned with the Greatest Name, a 

picture of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, another of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, and still another with a symbol of the number Nine.  

Bahá’i teachers and workers, ever welcome, receive a cordial hearing. The president himself is well equipped as a Bahá’i teacher and 

attracts friends from the outside, as well as faculty and students. The acceptance of the Bahf’i Faith is of course for all a voluntary 

matter. The respect, loyalty and reverence which the president commands, the influence which he wields among all classes, are 

impressive to the visitor.  

The Pittsburgh Courier, 

a weekly newspaper with a national circulation, under the appealing caption 

From Shoe-shine Boy to 

College President, 

tells this story in part of this college and its founder: 


“The story of how George W. Henderson, with $2.20 and a resolute determination, an iron will and undaunted faith, created what has 

become the world’s largest business college for the colored youth in America, reads like that of Aladdin and his magic lamp.  

“Firm in the conviction that the Negro’s social and economic plight is due largely to his inability to cope with the ever increasing 

demands of present day business, and with the firm belief that man has the power to be what he wants to be, to get what he desires

this genius, a Tennesseean by birth (Knoxville), in spite of poignant disappointments from individuals and sources from which he 

might have expected support, has created and developed Henderson Business College—a $50,000 institution, with dormitory 

accommodations, and a publishing and printing plant which turns out books, papers and commercial job work.  

“Approximately eight hundred graduates and more than one thousand competent students have been recipients of the instruction in 

this school, scores of whom are employed by the government and in public and private business. Negro insurance companies and other 

commercial enterprises throughout the country draw largely upon this reputable institution for some of their most competent help.  

“The record of Prof. Henderson—holder of many diplomas from various schools and colleges, working his way upward from that of 

‘shoe-shine boy’ to the professorship of a college—should be definite inspiration to the Negro youth of the nation as positive proof 

that ‘It can be done!’  

“‘Up from Slavery’ is one thing; but up from nothing is another. For after one reviews the difficulties overcome by this institution, and 

the rapidity with which it developed, he becomes mystified and marvels as he revels in the history of the achievements of Henderson 

Business College, under the mystic guidance of its president and founder, George W. Henderson, ‘The man who would not quit.’”  

Although Prof. Henderson leads a very active life, he yet finds time for meditation and prayer, and attributes all his success to his 

discovery of the new world order of a new day and the Divine Favor which has 


guided his humble efforts to serve humanity. As he is a teacher in the true sense, there is every sign that his influence 

will widen with the coming years, causing many souls to enter the path of God. He has the distinction of being a 

pioneer in two ways:  

First, in developing this particular phase of 



Negro education by the founding and development of a college. Secondly, by making its origin and foundation Bahá’i 

and devoting his talents and resources to the spread of the Heavenly Teachings, he has a place in history which the 

gladness of the world will some day acclaim. 









]{EADERS in many fields of thought are becoming aware of the Glad Tidings of the Bahã’i Faith, the Spirit of the 

New Age, which like unto leaven is slowly hut surely rising and bringing new life into mankind. Many scholars, 

writers, scientists and leaders have expressed great appreciation and ardent interest in the Bahá’i Teachings of unity, 

peace and good will.  

There are being expressed in both the written and spoken word, in unprejudiced and scholarly presentation, something 

of the basic principles of the Bahá’i Faith, its relation to other Faiths and the spiritual upliftment it gives to the whole 

pattern of life.  

It is interesting to note that since the removal of the headquarters of the Faith in the Western World to the vicinity of 

the Bahá’i House of Worship in Wilmette in October, 1939, many significant statements by leaders of thought have 

been made. Some of these have come to the desk of the writer.  

Mrs. Charles S. Clark, President of the Conference of Club Presidents and Program Chairmen, which encourages 

talented artists, musicians, dramatists and those who have a real message, is known and loved by artists from all over 

the world. She is active on many boards and her broad interests include many organizations of underprivileged people 

where her beautiful spirit sheds the fragrance of faith, courage and inspiration upon all. One of the sources of her 

inspiration is the Bahâ’i House of Worship which she has visited several times. She writes:  

“Something sublime in the architecture of the Bahá’i Temple affected me deeply. Something sublime also in the 

devotion of the Bahi’is to the beauty of holiness, to the beauty and possibility of brotherhood, to the celestial beauty 

and earthly necessity for that peace of Christ which passeth understanding. 


“They are opening the East windows of their souls to eternal and renewing ideas which I wish could become dynamic 

in all religion.”  

Dr. Preston Bradley, Pastor of The People’s Church of Chicago of which he is the founder, is perhaps one of the best 

known, brilliant and most beloved speakers before universities, colleges, clubs and churches, and his radio broadcasts 

encircle the world. He is striving toward social regeneration by means of spiritual idealism practically applied. For 

years he has watched the progress of the Bahâ’i Faith with deep interest, arranging tours of the Bahâ’i Temple and 

sometimes quoting from the Creative Words of Bahã’u’lláh.  

With deep appreciation and good wishes for the Bahá’i Faith, Dr. Preston Bradley wrote to the writer these sincere and 

impressive words:  

“As a resident of Chicago for a great many years, I have watched with interest the development and progress of the 

Bahi’i Movement. I have known many whose lives were transformed because of their interest in this philosophy. The 

universality and inclusiveness of its idealism appeal to me as something unique and necessary in the world.  

“Any movement which has for its purpose the integration of mankind, tolerance, and working for universal peace and 

international brotherhood, is needed today as never before.”  

Mrs. Maude Roberts George, past President of the National Association of Negro Musicians and also past President of 

the Chicago Music Association, and much loved and honored by artists of all races who know her, is deeply impressed 

by the beauty of the idealism of the Bahá’i Faith, its wide inclusiveness and its emphasis on nobility of life. She wrote: 








“The Bahá’i Faith is inspiring and impressive to our people. The earnestness of the followers and the high educational attainments of 

the lecturers, impress the young people. The hope and guidance it brings to all peoples are reflected in the spirit of love and fellowship 

which is felt in the meetings.  

“I am grateful for the experience that I cherish when I was soloist in 1928 and was presented with one of the powerful books by the 

Inter-racial Amity Committee. May the great Bahá’i work continue and bring peace and understanding to all mankind.”  

The ideals of the new age are finding fresh expressions in unique forms. One of the interpreters of these new ideals a French 

American, Dane Rudhyar, who is a most convincing and challenging interpreter of the latest as well as the oldest movements in music, 

art, poetry and civilizations. He is a man of profound and penetrating, far- reaching vision whose works lead from the dark crystallized 

and chaotic concepts of the past to a new spiritual order in music, in art, in words and in life.  

That we may better understand this man who stands so courageously for the ideals of the new age and who is attracting nationwide 

attention by expressing these ideals in creative art, let us look at his works for a moment. He is a pioneer in creative synthesis. His 

music might be called cosmic, uplifting and interior and seems to stretch out into a new sense of space. In his search for the answer to 

why sound is such a powerful element in expressing sacred emotions, he created new musical forms in many compositions for the 

piano, orchestras and interpretations for the dance. His greatest orchestral compositions, expressing new spiritual urges, are “Soul 

Fire,” a symphonic poem for which he received a $1,000 award from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, “Ouranos,” “The 

Surge of Fire” and “Desert Chants.”  

For many years Dane Rudhyar has been deeply interested in the chant, believing it to be an expression of man’s search for God. His 

compositions are many and masterful. He believes there are no absolute dissonances, even when two musical sounds have no apparent 

affiliation. He perceives the resulting 


sound may very well contain new elements of harmony that hitherto have been unknown, out of which new thought forms emerge. 

Therefore, his music rather than being theme music, expresses the element of growth from within or it seems like a widening beam of 

light. The same element of root forces at work struggling upward expresses itself in pure, clear color and symbolic form in his 

paintings. He makes the intangibles, tangible and seems to release the pent up life forces in higher expressions.  

In his published books and hundreds of articles the element of upward-struggling life-stuff is uppermost, while his motive is to open 

new channels of understanding to tradition-bound souls. To hear him speak on the surging life force is not just another lecture but a 

rare experience. His greatest concern is about the most vital problems of the age and he seeks to present through cultured activities a 

high spiritual and yet practical approach to life and its problems by means of which the “living person” or higher self in us may be 

made to act and to transfigure our lives and the world.  

It was in 1919 that he began an intensive study of Oriental philosophies and cultures, and learned of the Bahá’i Faith, before he left for 

California where he was commissioned to write scenic music for the Pilgrimage Play (the life of Christ), and for some of Ruth St. 

Denis’s dances. He explained to the writer that it was in 1920 he translated a Bahã’i pamphlet “No. 9” into French, and in 1937 

reviewed the BAHA’I 


Volume VI, for an American magazine. It was in the September, November and December 1939 

issues of an American magazine that he wrote understanding and masterful articles about the Báb, Bahá’u’llIh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and 

of a New World Order of society which will come after the times of purgation now at hand. Dane Rudhyar in these articles sums up 

his analysis of the Bahá’i Faith in these compelling words:  

“The Movement is quite unique in having unfolded through three different periods and being now in the fourth. Three great 

Personalities are at the source of it: The Forerunner (the Báb), the Supreme Manifestation (Bahá’u’llãh), and the Interpreter of 






the word (‘Abdu’l-Bahá). Each of them gave to the Movement a different keynote, or, let us say, each was the center of 

a particular phase of the Movement. The passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahã opened a new phase:  

the phase of consolidation and practical organization of what is being called “The Bahá”s World Order,” a complete 

system of social, practical and religious organization which, if applied, would transform basically human society and 

the relations between individuals and between nations.  

“Both the Báb and Bahá’u’llih are acknowledged as ‘Divine Manifestations’—the former as ‘the Manifestation of the 

Unity and Oneness of God and the Forerunner,’ and the latter as the ‘Supreme Manifestation of God and the Day-

spring of His Most Divine essence.’  

“‘Abdu’l-Bahá--—and even still more Shoghi Effendi—belong to the more ‘human’ phase of the Movement. ‘Abdu’l-

Bahá appears in the light of being a man so transfigured by His devotion to His father and God that He became indeed 

a ‘demigod.’ If Bahá’u’llih is God become-man, ‘Abdu’lBahá is man-taken-over-by-God. He is thus the Bahá’i 

Exemplar. A God-incarnate cannot be an exemplar for mere men; but all men, theoretically, can, through the intensity 

of their self-surrender to God, live as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—as Servants of the Glory of God. Only with ‘Abdu’l-Bahi this 

‘Station of Servitude,’ in which He glorified, was so complete and perfect that through 


He became utterly ‘one with 

His Father.’  

“It is through this utter ‘at-one-ment’ that ‘Abdu’l-Baha became the ‘Center of the Covenant’—the Interpreter of the 

Word of God, as pronounced by (or through) Bahá’u’llah. On the other hand, Shoghi Effendi is the ‘Guardian of the 

Cause.’ His task is to pr&serve the purity of the Teachings, considered as infallible Revelation from God, and to apply 

or interpret them as practical needs arise. He is the prototype of the Bahá’i Administrator. The level of consecrated 

manhood is reached with him. The Ideal is being organized. The reality of the World Order is being built according to 

the plans laid down by Bahá’u’lláh.  

“The Islamic cycle is a relatively small cycle; and the Bãb, rather than fulfill that 


small cycle as such, linked it with a more universal cycle of which Bahá’u’llãh can truly be said to be the Divine Manifestation. As 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote symbolically: ‘We are in the cycle which began with Adam, and its universal Manifestation is Bahã’u’llâh.’  

The appearance of such a universal Manifestation causes the world to attain maturity. This doctrine of cycles—great and small, 

universal and racial—the ‘seeds’ of which are Divine Manifestations, is a very ancient one, and seems absolutely basic. In the cycle of 

Bahá’u’llih the early Heroic Age of the Movement is ended. The Western world is beginning to awaken. The Message of Bahi’u’lláh 

was first announced in America in the Parliament of Religions at the World’s Fair in Chicago (1892).  

“Since then the number of converts to the Bahi’i Faith has been increasing steadily. They are being organized in ways which 

somewhat make one think of early Christendom. Indeed the Bahâ’i Movement as a whole is the only great religious movement of 

these last 2000 years which presents a remarkable parallel with early Christendom  

—notwithstanding the many things which on the surface differentiate the cause of the Christ from that of the Glory of God—the Cross 

from the effulgent nine-pointed Star, symbol of the new Faith.”  

In a recent letter to the writer Dane Rudhyar makes this challenging appeal to the whole Bahi’i World:  

“In this age, restless with insecurity and weary with the results of intellectual search, the Bahá’i Revelation stands as a tower of 

inspiration and a source of spiritual security for multitudes which otherwise would be swayed by forces of social and emotional 

disintegration. It embodies clearly the most basic keynotes of the collective spirit of the age which dawned with the breakdown of 

feudal and aristocratic Europe and which will become established when European nationalisms will be ground to dust and the 

continental unity of Europe wll be fulfilled.  

“The Revelation of Bahâ’u’lláh has meaning in terms of the human family as a whole and its synthesizing message can be the ‘seed’ 

of a future era. To exhausted communities it gives a vital impetus which, we hope, will soon energize new creative mani 






festations and produce an inspired art, equal or superior to that of early Christianity. The great Temple near Chicago is 

a forerunner of this creative wave of inspiration which America and the whole world needs so much today.  

“In order to reach such a fountain-head of creative spiritual power, the Bahá’is should feel the emotional vitality of the 

Movement as an inner reality of their unconscious life; for great, inspired art can only arise from the unconscious 

depths of man’s psyche. Mere devotion does not produce great artistic fruits. The Ideal must not only he worshipped. It 

must become flesh—and Art is the first-born flesh of any great Movement which has the power to stir collectivities, 

once the heroic period of martyrdom is passed.  

“We are therefore expecting a great birth of creative Art from the Bahá’i communities in which the living spirit of El 

Abhá has really become flesh. The vitality of such creative manifestations will prove the essential vitality of the 

Impulse among the followers of the ‘Glory of God’—for the ‘Glory’ is creative emanation; just as the photosphere of 

the sun rouses plants and trees from the soil of the earth.  

“Open yourselves, therefore, to the Glory of this Sun of the Spirit, that the seed sown within by the Message may 

become great trees—’Cedars of Lebanon.’  

Joseph Sadony, writer, who is also a scientist, a psychologist, musician, poet and one of America’s distinguished 

thinkers, is profoundly interested in the great basic principles of the oneness of mankind and the establishment of peace 

and good will upon the earth. As a guest in his home in The Valley of The Pines, the writer was amazed to observe the 

way he has interwoven science and psychology with great spiritual values and demonstrates them all in his well 

equipped laboratories. His rich background of special service for Theodore Roosevelt, his renowned non-commercial 

laboratories for educational and scientific research, command attention. He edits the Journal of “Prevenient Thought” 

(intuitive understanding) and is giving to the world interesting pioneer research from his laboratories on the 


chemicoelectromagnetic nature of physical and mental phenomena. He is responsible for many contributions of 

philosophical and scientific and educational importance in the fields of electricity, magnetism, gravispheric analysis, 

visual education and their relation to spiritual values. He has written many articles and volumes in these co-related 


It was to a pioneer servant of mankind like this that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote in 1920 these inspiring words translated by 



“The great sages and the eminent philosophers have entertained good and benevolent wishes, but have failed through 

the power of their philosophy to realize their aims. But on the other hand, his Holiness Christ and the Apostles, by the 

power of the Word of God, have attained all their aims which centered around the common weal, and have been therein 

assisted. We, likewise, must aim at that which is the spirit of this age, such as the oneness of humanity, the 

establishment of universal peace, the investigation of truth, the elimination of misunderstandings among religions, the 

conformity of religion with science, the abandonment of racial, religious, and political prejudices, the extermination of 

antiquated imitations, the promotion of arts and sciences, the advancement of the world of humanity, the establishment 

of right and justice, the equality of both sexes.  

“If, in the enforcement of these benevolent purposes we hold fast to the power of the Word of God, there is no doubt 

that we shall attain our purpose and aim. Thou hast chosen a good place of residence, art associating with many people, 

art expert in many sciences, and hast a pure purpose. Strive, therefore, that through the influence of the Word of God, 

thou mayest promulgate thy benevolent purpose, mayest become the cause of the promulgation of the heavenly 

teachings and the recipient of merciful susceptibilities, so that thou mayest be confirmed in both this world and in the 

Kingdom, mayest become in the nether world, the standard of the Love of God, and in the world of the Kingdom, the 

bright and resplendent morn, like unto the souls who today, are striving in accordance with the teachings of 

Bahá’u’lláh, and through the 






power of the Word of God, are assisted and secure remarkable results. I trust that thou too, by the power of the Word of God, mayest 

be assisted, and mayest leave behind in the world of humanity, remarkable traces. Upon thee be greeting and praise.”  

‘ABDU’L-BAHA ‘AuuAs.  

The inspiration of these powerful words in this remarkable Tablet makes of great interest the reactions of the one to whom they are 

written, who is working in a new field of thought essential for the new age and a new humanity.  

Few men have a better understanding of human nature and of the conditions of the world and their relation to life than has Joseph 

Sadony. Therefore, his views of the Bahá’i Faith and its teachings are of deep interest.  

In the sweet pine fragrance of his little hallowed chapel, he spoke tenderly of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá whose picture hangs on the wall of his 

study beside that of Christ. He said, “I have mentally and spiritually contacted ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and found in him a brother, a friend, a 

co-worker in behalf of unity, peace and all the highest ideals which have constituted my lifelong efforts before I knew of the existence 

of the Bahá’i Movement. Even now I know little of the external history or affairs. The spiritual understanding requires attention and 

receptivity to the spirit and soul rather than to the letter and outer body of things.  

“May I say that though my contact with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was purely mental and spiritual, in our mutual recognition (I never met him in 

person) his Tablet to me has been sufficient basis for an attunement of direct understanding with the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-

Bahá, without the medium of outer affairs or interpretation by others.  

“The Bahá’i Movement is one of the few faiths originated from and founded upon prevenient principles; therefore, it deserves the 

attention of every student of prevenient thought. I feel and believe in the spirit of their faith and efforts toward the end of love and 


“The Bahã’i Movement today is the fruit of a Branch which made its appearance early in the nineteenth century as the combined fruits 

of that same great Spiritual 


Root that produced Judaism, Christianity and Muhammadanism. It marks the dawn of an era which has yet to be made 

manifest under requirements which demand the dissolving of walls and boundaries that prevent a consciousness of the 

oneness of mankind (the basic ideal of the Bahã’i Movement) in which the instinct of self-preservation will be lifted 

into race-preservation. Then will there be the inwardly prompted coöperation of all peoples for the greatest welfare of 


To meet Mr. Sadony is to meet one you seem to have known a long time, one who is frank, open, lovable, sincere and 


It was a real inspiration to have Mr. Sadony state, “The Spirit of the age, as ‘Abdu’lBahá himself well knew, demands 

other than mere affirmations of spiritual faith. It demands the living of life, of labor in the correlation of all things, to 

the end of bringing order out of chaos and providing for the still future Mansion of Universal Understanding, the 

absolutely unassailable foundations without which the conformity of religion with science, the illumination of 

misunderstandings among religions, and the abandonment of racial, religious, world and political prejudice cannot take 

place. This was anticipated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His Father Bahá’u’lláh.”  

With great earnestness, Mr. Sadony spoke of America’s part in the Divine Plan for the world, and the writer was happy 

to see how even without having read the writings from the Pen of Bahã’u’lláh, he has caught the spirit of the Word of 

God. He said, “We here in America must realixe our exceptional position among the nations and in the course of 

history, as a direct result, easy to be traced, of the forces set in motion by the particular efforts of Christ and His 

Apostles. The fulfillment of His universal aims, and of which an understanding is lacking in so many professed 

Christians, demanded conditions which did not then exist, but the need for which throughout the centuries set in motion 

the chain of events which culminated in the birth of “America” as a refuge of religious as well as political freedom for 

all who had been persecuted because of what they believed. Religious intolerance is there- 






fore distinctly and especially “Un-American,” since it strikes at the very taproot of what America was created to provide and produce. 

Nowhere else on earth in the history of humanity in its present cycle of existence, has there been a condition so favorable to the 

religious tolerance that must precede the attainment of religious unity. So one of the cornerstones of the American philosophy of 

liberty and tolerance that will undoubtedly prove to be a foundation for religious unity based on scientific understanding, is the “Law 

of Functional Limitation” which I have therefore suggested and dwelt on as one of the abutments of the bridge between religion and 


“It is the essence of this law that man thinks with what he acquires or is given to think with. Without regard to what is or is not the 

“truth,” each belief and every variation of each belief is understandable in terms of what the individual or group possess to believe 

with, or to think with in supporting or having arrived at that belief. If you sincerely and open-mindedly examine what each possess to 

think with, then you will understand why the primitives believe in idols, why savages believe in fetiches, and why every creed, ism, 

dogma and article of faith of all the denominations and religions are believed by those who do believe them. This may be understood, 

I have insisted, without raising the question or their truth or falsity. No belief need be ‘attacked’; no man need be killed. Even nature 

has means more economical and more humane than this: that plants or creatures, men or beliefs survive only as they are fed by food 

that sustains them, and as they conform to the laws under which they are holden. Reality is that which exists; truth is that which 

sustains that which exists. Nothing can continue to exist for long unsupported by truth. We need only bide our time and right will 

prevail. America is the testing ground for all the world; she is the laboratory in which the future course of history is being 

predetermined. It has been thus since her inception. Here was the last hope of liberty, and because we did not falter in our stand the 

principle of Freedom became effective in the world; but it depends upon us to 


of man’s fitness for freedom. Here too and likewise other ideals and principles have been and are making their last stand. Let us not 

forget this; for if we fail then upon our head falls the ensuing failure of mankind in its present state of civilization to achieve those 

ends. Though we take no part in the struggles of other nations, yet the final outcome is or has been predetermined on this continent. 

Why this should be so is beyond the scope of this communication to elucidate; I can only point out that it is so, and that there are men 

of other nations who also realize that it is so, hence cross the seas either to influence, or to test their policies among us.  

When asked if he considered this age as the “Age of Reason,” Mr. Sadony replied:  

“We are passing from the ‘Age of Reason’ to the ‘Age of Intuition.’ The law of the age is the survival of the intuitively fit, not merely 

the physically or the intellectually fit. It has been and is one of my especial responsibilities in virtue of gifts bestowed upon me, to 

exemplify the functioning of intuition in the mind of man as the fruit of a simple mode of life. It is thus with a method of thinking 

based on a method of living normally and naturally, that I have sought to inspire all those who have knocked at my door, and by so 

doing to provide the timber of thought for the unassailable foundations so necessary for the fulfillment of our mutual ideals. I have 

sought, too, to provide otherwise missing blocks for the conceptual structures by which both religion and science may be incorporated 

by universal education into the enlightenment so essential to the realization of Unity in mankind. I have sought and am seeking to 

remove every obstacle in the road and to pave more smoothly the way for the truth to prevail; and it will prevail; but its survival out of 

the confusion of tongues and viewpoints of our modern ‘Towers of Babel,’ will be the more firmly assured and the more quickly 

manifested by the understanding tolerance that has ever been exemplified more fully by the founders themselves of every religious or 

spiritual movement, than by the followers, whose very virtue of faithfulness and loyalty causes 


maintain and perpetuate our demonstration them to violate the examples set them, as 






is so evident in the history of the bitter controversies among the professed followers of Christ.”  

At the conclusion of the conference with this unusual man he gave in a few profound sentences a digest of his inner understanding, 

through which glows quietly the light of the Spirit of Truth.  

“He who is entirely without doubt, therefore, as to the presence of the power of the Word of God in his own efforts or the efforts of 

another, rests and labors in that greatest of all securities born of knowing that time proveth all things. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá labored, and now 

rests, in that certitude. Christ and His Apostles sacrificed their all in that certitude. Every wise and sincere man throughout history has 

lived his life and faced his death in that certitude. I silence the arguments of all skeptics and atheists by that certitude. I suggest that 

the sincere followers of every religious belief take refuge in that certitude, that time will prove whether or not it was a true revelation; 

and time will also prove whether or not its students and commentators correctly interpreted the spirit as well as the letter of the words 

in which it was expressed. The seeker for truth will recognize the truth when and where he finds it; otherwise he could not seek it. If 

he fails to recognize it when found, then he sought it not, and it does not belong to him.”  

With deep kindly eyes lighted by the Spirit he said: “My impressions of the Bahã’i religion therefore as a non-Bahâ’i, although 

seemingly confined to the Tablet received from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, give me reason to believe it is an expression of the universal Spirit of 


Is it any wonder that hundreds, nay thousands make a path to his door?  

“If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual; but if enmity and 

hatred exist within it destruction and dispersion are inevitable. This is likewise true of a city. If those who dwell within it manifest a 

spirit of accord, love and fellowship, it will progress steadily and human conditions become brighter, whereas through enmity and 

strife it will be degraded 


and its inhabitants scattered. In the same way the people of a nation develop and advance toward civilization and 

enlightenment through love and accord and are disintegrated by war and strife. Finally this is true of humanity itself, in 

the aggregate.  

“When love is realized and the ideal spiritual bonds unite the hearts of men, the whole race will be uplifted, the world 

will continually grow more spiritual, and the radiance and happiness and tranquillity of mankind will be immeasurably 

increased. Warfare and strife will be uprooted, disagreement and dissension, pass away and Universal Peace unite the 

nations and the peoples of the world.”  


“What a magnificent symbol of unity, of beauty and of aspiration,” exclaimed Mr. 


Otto Schweizer after gazing in 

profound silence at the Bahá’i Temple in Wilmette. “The keynote of this age is unity,” he continued. “The lw of the 

cells of matter, the law of the far-flung celestial spheres and the law of the whole human kingdom is Unity. How 

strange that man is only now awakening to the realization that the law of unity is the very heartbeat of human progress! 

What a symbol of this powerful and permeating idea of unity and its relation to all human progress is this magnificent 

Bahã”i House of Worship!” The kindly, scholarly eyes of Mr. Schweizer glowed with light as he studied the symbols 

and structure of the Bahá’i Temple in detail.  

The impressions of the great Universal House of Worship as seen through the eyes of this great artist were most 

thrilling to the writer, who had the privilege of spending a day with Mr. Schweizer and his family guiding them through 

the Temple and discussing art and architecture in relation to the problems of the human race.  

This artist is one of the torch bearers of humanity who from his early youth has realized that ultimately all of its 

problems, whether economic, social, political or national, are inextricably woven, and have their secret roots imbedded 

in the hearts and minds of man and are inherently spiritual in nature. In his art work he has tried to express the 

evolution of mankind to higher 






The Bahá’is of Khartoum, Sfldán. 


and greater spiritual capacity, oneness and peace.  

Let us step aside a moment and glance at some of the influences that have come into the life of this true artist that we 

may understand a little better why this universal House of Worship, symbolic in every way of unity, made such an 

appeal to this artist of international fame; for he has breathed the culture of many lands and been tested in the school of 

difficulties. Mr. Schweizer was born some seventy years ago in the somewhat cosmopolitan city of Zurich, 

Switzerland. Even at the age of three the talent for his life work expressed itself in childish drawings and paintings 

which were admired by all who saw them. As he approached maturity he went to Dresden to study his art, first in the 

Royal Academy and then in the private studio of Dr. Johannes Schilling. After this for five years he pursued his artist’s 

calling in both Rome and Florence.  

In 1934 circumstances brought young Otto Schweizer to America. Then began a period of twelve years of hardest and 

bitterest tasks and tests. As he became acquainted with the habits and thoughts of people in many lands during all these 

years of training 


and trial, his own attitude toward life broadened and deepened and he built up a sound philosophy of applied idealism 


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